Aug 30 2011


This is it folks, we’ve reached ITAAOAP version 2.0.  Applause is appreciated.  Picking of the nose, is not appreciated.  It mucks up your keyboard.  No, no… oh too late.  You’ve done it now.  Nothing left to be done now but ask you very kindly to grab the tissues and clean it up.

Right, now we were at a rather thrilling part of the story where Lara (the silly earth woman) was about to disable the thrust of the spaceship, The Golly Golly Frump Jumper, and Rune was on his way to stop her.  I am sure you’ve been imagining all kinds of thrilling explosions or summersaults through the air, or even sudden kisses.  Sadly you don’t get to find out what happens just quite yet.

I’ve known for quite some time now that if there is one thing earth people absolutely hate its suspense.  Therefore, I shall leave you hanging in suspense for just a while longer and take this story on a different tack.  And for all of you out there who might accuse me of not knowing where to take the story from here, I would like to remind you that I am the narrator and therefore all-knowing.  You’re just the reader.  What do you know?  Nothing, that’s what.  You know what I tell you.

So, without further ado, we’ll just leave Lara and Rune hanging out in suspended animation for a while and turn our attention to Blat.

Blat is sort of what you’d call a pirate.  Except for the fact that he’s not in the ocean (remember it’s about to be blown up), he’s in the universe.  It’s a really really really really huge universe so he’s not notorious or anything like that.  But he likes to think of himself that way for sure.  ”Blat the Notorious Planet Pirate”.  Of course he does not pirate whole planets either, so the whole title is pretty much a lie except for his name.  Blat.

Well, not really.  You see, Blat is not his real name either.  He just goes by that, a rather more pirate-y name you see.  His real name is Blatirietta Vin Dingle Hushamusha Toodleboots and he is only four-feet tall and wears a fake beard on his baby-smooth face.  But that’s a total secret and it’s between you and me and quite frankly if you tell any of the characters I shall simply refuse to continue the story.

So Blat did not really pirate entire planets, but what he did like to pirate where towels.  Piles and piles of towels, all washed as soon as he brought them on board and then sorted by colour, size, wear, and special properties.  He had a ship full of towels, and for this reason we can easily say he was the smartest being in the universe.  His favourite towel, his current fancy one might say, always rested securely around his shoulders where he could access it in an instant’s notice.  Today he was wearing a lovely green affair with mermaid decorations on it.  The fabric of the towel was of the lushest grade (there being seven grades of lushness, one being “sadly unlush”, two being “moving toward lush”, three being “okay, I’d call that lush”, four being “that’s almost pleasantly lush”, five being “now we’re getting somewhere”, six being “good golly that feels lush” and seven being “holy mother of refinements, that’s lush”) and every time Blat moved his head he was rewarded with a soft brush of fabric against his cheek.

Now most ships were equipped with a navigation system of some kind, and Blat’s ship, Towel Muncher, was no exception.  However, instead of the traditional GPS, radar, or Space-Ur-In systems it had a towel tracker.  And not just any towel tracker, either.  It had the Traipsing Travel Towel Tracker Thirty-Three. This deluxe edition came with advanced towel facts, a towel collection sorter, the ability to detect desirable towels within a 100,000 km radius, and a cup holder.

Now, as I’m sure you can imagine, being a fearsome towel-hunting pirate holds its glamour, but it can also be quite lonely.  A ship full of lush towels is all well and good, but even the being with the most towels in the universe sometimes craves the simple company of other beings.  Of course this craving is short-lived once the other beings are encountered and are found to be quite entirely stupid and useless and then Blat remembers why he loves his towels so very much.

In any case, it just so happened that it had been a long enough time since Blat last stopped to see another being that he decided he needed to stop by his local bar for a nice pint of beer.  Yes beer.  Beer is one of those universal drinks, and I’ll not hear you telling me that’s not true.  So he steered his ship in the direction of his favourite pub, The Frothy Beer Giver, and imagined the soothing taste that would soon greet his mouth.

Of course you should know by now that no one in this story ever really seems to get what they want.  It’s a sort fun game the universe likes to play with people, never giving them what they really want, but lining up something else to distract them momentarily.  Of course the distraction seems perfectly wonderful at first, until it’s revealed to be complete tripe.

Thus it was for Blat that just as his saliva glands were functioning at an incredible rate that his Traipsing Travel Towel Tracker Thirty-Three went off.  An alarm not unlike the sound of a donkey braying resounded with flashing pink lights and a disco ball fell from the ceiling illuminating the cabin in circling glittering reflections.

“Great Gadderdooks!”  Blat exclaimed, “A vintage Cforeum Airship towel?  In navy?”  He gasped in an entirely un-pirate-y way and then recovered himself with a mighty, “Ar!”

Abandoning his idea of a drink (and his taste buds were very sore at him for that, you can be sure.  In fact they began plotting their revenge at that very moment) he turned his ship in the direction of the towel signal, narrowed his eyes to slits and sang in a deep, growling voice, “Yo, ho, ho, and a cabin o’ towels!”

In case it escaped your notice (and I’m betting that it did because most things seem to have escaped your notice so far), the towel in question was none other than the very towel lying around the neck of a very panic ridden Rune.

To be continued…

Jul 4 2011


Lara had rolled into a kind of loading bay with trolleys and shelves and a lighted ramp way.  The trolleys were rolling about the room at free will since the owner of the ship hadn’t the time nor perhaps the necessary foresight to tie them down.

The walls were a shiny metal and the floor was just plain black.  No special tile or carpet or anything like that, just black.  There was a doorway directly ahead of her, which she supposed went to the rest of the ship.

