Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moon Spiders

Right about know, you may be askin yourself why in the known and unknown multiverse would you need to go to the moon to make what amounts to a simple telephone call? Sure, there's all sortsa advanced physics involved and I don't know a whole lot about advanced physics, or any physics for that matter, but ain't you, meanin me, Pat, really just pickin up a cb reciever and contactin your ol pal Douggy? To which I would respond, first of all, if your addressin me in your question, you ain't askin that question to yourself. That is, if you ain't traveled through space and met up with alternate versions of yourself. If you had, and you was me, you would be askin that question to yourself. Q.E.D. I was askin that very same question myself to, well, myself. And the answer that I gave me was, first of all, ain't no Pat O'Neil in the known universe what knows a whole lot about physics. Apparently, many of us didn't ever pay attention after the sixth grade because we was too busy makin up excuses about why we wasn't able to be at school any day we would possibly have a test. Despite that, I explained it to me the best I could. Turns out, the call is travellin faster than light through a whatchmacallit in space. This is only possible because the squimonk from all over got together and fixed the whozawhatsits to respond to the thingamajig but Clan Platypus has this thingy in the sky that blocks the other thingies from goin right and so the whole thing gets all messed up. To go around that, we Pats have ourselves a big ol' moon base that's been disguised to look just like the moon. The was done with a kind of pointy doohicky that had some knobs. Then, they used a different pointy thing to make the whatchamacallit open up wherever they want it to. Now that it's all set up, all ya gotta do it turn a couple knobs and the computer does the rest. I'm sorry for gettin all technical on ya there. I just couldn't really think of a simpler way to say what was goin on.

I gather there was some big problems buildin that moon base, too. I ain't never been to the moon on the Earth I come from, so I don't know if it was just here or if it's everywhere, but the moon is infested with moon spiders. No big deal, you say, just go on down to the local Ace hardware store and buy some spider repellent. But hold on there, Mr.I-know-what-they-keep-in-the-hardware-store, don't be jumpin the gun. Them moon spiders is as big as a train; and I ain't talkin about one of them tiny toy trains that bald men with too many kids spend all their time buildin in the basement, nor am I talkin about them weird midget trains you see at the zoo that was desinged so only kids could fit in it even though their parents, or perhaps uncles, are expected to ride the train with the kids "for the kids' safety" and the parents, or uncle, have just drunk 64 ounces of iced tea with lunch because there was only a Thai restaurant next to the zoo and no parent, or uncle, of that kid is going to order anything less than the hottest food because who wants their son, or nephew, to grow up orderin food like a girl and so there's the parent, or uncle, wedged into this tiny little seat with his knees goin straight up his nose and feelin like his bladder's about to explode and, after seein all them snooty otters splashin around it the water and havin a good ol time, the parent, or uncle, gots to get up and run to the bathroom, but can't get his legs outta the tiny train seat and he's sittin there thinkin he's about to have an accident (which is much worse for a kid to see than watchin his parent, or uncle, orderin mild food) and so, to avoid this tragedy, he kicks his legs straight our from under him, punches through the bottom of the train car and takes the whole train with him into the bathroom for the fifteen minutes it takes to get rid of all the iced tea. The moon spiders are definitely bigger than that kind of train, and I would appreciate it if you would not bring up zoo trains again after what happened with me and Uncle Marty.

No, them moon spiders was as big as a real, genuine, honest to goodness train. They was smart as a whip, too, for spiders. Usually, spiders ain't that smart. When I was a kid, I had this pet spider named Timmy that lived in a little box in my room. Timmy was always eatin crickets and spinnin webs and doin all those other things spiders do. Sometimes at night, I was woken by the sounds of Timmy crying, but I could just yell, "Be quite, Timmy!" and he would. I was never too good in school, as I may have mentioned. I just never really had the attention span for it. My worst subject was math. Them numbers never did make any sense to me. So I'd always try to get Timmy to do my math for me. He did pretty well until I got into sixth grade or so and we started multiplyin and dividin fractions. I was pretty angry at Timmy for sinkin my school career. I figured the least he could do after all them crickets I gave him was to help me a little with my math. He kept tellin me he'd never learned fractions because he hadn't been in school when they taught that. He tried makin it up to me by teachin me math. He'd wait until I got home every night and then he'd spend an hour tutoring me. I think that was a happy time for Timmy because he almost never cried at night anymore. Then, one day, just like that, the police showed up at the door and took Timmy away. They told me some lame excuse about him not really bein a spider, but actually bein a little boy in a spider costume that I'd mistaken for a real spider. I think they just wanted to take my pet away. I did get a bit of consolation for losin Timmy, though. Right after that, I got to change schools and go to this new one where I didn't have to do any math I didn't want to or nothin. It was a great school and we had ice cream every friday if everyone used the bathroom for its intended purpose all week. It never stopped me missin my old spider Timmy, though.

Thing is, these moon spiders was way smarter at math than Timmy ever was. Other me told me that they had their own counting system based entirely on eights, cause they had eight limbs. Also because they had eight limbs, their national game was crazy eights, and they's wild about that game, lemme tell ya. It's on teevee almost every weekend. But I'm getting off topic. I guess their unique counting system allowed them to discover all sortsa math and physics that the Earth never got to. Sure, they prolly would've, but the whole planet went and got itself hooked on meth instead. If they wasn't all hopped up on the goofballs, I have no doubt that these Earth people could have whipped them spiders in their distended hairy butts when it came to science and engineering. After all, look at all the crazy stuff I saw before. And they built that when they were on the meth! Imagine what they can accomplish without it. But I digress. These spiders, with their whacky eight counting system, dug cave systems all through the center of the moon to collects atoms and neutrinos and whatever else kinda crazy space junk went flyin through there and used quantum computers to connect themselves to these atoms using what they called "string theory" so they can, at any time, see what them atoms are doin and even swap place with them if they want. Like I said, them spiders is smart as a whip; a whip with a PhD.

None of this was discovered until the squimonk and the Pats had built their skyships to travel back and forth between the moon and Earth. They wanted to be able to disguise the ships real quick in case Platypus tracked them or whatnot, but they still wanted to give a big ol' finger to the Clan, so the Pats designed their ships to look like pirate ships because, as everyone knows, pirates and ninjas are mortal enemies. If they needed to, they could set down in the ocean among the floating piles of junk out there and hide out with no one ever being the wiser. They built themselves a whole fleet of space pirate ships and were busy relocatin to the moon when they saw their first spider.

I ain't never had the experience myself, but I imagine that havin a spider the size of a train suddenly materialize before you is fairly vexin. Their first response was to start firin, but they didn't hit nothin but vacuum. Which is to say, they didn't hit nothin. But the simple act of them openin fire irked off the moon spiders somethin awful. They'd been watchin what was happenin down on the Earth. They knew it was a bunch of tweak junkies down there and thought that the junkies had built themselves some ships and brought their soul destroyin powder with them to offer to the moon inhabitants.

Word about this went out pretty fast; partially because it was the most excitin thing to happen on the moon since teleportation was discovered a hundred years before, and partially because they moon spiders communicated with each other through telepathy. They didn't attack the Pats and squimonk right away. The moon spiders was a peaceful lot and they preferred runnin away instead of fightin. Once the squimonk started to implement their plan to build the moon base, well, that's when the fightin started.

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."