My buddy EmEfferson has a show called Freddy’s Fan Fiction. He was invited to perform an episode at the South Dakota Anime Convention (SoDak Con), and he asked me to write the story. The way it works is that his other guests pick the elements that are going to go into your story. When I received them four weeks ago, I received #1. SoDak Con #2. Spider Jerusalem #3. Totoro #4. Diskworld and #5. Somebody with Hirsutism dressed as Sailor Moon. This made me hate everybody a little. Also, it resulted in this gem:
Spider Goes To A Convention And Everyone Has A Lovely Time And No One Dies At All (working title)
Spider knew he was in trouble when his filthy assistant actually tried to hand him the phone. He’d been sitting perfectly invalid and disabled in the garden, enjoying the lack of humanity and, to be completely honest, the mating practices of the cat-resistant, three tailed, acid-shitting newt, and suddenly she was there, poking a phone in his direction, smoke dangling from her lip and threatening to ash. As she shook the phone at him again it did, the spent cancer stick taking its sweet time drifting from the top of her Amazonian frame down to the toe of her combat boots.
He knew. He didn’t think she did. They couldn’t, could they? No way would the assistants tolerate him if they knew he made them wipe his ass just because he liked watching them die inside. Instead of reaching for the receiver, he looked at his hands resting uselessly in his lap, and back at her. Lip drooping slightly, he made his best stroke face and tried to drool a little.
“It’s Rory. Take the phone.” Channon pulled from her smoke without moving her hands and blew it in his direction.
Once more, eyes wide and pleading, he looked slowly at his dilapidated, useless body and back at her, going so far as to whimper slightly.
“Spider, it’s over. Someone told him. They know.” Her face was grim and tired, but a little anxious. This was the end of the mountain and there was no telling how he’d react. Breaking that news to Spider was about as safe as telling an iBomb that its mom was the top earner at the Coquette Canine Bordello and Bath, if the iBomb was likely to fling poo and beat you to death with found objects.
Spider sat up and raised an eyebrow at her. She sighed and nodded, still holding the receiver out. He stood, only slightly relieved for the cat to be out of the bag; it was almost work being useless. Ignoring the phone he stretched, reaching first high toward the tree limbs before rolling back down his toes. Twisting this way and that, he loosened his back and arms from their long vacation. Channon watched this silently, ready to run when he finally went. She tensed as he walked around his chair and leaned his hands on the back. With a deep breath, he sighed and paused, and followed it immediately by smashing the chair into fragments on the tree.
As he rampaged, Channon retreated back to the house and put the receiver to her ear, catching part of Rory’s tirade.
“I DON’T GIVE A DEAD SCHOOLGIRL’S LUNCHBOX WHO THE FU…”
“Rory,” she said.
“….UP ON THAT MOUNTAIN WHEN I THOUGHT YOU WERE DYING AND YOU OWE ME A BOOK AND I’M GOING TO COME UP THERE WITH MY FRIEND THE FRAMING HAMMER AND BEAT IT OUT OF…”
“Rory! God damn it, shut up!” she yelled.
“Channon?” he asked, switching gears, as if he hadn’t been about to yell about surprise claw hammer sodomy. “Did you tell him?”
“How’d he take it?”
“He found the healthiest flowers, picked them, and is making them watch while he murders all their friends.”
True to his word, he’d gone back to The City. He chased stories, he wrote his pieces, and he was most of the way done with his first book since he’d been back, “I hate you so much I pretended to be crippled to get away”, working titled. In the months he’d been there, he’d managed to upset almost all of the new president’s advisors by exposing their pork and gilded pockets to the president herself, but his heart was never in it. It wasn’t anything like taunting the Beast or taking down the Smiler. Politics weren’t sensational when not-good-but-decent-and-trying people in power.
Shit was getting fixed.
The City was recovering and improving.
People were happy.
Spider was fucking miserable.
