Only One Way Out Of This Town

…until we got really creative, that is.

Life On The Magic Bus

Chapter 3: The Games Are Afoot!

Geeks gather

Winker goes up a level

4/20/2009

Destination Sign: Space…The Final Frontier

(Narrator: Hello, I’m back to tell you the story in this short chapter.)

Upon arriving in Seattle, Doc parked the bus in the parking lot of a strip mall destined for destruction in about a month. He and Grace had called all of their Seattle based friends, plus Spike & Mary, and invited them to an “absolutely first class dinner and night of gaming”. Pets were invited and would be getting their own gourmet meal.

Doc & Grace, both accomplished cooks and aided by the SmartBots known as Alton & Julia, cooked up a wonderful 9 course dinner for the humans and several tasty dishes suitable for a wide range of critters. This included three large rats for their friend Ollie’s reticulated python, Indy and a reserved dining area in the meadow room for all of the bunnies belonging to their friends Chris, Nicole & Kate.

At 6:00, as people arrived, the Clay family would greet them, help them get used to talking dogs and the big on the inside bus, then seat them in the living room where the two SmartBots known as Fry & Laurie served them drinks.

When Spike & Mary arrived (sans their teenaged daughters, Melody and Harmony, who were at home), the first words out of Spike’s mouth were, “So, this bus is basically a TAR…”

“HEY now, Uncle Spike,” Winker interrupted, “Stop right there. That satire disclaimer Dad puts up only gets us so far. Ixnay on the trademarked amesnay.”

Spike nodded agreement. “Right, right. But please tell me it makes the same sound when it disappears.”

“Yep,” the old dog said. “Pretty much exactly.”

Once everyone arrived, Doc & Grace took them on the grand tour. In the greenhouse room, the sight of the two suns caused everyone to need a sit down. Later, grace would remark that it was the first time in nearly 30 years that Doc & Spike were both rendered speechless at the same time. Mary marked it down on her calendar.

Before dinner, all of the critters were lead to the Meadow Room, which had been divided off into areas for dogs, cats, rodents, parrots and, of course, Indy. They were served beef stew, fish, hay, fruits & nuts and rats. After that, there was mostly laying around talking.

The humans sat at a big U shaped table that seated all 30 of them. They were served by Fry, Laurie, Abbott & Costello.

(Narrator: Doc named all of the SmartBots, in case you hadn’t figured that out.)

After a leisurely dinner that everyone agreed was one of the best they ever had, the humans retreated to the Game Room. There, they played board and card games for the next four hours, including a miniature wargame that used tiny robots that actually fought it out on the tiny, yet very realistic, terrain. Several of the wargamers present lusted over that game.

After the gaming, there was sitting around talking about everything from the game business to talking dogs to superheroes to raising teenagers. Everybody pretty much agreed that talking dogs would be preferable to teenagers as housemates.

Meanwhile, in the Meadow Room, things were getting interesting. After about an hour of resting, Winker said something to the door, which then opened into a direct portal to the Shoe Room. After all the other dogs were in there, Winker told the cats that a portal would open to a room they would love, the newly created just for this night Empty Box Room.

Later, the 7 cats in attendance that night would proclaim the Empty Box Room as the BEST ROOM EVER and confer upon Winker the status of Honorary Cat, something she said she would be proud of to her dying day.

In the Shoe Room, a wild shoe based version of what critters call “The Crazy Game” broke out. After three fast paced hours, there was still no winner, so everyone went back to the meadow room to nap and discuss the odd habits of humans.

Once all the guests were gone, the Clay family agreed that this little party had been a total winner. Then they all used their various bathrooms and went to bed.

Let’s review: This is a work of fiction, with no rights claimed on any character, process, thing, critter, foodstuff, game, movie or any other damned thing. Well, except for the stuff we created, mostly by pulling ideas out of our ass. Creativity is a funny thing, ya know? Anyway, any resemblance to people or things living, dead, undead or in some state of quantum flux is done solely for humorous & satirical intent. Thank you for reading this.

Chapter 4, Part 1: On The Trail Of Giant Jesus

Sasha meets a bear

Grace meets Sweet Jesus

4/24/2009

Destination Sign: The Hundred Acre Wood

In the world of roadside attractions, giant statues of Jesus are second in number only to houses built out of weird stuff like beer bottles, tin cans and old cars. Doc has heard that there is at least one giant Jesus in every state and, like a birdwatcher, he keeps a notebook detailing his sightings. So far, he has seen 15 giant Sons of God in 11 states. He’s looking to add a couple more on the way to San Diego.

