Chapter 28


Inside Toad's dressing room, Toad stood draped in what looked like red velvet curtains. He looked like an ancient Roman, if the ancient Romans had been fat greenish toads.
The three bats were with him, hanging upside down in various parts of the room. Toad stretched out his arms and Hector flew down from his perch to adjust the velvet on Toad's body. Miguel placed a wreath of flowers on Toad's head, as Pilar covered Toad's face with powder and rouge. Toad looked at himself in the mirror.
"Oh, you look hot, baby!" Pilar said, and whistled as she fluttered a few feet away.
"Yeah boss," Hector said, "You look too good for this crowd, man."
"They should like, make a statue of you or something, you know?" Hector added.
"Thank you," Toad said, waving his hand as if it was a great effort. "Thank you all. Take a good look at the evil ruler you've come to love and adore. Today, after a lifetime of waiting, I shall gain a power beyond imagining!"
The bats all clapped their wings in applause.
A hiss came from one corner of the room. Through a small opening in the wall, came the rattlesnake, Pierre. Toad glanced at the snake's reflection in the mirror, and Pierre bowed, nearly folding himself in half. Hector backed away, out of striking distance.
"Why don't 'chu, climb back in your hole, slim," Hector said, "we got things covered here, okay?
Pierre hissed, showing his long fangs, and Hector bared his teeth too.
"You boys really should try to get along," Toad said as Pilar was curling his lashes, "You're like my family, you know," he said and seemed to be holding back tears. "The family I never had." He took out a hanky and blew his nose. "Of course, if you ever cause me any embarrassment I shouldn't think twice about killing you both."
Hector and Pierre both grimaced at the thought.
"Now, Pierre," Toad went on, "is everything ready?"
"Of course, my Commandant!" Pierre said with his hissy French accent. "My great leader! My idol! "
"Good. You've served me well, Pierre. And I do love the way you talk." Toad took a deep breath and clasped hands together. "It is time...." he said, and with Miguel and Pilar flitting out the door before him, Toad waddled out of the room,
"It's only because you are such a great guy, boss!" Pierre called after him. "I have a poster of you in my room!"
Hector made kissing noises, and Pierre spun around.
"Come here you leetle flying peep squeak!" Pierre hissed. "No, Mistair' Toadie to protect you now! Hah hah!"
Pierre waited for Hector, mouth open, fangs poised. Hector swooped around in circles, teasing the snake, and after a few near misses, made it passed and out the door.
"Ha ha!" Hector jeered from the other side of the door, "Better cut down on the sweets, slim! You're getteen' very slow man!"
Pierre sprang to the door, but Hector had already gone. He yelled at the bat, who was now a black dot in the distance.
"Come back here you leetle piece of flying doo doo!"

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