Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thus I have Heard

Right now, we're zeppelinin our way down to Tallahassee, Florida for the 2008 annual NAMSU (that's National Association of Makin' Stuff Up, for short) Makin Stuff Up Championship, wherein I am to defeat Emelia Earhart in a makin' stuff up challenge. Well, right after Charles told me that, I had to ask him why I needed to defeat Amelia Earhart, who is a national treasure as far as some people are concerned. He explained some mighty strange and terrible things about that Earhart and why I needed to defeat her, and I mean to relay those things to you. I know I've got a reputation for expandin the truth a mite now and then, and maybe you're not gonna believe all that I'm about to tell you, but I'm gonna make an effort to stick as close as possible to Charles Lindbergh's story. If it seems like I'm gettin into some weird territory, don't blame me. So, here goes.

Lindbergh had himself a young son, Charles Jr. You may or may not know some of this, stick with me a bit, and I'll probably wander into some stuff you don't know. It'll be a little like when you go campin and you start out in your driveway, which is stuff you know pretty well, then you drive onto some dirt roads for awhile, eatin some beef jerky and singin along to Freebird or Dust in the Wind or somethin, which is stuff that you still kinda know, but you know less and less as you go on, then you drive into a black hole for some reason, which happened to me once, but that's a different story, and in that black hole, you and light and time get all spun around and you get all stretched out in body and mind and you get super heavy even though you haven't eaten nothin since last night because your sister Frank called you up early in the mornin, before you'd had time to have a decent breakfast, all in a tizzy fit because it's her son's 3rd birthday party that day and she bought white cake and her stupid husband Earl, who you don't think is all that stupid because he always beats you when you're playin cards with him and his buddies from the ammunition plant, bought white frosting and any fool knows that you can't put white frosting on white cake, and your sister Frank has to call you at 5:30 in the mornin to fix it and tells you that you got to go to Wal Mart and buy some strawberry frostin knowin full well that you ain't allowed into the Wal Mart in town anymore because of that thing with the rabies, and then you tell Frank where she can get her frostin, if you catch my drift, and she yells at you and makes you feel bad about some stupid thing you did when you was kids and then you feel guilty so you got to go all the way over to the next town to get to the Wal Mart there but you want to be back in time for the game so you take a shortcut your friend Douggy (who later turned out to be half ninja) told you about, but he didn't warn you that if you turned left instead of right on CR 114, you'd drive yourself into a black hole and so you're spinnin around thinkin about all of this and you don't know what's what anymore but then you're somehow magically spit out of the black hole and somehow you got a tub of strawberry frosting while you was in there. That's like the stuff later that you don't know nothin about, so just pay attention and we'll get there.

So, anyway, like I was sayin, Charles had a son names Charles Jr. Sadly, Charles Jr. disappeared one night. It was all the thing in the news for a long time there. There were all sortsa reports on the Lindbergh baby and the search for the kidnappers and whatnot, but nothin was ever found out. A little later, a coupla people came out and said they was the Lindbergh baby, but that was probably just to inherit the Lindbergh fortune Charles left behind as a decoy after he faked his death. As I said, though, no kidnapper or anything was ever found. Nothin was ever found publicly, that is. Charles used his massive fortune, which was enough to buy, at my nearest estimate, one hundred thousand gold toilets, to buy only a single gold toilet and then make inquiries about the real people responsible for the loss of his son. Charles soon learned that his son was kidnapped by a group of drug selling ninjas, which later turned out to be Clan Platypus, in order to harness the navigational power of his mind. They knew that they could never twist an adult Charles' mind, so they did the next best thing and kidnapped his son, who they planned to raise as one of their own. Upon further investigation, Charles learned that his flying rival, Amelia Earhart, had used her connection to him to break into his house and actually take his son. She was not a ninja, though, just working with them for reasons that will become clear soon. When Charles learned of this, he had her plane "disappeared" as she traveled around the world. That flight was itself a cover for the delivery of a new drug formula that would have been more addictive and potent than any known substance. As he told me, meth is a pale replica of that drug they produced. Fortunately, they were sending the formula to their factories in Siam in the cargo hold of Earhart's plane and so they lost it in the ocean. If that hadn't happened, we could all have been zombies right now.

