If you're reading this, then know that there's a story here that I'm willing to tell you, and it's a real humdinger if you're a human being. If you're some far future alien life form then you'll probably just think the whole thing is gross and disgusting. Go ahead and read it though, if you want. Maybe you'll like it, who knows... but I doubt it. You should probably just file it away somewhere and get on with your own gross and disgusting alien business.
However... if you're human, then I advise that you continue reading because this is YOUR story! It's all about people - human beings, just like you - stupid, smart, retarded, insane, evil, benevolent, funny looking, socially , miserable, deliriously happy, bright, dim, shiny and dusty people, plus a few really exceptional ones thrown in here and there. Statistical anomalies.
So, I might ask yourself... how do I know all of this, and why should you trust me to continue reading any of it? Because I'm the storyteller, and I'm the one doing the telling, which means you have two choices - you can either stop reading, or you can just trust me to know what I'm going on about like a lunatic here.
You're still here? Cool.
Now... are you ready to embark upon a fast and furious, laugh-a-minute adventure filled with action and intrigue? To bear witness to an epic tale of good versus evil, festooned with heroic deeds of derring-do performed by the common man against withering odds? Are you prepared to be literally poleaxed when you realize that all of this is gonna end in tears, no matter what, for everybody, even the bad guys? And to understand how that's just the shittiest, most cynical, most realistic ending to every story that you've never read or heard, EVER?! Well then, wrap this concept around your noggin, if you can - now I'm going to tell you about Mankind.
However! Before diving face-first into the action, a little exposition might be helpful for understanding the finer points of how everything got chucked into the proverbial handbasket and onto the ole express bus to hell.
First we gotta backtrack all the way to January of 2018. It all began when somebody kicked over Pakistan's bucket of fuckits, resulting in a dozen 50 kiloton tactical nukes 'sploding over Mumbai. New Delhi was next, and after that Pakistan got THIS close to landing about 75 nuclear howdydoo's right onto the Ganges and smack dab in the middle of laundry day. However - and luckily for India - by a fantastic stroke of luck, a completely unrelated nuclear exchange between NATO and Russia just happened to be at the right place at the right time, making a thermonuclear sandwich out of those 75 Pakistani missiles. The resulting atomic clusterfuck was definitely the awesomest thing that has ever happened about a hundred miles above Middle Eastern Europe, EVER.
You can probably guess most of what happened next, as a bevy of high ranking Indian middle fingers all punched down simultaneously onto several big red buttons, and before anybody knew what the heck was happening, a backyard nuclear skirmish had expanded into an international nuclear brawl as North and South Korea and assorted parts of the Middle East all called dibs on the batters box at the same time. It only took four days - starting with Mumbai - until New Delhi, Karachi, Islamabad, Mecca, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran, Baghdad, Pyongyang, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were all just a bunch of radioactive mirrors smoking in the desert.
Immediately following the nuclear skirmish of 2018, and after confirming that Mecca had been vaporized (along with a shit ton of Muslims), the United States finally declared absolute victory over the War on Terror. What followed was the flower childrens' ancient and long sought after No Nukes! War on Nukes, and it was this twist of fate that probably saved the entire planet from engaging in a full blown, worldwide nuclear holocaust, because - and here's the irony. It's long been established, of course, that when the United States recognizes something despicable and goes to war with it that it absolutely does not go to war on that thing, but instead just spends trillions of dollars to make it look like it it did. So it was that in 2019 the United States initiated a new nuclear deterrent strategy, touted as 'The New Clear War on Nuclear War'. The defense budget was immediately quintupled and spent on fast tracking the development, production and immediate dismantling of 50,000 brand new, 500 megaton thermo-quantum PlanetBusters, which really, really pissed off the state of Georgia when the other 49 States just kind of chucked the bill for all of it onto Atlanta's doorstep at 2:00 AM one Sunday morning.
