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Godzilla Vs. Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots, the Hoop Soup Snoop Group, Kamala the Ugandan Giant, Hamburglar, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Meatloaf, and the Fat Kid from the Movie “Stand By Me” (Based on a Short Story by Stephen King) Who Won a Pie-eating Contest and then Proceeded to Incite a Major Barf-o-rama (a more appropriate title, since this is meant to be a brackological, spiritual, allegorical story, might be Godzillaspell, referring to the musical Godspell, based on the Gospel of Matthew, which tells of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as prophesied in such Old Testament passages as Isaiah 53:3-7, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 16:8-11, etc., but most of the Godzilla movies were titled Godzilla Vs. and then the name of his enemy; unfortunately this story has many enemies, and in retrospect I realize there are too many to list in the title of a short story, so let’s just call it Godzillaspell and get the show on the road)
By Brian Ruuska
Japan (present day)-In the market square, two boys play with their favorite toy, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. One robot is red and the other is blue, and they’re only about a foot tall each, facing each other across a ridiculously small boxing ring. The boys activate their fists by using buttons located behind the robots. When an especially stiff uppercut lands on the jaw, the neck of the struck robot stretches comically; the noise makes the boys laugh.
These two boys are the sons of the proprietor of the only newsstand in the city, and they play directly beneath it, so their father can supervise them. Secretly he worries that they shouldn’t be playing with such a violent toy, but their uncle bought the gift for them, and he didn’t have the heart to take it away.
A hurrying businessman grabs a newspaper and tosses a coin onto the counter. It caroms off a snow globe (a gift from the children) and lands in the robots’ boxing ring. Tragically, this coin is radioactive, and the robots grow until they tower over the news-stand. The children scream, as if realizing that they had enslaved the robots for their own personal entertainment, and now Providence was giving the robots a chance to retaliate. However, the robots did not understand that their arms had been controlled by buttons, but now were free. They thought they were fueled by their hatred for each other, so they continued to punch as if nothing had changed. The children were running home before the robots even finished growing, while their father escaped through the trapdoor in the floor. The people were safe, but the robots blocked the only newsstand in the city, so there was no way of obtaining printed news. All that remained was television news, which cannot be trusted (it is sponsored by Happy Enterprises), and oral telephone communication, also unreliable-you can’t see the person on the other line, or if anyone’s holding a sword to their throat.
For some time the city had been pestered by the Hoop Soup Snoop Group. This is a somnambulist collective who, by utilizing sticks, roll hoops through the streets while slumbering. Harmless enough, but when stretched out across an evening this activity provokes hunger, powerful hunger. So when a Snooper would pass a house that had a pot of soup a-cooling on the stove, he’d break in and obtain his nourishment, without even opening his eyes.
One man, Walter Agbayani, tired of having his broth, which was all he could afford for his family (he was an assistant extractor at the Comforting Dessert Dispensary) stolen from him repeatedly, added radioactive bouillon to the broth one night, assuming that the ominous green glow would awaken the Snooper and teach him a valuable lesson about not only stealing, but eating while asleep.
This particular Snooper, tragically, was dreaming that night as he climbed in through the Agbayani’s kitchen window. In his dream, he was whispering in the sun’s ear, telling it the bad deeds the moon allowed to take place under its watch. The glow of the broth was not alarming, then, but expected. Emboldened, the Snooper proclaimed: “Carl Reardon replaces the nuts squirrels bury with batteries, and ties radios to the branches of their trees, but once the squirrels figure out where the batteries go, they discover the radio does not work. The batteries have been drained of their fluid and refilled with maple syrup. Jack Gedman breaks into hardware stores and, utilizing a syringe filled with grape juice, fills the sponges with liquid. The next morning, customers see this and believe that the sponges inherently cause spills rather than attack them, so they instead buy paper towels. During the night, Jack breaks into those customers’ houses and spills all the liquid in the household on the floor. He piles the new paper towels beneath the couch, as if they’re terrified of spills. And that’s not all…”
At this point in the dream, the sun gives the Snooper a bowl of broth as a reward for this information, so he drinks down the Agbayanis’ radioactive broth, which causes him to grow to several times his normal height, as does the hoop, which was spilled upon. He grows through the ceiling, at which point he wakes up, only to look on in horror as his hoop rolls away, cutting a swath of destruction through the city.
Meanwhile, at the Downtown Intestinal Fortitude Pandemonium Wrestling Forum, Kamala the Ugandan Giant was about to belly splash his opponent, Yokozuna, when the enormous hoop swathed through the arena. As the fans cheered, fled, or were slaughtered, Kamala followed the hoop toward the exit, along the way eating pancakes that fans left behind. Later, after this was all over, the survivors returned to the arena. Upon discovering that their plates were empty, it was all they could do to think: why? and not demand it of the heavens.
