Genevieve Muncher, Detective
The library was a nice place to work. Miss Daniels liked it, despite some minor irritations. And she was moving up, too. No more running from floor to floor. No more scraping wads of chewing gum from beneath the shiny formica tables. For she worked the check-out counter now and she was happy.
Then suddenly, Miss Daniels felt a dark presence looming over her. It was Mr. Snicker, her intrepid supervisor, peering over her tender shoulder, his icy cold breath blowing at her from behind.
"Miss Daniels," he said, like he owned her, like she was some household appliance whose warranty was about to expire.
"Mr. Snicker," Miss Daniels replied.
"You're first day at the new position."
"Beginning to feel the pressure?"
"Sir?" said Miss Daniels. For there was no pressure. Only the negative pressure of Mr. Snicker standing behind her and sucking everything that was good and decent from her life.
"Y'know, Charles would be ideal for this job, don't you agree?"
Oh no, thought Miss Daniels. Her first day on the job and already an attempt was being made to jettison her from her comfortable chair.
"Yes sir. I mean, no sir. I mean, I'd been shelving books down in the stacks for seven years..."
Mr. Snicker sighed.
"...seven long years...and without a pay raise."
"But Charles is due."
"Well so am I, sir," said Miss Daniels. "And if you don't mind my saying, I'm overdue."
"I see," said Mr. Snicker, considering. "Very well, Miss Daniels. You strike me with your dogged determination and general stick-to-itiveness. Carry on, young librarian. But remember, Mr. Snicker is watching you."
The library was a relatively nice place to work. At least the building was nice. There was the ground floor where Miss Daniels worked - very nice - and a mezzanine that jutted out over Miss Daniels like a pair of breasts. And nestled within this jutting facade sat a young man reading. It was Victor Du Shay. And his eyes twinkled, for he was happy. Happy to see you. And he slowly raised his book and continued to read.
Meanwhile, back on the ground floor, Miss Daniels was checking out a patron's books. Zip, slip, place. Zip, slip, place. It was as if she'd finally found her niche in life. And she smiled briefly until something began to stir from deep within. Not unpleasant. A little glow. A vague feeling of unease that emanated from the most intimate of places.
"Thank you, come again!" gasped Miss Daniels, shoving the completed pile at the kindly patron. And a variety of heads popped up around the library, unhappy that their envelopes of quietude had been disturbed.
"Yes, I certainly will," said the kindly patron, gathering up her books and hurrying away.
Miss Daniels sat recovering in her once comfortable chair. What was happening? Miss Daniels glanced around warily, then the heavy breathing began again.
"Oh no," she said, beginning to squirm.
"Oh, please please please," she begged, but the feelings were too strong. They coursed through her silky frame in search of an outlet, a grounding, a release.
Then "aaaaaghh!!!!" cried Miss Daniels as the first shuddering contraction shot through her. And "hwhuuuh!" as the rebound, the counter-shudder, zipped through from the opposite direction.
And the library patrons - some who had come for the quiet peace of bibliographic civility, others for the truly well-stacked collection of rare and valuable research materials - were not pleased. Their concentration had been broken. Their day ruined.
"Awk!" went Miss Daniels. "Hmf! Gagh! Nyek! Yeesh!"
And Jake Leland, a doctoral student come to unravel the intricate mysteries of rare and valuable research materials, slammed his book shut and glowered darkly at the unseen source of his discontent.
But Miss Daniels was not the only unhappy worker in the world. For across town, Young Randall sat typing away on his computer. Near him sat the love of his life, Genevieve Muncher, detective. A few years older than he, but she looked so lovely sitting there in her trench coat and sneakers that it didn't matter. Not that he could see her. For when he was typing, his back, unluckily, happened to face her. And though he could still sense her lovely presence, sometimes that just wasn't enough. Like now,
Young Randall felt that he had to speak with her. So he stopped his typing and prepared to utter a few heartfelt words of communication.
"Genevieve," he whispered.
But Genevieve did not answer. She smiled slightly, but did not respond.
Young Randall continued his typing. Maybe she didn't hear him. He would try again.
Genevieve looked up at the ceiling. She was feeling good. She was feeling OK.
"Genevieve, did you get my letter?"
"Yeah, I got it," she said.
Her voice was like magic, beautiful. Just to hear it gave Young Randall hope.
"Oh Genevieve," he said and Genevieve sighed. Not loudly though. Not wanting to hurt the young secretary.
"...the letter...I mean, I meant every word..."
The dam had been broken and the currents of Young Randall's secret desire began spreading out over the virgin terrain that lay before it.
"You know, I'm taking criminology courses at night school," he said. "I'll be just like you then."
Randall lowered his eyes and waited for a reply, but Genevieve was seated high above the rising waters and would not be swept away.
Then the phone rang.
"Excuse me," said Randall, picking up the phone. "Yes Inspector. I'll send her right in."
He turned to face Genevieve.
"The Inspector will see you now, Ms. Muncher," he said, then sniffling once and wiping away a tear, Young Randall turned back to the life that seemed to be forever his to bear.
Genevieve entered the Inspector's office, shutting the door behind her.
"Why do you do that to him?" said the Inspector, having heard their intimate exchanges through the use of his intercom system.
"Me! He's the one!" said Genevieve.
"The one your heart desires?"
The Inspector could be such a grind.
"Did you want something, Inspector?"
The Inspector would have liked to pursue the subject of budding romance, but instead pulled out a manila file and tossed it on his desk.
"Victor Du Shay, visual orgasmatist. Can elicit orgasms merely through the use of sustained non-physical observation."
"And," she said.
"Muncher, Du Shay has been observing unwilling participants in a stealthy yet aggressive manner."
"Ah, a pervert," said Genevieve, plucking the file off the desk. "I'm on it."
"And Muncher," said the Inspector as Genevieve approached the door.
Genevieve stopped and turned.
The Inspector paused dramatically.
"Du Shay is a master of disguise."
Genevieve let the Inspector's words sink in, then a look of amusement slowly filled her face. She was feeling good. She was feeling OK.
Miss Daniels straightened up her station at the House of Poodles. She wore a pink short-sleeved shirt with the cartoon head of a smiling poodle on the left front. And Miss Daniels was smiling, too, for she was happy. Happy to have found another job so soon after her demise at the library.
Then suddenly, the smell of cheap perfume filled the air. It was Miss Cheesish, Miss Daniels' intrepid new supervisor.
Miss Daniels tried to look undisturbed, but Miss Cheesish would not disperse. She stood over Miss Daniels, peering over her shoulder, till Miss Daniels began to feel quite uncomfortable.
"This must be a proud day for you and your people," said Miss Cheesish, dropping her words on Miss Daniels' head like rocks on an upside-down beach bucket. "Why, to be promoted to the highly coveted position of apprentice pedicurist in the short time you've been here. This must be a proud day indeed."
"But I worked hard," said Miss Daniels, who was of the same racial stock as Miss Cheesish by the way. "And those metal drums filled with cleaning fluid were so heavy..."
"Yes yes," said Miss Cheesish. "But those drums must have come in handy when you 'assumed the position' for Mr. Poodles in the storage room last week."
Miss Daniels began to protest, but Miss Cheesish cut her off.
"Quiet, here comes a customer."
"I said quiet. Quiet, you little mongrel. We'll discuss this later."
Then Miss Cheesish stomped on Miss Daniels' foot. Miss Daniels gasped and would have done more had not the quick-thinking Miss Cheesish grabbed her little hands, clamped them over her mouth, twirled her around and shoved her away from all that was good and decent in the world.
The crisis had been averted. Screaming in agony, especially by someone like Miss Daniels with that disgustingly angelic face, could be taken the wrong way. Miss Cheesish hadn't meant to stomp on her foot - at least not that hard - but Miss Daniels had just made her so mad. So Miss Cheesish began composing herself for the approaching client when suddenly, she heard a pathetic clomping sound coming at her from behind. Closer and closer it came till a thin bony object was felt tapping her on the shoulder. It was Miss Daniels, lightly favoring one foot while pointing to a clean white towel clenched between her rat-like teeth.
Thinking fast, brain waves blasting, Miss Cheesish yanked the towel from Miss Daniels' mouth, stomped on her other foot, clamped her hands over her mouth, grabbed her by the shoulders, twirled her around like a ballerina and shoved her so far away that Miss Daniels would need a passport to get back. Then she quickly turned to greet the aproaching (sic) client.
"Mrs. Gravyface, long time, no see. How are you?" said Miss Cheesish, so charming when she had to be.
"Miss Cheesish, long time, no see you," said the always gracious Mrs. Gravyface.
"Oh, Mrs. Gravyface."
"Oh, Miss Cheesish."
And the two women embraced, melted into each other's arms, the pretty pink shirt of Miss Cheesish dissolving like candy in the moist warm glow of Mrs. Gravyface's two-piece ensemble.
"So, Mrs. Gravyface," said Miss Cheesish, the first to break away from their mutual serenade of joy. "What brings you to our humble, yet eager, little establishment?"
But before Mrs. Gravyface could answer, a rejuvenated Miss Daniels wandered in, twirling her clean white towel and whistling a happy tune. Miss Cheesish gave her a hard look. Miss Daniels stopped whistling and put the towel back in her mouth.
"Well," said Mrs. Gravyface, "my toenails have been looking awfully ragged lately, so I thought I'd scurry on over to my good friends at The House of Poodles for a much needed pedicure."
Miss Daniels lit up at the word "pedicure," snapped the towel from her mouth and began petitioning Miss Cheesish for the assignment.
"Well, you've certainly come to the right place," said Miss Cheesish, placing a firm hand on Miss Daniels and pushing her far away. "Why don't you have a seat and I'll send one of our girls right over."
"But what about that girl?" said Mrs. Gravyface, causing the far away reeling Miss Daniels to spring back and resume her petitioning campaign.
"Girl? What girl?" said Miss Cheesish.
"Why the girl right in front of you!" said Mrs. Gravyface, for Miss Daniels was now quite close to Miss Cheesish, her delicate fingers clenched together in prayerful entreaty. "Oh look, Miss Cheesish, she's begging you to give her the opportunity."
But Miss Cheesish would not give Miss Daniels the satisfaction.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Gravyface, but I just don't..."
"Oh come now, Miss Cheesish! Must I take my business elsewhere?"
Miss Cheesish stood musing for a few moments, her priorities shuffling through her head like a deck of cards.
"Oh, that girl," she said at last. "Oh, you don't want her, Mrs. Gravyface. Why, she's new here. There's no telling what she'd do to you."
Miss Cheesish laughed solicitously and scrunched up her face in an endearing manner, but Mrs. Gravyface wasn't biting.
"She looks perfectly harmless to me." Mrs. Gravyface then turned to Miss Daniels. "Isn't that right, dear."
Miss Daniels nodded sincerely.
"Well, it's against my better judgment," said Miss Cheesish giving Miss Daniels a withering look. "But if you want the girl, she's yours."
Mrs. Gravyface sat serenely in a pedicure chair, an official House of Poodles protective sheet covering her from her neck to knees. And at her feet, about to begin, sat her chosen favorite, Miss Daniels.
"Oh my," said Miss Daniels.
"Why, what's the matter, dear?" said Mrs. Gravyface, peering down at the young apprentice.
"Oh, silly me," she said, chuckling softly. "Come to get a pedicure wearing hose."
"There's a room out back where you can take them off," said Miss Daniels.
"Oh, but this chair's so comfy," said Mrs. Gravyface, squirming delightedly. "I'm sure a clever girl like you can figure something out."
Miss Daniels knit her brow and thought.
"Well," she said, then pulled up the stocking by the toe and began snipping away with a pair of pedicure scissors.
"What. What are you doing down there?" said Mrs. Gravyface, peering down as her pudgy toes popped out of the newly formed hole.
"Oh, clever girl!" she exclaimed. "Splendid!"
The art of the pedicure is not a simple thing. You must know your files and pumices, your ointments and creams, your ups, your downs, your all-arounds. And of course you must be a good listener if the customer is so inclined.
"I don't know why I care so much about my nails, but I do," said Mrs. Gravyface. "My husband Herbert, an unrepentant toe sucker, says 'Let 'em go! Let 'em go!'"
Suddenly Miss Daniels sneezed.
"Why bless you, child. Are you catching cold?"
"Oh no," said Miss Daniels, shaking her head. "Some of this sawdust just flew up my nose."
"Sawdust!" exclaimed Mrs. Gravyface. "Oh, what a charming child! Herbert! Herbert!"
Meanwhile, Victor Du Shay, disguised as a window washer, was dragging his chamois across the outer window of The House of Poodles. From this vantage point, he could observe as Mrs. Gravyface began to squirm and her feet to dance about, making it very difficult for Miss Daniels to perform.
"Please, Mrs. Gravyface," she said as she tried to follow the dancing foot, but it was just too nimble. First here, then there, then suddenly, it up and smacked her in the face. So she tried again. First here, then there, then another smack, fwap! and Miss Daniels was suddenly filled with rage. She grabbed the dancing foot and tried wrestling it to the ground, but it was too strong. It lifted her high in the air, then sent her crashing first into the base of the chair, then up, over and slam! through the pumices and creams.
