Saturday, December 8, 2007


Early the next morning, John and Bill found themselves in the middle of the vast, frigid continent known only as Antarctica.

“Hey John! How are we in Antarctica?” asked Bill.

“Isn’t it obvious?”

Dismissing Bill’s question as pointless and puerile, John started walking, and Bill followed. The two began frantically searching for the Red Herring, confident that they would find it quickly.
Of course, they had failed to take into account the fact that Antarctica is rather large; and having absolutely no idea where to look for the Herring, it was really very futile.

“On a futility scale from one to ten, this is at least a six!” complained John after three hours of fruitless searching, staring hopelessly at the barren desolation all around him.

Then something else dawned upon John – they were in the middle of Antarctica without any means of survival. If the climate didn’t finish them, starvation was nearly sure to. Zeal had turned to frustration, and in the place of frustration, fear was starting to set in.

Bill, on the other hand, was having the time of his life. His mother had never let him see snow before, locking him in the basement whenever the cool white powder began to fall (“it’ll give you bad ideas!” she had claimed); so he was understandably excited. They walked on.

Hours passed and turned into days. Neither of them had a watch, so time was rather difficult to keep track of. At least, until Bill stopped lying about the watch he had.

Early one morning, as Bill prepared to throw yet another snowball at John, something caught his attention. He saw a strange figure standing on top of a snow-covered hill. Pausing for a moment to consider this new development, he hurled the frozen projectile there instead.

Of course, Bill’s aim was terrible, so it still hit John.

“Dammit Bill, if you throw one more snowball at me, I’m going to slit your throat and use your blood to marinate my pork chops,” threatened John. “Oh, I could sure go for some pork chops right about now.”

“Look over there!” said Bill, pointing to the wrong hill.

John looked at the hill, seeing nothing; then out of habit looked at the hills around it, seeing the same figure Bill had. Surprised, he started running toward it, desperate for any clues that would help them find the elusive Red Herring.

“Hey you!” he called, clumsily plodding through the snow. “Who are you?”

As they approached the figure, it became all too clear who it was: Captain Arousing, now wearing a poncho of the finest violet silk, a rainbow bandana, and leather cowboy boots. It was quite remarkable that he hadn’t frozen to death.

“YOU!” John yelled, tackling him. “You deceived me, you arousing fool! Nobody deceives me; I’m John Morgan, the smartest person in the world! Do you have any idea what my IQ is?”

“Settle down there, John. Think straight. I may be a spy for Josiah Malum, but I also flew you to Mexico. We’re even!” said Captain Arousing, trying to free himself.

“He has a point, John!” said Bill.

“Quiet, you!” John demanded. “Arousing, I’ve had it out for you for…about a day now. There’s no way I’m going to forgive you so quickly; I’m not that capricious!”

For a moment nobody said anything. A bitter wind cut through the air, a wind which seemed to underscore the bitter enmity between the two combatants. Finally, John spoke again.

“Okay, I forgive you. Why are you here?” he asked.

“The same reason you are, John. I’m looking for the Red Herring,” answered Captain Arousing. “Why don’t we team up and look for it together?”

“We’re working against each other!” protested John. “You’re trying to find it for the very man I’m trying to ensure doesn’t get it! Teaming up doesn’t make any sense at all; in fact, it’s probably the worst idea ever though of by anyone.”

“Aww, come on now. Not everything needs to make sense,” insisted the captain who, for some disturbing reason, was no longer trying to free himself.

Releasing Captain Arousing as quickly as possible, John stood up and hurried over to Bill, whom he considered the lesser of two…disturbances.

“Very well, Captain! We won’t kill you now,” he began, “but if we encounter you again on this quest, you shall not walk away!”

“Right, because I have an airplane.”

John shook his head, “That’s not what I meant.”


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