THE ADVENTURES OF HERMY THE FROG
WHY IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO MESS WITH SET
Thousands of years ago in the springtime, all alone in the Squiggly Swamp, Hermy the frog sat sleeping. His real name was Herbert Alfonso IV, but that was too big a name for such a little fellow, so everyone called him Hermy. Hermy sat on a lilypad, dreaming froglike dreams, when his queer visitor arrived-a sparkling platypus who introduced himself as Prickles, servant of the great goddess Isis. Hermy listened with interest as Prickles explained what he was to do.
"You, Herbert Alfonso IV, are charged by Isis the Magic Goddess to put an end to her evil brother Set, who invades people's privacy by looking at them through his giant magical microscope! You must leave the Squiggly Swamp, cross the Sahara Desert, and petition to Zeus, king of the gods, to send his army to DESTROY the evil beast!"
Hermy gasped. "But … that doesn't make sense! Zeus is a Greek god! Set and Isis are Egyptian gods!"
Prickles glared at Hermy, making the latter quail under his ferocious gaze. "I do not care! Go to Zeus!"
Muttering under his breath, Hermy hopped away to do as he was told.
"One … more … step …"
Hermy reached out his webbed foot with a great effort and put it forward in the sand. He was dying in this hot, dusty desert. Almost all of his mucus membrane had been wasted away, and if he didn't get to water soon, he would shrivel up and expire early. Only three days into his journey, and he knew the gods-both Greek and Egyptian-certainly had it out for him. Set in particular, as he was god of deserts. No duh, Hermy thought. I'm trying to destroy him, and besides, gods are fickle beasts. He sighed reluctantly and once again put his foot forward-only to be snatched up by a monstrous ostrich!
"Aaaargh!" Hermy screeched with a renewed vigor. Being about to be eaten does that to you. "Let me down!"
The ostrich dropped him, surprised. "You can talk?" His accent was funny, almost French.
"Of course I can talk!" Hermy growled. "I'm a frog!"
The ostrich was surprised, but happy to have a friend in the cruel desert. He introduced himself as Ronaldo. Hermy was glad to see that he was not going to be eaten and soon warmed to the odd-looking bird. When he informed his new friend with his quest, Ronaldo was eager to help. Hermy was offered a present-a ride out of the Sahara on Ronaldo's back!
Soon the two friends reached Mount Olympus. Ronaldo cheerfully made the steep climb, cracking bad jokes to the little green frog all the way. Hermy winced, but he was still grateful he didn't have to scale the great mountain. It was a relief to reach the top. A giant rhino escorted them to Zeus's chamber, where Hermy began to plead for the great gods' help in defeating Set.
Zeus, it seemed, was in an odd mood. Beside him was a bowl of shrimp, which he kept munching on. He smiled blandly, and every time Hermy or Ronaldo mentioned Mount Olympus, he interrupted them, insisting that the mountain's new name was Mount Oshrimpus. Hermy was confused, but Ronaldo whispered to him that he must have been brainwashed by his cunning brother Poseidon.
Zeus refused to believe their "outrageous tale with no proof," as, "Egyptians are stupid! Even if they could come up with their own set of gods, they wouldn't really exist!" He sent them away, cussing them out in Ancient Greek. Hermy was hurt, even though he didn't know what horrible names the god was calling them. "Well," he said to Ronaldo, "We'll just have to prove him wrong! Let's go defeat Set!"
When the twosome reached Set's lair, they could see the giant microscope far, far, above. It looked down on Earth, spying on its' people. Hermy was relieved to see that his privacy was not currently being invaded, and swore he would rid the planet of his evil. Ronaldo was exhausted, and flopped down on the ground. Suddenly, an ominous voice called from above, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"
Ronaldo jumped up, terrified. A giant paramecium had shouted from the top of the hill. Hermy nearly passed out, as the sight—normally minified to the size of 200 mu—was terrifying. He could see a water-expelling vacuole, a cell wall, and-most horrifying of all-an oral groove.
The oral groove moved as the paramecium said, "I AM CALLED ARMANDO, SERVANT OF SET. I AM HERE TO GUARD HIS LAIR. LEAVE OR DIE." When no one moved, Armando … did the equivalent of a complex multi-cellular organism's sigh. "IF I AM TO EAT YOU, I WOULD HAVE TO ROAST YOU WELL. I HOPE YOU BROUGHT MATCHES."
Ronaldo smiled cheekily. "Really? I would eat me cooked at medium rare."
"THAT DOES IT—INTO THE ORAL GROOVE WITH YOU!" Armando widened his oral groove and slowly oozed forward. "MY COUSIN LOUIE ATE AN OSTRICH ONCE. HE SAID IT TASTED GOOD." Hermy clutched Ronaldo's feathers in fear, screaming at him to run, but the bird was frozen in shock. Armando, doing the equivalent of a mammal's grin, promptly swallowed the duo, forgetting his remark about roasting them.
Hermy tried to swim out of the oral groove using his powerful frog legs. He'd had practice getting out of literally sticky situations such as this back in the Squiggly Swamp, but none so life-threatening. Ronaldo, too, tried to escape, but to no avail-Armando was too strong. Hermy soon became desperate, as Set was going to come back at any moment, but the paramecium was too strong. They were floundering in the gooey remains of Armando's last meal, being slowly dissolved.
Hermy had almost given up hope when he felt himself wrenched out of the oral groove. He was saved! He tumbled out onto the grass, limbs splayed. Ronaldo was collapsed beside him. He turned to thank his rescuer, only to face the horrifying face of his least favorite god … Set!
"S-set!" he stammered. "But …"
Set grinned at him evilly. "Well, done, Armando! I think it's time to end your miserable little mission to destroy me, frog."
(The following scene is too bloody and gruesome to describe. Just imagine a lot of screaming, evil laughter, and feathers flying everywhere, along with a few screeches of, "You stole my waffle, idiot!")
Prickles looked down from the sky, shaking his head. "I told them that only Zeus could destroy Set! They should have stayed on Mount Oshrimpus, got Poseidon to un-brainwash him, and convinced him to help them! It's happened before!"
Isis, sitting beside him, asked, "You mean Poseidon has brainwashed him before?"
Prickles nodded sagely. "That's true too. I almost feel sorry for poor old Zeus. As for our now-dead heroes, well-they will be remembered for their brave deeds, as well as their foolish ones. May the gods bless their souls!"