"Hoo boy! It's getting hot in here!" cried Mrs. Gravyface as she continued her plunge into the heated bowels of Planet Erotica.
"Oh no," said Miss Daniels, recognizing the signs of unwanted passion.
"Don't worry, Mrs. Gravyface!" she yelled, rushing to the sink. "Help is on the way!"
She filled a bowl with cold water and flew back to the writhing matron.
"Hold on, Mrs. Gravyface! Your salvation is nigh!!!!"
And with that, Miss Daniels flipped back the official House of Poodles protective sheet and sent the cooling waters splashing merrily against the soft yearning petals of the kindly matron's troubled nexus.
"Yee-haa!!!!" cried the wildly bucking Mrs. Gravyface. "Ride 'em, cowboy!!!!"
"Please, Mrs. Gravyface, not so loud," pleaded Miss Daniels. "What about Miss Cheesish?"
But Mrs. Gravyface was far, far away by now, her ample thighs and buttocks pounding rhythmically against the cushions of her once comfortable chair.
"Oh, poor Mrs. Gravyface," said Miss Daniels as a pair of claw-like hands slowly emerged from beneath the sheet, descended upon the matronly bosom and began squeezing and squeezing till the mounting passion within burst forth in a symphony of orgasmic expostuation. (sic)
"Oh Herbert! My Herbert!" cried Mrs. Gravyface as a breathless Miss Cheesish came rushing into the room.
"Mrs. Gravyface! My God, are you all right?"
But the kindly matron lay sprawled over the chair, her arms and legs hanging limply over the sides, her passion spent.
Miss Daniels, on the other hand, was frantically scraping away at the still ragged edges of Mrs. Gravyface's now flaccid foot fingers.
Miss Cheesish sighed, then circling round, hovered over Miss Daniels like a little helicopter.
"Miss Daniels?" she said at last. A slight smile played on her not unattractive mouth.
Miss Daniels pretended not to hear, knitting her brow and executing the finer points of advanced pedicurial procedure.
"Oh, Miss Daniels," said Miss Cheesish again, giving the bane of her existence a nasty pinch on the arm.
"Ow!" cried Miss Daniels. "I mean what?!
But Miss Cheesish stood her ground, arms folded tightly across her hairless chest.
"I mean, what?" said Miss Daniels more softly, her miserable life flashing before her eyes.
"Miss Daniels," said Miss Cheesish.
"Miss Cheesish?" said Miss Daniels.
Miss Daniels knitted her brow and thought.
Miss Cheesish leaned forward.
"Clever girl," she said, her smiling lips beak-like in their severity.
Miss Daniels sighed and began to exit.
"And Miss Daniels..."
Miss Daniels stopped.
"Yes, Miss Cheesish?"
Miss Cheesish stepped forward, grabbed hold of Miss Daniels' pink shirt front and ripped off the smiling poodle head, military style.
"Don't use me as a reference."
The Inspector sat at his desk. Near him stood Genevieve Muncher, cool as always. And near her stood Dr. Lipton, an outside consultant for the Department.
"Muncher, this is Dr. Lipton."
"How do you do, Doctor."
"My pleasure," said Dr. Lipton, wrapping his long sensitive fingers around Genevieve's extending hand.
"Dr. Lipton is here to instruct you in the art of visual orgasmatism," said the Inspector.
Genevieve withdrew her hand and began to pace the room.
"Hm, instruction, instruction. Is that really necessary?"
Dr. Lipton smiled.
"I can appreciate your discomfort, Ms. Muncher," he said, following her pacings with his dark and brooding eyes. "I feel fine," said Genevieve with a shrug. "But I mean, orgasms. Visual orgasms..." She shook her head.
"Orgasma-tisms," corrected the Inspector.
"All right, all right, orgasma-tisms."
"Please, Ms. Muncher," said Dr. Lipton, approaching Genevieve with sure elegant steps. He then took her hand and led her to a nearby couch. Had he been wearing a tuxedo he could not have been more suave.
"Now if you'll just sit here and relax." He deposited Genevieve on the couch, then turning with one velvety motion, made his way towards the Inspector.
"You see, there are many areas of the human psyche that we are just beginning to understand. And visual orgasmatism is merely one of a whole host of erotic alternatives that we, as humans, would be able to enjoy if we would only open ourselves to the many possibilities that lay before us. Inspector, if you'll come with me, please."
"Uh, I'm just here to observe."
"Please Inspector," said the Doctor, a slight smile playing on his full sensuous lips as he moved ever closer.
"But Doctor, tell me, wouldn't it be preferable for Ms. Muncher to practice with you? I mean, you're the expert..."
"Actually, Inspector, research has shown that it's preferable for the beginner to get her feet wet, so to speak, with someone she's, well, fond of..."
Dr. Lipton turned to Genevieve.
"Do you like the Inspector, Ms. Muncher?"
Genevieve looked at the Inspector and shrugged.
"Sure," she said.
"Excellent. Now if you'll come with me, Inspector."
Dr. Lipton took the Inspector's pudgy hand in his long velvety fingers and began to pull.
"Hey, what about young Randall! You should hear how he talks about her." The Inspector lunged for the phone and hit the intercom button. "Randall! Randall!"
"Please Inspector, you're only making this harder on yourself."
Then Young Randall entered the room.
The Inspector looked beseechingly at Dr. Lipton, but the doctor wouldn't budge.
"I'm sorry, Inspector. Top secret."
He turned to Young Randall.
"That'll be all, Randall."
Looking confused, Young Randall turned to the Inspector.
"Inspector?" he said.
The Inspector gave one last desperate look to Dr. Lipton who lowered his head and frowned.
The Inspector sighed."Yes, that'll be all, Randall. Thank you," he said, deflated.
Genevieve tramped down the sidewalk, her trenchcoat (sic) flapping in the breeze. She was a bird in flight. Or a bird not in flight, rather. And beside her rambled the Inspector.
"What are you doing here?" said Genevieve annoyed.
"What," said the Inspector, always a little surprised when someone seemed unhappy to be sharing his company.
They continued walking. Genevieve tried to ignore the Inspector, but he wouldn't go away.
"I can handle this," she said at last.
"Oh, I know you can," said the Inspector. "I'm just here to keep you out of mischief."
They continued walking.
"God, I hate that word," said Genevieve.
"What. Mischief? Why? It's a perfectly good utilitarian word."
"Yeah, if you're talking about an orangutan."
They continued walking.
"It's been three days, Muncher," said the Inspector suddenly. "I hate to say this, but you're not making any progress."
"I'm making progress," said Genevieve glumly. "Y'know, this visual orgasmatism thing isn't as easy as it looks."
The Inspector shrugged.
"You did it with me."
"Anybody could do it with you," said Genevieve. "A monk could do it with you."
Actually, Genevieve didn't want to be reminded of that ugly hideous event. The Inspector sitting stiffly on the couch, legs spread wide, hands folded tightly. Dr. Lipton hovering over them murmuring words of encouragement.
"Well, I was nervous," said the Inspector. "And when you stuck your tongue in my ear...You see, it all started when I was a child..."
"Besides, that still doesn't excuse you from not making any progress," said the Inspector.
"I'm making progress," said Genevieve and quickened her pace.
Suddenly, a businessman appeared on the horizon.
"Do it with this guy then."
"Y'know, maybe I should put Dr. Lipton on this case instead."
"All right, all right," she said glumly.
"Then you'll do it?"
"What did I just say?"
"All right, now here's the plan. I'll engage him in small talk, then you" he nodded quickly "get him. OK?"
Genevieve stared straight ahead. The Inspector leaned towards her.
The businessman approached, his shiny brown shoes clicking like machine gun fire on the sun-baked pavement.
"All right, here he comes," said the Inspector, then quickly assumed a friendly demeanor.
"Excuse me, do you have the time?"
"No I don't," said the businessman, neither looking up nor slowing down.
Genevieve shook her head and walked away. But the plan could still be saved and the Inspector, thinking fast, shot out a pudgy hand and grabbed the businessman by the arm.
"Uh, nice weather we're having," he said, beaming a cheery smile. But the businessman did not respond in kind and the two proceeded to grunt and twist like a pair of Siamese contortionists.
"My arm, sir," said the businessman.
"Now I can appreciate that," said the Inspector, "but I'm the Inspector, so if you could just hold still for a few more seconds..."
Suddenly, the businessman broke free and scurried away. But the Inspector was satisfied and waved happily after the rapidly shrinking figure.
"Thank you!" he cried. "The government thanks you for your cooperation!"
Then he went to Genevieve.
"Well? Did you" he nodded quickly "get him?"
"No, I didn't" she nodded her head in mockery "get him."
"Well, why not?" said the Inspector. "Don't you remember the plan? Don't you remember how you said you'd do it? Well? Well?"
Genevieve gave the Inspector a sour look, then began to exit.
"Wait, I've got another idea!" cried the Inspector.
Genevieve whirled around.
"STOP FOLLOWING ME, O-KAY?????" she said, then continued her exit.
The Inspector was momentarily stunned. They would have to work through this later, he thought. He and the Mrs. would invite Genevieve over sometime for a nice home-cooked meal. But for now, the Inspector took off after his favorite gumshoe detective once again.
Genevieve and the Inspector sat side-by-side in a restaurant like workers at a voter registration table. Eating utensils, napkins and menus lay before them.
"You've gotta get this visual orgasm thing down, Muncher," said the Inspector.
A motionless Genevieve sat staring ahead with great concentration.
"I'm working on it," she said.
"I don't know..."
"See that guy in front of us?"
"Reading the paper?"
"Eating the chicken cacciatore?"
"You're doing it to him?"
The Inspector nodded quickly.
Then a waitress appeared. She wore a dark waitress skirt and a white waitress blouse. Her name was Betsy. Betsy the waitress. She held her waitress pad in one hand and a pen in the other.
"Can I take your order?" she said.
"Uh, yes. Let's see," said the Inspector, stroking his chin. "I'll have coffee..." he studied the menu "and a danish..." then studied the staring Genevieve "and my mealtime companion will have a glass of guava juice and a large unsliced banana."
The Inspector smiled amiably at Betsy who wrote down the order and departed.
Meanwhile, the young man continued to eat his food and read his paper. But as he was lifting a savory morsel to his large salivating orifice, a strange feeling suddenly came over him. It seemed to be concentrated beneath the silky penile region of his trousers. So he lowered his fork, lowered his head and sat contemplating the mysterious area in question.
Then a waitress appeared, wearing a white waitress skirt and a dark waitress blouse. It was Betty. Betty the waitress. Betsy the waitress's evil sister.
Betty stood over the young man, twisting her mouth into a variety of ugly insinuating shapes.
"Is everything OK, sir?" she said suddenly.
"Why yes!" screamed the young man. "Uh, why do you ask?"
"Oh, I don't know," said Betty as she attempted to peer down at the young man's penile region.
But the young man didn't want her to see, didn't want anyone to see. In fact, he just wanted to leave.
"Uh, I think I'll have that check now."
"Was that a stain I saw down there?" demanded Betty.
"No!" screamed the young man. "I mean, check please." Then he lifted a finger in the air. "Check please," he said again, chuckling slightly and waiting for Betty to come in on the joke, but Betty was a rock.
"I'm calling the manager," she said and began to exit.
"No!" cried the young man and lunged for the departing waitress. But this was not so easy, for the young man was also a rock. At least part of him was. And when he shot up, the part of him that was a rock caught hold of his trousers' silky inner lining and bent painfully downward.
And Betty, though caught for now, was in no state of panic. In fact, she coolly regarded the young man as his quivering fingers grasped longingly at the soft exposed flesh of her upper arm, his look of quiet desperation filling Betty with pangs of delight. All she had to do was wait. And true enough, the young man soon released his grip and with a sighing whimper, sank back into his waiting chair.
"I mean, no," said the young man meekly. "I mean I'm begging you, if there's a God in Heaven, do not call the manager!"
"Well," said Betty cautiously, for the fool had so obviously learned his lesson. And besides, she didn't like the manager anyway, that officious lunkhead. So she slowly disengaged the check from her pad, then dangled it just out of the young man's reach, wanting to see that look of pure agony just one more time. And the young man did not disappoint, grimacing and sweating like a pig with each painful attempt.
"Could you just hand me the check?" he said wheezingly.
Betty smiled slightly, then granted the young man what he so nakedly desired.
Victor Du Shay gazed out over the ocean, his body swaying from the power of its rhythmic vastness. Or was it from the rhythmic vastness of the female jogger who ran by? Whatever, Victor was suddenly filled with an immense joy and proceeded to strip down to his oceanside jogging disguise, do a few warm-up exercises, then take off in cheerful pursuit.
Further up the beach was Genevieve Muncher, here on a tip that Du Shay sometimes frequented the area. She spotted a female jogger approaching. Perhaps she could be of some assistance.
