Because living in fiction beats the alternatives.

Pelvic Reentry

"Doctor, I've been feeling a pain in my left side for several days."

"Ah, I, see…hmm…it looks to be somewhat distended, about a hundred feet, I'd say, from over here."

"Yeah, that started around the same time. I also passed a booster rocket the other night."

"Ohw, that must have been a real bitch."

"Yeah, it took seven hours of plunging to unclog the toilet. There was solid fuel everywhere."

"So is this pain continuous, like a steady burning of hydrogen and oxygen, or short, sharp bursts, kind of like having a maneuvering rocket firing on your liver?"

"Pretty much continuous—a dull, burning ache."

"Well, based on the wing-shaped protrusions in front and back, I'd say you have a space shuttle impacted in your hip. Have you been hanging around NASA facilities recently?"

"No, but I did sleep on the tarmac at Edwards Air Force Base one night…"

"Ah, that's probably it. Don't worry, I think we can treat it non-invasively. I'll prescribe some budget cuts for you. They should get rid of it in a few days."

"Thanks, doc."

What exactly are the ingredients in this thing?

I knew I should have been concerned when the sign said "Bake Sale of Doom," but my curiosity often gets the better of me. I just had to know what was so doomish about it. What from far away had looked to be chocolate cupcakes with red frosting were in fact small lumps of sulfurous-smelling coal whose tops were smoldering. It was a nice sort of heat, warm and friendly, like you could cup it in your hands to warm them up. My hands were warm enough as it was, so I moved on down the table.

The oatmeal writhing maggot cookies were easy enough to identify, but the ones with dark grey lumps that seemed to be screeching faintly were a novelty. I asked the friendly-looking lady with the giant ram's horns, and was informed that were made with chips of damned souls. Apparently, this gave them a unique tang. Last were the rice krispie squares, which had peanut butter topping, clearly marking them as pure evil. Since it was for a good cause, I decided to buy half a dozen of the damned cookies to take home.

It was at this point that Kung-Fu Jesus struck. He came screaming from behind me, overturning the table like he is wont to do, and condemning the bake sale for its usurious prices. He and the nice lady went at it faster than mortal eyes can see, battling each other across the wall with flying jump kicks. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and took shelter behind the overturned table.

After a minute or two of this, I got bored, and felt that something needed to be done. Scrabbling around on the floor, I found a toppled sign proclaiming that the proceeds of all sales went to the Hell Scouts of Infernia. Peeking up behind the table, I point at the sign and shouted, "Of course it's overpriced! It's a charity, you fool!" Despite barely showing my head, I managed to catch a good heel to the noggin.

When I came to a bit later, Jesus was leaning over me and apologizing profusely. He'd left his contact lenses at Mary Magdalene's place, and he was having trouble reading from far away. He had totally missed the sign. Everything was just a big misunderstanding. He laid hands on my head, bought all the cookies by way of apology, and gave me a dozen of the soul-chip ones I had been intending to buy, to compensate me for my troubles. Still, I think I'm going to avoid bake sales for a while…

With a name like Billy, it has to be good.

Billy runs across the grass and trips, falling down and scraping his elbow. He gets up and winces, while Suzy comes comes over to take a look at it. The blood welling out of the wound is strangely thick and pale.

"Owww…" whines Billy.

Suzy comments on the strange injury. She thinks she can see some stringy bits in the issuance. Billy licks the fingers of his other hand and wipes at it, repeating the process. When he does so a second time, he stops with the fingers in his mouth. "It tastes orangey. That's so weird."

"Huh?" opines a skeptical Suzy. "Blood doesn't taste like oranges."

"Well mine does. If you don't believe me, why don't you try it?"

"Eww, that's gross." She makes a warped face and pokes her tongue out.

"Suit yourself, wimp."

Suzy cannot bear such an affront to her valor. She glances to the sides to make sure no one is watching, then leans over, sticks her tongue out as far as it goes, and takes a quick lick. "Wow, it does taste like orange! And it's all thick and sticky!"

"Yeah, weird, isn't it." Billy isn't entirely sure what to do next. He's never bled orange marmalade before.

"I've hearda blood oranges. Maybe they have something to do with this? Didya drink a lot of orange juice or something?" Suzy rolls her tongue around in her mouth, savoring the sweet flavor of preserved citrus.

"Nope. I had some with breakfast, but I do that every day." Billy glances at his elbow with some measure of concern. The flow of marmalade has mostly staunched, forming a sticky crust over the region. "Didn't Mr. Arnson say that blood was important and stuff, like it carries oxygen and things around? I'm not sure if jelly can do that?"