But then, why was Earhart working with the ninjas, you may ask. I know I sure did but, then again, I am a naturally curious person. I'm not the kind to be deterred by a sign that says "Danger, Black Hole Ahead". If you are not that kind of person either, you may be interested to know. This is a tale that goes back a long ways; a real long ways.

When the Earth was young, and I'm talkin days old here, just after it congealed out of the space dust of the big bang, it was just a small ball of rock hurtlin through the cosmos at billions of miles an hour. It had yet to be caught in the gravity of our sun because our sun had yet to form. So, there's this little ball of rock, no air, no trees, no nothin, shootin through space faster'n you can shake a stick at. You with me? That little rock, which was to become our Earth, was covered in ice and was ruled by the Ice Giants. No one knows where the Ice Giants came from, this bein only days after the Big Bang, but the fact is that they were there, wanderin on this little rock of ice. Now, these giants had themselves a king named Ymir. Ymir was a good ruler, he always made sure his giants had enough ice and rock, which is what Ice Giants love best, and found ways to entertain them during the long, cold nights of the early universe. Interestingly, he invented the games of Cribbage and Risk during those times, because the giants needed games that would fill up their time, and those two games can really do the trick.

The giants lived in relative peace, that is, just the occasional scuffle when someone cheated at a game, and happiness for a couple of million years as the stars and suns formed around them. In time, though, the rock they were on got trapped in the gravity of a giant red star and their ice began to melt. Now, it's durned near impossible to have ice without ice giants, but they managed to scrap along. Soon, though, their rock began to heat, and the ice started to disappear. At first, they had enough to go around if they rationed it. In a matter of months, though, even rationing couldn't help them. Soon, real fights broke out among the giants, and they weren't even playing games any more. The fights got more and more brutal until, one day, the unthinkable happened. The giant Vafthruthnir picked up a rock and threw it at Surt, but Surt ducked and the rock hit Ymir in the head, killing him. This is the origin of the phrase "stone dead", which I was surprised to learn. When they saw their leader dead, all the giants armed themselves for war; real war, not Risk war. They also began looking for chemicals and formulas to strengthen themselves. Ymir's wife, Imla, stayed out of the fighting proper, but encouraged the giants to kill each other with a horrendous array of weapons. She found, that when a giant was killed, their children would automatically run to her, she being the only giantess, and they would cry. When this first happened, one of their tears crossed her lips, and she felt the strength that came from it. She bided her time, manipulating the giants and becoming strong off the tears of orphans.

When the battle was finally over, only two adult giants remained, Vafthruthnir and Imla. Vafthruthnir took it into his head to have Imla as a bride, not knowing that she was stronger than he. When he grabbed her to carry her into a cave, as was giant courtesy, she tore off him arm, beat him with it and then ripped him in half. Then she ripped the halves in half. Then, she did that again. She kept doing that until Vafthruthnir was nothing but mush, which she then mixed into the porridge of Vafthruthnir's children. After they ate the porridge, she told them what she had done. They cried and wailed, and she drank their sweet, sweet tears.

As the giant children grew, so did Imla's cruelty. She would promise the children puppies, which all children love, even children who were around before puppies. Then she would deliver a box, wrapped up nice as you please. The children would get excited and tear into the box finding not puppies inside, but razor blades. Sometimes there would actually be a puppy in the razor blades, which was even worse.

I'm gonna interrupt myself here for a second. I know this sounds like some sorta wild tall tale that Pat's just makin up, which is somewhat likely given that, on an average day, I spin enough yarns to make sweaters for all the penguins in Antarctica. I just want to assure y'all that ain't the case, though. This is all from the mouth of Charles Lindbergh, I swear on my aunt Rita's remaining leg.

