or: EPISODE 3 // Where Tati Gives Tony a Fungus Face
In our previous episode, Tati and Tony met at the Greater Cachalot Mall in international waters. As they nitpicked at one another, a mysterious man in black turned up and quietly made a beeline for Tony’s suitcases…
Tati sighed. “Okey dokey. Let’s go to reception. I’m dying to take a shower.” She pulled a map from her pants pocket and unfolded it over a nearby café table.
“Why couldn’t we have met in front of the hotel itself?” asked Tony, scratching the top of his head with a quizzical look.
After ascertaining the most confusing and circuitous route to the hotel, Tati rummaged through her backpack and withdrew a couple of items. “Now, take this moustache and cap. No one should recognize you!”
Tony took one of the moustaches from her hand and put on the green cap. “But I already have a moustache!”
“It doesn’t matter. Stick that one over it.”
Tony blinked slowly at his reflection in a nearby store window showcase while Tati put on a moustache of her own, and a red cap too. “Seriously, we look like the Mario Bros.” She giggled at Tony’s comment. He had two moustaches on his face, and he did rather look like a famous, portly, videogame plumber’s brother.
And this leads us to our latest installment of Open-Source Poetry. Your submissions for this so far have been, without exception, exceptional! As you can imagine, it has been an onerous task choosing what the next line should be. However, we feel that Thom of tnkerr’s line is ripe with story possibilities, so we’re going with that. Congratulations, Thom!
So, let’s keep this rolling, Dear Readers. And let us remind you of the simple rules of this game…
1) We provide the next line of the poem. 2) You write the following line. 3) You submit your line via the comments section of this very post. 4) We pick the line we like most and add it to the poem. 5) We publish every line to date in a follow-up post. 6) Steps 1-5 are repeated until we have a masterpiece!
In our previous episode, Tony introduced Tati to ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. But Tati, like a real clever dick, quickly googled it, pretending to know what they were. Suddenly, a mysterious man in black appeared out of nowhere…
They’d decided to meet at the Greater Cachalot Mall, which was more akin to a bustling mini metropolis than an actual mall. Located on an island in international waters, it lay somewhere between Ukraine and Australia, and required no Visa to visit. Tati travelled there via the Trans-Zhmerynka Portalway while Tony took the TUMS Oceania Tube.
Tony arrived first, lugging three huge suitcases behind him. They were filled with god knows what, and the hotel staff were understandably curious. Who could possibly need that much crap? What the hell was it? Was it clothes or something nefarious like money for a drug drop? Tony did have the bedraggled appearance of a dealer after all.
Tati appeared twenty minutes later with her habitual backpack and a mint lollipop. She slapped Tony’s back, causing him to choke on his soda. “Are you drinking that slop again?” Tony winced at her pointed question. “You boob! When will you drop dead from diabetes? I won’t be coming to your funeral! And don’t complain that I didn’t warn you!”
They were looking at each other with a mixture of love and hate, and therefore didn’t notice a mysterious man in black slipping quietly behind them and making a beeline for Tony’s suitcases…
It looks like we’re pretty desperate. For the sake of poetry, we’ll readily bear anything. The last round brought us an invasion of cockroaches. We wonder what will happen this time…
A bout of saporous lolly acne? A rain of worthless bitcoin that darkens the skies for months? Our legs dancing an endless Eskimo jig? It’ll be worse than the ten plagues of Egypt from the Old Testament!
Still, this won’t stop us from providing you, our Dear Readers, with a safe haven for your collaborative efforts. “Collaborative efforts?” we hear you say. “What collaborative efforts? And to what purpose?” Well, let us fill you in…
1) We provide the first line of a poem. 2) You write the next line. 3) You submit your line via the comments section of this very post. 4) We pick the line we like most and add it to the poem. 5) We publish the first and second lines in a follow-up post. 6) Steps 2-5 are repeated until we have a masterpiece!
See? It’s the very definition of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! So, have fun! But, please, whatever you do, don’t fling us in dat dere briar patch! We can handle pretty much anything but not rejection!
“What? Cooperative staff? What do you mean?” Tati blinked in confusion.
“Stuff you can interact with. Like a knob or Rubik’s Cube.”
“Hmm… knob. I sense a trick.” She narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Do you want to beep my nose again?”
“Could I?” Tony’s mouth broke into a sly grin. “Although that’s more like a button really, not a knob.”
Tati wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Tony, I won’t fall for this shit again. You and your speculative staff!”
Now Tony blinked. “Well, I’ve never heard it called that before…”
“What? These were your words! You asked me if I like copulative staff only a moment ago. I’m not crazy. I know what I heard!”
“Actually, I was referring to ‘CYOA’ books. My knob… erm… knobs in general… erm… staffs… Shit. Let’s just say Rubik’s Cubes.” Tony pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Look, I was just using these as examples of things that could be interacted with…”
Tati stared at him. He slumped his shoulders and said sheepishly to himself, “Damn. I’ve become a dirty old man, haven’t I? I always promised myself that wouldn’t happen.”
“C’mon you! Old ass!”
Tony blinked again. “Hey, hey, hey! No need to get insulting!”
“‘CYOA’ books! Doesn’t this mean ‘C’mon you! Old ass!’ books?”
“No, it really doesn’t. Please, Tati, do save me from your endless guessing, okay? Let me put you out of your misery.”
“Well, you can try. But, please, without your silly euphemisms like ‘knobs’. I’m a big girl. You can say ‘interactive dick’ if what you mean is ‘interactive dick’.”
“Good lord. Now you’ve got me blushing…” And he really was!
“Well, out with it!” She tapped her foot on the tiled floor, impatient.
“Erm… yes. ‘CYOA’ means ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.”
“NO! Not with dicks! What’s wrong with you? This isn’t an adult version of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ y’know!”
“Such a pity. Okay, so what is it?”
“It was a series of children’s books that began in the seventies. Each story was written from a second-person point of view, and each section of the story would end with a list of choices for how it could progress.” Tony was in full professorial mode now. He was so cute when he got like this. “You could be a pirate, an astronaut, or even an investment banker. Actually, I don’t think there ever was one with an investment banker in it…”
“Tony, stop your verbal flood. Couldn’t you have said just one word at the start?”
“Actually, that’d be in the list of choices. ‘If you decide to listen to Tony’s lengthy, long-winded explanation, thus running the risk of slipping into a coma, turn to page 17. If you decide to convince him to use fewer words, thus saving yourself valuable drinking time, turn to page 21. If you decide to slap him in the face with a wet fish, turn to page 34.’”
“WOW! And what will happen if I jump right to page 45?”