by Robert Thorn
"Look mom, a bus!" Pigg Whistle huffed excitedly as he pivoted his new degenerator toward the silver contraption passing in the street below his window.
"Don't you hurt nobody!" hollered a voice from the stairwell.
"But look at that dumb thing. It's gotta be a million years old! Who cares?!"
"The people who're on it, that's who," said the woman as she topped the stairs and crammed her body through the door of Pigg's cluttered room.
Pigg followed the archaic mechanical beast with the degenerator's long barrel. "Eeeewww woo woo, I'd sure like ta blast 'em, mom," he said, still bubbling with delight.
The woman, exceedingly obese, thrust her arms at her sides akimbo. "That new contraption's gonna cause us a heap o' trouble, Pigg. A heap o' trouble!"
Pigg ignored her, still engrossed with the bus. He had ordered the degenerator kit from a comic book one week earlier and was itching to try it out. His mother glanced around the room, which looked more like a landfill. Nothing had a place. Posters hung from the wall by a single tack, shelves spilled to the ground, PC boards, electronic components, disks, comics, papers, toys, boxes, all strewn around at random. Food bowls were everywhere, only a hardened greasy film remaining upon their deep rounded surfaces. And the smell...like a petting zoo, only worse. Much worse.
"I was fixin' bum bum balls for your dinner."
Pigg turned his head toward her. "Bum bum balls? Yeah!"
"But if you go and shoot that bus, I'll be answerin' questions all night with them nosy ass reporters and can't make no bum bums for ya."
Pigg looked back toward the bus, which was already motoring out of range. He looked back at his mom and then back to the bus.
"Yeah, that thing's too easy to blast anyway," he said finally, hopping down from the stool in front of the weapon with a thud.
Pigg was a big boy. Not in the way of muscles, height, or big bones, but in an awkwardly pudgy way. Loaves of fat swelled from his frame in bulges, like when a skinny kid packs balloons and pillows under his clothes to become a football player. His head sat on top like a bowling ball, red, round, and puffy. His hair fell from it like brown spaghetti, beyond the cleansing power of normal shampoo. Pigg wore his Star Wars T-shirt. He loved old space movies and prized Star Wars as his favorite of the old stuff. He often spanked his sausage to Princess Leia, whose head stretched humorously across the shirt, way too small for Pigg. Chewbacca likewise looked like a distorted teddy bear.
His tongue moved back and forth across his bottom lip as he thought about the bum bum balls. "I'll just stay in here an' play on the net 'til them are ready," he said.
"Okay, but keep out of them nudie sites. If you order another one of them cyberwhores, I'll be mighty aggravated."
"I've still got the other one in the closet," Pigg said reassuringly, as he pointed to a door half blocked with a pile of clothes.
"Well, that's fine, Pigg. Just try not to keep her there too long," his mother said as she turned and stuffed herself back through the doorway and headed down the stairs. Her mu-mu dress was ripped in the back and enormous globes of cellulite bobbed within. Pigg giggled as he took in the eyeful.
Hungry now, Pigg went to a large glass aquarium set against one wall of his room. Within its murky water, a group of sea monkeys floated listlessly near the bottom. They were huge, nearly as large as squirrel monkeys, with long webbed hands and feet. Pigg could grow them big. Bigger than any other sea monkeys he had ever seen at the mall, in the comic book ads, or on the net. But they were not happy like in the ads. Their miniature beach balls were flat, sunk, and covered with the same slime that crawled up the walls of the tank. Their three-pronged crowns hung limp.
"Hi, sea monkeys," he said, plunging a net into the tank.
He scooped out one of the creatures, who did not resist the capture. The other sea monkeys pulled away into a cluster of weeds growing at the bottom. They moved with the enthusiasm of prisoners on their way to the vaporization chamber, turning their eyes away from the gruesome scene about to take place.
Pigg dumped the gasping sea monkey out of the net onto a desk in front of the tank. Taking out a knife from a box of tools, he removed the head, arms, and legs. Slicing the torso into patty-like portions, he stuffed them into his mouth one by one, along with handfuls of crackers from a yellow box. He washed it down with a bottle of Blue Grape Goodness he found lodged under his Play Buddy robot, which had been modified with an actuator driven penis that would pop out of its mouth upon command.
