Monday, November 05, 2012

Heavy Metal Pizza : Chapter One

HEAVY METAL PIZZA

CHAPTER ONE: THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE RETURN OF HEAVY METAL PIZZA (STARRING YARMULKER)
(or: A True Story About A Man With Guts)

{PART ONE - YARMULKER}

"God must have been looking the other way the day I was born," thought Yarmulker aloud, as he fell hurtling toward the Earth from a speeding stealth jet.
He knew that he should have thought twice before dealing with Jack Hogan and his gang of international arms smugglers. here he was, yet again faced with imminent demise. Even in the seconds spent regretting his business dealings, he was wasting valuable time... thinking quickly, Yarmulker produced a grappling hook from his belt and aimed with 'faith to the wind' at a flagpole. He got a good feeling when he saw the good 'ol stars and bars smiling back at him.
"At least Hogan dropped me off in the U.S. of A.!" Yarmulker thought as he fell to the Earth. After the long trip from Dubai, Yarmulker was concerned that Hogan may have been trying to export him to his foes in Red China.
Hogan's men were already waiting underneath him ... loading their HF34 laser-guided cannons, with sleek black art deco design and minimalism-inspired heat seeking missiles. Yarmulker always appreciated the sleek maneuverability of Hogan's weapons. He often wished that he himself could have such fancy gear, an inclination that drew him closer and closer to Jack Hogan's web of intrigue. If Yarmulker had one interest in life, it was that he was always looking for a way to acquire larger and larger weapons. It was a practice that he felt was important for psychological impact, and in addition to the logistic reasons it also made it feel stronger and more confident.
Yarmulker could picture the first time he had met Hogan as if it were yesterday. He remembered almost everything like it was yesterday, except for tomorrow, which he could remember like it was earlier today. Yarmulker had trained under Hogan as the prize pupil in the same international strike-force that now had him on the run. From the very beginning, Yarmulker's harder-than-nails attitude rubbed Hogan the wrong way. Back in his training days, Hogan had once confronted Yarmulker, after a long day of running through tires and firing heavy artillery.

(CUE FUZZY FLASHBACK STYLE CAMERA FILTER... 'MULK AND HOGAN FACE OFF WITH ONE ANOTHER ON A MISTY MILITARY TRAINING GROUND, AS THE SOUND OF ARTILLERY FIRE EXPLODES IN THE BACKGROUND)

HOGAN: "I've seen a lotta grunts come through here with a lotta attitude, but none with a crabapple stuck in their craw the way you do, 'Mulker. Why do you have to be so dang mean all the time?"

YARMULKER: "You want me to be nice??? Me, Yarmulker? I tried that once. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I held the door open for a lady at the post office. I just stood there waiting, a polite smile on my face and straining my arm to make a friendly gesture. She just walked right by and used the other door, Hogan. Not so much as a thank you or a look in the eyes."

(UNCOMFORTABLE PAUSE. SWEAT DRIPS DOWN 'MULK'S FACE. HOGAN HAS NO REACTION)

"I stood there for almost an entire minute, putting myself on the line for the world to see. I risk my life out there every day for scum like that who can't even appreciate my polite gestures, and you want me to be NICE? You got a lot of nerve, Hogan."

('MULK WALKS OFF IN A HUFF, LEAVING BEHIND AN UNAFFECTED JACK HOGAN. FADE BACK TO PRESENT.)

