Monday, October 17, 2011

Now that I got a little free time...

"You'll do?!?!" I squeaked. "What on Earth is that supposed to mean?"

"It means," said the staff in a voice that came from everywhere and nowhere at once, "that you aren't the greatest man that ever lived, and that, given my preference, I would take someone else. Someone stronger. Someone smarter. Someone for whom magic was an everyday occurance. However, seeing as how you have dug me out of the ice, and you're not that bad of a person, all things considered, I will make use of you to destroy those who created and imprisoned me whilst simultaneously cleaning up this planet. And, since I am an incredibly powerful, fully conscious instrument of pure, strong magic which lacks only the ambulatory nature needed to complese this task and since you, sir, are basically decent and, more importantly, mobile, I will allow you to function in a transportation capacity and my ends will be met. That is what I meant. I apologize for being brief."

I wasn't too sure how I was supposed to respond to that kind of honesty. I managed to get as far as, "Oh, well, then, if that's..." before the staff yelled at me.

"Quit dilly dallying and pick me up, you fool! The necromancers have surely detected my release and are most likely oozing this way through the shadow realm right now."

I ain't gotta be told twice. I may not have much of what you might call book learnin, but I know anything that can ooze through the shadow realm, whatever that may be, is prolly bad news. And if a stick is saying I should grab it to protect myself from the aforementioned oozy thing, I would be remiss not to follow. Of course, by the time I'd finished this rationalization for myself, the staff was already in my hand.

It's hard to say what happened then. It was like I was still lookin at the world, but I was sorta lookin through the world, too, like the world was made out of a bedsheet and I was dressed as a blind ghost for Halloween. I could still see everything that had been there, the ghost army, Alistair and the mech, but I could see more. I saw all the pain and suffering that laid over thr world. I saw the iron hard determination that Alistair had to defeat Clan Platypus.

And a monster. I saw a slimy monster that looked like someone had glued a bunch of elephant tusks randomly on the world's largest hairball and then dipped the whole thing in extra slimy slime. You know, not that regular slime you get down at the feed and slime co-op, but the good, importec kind you get over at the slime boutique over on 5th. The kind that comes from them fancy French snails and the leavins in a caviar can. Real slimy slime.

Well this thing was droolin and gruntin and speakin some weird language of the sort you would expect from a monster of the type I was seein. Me, I was scared, and I ain't ashamed to admit it. I froze right up, as one might be expetin to do in that kinda situation. Despite that, I found myself flyin through the air, staff spinnin over my head like a helicpter blade, and me screamin some gibberish language. It was like that time I ate a jar of peanut butter a month after its expiration date, only without the throwin up.

"What's goin on here?" I thought.

The staff spoke to me. Let me repeat that. I thought something, and this thing responded. "I've taken over your nervous system to allow you to fight the most powerful magicians in this galaxy and not die in the process."

"How bout that," I thought at the staff. "And what is that thing we're flyin at?"

"That is what is left of Genji Nakahura, the least of the thirteen."

"And what is it we plan on doin when we get to...uh...what was that name again?"

"Genji Nakahura. We're going to strike him in the face, pull all of his magic out of him, and fill him with all of the pain he has caused in others, which he will experience fully and sequentially until he has felt the full implications of his evil."

And that's what we did. Well, the hittin in the face part, I know for sure happened. As for the rest, if it looks like oil rainbows bein sucked through a crazy straw and sounds like a cat with worn out brakes, then it happened. If not, then someone's got a belly full of oill and a cat that needs to be taken to the shop.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Now, I ain't never been one to take on the hefty responsibility. When I was a lad, our class had to pick a hall monitor and, for some reason, all my school chums decided the job would go to me. I didn't want the job. I mean, it was bad enough havin to show up to school every day. But now I was expected to check every half hour to make sure the hall was still there?! It was too much, really. Of course, this was way back in the 60s, when there were giants roaming the earth, subsisting on the hallways of schools and, for some reason, Tang. In fact, that's why we sent all that Tang with them first astronauts, to lure them giants into space where they could be used to protect the planet from asteroids being thrown at us my Mars, but that story's not that interestin, and I'm pretty sure you know all about it anyway.

So, my school chums thought it'd be h-i-larious to give me the job of watchin the hall and makin sure it was still there. I felt it shoulda gone to Chuck, this kid that had a lazy eye. I mean, hey, he was keepin an eye on the hallway anyways, why not make it official? But no, it had to be good ol' Pat O'Neil to get up every half hour to check to make sure the hallway was there. I did that job for three thankless years. Did anyone say, "Good job, Pat?" No. Did anyone throw a parade for Pat O'Neil? Yes, they did. But it was entirely unrelated to my duties as hall monitor. Did they ever, once say, "Thank you. Thank you, Pat O'Neil for keeping our hallway safe from those giants who may be better suited to defending us against the terrible Martian hordes?" No. But the one time a giant DOES eat our hallway, guess who has to hear all about it? Me, that's who. "Why weren't you watching, Pat?", "What's wrong with you, Pat?", "I can't see you clearly with my lazy eye, but if I could, it would be filled with sadness and disappointment, Pat."

