|The Story||The Authors|
|Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! Roger felt something wet in his ear. Snort! He opened his eyes and it was daylight. The snout of a large boar-like creature met his gaze. He was suddenly wide awake, woken from a deep slumber by the snorting and sniffing of a herd of wildebeastes that had roamed in and caught him napping. Giraffe meat must have as much tryptophan as Turkey he thought to himself. After stuffing his gord with meat he had found it hard to keep his eyes open and dozed off several yards away from the carcass, which was now being consumed and picked at by very large birds.|
|He lie still while the creature in it's curiousity sniffed and rooted around his being. Prodding, nuzzleing, making little nips at his clothing, the boar tried to decide whether this oddity was another food source. In his course of investigation he again moved toward Roger's face. Fearing a nip out of his cheek Roger found himself having to make a quick decision. A shout or harsh move could have set the animal into an attack mode. But as the creature sniffed toward Roger's face he suddenly turned his face directly toward the creature and made a harsh sniffing noise himself. The boar was surprised at this turn of events. He drew his head back startled but looked keenly at Roger unmoving. Again Roger made a snifing sound as though he too were of the same species. The boar was puzzled by this behavior. Roger glanced out of the corner of his eye to see that the other beasts were meandering off having grabbed what food they could from the scene and dragging it away with them. Only this fellow was staying in close range. Realizing he had momentarily confused the creature, Roger very slowly began to lift his head and shoulders from the ground never breaking eye contact with the boar. Knowing what had saved him up to that moment was not showing fear, he again sniffed in the direction of the creature's snout. His heart was pounding so hard he felt like the animal had to hear it. The boar turned it's head slightly to the side not sure that it wanted to be identified by this strange thing it did not recognize. Roger lifted himself a little further again sniffing in the direction of the creature. The boar again ever so slightly turned his head a little further from Roger's advance.|
|~*~ "Cut!" The director looked at the actor, and the boar, and decided it was all a great big bore. "This will never do!" he exclaimed.|
|"I'm looking for emotion, people." He continued on in this vain for a great deal of time, ending (finally) on his knees in tears.|
|Realizing himself in imminent danger, Roger snapped himself from this cinematographic reverie as a plan began to form in his mind.|
|He sized the boar up. "You're pretty squat there, fella. Fat, too. Stubby legs. I ain't scared a you. And Hell, at least you're not one a them confounded Fictional Five wenches, them busybody womens who don't know when to keep their noses outta a story where they ain't wanted. I drives a man plumb crazy, it do!" He wiped the sweat from his forehead. The boar finished its snuffling and rooting among the stinking rmeains of the giraffe, surveyed Roger with a look of undisguised malice, lowered its head and prepared to charge.|
|For some reason the only thing Roger could think about was the old joke about how do you stop a rhino from charging. Unfortunately, this was neither the time nor the place for that joke, so instead he squared his shoulders and cleared his throat, "Knock, knock," he said.|
The boar paused for a moment looking Roger over suspiciously. It clawed
the earth in front of it restlessly waiting for Him to continue.|
"Umm... I said, "Knoc, Knock" continued Roger nervously.
The boar let loose a steamy snort that Roger interpreted to mean "Who's there?"
Frantically combing through the dented cardboard box labelled Knock-Knock Jokes inb the basement of Roger's
memory, he mananged to emit a weak "Water," |
"Water who?" snorted back the boar with marked impatience. "Water you think that is coming towards us?" he said, pointing toward the stand of trees directly behind the boar. While the boar turned to look, and stood there, dumbly, looking at the absolute nothing that was coming towards them, not getting the joke which had been played on him, and when he turned back to Roger to express his puzzlement, he found, of course, that Roger, that sly trickster, had long since stolen into the undergrowth and fled the scene.
Old Boar's eyes narrowed. He didn't take well to being made to look
foolish, even if the only witnesses were a ratty pair of Wikka birds
snacking on rancid giraffe entrails. He had a reputation to keep.
"Venegence will be mine!" he snorted to no one in particular but
in the general direction of the disinterested Wikka birds. "Ere this
day is out I'll be chewing on your insides!" Boar didn't really mean
it, but appearances needed to be upheld. Law of the jungle and all
With a little shake of his tail Boar proceeded to trot off in the opposite direction from Roger.
