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Chapter #12

Declan 1.1 (Geronimo's)

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I Frankensteined my way towards a hotel sitting across the huge parking
lot we’d stumbled on to. I knew it was late, and I was freezing. The cool night
air on my burn made me shiver.
There seemed to be a lot going on around the resort. Roloballs and
rololimos buzzed around, and people were walking in and out of the casino and
shopping plaza, where night clubs were playing loud music. I could hear people
talking and laughing in the distance. The theme park had some lights on here
and there, but it was obviously closed for the night, as was the holotheater.
Funny, there were no flying vehicles out, not even a transjet or a uniflyer.
It was nothing but stars and a blue moon shining brightly.
A couple of guys were walking out as I approached the hotel’s door, and
they started laughing at me. Between one’s guffaws, he shouted, “Dude so
burnt up!”
I could hear his friend making fun of me too, saying, “Now there’s a red
man! Hey, Chief Krispy-chise!” It was probably a bad, bad reference to Cochise,
but I don’t know.
As I was walking funny across the lobby, I heard a young lady scream,
“Oh my gosh!” She ran up to me and asked, “Are you okay?”
And then I heard another woman gasp as she came out the open door of
an office behind the desk. “Hurry, get him into a room, the closest one
available,” she said, and then she proceeded to take charge of the situation.
She commanded another hotel clerk to bring me some water, quickly.
She placed her hand under my chin and looked me in the eyes. “Are you
okay?” she asked.
In a calm voice, I sarcastically replied, “I could use some painkillers and
some cream. I have an android that’s also in need of some water and attention

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at the edge of the parking lot.” She asked me my name, and I froze. Then I
pretended I couldn’t remember it.
She said, “That’s okay, dear. We’ll take care of you.” And then she helped
me into a nearby suite.
She was gorgeous. Her body was long and thin, well accented with curves
in all the right places. She was wearing a tight, little dark blue dress and sexy
high heels. Her hair was shiny jet black and in a large bun on the top of her
head. She had big, dark, caring eyes. I could tell that she was genuinely
concerned and worried about me.
She helped me into a room down the corridor from the lobby. For a
moment, her cleavage and the way she walked made me forget I was in pain.
My heart skipped a beat as she laid me on the bed. And then she started
undressing me slowly and carefully, all the way down to my undies. She was so
gentle and smooth. I was in love.
She told the other girl to turn the A/C off. I didn’t know if I was hot or
cold, but she said, “Stay right there and don’t move. I’ll go get some aloe.”
She told the other girl to go back to the front desk. She was going to take
care of me.
I raised my head up just enough to see the moneybag next to my clothes
on the dresser. That was a bit of a relief. I’d closed it up tight back in the
I lay there near naked on the bed. Man alive, I’m so lucky to be alive
right now.
I wondered what happened to Rhonda. She said she had a plan. I hope
she’s all right. David Wayne sure wanted her badly.
I couldn’t believe Tawana was mixed up with that maniac. I wondered if
Mom was okay. I really needed to call her soon.
I was sure they were watching her pretty closely, to see if I tried to
contact her.

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The NSA. Wow. I was probably the NSA’s most wanted man alive. What
the fuck. What the fuck am I going to do?
I heard the door open. I thought it was my new crush coming to rub me
down and sooth my burn, but it was just QD.
“Ohhh,” I groaned as I lifted my head up off the pillow to take a look at
him. He looked really bad, and I could tell there was nobody home in that brain
of his by his blank facial expression. He still looked like a zombie. It must be
that post-apocalyptic hairdo, but his skin looked a little paler than normal as
well, with a tinge of green.
Helping him in was a gentleman wearing a black cowboy hat and a white
and black suit, similar to the one the hostess was wearing, the one that was
sent back to the front desk by my one true love.
I know. But even with all the pain, I couldn't stop thinking of her long,
thin body and pretty face.
In a quaint voice, the gentleman said, “There’s your owner.” Then he
asked me, “What happened to you, boy? Did some girl’s dad tie you down out
there in the desert and leave you for dead?”
“No, nothing like that,” I answered.
He said, “Well, what then?”
About that time, my olive-skinned heart throb walked through the door. I
wished I had a dozen roses to give her right now.
She politely told the nosy old geezer to go back to work, and he
reluctantly agreed. “Should I close the door on my way out?”
“No,” she replied. “Find Michio. He’ll know where to find the Medicine
“The Medicine Man?” he repeated, a little startled. “What’s that crazy old
coot going to do?”
“Just go and find Michio.”
“All right,” he replied.

