Part 10: Cesspool X Part 1 of 3Chef Boyardee Thank you for your insight! I am sure everyone here appreciates you taking the time to enlighten us on your game, and I hope you have the desire to continue to drop knowledge.
I also sent you an email, if you wish to respond, I would greatly appreciate it.
Passing by the guard we enter the subterranean town, full of strange furry people. Barkley would like it nothing better to talk to the Cyberdwarf and get the hell out of here.
The snail man puts what is left of his slimy, invertebrate arm up to his disgusting mouth, while signaling with his other noodle like arm for Charles to come over.
Me. Over here. Come here, quickly, I am in dire need of your assistance.
What the hell do you want?
Just… just look at her over there…
Who you ask? Who? Is it not apparent of who I speak? Is her beauty not visible to thine eyes? Does her countenance not violently stir the deep dark waters of thine soul?
I assume you are talking about the… well… forgive me for this - "fox" over that way?
Not a fox per se, rather, a kitsune. A fox spirit on could say, to put it simply, if somewhat inelegantly.
Oh. In that case, no.
I see… then it is just I on whom she has this intoxicating effect?
That sounds about right. Anyway, do you really need help? I hope for your sake you didn't call me over here for this shit.
Oh! Yes, yes. As you have no doubt surmised I do indeed love this woman. J. Lindsay is her name. Unfortunately, she is unaware of these feelings I hold for her. I have written her this poem you see, and I was wondering if you gentlemen could deliver it to her. I have tried time after time, but alas I choke each time without fail. So if you could just walk this over to her and say it's from me… I would really appreciate it, sirs.
Sure, I would be glad to help.
I thank you so much. Just take this over to her and return. I'll have a reward for you when you come back. It's not much… we don't have anything of particular worth here in Cesspool X, but I have some neo-shekels saved up. I hope that will do.
We appreciate your generosity, Eric.
And I yours. At any rate here is the poem.
Are you fucking kidding me, Balthios? We don't got time for this shit. It's a damn love letter. From a snail.
If I recall, even a certain man with a far thick shell wrote a few love letters in his time. Hmm?
… fine. Let's get this over with. Hurry up.
Sure. But first…
Balthios begins to look more intently at Barkley and a slight grin appears on
his face for this first time since this adventure began.
are you wondering at all how the poem goes?
It just fascinates me, anthropologically. How exactly is a love letter between a man surgically altered to become a snail and a woman altered to become a fox written? If, Charles, I decided to say… open it. You wouldn't…
I am not going to tell the damn snail. I wonder if it reads like he talks. "Stir the deep dark waters of your soul" and all that shit. Just listening to him talk was bad enough.
Well, here we go then
Tough break. Your snail friend's fucked.
Charles… we need to do something. We cannot allow her to receive this letter.
It's what he wrote. It's on him. Let's go.
I can't do that, Charles. We are in a bit of a hurry however, so if that's what you would like to do, so be it. Deliver the letter. I just think it to be a bit needlessly cruel. I was thinking we could help Eric out. I do not wish to tell him we read his poem, and if we could entirely avoid the conversation regarding it's quality, I think that would be for the best. I was thinking that perhaps we could rewrite his peom for him. It would not be difficult to write something better than this. But it's up to you.
Charles sees the silent pleading on Balthios's face.
Damn it. I guess we'll rewrite it. If I didn't you'd just bring up some more shit about me writing peoms for Maureen, huh?
Perhaps. That's good though. First thing we should do is ask the kitsune some questions. Find out what her interests are, her likes and dislikes.
Why yes that's me! And what's your name?
Barkley. And this is Balthios.
Well hello then Barkley! Hello Balthios! Welcome to Cesspool X! It's a tiny little town but I hope you guys enjoy it here as much as we do!
Thank you, we appreciate that . Listen, we're new here and wanted to get to know some people in the town. Could we maybe ask you a few questions and see what you're all about.
Sure thing! I love getting to know people!
Great. Ok then, Barkley here will ask you a few questions.
Bring' em on!
Let's do this top first.
What are your interests?
I think I'm interest in what most of my friends here are interested in- animals! I love animals so much! As you can see I even wanted to become on! That's how much I love animals! I love petting animals and talking to animals and being nearby animals! Also, I am a kitsune, so I enjoy hunting animals! I do not eat them - I am a strict vegetarian, I love animals too much - but I am a foxie and what foxies love to do is hunt! So I like to find little animals and sneak up on them and pounce them and wrestle them and then let them go. I love animals so much I even love hunting animals (nicely though)!
How would you describe yourself?
