An Explanation To My Cousin as to Why I was Late in Wishing Her A Happy Birthday

Happy Belated Birthday Kirsten! I’m sorry that this message is so late, but I promise you that I have a excellent reason why. Let me start from the beginning…

The door to my dairy cooler shut with a heavy metallic click, leaving me alone in in the chilled room with nothing but my sweatshirt wrapped tightly around me, my phone clutched in my hands, and my thoughts buzzing in my head. I needed privacy and no distractions for the task at hand, and my cooler was the only place in the store that could provide both.

I grabbed the chains I had stowed for this occasion and wrapped them around the handle. Then, I pulled a padlock from my pocket, locked the chains in place, and pocketed the key. Zipping my sweatshirt up to the collar and wrapping my arms around myself, I ventured deeper, past the empty milk crates and to my secret space: a little fort of empty boxes that I constructed behind my backstock shelves. The cool air from the fans overhead gently tousled my hair as the hum from the motors drowned out any noise from the outside world. I climbed into my little cardboard cave to prepare myself for what might be the most important thing I ever do: write you, Kirsten, a greeting for your birthday beautiful enough to make the gods weep.

No one will ever expect to find me in there!

You see, the last two times I tried this ended in disaster. The first, for my other cousin Ryan, my phone was stolen from me which lead me across Europe to thwart a plot to erupt all the world’s volcanoes at once. I don’t know how anyone would benefit from that, but I guess they call them criminal masterminds for a reason. The second was for your brother, Sam, and I personally, needed to stop the clandestine group known only as “The Quiggles” from taking over the world and giving everyone else a stupider name than theirs (if that’s possible.) I obviously stopped both dastardly plans with the help of my mercenary friends, but in those disasters place, I ended up sacrificing my well wishes to them. But not for you, Kirsten! This time I had a plan. If I could barricade myself in my dairy cooler and hide myself where no one could find me, and do this all a few days before your birthday so that no goddamn world ending event could possibly stop me from writing you a well wish so magnificent that lesser humans would have their eyeballs melt out of their skulls from reading it. Or so I thought.

After a minute or so, I came up with what I wanted to say to you, but right as I did, a loud, hollow bang erupted from the cooler wall. I jumped at the disturbance, forgetting I was in my box fort, and shoved my head right through the top. With my head suck out of the box, I struggled, lost my balance and spilled onto the hard, cold, and filthy concrete floor.

BANG

I scrambled to my feet, wearing my box cave like they were rudimentary clothes, my arms, legs, and head sticking out of fresh holes in the cardboard.

BANG

The sound was coming from the far wall of the cooler- the one that is against the outside of the building. Struggling with my phone, I started writing the message I had for you. “Happy Birthday Kir…”

BANG

The metal wall dented in toward the center of the room, and I heard faint shouts.

“Shit. Fuck. Shit shit shit fuck fuck fuck shit fuck.”

I started running in circles in a panic as all higher mental functions in my brain shut down.

BANG

The dent grew larger, pushing about six inches into the room at this point. I looked to the cooler door. Coming to my senses, I ran to the door and began to frantically pull the lock and fumble for the key.

BANG

A metallic groan pierced the air as the metal wall of my cooler folded out from the wall, separating itself from the other panels. Shouts from the attackers followed the groan, and filthy arms began reaching through the gap.

“Aye, we’re almost there! Ram the wall harder, you scurvy dogs!” I heard a sea weathered voice say.

“Oh shit. Oh shit I’m fucked. Wait… what?!”

Once registering what the voice said, I stopped fumbling with the lock and chain and looked to the other end of the cooler. This was a mistake, because at that moment, the metal panel gave way and a handful of honest-to-god pirates rushed in at me. And when I say pirates, I mean “Ahoy Matey” pirates, the ones that look like they stole their clothes from the animatronic mannequins from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, not the modern day pirates that have no respect for the aesthetics of traditional pirate garb. Those guys are the worst.

The aesthetic all pirates should strive for, even if they do look like hobos with flair

The pirates grabbed my arms and legs. I tried to fight them off, but there were too many, and my counterattacks were impeded by the fact that I was still in my cardboard hideout- turned prison/ romper.

“We got him!” Yelled the pirate holding one of my legs.

“Arrgh! Then bring him back to the ship, you filthy scallywags!”

“No!” I yelled while trying to free myself from their clutches, “You’ve got the wrong guy! I never even called pirates ‘hobos with flair!’”

Ignoring my pleas, the pirates carried me out of the new hole in my cooler wall and into the frigid winter air. Towering ahead of us sat an ancient sea-weathered wooden ship, it’s hull encrusted with barnacles, hardened and black the like the belly of some dragon.

I struggled harder and cried out for help. To our left was the back entrance to the store’s liquor wholesale room. I spotted the wholesale manager, Tessa, looking out through the small window in the door.

“Tessa! Help! These pirates are kidnapping me! Call the police! HELP!”

Tessa, whom I have told in detail about my misadventures that always seem to happen around my cousins’ birthdays, slowly ducked beneath the window and out of view.

“Damnit Tessa.” I sighed, defeated as the hoard of pirates carried me to the lifeboat on the ground.

Before I was hoisted up to the top deck, I stole one last glance around for any sign of help. There was no one except pirates clutching ropes that reached up to the railing. However, I did notice hundreds of brightly colored squares holding the belly of the ship a mere inch or two off the ground.

The crew on the ship pulled on their ropes, and the lifeboat jerked up into the air, swaying precariously as the tiny captors struggled against me. In no time at all, the ship crew had us up to the deck, and we spilled into a pile onto the smooth wood. Somewhere ahead of me, the captain barked an order, and the entire ship heaved backwards.

“No no no no no!” I cried as I finally freed myself from the pirates’ grip and ran to the railing, “but it’s almost Kirsten’s birthday!”

“We can’t be havin’ ye leavin’, Minigan,” the gruff voice of the ship’s captain said as he walked up behind me. “Ye be too important to our cause.”

The Captain was an older man with long, stringy, gray hair, wearing a emerald green coat and a tri-corner hat that covered his fair skin from the sun.

I ran away from the captain and to the starboard side. For being a vessel that had no reason to be, and was not designed to be this far inland, the ship was making startling progress. It was already out from the back of the store and about to pull onto Broad St. Onlookers gathered on the sides of the road, gawking at the 1600s pirate ship somehow sailing down the highway.

“Help!” I called out to the spectators, “I’m being kidnapped! Call the police!”

Several filthy sets of pirate hands grabbed a hold of me and tried to pull me away from the railing, but I wrapped my arms tight around the wood.

The pirate captain laughed and then yelled to the crowd, “Don’t ye worry, land lubbers! We just be holding an impromptu parade! This be the only pirate maiden we could find in a pinch.”

“I’M NOT A PIRATE MAIDEN! I’M BEING KIDNAPPED! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!”

“And a convincing pirate maiden at that!” The captain added. “It be 2021, folks, and a man can be a pirate maiden if he chooses. Can we get a argh for defying gender norms?!”

The gathering crowd yelled out “Arghs” of varying enthusiasm, and then my pirate captors started throwing Mardi Gras beads to the crowd.

The things white people will do for these bad boys…

Like a flock of geese to bread, the spectators on the curbs rushed to the flying beads, climbing on top of one an other and no longer paying attention to my cries of help. Looking down at the people on the sides of the road ravenously fighting for Mardi Gras beads, I let out a sigh (some would call it a groan) of defeat. “Ok. You got me. Now, who the fuck are you, and where are you taking me?”

The captain bowed and said, “Me name is Captain Oliver Gully, and I be pleased to finally meet ye, Minigan.”

“And where are you taking me?”

“That be a complicated answer. Ye may just want to enjoy the adventure fer now.”

“No. Tell me what bullshit you’re forcing me to be involved with.”

The captain smiled, revealing his yellowed and chipped teeth, and replied, “All in time.”

I grumbled to myself and pulled myself out of my thinkin’ box. Then, once the pirates guarding me let down their guard, I sprinted to the captain’s chambers while fumbling to get my phone out of my pocket. Slamming the cabin door shut in the face of a particularly angry looking pirate, I locked the door, set up a makeshift barricade, and dialed 911.

As soon as the operator answered, I blurted, “Ok I know this is going to sound like a prank, but I just got kidnapped by some pirates that are now sailing their ship down Broad Street. Please send a SWAT team or something to rescue me!”

The operator sighed, “This has to be the stupidest thing anyone has ever called in-“I never heard the rest of what she said, because just then, my barricades broke and the pirates rushed in, grabbing the phone from my hand and pinning me to the wall. I nearly gagged on the salty stench of their body odor mixed with the rum and fish on his breath as one of their bodies pressed mine against the cool wood paneling.

“I thought we be past this, Minigan,” the captain said to me in a disappointed tone. “Take his phone,” he ordered his men, “And don’t let him have it until we’ve made our way across ‘The Divide.’”

I didn’t like the sound of “The Divide.” “Give me back my phone, you bastards!” I managed to gasp out.

“Now why would we be doin’ that? Just so you could call the police again? Or worse, call your mercenary friends? Nothin’ doin’ Minigan.”

“Actually,” I retorted, mentally kicking myself for not thinking of Draxyl McGruntmuffin’s team, “I want to finish a birthday wish to my cousin, Kirsten. She’s one of the greatest humans to walk this unworthy earth, you see, and she only deserves the greatest of birthday wishes.”

“Well, she will have to wait,” The captain said, “We have something we need ye to do. Once we get what we want, ye can say whatever ye want to yer cousin.”

I felt the stinky weight of the pirate leave me, and I took a deep breath of stank free air.

“C’mon back out to the deck, Minigan. It would be a shame for ye to miss us cross in’ The Divide.” The captain gave me a mischievous smile, but I followed them out anyway. The ship was at the top of the hill east of my store at this point; I have no idea how we got up there so fast just by the crew pulling it. The captain barked an order to the men on the ground, and the ship started turning to the left, knocking into the honking opposing traffic as it did. Within the minute, we had done a 180, and now the bow of the ship was pointed to the west, the afternoon sun blinding our eyes. The captain, appearing at my side again, pointed over the railing and down to the bottom of the ship where the men on the ground were scurrying about, fastening the ropes the the hull, and adjusting the multi colored squares.

“Those squares be what ye landlubbers call ‘scooters.’ We stole them from middle schools for the past several years just so that we could get inland to ye,” he told me. “They should help get us movin’ fast enough to cross The Divide.”

“Ok, what is this Divide, and what do you want from me?”

“All in time, Minigan. But for now, Brace yeself.” The captain cried out, “FOWARD, HO!” The ship lurched forward, as the men on the ground rushed up the ropes. Momentarily teetering on the edge of the hill, the ship tipped forward and started racing down the hill. It plowed through traffic, literally, knocking any unfortunate cars out of the way as it gained speed.

I clutched the railing, pulling myself against it as the passing objects rushed past in a blur. The ship continued to gain speed. Then, slowly at first, specks of golden light streaked across my field of vision, until the entire ship was in a tunnel of light. Intense heat and pressure enclosed around me, and the light washed out everything.
——

The following section was creatively added by me, as I was not there to know how the events played out:
It had been a quiet few months for Draxyl McGruntmuffin and his crew of mercenaries. With the pandemic and all the other garbage that was dumped on everyone in 2020, there wasn’t much need for a team with their unique skill sets. So by this point, they had been meeting up purely out of habit; a weekly ritual none of them thought to call off. Draxyl spent his time in their Parisian hq maintaining the weapons and utility vehicles and testing his patented invisible ropes by playing tug-of-war with no one; Svetlana Lustnaughtlov, the team’s resident spy and covert ops specialist, kept busy exploring internet back channels for possible jobs (while also staring dreamily at her pictures of Minigan); Vinny Tyrese Archibald Patrick Saiid Makoto Borowitz-Gutierrez aka #TheMouth, the team’s Tech whiz and the unofficial speaker for the stoically silent Draxyl, stared at his wall of TVs, looking for any news of a conflict they could end or exasperate for profit while also babbling on about one of his other many areas of interest; the team’s masters of the mystic arts, the Sagittarius quintuplets, were gathered in a circle, lazily passing orbs of light to one another, their eyes rolled to the back of their heads while they chanted in a dead language; the latest member and the expert in hand-to-hand combat, the mysterious British Man with an eyepatch, was sharpening his knives in the darkest corner.
“We sense another disturbance in the time aether,” The Sagittarius Quintuplets, droned in unison.

“There they go about the ‘time aether’ again,” The British man with the eyepatch said as he picked dirt out of his nails with a knife, “This has to be at least the third time this week.”
“That is because this is the third time we have sensed a disturbance in the time aether this week,” the quintuplets said as they floated toward him. “Someone is manipulating time itself. We must investigate.”

“I have not seen anything about manipulating time,” Svetlana said in her thick Russian accent from over her laptop. She was draped exotically across the beat up brown couch, wearing her loungewear catsuit. “Are you sure it’s the time aether you’re sensing?”
The ten, mostly identical siblings shook their heads. “It was the time aether. We are sure of it,” one of the quintuplets, probably Scorpio, stated. “You are wasting your time searching the web, Svetlana,” the group said in unison again, “Manipulating, the time aether is not an act a smart person of this era would brag about on a public forum. Once the time aether has been disturbed, it is weakened enough to let others manipulate it. It can create an abundance of time paradoxes.”

Oblivious to the conversation the rest of the team was having, #TheMouth shouted, “Everyone look! Minigan’s on TV!”

The group rushed from their various spots in the dingy hideout to #TheMouth’s wall of TVs as #The Mouth changed several of the sets to Columbus news stations. All were showing the same thing: a parade of sorts, although not much of one. It seems there was only one float in this parade- a pirate ship, a realistic looking one, but just one pirate ship. On the deck, throwing beads to the gawkers below where dozens of accurately dressed pirates and one lone man dressed in modern clothes, with a muscular frame and long brown hair.
Draxyl gasped, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“
“Draxyl, the anchorwoman is talking,” #TheMouth interrupted, pointing at one of the screens.

“An unexpected and impromptu parade occurred on the East side of Columbus today, as an authentic pirate ship, equipped with a full crew and a pirate maiden threw Mardi Gras beads to people on the sides of Broad Street,” the anchorwoman explained as a video of the ship played above her shoulder. “And while the ship and crew were traditional pirates,” she added with a smile, “The pirate maiden was far from traditional. As you can see, this pirate maiden is a man. As the standard kidnapped damsel is a woman, this refreshing take on that trope uses a male kidnap victim, showing all of us that in this day and age, just because a person is being Shanghaied by pirates, doesn’t mean it has to be a woman. What a day for gender equality!”

Muted by the other noise in the video and by the anchorwoman’s voice, but still just barely audible, Minigan’s cried, “This isn’t a goddamn parade! I’m really being kidnapped!”

The group looked at each other and then to the quintuplets. #TheMouth asked, “Do you think these pirates are the ones who disturbed the time aether?”

“We cannot know for sure.”

Then, on cue, the news clip cut to the ship speeding down the hill, and in a flash of golden light, vanished. A heavy silence fell on the mercenaries.

“Yes,” the quintuplets announced in their unison, “I think that proves that they are.”

#The Mouth paused a replay so that Minigan’s yelling face was frozen on one of the screens.

Svetlana ran up to the wall of screens and caressed Minigan’s cheek, wailing, “OH MY SWEET MINIGAN! Why did these pirates kidnap you? Please tell me you’re safe!”

As the Sagittarius quintuplets struggled to pull Svetlana away from the TVs, Draxyl rubbed his forehead in exasperation and said, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Come on everyone! We don’t have time to stand here dilly dallying!” #TheMouth said, “we need to steal a ship so that we can travel back in time and rescue Minigan from these time traveling pirates!”

The rest of the team cheered, probably because they were all itching for a mission, but none the less, they all started scurrying about in preparation to rescue Minigan.


My head was spinning and my stomach churning when the light finally faded away from the outside of my eyelids. Immediately, the salty smell of the ocean filled my nose, and once my pulse stopped pounding in my ears, I heard the sounds of water slapping wood and the distant calls of seagulls. With my heart plummeting to my stomach I looked though my squinting eyes, just a peek to see if the ship was still one Broad Street. All I saw was blue. Opening my eyes the rest of the way, I found that not only was I no longer on Broad Street, I was no longer near any mainland at all. All around me and the ship were the blue, choppy waters of the ocean, and the cloudless sky. On the horizon ahead we’re two land masses with a narrow strip of water between.

“Fuck me.” I muttered to myself.

“If ye be askin’, I be obligin’,” Captian Oliver Gully said with what I’m sure he thought was his most seductive grin.I spun to face him and swung my fist. The ship crested a wave which made me stumble and my fist miss.

“We’re the hell are you taking me?!” I yelled at him as I regained my balance, “and where is the land? We were just in Ohio moments ago!”

Captain Gully laughed, “Technically speakin’, we were not in Ohio moments ago, as Ohio doesn’t exist yet. We were in Ohio over 500 years from now. This be the year 1582, and we be taking you to The Archipelago of Voices, specifically to Last Words Cavern in The Roarin’ Isles.”

“Why?!”

“Because, Minigan,” a tall, dark skinned pirate chimed in as he walked passed, an eye patch covering his right eye and thick dredlocks draping over his broad shoulders, “we need ye to help us get what we be searchin’ for.” He gave me a wink with his left eye before moving his eyepatch to cover it and heading below deck.

“It be true what Handsome Tower Gabranth just said,” Captain Gully added, “We need yer help collecting a certain artifact from the cavern. Something only you can get for us. That’s why we traveled into the future to get you. We had been searching for you for a long time. Clever of the gods it was to hide ye in the future.”

“Why does it always have to be me?” I grumbled more to myself than to the pirate, “My phone nearly erupted the world’s volcanoes, I was the one who had to convince the other vampires to take down The Quiggles, I am the one that needs to quantum leap half a millennium into the past to steal some treasure for pirates. Why can’t someone else be forced to deal with this bullshit for once.”

“Ye be the chosen one, Minigan,” the Captian said with pity in his voice, “…We thought ye already knew that.”

“I’m the chosen one? oh fuck off with that bullshit!”

“Wha-?”

“No,” I shouted, “not another word you swashbuckling son of a bitch! All I wanted was to write a birthday wish to my favorite cousin, but now you taken me back in time for some stupid dabloons!” “Not Dabloons, The Green Bracelet of-“

“You kidnapped me and brought me back in time for some goddamn jewelry?!”

Probably due to the commotion, Handsome Tower Gabranth had returned with a handful of pirate crew and they joined us on the quarterdeck.

“You assholes go through life getting merrily drunk off of rum, enjoying a lawless existence filled with looting treasure,” I continued, “But because one Fucking bangle is too difficult to obtain for your alcohol soaked and sun fried brains, you need to travel to a whole other goddamn era to find someone competent enough to get it for you, while calling him the chosen one. Fuck you. Murder me.”

“Yarr, Minigan, we don’t know what stories ye been told about pirates,” Captain Gully said as more pirates gathered around, “but let me tell ye, a pirate’s life has more that it’s share of misery.”

And then, my dear Kirsten, the worst thing that could possibly happen in this scenario happened. Yes, they broke into song and dance.

Horrifying


A man with two peg legs danced around on the main deck, his pegs creating a beat while he tooted into his fife.

Captain Gully took a breath and sang, “Ohhhhh! A yo ho ho ho/ and a ye he he/ why yes, we might seem free/ but ye just don’t know/ what it’s like to be/ diseased on the deep blue sea”

I groaned, “oh god, please don’t.”

“Oh we been tearin’ up the sea/ For a many years now/ Rapin’ and plunderin’ as we please/ but the life we got/ Oh it ain’t worth the rot/ that we got on our teeth/“ the captain sang.

A frail looking buccaneer with an eye patch and a long beard jumped forward and started singing, “We rinse our mouths with rum/ pick our teeth with swords for fun/ brush them with sea weed/ No one’s bathed in a year/ there’s moldy food in my beard/ diseased on the deep blue sea”

Every pirate on deck jumped in and sang the chorus, “ Oh a yo ho ho ho/ and a ye he he/ why yes, we might seem free/ but ye just don’t know/ what it’s like to be/ diseased on the deep blue sea”
It was Handsome Tower Gabranth’s turn, apparently, “When I first joined this crew/ Stumpy had two legs to boot/ and I remembered feeling happy/ but the cannon balls roared, and off his legs soared/ into the cold and briny sea/ now wooden stilts he wears/ and I have nightmares/ but not as bad has he/ for we might be stressed/ or maybe even depressed/ but it’s probably just PTSD”

This song went on for at least twenty minutes, which I will spare you from, my wonderful cousin.  I will, however share a couple memorable quotes from different points through the song: 
    “We have ticks and lice/ and the plague from stowaway mice/ and don’t get us started on the goddamn fleas”

   “It gets lonely out here on the sea/ We have sex wit each other/cause we’re too smelly for land lovers/ and now we all have STD’s”
                 “So come and join the pirate hoard!/ Ain’t no poop deck to swab/ no that’s no one’s job/ cause we throw all our shit overboard”

Oliver Gully- “Oh a yo ho ho!”

The crew- “Yo ho ho!”

Oliver Gully- “and a ye ye haw!”

The crew- “….”

Me- “….”

The crew-“…”

Oliver Gully- “We’re the fiercest pirates you ever did saw!…”


The song ended with pirates swinging from ropes overhead, cannon balls firing, and several small controlled fires (I hope) on the main deck. The men were all holding their poses, while clearly out of breath, waiting for my response.
“Ok here’s the deal,” I say after finally regaining my senses, “I will begrudgingly go along with this quest to retrieve your jewelry or whatever as long as you never sing that song to me ever again. But I am going to complain the whole time, and that’s non negotiable.”

Some of the pirates wore looks of dejection at your proposal, but Captain Gully walked up to me with a triumphant smile on his gingivitis riddled mouth.

“I be glad ye finally coming around, Minigan.” “Maybe we can go to my quarters and work out…. details of our arrangement,” he continued as he walked his fingers up my arm.
“Woah woah, stop right there,” I said, slapping his hand off of me, “You just sang me a song about how you all are riddled with lice and STDs. Why would I want to have sex with you?”

“Y’arr don’t know what ye be missing.” Gully smiled.

“And I would like to keep it that way,” I snapped, “Besides, if I were put my treasure in anyone here’s pirate cove, it would Handsome Tower Gabranth over there.”

Handsome Tower winked at me.

“It still ain’t happening, Tower. And I’ve been meaning to ask about the name “Tower.” What the fuck were your parents thinking?”

“Land Ho!” The pirate in the crows nest yelled, pointing ahead.

The islands I saw when I first opened my eyes were upon us now, the bowsprit pointing directly at the channel between the islands. The landmasses themselves were fairly large. From our position between them, I couldn’t see where they curved back. Large wooded lowlands stretched out from the channel on both islands to Rocky Mountains on the far ends that seemed to wrap around the edge to the sides the ship was located, creating a barrier from the outside world. Simply, this was a perfect place for a bunch of pirates to hide away and do their piratey bullshit.

“Since ye agreed to help us get what we be lookin’ for,” Captain Gully said as she slaps you on the back, “I suppose we explain where we are and where we’re headed.” He then yelled back at the crew that were bustling about on the main deck, “Handsome! Bring us the maps of The Archipelago of Voices and The Soundless Sound!” After a minute, Handsome Tower Gabranth and The pirate with two peg legs climbed up to the quarterdeck carrying two large rolls of parchment.

“Ah, Stumpy, can ye give Minigan Here the history of The Archipelago of Voices?”

“Wait, Freeze,” I say holding up my hand, “you call the only amputee crew member on your ship ‘Stumpy?”

“Yarr, he got that name from his ability to stump us when we play our weekly game of ‘Questions and Answers’” Handsome Tower explained, “He always asks the questions, and always manages to stump us.”

“So you got your nickname from Trivia?”

“Aye,” Stumpy replied in a voice far more sing-songy than what I was expecting for a weathered old pirate to have, “And I don’t appreciate you implying anything different.”

“Sorry”

Handsome Tower unrolled the first of the two maps.

Well, someone was dead set on a theme.

“Anyway,” Stumpy continued after giving me a quick, cold glare, “Where we be headed to is called Last Words Cavern, and it be on one of the Roarin’ Isles.” “We be here.” He pointed to the channel between the largest two islands. “The safest route to Last Words Cavern is by maneuvering through The Shrieking Straits, then crossing The Soundless Sound, and by finally making our way through the shallow channels of the Roarin’ Isles.” He drew the route across the map with a dirty index finger.

“Wow,” I said as I studied the names on the map, “Whoever discovered this island chain really had their hearts set on a theme, amirite?!”

“It be no Theme, Minigan,” Captain Gully said, is gravely voice quiet with seriousness, “these islands were said to be created by Poseidon Himself, and He had Hermes lay many traps within the archipelago for mortals to fall victim to. The Soundless Sound’s name is accurate: not a peep from any creature, nor squeak of the ship deck, nor the churn in’ of the water below can be heard when one crosses The Sound. There also be tales of creatures beneath the waves that use that to their advantage. Many ships that set off across The Soundless Sound never finish the journey.”

“It is said that the Coaxin’ Cays to the north whisper to sailers to run aground where they either starve or be swept into the sea at high tide,” Handsome Tower Gabranth claimed.

“This just sounds like a bunch of tall tales to me,” I said with my eyebrow arched.

“Be that as it may,” Captain Gully said seriously, “But Last Words Cave will recite your last words to you. Over and over again. In your own voice. It drives men mad. I know ‘cause I’ve only dared enter once before. Didn’t make it but a few yards in before I turned tail and ran out.”

A heavy silence descended upon us for a few moments as we processed that information.

With a clearing of his throat to free us from our thoughts, Stumpy continued, “There be only 3 main and active settlements on the Archipelago: The Bay of the Bellows, The Port of Whispers, and Camp Cacophony. There was a fourth called Liar’s Valley, but every time the settlement was built, it always lead to the settlers killin’ each other until there was no one left. All that’s left are the ruins.”

“Well, this place sounds like a blast, it’s no wonder you kidnapped me and brought me here,” I said, my sarcasm nearly palpable.

