The Strange Table Meets Its Doom,
Part II

By Dangerously Psycho

     One summer morning, the remaining members of the former Strange Table were very confused.
     The Strange Table was a group of Niles West students on summer break. Their ethnic group consisted of Sicko, who is currently brain dead; Annoying, whose lifelong project is to prank every single existing phone number in numerical order; Dangerously Psycho, master of sharp weapons and culinary tools; Drum Boy, who keeps a pair of every kind of mallet on his person at all times; Dude, who's been kidnapped by the evil Parin as part of a domination plan; and What DeHelizat, who has just mysteriously disappeared...
     On this particular weekend, the Strange Table was facing numerous problems all at the same time.
     "We've got to try to recap the situation," stated Psycho.
     "Yeah," agreed Drum Boy, "this way we may develop an answer to these dilemmas."
     "Actually, I suggested it so anyone who's stupid enough to begin reading part two of this story (without first reading part one) wouldn't be totally lost in the plot."
     "Sure, Psycho. Whatever."
     "This all began last night when Sicko, Drum Boy, and I were waiting here for What and Psycho to return," began Annoying.
     "But What and I didn't get back soon enough, because we had to investigate Dude's (the wandering technician's) distress signal," continued Psycho.
     "While you were at Dude's empty house," reiterated Drum Boy, "we three went to break into Niles West when we were captured by security guard, Mr. Puff."
     "What and I returned and found your note," explained Psycho. "We raced to the high school but were too late."
     "By then," went on Annoying, "Sicko had already been drained of free will and thus, his usual consciousness. You were able to get us all out of there, though."
     "Then we returned here," spoke Drum Boy. "About a half an hour ago this morning, we received a threat from Dude's kidnapper, Parin. The dork had always been trying to join our table, but Annoying alone was able to withstand his persistence. Now, Parin has genetically created a team of teenagers with powers to rival ours."
     "He gave us an hour to surrender to the Parin Table, or be destroyed," murmured Psycho, "and we have thirty-three minutes left to make our move."
     "As a last resort, What recalled some directions he had been confidentially given by our absent mentor, Hot Dog Bob," concluded Annoying. "As we meditated, not one of the three of us were able to maintain concentration, and when we broke the trance, What had disappeared from the circle."
     "Now we're all out of options," stated Drum Boy. "Only half of us remain, and a half an hour to formulate a strategy. Any ideas...?"
     Drum Boy was interrupted by the television. Once again, Parin's gruesome mug polluted the screen.
     "Geee, look at the time!" teased the television. "You guys have to be somewhere in about, oh, I'd say thirty minutes! At that time, I'll acquaint you with my friends. They can be your friends too, if you'll join the Parin Table. If not, all dissenters will be defeated. Meet us on the football field in a half an hour, and do have a nice day!"
     The face left the screen to show more static.
     "First thing's first," decided Psycho. "If we want to do this correctly, we're going to have to find What. I'll leave dat up to you, Annoying. Keep an eye on Sicko, too. Also, if I know Parin, he'll be stupid enough to forget to keep an eye on Dude. Someone ought to go to Parin's house now and try to recover him. Dat's your task, Drum Boy."
     "What about you?" questioned Drum Boy.
     "I'm going to go face Parin's creations. If a fight is going to take place, it may as well belong to someone who's proficient with a chain-saw. Good luck, guys. If you succeed, meet up with me there."
     "You can count on it."

     What awoke from his trance to find himself at a large, stone temple surrounded by clouds. A little disorientated, he entered the structure without thinking.
     "Hello?" called out What.
     "Greetings, mortal," spoke an ominous voice. "What is your name."
     A teenager materialized in the room before him.
     "I wasn't asking, I was telling. I am a member of the deities, but you may address me as the Guardian of Operation Destruction, or GOD. This title was given to me by my superiors, the originators of this plot.
     "Plot? God? Superiors? Is this heaven or something?"
     "Oh, no, far from it. You must have confused me with some other deity. My name is GOD, and I am here at this outworldly temple to ensure the success of the plot. I cannot tell you too much now, but I will tell you this. To successfully defeat Parin, the five of you must work together.
     "At this moment, you and your friends are in desperate peril. One of your friends lacks all emotion, another seeks you as we speak. The Percussionist is walking into a trap, and the other member on his way to the football field needs the help of all of you if he plans to put an end to the crisis. You must regather your companions, and bring them all back here to triumph! Do not fail, What DeHelizat."
     The teenager vanished as suddenly as he had appeared. Almost hypnotically, What turned around and left the temple.
     "What! What! Wake up!" shouted a frantic Annoying.
     "Huh?" What looked around himself, a little confused.
     "Oh, sure!" yelled Annoying. "We're all meditating, and you sneak away for a nap. Psycho was pretty worried about you."
     "Psycho?" What was dazed for a moment.
     "Yeah, he went off to face Parin, and Drum Boy's trying to rescue Dude."
     "Drum Boy? Oh, no! He's walking into a trap! Psycho... we have to go help him! Get Sicko. We're going to the football field!"
     "But Drum Boy's..." considered Annoying. "No, Psycho did say if I find What, go to the football field. Ok, What, but I hope you know what you're doing."

