Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Jul 24, 2009.
  1. Hsnodgrass - Serious Research into the Nature of Comedy

    2 vote(s)
  2. crs - How to Kill a Siberian Tiger in Northern Quebec without the use of a Firearm

    5 vote(s)
  3. Erebus - Wear Two Hats

    1 vote(s)
  4. SisterShirk - Laugh 'Till You Cry

    1 vote(s)
  5. Hindumaliman - Life after dyeing

    0 vote(s)
  6. bluebell80 - Isn't it ironic

    1 vote(s)
  7. Catchlight - Cowardly Canine

    1 vote(s)
  8. J_F - The Farm Animals

    0 vote(s)
  9. daemon - Her 'Outlook' On Life

    0 vote(s)
  10. Northern Phil - A less than humourous short biography of the rise and fall of the stand up comedian

    0 vote(s)
  11. LordKyleOfEarth - The Mennican

    3 vote(s)
  12. Destin - The Prophecy

    2 vote(s)
  13. Jobeykobra - Affairs With Relationships

    0 vote(s)
  14. jonathan hernandez13 - Caligula: A Black Comedy of Justice

    0 vote(s)
  15. Leaka - One Million Baby

    0 vote(s)
  16. Marcelo - The Fall of Mount Olympus

    2 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Voting Short Story Contest (48): Comedy

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jul 13, 2009.

    Voting Short Story Contest (48) Theme: Comedy

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Voting will end 24th July 2009 to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Hsnodgrass - Serious Research into the Nature of Comedy (Caution: Language)

    Comedy - Noun
    1. a play, movie, etc., of light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.

    The above comes directly from Dictionary.com. I felt I had to actually look up the word ‘comedy’ because I though about it and couldn’t quite define it. I decided then to look up the definition for ‘humorous’ because being humorous is a cornerstone to comedy.

    Humor – Noun
    1. a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.

    I know what absurd and incongruous mean, but ‘comic’ had me a bit stumped. I’m glad the dictionary could shine some light on it though…

    Comic – Adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by comedy: comic opera.

    “Characterized by comedy.” Okay, well comedy is humorous, humor is comic, and comic is… f*** the dictionary. This is getting me nowhere and now I’m more confused than an Alzheimer’s patient watching The Notebook.

    Google was a bit more helpful when trying to define comedy. Comedy Central’s website was the first that popped up. Alright, Comedy Central is funny sometimes. The next was Comedy.com, ‘a selection of jokes, stand up and showcase.’ Cool, I’m starting to understand this! Jokes are funny! I decided to take a look around Comedy.com and this is what I found:

    "All true wisdom is found on t-shirts."

    I kept looking. The next entry was Southparkstudios.com. This one I get! South Park is a very popular show that makes people laugh every week. I’m starting to believe the key to ‘comedy’ is to make people laugh. ‘Comedy’ is starting to sound a bit more like rocket science. I guess they both are obsessed with phallic references.

    My journey has taken me across the expanses of Google, but that is not enough! I need to get to the core of ‘comedy.’ I ventured over to You Tube to see what was funny there.

    I quickly discovered that the most popular comedian on You Tube is Fred Figglehorn, a fictional six year old boy played by a teenager named Lucas Cruikshank. The short videos show an obviously teenaged, effeminate boy shouting rapid-fire nonsense with a voice that sounds heliumified. (That’s a word, right?)

    Goofy. I will give it that. But then I started listening to what this trilobite was actually saying. I present two quotes:

    “A common place you can find her is, obviously, at a bar…”


    “You can also find her on corners, wearing revealing outfits…”

    Both of these quotes are taken from the episode "Fred’s Mom is Missing." This sick son-of-a-bitch thinks portraying a kindergartner with an alcoholic, whore of a mother is amusing? Lucas Cruikshank, meet my therapy bills… asshole.

    Since what I found on You Tube was so blatantly offensive, (and plain terrible) I went back to my old friend Google. Realizing that maybe being offensive plays a part in ‘comedy,’ I searched for ‘offensive comedians.’ (After buying an AIDS victim a lifetime membership to a local swingers club.)

    First result? AmIAnnoying.com. Yes, yes you are. I clicked on the link and it was a list of comedians, the first being Johnny Vegas. The picture next to his name was of a fat man in a bubble bath. I don’t find that particularly funny. (Just strangely arousing…)

    Next on the list was an article on IrishTimes.com entitled “Offensive comedians should not get the last laugh.” After reading through it, (meaning skimming the first paragraph and then fingering my belly button for a while)I found nothing comedic about the article. It talked about the death of comedian Bernard Manning. It called the deceased man a racist and sexist and basically held a tone of being glad he was dead. As much as I love it when people die, I was not going to just accept the news publications idea of what was offensive. I decided to hit Wikipedia.

    “Manning felt the word ‘wog’ was ‘a horrible, insulting word I've never used in my life’ but defended use of the words ‘n*****’ and ‘c***’ as historical terms with respectable roots.”

    That’s a direct quote from his Wikipedia page, it was even cited. This guy sounds as funny as that one miniseries from the seventies. The one based on that book that won some award. Hold on, I’ll remember the name. Oh yeah! Roots.

    After reading about Mr. Manning, I actually tried to join the Black Panthers. Unfortunately, I was unable to because they no longer exist. (And I’m whiter than Michael Jackson’s dead nether regions.)

    I was irritated, confused, hungry, and, most importantly, had not been able to come up with anything remotely funny, I gave my Google-Fu one more shot and searched ‘HOW TO BE FUNNY.” I didn’t realize my caps lock was stuck, but the added emphasis works in this story.

    Success! First hit was Rinkworks.com/funny, the article titled ‘How to be Funny.’ I was ready to learn! I felt like Helen Keller meeting Anne Sullivan for the first time! (Except way cooler because I was listening to music and actually reading.) The first sentence of my golden guide to greatness:

    “Being funny is hard work.”

    F*** that s***! Nowhere in the definition of comedy, humor, or comic does it say hard work! I f***ing hate the internet.
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    crs - How to Kill a Siberian Tiger in Northern Quebec Without the use of a Firearm

    Before we begin, I can imagine the title of this instructional manual has, no doubt, lead you to a number of questions; the most striking and obvious question you’re likely asking yourself: “What on earth is a tiger?” Well my dear reader, a tiger is a predatory mammal of the Felidae family, more specifically of the genus panthera. In laymen’s terms a tiger is almost exactly like that of a common house cat, however with one very perceptible difference: they are orange with black stripes.

    As I’m sure you’re all familiar with how to smuggle a predatory mammal into northern Quebec, I will spend little time on the topic, however for those few who are not, you need only reference How to Smuggle a Predatory Mammal into an Arbitrary Location Without the use of a Passport, a copy of which – if not already lying about your household – is readily available at your local library, or for purchase at any given convenience store.

    Finally, you’re probably wondering why one should kill a Siberian tiger without the use of a gun, or, perhaps even, why one should kill a Siberian tiger at all? Well, to address the latter, some might say that killing a Siberian tiger is wrong because it is an endangered species and there for such an act is criminal, if not morally reprehensible. But to those not blinded by facts and well founded empathy, the answer as to why one should kill a Siberian tiger is rather self-evident: so it will no longer be living. Why not the use of a gun? If you’re not familiar with Canadian law, the process of legally owning a firearm in Canada can be quite laborious and time consuming indeed; there are safety courses, registration forms, and not to mention a lengthy waiting period. So, rather than trouble you with such nonsense, I’ve devised a much easier strategy, and all you’ll need are 3 tons of unprocessed lumber, building materials, a 26 month supply of food and water, and (as I’m sure you’ve already guessed) a thorough understanding of the man befriending beast plot structure.

    Now, once you’ve captured your Siberian tiger, smuggled it overseas, and have released it into the wilds of northern Quebec, you must track your tiger as covertly as possible until such time as your tiger has established a territory. Once you have sniffed out where your tiger is urinating and have become familiar with its territorial boundaries, build a quaint log cabin just outside that territory. Having built your cabin, your order of business will be, simply, to go about your business. You must be your tiger’s neighbour, and a good neighbour at that. Don’t be nosey, stay off the tiger’s property, and do not have parties at unreasonable hours. If you can accomplish this, the next phase of your relationship will take place: the test.

    At some point you will find yourself distracted in one of your daily tasks -- perhaps chopping wood or tilling a garden -- when, looking up, you discover you are face to face with your tiger. Your tiger will be bearing his teeth, he will be approaching you slowly, and at this juncture, your actions are crucial. If you behave too cowardly, your tiger may not kill you but you will have lost all chance of having gained his respect. If you are too aggressive, your tiger will kill you as a justifiable sacrifice for the arrogance of humankind. The key here for you is to be fearful in your reverence of nature, but brave in that you take responsibility for having put yourself in her harsh and unforgiving domain. Striking this balance will cause your tiger to let off one terrifying roar, and he will then stride casually away into the brush.

    Having earned the tiger’s respect, it’s now time to wait for a lightning storm. It is essential that during these lightning storms you are either outside or near an opened window, for, it is during this time you shall hear the roar of your tiger in distress. Cautiously you shall follow this sound and discover that a rock slide or fallen tree has entrapped one of the paws of your tiger. Your tiger will perceive you as a threat and growl at you desperately; however, you shall be no such threat. Killing a tiger in this situation without the use of a gun would not only be dangerous, but tactless. So instead you will free your tiger in the manner you see fit, your tiger will run away (its pride freshly bruised), and in the coming weeks you will find yourself either surrounded by wolves or corned by a bear or cougar, and your tiger will, in turn, save your life. All debts being equal, you and your tiger will now be friends.

    You shall have Socratic walks with your tiger through the forest; tussles in a field, and of course; quiet nights by the fire. Once a sufficient range of friendship activities has been displayed, it’s time to put on the pounds! Getting as little exercise as possible and consuming the unhealthiest of foods, your goal is to get within the weight range of roughly 300 pounds in as little time as possible. Having achieved thus, it’s time to kill your tiger!

    Now, I can imagine you’re thinking: “But I love my tiger; he is my friend. How I could possibly look him in the eye and kill him?” Well this has all been taken into account, and, if you follow my instructions carefully, you shall find that in the end you will be directly responsible for the death of your tiger, but without ever having been conscious of it. So let’s begin.

    By this time you and your tiger should be spooning together on cold and rainy nights in your bed – as this is a strange and foreign land for your tiger and you are his only friend. On the spot where your tiger usually lays, cut a hole into the base board large enough to accommodate his size. On your side of the bed place several jagged rocks. On the next evening where your tiger comes to lay with you, consume as many sleeping pills as safely possible. The sleeping pills should allow you to fall asleep in your bed despite the discomfort of the jagged rocks beneath you. In the morning you shall discover that the discomfort of the rocks ultimately caused you to unconsciously roll over in the night on top of your tiger -- your tiger, having been trapped under your shear weight in the depression you created for him in the bed, will have suffocated. You will also discover at this time that you are a terrible, terrible person.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Erebus - Wear Two Hats

    Wear two hats, the email said. Usually a red umbrella and a copy of the independent is the order of the day but each to their own. Considering my sexual activities recently had been limited to blurred online videos, a jar of apple chutney and a damp marigold I decided to chance my arm.

