Vacuum Man floated for some time in a black void, an unearthy glow emanating from the pog in his right hand. His brow furrowed as he stared at the pog for a long moment, trying to decipher the indecipherable runes. His head began to hurt, so he stuffed the pog in his pocket, quelching the only source of light. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but he could now make out that he was standing at an intersection of space time, a sort of cross in space, with paths leading off to different dimensions. He stood at the nexus of road, baffled. His head began hurting. Again.
"Which way? Which way?" He cried out, angst-riddenly. "Oh well, may as well flip a coin," he said, reaching back into his pocket, his fingers touching the pog. Without thinking, he took out the pog, and flipped it into the air. The pog spun upward (or maybe downard, it's a void, remember), and hung just out of his reach.
"Arrrrrrrrrghhhhhh!" he cried out. "Where's Naranman when I need him...I could use a depression field on the pog."
Just as he asked the question, he heard a shout from down one of the paths. It was Naranman, he was sure of it. He took another leap at the pog, and then, after firmly ordering it to stay there, he ran off to find Naranman.
* * *
Travers, with a sheaf of papers in his hand, stood in a nondescript room: about fifteen feet square--but it wasn't square, it was rectangular--and had that tacky pastel Nevada-style colour scheme so often associated with stucco. He felt vaguely that he had forgotten something slightly important, but it was probably just crap anyway.
Travers forced himself to calm down, as he regarded the door. The interviewer would be arriving in a few moments, and he had to make a positive impression. Deep breath. Deep breath. He tried to remember back to that motivational seminar he had been forced to attend by social services. Deep breath. He looked down at his resume. It was an impressive work of fiction, or speculative truth as he liked to call it. "RELAX!" He shouted to himself
He flipped to the next page. The list of likely to be asked questions, that El Presidente had provided for him. "What are your qualifications?", "Why should we hire you for this job?", "Would you run into a burning building to save your supervisor?", "What kind of salary do you expect?", "Do you have a positive attitude?", "Have you ever been sucked into the SFU pond?" Travers paused at the last one.
"What?" he asked aloud. He reread the sheet. That last one wasn't written there. Someone had spoken it. He looked around, but there was no one in the room. He shook his head, trying to clear it. His heart jumped as he heard footsteps approaching the door. What was this about the pond anyway? The handle was turning. Deep breath. Deep breath. There was something very familiar about that question. The door began to swing open. And it clicked in his head (not the door, you know what I mean).
A panel of interviewers appeared. Three of them, prepared with their grilling questions, piercing stares, psychiatric evaluations, and other torture devices. Travers jumped out of his chair, lifting his arms into the air, "I AM NARANMAN!" he cried out, sending the interviewers scribbling in their pads. Naranman, however, paid no attention. His realisation caused a dimensional rift to open. A hand reached out, and pulled him through.
* * *
Naranman looked around him, "Where am I?"
Vacuum Man regarded Naranman, "Never mind that. I need you to bring that pog down to where I can reach it!" he exclaimed, "Use your depression field."
Naranman and Vacuum Man approached the levitating pog, and Naranman attempted to activate his depression field. He focused for a long moment, and then shook his head in exasperation, "It's no good. If only Patman were here, he could use his knowledge of levitatology along with his Pat Futility[tm] Belt to bring the pog down."
The two CRAPsters looked around, searching for a clue. Suddenly Vacuum Man pointed off down one of the paths, "He's this way," he shouted.
Naranman looked at him puzzled, "How do you know that?"
Vacuum man pointed above Naranman's head. Naranman turned around, hitting his head on the humungous neon sign behind him. He stepped back to read: "Patman ---------->".
* * *
Patrick was so lost, not even the writers of this CRAPisode knew where he was, and since Vacuum Man and Naranman were the ones who saw the sign, we'll leave it to them. Suffice it to say, that Patrick eventually remembers who he really is, and Patman winds up at the crossroads with the others, regarding the pog.
Patman pontificated, "My all encompassing knowledge of levitatology leads me to conclude that this pog is floating."
