An Extraneous Solicitation Pt 2.
Ten minutes have passed.
In those ten minutes, we recovered what we could from the hallway and regrouped our forces. Chiyo, in her haste for cover, had dropped several water guns, which we confiscated. Akio was retrieved from outside, although, we had to use the water guns to give him a thorough washing.
"Pewwwww," gurgles Akio, spitting up mud and water in a fine stream.
"Akio! Are you alright?" I ask.
"Ugh...what's going on?"
"Good. You're up. Now, GET THE HELL OFF MY LAP!"
Akio still seems a little dazed, so I give the guy a little help. He hits my table so hard that he nearly falls unconscious again.
"Alright, listen up! We are in one hell of a situation," I say, rapping a water gun against my palm. "Chiyo's declaration of war cannot be taken as stagnant bluffing. We've already seen the results of her solicitation."
"What should we do, Daisuke-san?" asks Yuuji from the other side of the table.
"We need a battle plan," I say. "Our artillery is meager compared to what Chiyo has stocked herself up with. She also has Yuki hostage, so we can't just blindly charge in there. Plus, the bathroom door has a lock, so we have to figure out a way to get in."
"There's no need to think about that," says Taro, coming back in from the kitchen. "Chiyo has an excessively hyperactive personality. She doesn't have the patience to wait out a momentary peace. We'll be attacked as soon as she regains some composure."
We all stare at Taro.
"The demon's possessed Taro again."
"It seems so, Daisuke-san."
Taro gets this annoyed expression on his face. I can't help but squirt water at it.
"Stop that!" he sputters.
"Doesn't water exorcise demons?" I ask Yuuji.
"I think that's holy water, Daisuke-san."
"Hmm." I put my hands over the gun and start chanting a mantra.
"It's like you guys switched personalities," notes Akio, looking back from Taro to me.
"What?!" I say. Is it true?! Have I become a Taro?!
"Look, we're in a crisis right now. Can we discuss this later?" asks Taro stiffly.
"Yeah, an identity crisis," snickers Akio.
"GET OUT DEMON! WE DON'T NEED YOUR SNIPPY LECTURES!" I say, smashing the rolling pin into Taro's head.
"OW! STOP THAT! OW! I'M NOT A DEMON!"
"LIES! TARO WOULD NEVER SAY ANYTHING THAT RATIONAL!"
"Daisuke-san! Please stop!" says Yuuji, grabbing my arm. "Now isn't the time to be fighting."
"Damn it, Yuuji! We need to take care of this problem now!"
"But he's still OUR TARO!" cries Yuuji.
The rolling pin slips out of my hand.
"Oh my god. What have I done!" I say, burying my face in my hands. "Oh god!"
"Ahh...thanks Yuuji. I thought he was really going to kill me."
"No. Daisuke-san understands you Taro."
"I'VE BECOME TARO!" I scream, clawing at my eyes. "Only HE would be acting this primitive!"
"No. That's all you," says Taro.
"You guys. Get it together!" says Akio, glancing at the door. "Chiyo could attack us at any minute!"
"So what do you say we do, then?" I snap.
"We have weapons," says Akio, pointing at the water guns. "We just need a plan now."
"And that would be?"
Akio rubs his chin thoughtfully for a moment. Then, a smile slowly lights up in his face.
"I got an idea."
"You're kidding me."
"It looks good on you."
"Get me out of this. Right now."
"I think it's a good idea, Daisuke-san."
"Yuuji...THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA!"
"Take it like a man, Daisuke."
"SHUT UP TARO!"
"I don't see you coming up with anything better, Daisuke."
"Damn it Akio. I hate you."
Akio's idea was simple. If we were outnumbered in terms of weaponry, we just simply needed to last longer on the battlefield. There was four of us and only one Chiyo. To survive, we would have to enhance our defenses.
And so, I was made the test subject.