“Listen Minigan,” Captain Gully explained, exasperation towards me creeping into his voice (good), “All we need from yeh is to get us the Green Bracelet of Aggressive Summoning from the pool of water in Last Words Cavern, and ye can get back to ye life in the future and we won’t be botherin’ ye again.”

I cocked my head at him. “The bracelet is called what now?”

“The Green Bracelet of Aggressive Summoning,” the three pirates said in unison.

“It grants the wearer to summon anything his heart desires to him immediately,” Stumpy explained.

I gave them a suspicious look, “And how can I trust that you won’t just summon me the next time you want something from me?”

“Ye can’t,” Oliver Gully smiled.

“Isn’t there some other magical relic I could help you get instead?” I pleaded, “maybe like some necklace that makes the wearer invincible?”

“Ah,” Captain Gully replied, “you mean the Necklace of invincibility!”

“Yes!”

“There’s no such thing.”

“Captain,” Stumpy whispered, leaning in close, “Minigan could help us find The eternal Necklace of Nightmares.”

“Yes,” I nodded, “I can.”

“Or the Shoes of Ruby Demons,” Handsome Tower added.

“That sounds like you want to rob a punk rock chick for her boots, but sure.”

“Or Mama’s Flake!”

“Sure!” I said, “Wait, Mama’s what?”

“Or the Ancient Bag of Curses!”

“Ok, now I’m sure you’re fucking with me, because there is no way that’s real. An ancient bag is the worst way to store curses.”

Pictured: a terrible containment device for any kind of curse.

“Those all be real,” Captain Gully said, “But it don’t matter. We be retrievin’ The Green Bracelet of Aggressive Summoning, and this be the last I want to hear about it! Now we’re ‘bout to enter the Shrieking Straits, so Hurry up with the explanation, Stumpy, or I’ll maroon ye in Cackler’s Cove.

Handsome Tower unrolled the next map, a close up version of the one I just saw, this one focusing on The Soundless Sound. Stumpy explained that we would sail overnight across The Soundless Sound, and reach Last Words Cavern by midday tomorrow. “Now it be easy to run aground in the shallow channels of the Roarin’ Isles,” Stumpy added, “So we’ll be taken the ship as far in as we can before the four of us plus ’ Jimmy ‘Wooden Eye’ Blonde go the rest of the way in the rowboat.”

I suppressed a chuckle at the generic James Bond name.

“Is there something funny?” Stumpy asked.

“No,” I said, trying to keep my face neutral, “Please go on.”

“So we will get ye to the cave, but ye will be goin’ in on yer own.”

I grumbled to myself about how that is bullshit, but nonetheless agreed.

“Great!” Captain Gully proclaimed, “We’ll be enterin’ The Shrieking Straits soon, and not long after that, it will be The Soundless Sound. Handsome Tower, take Minigan below deck and teach him how to communicate usin’ the lanterns. He’ll be needin’ to know that when our voices be gone.”
Handsome Tower moved his eye patch back over to his other eye, and then lead me down into the belly of the ship. His muscular shoulders just squeezed through the narrow doors that lead down. As soon as the doors shut behind me, everything was swallowed by darkness, and I had to hold onto Handsome Tower’s shirt just so that I wouldn’t lose him until my eyes adjusted. We made it down two floors, the air getting heavier with the smell of gunpowder and rum with each step, when he finally stopped. As my eyes finally adjust to the dark, I found us standing in the middle of the cargo hold. Barrels lined the walls towards the bow of the ship, and at the stern sat stacks of wooden crates. In the center of the ship was a pile of metal rods and medieval looking canisters. Handsome Tower Gabranth lead me to them, picked up a metal rod and canister (which turned out to be a Shepard’s hook and a lantern) and handed them to me.

“This be how we communicate to each other on the The Soundless Sound,” He explained, “We light the candle inside, and we open and close the doors in a sequence to tell others important information.”

“Like Morse Code,” I replied, nodding.

“I don’t know what ye be talkin’ about with that ‘moors code.’ This be a code of our own invention.”

Over the next few hours, Handsome Tower taught me sequences for the letters and some common words. I picked it up quickly, and in no time, he and I were communicating entirely by flashing our lanterns.

“Ye are a quick study, Minigan,” he said with his lantern, “I’ve never seen anyone pick up Lanternspeak as fast as ye did.”

“Thanks!” I replied in Lanternspeak, “I’m surprised at how quickly I learned it too! I was awful at Spanish, so I never was interested in learning new languages after that. But I want to remind you, that I hate you all and I wish you just murdered me.”

He suppressed a smile.

“Well,” he replied with his actual voice, “we best be gettin’ back up on deck, we should be almost through The Shrieking Straits by now.”

He extinguished his candle and then mine before heading back up stairs. I followed.

As soon as I stepped onto deck, my eyes and ears were assaulted. My eyes by the blinding afternoon sun, and my ears by the head splitting shrieks that seem to be coming from all around me. Covering my ears with my hands, I stumbled blindly off to the side of the deck and fell into a pile of scratchy rope.

A tall form blocked out the sun and extended it’s arm out to me. It was Gabranth. He pulled me up with ease, despite the song claiming they were all borderline malnourished, and brought his lips to my ear so that I could hear him over the noise.

“Welcome to the Shrieking Straits!” He yelled.

God, did his breath smell terrible. It’s like morning breath and cheap alcohol.

“Where is the sound coming from?” I yelled back, and he lead me to the starboard side of the ship.

On the shore we’re hundreds upon hundreds of preteen girls, all standing at the edge of the water, jumping and climbing over each other screaming at the top of their lungs. As the ship moved along the Strait, the girls followed, running from one end of the crowd to the other, crying out and reaching towards the ship. Many of them had tears streaming down their faces. If all these details weren’t bizarre enough, not a single girl was wearing clothing that I would expect for the time period. Many were in Jean shirts and spaghetti strap tank tops, others in pants with enough extra fabric around the legs to act as parachutes. I could just make out the colorful plastic butterfly clips in some of their hair.

“What the hell?” I yelled to Handsome Tower.

He laughed, and pulled me back below deck, Captain Gully close behind. Once the doors where closed, I was once again plunged into darkness and silence.

“Yarr, ye see a lot of different types of people when ye be a time travelin’ pirate,” Captain Gully said in a amused tone, “but no group of people in history has more powerful lungs than a late 1990’s preteen girl, and only a few are as vicious.”

It only takes 15 seconds for a gang of 90’s preteens to tear apart a fully grown Justin Timberlake down to its skeleton.

“They’d tear ye apart in a frenzy if you tried to walk onto the shores of The Straits,” Handsome Tower warned, “And thankfully this ship was built from the driftwood that crossed The Soundless Sound; Those waters make the wood soundproof.”

“Not so much of a ‘Tall Tale’ now, eh Minigan?” Captain Gully chided.

“Tower,” can you tell me where the captain is so I can punch him in his disgusting mouth?”

“Minigan, I forgot to give ye an eyepatch!” Handsome Tower Gabranth cried, “Ye need one if yer to be comin’ in an out of inside the ship. Yer be blinded otherwise.”

I spent the final hour or so of our trip through The Shrieking Straits within the ship, away from the army of preteen girls screaming like they’re at an N’Sync concert. As we got closer to The Soundless Sound, I helped Handsome Tower Gabranth and Stumpy carry the lanterns and Shepard’s hooks up from the cargo hold to the deck. I carried the last load up, sweaty and out of breath, the muscles in my legs burning like I just finished climbing up the side of a skyscraper.

When I exited to the deck with the last of the lanterns, we had finally exited the straits. The screams of the preteen girls were finally dying down, and I could see them piling at the edge of the shore jumping and screaming and crying for us to come back. Weird.

Ahead of us lay the dreaded Soundless Sound. It looked just like any other channel, the setting sun casting the sky in orange and pink that was reflected in the water. And then I saw it. A line- kind of. More like a barrier that was almost invisible. I couldn’t see it while looking straight ahead of the ship, but from an angle, the barrier was just perceptible, stretching high into the sky. I heard the cry of a bird and watched as an albatross flew overhead and towards the Soundless Sound. It continued its song until it crossed the barrier, and then it was like the music was swallowed by some giant creature. The bird flew on unharmed, but its call was gone.

The crew and I grabbed our lanterns and lit them, and moved to our designated locations. I was to stay on the quarterdeck with Stumpy and Handsome Tower as the Captain took his place at the front of the ship, barking orders to his crew. I watched in nervous anticipation as the ship sailed towards the barrier. Within a minutes we were upon it.

“Adjust those sails, Thorn, you scurvy-“The captain’s voice was gone, swallowed up just like the albatrosses call, and in only a few short seconds, the barrier was upon me. Being swallowed by a giant creature is the best description I can give for entering The Soundless Sound, but even that isn’t totally accurate. Maybe getting absorbed into a bubble? In any case, it’s not that you feel anything, but you are suddenly made aware of the absence around you. Yet at the same time, the lack of any sound, down to my heartbeat and my tongue moving in my mouth, was suffocating. Not helping was the dense fog that appeared around us as soon as we entered the Sound, obscuring everything around us in a fiery orange glow from the setting sun.

I looked to the pirates, who all seemed used to the situation and were setting up their lanterns. I followed suit. I lit the candle in my lantern and hung it from the Shepard’s hook. Despite the remaining sunlight, the lantern shown bright enough that I could read see the captain ordering a deck hand named Scully to climb the rigging and fix a fold on the main sail.

I moved my lantern to the port side railing, where my job was to be on the lookout for any creature that may attack the ship. I was the person with the least amount of sailing experience, and it seemed like a fairly easy job, so I only vocally complained about it four times.

We sailed across the sound well into the night, the fog blocking the stars from view and only letting in the ghostly white glow of the full moon shine through. I stared down at the dark, choppy water, squinting through the night and the fog for any kind of movement beneath the surface. My search went well into the night, only stopping when Handsome Tower Gabranth or Stumpy tapped on my shoulder and offered me food.

By what I figured had the be 3:00 AM, I had grown bored of my search, and had begun to doze off against the railing. With my head slumping to my side, my eyelids grew heavier and I drifted into sleep. That is, until I heard it.

“Ooh. Ooh. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.”

I jolted upright and looked around.

“Ooh. Ooh. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.”

“Did you hear that?” I flashed to Tower.

“Aye, I did,” he flashed back, “Keep an eye out for movement.

“I think I did it again/ I made you believe/ we’re more than just friends/ ooh baby…” a woman’s voice sang out from somewhere, although my ears couldn’t pinpoint where. It might have been the fog or just exhaustion, but it sounded like the voice could be coming from anywhere around the boat, both nearby or far away.

“Where is the voice coming from?” One crew member from the gun deck asked in Lanternspeak.

“Are we out of The Soundless Sound already?” Another lanternspoke from the main deck.

“It might seem like a crush/ but it doesn’t mean/ that I’m serious…”

“Man your stations men!” Captain Gully flashed feverishly, “We ain’t made it out of The Sound yet, and it sounds like we be havin’ company.”

“Cause to lose all my senses/ that’s just so typically me…”

I looked over the railing at the water. A silver fin slipped underneath the wave and under the hill of the ship.

“I spotted some kind of fish in the water!” I lantern spoke, “it looked big!”

“Ooh, baby baby…”

Suddenly, as I looked back over the railing, the silvery creature had returned, and with frightening speed, launched itself into the air and right at me.

“Oops I did it again/ I played with your heart/ got lost in the game…”

I jumped back far enough that the creature’s hands missed my neck as it passed, and I collapsed on the floor of the quarterdeck. I looked up and the creature was perched on the railing, balancing its long, heavy tail and its sleek torso. It had the figure of a woman, but with large, reflective scales covering her entire body up to her neck, where her pale skin began. Her eyes were large and mostly pupil, and her short wet hair stood up on end in messy spikes.

“Oh baby baby, oops you think I’m in love/ that I’m sent from aboooove/ I’m not that innocent.”

She jumped onto the deck and crawled to me. I pushed myself back with my feet and elbows, not taking my eyes off of the creature. She reached me in seconds, and her long webbed fingers wrapped around my ankle with surprising force.

Just then, Tower jumped over me and kicked hard at the creature’s side. She let out a shriek as she sailed down to the main deck, and slid to a stop near the main mast. Tower pulled me to my feet.

“You see my problem is this/ I’m dreaming away/ wishing that heroes, they truly exist…”

I looked to the rest of the ship, and saw the chaos. The creatures were on the main deck, dragging a couple crew members to the railing, pulling them over it and into the water. Captain Gully was fighting two of the creatures with his cutlass. With a dramatic flourish, he sliced the two of them a across their chests. They shrieked and fell back into the sea, and he flashed a single word to me across the ship: “Sirens.”

Hurriedly, I grabbed my lantern and flashed back, “Why are they singing ‘Oops I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears?”

Who knew sirens sang fucking bops.

Handsome Tower Gabranth, spun me by my shoulders to face him and, with a look of concern across his face, he said something to me with his mouth. Of course, I couldn’t hear him, but I could just make out what he said by reading his lips: “You know this song?”

“I cry watching the days/ can’t you see I’m a fool in so many ways…”

I nodded. He eyed me with curiosity before glancing across the battle on the ship to the captain, and then let go of me and handed me his cutlass.

“But to lose all my senses/ that is just so typically me/ oh baby, oh..”

The sirens launched themselves into the air again, and from their backs unfurled large fin like wings, translucent and thin, and began soaring around the ship. The continued to sing their song, and periodically would swoop down and grab one of the dazed crew members. I swung Handsome Tower’s sword as one dove at me, but the siren was as nimble in the air as the water and easily dodged it. And with a flick of her tail, she knocked the sword right out of my hand.

Well, fuck.

Thinking quickly, I grabbed the still burning candle out of my lantern and Stumpy’s rum canteen. I took a swig as the first siren to attack me flew around the masts and aimed her body at me. She dove. I waited until the right moment, and then sprayed the rum through the candle. The fireball erupted from the candle and engulfed the siren. She howled in pain as the fire singed her wings, and she careened out of control into another flying siren and back into the water.

Other pirates saw what I had done and quickly followed suit. The night was soon illuminated by dozens of fireballs, and the singing ended and was replaced by the screaming of the sirens. As we fought more of them off, more of the crew was able to get back to their stations and got to getting the ship back on course. Handsome Tower Gabranth spewed a fire ball at the last of the sirens, who plunged back into the icy water to extinguish herself, and the ship picked up speed to get out of the godawful sound.

Just as the the remains of the night began to blend with the pastel colors of the morning sky, we crossed the barrier out of the sound, and the noise came flooding back to my ears like a thunderous roar. The crew and I all cheered, clapped our hands, and stomped our feet, enjoying all the glorious sounds we could hear once again.
Now traversing through the narrow channels of The Roaring Isles, I gripped the railing, prepared for whatever roaring these isles do.

“What’s got ye so tense, Minigan,” Captain Gully said, slapping me on my back.

I jumped and nearly screamed. Then seeing who it was, I relaxed and said, “Sorry. I guess I’m waiting for the roaring to start.”

“What,” Gully asked before realizing and bursting into laughter, “No! These isles don’t literally roar, Minigan! They be known to be the home of a Roarin’ good time, but that be it.

“Captain,” Tower’s deep voice said from behind you both, “I need a word with ye.”They stepped away, and I busied myself by practicing with Handsome Tower’s Cutlass. I didn’t care enough to eavesdrop. It must have been heated, though, because the pair came back looking angry with each other.

“Get to the lifeboat,” Minigan, “Captain Gully ordered. We be heading the rest of the way to the cave in that.” “And yer are to come with us because that was the whole point of takin’ you in the first place!” He said that last part more to Handsome Tower Gabranth than me, and then stomped off to bark orders at his crew.

“What was that about,” I asked him. He didn’t say anything, but held out his hand for the sword. Disappointed that I couldn’t keep it, I relinquished it back to him, and he stormed off as well.

“Ye about ready to go, Minigan?” Stumpy asked as he walked up.

“Sure,” I said. “Hey, Stumpy, do you know what’s going on with The Captain and Handsome Tower? They seemed to have had a fight about me I think.”

Stumpy looked uncomfortable, which unwittingly confirmed my suspicion. I tried to press him but he hurried off, and I begrudgingly followed. The two haughty pirates and the one uncomfortable one were standing at the rowboat with the fourth and final pirate: Jimmy “Wooden Eye” Blonde.

He was the youngest pirate on the ship by at least ten years (depending on how accurate I was in assuming Handsome Tower Gabranth was about my age) and was probably in his early 20’s. He was tall and lanky, with a tan that was still part sunburn, and some light stubble just beginning to grow out of his face in spots. Judging by the tan lines, I assumed that his eyepatch was rarely removed from his right eye. His hair was greasy and brown, but it looked as though the sun was beginning to bleach it. “Nice that we finally get a chance to meet, Minigan,” he said in a surprisingly unpiratey voice, “The name’s Blonde, Jimmy Blonde.”

“Ok,” I said in a low voice as I lean towards him, “You’re just fucking with me, right? Like, you know what your name sounds like, and you purposely chose to introduce yourself that way.”

He turned the other three pirates and said, “He’s really weird.”

“He be from the future, Wooden Eye,” Captain Gully said, “He be sayin’ many things that make no sense. Just ignore it.”

The five of us climbed into the rowboat, but just before they began to lower it, I had an idea.

Telling them to give me a minute, I ran back down into the stow bay, grabbed a lantern and a handful of candles, and ran back up to the rowboat.

Our descent in the rowboat down the to water was tense, as Captain Gully and Handsome Tower Gabranth were refusing to acknowledge one another, but would periodically make sidelong glances at me as if I were the cause of this. But shit, Kirsten, none of this is my problem. I’m just trying to get their shitty jewelry so I could get back home to finish writing the well wish for your birthday. If they wanted to act like a pair of passive aggressive suburban dads trying to outdo each other’s barbecue chicken, I was going to let them. So I ignored the pair of them and talked with Stumpy and Wooden Eye as the latter and Handsome Tower rowed.

“We shouldn’t have brought him along,” Handsome Tower Gabranth warned, apparently finally unable to hold his tongue any longer, “I don’t think he be the Chosen one. We should send him back to his time.”

“And why ye think that?” Captain Gully snapped, turning on his bench to face his first mate, “Because yer feelings say so? Because he be not what ye be expectin’?”

“No!” Gabranth cried out more defensively than I think he meant, “He knew the siren song! No one’s ever heard the same siren song twice. That never be part of the prophecy! How do we know we got the right person?!”

“Yeah!” I interjected, “I’m just some guy! I’m not the chosen one, and frankly, I’m tired of everyone mistaking me for it.”

“You want to know why I know ye the Chosen One, huh?” Gully fumed at me. “Jimmy!” He barked, “Show the landlubber yer eye.”

Wooden Eye hesitantly lifted his eyepatch to reveal a wooden eye, polished to a glasslike glaze, with an intricate pattern of gold circling an embedded black gem.

“This eye is called ‘The Wooden Eye of Wondrous Knowledge’,” Wooden Eye explained, it was the first relic we went searching for when I joined the crew, and to prove my allegiance to the captain I sacrificed my eye to get it.”

“I take it ‘The Wooden Eye of Wondrous Knowledge’ isn’t just a terrible name and does in fact provide you with wondrous knowledge?”

“Aye,” Captain Gully answered, “Not only did it help Wooden Eye find the location of the bracelet, but he also used it to find you.”

“Jimmy, you son of a bitch,” I snapped him.

“I’m sorry!” He cried, “I was just looking for the person that the prophecy described- the one once undead, the one with the power to end the world, but the apathy to let it continue on. It showed me you.”

“But why do we trust the prophecy anyway!” Yelled Handsome Tower Gabranth yelled, slamming his paddle down and splashing Stumpy and I with water. “Sorry,” he added sheepishly as wiped the salt water off of my face.

I was going to reply with a playful ‘fuck you,” to hopefully ease some of the tension, but before I could, two arms wrapped around my chest from behind and pulled me into the water. The pirates cried out is surprise just before my head was submerged. I struggled against my new kidnapper, a vengeful siren, no doubt. I got a couple good kicks and elbow to the head in before I stunned them enough to let me go. Then, with all my strength, I swam. I didn’t know which direction I was going or where the rowboat and the pirates were in relation to me, but I didn’t care. I just swam.

When I finally kicked sand and knew I was close to shore, I stood up and ran to land. I saw a cave up ahead. And hearing the shouts of the pirates and whoever was attacking them not far behind me, I raced to the entrance of the cavern and stepped in. I didn’t have my lantern to light my way, which wasn’t ideal, but then again, the lantern could have given away my location in the cave to the pirates or my other kidnappers, so it was probably best I didn’t have it. I knelt down behind a stalagmite near the wall of the cave.

Wait… Stalagmites? Cave? Shit. Was I in Last words Cavern?!I listened. If Gully was being honest about the cave, I should hear my voice repeating my last words. One second passed. Then another. Then a few more. I let out a sigh of relief. Obviously, this is the wrong cave.“Minigan?” A familiar voice called from the mouth of the cave, “Are you in there? I though I saw you run this way, but you disappeared so quickly that I’m not sure.”

“#TheMouth” I called out against my better judgment, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Minigan? Oh thank God!” #TheMouth said with relief before calling back to the beach, “Hey! I found him! He’s in this cave!”

I jumped out from behind the stalagmite and ran to the entrance of the cave just as Draxyl McGruntmuffin, Svetlana Lustnaughtlov, and the Sagittarius Quintuplets reached the mouth of the cave. On the beach, I saw Captain Gully and Wooden Eye swashbuckling (not the fun kind, the deadly kind) against The British Man with an Eyepatch, who was holding them back from reaching dry land. Handsome Tower Gabranth managed to get past The British Man and was sprinting to the mouth of the cave.

Just before he reached us, The Sagittarius Quintuplets spun around as one and formed a bubble around Handsome, which lifted him into the air.

“Ok that’s enough everyone,” I called to the pirates and mercenaries, “Let’s just cool off for a second.”

Picking up a small pebble in the sand, I threw it at Handsome’s bubble prison, which popped and dropped him twenty feet into the sand.

“Minigan!” He coughed, “Are ye ok?”

“I’m fine. I know these guys. They are my mercenary friends.”

“Minigan,” Draxyl started, “you slick son of a-“

“Draxyl was the one trying to rescue you off the boat, Minigan,” #TheMouth explained, “Why did you kick him in the dick?”

“Because I nearly got murdered by sirens, like, four hours ago,” I retorted, “and that’s still kind of fresh in my mind.” “Besides, you know what happen the last time you tried that, Draxyl.”
Handsome pushed past the mercenaries and up to me. “Minigan, don’t go in that cave.” The concern in his eyes was alarming.

“Why it’s just a cave,” there’s nothing really dangerous about it.”

“No.” Handsome said, his voice from, “That be Last Words Cavern. Please, do not step inside.”

“Don’t you be listenin’ to Handsome,” Captain Gully said as he approached with Wooden Eye and British Man, “He ain’t be right in the head this mornin’ I think the siren song scrambled his brains. Just enter the cave and come back with The Green Bracelet of Aggressive Summoning.”

“Again,” I said my patience wearing thin, “I just came out of the cave, and I didn’t hear a thing. This is the wrong cave.”

An awkward silence fell upon the eclectic group of people around me. “This is another one of those “chosen one” things isn’t it?”

No one answered, which gave me my answer.

I muttered to my self “son of a bitch, I am the lousy chosen one.” And turned around to renter the cave.

“Wait!” Handsome cried out, “I’ll be comin’ with ye. I don’t be carin’ about the spell on this cave. I won’t let ye go in there alone.”

“Me too!” #TheMouth cried out.

“Me too,” Svetlana wailing why trying her best to wrap her arms around me (I pushed her to the ground. Bitch always invade’s my personal space.) Soon the entire group of people had volunteered to join me in the cave.

“Minigan,” Draxyl laughed when it was his turn, “You slick son of a-“

“Let’s cut it with the chitter-chatter and find us that bracelet,” Captain Gully said.

He handed me the lamp. I lit the candles and lead the rag-tag group inside. This cave wasn’t all that impressive, honestly. No bats, no huge bugs, no ancient abominations to awake from its slumber. Just sand and limestone. The sound of my breathing and the sand crunching beneath my feet echoed off the walls. Noticing that those were the only sounds I heard, I turned around.

The pirates and the mercenaries were huddled together, cowering in fear of their own last words echoing in their ears. Draxyl, who is the toughest person I met (which is saying a lot about him because he is also a mime) was visibly shaking.

“Guys,” I sighed, “Just wait for me outside. I can handle this on my own.”

All of them ran screaming out of the cave, with Draxyl bringing up the rear looking like he was fighting with an umbrella.

I continued on for a little while as the cave slowly turned away from the opening, leaving me with only the light from my lantern. “This isn’t so bad,” I said aloud, “The whole trap in this cave is pretty lame. Why would it be so maddening to hear your own last words? My last words will probably something dumb and hilarious like, ‘I bet I could juggle those chainsaws.’” I then called out, “Hermes, you weak bitch, I want to hear my last words. I thought you were a god, not a coward.”

Apparently, he’s a coward that is into tacky looking fetish gear.

In hindsight, this was a mistake.

Almost immediately, a gust of wind barreled through the cave, enveloping me in hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of voices, all whispering and shouting and crying into my ears. I couldn’t pick out a single voice, they were all swirling around so fast. Frantically and foolishly, I swatted at the voices like they were flies, and when that didn’t work, I sprinted further into the cavern.

“I’m sorry, Hermes, I’m sorry! You aren’t a weak bitch!”

My foot got caught on something hard, and I tumbled forward and down a sandy slope. I rolled down the hill and landed in a shallow puddle. My lantern had got out, the flames inside extinguished by the water, but the chamber I found myself in was filled with an eerie green glow. I got up to my hands and knees, and found the source of the light: the bracelet in the center of the pool. I plucked it out of the water with no difficulty and examined it in my hands. It was fairly simple: a golden chain connecting seven green gems to one another, and each gem having a different symbol engraved on each. I slipped in on my wrist, wondering how I made it work.