About 2 miles south of the Canadian border, Doc turned the bus around and started back south, but only went a mile before coming to the first of the day’s stops, the Internationally Famous Can-Am Giant Jesus.

(Narrator: Is Internationally Famous better than World Famous? Damned if I know.)

Getting off the bus, Sasha was the first to speak.

“Dang, that’s a big statue. Was this guy Jesus really that tall?”

“No,” Grace told her. “He was probably shorter than me. And darker skinned, too.”

Sasha thought for a minute, then asked, “Do you mean like Uncle Louie’s cousin Jesus? He’s a nice guy who likes to pet my ears.”

“Yeah,” Grace said. “He would have looked kind of like him, only not Mexican. Jesus was from the Middle East.”

Lucy chimed in, “If you ask me, this Jesus dude looked a heck of a lot like Uncle Spike.”

Grace nodded. “Yes, he does, doesn’t he?”

Doc walked up to the plaque on the ground in front of Giant Jesus. He read it aloud to the others and a few more tourists who had just shown up.

“The Church of Jesus Our Savior dedicates this statue to the people of Canada & the United States in the hope that they can live in peace and harmony and dedicate themselves to living as the Son of God taught. June 25th, 1987”

“Well,” he said, “we humans pretty much blew that one. On the other hand, we do have the 7th tallest Giant Jesus in North America right here. 80 feet tall. Too bad you can’t go up inside him and look out his eyes, like some of the others.”

After taking several photographs and buying the requisite tourist items, they got back on the bus and headed toward the coast. A few hours later, after a quick stop to view a herd of world famous black deer, the bus reached Olympic National Park, where the Clay family joined about 30 other humans & dogs on a self guided tour. Later, Doc would write this about it.

“So there we are, way the hell out on a trail and there I am, at the head of the group of maybe 32 people and several mostly small dogs, cos I’m Nature Boy and I just sorta slid into the guide position on this unguided hike. Everything was going fine until the bear stepped outta the bushes about 60 feet in front of us.

At that point, everyone pretty much froze, bear included…except for Sasha. See, she’s a very friendly little gal. Loves people, cats, other dogs, livestock…you name it, she’ll give it a chance to be her friend.

Including a young female black bear, who I’d say weighed about 300-400 pounds.

So, I’m holding Sasha’s leash and she’s straining on it to say “Hi” to the bear and I can hear people behind me backing up the trail and Grace whispering “Doc! Come on!” and the bear is just standing there looking at us like “What’s up?” Oddly, none of the other dogs were barking, not even Lucy, who later told us that squirrels and rabbits are one thing, but a bigass bear is totally another.

Anyway, the bear stared at us, we stared at her and everyone else backed up another 3-4 yards. Then Sasha barked, the bear yelled, I yelled, everyone behind me yelled and they all started running…and then the bear hauled ass down the hill.

I looked at Sasha, who was still barking her “Let’s play wrassle!” bark, then looked at the rapidly receding ass of the bear, then back to Sasha. She stopped barking and said “She must have had a previous appointment.” Then I turned around and lead her back up the trail, which she was ok with because it was nearing lunch time anyway.

When I caught up with the rest of the hikers, the only thing I could think to say was “She’ll be upset with me all day because I didn’t let her kill that bear”. Oddly, nobody but Sasha and I found that funny.”

After lunch back on the bus, during which Doc & Sasha heard the rather unkind opinions of Grace, Winker & Lucy on “The Bear Episode”, they proceeded along to the town of Iwalco, Washington. They had planned on just stopping to get some fresh air and stretch their legs, but then they saw a sign in the local chocolate shop that said “Come in and see our Sweet Jesus”. How could they resist?

Leaving The Girls in the bus to play World of Dogcraft, Doc & Grace strolled over to see what Sweet Jesus was made of.

As it turned out, he was made of a dark chocolate mixed with cherries. He stood about seven feet tall and had his open arms outstretched. Doc posed with him first, then Grace did. Ten minutes later, they were back on the bus, Grace was looking sheepish and Doc was laughing loudly.

Winker looked at her parents, then asked, “She snapped, didn’t she, Dad?”

Doc was laughing too hard to speak, but nodded.

