April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Elfdame » Sat May 31, 2008 3:04 am

"Right this way, Mr. Wagner." The assistant turned toward me and flashed a smile that would have sent dollar signs spinning through the head of an orthodontist to calculate her past expenditures. "May I say how thrilled I am that your schedule allowed you to be on the show today?" She patted my chest and added in a whisper, "You're my favorite X-man."

I responded with a bright but brief smile of my own. Experience taught me that a genial impression would linger with a quick grin, but longer exposure meant that an image of my oversized canines might be imprinted on the memory. "Danke, Fraulein. You are gracious to say so."

She halted, hand on the doorknob, and looked into my pupil-less eyes. "If there is anything you need – anything whatsoever – please don't hesitate to page me." We entered the green room, painted a calming shade of taupe, and as she bent over to show me the button which would summon her, I couldn't help but notice her shapely posterior and the dark hose hugging a pair of curvaceous legs.

After all, I'm only human.

Since no one else was in the room to be disturbed after she left, I wrapped my feet around the arm of an easy chair. That's so much more comfortable than making my flexible form conform to chairs built for standard people. I wondered if Oprah would want me to demonstrate a few acrobatic moves; the person who contacted me had been tight-lipped, almost secretive, about what would be expected at this appearance. But then, people seldom knew how to act around me, especially at first meeting. Maybe it's the blue fur, yellow eyes, pointed ears, my tail, or having only three fingers and odd-shaped feet – it requires a bit of time to take it all in. I understand.

After all, I'm only human.

In short order I wished I'd remembered to bring my iPod. Five minutes of cheery elevator music exasperates one worse than arm wrestling Black Tom. Except the influence of the music, which might have been jazz in its previous life, is a bit more pervasive.

I decided to limber up, just in case. It felt good to stretch, bouncing from chair to coffee table to wall, across to the other wall, then creeping along the ceiling. One's perspective is affected by the ability to hang upside down from the ceiling; things which loom large on the ground take on different proportions when seen from above. Someone once asked if climbing around makes me dizzy. No, it seems I keep sensations of my immediate environment wrapped around me like a cloak, so the only forces to influence my balance are those which move of themselves: wind, rain, concussive eye blasts, etc. But here in the green room I moved freely from surface to surface, enjoying myself as I hummed some of the music we used in the circus – now, that I do miss.

Being an X-man is exciting; it stimulates my innate desire for adventure, and satisfies my longing to bring justice to the world, but in the circus where I grew up, I at least felt normal. Circus performers are expected to be different. My ability to cling to any surface without fear of falling nor dropping whatever I was repairing was useful to the troupe, yet they treated me as family, not a glorified monkey. I suppose I took those things for granted, just as most individuals never think twice about going out in public without wondering if they will cause a ruckus. Nowadays, even going to the mall can be a harrowing experience due to people's reactions.

I heard the voice of the attractive assistant outside the door. What fun it would be to pounce down from above – people seldom think to look [i]up[/i] – and surprise the other guest! I wrapped my tail around some flowers and drew them out of the vase, in case the newcomer was a woman, maybe someone gorgeous like Halle Berry.

Oh, horrors! Into the room came not one, not two, but several [i]boggies[/i], waving boisterously as if they were in the Macy's parade. I first encountered these annoying, conniving creatures after falling into a trans-dimensional vortex and finding myself trapped along with them in a sorcerer's lair. The scrawny blue boggies – about as tall as toddlers, with dark tousled hair and fangs which put my teeth to shame – had taken advantage of my good nature, not to mention courage and special skills, to free them. My reward? As soon as I encountered trouble, they moved in on a lovely princess whom I'd been wooing.

In the current situation, they had attached themselves to the assistant. Each one clasped a different part: a couple clung to her fingers, a few to each leg, several wrapped around her waist. The poor woman. Of course it was necessary to rescue her. But how to effect it most easily?

I somersaulted off the ceiling to the top of the open door, hung on by my tail and feet, and waved my arms while shouting, "Shoo!"