     Psycho carefully removed, with a small blade, a perfect rectangle from the chain link fence around the football field. Setting aside the rectangle of fence, he proceeded to enter through the open gate to his left.
     Looking around, Psycho quickly surveyed the area. There didn't appear to be anything there except for a couple of hurdles on the track. Slowly, he walked to the center of the field.
     "Look, it's Dangerously Psycho," mocked Parin's voice over the loudspeaker. Psycho looked up toward the press box and saw Parin and the tied-up Dude through the window. "I'm so glad you could come. It's too bad your friends couldn't make it. The one to your left, for example, has already turned down my offer to let him join the exclusive Parin Table. Now wasn't that silly of him?"
     Psycho turned his head and noticed Drum Boy Tied to the top of the totem pole at the front of the field.
     "It appears as though you're the only one attending this meeting, so I'll extend my offer to you. Wouldn't you like to join my friends and myself and be a member of the Parin Table?"
     "Parin, go suck an outlet!" answered Psycho.
     "Oh, dear! I'm flabbergasted! Looks like it's time for you to expire!"
     "Parin, where the hell did you pick up this stupid vocabulary?" asked Psycho.
     "I dunno. Don't all villains talk like this?"
     As Psycho began walking toward the bleachers, five teenagers emerged from behind them. The first looked like some snotty little brat. The second looked totally wired, as though he had just downed six gallons of the old Jolt©. The third had very bloodshot eyes and looked incredibly dazed. The fourth had one of those Fantastic Sam's commercial haircuts and held his chin up at about eye level. The fifth was a very dull-looking girl.
     "Oh, here's the fun part!" laughed Parin. "These are the friends I've talked so much about. Psycho, I'd like you to get to know Obnoxious, Hyper, Drug Overdose, Arrogant, and Cello Girl. They will be your destruction for this evening. Enjoy!"
     "So, you're the infamous 'Psycho', hm?" began Arrogant, with a very 'preppie' voice. "You don't seem so 'Dangerous' to me. Rather inferior, actually. Hm, yes."
     "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Heh, heh, you suck! Like, some wimp! Yeah, heh, heh... hey? Are those hurdles?" Hyper began running around the track.
     "Uh... so, like, *COUGH* why you dissing our leader anyway? You got a problem, punk? *HACK, COUGH* Ugh..." Drug Overdose took out a small plastic bag full of powder and snorted from it.
     "Hi, dork. Wanna' see some naked pictures of your mom? Not answering, huh? Maybe if you took your thumb out of your ear and stuck it back up your butt you'd have an easier time hearing me, craphead!" jested Obnoxious.
     "Um, hi. Nice haircut," greeted Cello Girl.
     "So this is your marvelous cavalry, Parin?" questioned Psycho. As he awaited an answer, Hyper ran by on the track and pushed him over. "Now, it's personal," thought Psycho aloud.
     Jumping up, Psycho whipped out an axe and was about to whip it toward one of the clones when slow, boring music began playing. "It's... a cello... boring tune... losing consciousness..." Psycho put away the blade and covered his ears, before falling forward, out cold.
     "Looks like we have another piece of bait, just like that foolish Drum Boy," stated Parin. Imagine him thinking he could take back his friend and escape unnoticed... what the?! Where is he???" Where Drum Boy had been affixed to the totem pole now hung a few severed ropes and a protractor imbedded a couple of inches into the wood. "Find him, now!" The five clones ran toward the sculpture.
     Slowly, after the cello music subsided, Psycho sat up. All the clones were near the totem pole. Glancing to his right, Psycho noticed What and Sicko near the fence. Stealthily, he ran toward his companions.
     "Fools!" shouted Parin. "Now Psycho's escaping! Go get..."
     "I'm Suuuuuper Protraaaaactor Maaaaaaaaan!" called a voice from beyond the fence on the other side.
     "No!" shrieked Parin. "Get HIM! He's the one who rescued that miserable Drum Boy!"
     With the mixed orders, the clones all ran into each other, knocking everyone over. Now outside the gate, the five regrouped.
     "Shouldn't we rescue Dude?" questioned Psycho.
     "We can't go back in. We have to escape while we can! Dude will have to wait once again," decided What. "Quick! Join hands and concentrate! Just block out the world."
     "Huh?" asked Annoying. "Not this again!"
     "Just trust me! If we all concentrate together..."
     "There they are!" hollered Parin. "Now! Go! Crush those..."
     Parin's voice seemed to go dead.

