MiSTing: THE EYE OF ARGON 5/8

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Aug 23, 1995, 3:00:00 AM8/23/95
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[Continued from Part 4]

> -6-
>
> "Take hold of this rope," said the first soldier, "and climb out from
>your pit, slut.

Crow: A slut? Where?

>Your presence is requested in another far deeper hell
>hole."

Mike: At least there you know where you stand.
Tom: I hear folks lend a hand there, too.

> Grignr slipped his right hand to his thigh, concealing a small opaque
>object beneath the folds of the g-string

Crow: The folds of his g-string?
Tom: I don't even want to think about that.

>wrapped about his waist. Brine
>wells

Tom: Any relation to Dawn Wells?

>swelled in Grignr's cold, jade squinting eyes, which grown accustomed
>to the gloom of the stygian pools of ebony engulfing him, were bedazzled
>and blinded

Mike: --and bewitched and bothered and bewildered.

>by flickerering radiance cast forth by the second soldiers's
>resin torch.
> Tightly gripped in the second soldier's right hand, opposite the
>intermittent torch, was a large double edged axe, a long leather wound

Crow: A leather wound, huh? Must be an S&M thing.
Mike: Bad robot.

>oaken handled transfixing the center of the weapon's iron head. Adorning
>the torso's of both of the sentries were thin yet sturdy hauberks, the
>breatplates of which were woven of tightly hemmed twines of reinforced
>silver braiding.

Tom: The attention to clothing and raw, unpolished prose put me in the mind
of a Theodore Dreiser.
Mike: You're kidding, right?
Tom: Actually, yes.

>Cupping the soldiers' feet were thick leather sandals,
>wound about their shins to two inches below their knees. Wrapped about
>their waists were wide satin girdles, with slender bladed poniards dangling
>loosely from them, the hilts of which featured scarlet encrusted gems.

Crow: Emeralds, no doubt.

>Resting upon the manes of their heads, and reaching midway to their brows
>were smooth copper morions.

Crow: Morions for morons! How appropriate!

>Spiraling the lower portion of the helmet were
>short, up-curved silver spikes, while a golden hump spired from the top of
>each basinet. Beneath their chins, wound around their necks, and draping
>their clad shoulders dangled regal purple satin cloaks, which flowed midway
>to the soldiers feet.

Mike: Now that the soldiers' clothes have been described in painstaking
detail, we will now kill them off with no impact whatsoever on the plot.
Crow: There's a plot?

> hand over hand, feet braced against the dank walls of the enclosure,
>huge Grignr

Tom: Funny, I always pictured him as being maybe five-one, five-two.

>ascended from the moldering dephs of the forlorn abyss. His
>swelled limbs,

Mike: I hear he's off the steroids, actually.

>stiff due to the boredom of

Crow: --the story.

>a timeless inactivity,
>compounded by the musty atmosture and jagged granite protuberan against his
>body, craved for action. The opportunity now presenting itself served the
>purpose of oiling his rusty joints,

Tom: Suddenly he's the Tin Woodsman!

>and honing his dulled senses.
> He braced himself,

Mike: He couldn't afford an professional orthodontist.

>facing the second soldier. The sentry's stature
>was was wildly exaggerated

Crow: --by the author in a failed attempt to generate interest.

>in the glare of the flickering cresset cuppex in
>his right fist. His eyes were wide open in a slightly slanted owlish
>glaze, enhanced in their sinister intensity by the hawk-bill curve of his
>nose andpale yellow pique of his cheeks.
> "Place your hands behind your back," said the second soldier

Mike: Gotcha! I didn't say "Simon says"!

>as he
>raised his ax over his right shoulder blade and cast it a wavering glance.
>"We must bind your wrists to parry any attempts at

Crow: --anything interesting happening.

>escape. Be sure to make
>the knot a stout one, Broig,

All: BROIG??
Tom: Who let Scooby-Doo in?

>we wouldn't want our guest to take leave of
>our guidance."

Mike: They're school counselors gone bad!

> Broig grasped Grignr's left wrist and reached for the barbarians's
>right wrist. Grignr wrenched his right arm free

Tom: --and threw it across the room.

>and swilveled to face
>Broig, reach- beneath his loin cloth with his right hand.

