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Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #1073058
An eccentric billionaire hosts a scavenger hunt, with a sinister twist.
[Introduction] The lead character of my campfire, Spikerman's Follies.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.

*Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar*



A known recluse and multi-billionaire, Francis Cornwall Spikerman became bored one day. He had every gadget and gizmo any man would want. He had countless beautiful gold-digging women groveling at his feet. The man had everything any man could ever desire, yet he was unhappy. He needed something money couldn’t buy, something that would amuse him in his lonely golden years. He needed toys. Human toys. But how to toy with his humans?

One of his favorite things to do was send people to fetch things for him that didn’t exist. He would offer them crisp new 100 dollar bills, and would laugh till he lost continence when they couldn’t find the object he asked for. He actually became aroused at their frustration and disappointment. Then he would chastise them for their sloppy detective work, and deny the prize money. He thrived to mess with peoples minds and make them miserable.

A scavenger hunt would do the trick. He would list nine easily found items, and one item that existed only in his house and hidden away; a thing he knew was one of a kind. He sent out invitations to eight random people from the phone book, with a dangling carrot of two million dollars as a prize. The eight people would be divided into two groups. The group that found all objects on their list first would get the two million to divide between them. The catch was, of course, the prize would never be awarded because not all the objects could be found.

This campfire is an account of the journey of the two groups , and their quest to find the objects. I won’t make you do a bio, but if you can describe your character in your opening chapter, it would be appreciated. You do have to let me know which team you want your player to be on. I am hoping for eight campers, but if I can’t get eight, so be it.

The first team of four scavenger hunters will be called “Spikerman’s Follies”

The second team of four will be called “The Puppets”

You can chose either team, but just write it as part of the story.

The ten objects on the list are:


*Note1* A baseball autographed by Babe Ruth

*Note1* Any newspaper from 1890, completely intact

*Note1* A lock of hair from a famous female movie star

*Note1* A cat with the letter S naturally appearing in its fur

*Note1* An Oscar Meyer wiener whistle, original

*Note1* A porcupine quill box

*Note1* A lump of fools gold

*Note1* A John F. Kennedy bobble head

*Note1* A complete set of lost baby teeth, from the same person

*Note1* And finally, the object that Spikerman thinks only he possesses; a fake Rollex watch, with an engraving: “To my favorite son, love, Pops.” He tells the scavengers that it was his long lost brother’s watch.

Spikerman is sure that he possesses the only one. Years ago, when his brother was still living at home, Francis Spikerman Senior purchased two cheap, knock-off Rollex watches. He had them engraved the same, and gave one to each son, as a token of his supposed love. Francis thought his father was a cheapskate, but his brother Anthony cherished his watch, and put it in his treasure box. One night, Francis crept into Tony’s bedroom, took the watch and smashed it with a hammer, assuring once again that he would have something his brother did not.

Little did Spikerman know, but another such watch does exist. How it does, the plot will reveal! Join us as Spikerman’s folly unravels!

Adele Wysocki saw the tan parchment envelope in her mailbox. She picked it up and examined it closely, running her fingers over the expertly executed calligraphy, and the red wax seal on the back. must be a wedding invitation, or something! she thought to herself as she broke the seal and extracted the antique-looking paper within.

“Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as “The Puppets.”

“The puppets?” she said aloud as her eyebrows arched.

Adele read on, “The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 pm, at Spikerman Maison, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there. Signed, Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr“.

“Hmmm,” she said, rubbing her head. “sounds interesting. Two million? Count me in!” She took out her favorite blue pen and signed the invitation, put it in the mailbox, and raised the flag. “What do I have to lose?” Adele realized she was talking to herself, a habit she had acquired from years of being a spinster. She also realized she may be getting herself into a heap of trouble, but the thought of escaping the bonds of her boring life was all too appealing.
Metro Electric. Southwestern Energy and Gas. Plocky's Chip of the Month Club. Desk of Spikerman's Follies.

Philip briefly admired the wax seal on the back side of the envelope before busting it open to reveal the contents inside. Outside, the rain continued, its rhythmic pitter-patter accompanying nature's shower. Plip plop ploop.

Thirty miles north and thirty minutes prior, Adele had read the same invitation; though, Philip, a fervent skeptic, initially tossed the supposed scam letter into the waste bin. He wasn't about to be taken for a fool. No, never, not Philip Edward Pille, voluntary loner amidst a world of spotlight seeking exhibitionists. Even if the request was genuine, the scavenger hunt would probably entail consumption of rotten food or body parts of bovine animals.

