Chapter III

Mike Gravel and Handsome Dan, which was the name of his robot, were on their way to the Virgin Islands. They didn't take the plane, it had gotten frozen and then some Basque shepherds had stolen it for a ritual, which isn't to say that all or even most Basques are thieves. But that was just as well, because Mike Gravel wanted to teach his robot how to relate to people, the robot had all the theory down, in a zip disk (250 MB, of course...100 MB is waaaay too small for the complexities of human behavior) that he had inserted into a special personality port on the back of his thigh. But the robot needed to practice. Mike Gravel and Handsome Dan were riding in a dirt road. Mike Gravel was drifting off to sleep, snoring, or rather SNORING, and then Handsome Dan got up and started talking to all the people. His programming was so good, and his center part was so precisely, to the millimeter, parted, that the people all loved him. They were of all sorts: Japanese, South Sandwich Islanders, Filipinos, Chiosians, Thai, and Thai kickboxers, but they all loved Handsome Dan. After a while, his wiley ways got them to revolt, and they took the bus driver and placed him outside the bus, and Handsome Dan drove instead.

Don't worry about the bus driver--- I can't get into the details, but actually, he walked to the nearest town and found something way much more awesome than driving a bus, so he had a happy story.

Mike Gravel just slept and slept and slept. As could be believed, his snoring was SNORING, and the people, whether Japanese or the other type of Japanese, thought him frightful and wanted to throw him off the bus. But Handsome Dan was loyal to his master, whether through programming or through some type of robotic affection, caused by so many cold and long winters with Gravel over him, using a tiny exacto knife to part and re-part his hair. Handsome Dan knew that without Mike Gravel, he would be just Dan. What would be the fun in that? So he let him ride, even though he smelled like cigars, which is a hard thing to smell like, because the Krempler is long.

Eventually, they got to the U.P. Of Michigan, and then later they drove down to the Virgin Islands. Of course Gravel didn't sleep all the way, he got up sometimes and said “OH HELLO” to the people at stores they stopped at, but he didn't have any of his good cigars. He ate cheese and cracker packets. It wasn't that interesting. Handsome Dan drove for days with robotic precision. They got to the Virgin Islands.

It is kind of sad, because Mike Gravel is supposed to be the hero, the story is about Mike Gravel, but in the Virgin Islands, the climate was so unexpected that he just fell down on the beach. Sand covered him. He brought a snorkel, so while the sand mound built up around him, he just slept. Sometimes he would call out for his wife, or Michelle, in his sleep, but they wouldn't come. The neighboring children thought it was an earthquake come to shake the islands, so they ran outside underneath the coconut trees and held up their hands, hoping to get a coconut so they could sell it and buy passage for a job in Delaware's data mines. But it didn't happen, and so they had to call Tim Duncan for advice. Tim tried to help, like he does, but he was just as confused. Why an earthquake without the coconuts to fall, mon?

Meanwhile, Handsome Dan and Dennis Kucinich were squaring off in the Virgin Islands Primary, which had the tie-breaking votes for the Democratic Presidential Primary. None of the other candidates were there. They were both Dark Horses, and to prove it, they showed photoshopped pictures of them playing bongos while George Harrison shredded his guitar. The people of the Virgin Islands believed that Dennis was a mysterious elphin spirit that inhabited the islands, causing the coconuts to fall. They would support him. But then, they brought out the official delicacy of the islands, which was a lamb on a bed of ice. Dennis looked at it, and fainted, screaming “THIS ISN'T VERY VEGAN”, but he doesn't yell all the time, normally he would actually say in quiet tones “this isn't very vegan”, but he was very shocked at what he had seen. The people scoffed like he was a drunk uncle passing out, but he wasn't rotund or nacho-bearded. He was just a little elf-man, afraid of local delicacies. But Handsome Dan scooped up big parts of it, and ate it nom nom nom, luckily he had a robot digestive system, but only for the purposes of disguise: he was not programmed to taste, and his energy system was piezoelectric amethyst with turbocharged amberon extraction.

The island people were excited. They asked him what it was like. His lying program said, in a sincere way:

Like some kid with ice



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