There's a bright side to all of this though. As it turned out, the glaciers weren't really melting, the West Antarctic Ice Shelf was fully intact, and the penguins and polar bears were just fine. After the nuclear fiasco in the Middle East, it was finally deemed sufficiently safe to reveal that the whole global warming thing had just been an elaborate practical joke cooked up by Al Franken as an SNL skit that kinda got outta hand, and the liberals had just ran with it. However... after this revelation, Kim Kan Kook, the latest cult of personality fad in North Korea, was totally serious when he ordered a nuclear sneak attack upon Antarctica to take out the Anti-Santa Clause once and for good. So theWest Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed anyway, which resulted in a worldwide five meter rise in sea levels.
Now it's 2060, almost 40 years since the entire world forcibly relocated North Korea to the south pole. The rise in sea levels has made all of the continents look funny, and everybody hates the new world maps. The new coastlines smell bad, and there's talk of nuking Antarctica again, because... you know. North Korea. Mankind has PTSD, and it's looking like it might all end in tears before it's supposed to, and right as it's starting to get good.
brand spanking new 6 trillion dollar Two Dog Night Light, and the absolute last straw for Georgia.
That's a good place to start, huh? Let's begin your story here, in pissed off and hung over rural Georgia, on New Years Day, 2060.
Dempsey Witt was passed out pretty hard for a Sunday morning, which used to be unusual. If he could've seen himself curled up on the kitchen floor and cradling his service revolver like a teddy bear, he would have been moderately disappointed with himself, what with it being a Sunday morning and all. He used to make it a point to pass out somewhere closer to his bedroom on Sunday mornings, with his service revolver tucked snugly into the waistband of his underoos instead of hugged up under his chin. Nowadays though, simply waking up was a disappointment, and he was always bitterly surprised when it happened.
On this particular Sunday morning however, a ray of sweet sunshine containing the first photons of the gathering dawn gentled softly upon Dim's left eyelid like angeldown. To that left eyeball, the substance of that single spark of hope almost discerned felt like a Nazi jackboot stomping onto the left side of his noggin.. Dempsey SCRRAHGOUGHLED awake, choking on the snotty boogers of his own wet, ugly snores. With a mighty HAAGGHCK! a slimy fhlurghph PSCHFLOOP'd across his tongue and sphlURGH'd somewhere over there, across the kitchen.
OHGODNONOTAWAKEAGAIN was the sound that fell out of his face. He passed out and immediately bounced awake again. Minutes of trauma transpired - severe trauma, traumatic trauma - trauma like a 900 pound retarded kid made out of sharp edges, bulldozing through his awareness. Eventually his lips made a moist 'pop' as they came unstuck. The inside of his mouth was dry and sticky. He tried to build up a little saliva by smacking his tongue and lips together. It made a nasty noise, like a dog licking its own asshole. Tastes like a dog's asshole too, he thought.
Dim continued to lie there in the darkness for an interminable moment, blind and with the taste of a dogs asshole in his mouth... and pleasantly surprised, for once. He'd really expected hell to be so much worse than just the world's godawfulest hangover. He decided to risk opening his eyes to see if it really was demons and pitchforks and a lake of fire, but everything remained dark.
Well, dimwit, he thought to himself... that could mean several things. The most likely thing is that the eternal darkness of hell is right here and now, and you're at the beginning of it. Either that or you forgot to drain the methanol from that batch of hootch last night and you've finally drunk yourself blind, idgit.
He lay there in the darkness for another interminable moment trying to decide if he was in hell or blinded by methanol...
"THAT GAWDAM DOG!" he hollered out loud, as murky details of the night before came back to him. The sound of his own voice was like an inside-out kick to the head, and his hands jerked up reflexively to catch his eyeballs before they popped out of his noggin. He could feel the skin of his eyelids pulsing against his palms as his eyeballs tried to make a run for it.
...or so retarded hung over that you just forgot to open your eyes, idgit.
Once his eyes had stopped bouncing around inside of his head like a couple of pinballs, he very carefully tried to open his eyelids, and discovered that they were stuck fast. He could feel something dry and crusty rubbing against his palms.
"What's this hairy hogwash??" he whisper-shouted as he scurried backwards on his ass and hands across the kitchen linoleum, reaching frantically for some kind of stable purchase. He finally backed up forcibly against the fridge, which he'd left open the night before after a drunken search for sustenance. The impact jolted a jar of pickle juice perched precariously on the rack above, which tipped over, spilling green vinegary liquid all over his head and onto his eyelids, immediately dissolving the dried crusty muck sealing them shut. His eyes flickered open. He could see!
