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A long time ago, in a galaxy very far away… In podcast #16, I believe we ran the Contest Contest Writing Contest where you had to write a story using the list of words below:

Commander Video
Harry
Noba
Gail
Aaron
Bo
Mary and Chris (Must be used together exactly like this)
Apophenia
Slattern
Vainglorious

We were a little remiss in that we said we would post the runner-up of that contest. So here it is, in its entirety after the jump. It’s a little long, so you might want to clear out appointments for the day. Thanks again Alex B. for your epic entry to our contest. We hope to read more about your writing endeavors in the future! Enjoy!

The Aksys Nation Players in: “Millennium Battle 2009: Sexy Turbo Edition”

By Alex Barry

It was a beautiful spring day in the enchanted land of Southern California.  After an especially harsh winter filled with deadly blizzards and even deadlier yeti attacks, none would have contested the notion that this glorious day put all the days of the year before it to complete shame.  The light of the sun shown down upon the land like trillions of tiny flying gnomes clad in robes of gold, laughing and giggling and having nothing short of the merriest of times playing their magical silent ukuleles and dancing joyously within the warm, humid sky.  A feeling a pleasure wafted through the air that day, contaminating all who inhaled it like some thick cloud of deadly neurotoxin.  Had this actually been the case, none would have been in more indescribably hellacious pain than loyal Aksys Games employee Harry, who was enjoying the beautiful Saturday afternoon watching TV inside his suburban home.

“We’ll return to Commander Video: Renegade Paranormal Detective after these messages from our sponsor!” proclaimed the television announcer.

“Ah yeah, that’s some good watchin’,” said Harry to no one in particular, sighing contentedly and taking a puff from his corncob pipe.
Suddenly, a chime from the nearby grandfather clock carved to resembled the likeness of Teddy Roosevelt broke Harry from his relaxed daze, and his eyes shot to his watch like two hollow point bullets.  “By Odin’s great beard!” he exclaimed.  “It’s already three o’clock!  My fellow Aksys employees will be here for the party any minute!”

With the speed of the most steroid-fueled of Olympic athletes, Harry sprang to action and quickly prepared for his guests, dusting off his PlayStation 2 and setting out a cooler full of refreshing Zimas.  A second later, the doorbell rang.  “W-Who’s there!?” Harry screamed, terrified for his life.

“Open up, it’s Noba!” a voice came through the front door.

“How do I know it’s you?  Prove your identity!”

A moment of quiet stillness followed.  Then, without warning, a resounding crack rang out as the door flew off of its hinges, thousands of splinters of wood and metal exploding into the house and blanketing the carpet as the heavy door smashed into the floor with enough force to shake the entire house.  On the other side of the doorframe stood Noba, her right foot still suspended in midair.  At once, Harry felt a wave of calming relief overtake him, and not only because of the involuntary urination.  “Noba!  I was so worried you were that UPS guy who’s always trying to kill me!  Please, come in.  Can I offer you a biscotti?” he chirped enthusiastically.

“No thanks,” Noba said as she carefully stepped around the remains of the ruined door.  “I had some Cheetos and half a bottle of gin earlier.”

Behind Noba sauntered Gail and Bo.  Gail carried a large boom box on his shoulder, and within moments of him entering the house, the infectious tune of ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway blared so loudly that the sound was nearly deafening.  “What’s up bitches?  Let’s get dis party started!” Gail yelled over the music, flashing gang signs with his free hand.

“Hold up, bro,” said Harry in a serious manner.  “We’re still waiting for a few more guests to arrive.”

“Did someone say laundry detergent in my urethra!?” asked Aaron, who suddenly jumped through the open doorway and into view.  The studio audience immediately recognized his beloved catchphrase, and punctuated his entrance with roaring laughter and thunderous applause.

“Aaron, you ol’ son of a slattern!” Harry quipped, playfully giving his friend a jab on the shoulder.  “It’s good to see you, man.  Hey, do you know where Mary and Chris are?  I never heard back from either of them.”

Aaron twirled his robust handlebar moustache in thought for a brief time before answering Harry’s question.  “Oh, yeah, that’s right.  Mary and Chris are in the hospital.  Motorcycle accident or food poisoning or something.  I fast-forwarded through most of the message.”