Roger, meawhile, trudging through the bush and sniggering to himself,
suddenly found himself in the midst of an unearthly quiet. He stopped.
The sun was getting high, and it was hot. All around him the
baobob trees writhed up from the ground like Rodin's damned fixed
in the postures of agony at the maw of Hell. No birds disturbed the
silence, not even the chatty parrots, and even the monkeys were silent.
He looked around himself. He became aware of an incredible radiance,
seeming to beat from the very center of things. The sun pulsed on
him, The air whirled in his lungs. His heartbeat raced and his breath
came in short, rapid gasps. He thought of Anita, then, back in gritty
Manhattan; What the hell is happening to me? he thought, seeing
varicolored TV snow dancing in the air around him. Am I going
to die here? In a strange land, friendless, surrounded by savages...?"
And it was then, strangely, as if in answer to Roger's unvoiced thought, that the voice boomed down (from whence, he was unable to identify):
"NO! You shall not die here, young man! We have other things planned for you!"
There was a small metallic whir from the gnarled trunk of a boabob
tree a dozen steps to Roger's left. A door popped open revealing
an apparent elevator with bright red shag carpeting floor to ceiling.
It appeared unoccupied.|
"Get in" boomed the disembodied voice.
|Roger step in and presses the number 13 The elevator rises|
|In fact the whole tree rose, leaving a scorched spot in the brush and scattering the lazy Wikka and Jub-jub birds lazily dozing on its branches.|
|Inside the trunk of the old tree it was so dark that Roger couldn't see a thing. He could certainly feel, though — sticky! Everywhere was slippery-gooey with a substance the consistency of vaseline petroleum jelly. Only the smell of it — sheesh! Hooo-eee!|
|Being trapped inside the tree, Roger couldn't escape the gooey matter and was soon covered head to toe with the stuff. Some of it got into his mouth and it tasted worse than it smelled. The tree finally came to a landing, Roger had no idea where, and the door in it's trunk opened. Roger stepped out of the trunk and immediately tripped on a tree root. He fell headlong into a great pile of goose feathers and down which stuck fast to the gooey stuff that coated the poor man. Behind him he could hear the tree close it's door and fly away.|
A cluster of feather stuck fast to the five-day growth of moustache
beneath his nose caused him to ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah — chooooooooooooooooo!
This was answered by a sinister, reverbed giggle from somewhere off to his left, and then a second giggle from his right.
"Show yourself!" he demanded, wiping curdily glutinous feather-pudding from his eyes.
Show yourself...ow yourself...elf...elf...elffffff came the echo. From the sound of it, he seemed to be in a large, cavernous interior.
Tee-hee-hee-hee-hee, came the giggle again, and Ti-hii-hii-hii-hii, came its response.
Roger was really getting angry, and a vitrioic tirade quivered at the tip of his tongue, when a great booming voice, the same one he'd heard outside the magic baobab tree, thundered through the room so thunderfully that before Roger knew it he was on the floor, cowering among the gooey shmeg and feathers.
SILENCE! SILENCE! Silence ye little fools, raritans, and nin-com-poops! Silence, I command you, or suffer my wrath! it boomed, as a great, glowing, disembodied face began to materilaize from out of the fog and goosedown.
Injun Joe couldn't believe his eyes. Breaking into the Observatory
had been easy enough.
But 4 hours of work with a tomahawk hadn't made a dent in the file
cabinet. Cursing and
punching it he discovered it hadn't been locked! Oops!
What had him rubbing his eyes in disbelief was the folder of fridge
magnet poetry kept by
the astronomer. The first folder Injun Joe had opened was dated January
26, 1995. The
"poetry" he read there seemed to have prophesied the next 4 years
of his disgusting and
empty life! Joe gulped and read it again...
