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Credits

Ten thousand years of Roboshrub.

Fangs for the memories.




In today’s state, Roboshrub Incorporated is an entity entirely devoted
to the execution of what normal people would refer to as “bad ideas.”

It was the creator’s original idea that all concepts, whether
useful or not, contribute to the global subconscious level of progress
for the human race. Therefore, we contend that no idea is an unfit
idea, and vow to act on each and every one of them.

Roboshrub Inc.
Public Communications Department






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For your insolence, I condemn you to...

Suffer the Fate of a Thousand Bees!
(Before they go extinct)

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8.04.2006

My Accursed Life
A Karl Überdale Autobiography

Clang. Whoosh. Boom. A twirling, creaking fan was making a dull hum up above me. The air was thick, barely breathable, and there was almost no light. As I stumbled around blindly, I heard an electrical buzzing, followed by a loud scream.

This is the earliest thing I can remember, my first visit to Disney World. The smell of burnt hair and incense... the frozen heads in the coolers...


“Mommy! Mommy! He’s in my ice cream!”

And people wonder why I became a sorcerer. Still, I had strayed from the tour group. There are reasons those stanchions are put up around restricted areas, kiddies! I could go on for hours and hours about the history and multifaceted uses of the stanchion... but that’s a story for another millennium. Getting back to my earliest memory, I thought I’d never get over the shock of seeing Walt Disney’s frozen head in an ice cream machine behind the “It’s a Small World” ride. For many years, I had a hard time opening up to others. I made few friends in primary school; in high school, I never spoke to anyone, just kept drawing little scribbles of frozen heads in jars on my notebooks. My best friends were sock puppets. Then came... the summer of love.
***
Cannonballs whizzed past my unprotected head. The helmet handed down to me by my ancestry had fallen off about an hour ago, forever lost among the rotting corpses of Bunker Hill (Ironically, history would recall this as the Battle of Breed’s Hill). As I filled my rifle for another volley, I could hear the Confederates laughing, see their dull gray uniforms bleed into the trees... they were getting closer.

“Where’s our air support?!” I yelled at Sgt. Crommels as he snaked down next to me, readying his crossbow. General Lee had been convinced that equipping some of the troops with crossbows would throw the Confederates off... and who was I to question a military mogul like him?


Besides a loyal Unionist, and member of the Praetorian Guard.

“Telegraph operator says a freak snowstorm tore up all the biplanes, sir!”

I grabbed the sharpshooter by the scruff of his neck. “Sergeant! Do you have any idea what’s headed up that hill?” I pointed out over the blood-red sky to the advancing Confederate contingent.

“That’s a-”

“That’s a fully-armed, full-bellied Confederate war machine, under the direct command of Genghis Khan.”

“By Lyndon Johnsen’s glasses!” he cried, unable to hold his astonishment. I’d been told not to reveal the identity of the Confederate’s best General to anyone under the rank of lieutenant, but I needed my troops to know who they were up against. I’ll just have to deal with the inevitable court-martial later, I thought, remembering the last time I went up against the brass.

“So you get that telegraph operator on the clicker, and tell command that we need all the biplanes they’ve got. And then some.”

“But sir, the logistics-”

“‘But sir’ nothing! If those Confederates take this hill, they cut off our only trade route with Mexico! If not for Mexican trade, where will we get our exotic spices? The Orient? There is no such thing as a Northwest Passage!” I shouted. He was crestfallen; his dreams of discovering such a route had been the only thing that had kept him in prime condition all these years. I knew the truth would hurt, but better he hear it from me than from some grizzled Alaskan prospector. Sticky fingers, those grizzled types.

“Sir!” a buck private yelled over the Confederate cannon fire. “Sir, we’re getting a telegraph from outpost 47!”

I shoved Crommels aside like an old shoe. Outpost 47? Where was that?

“They say... ‘Large approaching force identified. Stop. Mexican Armada. Stop. Attempting to join battle. Stop.’”

“Which side?!”

