Saturday, April 11, 2009

A brief explanation

Hello, it's the author here. If you don't want to read a non-Pat statement, that's ok, just skip down to the newest story below. I just felt that I should write a short note about some behind-the-scenes stuff which is unrelated to Pat but is affecting Pat. I decided three weeks ago that I am quitting my job. It is not able to sustain me and my wife and I've come to the conclusion that it never will. I know this is just about the worst time to do what I'm doing, but I'm not getting any younger and I would really like to have children here some day soon. It's a pretty scary time for my wife and I, but we'll get through it. I'm not writing this to dwell on that fact, though, but to explain to you. I am spending about 3 hours a day looking for jobs. I am sending resume after resume in the hopes that my wife and I will land somewhere good soon. Because of that, though, I have less time and brain power lately to spend on Pat. This does not mean that I will stop writing. As I said before, writing Pat is probably as much a release for me as reading it is for you. All this means is that I probably won't be able to update as much and as regularly as I have been for the past few months. This will last until I find a job. Hopefully, that will only be a couple months. I will update as much as I can. I'll be honest, though, finding a job is priority number one right now.
Thanks for reading.

The Maniac McClawenstein and His Foul, Fiendish Flatulance

"And so," the slug continued, "McClawenstein discovered he had the ability to kill with his gas."

"That's unbelievable!" I burst out. "Not only is it unbelievable that he's got deadly gas, but that it's taken you so long to give a conclusion to that story. Seriously, it feels like it's been a week since you've said anything."

"And yet," countered the giant bag of slime, "I've just now finished speaking."

"Time's mighty funny that way," I pondered, "sometimes it seems like an afternoon can just go one forever. But then, when you're a kid, it seems like summer's crazy short. And then, when you grow up, it seems like your childhood was just an eye blink."

"You know, for us slugs, that's reality," he explained, "the eye blink thing. Our childhood is literally an eye blink. We are born with our eyes open and then, as we mature, we produce eyelids, which extend slowly down over our eyeballs. As we reach puberty, we can barely see out of our own eye anymore. A slug is not considered a full adult until we are able to gain the muscle power to open our eyelids again. If we are unable to do it, as my brother Roger was, we must wander the rest of our lives in darkness. Usually, again like Roger, one in this state ends up being eaten. Most times, they're eaten by a lizard. If they're like Roger, they'll blindly wander onto a lettuce leaf, be boxed up and shipped off to a restaurant somewhere and they'll be devoured by an old lady whose eyesight is worse that the slugs. And the worst part? The old lady will say it's the most delicious salad she's ever had."

"Ya know," I interrupted, "that's kinda funny."

He got pretty offended. "Are you mocking my brother's death?!"

I back peddled. "No, no, that ain't what I'm sayin. It ain't that kind of funny. It's funny in a 'boy, that's a pretty strange thing that he says and it compares to somethin similar to it in my head' kinda funny." He just glared at me, so I dove in head first. "There was this one time that we was all out for my grandma Lorraine's 87th birthday. What you gotta understand first of all is that ol' granny Lanny, as we called, her, was deaf as a post and blind as one, too. She had these big ol' hearing aids that she got in the 1920's. She was so proud of those hearing aids. They were the first of their kind, you know. None of us really thought she should be that proud of 'em. I swear, to this day, them was the only steam powered hearing aids I ever seen. She had to drag a wagon with her everywhere she went that had a big ol' coal furnace on it to heat the steam that turned a drum as big as a man and that somehow led through a series of pipes and tubes and gauges and whatnot into a diving helmet that she had to wear that somehow made her hear better. The worst part is that the whole contraption had to be manned by a crew of three; one guy to drag the wagon, one guy to shovel the coal and one guy to monitor all the gauges, so there'd always be three big guys following Lanny around. It wasn't the same three guys, mind you, because they'd work in shifts, but there were always three burly guys around. One time, I asked Lanny how she could afford to pay for all this and she told me this crazy story that she had an insurance policy that grandad's company bought them when he was working that covered all their medical expenses for life, and they didn't have to pay nothin at all. I know, I know, it's crazy, but I think granny went a little loopy there towards the end.

"Anyway, we went out for Lanny's 87th. We wanted to take her somewhere fancy, so we booked the most expensive restaurant in town. Lanny was very impressed by the Sizzler, but the staff of the Sizzler wasn't too happy with her. They asked her to leave her boiler and crew outside because they felt it would disturb the other guests. We had no choice, really, so we led my poor, deaf, blind grandma to her spot and ordered for her. When the salad came, we all saw there was a slug on her lettuce. Mom tried to wrestle the fork away from granny, but she'd been doin strength trainin with her boiler crew and wasn't nobody in that place that could stop my grandma from eatin her birthday salad. Well, right after that, dinner was pretty much over. We all got our food in doggy bags and skedaddled out of there."

