Oh gawd, what I did today.
Wendig challenge time again. This time the challenge was to come up with a something-punk story. IE steampunk, cyberpunk, etc.
I came up with Veggiepunk. And wrote this. Because I am insane.
“Wood Green Empire”
Little Stevie took the corner too fast and went up on two wheels; the tires made a skidder-judder noise. For a moment he thought the car was going to roll. Instead the wheels crashed back down and crushed an empty, dessicated corncob. The crunch was like bones breaking. Stevie hit the accelerator and ground the thing beneath his wheels into starchy dust. Stevie paid it no mind; he was busy watching the tach and the fuel gauge and praying the gas held out. If he ran out or the pump went fuckitty on him again that was it, son. All she blew.
He looked at the satchel on the seat next to him, then back at the road. Just a few miles, man, he thought, a silent prayer to No-one. All I need. Please.
The tires (third-gen solid-state self-repairing streethuggers) ate up the asphalt like they hadn’t eaten in years; the muffler blatted and blorted like a saxophone player with St. Vitus Dance. Stevie grinned, teeth a white bar against his urban camo makeup. The GovCorp compound retreated behind him in the mirror, changing in size from a bastion festooned tower to something that looked like an oversized Chinese finger puzzle the further he got away from it. He shook his head at that idea. The mirror had to be out of whack. That or the drugs were kicking in. That, or the other drugs were wearing off.
A noise somewhere between an air raid siren and a lovesick moose started cycling, up and down. Stevie smashed his fist against the dashboard. The jolt caused the music player to burst into glowing, pulsing life. The speakers throbbed with the Beastie Boys, roaring at him about Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego.
And behind him, the cabbages started to rise.
Stevie cursed as they launched from the GovCorp compound, taking flight on leafy purple wings--first one, then five, then ten. They gained altitude, climbed higher and higher in the sunset sky. Then their black silhouettes began to descend. They grew larger as they gained speed.
Kamikazes! he thought. It could be nothing else. The cabbages were unarmed. What else could they do but sacrifice themselves to prevent his escape?
As he had the thought the first of the cabbages folded its wings and tumbled from the sky, followed by another, and another.
The first one missed; it smashed into the street twenty meters ahead. Stevie crowed, though he knew in his heart he would be very lucky to get out of this alive.
The next cabbage struck his hood, dented the metal, and blew itself to pulp in the process. Gore splashed the windscreen, covering it. Stevie jammed both feet on the brake; the roof went SPANG and caved in above his head, in a perfectly round inverse crater. The music screeched and cut out again. Stevie did not screech, though it was a near thing. And it was a sure thing that if he got out of this he would need a change of pants.
The cabbages fell to earth, a meteoric rain of purpled and half-liquefied leaves. They covered the hood, the boot, the street all around him. The tires could not gain purchase. Then he rolled over the smashed remains of the first cabbage--which gathered what was left of its body and leaped upward into his transmission. Machinery screamed. So did Little Stevie. The car ground to a halt, one mile from the GovCorp compound.
He muscled the door open and fell into the street, befouling his clothes with the soggy, clutching remains of GovCorps’s air support. Stevie was not even able to gain his feet before he hear the slithering footsteps behind him. He turned his head, and saw a squad of broccoli charging up the street, stun-guns cradled in their fibrous leaves. Behind them he saw four giant, rolling crimson forms.
So: the rumors were true. GovCorp had tomatoes now.
“You’re not even vegetables!” he shouted to them as they approached. Then a broccoli soldier raised his weapon, and fired---and the world went dark, and smelled of radishes.
Cold water splashed his face, and brought him from grogginess to fully awake in a heartbeat. He opened his eyes. He was shirtless, strapped to an upright slab. A tall, slender man stood before him; he wore a brown suit, and had a greenish cast to his skin. He smiled, revealing small, neat teeth. Behind him, on a desk buried in paper, was the satchel. Two broccoli soldiers guarded the door.
“You’re awake” the man said. He had a voice sweet enough to give Stevie a toothache. “Good. Good for me. Bad for you.”
“I won’t talk,” Stevie said.
The man in the suit laughed. “I don’t give a damn! You have no information we can use. And the information you stole from us is back in our possession.”
“Then why take me prisoner?” he said. “Why not just kill me?”
“Sooooo,” the man said slowly, “you stole the reports, but did not read them. Did you?”
Stevie stared blankly. The man reached out, patted him on the head, and spoke again.
“The process by which we animate our . . . vegetable tools . . . carries with it a few special qualities. One is the biomass by-product which they create, with which we power our buildings. Soon, entire cities will be powered by it. But in order to get that by-product, we need to ensure that our tools have sustenance to process. They cannot rely on photosynthesis alone.
“So: A trade-off. We take the biomass, and in turn we give them the sustenance they require. A very . . . specific kind of sustenance.”
Stevie suddenly realized where he was going with this. He started to struggle against the bindings.
“Now now,” the man said. “It’s too late for that. it’s no use crying about it, young man.”
The grin on his face was terrifying.
“. . . it’s time for your vegetables to eat you.”
He turned and walked away. The broccoli slithered forward. And Stevie began to scream.