75th Post! Before We Get Started, Does Anyone Want To Get Out?
WARNING: Contains strong language from the very beginning and the whole thing gets a whole lot worse way before the end.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you” – Ray Bradbury.
“Throat-warbler! Jerkface! Douche-bagger! You can go back to wherever you came from, you demented Humperdinck!” Xandar Vekken, the uncompromising bounty hunter shouted, “…And rot in a vat of guba-slime! Your Followers can’t protect you cos I’ve already collected ’em!”
Dak Galbi, the Administrator, in his office at Folly Goldabek Block, gulped and stared in absolute dread. “Quaequam Blag, Vekken!” he blurted. “My! Pardon my language… An’-and h-how did he reply to that?!”
“Aww, ya know – the usual: threatened to put a bounty on my head…”
“A bounty on a bounty hunter! My, will the oddities of this galaxy never end? My…!”
While spinners zipped back and forth along the rain-spattered skyways outside, the hunters listened intently.
“Vital data pertaining to the revival of the Star League was unfortunately nabbed by a notorious gang of three Dangalak bandidoes: Skweekee Bumthyme; Floppy Baublebouncer and Marky “Mark” Wahlberg,” Dak dithered, running a trembling finger across his mobi-scanner. “Find these miscreants, return the data, and I can promise you… triple your standard rates-”
Xan’s eyebrows raised with intrigue; Skinjob’s would, if he had any.
“Mashdup Bottywrangler is a snivelling little rascal, but has managed to retain his miserable life by becoming the most reliable informant I know. I summoned you here because he has tracked this certain bunch of Dangalaks to the bar known as: “The Scruffy-Lookin’ Nerf Herder,” down on Old-Fashioned Way, located just a few blocks from here. It is the sort of sleazy address at which such wretched jackasses would hang out…”
Cut immediately to the hunters entering the bar (‘cos the bit inbetween is kinda slow an’ boring.)
The immediate stench of dead dog and kippers drew them over to Table No. 6. All three Dangalaks glared at Xan and Skinjob with nothing short of utter hatred. The fat one – identified as Floppy Baublebouncer – bellowed at them first. “Chao buoi sang, Terran-scuz!”
“Wahl!” yelled Marky.
“Well, ciao to u too, I’m sure…!” Skinjob gasped.
“Well, howdya like that, Skinj?! We’ve only just come in and already I wanna waste ’em!” Xan bristled.
“No da ngung?! Hoat dong vinh nien!” Baublebouncer blurted.
“I don’t give a drok if ‘e’s got hoat dong, Skwee!” Xan gnashed. “What’s your toe-rag pal blabbin’ about?”
“Don’t take dat tone wid us, Terran-scuz!” Bumthyme bleeted. “He says you haf no right to barge in heere and “interrogate usss…”
“Trai Dat van la nha toi!” Baublebouncer snarled that line with such venom at Xan. No doubt about it, you could have fried an egg on all that mutual contempt filling the room.
“Frick you, Floppy!”
“Wahl!” yelled Marky.
Okey dokey, then,” Xan exclaimed impatiently. “This is not your day, you Dangalak frickwits!”
“Co biet khong, thoi da doc ve tran dau nay! No dien ra ngay o day! Giai Super Bowl cuoi cung!”
Xan flared. “Why you lousy-! You can say that again!”
“Aww! Enough of this useless chatter,” Skinjob butted in. “Are you goin’ to give us the data we seek…?!”
“Meh!” Baublebouncer blared.
“Wahl!” yelled Marky.
“Quaequam blag!” Xan cursed. “We’re gonna need more than 1000 words if we’re gonna sort this lot out…”
“You can’t miss Skinjob; he wanders around in that wretched, dishevelled trenchcoat with what looks like a toaster for a head. Please, you cannot miss him; I’ve been trying for days and still haven’t had a clear shot…” – Boba Fett.
HELLFIRE! One of the Dangalaks – that frickin’ Floppy most likely! – opened fire first. In time-honoured tradition of sci-fi evil creeps everywhere – luckily for our two (anti?)-heroes – all his rounds missed hopelessly. Xan somersaulted nimbly behind the nearest table and returned fire. For the next five ferocious minutes, the barroom filled with laser-fire. Skinjob’s sensors picked up an emergency exit being broken out the back.
“Blazes, Vekken! At least two of them have escaped!”
The last remaining Dangalak made a run for it. Skinjob fired a reckless shot, instantly cursing his poor aim. As the smoke from the blast-points disappeared, the android looked incredulously at his partner.
“Hey, Skinj, what’s troubling you?”
“When the blazes did you learn to do those gymnastics?”
“Before my boobs got too big-”
“Boo-wha-?! You’re a woman?!”
“Of course, if I was just another spotty, testosterone-drenched boy, no one would notice now… would they?”
“Umm, right… hang on, though: isn’t ‘Xandar’ a boy’s name?”