"We need armor," says Akio, searching through my kitchen. "It can't just be anything though. IT has to have some resistancy to water or we're sunk."
"No. Let's get non-water-resistant armor," I say sarcastically. By the way, is there any armor that DOESN'T repel water in some way or form?
"What have we got?"asks Akio.
"We have some old food," I say, indicating the fridge. "Lots of water. My $80 table. A TV. Some pots and pans. Dishes. Bowls. Spoons. Forks. Knives."
"Oh. And some towels," I say, noticing the pile Yuki had left on the floor.
"Towels?"asks Akio, a fire burning in his eye.
"Yeah. Towels."What's with that look? What can towels do against air-pressured weapons of aquatic destruction?
"We got this in the bag, Daisuke," says Akio, his eyes gleaming as he rips open my cupboard. "But I'm going to need your help."
Sure. Why not. How bad could it be?
You know, everytime I think that, I end up regretting it. Regrettably.
"Well. At least I can move in it," I say, turning around in place.
"An ingenious design, Akio-san," says Yuuji, shaking Akio's hand.
"Haha. You bet it is."
"Are you auditioning for the next Super Sentai series?"
"SHUT UP TARO! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU."
"I'm dying already. By laughing."
GOD DAMN IT! If only this armor didn't look so stupid!
Oh? Right, you can't see what's happening right now. Here, let me explain. Akio had thought carefully about the armor situation and decided that pots, pans, and plastic china would be perfect for armor. He wrapped these with some of the towels, turning me into some kind of alien with puffs of pink sticking out of every crevice. I look like a plush hermit crab that got dragged across the Pacific Ocean and happened to show up battered and bruised on some kind of massive fishing net.
"Alright. Everyone, suit up!"says Akio. "This takes a while to assemble."
So everyone starts putting on the armor. At first, we have to help each other tie the towels on, but as time passed, we got more and more proficient in putting together the pieces.
"Hey, Yuuji, look at this."
"Wow! Taro-san, is that a swan?"
"Yep. Looks good huh?"
Did he just make origami out of towels?
"Taro, how's that going to protect you?" says Akio. Good man! Bag that boy before he kills us all!
"Haven't you ever heard of the Trojan Horse?" says Taro, sighing.
"Oh. That." WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? THE TROJAN HORSE WAS AN OBJECT USED IN A TACTICAL MANEUVER TO HAVE A BUNCH OF SWEATY MEN PASS THE SECURITY. HOW THE HECK DOES A SWAN HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT!
"Alright. So everyone got their armor on?" asks Akio a couple minutes later. I have to admit, now that everyone else looks as stupid as I do, the idea seems pretty smart. Maybe Akio is closer to my level than I thought.
"Yeah. But I think one towel's giving me a wedgie," says Taro, pulling at his pants. Do I have to point this out to you? We didn't even do anything to our pants.
"Just bear with it," says Akio. He hefts his water gun and gives it an extra pump. "Alright. Chiyo is right out this door. Me and Taro will charge first, so Yuuji and Daisuke, provide cover fire."
"Just get out there," I say.
"Alright. Taro, you ready?"
"The wedgie's gone."
We all edge towards the door, taking great care to make as much sound as possible.
"Taro, why the HELL did you spill all those potato chips!"
"What brand is this?" asks Akio, chewing.
"YOU ATE IT?!" I shout.
Everything becomes quiet.
"What was that?" I hiss. Akio puts a finger to his lips and then presses his ear against the door. His brow furrowed, Akio opens the door slightly.
"Coast is clear," whispers Akio. He steps out into the hallway. "Alright. Taro, you come with m–"
"AKIO!" I scream, as Akio's head suddenly disappears. And the rest of his body. What the hell just happened?!
"Dai..da...Daisuke..." gasps Akio, his hand crawling into the door. "Run..."
Suddenly, a blue blur impales his hand. Akio vanishes for good this time.
