|The Story||The Authors|
|Young Roger Weaver was hungry. He'd wasted all but his last 3 bullets
on ethereal mirages, wishful thinking, and a generally aimless aim
(so bad, in fact, that his father had been heard to remark that "Roger
couldn't shoot himse'f in the foot if'n he put his mind to it!"),
and he couldn't hold out much longer. He scanned the endless plain
below him with the binoculars. Nothing stirred. |
"What would old Ernest Hemingway do if he were in my shoes!" he inquired aloud, to no one. "He'd prob'ly havve a babe with him. And a whole buncha booze. And a safari guide to do all his killing for him. Fuck it!" he swore. "I ahe the Rich and Famous!"
Something caught his eye on the plain below; he raised the rifle to his shoulder, sighted desperately, and fired, three shots in rapid succession bam! bam! bam! and unbelievably, the galloping beast below jerked, shuddered, and fell. "Yippee!" said Roger. He raced down to the plain and found, to his astonishment, that he had bagged his first giraffe.
|His heart was pounding in his chest and he felt a distinct rush of excitement having successfully excersized an act of total domination over another creature. As he ran, each breath he took filled his chest with a new tangible satisfaction. He came close to the creature lying on the ground and was at first impressed with how enormous it was. From far off it hadn't looked so massive. The next sensation he felt was one of horror and panic. The beast was laying on the ground, yet it was not motionless. It's chest was heaving up and down. The animal was making unintelligable intermittent noises. A chaotic mixture of wimpering, and gurgling. Occasionally, the animal would attempt to thrash about. Roger found himself struck with a sense of guilt and empathy. The animal was not dead. Roger had failed in his attempt to facilitate an easy transition for a fellow beast to go from a free individual in it's own right, to it's place as just another rung in the food chain.|
It was only then, though, as Roger (who'd lately taken to pronouncing
his name in the Gallic manner, Ro-jhay) bent to examine the
giraffe more closely that he noticed the caked film of damp brown
still drying on its spotted hide. He sniffed. "Peeee-yeeeeee-you!"
he exclaimed. "That smells like fecal matter!" |
He peered still closer. "Looks like fecal matter, too" he remarked. He dipped his index finger in, placed it tentatively on his tongue. "Tastes like fecal matter, too. No doubt about it in my mind this giraffe has recently been numbered among the lucky recipients of a shit-bath!"
|He looked around and saw that the giraffe was losing blood fast, and the manifestations of it's suffering were becoming farther and farther apart. Suddenly Roger saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. Just over a ridge a short distance away he saw the main of a lion as it coyly peered at him from behind the embankment. Had Roger failed to notice that his prey was being chased by another predator at the time he had chosen for it's demise? Roger was immediately endowed with the unique sensation of terror befalling all animals of prey. He was out of bullets. Was it his turn to play the giraffe?|
He stood stock-still, frozen with indecision as he felt the wind shift
and saw that the lion was now downwind from him and the giraffe.
Would this be the end of Roger Weaver? he wondered. Thirty-four
years old. Unshaven. Half-mad with hunger and dysentary. You don't
want me, lion... |
The lion may have had different thoughts on the subject, but finding itself downwind from the rancid, fecal odor of the giraffe as well, it decided to forego the possibility of human prey (despite their reputation, humans had never been to the lion's liking too dry now, a wildebeast, on the other hand...) and ambled off, thinking that this evening it had a yen for that fresh, light taste of gazelle which industry heads in the lion community had recently begun referring to as "the other white meat."
|Gazing out of the window of her New York high rise apartment, Anita Mann absentmindedly filed her nails. She was brimming with nervous energy and her mind was racing a mile per minute. "Curse that wretched Roger Weaver!" she said out loud to no one in particular. "He better not try to waltz back into my life again.! And he certainly better not bring may any more damn hunting trophies!" She directed that last comment at the various animal heads mounted on the wall behind her. Her once lavishly decorated penthouse was beginning to look like a taxidermists wet dream and a decorators worst nightmare. She threw her nail file onto the coffee table and took another sip from her icy cold martini.|
The stuffed and mounted head of a boar regarded her with the cold,
impassive stare which only a stuffed and mounted boar's head can
pull off without appearing to be putting on airs. Tut, tut, tut,
it seemed to be saying. A little bit early in the day for
your first martini. |
Anita (how was she to know, after all, that her own Roger Weaver, that infuriating man who produced such an inseparable blend of lust and spite, tenderness and malice, love and desperation in her, lay at that moment thousands of lmiles away on a deserted plain, surveying the rancid giraffe carcass which not even jackals and vultures would approach, wondering if his hunger would get the best of his pride, or vice versa) responded by throwing back the remainder of her martini and pouring a fresh one from the chrome flask, beaded with condensation, standing on the tray which Edgard, the grim and withered butler she'd inherited from her father, had been so kind as to lurch into her study with, looking for all the world like William S. Burroughs impersonating Lurch.
