The tgspgossp 2 part tri.., p.1
The TGSPGoSSP 2-Part Trilogy, p.1Christopher D Schmitz / Humor
The TGSPGoSSP 2-Part Trilogy
Copyright 2016 by Christopher D Schmitz
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About the TGSPGoSSP
The TGSPGoSSP stands for The Gilgalesh Satire Players Guild of Satirical Satire Players.
Imagine if Monty Python’s Flying Circus lived in your head or you were a cynical curmudgeon (like a cross between a broke Donald Trump and Clint Eastwood’s character from Gran Torino) but weren’t mean enough to actual articulate the thoughts about people that sometimes amble through your head, begging to be voiced. That sort of lampooning might migrate to the fingers and be printed, rather than vocalized… and remember there’s a difference between libel and slander—they are separate crimes according to the law.
Let me tell you who they TGSPGoSSP are: a bunch of imaginary friends who live inside my head and keep me just inside the thin line that separates the foil-hat basket-weavers from the asylum admin. Yes, I have imaginary friends… and half of them even like me.
These “friends” act out the stories in dark humor fashion as they mock everything I love and help me laugh at myself. If they hurt your feelings… well, you’ll have to take it up with them.
The Epic Quest of Big Epicness
(originally published by The Cynic Online Magazine, April 2008)
The Gilgalesh Satire Players Guild of Satirical Satire Players, (or the TGSPGoSSP since acronyms are always easier to remember,) presents…
The Epic Quest of Big Epicness
She was jaded, like an ancient greenish Buddha statute. As a paladin of little renown, Shannon had been forced to make nice with others. Gilgalesh could be a harsh land if you had nobody to watch your back for you.
Shannon sat with her friends in the guildhouse. They were a typical crew, she reflected, but not too bright. She was the smarterest one, so the task had fallen to her as their de facto leader. They had been on several adventures together, and their individual strengths complemented what lacked in each other. They had a wizard, a thief, a druid, a barbarian, a paladin, and a token orc warrior.
She took stock of the group as they sat around the old, beaten couches in the guildhouse’s lounge. Rivera, the old wizard, shook the dice in the cup. As they rattled, he mumbled a spell to ward against rolling natural ones again.
The wizard rolled. Every face up die displayed a one, which was predictable since every facet on their D20s was a one. Rivera cursed. “Why do we even play this game? Nothing ever happens. We just sit here and roll until our characters die of old age. I’ve never even leveled up.” He picked up the game manual. “Why in the world did someone create a game called Dungeons & Dungeons? You don’t think we could have added something else to make it more interesting? Maybe we could add a dragon or something?”
“Oh, shut up,” Shannon told Rivera. That cockamamie wizard had the stupidest ideas sometimes. They only let him join the guild because he was also an apothecary; potions being his business, he was the only one amongst them that could mix a good glass of ice water.
“While I believe that our erstwhile companion has acted overzealously in the past, perhaps his proposal has merit. I decree, that forthwith, we enliven our sport with an increased volume of rousing exploits,” said Griskh, the green-skinned orc.
Brisco, their cleric, jumped up and down, imitating a typical orc, mocking Griskh. “Me got good idea. Me not dumb bunny. Me say we do sock-puppet show for PBS fundraiser. We orcs is stoopeed.”
Griskh shook his head and sighed.
Shannon knew Brisco was right. Everyone knew that orcs were universally stupid. While Griskh’s idea had advantages, anything involving PBS could only end in woe. She sighed with boredom. Shannon was prone to morbid sighs. I think I’m depressed because all my friends are all so much more stupider than me, she thought. What compels me to even hang out with these guys?
The memory came flooding back to her. When she first came of age, she and her two friends had gone to a local guildhouse to join up. Her former friends, BFFs actually, Barbie and Barbie, brought her with them.
“Like, hello,” the greeter had said. “My name is Barbie, pleased to meet you.” She smiled at Barbie and Barbie, and then scowled at Shannon. “Look here, it’s the guild president, Barbie.”
