It was a beautiful day and Pepsiman was out for a stroll. As he walked through a park, he marveled at the beauty and diversity of nature around him. While this thought was occupying him, a couple of ladybugs that happened to fly too close to his polished aluminum face were suddenly incinerated.
"Stupid, dirty bugs," he muttered to himself.
"Hey Pepiman!" a voice shouted. He turned around to see a group of teenagers coming towards him, trying to look tough and cool. Most of them were carrying baseball bats. Pepsiman frowned at the group, but of course they didn't notice since he didn't really have a face to frown with.
"What the hell do you losers want?" asked Pepsiman as politely as he could. These guys smelled like they wanted trouble but Pepsiman was not one to back down from trouble of any kind. These guys obviously had no idea as to who they were messing with.
The guy who shouted out first and seemed to be the leader flushed angrily.
"My sister told me what you did asshole," he retorted "and you're going to pay for it!"
Pepsiman was curious. He never forgot anything but this greaser didn't ring any bells. "Why don't you tell me what I did first punk, and then you can find out what that bat tastes like."
The kid flushed again. "She told me how you crashed her party and made everyone drink their rum and coke through their noses. She had to go to the hospital because her nose keeps bleeding!"
"Your sister's nose is bleeding because she's been snorting cocaine for the last year, it had nothing to do with the rum or Coke." He hated saying that word, it always made him slightly ill. "Now why don't you and your ugly friends beat it before you get hurt, or were you planning to use this thing?"
Suddenly Pepsiman was holding the baseball bat leaving the kid gazing down at his empty hands stupidly. He then proceeded to snap it in two between the fingers of one hand. The group in front of him had a slightly glazed look in their eyes and their mouths were hanging open. As one they slowly started to back away.
"Hold it!" Pepsiman suddenly barked. "You in the back there, what in the hell are you wearing?"
The guys who had previously been his comrades melted away until the guy who had been singled out stood alone in front of Pepsiman who now had a clear view of the Coke shirt he was wearing. As Pepsiman continued to stand there with his arms crossed, the grass around him started to wither and turn brown. The guy wearing it might have been stupid, but he wasn't that stupid. He quickly took the shirt off and hesitantly held it in his hand in front of him, obviously unsure exactly what to do with it.
That was all it took to make the whole group turn around and sprint in the other direction.
Pepsiman looked with distaste at the shirt hastily dropped on the ground. With both hands he rolled it into a ball the size of his fist. Then he proceeded to squeeze the ball until it was about the size of a grape. With a flick of his finger, the small, melted piece of cloth sailed away into the clouds and landed a few hundred miles away somewhere out in the pacific ocean.
"You could have handled that more politely you know," said a familiar voice behind him.
Pepsiman spun around to find himself looking at... himself....
"What in the fu...", Pepsiman started to say.
"Greetings Pepsiman, allow me to introduce myself. I am Pepsiman², a newer and more, shall we say, improved version of yourself?"
Pepsiman had the feeling he was being given a sympathetic grin even though Pepsiman²'s face was also devoid of features.
"No one's better than me chump. Who's dumb idea was it to make a copy of me anyway?"
"Oh dear me, not a copy." began Pepsiman², "My neural systems are much more advanced allowing me greater speed, strength and intellect than you currently possess I'm afraid. As for who authorized my creation, well it seems that Marketing hasn't been too happy with the, ahhh, 'techniques' you employ in an effort to increase market share...."
"Pffff...." Pepsiman sneered. "You think cuz you talk like a pansy that's gonna make people buy more Pepsi? You don't know shit about doing this job and I sure as hell ain't gonna teach your or take you along with me, so why don't you run on back to the lab and get a desk job or something."
"Well you see that won't really be possible because my first order was to find you and, *ahem* deactivate you...."