“The ship?”  She asked herself, stupefied.  She had convinced herself she was finally off her rocker and everything that was occurring was just a happy delirious dream, but it didn’t seem like the kind of dream she’d think up if she were crazy.  And, when she really thought about it, she didn’t feel that crazy.  But do people who are crazy feel crazy?  She wondered.

The strange lost duck man was obviously the owner and operator of the ship.  “Just my luck,” thought Lara, “I can’t even dream up a hunk of a man to come and rescue me from the destruction of earth.  I dream up a lost duck man.  Though I suppose he did have rather a kind face.”

Now, Lara is an earth woman, and you can’t blame her for feeling this way, because all earth women have a natural propensity to find something attractive about their rescuers.  Even when those rescuers have SSS and really shouldn’t be considered in any positive light whatsoever.  But Lara, let us remember, does not know about SSS, and will probably ignore most of the rules the rest of the universe follows.  The forgetting of the towel was just the first indicator; the fact that she found anything redeemable about Rune is the second.  A third, I am quite certain, will surface in a matter of moments.

Earth, and therefore earth women, is a generally backward place.  Again, this part of why it was selected to be blown up.  Everyone was pretty sure they’d blow themselves up eventually anyway because they can’t do anything right.

Rune, meanwhile, was frantically trying to get the on board computer to tell him where they were headed.  He was trying everything he could think of, but the computer was feeling particularly moody and argumentative and so he wasn’t getting anywhere.  Rune cursed himself for selecting the personality of his Aunt Jikyl for his onboard computer.  At the time it had seemed like such a good idea, after all Aunt Jikyl was very smart and knew her way around the galaxy, however, she was also prone to long periods of absolutely hateful spite.  Here’s how the conversation went:

“Please will you tell me where we are going?”

“But why not?”

“Figure it out yourself.”

“Alright then I will.  Bring up the navigation charts.”

“You couldn’t read those if they were explained to you twenty times.”

“May I just see them?”


“Why not?”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“But you’re my onboard computer!  You’re supposed to be helpful and do as I say!”

“Do as you say?  Do as you say?!  Let me tell you something!  The only thing I am going to do is go for a little snooze to update my systems.  And the next time you bring out that attitude I’ll self-destruct.  Then where will you be?  Nowhere.  Millions of pieces.  Space dust.  Not the pretty kind either.  Just normal, dull ugly space dust.  And then the Vac-Ur-Space will clean you out.”

Rune sighed deeply.  “Alright, I’m sorry.  If I let you go for a snooze then will you tell me where we’re going?”


“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want to.  You can wait and find out.”

“But will it be a good planet?  Will it help my mission?”

“Your mission is doomed anyhow.”

“Why is that?”

“Because the bloody planet that the rock was on was blown up that’s why.  And no one cares.  No one cares about that stupid rock but you.  And you’re a frilly grogged dingle fanny.  I hope you die and your face gets used as toilet paper.  Even your brother didn’t think it was important enough for him to go on a mission.  My guess?  He wanted you to die out here.  Figured your SSS would surely do you in.  Sad it didn’t.  Shall we call him and ask?”

“No, no…”

But it was too late because the onboard computer had already dialed Rhett’s number.  As Rhett was picking up the call the computer said to him, “You’ve got a stowaway on board by the way… and she’s about to disable your thrust.  You might want to do something about it…”

Rune’s face turned pale white and he ran from the room.  His brother shouted profanities after him for disturbing his rather enjoyable time with Nivo.  Rune ignored him and only hoped he got to whatever strange stowaway he’d picked up in time.  He also hoped the stowaway was not dangerous or inflicted with disease or some form of flesh eating monster.

As a precaution he picked up his towel (A rather faded blue affair with steam powered airships on it) and took it along.

In case it escaped your notice, the third indicator of Lara ignoring every sensible rule of the universe has just happened.  She has found a red button and has in a fit of curious compulsion, pushed it.  This opened a control panel and Lara started to muck with it.  The thrust would be turned of in three seconds unless…

To be continued…

May 29 2011


It should be noted, that when Lara returned home from her rather unpleasant visit with her boyfriend, that her mother was waiting in the kitchen tapping the table with her long, ghastly fingernails.  ”Where,” she said shrilly, “on earth,” she emphasized each word with a fingernail tap, “have you been?”

Lara, not being in the mood to talk to her mother, or try to impress her or explain anything to her, simply shrugged her shoulders and left the room.  Her mother could be heard making loud annoyed gasping noises in the kitchen for the next half-hour, but Lara simply did not have the energy to deal with it.

“Why are mothers so damn horrible?”  She asked her reflection in the mirror.

Her reflection, being much smarter than she was, knew that mothers were horrible simply because they lived on the planet earth.  On most other planets in the universe it is a well-known fact that mothers, in general, are completely mad creatures.  Instead of this madness being repressed it is instead celebrated with a weeklong feast called Mad Mad Mother don’t be Mad About the Carpet Fire.  The mothers on these planets feel so appreciated that their madness, in fact, decreases for the rest of the year.  Sometimes, depending on the alignment of the planets, the mothers get a little more mad than usual, and then, quite sensibly, another week of feasting is added.  If this fails to appease the madness of the mothers everyone on the planet agrees that a nice long vacation is in order during which time the mothers can roam free, gossiping and snooping at will and generally nagging every tree, rock, and bug they come across.

Sadly Lara’s reflection couldn’t tell her any of this because Lara was too stupid to realize that if you only activated your mirror properly your reflection could converse freely with you.