Imla survived through the history of the world. As the Earth grew older, she found more ways to gain power and strength, but she always preferred orphan's tears. When the dinosaurs were around, she called down a comet in order to orphan millions of children. She took used an army that she had enslaved to gather the tears and store them in a cave. She gorged off those tears, growing fat as the life on Earth recovered. She was responsible for the Fall of Rome, for Attila the Hun and for the fall of the Qin dynasty. Through it all, she harvested and drank the tears of the little children. In the 13th century, she had an entire crusade full of children kidnapped and their parents killed. She hung the children by their ankles and let the tears drip on her as she rolled and laughed for over 10 years.

During this time, Imla began to hear of Clan Platypus and their desire to make zombies out of drug addicts. She met with their leaders and they formed an alliance. She would help them turn more and more people into zombies as long as they let her harvest the orphan's tears. They couldn't say no to the queen of the Ice Giants. Even ninjas know that killin one of them things is tougher than gettin rid of a hornet's nest usin a stinky sock on a long pole. So, they made themselves an alliance, she transformed herself into an aviator and changed her name from Imla to Amelia. The rest, I guess, is history.

Course, now all I gotta do is make up stuff better than a woman who's older than the sun and has prolly seen more than a fly in a house of mirrors. But I'm pretty sure I can do it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pat's Mission

I got up pretty early yesterday mornin. Round about 4:30, I got me some terrible heartburn. It felt like I'd swallowed me a cup of lava with some chopped habanero peppers in it, then threw in some fire demons from the 4th circle of hell down in there to stir it up with some light sabers. In short, I needed me some antacids right quick. I'm a wanderin' this way and that in Lindbergh's mansion, lookin for a medicine cabinet or whatnot. I don't ever find one, but I find this weird lab thingy that's got all these heads and arms and gears and stuff in it. I was a little scared at first, you know, thinkin this was just a plot to steal the head of Pat O'Neil and put it on display or whatnot. But then I figure, first, why would anyone want to display my mug anywheres that wasn't Halloween related or otherwise meant to scare kids away from something or another, second, who's gonna be visiting a display of heads in a secret underground bunker in the middle of no where. It's not like Lindbergh encourages visitors here, what with the razor wire and Siberian tiger and giant ball that chases people around. That last one, he said he got a good deal on it when The Prisoner wrapped production. The funny thing is, he says, is that the ball was actually a people eating ball. They just pretended that it wasn't because people would be horrified to learn that such a thing existed. In fact, so Charles tells me, the entire tv series was originally aired as a documentary, but people were so offended at what their country was doing that there were riots at the focus groups. Fortunately, members of MI5 were there to ship the troublemakers off to the island. Later, when they simply repackaged the show as fiction, people loved it. Why, you may wonder, did they show it in the first place? Well, this was in the '60s and even world governments were experimenting with openness. Plus, England was a little strapped for cash after their secret war with the moon spiders and thought a TV show could help them recover in time to have a beneficial trade alliance with the mole people, who were asking for a down payment of 5%. With all that, I felt confident that this was not all some wacky secret plot to steal my, or anyone else's head. So, I looked a little closer and saw that the heads were all filled with machinery and whatnot. It seems that Lindbergh has some sorta robot lab or something in his basement. There was one robot that looked kinda complete layin next to the door. It was slumped against a wall with its hair over its face, so I couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman, or a manwoman, like I saw at the circus that once. It was droopin like Dali's mustache after a shower and I could see a little switch in the back of its neck. Now, I'm like anyone in that, if there's a switch around, I just gotta flip it. I mean, what if it were an antacid delivery robot or somethin like that? Then I would be missin out on two things, seein a robot and gettin an antacid. So there I was, reachin out to touch the switch. I could feel its cold metal switchiness under my ring finger. As I started to apply pressure to the switch, I heard voices.