     What once again found himself at the foot of the temple. Almost instinctively, he entered the structure.
     "You have done well in retrieving your friends," greeted GOD. What noticed his four friends standing trance- like with the deity. "Now we can try to return Sicko to his former, strange self. First, though, I'd like you to take a look at the plaque on the far wall ahead of you."
     What gazed across the temple at a large stone slab with lettering carved neatly into it.

At one time, Earth did not exist, nor was there life. Those who reigned in the heavens began experimenting with forms of life, creating beings with power and little self control. These creatures wreaked havoc wherever they were placed, and were taken back to be shut away as an obvious error of the lords.

Further experimentation in the creation of life brought about creatures of different capabilities. By adjusting the ratio of free will over self control, there were creations which lived almost like robots and those who were able to do whatever they pleased, harming themselves and their environments.

As a compromise, the lords decided that the life they were to create would have high levels of both free will and self control. In some, there would be more self control than free will. This was found to be boring by some of the lords, so other life forms were given a higher ratio of free will to self control.

As expected, those with higher free will sometimes became somewhat wild. It was decided among those in power in the heavens that whenever the damage to the Earth became too severe, an apocalypse would be created and released upon the people as a cleansing of evil.

The next great apocalypse begins here. Fail us not, Guardian.

     "Sounds like something I read at the beginning of a computer game once," stated What.
     "It had earlier been decided that the next apocalypse to be inflicted upon the populace would be in the form of great fires." explained GOD. "Recently, we realized that the Earth's people were destroying their home world beyond repair. It was time that the next apocalypse was to be unleashed.
     "I was the one to make the suggestion that instead of fire, the Earth should be destroyed at the hands of the very first forms of life, the ones sealed away for countless eternities. Five disastrous banes consisting almost entirely of free will were incarnated at the end of the seventies.
     "Since I am the one who made the suggestion, it was made my task to see that the apocalypse is successful. With the title of Guardian of Operation Destruction, I have resided in this temple watching over you five, and offering guidance through Hot-dog Bob. Psycho didn't seem to have too much trouble organizing the five of you into your 'Table'."
     "Yeah," agreed What, "when five freshmen all give Mr. Koch an equally hard time, it doesn't really go unnoticed. So you mean we actually have a predestined goal in life?"
     "If you can succeed in bringing destruction to Earth, the few who survive will rebuild it into a better future, and you five will exist among the lords. Fail, and the world will fall into its own destruction, irreparable, and you will be locked away again, probably forever. I, too, would be punished for failure. Reincarnation as a cuboidal butt noid is not a lovely thought."
     "I know all too well," agreed What.

     Parin and his creations had returned to his house with the captive Dude.
     "How could you idiots have let them escape?!" shouted King Dork.
     "Uhh... whoa, we're, like, sorry man. They kind of just, *SNORT* like, disappeared." stuttered Drug Overdose.
     "People can't just disappear, fool!" retorted Parin.
     "Then how do you explain what happened, 'great leader?'" mocked Arrogant.
     "Are you being sarcastic to me? I gave you genetic misfits life! Do what I demand, or I'll revert you back to primordial soup!!!" shrieked Parin.
     "Y-y-you and what army?" questioned Hyper. "I don't know about you guys, b-but he's really startin' to bug me, y-know?"
     "Yeah, yeah. I hear ya," agreed Obnoxious. "We don't answer to any authority figures."
     "Huh? But... you can't... stop!" Parin was frantic.
     "Um, bye!" said Cello Girl as the five walked out the front door.
     "No! This can't... hey!" Parin dashed out after them, but the five were already speeding of in his parents' Yugo.