“Ah,” nodded Harry.  “In that case, I guess we can go ahead and start this thing up…  Ladies and germs, welcome to the first monthly Aksys Crew Guilty Gear Isuka Tournament, where we will be competing with one another in fierce two-dimensional combat for bragging rights as well as fabulous prizes!”

“Ooh!  Oooh!  Does the winner get a podcast!?” Bo asked excitedly, his trembling hands clutched together in hopefulness.

Harry reached into his vest pocket and produced a pair of black sunglasses, which he slipped on before angling his head downward so that the light reflected off of the lenses and obscured his eyes for dramatic effect.  “The winner, my good man, shall receive…  One.  Dozen.  Podcasts.”

The air was immediately sucked out of the room as everyone gasped in awe.  “Sheeeeiiit,” Bo said in mystified astonishment.

“I know,” said Harry, basking in the afterglow of his own awesome announcement.  “Now, if you’ll all be so kind as to try and guess which number I’m thinking of, we’ll determine the order of the match-ups for the tournament.”

“I bet it’s… sixty-nine,” said Gail.

“Yeah, it’s probably sixty-nine,” agreed Noba.

“I think it’s sixty-nine, too,” said Bo.

“Sixty-nine,” said Aaron.

Harry closed his eyes and shuddered visibly before grabbing a pillow from the couch and screaming into it for the better part of eleven minutes.  “God Q. Almighty!” he yelled angrily after regaining his breath.  “You can’t ALL guess the same number!  That won’t work at all.  That won’t even come within pimp-slapping range of working!”

“His knowledge of mathematical physics and quantum superposition must be quite limited if he truly believes that,” Bo whispered to Noba.  “Not like this scholarly individual,” he said while pointing to his “Licensed Cooch Inspector” t-shirt and chuckling proudly at his own vainglorious comment.

Aaron saw that his coworker was obviously distraught.  Recalling what he had learned from his mandatory workplace sensitivity training, he thought that the best course of action was to say something calming and reassuring.  “Out of respect for you as a person, I change my guess to sixty-eight.”

Harry grit his teeth with fury and leaned in close to Aaron.  “I swear I will CUT you!  I will cut you DEEP!” he hissed.

“Now Harry,” said Gail, “Aaron was only trying to help.  You can’t let your apophenia-fueled paranoia make you think everyone is against you.  I know it may seem like this tournament you’ve put your blood and sweat and tears and other assorted bodily fluids into is ruined, but we can still make this work.”  Gail’s smile beamed with the bright innocence of a child’s candy-filled dream.  “Turn that frown upside down, champ!  I know we can save the day!  Why, if we put our minds to it, I’m sure we can come up with an even better—”

“Kitchen’s on fire,” interrupted Noba.

“Oh sweet Jehovah,” screamed Harry, “I left the Chex party mix in the oven too long!”

* * * * *

Some time later, as the last of the fire engines was driving away, the Aksys crew stood in Harry’s front yard, gazing back at the smoldering pile of debris and rubble that was his home only hours before.  Seemingly out of nowhere, dozens of cattle wandered onto the lot and began grazing on the grass.  After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Gail finally spoke.  “Well, I think we all learned an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship,” he said with a knowing smile.

Harry blinked twice and shook his head as if coming back to reality after watching a really trippy-ass movie.  “I… What?” he asked with a confused look.

“No, Gail’s right,” said Aaron.  “Harry may have lost his house and all of his possessions, and we may have all gotten second-degree burns and a lifetime of chronic respiratory problems from inhaling so much smoke while we tried in vain to save his priceless collection of clocks shaped like dead presidents, and Bo may or may not have been touched inappropriately in the back of that ambulance by a clown that no one else saw, but the important thing is that we’re together.”

“You’re right,” said Harry, wiping a tear from his eye.  “Thanks, you guys.”

Everyone engaged in a group hug while onlookers seemed genuinely disturbed, with one man crashing his car into a light post as a result of being distracted by the odd spectacle.

“Come on everyone,” said Harry with renewed faith in the world, “let’s go get some ice-cream!”

“Wait,” said Bo. “If the tournament is canceled, then who won the podcasts?”

Harry smiled warmly, then turned his gaze toward the distant sunset.  “We all won the podcasts, Bojangles.  We all won the podcasts.”

The friends and coworkers shared a tender moment, then walked together toward the far-off horizon, their forms becoming dark silhouettes against the beautiful pollution-filtered light of the setting sun.  All of them lived happily ever after.  Until Monday.

The End