So Lara was moping away in her bedroom, much like an annoyingly angst-filled teen that just won’t turn their music down.  At the exact same time the man named Rune was on his way for a collision course with the planet earth.  And, consequently, at the exact same time the Vogans were lining up their special weapon to attack earth.  It could be noted, that at the precise same time, Rhett was enjoying some alone time with the most beautiful woman on his planet.  That’s not really important to know, but it is rather interesting and lends some form of excitement to this part of the story.

Rune, having SSS was pretty much doomed to be blown up with the planet earth.  Lara, having such bad luck with her mother and boyfriend, felt like being blown up at that moment.  Sadly for both of them, neither was put out of their misery.  It really would have been much easier and nicer for them both to die, but the universe is not a kind thing and it wasn’t done having laughs at their expense.

Rune attempted to carefully maneuver his space cruiser onto the surface of the planet earth without being detected.  Instead he managed to call up the geeks at NASA and inform them of his flight pattern.  He also managed to tell them he was an alien from a different planet, but there was no need to worry because he was just following the orders of a rock.  Naturally NASA assumed one of their spacemen had gotten the “Spacies” (A little known disease in which spacemen think that the moon can talk.)  They sent a white van and a straight jacket to pick him up.

Now, also thanks to Rune’s SSS he actually gave NASA the incorrect flight path (though he was trying to give them the right one so this can’t be seen as something he did right) and thus he did not have to go to a mental institute on a planet that was about to explode.  A very happy mistake this was for him.  A second happy mistake (and you will find out why a man with SSS was afforded two happy mistakes in a moment so just hold your protests for a moment and keep those cuss words to yourself.) was that he ended up landing right outside Lara Franklin’s window.

Lara Franklin, thinking she had finally lost her marbles on account of her mother (her psychologist had been telling her it was bound to happen sooner or later), did not find the sight of a space cruiser with the words The Golly Golly Frump Jumper painted in bright neon pink on the outside was odd at all.  In fact, she welcomed the sight and started laughing maniacally to herself.  It felt good to know she was finally insane.

It would have done her a world of good if she had her towel with her at that moment, but being a complete dunce, she did not.  The reason she could have used her towel (other than for the obvious reason that you should always have your towel) was to cover her hand and break her window open because in exactly two seconds a warning would be issued about the destruction of earth.

As it was, when the warning was issued, the space cruiser opened its doors and a strange man descended the ramp.  He caught sight of her, jumped back in surprise, and then looked about him like a fool.  He honestly looked like a stupid lost duck trying to find the pond it was already swimming in.  Then he seemed to realize what was going on and ran back up his ramp.

Lara wasted no time.  She ran, full speed, at her window and crashed through it (cutting herself in the process… a towel, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot stress this enough, a towel!) and followed the strange, lost duck man up his ramp.  She managed to jump into the main chamber of the ship just as the ramp slammed shut and then she was thrust back against the wall as it sprung into motion.

The man named Rune punched and punched the “turbo, oopsie, mistake, escape” button until it asked him, not so kindly to “Stop pressing the button, you giant piece of Fung-Turd!”  The ship, sensing some other force other than SSS, did in fact spring to life and into turbo escape mode at the last possible moment it could have before it was destroyed with the earth.

Rune sat back, shaking and sweating and wondering how he of all people managed to escape.

Then he looked down at the rock in his possession and noticed the tiny note scrawled on top: “Make sure you bring the rock back, you asshole, or I will slit your throat.  Love Rhett.”

Obviously this rock had some way of making his brother even more successful or wonderful.  The only agent to counteract the dooming effects on the younger son of SSS is the much more powerful force of getting the first brother ahead.  The rock’s ability to get Rhett ahead was much stronger than Rune’s tendencies to fail, mess up, and basically die.

It was Rune’s turn to laugh maniacally because not only had a rock saved his life, he had absolutely no idea where the “turbo, oopsie, mistake, escape” button was taking him.

Now, you may think “Oh how terribly awfully awful the earth just got blown up!”  and while there are sad aspects to losing a planet, there are definite plusses.  Let’s remember, shall we, that Lara’s mother got blown up with the planet earth.  Let’s also remember that those terrible kids the Disney Corporation makes in their secret lab also got blown up.   Let’s also remember, shall we, that now when you are trying to get from work on planet Teliyardle to home on planet Redoples 3 it will only take you 2 minutes instead of 10 and you get a lovely view of Vinerfloy and Cinnertalied 44 thanks to the fact that the earth is no longer in your way.  Really when you think of these things, the loss of a planet is not so sad after all.

So on that happy note, to be continued….

Also, just a friendly reminder to get your towel.  You’ll need it.

“Listen.  It’s a tough universe.  There’s all sorts of people and things trying to do you, kill you, rip you off, everything.  If you’re going to survive out there, you’ve really got to know where your towel is.” –Ford Prefect, in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Apr 20 2011


Where on earth did we last leave Lara?  I must apologize, as a narrator, for loosing track of one of our main characters.  Terribly inconvenient I know, but sometimes it is so hard to keep track of these things.  I mean, you try being a narrator!  There is all this mucking about with people’s feelings and whereabouts, and the entire time you have to keep in the back of your head “where is this going?”  ”what does it mean” “where did this come from” and on top of that you’re also wondering how that stain got on your shirt.  Then you realize that was the stain from that terrible fancy dress party you were forced to attend to impress that attractive member of the opposite sex at which you drank way too much and threw up on yourself.  And you ask yourself why you bothered to keep the shirt and that’s precisely when you realize you’ve lost track of one of your main characters.

But it’s not all bad.  I did, you will remember, keep pretty good track of Rune and Rhett.  And I even remembered to tell you about where the rock came from.  I didn’t forget the rock.  That, as you will recall, is quite important.  Perhaps much more important than this Lara earthling when push comes to shove, but then again I must remember I am speaking to the human race, an entirely self-involved species that could care less about the fate of a poor innocent rock.

