Chapter 329: In Which Our Hero Tickles A Wench And Makes Saucy Comments To A Nun

…the nun was not amused

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The Doclopedia #1,489

Is This Your…: Cat?

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I’m just asking because you have several cats, Mrs Fenster, so I thought you might have a new one. I mean, he comes over to my house every night and I feed him, but I used to do that with your one cat, Sonny. I liked Sonny.

Yeah, he is pretty, isn’t he? I’ve never seen an orange cat with black spots before. He’s got strange colored eyes, too. He’s a big guy. Must weigh 15 pounds or so. Funny, because he eats mostly fresh vegetables and only a little bit of tuna. He likes coffee, too.

Yeah, I know I look tired. I’ve been sleeping 8 or 9 hours, but I still wake up tired. It’s been going on maybe two weeks now, about the same time as I found this cat outside my door. I have these strange dreams about soldering wiring and gathering up electronic parts and chemicals. And welding, too, even though I don’t know how to weld. I’m lucky my job as a security guard lets me catch a nap or two during the day.

Noises from my garage at night? Huh. Couldn’t be me, I’ve been going to bed early. Maybe I left the radio on out there. Or maybe it’s the aliens from that UFO the cops say they saw a couple of weeks ago. Hahaha! Yeah, I think they were smoking weed, too.

Well, if this isn’t your cat, I’ll just hold onto him for a couple…or maybe 7…more days. Thanks anyway, Mrs Fenster.

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Nowhere To Go But Sideways!

…at least it’s unpredictable
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The Doclopedia #1,488

Alt. Rocks 2: Rhymestone

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The Rhymestone is a cursed jewel that is hated by everyone who ever explored a dungeon. Quite simply, it is a jewel about the size of a small chicken’s egg and it is cursed to make the person who finds it speak only in rhyme for a full 30 days. Moreover, at the end of 30 days they have 24 hours to return it to a dungeon or be cursed for another month.

The jewel changes each time it is placed in a dungeon, so while it may be a diamond this time, it might be a sapphire next time. It always looks to be worth at least 500 gold.

Any attempt to just throw the Rhymestone away, or sell it, or destroy it, will cause it to reappear in your pocked and will add 5 more days to the curse. Likewise, you just cannot toss it down a dungeon entrance. You must take it at least 500 paces into the dungeon. And no pacing in circles or back and forth. The Rhymestone knows.
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Letters From My Granddaughter

…so far she has given me W, J, O, Z, G, E and T
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The Doclopedia #1,486

Alt. Rocks 2: Boulderlings

Calm down, elf! Them’s just boulderlings. Ya see ’em all the time down here in the upper and middle depths. I’d say them is about 10 years along and headin’ for an area with the right minerals for to grow ’em some more. At this age, there ain’t a one of them more’n 50 pounds. They’ll need at least twice that weight before they go to the surface to become Bouldrons.

What, you didn’t know that? That’s what comes of livin’ deep in the woods and huggin’ trees all day. Ha ha ha! Yeah, these little fellers go up to the surface once they hit 100 pounds or so, then they start growin’ fast. Why, in just about a century, most of ’em will weigh nigh onto a ton. Then they’ll form up proper faces and watch what goes on around ’em. Sooner or later, some daffy bunch of bastards like us come along and ask ’em questions in exchange for sand or salt. They can’t lie, so the info ya get is good.

Now try to get yer wits about ya, pointy ears. There be stuff down here that’s a damned sight more dangerous than a few strolling boulders.

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The Doclopedia #1,487

Alt. Rocks 2: Soft Rocks

Yes, Senator, those are the famous Martian Soft Rocks. Yes, you can touch them, but please put on a glove first. Yes, it is pretty amazing to see what looks like a hard stone turn out to be as soft as a marshmallow. No, you can’t mold them into other shapes, really. They go back to their original shape pretty quickly.

No, they aren’t alive, at least in any sense we know. They don’t breath or eat or drink. They don’t move or reproduce. We’ve cut some in two and they have no organs of any sort. They are just rocks that are soft.

