3

A third Friday in town is a special event. Tradition states that, if you have managed to stay in town for that long without getting obsessed with the Noise, you deserve a party on the Fier family’s bar, courtesy of Town Council. The last person that qualified before you was Liza Kulmala, our Finnish neighbour who came to town in 1992. She came saying that she was a natural of Fiery Creek, but she had been born in Finland, because Fiery Creek citizens can be born wherever the f*ck they want to. This is a free country, right?

Of course, Town Council is stingy as shit I mean very thorough in their jobs, so they wanted to check that you had not obsessed with the Noise (even though the Noise disappeared when you arrived in town). That was the reason why you got kidnapped by some extremely indiscreet government officials in the middle of the street, as you were going about your day.

You were taken to a secret interrogation spot – which is basically Doris Waters’ basement, let’s not lie, we all know – and there some masked officials stared at you while Doris served tea and some biscuits in a table next to you.

“Help yourself, sweetie” she said, trying to appear like an inoffensive old granny. We all know, however, how she collaborates with the town police, and what kind of neighbourhood terror she is subjecting her neighbours to. She is the true bad cop. That treat was only designed to lower your guard.

“Thank you” you responded, and took a biscuit and a cup of tea.

“So, Anne Black, would you say that…”

You soon noticed your grave mistake when the boiling tea burnt your skin – the old hag brews it at 5000K in the thermonuclear power plant that she has in her backyard – and dropped it on the floor, which literally evaporated at that temperature. The whole house started to heat very quickly.

Of course, whenever there is an actual emergency, the government is the first one to flee the scene, so the officials ran for it. Doris followed them, and you found yourself alone in the collapsing house. At that point, Erin and I opened a secret tunnel to Doris’ basement.

“Come with us!” Erin shouted.

You jumped onto the hole, which we closed after us, and we ran for it, too. The house exploded in every direction.

“What the…!”

“I told that old hag, I told her that using the water from the nuclear power plant to brew tea was a bad idea!” I shouted. “I told the Council, God, why will they never listen to me?”

“She gives them those cookies. She makes them with the same mind controlling agent that the government uses to create the chemtrails” Erin answered. Then, turning towards you. “Are you OK, Anne?”

“I… don’t know” you said, dropping to the floor.

Erin kneeled in front of you, helping you keep a seating position. “Hey, it’s all right, the danger is gone”.

“First I got kidnapped, then the tea burnt my hand and made the house explode…”

“Wait, you’re injured? Let me see that” she looked at your hand, which showed third degree burns. “John, it’s bad. You will need to carry her”.

I sighed and took you in my arms, without much effort. “Erin, go to my place and get the back room ready”.

She rushed, and we followed.

“It hurts, a lot” you told me.

“I know, I know, poor thing. It’s going to be OK. We are going to tend to those wounds”.

It didn’t take us much to get there, but Erin had already prepared everything. I placed you on the table, ready for the ritual. The pain had increased a lot as the burns appeared in your arm. Erin and I put on our robes and prepared our magical kit. Suddenly, I noticed that something was missing.

“Where’s the goat blood?”

“Frank is having a bitch fit” was Erin’s simple response.

I rolled my eyes. “Frank, come in, NOW!” I shouted.

Frank, my goat, came in kicking at whatever he could see, swearing. “Oh, Frank, we need your f*ucking blood to invoke some creature, Frank, give us some blood to heal some poor bitch we’ve found in the tunnels, Frank, Frank, FRANK! It’s always ME!”

“Do you actually need it?” I asked, firmly.

Frank rolled his eyes. “OK, you win”.

He took the sacrificial knife, jumped onto a chair and from there he hopped onto the table, next to you.

“This better be frigging worth it, honey” he told you, right before stabbing at his own neck, letting a splat of blood fall over you. He fell to the floor.

“Fuck!” you screamed.

“Calm down, Anne, he regenerates each time” Erin explained.

“Aw” Frank complained, as he got up onto all its four and stretched its neck.

We completed the ritual, which healed your arm to full health. We then started to clean everything up, as you started to understand what was going on.

“But, my arm! I don’t know how you did this, but it’s… weird. Shouldn’t you have taken me to the hospital?” you were very obviously confused.

“The hospital is not for sick people” Erin answered. “We tend to each other’s wounds at home here” she explained.

When everything was clean, we headed to the front. “Anyway, today was supposed to be a welcoming party for you!” I said. “There’s not many people here, I guess because Doris’ house collapsed, but it was a celebration”.

