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
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
"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,
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
"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
This, Alice decided, is scary. Nice Alice
hit the Galactic Hero Corps Emergency Situation Device.
Ruben had turned into a purple, pulpy plumhead.
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
"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
"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...