What was I going to do? I was eight. What eight year old is going to be able to stand up to the giants? Well, besides Genghis Timmy, the leader of the Martian hordes, who stood up to the giants, I mean.

That whole experience there soured me on doing anything that required responsibility. For the next fifty years or so, I tried to live my life with as little responsibility as I could manage. I didn't take on any extra jobs no one gave to me. I didn't volunteer for nothin. And when I played air guitar, I'd always play the rhythm guitar part. Who needs all the showiness of playing air guitar to the lead? That's just fancy for fancy's sake if you ask me.

Despite that, I found myself shouldering quite a responsibility there on Meth Earth. I was supposed to dig up this haunted stick thing, use that to drive off the cruel masters of the planet and restore the ghost dragon army back to some semblance of normalcy. I wasn't comfortable with it, but what can you do? When fate comes callin, you can't turn out the lights, hide behind the couch and pretend not to be home, like you can when it's your aunt or solicitors looking for donations to the Genghis Timmy Memorial Fund for the Prevention of Death in Children Due to a Severe Cultural Misunderstanding Resulting in a Serious Interplanetary War That Could Have Been Avoided by a Little Research on Behalf of the Martian Diplomat. No. You gotta get your butt up off that couch, quiet the dog, open the door, look fate right in the eye and then dig a couple hundred feet through antarctic ice.

"One problem," I said, "I don't have a shovel."

The ghost leader scratched his head. "Yeah, that's gonna be a problem. We're basically incorporeal, so we can't really dig."

"But you just brought me here on your back," I pointed out.

"Well, yeah," he said, "but that's different. We, like, don't have to work when we fly. Diggin's hard."

"Well, I ain't gonna just dig through the ice with my bare hands," I retorted. "So what were you expectin us to do?"

The ghost shrugged, "Dunno, guess I hadn't thought that far ahead."

"Wait," said Alistair, "I've got an idea. Can you guys wait here for a bit?"

It was my turn to shrug. "Don't see why not."

So we hung out there on the icy plain for awhile, played a little cribbage. It was beginnin to seem like I wasn't never gonna get out of this and get home. But at least I had time to rest my feet and take a little nap. I slept like a little baby; wakin up and cryin every couple of hours, then tryin to stick my feet in my mouth.

I'd just about got my right foot to my cheek when I saw the giant form on the horizon. The thuddin of the land grew as the enormous shape moved closer. It first looked like a man, but no man ever stood that tall. "What is that?" I asked the ghost dragon.

"How would I know?" one of them said, "it's too far away."

"Don't you have some magic powers or somethin? I mean, what good is it bein a ghost dragon if you're limited by a normal person's sight?" I asked.

"Tell me about it," one ghost lady replied. "I was near sighted when I died and, let me tell you, it's darned near impossible to get glasses once you're dead. Bein locked in a box doesn't help none, either."

A few of the other ghosts mumbled their agreement. By the time they were done sharin their optical complaints with me, I could finally see the shape. Alistair had gone back to where I landed and recovered the mech suit I wore during that first battle.

"Chuck's Chain-Chuck-o-matic!" the ghosts exclaimed. "Of course!"

I don't use the phrase stunning very often, but then again, I don't see a giant mechanical suit shooting chainsaw nun-chucks into antarctic ice over and over and over again that often. Then chainsaws punched through the ice like it was butter and they were still chainsaws. We cleared the path down to the staff in a matter of minutes.

It lay in the ice, shining in the sun, like some sort of snake made of mercury. It was beautiful and frightening at the same time. A low hum seemed to come from it, too quiet to be heard, but it made my entire chest tremble in fear.

"Well," said the ghost, slapping me on the back, "go on down there and get it."

I stood, staring. Then slipped and slid my way down the sides of the pit. It was all I could do not to run away. I was about to be judged by something more powerful than everything I'd ever seen or thought about. What would I find? What would it say about me?

I reached out to the staff, my hands trembling. As my fingertips touched it, a voice rang out in the silence.

"Yeah, you'll do."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sorry for the delay, babies are a ton of work.

"Well, now," I told them ex-meth addict ghosts, "that there was a humdinger of a story. Course, now that I give it some good thought, it seems like you never really answered my question."

"How so?" came the ethereal response.

"I mean, I know this story's gone on way, WAY too long, given the simple nature of the question, so I may be remembering all this a little wrong, but I sorta remember askin you what the Staff of Haruki actually WAS, not how it came to be and all that. I'm just as much of a fan of a good origin story as the next guy, but I think y'all been a little circuitous about tellin me what the staff actually is. You know, like what it does and why I need it to defeat the evil drug dealin ninja overlords of this here planet. That's really what I was askin about."

"We know," they chanted together.

"If ya know, then why'd ya give me all that rigamorale about killin gods and burnin a tree and giant fish eatin planets and whatnot?"

