I went to a screening of a new Clone of Bond film with some sort of lame alliterative title like Zap Zanningham or Rand Rossington or some such. The screening room was a classroom with a projector. I was the only one there. I sat leaning forward impatiently in a gray plastic deskchair. I was restless. I found it a waste of my time.
Rand, an angular, dark man in a long gray suit, descended a featureless flight of stairs into a hall made up of long corridors divided by oversized square pillars. The whole setting resembled far too closely a map from the video game version of Goldeneye. Visibility was terrible. Rand was tense. He held a gleaming silver sword at the ready in two hands, parallel with his body. The film style was strangely two-dimensional, not quite cartoonish, but hovering at that edge.
The villain emerged without warning from a side-passage, decked in ostentatious jewels and a golden robe, in both garb and manner somewhat resembling Zaphod Beeblebrox. “You are finished, Rand Zanningham,” he announced. “You cannot defeat me!”
They duelled. Choreography was terrible. The cartoonish edge intensified, blurring the swordstrokes together. A series of impossibly rapid clangs implied they were moving too fast for us to see. At last Zanningham gained the upper hand, and with a powerful stroke sliced Beeblebrox in half diagonally across the midsection. Beeblebrox fell severed, laughing manaically, giving no indication of anything resembling death. Rand hacked at the body again and again until it was fairly well cubed, but still Beeblebrox’s head went on laughing. The pieces, none of which had shown any sign of bleeding, began to gravitate back together and reform.
By this point, I was no longer seated in the chair in the empty room, but had taken on the role of Rand Zanningham myself. It became clear to me my strategy must be to remove a vital piece of Beeblebrox sufficiently from the rest that whatever regenerative technology he possessed would be rendered inoperable. I grabbed his severed head by the wild blond hair and sprinted down the side passage into a sort of trophy room decked with gilded suits of armor, helms, weapons, fantastic jewels in glass cases. Bits of his body slithered along the marble tiles behind me. Every few steps I spun and swatted one of them back a few dozen yards with a swordstroke, but it never seemed quite far enough. I was running a losing race.
Beeblebrox was yelling hysterically. “You’re the ruler of the castle now, Zanningham! These riches are yours! Take them! Take my crown!”
A particularly overdecorated golden battle helm topped with a trojan comb detached itself from the wall and slammed into the small of Zanningham’s back. He stumbled. The head slipped out of his hand and hurtled back the way he had come, collecting cubes of flesh and gold leaf and howling threats as it went. Rand got up, caught a glimpse of blue sky through a passage opening to his right, and beat a strategic retreat.
A scene shift found him entering an uber-fashionable bar, which was doing surprisingly good business for such an early hour. Zanningham took a seat at the bar and ordered whiskey and rocks. Five gorgeous Amazons apporached and surrounded him. “Anything I can do for you ladies?” he asked.
They laughed. The red-head reached into her bodice and withdrew something that looked like a long green vegetarian nigiri sushi strip. She laid it on the bar, and it rapidly began to expand, lashing its serpentine tapering tail until it blotted out the Amazons and the whole rest of the club. It reared back and struck at Rand Zanningham’s head.
He recoiled, and I awoke.