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I asked my little beauty queen her name, and she answered,
“Cherahontas. Cherahontas Kaku. Do you remember your name yet?”
“No, not yet,” I lied over the sound of lotion being rubbed between her
I closed my eyes as she rubbed the lotion all over my body. She started
with my face and then moved on to my chest, arms, and neck, working her way
slowly down. The salve felt nice, smooth, and it cooled the stinging with the
gentle pressure of her soft hands.
She started rubbing my belly and humming the song “Twisted Nerve.”
I opened my eyes and looked up, and she smiled at me. My heart started
racing, and desire filled my loins. I felt a little intimidated as I started to swell
I closed my eyes again as she worked her way to my legs and feet.
“There. You feeling a little better?” she asked.
I opened my eyes again and smiled at her with a naked grin. “Mm-hmm.”
I almost choked ‘hmm’ out in shock. A large Indian man walked up
behind her and stood real close. He was huge, with broad shoulders and big
arms that could barely fit through the door. He had an Atlas build and a
chiseled physique.
Cherahontas said, “Try and get some rest, and call if you need anything.”
I nodded.
Then she turned to the big fella and said, “Michio, we need to find the
Medicine Man. He’ll know what to do to heal this man up in no time.”
“The Medicine Man?” Michio asked. “That crazy old fool?”
“Shh,” she replied. “Yes.” Then she turned to me and said, “Don’t worry.
He’s a great shaman, and he’ll be able to fix you right up in no time. You’ll see.”
Then she left me alone in the room with Michio, the iron Indian. I closed my
eyes and pretended to ignore him.
“Yeah, we’ll get that nut job over here. He’ll fix you right up, man,”
chuckled Michio.

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Then I felt one of his giant hands wrap around my throat and squeeze my
Adam’s apple. His hand was so big that his fingers touched his thumb on the
back of my neck. I wasn’t sure what hurt worse, the stretching of my irradiated
skin or the lump in my throat that was starting to choke me.
Peering down at me, he said, “Look at my wife again, and I’ll snap your
scrawny, little neck like a pretzel. Understand?”
“Yes” gurgled out of my lips, hurting my throat as it traveled past the
He eased up enough for me to breathe again and said, “I’ll send a couple
of the boys out after the flash. There’s a no-fly order tonight, and there’s always
a bright flash between here and Roswell when there’s a no-fly order, which is
when the Medicine Man always goes out in the middle of the desert. Each time
he comes back a little bit crazier, if you ask me.”
Then he lifted his hand off my throat. “He’ll be back by morning. Maybe
he’ll rub some aloe salve on you,” he finished with a laugh and a slap to my
belly with one of his giant hands.
He left the room, closing the door behind him. My stomach stung with
pain from the bully’s slap. What an asshole.
When the stinging subsided a little, I got up and stiffly walked over to the
moneybag, untying from its straps the last blast of liquid helium. I blasted a
long and final shot of helium into QD’s brain. A few moments later, he was
beaming with life.
“Declan, we’re alive!” he beamed. “Whew, what a rush.” Then he turned
his head to look in the mirror, working his facial muscles and slapping himself
on the cheeks. “I’m alive,” he said again. “It feels so good to be alive again. I’ve
never been dead before, Declan. Look, I’m alive again!”
He seemed quite happy, and I didn’t want to be a mood spoiler, but it
was up to me to remind him that he wasn’t going to be alive for long and that
we—meaning I—needed an identity, and fast.

