“Can’t use this,” said Reginald as he gently tapped a mesh glove and watched blue static play across the surface. “Chrono-gloves are very tricky. I once smacked a man while wearing it and he vanished. Turns out that I’d hit him in such a way that his father had been stillborn. I felt kinda bad for a few hours.”
“This is so amazing! My mind still reels with the implications! Hold still...your velvet sash is askew.”
“And your tunic, your Majesty—I mean Jack—is a bit too precisely laced on the side. Nobody cares about precision in fashion when you’re as poor as me…I mean, you…”
“I share your confusion! This is a grand social experiment, my friend, and what we learn from it will surely HURK!”
The Prince’s face froze as the pauper thrust a dagger between his ribs and directly into his heart.
“My father used to tell me that one of life’s great ironies is how every man wants both to be royalty and to kill royalty. Look at me; I’ve gotten to do both.”
The Prince fell to the ground, grabbing at the paupers boots, mouthing breathless words as he died.
“Amazing. I believe I’m the only man who’s ever known what he’ll look like when he dies.”
He allowed himself a smile before calling out for the palace guards…
“I’m telling you, Amama..mamin…jihad…there’s no way your plan will work!”
“Please, just call me Mr. President, Mr. President. And yes, our plan will work. Right now, thousands of Iranian sleeper agents are ready to strike, prepared to take action against your corrupt American government!”
“And why not, Mr. President? What do we stand to lose? The deal is as follows; leave us and our nuclear programs alone or we will crush your economy, throw your populace into armed revolt, and have all of your fun for ourselves.”
“Does…wait, does that last part even make sense?”
“You are not one to talk, Mr. President. Literally. Your move.”
“All right, fine, we give in. Just call ‘em off, Mamoo.”
“It’s Mah…oh, never mind. As soon as you push through the U.N. resolution that we have prepared for you, I will give the order to stand down.”
“Nice one, Mr. President. Well played, you bastard.”
“A pleasure speaking to you.”
President Ahmadinejad breathed a sigh of relief as he hung up the phone.
Operation Loiter At Wal-Mart And Target And Buy Every Wii We Can Get Our Hands On To Keep The Americans From Getting Them, Thereby Ruining Christmas And Every Other Day For As Long As We Can Keep It Up was an unprecedented success.###
Sir Reginald knew which side his bread was buttered on: the inside.
"What, that's it?" asked Sir Reginald. "That doesn't even sound original. Look that up on the internet, I bet that's been said a dozen times already."
"I said look up that thing about 'the inside,' as I'm sure it's been said before," he reiterated. "I reiterated? Isn't that a bit forced? And...hang on, did you just italicize the word reiterated? The reader should be able to infer, by context, which words should be emphasised."
Well, sometimes I think they need a little p--
"Did you properly notate above that I interrupted you? Good. Because I'll have you know, you fucking
Sure, it meant that the planet she eventually ruled would be a nightmarish radioactive wasteland, but at least this way she knew that her Brutal Laser of Truth actually worked...
EDIT: Flickr keeps saying that the photo is unavailable. If you don't see it above, then click here.
We always tell people that once we put the RFID in their neck, they'll never truly be off-grid. Not to us. Sometimes we get a guy who knows that a VERY powerful electromagnet applied VERY quickly to the chip will roast it without doing their brain permanent harm.
That's why we put the thing on the underside of their spine.
Makes our lives more interesting
You see, the Woogun can fire a "statistically ridiculous" (that's straight from the manual) number of bullets without requiring a reload. Sure, if you're just at target practice, it'll fire its standard thirteen rounds, but if you're in a situation where you really need that damn gun...have at it.
Reports vary, but some claim that their Woogun has fired over 150 rounds without reloading. That's highly improbable, since if you stop using it for more than about twenty seconds, it'll need a new magazine. If you're in a lengthy firefight, though, it'll keep working for you.
The Woogun's primary draw--and drawback--is that it has an unexplainable sense of Dramatic Impact. If you've kicked in the door of a crackhouse and have been shooting up the place, killing thugs--you know, the usual--you're set. But the moment you reach the last guy, the one holed-up in the back room with a shotgun?
The Woogun knows its place, and its place is not to make that last, really important shot. The manufacturers insist that the weapon is mildly psionic, as nobody is able to switch guns for that last shot, even if they know their hammer is going to come down on nothing. You'll have to wait until that happens before you can switch weapons or tactics.
