“You again,” said Mr. Bagel. Guard C, raised his weapon and
yelled “Silence! Halt!”
“Or what?” said Mr. Bagel, standing with his crusty chin jutting out.
“Or I’ll—“ and before Guard C got the last word out, Mr. Bagel yelled, “car command.” Subsequently, when the guard said “shoot,” Mr. Bagel’s Bentley obliged.
Mr. Bagel lunged into Itsa, knocking her back out the door. Bullets ricocheted about the room, riddling Guard C and puffing holes into the marble wall outside the door. After about ten seconds of continuous gunfire, the car ran out.
“I like your car,” said Itsa, inches away from Mr. Bagel’s golden-brown face. Mr. Bagel gave her a wink.
They wriggled into a standing position and ran for it. Behind the closed bars, they could see the blast doors slowly closing. They wouldn’t have long.
Mr. Bagel shouted the car’s doors open and they piled in, hands still cuffed behind their backs.
“I hope you can drive without hands,” said Itsa.
“When you gamble professionally,” said Mr. Bagel. “Hands rarely matter. Car, escape. NOW!”
The car dove down and two intense beams shot out of the headlights, searing the bars that blocked their way. Sparks and bubbles exploded from the bars, but little else seemed to be happening. Beyond the metal bars, the blast shield was nearly 75% closed. They had whatever time exists right before no time.
“This is taking too long,” said Itsa, panic creeping into her voice. “Do something!”
“Right,” said Mr. Bagel, a slight sheen of sweat visible on his bagel-y brow. “Hurry up car!”
The car paused for a moment in its underwater drilling. They heard its engine building to a fervent rev. Then, with spin-cycle speed it performed a series of rapid barrel rolls. Mr. Bagel and Itsa were tumbled inside. When it stopped spinning, a neat circle had been cut into the bars, just big enough for the car to fit.
“I lied,” said Itsa. “I don’t like your car.”
“Go!” Mr. Bagel yelled. Again, his Bentley complied.
Out in the open ocean, Itsa sighed. “What else can this do?” Mr. Bagel smiled at her.
“Car, handcuffs off, please.”
A pair of pliers appeared from out of the cushions of both seats and neatly clipped their cuffs. Itsa laughed.
Out of the side window, they could see the ballroom through the last sliver of the closing blast shields. Inside, the Guru was spluttering, trying to simultaneously tread water and bat away the starving squids that covered his body.
Both Itsa and Mr. Bagel broke into relieved laughter, a moment of joy which was soon cut short. A small shape squirted out of the closing blast doors. They could just barely make it out. A jittering blob hoving for the rift. Blinking red and blue. A squid.
“No!” they said in tandem.
“Get that squid,” said Mr. Bagel.
“I’m sorry,” said the car. “Repeat.”
“Kill the squid!” said Mr. Bagel again, banging the steering wheel with his newly freed hands.
“I’m sorry,” said the car. “I don’t know this command.”
“Well thanks for jinxing it,” he said to Itsa, grabbing the wheel. With a heavy foot to the gas, the car leapt forward, pursuing the rapidly receding squid.
They were gaining on it, but slowly. The squid was nearly to the rift.
“Car,” said Mr. Bagel. “Ready torpedoes.”
“One torpedo remaining,” said the car. A reticle appeared in the center of the windshield. With labored precision Mr. Bagel brought the skittering squid into his crosshairs.
“Lock onto target,” said Mr. Bagel. The reticle began to blink red. The squid was only yards from the precipice.
“Obtaining lock,” said the car.
“Hurry,” said Mr. Bagel.
“Obtaining lock,” said the car again. The squid was nearly over the precipice.
“Just shoot!” said Itsa. “Shoot it now!”
“God damnit!” yelled Mr. Bagel, again banging the wheel.
“Obtaining lock,” said the car. Mr. Bagel head-butted the wheel.
“Shoot!” said Itsa.
“Stupid gadgets,” said Mr. Bagel. “Fire!”
A torpedo sizzled from the grille of the Bentley. It’s path gimbaled toward the squid. The two bodies came closer and closer, the missile gaining. At the very edge of the precipice the missile caught up. But with a flit, the squid dove down and the torpedo flew straight into the far wall of the rift, sending up an impotent puff of rock debris and crab.
“No!” said Itsa. “No!”
“It’s not over yet,” said Mr. Bagel. With gritted teeth he pinned the pedal to the floor, sending them hurtling over the edge of the crevasse.
The pressure in the rift was palpable. As it hurtled down, the car’s doors began to creak. Even with the bright headlights of the car, the squid was just barely visible.
