(Much shorter) Part 2 of Scifi Story.
THe @'s are not there for any good reason.
PART 7: Statistics. Thank God they got rid of the hobos.
The next day Maddox found himself sitting in a café in a city that Mace claimed was Chicago, but it looked more like a rather elaborate high rise suburb, with picket fences protecting absolutely everything. The complete lack of trash, homeless, or back alley abortionists took Maddox completely by surprise. However he decided that he had never been to Chicago anyway, and it was quite possible that all those movies about Gangs in the Windy City could have been making it up.
"So I got a call from Shock. He went on about something called a temporal Space distortion, blah blah blah, come home immediately, would not shut up..." Razora said while he pushed what was supposed to be a Grilled Cheese sandwich about his plate with his fork. The proprietor of the restaurant clearly had a unique view of what a Grilled Cheese sandwich was, not necessarily, wrong just different. And while he was certainly entitled to his view Razora felt he might also be entitled to a rather messy execution for serving this shit.
"Oh yeah? Wonder what that was all about... how was he other than that though?" Mace said.
"He was kind of moody."
At this point the waitress came around with their check and also to ask Razora to stop screaming every ten minutes that his Grilled cheese was "Alive! Alive and planning something! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" For while the first time it was possibly a genuine cry for help, the following ten times it was most assuredly some type of sarcasm. Razora replied that if someone would come over and kill the nefarious sandwich, he wouldn't have to resort to yelling.
Maddox looked at his change, and realized that they had shortchanged him by four cents. "Excuse me, my meal cost me10.96, and I gave you eleven and I never got the change... It's not really a big deal, I just thought maybe..."
The waitress gave a sigh that said she would rather be anywhere else but haggling over chump change, and looked over at Mace. "Would you please tell your friend that I've had a long day and I'm not in the mood for his sarcasm."
"No, I'm afraid we don't speak the same language." Mace said.
"I wasn't being sarcastic..."
"Oh yeah!! Well how the hell am I supposed to give you four cents?"
"Well maybe if you just grabbed some pennies..."
"Oh. Pennies, of course. And where exactly am I supposed to acquire these pennies? Huh? Tell me that one hotshot?"
Maddox darted his eyes around the table to see she was serious, seeing not a single crack of even the smallest smile on anyone face around the entire room, he sort of slowly replied "From... the... cash register?"
The waitress shot herself.
Penny=s have always caused more trouble than they=re worth. You can't spend them, and there hardly big enough to hold down a piece of paper, so one day when someone said "Hey, lets get rid of these pennies." everyone agreed and the man was hailed as a hero. The problem was finding a way to get rid of them. First they tried melting them down, but this proved far too easy and the government just wouldn't have it. They suggested that people collect all the pennies and build a huge statue of Saint Agnes. But nobody could remember what she looked like, so that too had to be abandoned.
Finally everyone grew frustrated with the whole idea and the guy who came up with it, was stripped of his hero status and sentenced to be stoned to death. Right before the first stone was cast by he without sin, who amazingly it turns out had been in Vermont all this time, the man who's name incidentally was Peter Fingerly, in a last ditch effort to save his life, came up with the following idea, "We all hate poor people right?" Peter said. The crowd temporarily settled down and agreed with this. "Well, what if we somehow find a way to get rid of the pennies and poor people at the same time? Imagine how much better everything would be!" The crowd murmured about for a bit and decided they quite liked this new idea, and he was again hailed as a hero. However someone in the crowd pointed out that it was a mighty shame to get everyone together for a stoning and then not do it. Everyone agreed that this was indeed quite a shame so they killed him anyway, but afterwards they felt really bad about it.
Armed with this new purpose of eliminating poverty, and reducing inflation at
the same time they set out with a renewed enthusiasm for the project. Realizing that they really had no idea where to start, having killed their idea man before he had elaborated on his plan, they again slipped into a funk. Finally some suggested that since they couldn=t figure out a decent way to kill the poor, they might as well just hide them away, somewhere. Then somebody else suggested that they hide them away in houses made of pennies and they were on their way.
