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  1. #16
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    (Ah, my frog got turned into a dwarf, shoot. Can he still have his pirate outfit?)

    "Fair?" Gerald put his free hand on his hip, a wicked grin spread across his face. He waved the sword in front of the dwarf's face. "Fair to me. Now, dear sir, I see you have a bag of your own. What's in it?"

  2. #17
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    "Whatcha think I've got in me bag, you idjit? Do you see these wondrous features, this magnificent countenance, this face princesses love to kiss? Well, do you? I'm a frog, idjit. A big frog, a major frog, the finest frog specimen you've ever laid eyes on but, still, when it comes down to it, I'm a frog."
    Of course the blackguard was a frog. Well, a frog the size of a dwarf but on close inspection, and who would want too close an inspection?, he was clearly a frog. "What does that have to do with what you might be carryin' round in that sack of your'n?"
    "Well, for pity's sake, fool, what would a frog be carryin' but flies 'n worms n' mollusks? Well, I'd have biscuits like your'n if I could find "em but they're precious rare in these parts, ya know?"
    "Them's some pretty strict angles jutting from that bag to be just flies 'n worms 'n mollusks. What say we empty it out on the ground to verify your offerin's?" Gerald gestured sharply with the sword to where the bag should be emptied.
    "Now, be reason'ble, lad, "n you're a good lad; any fool can see that. As I was sayin', be reason'ble. I empty this sack 'n all the victuals will be scurryin' everyhwere but back into the bag. A poor frog's got to eat, don't he?"
    "Empty it," Gerald demanded.
    "You're certain, are ye?"
    If frogs could grin evilly, Gerald was pretty sure that was evil spreading across this frog's face. It gave him pause, a sense of caution that tickled his private parts, but he steadfastly gestured with the sword.
    Empty it," Gerald commanded
    The frog obeyed.

  3. #18
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    (lol, you crack me up HE, you really do, I am so out of my league…)

    Gerald jumped back as a cacophony of sound and critters skittered out of the frog’s bag. A swarm of flies whooshed out, several landing sickly onto Gerald’s face and arms.

    “Argh!”

    He swatted at them ineffectually. The worms and mollusks moved at a more sedate manner, if at all. But none of those were what kept Gerald’s eyed glued to the frog’s bulging, yellow eyes.

    The last thing to fall from the blackguard’s bag was…the skeleton key.

    Yes, the very key that Gerald was tasked to find by the Ghost King! He stepped around the pirate’s booty, squishing worms under his feet as he went. “Where did you get this?” He pointed at the skeleton key with the sword.

    “Easy there, you fool! You’rn steppin’ on dinner!” The pirate started to gather the critters as fast as his padded feet, enclosed in boots, would allow him to do so. His tongue intermittently snapped out at the flies still within reach and on Gerald.

    Gerald swatted ineffectually at the frog’s tongue. “Answer me you wart-infested turd. Who gave this to you?” He bent down to pick up the skeleton key.

    Something soft, wet but firm slapped him up along side his face, sending him sprawling to the side. The sword still in his grip, Gerald turned over on his back, stood up and was once again slapped up side the head with the frog’s amazingly strong tongue. It sent him flying off into the bushes again, but this time the pirate deftly removed the sword from Gerald’s grip.

    Depositing the sword back into its scabbard, the frog, unconcerned with the boy, continued stuffing his bag with worms and mollusks as if nothing had happened. When he came upon the key, he stuffed that into the bag as well.

    Gerald started at that and said, “But…I need that!”

    “You’rn not ready for it.”

    “What?”

    “You’rn heard me. Get up and help me get these critters back in the bag.”

  4. #19
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    "Let's see now," Gerald thinks, "the wife sends me out on a stupid quest cause she ain't quite satisfied with things as they are. I get my butt kicked and dumped in these here Moors. I find me an overacheiving frog who thinks he's just been promoted boss of the world - or at least boss of me. And I'm not ready yet.? Well ain't that jest a little bit o' too bad for some one!"
    "Tell you what, Froggy. You do me a favor and lick at me one more time. Afore you do though, you be thinkin' that tongue of you'rn is real quick catching - or in my case slappin' - but it ain't quite so quick in the retrieval, if you get my meaning. Now these hands o' mine been playin' 'round in the muckity-muck a bit and had no proper soap applied to "em in a few days now, maybe weeks. You flick that slobbery thing at me again I'm gonna grab it and use it to practice my sailors' knots. How 'bout that? You think I'm ready for that?"

