Happy Monday! I hope you’re having a good day and that you enjoyed your weekend! I missed the Super Bowl, but I did spend all weekend doing a writing challenge. 10,000 words between Saturday and Sunday! But you won’t be reading it any time soon. It’ll need LOTS of edit. Instead, here’s a flash fiction story that I expanded quite a bit. I hope you’ll enjoy it. It’s kind of “out of continuity,” as it doesn’t really match most of the Phro Metal stories. Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Also, the PDF is at the END of the story today. You can just click through and go to the bottom if you want.
Dirk Dirkenson, Son of Dirk Dirken and Father of Dirk Dirkensonsen (whom he’d never met), was a thief.
Well, as much of a thief as one who has never successfully stolen anything can be called a thief.
He’d been to every planet in the galaxy, attempted every scam, trick and deceit he’d ever heard of, and not once had he ever gotten rich, struck it big, or even made so much as enough money to buy a decent lazer pistol. (His, which he had found in a dumpster on the Northern War Planes of Mars, was quite old and, he suspected, would explode if he ever fired it. He mostly wore it because, with the sparks it flung when he jostled it too much, it was the scariest looking thing he owned.)
But this time…this time would be different. He’d heard from someone who’d heard from someone who’d heard from something with three eyes and twelve ears that a very wealthy man in a very wealthy neighborhood on a very wealthy moon was having a party. It was the kind of party that security forces hated because it was completely without regulation or invitation. A one-armed Neptunian polar bear with an afro wig and go-go boots could waltz in, eat the guest of honor, and escape before anyone realized it wasn’t actually a performer. (Security forces rarely get paid when their employers are eaten by polar bears—Neptunian or otherwise—but they particularly hated the Neptunian variety.)
Dirk paced back and forth in the three feet between his kitchen counter and his stove before deciding to go for it…after drinking a bottle of wine and drunk dialing an ex. “You ain’t nothing and you ain’t never gonna be nothing!” she’d shouted into the phone as her new boyfriend pleasured her with a prehensile tongue on his yacht.
Whipping snot and tears from his face as he chanted “living well is the best revenge,” Dirk packed his bags, polished his lazer pistol and went to the local space port.
He’d seen a documentary about Fast Flash Jack—the galaxy’s greatest ship thief—a few days previous and knew that this was the trade he’d been born for. He could feel the energy crackling in his finger tips just thinking about the scene where Jack popped a transdimensional lock with one hand and chugged a bottle of scotch with the other. In under thirty seconds, the ship thief gotten inside, started the engine, seduced three of the shipowner’s favorite wives, and blasted off to a spend a weekend at a Martian resort with the owner’s credit card.
Dirk was determined to at least steal a Planet Hopper, one of the cheap little buggy’s that poor college kids buy in pointless attempts to impress people they want to impregnate.
Unfortunately, the doors were sealed shut, the keys weren’t even in the ignition, and Dirk, feeling quite sheepish, suddenly realized he knew nothing about either picking locks or hotwiring spaceships.
Howling with frustration, he picked up a piece of concrete and flung it with all of his strength at the windshield.
As the brick bounced back at his face, Dirk attempted to duck, but was to slow. It caught his head, ripping a nasty cut across his forehead and knocking him the ground. He lay there feeling sorry for himself until the sound of college boys shouting, got him up and running as fast as he could.
“Goddamn, no-good, piece of pig shit, motherfucker!!!” screamed the twenty-year-old owner of the Planet Hopper, shaking his fist as Dirk disappeared down a stairwell.
Huffing violently and fighting the tears that threatened to well up and stream down his face, Dirk ran into a bathroom and locked himself in a stall. He sat, staring at the spot on the ground visible just under the door for at least fifteen minutes, the whole time expecting the college boys to rip first, the stall and then, him apart.
Once it became obvious that he’d lost the college boys, he let out a long sigh of relief and unclenched his asshole. After a few minutes, his blood pressure leveled off and he stepped out of the stall. Glancing around the small bathroom, he noticed a large duffel bag and ripped it open to find a custodian’s uniform and ID badge. For a party cruiser. Scheduled to leave in thirty minutes. Bound for the very party he hoped to rob!
After forcing himself and his overgrown belly into the uniform, he grabbed a mop and a bucket of water and followed a procession of custodians wearing similar uniforms onto a giant, gorgeous ship. The guard at the door waved him through without even looking up from a game of Mildly Annoyed Harshly Tossed Penguins.
This is so easy! He thought with a giant grin as he stepped onto the ship.
