In case you missed it: Prelude Chapter One
Not really sure how to feel about it. Something in the way you move, makes me feel like I can’t live without you. And it takes me all the way. I want you to stay...
Rihanna’s Rihanna-like voice filled U.S. Bank stadium with echoes of angelic euphony as she rehearsed for the Super Bowl halftime show.
It’s not much of a life you’re—
“Just stop” Rihanna held up her hand. She’d had enough of halftime-show-director McG’s abrasive rehearsal vocals. “Where’s this [censored] Bear?”
Rihanna had been scheduled to sing the duet with Staley—the Bear with the golden voice as he’d been introduced to her—but she’d not yet had the opportunity to rehearse with him or even hear his golden pipes.
“Still kidnapped.” McG replied.
“This is ridiculous,” Rihanna said. “It’s unacceptable. I need more bears. Get me the bear from Dr. Doolittle 2. And the bear from that Game of Thrones episode where Brienne is in the fighting pit.”
“I don’t think they can sing,” McG noted.
“Then teach them,” Rihanna was halfway off the stage at this point. It was bad enough that she had to split halftime with Justin Beiber, and she wasn’t going to stand for any imperfections in her show. The only way that little brat’s performance was going to outshine hers is if he was attacked by one of his Bengal tigers.
Riri walked out of the standium Snaptime-ing with her new lover. A smitten smile stretched across her face as she laughed at her phone.
Staley thrashed about as he roused from tranquil slumber, slamming a large man in a black suit against the elevator wall. He kicked out with his feet, his fearsome claws digging into a second man, as blood spurted onto his fur.
“Pause there.” Akiem Hicks looked over the security worker’s shoulder at the elevator camera recording on his monitor. “See that blood hit the elevator wall. Do you think we could get that tested?”
“Absolutely,” the worker replied. “I see them do that all the time on television.”
As Hicks realized who he was talking to, Jerrell Freeman took over. “Unpause. Keep playing.”
Staley wrestled one of his kidnappers to the ground, but the bleeding man managed to draw a syringe from his coat and plunge it into Staley’s adorable, muscular fluff-bundle of buttocks. Staley quickly fell limp.
“Those definitely aren’t Packer’s fans,” Freeman said.
“Never trust offensive players to do investigative work,” Hicks added as Kanye West’s Mercy played through the hold music on his cell phone.
“Chicago PD forensics,” came a voice from the other end.
“This is Akiem Hicks. I think you may have missed something in the Staley kidnapping case.”
“That’s super possible. Hold on,” the forensic pathologist said before returning to the hold music.
I’m in that two seat Lambo with your girl she tryna—
“We gotta get Eddie in on this,” Freeman began. “We clearly can’t leave this case to the professionals.”
Hicks nodded and they walked out of the security office.
Conveniently, the bear from Dr. Doolittle 2 and the bear from Game of Thrones had the same manager. Doug Seus was almost giddy as he soared down the highway towards Minneapolis, looking into his rear view mirror to see Tank and Bart the Bear Jr. playfully wrestling in the back of his stretch Lincoln Navigator.
He watched them play for so long that he didn’t notice the four black Saturn VUE SUVs surrounding him and his invaluable cargo. As the VUE in front of him abruptly stopped, he slammed on the brakes.
The massive bears rolled forward mid-wrestle, smashing into the back of his seat, and Seus’ head jerked forward into the leather-wrapped steering wheel. His world turned as black as the Saturns that surrounded him.
“Hey Mr. Hicks,” Chicago PD forensics began, “great catch on that elevator blood. We ran it through our database and got a match.”
Hicks turned the phone to speaker and called over Goldman and Freeman.
“Great. Who is it?”
“His name’s Gene...let’s see. Last name is Ricthug. He’s got an impressive rap sheet.”
“Do you know where we can find him?” Goldman asked.
“Oh goodness no. I just do forensics.”
“Do you have an address?” Freeman chimed in.
“Oh let’s see. Looks like we do. 55555 five five Superior street in Aurora. I guess Aurora, Colorado.”
“Any chance it’s Aurora, Illinois?” Hicks asked.
“Oh that makes a lot more sense. That’s probably why there’s that IL there.”
The three defenders hopped into Hicks’ navy Autobiography edition Range Rover and headed towards Aurora, Rihanna’s Better have my money blasting from the upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo.
Kamikaze if you think that you gon’ knock me off the top...
It was Go Time.
The same song continued live at rehearsal in an NFL stadium where the home team would soon have to watch their division rivals light the world aflame in Super Bowl LII.
Got your wife in the back seat of my foreign car...
“Sorry to interrupt you, Rihanna,” the unspeakable beauty of Riri’s echoing voice rudely polluted by McG’s words.
“It’s about those new bears you wanted. They were kidnapped too.”
“You’re [censored] kidding me.” Rihanna stormed off the stage to enjoy more snaptime with the only person to make her swoon with giddy infatuation since her schoolgirl days in Barbados.
Gene stepped out of the shower singing along to his favorite Rihanna jam.
Pay me what you owe me...
Mr. Ricthug thought about how well-paid he had been for his latest nefarious deed, and the stitches in his abdomen seemed to hurt a little less. He threw on his robe, and danced his way out of the bathroom.
“Where’s Staley?” Akiem Hicks’ imposing form stood in the living room.
“Who hired you?” Freeman added, stepping towards him.
Gene jumped behind too bookcases, reaching to open his desk drawer. Before he could grab the gun inside, Hicks and Goldman had each tossed aside one bookcase, and Freeman had blitzed between them, tackling the thug to his laminate wood floor.
“Owwww” Gene cried. “I’ll tell you.”
Freeman let up his grip only slightly, so Gene could speak instead of whining in pain.
“We took Staley to the abandoned St. Stephen’s Church,” he explained. “And I never met the guy who hired me, I swear. I have a letter from him on my desk.”
Goldman stepped over the whimpering ne’er-do-well and grabbed an open envelope off the desk. The return address read Cleveland, Ohio.
Dear Gene Ricthug and Company,
Thank you for taking on this imminently important job. The Bears must pay for stealing our dream signal caller in the draft. If I had known this would happen, I never would have drafted Myles Garrett first overall. The fact that they haven’t even needed to play Trubisky adds such insult to the injury of losing this generational talent, I can’t Bear to idly witness their outrageous success any longer. You will find the target at this address.
[Staley’s address has been redacted for privacy purposes].
Ryan Pace sat down at his desk with a fat slice of meatball and jalapeno deep dish pizza. His mind drifted to thoughts of Staley as his favorite Rihanna song played in the background.
Something in the way you move
Makes me feel like I can't live without you
And it takes me all the way
I want you to stay
As his eyes gently watered with the mature teardrops of a powerful man with even stonger emotions, the office phone jarred Pace from his thoughts. A distorted voice came across the line.
“Release Mitchel Trubisky and I will release the bears.” The caller hung up before Pace could respond.