Thursday, January 13, 2005

This is a Request, Mr. Radio Man

Anonymous said...
write a story involving jelly beans, a hairy toe, nelson mandela, a tractor-trailer, someone's grandpa, and a golf club (a la the picture you had to draw from those very same prompts in my guestbook two years ago). you were right, everything personal is ten times as hilarious after two years. -bräd

Once upon a time, there lived a very scrawny boy named Gustav Klimtmalm. He and his mother lived in a very small house in the magical kingdom of Nujer Zee, and though they were very poor they loved each other and their life in the small house so much that Gustav couldn't imagine a happier life.

Except, that is, for the times when he walked along the banks of the Great Brown River, which divided Nujer Zee from the kingom ruled by Man-hat Tan. Man-hat was volatile king, known to behead and fashion apparel from political dissidents, but his kingdom had long ago been charmed by the Green Giantess (who stood guard in its port) to never sleep. Across the Great Brown River, Gustav could hear snippets of music on the breeze as he drifted off to sleep at night and the cries of revellers as he awoke in the morning. To a little boy to whom a little house was the entire world, the Kingdom of Man-Hat Tan seemed a party he would never be invited to.

As Gustav grew, he began to spend more and more time on the banks of the Great Brown River, watching the lights of the Kingdom twinkle across the river. He went home at night to his mother, who would feed him a wholesome meal and send him off to bed, but he longed to know what it was like on the other side of that river.

Finally one night, when he could stand his curiosity no longer, Gustav crept out of his house, along the side of the road, and stopped at the bridge of Jidub El-Yew (a great and powerful ruler of ages past). There he crouched behind the tollman's booth until a large tractor-trailer screeched to a halt. While the driver heckled and yelled at the tollman in Nujer Zeean (as Nujer Zeeans are wont to do) about the fee for crossing the bridge, Gustav snuck into the back of the truck and, with a jolt and a rumble, found himself crossing the bridge to the kingdom of Man-Hat Tan.

When Gustav felt the truck roll to a stop, he hopped out and felt a bright light flood his eyes. Everywhere he looked was a twinkling tower, a blinking beacon, a dashing damsel languishing in the looks of a lingering lad. Faint from hunger and eager to partake in the Kingdom's delights, Gustav headed towards the first inn he could find, and dined on jellybeans until he could spit purple. This, he thought, was heaven compared to his mother's meager meals. When he could eat no more, he took to the streets again. He wandered into a pub, where he fell in with a man named Mort Eeney and his friend Jack Daniels.

Though the bounds of good taste force us to leave Gustav here in the tavern, we may greet him once again the following morning, which finds him on the banks of the Great Brown River once again, this time looking at his homeland of Nujer Zee from the other side. Though his head and, curiously, his loins ached, Gustav could remember almost nothing of the previous night. He was left with the distinct impression that he wanted to go home to his mother, however, and decided to hop the next truck back across the bridge.

While walking along the sand on the shore, however, he noticed a small lump sticking out of the sand. He crouched down, and leaned his aching head towards it. A mighty gust of breath scattered the sand to reveal a single hairy toe, though not a hairy foot, hairy leg, nor hairy person was anywhere in site. Scared to leave an object he assumed someone acutely missed, our dear Gustav scooped it up and resolved to take it to the Kingdom's highest power: Man-hat Tan himself.

Gustav walked and walked until he found Man-Hat's castle, but twenty men stood guard and wouldn't let him pass. He feared to show them the hairy toe, lest the guards think he had committed some nefarious act. He was ready to turn and leave when he felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to face a stooped old man.

"Can't get in there," he croaked, "without the magic words."

"Do you know the magic words?" Gustav inquired, hopefully.

"Yessiree, boy, I do. But what am I gonna git in return? I may be some old grandpa, lonely and wandering the streets, but you can see I wasn't born yesterday."

Gustav's hopes collapsed. He was a poor boy, and though Man-Hat Tan had made him feel otherwise, a frantic search of his pockets turned up not even a nickel. All he had to offer was a handful of black jellybeans, the ones nobody likes.

"This is all I have, sir."

"Well dagnabbit if thems ain't my favorites. Password's Winnifred," he mumbled, wandering off, mouth full of candy.

Gustav steeled himself. He turned to face the guards, took a deep breath, and yelled the magic word with all his might. All at once the guards disappeared, and Gustav cautiously proceeded into Man-Hat's castle.

Man-hat stood directly in the middle of the cavernous entry hall, intently practicing his putts with a shiny silver golf club.

"Y-your H-h-h-highness?" Gustav stammered. "I think I've found something that you should see. It may be of grave importance to your kingdom.

Man-hat wheeled around to stare at the boy who dared disturb his chambers. He approached slowly, drawing up his full height. Yet when he saw what the boy held in his outstretched hands, he softened.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I heard some things, my guys not doin' their jobs like they should. I heard some things, but who wants to believe their boys is lazy?"

"What, sir?"

"Lemme tell you a little story, kid. This here toe belonged to a man who ran off with more than a couple of kilos of my jellybeans, if you get my drift. I don't let nobody take advantage of me. But I can't let my fellas be doing shoddy work like this. Thanks, kid. Thanks. In exchange for the service you have done me, I'm gonna give you the secret password to unimaginable fortune and luck with the ladies. Just repeat after me."

With that, he whispered a phrase in Gustav's ear.

"Nelsonmandela," Gustav repeated. A wind rose up, and everything went black.

When he awoke, Gustav was taller, and wearing a black suit cut from the finest fabrics. He slowly approached the mirror, but screamed when his reflection became clear.

"My hair!" he yelled. "Why does it go forward like that?!"

"Don't worry, my dear boy. You are now the richest man in all of the Kingdom of Man-Hat Tan. The most lovely ladies will seek you out. Magic, however, always comes with a cost. That hair is the marker by which you will remember your lowly past. However, we're gonna have to give you a better name. Gustav Klimtmalm just doesn't have the right ring to it. We need something more charmed. How about...Robert Diamond? No. That's not it. Hmm...Jack Spade?"

"How about Donald Trump?," chimed in Gustav.

And he lived happily ever after.

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