Dirk, feeling elated but sleepy from the wine, soon ditched the mop and bucket and sneaked into a cargo bay on the lower deck. After going through a few cases of luggage, he made a nice little nest for himself out of some winter jackets, a pair of sweatpants, and a few pieces of lingerie. He was disappointed that he couldn’t find any photo of the owner of the undergarments, but a yawn reminded him of how hard he’d been working all day.
“I’ll take a quick nap and then go look for some food,” he said to himself, patted his belly, and fell asleep with a satisfied grin.
Unfortunately for Dirk, he was immediately discovered by a patrolbot who heard his snoring from the hallway.
The patrolbot poked him in the side with its extending baton.
“Bzzt. Hey. What are you doing? Bzzt.”
“G’way, mommy, ‘m ridin’ ponies.”
“Bzzt. I am not your mother. I am Patrolbot #39. What are you doing? Bzzt.”
Dirk’s eyes sprung open and he twisted around to look at the floating robot. He paused for a moment, considering his options. “I’m…inspecting the luggage!”
“Bzzt. You are not Mark, the luggage inspector. Bzzt.”
Clever fucker, ain’t he, Dirk thought to himself. “Well, no, not per se, but I am…” he glanced at the ID badge pinned to his chest. “Paul McDonald.”
“Bzzt. You are not Paul McDonald. Paul McDonald is taller than you, more muscular than you, and far more handsome than you. I can show you a picture if you would like. Bzzt.”
Dirk’s lip twitched. He took a deep breath and smiled politely. “Well, I grant you that the years have not been kind to me, but don’t you think that’s a little harsh? I mean, I am regularly mistaken for an older Bradley Dean.”
The robot seemed to think for a moment before a tiny arm with a needle on the end shot out of its body and pricked Dirk on the neck. The arm retracted before Dirk even had a chance to whine “Ow!”
“Why the hell did you do that?” He demanded of the robot.
“Bzzt. I have taken a sample of your blood to cross reference with the blood we have on file for Paul McDonald. Bzzt.”
“Now, wait one goddamn minute, that is a clear violation of my right to privacy! Just because I’m a custodian doesn’t mean–”
Dirk soon found himself picking gravel out of his teeth. The gravel had ended up in his mouth when the patrolbot flung him off the ship and he landed in a passing gravel truck. The truck, it seemed, was headed to make a large mound at the request of a senator. Dirk wasn’t sure which senator, but he’d heard on the news that no one really knew why the Senator wanted a large mound of gravel in the middle of the city. But the official wanted it, he was in office, and he knew the right palms to grease.
I should have been a politician, Dirk thought as he bumped along in the back of the truck. All the greatest criminal masterminds go into politics. I’m just too smart for this menial labor. That’s my problem, he thought with a righteous nod.
Eventually, the truck ground to a halt at a stop light, and Dirk lowered himself off the back. Dropping to his feet, he brushed the dust and dirt from his clothes as he jogged out of the traffic.
“Now what hell am I gonna do?” Dirk asked himself as he sat down with a plop on a bench in a small, sunny park and cried. Passers-by noticed him, saw how filthy he was, and quickly went on their way pretending not to have seen him at all. Except for one old man.
The old man, whose real name everyone had forgotten—including the old man himself, seated himself next to Dirk and simply stared at the passing clouds for a few minutes. Dirk didn’t even notice him for a few minutes, so absorbed in his own misery as he was.
After checking his watch for the fifth time, the old man cleared his throat and Dirk looked up with a start.
“Um…oh. Hi,” Dirk managed to get out.
The old man stroked his beard as he looked at Dirk. Finally, he slapped Dirk’s knee, gave him a big smile and pulled out a bottle of pills from his jacket pocket.
“You look down, my boy. Why don’t you have a Relax-A-Pill and tell me what’s wrong?” the old man asked through an electronic voice box. His voice sounded like a computer trying very hard to mimic a horny squirrel and an angry duck fighting in a burlap sack.
Dirk was, at first, baffled by the old man’s voice, but after a moment, he shrugged, took a pill from the old man’s hand, and swallowed it with a gulp.
“Wait a second,” Dirk said. “Did you say that these were Relax-A-Pills? Like…the Relax-A-Pills? The ones which are illegal to own, ingest, or even look at on every planet in the system except Mars? The Relax-A-Pills that can get you sent to prison just for knowing someone who sells them?
The old man laughed at Dirk’s naivete and nodded. “That they are my boy.”
Dirk paused for a moment until his eyes lit up and he fist pumped the air. “FUCK YEAH!”
