Article 175191 of rec.arts.sf.written:
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written
Date: Sat, 25 May 1996 07:27:54 GMT

["Mystery Science Theater 3000", post AC-1, reel one.]

[Theme song]


[SOL. Tom Servo is screen left, dressed in colorful flowing robes and wearing a crystal on a string around his neck. Crow and Mike are screen right. Between Tom and the others are a bunch of cards, face-down on the table. Mike looks over his shoulder at Cambot.]

Mike: Oh, hi! I'm Mike Nelson. Up here on the Satellite of Love we just found an old pack of Tarot cards and it turns out Tom's programmed to read them. We're doing a reading on Crow right now.

Tom: Okay, this card in the middle here "covers" you. It represents your environment, obstacles, that kind of thing.

Crow: Hey, Mike, can you flip this thing over?

Mike: Won't that interfere with the mystical energies coursing between the two of you?

Tom: Yeah, probably, but neither of us has working arms.

Mike: Well, okay. Here you go.

[flips card]

Crow: Death! Oh, no!

Tom: 'Fraid so, my friend. Yes, that's right, it's the ever-popular Death card, representing... well, death. But don't worry, no one card (however ominous) can represent your entire fate. Why don't you flip the next card? This one "crowns" you... it stands for all you can ever hope to achieve.

Crow: Mike?

[Mike flips the card.]

Crow: Death! Not again!

Tom: My, but the spirits are insistent tonight!

Crow: Wait a minute! How could I get Death =twice=? You slipped an extra Death into the pack!

Tom: Not me, my doomed little buddy -- the mystical forces did that! Well, I don't have to explain this card; it stands for the same thing it did last time, namely... death! Let's skip ahead. This card here is "before" you-- it predicts your immediate future. Mike?

[Mike flips the card.]

Crow: Death! Waaah!

Tom: But Crow! This time it's upside-down!

Crow: So?

Tom: So, when a card is upside-down, it's known as "reversed." So a card that represents power stands for weakness, or one that normally means victory changes to defeat.

Crow: So Death reversed stands for... life?

Tom: No, it still pretty much means death. Face it, Crow, you'll be lucky if you don't keel over in the next couple of minutes.

[Yellow light flashes.]

Mike: We'll be right back.


Mike: Welcome back. We're almost done here.

Crow [sobbing]: Nine Deaths... nine Deaths...

Tom: Mike, if you'll do the honors?

[Mike flips the last card.]

Crow [perplexed]: Tor Giant?

[Red light flashes.]

Mike: Cool it, guys, the Hierophant is calling.

[Deep 13]

Dr.F.: Hello, Nelson, Servo. I was =so= sorry to hear of the passing of the other one... you know, the gold one...


Crow: I'm not dead yet!

[Deep 13]

Dr.F.: Oh. Well, that's good. Because you see, this week's experiment is a fate far worse than death. Call it Deep Hurting 95. Or call it... THE EYE OF ARGON!


Mike: Yes, and?

[Deep 13]

Dr.F.: And, you ask? Let me yield the floor to my distinguished guest to introduce the lifetime of pain awaiting you!

[Enter Jack Perkins.]

Perkins: THE EYE OF ARGON is the delightful tale by Jim Theis that, legend has it, won the Worst Story award at a certain Bay Area science fiction competition for fifteen years running -- and was only entered once! True or not, ever since this story was discovered in 1970 it has been the object of competitive readings. People the world over have gathered together their friends and loved ones and passed the story around, reading aloud in turn until the reader cracked up laughing. Many competitors fail to finish a single word!


Tom: This could be trouble, guys.

Mike: Ah, we can handle it.

[Deep 13]

Dr.F.: Very well, Nelson. Send them the movie, Fr-- uh, Jack.

[SOL: lights are flashing.]




Tom: My Theis have been getting kind of flabby lately.
Mike: You don't have thighs!

The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense

Mike: This story must take place before they put in the fluorescent panels.

from overhead, half way through its daily revolution.

Crow: Daily revolution? So this Norgolia's near Bolivia, then?

Small rodents scampered about,

Tom: Twelve-year-old computer geeks?
Mike: That's "r0dentz".

occupying themselves in the daily accomplishments of their dismal lives.

Crow: And these would be...?
Mike: "Dear Diary, Today I spent a couple hours nibbling at a corpse and then spread contagion around the tri-county area."

Dust sprayed over three heaving mounts

Mike: Everest!
Tom: St. Helens!
Crow: Kilimanjaro!

in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome cargoes of their struggling overseers. "Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell, barbarian", gasped the first soldier.

Tom: Awfully long gasp... he must have the lung capacity of a whale!

"Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!" returned Grignr.

Mike: You know, his serve could use some work, and his backhand's downright lousy, but no one returns like Grignr.
Tom: "Grignr"?

A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust forth,

Tom: I know all these words, but I just can't parse this.

sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers vital organs.

Crow: "My Mellotron! My Yamaha! I'm gonna need these for the gig tonight!"

The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.

Crow: You mean blood?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

The enthused barbarian

Tom: I always feel pretty enthused myself after disemboweling somebody.

swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents

Crow: It's not so much the heat as it is the--
Mike: We'll have none of that.

as he faced the attack of the defeated soldier's fellow in arms. "Damn you, barbarian" Shrieked the soldier

Crow: He's a sissy!

as he observed his comrade in death.

Mike: "You appear to be in death, comrade."

A gleaming scimitar smote a heavy blow against the renegade's spiked helmet, bringing a heavy cloud over the Ecordian's

Tom: He's an =Ecordian=?
Crow: Polka party!

misting brain.

All: Our brains'll do the MiSTing around here, thank you very much.
Mike: After all, ours are the Best.

Shaking off the effects of the pounding blow to his head, Grignr

Tom: "Grignr"?

brought down his scarlet streaked edge against the soldier's crudely forged hauberk,

Crow: "Crudely forged"? Talk about calling the kettle black!
Tom: Well, when you call the kettle black you're not remarking on its hue so much as making a statement about--
Crow: Shut up.

clanging harmlessly to the left side of his opponent. The soldier's stead whinnied

Tom [horse]: "Come oooon! Stop fiiiighting! Let's goooo!"
Mike: Whinnied, Servo. Not whined. Whinnied.
Tom: You mean like Whinny Cooper?
Crow: "Hi."
Mike: Hi.

as he directed the horse back from the driving blade of the barbarian. Grignr

Tom: "Grignr"?

leashed his mount

Mike: Fuji!

forward as the hoarsely piercing

Crow: You mean the man-slashing horse-piercing Sword of--
Mike: You know perfectly well it's "hoarseLY piercing".

battle cry of his wilderness bred race resounded from his grinding lungs.

Tom: Grinding lungs, eh? Two packs a day'll do that to you.

A twirling blade bounced harmlessly from the mighty thief's buckler as his rolling right arm cleft upward, sending a foot of blinding steel

Mike: If I had a foot of blinding steel I wouldn't need to spend so much on shoes.

ripping through the Simarian's exposed gullet. A gasping gurgle

Crow: Gasping while gurgling's hard to do. Try it!

from the soldier's writhing mouth as he tumbled to the golden sand at his feet, and wormed agonizingly in his death bed.

Tom: Good thing he thought to bring it along with him.


Tom: "Grignr"?

emerald green orbs

Crow: You mean his eyes?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

glared lustfully at the wallowing soldier

Tom [Grignr]: "Wish I'd noticed how hot he was before I hacked him up!"

struggling before his chestnut swirled mount.

Mike: McKinley!

His scowling voice reverberated over the dying form in a tone of mocking mirth. "You city bred dogs

Crow: So it's really a pastoral!
Mike: And a biting satire on the Industrial Revolution, no less.

should learn not to antagonize your better."

Crow: Classist!

Reining his weary mount

Mike: Vernon!
Crow: Stop that.

ahead, grignr resumed his journey to the Noregolian city of Gorzam, hoping to discover wine,

Crow: Anywhere is a good place to discover wine! This message brought to you by the Booze Council.

women, and adventure to boil the wild blood coarsing through his savage veins. The trek to Gorzom

Mike: Gorzom? I though he was going to GorZAM!

was forced upon Grignr

Tom: "Grignr"?
Crow: Yes, Grignr. Deal.

when the soldiers of Crin were leashed upon him by a faithless concubine he had wooed. His scandalous activities throughout the Simarian city

Tom: Such as getting together with the McDougals and investing in a plot of land near--
Mike: The answer is no.

had unleashed throngs of havoc and uproar among it's refined patricians, leading them to tack a heavy reward over his head.

Crow: Then they fired up the camcorder and when the tack broke and the reward bonked ol' Grignr on the head they sent it straight to Bob Saget!

He had barely managed to escape through the back entrance of the inn he had been guzzling in, as a squad of soldiers tounced

Crow: Is that the cat who could drive a car?

upon him. After spilling a spout of blood from the leader of the mercenaries

Mike: You'll want to put some Neosporin on that or it'll get infected.

as he dismembered one of the officer's arms,

Tom: That's right -- he hacked the limbs right off the, uh, arm.

he retreated to his mount

Mike: Vesuvius!
Crow: That's getting really annoying.

to make his way towards Gorzom, rumoured to contain hoards of plunder, and many young wenches

Mike [falsetto]: "We're tired of these degrading patriachical slurs! From now on we demand to be called 'wynchys.'"

for any man who has the backbone to wrest them away.

Arriving after dusk in Gorzom,grignr descended down a dismal alley, reining his horse before a beaten tavern. The redhaired giant strode into the dimly lit hostelry reeking of foul odors,

Mike: I guess anyone would reek of foul odors after a few days on the road.

and cheap wine.

Crow: That's right -- even the poor can enjoy the wonders of wine! This message brought to you by the Booze Council.

The air was heavy with chocking fumes spewing from smolderingtorches encased within theden's earthen packed walls. Tables were clustered with groups of drunken thieves, and cutthroats, tossing dice, or making love to willing prostitutes.

Tom: Some missed the point and tossed the dice to the willing prostitutes.

Eyeing a slender female crouched alone at a nearby bench, Grignr

Tom: "Grignr"?
Mike: Look, we're already on the second chapter. Get over it.
Tom: I know, I know, it's just... I'd like at least buy a vowel or something.

advanced wishing to wholesomely occupy his time. The flickering torches cast weird shafts of luminescence dancing over the half naked

Crow: Which half?

harlot of his choice, her stringy orchid twines of hair swaying gracefully over the lithe opaque nose,

Mike: I suppose opaqueness =would= be a good quality in a nose.
Crow: It beats transparency, anyway.

as she raised a half drained mug to her pale red

Crow: You mean pink?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

lips. Glancing upward, the alluring complexion noted the stalwart giant as he rapidly approached. A faint glimmer sparked from the pair of deep blue ovals

Crow: You mean eyes?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

of the amorous female as she motioned toward Grignr,

Crow: Tom--
Tom: I'm over it, I'm over it.

enticing him to join her. The barbarian seated himself upon a stool at the wenches side, exposing

Mike: --a fraudulent chain of car dealerships. All this and Andy Rooney, tonight on "60 Minutes".

his body, naked save for a loin cloth brandishing a long steel broad sword,

Crow: That's one belligerent loincloth!

an iron spiraled battle helmet, and a thick leather sandals, to her unobstructed view.

Tom: So he remembered not to stand behind a brick wall this time.

"Thou hast need to occupy your time, barbarian",questioned the female?

Mike: Don't ask me, you're the writer!

"Only if something worth offering is within my reach." Stated Grignr,as his hands crept to embrace the tempting female, who welcomed them with open willingness. "From where do you come barbarian,

Crow: You mean you're a prostitute and you don't know from where guys--
Mike: Don't make me wash your mouth out with soap.

and by what are you called?"

Tom: Believe me, you don't want to know what he's called.

Gasped the complying wench, as Grignr smothered her lips with the blazing touch of his flaming mouth.

Crow: Gamera has one of those!

The engrossed titan

Mike [falsetto]: "So, you want to make out or something?" Tom [Grignr]: "Just let me finish this chapter. I'll tell you, I had my doubts, but I can't get enough about this new Gail Sheehy book! It's like she's talking about me!"

ignored the queries of the inquisitive female, pulling her towards him and crushing her sagging nipples

Crow: Eww!

to his yearning chest. Without struggle she gave in, winding her soft arms around the harshly bronzedhide of Grignr corded shoulder blades, as his calloused hands caressed her firm protruding busts.

Mike: One was of Shakespeare, the other of Beethoven.

"You make love well wench," Admitted Grignr

Tom: He may be a barbarian, but he's a silver-tongued devil.

as he reached for the vessel of potent wine

Crow [falsetto]: "At least the =wine='s potent." Tom [Grignr]: "Shut up! I swear this has never happened to me before!"

his charge had been quaffing. A flying foot

Mike: --of blinding steel?
Tom: Must belong to Prince Namor.

caught the mug Grignr had taken hold of, sending its blood red contents sloshing over a flickering crescent;

Crow: I believe it's spelled "croissant".

leashing tongues of bright orange flame to the foot trodden floor.

Mike: Thanks for clearing that up. I thought maybe everyone was going around walking on their hands.

"Remove yourself Sirrah, the wench belongs to me;" Blabbered a drunken soldier, too far consumed by the influences of his virile brew to

Crow: --write a coherent story. His name? Jim Theis.

take note of the superior size of his adversary. Grignr lithly bounded from the startled female, his face lit up to an ashen red ferocity, and eyes locked in a searing feral blaze toward the swaying soldier. "To hell with you, braggard!" Bellowed the angered Ecordian,

Tom: --accompanied by a rather ticked-off Ermonica.

as he hefted his finely honed broad sword. The staggering soldier clumsily reached towards the pommel of his dangling sword, but before his hands ever touched the oaken hilt a silvered flash was slicing the heavy air.

Crow: Suddenly we're in Mexico City!
Tom: Huh?
Crow: You know, "heavy air"... all that smog and everything...? Oh, forget it.
Tom: Forgot it five minutes ago, buddy.

The thews of the savages lashing right arm bulged from the glistening bronzed hide as his blade bit deeply into the soldiers neck, loping off the confused head of his senseless tormentor. With a nauseating thud the severed oval

Crow: You mean his head?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

toppled to the floor, as the segregated torso

Mike: This story must take place back when torsos were "separate but equal."

of Grignr's bovine antagonist swayed, then collapsed in a pool of swirled crimson. In the confusion the soldier's fellows confronted Grignr with unsheathed cutlasses, directed toward the latters scowling make-up.

