Chapter 204: In Which Our Hero, Traveling Under Cover Of Darkness And Fog, Seduces The French Queen And Then Steals Her Pig

…later, he and the pig shared some excellent wine


The Doclopedia #703

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Polymorphing + Potion Of Animal Control

The mixing of these two potions will have very different effects depending upon the race/species of the consumer.

Humans: You will be able to control small mammals for up to an hour. Sadly, you will be polymorphed into a shrew for about a week.

Elves: Look forward to peeling skin, boils and the overwhelming urge to yell whenever you speak.

Dwarves: You will be polymorphed into a chicken, but you will be able to speak.

Halflings: All of your hair will fall out and you’ll turn orange.

Half Orcs: Expect to be polymorphed into some sort of living teddy bear.

Goblins: You’ll be changed into a puddle of goo.

Dragons: You’re internal heat source will rapidly heat up until you explode. The blast radius will be about half a mile.

Dogs & Cats: You will polymorph into a human for 24 hours. Sorry about that.



The Doclopedia #704

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Giant Strength + Potion Of Shrinking

Mixing these two potions has no ill effects, except that a few days after you mix them, you will begin shrinking or becoming terribly strong at random intervals. There will be no warning of this. These random effects will last about 10 days.



The Doclopedia #705

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Fireproofing + Potion Of Bravery

This is a very bad pair to mix. Side effects can include duck feet, melting skin, ringing in your ears, monster attracting sweat, greasy hands, greatly enlarged nose, loudly popping joints, uncontrollable crying, random tentacles, flammable urine, sticky spit, exploding spleen, flexible teeth and bursting into song.




DogCon 5, Trip Day 6

(Gentle Readers: Please insert stuff here about waking up at 6:00 am to wife snoring in my ear and cat sleeping on my sweating neck. Add feeding & walking of critters, plus morning routine, etc, etc.)

So, at 9:30 we started driving up the highway towards Crescent City and, beyond that, the Oregon Coast. Once we got to Crescent City, we stopped for a bit of a walking tour and to see The World Famous Iron Colossus.

As the name tells you, this is a 110 foot tall statue of a man, or maybe a robot, built out of scrap iron. It took three years to build back in the 1970s and it still gets added to every so often. It’s actually pretty cool looking and since you can see it for free, they sell lots of stuff to make a buck for upkeep, since the sea air rusts the hell out of iron. We did our part to keep Old Rusty (his local nickname) in good shape.

Flash: Oh, Dad, think of the pet toys you could have bought with that money!

Abby: You have like, a million cat toys already, Flash.

Flash: Quiet, you!

The next few hours were spent driving, stopping for pix/videos, sightseeing and lunch. Lunch was great, by the way, being mostly a ton of Dungeness crabs. Around 2:00, we hit our second roadside stop, The Undersea Tube.

It’s one of those cool clear acrylic tubes that you find most often at aquariums or water parks, only this one extends 300 feet out into the ocean. For $20.00, you get on a sort of train thing that then goes down the tube and out under the sea. The guide, an oceanography student from the University of Oregon, pointed out all sorts of cool and sometimes goofy looking fish and sea mammals. And yes, we all sang “Under The Sea”. You stay down there for about 45 minutes and it is well worth your money. Afterward, you buy a bunch of stuff.

Sasha: Before the humans left, they put us in the Meadow Room, but they forgot to fully close the door…

Flash: Your bad, Mom!

Sasha: …so we decided to explore the Warehouse, which had the only other interesting open door.

Bea: I would have preferred the Greenhouse, but after the last time Abby & I visited there, Dad locks that place up tight.

Abby: Jeez, you eat a few daylilies and you’re a criminal.

Flash & Lucy: Welcome to our world.

Sasha: Anyway, that warehouse mostly has stuff in crates and boxes, but, umm, somebody managed to knock one over and have it bust open. Inside it were a bunch of old books, which didn’t even smell tasty to the goats.

Abby: Nope, too old for us.

Sasha: So, instead, we just played hide & seek, since the Warehouse is like, half a mile long and about a quarter mile wide.

