Monday, July 28, 2014

BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH.2 - SALOON SALLY SINGS











BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH.2 - SALOON SALLY SINGS

By Christine M. Butler

The stench of laser-burned flesh tickles your nose as you inform the Sheriff that you will get everything taken care of. You look down at the still-burned figure before you, and bow once more, assuring the Sheriff again that the alien will be all right until you can get back.

You step out into the late afternoon sun, feeling it bake your skin as you take in a few gulps of searing hot air. It is hot as a whorehouse on nickel night. Not exactly the refreshing feeling you’d hoped for, but better than smelling the remnants of laser-blasted tentacles. You take the folded up piece of paper out of your pocket, and notice the flourish of dainty script that could only have come from a woman’s hand.

Doc,

You are the first of your kind I’ve seen in some time. I wasn’t sure, at first, if I could trust you. Now, I’m running out of time. I need your help, before they find me, and before the towns folk here realize what I am. Please, you are my last hope.

Maggie has kindly given me a temporary sanctuary in the church attic, but I won’t be there long.

~Sally

You re-read the letter twice more, not quite sure what to make of it. There was a time “your kind” might have meant the skin you’d chosen to walk among the inhabitants of this planet. What they called “natives” were still unwelcome most places, but you’d managed to settle in just fine anyway. After your talk with the Sherriff, you’re not sure how many people you actually fooled with your disguise though. You find a small bit of peace in understanding that the big bub himself knows what you are, and he hasn’t run you out, or strung you up yet. It gives you hope. You take a moment to consider your options, but the conjured image of saloon songstress Sally puts your croaker thoughts to rest. There was always something captivating about her, even if you didn’t fall under the same spell everyone else seemed to when she cranked up her pipes.

You head to the church to go appease your own curiosity. Dust settles thick on your boots as you walk. Rain is long overdue in these parts, and doesn’t appear to be on the horizon in the near future. You watch as a horse out front of the Hotel Grand takes a piss in the road. It’s the first thing you notice as you amble back towards the church. As you get closer, Maggie, the preacher’s wife, is peeking out of the curtains of the little shack she shares with her husband. You tip your hat slightly, and she flutters away.

You don’t even hesitate as you approach the church, taking that first step up, heading to the door. That is when you realize your mistake. “Dad-blame it!” You curse under your breath. The paint on the steps is still wet, and now your boot print is there for all to see. You backtrack and walk around to the side of the church where the preacher’s door is. You jiggle the handle, and find it’s been locked. You are hot, tired, and just about to give up, turn around, and head back to the shop when the lock clicks over. The door cracks just enough for a set of bright green eyes to peek out.

“Ma’am.” You tilt your head in her direction, noting the trail of fiery red curls that that pop into view.

“Quick.” Sally throws the door open and reaches for your arm, dragging you inside before slamming the rickety wooden door shut again. “I wasn’t sure you’d come.” She keeps walking, and you follow her. Sally reaches up to grasp the catch on the attic door, and pulls it down to reveal a makeshift set of stairs. As Sally ascends, you can’t help but notice and appreciate her curvy figure. When she sits on the floor at the top of the stairs to swing her legs up and over, you politely look away until she gives you the all clear. You proceed to follow her up into the small attic space where you must stay hunched over in order to avoid knocking your head on the rafters.

You take out the paper that the barman slipped you earlier. “Sally, I’m not sure…”
She cuts you off before you can finish your sentence. “Shh.” Her finger finds its way to hover over your lips as she speaks. “We don’t have time. I got word this morning. There are men coming to take me away, and I need your help to get out of here.”

“I’m not sure what I can do for you.” You tell her honestly.

“I’m not what I appear to be, and neither are you.” Her gritty accent is lost from her voice as she speaks. “My father is the same as you.” Your eyes widen just a bit as she continues her story. “He came to our town on a mission to blend, learn, and see if this place could work for his kind. I don’t think anyone ever thought of mixing with the humans here, but my father met my mom and he fell in love.”

Sally was looking off into the distance seeing another time and place unfold before her. You stand there, patiently waiting for her to finish. “She knew, of course. It’s hard to hide when your kind gets…” Sally bites her lip, and you can’t take your eyes off her mouth as she does. “Excited.” She finishes with a blush in her cheeks.