Tom: Grignr does tend to overdo it with the mascara.

"The slut

Crow: A slut? Where?

should have picked his quarry more carefully!" Roared the victor in a mocking baritone growl,

Mike: Funny, I pictured him as more of a mezzo-soprano.

as he wiped his dripping blade on the prostrate form, and returned it to its scabbard. "The fool should have shown more prudence,

Tom: --at this juncture.

however you shall rue your actions while rotting in the pits." Stated one of the sprawled soldier's comrades. Grignr's hand began to remove his blade from its leather housing, but retarded

Mike: Don't say anything. Too easy.

the motion in face of the blades waving before his face. "Dismiss your hand from the hilt, barbarbian, or you shall find a foot of steel

Mike: Blinding steel! It's a flying foot of blinding steel!

sheathed in your gizzard." Grignr weighed his

Tom: --manuscript, _Being and Nothingness_; oddly enough, it weighed exactly one kilogram.

position observing his plight, where-upon he took the soldier's advice as the only logical choice.

Mike: When I think of logic, I think of three names: Descartes; Spock; Grignr.

To attempt to hack his way

Crow: --into the Pentagon and download the launch codes?

from his present predicament could only warrant certain death.

All: Do it! Do it!

He was of no mind

Crow: Aw, come on, Mike!
Mike: I said no. Way too easy.

to bring upon his own demise if an alternate path presented itself. The will to necessitate his life forced him to yield to the superior force in hopes of a moment of carlessness later upon the part of his captors in which he could effect a more plausible means of escape.

Mike: This translator isn't taking any liberties with the original Latin, is he?

"You may steady your arms,

Tom: This is a bar! No one here can steady their arms!
Crow: Neither can you, Tom.
Tom: At least I have an excuse.

I will go without a struggle." "Your decision is a wise one,

Mike: When I think of wisdom, I think of three names: Solomon; Confucius; Grignr.

yet perhaps you would have been better off had you forced death,"

Crow: I know =we= would be.

the soldier's mouth wrinkled

Tom: He ought to use a moisturizer.

to a sadistic grin of knowing mirth as he prodded his prisoner on with his sword point. After an indiscriminate

Crow: Indiscriminate? Even the torsos are segregated around here!

period of marching through slinking alleyways and dim moonlighted streets the procession confronted a massive seraglio.

Mike: Never say "seraglio" again.

The palace area was surrounded by an iron grating, with a lush garden upon all sides. The group was admitted through the gilded gateway and Grignr was ledalong a stone pathway bordered by plush vegitation lustfully enhanced by the moon's shimmering rays.

Tom: When I get me a glimpse of that crabgrass, I get me a stirrin' in my loins somethin' awful.

Upon reaching the palace the group was granted entrance, and after several minutes of explanation,

Crow: It normally would've taken a couple seconds, but Jim Theis was doing the explaining.

led through several winding corridors to a richly draped chamber. Confronting the group was a short stocky man seated upona golden throne. Tapestries of richly draped regal blue silk covered all walls of the chamber, while the steps leading to the throne were plated with sparkling white ivory.

Tom: And I'll bet he was wearing a baby-seal-fur coat, too. Sheesh.

The man upon the throne had a naked wench seated at each of his arms,

Crow: That must be one fat wench!
Mike: She's just big-boned.

and a trusted advisor seated in back of him.

Tom: Who proceeded to bury a dagger between his shoulders.

At each cornwr of the chamber a guard stood at attention, with upraised pikes supported in their hands, golden chainmail adorning their torso's

Crow: Adorning their torso's what?

and barred helmets emitting scarlet plumes enshrouding their heads.

Tom: Sorry, that's me. I had the burrito combination plate for dinner.

The man rose from his throne to the dias

Mike: Cameron Dias?

surrounding it. His plush turquois robe dangled loosely from his chuncky frame. The soldiers surrounding Grignr fell to their knees with heads bowed to the stone masonry of the floor in fearful dignity

Mike: Nothing's quite as dignified as abject groveling.

to their sovereign, leige. "Explain the purpose of this intrusion upon my chateau!"

Tom: So this Gorzom is in the Loire Valley?

"Your sirenity, resplendent in noble grandeur, we have brought this yokel before you (the soldier gestured toward Grignr) for the redress or your all knowing wisdon in judgement regarding his fate."

Mike: I don't think I could've made it through that long tiring quote without that refreshing parenthetical aside.

"Down on your knees, lout, and pay proper homage to your sovereign!" commanded the pudgy noble of Grignr. "By the surly beard of Mrifk,

Tom: I'd =really= like to buy a vowel at this point.
Crow: Try buying about five.

Grignr kneels to no man!" scowled the massive barbarian. "You dare to deal this blasphemous act to me!

Mike: What're you talking about? I dealt you a red king and a pair of sevens!

You are indeed brave stranger, yet your valor smacks of foolishness." "I find you to be the only fool,

Tom: Well, you and anyone who actually paid money to see the Jerky Boys movie.

sitting upon your pompous throne, enhancing the rolling flabs of your belly in the midst of your elaborate luxuryand ..."

Crow: Yeah! Yeah! Down with the aristocracy! Power to the proletariat!

The soldier standing at Grignr's side smote him heavily in the face with the flat of his sword, cutting short the harsh words

Tom: That's how you make the words stop? Quick, someone find Jim Theis!

and knocking his battered helmet to the masonry with an echo-ing clang.

Tom: Umm... is there a "W", Pat?
Mike: No, no, no. It's a religious thing. Like Y-HW-H or G-D.

The paunchy noble's sagging round face flushed suddenly pale,

Crow: It flushed pale? Did it blanch red after that?

then pastily lit up to a lustrous cherry red radiance.

Crow: Hold me.

His lips trembled with malicious rage,

Tom: As opposed to good-natured rage.

while emitting a muffled sibilant gibberish.

Mike: "Mom, you just don't understand my generation's music!"
Tom: If anyone's an authority on gibberish, it's Jim Theis.

His sagging flabs rolled like a tub of upset jelly,

Crow: Delicious strawberry upset jelly!

then compressed as he sucked in his gut in an attempt to conceal his softness.

Mike: He got sick of people poking him in the stomach and asking when the rolls would be done.

The prince regained his statue,

Tom: Someone had ripped it off and sold it to the local museum.

then spoke to the soldiers surrounding Grignr, his face conforming to an ugly expression of sadistic humor. "Take this uncouth heathen to the vault of misery, and be sure that his agonies are long and drawn out

Crow: Make him read THE EYE OF ARGON!

before death can release him." "As you wish sire, your command shall be heeded immediately," answered the soldier on the right of Grignr

Tom: Unlike the soldier, Grignr is pro-choice.

as he stared into the barbarians seemingly unaffected face. The advisor seated in the back of the noble

Crow: In the back of the noble what?

slowly rose and advanced to the side of his master, motioning the wenches seated at his sides to remove themselves. He lowered his head and whispered to the noble.

Mike: "Psst! I didn't want to mention it in front of the prisoner, but your fly, sir--"

"Eminence, the punishment you have decreed will cause much misery to this scum, yet it will last only a short time, then release him to a land beyond the sufferings of the human body.

Crow: Where Ecordian and Simarian alike romp in the blissful light of harmony and friendship and everything is made of sweet, sweet chocolate.

Why not mellow him

Mike: Quite rightly!

in one of the subterranean vaults for a few days, then send him to life labor

Tom: It's not so bad as long as you get the epidural block.

in one of your buried mines. To one such as he, a life spent in the confinement of the stygian pits will be an infinitely more appropiate and lasting torture."

Mike: Or even worse, make him spend it on the "It's a Small World" ride.
Tom: You monster!

The noble cupped his drooping double chin in the folds of his briming palm, meditating for a moment

All: OM...

upon the rationality of the councilor's word's,

Tom: Well, looky here! You =can= express it as a simple fraction!

then raised his shaggy

Mike: "Zoiks, Scoob, let's get outta here!"

brown eyebrows and turned toward the advisor, eyes aglow.

Crow [falsetto]: "Oh, advisor, you're so cute!"

"...As always Agafnd,

Tom: I'm getting kinda low on cash. Just this once can you =give= me a vowel?

you speak with great wisdom. Your words ring of great knowledge concerning

Crow: "--swallows."

the nature of one such as he ," sayeth , the king.

Mike: Whoa! Where'd the phony Elizabethan English come from?

The noble turned toward the prisoner with a noticable shimmer reflecting in his frog-like eyes, and his lips contorting to a greasy grin.

Tom: "*burp* 'Nother Big Mac, please."

"I have decided to void my

Crow: "--bladder."

previous decree. The prisoner shall be removed to one of the palaces

Mike: Wow, what a change of heart!

underground vaults. There he shall stay until I have decided that he has sufficiently simmered, whereupon he is to be

Tom: "--served with croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese."

allowed to spend the remainder of his days at labor in one of my mines."

Crow: That mine is mine!

Upon hearing this, Grignr realized that his fate would be far less merciful than death to one such as he, who is used to roaming the countryside at will. A life of confinement would be more than his body and mind could stand up to. This type of life would be immeasurably worse than death.

Tom: It would, however, be better than anything on the Warner Bros. network.
Mike: Not to mention far better than any Steve Miller Band record you'd care to name.

"I shall never understand the ways if your twisted civilization. I simply defend my honor and am condemned to life confinement, by a pig who sits on his royal ass

Mike: Grignr! Watch the language.

wooing whores, and knows nothing of the affairs of the land

Crow: Sure he does! Like, his chief advisor was caught fooling around with his wife's sister, and--

he imagines to rule!" Lectures Grignr ?

Mike: Don't ask me, you're the writer!

"Enough of this!

All: You said it!

Away with the slut

Crow: A slut? Where?

before I loose my control!" Seeing the peril of his position, Grignr searched for an opening. Crushing prudence to the sward,

Mike: I guess now she can't come out to play.

he plowed into the soldier at his left arm taking hold of his sword, and bounding to the dias

Tom: Was it a buenos dias?

supporting the prince

Mike: That's "the artist formerly known as the prince" to you, buddy.

before the startled guards could regain their composure. Agafnd leaped Grignr and his sire, but found a sword blade permeating the length of his ribs

Tom: "Why, what's this doing here? And here I spent all last week looking for it in the garage!"

before he could loosed his weapon. The councilor slumped to his knees as Grignr slid his crimsoned blade from Agfnd's rib cage.

Crow: He's losing vowels with each passing second!

The fat prince

Mike: I believe it's the =fresh= prince.

stood undulating in insurmountable fear before the edge of the fiery maned comet,

Tom: Suddenly it's science fiction!

his flabs of jellied blubber

Tom: Y'know, some jellied blubber and a kipper snack would sure hit the spot right about now.

pulsating to and fro in ripples of flowing terror. "Where is your wisdom and power now, your magjesty?" Growled Grignr. The prince went rigid as Grignr discerned him glazing

Mike: --a vase he'd been making for his ceramics class.

over his shoulder. He swlived to note the cause of the noble's attention,

Tom: --pausing first to take out his memo pad.

raised his sword over his head, and prepared to leash a vicious downward cleft, but fell short as the haft of a steel rimed pike clashed against his unguarded skull.

Crow: The pike was plaid, his skull was polka-dotted.

Then blackness and solitude. Silence enshrouding and ever peaceful reind supreme. "Before me, sirrah! Before me as always! Ha, Ha Ha, Haaaa...", nobly cackled.

Tom: Who?
Mike: Does it matter?
Tom: Nah, I guess not. Come on, let's go.


Mike: [looks at camera] Oh, hi. We were just trying to figure out why of all the possible names Jim Theis could have picked for his protagonist, he chose "Grignr".

Tom: Maybe it's an anagram. "Grring"? "Ingrgr"? "Ggrrin?"

Crow: If you rearrange it just right you get an ethnic slur!

Mike: I don't think that's the answer, guys. I think he probably just threw a bunch of Scrabble pieces up in the air.

Tom: But somehow I just can't shake the image of Jim Theis, pounding his head against the desk in frustration--

Crow: I'd like to pound his head against the desk!

Tom: --trying to come up with the string of letters that would capture his greatest literary creation, and then, suddenly, in a flash of light, jumping up and crying, "Yes! I have Named him! Now and forever, the hero of my tale shall be called... GRIGNR!"

Crow: Nah. I think it's political.

Mike: Political?

Crow: Yeah, you know. Like Newt Grignr.

[Lights flash]

All: We've got STORY SIGN!


Consciousness returned to Grignr in stygmatic pools

Mike: He was bleeding from his palms and side.

as his mind gradually cleared of the cobwebs cluttering its inner recesses,

Crow: So =that= explains his behavior up till now.

yet the stygian cloud of charcoal ebony remained. An incompatible shield of blackness,

Tom: "No, no, no. This shield of blackness is for the Mac! We've got a PC!"

enhanced by the bleak abscense of sound. Grignr's muddled brain reeled from the shock of the blow he had recieved to the base of his skull. The events leading to his predicament were slow to filter back to him.

Crow: He tried to read the previous two chapters but that just made him more confused.

He dickered

Mike: I said watch the language!

with the notion that he was dead and had descended or sunk, however it may be,

Mike: You tell me, you're the writer! Now did he descend, or did he sink?

to the shadowed land beyond the the aperature

Tom: "At the f-stop you're usin' you'll be wantin' to keep that aperature open fer about an eighth of a second."

of the grave, but rejected this hypothesis

Mike: Grignr is a firm believer in the scientific method.

when his memory sifted back within his grips. This was not the land of the dead,

Crow: Thank God! Now there's still a hope that once Jim does kill him off the story'll finally be over.

it was something infinitely more precarious than anything the grave could offer. Death promised an infinity of peace,

Mike: Look, all we're saying is give death a chance.

not the finite misery of an inactive life of confined torture, forever concealed from the life bearing shafts of the beloved rising sun.

Tom: Grignr's Japanese? I thought he was Ecordian!

The orb that had been before taken for granted, yet now cherished above all else. To be forever refused further glimpses of the snow capped summits of the land of his birth, never again to witness the thrill of plundering unexplored lands beyond the crest of a bleeding horizon,

Mike: I--I feel his pain. [wipes away a tear]
Crow: I feel pain all right, but it's not his.

and perhaps worst of all the denial to ever again encompass the lustful excitement of caressing the naked curves of the body of a trim yound wench.