    As I slip on my lucky pants and grab my level eight hundred ring of power, I pray it turns out better than the last one of these I’d been on. We’d been chatting on the phone for a few weeks prior to meeting up and although I assumed she didn’t share in my love of Star Force and turn based role-playing she seemed nice enough. She certainly perked up when I told her about my car collection. I promised I’d bring the Porsche along when we met, happy that we had something in common. The reaction I got when I whipped it out of my jacket pocket with a flourish was not quite what I was hoping for. The evening didn’t go well.

    That was then. Since that night I’ve been on a few forums that have offered advice on how to woo the ladies and feel I’m now much better equipped mentally and physically. I joined a gym and the sessions were draining. Unfortunately I was asked to leave when I couldn’t control the inadvertent twitching in my shorts when faced with the sweaty bobbing emanating from the treadmills. Some people can be so immature.

    Waiting for the number seventeen, I try to block out the tuneless racket coming from the mobile phone being passed around a group of lads in hooded tops. I think about asking them to keep it down, but don’t want to cause a scene. After the week I’ve spent at the gym I reckon I could take them, but my date comes first. My headwear does get a couple of strange looks but considering most of them seem have their trousers precariously balanced just above knee height it’d be a case of pot, kettle should anything be mentioned.

    Aware of the hints I’ve picked up I arrive at the restaurant half and hour before we’re due to meet to ensure that everything is as it should be. I slip the waiter a pound as he leads me to my table tipping him the wink that I’ll look after him if the evening goes well. He is the consummate professional and seems oblivious and distant so as to not broadcast our little tête-à-tête. Happy that preferential treatment has been arranged I settle back to savour the ambience.

    There is something wonderfully romantic about a good Italian. The arrogant strut of the waiters moving from table to table unable to conceal the hot Latin blood simmering through their veins. The wine, the music, the flickering candles on the plastic tablecloths depicting green rolling hills and piles of luscious red tomatoes. My heart flutters at the beauty of it all and I order a bottle of red to let it breathe before she arrives (another handy little tip courtesy of my online advisers).

    I sip at my wine and feel happy, contented and ready for anything until I spot my waiter. He’s got a ridiculous grin on his face and he’s pointing out my table to a girl with a perfectly hairless round head. It’s like somebody has drawn a couple of eyes, a nose and a mouth on huge table tennis ball and popped it onto someone’s body. My eyes water and I start to cough as the wine manages to find a path through my nostrils. I manage to grab a napkin just in time to stop any major spillage and manage to force a smile onto my face as she’s ushered over.

    I stand as she’s seated and manage to ask her name. “Jennifer. Jenny to my friends” she answers with a wink. “Would you pass me one of those?” she says pointing to my head. With some relief, I pass her one of my hats and the instant transformation is incredible. No longer am I staring at ‘mad Britney’ but at a rather sweet looking girl with a red cap and nice blue eyes. “Sorry about that” she says with a sigh. “It’s a hormone thing. My condition freaks people out the first time they see me and wearing something familiar to you will help you look past it”. I pour her some wine, my heart now racing for an entirely different reason and introduce myself.

    “Nice name” she says, “like that guy from Star Force series four, right?” This may turn out to be a better evening than I could have hoped for. I ask her whether she watches any of that kind of stuff and a shy little grin reveals she is indeed one of us. The next ten minutes are a flurry of ‘which episode this’ and ‘what character that’ as we connect and mind-meld. Suddenly she stops and with a gasp asks whether I’m wearing an actual Elf-lore ring? An inadvertent squeak of joy escapes from my mouth and I tell her that it is indeed genuine. “Level eight hundred. You must be something else,” she says with huge puppy dog eyes and cupid pierces my throbbing heart.

    The evening passes in a haze of pasta, red wine and sparkling conversation. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier and after desert when we call for a taxi, she asks whether I’d like to come back for a nightcap. As we sit in back of the car I try to remember what I’d read about this part of the evening. With a dry throat, I shift a little closer and my hand brushes hers. She reaches out and tickles my wrist. As I slip the ring of power over her slender finger and remove the cap to air her shiny head, her smile enthralls me in way series seven never could.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    SisterShirk - Laugh 'Till You Cry

    ChillChick's Blog:
    Saturday, my room... just chillin' 3/4/09​

    Sarah told me a story today. We were lying on our backs in my room looking at the shapes the paint made on my ceiling when she started. I forget how she began, but I know what makes her so dark now. It's going to take a lot not to deck that boy. I offered to, but it's not really my place. He doesn't even know he hurt her.
    Maybe he thought it would be funny. Maybe that explains it all. Brad did always have a thing for the lighter things in life. Not to say he was any good at it though, in fact, he was the worst comedian you could possibly find. He hit home every time, forced you to laugh when all you wanted to do was cry. That boy had a way with words, a way that ended up killing the beautiful friend I knew. Maybelle.

    Maybelle died last summer and a black, bruised, cut, pierced, heartless, hopeless, friendless, homeless, Sarah took her place. But I guess it wasn’t just Brad. There were tons of comedians in her life. Her parents were clowns; everyone around her was laughing and looking the other way, searching for something better than what they had to deal with anyway. But not Maybelle. Not Sarah. Not that poor girl, that poor, strong, beautiful girl that the laughter finally broke. She would hold her head high every day, walking through the pain that they masked so easily, working her way through day after day, of fighting and make-ups, of love-hates and break-ups. Her world was crumbling around her and her only friend was laughing. I suppose in the beginning he was just an escape, a place she could go to ignore her home and the turmoil that was the pending divorce there. She’d be there, at Brad’s house, everyday that last summer, his family, the kindest, blindest people in the world, and the only friends she knew, loved her like their own.

    Brad was… what was Brad? How could one put into a single category someone who was such a chameleon? I’ve known Brad to be a b*****d, a kind hearted friend, a smart-aleck, a sarcastic, sadistic, criminal, caring, careful, funny, sob-story. But Maybelle knew him better. To her, he was the friend she’d grown up with. He was a safe place to talk, a kind heart to mother a bit. He needed her, she thought over and over again as he used her up. Every bit of happy she had was spent with that boy, her family was in ruins, her parents couldn’t be trusted to parent anymore so she raised herself. Brad was there for her through thick and thin. He made her laugh but beneath that there was something sinister brewing.

    That summer was the summer before sophomore year so hormones were running high between the two. Sure, they had kissed, but that was it really. Brad was just a friend. A friend that told her funny jokes. “I’m starving, but I bet Tamara Tummy is twice as hungry!” he’d say, poking the ever-larger stomach of Maybelle. He took her on adventures. “Take my dad’s car for a spin, he won’t mind!” But most of all, he loved her. “Come on, Maybelle, aren’t you curious? Don’t you want to know what it feels like? I thought you loved me!”

    A spiral of smiles was leading to a dangerous end.

    The end of that summer, de-flowered, un-stable, self-conscious, Maybelle was alone for a few weeks for a trip to Paris with her grandparents. The whirling colors, days flying by, smells, sights and sounds overwhelmed her with joy. She’d never felt so free, so at home anywhere, but all too soon it was over and she was back to her crumbling piece of the world. As usual, Brad was there, joking with her in that snide, you-only-think-I’m-joking way he had. But, of course, Brad really was joking, since he’d been her friend for forever and they’d practically gone out all summer, right?

    “Maybelle, we need to talk.”
    “Sure Brad, what’s on your mind?”
    “There’s something I think you should know…”
    “I’m gay.”
    “Of course, you dumba**! I wouldn’t joke about something serious!”
    “Oh, I just-“
    “I know, this summer, right? You silly bi***, that was all for fun! But Maybelle, you’ve got to help me, I don’t know how to tell my parents…”
    “Maybelle! I need you! You’ve got to listen and help me out here! I need you to talk to my parents for me, explain to them how I’m feeling.”
    “That’s right Bi***! Now, go talk to them, ok?”

    She was mortified, but what else could she do? She owed it to Brad to help him out, right? And of course, they hadn’t really been going out this summer; it was all just for fun. She didn’t even love him anyway. She didn’t care. So what if he was gay? Let the guy be happy. It was all fun and games anyway. Just one big joke.

    That night Maybelle laughed until she cried. Her tears washed away the last traces of before. Now she would be someone else, she wouldn’t let anyone in ever again. Who needs anyone else? They’ll just laugh. Hair short, clothes black, heart closed, she watched her back. She’d make others laugh, she had a great wit, and Brad had helped her there, hadn’t he? She was the comedian in class, the dark humored mystique. Sarah was in; Maybelle was put into a box with no light, smothered until she couldn't speak; only then the tears stopped. Only then could Sarah move forward. But I know Maybelle, I see her peeking out of her box now and then, and the less she sees of Brad, the more I see of Maybelle. So maybe she's not dead yet, he killed her, but maybe she hasn't died. I'll keep trying to coax her out.

    Laugh all you want to Brad, I hope you laugh until you cry. You broke the heart of my best friend and kicked about the pieces, the aftermath is the girl I know, but trust me pal, she’s more than you’ll ever be.
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Hindumaliman - Life after dyeing

    I dyed for a living. Sad, but true, my friends mock this ‘colorful’ lifestyle. This is because it’s entirely unsuited for me. I’m a boring person at best and dangerous at worst.

    When dyeing became impossible I attempted few livelier jobs. I attempted politics, but hit a snag when I uttered my personal opinion that gay people are a pain in the butt. After this debacle I decided to lie low and attempt dog breeding, safe to say I got mixed results. Unsatisfied with this I attempted to move into the medical profession and after a month of training, I received my degree in phlebotomy. Working with plasma was easy and lucrative, but unfortunately all my painful prods were in vain rather than vein.

    I decided work was for the poor at that moment and set out on an adventure with my Tajikistani folk band, The Metronomes, a group of rhythmic midgets which soon gained huge fame. However I never fit in, quite literally as my head was severally cropped out of every album cover, I left quietly. In short, I was the bigger person.

    It was at this moment in my life that I dabbled in two very similar careers, comedy and surgery. In both these tasks I failed miserably however. Despite my unending efforts, I never managed to leave either audience in stitches.

    My mother always told me “To impulse is to repulse.” And I always responded, “Please die.” She was right however; I needed more stability in my life. It was that moment that I decided to inject myself with weakened polio. Unfortunately the polio kept through the weekend and stayed all week. In this embattled state, I quickly gained a staph infection which easily spread at my temp job to become a staff infection.

    After I became healthy once again I decided to dip into scholarly pursuits. Did you know that before going into religion Mohamed was a merchant? Huh, guess that’s why he made such a great prophet. You know Joan of Arc right? She put everything at stake for her country, including herself! As I recited these very facts to my parents their fingers, having pointed to the door ever since my unannounced entrance, became rigid once again as they cried, “OUT!”