“Anyway, everything was fine for them. No one ever knew our two species could reproduce together, but apparently it works. I’m proof. The humans in our town never suspected. I grew up normal with no outward signs of tentacles.” Sally blushes again as she holds up her hands. “My fingers change if I’m angry, or I need the suction for things.” She demonstrates, and you are flabbergasted as her fingers turn to wavy tentacles before your very eyes. You know, now, that her story must be true. “I was set to marry Biff Jenkins not long ago, but there was an emergency. My mom’s Uncle Jeb, the town drunk, fell off his bar stool and knocked his head in pretty good. They went to get mom, since she has some knowledge of medicine. Well, she and dad were in an intimate position when Harvey Dingle, the deputy, burst in on them. Harvey saw what happens when your kind is excited, and he ran blabbing his mouth.”

Sally grabs your hand, pleading to you with her eyes. “They hanged my daddy. Hanging doesn’t kill your kind though, and he managed to escape while the town drank themselves stupid in celebration. I’m not sure what happened to momma, because I was forced to run too. Biff, my fiancĂ©, has been trying to track me down ever since. I got wind that he caught my trail again, and he’s headed here now.”

You take everything in and let out a deep sigh. “You want me to get you out of town before he shows up?”

“Please!” The urgency in her tone makes her angelic voice crack. Sally grasps your hands in hers to add to her plea. Just as you are about to agree anyway, you hear several sets of hooves approaching outside at a fast pace. “Oh, no!” Sally yelps. It’s your turn to put a finger on her plump, rosy lips.

“Shh, I know just what to do, sweet Sally.”

You have a choice to make.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH1. - BLARDETH BLEEPS











BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH1. - BLARDETH BLEEPS
By Nandy Ekle


“You –“ You stop your reply suddenly, aware that your voice sounds too much like the high-pitched beeps of your species. Clearing your throat and hoping the sheriff didn’t notice, you restart. “You go on, Sheriff. I, um, I have some things I need to, um, gather up for this.” You find your gaze going toward the shape on the table, but try to make the sheriff think you’re looking at the cabinet next to it. “I’ll be right behind you.”

“Well, hurry it up. I don’t wanna get in the middle a’ sumppin’ I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout.”

“I will. Just go on and I’ll be right there.” You pick up a carpet bag and stuff a candlestick, an old shoe and a pillow inside.  The sheriff watches you grab another couple of random objects, scratches his balding pate, and walks out muttering under his breath.

“Galdern . . . sonsa’ . . . whatever.”

As soon as the sheriff is gone, you turn back to the body on the table. It moans again and the tentacle moves.

“Blardeth, is that you,” you ask.

“BBBEEEPPP . . .” he answers.

“It IS you! Waddya’ know!”

Blardeth opens his eyes and looks at you. “Claddeph,” he gasps.  His eyes are full of an emotion you take for love. “Your outfit is amazing.” He blinks and shakes his head. “But that’s not why I’m here. I had to come tell you . . .” He trails off.

“Easy now. Take it easy.”

His head shakes quickly. You hear the sloshing of brain water and thank our lucky stars everything is okay in Bardeth’s head.

“No. You don’t understand. You’re . . . Oh Minithetet! My arm is on fire!”

Blushing at his strong language, you gently take his tentacle in your had. It’s beginning to turn back into an arm to match the rest of the body, but there’s a deep black burn covering the flesh between the wrist and the elbow.

“Leave that alone. I’m not long for this world now anyway.”

“Aw, c’mon, Bardeth, old pal. I’m a DOCTOR here.” You smile proudly and point to the certificate on the wall. Your writing hand cramped for a week after copying the certificate design from the library book.

“No. Leave it. It’s my prize to take back home.” He yanks his arm away from you, grabs the front of your shirt and pulls you in close to his face. You can smell the sweet perfume of the sewer, the sexiest smell your species knows. You tell yourself you don’t have time for love right now. “You’re in danger, my old friend. I was comin’ here to tell you that when . . .” His face grows greener. “Listen. Do you hear that?” His green face looks toward the door and his four eyes (you can see the two natural eyes under his two human eyes) become as large as whisky shot glasses. “It’s too late! They’re here!” He turns his face from the door to you. Your human noses are nearly touching. Then his mouth opens as big as a cavern. “RUN!” And he collapses back onto the table.

