Gambit ran his fingers through her short, dirt-brown hair.
“If I could pluck de moon from de sky, Mon Chéri,
I would sell it and buy you a castle.
She giggled and ran behind a leafy oak; an unknown (and probably adorable) creature scampered down the trunk and scurried off through the brush. The sun burned against his reddening face.
“If I could give you my very soul,
Mon Chéri, I would tear it out just for you.
Jumping down from the treetops, she looked him straight in the eyes. “How ’bout just a kidney?”
The forest darkened, and the clouds started to gather. Birds’ chirping was replaced by a disquieting silence.
“No welching,” she protested, “gimme a kidney. A fresh one, too!”
Everything shook for a moment, then the world turned pink.
The sudden emergence left him disoriented for a vulnerable second, during which time I reached over and game him an infamous Wet Willie.
“Agh!” He yelped, knocking my hand away; but the damage was done, and Gambit would suffer permanent ear infections for the rest of his natural life.
“So how about that kidney?” I asked, trying desperately to find a new kidney to replace the one I’d already sold on eBay but accidentally destroyed before I could mail it. There should really be warning labels on kidneys: “do not microwave,” “do not expose to rabid animals,” “do not use to filter orange juice pulp,” etc.
“Where are we?” He slurred as he rubbed his swollen eyes and tried to stand, but the loft was far too tipsy for him to get a solid footing.
Getting from the Disney Resort hotel to Marvel Studios was a simplistic task, true, but after an unpredictable anomaly transformed Gambit and myself into super-genius-types last week, it was agreed upon that we would travel by hot-air balloon. Our cameraman, AMOK, hadn’t helped matters, flattering both of us with praise for our ballooning skills and egging us on when we tried to come up with a different way of getting there. And we had had plenty of time to conjure up alternatives... in the void.
I shuddered. Being yielded is one of the best things that can happen to a team, and also the most terrifying. Gambit had taken to the yield like a lobster to butter at first, sitting quietly and patiently, counting the birds as they flew by the resort window.
But the whole time he was contemplating escape, planning a resort-wide riot.
It took four
bellboys to take him down, and one of them didn’t make it. That’s when the Professor decided our team was too energized
for a normal yield, and banished us to the void
for the final half hour of our yielding. “Hasta la pasta,”
I remember him saying as he activated the Zone Disrupter; but that was all behind us now.
“We are... about five minutes due west of Marvel Studios,” I said, reading off the SONAR grid data. “So, you heard anything about this Thor guy? I’d hate to go in without running a solid background check, but what with our brains all shrunk down again, I don’t even think we can land this thing.”
Gambit rubbed his eyes some more. “Never heard o’ him.”
“Thor: a man of few words and fewer friends. He poisoned his way up the chain of Norse mythological figures, and enjoys long walks on the beach.” AMOK rolled his caterpillar tracks over the refurbished log-cabin floor of the gondola. His processors were blazing something fierce, loading and storing and loading constants like crazy, digging up all kinds of obscure facts and rumors about the deity. “He also stared in several independent films to boost his street cred, and his dog is named after the Star Trek
character Elim Garak.”
“Is dat from dis universe, or yours? You did
come from a parallel universe.”
Ten thousand CPUs cut out instantly. Eons of superior robo-logic... put to shame by the most tantalizingly stupid
of observations. For all their processing speed, their seemingly infinite
storage capacity, their never-ending
lifespan, the machines could never
reach the reasoning level of a mutant redneck.
And that’s just sad.
“Welcome to Asgard... enjoy your visit...”
“This is impossible!
I raised an eyebrow in total defiance, sizing up “Thor.” He was less than ten feet tall, and must’ve weighed at least one kilogram. I like to set a pretty wide margin of error for all my estimations.
“Step right up, go to Asgard...”
To be sure, the portal looked
magical. I could see a pale corona around its wispy edges, indicating a spiritual realm lay right behind the event horizon. But it could just be another tourist trap,
and we didn’t have the time nor the money to waste on another Norwegian sand-castle bake-off.
“How much?” I reached scornfully for my wallet, but I was really
just creating subterfuge while I rooted around for some bear mace.
“Entry is free for all contestants,” Thor thundered, living up to his “reputation” as an independent film star. Gambit walked fearlessly towards the wormhole, and AMOK followed suit along the wheelchair ramp. But I wasn’t prepared to buy his whole “divine benevolence” just yet.
” I bit my tongue, holding back the torrent of conspiracy theories I had built up over the last thirty seconds regarding his legitimacy as the son of Odin. Perhaps there was something more to this Norse mythology than I thought... perhaps it’s not
something your can buy in a store...
As the accretion disk began to envelope my frail mortal body, I quickly turned around and sprayed bear mace every which way. The last thing I heard before being completely obliterated into the ether was a Nordic belly wail.
You can never be too careful, or too paranoid, in this day and age.