Friday, April 29, 2011

The Key of Neverhence - Chapter 2: Giggle Worms


© Claudia McKinney and Tiffany Mize-Carter
Ivy snatched my hand as sparks of light shot from her wings. Before I could rip my hand away, the meadow spun out from beneath us. Higher and higher we arced until all was lost in a misty haze. Slowly our speed tapered off as we slipped through an opening in the tree’s canopy. Snuggled deep in the tree’s embrace, a town sparkled below.

“This is Holloway Springs,” Ivy whispered.

Silver spires swept by as we glided past a series of towers and sundecks. Carved into Holloway Springs’ upper extremities lay the housing communities of Y’nnowyn, Merrymore, and Lillipucker Folley. Painted decks gift-wrapped the dwellings with vanilla, cherry, and grape trim.

As we drifted below, more of the town’s stunning architecture came into view. My heart raced as I realized that one of the domes sat atop a giant library. Had the faeries really discovered the invention known as books? Perhaps there was a place for me after all, at least for a couple weeks.

Town Square was a spectacle unto itself: A series of conjoined discs with minimal structural support hung in the air. Main Street, the causeway snaking through the heart of Halloway Springs, teemed with bustling gardens, quaint little coffee shops and cascading fountains that poured into the levels below. A series of arching bridges tied together the remaining communities of Etherharp, Dewdrop and Wandering Way.

Amidst our descent, the unmistakable scent of chocolate came over me. I would later discover that every town in Timara had its own invisible chocolate shop; obviously some amenities were more important than others.

Not as much as a peep could be heard as our feet met the cobblestone. My eyes scanned over the barren streets and storefronts, wondering how I’d missed the endless array of clothing stores and jewelry boutiques that dominated the strip. I guess selective memory was in full swing.
Cautiously I stepped forward, footsteps echoing through the abandoned streets.

I could feel their eyes upon me. The faeries probably didn’t know what to make of me—an old geezer with a thick gray mustache and a bramble of spinach trailing from his chinny-chin-chin. Was it possible that I was in fact Y’velina’s new groom? I pondered that myself.

“Perhaps we should have knocked first,” I quipped.

Ivy circled, playing out the charade. “Hmm…something’s not quite right here. What could it be?”

A child giggled nearby.

Ivy replied:

What is that I hear?
An angel whispering
Into my ear?
It puzzles
Befuddles me

Ever so dear

Bringing laughter
And a tear

More giggles. Ivy raised an eyebrow.

Giggle worm
Wiggle worm
Fiendish and spry

Tickle my belly

Until I cry

Wallow
In the hollow
Of my silver-leafed bed
Till I’ve not a whimper
Nor tear to be shed

Applause erupted from every corner.

I may not see you
Not quite yet
I may not hear you
Oh quite yet
But if I feel you
I might just get
A smile from wing to wing

More hands found their way together.

“More?” Ivy giggled.

The high-pitched cacophony hailed her on.

“Well,” Ivy bit her lip. “Perhaps one more.”

On the road to Holloway Springs
A voice in the air did sing
Of a daughter of fae
Lost in the fray
In a battle of future kings

And journey she did from afar
From suncept to falling star
Till her heart broke in two
And tears ran anew
In a cell without any bars

In sorrow just what did she find?
But a human so gentle and kind
Who saved the day
In his own special way
And all of future mankind

The tree shook from the thunderous ovation. One by one they cast their magic aside, revealing their ivory hair, purple eyes, and flowing tears. A plump faery in a mauve dress stepped forward and embraced Ivy as more piled on.

I nearly cracked a smile until I realized I was also on the menu. There was little time to think, to react. So I did what any logical human would do–I ran, as fast as my legs could carry me. I did not get far until I collapsed under an avalanche of hugs and kisses.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Key of Neverhence - Chapter 1: Gibberish


© Claudia McKinney and Tiffany Mize-Carter

Book I: Charmed


Neverhence

One and all

Casting towards
Cheerful calls

Without a step
Without the fall
Travels commence
Neverhence

Chapter 1: Gibberish


The world raced by in all its fiery madness. I could see my epitaph now:

Here lies Yvan Frollingswyrth
That cranky old bastard
Who was foolish enough
To marry a cloud faery
And was never seen again
(If you only knew half of the story)

Through a tunnel of fire we bounded, our essence thundering across the world of Adura. My eyes burned, teeth chattered, and balls ached. Before I could curse the dragon whose magic sent us here, an explosion ripped through the spinning inferno.

I grabbed Ivy, and held her close as molten debris rained down on us. As we bathed in a hail of fire and brimstone, a wayward fragment shot into my mouth, and down my throat. Even if I could swallow fire, I did not want to see what it looked like coming out the other end, so I hacked as best I could, coughing my lungs inside out. To my surprise the sinking ember had gone down smoothly, as if I’d inhaled a firefly rather than charred ruin. But what would an insect be doing in the tunnel of fire? Aw, well. Perhaps I needed a little extra protein.

Before I could rub two brain cells together, we burst into the kingdom of Timara, landing at the edge of a floating meadow.

We had arrived.

Paradise at last.

Yeah, right.

Once I had my wits about me, I promptly kissed the ground, promising never to travel by magic again, especially that of a dragon. I rose, making sure all of my well-seasoned appendages were intact. With any luck, one might even work.

“So…what do you think?” Y’velina grinned, a snowy wisp of hair brushing across her cheek.

“Did the trip over fry your brain?” I adjusted my bifocals.

“I knew you’d like it,” she beamed.

I shook my head. Cloud faeries—thick-skulled as always.

I scanned over our new home, a towering oak that twisted into the clouds. In the distance, several floating islands drifted by, including a small patch with a hand-painted sign that read ‘This way to Holloway Springs.’ Although the tree was massive, it was also somewhat limp, like so many other things in my life.

“So you brought me all the way out here to live in a tree?” I balked.

“Not just any tree, a tree of life from the Faeries of the Underwood.”

“Next I suppose you’ll want me to swing from the vines and devour the commoners,” I said.

“Just the naughty ones.”

As our little tiff unfolded, a young faeling (or faery child for those as ignorant as I) scurried down from the tree. He winged over and stared at me, his mouth agape.

“What’s wrong, boy—crap your pants?”

He unleashed a tirade of gibberish, bouncing up and down as he spoke.

“What in the blazes are you babbling about?” I snapped.

Ivy smiled as the green-eyed twit yakked in sounds of ridiculous tone and length, punctuating it ever so often with the words “Joo-mey Joo-mey.”

