Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tom's Plan

"I ain't so sure this is gonna work," I told Tom as he loaded up the donut rail gun.

"It's always worked before," he reassured me.

I hate to be contrary, but I had to ask him, "Are you positive about that?"

"I sure am." He sounded pretty durned positive to me, but I come from a place where the closest you're gonna get to a straight answer is a shrug of the shoulders and a 'It could happen'.

"Let's just pretend I'm stupid here," I proposed. "Just explain this to me one more time."

"Fine," he sighed as he completed the loading. "We've loaded all your donuts with wadded up hundred dollar bills and set timers on them. When that dragon over there gets in range, you pelt him with your gun, the timers on all of the donuts explode inside the dragon and spray it with money. How much more simple could it be?"

"It's not really the mechanics of the plan I don't get. It's more the theory of it. I mean, I ain't never tried this or nothin and, well, you say 'shoot' and I'll shoot, but I don't understand how peltin a ghost dragon with hundred dollar bills is gonna do anything to it except let it buy a bunch of new stuff or go out for a fancy dinner."

"Look," he grabbed the bridge of his nose, "that dragon is made of ghosts, right?"


"And those ghosts are angry, right?"

"I'd say so."

"And we're on a planet that is alien, yes?"

"Got that right."

"So, you'd say they're angry alien ghosts?"

"I would."

"And Thetans are also angry alien ghosts."

"That's what you said."

"There we have it," he announced triumphantly. "The way to get rid of Thetans, as we all know, is to throw money at them. The more money you get rid of, the less of a Thetan problem you have. It's all in the book!"

"Oh, well, if it's in the book then..." I was about to say somethin sarcastic, but I was quite rudely interrupted by the ghost dragon bearin down on us like a back of hammers with a V8 engine drivin it. Next thing I knew, alls I could hear was the woosh of the rail gun and the pop-popin of the donuts explodin mid dragon. Well, that and the unearthly, Lovecraftian roar of a thousand tortured souls. And let me tell ya, it wasn't the "Oh, hey, that hurts so much that I should quite what I'm doin right now and retire to a life where I ain't terrorizin people and possibly eatin them" kinda roar. It was more like a, "you're tryin to stop me, but it's pretty ineffective and just makin me madder, so now I'm gonna devour you and take a thousand years to digest you, most of which will be painful" kinda roar. Sure, when you read the description, they seem completely unlike each other, but when you're standin there hearin it, it's a pretty subtle difference.

There was quite a bit of debate, after we'd teleported of course, about what went wrong with the plan. Mr. Cruise was convinced that the donuts weren't explodin exactly inside the dragon. I fiddled with my controls a bit and showed him the playback of the video my suit's always takin. Right there, in full HD color, on a frame by frame basis, we saw the donuts explodin exactly as they was intended to.

"I just don't understand," Tom said, holdin his head.

"Well, Mr. Cruise, I hate to burst your bubble here," and I did, I really did, "but I don't think you can get rid of angry alien ghosts just by throwin money at the problem."

"That can't be true," he said as he sat heavily on the ground. "I've thrown millions, literally millions of dollars at the Thetans. They all assured me that it was helping. Oh my god!" He began to weep. "I've wasted my life! To think, I could have spent all those millions tryin to help the poor. I could have fed millions of starving people the world over!"

"Don't feel so bad, Mr. Cruise," I comforted him, "you still have millions and millions of dollars. Plus, you can help this world now."

He stood up. "You know, Pat, you're right! I'm going to stop wasting myself on this alien ghost thing. I'm going to start living a new life. Heck," he scuffed the dirt here, "I may even let my wife leave the house once in awhile.

"Gosh," he sighed, "it feels so good to be free of that. It was such a burden for me to know that, if I just spent a little more money, I might become really happy. I feel like a new man! I'm going to shape up from now on. I'm going to be better, I'm going to be nicer and, most importantly, I'm going to be..."

And that's when the dragon ate him. One moment he was there, and the next there was this white streak, like I'd been slapped across the eyes by glowing cotton, and then he wasn't here any more. It's a shame, that, because he sounded like he'd really turned a corner. I don't know how to break the news to his wife. But I'm sure when she hears it, she's gonna need herself some consolin. She may need a strong shoulder to lean on and maybe even a beard to cry into. Then, to recover, she's gonna need a lot of love. A lot of sweet, sweet O'Neil love.

Course, all that was gonna have to wait until after I got rid of the dragon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tom and the Dragon

Once Mr. Cruise announced he was ready to go, it was a pretty easy thing to grab him and teleport back to meth world. The second his feet touched the ground, his eyes got real big, like a fly that was strainin real hard to see in the dark.