Tom: This is the part of the story Bob Packwood can really relate to.

This was indeed one of the buried chasms of Hell concealed within the inner depths of the palace's despised interior.

Mike: They keep Limbo in a closet up on the second floor.

A fearful ebony chamber devised to drive to the brinks of insanity the minds of the unfortunately condemned, through the inapt solitude of a limbo of listless dreary silence.

Crow: If you're trying to drive them insane, why not just make them read THE EYE OF ARGON? It'd be a lot quicker.

-3 1/2-

Tom: 3 1/2? What is this, hide and seek?
Mike: This edition seems to have omitted Chapter Pi.

A tightly rung elliptical circle

Crow: You mean an ellipse?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

or torches

Tom: Make up your mind! Is it an elliptical circle or is it torches?

cast their wavering shafts prancing morbidly

Mike: I'll never understand interpretive dance.

over the smooth surface of a rectangular, ridged alter. Expertly chisled forms of grotesque gargoyles graced the oblique rim protruberating

Tom: This must be before the reduction surgery.

the length of the grim orifice of death,

Mike: Never say "orifice" again.

staring forever ahead into nothingness in complete ignorance of the bloody rites enacted in their prescence. Brown flaking stains

Mike: --were collected by Dennis Fung and Andrea Mazzola.

decorated the golden surface of the ridge surrounding the alter, which banked to a small slit at the lower right hand corner of the altar.

Crow: The Temple of Jerusalem was described in less detail!

The slit stood above a crudely pounded pail which had several silver meshed chalices hanging at its sides. Dangling at the rimof golden mallet, the handle of which was engraved with images of twisted faces and groved at its far end with slots designed for a

Mike: --man, but made for a woman.

snug hand grip. The head of the mallet was slightly larger than

Tom: --the sun. Man, was it big.

a clenched fist and shaped into a smooth oval mass. Encircling the marble altar was a congregation of

Tom: --kids from Brooklyn, circa 1951.
Mike: I'll trade ya two catseyes for yer shooter!

leering shamen. Eerie chants of a bygone age, originating unknown eons before the memory of man,

Crow: Sorta like Strom Thurmond.

were being uttered from the buried recesses of the acolytes' deep lings.

Mike: I'd rather not hear about their lings, thank you very much.

Orange paint was smeared in generous globules over the tops of thw Priests' wrinkled shaven scalps,

Tom: They must be going for the Michael Stipe look.

while golden rings projected from the lobes of their pink ears. Ornate robes of lusciour purple satin enclosed their bulging torsos, attached around their waists with silvered silk lashes

Crow: Their torsos are attached to their waists with =silk=?

latched with ebony buckles in the shape of morose mis-shaped skulls. Dangling around their necks were

Tom: --albatrosses.

oval fashoned medalions held by thin gold chains, featuring in their centers blood red rubys which resembled crimson fetish eyeballs.

Mike: They'd run out of Visine and kept forgetting to put it on the list when they went to the drugstore.

Cushoning their bare feet were plush red felt slippers with pointed golden spikes projecting from their tips.

Crow: They look like pumps, but feel like sneakers.

Situated in front of the altar, and directly adjacent to the copper pail was a massive jade idol; a misshaped, hideous bust

Mike: My Aunt Ethel had one of those.

of the shamens' pagan diety. The shimmering green idol was placed in a sitting posture on an ornately carved golden throne raised upon a round, dvory plated dias;

Crow: I think we've run out of dias jokes.

it bulging arms and webbed hands resting on the padded arms of the seat. Its head was entwined in golden snake-like coils hanging over its oblong ears, which tappered off to thin hollow points. Its nose was a bulging triangular mass,

Tom: --and it made a little money on the side endorsing American Express travelers' checks.

sunken in at its sides with tow gaping nostrils. Dramatic beneath the nostrils was a twisted, shaggy lipped mouth, giving the impression of a slovering sadistic grimace.

Mike: It also does a great Nicholson.
Tom: "You can't handle the truth!"

At the foot of the heathen diety a slender, pale faced female, naked but for a golden, jeweled harness enshrouding her huge outcropping breasts,

Crow: She's really protruberating!
Tom [muttering]: I thought he just said she was slender...

supporting long silver laces which extended to her thigh, stood before the pearl white field with noticable shivers traveling up and down the length of her exquisitely molded body.

Mike: She was covered with furry green patches.

Her delicate lips trembled beneath soft narrow hands as she attemped to conceal herself from

Tom: --Clarence Thomas.

the piercing stare of the ambivalent idol. Glaring directly down towards her was the stoney, cycloptic face of the bloated diety.

Crow: It really starts retaining water around this time of month.

Gaping from its single obling socket was scintillating, many fauceted

Mike: Sorta like the sink in the boys' room of my old elementary school.

scarlet emerald,

Tom [singing]: Goooood-bye, scarlet emerald Tuesday!
Crow: He means a ruby, right?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

a brilliant gem

Crow [singing]: o/~ --is truly outrageous! Truly truly truly outrageous! o/~
Mike: The music's contagious.

seeming to possess a life all of its own.

Mike: However, in reality Disney owns a controlling share.

A priceless gleaming stone, capable of domineering the wealth of conquering empires...the eye of Argon.

Bots [singing]: o/~ It's the eye of the Argon, it's the thrill of the fight... o/~
Mike: Way to go, guys. Now we have to pay a royalty.

All knowledge of measuring time had escaped Grignr.

Crow: And apparently Jim Theis as well, or else he would've known to start wrapping it up.

When a person is deprived of the sun, moon, and stars, he looses all conception of time as he had previously understood it.

Tom: Looks like Jim hired the narrator from GLEN OR GLENDA for this chapter.

It seemed as if years had passed

Crow: --since the beginning of the story.

if time were being measured by terms of misery and mental anguish,

Tom: My watch must've stopped. It says it's only ten till inner torment but the clock says it's already half past major depressive episode.

yet he estimated that his stay had only been a few days in length.

Crow: How about in width and height?

He has slept three times and had been fed five times since his awakening in the crypt.

Tom: Or maybe he's been fed three times and slept five times. I always get those mixed up.

However, when the actions of the body are restricted its needs are also affected.

Mike: Here to explain is Channel Seven's own medical correspondent, Dr. Dean Edell.

The need for nourishmnet and slumber are directly proportional to the functions the body has performed,

Crow [Ross Perot]: "This chart here'll explain the whole thang!"

meaning that when free and active Grignr

Mike: If you want your Grignr to be free and active and have a shiny coat, feed him Purina Grignr Chow.

may become hungry every six hours and witness the desire for sleep

Crow: "What did you see when you turned the corner?"
Mike: "I saw the desire for sleep, being stabbed by its ex-husband."
Tom: "Objection, your honor! Counsel is leading the witness."

every fifteen hours, whereas in his present condition he may encounter the need for food every ten hours, and the want for rest every twenty hours.

Tom: On the other hand, he may encounter the need for food every 14.5 hours, and the want for rest every 17.2 hours. We don't really know. We're just kind of making these numbers up as we go along.

All methods he had before depended upon were extinct

Crow: Along with countless species of birds and insects every passing day. Please send your check or money order to the Wildlife Preservation Fund, PO Box--

in the dismal pit. Hence, he may have been imprisoned for ten minutes or ten years, he did not know,

Tom: But he was pretty sure it was one of those two.

resulting in a disheartened emotion deep within his being.

Mike: A little Prozac'll fix that right up.
Crow: I dunno, Mike. I think he has more issues than just these.

The food, if you can honor the moldering lumps of fetid mush to that extent,

Crow: Why not? We're calling this moldering lump of fetid mush a story.

was born to him by two guards who

Tom: --loved each other very very much, and then one day--

opened a portal at the top of his enclosure and shoved it to him in wooden bowls, retrieving the food and water bowels

All: Eww!

from his previous meal at the same time, after which they threw back the bolts on the iron latch and returned to

Mike: --the Blue Lagoon.
Crow: --Two Moon Junction.
Tom: Let's not wear out our Leonard Maltin guide here.

their other duties. Since deprived of

Mike: --love.

all other means of nourishment, Grignr was impelled to eat the tainted slop

Tom: What do you mean? It says "Fit for Institutional Use" right here on the box!

in order to ward off the paings of starvation,

Crow: Them paings of starvation kin be naisty, cain't they?

though as he stuffed it into his mouth with his filthy fingers

Mike [falsetto]: "Grignr, how many times have I told you to wash your hands before coming to the table!"

and struggled to force it down his throat, he imagined it was

Crow: --delicious capellini primavera!

that which had been spurned by the hounds

Mike: "You mean you won't *sniff* go to the prom with me?"

stationed at various segments of the palace. There was little in the baren vault that could occupy his body or mind.

Tom: And we're talking about someone who can get hours upon hours of amusement out of one of those magic eye puzzles.

He had paced out the length and width of the enclosure time and time again

Crow: "Damn! That wall's still there."

and tested every granite slab which consisted the walls of the prison in hopes of finding a hidden passage to freedom, all of which was to no avail other than to keep him busy

Mike: "Your teacher's sick today, but she left these worksheets for you..."

and distract his mind from wandering to thoughts of what he believed was his future.

Crow: But was actually someone else's.
Tom: Tycho's, maybe?
Mike: No, Tycho's futures are all green.

He had memorized the number of strides from one end to the other of the cell,

Tom: Two.

and knew the exact number of slabs which made up the bleak dungeon.

Tom: Four.

Numorous schemes

Tom: Three.

were introduced and alternately discarded in turn

Mike: "Gin!"

as they succored to unravel to him no means of escape which stood the slightest chance of sucess.

Crow: Tragically, he had overlooked the door.

Anguish continued to mount

Mike: Sinai!
Tom: Shut up.


Crow: --he realized he was still only on Chapter Four.

his means of occupation were rapidly exhausted.

Mike: They're automating down at the plant.

Suddenly without no tive,

Tom: "Blood, you ain't got no tive!"

he wasrouted from his contemplations as he detected a faint scratching sound at the end of the crypt opposite him.

Crow: "*sniff* Smells like lemons!"

The sound seemed to be caused by something trying to scrape away at the grantite blocks the floor of the enclosure consisted of, the sandy scratching of something like an animal's claws. Grignr gradually groped

Tom: --a 17-year-old Senate page.

his way to the other end of the vault carefully feeling his way along with his hands ahead of him. When a few inches from the wall, a loud, penetrating squeal,

Mike: Mariah Carey must be in there with him!

and the scampering of small padded feet

Tom: Hey, Mike, when you were little did you ever have those jammies with the padded feet?
Mike: Yeah. You'd wake up in the middle of the night up to your knees in sweat.

reverberated from the walls of the roughly hewn chamber. Grignr threw his hands up to shield his face,

Crow: He's a mobster?

and flung himself backwards upon his buttocks.

Crow: Whee! It's fun!

A fuzzy form bounded to his hairy chest, burying its talons in his flesh while gnashing toward his throat with its grinding white teeth;its sour, fetid breath scortching the sqirming barbarians dilating nostrils.

Mike: I'm guessing this is either some sort of rodent, or Barry Scheck.

Grignr grappled with the lashing flexor muscles of the repugnant body of a garganuan brownhided rat, striving to hold its razor teeth from his juicy jugular,

Tom: Actually, according to the label on the back it's only 10% real juice.

as its beady grey organs of sight

Crow: You mean its eyes?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

glazed into the flaring emeralds

Tom: Which could be any color, really.

of its prey. Taking hold of the rodent around its lean, growling stomach with both hands

Crow: Both hands? Is this thing a rat or a dachshund?

Grignr pried it from his crimson rent breast, removing small patches of flayed flesh from his chest in the motion between the squalid black claws of the starving beast.

Mike: It's a motion for a 14-day continuance.
Tom: Let's not continue this any more than we have to.

Holding the rodent at arms length, he cupped his righthand over its frothing face, contrcting his fingers into a vice-like fist over the quivering head. Retaining his grips on the rat, grignr flexed his outstretched arms while slowly twisting his right hand clockwise and his left hand counter clockwise motion.

Crow: I'm confused. Does that mean this is taking place in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere?

The rodent let out a tortured squall,

Tom: Grignr hadn't heard such a tortured squall since the Alanis Morissette concert.

drawing scarlet as it violently dug its foam flecked fangs into the barbarians sweating palm, causing his face to contort to an ugly grimace

Mike: Oh, he always looks like that.

as he cursed beneath his braeth.

Crow: Just like we've been doing throughout this entire story.

With a loud crack the rodents head

Mike: --cleared the left-field wall and landed in the upper deck!

parted from its squirming torso, sending out a sprinking shower

Tom: Just a sprinkle a day helps keep Grignr away!

of crimson gore,

Mike: --Albert's cousin from Massachusetts.

and trailing a slimy string of disjointed

Crow: --prose?

vertebrae, snapped trachea, esophagus, and jugular, disjointed hyoid bone, morose purpled stretched hide, and blood seared muscles.

Tom: I see Jim took Anatomy 105 last semester.

Flinging the broken body to the floor, Grignr shook his blood streaked hands and wiped them against his thigh until dry,

Mike: But then his thigh was wet, so he wiped it on his hands and was right back where he started.

then wiped the blood that had showered his face and from his eyes. Again sitting himself upon the jagged floor, he prepared to once more revamp his

Crow: --kitchen. We'll put in some nice enamel cabinets, and tear out all this linoleum, and--

glum meditations. He told himself that as long as he still breathed the gust of life through his lungs, hope was not lost;

Mike: But if he breathed it through his spleen he was pretty much done for.

he told himself this, but found it hard to comprehend

Crow: Much like this story.

in his gloomy surroundings. Yet he was still alive,

Tom: Just like Eddie Vedder!

his bulging sinews at their peak of marvel, his struggling mind

Mike: We'll just let this one go, okay, guys?

floating in a miral of

Crow: --delicious bouillon.

impressed excellence of thought.

Tom: Somehow, I find this =really= hard to believe.

Plot after plot sifted through his mind

Crow: Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Jim Theis.
Tom: Maybe Grignr should have written the story.

in energetic contemplations. Then it hit him.

Mike: "Ow!"

Minutes may have passed in silent thought or days,

Tom: Or maybe weeks, or months, or years...

he could not tell,

Mike: Aw, come on, you can tell =me=.

but he stumbled at last upon a plan that he considered as holding a slight margin of plausibility.

