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Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Fire-brand Guarantee (story #43)

Hey there, clubbers.  Meaning that, if you are reading this, you are at least peripherally a member of the club.  You know, not meaning that you go out clubbing on the weekends or anything.  I mean, sure, you might do that, it’s none of my business.  It’s just not what I’m talking about.  And you, that one guy out there thinking you’re funny; you shut up.  I didn’t mention baby seals for a very good and tasteful reason.  Some people, geez.

So, this week, we have had several meetings here at the club to decide what the story was going to be about.  Then we remembered we don’t plan the stories in advance and just went out clubbing instead.  But, since we are listening to James Horner’s “Mighty Joe Young” score right now, we may as well write something about monkeys.  And pan flutes.  And just to mix it up, I will guarantee you at least one scene of a man and woman drinking coffee.  And something will be on fire.  Okay, I think I’ve given myself enough ridiculous variables; on with the show.

THE FIRE-BRAND GUARANTEE

Art by Libby Barringer

Art by Libby Barringer

Thursday dawned bright and clear that week, and Milo was awake with the dawn.  “Hey,” he said to himself, “the author used the word ‘dawn’ twice in one sentence.  Isn’t that a poor writing choice?”  Well, whatever, that nimrod was talking to himself, what does he know?

Preparing to meet his fiend, Andalusia, for coffee, Milo donned a suit of armor.  What, did you think it was a typo?  Nope, Andalusia wasn’t his friend, she was a fiend.  A horrible monstrous hybrid of several different species of monkey that had been genetically fused with a human woman and an avocado.  The result was a hideous creature that enjoyed shopping, eating bugs off of people, and the song “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”  Since Milo was the wacko scientist who had created her, he felt it his duty to have coffee with Andalusia once a week and try to help her fit into civilized society.  The suit of armor was because she would often use her claws to try and tear Milo limb from limb.  I mean, he turned her into a hideous, hairy, green creature; what would you do?  The odd thing is that Milo’s experiments had proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that all her violent tendencies came from the avocado.  Who knew they were such vicious little fruits?

So, properly attired for the meeting, Milo headed off to the local Starbucks.  As he walked in the door the manager, Michelle, turned to him and said, “Oh, hi, Milo.  Meeting Andalusia this morning, I see?”

“Yep,” Milo said (and it sounded all echo-y and metallic inside his helmet).  Michelle nodded and immediately went into the back room and put on her own suit of armor.  Rob, the barista for the day, asked if he could have a suit of armor, too.

“Don’t be silly,” Michelle replied, ” you’re only part-time.”

“But part-timers get benefits at Starbucks,” Rob whined.

“Not if I keep you under 20 hours a week, sucker,” Michelle replied, and went into the back room make phone calls and count stuff.

Rob sighed and asked Milo if he’d like the usual.  Milo said yes, and they engaged in some boring small talk.  I could go through that with you, but it’s all stuff like Milo asking, “what’s the music we’re listening to?” and Rob replying “it’s our newest CD – Zamfir performs the greatest hits of Hall and Oates” and Milo asking who Zamfir is and Rob explaining that he’s the master of the pan flute, but honestly you don’t need to hear all that except to know that I am fulfilling all of my promises of content from the intro.

SO, anyway, after about five and a half minutes of this, Andalusia came bursting through the front door, her long-green hair flying behind her.  “Where’s my coffee, you apron-wearing bozo?!?” she shrieked at Rob, who immediately burst into tears.

Milo turned to her and said, “now, remember, my dear; ask nicely and people will respond in like kind.  Apologize to Rob, please.”

Shuffling her feet a little, Andalusia said, “sorry, bozo.  Can I have my coffee now?”  So, Rob made her a pumpkin spice latte (they kept the pumpkin spice around all year to keep Andalusia from getting too pissed off) with skim milk and extra whipped cream.  Which is kind of a funny drink, if you think about it.

Sniffling a little, Rob handed Andalusia her drink.  “Here you are, Andalusia,” he said, trying to smile.  She snatched it gruffly from his hands and sneered at him.

Seeing Milo’s furrowed brow, she quickly said, “thanks, bozo,” picked a bug off his head and ate it, and trudged over to her normal seat.  Milo sat with her and they drank their coffee in silence listening to the mellow, flute-y strains of  “Private Eyes.”