Naranman and Vacuum Man regarded each other sceptically, while Patman reached into the Pat Futility[tm] Belt, and withdrew a copy of Windows 3.0, "This'll bring anything down..." he commented.
Naranman was stunned, "Did something useful just come out of the Pat Futility[tm] Belt?" he inquired.
Vacuum Man shook his head, "This is Windows 3.0 we're talking about, remember."
Patman regarded the sealed copy for a moment, "I need Noggin," he stated simply.
And the search began.
* * *
Noggin's duel with the Evil One had not gone as he had expected. After turning the vorpal sword on himself, he screamed in anguish. Written on the sword, previously unnoticed, were the words "MS--Beta Preview". Noggin knew it would be ineffective...in any application.
Was it possible he could turn the Beta Preview against its creator? But how? If only he had a copy of Windows 3.0, he might be able to do it. Then suddenly he recalled an article he'd been reading in comp.os.mac.advocacy while procrastinating his thesis. A security hole in the Beta Preview. He activated the vorpal sword, and lunged toward the beast. His hand slipped through the Evil One, like a hologram, and he realised with horror that his hand had been formatted.
As he activated the beast's format command he yelled, "ACTIVE X THIS!" The beast recoiled in horror, and Noggin stepped back. Just then, he felt a hand on his shoulder, pulling him out of the scene. He found himself standing at the crossroads with the other CRAPsters.
Patman looked at Noggin in horror, "Noggin...what happened to your hand???!!!! It looks like a bad special effect from TRON."
Noggin, weakened by the incident, clutched his left hand in pain. After a moment, he managed, "It's...been...formatted..to...Windows '97...."
The others stepped away from Noggin in terror. Patman said simply, "He's not going to be able to help us. We'll need to find Dr. Science. We must be missing something here."
* * *
"Must keep going," Dr. Science panted as the buzzing grew closer.
"There must be a way out of this nightmare." Just then, she felt herself tripping over a loose rock or something on the ground and tumbled head first into a patch of Devils Club (Ed note: This is the most insidiously evil plant in existence and must be eliminated from the universe. It's the botanist's Windows 95.) The long spines pierced her flesh, even through her specially-patented teflon suit. On the upside, the mosquitos couldn't penetrate the dense brush. Taking a moment to catch her breath, Dr. Science looked around. A rusty can of Spam lay where it had tumbled after cruelly tripping her.
"Why do I keep getting Spammed?"
Dr. Science started thinking. She was trapped in the club shrub. And the club shrub was double trouble. Although there were no mosquitos, she was still beset by beetles. Yes, the double trouble of the club shrub was needles and beetles. But then the tide turned. Dr. Science sensed a triumph as the needles pierced the beetles. The double trouble was left as rubble, but the mosquitos burst her bubble. The insects perplexed her, they even vexed her, but she brought out her swatter (the one her mom got her) and scattered the things with a few well-placed swings. She left the club shrub with her troubles all banished, only to note that for once she was famished.
Dr. Science took the tinned meat and without a missed beat tore off the key to set the spam free. She opened the can and took out the meat, but as she beheld it she admitted defeat: "I do not like to eat tinned spam. Green or not, it's just bad ham. I won't consume a single gram. I do not like thee, can of Spam."
The good doctor absently dropped the spam on the ground. It fell into a conveniently placed rabbit hole and promptly disappeared from the universe.
"I'm free of Spam and bugs and shrubs, even those with nasty clubs. But I'm in a brand new fix: I'm stranded out here in the sticks, and now it's nearly half-past six! Oh what to do oh what to do, I cannot think of something new!"
In reply there came a cry--out from the hole, some tortured soul: "A tin of meat just hit my feet!"
Dr. Science looked right down, her visage changed to smile from frown. "A way away! Oh frabjous day! For I no longer have to stay."
A talkative mole popped out of the hole, and posed her a question perplexing. "You say you are free, but one problem I see, and it is a problem quite vexing.
"This hole barely fits round a can of tinned spam. Think: how could it fit around your diaphragm? You will never clear your hips: you'll curse it with your angry lips. The tiny hole in which I stand could only really fit a hand."