The leader of the ghosts, a bluish apparition that looked as if he had neither eaten nor washed his mullet in the last four years of his life, scratched the back of his head up under a trucker cap that read "Ask me how to lose ten pounds of ugly fat. NOW" and shuffled a bit. Then he cleared his throat a couple times and looked around like he was expectin the rest of this ghost army to speak for him.

Then, he alone spoke. After hearin that whole durned story told by a whole creepy group at the same time, I felt like my ears was gonna pop.

"Look," he said, "we all been locked into bottles, jars, shoeboxes and whatever for a couple hundred years. Tom over there died in the desert and all the necromancer had on him to store the soul in was a fresh sheep's badder that he'd been peein in for a week. And, let me tell ya, them things is like to get ripe after the first decade or so. Point bein, we been locked up inside that volcano for centuries and ain't had no one to talk to. We's just lonely."

"Oh." I felt kinda bad for harassin 'em. Of course, I was still standin on a post-apocalyptic plain, skies of death roilin above my head, and a group of ninjas prolly pretty angry that me and my copies had just taken over their planet with our robot army, so I was startin to feel a little sense of urgency, if'n you follow my meaning. Plus I was gettin pretty hungry, and I was bettin I wouldn't be like to get back to my tuna salad sandwich before we cleaned up this den of necromancers that was really pullin the strings.

I tried explainin all this to the ghost army, and they took it pretty well. Well, after the wailin and gnashing of the teeth, that is. But they agreed to cut the whole thing a little shorter and just explain to me what the staff was. Then, to make up for the delay they'd caused, they also agreed to give me a ride to where the staff was embedded in deepest arctic ice. Also, they offered to fix the Deus Ex Machina. I told 'em that was mighty kind, but I didn't really understand how they knew how to repair a machine that was built just a few weeks before.

"When you're trapped in a jar," they explained, "you got a lot of time for reading."

And that's how I ended up flyin over a scorched planet on the back of a ghost dragon being chased by a spaceship full of squirrel monkeys. I'm sure you can all relate.

"Now, about this staff thing we're supposed to be pickin up. What's it do?" I asked my mount.

"The blood of gods and dying screams of a tome of black magic made the staff magic absorbant," they began. "Haruki and his minions, the teenage sons of Clan Platypus' ruling council on this planet, thought it was entirely magic resistant. So, in their descent into black magic, they practiced their spells on the staff. If something went wrong, and it often did, the staff would simply absorb the bad effects.

"As the thirteen grew, they practiced more and more powerful black magic, stuff involving sacrifice and death and spirit power, and all of it was practiced on the staff. Once they realized their full power, they banded together to kill their fathers. There was a gruesome parricidal sacrifice that it's really best not to discuss, the power of which was all funneled through Haruki so that he could strike out into space, corrupting the minds of all the planets he passed. Of course, when you sacrifice your father, you can really only do it the once, so it's not like they had time to practice. The power proved too much for Haruki, and he exploded in a nimbus of black magic. It's that black magic that scorched they sky here. It also created the great meth mountains on the western plains. Those are gone now, by the way."

"Sure, of course," I agreed.

"But the staff was right there. It absorbed all the power of the sacrifice and the corrupting influence of Haruki, not to mention the bits of him that were flying about. With this final power and the strong will of the most powerful of the thirteen necromancers, the staff gained consciousness. It felt all the evil inside of it and, contrary to expectation, gained a pretty hefty guilt complex about all the black magic and death it had been involved in. In the first moment of self awareness, the staff decided that it would make people understand the suffering they caused. And that, now, is exactly what it does.

"Legend says that when one approaches the staff, it measures their heart. If they are judged to be evil, they are shown all the suffering they have caused others. But it's not like a movie. They like the lives of those who suffered at their hands. They feel every moment of pain and degradation.

"As you can imagine, with that thing lying about, Clan Platypus had a hard time doing their jobs. Planetary domination slowed to a crawl and no money was getting passed up to the real bosses. Finally, they had to bury the whole thing under a thousand feet of ice in the polar regions.

"Then they got back to work. They harvested the meth mountains and sold them back to us. Those of us who resisted the drug were sent to "reeducation camps" where we were fed meth in our food and then forced to clean tile for hours on end. But now, Pat O'Neil, thanks to you and your clone horde, we can get exact our revenge on Clan Platypus, scour the planet clean of their influence, and get back to our afterlives.

"Oh, here we are."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What happened?

It was at this point in the story that I took it on myself to interrupt.

"Wait, wait, wait," I cried out. "You're just gonna gloss over that whole thing where Odin just sat down and let that little punk kill him? What kinda goose droppins is that?"

The ghost of the meth zombie scratched his dirty blonde hair through his trucker hat. "Well, I was gonna, you know, work it into the story there somewhere. I was thinkin maybe there'd be this big dramatic meetin between Hiroki and his gang and the leaders of Clan Platypus where they'd be all 'Oh, Hiroki, you're so powerful! How did that happen?' and then BOOM! he'd tell em what he saw in the book."

