The idea was not received well, I was too far "out of the boxed" it seems, for my fellow dungeon dwellers. This was nothing new to me; I had been received similarly ever since I had left the confines of the "Inn."
This past Saturday, at the latest of the evening, while my dearest Hazel was off visiting her brood-mate, Denise, in faraway Okemos, Michigan, I did enter into the Gaming Tent with my pubescent neighbor Donny. Donny the Dungeon Master. I had made enquiries after I had observed (with my optically perfect eye) he and his three male companions sitting and arguing and consuming of the Cheetos, Pringlos, Mountain Dews and the Red Bulls. What could they be doing in that beaten-by-weather tent that requires such enormous caloric intake? Are they training? Ingesting illegal, or merely quasi-legal, intoxicants? Engaging in the Brokeback Mounting with one-upon the other? A mystery existed under my beak, before me, and I could not rest until the answer laid bare and bleeding, mewling at my shadow.
I approached under cover of moonlight, the steel pincers of my velocitation suit swaddled in bath towels and ducting tape. Ninjas exist that create more noise than I. The tent lay stretched before me, pale green in the night with warmth and jocular noise echoing from within. I heard the opening of snack bags. I heard the rolling of plasticine dice. I heard the telling of tales and the naming of heroes. It was adventure that lurked in that tent. Nothing more and nothing less.
Waiting for a gap in the tellings, I parted the tent flaps and thrust the domed head of my mechano-travel-suit withinward. The screams there-in were deafening. The sodaed pop, she was spilled.
"WHAT IS THIS YOU ARE DOING HERE, LITTLE DONNY? ARE YOU TELLING OF THE TALES OF YOUR CULTURE? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED EARLIER?!?"
In the tent were four young men, denizens of this Mobile Park that I now call my blasted and burnt-earthed home. The names they had when my head first pierced that bubble of tentedness are unimportant now. They are not the true names these heroes wear. The names they use when they walk amongst the day may as well be Peter Par-Kar, Clark the Kent or Brucha Wayne Newton. In the course of the evening I would learn the true names that name their souls, my adventuring companions in the wilds of the kingdom of Sheen-Forsythe.
"Jesus Christ, Mr. President Squid! You scared the living fuck out of us," Donny gasped.
"DO NOT EVADE THE QUESTION, PUBESCENT FUR-BEARING MAMMAL. EXPLAIN YOUR PRESENT ACTIONS!"
"Please stop screamin', Mr. President Squid! My ma already yelled at us once. If she comes out here again she's gonna send everybody home and stop the game."
"GAME? THIS DICING AND TALKING AND TELLING OF TALES IS A GAME? EXPLAIN FULLY, OR I SHALL YELL LOUDLY AND SUMMON FORTH YOUR MOTHER FROM HER DEN."
And so it was that Donny and his compatriots explained the arcane rules of the Playing-of-Roles Game that is called Dungeons Full of Dragons. I was encouraged by this band of brothers to "roll up" a character and join them in their glory. An offer I found impossible to refuse. I settled my chromed carapace within the doorway of Donny's nylon tabernacle and, in a few short minutes gone was my land-locked personage, hopelessly trapped in this decaying Velocitator. I closed my eyes and I was the Giant Squid, ex-president, bester of Lincoln, Editor-in-Chiefitude of Poor Mojo's Almanack (and other concerns) and when I opened my optically perfect eyes I was now Timmy Wu, mace-wielding Priest of the warrior-god Helm.
Joining me on my quest were: Slaymaster, the blood-craving Dwarf—his family devoured by rabid centaurs, this angry half-man seeks vengeance and gold in every shadow; Orluin O'Duighhnasse, an Elvish archer—his love lies in a state of dreamless sleep and he seeks the potion that shall awaken her; and Gandalf the Grey, great wizard and fiercesome strategist—his methods and reasons are known to none.
The orchestrator of our adventure and master of our destinies was Donny, now known only as the GameMaster or Gee Em. Our story began, as so many do, in humble origins:
Gee Em: You are all at an Inn. The Inn of Great Forboding. It's a lawless place full of scum, thieves and adventurers. It may be a good place to find a job.
Gandalf: Are there any chicks here?
SlayMaster: I buy some mead and go sit at a table in the corner with only the shadows at my back.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: Does anyone here seem to be in need of help? Is there any useful gossip?
Timmy Wu:I PILOT MY MECHO-VELOCITATIONAL SUIT INTO THE MIDST OF THE ROOM AND ATTEMPT TO FIND A SEAT STURDY ENOUGH TO BEAR MY GREAT AND TERRIBLE WEIGHT. I SURVEY MY SURROUNDINGS; DO I LOCATE ANY DUNGEONS OR DRAGONS IN THIS LOCALE?
Gee Em: Okay, there are chicks here, but they all seem to be spoken for. The corner tables are all occupied, as are in fact, all of the tables in this place. It seems to be very crowded. You hear no gossip, as everyone stops talking as you enter the inn. And, uh, Mr. President Squid, in this game you are a human so you don't have that giant exo-suit thing and, uh, there is no sign of a dragon or a dungeon. What do you do?
