“It’s-a all up to-a you,” I said, hoping my new mustache, primary-colored clothes, and Italian accent would make me look and sound like my hero, Mario. It wasn’t working; Gambit was still resisting me.
“I don’ tink I can drink as much as Valstagg...”
“We don’t really have a choice, Remmy. AMOK doesn’t have a digestive system, and I filled up on bread at the resort.” Logical and reserved as always, I handed him a heavy package. “You might need these to win.”
“What’s dis?” He asked nervously, his left eye twitching.
“When we were super geniuses last week, NASA snapped us up and we built them some kind of rocket-powered laser, or laser-guided rocket, or something. That’s a box of military-grade diapers we stole from ’em, the stupid eggheads!”
Gambit set the box down gently and looked across the Hall of Odin to Valstagg, who blanched boldly, bearing his bitter bravado as if he’d been bested beforehand by a bunch of booze-hound brainiacs on a bender. Shame of Super-Son!
This wouldn’t be easy...
“There is no information in my databanks on Valstagg, which could indicate his exists solely in this universe,” AMOK rattled. He was in the process of converting the photovoltaic cells on his casing to absorb Asgard’s ambient energy, so there was the possibility that memory buffers containing Valstagg’s profile were offline.
“We don’t-a need no high-profile data-a,” I explained with a slight curl of my mustache. “All we need is right here!” My hand went straight up, a slip of folded yellow paper clenched between my fingers in a vice-like grip.
“De more time you take, de angrier Valstagg gets,” Gambit pointed out. Valstagg seemed to have completely recovered from the horrible tricks the other contestants had deployed to defeat him, and by now was prepared for an all-out brawl; I haven’t seen a Norseman this down since Norway subjugated the Icelanders in 1262. But at least Iceland still retained its pathetic
Althing, I smirked.
“This little piece of paper contains detailed
instructions on how we can easily beat Valstagg.” I let that sink in for a minute. “We wrote it ourselves, back in the void.”
“What’s it say?” Gambit whispered in a hushed, hurried tone.
“It says you should get in there,” I laughed, shoving the box of diapers at his chest. He took it and scowled off to Valstagg’s hand-crafted drinkin’ table.
After so many demoralizing losses, the Asgardians were at long last getting their due; Gambit had only nursed a puny keg and a half of mead while Valstagg downed enough of the stuff to feed a third-world army—maybe even the army of a former soviet satellite that had passed many reforms over the last ten years and was starting to develop the infrastructure to maintain a higher quality of life for its soldiers—and showed no signs of slowing down.
“AMOK, what are your calculations of victory right now?”
The mechanical chimera beeped up a storm, and with a flash of his faceplate answered with a sound clip of a man screaming and jumping off the roof of a skyscraper while set on fire. It a the most grim omen I’ve ever seen, excluding the infamous postcard John Wilkes Booth sent to President Lincoln with a photo of himself standing outside Ford’s theater on the front and the words “wish you were here” inscribed on the back. Now that’s
an ominous omen.
“Why don’t you just give up now?” Valstagg hemmed, to the satisfaction of his cheering Valkyrie platoon, who respectfully hawed.
“Why don’t you
just take a look at Gambit’s box?” I fired back. The plan was finally
coming to fruition, after centuries of setbacks from railroaders and blasphemers.
Shrugging, Valstagg reached for the plain brown cardboard carton. He was light-years ahead of Gambit, but still cautious after so many consecutive defeats. “What is this?!”
“Those are your diapers, your majesty.
Gambit snickered, and the Valkyries murmured among themselves in confusion. Valstagg’s face got redder than iron in an oxidation chamber.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” he thundered.
“Gambit wanted to congratulate you on a phenomenal win, so he went and got you something you’ll really use,” I told a perplexed Valstagg. Gambit’s smile was almost instantly replaced by a wide-eyed mask of disbelief. “And we all know you like to dress up as a baby. We would’ve gotten the matching bonnet, but Gambit
said you already had one.”
Valstagg threw the table end over end and punched Gambit in the right shoulder. The sinewy crunch of bone and Gambit’s bloodcurdling scream told me phase one of the plan was complete.
“I’LL DESTROY YOU! I’LL... I’ll..”
Valstagg’s eyes rolled up into his head and his mouth gaped opened. Clutching at his chest with his meaty right hand, he fell on top of Gambit, smothering the mutant under centuries of unwashed belly rolls. Swirling a half-empty glass of mead, I inhaled it in less than the blink of a compound eye. “Gambit’s passed out, so the contest restarted. So far it’s us one, Valstagg zero.”
One of the Valkyries heaved the deity’s bulk off Gambit, and turned him face up. “He’s not breathing!”
“If he’s not going to drink at least a full glass, we win,” I explained to the Valkyrie. “That’s the rules.”“He’s not breathing!”
As a swarm of concerned citizen-gods crowded Valstagg to try and revive him, I dragged Gambit outside the Hall by his ankles. He started coughing, and I could tell at least half his ribs were broken.
“Lay still, old chum,” I whispered, signaling AMOK to bring me my surgical kit. Rummaging around, I held a scalpel up to the light; AMOK took several high-resolution shots, which would play great in the tabloids.
“Did... did we lose?” Gambit winced, both his eyes swollen shut. I injected a small amount of sedative into his neck, knocking him out like a referee at a boxing match.
One way or another, I was getting that kidney.