"I can see!" Dim exulted, and then the pickle juice was past his eyelids and into his eyes.
"I'M BLIND!" he screamed. He scrambled to his feet, one hand furiously trying to punch out the fire in his eyes while the other hand groped around blindly for something to put out the fire that didn't involve smothering it to death with punches to the face. If you can imagine someone doing all of that, then you're imagining him exactly the way he looked while he was doing it.
Dim abruptly recognized the kitchen sink with his thrusting, outstretched hand. "WATER!" he exclaimed breathlessly, and he immediately put both of his hands to the task of making water happen in the sink.... but what happened instead of water was just bad luck. His frantic, jerking hands happened upon the jar of methanol that he'd carefully extracted from the latest batch of hootch the night before, which he'd reserved for some future project involving that gawdam dog and left safely in the sink to await its purpose. However, being blind, hung over, eyeballs on fire and desperate for relief, Dim completely failed to remember to put the two and two of the previous night together. Instead, he latched onto that jar of methanol, thinking it was cool, precious, fire-quenching water. He upended it upon his upturned face and directly into his pickle juiced, on fire eyes.
The pain was so tremendous that the nerves conducting it from his eyes to his brain actually backed up like a traffic jam. Fully five seconds transpired as he stood there, immersed in a kind of un-feeling... much like what you get when you touch something so hot that your brain freaks out for a second and tries to think that it's freezing. Five seconds of a rapturous, expectant, kind of hot-cold-numb limbo transpired for Dim as he stood there in his kitchen with an upturned jar of methanol held over his hopefully expectant, pain wracked face. Then the traffic jam of nerve endings became a pileup that just kept piling up and piling up and piling up, until it was a 7:00 AM rush hour traffic massacre of pain, pointing with pointy, painful, on fire points that piled up and piled up, pointing right into his eyeballs from every direction, and every direction was ON FIRE!
Dim SHRIEKED, and finally woke up the gawdam dog.
After a medium-sized while, the front door of Madame Maybell's cracked open by just a smidge, and an amplified caterwaul issued forth -
"BEELZEBUB IS A PRETTY GOOD GUY!"
(this is their secret code; not so secret though when hollered, and through an amplified megaphone)
Dim rolled down his window and hollered back -
"AS FAR AS DEMONS GO!"
And again, from the crack in the door -
"BUT HIS BROTHER BAAL..."
"LORD DON'T HE WAIL!" Dim yelled, close to cracking up. And again, from the crack in the door -
And then both of them together, "IS JUST PLAIN PSYCHO!"
The front door to Madame Maybell's House of Well Repute and Oasis slammed open and half a dozen shotgun barrels poked out, pointing in all directions, like some kind of Looney Tunes ensemble.
"We gotcher dead to rights!" came the challenge.
Dim stepped out of the cab of the truck and walked around to the back. "Dead to rights?" he yelled, as he fiddled with the tailgate latch. "You don't even know what that means!" Dim yanked the latch up and down furiously about a dozen times, but it wouldn't open. He slapped the tailgate in frustration and yelled to Deputy Buck. "Gitcher fat ass down here and help me unload these kegs of moonshine!"
Deputy Buckeye Buck lumbered out onto the front porch of Madame Maybell's. "Shut up dimwit," he hissed, his eyes shifting left and right as he leveraged his considerable bulk down the front porch steps. "What if I was posing as myself as an undercover cop? You don't know who might be hollerin' out the door, hiding in the nooks and crannies and alcoves! Great Godahmighty, son!"
Dim gave the latch of the tailgate one last, exasperated yank and decided to just skip the damn thing. He clambered up over it and into the bed of the pickup and shouted back, "First off, I'm old enough to be YOUR pappy, SON!" Heh, Dim chuckled and thought, I sure get a kick out of myself. "And nextly, concerning your cornfed paranoia, well... there wouldn't never be no problem of an undercover cop to begin with, would there, you thick country bumpkin! Because you'da justa been POSING as one!" Dim manhandled one of the big aluminum kegs toward the back of the truck. "Kinda like how you're constantly posing as Deputy of Podunk county," he added, "when you're really just the Hooch Man for every back-woods whore house and broken down saloon in all of southern Georgia!" Oh boy, Dim laughed down into his chin, he was sure hot today.
