Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Return of the Return of Splotchy's Viral Globe Theatre Redux Partie Deux


The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.

Rivulets of sweat began cascading down my face and I hurriedly wiped one from my brow before its salty bitterness could burn my precious, precious electric eye. No, the fright couldn't simply be attributed to my allergy to cardboard that always resulted in patches of bloody pustules and mottled skin akin to a poorly applied KISS® -- see, Gene? Put your lawyers away -- makeup job nor the fact that a fair number of the riders were curiously dressed like a toupee-less, yet masterfully make-upped Chaim Witz nor the fact that motionless tentacles were protruding from a number of randomly punched holes in the cardboard box that bore the hideous label Contents, frozen spawn of Old One, 72 oz. nor the realization that I had forgotten my glasses and couldn't see not whom, but what, was slowly shambling down the aisle towards me, its apparently glistening appendages slopping on the possibly filthy floor of this potential deathtrap of a bus recklessly driven by an attractively miniskirted, yet maniacal, maniac, her lapel bearing a button barely visible underneath a swath of jet-black hair and emblazoned with I worship Dagon, ask me how!, which I never did by the way.

No, the fright couldn't simply be attributed to any of those mundane things. My wind wandered, dreaming up all sorts of misadventure where I stared death in the face and he stared back and then we had a series of staring contests of which I think I won nearly 40% of them, an excellent number against an entity bearing a head-lopping scythe, don't you think?

I stared out the window, and the undulating, slowly shifting, tree-saturated landscape stared back. I won that contest but quickly remembered the old saw about looking into the abyss and having it stick its tongue out. I pulled my electric eye back into the bus and stared ahead instead.

Next, a cavalcade of nervous fumbling and rummaging through my pockets to make sure I had an extra nine volt battery. I did -- the apparently glistening appendages slopping ever closer amidst a cacophony of bizarre, intermittent noise -- so I knew I wouldn't have to worry about my electric eye running out of juice until I got back.

Which, of course, turned out to be the case, for how else could you be reading this erratic, poorly-written account of horror, unless you stumbled upon the abandoned wreckage of the bus and were rifling through my strangely mutilated corpse severely underdressed for the freezing weather and found this sheet of crumpled and charred paper riddled with poor penmanship along with my wallet that contained a drivers license, library card, work ID, three singles and a bus ticket!

But you didn't because I'm not dead, for I just handed the bus ticket to the shambling beast which indeed was slimy for it -- and it, despite its general human visage, was the most accurate description I could muster -- was close enough that I didn't need my glasses.

"Last stoop fer yew vis'turs."

Ahead in the distance, beyond the cardboard box's melting water -- at least, I assumed it was water, and you know what they say when you assume: Nyarlathotep tears you a new one, chump -- pooling at my feet, the creepy troupe of riders and the inhuman coughing of it, bathed by the light of the red moon, I saw the low, yet eerily distinct skyline of Arkham.

Hey, Utah, Susan, Bull, MRMacrum, Beach Bum, get writing!


Beach Bum said...

Hot damn, be on it tomorrow or tonight if my wife leaves me alone. No, I ain't getting lucky, she wants the freaking Christmas lights up.

S.W. Anderson said...

First things first, RG. This bus ride took place on a dark and stormy night, right?

Secondly, you say you got into a series of staring contests with the Grim Reaper, winning 40 percent of the time. That's not bad, if it really was the Grim Reaper. Still, I suggest you don't want to go on testing how sporting GR is about losing.

Then again, you didn't have your glasses on. Is it possible all that staring activity really went on between you and a generously proportioned woman of a certain age? Perhaps just a bemused fellow rider who at some point left the bus wondering why that young man seemed so intent on ogling someone old enough to be his mother and hefty enough to be his rolltop desk?

Now, about the carboard box's "melting water." You evidently missed a few too many sessions with Mr. Wizard. Water doesn't melt. You can heat it until it becomes vapor but you can't really melt it.

Finally, when we get down to you seeing a red moon, I have to suggest that your next ride be on the wagon, if you get my drift. If that's no go, you might consider switching to a better grade of whatever you're drinking.

Seriously, this story put me in mind of a wonderful humorous book, "Never Trust a Naked Bus Driver" by Jack Douglas. If you ever run across a copy, be sure to read it.

Utah Savage said...

I'm done and have now moved on to other posts. Catch up man! This story is rumbling past you and you aren't following along. Is this fair? No. No it isn't.

Beach Bum said...

Got it done, and just as my wife pulled into the garage.

susan said...

Ooops! I knew I should have stayed home in the damp, drippy peace of a PNW night. Now that I've seen your challenge I'll have to make an effort to comply but it may take a moment.. or three.

That was an excellent effort and will be hard to top. Utah's done a good version too. I'll check out Beach Bum's contribution after dinner and a movie - our Sunday evening ritual.

Bull said...

You're asking me to, like, fiction?

Urff! Okay, okay, I will! I'll get moving tomorrow!

Dusty said...

Utah nailed me for first sojourn into this type of meme..

Splotchy said...

Zoiks. Everyone knows, you don't f*** with the Old Ones.

Splotchy said...

Oh, thanks for being infected, by the way!

Dean Wormer said...


Riding the bus under normal circumstance makes you lose sanity.


Sherry Peyton said...

The minute I got to electric eye, I knew I was in trouble with this post. leave it to you Randal to make a bus ride into a little shop of horrors intro!

Liberality said...

The old ones do not approve of you revealing their secrets so you must be careful now, electric eyed one, that you are not snatched from our midst unto that other realm of horror for eternity, and in which by comparison this bus ride would be nothing but child's play.

Utah Savage said...

Shit! Randal's dead again.

Bull said... that I am, I'll read everyone else's tomorrow.

Randal Graves said...

BB, and you're supposed to? Why, that's sexist!

SWA, I like to chalk up 'melting water' to the lost list of survivals from when we were kids. Sure, it's akin to saying 'liquid water' but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)

I'll have to check that book out. I wasn't sure whether to go straight Lovecraftian or add some bad humor.

utah, hey I'm a busy man! I've got countless slacking projects going on!

BB, hope you had fun with the lights, heh heh.

susan, no rush, but by this time, I'm sure you all are done. Utah's right, I'm way behind!

bull, of course I am. It builds character.

dusty, so we can start tagging you on a regular basis?

splotchy, word.

dean, I know that's right.

Oh shit, I bet that pumpkin guts lady was a shoggoth in disguise!

sherry, as dean said, that's essentially what they are!

liberality, verily, I shall heed your advice for the darkness brings great pain and conceals horrors older than legend-haunted Egypt, and blacker than a soulless pretzeldent.

utah, I was, but my wife's nagging was so cacophonous that it, well, you know the rest.

bull, excellent!

MRMacrum said...

I know I am late to this party, but well shit happens. I did do my duty and I even passed it on. Unfortunately I had to kill off the bus riders. Or did I? Why? Damn if I know. It's the way the story headed.

Madam Z said...

Poop! I did it wrong. I answered Frieda Bee's tag, but thought I was supposed to include the whole story, with my addition at the bottom.

BTW, yours is FAB!

Randal Graves said...

mrmacrum, I'm starting to wonder if you're working for them.

madam z, no, you did it right, I screwed up the style we all sort of unofficially adopted last year; old age. And thanks!