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Chapter #3

Declan 1.1 (The Funky Buddha’s Belly Button)

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So, I went here and there, made my rounds and the guy at the Holodome
said, “Come back in two days and we’ll put you to work.”
A couple of guys passing by with some boxes laughed at me about
something, but I didn’t care. I am going to make a few extra bucks and I’m
gonna be okay.
Bat Freak might give me an ass whooping, but I'll just take it like a man.
Kick him in the groin and get on with my life. Yeah, I think I’m gonna be okay
after the bruises heal if I miss. My ride spit me out of the transtube at the stop
near my house. I climbed out of the roloballs worn out, wobbly carriage and
found my legs. Yeah I had to recalibate them before I could walk home, like
getting off of a long boat ride in rough weather. That ball definitely needs
I walked through the front door and announced, “Hi, Mom, I’m home.
Good news! I’m going to make a little extra money helping out down at the
Holodome in a couple of days.”
“Yeah, sure you will.” her reply.
I could see her mood hadn’t changed much since this morning. I decided
to go straight to my room and relax on Mars for a while. I have a three breasted
Vgirl up there named Marshella who's always just dying to see me. The
questions she asks and the things she says. Sometimes I think she really is on
mars. She's so secretive about her whereabouts. I turned the playstation on
and thought, maybe she's in prison somewhere and I'm her only visitor. A smile
adorned my face as my dirty mind added, 'with congical visits'. I wonder what
she looks like in real life. I'm so in love with her. On goes the halo, and
MMmmzzzzzkMMmmm. Hmm link up sounded kinda funny. Hope this thing
doesn’t fry my brain.
“Server error. Mars connection is unavailable at this time.”
Aghh man! How about “Mech Warrior Mercenaries?”
“Server error, Mech Warrior Mercenaries is temporarily unavailable.”
F'n BU&U, crappiest quantacom connection ever. “So what is available at this
time, Jezzy?”
I named my isopod Jezebel after the cute, little, blonde girl in first grade.
She taught me what it meant to be heart broken. She said that she loved me
and that we were going to be together forever and ever. Then I found out that

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she was kissing all the little first and second graders, boys and girls alike. I'm
sure she told them the same thing.
Rumor has it she wound up married to a mailman and a pool guy, and
that they are all sharing kids in marital bliss. I wonder if they’re all happy
living together. I heard another rumor not long ago that she’s a little depressed
because they leave her out of the marital action more times than not, if you
know what I mean. But I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I’m just a good old
fashioned guy who wants a nice girlfriend to bring flowers to once in a while
with three breasts, of course.
Game box states “Sync World is the only open frequency at this time,
with twelve percent zsump rate available.” Maybe this is a good thing. I got a
couple of things I think I need to do in the synthesized real world. Twelve
percent, that’s just enough get there in a flash, float around and map some
things out.
“Put me on campus, Jezzy. FAU please.” I think it’d be a good idea to find
some spots with low refresh rates in case I need to hide from some bat freak
stalking me in one of these photo/video synthesized real world realms.
Oh yeah, just in time. There’s a teacher walking down the hall. And a
skip, and he’s back. I’ll have this hall mapped out in no time. After
triangulating a few key points-key meaning video/photo voids, at least in the
stationary cameras-with escape routes that favor low Sync World detection of
real life attendees. I can't really do anything about the cameras on all the
combands, though. With so many levels of Sync World, you could watch
somebody watching somebody watching you. It’s sick, and I’m sick too. This
has to be some kind of psycho, paranoid-o mental illness that I’m experiencing.
What the heck am I doing? Am I really this scared of the guy? Then again, he
did have fangs. And if you’re stalking somebody Sync World is the place to do
Hmm, while I’m here I might as well do some stalking myself. “Jezzy,
zsump me by Rhonda’s house.” I know there’s a fat chance of any video feed
refreshing her house often, but you never know. The last pic upload might
reveal a little something about something. There it is. No video feed in the
whole neighborhood, as expected. The latest house pic looks a couple of hours
old judging from the suns position in the sky, and there’s only a couple of
parcelcopters on their way back to the hub. Nice car in the driveway though. I
wonder if it’s Bat Doof’s. I wonder how he affords a car, and a nice one at that.
I like the custom rims with green spiky things coming out of the hubs. I bet
they light up at night.
Awe a refresh. Someone must’ve driven by in a newer model ride or
received a package. Hmm, let’s see. Nah there’s still nothing new. Oh well. I
think I’ll walk on over to the Funky Buddha and see if anyone’s hanging out.
Maybe Woo will be there selling class room codes. “Jezzy, disconnect me.”

