was around six o'clock in the Volpe household, as Cloud and his friends were
gathered in the basement surrounding a large brown table. Cloud himself had
a pair of cardboard folders standing up in front of him on the table, as sort
of a makeshift screen. His friends, Jesse, Chris, Bill, and Mike, were sitting
around the edges of table with various books, dice, and papers in front of them
and were holding their heads in what appeared to be mental anguish.
Cloud asked after a long silence.
raised his head from the table and looked at him. "So what you're telling
us is that we're trapped in a room with ten red dragons who just happen to have
wraiths as their kin, and none of our spells work?"
That about sums it up."
fucked," Chris commented. "Just like Cloud's mom on a Friday night,
we've been fucked in the ass."
Cloud yelled, ready to throw a twenty-sided die at Chris. He regained his composure.
"Besides, it's not totally hopeless. You're got Elves in the party. Has
anyone tried searching for secret doors in the room?" He lifted his eyebrows,
as if this was a good idea.
eyes brightened. Hands reached across the table to pick up various dice. Jesse
screamed in triumph as he rolled. "Yes!" he yelled. "A one! I
rolled a one! We're saved!"
shook his head. "Congratulations. You successfully discover that there
are no secret or hidden doors around you."
moan escaped from all four players. "Oh, look at that," Cloud said,
glancing at his watch. "Looks like it's time for the dragons to begin their
attack. Everyone roll to see who goes first." Begrudgingly, each person
rolled a die, then flipped off their die as it rolled horribly. "So,"
he said, "Anyone get less than a two?" Heads shook. "Oh, good.
That means all twenty dragons get to attack first." He picked up a handful
of dice and began to shake them.
a minute!" Mike yelled. "Twenty? You said there were TEN!"
paused. "I did?"
Chris agreed. "I specifically heard you say ten."
I mention the other ten that just teleported behind you at the beginning of
thin, black, hardbound book flew at Cloud from across the table, hitting him
in the shoulder. He yelped in pain. "All right, fine. Since these are red
dragons, they're all going to use their breath weapons! Everyone roll to see
if your characters can get out of the way of twenty jets of flame." All
four players gave Cloud the finger, then rolled. They all yelled in excitement
as the dice produced satisfactory results.
your face!" Bill chanted. "We all rolled twenties! Nothing beats a
a shame," Cloud said. "These are the special kinds of red dragons.
None of you seem to be able to dodge in time, and all of your characters suffer
He looked around the table. "Which one of you is playing the high hit point
fighter?" Chris raised his hand and scowled. "And how many hit points
does your character have?"
hundred and twenty," Chris replied.
what a shame, these dragons did one hundred twenty-one hit points of damage
to all of you." Various pencils, books, and blunt objects flew across the
table at Cloud. A good number of them hit him. "Hey, don't blame me! Just
roll up some new characters now so I can kill them too."
a voice from upstairs yelled.
sighed. Great. Now what did she want? "What mom?"
you send for another mail order bride?" she yelled.
mom, I told you, I don't know where that last girl came from! She was lying!"
He noticed his friends snickering, and promptly flipped them the bird. "And
no, I didn't order another one."
his mother said. "Well, in that case, there's someone here to visit you
and she looks trashier than that last one."
he yelled. He turned to his friends. "Okay, I'll be back in a minute. No
one better touch my notes while I'm gone!" He walked up the stairway.
Chris commented. "That was one of the worst games I've ever played."
said Bill, "But compared to the games Mike has run, it was freaking great."
Mike yelled. Within seconds, the table had erupted into a flurry of fistfights.
upstairs, Cloud answered his front door. Standing outside was none other than
Ginger Spice herself. "Are you the guy who runs that website?" she
shit," Cloud said, sweating. "I never thought one of you would actually
find me." He laughed nervously. "Um, you do know it's a joke, right?"
He felt slightly nervous. "Er
how the hell did you find me?"
I come in?" she asked.
He thought for a moment. It was either allow a fairly attractive (if not oversexed)
celebrity into his household, or go back downstairs to hear his friends complain
about their Armor Classes. "Sure, come on in."
walked into the house. "Have you seen the news lately?" she asked.
yeah, that's right," he said, remembering the news reports from earlier
in the day. "Didn't you supposedly die or something?"
but fortunately I landed on top of a huge, soft pile of trash, and it saved
Camden," she replied. "Well, quickly, turn on the television! There's
something I want you to see."
walked to the sofa and sat down in front of the television. "Turn on the
news," Ginger said. He grabbed the remote control and turned on the TV,
just in time for the evening news to start.
reporter popped up on the screen. "Good evening," she said. "This
is Amanda Berkinsack-Jones-Devereau with the evening news. Our top story today
is from Ontario, Canada, where a fatal plane crash has claimed the lives of
two people no one in this world cared about."
image of Marilyn Manson appeared on the screen. "One victim was noted Antichrist
Marilyn Manson, whose urine-soaked body was discovered in the cockpit of the
plane. Experts on the scene concluded that Manson had turned into a little chickenshit
and pissed himself right before the impact. Jokes have already begun circulating
around the Internet." Manson's high school yearbook photo replaced the
current glam-rock photo on the screen. "Those of you with Internet access
may want to look at this nerdy picture of Manson back when he was a teenager.
