• My job for the Christmas gathering was to take care of one of the spotlights. We were renting two of them; they looked like three story tall desk lamps. I drove behind a representative of the actual owner while heading home. I laughed at him as he took the highway--we were only a few blocks away! However, I soon realized his wisdom as I had to slow down, making sure the tall spotlight didn't catch on trees or streetlamps.

    When I got home, I took the spotlight upstairs (which looked nothing like my RL house). "Does it still work?" my mom asked. "Yeah, sure," I replied, and flicked the thing on, sending a bright beam of light through a window into the next room. "Turn it off!" she hissed. "Someone's sleeping in there." Indeed, my friend John's little sister, Christine, was stirring.

    I tried to trim the tree, but I kept getting entangled in Christine's science projects. In the end I gave up and just integrated them into the decorations: I grew a huge, purple, wingless artificial butterfly that latched itself onto the tree. We took the tree in to where the relatives were gathering, but they would have none of this insect business. When we finally extracted the butterfly, there was a huge hole in the arrangement of branches. The presents were piling up, and everyone grinned photogenically despite the damaged tree. "Don't we even have Christmas lights?"

  • I was bounding across the landscape in a Jeep Cherokee driven by my White Wolf-gaming friend Anthony. We suddenly started running into farmland, which was divided into neat 10x10 squares of different crops. Frantically, I pointed in a direction that I thought would do the least damage, a square of small, scrubby bushes with little red berries. As we started driving over them, a farmer shouted, "Hey! You're hurting the history plants! Hey, stop it!" We parked the Jeep and went to apologize. The man shook his head and waved for us to follow him into the village, a collection of marketplace stalls in a forest clearing at the bottom of the hill. His was a food booth, and he waved a huge marinated ham. "I'll forgive ya--if you take care of them." He indicated a regiment of Puritan soldiers, marching in their black and white down the hillside. "How are we--" I started to ask, but he cut me off. "No questions. Just get rid of 'em." Anthony asked, "Could we have that ham?" "Sure, whatever. Just get them out of here."

    We were clueless. I started to climb up a windmill to scout the territory, but Anthony ducked into a nurse's tent. At that point I fell on my back, twitching, anime style. "I'm roleplaying myself in historical situations!" The people looked at me strangely, so I got up. "Uh... I'm just going in to the nurse's tent. Don't mind me." The tent was extremely crowded, and Anthony was nowhere to be seen. The nurse, a pretty black-haired girl, sat me down at a picnic bench and had me fill out a questionnaire. It had me rate the tent based on such things as "How much does it feel like Frankenstein's lab?" I put my name down, but couldn't figure out how to code my answers. I turned to the nurse and told her in no uncertain terms how silly it all was. "You're right," she said, and stamped a newspaper's front page on my left arm. It depicted a monstrous fist and had a headline about the Frankenstein lab.

    I got out to the doctor, and started shouting "Phony! Fake!" Everyone looked at me in horror. The doctor resisted for a moment, but I soon gained the upper hand, shoving him roughly through the marketplace. "These people don't get well from coming to you! I mean, look at this!" I showed my arm. "Frankenstein?! Is this funny? Bet it's good for business, though, right? That they have to keep coming back?" He admitted it was, as he tumbled through piles of toy soldiers.

    Anthony and I fled to the hills with Roy from Shanghai Noon. We smashed through several under-construction houses until we reached one that had snakes scattered throughout. Roy bounced on a flexible board, shouting "Yee-haw!" We tried to avoid the snakes, but we had to fight. I tossed two of them together so they tied up in a knot, and dashed away, dodging, but finally I splashed into the lake below. A coral snake (which was white, nothing like a real one) hissed in front of me, its neck flaps wide like a cobra's. It struck me repeatedly--on both hands, my right arm, my right leg, my crotch. I stumbled to shore and sucked out the venom from the hand and arm wounds; it tasted bitter as I spit it out. I asked Anthony if he had any snakebite serum. He fished it out of his first aid kit and handed it to me, a vial of blue liquid. I read the instructions. "Sprinkle generously over clothes and underneath." I spritzed serum all over myself, though I was embarrassed to tend the last bite, for tourists were showing up to watch me, curious.