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“Going out, Mom. Be back later.”
She looked over her array of VeeMs and replied, “Come back in a
couple of years when you’ve found a wife, a job, and a place of your own.”
Why does she hate me? It isn’t easy being the only child of a recently
widowed trophy wife.
I stepped out, and the day had started to cool down. It's still
unseasonably warm though, not much winter at all this year.
The moon looked extra big and bright scrolling up into the horizon as I
strolled down the street. It seemed kind of sad and lonely rising slowly into the
growing darkness of the night. Maybe it’s just me.
I can’t believe anyone would want to go to the moon on purpose. Idiots. I
wonder what must be going through in their minds. They must be like, “Oh, I
want to go to the most dangerous place ever inhabited by mankind for a
vacation. Brilliant!
Everybody knows that most people just go up there to visit the
genetically modified freaks they gave birth to back when it was a big fad. Now
they all hide them on the moon. It's Like the island of Dr. Moreau up there.
I've been reading about a lot of bad luck they've been having lately. The
Mooner's that is. They’ve had one disaster after another and now nobody wants
to go up there at all. Now all the freaks are coming to Earth with their freaky
kids. I don’t know what we’re all going to do if nobody’s left to mine the H3 up
there though. We gotta keep them reactors running if we want electricity.
The traffic was flowing smooth as I approached the intersection at Federal and
Yamato. I’d heard they were going to upgrade the processor, ramps, and install
a third bank, but I didn’t think it’d make this big of a difference. I was amazed
what an extra elevated bank could do. The traffic was whizzing by unbelievably
fast, probably fifty to sixty vehicles a minute and none of them stopping. This
was no small upgrade. Yeah, this town's growing and it's growing fast.
They’ll be pissed when I hit the cross button. Oh well. I crossed over and
walked a little and entered the Funky Chunky Monkey Buddha. OK, I threw in
the Chunky Monkey part. There was the normal small crowd of local-yocal's
hanging there.
As the door closed behind me I noticed a genetically modified, red headed
creature just to the left of the door. She must be new in town, hadn’t seen her
before. I moved towards the bar. My buddy Chaz was standing by the stage,
trying to impress a couple of ladies with some new gadget hand that he
probably got for Christmas.
I made my way to the bar and eaves dropped on Chaz’s conversation
while waiting for the bartender to come over. In this place you could wait as
long as twenty minutes for one of two non-busy, bar tenders to actually wait on
you, and that’s if you call out to one of them. I used to think it was just me,

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but no, they’re like that to everybody. They acted snooty, but I think they were
just lazy.
Chaz was telling the girls, “Just look, if I’m driving down the road and
come across a nice smooth body of water, I can just take this hand off and
snap on the Handy Fisherman, that’s right, the Handy Fisherman, and just like
that throw a line and start catching fish.”
Now, I would say he’s snapping this gadget onto his nub, but people who
like attachable/detachable bionic gear prefer “pickups.” Chaz has always been
kind of weird though. I remember when he lived down the street from me
growing up. He'd make himself some ears out of the bottoms of egg containers
and pretend he was Spock from some show his grandpa used to watch when he
was little. What a geek.
Chaz continued, “Yep, the Handy Fisherman is the perfect attachment
for those who love fishing. Look, I just extend the middle finger-the index finger
is the eyes for the line-bend these two fingers at midpoint and voila! A bait
casting reel pops right out of the palm. I can take it with me here, there,
everywhere. It’ll fit in a glove box, it’ll fit in your pocket. And when I’m not
using it for fishing, it works just like a real hand. It’s amazing, it’s astonishing,
it’s, you guessed it, the Handy Fisherman!”
Now, I noticed a couple of other hand gadgetry thingy’s hanging off a, you
guessed it, a Handy Hand gadget belt that had a rather provocative and sick
belt buckle. I could see I caught Chaz's eye when I first walked in as he gave
me the nod, like he wanted to talk to me about something. I’m sure it was
nothing, but Chaz is alright. I could see him making his way to me. He stuck
out his real hand, as opposed to his -‘reel’- hand to shake hands with me, but I
thought twice.
The unusual belt buckle doubles as an attachable hand holding an
eight-inch, Teflon-coated, carbon fiber, vibrator that was pointing straight up,
that for some unknown reason was switched on, buzzing, twirling, twisting,
and who knows where any of those hands have been.
“What’s up, Chaz?”
“Not much” he replied, slightly dismayed, lowering his hand. “Have
you heard about my new---”
“Yeah, yeah I heard about the stupid Handy Fisherman. You know it's
one thing to have something like that in Sync World, or some other virtual
reality, but in real life Chaz? I can’t believe you let’em cut off your hand for that
Chaz just smiled and replied, “The ladies dig it,” as he reached down and
shut his buckle off.
I personally don’t think so, but I guess some of the younger ones might.
Although I gotta admit that belt buckle was pretty impressive. I really thought

