Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dream State

Sawyer ran across the frozen lake. He wasn’t retrieving a duck or looking for Ryan amongst the many ice fishermen huddled over holes in the ice. Today, Sawyer was chasing stray pucks. Ryan was shooting pucks at a barrel by the edge of the lake as Sawyer hustled out after the ones that missed their target. It was a good day. Sawyer was making his way back to their makeshift rink when Ryan’s phone rang.

“Hello?” said Ryan. “Who is this? I need more information than that…”

Sawyer’s ears perked up.

“Why do you need that?” asked Ryan “I don’t understand. Hello? Hello?”

“Who was that?” asked Sawyer.

“You remember when Pat wanted my old hockey stick?” said Ryan

“Yes…” said Sawyer. “And Pat’s in jail now. Who was that?”

“I think it was his accomplice. I can’t be sure, but…” Ryan’s voice trailed off.

“But what?” asked Sawyer.

“Whoever that was… He has Annie and he wants the stick.”

Ryan and Sawyer got into their truck and headed towards a set of coordinates the man on the phone had given them.

“Looks like he has us going to a warehouse in Grand Rapids.” said Sawyer.

Ryan looked behind him. There was the stick he was supposed to bring to the man on the phone. It was special, no doubt, but this was the second time that Annie had been kidnapped in order to get it. If they made it out of there, Ryan would destroy the stick.

They drove for an hour and then neared the building. Ryan didn’t bring his shotgun this time. With Pat it was easy to fool him into thinking he was unarmed, but this new enemy was different. He was very cunning. They pulled into the parking lot of the old warehouse. Ryan got the stick from the back of the truck then walked with Sawyer towards the building. Two men met them halfway to the door. They didn’t appear to be armed, but Ryan didn’t take any chances.

“Where is she?” demanded Ryan.

“The stick. Give us the stick and you will have the girl.” said one of the guards as he reached for the stick.

Sawyer growled at the guard and he jerked back, reaching inside his coat pocket.

“So you are packing heat.” said Ryan. “You wanna shoot us? Go ahead.” He challenged the guard. “But don’t forget the witnesses.” He said as he motioned at the cars driving by on the road behind them. The guard took his hand back out of his jacket.

“Come with us.” Said the other guard.

Ryan and Sawyer were led into the warehouse. They followed the guards into a large bay area where Sawyer could see Annie tied to a chair.

“There.” He whispered to Ryan.

Ryan looked in the direction Sawyer had motioned and saw Annie. Then the guards stopped in the middle of the room.

“Wait here.” Said one.

One of the guards peaked his head into a door, talked to someone, then returned to the middle of the room. Soon, a man came out of the room and approached Ryan.

“Hello Ryan. I am Dr. Apocalypse.” said the man.

“Dr. Apocalypse?” Ryan laughed. “Let me guess. You were voted ‘Most likely to destroy all of humanity.’ In high school.”

“Fool!” snapped Dr. Apocalypse. “Shut up and give me the stick. I will show you its true power.”

“First let Annie go. Then I’ll give you the stick. I’ve cooperated to this point.” Said Ryan.

“Very well.” Said Dr. Apocalypse. “Release her. There’s nothing they can do now anyways.”

One of the guards untied Annie and escorted her to the door. She looked back at Ryan with a bit of worry in her eyes. Ryan smiled and nodded at her as if to say he had the situation under control. Dr. Apocalypse took the stick and escorted Ryan and Sawyer to a large machine behind a series of cages. One large cage contained a chair, a computer screen and the majority of the machinery, while two other cages just had chairs and computer screens. Dr. Apocalypse took the stick and wrapped it in coils, then strapped it to a metal pole that connected it to the machine.

“That stick is special, but you know that, don’t you?” said Dr. Apocalypse. Ryan just stared back at him. “But do you know how special?”

“Special enough to make Romoskovians into great hockey players.” Said Ryan.

“Bah! Hockey. Pat was so simple minded to only think of hockey when he could have the whole world. He was just a pawn in the greater scheme of things.” Explained Dr. Apocalypse. “The world would be mine even as we speak if he had succeeded in his simple task of securing the stick. No matter! I have it now and soon, the entire world!” Dr. Apocalypse let out a maniacal laugh.

“How?” Ryan demanded.

“This stick made you great at hockey?” asked Dr. Apocalypse. Ryan nodded. “But it is not the stick itself.” Explained Dr. Apocalypse. “Combined with your dream of being a great hockey player, the stick made you just that. Whatever your dream is, the stick can give you. If you want to be great at any other sport or great at any job, simply holding a section of the stick in your possession makes that dream a reality!”

“So why do you want it?” asked Ryan.

“I want the world. I will use it to obtain psychic powers and turn nations against each other. They will fight each other until they are reduced to nothing, then their leaders will give me their power and I, Dr. Apocalypse, shall rule the world! AAAAH HA HA HA HA HA! Chain them to the wall!” Dr. Apocalypse commanded his guards.

Ryan and Sawyer sat helpless as Dr. Apocalypse positioned himself in the chair of the main cage. He ordered his men to lock the door and stand guard. Meanwhile, Sawyer was working on picking the lock that held his chains together.