Barbie wore a nametag for obvious reasons.
“Look here,” said the president, Barbie, “new recruits. My you girls look well-tanned,” she said to the bronzed Barbie and Barbie as they tousled their flaxen hair. “You should all come and meet my boyfriend, The Ken.”
Barbie and Barbie’s jaws dropped. “What a coincidence! My boyfriend’s name is Ken,” they gushed simultaneously.
Barbie frowned at Shannon. Her raven hair and pale skin did not seem to fit in here.
“Oh look! Tanning beds!” the two recruits exclaimed and ran off, leaving their misfit friend behind to face the awkward silence.
Shannon shrugged and stepped into the guild.
“As if! I think you need to leave,” said the greeter.
“Goth won’t be chic for another few years, so run along until then.”
That was the last she had seen of her friends. Though, she did recently read that the entire Barbie cult committed mass suicide later. Apparently The Ken instructed them all to drink poisonous Kool-aid. Shannon knew that she was too cool for Kool-aid.
Shannon looked across at her new friends. At least these people respected her and valued her for who she was.
Sitting next to Ragnar the Barbarian, Brisco piped up, “Hey Shannon, how bout you make yourself useful and go snag me a cold one.”
Shannon bristled. She hated being treated like an object, let alone being talked to like that; it was insulting. The Barbarian always stuck up for her. “Are you just going to let him talk to me like that?” she asked Ragnar.
The barbarian shrugged and continued knitting the pair of socks he had been working on.
A voice piped up from down below. “I think you should go,” said Pinto, their Halfling thief. “It would sure give my back a break.”
Sitting on him like a stool, Shannon heel-kicked him in the face. “Quiet you!” she demanded. “Nobody asked for your opinion. And I refuse to be treated like someone’s personal property!”
But, she was bored. Shannon craved adventure, and this would have to suffice until the boys gave up playing their futile game of Dungeons & Dungeons. For now, braving the trip to the refrigerator would have to do.
Acquiescing to her friends’ pleas for refreshment, she relented and set out to find a couple of cold root beers.
* * *
After endless minutes of waiting, the group sent out a search party to find their missing paladin. They were bored, and so, they all went. They found her in the pantry.
“Hey,” said Rivera, “what’s the hold up?”
“Yeah,” added Brisco. “We’re thirsty.”
She sighed, “I can’t find the sodas anywhere. Someone stole them all.”
“What?” A shocked and bewildered cry came from Pinto as he wiped froth from his mouth and threw a frosty, empty can into the trash. “Who would have done such a thing?”
“I’ve got a pretty good idea,” said Shannon, glaring.
“Yeah,” Brisco jumped in. “It was the orc! They always do stuff like this.”
“This is gonna come out of your next paycheck,” Shannon berated Griskh.
The orc sighed. “The depths of your corporate inanity never ceases to amaze me.”
“Me drink all soda pop. Me think nobody notice,” mocked Shannon. “Honestly, how did you think we wouldn’t figure it out?”
The orc shrugged. It had always been like this for him.
“You know what, all of this action has made me thirsty,” whined Brisco. “Is anybody else thirsty?”
“Nope, not me,” Pinto burped contentedly.
“I am,” said Griskh.
“Shut up,” everyone shouted at him. No one cared about him; he was the reason for their predicament.
“We need to go on a quest. Only then we can afford to buy some new soda.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“We should pursue the most powerful artifact known to man,” said Brisco.
“You don’t mean…”
“No, I don’t. So, we will search for the Eye of Argon instead.”
“But the Eye won’t get us any sodas. It only has the power to destroy the world and kill everything in it.”
Brisco sighed as if he were talking to a preschooler. “I know that. But think of how much GP we can get for it on eBay.”
“Good point…then we can all buy something to drink.”
“I say we do it,” said Shannon. “Everybody gear up.” She desperately craved the sweet caress of a frosty root beer.
