Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 Fluke “Zion”
 Rob Dougan “Chateau”
 Basement Jaxx “Red Alert”
 Depeche Mode “New Life”
 Taylor Dayne “Tell It To My Heart”
 Jet “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”
 Don Davis vs Juno Reactor “Burly Brawl”
 Tom Jones “She’s A Lady”
So about this Matrix then. Talk about a head fuck. I’ve been aboard the Nebuchadnezzar for no more than five minutes and already I feel a migraine coming on. You see, I’ve never really been one for conspiracy theory and, while the idea of the entire human race having their bio-electricity harvested for fuel makes for fascinating after dinner conversation I’m sure, I’m more of the blissfully ignorant kind of cat and see no reason to get all hett up over a little harmless simulation. So everything I believe I know is a lie, big whoop, keep ’em coming I say and I’ll just carry on punching in as per usual. I don’t know what Morpheus thinks he’s going to achieve by bending my ear, if you ask me it’s just a load of hot air. Indeed I wouldn’t have even bothered showing if it weren’t for the possibility of acquiring myself a full-length leather trench coat and some black-out sunglasses. It’s The Oracle I really want to see as I hear she knows a thing or two about absolutely everything and would like to hear her take on Bonus Brain as I sure as shit can’t figure that particular mystery out.
If I’m honest, I’m not even expecting any great epiphany there as, for all the hype, I reckon she’s little more than a glorified fortune-teller. You’re damn right I’m skeptical and wouldn’t be at all surprised if this turns out to be one gargantuan waste of both my time and energy. That said, I remain open to being proved wrong, and packed a slice of humble pie just in case that happens. I’m just glad they’ve already enlisted themselves The One as I have no great desire to shoulder the burden of Zion and even less to get stuck listening to The Architect blather on cryptically about the mysteries of the universe. What interests me far more is the prospect of shooting my blanks into Trinity in bullet time before heading out with Cypher for a nice steak dinner. Nevertheless, I’m here now and have to admit being vaguely intrigued by the whole red or blue pill deal. I wonder if they’d mind terribly if I double drop in the name of psychotropic fusion. Guess I’ll find out shortly as here comes Morpheus now with his bad self.
“Nice jacket. Is it real leather?”
“What is “real”? How do you define “real”?”
Here we go. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to bank on a solitary straight answer and, three seconds in, he’s already living up to expectations.
“I suppose you’re wondering what brought me here?”
“I know exactly why you’re here. You had a dream and were so sure it was real. You then found yourself unable to wake from that dream and no longer know the difference between the dream world and the real world”
“Sorry to burst your bubble Morpheus but you’re way off base. I just heard that The Oracle bakes some pretty mean cookies”
“That she does. But what makes you think she will share them with you?”
“My winning smile?”
“You poor disillusioned fool”
“You really have no idea what is all around us do you?”
“I think I know where this is headed. You’re going to say The Matrix aren’t you?”
“The Matrix. It is everywhere. Even now, in this very room. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth”
“Not really feeling it if I’m honest”
“Then maybe these will help you gain some clarity”
There they are, the red and blue pills, just as I’d heard. This guy is little more than a glorified drug pusher if you ask me; not that it will stop me knocking one back with a glass of tepid tap water. Of course, I’m assured that the effects of both are drastically different, and this means making a choice which could change everything I have come to know. I may be coming across a little flippant right now, but I’m also more than a dash apprehensive. Say he’s not just hot air, what if Morpheus is precisely who he claims? Am I about to receive an almighty wake-up call? How long until the after effects wear off? Can I try half and save the other half for later? Do they list mild diarrhea as one of the side-effects? And how do I get me some of those shades?
“What do you recommend Morpheus? Which one has the smoothest buzz?”
“I recommend you start taking this decision seriously. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes”
“So blue pill for bed and red for rabbit hole, that’s the long and short of it right? In which case, I have another poser for you. Can I go for the blue one and borrow Trinity for around six-and-a-half minutes? I’ll get her back to you in almost the same condition, nothing that a little cream won’t fix”
“You really have no idea do you?”
“That you are a slave, wrangler. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind”
“Bondage you say?”
