Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Spirit of James Franco Lives in Our Hearts

Six weeks is a long time. On this blog, I try to comment on everything from silly science fiction to education to writing to just whatever is on my mind for the day. (Squirrel!), but obviously for six weeks... four weeks plus two where I didn’t really feel like writing anything... I didn’t cover anything. I have a few options here.

  1. Go back and write about what happened as if it was timely, even though it’s really not.
  2. Just dump everything into a post here, in one glorious mishmash of what’s on my mind. Also, look up if mishmash is a world. Note: It’s not. I’ll allow it.

Thusly, here’s a list of a few things that have happened in the news or around the world that would have warranted full Bad Shakespeare posts in the month of November and early December, but I didn’t get to because I was dedicating my blog to other things.

-Cow and Boy is officially ending! As you may recall, this is the hilarious strip that is like Calvin and Hobbes but with a boy and his cow instead, and was cancelled so that more digital room could be given to reruns of Peanuts, or other comics where the creator died years ago and now they’re just coasting on jokes that aren’t funny anymore. (There’s a new comic that’s just about a circle. Hilarious.)

Sadly, as Cow and Boy went to web comic form, it was limited to three days a week. As of the end of the year, it’s going to be relegated to zero days a week. Before it’s over, go over and show some love at It’s funny.

-Core Common Standards for Education are out, and now one group hates it and then the other group that is always against the previous group likes it, and there’s little reasoning or evidence that anyone read anything having to do with it. Because everyone in politics is stuck in third grade where if one side likes it, the other side HAS to hate it, which will make the inevitable cure for Cancer awkward as one side is apparently going to have to take a stance against it.
Me, personally? I read the English part of it, and basically it focuses more on understanding the text rather than just trying to repeat a bunch of facts. Which I’m for. So I’m for that part of it at least. I won’t pretend I read any more of it, or understood it.

Quick note: Bad Shakespeare and it’s writer fully endorses any cures for Cancer, no matter who endorses it. Unless it’s Mike Myers. Where’s our next Austin Powers? Yeah, you focus less on Cancer and more on that.

-Another day, another high school teacher fired for something on social media. This teacher’s crime: she posted a picture of her at the beach, with her fiance holding her... girl part. Yep. We’ve reached that point, where apparently teachers can’t do anything outside of school except sit quietly and wait for the next school day to start.

Why am I bringing up this one when there are literally stories every day of teachers being fired or suspended for the crime of being humans who don’t shut off? Well, for one, it’s her FIANCE. Which means they were ready to be married. Also, there was the little fact that they were both coaches. (Suddenly, you might see where this is going.) She was the girls volleyball coach. He was the boys football coach. And only she was disciplined... Hmmmmmm.... Yeah, so once again sports rulez (with a z, that’s intentional) in public schools.

-This is the only other thing with a quasi political bent, and I have to admit it’s recent enough I debated giving it over to a whole post, but apparently we’ve entered a world where Santa’s ethnicity is a hot button political issue because we’ve run out of things to talk about. For those of you who haven’t been sucked in, basically some FOX News Anchor Lady said that Santa was white, then a bunch of people made fun of her, then she said she was joking (look, the debate is stupid but I saw the clip - she wasn’t joking, and if she was, it wasn’t funny.)

It’s really important to me that anyone seriously debating this issue starts off with the caveat that Santa isn’t real. That’s important for this debate: The magical, all knowing, all seeing, obese man that commands an army of elves while riding in a sleight pulled by flying reindeer (one of which has a red, glowing nose) is a fictional character. That means he’s of no ethnicity. Oh, he can be described, but he doesn’t exist. Just as Bilbo Baggins doesn’t look like Martin Freeman “officially”, Hamlet has been played by more actors than you can shake a stick at, and James Franco’s appearance is left up to everyone’s imagination, Santa is part of our imaginations and looks just like however the person imagining him wants to look. We live in a world that has TWO different Captain Kirks, people. Two. Each one dreamier than the last, but they’re also both not real. (Unless your last name is Kirk and you joined the military. In which case... I’m sorry for all the jokes at your expense. You kinda brought it on yourself.)

Why is this a real issue anyone is discussing? The whole thing came from a harmless article that just suggested what I just said: Santa is imaginary and can look however we want.