Magnetic Poems 26 January 1995
he licks sweating skin
as did she
smooth lust delicately leaves him weak
drunk spraying white milk
it is lazy summer
As the hologram disappeared from the churning befeathered fog filling
the room (through Roger's dimly returning vision) poor Roger shook
his head in a gesture of defeated disbelief. It was always something
they were showing you that you were expected to understand, be they
scientists, poets, politicians or missionaries, always some string
of words or length of video of which we — you, me, the little folks,
the man on the street, the meek still waiting to inherit the goddamned
earth — were supposed to make both head an tail of, a trult impossible
task since the messages sent us were, increasingly as the years sped
past, equivalent to this feathery goo in which I am presently so
uncomfortably mired — that is to say, possessing neither head nor
tail among its consituent elements, I shall not waste the effort
trying to make head or tail of it. He sighed...|
At which the bulbous, glowing head remanifested itself out of the blur of fog and feathers and, with rubbery lips appearing to expend great effort into the pronouncing of the syllables falling thickly through the atrophied muscles of its aged maw, once again spoke in the harsh blue glottals of its accent:
"ROGER WEAVER! We have for thee a task! Though not without peril, the rewards at its completion are considerable, and no longer would you find yourself forced to work those humiliating temp-clerical and telemarketing jobs! You would be wealthy until the end of your days. What say you, mortal?"
"What do I have to do?" squeaked Roger. "Killing and eating that rancid giraffe was bad enough! I think I got a tapeworm from it..."
"SILENCE! Enough of your petty maledictions — I am speaking here of the Fates of two worlds, yours and mine, inextricably interwoven in time and space and collagen! The clocks of doom are ticking away, and the sinister monkey of our races' twin demises sits upon both our backs, eating peanuts and throwing the shells where it will! There is no time for you to dilly-dally? What say you, human shellfish of a sponge-mop?"
"Uh — I guess so. But — do I get to meet a princess? Huh? Can you at least guarantee that."
"If you insist."
"She's gotta be attractive, too, dude. No ugly princesses for this giraffe-killer."
"Your wish is my command."
"Cool beans, daddy-o! When do I start?"
The head merely sighed, and, motioning for the overstimulated Roger to follow, turned and bobbed off into the darker recesses of the place.
|T.Tillman, the cheery troglodyte, whipped the trult out of his bag and began cramming it deep into the empty cranium of Roger. Roger's head began shaking like it did when his Mommy put more cat puke on the tray of his high chair. No, no, no. It had not passed his visual inspection. "No, Mommy, NO!" The waves of nausea began passing over him again. Fish guts. Fish oil. Why did she insist on feeding the kitty sea food? Oh, Roger had become an expert on what was passed before his gaze. He thought it all was coming his way again. More rancid cat puke. The Head of All Bodyless Heads had decided the time had come to replace the beeswax and sawdust with a genuine trult! Roger had no way of knowing it, but henceforth and forever his "shitte wouldde sinketh likek any Mortall Mannes!"|
"What was that?!" Roger cried out, waving his arms frantically over
his head. "Were those bats?" "No, no, it was only me," Roger recognized
the voice as that of the disembodied head but now not so booming.
"For some reason that I haven't yet been able to explain, changing
from a godlike apparition into a less imposing human form causes
hallucinations - not unlike those caused by magic mushrooms - in
all those who witness it. Sorry." the man shrugged. Roger could
only stare at the man and the man became visibly uncomfortable as
the silence lingered. Finally, he cleared his throat. "I guess
I should introduce myself. I'm Pope John Paul Georgeanringo II."
"You can't be the Pope." Roger said. |
"Because the old Pope hasn't died yet." Roger was beginning to doubt the intelligence of this being.
"What old Pope?" the Pope asked.
"There's only one Pope! You know, the guy that's so close to God that he rides around in a bullet proof golf cart! The Pope - THE Pope!"
"Oh, that guy." said the Pope, nodding to himself. "He's a fake. But enough of all that, we have a job to do."
|It occurred to Roger that a disembodied head has a very difficult time actually shrugging but for some reason he decided to keep these thoughts to himself. They continued in silence for several moments until Roger spoke timidly, "I already have a job." Pope John Paul Georgeanringo II sighed theatrically but said nothing. Roger continued, "It's just that when you say 'we have a job to do' it reminds me of a superhero from some old comic book, and they frighten me." The Pope eyed Roger wearily, "You mean the thought of this as yet unmentioned job frightens you?" Roger considered his words carefully, "No, old comic books frighten me. The ink gives you cancer ..."|
"Oh, so it's cancer you're worried about — hold on a sec, now
where the hell did I put that damn thing...?" The Pope (whose body
now appeared in tandem with the dispersing of the fog and the visual
manifestation of the room, a dusty workshop long since given over
to overwhelming clutter) tossed multiple cellphones of sleek black
or gunmetal grey willy-nilly behind himself, digging deeper and deeper
into the piles of rubbish and cable-wire, disemboweled portable CD
players and vaguely familiar remotes. "A-ha!" he said, at last. "Here
she is: The Red Cellphone!" |
"The Red Cellphone?" queried Jake. "What's so special about that? Don't they come in Happy Meals now?"