Lara was, I believe off to work when we last spoke about her.  Well since then she’s had time to have an utterly horrible night at work (where a toddler threw french fries at her which she later had to dig out of her cleavage, an old man tried to look up her skirt, a middle aged woman told her she’d never amount to anything if she ran her life the way she ran her restaurant, and her best server quit), and even more horrible evening back home with her mother (who is, if you will recall fairly nasty.  Not as nasty as some human beings, we’ll give her credit for that, but much nastier than others.  Then again comparisons are odious.  Or was that odorous?  Either way I suppose.).  She’d also had time to wake up extra early and sneak out of the house to be with her boyfriend for a while, thinking this might lift her spirits.

It didn’t.

It happened like this:

Lara woke herself up in the pre-dawn light and proceeded to stub her toe on her nightstand in her drowsy stupor.  It bled enough that she had to fumble around in the medicine cabinet in the dark for a bandaid in order to not wake her mother.  Then she put her shirt on inside out and threw on a pair of yoga pants.  She managed to make it out the door without a fuss and then slid behind the wheel of her car.  She turned the key in the ignition and the gas light went on, which meant she would have to stop somewhere in the chilly morning (it was raining too of course) for gas before she even got to Pallav’s house.

So she stopped for gas, and as she was shivering in the cold under the harsh lights of the gas bar she realized that she had put her shift on inside-out but could think of no decent way of correcting her error so she simply hoped Pallav wouldn’t notice.  After all men weren’t supposed to notice things like that were they?  But it never worked out that way.  Men, it seemed, were doomed, or at least earth men were.

A very prominent scientist on the planet Noseritous (a planet that takes an almost unhealthy interest in every other planet in the universe, and therefore a rather good source when one wants information, but not entirely reliable.  They do have a bad habit of gossiping) did a study some hundreds of years ago on the human male brain to find out that most men are simply out to destroy themselves in every way possible and yet they don’t even realize it.

For instance, take Pallav Cocker.  Lara could go out and get a nice new haircut, a new dress, new shoes, a tan, an eyebrow job, and new perfume and the most Pallav would say (and that was if he was lucky) would be “is something different with you today?”  But, for instance, if Lara were to gain a few pounds, forget to wear makeup, or put her shirt on inside out he’d notice immediately and make some terribly inappropriate comment.  Now it is not as if Pallav, or any other man for that matter, is intentionally attempting to sabotage his chances of sex with a beautiful woman, it just happens.  They can’t help it.  As we will soon see.

So after waking up early, getting gas in the pouring rain, and letting herself into Pallav’s house Lara was not in the best of moods.  She was cold, wet, tired, and in need of some TLC.  Sadly Pallav was not in the best state to receive her.

He was, in fact, passed out stone cold on the sofa with a bottle of tequila still in his limp grip.  And while he was too drunk to properly greet Lara, offer her breakfast, or even a cup of coffee, he did manage to say one thing to her.

And that was, “Lara?  Your shirt’s on inside out.”

And then he passed out and Lara went to the bathroom and switched his aftershave with ammonia.

Mar 20 2011


And so he picked it up, put it in the pocket of his coat, and headed over to the observatory where his twin brother, Rhett, worked as a rock expert.  Rhett was revered on Jarisitus 10 and had carved himself a very respectable career analyzing and writing reports on rocks and the reasons why they decided to die.

Rune, crippled by his SSS, had never been revered for anything.  It was also why Rune hadn’t bothered to try to impress a woman, find a career to speak of, and why he rarely bothered with personal hygiene.  There really was no point in trying to do anything of use at all, because as soon as he did, that bad case of SSS kicked him square in the balls.  And that, as most men will tell you, is not a pleasant sensation at all.

Just last week Rune decided he wanted to put on a tie and shave his chin to impress the rather homely cashier at his local mart.  He ended up on the floor in pain, holding his groin.  SSS, anyone can tell you, is not something to be messed with.

So it was that Rune rushed to his brother’s lab and found him sitting back in a chair, squinting at a particularly lovely specimen of rock, and scratching his strong jaw line.  Rhett and Rune were unidentical twins.  They had come from the same egg, that was for sure, but for some reason twins on Jarisitus 10 never came out identical.

Rhett, being the first born by a full minute and a half, had received favour.  He was tall, broad shouldered, muscular, and had naturally good eyesight.  His hair dried in a pleasing style, he never got pimples, and his voice was deep and sexy.

Rune, the poor fellow, was not short per say, but he was definitely not tall like Rhett.  He was average height, scrawny in comparison to his brother, needed glasses, and had to fight his hair to keep it from looking like a rat’s nest.  His voice was nothing special, and he was known to get a good breakout of pimples now and again.  The one thing that could be said about Rune was that his eyes were a lovely shade of green.  But of course, they were nothing compared to the breathtaking shade of green of Rhett’s eyes.

“Rhett!”  Rune shouted, bounding into his brother’s lab.

Rhett didn’t stir, didn’t jump, didn’t acknowledge that the complete silence he had been sitting in had just been interrupted.

Rune slowed down and walked up to stand beside his brother.  “Rhett.”  He said again.

Rhett was focused on his rock and remained motionless like a statue.

Rune ran his fingers through his annoying hair in a restless motion and looked around him.  The lab was beautiful.  It was situated on the very top of a mountain and its walls were made of glass, meaning that there was a 360-degree view.  The tables and chairs were made of a high-quality clear material and so not even they impeded the view.

The rock that Rhett was studying was a thing of beauty as well.  It was purple and glossy and seemed to be illuminated from the inside.  Rune had never seen such a lovely rock before, and wondered where it was from.