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QD focused a moment to hack into the casino’s system and said,
“Interesting. They have a network of false identities built right into their
servers. The casino's, that is. It’s like this place is some kind of safe haven for
criminals, politicians, and people on the run, or the rich and famous who just
want to get away and have some privacy.”
“So what’s my new name?” I asked.
“You can pick either Opie Canobie or Dubock Fonzarelli,” he announced.
“Take your pick.”
Oh happy day. One sounded like a robot name and the other like some
kind of Hickyfied Chauch. “I’d rather be called Richard Noggin than either one
of those names,” I declared.
“Richard Noggin’s not available. We’ll go with the Hickyfied Chauch. I like
it, and you are a Chauch if I ever saw one,” QD said.
“Dubock it is then, I guess.”
“Dubock, are you alright?” QD asked. “You look pretty messed up with
that radiant white hair and bright red skin.”
“I don’t know,” I replied.
I was starting to feel sick to my stomach. I hobbled as fast as I could to
the bathroom and started hurling in the water closet. It was not a pretty sight.
There wasn’t much in there, just some salted peanuts and other junk food that
Sam shared with me on the saucer, and a lot of dry heaves.
“It’s the radiation poisoning,” QD said from outside. “You’ll feel better in
a few of days.”
After I was done rinsing my mouth out, he continued, “Drink lots of
liquids and get a lot of rest, Dubock Declan Fonzarelli.”
He got really quiet then. I lay back down on the bed. I was starving but
afraid to eat at the same time. I called room service and ordered some potato
soup in hopes that it’d calm my stomach and make me feel a little better.
QD looked like he was running calculations in his head. Finally, he said,
“We need a plan. The longer we’re on this planet, the bigger the chance of us

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getting caught. You can’t buy any helium, Dubock. None at all. They’ll be
monitoring it in their search for us.
“They probably know our saucer went down in the desert by now, but
there doesn’t seem to be any information on the time bomb experiments on the
quantacom at all. That information is probably imprinted on photons and sent
via special hardware and software. If someone even looks at it, they’ll know and
track them down for sure.
“Keep a sharp eye out if you leave the room, Declan. The human
recognition filters might be fooled by your new identity, but I’m sure this place
will be crawling with NSA agents and cyber patrol operatives very shortly. And
you can bet they’ll know what we look like.”
There was a knock on the door. “Jizmo, answer the door,” I commanded,
as if I were talking to a normal android.
A little, old woman with wrinkly tan skin and salt-and-pepper hair
entered the room. She smiled and said in a raspy voice, “Here you go, sonny.”
She handed me the soup and then continued, “So, you’re the one. I heard
they’d saved some poor soul that’d been lost out in the desert with his robot for
She only had one tooth. It was on the bottom of her mouth, slightly left of
center. She had a kind, grandmotherly way about her.
She said, “I hope you’re doing better, young man.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” I replied. “I’m sure the soup will help.”
“My son will be here in the morning. Early,” she told me.
“Your son is the Medicine Man?” I asked.
“Oh yeah. He’s a good boy. He’s always been such a good boy.”
I picked the spoon up out of the soup and started blowing across the
steaming surface.
“Well, let me know if I can do anything else. I have to go now,” she said.
“Goodnight,” I said.
“Goodnight,” she replied.

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I went back to blowing my spoonful of potatoes, wondering if she lost any
of those teeth in my soup. I took a sip, and it was pretty good, just the right
amount of pepper and green onions.
QD said, “Our situation is not good. The crash really messed things up. I
had fake passports, tickets, and a job lined up. Now I got nothing.”
“Want some soup?” I asked.
“No, but I could use an injection of silicone carbonate. I am a machine,
you know.”
“I’ll order some up in the morning,” I assured him, “along with a wig.”
“It’s hopeless, Declan. They’re going to catch us. It’s just a matter of
time,” moaned QD. “Oh well. I guess being dead is not that bad. I barely even
noticed it earlier.”
“What about me?” I asked. “I’m going to jail forever, and you don’t even
care. They’ll probably lock me up and send my mind straight to cyber hell.”
I could see QD’s consciousness was slowly starting to fade. I didn’t know
what to do, so I just started making small talk.
“So I wonder what ever happened with Sammy. Surely they found his
body and the saucer.” I flicked on the holovision and told the browser to search
for UFOs near Roswell, New Mexico.
I couldn’t believe it. There it was, big as life, several articles about the
crash. There were conspiracy theories about government cover-ups.
We were back in 1947. They even mentioned a weather balloon and little
gray aliens.
“There you go,” I said. “I wonder if all of this information was on the
quantacom before we crashed out there.”
QD just shrugged his shoulders. His mind was fading faster.
Then I remembered about the ole switcheroo that QD pulled on the
stolen serial numbers. I slapped him on the cheek a couple of times and asked
him, “Who did you switch the money’s serial numbers with, Jizmo? You never
told me.”

