I’ve heard that in olden times it was totally cool to be fat because it meant you were wealthy and powerful because a beer belly was an indication that you could both afford food and the privilege to lie around all day eating that food instead of working in a coal mine. I don’t know if that was true then, but I think it is true now. The ruler of this sad little hill King Chevrolet Hollywoodland the Third is a portly fellow and I get the sense that’s because he doesn’t do much other than kinging. Which is a good gig if you can get it.
His kingdom looks like one of those old black and white pictures of a mining town that Aunt Molly Jackson would sing about, ten rows of wooden plank buildings all close enough that one spark could start a fire that would kill everyone. Which by apocalypse standards makes it one of the better places I’ve seen. The King’s palace I think actually is an old Chevy dealership with all the long gone glass replaced with logs. Like log cabin logs you know?
Hatman and Bandita took us directly into the palace to see the fat king, I think because they really were under the impression that they were going to get big kudos for bringing us in. We were ushered into the dealership and pushed in front of the king’s throne, which I think was the back of a Silverado smashed together with a Blazer. There may have been some Malibu in there as well, you know for flare.
King Chevy was so pale that I wonder if he ever leaves this place. Flanking him were a woman with a face full of blisters wearing actual chainmail and a tent for a skirt on one side and a heavily bandaged man with a real bulldog-face (not literally, I should be careful here in mutant times) who was holding a fucking bazooka like that was a normal thing to do on the other side.
King Chevy asked me if I had been mistreated by his people and before I could answer Bandita and Hatman jumped in, falling over each other to explain that I was injured falling into one of the road-traps and swearing up and down that they didn’t lay a finger on me after that. The king was not pleased by this. He gave them the “shut up scum” stare and said that he asked me, not them.
“Well I tell you how I’m doing your Kingship, I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’ve been having weird dreams about losing my hair or this one where I’m eating my own hands and feet, crazy stuff. My right leg has been bothering me since like day one. I think I have an iliotibial band friction injury. I’ve been experiencing a tingling sensation, pain, swelling, coldness, blotchiness, numbness, and a prickly heavy feeling across my low back and glutes too if we’re being completely candid. But other than trying to suffocate me with poison gas and the kicking me in the ribs your people didn’t hurt me. They did shoot one of my friends dead and beat the other unconscious.”
Bandida and Hatman tried to protest these objective facts but the King told them to shut up and leae. dismissing them with the promise that he would deal with them later. They and the rest of their squad tromped out sadly, clearly knowing that being dealt with was going to be bad. Classic move out of the bad boss handbook. This guy has a thing or two to learn about kinging.
“Did your mother send you here to spy on me?” the king asked in almost completely understandable English.
“No, she sends me to warn you about a powerful new enemy, an enemy that’s a threat to both of our lands. And if you ask me a powerful threatening enemy is really the worst kind of enemy you can have.”
He looked at me for a moment with his disturbingly slug-like eyes and then laughed shrilly, like maybe he had never heard a joke before and he trying it out. He’s clearly smarter than the rest of these dolts since he was assuming that I’m the daughter of this woman who looks like me instead of thinking that I’m actually her, which makes sense since I hear I’m much younger and prettier than she is. Then again he did just dismiss the guys with guns leaving him with just the two guards, one of whom looked to have a hair dryer for a weapon.
What would have been cool is if we could have jumped them and commenced operation regicide. What was the bazooka guy going to do? If he would have fired that thing wouldn’t that kill us all? [Martialla’s note, if the RPG is even still functional at all the warhead wouldn’t have armed flying that short of a distance, firing it would have been dumb but not that dumb] And like a said the chainmail woman had a hair dryer for a sidearm. We just didn’t have the oomph to make the attempt you know?
Everyone was still pretty messed up from the gas. I think Lucien might have been playing possum a little, maybe whatever the Canadian military injected into him that turned him blue made him less vulnerable to whatever they gassed him with. [Lucien’s note – that was a secondary objective of the project based on the assumption that there would be widespread use of biological weapons in the conflict we were preparing for] but other than that we didn’t have much fight in us at that moment.