Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Trouble with Arty

So this is the second little story I dug up from back in the day. I like this one. I came up with it while I was strolling through the mall and thought how crazy it would be if that suddenly happened to me. Good times.

High noon found the sprawling shopping mall as crowded as ever. The day had been mostly uneventful, if you could ever call a day at the mall that. People rushing this way and that, in and out in search of something was a totally normal occurrence. No one took something so arbitrary as seriously as Arty.

Sea gulls hovered lazily over the parking lot as Arty eased his small truck into the deserted back lot of the shopping center. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel vigorously as he stared forward through his super tinted windshield. His face was a mask of sheer determination. After taking a few long and slow breaths, he yanked the door open, threw himself out of the truck, and slammed the door closed behind him. His eyes were constantly moving as he slowly crossed the expansive and mostly empty lot. Arty was completely on edge; he trained himself to be so. He was half-way across the lot when his eyes widened with fear. The long high-pitched squeal from airborne gulls sent him from a steady walk to a full blown dash. The car filled portion of the lot filled his vision as the savage war cries of the sea birds filled his ears. He ran as fast he could towards the nearest vehicle, noting the massive V formation diving towards him in the reflection of the window. Arty's lungs burned as he maneuvered towards the front of the small sedan.

Arty vaulted forward suddenly, sliding on the hood of the car as the sea gulls dove on his former position. Arty rolled to his feet and continued running as half the airborne terrors impacted loudly on the windshield and hood. The rest of the gulls arched upwards to continue the pursuit. They could only chase him so far before Arty became lost int eh massive maze of cars. The sea gulls wheeled away angrily, frustrated by the quarry they had lost.

Arty made it to the front of the food court panting. Although he would have liked to take break, he knew he couldn't stop. Not yet. He straightened his clothing, made sure his shoe laces were tight, then pushed the door open. He began to run in a crouch directly towards the nearest trash can. He hadn't been noticed yet. He pulled an empty tray off the top as he took a peek at the massive amount of people consuming their meals. No sooner did his eyes crest the top of the can did he see a volley of fast food impact the other side.

Arty didn't hesitate. Using the tray as a shield; he began to race through the barrage of hamburgers and pizza slices. People growled and screamed through half-chewed food, hurling the rest of their meals as hard as they could at Arty as he passed. Seconds later, he was passed the food court and running head long passed angry shoppers. It was a paradox, really. Arty didn't really understand how he could make so many people furious at him without doing a single thing to them. From an early age, he came to realize that his presence alone drove any living thing furious. This was the case for every person and animal, with the exception of his parents. As far back as he could remember; Arty was always being chased by an angry mob. What skills Arty had to defend himself with had been learned at a price. Regardless of these constant attacks; he was a very kind person. Life this way, however, had driven him to live by the phrase "Strike hard, Strike fast, Strike first." This inspired actions that he was not afraid to employ.

Using his food tray shield as an offensive weapon now; Arty ran by striking people in the back of their heads, effectively leveling them as he raced by. As far as he was concerned: the more people on the ground, the less chasing him. This strategy worked him until he shattered his shield on a hulking beast of a man. The man was bristling with tense muscles and bulging veins as he turned on Arty. With a loud booming roar, the man picked him up and threw him down the mall. Being airborne was not an unfamiliar experience for Arty, however.

With a tuck and a roll; he was back on the his feet and running naturally. His target was in view. Months of rigorous planning were about to pay off. Just then, the angry crowd in front of him and to his left came together to form a raving wall of lunatics. Acting in a split second; Arty rolled into an empty elevator, slamming the button to close the door as he hit the back. Yelling gave way to cheery elevator music as the car began to lurch up to the second floor. As soon as the ping sounded and the doors eased open; Arty was out.

He ran hard to his right, dodging angry shoppes who were swinging at him with shopping bags. Typically, Arty tried not to show any fear, but the particular commotion at the pet shop in front of him changed all of that. Like some crazed animal trainer; the pet shop owner was throwing open the dog kennels, letting loose "the dogs of war." The first wave of frothy mouthed hell hounds to meet him were the puppies. It was a terrible situation for Arty, and he took no satisfaction as he sent the puppies flying away from him with a succession of swift kicks. The situation would have been a lot worse had not a rogue, flying, Jack Russel Terrier struck the pet shop owner in the face before he could let out the big dogs.

