Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feelin' Kinda Splotchy

Mmm... hat.

Yup, the Mess was the ringleader in the case I was investigating. As this body's former inhabitant doubtlessly must have said on such occasions, "I'll be hornswoggled!"

Casualty report!

Tusker: treated for minor xenon gas inhalation; demanded (and received) a bowl of ice cream prior to his release

Dentata Damsel: temporary hearing loss caused by exploding pog; has been "yelling" a lot, which for her means talking in a normal tone of voice

Me: bruises on throat from being elbowed in the windpipe; wrestling with that vibrating dude has left me horny as all get-out

Gadfly Lad: legs broken in twenty-three places; is recovering quite nicely and should be released in a week; I plan on visiting the brave li'l trooper in the hospital quite often (as long as that bitchy girlfriend of his isn't there).

But currently, Gadfly Lad is sleeping, and he can't have any visitors at all. So now's a good time for me to catch up on some belated business: continuing the "Splotchy" story meme that Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator tagged me with! And Jon, I'm sorry I didn't get to it sooner, but my life has been crazy-hectic with all this Solstice Season hullaballoo. Anyway, here goes!

I woke up hungry. I pulled my bedroom curtain to the side and looked out on a hazy morning. I dragged myself into the kitchen, in search of something to eat. I reached for a jar of applesauce sitting next to the sink, and found it very cold to the touch. I opened the jar and realized it was frozen. (Splotchy)

"That's strange," I said out loud to no one in particular. My fingers slowly reached towards the jar again. My body experienced a wave of apprehension as weighted blanket covering me as I did so. The jar was completely frozen.

I picked it up and stared at it, my fingers stung with little knives of chill. "What the..." again I spoke aloud. Then I realized what had happened with a shock. Suddenly the jar flew from my hand. It shattered creating a collage-like mixture of frozen applesauce and glass shards on my kitchen floor, the lid lazily rolling to a stop across the room. (FranIAm)

I half noticed at first glimpse that there was something odd amidst the solidified apple sauce as I reached for the broom and the dust pan. As I knelt down to clean up the frozen mess, I could clearly see a tiny figure within the goopy mess. It was a human eye, with tiny arms and legs! I resisted my initial urge to pick it up with my hand, and then reached down to scoop it up with the dustpan. The eye looked up at me in horror and gave out a frightening high pitched screech as it ran for the living room.

I was dumbfounded by this turn of events. I didn't even like applesauce - And I had guests coming for dinner! It would not be proper to have a homunculus eyeball running around during the appetizer - I had to think fast. I crept into the living room so as to not startle the small creature. The eyeball was under the coffee table, peeking out from behind one of table legs. When I approached, it quickly darted under the couch!

I got on my hands and knees to look under the couch, but I could not see the eye through all of the old newspapers and dust bunnies that had accumulated under there. I had to hurry! the guests were coming at seven o'clock, and I had not even started the buffalo chicken skewers with blue cheese dipping sauce yet! Not to mention the couscous and the broccoli noodle salad. (Zaius Nation)

I shook my head and leaned back against the wall. Surely this couldn’t be happening, surely there isn’t an anthropomorphic eyeball running around under my couch. It just couldn’t be real, could it?

“Ahem,” a little voice squeaked. “Ahem.”

I looked all around for the source of the voice. I finally found that it was from the eyeball peering around the back of the couch. I leaned in and looked at it closer. It still appeared to be uneasy (I mean, I’m sure that’s how it appeared, but then again I’m not all that certain about behavior patterns of walking eyeballs.

“Did you say something?” I asked it.

“You’re not going to poke me are you?” it asked. “I hate getting poked.”

“Uh no,” I answered dumbfounded. “I won’t poke you.”

“And you’re not going to lock me away in a jar of applesauce are you?”

“No, I’m not going to do that,” I replied, still bewildered by the sight in front of me.

“OK.” He made the eyeball equivalent of a nod, hitched up a pair of nonexistent trousers, adjusted the chimerical hat on his head, and walked up to me. “I am forever in debt to you, sir, for freeing me from the confines of that jar.”

“OK, sure,” I smiled lamely. “How’d you get in there?”

“The evil wizard trapped me in there,” he answered. “He knows the only way to trap a geneye is to use a jar of applesause.”

“You’re… you’re a geneye,” I managed to blurt out. I may not get the appetizers done, but this may be one heckuva party anyways.

“At you service,” it bowed. “And to thank you for freeing me, I would like to reward you with two wishes.”

“Oh, so you’re like a genie.” It all started to make sense to me now. No, not really.

“Yes,” it rolled its eye. “Like a genie, only we’re geneyes. They sure do know how to warp a good story in Hollywood, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” I agreed, again dumbfoundedly. “So I get two wishes? What about three?”

“Ugh!” the geneye slapped the top of its head, or the top of its eyeball at least. “You get two. Two. Only two. That’s how it works. And no wishing for more wishes, we’re onto that. Aladdin tried that once, it wasn’t pretty.”

“OK, so I get two, let me think,” I said thoughtfully. Screw the party, this is way more interesting.

“Yeah, hurry up, I don’t have all day,” the magical homunculus eyeball tapped it’s foot. “I’ve got places to go.”

“OK, OK,” I answered. Well, I could always wish for a lot of money, except that never works in the stories. The villain always wishes for riches and gets trapped in the cave with the gold, or sent to the bottom of the sea with it or audited by the IRS because of it. As much as I’d like to pay off the mortgage, I don’t think I can.