"Uh, excuse me there," said Genevieve, but the jogger, squeezing her breasts and panting as she ran by, did not respond.
Then another jogger came into view. A male jogger with spindly legs and twinkling eyes who smiled and saluted Genevieve as he cruised merrily by.
Genevieve waved back absent-mindedly, an idea beginning to form in her brain.
"Du Shay," she said to herself. "Du Shay! Du Shay!" she cried, then took off after him as the female jogger fell panting to the ground, her passion spent.
Du Shay ran for the hills with Genevieve following. Once there, he darted into a tiny shack, slamming the door behind him. Genevieve did likewise, but once inside found it too dark to see and lit a match.
"Du Shay?" she said.
But Du Shay was not there. He was outside, behind some boulders, holding a match in one hand, a fuse in the other and feeling so happy he could scream. While back in the shack, Genevieve continued her search, holding her own match before her like a little lantern.
"Du Sha-ay," she said coaxingly. "Come out, Du Shay."
The flame on her match was almost gone. She threw it down and was about to light another when through the darkness, near her feet, she saw a sparkling presence dancing its way across the ground.
"Du Shay?" she said.
Genevieve followed the light, bent at the waist and leaning forward like Sherlock Holmes. She lit her match and saw that the sparkling presence was attached to a fuse slowly winding its way towards a wooden crate marked "DANGER." And above that crate was another marked "EXPLOSIVES." And above that another marked "THINK FAST!"
"Uh oh," said Genevieve and began stomping on the lighted fuse, but to no avail. She made a dash for the door, grabbed the handle and pulled, but it held fast, shackled from the outside with big iron chains.
"Drats!" said Genevieve and began banging on the door. "Du Shay!
But Du Shay would not let her out. He was just too happy. Happy at the thought of Genevieve trapped in the little dungeon, banging her delicate fists against the big iron door, her passion-filled heart thumping wildly against the bosom of her satin bodice as she warbled out in notes of desperation and longing, "Victor, Victor, save me!..."
But despite his love, despite the plaintive cries that wafted into the shell-like ears of the giddy master, he would not, could not, save her. For at that moment, the little shack of wood and metal, that seemed so small to the casual eye, burst forth in a blinding flash of white light.
A few days later, young Randall sat typing at his computer. On his desk stood a framed picture of him and Genevieve. In the picture, Randall, wearing a festive party hat, is at his computer, looking down and grinning sheepishly while Genevieve, also in party hat, stands behind him, hands on his shoulders, head next to his and smiling cheerfully into the camera.
But that was then, things had changed, so Randall continued to type, his sensitive young fingers trembling every so often. Then suddenly, a tear ran down his cheek. He wiped it away, paused, sniffled, then threw himself on his computer and wept bitterly for the remainder of the day.
A lone figure walked along the grass of the cemetery. He carried a potted plant and wore a nicely tailored suit. It was Victor Du Shay, come to pay his respects.
He set the plant down next to a headstone which read
1955 - 1987
MAY SHE REST THOUGH IN PIECES
then stood, folded his hands in front of his penile region and bowed his head for a few moments of silent contemplation.
Suddenly, a woman appeared in a long black dress and veil. She knelt and placed a bouquet of flowers on the grave, then stood next to the man in the tailored suit.
Du Shay looked up. A feeling of joy began to twinkle in his breast then suddenly, the woman began to cry.
"Why? Why?" she wailed. "She was so good, so kind."
Du Shay felt a sudden softness fall upon him, a surge of fellow feeling that he must surely honor.
"There there, young Miss," he said, putting an arm around the young woman's delightfully undulating shoulders. "Were you close?"
The woman lifted the veil and smiled. And though her sobs had seemed to be of a most sincere and poignant nature, her eyes were clear and bright, her face strong and untroubled, and her smile the kind of smile that only one true heart possessed.
"You might say that," she said.
Du Shay jerked his arm away in amazement.
"You!" he exclaimed in a volume rarely used by this most chary of men.
"Who were you expecting, Flo Nightingale?" cried Genevieve, then sent a mighty fist screaming into Du Shay's tiny face. And needless to say, Du Shay went shooting backwards till a dense backdrop of foliage cut him short.
"But you're dead, I don't believe it!" he cried.
"Oh, an atheist."
"No, not an atheist! I believe in the death of Genevieve Muncher, detective!....PREPARE TO DIE!"
And with that, Du Shay shot out of his leafy lair like hot vomit as Genevieve flung off her long black dress - her regular clothes underneath - and assumed a defensive position. But the vaunted Muncher defensive crouch failed to have the desired effect. For Du Shay, a blur of muted colors, barreled into her like a trolleycar (sic) derailed and the two went flying backwards, head over heels, through the deserted cemetery.
Genevieve quickly freed herself from Du Shay's clamping embrace, shot to the top of her headstone, then sprang downward with hair flying wildly about her like Medusa's snakes.
But Du Shay quickly rolled away causing Genevieve to fall flat, her snakes now dull and lifeless around her grass-kissing head. But she soon recovered and as she began to rise, a voice was heard screeching down upon her from above.
"And I bought you this potted plant, too!" cried Du Shay as he cracked Genevieve over the head with the earthenware container.
"Thanks, but I prefer flowers!" cried Genevieve and snatching up a nearby bouquet, proceeded whacking Du Shay across his tiny face with the punishing collection of petals. And Du Shay, knowing he couldn't last, turned tail and fled, living to fight another day. He sped across the cemetery lawns, hurdling headstones, crashing through floral arrangements, leaping like a very Bambi over the freshly dug pits. But as the nimble orgasmatist was about to leap again, he was struck from behind by the tightly-packed bouquet and cast headlong, downward, into the subterranean abyss.
"FLOWER POWER!!!!" cried Genevieve, pumping her fist in the air, then diving into the blackened pit, an avalanche of righteous fury.
"Oof!" went Du Shay as Genevieve made contact with his spindly frame.
Boom boom boom! went Genevieve as she pummeled Du Shay's tiny face with a series of explosive punches. Then she jerked him up and hurled him across the dark expanse. And as he slid down the moist and pungent wall, thoughts of surrender began oozing through his clammy brain until touching bottom, he felt something long and hard poking at him from below.
It was a shovel! A gravedigger's shovel! And Du Shay grabbed it, bounced up and took a swing. But Genevieve dodged the swooping shovelhead, her trench coat rippling in the breeze. Then came two smaller strokes and a feinting stab that caused Genevieve to fall back with a breathy gasp. The motions were repeated. Then again. Then spotting an opening, Du Shay reeled back and sent the heavy iron slab crashing into Genevieve's lovely unbroken face.
Du Shay smiled.
"Oh Muncher, you never learn," he sighed and knelt to brush the hair from her sleeping face. But as their bodies met, he felt a surge of energy run through his spindly frame. Not unpleasant, but one that would surely kill him if allowed to continue. So he pulled back his hand and as he did, the crumpled pile before him began to stir.
"Good morning, darling. Sleep well?" cooed Du Shay as he burrowed into Genevieve with his vast reservoirs of orgasmic energy.
"Oh Muncher, if I only knew it was going to be like this," he sighed.
Genevieve began breathing heavily, just as so many before had, and so many would after, unless she could somehow turn things around.
"You know, I think I'll wear my blue suit to your next funeral," said Du Shay, feeling kind of cocky.
But Genevieve had other ideas. She thought hard. She fought hard. She must prevail. Then suddenly, she did.
"Gaghh!" cried Du Shay as Genevieve Muncher, the orgasmic angel, slowly began to rise.
"A blue suit, eh? You'll be singing the blues where you're going, Du Shay!"
And Du Shay, on his back, drenched in sweat, was in no position to argue. For though he enjoyed singing, humming especially, he didn't like to be told when and where to do it. So just when it seemed he would go down, he rose to toss the young upstart on her own pretty backside.
"Oh Muncher, I believe I recognize the Dr. Lipton method! A bit crude in the technique, but all right for an amateur like you."
But Genevieve would not surrender. Du Shay could be beaten. She knew it. And as she broke through once again, she knew, she felt, that she would be the one to do it.
"Aha!" she declared. "I may be an amateur, but at least I'm not weird!"
Du Shay was losing. He thought and thought, but could not break through, not even a little. But before submitting completely, he would try one last thing.
"I'm weird," he said, laughing nervously. "Look at you, Muncher. Look at what you're doing."
Genevieve thought about herself and it was true. She did not like what she was doing, what she was becoming.
"Dr. Lipton told me that when someone like you is beaten, he's never quite the same."
"Ah, but what he neglected to tell you was that the hero is never quite the same either. So you see, Muncher, you just can't win, can you."
Du Shay laughed his nervous laugh and Genevieve was more than a little shaken. Dr. Lipton had never mentioned anything like this before.
"I don't believe you," she said.
Du Shay smiled.
"Then do it."
Genevieve paused, then closed her eyes and bore down on Du Shay
who came and came as a light within her slowly began to die.
The Edge of the World
Mr. Greeley lay in bed with his beloved Trixie.
"Oh Trixie," he sighed.
"Oh Mr. Greeley," sighed Trixie.
"The passion, the excitement. And that last very difficult maneuver," said Greeley as he lolled his head to one side. For life was good, he was good, and this was his reward. Then suddenly remembering the time, Greeley lunged for the clock and held it close to his weather-beaten face.
"Oh Trixie! Ten o'clock!" he exclaimed.
But all Trixie could see was the fat slab of feces pasted across Greeley's troubled forehead.
"Oh no!" she cried.
"Oh yes! Oh Trixie!" And springing from his bed, Greeley raced willy-nilly around the room in search of clothing. "Oh Trixie! Ten o'clock! Ten o'clock! If only we hadn't taken the time to perform that last very difficult maneuver!"
"Oh, Mr. Gree-ley," sang Trixie.
"Oh Trixie, it's not that I want to go. I must!"
Greeley continued racing around the room, then banged his toe against a piece of heavy furniture.
"Agh! God damn it!"
Greeley hopped around on one foot, then lost his balance and toppled to the floor.
But Greeley soon bounced to his feet and began hobbling towards his beloved.
"Look Trixie, I've bloodied my toe," he said. "I did it for you, my darling."
Greeley sidled up to Trixie for a reassuring smooch, but all Trixie could see was that fat slab of feces.
"Oh, Mr. Greeley," she sobbed, then slid beneath the sheets.
"Oh Trixie, if you could just be a little more understanding," said Greeley. "If you could just be a little more simpatico."
But not a word passed through the sheety veil, so Greeley resumed his sartorial pursuits and upon completion, stood at the bedroom door, nattily dressed save for the shoes and socks he held in his hands.
"Trixie, I'm going now," he said. "Could you at least say good-bye?"
Greeley stood nervously in the doorway, then from beneath the sheety veil, a small clear voice was heard to rise.
"Good-bye," said Trixie. And a rejuvenated Greeley charged back to his beloved bed.
"Oh good-bye! Good-bye, my darling!" he exclaimed, planting passionate kisses on Trixie's lifeless hand.
"And you'll have that diamond necklace by next Tuesday!" cried Greeley, resuming his retreat. "I can promise you that right now!"
Alison sat in her living room watching television. On the screen was Edwin Toby, televangelist.
"Do you ever feel depressed?" he said. "Like life isn't worth living? Like...I used to feel?"
And it was true. Edwin was a suicide survivor. And though he spoke in the most general of terms, Alison felt that he was speaking directly to her. He spoke of "troubled times" and "flocking sheep," but mostly he spoke of a necklace. A beautiful gold-colored necklace with the inspirational phrase, "You can feel it if you want to," rendered in simple yet elegant gold letters.
Alison turned off the TV.
Feel what? Why, the spirit of the Lord, thought Alison. For that was the "it" in "you can feel it," according to Edwin.
She then reached into a drawer and pulled out a tiny velvet-covered box. Inside was one of the necklaces, its simple yet elegant message beckoning outward to all who would come.
Outside Mr. Greeley's apartment building stood a limousine, its engine idling, a chauffeur standing sentry at its open door.
"Hutchins, Hutchins and Hutchins. And step on it!" snapped Greeley.
The limo driver took off and was soon zooming his way down the road. And though he could be counted on to maneuver through the most daunting of obstacles, what he could not steer clear of was the sight of Greeley's soiled forehead in his rear-view mirror.
"Good God, man! Are you mad? Are you insane?"
Greeley bounced around the elegantly padded interior of the swerving limo, then spotted the impudent chauffeur snatching glances of him in the rear-view mirror.
"Oh, I see," snarled Greeley. "It's my feet! My bare naked feet that you find so fascinating! Well yes! It's true! High-powered executives have feet! FEET!"
And the day had started out so well.
"Oh, if only Trixie were here," he moaned, then caught himself and turned angrily to the chauffeur.
"You didn't hear that, understand? You did not hear that!"
Then he clenched his body into a giant fist as a primal squeak slowly squeezed its way out from the depths of his churning constricted bowels.
