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Last Poker Night Ever

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 18:00:23 -0400
Subject: Last Poker Night Ever
From: blake
To: poker-night

There I was, at the edge of the desert.  I never thought the desert
would end like this.  Total oblivion.  Behind me, the comfort of
endless sand dunes and the ever present scorching sun.  Ahead, vacuum
and darkness.  I decided to take the weekend to think over what I
should do next.  Obviously, I had trekked across the endless sand and
ever present scorching sun for more days than I could remember, but was
I truly ready to plunge into the abyss?  I cracked open my last fifth
of Sapphire, cut up a lime that was ready to declare itself an
oversized raison, pulled the tonic out of the small cooler in my
backpack.  I figured it was time to sit and think for a while.

While I was enjoying my gin and tonic, sitting on the edge of the abyss
and staring into the darkness, I started to hear what sounded like a
million giant spiders marching through the sand.  A casual glance over
my shoulder confirmed my suspicions, these suckers were huge, and
heading straight for me!  They must have followed the trail of spent
lime wedges and empty bottles I’d left in my wake, though to what end?
What could an army of a million giant spiders want with someone like
me?  I could only assume they were after the gin.

I dug around in my pack for the small plasma gun I had won in a game of
chance not long ago, in a small settlement on the other side of this
vast desert.  The people there were nice, and some of the women folk
were actually quite attractive.  They asked me to stay with them, to
help them tend their fields and maintain their solar power array.  It
wasn’t a bad offer, in this day and age the smart man takes whatever
job offer he can get, but I declined.  There was somewhere I needed to
be, and if my compass was working correctly and my maps were all
accurate I should be very close now, but I have no trust in the
compass, which I had witnessed dancing in circles in the middle of the
night, and the maps had been drawn up by cracked out genetically
modified sentient monkeys.  I shoved them violently to the side and
found the gun sitting neatly at the very bottom of the bag.

The spiders were close enough now that I could see individual hairs on
their giant legs.  The legs themselves seemed to be about as thick as a
human torso.  I supposed I didn’t have much of a chance of defeating
them all, but perhaps if I could just take out a few of them the rest
would leave me alone.  I drew the plasma gun up with my right hand as
my left snaked out to find where I had left my drink.  I brought the
glass up to my lips and took a long swig to steady my nerves, aimed the
gun, and fired.  The nearest spider was hit in the abdomen, just to the
left of its giant terrifying head, and it immediately turned itself
inside out, spider juice exploding from the scene, disembodied legs
blasting into the air, twitching on the ground after they landed,
sprinkled with flames and oozing goo.  Some of the other spiders were
hit with shrapnel from their explosive comrade, but none seemed to take
any notice.  They continued to march towards me without missing a beat.
I took aim and fired again.  The sound was something like a cross
between a thunderclap and a watermelon full of jell-o colliding with
the head of a politician at high speed.  Some of the goo hit the ground
in front of me and my first thought was to cover my drink.  I took
another long swallow, then held the glass with my palm covering the top
while I annihilated three more spiders.  The rest of them continued to
advance.  I emptied my glass and threw it at the nearest spider, now
less than fifteen meters away.  The glass shattered against the spiders
hard, chitinous brow and the dregs of my precious gin and tonic stung
it in one of its eight hideous eyes.  I started to aim my plasma gun at
the spider when it suddenly froze, then collapsed.  The other spiders
stopped as well, and the few closest to the fallen spider marched up to
him and appeared to start digging out the eye which had been splattered
with gin and tonic with their giant mandibles.  When the eye had been
removed a fight broke out, suddenly a million giant spiders were
fighting for the giant eye, creating a swarming hairy peak of spider
mass, like ants on a two year old covered in honey.  I knew they were
after my gin.  I made sure the bottle was tightly sealed, as I
suspected it was the smell of the gin in my drink which had drawn the
army of spiders in the first place.