“I summon, um, I dunno, a Granny Smith apple.”

Something hard and green rocketed out of the darkness and hit me square in the face. Once I finished rubbing the spot where it hit, I looked down to see a granny apple, freshly bruised, sitting at my feet in the sand.

This could be a useful thing to keep, Kirsten, why should I let these pirates keep it?

Smiling wickedly to myself, I said, “I summon a replica of The Green Bracelet of Aggressive Summoning, that has the power of summoning things, but only for a week.”

Something hard smacked into the side of my head. It was an identical bracelet. Shit, this real bracelet is good.

I returned to the mouth of the cave with the real bracelet in my pocket and the fake one held triumphantly over my head. As I exited, the pirates and the mercenaries crowded around me, cheering and hugging me. Someone grabbed my ass, and I slapped Svetlana’s hand away. She gave me a coy smile that I returned with a glare.

Captain Gully plucked the bracelet from my hand, and examined it carefully. “Who wants to do the honors of trying it out?”

“I already did. I summoned this apple,” I answered, hoping my nervous sweat wasn’t noticeable.

“Then it won’t be no issue to try again!” Gully shoved the bracelet onto Stumpy’s wrist.

Stumpy closed his eyes and shouted, “I wish to hold my lover Gloria’s fair hand again!”

Almost immediately, Stumpy was slapped across the face by a severed hand. Screams erupted from all of us.

I ripped the bracelet off Stumpy’s hand and pulled it in my wrist. “Bring the woman who was attached to that hand here!”

I dropped to the ground just was a woman in peasant’s garb flew over me and collided with the group of pirates. She writhed and screamed on the ground, clutching the bloody stump where her hand used to be.

“Sagittarius Quintuplets!” I yelled, “Reattach her hand!”

They placed their hands together, and a blue light pulsed from between their palms and the woman’s wrist. When the light finally dissipated, the woman’s hand was once again connected to her wrist, a fine blue line the only evidence of the accidental amputation.

“Right,” Gully said after a pause, “We’ll, as promised, I will return ye to yer time, Minigan. Yer friends can come along too. And ye might as well take Handsome here with ye as well, for he’ll be facin’ the plank for his betrayal if he stays.

The trip back to the ship and back to my time was uneventful. And as the ship left the mercenaries, Handsome Tower Gabranth, and I at the back door of my store I turned to the group. “Well, thanks for saving me, again, I guess. But I really wish we’d stop meeting like this.”

“Sorry that we kidnapped ye, Minigan,” Handsome Tower said, “but I’d like to make it up to ye.”

He quickly closed the distance between us and and handed me my phone back. Before I could thank him, he wrapped his muscular arms around me, pulled me in, and pressed his lips against mine. I was overcome by shock for a moment, but when I came to my senses, I pushed him away.”

“Ugh!” I cried as I spit his saliva out of my mouth, “when was the last time you brushed your teeth?! You taste like someone made a cocktail out of stale liquor and chum bucket remnants!” I turned to Draxyl and his team and ordered, “Take him with you and clean him up. Gross.”

I walked in through the wholesale door without another word to Draxyl and his team, and reached inside my pocket for the bracelet. It was gone.

“Son of a bitch!” I yelled out, turning to look out the window. Svetlana was there holding the bracelet in her hands. She then turned and ran off.

I found Tessa working boxes of liquor, her blond tipped hair done up in a ponytail on the top of her head.

“Minigan!” She cried nearly dropping a case of Crown Royal Regal Apple, “Where have you been!”

“What the fuck do you mean, ‘where have I been?’ You saw me get kidnapped by pirates yesterday!”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she lied, “but that was actually three weeks ago.”

“WHAT?!?!”

So that is why, my dearest Kirsten, I didn’t wish you a happy birthday on your birthday. I hope you had a good birthday that was not filled with pirates and sirens attempting to murder you. And as for the well wish I wanted to give you, I never had a chance to write it all down. And thanks to the events of the past day (for me, 3 weeks for you) I don’t remember what I was going to say. Sorry!

Birthday Story for my Other Cousin (Which he Better Not Ignore If He Knows What’s Good For Him)

Happy Belated Birthday, Sam!

Look, I’m sorry I missed your birthday, but I have a really good reason! If you give me a few minutes to allow me to explain myself, you’ll see how the situation was out of my control and how none of this is really my fault. So here it goes:

It was Monday, June 3rd, at 11:55 PM, and I realized that your birthday was in 5 minutes. Shit, I thought to myself, I need to come up with something perfect thing to post to Sam’s wall for his birthday, and I need to do it now. I do not need a repeat of the “Cousin Ryan Debacle” from November.

Unfortunately, I was at work, and My boss doesn’t approve of me thinking of things unrelated to work while I’m there.

“But damnit!” I said aloud to myself, “This is important- probably one of the most important things I will ever do in my life!”

So, I sat on the ground, threats of punishment be damned, and I thought what I was going to write to you. Within only a few minutes of intense thought, I crafted a well wish that would bring tears of joy to your kind eyes, Sam. Would this sentence usher in a new era of thought and change the world for the better? Probably.

I pulled out my phone to write down my brilliant message for you, when a high pitched alarm shrieked in my ears. I flinched. It was the alarm for when a pantless homeless person tunnels his way into the store and starts throwing old cabbages at everyone . It happens a lot. Grumbling to myself, I stood up, and headed to the closest exit as per emergency instructions: the back door. The problem with that was that, also per emergency instructions, I had to meet with my boss in front of the store after safely exiting the building. That meant that I would have to walk around the entire strip mall to reach the rendezvous point.

The alley behind the building was dark and lined by woods. A creek trickled just out of sight. Broken carts and bales of cardboard lay askew along the back wall, you could catch the faint smell on the dumpsters even from where I was. And with it being so late and the isolation of the back alley, the only sounds I heard were my own footfalls and the slight rustling of the wind through the trees. Which made it all more surprising when an arm wrapped around my neck.

“Fiddlesticks!” I managed to grunt out embarrassingly as my attacker and I fell to the ground.

As we struggled on the ground, a windowless van pulled up and the side door slid open. My attacker overpowered me and dragged me into the van. With my free hand, I pulled out my box cutter and stabbed him in the leg as he threw me onto the floor. He howled in pain, and I flipped over and looked into the face of my attacker. He was a mime.

Now this goes without saying, but finding yourself being kidnapped by a mime is the most terrifying thing you can experience in your life, but in this one instance, I let a sigh of relief. It was only my friend/ international mercenary turned hero/ full-time mime Draxyl McGruntmuffin.

Half amused, clutching onto his bleeding leg, Draxyl said in his gruff voice, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“What, in the name of sweaty donkey tits is your problem, Draxyl?!” I shouted, “you don’t just kidnap a person like that.”

“Sorry about that, Minigan,” said another familiar voice from the driver’s seat, “But we didn’t have time to call in advance.”

Vinny Tyrese Archibald Patrick Saiid Makoto Borowitz-Gutierrez, or #TheMouth for short, was Draxyl’s tech guy and the person that plans every mission. He’s the official overseer of this operation.

“You didn’t have time to warn me on your way here to pick me up?” I asked.

#TheMouth paused for a second and replied, “Oh yeah, that would have been a perfect time to do that!”

“Whatever,” I said, “just take me around front so that I can let my boss know I’m leaving.”

#TheMouth obliged, and as we drove in front of the store, I spotted her.

I put my head out the window and called, “Hey Amber! I have to leave with these guys! It’s an emergency! Don’t call the police!”

Amber was a tall woman; she easily towers over me, gave chase. She screamed after us in her girlish voice that didn’t match her body before pulling out her GIant Eagle Standard Issue handgun and firing several bullets into the back of the van.

Within minutes, we were on the highway, speeding towards the airport. I took my seat in the back and asked, “So what’s this mission about, and why do you need me?”

“I had discovered a plot on the dark web by an ancient cult to commit a series of terror attacks and use the ensuing chaos to install puppet governments in all the major countries, making them the de facto rulers of the world.”

“How am I supposed to stop the Church of Scientology?” I asked.

“Actually, for once Scientology isn’t part of a clandestine- oh! You’re joking! Good one!” #TheMouth replied. He then continued in a serious tone, “The cult is called The Quiggles.”

I snickered, which apparently was a mistake, because #TheMouth slammed on the breaks.”

“Do Not laugh at their name,” he warned, “This is an already devastatingly powerful cult, one that has assassin spies lurking everywhere and have installed their members in several key positions in the government, and they don’t like having their name mocked.”

“Ok,” I replied, suppressing my smirk at their terrible name, “So, why do you need me?”

Draxyl and #TheMouth shared an awkward glance.

“Well,” #TheMouth answered, “Someone helping us wanted you on the team for this. He’ll explain it when we get to the airport.”

I shrugged at the non answer, pulled out my phone and said, “Whatever. Let me know when we’re there. I have something to post on my cousin’s Facebook wall for his birthday.”

“What? NO!” #TheMouth yelled.

Draxyl jumped from his seat in the front and was on top of me again, wrestling the phone from my hands.

“What the fuck?!” I cried as Draxyl climbed off of me and back into his seat.

“Sorry,” #TheMouth said, “You cannot use your phone. We suspect that they could be watching your movements. Your phone will have to stay off and with me until this is all over.”

“But,” I pleaded, “My cousin’s birthday! I have the perfect thing to say to him! It will only take a moment!”

“It’s too risky, I’m afraid,” he replied.

With my face scrunched up in anger, I said, “Fine, then let’s get this stupid bullshit over with as soon as possible.”

We were at the airport within minutes, and as I climbed out of the van, I was greeted by 5 people with identical beach blond bowl cuts and electric blue eyes.

“Welcome, Minigan,” the 5 said in an eerie unison.

“Hi, Sagittarius, uh, Pentuplets? When did that happen?”

“We mind melded our latest addition last week,” they all answered.

When I first met them, the Sagittarius Pentuplets were the Sagittarius Twins, Scorpio and Taurus Sagittarius. They were Draxyl’s experts in the mystic arts, and when they were kids, they melded their minds together, forming one consciousness that exists in two bodies. Then, on that fateful November day, while we were trying to prevent a plot to force all the world’s volcanoes to erupt at once, Taurus died when he fell out of the helicopter as we struggled to elude our enemies. Just before he died, he transferred his consciousness to two nearby people and took over their bodies. This is some real Borg shit, but we’re all too afraid to mention it to them.

After several awkward seconds of them waiting for me to ask, the one I suspect was Scorpio announced, “Minigan, you have not been introduced to my siblings. These are: Libra, Aries, Aquarius, and Virgo.”

I turned back to #TheMouth and Draxyl, “If the Pentuplets were the ones that wanted me, why were you being so evasive about it?”

“Because I was the one who asked for you, not them,” a British man’s voice said from behind me.

Out of the darkness and through a cloud of strawberries and cream flavored vape smoke strode a British man with an eyepatch.

I roared, pulled out my box cutter, and dove at the man. Draxyl and #TheMouth grabbed onto me and pulled me back.

Struggling to hold on to me, Draxyl grunted, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Shut up and let me go, Draxyl,” I shouted, not taking my eyes off the British Man, “This fuck stick tried to murder us last time, remember?”

“He’s on our side this time! We swear!” Breathed #TheMouth, “He asked for our help.”

I stopped struggling, but I continued to glare at the man, “How did you survive the fall into the mouth of Vesuvius?”

“It takes a bit more than that to kill me, I’m afraid,” the man laughed.

“More than throwing you into a volcano?!”

Draxyl and #TheMouth let me go. Before anyone could react, I pulled out my GE standard issue handgun and aimed it at the one eyed bastard before me.

That motherfucker smiled. “You may certainly try to kill me, but you will find your bullets wasted. Besides, we need each other for this mission. It is in all of our interests that The Quiggles do not rule the world. If they succeed the new world order will be horrid. Any dissent against them will be punishable by death.

“Their name is ‘The Quiggles,’” I retorted, what’s the worst they could do?”

Draxyl’s crew fell into an uneasy silence. The smile fell away from the British Man’s face and he took another long hit from his vape. “They only want to weaponize the world’s alligator population and use them to force everyone in the world to take a dumber name than theirs.”

A 20,000 pound weight fell into my stomach. “They can’t,” I whispered, hoping it wasn’t true, “That cannot be possible.”

“It won’t be, but only if we work together,” The British Man replied. He then looked into the shadows. “All of us.”

Out from the shadows stepped the long legs and swaying hips of a woman in a tight leather catsuit. From those hips grew a narrow waist and large bosom that strained against its leather constraints. And finally, a radiant face framed by black glasses and sleek black hair emerged from the darkness.

“You?!?”

It was Svetlana Lustnaughtlov.

“Yes, Minigan, me. Did you miss me?” Svetlana cooed in her thick Russian accent as she sauntered over to me, “I hope you missed me, because I missed you.”

“Hell no I didn’t miss you!” I shouted as I pushed her out of my personal space, “And what the hell, I thought you died when you fell into Vesuvius too!”

“Yeah, it turns out that Vesuvius isn’t all that great at killing people,” #TheMouth explained.

“It’s a fucking volcano,” I snapped, “It destroyed Pompeii, it should have been able to kill off these two!”

Everyone shrugged, nonplussed.

“I guess the entire city of Pompeii was filled with wimps.”

“Probably,” The British Man said quickly, “ Now we really need to get going. There is little time to waste.”

“Where are we going?”

“New Orleans,” The British Man said.

“Paris’s degenerate brother!” #TheMouth exclaimed.

“Wait!” I called as they all filed into the private jet, “I have one more question! Why do you need me? What purpose do I serve on this team?”

“In time, you will know.”

What the fuckdribble was up with all the nonanswers that night?

Resigning myself to the inevitable nonsense that was sure to come up when facing an organization called “The Quiggles,” and especially when lured onward with vague promises of future explanations, I clambered onto the private jet waiting for us. I found a seat in the back and plopped into it with my arms crossed as the rest of this ensemble sang the wrong lyrics to The Sound Of Music soundtrack.

While they sang, I contemplated how I was going to get my birthday message to you, my dear cousin, and how you were likely to cry enlightened tears after reading my wise word-nuggets. I needed to get my phone back, The Quiggles and #TheMouth be damned.

After a couple of hours, I got my chance to take back my phone and my destiny. As I peeked into the aisle, I spotted the corner of my phone poking out of #TheMouth’s pocket. He was distracted with the song. It was my chance.

“I saw a man with a horrid fish-wife/ ugly-lady-ugly-lady-ugly-lady-who!”

With my years of pickpocket training as a loveable scamp on the streets of Pittsburgh finally being put to good use, I slid my phone out of the oblivious #TheMouth’s pocket. I returned to my seat in the back with my spoils.

My victory was short lived, however, because as soon as I unlocked my phone, several loud bangs came from either side of the plane.

The British Man looked out his window. “Bloody Hell, The Quiggles have found us!”

Everyone else looked out our windows to see what was attacking us. Circling the plane and flapping their bat-like wings were no less than a dozen large and vicious looking alligators. They were dive bombing the plane, using their heads as battering rams and jostling the entire aircraft.

“Sagittarius pentuplets,” #TheMouth cries, “Do something!”

The pentuplets clasped their hands together and closed their eyes. Bands of golden light erupted from between their interlaced fingers and spread out towards the windows like glowing fissures in reality. I watched as the beams passed through the windows and whip around to pierce the hearts of the flying alligators. The creatures, with a nimbleness that you would not expect from alligators, they dodged the beams of light. Then, and I swear this was on purpose, one of the alligators flew straight into the engine of the plane, making it erupt into a ball of fire and splintering metal. There was another explosion. They took out the other engine. Fuck.

We plummeted to the earth, the entire cabin shook as the the flying gators continued to ram the cabin.

“We’re going to crash into the French Quarter!” The British Man yelled from his seat, “Draxyl, eject the wings!”

From my seat I watched Draxyl pull down on a red lever, and then looked out my window and watched as the wing broke away from the fuselage and whipped back and out of view, taking three of the alligators with it. I rose up out of my seat and felt my hair float around me as we entered free fall. My screams were trapped in my lungs. We plummeted from the sky, being tossed about as much as our seatbelts would allow. I caught a glimpse of St. Louis Cathedral from my window.

There was a shattering of glass, the screeching of metal scraping metal, and the crunch of crumbling concrete as we crash landed into the French Quarter.

The muffled sounds of panicked and drunken screams found their way through the jagged holes in the plane’s cabin, followed closely by the hot, sticky scent of alcohol and concrete dust.

Everyone clambered out of their seats, and on wobbly legs, stumbled for the door. When we got the door open and fell through, we fell out onto Bourbon St., yards away from a bar called Oz.

“How did zey find us,” Svetlana coughed as she scrambled out of the plane and attempted to collapse into my arms (I backed away at the last second, letting her fall into the rubble at my feet).

It was nearly 2 AM, and the party on Bourbon had been going strong until we rudely (and literally) crashed into the middle of it.

“I have no idea,” #TheMouth said as he began to feel his pockets. Noting the absence of my phone, he spun to face me just as I was attempting to pocket it. “You.”

“Me?”

“I told you it was too dangerous to use our phones,” he said, his voice venomous, “I warned you that they would track our location.”

“But I just turned my phone back on!”

Draxyl shook his head. “Minivan, you slick son of a-“

“It does not matter what you did with your phone,” The British Man yelled, “You could have been using the note app to write a bullocks story to that bloody cousin of yours. The Quiggles will still have found us with it!”

“Well, why the fuck does the fate of the world always revolve on how I use my phone?!” I yelled back.

“There is no use fighting now,” one of the pentuplets said in a monotone, “the alligators are once again upon us.”

The sounds of growling and snapping jaws swirled around us, just beyond the reach of the bars’ neon lights. Suddenly, one of the alligators dropped out of the darkness above us, landing on its feet and standing upright like a human. Behind it, it’s black leathery wings folded in towards its back and vanished from sight.

“That is no alligator,” Libra Sagittarius (I know it was her because she was the only black woman who had been assimilated into the pentuplets) said, “That is a rougarou. They live in the swamps and suck the blood of humans foolish enough to wander across their path.”

“They are a sort of werewolf/ vampire like monster that can shape shift into different animals,” #TheMouth whispered. “They typically look like wolves, but they have been known to talk on the appearance of alligators.” “No one look it directly in the eyes,” he warned, “It can turn you into one of them if it makes eye contact.”

The British Man smiled. “Well then, this is where I have an advantage.”

Gently, he switched his eyepatch from his right eye to his left, revealing his foggy, scarred, and grotesque eye.

Within seconds, seven more rougarous landed, and another six burst up out of the sewers.

“Battling us is futile, Draxyl McGruntmuffin,” one of the rougarous said in a wet, gravelly sort of voice, “Just hand us the boy and we will spare the rest of you a long, painful death.”

“The boy?” I asked, turning to the rest of the group. They avoided my eyes like I was the rougarou. “Wait… me? How am I ‘the boy?’ I’m 31!”

“That is still young to rougarous,” #TheMouth noted.

“Go to hell, ‘Pound The Mouth’”.

While I was distracted, one of the rougarous lunged at me. Svetlana screamed and launched herself at it, colliding with the monster before it could reach me.

I dove to the ground, rolled, and picked up a fist sized chunk of concrete. With all my might, I chucked that sucker right at the head of another rougarou heading my way. I got it right in its reptilian face, and stumbled backward before falling into one of the many giant holes in the street the plane made.

Gunfire erupted overhead as The British Man, Draxyl, and #TheMouth fired at the oncoming swamp monsters. The pentuplets were using their telekinetic abilities to pummel the monsters with any debris in the vicinity.

I reached to my holster for my GE issued handgun only to find it gone. I must have fallen out during the plane crash. “Someone give me a goddamn gun!” I yelled at the rest of my group, all of whom apparently forgot that I should have some means to protect myself.

“The guns are useless against these bloody beasts!” The British Man yelled. “And how is this weaponizing alligators, #TheMouth?”

The rougarous paused at this question and looked at one another. “We almost forgot,” one of them growled.

With their scaly, humanoid claws, they touched the sides of their heads. Let me tell you, Sam, it was awfully difficult to avoid looking these things In the eyes, especially when shiny metal guns, almost the length of the monsters themselves, grew from where their wings used to be. The guns folded down so that the barrels were just inches from the tops of their heads and now aimed directly at us. With a high pitched whirring sound, the barrels of the gun began to spin, and in a blast of red light, began firing lasers at us.

We all screamed an ran for cover, as did some of the remaining partiers who weren’t scared away by the crashing plane or the flying alligators. I dove just around the corner just before one of the gator’s lasers swiped at me. Where I stood was now a charred, smoking line in the debris.

Just as the rougarou was turning the corner to do me in, it swung hard to the left. Behind it stood Draxyl, gritting his teeth and with his arms out in front of him like he was clutching onto an invisible rope. He yanked down, and the rougarou stumbled around. It’s back was to me. I had my chance. Grabbing the straws the plastic souvenir Hurricane cups from two cowering drunkards, I leapt onto the back of the rougarou and plunged the straws into its eyes.

The rougarou let a mind-splitting screech as it thrashed back and forth, tossing me from off its back.

I landed on my back. I looked up just in time to watch as one of the Sagittarius Pentuplets impaled the monster with some rebar. The rougarou clawed and snapped at the rebar before collapsing in a heap, dead.

The British Man and Svetlana dragged me inside the building and behind the bar where the bartenders and tourists were cowering.

“Minigan, you need to get away from here,” The British Man said. “Get to the Old Ursuline Convent. Go up to the third floor and awaken the women sleeping up there. They will help you.”

“But why will they help? And why am I even here if you need to keep me away from these monster cult with a stupid name?”

The rougarou’s roared in a rage and several lasers cut burning lines in the wall above us.

“Because they need you to enact their plans,” The British Man said, “You and your phone.”

“But WHY?”

“Because you are a bloody vampire!” The British Man blurted out before he could stop himself.

The words hung in the air over the three of us and all the terrified patrons for a moment before it crashed down on all of us in the form of the patrons and I crying, “What?!?”

Svetlana nodded. “It’s true. We’ve all known for months.”

“We’ve all been amazed at how you have ignored the signs, honestly,” The British Man added.

“Wow,” I replied, “That’s almost as stupid as a group called The Quiggles weaponizing alligators.”

The British Man continued to insist. “Think about it, Minigan, how often have you seen the sunlight in the last few months?”

“I work nights! When else am I supposed to sleep other than during the day?!”

“And what about your ‘garlic allergy?’” He asked, “I don’t remember that about you from our last meeting.”

“Allergies can develop at any time, asshole. And if I remember correctly, you were tying to kill me last time we met, so I wouldn’t be all that forthcoming about my weaknesses with you, now would I?”

“And what about your fangs?”

I ran my tongue over the tips of my teeth. Fuck, I had fangs.

“I’m sure there is a logical explanation-“

“THE LOGICAL EXPLANATION IS THAT YOU ARE A VAMPIRE! Now go to the bloody convent and get the other bloody vampires to join our bloody cause. They are the only ones who can stop The Quiggles, and they only listen to other vampires.”

“Fine,” I said, “I’ll go. But I just want you to know that this is all bullshit and I hate you both.”

Without waiting for them to respond, I dove out from behind the bar, dodged the laser blasts, and sprinted out of the building and down St. Anne Street.

I sprinted away from the mayhem on Bourbon, not looking back, but listening for any shapeshifting alligator that might be pursuing me. I heard nothing, but I continued to sprint, just in case.

I made it to the Old Ursuline Convent within minutes, climbed over the fence, and kicked open the doors. Inside was quiet and peaceful. The nuns must be asleep. I found the stairs and ran up them to the third floor, which was sealed with a heavy, dark oak door. I pressed on the door, and with great effort, the old door creaked open to the long, dark hallway beyond. I entered.

The air grew heavy with each step I took, as my feet kicked up more and more dust. It’s sour smell stung my nostrils and the corners of my eyes, and I had to cover my nose and mouth with my shirt to keep myself from coughing. Through the dark and the dust, I found a door marked “KEEP OUT.” I did not.

Inside the room were two rows of six coffins, each with a silver cross on the lids. I reached to the lids to pry them off, but an invisible barrier prevented me from opening it.

Right, I thought, I’m a vampire, and one of vampires many weaknesses is silver.

Thinking quickly, I grabbed a chair from the corner of the room and threw it at the first casket. It bounced off the top, taking the cross with it. I picked up the chair and proceeded to knock the crosses off the remaining eleven coffins.

There was a sudden crash and roar from outside the windows. The rougarous found me.

I pried the lids off of each coffin as quickly as I could, revealing twelve young sleeping women inside. Each woman wore elegant French gowns made of colorful lace, as well as veils over their pale faces.

“Hey!” I screamed at all of them, making the women wake with a start, “Sorry to bother you ladies, but I need your help.”

The women sat up in their coffins and looked around the room. Another roar and smattering of muffled gunfire came from outside.

“Why should we help you?” One woman with auburn hair and a jade green gown asked in her French accent, “Why shouldn’t we just feast on your blood and reek havoc on the nuns who imprisoned us?”

“Because I am a vampire too, apparently, and there are some rougarous outside that want to kill me and take over the world.”

“Prove that you are a vampire, and then we’ll help,” a blonde one said.

I flashed my fangs at them. They all squealed in delight.

“Ohh! You are a new vampire! Your fangs are so small! That’s adorable!” One said.

“You’re practically a toddler!” Another cooed.

“Enough!” I screamed as a rougarou pounded on the wooden shutters, “Are you going to help or not?”

The dark skinned vampire shrugged and said, “Why not,”

Just then, the shutter failed as the rougarou burst through it like the Koolaid Man. In one swift motion, it picked up a silver crucifix at his feet and threw it at me. It hit me hard in the side of the head. I fell to the floor, and everything went black.

***

When I awoke, I was laying in a soft, but rather dusty old bed with several faces staring down at me. Among them were the French vampire women and Draxyl’s team, including The British Man. I struggled for a moment, but then sat up.

