Lysander: hello? yes, it seems my appointments are drying up by the day. i gots all the time in the world! so yeah, i'll go pick him up at the Forum. i'm sure he'll be fine. my cherry red midlife-crisis convertible hover car is in the shop. needs four fresh tires. so we're gonna have to hoof it. or foot it. ran some junior-varsity track in the eighth grade a hundred years ago, let's see how this goes...
Carmen: hello? is it weird that i can tell you wear a toupee? JUST NOW while i was making spaghetti my cats returned. before i could burst with joy the little one jumps into my pot of water. thank the goddess i hadn't heated it yet. she took a bath in the darn thing. though i must say my pasta never tasted seasoninger. i've tried adding bacon seasoning but it ain't the same. am i weird? don't answer that. oh and LOOK, the other one's jumping into the refrigerator!
Lysander: it's hot out. don't blame 'em. hot as in there are fires everywhere, the world is burning down........................stranger things ahead..................did you catch that first part about my car?............................anyway bye i'm busy.
Matthew Chris: this is wild.
Phelps: that's my towel! get the fuck outta here! those are my space shorts you're wearing, they don't fit you, take them off! get outta the pool!
Matthew: chill bra.
Anderson: *poolside* and here they stride out now, swimmers from all over the world, all of them fairly qualified, they step onto the dais, arch their strong spines, ready for the gun and.............delayed gun..........BOOM! HIT IT!!!
the gun goes off and all the swimmers drop like leaden flies belly-flopping inches away from the starting block. the reason for the delay is each swimmer takes out their bong with a Vinicius sticker on the top chamber from under their dais and takes one last toke for the road. buxom Baywatch rescuers, from all over the world, slow-motion their jump into the pool and help the competitors from drowning.
Anderson races to the scene, slipping and falling.
Anderson: BREAKING NEWS, WOLF, BREAKING FUCKING NEWS!!! ma'am, sir, what happened?
Hasselhoff: *sloppily eating a burger* seems all these nautical athletes are stoned as shit. don't blame 'em. nurses with big hooters checked their eyes, they didn't stare down once so you know something's seriously wrong. red eyes all, beyond the help of drops. ya boy Phelps is okay tho, look at that kid doggy-paddling in a circle giggling his ass off!
Vladmitry: before i pokemon go, i depart you with this.
Lieu: you fixed my phone? no you added more spam to it.
Vladmitry: check out these videos on your trip, they're hilarious. they keep me going. au revoir. oh and some provisions. plates of carapulcra. from our Southern campaign.
Lieu: appreciate it but next time you might want to wrap the plates in saran wrap first. yeah the inside of my backpack is a mess. i get it, wartime and everything, but. had my driver's license in there...
a pterodactyl swoops in and squeezes up Vladmitry in her tight talons, flying away to god knows where.
Vladmitry: *faintly* HELP! help! for god's sake help me...
Lieu: lucky bastard. always wanted to fly. i believe i can but i dunno.
Bump puckers his lips and takes calls for the day.
Bump: Codrus is on speakerphone with us. is this an open secret?
reporter: so you're saying Pokemon Go was a crass recruiting tool for the army?
Bump: isn't the Russian army great? some of those guys work for me. i see this as a glasnost, the first one was all smoke and glass. of course it was, what a brilliant way to get dead-enders with no future living in their mothers' basements to "go outside" on the promise of female gamers, fresh air, and that other grass to come work for us. they offer no resistance, the lost their will long ago, so we manipulate the hard drive, the memory, the alpha, not the beta, Bill gates is a friend of mine, and we program all the Pokemon even that rare bird one to all land at Bump Towers. brilliant. instant army. if we need more i'll use the Stones to dig up the bodies from Arlington. zombie warriors are cheap labor, just give 'em a brain and they're golden.
reporter: sir have you no blame? slavery was banished by the greatest of your party.
Bump: okay, okay, i'm a malleable guy, i can go with the flow, criticism slides off my hair. i can take a joke. except how much money i make. not like Hilary, that witch is stiff. notice i used the "w" word, i'm learning. she's a.....woman......so you know...............getting the stink eye from my boss.....okay i'll stop before i put my moccasin in my mouth.......