    Back on the street I had a lot to think about, What do I want to do with my life…why do I never fit in….wow….ellipses are way overused in books. In this mental gridlock, I failed to notice the group of veiled people which surrounded me. Once aware I looked, awestruck, at the members of the cult whose high standards and narrow minded acceptance made it the hardest to get into, the Difficult. They asked me to say the first inspirational thing that came to my mind, so I said plainly,” It’s lubrican not lubricant.”

    My acceptance was immediate.

    Now a high acolyte under the wing of the dark lord Stanley I realized a few things. All of my life before this was just a test. I must have passed because now with this special punch that Stanley’s giving me, the other high acolytes and I can travel on the backs of irradiated weevils into the stars towards Destiny Island where all our dreams will come true. I take a blissful sip of the bitter liquid. As my life slipped away I knew the end had come, like a woman’s egg… it’s ova
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    blubell80 - Isn't it ironic

    “You remember Sally?” I asked Jack as we sat on the log in his back yard.

    “Was she that hot blond you dated a few years ago? The crazy one?” He asked.

    “No. That was Carmen. Sally was after Carmen. The brunette with a tight little ass.” I smiled as I thought about her ass in those tight black pants.

    “Oh yeah, what about her? You run into her. She fat and ugly and dragging around three brats?” Jack chuckled and lit his cigarette.

    “She was just as smoking hot as she was when I dumped her.” I said smiling at him.

    “You didn’t!” He took a puff and exhaled loudly sending a puff of smoke into the muggy air around us.

    “I met her for drinks.” I chuckled a little at his shocked expression.

    “If you start seeing her again, I’ll disown you as a friend.” He said.

    “It’s a funny story, you’ll see. So I met her down at the Center Street bar, that cheesy little dive with the great burgers.” Jake was nodding in agreement about the burgers. “So she tells me that she’s been seeing this guy, but that she just broke up with him because he gave her a gift she can’t return.”

    “She has AIDS! Damn, has to figure, she was kind of slut.” Jake laughed.

    “Oh no, not AIDS.” I shook my head. “You’ll never guess it, so let me finish.”

    “Syphilis, no Gonorrhea.” I shook my head at his efforts. “Hep C?”

    “Dude. No. No, She tells me the doctor diagnosed her with Kuru.” I said.

    “What the **** is Kuru?” Jake took another puff.

    “It’s some prehistoric disease people used to get from being cannibals.” I said adjusting my position on the moss covered log.

    “How the hell did she get that from her boyfriend? Was she dating a cannibal and not know it?” Jake looked shocked as I nodded my head. He ran his free hand through his dark thick hair, trying to digest the information into his brain. “How?”

    I shrugged.“She apparently contacted the police after that because she was dating an American man she met in New York City. He was a painter or photographer, something like that. It’s not like he was from some culture where cannibalism is still practiced.”

    Jake sat on the edge of the log waiting for me to continue.

    “So, the police tell her that her boyfriend was suspected in three murders in the last few months. They were thinking these killings were that of a serial killer, who had killed 15 women so far in the last six months.”

    “Holy S@!#.” Jack said as he lit another cigarette.

    “The police got a warrant for his apartment and found pictures…and body parts in his freezer!” I said. “He was arrested.”

    “Sally was dating the serial killer. Where’s the funny part? Cause that’s just kind of scary.” Jake said.

    “Do you know how you get Kuru?” I asked him.

    “You said it was a disease from being a cannibal. I guessed she got it from him sexually right? Once one person has it, they can pass it on?” He asked.

    “Nope. She caught it from eating at his house.” I said.

    “That’s some straight up Hannibal Lector S@#*! She was eating food at his house and he was feeding her his victims. F$@%, that’s gross.” He gagged a bit in his mouth and spit into the grass. “Is it fatal?”

    “Yes. She was glad she ran into me, because she felt like I was the one who got away. Now she’s only got a few months left to live before she is in the hospital and then dead.” I said looking down at my tattered sneakers.

    “So where was the funny? A little ironic maybe, definitely dark, but not so funny.” Jake asked me.

    “The funny thing is I flew out to Vegas with her two days ago and got married.”

    Jake stared at me, his thick black eyebrows furrowed down onto his nose. Then his face lit up and he started chuckling, then laughing, then almost falling off the log laughing. “Ahh…man you had me good there for a second. Like you’d marry the slutty Sally when she’s only got a few months to live.” He slapped his leg and flicked his cigarette into the grass.

    “I’m being serious. I married her.” I said looking him right in the eye.

    His laughter dropped off and he just stared at me. “Why would you do that?”

    “Because, she has a trust fund that'll look pretty nice to me in a few months. I figure I can keep her happy till then. And she wasn’t smart enough to ask for a prenup, so I get it all free and clear.” I said.

    “Ryan, that’s just evil.” He said. “Brilliant, but evil. What about Jessica? You’d been dating her for about six months now?”

    “I dumped her as soon as Sally agreed. Jessica wasn’t so great. Money will get me access to better women. And I’ll be a widower rather than a divorcee. Looks much better in women’s eyes. Plus playing the whole widower card…that’ll get me some women.” I said.

    “Sounds like you have it all figured out. Where is Sally now?” He asked.

    “At home cooking my dinner. It’s amazing what having a fatal illness and dating a serial killer does to a woman. She is so attentive and sweet, the next few months will fly by. When she gets too bad she’ll be in a hospice. I moved into her house up on Hillward Dr.” I said.
    “Nice digs.” Jake nodded. “So, we’ll all have to do dinner sometime.”

    “Isn’t it funny how things turned out?” I asked him.

    “Funny ironic, not funny haha.” He said and gave me a shove in the shoulder.

    “You said you’d disown me if I started seeing her again. Did you change your mind about that, or did marrying her not apply?” I asked.

    “There’s the funny part. I don’t mind that you married her at all. I would have been pissed if she was living longer, maybe.” He smiled.

    “You’re a sick bastard you know that.” I said.

    “Yep. That’s why you like me.” He punched me again.
  8. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Catchlight - Cowardly Canine

    The German Shepherd Dog is a breed known for its intelligence, courage and a host of other admirable qualities. But then there’s my dog Ryder, he is not exactly an ambassador for the breed. It’s not that he isn’t handsome; I’ve been told he has very nice feet for a GSD. I’ve also been told he’s got a back like a canoe, long and very difficult to maneuver around tight corners.

    His story isn’t one of heroism or courage; he’s not a life saver or a military hero. No, my Ryder wags a cautionary tail. He doesn’t run into battle, he believes retreat is the better part of valor and the only part he’s willing to play.

    Much like the Chihuahua who is determined to take on a Rottweiler, Ryder has a very distorted body image. He isn’t brave and he doesn’t bother trying to pretend otherwise. Scooby Doo and Shaggy look like Terminators by comparison.

    For example, yesterday we went for a walk on the beach. It sounds tame enough, but unfortunately the recent stormy weather meant the sand was littered with debris. Every washed up branch we came across presented a new monster for Ryder to contend with. After protecting my quivering dog from a branch that was barely more than a stick, I realized I was fighting a losing battle.

    If the stress levels get too high, he will literally climb into my arms, and I decided it’d be best for both of us if we went home before we got to that stage. Being climbed by a hundred pounds of hyperventilating dog is not something I’d recommend. Given a choice, he would have left sooner, but I’m his only source of protection. When things get scary, the one thing he’ll never do is run away from me. He might be terrified, but he’s also smart enough to know how much scarier things can get if you don’t have your Mum.

    Ear drops are one of his biggest fears. Goodness knows why, he’s never had a bad experience with them, imagined frights not withstanding. Just the sight of a small white container and he starts to shake, even if it’s obviously not eardrops. The only wounds he’s ever inflicted in his life have been from his claws as he climbed me in terror because my daughter unexpectedly picked up the salt shaker.

    The only thing he’s more afraid of than ear drops is the vet. I’m pretty sure that Ryder is the very reason that vet surgeries have slippery, polished floors. We get inside just fine, but then Ryder will catch a whiff and realize where he is. That’s when he starts to make for the door. I walk determinedly towards reception while he walks resolutely towards the door. His soft furry paws don’t stand a chance against the combination of slippery floor and my sneakers. I always stand at the reception desk while he keeps moon walking hopelessly beside me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a very smart dog, perhaps that’s why he’s so scared. He’s smart enough to know that bad things happen to good dogs. He’s certainly curious, a trait that’s not served him well in the past. His curiosity is what caused his fear of heights. I’d only had him a couple of days when I’d left him outside to play in the garden. He hadn’t been out there long when I needed to get something from the garage. I picked up the remote control that opened the automatic door and pressed the button. What I hadn’t realized was that Ryder was chewing on the rope handle that dangled from the door at the time. When I walked outside, I was greeted by the sight of a tiny puppy hanging six feet in the air, grimly grasping the cord by the skin of his teeth.

    Like many intelligent souls, Ryder has a penchant for collecting. He particularly likes to collect shiny things. If he happens to come across anything edible, while he’s looking for shiny things, then so much the better. He can open the pantry door, the cutlery drawers, the pot cupboards and the fridge. The fridge is the biggest problem since he’s allergic to pretty much everything but chicken and probably a little allergic to that as well. Once he’s eaten everything he can, he stows his shiny treasures under the mattress in his crate.

    The last time I conducted a surprise crate raid, I found the salt and pepper shakers, mustard, the potato masher, my ladle, three butter knives, one soup spoon, my old frying pan and a fork. He was either planning a dinner party or preparing to move into his own place. At least it explained his reluctance to take a nap in his crate; it must have been awfully lumpy in there.

    Ryder also has a great interest in literature. Unfortunately, it’s a culinary interest; he likes to eat my books. This is a bit of a bone of contention between us since I’m really rather fond of my books. Last week he ate most of Charlotte’s web, Pride and Prejudice and a Prayer for Owen Meany. At least books are a little less dangerous than garden bark. He ate almost four pounds of that once and needed emergency surgery when it twisted and blocked his bowels and stomach. I’m guessing that explains his fear of vets, but since they never gave him ear drops, I’m still at a loss to explain that one.

    He’s prone to eating all sorts of things that we both end up wishing he hadn’t. One afternoon, I heard the frightening sound of nothing happening anywhere in the house, the surest sign that mischief was afoot.

    “Ryder?” I called. Oddly enough, his is always the first name that pops into my head at times like that. From the hallway came some thumps, followed by a bump and a muffled yelp. I would have run out to see what had happened, but I’d had enough Ryder surprises to make me afraid of what I might find.

    He was standing at the foot of the front steps when I found him, only recognizable by his attractive feet and canoe shaped body. I couldn’t see his head because it was jammed inside a cat food box. He’d eaten the top and stuffed his head inside to get at the delicious kibble within. When I’d called, he’d made for the open front door, knowing full well that stealing cat kibble was a kenneling offense. He hadn’t stopped to shake off the box first because there was still some kibble left inside. He’d stumbled blindly, banging into walls until he fell down the front steps. He wasn’t about to part with the box just because I was on to him. In fact, I had time to go and get my camera and take a good half a dozen photos before he finally finished all the kibble and shook himself free.

