Joined: Jul 2011
Originally posted on MSPA
by Lord Paradise
”My battle’s going fine, by the way,” the Fool growled.
The Spectator—er, the male one—ignored him. ”You have beautiful eyes,” was all he said, reaching a hand out and tugging on the Fool’s jingly hat.
The Grandmaster formerly known as Arnold Fogge slapped the probing hand away. “No, no, I really want to stress this. For my first round, I literally put my contestants in a universe of pure, unfiltered chaos. And that went fine, because I put even the slightest bit of thought into what I was doing. And I’m the Fool! Putting thought into things isn’t even supposed to be my deal. You’re the Spectator. You’d think that that would give you a little foresight. But no, you’re the sort of Spectator one finds at monster truck rallies, it’s just ‘Vroom! Vroom! and you clap and squeal and pay eight dollars for beer in a plastic cup and do it again next week. How does the Director make this look easy?”
The Spectator was beginning to come around to the inevitability that he wasn’t getting any at the end of this conversation. He frowned. ”Sounds like someone’s acting out of character. Come, my dove, let’s do something foolish together.”
Hearing the word “dove” in the masculine voice was as offputting as most anything else the former Gentleman had experienced in the immeasurable span of his existence. He showed the Spectator the back of his hand. “You just made me break my rule against hitting girls,” the Fool chided. “And trust me, you are a girl. Actually, I’m going to make this a lot easier on myself.”
The Fool grabbed the Spectator by the arm and dragged him through some plasticity of his domain that might be described as a black curtain. They arrived in an identical room, but the female Spectator was there as well. “Oh, for Our sake,” groaned the season’s organizer. “Put on some clothes.”
The lady Spectator’s first attempt to comply with the Fool’s demand involved crudely slapping her hands over some private areas; after a few seconds she remembered she had limitless powers and quite a lot of hair, and employed these resources to engineer something a little more modest. ”What’s he doing here, my falcon?” she asked her male counterpart.
“Don’t respond,” Fool ordered the male Spectator. “Let’s not make this more confusing for anyone.”
”Don’t silence him,” snapped the female one. ”You’ve no right to be angry. This sort of thing is the reason we started our engagements in the first place. To see the multiverse with fresh eyes. To experiment with our gifts of omni-what-have-you. To use death to revel in life—both the lives that we lead and the lives that they lead, which are not to be conflated—and inevitably to emerge with a new social order that--I’m sorry, did you say something? From a comparative standpoint, I have a shortage of ears.”
The Fool had not said anything. He had thought a good many things, but had the feeling that vocalizing them would not be helpful at this time. “Alright,” he said, after a pause. “We’re off the see the Hedonists. You--” he indicated the male Spectator—“Are staying behind. No buts, no ifs, and especially no ands or ors.”
The Spectator sulked and sat still while his lady-self and the Fool disappeared behind the curtain. He tried to ascertain the reason why he had the only female version not to be completely identical to himself. He’d even managed to catch a glance at her battle for a bit; whatever she had going on was completely different than his Vaginal Dickfest.
* * * * *
”Sithembil! Status update on the brainplague?”
“Mmmm. Mmmmmm! Infection levels at—mmmmf—at 99.7%, Admiral.”
“Ah.” Well, that would explain why she wasn’t wearing any clothes. And why Sithembil was a male all of a sudden. And why a male version of herself was having a completely identical conversation with a female version of Sithembil.
Reports were flowing in of massive structural damage, a population at 180% capacity, and good times all around. Itzel wasn’t reading them, of course. She had… other things occupying her time.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, in a relative location that might technically be described as the other side of space-(time-cubed), the Fool sat in judgment on two fat lards of whom he didn’t feel particularly fond at the moment. He could not for the life of him tell which was the male and which the female. The Spectator sat in a corner, sulking.
There was a question he was afraid to ask, but it was tickling at the back of his immense consciousness (“brain” would have been a misnomer, here) and he had to get it out of the way. “You haven’t had sex with each other, have you?”
”Oh, God no.”
”Why would you even—“
”How would that even—“
”Definitely not. Well, not yet.”
”I see.” The Fool sighed, clutching his scepter like a security blanket. “You didn’t just notice anything odd about your voice? A discoloration? A fold?”