Crow: There's no time for that now! You had all those hours in the dungeon
to do that if that's what you wanted to do!
Mike: That does it. I'm taking away all your Green Day records.

>The sentry
>grappled at his girdle

Tom: Now that he's "mature" he needs a little extra support.

>for the sheathed dagger, but recoiled short of his
>intentions as Grignr's right arm swept to his gorge. The soldier went
>limp,

Crow: Like Grignr in the bar earlier.
Mike: You still remember that? That was three hundred pages ago!

>his bobbing

Crow: --buzzard. Caw! Caw! Caw!

>eyes rolling beneath fluttering eyelids, a deep welt
>across his spouting gullet.

Mike: Jenny, I think we should report your parents.
Tom: It shouldn't hurt to be a kid.

>Without lingering to observe the result of his
>efforts, Grignr dropped to his knees. The second soldier's axe cleft over
>Grignr's head in a blze of silvered ferocity, severing several scarlet

Crow: Say =that= five times fast!

>locks from his scalp. Coming to rest in his fellow's stomach, the iron
>head crashed

Crow: Oh, no! A head crash! Now I can't telnet to my other account!

>through mail and flesh with splintering force, spilling a pool
>of crimsoned entrails over the granite paving.
> Before the sentry could wrench his axe free from his comrade's
>carcass, he found Grignr's massive hands clasped about his throat,

Mike: Oh, =that's= where they are! I was wondering where I'd left those.

>choking
>the life from his clamped lungs. With a zealous grunt, the Ecordian flexed

Tom: Which is a very reasonable thing for an Ecordian to do.

>his tightly corded biceps, forcing the grim faced soldier to one knee. The
>sentry plunged his right fist into Grignr's face, digging his grimy nails
>into the barbarians flesh.

Mike: Was this crucifixion symbolism really necessary?

>Ejaculating

All: Eww!

>a curse through rasping teeth,
>grignr surged the bulk of his weight foreard, bowling

Crow: --about a 185. Woulda been higher if he'd picked up that spare in
the seventh frame.

>the beseiged soldier
>over upon his back. The sentry's arms collapsed to his thigh, shuddering
>convulsively; his bulging eyes staring blindly

Tom: I've noticed that people do a lot of staring blindly in this story.

>from a bloated ,cherry red face.

Mike: Red again. Jim must be a big Kryzystof Kieslowski fan.
Crow: Gesundheit.

> Rising to his feet, Grignr shook the bllod from his eyes, ruffling his
>surly red mane as a brush fire swaying to the nightime breeze.

Tom: Either that's a touching, poetic image or this story has finally
driven me completely insane.

>Stooping over the spr sprawled

Mike: Spit it out, Jim!

>corpse of the first soldier, Grignr retrieved a small white object

Crow: Mmm -- a Pep-O-Mint Life Saver!

>from a pool of congealing gore.

Mike: Albert's cousin from West Virginia.

>Snorting

Tom: Cocaine costs Grignr over a hundred thousand hard-earned dollars a
year.

>a gusty billow of
>mirth, he once more concealed th e tiny object beneath his loin cloth;

Crow: To join the other tiny object beneath his loincloth.
Mike: Crow!

>the tediously honed pelvis bone of the broken rodent.

Mike: Excuse me, sir, this rodent is broken.
Tom: Do you have a receipt?
Mike: Uh, no, I don't.
Tom: No refunds or exchanges without a receipt.

>Returning his attention
>toward the second soldier, Grignr turned to the task of attiring his limbs.

Crow: While leaving torso and pelvis completely naked.

>To move about freely through the dim recesses of the castle would require
>the grotesque garb of

Mike: --Liberace!

>its soldiery.
> Utilizing the silence and stealth aquired in the untamed climbs

Tom: Untamed =climbs=?
Mike: Must've been a lot of hills.

>of his
>childhood, Grignr slink through twisting corridors, and winding stairways,
>lighting his way with the confisticated torch of his dispatched guardian.
>Knowing where his steps were leading to, Grignr meandered aimlessly

Crow: Like this story.

>in search of an exit from

Crow: --the story.

>the chateau's dim confines.

Tom: Back in the Loire Valley, I see.

>The wild blood coarsing
>through his veins yearned for the undefiled freedom of the livid wilderness
>lands.

