Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Run Through The Jungle

After the feast, it was time to watch the magma giant wrasslin. So we all climbed into our asbestos suits, drank some ice water and took our seats behind the heat shields. I won't bore ya with all the details. Not to say the match was borin or anything. Far from it. There was lava and fire flyin everywhere. Magma giants was risin out of the middle of the volcano, hurlin rocks and fireballs at one another, gettin each other into fiery bear hugs and explodin like beer cans filled with gasoline and then shot out of a water balloon sling shot. I ain't sayin I done that, or that I recommend doin that but I heard, from this guy I know (his name's Michael), that if you can do it and manage to keep your hands and face intact after a can of gasoline goes off five feet from you, singein off all your body hair and a good portion of your skin to go with it, requirin months of exhaustive plastic surgery, after which you look a little like Elizabeth Taylor melted and your skin's a hundred or so shades lighter than it used to be and you gotta put up with people all over the world tellin you that you're startin to look like a white woman instead of the black man you used to be and there's all this speculation about what happened and you can't tell em all the truth because there's kids worldwide that look up to you and you're afraid that, if you were to tell the truth, there'd be a worldwide rise in the number of kids hurt by explodin beer cans full of gasoline and you can't abide by that because you just love the children, then it can be a wicked good time. Like I says, Michael told me that. I ain't advocatin doin it, though. There's just too many risks.

I guess in that way, flaming cans fill of gasoline is a little like watchin a magma giant wrasslin match. They're both pretty risky in a gettin-plastic-surgery-to-replace-1/3-of-your-skin sorta way. I only says that because, just as I was gettin ready for Waldo and Jimmy to pay up on the bet we made, a splotch of magma broke off one of the giants, sailed over the heat shield and landed not three feet from us, ignitin our snacks. We jumped up and tried gettin out of the way, but then another blob landed not a foot on the other side of us. I turned to see what kinda accident it was and saw that the giants was makin balls of magma and INTENTIONALLY lobbin em our direction.

"Holy crow!" I yelled, "We best get up on out of here!"

And so we did. We started runnin away from the wrasslin ring just as fast as our ten legs could carry us, with fire fallin down all around us. Waldo was runnin so fast that his whole head started flappin backwards and hittin himself in the back. He kept reachin back and tryin to pull it back up, but it kept flyin backwards. He looked sorta like a pez dispenser with a broken spring in a wind tunnel. Only this must have been licorice flavored pez because it was black as night spent blindfolded under a velvet Elvis painting. I don't know which direction we'd headed, or even really how far, but by the time the blobs of fiery death stopped rainin around us, we was deep in the Hawaiian jungle. And believe you me, that ain't a place you want to end up when one of your unicorn friends has his head all floppin to the side, showin whole other head inside that one. I got to wonderin if maybe unicorns had heads like russian dolls, just head after head, gettin smaller and smaller until, way down inside, there's candy.

I didn't get to follow that train of thought because, before I could decided if it'd be more likely to be hard or chocolate candy, Jimmy looked around and shouted, "What was that all about?"

"I dunno," said Waldo, "but I heard some intelligence that said the magma giants were suspected of discovering our alliance with the ice giants and took poorly to it. It was all word-of-mouth stuff, so it wasn't actionable. But it now appears they're out to get us for some reason."

Jimmy turned to look at him, "You can say that again!" Then he saw the floppy head.

"Um, Waldo..." he gestured towards his head. "It''s off."

Waldo's inner head looked at his outer head. "Ah hell," he burst out. Then he looked at me.

This one time, I was at a family reunion. I was feelin right jovial and tellin some jokes. You know, keepin the party goin. Then I told this joke about a snake which I thought was hilarious, but my cousin Maureen thought was in bad taste. It turns out her sister Cynthia had found herself a snake by the side of the road in the winter and taken it home to nurse back to health. They lived pretty happily all winter but, when spring came, that snake bit her and then had the temerity to blame it on Cynthia's own ignorance. Well, turns out that Maureen had just come from the hospital, where she was visitin Cynthia and wasn't in a mood to hear no snake jokes. Had I known, and known that the funeral would be a week later, I prolly woulda just told my bear joke. But I didn't know and so I told the snake joke and the look that Maureen shot me when I finished the snake joke was, up until Waldo looked at me, the scariest look I'd ever seen.

