|The Story||The Authors|
And now the dead dog did a thing which Pata had not been expecting.
"Whakatika," it growled — in Maori, no less, in a voice that was almost the
voice of her dearly departed koropapa [grandfather], give or take the few
octaves inaccessible to doggy vocal chords, enough to send a crablike chill
skittering up her spine, because as the dog intoned the word a second time,
"Whakatika!" [Rise!] she understood that itt was not directed to her,
rather behind her. And in the lobster-tank, a strange thing began to
occur. "Kaimona whakatika! Whakatika kaimona!" [Lobsters arise! Arise
lobsters!] growled the dog, and from the bottom of the tank, one by one the
lobsters began to levitate to the water's surface, past the bubbling air-jets
from the filter, snapping the heavy rubber bands immobilizing their heavy
crusher-claws, their razorsharp pincer-claws... The first batch floating on the
surface of the water and then began to rise further, hovering over the tank,
their claws snick-snick-snicking in rhythm with the dead dog's throaty
insistent "Kaimona whakatika! Whakatika kaimona!" — the levitating
lobsters fanned out as new lobsters arose from the tank... and soon they were
all aloft, spread out in formation over the hushed restaurant and lounge, where
even Martin Denny and combo had ceased to play (except for the vibe player, who
was blind, and so continued, blissfully unawares of the danger confronting them
all, he played a haunting solo alongside the clacking snicker-snack of the
lobsters claws, the ghostly notes of the vibraphone imbuing the whole scene
with an air of unworldliness, of a vista inside a vintage glass sno-globe...)
And then (Pata had fainted by that point) the dead dog growled that fateful command — "Huakina!" [Attack!] and the air force of lobsters, in perfect military formation, fanned out over the lovers, the winers and diners and Happy Hour celebrants, and, looking for all the world like an invasion of giant Martian bees, commenced attacking the terrifed patrons...
Instictively Monty reached under the table and grabbed his Darth Vader Helmet
and snapped it into place. Throughout formerly sedate Tse Tse lounge chaos
reigned supreme. Everywhere hapless patrons stumbled about as if trapped in
some "Three Stooges" nether region with angry crustaceans clinging to exposed
noses and fingers. A Malaysian busboy waged a desperate battle with a drink
tray, all the while pleading with the cooks in broken english to let him into
the relative safety of the kitchen. From the porthole, the jaded and
misanthropic cooks just smiled.|
Kitea te Kaikohuru![find the murderer!] barked Muffy menacingly.
Monty shoved Barbara under the table for protection as a swarm of lobsters regrouped for an all out assault. Pulling a decorative canoe paddle from the wall he prepared to make a stand.
A scream shattered the restaurant as the first of their airborne lobsters
attacked, swooping down the separate an unfortunate woman from the loftily
piled ziggurat of her beehive hairdo... Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee she
howled, Mah hay-yuh, mah hay-yuh... The dead dog levitated up into the
candle-laden rafters of the lounge-room, and there, among the stern frowning
countenances of teakwood Maori and Polynesian gods and goddesses, barking
orders in Maori, he seemed the very avatar of all the wounded and pillaged
Edens of the past coming forwards to take the present to task... |
Flying lobsters, swift as gadflies, buzzed down on the patrons, divebombing their useless hideouts underneath tables and behind rattan furniture in the Ti-Ki room... A jet of blood spurts across the room as a man is separated from his left ear, another jet of blood as a woman loses her cosmetically-altered nose... Screams... A counter-offensive from the brave patrons: Monty, an avid softball player, deftly bats flying lobsters out the air with the great oar, sending them spinning into the giant cauldron of boiling water which two of the busboys bravely brought out from the kitchens... On the floor, beneath the tank, Pata remains unconciousness... "Te wahine!" [the woman!] barks the dead dog, and instantly a quintet of aerial lobsters clacks and buzzes in the air around her, crusher-claws going crump-crump, sharp claws going snicker-snack... They are joined by five more, and yet five more... And lifting her by the edges of her clothing each only with their crusher-claws, they bear her aloft... The dead dog descends to nose-level and as if by magic the great dark teak door of the restaurant opens, flooding the terror-stricken patrons with the unreality of the day's last rays of sunlight, and the traffic on the freeway... And then, led by the dead dog, this unearthly procession takes its leave of the restaurant...
Adam has been so focused on batting the lobsters into boiling red oblivion, though that he has neglected to notice the sudden absence of Barb's terrified grip, clutching his thigh like a cave-girl... So that it is only at the very last minute that he looks carefully enough out the restaurant's front door (this as the first ambulances are arriving) and notices that the dead dog's entourage, rising lazily into the eveing's clouds, bears not one female hostage, but two...
"BARBARAAAAAAAAA!" he screams, running to the door, and out it, and down the street in the evening shadow of his unobtainable quarry where it is cast upon the ground from its height of forty, now fifty, now sixty feet in the air, headed eastward, inland, toward the mountains...