|The Story||The Authors|
|Downward he drifted, the foul smelling goo keeping him at least marginally
warm in the frigid waters. In the distance Roger could hear the keening
moans and whistles of a passing whalesong while below him the vague
ethereal glow of Mer rose to greet him. All was peaceful. Roger wondered
to himnself if drowning was always this pleasant as he passed through
a silver clould of young smelt.|
Whatever available light there had been was slowly being absorbed and bent by the all encompassing waters and soon only the dim and distant glow below him remained. Dark shapes that Roger could only imagine to be finned creatures passed and gently nudged his body. Guiding him towards the glow, towards something. Something resembling the aspiration of a 400lb asthmatic in August became discernable in the gloomy murk. It was geting louder as he fell. Another ever helpful and invisible sea creature gave him a gentle shove and the sound worked in to a roar and Roger was sucked into the intake shaft like so much soup into the mouth of suburban hausfrau.
and Roger found himself rather unceremoniously spat out by the intake pipeline onto concrete ledge slimy with algae. The walls glowed a dim blue as if the room were lit by St Elmo's fire. roger steadied himself on his feet. The lilting feeling of the water still fresh in his body. The ledge was slippery and seemed to wind off into the darkeness to his left.
|All his memories ached in his head. Numb flashes stung to the inside of his skull. He brofe into a sprint and turned a corner in this nightmare world. He suddenly looke downwards ,forgetting for a second his intense vertigo. A thousand streets ,paths and staircases all angled randomly lay beneath him. His ankle jolted out but he grabbed the side of the wall which was incased in green slime.|
|A light appeared at the top of set of stairs bracnhing off from another set to his left. "GO ROGER WEAVER! Head for the light!' came the Pope's tinny voice in his ears puncuated by the elusive twin giggles.|
Back on the bridge, the Cat in the Hat unzipped his Pope suit and
tossed it across the back of the nearest chair. He clapped his hands:
Thing One! Thing Two! he said: |
I do not want you to stay here!
I do not want him getting laid!
I do not want him getting laid!
He clapped his hands together again and a trap-door opened beneath the giggling Things One and Two's feet, sending them sliding through the grease-chute, through the feather-chute, and zip! out into the open air, from whence they plummeted slowly to the sea in the invisible footsteps of Roger...
|Just as they were about to plunge head first into the ocean a gust of wind caught them and transported them to a strange land with what looked like galvanized pipe growing out of the ground. There were simplistic looking flowers at various intervals growing along the hillside as well. Thing One and Thing Two looked around and were startled to hear singing (what is it with me and singing?) off in the distance. They weren't sure but it sounded like the voices were saying: "Tinkie-winkie, Tipsy, Lala, Po". What strange words were those Thing One and Thing Two wondered?|
Unsure of his footing on the slimy stairs Roger began a tentative
climb up the stairway towards the lighted doorway, his breath loud
in his ears. he heard a soft shuffle behind him. He froze. Squinting
into the faint blue aura of the room he tried to peer out the source
of the noise. The sound of stifled giggles.|
"Umm... who's there?" he called into the shadows. More stifled giggles.
|Then the lights came on; and out swam two mermaids, and when I say swam that's exactly what I mean, because (a) they were the by far the fetchingest sight Roger had ever laid eyes on (and Anita...who was she?) and because (b) as he saw them undulate through the water toward him, their giggles fully audible in a liquid environment, he suddenly realized he was no longer breathing, so to speak, as he had always taken for granted... His eyes widened into O's of amazement as he simultaneously felt the gills on the sides of his throat and saw the lovely, perfectly formed breasts of the next two mermaids to enter the chamber. Soon they were all around him, giggling and cooing, and Roger's face lit up with the goofiest, most contented grin it had worn in the twenty years since that one Christmas when he'd actually gotten what he wanted: A Huffy Sand-Devil, 5-Speed, banana seat, flame red... And now this: gills and girls, girls, girls! Mergirls at that, and he a merman...|
Roger pushed off from the steps and into the weightless wonder of
his new found fishy harem. The Mermaids swarmed around him like hummingbirds
to a morning glory. Suspended in the dream-like freedom of the water
they began an elaborate ballet of groping hands and reaching tongues.
Rising higher and higher in the blue lit chamber until they threatened
to impale themselves on the very stalagmites of the ceiling.|
Roger was lost in adolescent rapture. It was as if his every junior high fantasy had been granted in one fell swoop.
All at once an iron claw grabbed at his ankle and dragged him back down into the darkness and away from his dreams.