"No, no, absolutement no, my erring boy, those are iMacs that come in the Happy Meals (I've collected all twelve of them myself), while this —" holding up the ordinary-looking Red Cellphone — "This puppy is my direct, toll-free line to —" He pointed with ritualistic solemnity at and through the ceiling, nodding knowingly at Roger. "The Big Guy."
"You mean — Ronald McDonald?" gasped Roger, feeling fingers of static hop like electrified lice up and down the nape of his neck.
"Sssshhhh — we just say R. around here. He gets upset if you use his full name. So, anyway — it's cancer you say you're worried about?" Roger nodded. "What's you're Social Security Number?" Roger told him. Pope John Paul Georgeandringo II dialed a number from memory on the cell-phone and listened to the other end of it ring.
"Brian?" he shouted.
Roger couldn't hear the other end of the conversation.
"Yeah, Johnpaulgeorgeandringo II here... Listen, can you check on somebody for me? Great, great...Yeah, here goes...041...65...9971...Yeah, that's him, Weaver, Roger...What? When? Oh, really? Well, I'll be dipped in pigshit...No, no, that's not a request, Brian, I just meant, you'd just never guess from looking at him...Ha ha ha — alright, listen, I gotta go, we have a Code Red here — no, howbout Sunday...brunch? The Blue Water Grill? Great, great. Okay. No, Brian — no, I told you, of course I'm taking my medication...Yes...I swear to God... Gotta go...I'll see you Sunday."
He hung up then and turned impishly to Roger. "Nothing to fear, my boy. There's no cancer in the works for you." He chuckled and turned away abruptly, before Roger had a chance to question him further. "Let's get going," he called. "We haven't even started yet..."
|"Was that THE Brian?" Roger asked, a little awe-struck.|
The little Astrukh Roger was looking at noticed pee pee dribbling
down Roger's left trouser leg and, folding his hands complacently
within the long-sleeved Mandarin garment he was wearing, bowed his
head ever-so slightly towards Roger.
"What is left of honorable brain seems to be dribbling down honorable pant leg!
Ah, so...Most unfortunate..."
"Well, yeah. Didn't you see me using the red cellphone?" The Pope
rolled his eyes and shook his head disdainfully. "Humans, sheesh!"
he said, not even trying to hide his disdain from Roger. "What?
I was just asking." said Roger. "Well come on, it's time to get
going." said Pope John Paul Georgeandringo II.|
"Wait, can't I get this feather and goo off me first?" asked Roger.
"No, you'll be needing that for protection." the Pope explained.
"Protection? From what?"
"It's better if I don't tell you."
"Why not?" Roger was getting nervous.
"Just trust me." said the Pope.
"Well where are we going?" Roger pressed.
"I'm not going to like this, am I?"
"Most likely not."