“Minigan,” Draxyl said with a sigh of relief, “You slick son of a-“

“We thought you died!” #TheMouth cried out, “Too bad you were knocked out so early. You missed an epic battle.”

“Yes,” The British Man said, “It was one for the ages.”

“We will be talking about it for centuries,” one of the vampires added.

“Well, are you going to tell me what happened?” I said to the group.

The British man waved a dismissive hand. “None of that is important at the moment. The important thing is that The Quiggles have been defeated, and your vampirism has been cured.”

“I’m no longer a vampire?! But I never got to do any vampire things!”

“Yes,” said the dark skinned vampire, “But men make terrible vampires. They lack the strength of will that make women excellent vampires. You probably would have slain many innocent people out of hunger before getting killed by a vampire slayer yourself. This was for the best of everyone.”

With a mixture of disappointment and relief, I replied, “Well, at least I can finally send my wonderful cousin, Sam, his birthday wish. I must have a few hours left before his birthday is over.”

Draxyl’s team looked at one another uncomfortably.

“You, uh, actually have been unconscious for about a week,” #TheMouth replied.

“I WHAT?!?!”

And this, Sam, is why I didn’t manage to wish you a happy birthday on your birthday this year. I hope you see that none of this was my fault, and that I tried desperately to actually write something profound for you. Speaking of which, with all the crazy shit I had to deal with and then being knocked out for a week, I can no longer remember the life changing well-wish I was going to send your was was. Sorry about that.

The Homemaker’s Guide to Summoning Demons

1950's Housewife

“Thomas Jacob, get down here this instant!” Elsie cried up the stairs.

She had just come from the kitchen, which she spent all day cleaning, to find muddy hand and footprints all over it.

Tommy, her eight-year-old son with mousy brown hair and freckles ran down the stairs.

“Hi, Mom!” He said before seeing the scowl on her face, “what?”

“You forgot to take your dirty shoes off before you entered the house,” she scolded, “and you put dirty hand prints all over the counter and refrigerator!”

“Sorry mom,” Tommy pouted.

Elsie looked at her son and sighed, “It’s ok. Just remember to take your shoes off when you come in from outside for now on.” She affectionately rubbed some dirt off his cheek. “Now run upstairs and clean yourself up. Your father is bringing company over for dinner.”

As he ran back upstairs, Elsie returned to the once again filthy kitchen. The smell of the night’s dinner, pork chops and scalloped potatoes, filled the room, and a pot of green peas puttered away on the stove as the water boiled. Harold was going to be here soon with the Andersons, and Elsie couldn’t let them see the house in such disarray. Tabitha Anderson was one of Elsie’s closest friends. But she was also the neighborhood gossip, and she would love nothing more than to tell everyone who would listen about how poorly Elsie kept the house and how wild Tommy was.

Elsie looked at the clock on the wall. 6:30. She didn’t have enough time to do it herself; she was going to need some help. Going to the cabinet housing all of her cookbooks, Elsie pulled away the false back and retrieved an old, jade green book as well as something wrapped in black cloth. The cover of the book was plain, with no writing on it at all, and the pages were worn and yellowed from regular use.

Elsie set both items on the table and opened the book. On the first page was the title: The Homemaker’s Guide to Summoning Demons. She flipped to the Table of Contents, skimmed until she found the entry “Demons for Quick Cleanups,” and turned to the associated page. She flipped through the pages of that section, reading the demons’ names and their abilities, and found the perfect one- a powerful demon known as Barzanar.

Most people think summoning demons is a form of witchcraft, but that is false. Summoning is an ancient art form, certainly, and to the untrained eye, could be mistaken for witchcraft, but while witchcraft is messy and it’s procedures are open to interpretation, summoning takes focus, a firm resolution, and a strict adherence to the rules. One of those rules is to not summon a demon after sunset. A demon cannot survive in direct sunlight without possessing a host body. So summoning a demon after sunset could result in unleashing it on the neighborhood.

Elsie looked out the window. The evening sky was beginning to change to gold. If she was going summon Barzanar, she was going to have to be quick.

She unfolded the cloth to reveal a dagger with a blade made from black quartz and a piece of white chalk. She spread the circular cloth out on a clean spot on the floor. Then, with the chalk, she drew the summoning symbol as directed: six crosses, heads pointing inwards to a pentagram. Elsie scraped some of the mud off the floor and plopped it into the center of the pentagram. She stood up, held the dagger behind her back, and stated the summoning words “Et ego invocabo Barzanar.”

It started slowly at first with just the scent of burnt flesh. Then, the dollop of mud began to smolder into ash. The ash pile grew until it loomed over Elsie, and then, the ash fell away, revealing the grotesque form of the demon before her.

Barzanar towered over her, having to crouch to avoid hitting the ceiling. Its skin was black and charred, except for its fingers, which were as long as it’s forearms, where all the flesh had burnt away exposing the white bones beneath. Its face was gaunt and hollow looking, and what little hair it had atop its head was wispy and grey. Its mouth hung open, and was filled with rows of yellowed teeth, pointed like sabers. But the most striking think about the creature before her was its eyes. They were a brilliant cobalt blue that glittered at Elsie, dazzling her and daring her to look away.

“Hello,” Elsie greeted the monster, putting the dagger in her apron pocket, “Welcome to my home.”

With a booming voice that rumbled deep like a landslide, Barzanar said, “You? A pathetic, puny, little, human woman, dare to summon me?!”

Elsie smiled and replied politely, “I certainly did. Thank you for coming. It is greatly appreciated.”

This is another important rule: always be welcoming and friendly to the demon you summoned. Demons are vain creatures by nature, and since they don’t receive many compliments in Hell, a little hospitality goes a long way. Besides that, just because you are face to face with a member of the Legion of the Damned, it doesn’t mean you should forget your manners.

Barzanar towered over Elsie, a single strand of foul-smelling drool stretched down onto the shoulder of her pale blue, floral pattern dress. Elsie remained firm, staring into the blue eyes of the beast.

You must have a strong resolution to control a summoned demon. The summoner has the control of the interaction, and the demon only has as much control as the summoner gives them. The demons know this and will try to intimidate or manipulate the summoner into giving them more power. A strong-willed summoner can protect themselves from such tactics.

“I would like you to clean the dirt off my kitchen floor, counter, and refrigerator, if that wouldn’t be too much trouble, please,” Elsie asked.

“I demand the flesh and blood of a virgin child as payment,” the demon boomed.

“Oh I’m sorry,” Elsie replied, “But I don’t have any more of that here. I can give you a turkey sandwich on rye and some fresh brewed iced tea instead.”

The demon loomed over her, and Elsie could feel its hot smelly breath on her face.

In its low, rumbling voice, Barzanar said, “Actually, that sounds lovely.”

The metal chair creaked under the immense weight of the demon as it used its finger bones to pick at its sandwich hungrily. Elsie sat across from him at the kitchen table and watched it eat. Periodically, it would use both of its meat and mustard covered hands to fumble the glass up to its mouth. Some tea dribbled out of the sides of its mouth and onto the table.

The demon burped loudly, popped the last piece of the first half of its sandwich into his mouth, and then asked, “So, you look awfully pretty today, with your hair all done and wearing those pearls. You having company over tonight?”

Elsie smiled but didn’t respond, remembering to not engage. Besides intimidation, this was common manipulation tactic for demons. Friendly chit-chat is just a way to learn a summoner’s weaknesses. Elsie knew what was coming next.

Then, as Elsie predicted, Barzanar spat, “Fine, don’t talk to me, you fat, ugly cunt.”

Without letting her pleasant smile falter, Elsie stood up and reached for the plate.

“Hey!” Barzanar snarled, “That’s mine! You gave it to me!”

“That was before you insulted me with such vulgarities, and after I invited you into my kitchen,” Elsie’s tone remained polite but firm as she stared directly into the demons eyes.

Through gritted teeth, Barzanar said, “Take that plate, and I’ll rip your spine out of your body with my teeth.”

With that, Elsie pulled the quartz blade dagger out of her apron pocket, pointed at the demon’s heart, and stated, “Barzanar, I cast thee-“

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Cried the demon, whose demeanor had become that of a scared puppy.

The black onyx dagger is an essential tool of the homemaking summoner- more important than the book itself. It instantly returns the demon to Hell, and marks them so that they can never return to Earth’s surface. No one is sure of the specifics of how a Demon is barred from returning, but no demon that has been stabbed by it could ever be summoned again. It’s best used to threaten the demons, as they fear returning to Hell permanently.

“Delightful,” Elsie said as she pocketed the dagger once again and pushed the plate back to the demon, “Now please hurry up. I am having company over, and I would like to not have one of Satan’s minions in my kitchen when they arrive.”

Barzanar scarfed down the other half of his sandwich and poured the rest of his tea into his gaping maw before Elsie had a chance to take them away again. He then climbed up from the chair. He stood over her again, but now in a less intimidating way.

He flicked his wrists, and buckets of soapy water appeared around him, hovering inches off the ground. Each one took off in a different direction. When they reached their destinations, two sponges popped out of each bucket and scrubbed the area around it. Within a minute or so, the kitchen was sparkling clean once again and the buckets and sponges disappeared in wisps of smoke. Steam rose of every surface until everything was dry again.

“Wow,” Elsie said as she looked at the demons work, “The Book said you were good, but it really didn’t do you justice, now did it?”

The creature bowed slightly and said, “I thank you for the offering of the turkey sandwich on rye and iced tea. Our agreement is fulfilled.”

Barzanar exploded into ash, which settled into nothingness, and the chalk markings on the circular cloth were erased. Even the demon’s scent was gone from the air, replaced with the smell of the meal Elsie had prepared. Elsie picked the cloth up from the floor, rolled the dagger back up in it, and then stashed them and the book back into their secret hiding spot.

Just as she took off her apron and sat down, hoping to relax for a moment, voices at the front door alerted her that her husband and the Andersons had arrived. Elsie hurried to the door to greet her guests.

***

The dinner was a success. Tabitha couldn’t stop complementing Elsie on the food, and everyone marveled at the pineapple upside down cake she brought out for dessert. Once the Andersons had been seen off, the dishes had been washed, and Tommy had been put to bed, Elsie and her husband, Harold, took their usual seats in the den to unwind.

“Tommy told me that you yelled at him earlier,” Harold said without looking up from his book.

“I did,” Elsie replied, setting down hers, “He tracked mud through the kitchen again not long before you got home.”

“How did you get the kitchen clean again so fast,” he said, finally looking up from his book.

“Oh, you know, I am just good at what I do,” Elsie lied.

And that is the most important rule: A homemaker is never, under any circumstances, to let her husband know that they summon demons to help with the housework.

The Great Cereal Bar Experiment

Hi there friends, internet friends, acquaintances, distinguished enemies, and merpeople that have acquired access to the internet, and welcome to the most life-changing blog post you’ll ever read.

See, it dawned on me several years ago, while perusing the cereal section of my local grocery store, just how many different varieties of cereal there are these days. There has to be at least 300 varieties of Cheerios alone. And as I walked past the Rice Krispie treats, it dawned on me: Why aren’t all cereals made into Rice Krispie treat- like bars? Why did we as a society decide to limit ourselves to one to two kinds of cereal bars? Was there a cereal that would be better than Rice Krispies? I decided that there had to be a better cereal bar out there, and so I decided to do an experiment to find it. The following is the experiment in its entirety, done in the proper scientific method. So put on your ceremonial Science robes, send a final prayer to the god you’re about to abandon and get ready for Science!

Posed Question– Based on several different characteristics, what cereal makes for the best marshmallow/ cereal bar?

Background Research– As I expected, Cereal-other-than-Rice-Crispies-treats are a thing that exist. A Facebook friend once shared a picture of Fruity Pebble treats she made once, so I figured that other varieties had been made. Here’s a recipe for Froot Loop bars, and here’s a Buzzfeed listicle for a bunch of different ones. However, the point of this experiment was not to find out whether or not other cereal bars were possible, but to find which cereal makes the best cereal bar, which none of these food blogs answer. So leave it to me to find the answer to a question these cowardly food bloggers won’t ask.

Ramblings of a Madman

Ramblings Of A Madman: making enemies of other people’s dumb ass blogs since 2009.

Now, this article from Huffington Post has a list of “treats that go beyond Rice Krispies,” but again, it doesn’t say which one comes out on top, and the only reasons these bars go “beyond rice Krispies” is because the cereals are not Rice Krispies or they maybe add other ingredients ( side note: I could only see the article on my phone’s browser)So, way to mislead your readers, again, HuffPo. However, after a little bit of digging, I did find this blog from 2008 that tested 6 different kinds of cereal. They used a New Year’s Eve party and had the attendees be their Guinea pigs, which was smart, because what group of people are more open to being experimented on than drunk people? Unfortunately, this blogger did not come up with any solid conclusion other than “Rice Krispie Treats are a formula that ‘works’” and that the shredded wheat doesn’t absorb the marshmallow very well. Without a definitive answer from the most thorough experiment I could find, I knew in what ways to conduct my experiment.

Hypothesis– based on all the factors below, I believe that the Golden Crisp will make the best cereal bar because of their relatively small size, soft texture, and sweet, but not too sweet, taste.

Despite this, Honey Bunches of Oats will have the most interesting texture because it has both flakes and clusters.

Overall, I think the cereals with smaller pieces will make the bars easier to mix and eat, but that will not ensure that cereal to be a winner.

Setting up the Experiment

To carry out this experiment effectively and objectively, I have created a point system to score the cereals.  I have listed several points of judgment below.  Each cereal will be given a score of 1 to 10 for each point of judgment, and at the end, their total will be scored. Please note that some of the points have a minus in front. Those points’ scores will be subtracted from the score.

Points of judgment:

Size of cereal pieces (Not factored into total score, just used for classification)

Ease of mixing ingredients (EOM)

Appearance

-Toughness

Taste

-Mouth cutting index (MCI)

Practical edibility

Total

Along with these points, there will be the following points: “Improvements??” and “Notes.” “Improvements??” is, obviously, ways I could potentially improve upon the recipe of that particular cereal bar, and “Notes” is reserved for any thoughts I had as I was making/ taste testing said cereal bar.

Now, on to the cereals. For this experiment, I chose 25 different kinds of cereal,  2 of which (Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies) I used as my control groups. I have organized the cereals into groups based on shape:

-Rice

Rice Crispies

Cocoa Crispies

Fruity Pebbles

-Pellets

Golden Crisp

Pops

Reese’s Puffs

Cookies and Cream Cereal

Cocoa Puffs

Trix

Crunch Berries

-Flakes and Squares

Honey Bunches of oats

Golden Grahams

Frosted flakes

Cinnamon Life

Cinnamon Toast crunch

Raisin Bran

-Rings

Honey Nut Cheerios

Apple Jacks

Froot loops

-Bricks

Frosted mini wheats

Chocolate Krave

-Miscellaneous Shapes

Honeycomb

Cookie Crisp

Count Chocula

Lucky Charms

Out of all the popular cereals out there, you might have noticed one particular variety was missing: Chex. This was intentional. I decided beforehand that Chex cereal has enough snacks made from it and that it really didn’t need another one added to the list. Stop being greedy, Chex Cereal, Let some other type of cereal have its day in the spotlight.

Conducting the Experiment

I separated the cereals into three groups of six and one group of seven. These cereals were grouped at random with the exceptions of the control cereals. I did those last because 1. I did not want their scores to affect the other scores, and 2. Because I used a premade Coco Krispie bar rather than make one. I did this because it was easier that way, because the regular Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies should have the same scores for everything but taste, and because I would have had to buy an extra bag of marshmallows to do that one. If you want to not accept Cocoa Krispies as a part of the experiment, for this reason, I understand, but I also think you should know that I don’t give a shit about what you think.

I conducted the experiment over the course of 7 months. I made a cup’s worth of 6 kinds of cereal according to the directions on the marshmallow bag. For those unfamiliar with making Rice Krispie Treats, the recipe is as follows: 1 bag of Marshmallows, 6 cups Rice Krispies, 3 Tbsp of butter.  Directions: Pour cereal into nonstick glass container. Melt butter and marshmallows in saucepan until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix until well combined. Flatten with spatula or back of a spoon. Let cool.

Data

Frosted Flakes

Size- 3

EOM-2
Appearance-4
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Maybe use regular corn flakes instead

Notes- Very sweet, runs the risk of going soggy

Cocoa Puffs

Size-3

EOM- 5
Appearance- 4
-Toughness- 4
Taste-9
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows maybe

Notes- Tastes much better than anticipated

Froot Loops

Size- 4

EOM- 6
Appearance- 8
-Toughness- 4
Taste- 6
-MCI- 2
Practical Edibility- 7
Total Score- 21

Improvements?- Dried fruit? These are pretty good on their own and don’t need much improvement at all, honestly.

Notes-none

Cookie Crisp

Size- 5

EOM- 5
Appearance-3
-Toughness- 5
Taste-4
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-3
Total Score-7

Improvements?- Chocolate chips

Notes- The Vanilla flavor really comes out with the marshmallow

Pops

Size-5

EOM-8
Appearance-3
-Toughness-3
Taste-6
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-17

Improvements?- none

Notes- the more you eat, the worse it tastes

Apple Jacks

Size-4

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-4
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-15

Improvements?- Sprinkled cinnamon into the marshmallow mixture

Notes- very sweet, marshmallow overpowers the cereal

Fruity Pebbles

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-10
-Toughness-1
Taste-10
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-10
Total Score-38

Improvements?- none

Notes-surprisingly good for a cereal I’ve never enjoyed

Count Chocula

Size-6

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-11

Improvements?- use marshmallow fluff instead

Notes- marshmallows in cereal melt when you add warm marshmallow mixture

Cookies & Cream Cereal

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-3
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?- a better tasting cereal

Notes-cereal was stale (my fault and not factored into the cereal’s score) but it was better after letting the marshmallow soak into them

Cinnamon Life

Size-6

EOM-4
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-8
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-6

Improvements?- none that I can think  of

Notes- crumbles apart easily

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Size-5

EOM-6
Appearance-6
-Toughness-2
Taste-10
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score- 19

Improvements?- nothing

Notes- the best tasting so far, the cinnamon sugar mixed well w/ marshmallow

Honey Bunches of Oats

Size-3

EOM-8
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-6
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-21

Improvements?- none

Notes-none

Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-10
-Toughness-6
Taste-8
-MCI-8
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-16

Improvements?- all Crunch Berries? All regular?

Notes-very attractive looking cereal bar

Krave

Size-7

EOM-3
Appearance-2
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-6

Improvements?- chocolate chips

Notes-cereal and chocolate didn’t go well together with marshmallow

Honey Nut Cheerios

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-5
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Any Variety of Cheerios you like. Cheerios are like the Body Snatchers of the cereal world: if there is a type of cereal that exists, Cheerios has tried to mimic it.

Notes-sweet at first, but you still get the honey, nut, and oat flavors

Trix

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-7
-Toughness-7
Taste-8
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-14

Improvements?-?

Notes-I bought my package of Trix before they switched back to using artificial colors. If I had bought it later, it would probably have a higher appearance score.

  • Also, it sticks to your teeth a little

Reese’s Puffs

Size-3

EOM-3
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-18

Improvements?-more marshmallow mixture

Notes-marshmallow crumbled off of cereal when cooled- combination of subpar mixing and waxy coating on cereal

Golden Crisp

Size-2

EOM-7
Appearance-4
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-24

Improvements?-go with unsweetened puffed rice cereal instead

Notes- a little too on the sweet side, but otherwise delicious

Golden Grahams

Size-5

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-9
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-26

Improvements?-chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows

Notes-none

Lucky Charms

Size-3

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-24

Improvements?-my dick. Just kidding! I wanted to see if you were actually reading this. Good job! But for real, maybe use premade marshmallow fluff instead next time.

Notes-lost an appearance point due to crumbling marshmallows

Honey Comb

Size-7

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-7

Improvements?- break apart the pieces before hand

Notes-pieces too big to make it practical to eat

Frosted Mini Wheats

Size-9

EOM-Started as a 10, ended as a 2…. So 6 I guess?
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-4
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-6

Improvements?-smaller pieces or the flavored varieties

Notes-I chose standard Mini Wheats over the Litte Bites because I thought it would be funnier. Which, judging by the pictures I took while trying to eat this monstrosity, I was correct. Other than that, it started off sweet but went bland very quickly. It was also very dry, as the shredded wheat  bricks didn’t properly absorb the marshmallow fluff.

Raisin Bran

Size-3

EOM-2
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?-more marshmallow

Notes-I didn’t mix it properly. So it falls apart a little. The brittleness of the flakes made it more difficult to mix

Rice Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-0
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-30

Improvements?-chocolate chips? Cinnamon? Really these are a good tabula rasa for you to get creative with

Notes- these are standard, I don’t have any notes that you don’t already know

Cocoa Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10 (assumed)
Appearance-6 (this is not considering its cut shape; I just prefer chocolate)
-Toughness-3
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-28

Improvements?-Add dark chocolate chunks or dip it in melted chocolate

Notes-I bought a premade bar for this one because I ran out of the other ingredients for another batch of cereal bars. You can either accept these results or discount them. I dgaf.

Interpreting the Data

According to my calculations, the cereal with the highest score was Fruity Pebbles. This was a surprise for me since I have never liked any kind of Pebbles cereal before. It’s possible that since I was so surprised at how good the Fruity Pebbles turned out, that my scores for it were higher than they should be. And the fact that Fruity Pebbles was my only outlier in this study with 8 points separating it and the runner-up backs up this theory. In rebuttal to this, here are the totals for the cereal bars I didn’t like: Cookies & Cream- 14, Krave- 6, Reese’s Puffs- 18. While Krave was one of the three to have the lowest score, Cookies and Cream did moderately well and Reese’s Puffs came out about average. On top of that, some of my favorite cereals bars didn’t fare as well as I would have guessed. For Instance, Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs got a score of 16 and 19- two less and one more than Reese’s Puffs. And while they were two of my personal favorites, Reese’s Puffs was one of my least favorite cereal bars. Cinnamon Life, which is one of my favorite cereals, got a score of 6, tying it with Krave.

My expected winner, Golden Crisp tied for 5th place with Lucky Charms. And while I was right about the overall size of the pieces affecting their score, I originally thought that it wouldn’t necessarily give smaller cereals any sort of real advantage. The second half of that sentence turned out to be incorrect. The small pieces did turn out to have the highest scores and the largest pieces were among the lowest scoring cereals. That’s why Honeycomb scored so low in Practical Edibility- the pieces were simply too big to be practical. Plus, the smaller the cereal (with the exception being the flake cereals), the easier it was to mix in the marshmallow and have it mixed evenly.

The Average score came out to be 17.56, with Pops and Reese’s Puffs landing in the average range of 17-18. All this data analysis can be interpreted in 2 ways: Either my scoring system needed more work, or I successfully prevented my personal preferences from interfering with my results.  I like to believe it’s the latter.

Errors I Might Have Made/ How to Improve This Experiment

I think the biggest error made in this experiment would be the lack of test subjects. If I had more test subjects, it might have ended with more consistent totals. After all, the one website I found while researching had test subjects, and the rest of their “experiment” was amateurish at best.

In my defense, I was trying to have as few variables as possible, and stupid people’s wrong opinions are definitely a variable. Also, I guess I just wanted to experiment on myself like the great renegade scientists like Jonas Salk, Paul Stapp, and that guy that cracked the knuckles in only one of his hands for, like, 50 years to see if cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

I was going to make a joke about self-experimentation in this caption, but I just noticed that this little motherfucker just got jizzed on by a glass dick.

It is also possible that my findings are inaccurate due to my point system that could be incomplete. I think I covered all the necessary bases, but I also admit I could have missed something or even broke down each point more. Granted, how do you break down what cereal bars look like more than just appearance? The most visually interesting ones are the ones with a lot of colors, and the rest sort of look boring when you really think about it. And all of them kind of look like they’re slathered up with a thick layer of cum.

And if you look at the process I made the cereal bars, an issue I had not prepared for was mixing in the marshmallow into six different bowls at once. Since I was the only person working on this, I had to pour the melted marshmallow into the six different bowls and then stir them individually. And anyone who has made Rice Krispie Treats before knows how quickly that mixture turns into glue when it cools. Simply put: my process of mixing one bowl at a time possibly contributed to the lowering of the Ease of Mixing score of each subsequent cereal. I tried to adjust for that, but you cannot do that accurately if you’ve never made cereal bars out of that type of cereal before.

There was also a large variety of cereals I did not test. But Holy shit. I tested 25 and you’re still not satisfied?! What the hell do you people want from me?

Conclusion

While 75% of my hypothesis lies bleeding in the dust, it is safe to say that, based on the factors I’ve outlined, Fruity Pebbles is the clear winner and best choice to make into cereal bars. However, I feel that it is important to note that one’s personal cereal preferences should be taken into account when deciding what cereal bars to make. And besides a few cereals that do not work as cereal bars, most cereals make descent cereal treats.

So what did you think about the results? Do you agree? Do you think I’m amazing? Are you going to start worshipping me as your new god? Do you think there was a flaw in my experiment/ scoring system? Well, fuck you Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. You know what, since you think you’re soooooo great, how about you try recreating this experiment?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Scientists usually repeat their experiment over and over again to ensure accurate findings. That is the only way to make sure that the outcome is correct, after all. So you all can do this experiment yourself and tag me in the results so I can take a big steamy dump all over your hard work, you ungrateful dicks.

Until then, I guess I’ll just be the world’s foremost leading expert on cereal treat bars.

Peace

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 2! (Revisitied!)- Part 3!!!

 

This section is long, so I’ll  get right to it. Here are parts one and two if you haven’t read them or need to be reminded of what happened. They are much shorter. Enjoy

Over the four days leading up to our coup of the Kardassian residence, not a single thing went as we hoped. Wait, that’s not true; Damien’s workouts were going perfectly. Damien was pushing us harder than he had ever done before, making himself resemble more of an overaggressive drill Sargent rather than a coach. But as for everything else: Shit went to hell fast. Our one potential lead on Kim’s ass, a blogger who once hated Kim Kardassian but suddenly became her biggest fan, was too mentally far gone to be of any real help, so Lady Smash and I had basically spent an entire day following a red herring, Jesse was still having issues with the Awesomebus!’s engine, Everett misplaced several of his tools, and Raul had disappeared. While searching the base for Raul, Lady Smash and I told the team about our meeting with the blogger and formulated our plan for the break-in.

