Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Robot Fight

"Sweet Sassy Molassy!" I yelled out, staring at a robot climbing slowly over the stands. My mind was doin somersaults and my stomach was tryin to keep up. It was at least twice the size of the robot I was in and made entirely of a material I'd never seen before. I assumed it was some kind of metal, it bein used to build a robot and all, but it weren't shiny like metal is. In fact, it was the exact opposite of shiny. The whole robot seemed to drink in the light like a linebacker that's just run 98 yards for an interception field goal drinks Gatorade. That robot was so dark my eyes couldn't even really focus on it. It was like there was this robot-shaped hole in space that was shootin fire out of it.

And talk about fire. It's like this big ol' sucker had just eaten a thousand nuclear wings and topped it off my swillin down a curry and Tabasco shake with a habanero garnish. I ain't never seen so much fire in my life. Not even when I went to the "Bring Your Own Flaming Barrel" dance that the 4H threw last year. I tell ya, up until I saw that there fire breathin shadow, it was the most fire I thought even God would ever see. Brian Johnson, runnin late for the dance at which he was plannin on proposin to Peggy Lee Bigbritches, pulled his 18 wheeler right up next to the 4H barn, sorta wedgin it in between the barn and the gasoline covered tinder factory next door. Afterwards, when he was interviewed by the paper and the police, he said sure, he'd seen all them flaming barrels layin around all over the place. And yeah, he'd heard on the radio that the whole dance was sold out and still people were showin up. It wasn't that surprisin, really. In my experience, people'll take any chance you give em to set a barrel on fire. So, yeah, he saw the barrels, but, like he said, he didn't think nothin of it because he was carryin a truck load of fire extinguishers for the factory anyway, so he figured he could just unload in the morning. As we learned later, reading the findings of the government investigators, them fire extinguishers he was carryin were all made in China. I guess product safety standards is pretty loose there because, in a bid to save three cents per extinguisher, they was fillin em with homemade napalm jelly. Brian, not knowin any of this, wanders into the dance, finds Peggy Lee, proposes, she starts cryin and says yes, then we all have ourselves a great time. Brian hits the sauce a little harder than he should and Peggy Lee gives him a ride to Chez Bigbritches in her car, leavin his delivery for the next day. At the end of the night, everyone agreed that the dance was a huge success and, doing so, we all went home, leavin the barrels to burn themselves out. Well, just at dawn, the sun just poked its little head over the horizon and hit Brian's mirrors. He had gotten right sick of people bein jerks on the road that he ordered these special mirrors that let him concentrate a glare into a driver's eyes, makin em back the heck off. The sun hit them mirrors and, instead of blindin some jerk with a comb over in a Porsche, they concentrated a beam of sunlight onto the tinder factory and set it right up. The volunteer fire department came in, saw the extinguishers and went right to work. Once the fire reached a hundred feet tall or so, the townspeople came to help out and they all started grabbin extinguishers, too. That fire climbs all the way to the heavens and burns so hot it starts suckin up all the other air in town. Brian's a good guy, though. He wasn't ready to be responsible for suffocating an entire town so he wrapped his tow chains around the factory, jumped in his truck and gunned it out to the rural roads, leavin a train of 50 foot high flame behind him. When he got far enough away, he threw the truck in neutral and jumped, relying only on luck and the training he got as a Hollywood stuntman to save him. He missed the factory hittin him in the head by mere inches. But he'd saved the town from suffocation and we all thanked him for it by throwin him and Peggy Lee the lavishest wedding you ever did see. The band was so big, it needed TWO washboard players. For the next couple of years, we used to go out at night and stare at the pillar of flame while contemplatin life's mysteries. We had to stop doin that when, in an effort to put the fire out, the National Guard came out and dropped a bomb on it. I ain't no scientist, so I don't know exactly what happened, but I think it reached some sorta fire critical mass or somethin and ended up collapsin into a black hole. For part of the time it was collapsin, it was still shootin giant gouts of flame into the air, sometimes scorchin passin airplanes.

