A dilapidated RV roars out of the sunrise on a deserted highway outside Fresno. Cut to inside the RV’s cab: an obviously unwashed Boo Radley at the wheel, adjusting his elaborately bad comb over on top of his even worse toupée. This is going to destroy Carmine, he thinks in a narrated voice. He may be taking bribes, but he’s a good guy. He’s trying to do what’s right. I hate it, but there’s no choice. Scout and I would never have been involved in this if Jeb hadn’t been shot at that shooting range by a veteran he was trying to help in order to come to terms with his past as a Navy SEAL sniper in Iraq.
Suddenly, the RV is hijacked by Dominic Toretto and Dill during a high-speed and very flashy street race when Dominic’s modified 1970 Dodge Charger (previously owned by his late father) collides with a semi-truck. Dominic asks if Boo “gets the drift” of what the situation is and expects Dill to chuckle. Dill only crosses his legs and sips a martini because he’s undercover busting Dominic’s theft ring to expunge Dill’s conviction for smuggling unapproved AIDS treatments across the Mexican border to his buyer’s club.
Dominic crashes the RV into a tree and Boo, Scout (wearing one of those 70s disco outfits that show a lot of side boob), and Dill are rescued from the hospital by Atticus, who needs them to pretend to be transforming robots from outer space as part of a CIA operation to sneak hostages out of Iran in the early 80s. Dill tells Atticus: “Argo fuck yourself!” This does not go well. Long story short, everyone but Scout dies.
Left on her own, Scout is forced into an arena where contestants must kill each other to amuse a crowd in order to survive. She’s cool with that, but gets a nasty paper cut and is granted a disability pension. While trying to fly home, her old nemesis, former U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Stuart, and other members of his unit take control of Scout’s plane in an attempt to rescue General Ramon Esperanza. Scout shoots a bunch of people and blows up some stuff, eventually making it home. However, she trips while getting off the plane and realizes she has a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that will gradually paralyze her.
Faced with her degenerative condition, Scout devotes herself to unifying the general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. [Insert robotic voice talking about the universe here.] She falls in love with Jane Wilde, who is devoted to Scout but has difficulty coping with the full extent of Scout’s daily needs (particularly given Jane’s dreams to build a robotic suit to fight bad guys). Eventually, Scout gets a copy of Penthouse and their lives rewind to the moment Scout and Jane met, mirroring Scout’s wish to reverse time to see what happened at the beginning of the universe.
As a result, Scout learns a powerful lesson both about not judging people by the color of their skin and about the human tendency to destroy innocence. However, that doesn’t do anybody any good because humanity is immediately destroyed when the sun goes supernova, blasting (by a complex and contrived series of events) gigantic zombie SHARKS!!! throughout the galaxy.
(Title courtesy of Jon Konrath.)
David S. Atkinson is the author of Bones Buried in the Dirt (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80k) and The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes (EAB Publishing, spring 2014). His writing appears in Bartleby Snopes, Grey Sparrow Journal, Interrobang?! Magazine, Atticus Review [ha ha], and others. He spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.