Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Boy howdy, but fightin these ninjas ain't no stroll in the park. Like most red-blooded American boys, I used to gather around the teevee of a Sunday night and watch the MATV (that's Martial Arts TeeVee) Ninja Movie of the Week. I even had me an official Ninja Fighter Code Ring which, even though it seems kinda laughable now, I got after savin up 50 boxtops from eatin my Anti-Ninja Ohs. I didn't even like them things, but my ma whipped me with a switch when she caught me feedin them to the dog. My thinkin went along the lines of "if it looks like dog food and it smells like dog food, then it must be allright to feed to the dog", but my mother disagreed with that, thinkin more along the lines of "if it looks like dog food and it smells like dog food, but costs a dollar a box, it must be for my son to eat if he knows what's good for him." I tell ya, I learned right quick what was good for me.

Course, my cereal preferences ain't neither here nor there when it comes to fightin these here ninjas. The point is that, despite my growin up surrounded by a buncha ninja related stuff, I had this whole big romantic notion that, when you fought ninjas, they'd just stand in a line and take slow, easily dodgable punches at you. The reality ain't nothin like that, though. First, they will all attack you at once. They got no sportsmanship whatsoever. Second, their punches are wicked fast, and usually aimed directly at areas that you need to see or breathe or reproduce. I tell ya, if it weren't for my exo-suit, I woulda ended the fight lookin like a burlap sack full of puppies and strawberry jelly that's been thrown from the Empire State Building.

Instead, I ended the first part of the operation in relatively good shape. I was sorer than a pig taken outta the mud, but I figured I could slap some Hotty Ice on myself later on and then relax for the weekend. For the time being, however, I just had to push on through the pain and take out the upper echelons which was hidin under the biggest volcano on the planet.

The whole thing was supposed to be a bit like a rabbit hunt. The Magma giants was to sink into the volcano, raisin the temperature to the point that the Ikea base inside would melt, flushin out all the remainin ninjas. We Pats would just wait outside and pepper the ninjas with our donut rail guns as they came out. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, right?

You know how these things go, though. The Magma giants sank into the center of the volcano and a couple of ninjas came runnin out, so there I was thinkin that, just this once, everything's gonna go accordin to plan. But then, there was a howl like it's the mornin after the Fenris wolf swallows the sun and now he realizes he's gonna have to do the other half that comes with eatin, and the entire volcano shattered in a sea of sparks like the Death Star goin up (in the original endin, not that washed out "let's add a ring of blue fire for no reason" endin).

The next thing I knew, I was layin on my back, watchin a sky full of tormented spirits churn to life, the mouths of the spirits distendin in a wail of infinite torment as they zoomed in and out of the black soot covering the sky. They began to turn in a circle; slowly at first, but faster and faster as the spiral of sufferin spirits began to collapse on itself. That circle got smaller and smaller, suckin up all them spirits into a point no bigger than the tip of a freshly sharpened pencil. For a fraction of a second, it hung in the sky like the North Star leadin the three wise men through the desert.

Then it exploded.

I may be a gentleman of a certain age, but I wasn't present at the big bang, so it ain't like I'm speakin from experience, but I imagine it was somethin a lot like when this little point of light blew out. Us Pats were scattered willy nilly like confetti at a windy Times Square New Years. And it was loud enough that it drove me past deaf and into the negative hearing range, where you can hear everything, but it's all backwards and you start to forget stuff you've heard in the past.

I think that's prolly why I didn't recognize the call of the ghost dragon when I heard it.

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