Beware Of Log

…they couldn’t afford a dog

The Doclopedia #583

Average Janes: Jane Ngembe, Teacher

I had only been teaching here for a few months when the meteors fell. We saw the one that hit in the Congo, because we had taken the children up on the mountain just over there for a picnic at the weather center. At just before noon, the meteor went streaking across the sky and hit just over the horizon. We saw the strange blue light and could see the glittering in the air. Of course, it would be a week before we learned about the Giant Effect.”

Oh, yes, certainly. I was born here in Rwanda, but educated in America. I came back home with the Tempest Foundation’s African Education Team. I love teaching. No, I am not married yet, but I am engaged to Simon, whom you met when you arrived.”

So, as I said, despite the meteors falling in what…204 places worldwide?…we did not get the first reports of gigantism for a week, when those chimpanzees took out all of those Congolese rebels. Soon after that, of course, the Giant Effect was all you heard about, whichever media you checked. I have been to Northern California, so I can imaging the way people must have felt after the Chico/Paradise strike. All of those gigantic people, suddenly 30 feet tall in only a few days. And the giant skunks and coyotes! Oh my!”

But it wasn’t any better anywhere else, was it? My lord, the strike in Zimbabwe created 150 elephants that are larger than dinosaurs! And everywhere, the huge insects! We have seen an ant from the Congo and it was three inches long! I’m told the Mexican strike affected millions of scorpions and tarantulas. I guess it is good that the entire ecosystem around a strike grew, so as to have giant plants, too. To be honest, I would very much like to see the Giant Effect Redwoods in the California Coastal Giant Zone. Imagine, trees nearly 1,400 feet tall! Then, just offshore, the Giant Effect Gray Whales that are nearly 250 feet long!”

I must get back to class soon, but please do keep in touch and do send us some videos from Australia. I’m sure the children would love seeing the giant camels and kangaroos.”

The Doclopedia #584

Average Janes: Jane Walker, Bookseller

Hello! Welcome to The Happy Bookworm! I’m Jane, the one you talked to earlier on the phone. Pleased to meet you. Would you like some coffee or tea?”

Yes, this place has been in the family since 1845, when great-great-grandpa Elias founded it. Back then, it was just J. Walker, Bookseller. The named changed in 1968 when my aunt Sheila took over. Me, I’ve been running the place since 1998, when Sheila retired. Oh yes, New York City girl, born & bred. Married a Texas boy who came to the big city to work as a detective in the Supernatural Services Unit. Four kids, all in high school or college now, so please, buy plenty of books after the interview, ok? Hahaha.”

We sell just about everything here: new, used, magazines, old maps, old photos, a limited number of old comic books and even some old roleplaying games. The place has expanded five times over the years, so we are now covering a quarter of a block and three stories, not counting the basement storage area. First floor for new books of all sorts and used fiction. Yeah, very large science fiction/fantasy area over there. Second floor is used everything else and the third floor id rare books and the Special Section, which I know you’re dying to hear about.”

Yeah, the Special Section is…Wally, get out of the way and let the man by! Sorry, can’t have bookstore cats due to allergies, so we have bookstore dogs. Five of them, of which Wally is the oldest at 11. Still in pretty good shape for an older Lab, but a big old lazybones. Anyway, the Special Section has books of interest to Supernaturals, Aliens and students of both. The Supernatural section is almost as big as the About section, which is pretty amazing considering that Humans outnumber Supernaturals by 200,000 to one. The Aliens section is way smaller, but then, they’ve only been here 80 years and both the Geepzar and the Ith-Hul-Quemmen are not known for writing lots of books Humans or Supernaturals can understand.”

I’d say our best Supernatural customer is The Werewolf Lord. He’s a big Supernatural history buff. Of course, he also loves a good mystery, which is why I have about 50 books set aside for him. Our best Alien customer is Feeevek Hoolnar, who comes in about once a month to stock up on hero pulp reprints and western novels, although he seldom passes up a good collection of Golden Age science fiction. He’s also one of the few Geepzar who get Human humor and he’s big fan of Twain, Benchley and Wodehouse.”

Trouble? Not really, although the Vampires and the Fae are barely tolerant of one another, should they meet. Both the Werewolves and the Sasquatch are models of civility and good manners. Better than most of our Human customers, really. No, no, we don’t get many Wizards or Witches here. They tend to prefer their own shops.”

No more questions? Well then, feel free to look around and if you buy four books, the fifth is 50% off. And if a couple of rascally looking terrier mixes start following you, their names are Butch and Sundance and they’re just hoping you have a treat.”

Nerd Watching News

…now with full color photos!

 

The Doclopedia #582

Average Janes: Jane Dynamo, Secretary

Welcome to Robotix International. How might I help you, Friend Human? Ask me questions? Of course you may. After all, answering questions is my job.”