“He was..so delicious smelling…all dark chocolate & cherries…I…I couldn’t help myself.” Grace looked embarrassed as she wiped chocolate off her chin.

“She…she…Hahahaha…bit off two of his fingers! HAHAHAHA! The shop owner looked like she was going to have…hahahaha…have…heeheehee…a heart attack. I…heeheehee…had to pay $300 to get us out of there.” Doc collapsed onto a sofa and laughed hysterically. Lucy & Sasha joined in.

Winker looked at Grace with sympathy in her eyes. “Well, Mom, now you know how it was for 2 year old me back when I ate that plate of hot dogs.”

Grace went off to the bedroom and didn’t come out for an hour. Doc stopped laughing after 15 minutes and got the bus back on the road. The Girls went back to playing World of Dogcraft.

Chapter 4, Part 2: On The Trail Of Giant Jesus

Doc writes!

A tale of two houses

4/25/2009

Destination Sign: Barsoom


The World Famous Circular House and the World Famous Long House

Exclusive to Roadside Attractions Quarterly by Doc Clay. Photos by Grace Clay

Located halfway between Iwalco and Chinook along Highway 101, these two interesting houses are only about a mile apart on the eastern side of the road. You can’t miss the two big signs.

We went into the Circular House first. It is the older of the two by five years, having been built in 1968 by Milton Zonga with the admitted dual purpose of being a place to live and an income generating curiosity. It is both of those, although Mr. Zonga and his wife Rose live in Arizona now and the house is home to his grandson, Julius and his family. Our tour was guided by his wife, Kerry, who did a good, if uninspired job.

The circular house is just that, a large 4 bedroom 3 bath house built as a circle with one long hallway running around the inside edge of the circle. It is done in pretty much the exterior style of any suburban stucco house and most of the interior, aside from the entry hall/gift shop/museum looks pretty much like your own home might, only with curved walls and some great ocean views. The small museum itself has many photos and newspaper & magazine articles about the house, from planning right up to today.

The most interesting thing about the Circular House is the lust tropical garden around the pool in the center. This area is roofed over to form a greenhouse. There are tropical birds flying about and even about six squirrel monkeys in the trees. It’s really quite cool looking.

The array of souvenir items is pretty large, but prices are a bit high.

I give this attraction a solid C+

Address: 100 Circle Drive

Hours: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Mon., Wed., Sat., Sun. Closed on Christmas, New Years and Easter.

The World Famous Long House is just about the total opposite of the Circular House. For starters, it is long. As in 24 feet wide, 14 feet high (interior) and 200 feet long! The whole place is a very well made log cabin and blends in well with the surrounding forest. There are five bedrooms, three baths, a huge living room and a bunch of other rooms. Two of the bedrooms are for rent, as the place is also a B&B.

This house was built starting in 1973 by Homer and Helen Zonga, Homer being Milton’s younger brother. The house was not finished until 1979. The small separate museum/gift shop tells the whole story with photos, videos and plenty of newspaper & magazine articles.

The tour of the house is given by Homer and Helen themselves, with assistance from their twin grandsons, Bill and Ben. Homer is a real character and if their are no children or easily offended folks in the tour group, his descriptions of the troubles encountered building the house can get quite colorful.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Long House is that every room is done up in a different style. There is the kitchen done up as an old school diner, the bedroom that looks like a cave and rooms straight out of the Old West, a science fiction movie, a castle and many more.

This place is well worth visiting and the souvenir items are reasonably priced.

Address: 1 Long Drive

Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday thru Sunday. Closed on Mondays, Christmas, New Years, Easter and the Fourth of July.

Sassy Wombats Ridiculed My Partridges

…it was terrible to hear

 

The Doclopedia #1,143

Bad Dogs: Yin Yin

Among the affluent young capitalist of Shanghai, owning a purebred dog is a status symbol. Owning a unique purebred dog puts you at the top of the heap. The owners of Yin Yin have such a dog, since he is a pure white miniature long haired dachshund with blue eyes. The three year old is the apple of their eye and leads a pampered life. Too bad that he is also evil to the core.

There is a reason why Yin Yin looks so different: he’s not from our world. He was actually born on an Earth where psychic powers are very common. Humans, dogs, cats and a few other species have them and, for the most part, use them for good. But when a certain weenie dog began using his mind control powers for evil, the Grand Council banished him to another reality. Our reality.