What am I like? Hmmm... that's a tough one. Just kidding I am like a person that likes animals! A lot! Back when I was a norm like yourself, way back before the B-Ballnacht I worked at a zoo. It was a really nice one. I felt so bad about animals being in cages but I just loved them so much and it was the only place I could see them. In retrospect I am definitely sorry about working there and perpetuating that terrible industry of animal slavery.But I loved working there while I was working there because I love animals! I loved animals so much that they had me clean up the droppings from the cages because I was the only one who loved animals enough to do that. So there you go! That's what I am like!
How do you like Cesspool X?
How do I like Cesspool X? The question should be how do I love Cesspool X! And I would say "A lot!" I love Cesspool X! And I would say "A lot!" I love Cesspool X because there is nobody to hurt us down here. And I also love it because it because there are so many people like me down here. People like Frank and Zalatar and Chip. And like Eric! People that share my ideals and viewpoints and passions. But most of all, I love Cesspool X because so many people down here are really, really good friends!
Thank you, J.Lindsay. You've been a great help.
You're welcome! Helping is one of this kitsune's favorite things to do!
I hope that's information enough to write a halfway decent peom with. Let's retire elsewhere and compose this .
The group moves to the inn.
Patience, Barkley, good art takes time. I might as well show you what I have, however. Here you are…
Honestly, Balthios, that is probably worse than "left me feeling smashing."
I… haven't written in a while. I apologize.
Don't worry. If we can just fill it with that shit we learned she's into, she'll probably like it more than the other one.
I hope so. Anyway, after this I have a few fragments I need some help with. I have the beginnings of some lines, but you need to make suggestions for the ends.
After a long period of what seemed to be inactivity, Vinceborg makes an announcement.
Huh? What are you on about Vince?
I have compiled the information gathered from J.Lindsay. Ready to assist in poem creation
Vince is the best goddamn cyberborg
You actually listened to us talk about that shit?
Vince, can you step away for a moment?
As Vince walks away, Balthios takes Charles by the shoulder and says with a hushed voice
Barkley, I don't mean to put Vince down or anything, but… He's a robot Barkley. I don't think he knows anything about love. So take any of his suggestions with a grain of salt.
Whatever, let's get this over with already.
Alright Vince, any suggestions you have are appreciated.
Vinceborg resumes his position in the poetry council
Here's the first part:
And that is where I am stuck. So tell me what you like here.
Barkley thinks to himself "I really don't give a shit about this, but if it's between Balthios and Vince, Vince got way more play. Actually, I'm pretty sure Balthios is still a virgin."
Yeah, "And that she enjoys hunting small prey."
You do remember that little talk we had earlier?
Just do it.
Ok then. Now after those first three stanzas - ABAB, CDCD, and EFEF - I will, as is fitting according to the hallowed traditions of the post-cyberpocalyptic sonnet, I conclude with two couplets, of GG and HH.
I really don't give a damn how your poetry works, but go ahead.
Yeah, "Or who does not mind animal feces much."
…I think Vince does not understand the fine art of sublety.
It's good enough for me.
…Fine. Okay finally. This is the last line.
Yeah, "I love her, and her friends in Cesspool X."
Charles leans back in his chair and starts to try to keep balanced on two legs.
That doesn't flow with the previous line at all, but it doesn't look like you're too enthusiastic about thinking up another line.
You got that right.
I suppose we're finished. Are you happy with the way the poem is now? We can start over and go through the lines again if you'd like.
Nah, it's fine as it is.
If that's all, we should deliver this to J.Lindsay now.
The party walks out of the inn and straight to J.Lindsay
Hi! It's you again! What brings you back!?
I was told to deliver this. It's a poem. It's from the snail.
It's from Eric?
Yeah, Eric. The snail. Read it.
Has he felt like this all this time? How could I have been so blind? Eric… I'm coming…
J.Lindsay looks up from the love note and catches Eric's eyestalks peeking out from behind a barrel, looking directly as intently and full of hope as eyestalks can. The moment lingers. Eric starts to come out from the barrels and makes his way towards her, slowly mouthing words. J.Lindsay begins to walk, then run towards him with tears in her eyes. They meet in the middle. The entire town begins to stare, even the dog.
Your… your poetry…
Yes, my love. 'Twas I, the author of that poem.
It was beautiful… I just… I read it and I just felt like finally, somewhere out there there was someone who really understood me. I've gone through my whole life being misunderstood. Being rejected. And here I am, at last, with some-one who loves me, and loves me for me. And Eric… when I read this, I just-
Enough! I have written you a poem and you have expressed your gratitude, but the time for words has now passed. The present is a time for action. I have a room prepared for us at the inn. Shall we?
The snail left without giving us a reward. If I ever see that punk again I'll slam him so hard…
I'm at least happy they're together. There are some rewards that aren't material, Charles.
Goddamn animal people.
Oh but the snail did leave something, a slimy trail, which on closer inspection is….
What is it?
A zauber… the snail must have dropped it as he retired to his lovenest with J.Lindsay. The zauber surges with the power of snails…
QA to TombsGrave