The two Hedonists looked at each other and shrugged. ”Nah,” one offered.
“Your own damn character,” snarled the Fool. “This is pathetic. If this were to happen in, say, the last round, I mean, sure, it happens. You let a couple characters loose in your domain, some stuff gets knocked over, maybe you get murdered, such is life. But this is the second round! And while the rest of us are just kicking back and enjoying the show at this point, you actually let one of your contestants inside of your heads. That is—“
”Wait, wait, wait,” interrupted one of the Hedonists. ”Are you saying we let Etiyra do her manipulate-y thing on us? That’s absurd.”
”Where do you get off telling us what to do anyway? You’re just into Grandmastering as a status symbol! We battle from the heart.”
”I give up,” said the Fool. “Just get off your asses. We’re going to see the Tormentors. And if you don’t feel like going with me, I’ll go myself, and tell them they can do whatever they want with you.”
That seemed to get their attention. Two monstrous bodies lifted themselves into an ambulatory position and, along with the Spectator, wandered off into the absence of a direction.
* * * * *
It’s pretty hard to distinguish two concurrently whirling masses of metal from one larger mass of whirling metal. It would be the voice that tipped you off, a disjointed stereo like a dubstep remix of a song that was already electronic-sounding enough to begin with. The percussion was provided by two nearly-identical clacking noises emanating from the two typewriters caught up in the magnetic maelstrom.
Nobody was paying enough attention to see two sheets of paper simultaneously fall out of their respective typewriters and fall to the ground together. One, as you might expect, read: CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC and so on and so forth. The other, curiously, read: HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
It is indeed a strange world, especially when taken out of context.
* * * * *
”You know, when I—aaaaaaaaaagh—when I tipped you off to the existence of this multiverse, I was hoping you would go and torment—huuuuuuurk—someone other than me.”
The Tormentrix carved infinity signs into the shadowy void of her male counterpart’s form, slashing red imperfections into the purity of its blackness. ”Well then you must not know us very well,” she giggled. ”Suicide is so much more fun when it’s someone else.”
”Excuse me, but what are you doing to my Tormentor?” The Spectator cast her closest approximation of a hateful glare upon the Tormentrix, who noticed that her new Spire was suddenly a lot more crowded.
The Tormentrix pouted. ”Oh, don’t act all high-and-mighty,” she hissed. ”He's getting off on this. Masochism is mostly a guy thing, you wouldn't understand.”
“Shut up. Oh, fine.” The Tormentrix got up and unshackled the Tormentor, allowing him to get up and begin turning his powers towards physical and psychological reconstruction. ”Clearly the numbers are against me here. But I need something to occupy my time until Spexy fixes the multiverse and I’m allowed to get back to the Jiggly Jamboree.”
”Um, your battle’s called the Relentless Slaughter,” corrected the Hedonist that the Fool vaguely recognized as the female one (mostly from the voice).
”That’s not what Spexy called it. Where’d you put him, anyway? Not this bitch—“ she waved a hand non-committally at the Spectator present— ”I want my own Spectator here. He’s better in these diplomatic situations.”
He’s already here,” noted the female Spectator. ”He just thinks he can hide from me.”
With that, the male Spectator allowed the rest of the Grandmasters to see him, looking the very picture of chagrin. “I told you to stay put!” yelled the Fool.
The Spectator shrugged. ”I just had to follow the song in my heart,” he said, as though that explained or excused anything. ”Today it’s Hall & Oates.” He then broke into song: ”Priiiiiivate eyes,” (here he clapped once to the beat) ”They’re waaaaatching you!” (clap clap) ”They see your eeeeveryyyy moooooooove. Priiiiva--”
”That’s quite enough of that.” The Fool stamped his scepter on the ground in an omnipotent sort of way, which seemed sufficient to shut everybody up. “Male Gaze, I needed you anyway.”
”Haha! Male Gaze. I like that that’s clever,” interjected the entity that the Fool had just decided to nickname “the Shedonist.”
”Quiet, you. Now, you’re all very seriously ill. I’m going to need to reach into one of your heads. Any volunteers?”
