There's accompanying artwork by Mr. David Barbee - if you saw the poster, then you know it's pretty righteous. And anyone that purchases a copy of "Naked Metamorphosis" AND "Carnageland" today, will win an autographed, original print. Email me when you stroll over to amazon.com, and I'll take care of you.
“You’re no match for me,” spat Garry Snotter.
“I do believe that you’re quite right, my lord,” remarked Osric. “Now that the outcome’s been established, the debate quite quelled, would there be anything I can do for you? I’m quite good at fetching things.”
“Fetch? Like a ball?”
“Or a warm cup of tea, perhaps. I’ve also been known to be perfectly adept at drawing the perfect bath. It’s all a matter of balancing the proper amount of warm water and the –“
Garry interrupted Osric. “A warm cup of tea would be delightful. Perhaps with a bit of honey?”
“Indeed. I shall fetch it for you presently, sir.”
And without nary a protest, Osric sped off to fetch the beverage for the young wizch student. The tea was followed by the fetching of fleece blanket, which was followed by the fetching of a pen and paper. After Garry was quite satisfied he tested Osric’s bath drawing skills and found them to be spot on.
Garry’d never had a friend, much less a person so eager to wait on him hand and foot, so the duel never went further than the exchanging of mild threats. After all, Osric had conceded that Garry Snotter would win. Thus, the most anticlimactic of challenges came to a close.
A blast of power rose from the headmaster and the two ninjas leapt away from each other. Sizing up the Wizch Headmaster was difficult. Neither Rosen nor Guilden had faced a threat quite as unique as this. Hell, neither Rosen nor Guilden were ninjas. The costumes were a silly byproduct of Gertrude and Claudius’ silly royal shenanigans. “Quake with fear, they will, when they see ninjas,” Claudius had said. “It won’t matter if you can’t actually do ninja things.”
And now death loomed over them.
Another burst of power, this one slamming into Rosen, escaped from the headmaster’s hands. Guilden raced to his partner, shedding his head wrap in the process. Rosen winced in agony, but seemed to be somewhat clinging to the world of the living.
“Guilden,” Rosen wheezed.
“You bastard,” said Guilden, turning his gaze towards the headmaster. “Have you no heart?” The “ninja” leaned over and kissed his partner.
The headmaster was preparing another decisive blow, since both were together at the same time. The sight, however, of the two lovers took the wizch by surprise and he averted his gaze, offering them a slight bit of privacy. Wizch’s, though, are interesting creatures, as is well established. The power was already surging, and as the headmaster covered his eyes, the blast of energy smashed into his head and melted his face.
Polonius paced the war room, muttering to the warlord council.
“Wah! This is utterly preposterous, men. That fool of a King should be drawn and quartered, wah. Declaring a war on terrors is a waste. We’ve more pressing issues at hand. Norway is on the rise. And now, we’re bombarded with this Inpire, Inc, business. What sort of people are these? They cannot even spell Empire!”
As if on command, the doors to the war room exploded raining splintered wood and chunks of steel onto the council. Polonius threw himself to the floor, just dodging an oncoming hinge. The hinge pinged off a table and flew into the skull of a geriatric warlord.
When it was all over and his ears had stopped ringing, Polonius stood and examined the scene. Four warlords were slumped in their chairs, chunks of metal and oak sticking out of their faces like they were porcupines. The other warlords – men who, in their youth, had stormed the battlefields like gods – cowered beneath the council table.
One, speaking with a voice that should belong to a mummy, were mummies capable of speech, said: “Mayhaps we should reconsider this war on terrors.”
“Wah,” said Polonius, but it was devoid of anger and filled with curiosity.
898 walked in the war room, Doomshooter in hand.
“Wah! Your insolence to this kingdom shall be revisited on you…”
Whatever threat Polonius was busting a vessel to say died in his mouth. An exploding head tends to have that sort of effect.
Cries of fear and agony emerged from beneath the table as the warlords found themselves covered in gore, courtesy of their leader. Many began screaming for their lives. But nobody moved an inch; they were paralyzed in terror.
Invader 898 kicked stray chairs and leapt onto tabletops. He took aim and fired the Doomshooter at the warlord council. One by one the elderly “brains” of Elsinore’s government were reduced to…well, brains. And brain matter.
“Child, make thee ready for Death’s welcoming embrace,” said the Green Wizch.
That got her attention. She turned and asked, “Do you have a tater?”
“I’m in no position to grant final requests. But, were I able, I do not know what a tater is.”
“I want a tater!”
“I am unfamiliar with this slang word. Now, prepare for your demise.”
Sometimes it’s jokingly referred to as “retard strength”, which is horrendously offensive. That said, Ophelia, so overwhelmed with the need for a tater, unleashed her retard strength at the Green Wizch. In her simplistic mind, if the Green Wizch was incapable of providing her with her heart’s desire, then it was no more than an obstacle that needed to be removed.
The Green Wizch had not seen the blow coming. Fists of fury went through the wizch and within seconds his existence flickered into nothing. His final thought: “I wonder if she means potato?”
He was reminiscing about working with the Courtyard Players when a man, a man made of cookie bits, came across the path he was watching.
“What gives? You’re rather odd, aren’t you?”
The cookie man said nothing.
“I can see your manners are as lacking as your voice, knave! Perhaps a good slap, one you may offer an ignorant bitch, will revive your words.” Alfred slapped the cookie man across his face. It was a fey slap, as Alfred was known for, but it still bore a bite.
The cookie man remained quiet.