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the bar keep would’ve asked me what I wanted by now. I asked, “So what else
is going on Chaz? Think I’ll ever get a beer?”
He answered, “Not a good one, not in this place anyway.” It's true, they
only serve home brews at this place and only the black and tan one is good
enough to actually swallow, but just barely. He continued, “Did you see the red
haired GM on the way in?”
I answered, “Yeah, what a freak. Bet she’s an orphan. That could only be
cute for a year or two.”
Chaz laughed then said, “What were they thinking?” Mimicking the
parents, he said, “Oh, let’s have a baby with snail antennas! Yeah! And with
eyes on top of them! Yes, my love, and we’ll give her a cute, little elephant nose
on her forehead, and red hair.”
I actually felt kind of sorry for her and honestly hope the best for her, but
I don’t see how she’s ever gonna fit in anywhere. Let’s hope she at least has an
award winning personality.
Teasing Chaz, I was like, “Go on, ask her out. You know you want to.
Y'all could go fishing together, and do whatever the hell else you do with all
those attachments.”
About this time the bar tender finally came over and said, “The usual?”
You’d think she would just bring one for free after all this time but,
“Yeah, the usual.”
I asked Chaz if he’d seen my buddy Woo or any bat freaks looking for me.
He replied, “Woo was here earlier, said he was looking for you. I’m sure he’ll be
We sat there busting each others chops for a while. And then some guy
got up on stage, and made a few jokes and announced that it was time for open
The Funky Buddha's house band always hangs out on stage during open
mic night. They often play for people who were belligerent enough to get up
there and actually sing at one of these places. They also play a little between
the acts while people prepare their jokes and what not.
Chaz eventually had enough of my antics and he moved off into the
crowd, showing off his new hand. I finally got my beer, piss warm, and why am
I not surprised? Why do I even come here? Right after Chaz left, a very
attractive, young doll-face sat down right next to me, in her little black skirt
and her six inch heels and gave me a quiet smile while snapping her fingers at
the bar keep. Said, “Hi, I'm Zelma,” as she tapped a handful of rolled up papers
on the bar, keeping time with the music. We flirted with each other a bit. She
seemed really nice. I could tell that she was anxious about doing her number
on stage. They called her name. I was intrigued. She'd told me the story behind
the lyrics and it was kind of disturbing.

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Nice walk, I thought, as I watched her swing her round hips left and right
as she climbed the stairs, her long black hair swinging with them in harmony.
She unrolled the papers and started handing sheet music to Zep, the guitar
player, and J.L., the drummer who started laughing in her face and said, “We
don't know how to read sheet music.”
Zelma's face turned beet red, and she started slapping them like dogs
with what was left of the rolled up sheet music in her hand. It was hilarious.
The host broke it all up pretty quick though. Still, man, I really wanted to hear
them lyrics, I thought as I watched her stomp out of the club.

