Martialla scoffed and grab the binoculars away from me “Are You Gonna Be My Girl is not about you.”
“It is so!” I emphasized emphatically.
“You never dated Cameron Muncey.”
I shook my head in exasperation “Martialla, I never said that I dated Cameron Muncey, he saw me at a party, was immediately smitten by me as you might expect, noticed that I was with someone, and he wrote that song about it. And by it I mean me. Listen to the lyrics Mar, it’s not about a girl he’s dating, it’s about a girl he wants who’s unavailable.”
She handed the binoculars back to me “Look Ela, I know you like to do your whole George Costanza thing where you lie to everyone all the time for no reason but that doesn’t work with me because I know you. If you had met Cameron Muncey at a party you would have mentioned it before now. And you sure as hell would have mentioned if you met him and then he wrote a song about it. You wouldn’t have kept that one in your back pocket for a rainy apocalyptic day.”
“Would you believe that I’m Rick James’ Superfreak?” I raised the binoculars back to my eyes “What, what the hell is that? A cannon?”
Martialla peered intently down the slope, as she’s been doing more and more often lately, I think she’s going blind “Uh, I think it’s more like a spigot mortar, or a petard if you will.”
I frowned “What? I thought a petard was an old time outfit like a leotard, with a bunch of fancy buckles and loops on it that rich people would wear when they were feeling especially special and fancy. Like if the king of his mistress was coming to town, they’d all put on their pertards.”
She frowned back at me harder and pointed “Uh, no, it’s a thing like that.”
“Huh. Well, let’s go kill it.”
She smiled like a serial killer in a Lifetime movie “I thought you’d never ask.”
I headed for J-Lo Two “I didn’t ask, that was a statement.”
Heading south along the river we came upon what looked like one of those casino riverboats, only instead of looking like a Dixieland diner and being filled with old people it was all crappy and rickety. And that was probably what it looked like before it was listing heavily and also on fire because people on the riverbank were shooting it with spigot mortar. Having your boat be on fire seems like something you could handle pretty easily if people weren’t shooting at you also. What with the water being right there and all.
The people on the shore shooting at the boat didn’t have vehicles that we saw, just a couple animals that looked like shaggy sheep-goat-horses with fox tails. I guess they use those animals to drag their canon around while they walk? Sounds like a terrible way to maraud. I don’t know how you would ever catch up to a casino boat mobbing across the land like that. Maybe the canon people were lying in wait to ambush the boat people just like January Jones did to me at the People’s Choice Awards.
The petarders were wearing big dark wooly hides like the plainspeople but they didn’t mummy-cover themselves all up like they do, and they didn’t look as lean and plainsy either. Also they had a cannon, which is not something I’ve seen from the whalers of the high prairie either.
Since the riverboat represents commerce that means that the riverboat people are affluent, in as much as the term means anything these days, which means we want to be on their side. Hence our attack on the cannon people. I don’t know if the canoneers didn’t notice us or if they just assumed that two cars weren’t a threat to them and they ignored us. It could have been an okay assumption because there were a bunch of them down there. A whole bunch.
Since Martialla hanging her boney ass out the window and trying to shoot people has proven to be a nearly useless combat tactic what I did is I swapped her out for Paul before going into the murder zone. My thought process being that if J-Lo Two was stopped and we had to engage in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle for our lives Paul is our best/craziest/most expendable close combat fighter.
Everything was going great at first. We came down roaring the hill at them and boy were they surprised. I smashed into their cannon like a student driver into a mailbox and the thing flew apart like a fabulous yellow roman candle exploding spiders across the stars. I’ve learned a thing or two about ramming here in the future. If you know what I mean. When you’re driving a sort of invincible supercar you’re going to have a powerful temptation to drive at full speed at whatever you want to destroy and hit it head-on.
But it’s not necessary and usually not a wise idea. A good side-on hit at a mere thirty of forty miles an hour will typically do the trick and it’s much safer. Even though one of the first things Martialla did is rig up a harness contraption system inside J-Lo Two to keep us from getting thrown around in there, smashing headlong into one of the mobile log cabins the Invincible use (for example) is a good way to get whiplash and/or your boobs flattened and/or have your heads conk together. And Martialla’s head is like a bowling ball. Ramming stuff is like cracking a walnut, you have to use the right amount of force. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
So we wrecked the canon machine, but after that things took an ugly turn. Here’s the thing, it’s actually pretty hard to run people over. Now it is anyway. Back in modern times it was easy, people weren’t expecting to be run down so they would just walk casually next to vehicles screaming by like five feet away. Or sit down and eat at a table merely a sidewalk length from traffic. It was so easy to crush them with your car back then. I imagine. I don’t know that for a fact obviously.
But in these future times getting run down is a very clear and present danger that people worry about all the time so they’re ready for it. I think being run over has replaced heart disease at the top of the list of things that people die from. So after their canon was trashed the canon people scattered and ran around like crazy. They didn’t do it like in the movies when a car is chasing someone. In real life people don’t run in a straight line away from a car thinking somehow they’re going to be faster than a car. It’s more like when a shark bursts into a pod of seals, those sleek bastards are dipping and dodging and ducking and barking all over the place. The shark gets one guy by surprise but after that it’s tough sledding.
I was trying my best to run them down when the car got stuck. I won’t lie, I mean not right now about this I’ll still lie generally, I was a little more tipsy for this mission that I should have been. One good thing about the apocalypse is there are no sobriety checkpoints. I don’t have a problem, obviously, but that booze we picked up from the boat yesterday is the best thing we’ve found so far so I had had a little nip. Why not right?
Anyway there was a dell or a defile or a hole or something that I failed to notice and we came to a sudden halt. Paul jumped out to try and push us out of the rut but he jumped back in just as quickly because a bunch of people ran over to kill us, just because we had tried to kill them first. Things really took a downward trajectory when they overturned J-Lo Two like looters flipping a cop car in a riot. I mean her undercarriage even armored? I have no idea.