"AKIIIIOOOOO!!!!" Oh god no! What was going on?! I didn't want this to happen! Even if he was a moron, he was MY MORON!
"Daisuke, WATCH OUT!"
I feel my face plant into the floor like a sledgehammer as a mixture of water and air buffet into my back. Taro and Yuuji are plastered onto the wall, completely drenched.
"I can't believe...Chiyo...did you..." Taro mutters, one eye closed in pain.
I can hear a shout echoing from the bathroom.
"That's right right right right..."
Another blue object bursts into the room. This time, I can clearly see what this squashy orb is, as it bounces against the floor and onto the ceiling.
"WATER BALLOON!" roars Taro, jumping behind my table. The balloon explodes and sends a wave of water all over the room, blasting me heavily into the door.
"Gah!" I yell, the air punched out of my lungs.
"Daisuke-san!" I feel myself being scooped into the air and carried over to the table.
"It's fine Daisuke-san. We're safe for now," says Yuuji, panting profusely.
"No, ANOTHER ONE!"
A third water balloon squishes against the doorway, then propels towards us at high speed.
"HOLD IT TOGETHER!" I shout, throwing myself onto the table. "ONE! TWO! THREE!"
The water balloon explodes onto the table. We push with all our might against it, like tiny little turtles pushing against a crab shell to have shelter from a hurricane.
And what happens? Oh, the table falls on us.
"WE'RE DROWNING! WE'RE DROWNING!" cries Taro.
"SHUT UP, TARO!" I roar, pushing against the table. Next to me, Yuuji is putting just as much effort. Now, you'd think we'd just be waiting there calmly for the water to harmlessly spill off the table, probably thinking about our last excursion to the bathroom or some random stupid thing like that. Well, we couldn't. There was so much water coming down on us, the table's legs were splintering.
"CHIYO, YOU'RE PAYING FOR THIS!" I scream.
"WHAT? WHAT AM I PAYING?" comes the distant reply.
We finally got out from under the table. The water level had risen to an inch the room. I could remnants of at least twenty balloons all over the floor.
Some hadn't popped yet.
"Are you guys thinking what I'm thinking?" I say, grabbing one of the balloons.
"COUNTER-ATTACK!!!" shouts Taro, blasting out the door.
"Ah, wait, Daisuke-san! Taro-sa–"
The sound of Chiyo's insane, highly disturbing, and sonar-pitched laughter is the last thing I hear as some enormous force turns me into some sort of doll that gets flung from wall to wall.
"FEAR THE POWER OF THE INSTA-HOSE!" yells Chiyo, spraying me back into the living room. "IT HAS AN AUTOMATIC PRESSURIZER THAT CREATES INSTANT FIRETRUCK-LIKE WATER BLASTS!"
"LIAR! I saw that garden hose at your house!" I shout, holding my head down as more water floods the room.
The water dissipitates as Chiyo retreats. I look out into the hallway and see Chiyo stick her tongue out at me before slamming the door shut. Had I just gotten mocked twice? By the same maneuver too!
"Damn that girl," I curse, holding my sore shoulder. "She's got too much power."
"It's alright Yuuji. I'm fine."
"No, NOT THAT DAISUKE-SAN! Look!"
I look out into the hallway in the direction that Yuuji's finger is pointing. And lo and behold. Taro is lying right past the bathroom door, apparently unconscious.
I repositioned my feet so I could think better. This required some intense debating with my angel and demon.
"Taro is family!"
"Taro took your shoes."
"Taro is your friend!"
"Taro ratted you out. A million times."
"Taro broke your computer, then bought himself one."
"Taro ruined a potential romance with Chiyo."
"Taro forces you to cook and clean like a maid."
"Taro tripped you one time on a hill and laughed as you skidded on your face and smacked into a streetlight before rolling into someone's yard and being torn up by an angry cat."
"Taro is Yuuji's friend!"
"Angel's having a hard time, huh?" I say.
