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.
Vincent said, “You’re not gonna fall over or pass out or anything, right?”
“I’m not that drunk,” Elsa said. Which was pretty much a lie.
She was having fun.
They were in Vincent’s bedroom above the shop. Clothed. On top of the covers. Watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.
He was not brave enough to put an arm around her. But she seemed happy enough as she drew on her Luckies and took a pull from the bottle of Jameson Vincent had brought up.
He wanted to have sex with her. Of course. Who wouldn’t? But he had no designs. Being close like this was enough for his heart.
Zel, Sprosty and Elvis were entertaining Neena downstairs.
Elsa hefted the Jameson. Pulled a mouthful. Exhaled cigarette smoke. Said to Vincent, “So what really happened when you disappeared?”
“Are we dating?”
“Just saying. Sounds a little clingy. You needing to know where I went for a few days.” He smirked.
She gave him a gentle punch in the shoulder. “Wiseass. Seriously though. Tell me.”
“It’s too weird. Even though we’re loaded.”
“Jesus Christ, Vincent. Enough with this foreplay crap. You like me, right?”
He nodded while lighting a cigarette. Seemed easier now to acknowledge feelings as long as she was saying it.
She said, “I like you, Vincent. I’m sitting on your bed getting drunk. Talk.”
Vincent scratched his forehead. Took another drink from the bottle. “All right.” He looked her over. “Yeah, fuck it. Zel and Sprosty?”
He said, “Four days ago. Or maybe three. It’s a little hazy. They landed here. Literally right outside the shop. I was in the middle of having my ass beaten by a couple racist NYU fucks. There was a bright flash. Then their ship was on the sidewalk. It looks like an old timey cab, but it’s a fucking spaceship.
“When they landed they vaporized the NYU kids. Inadvertently. They got out of the cab. Apologized for vehicular manslaughter. Then I collapsed. I woke up later and they told me there’s an intergalactic media conglomerate called the Combine that wants to destroy Earth. To kill our culture. Because our stuff is infecting the universe. And the Combine hates the dick off us.
“We’ve been hopping from state to state and country to country to find the DNA of dead writers and brainiacs so we can bring them back to life. Because apparently they’re the only people who can save the world
“You think Elvis is cute? We don’t even know what he is. He’s alive. A creature. He isn’t a toy.” Vincent arched his eyebrows at Elsa.
She didn’t say anything.
“Elsa, Zel and Sprosty and Elvis are aliens.”
“They don’t look Mexican.”
“Dude.” He pointed to the ceiling. “From out there aliens.”
Elsa burst out laughing.
Vincent bit his lip and grimaced.
She gawked at him. Her laughs died down. “Shit.”
Zel had his arm wrapped around Neena’s waist. They were swaying. Bumping
Sprosty clapped from the couch.
Elvis was at the center of the room, breakdancing with his tentacles.
From Zel’s little datapad played KRS One and Nas.
Vincent walked in on it. Elsa was a few steps behind him. He addressed the revelers, “So … this is what we’re gonna do then?”
Neena eyeballed him from Zel’s shoulder. “Relax white boy. It’s all good.”
“All good. Even that cat who’s a weird blue color?”
“Yeah, blue’s new. Don’t know what to do with him yet.”
Elsa pulled Neena away from Zel’s grasp. She whispered something into Neena’s ear. And then Neena stayed quiet. She looked at Zel differently.
Zel said, “What? I didn’t do anything.” He reached out for Neena’s hand.
She didn’t take it.
Zel turned to Vincent, “What did you do?”
“I told them you were aliens.”
Zel and Sprosty looked at each other. Then, they shrugged.
“Oh,” Sprosty said. “Yeah? So?”
“This is bullshit,” Elsa said. She made her way to the door. Neena was in tow. Elsa whipped around and pointed her finger at Vincent. “I thought you were being dodgy and nervous. But it turns out you’re a dirtbag who likes playing games. And you’ve got fucking friends to help you out.”
“Yeah. Fuck this noise,” Neena said.
“Wait,” Vincent said. He rushed over to the door and blocked their exit. “Wait, wait, wait.” If he hadn’t had so damn much to drink, this wouldn’t be happening. “We can prove it.”
Elsa stared him down. She crossed her arms. Looked to Neena.
“OK. Prove it,” Elsa said.
“Well for one thing, Sprosty is blue. That’s not food dye,” Vincent said.
“I thought it was a skin disease or something,” Neena said.
“Nope!” Sprosty said. “Alien.” He allowed his lower two arms to become visible. “Also I got four arms. Makes me very … handy. Eh? Eh?” He looked around for laughs like a vaudeville act gone wrong.
“Oh my God,” Neena muttered.
Elsa covered her mouth in a gasp. Then she got angry. She did what Vincent did much earlier. Grabbed Sprosty’s arms and tried to pull them off.
“This was old the first time it happened,” Sprosty said.
Elsa nodded. Slow. “OK. OK, this is screwed up.” She backed up and took Neena’s hand. Both women tried to find some comfort in locking fingers.
Zel stepped in front of them. “Look into my eyes.”
They did. They saw the not-fucking-from-here nature of his pupils and irises.
At the same time, Elvis curled around Neena’s ankle. He purred.
Neena shrieked and kicked her foot. Elvis went flying into Sprosty’s hands.
“Hey, be careful. He’s little,” Sprosty said.
Vincent said, “Also, Zel has two hearts and his spaceship is on the roof. Wanna see?”
Elsa and Neena collapsed.
Zel scratched his forehead. “Fucking humans.” He turned to Vincent. “And you’re a goddamn drunk dipshit.”
“I know,” Vincent said. “I know. Help me get them onto something soft. We don’t actually have time for this.”