By the ninth, the day our break in and overthrowing of Kim Kardassian was planned, we still had not found Raul. So while Jesse finished working on the Awesomebus!, the rest of the team did a sweep of the base and surrounding areas. Of course, Nut’n Fancy had to voice his opinions about it.

“I always said we shouldn’ trust Raul,” Nut’n Fancy reiterated for the 3,000th time, “I said that he’d hightail it outta here first chance he got.”

“His car’s still out front, Nut’n Fancy,” Everett said, “He couldn’t have gone anywhere without his car.”

“Except maybe Mae’s Woe,” GMZ noted. He then turned to me and asked, “Has anyone checked there yet?”

“Criss, Damien, Derren, Lady Smash, and Phlegm are searching the town right now. They haven’t found him yet. Do you have the keys to the jail cells?

“Hey guys!” Jessie exclaimed as we came back from checking the cells, “I got the Awesomebus! fixed! We’re ready to go now.

“We can’t, We still have to find Raul,” I told him.

“No, Minigan,” GMZ argued, “You do. The rest of the Kardashians will be leaving for Kim’s fake surprise party, and it took me all of the past three days making calls to make it work. If you screw this up, we won’t get another chance- mostly because I won’t do it again.”

I sighed, “Fine, let me get the rest of the team back here.”

I paged the team scouting for Raul in Mae’s Woe through our earpieces, and then Nut’n Fancy, Everett and I headed to the armory to gather up our weapons while Jesse went back down to the Awesomehangar! and GMZ made his way to the Watchtower. Slowly, the five team members made their way to the Awesomebase! and into the armory.

As the final member, Damien, walked in, he asked, “What’s happening? Why did we call off the search?”

“We need to go on our mission,” I answered, “We’ll resume the search when we get back.”

“But he’s been gone three days! He could be bleeding to death in a ditch somewhere!”

“Well,” Everett interjected, “If he has been bleeding in  ditch for three days, he’s probably already dead.”

We all stared at Everett.

“What?!” he cried, “I’m just stating the facts!”

“I still don’t think we should give up now,” Damien said, “Raul is one of us. He should be a priority.”

Just then, GMZ marched in and announced, “I’ll keep looking for him while you guys go fight Kim Kardassian. I’ll just watch all the security footage and find where he went.”

“You didn’t do that first?!” Lady Smash shouted.

“I’m sorry I was too preoccupied with putting this whole diversion together to do something anyone else on this team could have done,” GMZ snapped at her, “but now that I have the time, I can.”

“OK, so it’s settled,” I said, “GMZ will watch the security footage.” I turned to Damien and added, “Do you want to stay here and help him with that? You do seem pretty concerned for Raul.”

“No,” Damien replied in a defeated tone, “GMZ’s handling it. I’ll come along with you.”

With that, Team Pugnastics and Team Prevention separated and prepared themselves for their tasks ahead. Phlegm would be in charge of getting us into the Kardashian house and taking control of their security cameras.

About five minutes later, everyone heading out was suited up, armed, and ready to take down Kim Kardassian. We boarded the Awesomebus!, and Jesse drove us through the Awesomehangar!’s tunnel and onto the road. The trip to LA was a dull one. It was Everett’s turn to choose the music we listened to, so he chose “Run This Town” by Jay-Z, which prompted me to retell the time I nearly crashed through his window during our fight with Donald Trump.

We got to Kim Kardassian’s neighborhood around 9:00. The road was quiet but well lit. Jesse killed the engine, and we sat quietly, waiting for Phlegm to do her job. After a minute or so, the streetlights above us went out, followed by the rest of the street. Still sore from Damien’s damn workouts, we hobbled up the street with our 500 pounds of protective gear and weapons.

Keeping-Up-Kardashians-House

This is truly the entrance to Hell.

“Hurry,” I whispered to them, “Phlegm can’t leave the streetlights off for too long, otherwise the locals will get suspicious.”

“We know and we are,” Lady Smash grunted from behind me, “But it feels like someone pumped concrete into my muscles and is forcing me to run through sand.”

There was a murmur of agreement, as well as some well-placed curse words directed at Damien, but we continued down the street to the Kardashian house. We just made it to our target’s house as the streetlights came back on. I ducked around the corner, and with my team behind me, I snuck towards the back yard.

Pressing the button on my earpiece, I said, “Phlegm, we’re in position. Take out the security cameras now.”

There was the sound of a keyboard clicking on her end, then some unintelligible muttering between her, Derren, and GMZ. Finally she said, “It’s a go. All security systems are off line. But be careful. There still is a lot of camera crews around.”

I said, “Got it,” and then turned to my team and whispered, “Take anyone on the production team out with tranquilizer darts.” I threw my grappling hook over the wall and said, “Let’s go.”

I was the first one over the wall, and I fell flat on my face. I managed to roll myself out of the way just enough for Everett to fall behind me. I stifled a groan as I stood up and then pulled out my tranquilizer gun. Once the rest of the team was back on the ground, we fanned out around the pool and made our way to the house. My steps were deliberate and slow. I moved without a sound except steadily increasing heartbeat. It was dark in the backyard; there was no lights except the ones that came from in the pool, but I felt like I could see everything. My tongue tingled, I was so excited to take out Kim Kardassian. Wait- no. I was biting my tongue. Shit. Just as I stepped onto the patio and prepared to take Kim’s back door (pun very much intended), I heard a light “puft” and then a splash of a body falling in the water. I spun around. Criss and fallen into the pool, that fucking moron.

“Did you hear that?” A man’s voice said from inside.

“Shit, Criss, get out of the pool.” I whispered.

“He can’t,” Damien whispered back, “I accidentally shot him with a dart.”

“You bloody Moron!”

The back doors swung open and two grungy looking guys in t-shirts and shorts stepped out. They immediately saw Criss and ran to the pool. Lady Smash and I got each of them with a tranquilizer dart.

“Somebody get Criss out of the pool,” I commanded to my team.

Everett volunteered, and the rest of us snuck inside, with me in the lead. The first room we entered was the kitchen. Just about everything was white, except for the black and white checkerboard floor, the matching tea kettle, and the mirror like backsplash. Something felt off about the room. As I looked around, everything from the vase full of flowers to the pots and pans, to even the plates in the cabinets felt staged- nothing was out of place. It reminded me of a staged home in a housing development through which potential buyers could take a tour. As we crept into the equally pristine den (where a soaking wet Everett rejoined us), I yet again found no evidence that this house was lived in by these people. As Lady Smash thumbed through a pile of neatly stacked but otherwise untouched magazines with Kim Kardassian’s face on them, I could tell she was thinking the same thing.

It wasn’t until we entered the front hallway until we heard any voices at all. It was a woman’s voice… Kim’s voice. Something deep inside me rose up, making my heart race and my hands tremble.

“Minigan, are you OK?” Lady Smash whispered from across the hallway.

Everyone was looking at me. It was obvious that her voice alone still had an effect on me. I clenched my fist and took a couple deep breaths.  Get it together, Minigan, I thought to myself, You’re not going to fuck this up for the rest of the team. Get a hold of yourself, and block out thoughts of Kim’s ass.

I let out one long breath and replied, “I’m fine. Let’s do this.”

Don’t think about Kim’s ass.

We moved closer to the room where the Kim’s voice was coming from. Remembering the floorplans that GMZ gathered, it was coming from the room they used for their confessionals. When we got close enough that I could understand what she was saying, I knew I was right.

Don’t think about it. Do not think about Kim Kardassian’s ass.

“I cannot believe my family went to a party and didn’t invite me!” Kim’s voice cried in a betrayed tone.

Her ass, don’t think about it.

A man’s voice replied, “That was good, Kim. But let’s try it again, and this time sound more hurt. Remember, they didn’t even tell you they were going to a party. They just left you here. How does that make you feel?”

Her perfect, round, big ass. Don’t think about that ass…

“It makes me feel like I should crush them!” Kim yelled.

Crush them with that ass… stop thinking about that ass!

“Let’s work on this confessional first,”  the man said, “Then you can destroy your family.”

Don’t let the ass take control. Don’t let the ass take control. Don’t let the ass take control.

Damien, who was closest to the door, put his hand on the doorknob and looked to me. I gave him a nod, and he burst through the door. He immediately took out the two camera men with his tranquilizer gun. However, Kim jumped onto her chair and spun around to show us her ass. Damien, Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and I froze in place. I stared directly at those perfect orbs, and as I did I heard Billy D William’s voice in some distant corner of my head.

MBFW Miami Swim : Becca - Front Row

“Hey baby” I head it say from afar.

No.

“C’mon baby. You know you want to let me in.”

No. Go away. I don’t want you.

“Then why do you hear me at all?”

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, ASS!

“You don’t want to make this easy for me? Fine, baby, I’ll let myself in.”

Kim started to bounce her ass up and down, and suddenly there was nothing else besides her ass. No room, no camera equipment, no fellow members of Awesomesquad!, just that ass.

“That’s better,” The Ass said, “Didn’t you miss me?”

“Yes,” I replied, “It feels like a lifetime since we’ve been apart.”

I heard a small voice, coming from a woman, say “Ugh.”

The Ass paused. It was unpleased with that woman’s ugh.

“What’s wrong, you glorious buttocks?” I asked The Ass.

“You brought someone with you. A woman. I do not like her. Destroy her.”

“Are you sure you want me to destroy her?” I replied, “That must be Lady Smash, I could just get her to leave.”

“I can hear you, you hypnotized dipshits!” Lady Smash’s voice interjected.

“She is too much of a threat,” The Ass answered, “Destroy her, and we can be together forever.”

“Of course, I will destroy her.”

I turned away from The Ass and searched through the fog in the room to find Lady Smash. She had backed into a corner. I pulled out a knife from my pocket.

“Guys,” the evil Lady Smash pleaded, “Listen to me. You’re all being hypnotized by Kim Kardassian. You need to fight it.”

“I would rather fight you,” some unimportant voice said from somewhere else in the room.

Lady Smash scowled, “So be it.”

In an instant, Lady Smash had grabbed the back of my head and smashed my face into the wall. I crumpled down into the corner with a dull pain spreading across my face. She ran out of the room. I dove after her and missed, and several other people chased after as I scrambled back to my feet.

I ran out of the confession room, my face wet with what I assumed was blood from my nose, and followed the sounds of Lady Smash and the other people to the kitchen. I unsheathed a knife I found on my vest and stepped into the kitchen. Lady Smash was backed into a corner of the kitchen, on the other side of the island, with Nut’n Fancy and Damien on one side, and Everett on the other.

The Beautiful and Glorious Ass commanded, “Attack her all at once, baby. She can’t fight you at the same time.

The four of us took a step towards her. She grabbed a frying pan from its hook over the stove, and swung it at Everett. He dodged it, but it caught Nut’n Fancy in the jaw. Nut’n fancy spun around, and fell to the floor, and then Lady Smash kicked the distracted Everett in the chest. Damien and I charged together at Lady Smash, who dove headfirst over the kitchen island. She stumbled to her feet and ran into the living room, yelling something unimportant to someone that wasn’t there. We followed her, knives drawn. The Glorious Ass had removed itself from the battle, thankfully.

Lady Smash overturned the couch and the chairs, before fleeing the room. This didn’t slow Damien, and slowed Everett and I only slightly. We chased the vile woman into the den. She had two guns drawn, one looked like a Taser, and was continuing to babble to someone.

“I know how to finish this,” Nut’n Fancy announced with a smirk.

Lady Smash’s evil eyes grew wide as Nut’n Fancy unholstered his gun. There was a “pamf” and Nut’n fancy fell stumbled to the ground with a dart in his neck.

“One down,” Lady Smash said, “Minigan, please don’t make me beat the shit out of all of you.”

Damien roared and charged at Lady Smash. She tagged him with her Taser, and he fell into a convulsing heap on the floor. While she was distracted by Damien, I charged at her. She dodged my knife swipe at the last second, but I did manage to slice at her arm. There was a spurt of blood, and an accompanying “Motherfucker!” from Lady Smash before she spun kicked me into the wall. My head smacked against the modern fireplace, and I fell to the ground.

Suddenly, there were a lot of new voices in my head. Familiar voices. They were calling for me.

“Minigan?!” Do you hear me?” The voice then mumbled to someone else, “Do you think he lost his earpiece?”

“His mind is being controlled by Kim’s fat ass, GMZ” a woman replied, “He can’t hear you.”

“I can now,” my mouth managed to speak, “Lady Smash, keep doing that. It’s working.”

“Hey baby. Don’t talk to her. She’s evil.” The Ass said in my ear.”

“It’s taking ahold again, Smash,” my voice managed to say, “Keep doing it.”

“Doing what?!”

The voices were gone. All that remained was the soothing, sensual voice of The Ass. The Ass was my world again, 1,000 times and 1,000 times more. I climbed back to my feet. With my knife in hand, I charged at her again. I jabbed and slashed at Lady Smash’s stupid, evil face, but she was just nimble enough to avoid getting cut. She grabbed a lamp off of an end table and hurled it at me. I dodged it, and the shattering glass was accompanied by a heavy thump behind me.

“Do something!” Lady Smash yelled to me.

“I’m about to,” I replied.

I reached into my cloak and found Justice Stick. I tugged on the pole and it came sliding out of its pocket. I aimed the blade Lady Smash’s throat and took a step forward. Then, I was airborne.

With the force of a truck, something plowed into me and threw Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and myself into the wall. When I climbed out from the other two I saw that magical douchebag Criss standing between Lady Smash and me, dripping wet with his arm outstretched and his palm flat. I scrambled to my feet, managed to yell something like, “Magical motherfucker!”  and dove headfirst into the invisible wall between us.

Once again, the other voices in my head were back. My surroundings were clearer, and the looks on both Lady Smash and Criss’s faces were of both shock and fear. My head throbbed, and the copper taste of blood lingered in my mouth.

“Criss, Smash!” I yelled, “Keep hitting us on the head. It’s the only way to knock us out of it!”

“You don’t need to yell, dick, we’re right here,” Lady Smash retorted.

“Well, I’m glad I didn’t cut off your sass when I cut you. But seriously, sorry about that,” I said back.

“YOU TRIED TO KILL ME!”

“Only because he was hypnotized by Kim Kardassian,” GMZ’s voice interjected over our earpieces.

I climbed to my knees and put my hands on the invisible wall. I looked into Lady Smash’s eyes. The fear was still there.

“Listen to me,” I said to Lady Smash, “You’re going to have to knock the thoughts out of us. It’s the only waaa-“

Nut’n Fancy grabbed me by the throat, and with more strength than I expected from him, threw me against the wall.  Sharm pain shot through my chest and back as I fell onto an end table and then onto the ground. When I looked up, Nut’n Fancy and Everett were clawing at the invisible wall. And then Kim Kardassian stepped into the room. Almost immediately, the other voices started to recede, and The Ass’s voice began to resurface.

 

Derren, who’s voice was grew more and more distant with each word, called to me, “Fight it! You must decide you don’t want to be hypnotized!”

“Don’t listen to him, baby. I’m all you’ll ever need. Everyone else is a distraction.”

Another voice rang out in my head. It was even smaller than Derren’s but even under The Ass’s influence, I knew whose voice it was. Mine. Remember Lady Smash, Minigan, I said to myself, You will not hurt her again. Or Criss, or the rest of the team. You will fight this ass.

Kim Kardashian 3- Censored

“No.” I blurted out, “You will not hypnotize me anymore!”

And with that, The Ass’s Billy D Williams voice was gone. I stood up, looked to Kim Kardassian, and raised a single middle finger. She glared at me, and, without speaking a word to them, Nut’n Fancy and Everett stopped clawing at the invisible wall and turned to me.

Everett lit the burner on his flame throwers and swung the column of fire at me. I dodged it, barely. I ducked down and spun away from him, my face still catching some of the heat from the flame. Deafening shots rang out. The bullets from Nut’n Fancy’s gun bounced of the back of my cloak and clattered on the floor. The gun fire stopped- he was out of bullets. Thinking quickly, I grabbed the end table that I fell on by the legs, swung around, and broke it across Nut’n Fancy’s face as he reloaded his gun. He fell to the floor, let out a weak groan, and began clutching his head.

I turned to Everett, who had lit his flamethrower again and aimed the plume directly at my face. I high kicked, and managed to chatter the butane tube of Everett’s wrist, killing the fire. Everett then came at me swinging, but I flipped him over my head and dropped him behind me. I dropped on top of him and started smacking his head with the closest end table leg I could reach. One hard blow on the top of his skull ended Everett’s fighting, and left him groaning in pain. I grabbed him by the face, and made him look at me.

“Say that you don’t want to be hypnotized,” I commanded.

“Wha?”

“I said, Say that you don’t want to be hypnotized, otherwise I’m going to slam your head into the floor until your skull cracks!”

Everett cried, “I don’t want to be hypnotized!”

Suddenly his eyes grew wide and he let out a gasp.

“Yeah,” I replied, “ I know.” I looked to Nut’n Fancy, who was fumbling around on the ground, and asked, “Say it too, Nut’n Fancy or I’m going to clobber you just like did Everett.”

“I don’t wanna to be hypnotized no more,” Nut’n Fancy stated.

I climbed to my feet, and then pulled Everett and Nut’n Fancy to theirs. They rubbed the lumps forming on their heads, but otherwise they seemed fine. I looked around. Kim Kardassian was long gone. I stepped up to the barrier between us and Criss and Lady Smash.

“You can let us out now,” I said to Criss, “I think we have it under control.”

Criss and Lady Smash exchanged apprehensive glances, but Criss finally lowered his arm. The three of us walked through what was once Criss’s invisible barrier.

“Nice job holding us of off, Lady Sma-“

She punched me hard in the nose, making it gush blood again.

“Jesus Christ the kung fu master! I said I was sorry!”

“Stop use’n The Lord’s name in vain!”

“Well,” Lady Smash replied in an even tone, “We at least know the two of you are back to normal.”

“Guys,” Everett interjected, “Where’s Damien?”

Shit.

Together, the five of us left the den to look for our rogue teammate. We took silent steps- well, as silent as we could with Criss’s wet boots making a splosh sound with each step. We stepped (and Criss sploshed) back into the kitchen. The pristine kitchen was dark and silent. There was no trace of either Kim Kardassian nor Damien.

“Do you think he left with her?” Lady Smash asked in a whisper.

“I’m not sure,” I answered.

“Cause that would be a great twist if he really went rogue and officially teamed up with a villain and we had to defeat him.”

“But that would suck for us.”

I peered around the room, and my eyes fell on the only closed door. The pantry.

“It would make this story really interesting, though,” Criss added.

“What story?”

“Our story. Of what we’re doing. I’m breaking the fourth wall.”

“Well stop. It’s weird. Plus this is real life not some story,” I retorted.

“You’re right. Plus, the plot is vague at best.”

I shushed him and pointed to the pantry door. Everyone nodded, and we all crept to the door. I held my breath, listening for any sound of life from behind that door. Everything was still. I glanced back at my team, who were eyeing the door and clutching their weapons in anticipation, and I reached for the doorknob.

“Shit!”

The five of us let out a scream of shock.

“What, GMZ, What?!” I cried.

I turned away from the door, just a few degrees, and Damien burst through and tackled me. With little effort at all, he pinned me to the ground with his knees and held his knife high above me. In one fluid motion, Lady Smash swung her frying pan and smacked Damien across the face with it, knocking him out and off of me. Nut’n Fancy and Everett pulled me back to my feet as I screamed into my earpiece.

“What the fuck is so important that you had to interrupt us like that, GMZ?! I could have been killed!”

“I know who did it?!”

“Did what?”

“Everything!” GMZ replied, “The multiple Awesomebus! problems, Everett’s missing tools, it was all Damien! He tampered with the bus, and stole the tools off Everett’s desk.”

“Lady Smash,” I asked, turning to her, “Did you make sure that you knocked Damien out when we were watching Keeping up With The Kardashians?”

“Yeah,” she replied, uncertain, “I mean I think so. I thought the Taser did the trick.”

Damien stood up behind her with a furious look on his non-bashed half of his face.

“Smash! Look out!” I cried.

Just as Damien went to stab her, Lady Smash spun around and beamed Damien on the same side she had done just a moment before. He crashed down to the floor and clutched his face.

“Shit!” Lady Smash said with a quick laugh to the writhing bald man, “Damien, I didn’t mean to hit you that hard.”

“Bloody Hell, Smash!” Damien cried.

“Sorry, Damien,” Lady Smash replied in a tone that said she wasn’t sorry at all, “But I guess you could say I’m skilleted in hand to hand combat.”

The other five of us groaned at the pun, but Lady Smash ignored it.

Criss and I helped Damien up, and the six of us trudged out the front door and back down the street to the Awesomebus!. When we got there, Jesse was humming some imaginary tune and drumming on the steering wheel. Within a second of seeing us, his expression turned from excitement to horror.”

“What happened in there?!”

“Kim Kardassian’s ass was too strong for their feeble minds,” Lady Smash answered, “So Criss and I had to set them straight.”

“And why is Criss wet?”

“A certain British teammember of ours was hypnotized this entire time, and he took me out with a tranquilizer dart,” Criss answered.

“Damien,” Jesse asked, “I’m guessing that was you?”

“No shit, Jesse.”

“OK!” Jesse added with a laugh, “Let’s get back to the base.”

Jesse started up the bus, and we drove out of West Hollywood and out of L.A. The music was turned off, and everyone sat in silence and tended to their wounds themselves. I saw that Lady Smash was struggling with putting butterfly bandages on the cut I gave her, so I went to help. She pulled back at first, eyeing me suspiciously, but then she sighed and showed me her arm. We sat quietly as I put each of the bandages on her arm.

As I put on the final bandage, I said, “I really am sorry about cutting you like that.”

Lady Smash replied with a sigh, “I know. It was Kardassian’s fault. She is just too powerful… I mean, not for me, I easily overcame the ass. But for you guys? She is quite the formidable opponent.”

Thankfully, just then, Team Prevention interrupted Lady Smash’s self-congratulatory speech over the bus’s speakers.

“Hey everyone,” Phlegm said, “We’ve scoured the tapes looking for any sign of Raul, and we cannot find him. The last thing we see of him is him leaving the Awesomebase! and stepping out of sight of the cameras.”

“I know where he went,” Damien interrupted, removing the ice from his beaten face.“He went into the woods to build a marker for Kim Kardassian.”

“So she would know where to find us!” Everett exclaimed, his eyes wide at the revelation.

“Jesse,” I commanded, “Get us back to the Awesomebase! as soon as possible.

“Sure thing, Boss!”

We got back to the base sometime in the middle of the night, and everyone other than Lady Smash looked far worse than before we got on. I my skin was pale and my face was caked with dried blood, Everett and Nut’n Fancy were sporting several large goose eggs on their heads as well as  a few bruises to their face. Everett was limping. I think getting thrown into the wall by Criss’s magic may have sprained his ankle. But Damien was by far the worst. He looked like if Two-Face from Batman and an orc had angry tequila sex and had a mutant Halfling baby. The one side of his face was almost completely black and blue, and it had swollen up so much that his eye was forced shut.

We met up with team prevention, and everyone followed Damien into the woods, flashlights drawn, down our old sexual walkabout trail- turned obstacle course (yes, we did keep the signs up) to the clearing were we used to keep the Awesomecopter! Damien stopped at the edge of the clearing, but I walked past him to get a better view. Then, without warning, I ran out of ground. Damien managed to grab hold of me around my chest as I dangled over a deep hole that wasn’t there before. When I stopped looking the ground  several feet below me, I saw what Raul had built. Two giant, round, perfectly identical mounds of dirt, at least forty feet tall, sat in the center of the clearing.  On top of one of the mounds was Raul. He was crouching down, and it looked like he was stroking the mound.

“It’s a giant butt,” Nut’n Fancy said in awe.

“It’s Kim’s giant butt,” GMZ added.

Earth Mound

It’s glorious.

Damien let me down first, and then everyone except Everett jumped down after me, and we made our way out of the giant ditch and up the mound to Raul. Nut’n Fancy and Criss managed to subdue him without much of a fight.

“Ok,” I said, “Who wants to beat the hypnosis out of him?”

“Not me,” Lady Smash replied, “I think I’ve beaten him up enough for one year.”

“No one has to beat him up, you bloody savages!” Derren yelled, “I can pull him out of the hypnosis without violence.” “Come, Criss,” he added as he started to walk back to the path, “Bring him back to the base and I’ll fix him.”

Once they made it up the ledge and back onto the path with Everett, I looked to my team and said, “I think taking the giant ass monument can be left for tomorrow, what do you think?”

My team murmured in agreement, and we all made our way back to the base to get some much-needed recovery sleep.

A Short Story For My Cousin on His Birthday (Which He Ignored)

Hi friends! No, I’m not dead (at least not physically). For those who have read my blog before, sorry I haven’t posted anything in a year. I promise to finish the Kim Kardassian posts soon. For those of you who are unfamiliar to my bullshit, welcome! Thank you for wasting your time with me.

I assume you’re happy to be here as well.

So, the reason I called you all here is because the worst thing that could ever happen to a person happened to me a few weeks ago: I wrote an excellent Happy Birthday post on my cousin’s Facebook page and he ignored me.

I know. I was mortified too.

Here’s what happened- last month, I was with my immediate family when my sister pointed out that it was our cousin’s (whom, for purposes of this blog, we shall call Joey Jojo Shabadoo) Birthday. But since I was with family, I chose to wait until later to wish Joey Jojo a happy Birthday. And then I forgot. I’ll be the first to admit that that part was on me. And I felt bad that I missed it, so I decided to write a story for him as an apology/ a birthday gift, because who doesn’t love being forced read things shortly after their birthday?

So, I wrote him the story, a story that centuries from now will be hailed as the greatest literary triumph of our time, and posted it to his page a mere two days late. Two! And he didn’t even “like” it, the monster.

