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Book: The Impaler and the Slim-Jims
Chapter 7: Various Kitchen Utensils

Within an hour, all of the Ross Mental clones - thirty four of them to be exact - had been placed at every possible entry into the Impaler cavern. Most of them had been placed at cave entrances on the upper walls, the entrances where Slim-Jims had previously entered the cavern and leapt down onto unsuspecting females. The others were standing in wait at several ground level entrances.

Peter the Ace stood with the Impaler leader at the centre of the village. “Those are definitely the only entrances to this cavern?” he asked.

“They are.” Tiyr’d confirmed. “We developed just enough clones to cover each and every one.”

“Good thinking.”

Panman approached. “Everything’s set. There’s no way one of those Slim-Jims is going to get in here tonight!”

From all around the cavern, a faint but clear chant could be heard. The Ross Mental clones were ranting in unison. “Slim-Jim fuckers, you’re all fucked!”

Peter the Ace smiled at the deformed leader. “I guess all we can do now is wait.”

“Panman made a suggestion. “We could eat?”

Tiyr’d looked at the bounty hunter. “You are hungry?”

“Always! You got any snacks?”

“There is no time for…”

Peter the Ace interrupted. “If my astounding colleague requires nourishment then his desire must be fulfilled.”

Tiyr’d stared at the two bounty hunters for a second, and then turned. “Sind’a?” he called.

The leader’s female servant appeared on his office balcony above. Her well-toned thighs were clearly visible below her white mini-skirt. “Yes, leader?”

“One of our guests requires snacks. Prepare a selection and bring them out here immediately.”

Sind’a bowed graciously. “Anything you wish will be done, leader.”

Sind’a wandered away.

Peter the Ace smiled. “Your servant is very obedient. And also delightfully toned.”

Tiyr’d nodded. “All of our females must workout daily to maintain their physiques. We will not tolerate weak sagging muscles, overhanging guts, and unsightly mounds of blubber.”

“Quite right.” Peter the Ace said. “We bounty hunters demand that level of toned perfection, too.”

Panman interjected a few words. “Not in the palace’s under-class areas, though.”

“Ah, yes.” Peter the Ace said. “The females in those areas only serve menial workers such as cesspool scrubbers and restroom polishers. They are often tremendously fleshy and caked in months of dried sweat.”

The Impaler leader appeared to be sickened at that thought. “How do you cope with the stench and their offensive appearance?”

“We never encounter them. As I said, they only serve menial workers, and they live hundreds of levels below the surface of the palace. They have their own sub-standard communities down there, mainly brothels, casinos, and thunder-domes. The air-locks between them and the surface keep the smell away, and the heavy security and powerful laser cannons at each exit prevent them from wandering around the luxury avenues of the palace’s central districts.”

Tiyr’d nodded in approval. “That kind of control over your under-class is admirable.”

“And necessary.” Panman said. “Bounty hunters must not be distracted from their work and relaxation by severe body odour and ugliness.”

Sind’a approached and handed Panman a large tray of assorted pastries, buns, and pancakes. She bowed with sincere respect for her betters then walked away. Panman began to eat like a horse.

A bleeper sounded. Tiyr’d pulled a small device from his belt and looked at it. “It is a message from my scouts on the surface. The Slim-Jims are here. It begins!”

“Cool!” Panman shouted. Pancake fragments flew everywhere. He looked around for the first attack.

It happened only a few seconds later - and directly above. High up on the cavern’s ceiling a struggle was occurring. The Ross Mental clone hanging next to the highest orifice was punching and kicking and stabbing wildly at something concealed in the darkness next to him. “Here’s pain, Jim fucker!” he shouted. There was a high pitched screech, and then something began to fall.

Four seconds later, that ‘something’ landed with a muffled crunch only a few metres in front of Peter the Ace and Panman. The two bounty hunters walked over to the crumpled form. It was a strange sight. The Slim-Jim’s long and extremely emaciated limbs had snapped like twigs on impact. Bone and tendons protruded out of deep tears in the creature’s limited flesh and tar-like blood oozed from ruptured arteries. The slim-Jim’s head had been squashed and its large eyeballs had been squeezed out of their sockets. Its pink shorts and yellow shirt were stained beyond recovery.

“What a feeble looking thing!” Panman said as he stared into one of the eyeballs.

There was another screech. A second Slim-Jim landed almost on top of the first. It was still alive. With an agonising groan, it tried to pull its broken body across the ground.

Panman pulled out one of his concealed fusion pistols, aimed, then fired. The Slim-Jim shrieked in torment as its face melted away to the bone and the wispy black hair on its scalp burst into flame. The creature’s exposed skull slumped forwards and disconnected from its neck. The skull cracked open as it hit the stony surface.

“Nice work!” Peter the Ace said.

All around now, Slim-Jims were dropping like flies onto the cavern’s floor. The females of the community had been waiting for them, and as soon as a Slim-Jim landed they proceeded to hack away at it with various kitchen utensils. Bone and flesh scattered into the air.

The Impaler leader watched with obvious delight. “The cloning experiment is successful.” he said proudly. “Our mortal enemies are being slaughtered like hogs!” He turned to the two bounty hunters. “The Almighty Impaler has blessed us with your timely arrival. I must thank him.” The Impaler leader dropped to his knees and faced the platform and spike at the centre of the cavern.

