The Gospel According to Dave


Because maybe it’s easier working for a God. Maybe a God only wants us to not eat certain meats, or rest on particular days, or part our antennae in certain directions. Maybe a God’s expectations are lower than the God’s.

Either way, working for God isn’t easy, but fortunately Dave’s pretty great.

You work for Dave too? Then you know that by working for Dave, we’re all just working for ourselves. That’s all Dave wants. To pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. To not rely on others to wipe our asses. Otherwise, Dave says, we’ll be speaking Chinese in no time.

But Dave also says we need to take care of each other. Like how instead of bitching that Dave needs to go to college, his parents should just pony up help with rent and occasional beer money, what with Dave losing his job at the video store and all. Dave was supposed to get a baseball scholarship, but that sure as shit didn’t work out. Times are tough!

So says Dave.

But Dave also says not to put words in his mouth. What if in a million years, we’re presented with the opportunity to solve world peace or cure herpes, and we don’t because we put too much weight behind the lack of foresight Dave may or may not have?

What if everything we think we know now, Dave says, we find out later to be wrong?

But boy-oh-boy have some sure thought Dave has great foresight! Some founded Kingdoms of Dave and People’s Republics of Dave and Churches of Dave, and then followers of those churches or republics or kingdoms broke off to form other churches, republics, and kingdoms, and then everyone waged war in Dave’s name! All because they thought they know better the foresight Dave may or may not have.

Needless to say, things have been crazy these last two weeks, ever since Dave came into our lives.

That’s when Dave came into your life? Yes, that’s when Dave came into our lives. Two weeks ago, while picking berries on the hilltop overlooking the wasteland, Sam-sam came across Dave. Actually, Sam-sam came across the thing in which Dave lives, when Sam-sam stubbed his toe on the thing protruding from the ground. Alone on the hilltop, Sam-sam dug out the thing, rubbing his suction-cupped fingers bloody until he was able to pull it from the dirt. Sam-sam then opened the thing and a piece of bitten fruit lit up on its outside. On its inside, a light came from the tappy-taps, and then a brilliant light came from the smooth side opposite the tappy-taps, and then Dave appeared! And then Dave spoke!

Sam-sam listened to Dave until marks appeared on the smooth surface and the smooth surface went black. With a berry bush stick, Sam-sam quickly scribbled in the dirt the marks that appeared before Dave vanished. In the dirt, Sam-sam scribbled

Dead Battery

Then Sam-sam thought about the other marks he saw before the surface went black. He scribbled YouTube, which had surrounded Dave, and Mail, and XXXAnal, before he couldn’t remember how the other marks looked.

Then Sam-sam tucked the thing in which Dave lives under his four arms and walked down the hilltop to us preparing furry squeakers in the fires. I don’t know about your life, but our lives sure were tough before Dave arrived. We would wake up and pick berries until mid-day, when we would scuttle to our caves and sleep out the burning heat from the light above. At night we would capture and cook furry squeakers, then lie around and put our things into each other until it was time to go back to sleep. There was never any end to our suffering. When Dave arrived however, some tried to persevere through the toughness of their lives by asking What Would Dave Do? Or, What Would Dave Want Us To Do? But then Sam-sam said Dave wants us to ignore What He Would Do, or What we think he Would Want Us To Do because those sound like a rules, and Dave doesn’t believe in rules. Instead, Dave wants us to just Do What You Would Do, which is what Sam-sam told us Dave told him, among other things, on the hilltop.

Do What You Would Do.

So says Dave.

Now excuse my assuming but I assume you are thinking that if everyone simply Did What they Would Do, then what about murderers or rapists or bank robbers? Wouldn’t they murder, rape, and or rob banks, even if those banks were protected by insurance policies or not? But this is not the case, Sam-Sam said, after he stepped on the big round rock, raised the thing in which Dave lives above his head, yelled behold motherfuckers, and proceeded to teach us the teachings of Dave.