    Another afternoon, he decided he didn’t like my daughter. Once again it was all the sounds I didn’t hear that tipped me off. I sneaked out to the hallway in time to see him disappearing down the steps with a bed sheet trailing between his legs. In the middle of the lawn sat a huge pile of clothing, books, blankets and other assorted possessions of my teenage daughter. Beside the pile sat Dolly, his toy with a durable plastic head and unstuffed body. She had been carefully positioned in the perfect spot to observe Ryder’s brilliance as he added the bed sheet to the huge pile of my daughter’s belongings.

    “Ryder, what have you done?”

    He looked at me, cocked his head to the side and smiled widely. Clearly he’d had quite enough of my daughter’s teenage temper tantrums and decided the time had come for her to move out. I sympathized with his motives, but was less impressed by his method. I’d have been a lot more understanding if he’d been the one who had to restore the room to the way my daughter had left it. Luckily she’s a teenager, so all I really had to do was stand at the door and throw.

    With all the bedroom raids he’s pulled, I should have called him Raider instead of Ryder. Mostly, we remember to keep our doors closed when we’re not in our rooms. My son Jonny is the worst at remembering, which is strange because he’s suffered more losses than any of us when it comes to Ryder Raids. In Ryder’s eyes there is no one, but no one cooler than Jonny. He comes home from work smelling of meat because he works as a butcher. That alone would be enough to raise him to idol status for most dogs, but that’s not all Jonny has in his favor. He also likes to take Ryder cruising in his car with the windows down and the music loud. They drool at girls they pass by (species appropriate of course) and nod their heads to the beat.

    Jonny also wears hats; some of them even taste of meat from his work. Ryder loves hats, a lot. He also likes socks that smell and teenage boys who wear rubber boots to work every day come home with truly delicious socks. It all adds up to superhero status for Jonny. He’s a pretty big act to compete with. Oh sure, Ryder loves me. I’m the one whose bed he’s allowed to sleep in. I’m certainly the only one who is willing to stand out in the cold, holding his paw while he goes to the toilet because he’s terrified of the dark. He definitely loves me, at least until Jonny comes home.

    He really is a very loyal dog to his family, but I think it’s because we’re the only ones he’s not scared of. His fear will work to my advantage if some guy in a trench coat walks up behind us while we’re out for a walk, though. In the end, who cares if he’s raising his hackles because he terrified, he and I are the only ones who will know it. So long as he doesn’t leap into my arms in fear, I think we’re golden. After all, it takes a very brave or incredibly stupid attacker to argue with a hundred pounds of bristling German Shepherd Dog.

    If only they knew, and thank goodness they don’t.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    J_F - The Farm Animals

    Jack nodded listlessly at the painting hung on the shimmering granite wall. Standing beside him, Vonka scoffed and threw her hair back. It wasn’t the various farm animals enjoying themselves that seemed to throw her sense of taste askew -- at least that was what Jack thought was the cause for her snobbishness -- but that the pigs and horses and sheep were sitting around a table, drinking neat rum, puffing rings of cigar smoke. And playing poker.

    “And that sign said this is the finest tastes section of the gallery,” Vonka said, her arms crossed and head tilted back.

    “I think it’s kind of, uh, cute,” Jack said. Vonka threw him a cold gaze. “I mean, it definitely doesn’t belong here. You know what, I’ll go talk to a guide,” he said confidently. That must have impressed her, he thought. “You stay here, dear.”

    “Dear?” she huffed. “What am I, the pastor’s wife?”

    Jack walked briskly through the pristine marble-tiled maze, weaving through clumps of champagne-wielding art lovers. Blotchy paintings and sculptures of all kinds were in his peripheral vision. This was art? He remembered art as drawing apples in eighth grade and pictures of mountains. Apparently, a painting of a clown standing on a beach with a toilet fastened to his head and seagulls gulping water from it was art. It astonished Jack that Vonka enjoyed this place. He began to think that, after regurgitating the caviar at Le Cordon Bleu and having to work two extra contracts to pay it off, maybe Vonka was not the same girl with the nice face and cute eyes he chatted with on LavaLife.

    And the people at the gallery, with their buckle shoes and white-rimmed glasses, looked like medieval jesters from that funny Saturday Night Live skit Jack had watched. A woman wearing a beaver fur scarf, a peacock-feathered hat and ruby earrings which dangled past her shoulders took a sidelong glance at Jack’s plaid shirt and cargo pants. She walked over to him, and Jack winced, looking around to see if Vonka had followed him.

    “Geeky, but very chic. Modern.” She said in a molasses French accent. She rubbed his collar between two fingers and her long nails nicked Jack’s throat. “I like, I like,” she said, looking him up and down.

    “Uh, I like your hat,” Jack replied dryly. She was wordless. “You wouldn’t happen to know where to find a guide? I think there’s been a mistake with one of the pieces of artwork,” Jack said.

    “There are no guides, and no mistakes. Only the seeing eye.” She pointed to her rainbow eye shadow. “I’m Zeesma.”

    “Jack.” He nodded.

    “You don’t come to these often, do you?”

    “Well, no, I’m here with someone else.”

    “Does she have a beaver like mine?” She ran a hand across her scarf.

    Jack scratched his head. “I saw a great portrait of Harry Potter with vampire fangs, so I think I’m going to head over there.”

    “Mmm, you don’t look it, but your tastes are very bourgeois, with a hint of surreal-modern flare,” she added as Jack walked away.

    He turned around. “Right.”

    It seemed to Jack after fifteen minutes of exploring that Zeesma was right when she said there were no guides. But to his frustration, there was no Vonka either. He couldn’t find the finest tastes section because the signs in the gallery were typed in eight-point font, and Vonka had snatched his glasses off in the car after he parked, saying they would “embarrass the nature of good taste.” So after waiting around a phallic statue, Jack figured Vonka had already met some art collector from Pariz and was strolling with him to a coffee shop. All Jack found that resembled some form of guidance was a pamphlet; they were stacked on a table, held by a sculpture of a butler. The pamphlet’s white paper and black lettering was refreshingly basic. He managed to read it: all the artists’ names, their origins and the names of their art were there. The goofy painting him and Vonka saw was by a Dutch artist named Vorge Vorwell, he read, and it was called “The Farm Animals.”

    A slender finger lowered Jack’s reading material. He didn’t have to look below the sprouting peacock feather to know it was Zeesma.

    “My sister wanted me to tell you that you’re a loser with no taste, and you know nothing about romanticism.”

    Jack stared at Zeesma with gaping eyes. “Yup, this all makes sense. Vonka and Zeesma. So she left with another stiff, then, huh?”

    “No. She took a cab by herself. I told her that you hated her guts, and that you thought she was pretentious and snotty.”

    He whipped the pamphlet onto the floor. “Why on Earth would you make that up?” Though secretly, Jack decided that Zeesma's ‘seeing eyes’ must have been telepathic too.

    “Come, some of us are going for coffee to discuss the exhibit.” She bit her nail. “And I want you to join me.”

    “Actually, I better get going. My dog Penny’s probably barking her head off. And I gotta’ rise early tomorrow to do a few contracts.”

    Zeesma looked away and grit her teeth. “Fine. Go with Vonka.” She flicked her hand. “You must be so blind from working with all that sawdust that you don’t appreciate beauty like mine when you see it.”

    “She talked to you about my job?”

    With her feather bobbing, earrings dancing, and high-heels clacking, Zeesma disappeared into a crowd. The next time Jack logged onto LavaLife to surf for his soul mate, he looked for a Patty or a Sue or a Brenda, and approached all “romantic art enthusiasts” with caution. Unless, of course, they liked paintings of farm animals playing poker.
  10. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    daemon - Her 'Outlook' On Life

    Angela slumped over her computer; the hard drive started to chatter. It was early morning, so the room wasn't dark. The kids were now her ex-husband's kids, so she was all alone, except for...
    “Honey, where's my tie!” John yelled from the closet.
    Angie grunted. “You mean your Peanuts one?”
    “Yeah, the one with Snoopy.”
    “Dirty, honey.”
    Angie heard a loud growl from the closet. A few minutes later she saw him storm out, wearing his neon-pink tie from college days. “What kind of a wife are you who doesn't do laundry!” he said under his breath as he walked past her and sat on the bed.
    “Honey, can you help me with this computer? I can't seem to check email.”
    “Figure it out!” he yelled, waving his hands everywhere as he slouched over his beer gut.
    “It should only take...”
    “I don't care!” he proclaimed as he grabbed his sack lunch and briefcase and promptly left the house, slammed the door. Angie was relieved, yet saddened that he would be at work the rest of the day, and she would be the poor housewife, destined to be a slave to dishes and laundry...that is, if she could get her email working.
    ...And there Angie sat, still puzzling over the computer. She got up and decided to do some other housework to take her mind off of the computer. She came back every so often to try to resolve the problem, as little as she knew about computers. It was soon afternoon. Still no progress.
    Just then the doorbell rang. Her heart suddenly fluttered. Could it be? The UPS man! She scuttled to the door and opened it. There he stood: his bulging muscles, his flowing black hair, his boyish, yet manly features.
    “Hey, Peter,” Angie said playfully. “You've got a package for me,” she sang.
    “You bet I do,” he said as he handed her the small package. He smiled his Elvis smile, tipped his hat, and turned to leave.
    “Peter,” Angie said, feeling faint. “Do you know anything about...computers?”
    Peter swaggered back up the door. “Yes, ma'am, I most certainly do.”
    “Can you please...um...help me fix my computer.”
    Peter followed Angie into the house and into her bedroom. She sat in the chair as Peter rested his arm on the table, his bulging muscles flexing even further, the rough tone of his hands sucking the strength right out of...
    “So, what's the problem?” Peter asked with a smile. Then she knew her hero had arrived.
    “I can't get my email working.”
    “Oh,” Peter said as he surveyed the monitor. “That's easy. You just...” he made a few mouse clicks and typed on the keyboard. “No...Wait, ma'am. I know what to do!” A few more clicks later. “Hm.” For several minutes, Peter tried to help Angie.
    “Don't know what the problem is,” he finally said as afternoon was drawing to a close.
    But...But it just couldn't be! Angie thought. Peter was her hero. He couldn't lose. He could figure out the problem with every computer!
    The bulging muscles were now no more than beans in a bean bag. His fantastic looks were now only a mask. Peter, the supposed hero, walked out the door, continuing his deliveries.
    Angie sat down at the desk and started to cry. Now she could never check her email! Her mother was in the hospital. She was so worried about her!
    A few minutes later the door opened again. Angie was hopeful, but doubtful, that Peter had returned. “Honey, I'm home,” a booming voice trumpeted by the front door. No, it was John. Angela became more tearful, but tried to hold them back.
    John waddled into the bedroom and scowled at Angie. “What's you're problem! Be happy!” John ordered. He looked toward the ceiling and sighed, then turned back to her. “TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG!”
    “My email!” she blurted out, not being able to hide the tears.
    John glared at the screen. He whirled his head back to his wife. “Stop crying over a stupid computer,” he said. With a few types and clicks, he rose up from the computer. “There, was that so hard?” he demanded as he made his way back to the closet.
  11. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Northern Phil - A less then humorous short biography

    Northern Phil - A less then humorous short biography of the rise and fall of the stand up comedian

    Comedy for me used to be a major part of my life. When I was little I used to make people laugh just by being cute and bashful, as I grew up I had to do more and be rather offensive to some of my family to get the laughs. I used to be rather obnoxious and vile towards my grandmother. She was elderly and frail and used to have to use a zimmer frame to get about. I often walked around with my back arched and stuttering along with my imaginary frame shouting at the kids, 'Get out of my way you slow coaches,' in a high pitched squeal. Once I even pinched her dentures, popped them in my mouth and went around grinning at everybody asking for kisses. My mother gave me quite a tanning for that, it was worth it because it made people laugh.