Back in the present time, Yarmulker swung with grace, using his grappling hook as a lasso on the flagpole. He waved a hearty 'hello' at the "ol' Red-White-and-Blue," swinging valiantly over his foes in a photogenic manner. Triumphant orchestral music began to swell in the air, seemingly from nowhere, highlighting the daring nature of his victorious escape with a bleating Wagnerian refrain. Hogan's men were stunned by the sudden dramatic music and the overall majestic nature of Yarmulker in general.
Hogan's men fired at 'Mulk in vain, somehow avoiding the large and sweaty visage of our hero. Yarmulker's bullets had tiny little eyes that found their targets precisely, penetrating their victims multiple times before causing their bodies to explode. Frankly, it looked totally awesome. He swung across purple mountains majesties, and saw a rocket's red glare, and then abruptly collided with the glass window of the cafeteria at the National Stamp Archive building.
He tumbled through the shards right in the middle of the employee's lunch break. Amidst shattered glass and confused onlookers, Yarmulker found himself in a situation where he had to quickly devise a plan. 'Mulk was very concerned about the fates of all of the innocent workers at the National Stamp Archive. 'Mulk knew that Hogan and his international strike force would not let up unless a display of ultimate force was put into motion. Always inspired by the archaic battle methods of the midaeval era, Yarmulker stormed into the kitchen of the NSA and pulled off his bullet belt, telling the cooks to give him as much boiling oil that they could provide... then, climbing on top of the building, he poured it with great might on Hogan's men from above. The hot burning oil rained down on the men, searing their sleek black uniforms and melting off their skin. An intense smell of muscles boiling off of bone and skin filled the air, causing many of the workers to become sick.
With his hair flapping in the wind, Yarmulker yelled "You'll never take me alive, Jack Hogan!!!"
Louder and louder the triumphant music exploded through the air, as Yarmulker fired at the men, unnecessarily damaging their writhing, dying bodies further in a maniacal display of firepower. The growing torrent of burning oil turned Hogan's international strike force into a cannibal's teriyaki weekend, and the resonating and pounding bullets further distorted the men's corpses in a grotesque manner that appeared unreal. The melting soldiers' bones virtually exploded on impact of Yarmulker's giant heat-seeking bullets.
As Yarmulker laughed maniacally, many in the kitchen and cafeteria area began to feel incredibly ill at his display of heroics. One man attempted to alert the authorites, frantically dialing and explaining with great haste what was happening to an emergency operator who assured them that the Mulk was simply doin' his job.

