‘Allen’s Key’ Episode 2— an original series that sees famous characters enduring a visit to IKEA.
The decadent stench of burnt rubber lingered over a vast stretch of harsh desert highway, as a lone black car sizzled its way through the barren landscape surrounding it. The roads were completely devoid of other traffic; anyone worth their while had already arrived at the biggest thing to hit Albuquerque since ‘The Blue Stuff.’ Now the junkies were getting a taste of ‘The Blue Box.’
Walter clenched the steering wheel tighter, rounding another corner like a man crazed. In his mind, this new menace was clearly employing the time-honoured tradition of hiding in plain sight. “Don’t you see, Jesse?” Walter demanded, “They’re using the guise of home furnishings to manufacture a new product right under our noses. And to make it more duplicitous, that façade is getting the buyers to come to them.” Jesse, holding himself cautiously in his seat tried to reason with Walter:
“Yo! I keep telling you, Mr. White, IKEA just sells furniture. They’re not trying to muscle in on your territory — unless you’re considering cooking up blue hotdogs.” But Jesse’s protestations fell on deaf ears. Walter knew better — that beneath the guise of coffee tables and TV benches lay the seedy underbelly of someone daring to rival his position as the meth kingpin of the south.
Walter wrenched the wheel sharply to the right and they skidded suddenly into the IKEA parking lot, narrowly missing a couple that was awkwardly guiding their box-laden trolley through the maze of cars. “Look at that: those two have a mountain of the product just on their own! I feel sorry for them though — you know it will be of inferior purity.”
“Yeah, because like I keep telling you, Mr. White — it’s furniture.”
“Oh, don’t be so naïve, Jesse. Come on, let’s go and show them who’s boss. Make them know that I am the danger.”
“What are you gonna do — throw your tighty-whities at them?” Jesse replied.
“Just get out of the car.”
Walter was a picture of determination, his sensible shoes crunching over the asphalt as he marched for the entrance. By the time he had passed through the automatic doors he hadn’t even realised that Jesse had remained outside to light up a cigarette. His momentum interrupted, Walter surveyed his surroundings a moment while he waited impatiently for his accomplice.
“Yeah, IKEA, bitch!” Jesse announced triumphantly as he sidled in, customers dispersing quickly around him.
“Will you take this seriously?” Walter demanded, grabbing Jesse by his oversized shirt.
“Whatever you say, partner.”
“Now let’s talk to this guy — he looks important.” Walter gestured towards a man directing a horde of people to every route possible.
“He’s just the greeter, Mr. White.”
“The greeter? That must be a codename. Let’s go.”
Walter put on his game face and walked over to the man dressed in yellow.
“Hello, gentlemen,” the man said. “My name’s Gus. Welcome to IKEA.” Walter took no time in cutting to the chase.
“You can drop the act. I know what’s going on here,” Walter said. “Just tell me where you guys are cooking so I can put a stop to it.”
“If you’re looking for the cook-shop, it’s the first section in the market hall, just through that door over there.”
“So you have a name for it?” Walter inquired.
“For what, sir?”
“For where you do the cooking.”
“No, it’s where we inspire our customers to cook,” Gus said. Walter shot Jesse a droll look, before returning his attention to Gus.
“So, you’ve got your customers working for you?”
“I’m sorry, sir, I think you may be a little confused.”
“You’ve got that right,” Jesse snickered.
“If you like, I could show you how the cook-shop works?” Gus suggested.
Walter’s brow furrowed and his lips tightened. He studied Gus up and down for a moment.
“You know, Gus, the last person I knew with that name met with an unfortunate end. I’d hate for that to happen to you.” Gus looked back in bewilderment. “And I can assure you,” Walter added, “I do not need you to show me how the cook-shop works.”
“It’s okay, sir. It can be a little confusing,” Gus continued. “But this is all you need to do: if you see a product you like, either pick it up there or note down its aisle and location and you can pick it up in the warehouse. It’s really quite easy.”
“Yeah, you might call it simple science, Mr. White,” Jesse chimed in, noticing Walter’s temper beginning to exceed breaking point.
“That’s a great way to put it,” Gus added, gesturing to Jesse. “So, if you head that way it will take you straight to the cook-shop. Oh, but be careful on your way, there was a spill earlier that we had to mop up. So just make sure you tread lightly.”
Jesse’s amusement abruptly turned to concern for Gus’s safety. He tried to grab Walter away from Gus, but Walter resisted his advances.
“Do you know who I am?” Walter asked, with an eerie calmness in his voice that was coated emphatically in his own ego.
“I’m afraid I don’t, sir. But I love getting to know new people — and I have this weird knack for guessing people’s occupations. Let me take a stab: you’re a teacher, right?” Jesse, ceasing his attempt to hold back Walter, couldn’t help but let out an obnoxious laugh. Walter ignored his taunts and stepped right up to Gus’s face.
“Well, if you don’t know who I am, Gus, I suggest you tread lightly.” Walter kept his face mere millimetres from his newest nemesis for a just a few moments, making sure not to blink. “Let’s go, Jesse.”
Walter stormed out of the store with Jesse in tow, already concocting a plan to eliminate his latest threat. Gus turned to a fellow employee who was walking past.
“Those were the strangest customers. The older guy seemed really angry about something, and the other one just appeared completely out of it. It was like they were on meth or something. ”
“Nah,” the other worker replied, “they’d probably just been lost in the store for a few hours trying to find the exit — you know what that does to people’s heads…”
“You’re probably right,” Gus replied. “Cover the entrance for me, will you? I’ve got to go and check on the latest cook.”