Back at the bus we dumped our purchases and then went to check out much noise in the Warehouse. Grace loses 2 Wife/Mom points for not fully closing the Meadow Room door. The critters were mostly running around the Warehouse having fun, which is ok, but then I heard Avis calling my name and saying “You’ve got to see this!”

Holy Hamsters, it was a crate busted open and about 350 Doc Savage pulp magazines had spilled out. I think Doc Mystery and I both wept a bit, especially when we found out that these were alternate world pulps that continued the tales of Doc and his crew right up into the late 1950s. Even better, they were in near mint condition! We lovingly carried them to the library, then I fed the critters until they were ready to pop.

Lucy: WTF? Dad was feeding us steaks and stuff!

Bea: He pretty much dumped a whole garden in front of Abby & I.

Flash: Fish and more fish! Oh man!

Sasha: I don’t know what we did, but we did it well.

Another couple of hours on the road and we pulled into a state park near the beach. After dinner, there was beach walking, movie watching and, for some of us, pulp magazine reading.

Tomorrow: More of Oregon and then into Washington before heading east, then south.

Radio Station: “The Dr. Demento Channel

Destination Sign: Arrakis


Doc Tempest And The Eyes Of Lucifer

… from the Jan. 1966 issue


The Doclopedia #700

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Shadowy Form + Potion Of Speed

It is an unfortunate fact that if these two potions are consumed within 4 hours of each other, the consumer will be teleported to the ninth level of Hell for a period of not less than 1 but not more than 3 days. Said poor S.O.B. will arrive butt naked and weaponless. Most who come back from this journey suffer from multiple phobias and a hatred of hot weather.



The Doclopedia #701

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Endurance + Elixir Of Persuasion

The Good News is that combining these two potions makes you irresistible to the opposite sex for 48 hours. The Bad News is that this means the opposite sex of ALL species, sentient or not. It’s no big deal to have your leg humped by an ant, but it’s quite another thing to have a horde of Ogres suddenly look at you with lust in their eyes.



The Doclopedia #702

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Healing + Potion Of Protection From Cold

WARNING!: Never use these potions within 2 hours of each other! Doing so will turn you into a Magenta Slime, the most disgusting and hated creature ever, for at least a week. Hundreds of species, sentient and otherwise, kill Magenta Slimes on sight. Additionally, you will be able to eat and digest only feces, rotten flesh and the snot of Greater Demons.




DogCon 5, Trip Day 5

When my alarm went off at 7:00 this morning, I woke up in a zoo. Well, not really, but Grace had decided that the critters could sleep in our bedroom, so there were Abby & Bea snoozing on the floor, Lucy curled up on the loveseat, Flash sleeping on the pillow next to Grace and Sasha sleeping in between Grace & I. Normally, Flash is the only critter who sleeps in the bed with us, but Sasha would not be denied.

Sasha: I like being on the bed!

Flash: Did you know that you woof in your sleep?

Anyway, I got up and rousted our little menagerie with the promise of food, at which point we all headed for the kitchen. Once eating was done, I took everyone to the Meadow Room and left them there to do their business.

Abby: Once we were done, we frolicked a bit.

Bea: Yeah, we goats are big on frolicking.

Lucy: Dogs like frolicking, too!

Sasha: Yeah, we hella frolic!

Flash: I was too busy hunting mice.

When I got back to the kitchen, I found that Zach was there, so we started knocking out breakfast. At 7:45, I put “(Nothing But) Flowers” by Talking Heads on the intercom and announced that breakfast was mere minutes away. By 9:00, everyone was fed and washed and we were on our way to our first roadside attraction, the “House From The Sea”.

It was a short drive of 20 minutes to get there and you could really tell that this house had been built from stuff that had washed up on the beach about a mile away. The whole place is about the size of an ordinary 2 bedroom home, but made out of everything from old rowboats to fishing nets to assorted plastic doodads that fell off of cargo ships.

The tour, given by the owners, Mr & Mrs Henrik Heinneman, costs a buck per person, but the critters got to go for free. Mr & Mrs H were hippies back in the day (like many other roadside attraction creators seem to be) and, as Henrik put it, “decided not to let all of this shit go to waste.”

The place is cozy and pretty normal looking inside, but the back & front yard are just as gonzo looking as the house is. They do have a fantastic number of iris varieties in both yards and I bought a bunch of bulbs from Mrs H. we also bought a bunch of t-shirts and postcards.