I don’t know about where you come from, but it was a bigger group of motherfuckers beholding Sam-sam than the group beholding him today. Like I said, Churches and Nation-States quickly formed, but Sam-sam said those who left had ignored the original terms of working for Dave, and Sam-sam held strong to those terms because he was the one Dave told them to. Therefore Sam-sam was going to continue Doing What he was Doing, so we all did what we were Doing, which was living the way we always had because Sam-sam told us to Do so.

Also, while we don’t know what a motherfucker is, Dave uses this term in such everyday facets of his everyday vocabulary that we have determined it to be a jovial affirmation of kinship and brotherhood.

So says Dave.

But then news came from Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation, a group that had broken off and settled on the opposite side of the hilltop overlooking the wasteland, that they felt Dave had implied to them to move out of their caves, and to push down bushes and build structures in which to live. And because those in Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation spent so much time under the heat above, and not in their damp, dark caves, their skin had turned bright and blistered and beautiful. Not at all like the orange it once was. Not at all like our skin.

And then word came from Dave-mart, a group that settled on the hilltop, that The Good Almighty Dave didn’t want them to Do What You Would Do, that Dave was just joking, April Fools they yelled, and The Good Almighty Dave actually wanted them to do the opposite of what he told them to do, and by that he meant they should all just shut up and listen to Pap-ma, founder of Dave-mart. And Pap-ma told them to pick all the berries, and if we wanted any berries then we better think of something good to pony up, such as the thing in which Dave lives. Dave had never mentioned moving out of our caves and picking all the berries, and who the hell was The Good Almighty Dave, Sam-sam asked, and why was anybody listening to Pap-ma? Pap-ma heard everything about Dave from Sam-sam, Sam-sam said.

But at that, the Dave-martians said, no thing in which Dave lives, no berries. And at that, Sam-sam tucked the thing in which Dave lives under his two remaining arms, told us all to get back to our posts to make sure no Mexicans got into our colleges, and scuttled to his cave.

Did I mention we also don’t allow Mexicans into our colleges? Again, excuse my assuming since we know what Dave says about that. Regardless, we don’t allow Mexicans into our colleges because Dave wasn’t going to college because some Mexican dumber than he was going to get his spot all on account of being Mexican. So we don’t allow Mexicans into our colleges, and once we find out what a Mexican is, we’ll make sure to prevent any from coming, and once we find out what a college is, we’ll make sure not to allow any Mexicans in it.

For that matter, once we figure out what a bank is to rob, or what rape and or murder are, we’re going to get insurance policies, whatever those are, to protect ourselves.

So says Dave.

I also realized I assumed you know what Dave says about assuming, which itself is an assumption! Dave says To Assume makes an Ass Out of You and Me. While we’re not sure how this works, we assume assuming is bad so please continue your forgiveness of my ass making. Did I also mention we gouge out one of our eyes because Dave wants us to?

We also gouge out one of our eyes because Dave wants us to.

Dave says he was blessed with two arms and two eyes, and he should therefore be judged by the merits of his accomplishment and not the record of his criminality. Well, we snapped off our extra arms but in order to have two eyes we had to gouge out one so we could all be the same. Sometimes we find some who don’t want to gouge out their third eye, because they scream and cry how they were born with it and lived their entire life with it, but we do it anyways because it would be unfair if they had the unfair advantage of the extra eye Dave didn’t have, and look how well things worked out for Dave! He was sentenced to six years hard labor but got out in three! Great things happened to Dave with only two eyes!

Speaking of great things, the morning after the Dave-mart and Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation visits was a doozy. Sam-sam came out of his cave, stood on the round rock, held up the thing in which Dave lives and announced that he had heard from Dave again! It’s true, he said, while everyone slept, the smooth surface of the thing in which Dave lives lit up with its brilliant light when no one else was around. And then Dave appeared! And spoke! Again!

Sam-sam said The Dave told Sam-sam to change his name to Daviant. He said that since Sam-sam, now Daviant, was the only one ever to see or speak with Dave, now The Dave, then Sam-sam, now Daviant, knows better The Dave than anyone else, especially those motherfuckers in Dave-mart and Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation.