Alison sat at the bar, reading a Bible and wearing her necklace. A man came and sat beside her. Alison tensed up, but continued to read. The man drummed his fingers on the bar, glanced around, then left.
Then another man sat next to her.
"What'll it be," said the bartender.
"Make it a Feineken."
Alison continued reading.
The bartender brought the man his drink. The man thanked him and poured some of the amber liquid into a glass.
This is going nowhere, thought Alison, so she discretely turned her chest towards the man so he could read her necklace's inspirational message.
The man sat, pensively fingering his Feineken and showing no sign of having seen Alison's message.
Maybe I didn't turn far enough, thought Alison and
tried again, turning a little further this time. But still nothing.
Was it him or me? thought Alison. Maybe I should leave. But no, I have my message. I'm the strong one.
So Alison tried again, painfully wrenching her chest so the necklace would be squarely facing him this time. And her efforts paid off, for when she returned to her original position, the man with the Feineken suddenly took notice.
"Hi," he said.
Oh no, thought Alison, then leaned forward as if engrossed in her book.
"What are you reading?"
Alison resumed her downward plunge till her nose touched the open page.
The man shrugged and exited.
This is silly, thought Alison as she sprang back up. So she turned and noticed a third man sitting at the end of the bar. A fine man, she thought, then gathered her things and went over. And this time, she did not sit meekly reading her Bible, but sat boldly facing her intended victim with legs crossed and elbow poised jauntily on the bar.
"Hi there," she said, bouncing her necklace's gold-colored message on the end of one finger. But the man merely looked glumly at Alison, then departed.
Alison was puzzled. Was her message not wanted? She turned again and saw two women, about her age, seated on the other side.
"So I says to the guy, 'you can't just feel it like that, ya big ape!'" said one of the women.
Alison cleared her throat.
"Excuse me," she said. "Uh, Edwin Toby, by an chance?"
The two women looked at each other like Alison was strange, then exited.
Alison turned back and pondered her situation. Was this what "it" felt like? Clearly not. Clearly it was she herself who was lacking. I'm a humpless camel, a cakeless pan, thought Alison, then gathering up her things and with head drooping, sadly shuffled out the bar.
A limousine came careening down the street, fearlessly sideswiping other vehicles before coming to a halt. Its engine idled ominously, then the rear door suddenly popped open and Mr. Greeley came tumbling out.
The limo sped away. Greeley sprang to his feet and shook his fist at the vanishing limo.
"Don't think I'm not reporting you for this!" he cried. "You'll be out of a job by next Tuesday! I can promise you that right now!"
Greeley entered the building, stormed towards the elevator, bloated with rage, then pressed the Up button.
"Why must we share elevators with the dime-a-dozen hourly wage earners?" he wailed. "Why oh why must we share???"
Finally, a "ding" was heard as both the Up arrow and Mr. Greeley lit up.
But as the doors slid open, the elevator was shown to be packed.
Greeley immediately slid into his high-powered executive mode.
"Come on, now. Exit!" he cried. "I have a very important meeting to attend!"
But instead of the usual bowing and scraping, the miserable clog of wage earning sluggards remained in their can, wagging their pointy heads from side to side, their barking mouths breaking out in a chorus of unrestrained mirth.
"What's so damn funny? Come on! Out, you fish-faced hyenas!" cried Greeley, yanking the sluggards out by their lapels. But as luck would have it, as soon as one sluggard was yanked out, the previously yanked out slug would laughingly stagger back inside with eyes watering.
"All right! I'll take the stairs then, damn it! I'll take the stairs!"
Greeley hurried to the stairwell and began to climb. But by the tenth floor, he began noticing a certain heaviness weighing down upon him. And by the twentieth, even more so.
Meanwhile, on the ninety-seventh floor, the Board of Directors meeting was going very nicely. Profits were up. Productivity was up. And as things began winding down to a close, the door to the meeting room suddenly burst open as a rasping hollow-eyed Mr. Greeley stood glowering in the doorway.
"I'm here," he growled. Greeley then began to make his way towards the podium, that is till Larry, another high-powered executive, rushed over for the interception.
"You can't attend a meeting with the Board of Directors like that!" hissed Larry.
"Why not!" said Larry. "Because you've got a, a thing on your face!"
"Thing? I don't have any thing on my face."
"Yes, you do! Look! LOOK!!!!" And Larry, pointed dramatically to a mirror on the wall. And Greeley looked, saw his soiled forehead for the first time, and was astonished.
As Alison hurried down the sidewalk, tears streaming down her face, she felt a sharp thump that spun her around and scattered her possessions to the ground. She quickly knelt and began gathering up her things till she felt an ominous presence looming above her. Alison stopped her gathering and looking up, saw the silhouette of a tall dark stranger offering her her Bible in his strong steady hand.
"I believe this is yours," he said.
Alison walked down the deserted street with the mysterious Stranger. She held her Bible and pocketbook against her chest and though still a little teary, felt better, and tried to think of something to say.
"I don't know what I was doing in that stupid bar," she said at last.
She laughed at the thought of herself in the bar. The Stranger smiled.
"I mean, I don't drink and I have nothing to say outside of what I see on TV..."
They walked some more, Alison thinking, the Stranger silent.
"It's just that I bought this necklace."
"Ah, a necklace. May I see?"
They stopped and Alison showed the Stranger her necklace.
"You can feel it if you want to," read the Stranger haltingly. "Feel what? I don't understand."
Alison felt a sudden surge of gratitude rush through her. She turned towards the Stranger and smiled softly.
"Why," she began, but the good feeling quickly faded. She sniffled once and said, "the spirit of the Lord," but without conviction.
Alison turned away and began to walk again. The Stranger followed.
"You know, I don't live very far from here. Why don't we go?"
"Oh, I don't know," said Alison, her voice trailing off.
Her head began to ache.
"You know, it's getting awfully late," said Alison and began walking faster.
"Alison, why are you walking so fast?"
The Stranger hurried to catch up.
"I'm not," said Alison, beginning to cry again.
"Yes you are," hissed the Stranger, but as he reached out to grab her, Alison suddenly burst into a sprint. And though she ran swiftly, it wasn't long before the Stranger was able to press his hand against her back and pushed her to the ground.
"I can feel it if I want to?" he cried. "Well I want to! I want to! THY WILL BE DONE!"
And Alison, on her back, in the night, let out a bloodcurdling
scream as a flash of lightning cut the sky and the open hand
Animals Are Animals
Marvin Grogg stands on a cliff, holding a fishing pole in one hand.
"Hello and welcome to another edition of 'Animals Are Animals.' This week, Fred and I are pursuing that great and valued prize of the Pacific Northwest, the salmon."
He hands the fishing pole to Fred.
"Here, hold this for me, won't you, Fred?"
"Why certainly, Marvin."
Fred takes the pole and also holds it in one hand. But it soon becomes clear that mastering a salmon is not quite as easy as Marvin had made it look. For despite his grey hair and small weather-beaten frame, Marvin is quite powerful. And Fred, though larger and some twenty years Marvin's junior, is forced to devote his entire self to the task at hand.
"The salmon, beyond being a fine eating fish is also a fine sporting fish with a lean muscular body and a surprisingly competitive nature."
"But where do they come from? How do they reproduce? For the answers to these and other questions, let's take a look at the following short film...."
"We can all learn from the salmon."
"Salmon begin their journey at the river's mouth," says Marvin, the film's narrator.
From the side of the screen enter salmon, slowly wiggling and hopping their way up the raging rapids accompanied by "bloop bloop" sounds.
"But the river is fraught with danger!"
Salmon stand frozen with fear as a giant log barrels down upon them.
"But after the long and treacherous journey, the intrepid salmon reach the calm waters of the spawning pool where the miracle of life begins."
Through a heavy mist, a Female Salmon enters accompanied by flashes of lightning and raging water sounds. But after she's through, all is peaceful and the gentle "bloop bloop" sounds of a living salmon return.
She moves about as if in a dream, slowly spinning in wonder, till realizing where she is, settles down to begin her work. She carefully slides a hand into her front pants pocket and brings out the first luminous egg. Then repeats the process, again and again, till the last precious morsel is slipped from its nurturing fold and the Female Salmon gives a little shudder of delight.
"And after her work is done, she dies."
The Female Salmon smiles, takes a deep rejuvenating breath, then plunges back for more. She checks her back pockets and shirt pockets. She shakes one leg, then the other, but no luck, no eggs.
Then suddenly, she coughs.
She stops her searching, clears her throat and resumes.
She coughs again.
She stops, considers, coughs again, then collapses to the ground.
And realizing her fate, she takes up one of the cherished eggs, presses her lips against its cold hard shell, then dies a salmon's death, her fingers slowly curling round the egg in a final protective embrace.
Back at the thickly misted entrance, a Male Salmon comes stumbling through. He can't believe what he's had to endure and stands cursing and gesturing at the raging rapids. That is, till he sees the Female Salmon lying in the distance, then he's overjoyed and rushes to her side. But while recounting his recent adventures, he notices that the Female Salmon is not reacting with her usual loving enthusiasm. So he reaches out, touches her cheek and recoils at the coldness. It's as if she's been packed in ice!
"Who's done this! Come out and fight, man or beast!" he cries. "Hook me, beat me, fry me, eat me! Take out my bones, rip off my scales, chop my head off and serve me in your finest restaurants! Stuff me in a can and call me cat food!"
But no one answers the plucky Salmon's heated challenge. "C'mon you poachers, show yourselves!" he cries and makes prizefighter motions with his fists. He whirls around to surprise the knife-wielding assassins, but none are there. Were they ghosts? Time-travelling chefs from another dimension? Then suddenly, he feels something small and round bumping against the back of his heel and looking down, spies a tiny orb. Then looking further, sees he's surrounded by a virtual galaxy of these luminous spheres. He slaps his forehead in a moment of recognition. Of course! Procreation! The outward thrust life! And he vows to his gilly girlfriend that he will not let her down, then turns to face the starry mass of eggs.
"I am your creator," he says in a voice of authority and benevolence. "You can call me dad. Or pops. Or daddy."
His heart begins to warm at the thought of "daddy."
"And that's your mother over there. She's your creator, too. You can call her mom. Or mommy. Or "Marmee," if you feel the need."
"I just want you to know that we love you and, well, that's all for now."
He kneels down, places one of the eggs in his hand and beams proudly at its nice round shape. "Oh, if only Marmee were here to share this," he thinks.
He tickles the egg, plays "peek-a-boo," then places it back with its siblings and begins lining them up in neat little rows.
Meanwhile, a dashingly handsome Evil Salmon comes striding through the thickly misted entrance. He's accompanied by the usual raging water sounds and lightning flashes, which in his case, befits the air of dread that surrounds him.
In his wake, two scraggly Henchsalmon drag themselves through, the disparity between their shoddy appearance and the majestic sounds and flashes lending a comic air to their entrance.
The Evil Salmon boldly surveys the area. "A nice pool. A pond, really," he thinks, prefering the exhilaration of the rapids. But his Henchsalmon needed a breather every now and then. And besides, sometimes an amusement or two could be found in such a place. Like that dead Female Salmon and her egg-lining male consort over there, for example.
The Evil Salmon indicates what he sees to his two Henchsalmon, but they're busy fighting with each other. "Well, better too spirited than too cautious," he thinks, then whacks the Henchsalmon on top of their thick skulls and tells them to shape up. Then he points to the pair of unsuspecting patsies and reveals his plan. The Henchsalmon nod approvingly, licking their lips and rubbing their greasy hands together.
The Henchsalmon begin sneaking around the edge of the pool while the Evil Salmon calls out to their intended victim.
"Hallo! Hallo!" he cries, his voice ringing robustly through the misty air.
The Male Salmon looks up and waves. "Another fishy face. How nice," he thinks. "And such a snappy dresser!"
"What are you doing over there, my friend?" cries the Evil One.
The Male Salmon boldly recounts his harrowing journey, then explains how he must now perform his salmonly function as his dearly departed had so beautifully performed hers.
The Evil Salmon listens with seeming attentiveness. He nods with testosteronic gusto at the Male Salmon's tales of derring do (sic) and listens with reverent understanding - "ah, yes" - at the mention of salmonly functions to be performed.
After the Male Salmon is through, the Evil One reaches into the lining of his greatcoat and pulls out a bottle of spirits. He holds it up and flashing a manly smile, calls out to his fellow fish to come have a drink with him.
The Male Salmon laughs and shakes his head, indicating that he cannot, that he still has a lot of work to do.
But the Evil Salmon keeps insisting.
"Come on!" he cries. "A quick drink! What could it hurt?"
But as the Male Salmon is about to refuse again, the dastardly Henchsalmon pounce him from behind, clamping their greasy arms about his unsuspecting body and drag him across the misty waters, kicking and screaming.
The Dread Master nods approvingly, his handsome face bright and full of triumph as the Male Salmon is brought before him. He takes a deep-chested drink, then taps the Male Salmon with the lip of the glassy vessel.