He pulled the invitation from the scraps of waste and read, hurriedly and then with narrowed focus.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as Spikerman's Follies.

The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 p.m., at Spikerman Mansion, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.


Hesitant to leave his shelter of isolation, he did what needed to be done, uncertain of what lay ahead as he signed and enclosed the RSVP note. There was no turning back now.
It was 7:30pm on a cold, rainy evening in February and Steve Slacker was standing on the porch of 789 Purple Martin Drive. He rang the bell again. Could it be a hoax? He pulled out the invitation and read it again...

Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as Spikerman's Follies.

The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 p.m., at Spikerman Mansion, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.


Well, this was 789 Purple Martin Dive. Why the hell didn't somebody answer the doorbell?

Steve pulled his old raincoat tighter around his bony frame. This cold rain was bone-chilling. Nothing worse than a cold bone. Answer the door, dammit!
Cheri Blossom opened her apartment door and promptly flung the keys inside trying to reach the corner table, but missing as they jangled near a pile of old newspapers.
Yeah...I'll have to get those out into the recycler one of these days she thought for a brief second.
Looking around her apartment, you'd think a male bachelor lived there: papers strewn everywhere, dirty clothes decorated the sofa and the kitchen was full of food-stained dishes, while a grey/white tabby tried to make a home in the corner of the messy room.
"Winkie! How's my sweet li'l guy today?" Cheri grabbed the snoozing cat and cuddled him as he started to purr loudly. She danced him around the apartment until she saw the small pile of envelopes down by her door. More junk mail probably she thought as she was about to pile them with the other papers beside the table.
Each envelope landed on top of the growing mountain until she saw the only one with a strange seal on the back. She frowned and became quite curious as she opened it to reveal the contents...
Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as "The Puppets".
The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 p.m., at Spikerman Mansion, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.


Being a stripper at the "Gentleman's Boudoir" downtown made Cheri wary of such letters. She had gotten many corespondence from old rich men wanting her to go away with them and become their mistress or whatever they had in mind.
Yet this one seemed different...more authentic perhaps, and didn't seem to reek of the sordid underlying intentions as did the others.
She could definitely use that kind of money, but before she could do anything else her stomach reminded her she was hungry. She opened her fridge which contained exactly one apple, sour milk, and half-eaten chow-mein from the night before. She needed to eat something before she could make any life-changing decisions today.
A Non-Existent User
At 7.45 Marian Thresbo raced up to the door. She didn't want to be late to this after all the letter sounded really fascinating and could bring some interest into her humdrum workaholic lifestyle. She rang the bell again checking over the invitation to ensure she had got the right house.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as Spikerman's Follies.

The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 p.m., at Spikerman Mansion, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.

Well, this was 789 Purple Martin Dive. Maybe he was being punctual to the dot of 8?
What a plethora of pathetic humans, thought Francis to himself as he stared at the surveillance screen. A rather tall man was there thirty minutes before the start of things, then a rag-tag middle aged spinster, then a youngish looking woman, all before the appointed time. Talk about greedy. He wondered why all eight invitees weren’t there. Perhaps the prize kitty was too low? “Maybe if I increase the prize money to three million, they would come faster.” he said aloud, to no one but the tell-tale monitor.

Things were not happening as fast as he wanted them to. It did give Francis a little thrill of excitement that it was raining outside, and barely forty-five degrees Fahrenheit. He could see the pale puffs of breath from the three people crowding around his front door. He would wait. Yes he would. Perhaps until eight thirty, just to toy with them a bit?

Chuckling softly to himself, he switched off the monitor, lay down on the sumptuous chaise lounge a few feet away, and set an alarm for thirty minutes. He would be late. That will show them!


*********************************************************************************

Note from Ravenwand: Brief Recap… So far the teams are: Steve Ellen, (Steve Slacker) Alex2 (Marian Thresbo) and Scarlett Ain (Phillip) For Spikerman’s Follies.

“The Puppets” so far have Ravenwand (Adele Wysocki) and Paige (Cheri Blossom) as members.

There are a few more who are waiting for their turns to add to the campfire, so I won’t keep you much longer. I will however, wait until all have made their first addition, for the proverbial “answering of the door by Francis Cornwall Spikerman.”

If we get more than eight campers, I will probably add a character, like a strange, elderly butler or maid, or Francis’ main girlfriend, or something like that.

I love the characters so far, keep up the good work, Y’all!