So instead of finishing I Hate You So Much, he’d been working his way back through that phone call from Rory. Whoever had told his editor was smart-they’d covered their tracks and scrambled every little bit of information leading back to them. The only loose end they couldn’t cover was people. People always talked eventually, and a lot faster when Spider was resting his junk on their phone receivers, their keyboards, and in their favorite office coffee mug.
That’s how Spider got Benny’s name from Rory’s petrified assistant. Benny finally gave up William once Spider had set the bowel disrupter to liquefy, and when William finally gave up the snark, Channon let him pull his head out of the urinal Spider was using. Not surprisingly, the DMSO in his urine alone and whatever cocktail he was pissing out made the man hallucinate that their mouths were vaginas, and they left too fast to get more than his name.
It was enough, though. All he needed was that name. JoJo. And it made sense, he’d burned the man badly enough in Thailand in the Great Ape Sex Scandal that it was natural to assume he’d be gunning for Spider.
It wasn’t any big surprise he’d tracked him here, either. Since he’d been forced to stop with the silverbacks, JoJo had refined his tastes a bit. South Dakota was still a little extreme but if that dog knew Spider was back in the City, it was a wise move to stay very, very far away.
Channon had stayed back but she’d arranged for his room and badge, and he found the reg desk. He probably shouldn’t have taken that handful of pills before the flight but what was he supposed to do, fork them over to the security guards? Fuck no, somebody on the level of shit he’d swallowed had no business having any authority to touch people in airports. As it was, he watched the hallucinations roll by as he barked his name at the tub of lard behind the desk. His brain was finding all manner of disturbing images to parade before him, from entirely white-plastic armored bodies, to barely covered vixens with flowy bits of fabric trailing off to pirates to scarred up clowns to Italian plumbers, and no matter how hard he shook his head, they just kept coming.
Spider realized he’d been standing there a while and turned to look to the staff member for his badge. He knew he’d had entirely too many drugs when he looked at the guy. Where he’d mistaken him for fat, he was more of an egg shape if you stood it pointy-end up. From head to toe he was covered in dark grey fur, with a light oval in the center to mark out his chest. His eyes dwarfed his whiskers, wide and white like giant portal portals, and his chest fur was dotted with the dark grey of his outer coloring. His name tag read, “Totoro”.
He looked like a furry cosplaying as Humpty Dumpty if you gave him comically small limbs and glued a leaf to his head.
And he just stood there, grinning at Spider.
“Spy-derrrr Jeh-reu-sa-lem,” Spider drew out, pointing at the box of badges and giving the creature a clear view of the back of his hand. The thing just continued grinning.
“Listen, furball, I don’t give a shit what kind of heinous kinky fuckery you’re in to. I have had enough drugs to chemically castrate the entire Catholic church. You need to find the badge that says ‘Spider Jerusalem’ right now or I’m going to rip off your head and shit in your lungs so that every breath you take, all you can taste or smell for the rest of your life is my ass matter, do you understand me?”
It nodded and when it reached down, Spider thought he’d finally gotten through. But instead of searching for his badge, it pulled an umbrella out from under the table and offered it to him. Smiling, Spider took it and nodded his thanks. He turned as if he were going to walk away and took a few steps. To Totoro’s surprise, however, he just used this to get a running start at the table. One jump landed him on top of the badge boxes and Spider started swinging.
Totoro tried to shield himself from the umbrella blows, but his arms left him with T-rex syndrome and he couldn’t cover his face. True to form, though, he went down smiling, even as the tears traced damp lines through his fur.
Spider finished by jumping up and down on the thing’s torso, trying to drive it into the tile. One last time, he brought the umbrella down directly between its ears, casting the weapon aside in satisfaction as that fucking smile slowly faded with the light of consciousness from its eyes. He grabbed the entire box of A through M badges before climbing back over the table.
The lady at the hotel desk across the way had no such qualms about helping him after that, freely giving up JoJo’s room number and even striking a match on the ‘Smoke Free Hotel’ sign to light his cigarette. He had to hold her hand steady to use it, but he wasn’t one to complain. Passing by the buffet, he swiped a few handfuls of baby seal filets before hitting the elevator. He ignored the giant grey staff member standing behind him, conscious yet again and grinning like an idiot already, and tried to find the button for his floor.
