Friday, October 9, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 211 - Robert Crisman

THE BREAK-IN THAT SENT THE EARTH HURTLING TOWARD DOOM! - ROBERT CRISMAN

You better believe it, each little act carries impact.

Joey and Danny broke into a house out in Ballard. The year was 1972, a nasty ‘60s hangover year, and one that most people, at least in Seattle, have tried to flush from their memory banks with, alas, no success.

No matter. Our boys went a-burglaring one straight-up midnight in June. Not a cloud in the sky and the full moon was tracking their every last move. They tiptoed up to the house, looking like Beagle Boys creeping through church, angling in on the poorbox or something.

The house was a two-story frame job. Nice enough place, but mainly they picked it because it looked easy. No rotwiellers, armed guards, or space-age alarms like the rich folks all have. Good for a quick in-and-out with whatever goodies they found there.

That was the trouble. The average haul in bust-ins like this was around 40 bucks. Stereos, TVs, the odd roll of coins, whatever fit in the knapsack. Then, find the guys who buy shit way cheap—and quick too, you dig? Slogging those knapsacks around is hard work; plus, mutts slinging hot stuff in public—and that’s where they do it—well, those guys get busted.

Burglary, man, is one low-rent racket. That Scarlet Pimpernel shit’s for the movies. The houses that have stuff—jewelry, Krugerands, long cash in wall safes, etc.—they’re fortresses, brother. The people who own them own armies and leopards and Uzis and shit. Chiefs of Police suck their dicks. Ace crackmen think twice, then plan to the dime, before taking a run at these gongos.

As in any profession, there are very few aces around. The burglary rate was and is past the moon. But, most of the perps? Teen zitbags. Or dope-sucking yoyos who need to get well like right now.

Joey and Danny weren’t aces, sport. Joey in fact still had zits at age 30. Plus, like the junkies, our boys were all about now.

See, they were hall-of-fame dumbfucks, the dumbest two guys who ever drew breath. A looney-tunes duo if God ever made one. They weren’t bad guys, really. Joey, in fact, was a sweetheart. But, Jesus God were they fuckups! Joey couldn’t find his way out of his shoes without printed instructions and class time. And he was sort of the brains of the two! Not that Danny was dumber—how could he be dumber?—but Joey’d come up with these stone nitwit capers and Danny’d just shrug and say, Fuck it, okay.

Sometimes he’d say, Hey, wait a minute!—but Joey’d say, Hey, man, we gotta do this! It’s gold, man, I swear! Counting the money already, you dig it? And Danny would just go along. He was lazy or something. Plus, Joey was one desperate guy at the time, and this gave him zeal for an army.

What the deal was, he was living at home with his mom, the Battleship Bismarck, and she wanted him gone like last week. Which was all fine with him, but first he had to scrape up some bucks and move in with his girlfriend Danielle and be homeless at her place, with luck for the rest of his life.

He’d told them both he was jobhunting, man, and hoping to God that he’d snowed them. And meanwhile he dreamed up these capers...

Which, in the end, sent the Earth on a spiral toward hell. And I’ll show you how, but first it’s time for descriptions, word portraits, you know?

I’m not going to paint them, however. That shit’s hard work. Besides, I’ve read portrait masters: “His nose swept down on thin, carp-like lips that, though puckered, seemed always to leer, perhaps in delight at the murders and frauds that his family embodied.” I swear, I do not get a picture. The writer is limning Vlad the Impaler and I see George Bush, sucking crack in a ski lodge as he and Dick Cheney plot more thefts and wars.

So fuck the word pictures. You want Joey? Okay. Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs, down to the last snaggled tooth. I watched that flick some 20 years later and up on that screen, Mr. Pink, i.e., Joey! I swear to God, I almost came out of my seat.

Now, Danny, guess who he looked like. Nah, not Michael Madsen. C’mon. Steven Baldwin! The Usual Suspects, remember? Great fucking flick! Made Kevin Spacey a star. Too bad about that but—anyway, Baldwin, he was the short, stocky blond guy. Had this thing with Benicio del Toro, the Queen of New York in the movie and—Yeah, now you’ve got him! See how this works?

So, okay now, here’s how these dummies sent us to hell. Stick with me here...

With Joey and Danny that night, unheard and unseen, was the good Captain Zeep, the dread Planet Zork’s most illustrious spy. He’d blown into town on a fact-finding tour as part of his mission to set the earth up for invasion by Zork—as in Zork the Galactic Destroyer.