|In mid swig, a horrible premonition clutched her, and she tore the firey drink from her mouth. She saw Roger, for a moment, as he lifted a maggotty chunk of giraffe flesh to his lips and gagged upon it, forcing it down his parched and dust clogged throat. Anita shook her head violently to clear it of the apparition she had seen, and then carefully put down the quaint goblet. Edgard she cried hoarsly, and then louder when he didn't come. The boars head continued to stare, but this time seemed to mock her where she sat, imobile, trapped in her wheelchair. Edgard! She heard his heavy footsteps and sighed.|
|Damn you, Roger, she thought, you've made me forget my independance. Quickly she pushed up from the wheelchair, and balancing on one leg, hobbled to her crutches. With a flippant wave of a jeweled hand, she dismissed Edgard, and sent him hobbling back to the kitchens or wherever his little French maid was waiting. It must have been the martini playing games with her usually cool head. This wasn't fair. At night she was haunted by dreams of Roger and now he invaded her daytimes too. With burning,watery eyes, whether from tears or from drink she didn't even dare guess, she spotted her half finished martini where she had quickly slammed it down, and snatched it up again. What the hell, she murmered, as she raised it, first in a mock toast to the boar head on the wall, and then to her pretty pouting mouth.|
|She tossed back the cool, fiery yet soothing liquid and then proceded to munch on the spear of garlic stuffed olives. "Well," she was talking to herself again. "If that bastard Roger is going to leave me here-helpless and alone-so he can go trapsing through the African Savannah than he deserves to eat maggoty giraffe flesh." Anita always had the uncanny ability to make herself feel better with one short sentence. She smiled to herself as she swallowed the last morsel of olive. She then rang for Edgard, abrubtly interrupting his tet-a-tet with the little french maid, and demanded to know how long it would be before the faith healer arrived.|
|Suddenly, the door burst asunder, and, to her amazement and delight, Roger's friend Steve jumped through the shattered doorway, in one hand a can of whipped cream, in the other a large, battery-operated vibrator. "Lucy! I'm home!!!", he called, and with a grin the size of Gibralter, he seized her and...|
|was surprised to find himself impaled on one of Anita's crutches. Anita, after all, was a quick thinker and, despite her disability, was readily able to defend herself against intruding marauders.|
|Steve looked at Anita, astonishment marring his handsome features, he looked at his stomach, which was bleeding uncontrollably, and then back again at her. Mustering courage and strength, he pulled the embedded crutch spear from his stomach, and then fell to the floor gasping for air. "Anita," he moaned, "what have you done to me? I just had a little news about Roger for you, and I bought the whipping cream for a cake I was making on the way over here, honestly, baby." Anita gasped. Then thoughts of Roger flooded her mind and she could think of nothing else. What was the new about Roger? Was he alright?|
In sudden flash of meta-awareness, Anita stepped toward the window,
holding the vibrator at arm's length. She looked directly at the
camera, and out into the eyes of a thousand expectant tandemists.
"Now listen good, kids. This is my story, and it's NOT going
to be about perverted sex, got me?" She tossed the vibrator out the
window. "The last tandem, story I had to plug my ears with beeswax
all you little perverts could think to write about was Masturbation!
Truly, truly a noble topic for fiction! Well, it's absolutely not
going to happen here! No ifs, ands, or buts." |
The vibrator, meanwhile, after plummetting twenty-three storeys, graced an old man named Walter with a concussion and bouncing off his shiny bald pate landed in the purse of a young lady of 19 who had just been dumped by her boyfriend, also a friend of Roger Weaver's (sooner or later they all are, which is why Roger Weaver will be canonized, upon his death, as the Patron Saint of Unsatisfactory Boyfriends. For the moment, however, he is wolfing down rancid giraffe meat...)