Ravenwand

Christopher Martin lay on his bed gazing at the strange letter, recounting it contents from memory.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as “The Puppets.”

“That’s probably what I am,” he thought to himself, “a puppet.” Chris was not one who was unfamiliar with being used, especially since he was a nerd in high school. Things had changed now and he had changed as well. No matter how he felt about what he had read, Chris had to admit it sounded interesting, the amount of prize money aside. So much so, that he had already sent in his RSVP.

Glancing over at the cock, 7:00, Chris decided it was time for him to go. Slipping out of bed, he tossed on a shirt, slipped on his glasses, and headed for the door. It was a cold night, and Chris hated nothing more. By the time he got there, it was almost 7:55. A few others were there before him, making his way up beside them; he waited for the old man to open the door.
Faythe Medicus cringed as the glass shattered and reigned down into her hair and into her clothes. She waited for the blow and gasped when instead her white blonde curls were grabbed roughly and her head jerked back. Blue eyes opened wide in fear to look into the angry features of her guardian. "How stupid do you think I am, you little slut? Where the hell is the rest of the money? I had you booked with five different guys today that should have brought in just enough to make the second payment to Lucius. He will kill us you little bitch!"
Faythe bit her tongue and fought back tears as he shook her by her hair, pulling a fist full of curls out as he threw her to the floor. She scrambled back as he began to unbuckle his belt and pull it off.

"Cat got your tongue, Faythe? I will beat the answer out of you and you know I will, might as well spare yourself the pain and give me the money!" He advanced on her as her back bumped the kitchen wall, his arm raising the belt in preparation to swing. Faythe quickly covered her face to protect it and then the phone rang. Buck growled and brought the belt down once to slap with a sharp sting against her shoulder. "Don't move!" He turned to answer the phone with a sharp. "What?" Faythe opened her eyes and looked at the exit to the living room, hearing Buck's tone change into a submissive "Yes sir, Mr. Nickels, sir...no no sir I won't be late on the payment. Right away Sir." Buck hung up the phone and grabbed his wallet. "You will give me that money when I get back slut or you won't be able to stand for a week!" Faythe let out her breath with a shudder as the door slammed.

Her body trembled as she pulled herself from the floor, melted into a chair and put her face in her hands. How was she going to tell Buck that after the second guy today she hid from the rest? She could not do this anymore. She hated what Buck made her do and how she was helpless to get away from it. She had tried to runaway once but with very little money she had not been able to get far so Buck had found her easily.

She shuddered as she remembered the beating he had given her. Letting out a sigh, she glanced over at the mail barely registering it scattered across the table. Buck always handled the mail. An envelope caught her eye because it had her name on it. That fact was not odd because Buck used her name a lot to keep himself out of trouble, but this envelope was hand written. She looked around as if she would get caught and grabbed it from the stack turning it over in her hands. She marveled at the wax seal, something she had never seen before and couldn’t resist the urge to open it. She was already in for a beating, this would not add much to what was already coming later.

White blonde eyebrows rose as she read the invitation tucked inside on expensive paper.
“Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as “Spikerman’s Follies“. The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 pm, at Spikerman Maison, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there. Signed, Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr“.

Two million dollars! She could escape to the other side of the earth with just a small portion of that. She looked up at the calendar and her moment of hope faded, today was February 28th and it was already 7:45 pm, there was no way she could get there on time and she had not sent the RSVP. She felt tears sting her eyes as she pushed the chair back in a sudden move causing it to fall and moved to throw the invite away. She opened the trash lid and held the invitation above but froze in place. This could be her one chance to quit this place and escape to a better life. She had to at least give it a chance, the worst would be just have to get back home before Buck found her missing if she was turned away.

Decision made she grabbed her thin coat and threw the few things she owned in a bag and headed out. She would have to use what little money she had to get to that side of the city. It was 8:30 when the taxi finally pulled to the corner where she directed him. She paid as she gathered her bag and stepped out. Watching the taxi drive off she turned and walked up the drive looking at the houses that were beyond anything she had ever imagined. She hung back as she noticed others up at the house already, she felt very out of place. She took a deep breath as she moved just close enough to see what was going on but perhaps not be noticed by the others. Now there was only to wait and see if she was accepted or sent home to Buck and pain.

Steve looked at the motley crew assembled on the porch of the Spikerman Mansion. "Is anybody here on the Follies team?"

Hands were raised, introductions made. Phillip Edward Pille, Marian Thresbo. "Is this everybody?" Steve asked.

