15 – Reality Celebrity Clone Wars
Somewhere in the Forest,
Whatever it was looked rabid, running violently and with purpose. Dasher looked at the rapidly approaching figure and noticed it was none other than Steve Harvley, another one of the countless daytime television show hosts with a hell of a mustache and teeth the same size and consistency of fingers. Unlike his rival counterpart, who looked exactly like him in most ways, this particular daytime television host wore a brutal hairpiece over his shining bald head. The piece was always crudely sewn on and hanging on for dear life on television, and it was no different now – the nutria hair toupee hung on for dear life as the clone tore down the hill.
“Dasher, what the hell is going on over there?” Kibby said anxiously.
“We got company,” replied Dasher. “You know that clone that dissolved in my hands earlier? I think we got another one, and he doesn’t look as happy as he does hosting the New Year’s Eve ball drop.”
“Popov must have started flipping the kill switch on these things already!” replied Kibby as he attempted to unhook himself unsuccessfully.
“Stay put Kibby, this won’t take long,” said Dasher as he went to fetch his shotgun.
When he turned around, several more C-list celebrity clones were tearing across the field. He wondered where the hell these things were coming from; they were approaching faster than he anticipated. The entire cast of the show Duck Franchise, along with the Property Siblings, were all descending upon them. He did not have time to unhook anyone. He fetched an enormous Desert Eagle 5.0 and handed it to poor little Terry Dasher; his hands disappeared behind the huge handle and trigger.
“Son, one day you will grow up and disappoint everyone; don’t let that day be today,” Dasher said to Terry, who looked up at him with his doughy eyes, barely able to hold the 50-caliber handgun in his trembling tiny hands.
“If you pull the trigger, the gun shoots. Aim for the whites of the eyes,” said Duke, without advising much else in the way of gun safety, such as expected recoil or the emotional toll of murdering someone. The clones were now close enough to smell. That awful sulfurous smell filled the air and Duke hoisted his shotgun up, preparing for a barrage. Terry stood nonchalantly beside him, unable to grasp the gravity of the situation.
“On my signal Terry,” said Duke. Terry’s hands began visibly shaking. He used every ounce of energy and strength in his body to hoist the gun up to shoulder level.
“Up to this point in your life, you’ve been a burden to everyone you’ve ever met. Today you change that Terry. Today you become a man in the eyes of God, and by extension, me,” continued Dasher in a terrible attempt to instill some confidence in the young soldier.
The clones were twenty-five yards away and closing fast. Dasher continued the hold position, refusing to budge an inch. The other three already strapped into the drone filled the air with terrified shrieking as they struggled to undo the harness Dasher had placed them in. The entire scene would have crumpled any normal man, let alone child, but Terry Dasher held the line with this dad. He did not have any other choice.
“Hold…..hold…..hold…NOW!” Duke yelled directly into Terry’s ear. Both of the Dasher boys let one rip just as Steve Harvley and both of the Property Siblings were mere inches from where they stood.
Duke’s shotgun blast ripped through the heads of both Property Siblings; their corpses went limp, but the momentum carried them several feet past Duke towards where the drone sat. The bodies slid and nudged into the foot of Kibby, who looked down and instantly threw up spastically, only adding to the mess that now inhabited the space below him. The clone’s faces twitched furiously; they looked up at him and repeated the phrase ‘help me’ until spewing a skin-toned liquid all over Kibby and dying – an image that would later consume Kibby and ruin his life in the coming years.
Terry’s bullet blasted through the torso of Steve Harvley, who also skidded right past the two onto the ground next to the drone. Dasher walked up and finished the job, blowing an enormous hole through Steve Harvley’s face as Terry looked on, his eyes tearing up.
“Darnit Terry. I told you to aim for the eyes!” said Duke disappointed. But after looking at the sad face of Terry, he added sympathetically, “But you did maim him! And your old man got another kill to add to his body count.”
