Friday, October 5, 2012

Flotsam on the Fucking Cosmic Sea

"Alright, alright," I heard myself say, as if I were listening to myself at the end of a very long hallway. "Don't curl up into a ball on me. I . . . need you active and alert. Try to be less of a Puppeteer and more of a . . . reality-anchor. An anchor is what I need you to be. Bee bee bee. No bees! Reptiles! The reptiles, they're forming sides . . . some sort of battle, I don't understand . . . ."

I felt a blow to my back, or to my thigh, or to my foot, a shock that radiated wetly through the flexible rubber sheet that my body had become. I turned around in confusion, adrenalin flowing, and Nessus had kicked me!

"What the hell are you doing, you insane excuse for a goat?"

"Trying to keep you focused on reality instead of on the gory monster movie playing in your head."

Strangely enough, it made a queer sort of sense to me. Some lunatic rat bastard had drugged me! I'd make the motherfucker pay later, but for now, it was important to Fight the Drug.

For some reason.

A degree of clarity had returned at least briefly, and the leathery-skinned behemoths had receded, though Lord only knew how long that would last. I looked down at the industrial carpet, relieved.

"OK. Now, you need to know I went and saw Lasorda upstairs."

"who's Lasorda?" The room began to spin again, and it seemed like waves of reptile blood were rolling back in.

"He claims to be our photographer, but we don't have a photographer, do we?"

I tried to think. "No! Why would we need a photographer? I'm a starship pilot on sabbatical, travelling under the assumed name of Dr. Gonzo. And you're an attorney."

"That's what I thought," Nessus said. "I told him how we had Ausfaller's number, and he cracked up, went to pieces right in front of me. By the time I kicked him into the hallway, he was begging me not to hyperwave his editor. Or his mother."

"I bet you kicked him," I said. There was again a nasty red tide frothing at my feet. "Does he know we have Sinclair Molecule Chain?"

"No. But I told him we had a Quantum II hyperdrive, and it scared the shit out of him."

"I'm glad to hear it. A two-faced cockroach like that deserves no mercy from you." I looked toward the elevators, across the roiling reptilian battlefield. "What about our room?" I asked, frantic. "What about our godamned golf shoes? We're exposed smack dab in the middle of theropod no-mans-land. We'll be torn to pieces! How many have they killed already?"

I pointed to a circle of gila monsters across the bloody lizard combat zone, poisonous drool flowing from the edges of their terrible angular mouths and dripping into the crimson muck below. "They've spotted us. We're toast, Nessus. Flotsam on the fucking cosmic sea. The cosmic seaaaaa. . . ."

Nessus' eye stalks turned toward each other in dismay. He looked back at me. "It's the acid, Bey. Repeat after me: the acid. A-C-I-D. Pull yourself together, Shaeffer. Find yourself a mid-grade stimulant. That's the press table. That's where you go to sign in for your credentials. You handle that, and I'll get the room."

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