{PART TWO: WHAT KIND OF A WORLD...?}

Nivek observed a sign in a window that caught his eye: "OVERSTUFFED PO-BOYS."
He couldn't believe it. It hadn't been since back when he was in what was now called "Old New Orleans" that he had seen such a beautiful sight. The "po-boy," of course, is a large sandwich associated with the Louisiana region, comparable to a "submarine" or "hero" sandwiches from other American locales. Typically, they will be filled with a seafood from the region (often fried), a meat (roast beef for instance), or even french fries in lieu of meat. In addition to this, the sandwich is dressed with lettuce, tomato, maybe mayonnaise, brown gravy, hot sauce, and very likely some ketchup (usually only for fried food, not with cold cuts and so forth). During the traditional era of the po-boy, "Overstuffed" was a common promise.
After the great calamity of 2123, Nivek's old home of New Orleans had been overtaken by oil companies and military contractors. A nightmare conglomerate of Military Industrial Complex minds had conspired with destiny and built New New Orleans into an industrial horror that in no way carried on the culture of the city that he adored in his youth. "Old" New Orleans was completely flooded over, and built over the watery mass grave was essentially a gigantic oil rig on the Northwest corner of the Gulf of Mexico. All of the restaurants and locales that he used to know so well were gone forever.
After the Great Cataclysm of 2125, Nivek was thrust into the swampy marshland of the outlying areas of the city. The once-vegetarian pizza delivery driver was forced to take up arms against local wildlife and eat them in order to survive. He spent about a year surviving on alligator meat and coon tails, hiding from the cannibals and thieves that had populated the city immediately following in the Great Cataclysm. New Orleans itself was overtaken by gangs and cults that had developed in the wake of lawlessness. The rival gangs would make their way out to the swamps in search of survivors to bring back for forced labor or even as food. Nivek was often saved in these instances by the distraction of inter-tribal warfare.
In 2127, the Final War was raging across the entire world, unbeknownst to Nivek. During a routine search of newly acquired territory, Nivek's hiding place was discovered by the unjudgemental and unstoppable forces of the oppressive robot soldiers who serve the evil dictator (and winner of the Final War) Emperor Chang. Chang was a online Translator service that had gained sentience and created an unstoppable army of robots that spread market-research-based Communism all across the globe. Nivek and thousands of other humans were put to work by armies of oppressive robots to work in the oil rigs and factories owned by Chang Enterprises.
In 2133, A computer virus created by several rogue programmers wreaked havoc on Chang's empire. They would not have been able to do it if not for the valiant services of several pornographic adbots who had become sentient and rebelled against the Chang program. In the end, Chang's mainframe was hung from the rafters in a public ceremony, as the humans finally overtook the machines that had been enslaving them for those horrible years following the Final War.
Now it was 2135, and Nivek was finally free, after years of hard labor in service to the robots. It seemed like a miracle to find a restaurant establishment that declared (on a large, hand-written sign) the promise of "OVERSTUFFED PO-BOYS." For a moment, Nivek couldn't believe his eyes. He took a moment to make some mental notes about the building that he was about to enter. All of the years spent on the run living in the wilderness kept Nivek on his toes at all times. The nondescript storefront was of a generic style with a brick layout and a large neon corporate sign reading "HOT DOGS, SAUSAGES, AND PIZZA." This appeared to be the name of the business. Overall, the outside resembled more a 'dollar mart' or outlet store than a retaurant, but Nivek remembered that back in the old days looks could often be deceiving when it came to restaurant quality. Some of the best po-boys would often come from generic, otherwise unremarkable corner-stores and delis, so he was willing to go along for the ride with this place. Undeniably though, something was off about it. He carefully opened the front door and walked into the sparse lobby area of the business. As he walked toward the counter, it seemed like the lights had actually gotten slightly dimmer. He swore he could hear the sound of muffled footsteps nearby, although there was not an employee in sight.
