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"What have I gotten myself into this time..." Tracy mumbled as he tossed his soda can up and down in the air while walking around in a field. He caught the can with one hand. His other hand brushed through his hair. It was now bright red. He spent the night at his friend Tony's house. Tony was going crazy dying people's hair for no reason, so he tried to dye Tracy's hair. Tracy wanted it lime green, because that was Jon's favorite color, but that made him burst into tears. Tony suggested red, because it complimented Tracy's blue jacket. So it became a fiery red, which incidentally matched his soda can.
"Why did I leave?" He paused. "Is is freedom, really, or..."
Fear of commitment.
"That's silly! I'm not afraid of committing!"
Yes you are! You've never committed to anything, not even the country you live in. You only got through all four years of college because you kept picking up new languages.
"I want a variety of things."
You don't want to have only one thing.
"Yes I do. I want to be with Jon."
And every other guy you can find.
"That's not true... is it?"
A better question would be, 'Do I love him?'
Tracy sighed. "I don't know anymore. I like him. I'm attracted to him, but as for real, true love... I don't know if I've even been in love."
You have, once. Remember David? You were so angry when he left you for your best friend.
"Yeah! That's wrong! You don't do things like that!"
That's not what made you mad. You were in love with him, but he wasn't in love with you. You could have spent your life with him, couldn't you?
"He was everything I wanted at the time."
And you dated, and had one-night stands, and weren't ever really happy.
"Not until I met Jon."
Were you happy?
"I've never truly felt like that..."
Tracy smiled. "Yeah."
How about now?
Tracy's smile quickly faded. "I can't tell."
Then lets find out.
"Maybe I can take a break and find out what this whole love thing really is."
That would be good, but you've got a job to do. Look!
A zombie in a tutu pranced toward Tracy. She was quite lovely looking, with the exception that she was rotting and smelled of decay. He backed away slowly, not really sure what to do. Three corpses popped out from the ground, dressed in skin-tight black cat-suits. They moved their arms and began to dance in a patterned fashion. Four corpses popped out behind them and began to dance as well. Tracy realized where he was -- Pink Massacre Cemetery. Ten years ago some idiot drunk with a gun started shooting a troupe of local dancers who were having an informal practice/dinner party in this very field. Now it was up to him to return the dead ones to their graves.
"Soda, henshin da!" Tracy held up his soda can. "Sodapop Z ni naru yo! Iku ze!" He struck a pose, looking heroic and fetching at the same time. He was about to adjust his hat suavely, but when he raised his arm he noticed something about his shirt. It was ruffly, and had a funny collar. He looked at his pants. They flared at the bottom. He noticed that his shoes were at least three inches off the ground. He shook his head. It can't be! It wouldn't! He removed his hat and saw a big, bushy red feather planted in it. He screamed.
"I'M A PIMP! It's SodaPOP, not Sodapimp! WAHHH!" He ran around in confused circles. The ballerina zombie looked at him, confused. She shrugged her shoulders and bits of muscle fell off. With her bony hand, she motioned for Tracy to come closer. He paused and looked at her.
A zombie dancer walked over to the ballerina. The two faced each other, and dance music began to play in the background. The ballerina began to motion upwards, then down, then left, then pointed to the dancer. The dancer copied her movements to match the beat. She gave him a thumbs-up and he walked up to Tracy. Tracy cringed and held his can out in defense, but the zombie shook his head. Very slowly, he sucked in air, trying to make his lungs reach full capacity.
He began to talk hoarsely. "Copy Fina. Dance. Point with hand means shoot with can. Ok?"
Tracy squeaked a yes. He didn't know zombies could talk! But to shoot with can... wasn't there a way to do that? He removed the business card from his shirt pocket and re-read the instructions.
'(2) Aiming can at confirmed dead person and saying appropriate magic phrase.'
Another magic phrase needed. "Ok, can. When I say... Shabon Shotgun... you get ready to fire. But when I say shoot, you shoot out whatever it is you shoot out." The can did not confirm or negate the instructions. It simply stayed still, as inanimate objects tend to do. "Why do I even bother talking to it... All right. SHABON SHOTGUN!"