“It says-”

His last sentence (and I do mean last. Shrapnel tore him to shreds) was cut short, as the grays fired their artillery simultaneously. As I ran, the walls closed in all around me. The hill was lost, the war was lost, and in a few generations all Americans would be left-handed and talking with drawls. I had failed.

Ripping the pin from one of the grenades attached to my active-duty sweater vest with my thick buck teeth, I whipped myself back, screamed “Take that, you commies!” and threw it as hard as I could into the rapidly collapsing trenches. I twisted sideways, rolling down the side of the encampment, faster and faster to outrace the blast. Behind me, I heard the anguished cries of hundreds of Confederates as the ground beneath them opened up, swallowing them into the cold, unforgiving earth.

I... don’t remember losing consciousness, but the next thing I can remember, I was surrounded by the remaining Confederate shock troops... and their commanding officer.

“You done buried ma contingent!” he hollered, raising a gnarled finger at me. It was covered in hair, and what I can only assume was some kind of sauce. My eyes drifted to the other soldiers... no way I could take out two dozen Confederates. Twenty three is my limit.

He smacked the blue cap off my head and reached into his pocket, rooting around for a minute. Then he waved his hand in my face, and a gray Confederate brand hat-helmet fell out of his sleeve. “Now you gonna be ma contingent.”

I had been prepared for all kinds of capture scenarios, but none like this. As I was rehashing my camouflage training, he unzipped his uniform and let it fall to the uneven, blood-soaked ground, revealing a paint-covered smock hanging over a pair of parachute pants.


Getting uncomfortably close to a Confederate.

“Now we gonna go through the paces.”
***
Six months in a Confederate detention center taught me more than I’d learned in six years of high school. I learned to rely on myself more, to endure hours upon hours of banjo playing. This was decades before Country music differentiated itself from Rock; it was raw, untamed, with more than one drum solo. Absolutely haunting.

It replaced the memories of Walt Disney’s frozen head in the fear center of my mind.

Fortunately, my brain chemistry is different than normal humans, thanks to the many magical experiments I performed on my journey to sorcery. After the Mexican special forces sprung me in a daring daylight jailbreak, I was able to reintegrate into a steady civilian life, working shifts at a local bakery.

For nine hours a day, I’d (secretly) use magic to turn old tires into edible bagels, the ethical implications of which never really hit me until I think about it now, years later. But I suppose that if I could do it all again, I would. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. Forget I mentioned it. Guilty conscious, I guess.

But was working a menial job at minimum wage enough to satisfy my demonic ambitions? Do you even need to ask? By the end of the first week, I was already trying to branch out, explore the career options open to someone with my talents.

And boy, did opportunity come knocking!
***
“The Sandman sends his regards.”

Dark shapes formed all around me as the static electricity balls crackled, transmitting beams of bright white light to each other instantaneously. It was quite a sight, the bolts of light against the night. This was how I’d chosen to decorate my office.

I reached into one of the large burlap sacks, feeling the contents. “Tell the Sandman his gifts are... well received.”

She smiled, showing two rows of sharp incisors. This shipment was the big one, I could feel it. Normally, Sandman didn’t come through for me... but this was one of the rare times when his international contacts came in handy. This was the good stuff. I just didn’t know how he’d get it all across the border.

“How much can he procure?”


“How much?! Time is sand!”

She frowned. “How much? A beach-load, that’s how much!”

I ran my fingers through the fine silt. “That’s real feldspar, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“And... have you found any... Arkose, perhaps?”

“We’re... working on it. I know how much you’ve wanted Arkose...”

“Four asterisks I’ve wanted Arkose!” I grabbed my solid-quartz window pane, looking out over the beautiful vista my apartment presented. “I’ve been trying to get Arkose this fine since the 70s. You get me at least... ten kilos of Arkose, and I’ll make sure the two of you live like royalty.”

She looked slightly queasy. “British royalty or French royalty?”

“British.”

“And if we can get you... ten times that much?”

“Italian.”

She was practically floating off the ground, and I could tell she had the goods to back up her boast. Silty Arkose... I could finally retire from this life of crime and devote myself to philanthropy! Or misanthropy. Whichever turned out to be more fun.