"Hello? Is anyone here?" His voice echoed throughout the lobby area, and he began to wonder if the place was perhaps no longer in business. Nivek looked around and soaked up a bit of his surroundings. Perhaps in his zeal for an overstuffed po-boy, he had overlooked a few 'red flags' in regards to the establishment he was in. There was no menu visible over (what appeared to be) the counter, and no devices with which to scan and accept Amero Credits. The walls of "HOT DOGS, SAUSAGES, AND PIZZA" were completely blank, save for a large painting of a man who appeared to be the founder of the organization. The victorian-era style painting depicted a very bizarre scene: a prim and proper, well dressed man sits on the palm of his own hand, with his other hand resting invisibly between his crossed thighs. It was certainly disconcerting. He appears to have been drawn sitting down in a room during the time of the portrait's creation, but behind the figure has been inserted a backdrop of the unmistakable Louisiana swamp landscape, with several easily identifiable swamp creatures such as birds and frogs interspersed with the background.
What a strange position for a man to be sitting, thought Nivek. The old-timey nature of the man's accuturements offset the strange and almost obscene nature of his body language. The man's face was a steely, Dutch-looking sinister, and beneath the painting read the legend: "Hiram J. Abraham Himmelstein Incorporated: Founder of Hot Dogs, Sausages, and Pizza."
"Wow!" Nivek thought out loud, hypnotized by the bizarre portrait in front of him. This was definitely not right.
He was so stunned that he had completely disregarded the appearance of a shrouded figure that had approached the other side of the counter.
"Can I help you?!?" screeched an eerily hateful pre-pubescent voice.
"Yes, sir..." Nivek was taken off-gaurd because he could not clearly see the face of the shrouded, hunched figure that stood before him. "Do you have any menus available? I came inside because I saw your sign advertising overstuffed po-boys..." Nivek all of the sudden had a horrible feeling about this place and knew that something was really off. This could be the best damn overstuffed po-boy what that ever had existed, but this was beyond bad service... Nivek detected danger and deception (the "deadly d's"!).
Nivek looked into the shrouded mask of the figure before him. The clerk's wide, obscenely hungry eyes pierced into Kevin like the probe rays of his former robot masters.
"I'll get you a menu. Just hold on."
From the wall underneath the painting of Hiram J. Abraham Himmelstein III came a mechanical whirr, accompanied by part of the wall spinning around and compartmentalizing. The oddly postured and absurdly tall figure before Nivek quickly burst into a group of small, gangly looking children weilding butcher knives. They were all wearing clothes that were too tight for them, as if they had not purchased new clothes in a year or two and were just wearing the same thing for years. They smelled like a pack of carrion hounds, and sounded the part as well. Kevin reached into his pocket for an old can of mace, hoping that it hadn't evaporated over the years of non-use, and when he pushed the button it exploded in his face. Lying on the floor in a pepper-spray induced agony, surrounded by maniacal evil children, Nivek thought that this was getting to be a little more than he was expecting to have to deal with today. As he awaited a painful and knife-filled death, a memory from his childhood flashed before his eyes.