    At school nothing changed, I was considered the class clown. It's not that I didn't like the teachers, it's just to get laughs I had to insult them and challenge everything they said. Every lesson I used to pull out several swear words, I didn't even need to string sentences together, I just pulled out random words. I began by putting them into fake coughs that I had and then as I got more bold I said them out loud. I was expelled several times and every night I was in detention. Then when I was fifteen there came my big break, the school's talent contest. It was the first time that I'd ever done stand up comedy in front of a live audience and my routine was planned to perfection. Except that people were bored of insults about the teachers, so I improvised and I improvised at the expense of my girlfriend. She was a little bit chubby so I came out with some fat joke's, she wasn't huge, but my jokes made it sound like she was an Eddie Murphy character from the The Nutty Professor. Everybody laughed except her, I never saw her again. Looking back I think that's what I regret the most.

    I didn't even bother doing my GCSE's, there was no point, I knew what I wanted to do so I did it. I went to London and signed up with a talent agency. Soon I was lighting up the seaside piers, they flocked from all over to see me, I packed out the theatres and split their sides turning them all into laughing hyenas. After a few years of touring round the country I began to do more and more gigs in and around London. I even had a gig at the Apollo theatre, it was packed with people expecting to come away laughing, except for me they didn't laugh they booed.

    After several years of stuffing my face with chips, pies and beer I had become a lot fatter then my girlfriend from school. You know the one who hates my face and wishes that she could drown me in a bath of acid while she laughs as I struggle against her impressive yet sexy strength. My gigs essentially boiled down to me jumping around on stage shouting something like:
    'Who ate all the pies, who ate all the pies. I f****** did.'
    It went on like that for about twenty minutes until people got bored and either left or started booing.

    I was soon dumped by my management company and forced to get a real job. The first thing that I was told was; I've been a stand up comedian since I was sixteen, I'm now twenty-seven, I've got no qualifications, no relevant experience, now stop wasting my time. It kept on going like that for several months, destroying my self confidence until the Jobcentre forced me to get any job.

    I'm now a twenty-seven year old shelf stacker in my local supermarket, I have no prospect of getting anything else out of life, I live alone in a damp and cold one bedroom flat above an Estate agents. I have only one day off a week as I need to work every day all day just to pay the rent and bills for my crummy flat. On this particular day off I decided to do several things. The first was to purchase some knives, I don't have any decent cooking knives. I then rented a clown suit, the guy in the shop said it was similar to one that was used in the movie I.T. I then dressed up as a clown, I've been one all my life so why not do it for one last time. I laughed as I lay in the hot bath, dressed in my clown suit with an exaggerated rosy red smile, I never saw the water turn a dark red.
  12. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    LordKyleOfEarth - The Mennican

    Once, long ago, on a remote island in the middle of the ocean, lived a small village of tiny people. They were a happy people, and the days on the island passed without fear or sadness. Life was happy and carefree until one fateful day, when the village was beset by a wild, ferocious, Mennican.

    “Run for your lives!” cried young Jomo as he ran down the road from the field where he liked to play. “The Mennican is coming!” and with this, he ran for safety inside his mother's thatched hut.

    The village exploded into chaos as everyone ran for cover. So feared was the Mennican that even Da'ali, the village's bravest hunter, hid in his bedroom under his favorite blanket. Moments after the last door had been shut and locked the Mennican came roaring into town.

    The Mennican roared a terrifying roar, and breathed its smelly breath. It ran through town stomping its terrifying feet, knocking over trees, tearing up shops, and eating all the villagers' dinner. It ran around for three hours until there was almost no village left, and then it ran back into the forest, with a final ferocious ROOOAAAARRR!!!

    Slowly, the villagers came out of their homes and set about rebuilding what the Mennican had destroyed. It took weeks of hard work, but at long last the village was rebuilt, and the happy villagers returned to playing games and singing songs all day.

    Until one day, when young Jomo again came running down the path from his favorite field. “Run for your lives!” cries Jomo, “the Mennican has come back!” All at once the villagers ran for the hills, for everyone knows that Mennicans can't climb, where they waited to see what the Mennican would do.

    The Mennican roared into town with a terrifying roar. It stomped its terrifying feet, and breathed its smelly breath. It ran around the village and knocked over all the villagers' homes. The Mennican even knocked over old mister Bini's outhouse, before it ran back into the forest with a final ferocious ROOOAAAARRR!!!

    “That is it!” Yelled Chief Wompum. “I have had it with this Mennican.” So that evening Chief Wompum climbed the mountain and visited the witch doctor who lived at the top. Chief Wompum explained that the village was being destroyed by a terrible Mennican, and asked the witch doctor how they could stop it.

    The witch doctor stared deeply into his pot of magic to find an answer. “Dig a deep pit,” advised the witch doctor, “twenty feet across and ten feet deep.” He stirred the magic with his staff, and continued. “When the Mennican returns, he will fall into the pit and be trapped.”

    Chief Wompum saw the wisdom of this advice and rushed back to tell the villagers of the plan. For weeks the villagers worked to rebuild their huts and dig the pit. Soon the center of the village became a great hole, twenty feet across and ten feet deep.

    Just as the last worker climbed out, young Jomo came running into town. “Run for the hills, the Mennican is coming!” So all the villagers ran to the hills, where they sat in anticipation to see how well the trap would work.

    The Mennican roared into town with its terrible roar. It stomped its terrifying feet and breathed its smelly breath, all the way to the edge of the pit. But instead of falling in, the Mennican looked at the pit, roared and stomped its feet. Then it knocked all the villager's huts over and threw all their beds into the river. It ran back into the forest, with one final ferocious ROOOAAAARR!!!

    Chief Wompum was sad that his village was again destroyed, but even more angry that the trap had not worked. Da'ali suggested that they cover the pit with branches and leaves, so that the Mennican could not see it, but Chief Wompum decided to ask the witch doctor what to try next.

    That night Chief Wampum climbed the mountain and met with the old witch doctor. The witch doctor stared deeply into his pot of magic, and stirred it with his staff. He consulted his ancient book of knowledge and then said, “The Mennican will need bait for this trap.” he said. “Have Cucu wait in the pit for the Mennican.”

    “Cucu may be the craziest person in the village, and he is definitely fast enough to escape once the Mennican falls in, but he will never agree to this!” protested Chief Wompum.

    “Take these sweet candies, made from the sacred sugars of the four winds.” The witch doctor said, reaching into a large bag. “Put them in the pit and Cucu will gladly jump in.”

    So Chief Wompum returned to the village with the bag of sacred sugar candies. He helped to rebuild the village, yet again, after the terrible Mennican's visit. After weeks of hard work the village was once again happy and the sounds of laughter and singing filled the air.

    Until one day, when young Jomo again came running down the path from his favorite field. “The Mennican is coming. The Mennican is coming!” yelled Jomo. Chief Wompum acted quickly and threw the bag of sweet candies into the pit.

    Cucu smelled the candies and jumped in. He quickly ate all the sweets, while the rest of the village took cover on top of the hill. The Mennican roared into town with his terrible roar, and stomped its terrible feet. It reached the edge of the pit and sniffed, through its smelly breath, the sweet smell of Cucu, who was napping in the middle of the pit.

    The Mennican roared a ferocious ROOOAAAARR! and jumped into the pit. Cucu was awakened by the sound and quickly climbed to safety. The Mennican realized it had been fooled and roared its terrible roar. It stomped its terrible feet, and breathed its smelly breath.

    It ran all around the pit until it was at last exhausted and soon it fell into a deep sleep. The villagers ran triumphantly to the pit, where all the brave hunters tied the Mennican up, so that they could take it to a distant part of the island, far away from the village.

    While the rest of the village celebrated, Chief Wompum climbed one last time to the top of the mountain to meet with the witch doctor.

    “Wise one, the bait worked just as you said it would, but how did you know that an crazy person full of candy would fool the Mennican?” asked Chief Wompum.

    “It says right here...” replied the witch doctor, as he reached for his book of ancient knowledge. He opened the book and flipped to a faded old page before finishing:

    “...a loon full of sugar helps the Mennican go down!"
  13. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Destin - The Prophecy

    Once upon a time, there was a quaint little village near a quaint little river. Nothing at all ever happened, and somehow, all the villagers were remarkably happy and no one was ever bored.

    But one day, something terrible happened. The princess of the land was captured by a mighty dragon. No one is sure why exactly dragons find princesses so interesting. It seems to me that a princess would be an awfully disappointing companion for a dragon. But, regardless of the reason, a princess was captured.

    Our hero, the great Michael, son of the baron of the village, had just finished telling the story of how he had run off a number of heathen bandits from a nearby farm when the town crier came bursting into the tavern.

    "The princess has been captured." He sobbed, as he was the town crier and that is what criers do.

    "The princess?!" Michael bounded to his feet, grabbing the poor crier by the collar and shaking him vigorously, "where man? Tell me where man! Get it together!"

    The crier, true to his nature, took to the fetal position and began rocking gently. After a number of minutes, he had calmed down enough to choke out the word "Ruins."

    "The ruins?" Michael shouted, brandishing his sword. "Come men! Let us rescue this damsel in distress!"

    "Hold yer horses," a voice came from the corner of the tavern. "Put that bloody sword away. Who do ye think yer fightin' right now? Let me finish my beer and then we can get a move on." It was Joe Finnigan, town drunk. He finished what was left of his drink and slurped down another before stumbling out of the tavern to his waiting horse.

    The group of men set forth from the village at a fast pace. They crossed fields, streams, and forests before reaching the old ruins. The dragon had made the area feel a little more like home by burning his initial into most of the stone walls.

    "Ah!" The great Michael bellowed, "We have found the dragon's lair. Prepare men, this will be the fight of your lives."