We found them in two craters that were about 5 kilometers from each other. There are thousands of them there. No, sir, we have not seen them anywhere else on the planet. They aren’t even found below the surface in those two craters. Yes, yes, it is a hell of a mystery.

Now, if you’d like to pose holding some of the rocks, we can get that on the news tonight, Senator.

New: Squid Cream Oreos

…nopenopenope
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The Doclopedia #1,485

Alt. Rocks 2: Memory Quartz

Memory quartz is a magical mineral found on several Fantasy Earths. When treated with the right substances, it can be made to retain the memories of any one person. There are limits, of course, but as a rule of thumb, a piece of memory quartz the size of a deck of cards will hold six third level spells. The memories stored inside the quarts will remain there, pristine, until they are removed or the stone is destroyed. A piece of memory quartz the size of the one described above will sell for no less that 500 gold.

The Ice Cream Dwarves Go Mining For Salted Caramel

…yum yum

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The Doclopedia #1,483

Alt. Rocks 2: The Stone Testicles Of Yurr

Okay, first off, yes, those two huge ovoid stones really are the testicles of the ancient God Of Life, Yurr. They are, in fact, all that remains of him. Every other bit of his body was gone 3,000 years ago.

The testicles are made of a type of stone found nowhere else on the planet. Although the resemble marble, there is no way that marble could remain this smooth and unblemished after thousands of years out in the weather.

Yes, madame, they do give off a sort of energy one can feel. One can only assume it is “life energy”, since we are in a 9,000 acre wetland full of living creatures in the middle of a desert. In fact, this wetland increases by a few acres every year. It is truly amazing.

Ah yes, the barrier fence. It is there, surrounding the testicles for our safety. If any of us got any closer, we would find ourselves pregnant with at least triplets if female, or sporting a very painful and long lasting erection if male. Trust me, neither is something to be wanted.

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The Doclopedia #1,484

Alt. Rocks 2: Hot Gravel

Right, lads, let’s get to work! Now, for every 10 carts of regular gravel we put in the big hopper, we need to add 1 cart of Hot Gravel.

What? You don’t know what Hot Gravel is? Oh, wait, of course you don’t, you’re new to the job. Sorry. Old timers like me tend to forget that everyone hasn’t been laying roads for King and Country for 40 years.

So, this gravel here is Hot Gravel. Now, the name is kind of wrong, because it never really gets hot. It gets nice and warm and it can transfer that warmth over a pretty wide are of non-hot gravel. The Crater Gnomes up north mine it and trade it to us for all sorts of metals they don’t have. We mix it with regular gravel and use it to make roads that stay snow free in the winter and have a very soft glow at night.

Well, now that you know what Hot Gravel is, let’s get to work. Like I said, 1 cart of Hot to 10 carts of Not. Run the mixer in the hopper for 3 minutes, then fill up 2 big gravel carts with mix. Then do it all over again until it’s time to knock off work.

Here’s To You, Pal

…one last time

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The Roscoe Tapes

In a bit shy of 60 days, it will be the 14th anniversary of the death of our first dog, Roscoe. It will also be time for me to see, for maybe the 100th time, if I am ready to listen to his memoirs. Right now, I’m not sure if I am. Hearing the last words of a person’s voice is a hell of a thing. You feel all sorts of emotions, but the big one comes at the end. You feel great sorrow knowing that that was it. There will be no more messages, no more sound of their voice that you have not heard before. In a way, it puts a stamp on their death that says “Memories Only From Now On”.

About a month before he died, Roscoe finished his memoirs. He used a cassette recorder because that was years before the Bus, Sasha and Ottopus arms. To write, he would have needed a tricked out typewriter. Speaking into a microphone was easier and much faster.

When he finished the last tape, he came to me and said, “I’m done, boss. Put them somewhere safe and when I’m gone and you finally can do it, listen to them. Make ’em public if you want, I don’t care. It’s 50% of the damndest story you’ll ever hear. Now excuse me, but I need a double scotch neat.”

