September 15, 2010
A podcast in the middle of the week!
And new features too! It's like goddam Christmas, except with fewer fat men breaking into your house. Well, unless I go crazy.
Included is the story I wrote to Neon Legion's "The Sun". It's short, and not at all proof-read. I figure the longer I think about it, the less chance of it going up at all. Beware! It's violent.
THE ART OF PUNCH DANCE
The air in the clearing was wet and cold. Dew hung on the leaves and grass, sparkling under the sunlight that wasn’t quite hot enough to evaporate them. Elsewhere in the forest birds sang, crickets chirrupped (although must were yawning and checking their watches, ready to punch-out and head home to their cricket wives), and the waking sounds of animals broke the stillness. In this clearing, however, the noises were so badly absent that the air felt heavy and expectant. The absence spoke of something coming, something the rest of the forest wanted nothing to do with.
A man walked through the shrubs and into the ankle high grass. The clearing was almost perfectly round, with just a small alcove to the north, where smaller trees clumped around a boulder, like Charlie Brown’s head with a painful bump. He seemed not to notice the quiet, but cracked twigs underfoot as he moved to the boulder. He carried a bottle full of amber liquid, and a pipe with a thin stem. He set them both down on the boulder, reached down to his shoe, and pulled out a tiny packet of tobacco. He took a drink of the whiskey, filled the pipe, lit it and puffed it to life.
He was a short, thin man, with a broad face and widely separated features. His limbs were small, but twisted with muscle. His eyes had huge pupils, and appeared almost entirely black with a hint of brown.
The forest stirred around him; he took another swig of whiskey, set it down, and clamped the pipe between his teeth. A small, strange smile worked its way onto his face.
Across the clearing a figure appeared from nothingness, clad from head to toe in black, with only a slit in the mask showing eyes. It crouched, studied the man for a moment, and leaped, pulling a tanto blade and coming down aimed at the man’s heart. The man twisted, ducked under the blade, pushed up on the hilt, and the blade tilted under his pressure, and as the ninja’s eyes widened and he fell into a roll, the blade tore through his mask and into his brain.
Eyes scanning the nearby trees, the man pulled out the pipe and walked behind the boulder. A small boombox sat there. He pushed the play button, and the clearing erupted with the sound of Neon Legion’s “The Sun”. He said, “If you’re gonna try, try all at once. No need to drag this out goin’ one atta time.”
Ninjas burst into the clearing from all sides, one even leaping atop the boulder. There was silence as the man’s smile grew, and he finished off the booze. Clamping down on the pipe again, he hefted the bottle and threw it.
The ninja he aimed at caught the bottle and threw it back. The ninja atop the boulder leaped at the same moment. The punch-dancer, leg vibrating to the beat, spun away, snatched the bottle back, and broke it over the ninja’s head. He collapsed.
The punch-dancer was surrounded now, ducking and weaving out of the way of deadly ninja strikes. He smashed his fist through the head of one, roundhoused another into New Jersey, and then he had to vault up and over to get out of the way of several sword strikes. One ninja followed his flight, and the punch-dancer connected his foot with the sonofabitch’s head, and stomped it into jelly as they landed. The cluster of ninjas turned as one, and the punch-dancer kicked the dead ninja on his boot into their midst.
He cocked his forefinger and thumb into the shape of a gun. “Pyew-pyew,” he said, firing twice. The body exploded, taking out all but a few of the ninjas.
The rest scrambled to get away, taking up positions at the perimeter. Each drew ninja stars, there was a beat, and then hurled. The punch-dancer’s hands moved so fast they became a blur. Each seized an incoming star and redirected it at another ninja. Some were fast enough to grab the stars and hurl them again, others dodged, but six fell to the weapons of their fellows.
Still, the punch-dancer knew he had to hurry. The music was winding up, and twelve ninjas remained. He sprang to them, put a fist through a torso, a kick cut one in half, and then he grabbed one by the ankles, punched him into the oncoming ninjas, and grabbed up the staff he’d left behind. He planted it in the ground, took a running start, and seized the bar with his ankles just as the ninjas were again upon him. He struck out at them as he spun, each punch making a hole. Finally there was only one.
The ninja backed up, cornered against the boulder. The punch-dancer grabbed him by the throat, drew him close, and pulled out his pipe in the other hand.
“Hey,” the punch-dancer said. “Smoking kills.”
He jammed the pipe through the ninja’s eye and into his brain, and dropped him as the music stopped. Three minutes fifty-five seconds, a new personal best.
There will be another podcast Friday. And Applejacks should reappear soon. Finally, look at this comic!
P.S. Something bad happened to the Uncle Ben podcast when I uploaded the new one. And I don't keep the 'casts after I upload them. It is many sad times, since it was so young.