Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I ain't never been much of a fan of the muscle car. I mean, sure, they gots themselves big ol' loud engines, which I like, but they're kinda impractical when you need to haul lumber or donut grease or a pack full of half-wild chipmunks that need to be released far enough away from man that their little landmines will no longer threaten our hound dogs and various other pets. That's why I've always preferred either a pickup, a boat car or, when all else has failed, an El Camino. I ain't tryin to disparage the American auto makers or nothin like that. I think they do plenty well with their own disparagin, actually. I'm just sayin this to let you know that, when I say that the Camaro I was shootin over the meth plains in was, without a doubt, the rip-roarinest, tire-squealinest, pants-fillinest car I've ever had the pleasure of ridin in, that ain't no hyperbole. Imagin that you lived in the future. I ain't talkin, like, next week future, neither. Like, way way in the future. Like so far in the future that flying cars have become obsolete because now, to get to work, everyone just uses their shrink rays on themselves, climbs into the barrel of a .45 Magnum, settles down in a tiny little seat inside the bullet, puts a little "Barracuda" on the radio and just shoots their way to work. Now imagine that, inside that bullet, there was another tiny little shrink ray and another tiny magnum that shot a smaller bullet that same speed, and it all got added to that first shot. Now, on that tinier bullet, put a blower and paint some flames on the side. Now you got some small idea of what ridin in this thing was like.

That's why I was shocked when the cop caught up to us and pulled us over. I ain't no physicist or nothin, but I woulda thought we were travelin fast enough that the sound of his siren couldn't catch up with us, let alone the car in which his siren was travellin. But catch up, he did. I ain't sure if the other Pat was ignorin the lights or if he was tryin to outrun them, but when that rocket was fired across the front of the car, bounced off the hood, shot into the air, swerved around for awhile and ended up landin on what, accordin to the sign, was a strip club/bar/boxing ring/barbed wire wholesaler and changin it into a crater/ditch/smokin hole in the ground, his mind got changed right quick.

As we were rollin to a stop, Pat looked over and told me, "Try and act like a meth addled junkie. Follow my lead."

He started squirmin in his seat and itchin himself like he'd just run a marathon through a poison ivy patch and followed it up by a cooldown roll on a red ant hill. Last thing I wanted was to get into problems on this planet, so I joined right in.

In between pretendin I'd been the main dish at a mosquito wedding and tryin to pass myself off as an unsprung jack-in-the-box, I saw a figure get out of the car behind us wearin a cowboy hat and reflective sunglasses. I had about four nanoseconds to wonder why he was wearin sunglasses on a planet of perpetual night before he hit us with what could loosely be called a flashlight beam but would be more accurately described as a thousand suns pushed into a tube and then pointed directly in my eyes. By the time the light spots had faded enough for me to be more that half confident I wasn't gonna be blind all my remainin days, the man was tappin on our window. Pat rolled it down and I could see that, despite the cowboy hat, reflective shades, and shiny tin star I could now see pinned to his chest, the cop was in full ninja dress and carryin enough weapons to supply a whole village of starving orphans with the means to rise up against the oppressors and establish a new world order in which orphans called the shots. Sure, they'd try to be good leaders at first, showin compassion to others and tryin to level the playin field, but then they'd get their first tastes of power and soon it would be "All Hail Orphans!" and goose-steppin and tanks rollin through the streets.

I was just workin up some orphan propaganda posters in my head when I was rudely interrupted by ninjacop hittin Pat with the standard first line, "Sir, do you know how fast you were going?"

Now, I don't know a whole lot about theater, and I ain't never taken any sort of drama class down at the community center, even though Frank kept tellin me to, but mostly because I was suspicious she didn't care if I acted or not, but she was really tryin to set me up with this friend of hers, Bernice, that's into this weird new-agey stuff where she calls herself a Buddhist but keeps statues of Vishnu in her house and dresses like a gypsy. I don't wanna sound like I'm some sorta anti-gypsite, but, honestly, how many silk handkerchiefs and gold bracelets does one woman need? So, anyway, I may not know a whole lot about actin, but this other Pat was so into character that I almost believed he'd snuck in some actual meth while I wasn't lookin. He pretended at first not to hear the cop, lookin straight into my eyes and askin, "Did you hear somethin?"

The cop, somehow emoting a frown despite wearin layers of black cloth over his face, asked again, "Do you know how fast you were goin?"

Pat whipped his head around, past the window and ended up lookin at the back seat. "I think the invisible dog is back again!" he yelled. "And it's talkin now. You won't get me this time, invisible dog!" Then he started throwin punches into the empty air.

I thought to myself, "When in Rome..." popped the five point harness and jumped into the backseat elbows first yellin like a banshee ridin a guy from Braveheart into battle.

The third time, the cop had to yell, "DO YOU KNOW HOW FAST YOU WERE GOING?!" I think he was gettin a little mad by this point. Either that or he really wanted to be heard over Pat cheerin me on in my fisticuffs against the imaginary talkin dog.

Over my wrestlin, I heard Pat shout out, "Woah! When did you get here?!" Then he put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Be cool, man, it's the 5-0"

I sat bolt upright in the back seat, hands in my lap. I sat prim and proper like an elementary school librarian who's never happy about nothin sits in church.

