“Sorry, Gecko. I appreciate all you’ve done for me. What you paid for my help will feed survivors for months. I can afford top veterinary care while improving my breeding stock. Only, we’re a little depleted around here.” Crushtacean raised his claws in an apologetic gesture, as if he goofed. The next bit out of his mouth convinced me his reasoning wasn’t quite so simple “Besides, some of my wombats got into something awful at the base. Their claws’re all messed up. Can’t for the life of my figger out what did it. I know you’re no vet, so just leave ’em and I’ll deal with them.”
He dismissed my group, except for Huntsman. He stayed. Crushtacean had every intention of going straight back to retirement and he extended a job offer to Huntsman if he’d do the same. Huntsman’s passions would seem to have cooled quite a bit if it weren’t for his odd love of spiders. That boy’s not right.
With that, we were given the ol’ heave-ho from the ranch and headed back to Brisbane. I suppose it was for the best; I had no more of a reason to stay. I really didn’t much care for the sights of Australia. Every time I thought of the reef, I imagined that scene from Zombi 2 where a shark and a zombie get into a fight. From there, my brain jumps to shark wrestling.
It’s doable. My armor seals up against water and can provide some minor life support. Saved my life on plenty of occasions, like when I saved Christmas. I’d been injected with some nasty venom. My nanites focused on rebuilding solid organs; my armor kept me alive long enough for them to do their job.
I know, yet another break to let y’all know just how great I am. Well, Australia just can’t contain my awesomeness, and they let everyone know it. Photos of the new armor were all over the news. It wasn’t that they had people sweeping the streets to try and kill me. It would have been a futile, destructive effort; in other words, a lot of fun for me. No, they just gave dirty looks to Carl and Moai, whose pictures were also up, then transferred them to me when they suspected who I was.
It can be damn hard to get a good meal or decent roof over your head when no one wants you around. After all, it’s not like I’m some criminal who likes to steal things or break into places. Oh wait, I am. The Emporium Hotel comped us a room. A jury-rigged remote bomb convinced a concierge to bring us dinner. There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s explosives.
Under those circumstances, Carl and I needed to have ourselves a little bit of a talk. “I saw a stadium before, boss. They called it the Gatta or something. You think they have any sports worth watching?”
I tried to remember. “I think Huntsman mentioned something about us being between cricket games or something. And Chrustacean said they have a separate preserve for koalas around here. That’s why he didn’t get any. There’s an amusement park kinda area. Ferris Wheel. Sounds pretty boring for a giant metal monstrosity created to defy conventional engineering, but just tell that to Eiffel’s giant vampire deterrent in France.”
“Boss, can we ever invade Disney World and have free rides?” Carl lay flopped on the bed, snuggling into the comfy sheets. I couldn’t blame him. Neither could Moai. The mobile statue laid on another bed, enjoying the softness as well. I slumped in a nearby chair, legs and upper body over each arm.
“There was that time we went to Six Flags Over New Orleans.” I pointed out.
“I don’t remember that.” Carl said, his voice muffled through a pillow.
“I think you were kidnapped at the time. Wouldn’t have been that fun for you, I guess. I ran a train into the place to let a bunch of monsters loose. Got sent into a few other dimensions along the way…actually, that brings up a point I wanted to talk to you about. You’ve been kidnapped a couple times while working for me, right?”
Carl sat up, then moved a pillow and propped himself up so he could look at me without leaving the lap of luxury. “Yeah, a couple times.”
“And I’ve noticed that I don’t always have a thing to do with you. Even back there against what’s his name, that guy with the nightmare stuff, I just didn’t have a lot of use for you. You’re increasingly becoming a problem for me out here. If this Technolutionary guy is serious about chasing after me, then he’ll come after you if you stay with me. And I just have to say…I’m gettin’ real tired of saving your ass.”
“Now, now, don’t cry. That’s not a knock against your ass. I just don’t want to break your ass out of yet another secret facility. I don’t want to touch your ass with a ten foot pole-”
“I wouldn’t want you to,” Carl broke in.
“Nor do I want to pull it out of the fire anymore. It’s old, it’s not fun, and it makes you into a relatively easy method to control me. I’m sorry, Carl, but I’m going to have to let your ass go.”
“You’re firing me?” He didn’t seem all that upset about it. Didn’t raise his voice or sound sad. I think the bed relaxed the emotion from his body.
