Monday, September 28, 2009

Pat on Pat

I ain't never been a handsome man. On occasion, I have been called striking, but that was shortly followed by a month in the pen for assault. That ain't to say I'm no elephant man or nothin like that, it's just that I ain't no Sean Connery, neither. I ain't never worried much about it, though. I ain't some bird of paradise that spends all his time preenin and pokin at himself. Frank once suggested I try that there Botox, but I explained to her that I got ethical and medical disagreements with takin the deadliest poison known to man and injectin it in my face. If that makes me old fashioned, so be it. Point bein, since I ain't no metrosexual, I never did have much need for mirrors around my house. Sure, I kept the one that was in the bathroom when they built the house, but I didn't go and add a whole lot on top of it. This made the situation I was in slightly more difficult. I was facin two guys who were callin each other Pat O'Neil, and looked like I remembered myself lookin, but it was hard to know if they looked exactly like me or just mostly like me. I don't know which would have been more disturbin, especially given the fact that they made tuna sandwiches the exact same way as me; by mixin in a little red onion and bacon fat into the tuna salad. I ain't never seen anyone make it the same way and I really only started doin it because I was eatin a lot of bacon.

I know a lot of people'll tell ya bacon's bad for ya, but I spent some time watchin that Wilfred Brimley lookin guy on the Good Morning, USA show, you know the one who wishes happy birthday to anyone over a hundred? I was watchin his interviews every day there for awhile when I was employed in the shoe factory, and he asked every hundred year old how they lived so long, and you know the answer? Pack each of bacon and cigarettes every day. I don't hold no truck with no smokin, specially after sharin a room with Smoky Joe Robinson in college. Contrarywise to his name, Smoky Joe weren't no smoker. In fact, he had himself a pretty severe asthma. No to say he was undeservin of the name, though. You see, Smoky Joe came from a long line of brimstone farmers. His father and his father before him worked in the Georgian brimstone fields. Before that, all the men in his family worked in the brinstone fields in the old country, Georgia. That's Georgia the country, not Georgia the state, mind you. They would cut and haul brimstone from mornin to night, fashionin all sorts of things out of it, from lighters that never went out to stoves you never had to turn on. In the 60's, Smokey Joe's dad saw the huge market for pet rocks and lava lamps and decided to combine the two. Thus was born the pet lava rock. It was a mild success among people who wasn't in their right mind and it gave the family enough money to send Smoky Joe to college. They wanted him to make a good impression that first day so they dressed him in his finest brimstone suit and sent him off into the big world. I don't know if y'all was aware, but you show up to your first day of college wearin a suit made out of a rock that smokes all the time, you're gonna end up bein called Smoky somethin-er-rather. Smoky Joe, comin from a hale and hardy line of brimstone farmers, took it all in stride and with good humor. Throughout his college career, he won people over with his rugged good looks and his happy-go-lucky attitude. He really sealed the deal when he closed out his Valedictorian speech with the line, "Now put that in your pipe and smoke it." I hear tell Smoky Joe got his MBA and went on to start Smoky Joe's barbecue down in Georgia, the only barbecue cooked on natural brimstone. It was wildly popular among people from the old country and Smoky Joe's become a powerful man in Georgian politics. I'm proud of him, and I get myself a little giggle every time I think of him at them fancy schmancy political swarays in his brimstone tuxedo. Long story short, because of his asthma, Smoky Joe couldn't abide smokin in the dorm room. I'd been tryin to act sophisticated by rollin my own tobaccy, but Smoky cured me of that right quick and I ain't been able to stand it since. After I saw them reports about people livin to a hundred with a pack of bacon and a pack of ciggarettes a day, I thought that I would replace the ciggarettes with a second pack of bacon.

I tell ya, you eat two packs of bacon a day, and that bacon grease will pile right up on ya. I never was comfortable throwin all that good flavor out, so I kept it in empty bean cans, just like ma used to do. When I got to the point I was sleepin on the porch in the winter because my house was full of bean cans stuffed with bacon grease, I figured I needed to find a way to use it up.

"And that's how I started usin bacon grease in my tuna salad," announced one of the other Pats. I wasn't even aware that a) I'd asked a question or 2) that he'd been answerin it with my own story. There was somethin pretty wild goin on here.