One survivor, however, merely lowered his head and wept. It seems that maple syrup, if left inside batteries long enough, becomes radioactive, causing an already enormous Ugandan Giant to become so large and unceasingly hungry that he was forced to stand over Tasty Pancake and Maple Syrup Concern and demand that they feed him pancakes, as large as they can make them. They were as large as a wrestling ring; an irony that was not lost on Kamala.
Across town, at Beneficial Steadfast Appliance Depot, William “The Refrigerator” Perry was exhorting customers to purchase the Food Glacier Upright Preservation Module: “It’s the goal-line stand of refrigerators! If you want to get food into the end zone (your mouth), first your defense (your refrigerator) must sack freezer burn and cause insufficient shelf-space to fumble. Then refreshing beverages can recover that fumble, lateral to dairy products that never expire before their time, and then, by following the bonecrushing blocking of durable construction and a variety of colors to choose from, it struts into the end zone untouched.” As the customers hold fistfuls of cash over their heads, William hollers: “Touchdown!” Afterwards, everyone who purchased a refrigerator lined up to receive a free autographed football.
One customer asked William to bite a football while he took a photograph. Tragically, William performed this request, not realizing that the football was made from a hog that had been slaughtered that very day, after biting a child at a petting zoo who fed it ominously glowing green corn that he purchased with a coin he found at the feet of two huge battling robots. As William grew, the customers fled with their new refrigerators.
Overwhelmed with a hunger that frightened him, he rushed outside, looking for the nearest McDonald’s (a popular hamburger restaurant). But Hamburglar had beaten him there, and robbed the place of all its hamburgers. Soon enough, William caught up to him (and the deflated hot-air balloon he dragged behind him, which he used to conceal the burgers) but Hamburglar tried to fight him off with a pair of brass knuckles and, tragically, William bit him on the arm. As Hamburglar grew and his trademark “Robble Robble” emanated over the city, McDonald’s employees and patrons fled in terror, hoping that, against all hope, a radioactive Ronald McDonald would come to deliver them (or at least Grimace). Before that could happen, Hamburglar ran off, heading toward the sea. Along the way, he pulled the city’s several McDonald’s restaurants out of the ground. He only hoped that they would be enough to satiate his rampant hunger.
Elsewhere, Meatloaf was performing at the For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) Auditorium and he sensed the people’s need for a hero, or at least a comforter. So, armed with his microphone and Endless Extension Action Cord, Meatloaf left the stage and stepped out into the torn-asunder streets, boldly proclaiming: “When you really need them the most, that’s when rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true!”
But Meatloaf is a hefty man, and the very people he sought to comfort feared that he too was after massive quantities of food. Just then, tragically, the radioactivity from the microphone, which that morning had been utilized to record an album by chipmunks that could sing if injected with a serum that the producer referred to as “The Boogie Woogie Flu,” forced him to grow exponentially in size and hunger, until he’d gutted the Mechanically Separated Chicken Warehouse and the Bread Pudding Tolerance Center. He also stepped on a truck. Inside the flattened truck were newspapers that bore the headline: “Godzilla Sighted, Approaching City. Evacuate! What Are You Waiting For?” Further down the page was a drawing of millions of Japanese civilians fleeing from Godzilla, who shrugs and goes back into the sea to sulk until an opportune time.
If you’ve ever seen the movie “Stand By Me” you’ll recall the saga of Davy Hogan, a fat boy who enters a pie-eating contest. Before stepping out on stage, he downs a bottle of castor oil, which causes him to throw up. The other contestants also vomit, until a “major barforama” is incited. This was a great revenge story, but it did not stop people from being cruel to Davy…if you’re fat, people will be cruel to you no matter how many barforamas you incite. Davy learned this lesson the hard way, which caused him to move to Japan, a place he chose because of its reverence for Sumo wrestlers. He had just stepped off the plane that day, in fact, and the Japanese children also pointed at him, and the women snickered. Dejected, he walked through the streets, fighting the urge to weep. He climbed to the top of Nugatory Tower, maybe to end it all, maybe to pray, but what he saw up there was the city being devastated by behemoths. So Davy challenged them to a pie-eating contest. And he was victorious.
“That was very impressive,” the Snooper said.
“Your folks must be proud,” Meatloaf said.
“You’ve earned a prize,” William added, “but what should it be?”
Davy then asked the men who would hopefully become his first friends, “Can I be as big as you guys? You’re the only ones who might understand.”
Meatloaf reached down and crushed a phone booth, opening a cut on the palm of his hand. He set the wounded hand next to the tower, allowing Davy to swallow a drop and grow to their size. At that moment, the two became blood brothers. They all did likewise, swearing to be friends forever, to protect themselves from a cruel compassion-less world. And their blood ran through the streets.