I'M A GOOD PERSON INSIDE BUT THERE IS SOMETHING INSIDE ME, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
......i feel i'm being controlled by a phenomenon. there's a disturbance in the force and in my character. it's like i HAVE TO cross the line, anything less and i lose myself. integrity is not involved in my identity, ingrateness is. i'm getting the evil eye from Codrus now.
reporter: why didn't you attend your own convention?
Bump: watch yourself.
female reporter: Turkey?
Bump: Turkey? Chicken? i landed my plane over there to check on my properties, i have some real estate near the airport. let me tell yous the traffic is atrocious! i mean my limo is at a standstill cos there are tanks rumbling down the road flanking my each side. i rolled down the window, they roll down their window and tell me everything is fine, no coup is taking place, keep quiet and carry on, and they proceed down the blocked bridge.
Bump: last one before i throw you out.
Muslim reporter: Khizr is planning to run on the Common Sense Party ticket in case this entire election cycle blows up and becomes a triangle. comment?
Bump: nice try. i admire any man who starts a dynasty. i'll leave it at that. i don't meddle in elections. i like your white hat, btw, i have a white version of my message. i like hats.
there's a knock on the far outpost where the bog meets the tributary to the barracks.
Harfi is still frantic cradling Hartwin even after a catnap.
Harfi: who is that? what have you done with Lieu you imposter!
Hartwin: *weakly* it's okay to be worried, dear, but never sink into paranoid. that's my mom's shrink.
Lysander: um the black dude had to be somewhere. my car's in the shop.
they buzz him in.
Lysander: your mom says hello, son. HOLY SHIT! I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS THIS BAD!!! YOU'RE BLEEDING OUT! QUICK WE MUST JOURNEY 10,000 MILES TO OUR RENDEZVOUS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. QUICK, THERE'S NO TIME TO LOSE!!! THERE IS NOTHING LEFT!!! THIS IS THE END!!!
Lysander speedily clutches Hartwin's legs and carries them under his armpit like school books. Harfi can only shake her head.
Lysander: can you drive? you're the woman.
Harfi: i thought...
Lysander: oh yeah, forgot in all the commotion.
the service for Mario Lopez is a beautiful funeral. the ceremony is squeezed in right before the featured speaker Usain Bolt's big 100m race. Bolt gives the eulogy for his best friend (who knew?) in the place of NBC's usual coverage of the Olympic paddle ball finals. but this is a special occasion.
Usain Bolt: i'll keep this dash. Albert Clifford Slater. that's who Mario was to all of us. the tough who was the class bad boy despite having a poodle on top of his head. but he was more than his character. turns out, he was nothing like his character in real life. the real Mario was more the preppy, the sweet guy you took home to mother. i took him to my mother. for an afternoon. that just proves how great an actor he was. gay or gray or straight, he offered you his umbrella in matehood. a sex symbol to everyone. he was the bubbly host you wanted to host your dinner party. i'm training so i don't eat dinner anymore. that's the secret, less weight to carry on your feet.
instead of the church bell, a school bell is rung inside the church. Usain closes with his signature lightning-bolt stance, his lean blocking the view of Jesus on the cross.
Usain: dearly departed, i mean assembled, let us honor the dearly departed by a moment of silence with everyone in the room removing your leather jackets..........................thank you...
the congregation, all in tank tops, cry so hard the rivers in their cheeks crater into dimples.
Lieu scarfs down his ethnic food, which is just food.
Lieu: Vlad wasn't kiddin, this is great. don't know if this means i'm famished or cultured. the grub, not the video.
the video link Vlad sends Lieu is of a man draped in all black including a mask to dull his mouth with a unwieldily enormous blunt blade at the neck of a hapless disheveled prisoner in dirty orange. as the kidnapper bloviates about his god knows what, the prisoner ever so gingerly steps from under the knife and cautiously walks away from the scene undetected in the sand. a laugh track plays throughout.
Lieu ninjas his way to the room where the President is still pacing. Lieu opens up his backpack.
Lieu: see, Mr. President, nothing in here but dinner. want some? tastes better than it smells. it's basically stew now but doesn't all food eventually stew?
the President leers in and takes a bite.
the President: okay. i'm starving. holding out is hard.