Your human guts turn to ice cubes and your natural guts turn to embers. Then you hear it. The galloping of horses and the shouts of men—not ‘your people’ but human men. You look around the room for any kind of weapon and find nothing. You have a rifle in the back room, but there’s no time. The feet are scuffling around on the wooden sidewalk outside your door. You decide the only thing to do is unmask and defend yourself naturally. You drop the human skin and stand there as your true self.

Suddenly the door blasts open and a group of men stand there looking at you, sewer smelly tentacles and all. You open your moth to tell them who you really are but the explosion of the frontman’s rifle cuts through the air. Your head jerks back and you fall to the floor. As you lay there you see your human skin wadded up in a heap next to you. The blood running between you and the disguise is blue. Licking your lips you taste the sweetness of your interplanetary blood. Your eyes roll up to see an abstract shape of blue blood splattered on the wall behind you. You never knew you were such a good artist.

“We ain’t havin’ no more a’ your kind ‘round here,” a voice above you shouts. But there’s something else. You could swear you hear a few high-pitched beeps and clicks underneath that voice. But it doesn’t matter now. The men are disappearing; the room is going dark; the sounds are fading—all but the beeps you know you heard in the voice.

But even that is finally gone.

YOU DIED.

Friday, July 25, 2014

BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH1. - RAYGUNS AND RAWHIDE
















BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH.1 - RAYGUNS AND RAWHIDE
By Scott Perkins


The fellow on the table isn’t going anywhere, so you decide to accompany the sheriff out to the abandoned mine to see what your fellow beings are up to and why they’re in your territory.

You nod the sheriff toward the door and when he turns his back to leave, you slip your Bolt Piecemaker ray gun out of the drawer and into your holster. As you strap up, you feel better with the polished brass and ceramic hanging on your hip; as their marketing transmissions like to say, “Quar’phon made cephalopods, Bolt made them evil.” You’re a terrible shot, but you don’t need to be a very good shot with a Bolt Piecemaker; aim in the general direction of your opponent and make him, his close kin, distant relations, and part of the landscape behind him go away.

If there are more like the guy on the table out in that mine, you aren’t taking any chances. (Bolt can make all the claims he wants, your people were already evil before he invented his ray gun.)
The sheriff shouts through the door for you to quit dawdling and get the lead out. You’re not sure what that means, but he seems impatient, so you hurriedly jab the unconscious creature with a hypodermic full of blowfish toxin, just enough to keep him from wandering off before you get back.

The sheriff has brought the horses around and is waiting outside the door alongside his deputy with the teeth like a Missouri mule. You feel your skin ripple in the heat as you come out into the high plains oven that these humans jokingly call a town.

“You reckon you’re gonna need that hogleg, son?” the sheriff nods at your Piecemaker.
“I reckon I don’t want to need it and not have it with me,” you reply.  The deputy titters nervously and hands you the reins of your mount.

You can feel the eyes of the townsfolk following you as you head out of town and you do your best to return the stares with a friendly nod and a touch of your brim.

Thankfully, the glare of the sun is so intense that you’re not the only one in town keeping your hat pulled low. The problem is that it means anyone around you could be hiding their ears, or their tentacles, or four, maybe five extra eyes…

It’s easy to feel outnumbered in these situations and you catch yourself thinking that maybe you should’ve grabbed the rifle too.

A few miles outside of town, you finally begin to relax. The sheriff seems lost in his own thoughts and you’re damned if the deputy has any, so you’re left with yours and that’s fine with you.  As the trail takes you across the barren stretches of brown scrub land, you find yourself in the lead.

That’s fine with you. You know the area well from when you scouted it from the air when you first arrived. The rocky terrain rises steadily and then fractures into gullies and eventually canyons where prospectors have frittered away their lives in the search for gold, burrowing into the landscape like a colony of heat-addled prairie dogs.

You can hear your companions talking in low voices behind you as you enter the base of the washout that leads up to the hole in the ground which once generously gave up gold, apparently in return for a steady influx of rusted pick axes and rotting minecarts.

