*Kor’Thank: Barbarian Valley Girl is a work in progress. You will see the content in these pages change over time as I continue to edit each chapter. Apologies if that’s annoying, but some have expressed interest in my writing process, and this is a rough way to show the change in flow as I draft and edit.*
A Musing That Bears Consideration…
What would it mean if existence were infinite? Truly infinite? If every permutation of matter, energy, physics, and possibility existed somewhere out there in the vast unknown?
A few universes over, “Hamlet’ wouldn’t be written by Shakespeare; it would be authored by an immortal monkey banging randomly at a typewriter. Fictional heroes would live actual lives in an adjacent reality.
From what I understand, physicists (and please research this for yourself; I’m not a scientist), along with philosophers, allow for scenarios where cause and effect do not dictate how phenomena occur. Time (which is needed for causality to exist, as condition A requires time to produce interaction B, and time is once again needed to express result C) is a construct created by the expansion of the universe, and is also affected by factors like gravity and speed. If you think this is a pie-in-the-sky idea that isn’t relevant to our daily lives, look no further than your GPS app. A GPS satellite has to be programmed so it can account for gravity-borne time slippage, or it would end up sending us erroneous data.
Admittedly, what I’ve just described is a cheap trick. I’ve used my meager knowledge of science to champion the idea that the story you’re about to read might actually be happening in some where, some when.
Why would I do that? To be perfectly honest, I do it to shore up a ridiculous, ridiculous tale with every ounce of credibility I can possibly muster. The world within these pages is similar to ours, but with an added twist of fantasticality. Let’s start with the plausible: a modern-day high school where the teen-queen cheerleaders are just as vicious as a John Hughes stereotype. Let’s push it a little further: my protagonist is a mad genius. A high school junior who—through his cutting-edge knowledge of psychedelics and technology—possesses the ability to change the world.
If I haven’t yet lost you, let’s go a little bit further: parallel dimensions are real. Within one such dimension there exists a barbarian warrior, similar to Conan. He is a master of combat, both physical and magical. He swings swords, casts spells, rescues scantily clad maidens from evil wizards…
And oh yeah—he rides velociraptors.
Teen queens, mad geniuses, and velociraptor-riding barbarians. What kind of madness would ensue if they actually met?
I’m well aware that this is a ridiculous proposition. And I’m well aware that it’s entirely self-serving—that its purpose is to ease the bounds of credibility, so I can stand a chance of telling a farcical tale. I’ve done my part to set up the story. The rest is up to you.
So without further ado, I urge you to continue reading…
And revel in the absurdity.
October 29, 2017
Dear Diary: OMG! I was just voted squad captain! I had to arrange an “accident” with our current (sorry, FORMER) captain, Lizzy Prendergast, where I convinced some of the other cheerleaders to “drop” her in the middle of a stunt. Happy brain trauma, bitch!
—From the diary of Holly Dent. Atherton junior and evil psychopath.
Today we killed hundreds, and freed thousands. Our ranks were scattered by countless vollies of Lakshashin arrows. While we Indashis possess the stoutest of hearts, those hearts must be channeled through a strong mind and an iron fist. Kor’Thank is that mind. Kor’Thank is that fist. Amidst a rain of merciless steel, our dauntless king rallied the Reptrix Cavalry and led the charge against Rotskar’s army, breaking its will like a skull-maiden’s spine.
—From the Legend of Kor’Thank, recounted by Krul’Dar the Chronicler, in the fifth age of Iluvia.
I just wanna fuck something.
—From the blog of Chongha Peter Lee
“YES! I ACCEPT!”
Holly Dent jumped up and down, erupting with delighted squeals and clenching her fists by her chin. Her friends closed in, surrounding her with widened eyes and gaping mouths.
“Oh my god—”
“Oh my GAWD—”
“—knew you were going to be captain some day—”
“Lizzy would be so happy.” This from her best friend and evil lieutenant: Marissa Thompkins.
Holly winked at her trusted hench-woman. The lights flickered overhead—the electrical system was currently being upgraded and it was a bit erratic—but no one noticed. They were busy worshipping their evil queen.
“A-hem!” Holly straightened up and adopted a somber expression. “A-heh-heh-HEM!”
The girls quieted down.
Holly laid a calculated hand atop her heart, dipping her head and shifting into Serious Mode. This was a tactic she’d learned from her mom. I’m about to tell you something important, so look super interested and nod vigorously once I’m finished.