He looked down at his own rock and seriously considered leaving the lab right that moment.  His rock was dull, drab, brown, dirty, and uneven in shape.  It was the kind of rock you walked past every day and paid no attention to.  It was not the kind of rock you brought to the rock expert to have examined.

However, it is a very good thing that at that moment, Rhett suddenly realized he needed a strong drink of Hulooga, because otherwise Rune would have backed out and thrown the rock away and thus the story would be over and you’d all be sorely disappointed.  I mean what kind of a story ends like that?

Unless you live on the very dull planet of Yubulastus Six and a Half you wouldn’t be caught dead reading such a story.  The inhabitants of Yubulastus Six and a Half spend most of their time coming up with riveting plots and then amusing themselves by finding a perfectly annoying way of killing said plot.  They are known throughout the universe as being the worst storytellers in the history of time.  They may have been the worst storytellers before time as well, but no one was really paying much attention back then.  But you can’t blame them, really, because it is hard to pay attention when there’s no time to do it in.

But, thankfully in our story, there is a drink called Hooligan and it saves the plot from going totally off-kilter and spiraling into something that not even your dog would want to read.  Assuming you have a dog.  If you don’t, well then insert your pet name instead.  And if you don’t have any pets at all I suggest going to the pet store and selecting one.  A nice fish perhaps?  You could name him “Bitey”.  No?  Then a plant at least.  I always wanted a nice ivy named “Chester” myself.

Once you’ve done that I can tell you all about Hulooga.

Hulooga is a blue drink derived from the fruit of the Huga trees.  It is served chilled or steaming hot and produces the pleasing effect of numbing anything unpleasant.

“Hulooga!”  Rhett called.

His assistant came rushing from her desk, which was situated halfway across the room.  It was far enough away that the clacking of her computer keys wouldn’t annoy Rhett, but close enough that she could be at his side in a matter of seconds.

Rune stood there with a goofy grin on his face as the assistant took Rhett’s specific order.  In case he decided to forget about his SSS and actually say something to the attractive assistant, however, his brain calmly reminded him that his pants were brown with mud, soggy with dew, and that his shirt was untucked and sticking to him with perspiration.  Rune’s goofy smile vanished and he took a seat with a heavy sigh.  He’d never have a figgle of a dwillop with Rhett’s assistant as they said on Jarisitus 10; though he’d settle for even have a figgle or even the hint of a dwillop with the likes of her.

Rhett’s assistant was enough reason to want to be the rock expert on Jarisitus 10.  Her name was Nivo and she was the most beautiful woman on the planet.  Seriously.  The people on Jarisitus 10 didn’t muck around with rating things.  Just like everyone knew that Rhett was the rock expert, everyone knew that Nivo was the most beautiful woman on the planet.  These were not mere figures of speech like the kind used on other planets to attempt to describe things (though the description is often more confusing than helpful because no uniform system of rating exists).  No, on Jarisitus everyone knew where they stood and Nivo stood very highly above all the other women, event those with fake parts.

Nivo touched Rhett on the shoulder about fifty times while taking his order, ran her fingers through his hair before leaving to get his order, and then made quite the show of leaning over his desk to place his steaming cup of Hulooga down.  Rhett seemed only half aware of her presence and Rune had a mind to hit him square in the balls – see how he liked it for a change.

“I assume you have a reason for being here other than to make my lab dirty?”  Rhett said in a bored voice.

Rune nodded.  “Yeah, you dingus.  I do.”  Rhett may have been the rock expert of the planet, but he was still Rune’s brother, which meant he was entitled to insult him frequently and in increasingly creative ways.

“So?  What is it?”

“It,” said Rune, feeling like for once he was going to do something worthwhile, “is the most amazing rock you’ll ever see!”  He finished with a triumphant flourish and tossed the rock onto the table.  He was feeling so full of pride at finally having something to show for himself…

That’s when the rock skidded off the table and promptly hit him in the balls.

“That’ll teach you!”  Rhett said.

Rune just turned purple and swore.

Mar 8 2011


So you wanted to know about the rock then?  It really isn’t that fascinating of a story, but I gather since you’re reading this you’ve really nothing better to do and thus you’ll just sit there and gladly read anything I tell you to read.  And then later when your friends ask you “what did you do last night?” you’ll lie and say that you hooked up with that large-breasted woman from your office.  You know they won’t believe you, but even if they don’t it’s better than admitting you wasted your night reading a story about a rock.

Now, you’ll recall at this point, I hope, that the earth woman named Lara Franklin lost her dear sister Nadia.  You’ll also recall that she has a rather horrible mother who loved Nadia much more than she ever loved Lara.

You should also recall that the planet earth is due to be blown up.  Six times.

In recalling that detail your mind, if it is functioning properly, should remind you that there is a man by the name of Rune traveling toward earth from the planet Jarisitus 10 with a rock in his possession.

If you can’t recall any of this I really would suggest your read the story again.  If you still can’t make heads or tails of it might I recommend a different story for you?  I always enjoyed Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss myself.

Anyhow, the story of the rock begins with that woman, Lara, when she was attending her sister’s funeral.  She stood over the lump of dirt that was so recently her sister and wondered what life had for her next.

Well any sane person should know that if you stand over a lump of dirt that was so recently a person and wonder what life has for you next, you’re asking for it.  It is in these times of irrational thought that a person can put the clearest signals out into the universe and be quite surprised by the answer.

This was definitely the case for Lara when she went ahead and asked a very silly question, “What now?”