I know one thing, I am glad I didn’t get her number. Could you imagine a
date with someone like that? Yeah, I think we all just witnessed the best show
of the night. I saw Woo’s slanty eyes walk in and muddle through the crowd,
shaking hands and doing the general yah-yah-yah thing. I lifted a couple of
fingers off the beer glass I was holding to acknowledge my desire to talk to him.
He made his way up to the bar after a few moments.
He said, “Say man what’s up?”
I said, “Not much.”
He replied, “That’s not what I heard. I heard you got into a fight today at
school. Heard you kicked some freaks ass.”
“What? Who told you that?” I asked.
With a devious smile he replied, “I have my sources,” while winking at
the bartender, who just rolled her eyes.
Well now, this caught me off guard. I wonder who else knows. There was
just the three of us in the court yard. I really couldn’t imagine Rhonda saying
anything. Let’s see, me, Rhonda, and Count Dracula, oh yeah. Oh no, Susie the
psychedelic psychic. She probably told everybody in town by now, both the
living and the dead.
We made our little business transaction and Woo moseyed away, smiling
and laughing at, and with, pretty much everybody in the place. I don’t know
why, but everybody just loves Woo. He's just one of those guys, I guess. I was
quite relieved to have the codes. I did not want to go to class in person for a few
days, and a dumb ass like me doesn’t need to miss any classes, even though
I’m not really getting any credits.
A few sips of black and tan later, and a few acts after the sheet music
incident, they announced some magician that magically made the crowd
disappear. That is to say that he bored them all into the parking lot, where a
lot of fellow students and Buddha-mates go to hang out and smoke crushed up
maronox and inhale krain. I, myself, was getting kind of bored. The inner
debate, as to have another beer, or not, was leaning towards the “not” pretty

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heavily. So I downed what was left of my beer, paid, then left a tip (for proper
service of course).
Then I strolled on out the door where I tripped over a bionic hand that
must have fallen off of somebody’s bionic hand belt. As I was tripping I heard
an unusual sound. Something went, “Pop.” just behind me. It sounded like
something tiny hit the door really hard; As I was picking myself up off the
ground I saw head lights come on and a car speed away in the distance. I really
didn’t think that much about it at first, but when I turned around and
examined the door I noticed a deep hole, centered perfectly in the hand carved
mahogany belly button of the Funky Buddha himself.
I've never noticed this before. Maybe I was just paranoid but, I had the
weirdest feeling that somebody just tried to shoot me straight through the
heart. Nah, that’s impossible.
Dismissing the thought, I hollered over to Chaz across the parking lot,
“Oh lucky day, I just found me a Handy Fisherman!”
Reaching down searching his belt he exclaimed, “Hey! That’s my Flowbee
Fingers, with state-of-the-art palm vac-hair shredding capability. It gives
perfect haircuts in just thirty seconds or less with no mess!”
“It's amazing! It's fantastic!” I sarcastically replied.
“I said, “Here, catch.” as I pumped it to fake a pass. You should’ve seen
his eyes grow as big as his head. He was scared I’d really throw it. I know deep
down he knows I might be a mean, sarcastic prick on the surface, but I’m not a
sadistic bully. I think the fear in his eyes was a sure sign that it cost him a
small fortune, probably nineteen ninety-nine and nine tenths.
“You want this? It’s gonna cost ya big time.” I said to him laughing. “At
least 7 million perfect haircuts.”
He snapped, “Oh yeah, and I’ll specially modify the nose hair
clippers on the pinky to clean out your brains.”
I pointed at the deep hole in the door and asked, “Hey Chaz, come look at
this door. You ever noticed that hole before?”
He said, “I think I would have noticed a fresh bullet hole. That's
new, I wonder how long it's been there.”
He was right. It was a fresh hole, a Freak'n fresh bullet hole. Holy Funky
Buddha belly, Batman really is trying to kill me. It’s the only explanation. It’s
the only one. I could feel my heart starting to pound like a bass drum in the
marching band, and it kept pounding harder and harder and faster and faster.
I was having a panic attack right there in the parking lot.
I grabbed Chaz on the shoulders and said, “Someone is trying to kill me!
Your Freak'n hand just saved my life!”