-I’m disappointed I didn’t get to do my “Bad Shakespeare Black Friday Shopping Guide” this year, which I had planned since last year. It would have included such great tidbits as: 
  1. Bear Mace isn’t just a good idea, it’s a great one.
  2. Hire your local High School Football Team to run defense.
  3. Visit a store with furniture first, bring your Thanksgiving meal and have it on a table for sale.
  4. When all else fails remember: lick whatever you want. It’s yours!
  5. Remember to be there when the store opens so there’s a cool picture of you screaming as you burst in! Also, remember to have a cool pose.
  6. Don’t be that guy. You know. The one that doesn’t know what’s for sale. Research!
  7. Mercy is for the week. Sweep the leg.

Whew, I think that just about covers it. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Unicorns, Nicolas Cage, and Novels… Oh, My!

At this point, it’s been about two weeks since I finished the first draft of my Nanowrimo Novel, Mars and Kaplan Save the World. Which is being changed to The Third String. I’ll probably go back and forth on it. It’s also been about six weeks since I’ve done a regular Bad Shakespeare post. I know I promised to restart last week, but I was sort of in a major groove in my editing, and then it was suddenly Wednesday, and I figured I’d give myself an extra week of creating new creates.

I’ve been a busy little bee, editing some of the parts I didn’t like (and, unfortunately, some of the parts I did like) to make it a better novel. The goal has always been to post the first, mad-cap, make-no-sense “proto-novel” (Thanks for the term, Chris) to my blog as a way to hold myself accountable to actually writing the thing. Now I need to finish it up, with the hopes of having it sent to publishers by the Summer. 

However, it’s lesson time, because I learned a lot about myself, the writing process, and other people during the whole month of November while I was putting this together. Also while I was active on the Nanowrimo forums, talking to other people and learning things about the other writers out there participating in this event.

-Sadly, the first thing I learned is that a lot of people really want to kill other people’s fun. I mean, I always knew this, but unless some people were really deluded into thinking that their silly first draft written in a month suddenly constituted something that could be sent to publishers (more on that in a moment) this is really harmless fun. I made a few comments on it over on the ol’Facebook page, and here’s a quick clarification:

“Wow, Nanowrimo is stupid” not directed to anyone in particular just ensuring that you want to make sure everyone knows you’re apparently above all this: I can shake off. You’re being a jerk, but I saw plenty of comments on that, and I don’t really care. I mean, I was a little surprised at how much hate was out there, but hey... everyone is welcome to whatever they want to say, really.

“Hey, your protagonist is really week” or other constructive criticism directed towards me: Great. I want to know that stuff. Tell me.

“Wow, Nanowrimo is stupid and your novel is stupid and why are you focusing on demons instead of the glory of Christ you’re going to hell.” That’s a condensed version of an email directed to me by a now thankfully former friend. That’s the stuff that is a little difficult to ignore. Like I said, the first one, directed at all potential writers is just a little immature. The second one is helpful. This one shows a special brand of hatred. Someone  I once considered a friend took the time to sit down at a computer, read part of Mars and Kaplan (or the Third String... Holla!) dissect it, and then offer nothing other than I, personally was an idiot for doing this and that I, personally was going to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks for writing about demons... fake demons, mind you, and Nicolas Cage. I know I’m going to have to deal with this forever, especially as I put my writing more and more out there, but seriously? From a “friend?” Good riddance. 

So, to those wondering what had me all riled up that one day, it was that hurtful email, from a very former “friend.” 

-I learned that my characters want to tell a different story than I do sometimes. There were plenty of points in my writing where I really wanted things to go one way, but then one of the characters would pop up, say, “nu-unh!” and then make me go off in the other direction, blissfully aware that they decided to change the course of everything. For example, Tyler was just going to be a throw away character that was going to get Mars to the bar. I was surprised when he came along, and more importantly I was more surprised when he was killed! None of that was in my original outline.

-Not everyone is a crazy, “DECEMBER IS PUBLISHING MONTH READ MY 50,001 WORDS ON UNICORNS.” Oh, there are plenty like that, and generally they’re corrected by people. I’d say about 50% of people doing this do it just because at some point they had a dream to be a writer, and somewhere along the line that dream went away, so they use this month just to have fun. Their novel may never see the light of day. They just had a good time writing, and they’ll file their novel under some folder to look back on some day. Even those that fall into the “hey we’re going to publish something at some point” are cool people who are realistic about getting their stuff out there on day.

-The “DECEMBER WILL SEE MY BOOK PUBLISHED ON UNICORNS” people really are crazy. And scary. And people to avoid. Big time. 

-It was a lot of fun. Yep. I had a really good time doing it, creating a little world and getting to play in it. And a lot of what I did: Making one of the main characters Nicolas Cage, throwing in the real life Hamlet the Wondercat, etc... some of that was fun, just for me. I don’t know how much of that will survive the editing process. So far it’s all still around, but the first draft not caring about editing or making sure everything lined up perfectly... that was just a good time.

