A man could suddenly grow a large pair of balls when his dream was on the line.
Everything was going fine until I started feeling another headache welling up at the base of my skull. It was going to be a bad one. My tongue had already gone numb. I gritted my teeth and grunted lightly. It was loud enough that Doctor L’Orange looked up from his typing.
I tried to keep stoic, but lost the battle. My knees buckles and I pitched forward. I went down on a knee. I kept the gun in my hand, but couldn’t focus on where to aim it. L’Orange saw his chance and jumped on it.
He picked up a nearby stool and swung it. The edge of seat smashed me on the cheek and sent me sprawling. It cut deep and I felt a wash of heat as blood streamed down my face. I scrambled to get in a shot, but my body and L’Orange wouldn’t let me. Pockets of fat exploded from my gut and thighs and arms then contracted, causing me to seize on the floor.
L’Orange kept hitting me with the stool. None of the blows were as bad as the first and they all paled in comparison to the screaming in my head, but they did their job. They kept me from getting up and killing L’Orange.
While I had been fully prepared to die this was not the way I wanted to go. Beaten to death by a fat nerd. There was no dignity there. I wanted to die on my feet at least.
I stopped trying to aim and randomly squeezed the trigger. That shots scared L’Orange so that he stopped hitting me. That gave me a small chance. Without him all I had to do was block out my internal pain.
My vision was bad, but I could still see shapes moving. L’Orange was circling around, preparing to strike me again. It was odd, trying to actually aim instead of just feeling it. I could barely see the lava lamp machine despite its size. I pointed it in that direction and hoped it would work.
I didn’t even get to pull the trigger. My finger became fat and squeezed it for me.
L’Orange actually laughed when he thought I missed. Then he started shrieking when the device started to crack. The irony was that I wouldn’t have been able to destroy it had I not picked up this over-powered pistol from one of his skin-jobs.
There was a moment of silence after the first crack then the dam broke. Warm water and those globs of something spilled across the ground and splashed me in the face. L’Orange was screaming like a girl at a teen idol’s concert as his life’s work swept across his feet and ruined his shoes. He raised the stool again, intending to end my life. I smiled. Maybe an ignoble death, but at least I got to fuck up someone’s day.
Seconds before his stool cracked my head open like a ripe melon the machine exploded. A reality wave shimmered over both of us and my vision went blank…
“…and that’s it. I woke up on the floor of my apartment with a killer headache. You guys remember any of this?”
Across the table the Damned Tinker and The Monster looked at me like I had a hole in my head. They understood, but not completely.
“Blood Shadow, yeah, I mean I’ve got the gist, but this didn’t happen.” D.T. said.
I took a tall drink out of my mug, “I wish that were true.”
“The one thing I don’t get is how you remember it that clearly. What made it so that you didn’t get turned like the rest of us?” The Monster asked.
“Oh, you guys will love this. I wanted to know that myself so this morning I went down to Doc Lincoln’s clinic to get an answer. He runs a bunch of scans and tests and it turns out there’s a bullet in my head.”
“Now you’re just making shit up,” D.T. said.
“Honest. I remembered it once he told me that it was there. Here’s the kicker: it was Doctor L’Orange who I went to when it happened originally.”
“No, this was, like, when I first started out. I didn’t know you went to McKinley or Lincoln when you needed fixing up. All I knew was that I got shot in the head and should get it checked out.
“So I went to L’Orange before he was really into biology. He did his best. Obviously. I’m not dead despite getting shot in the head. Turns out that he didn’t remove it. He attached some sort of chip to it that stopped it from moving around or leeching lead into my brain.
“Doc Lincoln surmises that the tech L’Orange used to change the world was similar enough to the crap in my brain that they interfered with each other. That was the only reason I didn’t get changed. Had I gone anywhere else then I would’ve been living as some fat man right now.”
“Have you talked to Red Herring yet? That’s what I’d do. Go find out where L’Orange is hiding out. Find him, kill him. That’s what I’d do if I had to go through what you did and knew the culprit,” The Monster said. He noticed we were all empty, or nearly, so he waved to the bartender.
“Thought about it. He’s not worth the time. He’s a little man who just had his master plan fucked up by another villain. That was probably his life’s work I ruined. He’s done.”
“That’s not like you to not consider reprisal,” D.T. said.