The slug just stared at me for a time. Then he blinked slowly and drooped his eye stalks. "Are you telling me your grandmother ate my brother?"

"Well," I hemmed and hawed a bit, "I ain't sayin yes, and I ain't sayin no, but it seems a mighty funny coincidence. Especially seeins as how granny Lanny said the salad was the best she'd ever had, and she was at the Brown Derby when the Cobb salad was invented."

He stammered, "That's...did...I...I see. The past is past, though. We must all recognize that we are interconnected in ways we can't imagine. I only hope that Roger has had his eyes opened in the next world."

I was pleasantly surprised. For a second there, I thought he was gonna eat me in some weird family revenge scheme. It'd be just like the Capulets and the Montisquieus, but none of the Capulets ate the Montisquieus and I really doubt I'd fall in love with one of their members. I needed to diffuse this situation fast, it was really spiraling out of control.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I interrupted your story. Would you please continue?"

He looked shocked, which is hard to do when you ain't got no eyebrows, you're sitting on your mouth and your eyes are up on stalks. But then he continued, "Why we remained with McClawenstein after his cold blooded, warm air murder of the bearded lady is something I've questioned myself about ever since. Perhaps we were scared. Perhaps we knew not where we would find another source of algae. Perhaps, in our hearts, we're all weak and small. Regardless, we did not leave when we should have, and we paid a terrible price for it.

"McClawenstein remained as a sideshow in the circus for the time being. He did not know what to do with his new found power, so he bided his time and experimented. He began toying with different combinations of food; pork and beans, bacon and peanut butter, coffee and cabbage; to see what effects each would give his gas. He couldn't experiment on himself, and it was discovered that we slugs were made immune possibly from the radiation or possibly from another cause. So, to conduct his experiments, he built a collapsible cage in his tent and he began to kidnap people.

"It was a horrendous time to witness. Sometimes, his subject would only be put to sleep, some would die quick deaths and others, after he got a taste for the killing, would die horrible, slow deaths. The more he killed, the more sadistic he became. In a year's time, he was experimenting with different combinations of hot sauce and pickled vegetables in order to melt people where they stood. When the management got wind of his doings, they tried to fire him, but he was ready for them.

"He brought the managers into his tent, where they explained that the missing people were beginning to give the carnival a bad name. They patiently explained that, while they did not know what he was doing with the people, they knew he was responsible and that they would be letting him go. What they didn't know is that he had eaten a mixture of beans, broccoli, cabbage and eggs curried in a beer sauce, and had just released his sneak attack, the SBV, aka, the Silent But Violent. In some circles, it is known as the Silent But Deadly, but that doesn't rhyme, so those people are wrong to call it that. In still other circles, where ability to alliterate is held dear, it is the Triple B, or the Butt Bomb Bandit. Whatever you call it, the effects it had on management were too terrible to speak of.

"When they lay in a pool on the floor, all of the slugs were aghast. Our world began to tremble and we thought everything was collapsing. Alas, we were wrong. It was the laughter of a maniac that shook us. McClawenstein laughed and laughed and laughed. When he stopped laughing, he called out from his tent, 'I am King of the Carnival now! You will all obey me! Anyone who wants out, come in here and say it to my face!' After the first two laborers died, the others were cowed and McClawenstein was, indeed, King of the Circus.

"Then he met the ninjas."

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Slug Story

"Our story," began the slug through his squimonk designed box, "is a sad, sordid odyssey full of regret, betrayal, and fart jokes."

"Hey," I said from my slimy cocoon, "those are three of my favorite things in stories. Plus, since you got me stuck here, I ain't got nothin but time to listen to how y'all ended up in the back of a 99 cent store sellin meth. So, basically, you got yerself a captive audience here."

"Are you sure you really want to use that joke, Pat?" asked Alistair. "It seems to me that one's a bit overdone."

"You're right, you're right," I conceded, "How about, 'you've got my rapt attention'? Does that one work for you?"

"Nah," he scoffed, "you can do better than that."

"Fine!" I rolled my eyes. "How's about...lessee here..'Lay a trail and I will follow'...nah, that's weak. How about we try, 'I hope the humor's not too salty'? Oh, wait, I got it! 'Hurry up because I'm feelin a little...lethargic.' See, then you're playin on expectations."

