Monday, September 7, 2009

The Worst Possible Place

Now that I've tried out this interstellar travel thing a couple of times, I've made some decisions. First, I don't like interstellar travel. It just ain't comfortable. You ever see a marshmallow in the microwave? You know how it gets all bulgy and bubbly and finally erupts like a big ol' volcano of melted sugar and then you gotta wait to put it on your s'more, but you don't want to wait too long to eat it because, if you do, it'll turn all hard and crusty and it'll be like eating a graham cracker with chocolate and a brick Frisbee up there on top, so you bite into it too soon and the whole marshmallow explodes in your mouth like an m-80 filled with lava and it shoots out your nose, makin you look like an angry dragon? Well, just imagine you was the marshmallow in that situation; everything inside gettin all bubbly and poppy and bursty until everything goes dark and you feel like you're shootin through a giant nose and you swear that, in the middle, your skin turned 180 while your bones stayed in place and then something that felt like a tentacle brushed against your legs. Second, I've decided that, if I'm gonna go through all that kinda trouble, I'd much rather end up on a beach at the end of all of it than in a wet, mildewy basement that smells like pee and cold medicine. That's especially if, when I finally get into that basement, I'm surrounded by explosions and shoutin that sound like a giant ate a bunch of beans and is puttin on his crazy version of a giant rock show or performance art or somethin for a bunch of cowboys who keep yellin, "YEEEEEEHHHAAAAAAAWWWWWWW!!!" and then firin guns, which I can only imagine are at least 8 meters in diameter, into the air. I tell ya, landin in somethin like that, a man's bound to get a little rattled.

The first thing it sounded like I needed was defense of some sort. There weren't no one in that basement, but I didn't know how long that would last. It coulda been, before I knew it, that the farting giant would want to grimace and grunt and blow this whole house down. Or, if that didn't happen, maybe the people who owned whatever house was attached to this basement may want to check their stores of canned vegetables or their...well, as I looked through the boxes, it seemed to be mostly doll heads, toothbrushes and balls of string. So, maybe that was something they may want to guard. It looked like junk to me, but not to the person who'd put it here, because they all seemed to be sorted; the dolls heads by size and eye color; the string by color, thickness and size of ball; and the toothbrushes by length of bristle and softness, near as I could tell. Someone'd gone through a lot of trouble to organize all this stuff, and they may not take kindly to some old fogey like me diggin through it all and gettin it all dirty or, in some cases, wipin the dirt off it. Plus, and I tell you this in strictist confidence, I was a bit scared. I was on some alien world with explosions goin off everywhere and lookin through boxes full of dolls' heads. If you ain't scared in that situation, you're cold and dead inside.

So I started lookin around for a way to arm myself. I don't know if y'all ever been in a fight or anything, but I can tell ya from bein in one or two large scale conflicts myself, a doll's head does not make a good weapon. That is, of course, unless it's got a grenade stuck into the middle of it, which one of the heads in the box did. I didn't wanna mess with it, though, because, when you find a grenade in a box, it's usually best to leave it where it is. If you don't one of two things is bound to happen. One, it won't go off when you want it to or, two, it will go off when you don't want it to. Either one could be fatal. Leavin the box of plastic, starin eyes behind me I poked around further back in the basement. This feller, or lady (I couldn't figure it out from the collection) was the biggest pack rat I ever did see and my Aunt Hildabrand used to live in a house that was entirely made up of newspapers. It used to be a normal house but the she was stuck by the tornado of '74. It ripped all the walls off her house, but it couldn't do anything to her stacks of newspaper that were held together by a natural cement made of mold, dust and cat pee. Hildy never even noticed her house was gone, she had so much newspaper stuffed away, and none of us had the heart to tell her. Eventually she died in a cave-in. She was minin for sapphires in Thailand when the cave supports gave out. Her newspaper palace is still standin and, last I heard, it was turned into a roadside zoo. The long and the sort of it is, I know a pack rat when I see one, and this basement had Hildy beat by a country mile. There were boxes of toothpicks, piles of tin foil scraps, one whole row of nothing but broken Slinkys and, in the back corner, the dangerous looking things. It started small with a box full of slingshots. Then came a stack of boards with nails in them. After that was a pile of pipe wrenches with nails welded to them. That was followed up shortly by a pile of chainsaws that appeared to be connected by a length of chain, which I think was supposed to be chainsaw nun-chucks, then a box of handguns, rack after rack of rifle and finally, looming above it all, a robotic suit that was slumped over. Sticking out of the back of the suit there was two pipes that must have been 100 feet long and five feet around which connected to a double barreled gun mounted on the front of the suit. I just stood lookin at it for a long time, tryin to figure out what could possibly be fired from that gun. When I got up the nerve, I went and looked at the chamber of the gun and nearly dropped dead on the spot of the sheer mad genius of it.