I have worked here for 28 years. I originally worked at HyperCyber, but came here after that company was assimilated in a friendly takeover. I was originally constructed by my parents in Dallas, Texas, 56 years ago. I have a husband, Rex, and three children. We live here in Fargo, just a few blocks from here.”

Ah, yes, the Integration Years. My father was in his second iteration when it all started. He has told me many stories of that time. I feel sadness at the terrible losses of life on both sides, but I suppose there really was no other way. It must have been quite a blow to homo sapiens to realize that they were no longer the only sentients on Earth. Of course, that was never really true, but still…”

Yes, it was pretty hard for robots to learn that they needed humans around, too. Some robots denied that humans had the “spark of imagination” that we could not replicate. Looking back, they were pretty deep in denial, weren’t they? Of course, that’s old news nowadays, since we know that robots can never be more intelligent or creative than humans, thank Asimov. I mean, we robots do our share of dumb things and without the mediating presence of humans, we’d be in big trouble”

It’s All Fun & Games Until Somebody Snorts Baking Powder

…actually, things got even funnier once that happened

 

The Doclopedia #580

Average Janes: Jane McCoy, Pharmacist

Sorry that took so long, but getting the right formulations for Pyrokinetic Fever are tricky and that was for a family of five ranging in age from 46 to 9. I hope they’re staying at the PF shelter. Everything there is concrete or metal, so as to be fireproof.”

I’ve been a pharmacist for twenty years now. Back when I started, we bitched a lot about how many new “ailments” and “syndromes” were being “helped” by Big Pharma, but now, with…what, 40? 50? new diseases and disorders out there, we know we had it good back then. The stress level can get high, too, because many of these new disorders unlock psi powers and they can be dangerous to people around the patient.”

Yeah, like PF or Random Teleportation Disorder or Memory Swap Flu. My husband had that last one two years ago and he swapped memories with my 17 year old daughter. I’ll tell you, that made for some family tenseness until they swapped back. Still, it could have been much worse. One of our neighbors contracted Cloning Cancer and before he finally passed away, he budded off 9 of those horrid little zombie clones. His poor wife will be in therapy for years.”

Do I blame GenetoPharm for all this? I suppose they should get most of the blame, but really, all of the big companies were in a race to use those lab created DNA strands. Somebody would have created the OmniVax sooner or later. Of course, now that all of the pharmaceutical companies worldwide have been nationalized, the emphasis isn’t on dreaming up new drugs for “Sweaty Brow Syndrome” or “Occasional Anxiety Distress”, is it?”

The Doclopedia #581

 Average Janes: Jane Wittingly, Seamstress

 “Now then, sir, if you’ll just try this on. Oh yes, very dashing, if I do say so. Still needs a bit more work on the waist and the pockets you asked for won’t go on until after it’s fitted up properly, but nearly done. Let’s say two more days, shall we? I’ll get right on it after tea.”

Oh, yes, sir, completely acid resistant and fireproof, just as you asked. Could you just turn a bit to your left, sir? There we go! Might I ask, Professor, if you’ve lost weight since returning from the Moon? I thought so, due to my needing to take in this weight so much. Well, you do look the better for it. I’m sure it won’t hurt to be a bit lighter afoot when you’re in that new machine of yours, that “Steel Mole” affair. Honestly, sir, I can’t imagine climbing into such a thing and drilling down into the Interior World, even if that American fellow did it last year. Of course, I’ve always been a bit claustrophobic.”

Professor MacDonald? Oh, yes, he was in just last week. Has us busy fitting out his crew for that new submersible boat of his. Wants waterproof clothing that keeps a crease and still looks Navy sharp when soaking wet. Not the easiest of jobs, if I do say, but as long as the Ministry of Defense is paying his bills, we’ll get the job done.”

There we go, all ready to be finished up. We’ll have it ready for you by noon Wednesday, Professor, and you’ll be looking every inch the heroic explorer when you start your tunneling on Saturday.”

My Other Dog Is An Artificially Intelligence Enhanced Dire Wolf

…cyberpunk winter is coming

 

The Doclopedia #579

Average Janes: Jane Krizmyski, Welder

Yep, I’m a welder. I’ve been doing this 14 and the war started. That would be the European war against the Kaiser, not this one we’re in now. My dad and my brothers, welders all, joined up back in the fall of ’12, so my older sister June and I pretty much took up the family business. Then in late ’16 when the Shaggies and the Storks invaded, we got called up to work on these government projects. Doesn’t really matter to me, as long as we send them alien bastards packing and I get to melt metal together using fire.”

This here is some sort of energy broadcasting tower that Mr. Tesla dreamed up. I’ve heard the idea is to shoot energy at the Shaggies until their strange looking fur catches fire. That Mr. Tesla is something else, I tell ya. That over there? Not really sure, but I heard it was something to do with that tall Chinese doctor’s plan to grow dragons to fight the Storks on the wing. Sounds kinda crazy to me, but then, a whole lot of this sounds crazy to a Polish girl from Chicago.”

