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."


kaploy9 said...

If a ghost dragon composed of an unidentified number of humanoid ghosts traveled through increasing air pressure leading up to arctic conditions at a rate of unrecorded speed while carrying a humanoid passenger of unspecified weight, how many more unknowns would it take before this question becomes utterly useless? ;)

Anyways, a baby, already? If I didn't say so before, congrats to you!

Pat O'Neil said...

2. Is 2 the answer?
And yes, there's a baby. He was born on October 22. A mere 5 days after the previous post. Hence, the previous post was in OCTOBER! Holy cow, Pat, try stretchin out this story longer, would ya?