Friday, February 6, 2009

A Delay in Action

"What, seriously? Did you just suggest that I just get up and leave now?" Joe was concerned. He wanted to leave Utah quickly as well, along with every other non-Mormon that has found themselves within the confines of such a useless state. He could probably get away with his arm in a sling but until a doctor arrived his internals were a mystery.

"Well, I guess we can't go get them now, I'm just impatient is all. I'm done with this place."

"Me too, I guess we'll see what the doctor has to say. I did have a story I've been working on."

"Do tell sir."

Lennox knew what he had to do. It's the only mission he knew. A great disaster occurred some time in the past, a disaster that impacted the world over, modifying the landscape into what amounted to uninhabitable gray goo. Now the last remnants of humanity assembled together to prevent "The Great Collapse" as it was referred to from ever occurring.

He understood the concepts of time, of how to interact with the past and step by step, movement by movement what he had to do.

A target was set. By that point in his life it was mere method, his body moving in the recitation that only decades could produce. The device he would traverse in was small, a compartment that was acceptable by animal standards but to a male over six feet tall, it was less than accommodating. It worked simply enough by their standards. As a child they would demonstrate to him by folding a piece of paper in half, then punching hole in it. The fastest way to travel between two points is in fact to make them the same point.

Lennox was curious as a child, wondering why they bothered with science after what it had produced. As far as he had known, the replicating nanites, the backbone of their culture had developed a colloquialism known as cancer. Apparently at one time the human body would randomly be inflicted with an unnatural spontaneous growth of cells, a process that could affect anyone, anywhere at any time.

"What a horrid thought."
Lennox spoke aloud, echoing his adolescence, not realizing he had an audience.

"Are you ready Mr. Barrows?"

"Like I was born to do this."

The issue of coming back was far more arduous. After completing his mission,
Lennox was to visit a small Swiss company that was in the process of developing a stasis program, technology that would in essence negate all natural forces, including time in a small space. By that time they had reached phase three testing and through the passing of some controversial laws, human testing was accepted.

The company was chose for two reasons. First and foremost, the location was optimal at offering him
camouflage. He would be there a very long time and any attention would be unwanted attention. the second reason required a little faith from Lennox. The historical engineers cited that particular site as one that succumbed to a natural disaster that destroyed the surface, but left the sub-level intact, perfectly preserving him and about a dozen others. The gray goo had receded in that area as well, allowing excavators easier access.

Lennox stepped into the facility with confidence. It's what he was bred for, the reason for his very existence. The process was easy. He arrived in a dressing room where a man of the same relative size as Lennox had just stepped in pursuit of a vest to match the sports coat and pants he had just tried on. His return created nothing but a scratch of the head and a secondary trip to the front. Thirty two steps to a side exit followed by another hundred and thirty, keeping with the pedestrian walkway. He did not make eye contact and seemed to slip from the minds of fellow pedestrians his shoeless status not withstanding.

The target was a male, mid 30's of Moroccan decent. At that time he had yet to come into contact with
nanite technology so his integration of a variant code would be less than a fleeting dream.

Lennox operated like clockwork. Removal and disposal was intricately planned and as Mr. Asmir found himself integrated into the foundation of a business incubator being built, Lennox wondered what the world would become. He overheard many a postulation, but none concerned his own memories of what was.

The bus ride was uninvolved.
Lennox had made it a point not to absorb any of what was out of fear of what would be. He arrived outside of the Nexus Industries complex and for the first time in his life, he was uncertain. There was no visitor entrance and the device the historical engineers had given him was not a means of monetary exchange, it was something far different.

It was a detonation device.

And the moment he produced it from his pocket, a swarm of security forces stormed his location. Through no fault of his own, they gunned him down, his pleas for stasis went unnoticed, shrugged off as drunken ramblings, that is until the autopsy yielded strange results from his blood tests. It seems a new technology was found in his blood.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Destinations (Brock)

The nurse had been kind enough bring Joe some pain-killers for his injuries. Joe happily gulped them down and looked at Mali, who had just caught Joe up on the strange circumstances surrounding their sudden finacial fortune.

"So there's someone following us and listening to us tell our stories?" Joe asked. Mali nodded. "And this person gave us $5,000 just because?" he continued. She nodded again.

"Well, that's fucking weird," he replied, rubbing his ribs, waiting patiently for the meds to kick in. "We need to get the fuck out of this state."

"Where should we go next? Wyoming? Colorado? Oh! How about Nebraska?" Mali excitedly pondered.

Joe gave her an amused expression. "We'll figure that out once we get on the road."

Mali produced the die from her pockets and threw it gingerly onto the sticky hospital floor. Joe could not see what the result was from atop of his hospital bed and watched as she stared down at the die.