Just then the tanks arrived. To a normal man, they would have appeared to be large, fearsome machines, but to the enlarged mutants gathered together by the tower, rubbing their bellies with the satisfaction that comes from eating many pies, they appeared to be children’s toys. When the general shouted through his megaphone: “Desist!” it sounded like the voice of a cartoon duck, which made them giggle. So the tanks fired. Their shells were too small to be effective, they merely annoyed. When one of the shots struck Meatloaf in the cheek, it had no more sting than a slap in the face, an irony that was not lost on Meatloaf.
After a few moments it became apparent that this attack would fail, so the general cried: “Time is running out for the human race!” and threw his megaphone, striking William in the knee. William winced, then lifted his foot with exaggerated slowness, not bringing it down until the soldier inside had exited and locked up his tank, then unlocked it, went back inside to retrieve a photograph of his daughter Xiaoyu tossing some bamboo to a panda, read the inscription on the back (the zookeeper had insisted on writing “Pandas almost exclusively eat bamboo!”) exited again, locked the tank again, and ran toward his daughter’s school. The other tanks were disposed of in the same careful way.
Watching the soldiers flee amused Kamala and he flexed his muscles. The others did the same, snarling and shaking their fists. Davy made a ferocious roar, and they all laughed at him, for it sounded precisely like Godzilla’s, and that was how they felt at that moment. But Davy felt breath on the back of his neck and slowly turned around.
Godzilla looked Davy in the eye. When the fat boy blinked, Godzilla roared, but the roar trembled, as it was a question or a laugh. Even though Davy would have outweighed Godzilla significantly, the young man hid behind Kamala and the Snooper.
As Godzilla turned his head to look at these new mutants, they cringed, fearing the blast that might come from the thunder lizard’s mouth at any moment. But no blast came. Godzilla was remembering a time long ago, before the light had fallen from the sky and cursed him with this incredible size.
That day, that first time he came out of the water following the change, Godzilla stood on the shore, looking out over the city. He kept his eyes at the level of the tallest buildings (though most of those had fallen), excitedly waiting to see the joyous expressions of the people, as they also grew to wondrous height. But the people did not grow; tragically, all that rose up were cries of anguish. With time, the city was rebuilt, but Godzilla, who up until his change had barely been noticed, remained an object of wrath. The apex of this wrath was the construction of Mechagodzilla, a robotic clone, the product of countless hours and yen. Godzilla was so shocked that he was this despised by the Japanese that he nearly lost the battle. Afterwards, he retired to the sea, afraid of what they might build next.
But before him now, finally, were others just like him. Those years he spent at the bottom of the sea, Godzilla had imagined moments such as these. In some of his imaginings, the people grew to be considerably larger than him, and placed him in a cage. He liked the idea that they might want to protect him, and that the children, who would be just his size, would laugh at the way he’d jump up to catch the apples they throw and blow smoke rings after he’d swallowed them.
He’d also tried imagining that the adults would grow to be the same size as him, in which case they certainly wouldn’t try to cage him. They would sympathize with him then, maybe even station a few of their tanks by the shore, for protection. Maybe compassion would spur them to try to find a way to communicate, and Godzilla would be eager to speak to them, there was so much he still didn’t understand, even after spending years at the bottom of the sea, wondering.
Meatloaf spoke to the other new mutants, something about how all mankind is responsible for Godzilla, that we all contribute to the hate and fear that could ultimately, even after the examples of many failed civilizations, lead one nation to bomb another, thereby unleashing a weapon whose consequences we barely understood; and now, as Providence and Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams would have it, we have been given the gift of enormous size, for the sole purpose of vanquishing this reminder of mankind’s contempt for mankind, etc. Then he kicked Godzilla in the belly.
There were five of them, and they got the jump on Godzilla, but as they had no fire-breathing ability and could only fight with their feet and fists (and a passing train Kamala lifted from the tracks), it is doubtful they could have prevailed if Godzilla had fought back.
One might have expected him to fight back, to be so filled with vengeance and disappointment that he’d dispatch the mutants and then level the city. But Meatloaf’s kick knocked the wind out of Godzilla, and he collapsed. As the others joined the attack, he was able to see into the windows of the peoples’ homes. No one was watching the battle. Men were scouring their homes looking for food, but finding none, while their women tried to soothe their withering children. As children were lost, Godzilla watched their mothers remove them from the bed, carry them to a different part of the house, and then return to comfort the living ones. Seeing this made Godzilla feel too tired to fight; he didn’t remember how he could have caused this, but he knew they would blame him. After all, it was to destroy him that these enormous people had been created, even though the effort was so great that it caused them to neglect their families. Did they despise him that much? After several minutes of being beaten by the mutants, the army arrived, and with their frontier missiles, metallic webs, and artificial lightning, they attacked Godzilla until the life was gone from him. The mutants and soldiers who were there laughed at Godzilla’s final roars, which sounded like growls, sighs, then whimpers.
