Oh, my God, it's made it all the way to Episode 8! It's: STHT5!
(No, it's not one of the droids from the Star Wars trilogy)

Stuff That Happened to Thing #5
Part 8: Hwango the Indistinct and Other Vegetables

Last time, Albatross the One appeared, and warned the other characters that their lack of direction may soon itself be lacking.

The characters, places, and events described within are purely fictional, and any resemblance to persons living or dead, places, or events is pretty damn terrifying, and I think if you've seen anything like them you should consider serious psychiatric help.

Albat waited patiently as Thing #5 rebuilt his lower torso from some discarded bits of aluminum and a large spool of string. Hwango managed to get himself reincarnated as an amazingly comfortable reclining chair, which Thing #5 promptly smashed into pieces so he could try again. He got it right the next time, and ambled over to see what was going to happen next.

"Well," said Albat, "I suppose we should get started."

"Doing what?" Thing said, taking a drink from a passing waiter.

"Yes," said Hwango, "you make it sound as if you have a plan."

"Coffee, Mr. Indistinct?" asked the secretary.

"That would be nice, yes. Black, with two sugars, a little milk, a spoonful of honey, and some antifreeze." Hwango said.

"That evidence from the Zlingberg case is on your desk." said a passing policeman to Albat.

"Can I borrow your car?" Thing's wacky neighbor inquired, poking his head through the hedges separating them.

"Hey," said Thing, "what's the deal with all these supporting characters all of a sudden?"

"Unavoidable, I'm afraid," said Albat, "we need more roles in the story, so that when it's made into a major motion picture there are places to put major screen stars in surreal little cameos."

"Oh." said Thing. He turned to his wacky neighbor. "I don't have a car." he said.

"I know." said Thing's wacky neighbor, grinning. Then he sliced a section of the hedge away with a scythe and ran screaming in the other direction. Thing stared after him blankly for a moment.

"Odd fellow." he said.

Audience Participation Disclaimer: Warning: the characters in this story are fictional constructions and literary personifications - they are trained to do this kind of work, and are in no real danger. However, some of the stunts performed can be dangerous if performed by people who perceive themselves as real. Though we cannot with a clear conscience restrict your personal freedoms of choice by suggesting you don't try any of this at home, we do recommend that you consider the real-world effects of such events as being hit over the head with a resort complex.

"Not as odd as I am!" cried another newcomer. He was dressed entirely in clothes, and had an expression on his face.

"I feel informed." said Hwango, patting the narrator reassuringly on the shoulder.

"I," said the stranger, "am Albat's illegitimate abandoned identical twin stepson."

Albat gasped in shock.

"Bob?" he said, stunned.

"No. The other twin." the man said, with a little less dramatic flair. Albat gasped again, louder...or deeper...or however it is one gasps to a greater extent.

"Maelefico the Sane?!"

"The very same."

"But you were killed in that tanker truck explosion!" Albat said, shaking his head in disbelief.

"I got better," sneered Maelefico. Thing edged closer to Hwango and whispered to him.

"Why does this feel like a bad soap opera all of a sudden?" he asked. Suddenly a strange woman spun Hwango around and slapped him.

"That's it, Hwango. Our affair is over - I'm going back to Susan!" she shouted, and stormed off.

"A very 90's bad soap opera." Thing amended.

At this point I would like to thank all the devoted fans of this story that have sent in large monetary contributions to further my goal of supplying the public with totally ridiculous random dialog and unrelated strings of stupid events. I'd like to - but I can't. First, because it's amoral, and possibly illegal, to solicit money that way, and secondly because no such contributions have been made. So thanks for nothing. If I starve and we never make it to episode 10 you'll be sorry. Maybe. Just a little?

"There's a lot of coherent action and character background development going on around here these days." said Hwango.

"Evolution can be a frightening thing." Albat said. "I mean, just look at the hippopotamus." Hwango looked at the hippopotamus, which looked back at him sleepily and then wandered away into the water.