A second set of cold metal digits grabbed his other ankle, and rising
up from beneath him, like bubbles rising up through the water, came
the twin giggles of Thing One and Thing Two, who chanted at him,
as they dragged him away: |
This is no joke, this is no trick
We know you want a mermaid pet
We know you want a mermaid pet
At which solemn pronouncement — the three of them having reached their destination by then — the dieep-sea-diver-suited Thing One and Thing Two each bopped Roger over the head, kicked him soundly in the groin (ouch!) and scampered away giggling.
There was a whooooosh and a flush and the chamber in which
the pair had left him quickly drained leaving a flushed Roger gasping
and sputtering for breath on the floor. The pain of his reinflating
lungs was almost as great as that of his unsatisfied and bruised
family jewels. He lay there as still as he could with his eyes shut.|
A small hatch opened in the ceiling and out of it slid what appeared like a large eyeball wearing a top hat trailing a flexible metal tether. It blinked at Roger. Roger winced back. Deep within the iris Roger could see a cat dimly refracted onto the back.
See my friend, so weak and pale
this is no time
to chase some tail
We have no time for earthly smut
So move yourself
Get Up! Get UP!
|Roger listened to the persistent little voice and pushed up off the ground. What the hell was going on? He looked around him in wonder. He was in a cave of some sort, and numerous tunnels led out of it. "Pick one," the little voice dmanded. Roger felt like he was a character in the Jules Verne novel- Journey to the Center of the Earth, as he slowley walked into one of the tunnels. It was as black as the ace of spades and he had to cling to the wet and slimy walls to keep from falling. He walked and walked into the endless abyss, until like an oasis in a desert, he saw before him, a welcome speck of light. He began to walk faster now, one of the wiseman following the bright star. The light grew and grew, and as he neared it, the tunnel turned from black to gray, and the sounds of dripping water, echoing ghost steps and squeeking bats was lost as Roger ran the last steps out of the dark prison and into the outside world. Before him he saw|
not the outside world at all. It was merely a larger chamber. Immense
stalactites dripped from the limestone ceiling and sparkled in the
reflected light of the small miner's lantern that sat on a little
outcrop of a silvery green stalagmite. Above the lantern and scratched
deeply into the rock was an arrow|
And the initials A.S.
The top hatted eye hovered lightly over Roger's shoulder.
Pick your way
but not your nose
that's the way
the arrow shows
if ideas you need
you could always use'em
That way went Arnie Sachnusem
|I looked at A.S. wondering who it was. Decided it was not fun to wonder as much as it would be to continue. So I did. Conitnue I did. I met a snail. A.S. on his shell. Continue I did. Met a bear. A.S. in his fur. Continue I did. I ate the twinkie, driank the wine. Looked up and say A.S. in my mind. What am I to do???|
At times like these Roger tended to fret that he was going prematurely
senile or some even worse fate, ala "Flowers for Algernon," when
these primitive thoughts flitted across the surface of his mind like
developmentally challenged fruit-bats suffering from radar deficiency...When
in truth (and only the Cat in the Hat knew) it was all those psilocybin
mushrooms he'd taken in college, the psychoactive molecules of which
lodge in the fatty tissues of the body, and in times of stress and
sweating, when circumstances had him working off those love-handles
he'd grown during the soft three years in New York City with Anita,
that these hidden molecules of mild hallucinatory potential were
released, passing through his brain one final time and taking great
special pleasure in slightly discombobulating it before being flushed
out of his body for good (or until the next time...) |
Yet still he fretted. Poor lad. Once ANita had read an article in Cosmopolitan entitled "Are You a Worrier?" and she'd clucked her tongue and giggled and said to herself, "I'm not, but I know who is," looking lovingly across the living room at Roger that afternoon so long ago and cackling to herself again.
Meanwhile, in the dim drear of the underground cavern, Roger searched
his memory for a face or a scrap of information to connect with the
name "Arnie Sachnusem," but came up empty-handed every time. |
He sat on a stone, lifted the basket of his hands for his face to fall into, and wept. Great sobs wracked him; he was lost; he hadn't eaten in three days; he was following a series of cyphers and clues left, apparently, by an insane cryptologist, for all the sense he could make out of them...
