Yesterday, I used the Random Story Prompt Generators at Seventh Sanctum, and promised to put all the results in a single story synopsis. Here’s a rough draft of what such a disparate saga might look like— and on Thursday, as a bonus, you can also see a pretentious analysis of my silly storytelling!
The tale opens with a man lying in the desert, his legs crushed underneath a complex machine advertising “Free Deep-Fried Ice-Cream While U Waits!” Blood pools around his crushed legs, but the man doesn’t seem to notice; he’s singing a loud, bawdy song.
A wanderer notices this man, approaches, and demands that he shut up. This wanderer is Brooke Reynolds— tall, high forehead, hooked nose, voluptuous while still reminiscent of a lizard. She’s wearing a patchwork cloak that appears half-machine, with certain apparatuses storing water and others monitoring the temperature. She rescues the man from under the machine by cutting off what remains of his legs and bandaging up the rest. It turns out the man is named Shithead (pronounced, according to him, Shy-Theed), a resident of ©HappyLand. That’s just the place Brooke Reynolds emigrated from, and the last place she wants to be reminded of. Brooke’s about to leave him to his fate, until the blissfully oblivious Shithead starts singing a lullaby. This impacts Brooke, though for what reason is still unclear. She decides to carry Shithead to her aunt’s house, which is on the way to her true destination.
Shithead talks a lot as Brooke carries him across the desert. He talks about why he loves ©HappyLand. The noisy and chaotic ©HappyLand, despite its claims that it’s in “The Scholarly Era of Scholarship,” functions on advanced, but ancient and misunderstood technology run by an idiot society born from The Mayfly God of Stupidity (and a confused chimpanzee). With the exception of a few corporate owners, most ©HappyLanders live in sloth, gluttony, and general foolishness. Shithead wouldn’t be the first or last ©HappyLander to get hurt in a major accident and generally not care about it. Brooke asks Shithead how a Deep-Fried Ice-Cream machine landed on top of him in the desert, but Shithead, predictably, can’t give a coherent answer.
Brooke and Shithead, following the rail line of a once-great civilization, encounter some ©HappyLand citizens lost in the desert. Brooke attempts to turn over Shithead to them, but the locals don’t seem to understand her instructions of “get medical attention,” believing that she’s offering them food. She’s about to leave, until a citizen mentions encountering some strange, large boots in the mountains at the end of this rail line. That mention capture’s Brooke’s attention. She asks them for info, but the citizens won’t talk unless they receive Shithead in return. According to them, the cripple smells like melted ice cream. Brooke agrees, hands over Shithead, learns how to get inside the mountain from the ©HappyLanders, and then shoots the citizens with a hidden energy pistol. Only one woman from the group escapes. She retrieves a grateful, if slightly confused, Shithead and continues on her quest.
Back in ©HappyLand, a scientist named Shawn “The Cursed,” disrupts a Tactical Gas Entertainment rally. “Tactical Gas Entertainment,” the most powerful corporation in ©HappyLand, uses fascinating and wondrous technology to give the populace what are essentially endless fart noises. Shawn, using his Quantum Vise (which lets him hold molecules in place) and some EMP charges, puts on an elaborate show. He blows up an ancient goddess statue to prove his “godhood” to the populace. The attendants can’t make the connection between “godhood” and “obedience,” however, and they’re soon distracted by the Great-President of Tactical Gas Entertainment’s promise of Go-Carts and Gas Entertainment for everyone. Disgusted, discouraged, and desiring to avoid the inevitable go-cart pile-up, Shawn leaves the scene, only to encounter the woman who fled Brooke. Shawn’s rather interested in the place Brooke was headed towards.
Brooke and Shithead arrive at the house of Brooke’s well tanned, sheep-herding aunt. Despite Aunt Gena’s annoyance with Shithead, the ©HappyLand native falls in love with her. Eventually, Aunt Gena plays along, asks if Shithead would do anything for her. Shithead agrees. Aunt Gena, in a blast of light reveals herself as the beady-eyed, alabaster-skinned Tiger Goddess of Civilization… to Brooke’s total surprise. The goddess seeks to destroy ©HappyLand and restore the glory of the lost Mountain Empire. With one touch, she gives Shithead the power of Active Rotoresonance, the same energy force that destroyed the Mountain Empire. If Shithead is placed in one of the factory vats of Tactical Gas Entertainment, he will destroy ©HappyLand. And Brooke shall restore the Mountain Empire to its former glory.