A woman standing apart from the group spoke up. "I- I think I might be a Folly. My name is Faythe Medicus."

"Okay, good!" Steve smiled. "We intend to win, of course." He extended his arms toward the other people on the porch, the Puppets. "So you guys will have to lose. I want to express our sincere regrets about that, because I know you are going to try really hard. But C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?"


"Yooou ain't seen nothin' yet DUN DUUUN, oh b-b-b-baaaaby you just aiiiiin't seen nothin' yet DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN...oh...shit."

That was Blade. Stalled her car yet again. It was one of those really cheap, crappy ones that just couldn't handle hills, but on the upside, basically ran on spit. It was a wonder she'd made it this far though, she didn't actually HAVE a licence. Well, a legal one, anyway.

She smacked the palm of her hand on the dashboard of her shoddy ride (she'd painted it black with little purple stars all over to match her hair) and yelled at the ceiling, "Why don't you just smite me, oh Smitey Smiter?" then bent over to pick up the piece of paper she'd knocked onto the floor.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman requests the honor of your presence in the first annual Spikerman’s Scavenger Hunt. We hope you can come join us in our quest for 2,000,000 dollars. There will be two teams. If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be part of the team known as "The Puppets".
The list of items to be found, and instructions on the contest, will be revealed on February 28, 8 p.m., at Spikerman Mansion, 789 Purple Martin Drive. Please RSVP with enclosed, stamped envelope. Have a wonderful afternoon and hope to see you there.

Francis Cornwall Spikerman, Jr.


When she'd recieved the letter, she knew the Apocalypse Movement had begun. (It was strange how completely and fully she really did believe that.) She was convinced that the letter must be some sort of Apocalyptic code, and that she had been chosen to join the cult referred to as "The Puppets". It was about time. She was beginning to worry at the lack of active involvement in the matter. It was obvious to her that she was about to go through some sort of Reckoning, something to test her and determine if she has what it takes to become one of the secret movement.

"I have what it takes..." she murmered to herself and she adjusted her eyebrow ring in the rear-view mirror and absently mindedly scratched at a small tattoo on her wrist with black varnished nails.

Her car putted back into life and carried on up the road, into the ever-darkening darkness.
"Where I am going, again?" she asked herself, the silver bar in her tongue clicking against the back of her teeth.
"789, Purple Martin Drive."
The hole so carelessly ripped into the knee of her jeans groaned as she put the pedal to the medal.








After packing most of her clothes and leaving her precious Winkie with her neighbour Beth, Cheri called a cab to take her to 789 Purple Martin Drive. It was fifteen minutes to eight, and she had the weirdest feeling as the cab winded up the road towards the huge Mansion. It was a mixture of anticipation and nervousness which seemed to be strangely exhilerating given the very strange circumstances.

She paid the taxi-driver and grabbed her bags, heading up the path towards the huge double-doors of Spikerman's Mansion. She noticed quite a few people of different types and ages milling around, looking just as perplexed, yet excited as she was.

She smiled at the people and noticed a girl about her age with purple hair, piercings and a tattoo on her wrist.
"Anybody here on the "Puppets" team?" Cheri looked at her invitation as she asked the question.
The girl with the piercings replied "Yup, that's me. I'm Blade." she introduced herself sticking out her black-nailed hand to shake. Cheri was also introduced to a young man named Chris and a lady named Adele who were on "The Puppets" team as well.
The others gave polite nods and she realized that they were part of the "Spikerman's Follies" team.
They waited for hours it seemed before the massive doors finally opened, revealing a pudgy little woman dressed in maid's attire with a heavy Scottish accent. She asked for each one's invitation and let them in, having the group wait in the foyer for her Master, Francis Cornwall Spikerman Jr. This was going to be SOME exciting adventure! Cheri thought to herself.
A Non-Existent User
Marian looked at her watch and then looked at her watch again. It was getting onto 7.59pm where was he? Was this just some kind of a weird hoax? If this was a hoax she would be absolutely furious. Imagine wasting her time when she could have much easier been off doing more important things that actually needed her attention to get by. Finishing her work for one. Feeding the animals. She looked at her watch again...7.59 and thirty second, fourty, fifty...he should be there...now.

