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Big Ron Automaton
Motherboard #5.A
© 2023 James LaFond
MAY/5/24
The steely canes rang on the still intact sidewalk.
Someone was crutching along out front—some rotten gimp! I need to wake up and send him down the way.
The infuriating crutching continued.
He forced himself awake, and as he woke, the concrete rushed up to coldly kiss his face.
He woke with a rushing of waters, to the cawing of crows above, a small plastic voice intruding on his dreamless slumber, his face pressed against cool concrete, “Hamslice! Get da fuck up. Da roof tops be crowded with crows.”
Something was wrong with his right eye. It felt like bent metal between his cheek and forehead and the hard concrete.
Opening his left eye, he saw a rabbit crouched next to him, a rabbit wearing a back pack with a little red blinker on top of an antenna, wires going into the rabbit brain from the pack.
“Am I a rabbit?” drooled the prone fool.
“Bro,” rang the little voice, “you need ta ged da flock up and down da way—‘member, you got money ta spend at the bar en you promised to take me. Mamma don’t led me go ta no bar.”
He snarled and the rabbit cringed as he pushed himself up on his palms, noting that his wrists were strapped into gimp crutches, then—no, there was no right leg.
He groaned, ‘That missing leg hurts like hell!’
He was soon up on his foot and the two crutches, one looking like a drill bit on the front and the right one having a meat hook on the end.
He looked down at the rabbit, “Where to?”
“Down the way. You gotz ta clear any junk on da sidewalk en asphalt track, where Mamma do roll.”
He looked around and could scarcely believe his eyes. Except for the house the vine covered brick house he was in front of, the houses were all overgrown ruins, mostly busted down on this block. Trees had crushed some houses. Many had been gutted and burned. A great heap of stacked cars crowded the intersection just ahead. Another heap of vehicles marked the intersection with the main street at the bottom of the slight incline.
“Click,” rang the hook.
“Clack,” sounded the drill bit.
“Clonk,” thudded the boot.
The waker above drooled from his mouth, his white beard sweeping across the sunken and bandaged chest, the mind within wondering why he was not cold, what with the snow flurries coming down.
And the rabbit led the way, the back back giving words of encouragement, cheering the crutching gimp with suggestions of heroic identity:
“Old Crutchenstein,
“Hamslice the Yardarian,
“Rabbit Jack leadin’ da way…
“Daddy O’ Rabbit Alley!
“We commin’ fo yer IPA.”
The waker, now the walker, cleared the scraps of junk blown or tumbled in some wheeled way, mumbling, “No woman should have to walk such a place.”
“Amen,” declared Rabbit Jack, “the worl done gone ta hell.”
“What a mess,” he mumbled, “what the hell happened?”
The rabbit provided a record of sorts:
“First the Crash.
Den da Blight.
Den da Ban.
Den da phone Kill—goboment done shut us litttles out da net.
At last, came da Flash…
“En here we fuggin’ be, broke-ass you en lille ass me.”
“Thank you, Jack—quite the historian for a rabbit.”
The crows and vultures all around, seemed hungrily disappointed.
“Click,
Clack,
Clomp…”
A green trash bin shook, and the lid shivered as the downthewayfarers halted. Out of that can scurried first one great rat, then another, then a tumbling horde of greasy fiends, a black one stopping and looking up at Poppy, twitching its nose, noting something unsavory about the scent, and scurried on as the rear guard of what must have been a company of some hundred rats, towards the nearest ruin.
Rabbit Jack commented, “They da dang winners o’ dis whole thing.”
The old walker of many weird names then sounded in a strange narrative tone, “The meek have not inherited the world. It seems the scions of Western Civilization scurry beneath our very feet.”
“Wow,” broadcast the backpack, “that shit was profound.”
The man agreed, cued by his nibbling companion, “And so was Prometheus bound.”
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