I gotta grow a new batch soon, he thought.
The door bell sounded. Pigg threw the last slab of sea monkey on the ceiling and ran for the stairs.
Minutes later he was dragging up a box, kicking things out of the way to make space. His mother was yelling from the kitchen below.
He read the graphics on the box...
HOME CLONE CO.
Reaching into his pocket, Pigg pulled out a crumpled page ripped from a comic book. He unfolded it and looked lovingly at an ad for a home cloning kit. The ad depicted two identical sheep standing side-by-side and a nerdy boy standing atop them. He had one foot on each animal's back like a perverse cheerleading stance. Pigg verified the information.
"Yep, Home Clone Company. It's the one!"
He tore into the box with sweaty fingers, pulling the contents of bottles, tubes, trays, and several strange assemblies from within. He located the instruction disk and slipped it into his computer. Grabbing a sack of flattened corny dogs, he sat back to watch the Q Time tutorial which told how to assemble and operate the unit. It seemed pretty straightforward; after all the box said, "Ages 6 and up." He had gotten the degenerator together and that was for adults.
After the tutorial -- which Pigg thought could have been done better if it had had some nudity or cuss words -- he pieced together the heating element and gestation accelerator to create the incubator module. He set it up on an old three-legged table he cleared by shoving everything on it to the floor. Next to it, he set the electrofuser and the bottles of catalyst fluid. He was ready to go.
A sheep he had pre-ordered would be his first source sample. He located one of the provided syringes and went over to its laughable hiding spot between the bed and the wall. Luckily the machine worked with just a simple blood sample and not with embryo cells like the old methods of cloning used. Pigg figured he wouldn't have liked getting all up in a sheep like that.
After obtaining the sample, he used the electrofuser to isolate the right amount of genetic material and mixed it in a clear tray along with a few extra ingredients he thought might be nice. He whisked them thoroughly with a toothpick. He then injected the mixture into an embryo emulation cell, poured in some catalyst fluid, and popped it into the incubation module. Voila! The module would do the rest, taking the place of a biogenic womb.
Days later, a sheep -- or something close -- was born. Pigg took it from the incubator module. He held the little creature into the air like the baby Moses, eyeing it with satisfaction.
"It worked!" he mused, twirling it in his hands.
The goo-covered animal looked in every respect like a baby sheep, hairless and fleshy, but with one exception. It had six legs, long and arching like those of a spider.
The bundle writhed weakly.
"You don't look so well, little sheep," Pigg said worried.
The creature's mouth opened briefly as its head rocked back and forth. It appeared to be seeking the heat of Pigg's breath when its neck went limber causing its head to fall to one side like a drooping flower on a hot day.
"Are you okay?" Pigg asked it.
The baby animal did not move.
After inspecting it further, he realized it was dead. Seconds later he tossed it out his second story window as if it were a miniature football.
"I must've added too much spider to it!" he cursed. "Next time I'll get it right for sure."
A woman, enraged by the plunging animal, hollered from the street below.
"Hey you idiot. I'm calling the Guard!" the woman yelled.
Pigg went to the window and looked down. The big-haired woman pointed a yellow-painted nail at him.
"I'm reporting you!"
"Go ahead," Pigg told her. "Don't you know who I am?"
"I don't care if you're the president!"
"My name is Pigg Whistle!"
A tall man in an orange suit approached the woman.
"Don't bother. And I wouldn't stand out here where he can see you either," he said stepping into the cover of a doorway.
"Why not?!" she fumed, still glaring up at Pigg.
"Are you new around here? That's the kid who invented that computer virus called the Black Pigg, that's why."
"What computer virus?"
The orange-suited man convinced her to step into the doorway.
"The one that can take everything down if he releases it again. Remember when the net shut down a year ago and the economy nearly collapsed and all those street wars started up in Federation Center?" he continued.
A male companion of the woman broke in. "You talking about the virus that sucked up all the government process files?"
"Exactly. It took the power right out of the Federation. The whole government system is based on Fednet; you take that away and there's basically no government left. Anarchy."
The couple frowned in disbelief.
The man rolled one end of his furry mustache between two fingers as he spoke. "They convinced the kid to pull back the virus as long as they promised to let him do whatever he wants to without getting in trouble. He's Carte Blanche now. Gets anything he wants for free, does whatever the hell he wants to. And he still wants to live in this shithole, you believe that?"