This didn’t sound right, I thought to myself. We never referred to Dave as The Dave, and I wanted to raise one of my remaining hands and say that this sounded a lot like when others changed the terms of working for Dave to form their Churches or Kingdoms, but Daviant said The Dave also said no one should argue with Daviant because everything Daviant now said was as good as if it came straight from The Dave.

So says The Dave. So says Daviant.

Daviant then told us it was time to stop gabbing and time to start digging for as many pretty rocks as we could find, so chop chop!

My back and fingers are still sore from that. Yours too? Mine too. We had never dug before, but Daviant made us dig all day. Even after it was dark and we should’ve been catching and cooking squeakers, he yelled for us to keep digging as he stared up at the hilltop.

That was not what I would Do if I were Doing What I Would Do.

The next morning, as the heat rose above the green fog of the wasteland, Daviant had us bring to him all the pretty rocks we had dug, and as we got in line to dump them, we all wished we were instead happily asleep in our caves, our things inside each other or not.

We dumped our rocks in front of Daviant, and Daviant fingered through the pile, pinching the pretty rocks between his suction-cupped fingers so his empty eye socket reflected inside them. The prettiest rocks he put in one pile, and the least pretty rocks he chucked over his shoulder, as if it were no skin off his back that we had spent the entire night digging for them. Every rock Drum-drum dug went right over Daviant’s shoulder, which made Drum-drum really upset, what with it being so difficult for him to dig with his firearms and all. Afterward, Daviant made Drum-drum pick up the pile of prettiest rocks and follow him up the hilltop.

Boy-oh-boy was Daviant not happy when he came back, the pile of prettiest rocks still in Drum-drum’s firearms.

Worthless! Daviant yelled. Pointless! He reached into Drum-drum’s firearms and, ignoring Drum-drum’s painful squeaks, grabbed a handful of prettiest rocks and threw them at us. They don’t want any for berries, he yelled, and threw another handful. All they want is The Dave! He threw another handful, and another, until everyone rushed into their caves, the yellow of our two remaining eyes the only thing visible from the darkness of our homes.

After all the rocks were thrown, Daviant breathed heavily, Drum-drum behind him, Drum-drum’s arms still crossed over his body like he was still cradling the pile of prettiest rocks. Sparkles and glitters covered the ground.

Okay, Daviant yelled. Change of plans. From now on dig for big rocks, not pretty ones!

And after that, we emerged from our caves. And after that, again we dug.

However that day’s digging was easier than before. Daviant told us it wasn’t the quantity of rocks we were digging for this time, but the quality. He said instead of a pile of pretty rocks, he only wanted a few heavy ones. Rocks that looked like they would hurt if we stubbed our toes on them. Most were done after Daviant specified this, even Drum-drum, although he was still last to finish, what with his firearms making it difficult for him to dig. Either way, that night all of us were able to enjoy a peaceful night in our caves, Doing exactly What we Would Do.

I also just realized I assumed you know we have the Dave-given right to firearms, but few have chosen to evoke this right. Firearms are okay for some, but the only one ever to partake in this right was Drum-drum, and it was awful watching him flail around after he laid his arms in the fires that cook the squeakers. He ran and screamed until his firearms went out, and that was only three days ago, his fingers and elbows still black and puss-filled and blistered.

So says The Dave. So says Daviant.

The next day, Daviant woke us up before the heat broke through the fog on the horizon. It was still snowing, as it does every night, the flakes like the black dirt from our fires. Daviant told us to gather our rocks and line up, shoulder-to-shoulder.

So we gathered our rocks and lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder. Daviant came down the line and whispered to us, and as he did, he gathered the black snow from the ground, smushed it in his hand, and with a suction-cupped finger, made marks on our chests. As he did, he told us that the insurance policies of The Dave will protect us. Then Daviant reached me. Don’t speak Chinese, he whispered, and he scribbled on my chest. As he moved on, I looked down the line and saw that on our chests were the marks Daviant had seen when he first spoke with The Dave. On our chests, Daviant had scribbled Mail and Youtube. On mine, he had scribbled XXXAnal.