Crow: Unlike this story.

He might die in the attempt, but he knew he would not submit without a final bloody struggle.

Tom: Oh, good. Another bloody struggle. I've been waiting for another bloody struggle.

It was not a foolproof plan,

Mike: --the part about getting a helicopter being particularly problematic.

yet it built up a store

Tom: Oh, that reminds me! Have you seen the new Wal-Mart they're building down by the post office?

of renewed vortexed energy in his overwroughtsoul,

Crow: "Overwroughtsoul"... that sounds familiar. I want to say Orson Scott Card for some reason.

though he might perish in the execution

Mike: Someone usually does perish in an execution.

of the escape, he would still be escaping the life of infinite torture in store forhim. Either way he would still cheat the gloating prince of the succored revenge his sadistic mind craved so dearly.

Tom: But it wouldn't cheat him of the pickles and ice cream he craved even more dearly.

The guards would soon come to bear him off to the prince's buried mines of dread,

Crow: Why would they want to dig for dread?

giving him the sought after opportunity to execute his newly formulated plan.

Mike: Maybe he should consider a new career as an executive.


Tom: --a 17-year-old Senate page.

his way along the rough floor Grignr finally found his tool

Crow: Eww!

in a pool of congealed gore;

Mike: --Albert's cousin from South Carolina.

the carcass of the decapitated rodent; the tool that the very filth he had been sentenced too, spawned.

Tom: Jim, do you really think you're ready for the semicolon? Maybe when you're older.

When the time came for action he would have to be prepared, so he set himself to rending the sticky hulk

Mike: Can he do that without Peter David's permission?

in grim silence, searching by the touch of his fingertips for the lever to freedom.

Crow: You mean all this time he could've just pulled a lever? Noooo!
Tom: Let's take a hint from Grignr and get out of here, guys.


Crow: I think I've finally figured out how this Jim Theis guy thinks.

Tom: Jim Theis =thinks=?

Crow: Sure. You just have to get yourself into a certain frame of mind. Here, you say something, and I'll say it like Jim would say it.

Tom: Umm... "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation."

Crow: Easy. "Four, or maybe five, it cannot be told, scorr and also sevn revolutions around the red orb of heat, those warrors who bought us life to us and belong to us and also upon this sward, a land less ancient than the moulderng corpse starng blindly at Grignr."

Mike: Wow! That was really something! Try this: "I have a dream that one day my four little children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Crow: No problem. "As Grignr sleeping, morbid notions prnacing morbidly into his oval. `The reddish orb of heat beng in the crimson sky.' Stated the terrible fetid nightmar. And his ofspring of four -- or maybe forty, however it may be -- will hav the dark morbid hand of blood juridicating over all of Ecordia. `Not red! Not reddish! not crimson! Not rose red! Not blood red!' Sayeth Dsipk the judge. But by the fetid entrails will the small rodents be accontd."

[Gypsy enters.]
Gypsy: Hey, guys, whatcha doin'?
Tom: Gypsy, say something!
Gypsy: What should I say?
Mike: Anything! Whatever pops into your head.
Gypsy: Richard Basehart!
Crow: "Possesed of many baubles, the Sward unyielding to grignr, less noble than a fetid dog! Organ of blood pumping."
Mike: That was just beautiful.
Tom: Now never, ever do it again.

[Lights flash]

All: We've got STORY SIGN!


Crow: Beady organs of--
Tom: The moment's over, Crow.

"Up to the altar and be done with it wench;" ordered a fidgeting shaman

Mike: He's got a mild case of Tourette's.

as he gave the female a grim stare accompanied by the wrinkling of his lips to a mirthful grin of delight.

Tom: He's the laughing-on-the-outside, crying-on-the-inside kind of shaman.

The girl burst

Crow: Eww!

into a slow steady whimper, stooping shakily to her knees and cringing woefully from the priest with both arms wound snake-like around the bulging jade jade shin

Mike: It's a Jade, Jade, Jade, Jade, Jade, Jade Shin!

rising before her scantily attired

Crow: How come you never find a damsel in distress wearing a parka?

figure. Her face was redly inflamed

Tom: It looked just like a big emerald.

from the salty flow of tears spouting from her glassy dilated eyeballs.

Mike: "Hmm. Miss, I'm going to have to ask you to step out of the car."

With short, heavy footfals the priest approached the female, his piercing stare never wavering from her quivering young countenance. Halting before the terrified girl he projected his

Crow: --own neuroses onto her. It's textbook.

arm outward and motioned her to arise with an upward movement of his hand. the girl's whimpering increased slightly

Tom: After his discourse on Grignr's eating habits, I'm sure Jim's got a metronome tracking the girl's whimpering.

and she sunk closer to the floor rather than arising.

Crow: Aww, couldn't she do both?

The flickering torches outlined her trim build with a weird ornate glow as it cast a ghostly shadow dancing in horrid waves of splendor over smoothly worn whiteness of the marble hewn altar. The shaman's lips curled back farther, exposing

Tom: --his entire jaw and most of his sinuses.

a set of blackened, decaying molars

Mike: Maybe he should consider switching to a toothpaste with baking soda.

which transformed his slovenly grin into a wide greasy arc of sadistic mirth

Crow: This guy is the happiest sadist I've ever met.
Tom: Mike, is it okay if I hit him?
Mike: Only if you promise not to stop.

and alternately interposed into the female a strong sensation of stomach curdling nausea. "Have it as you will female;" gloated the enhanced priest as he bent over at the waist,

Mike: He considered bending halfway up his torso, but thought the better of it.

projecting his ape-like arms forward, and clasped the female's slender arms with his hairy round fists. With an inward surge of of his biceps he

Crow: --tried to improve his bustline, but it was no use.

harshly jerked the trembling girl to her feet and smothered her salty wet cheeks with the moldy touch of his decrepid, dull red lips.

Tom: They were like a pair of emeralds.

The vile stench of the Shaman's hot fetid breath over came the nauseated female with a deep soul searing sickness, causing her to wrench her head backwards and regurgitate a slimy, orange- white stream

Crow: She must've been eating an orange creamsicle before she was kidnapped.

of swelling gore

Mike: --Albert's cousin from Wyoming.

over the richly woven purple robe of the enthused acolyte.

Tom: He's enthused? He must've just disemboweled somebody.

The priest's lips trembled with a malicious rage as he removed his callous paws from the girl's arms and replaced them with

Crow: --brand-new top-of-the-line callous paws with a graphite core for extra power and stability.

tightly around her undulating neck, shaking her violently to and fro.

Mike: "Gimme your lunch money! C'mon! Gimme it!"

The girl gasped a tortured groan from her clamped lungs, her sea blue eyes bulging forth from damp sockets. Cocking her right foot backwards, she leashed it desperately outwards with the strength of a demon possessed,

Tom: A demon possessed by... another demon, I guess.

lodging her sandled foot squarely between the shaman's testicles.

Crow: Too bad she didn't hit either of them, he might've let go.

The startled priest released his crushing grip, crimping his

Mike: --hair.
Tom: Isn't that always the way? The girls with curly hair are always trying to straighten it, and the ones with straight hair...

body over at the waist overlooking his recessed belly;

Crow: "Overlooking the scenic recessed belly, Priest's Waist Time-Share is an unbeatable investment opportunity!"

wide open in a deep chasim.

Mike: You mean like Casey Chasim?
Crow: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the priest's crotch."

His face flushed to a rose red shade of crimson,

Tom: As always, Jim makes sure to delineate the various shades of crimson, vital to the plot as they are.

eyelids fluttering wide with eyeballs protruding blindly outwards from their sockets to their outmost perimeters, while his lips quivered wildly about allowing an agonized wallow to gust forth as his breath billowed from burning lungs.

Mike: Jim is now on his fourth page of describing the shaman's reaction to being kicked in the crotch.

His hands reached out clutching his urinary gland

Crow: I'm no anatomy expert, but isn't that up near his kidneys?

as his knees wobbled rapidly about for a few seconds then buckled, causing the ruptured shaman

Mike: Please don't rupture the shaman.
Tom: Thank you, Mr. Whipple.

to collapse in an egg huddled mass

Crow: You want your eggs scrambled, poached, over easy or sunny-side up?
Tom: Oh, I'll just take 'em in a huddled mass.

to the granite pavement, rolling helplessly about in his agony. The pathetic screeches of the shaman

Mike: --reminded the girl of the Alanis Morissette concert.

groveling in dejected misery upon the hand hewn granite laid pavement, worn smooth by countless hours of arduous sweat and toil, a welter of ichor oozing through his clenched hands,

Crow: This is now officially the longest kicked-in-the-crotch scene ever written.

attracted the purturbed attention of his comrades from their foetid

Tom: Now I get it! All the vowels from the characters' names are hiding in the adjectives.

ulations. The actions of this this rebellious wench bespoke the creedence

Mike: --Clearwater Revival.

of an unheard of sacrilige. Never before in a lost maze of untold eons

Crow: Which I'm sure Jim will now tell us about.

had a chosen one dared to demonstrate such blasphemy in the face of the cult's idolic diety. The girl cowered in unreasoning terror, helpless in the face of the emblazoned acolytes' rage; her orchid tusseled face smothered betwixt her bulging bosom

Crow: Wow! If I could do that I'd never leave the house!
Tom: Mike, I hate to bring this up again, but I'm confused. First he says she's "slender" with a "trim build", then she's got outcropping, bulging breasts. Which is it?
Mike: Picture a baseball bat with two canteloupes taped to it.

as she shut her curled lashed tightly hoping to open them and find herself awakening from a morbid nightmare.

Crow: I've been doing that for a while now but when I open them the story's still here.

yet the hand of destiny decreed her no such mercy,

Tom: You know, believe it or not, I'm actually beginning to miss Grignr.

the antagonized pack of leering shaman converging tensely upon her prostrate form were entangled all too lividly in the grim web of reality.

Mike: Jim's one of those glass-is-half-empty guys.

Shuddering from the clamy touch of the shaman as they grappled with her supple form, hands wrenching at her slender arms and legs in all directions,

Tom: See the accompanying vector diagram.

her bare body being molested in the midst of a labyrnth of orange smudges,

Crow: A little club soda'll get those out.

purpled satin, and mangled skulls, shadowed in an eerie crimson glow; her confused head reeled then clouded in a mist of enshrouding ebony as she lapsed beneath the protective sheet of unconsiousness to a land peach

Mike: It's just peachy!

and resign.

Crow: I'd like to resign from this story.

"Take hold of this rope," said the first soldier, "and climb out from your pit, slut.

Crow: A slut? Where?

Your presence is requested in another far deeper hell hole."

Mike: At least there you know where you stand.
Tom: I hear folks lend a hand there, too.

Grignr slipped his right hand to his thigh, concealing a small opaque object beneath the folds of the g-string

Crow: The folds of his g-string?
Tom: I don't even want to think about that.

wrapped about his waist. Brine wells

Tom: Any relation to Dawn Wells?

swelled in Grignr's cold, jade squinting eyes, which grown accustomed to the gloom of the stygian pools of ebony engulfing him, were bedazzled and blinded

Mike: --and bewitched and bothered and bewildered.

by flickerering radiance cast forth by the second soldiers's resin torch. Tightly gripped in the second soldier's right hand, opposite the intermittent torch, was a large double edged axe, a long leather wound

Crow: A leather wound, huh? Must be an S&M thing.
Mike: Bad robot.

oaken handled transfixing the center of the weapon's iron head. Adorning the torso's of both of the sentries were thin yet sturdy hauberks, the breatplates of which were woven of tightly hemmed twines of reinforced silver braiding.

Tom: The attention to clothing and raw, unpolished prose put me in the mind of a Theodore Dreiser.
Mike: You're kidding, right?
Tom: Actually, yes.

Cupping the soldiers' feet were thick leather sandals, wound about their shins to two inches below their knees. Wrapped about their waists were wide satin girdles, with slender bladed poniards dangling loosely from them, the hilts of which featured scarlet encrusted gems.

Tom: Emeralds, no doubt.

Resting upon the manes of their heads, and reaching midway to their brows were smooth copper morions.

Crow: Morions for morons! How appropriate!

Spiraling the lower portion of the helmet were short, up-curved silver spikes, while a golden hump spired from the top of each basinet. Beneath their chins, wound around their necks, and draping their clad shoulders dangled regal purple satin cloaks, which flowed midway to the soldiers feet.

Mike: Now that the soldiers' clothes have been described in painstaking detail, we will now kill them off with no impact whatsoever on the plot.
Crow: There's a plot?

hand over hand, feet braced against the dank walls of the enclosure, huge Grignr

Tom: Funny, I always pictured him as being maybe five-one, five-two.

ascended from the moldering dephs of the forlorn abyss. His swelled limbs,

Mike: I hear he's off the steroids, actually.

stiff due to the boredom of

Crow: --the story.

a timeless inactivity, compounded by the musty atmosture and jagged granite protuberan against his body, craved for action. The opportunity now presenting itself served the purpose of oiling his rusty joints,

Tom: Suddenly he's the Tin Woodsman!

and honing his dulled senses. He braced himself,

Mike: He couldn't afford an professional orthodontist.

facing the second soldier. The sentry's stature was was wildly exaggerated

Crow: --by the author in a failed attempt to generate interest.

in the glare of the flickering cresset cuppex in his right fist. His eyes were wide open in a slightly slanted owlish glaze, enhanced in their sinister intensity by the hawk-bill curve of his nose andpale yellow pique of his cheeks. "Place your hands behind your back," said the second soldier

Mike: "Gotcha! I didn't say 'Simon says'!"

as he raised his ax over his right shoulder blade and cast it a wavering glance. "We must bind your wrists to parry any attempts at

Crow: "--anything interesting happening."

escape. Be sure to make the knot a stout one, Broig,

All: BROIG??
Tom: Who let Scooby-Doo in?

we wouldn't want our guest to take leave of our guidance."

Mike: They're school counselors gone bad!

Broig grasped Grignr's left wrist and reached for the barbarians's right wrist. Grignr wrenched his right arm free

Tom: --and threw it across the room.

and swilveled to face Broig, reach- beneath his loin cloth with his right hand.

Crow: There's no time for that now! You had all those hours in the dungeon to do that if that's what you wanted to do!
Mike: That does it. I'm taking away all your Green Day records.