“I know some of us didn’t like her, but Lizzy’s in a coma. We need to be there for our fellow cheerleader.” Holly cleared her throat into her fist, barely managing to disguise a giggle. She lowered her hand, and placed it once again atop her heart.
“We have to support our retar—I mean brain-damaged. We have to support our brain-damaged friend.”
Marissa reached out and squeezed Holly’s shoulder. “We’ll take care of her, Holls.”
“Come on guys.” Holly flexed her throat, causing her voice to crack. “Group hug!”
The hive of cheerleaders pressed inward.
“For Liz,” she whispered.
“For Liz,” they muttered.
A second later, they stepped away from each other. Holly sniffed dejectedly, gauging the right amount of time she should continue looking sad. It wouldn’t be appropriate if she switched too quickly from sorrow to joy, even amongst these vicious cunts.
A thousand one, thousand two, thousand three…
Good enough. She adopted a brave-in-the-face-of-tragedy smile. “Let’s get back to work. It’s what Lizzy would’ve wanted, right?”
There was a chorus of nods. Every so often, within a bunch of likeminded psychopaths, a hive mind is formed. This was the case with Holly and her squad. Right now, the hive mind knew that it was time to celebrate.
Marissa clapped her hands, squeezing them tightly together in front of her chest. “We are so happy for you, Holly!”
The girls rushed in and lifted Holly above their heads. Her body went on autopilot—thanking, cheering, yay-ing. Inwardly, she was the exact opposite.
That’s right you cunts—pay tribute to your queen.
Kor’Thank stared into his massive beer stein. Unlike his fellow barbarians, he hadn’t gulped it in a single pull. Within that oval of amber liquid, he saw his reflection staring vexedly back at him.
“I am weary, Krul’Dar. I am tired of being king.”
Krul’Dar—Kor’Thank’s loyal friend and Chief Chronicler—finished off his eighth stein and fixed Kor’Thank with a puzzled look.
Kor’Thank’s brows beetled together. “Or’goth’s balls, Krul—you and I have fought together on countless occasions! Spilled the same blood and pillaged the same hoards! Call me by my name, Akanax damn you!”
Krul’Dar nodded apologetically. “Apologies, brother. It’s just that your latest feat was nothing short of—”
Kor’Thank cracked a faint smile. “ ’Twas glorious, was it not?”
Krul’Dar faced forward, eyes drifting across the skulls and kegs that lined the tavern keeper’s shelves. He waved an open-palmed hand from left to right, as if drawing back an invisible curtain. “King Kor’Thank charged up the back of a fifty-foot retrorax astride his velociraptor mount: the loyal Tongue Render—”
“Krul’Dar. His name is Bitefighter.”
Krul’ threw him a reproachful look. “As Chief Chronicler, I must convey gravitas.”
Kor’Thank sighed. “Continue.”
Krul’Dar’ stared again at the tavern keeper’s goods. “He charged up the retrorax, nocking three arrows onto his Lamordian bow. As he crested its neck he clucked his tongue, commanding his mount to dive left. At the same time, Kor’Thank dove right and loosed a trio of Blacksear arrows. Each missile struck true, piercing the eyes of the three-headed beast. One arrow for each head!” Krul’Dar slammed the table with a clenched fist. “Never before had a single warrior managed to slay a full-grown retrorax!” His voice turned reverent and solemn: “The Indashi King had slaughtered legions of sorcerers, along with countless beasts that exhaled fire, ice, or poison. He’d led dozens of charges against Orcs and Fell-walkers, and now, with the death of a retrorax, he took his place amongst the greatest hunters in all of Elithia.”
Krul’Dar, paused and looked expectantly at Kor’Thank.
“What do you think?”
Kor’Thank stared gloomily at the wall to his front. “What of the long, frozen nights, Krul? The weeks and months spent gathering supplies, so that our family and friends could stay armed and fed while we ventured abroad? It is not all blood and glory—you know that.”
Krul’Dar’s eyes flashed with irritation. “Kor, the Indashi are burdened by drudgery and listlessness. They need inspiration, not minutiae.”
Kor’Thank responded with a cynical scoff. “To what end, Krul?”
Krul’Dar put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Your deeds give them a sense of purpose. And that makes life into something worth living.”
Kor’Thank’s gaze returned to his stein. “I have defeated tyrants and dragons, demons and wizards…yet there is deep emptiness within my soul. Despite all I have accomplished, peace eludes me.” He directed a haunted stare towards his friend. “What of my purpose, Krul? Where do I find it?”