As if by magic, there in that hour of his darkness, Thing One and Thing Two appeared with the graceful mercy and timing of two seraphim sent by God himself. They had been asleep, it seems; they were still cluthcing their pillows, and it was with these that they began to bang him on the head (boff!), in the face (zammo!), and across the chest (thwack!, knocking him off his rock and onto the cold hard cavern floor as the two Things raised up their voices in unison:
"Each time you lust or get depressed
|And with those words, Roger remembered something from his past, which up until this moment had eluded him. He remembered being a very small lad, sitting in his bed, dressed in warm pajamas, while a fair maiden, perhaps his mother, read to him the wonderful tale of Sam I am and the green eggs and ham. He had so loved that story, of the odd little man, Sam, and his insistence that everyone should try and love green eggs and ham. As he remembered this warm and fuzzy memory, Thing One and Thing Two majically disappeared, just as suddenly as they had appeared, and Roger found himself ready for the next steps of his journey.|
|It was after-all a journey of only twelve steps, but what large steps they were, almost as if they were made for a giant or some other large creature.|
For the voices began to come from the very walls: |
And then that song came churtling in over the P.A.:
So you tried it just a-once, found it alright
...followed by the sound of the tonearm being hurled radially inwards,
the needle bouncing in and out of the grooves and finally stopping
once and for all with a noise like an expiring wildebeast. And over
the P.A. there came a strangely familiar voice: |
I thought I said No more fictional degeneration into the complex realms of self-stimulation! Not in my story, damn you people! "
"My god," thought Roger; "I know that high bitchy tone — that's Anita's voice!"
You people are sickos! Pre-verts! All you
ever think to write about is sex! Sex and masturbation! The sins
of the flesh! The things they warned you you'd burn in hell for!
You treat women as sex objects, you treat yourselves as sex-objects,
you spend money you could be putting into your IRA on battery-powered
sex-objects, and every fantasy, no matter how aesthetic its beginnings,
degenerates, in your filthy hands, into cheap locker-room smut! As
if that's all literature was — no higher notions, no love of humanity,
no tireless pursuit of Truth and Justice and Freedom, just booty!
Well; I'm full up to here with your potty-minds and your potty-mouths,
and I'm putting a stop to it right this instant!"
|"Weird," muttered Roger, and he put all sex thoughts out of his mind and looked to the task at hand- getting out of the mysterious cave. He chose another tunnel and began to walk down it, carefully, one foot infront of the other, so as not to fall. The light from the miners lantern faded to gray and then black once again, and Roger hugged the slimy sides of the tunnel to keep from stumbling. He continued in this matter for quite sometime, cautiously creeping along, caught up in the sounds of his echoing footsteps, dripping water, and squeeking bats, until he realized that the cave wall he was hugging felt quite warm now. In fact, it was rather hot, and indeed, when he turned his eyes from the ground and looked before him, he saw that in front of him the walls glowed reddish and there appeared to be an ending to this tunnel. The wall was almost too hot to touch and Roger let go, he staggered forward towards the red opening in the glowing rock. He stopped abruptly, right before the opening. He stood on a small ledge above what appeared to be a pit of some kind. Looking up, he saw a sort of grate, and below him, steaming lava, churning and bubbling. As he watched in amazement, the grate slid aside and a small man dressed in nothing but a loincloth was dropped into the pit. He fell, screaming, and landed with a "plop" in the burning lava and did not resurface. Roger looked up as heard the grate closing once again and above him saw|
another arrow carved into the rock face and once again the elusive
initials A.S.. The arrow seemed to indicate towards a series
of skillfully carved handholds in the rock face leading up to the
grate. Roger stared uneasily at the handholds and then queasily back
down at the burbling lava pit.|
Get lost in the tunnels
And when you get done'll
be pile of white Roger bones
heaped right under Bombay
To go out you go up
Up! Up! Good Pup!
Clinging right tight to the stones
Or think of the Roger Flambe'!
merrily chirped Thing One and Two.
|"Ah, damn you," Roger muttered, "and leave me alone, I've had enough of you popping out of nowhere and screwing up my adventures." Thing One and Two dissappeared into thin air, hopefully forever. I've got to get out of here, it's as hot as hell, or mabye it is hell, Roger thought. He gingerly placed a foot in one of the cracks and clutched the jutting rocks above. He pushed off, and began to climb, tentativly at first, and then gaining speed and confidence. Sweat poured off his body as he strained to get to the top. The grate above came closer and closer, and the hot, bubbling lava pit fell farther and farther below him. He was almost at the top. He could almost touch freedom.|
He reached for the grate and gingerly slid it back. From whatever
was beyond it came a horrible racket. It sounded like the chatter
of lots of small monkeys and an out of tune piano attempting to bang
out "Mack The Knife". With one last quick glance down at the lava
a quick ulp Roger heaved himself up through the opening and into
the room above it.|
It was a much larger chamber than any he'd been in so far in these caverns. Piles of folding chairs were stacked haphazardly and along the far side a crude stage had been constructed. On the stage were as large number of levels and platforms and on the platforms were what appeared to be at least a hundred gibbering gibbons in Lederhosen. Halfwayback and in front of the stage was a canvas Dirctor's chair with the words "J.O'D: genius" emblazoned on it. Sitting in this chair was a rather unkempt little man, his unwashed black hair trying it's damndest to sweep across his forhead like Hitler's.