Sasha: That place smelled really strange. Kind of like a pile of old wet lumber.

Lucy: Yeah, it did. I also smelled weed growing back up the hill.

Flash: Speaking of fun weeds, they had catnip growing in their garden!

Bea: Yeah, Flash, we know. Mom had to carry your goofy ass back to the bus.

Abby: Just say no to drugs, Flash.

Flash: Hahaha! You two ought to be on Comedy Central.

Back on the road, we drove another 45 minutes until we came to Fairy Woods. Judging from the near full parking lot, it’s a pretty popular place. It’s a five acre park done up with fairies & fairy stuff, both fairy sized and human sized. If you are thinking this is a little girl magnet, you are right. Since we had Doc Mystery’s little girl on board, we figured she’d like it. We weren’t wrong. Actually, we all liked it because its a well constructed park and the hand carved fairies (900 of them!) look great. We all wandered around the place for about an hour, then partook of some killer cookies before buying the usual swag.

Lucy: Not being allowed to go on this tour, we all stayed on the bus and played Diablo 3.

Abby: We kicked some ass, we did!

Flash: Yeah, and we also had the music cranking with some crazy house beats.

Sasha: And we ate a whole loaf of sourdough bread that Dad left out.

Bea: Shhh, Sasha! We might get in trouble.

When we got back to the bus, the critters had music blasting and were playing Diablo 3. There was also the small remnant of a bag that had once held a loaf of sourdough bread.

Sasha: Aw shit!

Since it was my bad for leaving the bread out, I just turned the music off, but let them keep playing the game.

Sasha: My luck holds! The Force is strong in young Sasha Jane!

Abby: Oh jeez!

Our next stop was The World Famous Redwood Balloon Tour. This is a totally cool helium balloon excursion that takes you straight up into the canopy of a small grove of ancient redwoods. It’s not cheap at $50.00 per person, 4 person minimum, but it is totally worth every penny. Grace, who is not a fan of going up in balloons, and Zach, who was feeling a bit under the weather, remained on the ground. The remaining 9 of us went up in two groups. First up was Avis, Sharon, Miranda and I.

The upper limbs of redwoods are complete ecosystems, with species totally unique to the various altitudes. Reptiles, amphibians, insects, molluscs, plants, fungi…all living up there and getting water from the fog that waters the redwoods every day. Everyone took hundreds of pix and asked bunches of questions. After it was all over, we bought copies of their book and bought t-shirts.

We stopped at a rest area to scarf some sandwiches, then I drove us to Eureka and both our final roadside stop and our days end. The roadside stop was “Parrot World”, a really big parrot breeding operation that, besides selling expensive parrots as companions, also breed rare species for sale to zoos and for restocking low wild populations.

They have dozens of species of cockatoos, macaws, conures, amazons and other types of parrots. They also have the best trained parrot show I’ve ever seen. Naturally, our critters were locked in the Meadow Room on the bus.

Flash: I’ll dream about tasty parrots tonight. They can’t take my dreams away!

Lucy: Yeah, well, I was ok with avoiding those big parrot beaks.

Sasha: I would have barked at them from a distance.

Lucy: Parrots can fly, sis.

Sasha: Yowza!

One sweet little Rose Breasted Cockatoo really took a liking to Avis, but a $3,000 price tag and her cat, Leon, ruled out her getting an avian housemate. I caught Grace looking a bit too hard at a Hyacinth Macaw, that, while very tame and beautiful, was $7,000 and a clear violation of the Bedroom Accords that state there won’t be anymore pets. Thus, I was forced to put my foot down. Fortunately, Grace did not protest. I did let her buy several t-shirts and parrot fridge magnets, because, you know, I like the sex.

We are now at our stop for the night just south of Arcata. We’ve got pizza cooking in the brick oven (oh man, do I love this kitchen!) and movies waiting in the theater. Tonight our double feature will be “Mothra & Gamera Go To Paris” and “Giant Monster Attack: 1980!”. Gotta love those alternate world kaiju flicks.

Tomorrow, we continue up the coast into Oregon, where more roadside coolness awaits.

