False Starts, part Deux

Posted: January 26, 2011 in sci fi
Tags: , ,

>This little gem started out as a story about an evil genius, what he does when he’s not being evil, and why it’s important to pick the right henchmen. (hint-there’s a reason why the second in command is usually not so bright.)Maybe I’ll get around to finishing it, maybe not. I think I might put the Chrono-Master(tm) in this story, too, at some point. We’ll see.

What Kind Of Person Does These Things, Anyway?

Good lord. Don’t even think about what the electric bill is for this place. Multiple monitors, a couple different CPUs, this game platform, that game platform, even a few that had been cannibalized. Fans whirring. The AC had to be cranked up just to keep the place from being a sweltering pit. Not only that; the place was a mess. There seemed to be no rhyme, no reason to how the equipment was arranged.Nearly every available flat surface, and surfaces that weren’t so flat, had something electric on it. If there wasn’t some computer component on it, there was a pizza box. Or a half eaten bag of Doritos. Or smashed cans of Mountain Dew. Or even some plastic piece of anime crap. It was musty, too, as if it actually would have killed the room’s sole occupant to crack open a window every now and then.

Speaking of the sole occupant, he hunched over a keyboard, using a bleary-eyed hunt and peck style. Larry Forbes. Too old to be living like this, but he didn’t really look it. A bit paunchy, a bit punchy, black frames on squinty coke-bottle glasses. Some kind of faded nineties band t-shirt, shorts and mandals. Larry was currently updating his blog. It was just a thing he did. He made no money from it, no click through traffic, no links to Facebook or Myspace. No hit counter. If he really wanted to, he could have checked to see what the traffic was to his site. He didn’t care. It was his way of venting, and it didn’t matter to him if anybody ever read it.Perversely enough, however, he had included a comments forum. Each of his entries were dated, European style. A conceit. He tried to work on it once a week, but that was more of a goal than a steadfast timetable.

Blog Entry: 4 April 2009 –
Well, it has been a busy week. I had to move the site to this new address, as the previous one had been compromised. I’ve backed up my earlier entries, but I seem to have lost all the comments I have gotten from those of you who have been reading along from the start. Oh well. I have a mind like a steel trap, and I hold on to a grudge like luggage (
prettyboy_15_LOL, I’m looking at you). Fair warning.

So, anyway, the good news. I held graduation ceremonies this past Sunday for the Ninja Army! As you may recall, training was intense. The attrition rate was quite high. Out of 15,000 aspirants, I have whittled it down to a lean, mean force of 8,000. Some may think that a small number, but remember, we’re talking ninjas here. I defy any regular army to withstand my ninjas, even the IDF.

Also, the Elite Murder Squad appears to be progressing nicely. Some of you have called into question my decision to create what is, in essence, a nihilistic gang of cutthroats. Yeah, I’ll admit that at first glance, it seems kinda silly. Overkill, perhaps.But just think – not just an army of ninjas, but also an elite force of bloodthirsty, borderline psychos! How sweet is that?

The Orbital War platform is just about finished.As you know, Ive had a hard time keeping it both a) hidden from all the various spy satellites and ground based observers and b) in its stable L5 orbit. However, the nano – cloak is now functional, and I’ve sent Number Three and Number Seventeen up to super-vise the final run-throughs. If they don’t screw up (PLEASE DON’T LET THEM SCREW IT UP) it should go online by next week. Keep your fingers crossed,folks.

Lastly, let me address a question that has popped up not a few times (guess I might as well start a FAQ here). I’m not doing this for the money. If it was all about the money, I could’ve just used the Hypno – Field Generator I got from dear, departed Professor Humboldt for that. It would have been a lot simpler to just go around, zapping bank employees and walking off with the lot. Actually,getting all the equipment and henchmen/women, etc., would have cost far more than any amount of money I could steal. Using the Hypno – Field my way, to obtain the weapons and personnel I needed, was a far better use of the thing, I think.Frankly, I’m offended that some of you would ascribe such crass motives to me. Ah, well. You’ll pay. Anyway, I’m doing all this because a) I intend to bend this world, and perhaps the galaxy, to my will, and b) If I don’t do it, somebody else will. Might as well be me, I figure.

Well, that’s it for this week. Barring any unforeseen incidents, I will be giving you a new update next Monday. I should have a surprise for everyone by then. Your buddy (and ultimately, your Master), Larry Forbes.
PER ARMA, AD ASTRA!

Larry uploaded his latest, then leaned back, satisfied. He opened the nearest pizza box. Nothing but crusts. Dry, too.The one under it, maybe? Ah, yeah. He sniffed a piece. No, wait. Moldy. Crap. How about that bag of Cheetos? He dumped the crumbs down his throat, orange powder stuck in his scraggly goatee. He rubbed his chin, then wiped his hand on his shirt. Weelll, he thought, guess I better get up and fix some – what time is it, anyway? Breakfast? Let’s go with that. He stood up and knocked some things over. He yawned loudly as he made his way to the kitchen.

