Free at last, free at last. When it comes to having a ghost lady hanging on to me, I am free at last. I got the phase device thingy working right. A little bit of guesswork, some experience with slightly similar devices, a little bit of putting it back together the way it was, and a little bit of becoming one with it all paid off.
The first thing my unwelcome guest did was help herself to the food. Enough of her was removed from reality to keep her from being immediately harmed by lack of water or food, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t incredible hungry when she got back.
Technically, that shouldn’t have worked either unless she came to my place on an empty stomach. Maybe she did. Ignoring extraneous details like that comes in useful. When a cell phone turns into a robot or aliens that look like utahraptors invade, it doesn’t do to stand around all day going “Gee, I wonder how this happened.”
Nope, much better to find an intestine and start tearing. Just try to avoid using your own unless you’re good with choking or whipping someone. Also, kinda difficult to shove those back in. Bring a staple gun.
So here was this art thief, pickpocket, and minor pain in my ass sitting on my couch, tucking in to my bowl of cereal and half gallon of pineapple-orange-banana juice.
I just sat down on the floor and turned up the TV. Damn, looks like the U.S. avoided an economic catastrophe and the shutdown’s ended. Well that’s just great. I never did get to raid the Smithsonian in D.C. I was really looking forward to owning a T-Rex skull.
Oh, and the Yurples carved up some members of the Reds and Greens, cutting off chunks of skin in the shape of those protective casings you see around phones. No clue why they want them, to be honest. They’re not even knifeproof, obviously.
“In response, there’s been evidence that the Greens have broken out their stockpiles of space marine weaponry. This footage, shot earlier today, shows the devastating violence they’ve already unleashed,” said an overly-dramatic news anchor. His hair may be perfect, but his vision stunk. It was just an electric car full of militant hippies unloaded on a coffee shop with full-auto handguns with exploding bullets. Geez, don’t bother calling my attention to it until they take out the buildings behind it t- well helloooooooooo nurse!
I watched as they showed the replay. A Green with a surprising amount of muscle mass stepped out at the end of the barrage while holding a large rectangular weapon on his shoulder. It had two openings, not so much barrels as holes in the rectangle. The Green fired just the top. The weapon flew back as a glowing projectile flew through the air. And the coffee shop. And the book store next door. And the corner restaurant after that. There was a loud crack and then a roar.
The next scene, the lightly injured members of the Greens rolled their car back onto the wheels. The one who fired the weapon was left behind, but they did try to retrieve the thing. The hyper-advanced blowy uppey thingy, I’m calling it at this point. They got it, but they had to pull the gunner’s arms off it. The palms were melted to it, and the recoil threw the weapon back so far it ripped entire limbs off.
Looks like some strong weapons survived the parody paradox, or parodyox as I like to call it.
“A horrible scene. I wish we warned you beforehand about having kids in the room. Truly a scene of bowel-loosening terror. One good thing to come of it is that Shieldwall has established a presence in that corner of the city, or at least a former member of Shieldwall.
Paveman, the Concrete Crusader, isn’t letting a little thing like downsizing take him out of action. With their primary antagonist, Psycho Gecko, in hiding after his sonic attack on Kingscrow, Shieldwall has been busy fighting a collection of animal-themed villains in Canada. Paveman, though, has been sighted here in Empyreal City with ever increasing frequency.”
And then we come to another clip. This time it shows drunk Reds beating down someone while yelling that he owes them money. Suddenly, a manhole cover is thrown high into the air and Paveman leaps up, pulling the sidewalk into himself to grow too large to fit back in the hole. Not that he tried to, anyway. He landed with his feet on either side and gave the Reds a wallopin’. Near as I can tell, walloping originates from someone trying to come up with a term to describe smacking someone across the face repeatedly with a wallaby.
This may be a lie, however, or it may be true only in different dimensions. Can you really take that risk?
The anchor broke in right when Paveman sent a Red flying into a car that happened to be driving by, causing it to hit a car going the other direction and stop suddenly, with a car then plowing into the first car from behind, “Needless to say, while the city dislikes the collateral damage done to infrastructure, that’s a minor issue compared to hooligans blowing everything up.
Let’s go over to Francis with the weather for this weekend. Francis?”
But enough about weather.
I’ll give the Greens points for viciousness. Not sure if they’re going to survive the final cut, though. I won’t need three gangs under me. Barely got room under me with this magnificently large pair of balls bouncing around down there.
I shut off the TV and turned to my guest. “Hey there hungry sleepy woman. What about you? You got any news? Juicy tidbits? Stay away from the gossip section, but give me things to know.”
“M’ name’s Dame,” she answered, her words distorted as she shoved a spoon into her mouth.