Then, shoulder-to-shoulder, we marched up the hilltop, but it was still dark out, so we made so much noise stubbing our toes that we woke up the Dave-martians, who groggily-eyed met us at the top.

Can we help you? Pap-ma asked, rubbing his empty eye socket with his fist.

We have come for the berries, Daviant proclaimed.

Did you bring the thing in which Dave lives to trade? Pap-ma asked.

Daviant took the big rock from Drum-drum, who squeaked as a black strip of skin scraped off and fell to the ground.

We brought big rocks instead, Daviant yelled. He raised the rock, which was gooey from Drum-drum’s blood, and roared, then turned to us and roared some more. Motionless, we watched him, but then he shrugged his shoulders to suggest we roar too. Hesitantly, we opened our mouths and uncertain noises came from them. Ahhh, we said. Daviant shook the rock over his head to suggest we raise and shake our rocks too.

Ahhhh!

Pap-ma was unimpressed with our ahhing and rocks and insurance policies on our chests.

If we didn’t want pretty rocks, he said, why would we want big ugly ones?

The Dave-martians laughed at us, so we stopped ahhing and lowered our rocks. Only Daviant still held his rock above him, his mouth still open as he turned to us, us looking at him to see what to do next. Pap-ma doubled-over in laughter, and with a look of defeat, Daviant dropped his rock. The rock fell and landed, splat! , right on the top of Pap-ma’s head.

The Dave-martians stopped laughing as Pap-ma’s body fell to the ground. His head dripped down the hilltop. Everyone turned to Daviant. Daviant turned from Pap-ma to us to the smeared rock on the ground to the Dave-martians before him. Only when Daviant bent over to pick up the smeared rock, hesitantly extending his fingers in a manner to avoid the smear of Pap-ma’s head, did the Dave-martians rush away. Daviant paused, unsure as to the Dave-martians rush, until they quickly returned with berries. As the pile grew before him, Daviant no longer avoided the smear of Pap-ma’s head.

Now, Daviant said, the berries before him, the smeared rock going freely from one of Daviant’s two hands to the other, the Dave-martians remaining eyes following it back-and-forth, there is no more Dave-mart. You either work for us, Daviant said, and he waved the smeared rock at the Dave-martians, who cowered, or you’ll end up like him! and he pointed to Pap-ma.

And at that, the Dave-martians followed us down the hilltop.

At first it was nice having the Dave-martians back with us, even though they were no longer Dave-martians because Daviant said Dave-mart no longer existed, and who only three days earlier were just regular workers for The Dave like us. The caves they had abandoned were waiting for them when we got to the bottom, but when they tried to enter their homes, Daviant wouldn’t let them. He said their caves were now his caves and that they needed to start digging, like we had dug for two days before them. Daviant then let us go off and Do What we wanted to Do, since he said we were all still good workers for The Dave. So we all did what we normally did, which was sit around and tell jokes and put our things into each other until it was time to catch and cook the furry squeakers. But this time it was difficult Doing What we wanted to Do, what with the ex-Dave-martians hunched around us, dirty and with bleeding fingers and, excuse while I assume, sore backs. They dug and dug while Daviant paced behind them, waving the smeared rock if they ever tried to stand or ask for a squeaker to eat.

This didn’t seem at all very Dave-like, I thought. None of them seemed to be Doing What they wanted To Do. When I brought this up to Daviant, how before the ex-Dave-martians were Dave-martians, they were all just workers for the Dave like us, like him or me, just three days earlier, Daviant thanked me for my opinion and told me that even though the ex-Dave-martians once were regular workers for The Dave, they chose to work for Dave-mart and were now vastly different motherfuckers than us. And if we treated every motherfucker equally, Daviant said, than it would lessen the importance of those who stayed true to The Dave’s original terms. He then said if I felt so bad about how the ex-Dave-martians were being treated, then by all means I could dig throughout the night like he was going to make them dig.

