|Waiting for the Shmuuk
Author: misterfuzzums EXTREME PM
Some will go to extreme lengths to get their hands on a Shmuuk... avoid those people at all costs...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Parody - Words: 3,965 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-07-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2300644
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Waiting for the Shmuuk
It was a chill fall night (oh no my friend, not "chilly," it's just "chill") and there were voices in the dimly lit parking lot outside the electronics store. There was, as is generally expected in such a situation, a thin layer of fog coating the vicinity in a blanket of intrigue and mystery, or possibly just a blanket of fog. In any case, the voices penetrated the fog, resounding off of any nearby surface in tones which should, in all honesty, not be spoken in except within those fiery regions from whence they came. Their purpose in doing this was most likely to show to anyone who cared to hear that these were not simply those ragtag voices that bounce around every few Thursdays; these were something special. They were considerably spooky, let me just tell you that.
These voices may have or may have not been accompanied by people, as voices are wont to do, depending on your definition of the word "people". I'll let you make that decision once the time comes. These people, or perhaps "people", were waiting in line to get Shmuuks.
Now what is a Shmuuk, you ask? Oh my my, now where have you been?
There was something odd about this line, a casual observer might notice. That is, other than the fact that the line existed in the first place (I would put the time in which this casual observer noticed the line at about 3 AM, give or take a few minutes to allow for the possible lack of casual observers at that time of night). Perhaps it was the extravagant silken costumes that several of the people in the line were wearing. Perhaps it was the fact that some of them were preaching vehemently on the virtues of something called "The Legend of Helga: Magical Fairy Princesses."
In any case, there was just something about this line that would put a person ill at ease. If any sane person had happened to walk by in that parking lot (though it's my understanding that they rarely do at that time of night), they would most assuredly have closed their eyes and wished it was all a bad dream.
It was not a bad dream, though one should not take this to mean that it was a good dream, or any sort of dream at all, but simply that those people were there, and that they were not leaving until the line was allowed into the building. But you wouldn't understand that yet, now would you? I'll just let you take a closer look at this line, and let you make your own opinions. Now, let's just get a little closer, and... uh oh... hang on, I think I'm falling...
"Oh my god, what was that?" a woman in the line shrieked. Though hardly anyone noticed these days, she was wearing a dress that appeared pink, green, and blue all at the same time.
"What was what?" a small, pale- looking gent, who was equally in the line, inquired.
"That... thing that just landed over there," she clarified, pointing. A large lump lay on the ground.
The shape of a man, only unrecognizably battered and gruesomely mangled in its landing, lay sprawled on the pavement. Or maybe the fall had nothing to do with it, and he had looked that way all along. The world may never know. Either way, it looked gross.
"Eww, that is kind of gross..." the pale fellow agreed, though the fact that he agreed seems to point out that there was something odd about him as it breaks what momentum the story had by showing interaction between the narrator and characters.
However, he then remembered his original purpose of beginning a conversation with the woman in order to lure her into a false sense of security and, when the chance arose, cut in front of her in line. He also wanted to figure out exactly what color her dress was.
"So, how long have you been waiting here?" he asked, a sly smile appearing on his face.
"I got here 23 seconds after the store closed for the night," she sighed.
"Only that long? They say that the great Uther has been camping out here for three weeks."
She frowned. "Where is he?"
"Oh, he's the guy who's up at the front of the line..." the man answered, pointing to the area adjacent to the store's door. However, the tent, camping grill, large screen TV, and highly decorated throne, paraphernalia which had previously marked the spot, were now strangely absent.
"Where'd he go?" he asked, surprised. No one heard him, but if anyone had, they would strangely have been unable to answer. Not even the people in ornate costumes, which was even more strange because you can pretty much count on people who are wearing costumes to know that kind of thing.
"Why was he camping out?" the woman asked, ignoring the man's surprise at Uther's disappearance. "Is he protesting? Or would they just not let him in the store?"
"Well, he had to keep his place in line," the man replied matter-of-factly.
"Why didn't he just go in the store, though?"
The man apparently found this somewhat humorous, guffawing in a manner which no one who really thinks something is funny uses. "Well, there would be no reason to go in the store when it isn't selling Shmuuks yet, would there?"
"Oh, is that what this line is for?" the woman asked, looking around as if she were surrounded by child predators and the like (which, one would find after a bit of research, was not far from the truth). "Hmm... I'm just here to buy a printer cartridge."
The man thought it best to say nothing, though some primal part of him was happy he would now have her place in line.