By this time, Hamburglar had run almost to the sea. When he heard the cheers behind him, he looked back. William was no longer following him. He’d run out of fear and hadn’t yet bothered to think what to do once he stopped running. At first the seashore seemed the safest place to go, as it was far from the city, but then he remembered an episode on a beach where Ronald had thwarted him with a submarine. He might be approaching from the depths even at that moment. It was then that he realized he could not hide from Ronald, not by the sea, nor in outer space, nor in caves, nor by traveling back in time, or forward, nor by wearing a mask.
Hamburglar sat on the shore and wept. He must have sat there for some time, for the tide came in. He didn’t want to move at first; he felt the tide had been sent as a punishment, perhaps by Ronald. But something from the tide washed over him, covered him. It was a skin.
“What have you there?” the voice of Sun Woo Nomo, president of Happy Enterprises, said from behind Hamburglar, who wailed and struggled beneath it. This made Nomo laugh from inside his crane. “Let me help, you overgrown lobster.”
The crane pulled the skin off and held it into the wind. It was Godzilla’s skin, as Nomo suspected. “Happy Enterprises will now be Happy Wealthy Famous Enterprises, thanks to this discovery!” he proclaimed.
Hamburglar rose to his feet. He looked down at the crane and raised his foot with exaggerated slowness. “That will be the name,” Nomo continued, “once I pay you handsomely for this treasure!” Nomo tossed a few sacks of money at Hamburglar’s feet and drove away.
For a long time, Hamburglar just looked at those sacks. Then he smiled. He could use the money to purchase hamburgers, and there would be nothing Ronald could do about it, for they would legally be his. As he walked back toward the city the deflated hot-air balloon, filled with the thousands of hamburgers he stole, washed into the sea.
Nomo immediately tested Godzilla’s skin, intending to discover a way to genetically engineer another one, a comic Godzilla that could entertain children with its dancing and fire tricks, such as simultaneously lighting all the candles on a cake the size of their school or burning the name of the birthday boy or girl into a wall. Entertain the children, Nomo thought, then added, for a handsome sum.
What the tests revealed, tragically, would deprive the children of such wonderful entertainment. The skin had been shed recently, and had no trace of radioactivity. Within minutes this news was broadcast to televisions all across the city. It seems seeing Hamburglar entangled in Godzilla’s skin had caused Nomo to temporarily forget that many of the children in the city had starved already, or soon would, and that shamed him. Maybe no one would believe the broadcast, and he would blame himself if that happened, for he had used the specter of Godzilla to coerce these same people to buy his dishwasher soaps, attend his boat shows (and avoid those of his rivals) and donate their filaments to the army, for use in creating artificial lightning. He recalled last month’s expo, Boatasticus, which was cancelled after one day due to disinterest, despite the presence of Poseidon’s Canoe, a fleet, luxurious vessel powered by “mermicorns.” No, the people would have to see someone else eat Godzilla’s flesh before they believed. Nomo grabbed one of his cameraman and they drove to the site.
By this time the soldiers had all gone home, some to share the good news about Godzilla’s death and some to tend to their dying family members, and they wouldn’t know which would have which fate until they got there. Only the mutants remained. They were trying to figure out where to bury Godzilla; the only place that made any sense was the bottom of the sea. Then Nomo explained his findings to them.
“That’s wonderful,” Meatloaf said. “Maybe that’s the wrong word, this has been terrible any way you look at it, but it could be even worse.” Then, leaning down for the camera, he added: “You’ve pulled yourselves up from nothing before. You can do it again.”
As Meatloaf said this, Davy Hogan whispered into the Snooper’s ear: “Won’t we be next?” He wanted to laugh, but at that moment Nomo stuck his fork into Godzilla’s side and took a bite.
The mutants fled toward the sea, to the island where they now harmlessly reside. As they ran, they cried out for the people to turn on their televisions, and a few of them did so, went outside, and survived. They are pulling themselves up from nothing at this very moment, thanks in part to the whales, manatees, and dolphins that occasionally are found in the market square, in front of the newsstand. No, the Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots are no longer standing there (and it’s no longer the only newsstand in the city, either). One night, Davy and Hamburglar realized that they’d forgotten them, and decided to go back. They tried to explain about Monster Island, but the robots wouldn’t stop punching each other long enough to listen. Davy and Hamburglar turned them around, but, tragically, they started to run in opposite directions, still punching, in the hope that they’ll meet again someday and will be the first to land a mighty punch on the jaw, forcing the neck to stretch and make that funny noise.