Chapter 18, "Learning How To Robo Boogie"
It did not surprise me at all to learn that Christopher had convinced Xlormp the robot army was a good idea. He confessed to me that what really sold him on the idea was the fact that the robots have no brains for the Tallybonkers to suck, so if nothing else, the metallic beings might prove a handy distraction.
Which is what brought a whole bunch of slimy green aliens and clunky metal robots onto my front lawn the next evening.
Lou was beside himself with joy over our guests. "I'll make the fiddle sushi!" he exclaimed plesantly, tying his towel around his waist.
"No need for that, Lou, I'm sure they've already eaten," I explained.
Lou nodded, clapped merrily, and went inside anyway, probably to do something weird and unnecessary.
Hector 2.0 (who had arrived earlier with the battle-ready robots in tow) clanked over to me and tapped me on my shoulder. "The aliens are appraising us with disdain," he announced clearly.
I looked to find that Hector 2.0 had announced the truth. Klaxie, Schmeertz, (who had left their girl-slaves on the ship for safe keeping and, I suspected, to keep Candy away from Lou) Xlormp and especially Mr. Leader all leered leeringly at the cadre of their electronically minded allies.
"I don't think they like us very much," Hector 2.0 admitted robotically.
I patted him on the shoulder. "I'll go talk to them."
I made my way to the pack of Zmeephish-Quians. I wished Christopher were here, she was much better at this stuff than I was. She said she had some things to work out and that she would be by later. She'd been saying that an awful lot lately. I wondered if she wasn't making up excuses to not be around and accidentally make out with me. Which I guess was kind of nice of her.
Anyway, I pulled myself up as imposingly as I could and gave my very best angry face. "Listen, all you jerk-faces, if you don't play nice with the robots, I'm going to rip all of your spleens out with shrimp forks."
The aliens seemed more confused than anything else. Mr. Leader rolled his eyes and shared a knowing glance with Schmeertz. Klaxie slithered over to me, wrapping a tentacle around my shoulder. "Listen, Frig, number one, none of these guys have spleens," he confided whisperingly. "Also you probably don't want to threaten to kill the same dudes that are trying to keep your brain in your head."
He made an excellent point. "Why don't you do this, then?" I shrugged defeatedly. In my eighteen years on this planet, I was a tiny bit depressed to finally discover something I sucked at: alien/robot diplomacy.
"I don't really feel comfortable around these robot guys myself, Frig," Klaxie admitted. I followed his gaze to the perfect row of seven robots, all eerily still, only the occasional blink of a colored light to indicate they were switched on and functioning. Hector 2.0 noticed me looking, and waved. I waved back.
"You don't have to like them," I did my best to explain, "you just have to learn their verbal commands so that they won't accidentally mistake you for an enemy and kill you."
"Yes," Klaxie nodded, "that is why we're here." He said it as if he were trying to convince himself of that. I'd never known Hector 2.0 to make Klaxie nervous before, but perhaps being around so many giant boxes of metal that kind of looked like humans but really weren't was getting to him.
Lou came back outside, wielding a tennis racket. "Arrgh, I'm ready to learn Portuguese, avast!" he alerted, clearly in pirate mode.
"There are no classes right now, Lou," I hollered over to him, but he seemed so determined, so I let him run around on the lawn playing air-tennis with no one. At least he would be occupied while this whole meeting went on.
Even though Xlormp and I had discussed it thoroughly before tonight, and decided it would probably distract from the proceedings, I still found it difficult to keep from wrapping myself firmly around him and burrowing my head in his slime folds. I felt myself getting a little light headed (with happiness) at the memory of his pungent slime smell. Mmmmm.
Hector 2.0 pulled me out of my reverie by clanking up to me and asking, "May I initiate instructional series one, 'Caring For Your New Robot Friend'?"
I shook my head. "Probably you want to start with instructional series twenty-two, 'Battle Commands and Attacks'."
Hector 2.0 nodded. I felt grateful to Christopher for filling me in on how the evening should best proceed.
I have to say, though, watching robots teach aliens how to control robots was something that could have been boring if it wasn't so awesome. It started out lame, with Hector 2.0 teaching the aliens how to command the robots to block attacks. But then the offensive techniques began, and I got to watch a particularly burly robot lift Schmeertz into the air, spin him five times and toss him across the lawn on Xlormp's command. Mr. Leader got a robot boot or two to the head, which he attempted to counter by wiggling his tentacles threateningly. Unfortunately, this resulted in a metallic fist to his alien abdomen area. I say unfortunately but what I really mean is a laughed with my full emotional capacity.
After about half an hour, Hector 2.0 had covered quite a few intriguing battle techniques, and spirits seemed to be high (at least in Xlormp's case, as he had recently gotten launched onto the roof via Battle Command Eleven: Ol' Faithful). Yet I still found myself grateful to see Christopher arrive on the scene.
I ran up to her. "Hi, Frig," she said to me. I said "Hi, Christopher," in response. She walked purposefully into the proceedings.
"Things are going pretty okay around here, I think," I told her, and she nodded. She continued to walk. I noticed she had something shiny in her hands.
"That's an awfully pretty gun you've got there," I spoke complimentingly. She nodded. I really wished she would slow down a little, because keeping pace with her was starting to make my legs burn.
"Is that for fighting the Tallybonkers?" Nod. Walk. "Are you going to show the aliens how to use it or something?"
She finally stopped in front of Lou, who smiled broadly at her and held up his tennis racket, announcing, "I've just mangled a spinach plant, milady!"
"No need," Christopher said in response to my previous question. I watched with a gut-blasting surge of strange emotions as she smiled at me, placed the gun on Lou's temple and pulled the trigger.
Until Monday, Have Some Old Chapters
Guys, you are all witnessing what happens when I have no set schedule to my days: I revert back to my nocturnal state of existence. Hence the nocturnal nature of recent posts. I apologize extra hard about this, because I know most of you have gotten used to the posts in the morning.
Those of you that are members of the facebook group, would you appreciate me sending out a group message when the new chapters are posted from now on? Would that help or just be annoying?