"Well, I'm starting a new line, over here," she announced, moving a few feet away from the original line. "Anyone who wants to buy a printer cartridge, get behind me."
Interestingly, over half of the line then moved into the new line. It seems that many people had made the very same mistake this poor woman had.
Even more interestingly, most of the people who moved were the ones in costume.
It was a dark room. But that's how they liked it. In the dark. It was really just for effect, but they secretly enjoyed it because that way neither could see the other picking his nose.
Nevertheless, the screens were there. In the dark. They didn't particularly like watching the screens, but each of them felt some sort of pride in the fact that if they stopped doing so for only a moment, the world would be thrown into chaos. While they were in the dark, of course.
"Umm... I think that Uther guy disappeared," the security guard sitting closest to the screen displaying the line outside the building remarked.
"You weren't watching?" the second berated.
"Of course I was watching... he just, kinda, you know, disappeared."
"Ah. Well, this wouldn't be the first time," the second guard mused, a knowing expression revealing itself on his face.
"You know him?" the first guard asked curiously.
"We go way back," the other answered with a grim smile, which by some strange twist of reality was illuminated by a nonexistent flashlight. The first guard appeared slightly spooked at this.
"Stop smiling like that, it's kind of weird."
"Sorry. I agree, that was just uncalled for," the second guard said sheepishly, then returned to the topic at hand. "But why would he have left only three hours before the store opens?"
"Maybe he had to go to the bathroom?"
"No, he had a chamber pot installed in his throne."
"Hmm... the first guard replied sullenly, disappointed that he had not been right, though this came as no surprise to him.
"Well, maybe-" he tried again.
"No, that's not right, either," the other interjected automatically.
"Yeah," he sighed. There had to be some reason for Uther's actions. Then, an idea struck him. "I've got it, maybe-"
"No," the second guard replied. "Just... no. Just stop. Let me think."
The first guard nodded. It seemed only reasonable that the only way to facilitate progress in the pursuit of this Uther character would be to stop trying.
"Maybe he just got tired of waiting," the second guard suddenly said, an epiphany striking him, literally knocking him to the floor and battering him a bit more before turning around and going after the first guard. However, he was a little bit slower, and the epiphany was forced to hold its hand for a moment.
"I don't get it," the first guard remarked, somewhat confused as to the reason the other man had just been beaten to the ground by some invisible force.
"Don't you see?" the other answered in pain. "He's trying to steal a Shmuuk!"
"Ah!" the first guard exclaimed, then flew backwards forcefully.
The epiphany rubbed its dirtied hands together, finding that its work was done, and promptly Risplonshed.
"Come on!" the second guard yelled, getting up. "We've got to go check the Shmuuks!"
Though the first guard was not quite clear as to how the other had jumped to the conclusion that Uther was of criminal intent, and though he had a nagging feeling that it would be much more efficient to simply check the Shmuuks via one of the many screens that were set up around him, he decided to follow.
It was in fact quite lucky that he had chosen to disobey his common sense, because moments later, a timed explosive detonated in that very room, planted by none other than the enigma known as Uther. In the dark.
Outside, the lines were getting restless, the one full of people excited about their imminent purchases of Shmuuks, and the other full of people whose reasons for excitement would do best to remain hidden. The people in the first line had begun to anxiously hum the song from the Shmuuk's advertising campaign, trying earnestly to keep from looking at those in the line for printer cartridges, who had begun to pour syrup over their heads.
The store doors burst open. A security guard came through it, followed by another, who was slightly confused as to the reason they had come outside rather than following their original plan and checking on the Shmuuks.
"Does anyone here know anything about the disappearance of Uther?" asked the security guards as they came out. Of course, they didn't both ask the question simultaneously, but it makes sense to say that one of them was at least thinking it as the other was asking it.
"Yeah," replied the young boy who had previously been second in line for a Shmuuk, but had become first after Uther had vanished. "He said something to me before he left."
"Well, out with it!" the security guards demanded impatiently. This time, however, they did say it simultaneously.
"It was something like... something like... um..."
"Yes?" the guards coaxed.
"Something like... um..."
"Yes?" the guards coaxed for a second time, flashing eerie grins at the lad for some morbid reason, though possibly simply out of childish spite.
This vicious cycle went on for quite some time, during which it would be impossible to say who had the advantage, the child, who could not think of anything to say other than "umm", or the guards, who could not think of anything to reply with other than "yes?"
"Uhhh..." the child murmured, figuring that it would at least be marginally better than saying "umm".