* * * *
I hate these stupid blue vests, Larry thought. They never fit right. It was a slow day. Very few people came in on a Tuesday afternoon, so Larry leaned against the counter.

“Hey, Lar,” Lee grunted. “You got time to lean, you got time to organize.” Lee was five feet tall, orange tan, spiky close cropped blond hair, and his arm muscles strained to escape his uniform shirt.”You enter the returns?”

“Yeah,” Larry sighed. “Everything’s checked in.”

“Straightened the shelves?”

“Everything’s faced. Games are sorted. Snacks and sodas, too.”

“Oh, yeah?” Lee asked. He walked over to the framed posters.”You got one of the longways posters sticking up with the talls. Fix it.”

Larry looked at him in disbelief. Lee raised his eyebrows and nodded. “You gotta be kidding,” Larry mumbled, as he walked to the posters.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.” Larry took the offending poster and placed it with the other longways ones, making a big deal out of it.

“You’re skatin’ on thin ice, Lar.” Lee folded his arms. “Make sure the rest of them are in the right place. I gotta work on the payroll.” Lee strode off to the back, arms too swollen to hang down at his sides. Friggin’ ape, Larry thought. He thumbed through the posters.

” ‘If you got time to lean, you got time to organize’, ” he mocked. “Doesn’t even rhyme.”
The door buzzed as a mother and her sullen teenage daughter came in. Mom had a short pixie – style hairdo, black with reddish brown highlights. Her heels clicked against the linoleum. The daughter had broomstick straight hair, cartoon black with shocking pink bangs that covered about two thirds of her face. She seemed to always be rolling her black – rimmed eyes. Mom tapped Larry on his shoulder.

“Excuse me, young man,” she began.

“Yes? How can I help you?”

“We’re looking for a video,” she clipped. “Honey, tell him what you’re looking for.”

Daughter sighed. Existence was such a burden. “Mumble, mumble, sigh,” she whispered.

“Say it louder, sweetie. I’m sure the young man couldn’t hear you,” Mom prodded.
Daughter rolled her eyes. ” ‘The Doomed and the Ashes’,” she exhaled with tremendous effort.

“Sorry,” Larry shrugged. “That’s not out yet. We should be getting it in the first week of June.”

“Well, could you check, please?” Mom insisted. “We’ve been all over town looking for it.”

Larry fiddled with his glasses.”Look, ma’am, I’m sorry, but the reason you can’t find it
anyplace is because they haven’t released it yet.” He gestured to a board behind the desk. “That’s a list of what’s new out this week, and under ‘Coming Attractions’ it says what’s coming out soon.’The Doomed and the Ashes’ won’t be out till the seventh of June.”

“Young man, I can read just as well as you.” Mom’s patience was wearing thin. “Can you just check, please.” It wasn’t a question so much as it was a command. Daughter sighed.

“Mo – om, if he says it’s not out, then maybe it isn’t out yet,”

“No, Rachel, I want him to check. The place is empty, he’s just standing here playing with these posters. It’s his job to check. That’s what he’s paid for, dear.” She folded her arms and glared at Larry. “Go. See if you’ve got it. We’ll wait.”

Larry pursed his lips and mentally counted to ten. “Let me look in the ‘Just In’ section,” he nodded.

“You do that.” Larry shuffled off. “You see, honey, that’s how you have to deal with these people. You’ll never get anywhere unless you’re assertive. You don’t want to find yourself stuck working in a place like this, do you?”

“No, ma’am.” The words dragged themselves out of daughter with infinite angst.
What’s this kid doing out of school, anyway? Larry thought, combing through the new DVDs. He didn’t find their movie.

“Not in the ‘Just In’ section,” Larry confirmed. “I can check the computer and see if we’ve got it in the store.” He went behind the desk and tapped. Looking at the screen, he continued. “Nope, not here, not at any of our other stores, either. We shouldn’t have it in till the seventh of June.”

“That’s what they said at the other places, mom,” Daughter sighed.

“I know that’s what they said, honey, but we must be thorough, mustn’t we?” Then to Larry, she said, “You’re positive you don’t have it mis – filed, then? Somewhere else in the store?”

Larry somehow managed to maintain his composure. “I came in here at ten o’clock. We open at eleven. I spent the first hour going through every video in the store, like I always do, making sure that every video, game and DVD is exactly where it’s supposed to be. We’ve had two people come in and return some video games. I immediately checked them in and re – shelved them. We have had one delivery at twelve – thirty, but it was the Frito -Lay guy. It was empty until you two came in. If I say we don’t have it, believe me, we don’t have it.”

Mom looked slightly crestfallen. “See, mom? Let’s just go, ple -ease?” Daughter sulked.

“What’s going on?” Lee emerged from the back. “Is there something I can help you with, ma’am?”

“Are you the manager?” Mom asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Lee beamed. “Is there a problem?”

“We’re looking for a video, ‘The Ashes of the Doomed’ -“

“‘The Doomed and the Ashes’,” Daughter corrected.