"You? Deactivate me? Aaahahahaha!" Pepsiman slapped his leg. "That's the funniest thing I've heard all day. Like some nerd copy of me could even hope to try." Pepsiman wiped an imaginary tear from an imaginary eye and began to turn away while his right hand struck lazily out in a contemptuous backhand. Strangely though, his fist seemed to get lodged in something. Turning to look he was moderately surprised to see Pepsiman²'s hand firmly gripping his own. Even more surprising was that he couldn't seem to free his hand.
"Ok, so you've got a few skills," Pepsiman sneered, "but now you're going to find out what happens when I get pis..."
"I shall now proceed to deactivate you. Please accept my profound apologies for this." Pepsiman²'s hand flashed out faster than Pepsiman would have believed. "Goddammit!" he started to say before everything went dark.
* * * *
It was a beautiful day and Pepsiman² was out for a stroll. He bent his head over a large flower and stopped to take a sniff.
"Ahh, such beauty and peace in the world," he murmured to himself. He did a little bow and tipped an imaginary hat as an attractive young woman walked by. "Good day to you ma'am, would you care for a Pepsi?"
"Go to hell tin can." was the frosty response.
"Well that kind of language is certainly uncalled for." He said to her retreating back. He looked around hoping for some support from other pedestrians on the street but all he got were dark and dirty looks. Looking slightly nonplussed he continued on his way. Without warning, a brick suddenly smashed on the ground a foot away from him. He turned around in surprise to see a construction site where a bunch of scruffy sun-browned workers were pretending to be hard at work.
"Goodness," he murmured and made his way over.
"Good day gentlemen, I believe one of you might have dropped a brick by accident. Need I remind you of the danger such accidents might cause innocent pedestrians?" The few men that looked at him wore sullen frowns but most just ignored him.
"Take a hike asshole!" someone's shout drifted out at him.
"What are you going to do," came a sneering shout from one guy even scruffier than the rest. "Beat all of us up?"
"Goodness no!" Pepsiman² said sounding shocked. "I'd never resort to violence against a human, it's against my nature! Under circumstances like these, when tempers are high, I like to diffuse the situation by doing the Pepsi dance." Without warning, loud techno music started up from somewhere and Pepsiman² began strutting around making chopping motions with his arms. The construction workers exchanged grim glances then slowly started reaching for crowbars.
* * * *
Without warning Pepsiman suddenly found himself wide awake in a familiar place. The distant roar of thunder filled the room. That it was loud enough to be heard here, deep inside Pepsilabs, indicated one hell of a storm was pounding the outside of the building. As the tingle of an electrical surge left his body, his memories all came back at once. Cursing, he heaved himself up only to find that he was strapped down with a bunch of electrical wires attached to his body, which in turn were attached to a computer. He turned his head to look at the screen and was greeted by the message:
ALL SYSTEMS DELETE?
"Sonsofbitches," he muttered to himself. Just then a toilet flushed. Whistling, a young tech guy strolled out of the john casually doing up his fly. Having finished with his zipper, he looked back up to see Pepsiman focusing on him with a look (had he a face) that would've frozen whiskey. Absolute horror replaced the features on the techie's face as time stretched to infinity. With a strangled grunt, he began moving, in slow motion, finger extended toward the 'Enter' button on the keyboard. He never had a chance really. In 1 microsecond, Pepsiman had located all the weak points in the metal straps covering his body. One millisecond later, he exerted a concentrated burst of force that simultaneously made all the straps pop open and clatter to the floor. In the next millisecond, while standing up, one hand brushed off all the electric wires attached to him while his other arm came down upon the computer smashing it to steaming silicon pulp. Meanwhile, the tech worker had taken half a step from ten feet away. He stopped, eyes bulging with the speed of the action he'd just witnessed.
"Wasn't supposed to wake up was I?" Pepsiman asked casually.
"I, I, I..."
"Save it," Pepsiman ordered brusquely. "I'm not going to kill you, at least not yet. I need some answers and you're going to give them to me, aren't you?"
"Yes sir," the tech worker gulped, his face going from white to grey.
"First things first, where is Pepsiman² right now?"