    The men shifted in their saddles nervously. Joe Finnigan did not, he had been slumped over since they left the tavern. They rode deeper into the ruins, past a number of the enormous "D" etched slabs before laying eyes upon the dragon.

    He was a particularly large dragon, his fifty-foot long body covered in glistening golden scales. He was at rest for now, undoubtedly tired from a long day of pillaging. He had carefully placed the princess on top of a broken old tower, in typical dragon style.

    At that point, most of the small army decided they would prefer to live to fight another day, and retreated. Michael and Joe remained. Michael was looking dashing in his silver armor, his bright shield reflecting the sun into an array of colors. His gold-hilted sword was in his hand, bloodthirsty and razor-sharp. Joe was snoring.

    Michael poked Joe awake. "Only you and I remain, brave soul," Michael announced in his usual trumped up voice. "Don't even try to steal my glory. The dragon is mine."

    "I'm just here for the show." Joe replied.

    Michael produced a horn from one of his perfectly oiled saddlebags. "This is the horn of my ancestors, once great lords of this land. Today I shall honor their name!" He charged to the dragon, sword waving in the air, horn blasting out an awful note.

    "Brave hero!" The princess shouted down, "If you win this battle, you shall marry me and one day be king!" This spurred Michael on, and he dove off of his horse into a neat roll and landed in front of the mighty beast. The beast looked down at him quizzically, obviously curious about the small, shiny man.

    He picked Michael up in one of his enormous, glorious claws. Michael jammed his sword deep into the flesh of the beast's finger, forcing it to release him. He fell twenty feet to the ground, breaking both his legs and losing consciousness.

    Joe sat on a stone nearby, applauding Michael's brave efforts. He whistled a long low whistle, which unfortunately got the dragon's attention.

    "Oh, brave hero!" The princess shouted down from her perch again, "If you win this battle, you shall marry me and one day be king!"

    "I've heard that one before!" Joe shouted, "What say you show me some leg then?"

    "What?" The princess shouted back, obviously offended.

    "Yeah, well if I'm going to marry you, then I might as well know what I'm getting in to. I can't say I'm too sure I want to marry some pudgy old prude. I like my ladies a little on the promiscuous side, if you catch my drift."

    Even being fifty paces away, Joe could make out the princess's expression of disgust. "I will do no such thing! What kind of hero are you anyway? Treat ladies with some respect! I'm not a lady of the night I am a royal princess and I am in distress!"

    "Clearly." He casually remarked, "Not distress enough I guess. I'll be seeing you." And with that he turned and began to leave.

    "Wait!" The princess shouted. Joe stopped.

    He waited a moment then said, "Well, on with it then."

    The princess hiked up her skirts, baring a very attractive and toned leg. Joe squinted, apparently enjoying what he saw and replied, "that'll do."

    He clumsily dismounted his horse, stumbling a tad on the uneven ground. "Alright then, beastie," He shouted. "Shoo, go on, git. We don't be needin' your kind round here."

    The dragon looked at him with the same curious gaze that ended Michael's life.

    "You heard, me! Ya! Ya! Go on!" Joe waved his hands in the air.

    The dragon turned around, confused, and walked away.

    Joe checked one of Michael's saddlebags, and sure enough, found a very nice length of rope. He threw an end up to the princess, who tied it around her waist and was lowered to the ground by her hero.

    "Oh brave soul," The princess cried when she reached the bottom. "How can I ever repay you?"

    "I believe the terms of this agreement were negotiated before the commotion," Joe said in his best legal voice.

    "Of course," the princess agreed, leaning in for a kiss. She quickly recoiled. "My god man, your sweat smells of liquor!"

    Joe sniffed his armpit. "I can't smell nothin'."

    Years went by and the two were married, produced a number of children, and they ruled the land with a fair and earnest hand. But one day, an unexpected guest rolled in. It was the great Michael, who now wasn't looking so great. He was perched in an awkward wooden chair with wheels. He slowly pushed himself into the chamber of the king and queen.

    "Joe Finnigan!" He shouted from the back of the hall.

    "Who calls my name?" Joe replied loudly, "Come forth and show me your face!"

    About an hour later Michael had managed to push himself to the front of the chamber.

    "I have travelled far to give you this!"

    Joe took the offered piece of paper, reading what appeared to be a prophecy.

    "Says here son of kings. I suppose that's you, huh?" Joe questioned.

    "That is correct!" Michael bellowed, his voice obviously uninjured by the events that had unfolded years ago. "My great-grandfather was Lord of this land and many others, the greatest ruler ever to... ever to rule!"

    Joe levelled his gaze on him. "So?"

    "So, I have come here to challenge you in combat! I know that this is my fate and the gods shall bring me victory and the kingdom I so deserve!"

    Joe pondered this for a moment, eying up his queen and his palace. "Fair enough. You can have it. The queen is getting a little chubby, and I'm getting tired of all this 'lord this' and 'lord that' nonsense. But I get to keep the hat."

    And so the next king of the land was named, and that is the story of how our hero Michael fulfilled his destiny.
  14. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Jobeykobra - Affairs With Relationships

    She told me she loved me. I watched her with that other man in that hotel room, his hands gracefully removing her bra with an expertise that could only have been learned by a porn star. He made love to her right there, in front of me, as I stood in the doorway, hiding in plain sight. She opened her eyes for a second and looked up and saw me, her eyes stretching in unsurprising shock. I smiled as her jaw dropped and soon the man noticed she wasn't focused, his muscular back pausing. He turned to face me, an identical look of shock and then a greedy grin that said, “That's right. You f***ed up.” She grabbed her clothes, slid them on as quickly as she could while I waited, and ran to the door past the clothe-covered floor, pushing me out of the way as I watched her trample down the hallway to the elevator. The man, putting on his jeans clumsily, told me to get out before he killed me, so I did. I smiled.

    Little does my girl know I've been doing this very thing myself with another girl, her sister Rachael, who has eyes so much deeper than hers that I actually bother to look into them. Rachael and I have been with each other pretty much since I found out about this affair my girl has been pursuing. I believe I saw her share a mutual kiss with him in a subway that I happened to be in at the time on the way to a bookstore I frequent. I smiled then too, for I had been having an affair with another girl before I witnessed these two together.

    I believe her name was Stephanie. We had shared a purely physical relationship while I'd had my suspicions about this guy whom my girl knew from her accounting job at the bank she works at. They had smiled flirtatiously several times when saying their goodbyes when I picked her up from work. I had caught her on the phone with him several times, saying things like, “I want to, but he's always here when I'm here and I can never find the time,” and, “I want you, but he won't let me go tonight.” The truth is, I would've, but I still wanted to keep this illusion of a relationship we had going and pretended to not know about any of this. So, in the meantime, I was with Stephanie. She had a fetish for chocolate, and when we were together would frequently wear lingerie lined with chocolate sequins which she'd demand I eat before removing the clothes altogether. I remember she loved wearing raspberry-scented perfume. I also remember she didn't even know my girl. I kept it that way until I called our little tryst off out of utter boredom.

    But before Stephanie, there had been someone else I'd met soon after I met my girl at the shopping mall uptown. Her name was Elissa, if I remember correctly. We met when I was at the mall with my girl, who was picking out a new purse for herself, and this girl turned out to be a friend of hers. We shook hands when we were introduced to each other and when our eyes met, it was ecstasy at first sight and she'd licked her lips slightly, my girl looking away at the food court, unknowing. We ended up sleeping with each other that night in a shabby motel downtown while my girl was visiting her sister uptown. My girl invited me with a look on her face that suggested she was hoping I'd decline, and I did indubitably and I wouldn't be surprised if she was actually bedding someone else that night too. I didn't know much about Elissa, except that her dog was incredibly annoying. Sometimes when Elissa and I would be in the middle of sex in the missionary position with myself on top, he'd come up and start clawing at my ass for some reason and I'd have to kick him off the bed. Elissa didn't like that, but I didn't care. Elissa wound up breaking it off with me after I killed the dog on accident when he started clawing on my ass again while we were having sex and his neck snapped after I kicked him off the bed. I didn't know much at all about Elissa, though. Whenever I'd ask her anything about herself like what food she liked or what music she liked, pretending to be really interested in her, she'd always answer with, “Whatever you do,” so it was really no problem when she decided to leave me.

    Before Elissa, there was a girl whose name I never knew who I'd had two sexual encounters with right before and after I met my girl. We had met in a dance club one night called The Rockwell, I believe, a week before I met my girl and she happened to compliment me on my red Hawaiian shirt, which I thought looked ridiculously tacky, and we wound up doing it for the first time in her car. That was tough because the back seat squeaked whenever we'd thrust our hips together and several frat boys going to the cars next to hers noticed our little outing and smiled pompously. The second time we did it was in my apartment one week after I met my girl and it was tricky to arrange because she'd happened to move in that same day and this other girl really wanted it. She came over after I'd suggested my girl go out to the store and buy some groceries and absinthe. She didn't know what absinthe was and neither did I but I told her it was a drink I liked and assured her it could be found at any local grocery store. She was gone for close to two hours and to my surprise, once she came back after the girl had left, she'd returned with several bags of typical groceries and a bottle of absinthe. She then complained to me about how hard it was to find the stuff and how expensive it was and I was just impressed at how determined she was to get it. After pouring myself a glass of it, I decided I hated it and dumped the rest out in the sink without her knowing. The girl from the dance club never contacted me again and I was fine with that. I think she gave me crabs, anyway.

    I followed her slowly down the hallway to the elevator, not bothering to catch up to her, and once I'd made it to the first floor and out the door to the sidewalk, she was walking along it. Rachael was standing under the streetlight at the street corner, watching her sister walk unknowingly right past her across the street while smiling. She then looked at me with this real seductive one-sided smile and when I stepped up to her she grabbed my head and pulled me into her, kissing me so hard that I had to move my head with hers as she leaned back because of the grip her lips had on mine. My girl and I were no more and I called her cell phone when Rachael and I got to my apartment. I told her that it was over and I was with her sister now as she cried and called me a sick bastard. I smiled, and realized I had forgotten her name exactly since I hardly used it. I think it was Lara. Rachael liked fancy restaurants and had a thing for high belts. She really liked strawberries too, and she told me she loved me. We wound up going out with each other for quite some time before she moved in with me.

    But a few days after Rachael moved in, I met a...
  15. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    jonathon hernandez13 - Caligula: A Black Comedy of Justice

    Throughout all of pleasant day and all of loathsome night, the gates to the hateful Kingdom of Hades remain open. Unlike the gates of men they are never closed; every day, an unbroken chain of souls travel there. Their footsteps are as silent as the whisper of a moth, but those who are blessed with the sight can sometimes see them making their sad and silent way to their final homes.

    They have made highways to that unspeakable land, cross their path and it may give you a shiver, but stand not in their path for long, for that is the path which the living must not follow. Easy is the way that leads to the land of the dead. However, to remember again the way to the land of the living where the air is pleasant, ah, that is a deed only for great heroes and demigods.