Ultimately, National Novel Writing Month served it’s purpose for me: It fulfilled the promise I made to myself a long time ago to actually complete some type of writing. It allowed me to stretch and get out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to just enjoy myself, more than anything.

I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hopefully, I’ll have a second draft to play with very, very soon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013



Nicolas Cage sat in his room overlooking Bourbon Street. He smiled as the revelers danced beneath him, feeling kingly in his own way. He had just signed on to play Kaplan in the movie version of the events that just happened. His Cult was still around to do his various biddings. Alice quit, of course, as she was no longer set to be his sacrifice. There was some chatter that she went to work for Ben Affleck, but at this point he didn’t really care. He simply put his hands on his hips and stared out the window.

Then he heard it. The little jingling of a bell on a cat collar. He turned to see Hamlet sitting in one of the chairs across his desk.

“Now, what are you doing here, little guy,” Nicolas Cage said.

“He’s with me,” James Franco said, entering the room, “We decided to pay you a little visit.”

Nicolas Cage walked over to his little bar and poured two drinks. He quickly downed them both, “I’m not sure what you’re doing here, Franco.”

“I’m here to make sure that you don’t have any more ambitions for world domination, Cage.”

Nicolas Cage smiled. “You know, Franco, you never were much of the trusting type. That surprises me.” 

“What makes you say that?” 

“You just seem like the trusting type. So young... it’s a shame.”

“Well, I have you to thank for that,” James Franco replied, squinting.

“Don’t do that flashback thing. I don’t have the time for that.”

James Franco’s eyes unsquinted as he decided not to visit the past.

“So, now what’s next for the mighty Nicolas Cage?” 

The truth was, other than making movies, Nicolas Cage hadn’t decided. He indicated as much as he poured himself another drink.

“Just remember: I’m watching you,” James Franco said, pointing at his eyes. Hamlet bounced off the chair and the two of them started to exit the room. He turned around one more time to point at his eyes, then pointed back at Nicolas Cage.

Nicolas Cage just smiled. Then he reached under the bar and pulled out a book he had acquired a few months ago, “Wizarding 101.”

“Until next time, Franco.”

Chapter 32

Chapter 32

Kaplan put his feet up on the counter of Heroix Comix reading the latest edition of a comic book that felt oddly anti climatic given the events that transpired a little less than a month ago. Saving the world felt great: on the one hand, the world was saved. On the other, everything else felt “turned down.” Video games where they saved the world felt a little pointless. He still played them, because it was that or interact with other humans.

Action movies, books, comic books, and other forms of entertainment tended to cut out right after the bad guys were defeated, and that was kind of the boring part. Following Izzy destroying the amulet, and thus the only reason for various members to be taking over the world, things ended rather quickly. The police didn’t want to burst in, guns blazing, partly because they had no idea what was going on, and party because the building was still on fire. It was easy for everyone to exit the building because of the large gaping hole in the side.

Of course the police were involved. There was a building on fire on Bourbon Street, that sort of thing tended to attract attention. Nicolas Cage, finding temporary sanity or just not wanting to be the guy who destroyed the planet, spoke to the police and managed to convince them that the whole thing was a stunt gone awry. Bennet openly sobbed as countless other news stations showed up and reported on her story, while Marty sat in the truck and smoked a cigarette he wasn’t supposed to be smoking but felt after what he just saw, he deserved.

She never did find out just how close she came to witnessing the end of the world, but was fired two weeks later when Action Action News needed to make some difficult cutbacks. They even had to get rid of the second “Action” which suited most of the residents of New Orleans just fine.

After Nicolas Cage spoke, most of the crowd disappeared, no longer able to watch a movie being made. Besides, there was drinking to be done. The Cult went back to the lair to await further instructions. The Man in the Dark Hood, stripped of any Dark-Hood powers he once held, found himself back in Alabama awaiting trial. Elizabeth, who it turned out was a very wanted woman and not named Elizabeth, found herself in the back of a police car pretty quickly.

Gabe and Raph vanished from the scene, leaving behind only their shackles. Mars would wonder aloud just how much they were able to get out of those shackles, but no one really listened or cared. Later some movie fans would steal them, thinking they were used by Nicolas Cage himself on his latest masterpiece.

As for Evie, Mars and Kaplan... no one really knew their role in saving the world, although they received a nice framed letter from James Franco congratulating them on their recent victories, and letting them know that if they ever needed a place to stay in Tennessee, they were more than welcome to do so. The gold leaflet around the letter was nice, and it at least looked like he signed it himself.

