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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/613527
Rated: ASR · Fiction · Comedy · #613527
This is one of my favs for some reason. A bit of comedy and sci-fi...
"...little to do with infinity and jelly donuts."


         Although the figure who had just entered was so wrongly out of place, from the clothes he was wearing to the impression he was projecting by wearing said clothes, it didn’t matter to the thousands of others who were already there. For most of them were so blind stinking drunk that they could have cared less if a cyclone came in and roused them up a bit which, incidentally, most of them looked as if they’d experienced sometime during their stay. But that was the idea.
          After all, it was a party.
          The figure’s name was Brent Ladlow, a reporter for the Neptunian Daily News, the galaxy’s most popular, if not the cheapest (the preceding a product of the latter, most say) newspaper. As stated, there was something quite odd about this man. Something that made him undeniably and utterly out of sync with his surroundings. He was there for a reason.
          That’s what was odd.
          Nobody else was.
          The room he had just entered was at least four hundred meters in diameter, and the ceiling was just high enough to give someone of lesser persuasion the impression that, if necessary, another group of a thousand or so could easily accompany the first group of a thousand or so, simply by standing on the ceiling. Oddly, and coincidentally, enough, as this thought passed through the mind of Brent Ladlow, the door suddenly burst open and a seemingly unending line of people rushed into the room, talking loudly, drinking, and cheerfully falling upward to the ceiling. Ladlow dismissed these extremely unorthodox and impossible events because he knew there was a legitimate reason why rationality was thrown briskly out of the window, along with two dozen mostly empty bottles of Old Janx Spirit, six perfectly good live chickens, and a half naked man named Carl.
          As aforementioned, it was a party.
          The walls of the room couldn’t be described as any certain color, for the tone would change as the mood of the party did. This being the fact, the color of the walls were mostly bright red, with swirls of yellow, and an occasional blank spot which would appear every time the poor fellow talking to the lamp would pass out again.
          Brent Ladlow walked up to a stocky little man wearing glowing Bermuda shorts and a long, open, and rather tatty robe, exposing a slight potbelly. “Excuse me,” he said rather congenially, “Wyatt Snummelson?”
          “Glad to meet you Wyatt!” exclaimed the little man, shaking Ladlow’s hand vigorously. “Never believed in complex last names myself, but hey, you made your bed, so you can have your cake and eat it too.”
          “Pardon?”
          “No need! Name’s Henry! Henry Rrrr. That’s, uh, with an ‘R’. So, you come to these parties often Wyatt?”
         “Hmmm?” asked Ladlow, with a distinct feeling that he’d already lost the conversation. “I’m sorry—“
          “You shouldn’t be, young man. No sir, no sir. Self confidence is very underrated these days. Yes sir, self confidence. And melodramatic nature survival films. But mostly self confidence. I blame society, personally.” Henry smiled with befuddled satisfaction.
          Ladlow shook his head. “Excuse me, Mr. Rrrrr, I think—“
          “Too many ‘R’s, lad,” Henry interrupted.
          “Excuse me?”
          “It’s Rrrr, not Rrrrr.”
          “Oh. I’m terribly sorry.”
          “S’okay, happens all the time.”
          “I’m sure, but as I was saying—“ Ladlow paused for a moment, then shook his head in astonishment; he couldn’t remember what he was going to say and, as he pursued the matter further in his mind, he also discovered he’d forgotten why the devil he was there. “Excuse me…” he said finally and walked away.
          The reason why Brent Ladlow was there, which had left him for the moment and was getting blind stinking drunk with the people on the ceiling, was because he had an article to write. The article was a survey on the opinions of certain respected people about the few actual outstanding advances human-kind had achieved up until that point which was, this narrator must point out, such an infinitely small number that it wasn’t really worth pointing out in the first place.
          The certain respected person he was set out to find was Wyatt Snummelson, well-known quad-jillionaire and chief pro-tem of just about everything you could mention. It was unknown to Ladlow, however, that Mr. Snummelson, while host of the party, was out of his body 6.5 light years away on business and wouldn't be back for quite some time. It is interesting to point out, though, that Mr. Snummelson’s body was at that moment possessed by a itinerant spirit with an obsession for cheese puffs and root beer and could be found twitching in the corner covered in orange powder and laughing maniacally at the futility of it all.
          “Pardon me,” said Ladlow to a tall, blue-skinned woman who was holding a small penguin under her right arm, “but can you help me?”
          “I’m not sure,” the penguin answered, “what can I do for you?”
          Ladlow’s bewildered eyes fell from the woman’s face to that of the penguin, who was looking at it curiously.
          “You’re not from around here, are you?” it said with a tone of slight disgust. It shook his head disdainfully and muttered under its breath, “Creepy foreigners.”
          “I’m terribly sorry,” Ladlow said, blinking, “I thought you were some other penguin being held by some other tall, blue woman.” He turned, and said under his breath, “I think I need a drink.”
          Brent Ladlow was a conservative man to say the least, who rarely got out—except to see those melodramatic nature survival films which were popping up all over(An epidemic, he thought, but one over which he had no control)—and had never in his life been to a party like this one. As a matter of fact, he had never been to a party period. He mostly stayed at home, playing electronic solitaire, and working on what he usually wrote for the newspaper, which kept him safely at home and which wasn’t anything like what he had to write now.
          He usually did the horoscopes.
          Unfortunately, the Perovinian Flu had take out almost all of the newspaper staff, save for the editor(Who didn’t have a blasted thing to do with the paper anyway), the janitor, and Brent Ladlow. And due to a skewed game of rock-paper-scissors, Ladlow got the article; the janitor got the editorial job; and the editor, as usual, just went home.
          “I’ll take something very wet with ice, please,” Ladlow said to the bartender behind the rather extensive bar, which was located directly in the center of the room, so as to be a safe walking distance from anywhere in the room no matter what physical or intoxicated state one was in.
          The large and slightly Neanderthal-like bartender reached under the bar without moving his eyes from Ladlow’s, and pulled out from under it a shot glass which seemed empty except for a thin and continual flow of mist which overflowed the glass. Ladlow looked at it warily.
          “I wanted ice,” he said.
          “It’s in there,” growled the bartender, in just a way that convinced Ladlow that there was definitely ice in the glass, and that he shouldn’t bother the nice, hairy man again on such menial matters.
          “Oh,” he replied, drank the contents of the small glass with one swig, and remembered to make one of those awfully embarrassing faces one makes before passing out.
* * *