Naturally, Brooke has several questions about the woman who, a few days ago, was just a kindly and tiny relative. Brooke recalled a description of a goddess named Grief Ragnarok in school, and asked if she was that goddess. The name angers Aunt Gena— apparently, ©HappyLand gave her a name that sounds both dangerous and stupid, in order to keep the educated and ignorant from seeking her out. All the other god and goddesses, disgusted with ©HappyLand, left this universe to restart creation on a new plane. Aunt Gena conscripted a quiet man of science to lead ©HappyLand into a Golden Age, but he was too dignified and well spoken to win any popular support. Aunt Gena knows why Brooke travels to the mountain— she seeks the Peripat of Fortune, a pair of boots that bring great fortune to nomads. Brooke doesn’t realize, until her Aunt tells her, that the boots will bring great misfortune to anyone around her as a cost.
Aunt Gena’s power is limited by the gloriousness of the world’s most powerful civilization… hence why Brooke needs to deliver Shithead to ©HappyLand herself. Brooke decides to first find the Peripat. Shithead will wait with Aunt Gena until Brooke is ready.
Brooke travels a night and a day, following the rail line until she reaches the entrance of the tower— the gate to the dead Mountain Empire. Before she enters, a flying car approaches behind her. Brooke shoots it down. Out of the wreckage, shaken but relatively unhurt, climbs Shawn “The Cursed.” After a tense standoff, Brooke realizes that this scientist was the same one Aunt Gena conscripted. She apologizes (“I thought you were someone else”), and they agree to discover the mountain’s secrets together.
Brooke and Shawn navigate through the Mountain Empire’s remaining security programs, piecing together its history. Shawn knew that the Mountain Empire was destroyed by its own bizarre experiments, and that only corporate and political ideas survived its collapse. His attempts to study the Mountain Empire, in a society that doesn’t care about it, led to misfortunes in life that resulted in everyone calling him “The Cursed.” Brooke talks about herself too. She was content to live in ©HappyLand, smarter than everyone else, until a doctor’s incompetence resulted in a death of her blissfully ignorant daughter. No one in ©HappyLand, especially the doctor, seemed to care. After a few bitter months spent grieving, Brooke killed the doctor in a public square… only to discover no one cared about that death too. She claims that she thought Shawn’s car was a ©HappyLand private police force vehicle catching up to her… although as Shawn probes her mind, she admits that it’s a weak excuse. The two adventurers bond over their hatred of their fellow man.
Shawn arrives at the central computer room, and, using the Quantum Vise, manipulates the central computer into giving him administrator privileges. He turns on the Active Rotoresonance experiment chamber, but learns that he must maintain air pressure in that room to keep the pulsating, reverberating sphere inside from exploding. Shawn also discovers that the Mountain Empire used brainwave sensors to scan the most intelligent life forms in range. Turns out the smartest lifeforms in 20 miles are at Aunt Gena’s house… and the computer decides that the legless male in that location is the smartest person around. Brooke and Shawn puzzle over this, but Brooke is soon distracted— in the next room, alongside other mysterious artifacts, is the Peripat of Fortune, large and painted with the Mountain Empire Colors of orange and brown.
She steps into the large boots. Miraculously, they fit her perfectly. As she takes a step towards Shawn, misfortune strikes— Shawn, jealous over the brainwave scan results, loses concentration and causes the Active Rotoresonance chamber to explode. Luckily, Brooke falls out of a hole in the wall, and miraculously tumbles out of the mountain unharmed.
What remains of the Mountain Empire’s Tower collapses. Presuming Shawn to be dead, Brooke begins to walk away— she liked the scientist well enough, but has had enough mourning in her life. However, a few steps later, she finds her boots have frozen. She can’t move her feet After a night attempting to move the boots, the ground beneath them, anything, she takes off the Peripat of Fortune, then breaks down in tears. Her hopes have once again been snatched by something she can’t understand. But then she digs deep inside herself to realize she’s not angry about the boots: she’s angry about Shawn, and still angry about her daughter. She decides that the closest thing she still has for family is Shithead. Brooke leaves the boots behind, planning to tell Aunt Gena that she should not destroy ©HappyLand.