“What are we going to do?” asked Itsa. She was pinned into her seat, her mouth a thin, grimacing line.
“We’re going to net it,” said Mr. Bagel, eyes slitted. “Car,” he said. “Prepare the net.”
Above the creaking they could hear a mechanical process take place beneath the car’s hood.
“Net prepared,” said the car. “Warning,” it added. “Pressure too high, return to lower depth.”
Mr. Bagel didn’t respond. The car sped deeper.
They were gaining on the squid inch by inch. The red blinking of its eyes kept it visible despite the bubbles rising from the fissure. Around them, darkness crept in. The car’s warning system bleated incessantly. Mr. Bagel’s knuckles were white as dough, gripping the wheel. With a jarring, metallic twang, the ceiling buckled, folding three inches down its center.
“Do it!” screamed Itsa. She had melded with the passenger’s seat, clutching the seat's cushion.
“Wait,” said Mr. Bagel. The doors of the Bentley began to buckle inward, the frame of the car audibly creaking. The reticle in the windshield became a red, blinking exclamation point. The squid inched closer. Mr. Bagel gritted his teeth and ground the pedal further into the Bentley’s floor. The ceiling buckled another five inches and the windows began to crack.
Itsa started screaming.
With a guttural yell, Mr. Bagel punched the steering wheel. “Fire!”
The net snaked out of the Bentley’s grill, unfolding like an exotic flower. It wound out and out, seeking the undulating squid. The car continued to crumple inwards.
With a snap, the line caught at its end and the net closed. In its tangles, the squid’s eyes blinked. Caught.
With a wrenching twist, Mr. Bagel turned the car around. The metal crinkled like tin foil as the Bentley flexed. Mr. Bagel was laughing and Itsa was half-crying, more mascara running down her cheeks.
As they began to rise, a muffled woomph caused them both to turn. The squid had detonated. There must have been some sort of trigger as it decreased in depth.
A ripple of sonic force rushed toward them.
“Ah crumbs” said Mr. Bagel, jamming the pedal again. The car bucked and shot for the surface. The blast shook the rift’s walls, causing rock to erupt all around them. Debris exploded from all sides, clouding the tumultuous water. Mr. Bagel dodged falling boulders as he careened surface-ward. Itsa was nearly transparent white, sucking air.
Mr. Bagel deftly sped the car around rock after rock, the doors puffing back outward as he did. In front of them, through the opaque cloud of the shattering fissure, the white and blue of the surface shimmered faintly. Behind, and around them roiled unmitigated chaos.
“Itsa,” said Mr. Bagel through gritted teeth.
“Yes,” said Itsa. She turned to Mr. Bagel with plaintive eyes.
“What is your last name?”
Around them, the rift continued to crumble apart, turning the water completely opaque; Mr. Bagel was steering blind. A rock bounced off the windshield, cracking it completely. Water began to puddle on the dash.
“My last name?” said Itsa. “It’s Lottacock.” The windshield became a lattice of fissures.
“Jackpot,” said Mr. Bagel, before the windshield shattered and water rushed in.
Morning news programs across the world commented on the miniature earthquakes. Lawn chairs and family portraits had been overturned the world over, nothing more. The squid’s detonation hadn’t been deep enough. It is unknown what happened to the Guru and his henchmen.
Above the water it was a calm clear morning. Chuckling, a seagull sat in the reddish, morning silence of the San Francisco bay. The breeze was light and the tang of fresh ocean suffused the air.
With a violent sploosh that sent the gull flying, Mr. Bagel’s car broke the surface. Inside, Mr. Bagel and Itsa were already locked in sweet, bagel-y passion. The lazy ding of a buoy sounded in the distance and boats slid through the crystal water. Just another day in the life of Mr. Bagel.
The bagels are fresh. The ingredients are standard: lots of cream cheese choices, eggs are good, breakfast meat is supermarket variety. Not what you want for a classy morning, but an incredibly strong hangover cure. They also have a burrito station to which I have not gone. Mr. Burrito? I don’t know the thought process behind it exactly, but I can’t comment.
Bagel sandwich and a coffee will run you a fiver. Bagels alone aren’t a whole lot. Price is very commensurate with the food delivered in both amount and taste.
An interesting mix between chain store (it’s not) and local, artsy bagel joint (it is).
Most items aren’t “sit down” fare. You order, a young buck whips it up, you leave happy.
EAT OR SKIP:
I do not propose that Mr. Bagel is groundbreaking in any way. But what they do, they do well. Certainly worthy of a mid-week, morning visit.