For my first MiSTing I decided to aim high and go for the legendary THE
EYE OF ARGON by Jim Theis. Since it isn't a completely obscure story I
first checked the archive (thanks to Chris Mayfield for pointing the way)
to see if it'd been done already. I couldn't find it, so I assume it's
safe. If not, if it has in fact been done before... well, then it's been
done again. Enjoy.
[SOL. Tom Servo is screen left, dressed in colorful flowing robes and
wearing a crystal on a string around his neck. Crow and Mike are screen
right. Between Tom and the others are a bunch of cards, face-down on the
table. Mike looks over his shoulder at Cambot.]
Mike: Oh, hi! I'm Mike Nelson. Up here on the Satellite of Love we just
found an old pack of Tarot cards and it turns out Tom's programmed to read
them. We're doing a reading on Crow right now.
Tom: Okay, this card in the middle here "covers" you. It represents your
environment, obstacles, that kind of thing.
Crow: Hey, Mike, can you flip this thing over?
Mike: Won't that interfere with the mystical energies coursing between the
two of you?
Tom: Yeah, probably, but neither of us has working arms.
Mike: Well, okay. Here you go.
Crow: Death! Oh, no!
Tom: 'Fraid so, my friend. Yes, that's right, it's the ever-popular Death
card, representing... well, death. But don't worry, no one card (however
ominous) can represent your entire fate. Why don't you flip the next card?
This one "crowns" you... it stands for all you can ever hope to achieve.
[Mike flips the card.]
Crow: Death! Not again!
Tom: My, but the spirits are insistent tonight!
Crow: Wait a minute! How could I get Death =twice=? You slipped an extra
Death into the pack!
Tom: Not me, my doomed little buddy -- the mystical forces did that! Well,
I don't have to explain this card; it stands for the same thing it did last
time, namely... death! Let's skip ahead. This card here is "before" you--
it predicts your immediate future. Mike?
[Mike flips the card.]
Crow: Death! Waaah!
Tom: But Crow! This time it's upside-down!
Tom: So, when a card is upside-down, it's known as "reversed." So a card
that represents power stands for weakness, or one that normally means
victory changes to defeat.
Crow: So Death reversed stands for... life?
Tom: No, it still pretty much means death. Face it, Crow, you'll be lucky
if you don't keel over in the next couple of minutes.
[Yellow light flashes.]
Mike: We'll be right back.
Mike: Welcome back. We're almost done here.
Crow [sobbing]: Nine Deaths... nine Deaths...
Tom: Mike, if you'll do the honors?
[Mike flips the last card.]
Crow [perplexed]: Tor Giant?
[Red light flashes.]
Mike: Cool it, guys, the Hierophant is calling.
Dr.F.: Hello, Nelson, Servo. I was =so= sorry to hear of the passing of
the other one... you know, the gold one...
Crow: I'm not dead yet!
Dr.F.: Oh. Well, that's good. Because you see, this week's experiment is
a fate far worse than death. Call it Deep Hurting 95. Or call it...
THE EYE OF ARGON!
Mike: Yes, and?
Dr.F.: And, you ask? Let me yield the floor to my distinguished guest to
introduce the lifetime of pain awaiting you!
[Enter Jack Perkins.]
Perkins: THE EYE OF ARGON is the delightful tale by Jim Theis that,
legend has it, won the Worst Story award at a certain Bay Area science
fiction competition for fifteen years running -- and was only entered
once! True or not, ever since this story was discovered in 1970 it has
been the object of competitive readings. People the world over have
gathered together their friends and loved ones and passed the story
around, reading aloud in turn until the reader cracked up laughing.
Many competitors fail to finish a single word!
Tom: This could be trouble, guys.
Mike: Ah, we can handle it.
Dr.F.: Very well, Nelson. Send them the movie, Fr-- uh, Jack.
[SOL: lights are flashing.]
All: WE'VE GOT STORY SIGN!
> THE EYE OF ARGON
> by Jim Theis
Tom: My Theis have been getting kind of flabby lately.
Mike: You don't have thighs!
> The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked
>climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the
>Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting
>sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of
>earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense
Mike: This story must take place before they put in the fluorescent panels.
>from overhead, half way through its daily revolution.
Crow: It must live in Bolivia.
>Small rodents scampered about,
Crow: Twelve-year-old computer geeks?
Mike: That's "r0dentz".
>occupying themselves in the daily accomplishments of their dismal lives.
Tom: And these would be...?
Mike: Dear Diary, Today I spent a couple hours nibbling at a corpse and
then spread contagion around the tri-county area.
>Dust sprayed over three heaving mounts
Tom: St. Helens!
>in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome
>cargoes of their struggling overseers.
> "Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell,
>barbarian", gasped the first soldier.
