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: This intense chapter of Untitled Document features the emotional bonds that develop between a father and his son and the way these ties - okay, not really. For serious, the earth is being invaded by aliens, and only the New World Order can stop them! After fucking up and causing the invasion in the first place does Raylene have the clout to pull the leaders of the NWO together? Or are the aliens going to stomp all over the American flag while a bunch of weak-kneed liberal secret government types prance around trying to...sorry, I think I was channeling Captain Henry there for a minute. It's exciting! It's intense! Guns get shotted!
Luke Hopewell stumbled out of bed scratching the ribbed washboard of his abdomen. He slept naked unless he was in a hotel and found that anything else decreased the amount of time from bed to shower in the morning. By touch and familiarity he found his way, bleary eyed and groggy, into the bathroom. His hand slapped the waterproof radio in the shower out of habit and he listened to the soothing sounds of the latest generic pop band to soar across the charts. He spat out a mouthful of toothpaste and climbed into the shower, letting the warm water works its way through his skin and draw his awareness to the surface. By the time he was done shampooing his hair he was dimly conscious of an excited announcer repeatedly interrupting the music he was used to listening to in the shower. With irritation and suds stinging his eyes he flipped off the radio and hummed tunelessly.
Luke worked as a bicycle courier, the sort of zen-like but relaxingly physical activity he had definitely not majored in political science at Yale to be doing as he edged closer to thirty. Even though he had a master's and enough connections to get a better job he considered himself still in his "post college phase". He wasn't ready for a real world job, though most bike couriers would balk at his definition of their career path as a hobby. Naturally Luke's father was furious, his mother slightly more understanding, but both were unwilling to accept his chosen path of getting stoned and laid as much as possible. He had tried on many occasions - mostly holidays that forced him to visit and endure his father's lectures - to explain that he was just going through a phase.
He stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and walked into the kitchen to grab a can of Red Bull and a Nutrigrain bar. As he did so he caught sight of the clock on the microwave and started. He was supposed to be at work in less than three minutes, and as relaxed as he was in life nothing got him started on an ulcer like listening to his shrill Korean boss scream for several minutes about tardiness. Luke let the towel drop and rushed into his bedroom to gather his unconventional uniform. He would normally take time to appreciate his physique in the mirror as he imagined the sexually frustrated female executives doing when he delivered a long phallic shipping tube full of blueprints. Today he did not have the luxury, dragging on his tight-fitting biking shorts and shirt and running a hand through his short and naturally blond hair.
Luke was still half asleep when his foot hit the pedal of his carbon fiber Kenyon Citibike and propelled him down Cushing. He knew it was a good ten minutes to the dispatch office and he had foolishly left his delivery rig in his locker at work. If he had just remembered that he could get someone there to punch him in and then take his first delivery over the radio. The wind felt good on his face, but it was exceptionally warm, even for summer, and tinged with the smell of another house fire nearby. Luke was unsure what crackheads were responsible for all the house fires in his area, but there had been about one a week all spring.
He turned hard onto Blake, nearly running over a poorly dressed jogger with wild eyes who looked like he had taken a run into a dumpster.
"Fuckhead!" Luke called back over his shoulder.
He pedaled faster, regretting the Red Bull he had not taken out of the fridge as he blinked to keep his heavy eyes open. Traffic was a mess, even more so than usual, probably a side effect of pussies leaving town because of the nuke in California. Horns were blaring everywhere and he could hear cursing and screaming in ten different languages.
Luke caught the groove on Fourth, leaning against the traffic to avoid the waving arms extending from car windows, accelerating slightly downhill and not letting up on the pedals. Then he saw it.
Red hair, shoulder length, turned out at the edges in a duck cut that made him want to sink his fingers in. He could see pink always-wet gloss on her lips and the way even the coffee smock couldn't hide the curve of her breasts. It was tied just above her waist over bare skin, like a belt above the hip-huggers she was wearing. He angled the bike and brought it to a locked stop just outside the door of the coffee shop. Luke knew he had to be quick, but he could savor her tonight when her naked body was pressed against his.
