Heroes and Stuff
One day, feeling even more bored than usual, Applesouce, a cuter-than-the-average Darigan Grundo, was in the kitchen looking for food. Unfortunately she had a problem. Her arms, stubby and short as they were, could not reach the fridge, so she started jumping furiously. Marxtret the Baby Jetsam was lounging in his playpen watching Applesouce with curiosity. He thought to himself how stupid Applesouce looked. Because she was podgy due to her rather lethargic lifestyle, her jumping was pathetic. She could only jump about half an inch off the ground.
“Silly Grundo!” snearked Marxtret.
“Shut up, baby,” hissed Applesouce. “Must get food. Now!”
“Bahh!” squeaked the Baby Jetsam again. “I don’t know why you haven’t noticed, but your jumping prowess leaves something to be desired. Possibly your sad addiction to frequenting the chocolate shop and eating Peppermint Novas has left you fat and unwieldy. You cannot jump to save your life, or anybody else’s. You should now stop trying.”
It took several minutes for Marxtret’s scathing insults to sink into Applesouce’s dimwitted mind. But once she realized that the baby was directing those annoying remarks in his hoity-toity way towards her, she grew outraged. With an inarticulate roar she lunged away from the fridge toward the playpen, but tripped over a bin on the way. The bin tipped and delivered a slop of moldy rubbish all over Applesouce’s crimson self.
“Oooh!” she said, suddenly distracted. “Food! Much good food! Me eat! Me eat for long time!” And she began to eat. First she ate a grizzly tasting zeenana peal. Then she scarfed down really old dung pizza that let off overpowering fumes. Finally she ate a really hard pea.
“Yuck,” she griped. “Food taste bad. Food taste like sock I eat for breakfast.”
“You know what,” said Marxtret, “you are an imbecile. Do you not realize that you degrade yourself to the level of trash by eating that trash?”
Applesouce had her mouth open to hiss when she noticed something strange and appalling. By her right foot, (which incidentally had its toenails painted rainbow by that horrible Faerie Krawk, Zarxen) was a lump of the scourge of the Neoverse! THE STUFF!!! The Stuff had invaded their kitchen!
“Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” she screamed.
“What is it? What is it?” asked Marxtret. “Did you finally notice that lovely rainbow nailpolish Zarxen painted on you last night, while you snored like a little round lump? I thought it was a waste of good nailpolish myself.”
“The Stuff!” screamed Applesouce. “The Stuff! Bad mean bad nasty Stuff!”
Marxtret began wailing too, for both the pets had heard many a spooky bedtime story about the horrible Stuff. Their fearful cries brought Zarxen, Faerie Krawk extraordinaire, and Rummbeir, the lab mutant who was currently a Silver Wocky, running.
“Did you see her?” cried out the paranoid Rummbeir in a voice quavering with fear. “Did you see the girl-monster who takes me to the lab every single day? I must avoid her at all costs! I must hide! Has she come? Won’t she take somebody else to be a Pea Chia? I don’t want to be a vegetarian’s dinner!”
“My clawpolish is still wet,” griped Zarxen. “I still have to file. What is all the commotion about? Can’t you people have some respect for fine grooming? Some of us have fashion to protect!”
“The Stuff!” screamed Applesouce, her stumpy black wings beating the air with fear.
“The terrible horrible Stuff!” screamed Marxtret, his small blue fins beating his playpen.
“The Stuff!” screamed out Rummbeir, his fuzzy Silver Wocky paws slipping on the tiles as he turned to run for his life.
“The Stuff!” screeched Zarxen, flapping his pretty pink wings and flying up to the kitchen counter and relative safety. “Eat it! Eat it now! Before it devours us and the entire world and all my latest fashion accessories!”
“Argh!” grunted Applesouce, beginning to hop around in pain. “My foot! I felt slimy mouth on foot. It eat me! It eat me!”
“Rubbish!” said the Faerie Krawk. “Your claw-hoofs are disgusting. Nothing would touch them and live. Lucky for you I painted your right ones rainbow as a huge favor to you. Because of your extreme lack of personal hygiene my entire rubber glove collection was donated to the dump.”
“Slimy mouth not eat me?” asked Applesouce doubtfully. She tried to look down at her foot but found it very difficult due to her lack of neck. Rummbeir slipped and slid over to have a look.
“Ewww,” he said, his sensitive nose twitching at the foot-smell. “It looks the same to me. But this Stuff on the other hand. It looks like um, you know what. Don’t you all think it looks like you know what? You know, that stuff. The stuff that you sometimes pick up at the berry farm.”
“I know that we must take charge of this terrifying and life-threatening situation,” demanded the Baby Jetsam imperiously. “Listen to me, my half-brained minions... I mean siblings. If the Stuff is allowed to take over our kitchen, then we won’t have any um, kitchen. I am sure that would violate Neo-housing-codes.”