Tom: Awfully long gasp... he must have the lung capacity of a whale!
> "Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!"
Mike: You know, his serve could use some work, and his backhand's downright
lousy, but no one returns like Grignr.
> A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive barbarians
>hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust forth,
Tom: I know all these words, but I just can't parse this.
>sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers vital organs.
Crow: My Mellotron! My Yamaha! I'm gonna need these for the gig tonight!
>disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded
>sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life
Crow: You mean blood?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.
> The enthused barbarian
Tom: I always feel pretty enthused myself after disemboweling somebody.
>swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair
>tossing robustly in the humid air currents
Crow: It's not so much the heat as it is the--
Mike: We'll have none of that.
>as he faced the attack of the
>defeated soldier's fellow in arms.
> "Damn you, barbarian" Shrieked the soldier
Crow: He's a sissy!
>as he observed his comrade in death.
Mike: You appear to be in death, comrade.
> A gleaming scimitar smote a heavy blow against the renegade's spiked
>helmet, bringing a heavy cloud over the Ecordian's
Tom: He's an =Ecordian=?
Crow: Polka party!
All: Our brains'll do the MiSTing around here, thank you very much.
Mike: After all, ours are the Best.
>off the effects of the pounding blow to his head, Grignr
>brought down his
>scarlet streaked edge against the soldier's crudely forged hauberk,
Crow: "Crudely forged"? Talk about calling the kettle black!
Tom: Well, when you call the kettle black you're not remarking on its hue
so much as making a statement about--
Crow: Shut up.
>clanging harmlessly to the left side of his opponent. The soldier's stead
Tom [horse]: Come oooon! Stop fiiiighting! Let's goooo!
Mike: Whinnied, Servo. Not whined. Whinnied.
Tom: You mean like Whinny Cooper?
>as he directed the horse back from the driving blade of the
>leashed his mount
>forward as the hoarsely piercing
Crow: You mean the man-slashing horse-piercing Sword of--
Mike: You know perfectly well it's "hoarseLY piercing".
>battle cry of his wilderness bred race resounded from his grinding lungs.
Tom: Grinding lungs, eh? Two packs a day'll do that to you.
>A twirling blade bounced harmlessly from the mighty thief's buckler as his
>rolling right arm cleft upward, sending a foot of blinding steel
Mike: If I had a foot of blinding steel I wouldn't need to spend so much
>ripping through the Simarian's exposed gullet. A gasping gurgle
Crow: Gasping while gurgling's hard to do. Try it!
>from the soldier's
>writhing mouth as he tumbled to the golden sand at his feet, and wormed
>agonizingly in his death bed.
Tom: Good thing he thought to bring it along with him.
>emerald green orbs
Crow: You mean his eyes?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.
>glared lustfully at the wallowing soldier
Tom [Grignr]: Wish I'd noticed how hot he was before I hacked him up!
>struggling before his chestnut swirled mount.
>His scowling voice
>reverberated over the dying form in a tone of mocking mirth. "You city
Crow: So it's really a pastoral!
Mike: And a biting satire on the Industrial Revolution, no less.
>should learn not to antagonize your better."
>Reining his weary mount
Crow: Stop that.
>ahead, grignr resumed his journey to the Noregolian city of Gorzam,
>hoping to discover wine,
Crow: Anywhere is a good place to discover wine! This message brought to
you by the Booze Council.
>women, and adventure to boil the wild blood
>coarsing through his savage veins.
> The trek to Gorzom
Mike: Gorzom? I though he was going to GorZAM!
>was forced upon Grignr
Crow: Yes, Grignr. Deal.
>when the soldiers of Crin
>were leashed upon him by a faithless concubine he had wooed. His
>scandalous activities throughout the Simarian city
Tom: Such as getting together with the McDougals and investing in a plot
of land near--
Mike: The answer is no.
>had unleashed throngs of
>havoc and uproar among it's refined patricians, leading them to tack a
>heavy reward over his head.
Crow: Then they fired up the camcorder and when the tack broke and the
reward bonked ol' Grignr on the head they sent it straight to Bob Saget!
>He had barely managed to escape through the
>back entrance of the inn he had been guzzling in, as a squad of soldiers
Crow: Is that the cat who could drive a car?
>upon him. After spilling a spout of blood from the leader of the
Mike: You'll want to put some Neosporin on that or it'll get infected.
>as he dismembered one of the officer's arms,
Tom: That's right -- he hacked the limbs right off the, uh, arm.
>he retreated to his mount
Crow: That's getting really annoying.
>to make his way towards Gorzom, rumoured to contain hoards of
>plunder, and many young wenches
Mike [falsetto]: We're tired of these degrading patriachical slurs! From
now on we demand to be called "wynchys."
>for any man who has the backbone to wrest
[Continued in Part 2]