“Here,” I handed her a list of customs outposts. “Any one of those should wave you through.”

She gave me a hearty salute and raced to the gold-inlaid door. “You should expect shipment in two weeks!”

“I’ll be waiting.”
***
Of course, it turns out that Sandman was a mole, feeding the feds all the dirt they needed on my sand. They had all the microfiche they needed to put me away for exactly 147 months (strange number, isn’t it?). Fortunately, I ran into some of my Civil War recreation buddies on the inside. They helped me put together a very compelling court case.

The day I finally went to trial, I got on the stand and started singing my testimony, against the wishes of my court-forcibly-appointed attorney. My running crew tossed me my “lucky” cello, and I rocked out loud. By the end of the day, the whole bar association was there, dancing along with me. There was a camera crew there, on behalf of NBC. They thought they were recording the trial of the century: the nation’s most prolific sand smuggler, on trial after years of tax dodging. But what they actually filmed was... the biggest musical hit of the summer.

The lighting, the choreographing, even the bailiffs’ matching ties; everything fell perfectly into place. Following a brief yet powerful crescendo, the judge acquitted me and I was offered the lead role in Gangs of New York. But I turned it down due to creative differences I’d had in the past with the script writers, and began searching the papers for a vocation befitting my Promethean repertoire.

Days turned into hours, and again into minutes, as I honed in on my next career. I kept getting turned down because of my run-in with the border patrol... and the fact that my head is constantly on fire, the result of attending PTA meetings with Dick Cheney.

Things were looking grim when my old boarding-school roommate Nigel Stottlebottom showed up at my stoop, looking for recruits for his latest anti-water campaign. I politely declined, but he was rather insistent. I eventually lost my patience, and told him his hatred of water was a squid’s tarp (a harsh insult back in the old neighborhood). He hit me in the face with one of his propagandistic fliers and walked away. “Go to Roboshrub!” he yelled as I watched him disappear behind overflowing dumpsters. Decomposing ham dripped over the chrome sides, and rats danced in the viral rain.


You know you’ve hit bottom when a psychotic old man can attack you with impunity.

I lost the flier, but that word he used... Roboshrub... it stuck with me. For twelve long years of working at the Pillsbury munitions plant, it fluttered around neatly in my brain-pan, tripping up my temporal lobe. My sanity wrent asunder, I fired up the Internet and searched far and wide, high and low, hither and thither, until at last I could search no more.
***
“That’s a nice fire you’ve got going there,” he said as he held his hands up to my burning skull. “Hey! It’s not hot at all!”

“Well it would be kind of stupid to burn myself, wouldn’t it?” I sneered, having nothing but contempt for the short man. His clothes were dated, to say the least, and his fingernails were laden with grime. All up his left arm-

“I’m the CEO of Roboshrub Incorporated! You want to work for me, Karl?!”

I blinked quickly, opening my mouth uncertainly. “How did you know my na-”

“Not important! I need an answer!”

“But... you... there wasn’t any back-and-forth! You didn’t ask me my name, start a conversation, and make jokes along the way! The way you did it broke plot continuity.”

“We do that a lot over at Roboshrub Inc.” He held out an arm with four watches on it. “This one’s my thinkin’ arm!”

“Um... yeah. Couldn’t you just be a little more into-”

“Story ends now!”

Processing 32×100 Robo-Comments:

Blogger angel, jr. gesticulated...

Why did the story end "now"?

8/04/2006 1:56 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Because, there's just no reasoning with an insane evil spirit (which is what the CEO is).

I've seen him purposely give bad directions to tourists and give chocolate to puppies.

8/04/2006 2:55 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

That idiot. We never should have reanimated him.

On the other hand, he did get us Karl.

8/04/2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

I'm just glad he's back in cold storage, next to Walt Disney and FDR.

8/04/2006 4:19 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

I still say we should make FDR the CEO.

8/04/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

But he's the backup mascot already.

And the constitution prevents him from running again.

8/04/2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger phenomenon gesticulated...

lol that is so...weird.. how in the world do you think of this?? Really.