Waldo's look was, I would estimate, eight and a half times worse that Maureen's, especially accompanied with the words, "Here's as good a place as any."

He and Jimmy unzipped their own bodies, which I was ready to chalk up to another unicorn talent, and stepped out. I got a good look at em in the light and figured it out.

"Wait just a cotton pickin minute!" I shouted, putting my hands out. "You boys ain't unicorns! You look like ninjas!" Then I saw the platypus embroidered on their suits and my heart sank.

Jimmy just nodded. "That's right, Pat, We're ninjas."

I sighed deeply. "Yeah, yeah you are. But how'd you know I'd be here?"

Waldo explained, "Our informants told us all about your new 'ability' Pat. We know you can split yourself to move through space and time. And we also know how much you love going to the various Mauis around. Our leadership, in their infinite wisdom, placed ninjas on every Maui we could find in order to ambush you. All we had to do was wear these stupid unicorn costumes for three weeks, learn how to vomit rainbows and wait. I must say, I'm glad you've chosen our world to be ambushed on. We will be rewarded handsomely when we return your head to the Great Clan Council."

It sounded almost air tight, but I found the flaw. "You seem to have me," I told em. "But what's to stop me from just teleportin my big fluffy beard on out of here?"

Jimmy looked at Waldo and winked. "If I may."

"Be my guest," responded the other ninja.

"That green stuff in the crystal skull? That destroyed all the supersymmetry in the elementary particles you were relying on to transport you from place to place. Now, with no particle association, your particles no longer share quantum spin with the other particles elsewhere in the universe."

"I understood very little of that," I admitted.

"It's no jump juice," he summarized.

"That I understood."

"Good," Waldo interrupted, drawin his sword. "I think you'll understand what this means as well."

He drew his sword back and swung. I was focusin on the sword, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jimmy throwin somethin shiny. I figured it was a ninja star aimed for my eye or my heart or somewhere else vital.

I've had a good run. And if I die anywhere, it might as well be on Maui. I mean, I'd prefer to have a little time to say good bye to Frank and the rest of my family, instead of just disappearin into nothingness. I would also like to have made a dent in Clan Platypus, but, like I said before, I ain't really cut out for fightnin ninjas, I'm just not fast enough. And my senses just aren't good enough. I spose I deserve to go like this for gettin tied up in this whole mess.

These were the things I was thinkin when I should have been noticin what was goin on around me. Like, first, I shoulda noticed that Jimmy and Waldo were frozen in place, Waldo's sword millimeters from my throat and Jimmy's ninja star nearly pokin me in the eye. I should also have been noticin there was a giant grey cigar-lookin thing covered in blinkenlights hoverin a hundred feet or so above me. But I didn't notice any of that until the blinding light hit me and I was lifted into the air, up into the belly of the cigar. But then, the only thing I noticed was Douggy and Alistair breathin a sigh of relief.

Douggy yelled, "Thank goodness, Pat! We got you in the nick of time!"

Alistair told me, "Welcome aboard the Deus Ex Machina Pat!"

Then I needed to sit down.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Boy howdy, I loves bein on vacation. For starters, I got to sleep in a bed as big as my house. For another, they got a credit card on file here with my name on it and it seems to have no limit. And for a whole other, it's a whole bunch easier to make friends with unicorns after a buffet breakfast and a coupla Mai-Thais at ten in the mornin. Don't judge me, I'm on vacation and it's noon somewhere. And Bobby turned out to be true to his word and got me hooked up with some great vacation stuff.

