Last Costume Party

Last Costume Party

I only dressed as Don Quixote because I love Man of La Mancha. I could care less about the book. Yes, I could care less, because if the book didn’t exist, the musical wouldn’t either.

Sigh. I really wish I could have seen the musical before the world was destroyed. I miss theater. Oh, we have electricity left in some places, but it’s choppy. But enough about the present nightmare. This is my life as a boy, when my sister and her boyfriend had the idea for one last costume party.

Oh, and she’s not my sister, Amy. She’s my babysitter from childhood. But she’s like… dead. She was. “She’s” as in “she was.” Sorry if “she’s” doesn’t mean “she was.” I didn’t want to spoil the ending. I can’t keep up the charade any longer. This is her final costume party. She died, Michael. She’s dead.

Right, Amy, my “sister” who “was.” We were in the house we’d been bumming in and she suggested something to liven the mood. I’m sorry, I’m not much of a narrator these days. I think the loneliness has driven me mad. I never had someone to die with like Amy did, so I haven’t killed myself yet.

What’s with the madness in Don Quixote? He gets to go on an adventure while my madness leads me to ramble in a memoir. If anyone finds this, I was a very pleasant child. Right, back to my tale.

Amy found a half-dilapidated costume shop and dressed in a frog costume. She helped me find a Don Quixote costume and I adored it. Josh, the stupid boyfriend, dressed as purple grapes. They had green grapes for babies, but Josh wouldn’t put it on.

Our costume party was great. Let me break it down by the woods the woods he didn’t stop red red red

Sorry. I’m the only one left. It’s been 47 years since that day. I’m half-dilapidated in the brain, myself. Let me break it down by paragraph red.

Food: Cans and cans of food! We had peas, tuna, corn, something green, and a bird I killed! A pigeon, I think. Even Josh enjoyed it. Amy hugged me for finding such fresh meat.

Music: Man of La Mancha, and it wasn’t even my birthday! The power was out that day, so we used batteries and a boom box. Thank God for Duracell and this hellhole I live in every single day. I HATE YOU AND WILL FIGHT YOU TO THE END LORD.

Costume Contest: Amy won the costume contest. She seemed a little sad that day, so Josh and I separately voted for her, although she voted for me. I miss her more than I miss Duracell batteries.

When we were going to start telling scary stories, Amy ran out of the house and into the woods woods wooden areas. She took the Swiss army knife, Josh noticed. We ran after her and discovered her in the darkest part of the woods.

“Don’t come any closer!” Amy warbled. “I’m going to end myself!”

“Then it doesn’t matter if we come closer.” Josh always was too logical for his own good. Was.

Amy stabbed herself. I cried and screamed, running towards her.

“I couldn’t… another… day like this… sad.”

She was right. It was no way to live, even with a costume party.

“Josh… please, come with me. I love… you…” And she died.

Josh started to run. I asked where he was going, and noted she needed a proper burial.

“No way am I willing to die for a woman! This is goodbye, brat.”

He didn’t stop. I ran after him and tripped on a rock. I held the knife out and fell into Josh.

Red.

RED.

MMy hands were ccccovered in blood. I killed Josh. He died with Amy, like she wanted.

I buried them both, even though Josh didn’t deserve to die with her, the sour grapes. Amy looked so peaceful in death, my happy frog princess. Josh was wearing a grape costume. Serves him right.

I promised myself to die like Amy, but I haven’t seen another person in 47 years. If anyone finds this memoir, please bury it in the darkest part of the woods. That is where I wish to be buried with it as well.

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The Star-Nosed Mole and the Pegasus

The Star-Nosed Mole and the Pegasus

From the heavens flew down the mighty Pegasus. On his back rode no manner of creature, as the last rider jumped off in fright and died. For now, it was a lone steed.

“Whew,” neighed the creature. “I need to lighten the weight on my legs! I need to sit down. The creature landed in a forest with a nature trail and a park bench.

“Perfect place to lighten the weight on my legs!” Winged horses have a tendency to repeat themselves, so enjoy that throughout our tale. The Pegasus sat on the bench and

–CRACK!–

it broke.

The Pegasus used nails from its hooves to shoddily repair the bench.

“Perfect, if I do say so. But where will I lighten the weight on my legs now?”

A star-nosed mole waddled by and spoke to the bench.

“Eh, what’s this? You’re all broken up! Who did this?”

The Pegasus confessed its crime against woodwork.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to sit somewhere and lighten the weight on my legs.”

“I smelled something was broken about it. And I smelled you.”

The Pegasus admired the star-nose.

“You have a dazzling snout,” said the winged horse.

“DON’T TOUCH IT!” And the Pegasus lowered its hoof. “I may not be able to see well, but I can smell you coming at me like that,” he snapped his claw-fingers.

The Pegasus thought the star-nosed mole was kind of a jerk. “Hey, I’m sorry, but I’m just curious.”

“Look, don’t touch is my motto. And anyway, why’d you break the bench?”

“I was looking for a seat to lighten the weight on my legs.”

“A likely story, I’m sure. Wait here, weight-boy.”

After about a half-hour, the mole returned with nails, hammers, and industrial-strength glue.

“We’ll fix it together, okay?”

The Pegasus smiled, although the mole couldn’t tell or care.

It took two hours and forty-five minutes, but they fully repaired the bench.

“We did it!” cheered the cheerily cheerful Pegasus.

“Well, I did it mostly,” said the star-nosed mole, “but you weren’t half-bad. As a reward for a job well done, you can sit in my house to lighten the weight on your legs.”

“Wonderful, wonderful!”

When they finished burrowing into the ground, the star-nosed mole offered the Pegasus a seat.

“Ah, finally, I can lighten the weight on my legs!”

“Far as I can tell,” mused the mole, “All your weight is high above your legs. You should be lower to the ground.”

The Pegasus froze. “What are you talking about?”

“See, I’d like to make a switch. You can have my legs and I’ll take on the burden of that weight on your legs.”

“Nope. No, I have to… go.”

“Look, how often do you get to meet a mole with a body-swap potion? I can make you–”

“NO!” The winged horse began to kick and flail wildly and accidentally hit the mole in the skull, killing him.

“I… took a life. I killed this overbearing mole. I don’t deserve to be a winged horse.”

He took a swig of the potion and poured the rest down the star-nosed mole’s throat. After a few minutes of blurriness, the horse passed out and woke up as…

A Pegasus. Was this even a body-swap potion?

He examined his body. Nothing had changed but… His rump. It had become furry and brown, like…

The mole had a glorious white rear and tail. The Pegasus slapped himself in the face.

“The dead fool! This is a booty-swap potion! Well, I did kill him. It’s my cross to bear now.”

With a smaller rear-end, the Pegasus could sit on the benches without trouble. And the star-nosed mole woke up ten thousand years later and was the envy of every new cross-breed in the future.