The sentry grappled at his girdle

Tom: Now that he's "mature" he needs a little extra support.

for the sheathed dagger, but recoiled short of his intentions as Grignr's right arm swept to his gorge. The soldier went limp,

Crow: Like Grignr in the bar earlier.
Mike: You still remember that? That was three hundred pages ago!

his bobbing

Crow: --buzzard. Caw! Caw! Caw!

eyes rolling beneath fluttering eyelids, a deep welt across his spouting gullet.

Mike: "Jenny, I think we should report your parents."
Tom: It shouldn't hurt to be a kid.

Without lingering to observe the result of his efforts, Grignr dropped to his knees. The second soldier's axe cleft over Grignr's head in a blze of silvered ferocity, severing several scarlet

Tom: Say =that= five times fast!

locks from his scalp. Coming to rest in his fellow's stomach, the iron head crashed

Crow: "Oh, no! A head crash! Now I can't telnet to my other account!"

through mail and flesh with splintering force, spilling a pool of crimsoned entrails over the granite paving. Before the sentry could wrench his axe free from his comrade's carcass, he found Grignr's massive hands clasped about his throat,

Mike: "Oh, =that's= where they are! I was wondering where I'd left those."

choking the life from his clamped lungs. With a zealous grunt, the Ecordian flexed

Tom: Which is a very reasonable thing for an Ecordian to do.

his tightly corded biceps, forcing the grim faced soldier to one knee. The sentry plunged his right fist into Grignr's face, digging his grimy nails into the barbarians flesh.

Mike: Was this crucifixion symbolism really necessary?


All: Eww!

a curse through rasping teeth, grignr surged the bulk of his weight foreard, bowling

Crow: --about a 185. Woulda been higher if he'd picked up that spare in the seventh frame.

the beseiged soldier over upon his back. The sentry's arms collapsed to his thigh, shuddering convulsively; his bulging eyes staring blindly

Tom: I've noticed that people do a lot of staring blindly in this story.

from a bloated ,cherry red face.

Mike: Red again. Jim must be a big Krzyzstof Kieslowski fan.
Crow: Gesundheit.

Rising to his feet, Grignr shook the bllod from his eyes, ruffling his surly red mane as a brush fire swaying to the nightime breeze.

Tom: Either that's a touching, poetic image or this story has finally driven me completely insane.

Stooping over the spr sprawled

Mike: Spit it out, Jim!

corpse of the first soldier, Grignr retrieved a small white object

Crow: Mmm -- a Pep-O-Mint Life Saver!

from a pool of congealing gore.

Mike: --Albert's cousin from West Virginia.


Tom: --cocaine costs Grignr over a hundred thousand hard-earned dollars a year.

a gusty billow of mirth, he once more concealed th e tiny object beneath his loin cloth;

Crow: To join the other tiny object beneath his loincloth.
Mike: Crow!

the tediously honed pelvis bone of the broken rodent.

Mike: "Excuse me, sir, this rodent is broken."
Tom: "Do you have a receipt?"
Mike: "Uh, no, I don't."
Tom: "No refunds or exchanges without a receipt."

Returning his attention toward the second soldier, Grignr turned to the task of attiring his limbs.

Crow: While leaving his torso and pelvis completely naked.

To move about freely through the dim recesses of the castle would require the grotesque garb of

Mike: --Liberace!

its soldiery. Utilizing the silence and stealth aquired in the untamed climbs

Tom: Untamed =climbs=?
Mike: Must've been a lot of hills.

of his childhood, Grignr slink through twisting corridors, and winding stairways, lighting his way with the confisticated torch of his dispatched guardian. Knowing where his steps were leading to, Grignr meandered aimlessly

Crow: Like this story.

in search of an exit from

Crow: --the story.

the chateau's dim confines.

Tom: Back in the Loire Valley, I see.

The wild blood coarsing through his veins yearned for the undefiled freedom of the livid wilderness lands.

Mike: So he could defile them.

Coming upon a fork in the passage

Crow: I asked for chopsticks!

he treaked, voices accompanied by clinking footfalls discerned to his sensitive ears from the left corridor. Wishing to avoid contact, Grignr

Mike: --never felt comfortable with intimacy, dooming his relationships.

veered to the right passageway.

Crow: How did he know it was the right passageway?

If aquested as to the purpose of his presence,

Tom: I think we're all aquesting as to the purpose of our presence, don't you?

his barbarous accent would reveal his identity,

Mike: "We are Frensh! Whah do you think Ah have zis outRAGeous accent?"

being that his attire was not that of the castle's mercenary troops.

Crow: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I thought he just finished dressing himself like a soldier! Isn't even =Jim= paying attention?

In grim silence Grignr treaded down the dingily lit corridor; a stalking panther creeping warily along on padded feet.

Tom: --was several thousand miles away.

After an interminable period of

Crow: --reading, the story still wasn't over.

wandering through the dull corridors; no gaps to break the monotony of the

Crow: --story.

cold gray walls, Grignr espied a small winding stairway. Descending the flight of arced granite slabs to their posterior,

Mike: Never say "posterior" again.

Grignr was confronted by a short haalway

Tom: Suddenly the story's in Dutch?

leading to a tall arched wooden doorway. Halting before the teeming portal portal,

Crow: It's a portal, but it's not really a portal portal.

Grignr restes his shaggy head

Tom: Bless his shaggy little head.

sideways against the barrier. Detecting no sounds from within, he grasped the looped metel handle of the door; his arms surging with a tremendous effort of bulging muscles, yet the door would not budge. Retrieving his ax from where he had sheathed it

Mike: And where was that?

beneath his girdle,

Mike: Oh, okay. Thanks.

he hefted it in his mighty hands with an apiesed grunt, and wedging one of its blackened edges into the crack between the portal and its iron rimed sill. Bracing his sandaled right foot against the rougjly hewn wall, teeth tightly clenched, Grignr appilevered the oaken haft, employing it as a lever whereby to pry open the barrier. The leather wound hilt bending to its utmost limits of endurance, the massive portal swung open with a grating of snapped latch and rusty iron hinges.

Crow: This is so boring I can barely keep my organs of sight open.

Glancing about the dust swirled room in the gloomily dancing glare of his flickering cresset, Grignr eyed evidences

Tom: I see one evidence, two evidences, three evidences...

of the enclosure being nothing more than a forgotten storeroom. Miscellaneous articles required for the maintainance of a castle

Tom: Such as?
Mike: Oh, you've got your portcullis cleaner, chlorine for the moat...

were piled in disorganized heaps

Crow: Like the words of this story.

at infrequent intervals

Crow: Like the =punctuation= in this story!

toward the wall opposite the barbarian's piercing stare.

Mike: The way I see it, you've got two ways of staring. Either you've got a piercing stare, or you're staring blindly.
Tom: Yup.

Utilizing long, bounding strides, Grignr paced his way over to the mounds of supplies to discover if any articles of

Tom: --Confederation.

value were contained within their midst.

Crow: Trust me. There's nothing valuable in this story.

Detecting a faint clinking sound, Grignr sprawed to his left side with the speed of a striking cobra, landing harshly upon his back;

Mike: Just like a cobra!

torch and axe loudly clattering to the floor in a morass of sparks and flame.

Crow: Oh, good one, Grignr!

A elmwoven board leaped from collapsed flooring, clashing against the jagged flooring and spewing

All: Eww!

a shower of orange and yellow sparks over Grignr's startled face. Rising uneasily to his feet, the half stunned Ecordian

Mike: --launched into a peppy rendition of "Lady of Spain".

glared down at the grusome arm of death he had unwittingly sprung. "Mrifk!"

Tom: Okay, remind me. Was Mrifk a character, or a country, or--
Crow: I think it's just Jim's cat jumping on his typewriter.

If not for his keen auditory organs

Crow: You mean his ears?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

and lighting steeled reflexes, Grignr would have been groping

Tom: --a 17-year-old Senate page.

through the shadowed hell-pits of the Grim Reaper.

Mike: But after reading this story, I no longer fear the shadowed hell-pits of the Grim Reaper.

He had unknowingly stumbled upon an ancient,

Crow: --Mariner.

long forgotton booby trap; a mistake which would have stunted the perusal of longevity

Tom: That's that spinoff of Omni Magazine, right? I tried to peruse that once and the guy said, "You gonna buy that? This ain't a library!"

of one less agile. A mechanism, similar in type to that of a minature catapult

Mike: --except for the new passenger-side airbag and anti-lock brakes.

was concealed beneath two collapsable sections of granite flooring. The arm of the device was four feet long, boasting razor like cleats at regular intervals along its face with which it was to skewer

Crow: "Iss godda skewer inda belly!"
Tom: Thanks, Nell.

the luckless body of its would be victim. Grignr had stepped upon a concealed catch which relaesed a small metal latch beneath the two granite sections, causing them to fall inward, and thereby loose the spiked arm of death they precariously held in.

Mike: Thank you for describing the trap in painstaking detail now that it's failed to work and we no longer care about it.

Partially out of curiosity and partially out of an inordinate fear of

Tom: --commitment.

becoming a pincushion for a possible second trap, Grignr plunged his torch into the exposed gap in the

Crow: --plot.

floor. The floor of a second chamber stood out seven feet below the glare. Tossing his torch through the aperature, Grignr grasped the side of an adjoining tile, dropping down. Glancing about the room, Grignr discovered that he had decended into

Mike: --Al Capone's vault. Geraldo Rivera was there, holding an empty bottle and sobbing uncontrollably.

the palace's mausoleum. Rectangular stone crypts cluttered the floor at evenly placed intervals.

Tom: A meticulously organized clutter.

The tops of the enclosures were plated with thick layers of virgin gold,

Crow: As opposed to Tracey.
Mike: Yowtch! What was that for?

while the sides were plated with white ivory;

Tom: Isn't that redundant?
Mike: In this story, it could be chartreuse for all we know.

at one time sparkling, but now grown dingy through the passage of the rays of allencompassing mother time.

Crow: If it's 7 PM Pacific Daylight Time, what time is it in Allencompassing Mother Time?

Featured at the head of each sarcophagus in tarnished silver was

Mike: --Carol Channing, five nights only.

an expugnisively carved likeness of its rotting inhabitant.

Tom: Eww! That is pretty expugnisive.

A dingy

Crow: I guess Jim got tired of everything being fetid and decided to go with dingy instead.

atmosphere pervaded the air of the chamber; which sealed in

Mike: --freshness. Do not consume if seal is broken.

the enclosure for an unknown period

Tom: Come on, Jim, make something up!

had grown thick and stale.

Crow: Like the prose.

Intermingling with the curdled currents was the repugnant stench of slowly moldering flesh, creeping ever slowly but surely through minute cracks in

Crow: --the plot.
Mike: I don't think "minute" is the word to describe those, Crow.

the numerous vaults. Due to the embalming of the bodies, their flesh decayed at a much slower rate than is normal,

Tom: Imagine that!

yet the nauseous oder was none the less repellant. Towering over Grignr's head was

Mike: --a big question mark. He was confused.

the trap he released. The mechanism of the miniaturized catapolt was cluttered with mildew and cobwebs.

Crow: Luckily, he'd hidden some X-14 in the folds of his g-string.

Notwithstanding these relics of antiquity,

Mike: As opposed to brand-new relics.
Tom: Well, you know, the way computers get obsolete these days...

its efficiency remained unimpinged.

Crow: Unlike that of the prose.

To the right of the trap wound a short stairway through a recess in the ceiling; a concealed entrance leading to the mausoleum for which the catapult had obviously been erected as a silent, relentless guardian.

All: Obviously!

Climbing up the side of the device, Grignr set to the task of

Mike: --reorganizing his CD collection.

resetting its mechanism. In the e event that a search was organized, it

Crow: --would not keep going through the same three rooms over and over again like the last one.

would prove well to leave no evidence of his presence open to wandering eyes. Besides, it might even serve to dwindle the size of an opposing force.

Mike: It's not the size of the opposing force that counts, it's the technique.

Descending from his perch, Grignr

Tom: --flew around the cage for a while and then ate some gravel.

was startled by a faintly muffled scream of horrified desperation.

Crow [muffled]: "NOOO! You mean I have to read it ALL THE WAY THROUGH?"

His hair prickled yawkishly in disorganized clumps along his scalp.

Mike: He should try a new conditioner.

As a cold danced along the length of his spinal cord.

Tom: Time to break out the Robitussin.

No moral/mortal barrier,

Mike: That's the most awkward play on words I've ever seen.

human or otherwise,

Crow: Isn't that a White Zombie song?
Tom: No, you're thinking of "MORE Human THAN Otherwise".

was capable of arousing

Mike: Crow, keep your mouth shut.

the numbing sensation of fear

Tom: Or is that Novocain? I always get those two mixed up.

inside of Grignr's smoldering soul.

Mike: --it's too dark to read.

However, he was overwrought by the forces of the barbarians' instinctive fear of the supernatural.

Crow: Is this really the time for an anthropology lesson?

His mighty thews had always served to adequately conquer any tangible foe.,

Tom: He did that with his thews?
Mike: Sure. Didn't you see the Nike commercial with Spike Lee?
Crow: "It's the thews, right? Money's gotta be the thews!"

but the intangible was something distant and terrible. Dim horrifying tales

Tom: Like this one. The author is dim, and the prose is horrifying.

passed by word of mouth over glimmering camp fires and skins of wine

Crow: Any tale is worth hearing if there's wine involved! This message brought to you by the Booze Council.

had more than once served the purpose of chilling the

Mike: --champagne for a romantic candlelit dinner.

marrowed core of his sturdy limbed bones. Yet, the scream contained a strangely human quality, unlike that which Grignr imagined would come from the lungs of a demon or spirit,

Tom: Would a spirit have lungs? I thought lacking a body was a big part of being a spirit.

making Grignr take short nervous strides advancing to the sarcophagus from which the sound was issuing.

Mike: It was also issuing municipal bonds.

