Zack: Alright, get Poppins working on that book translation. Get everybody else upstairs to scout it out while we have daylight. If need be I will threaten my minions with reprisals if they fail to obey me.
Steve: They sort of listen to you, but even Chang agrees you should check upstairs before it gets dark. One thing you notice right away as you climb the stairs is that the floor is much creakier heading up and when you are on the second floor.
Zack: Holmes on Homes would flip his shit over that, very unprofessional. It just makes him sad. It takes an extra hour to install some hold down brackets to stop the shimmy in the nail shafts. Contractors these days just don't get that.
Steve: Okay, you break up and begin the search upstairs, paying attention to the light outside. There is a bathroom that is very nice, but the pipes don't work, not even a gurgle. As you are about to leave, Karnov spots something in the mirror. He lifts you up so you can see "NaCl" written in grime on the surface of the mirror.
Zack: Wow!!! Thanks for the clue. Salt. Holy fucking shit we cracked this one wide open. We get it, this is a slug living in the pipes. Any more salt clues for us?
Steve: Yeah actually in the master bedroom all of the doorways are covered with salt and there are shotgun shells and a salt shaker. It appears as if someone was trying to load table salt into the shells.
Zack: I sure hope that salt dump truck shows up soon.
Steve: You hear screams and Sharon and Chang come running out of the guest bedroom. They have discovered a soot-blackened raccoon. It is basically going apeshit in the guest bedroom.
Zack: "Everyone remain calm," I shriek. "We knew this might happen. Karnov, get your hammer and go in there and put the creature out of its misery."
Steve: Karnov warily enters the guest bedroom. After a few seconds you hear crazed chattering and Karnov begins bellowing. Things are breaking, he is shouting in Russian. Suddenly, the fight spills out into the hallway, the raccoon appears to be running all over his head and back, biting and scratching. It is completely out of control.
Zack: "Chance! Get it off of him!"
Steve: Chance joins the struggle, shouting and trying to use martial arts skills to out fight the raccoon. After several minutes he manages to knock it off Karnov's bloody back and it scampers back into the guest room.
Zack: Great. Nobody sleep in there tonight.
Steve: Returning downstairs after your clearance of the upstairs you walk into the study where you left Wayne Poppins and he is gone. The chair is overturned and the book is still there, open, but everything is damp.
Zack: "Oh, no, something got Wayne!"
Steve: Chang and Sharon immediately run outside and get in the back of the circus truck. They refuse to stay inside the house overnight.
Zack: "Alright, we all stay in one room. In here. And we take shifts. I'll take first shift. Somebody give me a gun."
Steve: Nobody has a gun.
Zack: Alright, somebody give me a bag of Morton.
Steve: None of that either.
Zack: Alright, we just have to try to be vigilant. I am going to read the book Wayne was reading to try to put it all together.
Steve: Karnov and Chance don't really sleep considering their friend is missing. You manage to read enough of the book to put the following together:
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
Zack Parsons, Steve "Malak" Sumner, and friends tackle bizarre role playing game products that make them wonder, "What the fuck!?" From the early days of Gygax to contemporary role playing games, none will be spared.