Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday


by Paul and Laura

My name is Virtue. If I were particularly good, it would be fitting. If I were particularly bad, it would be ironic. But since I'm just your garden-variety dope, it's just delightful.

I come from a long line of people with delightful names, including the illustrious pirate Intimidating Henry. Also, Crumb Bread the baker. Also, Steal the bank guy. Also, Train Wreck the trainer. Also, Crumbs the mouse. Also, Aslan the aristocrat.

But my family history is of little or no interest, even to me. I came to tell you about myself, didn't I? I mean, that's what you said you wanted to know. Though why you would want to know about my life is beyond me.

I always wanted to be a coal miner. That's what I said on my Occupation Form. Unfortunately, I filled in the little bubbles wrong, which is why I've spent the last 11 years as a cola miner. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had filled in the form right. Would I be happier? I find that hard to believe. I mean, my life isn't perfect the way it is, but looking back I don't think I'm really cut out for the coal circuit after all. I've grown to love cola.

As my friend Acid Back once remarked, "Show me a guy who doesn't like cola and I'll show you a guy who deserves a punch on the nose." And it's so true: once I was talking to this guy who wouldn't drive me to the airport when my wife was in labor and sure enough, he was an avid milk drinker. What he gained in bone strength he lost in compassion.

You want to know about my experiences in the war. I knew it. I knew you wouldn't just want to talk to a cola miner. I almost had a lot of respect for you just then, you know. I almost though the cola industry was finally getting the recognition it deserved. All you fancy-pants bigwigs drink massive gallons of cola, you just slosh it around and spill it like it rained from the sky, but do you once ever stop to think about the price it cost in human life to get the cola from the mines to your mouth?

This business is frought with despair. You don't seem to realize that. You just give out Hero Status government grants to fire departments and bullet fatality test subjects like they were jelly beans at a jelly bean picnic and you were the jelly bean chamberlain, but when it comes time for the real heroes, the real ones you couldn't live without, the cola miners, to ask for their grants, what do you give them? Tuppence. TUPPENCE!!

Do you know how many fireman die each year in the Snakes? Fifty-eight point three. That's a mere fraction of the sixty to seventy cola miners that lose their lives bravely each year so you can have your morning 7Up each day.

Another thing that pisses me off is so-called "cola experts," sitting at their buffet luncheons and acting so savoire-faire just because you saw a cola taster once and you thinks that qualifies you for the position. There's more to cola-tastery than just talking about the bouquet: you must observe the OLSHY of cola-tasting. First, Observe the cola. Is it transparent? Do the bubbles cling to the glass or vanish in seconds? Second, Listen to the cola. Does it bubble pleasingly? Third, Sip the soda. Fourth, Hold the soda in your mouth. Feel the gentle burning of dying taste buds. Fifth, Yawn. Let cola slip down your chin. Does it stain or will it come out of your nice blue shirt? Now, cola tasting is almost a lost art, and few survive who have the proper attitude.

Anyway, the war. I was a big hero in the war. A big hero. But I didn't do it alone. People usually don't because they're so damn lazy and insecure. I did a lot of things--but electric pokemon saved my ass time and time again in the war. Once I was running up and down an enemy trench and a guy was going to shoot me--but my trusty Voltorb gave him about 40 megawatts of pure United Snakes how-do-ye-do!! He lit up like a kid's face who just got a new tent that he wanted.

Another time I was attempting to pick off a corrupt politician who was boozing in some sleazy bar when my trusty Voltorb called a pizza place and sent over some food, just when I was really hungry. If he hadn't, my tummy would have growled and that would have tipped them off.

Well, enough about the war. My heroics are well documented in Dostoevsky's PROFILES OF EXCELLENT GUYS IN WARS.

Hey! Where are you going? What do you mean, "that's enough"? You come, you listen to me whine and complain until you get what you wanted to hear for your fancy-pants bigwig newspaper, then you leave? What kind of deal is that? Come on. You upperclass moderates can eat my shorts. Any good old American joe newspaper reporter would have had a coupla beers and listened to me complain till I kicked her out.

Come back here!