"I know, I'm just putting it off until later in the best CRAP fashion."
"Well stop putting it off! The fourth episode has been written, CRAP's name has changed to CRAFT--"
"No, it always was CRAFT. Reread Keith's message."
"D'oh! You know what I mean."
"That isn't the half of it. I've sold KatAna, and in the meantime have bought another bike. I'm either going to call it Genesis or Fishbike. Plus, Kaye has been chafing for a new secret identity. I can't understand why she doesn't like being known as The Friendly Hulk."
"Oh, I think I can."
"There's more. Chet/Aquaman has moved back home, and probably won't be coming to SFU in the Fall. Chalk up one more CRAPster on 'Special Assignment.'"
"It's CRAFT, not CRAP."
"Sorry. Say, since it's CRAFT, I can make up a whole new bunch of wordplays on the new name! That'll be great!"
"No. No, it won't."
* * *Ryan and Kaye followed a peeved Erick down the hall.
"I'm sorry about the Magic joke. If I promise no more MTG references, will you come back into the episode? Please?"
"Oh, you say it, but you won't do it."
"That's true. But Magic is a vital part of the CRAFT legend! Most of the CRAFTers play Magic."
Kaye interjected, "that's not true. Some of the CRAFT members play Magic, but most of them hate the game."
"Yeah, but all the important members play."
"Oh they do, do they?"
Ryan followed a peeved Erick and Kaye down the hall.
* * *It was late in the evening. More precisely, it was early next morning. Or rather this morning, since that's when it was right now. I mean it is morning now, in the sense of the setting, but this narrative is being written after the fact. No, it doesn't matter when I'm writing this narrative, but it happens to be shortly after seven on a Sunday morning. Yes, that is the right tense, since I'm currently writing this narrative. I can't have written this narrative after it was written. No, it's not written yet! I'm writing it now! I know the tense was wrong in that sentence, you got me confused! Leave me alone!
* * *It was a dark and stormy night. Coiffeur Ranger Keith watched the events in the hallway on his secret Singaporean security monitors. As part of his secret job assignment of consulting with the Singaporean government on ways of using the justice system to irritate foreign countries, he had access to a more than extensive collection of surveillance systems. He realized as well as anyone that if the CRAFTinators didn't pull themselves together and start doing some serious heroism, Ted Man, Aquaman, Dr. Science, Vacuum Man, and the rest of the trapped CRAFT staffers would surely be deleted when the Epp got back to his machine.
* * *"Okay, this time I really, really, really, promise that I won't make anymore lame Magic jokes in the CRAFTisodes. Now please, please help me write my way out of this one."
If Kaye and Erick didn't believe Ryan, they at least were willing to relent. After all, it was fellow CRAFTSpeople they were trying to save, not Ryan's fading reputation as a writer of bad parodies.
Kaye thought for a moment, then said, "You know, you're already writing this episode. In fact, most of the actual episode has revolved around you trying to get us to help you to write the next episode. Which is this one. Which you are already writing."
"Listen, I already know all about the inherent paradox of writing a story about writing that story. But like all desperate writers, I'm just using it as filler until I can think of some good way of getting everyone out of Darth. Next time I do a two part story, I'll end the first chapter with something simpler to deal with, like the destruction of planet Earth."
"Fine. But why don't you make the story work for you instead of against you? Since you're writing it, just ignore the level of the story dealing with the missing CRAFT members, and concentrate on the meta-story about the writing of that story. If you do it well enough, it can become the new 'story' level, and you can write CRAFT stories in that level."
"But what happens to the lost CRAFTers?"
"Nothing. They're all present in this level of the story."
"Erick, will that work, or is she just messing with my mind?"
"I thought so. But back to your idea, Kaye. I just don't feel right about leaving the characters stranded."
"So don't. Just write a quickie ending to the story. After all, you've already used up a lot of space with this level of the story."
Just then, Tedman walked in.
"What are you doing?"
"Good timing. We're putting the finishing touches on the latest CRAFTisode."
"You mean CRAP?"
"Nope, CRAFT. Didn't you read Keith's email?"
* * *Ted Man looked around Darth, searching for a particular pipe.
"I've got it figured out. If we can reroute the core dump file into the real world somehow, then I can use my powers to cause the computer to crash, and it will dump us into reality again."
Dr. Science looked skeptical. "What if it doesn't work?"
"Then we might end up routed to
/dev/null. But that's not
going to happen."
"Simple: this is a CRAFTisode, and you can't kill off major characters in a serialized story, especially ones based on real people who might come and complain if their alter ego dies."
"They killed off Superman."
"True, but they brought him back a few months later."
"I don't know if I want to be dead, even for just a few months..."
Ted Man busily composed the rerouting command, confident he could find the right port to get to reality, but worried nonetheless. Dr. Science was right: if they could kill off Superman, who was safe?
* * *"I think the story needs a segue of some sort right here, to increase the dramatic tension."
"Well, you've just provided one. Get on with the story so we can finish this episode!"
* * *"Okay everyone, hang on and cross your fingers. Things will get a little tight, because I'm using
main-fork-mainto do the core dump. Look for port 143, that's the one that will take us into reality."
Ted Man made some last-minute adjustments, and prepared to send the control-M that would activate the core dump. He did so, and the group watched in awe as fork jobs started multiplying exponentially in the memory around them. In a very short space of time, the fork jobs took up almost all the space, and our heroes started feeling the pinch.
"Ted Man! are you sure this will work?"
"It should work, if my calculations were correct."
"One thing's for sure, we're all going to be a lot thinner..."
Just then, with a sudden POP, the fork jobs stopped, and the CRAFTers found themselves rapidly propelled towards a bright light, along with all the fork jobs. They shot through the end of the tunnel, and landed in a heap in Vanepp's office, surrounded by thousands of forks. Kaz looked around, dazed.
"Well, here we are, stuck in Vanepp's office with a bunch of forks. This really, really--"
"DON'T SAY IT!!!"
"Okay, any ideas about getting out of here?"
Tom looked up. "I do. If we all assume a gaseous form, we could seep under the door."
Patman was skeptical. "A gaseous form. And how are we going to do that?"
Tom grinned, and held up an expensive piece of cardboard. "Don't worry, I can remove the effect after we get out of here."
* * *"That's it. You promised! I am leaving!!"
"But Erick, it was an accident. I didn't mean to do it."
"That was no accident. I'm not appearing in the next episode of CRAFT unless you find a new writer. Someone who doesn't play Magic."
Erick stomped out of the common room, followed by a similarly peeved Kaye. Ryan sighed, and turned back to the story, without Erick or Kaye.
* * *Epilogue
Peter walked to his office. The Easyunix conference had gone well, and he was ready to plug a few potential security holes, as well as implementing three new ways to delete accounts. He opened the door, and his gentle grin turned to a look of shock. Darth had crashed, one of its I/O ports had been distorted almost beyond recognition, and there were thousands of metal utensils in the middle of his office.
Fortunately, Vader had not, and he sat down at the NeXTstation. after logging in and reading the naughty accounts report, he clicked on them and prepared to drag them into the Black Hole icon. He preferred it to the newer Recyclelogo, and had retained it from the older version of NeXTstep. Just then, his phone rang.
"Do you see that icon on your screen, the one where you put deleted files? The one that looks like a black hole?"
"Yes--who is this?"
"That black hole really sucks."
Vanepp saw the black hole icon grow larger, and he suddenly realized who the caller had been. He turned for the door, but it was too late. This was going to make it very difficult to turn in his Usenix conference report on time.
Episode 3: The Lost Episode
© Copyright 1995 Genuine CRAP productions. All rights reversed.