     "So how do we bring Sicko back to strangeness?" queried What.
     "I have already seen to it," replied G.O.D.
     "Oh... n-nasty..." stammered Sicko.
     "I've used my power to regenerate his free will. He'll be his old self again in no time," promised the deity. "Meanwhile, let's address this clone situation.
     "Each bane is the essence of a certain human 'emotional irritation'. Each consists of certain portions, compiled to equal your name.
     "Annoying is achieved by combining obnoxiousness with persistence.
     "Drum Boy is achieved by combining noise pollution with wanton destruction.
     "Psycho is achieved by combining drug-induced ignorance with an insane thirst for blood.
     "Sicko is achieved by combining intense pervertedness with incessant hyper energy.
     "DeHelizat is achieved by combining a warped, confusing mind with a solemn, modest innocence. You five are the very essences of these attributes. No one can out-perform you in these areas."
     "But some of those attributes are the same as Parin's clones'." realized What.
     "If each clone is confronted by the bane with the same attribute," continued GOD, "you would be able to match his power and defeat him with the other ability."
     "But wuddabout the others... the two who weren't within our powers?" pondered What.
     "Arrogant and Cello Girl are the anti-qualities for your and Drum Boy's abilities. I'm not sure yet how you will defeat them, but the answers may be revealed during the actual confrontation. Now it is time for you five to return to reality. One hour has elapsed since you left normal existence. Return here if necessary. Good luck."

     "Wake up, What!" shouted Annoying.
     "Yeah, we've got to get away from... huh? Where'd Parin and his twerp table go?" asked Psycho. The five were in front of the football field, just as they were when they'd left.
     "Don't you guys remember any of that?" questioned What.
     "We had 'that' and no one told me?" shouted Sicko.
     "Sicko! You're ok!" cheered Drum Boy.
     "I must be psycho or something, but it seems like I've gained some amount of knowledge about our existence from a teenage deity in the few seconds dat it took What to faint."
     "You are Psycho." pointed out Annoying.
     "Oh, then dat explains it."
     "GOD was correct," noted What. "It's almost been an hour since we left."
     Drum Boy looked at his watch. "Daylight savings time already?"
     "No, we've actually been gone for an hour," explained What. "There's no telling where Parin and his clones are by now."

     Meanwhile, somewhere in Mexico, five teenagers had hijacked a bus and were trying to locate a flush-system toilet for Hyper. He drank the water.

     Parin and the still bound-and-gagged Dude were alone at Parin's house. I have some idea of what Parin would usually do in a scenario where he's alone with a tied-up teenage guy, but since I really don't feel like portraying it, I won't. You can thank me for this later.
     "What am I going to do now?" pondered the Wedgie Recipient of the Year. "My plan backfired, and the entire Strange Table is out there somewhere trying to kill me!"
     "Mmmmph?" enunciated Dude. Translation: "Is there anyone who actually didn't expect this to happen?"
     "I can't understand a thing you're saying." stated Parin.
     "Mmmmumph!" responded Dude. Translation: "That's because you stuck an old sock in my mouth, nut-case!"
     "Let me take the sock out of your mouth, then."
     "Mmmmphdude, du-du-dude!" shouted the technician. Translation: "Keep your hands off me, idiot!"
     "I still can't understand a thing you're..."
     "Stop right there, Parin!" commanded What. "There will be no more things I'd rather not know about going on in here."
     Parin turned around to face the five banes of chaos standing heroically in his living room.
     "Dude! Du-dude du-dude!"
     "What did he say?" questioned Parin.
     "No he didn't!"
     "Gack and Piekos?"
     "Let me get this straight," began Parin. "He said No he didn't?"
     "No, no, no..." answered What.
     "I'm more confused by the Gack and Piekos part." admitted Sicko.
     Psycho removed the ropes and two of Dude's fingers with his axe. "So where are the clones, pudding-brain?"
     "I honestly don't know," promised Parin.

     Meanwhile, five teenagers were bungee-jumping off of the St. Louis arch.

     "So you're claiming they sped off in your parents' Yugo?" queried Annoying. "How the heck is it possible to speed anywhere in a Yugo?"
     "Well don't ask me!" responded Parin.
     "How are we going to locate them?" wondered Drum Boy. "We can't just leave them to destroy the world. That's our job!"
     "Oh, nasty!"
     "Dude! Du-du-dude dude du-dude!"
     "So if we go back to your house, we can use your equipment to track them down?" repeated What.
     "Dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude dude!" Translation: "Uh, huh!"
     "Does this mean you're not joining the Parin Table?"
     The six left a taped-up Parin behind and traveled to Dude's house.

     Will the Strange five plus one succeed in finding and defeating the clones? How will GOD help them later on? Is the Earth really going to be destroyed by heavy, wooden mallets, sharp axes, and protractors? Will Parin ever get a life? If a tree falls in the forest... never mind. You'll find out soon enough.

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Last page update: 8-10-98