Brooke returns to Aunt Gena’s and refuses to kill Shithead or anyone else, laying out a plan to find the smartest people in ©HappyLand for a new civilization. Aunt Gena, furious, accuses Brooke of being just as stupid as Shithead. In talking to Shithead again, however, Brooke starts to realize that he’s cleverer than he seems. She’s about to tell Aunt Gena this, when all of a sudden she freezes. She remains frozen for several minutes. The sound of flying cars passes over the house. The door opens. Coming through the door is Shawn “The Cursed”… missing his legs and one arm, looking patched-up and relatively healthy, carried by the Great-President of Tactical Gas Entertainment. Shawn’s remaining arm uses the Quantum Vise to hold Brooke in place. The Peripat of Fortune fits perfectly on Shawn’s leg stumps.
It turns out that Shawn, barely conscious after the explosion, used the Quantum Vise to hold Brooke’s Peripat in place until she left. He then, near death, crawled to the boots and put them on… whereupon the Great-President flew by, noticed him, and offered him some medical care and a job as his successor. Shawn blames Brooke for sabotaging the mission and destroying the remains of the Mountain Empire. The villains take Shithead with them back to ©HappyLand, and Aunt Gena locks Brooke in a closet, using the last of her goddess power to melt Brooke’s knife, Brooke’s energy pistol, and the doorknob.
Brooke’s devastated… until she realizes that her cloak’s thermometer has mercury in it. She smashes it, dissolving the other end of the doorknob. Covering her fist in the cloak, she punches through the weak point until a hole appears, at which point she begins tearing down the rest of the door. Aunt Gena, now functionally mortal, can only plead for Brooke to step aside. Brooke doesn’t answer— she begins running.
Shawn, Shithead, and Great-President arrive at the Tactical Gas Factory, but find themselves constantly stopped. The Peripat of Fortune keeps causing accidents in the factory— the villains are always safe, but they’re constantly stalled. By the time they reach the vats, Brooke catches up with them. The Quantum Vise soon holds her in place.
The heroine appeals to Shawn’s love of reason; he allow her a conversation to convince him to abandon his plan. Brooke tells him that, after all this time, she has realized three things: life isn’t always about what makes sense, you can’t depend on others for happiness, and both the best and worst things in life are connected to everything else. Destroying ©HappyLand will not heal his wounds, she argues. She appeals to the good in him, even as Shawn rants about the terrible things he has done and will do to save civilization. Shawn ends the conversation by shooting Brooke in the chest, using the Great-President’s hand pistol. He orders the Great-President to throw Shithead into the vat. The Great-President picks up Shithead, holds him over the toxic waste that will end up destroying ©HappyLand… and hesitates.
Suddenly, a blast of light emerges from Shithead. He reveals himself, in restored majestic glory, as the Turtle God of Hope. The actions of Brooke (and the Great-President, to some extent), coupled with the blessing of Active Rotoresonance (which even he doesn’t fully understand) gave him life again. If Shawn “The Cursed” will lead his people, the Turtle God declares, He will ensure that every generation is slightly smarter than the next, from now to eternity. Shawn doesn’t know what to do… until he sees Brooke dying. He agrees to Shithead’s demands, on the condition that Brooke survives. Shithead decrees that Brooke will live… but it’s uncertain if she will ever see Shawn again. Before the Turtle God of Hope leaves, Brooke tells him why she rescued Shithead: he sang the lullaby that she used to sing to her daughter. Shithead promises to tell this story to the world a thousand years later.
As Shithead fades away, he sky grows darker and darker until it becomes luminescent and purple. Then, the sky returns to its usual bright blue. For just a moment, ©HappyLand is silent.
In the next few days, Shawn and the Great-President begin their quiet work on improving ©HappyLand. The Peripat of Fortune is destroyed. Brooke sets off to find another home for herself. Her flying car only takes essentials with her… along with one bar of deep-fried ice cream.
Tune in on Thursday where I examine this story like an overzealous English teacher!