The Curious Tale Home

Empire on Ice #20: Afiach’s Album, Part 3

[Afiach shows up at a random-looking house in a residential part of town. It's on the corner of two streets, and on that corner is a large tree with some cars parked beneath it along the curb. Josh is standing on a ladder beneath the tree and fiddling with some equipment. He's als wearing a reflective jacket that says "Imperial Parking Enforcement." On the ground beneath him is a series of tubes and wires running into the house.]

Afiach: Josh!

Josh: Afiach!

Afiach: Do you want to listen to my new album?

Josh: I'd love to. Just let me finish this.

Afiach: I didn't know you worked in Parking Enforcement.

Josh: I go where I'm needed.

Afiach: What are you doing?

Josh: See those cars beneath me?

Afiach: Yes.

Josh: They don't live at this house. They're a bunch of losers visiting the house across the street. It's another one of their awful parties.

Afiach: It's a public curb, though, isn't it? I thought anybody can park wherever there's space. Josh: There's an empty lot right there. They should park there. It's thirty extra feet to walk.

Afiach: That's true. It's rude of them to park here instead.

Josh: Exactly. Rude, but technically they're not doing anything wrong. That's why I'm here. Look at the bumper stickers.

[Afiach looks at the bumper sticker on an SUV. It says "I'm Christian. And I vote!" with a smoking gun next to it. On a pickup truck is a bumper sticker that says "I don't break for illegals. I break illegals."]

Josh: You see? They're right-wing scum. A friend of mine lives in this house here. His son comes over to visit every week, and likes to park in this spot because he has a disability, and this part of the curb is right in front of the door. But he can't, because those sleazebuckets across the way are always having their inane parties, and their mook jock minions always grab the spot. And it's not technically illegal, so Parking Enforcement can't do anything about it.

Afiach: That seems unjust.

Josh: In the old days we'd just throw a bucket of water on these losers and they'd melt into a puddle of slime, but nowadays the wastewater runoff regulations prevent it.

Afiach: So what are you doing?

Josh: See this pigeon?

[In the tree, on a branch next to Josh, is a large pigeon.]

Afiach: I do.

Josh: It's not real. It's a hollow clay figurine.

Afiach: And all of those tubes and wires?

Josh: The wires go to a control router inside the house, and the tube goes to a giant oil drum in the back yard.

Afiach: And?

Josh: The drum is filled with triple-strength concentrated pigeon poop—real pigeon poop, lovingly reduced at a low simmer—and the control router links to a remote control panel. There's a camera mounted in the pigeon's eye. Whenever one of these Christian nutjobs parks here, my friend can bring up the visual on the remote control, and press a red button to dispense a salvo of pigeon poop on the vehicle of his choice beneath the tree.

Afiach: That's cunning. It seems a little bit passive-aggressive, though.

Josh: Passive-aggressive would be coming out with a bucket and dumping the poop by hand. This is merely convenience. Enough pigeon poop, and those conservathugs will think twice about parking here.

[Then, a gigantic hummer screeches up to the curbside and parks at an awful angle, sticking out into the street, pinning in one of the other cars, and and blocking part of the house's driveway. The hummer is covered in Republican Party paraphernalia and the most obscene right-wing bumper stickers imaginable.]

Josh: Speaking of…

[Without even turning off the engine, Silence jumps out of the driver's side, toting a bucket of KFC and a six-pack of Miller.]

Silence: Party, woo!

Afiach: Silence?

Josh: Da fuq?!

Silence: Afiach! Josh! Eek! Okay, I know it looks bad, but actually I'm going undercover. I think I'm really close to a big breakthrough.

Josh: You'll have to do better than that if you want to convince us.

Silence: I will? Er…I'm at the wrong address?

Josh: 'Splain harder.

Silence: I'm planning to slaughter them all and sacrifice their blood on my Altar of Awesome?

Josh: Nope.

Silence: Okay, fine. I'm here because they have free food.

Josh: It's the most odious rubbish imaginable.

Silence: Technically digestible, though. And free.

Josh: [Pointing to the jock house across the street.] You'd really go there for free food?

Silence: It's free food. I may need to repeat that word a few times to underscore it properly. Free. I woke up on Friday morning—the morning after Thanksgiving!—and all my clothes fit. [A dark look fires up in her eyes.] You don't understand. All of them! There are burgers and ribs and brownies in that house, for free.

Afiach: But Silence, they're such terrible people.

Silence: I don't care who they're in league with.

Afiach: But what if any of them recognize you?

Silence: I know. That's why I stole this hummer. If they saw my little compost-powered smartcar they'd kill it. And I have this disguise. Look at my shirt.

[It says "Don't blame me. I voted for Limbaugh. Also. Tits."]

Silence: I'll fit right in! Now, if you'll excuse me, these clothes still fit.

[Silence dashes off for the other house.]

Afiach: There goes one committed soul.

Josh: Even I wouldn't go in there for free food.

Afiach: Are you going to dispense pigeon poop on her stolen hummer?

Josh: I don't think she'll mind. Besides, it'd look suspicious if I don't, given how much I'm planning to put on the other cars.

Afiach: Well, then. Are you ready to listen to my album?

Josh: Just a couple finishing touches…and…there! All done.

[Josh climbs down from the ladder.]

Josh: Let's hear your album.

Afiach: Here it is.

[She hands Josh an mp3 player and a pair of headphones. He listens to the music.]

Josh: Why would you do this to me?

Afiach: I've spent three weeks trying to do that!

Josh: Afiach, though you come from a faraway foreign land, I think you're finally starting to assimilate into the very best traditions of Imperial culture.

Afiach: Pranking people with six-year-old memes?

Josh: And dispensing remote-controlled bird shit on other people's cars. Behold!

[He whips out the remote control, fiddles a couple of dials, and hands it to Afiach. She pushes the big red button. A dainty dollop of pigeon poop flies out the rear end of the clay bird and lands squarely on the pickup truck's windshield.]

Josh: It brings a tear to me eye.

Afiach: Did you get some in there?

Josh: No, I mean it's just beautiful to behold such handiwork. Such art!

Afiach: Kind of like my album.

Josh: Exactly!

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!