Well, that silly question reverberated out from her vocal chords, caught on a particularly cold gust of wind, entangled itself in a few tree leaves for a while, broke free, got caught on a chocolate bar wrapping, fought it’s way out of that hell hole, and then managed to land on a small ray of sun.  It ran all the way up the ray of sun and then decided it wanted to mingle and party a bit in a few clouds.  The clouds condensed and turned to rain and the silly question had to go all the way back down to earth, where it spent months trying to escape the gutter.  Then a particularly warm day came along and up it went again – this time it made it all the way to the sun.

Now the sun is a peculiar object when seen from earth.  It looks all round and bright and pretty like a light bulb.  In reality the sun is rather unhappy with itself and thus it tries to explode on a regular basis, sending giant arcs of fire off into space.  One such arch had the silly question on it and this arc collided with a passing rock.  The rock was quite upset at the sun attacking it in such a rude manner and it decided it didn’t want to float in space anymore and so it fell onto the nearest planet it could find, which just so happened to be Jarisitus 10.

It went screaming through the atmosphere (not because it had to, simply because it wanted to) and then it went screaming through the sky and then, just because it had had quite enough of all the screaming and flying it had done, it decided to float around in the sky for a bit.  That idea didn’t last long, however, because it was struck from its lofty position by the ball of a man playing Gloggle Ball.

The poor rock, having had an utterly poor space day, fell to the ground, so depressed it decided to die.  (It is a little known fact that all rocks are alive until they decide to die, but the people on Jarisitus 10 were aware of this fact.)

When the man whose ball had hit the rock saw the rock fall, he ran to it’s side to see if he could convince it to live, but he was too late.  It had already decided to die, but before it did it was able to utter it’s last words, “Now what?”

The man scratched his head and scrunched up his eyebrows.  “Now what?”  He asked the rock.  It seemed a very odd thing for a rock to say, especially a dead one.

The rock just sat there like a good dead rock ought to, leaving the man bent down on his knees wondering just what could have possessed the rock to ask such a deep question on such a lovely day.

The man (we know him as Rune), simply said, “Oh drat!”

Now we know that the man’s name is Rune, simply because this is one of those stories where the narrator goes back into the past when they already told you what happened in the future, kind of like that really popular movie starring Michael J. Fox.

We also know that the planet was called Jarisitus 10.  But not everyone called it that. The truly unimaginative folks at NASA had given it some sort of name with a lot of numbers and silly letters that no one could remember, not even a rocket scientist (and that was saying something, because a rocket scientist came up with the name to begin with, but he had apparently had too much to drink the night before and was trying to remember the phone number of a rather pretty girl).

But the people on the planet simply called it Jarisitus 10.  It was a good simple name for a planet, and a good, solid number too.  Only a fool would ask about Jarisitus 1-9, because of course, there were no Jarisitus 1-9.  No, it was just decided, that for the sake of solidity and a feeling that all was right with the world that a good solid number was needed.  And they settled on 10.

A lot of people believe that if more people simply added numbers to the ends of their planet names, there would be a lot less paranoia and general unhappiness in those worlds.

A lot of other people claimed the number had nothing to do with anything, and it all came down to whether or not the people on your planet believed in such things to begin with or whether they were all self-involved pessimists.

Of course the pessimists held fast to the idea that none of it mattered and it was a waste of time to bring up such questions anyhow.

But in any event, the man that found the rock lived on a planet with the number 10 in the name and whether or not that made a difference to him, he cared about the rock and it’s perplexing message.

He sat there in the soggy ground for quite some time (Jarisitus 10 was a rather rainy planet, and the ground was often soggy) trying to figure out what on earth would make a rock say such a thing.  It was the kind of thing that Rune might imagine himself saying after he had burned his morning dew drink, undercooked his omelet of Juju eggs, stubbed his toe, ripped his slippers, fallen down the stairs, and discovered he had a nasty finger cold.  It was not, quite frankly, something that a rock should be saying.

He knew that only one man could help him.  The man he both loathed and loved.  The very reason for his SSS, his elder brother, Rhett.

To be continued…

“Listen.  It’s a tough universe.  There’s all sorts of people and things trying to do you, kill you, rip you off, everything.  If you’re going to survive out there, you’ve really got to know where your towel is.” –Ford Prefect, in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Jan 11 2011



Lara had spent the better part of the day with her mother attempting to find an appropriate comforter for the guest room.  The first thing Mrs. Franklin had said upon entering the room the night before was, “Oh, that’s positively ghastly!  You expect me to sleep on that?”

To which Lara wanted to reply, “I hope you smother yourself in it,” but she held her tongue, which was the nicer, smarter thing to do.  It was not nearly as satisfying though.  Instead she replied with, “It’s just the comforter I used to have on my bed when I lived at home.”

“Oh dear, it’s awfully old then, isn’t it?  Probably infested with dust and bugs.  Honestly, Lara, sometimes I wonder where your head is at.  Your sister used to replace her guest bedding at least once a year you know.  And she had that humidifier for me.  I can already feel my skin drying out.”

“Mother, this is British Columbia.  It’s quite humid here.  Nadia had that humidifier because she lived in a very dry climate.”

“Well, at least she thought about me.”

This went on for some time before Lara was able to convince her mother that one night with the old, ghastly comforter wouldn’t hurt her, and they could go shopping the next day.

So they had gone shopping the next day.  All day.

IKEA’s comforters were all too “creative”, Sears had one nice one but it wasn’t hypoallergenic, The Bay was asking too much for “outdated designs”, Zellers was just out of the question as was Wal-Mart because that’s where “blacks and browns” shopped, and JYSK was just too odd sounding for her mother to consider buying anything from even if she liked some of the designs.  Finally her mother settled on a rather over the top luxury quilt from Pier 1 Imports, about two minutes to close.