Dr. Science looked at the camera, "Well, that's fine then, I'll count to ten, then down I go--GERONIMO!"
* * *
Patman, who had been quizzically wondering where to look for Dr. Science smiled as he spotted her. "Dr. Science..I'm glad you're here. We could really use a hand."
Dr. Science dusted off, making everyone there cough, "Now finally! I'm truly free, no more of this abuse. I'll stop talking like Dr....oh never mind."
"We need you to get this pog down," a limping Vacuum Man said. "And be careful, it's throwing out cans of spam."
Dr. Science mused for a while but declined to comment. "We can't reach it. Maybe we should try to knock it down with sound. What we need is the Sonic Blaster to shout it down."
* * *
Sonic was by this time swimming. "This is no good. The motorcycles will rust. Besides I want to go for a ride." After an abortive (and painful) attempt to try and sit on multiple motorcycles at once, he waded over to a nearby Bimota BB 500. "Cool. This isn't even available yet in my universe."
The key was in the ignition. Sonic spent a moment admiring its Italian lines before wheeling it out of the garage. Sonic looked around as he turned the key to on, and kicked the bike into life.
"Darn!" Sonic yelled, looking up, "Just when I thought this was my ideal universe!" Thunder clouds rolled in ominously from the north. A moment of indecision, and he moved out to the roadway, "Just a short ride..." Just then, the first drops began to fall.
*thump* *thump* *thump* Thump? Something banged against Sonic's helmet and landed doughily on the tank in front of him. He looked puzzled. "It can't be...it's raining...TIMBITS?"
Sonic noticed the timbits were falling in a pattern, avoiding the road. With a broad smile, he gathered an armful of timbits, moved out onto the road, and prepared for the ride of his life. He revved the engine up, and sped off, only to find himself drag racing with a snail at the side of the road.
A look of despair came over his face, and he was momentarily stunned into silence. Starting to recover, he muttered, "At least I have my timbits." Seeking solace in the timbits he popped one into his mouth. Yuck. Another. The same. Looking frantically through the timbits, the realisation suddenly dawned on him--they were all cinnamon timbits!
"I used to like motorcycles and timbits. The bike I can stand but the timbits must go!" he muttered quietly, too disheartened to yell.
After a while, he could stand it no longer, "Timbits! Motorcycles! Let them be anathema!" The universe, unable to understand this impossibility, imploded instantaneously. Sonic was left standing at the nexus, the horror of what he had just done dawning on him.
Naranman spotted him first, "Sonic! You made it! And you brought timbits!"
Sonic waved nonchalantly, "Yeah, yeah, they're cinnamon. What's up?"
Vacuum Man pointed to the pog, "Can you shout it down? We can't reach it."
Sonic shook his head, "No, you created this place, Vacuum Man, and sound doesn't carry in a vacuum. Maybe Ted Man could crash it."
"Where can we find Ted Man?" Patman asked from where he was helping Noggin.
Dr. Science, having been informed of the earlier events, said simply, "We should sit down and wait. That's worked the last three times."
The CRAPsters sat on the crossroads of the Nexus and waited. A short while later, the Coiffeur Rangers appeared, their hair mysteriously no exotic colours. They looked at each other and, as everyone opened their mouths, snapped, "Don't ask!" So they didn't.
Shortly after, the Speaker of Powerwords arrived, wearing a deep blue shirt covered in lettuce, tomatoes and ranch dressing, and muttering, "That'll teach them not to serve salad."
But there was no sign of Ted Man.
* * *
Kaye looked down from her throne as Empress of the Universe upon the peons below. She smiled whimsically and she ordered Dr. Science to fetch her a drink (well, it wasn't the real Dr. Science, but it was a good facsimile, and she was feeling a bit homesick lately).
Her new CRAP power was incredible, and she smiled happily. Amazing. What she always wanted. And to think, she'd only been here for five days, and she'd already been made Empress. What was next?
Suddenly, Ted Man (the real Ted Man) appeared on the scene. She frowned, "Hey," she yelled, "What are you doing here? This is my ideal universe. Get your own."