"You said you had to perform your function, my friend?"
The Evil Salmon strides towards the unprotected cluster of eggs, pulls a handful of sperm from his pocket and holds it high above his head. "But how could that be when I am the one who will perform the function, not you, salmon!"
And with that, the first fiery blast of sperm is sent crashing into the eggy mass as the Male Salmon redoubles his efforts to break free. But the riotous Henchsalmon hold him fast, taking turns running their bony fingers up and down his accordion-like rib cage. The angry Salmon responds by stomping on the foot of the Henchsalmon behind, then cuts loose with a roundhouse right at the face of the slavering tickler. But the tickler ducks and while the Male Salmon goes spinning round, he grabs him from behind and his partner takes over the hilarious tickling duties.
Meanwhile, with eyes glinting madly, the Evil Salmon continues his spermy barrage until finally, mercifully, he is finished. His eyes resume their former dark impenetrable state. He smacks his curly sensuous lips and with a lascivious pink tongue, licks the shining sperm from off an outstretched finger, then strides triumphantly back to the defeated Male Salmon.
The Evil One tells his frolicsome Fishsticks that they can go have their fun now and they eagerly comply. He watches their greasy antics for awhile, then wraps a comforting arm around the Male Salmon's sagging unhappy shoulders.
"It's not so bad, my friend," he says, then lifts the
bottle to the Male Salmon's lips. But the Male Salmon turns his head away.
The Evil Salmon sneers, his dark eyes beginning to glint with malevolent intent. But then he catches himself, lowers the bottle and calls out to his imperfect, yet hopelessly loyal, Henchsalmon.
"Hallo! Hallo! Time to go, me hearties!"
The Henchsalmon are rolling around in the eggy leftovers by now, laughing and fighting and throwing their dull rancid sperm in each other's faces. But they snap to attention at the sound of the familiar cry. And as they hurry back, the subject and object of their undying adoration turns and begins his supremely glorious exit.
"Hallo, hallo, it's time to go! So long, my friend....Have a nice life!"
And with a magnificent laugh, he tosses the bottle into the mass of sperm-drenched eggs as he disappears through the raging water and lightning of the thickly misted exit.
"The cycle of life is now complete. A new generation of salmon to be born," says Marvin as the hilarious Henchsalmon beat down their unresisting captive. "But sometimes Nature takes pity and sends forth its emissaries to those in need."
The Henchsalmon exit, slapping each other on the back and leaving the Male Salmon for dead.
And suddenly, all is silent. The "bloop bloop" sound of the living salmon no longer in evidence. Then, from beyond the water's edge, a ball of glowing light floats in. It stops, hovers, and its light then dissipates, revealing the lone figure of All Salmon Before. Unlike the other salmon, All Salmon Before somewhat resembles a real fish. He is big and hoary with thick lips and low-riding glasses perched on the end of his tapering nose. But his most prominent feature is the magnificent feathery wings that sprout from where a fish's fins would usually be.
He hovers silently over the moldering salmon, his shapely uncompromising tail pointing downward, his elegant wings undulating methodically. He looks straight ahead, bland and unknowable, then slowly rotates his massive body to a horizontal position and considers the situation below.
All Salmon Before flies first to the Female Salmon, extending one supremely feathery wing and touching her tightly-closed fist. A glowing light flashes and her soft pliant fingers unwind like the petals of a flower to reveal the still pristine egg she had embraced in her final moments.
Nature's Bulky Emissary then flies to the Male Salmon, gently
touches the tousled head and another flash of light appears. The
Male Salmon opens his eyes, looks to his gilly girlfriend and slowly
begins to drag himself to her side as All Salmon Before turns and
flies off into the starry night.
The Porkins/Rastapovich Consortium
Larry Porkins thought he had the perfect life. Three young sons and a beautiful wife he thought he could love forever. Then one day, his blushing bride was unmasked as a spy, had her organs harvested and was never heard from again.
While on the other side of town, Camel Rastapovich thought that she had the perfect life. Three short-haired daughters and a marriage she thought would last forever. Then one day, her ex-husband Eric - the author of an unproduced screenplay - was trashed in the carjacking scene from "The Brady Bunch Movie," had his concepts harvested and was never seen again.
Then as fate would have it, Larry and Camel met, fell in love, got married and set about the unlikely task of merging their two unhappy families into one blissfully cohesive unit. And though there were some minor problems in the beginning, the children soon realized the advantages of having someone their own age to play with and adjusted nicely. Except for Booby, the youngest son.
It's not that Booby didn't try. Even now, sitting at the kitchen table with his beloved milk and cookies as Mrs. Gravyface the maid and Heather the eldest daughter stood behind him engaging in idle conversation, Booby was trying.
"Poor little Sinny," said Heather, "Stricken with some sort of congestive ailment and no one to visit her."
"Well, I was up there this morning reading her soothing bedtime stories. Then you came later to change her little linen and fluff up her pillows."
"Anything for little Sinny," sang Heather with a smile.
"Now if we could only think of someone who'd go up there now, our lives would be perfect."
"Well, what about Booby?" said Mrs. Gravyface.
Booby made a face.
"Oh, Booby wouldn't go," said Heather.
"Oh, I'm sure he would."
"Oh no," said Heather. "Booby's just too selfish. He'd never go."
Was Booby selfish? Booby didn't think so. But he got up nonetheless. For after years of abuse, Booby had taken on the fatalistic outlook of an indentured servant.
"Oh, don't say that, Heather. It's just not true!"
"Oh, but it is, Mrs. Gravyface! Did I ever tell you about the time..."
And Booby was gone.
Booby nervously poked his head through a crack in the doorway of Sin Personified Rastapovich.
"Hi Sinny. Guess who?"
He slid his narrow body into the room.
"Uh, can I get you anything? An aspirin? Some throat lozenges?"
But Sin Personified was not your usual sick child. For she had the cracked chalky-colored skin of both demons and the demon possessed. It was the color and consistency of old paint. In fact, that was one of her many nicknames: Old Paint.
Meanwhile, Booby waited patiently for a response to his offer of medicinal relief. But Sin lay on her bed, unspeaking, her eyes open and staring vacantly at the ceiling, her black lips parted with wisps of cold vapor rising, interrupted only by the occasional mucous-breaking little cough.
"Well, I guess you're kind of tired," said Booby softly. "I'll just..."
Booby turned and began to quietly skulk out. But before he could slip away, the narrow portal slowly creaked shut of its own accord.
"Well, maybe not."
"Weed me a stowy," said Sin in her raspy child-demon voice.
"Oh, I don't know, Sinny."
Suddenly, the bed started shaking and objects went flying through the air.
"All right, all right," said Booby. "Jeez!"
He sat down on the edge of Sin's bed and perused the stack of reading material. "Hmm, Goldilocks and the Three Vibrators, Snow White Gets It On With the Dwarves..." Then a title caught Booby's eye.
"Oh, here's one. Jack and the Bean Sprouts! One of my personal childhood favorites, Sinny."
So Booby picked up the children's vegetarian classic and began to read.
"Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack whose favorite food in the whole wide world was nutritious good-for-you bean sprouts!..."
But before Booby could continue, Sin grabbed him by the wrist and began squeezing vigorously.
"Ow ow! You're hurting me, Sinny."
Sin relaxed her grip.
Booby cleared his throat and continued.
"Now Jack was a healthy lad...Ow ow!"
"Godiwoks," croaked Sin.
"All right, all right, Godiwoks. Ow! I mean Goldilocks."
Booby picked up the children's alternative sex classic and began to read.
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks..."
"Yes, that's right!" said Booby. "And one day while walking through the woods, Goldilocks chanced upon a little cottage...."
He turned to Sin.
"Can you say 'cottage,' Sinny? Ow! Stop it!" cried Booby and smacked Sin across the face with the book, but was immediately filled with regret. He looked nervously at the cracked white face for signs of distress, but Old Paint just lay there, so Booby cleared his throat and continued to read.
"'I think I'll go inside,' said Goldilocks and upon entering, was rewarded with the sight of three shiny tube-shaped objects. Now it had been awhile, so Goldilocks hiked up her dress and sampled the first one, but its vibrating action proved so fiercesome that it knocked all the fillings out of Goldilocks' teeth...."
"I have a code," she croaked.
"Yes Sinny, well....so Goldilocks tried the second one, but its vibrating action was just too sluggish for a young girl's proper stimulation...."
Sin coughed again.
"I have a code, I have a code," she croaked, then cut loose with a big hacking cough and a bright green glob of phlegm flew from the back of her throat to Booby's astonished face.
"Oh, pardon me," said Booby, attempting to clean himself with a handkerchief. But the globs were flying now. It was either read or run. But Booby was a trooper (sic) if nothing else and he paid the trooper's (sic) price as Sin Personified, seizing the moment, blasted an enormous clog of goo into Booby's wide open mouth.
Never before had Booby tasted such vileness and needless to say, spat it out, threw Goldilocks aside and made a mad dash for the door. But before he could embrace freedom's portal, a powerful stream of bright green vomit pummelled him from behind.
"I have a code, I have a code," croaked Sinny, her relentless gush following Booby's every step, the roar of the vomit filling his ears, his eyes, his nose, his toes, until in a crescendo of effluxious regurgitation, it caught up his entire being and propelled him out the open door.
The next morning, Booby sat at the kitchen table trying to eat his meager breakfast in peace. But word of his recent failure travelled fast and when a member of the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium suffered defeat, the time was right for the others to circle, descend and finish him off. So as Booby was cleansing the corner of his mouth with his breakfast napkin, Prunie, the adopted short-haired middle daughter, grabbed his other hand and began defiling herself with it.
"Oh Booby, Booby!" she gasped.
Booby snatched his hand away and glared indignantly at the offensive Prunie. But as he did, Sin Personified was seen sneaking up on him from the other side, defiling herself with one of his sausages and stealthily putting it back on his plate.
The unsuspecting Booby took a bite as Heather nuzzled up against him.
"Mmmm, how does that sausage taste?" she said seductively.
"Like it's supposed to," shot back Booby as a stream of urine arced gracefully over his head and onto his hotcakes and sausage. Booby put down his fork and stared in disbelief at the acrid puddle as Fleegle, the fire-plug-shaped middle son with the big nose, climbed on top of the table, squatted over Booby's plate and deposited a blasting stream of diarrhea.
"Oh, har har har," laughed Fleegle as he galoomped happily away.
Then things got strangely quiet. Booby became suspicious and glanced behind just as Clete, the eldest son, tried yanking his chair away. But Booby was prepared and held on tightly. Then another tug, but Booby held his ground. So Clete flexed his muscles and gave an enormous tug, but instead of the chair flying free, it tilted quickly forward causing Booby's serious young face to go crashing into Fleegle's steaming pile of brown foam.
"Give up?" said Clete as he brought the chair back up.
"Never," said Booby.
So Clete gave another mighty yank and Booby's face went plunging down again, a ring of upwardly spiking diarrhea rising like a halo from around his half-submerged head.
Clete let the chair swing back.
"How 'bout now?" he said.
"You have my answer."
So Clete tightened his grip and proceeded with a series of brutal yanks that sent the clinging armadillo-faced parasite, time and time again, into the murky quagmire.
While at the other end of the table, Camel Rastapovich, putative mother-figure to the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium, suddenly snapped to attention.
"Now kids, really," she said, but the rhythmic plungings continued. So she lowered her head and called out to Larry, her fire-plug-shaped, totally hairless consort.
"Larry," she cried plaintively. And Larry, who was kneeling beneath the table, his tongue gently lapping at the soft fragrant folds of Camel's vaginal region, soon roused himself from his erotic stupor.
"OK kids, you heard your mother. Now settle down so I can finish my meal," he said, then held up a finger in warning. "Clete, remember our agreement."
Clete looked up from his yanking position. He was a handsome youth - unusual for a Porkins - with long blond hair, a washboard stomach and buns of steel. Yet when he heard his father's stern yet loving voice, his expression changed from that of sadistic glee to one of softened filial consent.
"Right Dad," he said with a smile. "Come on guys, let's roll." And the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium exited the kitchen area as Booby, his chin serving as a fulcrum, swung slowly down, then up, then fell crashing to the floor.
Later that evening, Booby lie in bed watching television. His face was still a little sore from this morning, but he would survive.
"Has life got you down?" said the pitchwoman. "Do you feel there's no escape?"
Then a man dressed in a suit of armor entered.
"Not since I tried the Little Sir Lancelot Suit of Armor," he said through his lowered visor. "And started living the life I deserved."
"Living the life I deserve," thought Booby. "Now there's an idea."
He turned off the TV.
"By God, I'll do it!" he cried at last and reached for the phone to make the call.
A few weeks later, Camel sat writing a letter about Paramount Picture's copyright lawsuit against a Utah theater group's Star Trek parody. It seemed strange to Camel that one of the actors' names was "Eric," like her ex-husband. And that the spacecraft was named "Booby Prize NC 17," like her own dear stepson.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
"Mrs. Gravyface!" cried Camel.