After about 10 minutes, Andalusia set down her cup and asked Milo, as she often did, “so, tell me one more time: Why did you cross me with several species of monkey and an avocado?”

And Milo, calmly sipping his coffee through a slit in his face-mask with a straw, replied as he had so many times before, “because I am insane.”

“Well,” Andalusia replied, pulling a piping hot fire-brand from her back pocket, “that’s just not good enough anymore.”

Milo was dumbfounded.  After a moment of sheer dumbfounditude, he said, “where did you get a fire-brand from?  Your back pocket?  Do you mean to tell me that you’ve had a flaming stick in your back pocket this whole time?”

“Yeah,” she said, standing up and raising the brand above her head.  “What’s your point?”

“Holy crap!” Rob cried suddenly from behind the counter, “your butt’s on fire!”

Andalusia turned and tried to look at her own butt, but it’s hard to do that without a mirror, so she just started turning around and around like a dog chasing its tail.

You think your life is weird?  Try going into your local coffee shop for your morning cappuccino and seeing a monkey-avocado woman chasing its own flaming butt while a pan-flute plays “Kiss on My List” and a crazy guy in a suit of armor laughs so hard he cries.  That’ll make you think twice about where you get your coffee.

THE END

Well, I’m pretty sure I kept all my promises in writing the story this week.  Good thing I never promised a story arc or resolution or anything.

See you in seven,

The SotWC

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4 Comments

Posted by on January 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The Story of Archibald and Stebbins (story #42)

Hey howdy hey.  It’s time for another rootin’ tootin’ good time story from the people who brought you such rootin’ tootin’ good times as “Billy the Kid Meets Malcolm McDowall (story #22, 28 Nov 1994) and…  Well, actually I think that’s it for rootin’ tootin’ stories.  But ain’t it nifty what a long memory we have here at the club?  Which brings me to the point that we are eventually going to archive the 94-95 seasons of the SotWC here so you can read such finely aged bits of joy as the aforementioned story, we just haven’t gotten around to it.  But now that we have told you, our faithful, rabid, and world-wide fan-base about it, we are forced into having accountability for it.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

So, as you may have guessed, today’s story is going to be a rootin’ tootin’ tale of the old west, that time and place in American history where legends were born easily (because somebody usually made a bunch of crap up) and died young (because everybody shot each other back then).  Why have we decided on a western this week?  Well, because we said “rootin’ tootin'” at the beginning of the introduction, and it made us want to write a western story.  Also, we’re listening to a song from the movie “City of Angels,” so we’ve just decided to include an angel or two in the story.  Let’s find out what happens.

THE ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ STORY OF ARCHIBALD AND STEBBINS

One day in the old west, an old prospector named Archibald was wandering in the desert with a divining rod looking for water.  He had been searching for hours and was beginning to despair of ever finding anything.  “Please, Lord,” he said, gazing up at the scorching, infinite sky, “please help me find some water.  I don’t need much, Lord, but anything you could do would sure be nice.”

Just then, Archibald’s divining rod pointed straight down at the ground.  With a sudden strength born of unchecked hope, he drove the stick down into the dirt.  Water began to bubble up out of the ground.  This surprised Archibald quite a bit, because he didn’t actually believe that divining rods worked.  I mean, come on, it’s just a stick for crying out loud.  Licking his lips hungrily, Archibald bent down to take a drink.

Just then, an evil cow-poke named Blastry shot Archibald right in the head, killing him instantly.  Laughing like the dirty bastard he was, Blastry turned his ugly gray horse east and headed towards town.  Which was only about five hundred feet away, by the way.  If only Archibald had turned around and looked behind him he would have seen it and saved himself a lot of trouble.  And death.  Silly prospector.

Art by David Vienna

Anyway, at that moment up in Heaven, God was looking down on the desert and shaking his head.  “Well, poop,” he said.

One of the nearby angels looked up and said, “why for didst thou cry ‘poop’, O Lord?”

“You know, Stebbins,” God replied, “sometimes I wonder about this whole ‘free will’ thing I gave them.  Did you see what Blastry just did to poor Archibald right after I granted his prayer?”