Lieu: why you sweatin' this, my nigga? your lease is up. you had all of your top officials evacuate for fear of a singular missile that would bomb the Capitol and House and flowerhead of the Senate and all of our government. you are the designated driver. why risk it?
the President: if i can't be the sober representative of this great country, what good am i? what good is there? i don't hold the strings of power, i'm not the puppetmaster, merely the apprentice who tends these strings of fate which loomed long before me in the ancient skies. the best i could ever do was stabilize those strings. keep institutions institutionalized. you must risk your life everyday in this job for what you believe. policing or protesting. your authority comes from your audacity, not your assholery.
Lieu: oh sir, you know you can't have it both ways. no one can. no one who lives can. to live is to choose. and your choice is your credo. blessed is the man who can choose and not cringe, the man who after a long meal dabs the corner of his chin with his napkin, lies down to digest his eating, and still believes what he believes. take a look inside my backpack. closer. stick your hand in the slop, wade around for my driver's license.
the President: cool lookin' Gundam sticker, photo of you wearing a kufi that makes you look like an Afrocentric thug............what? you work for Bump?!! oh son, i'm not into identity politics but come on son! you're a double agent?
Lieu: triple but who's countin'. Bump came to our innercity school promising work after high school working manual on one of his buildings he was gentrifying our city. the bottom line was i needed a job. i was ordered to mark this day on the calendar. i was to assassinate you with a bomb i carried in my backpack. on this very spot. at this exact date month day year hour minute second time.
Lieu hits the imperceptibly microscopic button on the side and stops the stopwatch on his wrist.
the President remains stonefaced.
Lieu: but i've looked into your eyes already. they're like a puppy. it ain't happenin. that's not happenin'. you at least tried. i'm grown. five-year plans, amirite? they never work out. so much can happen in five years.
Lieu takes the president in and hugs his shoulder.
the President: here's to that Latin lover Manual.
Lieu: here's to salty successors. the bottom line is, we still need jobs.
Lieu and the President shake hands without speaking for an hour...
the three musketeers begin their journey contemplating in the Forest of Dean and eating snacks. observing the mating patterns of mice.
Lysander: just in case. peak oil and all. cheese may become the commodity.
the trio then are carried off flying on the Saharan Air Layer till they reach open water. but all the oceans are now swamps. Hartwin takes this breather to really contemplate. in the liquid expanse not a tugboat horn sounds, not a paramecium whimpers. Hartwin lies on his back where he isn't dead anymore, he's given a new lease where not all his bones hurt, his open veins blend with mother ocean, his red heart is not gold but blue, he looks up and can still see the moon over the global sheet of bad air quality from all the smoky fires.
Hartwin: Smaug deliver us from this smog. you hear that?
Harfi is distracted taking an instagram video and pinning it to her instagram story.
Hartwin: fah! put down your phone. everyone's too busy recording stuff they forget to do stuff. the flames have fallen. asleep. the smoke is in slumber. i can barely make out the old stars. the bull is a calf. the dipper is a spoon. they were so cute when they were babies.
Harfi: just relaying your battle instructions, sergeant. ships on standby. the army is lost without you. what do you see? what are your orders?
Hartwin: uh, A1, J10, and E5.
they spend a quiet if not calm night rollicking on the waves of our last ocean. morning breaks mildly through the haze and the hoarse tin of steelpan wakes them in the distance. the swamp is a lighter shade of swamp.
Lysander: *rubbing his eyes. the water out of his eyes* hard to dream when you're treading water all the time.
Hartwin: nah, that's what dreams are.
Harfi: too worried to sleep.
Lysander: we're here. Eleuthera. we're halfway there. sorry but i ate all the Nutri-Grain bars last night.
Harfi: no worries. i'm a lady so i'm watching my figure.
Lysander: yeah i figured...
Harfi: fuck no. i'm a soldier man, energy don't grow on trees, it grows in fields. motivation ain't no meal. you got no army if you got no food! a fed follower is a follower. fuck food for the soul, i need FOOOOOODDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lysander: *shivering from both the cold water and his chills* i promise you a big native barbecue when we hit land. what's the point of being vegan now anyway.
Harfi: meh. i'd whopp you on your balding head but i'm too worried to eat. i'm mad at you but i'm madder. i hate myself.
Hartwin: *meditatively* you must forgive. would've been easier to let you die, huh? it's so much easier to die.