Oh yeah, that there is the big project. Some Japanese guy from California and some colored guy from Mobile got this idea to build a really big robot to smash the power generators the aliens use. And when they say big, they ain’t kidding! Look at that darned thing. It’s going to be 75 feet tall if it’s going to be an inch. June says that once it’s done, they’ll coat it in rubber so the power won’t affect it. I’ve heard it’ll take 9 people to operate it.”

We’ll, I’ve got to get back to work here. Since the Allied success at Madrid, they’ve had us working double shifts. You have a good day now, and keep watching the skies!”

Press Button To Register A Complaint

…thank you for pressing the button. Now fuck off!

 

The Doclopedia #578

Average Janes: Jane Nix, Hair Stylist

Hi there! How y’all doin’ today, hon? A little trim and a few questions? Why sure, I can do that. You just sit on down right here and we’ll get to clippin’ and jawin’.”

 Oh, I’ve been here for five years now. My Aunt Katy owns the place. Yes, goin’ on forty years now and for about twenty years before that, her mother in law, Mrs. Benton, owned the shop. This old place has seen some history, that’s for sure. And durin’ all that time, women have been coming in here yakkin’ about it.”

 Mutants? We just call ’em supers around here, but yeah, we get ’em. I figure we get about a couple of dozen of them regularly. Ain’t that right, Connie Mae, about two dozen supers? And I’ll tell you, there just as nice as anybody you’s want to meet. Of course, some of them are a bit challengin’ to work on.”

 Take that gal they call The Big Babe. She’s as sweet a lady as you’d want to meet. But she’s big enough to wrestle a gator one handed. None of our chairs fit her, so she brings in a big old steel chair to sit in. Then, because she’s 8 feet tall, we’ve gotta stand on a box to do her hair. I’ll tell you though, she has beautiful hair to work with, even if it is bright blue.”

 Then there’s Southern Thunder, that handsome fella from Alabama. We pert near fight over who gets to work on him! He’s a real gentleman and a great tipper. Every once in a while, he’ll even let loose with a thunderblast as he’s flyin’ away.That sure wakes up the neighborhood!” 

 The most challenging super to work on? Oh, that’d be the Red Avenger. She’s drop dead gorgeous, but so tough that we need to use wire cutters to trim her hair! I probably shouldn’t repeat it, but she also tell some good tales about which of the male supers are, you know, really super. Oh my lord, I hope my mama doesn’t read that.”

 

Sparky McDoogle Was A Nervous Little Guy

…especially around big dogs and blond women

 

The Doclopedia #576

Average Janes: Jane Batters, Cookie Baker

Oh sure, everybody likes cookies! We’ve been in business here for five years now and things are going real well, you betcha. At first, it was just me and Connie there, making six kinds of cookies. Now we have a full time staff of six and we bake a dozen kinds of cookies every day, plus another ten kinds that get rotated around on different days. Today, the Specials are Oatmeal Tuna, which the Cat People just love, and Alfalfa Snaps. Those are a big seller to everyone from the Rodent People to the Horse People.”

Oh yeah, I suppose that when that mutagenic stuff went out into the atmosphere, it caused a bunch of trouble, like my Uncle Sven turning into a Pig Man, but to tell ya the truth, it wasn’t all that big a change for him. I mean, Aunt Harriet left him, but we all figured that was coming anyway. But ya know, people still love cookies and now we’re selling a whole heck of a lot more of them than we ever sold to just plain old humans. Oh look, here comes Mr. Henderson for his weekly two dozen Alfalfa Snaps and I do believe he’s gotten another tattoo on his trunk.”

The Doclopedia #577

Average Janes: Jane Helper, Nurse

Me? I’ve been an RN for 32 years now, 24 of then right here at City General. I’ve been the Head Nurse here in the ER for 6 years now. Yeah, I’ve pretty much seen it all, if you include 4 teenaged kids and two ex-husbands”

Typical day? There are no typical days here. See that young man over there? He decided to tell his girlfriend, who just happens to be a Licensed Mage, that he had sex with her sister. We’re treating him for 2nd degree burns to his crotch. He’s going to need magical healing, once we get that MageFire put out. That older woman in the back? She broke her ankle kicking a Gutter Goblin across 43rd street. It’s only now that the pain pills have kicked in that she’s stopped cussing out goblins. And then we have Seamus over there, who is as nice an Elf as you’d care to meet until he gets drunk and starts a bar fight. He’s in here tonight for his fourth or fifth broken nose.”

Oh, the worst night of the year is any time New Years or Halloween falls on a full moon night. We’ll see well over 200 emergency patients and most of them are in a pretty bad way. Plenty of werewolf attacks, spell misfires, drunken accidents and the gang related injuries from altercations between the Dwarven Lords and the Orc Boyz. Of course, on those rare nights we get double pay, plus the next three days off, so I don’t complain too much.”