Lara fought through a severe headache and an empty stomach to say, “Alright, mother, if this is the one you want, let’s go get it.”

Mrs. Franklin gave a little head wiggle and said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Lara couldn’t help it she rubbed her temples.  ”Nothing, mother.”

“Ha!  As if it means nothing!  You expect me to pay for this don’t you?”

“What?”  Lara was too tired to respond properly.

“Don’t say ‘what’ dear, it makes you sound stupid.”

Lara looked at the price tag for the comforter set and found that it cost over two hundred dollars.  She knew that her mother had more than enough money to pay for ten of these comforters without breaking a sweat, but she also knew there was no way Mrs. Franklin would ever offer to pay.  And there was no way she’d consider a cheaper one as they’d been out all day already.

Too tired to fight or even care, Lara brought the comforter up to the front desk and whipped out her MasterCard.  She thought to herself in a rather unhappy tone, “And she’ll expect a replacement quilt next time too I suppose, even after I fork out the money for this one.”

Things did not get any better after that.  Lara had to work that night so she suggested that her mother stop by the restaurant for some free food if she were hungry, to which her mother replied that “A good daughter would cook her mother a meal.”  So Lara cooked a meal to which her mother wrinkled her nose and asked, “what is this, then?” after almost every bite.

And then the icing on the cake came, and Lara could see the look of triumph in her mother’s eyes as it occurred.  Her mother was always at her happiest when she could find the thing that Lara was most happy about and make it seem like the biggest load of tripe ever believed to be in existence on the entire planet.  It was after dinner and right before Lara was heading out to work.  Her mother followed her around the house to make comments on her outfit, her makeup, and her hair, and was ready for one final insult before Lara walked out the door when she noticed what was hanging on Lara’s wall.

Her mother jumped back, placed a hand over her heart as if she was frightened to her very core, and put her most angular and disgusted look on her face, “What on earth is that?”

Lara turned to see her mother had spotted the very intricate and very special wall hanging her boyfriend had given to her.  It was a beautiful traditional style Indian wall hanging that he’d brought her back from his trip to India a few months back.  Lara could not risk her mother finding out about her boyfriend, and especially about the fact that he had Indian heritage so she simply said, “It was a gift, mother.”

Her mother laughed shrilly and said, “Surely, dear, this is the kind of gift you hide in a drawer somewhere?”

Lara just walked out the door, but before she slammed it behind her she could hear her mother say, “It smells like bad perfume!”

What it really smelled like, Lara knew, was incense.  Beautiful incense, likely a sandalwood or something similarly spicy.

She smiled as she remembered her first meeting with her boyfriend.  He ran the teashop across from her townhouse complex, and when she had wandered in there one day, he was the one to serve her.  His nametag said his name was Pallav and his beauty immediately struck Lara.  He was a tall man with lovely brown skin; thick eyebrows, deep shiny brown eyes, and a fashion sense that made Lara suspect he was gay.  But then he introduced himself as Pallav Cocker, to which Lara gave a small giggle, and Pallav made a rather rude joke about his cocker and her and so Lara figured he must be straight.

This first interaction was nothing special – it was along the same lines as, say, flirting with the cute cashier, or dropping a few innuendos to your sexy mechanic.  But when Lara’s craving for some strong tea returned the next day, and the day after that, the flirting developed into a more playful “are you available” type of test.  Lara couldn’t explain the craving for strong tea so she blamed it on the handsome Pallav Cocker.

After about a week of drinking strong tea and flirting outrageously, Mr. Cocker finally asked Lara out for, of all things, a drink of strong tea.  Lara promptly agreed and they had their first date right there in the teashop.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Except for the bit about the rock, that is.  I forgot to mention how the rock ties this whole thing together!

To be continued next month…

Nov 26 2010


The name of the man (we’ll call him a man because he was a man, even if he was not an earth man) was Rune.  Rune had studied stones and rocks and ores and all manner of stone-like things since he was old enough to fly his first cruiser (on his planet this was at the tender age of ten).  Therefore, when he wandered out of his lab one sunny morning to find a rock saying the phrase, “now what?” to him, he was perfectly at ease with the situation.

Of course this wasn’t a particularly ordinary thing for a rock to say, but it wasn’t extremely unordinary either.  Rune had heard rocks say stranger things three other times in his life.  The first had said, “I fancy yellow birds on Tuesdays but pink giraffes on Fridays, don’t you agree?”  The second had said, “What sort of box do you think a planet would like for his birthday?”  The third had said something so utterly obscene that an entire race of rather sensitive species died off.

Most rocks stuck to the basics like “Where am I?”, “What’s my purpose?”, and “I’d like a side of fries please.”

Not this one.  This one had said, simply, “now what?”

It was a jolly good question, Rune thought, but then again, he often thought the things that rocks said were downright brilliant.  It had to do with his acute case of SSS.

SSS is a widely spread syndrome that has billions of diagnosed cases throughout the universe.  If you haven’t heard of it, it is probably because you are a wholly unenlightened person with your head in the sand.  Or stuck up somewhere else.

In fact, SSS has been a known syndrome for over thirteen and a half million years, after the great planet of Psychbalottic Six joined the Universal Galactic Health Region.  The inhabitants of Pscyhbalottic Six discover a lot of syndromes, in fact they have a record of discovering at least four new sydromes a day.  They are a little behind on cures, however, but they do promise to start finding cures once they’ve discovered every syndrome possible.  No point finding cures when there are still undiagnosed patients out there, or so they say.