"No! NO!NO!Liza stop that grooming and continue with the scene. This is a big number. Let's work people." Turning his head he then called back."Tongor, I'm chilly. Throw another native on the fire." Tongor, an immense man with a neck like a tree trunk got up from the piano and reaching into a pen hidden behind it pulled another unfortunate soul in a loin cloth out and flung him down the grate.
John O'D finally noticed Roger. With a deep scowl he said, "You can't be in here. These are closed rehearsals." Roger stared at him blankly. Tongor took his place back athe piano and resumed banging out the chords to "Mack The Knife" The gibbons continued to gibber and prance and groom on another on the stage.
John O'Donoughue heaved a great and exasperated sigh. "Let me explain," he finally said while absentmindedly picking at a pimple behind his ear, "If one hundred monkeys in a room with one hundred typewriters could eventually type out the script for "Hamlet" It is my contention that one hundred Gibbons (who are smart little monkeys) with a little guidance could do Brecht. Now leave! We've got work to do! Tongor! From the top!"
|Roger couldn't hold on much longer, he folt his hands starting to slip, he knew he would fall into the boiling lava below him. Suddenly there was a slam and the clatter of four women in high heels trying to sprint. Four women came to the grate. It was Kristi, Dianne, Vashondra, and Bitzy! Kristi grabbed Roger's wrists just as he began to fall. "We'll let you out on one condition, if you help us find Janice!" "Sure" said roger and they pulled him to safety.|
Roger shook his head and the paranoid vision vanished. he was safe.|
Onstage there came a great clatter and screeching as a pair of he gibbons dressed like little drunken sailors began fighting over a stray peanut that had been on the bar in front of them.
|Bitzy, Dianne, Kristi, and Vashondra reappeared. "Did you really think all you had to do was shake your head and we would be gone?" asked Kristi. "We need your help to get Janice back to normal because the evil remote control is taking over her mind!" said Bitzy. "Remember," added Dianne, "we saved your life!" "All right all right!" said Roger. "But why do you need me?" Vashondra answered this time. "Janice only lets cute men with escorts into her palace because she wants to kill the escort and keep the cute man in her dungeon. We are immortal so we're in no danger. But we need you to get us in." "But-" Roger started to protest. "Would you rather we hadn't saved your life? I guess we could go back in time and let you die..." "NO!!!" screamed Roger. Anything was better than falling into that boiling lava pit. "I'll help you." THe next thing he knew the four women, inside opaque purple force feilds, were leading him into a big black warehouse with "JANIC IS SUPREME", "BOW DOWN TO JANICE", "JANICE WILL DESTROY YOU", and other things painted on the side of it. As Roger went in he saw a middle-aged lady sitting in a chair holding a remote control. "That's Janice," whispered Bitzy. "If we can steal and destroy that remote control it will stop controlling her and she will stop being evil." "Why hello there," said Janice, grinning. "Why don't you sit down and have a snack?" She was adressing not only Roger's group but also a large, dark man with three tiny girls in skimpy dresses. Roger involuntarily started towards the nearest girl but Bitzy pulled him back. "Now listen here, don't do that or we'll have to rehire THing One and THing Two." Suddenly skittles began to float down from th ceiling. Roger watched as the big dark guy, whose name was Tim the Terrible, caught one in his mouth. "AAAAAAAAIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!" screamed Tim the Tirrible as the skittle burrowed through the bach of his head and down into his heart. These were no ordinary skittles! Roger joined Bitzy, Dianne, Kristi, and Vashondra in trying to dodge the skittles and get to the remote control.|
Nikolai sensing trouble immediately fled for higher ground. Little
tables and chairs flew willy-nilly as J O'D burst across the stage.
All was chaos. The monkey equivilant of Polly Peachum swung across
the room swinging from stalagmite to stalagmite until finally attaining
a safe perch atop Tongor's bald pate. Tongor kept right on playing
without missing a beat. J O'D grabbed at Bertold and the offending
peanut, but wee Bertold was not to be deprived of his prize so easily.
