Unicorn

Dear Planet Earth,

“Hey, Exterminator.”

I looked up from my cold rice and beans to see Rachel‘s deceptively angelic face staring back.

“Don’t call me that,” I said.

“Why not? It’s a cool name.” She sat down on the stool across from me. “When I was a kid, I wanted my mom to change my name to ‘Unicorn,’ but she said that was stupid.”

I almost asked that ten year old when she thought she stopped being a kid. I almost asked her where her mother was.

“Look what I got.” Her eyes lit up and she reached inside her shirt. She pulled out a long bullet hanging around a dog tag chain. “It’s one of their bullets. Santiago put the holes in it for me.”

I went back to eating my gruel, tried to avoid looking at the giant projectile.

“Oh, and you can have your book back.” She pulled out the copy of The Time Machine from her messenger bag and slid it toward me. My father used to read it to me every night. “It was kind of boring.”

I laughed, weakly. “Compared with reality, yeah, I guess so.”

She abruptly stood up and saluted me. She had other errands to run, more adults to vex.

“Bye, Exterminator.”

Strength is the outcome of need, my father would read to me. Security sets a premium on feebleness.

Hunky-Dory Steampunk Story

Dear Planet Earth,

We’ve been hopping from place to place around the city all week. We kept expecting the mole people to return for a counterattack, drill snakes and steampunk guns in tow. It’s now undeniably apparent they’re not coming, either out of fear or condescending disinterest.

They have a right to be scared. We’ve fortified every inch of downtown Seattle and trained dozens of new rebels how to use some serious weapons. Oh, we’ve started calling ourselves “rebels,” too.

I helped raid a firehouse yesterday to get those flames around the Space Needle under control. We did a pretty good job considering our only training came from playing fireman in preschool. The CDC guys contained the remains of the drill snake I epically pwned, which makes for a pretty eerie picture.

Despite how hunk-dory things seem now, a lot of us are actually itching for the mole men to bring it on. Dr. Eimer compared our zeal for battle to the “geopolitical climate prior to World War I.” I think most of us rebels are imagining Star Wars IV.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Dear Planet Earth,

Ever since the last battle, I’ve been getting a lot more grins, high fives, and patronizing pats on the back. You’d never know that just three months ago everyone treated me like a leper who vandalized cars and falsely accused people of stealing his stuff.

They’ve started calling me “The Exterminator,” and I’m not sure whether to take that as just a nice nickname or an ironic insult. But I said before that I don’t care what others think of me, be it man or mole man, and I’m sticking to that.

I’m beyond such petty concepts as praise or vitriol. I’m a soldier now who only has room to group the world into either enemies or allies. I’m The Exterminator.

That Time I Saved Us All

Dear Planet Earth,

I wish I had seen a trail of smoke arching toward the devious drill snake from my Shoulder Mounted Ass Wiper. A translucent line leading up to the gaping hole under the beast’s belly — that’s all I would need to truly know that the shot came from me. That I killed it.

The way it really happened, there was just a loud hiss and then a big BOOM a second later. The mole man weapon groaned and twitched. It moved and sounded as though it weren’t a machine at all, but something alive, something conscious. It fell to the ground with an earth-shaking THUD. Sparks and smoke came out of its many new openings.

I struggled to get up under the weight of the SMAW and the shock of just shooting a freaking missile into a freaking tank equipped with drills, saws, and Gatling guns. My allies quickly surrounded the drill snake, keeping their rifles drawn on it. They yelled things out to each other that I didn’t understand, if I heard them at all.

A small door opened on its side followed by a small man. He landed on his back and began coughing through his red-eyed mask. The soldiers yelled louder now, slowly inching toward the writhing mole man. He reached at his leg and pulled out a strange-looking pistol. It was huge compared to him, covered in blinking lights and steaming pipes. He was riddled with holes before he could get a little finger around the trigger.

When it was all over and my last drop of adrenaline had gone, I fell back to the ground. I looked at the grey Seattle skyline and the iconic Space Needle framed on all sides by fire and testosterone. And then I passed the fuck out.

Battle in Seattle

Dear Planet Earth,

That was a long enough nap. Greetings from Seattle! Wish you were here. Unless you’re a mole man, in which case, you know, screw you.

We raided two other slave labor camps on the way up here. It was exhilarating to be one of the actual liberators this time around, though I’ll leave out the long paragraphs about strategy that you would only skim over and the mole people would likely exploit.

I will say that our latest score of high-tech rocket launchers may have something to do with our success. We found them among the remains of Fort Kross and they’re officially called “SMAWs,” or “Shoulder Mounted Ass Wipers.” Don’t quote me on that.

When we prepared to drive the mole men out of this city, General Talpa finally trusted me enough to aid the missile squad. I loaded up the rounds for Lieutenant Stoya and watched their gargantuan drill snake shudder from the impacts. Those ominous-looking saw blades were completely destroyed, and it looked like victory was near.

Then the metal monster started firing a small Gatling gun that popped out from underneath. Stoya took a hit in the shoulder (he’s fine now), and the SMAW went down with him. Maybe he screamed or told me to retreat or to try and ice the sucker myself — I don’t know, I had lost all hearing hours ago. I do know that something else took hold of me then. Some kind of calm, innate spirit within me pushed everything else to the side and just focused on picking up that rocket launcher and icing the sucker myself.

It looked just like this . . .

. . . but 1,000 times more badass.

Alive

Dear Planet Earth,

Yay! I’m alive! I don’t want to go into exactly who killed what mole man at which slave labor camp now, but be assured, I’m alive and I’m a total badass. I’ve been running on fumes for days, but my badassery remains intact.

Guess where we’re at right now.

Seattle. We’re in Seattle, Washington.

I’m going to pass out for the next eighteen hours.

The Mole Men Chronicles

Dear Planet Earth,

I’m probably not dead if you don’t see any updates on here for awhile. Our ragtag resistance is finally moving on out, somewhere north if the rumors have any truth to them.

Some people are talking about not going, still clearly upset about the military’s execution of those two homie spies. I’m embracing my neutrality, not convinced either way whether traitors should be killed or locked up. No one’s really qualified to answer that. My new friend Ray or Roy or Brad or Barry said it best today:

“It would be easier if they weren’t just mole men, but something completely alien. Like Martians or something. Those people are just people though. And when you have to fight against an enemy that looks just like you, you might as well be fighting against firemen or librarians.”

It sounded a lot more logical and optimistic when he said it.