          Slowly and painfully, life faded back into focus for Brent Ladlow and, slightly less slowly and only mildly more painful, he realized where he was. He also became aware with a sudden jolt of realization why it was he was there, but chasing behind it was an unthinkable thought which blurted out the previous realization the way getting swallowed by a giant squid on your way to picking up a pack of cigs blurts out the realization that you left the oven on. He was shocked.
          He found he didn’t care; he was, in fact, enjoying himself(Actually, he didn’t make this discovery until he had climbed off of the elephant and found his pants).
          This was an extremely astonishing fact because, truthfully, Brent Ladlow never really got out at all. Not even to see those melodramatic nature survival films(Which was a lie he would tell his few friends at the office, who also felt that the whole deal was some sort of an epidemic). The only thing Ladlow actually enjoyed doing was thinking that some day he would retire and never have to leave his home for anything.
          Ladlow staggered over to the man talking to the lamp and grinned metaphysically at him.
          “’Lo,” said Ladlow, swaying a bit.
          “Ah, I see you’ve finally found your way off the elephant,” said the man, turning away from the lamp.
          “Huh?” Ladlow shook his head ferociously, and the three men settled back into one. “Oh. Uh. Huh?”
          “I said,” repeated the man, “the elephant. You’ve finally found your way off. And your pants, thankfully.”
          Ladlow looked stupidly at the man, then blinked and said, “I’m sorry, did you say something about my pants?”
          “I think,” said the lamp to the man, “that this bloke has some very deep problems.”
          “Perhaps,” replied the man back to the lamp, “you should reveal to him the secrets of the Universe?”
          The lamp wavered ponderously for a moment, then replied, “Yes…Yes, I think you’re right.” And proceeded to do so.

          A week later, the once-janitor-now-editor of the Neptunian Daily News was mopping in his office when his editor-in-chief popped in. “Sir, you don’t have to do that.”
          The editor looked at the mop sheepishly. “Old habit. Sorry. So, what’s up?”
          “Well, don’t expect the article on Universal progress.”
          “Why not?”
          “’Fraid we got a Code 12 on Ladlow.”
          The editor shook his head. “Last seen?”
          “Boarding a Trans-Universal Shuttle with some man and a tall house lamp.”
          “It’s a shame,” he said, sighed, and looked forlorn out the window, fingering the mop handle slightly. “We lose all our best horoscope writers that way.”



© Copyright 2003 DJ Jazzy Rick (rickfreeman at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/613527