Boggies have bat-like wings, and I've often envied their ability to fly, but at least I've had the experience of swooping through the air while going from one trapeze to then next, or being carried by my sweet, strong friend Ororo upon the winds she generates. The annoying creatures were too enamored of their prize to flutter off at my remonstrations and paid me no mind, other than to erupt with snickers. "Silly phoneyboggie," they said, "thinks he can scare us true boggies, yes he does."

The goblin-eared nuisances clung to that defenseless damsel like barnacles. More drastic action was needed. I jettisoned myself from the door and vaulted down to a direct assault. Unfortunately, it caused me to collide with the assistant, sending both of us – as well as the doomed bouquet – flying. We landed in an armchair; I pounded the pests with my fists and feet. Fighting with all my extremities is a heady sensation; moves can be almost choreographed, and the boggies, true to their skittish and cowardly form, finally scattered like moths under the onslaught.

I blinked, realizing that the lady was cringing beneath me; not the ideal reaction when face-to-face with a tantalizing woman.

After all, I'm only human.

I sprang up, gave the victim my most courtly bow from the waist, and kissed her hand as I helped her rise. She still looked a bit nonplussed, but this Elf's winsome ways could certainly sway her.

"Never fear, Miss –"

"Jones. Jacque Jones," she stammered. Her hand clung to mine, so I gave it a reassuring pat.

"Miss Jones, these creatures will not harm you. Nor will they bother you again."

"Are you, like, related?"

Above the wailing chorus of the bothersome blue beings, I said through gritted teeth, "No, fair lady, I am [b]not a boggie[/b]."

She gave an uncertain smile and excused herself.

The miniature malcontents soon tired of ripping magazines apart and eating the flowers. They amused themselves by teleporting halfway across the room to ram themselves into another 'porting boggie, shrieking hideously ridiculous battle cries as they did. No sense of panache. Perhaps I could suggest to Ms. Winfrey, or Ms. Jones, that they provide guests with some informative DVDs to pass the time, such as "Captain Blood" or "Robin Hood." Teach those infernal idiots the joys of swashbuckling instead of acting like dragonny blue gremlins run amok. If only such a thing as a boggie-swatter existed.

As one with a visible mutation, I've had a life full of opportunities to practice patience and tolerance. Confined in a room full of ill-mannered sprites, I realized that practice does not always make perfect, but took consolation in the thought that it couldn't get much worse.

How wrong I was.

The enchanting Ms. Jones reappeared in about ten minutes with more guests. "Daddy!" they cried simultaneously.

"You know these, um," she checked her Blackberry, "bamfs?"

I must confess a deep sigh broke through my composure. "We are acquainted, ja." I turned to one of the little newcomers who was tugging at my tail. "Hello, Bamf. Wie gehts?"

"Good ta see ya, Daddy." The wide yellow eyes were similar to mine, but rounder. His clothing, too, resembled the black-and-red leotard I wear, right down to white gloves and boots, but – due to the Ewok-style rotundity – does not suggest the same impression of athleticism which I hope my attire does. If I got mixed up in a blender with Pepe LePew, perhaps a bamf would be the result. He continued, "But don't dream we're gonna share the frail. She ain't big enough, fer one thing."

A quick glance in the mirror confirmed the feeling that my indigo face was turning slightly purple. Again I bowed to the lady, hoping to retrieve some semblance of dignity in her eyes. "Bitte, Fraulein Jones, excuse these lovable little fur balls. They, like the boggies, come from another dimension and are foreigners to our ways."

"Oh," she giggled, "I think they're kinda cute. I have a date with one of them ... or two ... I forget."

Outmaneuvered by a bamf. How low can life bring one? I shouldn't have let the moment gall me, but it did.

After all, I'm only human.

"And you're father to ... [i]all[/i] of them?" Jacque asked.

"No, it's merely an honorific."