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His eyes perked up a bit, and he said, “John Goldman.”
“What?” I couldn’t believe it. “You switched the serial numbers with one
of my best friends? Why?”
But he didn’t answer. He was gone.
“Good lord,” I cried out. “How could you have done that? You evil
bastard!” I shouted out to his blank stare. I slapped him as hard as I could.
That was why John was in the brig when I called him yesterday. “Fuckin’
fucked fuck,” I muttered.
What was I going to do now? Maybe I should just turn myself in. I
wondered if they’d let John out if I turned myself in. What the hell was I
supposed to do now?
I was livid. I beat the living shit out of QD. Well, as best I could in my
condition. “You fucking asshole. I'll never forgive you for this, never.”
When the adrenaline wore off, the pain from the radiation burn started
hurting really bad.
I lay back down and put the rest of my soup on the nightstand, leaving
QD right there on the floor, bruised and wheezing.
I was in shock. My mind was racing around, and I could feel a migraine
coming on. Exhaustion took over, and I zonked out into a deep sleep.
â—‹ â—‹ â—‹
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of someone knocking on my
door. It was very early; the sun barely lit the burgundy curtains in the window.
“Jizmo, open the door,” I mumbled, and he let in a well-dressed, glossy
white lizard man with big, featureless orange eyeballs.
Half asleep and still stiff, I lifted my head and asked, “Can I help you?”
He had a forked tongue that kept flicking in and out of his mouth like a
“Hello. I’m Seymour,” he said. “I’m one of the tribe’s doctors. They call me
the Medicine Man.”
I got up to shake his hand and introduced myself as Dubock Fonzarelli.

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He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know. Come sit down here,
What? But how?
I noticed his nametag read ‘Dr. Budts.’
I sat down on the edge of the bed, and he told me that he was a licensed
proctologist. Then he added, “But don’t worry. I’m sure I can help heal a minor
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “You’re a proctologist named Seymour
Budts? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“As a matter a fact, I am,” he laughed. Then he took his jacket and pants
off. He turned around and asked, “Can you help me unzip my lizard outfit?”
What am I, a lunatic magnet?
I unzipped the lizard suit for him, and he took it off and put his trousers
and jacket back on.
I was a little relieved to find out he wasn’t a GM but almost fully human.
He was probably a lunatic, but at least he was a human lunatic, with a weird
sense of humor.
He introduced himself again. “My real name is Dr. Jose Enochus.” Then,
strangely, the forked tongue flicked out of his mouth a couple of times. I really
thought that forked tongue was part of the weird-ass lizard suit.
He gave me a couple of small, cubed-shaped white pills and said, “Here,
take these. You’ll be feeling better in no time.”
So I took them with a sip of water, just as the lovely Mrs. Kaku entered
the room through the open door.
“Are you feeling any better, honey? Can you remember your name yet?”
she asked.
“Yeah,” I replied. “The salve worked very nicely. Thank you for putting it
“Shh,” Jose whispered to me. “They don’t know.”

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I half wondered what they didn’t know as my eyes shifted from admiring
Cherahontas’ long black hair, which went all the way down to the bottom of her
perfectly plump derriere, to meet his eyes.
As soon as our eyes met, his big coal-black eyes formed neon, sprocket-
shaped rings. The ones on the outer edge were cyan and white and had blunt
points. But the inner rings became sharper and sharper, like the points on a
bicycle’s sprocket as they cascaded inwards. The ones around his pupils were
orange and yellow.
I was slightly mesmerized by their appearance, until they started
They turned at different rates and directions, both inner and outer rings,
and it was as if they were unlocking my mind somehow. Maybe it was the pills
causing me to hallucinate or freak out or something. I don’t know.
It was as if my spirit itself was being whisked away, and in an instant I
became the Medicine Man, putting on my lizard suit in the desert, beside a
flowering cactus and a familiar tree. I looked up and saw some birds circling in
the sky. And then I became one of the circling buzzards, looking down at the
Medicine Man.
I was on, like, an acid trip or something.
A flash of light brightened the horizon, and when I looked up to see what
it was, a flying saucer came crashing down onto the desert floor.
It was the small PT cruiser that Sam and QD had stolen. I knew it
because I saw the explosive bolts blow off the hatch. Then I saw QD climbing
The vision faded to the hotel room. I wondered how long I was gone.
Jose motioned me to be quiet with a finger over his dry, sun-cracked lips.
“Don’t know what?” Cherahontas asked.
“His name,” Jose replied. “We don’t know his name.”
“I remember it now,” I said. “It’s Dubock. Dubock Fonzarelli.”