Yin Yin controls the minds of several hundred rich and powerful people, both in Shanghai and in other parts of China. Having no real need for money, the cunning canine is instead setting China up for violent revolution and eventual collapse. After that, he intends to do the same to the USA and all of the other countries of the world. Very few humans and dogs can resist his mental powers.

Yin Yin’s big weakness is cats, who are utterly unaffected by his attempts to control their minds. Now, if they only cared about the collapse of civilization, we might have a chance.

The Rare And Beautiful Whistling Potto Of Potawango Island

…they can imitate many birds

 

The Doclopedia #1,142

Bad Dogs: Lulu Louise Cross


Until the Summer of 2013, Lulu was a normal basset hound/coon hound mix living in Sacramento, California. Then she died from lymphoma, he basset hound sister transferred her intellect into an artificial brain and in the Fall of 2013, Lulu awoke with a partly organic, partly mechanical body.

Now a cyborg, Lulu found that she was much stronger and faster than normal. Within a couple of months, her body was upgraded to full robotic when her meat parts began to fail. This made her even stronger and faster and gave her some advanced weaponry & sensors. Whoever thought that was a good idea?

Later still, Lulu’s body was improved even more, along with her getting an adamantium skeletal structure and vibranium “skin”. She is now nearly indestructible. Her top speed, on Earth, is 175 miles per hour. She weighs 150 pounds, but is only about the size and build of a Dalmatian. She can function perfectly well under water at great depths and in the vacuum of space.

Lulu is known for flaunting the law, upsetting the status quo and causing great amounts of property damage, all in the name of fun, or on rare occasions, justice. She is often accompanied by her brother, Flash Alexander Cross, a small cat who is every bit the hell raiser Lulu is. Neither of them has ever shown the slightest trace of guilt about their exploits. They are both often found locked down at home (Lucy by a restraining bold, Flash by steel bars on his apartment) by their human parents.

Lulu and Flash are wanted for questioning by hundreds of law enforcement agencies worldwide and a few agencies from offworld.

Golden Weevils

…I have no idea where that came from

 

The Doclopedia #1,139

Road Signs: Steep Grade

On Smart Earth, where education is mandatory everywhere and most folks have 3-4 degrees, you’ll often see this road sign as you drive the last mile to one of the more exclusive universities. It references the fact that if you have less that a B+ average after the first semester, you’ll probably get kicked out. At the end of the second semester, it better be an A average or they’ll start calling you “the slow student”.

The Doclopedia #1,140

Bad Dogs: Amelia, The Irish Setter

On DogEarth, there are some pretty bad dogs. Amelia O’Barker is one such canine. Born in Ireland, she came to the United States at age 5 and immediately started up a gang of the toughest bitches she could find. Before long, they were deep into extortion, gambling, drugs and a host of other rackets.

Amelia rules with an iron paw and enforces her rule via “The Big Girls”, three Saint Bernard sisters who strike fear into the hearts of everyone they meet. These enforcers are thought to be responsible for several murders and at least a dozen forced neuterings of members of the “West Boston Growlers” gang.

Amelia O’Barker is a 10 year old Irish Setter. Her fur is deep red with blond highlights. She usually wears gray business suits and has a nickel sized notch in her left ear. She has a pronounced Dublin accent.

The Doclopedia #1,141

Bad Dogs: Doctor Petey

Of all the evil masterminds on DogEarth, Doctor Petey is the most feared. A master of planning, he uses his insanely loyal followers and high tech gadgets to take whatever he wants, spreading fear and destruction along the way. He has several secret lairs around the world, with his favorite being the one beneath New York City.

Doctor Petey started out as Petey Wagtail, a genius pup born to poor Staffordshire Terrier parents in San Francisco in 1922. By the age of 4, he had started down the path of evil and was soon gathering up the funds and technology he would need to launch an attack on the law abiding world.

 

The only reason Doctor Petey has not conquered the world by now is that he has been thwarted at every turn by the likes of Mystery Hound, Lois Woofer of the FBI and Agent 333 of Her Majesties Secret Service. These do-gooders and their associates always seem to gain the upper hand at the last moment.

 

Doctor Petey is a 12 year old Staffordshire Terrier with a mostly white coat that has black spots in a few places. He usually dresses in expensive suits and wears a monocle in his left eye. He effects a German accent, but is not German at all. He is often accompanied by his right hand man, Max, a miniature poodle. In his spare time, Doctor Petey enjoys fine food & wines, building deathtraps and dropping enemies into a tank full of sharks.