But Mrs. Gravyface was perched on a table in the den and heard neither the doorbell nor Camel's insistent pleadings. Above her were trophies won by the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium and between her legs was Clete, pumping away with his erect Brobdingnagian penis.
The doorbell rang again.
"I'm in the den dusting off Clete's trophy, Mrs. Rastapovich!" cried the kindly maid, legs kicking out with Clete's every thrust, feather dusters spinning overhead.
Then Heather, the eldest daughter, was suddenly seen bouncing her way towards the front door.
"I'll get it, Mom!" she yelled.
But as she neared the door, Booby rushed passed.
"Out of my way, lowlife," he growled.
Heather stopped short and touched the soft tender area between her shapely young breasts.
"Oh my," she said.
Booby opened the door. Outside stood a delivery boy with a large wooden crate.
"Delivery for Booby Porkins," he said.
"That's me!" cried Booby. "Where do I sign?"
The boy handed Booby a clipboard and pointed to a spot. Booby took the board and signed.
"At last, my days of fret are over," he said as Heather and the delivery boy slowly sank to the ground in a passionate embrace.
Up in the master bedroom, Camel continued with her letter. For it bothered her that Paramount Pictures, whose own "The Brady Bunch Movie" seemed to be largely based on other items, would be filing a lawsuit against that particular parody.
Suddenly Prunie, her adopted short-haired middle daughter, stuck her head in the open doorway.
"Mom, why don't we have a dog?" she asked.
Camel thought for a moment.
"I don't know, dear."
Meanwhile, down the hall and to the left, Booby stood proudly in his bedroom, resplendent in his freshly-minted suit of armor.
"At last! Take that, Heather!" he cried, swinging his tiny mace. "And Clete..."
He swung the mace again.
"Booby's here! Get used to it!"
For Booby was feeling good. He realized now that purity of heart and clean thoughts were not enough sometimes. Like the rhinoceros with its horny plates, or better still, like the turtle, peaceful and long-lived, that carries its house upon its back, one needed protection every now and then.
"And now," said Booby, beginning to move forward, "it's off to the kitchen for a little well-deserved milk and cookies."
He surveyed the area around him.
"You know, this place ain't so bad once you get a look at it. A new paint job. A few flowers. Nice."
But with the iron plates weighing him down, stepping forward was not so easy. Maybe he needed training wheels or one of those aluminum walkers. Though whatever the case, Booby soon found himself losing his balance, tipping backwards and crashing to the floor like a boxful of old pots and pans.
But Booby soon roused himself and struggled to rise, like Lancelot himself must have done when first attempting to walk the armored walk. Booby tightened his stomach muscles, gritted his teeth, and attempted a waist-forward bend of the upper torso. Though needless to say, with the combination of heavy breastplate and tiny stomach muscles, he was not successful.
"Live like a turtle, die like a turtle. That's my motto now."
Booby tried again, but retained his woefully low-lying status.
How did they do it? he pondered as out the door and down the hall the lilting strains of female singing was heard.
Uh oh, thought Booby, his visor shutting down upon itself as the sexily clad profile of Heather Rastapovich appeared at the open doorway, did a little dance step and moved on.
Then suddenly, the singing stopped and Heather re-appeared in the doorway. She paused for an instant, strode in the room, her dewy legs exuding a mixture of curiosity and intrepidness, and stood over the mysterious metal object.
"Hmm. A suit of armor. I wonder where it came from?" she said thoughtfully.
Heather calmly surveyed the room. Nothing there. Nothing there. But she soon noticed a big wooden crate standing off to one side with Booby's name printed on the label.
Ah ha, she thought, then knitted her brow and placed her hands on her hips in a pose of mock severity.
"All right now, Booby Porkins. I know you're in there."
While inside the metal helmet, Booby lay in a state of silent wonder. For though he recognized Heather's voice, he could not articulate her words. So he attempted to rise again, flailing his arms and legs in desperation.
"Stop that! Stop that!" cried Heather, stomping on Booby's cold hard chest with her dainty foot.
"You know why you're like this, don't you?" she said. "Well, I'll tell you then."
Heather began to pace the room, then suddenly whirled and pointed an accusing finger at Booby.
"It's because you're anti-social!" she cried. "And you know what else? You're anti-family as well."
Heather paced some more, gathering her thoughts, setting the mood.
"I know what you're thinking," she said at last, "you're thinking I, I, who have read Little Women countless numbers of times, anti-family?"
Heather paced some more, then shrugged.
"But, who knows? Maybe I could forgive you. I mean, let's face it, there are some members of this family who could use a few years of intense psychological counseling. And anti-social? Well, is there anyone out there really worth knowing."
"But Booby, Booby!" cried Heather, dropping to her knees. "Though I could forgive your being anti-social and anti-family, what I cannot, cannot, forgive is your being anti-Heather! Anti-Heather, Booby!"
The distraught Heather pounded her chest, tore at her hair, then flung her intriguingly nubile body on Booby's armored fascade. Great torrents of heartache flowed from the tender ducts. Writhings, palpitations and searing cries of anguish rushed from the mouth that could otherwise be the source of a thousand forbidden delights.
But as Heather was gearing up for another round, she noticed a small box marked "ACCESSORIES" sitting patiently inside the nearby wooden crate. And as curiosity overtook emotion, she reached out to the little container for a quick peek. Inside were a workman's wrench and a sleekly constructed dildo with the words "Big Sir Lancelot" emblazoned on its massive side. Its base was in the shape of a threaded bolt head, so Heather took up the wrench and slipped its eager mouth over the bolt-shaped base.
"A perfect fit!" she exclaimed.
But something was missing. A bolt hole, perhaps. So she glanced southward and noticed a second bolt head. Heather smiled and cast her eyes towards the ceiling.
"Thank you," she said, then shuttled down to Booby's new center of being to begin her work.
"Ah, Booby, Booby," sighed Heather, applying a bit of the old slip and twist to Booby's increasingly yielding bolt head, "if there were only something I could do to make you like me better." Heather tossed the uncorked metal stopper aside. "Can you think of something? Can you? Can you?"
Then she positioned Big Sir into the precision-crafted love cradle and gave him a few expert twists. And for a few fleeting moments, Big Sir stood proudly like a little bowling pin before toppling to the ground.
"Booby, can you?" said Heather, a little irked at her failure. "I have a feeling you're not trying very hard."
So she examined the supposedly interlocking threads again. Alternating grooves and ridges, she thought, running up and down in a tightly swirling, candy cane pattern. Connect this groove or ridge with the groove or ridge of its companion, then turn, turn, turn, and the two become as one.
So Heather tried again, slowly twisting Big Sir by his sensitive tip till she felt the ridges and grooves connect, then spinning, spinning, round and round, she continued Big Sir on his downward spiral till he came to a firm and definite stop. Then there he was, Big Sir Lancelot, towering majestically from the once barren landscape like a mighty redwood rising from the flatlands of Middle America.
"Booby, no! What are you thinking!" gasped Heather. "I mean, is this your answer?"
Heather agonized over her dilemma. What should she do? Did a proper response even exist? The facts were these: Though not related by blood, still, over the years, Heather had developed a kind of sisterly affection for Booby. And then there was the age thing. She was, after all, several years his elder. And when one is in the bloom of one's adolescent rose, a few years can make a world of difference.
So Heather pondered and pondered till the answer was all but clear.
"Very well," she said at last. "I'll do it."
The decision had been made and a kind of freedom filled the air as Heather rolled on her back and whipped off her panties.
"I just want you to know," said Heather as she positioned herself atop the mighty dild, "that I'm not doing this for me, or for you..." Heather gyrated slowly against the curvy domed tip "...but for us."
She paused dramatically.
"For us, Booby."
Then plunged down sharply.
"Oh, Paradise Found!" she gasped.
Marushka was in ecstasy, alive, electric.
"Oh Booby, Booby," she moaned as she rose and fell, rose and fell, her shapely young breasts heaving rhythmically beneath her sexy nightgown.
"You know, Clete is so well-endowed that when he goes surfing, he hangs eleven! But you, Booby, you..."
Then suddenly, the bright skies of their emerging passion turned dark and troubling.
"Booby? Booby, what's happening?"
But Booby was no longer there. Gone was the sweet gentle lover coaxing shudders of delight with his sensitive emotion-filled strokes and in his place, a selfish ogre loomed, threatening to rip Heather to her very soul with his ugly violent thrashings.
"No Booby, stop! Please Booby, no!"
This couldn't be happening! Not after all she'd done for him, was doing for him. She was the bottle for his milk, the jar for his cookies. And to be treated like this? Not now. Oh, not now.
"You beast! You animal!" cried Heather. "How can you do this? What are you thinking? Help! Oh help!"
But it was too late. For despite the feelings of heartache and betrayal, her wall of resistance soon washed away as an orgasmic wave of great proportions rushed through her like the dawning of a new era.
Heather lay on top of Booby, exhausted, but feeling good. She had done her job and done it well. She slid off
Big Sir Lancelot, shuttled up to Booby's helmet and opened the visor.
"And how are we doing today, my fine young man?"
Booby made a face.
Heather made a face back and kissed him on the mouth. But Booby spat at her.
"Oops. Better shut the window. Looks like rain."
And as Heather snapped the visor shut, she felt a presence looming over her. She tipped her angelic face upwards and there was Clete, bending down to give her a long langourous (sic) Porkins kiss.
And as their lips parted, Clete signaled for Fleegle to approach. Fleegle complied and he and Clete picked up Booby and carried him out the door, down the hall, down the stairs, through the kitchen and into the backyard to a huge bonfire. Clete and Fleegle then swung Booby from side to side as Heather stood by in her sexy nightgown.
"Heave ho! Heave ho-o-o-o!" they cried, then tossed Booby into the raging bonfire and staggered away, chortling and guffawing till they thought they would burst.
Meanwhile, Booby lay smoldering inside his armored suit.
"I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you," he
growled as the hot grey smoke slowly filtered in.
Camel sat in the Porkins/Rastapovich family room, slapping out the theme song from "My Three Sons" on the hairless pate of Larry as he performed oral sex. Prunie and Fleegle were on one side of the couch exploring each other's bodies with hungry hands while on the other side, Clete and Heather sat in wait.
Meanwhile, out in the spacious Porkins/Rastapovich backyard, the bonfire had burned itself down to a low lying layer of hot ashes and debris. Huge swaths of timber were now indistinguishable from the tiniest of kindling. All was equal, all was sameness, save for a stubborn metallic object that lay at the smoldering spread's mathematical center. Perhaps this object should not have been there in the first place. But still, there it was, smoking, sooty, like the rest, but with the undeniable difference of remaining basically intact. The object then moved, rattled, and slowly began to rise.
"I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you," muttered Booby, the fire-retardant lining of his armored suit having saved him from an ashy fate. He started towards the house, pieces of armor falling off with each step. But even as piece after clanking piece slowly shimmied and fell, one true fixture remained. Unbowed, glorious, majestic. The result of the loving craftspersonship bestowed upon it by its sexily nightgowned benefactor.
Back in the Porkins/Rastapovich family room - where through a big picture window one had a bird's-eye view of the bonfire if one had bothered to look - the
Porkins/Rastapovich consortium was gathered in front of the television set, about to watch their favorite TV game show, "Mystery Word!" The object of the game was for one team member to guess the mystery word through the one-word prompting of his or her fellow member.
The ding of a bell was heard and the Quizmaster whirled sharply to his left.
"Ten points!" he cried.
Team #1 looked intently at one another.
"Fuck," said Man #1.
Fuck, fuck, thought Woman #1. What did he mean by that?
"Screw," she said at last, not really liking her answer.
A buzzer sounded.
"No, I'm sorry," said the Quizmaster as Booby penetrated the Porkins/Rastapovich household. "I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you," he muttered ominously.
The Quizmaster held his breath, gave a look of caution to the audience, then turned to the team on his right.
"Nine points," he said.
Man #2 gazed intently at Woman #2. She had, in what could be referred to in nine out of ten situations as a goofy smile on her face.
"Intercourse," she said happily.
Man #2 knitted his brow and looked to the ground. Fuck, intercourse. Fuck, intercourse, he thought. What did she mean? What did she want?
"Intercourse," said his partner again as the buzzer sounded.
While back in the family room, Clete was upset.
"What a bunch of dipshits!" he cried. For you see, when the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium gathered to watch their favorite TV game show, they would cover their eyes when the mystery word appeared, so that it would be as if they too, the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium, were also contestants.
"I know what it is," said Clete confidently.
"Oh, you do not," said Heather.
Clete regarded her with a look of supreme smugness.
"All right, Billy Madison, what is it then?"
"Bang," he said triumphantly.
Heather laughed at his big dumb Porkins answer.
"Well, what do you think it is, then?"
Heather smiled her coolest feline smile.
"Coitus," she said, the word passing through her lips like a flower in springtime.