    A man took that path one day, not a living man, but a man who was recently killed. He was murdered, assassinated, by the same people he ruled as an Emperor. In appearance he lacked luster; his complexion was pallid and his eyes were hollow and empty. He was bald on the top of his head, and yet hairy everywhere else on his body. His limbs were thin and poorly developed, and his forehead was broad and mischievously uninviting. He had a name, which is enough for most men, but he had a moniker of his own as well, and one that he had ever since his youth. He was known by friends, family, and the millions that were the mob of Rome, as Caligula.

    He stood there in the middle of the road wondering how he got there, where he had been, and if he had gotten drunk again on wine. He was far from his palace, he had absolutely no idea where he was or how he got there. Relieved at the sight of another man, he walked over to him and tugged at his tunic sleeve.

    “Pardon me sir, I think that I am lost.” Caligula wondered if he would be recognized by the stranger, he tended to be popular among the common people.
    “No sir, you are indeed on the right path.”
    “No, I do not think that you understand, you see, I am the Emperor of Rome.”
    The stranger laughed, loudly.

    “No, you are a dead man, you used to be the Emperor of Rome. And now, I must continue to walk this way. You must come too, or else wander the countryside forever like a phantasm, haunting the living.”
    Caligula had met insane men before, and he wondered if this man, too, suffered from some form of delusion. There would be no sense in turning his back on the madman, he would probably club him from behind. No, perhaps the man understood the way about the country, even if he was ill.

    “What lies that way?” Caligula asked, pointing down the dirt road.
    “A great and vast kingdom.”
    “Indeed, I think that I shall journey with you.”
    “As you wish.”
    Caligula began to walk down the path which went through a vast and terrible mist. He could feel that he was going up a rather steep summit.

    “This is where we will find the entrance to the domain of the dead.” The stranger said. The path was not straight, it was twisted, uneven. They were not alone, as they trundled Caligula caught sight of man shaped silhouettes all around him.
    “Thieves?“ Caligula asked and pointed at them, pensively.
    “Nay, travelers, like us. They too walk the path to the dead kingdom.”

    The mist broke through, Caligula saw the other people, they all had lancquid and lamenting looks in their eyes. They were terribly pale, were they sick? Could the mad journeyman have been correct, could they be dead?
    The travelers wore all manner of clothes, from the hills of Italy to the exotic dress of the men in Asia Minor and beyond.

    There were lone wanderers, and tragic lovers holding hands, and entire families with children following parents. There were many soldiers with bloodied faces, crying out from the agony of their unhealed wounds. They wore an assortment or armors and tunics, from every nation and tribe that the Romans fought, and a few he had no name for. Some were wounded too badly to walk, some were missing limbs, some were nothing more than talking heads on a pile of flesh. Some were aided by their comrades, or left behind to crawl or shout out for help.

    The road was enveloped in shadows, the sun above in the heavens grew more and more faint, and day became night. Caligula could see figures clinging by the side of the road, writhing in agony and discomfort. He could see a pale, ghost-like body, a motherly woman with hair falling out of her head, an emaciated old man. Also, a woman with snaky hair and a bloodied face.

    “Look at them not, engage them not in discourse, offer them no greetings.” The insane man cautioned.
    “Who are they?”
    “Faint-complexioned pestilence, insane love that leads to murder, famine that leads to crime, and discord herself, Goddess of bloody war.”
    Caligula shuddered as he passed them by.

    The massive group all halted as they came to the shore of a vast black river. Caligula tried to look into the water but saw his own reflection. His flesh appeared putrid and pallid, skin hung from his jowls. The most frightening aspect of his visage, however, he found by looking into his own eyes. When he looked in, he saw nothing, and in that instance, knew that life had left him.
    He grabbed onto the madman.

    “By the heaving breast of Juno, man, I am dead.”
    “But of course.” The stranger nodded and gave him a very sage look before watching the water.
    Something large hovered over the water, casting a silhouette against a purple sky. It was a massive ship with a single mast, and what appeared to be only one crew member.
    “Charon, the ferryman of the dead.”
    “Where does he ferry people to? Perchance, will he take me to the port at Ravenna? Perhaps from there I can find my way back to Rome.”
    “That boat goes to the land of the dead, of eternal darkness and hideous twilight.”
    “I see.”

    The dead crowded together at the docking plank which the mysterious and darkly shrouded ferryman laid down. One by one they crossed and stepped aboard the boat, stopping momentarily to exchange a word or a greeting of some kind with the ferryman, and then sitting on long wooden benches. The mad journeyman, who was apparently not mad at all, went ahead as Caligula followed. He slowly walked past the curious Charon when it spun around to face him.

    “You there, stop where you are.” The boat master pointed at Caligula with a bony figure, from underneath a black hooded cloak he could see a grinning skull stare at him with empty orbs.
    “You have not paid your fare.” It said and held up a skeletal hand.
    “Fare?” Caligula remembered then a tradition of the Greeks, of placing two Silver coins over the eyes of their dead kinsmen.
    “Only those who pay their fare may cross the River Acheron.”
    “Then perhaps I shall stay on this side.” Caligula quipped and dismounted the boat.

    At the banks of the river a small man shook his head at Caligula.
    “Why did you relinquish your place on the boat?” He asked.
    “I could not pay.”
    “Now you will be doomed to spend all of eternity wandering the banks of the river Acheron.”
    Caligula shrugged.
    “How long can eternity possibly be?”
    “You poor fool.” The man gave him a pitiful look before getting on line. He held two Silver coins in his hand. Caligula thought, and then frowned, and grimaced. He looked back and forth, picked up a stone, and drove it onto the man’s head. After plucking the coins from the man’s limp fingers he too fell in line.

    When all of the wooden benches were filled to capacity, Charon manipulated the steering paddles as the dead rowed the ship, and the bow swung towards the shore on the opposite side of the river.
    Caligula found his journeying companion on the boat, he continued to explain.

    “This is Acheron, the river of woe, of terrible sadness and the longing to return to the land of the living. Also, the woe of the families which these people must leave behind. Whole families, long lines of descendants will lament their passing. Every tear that was shed for the dead has trickled down hill and found its way here, and made a river through the black soil of the dark world.”
    “Bah.” Caligula remarked. There may have been a few who would lament his passing, but there was no one left alive in the world he left behind who he cared for. All the ones he did had died before him.


    After disembarking Caligula and his partner found themselves snaking through twisting hollow chambers cut from stone. They were guided and conducted along by the guards holding massive spears and wearing armor that could fit a titan. The caverns were filled with the sound of the barking of Cerberus’ three heads and of souls wailing in pain. At last, they found themselves at a humongous court where uncountable witnesses sat in circular isles about a grand table. Three men wearing royal clothes sat at the table.

    “The hall of judgment. This is the Trivium, where the fate of all those who dwell in Tartarus is to be determined.”
    “By whom?”
    “By them, the three judges. Kings Rhadamanthus, Aeacus, and Minos. After the verdict is determined you will spend all of eternity in the Elysian Fields, if you have lived a just life.”
    “And if not a just life, then where?”
    “The realm of Erebus is where the wicked the go.”
    “An unpleasant place?”
    “The land of eternal darkness, yes.”

    One of the guards seemed to recognize Caligula.
    “You there.” He harked.
    “I know who you are.”
    “You do?”
    “Yes, you are Caligula.”
    “Yes, I am.”
    “Ha, we have heard of you down here.”
    “Oh, have you?”
    “I know of you, Caligula. Yes, word of your actions have reached us from the world of the living. Your victims still speak of you here, they shout out your name, it echoes through our halls. Come, the Trivium is no place for you.”

    The guard grabbed Caligula and dragged him across the floor, the dead Emperor offered no resistance, but his body went limp and became dead weight.
    “But, where are we going?”
    “To see Lord Hades, the master of the underworld.”
    Caligula gulped.


    The winding, snaking caverns of the underworld gave way to a wide, columned entrance. Inside was a wide hall and a high throne with a large dark creature sitting on it.
    “Hades.” Caligula whispered to himself.

    On the dark lord’s right was a woman, she seemed to be the loveliest thing in the dark domain, flowers grew out of her hair and burst into a colorful display. Caligula knew that she must have been Persephone, his wife.
    They slowly approached the throne and Caligula noticed that Hades had a number of attendants in the dark hall. All manner of monstrous minions squatted in the shadows. A man on a large spit screamed as laughing demons flayed his skin.

    “Approach and be recognized.” A tall robed creature said in a thunderous voice. The dark God Hades rolled his eyes, yawned, and put a fist to his chin as he sat back in his throne. Caligula barely found the strength to make himself walk.
    “What is your name?” The accusing robed thing boomed.

    “I am Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. However, I am better known by the name
    “My Lord Hades, this is the one that the three judges spoke of. His crimes go far beyond that of most mortal tyrants. He comes to us directly from the Trivium.”

    The dark God’s eyes flashed with recognition, a memory seemed to form on his face, and the hint of a smile appeared.
    “Commence with the trial then. This should be entertaining.” He commanded and commented.

    The accuser held up a titanic roll, the parchment appeared to have the texture and color of human skin. He undid the binding on the scroll and threw it across the floor. It plopped down with a soft pulpy sound and rolled across the floor of the titanic chamber until it vanished from sight.

    “Caligula, you stand accused of the following; as the Emperor of Rome you abused your power to serve your own perverse purposes. Because of his baldness, and the hairiness on the rest of his body, the accused announced that it was a capital offense for anyone either to look down on him as he passed or to mention goats in any context---”

    Hades laughed. The sound moved something inside of Caligula’s stomach that made him feel as though he would become sick.
    “---he insisted on being treated as a god, having the heads of several statues, including that of Jupiter's at Olympia, replaced with his own---”

    More laughter.
    “---when the full moon was brightest he would invite the Goddess of the Moon to his room for sexual intercourse---”
    Howling laughter.
    “I resent those accusations, most of them are---exaggerated.” Caligula rose and shook his fist as he yelled.
    “Caligula, the Muse of truth herself has attested to the veracity of these charges, please be seated.”

    Caligula sat with a discontented scowl.
    “Now those charges which I have read, my Lord Hades, were simply to establish the accused one’s insanity. I shall now establish his particular brand of cruelty and savagery.”
    “While attending a sacrificial altar, he swung a mallet as if to hit the victim, but instead hit the assistant priest.”

    Hades hummed. Caligula gulped.
    “He often had men killed and then sent for them as if they were still alive. When they failed to arrive he would off-handedly comment on their tardiness.”

    Hades put a hand to his mouth.
    “During gladiatorial games, he would pit old men against animals and made physically handicapped persons fight each other---intending them as comic duels.”

    Hades had a mirthful outburst, but then quickly recovered his cold demeanor.
    The accuser went on and read from the long scroll, reading offenses that Caligula had actually forgotten, charges going back to his early manhood.

    The robed thing read aloud of how finding butchers' meat too expensive to feed his collection of wild animals, he fed them with criminals (he of course paid no attention to the charge sheets). He also read of how when a bridge across the sea of Puteoli was being blessed he invited a number of spectators to inspect it, and then tipped them into the water. Caligula had intended it as a prank, but a few of them had drowned.