“Don’t think of it as being fired, just think of it as not having a job anymore. Now, let’s see what they have on TV.” I turned switched the TV on with my laser eye before Carl could say anything. The awkwardness was alleviated by a channel showing an actual music video.
I’d heard of such wonders. Legends say that in the old days, there was a channel called Music Television that aired them and music programming a majority of the time, at least until it fell into ruin and reality programming. Or so say the myths. Perhaps someday archeologists will uncover what led to the demise of this once-flourishing civilization. In the meantime, I got to see a bunch of barely-clothed women in a club. I even recognized the song. Judging by the way Carl pulled the pillow over his head, he did too.
“…boom, boom, boom, boom, I want you in my room…”
Afterward, the hosts of some program announced that the song’s been on fire around the world lately after a revival due to Empyreal City being bombarded with it and getting it stuck into people’s heads.
Only then did Carl speak up again. “Was it something I did, boss? Are you trying to punish me?”
“Relax, it was just a video. I didn’t even know they played those on TV anymore.”
Reluctantly, Carl dragged himself to a sitting position. “I meant firing me, boss. I thought we worked well together.”
“We don’t work together, Carl. Most of my plans don’t really involve you except to run errands I could do myself. You’re a weakness. We’re through. Done. I’d love for you to follow me on vacation, but even that’s risky. Though I’ve probably paid you enough for you to go flying around on your own. I recommend somewhere outside Asia. I’m not completely sure where I’m going next, but I’d put odds on Japan or North Korea.”
“Boss, I think I’d probably go back to Empyreal City. Um, but I’m probably wanted.”
“I’ll work something out.”
“Please don’t kill every cop in the city.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Even the dumbest would fall in line after the first fifty die.”
We went our separate ways soon after, I’m afraid. As much as the Australians hated doing anything for us, they were all too eager to put us on a plane out of there. That’s exactly why I didn’t give them the satisfaction. I walked right into there with my guys and sauntered up to the counter with my best saunter. I stopped at the door, slipped on some shades, had Carl hand me my pimp coat, took my pimp cane from Moai, and gave it my most obnoxious.
The key to a good saunter is mindset. To walk like a dick, one must become the dick. One must think of doing some really heinous shit. Not just bad things. It’s not enough to kick the puppy, but you have to aim at the balls and then laugh at it. Change the stage directions on local theater so the elementary school puts on a dramatization of the Diary of Anne Frank in the nude. Interrupt a someone’s award speech to say someone else should have won. So I rubbed it in when I strutted into the airport, pimpslapped bitches out of the way, and leaned on the counter. “Yo, how’s it hangin’? I was just comin’ up here to let you know that I was planning to buy a few tickets out of here…but I think I’m gonna stay now. You doin’ anything tonight?”
The woman at the counter threw a pen at me, so I hopped on the counter and dickbutted her out of the way. Carl provided the one-man standing ovation as I walked out.
Nah, we left via private air. It was much easier to see Carl off on a private flight to India. “India’s safe, right boss? I hear people say it’s Asia.”
“For this month, at least. I might go there and crossdress, maybe have a gangrape.”
“Boss, why would you..?”
“I’d be rapin’ the gang. Just slide it in, one after the other, without shakin’ the first ones off.”
Carl facepalmed, probably hoping to scrape the imagery out of his mind. While he did that, I moved in and gave him a hug.
There wasn’t exactly much of a parting ceremony, though I think he wanted to cry. That may have also been because of a good luck onion I cut. I told him if he ate it, he’d be guaranteed to have good luck with the women. Hey, once you go dick, it’s bound to stick.
I left soon afterward, flying in my luxury crate with Moai to Japan. If animal minions wouldn’t do, perhaps I’d have better luck with a legion of mindless, robotic sycophants. And if salarymen don’t feel like working for me, I hear they’ve got interesting ideas for androids over there. And giant robots. Either way, I’m leaving there with something I can either use in premature self defense, or in actual self defense.
I just wish I’d planted a camera on Carl to see his surprise when he noticed the letter I slipped into his pocket. It’s not every day someone learns they’ve been chosen to secretly work for a supervillain’s corporate front. Instructions to follow via email. Those death rays won’t build themselves, after all. Not unless they’re self-replicating death rays, and I like to think I’m not stupid enough to try and build something like that. No, I’m thinking it’s about time someone got back in the giant robot business around here.
I suppose I could have just told him, even privately. Just a whisper in the ear. But, as I must point out, I still had the dick in my blood. And speaking of blood, Japan better prepare their Fuji hole, because the Gecko is coming baka to town.