Gangrene Gang's Cross-Country Tour
By now, the Gangrene Gang managed to leave Townsville far behind them. As usual, Grubber drove, Ace rode shotgun, and Arturo sat on top of Angela’s lap in the back seat as they were sandwiched between Big Billy and Snake. They continued to drive through the desert long into the afternoon and into the evening, passing different cities that none of them recognized. The bright lights of the city as Grubber drove the gang on the interstate freeways flashed by them like a crazy disco roller coaster. The entire evening, they’d been singing classic rock songs and had just finished belting out “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas as they drove past bright city lights. The sun slowly began to sink behind the hills.
“No one ever said road trips were a pain in the ass,” Ace complained. “We’ve been sitting all day!”
“Well at least you don’t have to sit on Angie’s lap!” Arturo retorted. He quickly added apologetically, “No offense, Angie.”
“Shut up Arturo,” Angela jabbed. “Actually Ace, if you want, Arturo can have the front and I’ll sit on your lap in the backseat.”
“Aw, why do you gotta be on top?” Ace complained.
“Because I'm lighter. You’re way taller than I am and I'm afraid of being crushed under your big bubble butt,” Angela said flirtatiously.
“Hey, I do not have a big ass,” Ace said defensively.
“Oh yes you do,” Angela grinned.
“Big Billy gotta pee!” Big Billy said uncomfortably. Grubber blew a frustrated raspberry.
“Grubber, please pull over!” Angela begged. “I don’t care if he has to go behind a bush! Arturo and I have to sit next to him so if he pisses his pants, we’re fucked!”
Grubber blew a raspberry as though giving in, and he pulled over on the side of the road. By now, the gang was in a rural desert area, and they weren’t quite sure where they were. Grubber pointed to a nearby bush and blew a raspberry, instructing Billy to get out and take care of business behind the bush.
“Big Billy don’t wanna go behind a bush,” Billy whined.
“Well sucksss to be you,” Snake hissed. “Now getsss out!”
Reluctantly, Big Billy trudged out of the car and behind the bush. Of course, since the puny little bush was barely enough to shield Big Billy’s tremendous size, the rest of the gang had to avert their eyes away from the bush.
It was dead-silent out in the desert. As Angela looked off into the distance, the silence of the night was shattered by what sounded like buckets and buckets of water being poured out onto the sand. The world went dead-silent again.
Big Billy slowly made his way back to the convertible.
“Big Billy feel better now,” Big Billy announced.
“Wow, youssss sssseriously had to go,” Snake snickered.
“It sounded like someone dumped a bucket of water in the bush,” Arturo added with a laugh.
“That was just nasty,” Angela shuddered.
“Billy I told ya not to drink all that juice before we left home!” Ace snapped.
“Big Billy like grape juice. Big Billy wishes for more grape juice!” Big Billy said excitedly.
Ace smacked his hand to his forehead in exasperation. He could tell this was going to be a very, very long trip.
Meanwhile, Princess sat smugly in the back of her limo as her daddy sat with her. They were rapidly approaching the city dump.
“See, Daddy? I told you that Angela was an embarrassment to the family! And I know where she’s hiding out at!” Princess boasted.
The limo came to a halt in front of the shotgun shack. Rather than waiting for the chauffer to lead her out, Princess threw the door open and raced to the front of the shack where she proceeded to slam her tiny fists against the wooden door.
“ANGELA!” Princess screamed. “YOU AND YOUR FREAKY FRIENDS OPEN THIS DOOR THIS INSTANT!”
Princess continued to bang her small fists on the door, but finally stopped after a while in fear of ruining her perfect manicure.
“Fine! If that’s the way you want it, I'm coming in there myself!” Princess announced lividly.
Princess threw the door open. Her jaw fell to her collarbone when she saw the entire shack was totally darkened and totally empty. She was beside herself with rage.
“ANGELA!” Princess screamed. She didn’t notice that Daddy Morbucks had stepped out of the limo and was standing right behind her. She turned around to face her wealthy father, more than a little irked with his daughter for wasting his time.