And that's exactly what this new robot reminded me of; a black hole shootin fire. Unlike our black hole at home, though, this one punched me right in my robot suit. I never saw the fist coming. One moment I was there with my eyes crossin and uncrossin, wonderin what the odds are that there was a Bring Your Own Flaming Barrel dance on this world too, and the next moment, I was gettin thrown up and back out of the arena. In some kinda crazy robot acrobatic mumbojumbo, the whole robot suit did a double backflip in the air, landed on its feet and came up firin. Flamin chainsaw nun-chucks met flamin black hole and bounced harmlessly off. The Chainchuck-o-matic suit then went runnin full force straight at the black hole, transformin itself on the way. The cockpit was sucked into the belly of the new shape pretty quickly, so I didn't get to see what it was. From the roarin noise and jostlin motion, I figured it was prolly a chainsaw on spider legs or a robot bear. I never woulda guessed myself, but when you're trapped inside with no way to see, those two sound pretty much alike.

The plus side of bein inside the machine was that all the panels I had heretofore ignored lit up like a day-glo Christmas tree on fire and one of 'em said "Lemme Do the Fightin For Ya, Chuck", which I reckon is a right nice feature. The minus side is that, one one of those screens, I could see the other robot poundin at the outside of the robot I was in. There was a thermal display like you sometimes see on the news when they wanna see inside your house. From that I could see that the big flamin black hole I'd been fightin was really ninja shaped. Also, it had pulled out a ninja sword that I conservatively estimate was a bajillion feet long. He started aswingin that sword and my robot suit stopped movin. Also, it started shrieking like a banshee and flashin red inside the cabin.
I looked around at the screens and saw they all said "Y'all done screwed up now. Y'all had best get on out." I thought that may be good advice, what with a robot ninja comin after me and whatnot. Course, I didn't know how to follow the advice. I looked back up to the screens and saw they also all had an arrow at the bottom pointing to a big red button labeled "Git Up On Out". It seemed as good an idea as any, so I hit it.

For the umpteenth time that day, I found myself flyin through the air. This time, though, at a speed at which everything was blurrier than that time Douggy coated my windshield in Vaseline to keep the rain off. Goin that fast, you feel like your cheeks are sinkin down to flap against your belly. I swore that if it lasted any longer, I woulda gotten out of there wearin my beard as a belt. Fortunately for me, I stopped rocketin up before that happened. Sure, I woulda had myself a nice belt, but my face would been cold all the time and you'd prolly be able to see the tooth growin out of my chin, which is why I grew the beard in the first place.

There was a moment there, just after the rocketin and just before the parachute kicked in, that I felt entirely weightless. I was shieldin my eyes from the sun when I realized that it had been day this whole time. Then, I dropped back down. Floating on the parachute that unfolded from the back of the escape pod, I looked down onto the world that Platypus had built. The land was scarred and black in all directions. On every part of the horizon, you could see columns of black smoke reachin up to heaven and cloudin the sky with their filth. That's why there was no day here. Here and there throughout the land, there were piles of shiny things surrounded in what looked to be barbed wire or hurricane wire or some kinda wire you don't wanna touch. There was no city anywhere to speak of, just ramshackle huts and tents spread over the distance like the last peas left on a plate after an earthquake.

And then there were the explosions. Every five seconds or so, something blew up somewhere. Sometimes it was a small explosion, like a grenade or a doll filled with gasoline that had been lit on fire and thrown at a wall. Other times, and with surprising regularity, it was a much larger explosion, like you'd hear when a factory making timber covered with gasoline went up. As I looked around, I also noticed that, here and there, robots stalked the land, crushing houses, scattering piles and fighting each other. Followin my natural curious streak, I looked around to see if the ninja robot had followed me, and began to spot them everywhere. The patrolled the world like feral dogs, watching everything with a careful eye and destroying what I assume they found unpleasant.

With a soft thud, I landed back on solid earth. The pod I'd been in cracked down the middle and a man's voice echoed from the speaker, "Y'all have a nice day, now, hear?" Alone on this bleak world, there was only one thing I could do, I started walkin.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Story So Far