So that’s why I’m posting it here today, because someone needs to read it. And if it won’t be the intended recipient, it will be strangers on the Internet.

Enjoy!

Happy Belated Birthday Joey Jojo! I’m so sorry I missed your birthday Sunday, but I have a really good reason! See, it was midday on Sunday, and I was sitting outside at one of the hundreds of French bistros that litter Columbus Ohio, eating a croissant and drinking a latte that Columbus is known worldwide for, when I checked my phone and saw that it was your birthday. “I must think of something profound to write my cousin on this day,” I thought to myself, “he only deserves the best.”

I closed my eyes, just for a moment, to concentrate on the perfect musing to send your way. As I concentrated, a sentence formed in my mind. It shown like a golden beacon of enlightenment amongst an impenetrable night of mindless well wishes. I had found my profound wish to you.

But when I opened my eyes again, my phone was gone! Snatched! Pilfered!

“Son of a wrench… bojangles… Smith!” I thought to myself. “Sweet Virgin mother of dirty fucks!” I shouted because that’s far more coherent than what I thought. I turned to my fellow diners and asked if they saw the phone thief. They all babbled unintelligible nonsense, but all pointed the same direction: towards a weaselly looking man running towards the river. I gave chase, and almost immediately toppled over some weird guy in a beret.

“Sacre bleu!” The human obstacle cried.

“Lousy gibberish! I yelled back.

I continued my chase through the scenic beauty of Columbus Ohio until phone thief and I reached the Scioto river, or as the locals call it, the Seine.

By mistake, the villain ran onto a bridge that was closed halfway across due to construction. I had him trapped.

“Give me back my phone, fuck stick,” I ordered.

The weaselly man gave me a weaselly smile, and without a word, dove over the railing. I ran to where he jumped off and looked over the edge. And wouldn’t you know it, that phone thief landed right on one of the used Kleenex barges that traverse the river every hour. The man waved goodbye to me and laughed a weaselly laugh as he passed the Eiffel Tower.

Wait. Eiffel Tower? Of course! I wasn’t in Columbus at all- I was in Paris! Normally, finding yourself in Paris is a bad thing, but it just so happened that I have a friend who lives in Paris that has helped me in many similar situations before. I needed Draxyl.

Draxyl was one tough customer with a pale face with small, black triangles tattooed above and below his eyes. Beyond his intimidating exterior, Draxyl was a man of few words and many actions; and he isn’t like that just because he’s a mime.

No one ever suspects the mime. But you should.

I found Draxyl on his normal street corner, performing a mime show for a group of tourists. As soon as he saw me amongst the gawkers in the crowd, he collapsed to the ground and began faking a heart attack. Many of the tourists groaned in disappointment and shuffled away. See, most tourists don’t realize that mimes are actually people, so when one dies, they move onto the next one. Draxyl uses this ignorance to his advantage.

Once the crowd had dispersed, Draxyl stood up, brushed himself off, and gestured for me to follow him.

He lead me, as we walked against the wind, to his hideout, which was an abandoned warehouse in the middle of the city.

He opened the door for me, and as soon as I entered, I was greeted by the thick, musty air and a thin young man with tan skin babbling at me.

“Minigan welcome. We’ve been expecting you,” the young man said to me in a Brooklyn accent , “I am Vinny Tyrese Archibald Patrick Saiid Makoto Borowitz-Gutierrez, but you can call me ‘#TheMouth.’

“Uh, hey,” I replied, “why were you expecting me?”

“Because we knew you were coming,” two voices answered in unison from behind me.

I turned to see a pair of identical twins, dressed in the same out fit and identical haircuts on their blond heads, staring past me.

“We are the Sagittarius Twins,” they said in unison again.

“Nice to meet you,” I replied, “but why Sagittarius? Shouldn’t you call yourselves the Gemini Twins?”

“No,” they said together, “because our last name isn’t Gemini.”

“Fair enough.”

“The Sagittarius Twins are our experts in the mystic arts. They melded their minds about three years ago, and now they are one being in two different bodies,” #TheMouth explained. “We have one more teammate for you to meet,” he continued, “once she decides to make her entrance…”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” a seductive Russian voice said from the shadows.

From those shadows emerged a stunning woman with jet black hair and hips that swung from side to side with every step she took in her black leather catsuit.

With a seductive smile, she stepped in close to me and breathed, “Hello, Minigan, I am Svetlana Lustnaughtlov, and I am-how do you say- charmed to meet you.”

“Well, Svetlana,” I replied with a smile, “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” Then, putting my hands on her shoulders, I added, “Now, if you would please step the fuck off, you’re crowding me.”

I pushed her by her shoulders three full fucking steps backwards. Her smile melted into a look of shock and rejection. Fucking Russians, man.

“So, Minigan,” #TheMouth said, “we knew that you were coming, but not why. So, what brings you here looking for our help?”

“Someone stole my phone!” I cried.

The team began to gasp, but then exchanged puzzles looks.

“You can get a new phone. You don’t need us for that.”

“You don’t understand,” I pleaded, “today is my cousin’s birthday, and I need to wish him a happy birthday. He is such an amazing, such an opulent specimen of humanity that he makes makes all other humans, but especially my siblings, look like sweaty garbage. ” I then explained the words of wisdom I wanted to share with you. Their jaws dropped. The air became less musty. The Sagittarius Twins shed identical tears.

Draxyl looked at me with awe and said, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Ok we’ll do it!” #The Mouth interrupted, “I’ll get on my computer and track your phone number. Svetlana, I want you to use your spy connections to find out why someone would take Minigan’s phone. The Twins, I need you to search through Minigan’s memories for any clues.

It took twelve hours. Twelve. Fucking. Hours. Before anyone was able to find anything. And the entire time, #TheMouth talked at me about mundane bullshit that wasn’t about where my phone was. Apparently, my phone was stolen in a worldwide, coordinated attempt to use a app to gain control over the world’s volcanos.

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” I said to this group of idiots wasting my time.

“It’s true, Darling,” Svetlana replied, “My sources told me that an American’s phone is the key to taking control of the volcanoes. I believe that it’s your phone.”

“What? Why my phone?”

The five of them shrugged.

“Great,” I sigh, “well, what are we going to do now? It’s already passed midnight here, which means that it’s 6:00 in the evening back in the States. I only have 6 hours left to get my phone back.”

“And save the world!” #TheMouth added.

“Meh, let’s get my phone first, then we can worry about the world.”

“Alrighty then,” #TheMouth replied, “Let’s get a move on then. We need to get to Mount Vesuvius in Italy. That’s where the chain reaction is supposed to start.”

Great. First it ruins Pompeii, and then it’s central to a nefarious plot to steal my phone. Ugh. This mountain is the worst.

Draxyl lead us to the chopper, and within minutes, we were darting across the Parisian night sky on our way to Italy.

At some point during the trip I fell asleep, and when I awoke, the morning sun was already peaking over the horizon and #TheMouth was still taking about whatever the fuck he was talking about before we left. Shit. I asked for the time. It was 7:15. Double shit. I missed your birthday by an hour and a half. But I knew I could recover from that, as long as I could deliver the musing to you soon.

“We’re getting close!” #TheMouth yelled, “I can see Naples now.

“What’s our plan once we get there, Mouth?” I asked.

“Huh?” He replied, “That’s not my nickname.”

“Sorry. #TheMouth.”

He gave me a weird look. “Hey, you’re pronouncing the first part of my name all wrong. You need to say it like someone who isn’t a millennial.”

I was about to respond when an explosion rocked the cabin of the helicopter. Alarms went off. Svetlana and I screamed. She tried to grab onto me, but I swatted her away.

“We’ve been hit!” #TheMouth yelled from his seat up front, “We’re going down!”

A couple enemy helicopters flew past us, then turned to face us head on.

“Sagittarius Twins,” #TheMouth yelled, “Do something to stop them!”

The Sagittarius Twins stood up from their seats, and pressed their hands against the window. Suddenly, the cabin shook again, and I watched as a Great white shark flew past us and towards our attackers. In no time at all, the shark had destroyed the helicopters and vanished into nothing.

We all cheered.

“Great job you two!” I said to the Twins.

Draxyl called back from the pilot’s seat, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

The cabin door exploded open, and the resulting pressure drop pulled one of the twins out of the cabin. The remaining one fell to the floor, thrashed and shrieked for a few seconds before laying comatose on the floor.

We were still going down- barreling straight towards The side of Mount Vesuvius. Reaching as far as I could, I grabbed the remaining Sagittarius Twin and pulled him close to me. We hit the ground on an angle, and we all lurched forward until the mangled remains of the fuselage came to a stop.

I got up from my seat, my head pounding and my legs weak, and rushed to the twin, who had slipped from my grasp when we hit ground.

“Other Sagittarius Twin, are you ok?” I asked as I shook him.

He didn’t respond.

“I think this one is Scorpio,” #TheMouth replied.

I looked at him, “really? Scorpio Sagittarius?”

“Yep. The other one was named Taurus.”

“I don’t know their parents, but I already hate them,” I spat.

#TheMouth scolded me, “Don’t day that! Both their parents died last year!”

“That is terrible!” Svetlana cried as she wrapped her arms around me, making

sure to place one hand on my chest.

I slapped her away. “What the fuck did I tell you? Stay out of my personal space!” Then, looking to #TheMouth, I asked, “How did they die?”

“Cancer.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Deafening pangs of metal against metal shook us from our conversation and

brought us back to the task at hand.

#TheMouth said, “Minigan, go with Svetlana and Draxyl and get to the peak of Vesuvius. I’ll stay here and tend to Scorpio.”

Draxyl handed me a gun with a wink, and then kicked open the still intact door and started firing. He then grabbed onto an invisible rope and pulled himself out of the mangled helicopter. Svetlana and I followed.

Shots rang out from all around us as we sprinted for cover and fired at any enemy we saw.

When we made it part way up the mountain, the gunfire stopped and everything was still. The three of us took a sigh of relief and lowered our rifles. Draxyl strode ahead of us and then stopped abruptly. He put his hands out in front of them, and they hit an invisible barrier. He spun around, annoyed, opened his mouth to say something. But before he could say anything or even take a step, he hit another invisible wall. Svetlana and I ran to him. He pounded on the walls of the invisible box he was trapped in. Screaming things that couldn’t reach our ears.

“Look!” Svetlana yelled as she pointed to a nearby boulder, “An axe!”

She was right. Sitting against the boulder was a gleaming axe. She ran for it and brought it back to us.

“I’ll get you out of there, Draxyl!” She screamed as she swung the blade at the prison.

The axe passed through the invisible barrier and missed Draxyl by a fraction of an inch. He jumped back and screamed something we couldn’t hear. He pointed to the ground. There was nothing there. He made a chopping motion and then pointed to the same spot. I shrugged to Svetlana and reached to where he was pointing. Then, my hand touched something where there was nothing. I grabbed ahold of what felt like a handle, and moved my hand up to find a head. It was an axe.

I spun back to Draxyl and raised the invisible axe above my head and swung down. There was a crack and then a shatter. Draxyl tumbled out of the broken box.

“Minigan,” he gasped, “You slick son of a-“

“Thank me later,” I said, pulling him to his feet, “let’s just get my phone and stop this volcano thing or whatever.”

We reached the top of Vesuvius within a half an hour and without further altercations. The crater atop Vesuvius was deserted. We looked over the side. Down, deep in the crater we could see the glow of the magma, smell the stench from the sulfur, and feel the heat hitting our faces.

Just as we were about to step back from the precipice, three sets of arms grabbed ahold of us and dragged away.

“Well, well, well, it looks like we found our intruders,” a man with a British accent and an eyepatch said to us. “You must be the famous Mercenary Draxyl Gruntmuffin. Then this must be your sexy assassin Svetlana Lustnaughtlov.” The man looked to me and gave me a cruel grin. “I take it that you are the owner of this phone.”

Belligerent Crumblebrunch! I should have known!

He waved my phone at me. I tried to lunge for it, but the goon holding me was too strong. The man laughed.

“It is perfect that you came here, because it turns out that I need you to open the app that starts the chain reaction.”

“I never downloaded any app that controls volcanoes, idiot. You got the wrong guy.”

The man smiled and replied in a calm tone, “but let me ask. If you had downloaded the app, would you tell me you did?”

“Well, no.”

The man’s smirk grew.

“Ok,” I conceded, “Give me the phone and I’ll open whatever app you want.”

The goon let me go, and Eyepatch handed me the phone. I let out a sigh of relief feeling my phone back in my hands. And then, I kicked the goon that was holding me in the stomach and ran off. The goon stumbled backwards and fell screaming into the crater.

“GET HIM!”

I sprinted to the other side of the mountain, looking through the apps to find the one they were looking for. Hidden deep on the third apps page was “Volcano King 2000!” I opened it. Suddenly, the earth shook around me. J looked up and found myself on the other side of the crater from Eyepatch and his goons.

“HE OPENED THE APP. GET THE PHONE FROM HIM!”

The ground rumbled again, and the crater in front of me grew. The earth crumbled beneath the goons feet, and the two of them tumbled in. Then, Draxyl picked up the invisible axe and swung it at Eyepatch’s face. He dodged the attack, only to get kicked into the fiery hole by Svetlana.

I jumped and cheered for the team. And then I felt the ground give way below my feet. I dove away from the hole, but it wasn’t enough, and I was just able to grab onto the ledge with my free hand.

Svetlana was the first to reach me.

“Give me the the phone,” she ordered.

“Pull me up!” I yelled back.

“No. You refused my advances all this time. Give me your phone. I shall be the one controlling the world’s volcanoes.”

“Ok first of all, I rejected your advances because you kept getting in my space.”

“And what’s second?” She asked.

“This,” said a voice from behind her.

Svetlana rose into the air on her own, and then soared down into the magma pool, screaming until she was submerged.”

Gross… that she always insisted on invading my personal space.

“Scorpio!” I cried as he pulled me out of the hole, “You saved me!”

“I am not Scorpio.”

“Taurus!?”

“No. Taurus managed to assimilate three others before he died. We are now the

Sagittarius Quadruplets now.”

“Oh ok,” I replied, “That’s not alarming at all.”

I deleted the app off my phone, and once I did, I could feel the Earth go calm.

Draxyl walked up to me and clapped his hand on my back. “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Draxyl, take me home.” I interrupted, “I have a birthday apology to write.

And that (plus the fact that this totally real explanation of totally real events took me a day to write) is why my birthday greeting is so late. And I would share with you the profound musing I came up with, but in all the excitement, I totally forgot what it was. Sorry, and I hope your birthday was amazing.

See? That totally deserved a response, and not just a measly Facebook like. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the story more than my ungrateful cousin. And together, maybe we can shame him into reading it and basking in its glory.

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 2! (Revisited!)- Part 2!!

Hey everyone, this is a continuation of last week’s post, so if you didn’t read that one, catch up here. Otherwise, let’s continue.

Kim Kardassian

*****

“Did you kill him?”

“Of course I didn’t kill him.”

“Because it kind of looks like you killed him.”

“I didn’t kill him”

“He does kinda look like he’s dead.”

“He’s not dead!”

“Did you check his pulse?”

“No.”

“Then I guess you don’t know if he’s dead or not, now do you?”

“He’s not dead!”

“Who’s dead?” I mumbled.

“Oh good, he’s waking up,” I heard Lady Smash say.

“You’re dead,” Derren’s voice answered.

“Hey guys!” Jessie’s voice exclaimed, “Who killed Minigan?”

“Shut up, Jessie,” I snapped.

“See, he’s totally not dead,” Lady Smash confirmed.

I opened my eyes and found Jessie, Lady Smash, Phlegm, Criss, and Derren looking down on me. We were in my room. My head pulsed with pain. I tried to rub it, but I couldn’t move my hands. I looked to them and found that I had been bound to my bed with hot pink, fuzzy handcuffs.

“In case you tried to do anything stupid again,” Lady Smash explained as I pulled on the handcuffs.

“OK, well you can let me go now,” I replied.

“No can do,” Phlegm told me, “The last time we tried that, you tried to molest the TV.”

Damien, GMZ, Everett, and Nut’n Fancy walked into my room, each one holding their head and looking nauseous.

“And why didn’t you tie them to their beds?!” I cried.

“Because they weren’t trying to molest the TV,” Derren quipped.

“What happened, anyway?” Everett asked, “All I remember is watching TV, being interrupted and then thrown into the air.”

“I’ll tell you what happened,” Lady Smash snapped, “You all were so drawn into the cultural black hole that is ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ that you didn’t even hear Phlegm and I come in. To get your attention, I turned off the TV. You all went bezerk, except for Derren and Criss, both of whom are not lousy pervs with poor taste.”

“Wow,” Jessie blurted.

“Yeah,” Phlegm replied, “I always figured Criss to be the most unapologetically perverted one in the group.”

“Hey!”

“Oh, please,” Lady Smash scoffed at Criss, “You always go for the hottest chick to help you preform your magic tricks.”

I began, “That’s weird-”

“I know!” Lady Smash interjected, “Who uses magic to pick up women?”

Criss Angel Trick

Criss, seen here seducing the women in the crowd with his magic.

“No, I meant it’s weird that the only reason we started watching in the first place is because GMZ had freaked out on me for interrupting him.“

“OK, so we pinpointed our patient zero,” Phlegm noted, “But we still don’t know why the show turned you all into drooling morons.”

Still strapped to the bed, I rested my head back on the pillow and recalled what happened before I woke up chained to my bed with kink handcuffs. The Ass. Its image was standing out clearly in my head, and it’s voice (which sounded a lot like Billy D. Williams) echoed in my mind clear enough that it could have been talking into my ear. I heard the echo repeat in its sexy, smooth voice “…You must stop them, even if it means killing them…” I opened my eyes again and gasped.

“Kim Kardashian’s ass! That’s what drew me in!” I exclaimed as I struggled against the restraints, “Her ass must have the ability to hypnotize people!”

“No,” Lady Smash said in a matter-o-factly tone, “You’re just a dirty pervert.”

With a condescending laugh, Damien added, “She’s right, Minigan, Kim Kardashian’s ass isn’t hypnotic. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. There has to be a more rational explanation. Maybe we ate something that had a weird effect on us.”

“Like what?” Derren asked, “Only GMZ ate the brownies, and Lady Smash was the one to make those.”

Everett added, “Yeah, unless Lady Smash put LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms into all of our food, I doubt what we ate was the cause.”

“All I’m saying is that we should not start a crusade against the Kardashians just because we were acting a little weird,” Damien replied.

“A little weird?!” Phlegm cried. “All of you went bezerk.”

Lady Smash nodded, “Damien, dude, I love it that we are usually on the same side of arguments, but I think you should probably sit this one out because you’re not helping our side at all.”

“Ok,” Damien admitted, “Maybe we did get out of hand, but I still don’t think we were hypnotized my Kim Kardashian’s ass.”

“Where the hell were you when this happened, Damien?” I asked, “Did you not hear Billy D. William’s voice come out of her ass?”

Damien didn’t answer, but Lady Smash looked to Phlegm and then down to me. “OK, You guys are just fucking with us now, right?”

“Can someone please un cuff me from my bed?” I requested, ignoring Lady Smash’s question. I then asked, “And why did you guys use fuzzy handcuffs?”

“They were the only ones we had here,” Phlegm answered as she freed my ankles from their restraints.

“And who had sex handcuffs here?” Criss queried.

Phlegm and Lady Smash looked to a red faced Everett who threw up his hands and cried, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Once Phlegm had freed my last wrist, I sat up and replied, “I think we need to talk about it.”

“Minigan,” Derren interrupted, “What do you want to do about Kim Kardashian?”

“Wait,” Lady Smash interjected, “You and Criss weren’t acting ‘hypnotized.’ Why do you believe this crap?”

“It didn’t happen to Criss and myself is because we both know how to hypnotize others, which makes it impossible to be hypnotized.”

“So you believe that the Kardashians are harboring a woman with magical ass powers?”

“More like Kardassians,” GMZ quipped.

“Good one, GMZ,” I replied, “Let’s all call her that when we go fight her.”

Lady Smash pinched the bridge of her nose and requested, “Can’t we at least vote on it?”

“Sure,” I replied, “Whoever thinks that Kim Kardassian really does have a hypnotic ass raise your hand.”

Everett, GMZ, Criss, Derren, Nut’n Fancy, and myself raised our hands.

“And whoever thinks that literally any explanation other than ‘Kim K’s ass is magic’ is a better one, raise your hand.”

Phlegm, Jessie, and Damien raised their hands with Lady Smash. She counted the raised hands and scowled at me.

I smiled back at her and announced to my group, “Well, it looks like we’re fighting Kim Kardassian. Everyone get ready.” I instructed GMZ to find the address of the Kardashian house, and to send the rest of the Kardashian Klan across town to what they think is surprise party for Kim.

“What should the reason be?” GMZ asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied impatiently, “To celebrate Kim’s acting debut, or maybe she won some award, or maybe even it’s a party to celebrate Kim simply to remind the rest of the family who the important one is. Any stupid explanation will do. These people are reality TV stars; they’re accustomed to being in terrible story lines.”

GMZ nodded and left, but the rest of my team waited behind.

“Can’t we please talk about this a little more? You’re doing the same bloody thing you did with Trump,” Damien pointed out.

“We put it to a vote, Damien,” I reminded him, “See, that’s how a democracy works: People vote, and the winners of that vote decide what’s going to happen. I know that this concept must be difficult for you to grasp, since you live under the rule of the Queen and all.”

“We’ve had a democratically elected Parliament for the past 208 years, asswipe,” Damien snapped.

“It would be much easier if we had literally any more information,” Lady Smash explained, “Like, how is Kim Kardashian’s ass hypnotizing people, or if it has other powers, like the ability to create clouds and thunder, or possibly if it could shoot deadly missiles.”

kim kardashian ass 1- censored

It’s probably best if we didn’t take any chances.

“Hey that’s a good idea,” I replied, “Theoretically, it could have some more mind manipulating- Wait, are you being serious, or did you just make a make a poop and fart joke.”

“I did. But that first part was totally serious.”

“It couldn’t hurt going into this fight a little better informed,” Everett added.

The others murmured in agreement.

“Fine,” I yielded, “We’ll prepare for the next four days. We’ll gather up intel on Kim, her family, and her ass, but we’ll have to do this the right way. Damien, Go up and tell GMZ to schedule the party for four days from tonight. Then plan out some cardio workouts for tonight to make sure we’re all in good enough shape to fight.”

Rather grumpily, he replied with a simple, “Fine,” and exited my room.

I turned to my two female teammates and said, “Lady Smash and Phlegm, since the ass has no effect on you, go up to the Watch Tower and find out what ever you can about it.” I turned to Derren and Criss and continued, “I’ll need you two to watch as much of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ as you can. We won’t be able to get a blueprint of their house without a permit or breaking into where ever those are kept, but we can learn enough about the layout from the show. Also look for any weaknesses she might have. Everett and Nut’n Fancy, do some research on friends and the rest of the family. Go back through the family tree. Look for anything that might be relevant. Also look into Bruce Jenner’s family. I don’t trust that face.”

“What do you want me to do, Boss?” Jessie asked in an upbeat tone. Despite having voted against the the idea that Kim Kardashian’s ass is hypnotic, he still seemed excited to go on any adventure at all.

“Do a walk through maintenance inspection on the Awesomecopter!,” I answered, “And try to make it as quiet as possible. We’ll be in a residential neighborhood, so we’ll need to keep it quiet.”

“You know that the Awesomecopter! is a helicopter, right?” He asked me, “I can’t just make it silent.”

“Fine,” I replied, “Do something to make the Awesomebus! quieter and more inconspicuous.”

He nodded and left, as did the rest of the team to carry out their various tasks.  I stood up from my bed, paced across my room, and began brainstorming how we were going to break into the Kardashian residence.

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 2! (Revisited!)

Hi Everyone! I know it has been almost a year since I posted anything, and even longer since I posted anything book related, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I started a new magazine with my boyfriend (check it out here), so I’ve been primarily busy writing the articles for that, and I have been working on my book, just nothing that you’ll see here. I did, however, finish the battle between Kim Kardassian and our gang of lovable idiots.

For those who have never read an Awesomesquad! post of mine before, welcome! This should be exciting for you. You’ll probably want some background info, whether you’re new or just need a refresher, so check this page out. It will give you the information you need about the team.

Other than that, enjoy!

Kim Kardassian

*****

It was about a month after I introduced Phlegm to the team before we had any celebrity fighting mission. I actually remember the date- September fifth. The date itself isn’t all that important; I’m just impressed that I remembered it.

Anyway, the guy installing our Satellite TV service had just left, and Derren, GMZ, Criss, and myself were changing back out of our cult garb. Damein, Everett, and Nut’n Fancy were out in the woods surrounding the Awesomebase!, building our obstacle course. Jessie was in the Awesomehangar! working on the Awesomecopter!, and Phlegm and Lady Smash were out buying supplies. Feeling that yet another day would be ending early for me, I headed up to the kitchen to gather up some brownies Lady Smash had baked, and then catch up on some TV. However, when I got to the Great Room, I found that the TV and the brownies had already been claimed by GMZ.

As I approached, I noticed something off. He stared at the TV, his expression blank, and he was barely holding onto the half-eaten brownie in his hand. I watched him for a few seconds, expecting him to snap out of it. He did not.

“Hey, GMZ,” I called to him.

I got no response. I repeated myself, but still didn’t even get a murmur from him.

“LISTEN UP, YOU LOUSY SACK OF DISGARDED LLAMA PLACENTA!” I yelled.

When he didn’t answer to that, I marched towards him, grumbling, and nudged the side of his head. He toppled over, but he snapped out of it.

He jumped back to his feet, his face scrunched up and red with anger, and screamed, “WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT ALL I WAS DOING WAS WATCHING TV WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?!”

“Whoa,” I cried as I dodged his swinging fist, “Calm down. I was just trying to get your attention.”

“CALM DOWN?! NO I WON’T CALM DOWN!!” He took another couple swings at me, which I batted off. He then yelled in my face, “YOU ATTACK ME AND THEN SAY I NEED TO CALM DOWN.”