The Javabucks was pretty empty, just an old man staring glassy-eyed out the window and a mother and two children huddled in the corner. The door jangled as Luke entered, wheeling his bike in with him. He noted that the girl's name was Lauren from her nametag as he approached the counter. He also noted that her eyes were slightly red and her cheeks were damp, as though she had been crying. Wonderful, he thought, she's vulnerable.
"Hey," Luke greeted her with his best smile, "can I get a grande latte doublecaf lite?"
Lauren snapped her head towards him from whatever point on the wall she was staring at.
"Sure," her voice cracked with emotion, "it's on the house. Why not, right?"
She stumbled over to the machine and began working on his order. She seemed pretty crazy to Luke, but any thoughts he might have about aborting his insertion mission were dispelled by a glimpse of her stunningly firm ass poured into the hip-huggers. Lauren turned back with his coffee, blotting at her eye with the back of her other hand. She placed the cup on the counter and slid it across to him.
"Hey, hey, hey," he said, placing his hand over hers, "I've been through some rough spots in my life. Everything will work out."
"H-how?" Lauren's lower lip quivered slightly.
"Look, I'm having a couple friends over at my place tonight. Nothing crazy, just some beers, maybe order some Indian food or Thai or something. You should come hang out, get your mind off of it."
Luke squeezed her hand and she smiled despite her still-apparent distress. There was a strange sound out in the street, like a jet engine only higher pitched and louder. Luke glanced back and could see the trees anchored in the cement immediately in front of the Javabucks waving as though caught in the jet wash. Newspapers and empty paper cups swirled up into the air. Luke looked back at Lauren.
"I'm in a pretty big hurry, but why don't you lay your digits on me. I'll give you a call whe-"
There was a tremendous crash outside. A nine-foot tall and exceptionally bulky suit of black medieval armor had just jumped onto the roof of an 89 Corolla stuck in traffic. The roof had caved in beneath it and broken pieces of windshield were being blown out and away by the twin jet exhausts emerging from an enormous pack slung over the armor's shoulders. Someone was screaming inside the car. There was another crash, even closer this time, and a huge black iron boot smashed down onto the sidewalk. Another suit of armor had landed right outside the door, this one dropping to a knee as it did. The sound of the engines was intense, drowning out Lauren's wailing scream.
Luke glanced back down Fourth and could see them, dropping gracefully from the sky like big black ducks, landing on cars and smashing them like wet cardboard. A cop trying to direct traffic on Hollings reached for his hip when one landed only a few feet away. The thing lashed out with unbelievable speed and grabbed the cop by the head, thick fingers wrapping all the way around his skull and his face completely concealed inside its palm. The man flailed his arms and kicked as he was held in place for a few moments. Then, with a wrenching swing that no doubt broke the man's neck, the thing flung the cop into the air. His body cart wheeled into the ledge of a fourth story window and rebounded back down onto the sidewalk.
Abruptly, Luke realized that he might be in mortal danger, and returned his attention to the suit of black armor right outside the Javabucks. The glass wall surrounding the door gave way first, shattering inward and peppering the counter area with glass. Lauren collapsed in terror beneath the counter and Luke managed to shield his face from the flying debris. The door buckled in on its frame, the huge suit of armor pushing it in one-handed, unaware or apathetic to the fact that it opened outwards.
It ducked its head slightly as it stepped inside the Javabucks, sweeping a red and mechanical gaze across the room. Strapped beneath its right arm was a baroque assembly of shielded cabling and reinforced linkages terminating on one end in a cylinder the size and shape of a beer keg. On the other end three metallic and well-worn gun barrels extended well beyond the suit's fist, and beneath that was what appeared to be a gigantic red kitchen knife.
"Linus Guthry." It stated.
After several seconds of silence it repeated itself.
"Luke Hopewell," Luke told it slowly, pressing his hand to his heart. "It's nice to meet you Linus Guthry."
Luke's confused mind could not react quickly enough to the sudden movement of the thing's left arm to get him out of the way in time. His neck fit neatly in the "V" space between the middle finger and the ring finger on the huge metallic hand. It bent him backwards over the counter, spilling the hot coffee across the laminated surface and onto Lauren's back. She squealed in pain.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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