"Are you sure he's ready?" That was Lindbergh, I could tell because he sounded human, and he didn't sound like Douggy.

"I'm positive." That was Alistair. I could tell because he sounded just like you think a creature that was a combination of squirrel, monkey, some donkey, a little spider and a dash of giraffe thrown in there for good measure, what designed and built his own voice box would sound like, if you were the type to imagine those kinds of things. "He's been ready for this before we recruited him."

"I'm still not sure," Lindbergh said, "I want to..."

Their voices faded away in the distance. When I thought it was safe, I left the robot lab and followed the direction they went. I figured one of them would know where I could get somethin to fix the molten metal that was exploding in my chest. You know, now that I think of it, I bet that sandwich had something to do with this. I knew I shouldn'ta finished it all in one day. Honestly, I didn't really want to, but it was just too good not to eat. Plus, you know how it is when you have somethin deep fried. It's just not the same when you reheat it. The taste is there, but the crunch is all gone. Anyway, I followed the sound of voices until I reached the kitchen. There, I saw Alistair standing up on his hind legs on the counter while Charles was makin himself a sea monkey tortilla, I suppose for one on his burritos. Charles was in the middle of sayin somethin low and conspiratory when I caught his eye.

"Oh, hey, Pat!" he said. He's usually very nice, but he's got a weird way of speakin. Sometimes, he's real quiet, so it's hard to hear, and other times he's just a little too loud and friendly. It's like he doesn't know what a normal tone or level of voice is. That's OK with me, because my grandpa was sorta the same way. He lost his hearing because of a bomb in the first world war. The bomb itself didn't really damage him, but there was a German runnin right at him at the time. The bomb actually hit the German and his pointy helmet flew off his head, bounced off two ot three trees, flew up in the air and knocked out another piece of artillery that was headed right for the hospital tent, careened off another group of Germans who was about to rush my grandpa's position, knockin all of 'em flat, and makin the helmet shoot offa one of their heads. Then, the helmets flew two separate directions, each caught in the barbed wire that was surroundin pappy, and flew back at him at the exact same time with just enough force to pop both his eardrums. He was rushed to the hospital tent right away, which is where he met my grandma, and they saved as much of his hearing as they could. Later, he was one of the first people to get a hearing aid. He got one of the early, gas powered models that had to be wheeled around in a wagon. I was never sure if it worked because it made his hearing better or if it just made everyone yell louder to be heard over the gas engine. But, because pappy was always luggin this hearin aid around, and he could never really hear right anyway, he would shout when he was talkin to other people or mumble when he was talkin to himself. Charles is a bit the same way, only minus the gas engine, the wagon and the trumpet lookin things attached to his head with leather straps, at least so far as I've seen.

"Mornin' Charles. Mornin' Alistair," I said, "What are you two gents doin up so early?" 'Cause of the heartburn, I was squinchin and squeezin my face up a little.

I think Charles noticed that somethin was wrong, 'cause he asked, "Is something wrong? You're squinching and squeezing your face up a little. It looks like you've got some discomfort."

"Yeah," I told him, "I got some horrible heartburn here. I was just up lookin for an antacid or somethin."

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bottle, which he tossed to me. "That one works pretty quick for me."

"Thanks," I told him, chewin a coupla tablets. It was like someone dumped ice water down my throat and I was instantly better. "Wow," I said, surprised, "That worked fast."

"Yeah," he said, almost silently, "It's a recipe I invented myself. Eating these burritos thrice a day is murder on my digestion. Sometimes, I wonder if it's worth it. But then, I think about the sheer horror of ninjas selling meth, and I realize that it is. Speaking of which, would you like a burrito? It's made with sea monkeys."