Mike: So he could defile them.

> Coming upon a fork in the passage

Crow: I asked for chopsticks!

>he treaked, voices accompanied by
>clinking footfalls discerned to his sensitive ears from the left corridor.
>Wishing to avoid contact, Grignr

Mike: --never felt comfortable with intimacy, dooming his relationships.

>veered to the right passageway.

Crow: How did he know it was the right passageway?

>If aquested as to the purpose of his presence,

Tom: I think we're all aquesting as to the purpose of our presence, don't
you?

>his barbarous accent would reveal his identity,

Mike: We are Frensh! Whah do you think Ah have zis outRAGeous accent?

>being that his attire was not that of the castle's
>mercenary troops.

Crow: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I thought he just finished dressing
himself like a soldier! Isn't even =Jim= paying attention?

> In grim silence Grignr treaded down the dingily lit corridor; a
>stalking panther creeping warily along on padded feet.

Tom: --was several thousand miles away.

>After an interminable period of

Crow: --reading, the story still wasn't over.

>wandering through the dull corridors; no gaps to
>break the monotony of the

Crow: --story.

>cold gray walls, Grignr espied a small winding
>stairway. Descending the flight of arced granite slabs to their posterior,

Mike: Never say "posterior" again.

>Grignr was confronted by a short haalway

Tom: Suddenly the story's in Dutch?

>leading to a tall arched wooden doorway.
> Halting before the teeming portal portal,

Crow: It's a portal, but it's not really a portal portal.

>Grignr restes his shaggy head

Tom: Bless his shaggy little head.

>sideways against the barrier. Detecting no sounds from within, he
>grasped the looped metel handle of the door; his arms surging with a
>tremendous effort of bulging muscles, yet the door would not budge.
>Retrieving his ax from where he had sheathed it

Mike: And where was that?

>beneath his girdle,

Mike: Oh, okay. Thanks.

>he
>hefted it in his mighty hands with an apiesed grunt, and wedging one of its
>blackened edges into the crack between the portal and its iron rimed sill.
>Bracing his sandaled right foot against the rougjly hewn wall, teeth
>tightly clenched, Grignr appilevered the oaken haft, employing it as a
>lever whereby to pry open the barrier. The leather wound hilt bending to
>its utmost limits of endurance, the massive portal swung open with a
>grating of snapped latch and rusty iron hinges.

Crow: This is so boring I can barely keep my organs of sight open.

> Glancing about the dust swirled room in the gloomily dancing glare of
>his flickering cresset, Grignr eyed evidences

Tom: I see one evidence, two evidences, three evidences...

>of the enclosure being
>nothing more than a forgotten storeroom. Miscellaneous articles required
>for the maintainance of a castle

Tom: Such as?
Mike: Oh, you've got your portcullis cleaner, chlorine for the moat...

>were piled in disorganized heaps

Crow: Like the words of this story.

>at infrequent intervals

Crow: Like the =punctuation= in this story!

>toward the wall opposite the barbarian's piercing stare.

Mike: The way I see it, you've got two ways of staring. Either you've got
a piercing stare, or you're staring blindly. Yup.

>Utilizing long, bounding strides, Grignr paced his way over to the
>mounds of supplies to discover if any articles of

Tom: --Confederation.

>value were contained within their midst.

Crow: Trust me. There's nothing valuable in this story.

> Detecting a faint clinking sound, Grignr sprawed to his left side with
>the speed of a striking cobra, landing harshly upon his back;

Mike: Just like a cobra!

>torch and axe
>loudly clattering to the floor in a morass of sparks and flame.

Crow: Oh, good one, Grignr!

>A elmwoven
>board leaped from collapsed flooring, clashing against the jagged flooring
>and spewing

All: Eww!

>a shower of orange and yellow sparks over Grignr's startled
>face. Rising uneasily to his feet, the half stunned Ecordian

Mike: --launched into a peppy rendition of "Lady of Spain".

>glared down
>at the grusome arm of death he had unwittingly sprung. "Mrifk!"

Tom: Okay, remind me. Was Mrifk a character, or a country, or--
Crow: I think it's just Jim's cat jumping on his typewriter.

