“Jesus. Where am I?”
He looked around. It looked like a bakery freezer. Blank boxes stacked here and there. A few package wrappers discarded on the floor. Jerry rolled over and realized his legs had been bound to a table. But who ever left him here kept his hands free. Strange.
The room was colder than his ex-wife's shoulder. Jerry pulled his parka tighter against him, trying to warm up. At least there was a thermos of coffee on the table, if he could reach it. He struggled to his knees and grabbed it. He took a long sip. It was cold, but did take a bit of the thirst off. Now, if he could beat this hangover.
He was still trying to figure out how he got here. A message had arrived on the secured account assigning him to a project. It was vague on details, but they all were. Go to a Russian nightclub in Brighton.Beach and wait for a drop. Not unusual. The most secret missions were done in the most public places and no one was any wiser. The drop would direct him to second location for the actual instructions. He didn’t give it any more thought. He put on his parka and headed for Journal Square. The holiday decorations blinked and flashed, but he didn't notice. He never understood Christmas. Just a waste of time and money.
It would take a while to get to Brooklyn from Jersey City. Time to plan his time. Always an advantage during one of these things. He always took public transportation to a meet. It was much harder to track, since everything was in cash.
As he was waiting on the platform, he noticed an older, obese Hasidic man a short distance away. The face was lined with a wild white untrimmed beard,a perverse clown in his hat and long coat. It appeared he was reading from some Hebrew document, but at the same time Jerry thought he might be looking at him. He shook it off. “Been doing this too long,” Jerry thought.
At Penn Station, he transferred to the line out to Brooklyn. As he was boarding the subway, he saw the old man on the platform with his newspaper. Jerry was freaking out. Had he been made? He didn’t know what the assignment was yet, but his instincts said he was doomed. He decided to ride the strap, in case he needed to make a move. Jerry started looking at his Post, his eyes shifting above the page to survey the car. If the old guy had boarded this train, it was on another car. Jerry began to relax and ponder his next move. At that was the last thing he remembered.
Jerry guessed it was a tranq dart. That was why he was so fuzzy. As he sipped the coffee, he noticed he was not alone. There were a group of red headed men on the other side of the room. They were bound at the ankles, just like he was. That was interesting. Jerry was also a redhead. Maybe there was a connection? His head was throbbing. All he knew, really, was he was cold, hurting and needed to get out of this place.
Jerry coughed and one of men shouted “Welcome.”
Jerry didn’t quite know what to say.
The man continued: “You are in an old Keebler plant in Astoria. It has been converted a private bakery. Have you met the Geezer, yet? He’s the proprietor. I know you have seen him. The guy in the long coat and beard? He’s the one that brought you here. It is all part of some secret plot the Geezer thought up. We swear we have seen him somewhere before, but none of can place him. By the way, the name is Wayne.”
“I’d shake hands, but I’m tied up at the moment.“ Wayne suppressed a chuckle. “Anyway, the plot involves some form of special gingerbread cookies for the troops. I’m not sure if we are the delivery boys or the bakers. He won’t tell us. We have all been here a couple of days, we think. Geezer brings us food every now and then and leaves. Kind of weird if you ask me.”
There was a noise from behind Jerry. He turned around and saw the Hasidic Man. Only he was out of the long coat and in some form of thermal underwear. He eyed Jerry carefully. Once he was satisfied with what he saw, he spoke. “Good Evening, Jerry. I am the one who summoned you. My name is Ande Klauss. We have plans for you.” And he left.
Jerry looked at the closed door and wondered, what was it about him? Like Wayne had said, he was so familiar. He began to feel dread. Then it hit him. Ande Klauss? The Hasidic man was Anti Claus, Santa’s evil twin. What was he planning? He looked up and saw Wayne being pulled towards a door. The tables they were tied to were part of a production line. What was on the other side? Jerry didn’t want to find out.
He noticed the coffee cup had a sharp edge. He quickly cut the rope around his legs. He bounded across the room and cut Wayne’s rope and some of the others. He could hear screaming from inside the door. He busted through and found a long table of human size cupcakes, shaped like heads and topped with red hair. Anti Clause was standing behind the table in his funeral suit welcoming the intruders.
“Merry Christmas, Jerry! Have a Gingerhead Man”