"It's a four," she told him. "I've got a good one."

It was before they had names, but the States were not getting along. Mississippi had fallen in love with Missouri, but Tennessee and Arkansas were always in the way. New York was desperately looking for a new location away from noisy Pennsylvania, and their bickering kept all of New England awake at night. Florida was hanging out with Mexico, causing a rift between Georgia and Alabama. And Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois kept making fun of how damp Michigan was as of late. Texas just kept eating.

But wise Canada watched them all like a mother, and listened to their problems. She never judged them, and was as fair as she could possibly be.

It was when Iowa was mysteriously blindsided by a mystery location, Canada had had enough.

"From now on, you will all stay in your respective borders and not bother each other anymore!" she exclaimed. The States shook in their foundations. "You're all lucky I'm still here for you! You're all a bunch of spoiled, over-dramatic whiners!"

Idaho began to cry.

"Great job!" South Dakota yelled at the mother-land. "Now you've done it!"

Mississippi began to sing a breathy love song to Missouri. New York and Pennsylvania resumed their bickering. Louisiana complained loudly of all the hurricanes. Montana blared it's country music to drown out the others, only causing surrounding territories to boost their volume as well.

"THAT'S IT! I'M DONE! YOU'RE ALL ON YOUR OWN!" Canada told them all.

They paused for a second to wonder the ramifications, but then continued their respective battles.

Ever since then, Canada has wanted nothing to do with the States.

Then the humans came.

"Mali, this might be the pills talking, but that was a great story," Joe replied.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Your Children Will Be Next

"Blessed be, the Ol'est of Tentacles," Gordon muttered. He thumbed his nose and craned his neck to peer around the corner of the building at his back. The source of the scraping noise revealed itself in the form of a tiny crone pushing a shopping cart with only one wheel. She was a hundred if she was a day, but bless the tired old bitch, she shoved with such might that the worn legs of the cart scratched deep scars in the sidewalk. Two beady, black eyes met Gordon's from behind immense curls of salt-colored hair and chalky white skin, and he quickly recoiled to the safety of a new view. 

The scraping, however, continued.

He thought of slasher films, picturing in his mind the poor brunette trapped helplessly in the car or the closet, her fate altogether sealed the moment she stepped into frame with only a B-cup. Her Hello Kitty sweater couldn't save her now, not now that the music had receded and the deafening and defining calm of her mortality filled the audience's ears, now when all is quiet and the stillness of the theater hums with the electric anticipation of the impending attack, the cut, the kill.

The scraping grew nearer, and in that moment, Gordon knew precisely how the poor brunette felt when she realized that this, this, was it.

He figured he could run, but in planning his escape route, the vision of the woman sprouting ten thousand celadon tentacles from beneath her burgundy shaw stayed his feet. She would give chase and he would flee like the hare from the fox, but before he could reach the crosswalk, a slimy appendage would creep around his ankles and drag him to the pavement, the moist nexus of all her limbs winking and yawning and stretching to devour him whole, and oh god, the odor...

The old woman appeared from around the corner and snapped him out of his daydream. She looked up at him with a cross, frazzled glare before pressing on, the tiny orb of her form pushing with all her might, the sternness of age amazingly willing the cart to scrape forward.

He sighed and shook the hair out of his eyes. He checked left and right and - upon discovering no other pedestrians paying them any mind - took a ginger step forward.


"Fuck off," she rattled without turning around.

He swallowed and pressed her again. "Miss? Do you want a hand?"

She threw her hands in the air, the molted cart tumbling on its side with a crash. She turned to face Gordon, her eyes obsidian pebbles of furious hellfire. She spat when she talk, likely because all but one tooth had rotted from her gums.

"No, I don't want a fucking hand, you cocksucking Briton goatwhore. I ain't never in my life accepted help from a cocksucking Briton and I ain't never in my life starting today."

"Well, okay then." Gordon back-peddled until he was pressed against the brick of the building, but the tiny crone moved quick and closed the distance between them before he could get away. 

She shook a crooked, knobby finger in his face, yellow spit spraying his face. "And now you have to pick up my cart, cocksucking Briton goatwhore."

Rather than agreeing, Gordon side-stepped her and approached the mangled apparatus. He reached for it, refusing to take his eyes off the old hag's feet - he refused to look her in the eye at this point for fear she might pluck his right out - and gently hoisted it to a standing position.

"Money?" she demanded when he was finished.


"Do you have any money? This is a robbery," she declared, pointing her forefinger and thumb at him menacingly.


"Shut your trap and hand over the goods, Charlie."

"My name's Gordon."