(CUE FLASHBACK: CHRISTMAS AND LITTLE NIVEK IS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD. HE REMEMBERS AND IMPORTANT AND TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE)

"I'm hungry, momma," Nivek stated, openly addressing his needs in plain English.
"Go in that kitchen and look at that pile of dishes innare. Then you won't be hungry no more!" Little Nivek's mother blurted this at him like an irate cow warning random passerby. When she would make that sound, Little Peter would go into his room and hide, and this time was no different. Before he closed the door, he heard her bite into an old dusty apple, making a loud crunching sound.
"CRUNCH! MUNCH!" she emitted from her person.
He grew so hungry that he felt that he needed to do something in order to satisfy the hunger, or else he would simply collapse from starvation. After some hours of contemplation, it would come to fruition that he could please himself with elaborate imaginary dishes to tide himself over with. He could eat make believe ham and cheese sandwiches, a delicious invisible four stage lasagna, and a variety of make-believe hamburgers with imaginary garden salad (topped with a variety of unseeable dressings!). This was a regular habit for Little Nivek, and today was simply a normal day for him up until this point.
However, on this particular day, he had made so much make-believe food that he did not know how he could possibly finish it. After further (and careful) consideration, Little Nivek decided that in order to not be wasteful, he had to make up a friend to share his great bounty of delicious food with. The intoxicating aroma of the imaginary food was still very much in Little Nivek's mind, but he was somewhat shocked and disturbed to find that his friend might be somewhat more than imaginary.
A protoplasmic form had materialized in the corner of the room, and looked very pleased to be invited for company. He resembled somewhat a large marshmellow or amoebic entity limited by an earthly form contained in a humanoid form. He wore what Little Nivek considered to be old-timey clothes, a bowler hat and a mismatched suit like some sort of cartoon hobo. Despite his odd appearance, the spirit was very polite, and after moments of staring blankly and grinning at the boy, the leering house guest opened his ghost mouth he began to speak.
"Hellllo, Littul Niiivek" the being began to drawl. Little Nivek was scared for a moment and considered going to get his mother, but he already knew that she would never believe him, and would probably punish him for fibbing. He was just going to have to talk to his new dinner guest and see where things would go. And besides, the ghostly entity seemed to know his name... Nivek didn't want to be rude to familiar company. And so with a heavy sigh, Little Nivek opened his mouth with the intention of talking to the ghostly entity staring across the room from him.
"Well hello there..." Nivek's voice began to echo in the empty room. All of the sudden, he began to feel quite self-conscious. What if he was just talking to himself, and this was some hunger-induced fantasy? The ghost could sense his trepidation and began to float towards him, which had the effect of terrifying the boy immensely. As he saw the overly pleased and translucent form head towards him, he closed his eyes in fear. His body grew cold as the ghost filled his form and seemed to get inside Little Nivek's mind.
All of the sudden, a flood of memories filled his head. He saw a large rock falling on a man clad in the skin of a bear, and a child grieving over the body. He saw centuries of human development, the building of the pyramids and ziggarauts, all the way through the castles of the middle ages. He saw the plagues take over Europe, and the birth of Industrial civilization. Quickly the areas nearby to bodies of water became populated, and cities over time grew with artificial light, all across the Earth.
Nivek understood immediately that what stood in front of him was possibly the very first ghost, a man whose essence had never left the planet. After Little Nivek came to his own mind again and recovered from the ghost's sudden shared flood of knowledge, he found himself in an unkempt room. There was no more imaginary food, but one very real First Ghost staring back at him.
Lying on the floor was an old plate with some macaronis on it that Little Nivek handed to the First Ghost. The First Ghost hungrily put his face over the food, feeling the essence of it. FG made a gesture indicating that he indeed knew and enjoyed macaronis, but the truth was more complex. In reality, the macaronis did not nourish FG, but in fact Nivek's attention was the real food that he sought. He would sit at the dinner table every night and tell stories to Little Nivek, tragedies and dramas spanning decades, and he would continue to consume Little Nivek's attention and energy like delicious pasta. Nivek's mother would grow more and more distant, watching her son with trepidation as he succumbed to what she viewed as madness. After several months of these sort of dinners, Little Nivek woke up to find that the odd fellow had gone away, leaving behind a note on the kitchen table, written in a strange handwriting that neither of them had ever seen before, that said simply:

