As you well know, Martialla and I have been in a couple of scrapes here in the future (present). The thing about those incidents is that they all jumped off quickly. If we had any notice at all before the violence started it was only a moment, there was no time to get uptight about it. Not before anyway. After, there’s plenty of time. Having a ten day wait before we Trojan Paradise is just the tiniest bit interminable. It’s way too much time to think before a violent confrontation. I liken it to when married couples schedule their sexual activities. Where’s the spontaneity? I saw the calendar at Martialla’s house once and it had “date night” on it. Shudder.
Martialla, being the fussbudget that she is, thinks that having time to plan before the fight is a great idea, but what is there to plan? We’re going to go there and jump out and battle and either we’ll die or we won’t. What plan is there? She’s gone back to “scout” Paradise a couple of times and she has lots of conversations with one of the bigger triangle mutants but I think it’s just to keep her busy. What could they honestly be plotting out? One goes east and one goes west and one goes over the cuckoo’s nest? I guess it’s a good thing they don’t let women be generals, we’re too honest, the grunts probably wouldn’t like it if you told them to go out there and wing it even if that’s what they were going to do anyway and everyone knew it. People like the illusion of someone above them knowing what the hell is happening.
Martialla and I did some “training” amongst ourselves but I called an end to that after a couple sessions. Her slamming me to the ground repeatedly doesn’t teach me anything. I took some self-defense classes in the old world but they aren’t terribly helpful for two reasons. One is that shouting “That’s my purse, I don’t know you!” doesn’t do much good in the current situation. Two is that all those lessons were about how to escape and then run away from a larger stronger attacker. What I need is advice on the best way to attack a smaller and weaker opponent since most of these future people are shrimpy and ratlike on account of malnourishment. Where are those lessons? Hmm department of parks and recreation?
I decided that the best thing for me to do was to conserve my energy and work on my tan. I was doing just that when Martialla crawled out from under J-Lo covered across the face and upper body with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle slime as she often is when she’s tinkering around under there. I was supposed to be in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Four but Paige Turco scuttled that whole picture because of some contractual creative control she had. I never got the full story on what happened there.
I lifted my shades like the villain in an eighties skiing movie to regard her “Why are you always slimed like Bill Murray in Ghostbusters when you go under there?”
She did her best to wipe herself off “The biosludge they use to fuel these things is also food for mold, which grows under there, and slime drips off that mold. I’m sure it’s totally fine and I’m not going to be riddled with tumors in a few months.”
“Your imaginary nanobots should take care of that anyway.”
“Indubitably. Be careful with my sunglasses.”
“I’ll buy you another pair at Sam Goody next time we’re at the mall. Remember how you used to harangue me about tanning and how it was bad for me? Well look at me now, without a base I would have been burned to a crisp here in the blazing sun of the future.”
“I never tanned before and I’m fine.”
I flipped her shades back down “Probably because you’re constantly covered in slime that protects you from the sun. And you tanned at least once, I remember the director made you for Beach Bikini Killer Creature.”
I felt J-Lo rock as Martialla climbed up and sat beside me “I don’t know why they even hired me for that. I’m a stunt double not a body double, in a bikini I look about as much like you as a shaved orangutan.”
“I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
“You did say that to everyone on set. Remember that time we found that porn movie your body double from Triple Indemnity did? That was wild.”
I snorted “We found? I remember you coming to me with that little gem.”
She was quiet for a moment before speaking again “So how are you feeling?”
“Like I played twenty years in the NFL. My wrist and hip are still bothering me pretty much all the time but all things considered, not bad. I don’t feel like I’m going to die anymore nor am I in so much pain that I want to die. I don’t know what’s going on, because obviously it’s not nanorobots, but there’s something up. I’m not a doctor but we shouldn’t be recovering from injuries this quickly, we shouldn’t be recovering from some of them at all.”
She nodded absently “That’s good, but I meant more like how are you feeling mentally. We’re about to go into a fight here and you’ve expressed . . . reluctance about that before. Killing people . . . and so forth. How’s . . uh . . . how . . . are you feeling about that.”
“Don’t worry sarge, I talked to the company chaplain and I got my mind right.”
She poked me to look at her “I’m serious.”
I sat up and passed her back her shades “Serious how?” I lay back with my hands behind my head “You know the old saying there’s no atheists in a foxhole? I don’t know about that, but I do know that there’s no point in naval gazing after the apocalypse. Are you asking if I’m okay? Of course I’m not okay. Being in danger every second for the last however many weeks we’ve been here has made me hyper-aware of my own mortality. A side effect of that is that I don’t really care what happens to anyone else, besides you, as long as it means that I get to keep living. There’s nothing okay about that, but that’s what’s happening. And it’s probably what needs to happen right now, what with survival and all. Not so good on the set of the Full Monty Two, but par for the course in a real-life Mad Max wouldn’t you say? As a wise man once said, I’m not crazy, I’m just ahead of the curve.”