As I stood stalwartly beside the entrance to the Colonial Marine’s spring-themed obstacle course, all I could think about was... Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“Why?” I asked one of the entrance guards, “Why isn’t he here for me now?”
But all I got was an indifferent shrug and a gesture that could be interpreted as either “go on” or “I want to hit your face with the back of my hand.”
The doors creaked shut as I passed the Romanesque pillars. Everything within the simulation — at least I’m assuming the obstacle course was a simulation — was so vibrant and supersaturated that I had the strongest urge to just find a degaussing button and hit it.
Sweet Squid of Madrid! Under a field of flagellating cornstalks I could see numerous reptiles with orange scales, dark red eyes, and protruding horns scurrying around in a futile attempt to climb the surreal stalks. Above me the sky was a low cyan fading to black, but the stars were arranged in such perfect geometric patterns that Plato himself would have broken down and wept in their presence. Beside me a spectral being stamped his foot impatiently. After thirty seconds of unresponsiveness on my part, he cleared his throat repeatedly while tapping the back of my neck with a sharpened spork.
“Is there something I can help you with, sir?” I asked uncharacteristically politely as spork fragments worked themselves out of my neck flap. The old ghost was, after all, more familiar with the course than I was. Better to get on his good side than risk falling behind with my pride intact.
Instead of responding in kind, he shoved a pamphlet into my arms. I cradled it tenderly, looking up as if to say “why? Why have you given me the greatest gift of all, the gift of literature?”
“I been bwiefed already on ya, ya fawl!” He spat. It was as if every tooth had been removed from his head, it was! I bent down, trying to get a good look at the inside of the old man’s mouth, but he pushed me away. Just like the Romney campaign...
“Is... is there anything I can do to make your death a little more bearable?” Brown-nosing is only one of my skills, but it’s one that I find I need to use more and more these days, what with the wireless Internet and all.
“I can get you into heaven. I know people.”
He seemed to consider it, but flickered out of existence a second later. There was a loud click-popping noise, and from the depths of the sky came the voice of Hudson: “Obstruction courses aren’t about bribes! They’re all about the obstruction! Don’t ever forget that, or it’s game over!”
I felt shame. Shame that I’d been caught, shame that the easy way out was gone, shame that I’d crashed a funeral last month dressed as a clown. Patch Adams is a misleading movie...
“Okay.” I took a few deep breaths. “I can do this. I’m an American, and I have diplomatic immunity here.”
Opening the pamphlet, I turned to page one. Copyright 2007. Dedicated to...
“Great Stork of New York! I’ll never make it through this alive!” I crumpled the pamphlet angrily and tossed it into a Scruff McGruff-brand waste disposal receptacle on the way back out.
A slick slide rule slid down the wall, Slid slightly south, but didn’t fall.
“Can you see it yet? Does it come in clear? Can you see broadcasts from yesteryear?”
Deep within the darkened cave A band of rouge protectors raged, For years on end to try and save Unlicensed art of another age.
From radio waves to the televised, Each stray thought was mass archived.
“The picture’s in! Let’s thank ourselves- Sweet Space-Age Elves of B-6-12!”
Whipping ’cross the viewing port Electric bolts from outer space Made half the images contort, And spliced new footage in their place.
Due to the nature of the time transcoder, All the changes to the show Cascaded backwards, out of order, Breaking swiftly time’s sweet flow.
“Well, we had a good run!” the chief rogue laughed. “We even broke history! That’s no easy task. If we must go down, let’s go down without fright! Obliteration to all, and to all a good night!”
“Sweet-a Moose-a of Tuscaloosa! Gyrobo, that was amazing!”
Using only my mind, I blasted another hole through the gigantic slide. Green slime squirted everywhere as the concrete base collapsed, and as it fell scores of children cheered me on.
“I owe it all to you, Mitt. I doubt I could’ve gotten past the flamethrowers without the meditation techniques you taught me last week.”
The former governor took a bow, unabashedly patting his large gut. “It’s the least I could do after you donated that large kidney balloon to my campaign. Now people will know how I stand on the kidney issue!”
“I’m done having this conversation with you, Mitt. The challenge is over, and I’d like to go back to the hotel and relax now.”
My sudden mood swing left him a little shaken. “But I- I didn’t prepare for the debate, just so I could help you-”
“And that’s why Giuliani and McCain are serious contenders and you’re just a third wheel. Go back to Kansas, hippie!”
My shoulder collided with his arm as I brushed past him. It’s not that I like making presidential candidates cry in public, but nothing cuts into my free time. Nothing. Sorry, Mitt.