"Why don't they just take him into custody?" the woman suggested.
"The kid's got a PortaBrain set to send out the Black Pigg if he doesn't check in every so often."
"Why don't they cut his teleconnection? Cut off his modem."
"A PortaBrain is wireless."
"How about shooting the little bastard?"
The stranger in orange began to look annoyed. "Look, they've gone though all this stuff already. I'm just trying to help you. If you want to play MACC 5, robot detective, then go ahead. Otherwise, you better kiss that kid's ass or we're all as good as dead!"
Without another word, the man strode off down the street, staying close to the buildings.
"That's crazy!" the woman said, shaking her head. She walked back out on the sidewalk and looked up.
Fortunately for her, Pigg was too busy gloating his success as a junior cloner to be concerned with her meddling. I just gotta mix it better next time, he thought, as he began to prepare the home clone device for a new experiment. All I need now is an alligator and a gorilla.
Later, as Pigg wolfed on a bowl of leftover bum bum balls in the kitchen, the phone rang.
His mother answered. "It's the president," she said, holding up the receiver.
Pigg grimaced. She brought him the phone.
"Pigg? This is the president. How are you?"
"Fine. What do you want?"
"Oh, just wanted to see how you were doing. See if we could get you anything? No reason to call in particular. You know I think you're a fine boy and I like to talk to you now and again."
Pigg rolled his eyes. "I know that. But I'm fine."
"How's your mother?"
"She's fine too." Pigg paused. "I do need a baby alligator and a baby gorilla sent to my house."
"An alligator and gorilla?" the president asked pensively. "What are you going to do with them?"
"Just stuff. Send 'em over fast," Pigg said, taking another bite out of a bum bum. "I'll talk to ya later."
He heard the president's voice trail off as he hung up.
"Don't go lettin' those animals crap upstairs, Pigg. That sheep left a heap o' droppins behind your bed."
"Why don't ya shut up, ya round mound of sound!" Pigg said heading back to his room.
It was a sunny day, thirteen days later. Pigg was behind the trigger control of his degenerator. He was shooting innocent bystanders in the street below where an ill-advised parade was taking place. Voices and sirens mixed in a confusing din of chaos.
Swooozzzz...shakkkk, the degenerator howled as he fired another shot which hit a middle-aged man wearing a high tan hat in the gut. The man apparently failed to take the guards seriously when they warned people to get out of the area; that the parade would have to be moved to another street.
"Whoooooo," Pigg hollered as the man dropped.
A city guard ran out to retrieve the body. He acknowledged Pigg. "That was a great shot, Pigg!" he said nervously. "You're a real crack marksmen!"
Pigg smiled and looked out from around the degenerator's sight tube. "You really think?" he yelled back to the guard.
"Hell yeah!" the guard said, signaling the other guards to pause a moment and clap. They had dealt with Pigg plenty of times before and knew that distracting him with praise would usually get him to stop whatever outrageous behavior he had set himself upon. The city had tried several times to keep people off Mumbilly Street and away from Pigg. They had tried blocking the street, condemning the area, and even tried declaring it a Federation disaster zone, but none had worked. The people who lived on the street, most too poor to move elsewhere, had no other place to go. Building owners freaked and, risky as it may be, people wouldn't stay away. Besides, Pigg threatened to release his virus if they didn't open the street back up and stop trying to make everyone stay away from him. Now they just relied on word of mouth or carefully placed signs to warn everyone of the danger. If they tried notifications over the net, he would know about it. He knew everything that went on there.
Growing tired of blasting people, Pigg grabbed a snack and cranked up his favorite band. The vocalist for the Vic Snickies was soon belting out a series of short, fast syllables which made up a song called Liquid Dog Ketchup.
Gettin hungry, need some meat
I get pissed if I don't eat
So I head out for the street
Seekin somethin fresh and sweet...
The door bell. Pigg couldn't hear it, but his computer screen alerted him to the fact. Pigg jiggled a few times, threw down his snack, and headed for the stairs.
Minutes later a delivery man was wheeling a cage into the shrine of clutter and bad music.