Ted Man frowned, "We have to get back! Prophesies must be fullfilled. We've no time to waste."
The Empress glared at him, "I'll tell you what to do with your prophesies..."
Ted Man blinked, "Don't make me make you angry..."
The Empress snorted, "I've thrown all that off in this universe."
Ted Man paused. He had to think fast. Suddenly it dawned on him, and he pointed past the Empress. "If this is your ideal universe, what's that Windows machine doing over there?"
The Empress, enraged, turn to look, "WHAT????". And Ted Man made his move, jumping her.
* * *
The CRAPsters sat at the crossroads, and Noggin looked at his watch (it, being on his right wrist, was safe from the formatting). "What's taking Ted Man so long to get here?"
As if on cue, Ted Man and Friendly fell from above, Ted Man's bike following not far behind. Ted Man yelled, "The bike, the bike!" while Friendly was yelling something about there being nothing there. Ted Man managed to catch his bike. Friendly, so enraged at being stripped of her newfound abilities and status, hurled Ted Man across the Nexus. Ted Man sailed past the pog, grabbing it in midair, and landing majestically on top of the spam.
"Ewwww...." said Ted Man, "Someone didn't clean up after their dog..."
"Ted Man! You've done it!" exclaimed Vacuum Man.
Ted Man looked down and lifted a shoe with a squelching sound. "You can say that again."
"Give us the pog. It has to be the key to this mess."
"It has some some weird runes written on it. Hey, Dr. Science, what do you make of these?"
Dr. Science pondered the pog for a full half second. Then, with a shrug of her shoulders, she turned the pog around. "Ah ha!" she exclaimed. "It was upside down."
Dr. Death snorted.
Dr. Science looked over, "Where did he come from?"
The CRAPsters all shrugged.
"He's been here for the last 143 seconds at least," said Noggin.
Vacuum Man added, "I think he's always been here."
Patman regarded Dr. Science, "Well? What does it say?"
Dr. Science looked down at the pog, "This way up."
Dr. Science continued, "It also says 'follow the left path'."
Dr. Death spoke up, "But doctor, it's a crossroads."
Dr. Science shrugged, "It's not my fault, doctor. That's what it says."
At that moment, Ken the FPA major stumbled in from offstage. "Hey, where'd that copier go? I need to copy these music sheets before class. Wow! It's CRAP! Can I have your autographs?"
"Hey! I've got it!" yelled Vacuum Man. "We're all facing down this path. So all our lefts are the same. This must be the left path." He pointed, using his left hand.
Patman drew on his knowledge of vacuuology, "Wait a minute, this is a vacuum-void. There's no up or down...no left or right. We can pick any way, and it'll be left."
"Ah well, with my luck, they're all the same anyways," grumbled Dr. Death.
"Right, then!" said Dr. Science, "Since Patman has established there all the same, and since we all know about Dr. Death, we should take the path to Dr. Death's right, because his left MUST be the wrong one!"
The other CRAPsters agreed, so they hurried down the path, Ken in hot pursuit. The path led forward for a while, and then ended suddenly.
Unfortuantely, it was too dark for the CRAPsters to see it before they got there, and they all wound up falling, falling....
The last thing that was heard was the following comment from Dr. Death: "D.A.L.! D.A.L.! D.A.L.!"
* * *
Kaye looked at Ryan, Susan, Grant, and Erick, "That was sort of anti-climactic, wasn't it?"
"Well, what did you expect? It's CRAP," Ryan asked.
Erick interjected, "Didn't I complain about the use of this sort of meta-CRAP stuff in episode 5?"
"Who cares about that. There's five (count 'em, five) writers and we still can't end it properly." replied Grant. "Well, at least we didn't use the 'Dallas effect'."
"Yeah, we only write quality CRAP," Susan said.
A major general put up his hand, "Alright. This is too silly. I'm stopping this right now."
Episode 6: Nexus Perplexus
© Copyright 1997 Genuine CRAP productions. All rights reversed.