“Hello Dame. Anything useful? Hey, here’s something. Stop trying to take my stuff! You got that?”
Dame nodded as she chewed on frosted flakes of corn.
“No argument? Well, that’s good I suppose. By the way, saw you at that party. Don’t know why you were snatching wallets from people when you can sneak around through security and take fancy things.”
“Sh ish mf,” she started to answer before stopping to get more of her food down, “It is because of you. The upper crust likes to wear their fancy jewels for occasions like that. I was there to shop and didn’t want anybody thinking they had a thief in their midst, even if it was just you.”
She stammered out a response, “A mad killer who sometimes steals things. That’s what I meant.”
“Ah, ok. So, I’m mad am I?”
“You think I have anger issues?”
“That’s not what I meant, but yes.”
“Because you shoved a frozen swan up someone’s ass and hit him so hard with the head that it burst.”
“Perhaps that was coldly calculated to throw my enemies off balance?”
“You shoved your hand up his butt.”
“All part of my diabolical plan, I assure you.”
“What plan was that?”
“Killing that man after shoving my hand up his butt, of course. Try to keep up.”
Dame rolled her eyes. She then cleared her throat and stood up. “By the way, am I free to go?”
I smiled at her. “Oh yes. I just think there’s one thing you owe me first.”
A few minutes later I stood watching as her hands moved in circular motions, the water flowing over them and splashing against the round…bowl. She ate from my bowl, she’s at least going to wash the darn thing before she leaves. Manners, people!
“By the way,” I told her, “your phase thingy should work ok now. There’s just one thing I might ask you to do as payment. No dishes involved, I don’t think.”
Dame looked up from drying her hands, “Nothing violent. I don’t do violence.”
“I noticed. I just want you to spy on someone for me.”
She cocked her head to the side as she considered it, but I think it was obvious she owed me a little. “Ok, I’ll watch the guy for you.”
“And see if you can find anything I can use against him. Missed child support payments, an unhealthy love of women in Nazi uniforms, daddy issues, mommy issues, NAMBLA magazine issues. I want something I can use against him to apply psychological pressure.”
She nodded. “You got it,” she said as she looked around. “Wow, this place is a piece of shit. Do you have an email address I can send reports through to?”
I gave her the one that I use for receiving jobs and saw her off, through the door this time.
Then I turned to find Moai where he was propped up on the couch, having switched the channel to a horror movie.
“Alright, Moai, I think it’s time. Let’s get the plot moving along.”
He looked at me at that.
“The plot to mess with the Statue of Liberty, of course. What did you think I was talking about? This is the part where we put pressure on the gangs. Then I’ll twist their arms. After that, it’s smooth sailing. Just helicopters and lots of equipment after that. Now, you get the rocket launcher. I’ll get the car.”
The guys who run the gangs are known. Where they live, their jobs, their families, all that is common enough knowledge and all of it is irrelevant. The families are protected, the jobs are fronts, and their homes are so well guarded that any other gang is going to be hesitant in the extreme when it comes to attacking there.
So I blew those same homes up.
Moai handled the Yurples’ leader’s house with the Ikea rocket launcher. A couple of shots, badda bing badda boom, and the Macbook daddy is homeless. He was putting up the illusion of being at work when Moai wrecked the place.
I handled the Greens’ compound. It was all about showing that someone could live in a city without having a huge carbon footprint. It had a large garden with trees in the yard. I tore through on my car. A minigun chewed through trees. Lasers burned bushes and vines. I crashed through the front door and into the large living room of the place. Men jumped out of where they’d taken cover to shoot up my car, but the armoring held. I flipped a switch on the dash and a pair of car nuts underneath my “CTUL US16” plate extended out and fell off, bouncing and then rolling in different directions. I gunned it and drove straight through to the backyard as they detonated.
I watched the flames tear through the house and blow the windows out for a moment, wishing I had some marshmallows. Then I drove out, flipping a switch that caused an oil to squirt out of the tailpipe of my car and create a slick all over the yard.
As for the Reds, Moai and I both took out their place. We showed up, again and again, as simple delivery men. Somebody, the Greens or Yurples, was resorting to the old prank of ordering up lots of pizza. Well, the joke was on the enemy gangs. The Red guards loved pizza.
Maybe not so much when one large stack of pizza boxes that no one had ever unstacked opened up to start pumping a gaseous substance into the dwelling. The pizzas emitted a little bit of it as well, soon causing the guards to collapse with blooded mouths and reddened skin. After another twenty minutes like this, the section of the house immediately surrounding emitter collapsed, the wood having been eaten away.
I’ve made sure the leaders weren’t there at the time I attacked for a good reason though. They’re going to be the ones to submit to my brilliant scheme soon enough. For now, though, the Reds get to enjoy some conspicuous consumption.