“Please step thee from the path, fiend. I’ve pressing business to tend and you’re holding me up.”
The cookie man still said nothing.
“Verily then shall I destroy thee,” Alfred said, sure to keep the flowery performance. “For I am Prince Hamlet of Denmark and you are nothing more than a scurveous, onion-eyed scut, you are! Avast!”
Alfred drew his rapier and let the tip tickle the cookie man.
“Surely you would pleasure me with your name before I allow maggots to feast on your soul.”
The cookie man looked up and said, “I’m the Ninjerbread Man.” The look that followed was enough to send a shiver of dread right down Alfred’s spine.
Alfred was a lover, an actor, and a self-indulged fop – these were things at which he excelled. What he did not excel at was combat (save for the stage, of course). It only took seconds, if that. Perhaps it was nanoseconds. When it was all said and done, Alfred lay broken, literally, in seventeen pieces. The Ninjerbread Man placed a single gum drop atop each the pieces and walked off into the countryside, seeking his next victim.
This is the same for the royals.
The kingdom is at war, my people, and it’s not important to question the specifics. What is decidedly important is that you place your trust in the decision makers as we embark on this tumultuous time.
I could offer you specifics about my – and my husband’s, of course – encounter with a Pirate Captain lothario, but the details are not important. Nor does a lady speak in rumors and gossip. Rest assured, though, that this individual threat has been dealt with immediately.
That said, it is my responsibility to inform you that your leader, King Claudius, has perished in a most retched fashion, but I shall spare you the details. Early in the day, too, our esteemed leader of the warlord council suffered an accident. That man just lost his head, as it were. It is my responsibility to lead you, Denmark. And lead you I shall.
I’ll offer no other specifics, but for those that sling the rumors that I’m an ice queen and vicious bitch, well, rest assured there is truth to those things. I’m adept at protecting myself and seizing an opportunity.”
“Hell’s bells,” he said, as the space-time-continuum spit him onto the landscape.
He jumped up and surveyed his surroundings. It was odd, really. According to the chirping of his watch, he was supposed to be answering a prayer. Oddly, though, there was not a bended knee to be found. Time travel is tricky business to be sure, but usually the odds were in his favor.
“Um, hello,” Puck tried.
“Um, hello,” someone or something echoed.
“Oh, I see we’re trying to prank a prankster,” Puck said. “Well, get ready for the fun, ‘cause it’s about to get right vicious.”
“So you say,” the voice said again. This time Puck could hear it. It wasn’t a voice. It was voices. Seven to be exact.
“What has seven voices and doesn’t want to be seen? Sticks and stones, kids. Come on out so that we can get on with this. I’ve prayers to answer and hogs to feed. Plus, I’ve got a lovely faerie waiting, so if we can get this going, I’d appreciate it.”
There was a silence for a spell, then the voices returned. “You cannot see us, but we see you. We have the advantage here. We are nothing, as far as you’re concerned.”
“Finally,” said Puck. “Thank the gods for that. I was starting to worry.”
The hobgoblin snapped his fingers and the countryside grew quiet. The se7en dwarves that were lurking out of sight only moments before were no more. Well, it dealing with time-travelling hobgoblins is a tricky sort of task. It wasn’t that they were no more. It was that they never were. They’d said they were nothing, and Puck had made it so.
Miles and miles away in a different world, author David W. Barbee’s brain buzzed like a bug lamp. He was writing something about dwarves and then the words just left him. He slapped his dome a few times, doodled a bit, but the tangent never came. It was in that moment that Barbee decided he should smoke less pot. Yeah, and pigs can fly.
“Yes,” said Horatio. “Demons, indeed. Vicious buggers, I’d wager.”
“You’d wager correct, sir!” Hamlet swung the sword viciously through the air, sending the blade into an imaginary imp. The blade slammed into the brick and mortar of an Elsinore courtyard with a clang. “Of all the damnable…Horatio! Bring your ass here this moment. They’ve gotten craftier.”
“I’d say, my lord,” said Horatio, the mildest hint at bemusement in his voice. “First the cockroach business and now this. I must find this god Kafka that you have spoken of.”
Hamlet struggled with an invisible beast. “If we stop the demons perhaps we can stop the metamorphosis, Horatio. Please help me,” he grunted as he pushed the mirage away and swung the blade through the air. “Oh, and the god’s not named Kafka any longer.”
“No time for pardon begging, chap! Fiends are about. We must thwart them.”
“That’s all very good, my lord, but what is this about the god.”
“Oh, that. He’s no longer Kafka.”
“The hell you say, prince.”
“The hell I do. He’s Barbee now.”
Horatio bitch-slapped an imaginary demon and grabbed Hamlet by the collar. “There, the demons gone. You’ve been snorting stuff again, haven’t you?”
“Dammit all to hell, my lord. You must stop this nonsense. Tell me, as you did about Kafka, do you converse with this Barbee?”
“Aye, Horatio. I’ve known him well. Not only is it inevitable that I’ll turn into a cockroach, but I’m doomed to have my face melted away by a being not of this world.”
“Oh, please. If you’re going to talk of fuckery, then I’ve nothing to do with you until you find yourself sober.”
“Watch out, Horatio!”
The Prince pushed his friend to the ground and thrust his blade through the air. Assuming it was at another hallucination, Horatio stood ready to lecture his college roommate. His finger was already pointed and a rant already formed. But when he arose the words dissipated. Hamlet held his sword, now a young lady was skewered on the end.
“I got one,” said the prince sheepishly.