“But Daddy!” Princess protested. “I swear she was here! I know it! She and the rest of those green mutants were here! Wait Daddy, stop, I mean it!” She cried as Daddy Morbucks grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her out of the shack. “DADDY!” Princess screamed.
Somewhere else far out in the desert, the gang began to fall asleep in the convertible one by one as Grubber continued to drive on well into the night until a new day dawned in the western desert.
As the warm sun shone down on him, Ace opened his eyes beneath his shades. He yawned and stretched out his arms when he suddenly remembered where he was. He looked over in surprise at the hunchbacked driver.
“Grubber! Man, did you drive all night?” Ace asked in amazement. Grubber blew a cheerful raspberry in response. His eyes were wide-open; he didn’t look tired at all. “You sure you ain't tired?” Grubber blew another raspberry as he shook his head, his tongue flapping in the wind. “Damn, Grubber, thanks to you, we’re making real good time!”
“Would you kindly keep it down?” Angela asked from the back seat. She was clutching a sleeping Lil’ Arturo like a teddy bear. “We’re trying to sleep!”
“This is payback for the morning you started singin’ into Lil’ Arturo’s comb and woke everyone up,” Ace retorted.
“Whatever,” Angela said coyly. With one arm around Arturo, and the other with her thumb to her mouth, Angela closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep. She didn’t realize that others were already awake, because the next thing she heard was Big Billy’s voice.
“Big Billy sucks his thumb, too,” Big Billy said excitedly. Angela’s wide, brown eyes fluttered open as she quickly pulled her hand awake from her mouth.
“Wait, Angie, you sssssuck your thumb?” Snake asked.
“I do not suck my thumb!” Angela protested. She didn’t realize that Arturo jolted awake in the crook of her arm.
“Let go of me!” Arturo insisted. “I'm not a teddy bear!”
“You chose to sit on my lap during this trip, so you get to make your bed and lie in it,” Angela told him. “Besides, you kick in your sleep,” she added, revealing the small bruises on her arm from where Arturo had hit her during the night.
“Will you guys shut up?” Ace asked in irritation. “Besides, any chance we can grab a bite to eat soon? I'm starvin’.” His stomach growled audibly.
“Big Billy hungry too!” Billy agreed.
“Yeah, let’s go get something to eat. I'm buyin’,” Arturo chimed in.
Grubber blew a raspberry as he stepped on the gas, his tongue flopping in the wind.
Twenty minutes later, the gang stopped in a truck-stop diner in the middle of the desert to enjoy their breakfast. Of course, the other restaurant patrons stared in complete astonishment and bewilderment at the six green teenagers all behaving badly at a nearby booth. Grubber had already gotten up and was annoying everyone in the diner by playing the same song on the jukebox over and over again.
“Big Billy like chilli!” Big Billy announced as loudly as he could as he devoured bowl after bowl of chunky bean chili.
“That’sssss supposed to be for your huevos rancherosssss!” Snake pointed out as he speared a sausage with his fork.
Angela was already on her fourth cup of coffee and was talking very rapidly. She fidgeted constantly at her spot in the booth.
“Supposedly we’re not very far from the ATM, can we go there next? Can we, can we, can we?!” Angela begged as she bounced up and down.
“Whaddya talkin’ about?” Ace asked. “The ATM is right outside the restaurant.”
“I'm talking about the American Toilet Museum!” Angela cried.
“There’sssss no such thing,” Snake dismissed. “No more coffee for youssss!” He added as he pulled away Angela’s cup of coffee which was met with a loud “WAH!” from Angela.
“Speaking of toilets, Billy, you better use the bathroom before we leave. It’s gonna be a long way before we get to another rest stop and we are not gonna have last night happen again,” Lil’ Arturo impatiently reminded their giant green companion.
Big Billy bounded up from the booth and towards the bathroom where the impact of his footsteps rattled the ground. Angela looked up from her waffle alamode and grinned.
