What follows is a short story composed entirely over the internet by people who have (probably) never met each other, except at the h2g2 website.
The current participants are as follows:
- Z Phantom - North East England
- E G Mel - will soon be going to Surry University - current wherabouts unknown.
- Munchkin - Surrey.
- St. Dax of Goodheartedness - Danish.
- a girl called Ben - English.
- MaW - Nottingham/Cambridge
- Wayfarer - Colorado.
- Mother of God - Unknown.
- Abstracted Woodpigeon - Cork (Republic of Ireland).
- Xordin the curious - Delhi.
- Corinth - Unknown.
- BananaMoonPie - Unknown.
- St Emily UltramarineDoG - Birmingham.
- ace~IshmaleHughOwen - Unknown.
- Magnolia Thunderpussy - Unknown.
Once upon a time, there was a small dark room, it had a single window high and barred, the light shone down to the corner where lay a small mouse called Jeremy. But Jeremy was no regular mouse. He had a special power, he had telepatic abilities and could therefore avoid the deadly grasps of cats.
One day the sun shone in through the window to find Jeremy awakening to the voice of a small ant saying 'left 1, right 2, left 3, right 4, left 5, right 6'. Jeremy could see a long column of ants were marching across the floor, all 6 legs in perfect step.
'Are you hungry?'
said the leading ant, with an impish grin on his face.
'I've found some cheese you might like, if you are.'
'Thank you very much'
said Jeremy. His mother had always taught him that manners maketh the mouse.
'Where is the cheese?'
he added, because he was very hungry.
The ant smiled and said that it was on the other side of the window into the room.
'How do I get THERE?'
asked Jeremy now getting quite agitated.
'Oh thats easy'
replied the ant grinning from ear to ear (or as close as he could get)
'Just do what I do and climb out of the window!!!'
'Out of the window?'
said the mouse.
'Out of the WINDOW? How in the seven universes am I supposed to manage that?'
came the ants reply.
'What do you mean 42?!?'
a rather annoyed and red faced Jeremy said.
'42 is the number of steps you must take to get to the window'
the ant said with a sly look on his face.
'So let me get this straight'
'I take 42 steps up a bare vertical wall to reach a barred window which I then go through and find a peice of cheese?'
came the reply.
'So HOW am I going to climb a bare faced vertical wall??'
was the ants reply.
'I'm begining to notice a pattern here'
said a rather tired Jeremy. Then Jeremy thought;
'Hey, maybe if I use 42 of the pebbles as steps to reach the wall...'
But the pebbles didn't reach. So he pondered and pondered on 42, until suddenly a 42 watt lightbulb flickered in the lamp he kept on top of a chest which contained miscellaneous potentially useful items. He got out a bag of... guess how many... mylar balloons, blew them up, and heated them over the lamp. Swoooooosh! up, up and up he went, then suddenly the balloons caught on a sharp outcrop of stone and... with a huge and monsterous BANG the ballons in a chain reaction of exploding mylar balloons Jeremy found himself hanging in the air the exact way that a brick doesn't. As the strange mind of the universe caught on to what was happening Jeremy jumped to the relative safety of the window ledge.
'I m a d e i t'
was all Jeremy could manage to say.
Then a new and apparent problem dawned on him:
'How do I get through the bars? I'm to fat to fit'
Then he noticed that the bar on the far end of the window was missing, and he could get through that gap. As he sat there on the ledge outside the window..
He looked around in amazement. For as far as the eye could see, the whole world looked like cheese. There were cheese rivers and cheese mountains, cheese trees and cheese lakes. Down, far below him was a cheese dog, staring up at him and barking madly.
Suddenly, a gust of wind took him by surprise and he fell down, down towards the dog... which caught his tail in its jaws, then set him carefully upon the ground.
'Welcome to paradise.'
he said to Jeremy.
'Would you like something to eat, little mouse?'
Jeremy could hardly speak, he was so happy. but he finally managed to say 'yes please! I'm starving!'
said the dog.
'But first you must prove yourself in the Challenge of Dhj tcw!'
Jeremy said with a trepidation that had not been there a minute ago.
'That's for me to know, and for you to find out.'
was the dog's smug reply.
Now, Jeremy is generally a very mild mannered mouse, and not easily thrown into a temper. But he's HUNGRY! He's surrounded by cheese. He's been told he's in Paradise. And Paradise isn't acting the way Paradises are supposed to, according to all the advertisements he's ever seen.