Instead, he stared slack-jawed at the options. He was on the floor marked clearly as “lobby”. Going up, the options were standard fare, starting with ‘2’, then ‘3’ and so on.
But below the lobby button were more options, none marked ‘basement’. Immediately downward they were labeled “Elephant”, “Elephant”, “Elephant” and “Elephant”. Underneath the first four, buttons stretched down to the bottom of the elevator, each marked, simply, “Turtle”. He continued to just stare until a ninja, Disney princess and goombah all joined him on the elevator, reaching around him to hit their floors.
“Don’t worry, sir, it’s just turtles all the way down,” the princess said kindly, as if it made any sort of fucking sense. He stared at her long enough to realize she wasn’t going to just die because he wanted it, then hit the button for floor ‘5’, smearing it with fat from the seal meat.
In the room, he devoured his snack, picked out his badge and a handful of others he liked the names on, and retrieved two wrapped packages from his bag- presents for his old buddy JoJo. Back in the elevator, the grey creature still stood grinning. Ignoring him, Spider was once more just staring and drooling at the choices before him. His floor had a five beside the button. The four below that? Elephant. And following that…Turtles all the way down. He was about to introduce the panel to his friend The Floor of Justice, but the head of an umbrella reached around him and poked at the second elephant under five. This big grey guy was starting to get on Spider’s nerves.
At JoJo’s door, Spider shuffled the two presents under an arm and quietly slid the pass-key the desk lady had given him. Easing the door shut, he watched the goings-on in the suite as he lit a smoke.
Jojo was sprawled on the bed, his thick brown facial hair splayed out over the pillow. It wasn’t his fault, really, he was born with all of it, thick brown hair coating most of his face trailing down over his body. Spider knew all about it, it had been hard to discern him from the gorilla in some of the pics he’d taken.
It was less the hair and more what he’d done with himself that caught Spider off guard. Around his eyes, he’d shaved ovals bare and painted large, cartoony eyes that came up over his own. Sitting slightly off-kilter on his head, he wore a large blond wig with bangs and two pigtails that fell off either side of the bed. He’d stuffed his bulk into a white sailor’s blouse with a large blue collar and red bow on the chest, his hair popping up from the collar and laying over the red ribbon. His meaty forearms bulged out the top of gloves, and the blue skirt was far from decent. With his eyes closed, moaning, the painted eyes looked more than a little creepy.
It was like somebody had tried to dress the teenage werewolf up as a naval academy school girl. Spider narrowly avoided immediately killing JoJo for the good of the whole human race by turning to the two girls at the foot of the bed. One was dressed in a jet black suit with matching black alligator skin boots. Her hair was cut in a short bob, dyed black as well, ends tickling the arms of her limo-tint sunglasses, and she held her hand slightly over the man, seeming to be the source of his happy moans. The polar opposite stood next to her, a girl a little shorter but still stunning. Her blond hair made it halfway down the tan sweater vest pulled over a white button-up. She matched it with khaki trousers and had perched little square glasses on the tip of her nose.
Neither belonged in the room with Hirsute Moon on the bed, and he had a sneaking suspicion why. The proof lay on the table next to him-a dusty old book and an ancient cassette that said “Queen: The Game” on the cover. Spider snorted and puffs of smoke came out his nose. The two girls looked over, alarmed, before the one in black sighed.
“Fuck,” was all she said. JoJo opened his eyes and followed the girl’s gaze to Spider, who watched as the Dog Face’s eyes got wider than the anime ones painted on his face. The man pushed himself up against the headboard, forcing his skirt between his legs to cover up. Spider took a final drag before dropping his cigarette to the carpet and grinding it out with his boot.
“A journalist walks into a hotel and tracks down the slimy fuck who ruined his life,” Spider said, taking a wrapped package in each hand. “But when he finds him, he’s being seduced by an angel and a demon who have suddenly became very, very hot.”