“Don’t fall!” Angela cried sarcastically as Big Billy flounced past a waiter carrying a huge stack of dishes. Sure enough, the waiter was knocked flat on his butt by the impact of Big Billy’s heavy step as the dishes crashed to the floor.
“It’ssss almost like you predicted he would fall,” Snake snickered as Angela clocked him in the nose. Ace smiled approvingly as she was learning from him very quickly.
“You hit like a girl,” Snake taunted. Ace punched him in the jaw this time. “I meansss good shot, Angie.”
The waitress came by with the check and a few mints. They each took a mint, but Snake took two before Ace could grab his.
“Do not eat my mint,” Ace warned as Snake unwrapped both of them. Snake merely snickered at Ace’s irritation. “Do not eat my mint!” He repeated furiously. But it was too late. Snake popped them both into his mouth.
“You ate my mint,” Ace said in annoyance.
“Now I feelsss kinda bad that I ate your mint,” Snake said ruefully.
“Oh yeah? Well I feel kinda mad that you ate my mint!” Ace snapped as he sent a shocking blow to Snake’s chin.
“Go ahead and eat my mint. I'm not gonna eat it,” Angela offered as she tossed Ace her mint. Ace caught it with one hand. “And now gentlemen, it’s time to teach you the fine art of dine n dash.”
Angela led the others stealthily out of the diner as they hopped back into the convertible.
“Floor it!” Angela screamed as Grubber pushed his foot on the gas as they sped off into the morning. They drove for nearly an hour or so when Grubber blew a raspberry like sounding an alarm.
“Guys!” Angela cried. “We forgot Big Billy!”
“That explains why there’s all this extra room all the sudden,” Arturo realized, as he was no longer sitting on Angela’s lap and had plenty of room to spare.
“He’ll find us,” Ace assured her. “He’s not very smart, but he could find us anywhere.”
“If you say so,” Angela said reluctantly. “Let’s put on some music!”
Ace fiddled with the dials on the radio. The only thing that could be heard was a lot of static.
“Dammit,” he muttered. “Nothin’.”
Ace stopped on a station that played Spanish rap.
“This stuff’s awesome!” Arturo said as he sang along rapidly in a manner which none of the others could comprehend.
“Yeah right,” Ace said. “I'm not listenin’ to this crap.”
“I was listening to that!” Arturo protested.
“And now you’re not!” Angela pointed out with a smile on her face.
Ace stopped on a station that played soft rock and pop from the 80’s and 90’s. It was the only other station with clear reception.
“No way in hell am I listenin’ to this bubble-gummy crap,” Ace shuddered. Of course, Angela had another idea.
“Pretty please?” Angela pleaded. Ace turned around and stared at Angela sitting in the back seat with big, pleading eyes. There was no point in him trying to resist them anymore. Once Angela got started, he couldn’t say no.
“Fine!” Ace groaned. “We’ll listen to this station until we can get some good ones.”
“Yay!” Angela cried as she sang along to Savage Garden’s “I Want You”:
“Geez,” Arturo commented over Angela’s singing. “We might as well have listened to Spanish rap!”
Not everyone was annoyed: Snake, a closet Savage Garden fan, actually ended up singing along with Angela, adding in his snakelike vocals.
Of course, that station didn’t last very long either.
“Great! Now we don’t got any music!” Ace complained as he fiddled impatiently with the dial in a desperate attempt to get some descent music.
Grubber blew a raspberry.
“You mean you got the car horn fixed?” Angela asked excitedly. Understanding Grubber was second-nature to her now. She had cracked the code of Grubber.
“Awesome!” Arturo cried. “Play it for us, Grubber!”
Grubber honked the horn as Lil Arturo and Angela continued to sing “La Cucaracha”, thus driving everyone else in the car absolutely bonkers. It didn’t help that despite the fact that it was November the desert heat scorched the gang as they pressed onward. Of course, they weren’t really sure where they were.
“Grubber, where the hell are we?” Ace asked irately. His greasy black hair was drenched with sweat. Grubber blew a raspberry. “Whaddya mean ya don’t know?” Ace asked exasperatedly. He would’ve smacked Grubber, but the heat sapped a lot of his energy.