More clones were populating the field now and sprinting in the same manner as the group Duke and his son had just put down.
“Let’s ride Terry!” Duke screamed as he picked Terry up and sprinted for the drone.
He strapped Terry in and grabbed one of the skis while simultaneously calling Watley and telling him to get them out of there. The clones were closing in quickly and Dasher wondered if this was where they all died. He cursed Watley and thought that maybe he had picked the wrong man for the job. Just as Dasher began telling Watley that his cowardice was the reason his wife left him and there was no chance in hell he was getting into heaven, the drone slowly rose from the ground. Several clones were just below and reached up, clawing and biting at their ankles and legs. Stacy booted someone in the face, who might not have even been a clone, rather just one of the women on ABC’s The View, knocking them back to the ground as the drone gained height. Although the drone was definitely not equipped to carry this many people, it left rather unceremoniously, slowly and painfully hauling the group of five towards Washington D.C. where the final showdown for the soul of the United States was set to take place.
In the Air,
The group of five hovered in silence for what seemed like forever. Dangling like sausages in a rarely visited butcher’s shop window in Northern Indiana, they each tried to make sense of what had just happened in their own way. Virtually everything that had just unfolded was unprecedented and made them all question the future of the country and their place in the universe.
Being hastily strapped into a budget drone from RadioShack, bought and navigated by a man whose life seemed to be mentally and physically unraveling, did not help matters. The current circumstance forced everyone to reflect heavily on his or her own mortality. Except for Duke, who was still stewing about Terry’s the imperfect shot and the prospect of the country falling into the hands of a Russian clone army. The whir of the drone provided the soundtrack for their extremely uncomfortable ride to Washington, D.C.
“Hey Duke?” Kibby asked, finally breaking the oppressive silence. “You ever think that Terry is going to be permanently scarred and incapable of living a normal life after what just happened?”
Duke thought for a moment. “Disappointing your dad is a burden that you’ll carry with you forever. He knows he should have hit that shot better and though our relationship is severely damaged and we’ll likely be emotionally distant until I’m in a hospital bed begging for his forgiveness, he’ll get through it. Hell, I did,” replied Dasher, ignoring the potential emotional impact of Terry being forced to shoot a celebrity clone at the ripe age of eight.
The odd specificity of the comment created a dismal sentiment inside Kibby in more ways than he could even comprehend. Dasher had just displayed, for the first time, a heartbreaking realization of emotional intelligence and his flippancy with which it was delivered sent Kibby into an existential crisis. Dasher chuckled at the prospect of a lifetime of confused resentment; love is not what kept families together. Respect, and the perpetual quest for validation, was.
“Ain’t that right son!” yelled Dasher over the drone’s engines. Terry looked blankly forward, perhaps unaware that a question had even been posed to him. Dasher reached out and tousled the hair of Terry’s motionless head in an attempt to stir a reaction, but Terry’s head didn’t budge. It was impossible to tell if his brain could even remotely comprehend what had happened.
“Stacy, that was a heck of a boot! That thing’s jaw fell clean off!” yelled Dasher.
“I’m not even sure that was a clone! It looked like someone from The View had just gotten lost in the woods and was looking for a lift to D.C.!”
The group offered a barely audible laugh, some of them opening their mouths, yet unsure if any noise came out. Somehow, the pitiless death of another potential clone did not seem that comical in the grand scheme of things. Dasher turned around and attempted to recreate the face of the clone who had seized and vomited all over Kibby. His face contorted violently and a blood vessel visibly blew in the middle of his forehead; he gasped for air as though a plastic bag covered his head.
Everyone politely offered the same grin, similar to that of a coworker exiting a bathroom stall after an embarrassingly long dump. Kibby and Serone exchanged glances, wondering if the man who had already seemed on the brink of a breakdown had finally snapped. They were quick to settle themselves though; reminiscing about the atrocities and ignorance committed up until this point, they realized he was as unchanging as ever.
The rest of the flight passed without incident.