Ragnar, however, sat and worked feverishly while the others prepared. He had to finish knitting this pair of socks before they left. He just had to.
* * *
Days later, the group of intrepid adventurers halted at the border of Gilgalesh. They had come to the end of their known lands.
“We’ve come to the edge of our known lands,” said Shannon. “So far, we have traveled across the Barrens of Snarlak, crossed the River of Woe, and passed the Black Tower of the Visine Eye. Now, we find ourselves at the most dangerous point of all: Happy Harry’s Hamster Farm.”
The group’s gaze fell upon the rodent ranch. Happy Harry was out front. Bearded and bedraggled, he sat barefoot and smoking, wearing a tie-died shirt sporting the GreenPeace logo. Hamsters grazed contentedly in the field behind him.
“Come near, come near,” he called. Harry toasted a marshmallow over a campfire that belched black smoke as the flames fed upon bundles of shrink-wrapped An Inconvenient Truth DVDs.
Rivera walked close. “What is it, old man?”
Harry smiled a big toothy grin. “Sit a spell and let me tell you a story, a terrifying tale about greenhouse gasses and aerosol pollutants.”
Rivera raised an eyebrow with feigned intrigue. His eyes watered from the toxic fumes.
“First,” Harry commanded, “you must all remove your shoes.”
“What?” Shannon shook her head. “I’ve walked nonstop for days on end in these stiletto heels. If I planned on ever taking them off, I would have done it yesterday.”
“We’ll listen,” said Ragnar, “But only if you will supply us each with a can of soda.”
“What?” he shrieked. “Philistines! Major corporations sell disease and filth and exploit the young to make their profits. Soft drinks contain toxins and cancer-causing artificial sweeteners. ‘Soft drinks,’ you say…they should be called ‘hard drinks.’”
“But Harry,” said Griskh, “is there not the least amount of hypocrisy in your random expostulations? You expound upon the carcinogenic dangers of soft drinks whilst, yourself, smoking?”
“You stupid orc. I roll these myself.” Harry spat out the smoldering blunt he was gnawing on and snatched another hamster from the herd. Demonstrating, he carefully rolled the squirming critter in the flammable paper and fumbled for his lighter. “See, these are all natural and pollutant free; that makes ‘em healthy, ya hear? I sell them by the bucketful.” Frustrated, he rechecked his pockets, to no avail.
Pinto held up a lighter, offering a flame to ignite the writhing joint. The lighter was embossed with an unmistakable PETA logo.
“Hey, you little thief! That’s MY lighter!” Harry went into ninja-mode and began throwing handfuls of the tiny rodents at the adventurers. They clawed and gnashed their teeth. They were like fuzzy, living shurikens of death and cuteness.
“Run!” shouted Shannon, her own face bleeding from a close encounter.
* * *
They regrouped near the entrance to the haunted wood. Many of them had suffered grievous injuries in the wild hamster attack.
“Brisco, can you cast some healing for us?”
“Sure thing,” the cleric said. He pulled out a tin box of band-aids and began to apply them where necessary. “All fixed up. Now let’s get moving.”
They surveyed the verdant green before them. It exuded a menacing aura as they stood before the forest’s edge. A sign had been posted at the nearby trail’s mouth: “Forest of Tears.”
Steeling themselves to embark on a journey through the trees, Ragnar the Barbarian started weeping. “I don’t want to go in. I didn’t finish my socks, there’s knitting yet to be done.”
“Ragnar,” Shannon asked tenderly. “What’s wrong?”
“I-I can’t go in. I’m not done knitting all of my socks.” His eyes welled up.
“What are you talking about?”
“Brisco. The cleric told me that my soul would burn for eternity if I didn’t knit two-dozen pairs of socks for him to use as a dowry to pay your father. I can’t die without my socks!”
“What? That fool’s insane; I would never marry him, not even for twenty pairs of socks. Look at him, he’s a level six cleric who can’t even tie his own shoes… I won’t marry that idiot, but you probably should finish your knitting, just in case.”