You looked around and saw Ba’al drinking in a corner, Liza with her children sat around a table, eating, and a bunch of dead citizens drinking in a small group. Ba’al was the only one to approach us.

“So you’re Anne Black? Nice to meet you” he said, shaking your hand.

“Nice to meet you”.

“Do you want something?” he asked.

“Some cider, or something fresh, please. I’m thirsty”.

“John, a cider and some whiskey, please. On me”.

“Oh” I looked at him. “That’s interesting. When was the last time you invited anyone to a drink?”

“Diane Vines, 1867” he answered.

“Seems like you’ve joined an extremely select club then, Anne” I told you.

“Get me a Guiness” Erin asked.

That night we drank, and celebrated. For a new arrival in town.

Advertisements

Middle of the Desert Discs, 25/05/2016

In our endeavour to get to know our neighbours better, every month we ask a prominent citizen of the town to tell us what book they would take with them to the Middle of the Desert, apart from the complete works of Tolkien and Cervantes. This week we have asked Ba’al, Prince of Hell:

“I think I would take the Book of Revelation with me. It is a classic, me being a Prince of Hell and whatnot, but I enjoy the imagery presented by John. It reminds me of the good ol’ times, when Satan and I were buddies. Yes, the same Satan that is currently stomping the Black Warlock Overlord in the elections. We fell out during the XVI century – the Spanish Inquisition was involved – and I came to the Earth. But when Mary Clark destroyed Hell, Satan had nowhere else to go, so he stayed here and we have contacted each other again. It’s not the same as it used to be, though… So, yes, the Book of Revelation, definitely. For the good ol’ times”.

Fiery Creek Public Service Announcements, 25/05/2016

The following Public Service Announcement has been made public by Town Council on the 25th May 2016. Its aim is to let citizens know that:

  1. William Sato, Town Council member for the last 6 years, has announced his retirement. This means that the Council’s Development Seat will be left vacant in the next few months. The Council, in an attempt to ensure stability of the Cat-Dog negotiations, will not nominate any candidates for the position until matters are settled.
  2. A faction of black mambas has settled in town. They are a criminal gang that has attacked several citizens already. Among their illegal activities are impersonation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, violent attacks using knifes, and, allegedly, traffic of illegal drugs, according to the town’s police force. They are to be considered extremely dangerous, and avoided at all costs. The Town Council and Town Police are currently cooperating to manage the situation.
  3. The recycling system is not being used properly. Workers that pick up the trash to send it all to the same plant in the edge of town where everything is processed have complained that many citizens do not separate their rubbish because “they’re going to process everything together, anyway”. While this is true, the recycling system was created by our ancestors for a reason, and unknown as that reason might be to us, the recycling system needs everyone’s cooperation. So remember, on Monday it is Assassination tools – like a knife or a Voodoo doll -, on Tuesday it is Warm stuff – like some nuclear waste that you may have lying around the house -, on Wednesday it is Ears, on Thursday it is your Salary – you are going to waste it, anyway! -, Friday it is broken Oaths – are they useful anymore? -, Saturday it is Magic sludge, and Sunday it is Ears again. So remember, the mnemonics is AWESOME, not KNEECAP.
  4. This year Literature Week will probably be cancelled due to the weather. The weather predicted for October is going to be pretty bad – from what we know, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will probably ride that month, and it will rain blood -, which is highly inconvenient for the outdoor activities planned for that week. The Town Council is trying to negotiate with the Horsemen so that they ride one week later, but a positive outcome cannot be ensured in this tense negotiation.

Important Sites of Fiery Creek 3: Mama’s Gelato shop

If there is a place in town that brings happiness and sorrow to the town, that is Mama’s Gelato Shop. If you want to experience a real roller coaster, I recommend you visit the ice cream shop located in the centre of town. It will take you on the wildest trip on the roller coaster of life.

Mama’s Gelato Shop is one of several establishments opened by the Italian mafia in the early 20s, when Mama Luca “took over” the Family, which basically means that she had a huge argument with Papa Luca and kicked him out of the house. From there, her empire only grew, to the point in which a whole district was renamed to Mama’s District, where she lives and operates most of her businesses now.

However, Mama’s Gelato Shop is exactly where it was first established. Its main function used to be – and still is – money laundering for the mafia, which it did – does – effectively. It also serves some of the most delicious and slippery ice cream in the world. Be warned that a great reward usually requires a great sacrifice.