Chop suey don't mean shit
Pork n' beans or chicken chips
Don't even want a little bit
Without dog ketchup on top of it...
"You like the Vic Snickies?" Pigg asked the green suited delivery man.
"Uh, sure," he answered, pushing the cage off the dolly.
"They're real good. You should like them."
The delivery man nodded as he took in the huge mess that was Pigg's room.
The divided cage held a small baby alligator and a plump gorilla infant. Pigg turned down the music and looked at his specimens with a keen eye.
"Could you put your thumb right here?" the delivery man asked, pointing at the device which kept a record of who received the packages.
"You just wait a minute," Pigg said digging in a box of medical instruments.
"What are you doing with these animals?"
"I'm a doctor. I need samples from these animals," he said pulling out two syringes.
"You're a doctor?" the man said glancing around the room. "Somebody told me you're the kid that can screw up the world if you want to. You got that computer virus that everyone's afraid of."
Pigg stopped what he was doing and looked at the man. "Who told you that?"
"Some guys where I work. They said you were gonna create a weird race of apes that'll take over the world and that's why you wanted this gorilla. I just can't figure why you want the alligator."
"I don't like people who talk about me. You tell 'em if they talk about me again, I'll have to kill 'em," Pigg said glaring at the man.
"Damn dude, that's not cool!"
"That's all I'm sayin' to ya. Now leave."
"But you gotta put your thumb on..."
Pigg frowned, pressing his heavy brow toward his plump cheeks. "I told ya forget it."
The delivery worker scoffed. "Well screw it then," he said as he hastily exited the room.
Pigg returned to the cage where he took a blood sample from each of the animals, too pumped with tranquilizers to care. He followed the same process he had used with the sheep and spider, this time taking a little more time to get the fluid amounts correct. Pigg was impressed at how well the home cloning kit worked. It performed just as the ad in the comic book said it would, not like the X-ray spectacles, which had been a complete disappointment. He just hoped this time the mixture would be right.
A month later, another monster was born. It looked something like a liver with a head, arms and legs, and a tail. Pigg took it from the incubator module and set it in the middle of the floor where it squirmed, looking instinctually for a mother.
This one seemed to be alive and healthy.
"Your name's Chewie," Pigg said with a twang of brotherly love, as he picked up the thing and washed it off with a wet towel. "You're gonna be my friend."
Over the next ninety days, Chewie grew in size and strength, living at first on the decaying body of the cyberwhore. Later Pigg was forced to feed him his own parents (which were getting too big for the cage anyway), the rest of the sea monkeys, the sheep, and all the neighborhood dogs. After a while, Chewie was able to stomach the rich, oleaginous bum bum balls that Pigg himself loved. Now his mother spent nearly all her time mixing up huge vats of whole rump fat, lard, eggs, chicken skin, and Spam that went into the making of the brownish dumplings.
"Chewie, we're gonna have bum bum balls for dinner and then we can watch some television tonight. I told the stupid television station to play that movie about them aliens that come down to earth and tickle naked ladies," Pigg said, patting the now three hundred pound creature on the shoulder.
Chewie let out a low guttural sound of approval, which sounded like the purr of some enormous cat. He gazed at Pigg with his dark glassy eyes. He had grown into something that resembled a reptilian Neanderthal. Although he possessed the body structure of a primate, a tough greenish-gray skin covered everything but his face, which was dark brown and wrinkled. A few clumps of hair sprouted randomly from his back and nether-regions, but otherwise he was devoid of the standard issue coat of fur a gorilla usually sported. He had a long ribbed tail and huge four fingered hands which looked as though they could squeeze the air out of a basketball, no problem.
After ten pounds of bum bums, Pigg and Chewie sat on the couch eating Milky Cow ice cream and watching the movie. Mama yelled from the kitchen, but they ignored her.
"You're my best friend," Pigg told the creature whose tail draped across his shoulder. "I like you."
Chewie cocked his head slightly and looked at Pigg. His apish fingers touched Pigg's greasy hair as if to say he liked Pigg, too.
"We oughta go out tomorrow and see if other people like you as much as I do," Pigg told him.
Chewie flicked his tail in approval.
The next morning, Pigg stretched a T-shirt and jeans over himself and made ready to venture out. It had been some time since he had been very far from home. Chewie had never been outside.