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He laughed and said, “I guess that makes us even,” as he twisted
his Flowbee Fingers into place and started whirling the blades. Vwirrrrrr
Vwirrrrrr. “It seems to be working pretty good. How about a haircut? First one’s
on the house.”
I was like, “No man, I’m serious. I think someone is trying to kill me,” as
my heart was going boom, boom, boom. Chaz must’ve seen the fear in my eyes
and written on my face because he felt sorry for me and agreed to give me lift.
I was thinking, maybe I should ask him to take me to the police station,
or maybe a public place, like Wal-Mart. Nah, Bat Freak would look perfectly
normal in there, especially this time of night. I probably could go to the police
station though. What would I tell them? They’d just think I was paranoid, give
me a stale doughnut, and send me home. Home, yeah “Just get me home as
fast as you can Chaz.”
As soon as he dropped me off I ran in the house. I locked all of the doors
and windows and turned all of the outside lights on. And then I checked all of
the doors and windows. And then I checked ’em all again. And again. I grabbed
the biggest kitchen knife in the butcher block in one hand, the waffle-headed,
meat hammer in the other.
Mom got up and yelled, “What the hell is the matter with you? Have you
lost your mind?”
“Shhh, Mom shut up!” I loudly whisper back as I was turning off
the inside lights and moving from window to window, peaking out, hanging low.
We both crouched down by the front window, and I heard her whisper,
“Is it the three breasted girl's father? Because I don’t think he’s real.”
“Ugh, are you insane?” I whispered, “Sometimes I can’t believe the
things that come out of your mouth. No, it’s not Marshella’s father, it’s a
fucking batman.” At that very moment I realized that I was the one that now
sounded insane.
She got up and flicked on the kitchen lights and started filling a glass up
with ice as I shouted in a loud whisper, “It’s a long story, I got in a fight this
morning at school with this guy that just happened to have a genetic
modification. Apparently his parents wanted a bat baby.”
“A bat baby?” she replied, “uh-huh, sure.” She said sarcastically, as she
filled the glass with water. “And this genetically modified bat dude, is he
Marshella’s new boyfriend? Or were you two fighting over something serious?”
I stood up, head hanging low, feeling belittled by her. I replied, “No, but I
think he’s Rhonda’s newest fling.” Then I looked back up at her.
Mom, looking a little surprised, and worried muttered, “Rhonda? You
mean Rhonda from the taco stand?”
And I said, “Yeah.”

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Now, we lived in a pretty nice home in a gated community. My dad paid
for the biggest part of it in cash, back when he was doing really well. After
finding out Rhonda was involved Mom immediately called the guard gate and
sent them a picture of her and a description of the bat freak and told them to
notify us if they pulled up wanting in for any reason. Then she said, “Sit down
here son. There are some things about the taco stand you might need to know.”
She sat down across from me, grabbed my hands and sighed. Then she
gave me a serious look and told me, “Now, I don’t know for sure, and I never
did pry into your father’s business, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to know,
but I’m pretty sure your dad was laundering money, or doing something pretty
shady. I don’t know how I know, but rumor has it Rhonda was somehow
involved. You know she was a run away, don’t you?”
“No,” I replied. I don't know why it mattered. She always seemed
normal enough. I knew she lived with some, let’s say undesirable company, but
she seemed alright to me. I always liked her anyway, we used to hang out after
work sometimes. I know she used to make extra money selling krain but, I
never got the feeling she did much of it.
Then Mom continued, “That girl was always trouble. She sure liked you
for some reason. You be careful. They might be trying to recruit you or
something. I know what ever these two are up to it has to be no good.”
I jokingly stated, “Well, you wanted me to get a job; maybe I could
be a hit man for the KBD.” Mom was less than amused, to say the least. What
a look.
I did feel a little better knowing that the Keystone Cops were notified.
Who knows, maybe the one we used to call Barney Fife will actually put a
bullet in his gun. Nonetheless, I decided the best thing for me to do was to
strap on my isopod halo and sync up to all the traffic cams around the housing
I can’t believe Mom thinks Dad was laundering money at the taco stand.
I worked there, it was busy, and Dad made an honest buck like everybody else.
Jeesh, she’s such a wackadoo sometimes. What an imagination, and look at
me, I’m just like her. Thinking somebody’s out to kill me. What did I do? Hurt
some great big muscle heads bat feelings. See a fresh hole in a door that
could’ve been there for days?
I need a vacation. I’ve just been too stressed out lately. Mom is definitely
not helping. You know it’s one thing to have the guys in school messing with
my head, but my own mother? She’s probably in there laughing her ass off at
me right now. I’ll be the laughing stock of the entire real estate community for
months, I’m sure.
I was definitely going to go over to Rhonda’s house first thing in the
morning and find out what’s really going on. I’m going to call her, apologize,
and then explain myself. And if the guy still wants to fight, I’m gonna kick his

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ass for being stupid. I am not going to put myself through this another day, no
Eventually I fell asleep in sync world watching the traffic cams and
thinking what a paranoid bonehead I must be.