|Heat Wave/Hungry Lad
October 23 2001 at 11:30 AM
|Harbinger of Death
|“I am freezing! Who turned down the
thermostat?” Bluetopaz pulled her sweater around her and blew on her
hands, eyeing the temperature gauge on the wall.
“It wasn’t me,” said her faithful assistant, Orlena. “I know how you like it toasty warm.”
“It must have been CJ. Where is that girl?” Bt looked around impatiently, and cranked the knob back up to a comfortable level.
“She went to get some more staples. We were all out.”
“Good. At least she’s doing something productive for a change.”
There was a knock at the door. “Excuse me, Madam Chancellor.” Tern peeked around the corner. “There’s a dispute we need you to settle.”
“What is it?”
“Tern cheated,” said Tori, from the other side of the doorway.
“I did not! Would you lay off!”
“You did so! I saw it!”
“What are you two talking about?” Bluetopaz interrupted, rubbing her temples. Now that she was the only chancellor left alive, all the squabbles and problems came her way. It was really quite an ordeal.
“We were playing Pin the Grape on the Hunter, and Tern cheated.”
“I did not cheat, I just happen to have very good instincts about pinning things on hunters.”
“I saw your blindfold slip at the corner and you didn’t fix it!”
“Even if it did, I had my eyes closed, so I was not cheating.”
“That is QUITE ENOUGH!” said Bluetopaz in her most commanding chancellorial voice. Orlena cringed. Even though she’d heard it lots of times, it still scared her. “Let’s speak one at a time, shall we, and then we’ll resolve this thing.”
“Where’s your hunter?” asked Orlena. “Maybe he can tell if Tern saw him or not.”
“We, uh…dismissed him. We were finished with him.” They looked slightly embarrassed. “We can try and find him if you want…”
“Nevermind,” Bt sighed. “Hey, what’s going on?” For the lights had gone out. “Oh, this is just what I need. All right everyone, let’s go to the fuse box. Hold hands so we don’t get lost.”
“I’m not holding hands with a cheater.”
“Listen, you little—!”
“Orlena, stand between them. Let’s go, and no bickering, or I’ll leave you to flounder in the dark.” Bt led them through the hallways. Although it was pitch dark, she knew the building so well, she could navigate it easily. Or could she? She thought there was a hallway to the left, but it was just a wall. Maybe it was to the right. No, wait…
“It’s freezing cold again,” she noted. “This building is just out of whack. We’re going to have to see about building a new facility.”
“Oh, great, more taxes and misappropriated funds,” Orlena muttered.
“What was that?”
“This wall feels funny.”
“You’re the only one feeling the walls. We’re all holding hands.”
“Well, let go for a minute and feel. Isn’t that strange?”
Indeed it was strange, and then they heard a SLAM, as though a door had shut behind them. Suddenly the lights came on, and they found themselves in a smooth, square room with a tinted window on one wall. They could barely make out a face on the other side; it was giant and bony looking.
“Oh dear,” Bluetopaz sighed. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Someone was pushing buttons, and the ground began to rotate. They realized they were on a carousel. “It’s a microwave.”
“You wanted to keep warm,” a voice said. It got very hot very quickly, and the four amazons were getting sick going around and around as well. Their skin began to bubble and pretty soon—POP! They exploded inside the giant microwave like a bowl of chili.
Aeakos was in despair. His darling Lorel had died. Not that he was sad she was dead, mind you; he knew she’d come back after Halloween. No, he was in despair because he didn’t know where she kept the chips. He’d looked everywhere. Were they out? If they were, did she have the checkbook with her when she’d died? If so, how was he supposed to get more? And didn’t they have any hot dog buns? They had hot dogs but no buns. How was he supposed to eat hot dogs on regular bread? It just isn’t right to eat hot dogs on bread.
He decided the only way to get a decent meal would be to kill himself. Resolutely, he climbed up to the bell tower and stood on the ledge. He was just about to jump when he heard a voice behind him.
“Good God, man, what are you doing?” It was Shou Lao. “Come down from there! You’ll get hurt!” He pulled on Aeakos’ arm.
“You don’t understand!” cried Aeakos, struggling to get away. “I’m hungry!!”
“You’re nuts, is what you are,” said Shou Lao. “Come on, we’ll get you a nice hospital lunch at Sal’s Detox.”
“No! I’m going to see Lorel!” And the starving hunter threw himself from the tower, taking Shou Lao with him, his stomach growling all the way. SPLAT, SPLAT.