You know, while I was trapped in that there robot suit on Meth World, I had a little time to do a little thinkin. The first thing I was thinkin was "Hey, brother, what exactly is goin on here? How did I get here? What's up with this giant robot suit?" And then I got to thinkin about how much I like cupcakes. I ain't sayin that one had anything to do with the other, but only that thems is the order of my thoughts. And, really, who can blame me? Cupcakes is right delicious. It's like a muffin with all that bran and fiber and chunks of cardboard taken out of it and replaced with sugar and frostin. Plus, you can get sprinkles on 'em. I dare you to go into a fancy schmancy bagel store and try to get sprinkles on your muffin. They will laugh at you. They will laugh and they will point. Then you will start to cry. But you won't want them to get the satisfaction of seein you cry, so you pretend like there's somethin in your eye, forgettin that you'd caught a bee and put it to sleep using the bee hypnosis trick your Great Uncle Mort taught you, so that when you raise your hand to your face to pretend that you've got somethin in your eye, you inadvertently put the bee in your eye. Then, there you are, standin right in the middle of the bagel shop, surrounded by yuppies and hipsters with a durned bee stuck in your eye. So you gotta turn to run out of there, but there's a whole line of people waitin to get their muffins and coffee and you gotta shove your way through. You start shovin and pushin and tryin to get out of there, but havin that durned bee in your eye makes it real hard to see and finally, lookin up, you see that you're surrounded by pirates and you think you may be goin crazy. It's just a sea of frilly shirts, peg legs and stuffed parrots. Someone yells out, "Ahoy, me hearty, what wind has bepuffed yer sails?" And then you scream and fall to your knees, raging at the heavens that have brought you to this wretched state. Of course, later you will find out that it was September 19th, which is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and that the bee in your eye was really a ladybug that had costumed herself up for the annual Ladybug Fancy Dress Ball, but neither of those things will make the experience less traumatic at the time. At least, that's how I imagine the whole sprinkled muffin thing going for you. If it turns out different, feel free to let me know.

After the cupcake thought, which takes a lot longer to explain than to think (it basically just went, "Boy howdy, do I ever love cupcakes!"), I started thinkin about relatin my adventures to people. I figured if it were hard for me to remember how I got here, it may be well nigh impossible for those people astumblin through the internets onto this here blog thingy. Fer those of ya that have been readin for awhile, this is gonna be old information, and I sure am sorry 'bout that. But fer those of you who's just startin out, this is gonna be a little primer on the more excitin aspects of the last year or so in Pat O'Neil's life. If you get interested, you could prolly go back and check up on things, but, after this, you won't be in for a month of readin before readin, if you catch my drift. Also, for those of you who have been readin, and want to get your friends readin, this may be the perfect time. That was a little hint to y'all, in case you didn't catch it. The hint bein, maybe you could git some more people readin this thing so I can live my big dreams of bein a superstar writer like that there J.K. Rowling or that Shakespeare fella or even, if you was so inclined, the guy who wrote Beowulf (not the movie, the long poem). Failin that, I could live my dream of being slightly more well known than the Numa Numa guy. It may not be a big dream, but it's a dream, consarnit. In this here retellin, I'm gonna try my best to stay on track, but I ain't promisin nothin, cause that just ain't my style. So, let's see how this works out.

One day, I flipped my truck over. Longways. I didn't intend to do that, nor was I sauced up or nothin. There was this crazy monkey thing in my truck and I was tryin to combat it while I was drivin. Then I hit a little sapling which bent over and flipped my truck over its own back bumper. Then, me and my buddy Douggy, who doesn't sleep because of some childhood clown trauma, went to flip it back over, which we finally managed to do after pullin the fenders off.

My truck was sittin there for awhile and then it started gettin fixed at night. I stayed up for a couple nights to find out what in tarnation was goin on. It turned out that the monkey what had attacked me was part of a whole crew of monkeys that wasn't actually monkeys, they was genetically modified creatures full of parts of of other things, but mostly monkeys and flying squirrels, which is why they're called Squimonk. Them Squimonk felt right bad about my truck and so they'd been fixin it, even though that wasn't their real line of business.

Even though they was right good as fixin trucks, the Squimonks' real business was fightin ninjas. Now, don't get me wrong, it ain't like they was just wanderin around pickin fights with random ninjas on the streets. You could do that, sure. You may even brag to your friend that you fought a ninja and lived, you know, if you live through it. But it ain't like that ninja was gonna do anything to you anyway. You probably just got him on the way to the office. Here he is, walkin to work, tryin to listen to Morning Edition and catch up with the news when this guy gets all in his face just because he's a ninja. He don't wanna fight, he just wants to finish his project before his boss, Mr. Johnson, yells at him. And now, all of a sudden, he's got to fight a guy in the street. I tell ya, it just ain't fair bein a ninja in today's world. But, like I says, they're not fightin Mr. Johnson's ninja assistant. They're the mortal enemies of a group of ninjas named Clan Platypus. Clan Platypus is, like many ninja clans, bent on takin over the world. Unlike most ninja clans, however, they ain't plannin on doin it with a bunch of throwin stars and smoke bombs. They're much more sinister. You see, Clan Platypus is tryin to take over the world through Meth, the drug that's eatin away blue collar America, and other colors of collars in other parts of the world. Apparently, if you do enough meth, you lose all willpower and will just do whatever the ninjas tell ya to do. Platypus is workin on makin enough of these meth zombies that they can topple society and start sellin meth everywhere.