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“Well, nice to meet you, Dubock,” Cherahontas said with her sexy smile.
Then she turned to Jose and asked, “Is he going to be okay, Grandpa?”
“Oh yeah, he’ll be Just fine,” Jose replied. “He just needs a few days of
rest out of the sun. Have Bella rub some aloe on his burns every three hours or
so, and I’ll check on him tonight after dinner.”
Cherahontas said, “See there, Dubock? You’re going to be just fine in a
few days. I hope you decide to stick around and enjoy the resort for a while
after you get better.”
“I think I’m going to have to. You’ve all been so hospitable. Thank you
very much,” I replied. Then I added, “I have a little money, so don’t worry. Just
run a tab for me, and I’ll pay when I get better.”
“Don’t worry about that now. Just get better, okay?” urged Cherahontas.
“I’ll send Bella in in just a bit to tend to your sunburn. Is there anything else I
can get you?”
“Yeah,” I said. “My android needs a carbonized silicone injection and a
wig, preferably a blond one.”
“I’ll send them up with Bella a little later. Try to rest up now, okay?”
“Okay,” I replied, and they left the room.
I took the bottle of aloe and rubbed it on myself the best I could. It was
cool and very soothing. I wondered what this Bella girl looked like. I liked the
That dude’s eyes were a trip. I wondered what those pills were. Surely
they were peyote buttons and it was all just a weird hallucination derived from
my own imagination, right? I don’t know.
My mind wandered off, and I began thinking about John. I wondered if
he was still in the brig. They had to know he wasn’t the one who stole the
money. How could Jizmo even think of tying him to all of this? I didn’t even
remember mentioning John’s name or talking about him at all around that
freak show.
Man, I’m really starting to hate that evil droid.

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I just can't believe this was happening. Why me? Good lord. I am a nice
guy. I never meant anybody any harm. I just want to live a nice, normal life like
everybody else.
I sat down on the edge of the bed a moment, then lay down across it, legs
dangling off the edge, my mind zig-zagging with thoughts.
I started worrying about Mom. I wondered if the freaky-eyed batticus was
plotting any revenge against her for that face smashing.
I wondered if things could ever get back to being normal. I need to get
out of here, find somewhere safe where I can relax.
There I was, with a huge amount of cash and a robot that I loathed.
Funny, I was just starting to like QD. Why did he have to go and do it? Why did
he throw my buddy John under the bus? Why did he have to come into my life
and fuck everything all up?
I became enraged and violent again. I pushed Jizmo to the ground and
kicked him in his rib cage.
Just then I heard a knock on the door, and the old woman with one
tooth walked right in uninvited.
She said, “I’ve brought the carbonized silicone for your friend.”
Her jaw dropped when she saw him lying on the floor. I’m sure she heard
me kick him just before she walked in.
She could definitely see how pissed I was.
Filled with concern, she said in her grandmotherly tone, “Listen, sonny.”
Then she sat down on a small chair by the dresser. She looked down at the
ground, back up at me, and began telling me a story in her raspy voice. She
said, “I remember years ago I had a broken foot in an itchy cast that went all
the way up to the bottom of my knee. I’d fallen on hard times in the middle of
one of the hottest summers we’ve ever had. I was out of toilet paper and had to
go to the store in my old pickup truck with its broken air conditioner.
“I climbed up into the cab of that oven, fired up that old Chevy Chase,
and off I went, dripping with sweat in no time. I thought I was going to die. And