It didn’t take Zeep long to lock onto Joey and Danny. Talk about weak links in Earth’s lonely fight for survival! Joey alone was born to star in cartoons. His fuckups, transcending all laws known to physics, would get these microbe-like life forms called veetzers swarming like blowflies in no time! Veetzers can turn brains to slush! They can also tilt Earth two degrees off its axis—and speed the entropic process thereby.

You don’t find guys like Joey and Danny too often. Zeep knew he had to keep close, and maybe help them along every once in awhile...

Don’t get me wrong. There were stupes upon stupes before Joey, of course, but none that made brain-death seem smart like he did. Zeep knew he’d struck gold...

Now, let me explain a little bit more about veetzers, so you’ll see precisely how Joey imperiled our future:

The veetzers first dropped to earth from the loins of Bobo the Simple, the alien God-King who’d frolicked and gamboled and spanked it on Everest those eons ago when the Earth was still dewy and wet. He’d spritz and he’d spray and the veetzers would mushroom, then spread like the mists from Niagara.

Bobo got offed at a party one night by a vampire warlord’s old lady. He’s spritzed on her black velvet dress by mistake and she’d opened him up from foreskin to nostrils, with a butterfly knife that she kept in her purse for just such occasions as this.

After Bobo went down, the veetzers moped in the lowlands, all hangdog and stuff—until someone got world-historically stupid. You know, like when Rome gave the bird to Attila that first time around, before they found out what a badass he was.

When shit like that happened, the veetzers woke up and got happy! It was as if Bobo, like Joey a Cooperstown dumbfuck, had come back to life and the good times were here once again! The veetzers would jet to the fountain of brain-death, in this case Pope Swineflu the Last, and soak up the rays, so to speak, then start dancing and singing and then spread like locusts, to zoop up folks’ noses and suck on their brain cells like long-running ads for toilet-bowl cleanser—and turn all those folks into Bobo-like nitwits in seconds!

You want proof? Okay! Not long after Swineflu fucked up with Attila, Rome fell. The Dark Ages slammed down on Europe like rat fleas. Then, serfs, knights, and castles, King Arthur, Merlin, nitwits with lutes, and all of the rest of that silly-ass shit that they bore you to death with in grade school, to make you believe that the Feudal Era was some sort of fun. Presumably so that when you all get treated like serfs, on the job or wherever, you’ll think that somehow you’re having a ball, or at least keep your gripes to yourself.

The Middle Ages! One thousand years of popes fucking peasants and bubonic plagues, with Guinevere maybe flashing some tit to Gawain riding by on his steed dressed in armor, to see if he’d fall in the moat like the dick-thinking mukluk she knew him to be.

So goddamn lame!

And Hitler wanted to bring that crap back! That’s how evil that cocksucker was!

One last thing: veetzers is a Zorkian term—the only word in their language that doesn’t begin with a Z. There’s no equivalent word in the various Earthian tongues, because what would we know about veetzers? By the time we get hip it’s too late! But the Zorks had had dealings with Bobo way back and were wise to his spewings, and this time around, when Zeep sniffed the veetzers, they led him to Joey.

Zeep almost came in his jockstrap! Joey’d won black belts in stupid!

Now back to our story.

It was a minute past midnight. No traffic around. No lights in the house. Time for Joey and Danny to take care of business.

They duckwalked around to the back. Big backyard, trees here and there, and a hedge, and the rest of it shadows and shapes. No lights in the alley. Good, good, good, good. They hopped to the porch. A multi-paned window, next to the door.

Danny fished out the duct tape and taped the pane next to the doorknob, to muffle the noise when they busted it out. A good move; it was also as far as their expertise went with regard to this shit.

Danny busted the pane, reached in and unlocked the door. He opened it up and they tip-toed on in.

Into a hallway, dark as a coal mine, that seemed to lead to the front of the house. Joey in front, they started that way.

Slow fucking going. They could not see. No sound but the pipes. Also, spook music heard only by burglars at midnight in houses whose owners might bop on back home any second.

They shuffled and groped down the hallway. “I can’t fucking see!” Joey whispered.

The next thing out of his mouth was, “Aieeeeeeee!” as he tripped on a shoe and went down. It sounded like boulders from space hitting earth.

“Shit!” Joey said.

“No shit!” Danny hissed. “Keep your fuckin’ voice down!”