“Listen, you little popperwot—if you don’t stop, your head’s gonna explode.”

The young fool mumbled something more, and then shot back into the tree, yapping all the way.

“You failed to mention the locals are savages,” I glared at Ivy.

“Silly, he said his name is Joomey, and he just wanted to,” Ivy bit her lip, “welcome you to Holloway Springs.”

“Joomey, eh?” I scratched my chin. “You sure he wasn’t looking for a bone to gnaw on?”

Ivy frowned, and then yanked me by the ear over to the tree. As we stepped into the shade, a chorus of whispers loomed over us.

“They’re waiting for us up above,” Ivy sighed. “Shall we, my prince?”

Did I have a choice? I guess I really didn’t want an answer.

New Book Cover for The Key of Neverhence

The Key of Neverhence is a work in progress that will be released in the coming months. Click on the image for an enchanced view (blogger's thumbnails look so crappy).

© Claudia McKinney and Tiffany Mize-Carter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I am a writer!

I am a writer; there’s little I can do about it. I've flipped the switch; cannot simply turn it off, cannot ignore what I’ve become. These words belong on the page. I must honor this, even if it means ripping me out of my comfort zone.

I am a writer, not just today. Every day is a new adventure. Every day seeks to be understood. I can only hold back so long before it gnaws at me. "What about this?" An idea races through my head. "Or this?” Ack! I need to let it out now, before these characters drive me nuts! Looks like I’m halfway there already.

I am a writer. Wrote 10,000 words in one day. Once. There have been 5,000 and 7,000 word days. But only once apiece. I know what I am capable of. So why do I falter? Why haven’t I gotten back to this?

I am a writer. I have a tendency to run myself into the ground. I start fast and crash quickly, and don’t stare at the page again for weeks. Where is my discipline? When am I going to finish these projects at hand?

I am a writer.

I need to make a change.

And I’m going to do it right now.

I will give you the time you deserve each and every day. Instead of rushing ahead, I will sit back and listen, enjoying everything I hear. I am only limited by how fast I can keep up with you, o feeblest of minds.

I will surround myself with others who will push me. Try not to be so critical about my own or other’s work. And I will finish what I start.

Why?

Because I am a writer. And writers finish.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Writing Every Day


Writers need to write every day. I know this, as does everyone else who would dares to call themselves writers.

So what’s going on here? Why do I find it so difficult to get started?

This isn’t good. My goals are set; I’ve got an ocean of books I want to write. If I don’t take that first step, none of this will happen. Might as well kiss these dreams goodbye.

All of this is falling apart just because I didn’t bother to push myself each day. Not even a little. No progress = no dreams. As simple as it gets.

First off, is it wrong to assume that a writer needs to write every day? Obviously this is ideal, and in some cases not entirely feasible, but I believe the latter happens less often than we care to admit.

I believe a writer needs to write at least once a day, multiple times if the opportunity presents itself. If you set your goals low, so will be your yield, and if you’re only writing a few times a week, it’s easy to disconnect from your work in lieu of more exciting ventures (social media, anyone?).

It is my belief that writing every day is about professionalism. You say you’re a writer? Ok, prove it. Show up to work every day, even if you don’t want to. Give your all. Show something in exchange for your time. And most importantly, move forward, if only an inch.

Like any athlete, a writer needs their reps. There is a physiological connection between mental and physical work; the more frequently you do it, the more you can handle, and the easier it is to complete tasks. Also, the mental effort expended while writing is unbelievable. Without proper nutrition, you can find yourself fading fast even if your body doesn’t need rest.

In some ways, writing 1,000 words is like running a mile. After a long layoff, I’m not good at first. 1,000 words feels like 10,000, and I tire quickly. But after a week, it’s easy to keep going until I reach my 1,000-word goal. Without a doubt, all of us need to write every day, at very least, to get our mental workout.

The biggest hurdle I’m trying to clear these days is balancing social interaction with productivity. It’s easy to blow off a writing assignment to talk to fellow writers on Facebook and Twitter. After all, you are networking, and will need their help if you get stuck or launch a book. You can’t simply abandon your friends, but you do need to set hours.

I’ve also tried rewarding myself with an hour on Facebook after completing my tasks. Thus far, it hasn’t worked out, but I am getting better.

I believe the issue here is more about addiction than focus. It’s easy to get addicted to positive reinforcement. After awhile, you get in a pattern of foregoing the work just to get the affirmation, and nothing gets done.

So how does one break out of this?

I’m still struggling with this myself.

First of all, start your day off with writing rather than socializing. Disconnect yourself from the network. Do not give yourself any Internet access until you absolutely need it. When I first started writing 5 years ago I did this, but slowly gravitated away from it.

Well, not anymore.

Disconnecting yourself from the Internet is one of the best ways to improve your productivity, and rediscover your love of writing. It would be ideal for you to have a desk just for writing without any Internet access and another on the other end of the room (or house) with all the connectivity you need. That way you’re not even tempted to browse the Internet. You go there to do a job and you do it, no needless obstacles thrown in your way.

In fact, I’m going to unplug right now. Join me in disconnecting from the Internet for a few hours each day. It’s time to reclaim our productivity, and become the writers we always wanted to be.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Enura - Chapter 67: Roots


Artwork © Claudia McKinney
Flaming arrows whirred through the air, knifing into the advancing trees.

“Do not aim high; you will not slow them,” the hunter cautioned.

“Then what do you suggest we do?” Lord Vangley asked.

“Roots are used for balance, and are the most sensitive of extremities. Cut their base, and they will fall. Tie them down as they rise, and then burn them like firewood,” Lawson replied.

“Lower the culverins!” Vangley shouted, but it was too late. Cannons shelled the trees, shearing off branches, and blasting holes in the trunks; but the willows continued edging forward. “Aim for the base, you fools!”

The Muslim turned, catching the patriarch’s biting remarks in the wind. “Lower your marks, gentlemen.” He ran forward, jumping atop the barrel, and pressing down with all his weight. “Take out the roots.”

Dozens of burning trees plodded along, towering over the battlefield.

“Take cover,” a soldier yelled as a second volley of quills rained down. The Wickwoods turned, confused that they were absorbing the brunt of the salvo.

“The advantage is ours.” Talmot lowered his shield. “Reposition the culverins,” he screamed as the tree before him exploded, throwing him back.

“Catapults cease fire!” Lord Vangley called from a distance. “You’re too close to the trees.”