"We gotta take this with us so people will do what we say," Pigg said holding up his PortaBrain compact computer. "I can put in one single command and send out my computer program that wrecks all the computers hooked up to the network. I made it cuz I didn't like the way they laughed at me all the time. Nobody will laugh at you either, Chewie."
Chewie maintained his glossy gaze, as he stood hulking in front of the doorway awaiting Pigg's lead.
"Where you goin'?" Pigg's mother hollered as he and Chewie passed the kitchen heading to the front door.
"Outside," he answered defiantly.
"You gonna get in some trouble and you know it."
"I ain't either. Me an' Chewie's gonna see what people are doin' out there. He's never seen the world before," Pigg said continuing out the door.
"Pigg, I tell you, if you come home with one of them..."
"Can it, mound," he said slamming the door behind him.
Out in the street, people looked curiously, yet carefully from a distance at the plump kid and the beast. Knowing full well the consequences of getting on Pigg's bad side, they attempted not to start conversation or draw any unnecessary attention to themselves.
"Look at all these people," Pigg said walking down the sidewalk towards Fleshton Market. "They look so stupid hurrying all around like they do. I hate them cuz they used to laugh at me all the time. Until I made up that computer program."
Chewie merely swung his head left and right as he plodded along, checking out all the sights and sounds of the street. Mumbilly was primarily a residential street, but many people used it as a shortcut to the market, giving it more traffic than was probably prudent. A few brave magazine stands and sex shops had started up in some of the vacant street level apartments. Rent was cheap. Property value had plummeted because of the Whistles and the real estate lords had been working feverishly to get them to move, offering big houses elsewhere. But so far, Pigg had refused, saying he liked it where he was and wasn't going to move an inch.
"We're gonna go down to Fleshton's ta get some new comic books," Pigg told Chewie, who was still interested in the new sights. "I'm lookin' for this one with an ad that sells these real eyeballs that ya can hook up so ya can see behind your head. I gotta get me some of those. Maybe you can get some too?"
Chewie glanced blankly at Pigg for a moment and then resumed his trudging gait. His tail swung back and forth across the sidewalk like a sweeper.
"How are ya Pigg?" a dog vendor barked from behind his silvery stand.
"Fine," Pigg answered.
"How do you like my new friend?" Pigg said pointing to Chewie, whose nose flared at the scent of the dogs.
"Wow, he's a real nice lookin' pet," the vendor said, squinting skeptically at the beast. "He's real nice."
"He's not a pet, he's my friend. I made him with my own cloning kit."
"Them cloning things have come a long way, haven't they?"
"Yeah. I made Chewie in my room."
"Real fine," the vendor answered, handing Pigg and Chewie a handful of dogs. "These are on me, son."
Pigg and Chewie doused them in mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and onions, and crammed them into their mouths as they went on towards the market. The vendor watched as they disappeared down the street, a glimmer of sweat on his brow.
Reaching the market lot, Pigg and Chewie cut across the parking lanes and headed for the entrance. But as they neared, a Zozger swerved in front of them and stopped. A young man in his early twenties popped his head out the driver's side hatch.
"What the hell are you dressed up for?" he asked, addressing Chewie. He appeared to be drunk.
Pigg frowned. "He ain't dressed up."
The driver laughed and took a quick swig of beer out of a shiny can. "Looks like he's dressed up for a Halloween party to me."
Through the tinted windows, Pigg could see that the passenger was pulling at the arm of the driver.
"Just leave us alone," Pigg said, starting to walk around the Zozger to the market entrance.
"Not so fast," the driver said pulling himself out of the hatch and jumping clumsily onto the macadam.
"Come on Jax," the passenger yelled from the vehicle.
Jax ignored the plea. "Why don't you freaks stay off the street?"
"I'm warning you," Pigg snapped.
The passenger leaned over towards the driver's hatch. "Jax! That's that Pigg Whistle kid. Leave him alone and let's go get some more beer."
"I know who he is. And I'm sick of having to kiss his ass just because he can figure out some heavy computer program!"
Chewie grumbled deep in his throat.
Jax pulled an old looking automatic out of his pocket. "Shut up you big freak. I'll blow your ass away."
Pigg waved his PortaBrain. "I push one button on this and the whole world will come to an end!" he said angrily.