Then, before I could answer, Daviant told me not to argue and sit the fuck down. So I did. I sat down, ate a squeaker, put my thing in another and then slept, all while all the ex-Dave-martians dug and dug and dug.

When I woke up the next morning, Drum-drum was digging as well.

As I watched Drum-drum, his firearms blistered and scabby and oozing, his fingers leaving long bloody streaks in the dirt, I thought, Drum-drum here is a fine worker for The Dave. Here he is, all singed and puss-filled, yet he is Doing exactly What he wants to Do, which was digging with the ex-Dave-martians.

When Daviant asked if I wanted to dig, I instantly sat down like directed. I did not want to spend another minute digging and bloodying my fingers and soring my back. I thought no one wanted to spend their night digging for big and heavy rocks.

I wondered what was inside Drum-drum to make him want to do this? I wondered, as long bloody streaks drew across the dirt, what made Drum-drum such an excellent worker for The Dave? So I scuttled up to him and asked. Drum-drum, I said, what drove you to Do What You Would Do, which was dig throughout the night with the ex-Dave-martians, when your firearms were in the oozing state they were in? And he told me, very matter-of-factly.

Daviant made me.

This did not make sense to me. It was obvious then that digging was not what Drum-drum wanted to Do, and I did not understand how Drum-drum could be forced to Do something against his want. Confused, I went to find Daviant. As the last of the early morning flakes fell, I found him alone on the hilltop, overlooking the green fog covering the wasteland.

As I scuttled next to him, I thought about what Drum-drum said before I left him to dig. Daviant said I dig the slowest, Drum-drum said. And I need to learn to carry my weight.

This made sense, but it also made sense that Drum-drum needed someone to get his back, what with his charred fingers practically falling off.

He said it was my choice to have firearms, Drum-drum said, squeaking painfully while he dug. And that I need to learn to live with the consequences of my decisions.

This made sense as well, but it also made sense that he shouldn’t have to dig in order to learn, what with the ex-Dave-martians getting along just fine. I found myself very confused as I brought this up to Daviant. Looking into the wasteland, the swirling green fog blended with the dark clouds above. Never looking away from that swirl, Daviant explained how there are two types of motherfuckers in the world. Us, Daviant said, and them. And them want to destroy us way of life. Them want to pick all the berries and push down the bushes and say we don’t know what The Dave wants, when it was us who The Dave spoke to in the first place.

It was me, Daviant said.

But sometimes, Daviant continued, in us there is some of them. Sure, they might look like us and act like us, like Drum-drum there, but when push comes to shove they are more than happy to sit back until they are speaking Chinese. And when that happens, Daviant said, we have to treat some of us like them, otherwise every motherfucker will have a say, even if their say is the same say them would have.

Daviant pointed down the hilltop, where Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation lay. Now look at them, Daviant said. Trying to destroy us way of life. Trying to make us like them.

How, I asked.

Just wait, Daviant said. But before they could, we were going to go make them us before they make us them. And then, he said, when they’re us, we’ll make them them again.

So says The Dave, Daviant said.

And so that night Daviant stood on the round rock and told us to get our sleep because in the morning we would scuttle to Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation. It was confusing to hear this because no one knew why. It was understandable when we scuttled to Dave-mart, because they had berries and wouldn’t share, but we never had any issue with Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation. They had nothing we wanted, except maybe pretty and blistered skin.

And what’re we going to do when we get there? a motherfucker yelled in the crowd. Daviant pointed to the pile of rocks the ex-Dave-martians had dug, the ex-Dave-martians cowering next to the pile with their bleeding hands clasped before them. Daviant yelled for Drum-drum to hand him a rock. Drum-drum did, and when Daviant took it, the skin from Drum-drum’s palms peeled off with it, causing Drum-drum to squeak painfully.