“Ryan, I almost got my lock open.” Said Sawyer

“How?” asked Ryan

“My claws. They’re perfect for this.” He replied.

Sawyer managed to free himself then started to work on Ryan. The guards didn’t seem to notice, because Sawyer barely moved a muscle as he skillfully unlocked Ryan’s chains.

“OK, now we just wait for one of them to leave.” Said Ryan

After about 15 minutes, one of the guards stood and left the bay area.

“Now.” Whispered Ryan

Sawyer lifted his leg and urinated on the floor.

“Guard! Could you please clean this up? My dog just made a mess on the floor.” Explained Ryan.

Disgusted, the guard walked towards them. He bent over with a towel to mop up after Sawyer when Ryan pounced. He slammed the guard’s head against the wall and knocked him out. Ryan grabbed his gun and headed towards the door that the other guard had gone through as Sawyer chained up the guard they had just knocked out.

“What’s all the commotion about?” the other guard demanded as he stepped into the bay. Just as he noticed Sawyer and the unconscious guard and he reached for his gun, Ryan clubbed him once in the back of the head with his weapon. The guard was out. Ryan dragged him over to the chains and helped Sawyer secure him.

“OK, now for Dr. Apocalypse.” said Sawyer.

They made their way to the cage and saw the horror of his work in progress. The computer screen showed the news and it was reporting that China had declared war on Russia while England was beginning to move it’s Navy towards the shores of North America.

“We have to act now!” said Ryan. It was too late to simply shoot Dr. Apocalypse. They needed to get into his dream state and defeat him there, then convince the world leaders to stop fighting each other. Ryan sat in one of the chairs, while Sawyer took the other. There were helmets attached to the chairs. They each placed the helmets onto their heads and instantly found themselves in another dimension.

“Let’s find Dr. Apocalypse and get this over with.” said Ryan

“This is a dream state, right?” asked Sawyer.

“I think so. I’m no mad scientist, though.” He replied. Sawyer closed his eyes then suddenly his front right paw became a machine gun.

“Yes! It worked!” exclaimed Sawyer. “All you need to do is imagine something and it comes true!” he said as he stood on his hind legs.

“Let me try…” said Ryan as a riot shotgun appeared in his hands. “Nice! Dr. Apocalypse doesn’t have a chance now! Hey, how about some music while we search for him?” said Ryan.

Sawyer closed his eyes and the first song he thought of started to play all around them.

“Dancing Queen!?” said Ryan, appalled.

“It was the first thing I thought of! I don’t know why!” Sawyer said trying to defend himself.

“You’re fired. We’ll go without music, I guess.” Said Ryan.

Just then, they heard Dr. Apocalypse yell.

“Who is that!? Where is that music coming from? I am not to have assistance yet!” he yelled.

“We’re not here to help you, we’re here to destroy you, Dr. Apocalypse.” Said Ryan.

“Fools! You cannot defeat me in this dream state! I am too powerful!” said Dr. Apocalypse. He appeared before Ryan and Sawyer and changed his arms into lasers. He aimed one at Ryan and the other at Sawyer and fired. Ryan quickly thought of a laser deflecting shield and placed it in front of him and his pet.

“Blast! You will not spoil my plans again!” yelled Dr. Apocalypse.

“Try this on for size!” said Ryan as he thought of a powerful force field to cover Dr. Apocalypse in. He started to shrink it around the evil scientist as Dr. Apocalypse tried to expand it and free himself.

“I am too strong here, you fools! Give up now and I may spare your lives!” said Dr. Apocalypse.

“Never!” said Ryan as he strained to out-will Dr. Apocalypse. Then he had a plan.

“Sawyer! Get ready to bite!” he said. Sawyer opened his mouth. Ryan tried to shrink the bubble as tight as he could, then quickly imagined Sawyer inside the bubble with the mad scientist! Sawyer bit down as hard as he could… right into the crotch of Dr. Apocalypse. Dr. Apocalypse screamed in pain and lost his focus. Ryan imagined Sawyer back outside the bubble then quickly smashed Dr. Apocalypse into oblivion.

“Quick! The world leaders!” said Sawyer.

The two heroes focused their energy into the world leader’s minds. Within a few hours, peace was restored.

Annie was waiting outside with the police when Ryan and Sawyer emerged from the building. After Ryan explained what he could to the police, they left in their truck.

“Can we get some Starbucks?” asked Annie.

The police found Dr. Apocalypse in a coma. His eyes were closed but he constantly muttered about a dog and a bubble. He was admitted to a maximum security mental hospital.

Later that day, Ryan sat on the couch watching the fire smolder in his fireplace. Among the ashes was his stick. Annie turned on the news.

“The president has declared that today will be known as ‘Hockey Day’ and there will be free pizza, wings and dog biscuits for all.” said the reporter. “When asked what gave him the idea, the president replied, ‘I’m not sure. It just popped into my mind.’” Ryan gave a thumbs up to Sawyer who smiled back.

“That’s weird.” said Annie. “I bet you two will enjoy that.”

“Sounds like my kind of holiday.” said Ryan.

“Hey, what do you think will become of Dr. Apocalypse?” asked Annie.

“I don’t know.” said Ryan. “I guess that’s a story for another time.”

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