The girl's named was Annabelle and she was a violin student at the Julliard School. She opened her purse. She looked in. She couldn't beleive her luck. She'd always wanted to try one of these things! It was still in its shrinkwrapped case, no less! She had planned on taking the subway home to her dingy little studio up in Yorkville, but instead, impetuously, she raced to the curb and hailed a cab!
|Anita felt empowered. She decided that this would be the day that she would once again stand on her own two feet and walk unaided and unhindered. She threw down her remaining crutch and took a step forward, away from the window. She fell flat on her face. But Anita was undaunted. She struggled to get herself back on her feet and took another step forward and again fell flat on her face. She could feel a trickle of blood running from her nose but she remained undiscouraged. Again she struggled to her feet and took yet another step forward, this time she staying vertical. She took another step. Success! She put one foot in front of the other and soon she was walking across the floor. She put one foot in front of the other and soon she was walking out the door.|
|So preoccupied with her own deteriorating physical condition was the woman that she completely failed to notice the shadowy figure which began to follow her, gliding along the edges of Stuyvesant Park like a second shadow. It was Walter, a reformed Vampire, a charter member of Vampires Anonymous, suddenly returned to his former bloodsucking self by his unfortunate encounter with the vibrator which Anita had thrown out the window. Already his fangs had grown back out and over his lower lip, and the need for blood ("Count Jones" in vampire slang) was upon him, and Fate, unbeknownst to either Walter or Anita, had given him, to perpetrate undoing upon, the perpetrator of his own undoing! What trickery, sly Fate! We can hear you chortling up there in the sky nyuck-nyuck-nyuck-nyuck-nyuck....|
Five blocks later, the last vestiges of Walter's other, human willpower
had vanished, and his was already giggling to himself at the old
Anne Rice jokes he and the other vampires used to tell in their secret
vault underneath the Manhattan Institute of Phlebotomy. "How many
Anne Rices does it take to change a lightbulb?" |
"I dunno, how many?"
"Three, but it never works the first is too sensitive, the second is underage, and the third catches on fire while trying to change it!"
"Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho," they'd all roared.
Anita for her own part still felt no impending danger behind her. She walked beneath the darkening, iron-grey sky of a late January afternoon, heading eastward toward the river. The river was where she always went when she needed time and space to think. During the week there was hardly anyone there; in weather as cold and damp as this she'd have the park to herself.
|Suddenly a hand grabbed her shoulder, and she turned to look in the face of a teenage girl, dressed in black, carrying a wooden stake in one hand. "Look what's the idea-" she began, but the girl covered her mouth. "I don't have time to tell you details," the girl hissed into Anita's ear. "Just move the other way. You're in danger."|
|Did this girl have some sort of Spidey-sense? Anita did as the girl asked and stepped a few cautious steps to the left. She felt something soft and squishy under her foot. Did she dare look down? What could it be? Hopefully it wasn't another marshmallow chicken baby--you know the ones that you can only get during Easter. Anita seemed to be stepping on those a lot lately. After a few moments of deliberation, during which the cute "goth" girl crept forward, mumbling the words to "Lucretia My Reflection" by the Sisters of Mercy, Anita did look down.|
|...and was shocked, appalled, and nauseated to discover she'd been stepping on, and crushing to gory little pulps, dozens of tiny men and women! Her stomach heaved; she turned away from the girl into the shadow of a brownstone to download the contents of her stomach onto the sidewalk; Walter the vampire opened his cape and his mouth simultaneously, raised his arms and baring his fangs in the universal vampire semaphore translated as "I've come to suck you blaaaaaaahd!" and fell upon the helpless maiden, too shaken with nausea to defend herself. He bent towards her smooth, tan jugular, sniffing and salivating it was been so long, so very, very long since he'd had a taste of warm, pulsing blood he bent closer, hissing and extending his fangs and then the sharp wooden stake came through his ribcage from the back and skewered his heart in a perfect bullseye.|
|Walter went into convulsions. His bony, claw like hands with their long twisted nails, dug into Anita, and then relaxed again. He shook and then fell screaming to the ground. Anita fell with him, landing hard on the scarred ashphalt. Shocked, she lay paralysed, curled into the fetal position, feeling the warm, wet blood of the vampire surge over her. The world went blurry, the earth began to reel. Suddenly from out of the mists a hand appeared, grotesque and curled, blackened nails and bloodied palms. The hand reached for Anita. Anita cowered, but a sharp voice pulled her from her reverie. "You were lucky, he almost got yah." The goth girl helped Anita to her feet and began doing a strange ritualistic dance around Walter's corpse. "Damn lucky," Anita murmered, as she observed the vampire turning to ash, and the goth girls frenzied dance intesifying. This city was too strange. Too dangerous