We’re going to attack the secret Invincible compound without a tank. Because Paul said so? Because I he’s the leader now? I didn’t see that coming. Now it would be easy to say that we’re following this mad suggestion because we don’t have any other choices. We need Old Ela on our side if we want any chance against Duke. And to get her on our side we need to prove ourselves.
You could say that, but you’d be a dirty stinking liar if you did because the truth is that we have many other choices. We’re just doing it anyway. You ever go to a casino and bet on a hard eight playing craps? Almost any bet would be better than that. And almost anything else you do with that money would be better than betting at all but you do it anyway. Because people are morons. I’m no exception to that.
Peg-Leg O’Brien told us that to get to the super-secret Invincible base we’d have to cross a river that was south of the navigable portion of this river. Or maybe it’s the same river. No one seems to know. What I can confirm is that it’s all jammed up with debris and rocks and sand like it has all been pushed there by a giant bulldozer. [Or a glacier – Martialla] What’s worse than the river itself is that both banks consist of several dozen yards of glutinous mud that stinks like moldy gonorrhea. Since we had no vehicle we might have been able to crawl across the river on all that junk without even needing a bridge, but that mud was like Swamp of Sadness, there was no way across it.
That scene fucked me up when I was a kid.
So we did need the bridge and said bridge was controlled by a guy that called the Trollfather. The legend across the land was that he had the bridge rigged to blow and that’s how he maintained control. I figured he was bluffing but there were a bunch of metal boxes with wires on them filled with home-made bombs all over the place. I had Lucien check them out after I had Martialla shoot him. So now we have a bunch of explosives that may or may not work. Even Lucien couldn’t say if they would have even taken the bridge down if did work and he had set them off.
Part of the bridge on the far side was gone but the Trollman had rigged up an old (I guess there isn’t any other kind now) chicken truck to pull a sheet of some futuristic super plastic back and forth into and out of the gap to bridge the bridge. Nimble as a red bellied lemur I was able to leap across the missing section and truck the space age linoleum into place for the others to cross behind me. Nine years of ballet asshole!
The underbridge was blocked off with chicken wire (or whatever) and inside that cage were hundreds of human bones slowing being worn away by the barely moving water. I don’t know if the Troll guy was a cannibal or if he just liked bones or what. If he was an eater of human flesh he liked a balance diet because we found a ton of ugly bright blue and pink vegetables in a foodpit under another piece of flooring. There was also a lizard-woodchuck in there eating the vegetables which Paul grabbed with his bare hands and bludgeoned to death. I’m surprised he didn’t bite its head off like a geek in a freak show.
Since we were flush with gross food and had a new machine to tinker with and there was a newly unoccupied lean-to of sorts for sleeping and weren’t in a big hurry to die attacking the Invincible anyway we decided to stay there for the night. Martialla and I sat on the bridge watching the scum-gravy river below sclorp and sklop while the others got a fire going and checked for fuel and boring stuff like that.
“You know what’s good about the apocalypse?” I said taking a drink of Peg-Leg O’Brien’s Apocalypse Style Wheat Vodka.
Martialla thought for a moment “You don’t have to shave your legs anymore?”
“No! I love shaving my legs and you know that.”
She made a sour face, I mean even more sour than normal “What I know is that you made me shave your legs for you after you broke your arm on the set of Jack Frost Two. I can’t believe that you shave above the knee even when you don’t have sex on the horizon.”
“First of all you never know what might happen, always be prepared. Second of all, I can’t believe they recast my part! And third of all, why are you complaining, I’m the one who had to endure you clumsy oafish man hands, how do you think I felt? Besides you were well compensated for that.”
She frowned like she was trying to remember even though it doesn’t matter now “I was? I don’t remember that.”
“Probably because of all the blows to the head you’ve taken. Anyway what I was going to say that the one good thing about the apocalypse is that I never feel cold here. Aside from the times when I’ve been stabbed and am bleeding to death, which is barely ever.”
She nodded “Which is barely ever.”
“I used to hate the winters back in Missouri. My point is that at least I don’t have to deal with that anymore.”
“Does it get that cold in Missouri? I thought it was kind of part of the south.”
“Cold enough for me to hate it. At least where I was. If we had injectable nano-robots back then I would have been shooting up all the time just for the warming sensation. Remember how those things used to make you feel?”
“Sure. We probably should have been more careful with those. We were basically superhuman with those nanobots. That would come in handy right about now.”
“And without them we’re just the smartest, fastest, strongest, most charismatic people around. We’ll just have to make do with that.”
“I assume you’re talking mostly about yourself as per usual.”
“Don’t sell yourself short Martialla, for someone as bland and uninteresting as you are you’ve managed to extract a lot of use out of my leftover scraps of charisma, scrounging off me like a revolting charisma parasite.”
“That might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
“Don’t get yourself killed when we do this thing Mar.”
“I was about to say the same thing to you.”
“I have plot armor, I’ll be fine.”
“Only if you’re the main character.”
I spread my arms wide and smiled “Who could be more main charactery than me Martialla?”