Authors: David Lubar
Tags: #horror, #humor, #short stories
Zero Tolerance Meets the Alien Death Ray
and Other (Mostly) Inappropriate Stories
Zero Tolerance Meets the Alien Death Ray
and Other (Mostly) Inappropriate Stories
Collection copyright 2012 by David
Cover design by digitaldonna.com
All stories first appeared in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic
First Smashwords Edition, March, 2012
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.
I write a lot of short stories. Many of you
are familiar with my collections, such
as Attack of the Vampire
The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies
Those books are very popular in schools. Once in a while, I'll
write a story that contains an item, a scene, or an action that
might be inappropriate for a classroom. So if a story involves
bringing a weapon to school (even if it is a seemingly useless
alien death ray), gambling in a casino (even if it is in a video
game), or stealing steroids (okay — that one is just plain bad),
that story wouldn't, and shouldn't, go into the Weenies books. I
don't want my books to get banned from any school, and I don't want
to cause problems for teachers or librarians. But, thanks to how
amazingly easy and inexpensive it is to produce an ebook, I can now
share these stories with my fans. By the way, if your parents have
a problem with a book of "inappropriate" stories, tell them, "I'm
pretty sure the author is using the word ironically." That will
both satisfy and impress them. As for the rest of the title, I say
"mostly" because not all of the stories have inappropriate
elements. Some are just weird or twisted, and some just didn’t seem
right for the Weenies collections. But all of them are good.
"Thanks, Mrs. Zambini," I said as my last
customer of the day paid me. Phew. I'd been mowing lawns all week
and I was beat. But now for the good part — spending the money.
I stopped at my friend Mike's house on the
way into town. It's even more fun spending money when you bring
someone along. We headed for Video Kingdom. They had a great
selection of games, and the prices were pretty good.
"Watcha gonna get?" Mike asked as we walked
into the store.
"I think Destructo III," I said. "I heard it
has twice as much blood splatter as Destructo II."
And that's what I picked from the shelves
when we got to the store. It looked fabulous.
Check this out," Mike said, grabbing a box
from the bottom shelf. "Big Otto's Casino. And it's only five
I shook my head. "At that price, it has to
"I don't know," Mike said. "Remember Space
Masher? That was only eight bucks"
"Yeah, and it was pretty good." I held my
hand out for the box. "Let me see."
Mike passed the box to me. I checked the
screen shots on the back. The graphics actually looked pretty good.
And I had enough money for both games. "Sure," I said. "Why
So I bought both games and took them home.
We played Destructo III until Mike got tired of me ripping his arms
off — I was a lot better at it than he was.
Then I put in Big Otto's Casino. The title
screen came up with a picture of Otto. He was a fat, ugly guy with
a cigar clamped in his mouth. "Welcome," he said in a raspy voice.
"Nice ta meetcha. C'mon in."
The game started. I led my guy into the
casino and played a slot machine. Before I knew it, I'd lost the
hundred dollars I started with. But a screen popped up:
Press START to borrow money
Press X to quit
I pressed START and got another hundred dollars. It
didn't last much longer than the first. I tried blackjack, which I
sort of understood. And craps, which is what they call dice. I got
a kick out of the name, but I had no idea what I was doing.
"Let me try," Mike said as the money screen
came up again.
"In a minute." I wasn't ready to give up. I
knew I could win. My luck had to change sooner or later. This time,
I lost my money playing roulette and the poker machines.
"Man," Mike said, shaking his head, "what's
"I don't know." Maybe he was right. This did
seem kind of pointless.
"Game over." Mike reached for the power
"Hold it," I said, grabbing his arm. "I want
to try just one more time." I got another hundred dollars. I did a
bit better this time. I still lost, but the money lasted
"This is getting boring," Mike said. "Come
on, let's go outside."
I shook my head. I'd been outside all week
mowing lawns. Summer was half over, and that was about all I'd
done. I was ready to take a break for the next month and just enjoy
myself. I had enough games to keep me happy for a while. "I'm going
to stick with it until I win," I said.
"Give it up," Mike said.
I shook my head. "Not yet. I can beat this
thing. I know I can. I just need to figure out the right
I kept playing. Sometime that evening, I
guess Mike left. I really can't remember when. But I was getting
better. Really. I lasted a lot longer before I had to borrow more
money. One time, I even won a couple hundred from a slot machine.
But then I blew it all again, trying to make up for everything I'd
I fell asleep for a while in front of the
game. When I woke up, I played some more. I was really getting
good. Even so, I was down to my last five dollars. I bet it at
roulette and lost.
No big deal. I could borrow more and play
But the usual screen didn't come up.
Instead, I saw another message in flashing red letters. It just
said: CREDIT LIMIT REACHED.
That couldn't be the end. I hit the X
button. The screen didn't change. I hit START. I didn't mind
starting over. Nothing happened. I tried all the buttons. Nothing.