This startling development proved too much for the woman to bear. She plopped herself right down on the sidewalk and began to bawl at the top of her lungs. Twice she stomped her feet on the curb, her tiny fists balled and shaking at the heavens.

Gordon hated her, this he knew, but pangs of pity stole his heart and nearly brought him to tears to see the old bat so upset. He promptly planted himself next to her and folded his legs and waited for her tantrum to stop.

She wailed for another minute, catching more than a few curious and horrified expressions from the occasional passer-by, but at last she started to settle down. She studied Gordon with those tiny black pools, now almost concealed beneath the puffyness of her swollen red cheeks. A fine rivet of snot dangled from the tip of her nose and she sniffed twice.

After a moment, she said, "I'm sorry I robbed you."

"That's alright. What's your name?"


"That's a pretty name."

"It's a coin," she insisted.

Gordon nodded and made a noise of awe, which she seemed to appreciate.

"Where are you off to?" he asked her.

The expression she returned would have been entirely the same, had he inquired about geopolitical turmoil and its international ramifications in Malaysia. He decided to change the subject.

"Have you ever heard of the gay bomb?"

"My husband died of that," she nodded.

Gordon nodded too, then continued. 

"Back in the nineties, the United States Air Force was researching all sorts of fucked up ways to fuck with the heads of their enemies. The Geneva Convention doesn't exactly apply when you're spraying troops with bee pheromones in a virtual minefield of beehives. They were trying out all sorts of things - bombs to make the enemy combatants stink to the high heavens or just plain out shit their pants. My favorite experiment, however, was the gay bomb.

The gay bomb was intended to be a tactical aphrodisiac cannon; drop it on an enemy bunker and laugh all the way to the treatise table while the good ol' boys are banging each others brains out uncontrollably. This thing would literally make enemy soldiers drop their weapons, drop trough too, and go to work on each other's backsides.

Of course, the project was unsuccessful. The research team determined that no aphrodisiac potent enough to overpower a man's will to not buttfuck his bunkmate was available. The project was abandoned, but not before it won a Nobel Fucking Peace Prize for 'instigating research and development on a chemical weapon'.

It's a small wonder Uncle Sam isn't letting the blue boys tie the knot; he's too busy making 'em plenty of dates."

To Gordon's astonishment, Penny seemed to be following his every word with acute interest. Problem was, she didn't seem to realize his tale was finished. She continued to stare, her chin in her hands, leaning forward as best she could on a bed of tummy fat and sour old coats.

"-- and then your husband died, because of the gay bomb," he offered.

She smiled and leaned back, seemingly satisfied.

"Was he in the war?" Gordon asked.

She appeared horrified a moment, then shook her head. "No, of course not. He was at Chuck E. Cheese."

"Your husband died of the gay bomb at Chuck E. Cheese?"

"Yes, of course," she snapped, not the least bit polite about how foolish she found his question.

"Oh, right. I remember," Gordon said sheepishly.

"Gordon!" came a voice from down the street. He turned and squinted against the sun. Half a block away, Parker was waving furiously in his direction, hanging out the window of a battered yellow taxi.

Gordon leapt to his feet. "Parker!" he called before he could stifled his own excitement. He could spend time later pondering why he was so happy at the sight of the runt, but at that moment he was running, the soles of his shoes slapping the sidewalk as he sprinted toward the cab.

"Gordon, oh my god, Gordon!" Casey greeted him when he approached the window from behind Parker. 

The swell of excitement continued in rushed explanations and greetings, Gordon spiritedly shouting his recollection at them through the window while they in return shouted theirs to him. It came to a halt when Parker quite suddenly inquired, "Who's your friend?"

Gordon looked over to discover Penny peering up at them, smiling.


"Make some room!" she demanded to Parker. Parker began to protest, but she swatted at him through the window. He relented and pushed the door open, allowing her entry, his mouth agape and his stare fixed on Gordon.

"Gordon?" Casey said, pressing herself against her door to avoid contact with the tattered hag now squeezing between her and Parker.

"Guys, this is Penny."

Penny nodded and stuck a hand out to Casey. "Pleased to meetcha," she gummed.

"She's coming with us?" Parker asked in a tone thick with the sentiment that he hoped it was not so.

"I don't think--"

"Just until the next stop or two," Penny explained. "I need to see a man in Minnesota."

"But we're not going to Minnesota," Parker said. "Or, at least, we might not be going to Minnesota."

Penny stared at Parker for a moment before leaning over to Casey and inquiring, "Do you let this nigger talk to you this way?"

"Right then," Gordon conceded before climbing into the passenger seat, next to the very irate driver. "Penny's riding shotty for a while," he explained to the windshield, too afraid to look behind him.