"He's uh..., been out trying to undo the damage you cau..." his face went even greyer as he realized what he had almost said. Pepsiman's figurative eyes narrowed dangerously. "Ahhh....He should be back in a few hours, he usually comes here around 11pm to unwind for a while....you know...."
"A few hours eh?" Pepsiman stroked his chin. A germ of an idea was already beginning to take shape in his head. It would be messy as hell, but a job like this wasn't going to get accomplished without a good deal of mess.
"Tell me something kid," Pepsiman clapped a hand on the techie's shoulder, gripping it hard enough to make his bones grate together. "What do you know about the recipe for making Coke?"
* * * *
"Ohhhhhh! It's a beautiful night in the neighborhood, a beautiful night in the neighborhood!" sang Pepsiman² lustily as he stepped through the entrance to his private quarters in Pepsilabs. Wiping his feet on the welcome mat he had bought a couple days ago, he did a little jig while making his way to the kitchen, continuing to hum the rest of the song. Things had been rough the first couple of days on the streets. At first, Pepsiman² had the distinct impression that people didn't like him. But he was sure he was making some progress, especially with that class of special ed. students today.
"They will love me soon, oh yes they will!"
Opening up a huge pair of cupboard doors, he pulled out a carton of Pepsi syrup. Meanwhile in the background, the 128" TV played a random selection of 80's Pepsi commercials. Opening the carton he poured it into a frying pan and set the stove on simmer. Taking a deep whiff of the pan's contents, he sighed in satisfaction, straightened up and still leisurely humming, headed toward his relaxation center.
"Ah yes, it's going to feel great to take a quick dip in the pool," he thought to himself. His Olympic sized pool was a fierce source of pride and joy to him. Entering the pool room though, he noticed a funny stench that seemed out of place.
"Got to have a word with the pool caretaker I guess," thought Pepsiman². He climbed up on the diving board and looked down into the brown, fizzy depths. "He'll have fresh Pepsi put in here by tomorrow or I'll know the reason why." Pepsiman² extended his hands over his head and prepared to do a reverse double back flip.
"Glad to see you're enjoying my pool dickhead," a familiar voice said to him.
Pepsiman² barely recovered from falling over ungracefully into the pool. "Why Pepsiman, aren't you supposed to be deactivated by now? The big boys promised me I could have you as a keepsake after your mind was erased."
"Yeah well maybe I don't feel like having my head emptied."
Pepsiman² continued on as if there had been no interruption. "I had planned to use you as a mannequin for the series of Pepsi tuxedos I'm developing," he said in a bashful voice. "I hope you don't mind."
"Let's get one thing straight, I ain't ever going to be your dress-up doll. In fact, I was thinking that I'd be moving back into my place here and you'd be leaving, probably with my foot up your ass."
"Really Pepsiman, I thought we'd already settled the dominance issue between us. Well no matter, I'll just have to take care of you again, but first a quick dip." So saying, he reached his hands over his head and did a spectacular reverse double back flip into the pool. He came back up to the surface gasping. "But this is wrong... this isn't Pepsi... this is... this is..."
"Coke," supplied Pepsiman casually.
"You wouldn't have dared!" Pepsiman² said shrilly, his body was dissolving surprisingly quickly.
Pepsiman didn't say anything, just folded his arms and waited while Pepsiman² sizzled away to nothing. "Damn nasty way to go," he thought to himself. "But who would've thought Coke had any practical use?"
"Hey kid, get out here."
The tech worker stepped out from behind a door, still looking grayish green.
"I'm going to need this whole pool torn out and replaced. Tell ‘em that I couldn't bear to use something which that horrible, nasty Pepsiman used, I know you'll make it sound good. And kid?"
"If you ever tell anybody about what happened here today...." The air in the room seemed to drop quite a few degrees. Pepsiman didn't have any facial features but the tech worker had the distinct impression that he had rows and rows of teeth like a tiger shark.
"Yes sir," he whispered. He definitely needed the bathroom again.
As the techie scrambled out again Pepsiman smiled to himself. Things were back to normal again and life was good, yes, life was definitely good.
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