I guess the game froze.
As I reached to unplug the machine, the
I got up, and nearly fell flat on my face
before I could take a step. My legs were stiff from sitting so
long. The bell rang again.
I staggered down the stairs and opened the
It was Big Otto.
"You owe us money," he said, speaking
through the cigar he had clamped in his jaw. It really stunk. He
pulled out a notebook. "Here we go. Ethan Spangler — two thousand
I took a step back and shook my head. "I
don't owe you anything. It was just a game."
Otto laughed. "Don't try to back out now. We
can make it very unpleasant for people who refuse to pay their
debts." He grabbed the doorknob. With a flick of his wrist, he
snapped it off. He took a bite out of it and spat the metal onto
the porch. Then he grinned.
"Look — I'm just a kid," I told him. "I
don't have any money."
Otto kept grinning. "That's okay, kid. You
can work off your debt by mowing my lawn."
"No way." I'd already mowed enough lawns for
one summer. "I'm not going to do it."
"I'll bet you will."
I started to say something, but I realized
this would be a good time to take a break from betting. Besides,
one more lawn wouldn't kill me. I still had the rest of summer
vacation ahead of me.
"Might as well get started," Otto said as he
dragged me from the house. "I've got a big lawn. A real big lawn.
It takes about a month to get the whole thing cut."
And that's how I spent my summer
Freddy and I were busting our butts cleaning
out his parents' tool shed. Freddy's father had offered us each a
couple of bucks to do the work, which was fine with me. Of course,
it turned out to be a lot more work than either of us counted
"Man, it's amazing how much junk you can put
in one of these sheds," I said as I collapsed on the ground next to
a huge stack of tools and boxes.
"Tell me about it," Freddy said. He opened a
small box. I remembered it since it had weighed about eight million
pounds and I'd nearly busted my gut carrying it out of the
"What's in it?" I asked.
"Fishing magazines," Freddy said. "Dad
hasn't fished in years. Guess it goes in the recycling pile."
I helped him drag it over. We'd decided to
sort everything into three piles: recycle, keep, and throw out.
Toward the end of the cleanup, I opened a box that was filled with
"HEY DAD!" Freddy yelled toward the house.
"You want any hats?"
"No," his father called back through the
open window. "Toss 'em."
"We should keep these," I said, lifting one
of the hats from the box. It looked like a baseball cap, but it
didn't have a team name. All it said over the brim was
. I put it on my head.
And I felt great.
"Hey," Let's load those recyclables into
your Dad's van," I said.
"Hold on," Freddy said. "I'm beat."
"Not me," I said, lifting the box of
magazines. "I've got tons of —"
"Tons of what?" Freddy asked.
"Weird," I muttered. I'd been about to say
"What?" Freddy asked again.
I reached into the hat box and grabbed
another one. It promised
Before Freddy could say
anything, I plunked the hat on his head.
"All right!" Freddy shouted, grinning at me.
"Come on. Let's get moving. Man, I'm glad we're doing this." He
laughed and grabbed a box.
That was fine with me. We loaded the van.
I'd just put in the last box when I heard Freddy say, "Hey, what a
great surprise. There's Millard Thwaxton. Hey, Millard, how ya
"Hold it, " I said, grabbing Freddy by the
arm. But it was too late. Millard was the meanest kid in town. And
Freddy just got his attention.
I snatched at Freddy's hat, figuring he was
too happy for our own good. It was stuck. I reached up and tried to
get mine off. It was stuck, too, like a jar lid that's threaded on
the wrong way. I felt it might come off if I worked on it, but I
didn't have the time right now. Millard was rumbling our way.
"Keep talking," I said, running toward the
back yard. I tore through the box of hats and searched for one that
might save us. I passed on
first would get us killed and the second didn't seem too promising,
especially if it made Millard curious about the best way to cause
us pain. I grabbed
That would do the trick, and
make the world a better place.
I got back to the front just in time.
Millard had reached Freddy and was playing that bully game where
the other player always loses.
"What did you say to me?" he asked.
"I said hi," Freddy told him. "And I meant
it. I'm awful happy to see you."
"That some kind of a joke?" Millard
"Hey, have a hat," I said, tossing the cap
He grabbed it and stared at me. I was afraid
he'd just throw the hat away. Or throw me away. But he put it
He shoved it on his head. Backwards. With
the brim facing away. I wondered what that would do to the
I found out right away.
"I'm gonna smash both of you," Millard
Freddy and I took of. At least I had lots of
energy for running. And Freddy seemed pretty happy. For the moment.
caught up with him, it wouldn't be
My Uncle Shubert was passing through town,
and had stopped at our house for a couple days. He's pretty cool
for an adult. He takes me places and never treats me like a kid. As
he was packing up his suitcase, I noticed a silvery tube on his
"What's that?" I asked.