"Well," I thought to myself, "might as well be as protected as I can." Then I went back a couple rows and started loading the tubes with the chainsaw nun-chucks. I fit an unbelievable amount of destruction into that suit before steppin in and flippin the power switch. That little beauty fired right up, locked my arms and legs in its soft, robotic embrace, and stood to its full height of 20 odd feet. I estimate the ceiling of that basement was right about ten feet because, once I was standing, the top of the robot suit brushed against the ceiling of the next floor, too.

The second floor wasn't quite as abandoned as the basement. There was a couple people up there sprawled out on a threadbare couch throwin knives at the wall. At least, that's what they were doin until I broke through the floor. After that, they were doin a lot of yellin.

"Who in tarnation is that?!?!" yelled the first guy, who had a sandy blond mullet and handlebar mustache.

"I dunno, Chuck," said the second, who also had a mullet and handlebar mustache, but his were greasy brown, "but whoever it is, he's ridin in yer chainchuck-o-matic."

"That's right, Pete," yelled Chuck in his heavy drawl, "and ain't no one ride in Chuck's chainchuck-o-matic but Chuck. And he ain't Chuck!!!!"

With that, he jumped up off the couch and came at me with a three foot knife. I just wanted to get out of the way. I 'spose anyone would when they was bein threatened with a three foot knife. Thing is, I plum forgot I was wearin that robot suit. I meant to make a tiny dodge to the side. Wheat ended up happenin, though, is that I jumped clean through the side of his house and out into a dystopian armageddon.

All around me, the world was black and covered in ash. There was couches, cars and chairs layin willy nilly. A good 90% of them was on fire, too. Overhead, there were long trails of smoke from the rockets bein launched from every direction. The only place that wasn't on fire or explodin was a racetrack to my left. There appeared to be thousands of people in the stands watchin supercharged trains race down tracks at blinding speeds and ending by running into dented, charred steel walls. To my right, in the middle of a field littered with tar paper shacks was a billboard so tall it looked like it would block the sun. It had a picture of a ninja with a platypus stitched over his left breast. He was holdin out his hands, offerin a bag of powder. Written above him in 30 foot tall flaming letters was the slogan, "Meth, you know you want it."

I slumped down in the robot suit. This, I realized, was a world totally conquered by Clan Platypus. It was their goal to turn the entire universe into this kind of rotten, stinking sewer. How could I, one small man in a robot suit that fired chainsaw nun-chucks, possibly hope to compete with that? I was almost overwhelmed by futility when I felt something hit the back of the suit.

I turned and saw Chuck standing there. He was dropping a smoking rocket launcher while Pete was getting another one ready for him. So, instead of dropping into a depression, I did the smart thing. I ran.

1 comment:

kaploy9 said...

Funny you should mention chainsaw nunchuks; I was just going to warn you about someone named "Dr. McNinja". (who has also dealt with chainsaw nunchuks in one webcomic) Seems like a good enough chap- er, ninja, and being a doctor probably has him against meth use. Still, you gotta be careful..