You draw up to wait for the sheriff and his deputy, your horse dancing nervously as sounds whisper across the rusting junk, sounds that are not of the earth.

What the hell have these idiots been up to? How hard can it be to blend in with a bunch of fleshy bipeds so primitive that they think the telegraph qualifies as high technology? You didn’t choose this planet for its amenities.

The sheriff arrives as you dismount. He’s alone and looking back, you can see the deputy off his horse with a Winchester in his hands. The bucktoothed buckaroo hightails it back down the gully and you scramble up one face of the wash, seeking higher ground.

“Figure we can use high cover, and there ain’t no need for the kid to see what shouldn’t be seen.” The sheriff marks the dust at your feet with his tobacco juice to drive the point home. “Hear what I’m sayin, Doc?”

 “You don’t want your town sullied by my… kind.”

“We have an understanding, then.” The sheriff drops to the ground and ties his horse loosely to a nearby bit of scrubby tree. “You, I don’t mind. You help folks out and hold up your end. But these troublemakers are gonna make trouble for all of us and I won’t have it, Doc, I just won’t.”

This seems a bit unfair. What does all this have to do with you anyway? Just because a fella has a certain kind of skin or a certain number of tentacles doesn’t mean he’s responsible for everyone else who does too.

“Get in there and find out what they want, but anyone who comes out of there sporting more than two legs and two arms is getting drilled.”

“That’s some negotiation strategy you have there, Sheriff.”

“No point in beatin’ the devil round the stump, Doc,” the lawman replies. “I have the citizens of my town to protect and they’re simple folk, salt of the earth… you know, morons. They don’t accept strangeness very well.”

There’s certainly no point arguing with that fact.

You came all the way out here, you might as well go through with it and anyway you’re not entirely sure at this point that the sheriff is entirely ready to count you among “his town’s” human citizens.

You ease your Piecemaker in its holster and continue alone the last few yards toward the mouth of the mine. The creature at the door isn’t in any form that the sheriff would offer a room at the Grand Hotel. The mass of waving tentacles greets you silently, one tentacle extends to caress the tip of your nose and then loses interest in you once you’re identified as of the correct flavor for entry.

As you slip past the guard and venture into the welcome cool of the mine, your eyes adjust to different wavelengths of light and you begin to notice carvings on the walls of the mineshaft. Pictograms you haven’t seen since you left home trace spirals across the walls and ceiling of the shaft, telling a story that’s not going to be considered good news by the sheriff and his town.

As you descend into the darkness and damp, you are reminded of home, and it makes you edgy. You pull your ray gun fully out of the holster. The weight of it feels good in your hand and far too small and ineffectual to make a good negotiating tool. If the door guard isn’t bothering with human form, then whatever the rest are up to won’t be good for anyone else who has taken to walking on two legs. Things might get interesting.

“Cthoth-hurragh ctchuck t’ut-t’ut ftaghn!” A harsh voice cuts through the silence. “Cthoth-hurragh ctchuck tut-tut ftaghn!”

You step into a large chamber and stumble to a halt. Whether this space was dug out for the men working the old gold mine to gather and watch sporting events or the mine had broken through to a natural cavern and made improvements, you can’t rightly say. The uneven floor is heaped all about with piled backfill dug out of the tunnels that open in all directions from this central chamber.  Several of the nearby heaps of slag have an open space in the center, being watched with rapt attention by an undulating crowd of miscellaneous nightmares of scale, slime, and tentacle.

The spectators, though, aren’t what make your skin go rubbery and cold. A massive creature stands at the center of the watchers with a smaller human-sized creature held above what should by all rights be its head. As you watch, the creature shouts “Cthoth-hurragh ctchuck tut-tut ftaghn!” once again and brings the human form smashing down on the rocks.

The spectators take up the chant and soon they are chanting just one, ominous word. “Mon-go” they shout. “Mon-Go! Mon-Go! Mon-Go!” the name of an ancient terror out of the depths of your race’s darkest nightmares.

As you backpedal back down the tunnel, the darkness echoes with that ancient name. The ray gun feels useless in your nerveless fingers. You have to get out of there, you have to…

Your back slams into something solid and you realize you’ve run into a dead end. The chants are getting louder and the faint sussuration of suckers and feelers dragging obese bodies across stone floors follows. The tunnel in front of you gets darker as the Mongo approaches.