"Naw, naw," I just shook my head, "it's gonna be crap if you tell it like that. Take it from me, I've told a story or two in my time. What you gotta do is just tell us now, so we ain't waitin the rest of the story thinkin 'What the heck happened there?' and cursin your name like we was watchin some overly dramatic movie starring the latest pretty boy actor in his 'break-out role' but it's actually just three and a half hours of people talkin quietly about stuff that doesn't really matter."

"What, you mean, like, just TELL you what happened?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I'm sayin. I ain't standin out here in this scorched wasteland under this freaky blackened sky talking to an army of former meth addicts what has been turned into ghosts for my health, you know. I'm just tryin to make sure my home doesn't end up the same way, you know?"

"Well," he spat, "I guess if that's the way you want it."

"Sure do."

"Well, allrighty then. It turns out that what Hiroki had seen on that paper was a recipe for breaking what was called the 'narrator spell'. I ain't gotta spell it all out for ya, but, in short, it was a spell that trapped a person in a story. And the writer of the story could get that character to do whatever in the heck he wanted him to do. The Grimoire of Necrography had cast this wicked thing on the first person who'd wandered by it in almost 30,000 years, which happened to be Hiroki. The whole trip to the world tree and the burning and everything was all a plan by the Grimoire to get Hiroki to do his bidding. You see, the book, being just a book, couldn't get all the ingredients it needed to make the spell permanent. Apparently, and I ain't no kind of wizard or whatever, to make a person under that kind of spell do what you want, you gotta write it in blood, which wasn't really a problem for the Grimoire. It just chewed up a couple rats that were wanderin the shelves and used their blood. But, to make the spell permanent, the caster had to write the victim's name in god blood, which ain't easy to acquire.

"So the book concocted the whole scavenger hunt for ingredients to help heal Tommy, the deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard. What the Grimoire didn't count on is that Odin, whether in a story or not, is a crafty old codger who's always lookin for ways to twist the fabric of fate. He also knows everything about anyone who eats and drinks in his hall. So, when Odin took Hiroki for the feast, he found out that he was under the narrator spell. Odin knew the Hiroki was gonna need god blood from somewhere, and on that tree, there was really only three choices.

"Knowin all this, Odin contrived to hide for a bit and then follow Hiroki back to his master. When he saw it was the Grimoire, he knew he had to destroy the thing. He'd had some dealings with that awful book in the past, and knew it was evil from cover to cover. Well, except the title page. That was just bureaucracy.

"Turns out that, a couple thousand years ago, Odin used that very book and the narrator spell to lock up his brother, Loki. They'd always been at odds and Odin was always pickin on Loki, cause he was the younger brother. One day, Loki decided he'd had enough and went to Baldr to ask for a hammer. He was plannin to nail the door of Odin's hall shut. It was just gonna be a little prank. He wanted to catch Odin comin out the window of his hall and was hopin his pants would snag on a nail or somethin and come off as he was comin out.

"Baldr wasn't the brightest sun in the sky, though, and he thought Loki was askin him for a warhammer. He got to makin the hammer, but his muscles got tired. So, he set everything aside and went to bed. Going to his forge groggy in the morning, he got to thinkin about how his muscles were sore. He kept chanting to himself 'Sore, sore, sore" as he stoked the fire. Eventually, that turned into 'Thor, Thor, Thor'. And he convinced himself that he'd been making the hammer for Thor.

"Needless to say, Thor was a little surprised when his uncle brought him the greatest warhammer ever created. When he asked his uncle why the gift, Baldr responded 'Oh, that's right! That was for Loki! He was gonna use it to get back at your dad!'

"As you can imagine, Thor was pretty shocked. He went straight to his dad to tell him about this. Odin, being the totally level headed and rational being that he is, pulled out the Grimoire and wove the spell that would make Thor kill Baldr and get Loki blamed for it. Then, to make sure no one would undo the spell, he ripped out the next two pages of the book, which conveniently explained how to do just that.

"And that's how those Norse gods got themselves locked in that terrible cycle they were in. Then, when Hiroki came along, Odin saw a way out for himself and his family. So, he got the two pages he'd ripped out of the book and, as I said before, followed the young ninja back to the Grimoire.

"So, he sat himself down in that chair and showed Hiroki the way to undo the spell. The only way, according to the book, was to put a period on the narration. Sounds easy, but the catch was that the period had to be made with fresh god blood. When Hiroki hesitated in this, Odin let the page slip and showed him the narration spell that had been written for Loki and Baldr.

"When he saw that, Hiroki knew that he wasn't just doing this for himself, but for Odin, too. Naturally, he didn't know where in the book the Grimoire had written his story, so Hiroki put all his might into the blow and drove the staff, with its flat, round end, all the way through the book, effectively putting a giant period on each page.

"So, there ya have it, that what was goin on with the book. Satisfied?"

"Almost," I said, thinkin. "What about that explosion, though? What happened there?"