She looked at the door expectantly. But nothing happened. She looked at her watch, maybe it was out by a few minutes? She waited a few minutes more but still there was no sign that the front door was even going to move a centimetre. She was just stuck there, mouth wide open along with a few other restless people.
Francis heard the alarm go off, but chose to ignore it. “Let them wait, the ill-fated boobs!” he mumbled as he turned over on the chaise lounge, and resumed snoring. He was just getting into a vivid dream of a buxom centaur woman in a French maid’s uniform, when a rather loud and obnoxious knocking at his office door startled him awake.

“Master Spikerman!” the heavily accented maid yelled in a grating tone, “Your guests have arrived and are waiting in the foyer.”

“For pete’s sake, Eileen, could you be a little quieter? I pay you too well for such a rude awakening!”

“To be honest, Master Spikerman, I was born into this family. your Skinflint father hired my mother, and since I have no other reference by which to live my life, I work for your sorry bum.” she paused, perhaps for dramatic effect, “And to tell the truth, I haven’t had a raise in years. So DON’T GIVE ME ANY…”

Her tirade was cut short by another loud bell chime from his antique alarm clock. “Tell the guests I will be right there‘” he managed through gritted teeth. If it hadn’t been stipulated in his fathers will that Eileen and her descendents remain in service at the Spikerman Mansion., why he would…he would…Nevermind, he thought to himself It’s no use arguing with the banshee, It isn’t good for my blood pressure!”

Eileen took an exaggerated bow and exited the room in a rustle of starched white linen. Francis got up, stretched his overly thin arms, hearing his joints pop in protest. He donned his silk smoking jacket, poured himself a glass of port, and strolled toward the parlor.

Eileen was waiting at the entrance to the foyer, and cleared her throat dramatically. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Mister Francis Cornball Spikerman, Jr.!”

Francis glared at her through raised eyebrows. Several of his “guests” snickered.

Eileen smirked at Spikerman, then cleared her throat. “Er, I mean Cornwall, please forgive me!” she cast a sideways glance at Francis, then turned on her heels and left the room.

“Please forgive my maid,” Francis purred to his guests, “She is getting a little on in years, and she is suffering from early signs of dementia. Now where were we? Oh yes. The list of things. I see we have everyone here; introduce yourselves, and receive your name tags.”

Steve was the first to step forward. “Hi, my name is Steve Slacker, and I belong to Spikerman’s Follies!” he puffed out his chest, assured that he had been cast on the superior team. He received a large gold name tag, shaped curiously like a policeman’s badge, with his name, and a colorful depiction of a court jester underneath the lettering.

The next person to step forward was a rather attractive girl, albeit a little overly made-up. “Hi, pleasure to meet you. I’m Cheri Blossom, I’m on the Puppet’s team!” She extended a perfectly manicured hand toward Francis and he took the offering, holding it limply.

“I assure you, the pleasure is all mine.” he replied emotionlessly, causing her to withdraw her hand as if stung. He handed her a similar badge, except hers had a grotesque parody of a ventriloquist dummy emblazoned on the bottom. Cheri cringed and retreated into the crowd.

The next person to step up was Marian. “Hey there,” she said as she approached the gaunt man.

“Hey yourself!” he said, grinning lopsidedly, and handed her the Spikerman’s Follies badge. His breath smelled like creamed corn. Marian’s stomach flopped.

One by one they stepped up, until eventually, everyone had their badges and were standing on respective sides of the room. Francis began to speak.


“This is a scavenger hunt, as you may have discerned by your invitations. While you are participating in the hunt you are forbidden to return to your homes.”

A collective grumble was heard throughout the room.

“However,” he said loudly, holding up his hand, “you will be given three days to set your affairs in order; getting someone to feed your dogs, take care of your fish or whatever it is you need accomplished while you are gone. You will be paid for your time off work, equal to your salary at the time of your…vacation…If you had no job, you will be paid a base salary of one thousand dollars a week.”

Some of the folk gasped; Adele Wysocki fainted.

Spikerman continued: “After the three days, you will be given a room in my mansion, complete with any amenities you desire. For three weeks you will live here, reporting back to your post, also known as your room, by midnight every night. Each group will have a foreman, or leader. There will be no romantic liaisons between rival groups, since this is a severe conflict of interest. Inter-group romance is permitted, providing you retreat to your own post by midnight each night. Is everything clear?”

Some nodded, some were silent.

“Good. Now for the list. These are the items you are given to find. No cheating. I have ways of telling if something has been manufactured. You would be amazed what having billions can accomplish!”