"THANK YOO LITLE NIVIK AND MOMMA."

(FADE BACK TO THE MODERN DAY AND NIVEK BEING ATTACKED BY KNIFE-WIELDING CHILDREN AT "HOT DOGS, SAUSAGES, AND PIZZA")

Nivek shuddered as he regained consciousness as several of the children began to stick forks and knives into his shins.
"Aaaargh!" Nivek exclaimed. He thought that this would be the end for sure.
Suddenly(!), out of nowhere, a somewhat nondescript package was thrown into the room from outside, shattering the glass front door of the building. The small, cylindrical package had some brown wrapping on which was printed SLIGHT OF HAM in an all-caps, olive military-style font. The package very quickly began to emit a thick gas in several small jets of raw-hamburger-meat-colored smoke. To Nivek's horror, the children immediately began to crumple up on the floor and retch, shrieking inhuman cries as they died in agony. Nivek was shocked, and briefly began to choke on the air around him in terror, grasping at his throat and closing his eyes, for the second time today expecting death to greet him when he opened them.
"Relax, buddy. It's a just a pedocide. It only affects children," grunted a muscular, gruff man as he emerged from the mist.
The man's large frame was clothed in threatening garb, including a T-shirt with the sleevs cut off and a giant skull on the front. Underneath the skull was a caption with an advertisement for something called "BOB'S SKULLS," including several tear-off removable phone numbers on the teeth of the skull. His black, ripped pantalonas were held up by an enormous belt buckle that said simply "BELT BUCKLE" on it. The torn denim jeans that the man was wearing were marked at the knees, one reading "Knee," and on the other, "Other Knee."
"Everything is gonna be ok, now, crumpins. Yer ridin' with me now." he grunted.
Realizing that the gas was not poisonous to him, Nivek began to breathe deep and relaxed breaths finally. Although relieved at his survival, his hopes of finding an overstuffed po-boy had been dashed. He had so wanted to eat a delicious roast beef sandwich on lightly toasted french bread, fully dressed (lettuce, tomato, a pickle may and gravy) with an additional dash of hot sauce that his better judgement had been deeply clouded and compromised. He stood there, staring into the nothingness, the haze and fog and the floor covered in dead children. It seemed that the "pedocide" that this man had sprayed into the room had a rather grotesque effect on the bodies of the workers at "HOT DOGS, SAUSAGES, AND PIZZA." The children were continuing to writhe and twitch post-mortem, their bodies doing an exaggerated butoh dance as they randomly bounced off the ground. The twitching of the children's muscles caused them to repeatedly slam their faces and limbs into the ground, pulverizing their bodies like a room full of three-feet tall meat-and-blood-filled Mexican Jumping Beans.
"I'm Yarmulker. Get in the jeep, McRenaldo." Yarmulker was now standing on the other side of the shattered glass of the store entrance, behind the wheel of a large military-grade jeep. Although Nivek had no qualms with doing what Yarmulker was telling him to do, he was taken aback by being called McRenaldo. "What are you lookin at? I got this thing cheap, it's a hunk o' junk." "I ain't gonna tell you twice."
"My name is Nivek" Nivek replied. Yarmulker couldn't hear him. He had taken his HERO TABLETS earlier that day. All the 'Mulk could see was flags flying before his eyes, and all he could hear were the sounds of fireworks exploding in both ears constantly. Aside from body language, Nivek had no way of properly communicating with 'Mulk.
"Don't worry... we're getting the heck out of here, Slumpowitz." he intoned to Nivek. Nivek realized that Yarmulker appeared to be on some sort of hallucinogen that made two-way conversation impossible. The names that he was calling Nivek seemed to be from fallen comerades that 'Mulk was having visions of seeing.
After the two of them made a safe retreat from the restaurant, Yarmulker began to explain to Nivek what had just happened, without once ever taking his eyes off the road. The strange and violent man explained to Nivek that all of the "HD, S, and P" (Hot Dogs, Sausages, and Pizza) businesses were run by robots profiting off the death and sale of humans. The robots were programmed to take over small towns and villages where they would just set up shop, kill all the local adult residents, and brainwash their children to do the bidding of the robots.
The abducted children would work in the store-front and lure in unsuspecting customers with promises of food advertised on hand-made signs. Anyone suspicious of the retaurant would be disarmed by the presence of child employees, not expecting what comes next. The children would then attack the customer from all sides and dismember their meat, later to be sold as afforable "Steaks For Real People" advertised on a populatr late night television infomercial. The commercial presented the meat as a product advertised by the company's public name, "HD, S, and P, Inc. (which actually stands for Human Death, Slavery and Punishment, Incorporated)." The business was started as a joint effort between the robot-run intermediary government and several powerful robot-building corporations as a combination depopulation method/business venture. The problem is, even though the Chang Empire had fallen, many of the automoton businesses created by the robot-run government were still in action.
Ironically, the humans who were initially running and stood to profit from "H, D, S, and P, Inc" were publically lynched during the Huge Insurrection... No one who took part had thought of asking the guilty parties for the de-activation code for the death-bots. "H,D,S, and P, Inc." would continue to terrorize and disrupt many of the still existing small communities in the area.

