Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Great Beard-Theft

The man awoke slowly; groggily. He attempted to rub his eyes, and found that he could not. He tried again; then with his other arm. But he seemed unable to make his hands move.

Provoked by this unusual contingency, the man opened his eyes. Immediately, he was blinded by a bright white light; his eyelids snapped shut like twin turtles, and then slowly reopened. A shape resolved; but blurry, so blurry! If only he could rub his eyes!

But even sans eye-rubbing, the shape he saw became presently clear. It was a man - a man with a beard - a Nikolas. This caused our protagonist some consternation; this consternation he expressed in a vocalization, namely, "But I'm Nikolas!" The sound of his voice was alien to him; the self-claimed Nikolas recoiled, as best he could while bound to an operating table. This was all terribly wrong!

He was in someone else's body - the Zhang's! The Zhang had stolen his body!

"Worse than that!" the Nikolas-in-Zhang cried. "You've stolen my beard!"

Mr. Zhang, contained within Mr. Nikolas's body, finished the notes he had been taking. Then, stroking his beard lovingly, he pressed a button on a nearby console and walked away. Helpfully, the console displayed a message in large print: squinting, the Nikolas-in-Zhang could just barely read it. "LOBOTOMY PROCEDURE INITIATED," it read. "LOBOTOMY WILL COMMENCE IN 278 SECONDS."

"You magnficent bastard!" the Nikolas-in-Zhang shouted at the receding Zhang-in-Nikolas's back. "You think you can get away with this? You think you can steal my beard and use it for your womon-baiting schemes? I'll get you for this! I'll get you! Just you wait!"

"LOBOTOMY WILL COMMENCE IN 263 SECONDS," the console display helpfully informed the Nikolas-in-Zhang.

"All right," the Nikolas-in-Zhang said to himself, his voice not entirely calm. "Gotta stay rational, gotta think my way out of this. My hands and legs are bound; I can't seem to loosen them at all. Can I? No. Okay. Okay. It's cool. It's totally fine. I can work with this. I can - I've got my mouth, right? Not gagged. So... Can I gnaw my way through the bonds? I'll try. Just gotta turn my head - yeah - now bite - ow! - bite the knot..."

A brief silence followed.

"Man, that tastes disgusting," the Nikolas-in-Zhang opined; though he continued to gnaw nonetheless.

Minute after minute passed. Nikolas-in-Zhang loosed his left shoulder-binding; arm-binding; wrist-binding. "All right!" he crowed, waving his free arm wildly. "Now I can really get somewhere! How much time do I have left?"


The Nikolas-in-Zhang paused.

"Er. This kinda sucks," he noted.

Elsewhere, a pair of Nikolases met. They appeared remarkably similar, differing only in clothing and beard-length.

"Hey!" the longer-bearded Nikolas said to the other. "Just decanted a new clone?"

A scream sounded in the distance, abruptly cut off.

"Yeah," the shorter-bearded Nikolas said. "Gonna go out on the town, see if this beard can work some magic on a womon. She answered my email, you know. (I think she hates me.)"

"Good luck with that," the long-bearded Nikolas replied.

The shorter-bearded Nikolas - who was, of course, Zhang-in-Nikolas - nodded glumly and made to leave.

The long-bearded Nikolas stopped him. "I know you're just harvesting the Nikolas-clones so that you can use their beards, because you've been unable to successfully isolated the beard," the long-bearded Nikolas said. "But have you ever considered that it might be a bit - unethical?"

Zhang-in-Nikolas shrugged. "They're just Nikolases," he said, and walked away.

Long-bearded Nikolas nodded, bemused; then stopped. A look of concern appeared on his face. "I'm just a Nikolas!" he realized out-loud.

This could be a problem! Long-beard Nikolas knew he should really do something about it.

So he solved the problem the Nikolas way. He played video-games until he forgot about it!

Based on a true story.

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