"It's not great," Alistair announced, "but it will have to do for now."

The slug wobbled, "Now that you two have that settled, can we move on?"

"Yeah, sure, go right ahead," I woulda waved my arm in a welcoming manner if I coulda.

"There was a time," he began, "of which we cannot speak. It was before the change. We were not we. We were, but we were not what we are now. Some of us remember nothing of this time and some remember little. There was wetness, hardness and algae. We ate freely of the algae. We were not happy, nor were we sad. We just were. We seek to return to this, but we can not.

"Then came the change. The hardness broke, the wetness surged out, there was heat and then we were conscious. Because we were conscious, some were happy but some were unhappy. Those who were happy were happy to be happy. Those who were unhappy were unhappy to be unhappy. But we were all what we were, and we were incapable of being other than that.

"We began to know ourselves, and to know others of our kind. From this we learned of self and other. We began to know separation. From separation, we learned loss. We learned to want what we'd had and had no longer. We began to yearn. Then, we began to question. We discovered location. We began to ask where we were and why we were.

"The first question was difficult, the second was impossible. We do not attempt to answer impossible questions. We may sit with the questions, but we seek only depth, not answers. We were on a hardness. Yet the hardness was not the same hardness as existed in the time of not knowing. Some were on a hardness that remained, while others were on hardness that moved. We did not know which was which. To all, they were on the hardness that stayed, while others were on the hardness that moved.

"We began to explore. Everywhere we went was the hardness. In some places, there was gas. At one end of the hardness, the gas smelled unpleasant. We were later to learn that we were on a lobster-man named McClawenstein. Some were on his arms, some on his thorax and some near his pooter, from which he would expel mass quantities of gas.

"Upon finding out he was not the whole world, we began to communicate with our host. We learned his written language and drew words upon him while he slept. He did not take well to this. We did not know at the time that he, unaware we were sentient beings, thought he was simply growing algae in unusual patterns. We learned more of his language. We learned how to write sentences. Finally, to get through to him, we wrote, 'We can help you' on his torso. Finally, he became convinced that we, his lowly shell cleaners, were indeed trying to communicate with him.

"Slow rumbles came from McClawenstein. It was the first time we'd heard spoken language and we did not recognize it as such. He rumbled again and we felt we'd incited his wrath. But then he wrote and showed us one word only, 'How?'

"We had planned for this day and everyone was in position. We began to move in soft spirals around his shell, leaving our trails behind us. McClawenstein became inpatient and so slept. In his sleep, we covered him with our intricate patterns, making him beautiful. When he awoke, McClawenstein was covered with perfect spirals that reflected the light of heaven. He was so overcome that salty water began to leak from his eyes in a process we later learned was, 'crying'.

"We now know that McClawenstein was new to his position in the carnival at the time and was locked in heated competition with the bearded woman to see who would remain and who would go. With our help, McClawenstein began to draw larger crowds. With practice, we drew more and more intricate patterns. People were lured by the combination of beauty and revulsion they felt looking at this lobster-man with his glowing shell.

"After much time, the bearded lady was asked to leave. She came to McClawenstein crying after having much drink. She knew not where to go or what to do. Our host comforted her through the night, whispering sweetness to her. They locked in an embrace of love, which lacks the competition of slug love and so seemed uninteresting to us.

"As the large, hirsute woman lay sleeping, McClawenstein plotted his evil. He defoliated her face as she lay unconscious, thereby assuring that she could not possibly threaten his position in the carnival. Then, as she awoke, he sealed his victory in the only way he knew how, by giving her a dutch oven."

"Wait," broke in Alistair, "he gave her a pot specially designed to bake bread over a fire? How is that a victory?"

"You know," I told him, "for bein smart, you're pretty dumb. It ain't that kinda dutch oven."

"Then what is it?" he asked.

"Well," I explained, "a dutch oven is when you're in bed with a girl and you fart, then you push her head under the covers and make her take in your stink. Usually, they're fightin ya, so you gotta hold 'em down pretty good. It's generally best only to do that when you're plannin on breakin up with her anyway."

"That sounds horrendous," Alistair looked shocked.

"Oh, yeah, well it is that," I admitted, "for her! For you, it's downright hilarious."

"The bearded woman thought not," interrupted the slug, "McClawenstein discovered then that his pooty poots can be deadly when inhaled in massive quantities."

"You mean...?" I started.

"Yes, he killed her. He killed her with his flatulence."

And it only got stranger from there.