Gandalf: I find the hottest chick and tell the guy with her that I am motherfucking Gandalf the Badass and if he doesn't want his cock set on fire from my badass spells then he better get the fuck out of the inn and leave his bitch for me.
SlayMaster: I knock Gandalf out and gag him.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I help SlayMaster subdue our wizard friend and then I approach the innkeeper and ask him for information about the area.
Timmy Wu: I AM HUMAN? A MAMMAL!? VERY WELL. I SHALL MILK MYSELF AND CONSUME IT. THEN I WILL COMPLAIN, GROW HAIR, AND WEAR ODD GARMENTS. AFTER THAT I SHALL FEAST UPON THE FLESH OF THE BOUND GANDALF, MY RAZOR-SHARP BEAK CAN EASILY NIP THROUGH HIS PRIMITIVE TEXTILES AND SKIN.
Gee Em: So . . . Gandalf begins to approach this enormous Barbarian who is all covered in scars and weapons and armor and has an incredibly beautiful Barbarian chick at his side, when he gets knocked unconscious and gagged by the rest of you. The innkeeper, who is also the bartender, tells you that he is too damn busy to answer your questions, but that Otranto—and he points this guy out to you—might have some useful news for the brave. And Mr. President Squid, sir, you don't have a beak. You're human, and you wouldn't be able to eat your friend because he's, y'know, your friend.
SlayMaster: I steal all of Gandalf's things, strip him naked and throw him out into the cold.
Gandalf: I fucking hate you guys. Always gotta get between a playa and his bitches. Okay, I cast a—
Gee Em: You're gagged. No casting.
Gandalf: I fucking hate you, too, Donny. [Gandalf's face had turned pink, in one of the very few chromatic displays for which your species is known. I had grown acustomed to this flush from viewing my old lab assistant, Rob, viewing of the anatomical films he so favored downloading from the Internet, and thus know well its sign for which it is signifier: Gandalf had become sexually aroused. Perhaps this was owing to the high-volume of discussion on the matter of the man-on-orc sex actions?]
SlayMaster: I try and sell Gandalf's stuff to anyone in the bar who will buy it. And then I shave him.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I approach the man named Otranto and ask him if he has news or work for adventurers. I also offer to buy Gandalf's clothing for one penny.
Timmy Wu:I WISH TO KILL A DUNGEON. OR A DRAGON. EITHER WILL SUFFICE. DIRECT ME TO THE PROPER DICE TO ROLL AND I SHALL MAKE IT SO.
Gee Em: Otranto laughs and says, "I'll tell you the same thing I told the last dozen 'adventurers' who asked. There is a huge pack of Orcs holed up in a cave on my farm. Every night they come out and steal food and kill people and every one in this town is so chickenshit that they just hide together in this bar or over in the church." Orluin buys Gandalf's clothes. SlayMaster tosses Gandalf outside after roughly shaving his beard off. And there are no dragons in the inn.
Timmy Wu: I FIND THE NAME OF THIS PLAYING-THE-ROLES GAME TO BE MISLEADING.
Gee Em: Gandalf, outside you see two orcs approaching you. They have thick clubs in their hands.
Gandalf: Fuck you, Donny.
SlayMaster: I buy a drink and wait for the orcs to kill Gandalf.
Gandalf: I chew through my gag.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I tell the others what Otranto told me, and suggest that we should look into this.
SlayMaster: Go into a cave full of bloody orcs? Are you out of your mind?
Timmy Wu: IF THEY LEAVE THEIR DWELLING AT NIGHTS TIME, PERHAPS NIGHTS TIME IS THE BEST TIME TO ENTER THEIR DWELLING, FRIEND SLAYMASTER. THEY WILL BE MUCH BUSY AND DIVERTED WITH CLUBBING GANDALF TO DEATH, AND WE CAN SLIP IN LIKE UNTO THE GREAT UNWATCHED AND KILL THEIR YOUNG AND THEIR BROODMARES. WE CAN ALSO POISON THE FOODSUPPLIES AND DEFECATE INTO THE WATER SUPPLY, SPREADING MANY HARMFUL BACTERIA. TIME AND BIOLOGY WILL KILL THEM AS SURELY AS YOUR STOUT AXE.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: Wu, your plan is to kill their children and shit in their water?
Gandalf: Fuckin' A.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: This is most unconventional for a priest.
SlayMaster: Okay. New plan. What Mr. Squid said. We do that.
Gee Em: You all leave the Inn of Forboding and see two orcs about to club Gandalf to death. What do you do?
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I notch an arrow and say, "By all that is holy, you foul things, drop your clubs or I shall pierce your throat with my shaft!"
Gandalf: You are so gay. You are gay for orcs. You want to have orc-o-sexual relations with them, don't you?
SlayMaster: He may be useful later. Wizards can unlock things sometimes. I lift my axe and roar at the orcs. If they move I want to hit them in the face.
