“You’ve got to listen to me!” the girl howled, fingers white from their death drip on the doorframe. “Please!” She kicked at one of the security guards yanking on her waist, foot landing a solid punch into his midsection. He uttered an ‘oof’ of surprise and she used his momentary distraction to for the second time yell, “Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler travel the world solving archaeological mysteries!” Her voice raised, rapid and determined, as her fingers began to slip, “Like Indiana Jones, only way fucking cooler! It’ll make millions!” And with that the guard gave one great tug and she disappeared around the door, only the sounds of her struggle and one last “You’ll regret this!” echoing as she was escorted roughly out the studio.
For a moment the assembled employees of Amblin Entertainment stared in dumb silence around the office. They were used to riff-raff pitching terrible sequel ideas, just not by sneaking into the studio and throwing a fit when they were immediately turned away. These days you expected such fanaticism more from fans of box office favorites like Twilight than some cult favorite from the 90s with no male leads under the age of thirty.
A stern cough startled the group and they turned as one like guilty school children. The president himself, who the obnoxious girl had of course insisted upon seeing, stood in the doorway of his office, frowning out as if more irritated by the commotion itself than the security breach. The braver of his junior assistants swallowed and managed to stammer, “S-sorry, sir, we’re not sure how this happened; she managed to get past the front desk and by the time…” He realized the president was paying no attention to his apology, only staring off into the middle distance. “Sir?”
“Grant and Sattler, eh? Archaeological mysteries?” The president rubbed at his chin, eyes flicking back and forth as wheels turned in the consideration of box office comparisons, viewer trends, and merchandise and video game tie-ins. His gaze locked on a cowering writer as he commanded, “I want a draft script on my desk by Friday. Put a curse in it, too. Audiences love things with curses. And you,” the hand swung, the fierce eyes speared another staff member, “get Neill on the phone and a contract ready to sign by five.”
A profusion of blank, blinking stares met the rapid-fire instructions. The president raised a single eyebrow in a long perfected gesture of confidence and mild intimidation. “What, you didn’t seriously think we were going to go the ‘Jurassic World’ route, did you?” He clapped once and spun on his heels. “Well, get on it, you idiots! Time is money!”
PITS AND TITS
He was sweating through the black ski mask long before he reached the fifth floor. The device in his hand may have looked the size and shape of an old portable record player but it sure as hell wasn’t as light as one. Whatever components were required to make a device this powerful, they weighed about seventy pounds. Marcus was tempted to remove the ski mask but a vision of the building’s complex network of security cameras squashed the urge. Instead he distracted himself by reminding his poor overheated body why exactly he was lugging a seventy pound plastic box up five flights of stairs in the first place: to get some tail.
“This is Missy,” On their way to the site Anna, the chick with the amazing rack, had passed him a Polaroid of a scar-covered pit bull missing two legs, one eye, and both ears. Her voice trembled with tears and wrathful indignation as she explained, “she died in my arms. Look what the sick bastards do to these poor animals!” Her hands had clasped his, her eyes pleading with him to help stop this unnecessary cruelty. Marcus didn’t really give a fuck about animal rights or stopping medical experimentation, of course. He just wanted to tap that hot eco-terrorist ass so here he was, along for the ride. Blowing up a building would be a sweet side bonus, obviously.
At the fifth floor landing Marcus paused and set his burden down with extreme care despite his cramping fingers. No one had specifically cautioned against tossing the thing around but he wasn’t about to take any stupid chances and get his dick blown off. He’d need it later, after all. He pressed his ear to the fire escape door and strained to catch sounds of passersby on the other side. Judging the hallway empty, he slipped inside and found himself bathed in the fluorescent ambiance of a generic office building. No evil scientists in bloody lab coats; no sounds of wounded animals crying out in pain; nothing but a long stretch of closed doorways and beige carpet. He was mildly disappointed.
“Marcus, are you in place?” Anna’s lilting British accent piped through his headset and sent a delightful shiver down his spine.
“Heading there now,” Marcus followed his mental map to the end of the hallway and found the terrorists knew their stuff; the row of vending machines sat right where the stolen blueprints had placed them. He set the device down in the corner and pressed its only defining feature, a single rectangular gray button disguised beneath the handle. Nothing happened. He leaned down, expecting to hear some sort of ticking, maybe an automated countdown, anything to give away the object’s true nature, but it remained silent.
“All devices activated,” An unfamiliar male voice replaced Anna’s over the headset. “Contact in three. Stand by.”
Marcus began to panic. His fingers scrabbled at the featureless box but could find no way inside. Three? What the fuck? Wasn’t there a grace period to get all these ski-masked earth nuts out of the building before the sixteen carefully positioned bombs brought it thundering down?
He didn’t even get to touch one god dammed tit and now he was going to die for some stupid animals? That bitch! She could have mentioned this all important final detail. Why the hell had they all looked so excited if they knew they were going to die?
Crazy fucking eco-terrorists and their crazy fucking suicide mission—
It seemed he had always been struggling in this place, as if there were no existence outside of this hellish land. He could not recall who he had been before he had come here, if he had been anyone, and somehow he could not imagine an end to his presence on this field. This place had always existed, it seemed, as he had always existed within it. Perhaps it was not that it was infinite, though. Perhaps it was only a finite existence which looped itself continuously like a broken record. He did not know, and the chaotic circumstances of his present situation left little time for contemplation. Strange objects fell from the sky, fire and lightning scorched his skin, and his adversaries died and were resurrected like momentary Messiahs. He suspected that he, too, had died many times, only to return to this place as the record skipped again. He also suspected, with some comfort, that he had many times over been the cause of others’ deaths. This pleased him, and he did not know why. He thought of this triumph and suddenly wanted very much for another victory. The constraints of his existence became a paltry afterthought, and the fire and lightning his only concern.
Drawing his sword, Marth turned and faced the green-clad warrior who stared him down. Yes, he wanted very much for another victory.
Elyssa Tappero is a queer pagan who writes prose and poetry about mental illness, paganism/spirituality, queerness, nature and disasters, and how it feels to be alive for the end of the world (which is pretty not great). She also writes quite a bit of bullshit, too, which doesn't get nearly the love it deserves. You can find more of her work at www.onlyfragments.com and follow her on Twitter at @OnlyFragments.