A Funny Thing Happened to Me in The Game Cube

by Slack

Written for those who
asked for a Haiku story.
Bet you're sorry now.

It was a hot and sunny day. Thin wisps of cloud drifted across the pale blue sky. The sun, directly overhead, beat down on a single island in the middle of a bright blue ocean.

Guardian cadet Haiku appraised her surroundings. Lush vegetation, lots of opportunities for hiding both enemies and powerups. Looks like nothing's started yet, she thought. She double-clicked her icon and said "Reboot!"

When she looked down, she said out loud, "You're kidding!" She was wearing a grass shirt, a coconut bra, and a necklace of flowers. The cliché didn't bother her as much as how badly the colors clashed with her red skin. But she didn't dwell on it for more than a nano; she had a more important task at hand.

She didn't recognize this game. Huh, probably a new one. It didn't have an obvious goal. It must be one of those things that you have to figure out as you go along. Fine then. She started along the beach, looking for clues. Maybe the User was in a shipwreck or something.

The first odd thing she noticed was pale colored creature scuttling along the beach. At first she took it for a piece of game scenery, nothing important. But the creature did not flee when she approached. Instead, it crouched in front of her, as if waiting for her. Its shell was circular, with slits cut into the top at regular intervals. A dark, sticky, pleasant smelling substance oozed out of the slits. Gingerly she knelt down and touched it. Raising her hand, she sniffed the fluid, then tasted it. It was sweet.

The crab with the pie crust shell watched with its blueberry eyes as she continued on her way.

The forest just above the beach soon gave way to a grove of smaller trees. Each was hung with fruit. However, the fruit was not all the same. They all had tan colored bottoms, but the tops were white, pink, dark brown, green, and other colors. She picked one, and saw that it was not fruit at all. It was a cupcake.

"Okay..." she said, and went inland.

She found a path that meandered across the island. It led her through an area full of bushes covered with little hard candies, then to some more cupcake trees (one with a gingerbread birdhouse), and finally brought her to a cave. She stepped in. As soon as she entered the dark she began to shiver. It was cold in here! A light in the roof of the cave went on, illuminating the small cavern. The walls were horizontally striped with wide white, pink, and brown markings. Dun colored stalactites and stalagmites pointed toward each other. Their surfaces had an odd gridlike texture... On a hunch she grabbed the tip of a stalactite and yanked on it. It came away easily, a conic segment about as long as her hand. In it was a white sphere of the same material as the cave walls. She licked it.

After a few more tries she found a stalactite that was chocolate flavored, and continued along the path.

It led her back out into the open. Haiku was beginning to feel uneasy. She still had not figured out what the purpose of this game was. How was she supposed to defeat the User without knowing the game's goal? If she had a keytool she would have known from the beginning. Fat chance of her being chosen by a keytool, that's what everyone had told her, but she would not give up.

She found herself on the edge of a field of flexible rodlike vegetation. 1024s of yellow, waist-high stalks topped with small red and purple bubbles swayed in a light breeze. She looked at the nearest one; it was a flower bud. She touched it. With a tiny puff of red pollen it burst into a small, cheerful bloom.

She smiled at it. Then she looked over the field again. Now that she looked carefully, she could see a groove running through the middle. The plants were so densely crowded that they hid the cause from her, but she knew that there was a good chance there was a stream there. With any luck it would be fresh water - just what she needed! She started forward, through the stalks.

As she brushed past the buds they bloomed, sending forth their small jets of pollen. Haiku suddenly found herself enveloped in a red and purple cloud of gritty dust. She ran for the stream; more flowers burst open, blinding her with their pollen.

She found the stream by stepping in it. Or, rather, in the muddy bank. She stepped back again and, calming herself, waited for breeze to blow the pollen away. It did soon enough, leaving her embarrassed and glad that nobody had seen her running from flowers. She saw her hands, then looked down at herself. She was completely covered in reddish purple pollen. She tried to brush it away, but it was too sticky.

She knelt by the stream to wash it off. She was disappointed to see that the stream seemed to be thick mud instead of water. Then a suspicion hit her. She scooped some of the mud in her hands and sniffed it. It was chocolate pudding.

Then Haiku realized how desperate her plight was. She had been marooned on a desserted island.

The ReBoot universe is copyright © Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. Haiku and the overall story are copyright © Kim McFarland. Permission is given by the author to copy this story for personal use only. Permission is not given to WONK the author, no matter how richly deserved it may be.
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