  5. #20
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    The frog rolled his bulging eyes at the lad. His padded hands worked as he spoke. "Aye matey. Ye be ready...ready for this!" At his last words he reached into his bag, removing the skeleton key, and furling it at Gerald. The key, with its interlocking puzzle of 14 left hand phalanges, expanded around Gerald. Each small bone linked to each other by a bright blue, electric filament. The pulsating net wrapped itself about the stunned Gerald, who promptly lost his balance and fell to the ground.

    The frog padded over to Gerald squirming on the damp earth. "So, lad, ready are ye?"

  6. #21
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Gerald considered his predicament noticing particularly the electric filaments seemingly holding the thing together. Had't he read somewhere about a Benjie or a Frank or a Lynn or somebody like that who liked to fly kites? What was it he wrote in his memoirs, something about skies and gaps and grounds, wasn't it? And the wife was always complaining about his time at the library! Hah!
    "Hey, froggy. See these gaps between the bones? Bet they're wide enough for that tongue o' your'n to breach, don't you?"
    "Possibly; why?"
    "Well, froggy, seems as if you be wearin' some leather boots and fine boots they are. Haven't I heard tell that leather shines up real spiffy and the very best way to get a shine on them is to..."
    "Is to what, idjit? What kind o' game d' ya think to play here?"
    "This majestical magical juice holdin' this contraption together, you familiar with the juice, froggy? It's a damned useful magic, that's fer certain."
    "How is it useful?" Can frogs look mystified? This one did.
    "Well, what you need is to connect a lifeline to the magic. Has to be moist with life itself, this life line. You connect to it and yore boots is positively gonna glow. No princess alive will be able to resist "em."
    Doubt spread across the frog's face. Doubt yielded to suspicion. "Yore up to somethin', ain't ye, idjit? Yore tryin' to con a poor frog simply tryin' to exercise his goddess given right to pillage and plunder. What you up to?"
    "You're right, froggy. I am. I was trying to escape from this trap you set by distractin' you with beautiful boots. But you're too smart for me."
    "You mean yore serious, idjit? It'll make me boots shine?"
    "Oh, it will; it will. But I don't want you distracted. I'd just use the distraction to escape."
    "Pshaw! No way to escape inside them bones. Let's just see..."
    The frog's tongue wrapped around a bone, the electricity snapped and crackled, all the current running madly to the frog's tongue, surging through his body out his boots into the ground. The bone trap fell to the ground as well.
    When the frog regained his senses, Gerald was examining the skeleton key.

  7. #22
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Froggie realized a hair’s breath too late, that Gerald had arranged the phalanges into the exact configuration necessary for instant travel into the Ghost King’s dark realm.

    Wind rushed in, picking up each bone into a precise spot above both Froggie and Gerald. Dark clouds formed with biblical timing. Lightning struck nearby, thunder bellowed, shaking the earth.

    “Ay, idjit. We’rn done fer now.”

    Gerald, too busy watching the swirling bones, ignored Froggie. Lightning struck the top most phalange and in a flash, they were gone. Puffs of smoke marked the locations recently vacated by Gerald and the frog.

  8. #23
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Snap! Crackle! Pop!
    There they stood.
    And stood.
    And stood.
    "Well, say somethin', idjit! Let me know I ain't the only livin' thing in this darkness."
    "How can ye be so certain we're living? Answer me that, eh?"
    "Cause we be talkin' and hearin' each other talk, wisdom that it is we be speakin'. If we was dead, I've been told there's separate hells for people and frogs and we're still together, seems like; don't it?"
    Gerald thought about it.
    "No, I'm pretty sure any hell I'd get sent to would include piratin' frogs and me wife. She ain't here; is she?."
    From somewhere before them a change in the darkness, a place almost noticeably less dark, then definitely noticeably less dark, then less and less dark until it was almost positively light, increasing in size and location. It seemed to be approaching.
    "Any thoughts?" Gerald asked.
    "I'm no philosopher,idjit; I'm a damned frog. A very definitely damned frog."
    "Now, why would you think that? Because you can see the light?"
    "No, idjit, it's because I can see the ghost 'n' the onliest ghost around these parts is the Ghost King."
    "Ghost King; King of Ghosts, seems like that would suggest there's more than one ghost about; don't it?"
    "SILENCE!" The voice emanated from the light.
    "I see yore point, then, froggy," Gerald whispered.

