Category Archives: Session X

Page for Dr. Mueller

The first few times they heard the page, the hospital staff just thought it was technical difficulties. “Dr. Mueller,” a woman’s quiet voice would always say then cut out. It continued, however, and Dr. Mueller, the hospital’s surgeon-in-chief, a short-fused man and recent widower came stomping over to the nurses’ desk.

“You girls might think this is funny, but your shenanigans are blocking up the paging system that we use for emergencies!”

The nurses stared at him blankly until the head nurse spoke up. “It wasn’t us doctor. We’ve all just been here or doing our rounds. It’s much too busy around here lately to pull any pranks.”

“Then who–” Dr. Mueller threw up his hands, though he stopped short when the paging system static started. It was the woman’s voice again, only she was laughing this time. “Someone’s playing games with me!” He stormed off.

Over the next few days, rumors began circulating among the nurses and patients about a ghost haunting the hospital. Dr. Mueller was often seen rushing about the halls every day to find the culprit whenever a page went off. He even threatened to disconnect the phones.

Eventually the paging got to the half-deaf ears of the chief of medicine, Dr. Brown. Though Dr. Mueller’s complaints had been merely a dull buzzing in Dr. Brown’s ears, the talk of ghosts was beginning to spook the superstitious old man. He agreed to Dr. Mueller’s plan to have any staff available guard the phones. As it turned out, there really wasn’t that many staff members available, so they disconnected most of the phones for the day and locked them away.

At first, Dr. Mueller’s plan seemed to be going well, but then the voice came again in a chill whisper. Dr. Mueller looked around at the people in the hospital looking up at the intercoms and then at him. They began whispering to each other without taking their eyes off of him.

“Stop it!” he screamed, tearing down the halls, taking the phone with him. He began ripping all the remaining phones out of the walls, but still the voice followed him.

“Where is it?” he shrieked, circling a pile of phones. “Where’s the last one?”

“Dr. Mueller!” the concerned reprimand came from Dr. Brown’s shriveled lips. “What are you doing with all those phones?”

“There are more phones, Dr. Brown! Secret ones! Where are you hiding them?” The voice over the intercom laughed again. Dr. Mueller screamed and tried to climb the walls to get at a speaker. Dr. Brown promptly called for personnel to pull him off the walls.

Dr. Mueller never came back to the hospital after that day. He retired, citing emotional trauma over the recent loss of his wife as the official reason. The rumor mill still turned and a few said that Dr. Mueller’s wife was the one on the intercom. Some even said that she was haunting the place because he’d killed her, or he never loved her enough, or that she really did love him a lot and was calling to him from beyond. A few said that it was a patient that had died under his operating table at the hospital. Some said that it really was a prank, others that it was Dr. Mueller himself who planned it. This was never really accepted, though, since the man had no sense of humor. No one never really knew for sure, but things continued at the hospital as they always did after that. If anything, it may have been a little brighter, like a curse had been lifted. But that’s just superstition.

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White Wings

Bobby felt an itchiness in his shoulder blades. He was worried at first, but then he thought to himself: “Wow! I must be growing wings!” Bobby had heard a story about how butterflies coming out of their coccoons are too weak to live when they’re helped out, so he decided he could not itch his shoulder blades no matter how much he wanted to. He didn’t sleep much at night and he often yelled in pain and bit into his pillow. The bulges that would be his wings grew and became very red and itchy. Finally, he couldn’t help it any longer and itched at his back. It bled and a nest of white bugs came crawling out. He cried, then, not because he had parasites living under his skin, but rather because he knew he would never have wings. He thought that maybe it was his fault for itching them that they didn’t turn into wings like they should have.

The white parasites heard the boy’s crying and were moved by his suffering. That night, while he was sleeping, they constructed themselves into a pair of beautiful, white wings. The boy knew that the parasites had done this for him, but he was grateful for their concern. “My!” he said. “These are the grandest wings a boy could ever wish for! Now I can go on to being a normal boy again.” The white insects paused, not knowing what to do, then they disassembled themselves. The boy realized that he didn’t need wings to be happy. He was just glad there was somebody who would listen and somebody who cared.

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From The Travelogue of Dr. Thaddarin: Revisiting the Tlaktal

My discovery began with a rumor from a gun merchant in Koalrak, the nearest populated city to the Bitu Desert. He told me that the Tlaktal tribe had developed a type of guerilla warfare to fend off the two warrior tribes that lived at the top of the canyons and in the desert, Filak and Tlanjo respectively. This shocked me somewhat, not because I did not believe the normally peaceful tribe was capable. They knew the terrain well, after all. Rather, I was surprised that the impoverished tribe was able to find the means and the weaponry to battle its brutal sister tribes. Tlaktal, after all, had been experiencing a sharp decline in population due to ethnic cleansing. The numbers aren’t exact, given the Tlaktal’s propensity for hiding away, but the death toll is irrefutable. Much has changed since I lived with one of their communities, studying their culture and customs. I decided to find out for myself the condition of the culture I so closely integrated myself into for four years.