The only thing stoppin em right now are the Squimonk. Well, it ain't the only thing. Sane people's aversion to shooting a drug made out of battery acid and iodine into their veins is helpin some. The Squimonk are tryin to shut them down forever. They're not entirely alone, though. They recruited me as a front for their operations. They even built me a nice shop, which I named "Pat O'Neil's Body Shop, Used Car Emporium and Good Time Donut Eatery." Where, you may ask, did they get the money for all this? Well, Mr. or Mrs. or even possibly Ms. Impatient Smarty-Pants, I was just gettin to that, if you'll hold yer horses. They've got the financial backing of one Mr. Charles Lindbergh, whose young son was once kidnapped by Clan Platypus. "Wait, isn't Lindbergh dead?" you may ask next. To which I will respond, "that's what he wanted us to think." In fact, in his quest to harm the Clan, he found the secret to life eternal; sweet potato burritos on sea monkey tortillas. It ain't pleasant, but it lets him get his revenge.

So I was all set up with this shop and everything, and I wasn't supposed to do nothin. But my help was needed in defeatin Amelia Earhart. Turns out she ain't really the flyin ace woman we all knew and loved as children. In fact, as I learned, she's really an ice giantess older than the Earth itself that feeds off of the tears of orphans. It may not be a high fiber diet, but I guess it gets ya through. Also, you could prolly put sprinkles on top of the orphans if you wanted a festive meal. Course, that's neither here nor there. She had entered herself the yearly contest of NAMSU. That is, the National Association of Makin Stuff Up, an organization that allows people to come and tell tall tales. It was her intention to infiltrate that contest and, when she won, attribute her success to meth, thus gettin more people to try it out. In the end, I beat her with one whopper of a tale, and she reverted to giantess form and broke out the building.

Later, Lindbergh decided I needed some ninja fightin trainin, you know, just in case. So he started sendin these robot ninjas to fight me. Jared, this Goth kid who lives in town, saw me fightin one and got all hot and bothered. He told his ma, who thought he was crazy and threatened to send him to military school. Well, I couldn't let him go to military school for somethin I did, so I gave him a job. Within the first week, he up and got hisself kidnapped by ninjas and we all had to fly down to Earhart's antarctic base that was filled with these crazy penguins. In the end, we saved him and brought him home. He still works at the shop; mostly sweepin, but we occasionally let him run the cash register.

After that, the Squimonk decided to take down the regional meth distributer, a fella by the name of McClawenstein. Nasty man. To be honest, he's actually only half a nasty man. He's also half nasty lobster. He used to run a travelling carnival and would entertain himself by torturin people with his mysterious flatulant gas. He's taken the simple fart and turned it into an art; an evil art. He's got killer gas that can literally melt the face off an elephant at 100 paces.

McClawenstein had set his distribution up through the local 99 Cent stores, which I already had a problem with because they're a bunch of liars. Eventually, after breakin in and freein some giant slugs, I found out McClawenstein was actually my neighbor Dale. We sat and talked things out for awhile in his living room, but he was really just laying a trap. At the end of the afternoon, he cut the cheese something fierce and sent me hurtling to an alternative Earth. But it wasn't the one he wanted to send me to. Lindbergh redirected me for a time to this great beach and explained that I'd be goin to a different world, and he didn't know where, but he'd try to find me. He also told me that Clan Platypus had figured out FTL travel and was really tryin to conquer all the worlds in the universe with meth.

That came true, sadly. And so here I am, stuck on a world that they've already methed out wonderin how I'm gonna get home. Also, where the bathroom is.

So, that's the story so far. I hope it clears some things up for you and I hope it entices you some to keep followin my life and adventures. It looks like they're gonna get a lot more adventure-ey from here on out.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I got a giant fire-breathin robot that looks like a ninja to fight.