"I'm actually sorry for him. He suffers so much, but gets so little reward," says the demon.
"Wait. Don't demons like that kind of stuff?"
'There's a limit to our sadism."
"T____T I'm...I'm...I'M A FAILURE!" sobs the angel, running off my shoulder.
"Wait come back! I like tears!" says the demon, chasing after him.
Putting off that meeting with the psychologist was not a good idea.
"Ok. I've decided Yuuji."
"Daisuke-san!" says Yuuji, looking at me hopefully.
"If we don't run now, we won't be able to get out the door."
"What? But, Daisuke-san, what about Taro-san?"
"Yuuji. Sacrifices have to be made," I say seriously, clapping him on the shoulder. "Taro will always be remembered as that sacrifice."
"Yuuji. I'm sorry," I say, grabbing him. "You're going first."
Then I throw my second best friend from childhood into the hallway.
WOOOSH! Yuuji's instantly thrown to the ground by Chiyo's hose.
`"YOUR SACRIFICES WILL NOT BE IN VAIN!" I say, twisting the doorknob. That's right. I wasn't just going to abandon them. I would come back with reinforcements. Eventually.
Cling. Clang. Thud.
The doorknob just fell off.
I should've known.
It was hot. Too hot.
Everything around me shines in waves. The heat from the sun is billowing out, like fancy little fish in the clouds, waving their tails and snickering at me.
I feel like a prune. I'm going to dry up here, under this hot sun. Turn into dust. Break down and decompose enough for the scorpions to feast on me with their little pincers and then eventually become part of the large food chain that'll decide the fate of my worthiness.
Is this it? Is this how my life will end?
Will I bleach under this sun, until even my red blood is turned pale and white? Will I fall away under this blue sky and turn into the sand I rest upon?
I'll die in this desert. Soaking wet. How ironic.
Oh. Nevermind. The sun just shut off.
Now I'll die freezing from the cold. In the desert.
That's not even irony anymore.
Ahh...I'm all alone. I've been abandoned. What can I do? Nothing. I'll just rot here. Everyone does that eventually...
Huh? What's that noise? It sounds sort of like...helicopters...
I hear it. Loud deafening buffets of air crashing above me head. Dust is rising from the ground, spraying upon my body. The sky has grown dark. Smoke is everywhere, piling up into towers. People are shouting.
So this is it...this is really it...
Gunfire is echoing in the distance. People are running past me, their boots shaking the ground I'm lying on. I'm stranded here. I can't move. The soil is black. It's smearing onto my fingers.
Yeah, its black. Its exploding right next to me and showering me with hot ash. The sky is black too. The clouds are spinning, as if they're being sucked into a vortex.
My eyes are closing. Everything is getting further and further away. I can barely hear them now...
This is it...This is really reallyit...
"Get up, you lazy bum!"
I can feel the faint pull of my shirt as someone lifts me up by the collar. Oh just leave me alone...whoever you are...I'm dying an ironic death. Can't you just leave me be?
"AGHHH!" I scream as something hard strikes my skull. I fall back onto the ground, clenching my forehead and crying out in pain.
WHAT THE FUCK MAN?!
"Is this all you amount to? After clawing your way up through that flighty, capricious bitch called life, this is all you've gained?"
I gingerly open one eye to see the person standing in front of me, his shadow casted like a black cloak over my body.
"Gluuhhgh..." Hey. I'm really hurting right now.
"So? You think I care?"
Wait. How'd he know what I was thinking?
"Why wouldn't I? Dumbass. Get up."
...Could it be...
"NO! SHUT UP. I'M NOT THE DEVIL. I'M YOU, YOU BIRD-BRAINED STICK IN THE MUD. GOD, YOU MAKE ME WANT TO RUN A MARATHON TO TOKYO, CLIMB TOKYO TOWER, CRACK MY HEAD ON THE BARS, THEN JUMP DOWN AND SUICIDE ON TOP OF SOME OLD LADY ON HER ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR!"