"Dummy, you can't make jelly outta orange. It's always marmalade! Mmm." The thought of juicy orange goo fills Suzy's mind.

"Oh yeah, well if you're so smart, what's the difference between jelly and marmalade, eh?"

"Umm…marmalade's thicker…and it's got fruit bits in it. Jelly's clear and all." Billy's elbow has definitely stopped oozing. Suzy is saddened that she will not get to taste any more of the goodness within. "Maybe it's just your elbow. We could try scraping your other elbow, see if it's fulla orange too?"

Billy looks up, displaying concern at his friend's behavior. "Uh, no, it hurts. You're being freaky." He takes a step back.

"It's in the name of science." Suzy advances, licking her lips and fixing her eyes on the delicious elbow.

"Uh, ah, help! Miss Warner, help!" Billy turns and runs towards the school building, screaming in terror. Suzy chases after him.

"Good thinking, she can get us some toast from the cafeteria!"

There's always room for cellos.

So we went to see this performance art piece last weekend. It consisted of a quartet of cellos, except the cellos were made out of the preserved skins of four dead women. (They were fairly famous, having already acted after death, and their bodies were currently engaged in another show.) They were hollow and dried out, with the strings going from their toes to their forehead, and their noses acting as the bridge. I think you could tune them by twisting the toes. It was supposed to "explore the boundaries between music, sexuality, and death by exposing the false dichotomy that we introduce to such". It sounded like crap, though. I have to say that wood makes for much better instruments.

The Games of Divinity run on NES?

For all you Exalted fans, after looking at this, I feel tempted to write up something about a setting where you have been Exalted by the Unconquered Plumber to defend the world from the threat of armies of hungry turtles and undead war mushrooms that threaten to burst forth from the Underground, lead by the dread Bowser-Lord. Aside from the default heroes of the setting, the Plumber Exalted, we also have the Luigi Exalted who were their brothers in the First Age and are masters of being somewhat taller and thinner, not to mention green instead of red. There are also the reclusive Chosen Maidens, who remain in castles most of the time, acting as advisors and love interests. More numerous are the Terrestrial Exalted, also known as the Mushroom-Blooded, for they grow from the ground, and their heads remain shaped like toadstools for their entire lives. More recently, there have appeared the Wario, dark reflections of the Plumber Exalted who bear their Caste Letter turned upside-down in vile mockery. All the Exalted employ powerful Charms such as Height-Increasing Prana and Fire-Shooting Technique.

Objects on body may be closer than they appear.

I hear they just started shipping Heisenberg clothing last week. The more you know what it looks like, the less you know where it is. This is very convenient when you come back from the party and can't remember where you left your clothes—you're at least certain which ones they were, so you'll recognize them when you do stumble across them. On the other hand, when you're walking down the street and someone looks at you, noticing your spiffy new outfit, it has an annoying tendency to quantum tunnel elsewhere. Having your pants teleport to your car's trunk and your shirt back into your closet while your underpants find their way onto the head of an overweight walrus, leaving you Heisenaked, can be quite disturbing to the unsuspecting.

Due to this, you should generally combine your Heisenberg clothes with ninja clothes. These lurk just out of sight until needed, then spring onto the scene, covering your exposed bits with perfect subtlety. (Of course, they look just like ordinary clothes, so as to blend in and be undetectable. Real ninja never wore black outfits.) As long as you're the only one wearing them, they're great. Unfortunately, once everyone starts wearing ninja clothes, they will get weaker and weaker, until they have the problem that they'll fall apart during use, leaving you naked again. However, by that point, your Heisenberg clothes will hopefully have come back…

Kill Reuel, Vol. 1

On the vast, hot winds of the internet, I have often heard bandied about how nearly all fantasy role-playing games are deeply derivative of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. (On any given message board or newsgroup, this is typically followed by a small flame war where somebody has to bring up how the awful mechanics used for magic in Dungeons & Dragons are actually quite emulative of the works of Jack Vance, among other points.)

In any case, the individuals who feel that this is true could take out their frustration by playing a game wherein all those involved pretend to be time-travelers who need to kill Tolkien. You could have characters like a high-tech cyborg elf from an alternate universe which was destroyed by Tolkien's books, because they stole and trapped the magical essence of the elves within their pages. Or perhaps H.G. Wells, who needs to kill Tolkien (using the time machine he built as research for his novel) so that Wells's own ideas about early role-playing games will become the seed that modern ones spring from, granting him the recognition he feels he deserves. The party could be rounded out by a necromantic dwarf who wants Tolkien's skull for a powerful summoning ritual that will allow him to command a legion of the damned (mostly the lost souls of bad fantasy authors) and, as the piece-de-resistance, Peter Jackson, who would never have spiraled into self-destructive horror in the late 2020s if not for the hubris brought on by directing wildly successful movies based on Tolkien's works.