"YES?" the guards hissed, by this time brandishing bright blue veins in the middle of their foreheads.
"Oh! Now I remember!" the lad exclaimed joyously. The two veins retracted slightly. "He said: If anyone asks, I'm going to ..."
The ellipses placed at the end of his message represent the mumbles which shrouded the end of his sentence.
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that," the guards stated patiently.
"If anyone asks, I'm going to ..." the boy tried again.
The guards sighed. "Look, just try to say it without mumbling."
"I forgot," the child admitted, looking at his feet. "I forgot what he said."
"You forgot?" the guards asked.
"Yeah, I did," the boy grinned. The guards looked at each other uneasily.
"Why is he grinning like that?" they asked each other, though in effect they were really asking themselves, since they both knew that neither of them really knew the answer, and since their brain waves were so in tune at the moment as to be able to say the same things at once, it would follow that neither of them would know anything that the other did not.
Then, the boy disappeared.
"Blast it all!" one of the guards mumbled to himself as they rushed down the corridor to the secret Shmuuk holding chamber. "I can't believe we fell for that one."
"If it makes you feel any better," the other consoled, "that boy was rather cute. I can see how you could have been misled."
"How I could have been misled?" the first asked incredulously as he swiped his security card at the vault door. "You never said anything."
"Well, I thought it would be fun to play along with his little games and see what happens. Trust me, the look on your face was priceless."
The first guard then let loose a string of words which, if used at precisely the right time, could kill a family of rabbits. Perhaps even an entire colony of rabbits. Heck, maybe even a gigantic blender full of rabbits, given that the rabbits have extremely weak hearts.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," the other stated, opening the door and entering. The first followed, muttering to himself.
Upon entering the holding chamber, both of them froze in place, their jaws dropping and the hair on the backs of their ears standing on end. They could not believe it. THE SHMUUKS WERE GONE OMG !!!11!!!!
"Randolph?" the first guard started, calling the other by name for the first time in the 26 years they had been working there together.
"Yes, Chauncey?" the second answered.
"Do you see what I see right now? I mean-"
Chauncey paused for a moment. "I don't believe it."
"Neither do I," Randolph said emotionlessly.
"THE SHMUUKS ARE GONE OMG !!!11!!!!"
Randolph and Chauncey (whose names I am trying my best to take seriously, but don't be surprised if after a few paragraphs they lapse back into "the first guard" and "the second guard") both regained consciousness a few minutes later, and neither was very glad about it.
Randolph turned his head slowly and painfully to the right, thinking of something that he could say to his partner which could possibly alleviate the pain that had settled upon both their hearts. However, all he saw there was a blank wall.
"I'm over here," Chauncey called from a position a few feet to his left.
"Ah," said Randolph in the hollow manner commonly used by people who wake up in the morning to find that their pet is dead, becoming intensely sullen and angry, only to remember a few hours later that they themselves had drowned the animal in the bathtub the previous night.
Both guards were silent. The narrator was beginning to frighten them.
In any case, they both knew that there were masses of people outside who would be disappointed to know that they would not, after all, be purchasing their Shmuuks. They also knew that this was a direct result of their own carelessness. In addition, though the reasons for this are dubious at best, they knew the number of curse words at the disposal of a native speaker of Dutch. But that was not important, at least not in any immediate sense.
They also knew that their careers were both over, and that they would never be able to get reputable jobs again because of this disgrace. They would probably end up slaving away at a donut factory, or begging on the street, or, even worse, working as male nurses. And they would never again work in the dark room, with the screens all around them and the ability to put the words "in the dark" after a description of any one of their actions.
And, worst of all, they knew that they had been bested by Uther and his trickery. How long he had sat upon his throne, watching television and otherwise looking like a complete dork, when he had secretly been planning such an elaborate heist! And they had taken him for a fool, looking at him on their fancy screens and making fun of him in various ways at what they had taken for a distance that he could not hear them from.
"I won't stand for this!" the first guard stated, standing up purposefully. He apparently missed the irony in this.
"Neither will I," said the other, standing up and ripping his shirt in a fit of adrenaline. He then looked down in horror at what he had just done; he had not risked looking at what was lurking under his shirt at any point in the last decade.
The two guards stepped carefully over the mess on the floor a few minutes later, feeling a tad better.
"So... where did he go?" the first guard asked.
"I'm sure he must have taken the Secret Exit®."
The first guard nodded, and both of them ran (I use this word simply as the best possible analogy) towards the fifth wall panel to the right of the northernmost corner of the room.
The second guard smiled grimly, seeing that the panel had been removed. They continued into the tunnel.