I determined to be the first guest, lest they rattle the gorgeous Ms. Winfrey – or, worse yet, impress her before giving me a chance to turn on the charm. "Miss Jones, do you know how long until I am needed at the soundstage?"

She consulted her PDA and said, "Seven minutes!" She smiled an apology and added, "Not enough time for makeup to do a fresher."

My visit to the cream and powder brigade had not been a stunning success. "Er, ah, makeup said there was nothing they could do with my fur." Very well, every blessing contains a curse. There are women repulsed by my appearance, but others are attracted to the softness of my skin. Thus, every curse contains a blessing. For example, when I come out of the pool after a swim, the water clumps on my fur; it can be a bit annoying, but it does encourage the Frauleins to help towel me off.

Jacque stroked my arm, a leisurely motion. "I could think of some things to do." She winked and scurried out into the hallway.

"Look here, Daddy, you da man an' all, but don't be horning in on our broad," said one forward furry fellow. "Yeah," the rest chorused.

"Stupid chubbybamfs not stealing pretty girl, no they won't. She wants boggies, yes. Better taste."

"You'd need a lot of ketchup to taste decent, let alone better, ya flying creeps," spat one bamf.

The battle began.

I despaired of leaving this room with my sanity intact. Did Oprah know what she was hoping to orchestrate? I looked at the monitor: early in the show and going to a commercial break.

I scooped up a few bamfs in each arm and lassoed three boggies with my tail. It's more adjustable in its articulation than a third arm would be, yet quite strong. Also handy for holding pint-sized hostages. It required some self-control not to constrict [i]mein schweif[/i] too tightly around them. But after a couple good shakes, it almost knotted itself – the boggies had 'ported out of my grasp. [i] Kleine Dämonen! [/i] They began to dive-bomb me and the bamfs, who joined in the jaunting. When I teleport a great distance or number of jumps, or carry a great weight, it induces a state of extreme nausea. The various fuzzy annoyances, however, appeared to experience no such repercussions. Soon the room was swirling with violet smoke, and the sulphurous fumes caused me to gag and gasp.

I let myself out into the hallway, preferring to wait amidst the scent of stale cigarette smoke. Ms. Jones rounded the corner, hooked my arm in hers, and we processed down the corridor. Her nose twitched, no doubt with the residue of the odor clinging to my uniform. I must speak with Herr Richards about installing a mini-fan. And it might come in helpful if I carried a chain; maybe I should go back to the leather outfit ... although a sword might suffice on certain occasions.

We stopped at the periphery of the set and Jacque tried to find a place on my uniform to attach the little microphone. There really wasn't anywhere unobtrusive, but we spent a few enjoyable moments close together exploring the possibilities. Finally she decided to clip it on the black part in front, then slide the square pack down my shirt and around to tuck in the side waistband. As I said, most enjoyable.

After all, I'm only human.

A finger pointing toward the mark, a mild push on the back, and I was on the set. The lights dazzled a bit, but my eyes adapted, and I accepted Oprah's gracious introduction and welcome. I clasped her hands in mine and bestowed a peck on each cheek, smiling so as not to expose my fangs. Before we were even seated, a voice from the hallway thundered, loud as the throb of footsteps which accompanied it. "Find woman, NOW!" Ms. Winfrey's eyes widened like balloons and she paused in mid-comment.

Around the corner tromped Dark Bamf, a large beast whose apparition strikes unbridled fear in the most courageous heart. Imagine a fur-covered linebacker with the social skills of Frankenstein's monster and the reasoning ability of a turnip. Although that description might be a little generous.

"Girl bamfs!" I cried. "The cafeteria is full of girl bamfs, locked in and awaiting rescue!" A lie of course, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the glee of a hornet chasing a sloth, his heavy frame shuffled away. He tripped over a bank of electrical cables, jarring the entire box loose, and the set was plunged into darkness.