“Sorry, Lord,” Stebbins replied, “I was too busy reprimanding Nikcage over here for wanting to become human and thinking that fallible human love could be more pleasurable than living in the eternal presence of the divine.  I mean, honestly, it’s not like you gave US free will, is it?”

“Heck, no,” God said.  “That sounds like a goofy movie plot.  Tell Nikcage to quit pouting and get his angelic butt over here.”

And so it came to pass that Stebbins and Nikcage were given an assignment by the Almighty to go down and return Archibald’s soul to his body and give him one chance to prove that free will was a good idea.

Down on earth, Archibald awoke next to a bubbling pool of water.  “What the heck happened?” he said feeling the scar on his forehead where, mere moments before, a fatal wound had been sunk.  “I could swear that bank-robbing fiend Blastry had done shot me in my brainpan.”

“And so he did,” said a voice from behind him.

At the sound of the voice Archibald spun around and immediately went, “what the hay?  Town was right there the whole time?  Boy, do I feel stupid.”

“Yeah, that was pretty dumb of you,” said Nikcage, who was standing next to Stebbins, who had spoken in the first place.

“You think that was dumb,” Stebbins said calmly, “did you actually watch Ghost Rider?”  In response, Nikcage said something real soft that ended with an outburst and a lot of hand waving, but no one was paying attention.

“What are you guys doing here, and why are you dressed so funny?” Archibald asked.

“What do you mean, dressed funny?” Stebbins asked.  “We’re wearing dusters and cowboy hats to fit in here in the old west.”

“Well, the wings and sandals are an interesting touch,” Archibald replied.

“Yeah, well,” said Stebbins.

“Yeah, well,” Nikcage said, getting agitated, “yeah well, yeah well, maybe we should just GET GOING to that TOWN over there, A-HOLES!”

“Calm down,” Stebbins said.

“He’s kinda high strung, ain’t he?” Archibald asked.

“You have no idea,” Stebbins sighed.  “The Rock won’t even get made for another hundred and thirty years.  Anyway, look; we came here from Heaven above to bring you back your soul and give you a chance to prove to God that free will wasn’t such a bad idea after all.  What do you say?”

“Well, that’s a heap of ‘sponsibility fer one man to carry on his shoulders,” Archibald lamented.  “What if’n I ain’t up to the task?”

“Then we have to take back your soul and God’s gonna wipe out humanity,” Stebbins said.  “No pressure or anything.”

“We’re set to pop, here, honey,” Nikcage said softly.

“Holy crap,” said Archibald, “I hope I do the right thing, here.”

And, as Nikcage traded faces with another angel and changed his name, Archibald strolled into town and did…  something.  Don’t ask me what that was.  I have no idea, but since we’re all still here, it must have been the right thing.  Oh, sweet mystery.  I can tell you that Blastry wasn’t killed that day, he was killed three days later when Sasquatch came to town dressed as Billy the Kid and shot him dead.  So, in that way, justice was served and we also got to tie this story into another one that most of you have never read.  But Archibald killing him would have been wrong, so that’s not what happened.

When he was done doing the right thing, Archibald walked back out to Stebbins and Castertroy and said, “hey, that felt pretty good.”

“What’s that?” Stebbins asked.

“You know,” said Archibald, “doing the right thing.”

“Yeah, well,” Stebbins said, “we were rootin’ for you.”

Just then, Archibald cut a mean fart.  “Oops,” he said.  “I tooted.”

THE END

And there you have it.  Our first western story in 15 years.  We don’t think it would make a very good movie, though, so Natty-Mac will have to come up with something else for a screenplay idea.  Just sayin’.

See you in seven,

The SotWC

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2010 in Western

 

Musical Chairs (story #41)

Willkommen.  Bienvenue.  Welcome.  (That was fun to run through spellcheck)  (P.S. Does anyone else find it entertaining that the word “spellcheck” is not recognized by spellcheck?  Kind of how “T9” is not recognized by the T9 feature on my phone.  Now, what was I talking about?  Oh, yes, the story of the week…)  So, here we are, conscientiously writing a story BEFORE falling asleep on the couch.  My CPU chip is set to learn.  They say you learn something new every day, you know.  Today I learned how to spell “conscientiously.”