"Oh, that?" He seemed surprised I'd asked. "The Grimoire of Necrography, being one of the oldest dark magic texts in the universe, contained a whole lot of magic in its pages. When Hiroki destroyed the book, all that magic was released at once and formed, as magic will, a fiery hurricane."

"And it didn't hurt him none?"

"Not one bit. The staff, being made from a magic tree and soaked in the blood of three gods, brothers no less, soaked up all that magic and became one of the most powerful weapons ever known. And that's what you need."

"Super," I said, "and where do I find this staff?"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two months for two pages.

When Hiroki came to, he felt as if months had past. His mouth felt like a whole army of tooth gnomes had been in there pasting up Andre the Giant posters, got tired of that, and then decided to carpet the place in thick, deep, green 70s shag. You know, the kind of carpet you'd expect to find in the back of a van if it had a viking warrior riding a horse/motorcycle hybrid jumping over a tank full of vicious narwhals with laser beam eyes painted on the side. Which is, coincidentally, exactly what the young man had been dreaming about. And he was pissed that he was awake, laying in his dusty cold room filled with weaponry and poison instead of riding his horseocycle.

"mmmmm" he mumbled into the floor.

"What was that?" asked the grimoire. "I didn't quite catch that."

Hiroki cleared his throat. "I said no."

"No?" shot back the book. "No what?"

"No," said Hiroki calmly, sitting up, "no, I won't do this. I won't be bound like some animal put out for show. All my life, I've been told what to do, who to be, who my father was, how to be him. Well, I'm sick of it. I'm sick and tired of being tied up, and I won't do it any more." As he said this, he rose unsteadily to his feet, using the staff to prop himself up.

"What do you propose to do?" questioned the book, full of snark.

"He'll do what he has to do," came a low voice from the corner of the room.

Hiroki turned around to see Odin standing behind him. He looked older, much older than he had a week ago. His face had lost all the friendliness that Hiroki had seen when they first met. But, too, it didn't hold any of the anger he had expected to find there. Just, what, peace? Resignation? Whatever it was, it was solid as a marble statue sunk in amber and frozen in time.

Hiroki bowed formally to him, knowing that the god could sweep off his head at any moment. "Sir," he stated, "I am sorry for the damage I have caused to you and your family. I know there is no way to make amends."

To his surprise, Odin waved him off. "Bah," the old god almost shouted, "they were all gonna die anyway, eventually. Actually, I should be thanking you. Now I don't have to go through all that who-killed-who rigmarole again. Tell ya the truth, I'm pretty darn sick of living that cycle and I'm pretty excited to see what this one has to offer."

"Don't listen to him," whispered the book, "he's up to no good."

"You know what I love best about stories, boy?" Odin asked conversationally.

"No, sir," Hiroki responded, wrinkling up his brow.

"What I love best," continued the god, wandering around the room slowly, "is that each time you tell a story, you can tell it different. Sure, the gist of the thing still needs to be there, but you can change the little details. After all, a story belongs to the teller, and the teller can do whatever he wants."

"Don't trust him!" shouted the book.

Hiroki stood looking back and forth between the god and the book.

"Problem is," continued Odin, as if nothing had happened, "people think that once something is written down, it's gotta be the same way forever. But that's small thinkin."

He turned towards the table on which the grimoire lay.

"Don't let him get too close!" yelled the book. If it could have sweated, it would have. But Hiroki stood and did nothing.

The All Father went on, laying a hand on the book. "That's just the short view. In reality, books may last a little longer, but in the end, they ain't any more permanent than a story, or even a character in a story. I mean to say, a book's gonna break down eventually. They get passed around from hand to hand, sometimes a page or two falls out. In the case of a smart book, maybe it makes sure a couple pages fall out."

He picked up the book and opened it up, seemingly at random. "Oh, what's this?" he asked, false surprise in his voice. He laid the book open on the table and turned it towards Hiroki, who didn't move.

"He lies!!!" shouted the book.

"It's ok, boy," said Odin reassuringly, "come have a look." He waved the young ninja over.

And so Hiroki came, and looked at the book. He didn't know what he was looking for at first, so he read over the pages. Then he saw it. He looked up at Odin, an expression of concern on his face. "It jumps from 1488 to 1493," he said.

"That's right," Odin nodded. "Seems to me, two pages musta fell outta that book somewhere along the way, and gotten lost to history. Course, if a man knows where to look and who to talk to, maybe he could find those couple of pages and maybe, if one were to see those two pages, there could be a way out."

"And do you know where to look and who to talk to?" asked Hiroki.

"I didn't trade my eye for nothin, boy," said Odin gruffly, reaching into his vest. "You see, I just happened to be carrying these with me for the past couple months or so," he pulled two pieces of yellowed paper from his pocket. "And it also just happens that these pages are marked, let's see..." he pretended to read them. "Oh, lookie there, pages 1489, 1490, 1491 and 1492. Isn't that amazing?"

"Run!" Yelled the book to Hiroki. "Get away from this man! He will destroy us all."

