Saturday, January 31, 2009

Antarctic Volcano Base Assault Part 1

Covered in four inches of bacon fat and stuffed into a wing suit, we jumped out of the zeppelin. That was just Douggy and me, though, squimonk don't need wing suits. I thought that was pretty fortunate for them because I felt like a goldfish in a bag full of jello. Every time I moved or shifted my weight any, bacon goo warmed by my body would ooze a little out of all the suit openins. Every time that happened, I thought about the 84 packs of bacon I had to eat to get to this point and I felt a little green around the gills. But the squimonk didn't have to put up with that. They were always wearin their wing suits and so we couldn't get bacon grease stuffed inside of them. I suggested a way they could do it without eating it, pointing out they had another bodily cavity in which bacon could enter, but they didn't take that suggestion very well. One gestured towards the ceiling of the zeppelin with his longest finger and asked me what I thought about that. I guess everyone would get a little grumpy after bein stuck in a zeppelin with no showers and fryin bacon for a few days, particularly if those people are preparing to dive into an active volcano. Most of that was solved after we jumped, well, the part about bein stuck in the zeppelin, anyways.

As soon as I was out the door, grumpiness and discomfort was changed into a new feeling; total, complete, heart stoppin, foot stompin, whiskey backin, leg shakin, dog yelpin, war whoopin, nose runnin, cryin so hard you give yourself the hiccups like when you was nine and you broke the cookie jar tryin to get out another oreo without your ma seein ya because she told you you was havin a special dinner and you'd not only ruin your appetite but you'd be all covered in chocolate when the people from the church came over and they'd all think she didn't know how to raise an obedient child and then they'd get all Leviticus on her an talk about how ifn' that rod is spared the kid end up with cookie all over his face and you get a floor full of oreo and jar shards and so while she's upstairs takin a shower and you just want one more cookie because one cookie isn't really enough if you're nine and you have poor impulse control and so you reach up into the cookie jar and it's gotta shift just a little and then it shifts a little too much and the jar comes crashin to the ground and you don't know where the broom or the glue is and so you run and hide in your secret spot which turns out not to be secret and your mom's got her hair all in curlers and her face all red and she looks like a Medusa with pearl earrings and you sure as heck ain't no Hercules and so all you can do is sit there and cry out how sorry you are in tears big enough to drown a hamster in and then you think about your hamster drownin and that just adds an extra level to anything and you can't cry any harder and finally you end up givin yourself a headache and your stomach cramps up and you end up just pickin at the meatloaf your mom makes and the church ladies get worried about you not eatin so they start sending over a casserole once a week or so and it's always got chopped eggs in it for some reason and you hate eggs so you never eat it and you and your mom always gotta try to sneak it out to the garbage without anyone seein you and then ten years later the church ladies finally do catch you and you're standin there with their casserole poised over the trashcan and you're scrapin furiously and you know you're busted and now you're gonna have to listen to a lecture by these ladies just because you wanted a cookie and you don't like eggs, abject terror. This was twistin my guts all up but I didn't have much time to think about it.

Before I knew it, Douggy was tuckin his arms in for the final dive and I followed his lead. I must've been goin a mile a minute when I hit the crust of the volcano. I squeezed my eyes shut tight, rememberin that time I set my coffee down just a bit too quickly and I splashed a little bit of hot coffee into my eye. It stung and burned and I had a red spot on that eyes for a week. For a moment there, I thought I was goin blind because everything went white, but it turned out that was just the half and half I put in the coffee. Since that time, I always been real careful about settin my coffee down. It's not always easy, I tell ya, because sometimes I'm watchin that guy on the tv and he gets me real mad. You know, the one that's always yellin at people who disagree with him, oh, what's his name? He's the guy who's always a jerk to everyone who has anything to say to him, but it's just sort of in his character to do that and he makes good money for his channel through advertisin and tours and everything. It's that same channel that claims to be fair and even handed, but really and obviously isn't. I know that name, it's on the tip of my tongue. Let's see, he's the guy with the funny lookin hair and people are always tryin to reason with him but he just keeps gettin more angry and more angry. That's it! Oscar, Oscar the Grouch. That little guy really gits my blood to boil. When that happens, I gotta be extra careful about settin my cup down because I don't want another case of coffee eye. All this was swirlin around my head and I know that lava is at least five times as hot as that coffee is so I sure as shootin didn't want any in my eye.

