“Have you brought me what I seek?” The continuous sonic boom of the alien lord’s voice came from somewhere near the middle of his giant black bulk, poised on his throne in a shape that recalled a comma. Sergio, in his wiry short human form, felt his knees tremble but tried to show confidence.
“Yes, my lord. You will have the largest cyborg army in the galaxy.” In his luxurious chamber on the spaceship Kryha, the lord of the planet Kleptofargh roared with pleasure. Sergio began to shake despite himself.
“And where is this army?”
“Well, it doesn’t actually exist yet, my lord.” The lord roared again, this time with displeasure. Sergio felt his trousers turn warm and wet. It’s a good thing the lord has no eyes, so he can’t see I’ve peed myself.
“What?” roared the lord. “You told me you brought me what I seek. And I can smell the piss in your pants, peon.” Damn. I can’t win with this lord. “You will have your army, my lord. But I need a little more time.” “What happened to the plan?”
“My lord, we had to reconsider it, adjust it a bit, in order to adapt it to the, um, contextual realities ‘on the ground,’ so to speak…”
“Yes, yes, yes.” The lord always hated Sergio’s way of taking ten words to say what could be expressed in one.
“My lord, the Grythylwecs are bit less…stupid, shall we say, than we initially thought. And a bit more brutal.” Sergio shuddered, remembering watching his boss tormented by the Grythylwecs. Still, his boss’s death resulted in his own promotion to this post, which came with a big title and a modest but meaningful raise in salary. He supposed he owed the Grythylwecs something. “And, my lord, the Earth humans are a bit more…fragile than we anticipated. The first one broke completely during the ‘migration.’ We were attracting the interest of the authorities in America. So we shifted the migration operation to another part of the planet, where there appears to be less concern, shall we say, about individual humans.”
The planet Sergio referred to was so small compared to the lord’s, this meant virtually nothing to him. “And the Grythylwecs?”
“My lord, the Grythylwecs still do not know that the army will ultimately be yours. They tasked me with constructing the plan for using the army after General Rogers perished so unfortunately in their care, and I took his place.”
The lord laughed, a sickening, gagging, somehow crunchy sound that almost made Sergio wet himself again. “I thought they were not so stupid! And yet they think you will produce a plan?”
Sergio stiffened his shoulders and made as if to hike up his damp trousers. Then he remembered who he was talking to. “Yes, my lord.” Sergio swallowed what little was left of his pride in one big gulp. “They do believe it, for now.”
“Of course you will give them no such plan, even if you could come up with one,” chuckled the lord.
“No, my lord, but they are getting a bit anxious…”
“Well, that’s why you have a fancy title and a modest, but meaningful, raise in salary. I pay you to handle their anxiety, and deliver the army to me as promised.”
Sergio nodded and squirmed. He tried to recall a time in his life when he actually delivered what he promised, and his mind went disconcertingly blank. Still, he’d always pulled his ass out of the fire at the last minute or—more accurately—someone or something else always had. Like the Grythylwec believing that it was Sergio’s boss, General Rogers, who messed up the first migration, when in fact Sergio simply forgot to plug the 0356 cable into the XLGF port. Poof! There went the first foot soldier in the galaxy’s largest cyborg army, not to mention about seven hundred billion Grthylwec dollars invested in the now-fried equipment. Once he’d realized what he’d done, Sergio slipped out the back door, and went straight to the Grythylwec CEO, practicing his story along the way. By the time he got there, he was able, ever so reluctantly, to divulge the error his boss, the “careless General Rogers,” made. The CEO—going by the name of Jones—had been both enraged and relieved to have a scapegoat, and immediately ordered Sergio’s boss into the chambers of torment. Well, who knows? My luck hasn’t deserted me yet.
“Yes, my lord. I promise you will have your army.” “What, are you still here, peon?” roared the lord. “I thought you’d left seconds ago.” Sergio knew his slow mind and pissy trousers tried the lord’s patience. Still, he hoped the lord would assume he really could deliver the cyborg army, and let him stay alive for a little while longer. The lord boomed again: “I am done with you. Begone.”
Sergio left the lord’s chambers and went straight to his ship, without stopping to change his now clammy pants. As far as he was concerned, he couldn’t get off of Kleptofargh fast enough. Earth might be small, and humans pitifully easy to manipulate, but at least it was the kind of place that allowed someone like him to strut about and feel important. He’d even picked his name there, after seeing the greatest Western movie of all time, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. He’d combined the name of the genius director with the outrageously tough and handsome star. Sergio Leone Eastwood. Yes, Sergio was happy—as much as anyone exiled from DKLD-64 could be happy— to be heading back to such a place as Earth.
Read a review of this book at Long and Short Reviews: “an unbelievably clever, witty, tongue-in-cheek novel with some truly marvelous characters… Old movies, fairy tales, children’s stories, television shows, and more all make cameo appearances in this wild romp through alien activities on Earth.”
Available in print from Amazon.com!