I did nothin, just played it cool, real cool: like waiting for the awful rush as my spinal column and my rib-cage waved an atomic adieu. However, a sixth sense of mine noted that a nuclear reaction of some sort was taking place in my left ear cavity.
"The swine," I thought. "Slow cerebral radiation death, with lots of nasty gamma rays causing all sorts of damage to my brain cell." A timeless age of a moment passed, the another; after five timeless ages of moments later, something dropped out of my ear. I guess I lost my senses and yelled, "Oh God, not that... no," because I thought (how?) that the atomic slug was dumping my brain onto the carpet (hence, I was being carpeted).
Just then a clear precise voice intruded itself into my Consciousness and nailedhis feet to the floor: "You have no need to worry; no danger threatens you at this time. The atomic slug that would have indeed destroyed you has been deactivated by our technologically superior Fast-Breeder Dilithium Slug (FBDS unit); the primitive device has just been ejected from your left ear, as you will have noticed."
Because I wan't dead I was feeling really mean - I mean, huh, they tried to do my brain in they didn't make a hit - I must be meaner than I thought, so I yapped back: "Ok, ok, buster - if I believed that I'd believe in flying saucers too, or the Bermuda Triangle, or something else stoopid. You ain't dealing with a sap so cut the crap. What's the angle?"
"I assume 'angle' in your idomatic expression is approximately equivalnet in logical form to 'concern'. Out concern is only that the principle of Ethnic Non-Interference be upheld throughout the Gal... I mean world. If our actions appear logically inconsistent with this policy, it is only because such actions are necessary to limit the extend of a breach that has unfortunately already been perpertrated by the Laien Voice in his abuse of you and the er... female, Petal."
I dint like him drawing the broad into the mess, but I let it pass this time. I guess this saviour of mine thought he was pretty smart - her sure talked like it - but I was ahead of him, and asked sharply: "So now you saved me, how're you gonna shut me up or what do you want me to do? I gotta know where I stand." I was pretty confused by - Ginsberg, Rudy, Petal, The Voice, the two Slugs - but tried to sound diffident.
The speaker continued, "We want you to help us break the vice-like grip of the vice-ring that hold's Earth tightly in the jaws of it's vice. We wish you to become a triple agent - working for us, but pretending to work for the Alien Voice and Ginsberg. In this way we could engineer the downfall of these evil men. It will be for the general good of your planet."
The voice sounded friendly, but I ain't sentimental; I got down to the guts of the matter: "If I'm gonna work for you, I gotta know the scene, man." I bleated.
The answer was a few seconds coming; "The Alien Voice wants to get its hands on the Earth's plutonium and dilithium stocks for nefarious activities; Ginsberg has similar aims, Rudy is Ginsberg's devoted AC/DC bionic slave; Petal is a poor professional call-girl who got involved due to the dimensions of her statistically improbable breasts and Ginsberg's immense prediliction for immense measurements. Eric Clapton, George Melly and Albert L. Lehninger may be involved, but we can't be certain one way or the other about them."
The quick-fire of staccato facts set my mind reeling; this was crazy, I'm just an ordinary mean punk - I mean all these flash Fast-Breeder Dilithium SLugs was really above my head, but I wasn't going to let this goddam space-side geezer know that, so I asked tartly: "Suppose I agree, then what flashy super-type powers do I get?"
"Well, of course you'd get the Reader's Digest Book of Bionic Marvels by return of post (just send an SAE to Starfleet Command... oops I mean out London agent); we'll send you one of our top agents mainly to advise (Ethnic Non-Interference you see) but maybe just sometimes to break out in a vast orgy of destruction, diseminating our ememies' intestines, bladders and brains to the eighteen corners of sub-space... By God, we'll have them! Ahem, excuse me. Our man's name is Charles 'Photon-Drive' Foster; your new code name is to be a real gumshoe-man's: Gil Dupe. Further, you will have two armies at your call in case you ever come across the Clifton Klingons - our secret llama battalions in South America led by the Phantom Puker, one Mr. Martin Neverbeen-Bormann, and our Mutant battalions, mainly seaweed types, stationed in the Marianas Trench, led by a certain Mr. Edward 'Goddam-Loud' Nugent. You can't fail," insisted the speaker.
So I took the assignment; we arranged for a rendezvous where I could meet Mr. 'Phton-Drive' Foster that same day. It was a disused warehouse in the middle of nowhere. I drove my Pontiac Firebird hard to make it in time, so darkness was only just falling when I got there. Leaving my car (it was borrowed anyway), I walked to the warehouse and slipped cautiously through a side-door. A huge bulk of a man stepped out of the shadows. I remembered fumbling in my pocket for the ID photograph because this guy, or thing, didn't look like anything like what I expected.
Then Rudy stepped out of the shadow of the big guy who'd stepped out of the shadows. Rudy smiled deceptively: "Little boys shouldn't play with big boys" - he said this without moving his lips (he had a speaker in his chest, you see). I remained dumb.
And then, of course, he slugged me. The boardwalk came up and hit me in the face, a small door opened and I got pushed inside with zero seconds left. But of course, I was getting used to it by that time!
TO BE CONTINUED