“I know where we are!” Angela cried. “We’re lost!”
Two seconds later, the car came to a sputtering stop on the highway. Grubber tried to slam his foot on the pedal, but Ace smacked him upside the head.
“You IDIOT!” Ace fumed. “You’re the driver! You was SUPPOSED to be making sure we don’t run outta gas! And now look what you done!”
Looking around, there was no gas station for miles and miles. They were surrounded by huge clay-colored rock formations and giant, menacing looking cactus plants.
“We’re gonna die out here in the middle of thissss desssssert!” Snake panicked.
“Okay, everyone remain calm,” Angela said, trying to play the peacemaker. “Maybe there’s someone we can call for help!”
“Angie, we don’t need to be callin’ 9-1-1 for help,” Ace assured her. “The cops ain't gonna do anything.”
“Not that! I mean like AAA or something. Maybe they can help us! Does anyone have a cell phone?” Angela asked.
No one said anything. They all looked at Angela as though she would have one. Of course, her cell phone was back at her uncle’s house, collecting worried and furious voicemail messages from her parents.
“Okay. Now we’re doomed!” Angela cried. “You can all panic now!”
Everyone started to panic like chickens with their heads cut off. They shouted things like, “Help! Save us! We’re all gonna die!” They didn’t notice Big Billy show up out of nowhere and begin panicking alongside his friends in the middle of the desert.
Ace realized that the giant of the group had joined them. Ace stopped and looked over as Big Billy began to scream really loud for no apparent reason.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Ace interrupted as the others stopped freaking out. “Billy, where’d you come from?”
“My mommy said I came from her tummy because she and daddy loved each other very much,” Big Billy responded in his happy stupor.
“That’s not what I meant!” Ace said exasperatedly.
“I was at the diner,” Big Billy said. “I had to go to the bathroom after eating all that chilli.”
Big Billy’s stomach began to rumble and gurgle.
“Well, whatever you do, don’t fart,” Angela urged.
“Oooh! We could tell Billy to fart in the gassss tank!” Snake suggested. Of course, Ace smacked him upside the head for suggesting something so stupid.
“Yeah, nice try, but I don’t think Big Billy farting into the gas tank is gonna help us,” Arturo agreed. “Let’s think of something else.”
Suddenly, a horrible cracking sound followed, which meant only one thing: Grubber was trying to stand up straight.
Grubber’s curved spine contoured awfully as the others watched him stand tall. The strange young man began to say with perfect diction:
“Flatulence contains some of the same chemical elements that can be found in gasoline meaning if William were to pass wind into the tank, it may actually help continue us on our way.”
Grubber then snapped like a rubber band back into his normal state as the others stared at him.
“Wow, Grubber! You’re a genius!” Ace said approvingly. “You should win a Nobel peace prize or somethin’ like that.”
“Or one of those gigantic wrestling belts,” Angela suggested randomly. “That’d be awesome!”
“Hey! Having Big Billy fart into the tank wassss my ideasss!” Snake protested. But everyone ignored him.
Ace walked around to the side of the convertible and lifted the lid off the gas tank.
“Well, come on Billy, do your thing,” Ace said.
Big Billy walked over to the gas tank as the others backed as far away as they could. With a laugh, Big Billy pulled his pants down and stuck his butt up to the gas tank. He unleashed a fart so powerful that it caused the engine to rev up.
“Awesomeness! It worked!” Angela cried. “Nice one, Billy!”
“Now let’s get outta here!” Ace shouted as he jumped into his place in the passenger’s seat.
“Don’t thank Big Billy! Thank chili!” Big Billy said happily, pleased at himself for helping his friends out of this jam.
The gang jumped into the car. Grubber slammed his foot on the pedal. However, Big Billy’s tremendous fart powered the car enough to send it whizzing at breakneck speed down the highway. Even if Grubber took his foot off the pedal, there was no way to stop the convertible. It was worse than the time that the breaks were shot. The six of them began to scream at the top of their lungs as they zipped as fast as they could down the highway with no end in sight.