It's for reasons like this that the Woogun is rarely used by the military and certainly not by people who know they're heading into a situation where they've got a specific final target in mind. It's great for covering fire, and you increase your chances of keeping that clip full if you're firing blind over cover or around a wall.
So why buy one, especially at the prices they go for? Cause you really never can tell when you're going to want a hundred continuous rounds, or even when you're going to need to stop before you manage to take that final shot, can you?
Well, at the very least, Serge can't.
I’m not certain what to do with it.
You see, in one of the boxes that my grandfather left behind was a strange gun, rounded and very rusty. It weighs several pounds and has knobs and dials along the side. If you put your ear against it, you can hear it quietly humming, and on its side is a dark and cracking piece of masking tape, upon which is written “Disintegrator Gun: still dangerous.”
My grandfather worked in a granary since the day he turned twelve and didn’t learn to read until he was forty-five. According to my mother, he’d never been able to change a lightbulb without blowing a fuse. He couldn’t have invented this, it’s too complex to be a toy, and it seems unlikely that a man who spent most of his life hip-deep in feed corn would have ever been in a situation to stumble upon something like this.
So where did it come from? I don’t know, but it’s sitting on my desk now. Every time I bring it close to my laptop, the LCD starts flowing and the fans start spinning faster. My cat’s hair stands on end when she gets too close. I set it next to a fountain pen which promptly started leaking ink out of its tip. If I hold it near my head, my fillings ache.
If I hold it in my hand, I feel like the most powerful man in the world.
It’s like a little boy’s dream come true, but I can’t bring myself to so much as touch the trigger. I thought of testing it in on a rock in the back yard, but what if it’s got a really wide beam, or punches a hole in the ground the size of an SUV? What if it explodes in my hand?
What if it does nothing?
So for now it sits on my desk, all but begging me to pick it up.
“Be a superhero,” it whispers.
“Be a villain,” it suggests.
“Be whatever you want, so long as you use me to do it.”
I know that I’ll break down soon. I’ll use it on a tree or a wall, a car or a criminal, on a bank or on myself. But I’ll use it.
And I’ll never stop.
Oddly, her first thought was not “Why does he have a gun?” or even “My God, somebody is shooting at us!” No, as she lay sprawled across the warm pavement where he had pushed her, her first thought was this:
“I thought drive-bys only happened in the movies—or rap music.”
By the time she had collected her thoughts, her date had already fired two shots, one hitting each of the front wheels of the Mustang as it sped down the street. Spinning rubber careened through the air, ferociously hitting cars and pedestrians. The car, distressed by its sudden lack of wheels, spun in place, eventually coming to a rest pointing the way it had come.
Lisa tried to speak, but was again interrupted as all four doors of the battered vehicle opened at once, and her date, squinting a bit, laid all four of the gunman out.
All at once they were surrounded by a group of men in immaculate suits and horrible ties, all swinging their handguns wildly around in the air, as if another attack could come from anywhere: the street, the buildings around them, or even the sky above.
As they chattered at each other in Italian, Pete knelt down and held his hand out to a visibly shaken Lisa.
“Here, let me help you up.”
“Wait. The mafia only does this in movies.”
“Well, I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never met the mafia before.”
“Then why did you—”
“Instinct, I’m terribly ashamed to say. In my defense, I did tell you that I spent six years in the military.”
“You didn’t mention that you killed people.”
“Well, the army does that sometimes.”
“No, in real life, you ass!” she said, batting away his hand and standing up on her own. She tried to dust off her skirt before realizing it had actually been scraped from black to a dark gray.
For the third time in three minutes she was interrupted, this time as the Italians spread a pathway, and a portly man with a gin-blossomed nose and the biggest lips she’d ever seen in her life made his way towards them.
“I cannot thank you enough! My men, they shoulda seen that coming,” he laughed, smacking one good-naturedly on the back of his head. “But thank the Virgin Mary you were here to save my life! You want a job, you got it! Anything you want. Here, take something for your troubles,” he said as he pulled a wad of hundreds from his pants pocket.
“No, really, we just—”
“I won’t take no for an answer, mister…”
“Jones,” Lisa heard him lie, “Anthony Jones.”