"Not quite," Odin said. "I think maybe, if a boy was smart and had the right tools, he could maybe read these couple of pages and then decide for himself what he wanted to do. And it also seems to me that anyone that wasn't willing to let him make up his own mind was maybe manipulating him into things. What do you say, boy?"

"SAY NO!!!" Yelled the book, almost deafeningly. "SAY NOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

But he didn't. Hiroki nodded, ever so slightly. Odin smiled a small, sad smile, and put the two pages back into the book. There was a moment of blinding light, and a sound like a frog being stepped on in reverse, and then the pages lay in the book as if they'd always been there.

Strangely, the book was silent as Hiroki leaned over and read the two missing pages. Whether the two pages or fear had silenced the book, Hiroki couldn't say, but he didn't much care. When he'd read the two pages he simply nodded a bit.

Then he looked up at Odin. "You're sure about this?"

"Sure," responded Odin. "Seems like maybe couldn't be worse than the alternative."

Hiroki thought for a moment, sucking on his lip a bit. As he did, Odin grabbed the book and sat down in a chair to read it. He made hmmm and awww and aha noises as he thumbed through it. He barely felt it when Hiroki's staff punched through his chest and buried itself in the book.

Odin's head dropped back to regard Hiroki one last time. "Freedom," he whispered.

The firestorm that followed will live forever shrouded in legend and mystery. Some say that ghosts tortured the residents of Clan Platypus headquarters for months. Others say that they were surrounded by fire that never burned and never consumed. Others say that they were plagued with laser-eyed narwhals that were kind and offered to clear the dishes after every meal. Regardless of what happened, at the end of it all, Hiroki stood in his room, his hair gone completely white, holding the staff still in his hand.

His weapon now thrummed with a steady power. It was hard to say how it was felt. It was something like a warmth and something like a pressure, but not at all like either. He breathed deeply but steadily.

"Holy cow! Hiroki?" Yelled his companions from his door. "Is that you?"

"Yes," he said to the wall, "it is me." He turned to face them and they all gasped. The storm, in addition to turning his hair all to white, also took one of his eyes.

"Are you....are you all right?" One of his friends asked.

"Better than all right," he stated, plucking an eye patch off the end of his staff. "I'm free."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Returnin from a road trip

You ever been on a road trip? Sure ya have. Everyone's been on a road trip. Well, maybe not everyone. I bet there are some people somewhere that ain't got no roads or ideas of what a 'trip' is, and they prolly don't take a lot of road trips. They prolly also wear gourds over their junk and hunt with sharpened sticks, which is cool for them. I mean, I prefer wearin layer after layer of cotton and silk over my junk and I prefer huntin with a dull stick, but that's just my thing, you know?

Anyway, if you ever been on a road trip, you know that it always starts out as fun, you and your buddies got a cooler full of fried chicken and pasta salad, a week off work, and the open road stretchin out before you. The cool wind of freedom is blowin through your soul and you feel like anything's possible. Maybe you'll drive to Vegas, break the house, spend all your earnings on a fleet of racing cars and C4, go out to the desert and blow the crap out of a pile of McClaren F1s and, just to spite all those suckers who had to work, you ain't gonna take pictures of it. Or maybe you'll drive out to the coast, swim in the ocean, get caught up in the undertow and find yourself getting dragged down to a mysterious underground bubble city where the merpeople make you their king for a week and then you'll meet a beautiful mermaid who falls hopelessly in love with you, but you gotta tell her you gotta go back to Iowa because, as beautiful and enchanting as her undersea world is, it just ain't your world, but you primise you'll write, and you will, for a time, but it will slowly drop off until a day comes twenty years from now when you're wondering whatever happened to her and, just then, your doorbell rings and there's a boy of about 20, who looks to be 3/4 human and 1/4 fish callin you daddy and explainin that he just got accepted to Iowa State and could he stay with you for a bit while he gets his feet wet, no pun intended.

Yeah, that first hour of a road trip is filled with hope and dreams. Then the farting starts. The guy sitting in the back sleep, lulled by the heat and the hum of the tires on the road starts drifting off and losing control of his methane. At first, you try to pass it off by laughing. After all, you ain't gonna let a little butt bubble get in the way of your pile of explodin cars or aquatic love child. But as he slips deeper and deeper into his car-induced trance, his breakfast of last year's cottage cheese mixed with a finely aged durian comes back to haunt everyone else on the trip. So, you gotta make a compromise and roll down the window, which changes the air pressure in the car and blows out everyone's ears. Now, there's no way to listen to the super awesome road trip mix tape you put together but you daren't roll the window back up for fear of vomiting in your own lap. And the sound has woken up Mr. Backseat, who is now all grumpy because his nap got disturbed. So he starts yellin about how it ain't fair he's gotta be stuck in the back seat and the two people in the front seat start yellin back about his fartin and a fistfight breaks out. Then you get pulled over by a cop for runnin over some endangered species of goose while you were takin care of business with Farts McPoot in the back seat and you find yourself in jail. And, because you don't want to give up the dream of the greatest vacation ever, you try gettin the other inmates into singin "Don't Stop Believing" but they're just not into it. Finally, you get released on your own recognizance when you've only got 12 hours to get back home so you can go back to work. So, the whole drive home is a bitter, sullen prolonged silence and, when you finally stumble back into your digs, all you want is a shower and a nap.