> If not for his keen auditory organs

Crow: You mean his ears?
Mike: Let's not jump to conclusions.

>and lighting steeled reflexes,
>Grignr would have been groping

Tom: --a 17-year-old Senate page.

>through the shadowed hell-pits of the Grim
>Reaper.

Mike: But after reading this story, I no longer fear the shadowed
hell-pits of the Grim Reaper.

>He had unknowingly stumbled upon an ancient,

Crow: --Mariner.

>long forgotton booby
>trap; a mistake which would have stunted the perusal of longevity

Tom: That's that spinoff of Omni Magazine, right? I tried to peruse that
once and the guy said, "You gonna buy that? This ain't a library!"

>of one
>less agile. A mechanism, similar in type to that of a minature catapult

Mike: Except for the new passenger-side airbag and anti-lock brakes.

>was concealed beneath two collapsable sections of granite flooring. The
>arm of the device was four feet long, boasting razor like cleats at regular
>intervals along its face with which it was to skewer

Crow: Iss godda skewer inda belly!
Tom: Thanks, Nell.

>the luckless body of
>its would be victim. Grignr had stepped upon a concealed catch which
>relaesed a small metal latch beneath the two granite sections, causing them
>to fall inward, and thereby loose the spiked arm of death they precariously
>held in.

Mike: Thank you for describing the trap in painstaking detail now that it's
failed to work and we no longer care about it.

> Partially out of curiosity and partially out of an inordinate fear of

Tom: --commitment.

>becoming a pincushion for a possible second trap, Grignr plunged his torch
>into the exposed gap in the

Crow: --plot.

>floor. The floor of a second chamber stood out
>seven feet below the glare. Tossing his torch through the aperature,
>Grignr grasped the side of an adjoining tile, dropping down.
> Glancing about the room, Grignr discovered that he had decended into

Mike: --Al Capone's vault. Geraldo Rivera was there, holding an empty
bottle and sobbing uncontrollably.

>the palace's mausoleum. Rectangular stone crypts cluttered the floor at
>evenly placed intervals.

Tom: A meticulously organized clutter.

>The tops of the enclosures were plated with thick
>layers of virgin gold,

Crow: As opposed to Tracey.
Mike: Yowtch! What was that for?

>while the sides were plated with white ivory;

Tom: Isn't that redundant?
Mike: In this story, it could be chartreuse for all we know.

>at one
>time sparkling, but now grown dingy through the passage of the rays of
>allencompassing mother time.

Crow: If it's 7 PM Pacific Daylight Time, what time is it in Allencompassing
Mother Time?

>Featured at the head of each sarcophagus in
>tarnished silver was

Mike: --Carol Channing, five nights only.

>an expugnisively carved likeness of its rotting
>inhabitant.

Tom: Eww! That is pretty expugnisive.

> A dingy

Crow: I guess Jim got tired of everything being fetid and decided to go with
dingy instead.

>atmosphere pervaded the air of the chamber; which sealed in

Mike: --freshness. Do not consume if seal is broken.

>the enclosure for an unknown period

Tom: Come on, Jim, make something up!

>had grown thick and stale.

Crow: Like the prose.

>Intermingling with the curdled currents was the repugnant stench of slowly
>moldering flesh, creeping ever slowly but surely through minute cracks in

Crow: --the plot.
Mike: I don't think "minute" is the word to describe those, Crow.

>the numerous vaults. Due to the embalming of the bodies, their flesh
>decayed at a much slower rate than is normal,

Tom: Imagine that!

>yet the nauseous oder was
>none the less repellant.
> Towering over Grignr's head was

Mike: --a big question mark. He was confused.

>the trap he released. The mechanism
>of the miniaturized catapolt was cluttered with mildew and cobwebs.

Crow: Luckily, he'd hidden some X-14 in the folds of his g-string.

>Notwithstanding these relics of antiquity,

Mike: As opposed to brand-new relics.
Tom: Well, you know, the way computers get obsolete these days...

>its efficiency remained unimpinged.

Crow: Unlike that of the prose.

>To the right of the trap wound a short stairway through a
>recess in the ceiling; a concealed entrance leading to the mausoleum for
>which the catapult had obviously been erected as a silent, relentless
>guardian.

All: Obviously!

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[Continued in Part 6]

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