33 days later, he was dead. It took 4 years before I even really thought about the tapes. In that time, we had gained two dogs, lost one of them to cancer and adopted another, all on top of the curveballs life throws at you. When I did think of them, it was just to say, “nope, not yet.”

On the 10th anniversary, I actually opened the box, then shut it. About a week later, I had Sasha take the tapes and digitize them. The file “The Roscoe Tapes”, has been on all of my computers ever since. Many times, my cursor has hovered just above the “play” icon, but I haven’t clicked it. The only person who ever did listen to it was Silky, the day after she found out her days were numbered. We know that she cried and laughed while she listened, but she never said anything to anyone about the content.

Anyway, I think it might be time to hit “play”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the old hound told what happened to him over the course of several lives, starting with his first one on his Earth during WWII. Having heard Silky’s story, I’m very curious to hear Roscoe’s, even though it will hurt like hell to have it finish.

So on My 23rd, at 9:45 am, the moment he left this life, I’ll sit on one of the sofas on the bus, put on my headphones and hit “play”. Jeeves will hand me a glass and a bottle of the good stuff and I’ll spend the next 15 hours listening to my old pal tell 50% of the damnedest story I’ll ever hear. No doubt I will laugh and cry more than a few times.

Wicked Flamingos Pestered My Penguins

…pink bastards!

 

The Doclopedia #1,481

The Alphabet: Z is For…Zikritz

Among the Guldiartan Dwarves, the game of Zikritz might as well be the national pastime. Everyone played it when they were young and most bet on it when they become adults. Each Dwarven clan has their own pro team and when the Zikritz Cup is held every 3 years, work pretty much comes to a stop.

Zikritz is played on an X shaped field. Each arm of the X is 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. The goals are a pair of 5 foot wide holes in the center and similar 2.5 foot holes at the end of each arm. The arms are not smooth and flat, but have small hills and depressions all along them.

The game starts with 6 players from each team on the center of the field, facing outward around the two scoring holes. One player from each team is located in front of the scoring holes at each arm. When the horn blows, a ball is tossed into the midway point of one of the arms and the game is on.

Scoring is simple: get the ball into your team’s center hole and you score 1 point. Get it into your team’s hole in any arm and you score 3 points. Since this is a dwarven game, you can expect lots of shoving, tripping, tackling, punching and body slamming. Games run for exactly two hours, at which point the winning team is declared and then both teams head off for a raucous feast.

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The Doclopedia #1,482

The Alphabet: Z is For…Zenobia Savage

Now look, I ain’t sayin’ that Zenobia has anything more in common with that big bronze skinned guy than a last name. Then again, I ain’t sayin’ she don’t. I’m just sayin’ that it don’t take much observin’ to see all the similarities.

I mean, Zenobia is tall, right? 6’2” is taller than most men. She’s strong, too. Remember that time she knocked out that big German spy with one punch? That was damned impressive.

Then there’s how friggin’ smart she is. She’s a genius at all sorts of things. You an’ me, Joey, we ain’t idiots, an’ Stan is smarter than both of us, but she makes us all look dumb as doorknobs. She’s got them PhDs and stuff from universities.

Yeah, right, she’s rich, too. Got them cars an’ planes an’ boats an’ that big fancy house outside of Baltimore. Yeah, an’ that place out west in, whadda ya call it, Santa Barbera. I mean, we know she owns businesses an’ stuff, but maybe dear old dad gave her a nice grubstake after college.

Oh yeah, sure, she ain’t white like he is, but what of it? You gots Irish mixed with yer Puerto Rican an it’s plain to see that I ain’t one race or the other. I figure the big guy met some fine black woman an’ things went on from there. Ya know, rumor has it he’s got a half Chinese daughter and a son that’s half Navajo. Big handsome guy like him must be getting ladies on him like ants on a sugar bowl. Why, I’ll bet he…

Oh, hi, Zeno? Us, oh we was just yakkin’. Trouble somewhere? Hey, you know we’re yer boys!