"You wouldn't do it."
"Yes I would!"
A woman, who had been looking on from a distance, ran back into the market calling for a Guard.
Jax raised the weapon and pointed its thin barrel at Chewie.
"No!" Pigg cried, looking uncharacteristically nervous.
Chewie growled again, sensing that something was wrong.
"Don't!" Pigg warned him.
Afraid, Chewie began to make a move toward the drunk kid.
"No!!" Pigg yelled, but it was too late.
Fire, fire, fire, the automatic sputtered, causing thick blood to pour from Chewie's neck and chest. At first the injury did not seem to affect him, his doltish eyes still trained on his enemy. But then he stumbled backward and began grunting and slapping his tail on the hard cement.
"Shit!" the passenger shouted.
Pigg moved toward Chewie, cursing Jax. "Ya dicksuck!"
"You're next," the teen scowled.
Chewie made a clumsy leap toward Jax, growling like a caged dog with his powerful arms reaching out. But the loss of blood was too much and he fell to the ground like a half inflated raft before he could get his hands on the kid's throat. He let out a final groan and lay still.
Jax raised the weapon at Pigg. "I'm gonna be a hero!" he said defiantly. Anonymous whispers from the gathering crowd said, "Do it -- Kill him."
"Freeze!!" shouted a Guard, bursting out of the market with a long-barreled weapon aimed at Jax.
The passenger pleaded. "Let's get out of here, you idiot!"
Jax didn't seem to be listening to anyone except maybe the crowd, still training his automatic on Pigg.
Pigg's voice was shrill. "I'm warnin' ya. You killed my friend and I'm mad. I can end the whole world if I wanna. Everybody knows I can."
Jax smirked. "Who really cares anymore?"
The Guard was getting closer, carefully eyeing Jax. "Drop it, son. You don't want to do that."
"Maybe I do."
"If you even look like you're going to pull that trigger, I'm going to have to shoot. You understand that?"
"What's the difference? If I kill 'em we're dead. If I don't we're dead. I don't really believe his computer program can do what everybody thinks it will do."
The Guard stopped about fifteen meters from the Zozger. "You don't speak for everyone, son. There's proof it works."
The crowd was silent now.
Sweat rolled from Pigg's oily skin like condensation from a cold glass in heat. He held the PortaBrain outstretched in front of him. He spoke to the Guard. "I'm tired of this. Do somethin' or I'm gonna make you sorry."
Suddenly a Guard, unnoticed in the tense atmosphere, popped up from around the Zozger's front crash rail and struck Jax with so much force that the automatic flew from his hand in an arc. It collided with the macadam as the drunk kid bounced off the Zozger's driver-side door. In less than a second, the Guards were upon him, cuffing him with a shockbelt. The passenger was dragged from the vehicle and cuffed as well, though he protested his innocence throughout the process. The crowd dispersed quickly.
"We're really sorry about that, Pigg. Are you all right?" the first Guard asked.
Pigg was frowning at the cuffed killer. "Yeah... but I want you to put him in jail. And torture him, too. Use worms and snakes and stuff like that."
"You bet. We're going to see to it that this guy won't hurt you or one of your animals again. I just hope that you're not too mad about what happened."
Pigg looked at Chewie. He reached down and nudged him with his thick fingers, but he did not respond.
"Well, I guess I can make a new friend. But next time I'm making one that will be a whole lot bigger and meaner than Chewie. You just wait."
"Well that sounds fine, Pigg. I'm sure he'll be real big and mean."
A Guard transport pulled up and the boys were herded into the rear enclosure. "You should've let me do it," Jax said as a Guard slammed the door behind him.
To make himself feel better, Pigg grabbed a few comics from the market before heading home. He flipped listlessly through one of them as he walked. He paused a moment as he spotted an interesting ad on the inside of the back cover.
"Whoa. ORDER YOUR OWN AUTHENTIC JAR OF DINOSAUR DNA!" he said out loud. His eyes grew round and his cheeks lifted like two inflating frog bellies. "That's what I need! It's not so easy to shoot a dinosaur."
Story © copyright 1999 by Robert Thorn <email@example.com>
Artworks "Pigg" and "Chewie" © copyright 1999 by Breck Outland
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