  9. #24
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Something cold, damp, and clammy sealed itself over Gerald's mouth. It came from somewhere behind him.

    The ambiguous light in front of him coalesced into the dim shape of a man with a crown and staff. Where the face should be, three dark holes formed; two for the eyes, one for the mouth. The apparition came within inches of Gerald's face.

    "When I say, SILENCE, it is to be obeyed. Understand?"

    Gerald nodded.

    The Ghost King drew his attention to the frog. "You again. I thought you learned your lesson the last time you were here?"

    The frog fiddled with the hem of his red silk shirt. "Ur, eh, um...the idjit did it!" He pointed an accusing padded finger in the direction of the entrapped Gerald.

    The Ghost King sighed and the air grew cold around the two unfortunate fellows. "I suppose I should just add you two to my ranks now. Taldin, see to it that they die slowly." The great apparition turned and faded away.

    Taldin, the guard that had Gerald in his grip, started to squeeze. Another guard materialized behind the frog and gripped him by the shoulders. Gerald squirmed and writhed against his inhuman captor. No! It can't end this way!

  10. #25
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    It wasn't easy. Gerald squirmed, wiggled, and writhed, shrugging shoulders, blinking and winking his eyes, snorting, sniffling accompanied by head nodding rapidly up and down, stomping of feet and attempts to twist around in the phantom's grip. At last, the ghost realized this all was an attempt at communication. The ghost removed the ephemeral gag.
    "WHEW! Thanks a lot, ghost-person, sir. I really needed to tell you somethin' awful damned important."
    The answering voice was an order of magnitude less volume but every bit as sinister as the Ghost King's: "Speak."
    "Is this a good time for a potty break? I mean froggy back there has been hasslin' me for quite some time an' I was tryin' to cross the Moors an' all and the opportunity to relieve meself just never seemed to present itself. So, is this a good time?"
    Without waiting for an answer, Gerald hurled an insult back at the still well controlled frog: "My fault? You gas-bagged, pudgy pawed sack of arthropods..."
    Gerald's captor was not amused.

  11. #26
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Taldin turned to his phantom accomplice and said, "Tenei, take the frog to the 7th level. I'll deal with this one here." He shook Gerald to and fro to clarify the point.

    The frog knew all about the 7th level, and wasn't about to be taken there. His tongue lashed out towards what had to be the floor. In the ether of the dark realm, it was hard to tell.

    The slimy tipped tongue slithered along between Gerald and Taldin until he came upon what it was looking for - the skeleton key. With a grunt of glee, the frog flung the key into the air around them. Blue light bathed them all just before the phalanges arranged themselves into a pattern that neither the frog or Gerald recognized. But the ghosts did. They disappeared.

    In the brief moment Gerald had with the frog before the skeleton key settled around them, he asked, "Where we off to now, Hoppy?"

  12. #27
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    "Whose quest is this, anyway? Me, the frog, am along merely for de sake o' your draggin' me wit' you. On me own, idjit, I'd be as far from the Ghost King's palace..."
    "Palace? This is a palace?"
    "Well, don't go judjin' on its dungeons, idjit. Them upper reaches are mighty fine places. They just ain't available to de likes o' you 'n' me."
    Gerald considered this for a minute and then went on to a second consideration. "You know, froggy, ole buddy, ole pal..."
    "Don't go startin' no romance here, idjit, you don't look anythin' like a princess."
    "No, no, you got me all wrong. I was just fixin' to ask you from your tremenjous storehouse o' knowledge, I thought..and I'm perfectly willin' to admit I coulda been thinkin' all wrong, I do that sometimes as me dearly beloved so loves to point out, I was just wonderin' if mayhap you could splain what the hell this quest is all about? I mean, I thought I was supposed to bring the Skeleton Key to the Ghost King and then I'd receive me proper reward an' things could all be hunky-dory over. Don't seem to be workin' out that way. You got any ideas on why this be so?"

  13. #28
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    "Well, shoot, idjit. I thought I told you! The Ghost King trapped your uncle in another dimension. The ol' skeleton key will take you there, someways, so that you can rescue the old codger! I happen to owe your uncle a favor, of sorts, and was bringing the key to ya!"