“We could be on the street in a matter of hours!” wailed Zarxen. “We’ll be street-people. Our fashion will be smelly and old. Non-street people will laugh at me and I will never be admired on catwalks everywhere ever again. Oh no! I can’t go on!”
“Zarxen is panicking,” shouted Marxtret. “We must get this situation under control. Slap him, Lab-Mutating-Wocky-Thing, slap him hard! It’s for his own good.” Obediently the Silver Wocky reared on his hind paws to cat-slap the Faerie Krawk. As if by magic, Zarxen calmed down enough to flutter several feet out of harm’s way, just in time.
“Eat the Stuff, Applesouce,” ordered Marxtret from his playpen. “Take it like a um, superior Grundo species.”
“Eat bad, mean, bad food?” asked Applesouce. “Will he like me eating him?”
“Um yes,” said Marxtret, thinking quickly. “He will thank you from deep inside your stomach. I hear the Stuff tastes like Candy.”
“That’s so deceitful,” said Zarxen, trying to hide his sniggering behind his pink paw.
“Will you do it, Applesouce?” asked Rummbeir curiously. “Are you really that stup... uh brave?”
Applesouce thought long and hard. Her stomach spots seemed to glow in time with each deep thought. The Silver Wocky Rummbeir thought the Grundo was either thinking very hard or about to throw up.
Finally Applesouce’s evilly red eyes glowed even redder. “Me hero,” she said. “Me big hero.”
“You big fat hero,” chortled Zarxen. “The biggest fattest hero in the land.”
“You are so mean,” said Rummbeir to the dragon-like creature. “Just because Applesouce is so much of an idiot that she is going to eat the evil Stuff right now while we watch and laugh, doesn’t mean you can, um, say that. Out loud.”
“Shhh, cretins!” hissed the Baby. “You will ruin it all! The Grundo is not deaf, although she has no discernable ears.”
“Aren’t those tube-things on the top of her head ears?” asked Rummbeir curiously. To prove his point he slid up to Applesouce and popped a tube-thing in his mouth.
“Canb youb hearb meb?” he asked. The Grundo did not appear to notice but cautiously used one claw to spear the slop that was the Stuff.
“Me hero,” said Applesouce. “Hero of world.”
“Maybe those aren’t her ears,” suggested Zarxen, “maybe they are like tentacles, or suckers, or extra arms, or antennas because she’s an alien. Maybe she’s psychic and she hears us in her brain.”
“Well, then she’s hearing us wrong,” said Marxtret. “Which explains why she never takes out the garbage or does my homework.” Rummbeir spit the tube-thing out and began to cough.
“Tastes like ear wax,” he complained, beginning to clean himself all over in disgust.
Meanwhile Applesouce was fully focused on the mission at hand. The Stuff refused to be speared by her claw but oozed off slowly in the opposite direction. It began to form a new shape, one of a tiny terribly fierce-looking Tyrannian Krawk; it even changed colors from pink to orange.
“Would you look at that,” cooed Zarxen. “You’re so cute. Yes, you are. What a cute little Stuff you are. Is the good-looking and classy Krawk going to take over the world? Yes, you are. What a good little fashionably orange dictator.”
“Shut up, you!” hissed Marxtret. “You’ll give it ideas.”
“Fight me,” challenged Applesouce, looming round and red over the Stuff. She brandished her plastic butterknife threateningly. “Fight me, goo-blob, or don’t fight me! Choose you now.” And then she performed an action that was either terribly stupid or wonderfully heroic. She stepped on the Tyrannian Krawk. With a sucking sound the Stuff subsided in an icky glob around her foot. Chortling gleefully and snorting laughter through her nose holes and tube-things, she stepped down harder and wiggled her foot from side to side. A smell like rotten eggs filled the kitchen. Rummbeir stopped licking himself and looked sick. Zarxen used his long green forelock to block his nostrils. Marxtret nodded approvingly. But as we all know, dear readers, stepping on the Stuff does not do a thing, for Stuff is resilient (though bad foot odors may stun), which is why it is the number one threat in our world. Let that be a warning to you heroic types out there who think that one little step is all it takes. In reality it takes much much more. So much more. It takes... the work of a hero.
There was no hero there that day. When the girl-monster that Rummbeir was so terrified of returned home, she found the poor kitchen (not to mention home) to be no more. Instead four miserable neo-pets were making do in a cardboard box on the street next to the now huge pink blob.
“What happened?!” she cried. “That kitchen cost me millions.. not to mention the rest of the house!”
“I’m just a baby, Mummy-Owner,” said Marxtret manipulatively. “I do not even understand what you say. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
“Please don’t take me to the lab,” whimpered Rummbeir. “I’ll do anything. I’ll give you my soot petpet to take my place. Hang on, wasn’t that a sludge petpet when you gave it to me?”
“I need new nailpolish,” said Zarxen in a whiny pouting voice. “And a new wardrobe. Possibly in orange.”
“Me big hero today,” boasted Applesouce. “Me save world. Also me very hungry. Bring me food. Bring me food now!”