The penny houses were built and the impoverished people of the city moved in to them, and for a while everyone was happy. However due to a slight miscalculation on the designers part (copper is one of the most heat conductive materials on earth) All the poor people were cooked in their homes and died. The smell and resulting contamination of the air and water eventually killed everyone else in the city as well. Scholars have often cited this event as conclusive evidence that you really can't get rid of a penny, at least not without a plague breaking out. Such Scholars are often told to shut up and go back home as nobody invited them to the party anyway.
"Bah, I probably would've shot her eventually anyway." Razora and Mace had left the restaurant very quietly after the whole incident and left Maddox to deal with it. Maddox had used the old "Look behind you it's a shark!!!" trick
and escaped an almost certain $30 fine.
"You can't just shoot anyone you want, Raz. You should at least check the list of approved justifiable murder. I don't think Waitresses are on it." Mace was looking for the car that they had been traveling in, but he wasn't having any luck, so he shrugged and stole a black Volvo.
"I'm sure they're on there somewhere. Ice Cream men are."
"No, Raz, they're not. You put that there. Scribbling "Ice Cream men" on the bottom of the list in magic marker after mistaking an Ice Cream Man convention for an enemy encampment and slaughtering them, does not make it officially ok to murder ice cream men." Finally the car started and after making a full 180 degree turn, they started again towards Tijuana, passing their own car about ten yards down the road. While this struck them all as funny it never occurred to any of them to actually switch cars.
Maddox had actually been quite enjoying the trip up to this point but as they drew closer to their actual destination, the rather unpleasant reality that he would soon be facing down a battalion of probably ill-dispositioned soldiers.
(History notes that while this was a correct assumption for the most part, it's still unfair as some of the men were actually real good guys, who just happened to like shooting people in the face. There are worse habits a person can have.)
"You know it occurs to me, that there are only three of us..." Maddox paused hoping that the rest of his statement would be obvious.
Razora turned around and gave him a funny look, "Just now?"
Even Mace who very rarely joined conversations that he didn't start chimed in. "Yeah, learn to count. That's a rather impressive display of stupidity. You realize that you point the barrel of your gun away from yourself right?"
Maddox shook his head. "No, no. I mean there=s only three of us and were going to storm a base full of god knows how many soldiers."
"Don't hurt yourself trying to count them. I can tell you right now there=s way more than three." Razora said.
"No! God dammit, I mean, were hopelessly outnumbered aren't we?"
All the sudden Razora=s eyes lit up with understanding. "Ah yes. That's true."
The two soldiers seemed to think that the conversation was over and rather relieved to be done with it, and the pause dragged on for a seemingly endless moment.
"Well... Can we win?" Maddox said.
Razora turned towards Maddox, Determined to stick out this conversation to the end with having to murder his guest in cold blood.
"What do you mean? What are the statistics of it."
"Well, I believe it's something like... a 1% chance of victory. Maybe a little more."
Another pause. Maddox was getting pretty good at dramatic pauses and he was the kind of guy that stuck to what he was good at.
"Well, then were.... screwed... aren=t we?"
Razora made a thoughtful face, (It involves wrinkling your chin. Why this is considered thoughtful is a mystery.)
"You keep saying that!" Maddox said.
"Yeah, well it's true" Razora was determined to keep his cool. Being Cool is important.
"Well you don't seem very worried!!" Maddox wasn't cool. This had been made quite apparent to him in High School.
"Mission accomplished@ Thought Razora. "That's because I'm not."
"Well why the fuck not?" how miserably Maddox had failed at being hip.
Here was Razora's big moment, if he could deliver this line right, it would assure his status as ultimately cool, approaching the heights of awesome.
"Because Statistics are a load of cow shit!"
Oooh. Razora was as cool as a naked Eskimo's pet penguin Frosty.
There was a famous paper written by a Famous Economist named Dick Lesbian (An incredibly unfortunate name...) Entitled "Statistics, Metaphors and Cliché=s. How to Sell a Man The Ring On His Finger" I'll reprint it here, with permission from the old lady across the street, who said she couldn't care less.
There=s an introduction and such but it's crap. So we'll just skip to the important part...
#1Introduction to Statistical Lying.
