Coffee House Encounters

by Upright & Doom Bunny

Ranger Ruben and Nice Alice liked coffee. They'd often go to City Lights Espresso in Santa Clara, California, because Alice liked the nice atmosphere.

"Boy, this is nice," she said.

"Uh-huh," said Ruben, sipping his Earl Grey.

"This coffee's nice too," she added.


At the counter around the corner, a man screamed, "Ain't you got no beer?! You guys don't rock!"

Ruben and Alice ignored it.

"You know, you're the only one on the team who hasn't put a move on me. Why?"

Ruben considered. "Well, I guess I can't forget you had a beard and four eyes before you your plastic surgery to fit in with the rest of humanity."

"Oh. Well, I was considered pretty hot back on Yuokev, you know."




The man who had screamed came around the corner with a mug of herbal tea, not happy at all. He headed for the sugar and napkins. "I hate this music!" he roared, shaking a meaty fist at the Enya being piped throughout the store. "This ain't music, this ain't Rock n' Roll!"

Nice Alice smiled one of her nice smiles. "Boy, this sure is nice."

Ranger Ruben was beginning to realize that carrying on a serious conversation with her was impossible. He would even go as far as saying that she was boring.

He tried anyway. "So, uh, I guess you know Brandon's in love with you..."

"Brandon? Oh yeah, he's nice --"

"NO, DAMMIT!" Ruben flung his tea mug across the room, towards the sugar stand, narrowly missing the screaming man. "He's more than 'nice.' He's a human being with human wants and needs! He's not nice!"

"Bastard!" screamed the screaming man, fighting through the crowded coffee house. He wanted to strike Ruben, but it would take him time to get there.

Nice Alice reached across the table and put a hand on his shoulder. "Everybody's nice in their own special way. We each just have to find away to bring it out and share that niceness with the entire world."

"Uh, yeah. I guess," muttered Ruben. "I guess I just haven't been the same since the Gobi Campaign..."

"You know, I think you're really nice too, Ruben," said Alice, squeezing his arm, "But I won't have sex with you, so please don't ask."

"I don't want to have sex with you!" insisted Ranger Ruben. "Ever! I mean, Jesus, you looked just like Buck before your surgery! Hell, you looked worse! And yes, I know that's not very nice. And no, I could give a damn if you think that's not very nice, and..."

Alice unleashed her power, enveloping Ruben in a mellow-yellow happiness of self, respect for others, and consideration for their feelings.

Ruben mellifluosed out. "Hey, this is pretty cool. You know what? You know what, Alice? You're power's like, like, like... weed..."

A fist flew out of the crowd and exploded against Ruben's jaw. Ruben flew out of his chair and into the table next to them, knocking the table's iced dreamy creamy almond nutmeg mochas onto the floor.

"Oh man, our dreamy creamy almond nutmeg mochas!" protested one of the victims.

"Yeah, and they were iced too!" described another victim pointedly.

"Ouch," explained Ruben. "Geeeeeee, that hurts..."

The screaming man stood over Ruben like a mountain of muscle. Chains and spikes glistened in the soft lights of the coffee house. Tattoos covered him from head to toe like a disease. His bald head shined as bright as his black leather pants and vest as he pointed down at the bewildered Ruben. "You like throwin' mugs around, you hot shot, pansy-assed, superhero, you!" he screamed, cracking knuckles. "Lessee how you like throwin' fists!"

Alice stood up. "That's not very nice." She unleashed the niceness building up in her, directing a blast of pleasantness at the assailant.

But something went wrong -- really wrong.

Suddenly, everybody in the cafe stood up, and started singing:

"All you need is love! All you need is love, love! All you need is, all you need is, all you need is love!"

Everyone held hands and were very nice to each other, even when one customer sang, "She loves me yeah, yeah yeah!" out of key. Everyone that is, except the monstrous man that proceeded to pound Ruben's face into the floor.

"OwOwOw," Ruben declared. "Hey man, that's not very cool, you know. OOOPH!"

Ruben was helpless, feeling too nice to fight back. Each blow to the face was met with a wet, squishy noise.

"Alice, uh, could you, uhm, you know," Ruben said, "do something..."

"He seems to be immune to my nice powers!" cried Alice, almost hysterical. She had hit him with all the nice thoughts and energies she had, and he hadn't even flinched.

This, Alice decided, is scary. Nice Alice hit the Galactic Hero Corps Emergency Situation Device.

Ruben had turned into a purple, pulpy plumhead. "Alice..."