“Eh, well, new bodies, you know. What’s the punchline?” Aziraphale, the blond, asked. Spider held up the two packages.
“We’ll see when Sailor Hirsute here picks a present,” he said, and grinned like an idiot. “But first! What are you two doing here?” Crowley lowered his…er…her shades, and shot Spider an annoyed look with her pale yellow eyes.
“Ineffable wisdom, and all that,” she grumbled. “You?”
“Freedom of the press, and all that,” he responded in kind. “Are you done?”
At that, Aziraphale and Crowley looked back and forth.
“Your side?” Aziraphale asked, and Crowley shook her head.
“We were sure he was one of yours,” she said, shoving the shades back over her snake eyes. Spider walked between them and thumped the packages down on the bed.
“Gents…ladies, if you don’t mind…he’s mine.” The creatures just shrugged and shuffled off to the door.
“I’ll just tell the Dukes it was divine intervention,” he heard Crowley mutter.
“Who am I to argue with that?” Aziraphale said. “But we figured he was yours, what with the whole deal with the apes…” The voices cut off as he pulled the door closed behind them.
Spider set the packages on the table beside the bed and had a seat, lighting another smoke. Slowly, JoJo uncurled from the fetal position he was in and wearily regarded Spider, who just smoked and stared at him. Once he was down to the butt, the journalist lit another cigarette off the cherry of the first, and started talking.
“I’ve got a problem, JoJo. See, somebody made a series of calls to people and sent some pics out, and those people called some people, and eventually, somebody called my boss.”
“Look, Mr. Jerusalem, I don’t…”
“I wasn’t done talking, you dog-faced ape fucker. See, I had it good on the mountain, and whoever made that call succeeded in making my life hell once more. And when I catch that person, I’m going to give the lions at the zoo some Spanish fly and throw them in. Do you understand me? Nod, and say ‘Yes, Mr. Jerusalem, that idiot is going to get fucked to death by lions.’”
“Y-Y-Yes, Mr. Jerusalem, that idiot is going to get fucked by lions.” Sailor JoJo glanced once at the door, but abandoned the idea when the mere thought of chasing him down made Spider smile.
“But here’s the thing, Hirsute Moon. I know it wasn’t you. You were in Mongolia at the time.” He watched as Jojo’s eyes grew wide. “And don’t deny it. My filthy assistant has pictures of you with those manatees.”
“What do you want, Spider?” Jojo asked nervously, licking his lips and trying to sit still. Occasionally, his eyes would flick to the packages, seemingly terrified of what lay beneath the bright foil balloons and cakes on the wrapping paper.
“I simply want to know who put you up to it,” Spider said as he stood and picked up both packages.
“I don’t…I didn’t…I had nothing to do with this, Spider, I promise.”
“I’m going to make this easy on you, Jojo. Carrot or stick?” As he asked, he held up both packages. Jojo’s eyes frantically darted between the two identical shapes, looking for a clue as to which was the right one.
“I don’t understand.”
“I think you do, Jo. Carrot or stick?”
“CARROT OR STICK, JOJO?” Spider shouted, cutting his protestations off.
“Carrot!” the man in the sailor outfit yelled frantically, and recoiled once more against the headboard.
“Good choice! Now the fun can begin!” Spider said gleefully as he unwrapped one of the packages. Jojo watched, horrified, as he pulled a bat out of the paper, its new wood gleaming in the light and interrupted only by the letters C-A-R-R-O-T printed neatly on the side in black marker. Spider lunged for the bed and JoJo tried to scramble away, but the bat connected with the back of his knee before he could get clear of his skirt. As he howled and clutched his leg, he felt Spider’s weight join his on the mattress. A boot nudged under his hip and rolled him over. The bat was held inches away from his nose and Spider looked maniacally happy as he flicked his smoke toward the bathroom.
