Chapter Three begins a brief prologue, of sorts. One might argue that a prologue more properly belongs before the beginning of chapter 1. Such a one fails to grasp the avant-garde nature of what I'm doing here.
Even if you haven't checked out chapters 1 or 2, I would strongly recommend you give this one a whirl. Not only do I consider it the funniest chapter so far, it's also the most technically challenging to have created in Audio-Rama Format. Moreover, it's more purely representative of what the story is like from here on out; where I think I really hit my stride writing it.
And, as always, let me know what you think of the end result.
I first witnessed the ancient Samoan art of Mookalakapeekapo some seventeen years previous during an expedition about the islands of the savage south pacific which I had embarked upon with my late father, Reginald Kingsley Sr. We had come ashore to re-provision our ship, the Regal Swine (which remains in my family's possession to this very day), and while there, had the good fortune of witnessing a sort of trial-by-combat between two of the tribesmen of that island. Our guide, who was not entirely unfamiliar with the practices and language of these peoples, explained to us that one of the men had been accused of using witchcraft to keep the rains from coming to the south side of the island as retribution for one of the southerners having supposedly sent a "Booka-Tika" or jungle goblin, to bite off his foreskin. The southerner claimed never to have met the Booka-Tika in question, and said that if he had bitten off the northern man's foreskin, he was likely just hungry. The goblin had been cooked and eaten by the peoples of the northern tribe, but the charges between the two still needed to be settled, and so this trial by combat between them was adjourned in order to settle the matter.
"Mookalakapeekapo", we were told, was an ancient martial art which had been practiced by these people for many hundreds of years, and had been honed to perfection by masters who passed the art down from generation to generation. Even in the mystic orient, where martial arts are as common as grains of sand on the beach, and the martial prowess of even the most common of street urchins was a thing to be feared, Mookalakapeekapo was spoken of in hushed whispers and awed tones for its deadliness and grace. Few outsiders had ever been taught its seemingly-supernatural secrets, but those who had born witness to its use in combat could attest most certainly to its fearsome effects.
"Mookalakapeekapo", literally translated into the king's good english, meant "Striking with the fist, repeatedly", a name which it amply deserved. As we looked on, the two combatants took their places some thirty feet apart from one another and prepared to enter their "Koolookoo" or "Punching people" state. Both raised their right arms over their heads as a scorpion might raise its tail in its deadly poise and balled their corresponding hands up into fists.
"What are they doing, pa-pa?", I asked, positively a-quiver with excitement.
"Dashed if I know. Looks dangerous, though, doesn't it?" he replied, stroking his long, luxurious moustaches.
"The tribes of this island have devised a technique", our guide whispered to us breathlessly, even as he attempted to shush us, "whereby they sort of lever their arms up and down in such a way as to bring their fists into contact with one another's faces in a rough and swift manner."
"Whyever for?", I asked, bewildered.
"It seems", he said, "that by doing so with enough force and enough times, one's opponent can be rendered incapacitated by the pain inflicted by the blows."
"Superstitious hogwash!", my father harumphed, ever the skeptic. "Surely if one of them falls over, it's just a... a hysterical response to their belief that they SHOULD be incapacitated by it."
"You say that now, sir, but see for yourself!" the guide replied, pointing towards the two combatants.
Even as he spoke, the two men charged one another, each screaming savagely as they did so. Just as our guide had said, their arms began to lever upwards and downwards in a manner distressingly similar to the deadly scorpion's sting. They were like two savage pagan deities in that moment, like greek gods calling down the fire from Olympus, and all three of us felt our breath catch in our throats at the awesome, terrible power in them. Even then, I knew I could not leave this island without learning this art for myself.
The combatants collided with one another, and as predicted, their fists fell upon one another's faces over and over again as the two men stood at arms' length from one another. We could hear the impact of fist-upon-face again and again from our vantage point, even over the din of the members of the two tribes gathered around to watch this amazing spectacle. I could hardly believe my eyes: How could such primitive people have devised and mastered such principles in the absence of any formal education or schooling? Even as I looked on, I could begin to discern the science of it; they were employing rotational inertia, kinetic energy exchange, and even the very force of gravity itself to move their right arms up and down with each thunderous blow. Why, if they could do so much with so little knowledge of WHAT they were doing, imagine what I, a man of education and letters could do with such skills! I could conquer the world with the abilities these savages squandered on their small, perocial disputes!
As we looked on, the southern man began to flag. As our guide had predicted, it seemed as though the repeated blows to the head were indeed serving to incapacitate him. My father quietly crossed himself, muttering "God save us!" at the sight of it. As obviously shaken as this normally stout-hearted adventurer was, however, I was just as thrilled! As the southerner fell to the dirt, I found myself joining in the cheers of the onlookers, who even now set about separating the southerner’s head from his body with their spears: it had been made clear he had indeed sent a Booka-Tika to mutilate the other man's genitals, and for that, the punishment was death.
"Oh, father," I shouted excitedly, "I should very much like to learn this Mookalakapeekapo for myself! Do you think they would allow it?"
"Silence, boy!" he hissed at me, cuffing me behind my head. But even as he did, a hush had fallen over the crowd. It seemed that some number of the islanders had somehow acquired some smattering of english, and had discerned the meaning behind my words. A hushed whisper went up about them, as they pointed at me and looked to their village elder, as though questioning him.
"I think..." my father said, looking about with growing apprehension, 'I think we had best be off..."
"But father", I argued, "What about the supplies? The provisions?'
"Dash the provisions, by thunder! If we don't leave now, I doubt we shall live long enough to enjoy them." Even as he spoke, he had begun to move away from the gathering, insistently pulling me after him by the arm as he did so. The islanders, it seemed, had other things in mind. They moved to encircle us with their spears. "What the devil are they doing, man!" he shouted angrily at our guide. "You said we should be unmolested!"
"Sir," he said, speaking tremulously, attempting to decipher the guttural hoots and clicks which comprised the islanders' language, "It seems... and I beg your forgiveness, sir, I did not know!" he was by now visibly shaking in his boots, "It seems that any man who is present for a Mookalakapeekapo fight may then request initiation into its ancient secrets... but... but..."
"Well? Spit it out, you poltroon!"
"But they must first survive the initiation... or else they may not leave the gathering..." he whispered hoarsely, as twenty or more of the islanders raised their fists, scorpion-like, above their heads, "...Alive."
(To be continued in chapter four!)