|"THen why MOsior, I must detest, froom the #$%@, and all the rest. Speak in rhyme speak in time, let's see what other loser can come with and whine"|
|They then fly up into the sky and then the Pope said time to fly. He pushed Roger out from the plane to show him to trust in the little thangs. That little feather started to work. As Roger quoted "What a Jerk"|
|His descent slowed by the feathers, he plummeted down, down, down, just like Alice, and hit the water with a respounding splash! Surveying the distant coastline before the green waves swallowed him whole, he saw that they had flown far, far South since the part of Africa he had been in when he shot that same infernal giraffe which had set off this whole wacky chain of events. "Repenting your sins, then?" her heard the Pope's voice say tinnily in his ear, followed by the as-yet unidentified twins giggles with which the leader of the Catholic World's every utterance seemed to be punctuated...Then he was sinking too fast to consider these things, the feathers torn away by the briny sea but the greasy goo with which he was still covered insulating him from the frigid sub-Antarctic waters. Down, down, down he sank, past undulating kingdoms of sea-monkeys, dead WWII airmen and skeletal Afrikaner sailors mouthing mute obscenities, silverblue ribboning oarfish singing marine showtunes, and lazy pods of whales rolling in seismic plankton-orgies, down, down, down, the water growing darker, colder, more pressured, bursting in his ears, into frigid and absolute blackness which suddenly disappeared in the pink sunny glow of a great light emanating from somewhere beneath him, just as the last oxygen passed from his lungs into his bloodstream and he felt his consciousness began to disintegrate...|
|He thought for just a moment that he heard singing, yes it was song. It was a happy, uplifting song about the sea, and was that a mermaid? Roger knew finally that he was truly dying ... and then ... blackness.|
|The last thing he heard before his consciousness fled him was the faint crackle of the Pope's voice in his ear, "ANd remember — Roger — that's right, you — because even if I am the Pope, I remember when I was a young man, the way those hormones coursed through my body, made me think about about doing things I shouldn't be even [crackle] considering, things that R. told us we shouldn't do when he sent the 10 Happy Meals down to Grimace on Mt. Frenchfry, unnnatural [crackle] things — so remember, young man — no carnal relations between humans and Sea Monkeys, Mermaids and/or Hagfish are to be permitted. Under any [crackle] circumstances. It's your job now to save the worlds, yours and theirs, not to be getting your pecker wet in the wrong genetic pool. Over and [crackle] out..." Tee-hee, too-hoo went the twin giggles, right on cue; and then the transistor in his ear fizzed out and Roger knew no more for a long time.|
|Roger struggled out of unconsciousness slowley, moaning as he did so. He was sprawled out on the desert sands, infront of his fire, which had long gone out. The cooled embers still glowed slightly from inside the teepee of smouldering branches and the smoke left trails towards the clear skies above. Judging from the position of the full moon, Roger deduced it was somewhere around four in the morning. He struggled into a sitting position, rubbing his head. It was four in the morning, but where was he? Nothing seemed to make sense. He looked around, trying to remember how he had gotten here. The line between dreams and reality was blurred. He remember the Fictional Five, the Pope, Anita. But what was real? A buzzing sound, carried on a light breeze, caught his attention and he pushed to his feet, rubbing his eyes as he limped towards the sound. Infront of him loamed the carcass of a wildebeast. Flies had alighted on its head and eyes while maggots writhed on what was left of its belly. The fog in Rogers brain began to clear. The past came flooding back. He remembered shooting a giraffe and then in desperation running from his hiding place to it. Well, not really running, he recalled, more like staggering. He hadn't eaten in days, he had begun to lose his vision, his strength, his mind. How he had reached the giraffe he didn't know, but he had. Or at least he had reached a carcass, and he had eaten it. The thought brought the taste of the rancid meat back to him and he gagged. The wildebeast! He had eaten the decomposing wildebeast, infested with maggots and worms! Things began to make sense, he must have passed out after eating what he thought was the giraffe, but was really a rotten wildebeast and... Roger froze. Who had made the fire he had just been laying in front of? What were these stange markings on his body? What sort of headress was he wearing? ...and why was he naked? There could only be one answer - Natives!|
"No," said Janice, "it's me! Hahahahahahaha! You've got to do what
I say or I will hand you over to the batdooeuludruntvs! And burn
your arms up! And color you wildebeest color so the lions will eat
you!!! Hahahahahaha! Now listen here, I want you to lead the Fictional
Four to Tera Cto Munnader! There I will be waiting for them with
my deadly patented Arw Soe Fligae Tpor Siigal Adthraiushns trap!
HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!" With that Janice vanished.
Moments later the rest of the Fictional Five appeared and pestered
Roger with questions. "Have you seen Janice?" "Where is she?" "What
is she doing?" Roger wasn't sure what to do until Kristi explained.
"Janice's mind has been taken over by her evil remote control. If
we can steal it and destroy it, she will return to her normal self.
Otherwise, she will destroy the Universe. You mortals will die and
we will lose our immortality and be confined to the Beta Universe
for the rest of our lives." So Roger decided to tell them what Janice
had said. "Oh no," said Kristi. "There is only one way to escape
an Arw Soe Fligae Tpor Siigal Adthraiushns trap!"
"What's that?" asked Roger.
The reply was unanimous. "Anita."
|they all got sucked up into a great black hole in space and were never seen or heard from again! Fortunately, the ever tiresome fictional five had mistook Roger Weaver's twin brother Bob for Roger himself and so the twin brother was sucked up into the void with them and Roger is still as we left him approaching the Mer Kingdom at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean.|