Clenching his teeth in an attempt to

Crow: --bite me.
Tom: Huh? I don't get it.
Crow: Nothing to get. I just wanted to say "bite me."

steel his jangled nerves, Grignr slid the engraved slab from the vault with a sharp rasp of grinding stone. Another long drawn cry of terror infested anguish met the barbarian,

Mike: Hello, barbarian. I'm terror-infested anguish.

scoring like

Tom: --Danny Elfman.

the shrill piping of a demented banshee;

Crow: Alanis Morissette.

piercing the inner fibres

Mike: Y'gotta eat yer oat bran if y'want t'git yer inner fibre.

of his superstitious brain with primitive dread dread and awe. Stooping over to espy the tomb's contents, the glittering Ecordians

Crow: I once saw Liberace playing a glittering Ecordian.

nostrills were singed by the scorching aroma of a moldering corpse, long shut up and fermenting;

Crow: "It don't smell so good but it gives ya one hell of a buzz!"

the same putrid scent which permeated the entire chamber, though multiplied to a much more concentrated dosage.

Tom: "All right! Y'did it! Now get me a balloon or a paper bag or something."

The shriveled, leathery packet of crumbling bones and dried flacking flesh

Mike: You mean Alan Cranston?

offered no resistance, but remained in a fixed position

Tom: I thought Einstein proved that was impossible.

of perpetual vigilance, watching over its dim abode from hollow gaping sockets.

Crow: If there's nothing in the sockets it isn't really watching, now is it?
Mike: Sure it is. It's staring blindly.

The tortured crys were not coming from the tomb but from some hidden depth below! Pulling the reaking corpse from its resting place, Grignr tossed it to the floor in a broken, mangled heap.

Tom: I get the feeling that Grignr did that not to find out where the cries were coming from so much as just 'cause it's fun throwing corpses around.

Upon one side of the crypt's bottom was attached a series of tiny hinges while running parallel along the opposite side of a convex railing like protruberance; laid so as to appear as a part of the interior surface of the sarcophagus. Raising the slab upon its bronze hinges, long removed from the gaze of human eyes, Grignr percieved a scene which caused his blood to smolder not unlike bubbling, molten lava.

Tom: But not really a whole lot like it, either.

Directly below him a whimpering female lay stretched upon a smooth surfaced marble altar.

Crow: I don't believe it! He tied the two subplots together!
Mike: I think we're all more than a little proud of our Jim right about now.

A pack of grasy faced

Mike: Grassy?
Tom: Greasy?
Crow: Knowing Jim, he probably meant to type "dingy".

shamen clustered around her in a tight circular formation.

Mike: "Blue-42! Blue-42! I want the defensive backs to blitz the QB; safeties, hang back and cover your receivers!"

Crouched over the girl was a tall, potbellied

Crow: --Vietnamese pig.

priest; his face dominated by a disgusting, open mouthed grimace of sadistic glee. Suspended from the acolyte's clenched right hand was a carven oval faced mallet, which he waved menacingly over the girl's shadowed face; an incoherent gibberish flowing from

Tom: --the pen of Jim Theis.
Mike: We already did that one, sort of.

his grinning, thick lipped mouth. In the face of the amorphos, broad breated female,

Crow: Amorphous? What, is she flowing all over the table?
Tom: At least Jim seems to have realized she can't be slender and voluptuous at the same time.

stretched out aluringly before his gaping eyes; the universal whim of nature filing a plea of despair

Crow [falsetto]: "Where do you want this plea of despair filed, sir?"
Mike: "Just put it under Miscellaneous for now and I'll get to it later."

inside of his white hot soul; Grignr acted in the only manner he could perceive.

Tom: He's a Method actor. Before the story started he'd been hanging out with professional barbarians for three months so he knew how a real barbarian would react.

Giving vent to a hoarse, throat rending battle cry,

Crow: "It's Clobberin' Time!"
Tom: "Avengers Assemble!"
Mike: Umm... "stop, evildoer"...? [awkward silence]
Crow: Mike, that was pathetic.
Mike: I am filled with shame.

Grignr plunged into the midst of the startled shamen; torch simmering in his left hand andax twirling in his right hand. A gaunt skull faced priest

Crow: Skeletor! Cool!
Tom: Now where are Beast-Man and Man-E-Faces?

standing at the far side

Mike: --was Gary Larson.

of the altar clutched desperately at his throat, coughing furiously in an attempt to

Tom: --get everyone's attention.

catch his breath. Lurching helplessly to and fro, the acolyte pitched

Mike: --a no-hitter for eight innings, but it was broken up by a bloop single with one out in the ninth.

headlong against the gleaming base of a massive jade idol. Writhing agonizedly against the hideous image, foam flecking his chalk white lips, the priest struggled helplessly - - - the victim of an epileptic siezure.

Crow: How convenient! I'm surprised Jim didn't go all out and go for spontaneous human combustion.
Mike: I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with using a serious medical condition as a cheap plot device.
Tom: Could be worse -- he could've had him collapse in a diabetic coma.

Startled by the barbarians stunning appearance,

Crow [falsetto]: "Why, Grignr! You're stunning! Are those new earrings?"

the chronic fit of their fellow, and the fear that Grignr might be the avantgarde

Tom: I don't think anyone is going to think Grignr is avant garde in any way, shape or form.

of a conquering force dedicated to

Mike: --truth, justice, and the Ecordian way.

the cause of destroying their degenerated cult,

Crow: "Get the fuel tanks!"

the saman momentarily lost their composure. Giving vent

Mike: I've noticed that people tend to give a lot of vent around here.

to heedless pandemonium, the priests fell easy prey to Grignr's sweeping arc of

Crow: --the covenant. Their faces melted.

crimsoned death and maiming distruction. The acolyte performing the sacrifice took a vicious blow to the stomach;

Mike: Then his manager jumped into the ring and they called the fight.

hands clutching vitals and severed spinal cord

Tom: If his spinal cord's been severed, how can he control his hands enough to clutch anything?
Mike: Don't question, just accept. It'll go faster.

as he sprawled over the altar. The disor anized

Crow: Today's episode has apparently =not= been brought to us by the letter "g".

priests lurched and staggered with split

Mike: --ends. Looks like no one in this story uses a good conditioner!

skulls, dismembered limbs, and spewing entrails before the enraged Ecordian's relentless onslaught. The howles of the maimed and dying reverberated against the walls of the tiny chamber; a chorus of hell frought despair; as the granite floor ran red with blood.

Tom: Hey, Jim, buddy, have you ever thought about maybe seeing a good therapist?
Mike: This is exactly the kind of thing Bob Dole was talking about.

The entire chamber was encompassed in the heat of raw savage butchery

Crow: Hmm... could Jim be a vegetarian?

as Grignr luxuriated in the grips of a primitive, beastly blood lust. Presently all went silenet save for the ebbing groans of the sinking shaman and Grignr's heaving breath accompanied by several gusty curses. The well had run dry.

Tom: I think the well ran dry for Jim long before he ever came up with this story.

No more lambs remained for the slaughter.

Mike: I guess this means another year of nightmares for Clarice Starling.

The rampaging stead of death having taken of Grignr for the moment, left the barbarian free to the exploitation of

Crow: --the workers! Down with the aristocracy! Power to the proletariat!

his other perusials. Towering over his head was the misshaped image of the cult's hideous diety - - - Argon.

Tom: Mike, what's an eight-letter word for "hideous diety"? The last five letters are A-R-G-O-N.

The fantastic size of the idol in consideration of its being of pure jade was enough to cause the senses of any man to stagger and reel, yet thus was not the case for the behemoth.

Tom: Philistine!
Mike: He doesn't know art, and he doesn't know what he likes either.

he had paid only casual notice to this incredible fact, while riviting the whole of his attention upon the jewel

Mike: Sure, ignore the beautiful craftsmanship and only think about what it's worth. This Grignr's a regular Cortez.

protruding from the idol's sole socket; its masterfully cut faucets

Crow: Must be a Price Pfister!

emitting blinding rays of hypnotising beauty.

Tom: I been hyp-mo-tized!

After all, a man cannot slink from a heavily guarded palace while burdened down by the intense bulk of a squatting statue,

Crow: But a woman can. Down with the patriarchy! Sisterhood is powerful!

providing of course that the idol can even be hefted, which in fact was beyond the reaches of Grignr's coarsing stamina.

Mike: Thus answering the timeless question, "Can God make a jade idol so heavy even Grignr can't lift it?"

On the other hand, the jewel, gigantic as it was, would not present a hinderence of any mean concern.

Crow: "And it's 100% genuine cubic zirconia, and it can be yours for only $29.95 if you call now!"
Tom: "Use Tootie!"

"Help me ... please ... I can make it well worth your while,"

Tom: This must be the slut the soldiers are always going on about.

pleaded a soft, anguish strewn voice wafting over Grignr's shoulders as he plucked the dull red emerald

Bots: He said it again! He said it again!

from its roots.

Crow: He took it from Kunta Kinte.

Turning, Grignr faced the female that had lured him into this blood bath, but whom had become all but forgotten in the heat of the battle.

Mike: And then he hacked her up in a sweeping arc of flashing death and maiming destruction.

"You"; ejaculated the Ecordian

All: Eww!

in a pleased tone.

Tom [falsetto]: "Is that a rat's pelvis in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

"I though that I had seen the last of you at the tavern,

Crow: It all comes together! This is obviously a work of exhaustive planning and foresight!
Tom: Yet somehow, that makes it even more pathetic than if he'd just knocked it off one night in a drunken stupor.
Mike: Me, I'm just glad to see her again. After her last appearance I care deeply about her as a character.

but verilly I was mistaken."

Mike: Grignr speaks in phony Elizabethan English too? I pictured him as more the "Grignr smash!" type.

Grignr advanced into the grips of the female's entrancing stare,

Crow: Mike, is this synesthesia?
Mike: No, it's just bad.

severing the golden chains that held her captive upon the altars highly polished

Tom: In another level of the dungeon they keep a chamber full of Pledge.

face of ornamental limestone. As Grignr lifted the girl from the altar, her arms wound dexterously about his neck; soft and smooth against his harsh exterior.

Mike: He's crusty on the outside, but he's a real softie once you get to know him.

"Art thou pleased that we have chanced to meet once again?"

Crow: Think that's what Divine Brown said to Hugh Grant when she saw him in court?

Grignr merely voiced an sighed grunt,

Tom: Now that's the Grignr we know and love!

returning the damsels embrace while he smothered her

Mike [falsetto]: "Grignr, honey, I'm getting mixed signals here!"

trim, delicate lips between the coarsing protrusions of his reeking maw.

Tom [falsetto]: "Griggy-poo, have you been eating those soft cheeses again?"

"Let us take leave of this retched

Crow: --story.

chamber." Stated Grignr as he placed the female upon her feet.

Crow: "Lemme see here... the ankle bone's connected to the shin bone... leg bone?... I knew I should've written this down!"

She swooned a moment, causing Grignr to giver her support

Mike: "Honey, whatever you decide, I'm behind you all the way."

then regained her stance. "Art thou able to find your way through the accursed passages of this castle? Mrifk!

Crow [falsetto]: "I thought we agreed that you'd stop cursing in front of the kids." Tom [Grignr]: "If you really loved me you'd quit trying to change me!"

Every one of the corridors of this damned place are identical."

Mike: Sorta like the Kids in the Hall.
Crow: What do you mean, Mike? There's... that one guy... Somebody McSomething...

"Aye; I was at one time a slave of prince Agaphim.

Mike [falsetto]: "But now I'm a waitress."

His clammy touch sent a sour swill

Tom: You mean Zima?

through my belly, but my efforts reaped a harvest. I gained the pig's liking whereby he allowed me the freedom of the palace.

Mike: Never say "whereby" again.

It was through this means that I eventually managed escape at the western gate. His trust found him with a dagger thrust his ribs," the wench stated whimsicoracally.

Crow: I'm feeling a little whimsicoracal myself.

"What were you doing at the tavern whence I discovered you?" asked Grignr

All: --whimsicoracally!

as he lifted the female through the opening into the mausoleum. "I had sought to lay

Tom [Grignr]: "That was obvious! Now tell me something I =don't= know."

low from the palace's guards as they conducted

Mike: "--the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra."

their search for me. The tavern was seldom frequented by the palace guards

Tom: But it was often frequented by this heavyset guy with curly hair, and every time he came in everyone would shout, "Norm!"

and my identity was unknown to the common soldiers. It was through the disturbance that you caused that the palace guards were attracted to the tavern. I was dragged away shortly after you were escorted to the palace."

Crow [Grignr]: "Oh, so now it's =my= fault! =I'm= the bad guy!"

"What are you called by female?"

Mike [falsetto]: "McGill, and I call myself Lil, but everyone knows me as Nancy."


Mike: What's wrong with "Carthena"?
Tom: It's... it's... pronounceable!

daughter of Minkardos, Duke of Barwego, whose lands border along the northwestern fringes of Gorzom.

Crow: Is that in the panhandle?

I was paid as homage to Agaphim upon his thirty-eighth year,"

Tom: --on Broadway. He's been running almost as long as "Cats"!

husked the femme!

Crow: Gee, Jim, you don't have to shout.

"And I am called a barbarian!" Grunted Grignr in a disgusted tone!

Mike: Let's see here. So far he's killed every single person he's met while screaming like a maniac, crushed a rat with his bare hands, walked into a bar and thrown himself on the first woman he saw, and he smells like a public toilet. And they call him a barbarian!

"Aye! The ways of our civilization are in many ways warped and distorted,

Tom [Grignr]: "Save the cultural critique and let's get out of here."

but what is your calling," she queried,

Mike [Grignr]: "I teach the gospel doctrine class."
Crow: Is that religious humor, Mike?
Mike: Uh, yeah. LDS.
Tom: Good thing you didn't mock the Scientologists or we'd all be dead now.


Crow: Is it possible to =say= something bustily?
Tom: Jim apparently had the same question.
Mike: I figure that if anyone can, Carthena can.

"Grignr of Ecordia." "Ah, I have heard vaguely of Ecordia. It is the hill country to the far east of the Noregolean Empire.

Crow: =Now= Jim bothers to tell us where Ecordia is!
Mike: And that answers your question about the untamed climbs, Tom!

I have also heard Agaphim curse your land more than once when his troops were routed in the unaccustomed mountains and gorges."

Tom [falsetto]: "And he was =really= pissed when Ecordia beat out Gorzom for the 2006 Winter Olympics!"

Sayeth she. "Aye. My people are not tarnished by petty luxuries and baubles.

Mike: "We walked to school in snow up to our hips! With no shoes! And we slept on the floor! With no pillows! And we ate bugs and sticks! And we liked it!"
Crow: I notice his culture's disdain for baubles didn't stop him from grabbing the first gemstone he could find.