The moral is, of course, to always check the label and not to kill moles, although doing both of those things benefited both parties, so who knows? The moral is morals aren’t to be trusted at face value.

A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

10:15. Fifteen more minutes until my big presentation begins. I eye the people coming into the conference room. Woman, woman, hunky Dirk, woman, the boss, the woman who keeps taking my pen. That’s it? That’s all the seats available. I start to close the door.

“Pika!” a high-pitched wail stops me in my tracks. Pikachu, from the Pokemon series? He’s dressed in a cute little suit, blue glasses and carrying a briefcase with a Pokeball logo on it. Is he for real? Is any of this real? I pinch myself. OW! It’s real.

“Mr. Pikachu, says Mr. Henderson. “We’re out of chairs. Will you take the table?” He nods, but you could see the disdain in Pikachu’s eyes.

Dirk whispers in my ear. “Knock ’em dead, kiddo,” he says with a trace of spearmint on his breath. I giggle like a nervous school girl. I wonder if he’s dating anyone. He’s going to be the most distracting one at this meeting.

“PIKA-CHUUUUU!” screams Pikachu, having just spilled coffee all over himself. Dirk rushes out to get him paper towels. Okay, maybe Dirk’s the second most distracting.

After wiping himself down, I’m almost ready to begin. Good thing most of the staff is female. I actually employ that old “see the crowd in their underwear” trick. I shudder when I see Mr. Henderson and blush at Dirk. Then I look at Mr. Pikachu. He’s still damp from the coffee. I wonder if he’s wearing underwear. Why would Pikachu wear a suit and nothing underneath?

Wait… why would he even wear underwear? Why do any of us wear underwear? It just makes us itchy and sweaty. I remember I’m wearing a skirt and decide not to argue with time-tested clothing choices.

Oh God… I’m almost about to start and I’m rambling in my head about underwear. PIKACHU! This is your fault!

“Ms. Yeatman, whenever you’re ready,” says Mr. Henderson. Dirk winks.

“Right. Okay, so this fiscal year has shown us…” I go on for about ten minutes without a problem. Then Pikachu raises his paw.

“Yes, um, Mr. Pikachu?”

Pikachu clears his throat. “Pikachu.”

Mr. Henderson makes a noise that I don’t quite get. It’s like, “Hrrm-rmm?”

“Ex-excuse me, I didn’t quite get that.”

Pikachu holds his hands out and gestures. “Pi. Ka. Chu.” Okay, clearly he’s doing it like I’m an idiot or something. Does anyone else follow?

The woman who steals my pens chimes in. “Interesting point, Mr. Pikachu. Is the company sustainable enough to follow Ms. Yeatman’s plan?”

Dirk rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, and I have to agree with Mr. Pikachu’s assessment of the structural integrity of the project. No offense.”

OH, NONE TAKEN, DIRK. Just the guy I crush on thinks I’m an idiot too! I take a deep breath. When did Pikachu even join the company? I would have heard about a fictional character joining the ranks!

And how is it I’m the only one who hears that “Pika chu chu pi ka chu” chatter? Deep breaths.

“I am confident in my proposal. In six years we’ll have built up a user base to support our needs.”

“Pik–a-a-a-ACHU!” He sneezed on me! What a jerk! I always preferred Digimon anyway.

Dirk hands him a tissue. Jeez, Dirk and Pikachu much?

“Pikachu, pika.” I feel like he’s insulting me, but he wouldn’t have the audacity to do that in front of everyone.

“Please, Mr. Pikachu! She’s one of my best employees!” I blush happily at the boss’s comments. “Don’t call her that name, of you’ll get another lawsuit!”

I play smart. “Uh, yeah! I feel violated over what you just said!”

The woman to my left tugged at my sleeve. “Don’t play this game. We’ve all sued him and lost. It’ll just end badly.”

“All of you?”

“Yes. He called me a snatch. But what can I do? He’s the CEO.”

Ah. Now it kind of made sense, at least the accommodating part.

Pikachu folded his arms. “Pi?”

“I promise not to sue if you just hear me out.” I assume he was ready to leave at that point, anyway.

“Pika…”

I explain my proposal like I’m talking to a human, not a small rodent monster.

“And that’s my presentation, Mr. Pikachu. What do you think?”

“I like it. I misjudged you, Ms. Yeatman. Okay. We’ll carry out this plan starting tomorrow. Oh, and Ms. Yeatman?”

I clean out my ears. “Yes sir?”

“Expect a raise in your future. I like your moxie.”

He leaves and I collapse in a chair. All my female coworkers applaud me, and Dirk bows at the waist. Glad he doesn’t think I’m stupid.

“What was his deal? Is he a Pokemon? And was he speaking English at the end?”

“No,” Dirk says. “Yes, actually. Look, he’s totally human, but he identifies as a Pikachu. He texts us what he’s saying in Pikachu talk. He got surgery to look like that Pokemon. Must have been painful, but he was already a little person.”

I ignore the weird CEO stuff. “Hey, want to have dinner with me tonight?”

“Sure! Your treat with that big new raise, I assume?”

I give him a look.

“Only kidding! Only kidding.”

Saltwater

Saltwater

I’ve always been pretty tall for my age, ever since I was little. I’m Melody Jones-Smith, resident of an abandoned lighthouse and friend of two jerks, Yan and Yuri.

The day started like any other. Yuri was tricking some woman over the phone to do his dry-cleaning. I was getting ready to leave for the day to work at Mr. Nonk’s shack. And Yan? Screaming in his sleep, like every morning. He always had an insult for me when he woke up.

“What a nightmare!” he tussled his large Hispanic afro. “I dreamt I was being eaten by a blonde giantess!” He pointed at me. “AHHH! There she is! Don’t eat me!”

I tangled up my fingers in his mass of hair. “You’ll be fine once I poison your food, tiny boy.” Yan probably has a crush on me, but damn if you could tell it by his teasing.

“Will you two keep it down? Millie is acting silly for me,” Yuri rhymed for no reason. “So anyway, gurrrl, how about paying for my dry-cleaning?”

Yuri always had the air of a pimp or something. In his pure white suit and hat, he didn’t leave anything to his own effort. Well, it takes effort to mack on women, but not much. He and Yan were friends before I met them, and it’s not too hard to see why. Yan’s sloppy but Yuri’s neat, and though that’s an Odd Couple bit, they’re both jerks to me. That’s their bond, I think.

Oh yeah, they’re both short men. I’m tall, but it’s not like their teasing is just because of a few inches. Try a foot. Yan likes the height put-downs, while Yuri goes for my hand and foot disparities.

I have no idea why I share this lighthouse with them.

“I’m going to Mr. Nonk’s place,” I said.

“Bring back lobster!” Yan demanded.

