Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dodging a bullet, er, missle

Y'all may thing that runnin around in a robot suit makes things a whole lot easier when you're tryin to avoid fire from shoulder mounted rockets, and you would be half right. Sure, runnin itself is pretty easy in them things. You lift up a leg and, next thing you know, wind's blowin through your hair and you're practically flyin down the road. So, like I says, the runnin's the easy part. The difficulty comes with tryin to dodge the rockets. I don't know if y'all ever looked down the business end of a surface-to-air missile, but I tell you what, them things ain't messin around none. If you ain't careful, they'll fly right up your nose holes. And you don't want that. If you survived, you'd be sneezin out rocket parts for days. Plus, you'd singe all of your nose hair and you'd be smellin nothin but burnt hair for weeks. You don't want that. I remember when I was a kid, my Uncle Larry was experimentin with a longer burnin match. He'd been havin all sortsa problems gettin the grill goin. He'd light up a match, and by the time it got to the grill, it'd be out or his fingers would be a burnin. And, seein as how Uncle Larry used about a half gallon of kerosene on top of his charcoal when he wanted to get that fire lit, he could usually be found with blisters on his hands and singed eyebrows. So, he decided he was gonna make a match that would concentrate the fire on the tip, so he wouldn't burn hisself up. He tried a little of this, a little of that, more sulfur, less sulfur, saltpeter, but none of it really worked. Finally, inspired by a combination of war films and a half bottle of whiskey, he decided that he would coat the tip of the match with white phosphorous. It took him a heck of a time gettin a little of that stuff. He had to travel to 15 different countries and deal with some pretty shady people. After spendin a couple years on the quest, not to mention the 10 in prison for smuggling hazardous materials, he had his match made. When it hit the 10 minute mark in the burnin, he was so happy he threw his arms into the air, knockin a little phosphorous powder onto his pet shih-tzu, which looked like a beach ball made of hair. The phosphorous, like water or soap, wasn't able to penetrate the dog's thick, long coating of armor-like hair. It just sat on top and burned away. That phosphorous sat on the dog and smoldered for three weeks, stinkin up everything in a three county region and givin Uncle Larry the nickname "Dog Smoke". So, when I tell you you don't wanna be smellin burnt hair for a week, you just believe I know what I'm talkin about. Also, if that rocket gets up your nose and you DON'T survive, well, then you'd just be dead.

At this point, I figure you know I dodged the rocket, because I ain't writin this from beyond the grave. You know because ghosts don't have a sense of humor. You try to tell a joke a ghost, it'll either just wail or rattle its chains at you. They just don't get the subtle humor of the living. I mean, sure, you could go to see the ghost of Curly, and it'll be layin there on the floor doin its wub-wub dance or its nyuk-nyuks, but believe you me, it ain't enjoyin it. In fact, it may be you're witnessin the eternal torture reserved only for insurance execs and slapstick comedians. Then again, maybe you're just seein things and ghosts ain't real.

Anyhoozits, now that you know I dodged that there rocket, you're prolly wonderin how ol' Pat did it. "Pat," you may be askin, "how on Earth did you dodge a rocket in a robot suit you know you don't know how to operate?" And I would say to you, "First, you're readin, so no questions, Mr. Uppity McCurious. Second, it was an accident." "An accident?!?!" you will say, stunned. And I will hang my head and mutter, "Yeah, an accident." Then we'll all move on from uncoverin Pat's secret shame and pretend we took no joy in it.

Here's how it happened. I turned and ran blindly away from the coming rocket, as any normal, sane person in a robot suit would do. People out of a robot suit would prolly just curl into a ball and hope the rocket missed, or they may yell somethin two words long that started with Oh. Well, there I was runnin pretty durned fast in this robot suit when, all of a sudden, I'm headed sideways towards the ground. I look down and see that I have run right into the racetrack I saw earlier and a cursed train has run into the left leg of my robot suit. Then, as I'm still fallin, I look up to see a rocket cruise right through the space my head had been in not a half second before. So, even though it's knocked me down and all, I can't be mad at the train no more.

That robot suit and me hit the ground with a thud. I was all sprawled out, tryin to figure out how to get this thing to stand up when I see the rocket turn around and start headed back my way. That's when I panicked. Usually, people're gonna tell you that, when you're in a dangerous situation, panic is your enemy. Well, panic and whatever it is that's tryin to kill you. In my case, the rocket was my enemy. But, in a twist of fate, my enemy's enemy became my friend. As I was flailin wildly to find a way out of the suit, I slapped my hand on a big red button marked Boomshalakkalakka. With a roar, the chainsaw nun-chuck gun started flingin spinnin balls of death into the night. I also found out, right about then, that it wasn't just a gun that fired nun-chucks made of chainsaws, but it was a gun that fired flamin nun-chucks made out of chainsaws. Somehow, it lit them things on fire just before launch. Well, that rocket turns and starts followin the flamin saws, hits the first one, and explodes like the Death Star, but like in the old Star Wars, not the new one where there's that weird ring thingy that shoots out. There was none of that. Just a good, old-fashioned explosion.

After the sound of the explosion died down, I could still hear a roaring in my ear. At first, I thought I might have still been on that beach, and all of this was just a dream, but after I sat and listened to it awhile it was most certainly not the sound of the ocean. It sounded more like, well, like fifty thousand people cheering all at once. I got the robot to roll over on its back and saw that the crowd was all a hootin and hollerin from the stands. I tried sittin up to get out of the controls, but the robot sat right up with me, then it stood.

I took a bow, as I thought was right when all them people was cheerin. I was takin what I thought was my much deserved praise when the crowd went totally silent. I thought maybe I'd taken in too far in the grandstandin, but the I heard the booming behind me. I turned to see another robot crawling over the stands and into the race track, and that one was breathin fire.

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