Your Bolt Piecemaker rocks in your hand as you empty it at the approaching terror. The flare of the death ray scours the pictograms from the stone walls and burns the hydrogen and methane out of the air, sending waves of fire and smoke down every tunnel and crevice. The rumble of the collapsing mine are accompanied by the realization that even if you bring the entire mountain down on its head, it’ll just make it mad.

You pray to your dark gods that the sheriff has the good sense to run as the dark hand of the Mon-Go reaches out to you.

Whether it’s the falling mountain that kills you or the creature is irrelevant, you’re jelly at the bottom of a deep, dark hole.

And that’s just not a good look on anybody.

Monday, July 21, 2014

BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH. 1 - LONG ARMS OF THE LAW















BLAZING SADDLES, SMOKING TENTACLES CH.1 - LONG ARMS OF THE LAW

By Annie Evett

A tumble weed blows dramatically across the dusty main street of Mulder’s Lot. You grin at the cliched scene, taken directly out of the penny westerns stacked high in the tiny dusty room above the General Store you call both home and your control centre. You squint as grit blasts into your eyes, and untie the scarf which, until now, has sat fashionably round your neck. You’ve studied hard to fit into this town and although you’ve stayed longer than your posting normally allows, you find the inhabitants quaint and on occasions, interesting. 

Pulling your felt hat firmly over your ears, you adjust the tilt of it in the General Supply Store window and made your way to the Grand Hotel for your customary late afternoon drink in the saloon, away from the noisier public bar. On your way, you nod to the preacher who is busy painting the church steps and exchange pleasantries with his wife. She stutters a greeting, but never meets your eyes. You’ve managed to fool most of the townsfolk, but you suspect she can see past your elaborate disguises and harbours a suspicion that you are not all that you seem to be. It may of course be your initial choice of body type which makes her uncomfortable, but you decide to keep a closer eye on her, as it wouldn’t do to be discovered. 

The Grand Hotel glows with a friendly light in the fading afternoon sun. The sophisticated tinkling of the pianist’s tunes cuts through the suddenly still hot air. Crickets begin to sing alongside the musician.

Getting closer, you discover a crowd around the front entrance, all eyes entranced by the show taking place inside. As you push your way through the doors, you understand the silence, now mesmerised by the glamorous songstress slowly making her way down the staircase. Her song, simple and sweet, dripped of promise as she slithers around the room; lightly touching men’s hands or faces as she goes. She waves dramatically as she finishes her song and slips out through the swinging doors of the Saloon. You wonder if it is a good idea to drink there now. 

The pianist strikes a lively tune, the hypnotic effect the songstress has had on the town folk immediately dispells.  You nod to the barman, who fills a tumbler with a pale liquor and sends it down the wooden boards. He gestures toward the Saloon. “Doc, you’d best take your drink in there. You know some folk don’t like it when you drink here.” He slides a small folded note towards you and winks. You pocket it to read it later.

You hear galloping horses up the dusty main street with a sudden halt further down the street. You already know it’s outside our office ,and from the banging on the door, the visitor is keen to employer your services. You gulp down the fiery liquid and prepare yourself for what’s to come.  

Running feet down the street are followed by the doors of the hotel swinging open and the music stops dramatically. A bored group playing cards shift their eyes, hoping for new players, but upon seeing who it is, bury their faces behind their make-or-break, chance-driven selections from the grimy deck and try not to look up again.

The bucktoothed deputy’s eyes dart around the space and fix on you. “Doc, ya gotta come quick. We got ourselves and E - mergency"   

You push yourself away from the bar and follow him down the street towards your surgery which also doubles as the town’s pharmacy. Sheriff Rogers, red faced from the exertion of riding hard stares at you for a moment. 

“I know we don't always see eye to eye, Doc, you bein’, well, the way you are, but this here is one if your, 'erm, folk. You'd be the best to help them.”

You blush with both anger and embarrassment. You’d thought you'd managed to conceal yourself from the sheriff especially, and wonder again if it’s the body choice, or something else he means. 