He handed them a list of items:


*Note1* A baseball autographed by Babe Ruth

*Note1* Any newspaper from 1890, completely intact

*Note1* A lock of hair from a famous female movie star

*Note1* A cat with the letter S naturally appearing in its fur

*Note1* An Oscar Meyer wiener whistle, original

*Note1* A porcupine quill box

*Note1* A lump of fools gold

*Note1* A John F. Kennedy bobble head

*Note1* A complete set of lost baby teeth, from the same person

*Note1* And finally, the object that Spikerman thinks only he possesses; a fake Rollex watch, with an engraving: “To my favorite son, love, Pops.”


“The watch was my long lost brother’s watch, and I want to have it back, for…sentimental reasons..." Spikerman's eyes clouded over.

“Wow.” Steve whispered to Marian, “We’re in for a bumpy ride!”




*Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1**Note1*




Brief recap: We have all of our appointed team members! Woo hoo! For Spikerman’s Follies we have, drum roll please!…


Steve Slacker, aka Steve Ellen
Marian Thresbo, aka I had a car crash. I am poor!
Phillip Edward Pille, aka Scarlet Ain
Faythe Medicus, aka Asaria


For the Puppets, we have:

Adele Wysocki, aka Ravenwand
Cheri Blossom, aka Paige
Christopher Martin, aka A light in the darkness
Blade, aka Europa will be ok


Let the Follies begin!


*Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar**Dollar*






Phillip Edward Pille fought hard to suppress a laugh as he watched the pompous prune's charade. As soon as he was in the company of old man Spikerman, Phillip's intuitive and skeptical nature kicked into high gear and he knew, on so many levels, that facades ran rampant here. He pierced through Spikerman with granite eyes, right through what remained of his shriveled and exhausted soul.

Phillip directed his attention to the list of items and then to the crowd in front of the mansion. Like him, they came for a reason. Whether they understood, or even realized, what the reasons were, he was still uncertain.

One by one, his gaze met theirs. Some looked away, uncomfortable with his intensity. A couple of them, one on his team and the other on the opposition, paid him back with their own acute survey. He wrote a mental note to keep close watch on Slacker and Blade.

For many years, he assured himself he wasn't paranoid, simply careful, ever vigilent of them. And they, including old man Spikerman, were not about to deceive him.

Let the games begin....
Christopher ran his fingers through his black hair, feeling the loose curls spring back into place, as he listened to the old man speak. Glancing down at the list they were given off and on almost in disbelief. All the items seemed relatively easy to find, if one tried of course.

He glanced over that the other “Puppets” as he would so affectionately call them, and they seemed assumed by the old man’s words especially Blade. Even Adele who had gotten back up on her feet had a smile on her face.

Three days to get your thing in order, he would need little under a day Chris thought to himself, smiling at how much he was actually looking forward to this.

“No worries,” he whispered as he folded the list and put it in his pocket. He figured it would be wise to get to know his team at least before everyone left, maybe have a little conversation and get introduced or something. He wasn’t picky about what they talked about really, he always enjoyed meeting new people, and they seemed like an interesting bunch.
Faythe felt shabby compared to most of the others present and definitely in comparison with the house. She made sure not to touch anything or stand too close to anyone. She looked to the floor and avoided eye contact, covertly stealing glances at the decor of the house.
When the maid announced Spikerman, she sized him up quickly as one used to getting his way and being obeyed.
She watched everyone present themselves and their names to him, receiving something from him. When it came to her turn, she swallowed and stepped forward, eyes down, saying her name softly, receiving the badge, then retreating back to her corner.
Three days to set affairs straight. She didn't have affairs to straighten. She bit her lip as she tried to figure out what to do. Where would she go for three days and not get picked up or found by Buck. She looked around at the people for a potential ally but dismissed that thought. Perhaps she could hide here on the grounds. She had to figure something out because there was no way she was going back now.

Steve gathered the Follies around him. "Okay, gang, I think it's only natural that I be the group leader, the foreman, right?"

Marian and Faythe looked at each other with raised eyebrows, shrugged their shoulders, and said "Whatever..." Phillip looked skeptical but did not protest.

"Good news!" continued Steve. "We already have one of the items. My grandfather was an amateur geologist and I have his rocks. I am certain he had a lump of fools gold in his collection. One down and nine to go!"

Blade's mind went over what she would need to do to "set her affairs in order". Ummmm... okay, nothing really. She already had all the pentagrams and other symbols of protection covering her floor in chalk, so she was pretty much set. Her friends wouldn't be too worried if they found her gone, they'd know that she had been summoned for the Apocalytic Movement.