It was, he’d finally realized, his first truly successful crime.
As waves the colors of the smell of chocolate chip cookies and roses washed over his skin and hippos dressed like Abraham Lincoln waltzed to Antarctic pop songs before his eyes, he told the old man about his failure as a crook.
“I’ve tried hustling, conning, thieving, mugging, breaking-and-entering, drug-dealing, stolen-diamond-dealing, pimping, car-stealing, ship-stealing, cage fighting, and, hell, I even tried selling knock-off designer T-shirts. But every single one of them was a failure. Cops would nab me, homeowners would come home at the worst time and beat me with socks full of coins, other dealers would give me dried lawnmower clippings, and my ex-girlfriend bet against me every time I had a fight. She ended up making a $100,000 by stealing the knock-off T-shirts and selling them on some Interweb auction site. I just…I dunno…maybe I’m not cut out to be a criminal,” he said, staring at a cloud that he thought might actually be a giant horse.
Once Dirk had finished speaking, the old man laughed, told Dirk that he just needed some help getting started, and pulled out a wad of cash as thick as his forearm and handed it to Dirk.
Dirk gaped at the money, having never seen so much in his whole life. “What’s…what’s…what’s this for?”
“You know what,” the man said through his voice box, “I was a young punk kid once, too. I didn’t have anything. Then Two Tooth Tony the Tooth Taker picked me up off the corner one day and told me he’d give me $50 if I just beat the shit out of a middle school kid and brought him a tooth. Preferably a molar. I did it, and he paid me. You know what? I used that $50 to buy a knife, which I used to mug some old lady. With that money, I got a pistol, and then an assault rifle and yadda, yadda, yadda. Long story short, I’m the number one Relax-A-Pill importer on the continent. But I wouldn’t have gotten here today if Two Tooth Tony hadn’t given me that break. I owe him, literally, everything I am today. Even that wad of money I’m giving you…no, especially that wad of money I’m giving you.” The old man paused and pulled out a thin, glowing stick and held it up to his lips. As he inhaled, his mouth glowed purple and then red and then blue from the inside out.
He exhaled, blowing a cloud of beautiful smoke into the air in the shape of two large breasted women eating pickles.
“Of course, a couple of years ago, I found out he was fucking my mother, so I ended up having to kill him by driving a spike through the roof of his mouth into his brain. But you get the point, eh? We all deserve at least one chance, right?” The old man winked at Dirk, who was not star struck. “Now, get yourself to that party and don’t come back until you’ve robbed the fucker blind!” The old man grinned as he stood up and walked away.
Dirk, infected with the old man’s enthusiasm and feeling invincible thanks to the Relax-A-Pill, jumped up from the bench and ran across the street to a lazer gun emporium that happened to be having a special on expedited lazer gun sales. Dirk gave them a few of the bills peeled off of the roll and walked out with a black and red lazer pistol that was adorned with spikes, a miniature grenade launcher, and speakers that played the refrain from “Ride of the Valkyries” every time it was fired.
Next, he skipped to Coldrock 32 Icre Cream and gobbled down a strawberry-and-olives ice cream cone. He even gave the pretty young woman behind the counter scooping out the ice cream an extra large tip and wink. She nodded politely, maintained the smile for a few seconds, and then burst into tears and ran to the back room.
“Whatever, her loss,” Dirk shrugged and wandered back outside.
Finally, he caught a taxi to the outskirts of the city where the new spaceship dealers were. He wandered among the Isuzus and Hondas for awhile until he came across a brand new Lotus Extremely. It had a small cockpit and tiny storage unit, but the engine was big enough to make an elephant feel inadequate. It was bright yellow with moss green racing stripes, but Dirk just grinned when he peeled off a few more bills and slapped them into the salesman’s sweaty palm. Ten minutes later, Dirk strapped himself in, poked in some coordinates, selected some music, and hit the go-button. The ship leaped off of the planet like a kangaroo with explosive curry diarrhea and shot through the solar system.
Three hours later, Dirk charged into the wealthy man’s party with his new lazer pistol out, blasting chandeliers and potted plants, and ran face-first into a Neptunian polar bear, which ate his arm, his new lazier pistol and half of his face.
As the bear busied itself gnawing on his forearm, Dirk decided that maybe he’d just join his father in the family porno business after all. He shook his head, waved to the staring crowd, and wandered back to his new spaceship to call his dad to ask for a position.
Here’s the PDF for “Dirk Dirkenson!” Thanks for reading! We’ll see you on Wednesday to talk about music!