For years, Bitefighter—my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire—and I have made our home in a super swank dumpster. Even though our living space may be small, Bitefighter’s retrofitted it with an extensive variety of nanotech that grants us all the amenities. The hull can fold out into a barbeque, a shower, a walled toilet, and even a top-tier kitchen that would make a four-star chef turn green with envy. The inside is lined with plush leather and houses a modest fridge which I keep stocked with the finest variations of mountain dew (remember the World of Warcraft-themed orange and blue game fuels? Yeah, I make damn sure I have ready access to both of those modern-day ambrosias.) as well as an assortment of Haribo candies and green Rips. I also refrigerate at least one slice of cold pizza (LOVE cold pizza!) at all times.
At night we zoom around San Francisco, powered by a zero-point propulsion rig which Bitefighter cobbled together from the local landfill. During the day, we while away the hours by playing pattycake, Starcraft II, or “stop humping Kent Wayne’s leg” (obviously, Bitefighter and I have conflicting goals when it comes to that one). To deter unwanted visitors, our dumpster has been fitted with a holographic cloak which makes it appear as if it’s close to bursting. If someone still wants to throw something in, Bitefighter farts into a specially armored tube (the armor is required to maintain the tube’s integrity whilst funneling his atom-splitting flatulence) that deploys his insanity-inducing butt-gas directly outside our dumpster. While potential intruders are deep in the throes of madness—gibbering and slobbering, consumed by an evil which defies description—we’re able to make a quick getaway.
But of late, something has been hunting us. We’ve noticed too many of the same faces. Too many of the same license plates.
Who would do this to us? Who would hunt me and my buddy while we enjoy life in our humble dumpster-home?
We no longer zoom through the city, carefree and freewheeling; now we slink through a maze of back alleys, always on the lookout for hostile surveillance. Bitefighter double and triple-checks our weapons each night, making sure that if we’re attacked, we’re able to respond with photon cannons, airburst munitions, next generation rocketry, or even a metal storm machine gun if we need to chew our way through something at a million rounds per minute. He’s lost a lot of sleep in the past few days, and I make sure to apply extra long massages to his little furry neck and his tiny doggy feet. Due to our exigent circumstances, I’ve let him off the hook when it comes to bath time; yeah he may smell like a combination of week-old sperm and semi-intelligent mold, but our lives are in danger—he doesn’t need the extra stress.
I’m in a game fuel-induced haze when Bitefighter slaps me awake with one of his gross stinky paws.
He points at the bank of screens mounted inside our walls. (Two weeks ago, he expanded our security apparatus; he’s created a responsive net of nano drones that deploy across a half-mile circle, with our dumpster-home at its center. Our monitors display polished visuals garnered directly from the nano-net) As I look at the screens, my heart drops: teams of black-clad, ninja-esque gunwomen are converging on our location. They’re armed with katanas and tricked out FN P90 submachine guns. I bolt straight up on my bean bag (bean bags are how a Man Child rolls motha duckas!), and look closer at the screens.
Shit—they’ve cut off every avenue of escape. There’s no way we can slip past them on foot.
I look over at Bitefighter and see him squirming into a tactical doggy harness. He doesn’t carry a weapon—instead of ammo pouches, his vest is coated in pockets containing doo-dads and gadgets. When he finishes donning it, he locks eyes with me.
We exchange a nod.
He climbs into the pilot’s seat of the dumpster and puts on his cybernetic head-rig. He flips a data-monocle down over his right eye, and utters a terse series of commands:
“Arf mcBark rowf mcroofskies.”
A pleasantly feminine robotic voice replies: “WEAPON SYSTEMS PRIMED. ENGAGING MOBILITY.”
A series of rough-sounding CLANKS issue from the bottom of the dumpster. On the external cams, I see armored treads spring up from the base of our home. A series of small panels slide back on our outer hull, revealing neat rows of side-thrusters; these balance our weight and keep us from tipping when our dumpster has to execute sharp turns or swerve at high speeds.
Beneath the harsh green glow of monitors and holos, Bitefighter’s tiny lips spread into an unmistakable grin. His right paw grasps a gleaming throttle. Before he punches it forward, he utters a single word:
“McBarkskies.” (Terrier-speak for: “Get some, biotch.”)
SHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!! Our dumpster-home rockets into the street and cuts a sharp right. We tip onto a tread and a bank of side-thrusters ignite, keeping us upright. We immediately begin taking fire; the sides of our dumpster sound with angry rattles as a 9mm washes over our hull. Bitefighter cranks the throttle into a sideways notch, then punches it forward again. On the external cams, I spot a fleet of armored SUVs starting to chase us. But wait, there’s more—apache choppers are cresting the horizon, an AC-130 gunship is circling us hundreds of feet up, and what the HELL?
Are we being pursued by HOVER BIKES?
zooooOOOOOOMMMMPKEWWWW!!! Our main thrust-rocket light up. On the external cams, I see hot blue fire burst from a cluster of clean-burn jets jutting from the dumpster’s back. Bitefighter’s paws are working in a mad flurry, toggling switches, guiding the steering column, pushing levers…we swerve through the busy streets of San Francisco, avoiding collisions by mere inches. A traffic jam appears up ahead and I level a finger at it.
I can’t keep the panic from bleeding into my voice: “Bitefighter! The odds of navigating a San Francisco traffic jam are—”
“ARF ROWF MCROOF!” (Shut your mouth, dumb human! Never tell me the odds!)
Then he rockets down the opposite lane, right into oncoming traffic. Our side-thrusters are working at full capacity, blinking on and off as they keep us balanced. We barely manage to slip through a mess of traffic. All the while, honking car horns merge into an angry blare.
Two cars—side by side—are coming toward us, blocking both lanes. The sidewalks are filled with pedestrians, leaving us no choice but to collide with the vehicles…or innocent bystanders. Bitefighter grits his teeth, hopelessness writ clear across his mustachioed face.
Only one option left. I open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash.
Our dumpster grows a giant pair of twenty-foot tall, segmented legs. Astonished office workers stare and point from their second and third story windows as we rise to their line of sight. We begin tromping through traffic on our tricked-out dumpster, now equipped with something Calvin might dream up if you megadosed him with acid.
I can’t hold it in. My fists clench by my ribs and I scream, “HEEEELLLLLLLSS YEAAAAHHHHH!!!”
My joy is interrupted by a fritz of light on our comms monitor. I see a distinct face resolve on it’s static-threaded surface: it’s one of our attackers. She strips off her balaclava and I recognize her as one of my exes.
“KENT WAYNE!” she barks. “You’re not getting away from us! After we make the sex with your gigantic hog one last time, we’re going to draw and quarter your dumpster-riding ass!”
I do what I’ve always done when I’m confronted by angry women—I yank off my pants and break into a dirty south hip-hop dance that’s liberally accented with ba-dunka-dunk twerking. Bitefighter gives her the middle (paw? Finger? Don’t know what to call it) then keys a series of techno-organic switches on his holographic dashboard.
Our onboard AI declares, “TESSER-ENGINE ENGAGED. ACAUSALITY DRIVE ACTIVATING IN T-MINUS 20 SECONDS.”
Bitefighter asks a terse question as he continues working the controls. “Rowf?” (Where do you want to go?)
A shining map of imaginal realms opens up on his dashboard. I survey all of them. My eyes light up as they lock onto the one on the far right.
How obvious could it be?
I point at the one labeled “Enchanted Booty Forest,” and Bitefighter clicks on it.
My Ex begins hazing into a flurry of television snow. The last thing I hear is her screaming, “NOOOOOOO!!! WE WILL HAVE OUR VENGEANCE, KENT! WE WILL DRINK FROM YOUR SKULL AND FEAST OFF YOUR—”
The energy builds around the dumpster, enveloping us in swirling radiance, unraveling reality in long chains of mandala-bordered sutures…
And then we’re gone.
For the next few years, me and Bitefighter live like kings in the Enchanted Booty Forest, righting wrongs and caressing the finest booties in the entire multiverse, riding around in our super-sweet dumpster. My exes did eventually find us, and we had to fight them off in an epic battle where the sky turned red and things went kerblooey, but that’s a story for another day.
Has your dumpster-utopia been disturbed by a lethal battalion of commando-exes? 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