“As Alantil said: ‘Nowhere and everywhere.’ ”
“What in the Seven Hells does that mean?” the king snapped.
“You must make your own, Kor.”
Chongha Peter Lee was a wrathful genius. He knew it, Eun Yin knew it…the former President knew it…but aside from those three, no one knew.
And it was driving him fucking insane.
After throwing projectiles at Holly Dent’s picture for two hours straight (after the first hour he’d switched from darts to ninja stars, then to tomahawks), he reached under his bed and withdrew a spin-entangled, quantum-encrypted sat-phone. He pressed his thumb against its genetic spectro-scan, then pressed a tritium button labeled SEND. A dignified voice answered on the other end.
“Things are fucked B—they are fucked.”
The former president sighed. “They’ve always been fucked, Peter. Hands get shaken, bribes get made…the gears keep spinning. I score a book deal and rake in some speaking fees along with a nicely worded warning: ‘Let the public know about Grays or Insectoids, and we’ll scramble your brains with a .50 caliber bullet.’ ”
Peter sunk his brow into the crook of his thumb and forefinger. “She killed my dog, B—my motherfucking dog. I’ve brought down pedophile rings, provided tech support for tier one hits, repurposed alien technology…and I can’t take my revenge on Holly Dent? For fuck’s sake, she’s a goddamn cheerleader!”
Another sigh. “Her dad is the head of…well, you know I can’t say it—we might be tapped. Sanctioning Holly is a definite no-go.”
Peter flopped back on his bed. His hand became a neurotic blur as he violently itched his scrotum and penis. “She killed my DOG!”
“Peter. You dosed her with a chemical cocktail containing a thousand milligrams of THC, an experimental derivative of LSD and adderall, as well as eight hundred milligrams of pharmaceutical grade caffeine. Did you ever stop to think that you were creating your own worst enem—”
“THE FUCK I DID!” Peter screamed. “It was an innocent prank! I was five years old and—”
“She was four.”
“She KILLED BITEFIGHTER!”
Peter stomped into the bathroom, grabbed a towel off the rack, and blotted the hate-sweat off his face. “Sorry B, I shouldn’t have—”
“No Peter—I’m the one who should apologize. You’ve done a lot of good for this country. You deserve some peace.”
“You’ve done a lot too; you should get some kind of—”
“Just because I tried…that doesn’t mean I actually accomplished anything.”
“Everything we’ve done looks good on paper, but nothing’s changed—people are still just a bunch of hairless, rabid chimps.”
“At least you’re young. You should look at these fuckers who are sitting in Congress. It’s true what they say: D.C. is just an ugly version of Hollywood.”
“We’re both surrounded by fucking primates that can’t get past their stupid—” Peter punched the wall. “Fucking—” Another punch. “CHIMP INSTINCTS!” He threw two more punches, and a pair of knuckle-dimpled dents took their place amongst legions of fist-marks. “The ones you dealt with financed their coke habit through lobbyist bribes. The ones I deal with jerk off to the latest hashtag, or try to jockey for some meaningless title like Homecoming Queen. Yo—did you know that Atherton’s mascot is an actual chimpanzee?”
Peter and B broke into gales of laughter. Life had a cruel sense of humor, but that didn’t make it any less funny.
The former president gasped, “Oh God, oh God—I…I…”
He was overtaken by another fit of hilarity. It wasn’t that funny, but both Peter and B were keenly aware that underneath their circumstances—underneath their wondrous, storied lives—there lurked a razor-sharp irony. Laughing hysterically was one of the purest tributes you could pay to the absurdity of life, and these two—the former President of the United States and a high school junior caught in a Darwinian web of adolescent malice—were uniquely qualified to pay that tribute.
Peter wiped away his tears. “They named him Fido, but I call him Reptar.”
Alarm was audible in B’s voice. “A real chimp? Those are dangerous, Peter. Does the faculty know how vicious they—”
“They don’t care. Reptar was Holly’s idea, and since her dad is heading up special projects over at—”
“Don’t say it. Like I said: assume we’re tapped.”
Holly’s father was a high-ranking project chief over at the cutting-edge organization known as ANOS—Advanced Neurorobotics and Operational Sciences. ANOS was a federal agency, but over the years, it had become vastly dependent on corporate contractors. Now, it was impossible to tell where big business ended and government began.
“Anyways,” Peter said, “Thanks to her dad’s pull, she’s reduced the faculty to a bunch of PTA-servicing whores.”