The bell on Heroix Comix’s  door gave a slight ring. Kaplan didn’t look up from his comic, but he was pretty sure who was coming in at this time of the day.

“This one is all you, new guy!” 

Mars appeared from the room in the back, “You can stop calling me new guy, now. I’ve been here two weeks. Besides, you knew me from before.”

“And I’d think you’d be grateful I got you a job after that stupid Smith Times Four place shut down.” 

Indeed, it had been about two weeks since Smith Times Four had pretty much been disbanded as a result of the unsigned document and the bus. That suited Mars just fine, as he was less inclined to take and bull from Mr. Cunningham following his adventures. Plus, they tended to look unfavorably on three employees just not showing up for work for a few days, and he had been fired. The excuse of being kidnapped by James Franco and then Nicolas Cage really didn’t go over that well, and they couldn’t get a note from their Angels to excuse them.

Mars shook his head then turned his attention to the newcomer  - Evie. She smiled and gave him a quick kiss.

“So, how’s our good buddy Cunningham?” he said.

Evie, unlike Mars, was not fired as she knew were too many proverbial bodies were buried. And come to think of it, a few non-proverbial bodies. She was severely demoted to the mail room, which at this point consisted of people sending resumes to each other to double check since it was unlikely even the remnants of Smith Times Four was going to last for very long.

“No PDA from the employees!” Kaplan said, still not looking up.

“Still desperately trying to rebuild from the ashes of Smith Times Four,” she said. 

In a perfect world, Mr. Cunningham would have been found out for his many, many, many transgressions. But this wasn’t a perfect world, and he got what he wanted - complete control over Smith Times Four, or what was left of it. With the employees leaving for other consulting firms, it was likely to be a two man operation very soon consisting of Mr. Cunningham and Not Carl, who in addition to being his new Executive Assistant replacing Evie, now bore a grudge against him and was withholding phone messages. It would be a message from a potential investor that wanted to save the company that Not-Carl would never pass along that would bring down Smith Times Four in six weeks.

“So, what are we doing tonight?” Evie asked.

“Nothing as exciting as saving the world,” Mars said, looking at the cash register receipts. They were oddly right following Mars’ hiring, and Mr. Herkabee couldn’t be happier.

“Perfect!” Evie replied.

There was another jingle of the door chime. This time, Mars looked up and gave Kaplan a slight tap on the knee.

Kaplan looked up to see Gabe and Raph enter, both smiling, looking a lot better than they had when they left them in New Orleans. Both had a new glow about them. Raph was dressed in a fine designer suit with a long topcoat, Gabe had her hair pulled back in a tight bun and had her big white sunglasses on, despite the fact that she didn’t need it. She had helped create the sun, she would tell them later in another story.

“Sorry it’s taken us so long to come visit you guys,” Gabe smiled. 

“Paperwork,” Raph replied.

The truth was that they had simply lost track of time, being otherworldly beings that had been around since the beginning of creation. Time really meant very little to them, and they were lucky they still showed up during Mars and Kaplan’s lifetimes.

“So, why are you here? Medals?” Kaplan asked.

“You got the letters from James Franco, right?” Raph replied. “I’m not sure what other thanks you need than that.”

“We did save the world,” Kaplan said.

“Technically, Izzy saved the world, and that was only after he was allowed to show up because Evie killed someone,” Gabe replied

“Then why are you here?” Mars asked.

“You know, this and that. Just following up.”

Mars smiled. Following up. What was there to follow up to? They saved the world, there wasn’t much needed for a debrief. He was enjoying life working at Heroix Comix, Kaplan talked frequently about their adventure, they attended Tyler’s funeral which was awkward when Tyler showed up having been granted a second chance by Izzy . Evie and Mars had started dating not long after, deciding that life was short since they had just stopped the world from imploding in on itself or whatever it was that Nicolas Cage had intended to do.

“So, now what?” Kaplan asked.

“What do you mean?” Raph replied.

“I mean, is there something else we have to do?”

“You saved the world. You can just relax,” Gabe said.

The two Angels looked at each other.


Mars looked at Kaplan. They both raised their eyebrows.

“Or what?”

“You can stop Ben Affleck from drilling to the center of the Earth to release the Devil,” Raph said, holding out a piece of paper.

Mars looked at Kaplan. Kaplan looked at Evie. Evie looked back at Mars. All three spoke at the same time.

“I’ll go get the car,” Evie said.

“I’ll go get that sword,” Kaplan said.

“I’ll go get a cat,” Mars said.

