I’m biking through the city. Bitefighter (my loyal buddy and 10 lb. terrier extraordinaire) is poking out from my backpack, panting into the wind and keeping his eyes peeled for zombie hordes, just like I’ve trained him to. A gaggle of bikers falls in behind me as I cut through Golden Gate park, but as the miles pass and the sun dims, I notice they’ve stay tight on my tail. Bitefighter turns his head toward my ear and lets out a warning “Rowf!” I cast a worried glance behind me and say, “I know, buddy. I don’t know what they’re up to—but it can’t be good.” I’ve just made up my mind to head toward the nearest police station when one of them swerves in front of me, cutting me off and stopping me in my tracks. I screech to a halt, then swing my bike to the right, intent on cutting a quick turn and getting the hell out of there. Another one accelerates, stands up on his pedals, then launches himself bodily out of his bicycle seat and spear-tackles me off my bike. Bitefighter manages to slip out of my pack as I go tumbling across pavement. “What the HELL???” I scream. “Who ARE you psychos?” Four of them hold me down, each of ’em grabbing an arm or a leg. Their leader whistles casually under his breath, flipping out his kickstand and dismounting his bike. He saunters forward, dancing a little jiggle with his shoulders and hips as he uncaps a dripping red pen. “No,” I whisper. “GRAMMAR NAZIS!” The leader stops whistling, a sickly cut of a smile spreading across his face. He taps the tip of the red pen like a doctor checking a hypodermic needle, then flips it down into an icepick grip. “That’s right,” he says. “Once I infect you with this specially calibrated piece of anal retentiveness, you too will be damned to a one-inch baby dick and a permanent lack of muscle tone. Writers should be relegated to essays and academic papers, Kent. You’ve been off the reservation for far too long.” If I had acces to my customary wit at that moment, I might’ve retorted that seeing this doucher’s face didn’t just reduce my hog into a baby dick, but into a black hole that would defy every existing model of physics known to man. But my tongue’s caught in my throat. I turn my head to the side and see Bitefighter in a nearby mess of bushes. I give him a firm nod. He knows just what to do—we’ve rehearsed our responses to bicycle ambushes for countless hours (well mostly I just talk at him while he smiles and wags…but whatever). My mustachioed buddy charges out from hiding, reaches into my pack, and noses my eReader open to Echo. Magic flash. Suddenly the smell of whiskey drifts through the air. The soft pad of footsteps carry across the trail, and we all turn our heads toward the noise. At first we see nothing but the silhouette of a bearded man dressed in old-timey clothes, then the Grammar Nazi leader’s lips part in dazed surprise. “Hemingway,” he whispers. His voice raises as he says, “Bless us great wordslinger, for we—” Hemingway chops the air with his hands, charging toward the Grammar Nazi. The Grammar Nazi backpedals and stutters something, not quite sure what’s happening, when Hemingway drives shoulder into sternum, sending the hapless idiot bouncing across asphalt. Hemingway spins, darts his hand out, and wedgies Grammar Nazi #2, who screams, “AH GOD PLEASE!” There’s a meaty tearing sound as the old writer follows through with the motion, ripping out a fistful of undies and holding them overhead like the decapitated head of a sworn enemy. In short order, he does the same to the rest of my attackers. A few second later, the Grammar Nazis are wearing whitey-tighty underwear masks and crying into the crook of their elbows. Hemingway offers me a hand. I take it and ask, “How—?” He grins. “Grammar Nazis are nerds at heart, and are particularly vulnerable to any variation of the wedgie.” He shrugs. “Or you can chuck a five lb. dumbbell at ’em—the very concept of physical strength can oftentimes break their mind.” I get to my feet, chuckling softly. Wedgies and dumbbells—who knew?
There’s the good nerds (I like to think of myself as one 🙂 ) and those who seek to inflict their nasal-toned butthurt on the rest of us. If you’re accosted by the latter, then summon yourself up a mad, whiskey-swilling writer. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle