That is, until the other day when the Ash was outside with a fencing guy who was giving us an estimate on a new fence, and they noticed strange fluids oozing out of it. A call to the city later, and a massive crew has raced to our house like they're the goddamn S.W.A.T. team. I came home from work to find all these huge trucks parked up and down our street and in the neighboring cul-de-sac. It looked like Optimus Prime and the rest of the fucking Autobots had swooped in to fix our transformer.
So everything's all fixed and cleaned up now. These guys had to come in through the neighbor's yard with some gargantuan pieces of machinery to work on this thing and to clean up its mess. Thing is, along with getting our fence replaced, we'd also talked about putting a real fence around this little transformer doohickey to keep Henry away from it when he gets old enough to be getting himself into that kind of trouble. However, a cute little factoid we learned from the Austin Energy dudes is that they are authorized to take apart any such structures in order to get to the city's transformers.
The city's transformers. That's some decepticon bullshit.
So the fence idea is out, which leaves us wondering what we can do once Henry gets big enough to be playing in the back yard. How to keep him away from the transformer? The way my mind works, I had one initial idea that I immediately had to shelve because it pretty much violates every parenting principle I believe in, would result in years of expensive therapy and medication for all involved, and was basically just too fucked. Not to mention the technical expertise that would be required, which I simply do not possess. What follows is a dramatic textual interpretation of exactly how my idea would have played out.
KILL THE HUMANS
by T. Holmes
The Holmes backyard. Cement patio, dead grass, lawn chairs with dirt where asses are supposed to go, all bordered by a rickety fence that's just waiting for a nice strong draft to put it out of its misery. A statue of St. Francis presides over brown foliage. In one corner hidden behind brush and a small lattice fence sits a large green metal box with various markings all over it that indicate it has something to do with electricity. This is the Transformer.
Papa Holmes and little Henry Holmes sit out on the patio. Henry has a magnifying glass which, along with the sun, he is using to try to set fire to ants.
PAPA: How's it goin' over there?
HENRY: Okay I guess. They keep moving.
PAPA: Pretty tough to get an ant to sit still. Keep at it though, you'll get one.
Mama Holmes enters with little Vladimir, who appears to be about Henry's age.
PAPA: Who the hell is that?
MAMA: Hush, this is Henry's new best friend.
HENRY: I thought Elliott was my best friend.
MAMA: Elliott's a dog, sweetie.
PAPA: Yeah, so? Dog's man's best friend.
MAMA: (stressing this to dad) Well this is his other best friend. You know?
MAMA: His best friend?
PAPA: Oh. OOOH. Right, Henry's best friend. That's today?
MAMA: I told you last night.
PAPA: You did?
MAMA: Right before bed.
PAPA: Well there you go, you can't tell me things right after sex and expect me to remember them. I mean, after sex, I'm friggin' worthless.
MAMA: Well it's today. Henry, meet Vladimir. His family just moved in down the street.
The little boys look at each other shyly.
PAPA: Say hello Henry.
PAPA: Wow, listen to that. No accent or nuthin.
VLAD: My parents were born here.
MAMA: Right on. Well you boys play and have fun. Henry, you be nice to Vlad. He's your new best friend.
PAPA: And remember, stay away from the transformer. You got that?
HENRY: Yes dad.
PAPA: Damn straight.
Mama smacks Papa on the arm and gives him a "stop that shit" look. Parents exit, leaving the boys to play.
Henry goes back to playing with his magnifying glass, somewhat ignoring Vlad.
VLAD: So whattcha doin?
HENRY: Frying ants.
HENRY: It's hard though. They won't be still.
VLAD: Maybe we should get something that would sit still.
HENRY: Like what?
VLAD: I don't know. A piece of wood?
HENRY: Mmm nah, I like ants better.
Henry tries some more, Vlad watches.
VLAD: Ooh, there's a straggler, get that one.
Henry aims the deadly rays at the ant Vlad pointed out.
VLAD: That's it, you got him! Hold it steady!
HENRY: Just a little more...
A plume of smoke rises from the patio. Henry and Vlad cheer. United by their ant-burning efforts, they are now buds.
HENRY: That was awesome.
VLAD: He just burned right up.
HENRY: He's not even there anymore. He's completely gone.
VLAD: That was so cool.
HENRY: You wanna try one?
Henry hands over the magnifying glass. Vlad makes a few half-hearted attempts, but seems distracted by the Transformer.
VLAD: Say, what's that thing.
HENRY: That's the transformer.
VLAD: The thing your dad said to stay away from?
HENRY: Yeah. He always does that, and I don't know why. I have no interest in going anywhere near it.
VLAD: We should check it out.
HENRY: What for? You heard my dad.
VLAD: Don't you know that when grown-ups say not to do something, it's because it's something really cool that they want to keep from you?
HENRY: But my dad said to leave it alone. And my dad knows everything.
VLAD: Come on, let's just go have a look at it.
HENRY: I don't know.
But Vlad is already on the move. He walks across the yard towards the squat green box. Henry starts to follow, but doesn't go very far.
VLAD: Are you coming?
HENRY: I don't know, I don't think--
VLAD: (now up to the Transformer) Hey, there's a bunch of buttons back here.
