Back in the Saddle Again

Back in the Saddle Again
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Heart: General, we've got a problem.

General: What's going on, Lieutenant?

Heart: I'm working harder and faster than I have in a while, sir. I haven't worked this much since Summer 2005.

Brain: Sir, we're getting similar reports from all sectors. Lungs are reporting heavy wheezing and their Filling/Deflating Operation is erratic. Legs are engaged in a repetitive circular motion.

General: Legs, what's going on? I need a situation report.

Legs: It's the weirdest thing, General. We're experiencing motions we haven't made in years. We used to do it all the time, but it's been so long, we can't even remember what it is.

General: Are you running?

Legs: Negative, sir. We ran last year, so we remember that. We just can't put our finger on this one.

Fingers: That's all right. We're so numb, we couldn't feel anything anyway.

General: Numb?! Heart, give me a sit rep. What's your status? Are you under attack?

Heart: Negative, General. I'm racing, but it's rhythmic. Nothing I can't handle.

Brain: Lungs are reporting the same, sir.

Stomach: General, we're short on supplies down here. Can we get resupplied soon?

General: Sergeant, you were supplied at lunch. Now, would someone tell me what the #*&! Command is doing?

Brain: Sir, Eyes report the scenery is racing by. They're also reporting an occasional glimpse of a bicycle wheel.

General: Bicycle--? Eyes, please confirm previous report.

Eyes: Report confirmed, General. Command is on a bicycle.

Legs: That's what we're doing! We knew that felt familiar. General, Command used to be a bicycle racer. We're back on the bike!

General: Understood, Lieutenant, but that was 18 years ago.

Fingers: That explains our numbness, General. Arms never move very much while Command is on the bike.

Brain: General, Heart and Lungs are reporting greater exertion. And Butt says he's having problems as well.

General: Butt, what's going on down there?

Butt: Mph, bg gmp bemf.

General: Say again, Butt.

Butt: I said, "Sir, I can't breathe."

General: Understood. So why can I hear you now?

Butt: Command stood up. We're on a hill.

Stomach: Sir, what about those supplies?

General: Not now! Brain, what's gotten into Command? Why is he on a bicycle, and how can we stop him?

Brain: Sir, We've got intel from Memory. Last night Command watched "Breaking Away," the 1979 bike racing movie. Command remembered his glory days of racing, and decided to get back in the saddle.

General: Son of a--! Command needs to realize his glory days are over and done. How this get past us? Why isn't Self-Preservation intervening?

Brain: We found Self-Preservation bound and gagged in a broom closet.

Stomach: Sir, about those supplies. . . ?

General: This isn't the time, Sergeant! If you don't want to be demoted to private, I suggest you shut up about those supplies. We've got a real crisis here.

Legs: General, we're spinning out of control. We need Fingers to downshift.

General: Fingers, change gears. Go to fifth!

Legs: Thank you, sir.

Brain: General, we're getting some additional intel on Command's decision. It's Vanity, sir. He's responsible for Command's return to the road.

General: I thought Self-Preservation could handle Vanity. Are you telling me Vanity overpowered him?

Brain: Apparently it's a trick. Self-Preservation and Vanity are in cahoots. Locking him in the broom closet was a diversion. They were sick of Stomach's whining.

General: I don't blame them.

Heart: If I may be frank, General, we're all a little sick of Stomach. He's been a drag on this unit for the last 12 years.

Stomach: But sir, it's not my fault. Blame Mouth. He's been sneaking me extra supplies when Mrs. Command wasn't looking.

General: Hmm. You know, I think Vanity is on to something. If Stomach gets his way, this unit will eventually break down. Brain, recommend Vanity for a medal.

Brain: Gladly, sir.

General: All right, let's get this done. Legs, Heart, and Lungs--

Butt: Mng mph?

General: Yes, Butt, you too. Suck it up and give Command what he needs. Legs, monitor your resources and energy levels and work with Fingers to make necessary gear adjustments. Lungs and Heart, send any intel directly to Legs to maintain current output. Not too fast, but not to slow either. Eyes, maintain a sharp lookout for dogs. We've seen what they can do to Legs.

Brain: What about us, sir?

General: Legs are in a lot of pain. Distract them with stories from Command's childhood. If you run out of those, recite the list of U.S. Vice Presidents who wore sideburns. Now let's go, people. We need to bring Command safely home, 'cause we're doing it again tomorrow!

Stomach: I'm not going to get those supplies, am I?

General: An army moves on its stomach, son. We're just going to do it with a little less.

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