When the Tlaktali do not want to be found, they are difficult to find. I began at the settlement in which I’d lived, seeing a few familiar faces, mostly some of the elders. I was afraid the rest had been killed, but they assured me that this was not so. Apparently, they had consolidated into one main tribe, the whereabouts of which were shrouded in secrecy. The elder there had been there when he was younger, and vaguely remembered its whereabouts. He said, however, that many of the elders were simply to old to make the journey. I stayed for dinner, spent the night, and helped with the farming. The father of the community drew me a map from his memory. I matched it with my own map I’d bought in the city and found some similarities. It was possible to find this hidden tribe.

After days of searching, I came across similar landmarkings from what the elder had pointed out in his map. It wasn’t long before I found myself being watched by men with rifles. Luckily, they did not believe that this lone traveler was a threat. However, I was eventually blocked from proceeding any further and warned at gunpoint to leave. My knowledge of their language earned me little sympathy, but I was permitted to enter their underground city on the condition that I would be killed if I was a spy. I complied.

The city was an enormous cave, half natural and half dug by man. Out of a few tunnels, there were men hauling out wagons of ore, the sound of metal on stone ringing through the halls.  There was a mining operation here. A young man called out to me, though I did not recognize him. His name was Klto, and apparently I had played with him when he was a boy. He vouched for me, though my armed guards still seemed uncertain. They came to an agreement to lead me to the Grand Father of the tribe so that he could decide. The Grand Father, upon hearing the story from the young man, began to discuss the plight of their situation and the threat of extinction at the hands of Filak and Tlanjo. I explained to him that I was not a gunrunner. To say he was disappointed would be an understatement. He showed off his weapons to me to show off his considerable power. I expressed the appropriate ammount of humility and told him that I might be able to help if he explained how he obtained his power.

First, I was shown the top of their canyon, a heavily guarded nook in which  men were carting over melted down metal into a funnel. The funnel, I was shown, narrowed down until it dripped into a great hall with a pool of cave water at the bottom. The drops of metal would rapidly cool on the way down from the hot desert sun to the cool air of the cave until the mostly-hardened pellet hit the water. The slant of the cave then caused it to roll down to a deeper area of the pool. At least, I was informed that it was very deep. I could not tell for their was a hill of metal pellets that rose almost to peak right out of the water. Originally, Klto said, they had divers that retrieved the bullets. Now, they simply scooped them out of the water and into their ammo pouches. I was stunned. The Tlaktal had developed an almost infinite source of ammo. The guns they had purchased from traders with their resources  of metal and livestock at first and now were taking from the enemies they had killed. Never in my lifetime would I think to have seen a contraption, an operation so ingenious and destructive as this. Though my experience as an anthropologist begged me to remain uninvolved, my emotions compelled me to do otherwise. I told myself that I would need to study this tribe longer, especially at this moment in their history. In hindsight, I think perhaps I was only fooling myself.

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Balance

“Concentrate on the middle,” he murmured to himself. “Concentrate on the middle,” he said again, steadying his rapid heart. In his mind, he split himself in half, imagined a line down the middle. He stood up straight, eyes closed, feeling out the bottoms of his feet, which he also split through the middle with his thoughts. Taking even breaths, he gripped his balance pole, finally looking again at the long stretch of rope before him. He envisioned a bright, thin line, splitting the rope in two cords. Now he had found his center and the center of his goal, he aligned them with the center of everything. Strangely, this was the easiest feat once he knew his boundaries. He placed the center of his foot on the center of the rope, keeping his head centered with the universe.

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The Last Hold

Onidas knew the war was over when the giants seized the walls of Svellgard, humanity’s last hold. The giants crushed the bricks of the guard towers with clubs carved of ancient ash trees, bearing the blood and shattered remains of the guards of the East Towers. Their clan’s leader, hoary giant called Vald, stood just out of range of the defenders’ bows, catapults, and ballistas. His beard flowed down to his stomach, long enough to soak from tip to chin in the twin falls of Garbassa. He wore an ancestral sword at his waist, the only one in his clan which may have been taken from another clan at one point. It is said that entire mountains are destroyed to obtain enough ore for one sword fit for a giant.

With the East Towers decimated, Onidas cut loose the straps holding his leg plating and sprinted to the battlements in the West Towers. Armor would only slow him down in this battle. One of the ballistas there was abandoned, its operator either dead or a coward, both just as likely. Though there is no escape when running from giants. As the saying goes, you run from a giant and you only choose to get scraped from his boot instead of his club. Onidas preferred a death in which he resembled an opponent rather than cow dung.  He signalled for a boy who was delivering buckets from the latrines to the ballistas. He was only a squire, not even a man, though he showed the courage of a knight. The boy came back and tossed the refuse onto the head of Onidas’s weapons. They would all die, of that he was certain, but the least he could do was take one down a day or two after the battle when the infection settled in.

