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The Recollection Of Crankshaft

Chapter 8


One of the most troubling parts of writing a personal account is deciding what to include, and what to exclude. In terms of what to exclude, Laya has proven to be helpful, as she has been proof reading this for me, and when she reads something that she particularly doesn't like, she will hit me. My logic tells me that she might not hit me if I don't watch over her shoulder as she reads my work, but do I recognize this logic and take it to heart? No way, screw that, I want to lean my head over her shoulder, smell her hair, and ask her what she thinks after each paragraph! Yeah, now THAT is how to write! Just so you know in advance, this particular chapter is going un-proof read, as Laya has taken a holiday at this present time.

So I was sitting at my desk after finishing grading some papers. It was about @910 Beats, and my ear called to my pinky finger. Without further contemplation, I raised my arm, and thrust the smallest finger of my right hand into my right ear, and wiggled it around in there. I wiggled that finger, and before retracting it, I made a scooping motion.

Mission accomplished, I withdrew my invading digit from my pointy listening apparatus, and brought it a reasonable distance in front of my face. The rest of my fingers balled into a fist, and my pinky curled to point straight up for optimal viewing convenience, I examined the yellowish-brown cone of wax on my finger; because well, it came from my ear, and this is what you do with things that you remove from your body.

I then proceeded with the next step of things you do with things you remove from your body, after you examine it visually. I lifted my finger just below my nose, and took a whiff. I winced, and wiped the mess on the most convenient receptacle, which turned out to be a term paper belonging to a student of mine by the name of K-420. His reaction upon receiving the paper back was, "Professor Differential, I can understand the red ink asking me to be more specific when I detail the principles behind Neutron Relays, but what's this yellow mark next to the heading on Propulsion Arrays mean?"

To that, I deftly answered, "It means... uh... No cookie for you! Ha." Then I continued passing out papers.

So, yeah, I wiped the mess onto K-420's term paper, and then I happened to think that I was hungry, and Laya was just finishing a class, so I poked my head in her office. "Hey Laya!" I yelled.

Sitting at her desk, resting her forehead on her hand, and her elbow on her desk, she made a growling noise and said, "No, Crankshaft. I don't want to get piss-faced drunk."

I thought about that for a moment then said, "I wasn't going to ask that, though that doesn't sound entirely like a bad idea. Still, I think that Dux went to visit a friend of his today, Meira, I think he called her. In any case, that leaves the drunk thing out of the question. Besides, I have a class later, so I figure, I should avoid being piss-faced drunk, albeit that might prove for an interesting class. I'm lecturing on logic-solving constructs this week."

Evidently confused, she asked, "What do you want then, Crankshaft?"

I stared blankly for a moment, as shiny objects easily distract me, and she was putting her nifty paperweight back on her desk. Then I said, "Actually, I was going to offer to buy you lunch. Because I'm hungry, and I've run out of papers to grade."

Laya lifted her head from her hand and looked at me. "Buy... me lunch? Um, excuse me Crankshaft, but are you insinuating that we should go on a lunch date?" Her other hand approached the shiny paperweight again.

"I like to have something to do while I eat," I replied. It was interesting, thinking about it. The whole conversation, the only part of my body entering her office was my head, so effectively I was just this head poking through her door.

Then she was like, "Excuse me?"

And I was like, "Well, I mean, I have no more papers to grade, somehow, and I'm hungry, so I figured I could, uh, buy you lunch, and then I'd have someone to talk to."

So she was just totally, "You? Talk? Eh, yeah, I could see it. But what would we talk about?"

So I just, "We could speak of my phearsome tallness!" With that, her hand lifted the shiny paper weight, and I quickly added, "Or, or or, we could, uh, I could tell you about the court yards of the Central Dome, yeah! And the vicious man-eating birds there, yeah!"

Her hand with the paperweight stopped, and she set it down again, once again distracting me. "Hm. The Central Dome's gardens..." she said. "All right, Crankshaft. I'll go with you. That café down the street?"

"Best burgers in town," I replied. Indeed, they are the best burgers you can get on Pioneer 2. That's fairly universally agreed on, though as popular as the café is, many people don't know about it. I think that this is best.

So we walked down the street, past the promenade of clothing shops. Laya stopped to look at the window at the front of an establishment titled, "Apparel Boulevard". I asked her, "I never understood window shopping. What is the appeal, exactly?"

She didn't look at me, but she continued to examine every detail. "Well, you see Crankshaft, sometimes it's just fun to look at the things that you don't own, and sometimes you may get an idea of what you want to get, next time you go to make a purchase." After saying that, she leaned closer to the window, "Hey, that's pretty!"

I scratched my head, and looked strangely in some direction. Then I looked at the window. I leaned in, and looked at what she seemed to be looking at. I didn't see anything special about it. "Soooo... is it me that's weird, that I'm not particularly amazed, or is it you that's weird because you're amazed, 'cause one of us is with the rest of the universe, and it's either me for not being terribly impressed, or it's you for your fetish, 'cause I mean, it's only glass... Is it making colors or something?" I stared harder. Then my head hurt. My initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Oh, I see, it makes your head hurt. What's so impressive about that? GAH!"

That's when I'd realized that I was no longer looking at the glass window, but at the ground. Laya hit me. Hard. "The CLOTHES, Crankshaft! I was looking at the CLOTHES! Great Light, you're so dense!"

"Hey!" I yelled. "I am not dense!" She looked at me with angry eyes. "I float very well, as a matter of fact, so there."

"Lutz, Almighty... you go and prove every word I say, Crankshaft," she sighed as she shook her head, looked down and folded her arms. Her hand rose, and she put her fingers to her forehead for a moment. Presumably, she was thinking. If I were to guess, I'd have to say she was probably thinking about how many photon drops it would take to completely engulf the statue of Principle Tyrell in front of the university with monomates. Actually, this is what I was thinking about. Later, I worked out the math, and figured out that it would take roughly seven hundred.

