Snufftoons, Ch. 2

The video game spacepod homed in on 898’s target.

The planet was shaped like a gigantic anvil, smooth and shiny black.  It tilted just so in the weightlessness of space, and covering its flat upper surface was a colorful city of shifty, wobbly buildings.  The cityscape was filled to bursting with alien creatures unlike any the invader had seen before.

The spacepod curved toward the far end of the city, touching down at the end a shiny black street.  898 exited the spacepod, which exploded and scattered into a million bright digi-blocks that disintegrated into the air behind him.

Standing at the very edge of the street, the edge of the planet, 898 took in the city.  The citizens of the city were smooth and colorful, moving in fluid jolts and jerks.  Indeed, everything was animated, and even the buildings were alive, transforming into gigantic robots that stomped through the streets and resituated themselves into other parts of town.  Everything laughed and sang and literally bounced off of walls.

898 remembered the dossier for this invasion.  These natives were cartoons, creatures that thrived on violence and madness.

He watched as flocks of elephants flew overhead, gliding on huge ears and making nests in the crevices of the living buildings.  Smiling cars raced through the streets, often crashing into buildings or crowds of toons.  Every street sign, traffic light, and bus stop was alive and kicking.

898 considered his invasion.  The toons weren’t to be outright slaughtered.  Inpire merely wanted them under control.  He saw toons running around frantically, bashing one another with giant mallets.  Their rubbery bodies seemed to absorb whatever punishment they took.

The cartoons wouldn’t die easily anyway.  This wouldn’t be so hard.  Besides, 898 was willing to beat these maniacs into submission with his bare hands if he had to.  They were standing between him and his promotion.

He hurried down the street, keeping low, careful to avoid any attention.  He took cover behind a parking meter that screamed gibberish at him and spat out coins.  The coins grew tiny legs and arms as they sailed through the air, then pinged against the sidewalk and ran away in all directions, some getting run over or stepped on by bigger cartoons.

A herd of cartoon televisions with actual rabbit ears came hopping through the streets.  Most of them were run over or stepped on as well.  And through it all no one noticed 898.  He was just another colorful character in a town of shiny maniacs.

The toons relished in violence, but it achieved no end.  They smashed one another into springy accordion shapes, or dropped pianos on one another’s skulls, and it seemed to 898 that they did it all just for fun.  The concept of fun made the invader cringe.  These cartoons were among the most primitive natives he’d ever encountered.

“Alright then, what’s this?” said a thickly-accented voice.

898 turned to see a tall cartoon rabbit standing over him.  The rabbit had bright orange fur and wore a blue police uniform.  “I’m Ranger Rabbit,” it said.  “I’m the sheriff ‘round here!  What’re you doin’ here, lad?  Who are you t’be wanderin’ round the streets wit’ yer big fancy ray gun?”

“I’m no one,” said 898, hiding his Doomshooter behind his back.

“Oh are ye, now?” said Ranger Rabbit.  “I’ve never heard of a Mister No One.  And I suppose you’ve traveled quite far to get here, eh?  Might’ve taken a wrong turn, eh?”

898 stared at the sheriff for a few moments.  These cartoons were obviously insane, and any interaction with them would prove futile.  Not killing them might be harder than he thought.  “I have to be on my way,” said 898.  “Please leave me alone.” 

He began backing away, but the orange rabbit stalked after him.  “Oh wait a minute there, laddio,” it said, wagging a finger.  “I’m placin’ ye under arrest for refusal to engage in toon shenanigans!”

“I’m not a toon,” 898 said, but Ranger Rabbit crept closer, grasping at him with bulbous white-gloved hands.  898 switched the dial on his Doomshooter from ‘lethal’ to ‘restraint’ and fired at the rabbit.

A large bubble grew from the ray gun’s nozzle and collided with Ranger Rabbit.  But instead of bursting, the bubble engulfed the toon and held him fast.  898 turned and hurried away as the bubble containing the orange rabbit floated off into the air.

Floating over the street, Ranger Rabbit kicked and flailed at the clear wetness, but the bubble held fast.  The toon thrashed around, faster and faster, and soon it spun into an orange tornado.  The bubble quivered and quaked and finally burst with a wet splash.  Ranger Rabbit dropped back down to the sidewalk, throwing his hands wide and screaming “Ta da!”

The invader turned just in time to see the rabbit charging at him.  The toon pounced through the air, and in a split second Ranger Rabbit grew long fangs, his fur turned spiky, and his eyes became wild red spirals.  898 quickly dialed the Doomshooter back to ‘lethal’ and fired.  The rabbit chomped into the ray gun’s nozzle just as a cloud of deadly shrapnel blasted from it.

The Doomshooter was bitten in half.  Twisty wires spat sparks from both halves.  898 dropped the handle remaining in his hand and backed away.

Ranger Rabbit’s head had been blown off, but there was no blood spurting into the air.  There was now a stump of bright and ragged orange, with smaller orange bits splattered across the sidewalk.  The toon’s body crumpled to the ground, limp and dead.

Then there came a burst of sound from the corpse.  It sounded like laughter, and it spread into the air like mist.  The laughting surrounded 898’s bulbous green head and echoed through his tiny ear holes and into his mind.

He staggered away from the scene.  Everything twirled and buzzed and blurred.  He looked down at the little sliver of green flesh that sprouted from betwixt his legs.  It sat still and quiet, and yet his mind rushed with joy.  He never knew he could have pleasure without using his trumpet.

The cartoons bled pure joy.  That’s what the dossier meant.  Inpire wanted to conquer this planet, harness the toonblood, and sell it throughout the galaxy for a fortune.  The drug planets would go crazy for it.

898 looked around.  He hurried away, though the cartoons on the street hardly seemed to notice Ranger Rabbit’s murder.


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