The moment I touched the lava with my face, everything started sizzlin like a frog in a cast iron skillet. The heat pushed in on me like it was a cash-strapped bride and I was that store in New York that has a wedding dress sale every year. Then everything was white light and soft pillows and rollin around to get the fire out and bacon, still the smell of bacon. I just couldn't take it any more so I threw up a little in my mouth. I tried to play it off like it was a burp or somethin, but I'll admit to you now, a little bacon came with the burp. I managed to get it back down, but it wasn't a sure thing there for a minute or two.

When I'd gotten over my gastronomic battle of the titans, I looked around and discovered we was in a big room full of overstuffed pillows, bean bags, stuffed animals, goose down mattresses, puffy coats and faux fur blankets. Looking up, I saw that there was a kind of diaphragm above us, keepin the lava at bay. The lava seemed to heat and light the room, givin everythin a reddish glow like that there red light district I've heard about in Amsterdam. I turned to Douggy and asked, "Where are we?"

He sighed, "Pat, we've been over this. We're in Amelia Earhart's Antarctic volcano base. We're rescuing Jared, remember?"

"I knew that," I protested, "I meant, within the confines of the previously mentioned Antarctic volcano base, where are we. That is to say, where are we relative to Jared?"

"I'm not sure." He pulls a map out of his pocket and then goes over to a map on the wall.

"It's mighty convenient for there to be a room full of pillows under the volcano entrance to break our fall," I note. "It also seems suspiciously convenient that there is a map of the volcano base here in the room we landed in that seems to have everything labelled."

"That is true," said Alistair, "perhaps that will come clear later. If it doesn't, that's just bad writing."

"What was that?" I just wanted to make sure I heard right.

"Bad writing," he reiterated, "It's just bad writing of the plan on our part if we there's something out there we didn't expect. We should prepare for that just in case."

Because we didn't bring any thread with us, we unravel some of the pillow cases to make a thread that will help us find out way back if we need to. While we were doing that, Douggy marked our path out on the map. We were tryin to get to the throne room, which appeared to be between the Mervyns and the Frogurt place, if the map was accurate.

For the first five minutes, things seemed to be going swimmingly. We passed the Buckle and then checked our path towards the Build-a-Bear workshop. There was something off about the stores, though. Not only were there no customers, but all the employees appeared to be penguins wearing name tags. Not only that, but both name tags I saw read "Gunther". Now, I don't deny the possibility that there may just happened to have been two penguins who happened to be named Gunther working at that particular Build-a-Bear Workshop, but somethin about it didn't seem right. It seemed my companions had the same feelings and we stopped to consult.

"This is creepy," began Douggy.

"Yeah," said Alistair, "why the heck does it look like a mall?"

"I dunno," responded Douggy, "but I don't like it. There's something not working about this scenario."

"Well," I asked, "what should we do? Go back or press on?"

Before we could decide what to do, the lights went out with a thud. Off in the distance, there was a spotlight or somethin shinin on us. Then we heard the laughter. It started as a low rumble, like a tank left in neutral while the soldier went to pee but the soldier didn't know the tank was on a hill and so he's peein and he gits this sneakin suspicion somethin is wrong and then he feels the ground shakin under his feet. It sounded like that moment, and just like that soldier, we were filled with impotent panic. The rumble grew into an avalanche and finally, like a bit of pineapple in the middle of jello, a voice rose.

"Pat O'Neil," it echoed around us.

"Uh, yeah?" I wanted to be friendly. "What can I do ya for?"

"Not so smart now, are you, Pat O'Neil?"

"Well," I reckoned, "It would seem not. But I don't think I was so smart then, whenever then was."

"The contest, Pat O'Neil! The Makin Stuff Up Championship! That trophy was mine and you stole it from me! Now I shall have my revenge! I've been watching you travel through my fake mall, Pat O'Neil. Little did you know that I have stocked all my stores with a penguin army. And I can assure you, Pat O'Neil, that they are all quite mad. Quite mad indeed. Ha ha ha!" She didn't actually laugh there, she really just said "Ha ha ha!" I've never heard anything like it. I didn't have much time to think, however, because, right at that moment, the lights came on and we were inundated with penguins.

1 comment:

gandy said...

Uh oh. Being inundated by penguins sounds painful.