SSS, as defined by the Universal Galactic Health Region, is as follows:

Second Son Syndrome.  Prevalent in almost every family with two sons, most especially when the culture is favoured toward the eldest son.  Inescapable, it is contracted when the second son is born.  Symptoms increase in cases of twins, or a very short time between births.  Symptoms include an inability to outperform the older brother in anything (this includes sports, smarts, love, arts, etc.), less attractive physical features, random clumsiness, and bad karma.  People suffering from SSS often still try to perform complicated tasks, but they are better suited for a life full of settling for that low-level job, that ugly girl, and that beat up car.  Their mothers are correct when they say, “You’ll never live up to your brother.”

Rune, having a severe case of SSS being that he was the younger twin of his elder brother, really had no hope in a successful journey.

Nevermind that he was on the journey at the bequest of a rock.

But he was certain he had calculated the origin of the rock correctly and this gave him a false sense of accomplishment and purpose.  SSS should have told him that any sense of accomplishment will soon be trampled into the ground by a sound defeat, but he chose to ignore common sense and plod on.  The planet he was headed for was none other than the planet earth and he was scheduled to arrive at precisely one minute before the Vogons blew it to smithereens.

He had no idea.

To be continued next month!

P.S. Happy birthday to my new little niece, Ruari.  I hope she likes auntie’s silly story.

Sep 4 2010

MCW: Is That an Asteroid or a Planet? 1.1

It was a dark and stormy night and the youngest of two daughter, Lara Franklin, did in fact know exactly where her towel was.  It was hanging innocently, and quite uselessly I might add, on her towel rack in her washroom.  It was a frilly purple thing with flowers embroidered on the edges – the variety you might expect to find in the washroom of your ninety-year-old grandmother, not in the washroom of a perfectly modern twenty-eight year old’s.

But anyhow, that’s where it was.

Now, every good hitchhiker knows that a towel hanging on a rack in a room, which is not the one you are presently in, is never a good idea.  And it is especially a terrible idea when the sudden ringing of the doorbell startles you out of a peaceful sit with a good detective novel.

This is of course, as you might guess, exactly what happened to Lara.

The doorbell rang and she jumped so suddenly that the book fell from her hands and landed right on the top of her left foot.  It was a hardback book too and the corner managed to lodge itself right between two of the bones in her feet.

“Son of a bitch!”  She exclaimed, adrenaline coursing through her body and making her cross.  “Who on earth?”

Of course this is a perfectly natural thing to say when you live on the earth and you are expecting another earthling to ring your doorbell.  And in this case, Lara was correct in her assumption.  It wasn’t a little green man at all.

A side note about little green men, if I might:  There are in fact, many different planets and galaxies out there and many different life forms.  However, this common belief held by earthlings that all “aliens” as they are called, are small and green, is a bit of a sore spot to most of the universe.

There are, of course, the Biltervoltian people of Holipop Seven, who are both small and green, but they are a rather useless people known only for their exceptionally fond feelings toward earthlings (they have a slightly distorted idea that earthlings are trying to make them popular with this “little green men” thing).

But the majority of life forms are neither small, nor green, and they do not take kindly to being stereotyped that way.  For this reason (as well as many others), when the Vogans were attempting to build their new hyperspace expressway and held a vote to see which planets ought to be blown up, earth was among the top to be nominated (they were beat only by the planet Flatulicient – what with the green movement in the galaxy, no one had room for a stinky, albeit fun, planet like that.).

But back to Lara and her door.  There was in fact no strange life form from a different planet at her door.  But a strange life form did exist there.

A good storyteller would have you guess at this point, so let’s have some guessing time shall we?

It was a dark and stormy night, and the monster at Lara’s door gleamed in at her hungrily.  She had no idea she was opening her world up to a werewolf!

No?  Not quite good enough?

Okay, what else?

Oh yes: a tall wizard waited there to take her away to a new magical land!

Been done you say?

Okay, how about a sexy vampire?

Yes, that really is quite good.

But guessing time is over, and sadly for you, nothing quite so interesting was waiting at Lara’s door.

No, no.

It was a dark and stormy night, and Lara’s pretty towel hung uselessly in her washroom.  Waiting outside her door was a truly foul creature, able to suck the life out of any who crossed it’s path…

Lara’s mother.

(To be continued next month…)

Aug 9 2010

MCW: Is That an Asteroid or a Planet? 1.0

Perhaps you are one of those few earthlings who had a chance to read all about Arthur Dent (as recorded by the earthling Douglas Adams, may he RIP), the notoriously unlucky ape descendant, who ended up traveling the universe only to have his home planet destroyed, not once, but as many as six times.  If you are so lucky as to know the story of Arthur Dent, it must be because you are living, temporarily, in a dimension in which the earth has not been destroyed.  Yet.  In that case I would suggest boarding the nearest spaceship and getting the bloody heck away from the planet as soon as is possible.

If, for some strange reason, your planet has not mastered the art of living in space, you may need the following story to pass the time as you wait for your impending doom.  My sympathies to you all for your inability to forestall your ultimate and unavoidable destruction, but really, what kind of a pathetic planet can’t even colonize space effectively?

Now, I suppose many, if not most of you are under the impression that Arthur Dent and Tricia McMillon where the only two earthlings to achieve space travel to the extent that they did.  If you are under this impression you are even more stupid than I first thought and I am seriously considering not even bothering telling you this story.  But as I need something to do to pass the time while I wait for the show of your planet being blown up, and you need something to do while you wait for your planet to blow up, I suppose I will share it with you.

Let’s see, where to begin?  How is it you earth people like to talk?

Ah yes, isn’t it “It was a dark and stormy night?”  Or was it, “Do you know where your towel is?”

Right, that will do just fine then.

It was a dark and stormy night…do you know where your towel is?

Perhaps just the first, you say?


It was a dark and stormy night…

(To be continued next month!)

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