The machine the Roachbackers have bundled together with spit and mud to cart around their dignitaries/expendables looks a lot like the truck from the Beverly Hillbillies. Because what you want when traveling through a dangerous area is to be put on a pedestal with no cover of any kind. A guy hitting on me at a party once told me that his dad was a button man for Eddie Mannix back in the day and he was supposed to rub out Buddy Ebsen because of some shady deal involving rare coins. Pro tip from me, Ela, if your move with the ladies is to talk about how cool your dad was, you need a new move. Sidenote they should make a movie about Ed Mannix some day, that would be an interesting story. If done right.
The people of Redrum didn’t have any vehicles of their own, their representative just jumped on the Roachmobile as we dusted through town. And I mean that literally, they didn’t even slow down much, she just hopped aboard like a flea leaping onto the behind of a mangy hound. Speaking of, I would kill for a RedRum right about now, as long as they went easy on the cinnamon. The Treehorn contingent joined the convoy with a rickety piece of crap that looked like a rusty bedspring on wheels, only less sturdy. But the Iron Springs people came correct with a long armored car beast with a front end painted like a shark, which is cool but how do they know what a shark is? It looked tough as hell but the only weapons it seemed to have were slingshots of some kind. It was incongruous. It would have been cool if the Bristleboar guy was riding a giant boar but he was just on a bike like me and Martialla. Big missed opportunity there.
When we got to the Crossroads, representatives from Smashweed and Bosstown and all the other piddly little villages involved in this mess were already there along with the Vultures and some other mercenary bird people. I wonder how word was sent ahead about us coming. But not enough to try and find out. It turns out that we weren’t supposed to leave all the filters in Roachback but that all got hashed out with only two people dying. Which would be a lot for a meeting in my time, even in Hollywood, but I’ve figured out that you can’t have a summit of these sorts without a couple people dying, it’s just not how things are done now.
While the various parties in their Eyes Wide Shut style sex beaks and BDSM underpants and gas masks and other futurewear were sorting out the filter issue with violence and childish name-calling, Martialla and I excite biked our way out into the badlands to retrieve J-Lo. She was right where we left here. “Ela how did you ever find her again, you have a terrible sense of direction, you got lost on the Warner Brothers lot once.” First of all, Warner Brothers is a confusing layout. Second of all, I found her the same way the swallows migrate annually to Goya, Argentina in October and return to their spring and summer home in San Juan Capistrano each March. You feel it in your bones. When you have a connection, something real, nothing can keep you away. Nachgochema Anetaha Anachemowagan.
Now there was a nova scorpion in the back seat and a rattlesnake the size of Shaquille O’Neal on the hood but we were able to prod them away without too much trouble. Is a rattlesnake that big even venomous? The fangs would go right through you so there would be no way to inject the toxin into your bloodstream right? Otherwise how could it kill prey though? Are there constrictor rattlesnakes now? Bigger isn’t always better you know. I remember thinking that while I was looking at an exhibit of some bones from a giant prehistoric beaver. What does a beaver gain by being the size of a smart car? The lodges they would have had to build would have been enormous. That’s probably why they died out.
When we got back to the Crossroads G8 summit of post-apocalyptic freaks with J-Lo, there were a lot of new arrivals in the form of the heavily armed bands of Roadrunners and Road Hogs. Turns out they are not happy with us. They feel that we had upstaged them with our daring hero’s quest to retrieve the water filters. This feeling was not helped by Martialla telling them we wouldn’t have had to save everything and everyone with our courageous actions if they were doing their damn job instead of running from the Invincible like whipped dogs. Thankfully cooler heads, mine, prevailed.
After I pacified the Runners and the Hogs with some sweet lies about how we were just helping them out, I gave my inspirational address to the assembly masses. I went thirty percent opening scene of Gladiator, forty percent the Patton speech from Patton, twenty percent Braveheart, and the rest various odds and ends from cat posters and fortune cookies. They ate it up like a Shaquille O’Neal sized rattlesnake swallowing a castoroides. Who can blame them? I am a powerful orator and an inspirational leader.
They were all “ra-ra” yeah, but I could tell they didn’t catch my drift so I explained to them what I was about. The vain Duke Eagle and his horde of the Invincible are coming for us all and we need to make a move while we have the chance. I told them about the attack on the doctor’s compound. I told them about the attack on the convoy. I told them about the attack on the hairy mole people. I told them about a couple other atrocities committed by the Invicible that I made up. I told them that things had changed. They’d been safe behind their mountain walls (or however a valley works) for a long time but that time was over. The Duke and his wretched mob of scum and villainy are loose in the valley and there is no option but war.
They weren’t nearly as enthusiastic once they understood what I was talking about. A lot of them started to drift away and commence an impromptu trade session and/or chat about the stupid water filters. In order to win them back, I picked out a random guy (I think) out of the crowd with purplish-yellow skin and a mouth full of pointed teeth like a demented jackal.
“You there, answer me this question, which is stronger, one or five?”
After a moment of confusion, I think over being singled out but maybe about how numbers work, he held up his hand with his five fingers held out wide. I nodded to Martialla and she bashed his fingers with her fist, mangling his digits with her beefy man-paw to much guffawing from the primitive crowd.
“You see that?! That’s what I’m talking about people. The Invincible, they are one, we are many. This isn’t the tit for tat raiding bullshit you’ve been doing for all your lives. This is different. This is war. The Invincible don’t want to steal your crops or carry off a couple of your women, they’re coming to end you. They’re burning the fields and they’re killing everyone in their path. This is something new and you need to get up to speed right fucking now. We need every warrior, every vehicle, every gun, every blade, and we need it now! Every day we delay they grow stronger. We need to gather the combined power of every community in this valley and we need to go on the attack, take the fight to them. Who’s with me?!”
A lemon faced little troll came forward rubbing his hands together like a praying Mantis “You said something about tits?” while everyone else went back to chattering about whatever stupid thing they were chattering about.