    Whether the wiley frog was telling the truth, Gerald had no idea. Anyway, time was up. The bones fell into place about them and - poof! - an empty dungeon.

  14. #29
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Dark dungeons ought to be proper places for contemplatin' the vagaries o' the universe and such but the cold chills the bones and chilled bones tend to shiver and shake and shiverin', shakin' bones mean the head is shaken this way and that and no proper brain can do any proper contemplatin' when its being all shook up. Heck, even Elvis knew that.
    "Another dimension, you say? Like up and an' down' an' sideways? Front an' back, top an' bottom? I know I ain't no proper genius an' all that, froggy, an' you is probly pulling all my legs at once, but, you know what? I read a book once an' that makes all the difference in the universe. It do! B'lieve me on this. A great an' brilliant mind once wrote an' I read it in his book that all you need to do to get to another dimension is turn yourself 90 degrees to everythin' else. So, we take this Skeleton Key here, turn it 90 degrees to everythin' else an' we'll be in this other dimension." Having pronouced his solution to the dillema before them, Gerald pronounced a second gem of wisdom: "They's really only one problem with this line o' thought, you know"
    The frog spent a few seconds considering this statement and, finally, gave in. "Ok, idjit, I give. What's de only problem wit' dis line o' thought?"
    "You got any idea how many other dimensions there might be? How do we know this'll be the one where me uncle is bein' held all captive?"
    "Yep," the frog agreed, " I can see how dat might be a problem."

  15. #30
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    While the two of them contemplated their navels, they failed to notice that the Skeleton Key had, indeed, done its job, depositing them into a tropical paradise.

    After a time, the frog noticed. “Hey, idjit, we be on a beach. Hey, theres me boat anchored out on the shallow bay. And hey, isn’t that your uncle?” The frog pointed and Gerald’s gaze followed.

    His near naked uncle, the great commander of King Hummerdink’s army, sat before a low fire between two very naked women. Their deeply tanned, smooth, and luscious bodies stood in stark contrast to his uncles' pale, marbled limbs. Gerald’s jaw dropped as the two nubile females proceeded to hand fed his uncle with fruit and fire-roasted fish.

    A lecherous chuckle came out of the frog. “Looks to me your uncle is a littl' busy.”

    Gerald’s eyes narrowed at the sight before him. “Yeah. Just a little.” He marched across the beach over to them. He noticed the tall, slim trees with their flat tops, and the dense undergrowth, but he deliberately ignored the strange sounds and smells that emanated from the alien forest that bordered the beach. As he neared, his uncle looked up and exclaimed, “Gerald! What are you doing here?”

    “My dear wife thought you, you, were worth the effort to find after your disappearance following the Battle of Ryme. I’ve endured years of traveling across desolate lands and mountains. I’ve taken beatings from both man and frog. I was nearly killed by the guards at the Ghost King’s palace. And you ask, what am I doing here? I’m here to save you!”

    His battle worn uncle stared at Gerald, looked to his each of companions, and then all three erupted in laughter. Placing his hands on his hips, Gerald rolled his eyes at the fits of laughter that roiled through his audience. When able to catch his next breath, his uncle said, “From what?” Renewed gales of guffaws spilled forth. Disgusted, Gerald, turned away from the carnal display of mirth.

    “Wait! Wait, Gerald.” His uncle had stood and come over to Gerald. He placed a firm hand on Gerald’s elbow, and guided him back the way Gerald had come. Back to the Skeleton Key half buried in the sand. The frog was no where to be seen. The old commander talked as they walked.

    “Listen Gerald. Tell King Hummerdink that you didn’t find me. And tell that dear wife of yours that I appreciate her concern. Tell her you found me in peace.”

    They reached the Skeleton Key. His uncle bent down and picked it up. “Where did you get this?”

    “The frog gave it to me. Well, sort of.”

    “The frog? What frog?”

    “The frog. You know, he’s about two feet high, red silk shirt, leather boots. You know, the friend that owed you a favor?”

    As realization dawned on the old commander’s face, a dull explosion came from the pirate boat stationed on the bay.

    The two men stood, and listened to the cannonball whistle its approach.

    “Is that what I think it is, uncle?”

    THE END
    Last edited by N. E. White; November 2nd, 2009 at 03:09 PM. Reason: THE END

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