The sad thing about this, Joey’d been holding a flashlight.

Zeep, cloaked in Zork abracadabra, thus unseen and unheard, howled like a banshee. These dumb motherfuckers!

Joey, still stumbling around in the dark...

“The flashlight, dummy! Turn the fuckin’ thing on!” Danny said.

“Oh,” Joey said. He turned the thing on. The reverb died down. They made their way out to the front of the house.

The living room: couch, chairs, TV, etc. To the right was a staircase that led to the second-floor rooms.

Danny said, “Shut off the flashlight. Somebody’ll see it. We got enough light from the street.”

Joey snapped off the light. “Okay, what now?”

“How about I take upstairs an’ you go through here.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Danny hopped to the stairs and Joey got busy.

He soon had a small pile of stuff in the middle of the livingroom rug: stereo, TV, some jewelry—cheap shit—that he’d found in a box. Also an old roll of dimes that he’d snagged from under the seats of the couch. Whoopee. He went to the kitchen to sift through the flour jar, just on the off-chance they’d stuck all the emeralds and rubies in there.

He stuck his hand in—and tipped the thing over. Spilled it all over himself and the counter. No emeralds or rubies. He started sneezing.

Danny yelled down. “Put a cork in it, man!” Joey’s sneezing subsided. Now he had hiccups.

He pawed through the kitchen. No loot in the cupboards, no loot in the oven, no loot in the drainpipes… He peered under the sink, then reached his hand in and almost got thwacked by a mousetrap. Jerking away, he busted his head on the drainpipe.

He got to his feet and staggered around. He was dusted with flour now streaked with sweat. It caked like clown makeup. His hair was a mess. He looked like a drudge in a slave-labor kitchen. Despair clutched his breast.

But then—he spied a tinfoil-wrapped something. It lay on the counter right by the icebox. The tinfoil was gold and it glittered, even in this light. Joey edged closer, checking it out. Would it bite? He had to know.

It looked safe enough. It lay as if waiting for him. The gold looked so pretty… What could it be?

Joey reached out his hand.

By God! It was tinfoil-wrapped chocolate! Like—Hershey’s or something! Goddamn! Big old bar! Joey’s saliva started to rise like the tides.

Now, you’re thinking, chocolate? So fucking what? But see, chocolate is one of life’s little pleasures and this was right here for the taking! There hadn’t been a whole lot of pleasure for Joey so far in this house, or his life for that matter. Besides, he was hungry as hell! The last thing he’d had in his mouth were some gingerbread cookies he’d scarfed at his girlfriend Danielle’s. They were good, don’t get me wrong, but, uh, not real filling, you know? Besides, he’d have rather snacked on her doo-dah. He’d gone home hungry.

And now he was starving and now here this was. A big chocolate bar. His for the taking! Energy food! He could keep going! He scarfed the bar down.

Ah yesssss! Ambrosia! A whole new beginning! Now, on with life’s work.

He took a good look around. What was there to steal in this kitchen? Maybe that toaster...

He’d just placed the toaster on top of the pile on the living room rug when Danny bopped into the room toting two sacks of stuff on his back. “Hey, man, I—damn!” Danny’s chin hit the floor. Standing in front of him there in that room—a zombie or something! White as a corpse! What the fuck was the deal? Joey, where was he? Danny looked wildly around for the exit.

“Don’t shit your pants, man, it’s me,” Joey said.

Danny didn’t jump any more than a foot. “Joey?” he said. “What the fuck happened to you?”

Joey explained. The flour jar, drainpipe, etc.

“Flour, my ass,” Danny said. “That’s decomposition! The Huns worked you over with whips and a blender or some goddamn thing an’ now you’re dead!” He looked at the pile on the rug.

“Means your share’s mine, am I right?”

“I’m fine, man, fuck you. Let’s get this stuff bagged.”

Danny looked at the pile again. “A toaster? You steal any bread to go with it?”

“That’s a thought,” Joey said. He went back to the kitchen. Danny followed.

Joey rifled the cupboards and brought out some whole grain. “Hey, bingo,” he said, “if this shit don’t sell, we still eat like kings.”

He saw Danny pick up the tin foil he’d crumpled and tossed on the counter. “Oh hey, man, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’d’ve saved some, but—”

“You ate this shit?”

“Well, yeah, I was hungry.”

“Hungry.”

“Yeah, hungry. And, man, it was good!”