“What the bloody hell is going on here?” Derren asked as he and Criss rushed into the room. Raul came running into the room from the lab, holding a mop in one hand and a scalpel in the other.

GMZ cried, “I was just watching TV when this psychopath attacked me!”

“I nudged you!” I retorted, “And I only did that because you weren’t answering me!”

“Both of you, calm down,” Derren commanded. He then looked to GMZ and said, “Tell me what happened.”

Damien, Nut’n Fancy, and Everett entered the Great room just as GMZ started his story. GMZ told Derren how he was sitting quietly watching TV and eating a brownie, when I, in a jealous rage, stormed into the Great Room and began beating him over the head. Derren nodded and asked me to tell my side of the story. I explained to him what really happened, and while I did, Derren didn’t take his eyes of me.

Once I was finished telling my side of the story, Derren stood quietly for a couple of long seconds, and announced, “I think they’re both telling the truth.”

“What?!” GMZ roared.

Derren clarified, “I don’t think Minigan actually attacked you, GMZ. None of his body language is coming off as if he’s lying. But I think that you believe that he attacked you, because other than you being livid right now, your body language is saying the same thing.”

“No!” GMZ cried, “He did attack me. He’s just jealous of my relationship with her!”

“With whom?” Derren asked.

“With her!” GMZ shouted as he pointed at the TV screen. The six other men rushed around the couch to get a good look at whom GMZ was pointing.

I looked down to see a towering, vaguely humanoid creature stomping around in the yard. Judging by its surroundings, I figured the beast had to be at least ten feet tall. I could only assume it was a woman by its hair and clothing.

“That mountain giant?” I asked.

“No, not Khloé,” GMZ snapped at me, “Her.”

khloe Kardashian

AAahhh!

 

 

What came onto screen next made me gasp. An ass- but not just any ass- a perfect ass. It was big but toned, round but perky. It was like someone had stuck two balloons under a skimpy red dress. I could not look away. Even the rest of the body attached to the beautiful ass was amazing, but my focus kept getting pulled back to that butt. It was like it was speaking directly to me. And then, it did.

“Minigan, baby,” The ass cooed at me, its rich, smooth chocolaty voice making love to my eardrums, “Just sit down and look at me. I’ll take care of everything you need.”

I believed this ass. I believed it would take care of me. In only that brief amount of time since I had met it, I had never felt anything as strong as the love I felt for it. Even after those few short moments together, it had become more than just my world, it became the whole reason I exist. The answers to all of life’s greatest mysteries were nestled between those firm, cushiony butt cheeks, and I was sure it wanted to confide in me, so I obeyed it.

“I will do anything to make you happy” I heard my self say. I think I heard other people say it too, but they didn’t matter. They were so far away, and their voices were so small, that I knew that they weren’t talking to the stunning ass I had said it too. In fact, not a single thing those voices mattered. The only thing that was important to me anymore was keeping that ass happy.

The Ass replied in it’s deep, seductive voice, “Good. Now, what I want you to do is to send me all the money you have. I need it to make myself look good for you. You’re so handsome and muscular. I want to be the best that I can be for you.”

“What’s going on here?” I heard a faint woman’s voice say. I didn’t answer.

“Hey, guys, what’s wrong?” Another woman, this one just as uninteresting as the first, asked.

“Baby,” The Ass warned, “Two jealous she-devils are trying to keep us apart. They are here now. You must stop them, even if it means killing them. Do it, for uh-“

The world went black, and suddenly, I was thrown into a cruel, hideous world where the Ass was no longer present. In front of me were the two she-devils I was warned about: Lady Smash and Phlegm. The Betrayers! I thought, I bring them onto my team, and they take the love of my life away from me?!

I and several of the men around me screamed at them both. I was in such a mindless rage, that I cannot remember what I, or the rest of them, said, but I do remember screaming to the point where drool was running out of the side of my mouth. Looks of fear were carved onto Lady Smash and Phlegm’s faces, which only made us angrier. I lunged at Lady Smash, who dodged me, threw me to the ground, and drove her boney knee into my spine.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” She yelled, the anger in her voice barely covering up the fear.

“You took The Ass away from me!” I managed to sputter out with what little air my lungs were getting.

“What?!” She, Phlegm, Criss and Derren cried.

I was starting to get a better sense of my surroundings. At the edge of my peripheral vision, I could see forms floating somewhere above Lady Smash’s head. They were the bodies of Damien and Nut’n Fancy.

“What the hell is Minigan Talking about Derren?” Phlegm asked.

“I don’t know. We were just watching ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ when they all went into some bizarre trance.”

Lady Smash grunted and replied, “Why were you watching that garbage anyway?”

“GMZ said that he was in love with someone on there, and he was trying to show us who,” Criss answered.

“Lady Smash,” I gasped, as I squirmed under her knee, “Could you ease up a little bit? I’m sorry I tried to attack you. I’m better now.”

She warned me, “If you try to attack any of us, I’m going to tase the figurative and literal shit out of you.”

“I promise I won’t,” I said with sincerity.

She released her knee from my spine, and immediately I scurried on my hands and knees to the TV and turned it back on. After an entire lifetime crammed into a single second, The Ass returned to me.

“Minigan, baby,” it cooed seductively, “I missed you.”

 

The voice wafted out of The Ass and into my ears, assuring me that it would take care of me, and I was lost to it again.

Kim Kardashian 1-censored

I tried to reach for it, just to touch it and let it know that I was real and there for it, but it vanished and I felt a wave of burning pain crash through my muscles. I tried to scream, but my jaw, vocal chords, lungs, and brain stopped working. My arms and legs twitched as the Great room came back into view. Lady Smash, Phlegm, Derren, and Criss were standing over me, and a pair of wires lead from somewhere in my chest to Lady Smash’s Taser. Then, everything went black.

The American Douchebag’s Guide to America- Kansas City

Overview

Kansas City, located on the Missouri/ Kansas border and at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers,  was founded in the 1830 as a Missouri River port. It was originally called Kansas, but by 1854, when the Kansas Territory was formed, it became confusing to travelers as well as wayward sons looking to carry on. Because of this, the “City” part of Kansas City was added. Clearly, people back then were terrible at naming things. During the 1850s, Kansas City and its neighboring town, Independence became jumping off points for Westward expansion, with Independence marking the beginning of the Oregon trail.

Mecc: Creators of the game Oregon Trail, and the sound you make when you accidentally find yourself in Independence, MO.

Mecc: Creators of the game Oregon Trail, and the sound you make when you accidentally find yourself in Independence, MO.

During the Civil War, Kansas City was an important foothold in the West. See, thanks to the Missouri Compromise, Missouri was considered part of the South and allowed to have slaves, while Kansas was above the Mason-Dixon line, and therefore a Free State. Both of the Battles of Independence were won by the Confederates, but those wins proved fruitless when the Union won the Battle of Westport and booted the Confederates out.

As America expanded, and Kansas City became less and less of a frontier City, a new danger emerged: The mafia. Really.  The Civella Crime Family got its start when two brothers, Joseph “Joe Church” DiGiovanni and Peter “Sugarhouse Pete” DiGiovanni moved to KC from Sicily. With their nicknames (which could have given them lucrative porn careers if that option would have been available to them back then), they made their money racketeering and other criminal operations as soon as they got there.  Say what you want about Sicilians, but they do NOT fuck around when it comes to setting up criminal organizations.

With Prohibition brought the crime family more money and power, as they controlled the bootlegging of booze. Their criminal activity got so bad that it made the wealthy living in the neighborhood, 18th and Vine, flee to the suburbs and threw the once rich neighborhood into destitution. But the silver lining of this is that by the 1930s and 40s, the neighborhood became the birthplace of Kansas City Jazz, and also the home of many Jazz musicians including Charlie Parker. Here is one of his songs, for those of you who aren’t regular Jazz listeners (probably anyone who reads this blog):

Today, Kansas City is home to the Hallmark Factory and Museum, the Negro League Baseball Museum, and the least offensive Native American themed Sports team. It also is a shipment hub for UPS, FedEX, and USPS, due to it being the most Centralized major metropolitan area in the U.S.

Reason for Visiting

This is a new section, which I never really needed before, as my usual motivation for traveling to, say, Scotland is “Because it’s fucking Scotland.” However, after my last Guide to America found me in Iowa, I think it’s necessary to explain why I went to Kansas City, lest you begin to think I have a travel boner for the Midwest.

Which is crazy, because the Midwest has a really flat ass (Kansas is its ass).

Which is crazy, because the Midwest has a really flat ass (Kansas is its ass).

My reason for heading to the KC was because this crazy douchebag:

Lady Kevin

Managed to get the Unpopular Opinion Stand Up Comedy Show to come to his town. For those of you who don’t know, Unpopular Opinion is the stand-up show of Cracked.com. It is headlined by their writer and editor Adam Todd Brown. Now, I’ve been a fan of Adam Todd Brown since he started writing regularly for Cracked, and I’ve been a fan of Cracked for longer than I’ve had this blog, so when Kevin (the crazy douchebag in the picture above) told me that he and his fellow Unpopular Opinion comics, Jeff May and Genevieve Mueller might do a show in Kansas City, I knew I had to be there.

Unpopular Opinion Comedy Show

Obviously, they did go to Kansas City and do a stand-up show, and they killed it. Great job, guys and lady. And on a related note, Unpopular Opinion has a podcast you can listen to. Check that shit out here.

Initial Thoughts

What the hell is with all the highways here? This has to be the most unnecessarily complex highway system in the Midwest. Calm the hell down with all the roads, Kansas City. You’re not LA, you don’t need all of this. You have two hills and two rivers with a shit-ton of space around them, you can work around those without making a concrete maze of on and off ramps. But, hey, at least the roads themselves are in good shape.

Accommodations

The hotel my boyfriend, Dave, and I stayed at was, to put it politely, devastatingly retro. The Ramada Overland Park Hotel was built around the late 70’s-early 80’s, which Dave picked up on as soon as he saw the indoor gardens. The first thing that hit us as we stepped into the lobby was the smell of chlorine. My immediate thought was that the pool must be in a room near the lobby. I didn’t realize how right I would be. Standing at the front desk and looking to your right, you will see that the lobby is open to an outdoor patio, at least that’s what I thought. See, It was night about 11:00 PM when we got there, so the giant indoor common area right off the lobby was dark and looked like a patio. It wasn’t until I was in the common room and saw the ceiling that I realized I was still inside.

DSC00806-sepia DSC00807-sepia DSC00808-sepia DSC00874-sepia DSC00875-sepia

Note the lack of other people in these pictures

Note the lack of other people in these pictures

So, yeah, the facilities were nice in a “Post-apocalyptic Scenario” kind of way. And I even wanted to go swimming. That is, until Kevin Amend and Jeff May pointed out the film that grew on the surface of the water at the deep end.

DSC00810-sepia

That dried that desire up pretty quick.

As for the room, it wasn’t anything special: Bed, TV, mini-fridge, couch, crap closet (That’s my new name for ‘bathroom,’ although it does work equally well for butthole,) You know, the standard stuff.

And every morning, in an area that I think used to be a restaurant was the continental breakfast. It had the normal breakfast foods. The eggs were bad, even by hotel continental breakfast standards, but I managed to eat them by putting them on my waffle and slathering them with maple syrup. This meant that I got to eat a lot of waffles every breakfast, which is an ongoing life goal of mine, so I cannot complain about the eggs that much. Keep it up Ramada Overland Park Hotel!

Sites

First, let’s talk about the most well-known attraction in the Kansas City area- Schlitterbaun.

That is the world's tallest water slide, Verruckt. It means 'insane' in German because what else would it mean?

That is the world’s tallest water slide, Verruckt. It means ‘insane’ in German because what else would it mean?

I didn’t visit it. It was too cold and rainy. Actually, I don’t even know if it was open when I was there. However, The second most well known attraction in Kansas City is the WWI Memorial and Museum.

DSC00860

Which we only spent a total of a half an hour at. See, ran a little late that day, so by the time we made it to the memorial, the museum was getting close to closing, and the people who worked there told us that we wouldn’t have enough time to get a good look at everything. So we went up to the Memorial instead. And since it was windy and cold, we only stayed long enough to get some pictures before running back to the car.

Now, it would be unfair of me to judge these two sites, after not being able to experience them first hand. But fuck it- that’s what I’m about to do. Shlitterbaun (now dubbed SHITTERbaun) was about as much fun as diving into a dumbsterfire, and twice as filthy.* The workers threw rocks at the riders as they made their way from waterslide to waterslide, and I’m pretty sure there was a corpse floating in their Kristal River.*

As for the WWI Museum, at the risk of sounding unpatriotic, the museum is the worst thing to happen to America since the White man came stomping through these parts. Most of the exhibits were either erotic clown paintings or the words “Fuck Brown People” scrawed on posterboards with sharpies, and every tour guide yelled at the guests in German.* I cannot in good conscience recommend either one.

*None of these statements are true. Please don’t sue, Schitterbaun and WWI museum people.

But the Memorial is great, and you get an Amazing view of the city from it. Definitely check that out, especially if you like Giant stone dicks sticking straight up in the air. And according to Kevin, it is a life size replica of his member, so let that mental image sink in.

After visiting the memorial, we visited Legends, which isn’t some magical realm where you ride horses and fight monsters, but a fancy Outlet Mall. Yeah, I was disappointed too.

Despite my total disappointment in not being able to slaughter an ogre and then use its blood for lube so that I could jizz on its corpse (as is the custom in magical realms), Legends is actually a pretty cool outlet mall. Among other things you’d expect to find at an outlet mall, they had a store/ restaurant called the T-Rex Café. If you’re a kid (Or a sexy man-child such as myself), it is the greatest thing ever. All over the place in the restaurant, they have giant, animatronic dinosaurs and sea monsters, they have an excavation site for the kids to dig around in, and a build-a-dinosaur work shop. Shit. Where the hell was this when I was a kid. All I had was crappy Rainforest Café, and that was only in Downtown Disney.

(Note, due to Legends being located in Kansas City, Kansas, all the pictures came out sepia toned, just like pictures do all across Kansas. These pictures of the T-Rex Café are in color because I photoshopped the color back into them. You’re welcome.)

DSC00862 DSC00864 DSC00865 DSC00866 DSC00867

The most interesting thing I saw in KC, however, was all the Mormon History stuff.

To anyone who isn’t a Mormon, you may be wondering what they have to do with Kansas City. Well, I spent an entire day learning about it, so I’m going to force that knowledge unto you!

The Prophet of the Church of Latter Day Saints,  Joseph Smith, Traveled west to find a place where his kind could be accepted, and eventually ended up at the edge of the country at that time, Independence Missouri. It was there that God told him that that place was to be where Jesus would return for is second coming, Really.

Independence, MO: Come for Truman’s house, stay for the Second Coming of Christ!

Independence, MO: Come for Truman’s house, stay for the Second Coming of Christ!

Knowing that this town would be the Mormon Zion, Smith had his followers make a pilgrimage there over the course of several years in order to not overwhelm the current residents. Just kidding, of course they didn’t do it that way. The Mormons flooded in, about 1,000 of them, into the small town of Independence, buying land and building houses before winter came, and probably making all the (kind of) native Missourians uncomfortable with their upbeat and impossibly positive attitudes.

After a series of escalating conflicts with the locals, up to a battle that cost the Mormons most of their men, Joseph Smith and several Church Leaders were put in jail, and the Mormons were forced out of Missouri all together via an extermination order put out by the fucking Governor of Missouri. (On a sexy side note, these events are what lead to the Mormons to adopt polygamy. After the battle, only 10% of the Mormon population was male, and since the women needed taking care of, the Church allowed men to have multiple wives.)

The More You Know Symbol

So, yes, The Mormons left, and were eventually allowed to return during the last Century. And now, the different offshoots of the Mormon faith have all built their Churches there to Welcome Christ back. The one tiny snag, however, is that the actual site where Jesus is supposed to return is owned by more than one group, and therefore, no one can build the church on it. They’ve remedied this by putting up a sign noting the significance of the vacant lot and having good faith that it will all work itself out, as I think we all know disputes over land ownership are wont to do.

DSC00829

Now, since I visited these Mormon sites with my boyfriend, we felt the need to disguise ourselves as to not give away that we are unrepentant sinners. This is how we did that:

Disguise 1 Disguise 2

They'll never suspect a thing!

They’ll never suspect a thing!

We were genuinely surprised at how well the exhibits in both the visitor’s center and the Liberty Jail Historic Site were executed. The visitor’s center had a replica cabin inside the basement that you enter and walk around in. As an added touch, they put TV screens on the outsides of the windows that played a separate video that went along with the audio being played in the cabin.

DSC00820 DSC00821

The window is actually a TV! Apparently, the Mormons are more American than the rest of us.

The window is actually a TV! Apparently, the Mormons are more American than the rest of us.

DSC00824

The Visitor’s Center also has an impressive and muscle bound Jesus statue, historical pictures of The Mormon’s time in Independence, a brief explanation of what the Book of Mormon (Not the Broadway Musical) is about, and all the languages it has been translated into. Plus, if you are as lucky as we were, you’ll get the sisters to all come out and sing a hymn for you. Let me repeat that: They sing for you. And they are good at singing! How fucking is that?! No museum has people on hand that can sing songs for your entertainment. The Smithsonian? No. The Guggenheim? Nope. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum? Are you kidding me? Those mopey bastards over there won’t sing for you! Only at the Mormon Visitor’s center in Independence will that happen. Kudos for standing out, Mormons.

Body of Christ!

Body of Christ!

The Liberty Jail Historic Site was even more impressive, because they partially rebuilt the jail based on notes a Church member took when the site was rediscovered and then built a giant room with surround sound around it, so that you walk around the jail, but still feel like you’re in the middle of the narration and sound effects. And at the end, if you wish, you can receive a free copy of The Book of Mormon (again, not the Broadway Musical). True, That is easily the weirdest souvenir I’ve ever gotten, but all this Mormon talk got me curious about what they believe, so I’m probably going to read it.

DSC00840

Food

Barbeque.  That’s all I really need to say. Kansas City has amazing Barbeque. I ate at two different BBQ restaurants while I was there: Joe’s KC BBQ, and Grinders (Heads up, they do not sell hoagies) Both were amazing. Joe’s KC is the more famous of the two, The President having ordered their $2,000 of their food and had it delivered to the White House on Air Force 1. I had their signature sandwich, which was amazing. My only problem with their food is that I’m not a fan of seasoning on my fries. But I ate them anyway, because I’m an American, and that’s what we do.

Look into Kevin's cold, dead eyes and know that he is the greatest sandwich hunter on Earth.

Look into Kevin’s cold, dead eyes and know that he is the greatest sandwich hunter on Earth.

Personally, I liked Grinders better, partially because I liked their atmosphere, but mostly because they load their sandwiches up with meat. Dave argued that Joe’s KC was better because the meat was more tender, but I didn’t notice because I practically swallowed both sandwiches whole.

Grinders Stonewall- Sepia

Alcohol

I actually didn’t drink at all during this trip. So let’s just assume that Kansas City has no locally brewed alcohol. They have plenty of bars though. Check those out. Or not.  I’m not your lush of a mother.

People

The first group I would like to talk about are the Mormons.

Close Enough.

Close Enough.

As I mentioned before, Independence is crawling with members of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints. Because of this, if you are going to visit either the Mormon Visitor’s Center or the jail where Joseph Smith was kept, you will end up talking to Mormons about God. And when that happens, you will see that their religion works for them. They are a caring, friendly, good natured people who have a passion for their religion (Which they should, since they’re working in the Visitor’s Center and the Prison Museum and all). It was a great experience getting to talk to the girls who gave us the tours. And therefore, I have nothing negative to say about Mormons. They may not accept gays, but I accept them.

The second group were just the average people I got to talk to on the street in Independence.

Thank you, kind stranger!

Thank you, kind stranger!

They were oddly dressed, but helpful.

Uh, I don't know why anyone would need wagon axles, but thanks for the tip.

Uh, I don’t know why anyone would need wagon axles, but thanks for the tip.

Although, they did have some knowledge that isn’t all that useful for your average, devilishly handsome, modern man such as myself.

Thanks for the tip about oxen, dick, that's really relevant to my situation.

Thanks for the tip about oxen, dick, that’s really relevant to my situation.

Finally, the last local I want to talk about is this crazy asshole:

He's the sketchiest looking firefighter I've ever seen.

He’s the sketchiest looking firefighter I’ve ever seen.

This is Kevin, longtime fan of this blog and Internet friend to me. We had never met in person, so when he was able to convince Adam Todd Brown of Cracked.com, along with stand-up comics Jeff May and Genevieve Mueller to come to Kansas City for the stand-up comedy show, and I planned my visit, it was going to be an added bonus meeting him for the first time. And hey! Here is a pic of us on our first (totally not staged) meeting:

Kevin and I's first meeting

But just after that picture was taken, tragedy struck. It struck like a drunk man whose woman wouldn’t shut her damn yap for one goddamn minute.  Black clouds materialized above us, blotting out the sun and kicking up wind. As the wind picked up speed, its howl became a roar. Shingles ripped off of roofs of houses, tree limbs snapped, garbage cans rolled down the street as if they knew what was coming and they wanted to get the fuck out of here. And then, From behind Kevin came a towering, smoke grey tornado.

“Tornado!” Dave and I cried in unison.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this!” Kevin screamed as he pulled out his penis.

As Dave and I dove for cover under the car, Kevin’s penis tied itself into a lasso and threw itself at the oncoming tornado. Kevin struggled while the fierce winds of the tornado fought against his mighty penis. Somehow, physics be damned, Kevin’s member lassoed the cyclone, which thrashed back and forth against the superpowered schlong.

“That’s no tornado!” Kevin yelled over the roaring wind, his penis tightening its grip around the cyclone, “This is my arch nemesis!”

The tip of Kevin’s penis reached up to the top of the tornado, and ripped off the mask to reveal-

“Martin Lawrence?!” I cried as I stared dumbfounded at the star of such classics as Big Momma’s House 2 and Wild Hogs.

“I’m confused… by so many things,” Dave added, “But who is Martin Lawrence?”

“A failed actor-“

“Fuck you Erecto!” Lawrence screamed. Kevin’s penis tightened its grip.

Kevin continued, “Who turned into a mad scientist after the movie ‘Death at a Funeral.’ He is also a master of disguise.” “My real name is Kevin Kamend, and this” he explained, pointing to his waving dick, “Is my superpowered penis, more commonly known as Erecto.”

Dave and I did’t reply. We just stared, expecting  Kevin to laugh and say that he was fucking with us. He didn’t.

“Unfortunately,” Kevin Kamend added after the long silence, “I need to take Mr. Lawrence back to Prison.”

“You haven’t seen the last of me, Erecto!”

Kevin’s penis slapped Martin Lawrence across the face. Then, it stretched up, above both their heads, and begun to spin like a propeller.  Kevin stepped up to the bound actor, and wrapped his long arms around him and locking his hands together. He rested his head on Lawrence’s chest and closed his eyes, as if this was his happy place. After only a few seconds, the penis was spinning so fast that it began to make the rhythmic “wop wop” sound of it slicing through the air. Then, the helicoptering penis lifted Kevin and Martin Lawrence into the air and flew away, leaving Dave and I in the middle of the wreckage of the tornado/Lawrence disguise.

“So,” I said, turning to Dave, who was still staring at the shrinking peniscopter with his mouth agape, “I guess it’ll just be you and me today.”

(Writer’s note: Kevin wanted me to put a story filled with our inside jokes about his super powered dick in here, not me. So what I learned about non-Mormon Kansas City natives is that they’re weird and you shouldn’t talk to them unless necessary.)

Overall atmosphere

Kansas City isn’t nearly as desolate wasteland devoid of culture as Kevin claims it is. The people are friendly (I only talked to Kevin, the Mormon girls, and a few owners of businesses, so that assumption may be skewed a little), the BBQ is amazing, and the sites are interesting, especially if you’re into History. My only wish is that I would have been able to go to Schlitterbahn, but that just means that I’ll have to make a second visit! But still, fuck all these highways.