"Somethin pretty wild goin on here, huh, Pat?" asked the Pat to my left.

"How did you..." I began to say.

"I still think that way, and I been at this eight years now," he cut me off. "The surprise'll wear off some, but I don't know if you're ever gonna get used to it."

"Get used to what?!" I think I was gettin pretty hysterical by this point. It ain't easy...

..."to eat lunch when people are finisin your sentences, is it?" Pat to my left asked.

The Pat to my right piped in, "Just let it happen, buddy. The sooner you start goin with it, the easier it's gonna be."

It made some sorta weird sense, but I still wanted to know what was goin on. Why was I sittin around a table with two of my doppelgangers eatin a sandwich only I could make?

"You want the short answer or the long answer?" asked left Pat.

"Let's try the short answer and see how that goes," I told him.

"Allright. You're on an alternative version of Earth several light years from your home planet. As far as we can determine, thousands of Earths just like this exist in the space imaginable around your Earth. That ain't to say space ends there, it's just where your thinkin ends. Theoretically, and this ain't accordin to me, there should be an infinite number of every possible Earth somewhere in space. You just happened to find yourself a crappy version. I'm guessin you ran into a half man, half lobster meth dealer called McClawenstein and he farted you here. The planet you find yourself on is one of about a hundred in this light cone that Clan Platypus has dominated, so a lot of Pats end up here. We've got Pats roaming this planet looking for other Pats landing. When we find them, we bring em here or to another facility we run in the southern hemisphere. Here, we do the debriefin, which I'm doin now, and then we try and get a lock on which version of Earth you're from. Then we'll send a signal to your Lindbergh and your Allistair, lettin' em know where you are. Then, if they have the tech, they'll come join us, if not, we'll send em the tech, they'll have to build it, and then they'll join us and you. On this version of Earth, we're buildin ourselves a Pat army to get rid of Clan Platypus and then we're sendin in an army of Jareds to act as drug counselors for the planet. If all goes to plan, this Earth'll be back on its feet in a couple of years and we'll move on to the next one. How's that sound?"

I really only had the one question. "Are you sure you're a Pat O'Neil? That explanation was pretty succinct and was kind of out of character. At least, it would be for me."

"Yeah, I am," he responded, "and let me tell ya, learnin how to do the short version almost killed me. That right there is the product of three years intensive speech givin trainin. A whole year of that, I had to wear a shock collar cause I wanted to keep tellin about that time Douggy lived in a bomb shelter for two years because he thought the Russians were comin after drinkin a bit much and fallin asleep while watchin Red Dawn."

"I remember that!" I cut in, "That was the same year I was practicin to become a bear wrestler but didn't have no bears to practice on so I dressed Douggy's great dane up as a bear and just wrestled that. Course, I didn't know Douggy had taught Big Red to wrestle. In the end, I had to give up that idea."

We went around the table for awhile tellin all them stories from that year. I won't bore you with all the details. The last thing I wanna do is tell a long-winded story that don't have much to do with the actual happenins. I do wanna tell ya that there was a couple of them stories I ain't experienced. Pat to my right told me that, when he first met McClawenstein, the monster killed Douggy, but Lindbergh saved his brain and put it in a robot and now his best friend insisted on bein called Robo-Douggy. Pat to my left had a story about them penguins in Amelia Earhart's base joinin forces with the squimonk and assaultin Clan Platypus' underwater base, eliminatin 'em from the planet, and then stealin their technology to join forces with the other Pats. That, he said, was nigh on ten years ago.

"Well," said one of the Pats after story time was over, "you ready to get in contact with your buddies again?"

"Why sure," I said, "I'd like them to know I'm ok at least."

"Allright, then put this on," said the other Pat, tossin me what looked like a space suit.

"What for?"

"Because," he told me, "we're goin to the moon."


kaploy9 said...

Huh, looks like you might be on that alternate Earth for a while. Hope they have alooot of bacon. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, my initial thoughts about this one are "you just might've outsmarted yourself here... there are a lot of ways for this to not make sense"... but I'll wait and see. If worst comes to worst and you write yourself into a corner, I'm sure you'll find a way of getting out of it with creative applications of the "it was just a dream/illusion" technique.