The can sprouted a red handle and trigger from its side. Apparently this is what ready meant! Tracy decided to test it, to make sure. He aimed at the ground and pressed the trigger. Nothing happened.
"Right! I forgot. Scratch that. Whenever I press the trigger, you fire. Forget the whole saying shoot thing." He pressed the trigger and a stream of soda bubbles hit the ground, turning the dirt into dead dirt. There were little X's in the dirt's eyes, not that the dirt had eyes in the first place.
"Ok, zombies! I'm ready!"
The sky, which was an orangy sunset color, immediately turned black. Spotlights from nowhere followed each zombie as well as Tracy, and colored lights turned on. A platform came out of the dirt and lifted the ballerina above the whole dance troupe. A microphone popped into her hand.
Tracy jumped. "Y-yes?" A zombie with a beautiful, spunky voice!
"Nice to meet you! I'm Fina. Unfortunately my dance troupe friends and I are a bit unsettled. You see, we were supposed to be dead and separated from our souls. However, we just keep reanimating! Your mission: to kill all dead people! Help us all, dear Sodapop Z!" She smiled a toothy, skinless smile, made the impression of winking, and blew him a kiss.
He simply stared at her, blank-faced.
"All right! Now here comes the tricky part. When I call out directions, you have to match them, or else..." She paused, and her voice dropped low and foreboding. "We'll kill you."
Tracy swallowed hard. He really wished Jon could have done this for him. Jon helped make a video game like this once, so he would know exactly what to do.
The ballerina smiled politely and her normal voice returned. "Ok, now follow my directions! Make cute poses, get more points! Steady now... Up! Up! Up! Up!"
Tracy listened to the music and tried to follow the beat. He pointed towards the sky with his gun, his other hand on his hip. "Up... up... up... up..."
"Good! Now down! Up! Down! Up!"
Tracy imitated. "Down... up... down... up..."
"Down! Up! Left! Right!"
"Down... up... left... right... " He seemed to be moving in every direction but forward.
"Excellent! Now when I say shoot, you shoot, ok? Up! Up! Right! Shoot!"
"Up... up... right..." He aimed for a zombie to the right of him. "Shoot!" He fired the gun at the zombie. The bubbles ate a hole in the chest of the zombie. The wound festered and spit out caramel-colored goo, which made the zombie disintegrate. "Wow."
"Left! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Right! Shoot! Shoot!"
He copied her instructions with added moves, killing five zombies. There was only one zombie left. This was too easy.
The lights changed, and the spotlights focused on Fina. She smiled and held up her microphone. "Wow! Since you cleared out all those zombies, it looks as if it will get easier from there. Not so! You still have work to do. Dance steps, please!"
The dirt blew away from where Tracy was standing to reveal four colored panels. Arrows were on each panel, facing different directions.
"See those arrows? Step into the center, honey."
Tracy stepped on the patch of dirt. "Now what?"
"When you see arrows in the air, press the corresponding arrows with your foot. Got it?"
"Got it." Tracy watched as arrows began to appear in the sky, in time with the music. He stepped on the arrows on the floor, quickly understanding how this should be played.
The arrows began to multiply after a minute. The steps were getting slightly harder. As time passed the amount of arrows increased. Tracy was having difficulty keeping up, but still managed to pull it off. Soon there were 16th note-style arrows, syncopation, and lines of arrows stacked together. It became a unrecognizable blur, making his head spin.
Fina rhythmically stomped her feet on the platform in anger. "You can't pass! That's not possible! You... you... you living human!"
Tracy smirked. "Correction. Mahou seinen." He struck a pose. "Soda no Izumi!!!"
A flood of soda washed Fina off her platform and swallowed her in carbonation.
Tracy smiled in satisfaction. She wasn't so hard, but he knew he got off easy. The soda can, though motionless, seemed to agree to this. His job was only going to get harder. But how? Having a soda can as a familiar wasn't helping things any, yet this soda can and its magical power was saving his life.