Yuri finished his call. “Aren’t lobsters giant bugs, basically?”

My stomach turned in knots. “Never mind, Yan.”

Yan whimpered. “What? Bugs taste good!”

I took off my cat ears headband and put on my red wool cap.

“What about bacon?” asked Yuri.

“That’s a dinner food, Yuri.”

“I’ll get bacon on my own, large hands.” He glared at me and clicked his tongue.

“So you’ll get a girl to make it for you?”

“Have a nice day!” They chimed in unison.

As I left the lighthouse, I looked at the structure. Beautiful. Tall. Like me. Those jerks were just overcompensating.

I made it to Mr. Nonk’s shack quickly, but I wished it to take longer. “Mr. Nonk?”

“Oh, great! The giant woman is here to visit me again!”

I composed myself. “Mr. Nonk, my name is Melody. Please try to remember it.”

“Of course I know you, Melody! Your family was rich, ’til ya went danged bankrupt!”

I washed his dishes.

“Why did you choose to go bankrupt? I spent hours tryin’ to change my fargin’ cellular phone company!”

I did his laundry.

“Back in the day, you could be broke for less than a cent! Now it’s all, ‘Oh, DARN! I only have a million dollars! I’m broke!’ Idiots!”

I ironed his clothes.

“Kids these days! Oh, my kids are visiting tomorrow, so don’t scare them with your freakish height! Be shorter!”

I massaged his back.

“Today’s generation can’t give proper massages! You could get a back rub on only a nickel! Bleh!”

I got paid.

“When I was a lad, if any elders tried to ramble on end about their youth, I’d hit ’em with a crowbar! Aides today just can’t fight back!”

I stormed home.

“I’ll call you back, babe. Another woman? No. No she’s not.”

Yan gave me an insincere grin. “Welcome home, Melody! You look so pretty!”

I glared at the lazy layabouts.

“Did you get lobster?”

“No,” I grumbled, putting on my cat ears. “Leave me alone.”

An hour later, Yuri’s woman Sandra was cooking bacon.

“Do you want to sit with us?” I asked her.

“Uh, she thinks you’re a rival. Don’t engage.” Yuri waved a dark hand over his face.

“Mr. Nonk has no respect for me. I help him, he yells at me!”

“Like every man you know, right?”

I didn’t catch who said that, but it pissed me off more.

Yan piped up. “Have you ever considered you might be doing a terrible job?”

I threw a high-heeled sandal at his head. He fell to the ground.

“You know, maybe we could send him away if we tied a million balloons to his house.” Yuri grinned at his Pixar’s UP reference.

“Heh. His house is so old, you’d only need to attach a hundred balloons.” I hoped I wouldn’t regret what I was going to ask. “Hey… can you guys come with me tomorrow?”

Yuri spoke first. “I’d love to, but I’m doing this thing called ‘Not being yelled at by a cranky old man.'”

“How old is he?” asked Yan, for some reason.

I held up my other sandal.

“OKAY! OKAY!”

“Shoes shouldn’t be throwing projectiles,” noted Yan.

One day later, we were off. When we got there, Mr. Nonk’s children’s car was parked out front. I heard screaming inside.

“Mr. Nonk?”

“MELODY! Thank goodness you’re here!”

Mr. Nonk’s son and daughter, ugly, my height, folded their arms.

“Dad, it’s not really a big deal,” said the daughter.

“No! You’ll never take me alive!”

I took charge of the situation. “Mr. Nonk, what’s going on?”

“My dim-witted kids are tryin’ to put me in a home!”

Yuri spoke, unfortunately. “Look guys. Home? Is where the heart is. And his heart doesn’t want to be in a home. Therefore, his home in his heart isn’t in a home. So you should let his heart be at home!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“I’m okay,” said Yuri.

“Yuri aside,” I started, “I thought I was doing a pretty good job!”

The son approached me. “I don’t want my father to be in a Russian-less area!”

The daughter confronted her father. “Dad, this is an all-Russian retirement home. I’m sure Mom would’ve liked it…”

“All-Russian? Are you ripped? Dummies! Don’t you know–”

“Don’t you know anything about Russians? Old Russians hate each other! Sure, young Russians get along, but when you’re old, everyone else needs to die!” I grinned.

“Melody…” He seemed touched. “You’ve actually been listening to me?”

“I may have picked up a thing or two…”

“ENOUGH OF THIS!” The son grabbed his father and ran out to his car.

“MELODY! Help!”

“Mr. Nonk!”

Yan looked up at me. “Well, Melody, looks like your wish came true!”

I looked down at him. “No… I’ve made a horrible mistake! We have to save Mr. Nonk!”

Yuri gave me a mischievous smirk. “If you vote for me for President, you’ll have him in ten minutes!”

“Anything! Please!” I was desperate.

Yuri started texting… and texting… and texting! Nine minutes later, an army of nubile young women came in carrying Mr. Nonk.

“What did you do?” I asked, shocked.

“I just texted all the sexy singles in my area. They stopped the car and… took Mr. Nonk by force. And the kids won’t be taking him to a home anytime in the future.”

I bent down and hugged Yuri. “I owe you an apology! You’re not just lazy! You’re a hard-working pimp!”

“Not a pimp, but you’re welcome.”

Yan pointed to himself. “Do I get an apology?”

I rubbed his hair. “No. You totally owe me an apology.”

I took Mr. Nonk from the women, all glaring at me. “Mr. Nonk, I’m so sorry…”

“No Melody, I’ve treated you poorly. You’re a hard worker.”

Yan smiled. “See that? If a Russian and a giantess can get along, why can’t the nations of the world?”

“Simple, Yan!” Yuri started up again. “If we all got along, then the military would disband! That’s why I promote more war!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“Innocent people? Nice try!”

I clasped Yuri’s shoulder. “I don’t think I want to vote for you anymore.”

“That’s fine. We don’t want votes from people like you.”

That night, we all had lobster for dinner at the lighthouse. Yuri was upset over a court order for being the mastermind behind Mr. Nonk’s kids getting attacked. The ladies were upset at me. Mr. Nonk was upset at everything, but smiled throughout.

And Yan apologized for his giantess comments, but promised “plenty more on the way!”

Kirby Tries To Eat All Of The Manna

Kirby Tries To Eat All Of The Manna

We are full of gratitude for the many blessings God has given us. He took us out of Egypt, drowned our oppressors, and gave us the manna. That’s where our new, less severe, more tiresome struggles began.

With the manna came the Kirby, a suction creature that eats all in its path. Some claim it has eaten children; I do not believe it to be so callous. The Kirby swallows everything edible in its path, which, unfortunately, includes the manna.

He does not give blessings to God. No, the pink ball only squeaks with an “‘Ayyyy!” or an “Eyyyy!” I believe I’ve heard it say “Hoyayo!” once, but I’m not to be trusted among my brethren on the matter.