“And that’s what you took from my last statement? Just as I thought. You only hear what you want to hear. Sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path”
Can he hear himself? Talk about conceited. Perhaps sooner or later he’ll realize that there’s a difference between knowing the path and giving a solitary flying fuck frisbee about the path. Show me the route to Trinity’s vagina and I’m happy; other than that you can take your Matrix and shove it where the phones don’t ring. Heaven forbid I’m coming across as a dick right now but, after the shit I’ve had to endure over the past 24 hours, I could do without this self-righteous cyber punk informing me of the art of egg sucking. Does he possess four testicles? No. Is he the Brutal Word Wrangler? No a second time. Is that red pill calling my name seductively right now? Hell yeah it is. Dagnabbit, he’s got me hasn’t he? I mean, how could I not plump for red when he threw in the word Wonderland and I almost got it tattooed on my right buttock last week. I always wanted to attend a bona fide tea party and it’s been years since I last played croquet. Granted, if there’s so much as a slither of truth to his claim, then life as I know it will cease the very moment I bite down. But I always have been easily influenced when it comes to the opportunity to trip bollocks and that red pill does kind of scream EAT ME if I’m honest.
“Hit me up with the red one Morpheus. What’s your return policy anyhoots?”
“As I already stated quite clearly, there will be no return once you accept your path. I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. Do so and there will be no point in looking back from that point forward as nothing will be there. You have to let it all go. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind”
“And my body will follow right? I get ‘cha. So about that red pill then?”
“See you on the other side”
“Yeah, yeah. Bottoms up. Actually, before I do. I don’t suppose there’s any chance of a pair of leather trousers and some Ray-Bans is there?”
“What’s your leg size?”
“33 I believe. And the same in waist”
“I’ll see what I can do. Here, you can have my shades. I’ve got a dozen pairs precisely the same back in my quarters”
Perhaps I’ve been a little unfair in my assumption. While he could do with loosening up a bit, that was admittedly a rather kind gesture. Moreover, I now feel ready to suck on this scarlet lozenge and venture beyond this door he keeps harping on about. I mean, what’s the worst that could actually happen? Actually, don’t answer that, can’t have you killing my buzz. Whatever plays out, I’ll deal with it in the same manner as I always do, slipshod I believe is the term. But I’ll come through it and learn something about myself in the process thanks to The Oracle. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Speaking of which, perhaps I should consult Bonus Brain before taking the plunge. Can’t hurt to get my sidekick’s take on all this Matrix claptrap. After all, I go, Bonus Brain goes. That’s the long and short of it. Bound by fate and all that.
“So what do you think Bonus Brain?”
“I think you’re a dick weed”
“Look, I haven’t got time for your snide remarks right now. Red or blue?”
“Unless I’m mistaken and we both know that’s a ludicrous notion, we’re here to see The Oracle, are we not?”
“I guess. That and…you know”
“Of course, you want to bone Trinity. Lord give me strength and I pledge to reimburse you with utter relief”
“So you’re saying I should go for red then?”
“Duh! Good luck tracking her down on blue”
I’ve had enough of this ridicule. Red it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a rabbit-hole to cram my child-bearing hips into and pocket watch to return. If our paths never cross again, thanks for the memories. It’s been great, truly. Mildly traumatic, fraught with peril, a poisoned stream of repeated frustration and bitter disappointment, but otherwise a real hootenanny. Right then, down the hatch it goes.
Have you ever woke up in a strange place with absolutely no clue how you got there? Please allow me to refine my question. Have you ever woke up butt naked and weak, trapped in an oversized peanut M&M, with your head shaved and dozens of diodes attached to your cranium that connect you to thousands of other suchlike peanut M&Ms? I believe the term is born again although I don’t recall my previous birth being quite so distressing if I’m honest. Mercifully, the Nebuchadnezzar swung on by and picked me up and, true to his word, Morpheus sorted me out a new costume. Indeed, he even spared a thought for Bonus Brain, who actually looks rather easy on the eye in what is effectively a converted leather clutch bag. Right now we both look the shit and fit in perfectly with the rest of the crew members. However, there’s no time for engaging in small talk as, in a few short minutes, we’ll be jacking into The Matrix and paying The Oracle a visit as per my request.
I’ve just received my briefing and Morpheus was very clear on a couple of points in particular. Firstly The Oracle is apparently rather cryptic with her observations and I’ll likely leave even more confused than when I arrived. Secondly, and he placed considerable emphasis on this one, the mission we are about to embark on is incredibly hazardous and heads must remain on swivels in case any rogue agents decide to gatecrash the party. These sentient programs have been tasked with eliminating any threats to The Matrix’s operating system and are way too powerful to consider fighting. Instead, should we come across one such envoy, then the advice is to run like Gump to the nearest telephone and get out of dodge before being returned to factory settings. While our bodies may appear safe from harm back aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, if we see the dreaded GAME OVER screen while inside The Matrix, then we’re all out of continues for real. It’s a good job Cypher will be acting as team spotter back at base camp.
