SIX MONTHS AGO:
I brush broken cheesy puffs off my chest with cheeto-orange fingers, then I grope around for my phone.
I shove aside some pizza boxes and Mountain Dew cans. (Wait, this one’s still half-full!) SLURP! Aaaahhh…(do the Dew! EXTREEEEEEMMMEE!!)
Alright ALRIGHT, goddammit! But wait—there’s a quarter slice of pizza lying on my stomach. I snatch it up and shove it into my mouth. (Never waste food—a classic Man Whore tenet)
BrrrRR—“JEEZ!” I snatch up the phone, emitting slightly pornographic noises as I scarf down mouthfuls of delicious cold peecha. “Mrrf Mmmm Mrowf. Hoof if idth?”
“Kent, this is the director of Section 5.”
“Mmrowf mmf nnn,”—*GULP!* “What? Director of Section WHAT?”
I hear a sigh, as if the man on the other end has had to explain himself a thousand times before and even though he hates it, he’ll go ahead and do it one more time. “Section 5 is a highly classified, multi-government agency that engages in reconnaissance, sabotage, and direct action against world-ending threats. A coven of hippies has arisen in San Francisco. They’re close to creating a doomsday weapon that will cover the world in a tidal wave of stank and fermented pit hair. Because you’re weird and dirty, we want you to infiltrate them and nullify the doomsday weapon.”
“Do I get paid?”
“In comics and pizza.”
Thrills race through my body, but I’m a cool enough customer to contain them. A top-tier covert operations director has just offered to pay me in the things I love most. But let’s be real—he’s just asked me to save the entire freaking WORLD, right? I could ask for pallets of cash, lamborghinis, a lifetime pass to MyFriendsHotMom.com…
“I’ll need the comics to be trade paperbacks. No single issues; don’t fuck with me on this.”
“Trade paperbacks—you got it.”
I pump my fist and strum an air guitar riff that would make Bill and Ted proud. Sweet!
“We know who you are, Kent.”
The Hippie Leader, Rowan Indigo Sage—a long-haired, pasty-limbed, crystal-licking, unicorn-molesting, dickless ghost of a man—grins evilly at me as the black bag is snatched off my head. I’m in a dank, concrete room. The only source of illumination is a naked bulb that blazes brightly overhead. It swings ever so slightly, casting ghoulish shadows across the grimy walls.
“We know who you are, and there’s only one way you can redeem yourself, you filthy traitor.”
I try to keep my voice level as I say: “I told you, Rowan—I’m just a lazy Man Whore who wants to forgo showers and eat the best tofu the world has to of—”
“Shut up, Kent. Just shut the hell up. If you want to convince us you belong here, then you’re gonna have to eat this.”
He turns away for a second to grab something behind him. When he faces back to me, he’s holding a gilded chest in front of his sternum. It’s about the size of a small rice cooker. As he opens the lid, I smell something that makes me age ten years in the space of a second. The closest I can come to describing it is if someone condensed a Bigfoot bukkake party into Whoopi Goldberg’s sock right after she’d finished doing squats for time, then let that sock ferment in Gary Busey’s unwashed buttcrack, rotting slowly in a liquefied slurry of ear-hair-inducing Old Man spores.
“What..” I gasp. But it’s too much—I give in to a gagging fit. When I recover, I manage, “What…IS that thing?”
Through tear-bleared eyes, I see Rowan grin and look down at the disgusting green ball in the center of the chest. “What—this? It’s our ultimate weapon: a condensed piece of BO and patchouli that we plan on aerosolizing over the skies of San Francisco, turning everyone in the populace into full on hippies. Soon, grooming will be a thing of the past, and showers will follow shortly after.”
“What—ohgodit’ssobad—what…do you want me to do with it?”
He steps closer, bringing the chest an inch closer to me. I flinch backward like someone’s coming at my face with a moldering cock. “Prove that you’re truly one of us, Kent. Give it a lick. Even if you’re a traitor, you won’t be able to resist the power of our ultimate weapon, much like Force Captain Adora couldn’t resist her true goodness and throw off the oppressive yoke imposed on her by that bastard Hordak.”
“You’re…insane,” I wheeze. “And She-Ra…fought…for the good of all—not so she could activate some cut-rate, Hail Hydra-style doomsday weapon.”
He grabs my hair, forcing my head back. “You’re licking the ball whether you want to or not. Too bad we have to do this the hard way, Kent.”
I close my eyes and start praying to the Batman. “Oh holy Dark Knight, you who watch over us while we sleep and shower (in a totally uncreepy manner); you who have banged the Catwoman, the hottest piece of booty to ever emerge from our collective unconscious and give me my first chubby, please deliver me in this time of need. Please save your loyal and devoted—”
My eyes fill with blood as the ball of stank creeps closer to my face. Through the reddened haze, I can actually SEE stink lines wafting up from the gross little lump. This is it; no more Man Whore, no more Kent Wayne…I’m about to be turned into a half-human that most likely has razzle or dazzle somewhere in his name and eventually changes it to some cliche Hindi title in the hopes of starting my own cult and scamming people for money and sex…
And then I see him: Bitefighter—my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire—drops from the ceiling with my eReader in his mouth. He noses it open to Echo. Magic flash. Water rushes in to my cell. From the volume of it, I can see that it must have flooded the hippies’ entire compound.
Rowan looks down, his pants now darkened by knee-high water. “Huh? Is this supposed to stop me or someth—”
And then containers of soap and shampoo materialize in the air, bursting open like exploding grenades. The stuff mingles with the water and forms into lather. Rowan’s eyes widen in panic.
“SOUND THE ALARM!” he screams. “THERE’S SOAP ALL OVER THE COMPOUND! WE NEED TO EVACUATE RIGHT FUCKING N—”
But it’s too late. Rowan’s skin starts bubbling and seething. He staggers to the door but before he can open it, his legs melt from beneath him and he collapses into the soapy water. The lather has melted off most of his skin and exposed his teeth so that a macabre, skull-like grin shows from his desiccated mouth, but he still manages to emit a mind-grating screech. I close my eyes and turn away. I’m sorry, but I just can’t take it—soaped up hippies die in the most horrifying manner; worse than zombies or vampires.
Bitefighter chews through my restraints and a few seconds later, I’m staggering out of the hippie compound, trying not to vomit from the memory of that patchouli-BO bomb.
It doesn’t take long to forget about it. Comics and pizza, here I come!
Have militant hippies tied you up in some Narcos-style interrogation chamber and are about to force you to lick their BO/Patchouli-comprised, apocalypse-bringer ordnance? Never fear! 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 #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book