The barbarian took out his knitting supplies as they journeyed through the foliage. He focused intensely on his yarn and walked right past Brisco.
The cleric’s shoelaces had become entangled in the thorny underbrush. He fell over and thrashed about, unable to escape. Pinto helped get Brisco loose as he removed the cleric’s wallet.
As time passed uneventfully by, Rivera hung back to speak with Brisco. “Why does Shannon seem to hate you so much? You two are really butting heads.”
“No, YOU’RE a butthead.”
“What I mean is, you are a cleric and she is a paladin. Isn’t there some kind of religious kinship that you two share?”
“You’d think so, but she belongs to another demonation.”
Griskh piped in, “I think that you intended to say denomination.” The well-spoken orc annunciated the last word.
“No, that’s not it. I meant the first one.”
Suddenly, a ferocious beast ripped through the canopy, landing before them. So terrible was its appearance that it cannot even be described here because this author is too mindful of his word-count, and a wee bit lazy to boot.
“Attack!” cried the paladin. She drew steel and reached for her shield.
Ragnar charged into the fray, wielding a giant battle-axe in one massive hand, a pair of knitting tines in the other. He shrieked like a little girl and hurtled headlong into combat.
The barbarian fell before his friends. Griskh and Shannon charged in, weapons brandished.
Pinto the thief stood in the back with Brisco, helping himself to the best items in his friends’ inventories. The two encouraged Rivera to cast his most powerful spell.
“Blast that thing into oblivion,” yelled Brisco.
Rivera emptied the pockets of his mage’s robe. “I lost them. I lost them!” he cried.
“What did you lose?”
“I’m all out of mana,” he wailed. “I KNOW that I had several mana potions on me earlier. I don’t know where they went; I cannot cast without one.”
“I could loan you one of mine,” said Pinto. He reached into his bulging shirt, and procuring a bottle of mana. “But it’s gonna cost ya!”
“Anything! Done,” the wizard said as the halfling tossed the vial to him.
The horrible beast finished with their friends and started towards them.
Rivera uncorked the bottle and sniffed the contents. His face went sour.
“Oh, no. I kept the mana overnight and now it has spoiled.”
Ineffective, and unable to defend themselves for long, the beast set upon them.
* * *
The adventurers awoke simultaneously when the creature expelled a foul scent. The pungent odor it exuded brought them all to noisy lucidity. You know, that’s the opposite of silent lucidity, like what people do when some wack DJ plays that Queensryche song on the radio: groan in despair.
Shannon assessed the situation. They were all bound hand and foot with vines, tied up in the undergrowth.
The worm-like creature before them looked vaguely insect-like. It writhed about the crew, giggling to itself. The beast walked on its hands; it had thousands of them. They protruded from his segmented carapace at every possible juncture. It walked and moved on the appendages… almost human in their appearance.
Rising ominously, the beast cackled maniacally. “And now you will all see, you will all learn the reason for the warning signs by my forest. For I am THE RIPPPER!” he casually introduced himself.
The foul monster set upon his ghastly work. His hands worked in a flurry of motion, wrists bent and fingers pinched. Within a matter of moments, the entire company’s garments were torn, split at the seams, with threads rent open. The wretch had frayed hundreds of little rips and tears all over their clothing. The vines loosened and the beast released his prisoners.
“Um, that’s it then?” asked Ragnar.
“Yeah, pretty much. Your clothes are forever cursed,” replied The Ripper in a stuttering Max Headroom voice, “…to resemble style trends from the 1980’s.” He cackled again.
Shannon wept quietly at this. All too often, she had seen her own mother wear similar garb and suffer the social consequences it induced. Shamed because of their outdated clothing style, the adventurers exited the Forest of Tears and continued their quest. Her torn Jerboa jeans wouldn’t be popular for at least another five years, she lamented.
* * *
With torn and tattered clothing, they continued their trek. Soon, hunger set in. Their food had long ago run low and they had to tighten their belts with regularity.
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