Chapter 14, "Mr. Haberdash is Probably One of Those Eccentric Millionaires"
Oh, the walking that took place at that moment. I cannot even fully describe it. We took steps, one in front of the other, but it was so deeply moving and emotional, filled with anticipation and gumption, that I barely realized my feet were moving. Should you ever have the opportunity to walk as we did, I implore you, take it.
Our walking led us to a very small and intimate door. A door crafted out of only the finest wood, or at least it probably was, or anyway it should have been, what with all the bad ass walking that got us there. Maybe it was actually crafted out of foam board. I don't know.
Whatever the material, Mr. Haberdash knelt down slowly, slowly, like a doctor removing a splinter from a baby's hand, and turned the knob.
It opened to the outside, so we all had to crawl through it, and it only took us to the part of the backyard that was right next to the regular back door, so really, I have no idea why we used the tiny door. In retrospect, it was pretty stupid.
When all of us (and by the way, "us" is Christopher, Mr. Haberdash and me) were standing upright again, I perused the backyard. Nothing special or out of the ordinary. Flat lawn, charming swing set with additional slide, a roller coaster, nothing unusual.
I nudged Christopher. "What the crap is going on?"
She rolled her eyes. "Just wait. He likes to make it very dramatic."
Mr. Haberdash raised his arms in the air, and shot me a purposeful gaze. He nodded, as if acknowledging something, and then firmly brought his hands together in a powerful clap. The noise rang in my ears, and I said "Ow."
The ground rumbled. Kind of. Actually, it felt like it was trying to rumble, but really, it just sort of groaned a little. And then, there were robots approaching us. All different models, but all of them boxy. Except for the one I recognized as Hector, who looked all sleek and human-like, save for the fact that he was made of metal. I can't believe I didn't see it before.
The robots stopped in front of us, appraising our presence. They all electronically uttered the words, "Hello, Master," to Mr. Haberdash, which was only slightly disturbing. They seemed to not be phased by Christopher's presence.
But one of the robots, an extremely boxy, slightly rusty one, turned to face me head-on.
"INTRUDER," it intoned, no hint of attempted humanity in its voice.
"Number Eleven, please stand down," Mr. Haberdash asserted strongly.
"INTRUDER," Number Eleven repeated, its eyes turning a scary, glowing red, like tennis balls set on fire and then drenched in blood to put the fire out, but they still had a little bit of glowing embers, so they were glowing. And red.
"Number Eleven, begin shut-down systems."
"INTRUDER," Number Eleven raised a robotic arm, and I knew for sure that some sort of rocket was preparing to rocket out at me. I flinched a little.
"Number Eleven!" Mr. Haberdash shouted. "Shut down now!"
Number Eleven stopped, clicked a little, rumbled for a while, then exploded. Literally. It knocked over a couple of the robots standing right next to him. We all ducked to avoid getting hit in the face with flying metal.
Mr. Haberdash stood up, walked over to the twisted frying robot meat, and kicked it a little. "Oh, well," he shrugged. "Eleven was an older model anyway."
Mr. Haberdash rubbed his hands together jovially. "So!" he shouted, a little too loudly. "What do you think of my boys?"
"They are very tall," I admitted honestly.
"Yes, they are, aren't they?" Mr. Haberdash gazed at the robots lovingly, as if they were his children. At least one of them actually was. "I've been working for ages on developing an army of robotic weapons, strong enough to rip apart whole aliens, but logical enough to not fall hopelessly in love with an enemy alien."
I rolled my eyes. "That's silly." Christopher jabbed me in the ribs.
"I have never revealed them to another human being until this moment. But I feel a certain comfort around you, Frig. A sort of peace I cannot describe." He leaned uncomfortably close to me, looking me hard in the face. He smelled kind of like barbecued sausage.
Before I could reply to his somewhat unsettling comment, we all heard a voice ring out through the sky.
"I would not trust your puny army against the throng we are putting together, Haberdash."
We all looked up. Who could it be, this voice? And then I saw him, in his tiny little bubble.
"Cliff!" I yelled excitedly, waving. "Hi! How've you been?" I prodded Christopher on the shoulder and pointed to the magnified Tallybonker. "That's my arch-nemesis!" I confided in her.
"Yes, indeed, I AM the human Friggen' Gorgeous' arch-nemesis. And now I am all of your worst nightmares as well."
The robots began to go crazy, hopping from foot to foot, all shouting, "INTRUDER! INTRUDER!" But to no avail. None of them seemed to be able to look up. Their boxy, metallic necks would not allow for it.
Their shrieks did not seem to phase Cliff. "Let it be known that, even as we speak, my planet is gearing up for battle. For war. For pain. The losses of my fellow Tallybonkonians were great. But yours shall be greater. I'd start quaking in fear right about now if I were you."
"Cliff, come show Christopher your little tail!" I shouted.
Cliff sighed. Mr. Haberdash ran back and forth among the robots, trying to get them to stop yelling uselessly.
"Anyway, the point is, I'm threatening you preemptively. You better be prepared, because we're bringing an army this time." And then there was a popping noise, and we could no longer see the bubble.
"EVERYBODY CHICKEN DANCE!" Mr. Haberdash yelled, and immediately, all the robots ceased their hollering, and began clanking around in a dancy fashion.
"There," Mr. Haberdash sighed frustratedly, taking a new cigarette, placing it in its holder and lighting it. He puffed a few puffs. "That should keep them occupied."
I watched with fascination as the robots danced like extremely undignified morons. "Why can they even do that?"
Mr. Haberdash shrugged. "It's funny. Look at them!" He gestured to the crowd of clanking metallic dance fiends. "Makes me laugh."
"Dad," Christopher spoke up verbally, "we just got a visit from an alien intruder. Don't you think we should take that seriously?"
He snorted. "You always were the worthless one, Christopher. Tallybonkers are tiny. Teeny tiny, in fact. My robots could crush them in an instant. Nothing to worry about."
"Your robots can't even look up," Christopher pointed out, "much less shoot in the general direction of up."
Mr. Haberdash brought his fingers and thumb together in front of her face, like an alligator of mocking, saying, "Shh, shh, shushy."
Christopher sighed. "Frig, I think it would be best if you spent the night, just to be safe."
I turned to Mr. Haberdash, to see if that was okay. He shrugged. "As long as you kids keep the noise to a minimum."
Oh yeah, and the other chapters! I almost forgot.