"One Stimulating Day with Monty" by Jeffrey G. Roberts
This story is featured in the second issue of the zine Beer Money, which will be available in August.
Montmorency Funk was a nebbish. There was no denying this. He was a thirty-year-old sad sack with a penchant for daydreams, and a voice like a rusty gate echoing through a drainpipe. He was the nerd extraordinaire, the poster child for geekdom. Horn-rimmed glasses and a shirt buttoned to the neck rounded out his persona. Yep—all 5’4” and 130 pounds of him screamed “damp squid” in Britain, or “no hoper” in Australia. In high school Monty was the one most likely “not to.” Period. But he made the most of his life—such as it was. He had a studio apartment, and doted on his cat Punstaful, as well as his hobbies, which included collecting swizzle sticks and bus transfers.
He’d always been taunted while growing up, but he took it in stride. He was what he was. Monty never had many friends, but at least he had Punstaful. You would think that this history of taunting and teasing would have extended into his adult life—and you would be correct.
His lack of self-confidence, aside from his general appearance, precluded him from climbing the corporate ladder, for certain. Besides, his fear of ladders and heights (among his many phobias) made that highly unlikely. OK—impossible. But he managed to eke out a living for himself and his cat by being a “go-fer” at the Wired Coffee Company for the past five years. Their product was the one perk (You’ll excuse the expression) that gave Monty a respite from the ongoing taunts of his fellow workers. And he had a variety of blends to enjoy—among them “Wired,” their signature blend, “Tight As A Drum,” “Red Eye,” and “Zipped Up.”
Interestingly enough, Wired Coffee Company shared its lab and production facilities with the Mutation Creation Gene Splicing Company. The two companies shared overhead and upkeep to save on expenses. It never presented a problem—until today.
“Monty, after your coffee break, go out to my car and get the Stansfield account from my front seat. I forgot to bring it in. And make it snappy. I swear, you’re slower than molasses going uphill in January!”
“Yes sir, Mr. Copley. Right away.”
Monty went to school with Jimmy Copley, who no doubt was delighted to be able to continue his campaign of browbeating Monty Funk as an adult.
He quickly ran to the break room to get a few moments peace, and an enjoyable mug of Wired’s finest. He had to hurry in order to return to his boss’s office with the file, before his break was over. But Monty did not do “hurry” well, amongst other things.
After retrieving the file from Mr. Copley’s Lincoln, he raced back through the giant warehouse, with the file in one hand and his mug of coffee in the other. He had to race up an elevated walkway, lined on either side with giant vats of Mutation Creation’s organic compounds. As I said, Monty and the word “hurry” did not mix well.
He passed one particular vat, more sterile-looking than the others. He should have slowed down and read the placard on the tank, as well, which said—
EXPERIMENTAL RECOMBINANT DNA FLUID. CLIENT – DEPT. OF DEFENSE. SOURCE ORIGIN – ANTARCTICA – MARTIAN FOSSIL GENETIC MATERIAL. CAUTION.
Unfortunately, Monty did neither, tripped, and fell in—Stansfield file, coffee mug, and all!
He was rescued pretty quickly, as alarms went off all over the place, and suffered no lasting effects.
“Funk, you were a screwup and a loser in high school, and you’re a screwup and a loser here too! You’re fired!”
He expected that. It was nothing new for him. Hey, look at the bright side,he reasoned to himself. Five years was a record for me! I’ll find something else. I always do.
He drove home in his ’85 VW, suddenly feeling sorry for himself. But he knew he’d get over it. He always did.
“Why do these things always seem to happen to me, Punstaful? Why do I always seem to have this little black cloud over my head? I’m just like everybody else.”
No, you’re not, the cat thought. You’re a dork. And then farted at Monty.
“Well, at least I still have a nice supply of Wired’s coffee blends. Every cloud has a silver lining, eh boy?”
