The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

On the patio – Matt Keith (again with the not so short …)

As the shadows lengthened and the foothills of the sierra shone purple in the gloaming the four of them were sitting out the back of Karsten’s house on an assortment of plastic garden furniture arranged on the patio.

Having lit the smoky anti mossie candle Adrian sat back gingerly on a wobbly plastic chair and used the clipper lighter to lever the top off the long frosty green bottle of Czech pilsner with a pop and put his boots up on a wooden cable spool that served as table. Karsten reached over, plucked the lighter from his hand with a dusty, calloused paw and used it to spark up his joint.
“So Adrian” he asked, “What does this professor on television say?”
“Well I didn’t see all of it, but I’d just changed over to Newsnight on the BBC – I’ve got satellite you know? Anyhow, he said it was America’s being a high tech country and it’s being so big that attracted the attention of… whatever it was. It could also have been all the US TV being broadcast around the world and into outer space.”
“No, Saddam it was.” Said Heike from her perch on Karsten’s lap, lifting the joint from his fingers and raising it to her lips.
“As if!” Snorted Adrian, “All he has is load of old Soviet V2 copies and maybe some crude nukes, that’s Second World War technology. What killed the US is War of the Worlds technology, far beyond anything on Earth!”
Antonio pushed the peak of his baseball cap up with the mouth of his bottle and leant forward to rest his fists on his brown, grubby knees a spliff in one and his beer in the other, “Maybe it was god eh? Many people are thinking this now.” He said looking into Adrian’s eyes.
Adrian eyed him back with a sidelong look as he took a swig. “Come on Tonio! You know better than that, that’s just their religious upbringing talking. They’ve been indoctrinated at an early age and they’re looking for an answer they can understand.”
“Or maybe it was, like the insurance companies say, an act of god”, continued Antonio unabashed, “just coincidence and America is unlucky.”
“No man, too much of a coincidence that the worlds most powerful nation should be hit by this, this… effect at this time. And look, it only killed the dominant life forms – people, America was targeted, precisely, like a sniper does. It’s external intervention by someone, but the thing is, my point is, we can only guess who that someone is and what their motivations are, we’ll never know. Likely they’re too alien for us to ever understand or empathise with their motivations anyway.”
“And also they are maybe too clever for us to know this, hmm?” said Karsten.
“For sure” nodded Adrian, “I mean how much do wild animals understand when we cull them”.
Heike shivered and clutched her bare brown arms, “Is this war of the worlds like Hitler’s blitzkrieg? Do you think they invade us now?”
“No. If they were going to they would have done it by now, when the wave was up.”
“So? Why then?” demanded Heike, “All those people, not all the ‘Amis’ were fascists, there were many cool people too. Now all are dead! Good and bad the same, and we wait here for, for what?” She sank back into Karsten’s arms, their chair creaked and there was silence apart from the shrill racket of a “grillo” making it’s sizzling drone in the bushes.
“Maybe… it was even a sort of coincidence” ventured Adrian hesitantly, the others turned to look at him, white eyes in tanned faces amidst the gathering gloom, “I mean maybe it was like, sort of an alien cruise missile, left over from some long ago war and it stumbled on Earth and… did what it was programmed to do. In every war there are stray rounds and maybe this was one.” A faint warm breeze stirred the hairs on his arm as the navy blue sky turned to black as the cicadas cheeped like mobile ringtones.
“Ach man! This is fantasy, this is Star Trek, oder wass?” spluttered Karsten, “There was no missile seen.”
“It wouldn’t be literally a missile, it’d be something much more advanced. Think about it; only humans killed, one shot but no follow up – it’s a theory that fits the facts. I mean, yeah it’s like science fiction but we’re living in a sci-fi world all of a sudden.” Seeing the others were silent, Adrian pressed his advantage.
“Look, it was nobodies fault, if America was hit by the equivalent of a stray missile from someone else’s fight. But in reality? I don’t believe there’s anyone going to turn up to blame or to fight, not god nor whoever fired that shot – they’re probably a very long way away and a very long time dead.
But we’re talking about what has happened, past tense. We should be concentrating on what’s going to happen next – America is safe to enter – we should go west.”
“What is?” “Que? Go where?” Interjected Karsten and Antonio at the same time.
“I think, we should get out of doing hash runs, get our funds together and go into the American salvage business – we’ve got some expertise. Karsten, you served an engineering apprenticeship and both you and Tonio did your military service and we can all of us drive anything and keep it running and we’re none of us scared of roughing it. There’s a whole continent to be had! More salvage than the surviving Yanks and the US Army can handle, so long as we remember it’s still their country don’t pick any fights with them I reckon they’d let us be, and we’ve picked enough fights with uniforms in our time.”
Heike leant forward and carefully stubbed the fag end of her joint out into the ashtray, “All these people and even their children are dead and you think we should go and rob their graves Adrian?”
“Yes, all those people are dead and gone, it’s awful but it’s not our fault. Life must go on, it has to. They need new pioneers over there and we can make our fortunes, if we work hard and move fast we could be millionaires! It’s still the land of opportunity.”
They talked and planned into the night under the cold, indifferent light of the stars above.

 

Adrian. Ex public school, slacker, early thirties.
Been globetrotting, hanging out and having a good time since the 1990s. In this time he has picked up a lot of practical skills as well as having improved his proficiency with firearms. A bit dodgy but with a strong moral compass, doesn’t touch hard drugs but does he or his mates let inconvenient drug laws get in the way of making a buck by smuggling hashish. We find him and his dope smuggling friends at home in Spain.
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3 April, 2009 - Posted by | Pepsi Challenges, Without Warning

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