One of Vangley’s guards fell to a knee. “Sorry, sir. I was too slow with my shield,” he mumbled, pulling quills from his thigh.

“Brother, do not move. You will only hasten the poison.” Laurent came to his aid. As he took his shield, a mass of purple flesh sprang forward, and buried itself in the fallen guard’s chest.

The elder unsheathed his canesword, stabbing the tongue as it burrowed deeper, and snipping off the guard’s head. “I am sorry, dear friend.” Vangley turned back to the battlefield.

In the distance, Talmot hacked the tongues to pieces as they threaded through the earth, and leapt out.

“Father, we must fall back. You are too exposed,” said Laurent.

“In Vissorouy’s finest moment? The moment that we reclaim our town? Never,” he uttered. “I refuse to cower in this dark hour. I will load the culverins myself if I have to.” Vangley tightened his grip around his sword.

“Fire at will!” Talmot raised the stump of his arm, tiny vines and leaves poking out of the bandage.

“Shatter their base,” Lord Vangley cried. “For your families, and all of Vissorouy!” The elder’s words hung over the battlefield as the Wickwoods met the culverins, and swung down.

Cannonfire erupted, one after another in rapid succession. Roots and splinters flew into the air, the wicked willows slamming into the frontline.

“We’ve opened a wound.” Talmot sheared the growth from his stump. “Catapults, resume your volley,” he shouted.

Soldiers doused the fallen trees in oil as they wriggled, feeding the flames. The Wickwoods hissed, unable to get their weight under them, only a few managing to crawl away on their branches.

“Do not let them escape. They will plant more seeds, and harvest armies,” said Lawson. “Use your nets; we will build more.”

“Nets,” Vangley yelled reluctantly.

“Nets,” Talmot parroted to his troops.

Soldiers snared the fleeing Wickwoods, tying the nets to their steeds, and dragging the trees onto their backs.

“General, you must seek better treatment.” A field medic examined Talmot’s arm. “You are beyond my care.”

“I will not stop until I have Enura’s head in hand, and Essinger by my side.” The Muslim stared at the flailing Wickwoods. “What is that?” He noticed a sparkle amid the flames in the distance. “Could those be the tangle gems that Lawson spoke of?”

“Apparently they produce the brambles.” The medic adjusted Talmot’s bandage.

“Indeed.” Talmot grabbed a stone hammer lying by the wheel of a culverin. “Now I understand why counsel insisted that we carry these. Let’s have a go of it, shall we?” He sprinted forward, and jumped into the flames.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not A Fourth Random Scene From S.E. Gordon's Harry Potter Parody!

My parents locked me in a cage until I crawled out, I didn't learn to read until I was 27, and I have an uncontrollable twitch every now and then--the perfect qualifications to become a writer! The following is the fourth disgusting, vile, POS scene that I could contrive for my Harry Potter parody entitled:

Hairy Pinga and How The Prisoner of My Anus Shoved The Sorcerer's Stones, A Goblin on Fire, and Half a Bloody Pint Up His Bunghole While in the Secret Chamber Passing Deadly Hollows with a Disorderly Phoenix

(whew!)

Character Key


Fartworks Hogwarts
Hairy Pinga Harry Potter
Atari Bumbledork Albus Dumbledore
Weaseldick Paisley Ron Weasly
Gingercooch Paisley Ginny Weasly
Prickley Paisley Arthur Weasly


Chapter 2: Paisleys

Atari Bumbledork poked his yogurt slinger. “Thank heavens, still in one piece. Hairy?” He noticed the passenger window ajar.

“Down here,” came a voice.

Bumbledork rolled down the window. “What are you doing down there, Pinga?”

“As we were falling, I had to take dump, so I pressed my bum against the window, and cracked it open. The tornado sucked me right out,” said Hairy.

“Are you out of your mind? You should have just shit your pants; that’s what I always do.” The old geezer shook his head. “Wait a minute, where did you stash it?”

“Sorry?”

“The nugget you squeezed out--you better not have left it in my ashtray!” He looked around, and then opened the door. “You’re in luck, I took out tornado insurance for this very occasion.” As his foot caught air, Bumbledork fell, rolling off the roof, and landing in a bed of mud. He stared up at the Corvette, dangling from the rooftop like a Christmas ornament.

“Are you all right?” Hairy stood over him.

Bumbledork held his head. “Damn you, Hairy. Why didn’t you tell me I was so high?”

“Really, you could not see?” Hairy exclaimed.

“Depth perception,” Bumbledork groaned, “has always been a challenge for me.”

A pig doddered over, sniffed the old prune, and began humping his face.

“Hey!” He pushed the pig aside.

Bumbledork wiped his face with his sleeve, and got to his feet. “Looks like you missed the Corvette entirely.” He peeled off his robe, and brushed himself off.

“I don’t know what happened. I just let it go, and the tornado sucked it right up.”

“The great toilet bowl in the sky,” Bumbledork chuckled. “It probably shot to the moon. Imagine the poor astronaut’s face as the wayward morsel splatters across his visor.”

“I’m sure he’ll return the favor,” Hairy giggled. “They are astronauts, after all.”

“That they are.” Bumbledork patted him on the shoulder.

The front door opened. A rail thin boy and girl stepped out with orange hair and a smattering of freckles. “Well, hello there!” the boy waved.

“Oh Christ, of all the places!” Bumbledork threw his robe to the ground. “Hairy, meet Weaseldick and Gingercooch Paisley.”

As Hairy offered his hand, the cantankerous old man slapped it away.

“Do not talk to him, he is a fucking loser. And don’t talk to her unless you want an unwashed flying cooch in the face.”

“I washed it this time.” Gingercooch smiled.

“Oh yeah? Did you use soap?” said Bumbledork.

Gingercooch blushed. “Oops.”

Weaseldick’s mouth dropped. “Ginger!”

“Trust me, Weaseldick, nimrods like you will eat many a dirty hair pie in your lifetime; just another reason why men have shorter lifespans than women.”

Hairy shook his hand anyways. “Pleased to meet you, Weaseldick.”

Bumbledork pulled him aside. “Hairy, what further proof do you need? Listen closely: Weaseldick, what’s your favorite movie?”

“My favorite movie in the whole world?” The freckles nearly jumped off his face.

The old man rolled his eyes. “Yeah.”

“Why, that would be Captain Ron, starring Kurt Russell.”

Bumbledork cringed. “See?”