Your eyes wander towards his horse and the shape covered in a blanket and tied to his pack horse. A green tentacle peeps from under the blanket. This leaves no doubt what he means with his comment on “your folk” and suddenly you have a greater level of respect for the peacemaker of the town. You nod, and between the sheriff, the bumbling efforts of the deputy, and yourself, you manage to drag the body into your office and up onto the table.

You look at the deputy and raise an eyebrow at the sheriff. He shrugs and taps his head. “Aint nothin' much up there, and we are gunna need the help.”

You stare at the sheriff. “What do you mean?”

The sheriff pulls the blanket away from the body, revealing a human form attached with a distinctly scaled tentacle, charred and battle torn.  “I don’t mind you folk mosying round the plains, but when you start to fight, it just gets dang messy.” He points to the prone figure. “And when you don’t change back properly, it just leaves questions, which I normally gotta clean up.”

You lean on the table, unable to fully comprehend how you’ve misread the sheriff.

“Now there are a few more up near the old gold mine hiding out, most likely beat up but not injured like this one. You gotta tell them to move on. It’ll come better from one of their own folk.”

The figure stirs and groans. Apart from some laser burns which you know will heal within a few hours, the alien is in good shape and will just need time to regenerate and reform into human shape. 

You have some choices to make?

Monday, July 7, 2014

SEASON 5 HAS ARRIVED!


It’s been too long, hasn’t it? You thought we’d forgotten you, right? Wrong. After two long years, season 5 is nearly upon us. The only thing left to do is for you, our adoring and long-suffering (not to mention patient) fans and readers to pick the story you want us to write.

Read through the following story lines and then pick your favourite. It’s as simple as playing Candy Crush ad infinitum. We’ve all done this, right? Now it’s time to put us writers to the test. Choose wisely, people. Your species depends on making the right choice.

Polls close next MondayBe nice.

THE CHOICES

1. You are the town’s only medical practitioner in the deepest west in the early 1800s. Your ramshackle office doubles as the pharmacy and outpost general store. You hear galloping horses up the dusty main street with a sudden halt outside your veranda. The door flings open and the sheriff, red faced pleads with you to come help with a patient.
 “I know we don't always see eye to eye Doc, you bein’, well, the way you are, but this here is one if your 'erm, folk. You'd be the best to help them.”
 You blush with both anger and embarrassment. You've worked hard for years to fit into the town and had thought you'd managed to hide your difference. You follow the Sheriff out to his horse to see a shape covered in a blanket and tied to his pack horse. A green tentacle peeps from under the blanket. You nod, and both you and the Sheriff go to bring the body in to your office.

2. You are at the cutting edge of Victorian science, insomuch as you like to cut people up… you, know, FOR SCIENCE! Today is the day you unveil you latest abomination, but first you need the parts. Was it the legs of a fashion model and the arms of a body builder, or vice-versa? Did you lay in a fresh supply of brains? One false move and you’ll have the local peasantry at your gates wanting to offer you an excellent deal on used farm implements and torches.  What’s their problem, you’re only playing God! FOOLS! Have your best maniacal laugh ready and sharpen your scalpels, Doctor, they don’t call it Mad Science for nothing …

3. You've been cast as an extra on a new sci-fi series on a major television network. Your cousin, one of the writers for the show, lets it slip that you’ve impressed the director. He casually mentions that if a more significant role were to become available, you might be considered for the part. He also leaks another project he is working on—a revolutionary reality series that tests the boundaries of human behavior with the promise of fame and glory, as well as the coveted lead in a project that’s in-the-works. It’s all great news, and you’re willing to do just about anything for a role—even if it means eliminating your competition, hijacking the script, or blindly signing on to a kill-or-be-killed dating show.

4. You write erotic fiction, nonsense fuck stories about chiseled abs, and romance, and dowdy women finding themselves sexually when they discover chiseled abs. Sometimes there's also a whip. It's all very silly. You write a lot of it. You sell even more. It pays for your car, and your second car, and the golf cart you drive to the guest house when you want to "get away from it all."

Your life is perfect.

Until your "greatest fan" arrives.