HENRY: Maybe we should leave 'em alone. My dad said--
VLAD: Hey, screw your dad, okay? I'm pushing these buttons.
HENRY: I don't think that's such a good--
VLAD: (pushing buttons) Wow, you should really check this out.
HENRY: Vlad, maybe we should stick to burning ants.
VLAD: I wonder what these do.
As if in response, the Transformer suddenly begins shaking and generating a series of mechanical sounds. Robotic legs sprout from its bottom, lifting the box off of the ground. Arms extend from the sides, which in turn sprout hands. Various panels open, lights blip on and off, gears turn, until a headless robot towers above them.
HENRY: Holy fucking shit.
The boys are in terrified awe. All is quiet for a moment until, with a horrible wheeze of hydraulics, the thing's head emerges from the box that previously sat on the ground, which is now the robot's torso.
VLAD: See! I told you! Your dad told you to stay away from it because he didn't want you to know he had his own robot!
HENRY: That asshole!
TRANSFORMER: Scanning vicinity.
The Transformer scans the backyard and spots Vlad close by.
VLAD: I think it sees me. Hi there. My name's Vlad. What's your name?
TRANSFORMER: Target located. Proceed with neutralization.
The Transformer whips out a laser cannon and shoots Vlad dead. Vlad falls to the ground with an agonized scream and lays there twitching, which he continues to do for a long while.
HENRY: OH FUCK!
TRANSFORMER: Target neutralized. Continue scanning.
Henry hides behind a stack of lawn chairs. The Transformer walks towards him.
TRANSFORMER: Possible target detected. Proceed with destruction.
The Transformer aims where Henry is hiding just as Mama and Papa step outside. Mama has a toy lightsaber while Papa wields a Lazer Tag gun.
MAMA: Over here motherfucker.
The Transformer turns towards Mama and Papa.
TRANSFORMER: New targets detected.
The Transformer fires repeatedly at Mama, who waves the lightsaber around like she's blocking the laser beams or something.
MAMA: I can't hold him much longer!
PAPA: I got him!
Papa fires at the Transformer.
TRANSFORMER: Trouble a'brewin. Not feeling well.
The robot makes a series of distressed mechanical sounds and falls to its knees.
TRANSFORMER: Night night.
With those final words, the robotic beast crashes to the ground, dead.
MAMA: Is Vlad okay?
Papa checks Vlad's pulse. Henry emerges from his hiding place. Vlad is still twitching.
PAPA: He's dead.
MAMA: I thought we told you to leave the Transformer alone.
HENRY: I didn't....Vlad said--
PAPA: Oh sure, blame the dead kid who can't speak up for himself.
HENRY: But I didn't--!
MAMA: We'll talk about this later young man. Suffice it to say, I think we've learned a little lesson today, hmmm?
PAPA: You heard your mother. Go to your room.
The traumatized Henry exits into the house, most likely to sit in a dark corner of his room and rock back and forth.
MAMA: Well I think that might've done the trick.
PAPA: I think so. (to Vlad) Hey, you can get up now.
Vlad lays there, still twitching.
MAMA: Hey, Vladimir. You can get up now.
Vlad lifts his head. He now speaks with a deeper voice.
VLAD: That's it?
MAMA: That's it. You got his money baby?
PAPA: (paying Vlad) There you go. Worth every penny.
VLAD: Thank you very much.
PAPA: Wow, you're really amazing.
MAMA: Your mommy and daddy must be really proud of you.
VLAD: My mommy and--? I'm not a kid lady, I just look young.
MAMA: Oh. Well keep up the acting, you've got a gift.
VLAD: What? I'm older than you for Christ's sakes. I just have this condition where I stay young looking.
PAPA: Oh, so you're a midget?
VLAD: I'm not a fucking midget asshole! I have a condition! A medical condition!
PAPA: Okay! Sorry!
VLAD: I fought in Vietnam bro! I was getting a doughnut when I heard Kennedy was shot! Where were you two? You weren't even thought about yet, that's where!
MAMA: Okay dude! I think we got your point.
VLAD: Sorry, I'm just...it's tough being a fifty-something actor in a four year old's body.
PAPA: I'll bet.
VLAD: Yeah. Well it's been fun, but I gotta boogie. Hope your kid's okay.
PAPA: Aw, he'll be fine.
MAMA: Hey, maybe you could come back next week and pretend to be his ghost?
VLAD: Sure, cost you the same.
MAMA: Hey, it's worth it for our special little guy.
PAPA: That's right.
VLAD: Just give me a call, let me know.
MAMA: Bye Vlad.
MAMA: Well I think that worked well.
PAPA: Yep. Now I just gotta get Tim and Sean over here to help me clean this thing up.
MAMA: You do that while I get the boy to therapy. It can't be easy losing your best friend after only knowing him a few minutes.
PAPA: Yeah. (kicks Transformer) Gosh, there was some warning that Sean gave me about this thing. I wish I could remember what it was. Something about self-awareness. What the hell was it?
MAMA: You got me dude.
PAPA: Ah well.
Mama and Papa exit. The Transformer twitches its hands. A few lights blip on. It raises its head and scans the area. Lights black out as we hear it whirring to life.