There was nothing she could do.

"WHO ARE YOU!" cried Alice.

With that question, Nice Alice saved Ranger Ruben's life. The beast, about to deliver the final blow, dropped the limp ranger to the floor, raised his bloody fists victoriously above his head, and roared:

"Good question, babe! Yeah, rock on! I am Death Rock, and Bon Jovi sucks ass! "

"You're screwed, that's who you are!" somebody said. Greased Lightning stood tall at the entrance of the store, pointing at Death Rock menacingly. Behind him stood Bright Boy, Snailman and Teleman.

"Yeah, and Bon Jovi don't suck," cried Bright Boy, "you do!"

"Let's just get this over with so I don't miss any Gilligan," said Teleman.

"We'll see who's screwed, pretty boy," raged Death Rock. He charged Greased Lightning.

"Watch out," yelled a customer. "He's really tough!"

"Don't worry about me," said Greased Lightning. "I just turn myself frictionless, and I'm invulnerable! Watch."

Death Rock swung his fist, covered with silver death's-head rings, at Greased Lightning.

"See, he -- YOUCH!" Greased Lightning cried, before subsequently sprawling across the floor.

"I don't get it. How'd you take out Greased?" Bright Boy asked.

"Like this!" screamed Death Rock, smacking Bright Boy with the back of his hand. There was a large electric pop upon contact. Bright Boy slumped to the ground. Death Rock turned to Snailman.

"Meet my duke!" roared Death Rock, raising his fist.

Snailman opened his mouth and spewed slime on Death Rock.

Alice felt a moment of hope. No one could resist Snailman's esophageal mucus attack, even more sickeningly potent than his regular slime. Snailman only used it when he felt there was no other way...

Oh God! The slime slipped off of Death Rock like water!


Snailman went down! Oh man!

"Carlotta!" screamed Teleman. "Get me outta here! I can't tele-anything on him!"

"Teleport yourself," suggested Nice Alice.

"Oh! Hey," said Teleman, bewildered. "I never thought about that one before! OOF!"

In the moments it had taken to consider the idea, Death Rock had destroyed Teleman. Death Rock turned to Nice Alice.

"Rock on! Rock on! Rock on! Yeah!"

Oh God, what am I gonna do?

Death Rock stomped his way to her.

"Time to Rock and Roll, baby! Get it? Rock and Roll? Yeah, rock on!" Death Rock raised a fist.

"Wait!" she cried.

He hesitated. "What?"

I can't let him go, I can't let him get away, he's too powerful.

"Well? Ready to rock or what?"

He's immune to all our powers, he could destroy the whole Corps!

"Well, you see, uh, uhm, you, you -- YOU PASSED THE TEST!" cheered Nice Alice, suddenly inspired. She ran up to Death Rock and kissed his cheek.


"You passed the test! We were testing you! You're in, we want you to be a part of the Hero Corps! Congratulations!"


"Why do you think it was so easy to kick everyone's butt?"

"Cause they're a buncha wimps who can't rock?" guessed Death Rock.

"No, you silly," laughed Alice. "It's because they didn't want to rough up the new guy and scare him away from the Corps."

"But that boy toy there said that Jovi don't suck! You can't go around sayin' somethin' like that and not expecta meet my duke!" Death Rock shook his fists menacingly under her nose.

"So do you want to join us?"

"Jovi sucks dick!" Death Rock punched a customer who was trying to give him a flower.

Nice Alice flinched, hating to witness an act of such disregard for people's feelings. But she knew she couldn't do anything about it. "So, uh, do you want to join us?"

"Real rock is like, I dunno, Love/Hate or M.O.D. or..."

"Look, do you want to join us or not?"

Death Rock considered. "Uh, do you guys rock?"

"Yeah, okay, sure. We rock. We rock and roll really hard. Now, do you want to join or what?"

"Sure, as long as you guys rock. But the day you guys stop rockin' is the day I kick your asses."

Nice Alice sighed. "Okay. Fine. Carlotta, dear heart, come take everyone home!"

Just then the counter person, in a very nice gesture, called out, "Free mochas for one and all!"

A great cheer went up as everyone rushed the counter politely.

"So, uh, hey, Nice Alice..." began Death Rock shyly as Carlotta began to take everyone home. "Uh, maybe, uh, maybe you and I could, uh, you know, rock and roll sometime?"

Nice Alice smiled to herself. Maybe she could control Death Rock after all. Hmm...


Copyright © 1994 No Apologies! Press

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