Clete was enraged.
"Co-what-us?" he roared.
"Not co-what-us. Coitus, you dipshit!"
And Heather doubled over with laughter as Clete picked through his brain for a snappy reply.
Meanwhile, Booby, the missing link, now stood in the doorway of the Porkins/Rastapovich family room. It was all so familiar, yet so hideous, too. But despite his inner repulsion, Booby cleared his throat, took a deep breath and began to speak.
"If I was a dog," he said. But with all the noise, the consortium failed to take notice.
Booby would need more volume, more presence. So he took a deep soul-sucking breath and tried again.
"IF...I...WAS...A...DAW-AWG!" he said, every muscle taut, every vein a poppin'. And one by one, the members of that fitfully composed family unit began to focus their separate, yet collective, attention on the quietly raging, semi-armored figure that stood before them.
"If I was a dog," said Booby, more calmly now, "and needed a place to stay, I would not expect a bed of canopy and lace, my every whim attended. A nice warm corner in the kitchen, a little food, a little water, a chew bone. That's all I'd need..."
Booby took a few deep breaths and began to pace the floor.
"And if I was a three-foot-long amalgamation of feces," he said, stopping suddenly, "I would not expect to be placed in a shrine-like setting, to be worshipped and admired all the live-long day. Just flush me down the toilet and I'd be happy..."
Clete and Heather exchanged puzzled looks.
"But I am not a dog!" cried Booby, stabbing the air with a tiny soot-covered finger. "And I am not an amalgamation of feces! I AM A HUMAN BEING! And as such, I expect to be given the same respect and consideration that everyone else in this household receives!"
Booby paused, wild-eyed, livid.
"WELL?" he screeched at last, "WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT!!!"
Well, the Porkins/Rastapovich consortium didn't quite know what to think. They had never seen Booby like this before.
"Boy, Booby sure has a big cock," said the forever quippy Heather to the stifled laughter of her fellow consortium members.
"Kids..." said Camel plaintively.
Booby looked down and saw Big Sir Lancelot for the first time. He flashed an angry look at the chortling clog, then reached down to rip the offensive dild from its unholy moorings. But Big Sir still retained big heat and with a painful yelp, Booby was forced to abort.
"Kids..." pleaded Camel as the litany of stifled guffaws continued to grow.
"Oh yeah?" cried Booby, teeth bared, mouth contorted, voice raw with rage. "Well..." But instead of hurling a cutting invective, Booby made rude jerking motions up and down the massive head of Big Sir and on the final upward thrust, whipped an accusing finger at the consortium and screeched out with a wrathful booming "YOU!"
And the once gleeful Porkins/Rastapovich consortium was shocked silent. For if Booby's "If I was a dog" speech was a revelation, then this went beyond revelation, beyond imagination even. But they soon recovered and Clete and Heather, Prunie and Fleegle, and little Sinny, too, responded with a raucously obscene fit of deeply-felt, soul-cleansing laughter.
And poor Booby, needless to say, could not accept the reaction
that met this most unselfish, most giving, most open of personal
revelations. He quickly dropped his defiant pose, rushed passed the
heartless brainless sibling collective, and with a final anguished
screech, hurled his troubled self through the big Porkins/Rastapovich
picture window and to the emerald lawn below.
The Health Habit
Two chairs sit facing each other. Olive Buffer, host of the weekly television series, The Health Habit, is in one chair, in the other is Dr. Lipton.
"Hello everyone and welcome to The Health Habit. I'm Olive Buffer and our guest this week is Dr. Lipton from the Dr. Lipton Institute of Sexual Perversity. Welcome, Doctor."
A video screen behind them lights up revealing a spare, steamy, basement-type room.
"Doctor, what is this place?"
"Welcome to the Room of No Return."
A shadowy, barely human-looking figure clomps painfully across the screen.
"And what's that thing moving around back there?"
"What. What thing?"
"Oh," says Dr. Lipton, chuckling softly to himself, "that is one of our guests. Yes. He, it, whatever, is about to do something that you and your viewers should find quite interesting. Observe!"
The wretched figure stands working up courage in front of a big ugly steam pipe. Then he leaps, clinging stubbornly to the hot pipe, a mixture of pain and bliss on his pustule-covered face.
"Horrid, Doctor! Horrid!"
"Turn your head if you'd like."
"Oh Doctor, what on earth is he doing?"
"It's the pain. The pain of his past transgressions is so great that the flaming agony serves as a kind of diversion from his usual state of suffering."
The filth-racked transgressor can stand no more. He tears his broiled carcass from the pipe and staggers away.
"Oh Doctor," says Olive, her voice full of pity and revulsion.
Then the door to the Room of No Return opens wide and in comes Timmy, an attendant, wearing a baggy protective suit and pushing a little cart. On top of the cart is a big plastic bin from which Timmy begins tossing bowls of vile swill to the floor. Six hopeless wretches suddenly scurry in and start licking swill from off the floor, themselves, and from the naked bodies of their fellow wretches.
"Doctor, how can they eat such slime?"
"Oh, well, we tried feeding them wholesome foods - you know, ham sandwiches, potato salad, but they wouldn't touch it."
While in the background, another wretch is seen. She seems different though. More noble perhaps. More devious. She doesn't flounder about like the rest, but remains in the background, circling the edges like a shadow.
"And what's that creature doing over there, Doctor?"
"Which creature? Where?"
Dr. Lipton scans the video screen. Then he sees.
"Doctor, what is it?"
"Oh no! Oh no! It's Strongarm Sue! Good God, man! Look out behind you!"
But it's too late. Sue pounces Timmy and begins choking him mercilessly. Timmy staggers about, flailing his baggy arms over his head as if signalling for assistance.
"Quick, where's your phone!" cries Dr. Lipton.
"It's over there!"
Dr. Lipton races to the phone like a prized greyhound and dials the Institute's special 3-digit emergency number.
Meanwhile, Timmy is slowly sinking under the bone-crunching pressure of Sue's magnificent forearm. You can see his little face through the window of the protective suit as his lips stretch tightly across his mouth and rivers of spumy bubbles dribble down his chin.
While at the bottom of the screen, a video cut-out of a breathless Olive Buffer appears.
"You're watching live coverage from the Dr. Lipton Institute of Sexual Perversity as "Strongarm Sue," a patient
at the Institute, has just overpowered "Timmy," a nutritionist, rendering him unconscious."
A click of the phone is heard.
"Yeah-lo," says the voice at the other end.
"Chuck! Chuck!" cries Dr. Lipton. "Red alert in the Slime Pit! And by God, if it isn't TIMMY!"
Meanwhile, back at the Institute, flashing lights and high-pitched sirens fill the air as Timmy lies motionless on the slop-drenched floor. The wiry Sue bends over him, nimble fingers exploring the outer layers of his protective suit.
Suddenly, the legendary Dr. Sara Sloan and two orderlies burst into the room as the flashing lights and sirens slowly fade into silence.
Dr. Sloan, a large manila envelope in hand, breaks away from the group. Sue looks up and snarls. She rises and the two cautiously begin circling one another.
"That's it, that's it," coaxes Dr. Lipton.
Dr. Sloan carefully reaches into the envelope, then, in a momentary lapse, glances down. And that's all Sue needs. Shooting out a razor-sharp claw, she slashes through Dr. Sloan's protective suit and into the tender scholarly flesh. Dr. Sloan clutches wildly at the gashing wound, causing the envelope to fly from her hand and go skidding across the floor. Sue lets out an ear-piercing screech and waves her arms over her head in triumph.
Then suddenly, one of the orderlies charges Sue from
behind. "NO!" cries Dr. Sloan as Sue whirls back and sends the orderly flying across the room with a nasty blow to the chops. The flashing lights and sirens return. Then the second orderly, filled with a blinding rage, makes a mad dash for the powerful beast.
"No! No!" cries Dr. Lipton as a frenzied Sue, howling triumphantly, sends her massive forearm hurtling towards the skull of the approaching fool.
But then, from out of nowhere, the legendary Dr. Sara Sloan rushes in. She slips her graceful fingers into the recovered envelope, pulls out an 8 X 10 glossy and holds it up to Sue's howling face. And the response is immediate. The once raging creature recoils in horror at the photo as a new team of orderlies suddenly burst into the room, quickly right the fallen slop cart, toss Timmy and their now toothless co-orderly on top and wheel them away.
"Doctor, what is it?" asks Olive, entranced by the unfolding spectacle.
"Wait," says Dr. Lipton, "and you'll see for yourself."
And as Dr. Sloan and the once raging creature pass in front of the TV camera, the glossy is shown to be that of an attractive smiling young girl.
"Oh Doctor, no," says Olive in disbelief.
"Oh yes," says Dr. Lipton.
"That fresh-faced young waif?"
"That fresh-faced young waif and that misshapen gargoyle you see before you are one and the same."
"But how? Why? What did this Susan person do?"
"Susan?" says Dr. Lipton. "Oh. Well. Her story is not untypical."
Suddenly, a flashback from the life of Susan appears on the screen.
"Young girl growing up in East Whatchamacallit. Can't quite see herself spending the rest of her life eating Pop Tarts on the front porch with little Andy from down the lane."
Little Andy says something. Young Susan nods and smiles weakly in response.
"So one day she hops a bus for a little taste of life in the fast lane."
Young Susan sits on a bus. She looks dreamily out the window, her chin resting comfortably on her white gloved hand and a straw hat with a daisy on top balancing squarely on her neat little head.
"But once there, she gets off on the wrong foot..."
A slick little thief zips passed Susan at the big city bus station, grabbing her suitcase in the process.
"Falls in with a bad crowd..."
A gaudily-dressed woman and her two sleazy male companions come up to the stunned Susan and shepherd her away.
"And starts doing things she would never have even dreamed of back home..."
Susan is now churning away on a dance floor, a fancy drink in one hand and a lighted cigarette in the other.
She's dressed to the nines, the only remnant of the old Susan, a freshly cut daisy worn in her wildly scandalous hair.
"And she finds that maybe she likes this kind of life a little more than she oughta..."
Dancing Susan kisses a guy on the mouth. Then someone passes her a big bottle of champagne. She hoists it to her lips and begins sucking away.
"So she does a little more..."
Susan is now dancing with three guys! Their glistening bodies gyrate lasciviously in the flashy darkness. Susan pours out a handful of pills, pops them in her mouth and takes a slug from the half-empty champagne bottle.
"Goes a little further..."
Another guy walks by. Susan reaches out, snatches his wallet, takes out the money and tosses it high in the air. She then plucks the small-town daisy from her hair and tosses that into the air as well.
"Until it's too late. And that's where we step in."
Dancing Susan suddenly disappears from the screen and is replaced by Susan in her present state, lying on her back and thrashing wildly about on the cold hard floor of The Room of No Return.
The camera slowly moves in for a close-up of Susan's anguished furious face. Then suddenly, the screen goes blank and a video cut-out of a surprised Olive Buffer appears at the bottom left-hand corner.
"Arnie? Wilma? What's the....oh I see."
The shot is now of Olive Buffer on the Health Habit set.
"Well, we're just about out of time," she says to her television audience, "so let us bid a fond farewell to The Room of No Return and its inhabitants."
"And Dr. Lipton, thank you so much for sharing your unique perspective on a problem that could someday affect us all and about which we should all be aware."
But Dr. Lipton is not quite ready to let go.
"You know, Olive," he says haltingly. "You work at a job for years. You think you're doing the right thing, for the good of humanity. But sometimes you just, just..."
Olive leans forward and gives the struggling Dr. Lipton a friendly tap on the knee.
"Try not to think about it."
Frank Plums sat high above the arena. Below him, on the arena floor, roamed his sportscasting colleague, Kylie "It's pandemonium down here!" Carlson. Great things were expected today. But more on that later.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention," came the booming voice of the arena announcer. "Leading off the the 81st Annual World Powerlifting Championships is......WILLIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE POMP-ANO-O-O-O-O-O!"
And the crowd cheered as Willie Pompano strode onto the stage, bereft of clothing save for thin strips of cloth hanging over his genitals and backside.
At the center of the stage sat a barbell with big iron balls on each end and sturdy straps of leather hanging from its smooth cylindrical pole.
Willie squatted. The Strapper, a woman in baggy T-shirt, shorts and sneakers, reached beneath Willie's cloth and strapped his testicles to the mighty bell as the Judge, a tuxedo-wearing man, observed. Then, snug and secure, Willie contracted his muscles into strength-pumping fists of determination and began his ascent.
"He's up! He's up!" cried Frank as Willie's eyes began to bulge, his nostrils to flare.
"He's snorting, snorting! And he's g-o-o-o-o-o-d!" Willie
straightened, snapping his body into his patented Winged Victory
pose. "Willie Pompano! Leads off the competition at 300 pounds and
the crowd is going wild!
"Oh Frank, it's pandemonium down here! The crowd loves Willie! It loves powerlifting! It loves snorting!"
On a big video screen behind the stage, a slow motion re-play of Willie's lift was being played.