Radio Station:Space Cowboys”, music from the wild west…of Mars

Destination Sign: Abbey Road

The Incredible Turtle-Man Meets The Evil Supergrannies!

…the battle YOU requested! By Lee & Kirby!


The Doclopedia #695

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Strength + Potion Of Ghostly Form

If you drink these two potions within an hour of each other, you may experience one or more of the following side effects in addition to the two potions canceling each other out: Rapid growth of all body hair, auditory hallucinations, severe (and we mean SEVERE) constipation, itchy feet, transformation into a duck, violent sneezing of highly acidic snot, the ability to float in the air, increased sexual appetite and incorporeal arms.



The Doclopedia #697

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Invisibility + Elixir Of Healing

The Adventurers Guild has recorded the following side effects from consuming these two potions within a time period of less than 15 minutes: Explosion, colorblindness, gooey face, butterfly wings that are useless and a sudden allergy to water.

Additionally, if you are an Elf, you may undergo transformation into a Mud Goblin or suffer from various sensory hallucinations.

Dwarves and Half Orcs will have all of the side effects except explosion. They will also smell like gardenias for 6 hours.



The Doclopedia #698

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Protection VS The Undead + Potion Of Flame Breath

Humans and Halflings may mix these two potions without ill effect. Indeed, in some cases they will actually have the third effect of making ones skin much tougher than normal.

Dwarves who mix them will get stomach cramps and blurry vision, but will still get the benefit of the potions.

Elves will turn bright yellow and only the Potion of Flame Breath will take effect.

Half Orcs who drink this mix will turn into mice. This will last 48 hours.



The Doclopedia #699

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Flight + Potion Of Night Vision

For all races, the only known side effect of mixing these two potions is a tendency to giggle frequently and farts that smell delicious to all known monster species.




DogCon 5, Trip Day 4

We started today with doughnuts and assorted drinks, then drove over to Market Street, where we left the bus looking like a Homeland Security SUV. I figured that way, nobody would fuck with it or give it a parking ticket. I was correct.

From there, we walked around a bit, then went to a crack house…I mean, used book store.

Flash: When I say most of these humans have a book buying habit, I actually mean “addiction way worse than heroin or crystal meth”.

The critters were unimpressed, but most of us humans left with bags of books. Big bags of books. When we got back on the bus, I asked Joe if he could pop us up a book storage closet, which he did.

The next couple of hours was mostly sightseeing, although we adults did go visit the “Museum of Human Sexuality” for about half an hour. As you might expect of such a place, it was pretty eye opening even for a jaded old fart like me. A couple of our group were still blushing hours later.

Sasha: Meanwhile, back on the bus, we were having big fun in the Slide Room.

Flash: The Slide Room is just freakin’ great!

Bea: Oh yes it is, except that after about an hour of sliding, your butt gets sore.

Lucy: Yeah, I think I might have worn the fur off the underside of my tail.

Abby: I can’t get my tail to wag, but it was still hella fun.

For lunch, we descended like geeky locusts on a place in the Mission District that makes great Mexican tortas. I had the pork, Grace had beef and everyone else pretty much tried most of what was on the menu. I was pleased to introduce several of my companions to horchata for the first time.

Flash: I just love Mexican food! That barbacoa…mmmmm!

The Other Critters: We’ll be putting on our gas masks.

Flash: Oh yeah, like dogs & goats never fart.

About 1:30 we climbed on the bus and rolled out of The City, heading north to Wine Country. We only stopped at a couple of places, but wine was tasted and purchased. We also stopped at a cheese shop and bought quite a lot of assorted cheeses.

Abby: Including several goat cheeses!

Bea: Goat cheese rules!

Sasha: And it is very tasty stuff!

At 6:30, we arrived at a State Park campground just south of Fort Bragg. I’m writing this as everybody else is walking along the beach. In a few minutes, I’ll be starting dinner, which will be steaks. After that, it will be time for board games until bedtime. Tomorrow, we’ll be hitting no less than four roadside attractions, one of which is “The World Famous Redwood Balloon Tour”.

Radio Station:Alt. Beatles”, music from the hundreds of alternate versions of The Beatles, a couple of whom are, in fact, beetles

Destination Sign: Castle Dracula