“The name’s Hairy,” said Pinga.

Bumbledork smacked Hairy upside the head. “Do not talk to him, he’s imaginary. I could stick a pig up his ass, and slow roast it until it’s golden brown, and still nothing would happen. Why? Cause he’s fucking imaginary!”

“I am not.” Weaseldick cried.

“You are too,” said Bumbledork.

“Am not.”

The blast of a shotgun ended the quarrel.

“Come on, fellas, stop fighting!” A man barreled out of the house with a mug in hand and potbelly poking out.

“Well, if it isn’t Prickley Paisley,” Bumbledork grinned.

“Atari Bumbledork!” He hobbled over, and slapped the old coot on the back. “Here son, hold this.”

Weaseldick grabbed the warm mug, and took a sip. “Ack!” He spit it out. “Daddy, did you pee in this mug?”

“Damn it, boy. I said hold it, not drink it!” He swiped it back. “I figured I would pour it over the beanstalk to help it grow faster.”

“They’re a bunch of stalkers,” Bumbledork whispered to Hairy.

“What?” said Prickley.

“Oh, nothing.” Bumbledork whistled.

“You should all do the same.” Prickley wagged his finger. “The more she gets, the faster she’ll grow.”

“But grow where?” Bumbledork’s eyes followed the stalk into the sky.

“What? Oh…uh…I don’t know.” Prickley shrugged.

“What if the stalk leads to a castle that is inhabited by a giant ogre, who sneaks down, and sodomizes you in your sleep?”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.” Prickley brushed it off. “Anyways, could I ask a favor of you, old man?”

Bumbledork grimaced. “What, Paisley?”

“I’ll help you fish your car out of my roof if you’ll drop my children off at school. They’re late, and my truck’s out of gas,” said Prickley.

Bumbledork looked at the car, and then the slobbering fools picking the lice from their scalp. “Well…all right…”

“Thank you, Bumbledork.” He kissed the pompous twit. “Well kids, I guess it’s off to school for you.”

“Yay!” the children cheered.

As the harebrained fools chortled, Hairy’s long lost terd orbited back to earth. It thundered down in a brown blur, and exploded in Prickley’s filthy mug, dousing the unsuspecting morons in a warm blast.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wacky Writing Prompts #1: Yours Truly

Just for fun, here's a wacky writing prompt that I came up with. Try extending the lines:
They promised a pill a day would lead to instant weight loss; but they failed to mention that limbs would begin falling off, starting with yours truly...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Enura - Chapter 66: Barrage

Artwork © Claudia McKinney
A light breeze swept through Lawson’s hair as he shut the book. “Fools.” The rims of his glasses glimmered in the sunlight. “Never engage your enemy at their strongest point, especially when you can shell them from a distance.” He handed the volume back to Laurent.

Covered from head to toe in dark robes, vampires loaded the culverins, and nudged them into place. Dionte and Deverrell snickered, running torches over the ground, and igniting a trail of oil. Dipping their arrows into the flames, archers raised their bows to the sky. Soldiers hoisted large sacks onto a series of trebuchets, cranking the slings back, and lighting the fuses.

Lord Vangley took a deep breath, and gazed over the forest two hundred feet away. “Fire,” he commanded.

Archers unleashed their salvo, igniting deadwood just inside the woodlands. Catapults blasted the treetops, dousing the forest in fiery ash.

“Again,” said Vangley.

Embers burst through the canopy like fireflies, encouraging the flames from tree to tree. Wickwood cowered from the barrage, tearing out their roots, and backing away. Trees wavered and snapped, the frontline crumbling.

“Fire at will.” The elder glanced at his counsel.

Fiery munitions pummeled the forest. As the flames drove deeper, an inhuman cry echoed over the hillside. Brambles raced through the woodlands, snaking through the torrent.

“Culverins!” Talmot yelled as tangles spilled out of the blaze. Dozens of cannons exploded, blasting the vines to bits, bombs and arrows continuing to pour down.

“Had Carmella surrounded Red Wind and waited, she would have won decisively,” Lawson whispered to the patriarch. “Even with the demonic weapon of their flesh, her army could have navigated it,” said Lawson. “The same will not happen here. We will wait this out, and push forward methodically. Layer by layer we will peel her apart, and eventually raze the core. No more than three days should this take…with complications, perhaps a week.”

Cannon fire erupted as more tangles spun out of the forest and wilted.

“We should have done this all along.” Lord Vangley scratched his chin. “Without refuge, Enura will be forced into town or pushed farther back.”

“I would not count on her retreat,” said the hunter. “Corner a wild animal, and it will strike. We must find a way to entice her to the battlefield. Enura may be clever, but she cannot fight us head on.

“Vissorouy’s fear has been replaced with conviction. This only weakens her. In a few days time she will falter; hopefully we will not expend our munitions by then.”

“We’ve enough munitions to level a thousand forests,” said Vangley. “In addition, our neighbors will ferry over whatever we need as long as Enura is kept from their lands.”

“Take cover!” Talmot’s voice echoed.

Guards stepped in front of Lord Vangley, erecting a wall of shields. Fiery quills pinged off the barrier, pocking every inch. Even as the needles stabbed into the guard’s feet, the wall held firm.

As the barrage subsided, the soldiers lowered their shields, and spotted a group of Wickwood advancing the culverins.

“I anticipated this,” said Lawson.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Enura - Chapter 65: Godslayer

Artwork © Claudia McKinney
The red pope stripped off his robe, following the lightening down, and splashing into the lake. He slithered through the murky depths, piercing the void with his smoldering eyes. Grazing the bones beneath, he peered up at his kin.

Scores of crimson snakes coiled around the wooden boats, flipping them with their tails. As Aquinus’ arms melted into his sides, and two legs became one, the adder threaded its way to the surface. The serpent leapt out of the water, smashing vessels in its path, and feasting upon the cowering units.

“The abomination lives…how can this be?” Pope Ruminus gasped. “Still you have ushered him to my stage, and within reach of destiny.” He squirmed in his saddle.

As the creature chased the vampires to the shore, the pontiff raised his staff. “Fire!” he screamed.

Archers unloaded their volley, blasting the serpent in a deadly hail. Arrows crumbled against the adder’s scales, falling harmlessly into the water.

“Ruminus!” The serpent hissed. He dove again, and sprang onto the shore as the water shallowed. “You were a fool to come here.”