Pat turned back to ninjacop and said, "Gee, officer, I'm not exactly sure, but I think it was somewhere up around 145."

The ninja nodded slowly, "Yeah, it was. And how high does your speedometer go?"

Pat rocked a little in his seat. "Um, let me see. See? See. See's a funny word. So's word. Word, herd, turd bird. Turd bird! HA!"

I took my cue and yelled out "TURD BIRD!" as loud as I could.

The cop, obviously gettin fed up, leaned into the car and said, almost to himself, "200, huh?" Then he leaned back again. "Your speedometer goes all the way up to 200, why were you only goin 145?"

Giggling nervously, Pat said, "Oh, that? That's nothin. We were just tryin to stay in the middle of the cheetah herd so them giant carnivorous zebras didn't get us before we got to the dynamite store. I swear, when we get to the dynamite store, we're gonna stick it to them zebras. Right boys?!"

"RIGHT!" I confirmed exuberantly. And then, realizin he's said "boys", I yelled, "RIGHT!" again, just to be safe.

The cop leaned back and put his thumbs in his belt, "Well, allright. I'll let you guys off with a warning this time, but if I see you come back through here goin less than 180 tonight, we're gonna have problems. Understood?"

Pat scratched his neck. "Yeahyeahyeah, I got it. EAT RUBBER ZEBRAS!" And with that, he peeled out in a trail of dust.

We didn't say nothin for awhile. I was busy trembling like a fawn without a coat in Siberia and checkin to see if I was gonna need to borrow a pair of overalls when we got where we were goin. Once that passed, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask, "Hey, other Pat?"


"Why was that ninja wearin a cowboy hat?"

"Universal law," he explained, "like gravity or the speed of light or fat kids likin cake. All sheriffs have to wear a cowboy hat and reflective sunglasses."


I sat in silence the rest of the way. I mainly occupied myself by thinkin of more orphan propaganda posters for my imaginary world. While I was doin that, I must have drifted off to sleep because, after some darkness and dreams involvin spiders and Heidi Klum that I shouldn't discuss in mixed company, I heard Pat up front say, "Pat, honey, put your shoes on. We're at grandmas."

I sat up, rubbed my eyes and looked out the front of the car onto a black sea that looked like someone had split open a million gorgon hearts with a million bic pens and then covered the whole thing in velvet. Floatin on top of this sea was all the flotsam and jetsam that you'd expect on meth world; dolls, plastic cartons, boxes, cigarette butts and dead whales among them.

"What are we doing here?" I asked. And then I saw it. Amid the debris and dirt, floating near the shore, was a three masted pirate ship bristling with cannons.

Pat nodded at the ship. "We're gonna put you on that there boat and take you to the moon."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back into it.

It was right about this point in hearin the story that I got a mite distracted. I ain't sayin the story was borin, in fact, it was the dickenest thing I ever did hear. And I ain't tryin to say the tellin of it wasn't great. If anything, it convinced me that this whole "multiple Pat" thing was true as the day is long, or as the sky is black, dependin on which planet you're on. And after all the coffee they fed me, it wasn't because I was tired or unfocused or nothin like that. Nah, what really distracted me from this fine tale was the thunderous, repeated hammering that came from the opening hatch and the sudden panic that followed. Now, I like to think of myself as a considerate listener, but it becomes mighty difficult when there's red lights flashin, alarms blarin out with their whoop-whoopin and Pats poppin in and out of the room like they was kernels of dried corn sittin in a plate full of simmerin bacon grease and yellin things like, "They've found us!" and "Code 3! Code 3!" and "Get him outta here, quick!"

I didn't wanna get in the way or nothin, so I just sat where I was while all of this was goin on. I learned my lesson about that when I was at the Wal-Mart last year. You know how it is. You're just sittin there at the Wal-Mart snack bar, waitin for your nephew to wander around the store and pick up whatever new game he's lookin at so he can shoot aliens or steal cars or shoot alien cars or whatever it is he does all day. So, there you are, drinkin your coffee, maybe readin the paper if you're lucky enough to sit at a table where someone left one behind, and people just start screamin. At first, you just tune 'em out, thinkin the Montana Brothers have just put out a new poster, or whatever crazy new thing the kids are into these days. I don't really keep up that well. But, just as you finish doin the sudoku puzzle (which you gotta do in your head because the last guy did it in ink, but did it all wrong), you look up to see some kind of slimy tentacle thing crawlin its way out of housewares, its pseudopods ripplin overhead like grandma's arm flab and all you can think is that, if your nephew doesn't get back with his game soon, you just may have to wrestle with this thing.