An Adventure in the World of WTF

OK, so I honestly have no idea what this story is about, let alone named, so let’s just say the title of this blog post is the working title. Also, sorry this is so long. But to be fair, if you’ve read anything of mine before, you should have expected it to be that way. If you’re new to my blog, Welcome! This is going to be the weirdest shit that you’ve ever experienced. Enjoy.

~~~

I sat down on the toilet and commenced my daily routine of relieving myself of bodily waste. Just as I finished releasing the first fudge basilisk into the icy toilet water, I felt a sudden, sharp pain inside my ass.

“Fucking Arby’s” I grumbled as I strained to release whatever diabolical creation their food formed inside my digestive tract.

My butthole released a small fart, and then my whole body started shaking. And I don’t mean that I began to convulse or that my hands became unsteady, I mean every inch of my body began to vibrate. From somewhere inside my gut, a 40 foot long steel girder shook me from the inside out. The girder rocketed out of my asshole and into the toilet, the force of which sent me flying off of the seat and into the corner of the wall and the ceiling.

Somehow, I managed to slide down the wall with my face until it was wedged in the corner of the floor and wall, and my ass in the air.

I turned my head as best I could, and found that it wasn’t a steel girder erupting from my butt, it was a rainbow.

“Nope,” I grunted, “this isn’t from Arby’s. This is definitely Chic-Fil-A’s doing.”

If Chic-Fil-A isn't ruining your heart, it's making you shoot rainbows out of your ass.

If Chic-Fil-A isn’t ruining your heart, it’s making you shoot rainbows out of your ass.

The colors of the shit rainbow pooled at the ceiling, each growing denser and denser, until the pressure from the light blasted the entire roof off of my house. Once the shit rainbow had finished erupting out of my asshole, and I realized that I was not only alive, but feeling better, I climbed out from under the rainbow. The arch stretched up into the blue sky and vanished around the top. All along the rainbow were smatterings of my shit. I stared up, both dumbfounded and agast at what my butthole had produced and what that creation had done to my house. Then, at the top of the rainbow, a glimmering, white object appeared and ran down the leg. It was a horse. As it got closer and I could see it in better detail, I saw a single horn on its head and its tail and main colored like a rainbow. It was a unicorn.

“What the fuck?”

“Hey, dawg,” The unicorn said do me once it reached my bathroom, “Yo, listen, my name is Loquacious, an’ I need you to climb up on my back and come with me.”

“What the fuck?!” I repeated

“Listen fool!” The magical horse screamed at me, “Ya’ll need to listen to me and listen good, ya herr? Ya’ll need to come wit me back to my world. We got a job that only you can help us wit.”

With my pants still around my ankles, I replied in an even tone, “I would love to travel up the rainbow that just shot from my ass, but I have some shit I have to deal with right now.” Then, pointing to the toilet and where my roof used to be, I added, “both literal and figurative.”

“We ain’t got time for that, bitch, we gots to go now!”

“Holy shit, what did you just sa-AAHHH!” I began before the Unicorn scooped me up with is head (my buttcheeks being cradled by his horn) and threw me onto his back.

He sprinted  back up the rainbow as I held on to his body and screamed in fear. The unicorn bounded up the arch, dodging my shit clumps all the while with graceful leaps. Within seconds, we were hundreds of feet above my neighborhood, coming up to the curve of the rainbow. Then, I remembered about how the rainbow ended.

I stopped screaming, and asked Loquacious, “What happens at the end of the rainbow?”

“We jump!” He replied merrily. Then in a firm tone he added, “But you gotta think happy thoughts or we’ll just fall back to your world.”

“How the Hell am I supposed to think happy thoughts with this shit happening?!”

“I dunno, dawg. Focus or some shit.”

We crested the curve. The end of the rainbow was only a football field or so away. Fuck. I closed my eyes and concentrated. Think happy thoughts. I told myself. What are the things that make me happy? Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes- Gah! Fuck Julie Andrews!

"Do you see? Do you see all the fucks I give about your opinion of me?" -Julie Andrews

“Do you see? Do you see all the fucks I give about your opinion of me?”
-Julie Andrews

I could feel Loquacious’s body tense up, and then feel my own go weightless. Stupidly, I opened my eyes for long enough to see the pimple sized houses of my neighborhood scroll beneath us.

“FUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!” I screamed before clamping my eyes shut again.

I was weightless for only a moment or two, but for those brief moments I wondered what poor life decisions I made that lead me to this moment.  Was this karmic justice for all the shitty things I’ve put my friends through? Did I just take a Mexican Cartel’s worth of drugs? Was God just being kind of a dick today? I decided it was probably the last one.

We hit the ground-actually, no, we didn’t hit the ground. We landed lightly on what I guessed by the sound was a soft patch of grass. I kept my eyes closed and my body wrapped tightly around the horse.

“Yo, get off me fool. We’re here.” Loquacious stated.

I opened my eyes and they were immediately assaulted with vibrant color. I threw up right on the patch of technicolor green grass. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether it was the near death experience or the color that caused me vomiting, but either way I hoped that my vomit would create a dragon or some other weird shit that would take me back home. No such luck.

“Damn, dawg, you nasty,” the unicorn laughed.

“Where the hell are we?” I asked after I spit the last bit of vomit and saliva from my mouth.

“I told you, son, we’re in my world now.”

“But How? I didn’t think a single happy thought.”

The stupid unicorn erupted with stupid, hysterical laughter, “Sheeit, I didn’t think you’d believe me! Dawg, I was fuckin’ wit choo! I don’t need no happy thoughts to cross dimensions. What do I look like, that Peter Pan faggot?”

“OK, listen up you magical bucket of glue and Canadian steaks, if you-“

I was interrupted by a joyous hum and the pattering of little feet from behind me. I turned and found myself being surrounded by dozens of small animals. There was a turtle whose shell was covered in multicolored flowers, tiger and leopard cubs, several white baby seals, two green aliens driving a hippy VW bug convertible, and several puppies and kittens. Every single animal had big, unnaturally colored eyes, and a happy smile on their face. Shining down from the sky above us was a giant yellow face. It smiled at me. The sun smiled at me. Already fuck this place.

Lisa Frank- Aliens

Lisa Frank- Turtle

Lisa Frank-Cat-Dog

Seriously. Fuck this place.

“You brought him!” a bright yellow golden retriever puppy squeaked, “I cannot believe he’s here at last!”

From the back of the group, a creature was forcing its way towards Loquacious and me, while demanding to other animals, “Step aside please. Yes you too. Can’t you see the mayor coming through?”

The crowd parted, and a penguin wearing a blue bow tie waddled towards us.

Lisa Frank-Penguin

“Good Gracious, Loquacious, How’d you get so bodacious?!” The penguin cried as it waddled past me and up to the unicorn.

The unicorn held out its hoof, and the penguin slapped it with his wing. They then began to excitedly whisper to one another while glancing towards me. I took this time to pull my pants back up. As I did, I looked around to the various animals in the crowd, and each of them had their eyes fixed upon me. They watched every move I made with awe and excitement. Buckling my belt received a collective “ooh” from the crowd, while flipping them off had them react in unison with “Ah!”

“So why the hell am I here?” I yelled at the penguin, getting tired of being the brightly colored animals’ side show attraction.

The penguin turned to me and replied with a bow, “I, Mayor Ed Quinn the Penguin, would like to formally welcome you, for this is our magical land of the rainbow hue!”

“I shit myself to death, and I’m currently in Hell, aren’t I?”

“Oh no!” Ed Quinn the Penguin shouted, “I don’t know of this place you call ‘Hell’, but we call this place Puffoots upon Atell!”

“Really, I retorted, “Because it looks like I got sucked into a Lisa Frank notebook cover.”

“Lisa Frank is a cunt!” a magenta kitten shouted from the crowd.

“Wait,” I replied skeptically, “You have no idea what Hell is, but you know enough about Lisa Frank to hate her?”

“Yo dawg, She is the one of the only other humans that’s come here,” Loquacious explained, “And dat bitch used her visit here to make her millions, witout givin’ us shit for using our likenesses.”

“So is that why I’m here?”

“Of course not, my human tot,” Ed Quinn the penguin answered, “For you, I have the most important of tasks. I want you to hunt for the 7 Crystaline-“

“Gigglebugs!” a voice cried from just  over a nearby hill. Seconds later, the owner of the voice, a purple husky puppy riding on the back of a polar bear, crested the top of the hill. It screamed again, “Gigglebugs! They’ve breached the Sunshiny Wall!”

Panic and chaos followed the announcement. Screams erupted from the crowd of animals as they ran different directions, stumbling over each other in blind fear. The polar bear mounted husky rode down to where I, Loquacious, and Ed Quinn the Penguin stood. The Polar bear was out of breath, and both had traumatized looks on their faces. Behind them, a golden cloud rose above the hill. As I looked closer, I realized that it wasn’t a cloud, it was a swarm- a swarm of golden beetles the size of teacups.

The swarm arched up high in the air, catching the attention of the panicking animals, and descended upon them. They gathered on the turtle first, which began to laugh hysterically and writhe (as much as a turtle can, anyway) on the ground.  The turtle continued to laugh as the bugs ripped the skin off of its legs and face and into its muscles and organs, until only the shell and the bones were left. It only took twenty seconds at the longest. I didn’t think to time it.

“Jesus Hamster chucking Christ!”

“Snow puff and Frosty paws, we  have no time for you to pause,” Ed Quinn commanded, to the polar bear and husky puppy, “Take as many of our towns people as you can find and hide them in the glitter mines.”  He then turned to Loquacious and added, “Take the human and flee. Head to the tie-dye mountains, just past the Friendship Tree!”

Pictured: The Rainbow Mountains, right past the Friendship Tree

Pictured: The Rainbow Mountains, right past the Friendship Tree

“Wait,” I cried as the penguin mayor waddled away, “What am I doing here? What do you want me hunt for?”

Ed Quinn turned around to answer me, but as he did, the golden cloud of giggle bugs landed on him. He collapsed into a laughing pile on the vibrant green grass and batted at the insects as they ripped the flesh off of his body in tiny strips. The penguin writhed and laughed as the bugs tore down to the bone. He only stopped when the gigglebugs chewed into his throat. The golden insects reached his sternum, and his organs began to spill out of the newly formed hole. Holy shit did that drive the gigglebugs into a frenzy.

Screaming, I jumped onto the back of Loquacious. Just as he was turning to sprint as far away from the nightmare that had just unfolded in the meadow, I felt several sharp stabs in my legs.

“Argh, fuck knuckles!” I screamed, “I’m bit!”

“Shit dawg!” Loquacious cried, “What should I do?”

“FUCKING RUN, ASSHOLE!”

He sprinted, and I took one last look back at the gore behind us. Ed Quinn the Penguin had stopped moving. I sighed. I never got an answer to my questions. I felt another sharp pain form in my leg, just above the knee this time. Wait, I thought, Why aren’t I laughing? I looked down to find the magenta cat, the one that called Lisa Frank a cunt, clinging to my pant leg, and incidentally, me. I grumbled, grabbed the cat by the scruff of its neck, and pulled it off of my leg. He squirmed in my had, clawing at my wrist and throwing out a torrent of curse words at me, each offensive phrase more colorful and offensive to the senses than the surrounding landscape.

“What the hell do you want?” I asked the cat.

“To not fucking die, dipshit,” The cat retorted.

“Well, then stop being an asshole, and I won’t throw you back to the gigglebugs.”

The cat’s adorable eyes grew wider, and it replied, “I’ll be good.”

“Good,” I answered as I plopped it down on in front of me on Loquacious’s back.

“Aieee! Dawg! Get the giggle bugs off my back, yo!” Loquacious cried as he began try to buck the cat and I off.

I wrapped my arms around the unicorn’s neck and screamed, “It’s a cat, it’s a cat!” He either didn’t believe me or didn’t hear me, because he continued to try and buck us off. His spine crushing my dick and balls with every kick and junp.

“It’s Honeypuss, you fucking idiot,” the magenta cat yelled over Loquacious’s whinnying, “Stop trying to kill me and the human.”

Loquacious heard this and stopped. I fell off of his back and curled into the fetal position on the ground, cradling my balls.

“Good going cock nugget,” the kitten snapped at the unicorn, “You ruined the human’s brain.”

The unicorn turned around and put his face close to mine. His breath was sweet, as if every single one of his meals consisted of brown sugar and carrots. “Shit, dawg, sorry for crushing your brain, yo.”

“Human,” Honeypuss added, “I bet you’re really fucking concussed right now, but we need to get moving. Those goddamn bugs will chase us for miles, and we didn’t make it that far.” The kitten then muttered to the Unicorn, “At least everyone else got to go to the glitter mines. But we’re fucking stuck with this douche as he wimpers about how much his head hurts and how he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do.”

“First of all, fuck you, cat,” I grunted as I slowly climbed to my feet, still holding my junk.  Then, I continued, “Secondly, I’m more than happy to go back home and leave you rainbow colored animals to whatever happens if I don’t do what it is I am supposed to do. I have absolutely no stake in any of your survival. And Thirdly, my brain is in my head, Loquacious hurt my dick and balls.”

“Your brain is in your head?” Honeypuss asked, “That’s weird as shit that doesn’t smell like flowers.”

“So, shit?”

“Your shit,” the kitten clarified. “Anyway,” he continued, None of us have that junk you have in between your legs, we all just assumed that’s where you humans keep your brains.”

I stopped and couldn’t help myself from studying their crotches. Nope. Nothing. There was absolutely no genitalia.

“How do you guys reproduce if you don’t have genitals?”

The unicorn and kitten gave me a weird look, “Reproduce?”

I sighed, and for the next hour or so, I walked beside Loquacious and Honeypuss and described (in detail) what reproduction meant. They listened with a glint of excitement in their big, colorful eyes as I discussed what sex was. They urged me to give them more and more information. I covered positions, and oral, and anal, and assholes, and the female and male G-spots, and boobs and fetishes and porn and masturbation and orgies and everything else on the topic I could think of until, finally, I said all that I could say on the topic.

“That sounds like the coolest shit ever, homie!” Loquacious exclaimed.”

“Fuck. Yes.” Honeypuss added, “Too bad we can’t do that stuff. We don’t even know where our young come from. We’ll have to ask Dr.McRibbit when we get back.”

I'm a Frog, but also a doctor, but also uncomfortably sexual.

I’m a Frog, but also a doctor, but also uncomfortably sexual.

“If he’s still alive, Sheeit, he could’ve gotten eaten fo’ all we know!” Loquacious replied.

“Fuck. You’re right. If he hadn’t gotten the shit eaten out of him by those bugs, we’ll ask him.”

“Ok, now I have a question,” I interjected, “How in the Hell did you animals think a wall was going to keep out bugs that can fly?”

“Huh?” the unicorn and kitten answered in unison.

“The Sunshiny Wall. The husky puppy said that those bugs breached the sunshiny wall. But the bugs can fly, so why even use a wall as a defense?”

“Because it’s not the fucking wall, but what’s covering it that makes it our most important goddamn defense.”

“What’s covering it?”

“Glitter. Those fucking giggle bugs fucking hate anything sparkly. They won’t pass it when the sun shines on it. That’s why Ed Quinn had everyone flee to the glitter mines. That’s the only place that’s safe if the glitter on the sunshiny wall fails to keep them back. But one gust of wind usually blows an gap in the glitter for the gigglebugs to pass through.”

“Why not just glue the glitter onto the wall, or your houses, or the roads in your town for that matter?” I asked.

“Using what? Our piss?” Honeypuss retorted.

“Well,” I started, nodding at Loquacious, who wasn’t looking at me.

Loquacious noticed the silence, looked back to find me nodding at him, and said “Nah, fuck dat, man. Ain’t no one making me into glue.”

We walked in silence for a little while after that- Then because, I assume, they were wondering if there were any survivors, me because I didn’t want to talk to either of them. After some time, the giant yellow sun, whose stupid fucking face was still shining down on us, had begun to set on the horizon. Periodically, it would yawn. I wanted to punch it in its stupid mouth.

I was about to vocalize my desire to beat the shit out of their son of a bitch sun, when Loquacios cried with joy, “We’re almost there, dawgs! Dat’s da Friendship tree up ahead!”

I looked. Not that far ahead of us was a lone tree. Its leaves were a deep green, and it was spotted with fruit of different colors. The tree itself swayed and bobbed up and down, as if it were dancing in place to a song I couldn’t hear. Beneath it was a still pool of blue water that reflected the tree and sky like glass. I licked my lips. After everything that happened over the past few hours, I didn’t have time to think about how long it had been since I had eaten or drank anything. But now the thirst and hunger came pounding on my stomach.

Smiling tree

“Hey, do you mind if we stop at the tree. I’m kind of hungry and thirsty.”

Loquacious and Honeypuss looked at one another and then to me. “You don’t want to eat and drink there, dawg. You won’t like dat tree.”

“I only have to tolerate it long enough to get some water and some of its fruit,” I replied, “Then it can eat a dick, for all I care.”

I ran ahead of the protesting unicorn and kitten, and, begrudgingly, they followed.

“But that’s the fucking Friendship Tree!” Honeypuss cried.

“So it should be friendly enough to let me eat and drink, so no problem!” I yelled back.

As I got close enough, I noticed that the tree was dancing to a song, but that the song was one it was singing to itself. I walked up to it. It continued to sing and bob around without noticing me.

“Hello?” I called up to it.

“I love my friends/ I love all I see/ I share my love/ I’m the friendship tree!” The tree sang to itself  in a deep voice.

“Hey, Tree!” I yelled.

Startled, the tree looked around before spotting me. “Why hello little fella!” the tree exclaimed, “Are you my new friend?”

“Sure, whatever,” I said, “Can I take a drink from your pool and eat some of your fruit?”

The tree reached out one of its branches, wrapped it gently around me, and lifted me into the air. The tree was almost all face. It’s big eyes and mouth were made up of the arrangement of the branches, twigs, and leaves. Those branches and twigs shifted as the eyes and mouth moved, creating a low creaking sound that was only partially masked by its voice. As the tree lifted me up so that I was face-to- giant face with it, another branch stretched out and patted me on my head.

“What did you want again?” The tree asked as its branch caressed my cheek.

I batted it away and repeated, “Can I take a drink from your pool and eat some of your fruit?”

The tree smiled a wide, gleeful smile, “Why of course new friend! I love doing favors for friends! But can you do me a favor too?”

I sighed, brushed the branch away from my face again, and grunted the question, “What favor do you want?”

The tree didn’t answer, unless you call tightening its grip on me and feeling me up with its branches an answer. Which I guess in this case you could, I guess. The tree licked its leafy lips with its wooden tongue as it felt me up, more aggressively with each touch.

“Uh, guys?” I called back to Loquacious and Honeypuss, “A little help?!”

“Sorry, dawg,” Loquacious called from what sounded to be far away from the tree, “We ain’t comin’ a hoof closer to that tree.”

“What does it want to do?!” I cried.

The Friendship Tree wrapped its branches around my ankles and spread my legs apart. Then, I felt a branch slither up my pants. I struggled. The tree tightened its grip on me.

“Guys! do something!” I screamed. I thrashed, but that only seemed to make the Friendship Tree more aroused.

“What in the high flying fuck do you want us to do?” Honeypuss called back, clearly enjoying watching me suffer.

I bit down on a branch that tried to enter my mouth and screamed back, “I dunno! Loquacious, you have some kind of rainbow power don’t you? Use that!”

“I can’t do dat, homie” Loquacious answered.

“JUST FUCKING TRY SOMETHING!”

“Oh, I’m about to, new friend!” The Friendship Tree replied. Then, after a pause, it added, “You did say ‘try fucking’ right?”

“Shit.”

Just then, a bright beam of light shot under me and hit the pool of water. It reflected off of the pool, and then the rainbow colored beam hit the trunk of the Friendship Tree, causing it to burst into flames. The tree wailed and thrashed, throwing me back down to the soft grass as it tried to extinguish the multicolored flames that had spread across its body. I stumbled, crawled, and then ran back to Loquacious and Honeypuss. From behind me I heard a loud splash of water, followed by a pained groan.

Try not to be weirded out by The Giving Tree after reading that.

Go ahead and try not to be weirded out by The Giving Tree after reading that.

“Ho-lee sheeit! I can shoot rainbows out of my mouth! Dis is da best day ever, yo!”

“Come back, friend!” The Friendship tree called weakly.

“Go fuck yourself,” I replied between deep breaths, “And I mean that literally.” I turned back to Loquacious and Honeypuss, both of whom were smiling faux innocent smiles at me. I screamed, “WHY IN THIS TECHICOLORED WORLD OF FUCKS WOULD YOU NOT WARN ME THAT THAT TREE RAPES WHOEVER GETS TOO CLOSE!?”

“Well, we never had a word for what it does until know,” Honeypuss answered flatly.

“So why do you call it the ‘Friendship Tree’ and not the ‘Stay Away Tree?’”

“Because everyone just fucking knows to stay away from the tree. We only use it as a land mark because everyone knows what and where the Friendship Tree is, and we all know to keep a safe distance away from it. You’re the dumbass who didn’t listen to us.”

“But on the bright side, dawg,” Loquacious added, “You just gave us its new name, the “Rape Tree.”

“Eh,” Honeypuss replied, “I think Friendship Tree has a better ring to it.” Then to me, he added, “Now if you’re done letting yourself get raped, we have to get you to the Tye-Dye Mountains. It’s going to be fucking night soon.”

Clenching my fists, I seethed, “I hate literally everything in this stupid world.”

Neither the unicorn, nor the kitten paid attention to me, and the three of us walked on, ignoring the calls from the Friendship Tree for me to return to it.

At some point, maybe an hour or so after the Friendship Tree incident, as I was walking far ahead of the unicorn and kitten, Honeypuss asked, “So, are we just going to ignore the fact that you had Loquacious shoot a rainbow laser out of his mouth, even though he’s never been fucking able to do that shit before?”

I didn’t answer.

“I guess not.” Honeypuss mumbled to Loquacious.

As we walked on, day melted into night, and the grinning sun gave way to a smattering of giant, neon stars and planets across the night sky, which kept the world about as lit as before, but with a more “Christmas Lights on an explosive amount of steroids” feel to it.  Loquacious was telling some story about how he befriended some woman that lives in a bubble and her green lesbian lover during one of his many travels to different worlds. Honeypuss and I listened as we both searched the horizon for anything that looked like the Tie-Dye Mountains. Other than three small objects ahead of us, there was nothing but the green grass plane all around us for miles.

Bump.

“Did you hear that,” Loquacious asked as panic crept into his voice.

Bump.

“Hear what?” I asked.

Bump.

“That.” Honeypuss replied, “What the fuck is that?”

Bump.

“Aw fuck nah, man, fuck nah,” Loquacious groaned as he darted around me, looking off in the distance. “We need to find someplace to hide, now.”

“Why?”

Bump.

“Teddy Bear Vikings!”

Teddy Bear Vikings are almost as bad as Hip Hop Teddy bears.

Teddy Bear Vikings are almost as bad as Hip Hop Teddy bears.

“Fuck nuggets!” Honeypuss replied, “Those things on the fucking horizon are their land ships, and they’re headed right fucking for us!”

Bump.

“We need to hide, dawgs. We def don’t wanna have a run in with them.”

“Well, where are we going to hide?  There is nothing around us. Not even a rock to lie behind,” I noted.

The next bump was noticeably louder, and the ships had covered half the distance to us since we first spotted them.

“Shit.” Honeypuss added, “The Human is right. There’s no escape from them now.”

“Escape from what?” A gruff voice asked from behind and above us.

We turned. Behind us towered a Viking ship, specifically, the Viking ship that would be the death of us. Emblazoned in gold on the blood red flag was  bear paw. Along either side were a set of paddles equipped with boots to push the boat forward, and a series of shields with a teddy bear’s face painted on them. Each plank of wood that made up the hull was of a different color, which I couldn’t help but notice that the ship would just as equally be at home in a gay pride parade as it would here. From the deck above jumped the captain Teddy bear, whose body squeeked when he landed on the grass.

He was about my height, but his horned helmet and thick boots made him look much taller. Over what would probably be an adorable teddybear face was a long dirty beard that hung down to his stomach. He carried an axe at his side, its blades were chipped and dulled from years of conquering, plundering, and murdering.

“What are you three doing out so late?”

None of us answered. The three ships from the horizon were upon us now, effectively surrounding us.

“Come on now.” He added as he walked back and forth in front of us, “Tell me, what are you three doing out here. It’s not safe to wander out on the Happyness Meadow at night. You could get killed by what lives out here. Or worse…”

“Yeah, we know,” Honeypuss answered. He nodded towards me and added, “We had to rescue this dipshit from the Friendship Tree.”

The Teddy Bear Viking Captain, as well as many of his crew, laughed hearty laughs at my expence. “Human, eh? Your kind is rare in this land. Demanding a ransom for you will feed my clan for years!”

I laughed a nervous laugh and explained, “Guys, don’t listen to the Unicorn and the cat, I’m not human! I only look like I’m human. I’m actually just a boring old, uh, xenomorph?” Shit. Hopefully they don’t know what that is. “Yep. Xenomorph. I’m totally one of those. We’re very common and not worth kidnapping.”

Xenomorphs are surprisingly common in the Lisa Frank Universe.

Xenomorphs are surprisingly common in the Lisa Frank Universe.

The Teddy Bear Vikings moaned in disappointment. Holding up his paw to silence them, their leader replied, “That’s too bad, xenomorph. You would have been a great hostage. But I guess we’ll have to kill you and your friends instead.” He drew his sword, and his fellow Teddy Bear Vikings jumped down from the ships, each one squeaking on their landing.

I held my hand up in front of them, took a step back towards Loquacious and Honeypuss, and yelled, “You don’t want to kill me! As a xenomorph, my blood is actually a highly corrosive acid. Killing me could potentially kill you all as well. Also…” I grabbed Honeypuss by the scruff of her neck.

“Hey! What the fuck are you doing?!” Honeypuss thrashed.

“This!” I chucked Honeypuss at the Viking leader’s face. Instinctively, Honeypuss latched on, and dug her claws deep into his face.

The Teddy Bear Viking roared in pain and slashed blindly at the air with his sword, slicing the throat of one of his fellow Vikings. White stuffing poured from the ghastly wound, the bear held his paws up to the wound, but it didn’t help. The bear was completely deflated in less than a minute. I jumped onto the back of Loquacious as the rest of the Vikings tried to get the magenta kitten off their leader’s face. One of the Vikings prepared to stab Honeypuss with is sword.

“Honeypuss,” I cried, “Jump here!”

Honeypuss launched herself at me with a “You lousy, pale skinned, motherfucker!” and dug her claws deep into my chest. Just in time, too, because the Teddy Bear Viking drove his sword at where Honeypuss was and ended up stabbing his captain in the face. The Teddy Bear Viking Captain screamed and ran in circles with the sword sticking halfway out of his face, and Honeypuss began to alternate swearing at me with biting my neck.

“Loquacious,” I screamed, “Get us out of here!”

“Straight up, dawg!” Loquacious lowered his head, began to shake, and then vomited a blinding rainbow laser at the teddy bears. The bears dove out of the line of light at the last second, so the beam torched a long hole in the hull of the ship in front of us. The wood moaned, and then began to collapse down on us.

The leader of the teddy bears saw this and gasped, “He’s the chosen one! MEN, QUICK, KILL THE CHOSEN ONE!”

“TAKE US OUT OF THIS WORLD, NOW, LOQUACIOUS!” I roared.

“Gotcha.” The unicorn charged forward, blasting through the crumbling Viking ship, and below us a rainbow road formed. Loquacious kept gaining speed until we were far enough away from the Teddy Bear Vikings. Up ahead, I could see the rainbow coming to an end. Loquacious was still speeding up. The three of us screamed. We reached the end of the road, and we vanished.

~~~

To Be Continued…

…I’m not sure when, but eventually…

Peace

  • I am this popular!

    • 108,056 hits
  • Blast from the Past!

    February 2023
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728  
  • The Vault