About The Kulture Vultures
(and the Plot to Steal the Universe)
“Only five people can save the world. But there’s a problem. They’re dead.”
In the black of the cosmos, the Combine rules over entire planetary systems with an iron fist. Having harvested and destroyed the culture of billions upon billions to ensure that they, and only they, are the dominant form of entertainment in the universe, the Combine maintain a monopoly over hearts and minds everywhere with their terrible sitcoms.
Just so happens that the best pirated culture comes from Earth. The human monkeys might not be smart, but damn if they aren’t entertaining. Earth’s biggest fan, a lowly intergalactic cab driver named Zel, joins a few not-so-loyal companions in a race to prevent humanity’s extinction – by resurrecting Earth’s great pulp writers and scientists. The only ones with enough creative craziness to figure out how to stop the Combine.
They landed in Santa Ana.
A locale that had felt to Phil Dick like some weird plastic place in southern California. Unreal. No grit. They parked on the street outside Dick’s last known home. A nondescript, beige apartment building with a brown-tiled, sloped roof.
The horror of it was its normality. Nothing special. A rectangular lame lump of stucco and concrete. Boring. Suburban. Uninteresting. The place seemed oppressive in its lack of imaginative spark.
Vincent thought to himself: a place like this could take a creative mind and make it mad.
“So, we knock and ask to check out a dead man’s apartment?” Vincent asked.
“Or, we could break in,” Zel said. He had his datapad out. He scanned the building. “Third floor. Wouldn’t be too hard. Just make our way up the balconies. And I’m detecting a DNA deposit somewhere in there. Some biomatter.”
Sprosty giggled. “Hello ma’am, we’d like to inspect your biomatter.” He humped the air.
“That gives me an idea,” Vincent said.
“My lovely humping? I don’t like you that way.”
“When are you going to be not drunk?”
“With any luck, never.”
They drove to the nearest Men’s Warehouse. Vincent wanted to get them all suits. Really nice suits that were totally out of his price range.
Zel solved the issue. He used his datapad to hack into a nearby HSBC. He plugged into Vincent’s own paltry account. Then he added a bunch of zeroes to the $42.00 dollars inside.
“I’ve never seen that many digits in a bank account,” Vincent said. “We could buy a quaint European principality. Like France.”
Sprosty was being fitted. He had managed to camouflage his two lower arms. He looked more-or-less human, excepting the blue tint. But folks figured he had some weird skin disease and left him alone.
The tailor ran his measuring tape up Sprosty’s inseam. “Don’t touch my junk. My junk is only for females. Are we clear?”
The tailor laconically nodded., as if he’d heard this every-goddamn-day. “Yessir,” he said.
Sprosty said, “So, what is this plan, magnificent human monkey being?”
Vincent, already in his own swanky, Harvard battle-dress, said, “You guys ever watch Supernatural?”
“Nice,” Zel said. “Very nice.”
The idea was to disguise themselves as FBI agents. People in a position of authority. People you would let into your apartment unannounced. If pressed, anyway.
So they ran up to a stationary store and used Zel’s datapad to print out fake IDs. Then they had them laminated. They went to a party store and grabbed some badges. Zel again used his multiple-function device to burn off the joke ‘Federal Breast Inspectors’ text at the bottom of their badges.
Vincent examined their suits and their gear.
They all looked good.
Vincent said, “This’ll work. Not under close inspection, but if we flip the badges quick, don’t let ‘em examine them… this will work.” He folded his arms. “Now we need to pick fake names. Agency names. So who do we want to be?” His eyes played across Zel and Sprosty’s faces. He said, “I will be Special Agent Lizardo.” Zel lasered the text onto Vincent’s fake federal card. “Whole idea is to play it cool. Like this ain’t no big shit. That’s how these guys always are on TV. And everyone always seems to think TV shit is how things really are.”
“Yeah,” Zel said. “Except Sam and Dean never get caught.”
“You know what I mean.”
Sprosty said, “I will be John Bigboote.”
Zel laughed. “Buckaroo Banzai owns.” He burned the text into Sprosty’s ID. “All right. I’ll be–” He thought for a moment “–Lord Whorfin.”
Vincent laughed into his hands. “OK, OK. Enough. Now we march up there. Knock. Act like agents. And then we find that DNA. Whatever it is.”
Zel and Sprosty nodded.
Zel seemed to have a memory of something very much like this. He blew it off but it was peculiar.