Chapter 31

Chapter 31

Evie had about enough of standing around, waiting for something to happen. Mars tried to fend off the demon, Kaplan tried to help him, and Hamlet was still scurrying around the burning bar, amulet in his mouth. And she was being held by this woman and this jerk she’d never seen before, but was known as Yuri to most people.

“This is madness!” Evie yelled, “Let me go!” 

“Hey, you’ll go when I tell you to go,” Elizabeth already had it planned out. Now that Nicolas Cage was on the outs with the demon, there was an opening. That dick in the blue hoodie thought it was going to be him, but she was going to snatch it from him. And when she was in charge, the first thing she was going to do was make Kaplan suffer. 

Hamlet was getting tired, but continued his journey across the fake rocks that made up the bar. Unfortunately, in his tired state, he made a fatal mistake. Darting left to avoid three cult members, he bounded off a nearby fake rock and took to the air across a fake mini-valley right where Kaplan had recently knocked out the Man in the Blue Hoodie. He was just coming to when he saw the white animal make the mighty leap. The Man in the Blue Hoodie stretched out his arms, ready to catch Hamlet, who at this point was going to be unable to correct.

Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. Mars and Kaplan looked over to see Hamlet sailing through the air. Nicolas Cage gazed up at Jacob Whelan, who’s look of delight was creepier than even his smile. 

Evie, who had just about enough at this moment, brought her fist back to strike Elizabeth who was grinning too much and was just pissing her off. Unfortunately, Yuri was still holding her arm when she did this. Yuri, caught off guard as he was also watching Hamlet sail through the air, suddenly found himself sailing towards the ground off the plateau, head first. 

There was a non-satisfying crunch as Yuri’s neck broke. However, this was the crunch that would save the world.

Mars and Kaplan were told explicitly, when they first started out on their journey, that they would meet up with the Angel of Death... or Middle Manager of Death... that they would be watched very closely. After all, this being an official quest, there was a lot of room for death and mayhem. Mars and Kaplan may have forgotten this, Izzy, did not.

The second that Yuri expired, Izzy appeared to claim his soul. He also claimed his cat, mid-flight.

“HAMLET! I missed you buddy!” He gave the white cat a big hug, who was now purring very loudly among the explosions and the fire.

“Oh, come ON!” Jacob Whelan roared. “You’re not allowed to be here!”

“Hey, don’t tell me what I can and can’t do!” Izzy replied. He took the amulet out of Hamlet’s mouth, “What’s this gross thing?”

“Magic Amulet!” Mars yelled.

“It needs to be destroyed!” Kaplan said.

“You fools, you can’t possibly think that he can do anything. He’s a non-player,” Jacob Whelan replied.

Izzy looked at Jacob Whelan in the eye. He held the amulet out and  dropped it in one of the purifying fires that had spread throughout the bar. There was an awkward moment of silence before Jacob Whelan vanished into a puff of smoke.

“Anything else?”

“I think we’re good, Izzy,” Mars replied.

“Good, if you steal my cat again, I’m going to kill you,” Izzy replied, “Not in the nice way.”

Izzy and Hamlet vanished.

Chapter 30

Chapter 30

Their plan had completely fallen apart. Nicolas Cage sat at the edge of the plateau, having been pushed off by the explosion. His suit was dirty, almost completely destroyed, but he was not a defeated man. He was a strong man.

“Poe!” He stood up, commanding, “Get that amulet! It must be destroyed, you hear me! DESTROYED!”

“I knew you weren’t up for it!” Jacob Whelan said.

Fortunately for Hamlet, there were lots of places the cat could hide underneath various degrees of burning wreckage. Unfortunately for the Cult of Cage members now loyal to a world-saving Nicolas Cage, he couldn’t tell the difference.

A lot of allegiances were shifting all at once. Jacob Whelan was now dedicated to the idea of surviving long enough to set up someone else with the ritual. Mars and Kaplan were dedicated to stopping him. Elizabeth was still undecided, but was set on keeping Evie captive on the top of the plateau with Nathara, who was mentally trying to figure out what she was going to tell people happened to her car. Yuri just did what he was told. And Bennet was just trying to tell a good story about what was going on.

“You’re still rolling, right?” she said.

Marty just handed her the charred remains of the camera. He shrugged slightly, then walked past the burning wreckage of Nathara’s car and out into the open Bourbon Street, where everyone had gathered to try to see what was going on. They were currently getting better footage on their cell phones than what anything Marty could have gotten. Bennet sat down on a loose rock.

“I’m sorry,” Nicolas Cage put his hand on her, “Want to join my cult?”

