It was quite a scene that was unfolding in the pre-dawn Mexican desert. I was lodged inside Tom’s ship which, from the outside, literally looked like pieces of scrap metal welded onto a carnival ride with big engines strapped to it. Tom worked furiously in the cockpit doing his pre-flight diagnostics while I did my best to repair my tattered wetsuit/spacesuit with duct tape so I wouldn’t die in the great abyss. He reassured me the drugged Red Bull I drank earlier was designed to thicken my blood in space so I wouldn’t freeze. Of course this theory was only tested on a few rats, none of which survived according to Tom. He said it was because the rats lacked confidence. This is also why he named each and every one ‘Mark.’ The veneer that housed Mr. Delonge’s sanity was beginning to wear thin.
“Dude stop worrying about freezing. The heat generated by the engines will keep the cockpit at a toasty 103 degrees. Haha cockpit!”
Regardless of his shoddy reassurance I continued to tape up all the rips in my suit. I’d sobered up by that point and was running on pure anxiety fueled adrenaline. Tom 2.0 began yelling somewhere outside the ship, but it impossible to make out his words over the sound of the engines of the ship warming up. I hopped out of the metal can of doom and started to head towards him to see what he was hollering about. As I got closer, I could see he was motioning furiously towards the highway. It was then when I saw what was freaking him out. Two sets of headlights were roaring in the direction of our makeshift launchpad. I jumped into action, hurriedly forcing my bloodied body into my spacesuit. I fell several times while screaming for Tom to hurry the fuck up. As I ran towards to the trailer, he finally heard, poking his head out and following my gaze towards the the gas station. He spotted the vehicles closing in and waved for me to get to the ship. But it was too late.
As I scrambled up the rope ladder that led to the cockpit (haha) we both looked over to where Tom 2.0 was standing and saw two figures looming over him with what looked like automatic weapons. Tom left the controls in the ship running as he pulled a machete out from under his pilot’s seat and repelled down the rope ladder. I slid backwards down the ladder to get out of his way, shredding the skin from off my palms by the time I reached the ground. Though the pain was excruciating, it was no match for the rage I saw in Tom’s eyes. His mission was in jeopardy and I was now witnessing a man who had run out of options. The two vehicles had parked just out in front of the gas station. But what we could see were several figures with guns walking towards us. Tom stood next to the trailer, blade in hand. He screamed out:
“COME ON FUCKERS! THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU AND I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE FOR IT!”
The figures were undeterred by Tom’s declaration. They lurched forward while two others kept Tom 2.0 at bay. I could see one of the men was much shorter than the rest. It was then I realized it was El Scorpion and his crew… and he brought his nephew, Neto, along. I assumed it was so he could watch his uncle murder us. Rick’s men surrounded the ship as Rick himself calmly walked towards us. He motioned for his men to stay back. Tom was still in a fighting stance, sweating profusely, with machete in hand. El Scorpion walked up to me and spoke:
“My friend I’m not here to stop you from going on your mission to the stars. I merely want to finish my conversation with Raoul. Where might that naked ball of flesh he be hiding?”
Both Tom and I pointed in the direction of the smoldering van off in the distance. He let out a long sigh at having missed his chance to finish what he started in the back room of the bar. Rick muttered something about it being a matter of honor that he kill the man who swindled him. But now… he trailed off.
“Well Tom, I guess I will wish you luck on your mission to the stars. My quarrel was with Raoul, never with you. Do me a favor, my friend. Go back to the Blink-182 when you return to earth! I could not bare hearing another musician try to capture the musical magic which only you can create. Now go, mi amigo! Go see if Aliens Exist and prove The Majestic Twelve wrong!”
We took that as our cue and didn’t hesitate for a second as we sprinted back to the ship as fast as possible. I practically shoved Tom up the rope ladder on my shoulder trying to get into the cockpit (haha). We slammed our collective bodies into our seats, furiously buckled our safety harnesses, and put on our helmets. Tom 2.0 was still coherent enough to function the remote even after tremendous blood loss. Within minutes, all systems were go. Lights flashed in the cabin as other devices around me beeped and hummed while Tom made his final system checks. My job, for now, was to sit there and shut up. I looked out the window to my right and I could see Tom 2.0 giving a thumbs up. According to Tom, this meant that we were launching in sixty seconds. My heart began to race as I tried to comprehend the fact that I was about to actually leave the planet and I wasn’t even sure if I was coming back. At this point I couldn’t tell if the wetness in my suit was sweat, blood, or the remaining contents of my bladder.
The roar of the engines grew louder, causing the entire ship to vibrate. I suddenly longed for my shitty, filthy futon back in El Cajon. Various devices on the ship’s instrument panels began to shake loose around us. Tom worked furiously to get them back into place in a sort of manic juggling act. A panel dropped onto my head almost knocking me out as a hose burst somewhere near my feet. It sprayed me and everything around me with its contents, causing the panels to spark and sputter. There were twenty seconds left in the countdown and things were already looking bleak. Tom turned back to see the liquid spraying everywhere. He quickly reached for a shut off valve. Ten seconds. The noise was deafening now. I could feel my the fillings in my teeth shaking free. Five Seconds. I swear I could smell smoke.
Struggling to keep up? Feeling a bit lost? Perhaps you’re wondering how a snake can wear a vest or be a band roadie? The answers to these questions and more are in CHAPTER 1, CHAPTER 2, CHAPTER 3, and CHAPTER 4! (Editor’s Note: Bad Copy does not guarantee answers to any questions in these chapters).