That is exactly how young Hiroki felt when he got back to Clan Platypus' headquarters. All he wanted was a shower and a nap. So, usin all his ninja skills, he snuck back into his room. Being the prodigy he was, he avoided being spotted by the guards, the patrolling evil spirits and even the super advanced sentry robots. But, no matter how quiet and cloaked in shadows he was, he couldn't sneak past the Grimoire of Necrography, which was laying on the table of his room.

"Did you get it?!" shouted the book as soon ad Hiroki stepped past the sliding paper doors.

"How did you get in here?" asked the young ninja, knowing that he'd left the book in the library.

"Perhaps I didn't make this clear before," the Grimoire stated, "I am THE GRIMOIRE OF NECROGRAPHY!!!! BOW BEFORE MY POWER MORTAL!!!!!"

"No, no," Hiroki said, holding up his hand, "you made that clear. I just...I don't have hands or legs. Physically, how did you move from the library to here?"

"Oh..." mumbled the Grimoire, much quieter, "I...well...promise you won't tell anyone?"

"Sure, whatever," sighed the ninja.

If the book had eyes or a head, it would have looked around to make sure no one was listening. "I got someone to carry me."

"Oh," Hiroki nodded, "I guess that makes sense. I don't see anything wrong with..."

"BUT I'M THE GRIMOIRE OF NECROGRAPHY!!!!!!" interrupted the book.

Hiroki held up his hands again. "Shhhh. I know you are. You made that crystal clear before. Why is it a big deal if someone carries you? I carried you."

"YES BUT..."

"Shhhhhhh" Hrioki hushed the book again.

"Oh, sorry, *aherm*" the book continued softer, "I'm the most powerful book ever created. I create and destroy kingdoms at a whim. I am used to commanding, but you ninjas, you're all about politeness. I actually had to say please to get someone to carry me. ME! I said please!"

"Oh, gee, that's too bad. I'm so sorry you had to say please to someone to accomplish something." shot back the ninja.

"Are you being sarcastic?"

"Who, me? Nooooooooo. Well, yes."

"That's not nice," scolded the book. "You wouldn't understand how hard that was for me."

"Don't talk to me about hard!" insisted Hiroki. "I killed two gods and burned a sacred world!"

"I know."

"You know?"

"Yeah, I know."

"How did do you know?" asked Hiroki suspicously.

The book sighed, "Open to page 458."

The young ninja was taken aback. It couldn't be possible, could it? All that Loki said about being trapped in stories and unable to get out? He proved that wrong, didn't he? Loki was dead and so was Baldr. Lokie couldn't kill Baldr like the story said because they were both already dead.

Hiroki's mind was racing as he flipped through the book and, at the top of page 458 saw

"Then I am not responsible," said Hiroki standing, "for this!" He swung the saw in a wide arc, catching Loki across the throat. As a bright rooster tail of blood shot from the god's jugular, his eyes went wide with surprise.

Then he fainted.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mr. Wilson

I only flew through space once. And when I did that, I was on a spacey pirate ship. You may remember that, it happened about a week before me helpin myself to wage war on this here meth planet, which is what I'm doin right now. I feel like I may have digressed from that story just a smidge, and I'm gonna get to tellin you how that whole mess went and got itself resolved and everything, but first I gotta finish this here thing with Hiroki and that stick he took away from the world tree that he burned right up.

Like I was sayin, when I flew through space, I had myself some time to think. I ran into a little problem with that. You see, I don't much like thinkin. I prefer pontificatin or combobulatin or the occasional fancyin, but I don't hold no truck with none of that thinkin. So instead, I played me some cribbage. It's a great way to pass the time without thinkin. Some people will tell ya that a tv is the best way to have no thinkin time, and others will tell ya booze or other drugs is the best way to have non thinkin time, but they're wrong. In fact, they couldn't be wronger if they bought a wrong sized wrong directly from the wrong factory in Wrong, Virginia, paid for it using the wrong credit card number and had it shipped to the wrong address. All that stuff does is give you brain cavities.

Cribbage, on the other hand, is the game of kings. Sure, they're drunken, belligerent kings that make up the rules as they go along, but they're still kings. It allows you to hone your wits and counting skills while you zone out and think about other stuff, like a bikini made out of donuts. The thing about cribbage, though, is that you need a partner to play it with. You can't play cribbage with yourself because you'll cheat. You know you will. You'll tell yourself that you're gonna play each side like you would play a normal game, not knowin the other hand. But you won't. You'll do as much as you can to give yourself the best hands possible just so when you're down at the local waterin hole, you can talk about the time you got a 23 point hand.