"Kylie, explain the significance of Willie's snorting to our viewers."
"Why certainly, Frank."
Suddenly, a turn-of-the-century photo of the Mighty Pulsifer appeared.
"The legendary Pulsifer..."
"The Mighty Pulsifer himself."
"Yes indeed, Frank, who in 1906 revolutionized the sport of powerlifting with the introduction of the Pulsifer Snort."
A photo of a monocled gentleman appeared. He squats over a fairly tiny barbell, both hands clutching the lapels of his smoking jacket. A prettily-dressed Strapper straps him in as a Judge observes through a pair of opera glasses.
"Once a sport of country gentlemen..."
A photo of Pulsifer in mid-stride appeared. He looks disapprovingly at the now standing gentleman's tiny barbell and holds up one hand as if to say "No more!"
"...but all changed quickly when the Mighty Pulsifer strode onto the scene."
A photo of Pulsifer calmly squatting over a sizable bell.
"And with each lift..."
A photo of Pulsifer with eyes bulging and nostrils flaring.
"...and with each refinement of the new Pulsifer Snort technique, the size of the Mighty One's barbells grew until..."
A photo of an innocently shrugging Pulsifer with a grossly huge barbell hanging from his testicles.
"...in 1914, he stunned the world of powerlifting with a staggering unbelievable lift of 1,387 pounds."
"Which stands to this day."
"Indeed it does, Frank. Yet all that may change when our own version of the Mighty P, Charles Fitly, makes his long awaited assault."
"Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE!" chanted the crowd as Willie continued strutting around the stage.
"But more on that later. Let's watch now as the crowd cheers on the Man of the Moment......WILLIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE POMP-ANO-O-O-O-O-O!"
And to the delight of the crowd, Willie snapped into his patented Winged Victory pose as the booming voice of the arena announcer was heard once again.
"Ladies and gentlemen. Lifting next for your viewing pleasure......WALLY LINTEL!"
And the crowd began to boo.
A scowling Wally appeared, gesturing angrily at the jeering masses.
"Wally Lintel, Bad Boy of Powerlifting. The fans sure don't like him, Kylie."
"Frank, there's been a hate/hate relationship between Wally and the fans ever since the word 'get-go.'"
Wally stalked passed the weighty bell, hurling insults at the Judge and Strapper along the way. Instead, he went to a long table of Officials on the sidelines and began to argue.
"Kylie, what's going on down there?"
"Frank, from what I understand, Wally says that he himself wants to make an assault on the Mighty P's magnificent powerlifting standard."
"Well, what's wrong with that?"
"In itself, nothing. But they say that Wally must first lift his bell of original claim. World Powerlifting Federation rules."
"And Wally won't go for it."
"Well, you know Wally."
Wally was now engaged in a nose-to-nose confrontation with one of the Officials.
"What hubris! What ego!" cried Frank.
"What a bad boy," said Kylie.
Suddenly, the enraged Wally reeled back and slugged the Official in the face.
The crowd gasped and smartly uniformed security guards came rushing in to escort Wally offstage.
The crowd started booing and throwing things. But Wally remained unrepetant, hurling epithets and making lewd gestures at the crowd as he exited.
"Oh my," said Kylie.
Two white-uniformed orderlies, little legs pumping in unison, rushed to the aid of the unconscious Official. They slid him onto their canvas stretcher, then whisked him off, little legs pumping in unison, as thick-limbed maintenance people began clearing the debris.
"Well, so much for Wally Lintel, Bad Boy of Powerlifting," said Frank as the booming voice of the arena announcer was heard once again.
"Ladies and gentleman, may I please have your attention. As night turns to day, as sickness to health, lifting next, one of the newest and brightest members of our World Powerlifting family......SCOTT BIANORAL!"
And the crowd gave the adorable newcomer a rousing round of applause as Kylie now stood in the stands with a group of energetic teen-agers.
"Frank, I'm here with members of the Scott Bianoral Fan Club."
The fan club screamed hysterically.
"I understand you have a kind of cheer you do whenever Scotty is about to lift?"
"We sure do!" cried Pippa the leader.
"And why do you do this?"
"Because it inspires him!" cried Pippa.
"Could we have a little sample?"
"Sure!" cried Pippa, then turned to her fellow members. "OK OK, now stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp..." And the fan club responded with a series of stomps, claps, various letter groupings and at the conclusion, more hysterical screaming.
"The Scott Bianoral Fan Club!" cried Kylie. "Back to you, Frank."
Meanwhile, the object of the fan club's adoration was being strapped to his bell as the Judge observed. Their charge complete, the Judge and Strapper exited as the young lifter took a few deep breaths, then began.
"And he's off!" cried Frank.
"Stomp stomp stomp stomp!" cried Pippa.
"B-I! A-N! O-R! A-L!" cried the fan club.
"Arrrrrgh!!!!!" cried Scotty.
"He's up! He's up!" cried Frank. "And he-e-e-e's......"
Young Scotty strained with heartbreaking intensity, head thrown back, teeth gritting, eyelids squeezing, moist and dripping, a thin row of luxuriant lashes flagellating like the slender arms of teenage girls in ecstasy. Then BOOM! from beneath the sacred veil, twin explosions of enormous ferocity burst forth. And Scotty paused. Shocked frozen. A mountain of muscles that would no longer rise, a potent oak that ceased to unfurl its limbs towards the beckoning sun. And so too, Scotty, cut down and tottered, tilted and swooned, backwards, backwards he fell, stiff, erect, statuesque, with weighted bell still clinging hopefully to his now empty bag.
"Uh oh, looks like trouble," said Frank.
Two white-uniformed orderlies rushed out, slid Scotty onto the canvas stretcher and whisked him away.
"Kylie, what does it look like from where you're standing?"
"Well Frank, it looks like young Scott just didn't have the, uh, experience."
Then from high up in the stands came the clear yet subdued voice of Pippa.
"Stomp stomp stomp stomp," she chanted as the fan club rose and quietly began to file out.
"...b-i b-i b-i-a-n..."
"Well at least young Scott won't be alone," said Frank.
"...b-i a-n o-r a-l..."
"That's for sure," said Kylie as the booming voice of the arena announcer was heard once again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please. Lifting next, in all his wondrous glory. The one, the only......CHARLES FITLEY!"
And the crowd went wild as Charles strode onto the stage.
"Frank, the moment we've all been waiting for."
Charles stood center stage, arms folded, casting his cool untroubled gaze upon the thronging masses.
"And Charles doesn't use the Snort either."
"That's right, Frank. Charles says snorting in public is rude. He doesn't snort, grunt, grimace or scream. He just lifts."
Then Charles splayed his thighs and the Strapper strapped as the Judge observed.
"And what's the poundage on this first lift?"
"Ah, a mere hors d'oeuvre."
Their jobs complete, the Judge and Strapper exited as Charles continued to peruse the crowd, arms folded across his glistening chest. He did not prepare, did not concentrate or breathe deeply like the rest. He merely waited for the attention of all to focus upon him and when it was, shot up quick and easy and the crowd went wild.
"Charles Fitley!" cried Frank. "Before you can say he's up and he's good, Charles Fitley is up and he's magnificent!"
But Charles remained calm before the warbling masses as
the Strapper unstrapped, Judge observed and two people, the so-called Draggers, hooked straps to Charles' 350 pound hors d'oeuvre and dragged it away. While from the opposite direction, eight dutiful Draggers, groaning and straining, dragged in a grosser huger barbell.
"Is that it?" whispered Frank.
"Yes," said Kylie. "The same bell used by the Mighty Pulsifer himself to establish the record..."
An Official glued tiny one-pound barbells to the top of each of the massive metal balls.
"...plus two more pounds."
His job complete, the Official exited. Then Charles splayed, the Strapper strapped and the Judge observed. And after the Judge and Strapper exited, Charles once again perused the crowd, arms folded, patiently waiting for the assembly's focused attention and when it was his, shot up quick and easy and the crowd went wild.
"Like the gods on Mt. Olympus, like the astronauts in the Sea of Tranquility, like the Mighty Pulsifer himself....Charles Fitley stands alone."
And people cheered, screamed and beat each other's heads and shoulders in a fit of frenzied excitement. A woman swooned, causing her mousey tweed-jacketed husband to smile sheepishly at his neighbors as he exhorted his blissfully sleeping beauty to re-awaken.
"And he did it without snorting," said Kylie.
"That's right," said Frank. "Not a snort, not a groan,
not a grimace. Not a bead of sweat, not a hair out of place. Charles Fitley stands alone."
But then, the one who splayed while others squatted, the one who perused while others pranced, the one who popped up like muffins from a toaster while others snorted and screamed, pointed offstage. And the Judge approached, a hint of confusion troubling his stern visage. For Charles never pointed. He knew. He expected. Yet now he pointed.
"But wait! Something's happening!" cried Frank.
And Charles pointed again. The Judge understood now and shook his head forbiddingly. Charles, undaunted, pointed again. The Judge, his steely grey moustache betraying a twitch, journeyed to the sidelines to deliver the unspeakable request to the long table of remaining Officials. And the wise old heads conferred. They spoke, they argued, they reasoned. Then one head, then two, then all heads slowly nodded in agreement and sent the Judge away with their decision.
"Frank, you are not going to believe this, but Charles Fitley wants......the Titanic."
And a mighty sledge went crashing through a fog-filled case of crystal glass. And clouds of grey went sweeping through the arena as a deep-throated fog horn sounded and the magnificent bell within was soon revealed. Then scores of specially-constructed straps were tied to the Great One's slimy barnacle-encrusted pole and on each strap a Dragger, selfless and strong, pulled with reverence and intensity, till deliverance was made at the feet of him who would disturb the fitful slumber of a dark and mysterious bell.
Charles calmly perused the great iron bell, walking around it and kicking the twisted metal with his shapely foot. Then splaying his glistening thighs, he hovered o'er the time-slickened pole, waiting for a Strapper's attachment. But the rightfully wary Strapper could not bring herself to perform such a task and hurried away in tears.
Charles perused her not unsurprising exit, then with equanimity and sang-froid, began to strap himself in. And the Judge, after debating with himself whether to remain, delivered a smartly executed about-face and he, too, departed.
The preliminaries complete, the stage set, the now undisputed Strong Man Among Strong Men calmly surveyed the crowd. And though he realized the Titanic would not be as easy as the others, perhaps even difficult, Charles was confident of his ability. And satisfied that all eyes were now on him and him alone, Charles stared ahead in deepest concentration and began.
He rose steadily, smoothly, his finely tuned muscles drawing the massive bell upward, not with the quick pop of muffins from a toaster, but with a solid sweep of motion that seemed to lift all who witnessed to new heights of wonder and possibility.
But then there was a pause, a catch, where the body immaculate seemed to tremble slightly, the magnificent chest to glisten not with the glow of unrivaled majesty, but with the clammy wetness of perspiration and effort. And too, the perfectly-formed nostrils seemed to twitch, the eyes to bulge and the sweet pure breath to fail. And then it came. A scratch. A murmur. The very hint of a snort. Then another. And another. Faster! Quicker! Again and again! Each more powerful than the last!
Then the arena itself began to tremble, the thick grey fog to gather and darken into mighty clouds of vengeance, punishing all things below with flood-like torrents of rain.
And indeed, beneath the clouds, sequestered within the rickety stands, the once silent crowd was being whipped into a state of madness. Some began to fight, spouse against spouse, parent against child. Others began to pray, to weep, to laugh, to sing opera or to engage in various acts of sexual perversion.
And then the stage around Charles began to crack. Inch by inch, splinter by splinter, the floor that had supported the feet of a thousand weighted lifters, now yielded its very grain to the demands of Man and Bell. A groan, a yowl, then a mighty crash was heard as a jagged space of enormous size broke free, forming a deep and watery portal through which Charles and the great iron bell slowly began to sink.
"And so it ends," said Frank from high above the arena. "Charles Fitley, that modern-day Hercules, on a day when most would stop and rest on their achievements, chose instead to continue in his quest and must now pay the awful price. And the Titanic, strange barbell from the ocean deep, returns from whence it came, taking with it a worthy victim for the years of captivity endured."
And the deep-throated fog horn sounded once again, followed by three clangs of an unseen nautical bell as Charles' still snorting head quietly slipped beneath the rippling surface of the clammy waters. And so too, the flood-like rains appeared to cease, the clouds to lighten, the sky to clear and the jagged stage to rise and heal in a miracle of regeneration. And the once cowering, once mad, once rain-tossed crowd slowly began to rise as well as the booming voice of the arena announcer was heard once again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I please have your attention. And the winner by default of the World Powerlifting Championships is......WILLIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE POMP-ANO-O-O-O-O-O!"
And the crowd cheered as Willie entered from the sidelines, strutting and reveling in the adulation of his adoring fans.
"Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE! Wil-LIE!" came the cry of the warbling masses.
And Willie, truly touched, snapped into his patented Winged
Victory pose and the crowd went wild.