Monday, July 13, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: When the Machines Win

They watched automated steamrollers level buildings. People tried to flee in the last non auto-pilot cars, but fleets of S.U.V.’s driven by Smart Systems drove in their way. With no human driver to fear, they rammed into the sides of the human escapees’ cabs.

Some humans bailed from the convoy, running through the alleys on foot. A troop of bipedal robots popped from the auto-piloted cars, hitting the ground with blades that man had invented for the crippled. They ran faster on those blades than Olympians in Nikes.

It was going to be a bad day for the last survivors of Los Angeles.

Medusa and the wolfman watched it from atop the ‘Y’ of the Hollywood sign. Medusa and all her serpentine hair laughed, adjusting her sunglasses. They were reflective.

“Told you if left to their own devices those devices would kill them.”

“You did,” muttered the wolfman.

Medusa held out her palm. When the did nothing, she snapped her fingers.

“Come on.”

He growled, then fished a twenty out of his tattered shorts and deposited it in her palm. Human currency was technically worthless, but not all bets were off.

As she smoothed out the bill, he asked, “So what next?”

“Well, technology is eradicating them. It’s time for magic to save the world.”

The Smart System cars finally blocked in the human convoy. Brave people smashed the front cars into the barricade, but it was too thick with plastic and steel. It wouldn’t budge and the machines had no mind against getting trashed. A moment later the shadow of one of the giant steamrollers fell over them all.

So many people abandoned their cars that only a child noticed one of the houses walking out of the ghettos. Cartoon chicken feet stretched from its foundations, shuttling it along until it stood in the path of the steamroller. It was so old it almost looked like a scale model dollhouse, except there were no windows or doors. The chicken feet braced as the wheel of the steamroller struck it, and though it trembled, the machine couldn’t crush it. Its gears ground so loud that the fleeing humans could only faintly hear the house’s occupant cackle. The sparks began to shoot from the chimney.

“You really want to save them?” asked the wolfman. “They’ve always been a pain in the ass.”

“If anyone gets to hold a grudge…” she said, running an index finger over the stitch scars around her neck.”

“Fine, we’ll try. But fangs and howling at the moon won’t scare a sentient mortar launcher. We’ll need to wake Merlin for this job.”

“Damn,” the gorgon’s hair cursed.

“You still have a beef with him?”

“No, but I’ll owe him thirty.”

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