So, this week, we are trying to write the story in the time it takes to boil a pot of macaroni.  That’s pretty much the only restriction we’re putting on ourselves. God knows we’re not going to try and include any sort of puzzle for the readers to figure out, because all of NO ONE sent in a guess about the subliminal messages last week.  Why we write for such lazy people is beyond us.  But we do it every week, and we do it conscientiously.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

There is a place, a magical place, where blue-skinned alien creatures frolic in joyful harmony all day long, eating fruit from strange and exotic trees unlike anything you or I have ever seen and drinking from deep lavender pools of sweet, pungent liquid until they are satiated and lie back in the lush red grass to daydream about…  Well, they just daydream about themselves, because that’s how delightful their existence is.  Believe it or not, this place is in New Jersey.  They just hide it really well.

Now, the secret entrance to the magical alien paradise was hidden under the freeway on-ramp by Maple Avenue (they have those everywhere, so I feel pretty secure naming a street that even though I’ve never been to New Jersey, I mean who out there in our readership has lived in New Jersey recently and could prove me wrong anyway?) and was passed by unsuspecting travelers every day.  No one inside the Elysian world ever thought they would be discovered by the world outside.  Of course, they were wrong.  If they weren’t the story would be over right now, and nobody wants that.  Well, I hope nobody wants that anyway.

One fateful Thursday afternoon, a young woman named Turtledove was leaving her job at the local Supercool New Jersey Theater Place, thinking about how much she missed her co-worker Amy who had moved to New Mexico, when she spotted a little blue alien creature munching on a peanut butter sandwich over by the freeway.  How odd, she thought.  I don’t remember the freeway being right outside the theater before.  Of course the freeway had always been right next to the theater, Turtledove was just really, really unobservant.  At any rate, she walked over to the little blue alien creature, who had orange hair and sort of resembled the cartoons of sea monkeys that used to show up in 1970s comic books all the time.

Art by Eric Jansen

“Hey,” she said, “did you put this freeway here?”

The creature, whose name was Klippership, looked up in startled amazement.  Don’t ask me why he had left the lush and secret paradise to come hang out in New Jersey.  Maybe his mom had run out of peanut butter and crossing over to the “other world” was all he could think of.  Or maybe all they had was fat free Jif, and who wants to eat that crap.  Whatever the case, he found himself in the horrifying position of revealing the entrance to his world or staying in New Jersey and talking to this human.  Being totally selfish and scared and a little bit slow himself, Klippership hurled his peanut butter sandwich to the ground, let out a cry (“Gleep!”) and bolted for his beautiful secret world.

“Hey!” Turtledove called after him.  “Where are you going?  I just wanted to know how the freeway got here!  And, as an afterthought, I find myself a little curious as to what the heck you are!”

“Gleep!” Klippership gleeped as he dove into a pile of rocks that was, in fact, a Styrofoam model meant to conceal the entrance.  Squirming through the lengthy tunnel beyond, he finally emerged into the bright green sunlight and breathed a sigh of relief.  Everyone nearby ceased their daydreaming to look up and see who had come through the entrance.  Upon seeing Klippership, they all gleeped happily and were about to return to their daydreaming when none other than Turtledove came crawling to the surface.

Everyone stared at her in utter shock and amazement.  No human had ever found their secret entrance before (it was a really convincing Styrofoam model, okay?).  No one knew exactly what to do, so they all just looked at her and waited to see what would happen.

“Jeepers,” she said as she looked around at the strange and wonderful paradise before her.

“Gleep?” ventured Klippership.

“No, I said jeepers,” Turtledove returned.  “Silly alien.”

“Well, you don’t have to be so snotty about it,” Klippership replied and sat down on the grass to sulk.

“Hey, I thought all you guys could say was gleep,” Turtledove said.

“Well, that’s just an assumption you made, then, isn’t it?” he replied.  “And, honestly, how far would we have gotten with a conversation scene where all I could say was gleep, huh?  Only a serious goofball would attempt that.”

“Have you ever read the Story of the Week?” she asked, “they do that kind of crap all the time.”

“How very self-aware of you,” Klippership said.