Moses for his part has been lackadaisical on the matter. “What’s the worry,” he says, reclining while chewing a piece of manna. “God gave us a new test so soon, so let’s embrace it!”

“But Moses, the Jews need to eat manna too. My daughter has not been getting enough to eat. She grows weaker every day.”

Moses swallowed his manna. “Alright already, let me try something.” He bit into a new manna and waved me off.

Sabbath, a day that should be free of worry, causes me the most stress. Kirby eats twice the manna and grows ever the stronger. I’ve tried storing away my manna, but it just attracts worms. At this point, it’s better than nothing.

I tried talking to Aaron, but he’s busy with literally everyone else, trying to restore order between feuding individuals. I like him. He’s quite kind and knows how to foster peace. I like him. I would just like him more if I could talk to him about the Kirby.

Korah beckoned me to his tent. “Clearly Moses and Aaron have failed you. Don’t even bother with that Miriam. I’ll clue you in, friend. Talk to the Kirby. Reason with him. Moses and Aaron are weak. They fear the Kirby more than anyone. I, Korah, fear no creature, even if I were to get swallowed up! Approach the Kirby! Deny the brothers!”

He made sense, I thought, and went to Kirby’s stomping grounds.

“Kirby, my daughter needs to find sustenance on the manna. How will she grow if you keep swallowing her portion whole?”

Kirby looked at me with big sad eyes. He swallowed me in one gulp.

I felt… Odd. Like my very essence had merged with the Kirby’s own. Who was I? What was I? I felt his thoughts.

“Hungry… so hungry… must… feed…”

I understood the creature now, but I had become one with it, and it with me. What would my family say when they saw me?

“Ah, there you are.” It was Moses and Aaron. “No, wait. You’re not the guy. You’re the Kirby. Spit him out. We have something for you.”

In a motion faster than the eye can handle, I was released from my pink prison in an instant. Moses stood over me.

“Sorry, God wouldn’t let me dispose of the Kirby. He says it’s part of His greater plan. But He did give me this.” He held up a red fruit, or possibly a vegetable.

“It’s called a Maxim Tomato,” Aaron explained. “This one fruit will sate the Kirby’s appetite until he gets injured. But we have more.”

I felt the need to apologize to the brothers for doubting them, but it’s not as though they knew of my mistrust. I apologized regardless.

“We all make mistakes,” said Aaron.

“Yes,” said Moses. “Now go feed your family manna before it gets wormy.”

I started to run to my quarters when I stopped and turned to the Kirby. “Thank you, creature! You won’t be hungry any longer!”

The Kirby squeaked out something, but I couldn’t understand him. It sounded either like “You’re welcome” or “There are many more hardships for the Jewish people along the way. Be careful of pitfalls the Jews may fall through, okay? Ayyyy!”

Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Basketball Telethon

Basketball Telethon

Basketball Telethon was written before a live fish. He didn’t like it.

“WHAT?!” The Sean Connery-esque mumble of Wendel Preston Snobworthy the 14th raised to an unusually rageful pitch. “Clams are going extinct!”

Wendel the squirrel wore a large red bow tie and thick, round spectacles. He was talking to no one in particular, but a Southern drawl in the shape of a clam answered him.

“Yes suh! An’ that’s exactly why yuh can’t eat me! Ah’m a rare breed, certainly Ah am!”

Wendel popped the clam in his mouth without a concern for the rare breed. “Something must be done!” He chomped loudly on the mollusk. “I say, and I have said!”

Candice piped up, curling her wavy blonde hair and scratching her mouse ears. “But what can we do? The whole country thrives on clams!” she said, gesturing to a pot stuffed to the brim with clams. “Why, even the President eats clams, and he doesn’t do anything that people who actually exist do!”

She held up a newspaper with a picture of a cute pig with a curly mustache and a top hat eating a clam, with a headline that read “President… Eat Clams?! How Odd.”

“And we need clams to fuel submarines!” said The Nameless One. He had orange fur and a horn obscuring the left side of his face. “Explain that to the naval research families!”

Doctor Stripper, first name Doctor, surname Stripper, chimed in. “And what about starving children in Hungary? If only Turkey would donate their Thanksgiving dinners!”

Wendel ripped off Doctor’s arm and swallowed it whole. “Yes, something NOT freaking idiotic must be done!”

“MY BOYFRIEND’S PLEASURE ARM! WENDEL, YOU BUTTHOLE!” shrieked Candice Canderly candidly.

“I’m okay, honey.” He tussled his gray hair. He flapped his plastic wings to see if they got torn off. “I just need to lie down for the rest of the story. G’night…” With that, he flew home.

Candice composed herself. “We can recycle our clams! For every clam we eat, we breed two more in its place!”

Wendel bit his lower lip. “Should I eat you?”

Candice giggled. “No, I’m pretty!”

“Fair enough…”

“I’VE GOT IT! A BASKETBALL TELETHON!” cried The Nameless One.

“I say, that’s a terrible idea! But we might as well try!”

“You frighten me,” Nameless admitted.

“Welcome to the B-Ball Telethon to save the clams!” the announcer said. “I’m Thorsty G. Lastname, and this is some guy I kidnapped!” He gestured to his cohost.

“Call the police. NOW,” the cohost whispered.

Candice gestured to the television. “Oh no! Someone already beat us to the punch!”

“I called it Basketball, not B-Ball. Totes different,” said The Nameless One.

Back on the TV, Thorsty was introducing a sea anemone to the crowd. “Now let’s go to the Clamdiggers’ team captain, A Blob Of Sea Stuff!”

“Wassup, Thorsty,” the anemone got out.

“A BLOB OF SEA STUFF!” Wendel freaked out.

“Who’s that?” Candice asked, not sure she wanted to know.

“My old arch-nemesis from Yoga Class! THIS MEANS WAR!”

The Nameless One realized something. “Shouldn’t we be saving clams?”

At the court, ABOSS was talking to a tall white dog in a red necktie.

“It just occurred to me, but we don’t have anyone to play against.”

“I am currently a dog,” said the dog, dogly.

“A BLOB OF SEA STUFF! I WILL BE YOUR OPPONENT!”

The anemone shocked his enemy with some kind of powerful energy, I don’t know what.

“I mean, just about anyone will do.”

“I am currently a dog.”

Dazed, the squirrel spun around and warbled, “I’m serious, A Blob Of Sea Stuff! This is for honor! And clams! And Candice’s awful Clam Chowder!”

The entire stadium erupted into laughter, as literally everyone has had her Clam Chowder. Candice laughed the loudest, not at the line, but at the thought of murdering all the jerks there.

“Oh, very well. It’s on, pal!” said ABOSS.