Soon, they arrived at a junction, three passageways extending to seemingly infinite distances. Without bothering to consult with his partner, the first guard started down the left passage.
"Stop!" the other called.
The first turned around inquisitively (and slightly benignly, though he would later refuse to admit this contradiction to his otherwise masculine disposition).
"He wouldn't have gone down there, he's much smarter than that," explained the second guard.
"Ah," replied the first guard, moving towards the far right passage instead.
"Hold on," the second guard stopped him again, thinking.
The first guard looked at him expectantly.
"No," the second guard continued slowly, "I don't think he's quite that smart."
"Alright then," the first nodded, and they both continued down the middle passage.
As they ran down the dark corridor, their flashlights bobbing up and down with each step, the second guard turned to his partner.
"What do you think he's going to do with all these Shmuuks?"
The first guard sighed; he had been hoping the question would not arise, as he had been thinking the same thing himself. He opened his mouth to reply, but instead found himself falling to the floor as a direct result of some large, knee-high object finding its way into his path.
"Urrgh," he groaned, getting back onto his feet. He shone his flashlight's beam upon the mysterious object.
Both of them recoiled in horror. It was one of the cardboard boxes the Shmuuks came in, only now it was almost unrecognizable. There were singe marks all over it, as well as several holes where it appeared some sort of razor-sharp claws and teeth had torn through the packaging.
They approached it slowly and carefully. The first guard crossed himself.
"We are dealing with something dark indeed."
"You don't know the half of it," the second guard replied, a glaze momentarily coating his eyes. "Uther was a person I had rather hoped to forget."
A dark chuckle arose from the passageway, starting with a simple burst of air which gently formed into a sort of pattern, slowly lowering in pitch until it reached a point of bottomless vibrato. The man named Uther strode from the darkness, his golden helm and Thor-like hammer glinting in the light from the flashlights.
"That was some impressive laughter," the first guard commented, unable to think of any other way to respond.
"That wasn't me," Uther replied. "That was the passageway. Don't you listen to the narrator?"
He then noticed the other guard, who had been trying to cower behind the first.
"YOU!" he bellowed.
The second guard said nothing, only made a face that would in any other situation suggest that there was a tapeworm finding its way out of his lower intestine.
"YOU!" continued Uther.
The second guard was still silent, though he did manage to contort his mouth almost into the shape that it would need to be in if he were speaking.
Uther's message was not yet over, however. "YOU!"
A short breath somehow escaped the second guard's lips, which seemed to anger Uther even more.
"YOOOUUUUUU!!!!!!" he howled.
The second guard suddenly had a strange, yellow-tinted feeling. This is completely inexplicable to anyone who has never been in a situation in which they realize that they are about to be not killed, but smitten. Nevertheless, it was enough to make him turn and run screaming back down the passageway from whence he and his partner had come.
Uther materialized in front of him, knocking him over, and picked him up by a single strand of his hair. He held the him up so that they were face to face.
"YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he shrieked, blue flames shooting from his eyes and nose. A gale force carried this single word, sending the guard flying down the hall and into a corner, where he sat and whimpered a bit.
Uther sighed. This seemed to have made him feel a little bit better, so he picked up his satchel full of Shmuuks and rocketed off through the ceiling, disappearing into the night sky.
The second guard simply sat silently in his corner, staring into the hole in the ceiling.
The first guard approached him warily. "Are you alright?"
The second guard only trembled a little bit, making no effort to reply.
The first guard shook his head. "Why was he so angry?" he asked. "What did you do to him?"
The second guard turned his head slowly and painfully to face the first, making a sound like the hiss of century-old hydraulics. He looked sadly into the first guard's eyes.
"I ran over his puppy with my bike."
"It was an accident," he quickly added.
Both of them sat in silence, knowing full well that everything was about to break into complete anarchy, and thus savoring the storm's eye. After a few moments of recounting all their best memories, the first guard stood up.
"Well, I suppose we should go and tell them that they won't be getting their Shmuuks," he suggested despairingly.
"I suppose so," the other agreed.
They walked painfully out of the secret corridor and through the store in the direction of the front door.
A sliver of hope presented itself to the first guard. "Well, at least-"
"No," the other interrupted. "I think he took the printer cartridges, too."
"Ah..." the first sighed. "Then we're screwed?"
"Royally," the second replied, and he opened the front doors.
Lat.- v. To disappear, for an abstract personification or literary device.
Gnommic- "Your mother had sexual relations with a donkey while you were being born."