“Yes, that one. This gentleman tells me you don’t have it.”

“Well, ma’am, according to the board, we shouldn’t have it in till June the seventh,” Lee mused.”But maybe there might have been a mistake.” He turned to Larry. “Did you check in the ‘Just In’ shelves, Lar? Just to be sure?”

“Yes, Lee.”

“How about the computer? You check that?”

“Yes,” Larry nodded.

“Did you check all the other stores, Lar? You know, you’ve got to be thorough.”

“It’s not in any of the other stores, Lee.”

“Well, let me check. Just to make sure.” Lee winked at Mom as he flexed his way behind the desk. He typed. “Hmm. It’s not in any of our stores yet, ma’am. I’m very sorry.”

“Well, if you say you don’t have it in, then I guess you don’t have it in,” Mom shrugged. No big deal.

“You know, we could put a copy on reserve for you, when they do come in,” Lee suggested.

“Oh, no,” Mom chuckled. “We live too far away from here to be traipsing back and forth all this way. We’ll just do that at the store in our neighborhood.” Mom turned to Daughter. “Come on, sweetie, lets go”

“Yes, ma’am,” Daughter sighed with the world – weariness of a thousand years of blackness. They turned to go. Mom turned back to Lee and smiled.

“Thank you, sir,” she nodded. “You’ve been very helpful.” She made a point of glaring at Larry.

“Anytime, ma’am,” Lee grinned. “Anytime. Have a good afternoon, now.”

“Thanks. You too.” Mom’s heels clicked out, Daughter rustled behind her like a shade.

“Thin ice, Lar. Thin ice.” Lee shook his head in disapproval.

Larry was incredulous. “What? Are you serious? You can’t be serious, dude.”

“Did you offer her a reserve? Did you? You didn’t, did you?” Lee walked off. “Work on those customer service skills, Lar. Remember, thin ice. Very thin. Finish straightening up the posters.”

* * * *

Blog Entry 11 April 2009
Tuesday at the Buster was pretty lame. So was the rest of the week. Lee with his “You’re skating on thin ice” and calling me “Lar”. Gods, I hate that roid rage having, shriveled nut bastage. I gotta think of some really painful revenge for that a$$hat.Something to do with those hyper developed arms of his. Frakkin’ cork-smoker.

So, anyway, last week I promised you a surprise, and I don’t wanna keep you in suspense any longer. Okay, maybe a little. Naw, I can’t stand it! I cracked open the crates today and I saw ’em. All fifty of them. North Korean or Chinese or whoever, experimental sub – orbital drones, all with fully functional AIs! High 5, peoples! Totally weaponizeable. Heat seeking guided missiles, laser guided plasma bolts, hell, rabid hamsters in a tube, whatever you got, man! I’m gonna call them Deathwings, or something. And you know the best part? You know how in games, when you’re up against something like this, you can upload a virus into one of ’em and then they all break down or blow up, or something? Uh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen, my friend, ain’t gonna happen. Each one of them is autonomous and hardened against P2P attacks. Virus takes out one, I still got 49 more to hunt your ass down, dude. Hella awesome!!!!!!1111eleventy!!!

In other news, Number Three and Number Seventeen are starting to get on my nerves. How hard can it be to adjust a simple nano – cloak so that it works across the whole electromagnetic spectrum? I managed to fix it, but Jeebus, if I gotta do it myself, wtf do I need henchmen for? I got work to do. Thank FSM the thing’s already stealth. Anyway, these douchenozzles made me late for my job at the Buster. Had to make up some lame – a$$ story about my car breaking down. I know he didn’t believe me, but, meh. Soon, he shall drink deeply of my wrath.

And speaking of wrath, what exactly is your problem, BaRbArAEaTsTaCoS? Nobody is paying you to read this. Take a shovel and dig the sand out of your va-jay-jay. You’ve always got some complaint, but I don’t see you stepping up and doing anything about it. If you don’t like how I’m trying to rule the world, why don’t you show me how it’s done? What’s that? You don’t have any henchmen? Or a war platform? Or a ninja army, even? Yeah, I thought so. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, beeyotch.You AND army_of_none can both EABOD and DIAF. Furthermore, army_of_none, STOP TYPING IN ALL CAPS. You look like a doucheswizzle and YOU NEED TO PRESS THAT LITTLE BUTTON THAT SAYS CAPSLOCK SOMETIME. Frak.

Okay. I need to turn off the iRage. Sorry. ***Dat*Souf*Guurl***,good looking out. The weather control satellites ARE metric. Thanx for the heads up. And pray_online, thanks for the tweet, but I don’t go that way. Didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.

One last note, and this is just a bit of housekeeping. I’m gonna put a filter in the comments section. Doodaroo always does that stupid “first post” crap, and it’s annoying. So, for Doodaroo and his ilk, all “firstpost”s will be time stamped so that they show up at the end of the thread. It’s really juvenile, folks, so let’s knock it off, k?

That’s it for now. Food’s here, gotta go. Till next week.
PER ARMA, AD ASTRA!

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

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