“So this chimpanzee…who takes care of it? How does a high school pay for its care and—”
“Dude, have you checked the Bay Area housing prices? Atherton’s got enough money to fund a mercenary army; it’s pretty easy to hire some chimp handlers. I can’t complain; aside from you and Eun, Reptar’s my only other friend.”
“Peter, they cripple their prey! They bite off extremities, gouge eyeballs—”
“—and rip off ballsacks,” Peter finished. “Yeah, I know. But at least chimps are honest about it. The rest of the school—the rest of society—tries to do the same damn thing, only with laws, norms, and peer pressure.”
“Peter, there’s a big difference between shady legalities and tearing off your—”
“Not to me,” Peter snapped. He adopted a reasonable tone: “Don’t worry—he only gets angry when someone interrupts our tussle-time.”
“Jesus, you play with him?”
“I grapple with him. You know how antisocial I am; I’m not gonna go to an actual jiu-jitsu school and—”
Peter sighed. “It’s not ideal, I know. None of my techniques would actually work on him because he’s so damn strong, but I need a training partner who can put in the time. It’s all good—his joints and movements approximate a human’s.”
“Peter, you’re doing jiu-jitsu with a fucking chimp!”
“We’re all chimps B. We’re all chimps.”
There was a long, pregnant silence.
Eventually, the former president said, “Well, we certainly act like it.”
A beep sounded from Peter’s computer. It was followed by a flashing square of text:
YOU HAVE SCHEDULED TWENTY MINUTES FOR YOUR PHONE CALL WITH B. TODAY’S OBLIGATIONS INCLUDE: AN HOUR OF WORK DEVELOPING THE BITE MOBILE, AS WELL AS NINETY MINUTES REFINING THE FUCKRISING.
Peter keyed in a series of commands, shutting off the reminder. He plunked down onto his bed.
“Gotta go, B. The Bite Mobile—”
“Peter, it’s a unicycle fitted with an ass-load of circuitry. I’m not sure that ‘mobile’ is an appropriate suffix.”
“You’ll see. Also—I gotta work on the Fuckrising.”
“I’m afraid to ask what that is.”
“The Earth has gifted us with mind-expanding substances—entheogens. They’re an integral part of a greater solution. With their help, we can ditch our evil monkey ways; we don’t need to be addicted to reality TV or the latest hashtag. We can evolve, B.”
“Be careful, Peter—I dabbled with LSD back at Columbia, and—”
Peter cut him off with a harsh bark of laughter. “The Fuckrising is no mere hallucinogen. It’s gonna set things right.”
“Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Too late for that. Take care of yourself, B.” Peter hung up.
He stared at the ceiling, letting his eyes drift across a stylized hologram of a Super Mario Bros. mushroom. Unbeknownst to many, the video game power-up was based on an actual psychedelic: the amanita muscaria, chosen because it could induce the sensation of growth. It was also the progenitor of the Santa Claus myth: a red-and-white entity who would deliver presents or punishments, depending on the quality of someone’s character. Peter used to believe that psychedelic mushrooms could save the world. But as things stood, the world was too far gone. The Earth required something stronger.
When Holly had murdered Bitefighter, it had created a schism in Peter’s mind. He admired her ruthlessness, but he couldn’t forgive her for killing the shit out of his best fucking friend. It had completely emasculated his five-year-old psyche. He had never felt so weak, so powerless, so…
He reached under his bed and withdrew a crinkled lump of inflatable plastic. He opened its air nozzle and mated it with a connector. The connector’s hose led to an electronic pump.
He activated the pump, and a loud drone filled the room.
Slowly but steadily, the plastic blew up into a human figure. After a couple of minutes, a facsimile of Holly Dent was kneeling on Peter’s bed, completely naked and ready for doggy style. Her eyes were ridiculously big, and her mouth was rounded into a cartoonish “O.”
Peter cut off the pump, yanked his shorts down, and took his place behind the doll. He began thrusting.
You shouldn’t have made me feel small, Holly—you SHOULDN’T HAVE MADE ME FEEL SMALL!
Veins bulged from his forehead as he railed away at the lifeless dummy. This was his nightly ritual, and it was a distinctly dismal one; he was unable to cum through doll-sex alone.
Once he’d vented his pent-up rage, he fell onto his side and began masturbating furiously. Tears leaked down both his cheeks.
You will all pay. He starched his sheets with a flood of gross, stinky sperm.
All of you.
Then he fell asleep in his asparagus-tainted filth.