Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Video Vignettes - "To Catch a Plumber"

Video Vignettes are 500 to 1000 word short stories about one or more video games. "To Catch a Plumber" features elements from "Super Mario Bros." and "Pokémon Go." 


He felt the water around him begin boil and knew what lied ahead.

He’d never thought much about it before, just accepting it as a part of this strange world. But as he watched it twirl around, like the compass he used in grade school math class, he began to wonder: how DO those fire sticks burn underwater?

But he was a plumber, not a philosopher, and there were more pressing matters at hand. A pair of black-and-white sea horrors silently glided towards him, their terrifying tentacles almost brushing against his boots.

With one hand holding his hat to his head, the plumber struggled ahead, barely evading the stick of fire. As it struck one of the demons, a sound like a rock hitting a metal bucket echoed through the ocean, and the beast sank lifelessly into the depths.

But the other, motivated by hunger and hate, charged onward.

The plumber could see the green pipe just ahead. There was no way he would make any farther than that.

As he felt a slimy tendril wrap around his ankle, he lunged for the pipe, grabbing the side. As the monster tried to drag him to a watery grave, the plumber pulled with all his strength towards the inside of the pipe, to the current that could get him to safety.

The plumber suddenly felt a great force pulling him upward. Relief washed over him and he relaxed his tired muscles, literally going with the flow. Where ever he would end up, it HAD to be better than the aquatic hell that had nearly claimed his life.

Darkness gave way to light. The plumber reached out of the water, felt around for the edge of the pipe, and hoisted himself out. He slumped on the grimy, damp floor with a thud.

But then he heard a second thud and something wet and heavy climbed on his chest. He was face to face with sea beast!

Before he could react, a red and white ball wacked the monster in the head. It confusedly blinked a few times before wilting into a heap next to him.

The plumber stood up slowly. The small, dim room reeked of wet rats and rust. The only sound was the constant dripping of sea water – enough to drive someone mad over time – and the labored breathing of the person who had rescued him.

“Who are you?” asked a raspy voice.

“It’sa me, M-”

“Never mind! Names don’t matter down here. The only thing that matters is catching them. ALL.”

From the shadows emerged a man with an ashen face. A tattered white and red baseball cap concealed his eyes. His decades-old jeans, torn at the bottoms from constant wear, hardly fit around his emaciated waist. Balled up in the corner were the remains of a blue and white overshirt, and on floor lied a waterlogged cell phone, the word “Go” crudely scratched into the glass screen over and over again.

The man stretched out his hand, which was clad in a moldy green glove. He slowly extended his finger towards the sea beast lying dead on the ground.

“That one is dinner,” he grumbled. “But I was hoping for a new friend, too.”

He lifted his head, his eyes visible for the first time. They danced with evil.

“I choose you, plumber man!” he hissed.

The man threw another one of the red and white balls and it landed near the plumber’s feet. The sphere popped open like compact mirror. The plumber shielded his face instinctively, wondering what fresh horrors would emerge.

The sphere rattled, then tipped over, spilling out a pile of animal bones. Was it a rat? A mouse? He couldn’t tell.

They clinked like tiny sticks as they hit the cold, metal floor.

“Mama mia!” exclaimed the plumber.

He dashed towards the pipe and full speed, jumping once, twice, three times to avoid the attack. But it was too late. The crazed man used the great ball, and the plumber was caught. The last thing the he saw was a series of flashing lights, enough to induce an epileptic seizure, then darkness. Only darkness. For the rest of eternity.

“Gotta enslave ‘em all!” exclaimed the man.

Sadistic laugher reverberated through the dank room, leagues beneath the extraordinary kingdom of mushrooms, and miles away from justice. 

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