“It’s a deliberate typo. The tag is really ‘Xandra,’ but I never corrected it; ya think I’d get this work if the agency knew I was female…? Besides, I just took advantage of this writer’s laziness in not fleshing out my character traits properly…”
“Wha-?! Wow – now we’ve revealed this plot-twist, I don’t know what to think…”
“Oh yeah? What are ya thinkin’ about now, Metalhead?”
“…You’ve gotten yourself into the wrong business, girly.”
“Aow, is that right, Skinj?” she hissed, standing akimbo.
“Sure is. Look, the weaker sex ain’t supposed to make-”
“Whoa, stop right there! Let me tell you somethin’ about the “weaker” sex, fella: We… make… LIFE!” she yelled, slapping her belly. “Men – these days…” She flicked out a taser from her belt, and whammed it to the point where Skinjob’s nose would have been…
“…Can’t even make a frickin’ sandwich!”
One quick sizzle and Xan had stormed out of the room before the addled android hit the deck, and before you can say: “Golly gosh, he wasn’t expecting that…”
“Science fiction is metaphor… The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself… The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next” – Ursula K. Le Guin.
So, what does come next?
When Skinjob came to, early the next morning, lying flat out on Dak’s office couch, he realized that not only were some of his circuits missing, but he noticed with horror that Dak’s ceiling had not been dusted for a long time. A very long time…
“Ahem! The only way, Mr. Skin, is up.”
“Eh? Wha-?” the android muttered as the Administrator’s face – looming down at him – came into focus.
“My hand… take it…”
“Yeah, sure. Boy, that Xandar!” Skinjob blustered as he sprang back onto his feet. “Where did that girl go?”
“Sorry, Mr. Skin… what girl…?”
Meanwhile, halfway across the galaxy: “Whatdya mean, ya ain’t gonna give me the data?!” that girl shouted.
Floppy just shouted something unintelligible and drew his blaster; Marky just shouted: “Wahl!” and drew his blaster.
“Alright, you screwheads! Take tha-!”
At that moment random laser-blasts seared through the air from behind her. There was Skinjob, letting rip.
“Hush up, girly! This ain’t no time to monologue! Blast ’em.”
KAPOW! Bumthyme got bumped off.
The other two fled into the bushes (which should have been described earlier, but really, in all this excitement…)
“Yay, good shootin’, girly!”
“Hey, chrome-mouth,” Xan snapped. “As long as I have this blaster in my hand, watch what ya say. Less of the “girly” from now on, okay? Capisce? Anyway… frickin’ ‘eck. That’s the only one outta these three screwheads who could speak English, ya dumb droid! Now we’ve made our job a heckuva lot more difficult! An’ we’re gonna havta move frickin’ fast…”
“You needn’t worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive” – Princess Leia Organa.
“Yeah! What about the frickin’ money?!” The android’s voice was tinged with a hollow wail of despair. The i-card – slapped onto Xan’s ship – glistened under the twin orange suns, almost mocking them. Skinjob grabbed it, pausing to glance at his accomplice.
“I’m almost afraid to open it up…”
Back in their ship, the android processed the message through the onboard translator. The message began, inevitably, with: “Ha! Terran-scuz, ha-!”
It continued: “Ha! We’ve escaped to Mogadon IV, in the Flaccid Quadrant, where you can’t find us! Ha! Try your luck, Terran-scuz, ha-!”
“Wahl!” yelled Marky.
The hunters exchanged big beaming grins.
“What a pair of imbeciles!” the android answered. “They’ve only just given away their whereabouts.”
“Okey-dokey, Skinj, pick up the Bum and put ‘im in the cargo hold-”
“Hey, seeing as you’re all high an’ mighty, why don’tcha do it yerself?!” the android moaned.
But Xan just smiled demurely. “‘Cos I’m just the ‘girly!’ Now hush up an’ move yer ass, coochie-coo!”
“Jeesh, now I’m beginning to understand why them Dangalaks don’t like you much…”
“Ha! Tough crud, Skinj! Charge the boosters!”
Suddenly, Xan’s face was locked in a deep pensive mood: “Ya ever get the feelin’ that the writer hasn’t thought through our storyline as much as ya’d like?”
“Hell yeah! Let’s all team up an’ fight ‘im!”
“No, hush up a minute, I’m tryin’ ta think out loud here…”
“What if we cut out all the descriptive stuff about interstellar travel and just jump to the next chapter, preferably set on Mogadon IV?”
“Oh no, ya can’t. Only The Creator can deem what happens to ya… or doesn’t.”
“What is all this wishy-washy supernatty stuff you keep hollerin’? I’ll have none of it-“
“It’s not up ta you, Skinj – it’s all the Whim of the Writer. If ya want ta be successful with trackin’ down yer bounties, maybe get a love interest in the next instalment, or wrangle yer way outta being written out, ya should take it up with Him.
“Okay…” Skinjob muttered, recharging his plasma-rifle. “Who Him?”
His moniker is ‘Brad.’ He’s kinda weird, yet very distinctive in the Blogosphere. Ya’ll know Him when ya see Him – he’s got big ears, dark eyes and ‘e’s covered in white fur…”