The same thing we did to Pap-ma! Daviant yelled, and with that he took a symbolic swing, to mimic what he had done to Pap-ma, but the rock came out of his grip and fell, splat! , right on top of poor Drum-drum’s head, his crispy firearms going up into the air as his body fell to the ground, the insides of his head squirting up over Daviant.

Silently, everyone stared down at Drum-drum. Daviant wiped his face from the insides of Drum-drum’s head, then looked to us.

Why? a motherfucker yelled.

Because,, Daviant said, almost unsure of his words. The Dave wants us to?

No one said anything.

Because, Daviant said, wiping his two eyes. Before they do it to us?

And at that, it was decided that in the morning everyone would take a rock, scuttle to Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation, and bash their heads in, lest they ever have the chance to do it to us.

So says Daviant.

As everyone went to sleep in their caves that night, I stayed with Drum-drum, his head empty with little crawlies crawling inside and out, his scorched firearms hard and stiff, as if he was reaching for me. As if reaching for me to get his back.

And at that, as everyone snored, I snuck into the cave where Daviant slept, the few ex-Dave-martians Daviant picked to put his thing into lying next to him, and I stole the thing in which The Dave lives. And at that, I scuttled into the wasteland.

Who goes there? a voice said from its post in the darkness.

Me, I said.

Are you Mexican? they asked.

No, I said.

Prove it, they said.

How?

Do you want to come into our colleges?

No, I said.

Well all right then, the voice said. You are free to pass.

And quickly I continued. The winds of the wasteland blew into my two remaining eyes as I scuttled, and the black snow landed on my shoulders until the burning heat, which broke through the clouds, crested the horizon and lit up my home behind me. Quickly I hid behind a rock as my fellow workers of The Dave came up and over the hilltop, shoulder-to-shoulder, rocks in hand, an occasional squeak as, I assume so forgive, they stubbed their toes, what with it still being slightly dark out. Then they descended into Dave Inc., A Ltd. Dave Foundation, and then began screaming and thuds from the dropping of rocks.

I scuttled as fast as I could after that, tumbling and falling into the thick, green fog of the wasteland. I scuttled until the ground turned from being covered in black flakes to no flakes, until the air grew so thick and green, burning my skin the farther I went, that I could not see ahead of me. I scuttled until my legs were so tired they could no longer carry me. I scuttled until I found a place to rest and when I finally sat down, I noticed my skin was bright and blistered and beautiful. Tightly, I wrapped the thing in which The Dave lives in my arms so I would not lose it in the fog, and like that I slept. And like that, I dreamed.

I dreamt how before Daviant heard from The Dave the second time, Daviant, then still Sam-sam, told us on the round rock that The Dave, then still Dave, was just like him or me.

Sure, Sam-sam said, Dave’s skin was pink and he had a scraggily bush on his head where we had antennae, and his teeth were round like pebbles, and ours pointed and sharp, and he had two eyes to our three, and he did not have suction cups for fingers, and so on and so forth, but we were the same, Sam-sam said. We were family, and Dave had family too. Sure, they didn’t pony up cash, but they were still family. A traditional family, Sam-sam said Dave said, and in ten-thousand years, whenever that was, when all that was left on Earth was mutated cockroaches, whatever they are, trying to form a new world in the rubble of civilization, whatever that was, what else would there be but family?

What else besides that?

Then Daviant’s voice turned into yells from somewhere in the wasteland and awoke me from my dreaming. The burning heat above was now on the opposite side of the sky, and Daviant screamed that he knew I stole the thing in which The Dave lives. He yelled I must return it, then submit so that his Followers of the Awesome Daviant, a Subsidiary of The Dave™ could bash my head in with their rocks.

Grabbing the thing in which Dave lives, I scuttled away, yells and threats following, the air even thicker and more burning the deeper into the wasteland I went, the air so thick the heat above could barely come through into the darkness, and bubbles grew all over my body and popped. With Dave I scuttled, the cries and yells and threats growing quieter the farther I went, until they could no longer be heard. Until I was all the way inside the wasteland.