“Who made you do it, Jojo?” he asked. Jojo stammered and before he could make his mouth form the right words, Spider brought Carrot down into his other knee. Something snapped with the impact and he dropped the other to grab this one. Spider, meanwhile, tapped the bat against his elbow.
“Who was it, Jojo? Please don’t answer,” he said as he brought the bat up for another swing. “Carrot loves it when you don’t answer. Don’t you Carrot?” Spider asked the bat beside his head as it started downward.
“It was…” Jojo began.
ME another voice finished.
Spider let the bat drop, not noticing as it whacked JoJo right in the funny bone. He lowered his shades and stared at the black robed figure in the chair.
“This changes things,” he said as he stepped off the bed and took the seat across from Death, lighting up again. “Seems like a lot of work just to kill me.”
NOT YOU Death said, his voice like a coffin door slamming shut in the room. I HAVE A PROBLEM. Death waved his hand and the hotel room door swung open. Directly outside was that grey fuck who’d been following Spider around the hotel. I HATE THAT GUY Death said as he slammed the door shut again.
“For Saint Fuck’s sake, you’re Death. You deal with it.”
CAN’T. LOOPHOLES AND THE LIKE.
“You hired five people to get word to Rory that I wasn’t dying, yet you couldn’t hire one to kill him yourself?”
IT’S NOT THE WAY, Death said.
“That’s ridiculous, you couldn’t know that I’d find out and track Jojo the manimal…”
INEFFIBILITY, Death said interrupting him. YOU SHALL DISPOSE OF THE GREY ONE.
“Is he always that…”
HELPFUL? Death finished. YES. YOU SHALL KILL HIM.
“I don’t give two tugs of a dead dog’s cock if he’s screwing your sister, I’m not your trash man.” Spider ground his smoke out on the table, grabbed the remaining wrapped package, and made for the door.
YOU OWE ME ONE FOR THAT GIRL IN RIO, Death taunted. I DON’T NORMALLY POSTPONE COLLECTIONS JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE’S ALMOST MADE IT IN THE DEAD’S PANTS.
“Fuck,” was all Spider said. He turned long enough to drop Stick back on the table before pulling a gun out from his waistband.
“I’ve been meaning to try the new setting anyway,” he grumbled as he fiddled with the dial. He spun it to “’Fatal Intestinal Maelstrom”, and clicked it one notch farther. With sudden glee, he swung the door open. Totoro still grinned back at him from the other side, offering him an umbrella as if just asking for another beating.
“Say cheese, fuckernaut,” Spider said as he brought the Bowel Disrupter up and pulled the trigger.
The effect was slightly delayed, and Spider worried they’d configured the gun wrong. At first, Totoro only rumbled gently. Spider and Death both watched keenly as the smile faded from his face and his eyes grew wide with worry. Jojo continued to howl with pain, but they were both transfixed by the sudden look of panic on Totoro’s face.
When it finally happened, it was as if some invisible force laid its hand on Totoro and forced the creature down through its own asshole. As he turned inside out, his organs shot in all different directions, breaking their feeble vessel and nerve ties with the creature’s body. Spider danced ecstatically as a kidney nailed a girl dressed like Princess Peach in the face, and a lung slid into the elevator just before the doors slammed shut, cutting short the horrified screams of the people travelling down to Turtle.
Where Totoro had stood mere moments before now quivered a mountain of viscera, gore, and jiggling bits of fat that threatened to spill as Spider jumped around and poked it with Carrot. It oozed fluids into an expanding puddle on the floor, and squished as he stuck the bat in the hole where its arm used to be, the limb now inside the body.
NOT WHAT I HAD IN MIND, Death said, AND NOT SUBTLE. BUT IF IT STAYS DEAD, I’LL TAKE IT. WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT ONE?
Spider held the gun out to the skull, the words “Full Body Prolapse” written out neatly in Channon’s handwriting on a piece of tape.
“If we’re square now, Death, I’m going to ride the elevator down to the showroom on Elephant and introduce these heathens to the God That Is Known As Stick.”