Dark Bamf hit the floor and burst into a bunch of bustling blue bodies. They scurried away in all directions hoping to find the canteen, each squealing he would be first to get there to slam the doors and shut the others out. I didn't have time to offer an explanation of DB's origin to the stunned celebrity: he was a conglomeration of the small bamfs, originally configured by magic to witlessly serve the evil sorcerer Shagreen. By now the communal exercise of banding together must be second nature to the little guys, fuelled by the desire to conquer.

For myself, the studio's change into shades of shadows provided relief. What others perceive as darkness is full of nuance to my mutant eyes. Oprah, however, was not so sanguine about the lack of light, and was demanding the grips do something at once.

Before anyone could react, a staccato series of slapping noises filled the room, as well as a multitude of miniature clouds of foul-smelling smoke. The boggies had arrived.

"No more waiting on phoneyboggie and nasty fat furballs, boggies are coming to sit with lovely Oprahwoman. Get her lap ready for some handsome boggies, she must!" They swarmed over to the poor celeb, colliding as they ran with the directionally-challenged bamfs, and soon fistfights were breaking out on the set like measles on a seven-year-old.

I brushed the creatures off Ms. Winfrey's lap and shoulders, gathered her in my arms, and scurried up the scaffolding. The floor director squinted in our direction and cried, "Look, she's levitating!" Huffing slightly from the extra weight, I called down to him that it was I who carried her to safety. Part of my gift involves being able to smooth into shadows, so to him I must have seemed invisible. Settling Oprah on a wide girder, I tried to calm her by remarking, "How lovely you look, a star high above the lights."

Arms akimbo, she replied, "Aren't you glad you didn't drop me? I know I am."

"Never fear, dear damsel, my feet grip like duct tape when needed, and my tail intuitively counterbalances me. You were as safe as a child strapped into a swing." I performed a handstand followed by a double back flip, which seemed to relax her as she responded with a charming grin.

By this time the various species of midget blue meanies had adjourned their scuffle to the hallway. "May I return you to the set?" Instead of the look-Ma-no-hands maneuver, I slung her delicately over my shoulder, grateful that she was wearing trousers instead of a dress, and climbed back down the rig as the lights came on again.

Oprah settled into her chair. My tail handily swept away the wardrobe attendant while I crouched beside the popular personality to check her hairdo and give a smoothing tug to the hem of her pants. Oprah gave a look of appreciation as I stood up and headed for the guest seat. "This has been an eye-opening experience, Nightcrawler. I've never met anyone quite like you."

But the rest of the crew gathered in a line to form a barrier between myself and the TV hostess, muttering words like "freak," "kidnapping," "dangerous," and the like. The floor director screamed, "What kind of creature are you anyway, a stinkin' blue King Kong?"

After all the trouble I took, they failed to understand that, just like they, I'm only human.

[Edited on 1/6/08 by Elfdame]
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Elfdame » Sat May 31, 2008 3:08 am

Just in case anyone wants to see the boggies and bamfs after reading the silly story ...

Bamf

and a real boggie

PS - I noticed SK said to edit posts instead of making consecutive double ones, but I wanted this to be separate from the story so people could look up the pictures if interested, but not have them in the actual entry. I tried to describe the critters, but so far they haven't gelled with anyone who's read it yet. Oh, well, another skill to work on as a writer, I guess.

[Edited on 1/6/08 by Elfdame]
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Rowena » Sat May 31, 2008 9:49 pm

Bamfs and Boggies!!!! AWESOME!!! :D :D Great story--thoughtfully composed and it really came together well at the end. Thanks so much for your entry! Good luck! :D
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Angelique » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:34 am

You just got another positive review from a very tough critic. My daughter said your tale amused her.
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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Elfdame » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:43 pm

Oh, wow, my week is complete! And I am *not* being facetious!! Thank you for sharing me with the younger generation ... well, it was really just all copped off of Dave's story, but even so ... I'm excited.
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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April/May 2008 Challenge Entry: Only Human

Postby Angelique » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:40 am

Yep. It was the boggies and especially Oprah's reactions that cracked her up.
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6 ... &ref=share

www.heroesfallenstudiosinc.webs.com

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