Peter the Ace stared down him. “It has nothing to do with any god. It was your scientists and bounty hunters who made this possible.”

Tiyr’d looked up. “That is true, but without the Almight Impaler’s guidance and encouragement you would not have arrived and my scientists would not have been motivated to work so quickly.”

“You are very confused and blinded by religion.” Peter the Ace said. “Ross Mental, Panman, and I are here by sheer fluke only. And your scientists were motivated by the fact that if they didn’t finish their work quickly they would die.”

The Impaler leader looked up at the impressive bounty hunter. “What you say is blasphemous!”

“I am a first class bounty hunter.” Peter the Ace said, stating the obvious. “I am above religion and the law and can say what I want. And what I say is true.”

Tiyr’d frowned at him for a moment, and then continued to pray.

The noise of carnage around the cavern was dying down now; the Slim-Jim attack seemed to be almost over. A few skirmishes around the edge of the cavern were the only signs of conflict. Even the loud cursing and swearing by the Ross Mental clones had ceased.

Panman spoke. “Well, that was easy.”

“Indeed.” Peter the Ace said. “These Slim-Jims are the most pathetic creatures I’ve ever encountered.”

The Impaler leader struggled to his feet. “I have thanked the Almighty Impaler.”

“Congratulations.” Peter the Ace said.

Tiyr’d looked around with pride. “We have taught the Slim-Jims a powerful lesson tonight.” he said. “They will not trouble us again.”

The Impaler leader wandered down to the stream that trickled out from a small cave directly under his office balcony. He scooped up some water and drank it. “Come.” he said to the bounty hunters. “Drink with me from the stream of success. It will bring you luck and good health for your next battle.”

Panman whispered to Peter the Ace. “He’s crazy with superstition!”

Peter the Ace agreed. “He is indeed, but let’s humour him anyway.”

The two bounty hunters joined Tiyr’d and tasted the water.

“Needs some flavouring.” Panman said.

Many of the females joined them and also began to drink. The males of the village and the clones kept their vigil at the entrances to the cavern just in case a further attack occurred.

There was not a milliseconds warning of what happened next. A Slim-Jim, rampant with rage, leapt out of the stream’s cave and whacked the Impaler leader hard in the shoulder with a heavy wooden club. Tiyr’d groaned and fell to the floor. The female Impalers screamed in terror at the sudden appearance of the Slim-Jim. Panman drew his fusion pistol and aimed at the intruder. Five more leapt out of the cave. Panman fired. He hit one of the Slim-Jims squarely in the chest, splitting its ribcage and cooking its internal organs. It collapsed into the water. Several more Slim-Jims appeared. Within seconds, there were more than thirty of them, each brandishing a club. Some of the clubs had nails hammered into them for extra effect.

“This is unforseen.” Peter the Ace said. He drew his pistol and began firing.

“Yeah.” Panman said. “That idiot, Tiyr’d, said he’d covered all entrances!”

“Obviously not.”

More and more Slim-Jims were piling out of the small cave. The first group of scrawny attackers leapt at the crowd of females. They grabbed some of them and pulled them screaming into the water. The females yelled and struggled in the grip of the lanky Slim-Jims.

“Breeding stock!” one of the Slim-Jims shouted. He laughed.

The two bounty hunters continued massacring the Slim-Jims.

“We must not let them take any females.” Peter the Ace said.

Panman agreed and intensified his firing. It was difficult though, as many of the females were now in the line of fire.

A couple of Ross Mental clones had reached the scene. They proceeded to tear the limbs off several Slim-Jims. “Gaunt fuckers!”

Peter the Ace noticed Sind’a, Tiyr’d’s servant, up on the balcony. Three Slim-Jims were up there with her. She yelped as one of them grabbed her, tearing off most of her clothing. The bounty hunter fired. The head of the Slim-Jim attacking her vaporised. Its decapitated body dropped to the floor. Sind’a screamed at the sight, and then fainted. The other two Slim-Jims’ saw their chance and before Peter the Ace could main them severely, they grabbed her. Within seconds, they had dragged her off the balcony and into the water. The bounty hunter fired, burning off one of the Slim-Jim’s legs. It moaned, then fell, letting go of Sind’a. The other Slim-Jim still had hold of her. He pulled her into the mouth of the cave, dragging her into the darkness.

“I’m going after Sind’a.” Peter the Ace said.

Panman laughed as he detonated a couple of Slim-Jims with his waist-mounted mini-grenade launcher. “Good idea. She deserves saving, her snacks are awesome!”

“Try and prevent any more females from being captured.”

“Not a problem.”

Peter the Ace headed for the cave. He broke a few scrawny necks on the way.

The battle around the stream had intensified. All of the community’s males had arrived, and all of the clones too. It was a scene of total carnage. The Slim-Jims - more than fifty of them now - continued to try and kidnap as may females as they could. Contorted and disembowelled bodies lay everywhere. Many Impaler males, too deformed to fight well, were being clubbed to death by the vicious attacks of the skinny intruders. Only the presence of Panman and the Ross Mental clones was managing to keep the attackers at bay.

Panman continued firing as he surveyed the battle scene. It was a marvellous, if gruesome sight. He hadn’t seen so much blood and guts for weeks!

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