If that were all there were to it, it would make for little more than a cathartic evening for those unable to even defend their views against the teeming typos of the internet. Instead, we should spice things up and decree that it's not enough that Tolkien die—he has to die by YOUR character's hand, not any of the others', or else history will not rearrange itself to your liking. This should suffice to turn things into a nasty little game of backstabbing, wherein you help others with their murder plot, only to try and take out the victim yourself at the last minute. Of course, since he's been dead over thirty years, he shouldn't mind at all.

Two yards of other cloth

She was wearing other pants. Not only were they not the pants she had been wearing earlier, they were unlike any pants I'd ever seen before. It was hard to say they were really pants at all, other than the fact they were on her legs, or where her legs would have been were she wearing normal pants.

"What do you think? I just got 'em!" She smiled perkily and wiggled her butt in a pattern that made my eyes hurt.

"Uh, they're, uh, nice." I was having trouble following the shape of the pant legs. I kept starting with the usual two in the vicinity of her hips, and somewhere along the way another one showed up, resulting in three feet. Trying to find the start of the third leg was fruitless. Scanning up and down only made me question my sanity. As I stared at the three feet, it became clear to me that they were the left, the right, and the plerf. It was strange, because I'd never realized plerf was a direction before, but it seemed so clear.

The pants themselves were an odd color, sort of white, with crawling blotches of green and yellow, unless those weren't the pants. The color seemed to be out of space to sit in, flowing off the pants into the air around them. The aura of yellow looked very kingly, though I think would tire of it after looking at them for the twelfth night in a row.

"We should go out, I want to show 'em off!"

"Uh, okay." Noticing the fly, I realized that's what a crosscap looks like. The pockets seem quite roomy, and nothing was going to fall out of them, given that they were completely enclosed, but having to reach through the fourth dimension to get at their contents did seem a bit unwieldly.

"We could go to the game tonight."

"Game?" The tag on the back pocket, which appeared to have gotten bored and crawled around to the front by way of her innards, read "EL Y V'AI'S", and depicted a pair of shoggoths tearing apart a man wearing some decidedly eye-catching pants. I retrieved my caught eye, and watched the man twitch in agony as the shoggoths rended him limb from limb in their little ink-drawing way. The tag was a supple light brown leather, thin, and reminded me of people I hated who had disappeared.

"Hello?!" She balled up her fists and put them on her hips in exasperation. "The Pods are playing North-Southern tonight." Her hips got bored and started crawling up her fists. "We should totally go root for 'em. Woo-hoo! Miskatonic rules!"

The prospect of sitting next to said pants for a good two hours did not overly appeal to me. Still, it sounded better than figuring out what would happen if I tried dancing with her with those things around. "Sure, whatever, Cthulhu Ftaghn."

On Stories

The past is a story that is written—there for all to see, a solid testament. When a new author takes hold of it, the details change, and in so changing, sometimes the themes change as well, old aspects becoming blurred or being surgically removed, and new ones layered in over them, but at any given point it is a monolithic, self-contained work.

The future is a story that is told—shifting with each telling, adapting to the needs of the audience and the whims of the day. The end seems to change often, but the details less. It exists nowhere but on the fleeting wind carrying it from the visionary to the rapt attendee. Someday, it may be written down and preserved, but in so preserving, it will lose some of the vitality that made it magic.

The present is the teller of these tales, picking and choosing between the myriad visions whirling about in his head, discarding a hundred to find the time to write down one. The one that survives mourns for its lost brethren, but silently, in between the pages of the tale it has become.

Zombies, zombies, everywhere!

So, to close out the zombie trilogy, let us ponder the thought of zombie tupperware. Small, horrid plastic containers of the dead, burping in the night and seeking brains to keep fresh…just don't use them to store holy water. That would result in the bottom melting right out, and that would both make a mess and void the limited lifetime warranty that comes with every container.

Of course, these days, they'd be facing some serious competition from low-grade zombie ziploc storage containers. They're reasonably durable, almost as horrific, and a whole lot cheaper. Creates terrible waste though, filling up the landfills of future generations with undead plastic. I can just imagine some teenagers sitting around in the park built on top of the old creepy landfill when this tattered plastic lid bursts from the ground and tries to store them. It'll probably be in theaters by this summer…