If it all sounds somewhat dicey, then it will please you to learn that none other than Trinity has been tasked with delivering us to The Oracle without incident. I hear that her and Neo are pretty tight but he is too busy watching old Bruce Lee movies to engage in an assignment so frivolous so that means some time alone with her during transit and I plan to use every second assisting her with coming round to my way of thinking. While I don’t get a kick from splitting up relationships, The One needs to be focused right now on saving Zion, and all I’m proposing is a full service to make sure everything is in working order for her return. Call it keeping her warm if you will. Watching her prepare for our dangerous liaison, one thing has become abundantly clear – leather catsuits really do create the most adorable camel toe. I could look at that compact little hump all day, hovering all pretty just like an upside down seagull, it appears to defy gravity and I cannot wait to saddle up and ride her like Falkor. Speak of the devil’s daughter, she seems to be ready to jack in, so I’d better not keep the lady waiting.
“Ready Bonus Brain?”
“Piss off ferret!”
“Delightful. You really know how to rally the troops y’know”
Of course, the old crotch grab and glare combo, I know that one well. What Bonus Brain fails to realize is that leather has no problem with directing one’s attention towards any genital hot spots and we both know full well there’s no junk in that trunk. Now is not the time to call her out as the odds are stacked against us returning from our visit to The Oracle free of incident and I’m rather enjoying harboring the upper hand after so much harsh treatment from my associate. Besides, bagging myself Trinity will no doubt raise an eyebrow or two and, with any luck, said brow will be hauling ass on a green-eyed monster. All’s fair in love and war I hear and I’m just exercising my God given right to play a dash dirty. Anyhoots, jack me up Cypher and, once last time, you did pay the quarterly phone bill didn’t you? Never mind, you finish that succulent steak. I know you’ve got our backs. Isn’t that right Switch?.. Switch?.. Mouse?.. Dozer?… Apoc? … Bueller? Fuck it, I haven’t got time for this shit, just juice me up.
Talk about door-to-door service. I’m actually a little dismayed as I had my very best icebreaker preloaded and was hoping to lay me some tracks with Trinity. Guess it will have to wait until our return journey. For now, The Oracle is waiting at the other side of this door, and she only has around ten minutes until her 2.30 so I’d better get that wriggle activated and go grab myself some dubious home truths and a slither of head fuck. No time like that present.
“Come in wrangler. I’d ask you to sit down, but, you’re not going to anyway. And don’t worry about the vase”
“The one that Neo broke earlier. Haven’t got round to getting one of the kids to fix it yet. Just step over it and come take a seat”
“Was it ming?”
“Oh, what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, was it part of a set”
“Wowsers. Has anyone ever told you that you’re the spitting image of Eartha…”
“Kitt. Yeah I get that a lot”
“It’s uncanny actually”
“Hold onto that thought young man as you’ll be needing it in a couple of minutes. By the way, you’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you”
“Brain dead but cute”
“I’m here for…”
“Enlightenment. I know”
That’s two times now and I’m not over enamored with this crusty crab finishing off my sodding sentences. Once more and I may just plant one on her, actually scrap that, there’s some snot-faced little pube in the corner bending a dessert spoon and that’s aggravating me most right now. And don’t even think of telling me there is no spoon as these palm slaps come in the dry variety too you little prick.
“Okay, just gonna throw this out there. I’m looking to learn a little more about what greases my gears”
“OK, now I’m supposed to say, “Hmm, that’s interesting, but… ” then you say…”
“But… you already know what I’m going to tell you”
“I’m not following a single fucking word you’re saying”
“Sorry, kid. You got something of a gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something”
“Your next life, maybe. Who knows? That’s the way these things go. Shut the door on your way out and MIND THE VASE! Klutz”
Well that was about as fulfilling as a six-hour Two & A Half Men marathon and every bit as grating. I thought she was supposed to be informative, not only am I none the wiser, but I’m about to exit her dingy apartment some the dumber and the only place left to go from there is dumberer. I’m Lloyd fucking Christmas, just had my hair cut around a mixing bowl, and no doubt Bonus Brain couldn’t resist licking that icy pole outside while waiting for our ridiculously stunted tête-à-tête to conclude. I believe the term crushingly disappointing is applicable here and I’ve had it up to here with these pompous pillocks speaking in riddles. Trinity I’m not fussed about as I highly doubt she’ll be vocal while all four of my testicles are slapping against her chin dimple. But once safely back aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, I’m done with The Matrix and, if that means an eternity being harvested for bio-electricity, then I’ll even provide the watering can.