I like it though.... very cool

8/04/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger Karl the Sorcerer gesticulated...

What's to think about? That's my life!

8/04/2006 6:47 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

Calm down, Karl. I'm sure he's just jealous.

You, too, can have hair like Karl's if you utilize our latst product, incinerashampoo. Roboshrub, Inc. is not responsible for damages done to person or property as a result of misuse of the incinerashampoo. Do not condition.

8/04/2006 7:26 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

Hmmmm...now we know the life of Karl with a K not a C... the hair product sounds interesting. Does it come with warranties? free shipping? PETA approved?

8/04/2006 9:10 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

The PETA won't approve it because we tested it on roosters. 40-Year-Old Roosters! They had long, fruitful lives in the lap of luxury, but the PETA just doesn't care!

8/04/2006 9:29 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

well i say(excuse my french)f**k the PETA. What do they know about cocks in the lap of luxury anyway?

8/05/2006 1:01 AM  
Anonymous the PUNisher gesticulated...

Lusty Tart, I must issue you a summons to PUN COURT in response to your crime against humanity!

Remember, kids, double entendre costs lives!

8/05/2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

I was about to say something JUST like that.

8/05/2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

Whatever do you mean???

This punisher guy sounds interesting. If I can get off with a light spanking...I might turn myself in.
If the sentence is stiff...well I might turn myself in.

8/05/2006 9:36 PM  
Anonymous the punisher gesticulated...

I cannot issue judgements outside of a court of law. Your initial infraction was inconsequential; nobody was hurt. But now you are observed as a repeat offender, and the PUNishment will certainly increase accordingly.

8/05/2006 10:25 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

oooh, some sort of penile code?

8/05/2006 11:02 PM  
Anonymous the punisher gesticulated...

GRAAAAARGH! She's punstoppable! Requesting backup!

8/05/2006 11:50 PM  
Blogger Rick Anonymi gesticulated...

Someone call for an air strike?

8/06/2006 2:12 AM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

Excitable type isn't he?

Punisher; I suggest you drop back 5 &... punt! ha ha ha

8/06/2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator gesticulated...

woah, a dead head in the freezer, that's trippy, man.

8/06/2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous the screaming children gesticulated...

Make her stoooop!

8/06/2006 1:53 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

punisher; This is the point where I'd tell you to get a hold of your self, but, you'd probabaly misunderstand & think, "Get a hold of myself!!! What does she mean, get ahold of myself!?!

so i won't say that.

Could you just get a firm grip, though?

8/06/2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Fred gesticulated...

Burnt hair and incense at Disney World? I think you may have been to Anti-Disney World, which is just around the corner. Happens all the time.

8/06/2006 6:55 PM  
Blogger Karl the Sorcerer gesticulated...

I refuse to set foot in that wretched place until they admit to having his head frozen in that little box.

8/06/2006 8:08 PM  
Blogger wallycrawler gesticulated...

I dunno about you but I love stories about reanimated heads! Call me a romantic .

8/06/2006 11:25 PM  
Blogger Bathroom Hippo gesticulated...



It should be a movie!

No wait...

A combo meal!

8/07/2006 1:12 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Why not both?

8/07/2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Rich gesticulated...

It's took me several visits across non-consecutive centuries to get past the first paragraph due to a intra-career time paradox (“But sir, the logistics-”) but damn me if that wasn't worth the case of oral thrush and hyper extended elbow!

Absolute magic Karl!

8/08/2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger Lee Ann gesticulated...

I am so sorry about your traumatic experience at Disney World.

sounds like you need a hug!

8/08/2006 11:06 PM  
Blogger A Army Of (Cl)One gesticulated...

Wow, it only took me three days to read this story. It seemed slow at times, but that is good cuz I am a slow reader.

LOL at L Tart and Walt's frozen head. Both so wrong they have got to be right.

8/09/2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Karl the Sorcerer gesticulated...

I fall so far beyond the pale that the pale pales in comparison to my pale entrails.

8/09/2006 6:18 PM