    It was even recanted how while sparring against a gladiator with a wooden sword the gladiator deliberately fell down and played dead. Caligula, drawing a real dagger, stabbed the man to death before running around and waving the palm branch of victory. Truly, no act of his remained unseen. It is useless to comment on how much time went by, in an eternal kingdom one moment seemed indistinct from the next. Caligula was left dull after the whole hearing, but the God Hades seemed absolutely excited.

    “Considering all that he has done, my Lord, it comes as no shock to me that his reign lasted only four years.” The accuser commented.

    “What horrible cruelty you possess, mortal. Only a man such as yourself could hope to entertain me throughout all of dreary eternity. Here I am, King and Lord of an awful and loathsome realm. I crush the worms of the dead and putrid, filthy earth beneath my scepter. To me the wailings of tortured souls are like music, here on my throne I drink a cup of tears as if they were wine. From me, most feared and loathed of all gods, comes a hearty hail. Caligula, I salute thee.”

    “But, my lord.” The accuser protested.
    “Silence, release his bonds.”
    “As you wish my Lord. Guards.”

    Caligula was freed, he smirked and regarded Hades with a raised eyebrow.
    Hades waved Caligula to come closer.
    “Is it true that you had the tragic actor Apelles flogged? And that you then commented on the musical quality of his groans for mercy?”

    The dark God erupted into trumpeting laughter. Tears came to his titanic eyes.
    “From this day forth, Caligula, you shall be known as my royal torturer. I shall place you in the most esteemed circles of Tartarus.”
    “Yes, my Lord Hades.” Caligula smiled, and thought dark thoughts, and smiled more, as he thought of all the clever ways that he could entertain his new master.

    And so, if you should one day find yourself in the inner most circles of hell, in its darkest chambers, you may find yourself at the mercy of one of history’s cruelest tyrants. But do not bother to tell him that he is in hell, for if no one told him otherwise, he would swear to you that he was in heaven.
  16. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Leaka - One Million Baby

    It was a quiet evening in the richest part of town. The Bakersfield mansion, known to hold a one million priced diamond in the household. That's why Jack and his brother Jill were climbing sneaking around the halls. It surprised them how lazy the guards were and how the guard dogs didn't want to bark. Was this some sort or trick?
    “Hurry up Jill with the safe,” Jack said staring at his overweight brother in tight black pants.
    “But brother the diamond ain't here I told you already,” Jill whined wiping his sweaty face.
    Jack stared at his brother and bent down to prove his little brother wrong, but was surprised to see no diamond either.
    “What's going on?” Jack said.
    “The only other safe I saw was in the nursery,” Jill said.
    “They wouldn't put a diamond in the nursery,” Jack said.
    “Well you always push me around, why don't you trust me?” Jill said.
    “Because you're blubbering fool,” Jack said.
    “And you think because you look like a celery stick you're smarter,” Jill said.
    “Well yeah, I don't have that tub of lard in my brain,” Jack said.
    “I don't have a tub of lard...ya know what I'm going in there,” Jill said.
    Jill got up and walked out of the room. The Bakersfield had such nice expensive things, but they only came here for one diamond. Jill wondered about his brother sometimes. There certainly were one million dollar paintings in here, but why was this diamond so special. He scoffed at the idea that a diamond meant so much. He heard footsteps from non who other then his brother.
    “I thought you weren't coming,” Jill said.
    “You may be right, remember it's cut in a heart shape...I'll do the safe this time, a lot faster then you fumbles,” Jack said.
    They walked into the room which was neatly decorated. All those baby things, blue wallpaper with ducky trim and little songs being played so the baby could stay asleep.
    “Turn the baby monitor off,” Jack said while I work on this thing.
    Jack walked up to the safe and stared at the digital safe. Easy as pie. Jill grabbed the little handset of the baby monitor and turned it off. As he turned around he saw around the baby's neck a necklace, with a pink heart shaped diamond. The million dollar diamond was in the crib with the baby.
    “Jack,” Jill whispered harshly.
    “Not now,” Jack said.
    “Jack,” Jill said a little louder.
    “NOT now,” Jack said.
    The raise in noise must have woken the small boy up because he began to cry. Jack turned around and he saw the diamond as well.
    “Quick get it off of him and put him to sleep,” Jack said.
    Jill dropped the baby monitor onto the floor and stared at the baby as if it were a foreign subject.
    “Lullabies,” Jill said.
    “I only know one,” Jack said, “So hurry.”
    Jill placed his hands around the chain of the necklace and began to fumble with the clip that kept it to the babies neck.
    “Go to sleep little baby, sleepy tie, rockaby, go to sleep and grab your gun and don't let the coppers take you,” Jack sang.
    The baby took only a moment to register the song and continued to cry.
    “He's still crying,” Jill said as his hands was fumbling around.
    “Twinkle twinkle little guy how I wonder why you won't sleep, in that comfy bed of yours, you can be sleeping, twinkle twinkle little guy, go to sleep now and don't cry,” Jack said in sad desperation.
    “Aww, the nannies are putting Alice back to sleep,” said a female voice.
    “Sweet, finally doing their jobs,” said a male voice.
    “What's that?” Jack asked.
    “The baby monitor,” Jill said.
    “What I thought you turned it off,” Jack said.
    “I did, it must have turned back on,” Jill said.
    “Aww they didn't want to disturb us,” said the female voice again.
    “Mmmm,” said the sleepy male.
    Jill finally got the clasp to let go and he grabbed the necklace.
    “Good we have it,” Jack said.
    “Aw, but Jack look at the little guy he's still crying,” Jill said.
    “Yeah your point, these people have more money then us,” Jack said.
    “You're right,” Jill said.
    At least the bothers agreed on one thing and that was the money they were going to steal. Good thing the nursery had a balcony. It was easy escape from here.
  17. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Marcelo - The Fall of Mount Olympus

    Hephaestus entered the tavern and swept the place with his eyes, searching for Zeus. According to the message he had received on his Blackberry, he was to meet him here. At last, he saw him sitting in one corner, and he gracefully made his way toward him.

    Zeus looked terrible. His hair was untidy and his face had an irritated look into it. As Hephaestus sat in front of him, he jumped nervously, and quickly returned to his seat.

    “What’s going on Zeus?” he asked, and eyeing him he added, “You look like Tartarus.”

    “Oh, I’m in a worse situation than that,” he replied. “That’s why I called you. I need someone to listen.”

    Hephaestus was surprised; he had never seen a God in such a state, let alone Zeus himself. However, he had missed work for him, and his employees needed him in the Forgery. He'd need to finish this as fast as he could.

    “I’m all ears.” Hephaestus said, and Zeus’s face was filled with relief. His relief was short-lived, however, as he started to retell him what had happened.

    “You know Heph, Mount Olympus is not what it used to be,” he said grimly. “When those bloody Greeks stopped worshipping us, most of our brethren disappeared.”

    “I know, but nonetheless we continued our lives. All that worshipping bullsh--”

    “You’re right, but that was only the beginning of all the problems to come,” Zeus interjected. “A week ago, Hera filed a divorce suit. She had been cheating on me with my own son!”

    “She cheated on you with Heracles?” Hephaestus asked astounded. Zeus nodded somberly. “Well, it had to happen. I mean, you are the most frequent client in all of Mount Olympus’s brothels.”

    “I know, Heph, but that’s part of who I am!” he said lamely. “I mean, I never cheated on her with any member of our family.”

    “Which is somehow your fault,” remarked Hephaestus. “After all, you were the first God to start with that entire incest thing.”

    Zeus ignored him, and said, “And those are not all of my problems. The other day on the super market I stumbled into Odin, that filthy Norse God,” he said in disgust. “He was quick to say they were being worshipped again, some kind of neo-paganist movement.”

    Hephaestus mouth went agape. He still remembered how it felt to be worshipped, and he couldn’t help but to feel envious. Zeus noticed his face, and smiled. Hephaestus was quick to mask his joyful expression, and said, “Let them be, Zeus. We already put all of that behind.”

    “What do you mean by ‘we’?” Zeus snapped. “Artemis went nuts and now lives in a forest, talking only with animals. I haven’t seen Dionysus sober in almost a century, and Poseidon drowned in his bathtub. Did you think we could continue to live without worship?” he asked, but was not waiting for an answer. “We are Gods, god-damn it!”

    “Zeus… You just insulted yourself.” replied Hephaestus. Zeus sank into his chair, and sighed deeply. “Now, that is the look of a resigned man—God I mean.” Hephaestus thought.

    Bang! The door slammed against the wall. Everyone’s attention turned to the entrance, where Hermes was standing. Sheepishly, he started walking, and everyone continued their own businesses. He spotted them, and made his way to their table.

    “Archon Zeus,” he said with a bow. “Two gentlemen are waiting for you at the main gate. Should I let them pass?”

    “Let them in.” Zeus answered.

    Hephaestus had sensed a tinge of despair in his tone, and as soon as Hermes had left he said, “What are you doing Zeus? Aren’t those the guys who want Mount Olympus?”

    “They are,” he said with a nod. “But they won’t find me here. That’s why I called you, Heph, I’m leaving for good.”

    Hephaestus couldn’t hide his shock. “Are you crazy?”

    “I’m not crazy; I’m just tired of this,” he said. “But before I go, I need to ask you a favor.” Hephaestus sighed, and signaled him to go on.

    “Can you fill in my place?” he pleaded. If Hephaestus was shocked before, this time he was left without words. “Thank you!” Zeus said, taking the silence as a yes. Standing, Zeus took a baggage from beneath the table and made his way outside.

    “Zeus!” Hephaestus shouted. Zeus turned his glance toward him, an anxious expression on his face. “Where are you going?”

    Zeus smiled. “I got a job being a God elsewhere, some place called Disneyland.” Hephaestus made his way toward him, and embraced him in a hug.

    “Good luck, may you have good luck in Disneyland.” Hephaestus said, and with that, Zeus was off. He pondered his situation: He had just been promoted to Archon. Hephaestus couldn’t help but to smile in satisfaction


    “Hephaestus?” Zeus asked astounded. “What are you doing here in Disneyland?”

    “Oh, I left just like you.” he said casually.

    “But Mount Olympus—“

    “Disneymountain,” he corrected. “I accidentally freed the Titans while checking out your basement and those two guys happened to be at the gate.”

    Zeus laughed uncontrollably, and stopped after several moments. “So, what are you doing here, Heph?”

    “Just came to visit you,” he said. “I just got a job at Wall Mart.”
    “What’s that?” asked Zeus curiously.

    “Some kind of fortress containing hoards and hoards of treasures,” Hephaestus replied. “I get to be a Cashier. I think those are the guys that protect the treasure.”

    “Well, good luck Heph; I got to keep doing more churros.”

    “Yeah, good luck to you too.” Hephaestus said, and with that, he left to his new job at Wal-Mart.
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