I think we were in the same general area as where we first met the vulture mercs. It’s hard to know for sure because there are no road signs (since there’s barely roads) and everything pretty much looks the same around here. But I think it’s the same place. It would make sense that they had set themselves up at a crossroads of traffic. “Traffic” I should say. Such as it is. Everyone keeps talking about how important trade and movement is but we see like one car every other day it seems like. If trade is so important, where are all the traders? I asked Martialla about this and this is what she said right to my face –
“Once a man has changed the relationship between himself and his environment, he cannot return to the blissful ignorance he left. Motion, of necessity, involves a change in perspective.”
She’s becoming more unhinged by the day. I’d slap some sense into her if not for the fact that she’d beat the life out of me with her giant man-hands and thick haunches. Also why “a man”? Why not “a person?” or “a woman?” She has some serious gender issues. I’d tell her that if I wasn’t worried that she’d tear my arm off like a mostly hairless Wookie.
I’ve never been to a freak show but I imagine that the gathering before us would have given your standard freak horde a run for their money. There were maybe two score and seven people there and most of them were as shrimpy and dirty and weird as you like. There were some people from up in the mountains that seemed pretty normal which is odd because you’d expect them to be the most inbred of all right? I certainly would. And I did.
There were three people there from Scrapbridge (I wonder what they have there) that weren’t puny and small like most of these future people, they were big blokes – and I mean big-big, not big by future standards. I drifted over their way just because I was tired of feeling like a giant and wanted to be near some people taller than me, but they gave me some serious stinkeye so I drifted right back away. And you can give some good stinkeye when you have an oversized eyeball that looks like it’s ready to fall out of your head. Have you ever seen an eye turning around without a socket around it? I have now.
I ended up with Martialla, leaning against J-Lo and watching the gathering of wasteland ambassadors standing around looking at each other like kids at a fifth grade dance.
I looked over at Martialla “You know I would kill everyone here for a lemon blackberry tart.”
She nodded “Yeah, but that was true before.”
I couldn’t help but smile, well I could, but I didn’t “I do have a sweet tooth.”
“How did you stay so thin eating dessert all the time, that’s what I want to know.”
I crossed my arms contentedly “Well you know me Martialla, I was a work out monster. I tore it up all day every day. And of course the cocaine helped.”
“Of course. Does cocaine really make you lose weight though, or is that an urban legend? The only cokehead I ever knew was that hump Franky and he was a fat bastard, the hump.”
“I got fired from Urban Legend you know, Brad Dourif caught me going into his trailer to use the bathroom. I offered him a handjob to keep his dumb mouth shut but he said he was married so he couldn’t do that. What a little bitch. Sadly we’ll never know, the value of illicit drugs as weight loss tools was never properly studied before the collapse of society. It’s a shame really.” I looked around appraisingly “Do you think we could get some coke? Would coca leaves grow here?”
“That’s where chocolate comes from.”
I frowned “What? Cocaine doesn’t come from coca?”
“Coco-ah you mean.”
“Are you saying that cocaine and chocolate come from the same plant?”
Martialla thought for a moment “Uh . . . no?”
With that scintillating exchange out of the way, I decided to take the bull by the scrotum and get things going. I explained to the assembly of disposable fuggoes that we were all there because the river had been poisoned and instead of resorting to violence and childish name calling, we were there to talk things through like gentlepeople and find a solution that would help everyone. After I said this, no one said anything, they all just stared at me. “Can you understand me?” I asked and they assured me that they could by bobbing their bulbous and pustule ridden heads. And then continued saying nothing.