”Noses,” called the Hedonist, touching a pudgy finger to his nose. The Shedonist followed suit, as did the Male Gaze. Tormentrix forgot she was holding a knife and accidentally cut her face open; the Tormentor, still in the process of regrowing his fingers, panicked and touched his foot to his nose. The Spectator, unsure of what was going on, tried to put a hand to her face but lost it within a fold of hair. ”Looks like Spectator loses,” said the Hedonist, smugly. ”Use her head.”
The Fool didn’t have the time to argue with his colleague’s methods, and the Spectator’s head seemed as good as any. He walked over to her and thrust a hand into the mass of her hair.
It was like sticking your hand into the entire ocean at once. He felt innumerable sensations, senses that one normally associates with organs not found on hands (or on humans, for that matter). He felt cold. He saw shooting stars. He felt pain. He felt a whole lot of hair. He felt pleasure. He felt numb. He could taste the Spectator’s thoughts (she was annoyed, it turned out, that he was in her head).
He grasped onto something, like a thread. He pulled.
The Fool’s hand emerged holding the end of something violet. The Spectator cried out in pain and clutched the amorphous shape of her head as though beset by a sudden migraine. The Fool ignored her pain and pulled harder.
As the purple thread spooled out of the Spectator’s hair, the other Grandmasters and Grandmistresses began to feel the pull as well, grimacing in agony. The Fool ignored them all, and kept pulling.
When the Convolution finally came free, it resolved itself into a sort of purple cloud of void flecked with yellow stars. The Fool held it in the space between its hands, not touching it directly. “Funny,” he said. “Physicalized like this, it looks a lot like one of the Observer’s contestants.”
The others were beginning to come to. ”I’m sorry, did I—oh. Oh dear,” said the Spectator, violently redshifting in a poor approximation of a blush.
That hurt in a really boring, uninspired way,” complained the Tormentrix.
”Wait a minute,” demanded the Hedonist. ”Is that my Convolution?”
The Fool shook his head and said, “No. Your Convolution’s busy turning your battle into an orgy.” He pointed at the Shedonist. “It’s her Convolution. And someone in this room deliberately infected us with it.”
* * * * *
Bethany Smith-Barlow found herself lying next to a male version of herself. He had a mustache that was considered very popular both in his own time and in the 1970s. His name was Bartholomew.
“Ew,” said Bethany and Bartholemew, completely in sync. “Get away from me, you filthy human.”
And they scrambled away. It was not the sort of encounter in which anybody learns a valuable lesson.
* * * * *
”None of you really knew what this thing is, did you?” asked the Fool, in a way that suggested that this was the beginning of a lengthy and uninteresting monologue. “I did my research, of course. That’s one thing the Director taught me well. Back then it was one Gentleman, one contestant. An entire entity devoted towards finding one contestant to enter your battle, and of course you needed to know everything, everything about your entity, so there would be no surprises. Fool that I am, I do my research. On your battles, as well as mine. So there will be no surprises.
“You call it the Convolution. That’s as good a name as any. The Greeks called it logos, though, of course, the Greeks called everything logos, it was their Word of choice. Hegel called it the Negative, which the textbooks tend to clarify as antithesis. He believed there were several iterations of the Negative throughout history, each of which eventually died by being assimilated into the discourse as a whole. One of my own contestants once built a gun that could fire it at people, which he called an Anarchronic Emission Ray. He believed, quite incorrectly, that he had invented it. Marx didn’t have a name for it, but he spent his life waiting for it to take over the civilized world.
“I think this thing has caused us enough trouble.” The Fool took the writing purple mass in his hand and dashed it against the wall with a cracking noise like a whip; it convulsed and burst apart into a garish yellow.
”That was my contestant,” barked the Shedonist.
”You have no right to complain, with all the damage you’ve caused. Your battle can move on to the next round, but once we get you back to your own multiverse, it can at least continue. But as for you two!” He pointed his scepter at Male Gaze and the Tormentrix. “You’ve done far more than that.”
”Oh, come on,” spat the Tormentrix. ”You knew the whole time? You could have saved us the speech.”
”Leave Trixie out of this,” added the Male Gaze, trying for once to sound noble. ”She was just the distraction. The plan was mine.”
”Plan to what?” retorted the Fool. “To get your rocks off?”
”No, no, no. The plan was to get that one pregnant.” He pointed a finger at the Spectator.
There was a moment of silence.
There were several more moments of silence.