to be roaming around at night without a protector. Her thoughts turned to Roger. He had been a protector. Handsome, confident and strong, she remembered walking this same street with him, less than a month ago. Why did he have to leave on that bloody safari? Suddenly, a desperate urge to see him grabbed her. There had to be a way. Mabye if they just saw eachother again, things would fix themselves. That had happened in Paris when they met, it could happen now too. She remembered the feeling of his hands on her body, the taste of his lips. "Roger," she moaned helplessly, "I need you." Drawing from a deep inner strength, which most people don't know they have until it is needed, Anita forced herself the limp home, leaving the goth girl and the deepening night behind her. With the resolve of one who knows that what she is doing is right, Anita dialled an airline company and made arrangements to fly to Africa the following day...|
|She awoke suddenly and realized it was all a dream. What could this really mean? A Vampire?? Blood?? And then the protector. Anita had always been a God fearing women and never thought she would have such frightening dreams that would seem evil. Deep inside she knew who her protector was. And HE died for her and for you too!!! Our Savior - Jesus!|
|Jesus, where did she get this stuff?! Jesus had gotten her here in the first place. That dream, the night Kenneth was born: God had come to her and said, "You shall have a son and his name will be Kenneth." And when the baby was born she'd known what she had to do. Anita hadn't noticed the baby's pointed canines, hadn't known it was THE BRETHREN OF BLOOD that had impregnanted her!!! She glared at the wretched wizened creature that had been her son and her protector.|
|Anita decided to go to church and calm down. But she couldn't because it was Thursday and church was on Sundays. So she prayed. "God, send me some help here!" Suddenly out of the shadows appeared the Fictional Five! Janice, Vashondra, Bitzy, Kristi, and Dianne the angel! "What are you doing here?" said Anita. "Well, we're immortal, aren't we?" replied Janice, very much annoyed at their glorious entrance into this story being greeted by an unbeleiving, oh-great-cant-i-ever-have-a-break-from-these-guys answer. Kristi answered a little better. "We were hanging out somewhere between Alpha and Omega when we all suddenly felt this great urge to come here and help you. It was like God was calling us or something." This made a little sense to Anita but not much. "What is Alpha," she asked, "and what is Omega?" "We'll explain later," said Vashondra. "Right now we have work to do!"|
|"Ok" said Anita a little dubiously. The Fictional Five grabbed her under her arms and she felt herself rising into the air. With gaining speed they rushed higher and higher until Anita feared they would be crushed against the ceiling. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them she saw that she was standing in a large cornfield. "Ok" said Vashondra, "Let's scare away those crows!" The five began to squawk in the most ear-shattering tones Anita had ever heard. "What are you doing?" she cried. "Where are we?" The Five looked at her with puzzled expressions. "Isn't this your field?" "No!" Anita shouted. The Five suddenly looked very sheepish and Bitzy said "Sorry, the signals must have got crossed. Guess we got the wrong mortal." Then with that they vanished as quickly as they had appeared. Anita looked around. Now she was stuck in the middle of a cornfield who-knows-where. Now what was she to do?|
|Moments later the Fictional Five reappeared. "OK," said Vashondra, pulling a strange wooden thing out of her 3 foot strawberry blonde beehive hairdo. "We know who you are now." She proceeded to tell Anita 436 things about Anita. It took seven hours. After seven hours Anita asked, "Whats that wooden thing?" "Oh that," said Janice. "Thats the solution to your problem with your vampire son - the Vampire Vacuum 3000!!!" Dianne explained how it worked: "You see, its basically a sharp stake except we added some high tech stuff. This blue button, here, sprays water. This white and gold button creates a ten meter radius sphere of light. This brown and gold button sends out a strong smell of garlic. And this purple button summons Buffy the Vampire Slayer in case you need more help. That vampire wont go near you!" "What does this red button do?" asked Anita. "Oh no," said Bitzy, paling a little which made her face an ever increasing contrast to her jet black hair. "We meant to take that out but we didn't have time." "But what does it do" asked Anita. "Well," said Kristi, the youngest, "lets just say some bad things happened. Anyway good luck! We have to go now and help Roger Weaver find a better giraffe."|
"Thank God the "Fictional Five" truly are fictional. This is
just plain stupid," snorted Roger Weaver slamming the odious comic
book shut. Without the slightest tinge of regret he tossed the last
remaining copy of "Tedious Character #126 " into the flames
of the small fire he had managed to make with a magnifying glass
and the last few leaves of rolling papers stuffed into one of the
thirty pockets of his safari jacket. One last lick of flame and it
and all trace of them were gone. It had been the only reading matter
that he been able to find at the Kunjaba airport that wasn't in native
Bozoti but nights were cool on the savannah and brushwood hard to
find. Sacrifices had to be made. Fortunatly this was a small one.|
Besides he had bigger problems to contend with.
