Project Overview: Untitled Document is a serial comedy novel dealing with the sort of topics that we so frequently make fun of here at Something Awful.
This Chapter:After a brief hiatus Untitled Document is back, with new action and new tales of adventure from the land of conspiracy. In this chapter Dale follows Cokey for a road trip, Crutch Limply fights an alien, and there is a surprising twist in Mexico City where the Thule Society has set up camp. The many plot threads are beginning to come together like a Swiss watch made by mongoloids out of paste.
Dale McElroy had gotten used to pretending to be a zombie in the past 36 hours. He filed along behind Cokey and her shuffling unit of housewives and well armed chubby teenagers trying to match their eerie gait. He watched with his best version of apathy as shouting Germans in black uniforms loaded battered policemen into vans and sped away. They shambled along in a column, moving east from Chicago along and sometimes even over the river of abandoned vehicles frozen on the Kennedy Expressway. One or two of them collapsed from exhaustion, simply losing consciousness and dropping down between cars to either die or recover and continue on. Dale was hard pressed to keep up himself, sweat pouring down his face and mixing with the dried blood and grime covering his clothing. He had picked up an AK-47 somewhere along the way, although he had no memory of doing so.
Something exploded on Lake Michigan, a ball of fire billowing into the pre-dawn sky and curling inward as it rose. Occasionally there was the sound of gunfire in the city or a black helicopter passed overhead, but it was otherwise silent except for the crunching of the group as they stepped on broken glass or on the dented hood of a Dodge Neon.
The group followed I-65 south to Indiana, where a great throng of the zombie like people was gathering at a truck stop. Eighteen wheelers were lined up at the refueling pumps, teams of men in grey coveralls refueling them and scraping off various logos and identifying stickers. Dale watched as one man used a stencil and a can of black spray paint to emblazon the driver's side of a white Mack truck with a swastika. Other men in black uniforms and swastika armbands separated the converging groups of mind-controlled people into teams of roughly equal size. Cokey's group gained a handful of people who joined them without acknowledgement before they were all urged over behind the open trailer of one of the semis.
He followed Cokey into the creaking trailer of the 18-wheeler and stood against the wall, trying to ignore the eye watering stench of urine. After nearly an hour a woman in a gray uniform and a soup pot helmet handed out bologna and mustard sandwiches on white bread. Dale observed the men and women with him to see how they handled the first scrap of food he'd seen since the world started to fall apart.
Cokey stared straight ahead at the open door of the trailer and crammed the sandwich into her mouth in three bites. Dale imitated this to the best of his ability, gulping down the slimy meat and dry stale bread that scratched his dehydrated esophagus. The woman in the gray uniform returned with what appeared to be an insect sprayer. As the woman approached, Cokey opened her mouth wide, allowing the woman to pump water down her throat. Dale closed his eyes moments later as the tepid water splashing into his own mouth threatened to choke him. The woman stopped spraying immediately as Dale fought the spasms of suppressed coughing in his diaphragm. She pulled out a small flashlight and gripped Dale's head roughly, shining the light into his eyes for several seconds. Maybe it was the exhaustion Dale was in the thrall of or maybe it was just the woman's carelessness, but she seemed satisfied that Dale was adequately sedated.
The woman seemed concerned by the heat and humidity building in the trailer in spite of the fact that the doors were still open. She motioned to one of the men in the black uniforms who had a sub machinegun of some sort slung over his shoulder. Dale watched and listened as they conversed in German, understanding very little but somehow comforted by two human beings talking in an animated fashion.
"Das ist unzureichend belüftet. I habe keine Zweifel, daß sie alle ersticken warden," the woman spoke with apparent irritation and motioned back to the cramped interior of the trailer.
"Lass sie, es gibt noch viele da wo sie herkamen." The man stood outside the trailer and looked up at the stern-faced woman with exasperation.
"Meine Anweisungen waren sicherzustellen, daß so viele wie möglich Mexico City erreichen." Dale's ears perked up when he heard the woman say "Mexico City". Was that their destination?
"Sie möchten das belüftet haben? Gut, ich werde es belüften." The man hoisted himself up into the trailer, shoving several of the members of the group out of his way.
He slung the gun off his shoulder and before Dale even had a chance to react began firing it into the roof of the trailer. Bullets punched through the thin metal of the ceiling and the noise was painfully loud. The members of the group nearest the man stood impassively as steaming hot shell casings bounced off of their faces and bodies. When the gun clicked dry the man slung it back over his shoulder and turned to face the woman.
"Stellt sie das zufrieden, meine Hoheit?" He growled at her and leapt down from the back of the truck.
She sighed and followed after him, slamming and latching the doors to the trailer. It almost immediately became ten degrees hotter inside the trailer. The only light and only fresh air was entering in meager quantities through the bullet holes in the ceiling.
Dale blinked sweat from his eyes and wiped his forehead with the back of his arm. He leaned against the back wall of the trailer and slowly slid down into a sitting position. Cokey stood motionless at his side.
"You in there, Cokey?" He asked her.
She mumbled something that he couldn't hear but her gaze never wavered from the closed doors. Minutes later the 18-wheeler began to move, shunting and juddering as it took the road, and Dale fell into a fitful unpleasant sleep.
Thick and dark congealed blood oozed out from Crutch Limply's nostrils, forming a bloody mustache that framed his puffy lips. Special Agent Hank Fortuna flexed his bare chest and wiped blood - his own and that of the man he had been beating for the past six hours - from his fist. Limply was barely conscious, his head lolling deliriously on his neck, a low moan rasping from between his lips.
"He is not talking." Special Agent Paul Douglas commented unnecessarily in a detached monotone and then crammed a handful of peanut M&Ms into his mouth.
"I could be him." Fortuna replied cryptically.
Crutch Limply was only partially aware of what had happened since the two CIA agents had left his apartment. He remembered hearing gunfire in the hallway and then they had abruptly returned with a dramatically different attitude. Instead of continuing their belligerent questioning about the video cassette they had tied him to his computer chair with a length of coaxial cable and commenced beating him while pressing him about the video.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Featured articles and columns that don't fit anywhere else on Something Awful.