With claws to the fore he flung himself at the director and scratched
his nose quite badly before fleeing to a safer corner to devour his
The Great Genius blew his stack. "I'll get you for that you wretched little beast! By the bones of my great Irish ancestors, I'll pay you back in full!"
He began throwing whatever he could get his hands on at the now cowering Gibbon. Empty Four Roses pints, tiny chairs, obscure surrealist manifestos, his much treasured copy of The Portable Neitsche. Room was a malestrom of screeching simian's and the incessant clang of Tongor's piano. Pere Peachum and Lucy Brown were doing those things that monkeys will do in public atop the bar.
At this Roger decided he ought to make his exit.
|He started to run in a panic down the first tunnel on his left. He didn't care where it led, he only knew that he had to get away from these freakish characters. The paranoia was overtaking Roger. It was like the worst acid trip of his life. He had no idea where he was or what he was doing there. And where was that goddamned Pope? He was the one who started this whole fucking nightmare. "And you're a homosapien too!" he heard himself shout for no apparent reason. He kept running and he felt as if his lungs would burst. He was on the verge of collapse when he saw a dark figure in the tunnel before him. He slowed his run to a jog until he could make out who it was. Then he realized it was Anita and he ran to her. He fell to his knees at her feet, groveling shamelessly. "Anita! I'm so glad it's you." he sobbed. "Man, I ate some rancid giraffe meat and I've been having a bad trip ever since. Help me!" he pleaded.|
|Anita looked down at his quivering body and let out a deep, sinister laugh.She grinned as she pulled the revolver from her pocket.|
|Good old aunt Millie! She hat loaded the fine thing with coockies, as she always did, when Anita was involved in tricky circumstances.|
Even under these circumstances Roger found that to be a rather odd
thing for Anita to say, especially so with a revolver in her hand.
Anita broke into a manic grin. There was a rather pregnant pause.
Anita giggled. Anita giggled again. The second giggle seemed to emanate
from the area slightly below Anita's belt. Roger gulped.|
Anita took a wobbly step towards him. Roger stepped back. Another step forward. Another step back. Anita took one more uneven step forward catching the hem of her skirt with her shoe. Her dress fell away.
In fact all of Anita fell away revealing Thing One standing on thing Two's shoulders and both giggling mercilessly.
Continue you must
Your adventure's not done
But to continue this quest
you will need this gun
A closer inspection
will reveal the direction
Just remember be chaste as a nun
With that they handed Roger the pistol and scampered off into the darkeness.
|And then Kristi, Dianne, Bitzy, and Vashondra came back. "Come on" they said "we still have to get Janice's remote control!"|
|Roger stood for a moment staring blankly at the weapon. Good Lord! he thought Pope John Paul Georeandringo II hadn't mentioned anything about possible fisticuffs. And he still needed to find a way out of this wretched place. heaving a gut wrenching sigh, Roger set about hunting down those elusive intials that would lead him to the next part of his journey.|
|He tucked the revolver into his belt and continued down the dark tunnel. He still understand why he was on this journey or even what he was looking for. Perhaps there was a clue in the very name for which the initials stood. Arnie Sachnusem. Arnie must be short for Arnold, he thought. Arnold Sachnusem. Roger stopped and wrote the name in the dirt on the cave floor. He wrote it backwards, Dlonra Mesunhcas. He wondered if that could mean anything. He tried mixing up the letters. Near chasm in use. This doesn't make any sense, he thought, kicking at the letters he'd scrawled in the dust. He continued down the tunnel a short way until his path ended in a great chasm.|
|Suddenly Janice walked out of the chasm. "You have failed me, Roger," she said, "and you know what that means DEATH!!!" Uh oh thought Roger. "Let's sit down and talk about how to kill you," continued Janice. She pressed a button on the remote control and a table with two chairs appeared. "What in your opinion is heaven?" Roger thought for a minute and said "A great big perfect harem." "OK," said Janice, "first I'll lock you up and not let anyone visit you." Roger only felt a mild pang of regret at this bbut he knew worse things would follow. He had to think fast. "Next question," said Janice, "what do you fear most?" "um, um," Roger squirmed, trying to decide what to say. "LOOK BEHIND YOU!!!" Janice twirked and dropped her remote control. As quick as ligtening Roger grabbed it and ran away. Now all he had to do was destroy it and get out of the cave.|