Reality check time. Bonus Brain is next up to visit The Oracle and this represents my one shot as schmoozing Trinity so I’d best be not mincing my words here and instead commence rolling some dice. I’m a little nervous to be honest, do I beat around the bush or simply blurt it out and run the risk of alienating my audience? Tell you what, I’ll try a little of both, call it a fusion if you wish. Watch and learn Grueheads. Watch and learn.
“I know why you’re here, wrangler. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live with your mother, and why night after night, you sit by your computer surfing for porn”
Okay, screw fusion, that I believe is what is known as an opening and I fully intend on plundering another very soon.
“Would you like to fuck?”
“You have been down there wrangler, you know that road, you know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be”
“So that’s a no then I take it?”
“My heart is for Neo. The Oracle already told me so”
“I think she’s going senile you know. Don’t breathe a word of this to anyone but I watched put the butter dish back in the microwave”
“I am not for you wrangler”
“No I’ll tell you what is not for me. Jazz, that’s not for me. Y-fronts, they’re not for me. Sandra Bullock, she’s not for me. You, on the other hand, well I’m reasonably certain you’re for me. Plus I have four testicles”
“Four you say?”
“Uh huh. Double the fun”
“Well I suppose a quick hand job wouldn’t hurt”
“Can I have it in bullet time?”
“Don’t push it wrangler”
“Okay but I would like you to accommodate one dash of whimsy”
“When my toes start to curl, I want to say “dodge this”. Don’t ask me why, just one off the old bucket list”
“If you must. Now flop it out as I’m starting to get an ominous feeling about this place. I suspect our position may be about to be compromised”
And flop it out I do, right on command. However, there appears little going on in the way of erectile function and there was no time to give it a few slaps and wake the little fella up beforehand. Dagnabbit, I bet Neo is hung like a Shetland Pony. And here I am with what closest resembles a deflated party balloon. I do hope she’s one of those “size doesn’t matter” chicks.
“Can’t you say something a little sexier? I am in my forties you know”
“In a few seconds, I’m going to remove my own tonsils with your burly warrior and fucking love it”
“Job’s a good ‘un. Thanks doll. Now where were we? Removing that bubblegum would appear as good a place to start as any”
“Okay keep it in if you prefer. But watch out for my urethra. I’ve heard some horror stories that would make your tits curl”
“Shut up and look over there at six o’clock”
“The woman in the red dress?”
“No you plank of termite-ridden driftwood. Agent Smith… RUN!”
Judging by the fact that she broke wind at the precise moment she mentioned his name and fled faster than Mel Gibson after a Bar Mitzvah speech, I’m guessing he won’t be our spotter. This leaves me feeling somewhat exposed and, judging by the look of contempt in Agent Smith’s mopish face, I can’t see him finishing me off either. Oh fiddlesticks, here he comes now, looking like he’s about to take a giant festering dump in my morning granola and a jizz in my OJ. This presents something of a dilemma as Bonus Brain hasn’t yet concluded her session with The Oracle and I can’t simply split or else be reminded every day of my life from this point forward by means nothing less than scathing.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Mr. Wrangler or do you prefer CUNT?”
I really must take that name badge off.
“The first one will do. And how may I ask do you know my name?”
“I know all there is to know about you. It seems that you’ve been living two lives. One life, you’re Richard Charles Stevens, a writer for a questionably respectable internet blog. You have a social security number somewhere laying about, swear blind you’ll pay your taxes, and you…help your seventy-three-year-old mother hunt around for that elusive right gym sock. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias “Brutal Word Wrangler” and are guilty of virtually every public decency crime we have a law for and a few not yet concocted. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not”
“Really? And there was me thinking that regular masturbation kept you youthful”
“How typically human of you. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure”
“Well aren’t you just the happy camper. I’m getting the distinct impression that you’re not really best pleased about being stuck here inside The Matrix”
“Here? I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it”
“I’m not sure they do a cream for that you know”
“SILENCE! You hear that Mr. Wrangler?
“Did you just fart?”
“That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death”
“No really, that was quite clearly a sneaky little parp. I can even smell it now. Now, if you don’t mind, I have a phone call to make”
“What good is a phone call… if you’re unable to speak?”
