The banging hadn’t stopped for ten minutes, another strike coming every three seconds exactly. Charlie knew they were only teasing – there was no way out of Fred Bentleigh’s office except that door, and the Little Men could have kicked it down with ease. After all, they’d brought down the entire wall outside New Hobart.
“So, this is it?” Fred said, taking a seat in his leather desk chair and leaning back. “This is the end of the Ivory Skull.”
Charlie sat on Fred’s desk, watching the doors shake repeatedly. “I suppose so. It’s been nice knowing you, old friend. You did the best you could.”
He exhaled a puff of smoke from his pipe. “It’s a shame the strike force from that old mobile mechanic based in Brighton couldn’t put up more of a fight. This whole thing has been a mess.”
“They’re simply too strong. We could have had twenty thousand troops and we wouldn’t have been able to stop them. The strike force at that Brighton auto electrician workshop never stood a chance, and neither did we.” Charlie stood. “Shall we get this over with, then?”
Fred nodded, taking another puff of smoke in. “Do it.”
Charlie walked forward and waited for the next bang, then hauled open the doors to reveal the Little Men, standing with a small battering ram between them. “New overlords, please come in so we may discuss the terms of our surrender. Congratulations – in mere minutes, New Hobart will be yours.”
The Little Men looked between each other, only a few feet tall. Then one of them nodded, and they both walked into Fred Bentleigh’s office.
“Thank you for your hospitality,” said the taller of the two Little Men. “I’m afraid, however, that there will be no surrender. This is the end of the line for you both.”
A cloud of smoke appeared above Fred. “Very well – I can respect that.”