So it’s another Tuesday. You are in the middle of the desert, where it’s hot all year round. Almost instantaneously, you will think that you need something fresh, something like an ice cream. Your desire will grow, slowly at first, exponentially after that. When your desire reaches a certain threshold that can be detected by arcane magic, you will be teleported into the shop. Make sure that this does not happen while you’re at the loo, please. The rest of us want to enjoy our ice creams.

Now you are in front of the ice cream, with flavours in excess of 300. If that is not enough to overwhelm you, a group of Italian shop assistants are all looking at you, with their perfectly tan skins, their teeth as white and perfect as newly placed gravestones, their dark hair and green and brown eyes that make you fall in love.

Nervous and blushing, you look at the first few flavours and try to choose something that will say “I am not a whore, but I’d totally let you have me if you wanted to”. You consider the flavour of sweet and cold revenge, but discard it for sounding too dark. You finally see what you are looking for: strawberry cheesecake, two scoops.

You pay $2.30, take the ice cream and give it a slutty lick, much to Doris Waters’ dismay. She will call the town police, but luckily your actions are not illegal according to town regulations. Meanwhile, you will have to calmly accept that those Italian shop assistants are on duty and will not jump on you, so you will give up and leave the shop.

Here is where the roller coaster starts. The next 20 minutes – if you somehow manage to keep the ice cream for that long – are going to take you from the highest ecstasy to the greatest misery. There is absolutely no technique that will allow for a perfect ice cream experience. That’s the price you pay.

I would help you, but I’m meeting Ms Pyp, the librarian, for some ice cream. This is our first date in 50 years! I wish you luck, and hope that you get the best of that ice cream.

History of Fiery Creek 3: The Rapture

The Rapture, for those less familiar with Christian eschatology, is the belief that, at one point in time, the dead believers will rise once again, Jesus will come a second time and all of the believers – zombies and non zombies – will meet the Lord in the air. Several authors have tried to predict a date for the Second Coming of Jesus and failed, except for one.

William Miller predicted that the second coming would happen between the 21st March 1843 and the same day of 1844. When nothing happened anywhere in the world, he assumed that he had made a mistake and recalculated the whole thing. Nobody at the time heard the news of a small town in the middle of the desert, Fiery Creek.

The 21st March 1843, the ground below Fiery Creek started to tremble. The earth cracked in several points, and strange noises came from the points in which the ground had fractured. The citizens gathered in the Caliph’s Palace, which was used as town hall at the time (this stopped being the case after Hell’s forces attacked the town for the last time in 1857).

Diane Vines, famous oracle of the town, who was a child of six at the time, spoke in the faerie palace, over everyone else’s voices. “It is the Second Coming” she said. “The dead are rising, and soon we shall all ascend into the air to meet the Lord”. Knowing her predictive powers – which mostly concerned fashion tips from the future and deaths -, the townsfolk decided to ignore her completely and demand reparations from the town hall.

At the time, most of the work in town hall was done by Mary Clark and Ba’al, prince of Hell. When they inspected the holes in the ground they found the dead of the first six Fiery Creek foundations, who were quite thirsty from the years spent buried. Once they helped them out, the zombies asked for directions to a bar, and they all went to the Fier family’s bar to get some drinks.

Of course, the living citizens complained. There was not enough housing for all of the new zombie settlers, and they should not be living in the streets. Mary Clark then had to devise a new district with new houses, which she built to the north of the town using ancient faerie magic. This was called the Revenant district, which stands today.

There was a time lapse of four months between the dead rising and the Second Coming. In those months, the neighbours of Fiery Creek had grown accustomed to the presence of the dead in town. They were friendly, didn’t use many resources and would contribute to the community as a literally tireless force.

In the hottest of July, a classic red mustang arrived in town, speeding through the desert and making the dust rise in clouds. Jesus – or, at least, someone everyone assumed was Jesus. He never gave a name – got off the car, sunglasses on, white linen shirt, long brown hair and a stubble in his face. “Sorry it took me four months to get here, got into a traffic jam. Let’s get this Rapture thing going, shall we?” he said.

He clapped and everyone started to float, even his mustang. Mary Clark, who had been working on resealing the last hole with a spade, hit the man hard in the head, and they all fell to the ground. “You think this is the right time for a Rapture?” she shouted at him. “It’s so hot, and you are going to have everyone travel through the air for hours? Think about the children and elderly! They might get dehydrated!”

The man apologized for his bad timing, recognizing that he had not taken all of those factors into account. Divine creatures do not undergo the same restraints as humans or other mortals, so he had not even considered that they might suffer in their trip up. He got onto his car once again, and said he would come back some other time, with a better plan.