This is even worse than the time I mistook my sister’s crazy glue for lip gloss. Fuck it, words are overrated anyhoots, I have ten clenched knuckles right now that I fully intend on having cracked beneath his slip-ons. There comes a time in any wrangler’s tenure when they are required to stand up for what’s right, battle evil to the bloody end, and have every last one of their 206 bones shattered where they stand. Well I’ve got news for you Agent Smith, as far as I’m aware, there are no bones in the penis, and it doubles up as a rather delightful bludgeoning weapon. Try your worst egg head and I’ll be on my back preparing for snap shots.
Actually, I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m about to come a cropper here. You see, there’s lightning fast reflexes, and I learned a fair few as a teenager courtesy of the danger wank, but this cat has moves that defy the rules of plausibility and is harder to pin down than Kim Kardashian’s rear section. A thorough whooping appears on the cards and I don’t recall requesting to be the sole recipient. This in itself is a most disparaging state of affairs but what really has my sphincter gaping is the queue of identical Smith’s forming to his left, each armed with the very same objective of providing my entire exoskeleton with a thorough pummeling. This wasn’t the happy ending I had been hoping for. Nobody wishes to go out in such an inhospitable manner. Not like this.
Fuck this for a game of Rummy with dips and chips, I’m outta here. There’s a moment during every fight when you have to accept that no band-aid in the world can do shit for profuse internal bleeding and I believe that moment is now upon us. Better yet, Bonus Brain has now emerged from her conflab with The Oracle and I can barely register what I see right now. Here, I’ll give you a clue. Hubba hubba! Nothing? What about dang and double dang? Really? Not getting through? Each failed attempt is equating to sixteen kidney blows right now so I guess I shall have to point out the obvious. Bonus Brain has come out of the closet so to speak. She’s got style, she’s got grace, she’s a winner, she’s a lady. Whatever line Eartha fed her has worked and I’m thrilled that she’s finally willing to embrace her birthright. Moreover, she is rather pretty in pink.
Never mind that shit; I think my right lung just collapsed. I’ve had my ass kicked from pillar to post before and, no doubt, will again many times. But never before has the word “ouchie” seemed quite as inadequate as it does right now and it’s hardly manly having more pints of blood extracted from you than your body can ever hope to replenish. On the plus side, I can hear the distant chime of a telephone, and I think I can just about make it there if I can just master the art of running on two dead legs.
“Can you run in those heels Bonus Brain?”
“Can you run with absolutely no spine wrangler?”
“Well I suggest we both try. Look Agent Smith… an unlicensed desktop icon”
Worked like a charm. I do feel compelled to highlight the excruciating pain I’m feeling with every wayward step but I’m banking on a mixture of momentum and wind direction to deliver us to that elusive phone before Smith realizes he has just been soundly had by the Brutal Word Wrangler. Just a few more metres and we’re home free. Then I can tell Morpheus where to stick his Matrix, inform Trinity of where I’m about to stick something else, and boggle at Bonus Brain’s bewildering beauty some more. I have to admit that I didn’t see that one coming you know and cannot wait to learn the effect this recent revelation will have on our dynamic going forward. I’m getting those butterflies in my tummy once more, although admittedly that may have something to do with the fact that my entire renal system is shutting down one organ at a time. Whatever it is, there’s another heightened sense jangling at present and I think it’s high time I answer this call don’t you?
“Domino’s Pizza. Always wanted to say that”
Well knock me down with a French tickler and call me Sadie, I’m back in the snug confines of my bed. Whatever happened to debrief for fuck’s sake? Moreover, why is Bonus Brain sprawled out in his hammock in a sweatshirt and joggers? Was the bodice too tight? Or have I been returned to a reality just as grim as the one I left behind? I have to say I’m a little put out that I wasn’t even deemed worthy of hanging onto my cool new shades. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. Oh well, there’s no point in blubbing over the Friesian cow you just ploughed down with your Volvo. I have my health and that is the main thing. Tomorrow will be just another day, its grind nothing I haven’t endured countless times before, and I’m just relieved I’m not the sorry bastard footing the phone bill. Suck all four of my balls Zion, you’re Neo’s problem, not mine. I’ve got my bliss right here in ignorance thank you very much. And I’ve still got my erection and the word “bondage” ringing in my ears so who’s the CUNT now? Don’t answer that, does anybody have a permanent marker?
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2016