“Whatcha got, blob? I’ll get you inside, outside, upside, downside, frontside, backside, leftside, rightside, hereside, thereside, whereside, pearside, topside, bottomside–”

ABOSS shocked him again.

“This has got to be the least basketball game ever!” remarked Candice.

“The least basketball game ever?” asked Nameless.

“Yes! It’s basically fencing.”

Nameless couldn’t rationally argue with her. Suddenly, a giant robot in a hoodie sneaked up on them.

“Psst! You guys tryin’ to save clams?”

“Yeah!” answered Candice. “You have a plan to save them?”

“NO! I HATE CLAMS! That’s why I made them a dying breed! NO ONE CAN STOP ME NOW!”

“Then why did you tell us your plan?” she asked.

“BECAUSE I’M REALLY, REALLY STUPID!” he admitted.

Back on the court, Wendel was struggling to remain conscious. “C… clams… save… chowder… currently a dog…” Then he realized.

WAIT A SECOND! Forward, he says “I am currently a dog.” But backward, he says “God a yltnerruc ma I.” WHICH CAN ONLY MEAN ONE THING!

“YOU’RE NOT REALLY A DOG! YOU’RE ACTUALLY A WEIRD WOLF-OCTOPUS CREATURE!”

“Uh… okay,” muttered A Blob Of Sea Stuff. “That may be, but that won’t solve anything.”

“No, he’s right, ABOSS. I’m only a dog currently. If I don’t say the phrase, I turn back into a wolf-octopus creature. Let’s admit he defeated us.”

“He didn’t defeat me at all, The Current Dog!”

“Breaking news! There’s only seven clams left in the world!” the TV reported.

“WHAT?!” everyone yelled.

Candice raised her voice. “Hey, everyone! This robot is really stupid and he knows where the clams are!”

The robot became sad. “Hey, you don’t have to tell people I’m stupid…”

“Wait,” ABOSS chuckled. “This guy’s stupid? Tell me, how many nickels are in a dollar?”

“Um…” the robot tightened its hoodie. “Three?”

“HAW HAW! He really is stupid!” laughed Wendel.

At the President’s House, President Piggy had a room full of clams. “Oh boy! I sure do love oysters and being the President!”

Wendel stormed past the guards. “MISTER PRESIDENT! Those aren’t oysters! Those are CLAMS!”

“CLAMS? Oh… I’m the worst President ever! I’m even worse than every president ever!”

“Well…” Wendel assessed the situation. “Yes. You do suck fairly hard, but your intentions to rid us of oysters were good.”

Nameless changed the topic. “If it makes you feel any better, pigs don’t usually have mustaches.”

The President beamed brightly. “That’s right! Pigs DON’T usually have mustaches!” He fell into gloomy despair. “Sigh… no. Now I just feel like more of an outcast.” He raised his hooves into the air. “I guess all I can do is free all the clams!”

“Floob!” said the clams as they flew to the sea.

“I say, I know who I DON’T want as President for the next two weeks! HA HA HA!” Wendel laughed himself into a fit.

ABOSS caught everyone’s attention. “Hey, look! These clams stayed and… they’re multiplying at a rapid pace!”

Nameless started to fret. “Um… Aren’t there a bit too many clams?”

“Oh no!” worried Candice. “They’re getting bigger! We’re drowning in clams!”

“Now who’s stupid?” asked the robot.

“Still you.”

Wendel screamed and screamed. “Who would’ve imagined that the most dangerous animal known to man… was clam?”

“I did,” replied The Current Dog.

“Oh.”

Months later, the mighty Clam King sat upon his clam throne. “It’s good to be Clam King!” remarked the king.

“Yes, but it’s a good thing we overthrew your wicked plan months ago, so if it’s all the same to you, I’ll eat you.” And Wendel ate him.

“My future baby daddy’s arm hasn’t grown back,” groused Candice.

Wendel sighed. “Arms don’t grow back.”

Doctor Stripper rushed back for the last line of the story.

“Baby, my arm’s grown back! Let’s go bowling!”

She Went Back In Time

She Went Back In Time

Since this story is first person, obviously I didn’t die. Sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped I wasn’t going to make it in the end. But my girlfriend didn’t make it. Julie. She was hit by a car, some careless ass hit her in the ass, knocking her to the ground and killing her. God. Damn. It.

I couldn’t cry. Not because I’m a goth, no. I have feelings and I do cry like any person, just not when it’s too painful to come out. Our friend, Rose, also came to the funeral (small venue, small circle of friends/family), and she was bawling her eyes out. I wish I could have cried like that for my love, but I couldn’t. I just…

After the service, I walked down Main and Third, hoping for a bagel. Instead, in a brilliant flash of light equal to that of the big bang or creation (depending on your tastes), I got an asshole.

He was dressed in what I could only describe as a “Seventies Suit.” His hair matched the era and he had a pompous swagger to him. Guys like him are the reason I hate men.

“Brian Gary, 70’s renaissance man. Time traveler.” He handed me his card.

I lowered my eyes. “Uh-huh.” He was just laughing at me.

He then literally laughed at me. “Aria, right? What a name. And those clothes! What are you, a mistress of the times? Whip whip whip!” Yeah. Men suck.

“How did you know my name? And I’m goth.”

“Well, your future self asked me to help you out. Normally I don’t change history, but for a… lady? I’ll do it.”

“My future self.”

“Yes! She asked me to save Julia.”

“JULIE.”

“Yes. Sweet, blonde Julie in the black satin gown, gone by a bumper car.”

“She got hit by a car!” Was this asshat for real?

“Look, do you want my help or not?”

I threw some F’s at him and told him to stick his time travel where it doesn’t shine. He pulled out a black ring. My black ring.

“Let me see that!” My dad’s inscription was still there: “Aria–to my favorite song, with love, your father.”

“Your future self paid me to help you get Julie back and gave me that because she knew you wouldn’t believe me. Frankly, who would?”

I clutched the ring. “What’s your deal, Brian Gary?” I made a point to remember people’s names.

“Nothin’ much, lady. I got caught in a bicentennial explosion of red, white and blue, which gave me time powers. I love this age. Right after the worst stuff, right before the end of the world. Sweet spot.”

I was going to mention the president as “worst stuff” still existing, but he must have known more than I did on the matter. For once, I saved it for later.

“Fine. I would love to save my love. How do we do this?”

He looked confused. “Oh. Are you coming with me? I was under the impression I should stick my time travel up my butt.”

I clenched my teeth at the remarkable jackass. “Yes. I’m going with you.”

He stuck out a hand. “Shall we?”

He paused. “Come on, Aria. Time to go.”

He frowned. “Are we going or not?”

“I don’t touch men,” I said. “Well, my father, if he were alive.”

He clenched his teeth back at me. “Okay. Then get on all fours.”

“What?” Did he think I was that kind of woman?

“I’m going to lay on your back. You don’t want to touch men, fine. But we need to go back a week like, right now.”