5. You and you friend, Tony, decide to go to the circus. As you sit under the tent, the clowns run into the ring. You've never liked clowns and these look scarier than all the clowns you've ever seen. You look for a way to leave but Tony won't let you go anywhere. During all the chaos with the scary clowns an elephant knocks over the post holding the tent up, sending the big top crashing down. Worse than that, the huge wooden pillar is falling toward you. Suddenly a trap door opens in the sawdust at your feet and a clown tries to pull you down a tunnel . . .

6. You dive over the hood of the car as the building explodes. Yelling in your radio for your partner, you risk a glance at the street and discover-to your horror-the explosion has not contained the zombie epidemic. The animated corpses of Girl Scouts begin to surround you. You never signed up for this, you were quite content riding out your life slugging free Slurpees at work. How could you know the nacho cheese you poured onto customers nachos would be the perfect chemical cocktail for the apocalypse. You shake your head to clear the thought and realize you are now surrounded by the Scouts.

7. In the not too distant future, only one telecommunication company has survived to provide the world with television, Internet and phone service.

It is the day before the series finale of Fancy Chair Gambit, a fantasy program in which ten thousand different families have vied with one another to rule the kingdom. Over the past twenty years fans have watched in rapt attention as person after person has been killed off until there are literally only two people left in the kingdom and everyone must know, will it be a Barren or a Sanmix who sits upon the fancy chair.

   Suddenly, every screen in the world goes blank. A man, driven mad over the ridiculous seventy three hour window of time someone needing service or installation must wait without leaving his home, has taken over the broadcast and will not release television to the people.

It is up to you, as the leader of an elite team of tv service providers, to stop this man and return television and internet to the world before it is too late!

8. You wake up to the worst hangover you can imagine.
It feels like you've got the percussion section of the London Philharmonic behind your eyes playing the 1812 overture; your tongue tastes like a donkey pissed on it and your body is in shock that you're still alive.

When you can finally move your head, you realise that you are lying on a hospital bed wrapped in bandages and there are reporters being held back from the entrance to the ward you are on. Your fellow patients appear to be looking at you as if you'd just grown horns and a tail. And going by the movement under the sheet covering you, that last one might be true.

And you can't remember what happened last night or who you are. What do you do next? Wait until you can accost some nurse and demand answers or haul your mummified arse out of bed and track down your memories?

9. Dr. William Glass gave you his new "glass heart" Artificial heart when you were dying as a baby. Your parents were told that you would need a new one every few years. Unfortunately the glass heart was a design that never caught on, and having one makes you incapable of obtaining the Newer artificial Heart.
You have about six months left on your ticker to hunt down Dr. Glass and get him to fix you up.

10. You are an award-winning baker. Your cakes, buns, cookies, and breads are the *ahem* toast of gastronomes everywhere. But your fame isn’t just global; it’s interstellar. Representatives (also known as the Invading Forces) of the Magellan System have ordered you to bake for their ailing emperor. Failure to do so will result in the instant extermination of the human race. It’s time to Bake or Die.