Then he started mutterin somethin like, "This is, like, pheeeeeew. Woah. I mean, it's, whoop whoop!" This last came out soundin like a crane was matin with a siren, fixin to have itself a couple little babies with long necks and rotatin heads. Honestly, I wasn't even real sure what he said was English, or any language for that matter. For a minute there, I thought I'd broke him. I figured I better cover my bases, so I started comin up with my excuse for what to tell his wife. I settled on tellin her that, when he was runnin in slow motion in the rain, I saw him slip and go over on his head. He got up and kept runnin, so I didn't think nothin of it, but, gee, Mrs. Cruise, it ain't like I'm a doctor who can diagnose a concussion super quick...I'll just be goin then.

But before I could think about makin my grand exit, which was gonna involve smoke bombs and flash pots and a daring helicopter rescue, Mr. Cruise started rootin around in his bag like he was a fat kid and the last slice of cake on earth was in the bottom, mutterin to himself the whole time. He got himself almost halfway into the bag, and I was thinkin he was about to crawl in there and set up camp when he pulled his hand out triumphantly and yelled, "Here it is!"

He held up that grey machine I saw earlier with the two paddles attached and handed it to me. "Here, hold this," he said.

I grabbed ahold of the machine, letting the paddles dangle down. I wasn't quite sure what the thing was. It had a couple switches and knobs, along with one big gauge in the middle. It looked like somethin you'd use in a mechanic's shop to test alternator charge or somethin similar, but I couldn't see any clips on it anywhere.

"No, not like that," he yelled. "Grab the handles."

He took the box away from me and stuck the paddles into my hand. "Yeah, like that," he nodded. Then he started playin with all them knobs and switches; a turn here, a flip there. You ever see that old Frankenstein movie? The one in black and white where the old doctor guy is about to bring his offense to nature back from the cold, dark hand of death? And he's runnin around turnin stuff here and flippin stuff there and yellin at that poor hunchback for bein scared of lightnin that's shootin out all over everywhere. It was a lot like that, except there weren't no hunchback. I mean, sure I may not have the best posture sometimes, but I ain't about to take a job ringin a bell and yellin "Salvation!"

I didn't know what all this twiddlin was doin, and I kept glancin nervously at the sky. I didn't see that ghost dragon nowhere, but, bein both a ghost and a dragon, I assume it was downright mobile, so it could really have shown up any time. I don't wanna sound like I was thinkin Tom Cruise, of all people, would exaggerate his ability to fight angry alien ghosts, but I was hopin he'd get to it before that dragon got back and made us all shuffle of this mortal coil, if you know what I'm gettin at. Thus far, though, it seemed like his entire ghost fightin thing consisted of twistin knobs, noddin slowly and sayin hmmm about a dozen times.

"Ok," he mumbled, as I saw the form of the ghost dragon rise above the horizon. "I think I see what your problem is."

"Is that so?" I asked, wonderin how he saw the problem when the problem was comin up fast behind him.

"It sure is. You see, your thetan levels are far too high."

"Thetans?" I wasn't seein this connection.

"Yeah, the angry alien ghosts!" He explained it like I was in kindergarten again. "They got trapped in a volcano when they were frozen and now they're angry and getting inside of you and making you sad. Don't you know anything about Scientology?!"

"I guess not as much as I shoul."

"Darn straight! Let me ask you, Pat, do you ever feel nervous?"

"Well, sure," I told him. "I'm feelin pretty nervous right now on account of..."

"Thetans!" he interrupted.

"Actually," I corrected him, "I was gonna say, 'on account of the big dragon comin to make us dead.' But, hey, you got your thing, I got mine."

"The dra..wha?" He turned and looked over his shoulder.

I dunno how most people would react when they turned around to see a pure white dragon what looked like it was lit from the inside by the anger of a million tortured souls and said dragon was snakin its way up on them like a bus made out of jello, and not the kind of jello filled with pineapple and bananas, either, but the kind that's filled with sadness. You know, the sugar free kind.

On the other hand, I do know how Tom Cruise reacts in that situation. He tends to jump backwards, spread his arms out wide and yell, "WHOA! WHOA!" Then he turns to someone standin there (in this case, it just happened to be me), stare at them wild-eyed and yell, "WHAT IN CRIMENY IS THAT?!?!"

To which I responded, "That's the dragon I been tellin you about. You know, the one made of angry alien ghosts. You may want to grab onto me." I said this last part because the dragon was now mere feet away, comin up on us like a roaring subway train. I could see down its maw, making out the elongated, screaming faces of the souls which made it up. Also, I could see it had chili for dinner.

