Many years ago, sometime in the future...
He should’ve said yes.
Frank stumbled into the room and crouched behind a display case. He held his breath, clutching his hand over his mouth to keep from making any noise. How could he be so stupid? Brian and Carol had the right idea. Just say yes. It was so simple. Just say yes. Do not say no, like Frank had done.
No. He said no. Then he ran.
And now he was hiding behind a million dollars worth of Pre-Columbian pottery. So much money right in his reach, and there was no time to grab it and run. Time? Ha. That was a funny, all things considered. Time was the real problem here. There was never enough time because there was always someone watching. Or in this instance, something.
Frank glanced back and forth in the darkness when his gaze landed on his salvation. He stared up at the red, glowing exit sign across from him. It was only a few feet away. He could make a run for the door and maybe, just maybe, escape. Sure. He could slip through the door and get out of here alive.
A thump sounded to Frank’s right. Too late. Too late. He bore down on his mouth to hold in the scream. Brightness swept over the room, shining through the case and illuminating the exit. It also threw Frank’s crouched silhouette onto the opposite wall.
“I see ye there, matey,” something said.
Frank froze. He willed himself to move, but the only thing that picked up the pace was his overworked heart. A band of pressure tightened around his chest, stealing what breath remained in his lungs. Behind him, the light blinked out, plunging the room into darkness once more. A steady series of thuds rose around him as the beast grew closer. The exit sign glowed red in the gloom, offering Frank refuge in its safe arms.
Now or never. It was now or never.
Frank leapt to his feet and dashed for the door. For his freedom. For his life. He ran, and ran, and ran. His heart pushed into overdrive, thumping wildly in his ears. It was nearly a full ten seconds before he realized he wasn’t getting any closer to the door. His legs kicked at empty air. Something had him by the collar, lifting his feet off of the ground. He spun in a semicircle as the thing turned him around, bringing the writhing human face to face with the beast. Frank stared in horror at a single glowing point of light.
“I told ye once, laddie,” the beast said in a deep, watery brogue. “Either ye join up with me, or I’ll make ye walk tha plank.” The beast pulled him in closer, adding, “And who knows where you’d end up then? Perhaps with Davey Jones?”
Frank felt a warm sensation spread across his lap as his bladder gave up its contents. The grip tightened on his collar while the pressure tightened in his chest. His overworked heart skipped a beat. Then two. Three. The world narrowed to a thin band of black punctuated by that single, glowing lidless eye. One last thought crossed Frank’s mind before he drew his last breath.
When offered the choice of joining a crazed robot’s pirate crew, just say yes.
Just say yes, sir.