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on the way back, the brakes went out. I had to coast over to the side of the
road. I didn't even have any emergency brakes. There was no way I could’ve
drove the damn thing home, and there was nobody around to help me.
“I was so mad and frustrated. I got out of that pickup and slammed the
door as hard as I could. I reached in through the window and grabbed my
crutches out of that front seat, and I swung one of them around like a baseball
bat as hard as I could, and I dented the fuck out of the door on that old
She eased up out of the chair. She took a couple of steps over to the
window, pulled back the curtain and pointed to an aged pickup truck in the
parking lot. “The dent’s still there,” she said as she pointed it out to me. “I had
to walk two miles on crutches in the heat of the day to get back home.” Her
face shifted from discontent to humble as she reminisced. “I love that damned
ol’ truck.”
I looked down at QD lying on the floor.
The old woman asked, “Would you like me to give him the silicone
injection?” She pulled him up into a sitting position and put the blond wig she
had been carrying on his head. She started straightening it.
I didn’t know how to give the injection thing. I’d never owned a bot
before. Most droids took care of people in VR wards, or they were doctors,
nannies, surrogates, sex dolls, or policemen. Besides, I hated that fucker.
I watched as she pulled up his shirt and cut the tip off the tube of
carbonized silicone. She placed it in a caulking gun and inserted it into what
looked like QD’s bellybutton. Then she squeezed it in there, just like the way
they feed soylent to the Grays in the VR wards.
She pumped about half a tube in there before pulling it out and saying,
“There. He’ll be as happy as pappy after poking the nappy.”
I didn’t know what that last phrase meant, but I wasn’t going to ask
either. She looked up at me, smiling, and her one tooth was shining in the
sunlight beaming through the window.

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“Would you like me to rub some aloe on your belly, sonny?” she asked.
“No thanks. I’m feeling good enough to take care of it myself now,” I told
her. I’d rather have Michio slap it again. “Thanks for offering, though.”
I was guessing her name is Bella.
“Okay,” she replied. “Let me know if you need anything.”
I thanked her as she made her way out the door.
Whew, that was close. I didn’t want that creepy, old woman touching me.
Could you imagine her asking if I’d like a happy, nappy finish or something?
Ew, what a nasty thought. I bet she could pop a soda cap off with that tooth.
I should be nice. She’s a sweet, old lady doing her best to help out.
I was starting to get a little hungry, and I looked over at the clock on the
nightstand. Hmm, ten thirty. I decided to have a little breakfast, so I called
room service and asked if they had any specials.
A woman answered, “We have the continental breakfast, which comes
free with your room. Or you can try one of our signature breakfasts, like the
Geronimo Grande, the Poached Pocahontas, or the Tonto’s Two-Two-Two
deal…” And so on and I don’t know what all.
I went with the Sweet Chili Cocheesy.
I stared out the window for some time, thinking about John and Jizmo
and myself as well. I’m never violent. I’ve always had a slow and mild temper.
And yet here I was, about ready to smash Jizmo to pieces again. Lucky for him,
the food arrived with a knock on the door.
Well, I took a deep breath to calm down and answered the door. A
hostess wheeled in the breakfast cart and uncovered the chrome lid. I had my
doubts when I first saw it, but it turned out to be quite tasty.
Crinkle-cut french fries were buried under soft scrambled eggs, which
were covered by a thick layer of melted sharp cheddar cheese. A really yummy
sweet chili sauce topped it all off with a garnish of yellow and green onions.
I sat down and ate the whole thing, along with a couple cups of caf-buz
and a large glass of milk as well.

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After licking the plate clean, I lay back and patted my belly a couple of
times. Man, I thought I was going to die. I mean, I felt like I was about to pop
wide open. Oh yeah, I ate way too much.
I lay there and waited for the heart attack. I flicked on the holovision,
and the channel suggestor pulled up sports and porno. When you’re registered
under a false identity, it probably doesn’t have a lot to go on.
I scanned through some of the sports channels and stopped on a news
feed. The hosts were yammering on about the flyball championships coming
up. All the players get one bottle of oxygen. Not only for breathing, but for
maneuvering around the low-gravity, zero-air atmosphere as well. They played
the entire season in VR, and then the two top teams went to the real moon and
put on real flygear for their final competition.
There was a sport I wouldn’t be playing.
As I listened, I realized that they were talking about discontinuing having
the championships played on the moon in the future. Apparently this was all a
big controversy, and they went on and on, interviewing players and coaches
and fans.
Huh. Flyball was a big attraction on the moon. I bet it brought a lot of
money up there, with all those fans filling up the resorts and buying souvenirs.
It wouldn’t be long before there wasn’t anyone left up there, save
scientists, miners, and genetically modified freakazoids. The miners would
probably all be replaced by robots soon enough. I’d heard they had a printer up
there now to print them. The unions were all freaking out about it.
One thing is for sure—QD is not going up there. Not after what he did to
I looked out the window and saw a bus go by. They didn’t have too many
buses left in West Palm Beach. I was pretty sure this bus was a shuttle
running back and forth between Space City, Roswell, and the casino. I noticed
it before. I remembered thinking that the driver was insane.