“Like Hershey’s or somethin’ I bet.”

“Better than that, it was"

“Ex Lax, you dumb motherfucker!”

Dead silence.

Ex Lax...

“An’ you ate the whole fuckin’ thing!”

Joey just stood there, struck dumb forever. Hellfire rained down. His eyes started whirling in circles. The Mother of Gut Bombs, set to explode...

A bomb with the fuse lit!

Bowel-shaking rumbles...

Zeep chalked another one up.

“We gotta get outta here, man!” Danny, Tasmanian-Devil-like quick, snatched a sack and scooped up the junk off the livingroom rug. He tossed the toaster in last. He heaved the sack over to Joey and picked up the two he’d brought down from upstairs. “C’mon, man! We gotta move!”

They took two steps—and a key hit the lock and the front door flew open, and there in the doorway stood Dad, Mom, and Jenny, back from an evening at Ivar’s Acres of Clams.

Little Jenny, 16, five feet both ways—she’d eaten three acres and sent Ivar trolling for more—and she let out this scream! The scream busted windows for six blocks around. The ensuing silence, like echoes of World War II.

Joey’s bowels now, same thing...

Sirens sounded off in the distance. Police, fire engines, the army, the navy, all speeding their way! Disaster, disaster! Three houses leveled! The scream that ate Ballard!

And Joey and Joey were gone! They slammed through that hallway like grease through a goose. Out the back door, down the steps. Joey tripped, lost his sack. He bounced down those steps. His face plowed a furrow in dirt. Jumping up, panicked, his bowels belting rap tunes, he sped like a jet toward the tree in the back yard’s far corner. He flew up that tree like a squirrel with cats after its ass.

Danny was nowhere around.

Joey burrowed into the leafage way high in the tree. Ensconced, he peered down at the house. A figure stepped out on the porch—dear old Dad. Dad hefted a shotgun. He peered into the yard and saw nothing. “Marge!” he yelled. “Call the police!”

In some other world, the world he once knew, those words would have scared the shit out of Joey. Now they were merely redundant. Because deep in his bowels, a throbbing boom boom, the pulse of the devil’s own drum.

A mushroom cloud, swelling...

KA-FLOOOOOM came the deluge! Exploding, torrential! Toxic brown onrush of death and destruction! Down through the leafage and onto the bushes and grass, in much the same way as God’s own revenge brimstoned Sodom!

The lawn died in seconds!

New mutant species arose!

Earth was now theirs for the taking!

It could have been worse! Suppose Joey’d gone in his pants?

Thank God this is fiction! Joey, hopping and twisting like six spastic monkeys, had managed to shuck off his pants and his drawers before he let fly! Too bad for the plant life and also our hopes for survival in general but—Joey’s the hero of this story! It just wouldn’t do to drown him in shit at this point!

Now it was wait for the cops and not breathe till they got there. It took those cocksuckers 45 minutes and change.

They came onto the porch. There were two of the fuckers, one a young guy with “rookie” stamped on his peach fuzz, the other an old, grizzled vet the size more or less of Montana.

The vet told the rookie, “You take the back and I’ll check out in front.”

The rookie’s nose wrinkled. “The fuck is that smell?”

The vet didn’t answer. Who could have? He turned and clumped back in the house. Whatever the fucking smell was, it was the rookie’s to deal with. The vet had learned that much in 18 long years.

The rookie stepped onto the lawn. The lawn now was alien black streaked with colors not seen on this planet till now. The colored streaks glowed—a message to Zork the Galactic Destroyer! The message read: Send in the troops! Make sure they bring Lysol!

Zeep sent the message, of course. He’d realized as soon as Joey let go, he was in way over his head. He’d panicked, in fact. He’d seen those new life forms sprouting in seconds, those ugly shit microbes—they could make even Zorks toss their lunch.

That just wouldn’t do! So he did this mumbo-jumbo shit with his hands—like a rookie himself he’d left his texter back at the Westin—and turned the lawn into a loud scream for help!

But Zeep was so shook that he’d crammed the damn message with beaucoup grammatical errors and misspellings enough to create a new language. It was kind of comical, really. The Zorks in fact though it was sent by the Martians, fighting another War of the Worlds.

The Zorks also thought that the Martians were punks, the Italian Army of space wars. The last fucking goof they’d drummed up—even with Orson Welles’ help for Chrissake!—had flopped like a hippo on stilts. Now here they were, back for another bitch-slapping or something. They’d be gone like ice fizzies in no time.