“Wha–a week? Why not a few days ago, when she got hit?”

He sighed. “Look. This isn’t Quantum Leap, okay? You don’t directly change events. You go back a week. You convince Julie to come to your house later that week instead of crossing Birch St. and getting hit.”

That… made sense, actually. “Okay.”

“Also, you’ll replace yourself from a week ago and will have to live over everything, including your… flow.” Brian Gary made a face.

“My period? Little punishment for saving Julie.”

“Time periods, yes! Anyway, I won’t be affected since I’m the ‘time machine,’ so to speak.”

“Got it. Climb on my back, Brian Gary.”

He jumped like an assface onto my back, digging his elbow into me. A flash of colorless light erupted around us and…

A giant clock and blue translucent tubes appeared from nowhere. We flew into the clock with gusto and ended up as smoking heaps in the alley.

Good God, where were we? Right. A week ago.

“I forgot to mention, as a passenger, you’ll be disoriented. You’re pretty cute for a week ago. Before the Neeeeeer! Errrrrrr! CRASH! Dead girlfriend. Occurred.” I wanted to hit him. But I still needed his help getting up.

He picked me up by the armpits and I hit him in the stomach. “I can take it from here, thanks. Oh,” I fished out my future self’s ring from Daddy. “Make sure I get this back. Ta.”

“I’m taking an observer role. Wouldn’t want you to make any events heavily altered.”

“Like saving someone from death?” I didn’t get him at all.

Brian Gary glowered. “Just trust me.”

I remembered Julie would often go to the doughnut shop on Tuesdays, so we went there. I saw a dead pigeon on the way and Brian Gary asked, “You want to save that one too, sweetheart?”

“How did my future self hear about you?”

He shrugged. “Time loop. You remembered meeting me, she sought me out via Yahoo email. Only email worth a damn in the future. Anyhoo, it was the first time I met her, so don’t think I’m doing this as a friend. I cost lots of money.”

I was going to kid him that “Yeah he does,” but he really was helping me out here. I loved Julie, from the time we met dancing under an overpass to her pale skinned body laying in that black coffin.

As I walked to the shop, I remembered Rose introducing us. She looked worried about something, I don’t know what. Julie kissed me on the mouth and said, “I think hellos should be as personal as possible.”

“Well,” I said, “now you’re just getting personal. But how would you like–”

“ROSE?!”

There in the doughnut shop were Rose and Julie, kissing at their table. Not to get all school girl, but a kiss to me is more than a hello. They were discreetly frenching, which made matters much more than personal.

I stormed the shop. “Rose, you, and, and, and Julie?”

Julie just pouted. “Oh, so it’s over now.”

Rose held up a hand to her. “Not so. I’m done pretending. Julie, I love you. I don’t want to use Aria to hide who I am anymore. I’m telling my family what I am. Who I am.”

“Using me?” I finally cried. “Using me for what?”

Julie squinted. “I was only with you to cover up that I was with Rose. Her family’s strictly religious and wouldn’t accept this if they knew. So we used you to cover up our love.”

“That makes no sense,” said the doughnut shop owner. “Also, please do this elsewhere.”

We all left and fought for an hour. It ended like so:

“Fine. It’s over. But Julie, promise me in a week you won’t cross Birch St.”

“No. I go home that way. Why should I listen to you?”

“Please. Please, Julie. If you’ve ever loved me, even a little, you’ll go down another street that day.”

She looked at Rose with worry. “I trust you. But just that day.”

They left, leaving me to cry with Brian Gary awkwardly standing around.

“Gosh,” he muttered. “Integrity move, Aria. Even after finding all that out, you saved her.”

I just sobbed, snot running down my face.

“Don’t ruin it,” he said, handing me a plaid handkerchief.

“Ah zdill lubb her,” I said, blowing my nose.

“Of course, whatever that means.”

“I said, I still love her.”

“It will take time, as I’ve surely seen throughout history. You’ll never forget her, as your future self has proven, but you’ll move on.”

I paused my sobs. “You knew. The whole time, you knew.”

He stretched pompously. “Of course! The future you had to tell me everything to save her friend. I didn’t want a time paradox or time’s fabric to shred. She only did it to preserve history. What, like I really care about some dyke’s lost love?”

He’s from the 70’s, he’s from the 70’s, he’s from the…

I kicked him in the balls with my pointed boots.

He collapsed to the ground. “She… didn’t tell me… you’d do that…”

“Smart woman,” I spat. I left him there.

I met someone that Thursday, since I wasn’t with Julie at the time. Larry. Another goth, but a male. Yes, it turns out I was bisexual the whole time. You learn something new about yourself every day. Oh, and he’s bi, too.

Our wedding was bleak and gorgeous. Julie, Rose and I buried the hatchet that day. I made them my bridesmaids and we got along just fine since then. I’m glad I reached out to Brian Gary, even if he was a smug assfart.

In a small apartment with a baby and another on the way, I recalled Brian Gary. I took off my father’s ring, pulled out his card and gave him a message. He was right about Yahoo.

We arranged to meet up at my house to go through the details. He was not kind about the living arrangements.

When we finished talking, he said it would cost 30 thousand. And he was right about not being cheap. I think he lowered the price because he felt sorry for me.

“One more thing,” he said with a chuckle. “Do you ever attack me? I don’t want to, heh, get kicked in the family jewels or anything.”

I recalled his dyke comment to me. I smiled innocently. “Nope.”

God Is A Blonde

God Is A Blonde

It was the conga line that killed Vince Proffer. After beating his bongo particularly hard, the moment he went “Hey!” he fell in the water and drowned, clutching his bongo as a life raft. It did not work.

When he woke up from a never-ending darkness, the soft sound of bare feet on the floor closed in around him. Was he in the ER, the OR, or somewhere else? He looked around. Nothing, literally nothing. How was he sitting upright? He stood up. He tapped his bongo in boredom. He jammed out in utter desperation, hoping someone would hear him.

THUNKA THUNK A TOPPA TOP

BOPPA BOP WOP POP POP BLOP

GONK A DONK A SONK A TONK A

“Please stop that,” the softest voice in the Universe begged him.

“Sorry ma’am,” Vince shied away.

“Sir. I am Sir. You may call me Mister.”

The woman was stunning in Her white robes. Her long blonde hair flew in literally every direction. Vince felt humiliated being the same species as Her. Or was he?

“Where are we?”

“My domain, My child. This is Heaven.”

Vince dropped his bongo. “Heaven?”

“And I… am God.”

“Oh,” he yawned.

“That does not impress Vince Proffer, blood type A negative?”

“Was that supposed to impress me?”

“I know everything. Lately, I’ve really been into blood types.”

“Change of topic. Why don’t You want to be referred to as female?”

God sighed. “I identify as a man, even though I’m female.”

