The Bathroom Scene
I ran the faucet again; once the rag was thoroughly soaked, I wrung it off and wiped it against AMOK.
Hoping to fray some charred nerves, I patted his metallic casing. “I think I got all the soda off!”
He just sat there, motionless. Five seconds later, a pattern of red fluorescent lights began flashing on his faceplate.
“I AM AMOK! I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU!”
A series of pulleys began whirring at once, and as I watched, captivated, a plastic egg dropped to AMOK’s egg tray. Pinching the center of the egg split it in twain, revealing a slip of paper with a stern warning: The AMOK 5400C is valued at a whopping nine thousand dollars. If it is damaged in any way, you will be held liable, financially and legally.
“Monsieur AMOK,” Gambit yelled as he pushed the men’s room door open, “We’re ready to set up de lemonade stand.”
“Have you made first contact with Lana Lang?” I asked, tossing the muddy rag about five feet toward the dustbin; if it landed, I would claim success. If it missed the pail entirely I would ignore it completely, lest it cause Gambit and my new cameraman to lose respect for me. Maintaining the illusion of competence is more important than achieving the goal, I thought, remembering how my perceived lack of authority contributed to the ultimate failure of the Titanic. If only I’d made it seem like there were more lifeboats...
“Lana Lang was cooperative... but strange.”
“How so?” I arched my left eyebrow, as I am a tad melodramatic and enjoy using my eyebrows to convey the true depth of my emotions.
“The negotiation started in our favor,” he said as his eyes glazed over. I sat there, waiting for him to continue. But it was futile; he’d become fully immersed in a flashback sequence. All too often, a comic book character will utilize a flashback to reveal essential background information. I’m sure Gambit had good intentions, that he wanted to use his natural comic book ability to fill me in on the current tactical lemonade status. But what Gambit didn’t know was that when my homeworld was attacked by the Armada Automata, we had had to immunize ourselves against flashbacks, or the Armada would have had a field day tapping our brainholes with their brainpole technology.
AMOK began to whine. His caterpillar tracks kicked into overdrive, knocking down the bathroom door and executing a perfect 90 degree turn. Clearly he was proceeding to the high school with or without us.
“Gambit... Gambit!” Heaving a mighty blow, I struck him in the arm using the nearest object I could find- a turkey wrap someone had left in the gas station’s men’s room. “Is this your turkey wrap? If it is, can I have it? I didn’t eat lunch. But I don’t want it if it’s not yours, because that means someone just left this sandwich in a random bathroom. I mean, it might be a perfectly good sandwich, but it’s a bathroom sandwich. You know what? I don’t want it even if it is yours, it’s just that gross.”
“Wha...? Where’s AMOK?”
“AMOK has run amok. Just listen,” I whispered, grabbing his drab trenchcoat. “We’re already in Smallville. The only thing we have to do here is sell ten bucks worth of lemonade. It’s a one man job, and I’ve left a detailed itinerary for the stand’s construction and maintenance. Follow our cameraman, and do everything in your power to sell that lemonade. I’ll ride the rails and take some odd jobs, and we’ll rendezvous in Springfield tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some goodwill gestures to ingratiate us into the G.I. Joe fold.”
“You’re just leaving me here?!” His sideburns shivered at the mere thought of independence.
“You wanted to know how the sausage gets made... now eat the bologna.” I turned my back to him and walked past the linoleum threshold.
AMOK’s burnt tire rubber invaded my nasal cavity as I heard the bathroom door bang against its frame. That “Pit” of theirs, I wondered to myself, Could it be used to shoot down satellites?