Yep. That's me.
The other me grabs my collar and lifts me up again. Since when did I have this monstrous strength?
"Look at you. You're lying here in a metaphorical desert covered in water and you're thinking of giving up? What the hell happened to you?"
"Desert? I'm on a battlefield, if you didn't notice."
"Battlefield? We're on a freaking desert."
"Desert? Screw you, you clearly-inferior-scientific-division-of-cellular-mechanics!"
"You think you can trust yourself in the state you're in?"
"I can't trust anyone else, moron! You're me!"
"That's right. When you can't trust yourself, you've lost it."
"No shit. What, you want me to give you a prize? Here, let me give you my internal organs. They're no use to me anymore."
"Who wants your internal organs? They're probably congealing already, since you've been devoid of any significant form of life for the past twenty minutes."
"You think you can beat the original in sarcastic commentary? Get out of here, you two-bit piece of junk. This is like the gap between a nuki-ge and your imagination. Oh wait, that's a comparison, not a contrast."
"Oh that was good. Subtle too."
"Well, yours wasn't too bad either."
"Shut up. I was being sarcastic."
"What, you think I wasn't?"
We're glaring at each other as sarcastically as is possible for two conscious beings gripping each other by the collar. Of course, I think I'm winning, because my smile is just the tad bit higher. More irony that way.
"Hey, you moved your lips!"
"You're cheating too then. We're the same people."
"You? The same as me? Get out of here. If you even come close to the same brilliance as me, then you wouldn't be the outdated, outmatched, outexcelled garbage you are currently, would you?"
"You're absolutely right. I outdate you by about fifty years into the future and I outmatch and outexcel you at everything."
"You're asking for it, you know that, right?"
"Bring it on, pansy. I don't think I could lose to someone who thinks he'll dry up in a desert when he's so soaked, he could've been Urashima Taro going underwater to meet some woman cross-dressing as a turtle."
We were still nose-to-nose with one another. Oh, how I wanted to beat this guy up. But it'd just add to the irony if I did that.
"What do you want from me?" I ask, gritting my teeth. I'm still smiling though. I'm not going to lose in sarcasm.
"So you're asking me, what do I want from myself?" says the other me nonchalantly, although he too has a strained grin on his face.
"No, I'm asking what you want from me."
"That means you're asking what yourself wants from yourself."
"What do you want?"
"That's what I asked you."
"So, what do you want from yourself, then?"
"I knew it. You're stupid."
"Then you're stupid."
"So are you."
"Shut up. We're both stupid."
"No. I'm stupid."
"Ok. You are."
"So, what do you want?!"
"What do you want?"
"I want you to go away."
"And I want you to go away."
This is getting nowhere.
"Hey. You know what, yo–"
"You got up. You notice that?"
My eyes widen. The other me smiles at me, a real one this time.
"You thought it was all over, didn't you? You gave up. Admit it."
I bite my lip. That had been true. It had been over. It should've been.
"Aren't you me?" I ask, trying not to sound foolish.
"Yeah. That's right."
"So why didn't you give up then?" I ask.
"I did. Since I'm you. But, since I didn't give up, I guess that means you didn't either," says the other me with a shrug.
I look at myself for a good long time. Then, I scoff and turn away.
"That doesn't make any sense."
"You're not me. I'm always logical," I continue, walking away from this person. What kind of idiot would spew that kind of stupid crap?
"Whatever you say."
"I'm leaving. I don't want to be around an idiot like you. You're worse than Taro."
The other me just smiles.
"Ciao," I say, giving him a sloppy salute. His eyes crinkle and his smile gets wider as he watches me walk away.
The last thought in my head as I move on is a really odd question: Am I in a battlefield or a desert? Wait, is that even important? No, the true question is, ice cream or popsicles?
Before I get the answer, my eyes open and I wake up.