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A Broken Heart in Hell
Beyond Rainbow Bridge Chapter 6
The Death and Rebirth of Rick Pensky
The Wicked Witch of the West manually kicked them out of the Rainbow Bridge Please Fund Me site, and Rick found himself standing next to Mike in his bed, with his gravity vacuum diaper sucking away, and the good person that was Mike under that mountain of socially prescribed sloth shone through in word, “Rick, Bro, I’m so sorry.”
Rick intoned hollowly, “Can you get me in there before they kill her?”
“It will take me a couple hours. I’ve been in and out of this site. Any friction that might conflict with upload, once a patient has agreed—”
“Motherfucker, she’s a child! Agree to what!” roared Rick.
Mike began to cry and started whining, “I knew it was bullshit, Bro. I just want to be gone—it was nice to believe I’d be on a generation ship with Brill Yates. Besides, I can’t use my body anymore and they tell you about how many African kids you can save with your organs being harvested to be reparations for the slavery—it made me feel like a little more than whale shit.”
“Motherfucker, how long!” snarled Rick, as his iron fingers squeezed into and through Mike’s massive arm and found bone, which began to bend and give and hurt.
Mike blubbered, “She is already sedated. They are pressurizing the room, drawing down the temp and sending in the harvesting team. They will not pull the plug until she is denuded of all internal organs, and her eyes—her skin will be used for sickle cell research… Rick, buddy, she’s gone in ten minutes. If you had a jet pack you couldn’t get there in time.”
Rick was streaming tears, red with rage and racked with silent sobs.
After a time, he looked coolly at Mike, and Mike knew fear, fear born of seeing a brokenhearted man, a super sweet guy—remaster his shattered self with a snarl, and a roll of his shoulders and wrists. Mike thought to himself, Did I just see my only friend die inside and come back as a demon?
“What can I do, Rick?”
Rick stood, ominous in his brown shoe polish and intoned, “Who facilitates this?”
“The medical corporations, owned by the banks and the oil sheiks, the billionaires, the infotech moguls.”
Rick hissed, “How do they keep us inside, force our loved ones into hospitals, send lonely little girls across imaginary bullshit bridges—how do they do that?”
Mike thought out loud, running through the enemies list of humanity, or what was left of it as it teetered into oblivion, “Cops, safety officers, medical warrants—that means doctors—courts, the National Guard, all the intelligence agencies—its millions of willing executioners, Bro.”
Rick steeled, and his skin was less disturbed by the raised veins under his shoe polish tan. His voice was like ice, “I don’t want your credit. I’ve got today, maybe tomorrow. Make me a cop, Mike. Find me a fucking PIG my height and weight—if they aren’t all piles of blubber now, and get me his address. A black cop. The shoe polish might as well stay on.”
Mike whined, “Okay, Rick. I need about an hour. I’ve got some fried chicken on the way in ten minutes. You can get into your role while I pick you out a live identity. Bro, you kill this dude and you’re him, alright. If you don’t mind, I’ll patch in through his body cam. Fuck Rainbow Bridge! We’re going to burn this bitch down.”
Rick looked straight into the screen as the roll call of potential live identities scrolled by and he pointed at a SWAT leader, about half his age, “Fuck yeah, Carl Weathers from the Predator movie. That’s me, get me his file.”
Rick then absently handled Care Bear, picking him up, as his eyes and sinuses drained their last drops and the bear spoke in Dandelion’s voice, “Hello, I know who!”
“What,” asked Rick, “am I going insane?”
Mike blubbered, “Bro, you been nuts since 2021 as far as I can tell. That teddy bear is part of the Cuddle Huddle series. He recorded both of you, an interactive media companion.”
Rick looked amazed at the pink teddy bear he had so lovingly decked out after Mike had bought him for Dandelion and muttered, “Her voice, her words, at least some of them, some of her…”
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