And then I squeaked as I stubbed my toes on the rocks that I could not see at my feet because of the fog. I tripped over one and fell, the thing in which Dave lives flying from my hands, one of my arms going crunch, the rocks beneath me popping as I fell on them.

Oh, how I wished I was back in my cave, Doing What I wanted to Do.

With my good arm, I crawled over the rocks which popped beneath me, pop, pop, pop, until I found the thing in which Dave lives.

I picked a rock off the thing, and when I did, I noticed a hole in the top of the rock that revealed its hollow insides. When I turned it over there were two craters in the middle, side-by-side, like eyes staring back at me. Beneath the craters was an edge of round pebbles, a few missing here and there. I ran my tongue along my teeth, sharp and pointy. I stared at the rock, the two craters staring at me, my thumb along the hole in the back, the hole so similar to the hole from which Drum-drum’s and Pap-ma’s heads had leaked.

Very gently I put down the rock, placing it with the others, their craters all watching me.

With my one good arm, I picked up the thing in which Dave lives, and with great pains I tried to walk around the rocks, but without seeing them in the fog they popped beneath me. My head hurt more and more with every pop. Only when I finally looked up to see where I was going did I see his outline through the fog, the outline silently watching me the entire time.

Daviant? I said. I grimaced at another pop.

Dave?

Another scuttle. Pop. Another. Pop. Another.

Only when I got close enough could I see through the thick air how the outline stood motionless, one hand resting on something strapped over its shoulder, the other holding something I didn’t know what, his body brown and green and without a head. Beneath him, on the rock made of the same thing of which he was made was scribbled marks that looked like this:

Barry Goldwater

Do you know Dave, I asked, raising the thing in which Dave lives. My eyes teared and when I wiped the tears away, I wiped away blood.

Do you know Dave? I asked again, but the body with no head remained silent.

Disappointed, I lowered the thing in which Dave lives and noticed that the fog behind him was darker than the rest. I took a hesitant scuttle around him, pop, and another, pop, until the air cleared enough that I could see the thing behind him, the new thing sticking out of the ground, half sunk beneath the surface. It was huge and long, its end sticking up in the air with little wings at its tip. On its side were marks that looked like this:

700 Kiloton

I tapped the thing, ding ding ding, but nothing happened. When I looked down, I noticed something big and round by my feet. I set down the thing in which Dave lives and tried to pick up the big round thing. It was heavy and when I hoisted it up with my good arm, I noticed its face, two eyes surrounded by thick frames and a square jaw closed tightly in disappointment.

With one arm and some work, I put it back on the body with no head.

Are you sure you don’t know Dave? I asked, picking up the thing in which Dave lives and showing it to the newly planted head.

Just take one more look, I said. To be certain.

In the wasteland, Daviant screamed my name. He yelled he demanded the castle in which The Dave resided. The popping of his Followers™ led his way.

And at that, I clutched the thing in which Dave lives and took off scuttling, the hollow rocks watching me disappear into the fog. I scuttled and scuttled, Daviant’s screams closing in and drawing away, only to close in again until I scuttled faster, and faster, and faster.

And again, I fell.

But this time when I fell I did not hit the ground but just continued falling until I was tumbling down a hill, the green air swirling around me as my crunched arm crunched again, and my leg cracked and shattered, but still I held on. Still I held on to Dave.

And then, my head hit the ground.

And again, I slept.

When I woke up, Daviant’s yelling and the popping of his Followers™ echoed from the hole above me, the hole I tripped through and tumbled down into this new cave unlike any I have seen. This new cave, larger than any I have been inside, even Daviant’s after he made the ex-Dave-martians dig him a few extra rooms.