In fact, just this mornin, after the aforementioned Mai-Thais and buffet lunch, I got on a bus and rode out to see a couple of the famous Maui volcanoes. I always wanted to see the volcanoes, but I was a little put off after that whole divin-into-a-volcano-and-runnin-into-some-crazy-penguins thing I did a while back. I mean, I'm still pretty interested in magma and all that, but fightin giants turns out not to be my thing. But that's where this vacation had interest for me. Not only was I assured that the volcano would be safe and I would get lunch cooked on magma, but the only giant fighting would be done by other giants. All we would have to do is watch the magma giants wrestle each other and, if we card to, make a wager on the match. And this trip has taught me a couple things about the world. First, it is right tough to judge which magma giant is gonna be a better wrestler. I mean, first of all, I ain't never seen no magma giant wrestlin another magma giant. Sure, I saw Hulk Hogan wrestle that magma giant at Wrestlemania IV, but I'm pretty sure that was rigged. Then, I saw Andy Kaufmann wrestle that magma giantess, but that could very well have been rigged as well, and even if it wasn't, it's not like Kaufmann was really a wrestler. Plus, he was wearin that asbestos suit the whole time. It could have been anyone under that mask. So, like I says, I ain't never seen a real giant on giant, magma a magma match, so I didn't know if I should be lookin for speed or power in the fight. Turns out, if you're gonna be bettin, the biggest factor is heat.

Them magma giants, as I've discovered, don't wrestle like you and I wrestle. I feel silly for not thinkin of it earlier, but, when you can just melt back into the loving bosom of the volcanic lava what spawned you, gettin pinned is a near impossibility. Also, not havin bones makes it right tough to get yerself into a submission hold. So, it seems that there's a weird combination of poundin on the other guy and tryin to hold him long enough that you can catch him on fire so he'll just quit. Some of these matches go on for days, the unicorns tell me. We was just watchin a fake match put on for the sake of tourists, though, like the kick boxing matches down in Thailand, or people in Maine pretendin to be friendly and folksy during the summer. But, unlike real Thai kickboxin or modern, surly Mainers, it's not possible for someone with a sense of adventure to go see a real magma giant wrestlin match. Well, that is, if'n that person wanted to come back alive and unsplashed with molten rock.

I gotta say, I'm ok with that, though. I got to hang out and cheer with some of the unicorns on the trip. I met a couple of nice fellers named Jimmy and Waldo. Those boys was a hoot, I tell ya. It started with us enjoyin the open bar on the way to the volcano. I tell ya, I seen some open bars in my time, but them unicorns know how to do it up right. There was a full bar right there on the bus, most of it filled with things I ain't never seen before. There was bottles filled with purple fizzy stuff, jars topped off with red swirlin stuff and this crystal skull sat at the back filled with green stuff that was smokin, but when you drank it, it was colder than a witch's funbag at the bottom of a well. Tasted just like that, too. But after the first couple of sips, it was like there was fireworks goin off in my head, but instead of burnin sulfur comin out when they exploded, there was puppies carryin balloons made out of candy. I ain't never felt nothin like it, so I had me another one. By then, Jimmy and Waldo had moved on to the purple fizzy stuff. I tried a sip of it, but it tasted like someone had lit a diaper full of curry and cat hair on fire, so I decided to pass.

By the time we got off the bus to watch the wrestlin, we were in pretty bad shape. The tour company had planned for that, because they had a golf cart waitin to take us up the mountain. On the way up, Jimmy and Waldo explained to me that unicorns was hard drinkers, but were always fun drunks. To illustrate the point, Jimmy climbed to the top of the cart, yelled the extended "WHOOOOOO!" cry of drunks everywhere and promptly vomited. Which brings me to another lesson I learned today. When unicorns vomit, they vomit rainbows. And I ain't talkin rainbow colored vomit like what you get when you eat skittles while you got the flu, but a real, honest to goodness rainbow. And it smells like nachos.

Even if a rainbow smellin like nachos has the effect of makin me hungry, it has the same effect on unicorns as human vomit does on humans. So Waldo saw Jimmy "cheese sauce the rainbow" as they say, and he cheese sauced his own rainbow. Then there was rainbows and nacho smell shootin everywhere. I was just laughin at it all until, one guffaw too far, I joined in the festivities in my own ways. I don't know if it was the breakfast I'd had or what I was drinkin, but it wasn't my usual throw up. I may have been in the middle of deep heaves that was clearin my stomach and my head, but I swear I saw a puppy come out of my mouth. It was a pug. And it was carryin a balloon. Made of candy. The unicorns found this incredibly funny, which made me feel a whole lot better about it.