In a fit of rage, Jeremy jumped up and grabbed the dog by the whiskers.
and suddenly found himself standing on top of a very, very, very tall thin column of rock. By tall, we're talking seriously tall. Looking down, Jeremy can see the tops of clouds far below him. All around him is a semi-dark sky because he's almost in space, although for some reason he has no difficulty in breathing.
he gasped, and then gasped again, taking some small comfort in the fact that at least there really was air to breathe, though there wasn't much else to give him peace of mind at the moment.
'This is turning out to be not a very good day at all.'
He sat on his haunches and curled his tail around him and peeked over the edge.
'What are you doing up there? come on get on with it!'
asked a voice from far below. Gathering enough will power, Jeremy looked over the edge, and saw far far below him the strange dog.
'Wh...what's going on???'
'It's the first part of your test'
answered the dog.
'All you have to do is get down in any way you can.'
said the dog.
'There's a catch though.'
'You have to survive.'
There was nothing for it. Quickly, Jeremy took out his transmorgifying gun and turned himself into a brontosaurus.
Immediately upon doing so, he fell off the tall thin post (which was only big enough for a mouse to stand on) and plummeted towards the ground.
'That didn't work very well, did it?'
Moments later there was an almighty splash, and he found he'd landed safely in a lake of liquid (but bafflingly cool and runny) cheese.
however, when he tried to drink/eat some of it, it retreated from him!
'THIS ISN'T FAIR!'
he yelled, but the dog replied.
'That's the second part of the challenge. you must figure a way to get the cheese.'
'That does it.'
'My patience is wearing thin now.'
faster than eye could see, Jeremy stripped thin of his patience leaving it completely naked! from the pocket of thin, he removed a pair of invertochromatic glasses and, when he looked through them, he had turned into a suruasotnorb, the dog had turned into god and the cheese had turned to chalk.
'Weird but not very useful.'
he said. then he noticed that the cheese had stopped moving.
'WHATS GOING ON NOW?????'
he shouted at the top of his voice towards god/the dog.
'I'm not sure.'
said the Dog/God.
'Invertochromatic glasses were never considered when this world was designed - you appear to have discovered a bug in the code.'
'Then it's obvious. I must find the bug and correct it!'
said the dog-god.
'But the way to the bug is fraught with peril, for you must pass unscathed through the harem of luscious lady mice.'
said Jeremy, as a sudden, uncontrollable desire to correct latent bugs posessed him. His tail twitched. Twice. He's always been a little guy, nice, polite, reticent. Now he has a mission. Bugs are even smaller and less consequential than he is, right?
His furry lil chest puffed, his tail is held high, he has an unprecedented gleam in his eye. His hunger is forgotten. A harem of luscious lady mice as an obstacle? HUMPH! He'd show them his stuff on the way out, a victorious masher of bugs... a hero... and reap the rewards that heros have historically reaped.
he roared imperiously.
It was a narrow path,in the same sense that an eight lane speed way isn't. As Jeremy walked along the path, he was struck by the fact that he hadn't yet been struck by any facts at all, except of course, that one.
He saw the missing bits before he saw the cat, who true to his name was quite riddled with a generous and quite ensieving assortment of leaky and multicolored absences of substance.
'Or to be precise, holey cat!'
'Yes, I am the riddle cat.'
the cat said.
'I will pose you a riddle, and if you get the answer right, you will be allowed safely into the harem of lucious lady mice, from which you must emerge with your virtue intact. If you get the answer wrong, my colleague behind that bush will have you for lunch. Are you ready?'
'Yes I am.'
said our valiant mouse.
The cat gazed off towards the horizon and recited:
'Brothers and sisters I have none,
But one cat's father is my father's son.
Nieces and nephews he has three.
One by one tell me who they be.'
Jeremy blinked, and twitched his nose in thought.
'Can you repeat that?'
The cat sighed, then repeated the riddle. Jeremy twitched his nose again.
'Well? Are you going to answer me?'
The cat asked.
'Did I mention that if you decide not to answer yes or no, the consequences will be the same as if you answer incorrectly? No? Well they are. Much as I might disagree, the rules say you have two minutes to think up an answer. Starting now.'
The riddle cat pulled the cover off a precision sports sundial and watched the two minutes start to pass.