The Zorks round-filed Zeep’s message.

Meanwhile, the rookie, young, brave, and stupid beyond all belief, pressed forward. His flashlight probed bushes. Flesh dropped from his body. He saw the sack that Joey had dropped. It’s contents—the toaster, TV, etc.—transmogrified now, brought pulp-like to life by all the Chthulian odors. Their Dragon-of-Komodo-like eyes stared unblinking, reproachful. The toaster, newly named Rondavudatzit, spoke pig-Latin, rapidamente, demanding safe passage away from this planet and 10,000 loaves of Langendorf Bread in a knapsack. Also, some Welch’s grape jelly.

His confreres belched out sort of a chorus, to let the cop know they meant business.

“Talk to my partner,” the brave rookie said, and continued on down toward the tree.

Yes, the tree. Making noises now like a Stanford professor locked on a kiddie porn site.

Or, was that Joey, fluxing his last?

God only knew! The rookie sure didn’t. He’d turned green and his nose had dropped off and his brains were now dribbling onto what used to be grass.

And still he pressed on! He was a cop, sworn to serve!

He got near the tree...

And stopped dead. The smell here—Good God! The Living Dead, risen from graves, had brought their religion out with them! Those piles—sacrifice altars! Where was his partner? The trusty old vet, his mentor, protector! He croaked in High C—in pig-Latin!—“Come get me and take me away from this place!”

By the time the older cop got there, the rookie was slumped like wet wash on the ground. “Good God in heaven!” he cried, “what happened here?”

“Aliens! Shoot me!” the younger cop squeaked.

The older cop, unlike the rookie, knew what to do in this situation.

He shot him.

Two hours later, at the Old Goat Hotel in downtown Seattle, Joey, his ass finally wiped with a blast hose, sat slumped in a chair.

The Old Goat was one crusty place, full of nickel-dime grifters. Joey and Danny had called the place home for what seemed like forever.

Danny gaped in amazement at Joey.

“Not even the toaster?” Sprawled on the bed he looked ready to cry.

“Not after the Toxic Waste Crew showed up.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“They bagged the cop and then torched the rest of the place!” Joey said. “What do I tell ‘em? Hold on a sec, guys, lemme grab up my shit and then I can get out of your hair?”

“Well...” Danny said.

“And what about you?” Joey said. “Your fucking bags broke?”

“Yeah, man, I told you! All over the sidewalk! Just, ka-sploosh! An’ don’t come at me! That shit was heavy! It’d been nice, you’d been there or somethin’, help out with the load. I mean, what the fuck, your shit’s in the dirt where you dropped it an’ your hands are free, am I right? But, I look around, you ain’t there! You’re up in a tree takin’ dumps on the cops! Ex-Lax, for Christ fuckin’ sake! You dumb—”

“Hey, man, how’d I know?”

“If you’da waited till I got back down there, I coulda told you! You an’ your greedy pig ass, man, I swear.”

Joey, abashed, said, “Okay, okay. I didn’t know. I’m a pig. I was hungry! I’ll never do it again, my lips to God.”

Danny was tired. “Yeah, man, alright… So, what now?”

“Well, this thing at the house—I think we oughtta look at it as sort of a dry run, you know?”

Danny snorted. “Dry run? Liquid shit rainin’ down on the whole goddamned world an’ you’re talkin’ dry run.” He laughed dryly.

“C’mon, man! You know what I mean! Dry run! Like a practice! We did this thing and it didn’t work out, but the game, man, is yet to be played!”

“Oh for Chrissake!” Danny said. “You sound like the Coach of Saint Bobo’s Retards. Practice, dry runs… We went in that house an’ come out with nothin’. An’ meanwhile, they had to evacuate Ballard. What fuckin’ next? We go in some house an Qaeda takes over the world?”

“Man, for Chrissake! Qaeda? That’s 30 years off! Are you loaded?”

“The guy who’s writin’ this shit is, for sure,” Danny said. “He sniffed that shit you let loose in that yard an’ now he’s in orbit. Like you.”

Zeep didn’t like this. He had to keep these guys going! C’mon, Joey, think!

“Look,” Joey said. “Dude’s in orbit? He’ll be there as long as it takes to finish this story, man, dig it? Time’s-a-wastin’! We need to get busy!”

“Man—“

“Danny, next house, no Ex-Lax, I promise!”