As she played with the ring in her eyebrow, her eyes set upon the tall guy with glasses from her team, The Puppets. He looked like he'd been such a nerd in high school. Cute. She went over to him, smiling. Chris, she thought his name was.

"Hey... Chris? I'm Blade. How are ya?" she said, tugging on a rip in her jeans.
Cheri almost giggled at the realization that she was here in this huge surreal house with two teams set to win 2 Million dollars! She was almost giddy, but restrained her emotions in front of the others.
She played with her strange name-tag without looking at the grotesque image...it wasn't something she would ever wear outside, that's for sure.
Her teammates, Adele, Chris and Blade seemed like nice people, and she hoped they would all get along enough to be able to find the right items faster than the "follies". She knew she didn't want to screw this gig up at all! Too much was at stake and she definately did NOT want to fathom going back to gyrating around poles and fending off sweaty pervert's hands any more.
She did have a feeling that Chris and Blade were getting a bit friendlier than the rest though. Underneath the piercings and tattoos, Blade was very pretty and probably knew what her charms could do to any man in the house. She just happened to gravitate towards Chris, who was a charmingly shy guy, yet quite attractive in his own way.
Cheri started to go over the items to be found in her head. She used to love going on scavenger hunts in her family's back-yard, and usually was the first one to find all the items. She wasn't easily scared and discouraged about a challenge, so she knew this would be a fun-filled adventure that would not only help her find herself more, but make her a rich young woman in the process.
A Non-Existent User
Marian sighed, at least three days would give her time to tell her boss that she was going to be away for a while. Oh she hoped that she would let her go for a few days. She noticed Faythe looked almost scared about the idea of staying away for three days.

"you got a boss that you have to tell too?" Marian asked kindly.
"You could say something like that," Faythe said.
"Well I have a spare room at my place if you need any help or something." She noticed how Faythe was looking up and down at her attire, "I was not always this successful. Well if you do want any help I'll be in my car in about five minutes. I'm just going to use the bathroom. You want a lift, go find it. It's just in the car park. I'm the black ford QOV910. It's parked right next to the front door." With that she walked away from the woman and started walking towards the bathroom.
Adele wad feeling a little claustrophobic, so she left the chattering crowd to go outside for some fresh air. The Spikerman Mansion had an enormous garden, and she loved plants, so she stepped through the wrought iron gates and into a world of beauty. She could smell the roses, peonies and honeysuckle, stronger than anything she had in her measly city garden. The smell was so powerful that it made her woozy, and she sat down on a nearby bench.

There was a gargantuan marble fountain in the center court of the garden, and Adele marveled at its grotesque beauty. Three winged gargoyles were entwined in what could only be described as a lover’s embrace. Their upturned faces, each supporting a lolling forked tongue, shot forceful jets of water that gathered in the center to form a powerful spout. The result was a chaotic spray of water, not a gentle cascade like one would expect from such an ornate fountain. Adele thought this was very odd.

She hadn’t many affairs to set in order, since she was a spinster, and lived totally alone. Her last companion, a bedraggled parakeet named Sandy, died of old age seven years ago. She hadn’t the heart to get another pet. The only thing she would have to do is find someone to water her plants. George and Stephen would do that. Those soft spoken bachelors next door had a way with plants that was almost miraculous.

She had no job, since she had been put on permanent disability for a former back injury around the same time Sandy passed away. She felt fine now, and could probably work, but she was a champion economizer and had no need for a job. Her disability checks were more than enough to take care of things. She could use some new tires for her car, a decent freezer, perhaps some new clothes; so the thought of having one thousand dollars a week for three weeks seemed like heaven. Now if she could only hide it from the IRS.

Her mind drifted away from the hideous fountain and back to the hunt. She stared at her list and had to chuckle. The baby teeth. She had those. Her mother had saved every tooth Adele had ever lost in a tiny porcelain music box. Adele inherited the box when her mother died. She thought a million times of throwing the box away, but she kept the morbid memory her curio shelf. Adele was glad now she had never thrown away the baby teeth! She took a ballpoint pen out of her purse and wrote “TEETH” on the back of her hand, so she would remember to grab them before she came back to the mansion.

She walked back through the large doors of the mansion and saw her team mates busy talking. She walked up to them and said, “I have the teeth already, does anyone else have any of the items?”

