I hope y’all had a Happy New Year. I’m still dealing with a tiny bit of old business from the Old Year. And even that got put off once I got a visitor.
I should have expected it. Actually, I did, just not in this specific way. Here, let me stop being vague and just tell y’all.
The whole gang sat at my lair, going over the plan for taking on His Eggcellency. Venus, Ball Boy, Carl, Moai, and I bent over blueprints of the factory that I acquired. That’s one of the things that took more time than needed. I could have just stolen them, but Venus insisted on doing things legally. Yet there she was, about to barge in on him without a warrant or any sort of oversight, all on my word. And I have been known to lie like a dog.
She made lots of friends in City Hall while cleaning up my mess. She pretty much moved here because of me. Then she found herself working with me to face an army of mutated chickens, a situation so deliciously ridiculous that even Tricia wanted to join in on the planning stage. So we feasted on pizza.
Then the doorbell rang. Which is odd, because even though I’d covered over the door glass, I never added a doorbell. Or a doorknocker, like what we heard next. Even if I did, it wouldn’t have sounded like metal on wood.
I immediately narrowed my eyes as those thoughts crashed on my brain in waves upon hearing someone trying to get us to the door. “Moai, have a peek at the door. I’ll start getting the armor on in case the Krampus wants to crash here or something.”
“Shouldn’t you send someone who can talk?” asked Ball Boy, as if being mute ever stopped Moai and I from communicating in the past.
“Fine, you check the door with him. If it’s a tall guy in a suit with no face, let me know somehow. Scream, maybe, if you have time.”
When they came back, I was barely out of my pants. It was still too much out of my pants for Venus’s comfort level, but I threw them back on in a hurry when Moai led someone in.
I didn’t recognize him at first, then I made the connection. “Matatoa Bobby Doomgex! What’s it been, a year?”
He looked much older, and a lot like his predecessor, save for one very important distinction. When he saw me, he smiled wide. “I think it has, Papa Gecko.”
I cringed. “Papa Gecko? That makes me sound old and like a dad. Besides, don’t you have Papa Moai and Papa Carl to embarrass instead?”
“Who is this guy?” asked a befuddled Tricia as Carl and Moai sandwiched Matatoa in a gentle hugs.
“This is 2014’s Baby New Year. I guess he’s a Father Time by now. Or something. I don’t know how it all works out, but I won’t be killing this one like I had to kill the last one.” I walked over last to hug the baby that had grown up over the course of the year.
“You won’t be killing me. No one will. Time’s just about up for me. I won’t be Father Time. He’s busy fixing more problems created by a time traveler.” He let out a tired sigh as he broke the hug with me. “I wish I’d been a better year.”
“This is for real?” asked Venus. “It’s New Year’s Day. Aren’t you supposed to be ‘gone’ already?”
Matatoa favored her with a smile and set both hands on his cane as he looked over. “When does everything that’s part of one year end and everything that’s part of one year begin?
“Good point,” I said.
Trish looked at me. “You snapped at me last night for all the questions I asked. Where’s my ‘good point?’” She smirked.
“You were here last night?” asked Carl and Ball Boy at once.
“So, come to visit us finally, Matatoa? What’s next for you after this? Write some memoirs, maybe? A tell-all about all the relationships you’ve had called ‘Fucking 2014′?” I preferred that line of conversation as opposed to the other one.
He cleared his throat. “If you don’t mind too terribly, I’d like to stay with you for the time I have remaining. Now, I won’t be a burden on you. I know how you realized you didn’t have anything for the Rejects to do and I don’t need to join you on your adventures.”
“That’s why you didn’t care enough to save them,” Venus realized.
“Young lady, you provided an excellent means for my adoptive father send them on to a better, safer life.” Matty put his arm around my shoulders as he revealed that to Venus.
“You really shouldn’t give her that sort of insight,” I told him. “People might start to suspect I’m playing them more often than they realize.”
“I already knew that, Gecko. I didn’t know the Rejects were part of it, but it makes sense now.” Venus looked down, but not straight down, as she remembered. I noticed her eyes widen slightly before she controlled them.
She didn’t appear surprised when I spoke in a flat voice devoid of questioning emphasis. “Gee, I wonder how you knew which chain of stores to check.”
I heard Tricia give an “Oh my god.” I realized then that I never did find out what story the media presented about the EMP. Venus and the FBI probably covered their asses.
Seriously, all this time and she still hasn’t shown me dat ass. I haven’t asked her because she might hit me, but I’ve thought it hard enough that she must have figured it out by now.
Dat ass. Dat ass. Dat ass. Dat ass. Dat ass. Dat ass. Dat ass.
Well, Venus looked ready to hit me, but I doubt it had to do with my feeble attempt at telepathy. “Nice to meet you, Mr. 2014, but we were in the planning stage for an assault. I’m sure someone can make you comfortable while we get back to that. Right?” She looked around at everyone.
Matty looked completely unconcerned. “I can find my way around. I’ve kept my eye on Psycho Gecko well enough to know this place. I was sorry to see the club go. You’ve really lost a lot over the past year.” He settled in on a barstool and helped himself to the vanilla and chocolate marshmallows I hid in an empty can of Cream of Snake soup.
I knew no one would decide to fix themselves a mouthful of cream, after all.
The only major thing left for me to push for in the plan, especially with Venus’s mystery guest showing up, would be more chickens. I refused to be out-roostered by His Eggcellency!
“Let’s not make this a cock measuring contest, Gecko,” Venus said, momentarily staring daggers at me before forcing a smile onto her face. Dat ass?