She kind of did.

Hamlet darted past the bar, amulet still in his teeth, over back towards the fake rocks where there would be more cover, being pursued by several Cult Members and Jacob Whelan himself. Mars stood in the way of Jacob Whelan, sword in hand.

“Hey, about that whole, ‘execute him’ thing?” Jacob Whelan replied, “Let’s just let bygones, and all that.”

Jacob Whelan started past Mars as Hamlet continued his mad dash around the wreckage of the bar. Every time he tried to make it to an opening, he was blocked by another Cult Member trying to get their hands on the amulet and make their Nicolas Cage proud. 

“Let’s just do this,” Mars replied, sword in hand, taking a stance he had seen a million times in the movies. The truth was, Mars never held a real sword before, and it was heavier than he thought. He had a few plastic swords as a kid, but he wasn’t allowed to swing it in the house, and he wasn’t allowed to hit anyone with it. This was probably one of those moments that it was ok to ignore all of those rules.

Jacob Whelan’s face distorted, showing fangs and red eyes that were mostly just slits in his face. His one long finger continued to grow until it was almost sword length itself. He held it in a threatening manner.

Mars glanced over to Kaplan, to see Kaplan had knocked out the Man in the Blue Hoodie and was now headed over to him.

“I guess we’re sort of in this together,” he said. He was holding the long dagger.

“Is that going to actually do anything?” Mars replied.

“Probably not, but it makes me look cool. Very Jedi,” Kaplan replied

The pair turned to see Jacob Whelan coming down on them with his finger sword. Mars instinctively held up his own enchanted sword to block. Kaplan swung the knife-sword with a mighty swing.

There was the clang of metal as it broke. Both men looked down.

“That went about as well as I expected, to be honest with you,” Kaplan replied.

Hamlet darted right and ducked under a fallen beam to escape two more cult members.

“How did those two idiots think two fools like you would ever be able to stop me?” The demon roared. He brought his claws down again, Kaplan moved out of the way while Mars swung his sword to counter.

“What was that amulet thingy?”

“It’s what I used to bring him in this world,” Nicolas Cage replied, having listened, “If you destroy it, you can probably send him back to his own world.”

“What about you?” Kaplan replied, “Why can’t you destroy it?”

“I don’t think that cat will come to me,” Nicolas Cage replied.

“You were mean to him,” Kaplan said.

“I know, I was supposed to invite him to the opening of this club, but Alice left him off the list,” Nicolas Cage replied. He looked over at Alice, who had been thrown clear of the explosion and was laying on the ground, hurt and burned, but still alive. It was actually kind of interesting that no one had died just yet with all of the stuff going around, but the death rate was zero, at least for the next few moments. 

“Who the hell is this cat?” 

“This conversation is fun and all, but can we please get back to the DEMON TRYING TO KILL US?” Mars yelled. 

But it was too late. Jacob Whelan, tired of the bickering back and forth, threw his now mighty hand across the three men, knocking Mars, Kaplan, and Nicolas Cage to the ground. The enchanted sword, the one thing Mars had been using to stop the attacks, went skittering across the floor, now useless.

Jacob Whelan towered over them.

“Oh, Nic, Nic, Nic... I’m going to kill the saviors, then you’re so next.”

Chapter 29

Chapter 29

Alice often dreamt of the moment that she would be sacrificed. Originally, when she was told that she was going to be sacrificed to eventually bring about Nicolas Cage’s desire to take over the world, she wasn’t on board. She argued with her parents, rebelled as she often did. But then she saw it as an opportunity.

It was her sacrifice that was going to bring about an entirely new world order. Not many people could say that. She was going to be the face of sacrifice itself... the face of the brand new world. After she really started to think about it, she started to realize that she could shape the world. So, after discovering the whole, “She was going to be sacrificed” thing, she decided she would only do it if she could be Nicolas Cage’s personal assistant.

Using that, she helped him make certain choices. Not necessarily movie choices,  no nothing could change that. but choices nonetheless that she hoped would make him a wise leader. An important leader. One that would usher the human race into a new world, one filled with peace, an end to war... all those things that everyone wished for.

So when Nicolas Cage said that he wasn’t going to go through with it, of course she was furious. So much of her life wasted, a life that was built up to this very moment. She built up his life to this. How dare he change course now, this late when victory was at hand. That didn’t take away the shock when the Demon Jacob Whelan appeared right next to her and cut her down.

She wondered how long the fall would take. How would the fire feel? Would it be a regular burning, or would it be something more magical... something more spiritual? She closed her eyes, and accepted that this moment, she was going to be come a portal to another world. She closed her eyes as she felt the fire start to heat her back.