“That is what faith is for: to answer when called upon,” Pope Ruminus replied. Dozens of heavily armored guards tightened around him. Soldiers recoiled as more snakes wriggled out of the water.

“The Holy Crescent is a fraud.” The crimson monstrosity stalked the group. “It is built upon your tongue alone. When you die, so does your religion. I am the prophet, standing before you now.” He loomed over them. “Look at me. What does your god offer to substantiate his claims? More empty words?”

“You are nothing but a lesser demon. I am the truth,” Ruminus shouted.

“Is that so?” The serpent hissed. “Then let me set you free.” He snapped down, swallowing pope and steed.

Stunned by the speed of the gigantic snake, the armored guard hesitated, and then charged forward, shattering their swords against his sleek scales.

“Enough,” Aquinus thundered. “I do not wish to retaliate, nor do I expect your blind allegiance. My only wish is that you witness the truth for yourself. The choice is yours: either be hacked to pieces by my impending army, or experience true faith.

“All who have taken arms against me are hereby forgiven; you could not have known the path. I was wayward once, and can appreciate the struggle. Anyone who braves these waters, and joins us on the other side, shall be absolved of their misdeeds.”

A green light emanated from the water.

“This is your right of passage. Everyone who embraces Quorra as Lord and Savior shall be reborn,” said the pontiff.

Serpents on the shore stood on their tails, morphing into humanoid hybrids.

“Come, join me. Let The Serpent Lord awaken thee.” He rose high above The Holy Crescent.

Ten thousand hooves thundered in the distance.

“Choose now!” Pope Aquinus uttered.

These Last Words

As tonight
Draws to a close
I cannot
Must not
Give it up

I push
A little further
To make the day
All I’d hoped for

May the night
Never end
So I can make
Something
Anything
Of this final chance

These last moments
Fading fast
Still so much
To learn
And love

Can I steal
A few back
So today
Can be
Everything
I dreamed
It would be

I did not
Do enough
Write enough
Cannot stop
Until all is claimed

Tomorrow
Will come
I’ll seize my share
Another shot
At success

But still
There is much left
In this tiny morsel
Must make the most of it
Push harder
Can’t let
This magic moment
Slip away
Only then
Will today be
A true success

I weave my magic
A little longer
Every last ounce of passion
Scorching the page
These last words
Smoldering
Eternal
A bed of fire
To lay me
Down to rest

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Fear


My confession?

I’ve failed at everything I’ve tried.

Except this.

Stupid. Worthless. Loser. How many times have people hurled these words like stones?

But I’m not made of glass. There’s stronger stuff below; a belief that runs right to the core.

I am destined for greater things.

My words will change the world.

Let the legions cast their venom; they do not know me.

Let the critics sneer; the joke is ultimately on them.

I know I can do this. A writer I am meant to be.

Forget about the past failures; they’ve made me who I am. The external world does not faze me; the real challenge lies deep within.

This fear. I must get over it.

What will they see when I am finally revealed? Will they give me a chance? Identify with me?

No.

It does not matter.

They will see I am just like them.

Full of hope. Conviction. Dreams.

And that is all that matters.

I need this, I must confess.

I must find a way to make this work. Find a way to finish. Only then will they see the masterpiece underneath.

I will put myself before them. The entire tapestry, not just a shred of cloth. Myself. My whole self.

I refuse to cower. Refuse to give up.

This fear…just a fool’s errand…

Words echo inside me, fire threaded destiny. Can’t hold them back any longer.

Then I realize what’s gnawing at me.

These words, flowing so beautifully. Such emotion, raw and pure. My one talent, my only talent, please don’t let me screw this up.

I take a deep breath. Calm my mind. And ride the lightening.

This lingering fear is vapor.

I am ready for the next step.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Much Needed Declaration, from One Writer to Another

You are meant to succeed.

Yes, you.

This is your moment, the moment where you learn to believe in yourself.

Your eyes were meant to grace these words, just as I was meant to put them down. What separates this moment from the last is that in this moment, you chose to believe.

Are you doing yourself any favors by heeding your doubts? Would you bother mulling these scant, few words if you did not have an inkling of faith in yourself?

“But how do I break through?” you ask. “How do I begin achieving the level of success I am capable of?”

First, believe.

Second, and most importantly, trust yourself.

Yes, trust! For many this is a slippery word. Life tends to beat us down when we let it; every negative thought and emotion chipping away at our self-image, taking our confidence and dreams with it.

“But how do I learn to trust myself? After all my failures, isn’t it best I not get my hopes up?” you ponder.

Clear the baggage of the past. Instead, arm yourself with the sword of belief, and cool steel of trust. We’ve already determined you a success; why bother arguing?

For the failures of yesterday, yours and mine alike, you are hereby absolved. Leave the shackles by the door. For even if you stray from the path, the experience of the journey holds true, and will help you find your way back. Isn’t experience what is relayed anyways? With the burden lifted, the only thing left is to listen.

Through listening, we act; nothing could be truer for a writer. Instead of wasting your energy on doubt, instead use it to discover what you will say when you cast the final die.

So go ahead and put your thoughts down. What do you have to lose? Get it all out, and keep going. Foster that connection, that inner trust, so that you become a better listener, and learn what it is you’re pouring yourself into. There is always room for scrutiny; learn to use it effectively.

There is no shame in writing about a story before entering it, just as a builder demands a blueprint. Find out what best works for you. Design your discipline in a manner that allows you to achieve goals on a daily basis. In all things, seek balance, so that you continue inspiring thought, and cultivating your yield before sharing the harvest.

Go now, and move forward with confidence, for today you are a success.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

YUMMY! The Crusty Englishman - Chapter 6

Elizabeth gazed into the creek as the wind swirled, tossing her blond tangles in her face. “Still nothing?” she shouted down from the bridge.

Old Man Wiggins waded through the murky water, proceeding cautiously to the deeper end. He poked the surface with the butt of his rifle, and drew closer.

“Anything?” Lizzie struggled to hold back the tears.

Wiggins looked up, and slowly shook his head.

“How convenient. Sunday mass is upon us, and Terrance is nowhere to be found,” she whispered. “Would you mind searching farther downstream?” she asked.

The old man nodded.

“Bless you, Wiggins,” said Lizzie. “And when you find him, let me have a few words before you shoot him.”

As he turned, a giant reptile leapt out of the water, snapping its massive jaws. The old coot fell backwards, firing into the trees. “Crocodile!” Wiggins cried, tossing the gun at it, and darting into the woods. The lizard scooped up the rifle, and swallowed it whole as the geezer fled.