We got to the café, and stepped up to the counter to order. There was an attractive young woman behind the counter, taking orders with a smile that I could believe. This is how all stores should be. All customer service representatives at food serving places should be pretty young women who look like they genuinely enjoy taking your order. Just barely young enough for you to feel the moral obligation to not look at them as something you want to take back to the ol' bachelor pad, and just pretty enough to make you wish they were old enough so you could. Plus, I think that the smile makes you enjoy the experience more. Happiness is infectious, you know.

And who wants to order food from some dude with a face full of red volcanoes that look like they're about ready to burst, and a couple of premature little follicles posing as the meager beginnings of a beard, anyway? Not exactly the most appetizing site to see. You'd be looking over the menu, he'd be like, squeaking, "What would you like to eat, sir?" and you'd be like, looking down from the menu at him, going, "Hm, well, I think that I'd like to have-- OH GOOD GREAT LIGHT! Gah, um, zit-- I mean, pimple, I mean, kaaa-pop!, Er, um, nothing, yeah, actually, I think I have to use your bathroom!" and then you'd leave, and you'd be thinking, "Y'know, when I went in there, I was hungry, but now I just want to go home and groom myself." Then you'd be reviewing it in your mind later, and you'd have these mental images in your head of the whole thing, and you'd be thinking, "Oh Light, I think I saw one pop..." Yeah, I'd rather have such a fellow explain complex arithmetic to me, as he'd probably be more skilled at it.

So, um, yeah, anyway, there was this lovely young woman there to take our order. Laya ordered first, because I refused to go before her. "I'll have the Barbeque Burger combo with a regular cola, please," she ordered.

"Is Smoca-cola okay, ma'am?" asked the lovely customer service representative.

"That'll be great, actually."

Then I stepped up. "What can I get for you, sir?" she asked. I pointed at the Classic Hamburger combo on the menu, and looked at her with no expression on my face. She looked at the menu behind her, then back at me. "Sir?" she asked.

"I want that," I said, "Give me that."

She looked at the menu again. Then back at me. "Wh--...Which one, sir?"

She stumped me with this one. "Uh," I stuttered. "The, um, with THE hamburger. Y'know. The good one." I had the description figured out, now. "The one that comes with a tasty beverage and side of carefully sliced potatoes fried in the grease of dead vegetables."

She looked at the menu again, then again back at me. "But they're all good, sir... And they all come with the same options for beverage and fries... Can you be more specific?"

I thought for a moment. "The hamburger has, like, stuff on it. Some green stuff, and, oh, yeah, that hot, meaty stuff! Yeah! And, uh, those red juicy things that're all sliced up... Tomatoes, that's it! Yeah!"

"The Green Burger?"

"No..."

"The Chiliburger?"

"Hmm... Not that one, no."

"The Classic Burger?"

When she said that, I jumped in place, pointed to my nose, then to her, and did my happy dance. Then I said, "And I want the sides, err, with that deal, um, like me!"

"Like you... You want them, uh... like you... You want them tall?"

"Yes, I'm very tall."

After punching in my order, she repeated the whole thing to us, as cheerful as ever, and after I concurred that she got it right, she said, "That'll be 750 Meseta, sir."

With prestige, I paid the girl, and even included a 100 Meseta tip for putting up with me. Laya was standing off in the background somewhere pretending not to know me.

She handed me a receipt and a plastic, standing object with a number on it and said, "You're number 28, and your food and drinks will be out in a few minutes."

So we were sitting down, we recieved our food, and I was telling Laya about my first trip to Ragol. I told her, "See, see, there were these wolves with fangs like, uh, they were as big as my, err, Nuclear mini-fridge!-- Wait, no, they were like elephant tusks! But sharp and pointy, and they wanted to just grab me by the head and go, BURWURPWURPWUURRRPURUR!"

Then I wiped the drool from my chin, and continued, "Then there were these Kung Fu gopher things the size of professional wrestles, and they had these big gopher claws, and they wanted to do me physical harm!"

She looked at me dully and said, "And what did you do, Crankshaft?"

To this I replied, "Well, I did what any intelligent young Newman would do."

"And what's that?"

"I nearly wet my pants, and hopped the fence. You didn't think I'd actually FIGHT the things, did you?"

"Ugh... Y'know, your buddy Dux would've blasted them, and been through with it."

I blinked at that one. Then I said, "Yeah, but I'm tall. I can see high over the heads of midgets!" I continued, "So, anyway, yeah! Then these devil birds fell from the sky, and they looked at me like they wanted to pick my living flesh off of my bones, and I stood up bravely, and I said to them, 'Bow down before your king, young Rappies! There is much work to be done!' ... But then they just walked up to me, and attacked me with their 12 rows of upper and lower TEETH, and flapped their wings at me with their razor-sharp, rusty metal feathers at me, and I had to give myself a tetanus shot right there, and I was like, 'Gah! Devil birds!' and I ran, and hopped over another fence."

Laya continued to look at me funny. "I thought that the gardens were supposed to be in a residential area?"

"Yeah, I think I saw something like that. There was another area though, right in front of the dome. It was raining there, though. There was this big horned ape there, that chased me in circles for a while, until I beat it to death with the cane I'd bought before going down there."

"You beat it to death? With a cane?"

"Yeah, either that, or some ranger named VanGarrett came and shot the cheese out of it, and saved my life before it used my head like a crayon. I think it wanted to write curse words in the concrete with me. You should've seen those birds though. They had these beady little eyes that just make you want to cringe in fear, and and and laconium claws to tear your eyes from your sockets..." Before long, the food was finished, and we walked back to our offices.

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