Despite their high caffeine content, drinking Wired coffee always seemed to calm Monty down. There couldn’t be a better time for some than now. He went to his coffee maker and put in two generous tablespoons of Wired’s finest. He then poured in the water, turned it on, and sat down to wait for it to brew.
“There you go, boy,” he said, with the mug in his hand. “What could be better than this?”
Champagne, the cat thought.
He sat down to relax, and took a sip. “Strange. This lot isn’t that old. I remember packing it myself. But it tastes very . . .” but he didn’t have a chance to finish his assessment of his ex-employer’s brew. For his whole body began to vibrate! He could feel his temperature rising, and his heart racing. “What’s happening to me?” he yelled—and then passed out from fright. When he came to a few minutes later he was shaken, but apparently unhurt. He looked at his cat. “What the hell was that?” Then he went to the bathroom to splash water on his face. It was there he received the shock of his life. “Holy crap!” Holy crap, indeed. For he was now dressed, inexplicably, in a skintight, form-fitting suit, shiny boots, gloves, and a cape! And everything was brown. “What in heck is this? I look like a cartoon character from Turd Review! How did this happen?” he asked rhetorically. “I look like a Cappuccino. Or a Frapuccino. Or an Al Pacino!”
He couldn’t have known it was the result of his accident. Apparently, his immersion in the Department of Defense vat genetically spliced his genes with the molecular structure of the coffee he had been holding—and ancient Martian fossil genes, which had been sitting in a meteorite on the Arctic tundra for millennia! Somehow, some way, he was now something brand new. He wasn’t Monty Funk any longer.
“Hmmm, however this happened, I’m some kind of comic book superhero—having something to do with coffee. Let them make fun of me now! But I wonder: if I’m a superhero, do I have any powers at all?” He didn’t feel any different. He went back into the living room. “Look at me, Punstaful!” he said, pointing to the cat—who promptly peed on the carpet. “Damn, you’ve never done that before. Well, however long this lasts, I’d better think of a name for myself. Every super hero has to have a name. I can’t be Monty Funk when I’m in this.” And he thought for a moment. “I know! I’ll be JAVA MAN! (not the caveman). I’d still like to know if I have any super powers with this get-up on.” And since it was now dark, he went outside, and tried to take a leap into the air. Whereupon, at a height of some thirty feet, he hit a branch and knocked himself out. Luckily, he was only unconscious for a minute or two. Nobody had seen him, and he quickly went inside. “Punstaful, I can fly!” he shouted.
I can pee, the cat thought—and promptly did.
“Hmmm, I’ve got to take him to the vet.”
The next day he decided to take the bull by the horns, and let the chips fall where they may—and walked into town in his JAVA MAN costume. (Not the caveman). People were staring at him, but he just waved and pointed at them—whereupon they promptly held their bladders, and ran into restaurants and stores to relieve themselves. Some didn’t make it in time. Oops.
He decided that night to confide everything to his one true friend, Eddy, who just happened to work at Mutation Creation.
“If I hadn’t just seen you fly with my own eyes, I’d have you committed,” his friend said.
“Now they’re going to stand up and take notice!” Monty said, pointing to Eddy—who instantly had to race to the bathroom.
When he returned, he said, “I think I have a theory, since I’m a chemist with Mutation Creation.” And he reviewed the accident with Monty, telling him exactly what he had fallen into!
“So I’ve got ancient Martian genes fused with coffee molecules, and my own blood?! But I seem to be making everybody pee. I don’t get it.”
“I think I do. The caffeine in the coffee you were drinking when you fell in is a stimulant. You drink too much, most people will have to go to the bathroom. But whatever whacked-out new being you are, seems to have increased the caffeine’s potency thousands, maybe millions of times! And like Spiderman, you seem to be able to project that stimulant invisibly, and unconsciously, right through the pores of your fingers!!”
“Terrific. I can fly, and make people wet their pants. That’s just swell.”