Jeremy sat and drew pedigrees in the sand with his paw for the most part of two minutes. Finally, he scratched his head and looked up.
'I think it means,'
he began his gambit,
'Your grandma was a slut... and still is, for all I know.'
'Are you sure you wouldn't like more time to think this through?'
inquired his holeyness.
Jeremy scratched behind his ear for a not-so-brief moment, then returned;
'I stand behind my answer!'
'Funny, it looks as though you're standing behind the proverbial 8-ball.'
'Wait, give me just one more minute!'
'Sorry, your time is up.'
quipped the well-ventilated creature.
'Are you sure?'
'We Swiss are never wrong when it comes to time.'
With that, the bushes began to quiver and out leapt...
a pair of thick, warm, red woollen socks. The socks were on feet of course. Four feet infact. Four feet of long grey acrylic tubing encasing a grasshopper.
'Kay, lets get this over with, I'm here to devour you. Fill this out in triplicate.'
said the grasshopper, whipping out a clipboard.
'Hurry up, I got lots of devourings on my route today.'
said the mouse, sliding the monster a large denomination banknote,
'How about we forget this whole unpleasant business and you let me get on to the harem of luscious lady mice?'
gasped the grasshopper.
'You canot buy off a member of the MEGTSTRC(Mouse-Eating Grasshoppers That Serve The Riddle Cat)!'
'Maybe I can do this instead!'
And he ran off between the grasshopper's besocked feet. For a brief, wonderful moment he thought he was going to make it to the harem of luscious lady mice, but then a barely-visible hand made of sparkles picked him up by the tail, something Jeremy found very uncomfortable indeed. Thankfully, moments later he found himself gripped firmly around the middle by a pair of spectral fingers.
said a disembodied voice,
'But that is not the way to go about breaking the rules.'
'Let me show you how it's done,'
said the voice, and a spectral thumb squished the grasshopper.
'Now run along to your harem, you scamp!'
After a pause to cast a fearful look at the riddle cat, Jeremy scampered off. The riddle cat looked at the invisible hand, and the remains of the grasshopper.
'I do wish that wasn't in the script.'
Jeremy walked on along the only path.
He rounded a bend and on his left was a signpost that said:
'this way to the harem of Luscious Lady Mice'
in a soft, kind voice.
'Heee heee heee'
'Glee be me.'
whispered the signpost sweetly.
'I want to show you the way.'
Jeremy came closer. When he stood at the base of the sign, he looked up at it.
he asked it,
said the signpost, cackling wickedly as the ground opened beneath the poor mouse, and he fell into the abyss below, sure he was going to die a horrible death when he hit the rapidly-approaching rock below.
He covered his eyes with his paws, took a deep breath, and waited for that inevitable burst of... *thud*... something rubbery?
Slowly he peeked from between his paws, looked around and saw... a world made of cheese????? And a cheese dog, looking quizically down at him.
'Back so soon, my friend?'
the dog inquired.
'That's a little unorthodox. What's going on here?'
'Did you know,'
continued the cheese dog,
'that cheese instigates diarrhoea in the average mouse?'
Jeremy was decidedly grumpy at finding himself back where he'd started from, completely forgetting that just a moment before he'd resigned himself to being a much shorter and wider mousesplat in the universal scheme of things, or he'd NEVER have replied in the way he did.
'You're full of s**t'
he barked at the dog.
'Well if that's your attitude,'
said the dog,
'I'm not responsible for the consequences.'
'I don't know.'
the dog admitted,
'It's not in my script. That line was supposed to terrify you into playing by the rules.'
There was an ominous and enigmatic silence. At length came the reply...
'The beer house rules.'
- Rule Number One: Please don't eat lunch on the roof.
- Rule Number Two: Cheese and mustard sandwiches are forbidded at all times of day and night.
- Rule Number Three: You must meet your daily required orgasm quota, to be determined by the following formula...
(your weight on the moon in Kg devided by the number of pints of beer you can drink in a day) multiplied by the number of times you pass out.
said the mouse,
'I don't weigh much anywhere and given my low body mass it doesn't take much beer to make me pass out...'
and he fell into mumbling calculations.
'My DROQ is...'
A loud thumping sound interrupted his calculations.
'What was that?'
he asked, looking around. The thumping sound came again, and in the distance he saw its source.
'A giant ball of cheese from heaven!'
'And it's flattening everything in its path!'
'What do we do, What do we do?'
said the dog in a whiny voice.