So, you go back to readin the paper, catchin up on local high school sports and whatnot and, when you look up again, you see that this tentacle thing has devoured all of housewares and isn't so much as movin as it is growin towards the toys section, where you assume the games is, which would mean that's where your nephew is and, if you lose one more nephew to crazy alien and/or demon spawn while game shoppin at the Wal-Mart, your sister Frank's prolly never gonna speak to you again, so you figure it's time to take action. Now, as you're prolly well aware if you spend as much time waitin in the Wal-Mart snack bar as I do, that every Wal-Mart keeps an assortment of weapons just behind the popcorn machine, in case of alien invasion or zombie attack or whatever else can go wrong. So, you jump the counter, which is usually without employees, and start sortin through a cardboard box full of creature killin devices. Now, when in this situation, seein a tentacled creature devour the back of the Wal-Mart, you ain't likely to know right away if the creature is from another dimension, another planet or is just the product of some combination of genetic tinkerin and a lousy sewer system. Now, it's mighty kind of the Wal-Mart people to mark each weapon with its name and uses, but seein a tag that says "Nuclear Destablilizer; for use on multi-dimensional creatures or minor Great Old Ones" ain't gonna help you a whole lot if you ain't got your "Guide to Creatures What May Devour and/or Destroy the Earth" handy. If I were in this situation, and I was, I would just grab myself a roll of the duct tape and get to work tapin all them weapons together to make yourself one massive super weapon. Sure, it's gonna be heavy and unwieldy, like tryin to oil wrestle an elephant with no legs, but that's what carts are for, right? And you already got the duct tape out, so why not tape a couple of them carts together to give yourself a little more stability? And, while you're at it, why not tape that super gun you just made to the cart, in case you hit a bump or somethin? I mean, you don't want that thing fallin of the floor, misfirin and mutatin all the cheetos into a big orange monster, now, do ya?

So, there ya is, runnin through automotive, screamin like a banshee and bearin down on this thing thats got as many eyes on each tentacle as it has tentacles, and every eye is turned to look at you. The sweat's rollin down your back like a you're a flock of ducks in Noah's flood and you're gettin a little hoarse because you been yellin all the way from the snack bar and you forgot how big the Wal-Mart really is.Then this tentacle comes sweepin out of nowhere behind you and picks you up along with the cart like you ain't nothin more than a kernel of popcorn in its shoe. Now, as you prolly know, this is the time for panic. So, you start shootin your gun off every which way and, just as you suspected, when it hits the food section, the cheetos, owin to some chemical properties, you spect, mutate into a cheeto monster what leaves orange streaks on the ceiling as it moves and which is pretty angry for somethin that's just been created. You can't help but feel relieved as you get flung aside because, apparently, Captain McTentacles needs all his thrashin power to take on Orangey O'Cheetohead. What you don't know, and what, in all fairness, the manager at the Wal-Mart shouldn't have really expected you to know and it's pretty unfair of him to think you could possibly know, is that when Pseudopod McGee and Cheeto Orangystuff there collide, it sets off some kind of sciency nuclear reaction that causes both to stop existing dramatically, explosively, and gooily.

Now, you'd think when this happens, people would come around and thank ya by shakin your hand, covered in black slime and orange cheese dust though it may be. But there, my friend, you would be wrong. Instead, what's gonna happen in this situation, is there's yet another Wal-Mart you ain't allowed into because the manager is on some sorta power trip. So now, you gotta drive a whole hour whenever your nephew desperately needs to fight aliens on the tv because heaven forbid he help you when you need to do it in real life. So, long story short, when the panic erupts, it's best to just stay out of the way. If you've ever been to the Wal-Mart, I'm sure you can relate.

And that's precisely what I was doin amid all the hammerin and whoopin and yellin hubbub that was goin on down in the bunker, stayin out of the way. I figured, when I needed to do somethin, I would be informed. In the meantime, I might as well get myself ready by finishin that sandwich that was just sittin in the center of the table and drinkin my coffee. I was on the last bite of said sandwich when a Pat popped in, tossed a shirt and a small can on the table and told me, "Here, put on the shirt and use the makeup to black out your teeth. We've got to get you to the ships."

I ain't usually one to argue with myself, even if myself isn't myself, so I did as I was told. I slipped the shirt, which I saw said "Slayer" on it and had the sleeves cut out, and opened the can to find black goo inside, which I covered my teeth with. As soon as this was done, I was hustled into a grate in the floor. It turns out that, as an army, I'm pretty darn resourceful. I even dig tunnels under my tunnels. I don't wanna brag or nothin, but I'm pretty darn proud of that. There was a whole tunnel complex underneath that there grate. I didn't get much time to look around, but from what I could see, it appeared that there was cubby holes and whatnot set in the tunnels where the Pat army was keepin paintings and statues and books. It all looked sorta high-fallutin to me, but I'm a simple man. But I was curious so I made a note to ask about it later.

After runnin through what felt like miles of tunnel, the Pat leadin me stopped us and did some fiddlin with the wall, which turned into a door through which we walked. On the other side of that wall was a perfectly normal garage with a couple of muscle cars sittin in it. Pat nodded at a 69 Camaro with slicks on the back and a chrome blower stickin out of the hood and told me, "Get in."

I slid into the passenger seat, and was hookin up my five point harness as Pat told me, "We're gonna drive like Indian food outta a man with irritable bowel syndrome. If we're lucky, we won't be caught. If we're not lucky, then we will be caught and you gotta act like a junkie. Just itch and twitch, buddy, just itch and twitch."

And with that, we were rocketing through the night.