I only ever knew one person who overcame that difficulty; old Mr. Wilson from over in Westerville. He'd grown up on a pig farm and so didn't have what you might call a refined sense of smell. He one time ran over a whole family of skunks on the road and got them lodged up under his car, sittin directly on his muffler. For a whole month, whenever he drove anywhere, people in a 30 mile radius could be treated to the delightful scent of hot skunk. But Mr. Wilson didn't know anything about it until his ol hound decided the skunk had been properly cooked and got himself up under the truck. Mr. Wilson had to go into town to get himself some fertilizer. So he walked out to his truck, saw the hound's fat tail waggin from under the truck, grabbed the dog and yanked. He pulled out one happy hound dog with a whole pile of skunk in its mouth.

Well right then, he solved the mystery of why Sheriff Tom had caught him speedin, turned on his lights to chase, and then turned 'em right back off. No sheriff in his right mind was gonna approach that truck to write out a speeding ticket. I mean, his eyes would be waterin so much he couldn't see the ticket book anyway, so it was an excercise in futility. Ol' Mr. Wilson wasn't about to give up that kind of power, so he put the skunk pile back under the truck, and threw some pig slop on top of it in order to glue it down. Then he strung some chicken wire round the running boards of his truck to keep the hound out. And with that, he had himself legal immunity from most minor traffic offenses.

Of course, the downside is that ol' Mr. Wilson, after spendin months drivin around in a cloud of baking skunk and pig effluviva, was havin major problems findin himself a cribbage partner. He tried playin fairly by himself, but fell into the same cheatin trap we always fall into.

Always resourceful, Mr. Wilson thought himself up a plan. He'd play with himself, but between switchin hands, he'd hit himself in the head with a hammer. That way, he'd forget what the old hand was, and sometimes, his name as well.

Mr. Wilson kept up his single game of cribbage until the day he, bein a little confused after playin 20 straight games, hit himself with the wrong end of the hammer, shut down his higher brain function, and wandered off into the woods, where he was promptly eaten by a bear. At first, we couldn't believe it. But we waited a couple days and the bear passed the hammer and the stinkiest pair of overalls you've ever seen, giving us definitive proof.

Once we had the proof, we had to legally declare that Wilson was eaten by the bear after hittin himself in the head with the wrong end of a partially blunt instrument. As a consequence, the judge declared the bear to be the new legal owner of the Wilson pig farm because of some quirky law that's been on the books for an eon. It wasn't all bad. That bear has a knack for pig farmin and he stinks a whole lot less. We still see him down at the co-op sometimes and listen to him complain about the price of feed and how the politicians are ruining things for bears in this country.

I guess what I'm tryin to say here is that, when you're in space, you got a lot of time to think. Hiroki found that out as he drifted back to his home planet. Like I said before, he was sick of bein told what to do, and especially sick of livin in his father's shadow. He needed to make a plan. He needed to get his head together. Most of all, he needed a vacation.

**********************Author's Note***********************
I didn't want to put this as a seperate post, but I feel my readers deserve an explaination about the drop off in post frequency in the past couple of months. I've been meaning to say something for awhile, but you know how it is. If you're not interested, it's cool, you don't need to read this part. There won't be anything that affects the story. You know, except for the part where I tell you Hiroki is actually a woman and can shoot lightning out of her fingers. But, seriously, besides that, there's not going to be anything important for the story.
The simple fact is, I've got a lot on my plate right now. My wife and I are expecting our first child in October or November. We couldn't be happier, but it does require me to do some more around the house. Second, I am in the process of getting another bachelor's degree. We really want to raise our child in the US, but there are really no jobs for someone with my particular set of skills. Let me amend that. There ARE jobs, but nothing that is willing to pay me a salary that I could live on. With that realization, I need to get myself a different set of skills which can get me a job which will allow me to raise my child in decent surroundings. Finally, I have two other projects I'm doing. I am seeing some small success in DJing as well. It's not huge, but I have gotten residency on an internet radio station (Boost.FM) and I'm playing shows there twice a week. I also have a weekly podcast I do with a friend of mine (Kings of Effin Awesome (adults only)). If you're interested, you can subscribe to it in the iTunes store or at
With all that going on, I haven't had the time to spend on Pat that I would like to have. Also, to be honest, I keep trying to get to the end of this story line so I can get Pat back to a place of storytelling that suits him much better. I tried going big with this whole meth-world thing, and it seems to have gotten out of hand. However, because I read a lot myself, I'm not willing to kill a story in the middle and leave people wondering what happened. Right now, I'm sort of stuck in a position where the voice of Pat isn't being used right, but I need to bend the story back to a place where it can be used right.
I honestly don't know if I'll get back to posting with the frequency I was earlier. I've been trying to post once a week, but we all know how that has worked out so far. In the end, I still want to write Pat, and I want to write other things as well. I just have to get through what Ken Keasy called "the suck" in order to get it to the level it needs to be at. You deserve in and Pat deserves it.
Oh, and Alistair is secretly a robot. Take THAT giver uppers! :)