There was a veritable eternity of sil—”To get me what?”
“To get you knocked up, did I stutter?” Male Gaze did his best Kanye shrug and turned back to the Fool. ”Look, I don’t want to get into a whole lecture on omni-level sex magic, but the idea was to create a new Unborn, one under my control and Trixie’s.”
The Spectator’s hair lashed out in all directions, a fountain of hirsute wroth. ”It didn’t... work, did it?” she asked.
Male Gaze turned his shades down sheepishly. ”No, it didn’t. Doing it with yourself is… it’s weird, and I didn’t… I couldn’t finish. So I made the stupid mistake of going to see you, hoping I could… I dunno.”
”You didn’t finish?” asked Spectator. ”But… you—“
“You faked it? But… I faked it!”
“You were faking it? But—“
“Well I was growing bored and, I, I was infected with that ghastly Convolution and--”
”Guys! This is all pretty unproductive. The important thing is, you played your hand, you lost, and I don’t have to deal with you anymore. Tormentor?”
”My pleasure.” The Tormentor approached his female counterpart with two carving knives and slashed off both of her impressive mammaries in one clean movement.
Tormentrix screamed. The Male Gaze roared in patriarchal indignation and charged at Tormentor, only to find himself held back by ropes of hair. ”Sorry, dove,” giggled the Spectator, ”If it’s any consolation, what happens next is going to restore the better part of my misplaced dignity.”
Then the two co-conspirators were gone, leaving behind only mingled screams, a pair of sunglasses, and two still-jiggling breasts. Their surviving counterparts picked up their respective souvenirs contemplatively. ”These are going right up on the mantle,” commented the Tormentor.
The Shedonist realized she was in the position of “survivor girl” and ought to act tactfully if she had any hope of getting back to her home multiverse alive. Still, she had to open her mouth. ”Um. If I’m to go back to my own multiverse with my characters, I’ll need to get your Convolution out of them.”
That’s virtually impossible without killing the Convolution itself, which I won’t allow,” asserted the Hedonist. ”No, I think I can offer a more elegant solution. Follow me to my round, if you will.”
Sitting at the top of a tree in the Kestalvian rainforest was what appeared to be a common lemur. “Appeared to be a common lemur” being an applicable phrase only to one who doesn’t bother to look down and see its tail. The black-and-white striped appendage extended about a mile, coiling around the tree all the way down its length and then spilling out over the rainforest, swatting at anything that tried to eat it in a lazy whipping motion.
At the end of its tail, the five Grandmasters gathered round. The Hedonist picked up the tail in one hand. ”This,” he said cheerfully, ”Is the Paradox Lemur. It’s the easy way to cut this whole Convolution problem off at the source. The source being the previous hour or so.
“Every hour of its life, the lemur’s tail grows another ring. The entirety of its life is contained within its tail. Cut off a ring, you cut off the hour. Tormentor, you’re the cutter around here, would you like to do the honors?”
The Tormentor already had a pair of pruning shears in hand. He smiled wickedly.
Because the pain sensors in its tailwere so very far away from its brain, it took the lemur over a minute to yelp.
* * * * *
"No, I don't want to ficky-ficky with you, you sick chimp—“
[font=”courier new”]”I THINK I’VE FIGURED OUT HOW TO KILL THAT COCKSUCKERMOTHERFUCKER CONVOLUTIONDICK—“[/font]
”Make not a move, ye bilge rats, or ye’ll be walking the plank off of time itself--”
[font=”courier new”]”IT’S LIKE REALLY STUPID AND CONVOLUTED BUT WE’RE TRYING TO KILL SOMETHING STUPID AND CONVOLUTED SO THIS’LL BE LIKE A METAPHORICAL STAKE UP ITS METAPHORICAL ASS. SO, FIRST WE’RE GONNA-"[/font]
At which point the poor typewriter found itself picked up by the marching band’s conductor and swept off into the march. This did not please it, nor did it surprise it very much. What surprised Etiyr was when the primate belted out, in a soulful and distinctly human voice, “DO WATCHA WAAAAAANNAAAAA!”
The trumpets exploded into a violently cheerful crescendo.
Arson | Serial kidnapping | Reckless endangerment | Disturbing the peace | Crimes against nature | Welfare fraud | Grandmastering while intoxicated