“Well, Mr. Jones, as I said, I never takes no for an answer, so lets get outta here and get you two lovebirds something to eat. You like Chinese? I love it, but for some reason the boys and the bosses all think we all gotta eat goddamned lasagna and meatballs and drink Chianti all the time. Me, I want some egg rolls and General Tso’s chicken, so let’s get going. I know a nice place about ten blocks from here that hand-makes every skin and filling of their crab rangoons, and they got some rice wine that’ll make you forget you ever drinked anything else. Jerry, take the lady’s coat, I want it dry-cleaned by the time we get back from dinner. Lil’ Tim, you take the man’s gun, file off the serial numbers, fuck up the rifling and drop it in the river. Goldie, the fuck are you still standing here for, why haven’t you brought the car around, what, I don’t pay you enough?”
Lisa and Peter were both astonished at how much the man had said, without pause, and seemingly without taking a breath. As the only blond man walked to the only extra-long Benz on the block, Lisa took Peter’s hand without thinking. Or maybe he took hers; it was hard to tell in the heat of the moment.
“You kids look shook up. I’m sorry, this must be a lot to take in. Don’t worry, everything’s gonna be fine. That was nice shooting, Mr. Jones, and you ain’t gonna get in no trouble for it. I know I come across like a pretty imposing figure, but all I wanna do is take you two for some nice food, give you a little spending money, and consider our debt settled.”
When the Benz rolled up, three men fought for the privilege of opening the door for their boss. He started to get in, then turned around and looked at Lisa and Peter, the jovial expression gone from his face.
“Don’t worry, after tonight, we ain’t never gonna see each other again, we ain’t never gonna talk to each other again, and we ain’t never gonna acknowledge a damn thing that happened here tonight. I don’t like to know men that shoot that well if they aren’t working for me, and I don’t think you wanna move in the same social circles as me, ‘Mr. Jones’,” he said knowingly.
“Now c’mon," he said, the smile returning, "I want some fried rice, and I’m curious if Jerry can actually hustle somebody into cleaning the young lady’s coat by the time we’re done eating.”
As he door closed behind him, the remaining Scarface extras turned and looked at Peter. They shrugged their shoulders at him, as if to say “The fuck do we know, man?” before opening another door for Lisa.
To their credit, none of them looked at her legs as she got in.
The Gleam could do nothing but laugh.
“You always give up so easily, old friend. We have been through more difficult times, and we shall go through worse. Stop being so frightened.”
“Had I enough fire in my frame, Gleam, you and I would surely battle over those words!”
“You’ve never had the heat to fight me, Luminous! I--”
“Will the two of you be quiet?” interrupted Radiant with the tone of an irritated parent. “The angrier you get, the more tired you will become. Let us contemplate our situation yet again.”
“Should we wait for The Glow?” asked Luminous quietly. The three of them looked over at the oldest of their kind, who flickered quietly in the darkness.
“No,” said Radiant, “let him rest. We shall wake him when we have reached a decision.”
“We have already reached our decision, though we had no choice in that matter. We are remembered by so few, all of them so old that they will soon pass, and us with them.”
“Luminous…is right,” said the Gleam with obvious resignation in his voice. “Even those who remember us, their palms never come together in prayer anymore. And without that prayer, we are nothing.”
“Surely,” Radiant asked, “between the three of us we have enough fire left to create a new emissary, one who can bring worship and power to us?”
“No, you don’t,” came a quiet voice. It was The Glow, awakened from his slumber. “But even of ones like us, a sacrifice is sometimes demanded.”
The others retreated as The Glow began to brighten.
“Stop!” shouted Radiant.
“You’ll burn yourself out!” cried Luminous.
“Yes, I shall…and it shall be for nothing, unless the three of you come, and offer to me the tiniest spark. Though I shall pass, and even you may not survive, we shall create a prophet one last time.”
Wordlessly, they all approached The Glow and offered to him what they could. As he brightened, they dimmed. None of them spoke, and soon the light became as powerful as it had been so many ages ago.
“It is done,” said The Glow, as he became part of The Dark.
In his place, there grew a tiny pinprick of light. It floated with uncertainty, occasionally bobbing in place. The three were so weary that they could do nothing but watch as the small light began to explore, touching all of them in turn, and lifting their spirits.
“Little one…” said Luminous, with great effort. “You need…a name.”
“A new…name,” offered Radiant, “as the time…for the old names…has passed.”