'FOLLOW THE JEREMY SHAPED BLUR!!!'
shouted Jeremy before running as fast as his legs could carry him, unfortunately because of his small size this speed wasn't too great and the giant cheese ball grew larger and larger in his vision... and he saw that it was a Swiss cheeseball. Jeremy hunkered down and launched himself into one of the craters. He pushed himself against the sides with his paws and his tail and closed his eyes, tight.
The cheeseball went rolling away, carrying the little mouse along with it, a thin EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeek resonating in it's wake.
The cheeseball rolled for a terrifyingly long amount of time, and when it finally came to a halt by crashing into a large mountain made of Norwegian goat's cheese, Jeremy was feeling very weak and his legs were quivering.
He crawled carefully out of his crater, walked a little way away from the cheeseball, and then had to vomit.
When he was finished, he looked around and saw that the dog hadn't come with him. In fact, there was absolutely nobody in sight. He twitched his nose and wandered what to do.
In fact, it seemed to him that all of the strange adventures he'd been having of late were rather contrived and taxing on one's credulity, as though they'd been cobbled together by a bunch of narrators with clearly diasparate interests in the direction of the narrative.
he said, and headed off to find the harem of luscious lady mice.
Fortunately for Jeremy, there was a building nearby, and upon entering it he discovered that it did indeed contain a harem of lucious lady mice. Unfortunately, there was a sign on the door that said 'We've gone for cosmetic surgery. Back on Thursday.'
Since it was Sunday, Jeremy found this quite irritating.
While considering this he was struck by a lightning bolt and turned to ash. From this twist the ants would have lived happily ever after.
However the Mother of God decided to exercise her omnipotence and turn back time by 25 minutes1.
Fortunately for Jeremy, there was a building nearby, and upon entering it he discovered that it did indeed contain a harem of luscious lady mice. Unfortunately, there was a sign on the door that said 'We've gone for cosmetic surgery. Back on Thursday.'
Since it was Sunday, Jeremy found this quite irritating.
'I've done this before, haven't I?'
Jeremy asked nothing in particular, cringing in anticipation of something he was only dimly aware of, and which didn't happen. Instead, a door across the room opened and a large rat came out.
intoned the rat in formal tones,
'What business brings thee to this humble place?'
'for reaons of business, er, that is, copulation.'
ruminated the rat, shifting his pipe from one corner of his mouth to the other;
'The primal call to breed, the downfall of many young rodents, (shall I tell you of the lemmings?), the urge, the itch, if you will, to screw. Such noble longings!'
Jeremy was not impressed by this description of his intended activities within the harem of lucious lady mice.
'What are you doing here?'
he asked, trying to change the subject. The rat twitched his whiskers.
'I abide, and await the coming of diverse individuals whom, I am told by the very stars themselves, will save this poor vulnerable world from that which threatens it most.'
said Jeremy, totally baffled.
'And what might that worst of all possible threats be?'
'That knowledge hast not been permitted to me.'
was the slightly unhappy reply.
'Which is why I'm hanging around this place, where the sounds of sensual squeaks may distract me.'
'But there aren't any sensual squeaks anymore.'
Jeremy told the rat.
'The lucious lady mice are out for plastic surgery.'
the rat sighed.
'That is why I have been most sombre and melancholy these past days, with no conversation on diverse things to help the plodding hours pass more quickly.'
'Perhaps I could stay and keep you company while we wait for the lady mice to get back?'
said the rat, nudging a chair towards the mouse.
And so the two rodentiae fell to talking, discussing cheeses past and bygone lady rodents, puffing their cigars and sipping their port.
The Goddess of time could only watch in horror as the boring monotone droll of the chatting rodents stripped her of all her powers allowing time to move of its own accord (what can I say, I'm desperate). As the rodents happily chatted along they did not notice time speeding up, slowing and even doing back flips around them, as finally it was free to do its own thing.
And shortly, a whiff of perfume borne upon the wind signalled the return of the luscious lady mice.
The luscious lady mice were, as was rumoured, undeniably luscious. From their perfect whiskers to their soft, smooth fur to their perfect toes and heart-melting eyes, they represented all the best of mousey femininity as they entered the building, stood their parasols in the parasol stand and disappeared through the door to their bedrooms, shutting it very firmly behind them.
Upon the door, Jeremy noticed a sign.
'Please be patient while we have lunch.'
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