Vince nodded. “I can see that. I guess those ‘God is a girl’ stances were true.”

God frowned. “No. I identify as female. According to Western law, you are what gender you identify as. So I’m a man.”

“But why,” Vince struggled, “do You identify as male?”

“Because I don’t feel comfortable with the gender I was assigned.”

Vince realized something. “You’re… not the only God, are you?”

“No. I’m the third. First was until the second Jewish Temple fell. He died. Then, the second God was fired for creating World War Two. I’m the third God. We’re a species, see. So we have genders and blood types, like all beings.”

“So Jesus is the second God’s son?”

“Yup.” God fell silent.

Vince began to tap his bongo again.

“Stop, I said!” She threw a little thunder around.

“And stop writing Me as ‘She!’ I’m a man, Me dammit!” He made the writer stub his toe.

“Is there anything else to do?” asked Vince Proffer.

“The Frog and Toad Dungeon Explorer Game!” Sh– He screamed excitedly.

“That old kid’s book? Excuse me, but that sounds…”

“No one ever plays it with Me! I’m glad someone else is here instead of Hell!”

“Excuse?”

“Here’s the rules:

Can be played alone; should be played with 2-4 players.

Each player chooses a frog. Players choose a path to take. If arguments arise, roll highest for proper path-taker.

Each path has foes blocking the HOORAY! token. Roll the die to see how many spaces the player goes. 1 = 4, 2 = 5, 3 = 6.

The players travel their paths, fighting the foes that prevent access to the HOORAY! token. If the player loses, they return to their starting point on their path. The paths have different but balanced mechanics.

The path with two foes on one square will take damage from either a three or a five. However, if the first defeated foe was defeated with a three, the other can only be defeated with a five, and vice-versa.

The path with three foes on individual squares are defeated with rolls of 1, 2, 4, or 6.

The two pathed path can be used by two players. The foe can be defeated with rolls of 1, 3, or 5. If one player defeats the foe, it will not respawn for the other. However, it should be noted that it’s always better to get the token first, as well as the foe. There are two tokens on this path, but only one per player.

Each defeated foe is useful for the final dungeon. When the player collects their token, they reach the final dungeon. The players who collect their tokens transport their frogs to the hollow center of the top of the final dungeon.

The collected foes can be used to fight the final bosses. Playing a foe allows the player to either add a number to defeat the foe or preemptively roll again. This cannot be used if the player lost against a foe. You may only play two foes per fight. Foes do not respawn when used up. Mini-bosses (the foes next to the final boss) have doubled effects. The player can either roll again twice, add two possible numbers to defeat the foe, or one of each effect. The mini-boss can be used with one other foe.

All final dungeon foes are defeated with a roll of 1, 3, or 5. Both mini-bosses are defeated with rolls of 1 or 2. The final boss may only be defeated with a roll of 1. When the final boss is defeated, the game ends. If a player loses a battle in the final dungeon, they return to the hollow center.”

“Everyone else is in Hell?”

“Let’s choose our frogs!” He smirked.

“I’m not playing this board game made from another board game. Why am I the only one in Heaven?”

“Oh, everyone else thinks I’m too annoying or not ‘what they pictured,’ so they choose Hell. Satan’s a cool guy. I can understand why they’d choose him.”

Vince sighed. “Okay, I guess we can play for a little while.”

“Great! You can be the Blue Frog.”

Twelve years later, Vince won the game. God decided the game was stupid anyway and sent him to Hell. He was chosen by Satan as Lead Bongo Player. God is currently working on a new board game featuring ducklings.

An Unremarkable Anniversary

An Unremarkable Anniversary

45 years had gone by since Karen and Vimal tied the knot. 42 years had gone by since the birth of their only child, David. 30 years had gone by since the birth of their granddaughter, Lucy. To the average bystander, they seem to have cherished every moment.

Karen met Vimal while touring India and the two fell hard for each other. They quickly bonded over smooth jazz, the local fruit drinks, and their initial loneliness before meeting. When the tour ended, Vimal followed Karen to the states against his parents’ wishes. They called her slut, whore, white she-beast. Now they call her “Vimal’s white spouse.” It was progress enough.

Now that David moved out and raised his own family, the pair had empty nest syndrome. What would they do now that David left? It had been years and they were still asking that question. They bought a tropical bird, but all it did was soil its cage and keep them up at night.

“Happy anniversary, honey,” Vimal kissed his wife. She returned it on the cheek. He felt isolated, but kept it to himself.

“So what did you do for our anniversary?” Karen asked.

“Nothing, really. Do you want to go somewhere?”

“I need to go to the supermarket to pick up ramen noodles in a cup.”

“That reminds me, I need a new watch.”

So the two headed out on a cold summer’s day for noodles and a watch, trying to ignore the fact that they had no drive to have relations, no appetite for an evening out, no interest in seeing David and his family today.

First, they stopped off at the watch store. The man behind the counter asked them how he could help.

“Um… I was wondering if you could fix my watch?”

Karen looked at him with wide eyes. “But I thought…”

“I changed my mind,” he waved her off.

“What’s so special about this old thing?” The watch looked battered but not dead.

“Yes, Vimal. What’s so special about it?”

Vimal scraped his foot along the floor. “It’s the watch my arranged bride bought for me.”

“He’d like a new watch,” Karen forcefully said, throwing the watch on the floor and stomping on it.

“Yes,” the man said. “Right this way.”

By the time Vimal chose a watch, it was getting darker.

“You never talk about your arranged marriage,” Karen huffed.

“I’m a fool, not an idiot,” Vimal winked.

“Was she prettier than me?”

Vimal stopped in his tracks.

“Was she? Well?”

“I don’t remember what she looked like,” he hushed.

The pair walked silently to the bus for a few minutes. They just missed one, but another would be going in that direction in ten minutes.

“Can I be honest about that broach you got me last year, Vimal?”

“You didn’t like it.”

“I fished the receipt out of the trash and exchanged it for a vi[censored].”

“Why do you need one of those?” Vimal cringed.

“You mean a [censored]tor? It’s called a [censored]bra[censored]. Why are men so afraid of them?”

“I don’t even like to write out the full word,” he said. “It makes me feel inadequate.”

“Well, you’ll be happy to know it does nothing for me. I’m still unsatisfied.”

“That doesn’t make me happy,” Vimal lied.

“So sure.”

They watched a bus drive in the opposite direction.

“If we’re being honest, that wasn’t my arranged bride’s watch. It was from David.”

Karen put her hand over her mouth. “Why…?”

“I hated that watch AND I had no receipt. I tried breaking it, but I couldn’t destroy it. Now if he sees me without it, I can blame you.”

Karen rolled her eyes and turned away from him. “Such a great husband and father.”

“Terrific wife.”

The bus pulled up. They sat in different seats.