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The parking lot was outside of my window, and that dude flew by at
about ninety miles an hour every time he drove by. It was a wonder he never
hit anybody. He was definitely a candidate for auto-drive. This place was so
behind the times.
But it did get me to thinking about an eye for an eye. That QD, that SOB
threw my friend under the bus. That was exactly what I should do to him, only
I should throw him under the bus the next time that nutcase bus driver
flies by.
Would it be murder? QD’s just a droid, a gizmo, a glorified
Frankenstein’s monster wanted by the NSA. I’d probably be doing mankind a
favor by throwing him under the bus.
Somebody knocked on the door, startling me. The sound of the foomp
foomp bump went straight through my heart. It beat hard in the same rhythm
from having simply murderous thoughts.
The polite and mannered voice of the Medicine Man rang out, “It’s me,
Dr. Budts!”
That dude’s totally insane Those were some wild freaking pills he gave
me earlier, though. And some wild freaking eyes too.
“It’s open,” I called, and his tall, skinny frame came clumping into the
His lizard tongue flicked out into the air a couple of times. “How ya
feeling?” he asked.
“It still stings when I move. The pills and salve seem to be working,
especially when Cherahontas rubs it on,” I smirked.
He laughed and said, “You’re right about that, Declan.”
My eyes cut to the door and back as I shushed him.
“I know. Dubock. Don’t worry,” he replied. Then he said, “Those pills
have any weird side effects or anything?” He gestured open his note app.

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“They did,” I replied. “Even before I took them I hallucinated a grown
man in a lizard suit who was sticking a forked tongue in and out of his mouth.
It was unbelievable.” I’m a little crazy myself. I like to clown around. Especially
if I have nothing better do.
“Oh, that was no hallucination, Dubock,” he laughed. “That was me. I
wear the suit for the kids when they get sick, or you know, severely
‘sunburned,’ if you know what I mean.”
“Oh yeah. I can see that. And, and, and, also when you’re out in the
desert, watching the 1947 saucer crash just down the road a piece.”
“You got me,” he said. Then he lowered his voice and whispered, “I got it
from a dead guy out in the desert. Apparently he had to pee at the wrong time.
He wasn’t as lucky as you.”
“Sure ya did. And you just happened to have been blessed with a forked
tongue from birth,” I quipped.
“I don’t owe you anything,” he said, “but to tell you the truth, I’ve been
playing around with the casino’s hologram system. Whenever I make a certain
face, the tongue generates and flicks around. We’re thinking of opening up a
shop on the main drag and selling souvenirs similar to it, only with an Indian
theme, of course. We’re going to start selling holo-companions to our guests as
well. They’ll be for everybody, but we’ve contacted Playboy to come up with
some we could put in the better suites. In fact, this room is a test room.”
“You mean you could hook me up with a virtual companion right now?” I
He replied, “Sure. You want one?”
“I don’t know. You got any GMs that look like a fish with neon, sea
anemone hair?” I asked.
“You heard about that?” he asked, shocked.
“What?” I asked, confused.

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“Some tart fish-girl model was supposed to be in this month’s lineup of
exotic dancers available for downloading. I think they said her name was
“No way,” I said. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I think she just wanted to model lingerie
and swimwear. But I’ll find out if you like. I do know they rescheduled the
meeting. I’m sure we’ll advertise the whole holo-companion concept on all the
interested hubs real soon.”
I wondered if it was true or not. Tawana probably would have told me,
but who knows. I didn’t think Jose and the rest of the world needed to know
that I know her.
He gave me a couple more of those square pills. These were a little darker
in color and tasted slightly more bitter.
“That’s pretty cool, you know,” I said, “that thing you do with your eyes.
It’s a hologram, like your tongue, isn’t it?”
“What thing?” he asked. “There’s nothing freaky about my eyes.” He
sounded a little worried by my accusation.
“You know, that whole electric rainbow sprocket thing,” I insisted.
He looked at me with a straight face and said, “Dubock, I don’t do
anything with my eyes. They’re as normal as yours.” And they started doing it
My eyes locked onto his again, and the sprockets started turning,
drawing me in just like last time. He started talking about how he obtained the
lizard suit and what it was designed for, and I was swept into the black and
white again. This time, I was a butterfly fluttering around Albert Einstein, of all
people, and a few other scientists I didn’t recognize. They were walking up an
outdoor, painted, metal stairway that led up to what looked kind of like a
baseball stadium’s scoreboard box, except it had dark, tinted windows. I
noticed that it was sitting on top of some very heavy-duty pillars.