|There was a rustle in the bushes a few feet off. "Damn, now I'm getting the jeebies", thought Roger. Maybe the comic book wasn't that bad after all. What could possibly be out in this place in the middle of a nowhere island anyway? "There it is again!" this time he spoke out loud. He pulled his thin safari jacket around him tighter as a chilling shiver ran up his back and neck making the fine hair stand up against his collar. "What if there is wildlife on this small island?" impossible. Someone would have to bring them here. Animals wouldn't be here naturally. Just birds and birds don't fly in the dark. OOooooO "There! Who goes there?!" This time he knew he wasn't hearing things. That was definately not a bird or the wind. What's going on here?|
|The possibilities flashed through his mind. He hadn't had much of a chance to survey his surroundings before nightfall. Could a pregnant animal have drifted to the island on a piece of drift wood? Perhaps woodchucks had been stowed away in the landing gear of a plane used by colombian drug lords who had exchanged cargo occasionally on the small island? Roger wasn't afraid of being attacked by a wild herd of ravenous woodchucks, but nonetheless his inabiity to identify the noise had terror rushing through his spine and he found it difficult to breath. His eyes were transfixed at the dimmly lit brush in front of him. He felt panicked, the same sense of terror he felt when as a small child, waiting in his room to be spanked by his father for some misdeed he had committed, he could hear the sound of his father's footsteps approaching and his anxiety level reached a frenetic level that sent him into a shaking mass of tears and uncontrolled cries of despair.|
|As an adult Roger no longer retreated to fits of sobbing in the presence of terror, but he did feel himself sweating, and every muscle in his body was tense as he prepared for the unknown. The brush moved. Out stepped a human figure with a head dress of beads, straw and feathers, and a skirt made of dried long grasses. It was a woman. He looked into the face of the person coming towards him and it looked familiar. Suddenly the shockwave of recognition hit him. It was Anita!|
No actually it was Janice, followed by Dianne, Kristi, Vashondra,
and Bitzy. "We're no more fictional than you are honey," said Kristi.
"And besides, we're immortal and you're not. So really we're better
than you." Janice continued from there. "What right did you have
to throw the WORLD PREMEIRE of our BEST comic book into a TOXIC DIRTY
"Well - uh - uh -" Roger was lost for words.
"You know better than to upset the Fictional Five!" shouted Janice.
"I might just turn my evil remote control on you!!!"
"Now Janice -" started Kristi.
Janice interrupted Kristi with a hoarse scream. "I've had enough of your "calm down" tactics!!! I've had enough of all of you!!! I am leaving!!! I will build my own evil remote control factory!!! I will have my revenge on all of you!!! YOU HEAR ME?? I ALONE WILL SURVIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" With that Janice kicked wildly and ran screaming into the forest.
Kristi, Dianne, Vashondra, and Bitzy had an emergency conference. "Janice is going wacko!" "She's been going wacko for a while but I've never seen her this wacko before," "hey guys she dropped her evil remote control!" "Look what it says on the side!" "Wackometer!" "Oh great I knew it was evil but not that evil!" "What do you mean" "Don't you see? The evil remote control has turned Janice into an evil, sadistic, screaming, not to mention totally wacko, personality!" "is there a way to change her back?" "I think so, listen to this mumble mumble mumble" After much discussion the four turned to Roger. "We need your help. If you dont help us, your life, our lives, Anita's life, maybe even the whole world's lives, will be in grave danger."