“A crocodile?” said Lizzie. “Crocodiles aren’t indigenous to England. Unless…” The wind whipped her face. “…unless someone was to keep it as a pet.” She made the sign of the cross as the creature descended into the muddy depths.

“What sick mind would keep a crocodile as a pet?” Her words hung in the air.



Terrance jumped as gunfire erupted in the distance. “Good gracious, what was that?” A splash of water trickled down his naked body, the creek coming to his waist. Poking through the foliage above, shafts of light bounced off his chiseled frame. He doused himself in the icy waters, whipping his dark locks back.

A gentle breeze swept through the woods, turning his skin to gooseflesh. As a twig snapped nearby, the rogue turned, trying to pinpoint the source.

“Who’s there?” He stepped out of the water, and peeled his dank clothes from a branch. Terrance did not bother putting them on, holding them at his waist as he searched the trees around him.

“It would be wise to invest some caution in these waters,” came a woman’s voice. “Many foul things bathe themselves here. It is not uncommon to catch smallpox or the bloody flux in such streams.”

Terrance stalked the trees around him, unable to locate her.

“Here,” a voice came from behind.

A tall woman with long, dark hair and a matching robe leaned against a tree, her eyes glued to a book.

“How long have you been standing there?” he asked.

“Long enough to learn that the best parts of you do not recoil in frigid waters.” The stranger adjusted her glasses.

Terrance spotted a bottle at her feet. “What a quaint little spread. Did you come alone?”

“I am never alone.” She flashed her emerald eyes.

He scanned over the woods, coming up empty once more.

“Books keep the loneliness at bay, and stir the passion inside.” The corners of her mouth turned slightly inwards.

Terrance lit up. “In that case, may I pour you a glass of wine, my lady?” He tossed his clothes aside.

“You will not touch my wine.” She continued reading her book.

“Not even a little?” He reached for the bottle.

“No.” She pushed him away with her bare foot.

“What are you, some kind of bookish snob?” Terrance grabbed his clothes and stormed off.

“Not that way.” She considered his plump rear.

“I’ll go where I please,” he grumbled.

Suddenly a crocodile jumped out of the bushes, snapping wildly. It devoured the spoiled heir’s clothes as Terrance danced around, and cowered by the lady’s side.

“Be still,” she whispered in his ear as he pressed up against her. “She just wants to express her dominance.” She licked his ear. Her robe loosened around her body, teasing Terrance with a glimpse of her naked body. “I’ve brought them here to study their mating patterns; perhaps today, they will be studying us.” She took the lobe of his ear in her mouth.

“What are you, a zookeeper?” Terrance asked. “Crocodile hunter?”

“Reptiles have always been dear to me,” she replied.

Terrance recoiled as a second croc slipped out of the creek, and considered them. “What do you suppose he wants?”

“Perhaps he’s afraid you’ll poke him in the eye with that thing of yours.” She put the book aside, and pulled Terrance closer.

The lizard hissed, and crawled into the bushes.

Terrance grabbed the bottle, and guzzled it down.

“Save a touch for me.” She snatched the bottle. The stranger opened her robe, and poured the vintage over her ripe breasts. She filled her mouth, and kissed him deeply, letting him drink the sweet blush from her lips. Terrance backed her against the tree, covering her mouth and neck with his.

“If you want the rest of my vintage, you’re going to have to lick it from my body,” the stranger murmured.

“As you wish,” his icy stare pierced her as he took her into his mouth.

“Ravish me,” she uttered, picking up her book, and continuing to read.



Terrance stirred from his sleep. “What is this?” He squirmed, his wrists bound to a beam overhead. His eyes strained to make sense of the dim walls around him, settling on a lady in a dark robe against the doorframe.

“I hope you enjoyed the vintage.” She gazed at her book.

“Just splendid. But I must say, I’m partial to the dessert afterwards.” He tugged at his restraints. “Since your pet crocodile ate my clothes, perhaps you could spare me a robe?”

“Oh, I like you the way you are.” She turned the page. Behind, a crocodile scurried past.

“Very well. I’m surprised with all this rope you didn’t tie down Old Willy as well.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get to him soon enough.” Her eyes did not leave the page.

“What’s to worry? Dangerous crocodiles on the prowl…a twisted bookworm tying me up for her own sadistic sex play…Say, you know what would be dandy? More of that bubbly blush.” Terrance cheered. “And by the way, I’ll have you know this isn’t my first time being tied up.”

“I’m afraid you’ve run me dry.” The stranger shook her head. “I’ll have to brew some more.”

“Then what are you waiting for, you wretch? Get on with it already! I’ll just hang around while you ferment. And please close the door after yourself--I wouldn’t want to catch a cold.”

“There is no door, and I doubt you want anymore of my potions,” said the lady.

“Potions? Don’t you mean vintage?” said Terrance. “And why do you have your nose stuck in that book all day?”

“It’s a book about love…and sex,” she replied.

“Sex? Then why are you hoarding it all to yourself, you haughty sadist? Do share. Jump aboard and we’ll grind out a few passages together.”

The woman finally looked up. “It’s a spell book, you moron. I used one of the recipes to immobilize you.”

“Oh darling, I don’t hold it against you, and neither does Willy. In fact, you’ve given him the erection of a lifetime. Oh, and you really should try this bondage thing. I’m growing quite enchanted,” Terrance beamed.

Another crocodile scattered by.

“I’ll wait my turn,” she glanced at him. “So tell me, dear, do you love me?”

“Love? Don’t tell me that you tried a love spell on me,” Terrance chuckled. “That will never work!” he howled.

“Damn it. The spell was perfect. Why didn’t it work this time?” The witch threw down the book.

“Besides, why on earth would you want to fall in love with me?” Terrance asked.

“Don’t be ludicrous; I care nothing for you,” she sneered. “I have bigger fish to snare. And once I am done with you, I’m going to feed you to my flock.”

“You evil bitch! I love your dark wit. Come here and let me spank those devilish curses from you.”

Without warning, she cracked her whip, striking him across the buttocks. Terrance did not even flinch.

“Ooh… foreplay. Won’t you tell me your name you rotten witch, or are you just going to tease me all night long?”

“Belinda.” She stepped forward. “But people around these parts call me Bel.”

“Black-hearted Bel? I knew it was you! You’re the deviant who poisoned Wilber Snooky’s candied apples last October.”

She whipped him again.