“Gee, thanks,” said Turtledove, who wasn’t sure what he was talking about because she didn’t know she was in a story.

“So, what are you gonna do now that you’ve found us?” asked Klippership.  “Are you gonna go back and tell the world about us?  Or go back and keep the secret?  Or will you stay and live with us in peace and harmony, abandoning your other world with all its troubles and woes and smog and snow and dogs and lentil soup and cardboard boxes and fruit salad and babies named Cthulu and broccolli spears?”

Turtledove gazed around at the fascinating paradise.  All the little blue alien creatures gazed back at her.  She could almost feel the daydreaming urge stealing over her, and she began to weep with joy.  “Really?” she asked, ” you would let me stay?”

“No,” said Klippership, “I just threw in that last one to see what you’d do.  But you can stay for a game of musical chairs if you like.”

And so she did.  And she was quite glad of it because it was the first time in her life that Turtledove had ever won at musical chairs.  As she left, she turned around and smiled at everyone who had assembled to watch her go.  Waving happily, she said, “suck it, you little blue creeps.  I won, you lost, go daydream about that.”

“Gleep,” they all replied conscientiously.

THE END

Well, we failed miserably at finishing the story before the macaroni boiled over, and that translated into writing the story after eating (and watching some TV, and generally being lazy, maybe that influenced the story when we finally got around to it) so it’s pretty late, technically Tuesday.  Pretty sure our receptionist Michael has taken several hundred outraged calls by now.  Sorry, Michael.  Tell everyone we here at the club haven’t gone to sleep yet, so it’s still Monday as far as we’re concerned.  Of course, it’s all relative.  Heck, it’s already Wednesday in New Zealand.

So long.  Farewell.  Auf Wiedersehen.  Adieu.  Gleep.

See you in seven,

The SotWC

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Fantasy

 

Common History Tents (story #40)

Well, hi there, everyone.  Are you through crying bitter tears because the story wasn’t written yesterday?  No?  Okay, we’ll wait.

Ready?  Swell.  So last week, we were a bit saddened that not one single reader out there commented on the story.  One of our readers suggested that perhaps people were a bit stymied by the more pensive tone of the poem and were simply ruminating on it all week (was it funny?  Was it serious?  What did it mean?  What did it not mean?  What is the matrix?).  If that is the case, then perhaps we at the club can take solace in the possibility of creating a container for thought, a vehicle for reflection, a more thoughtful if less vocal readership.

Well, that’s all well and good, but it does nothing for our instant gratification complex.  Therefore, we are imbuing this week’s story with subliminal messages to make you all comment on it.  So there.

COMMON HISTORY TENTS

Art by Geoff Strout

Art by Geoff Strout

Colin was not an ordinary boy.  He was, in fact, the ugliest boy ever created.  Buck teeth, coke-bottle glasses, elephant ears, an enormous Adam’s apple; these were actually his more attractive features.  No one understood what had happened to Colin, because his parents were the most attractive people you’d ever want to meet.  His mother and father had never worked a day in their lives because when people saw how beautiful they were, they simply gave them money.  Colin, conversely, merely inspired people to throw dirt clods at him.   Needless to say, he grew up quite sad in his hometown of Surrey With The Frinjontop in jolly olde England.

“Oy!” the local boys would shout after him.  “What you so ugly for, you tosspot?”  (editor’s note: in an attempt to give this story a sense of realism, we will be writing all dialogue in authentic British dialects, with regional colloquialisms, spellings, and slang.  And, by that, I mean we’re going to make it all up and not care who notices.)  They would follow him around all day calling him “Ninnyboots” which is of course a popular British colloquial slang.

Most days Colin would just shrug off their insults and try not to look in any mirrors.  But, one fateful Thursday, as a particularly large dirt clod struck him in the back of the head, he decided he had had enough.

My goodness, the fight that ensued was massive.  Quite epic, really.  But this story isn’t very funny so far and a fight scene isn’t going to help that so instead we’re going to go check in with Colin’s beautiful parents instead because, at that very same moment, they were in their gigantic tent (everyone in Surrey With The Frinjontop lived in tents, it was a very progressive town) watching an Eddie Izzard DVD, like all good Bitish people do, and that is much funnier than a fight scene.

