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S.H.A.L.T.: The Book
Copyright © 2004 Coltrane Productions.
Khisanth's View of the Conquer of the Mayans
Ah, well. Here was my biggest mistake. I decided that I liked these guys with their fire sticks, giant hard-boned deer, called "caballos," and tasty perros. I decided that they have the equipment and so they could do the work for me. Kill the Mayans, that is. Oh, well. Wishful thinking.
I was more creative the next day, when the Mayans held their Jaguar sacrifice. I figured I'd throw a curve ball in their life. I invited a jaguarundi buddy of mine to dine at my "mine of good taste and design," meaning free food. He went for the sacrifice, I got the priests. Well, it threw a curve ball in their life all right. They started to wage war with a nearby city to get enough sacrifices for me. I liked that.
But one day I heard of the American Rolls-Royce, the Duesenberg. My entire family laughed at the very mention of the automobile, and the Duesenberg was no exception. They wanted me to believe that the two hundred sixty-five horsepower claim was a bunch of cow manure, and even if it wasn't, the purebred horses were a lot nicer to look at. So I lived the first thirty-five years of life with an eternal saddle sore while everybody else with $300 was passing me in their Fords and Chevrolets, making rude comments about how money doesn't necessarily buy brainpower.
PAIGE: Um... am I in the right place?
JAKE was trying to sleep. But once again, a pair of crazy long-haired punks in their fancy cars were coming up the street, their noisy engines running, making a hell of a racket and generally waking up the neighborhood. It never occurred to Jake that one house hardly makes a neighborhood. "Dangit, I's gonna blow dere heads off dis time!" he shouted at no one in particular. "C'mon, Duke, we's gonna git us a fancy sportsy-type car!"
Duke was a dog. She was a tired, old dog that got stuck with a name like "Duke" because Jake was too lazy to check for the appropriate organs to verify masculinity. She really didn't care too much about the fancy cars, and definitely thought that bringing out that noisy old gun was not the answer. But Jake was clearly committed, and when he's committed, Duke knew, there was no turning back. In fact, Jake was making that rather obvious right now. "C'mon, Duke ol' boy, let's go get us some wheels!" Duke was clearly not a boy, and the birth of six puppies a few years ago should have demonstrated that, but Jake thought that they had followed her home. It all mattered very little to Duke, anyway.
"Taxes," said Quayle. "FICA." He gave a little squeak of excitement.
"Oh, Georgie! Do you think it's a —- a —- a Deficit?"
"It may be," said Georgie. "Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. You never can tell with budgets like they are."
With this trifling explanation Georgie went on cross-examining. After a moment, Quayle started cross-examining too. Georgie came to a stop. He squinted at the budget in a puzzled sort of way.
"What's the matter?" asked Quayle.
"It's a very funny thing," said Georgie, "but there seem to be TWO taxes now. This FICA seems to have been joined by an income tax hike. Would you mind coming with me, Quayle, so I can have someone to blame poor policy on?"
Quayle scratched his head for a little while, and declared that he had nothing to do until 1996 anyway, and so he might as well come along just in case there actually WAS a Deficit.
"You mean, in case there really ARE increased taxes," reminded Georgie, and Quayle said that anyhow he had nothing to do until 1996. So off they went together.
While those are the major benefits that total spontaneous deforestation will bring to everyone, there are also many smaller advantages, which I will now briefly describle.
Raven"s eyebrows shot up. "What? Grog, I'm supposed to be asking you that!" Grog chucked. "Well, okay. You probably heard that a man was shot after entering Drekmoor?" Grog grunted an assent. "I'm supposed to find out what he was doing there, who shot him, why he was shot, and to make sure you townspeople aren't planning to riot over it. Can you help?"
"I'd say," called a strong voice from behind Raven, "that he was lost, it was an arrow that got him, he was shot for trespassing, and don't you worry about a riot unless you shot him." A scruffy-looking man in tarnished chain mail sat down next to Raven. "What's that you're drinking? A Red Fireball? Grog, give me one too. How's it going, Chip? Long time, no see!"
Raven smiled at the newcomer. He was about the same height as Raven, but had darker hair. There was nothing special about his clothes—in fact, there wasn't anything about him to make him stand out at all. Raven always wondered about his discreetness, but found him to be good company. "It's not a Red Fireball; it's an orange juice. I already know all that—I need details. And don't call me Chip. You know I hate it. Hello, Derek. Yes, it has been a long time. Not long enough."
Derek raised an eyebrow. " ‘Not long enough' he says, to the man who introduced him to life, drinking, women -— okay, maybe not women, though I keep telling you to try it -— and most importantly, to every bar in this town! As to details, that I can provide. He was lost because he took a wrong turn, the arrow was launched from a bow which was in turn drawn by a man, he was shot for trespassing in Drekmoor, and there won't be a riot against your father.