Chris laughed and said, “We aren’t that far ahead… Adele? Is it?” we are still trying to choose our leader!”
Faythe watched the woman walk away and bit her lip. This could be an out of having to sleep outside. Plus Buck would not even think to go to the side of town on which this woman surely lived. She would have to get over her fear and shyness for at least three days. This was an opportunity not to be missed and she didn't want to chance something happening if she spent the three days on the streets.

She looked towards the two guys that were the other members of their small team. She thought of telling them she was going with...what had the woman said her name was? Oh nevermind. She slipped away from the two abit nervous they would be able to sniff out her profession by standing near her.

She straightened her spine as she walked out to where the others had parked their cars. Old profession! She would not longer need to do as Buck said after this decision. She felt lighter as she looked for the black Ford. Perhaps this was the beginning of something very good.

Steven sighed and pushed open the door of the thrift shop. It was the fifth one he had visited so far. He felt sure that the JFK bobblehead would turn up. The other items seemed almost impossible to find, but he new they would eventually be successful. steve was an optimist.

He didn't know what Faythe and Marian were up to at the moment. They were off somewhere in Marian's black Ford. He wondered about that. Why would anyone buy a black Ford? But maybe it was a gift. Maybe her Uncle was an undertaker and had given her the car. He made a note to ask Marian about the black Ford.

And where was Phillip? Steve was wishing more and more that he owned a cellphone.

OMG! There it was! Right there in a pile of plastic cars, naked Barbie dolls, and Pokemon monsters - a JFK bobblehead! Once again his intuition had come through for him. Now the Follies had 2 of the 10 - the fools gold and the JFK bobblehead. The Puppets were chumps. They probably hadn't even picked a foreman yet. Steve chuckled. He could imagine the Puppets wandering around the Spikerman mansion admiring the fountains and testing the beds. And that weird chick, Blade. She was probably trying to put the make on that Chris guy.
Blade, Chris, Cheri and Adel stood together in the lobby of the mansion.
"Good news, guys", Blade told them. "I have one of the items on the list already in my car. It's a Julia Roberts voodoo doll. Long story. My friend's cousin stole some of her hair from her shower when they were gathered in the same hotel for some film convention thing, so that we could make the dolls for our Salvaging Ritual Shrine last year. He was almost caught by security but luckily he had become pretty adept at mind-blocking for a while and happened to have some ylang-ylang on him so only just managed to hold the guard off his spirit vibe for long enough."

The others stared. "Okay, so we have the lock of hair from a famous female movie star?" Chris asked.
"We sure do", Blade replied, clicking her tongue bar against her teeth and smiling. "It's a little bit singed though. Anyway, what's this about a team leader? Do we need one? Because you can just as easily find strength in numbers as long as there is the appropriate sacrifice to-", she broke off, turning around.

Him. That guy. The one holding the JFK bobblehead who had just come in through the lobby doors. He was standing on his own, watching her, thinking.
Scratching at the small tattoo on her wrist she strode over to him. He looked at her questioningly and began a polite "hello" as punched him in the arm.
"Ow! What-?"
"I HEARD that!" she growled in a low voice. "Maybe you should stop to check if there is anyone in the room practised in the art of mind-siphoning BEFORE you go thinking things like that."





"Mind-siphoning?" Cheri sputtered, trying to keep from chuckling. "What are you talking about Blade?" Cheri wasn't exactly up on the whole world of the Psychic, and she wasn't shy about letting the others know that.
"I don't see Spock anywhere...is he here?" Cheri jokingly turned her head around pretending she was in search of Mr. Spock. No one seemed too impressed with her antics.

"OK Cheri...if you want to make light of my psychic capabilities, go ahead! But that's not gonna help us Puppets find more clues, is it?" Blade seemed angry and annoyed at her fellow team member. Cheri rolled her eyes and didn't know what to say for the moment. It looked as though Blade WAS the leader of their group so far. She was the most aggressive and most ambitious about the whole game.

Just then Cheri remembered about something she had stashed in her purse, since she had been to the Mining Museum in Minneapolis a year before with her boyfriend Marco. He had worked there for awhile and invited her to have some fun and educate herself about the mining industry (which she had no clue about at the time).
"Here guys, does this help at all?" she pulled out a small vile that had a shiny yellow substance inside. "Them be gold, in them thar hills." Cheri smirked, giving the vile of fool's gold to their unoffical leader, Blade.

© Copyright 2006 Ravenwand, Rising Star!, scarletheels, Steev the Friction Wizurd, Paige has found her muse!, xx-xx, A Light in the Darkness, Asaria, 'Ropa, (known as GROUP).
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