The dust trail was lost into the desert. Nobody ever heard of him again.

Weekly Fiery Creek, 22/05/2016

Citizens displaced to new neighbourhoods after new cat and dog agreement.

The grace period to change neighbourhoods ended yesterday for pet owners. The last couple of weeks have been very stressful for citizens who had to purchase new houses, sell their current ones, and move to their new neighbourhood. Cat and dog authorities prepared the agreement so that the minimum amount of people had to move, studying the cat and dog census per neighbourhood. This still meant that 346 families had to move houses.

“It’s been a very stressful period” declared Sara Jenkins. “Selling the house was not difficult, but finding one in city centre was. My partner and I have two cats and a dog, which meant that we needed to move to city centre. We were lucky to find a house that suited our needs at the very last moment, we finalized the deal on Friday and moved on Saturday morning”.

Others were not as lucky as Sara Jenkins. Rita, the owner of the inn, told us about her experience. “I have a tabby cat, Miss, that has recently had a litter of kittens. They all look gorgeous. But my inn is in a cat free zone, next to the limit. There is no way that I could sell the inn and get a new one somewhere else. I need a solution for this”.

The news is expanded on in the following section.

City surrounded by fire, communications cut.

The prediction made by city council agents have turned true, and Fiery Creek has found itself surrounded by green fire this week. The sand, gravel and rocks that form the desert have been set on fire for kilometres around us. It is now impossible to exit or enter the town.

Several citizens have tried to escape the town through several means, including a hot air balloon and a helicopter. All of these methods have failed miserably, and the wounded are currently being tended to in hospital. Many citizens have expressed their concern about the hazards of being surrounded by fire, and some of them have issued complaints to Town Council.

Town Council, has issued a statement explaining that they have nothing to do with the fire, and that they are working on resolving this problem as soon as possible. In the meantime, they ask the citizens of Fiery Creek to relax, because the situation is stable, and to enjoy the fire. “Maybe take the family for a camp-fire, or a barbecue”, they have suggested.

Town Council member William Sato to retire in the coming year.

Town Council member William Sato has announced this week that he plans to retire sometime in the coming year. The news has shocked the community, who were delighted at the service that the Council member has done for the community in the last few years.

William Sato, a shiba inu aged 8, has been working as Council member for the last six years, and he says that “It’s time for him to retire and let the younger generations take over”. Right now he needs a few months to finish some work and arrange everything for the coming Council member that will replace him.

Among the work that this Council member has done for the town are the improvements of Fiery Creek General Hospital and the construction of the first ever park in Fiery Creek.

Fiery Creek Horoscope, 21/05/2016

This is the horoscope for this week. As always, remember that in weeks with more than two primes the prediction gets reversed, and that the week of the full moon horoscopes don’t work. On the other hand, if there is an eclipse somewhere in the world, horoscopes work an infinitesimal factor of d better.

Aries: again, no good at all. You will open the door to your friendly neighbourhood Jehovah’s Witness, wanting to hear what they have to tell you about their cult, and will be surprised by a bunch of black mambas attacking you.

Taurus: avoid colour pink this week. Or like, always. It doesn’t go well with the tone of your skin.

Gemini: you didn’t die last week, well done! However, your lawnmower is now sentient and wants to kill you. In fact, the lawnmowers of your area have formed a gang and a hold a grudge against you. Negotiation skills may help you out of this one, but I can see you die a horrible death.

Cancer: your wife will kick you out of the house now that the cat earns twice as much as you do. You will try to get help from an Ancient forgotten God, but it will bail out on you. Don’t waste that goat blood, it won’t help.

Leo: your cancer will be cured, but you will have to go to the Unit of Intensive Care with third degree burns.

Virgo: it seems that helping people with those barbecues will give you a lot of clients in need for treatment of burns. Make sure you have enough pig skin for grafts.

Libra: don’t use the oven this week. It’s a bad idea, OK? Just don’t ask.

Scorpio: your house will catch fire and all of the corn that you used to build it will turn into popcorn that your neighbours will eat. Wasn’t such a good idea, was it?

Sagittarius: I still don’t get why it’s always you, but no. Just… no.

Capricorn: you won’t die this week. Good.

Aquarius: you will finally become a famous Hollywood actor in high budget films, win an Oscar and be respected by everyone around you. Then you will wake up.

Pisces: you have a probability of exactly 17/74 of spontaneously turning into a butterfly this week. I would stay away from children.