The woman I knew as Root Beer Float set us on course and to say we made good time would be an understatement.
We pulled up along what looked to be a barren stretch of beachfront where she killed the motor and beached the boat. My rescuer, Mack Sauer, motioned to me to the port side where we stepped off and into the calf deep water. Cherry Soda followed and we three gave Ms. Float a shove back into the water. “Red Vines should be wating for us about 100 meters from here, Mack.” said Ms. Soda as she wandered into the reeds.
Sure enough, there was a woman waiting for us.
“Oh, Professor! You look terrible!” she said.
“Don’t talk to him, Red, he’s not really much for conversation right now.” Mack said, though I was positive I could think up something pleasant to talk about. “Let’s get him to the safehouse and see if we can clean him up a bit before I take him to see The McManager. There’s a car there, I hope?”
“Yes, we got you a car that I’m sure will be suitable for you, Mack.” said Ms. Red Vines. “Don’t worry Professor. I’ll help you get all cleaned up.”
After clearing what felt like a truckload of gravel from my throat I was able to manage a “Thank you, miss.” as we walked towards whatÂ I saw now was a bungalow.
Now comes a very painful admission. When I got into my room in the house and looked in the mirror, to say that I looked like a drag queen on acid would be an understatement. They had shaved my face and then applied the most garish makeup I have ever seen.Â Two or three days ofÂ facial hair had grown back through this makeup, which had smeared with the torture I had gone through. I had appraently bled profusely from my nose,Â chest and back, biceps and thighs from whatever it was they had done to me. I wondered no longerÂ why I hurt everywhere.
Ms. Red Vines (or Candy, asÂ I later learned) was true to her word and by the time we were done, I looked 200% better, though still only about 75% of my regular self.
Mack had gotten cleaned up as well, with some help from Ms. Soda, and was waiting for me in the kitchen area. “Eat up, John. This is going be a bit of a long ride.”
Like he had to tell me twice. Just the site of something edible reminded me that I hadn’t eaten in days.
Having both eaten, Mack led me out to the garage. “They got me what I asked for. I knew you were important, John, but damn if I ain’t finally happy to have gotten this assignment. Say hello to HVAC.”
I said hello and she handed him the keys. Candy and Cherry made their way into the garage and waved us off as well pulled out and down the driveway.
As we made our way to the main highway, Mack started to tell me exactly what was going on.
“Ok John, after you were kidnapped fromÂ that bar in Taos, New Mexico and smuggled to Texas. I’ll tell you by who in a minute, but first I need to know if youÂ remember who it was that you were with.” I answered in the negative. “Damn. We’ll have to give you someÂ unpleasant memory enhancing drugs after you talk to the McManager then. This is very important. We need to get that person or persons off the street, and quickly.” Mack looked very concerned and I told him that if I could just get a little more information as to what was going on, I’d spend the rest of the journey searching my memory.
“Sounds likeÂ a deal. Here’s the lowdown, and don’t laugh: The Chinese are trying to take over the world and they need you to be able to do it. They have bred themselves to the point where genetics are starting to work against them. Not inbreeding so much as they just don’t have the genetic power to make their women voluptuous any longer. Here…” and he pulled a 5×7 photo from the console and handed it to me.
“That is China’s new top model. That is the best they can turn out. I think you can see the deficiencies.”
He was right. I was shocked at the lack of development.Â I asked about exercise and nutrition and will power, and Mack replied that according to all the data they had been able to find, this was the best booty they Chinese were going to be able to create for the forseeable future.
“TheyÂ have your methodology and this is the best they can turn out. They need you. The Chinese already have the economic strength, the military and spy network and the sheer numbers to take over most of the world. But there will be holdouts on both the technology and and diplomatic fronts that they can only get to via the ways of women. If their women aren’t up to the task, then everything else will be moot.”
“Without you, they would have to destroy the world to succeed and for them, it isn’t worth winning if all they get is a wasteland. Without you, they have nothing.”
I sat there thinkingÂ about what Mack had said. Suddenly things from my last night in Taos started to very slowly filter in.
“You need to get some rest. We’ll be at HQ in four hours and those drugs you’ll have to take will not be pleasant.”
I agreed, turned to watch the nothingness of the Texas countryside and was asleep within minutes.