Then things felt different.  There was less fire, more metal. Hard Metal. And in her daydreaming of a world that came before, she could have sworn she heard a loud crash, smell of dust, and the spray of fiberglass, fake rocks, wood, and various other materials that Nicolas Cage had spared no expense in using to create the ritual cave, making his change of mind that much more infuriating.

“That was your plan?” Gabe yelled.

“Is that my car?” Nathara also yelled.

“It worked!” Mars said, holding the amulet.

“Mars!” Kaplan and Evie yelled at the same time.

“Where’s the fire?” Mars asked.

“What fire?” Kaplan responded.

“This purifying fire. The one with the sacrifice.”

“You parked over it,” Kaplan pointed.

Mars looked at the hood of his car, that contained a hurt, and very pissed off, bound woman glaring at him. He also realized that the car, which had just crashed through a wall, was now sitting above a fire. And getting hotter.

“I think we need to get out of the car,” Mars said.

“I agree.” Gabe said quickly. The three people bolted out of the car, waiting for it to explode. Everyone ducked and took cover, including the police officers that were now approaching through the gaping hole. Notable exceptions included the Demon Jacob Whelan, as well as Bennet who was loving watching all of the mayhem that was occurring, and mentally preparing her various acceptance speeches for all the awards this was going to get her.

“Are you getting this?” Bennet asked.

Marty, who didn’t get this far in his career without learning to nod at the right time, nodded. He was off the clock and stopped officially caring twenty minutes ago. The red light was on, he was happy.

After a few seconds, nothing happened. Mars and Kaplan lifted their heads.

“I supposed I could move the car before something happens,” Mars said.

“That might not be a bad thing,” Kaplan responded.

Mars never made it to the car, all at once it exploded in a glorious ball of fire, spraying purified fire all over the bar that had been made up to look like a cave. At that moment, it was pure chaos as cult members and party goers tried to make their way through the door or the newly acquired exit that Mars has provided with the now on fire car. Several things happened at once:

-Anyone not a demon or a cat was temporarily knocked over by the force of the explosion.

-Mars, not being a demon or a cat, was in fact knocked over and dropped the amulet unhelpfully not near any of the raging fires that were being spread by the exploding car. No, this fell on a realistic rocky outcropping, causing it to sway back and forth slightly, catching the attention of Jacob Whelan and one other creature in the bar/cave/ritual area.

-Kaplan, also not being a demon or a cat, was also knocked over and dropped his magic sword. He ended up falling a bit off the raised plateau he, Nathara, and Evie were standing on.

-Gabe and Raph were quite surprised to find themselves thrown very clear from the explosion, and on the ground.

-Several Cult Members that still believed in the cause despite Nicolas Cage’s recent announcement, decided to redouble their efforts. Notable among these were Poe, who was now on the same level as Kaplan, Elizabeth, who took the opportunity to stand next to Evie and threaten her with a knife, and a young Cult of Cage recruit named Yuri who is about to become very important, but not for a few minutes yet.

Jacob Whelan, seeing that the amulet was now on the ground and more concerned with surviving the night than he was with taking over the world, moved to grab the amulet. Hamlet, now less concerned about the world and more worried about the dangling shiny shiny decided it was time to use his kitten powers, and acted. Both demon and cat leapt for it at the same time, but the white furriness won out. Hamlet grabbed the amulet and started running for the exit to play with his new found prize.

“GET THE CAT!” Jacob Whelan shouted to no one in particular. No one was listening, they were either fleeing or too confused to do anything about it.

“Oh... I will,” came a familiar hiss. 

Mars and Kaplan looked up to see the Man in the Dark Hood standing, holding along knife. Long enough that it should be considered a sword, but he still insisted it was a knife.
His dark hood was replaced by a Blue Hoodie that was the only thing he could find when he was released from Prison by Jacob Whelan earlier when he was informed that he was no longer Nicolas Cage’s right hand man, but, as he was worried about Nicolas Cage’s commitment to taking over the world. They struck up a deal.

“It’s always good to bring backup!” Jacob Whelan roared.

Together, the demon and the man began trying to hunt the white cat through the chaos. 

“Mars, you alive?” Kaplan groaned slightly.

“No. Go away,” Mars replied.

“Hey, I’m going to take out the dude in the dark hood. You take out the demon,” Kaplan said, standing up and getting into action.

“Wait, why am I hunting the demon?”

“It’s your turn!” Kaplan said.

“How did it get to be my turn? I stopped the ritual.”

