If I did abduct myself, this is probably what it would look like. We are currently dropping into Kremeth in the landing saucer after leaving the Diagonal22 in orbit. Two monsters are sitting across from me while Cole is flying this bird. It almost feels for a moment like Walt and Steve are some kind of mirror held up in front of me. Cole reaches over and flips a toggle switch on the dash which causes the room to be filled with pummelling thrash metal at extreme volume. He turns to toss me what looks like a football mouthguard, gives me the thumbs up sign before cinching up his belts, and then pulls back hard on the controls as we start to dive into the atmosphere. I’m grateful for the mouthguard when the turbulence starts because it’s a bumpy ride. Eventually, the shaking calms down but it was an unpleasant trip this time. The music ends and a catchy sing-song commercial straight out of some bygone era fills the room with a groove you can snap your finger to.
“We’re all going down to Salad Bowl Bob’s, Salad Bowl Bob’s, Salad Bowl Bob’s. We’re all going down to Salad Bowl Bob’s……next to Spatula City!”
“Are you kidding me? The miraculous gift flying saucer from the universe has a kickass stereo system? Why does that commercial sound like it belongs on a black and white TV and didn’t you say we were going to see Salad Bowl Bob?” I asked Cole.
“Every time I flip a new switch something amazing happens. Whoever made this saucer was a goddamn genius. Check this out,” Cole replied while reaching up to press a blinking blue button. The whole floor underneath us disappeared and suddenly puffy violet clouds are racing under our feet. It’s hard to not hurl or start screaming for a second. First, the floor was there and then it was gone. A gigantic prehistoric looking bird races past underneath us as a sprawling cityscape starts coming into view. “Salad Bowl Bob is a trip. He’s an old early military android prototype who became sort of self-aware after being locked away in the hanger of an abandoned battle cruiser for a few hundred years. The only thing he could pick up on the comms was old earth broadcasts which definitely had an effect on him. Just don’t get him excited because he’s a weird mix of killing machine and traveling salesman. Eeeara wanted to know if we could drop those damn spatulas off to him.”
“Please turn the floor back on. It’s a very cool feature, but it may take some getting used to, and it reminds me too much of my old friend vertigo. Let’s do what we have to do because I’m excited about getting paid today. Don’t remember ever having a lot of money before, so Lord Kularcan’s Golden Ticket is an exciting new development.”
“We’ll hit the bank after we make the delivery to Salad Bowl Bob. Speaking of which, he is coming up fast. You’ll be rich before you know it.” replied Cole who shut off the invisible floor just as we were landing for an extra bit of hurl factor.
We are the only flying saucer in the parking lot. Everyone else appears to be driving sleek looking flying cars with gullwing doors and floating anti-gravity parking. There are no roads here. Just parking lots and their attached buildings. Salad Bowl Bob’s and Spatula City are two massive identical buildings sitting side by side. Both of them built with the same sloping glass panels. The only obvious difference is the flashing images on the front of the buildings. Salad Bowl Bob’s is covered with animated dancing salads and bowls while Spatula City is currently showing what appears to be a furious pancake flipping competition. There is a menacing quality to the parking lot with its violet sky backdrop behind what is essentially two giant televisions having a food war. Walt and Steve unload the spatula crates while Cole and I go look for Salad Bowl Bob.
There is an almost retina-searing quality to the dancing images as we enter the store. I’ve never seen so many different bowls in my whole life. Imagine every possible kitchen bowl ever and you’d be close to covering the staggering inventory of Salad Bowl Bob’s. I’m not quite sure how you’d even find the bowl you needed if you knew what it was you were looking for and it seems way bigger in here than it appears on the outside. This can’t be real. It’s like we just opened the access door to the reality matrix object storehouse. The only item inside this sprawling complex is bowls, endless bowls, as far as the eye can see. Behind the counter is a muscular looking metal robot man wearing a vintage black and white plaid sport jacket and tie with a pink plastic salad bowl on his head. Sunglasses obscure his metal face which is highly polished and looks remarkably like a retail mannequin brought to life.
“Cole, you old pirate, Eeeara didn’t tell me you were making my weapons delivery. Those fuckers at Spatula City will rue the day they made war with Salad Bowl Bob,” said a metallic voice that was part robot, part used car salesman, with the swagger of an old-school lounge singer and a hint of menace.
“We’ve got two cases of spatulas if that’s what you mean, Bob,” replied Cole who looked nervous for some reason.
“That is exactly what I meant and I will bring war down upon those cretins who call themselves Spatula City. I told them we’d sell more if they kept selling tongs. Everyone needs a good set of salad tongs to go with their salad bowl. But no, they didn’t want to do that. Every salad bowl from Salad Bowl Bob’s will now come with a free spatula. They will beat feet when hellfire begins to rain down upon their fleshy torsos for this offense to my good character. Rivers of blood will pour from severed appendages when I deliver their death blows…..”
“Whoa, just slow down Bob, I’ll have Walt and Steve get those spatulas in here right away so you can teach those guys some manners,” inserted Cole who was nervously watching Salad Bowl Bob’s metallic hand which had started twitching on the counter.
“The military programmed me with a thousand different ways to kill a man with kitchen implements, Cole. But I chose the gentlemanly approach of verbal discourse. I could have dropped through a skylight and murdered them all with their own spatulas in new and creative ways, but that would have deprived them of their opportunity to come to an understanding as men. But that time has passed and the fiery winds of vengeance will cook them where they stand. The salad always comes before the entree and it is time for them to know their place,” replied Bob whose robot voice was becoming more agitated. “When I go over…..”
“Just take it easy Bob, they are loading the spatulas into the warehouse right now. You are the world’s greatest salesman Bob, so don’t let those pancake huggers spoil your mojo,” said Cole who was slowly inching his way away from the counter without making any sudden moves. The hand on the counter was twitching faster now, rattling on the counter. “We’ve got some more stops to make but if we find any more spatulas we’ll let you know.”
“Thank you, please come again……thank you……for shopping at…….Salad Bowl Bob’s,” replied Bob whose bowl hat was now rattling around alarmingly. Tick…tick..tick tick …tick. We backed away slowly and headed for the parking lot as quickly as possible.