Huffiness aside, we were able to reestablish communication with the mercenaries of the crudely drawn vulture without any trouble. I don’t know exactly how I want to say this, but the future people we’ve met seem very unsophisticated. I don’t mean unsophisticated because they have chicken bones in their hair or that they shit in trenches, I mean emotionally. Or socially maybe. I can’t exactly find the words I want. Talking to them seems more than a little like talking to a kid – a thirteen-year-old kid who’s big for their age and will stab you with a sharpened screwdriver without warning.
Take what happened right here. I ask them an innocent question, it upsets them for some reason, and they run away – but not too far away – and then sit there sulking and looking over like “are you going to come talk to me or what?” Maybe it makes sense that if you spend most of your life trying not to die and the time you don’t spend trying not to die you spend beating each other in the head with rusty hooks, you don’t have time to develop your interpersonal skills? I should have paid more attention in sociology class. Also I should have taken a sociology class.
I was able to speak to their leader (I think) who based on ass smoothness alone I judge to be a woman. She was wearing a mask, a harness/backpack of some kind that looked like it was a prop from Ghostbusters, and not a lot else, other than a quiver on her hip for the bow she was carrying. We told her that their plan had worked! The Boss of Bosstown had sent us to negotiate with them. Good work! She didn’t seem to know what to do about that. I wonder if the people that hired her gave no further instructions because they didn’t think the plan was going to work or because they didn’t want the plan to work.
Despite my obvious charisma and natural confidence that makes people like me, I don’t have a lot of experience with the subtle art of negotiation – that’s what my agent was for. Well that and getting arrested with a bunch of angel dust in a duffel bag on the Corr’s tour bus on the way to the Mahaffey Theater. Despite this lack of experience, I figured that if the person across the table from you (metaphorically, I want to be clear that there was no table) doesn’t know what to do, you should suggest a course of action to them gently. I said that perhaps she should take us back to the people who hired her so we could hash things out with them.
She thought this was a capital idea. She was so relieved that I gave her some direction and freed her from the responsibility of thought that she thanked me. The future is a weird place. Present I mean. You know what I mean. We traveled west (mostly) at a fairly sedate pace. Not sure if that’s because their Frankencar can’t go very fast or because of the shittiness of the roads or if they just weren’t in a hurry. Martialla was keen on trying to see how fast their cars could go but I dissuaded her from challenging one of them to a race on account of I figured it’s probably best they don’t know how fast our car can go either. I feel confident that J-Lo can smoke any of these buckets.
A few hours after sundown, our car is the only one I’ve seen with headlights but it’s bright enough because of the aurora borealis that it’s pretty easy to keep driving, we stopped in the middle of the road and circled the wagons with our vehicles. They put us in the middle, not sure if that was to protect us or to intimidate us or both. I choose to be flattered by their concern.
The bare ass archer said that her name was Filo. Or maybe Jefa. Or Medio perhaps. Even when I can understand most of what someone is saying here, names are tricky because they can be anything, you can’t use contextual cues for names. I asked her about the Lincoln Sport Sedan and she acted like it was no big deal. I tried to explain that that car had to be a century old and I couldn’t understand how it was still around and running but she couldn’t understand what I was saying about it. I became briefly passionate about explaining that we’re from the distant past but Martialla reeled me in. No reason to confuse people.
They brought out a crock pot looking thing that fit into another thing that Martialla called a brassiere like a lunatic. [Martialla’s note, I said brazier because that’s what it is] They threw some vegetable fiber in the bottom to light on fire and then they put some stuff in the top that looked like green peanut butter. And I mean BRIGHT green. It cooked up into a big sheet like taffy and then they broke it apart and ate it. The stench was unbearable. I may have to cauterize my nostrils with a burning stick if I’m going to survive here. I was able to keep from puking my guts out at the stink, so I call that a victory. It’s all about the little wins.
A one-eyed fellow (in that he had two eyes and then lost one, not like he was a cyclopes mutant) with a modern-ish looking mask wearing big baggy pants that looked like they were made out of a red giraffe hide noticed I wasn’t eating the green gelatinous cubes (Martialla choked them down somehow). So he got up from the circle for a while and came back with some scorpions on skewers. Probably not scorpion scorpions since they had no tails and four claws, but close enough.
I thanked him profusely and set to roasting them over the fire. And you know what? I was sincere. Can you beat that? That’s where we’re at people, I am overjoyed to be eating stick-scorpions kinda cooked over an open flame but mostly raw and crunchy. Real crunchy.