They remain fierce and unconquerable

Tom: --and unsanitary.

in their native climes." After reaching the hidden panel at the head of the stairway, Grignr was at a loss in regard to its operation. His fiercest heaves were

Crow: --after some bad clams down at the Clam Shack. He was up all night!

as pebbles against

Mike: Bam-Bam?

burnished armour! Carthena depressed

Tom: Carthena's not the only one who's depressed.

a small symbol included within the elaborate design upon the panel

Mike: The batteries, on the other hand, were not included.

whereopen it slowly slid into a cleft in

Crow: --Michael Jackson's chin.

the wall. "How did you come to be the victim of those crazed shamen?" Quested Grignr

Tom: Suddenly he's going off on a quest? One adventure at a time, Grignr!

as he escorted Carthena through the piles of rummage on the left side of the trap. "By Agaphim's orders I was thrust into a secluded cell to await his passing of

Crow: "--gas."
Mike: Let's not get crude. It's almost over. I think.

sentence. By some means, the Priests of Argon acquired a set of keys to the cell.

Tom: Big mystery here. They said, "Hey, Agaphim, can we have the keys?"

They slew the guard placed over me and abducted me to the chamber in which you chanced to come upon the scozsctic

Mike: I never know how to pronounce these Slavic surnames.

sacrifice. Their hell-spawned cult demands a sacrifice once every three moons

Tom: Give or take a moon.

upon its full journey

Crow: Then they'll be waiting a while. There hasn't been a full Journey since Steve Perry left.

through the heavens. They were startled by your unannounced appearance

Mike: They thought he'd be appearing at the Laff Factory on the other side of town.

through the fear that you had been sent by Agaphim. The prince would surely have submitted them to the most ghastly of tortures

Crow: Insert joke about having to read THE EYE OF ARGON here.

if he had ever discovered their unfaithfulness to Sargon, his bastard diety.

Tom: You mean all the religious strife in Noregolia is about Argon vs. SARGON? One lousy LETTER?
Mike: That's the way these things usually go.
Crow: Religious fanatics aren't known for being too Swift.

Many of the partakers of the ritual were high nobles and high trustees of the inner palace; Agaphim's pittiless wrath would have been unparalled."

Crow: It would've been downright perpendiculared!

"They have no more to fear of Agaphim now!" Bellowed Grignr in a deep mirthful tome; a gleeful smirk upon his face. "I have seen that they were delivered from his vengence."

Tom: Say what you will about Grignr, you can't knock his keen sense of irony.

Engrossed by Carthena's graceful stride

Mike: There's just something in the way she moves that attracts Grignr like no other wench.

and conversation

Crow: He respects her mind! He's a sensitive 90's guy!
Mike: If you had Grignr's intellect you'd respect Charly Gordon's mind.

Grignr failed

Tom: --trig.

to take note of the footfalls rapidly approaching behind him. As he swung aside the arched portal linking the chamber with

Crow: --the Pamela Anderson Home Page.

the corridors beyond, a maddened, blood lusting screech reverberated from

Mike: --the nearby Alanis Morissette concert.

his ear drums. Seemingly utilizing the speed of thought, Grignr swiveled to face his unknown foe.

Tom: This being Grignr we're talking about, it took forty-five minutes.

With gaping eyes and widened jaws, Grignr raised his axe above his surly mein; but he was too late.

Crow: And that's it? The end? The sweet end at long last??


Crow: NOOOOO!!!
Tom: I think we can wait a few minutes for Chapter Seven. Let's go, guys.


Gypsy: Why do you guys all look so sad?

Mike: I wish I were illiterate.

Tom: I wish Jim Theis were illiterate.

Crow: He's halfway there already.

Mike: Every time Jim describes someone as "staring blindly" I think, you're so lucky.

Tom: I named the rat! You want to know what I named it? I named it Jim Theis. And when Grignr pulped it I laughed and laughed and laughed--

Gypsy: I didn't hear anything.

Tom [glazed expression]: That's 'cause you don't live inside my head, baby.

Crow: I'm not reading it now. For this brief moment, I'm free. But I can't enjoy it. Because that light's gonna go on, and then it'll be story sign, and I'll be back reading THE EYE OF ARGON, and how am I supposed to enjoy myself with that hanging over my head?!

[Lights flash]

Crow: It's the end, I tell you! The end!


Mike: Where are we? Chapter Seven?
Crow: No, Mike.
Mike: Then where are we?
Crow: You want to know where we are? We're in Hell, Mike. We're in Hell.

With wobbling knees and swimming head, the priest that had lapsed into an epileptic siezure rose unsteadily to his feet.

Tom: You mean we're supposed to have been keeping track of which of Grignr's countless victims weren't really dead?

While enacting his choking fit

Mike: --for "Rescue 911".

in writhing agony, the shaman was overlooked by Grignr.

Crow: As was the big sign that said "CAUTION: Priests sprawled on floor may not actually be dead."

The barbarian had mistaken the siezure for the death throes of the acolyte, allowing the priest to avoid his stinging blade.

Tom [Grignr]: So I messed up! Shut up!

The sight that met the priests inflamed eyes

Mike: See, it's that Visine thing I was talking about.

nearly served to sprawl him upon the floor once more. The sacrificial sat it grim, blood splattered silence all around him, broken only by the occasional yelps and howles of

Crow: --Alanis Morissette.

his maimed and butchered fellows.

Mike: They wailed, "Get the Bactine! We need Bactine!"

Above his head rose the hideous idol, its empty socket holding the shaman's ifurbished infuriated gaze. His eyes turned to a stoney glaze

Tom: I had that on a doughnut once. It wasn't very good.

with the realization of the pillage and blasphemy. Due to his high succeptibility following the siezure, the priest was transformed into a

Crow: --jet plane? cassette player?

raving maniac

Mike: He turned into Bob Dornan!

bent soley upon reaking vengeance.

Tom: He's got the reeking part down already.

With lips curled and quivering, a crust of foam dripping from them, the acolyte drew a long, wicked looking jewel hilted scimitar

Mike: But he got the perspective wrong and it just didn't look right.

from his silver girdle and fled through the aperature in the ceiling uttering a faintly perceptible ceremonial jibberish.

Crow: "Rhubarb, rhubarb, ceremonial rhubarb."

-7 1/2-

Tom: By Federico Fellini.

A sweeping scimitar swung towards Grignr's head

Crow: Whoa! That last part was all a big flashback?
Mike: Jim must've just finished watching "Reservoir Dogs" again.

in a shadowed blur of motion.

Tom: Jim decides that if he couldn't see it, he doesn't have to describe it.

With Axe raised over his head, Grignr prepared to parry the blow,

Tom [Grignr]: "Okay, the first thing I need is an enormous shield or something. Have I got any cash on me?"

while gaping wideeyed in open mouthed perplexity.

Mike: It's a pretty safe bet he was drooling, too.

Suddenly a sharp snap resounded behind the frothing shaman. The scimitar, halfway through its fatal sweep, dropped from a quivering nerveless hand, clattering harmlessly to the stoneage.

Crow [Pauly Shore]: "Whoa! Major stoneage for the Wea-sel!"
Mike: If you ever do that again it'll just be me and Servo, got it?

Cutting his screech short with a bubbling, red mouthed gurgle, the lacerated acolyte staggered under the pressure of the released spring-board.

Tom: Luckily, he was a majority shareholder in Curad and within moments was good as new.

After a moment of hopeless struggling, the shaman buckled, sprawling face down in a widening pool of bllod and entrails, his regal purple robe blending enhancingly

Crow: Enhancingly? Are you sure it didn't blend whimsicoracally?

with the swirling streams of crimson. "Mrifk! I thought I had killed the last of those dogs;" muttered Grignr in a half apathetic state.

Mike: He doesn't even care enough to be fully apathetic.

"Nay Grignr. You doubtless grew careless while giving vent to your lusts.

Crow [falsetto]: "Or maybe you're just not very bright."

But let us not tarry any long lest we over tax the

Tom: "--voters and they kick us out of Congress."

fates. The paths leading to freedom will soon be barred. The wretch's crys must certainly have attracted unwanted attention," the wench mused.

Mike [Grignr]: "I thought I told you not to muse here."

"By what direction shall we pursue our flight?" "Up that stair and down the corridor

Crow [3rd grader]: "Up yer butt an' around the corner!"

a short distance is the concealed enterance to a tunnel seldom used by others than the prince, and known to few others save the palace's royalty.

Tom: That would be the prince and the, uh, the prince.

It is used mainly by the prince when he wishes to take

Mike: "--a leak."
Crow: Mike! And you get all over me for saying "gas"?
Mike: Mine was clever. Yours was just crude.

leave of the palace in secret. It is not always in the Prince's best interests to leave his chateau in public view.

Tom: That's why he makes sure to put a big dropcloth over it every time he goes anywhere so no one'll know it's there.

Even while under heavy guard he is often assaulted by hurtling stones and rotting fruits.

Crow: In fact, the townspeople carry rotting fruit with them everywhere they go just in case they happen to see the prince.

The commoners have little love for him." lectured the nerelady!

Tom: Hey, Jim, can you keep it down?

"It is amazing that they would ever have left a pig like him become their ruler.

Mike: Oh, it's not that amazing. Even Bob Dornan manages to get himself elected every two years.

I should imagine that his people would rise up and crucify him like the dog he is."

Tom: As I'm sure you know, crucifixion is the #2 cause of death in dogs nationwide.

"Alas, Grignr, it is not as simple as all that.

Crow [falsetto]: "But you are."

His soldiers are well paid by him. So long as he keeps their wages up they will carry out his damned wished.

Mike: I guess that makes sense... that's their =job=.

The crude impliments of the commonfolk would never stand up under an onslaught of forged blades and protective armor;

Crow: "That's why we gotta get our cities pumping out more lightbulbs so we can get Mechanized Infantry!"

they would be going to their own slaughter," stated Carthena to a confused, but angered Grignr

Mike [Grignr]: "I don't understand what you're saying, but I'm pretty sure it pisses me off."

as they topped the stairway. "Yet how can they bear to live under such oppression? I would sooner die beneath the sword than live under such a dog's command."

Tom: This must be Jim Theis's idea of subtle political subtext.

added Grignr as the pair stalked down the hall in the direction opposite that in which Grignr had come.

Crow: That's good. If they'd gone the other way they would've slipped on the--
Mike: You just lost your waffle-iron privileges.

"But all men are not of the same mold that you are born of,

Tom: They're born of bread mold, while Grignr's more a bleu cheese kind of guy.

they choose to live as they are so as to save their filthy necks

Mike: Wisk does a brisk business in Noregolia. These people have got ring around the collar like you wouldn't believe!

from the chopping block."

Crow: The fools! Why, they're passing up an ideal opportunity to explore the wonders of sweet, sweet death! Choose death! This message brought to you by the Death Council.

Returned Carthena in a disgusted tone as she cast an appiesed glance towards the stalwart figure at her side whose left arm was wound dextrously about her slim waist;

Tom: Jeez, what are her measurements? 56-14-35?

his slowly waning torch casting their images in intermingling wisps as it dangled from his left hand. Presently Carthena came upon the panel, concealed amonst the other granite slabs and discernable only by

All: --RADAR!

the burned out cresset above it. "As I push the cresset aside push the panel inwards." Catrhena motioned to the panel she was refering to and twisted the cresset in a counterclockwise motion. Grignr

Mike: --didn't realize she'd been talking to him, and blew the whole thing.

braced his right shoulder against the walling, concentrating the force of his bulk against it. The slab gradually swung inward with a slight grating sound.

Tom: It reminded him of Pavement's last album.

Carthena stooped beneath Grignr's corded arms and crawled upon all fours into the passage beyond. Grignr followed after easing the slab back into place. Winding before the pair was a dark musty tunnel,

Crow [falsetto]: "I know there's some Lysol around here somewhere!"

exhibiting tangled spider webs from it ceiling to wall and an oozing, sickly slime running lazily upon its floor. Hanging from the chipped wall upon GrignR's right side was a half mouldered corpse, its grey flacking arms held in place by

Mike: --a guard, whose job was to stand there day and night and hold the corpse's arms there.

rusted iron manacles. Carthena flinched back into Grignr's arms

Crow [Grignr]: "All right! His untimely demise equals some major action for the Grigmeister!"

at sight of the leering set in an ugly distorted grimmace; staring horribly

Mike: And blindly. Don't forget blindly.

at her from hollow gaping sockets. "This alcove must also be used by Agaphim as a torture chamber.

Tom: Or maybe as a breakfast nook.

I wonder how many

Crow [falsetto]: "--roads must a man walk down?"
Mike: I know, but I'm not going to tell you.

of his enemies have disappeared into these haunts never to be heard from again," pondered the hulking brute.

Crow: Even Jim's turned against Grignr!

"Let us flee before we are also caught within Agaphim's ghastly clutches. The exit from this tunnel cannot be very far from here!"

Tom: I guess that depends on whether you consider 7,927 miles "far."

Said Carthena with a slight sob to her voice, as she sagged in Grignr's encompasing embrace. "Aye; It will be best to be finished with this corridor as soon as it is possible. But why do you flinch from the sight of death so?

Crow: Why, little is as beautiful as sweet, sweet death! This message brought to you by the Death Council.


Mike: Oh, dear God. It actually bothers me that "Mrifk" has been misspelled. I need help.

You have seen much death this day without exhibiting such emotions."

Tom: But not as much death as she'd have seen by watching a comparable amount of TV.

Exclaimed Grignr as he led her trembling form along the dingy confines. "---The man hanging from the wall was Doyanta.

Crow: Doyanta?? NO! NOOOOOOO!!! ...uh, who's Doyanta?

He had committed the folly of showing affections for me in front of Agaphim --- he never meant any harm by his actions!"

Crow [falsetto]: "I mean, he sorta did -- that's what the whips and chains were for -- but that's fun harm, not harm harm!"

At this Carthena broke into

Mike: --maniacal laughter!

a slow steady whimpering,

Tom: Slow and steady wins the race, you know.
Crow: That's Jim Theis's philosophy on pacing stories, anyway.

chokking her voice with gasping sobs. "There was never anything between us

Crow [falsetto]: "--except a thin layer of latex--"

yet Agaphim did this to him! The beast! May the demons of Hell's deepest haunts claw away at his wretched flesh for this merciless act!" she prayed.

Tom: I'm guessing she's a Quaker, maybe?
Mike: Seems like more of a Unitarian to me.