Kaplan shrugged, and went after the Man in the Dark Blue Hoodie. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chapter 28

Chapter 28

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and other... I’m so glad that you could make it here to witness this momentous event,” Nicolas Cage stood on top of a fake rock outcropping with his arms spread wide.

A lot had happened from the time Kaplan, Evie, Hamlet, and Nathara burst into the bar that turned out to be a front for the ritual. For starters, Nicolas Cage joined them with a reporter and a cameraman who was their to chronicle the filming of Nicolas Cage’s latest movie. Several other cult members, including Elizabeth, joined them as well and started taking their places for the ritual. And the police were barred from the location, and were confused as to what else was going on. 

That was more than enough time for the larger members of the cult to grab the trio and ensure they weren’t going to interfere. They even grabbed Kaplan’s sword, which he felt was kind of rude, and someone else picked up Hamlet by the scruff of his neck which he would soon find out was a big mistake.

What they didn’t know was that Mars, Gabe, and Raph were on their way, amulet in hand, to come attempt to save them. 

The really important thing that none of them knew was that Jacob Whelan, annoyed but recovered from his head injury, was following all of them, and was going to be there shortly as well. 

Kaplan, Evie, and Nathara were going to be a lot happier to see Mars, Gabe, and Raph rather than Jacob Whelan. Hamlet wasn’t going to care, he just wanted the loud noises to stop, and for events to stop ruining his various naps.

“The dawn of a new day is upon us!” Nicolas Cage continued. Alice really wished he hadn’t used just a cliched line. That wasn’t what she wrote. It didn’t matter, she was about to enter this history books as the greatest sacrifice in the world.

“This event is a long time coming! I welcome you all... to Nicolas Cage’s World!” 

Poe, now in the role of the Man... the Woman in the Dark Hood, grabbed the ceremonial torch as everyone looked on: Evie, Kaplan, and Nathara feeling an extreme sense of failure, the members of the Cult now chanting “Cage” rhythmically, and many confused partiers, who didn’t understand why drink service had stopped an Nicolas Cage was giving a speech. But they soon joined in the chanting, thinking it was part of the show.

Bennet had Marty set up a great shot, and was narrating events from off to the side, again thinking that she was just catching the exclusive story about the filming of a new movie. At that point, Marty was starting to suspect that he was trying to catch something even better.

Alice, bound in the ceremonial ropes wearing a very special black and red robe, was hoisted over the fire. The fire had been purified for the third time the way that Jacob Whelan had specified.

Despite the chanting, for the trio sent in to stop everything there was an unearthly silence.

“What do we do?” Evie asked.

“I really don’t know,” Kaplan replied.

It frightened Evie a lot more that Kaplan didn’t have a smart-ass response to her. 

“Well, team, I think we’ve failed,” Nathara responded dryly. “We need a plan, now.”

“We need a miracle,” Kaplan said. He’d even stopped struggling.

“And that’s why I’ve decided not to go through with it,” Nicolas Cage finished. The chanting stopped. Alice let out a muffled profanity through her sacred gag, that was supposed to usher her voice into the new era. Poe, Elizabeth, and the rest of the Cult turned their eyes towards him. The drunk party goers were just sad the chanting stopped.

“Is that your miracle?” Evie asked.

“I’ll take it,” Kaplan responded.

“I’ve been at this taking over the world thing for almost twenty years! I’ve fought Angels, summoned demons, and personally crossed swords with James Franco on several occasions,” Nicolas Cage continued, “Go home. Cut Alice down. I’m disbanding the cult. There’s no point in continuing this.” He sat down on the rock and looked out into the crowd. 

“I’m waiting for the punchline,” Nathara said.

“Worst. Ending to a movie. Ever,” Bennet said under her breath as Marty continued to role. Of course, Marty had noted a while ago that there were no other cameras, and they were very close to living in a Nicolas Cage ruled world with whatever wacky ritual this was.

Unfortunately for Nicolas Cage, who just had a change of heart, there was one who didn’t. Not being bound by things like, “police” or “crowds” or “being hit with a ceramic Santa Claus” Jacob Whelan had made his way in some time ago to watch his crowning moment... a world to take over... take place. After being stabbed, hit in the head, and losing his two Angelic enemies, he was less than happy to come this close only to fail because the person who said he was going to usher in a new era, was going to wuss out this close to the finish line.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. He appeared next to Alice, “We are doing this... NOW”. 

Jacob Whelan extended his arm. Then one single finger. The nail on the finger grew until it was a razor sharp claw. With it, he cut the rope holding Alice.

She plummeted down to the purified fire.