“Well, you’ll find a use for it, I’m sure. After all—you’re JAVA MAN now! (not the caveman).”
“Now I’m even more of a freak than I was before! I should be called Urine Man instead of JAVA MAN (not the caveman). Hell, if the government finds out what I can do, they’ll dissect me! I’ve got to think of what I’m going to do!”
“Well Monty, you know I’m here for you no matter what you decide. And please don’t point at me.”
That night he still hadn’t figured out how to successfully utilize his new persona. “I need solitude. Real solitude,” he said to Punstaful. “I’ll be back in just a little while.”
He went outside very late, looked around to make certain no one was watching—and rocketed off into space! He now knew he could breathe in space, as well as fly into it, without any harm. And there he “sat,” cross-legged, 2000 miles out in space, and thought, and thought.
Meanwhile, at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, at NORAD Headquarters, things were getting very tense, indeed.
“General, we’ve determined that those twenty objects are 3000 miles out, on a direct trajectory to Earth. They are not natural phenomena. They are artificial and under intelligent control! We do not know what their intentions are. Wait a minute, General—they just destroyed three of our communications satellites! If they take out any more, we’ll be blind. I believe now that this is an invasion fleet, and their intentions are definitely hostile!”
“I’m calling the President!” the General said solemnly.
Meanwhile, 2000 miles out in space, still undecided where his future lay, Monty Funk, a.k.a. JAVA MAN (not the caveman), still had not come up with a viable plan for his life—when he saw the invading ships destroy another communications satellite. “Oh no! The Earth is under attack! I have to do something—but what?” He held out his hands toward the advancing ships, screaming “No! You can’t do this! Stop!”
And then—a most curious thing occurred: the lead ship began to wrinkle, crumple, and shrink, like a prune! Soon its structure ruptured, spilling out unprotected aliens, who began to age in seconds—then decomposed into dust! JAVA MAN (not the caveman) didn’t know how or why, but he made the exact same gesture to the other nineteen flying saucers. And one by one, they wrinkled and imploded, their alien crew aging thousands of years in seconds!
Soon, the threat to Earth had been neutralized. And NORAD had witnessed it all. And so Monty Funk, geek extraordinaire, had saved the planet. The President of the United States invited the hero to Washington, D.C., to award him the Medal of Honor. They would never taunt him again!
So in front of Congress, the President thanked him for saving humanity. “Because of an accident, this extraordinary young man has saved the Earth, and we are all in your debt. Who could have known the alien’s deadly reaction to the caffeinated power of JAVA MAN (not the caveman)? Apparently, gaseous caffeine to them was like sulfuric acid and plutonium to humans. So now, allow me to present to you the Medal of Honor.” And as the President put it around Monty’s neck, they shook hands—whereupon the President had to rush out to the bathroom.
“Thank you, thank you, members of Congress!” Monty said. And he smiled, pointing to all of them, in admiration. And all immediately rushed out of the hall.
And that was the day that the Earth was saved by coffee. And JAVA MAN! (not the caveman).
Jeffrey G. Roberts was born in New York City, and raised there and in South Florida. He attended Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, AZ, where he received degrees in writing and history. He considers himself an intellectual liberal but a political conservative. He has written in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy, and fantasy/comedy. He has four novels out on Amazon: the face on Mars- inspired science fiction novel The Healer, the alternative history science fiction romance novelette Cherries in Winter, his eerie urban fantasy, In the Shadow of the House Of God, and the bizarre urban paranormal comedy Uncle Billy’s Chicken Hut & Salvation Emporium. He has a lifelong interest in aviation, having soloed in 1968; no doubt heavily influenced by his father, who was a decorated RAF Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain. He is an advocate of government disclosure concerning the secrets he believes they are withholding concerning Mars and UFOs. He moved from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Tucson, Arizona in 2011; home of hauntingly beautiful vistas and brain-boiling summers.
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