“That’s it! I’m loving you more and more with every strike, my primrose prostitute,” Terrance exclaimed.

Belinda lashed him a third time.

“Sorry mistress, you’re not going to get a rise out of me unless you use one of your crocodiles,” he chuckled. “I’ve already been shot in the bum--I cannot feel a thing!”

Bel struck him as hard as she could, and then threw down the whip in disgust.

“You nasty little girl. Your turn,” he grinned.

Terrance flexed his arms, snapping the ropes, one by one. He grabbed the witch, stripped off her robe, and tied her up. “Now it’s my turn to dawn the nifty, little robe.” The cloak barely covered his knees.

As he tied the robe shut, he brushed aside a dirty cloth, revealing a wine rack underneath. “I knew you were holding out on me.”

“Those aren’t wine bottles, they’re potions,” she warned.

“I think I’ve heard enough out of you.” He cracked the whip. Terrance opened the bottle, and took a swig. “Isn’t this a blast?” He thrashed her again.

“You will never get out of here alive.” The witch scowled. “The entire farm is swarming with crocodiles.”

“Who said anything about leaving? We’ve got a swell thing going on here. I think I’ll stick around for a while. So who’s your daddy?” He cracked the whip again. “Come on now, bookworm. If you don’t play along, I’ll have to stir up a little potion of my own,” Terrance grinned.



Terrance stumbled down the road, holding several bottles dear. “Now that’s what I call a jolly good time!”

He staggered over the hill, and thumped his head against the front door of the mansion. The drunkard shook the handle, but it did not budge. “Come on now, open up.” He knocked, but did not hear a peep.

Around back he doddered, spotting the nun at her desk. “Good news, Lizzie. I survived!” He gulped down more vintage.

Elizabeth froze. She put down her quill, and slowly turned. “I missed Sunday service looking for your stupid hide.” Lizzie cracked open the window. She took a whiff and cringed. “I see you’ve been drinking again.”

“Is that all you smell?” Terrance sneered.

“You can sleep in the barn with all the other animals.” She closed the window, and pulled the curtains shut.

“Oh come on, Lizzie.” Terrance tapped the glass, but she did not reply. “Fine. Good night, then.” He hobbled to the barn.

Chickens scattered as he plowed through. “Don’t worry, my little chickies, you’re safe until I wake up.” The rogue plopped down on a pile of hay, and yawned.

“Victorious once again.” He toasted the moonlight, and gulped down the strange vintage until his head fell back in the hay. As he made himself comfortable, something rustled below.

Terrance brushed the hay aside, and shook his head. “Bloody hell, not you again!”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

YUMMY! The Crusty Englishman - Chapter 5

“What a lovely morning,” Sister Elizabeth sighed. “The chatter of birds in the air, the fresh scent of rosebuds and honeysuckles, the salty taste of the sea on the tongue…” Lizzie closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

“And the fresh pile of manure by the wayside,” Terrance quipped. He poked his head out the carriage, and winked at a man with a frown that extended to the ground. “Jolly good work, Mr. Hague. Mud pies again, is it?” He sneered, and leaned back inside. “Too bad he’s only got one eye; no way to tell if he’s winking back. I guess that’s the price you pay for erecting a mansion among dung hovels. When you’re done breathing in that fine excrement, Lizzie, perhaps you’ll wash it down with raw sewage from the neighboring stream. Ooh…” he tried shaking it off. “I’m growing boils just thinking about it.”

“I will not let you ruin this moment.” The nun kept her eyes shut.

Terrance gazed out the window. “Oh yes, and who can forget the scent of Old Man Wiggin’s musty underwear hanging in the breeze? Hey Wiggins, I didn’t realize you wore underwear. You can have mine as well.” He poked his scarred buttocks out the side. “And while you’re at it, perhaps you can check your work.”

Wiggins dropped the pitchfork and ran into the barn. He grabbed his rifle, and scurried down the hill.

“Terrance, are you mad? Stop cursing the neighbors or they’ll blow off your other cheek,” said Lizzie.

The rogue pulled up his pants. “Not a bad idea, actually. Might even them out,” he replied.

Gunfire erupted in the distance.

“Blast, I think I’ve done it again.” Terrance covered his mouth.

“Are you drunk? You’re going to get us killed!” the nun exclaimed.

“Not to worry,” he grinned. “His gun is never fully loaded—just ask anyone at the brothel. Of course, that wouldn’t happen if he wasn’t doing so much handiwork on neighbors’ lawns,” he raised his voice.

“Oh dear.” Elizabeth buried her face in her hands. “Is this really how it all ends?”

“Speaking of loaded, I’m glad you chose father’s premiere coach.” He opened the compartment next to him, and pulled out two bottles of wine.

“Where did you get that? Father told you-”

“Oh, come off it, Lizzie. I’m celebrating the Lord’s day just as you do—with the blood of Christ.” Terrance popped the cork and took a swig.

“What do you mean, ‘the blood of Christ?’” Sister Elizabeth asked.

“This is the very same wine you serve at mass.” Terrance licked his chops. “Perhaps I’ll tag along after all.”

Lizzie glared. “You didn’t.”

“Afraid I did.” Terrance took another mouthful. “Here, you can have my spare.” He held out the other bottle. “Come on, Lizzie. It’s not stolen. The old goat gave it to me—practically left it in his will.”

“It wasn’t his to give; it’s the property of the church. Is nothing sacred to you?”

Suddenly the bottle exploded, dousing the nun with purple vintage.

Terrance cracked open the carriage door. “Wiggins, you sure are feisty this morning.”

In the distance, the old man slowed down, gasping for air.

“You’ll have to excuse my sister, she hasn’t had sex in years.” He took a sip. “I hear she’s planning to try on some new dresses this evening. Perhaps you’ll swing by and lend a hand? I hear you’re quite good at that sort of thing.”

Wiggins shook it off, and broke into a sprint.

Elizabeth yanked Terrance back into the carriage. “Damn you, Terrance. Enough!”

“A cursing nun—just how I like them!” He fell back in his seat.

“You’re clever, Terrance, I’ll give you that.” She angled her head. “But then again, so am I.” She took the wimple from her head, and dried herself off, letting her blonde tangles fall to her shoulders. “Indeed you know me well. In the past, the only way to change my mind was to dirty my dress. Did you really think I would fall for it this time?” She patted the bag next to her.