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The scientist in the front opened the door to go in, and a mangy white cat
with red and black patches on his back ran into the building. I heard one of the
scientists say, “Let him be. He’s not going to hurt anything.”
And then I was the cat. I jumped up on top of a small row of lockers in
the back. They were just high enough to see what was outside the window. I
could feel the cat’s nervousness as we stretched our neck out and purred
quietly a couple of times.
The scientists started testing their equipment, and I peered out to see a
truly monstrous hill of dynamite off in the distance. They all put on some very
large dark glasses, and I turned my head and closed my eyes. I saw the flash
reflect off the back wall, through the skin of my mangy cat eyelids.
A guy they were calling Fermi declared, “Success, gentlemen. We have x-
rays.” When I turned to look outside, I saw a small mushroom-shaped fireball
rising into the sky.
The cat in me was scared and ran out as soon as one of the scientists
opened the door. I looked up into the black and white sky and saw an old prop-
driven aircraft flying overhead. And then I became one of the men inside,
looking down at the desert floor. It was the strangest hallucination ever. So
freaking weird.
The others in the plane were checking instruments and measuring
radiation fallout while I peered out the window. I saw a couple of dark specs on
the ground, so I grabbed some binoculars that were hanging close by and
peered down to get a closer look. They turned out to be two men. One of them
was about to relieve himself on a tree, and the other was a few hundred yards
away, lying face down between some rocky outcrops on the desert floor, putting
a shiny blanket over himself.
The fuzzy color sphere appeared, signaling the return of the present, and
the otherwise colorless landscape faded into the familiar face of the Medicine
“That guy picked a bad time to relieve himself. Who was he?” I asked.

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“One of the field techs from Area Fifty-One. I found him fried to a crisp
after the snap back, dead as a door knob. I grabbed his lizard suit off the
desert floor and took off,” Jose replied. “Dude, it's nice. It keeps you cool out in
the desert heat and offers one hundred percent protection against present time
flash back.”
“Nice,” I said, before adding sadly, “except for the dead guy, that is.”
Jose smiled and nodded his head. Then he took all of my vital signs and
asked again if I noticed any side effects after taking the pills.
“No, just these weird hallucinations of the past when I look into your
normal, regular, everyday eyes,” I said.
Then he asked, “No headaches or nausea? Hmm, or stomach upset?”
“My stomach’s a little upset, but it seems to really be helping the burn,” I
Then he asked a lot more questions, like, “Have you been sleeping well?
Any changes in sleep patterns, stuff like that.”
I answered all of his questions while he took his notes. Then he bid me
adieu and left my room.
I was beginning to worry that those pills must have some very bad side
effects. Maybe the Medicine Man’s eyes were part of the hallucinations that I
was having.
Hmm, I wondered if he was causing or controlling the hallucinations with
his eyes somehow, for some reason. It seemed like I was experiencing things
that he had witnessed while time traveling in the past.
I wonder… I wondered what might happen if next time I just pretend to
take the pills. That's what I’m gonna do. Yeah. Then I'll take them after he
leaves and look at myself in the mirror. This just might be interesting.
Then we’ll see if his crazy eyes were causing the hallucinations or the
pills. Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do.
Then my thoughts turned to Jizmo.

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It was all his fault that I was in this mess. I could be back in Florida
right now, going to the beach and sneaking into FAU, learning all kinds of cool
stuff. I don't think David Wayne would've tortured or killed me over Rhonda. I
should just turn Jizmo off permanently. It’s not like it’d be murder. He’s just a
machine. I should just turn him off and dismantle him. Hmm… I kind of liked
the idea of throwing him under that bus, though.
Agh, fuck. What am I going to do?
I ran my fingers through my bright white hair. It’s so stuffy in here. I got
up and opened the window. The hot and dry desert air poured in. It was no
help at all. I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I'd been cooped up in that
room for days. It seemed more like months.