Statistics is the art of taking data that is undeniably true and lying with it. For example, if you wanted to figure out what the average number of legs for human beings were, you would have to factor in all the people who have only one leg, half a leg, and so forth. Eventually the statistics would tell you that the average person has 1.29 legs. Despite the overwhelming majority of people that you've seen who clearly have two legs, the average person apparently spend a lot of time hopping in circles.
Say you find yourself on trial for murdering an old woman for her wheelchair in a crowded area. Calmly explain that while you did indeed senselessly club that one old lady to death, there were more than six hundred people in the area that you didn't club to death. You killed less than 1% of the people in that area. 1% isn't very much. Any sane Jury will be able to see that the amount of people you didn't kill greatly outweighs the amount of people you did kill, and you'll get off with a warning and maybe a small fine.
#2 Clichés and Metaphors.
A fool and his money are soon part. This goes right in hand with "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven." The eye of the needle is actually just what they used to call the gates that led into the city in the ancient Middle East, which a camel, with some difficulty, could squeeze through. Fortunately not many people know that, and certain guilt ridden terminally ill Christian billionaires will in fact give you all their money if you repeat that saying enough times. Some people say it's wrong to steal from the terminally ill, but as you know, 'a tooth for a tooth an eye for an eye." After I say that they usually something along the lines of "That doesn't make any sense!@ But that's the cat calling the kettle black.
If you want to kill a cat legally change your name to Curiosity...
It should be noted that Dr. Lesbian went mad halfway through writing this paper. Still it's a widely read and heavily cited essay, which probably explains why lawyers on a whole are a bunch of soul sucking bastards.
PART 8: Pre-mission Bearology.
The car pulled into a lot 40 yards from their intended target. Razora explained that while the mission was indeed one of utmost importance and absolutely vital to global security, it could wait until morning. AThose rebels aren=t going anywhere. They walled themselves up in there to keep guys like us out, and I=m not all that thrilled about going over there anyway, so I might as well be rested up when I do it.@
Mace had wandered over towards a hill with a turret situated on top of it. The previous unit that had been assigned to watch over the area had left in quite a hurry, and appeared to have neglected their duties to disassemble their equipment. Mace climbed into the gunner seat, and relaxed. It should be noted that Mace=s idea of relaxation was to take potshot=s at harmless woodland animals, and later report himself to the local wildlife protection authorities.
Maddox had taken to familiarizing himself with Razora=s determinator, and had been punching in whatever words came to mind, and he had discovered that while the world he was from and the one he was currently in certainly had their fair share of differences, most of the fundamental=s were the same. The only difference he had found so far was that in this world the word AMaroon@ actually referred to an infamous style of gangster rapping that involved cloning yourself into an unstoppable force capable of taking on any standing army in the world and then promptly getting shot in a car by a rival gangster. The clones, upset by the loss of their leader, generally faded from the public eye, many of them having taken up a somewhat unhealthy interest in lobster fishing.
Maddox wondered how many times this had actually happened, and eventually came to the conclusion that it must be a common occurrence for them to have specific word for it.
On a whim he punched in the word bear, and the first result was ABad Pets.@ While Maddox agreed this was probably true, he did think it was a little odd, that this would be the initial result as opposed to AWild Animal@ or even AMammal@. He asked the machine to elaborate, and so it did.: (Note: the man who contributed this bit to the information chains knew very little of English people, specifically the way in which the speak. The result is something that reads a bit like a Monty Python skit. You=ve been warned.)
AKodiak Tea Time, the classic and often cited story of a Bear=s true nature. Considered to be the definitive work on Bear=s. Would you like to hear it?@
AYeah, that=d be great.@ Maddox said.
The determinator made some impressive whirs and whistles and began to shoot steam out of it=s sides. After thirty or so rounds of this manner of behavior it stopped and said AAll right then. Here it is, Kodiak Tea Time@
James Stuffnyokel sat in his good friend Charles=s chair by the fireplace quietly sipping his tea and reflecting on the days events, as all proper upper class English gentleman, are required to by law. James was having trouble really getting into his thoughts tonight, something about the room unnerved him. He had stayed for tea at Charles=s house countless times and had always found the place to be quite comfortable. He couldn=t quite put his finger on it. The ceiling fan had a bit of a wobble to it, but that was hardly unnerving. That couldn=t be it. If he had to guess though. He=d probably say it was 12 foot Kodiak bear that was currently parading through the room knocking thing=s over and showing absolutely no respect for other peoples property. AYes, that must be it.@ James thought.