“Well?” it asked impatiently.

“I want peace on Earth and good will toward men,” I say with a forfeiting shrug.

“Peace on Earth and good will toward men?” it repeated. “Is that one wish or two?”

“One,” I replied. “You know, ‘tis the season and all.”

“Nice choice,” it nodded. Then the geneye snapped its fingers. “It is done.”

I felt it. For one moment, I felt nothing but peace and joy all around me. Others felt it, too but no one would ever be able to explain it. All around the world, people stopped what they were doing and just enjoyed the moment. Evil men stopped thinking evil thoughts and just smiled nicely. The hurt, the sick, and all who were in pain be it physical, mental, or spiritual, felt the warmth of a brief reprieve. Bells rang. Angels sang. Then I felt it end.

“Hey, that was nice,” I said. “Why didn’t it last?”

“Come on,” the magical being snorted. “I’m not that powerful. You got one more wish.”

One more wish. What should I wish for? Hmmm. (Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator)

My deep and meaningful thoughts were interrupted by the opening bars of ELO's "Strange Magic." My cellphone was ringing! I examined the caller i.d. It was my dad. My gaze darted between the geneye and the phone. The geneye tapped its little foot. Jeff Lynne continued to croon, tinnily.

"I have to take this," I mumbled. The geneye emitted a melodramatic sigh.

Dad wanted to talk (at length) about some television show he'd just watched. I put him off with an excuse about the dinner party. As I slipped the phone back into its holster, I said, "I wish he'd stop calling me whenever I'm in the middle of something STOP! DON'T YOU DARE!"

The geneye smiled, benignly. "Don't dare what?"

"Don't grant that wish! It didn't count!"

"Of course, I wouldn't grant that wish! I mean, obviously, you weren't even talking to me."

"Sorry. I guess I've seen too many movies."

"Sure, sure. But still, that would've been pretty low of me, wouldn't it? I'm not a sadist!" A tinge of resentment had entered its voice.

"I said I was sorry! Okay, so... the wish! Oh, I know! I wish that everybody in the world was..."

The geneye groaned. "Hold it right there! I can only make world-wide wishes last for a second or two. Figure it out! Try thinking locally."

"Well, how many people can you affect permanently?"

"I don't know. A couple dozen, maybe. But I'd have to know their names, and they'd have to be located within, I dunno, ten, twelve miles from here."

I couldn't think of anybody I knew who was in need of serious help. But what else to wish for? My mind was a blank. And I still had to prepare for the dinner party. Oh, how I was dreading that party! My friends and I had started a monthly "dinner club" a few years ago, but since they'd all started getting married and having kids, they'd become tired, boring drones... zombies, practically. It was going to be a long, awkward evening. Unless...

I clapped my hands and shouted "YES!"

The geneye flinched, startled.

"I've got it!" I cried. "I want all of my dinner guests to be charming and clever. Like... 'Algonquin Round Table' clever. Can you do that?"

"No problem. Show me your guest list."

I tag the following people to continue the story, however they want:

Gryphon Rose

Paul and John

Gyuss Baaltar



The Fortress Keeper



Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Great story.

Man, what I wouldn't give to be at a dinner party where everyone was actually well spoken and clever.

Jeremy Rizza said...

I've found that enough glasses of space wine can at least make everyone else seem well spoken and clever. Just don't over-do it, or else the exact opposite effect kicks in, and you wind up body-slamming the hostess' mother.

Splotchy said...

Nicely done! And extra points for that Charles Burns image! I think I have the RAW magazine that has that story!

Thanks a lot for continuing the story.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Thanks, Splotchy! It was way-cool of you to check it out!

The Burns image is from the first digest-sized issue of Raw (volume 2, number 1). I bought it when it first came out, eighteen years ago. *is overcome by feeling of oldness*

MaGnUs said...

I'm just catching up, give me a few days and I'll write something up for that story's ending.

Skeleton Munroe said...

I come back from Christmas family-ing and I've been memed!

Well, what else can I do but comply?

Marc Burkhardt said...

Ahh! I've been remiss in my blog reading as of late, so I just found out I've been tagged!

Got a lot of time to make up for. Better get to work ...

Great story, by the way

MaGnUs said...

Took me long enough, but here goes my addition:

I wondered if he even knew what the ‘Algonquin Round Table’ was; hell, I wasn’t sure I knew. I went to my computer and printed out the list of people I had invited, since I’d done so by e-mail. Handing it to him, I said “There you go.”

The wee orb read over the list and said “Gee, I’m not this powerful. I know I said I needed the names of the people to affect, and I know we are near each and every one of them. But do you seriously think I can make THIS guy” he said pointing at one of the names “clever and charming? No can do buddy…. Even magic’s got its limits.”

I stared at him and said “Well, I know, but each time I want to ask for a wish, you come up with a new condition. Where’s the fairness in that?”

He snorted, or he would have if he had a nose to snort with “Pal, I don’t make the rules, I’m just playing by them. Do you think I like being a disembodied eye, granting wishes to any palooka that frees me from a… you did realize you freed me from an APPLESAUCE jar, not freaking Alcatraz, don’t you?

I was speechless… how was I allowing myself to be intimidated by AN EYE?!??! I had to let it know that he couldn’t push me around, so I decided to do something about it. (MaGnUs)

MaGnUs said...
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