"I detect that you felt more for this fellow than you wish to let on...

Mike: When I think of deep psychological insight, I think of three names: Freud; Jung; Grignr.

but enough of this, We can talk of such matters

Tom: You mean Family Matters?
Crow: Yeah! Mike, quick, do your Urkel!
Mike: Maybe after the story.

after we are once more free to

Tom [singing]: o/~ --be you and meeeeee! o/~

do so." With this Grignr lifted the grieved female to her feet and strode onward down the corridor, supporting the bulk of her weight with his surging left arm. Presently a dim light was perceptibly filtering into the tunnel, casting a dim reddish hue

Tom: Oh, no! They've been down there so long that the sun has gone into its red giant phase and is about to swallow the earth!
Crow: Not even Superman can save us now!

upon the moldy wall of the passage's grim confines. Carthena had ceased her whimpering and partially regained her composure. "The tunnel's end must be nearing. Rays of sunlight are beginning to seep into ..."

Mike [falsetto]: "What's that burning sensation? I feel... oh, that's right! Now I remember! I'm a vampire! Aieee..."

Grignr clameed his right hand over Carthena's mouth and with a slight struggle pulled her

Crow: --upper right molar and all of her incisors.

over to the shadows at the right hand wall of the path, while at the same time thrusting this torch

Tom: --into a pile of oily rags.

beneath an overhanging stone to smother its flickering rays. "Be silent;

Mike [falsetto]: "But I wasn't saying anyth--" Tom [Grignr]: "I said be silent!"

I can hear footfalls approaching through the tunnel;" growled Grignr in a hushed tone. "All that you hear are the horses corraled at the far end of the tunnel. That is a further sign that we are

Crow [falsetto]: "--doomed! We're doomed! Waaah!"

nearing our goal." She stated!

Mike: Damn did she state!

"All that you hear is less than I hear! I heard footsteps coming towards us.

Tom [Grignr]: "And I heard the CIA beaming satellite transmissions into my brain!"

Silence yourself

Crow: Hey, it's an episode of "All in the Family"!
Mike: Actually, it's-- oh, close enough.

that we may find out whom we are being brought into contact with.

Tom: After all, it is 2010: The Year We Are Brought Into Contact.

I doubt that any would have thought as yet of searching this passage for us. The advantage of surprize will be upon our side." Grignr warned.

Crow: He warned her that something good was going to happen?
Mike: "I'm warning you, if you open that box you'll find the keys to your new Ferrari!"

Carthena cast her eyes downward and ceased any further pursuit towards conversation, an irritating habit

Tom: She did exactly what he wanted and he finds it irritating?
Mike: There's just no pleasing some people.

in which she had gained an amazing proficiency. Two figures came into the pairs view, from around a turn in the tunnel. They were clothed in rich luxuriant silks and rambling o on

Crow: Much like Jim Theis.

in conversation while ignorant of their crouching foes waiting in an ambush ahead. "...That barbarian dog

Tom: What is it that these people have against dogs? I mean, sure, poodles and chihuahuas are kind of annoying, but still--

is cringing beneath the weight of the lash at this moment sire. He shall cause no more disturbance." "Aye, and so it is with any who dare to cross the path of Sargon's chosen one." said the 2nd man.

Mike: Meanwhile, the Third Man was busy making a fortune off watered-down penicillin.

"But the peasants are showing signs of growing unrest. They complain that they cannot feet their families while burdened with your taxes."

Crow: And they can't tax their families while burdened with your feet.

"I shall teach those sluts

Tom: "--calculus, and then Edward James Olmos'll play me in the movie."
Crow: Sluts? Where?

the meaning of humility! Order an immediate increase upon their taxes. They dare to question my sovereign authority, Ha-a, they shall soon learn what true oppression can be. I will... "

Mike: This little skit could become reality if you, the voter, make the wrong decision on Election Day. Remember: friends don't let friends vote for Bob Dornan.

A shodowed bulk leapt from behind a jutting promontory as it brought down a double edged axe with the spped of a striking thought.

Crow: Which, again, this being Grignr, means that it took about forty-five minutes.

One of the nobles sagged lifeless to the ground, skull split to the teeth. Grignr gasped as he observed the bisected face set in its leering death agonies. It was Agafnd!

Tom [sighing]: Okay, now was Agafnd the prince, or the advisor, or the prince's longtime companion, or what?

The dead mans comrade having recovered from his shock drew a jewel encrusted dagger from beneath the folds of his

Crow: --G-string?


Mike: That's a relief. At least =someone= around here is dressed.

and lunged toward the barbarians back. Grignr spun at the sound from behind and smashed down his crimsoned axe once more. His antagonist lunged howling to a stream of stagnent green water, grasping a spouting stump that had once been a wrist.

Crow: It's just a flesh wound. Tom [antagonist]: "Hey, anyone around here got any Medi-Quik?"

Grignr raised his axe over his head and prepaired to finish the incomplete job,

Mike: He had to or it'd revert to an "F" after six weeks.

but was detered half way through his lunge by a frenzied screech from behind.

Crow: It was Alanis Morissette!

Carthena leapt to the head of the writhing figure, plunging a smoldering torch into the agonized face. The howls increased in their horrid intensity, stifled by the sizzling of roasting flesh,

Tom: Human -- the other white meat.

then died down until the man was reduced to a blubbering mass of squirming, insensate flesh.

Crow: It was as if he'd been forced to sit through a "The Brothers Grunt" marathon.

Grignr advance to Carthena's side wincing slightly from the putrid aroma of

Tom: --Grignr.

charred flesh that rose in a puff of thick white smog throughout the chamber. Carthena reeled slightly, staring dasedly downward at her gruesome handywork.

Mike: Have you ever considered taking some industrial arts classes? They can help you match up those corners better and teach you how to apply a more even coat of wood stain.

"I had to do it ... it was Agaphim ... I had to, " she exclaimed!

Crow: It's the dramatic revelation at the climax of the story!
Tom: Now who was Agaphim again?

"Sargon should be more carful of his right hand men." Added Grignr, a smug grin upon his lips.

Tom: Where else would it be?

"But to hell with Sargon for now, the stench is becoming bothersome to me."

Mike [falsetto]: "Maybe you should try a different deodorant?"

With that Grignr grasped Carthena

Crow: This guy's all hands!

around the waist leading her around the bend in the cave and into the open.

Mike: Then over the river and through the woods.

A ball of feral red

Crow: You mean the sun?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

was rising through the mists of the eastern horizon,

Tom: Why... yes, the sun =does= rise in the east! Jim must've done some painstaking research to get all these little details right.

disipating the slinking shadows of the night. A coral stood before the pair, enclosing two grazing mares.

Mike: Oddly, the mares didn't seem to notice that they were underwater and trapped in a reef.

Grignr reached into a weighted down leather pouch dangling at his side and drew forth

Crow: Eww! Cut! Cut! We don't need the consummation scene!
Mike: Crow, the consummation scene happened five seconds after the characters met.
Crow: Oh, yeah. Well, once was bad enough.

the scintillant red emerald

Bots: That's three! That's three!
Tom: Once is happenstance...
Crow: And twice is coincidence...
Tom: But when it happens three times...
Crow: The situation is clear: Jim Theis really does think emeralds are red!

he had obtained from the bloated idol. Raising it toward the sun he said, "We shall do well with bauble, eh!"

Mike [falsetto]: "Uh, yes, Grignr. We shall do very well with bauble!"
Tom: I'm put in the mind of a Boris Badinoff here.
Crow: Wait... didn't he say a while back that his culture hated baubles?

Carthena gaped at the gem gasping in a terrified manner "The eye of Argon, Oh! Kalla!"

Tom: Now who was Kalla?
Mike: I don't think Kalla's been in the story before.
Tom: Great. A few sentences from the end, and Jim's bringing in new characters.
Crow: I don't even remember any of the old ones.

At this the gem gave off a blinding glow, then dribbled

Crow: --between a pair of defenders and took it to the hoop for two!

through Grignr's fingers in a slimy red ooze.

Mike [Grignr]: "I should've known it wasn't a real emerald! There was always something about that emerald that just didn't seem right to me."

Grignr stepped back, pushing

Tom: --drugs.
Crow: "C'mon, you'll like it. The first one's free!"

Carthena behind him. The droplets of slime slowly converged into a pulsating jelly-like mass.

Crow: Inside were little pieces of delicious pineapple!

A single opening transfixed the blob, forminf into a leechlike maw. Then the hideous transgressor of nature flowed towards Grignr, a trail of greenish slime

Bots: GREENISH slime?
Tom: That's it! That's the answer! He's color-blind! To Jim Theis, red and green are the same!
Mike: He must've done time at the House of Stairs.

lingering behind it. The single gap puckered repeatedly

Crow [falsetto]: "Come on, kiss your Aunt Ethel!"

emitting a ghastly sucking sound.

Tom [Perot]: "--as American jobs leave for Mexico!"

Grignr spread his legs

Crow: Isn't Cartagena supposed to be the one to do that?
Mike: It's Carthena, and you're the one who didn't want another consummation scene.

into a battle stance, steeling his quivering thews

Tom: My thews'd be quivering too, if I knew what thews were.

for a battle royal with a thing he knew not how to fight. Carthena wound her arms about her protectors neck, mumbling, "Kill it! Kill!"

Crow [Grignr]: "Yes! Grignr want to kill! Grignr like kill! But Grignr not know how to kill!"

While her entire body trembled.

Mike: Except for her left elbow.

The thing was almost upon Grignr when he buried his axe

Crow [Grignr]: "Mebbe it'll make an axe tree and I'll have enough weaponry to beat this thing!"

into the gristly maw. It passed through the blob and clanged upon the ground. Grignr drew his axe back with a film of yellow-green slime clinging to the blade.

Crow: Was it "The Castle of Fu Manchu"?
Tom: No. That film was far worse than yellow-green slime.

The thing was seemingly unaffected. Then it started to slooze up

Mike: Don't you just hate it when your underwear starts to slooze up on you?

his leg. The hairs upon his nape stoode on end from the slimey feel of the things buly, bulk.

Tom: Okay, we're getting downright Joycean here.

The Nautous sucking sound became louder, and

Mike: --Ross Perot jumped up and down yelling, "I told you so!" while Mexican entrepreneurs went on to dominate the world market.
Crow: This =story's= been making a sucking sound ever since the first page.

Grignr felt the blood being drawn from his body.

Tom [falsetto]: "Are you 17? Are you 110 pounds? Okay, then, have a seat right here and the nurse'll be with you in a moment."

With each hiss of hideous pucker

Mike: "But I don't want to kiss Aunt Ethel!"

the thing increased in size.

Crow: I'm still not so sure this isn't really a consummation scene. Sort of the literary equivalent of the train going through the tunnel...?
Tom: You call this literary?

Grignr shook his foot about madly

Mike: He did the Hokey Pokey and he turned himself around. That's what it's all about!

in an attempt to dislodge the blob, but it clung like a leech, still feeding upon his rapidly draining life fluid.

Crow: You mean blood?
Mike: Let's not jump to-- aw, heck with it. Yes. He means blood.

He grasped with his hands trying to rip it off, but only found his hands entangled in a sickly glue- like substance.

Tom: So that's what happened to his horse!

The slimey thing continued its puckering ; now having grown the size of Grignr's leg from its vampiric feast.

Crow: I don't believe I'm saying this, but this is almost... interesting!

Grignr began to reel

Mike: --in a twelve-pounder, but it was too strong and got away.

and stagger under the blob, his chalk white face and faltering muscles attesting to the gigantic loss of blood. Carthena slipped from Grignr in a death-like faint,

Tom: Then Romeo showed up and stabbed himself.

a morrow chilling scream upon her red rubish

Bots: Emeraldish!

lips. In final desperation Grignr grasped the smoldering torch upon the ground and plunged it into the reeking maw of the travestry. A shudder passed through the thing.

Bots: Yeah! Go Grignr!
Mike: Even I'm starting to get into it!

Grignr felt the blackness closing upon his eyes, but held on with the last ebb of his rapidly waning vitality.

All: Come on, Grignr! Go! Go!

He could feel its grip lessoning as a hideous gurgling sound erupted from the writhing maw.

All: ALL RIGHT, GRIGNR! You can do it, buddy!

The jelly like mass began to bubble like a vat of boiling tar as quavers passed up and down its entire form.

All: Yes? AND???


Crow: It's over... all that time I wanted it to be over... page after page when I would've chewed my own leg off to end the story... and he can't even tack on a lousy concluding sentence? Jim Dickweed Theis can't finish with ONE LOUSY CONCLUDING SENTENCE???
Tom: Guess not. C'mon, guys, time to go.
Mike: You coming, Crow?
Crow: No. I no longer have any will to live.


Tom: Hey, Mike, I just noticed -- THE EYE OF ARGON is exactly 11,111 words and exactly 1000 lines long.

Mike: Why would you bother to count them?

Tom: Well, it's better than actually reading it.

Mike: You got me there. Think Crow's going to come out any time soon?

Tom: Who?

Mike: Never mind. Whaddaya think, sir?

[Deep 13]

Dr.F.: So the gold one kicked the bucket after all, eh? No longer perusing his longevity, I take it? I knew it! The tarot cards set him up, and THE EYE OF ARGON pushed him over the edge! Scored all over you, Nelson! Score! Score!

Perkins [reading]: "...which dominates large portions of the Norgoli-- the Norgol-- the Nor-- the--" BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!

Dr.F.: That's, what, six words? And now it's my turn again. Today's just my day! Now, if you would... push the button, Jack.

Perkins: But... but... the Norgoli-- the Norgo-- the-- BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH--

                             \  |  /
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                             ---O--- Fwshhhh!
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MST3K and all its characters, etc., are Copyright 199x Best Brains. I'm not a Best Brain. On a good day I'm barely even an Above Average Brain. This MSTing is in no way endorsed by Best Brains. Chances are they'd be sickened and horrified were they to read it. Nevertheless, it may be distributed freely as long as it's in its entirety and this notice is intact.

MSTed by Adam Cadre,, August 1995. Any comments, questions, remarks, laments, retorts, rebukes or recriminations are more than welcome. Especially welcome are those featuring the word "upholstery".

Gaping from its single obling socket was scintillating, many fauceted scarlet emerald, a brilliant gem seeming to possess a life all of its own. A priceless gleaming stone, capable of domineering the wealth of conquering empires...the eye of Argon.