Charles returned from the kitchen carrying a tray of crumpets and all that crap that Limeys eat with their tea. He passed by the rampaging beast without so much as a second glance, sat down in the chair opposite of James and began to eat a scone. The Kodiak snatched it away from him did something unspeakably disgusting with it, and began to mash it into Charles forehead. Charles calmly chose another scone and began to eat that one instead, not even bothering to wipe the dripping sticky mess away from his brow.
ALovely weather we=ve been >avin, eh ol= bean?@ Charles said.
AAh...yeeesss...@ James said, slowly shifting his eyes from Charles to the bear and back again. The bear, it appeared, had taken a romantic interest in Charles=s television set, and was attempting to make a smaller bear with it. However this attempt proved to be futile, as the television set wasn=t quite ready for the responsibility of children at this point in her life. The bear understood perfectly well, and threw the set out the window.
AAh, Charles...@ James paused, trying to find the most delicate way of putting this.
AWhy is there a bear... umm ...well I don=t mean to be tactless and I realize that it=s really none of business but..@ James paused again. He really disliked confrontation, because you see he was English. Any red blooded American knows that English people are complete pansies. Anyway James finally did get over his culturally inherited wussiness and finally was able to convince himself to just be a man and do it.
AThere does seem to be a bear rampaging through your... er... downstairs.@ James breathed a heavy sigh of relief, eternally grateful to have gotten that off his chest.
Charles craned his head around James to get a look at the bear that had now gotten interested in his bookshelf, specifically he was interested in smashing it in half.
AYes. Just showed up one day, he did. He was all dressed up as the mailman, sweet talked his way past the missus. When he got into the kitchen he threw off his disguise and he=s been trouncing about like he owned the place ever sense.
AThat=s terrible!@ James said.
AOh well now.@ Charles said AIt=s not all bad really.@
ANot all bad?@ James asked (Yelled really) AHe=s tearing your house to ribbons! It=s a bloody miracle that your even alive! Bears eat people ! What possible good can come from that!!?@
AWell@ Charles began AYou know the Finsterburgs? Live across the way? Anyway, dreadful people, always complaining about my bushes going over into there property. Well, they came over here to complain about all the noise the bears been making. As soon as they opened the door, the bear sort of punched their heads off.@
AJesus!@ James yelled. After quite a bit of that sort of thing, James finally calmed down. All of the sudden his eyes went deadly serious, a dreadful thought having dawned upon him.
AWhere=s Milly?@ James hadn=t seen Charles=s wife during the entire time he=d been there.
AAh...yes...Milly well, funny thing.. Ah she was umm... well that is to say she=s... passed on.. Well.. uh...yes.@ Charles said.
James leaned in closely to Charles and looked him right in the eye. AWhat happened to her.@ His eyes were bulging and his face had turned bright red. AWhat the hell happened to your wife!!@
ANothing. Natural causes@ He said Aeaten by the bear@ He murmured under his breath.
AEATEN?! HARDLY BLOODY NATURAL CAUSES IS IT?@ James screamed.
AHey, It=s perfectly natural for a bear to eat a human!@ Charles screamed back.
AHe ate her man! That bear ate your Milly! HE ATE HER!!@ They were nose to nose now.
AWell at first, yeah. But afterwards he was just trying to express his love for her, I=m sure.@
AAAAAGGHH!!!@ James screamed and picked up the poker near the fireplace. He went after the bear intending to end it himself. The bear noticed him but just barely (Pun not exactly intended but also could have been avoided rather easily) He calmly cleaved James in half with a swipe of his razor sharp claw, and began to consume him. Unfortunately for the bear, he choked James=s somewhat larger than average Ethics gland, and died as well.
Maddox=s initial reaction was to file this under things that made his own world and this one different. It seemed to be a prime example of how nothing that happened here ever made the slightest bit of sense. After turning that over in his head for a while, he realized that it was actually the most familiar thing he=d encountered in this world so far, and that the two places maybe weren=t that much different after all.
PART 9: A really amazing battle scene that I’m just not in the mood to explain in graphic detail.