“Eddie Izzard sure is funny, isn’t he, dear?” said Colin’s father, Rock Buttress, to Colin’s mother, Stereoscope Sparkle-Buttress.

Nodding happily, she replied, “yes, he is, my diddly-pop.  But not nearly as attractive as you are.”

“That’s true, me durky,” Rock said, frowning a little.  “It is a sniggly shame that so many people are so much less attractive than we are.”

“Oh, Rock,” said Stereoscope, “you just care too much.  That’s your problem.  Really your only problem at that.  Otherwise you’re just swucky.”

“Now, pooter-pie,” said Rock, continuing the authentic British pet name-calling, “you really mustn’t fawn over me so.  It embarrasses me.  And I am slightly less attractive when I blush.”

“That is odd,” said Stereoscope as though they had never had this conversation before, “because blushing actually makes me even more attractive.”

“How true that is, muffin noodle,” Rock said, flashing her a devastatingly handsome smile.  With that, they both dissolved into fits of uncontrolled, yet extremely good-looking, laughter.

“I do believe we get funnier every day, squishy-bum,” Stereoscope said once they had gotten control of themselves.

“So we do, my nifty clock-paddle,” Rock replied, wiping away tears of laughter.

Suddenly, the front door opened and in trudged Colin.  He was covered in dirt, his glasses were broken in two places, and he was limping.  He looked at his parents, who stopped smiling and simply stared at him.  With sudden ferocity, he raised an accusing finger and pointed at them.

“This is all your fault!” he cried, his voice shaking with rage and humiliation.  “You gave birth to me without passing on a single attractive gene!  How is that even possible?  How can the two best-looking people in the world combine their DNA strands and come up with someone as ugly as me?  I mean, honestly, how did you dooftopodes manage that one?”

“Oh my,” said Stereoscope.  “I fear we have let you believe an untruth all your life.  My darling ugly boy, I think it is time you learned the facts.”  And with that, Colin’s parents sat him down and told him where he really came from.

Right about now you are probably thinking he was adopted or something.  Well, nope, the truth was that his parents actually made him in the basement one day twelve years earlier when they didn’t have anything better to do.  I may have forgotten to mention that, aside from being sickeningly attractive, they were also mad scientists.  However, if you go back to the beginning, you’ll note that I did tell you that Colin was “created” rather than born.  His teeth really came from a male rabbit (also known as a “buck,” see how we teach you things here at the club?), his eyes really were made from coke bottles, his ears were from an elephant (don’t worry, they didn’t kill the elephant, they just took part of his ears and, let me tell you, he had ears to spare), and his Adam’s apple was…  Well, okay, his Adam’s apple was actually a tennis ball, but I couldn’t very well have mentioned that at the beginning of the story without giving away the big surprise ending, could I have?

“You know,” Colin said upon learning all of this, “the fight scene probably would have been funnier.”

THE END

“Hey,” you’re probably saying to yourselves right now, “with their goofy sense of humor there at the club, I was sure that the ‘subliminal message’  would actually be something totally overt and probably over the top.  How could I have missed it?”

Well, ha ha ha, we actual did something subtle for once so, whether you liked the story or not, you now get to play the fun game of figuring out where the subliminal messages lie.  That’s right.  The Story of the Week is also a game this week, and potentially a bigger waste of time than online solitaire.  Go us.

See you in six,

The SotWC

 
15 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

um, well, hi.

Hello, dear readers, and apologies.  This week’s story will not appear until sometime tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 5th) because we here at the club are exhausted and need to wake up at 6am to go to work (hooray for work!).  We were thinking about trying to write a story anyway, but then we realized two very important things: 1) God obviously doesn’t want us to write a story right now because, for the first time ever, the club’s page and subsequent “new post” page took forever to load and almost made me give up on even writing this stupid little note to the faithful readers out there refreshing every 10 minutes, and 2) this is our club and we can bend the rules if we want to.

So, come back tomorrow night for some thrilling adventure that we will come up with at that time.  Also, this gives artist Geoffrey Strout a whole other day to sweat about having to come up with art quickly.

See you in one,

the SotWC

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2010 in Announcements