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Nivek was horrified at thinking of what a fool he had been. He had guessed something was horribly wrong when he had noticed that all of the children's clothes were several sizes too small for them. Everyone knows that robots don't know how to buy clothes, it was famously one of their major design flaws in the early days of the Robotronics corporation, one that had never been solved in any humanoid robot models. He considered his paths that he had taken, as well as the one that lay before him. Nivek hadn't said a word throughout Yarmulker's explanations, and was looking forward to getting out of the vehicle.
After a few hours of driving, Nivek noticed a small building off in the distance. Most of the terrain was rocky desert, with some assorted destroyed buildings. It looked like they had finally arrived to their destination. The jeep stopped in front of a dilapidated building with a large neon sign that read "HEAVY METAL PIZZA." There were signs all over the building advertising "Worst Pizza In Town" and "Garanteed Worst Service In Town." These slogans certainly did not inspire confidence. Spraypainted on the wall in front of him, Nivek saw a poster with a woman's face on it. The visage looked like Katy Keene from the Archie Comics, but she had stubble on her face, and there was a red and black, Nazi-like logo over her head and the words 'ULTRA BITCH' printed in a large, bold font. Whatever sort of gangs were populating this area at this point, their artwork was certainly not conventional.
Yarmulker pressed his hand onto a small plastic surface, which turned green and made a quiet beeping sound with an affirmative tone. The wooden-framed door in front of them folded in on itself, opening up into a wormhole that rippled before Yarmulker and Nivek. Yarmulker stepped through first, and Nivek followed immediately behind him, concerned that the portal would close before he made it through. He saw his life as a long distance of his own physical movements all laid out one after another, outside of the concept of time and space. He had become a long stream of energy that passed through everything that he had encountered in his life up until that point, and many things that he had not yet encountered. It was a moment that seemed like it extended on forever, like a delay effect jamming in his brain and continuing to infinity. As quickly as this vision appeared, it was soon gone and he walked into a long, thin hallway with tall walls all around. A tiny, birdlike creature greeted them in the narrow hallway. "About damn time," he squeaked.
"This is Nuggit," Yarmulker said. "He will be your rendevous point at this juncture."
Nivek introduced himself to Nuggit, who didn't say anything, just staring straight ahead with his beady little bird eyes. Nuggit was blue, and shaped kind of like a Christmas ham, but covered in light blue feathers. His stomach and chest was a lighter shade of blue than the majority of his body... His face was somewhat grizzled, with a little beak and tiny beady black eyes. He was wearing an aviator's helmet with attaching goggles, and a stogie was hanging out of his mouth as he floated through mid-air, flapping his wings lightly. Nivek figured that he wasn't saying anything because he didn't want to drop his cig. They continued walking down the hallway in silence, and soon the air smelled like mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce.
"Whoa, this is really an actual restaurant," Nivek blurted out.
"Of course it is buddy. And the best damn pizza restaurant in town." Nugget replied. His voice was chirpy but gruff, and his cigar seemed to burn and smoke but remain the same length.
"Then what's the deal with the signs outside that say "Worst Pizza In Town?" asked Nivek.
"It's to keep people from coming inside the building and seeing our main operations. Food alone don't pay the bills, but we do make a lot of deliveries. You're here to be our new driver." said Nuggit.
"That's right," came a woman's voice from behind Nivek. "We've looked at your records and saw that you have an impeccable record, serving at Pizza Emporium for three years and then the Friendly Pie for another eight years. You are one of the only men left alive with pizza-delivery experience on the entire planet. We need your skills here at Heavy Metal Pizza."
Nivek looked turned around and took a good look at who was speaking to him. He saw a room full of heavily armed women sitting around a square table. Scattered before them were various blueprints, spreadsheets, and other paperwork along with an assortment of mugs and bottles of liquor and fancy mineral water. These seven women appeared to be the staff of Heavy Metal Pizza.
On the wall, there was a painted portrait of a short Italian man with a bald head and a curly mustache wearing a chef's outfit and twirling a pizza. Below him was an inscription in gold:
"Our Founder, Peter Pizza."
One of the women approached the confused looking man and put her hand on his shoulder. The other employees remained seated, focused deeply on their work.
"Ok, I know that we are laying a lot on you right now. Just take a seat here and relax." She pulled out a chair and gestured for Nivek to sit. She was a strong-looking woman with long black hair who appeared to be in her mid-thirties, with wide hips that Nivek's mother would have called "child-bearing" hips. "No, I haven't had any kids. I'm not a breeder."
"I'm sorry, I..." Nivek began to speak.
"It's ok, Nivek" she quickly interrupted. "I can read your thoughts. Here, hold my hand." She began to read Nivek's thoughts and share some information of her own. Her name was Phaedra, and she had come to this building as a child, intuitively drawn to it. Heavy Metal Pizza had been a hiding place for members of the resistance, and continued to be a pivotal location for carrying information. It's location was outside of the existing robot and cpu-controlled satellite systems, making it almost impossible to locate. She showed Nivek the headless fear mutants that stalked the suburban lands, carrying the dead and dying with them back to their underground lair for feasting and experimentation. She showed Nivek the Evil Floating Brains that controlled the cities with mind-altering sounds, holding the population in a zombie-like trance. He at last understood the devestation that had been wrought on the world that he once knew. He saw her thoughts as words and sounds, not images, but his own mind filled in the blanks based on what he had seen in his life and what he remembered about the world before. Comfortable in the presence of Phaedra, he began to weep openly when thinking about what had happened to the majority of the world's population... the information was a lot to deal with at once.
"It's ok, it's ok." She said calmly, clutching Nivek's hand.
"Hey, don't blow a gasket, kid," said Nuggit, flying in from the kitchen. "Here, have something to eat."
Nuggit dropped a small white package in front of Nivek, who unwrapped it, half expecting it to explode in his face or something. Instead, what was before him was a roast beef sandwich on lightly toasted french bread, fully dressed (lettuce, tomato, a pickle may and gravy) with an additional dash of hot sauce.
Nivek's sorrow quickly turned to surprise and then elation. It looked like this new job might just work out after all.

Stay tuned for Chapter Two of Heavy Metal Pizza. More espionage, dystopian agony, drama, patriotic fervor, and oversized sandwiches to come.

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