Friday, April 04, 2008
Dirk Fusion ran like hell before a firestorm of napalm and bullets. The exploding bus filled the air with whistling bits of burning shrapnel, and Dirk dodged them with the agility of a lynx. He pulled his Taurus Judge revolver and fired two .410 loads over his shoulder. His marksmanship was good, even as his pounding feet carried him at a full out run. He was rewarded by a scream from the direction of his pursuers.
Dirk's mission had been to stop the terrorist group Slap-Yomama from blowing up that bus, but hey...since when had any Special Ops strategy ever run as planned? In the spirit of improvisation, he scanned the mostly deserted downtown street until he found what he wanted: a vine.
Dirk leaped for it. A grenade exploded underneath him, destroying the cell phone he kept in a back pocket.
"Bastards," said Dirk, reaching back and counting his buttocks. All accounted for. He threw the pieces of his phone into the angry terrorist faces grouped underneath as he climbed into the jungle, pulling the vine up with him.
Dirk Fusion scanned the dense foliage with high-powered nightvision binoculars. It seemed peaceful. Almost too peaceful, he thought, climbing down to the leaf-littered jungle floor. "There's only one thing that can quiet a place as lively as this," Dirk muttered to himself as he pulled a lit torch out of his backpack. "Only one..."
The guttering light of his torch fell into the creature's dead eyes and was swallowed there. Dirk backpedaled as the zombie llama lurched forward, baring yellow fangs in rotted gums.
"The woolly undead!" screamed Dirk and drew his trusty Judge. The revolver thundered once. Its crashing voice spoke of finality and brooked no backsass, but the beast merely absorbed the shot with a shudder and kept closing the distance.
"No choice but to run for it," narrated Dirk, and did just that. Watching its prey escape, the zombie llama loosed an unearthly roar and gave shambling pursuit. Others joined the hunt as Dirk tore through the underbrush with their cold breath on his neck. If his map was correct...
It was, of course. He'd drawn it himself, hadn't he?
He slapped the C4 charge onto the posts of the rope bridge as he pelted past and thumbed the detonator when he'd skidded to a halt on the other side. He smiled through the rising smoke at the milling llamas, barred from their quarry by a six-hundred foot vertical plunge. "Cheerio, jerks!" He waved at them, and ducked into a cave.
As Dirk Fusion ninja-ed his way deeper into the submerged stone labyrinth, booting bats and slapping salamanders, he noticed that his GPS showed him simultaneously in the Australian outback, Minneapolis and in the middle of the Atlantic.
"Funny," he mused, shaking the machine. He shone his high-powered tactical LED flashlight around at the damp cave walls, then down at the floor. It disappeared into the gloom beyond the beam at a steep downward grade.
Then it hit him. This cave was merely the entrance to a shaft headed straight for the Earth's core! Dirk tried to remember what his stereotypically brainy sidekick had told him about the planet's molten center as he unslung his toboggan.
Molten! That was it! The inner core was solid iron, he recalled, but it was surrounded by a layer of hot liquid metal. That was probably what was putting his GPS on the fritz. As the air heated up around him, Dirk prepared the toboggan by spraypainting it chrome to reflect the heat. Kicking off, he tightened his grip on the sled as its nose tipped toward the center of the Earth.
He hit the molten iron with a heavy splash. The subterranean dome he found himself in was illuminated a sullen red by the vast ocean of lethal metal. He paddled gamely across with an oar he had built from the same ceramic the Space Shuttle is tiled with.
"No zombie llamas down here!" he told himself and the audience. The core itself was enemy enough at over nine thousand degrees Fahrenheit.
"Good thing I brought my battery-powered fan," he smirked.
A splash to his left. Dirk snapped his head around to see a ring of ripples fading as they spread.
He paddled a little faster.
Another splash! This one closer to the front of his sled and to the right. As Dirk watched the ripples fade, he heard a sound like a whipcrack and felt his Taurus Judge rudely yanked from its holster. He turned just in time to see it disappear into the mouth of an enormous, incandescent amphibian.
"Lava toad!" Dirk gasped, brandishing his oar. The glowing monster belched a small cloud of black smoke as the shells in the Judge exploded somewhere in its guts. There was smoldering malevolence in its red glare.
"Oh geez. I didn't know these things actually existed!" explained Dirk. The toad whipped its tongue out again, and the burning filament returned to the toad's maw with a piece of Dirk's toboggan. Thinking fast, he rummaged in his backpack and came out with a box of Twinkies.
The toad's eyes flashed brighter, and it sat up. "Here ya go, fella," said Dirk. He lobbed one of the gooey delights into the shimmering air. The toad's tongue flickered out, igniting the Twinkie on contact, and the resulting comet was swallowed by the happy toad a split second later.
"Heh heh," said a nervous Dirk. He paddled with one hand and tossed snacks to the lava toad with the other until he reached the bank. The toad winked at him and submerged.
Dirk wrapped himself in his poncho and stepped into a steam vent. In a matter of minutes, he had rocketed to the surface. Somersaulting in midair, he landed in the steaming ring of mud around Old Faithful to the applause of a crowd of tourists and the disapproval of a park ranger.
"What're you doing in there, sir?" asked the angry ranger. "That's off limits to tourists!"
"I'm not a tourist," said Dirk, flashing his badge and a smile. "And as to what I'm doing, why... I'm saving the world."
The tourists applauded again, and Dirk bowed himself modestly out of their midst. He sat down with his back to a tree. "I've earned this," he said to himself.
He ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwich with great gusto as credits rolled.
Posted by Paul FooDaddy Brand at 4:40 AM