"I see what you mean." Hwango said, clearly unnerved.

"At least our location seems relatively unstable." Thing said, pointing to the nearby erupting volcano.

"Oh, no! Our movie isn't going to end up being one of those silly disaster flicks, is it?" Hwango said, obviously irritated.

"Nah," said Albat. "We're going for a special effects spectacular, but not a disaster film. Thing #5 is going to be entirely computer generated, and I'm going to appear to walk several inches above the ground. You'll wear an elaborate set of prosthetics designed to make you look like a large bowling ball. Plus all the explosions and sharks and stuff. It'll be great! I'm just not sure how we're going to afford it all on our budget."

"We might need some movie cameras too." said Thing, unable to conceal his unhappiness with these changes to the original story.

"Don't bother me with trivial details," said Albat, frowning.

"I don't think I like how this is going. How'd Albat get in charge?" Hwango whispered to Thing.

"I'm not sure. I'll ask him." Thing said. "Excuse me, Albat. Hwango and I are wondering how you got to be in charge all of a sudden." Albat looked at him for a moment, giving the matter some consideration.

"I killed off the previous leader?" he finally suggested, with some hesitation.

"Ah." Thing said. "That would have been me, yes?"

"Indeed."

"But I was half-eaten by a shark." Thing pointed out, spying a hole in Albat's logic.

"That was me." Albat said, plugging the hole. His logic had taken on water in the meantime, however.

"Isn't Albatross a stupid name for a wereshark?" Hwango interjected.

"Yes, that's why my name is Albatross the One." Albat explained.

"There's still one problem with your story, however." Thing said, drawing their attention back to him. "I didn't die from that."

"Ah...I see what you mean. Hrm. Maybe I'm not in charge after all." Albat said, frowning.

"Hello?" said Maelefico the Sane, waving his arms. "Isn't anyone going to pay the slightest bit of attention to me?"

"What on earth for?" asked Thing, aghast at the thought that anyone might want to do such a thing.

"Well...I am villainous." said Maelefico the Sane hopefully, after a moment of thought.

"Okay." said Thing, wondering what difference that made. He then resumed ignoring him, and returned his attention to Albat and Hwango. "So, what were you suggesting we do back at the beginning of the episode?" he asked Albat.

"I don't recall. It probably had something to do with figs, though." Albat said, his brow furrowed in concentration.

"Why's that?" asked Hwango.

"I quite like figs." said Albat, shrugging.

"Strange taste in food for a wereshark." pointed out Thing.

"And I suppose you know a lot of weresharks." said Albat, somewhat defensively.

"What a ludicrous thing to suppose - how on earth would I manage to meet any?" said Thing.

"I think we should stop arguing." said Hwango, earning dark looks from Thing and Albat. (Loyal readers will notice that Hwango's wages have increased, since in previous episodes he would only have earned disinterested looks, or perhaps a blow to the head.) Hwango smiled brightly at them, glad to have brought peace to the story, if only for a few seconds before he would undoubtedly be struck in the head.

Hwango the Indistinct was, of course, legendary for his work in the area of promoting peace and understanding between peoples of all colors, sizes, and flavors. His tireless work has brought about three civil wars, two revolutions, and nine intercontinental military incidents. As a result of this, the very mention that he would be brought in as a diplomatic aid tended to cause people to reconsider their positions on the relevant issues and search for a peaceful solution to their disagreements before he could be summoned.

"Shut up, Hwango." Albat said, whacking him in the side of the head. "This is tense drama."

"Oh. Thing tried that in episode 2." Hwango supplied helpfully, not really noticing this last blow to his head. "Then we gave up on it and just went back to meaningless dialog."

"And we haven't strayed from the path since." Thing said, nodding.


Tune in next time when our intrepid trio tries to figure out what they'd been going to do, while simultaneously trying to avoid doing anything! See the contradictions! Explore the dichotomy! Taste the paradox! Juggle the duality! Have some popcorn!


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