He waited until the giants had closed in on their warpath, though the debris from their carnage was shattering even these walls. He loosed his ballista onto one overzealous giant. The gods  must have been on his side, for the diseased spear tore into the side of the giant. He fell, howling in thunderous pain. Vald, seeing this, took his first steps toward the remaining battlements. Each step brought him straight toward Onidas. He sought revenge for a fallen clansmen. His sword, when brandished, lit up from the sun so that the entire battlefield was hammered by its glare. It is said to be an honor to be killed by a giant’s sword, a death usually reserved only for other giants. Onidas may have felt the honor if not for his overwhelming fear.

The giant crashed his blade into the battlements. It sunk in deeper than Onidas would have imagined, perhaps down to the earth. The blade was not only humongous but sharp as well. With his other hand, he swatted and twisted apart the other men on the wall, never taking his eyes off of Onidas. Vald meant for him to die by the sword. He drew the sword from the rubble and the sword again glared at Onidas. Having nothing to defend himself against this beast, his courage faltered. Not knowing whether to fight or to run, Onidas merely stood there as the giant raised his massive arm and he could only watch as the arm was stayed and blood waterfalled down onto the battlements. Vald had been feathered with half a dozen arrows, all the size of ballistas.  Another clan had arrived.

Onidas saw them emerge, dressed only in blue war paint, all equipped with bows. Unlike the siegers, these giants were equipped to assassinate, not to massacre. They were giant-killers. At first, Onidas was relieved. He would live another moment, perhaps another day. But the realization dawned on him. His kingdom must have struck a bargain with this clan, cooperation to provide slaves for their clan. More than likely, Onidas and the few other survivors here would spend the rest of their lives mining for the giants. His only hope, then, would not to die honorably in battle, but that maybe one day the weapon that he helped mine for would kill more giants, at least until they had finally all killed one another. But that would never happen in the short lifetime of a slave. Onidas sunk to his knees, peering over the gorge that Vald carved out with his blade. At the bottom lie the giant leader, bleeding the last of his life through his mouth and his nose. Onidas knew, then, that the fall of Svellgard and the fall of Vald were tied, marking the beginning of something new and very horrible for giants and humans alike.

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i’ll come up with something more clever when i’m not as tired

Work.

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The Day California Beat Texas

Now everyone knows that California hates Texas and Texas doesn’t think much of California, but there was one day when the Golden State bested the reigning champ. It all started, as most fights do, with a simple misunderstanding. California didn’t like Texas’s rotund shape and Texas didn’t like how thin and tall California was. Texas called California “pretty boy” and California called Texas “a state full of fat, ugly people with fat, ugly hats.” Nobody knows for sure who issued the first attack, but I reckon it was Texas. Nobody insults a Texan’s hat.

For the first wave, Texas sent out their pawns, the Alamo reenactors. They came out, fake pistols blazing. The Goliad reenactors would have come, too, if they’d gotten the memo, but someone must’ve not remembered them. The Screen Actors Guild met them in kind with their own fancier fake guns, but they retreated when they realized that every Texan actually does carry a gun on them. It was a bloodbath until Clint Eastwood took the field. His stare alone killed tens of thousands. People in Oklahoma went insane because they felt like they could feel his eyes watching him. Casualties of war.

As the dust settle from the Earth itself shivering at Eastwood’s steely glare, George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger were duking it out. Not too many people really cared, though, and they could have both died when Texas unleashed their death row prisoners in a terrifying stampede of condemned men. Then again, the Today Show featured the story for a month straight. Al Roker made a few good jokes but the rest just yapped about like a buncha bobble heads.

Regardless of the outcome, their scuffle was overshadowed by the battle of cowboys versus Indians. The cowboys were stoked about the fight, but the Indians never showed. They were all back home banging their wives and girlfriends like any smart man would have done. California had some cowboys, too, but not real ones, and they were banging each other. So the real cowboys got drunk and started killing each other. By the end, Texas went back home, drunk and tired. California was triumphant, but only by default.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Chuck Norris would have killed them all with one roundhouse kick!” Well, did it ever occur to you that ol’ Chuck had better things to do than kill millions of people with a roundhouse kick? No, probably not, but there’s some lore that only us old folk pass around anymore. It’s said that Chuck Norris only appears for 69 years (a number Chuck chose himself), destroying evil with roundhouse kicks, then he sleeps for another thousand in the center of the Earth. What we’ve seen is the end of a golden age. With Chuck gone, even the greatest of empires can fall to the hands of a bunch of surfers and long-haired weirdos.

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