Suddenly six girls with shotguns, ranging from about ten to fourteen years of age, burst out of the open door of Madame Maybell's and went charging around where Sherrif Buckeye stood on the steps, like rapids around a boulder, and very nearly sending him tumbling. "You girls... you girls! Dammit, you girls!" blubbered Buckeye.
Dim looked up from wrestling with the aluminum keg, just as one of the older girls - about thirteen years old, by the look of her - leapt up effortlessly into the bed of his pickup and offered him her shotgun. "Sir, would you mind keepin' a hold of this for me, just for a bit, til me and the girls is done here?" She said.
Dim stared wordlessly at the girl with his mouth hanging open. In all of his sixty-six years, this was probably the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She was about 5' without an inch to spare, with dark brown hair that went down to her unusually broad shoulders. She was wearing a tank top, on the front of which was printed the image of a fur covered monster that was lifting up the fur from it's midsection and pointing to a set of well chiseled abs. 'THE ABDOMINAL SNOWMAN' was printed underneath, in large letters. A long, brown summer skirt decorated with paisleys and flowers flowed down from her waist to her ankles, almost covering the pair of well worn sandals that she wore on her small feet. The girl was obviously in great shape, Dim could tell; simply by observing her arms and shoulders, which were smooth and well defined. She was simply the epitome of youthful exuberance.
"Sir, please? Time's a-runnin' out, and we gotta get this evidence to... to..." The girl looked around frantically for a second, as if she were trying to locate... " to where it's supposed to be!" she suddenly shouted. "And right quick! Please, zillions of lives are at stake!" She gave the outstretched shotgun an impatient shake, and Dim took it from her. Then the girl smiled a smile that could have gone down in history, if history had been paying attention. History was busy somewhere else though apparently, so only Dim saw that smile... that heart wrecking, ship breaking smile.
"Thank you sir!" she said, and then to the others waiting below...
"Girls! Let's get to it! You know what to do!" And with a tchika-tchika THUNK, one of em had jimmied the tailgate latch that Dim had been struggling with, and then it was down, and all six of the shotgun girls immediately began unloading the barrels of moonshine and rolling them up to the front porch of Madame Maybe's. "Were rollin' over and turnin' states evidence!" shouted one of the younger girls amidst the flurry of activity. Another, older girl shouted, "Shut UP! This is a black op, STUPID," to the younger one who had just blabbed about turning states evidence, whatever that meant.
Dim watched it all with his jaw hanging open. What the heck had just happened? he thought to himself. That smile, from that girl, the beautiful girl... It had poleaxed him! Suddenly Dim was overcome with a feeling of paternal love for her, whoever she was. He knew right then and there that he would die to save her, to protect her... What the heck is happening, Dim stuttered inside his own head. That girl had smiled the most perfectest smile in all of the history of the human race, and... she'd had no idea! How could she have? She was still existing inside of the perfect naivety of unspoilt innocence!
Dim was sure, more sure than he'd ever been in his life about anything, that this girl, who had just smiled that miraculous smile, had no idea that she was the most beautiful newborn woman who had ever just crossed over from childhood, through puberty, and into young adulthood. She just didn't know it. Amazing!
"Lookit em go," commented Buckeye Buck with a smile, as he finally made his way over to where Dim stood stupidly in the bed of the old electric Ford pickup, now empty of 7 and a half barrels of the bestest moonshine in all of southern Georgia. "They're something, ain't they?" Buckeye laughed. "A tad excitable though, but that's youth. Didja see how I almost broke my neck, with all of them tadpoles scurrying past me down the steps? Lordamercy! Dim? Dim, you awake in there?"
Dim came to with a start. "Uh... yeah." He dug around in his pocket for a second, as if he'd lost something, and then his hand just kind of settled there.