December 26th, 2008

Cocktopus

A buried gem from years gone by


Years and years ago, when Friendster was first starting up and people cared about it, I had and briefly used a profile there. Nothing about this is exceptional or noteworthy. However, during that time, a bunch of friends and acquaintances of mine also made use of it, and Friendster had a feature called "Testimonials and Comments", which allowed you to write a blurb about a friend and have it displayed prominently on their profile page. 

Somehow, I got the idea into my head that I would write these in the style of weird, 19th-century-esque pulp adventures which had no relation whatsoever to the person I was writing about, save for the use of their name somewhere in the story being told. What's more, they were all written in such a way that they were all set in the same ridiculous world, and had a consistent mythology behind them. I took considerable pleasure in seeing these multi-paragraph, sprawling tales dominate my friends' pages with their nonsensical stories of daring-do.

While looking through some of my old files, I discovered one I had entirely forgotten, written for a passing acquaintance who went by the name "Pipkin". It made me laugh out loud, and so I share it here.

***
 

I first met Pipkin during one of my periodic lunar getaways about ten years ago. I’d arrived on Luna aboard my rocket-ship, The Nuclear Stallion, and set up base camp in the sea of Tranquility; a quiet spot which has come to have sentimental value to me, as it is there that I had – years earlier – thwarted the evil Dr. Six in his scheme to enslave the canine population of earth with his Orbital Lust Inducer; a devilish device meant to play upon the will of dogs everywhere to howl at the moon. A nefarious scheme, but one which bears repeating elsewhere, as I digress. I had set out to dig for ice below the surface of the moon in order to re-supply my stores of water, when I came upon a most startling discovery: the remnants of what looked like some long-lost moon civilization!

Straight away, I set about excavating the find, unearthing as I did so the remains of a set of intricately-carved stone pillars (which now adorn my front parlour back on good old Terra Firma), all encrusted in thick lunar ice, and then – most startlingly of all – a full-grown woman, naked, and encased in the ice! Remarkable! Quickly excavating the ice she was encased in, I brought her back to the Nuclear Stallion, and thawed her out at once. To my considerable relief and surprise, she near-instantly regained consciousness, and began to speak to me in some ancient and long-forgotten moon-tongue. Clearly, I would have none of that, and set about teaching her the Queen’s tongue, after clothing her in some of my excess attire (a concept which she seemed to find both novel and delightful. Oh, how she capered about in her new clothes!). When at last, a week later, the launch window for our return to Earth came, I decided to take her with me, not trusting the airless void of space to be overly kind to my foundling. Though neither Earth’s gravity nor her blue sky agreed with her, Pipkin (as I’d come to understand was her moon-name) adapted marvelously to this new world, and ingratiated herself into human society with an ease and alacrity which stunned even me. She spoke often of the lost civilizations of the moon, and how she loathed each and every one of them. Such panache and eloquence did she speak of her hatred that soon all the peoples of the world came to view the once-treasured satellite with loathing and contempt which I found slightly unsettling to behold.

Nevertheless, when she ran for high public office on a "Let us rid ourselves of the moon" platform, I could not find it in my heart to refuse her; she was, after all, the last survivor of the moon’s people, which made her it’s sovereign, so far as I was concerned, and thus entitled to do with the silly old ball of rock as she pleased (no matter how much I might miss my occasional vacations there). She won, of course, and soon applied the industries of the Earth about the task of destroying the moon outright. The night it was destroyed is one which I will never forget. I stood upon the balcony of my family home; Uncanny Manor, my family and entourage at my side. As at last Pipkin threw the switch which caused the Moon to explode into particulate dust, there was not a dry eye to be seen. "Father, how shall we live in a world with no moon", my eldest daughter, Cleopatra (named after my legendary custom-built triple-barreled hunting rifle of the same name) asked me. "One day at a time, my little isotope", I responded. "One day at a time".

***

I really liked the tone of these little stories. Maybe I'll see if I can locate some more of them. Maybe I'll write some more some day.