Cut to later that night, back at the egg packing plant. It started with a bang; a pair of my chicken grenades tried to cross the road and blew a hole in the lobby on the north side. Dozens of chickensaurs flooded the gap within thirty seconds, a ferocious feathered flood of freaks. I slipped in the docking bay again. The giant, fire-breathing chicken stomped around there. It grew since the last time I saw it. Claws grew out of the ends of the wings, like it was turning into a dragon.
It made sense. The chickensaurs resembled velociraptors, and even the Phenomenal Fighting Justice Rangers had been known to shoehorn a dragon mech onto their team when everyone else on it used old animals like dinosaurs or a sabre-tooth tiger.
Though everyone waited around the perimeter, we settled on a swift decapitating strike to minimize destruction. I’m fine with decapitation, but the lack of destruction irked me.
I navigated through the south end of the plant to find the main packing floor that held His Eggcellency’s dais and throne. Hopefully, the throne held His Eggcellency’s ass.
His royal roundness stood on the dais, organizing chickensaurs into rows and columns like some sort of Roman legion of roamin’ yard birds. He didn’t notice me, more because of my invisibility than because of his long-winded speech. “Whoever has attacked us has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fryer! The day may come when the courage of chickens may fail, but it is not this day! This day, we fight! This day, they die! Should our enemies blot out the sun, then we will fight in the shade. Now, peck hearty, my chickensaurs, for tonight we dine in hell! They may be men, but we are chicken!”
And the crowd went mild. Guess he forgot to teach them English. It’s not his fault, though. He must have been busy. A training regimen like he put these birds on must have left him feeling hen-pecked.
I slipped an arm around his neck and tightened up enough to preclude any tricks like fleeing for his life. I dropped my invisibility projection as well. “Hey there, Humpty Dumpty. Now that you’re done doing the Humpty Hump, how about you put your cocks away and let’s talk man to man?”
“Never! If I die, my horde will not rest until they’ve picked your bones clean,” he responded.
“You’d have better luck picking speck of pickled peppers, Peter Piper.” I opened a line to Venus. “Hey there sweet thing, he’s decided he’d rather surrender than die. Mind dropping in?”
She crashed in through the skylight. She’d planned on that, and I figured she’d have a rappel line or grappling hook to ease herself down. Instead, she dropped and landed easily in shiny, sleek armor. It fit close, emphasizing the gold and white that she took as her colors. The armor itself looked thin, but I could tell from the way she swatted away a leaping chickensaur that she had strengths enhancing pseudomuscles.
“Attack, my chickensaurs! Feast on their bones!” proclaimed His Eggcellency. I let him go and stepped back, then activated stealth mode and disappeared.
“I should have known not to trust you, but usually you’ll keep your end of a bargain,” Venus said in between beating the crowd of cocks threatening to overwhelm her. Then, to someone else, she said “I’m going to need your help. He turned on me. Yeah, you won the pool.”
A blur sped in and bounced against chickensaurs like a pinball in a machine. When it stopped, it resembled the altered birds a great deal. There was no mistaking a raptor in a cape for a chickensaur, though. I called up my guys on the perimeter. “Better clear out, guys. They have a speedster.”
“Who is it, boss?” asked Carl.
“Veloci-raptor. Funny, he looks more like a Utahraptor. I wonder if he’s Mormon. I don’t like Mormons.”
“Why’s that? Did they ever betray you and leave you to die?”
“Shut up, Tricia. I don’t know why, though. I’d like to know why. This isn’t like that thing with Jupiter.”
That got Trish in journalist mode. “What happened between you and Jupiter? Is that a hero or a villain?”
“Your lack of knowledge about astronomy astounds me, Tricia. It’s a planet.”
“What did Jupiter the planet ever do to you?” she asked.
“It knows what it did. But when it comes to Mormons, I refuse to allow my mind to be held hostage by irrational neuroses.”
That set off enough laughter that I reduced the volume of my comma. I moved clear of the fighting to enjoy the show a bit and evaluate Venus’s armor. When the giant dragon-chicken approached the field of battle with a mighty squawk, I knew I’d get a treat.
I didn’t think it would involve a Tyrannosaurus Rex crashing through the wall and picking the fire-breather up in its mouth. Then I noticed the monocle over its eye and the book in its tiny claws.
“Boss, what was that? We heard a roar and a big crash and then you sounded like a little girl at the Lisa Frank house.”
I ignored the crossed reference. “I’ve always wanted to see this guy. That backup Venus mentioned? She has more than just Veloci-raptor.”
The T-rex whipped it’s head around, ringing the chicken-dragon’s neck and then spitting its limp body to the floor. Then, with some sort of British accent, he said “Ptew, that fowl tastes quite foul. The bellicose bird left a bad taste in my mouth. The sweet smell of Nike’s ambrosia shall surely cleanse my pallette of such odious bloodshed. To victory, my compatriots!”
“Who is it, boss?” Carl asked.
“It’s…The Saurus! But seriously, get out of here. They aren’t losing this one.”
Carl, Moai, Tricia, and Matatoa left. I stayed. I think Venus realized it, or she’s still got her insight into how I think.
“You’re still here, aren’t you?” she asked, dragging a black-eyed Eggcellency along a floor covered in feathers and chicken blood. “I hope you got a good look at what will happen to you if you try me again, Gecko. You used to have the advantage with your armor. You don’t anymore. I have friends who can build power armor, too. If I have have to redeem you by knocking your teeth down your throat every time you commit a crime, I will. That’s not what I want. I think there’s some decency in you that wants to reconcile, and I won’t put you back in a place like the Rubik’s Cube. I think I frustrate you more since that day on the roof. You’re so cynical, you’re letting compliments get to you. I hate to break it to your cynical self, but even though the bad guys can win, so can the good guys. Maybe you’d like to go and spend time with your friends now and stay away from anything illegal for awhile, alright?”
What a bitch.