Inside, the air was thinner and I could see down the cave’s length, its high ceiling and walls of stone. Not mud like our caves. There were rooms lined up one right after another, and some had more bodies with missing heads, the bodies standing with their hands on their waists, bright squeaker-like fur tattered and falling off their shoulders. Others had things I have never seen before, and don’t know how to describe. One room had the thing the headless one held by its side, only here they were soft and crumbled when I touched them. Above them were marks like this:

Stetson Cowboy Hats

Then the cries of Daviant grew louder, like he was yelling down the hole from which I had fallen. I tried scuttling into the cave, but I didn’t want to scuttle. I didn’t want to go closer to them, the four bodies standing at the end of the cave which watched me go room-to-room, trying to find another way to leave. But I had nowhere else to go. Nowhere but towards them.

It was difficult to scuttle with one of my legs dragging from the fall, and one of my two eyes no longer working, and with me having to keep bending over so all the berries and squeakers in my stomach could come out of my mouth, and then, when all the berries and squeakers were gone, blood, which burned the way herpes must, what with the way Dave described them.

I am sorry that happened to you too. Thank you for your sorriness.

But when I finally got to the end of the cave, I noticed the four faces, white and pale, were motionless and flat. Thinner than the thing in which Dave lives. Like Dave though, their heads had scraggily bushes whereas I had two antennae, except now I only had one antenna, as one fell off when I ran my hand over it. One of the faces had a scraggily bush that covered his face as well, and another had a skinny strip across his upper lip, like a crawling crawly was crawling across his mouth. They all looked at me with expressions like the wanted to put their things in me. Next to them, were marks that looked like this:

The Beatles, Still On iTunes.

On the doorway above them was the same bitten piece of fruit that is on the outside of the thing in which Dave lives. The thing I ran the fingers of my crunched hand over.

Inside were more things in which Dave lives on ledges that started at the front of the room and stretched all the way to the back. Along the walls were more things, and I wondered, staring at them all, if Dave lived in all of them, or if others lived in them instead?

When I opened the first one, no light came from the tappy-taps, and no brilliant light came from the smooth surface opposite the tappy taps. Or the next one. Or the next.

Maybe these were empty, I thought. Maybe they were like the caves the ex-Dave-martians had left when they became Dave-martians. Maybe Dave didn’t let them move back into their homes like Daviant hadn’t.

I bent over so more blood could come out of my mouth. When I stood up, my one good eye went fuzzy, like how the other had before it quit on me. My other antennae fell off too. I was really upset by this because I liked my antennae. I liked the way they looked when I parted them in a certain direction. I didn’t have too long to be sad however, because Daviant’s Followers™ began descending into the cave.

With my good arm, I picked up the thing in which Dave lives and limped along the ledges with all the things Dave or others might live, opening them for brilliant lights. But none came. At the end of the room were more things, but they didn’t have brilliant lights either.

And at that, there were no more things to open. And at that, there would never be more brilliant lights. A few of Daviant’s Followers™ slipped and tumbled down the hill. Every now and then some bent over so everything could come out of their stomachs.

I sat under one of the ledges that rested many things in which Dave or others might have lived. And from that angle I saw things in boxes under the ledge. I set down the thing in which Dave lives, dirty and cracked, and with my good arm, I crawled over and opened the boxes that each thing was in, and then I opened each thing but no light came.

None of them lit up. None. Until one. This one.

When I opened it, it was brilliant and beautiful and inside it you lived. I saw you moving when I moved, and talking when I talked, and I saw that like me, your antennae had fallen off, and your two remaining eyes dripped with blood, and I fell to my knees and I knew. I knew you were me and I was you and I asked how could this happen? How could I live where I was and live also in the thing where Dave did not, and the me on the surface asked how could this happen? How could he live where he was and live also in the thing where Dave did not? And I cried and asked when did working for Dave become so hard? And you cried and asked when did working for Dave become so hard? And since you asked, I did what I wanted to do and I told you how I got here, and you told me how you got here, and our stories have been exactly the same.

I told you and you told me, but now Daviant is inside the cave, and now the flat surface has grown dimmer, and now little marks have begun to appear and now


Dead Battery

  

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