At exactly six am, we all woke up to what sounded and felt like an earthquake.
VGRF and I looked out the window just in time to see a squad of F-15 fighter jets flying over head. In their wake, a sonic boom followed.
Blandie popped out of the bedroom.
“What was that?!”
Bernie jumped up.
“I didn’t touch anything! I swear!”
“Relax, humans,” Alien Jones said. “The East Randomtown Mall is no more.”
The space phone rang. I answered it.
“Battler, you son of a bitch. You’re still alive.”
I recognized the voice from yesterday’s broadcast.
“I was hoping you’d still be in the mall. I do hate to waste good missiles. Pity.”
I put the space phone on speaker.
“Wait. So you’re TRYING to kill me?”
I could feel a sense of panic spread over the group.
“Two words, dipshit. Operation Fuhrerpunschen.”
I tried to bluff.
“I don’t…I don’t know anything about…come again?”
“Don’t play dumb with me, nerd!” Morganstern shouted. “You’ve got that 1950’s style private detective spilling his guts about how he took out Hitler all over your pathetic excuse for a blog!”
“So?” I asked. “I only have 3.5 readers!”
“That’s 3.5 too many!” Morganstern replied. “National security is at stake, son. You and your friend out in California have no idea what forces you’re messing with. We’ve got plans for Jake and as for you? We’ll find you. We’ll blow your ass up and the public will never know that you were anything more than a zombie apocalypse casualty.”
I sat down on the couch.
“Is there anything I can do to talk you out of this?”
“Maybe,” Morganstern said. “Turn over the alien so we can slice him up. Do that and shut down the Bookshelf Battle Blog down for good and never utter the words, “Operation Fuhrerpunschen” to anyone ever again, and I’ll let you live.”
Alien Jones and I had become looked up at me and was about to speak when I cut him off.
“No, Alien Jones,” I said. “Don’t even think about it. I’ll never give you up to save myself.”
“I wasn’t thinking that at all,” Alien Jones said. “I was just going to ask if you think your Aunt has any booze up in this shack.”
“You’ll get my alien over my dead body,” I said into the space phone. “Listen, my 3.5 readers just assume everything on my blog is fiction. I’m not worth your time.”
“The very powerful man I answer to would disagree.”
“The President?” I asked. “I doubt he’d condone what you’re doing.”
“The man I’m working for makes the President look as powerful as an old washer woman. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
“General,” I said. “Fine. Kill me if you have to, but please, let my friends go.”
“Do they know about Operation Fuhrerpunschen?” Morganstern asked.
Bernie and Blandie were clueless. Alien Jones and VGRF were both Bookshelf Battle Blog contributors so of course they knew.
“No not at all,” I lied.
“Sir?” Blandie interrupted.
I directed my gaze toward Blandie and mouthed the words, “SHUT UP!”
“Sir,” Blandie repeated. “My name is Blandie Settler. I’m a proud American in good standing and I just want to assure you Iknow NOTHING about Operation Furry-whatever, so there’s no reason to…”
“Jesus Christ, Battler!” Morganstern barked. “Have you had me on speaker the entire time? Now I really DO have to kill every last asshole you’ve got in that room with you!”
“Thanks Blandie,” I said. “Thanks a lot.”
“You’re just lucky your phone can’t be tracked,” Morganstern said. “I’d of wiped you off the map by now.”
“How did you get this number anyway?” I asked.
“We’ve been tracking your porn viewing for quite sometime, Battler. Every time you hit on one of the sites we’re monitoring, it gives us all your info.”
VGRF wacked me.
“Even now?” she whispered. “You’re looking at porn during the zombie apocalypse? Have you no shame?”
“I’ve got to say our tech guy had to work around the clock to figure out how to dial a number that included four pictures of a frog licking a cupcake.”
Alien Jones shrugged his shoulders.
“There are parts of the universe where a frog licking a cupcake is considered good luck,” Alien Jones explained.
“You know what the sad part is General?”
“Had you just come to me and asked me to keep Operation Fuhrerpunschen off of my blog, I’d of done it. But now that you’re trying to kill my friends and I, I can guarantee you that not only will I find a way to escape, but I’ll contract with Jake to put a full length novel about said operation on Amazon as soon I get home!”
The General went silent for a bit, then uttered, “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Try me, bitch.”
“You’ll never get out of this alive, Battler,” Morganstern said. “I’ve got surveillance drones combing East Randomtown as we speak. As soon as you pop your ass out into the light of day, I’ll shove a missile up it.”
I hanged up the phone.
“Listen everyone,” I said. “I’m the one who allowed Jake to talk about a top secret mission on my blog. I’m the one who brought the heat down. Morganstern wants me. He’s just threatening the rest of you to get at me. Let’s split up. You all get to safety. I’ll turn myself in. Once I’m dead, he won’t care about you.”
“Untrue,” Alien Jones said. “I read Morganstern’s mind. He truly intends to hunt down you and anyone who has ever heard the words, ‘Operation Fuhrerpunschen.’”
“Shit!” Bernie said as he stuck his fingers in his ears. “Stop saying it then!”
“Our only hope of survival is to stick together. It will be risky, but we’ll only move under the cover of darkness so as to avoid the military’s surveillance. If we are detected, we run the risk of becoming the victims of another air strike.”
“Then it’s settled,” VGRF said. “Let’s all get some rest and we’ll move out at dusk.”
“I’m sorry I got you all into this mess,” I said. “I promise to you get you out of it.”
“Don’t make promises yo’ ass can’t keep, sucka,’” Bernie said.
“Which reminds me,” I said as I dialed a number into the space phone, “I promised to interview another zombie author today.”