May 13th 2011, 15:20 by E O Hatterpol | 143 AU FROM SUN
“AAAARRGH!” I screamed.
I hit him over the head with the beer bottle, screamed again, recoiled in horror, tripped, then slammed into a bookshelf. A shower of hardcovers and dust jackets rained down around me; the spines of four cheap paperbacks pressed themselves against my lips.
Through the downpour of literature came a jumble of books wearing glasses; he pushed his face right up next to mine. I tried to scream but the paperbacks pressed harder against my lips; it was then that I realized they weren’t just paperbacks, but fingers, too.
I had just escaped Captain Makemake; I wasn’t about to be suffocated by some shadowy monster. I gripped the bottle tighter at waist level and drove it into his guts. The beer bottle smashed. The books didn’t move.
“The canon is invincible,” the books said.
I almost pooped my pants. It… this thing… can talk?
“Now be quiet!” they continued. “I’m trying to help you. Did you write a note to me three days ago?”
He took his hand off my mouth.
“Y- yes,” I stammered. “You can read?”
“I’m made of books, you daft drunk.”
“But– hey, I’m no drunk!”
“Really? Because your note read, ‘Deer skurry bookstake monster: plz don’t be real. Chello? Are you alive bake there? I almost caught you! My ribs.’”
“What? No way – you’re lying!”
The books produced a soggy napkin stained in blue ink. The letters had run, but the proof was incontrovertible.
“Yikes. Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine. At least I know you’re harmless. Now, what’s going on? I heard that man – he doesn’t sound like he belongs here.”
“That’s–” I began.
*psh* “GOOOOOOD MORNING, STARSHIP FLYBRARY!! Or afternoon, or evening, whichever you prefer. This is NOT your captain speaking.” *psh*
“That’s him!” I shouted.
*psh* “This is Captain Makemake. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. To quote CATS, all your Starship Flybrary are belong to us.
We’ll be lifting choice equipment to upgrade our own ships, then break the rest down to sell as scrap. All crew and passengers will be auctioned off as slaves. If you’d rather die, please report to the…”
He paused. The books and I looked at each other quizzically. We could hear something faint come over the PA system:
“Hey, do you guys know where we…”
Then it picked back up:
“Yes, excuse me, please report to the Baleen Plates Observation Deck. You will be slayed and put into deep-freeze while we find a buyer for your organs. That’s the Game of Life! No, that game takes forever, I can do better than that. Chutes and Ladders – um… gah, what’s that one where you’re trying to – oh, I know: Sorry!” *psh*
The strange pile of books looked at me.
“We’ve got to get to the bow. NOW.”