By the time we got to the wrestlin match, we had our heads cleared and we was in a right jovial mood, and hungry to boot. Lucky for us, there was a personal chef at the wrestlin match that was willin to cook whatever we wanted. Me, I was lookin forward to a grilled cheese and tomato. When the chef didn't know what that was, and I had to explain it to him, Jimmy and Waldo yelled, "EW! You can't be serious!"

Apparently, that is the worst concoction imaginable for unicorns. For me, it's a sensible, light lunch. We got some understanding of cultural differences and they allowed me my lunch. Those two ordered something called "Flufferclunk". When I asked them what it was, they just told me, "you'll see".

And see I did. My sandwich was delivered on a paper plate by a gloved waiter wearin a gas mask, presumably so he would cheese sauce the rainbow while serving me. Conversely, the Flufferchunk came out on a royal palanquin carried by four stout horses wearin togas. This was all preceded by a coupla unicorns playin a revile on some trumpet-lookin horns and flag bearers, well, bearin flags. In the background, there was fireworks bein shot off and a whole gaggle of women unicorns throwin flower petals and weepin for the beauty of the thing.

Jimmy and Waldo was right excited when they set down the palanquin and the dish was visible. It was a towering mountain of rainbow colored substance that could have been meat or a vegetable covered in what appeared to be marshmallow sauce. There was sparklers in the top. It made my grilled cheese and tomato look like the vilest concoction known to man-or unicorn kind. Then the smell of the thing hit me. Imagine the smell of your grandpa's feet after bein peed on by a musk ox that's been eatin nothin but stinkbugs all day. It was exactly the opposite of that. As soon as I smelled this thing, my mouth watered so much that saliva started pouring out my nose and ears.

"What is that?" I asked, awed.

"That, my friend, is Flufferchunk!" beamed Waldo.

"Yeah," I responded, "but what IS it?"

Jimmy asked, "Why, do you want some?"

"Yeah," I shouted.

"Are you sure?" asked Waldo, winking at Jimmy.

"I'm completely sure."

Jimmy leaned over and whispered in my ear, "It's unicorn."

I was shocked! "What? Really?"

"Oh yeah," Waldo said. "We're not all caught up in that human morality. And, really, just smell it. Doesn't that smell delicious?"

"It sure does," I concurred. "But I feel weird eating it."

Jimmy told me, "Nah, don't worry about it." Then he turned to a waiter, "Some Flufferchunk for my friend here."

They brought me a tray piled high with the rainbow colored meat. I was really torn. On the one hand, I was gonna be eatin unicorn in front of unicorns, which made me feel that guilt you get eatin a fish sandwich at the Aquarium, only much bigger. On the other hand, my nose was tellin me it was gonna taste like a Philly with donuts for the bun. After a short, but valiant, struggle, my guilt gave up and wandered away to nurse its wounds for the next battle, and I lifted a piece to my mouth.

As my teeth sank into the meat and it exploded into a taste flavor in my mouth like, well, I ain't sure, but somethin hot and salty that can explode in your mouth, like, maybe a water balloon filled with crackers, but they'd have to be liquid crackers. It ain't important right now. The important thing is that just as the flavor was makin rockets go off on my tongue, I heard bales of laughter.

"Oh my god! He did it!" yelled Jimmy.

"I can't believe it!" retorted Waldo.

"You sick bastard!" they yelled in unison.

I felt my heart sink. "I'm sthorry," I murmured around the food, "you sthaid it'd be all right."

They doubled over in laughter again. "It's fine!" Jimmy said. "It's not really unicorn! We were just seein if you'd really eat it when you thought it was. AND YOU DID!" This set them off laughing again.

Waldo slapped me on the back, "You may be a rube, but you're allright, Pat."

I figured if they weren't telling me to spit it out, I'd just keep eating. When they were ready to talk again, about ten minutes later, I got to ask them what it really was. Turns out Flufferchunk is a kind of fruit that grows on unicorn Maui. It also turns out that all unicorns are vegan, which explains their disdain of my grilled cheese. Of course, with fruit that tastes like this, I could be vegan, too.