Friday, October 19, 2012

ECOPOCALYPSE CH.7 - BATMAN REIGNS


ECOPOCALYPSE CH.7 - BATMAN REIGNS
By Nandy Ekle

Your public execution. After all the work you did to find an answer to this crisis, they still want to kill you. And this comes directly from the President of the United States, well, the acting President of the United States. Your face feels like it is on fire while your hands and feet feel like icebergs. Worst of all, your insides have become melted wax.
            “No!” Madge screams at Sneedon. “No way! My brother might be a partying bigoted homophobe, but he’s got a huge heart. He cannot be executed.”
            “Madge,” you place your hands on her shoulders. “I don’t think you’re going to stop anything here.” Your life passes before your eyes in a split second—playing house with her when you were kids, Madge playing Daddy and you playing the baby. You sitting on the curb crying while she whips all ten bullies standing in the yard demanding lunch money. The fifteen year fight (she still hasn’t forgiven you) over her g-f, Suzi. Inventing the Environaut and the financial success that followed. Parties with Milo. Then, today’s crap. You realize what an immature jerk you’ve always been, from letting Madge fight your battles to the endless parties with Milo.
            Five words float across your brain. Five one-syllable words, but five words that bring a 180 degree turn around to your life. This one little phrase turns you into a hero. Time to be a man.
            Madge sees it in your eyes. The look on her face changes from a worried sister to a grieving sister to a proud sister. “You mean . . .”
            “Yes, Madge. I’ll let them take me. All my life I’ve done nothing but hide behind you and partay harday. But today, I’m bringing out the tights and cape and becoming a hero.”
            She throws her arms around your neck and hugs you tight enough to push all the air from your lungs. You hug her back, then you tap on her back, begging for her to release you so you can breathe long enough to do what must be done.
            She drops her arms. “Sorry. I keep forgetting how much stronger I am than you.”
            You stand up straighter and your voice drops two octaves. “It’s okay, Madge. I wouldn’t be where I am today if you weren’t stronger.” She grins as she wipes her tears and snotty nose on your shirt.
            You turn to face Sneedon. “Okay. I give up. Take me in.”
            “You’re full of crap, you know it? Just because China, Russia and the entire Arab nation are calling for your public execution doesn’t mean we’re going to give it to them. They’re not our bosses, afterall.”
            At that moment an alarm sounds with a volume so loud you nearly jump out the window. You all look toward the red phone under the glass dome and notice it bouncing up and down. Sneedon removes the dome and picks up the receiver.
            “Yes?  Yes, sir. I understand.” He replaces the receiver and the glass dome and turns back to the room. You hold your breath while he collects his composure. He looks at you, then down at the floor. He looks at Madge, then you, then down at the floor. Finally he brings his head up and appears to be looking out the window behind you.
            “That was President Gantly. Russia, China, and the entire Arab nation have threatened to launch a nuclear missile directly to your hometown if we don’t show your torture and execution in the next 24 hours. He doesn’t really want to kill you, but it appears we have no choice.”
             You throw your arms out together, hands knotted into fists, waiting for the handcuffs to snap around them. When the cold steel touches your wrists, you gasp. The metal is so hard and cold. They really intend to go through with it. Forget the noble intention, an entire world is at stake.
             Walking silently to the beat of Madge’s sobs, you, Sneedon, Madge, and Ernie march toward the door. The whole party enters the elevator and begin the trip to the ground floor where you all will walk to the front lawn of the White House in front of cameras from all over the world and a firing squad standing ready for the order to fire.
            Just as you and the rest of the parade is about to leave the front door, Madge stops and turns you toward her. Her hands reach to pluck at a potted plant on a shelf by the door.
            “You know that stuff about not forgiving you over Suzi?” You nod your head, afraid to speak. Tears would spoil the heroic music playing in your head. “I forgive you.”
            “Madge . . .” you manage to say.
            “Get moving, you two.” Sneedon does not appreciate the tender moment you and Madge are sharing.
            As you stand on the green grass, you look at Madge one final time standing far away from the line of soldiers with guns pointed directly at you. You feel your previously melted insides begin to rise as if trying to run away from the guns. The world takes on a brown tinge.
            President Arthur Gantly is speaking to the cameras. “Ladies and gentlemen of the world, I bring you this, this miscreant who nearly destroyed our world with pooh. I will give you his head on a platter.”
            You watch as Ernie leans down and whispers something in Madge’s ear. He has a leering look on his face. You laugh as she knees him so hard in the crotch he hits the wall.
            The President stands facing the line of gun-wielding soldiers with his hand in the air. You hear a scream. It’s not Madge, her voice is much lower than what you heard. You hear the noises of bedlam and look beyond the firing squad. People are running everywhere, trampling each other, climbing over cars and trees to get away from the gruesome scene about to take place. You envision your blood splatter on the ground and look down as if it already has. You do see a drop of something near your feet, but it isn’t red, it’s brown. At that moment, another drop of brown liquid falls from your eyes.
            You remember the clod of dirt Madge rubbed in your face during the tender moment in the hallway. You can still taste the mud as she suggested you even swallow some of it. It works. People everywhere are convinced you have contracted the same disease that has been turning the rest of the world into zombies. Not wanting to catch anything from you, the on-lookers, officials, gunsquad, even the news people who would withstand a hurricane or a blasting volcano for a story, drop all their equipment and run full speed away.
            It seems you will not die of a hundred gun shots today. 

THE END.