I didn’t know how much power the little plasma gun had in it, but I
figured it was as good a time as any to find out.  I clicked and
scrolled my way through and unimaginably stupid user interface, nearly
setting the gun to self destruct twice, but finally found the power
setting, a sub-menu under volume control for the built in audio file
player.  I set the gun to full power, heard the assuring whine of
capacitors taking charge.  The pitch of the whine increased, passing
out of my range of hearing, then several seconds later the little green
light began to flash, indicating that the little gun was ready to rage
screaming plasma death on the writhing pile of spiders in front of me.
I considered taking a swig of gin, for luck, then thought about what
that pile of spiders would look like from underneath and thought better
of it.  I concentrated on not burping.  I fired the little gun at what
I estimated to be the center of mass of the spider pile.  The
atmosphere shrieked in protest as a steady beam of sworling purple and
pink plasma flowed out of the nubby little barrel of the gun at an
astonishing rate.  The mass of spiders burst into flame and exploded
violently, ejecting flaming spider goo and disembodied legs in all
directions.  Several spiders were thrown away from the giant mass fully
intact, but all were on fire.  Many flew threw the air, eight arms
akimbo and turning softly head over abdomen, right over my head and
into the abyss behind me.  I watched the flaming spiders as they
entered what I had assumed to be vacuum, but the flames continued to
burn but the trajectory of the spiders was tangential to the curvature
of what would have been their fall back to the surface.  As the flaming
spiders which had been thrown in all other directions were pulled back
to the planetary surface the spiders in the abyss seemed to continue to
rise, gaining no velocity in any direction.  All around flaming spiders
were hitting the desert floor and popping open like poorly made pinatas
at a pedophile’s birthday party.

I surveyed the scene, all the spiders seemed to be dead.  A few limbs
here and there were twitching on the ground, and there was fire
everywhere, but I seemed to be out of immediate danger.  I took a swig
of gin.  Then, I took several more.  It was warm.  Gin doesn’t like to
be warm.  My little plasma gun was flashing a red light at me.  Seems I
had burnt it out, probably fried a few relays.  I tried setting it to
its lowest setting and pulled the trigger.  It sputtered, then started
playing some Britney Spears hit song.  I threw it into the abyss.
Britney’s voice grew weaker as the gun drifted further away.  The abyss
was now dotted with stars, each one a giant spider on fire.

And so I jumped into the Abyss, clutching the bottle of gin to my
chest, realizing too late that I should have brought a straw.  I fell
asleep.  I dreamt of giant spiders.  When I woke up I was surrounded by
small octopuses.  One of them produced a long straw from thin air, and
the others clapped their tentacles together, making a sort of “slup
slup slup” sound.  The octopus offered me the straw, and I took it
gladly.  I had been away for a full minute by then and figured it was
time to start drinking.  The octopuses each performed a little magic
trick, some did card tricks, one removed one of its tentacles and then
reattached it.  The best trick was also the last trick.  The octopus
that had given me the straw waved its tentacles around wildly and all
the others disappeared with a little “poof” sound.  Suddenly we were
sitting in a cafe and the barista was placing little coffee mugs filled
with steaming black sludge on the table in front of us.

I took a sip from the mug.  It was very strong, very hot espresso.  The
octopus downed his in one shot and the barista reappeared with another.
I figured this octopus knew a lot more about what was going on than I
did, so I waited for it to make some kind of move, sipping my espresso
while it downed three more shots.  I noticed a faint glow emanating from
the octopuses mantle.  I was certain it had not been there before.  As
it continued to drink more and more espresso the glow became brighter.
The barista and the other entities in the cafe didn’t seem to notice as
the octopus became the brightest thing in the room, then so bright I
had to look away.  I had the sensation that the octopus was rising into
the sky, and I watched as my shadow grew shorter, confirming my theory.
Soon the light was so bright the entire room seemed to be glowing
white.  The windows of the cafe were spots of comparably dark blue.  I
could see the sun in one of them, it was only halfway visible through
the window and gave the impression of the window being an imperfect
rectangle, having a semicircle subtracted from its area.  I closed my
eyes.  Even then all I could see was white.  I brought my hands up to
cover my face.  Bright light seeped in, it seemed there was no escape.
Suddenly, everything was black.  I thought I had gone blind.  I
uncovered my face and opened my eyes.  All I could see was a little
orange light.  I reached out for it, my hand hit something.  I felt
something hard, and lightly textured.  I bumped something and suddenly
the space in front of me came to life with that all too familiar whine,
followed by a crackle, and a bright rectangle of light formed before my
eyes, just above the orange light, which had suddenly turned green.

“Shit,” I said to myself, “It’s Thursday afternoon, and I still need to
write the poker night email.”  I took another swig of gin, and started
writing.

POKER NIGHT!
TONIGHT!
DANGERHAUS!

“first hand at nine”

DANGERHAUS NEEDS GIN!
(and beer, too)

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