Tom did as I suggested and grabbed the arm of my exo-suit and I teleported us a few miles away, figurin that would give us a bit of time.

As soon as we were in our new position, Mr. Cruise bent over and threw up. He also had chili for lunch. "Ok," Tom panted, wiping his mouth, "ok. Get ahold of yourself, Tommy boy. You can do this. You can do this."

I scanned the sky while he pulled himself together. "Ok," he said, sitting up. "I'm ok. We need a plan."

"We sure do!" I agreed, seeing the light from the dragon begin to ripple again on the horizon.

"Is that a rail gun you've got mounted to your suit?"

"Yeah," I nodded, "it sure is. It only shoots donuts, though."

"Regular or filled?" He asked, becoming animated again.

"Filled," I said, "some with poison and others with strawberry and some with I don't really know what. I just put the thing on."

"That's fine," he was practically jumping by this time. "That's exactly what we need."

He went diggin in his bag again. "I'm going to need your help preparing this."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tom's House

I imagine most people, when faced with a stranger in their house, is likely to panic. I ain't never really had that happen to me, but there've been a couple times Douggy was in the dog house with his ol' lady and was sleepin on my couch where I heard him snorin in the middle of the night and darn near shot him. I ain't proud of it, but you get used to livin by yourself after awhile and, when you get to my age, you're likely to wake up confused every once in awhile, maybe thinkin you're back in that hotel in San Fran on that wonderful night in '69, with Becky Clodderingly still curled up next to you and a motorcycle rally goin on outside. But then, you get mighty disappointed to find out that you've really just got Albert next to ya and Douggy snorin loud enough that Helen Keller would complain in the next room. So I could understand a little panic upon discoverin there's a man in a giant spider silk suit that has suddenly appeared in the middle of your room.

But not that Tom Cruise, boy. That man is a class act all the way. He acted like he seen that sorta thing happen every day. Just sat back on his giant white couch in the shape of a snake eating a polar bear, greeted me and then asked if I preferred coffee or tea, just as casual as you like. It wasn't until after we'd had some refreshment that he asked me who I was and what I was doing in his livin room. It was downright Homeric, if you ask me.

I explained the situation to him, as best as I could without understanding the real nature of the dragon. I guess it didn't matter too much to him where the dragon came from or what kind of crazy dark magic it was a product of. The only thing he really seemed to focus on was the fact that there was angry alien ghosts attackin a bunch of people and makin em all crazy and whatnot. In fact, he got so excited about that part that he got to jumpin up and down on his couch and whoopin it up like he had ants in his pants and was pretty durned delighted about it.

He agreed to go with me back to the meth world but said he needed to get ready first. He ran around the living room grabbing things and shovin em into a satchel. I ain't sure I saw everything he was plannin on bringin with him, but I saw him grab a machine of some sort with paddles connected to it, a wad of cash and a book by some old sci-fi author. I didn't get a good look at the book, but I know it wasn't Asimov and, when it comes to sci-fi, if it ain't Asimov, I just ain't interested.

Once he had that bag packed, I thought he was right ready to go, and started to get up, but he waved me back down sayin he had "just one more small thing to do." Then he walked over to this control panel in the wall, hit a couple buttons and went out the back yard to this runnin track he had there. As I watched, it started rainin back there. At first, I was thinkin Tom Cruise was magic and had control over the elements, which wouldn't surprise me none. Ain't no one can look like him and divorce a woman as hot as Nichole Kidmann unless there's some sorta black magic involved. But, upon further inspection, it turned out that he just had some sprinklers installed on his roof that would spray water over the track while he ran around it.

I musta been standin there, just watchin him run in the rain, for about five minutes when his wife walked in.

"Is he running in the rain again?" she asked, exasperated.

"It would appear so, ma'am," I confirmed. "But I can't make hide nor hair of it. What's he doin that for."

She shrugged. "Damned if I know. But he always runs in the rain before doing something important."

She turned to go. "Ma'am," I said. "I sure did like them movies and shows you did."

"Thanks," she said.

I went on, "You ain't done that many since you been with this guy..."

"That's true," she said. "Sometimes, I wish I still did. But something's stopping me."

"Oh yeah? And what might that be?"

She shrugged again. "Dunno. Maybe it's black magic." And then she wandered into another room.

Right after that, Tom came in and toweled off. "All right," he said, vigorously drying his hair, "let's do something about this ghost dragon of yours."