“One way or another I knew you’d find a way to stain my clothes, so I packed an extra habit. So enough of these shenanigans; nothing’s going to get you out of Sunday mass. Apologize to Mr. Wiggins, young man, because you’re headed straight to church, and afterwards, the confessional.”

“If you knew what happened last time, you wouldn’t want me anywhere near the confessional,” Terrance mumbled.

She handed him a bible. “Read! And give me that bottle.”

Terrance polished it off, and tossed it over.

“The entire bottle?” Sister Elizabeth gasped.

“Your gesture is appreciated, young sister, but I’ve my own copy.” He handed the bible back, and plucked a trim volume from his coat pocket.

“Rather small to be a bible.” She crossed her arms.

“It’s the New Testament only,” said Terrance.

“Well wonders never cease.”

“As I tried telling you before,” he opened the book, “the old reverend gave me a few items before he died.” He scanned over the page and giggled. “Of course, I could be lying.”

Lizzie bit her tongue. She could not believe he was reading the word, and wanted to hear the truth from his own lips.

 But all she heard were giggles.

“Read it aloud.” She kept her words short and concise.

“It’s just heating up.” Terrance waved her off, and thumbed to the end. He smacked his leg and cackled. “That little whore!”

Elizabeth was dumbfounded. “The word of God is not a joke!”

“No, but you are.” He continued reading.

“Even if you are the devil himself, I will drag you in front of the altar, Terrance. Now read!”

The cheer melted from Terrance’s face. “As you wish.” He combed his dark locks aside.

“If love is not a sin,” he read aloud, “how did either of us do any wrong? God made us this way, including the spark between us. The only sin that burdens this heart is that we haven’t loved each other more often.”

Terrance turned the page. “Your stare burns through me; I am helpless, spellbound. As the tides of time pound the shore, your smile lingers. Your innocence…your sincerity…only ensures that it will remain there ever more. In giving this heart and soul to God, he has rewarded me with you. I long to feel you inside me again, for without you, I am empty as the shore.”

“What is that?” Elizabeth cut in. “That’s no bible.”

“Shhh…you’re ruining it, Lizzie. This is the best part,” said Terrance. “Take me with you, and I will give myself to you as I do the lord. All you need to do is ask, my sweet Riley.”

Lizzie’s face turned bright right red.

Suddenly a bullet grazed the book. “Bugger.” Terrance examined the side. “At least Wiggins didn’t shoot off the juicy parts.”

“You rotten pig!” The nun pounced on him, knocking him off the seat. “Give me back my journal!” She pawed at the black book.

“Never.” Terrance held fast.

“I was young and foolish,” said Elizabeth.

“But that entry is only a week old.”

“Give it to me.” She pressed him against the door.

“No…mine.” Terrance tugged back.

As Lizzie pried the diary from his finger, the carriage door swung open. Terrance tumbled out, rolling off the bridge, and into the stream below.

“Terrance!” Lizzie screamed, holding her secret dear. “Amazing what that clown will do to get out of church. Driver, stop!” she called.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song: Awakening - An Inspirational Poem


Awakening

The great expanse
Mysterious
Before me
One day soon
I will join her

Clouds
Mist
Extend from my palm
I am a teardrop
In the rain
Falling
Bursting
Awakening

Great cloudburst
Wash away
The poison
Brooding in her
Great teeth of light
Purge the bitter stains
From her heart

Sing with me
Awhile longer
Play my song
Forever more
So that she may hear
This last request
This waning breath
Fading
Fast
This final lyric

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yet a Third Random Scene from S.E. Gordon's Harry Potter Parody

I know, my parents didn't raise me right, and my father dropped me on my head when I was young. The following is the third vile, utterly ruthless, random scene from the Harry Potter parody I'm working on entitled:

Hairy Pinga and How The Prisoner of My Anus Shoved The Sorcerer's Stones, A Goblin on Fire, and Half a Bloody Pint Up His Bunghole While in the Secret Chamber Passing Deadly Hollows with a Disorderly Phoenix

(whew!)

Character Key

Character Equivalent
Harry Pinga Harry Potter
Weaseldick Paisley Ron Weasly
Hermaphrodites (aka Herpes) Hermoine Granger
Syphilis Snake Severus Snape



Chapter X: Syphilis

The black mage stalked the classroom.

"This is the dark arts workshop, but you can just call it shop," said Professor Syphilis Snake. "To succeed on this evil stage, you need at least a basic grasp of math. So class, what's 5 times 2? Anyone?"

"64?" a kid replied.

"Wrong!" Syphilis blasted the child to kingdom come. "Would anyone else like a crack at it? How about you, Mr. Pinga?"

"It's Hairy," he replied.

"I do not need to know if there's a jungle growing in your pants, Mr. Pinga, just answer the question."

Beads of sweat ran down Hairy's brow. "Well…"

"Ten." Hermaphrodites stood.

"I was not asking you, Herpes." Snake pointed his wand.

"I'm sorry, sir." She held her head. "It's just that Hairy used some sort of mind control to extract the answer."

"Is that so?" Syphilis raised an eyebrow. "One would think that if he were half that clever, he would be using his powers of persuasion to get in your pants. Hairy, since you could not craft an answer, why don't you tell the class the color of Hermaphrodites' underwear?"

"Oh, that's easy. White with purple poka-dots." He grinned.

"Hairy!" Her eyes filled with daggers.

"Alright, Hermaphrodites, now show the class your booty," said the professor.

"You're kidding, right? I'm not showing my underwear to anyone." She flicked her brown locks aside.

Syphilis Snake crossed his arms. "It's not like everyone hasn't seen that filthy cooch before." He raised his wand.

"Fine." She dropped her skirt. "See?"

The room gasped.

"Are those balls?" said Hairy.

"I think I saw one of those on Animal Planet," Weaseldick pointed.

"What's wrong with this picture?" Syphilis scratched his chin. "Did hapless Hairy vaporize your underwear?"

Hermaphrodites looked down in horror. Quickly she jacked up her skirt.

"It's a good thing you're 19," said the professor.

"No wonder she knows all the answers," Weaseldick whispered to Hairy.

"Hairy, even though you have the IQ of a half digested radish shit out the backend of a mule, I think you've got the right idea. This is an evil workshop, after all. Humiliation can be worse than death, and we must pride ourselves on dishing out the very best to our enemies. You live to see another day, Mr. Pinga." He shoved the wand down the front of his pants.

"It's Hairy," the aloof magician replied as the bell rang.

Syphilis loomed over him. "Do not tempt me to change my mind, jungle boy."