Timmy Wu: I EXTEND MY TENTACLES TO THEIR FULLEST REACH AND SQUIRT INK INTO THE WATER ALL AROUND. WHILE MY FOES ARE CONFUSED I SHALL JET ABOVE THEM AND DROP DOWN ONTO THEM, CHEWING INTO THEIR SOFT FACE-FLESH WITH MY TINY WHITE TEETHES. ALSO, I WISH TO CAST THIS "CAUSE LIGHT WOUNDS" SPELL UPON THEM.
Gandalf: Guys, take off my gag so I can fuck these bitches up.
SlayMaster: I'll take off the gag. But if he tries to cast a spell at me I want to kick him in the face.
Gee Em: The gag comes off. Orluin threatens the orcs and they seem surprised to meet any resistance at all. You can tell that the townsfolk have been putting up with them for a long, long time. Mr. President, err, Timmy Wu jumps at the orcs and tries to chew on their faces. He also casts a wounding spell. Huge rents appears on the orc's face and blood sprays everywhere. The orcs run for it.
Timmy Wu: MY BROTHERS! NOW IS OUR CHANCE! WE CAN FOLLOW THE BLOOD TRAIL IN THE WATERS BACK TO THEIR LAIR, WHERE WE CAN THEN MAKE WITH THE SLAYING OF OFFSPRING AND BEFOULMENT OF WATERS AND EVEN—IF THE DEEP ONES BEYOND SMILE UPON US—WE CAN FEAST UPON THEIR FLESH AND TREASURE.
SlayMaster: Good idea. Let's follow 'em.
Gandalf: You pussies. Let's just kill them. I need revenge!
Orluin O'Duighnasse: By the stars of Elandril, they didn't lay a hand on you!
Gandalf: Yeah, but they wanted to.
Gee Em: You follow the orcs back to their cave. It's a simple cave, but the entrance slopes steeply downwards. Like a mine shaft.
Gandalf; Why do you guys keep saying "shaft"? Just call it what it is: a mine cock.
Timmy Wu: THIS ONE IS CONFUSED. THE ORCS ENTERED BROTHER GANDALF'S COCK? IS THIS A WIZARDLY POWER?
Gandalf: Fuck yeah it is. It's my Magic Missile
.Orluin O'Duighnasse: Which has a ten second duration, and you can only cast once per day? Sounds right to me.
Gee Em: The orcs entered an abandoned mine. Torches mark the entrance and line the path down. It's about ten feet wide and ten feet tall. What do you do?
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I prepare to enter the mine and nock another shaft.
Timmy Wu: I WISH TO EXTINGUISH ALL OF THE TORCHIERES. WE SHALL FIGHT IN INKY, COMFORTING DARKNESS..
SlayMaster: I'm the goddamn Dwarf, so I guess I'll lead the way.
Gandalf: I tie a steak to SlayMaster's neck, since he is the bait and all.
Gee Em: You walk about fifty feet down the mine shaft, err, mine hallway. It opens into a slightly larger room. There is an orc guarding a chest. Behind the orc is a large iron door with a huge lock on it.
Timmy Wu: BUT WHY IS THERE BUT A LONE ORC GUARDING THE CHEST? SURELY HE MUST BE READYING AN AMBUSH! LET US WAIT UNTIL HE NEEDS TO MAKE WITH HIS EXCRETION AND/OR DEFECATION AND MAKE WITH THE STABBING WHILE HE IS DISTRACTED!
Gee Em: Shit. Sorry guys, but it's like 4am. I need to call it for the night. I have an early shift at the phone bank tomorrow.
SlayMaster: Just when it was getting good.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: I have our placement and arrangement relative to each other sketched out here in my adventure diary. Just so we know next time where we all are.
Gandalf: I still can't believe you bought an adventure diary.
Timmy Wu: DID THE ORC KILL US? WAS THE MINE FULL OF THE POISONED GASES? I TOLD YOU, MY BROTHERS IN ARMS, THAT WE SHOULD HAVE PURCHASED THOSE CANARIES EARLIER. CANARIES DEFEND ONE FROM ALL HARM IN MINE SITUATIONS. THIS IS TRUE.
Gee Em: Sorry Mr. President Squid, but we all need to sleep. We'll continue where we left off next weekend. This is just how these games work.
Gandalf: It's like, episodic. Or somethin'.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: It's because we let the games go over many weeks or months that it becomes so fun. You get emotionally invested in the characters, the stories, the campaign.
SlayMaster: That's just because you're an orc-o-sexual, Mohammed.
Orluin O'Duighnasse: Fuck you, Ivan.
And that was where the adventure paused, like a sand-filled hourglass being tipped onto its side. The clock has struck five now, and my great and terrible optically-perfect eyes have grown tired.
Good night to you, my loyal readers.
Good night to you, those who find themselves brought low as I.
And good night to you, my fellow adventurers; sleep well, for in the morrow we shall surely die.
I Remain Yet,
The Giant Squid
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