Experts believe that many more hilarious posthumous jokes may be crafted because
other victim was a young girl, identified by police only as 'Katie.' When a
local cashier was asked how she felt about Katie's unfortunate death, she had
this to say."
clip of the Virgin Records Megastore cashier filled the screen. "The celebration
party will be at my house the night after the funeral," the cashier informed
the world. "Everyone in town is invited on the condition that they bring
prune juice and Mexican food, so that we can go to her grave that night and
shit all over it." The video froze, then was placed in the upper left corner
of the screen. The newscaster was on the screen again.
girl's only living relative, a slack-jawed cousin whose parents were siblings,
told the press this."
upper left corner image was replaced with the image of an older man missing
most of his teeth. His left eye was lazy, and his lower lip seemed incapable
of meeting his upper lip. The image zoomed in to fill the entire screen, and
animated itself into a video. "Well, shit," the slack-jawed inbred
said, "now I ain't got no one to screw no more
'cept that damned
image disappeared to reveal the newscaster once again. "Authorities have
informed Channel Five that this man was subsequently shot, and his body was
thrown into a lake in order to prevent his genetic material from being passed
onto another generation.
happier news, not all passengers aboard the aircraft were killed. The Spice
Girls, whose popularity has been dwindling ever since earlier this afternoon
smiled at Cloud and said, "That was my fault. Virgin Records stock dropped
faster than I did when I fell out of that plane."
found alive on board the wrecked private jet," the newscaster continued.
"Details are sketchy, but sources say that the Spice Girls were saved by
a large cushion of inflatable sex dolls, which prevented the foursome from becoming
a stain on the walls of the plane at the moment of impact.
same aircraft was responsible for Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice's rumored
death earlier today. Experts speculate that if Geri did not die from falling
from the plane, then she is probably alive. Virgin Records merely commented
that Ginger left the group over creative differences in a press conference held
shortly after the incident was reported by locals who witnessed a woman fitting
Ginger's description fall from the plane as it flew over New Jersey.
this unfortunate news, fans all over the world rejoiced that their beloved Spice
Girls were still alive.
a related story, Atheism took a dramatic rise late this afternoon, as young
people across the world simultaneously denied the existence of any form of justice
in the unive
turned off the television. "So that's what you wanted me to see?"
the basement, sounds of yelling and fighting and cursing pierced the air. "No,
damn it! Put down my mage!" "Fuck you, you greasy bastard!" "Hey,
these notes all say, 'Chris is gay!'" "Let go of that book! It's worth
more than your life!" "Oh shit, I hope that lamp wasn't valuable!"
sat silently for a moment, listening to his friends before asking Ginger, "Why???"
smiled. "Well, I want to get revenge on that bitch Posh for pushing me
out of the plane."
I figured you'd be the best person to help me, considering I was stuck in this
wretched little state."
whoa, whoa," Cloud said. "Help you? I just write stories for my website.
I'm no revenge-for-hire person. Get someone else!"
there is no one else." She paused. "Well, not around here anyway.
Besides, it'll be fun for you. Gather up some people, crash a wedding, make
a statement, get hits to your page
I don't know
" He looked confused, wondering if something of this
magnitude would be morally wrong.
I'll throw in a bonus
" she said. "You've obviously heard about
those circulating pictures of me from before I was a Spice Girl, right?"
" he replied hesitantly.
you like a firsthand, behind-the-scenes tour, if you know what I mean?"
didn't even pause. "Hey guys!" he yelled to his friends in the basement.
came the reply from one of his friends
he didn't really notice which one.
off. We'll finish playing another day!" he yelled.
But we only got through the second level of the dungeo
said get the hell out!"
four men came charging up the stairs and headed for the front door. Chris was
in the lead; he pulled it open and said to Cloud as he left, "Great game,
assmaster. Thanks for killing off my twenty-fifth level fighter." He stormed
followed, adding, "My mage had lots of good years left in him, and you
had to go and send him against an army of dragons! Jackass!"
stepped out behind Bill, saying, "Don't worry, Cloud. We all have our bad
days with this stuff. Of course, not quite as bad as yours, but hey
left last, behind Mike, saying, "Well, I still think it was a lot more
fun than one of Mike's games." A heavy bag of dice hit him in the back
of the head from outside. "I heard that!" Cloud heard Mike yell.
closed the door behind him, leaving Cloud alone with Ginger in his living room.
"Well, I guess I should start making some phone calls," he said. "Do
you have a plan for this revenge of yours?"
sort of," Ginger said. She proceeded to tell Cloud what she had in mind.
a start," Cloud said as she finished. "Well, I guess I'd better get
in touch with my co-conspirators." He picked up the phone and began dialing.
that moment, Mike burst back through the front door. "Cloud?!?! Is that
Geri Halliwell standing in your living room?!?!?!" Before anyone could
answer, he began running towards Ginger like a dog runs to a fresh, plump sausage.
Fortunately, the rest of Cloud's friends had foreseen this, and dashed through
the front door after Mike. They tackled him to the ground, a mere inch from
Ginger's sequined shoes, his claws digging at the ground as if magically, through
some miracle, his arms might grow that extra inch. Jesse, Bill, and Chris hauled
Mike up to his feet and dragged him, kicking and screaming back out the front
door. Cloud flashed a thumbs up to them as they left, and they merely nodded
resumed his phone call. A weary voice picked up on the other end of the line.
"Hello?" it asked.
yes, speaking. Who is this?"
Cloud." There was a long pause. "You know, the guy who puts your stories
up on the web."
you have any idea what bloody time it is?" he asked, sounding irritated.
sure," Cloud said. "It's only nine o'clock at ni
" He realized.
oh crap. Lousy time zones. I'm really sorry
the hell did you get this number?"
I'll get in touch with you tomorrow. There's a situation arising that you'll
probably be interested in
" He paused for dramatic effect, then heard
the snoring on the other end. "Er
right, get some sleep." He
Ginger asked, after he put the phone back in its cradle.
is going to be interesting," he said, then smiled. Yes indeed, this was
going to be one heck of an adventure.
Chapter III: Resilience.
and copyright 1999, CloudVader Productions. Do not reproduce without giving
the author, Cloud Volpe, due credit.