"No thanks," I tell him, "When I was a kid, my uncle Charlie bought me a Sea Monkey set from the back of a catalog. We was gonna raise them together for a sea monkey circus. The day the sea monkeys came, though, a civet cat got caught in the mail box, quite unbeknownst to Uncle Charlie. He was so excited to get the sea monkeys that he reached into the mail box without lookin, which was contrary to his usual habit after he got bit by that cottonmouth that once and the poison went right to his heart and he had to have it replaced with a baboon heart, which wasn't really that bad 'cept he always got a little worked up when people smiled at him because he thought they was challenging him to a fight and he beat up those teenagers that once when they mooned him and he went to jail for a month where he met aunt Sally who was in there for throwin feces at a guy at the supermarket because she had a baboon heart too and he was flirtin with her. They used to always say they were two people with one babboon heart, which was kinda sweet. Oh yeah, they lived in a tree, too. So, anyways, uncle Charlie reached in for the sea monkeys without looking and the civet cat took his arm right off, all the way to the shoulder. He was runnin around, hootin and hollerin and shakin his shoulder when the civet cat, poisoned by the baboonieness of Charlie's blood, died right there on his arm. He went right straight to the doctor, who told him that they coudn't remove the civet cat because it had latched onto his artery and if the cat was removed, uncle Charlie would die. So, instead, Charlie went to this guy Tom he knew who was a great taxidermist. Tom preserved that civet cat while it was still attached to uncle Charlie. So, for the rest of his life, Uncle Charlie walked around with a preserved civet cat stuck to his arm. I tried to raise my sea monkeys and train them in circuslike things, but it just wasn't the same without uncle Charlie helping me."

Charles looked a me for a second, then shook his head quickly. He asked me, "Pat, is any of that true?"

Well, I was a little chagrined, "Nah, not a word of it. It just came spillin out, really." I was afraid he was gonna be mad at me or something.

But instead, he turned to Alistair and said, "Amazing!"

Alistair responded, "I told you. He will never be more ready!"

"Ready for what?" I inquired.

"Pat," Charles began, "We have a very special mission for you. One that you are uniquely qualified to perform."

"Oh yeah? What's that?" I was getting intrigued.

"It has come to our attention that Clan Platypus is attempting to open up new markets. The rural areas are already saturated with meth, and so their distribution is progressing slowly there. They are attempting to market their product to writers now. They have formed a diabolical plan to start with the lower level writers, get them hooked on meth, and then work their way up the literary ladder until they can capture the minds of tenured literature professors at major universities. They can then use the influence of these professors to encourage meth use in the students, capturing a whole new generation of college educated adults who will then spread their meth use through new economic and social areas, destroying society as we know it."

"That sounds awful," I say, knowing how the liberal elite have done the same sorta thing, which is why no one college educated have ever voted for anyone but a liberal, because, we all know, tenured university literature professors are the most influential of all people anyone can ever meet in their lives, "What can I do to help?"

Charles and Alistair explained to me that the National Association of Makin Stuff Up (NAMSU for short) is holdin their annual Makin Stuff Up contest in Florida next week. Clan Platypus has put up some pretty tough competition who, on winning the championship, will credit her success in makin stuff up to meth. Their hope is that some people will start doin meth to get leg up on next year's competition and the snowball will start rollin. Even if there's someone better, the ninjas will assassinate them before the final round and Clan Platypus' ringer will win.

"This is very dangerous, Pat," Alistair explained to me, "and you don't have to do it if you don't want. However, there will be thirty squimonk in the ceiling and Douggy will be disguised in the audience in case something goes wrong. We will make your safety our only priority. All you will need to worry about is beating their ringer."

"I'll do it," I said, fully committed, "I trust you and Douggy with my life, and I want to do what I can to help defeat the evils of meth ninjas. Just one question, though. Who's their ringer?"

Charles looked at me and shouted, "The most evil woman in the history of time! Amelia Earhart!"

I was just as confused as you are now, but I gotta go practice my makin stuff up, so I'll fill you in on those details tomorrow or the next day.