Dashing left, and in a hurry, Arty continued his long run. The stores on his right were a blur and unnoticed until he passed the Victoria's Secret. Arty was not blind, after all. He slowed to a trot, staring dumb-founded at a lingerie-clad, super-model-looking woman. He didn't stay long. His gawking was welcomed warmly by a curved mannequin's arm which flew past him just to rip past his face again like a boomerang. Arty mentally noted never to stray past that length of the mall ever again. No sooner did he think that then did he find himself being angled into a sports equipment store by another angry wall of shoppers. Vaulting over a small pitched tent while clothes-lining the manager; Arty found himself caught in a trap. Grabbing a Croquet mallet; he braced himself for the worst.

Never had an angry mob been this organized in the history of Arty-chasing mobs. Using his mallet to bludgeon people to unconsciousness, Arty fended off wave after wave of shoppers. The intervals were getting faster and faster, however. Thinking quickly, Arty found his only means of escape in the form of a gas powered scooter. Arty flew out of the store, yelling over whine of the scooter, smashing the manager's teeth out just as he was regaining his footing.

Arty flew through the cloud like a bat out of hell. He lashed out this way an that with his now cracked and splintering mallet. He was almost completely out of the mob when he was suddenly clocked on the back of the head and knocked off his scooter. The curved mannequin's arm clattered to the floor next to Arty's unconscious form. The mob crowded around, preparing to kick him while he was down. Lucky for Arty; the years of trouble had given him the unique ability to regain consciousness immediately.

In the blink of an eye, Arty was up an in a guarded crouch. He fought the crowd back far enough until he could re-mount his scooter. Seconds later he was plowing through the crowd with refreshed determination. He roared forward until he suddenly stopped on a terrace filled with umbrellaed tables. Coming towards him fast and steady was mall security. The scream of their electric golf cart was annoying and menacing at the same time. Arty would not be stopped though. He tucked his mallet in his belt and yanked free an umbrella. He folded it up neatly and cradled it under his arm like a lance.

It was a showdown of a lifetime. Both combatants tearing forward in their little vehicles. Arty was approaching a little to the left of the rent-a-cops with his impromptu lance, ready to strike. Arty kicked the scooter to max speed as he lunged forward with his weapon. It caught the driver in his left shoulder and caused the whole cart to roll to the right. Arty didn't savor the victory, however. He continued forward, tossing the broken umbrella away, knocking over an angry old person waving their walker at him.

Arty angled the little warhorse-of-a-scooter towards the escalator going down. He knew the layout of the mall by heart thanks to the endless hours spent pouring over floor plans and schematics. He knew his destination was to the right this escalator. His scooter jumped and bobbed down the escalator until he hit some people half way, causing him to fly up and over over them. A quick roll put him back on his feet and running right. There it was. The music store. He threw an envelope full of cash onto the counter as he raced to the rack where his desired CD was. Meanwhile, the angry mob had formed in front of the store, effectively cutting him off from the mall exit to the right of the store.

Arty was not about to let his journey end there. He casually strolled over to the store speaker system as the crowd stared at him him through blood-shot eyes. They waited patiently as he selected a song and walked back to the center of the store to face them. The opening notes of a heavy metal song roared through the store sound system. Arty gripped his mallet with white knuckles as he took a long breath. He bellowed loudly as he raced forward, brandishing his mallet like a powerful, vindictive Norse god. A face-melting solo squealed away away as Arty began to hack and sweep through the crowd. By the end of the song Arty had made it to the exit, leaving a living, albeit beaten and unconscious mob in his wake. The afternoon sun greeted him warmly as he walked through the parking lot exhausted. He lifted the CD to admire it in the sunlight, smiling until he noticed the V formation in its reflection.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Root Beer Connoisseur

Aaaaaah YEAH! Look what I picked up at Bev-mo the other day! That's right. I'm going to be familiarizing myself with root beer this winter break! Sounds like a good way to recover from a mostly crappy semester. Cheers!