At the grocery store, Karen found some exotic fruit she had been looking for. A muscular young man with spiky black hair talked out loud and she told him to keep it down. He grinded his teeth at her.

A few minutes later, she went to the ramen noodles in a cup. Nothing. The usual pyramid of Cup O’ Noodle was gone.

“Oh, the ramen? I saw a man with spiky black hair taking it all for himself.” Vimal regretted telling her.

Karen spat on the floor. “He’s doing this to me! That little brat!”

“I can ask if he wants to share some,” he wimpishly tried.

“No, don’t give him the satisfaction. It’s what he wants.”

They left without buying anything.

On the bus ride home, neither lovebird spoke. Karen glared out the window and Vimal looked at his new watch, setting it to Indian time.

When they came home, Vimal packed his bag.

“I’m going home for a while. I’ll be back in a few weeks.”

“Happy anniversary,” she muttered.

“Yeah… say goodbye to David, Barb and Lucy for me.”

She suspected he wasn’t coming back to America. It hadn’t been that they had a bad fight or several small fights, but the spark was dead. It was the only thing keeping them together.

Four years later, Vimal returned with the woman he had been once arranged to marry. Karen was single but selling high-functioning vibr[censored]s for the elderly. They met once more.

“Ah, hello Karen.”

“Yes, Vimal. Happy anniversary.”

“Oh, is it that time again?”

“We’ve got no obligations. Want to grab a coffee before driving up to Lucy’s wedding?”

“Sounds like a plan,” he smiled.

His wife tapped her foot. “Ahem?”

“Oh, and Aishwarya comes with us. Is that okay?”

“Sure. Say, you’re an old woman now too. [censored]brator?”

Call Us Javelin F

Call Us Javelin F

“Stop. That’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever bled out of my ears to.”

Javelin F wasn’t having much luck auditioning lately, and the Battle of the Bands was about to reject them.

“You guys need more female representation,” said Ida, the singer.

“Just chill out a little, alright judges?” muttered Lisa, the guitarist.

“I can play music on my nose,” giggled Katya, the keyboardist.

“Or I can punch you with ol’ Grinder,” threatened Gina, the drummer.

“Zis is not mine idea uff fun,” moped Svenja, the violinist.

Did you catch all the details of Javelin F’s band members? Good. Let’s proceed.

“We have nine all-female bands,” said a female judge.

“Like, we are chill,” muttered a hippie judge.

“Nix on the nose, madam,” giggled a hipster judge.

“Punch me and I’ll SUE you with ol’ Sue!” threatened an angry judge.

“What kind of name is Javelin F anyway?” asked a nondescript judge.

Javelin F thought for a minute.

“Like, what does the F stand for?”

“Feminism,” said Ida.

“Freedom,” said Lisa.

“Feeeeeeeeeeeeet,” moaned Katya.

“Fists? Flailing? Fire? Freak-out?” pondered Gina.

“Frankfurt,” whispered Svenja.

The bassist who founded the band named it “Javelin Fart,” but the original drummer threatened to quit if it wasn’t changed. She, along with the bassist, left the band around the time Ida and Katya joined.

“Sorry, but you’re just no good,” said the female judge. “You downright suck, actually.”

In the van, the women of Javelin F continued to squabble from where they left off.

“I told you we needed a new bassist.” Gina was right, a new bass guitar player would balance their sound out. It was the only thing they all agreed on.

“I think I said that,” mused Lisa.

“No, I did, and that we need more plush giraffes!” burst out Katya.

“You vomen vill be ze death uff me,” bemoaned Svenja.

Ida screeched. “That’s enough! This is why we suck, because we lack unity!”

The van fell silent and grew purple. The vibrations from the van rocked larger than usual.

“Um… gals?” Katya’s tone became uncharacteristically normal that everyone turned to look at her. “We’re not on Earth anymore.”

Ida laughed nervously. “Oh my nonexistent but totally female Goddess. It has to be Earth, Katya! Sweetie, you’re dreaming.”

“If she’s dreaming, zen I am dreaming as vell.”

“I don’t think this is a dream.”

“Where the hell is this craphole?”

As the band leader, Ida felt the need to calm everyone down. “Javelin F, stay in the van and we’ll get home soon. This purple mass of space-time can’t hurt us if we–”

“Toke up?”

“Put on a pine cone puppet show?”

“Punch the space-time?”

“Go back to Deutschland?”

“Remain. Calm.” Ida was feeling very uncalm.

The van disintegrated around the five women.

“Can we panic now?” Katya asked oddly lucidly.

“Do you have pine cone puppets?”

“No. I was bluffing.”

“Then yes, it’s panic time.”

Javelin F started to scream and scream, annoying the purple field behind them.

“Excuse me. Are you Javelin F?”

They stopped screaming.

“Who wants to know?” asked Gina.

“I’m a purple field from the land of suns. I need your help. I’ve been terrorized by a toxic water monster for the past ten years. See, I summoned you girls here.”

“Girls?” groused Ida. “Women.”

“How can we help?” asked Lisa.

“See, there’s the rub. I– Oh, GOD!”

A scaly monster dripping with toxic sweat rushed out of the bushes.

“Take this!!” yelled the monster, plucking the field harshly.

“What do we dooooo?” wailed Katya. “You think the field is made of hallucinogenic plants?”

“Only one way to find out,” grinned Lisa.

“Toking up won’t help,” said Ida.

“Then vhat vill?”

Katya pummeled her keyboard in frustration. Gina kicked her drums in the same respect. The monster kneeled and clutched its ears.

“That’s it!” realized Ida. “Or music sucks so bad that it frightens the monster!”

“Hooray for us,” the other four said in monotone.

The members of Javelin F pulled out their instruments and started to play like garbage. The monster flopped over to the ground and begged for mercy.

“Please, ladies… I am not able to withstand your terrible music. I beg for mercy.”

“Well…” Ida twirled her hair. “Hey. Are you female?”

“I happen to be, yes.”

“Can you play bass guitar?”

“Do you have one?”

Ida tossed her a bass guitar.

“Name’s Lxcu. I’m just trying to get some medicinal herbs for my father.”

“Is that all?” Javelin F glared at the field.

“You could have asked,” said the field. “Take some of me, please. Then never return.”

Lxcu pulled at the strings and made it sing. The band had its bassist.

After they healed Lxcu’s father, the field sent the six women to Earth.

Problem was, they sucked really badly. They failed a second audition for the Battle of the Bands because even though each woman was skilled in her instrument, together, they were discordant.

The sextet gave up playing music professionally and became gardeners instead, eventually becoming CEOs of their own vegetable company. Lisa sold certain plants on the side, while Katya sold the pine cones she found.

But even after all of their misadventures, they still played music together in a private room underground, where only they could enjoy the terrible musical styling of Javelin F.