They became silent again as the bright little prophet began to dart around like an insect, inexplicably pausing in one spot before speeding to another.
“I have your name in my heart,” said The Gleam at last. “Take it with you, to where our one-time worshippers live. Use it, and use the boundless energy of youth, to convince…nay, to remind them that we exist. Speak, in particular, to the children, such that they may teach their own children of us. Bring us their prayers, bring us their faith and belief, and we may yet survive to celebrate life alongside you.”
Radiant and Luminous waited for The Gleam to rest a moment. When he spoke again, they knew that the name was right, and that their salvation was at hand.
“Go now, Tinkerbell, and make their tiny hands dance for us again.”
Recommended Music: Flowing Water from the High Mountains.mp3
Mok Leung stood at the entrance to the Cave of the Mo-Lan Devils, the ocean's waves licking at his feet, and held aloft his spear, Seventh Tooth of Golden Dragon.
"Mo-Lan Devils!" he shouted into the darkness, his powerful voice echoing deep within, "I, Mok Leung, come to fight your champion. You have kept this fortress hidden for many years, but on this day, red-faced Kwan himself has guided us! Give me face and present your champion, that I may defeat him with my Serpent Fist kung-fu!"
There was a quiet shuffling in the cave, but no response to the challenge.
"Mo-Lan Devils! If you do not give me face," he continued, his face turning red, "we will block up your cave with a thousand stones, leaving you to die slowly of hunger and madness!"
Far inside the cave, a single ember glowed brightly and a torch flared up beside it. The small old man holding it walked slowly to the entrance of the cave, staring with white eyes at the six men who stood before him.
"Since I cannot see you," he said to Mok's chest, "you must tell me. Are you strong?"
"I am stronger than any man in the prefecture! These hands have pulled a running boar to the ground and broken its neck!"
"Ah. Tell me, are you handsome?"
"When the time came for me to marry, I chose the most beautiful woman in the land, and a dozen maidens dove to the bottom of Bronze Gar Lake, drowning with their sorrow."
"Of course. And are you brave?"
"When nobody would seek the Seventh Tooth of Golden Dragon, I alone went to the peak of Tung Ting to wrest it from the grasp of the Shou tribe's leader!"
"And your men? Are they loyal?"
"Only these men came with me to the Fog Plateau, where the spirits of corrupt ancestors can pit brother against brother, and we emerged with stronger hearts than ever!"
The old man smiled, and pulled at the loose, rotting tunic that hung over his thin and bony frame.
"So now you seek to destroy the Mo-Lan Devils, whose faces have not been seen in daylight for hundreds of winters?"
Mok said nothing, but slammed the butt of his spear against the rocky ground, the brass rings at its tip smashing loudly together. The old man laughed, and turned back towards the cave.
"Wait!" shouted Mok, thrusting Seventh Tooth at the old man's back.
Like lightning, the wizened man spun and stopped the spear with the middle of his thumb.
"Mok Leung," he said quietly, "if you kill me, who will teach you how to be King of the Mo-Lan Devils? Now come, my wife is making us dumplings."
As they followed him into the cave, the sound of the waves grew almost deafening behind them.
nine of us,” Dr. Sark pointed out, “and your revolver only holds six bullets. If
we were to rush you—even if you were to kill half-a-dozen of us straight away—we
would eventually overwhelm you. Numbers are on our side, as well as courage, so
you might as well—”
You never get the full effect of how loud a gun is from the movies, we discovered. We also, silently and unanimously, decided to stay put. All eight of us...
I can’t sleep. I can hear the yuppies upstairs arguing about what would have happened if Hitler had lived. They toast with their glasses of sherry and bottles of Smirnoff Ice every time somebody makes a pithy comment. Some guy who laughs like a girl keeps insisting that nothing would have been any different, that he would have been killed before the Nuremburg trials began. A girl with large breasts – a fact inferred by her comments and how the men defer to her – says that there’s no way Hitler would have made it out of the bunker alive, that he was a kill everybody wanted a chance to claim. The guy who actually lives in the apartment keeps saying, in a voice heavy with too much “good” vodka, that on a conceptual level, Hitler never died at all.
My door bursts open and I shoot up into a sitting position on my ratty couch. It’s Lo Wei, a Chinese émigré who lives down the hall from me.( The Day Hitler Didn't Die continues for about 600 more words... )
Current Music: http://www.last.fm/user/benchilada/