Dan, the know-it-all-roommate (to find out what I mean by know-it-all, please refer to the Oct. 29 post of 2008 entitled Make Like a Banana… ) was once a carefree, innocent boy. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He slept late, ate a lot of fast food, and played table tennis at least 3 times a week. Dan was happy.
One day, a package arrived at his door. “Where did this come from?” laughed the hot-haired Dan. The package was more than small, and contained quite the surprise.
Little did he know that the surprise was an evil, manipulating, 21st centurion ping pong robot sent to rule the world. His name: Robo-pong.
So, Dan, still clueless, set up Robo-pong in the basement of a nearby apartment complex, Miller. After 15 minutes of pure jubilation, Dan was hooked. Like a kid with crack, or a junkie with candy (hmmm… or is it the other way around?), Dan was no longer his own man. He was the man of an evil, manipulating, 21st centurion ping pong robot named Robo-pong that was sent to rule the world.
Dan, thinking of Robo-pong as a means to end (that ‘end’ being Ping Pong Perfection), rather than an endlessly, mean tyrant, continued to serve him and care for him. Nearly every day, Dan would set him up on the end of a ping pong table, make sure he had his safety net, and feed him ping pong balls for hours on end. (Robo-pong especially likes the orange ones. They taste like burning.) Endearing feelings for Robo-pong increased. Dan was elated.
Then, on a crisp, autumn afternoon, Robo-pong felt Dan’s attentions were drifting. One Stephanie, two Stephanies, maybe even a third… “Something must be done,” snickered Robo-pong.
He referred to his copy the coveted New York Time’s Bestseller, How to Rule the World: a handbook for evil, manipulating, 21st centurion ping pong robots sent to rule the world. (For any of you who have dictator/tyrannical robots at home, Christmas is coming up and this is a great gift for any robot searching for ways to enslave the human race and destroy your life! Only $19.95 at Amazon.com. Get it today!) For the next several days, Robo-pong tried every suggestion in the book: backspin, topspin, sidespin, oscillation, and even rapid fire. He knew time was running out. So he made Dan buy him his own table (ten dollars on Craigslist).
Dan, still in a state of oblivion, asked me to help him transport the table. After a short consultation with Prime (to find out who Prime is, please refer to the Nov. 2, 2008 post entitled, Robots in Disguise.) I decided I would help him. The poor sap was nearly at wits end. (Well, not really. But for the sake of the story…) Tears were in his eyes. There was a slight shakiness to his voice.
I helped Dan negotiate the price. (It was listed at $10 on Craigslist, we wouldn’t pay a penny less.) I helped dust and sand and smooth. I even helped find a place in our house for Robo-pong’s new ‘throne’.
I’ll admit, I knew Robo-pong was an evil, manipulating, 21st centurion ping pong robot sent to rule the world from the start (some robots just have that vibe), and that Dan was in grave danger for his life, but I was extremely fascinated by the whole situation. And I was kinda curious to see where it was all going. Would Dan find out that he was being brainwashed? Would Dan snap and go crazy and kill me, thinking I was Robo-pong’s sidekick?
Would Dan… “Oh, hey Dan! Back from the store? I’m almost finished with my new post. It’s kinda about you. … Why are you breathing so heavy? Did you go skating? … Why do you have that extra vein popping from your forehead? You usually only get that when you’re really upset. …
“What are you doing running at me with that extremely large, sharp looking war scythe… ….”