“Man, I dunno...”

“Danny, Danny! What else we got going?”

“Well...nothin’.”

Zeep almost jumped up and did the James Brown! He felt so good! These guys would keep planning capers, the veetzers would swarm and stupe out the whole fucking world—and before the end of the century yet!

And so it worked out.

Joey and Danny played Wile E. Coyote, chasing those roadrunners into the tunnels. Results? Yuppies and Reagan, Tammy Fay Baker, reality show bimbos, and so on—a cluck smorgasbord that helped smooth the way for George Bush, the Forrest Gump of malevolent dipshits. Stupe cubed and then some.

Yet, by that time, veetzers no longer existed!

Here’s how that happened:

As I told you earlier on, when someone got Hall of Fame stupid, veetzers got happy and then went to work sucking brain cells and shit. And, starting with Joey, and on through the next 20 years, they just had a ball! We’re talking Nixon, then Ford, then Carter, then Reagan, and then Papa Bush! From dumb to post-dumb and beyond! For the veetzers, these guys were sort of a 20-year coke jag, you know?

And then came the signal event of the era! Bill Clinton, asked at the start of the ’92 campaign if he’d ever smoked weed, told the world, “Well, er, ah, yeah…but I didn’t inhale!”

Didn’t inhale!!! Do you realize how many people had to go change their drawers after that one. And if you think that we rolled on the ground—

The veetzers spritzed on themselves and just up and died, laughing like Jack Benny at George Burns’s jokes, convinced that their work here on earth was complete!

And it was! Who in the fuck could top that? With four short, lying words, Clinton had rendered the veetzers redundant!

It’s just as well that they didn’t survive. No telling what they’d have done had they been there to see Bill’s attempt to redefine sex in the wake of his trysts with Monica Lewinsky. “Those blowjobs?” said Clinton. “Light snacks! It wasn’t like…doing it, you know?”

“No shit,” a bitter Monica riposted. “It was more like pecking a breadcrumb off Al Bundy’s lap!”

The grand jurors spritzed on themselves and just up and died, laughing like Jack Benny at George Burns’s jokes, convinced that their work here on Earth was complete.

And it was...

It only remains to be said that the veetzers’ post-Joey career not only revealed their power to cluck up the landscape, it shined light on their limits. At least that’s what some say. They argue that, after Clinton came Junior Bush—and still the Earth wasn’t ready for Zorks! All veetzers could do was pave the way toward the mudhole.

Obama’s election seemed to support this sanguine thinking. He seemed like a smart guy and all, and he talked a sort of slick game in the ’08 campaign—if you didn’t sweat details and good shit like that—and kicked McCain’s ass in November.

But almost from jump came the shitstorm.

Obama said that he wanted health care reform. But under the guise of “bipartisanship,” he kept spreading his butt cheeks forall those town hall Fourth Reich motherfuckers who want his ass hung from a tree. And as a result, public option? Without which health care reform is a sham? He’ll dump it, you watch, to appease those cocksuckers. He figures “progressives” will yowl but he also knows that they’ll spread ‘em at nutcutting time, just for the chance to stay in the game.

Meanwhile, the Insurance industry’s suit-wearing buttboys in Congress keep howling that health care reform “costs” too much. These are the same smarmy dipshits who keep coughing up zillions of hard-earned tax dollars for ground wars in Asia so that Unocal, Chevron, and Exxon, etc., could keep raking in bank and stay Big Dogs.

You’d think that Obama would mention this shit—but he plans to dance into Pakistan sooner than later himself and, well, you know...

I ran into Zeep last Saturday night at this bar in downtown Seattle—the same one where Joey hung out, except now it’s been gussied for yuppies. Zeep was happy as pigs in the popcorn, the prick. He had these two bimbos bouncing around on his lap—he looks like Dom DeLuise, for Chrissake!—and he said to me, “Rob, Zorkian takeover, 2010, Wanna lay down some money?”

He laughed, har har har. His bimbos both giggled. I had to get out of there quick or go nuts.

All I could think as I sped down the street was, Joey, you dumbfuck! Jesus Christ, brother! You sent the whole shitball rolling downhill! And now, if Zeep’s right, well, we’re doomed as a species!

You had to keep chasing those roadrunners, man, and as a result the whole human race became Wile E. Coyote and now, bang, we’re all off the cliff and headed toward cacti and boulders below!

Actions have impact, you know?

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