Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Battle

I groaned into my milkshake. "Jesus Ash, that was terrible!" I looked across the Formica table at my roommate. He grinned at me, shoving another pile of fries into his mouth.
"I dunno, I thought the whole pi thing was damn brilliant."
"How many times have I told you, jokes are fine, but if you start punning, you're liable to get schooled?" I looked him in the eye, waiting for him to back down.
"Oh really? You think you can out pun me?" Ash winked at me. I hate it when he does that. Every time he winks like that, you know he's raring to go. Well, this time, I was going to really put him in his place. I just had to start out a little easy.
"Alright - what'r the stakes?" I looked at him, figuring if he was going to back down, now would be the time.
Leaning back in his chair, he slid his hands behind his head. "Well..." he looked at the ceiling for a moment, trying to throw me off. "Howzabout this... if I win, I get your collection of zombie flicks for the month." My mouth tightened in a grimace.
"And?" I prompted.
"In the highly unlikely event that I lose, you can do my laundry for a month." He grinned at me, expecting me to fall for that ploy again.
"Not so fast smartass, If I win, you have to do my laundry for a month, and give me your copy of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.... for keeps." My heart raced as I threw down the gauntlet.
Ash sat forward abruptly, a look of cold steel in his eyes. Yup, hit a nerve.
"Alright - but expect to be doing laundry for a while, I'm gonna sleep in it for a week first."
"Well, since you started out, I'll go ahead and start out" I explained, settling back, thinking quickly.

"Didja hear about the young man that broke up with the telephone operator? Apparently he felt disconnected from her, plus she had too many hang-ups." I started, testing the waters.
Without blinking an eye, Ash replied "I riposte that for a fencer to admit he's been foiled is a hard thing touche." Inwardly, I winced - I was hoping to save that one for a little later.
"Y'know, I once forgot how to throw a boomerang, but then it came back to me." Again, I winced - not one of my better ones, and I knew what was coming. "I saw this baseball that was getting bigger, and then it hit me." Wait a second, did I just see a slight tic in Ash's eye? I must have, because that one was even worse than mine.
"Hey, you hear about the guy that got hit in the head with a can of soda? He's gonna be o.k. since it was only a soft drink." I could feel a little confidence sprouting.
Ash wiggled his eyebrows at a passerby and replied "The Short Fortune-Teller who escaped from prison was considered a short medium at large!" Immediately I fired back with "It's better to love a short girl than not a tall." A groan behind me boosted me up. Ash looked over my shoulder and explained "I thought I saw an Alaskan Eye Doctor, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian."
Ouch. I had to think of something fast.
"Did you know that England doesn't have a Kidney Bank, but they do have a Liverpool?" A boy behind Ash rolled his eyes. We were starting to get serious now. I could tell because there were several dogs hanging out. People were starting to converge.
"At the rum factory docks, they all talk in verse - it just goes to show that rhymes fly when your heaving rum!" Several groans, eye rolls, and a chuckle or two. I had to start pulling out the big guns.
"A Chess Convention was being held in Denver. Before the convention opened, many of the attendees were standing around the lobby of a hotel near the convention center, bragging about their previous games. After about an hour of this boasting, the manager of the hotel decided that he had heard enough and started chasing the players out. Another customer came up to him and asked him why he had just kicked out all the players. The manager replied 'I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer'".
More groans and chuckles. In the background, I thought I heard someone retch.
Ash's eyes narrowed. "So that's how it is, huh?" I nodded, a slight smile traveling to my lips. He sighed "Alright, For years and years, a doctor had been having a drink after work at the same bar. Every time he walked in the door, the barman would mix his favorite drink, a hazelnut daiquiri. One day, the bartender didn't have any hazelnuts in the bar. Wondering what to do, he spied some hickory nuts and tried to make the drink from them instead. The doctor came in at his regular time, took a sip of the drink and exclaimed 'This isn't a hazelnut daiquiri!' 'No,' said the bartender, 'it's a hickory daiquiri, doc.' Much eye rolling from the crowd, some groans, a few laughs... I had to end this now.
Taking a deep breath, I looked Ash in the eye and started "There was once a huge starship, called the SS Titanic." Watching him closely, I could tell he knew this one was going to be a doozy. "It was a mighty cruise ship, set to sail the inky blackness of space. The first voyage of the immense vessel came. Thousands of people on board - mostly the rich and famous, and of course, a large crew to cater for their every need."
A thin sheen or perspiration began to form on his forehead. If I could keep it together for a little longer, I knew I would have him. I continued. "As the ship set off, no-one realized that her fate was just around the corner. She flew around the galaxy, visiting several resort planets, before heading towards her last solar system. As she arrived, everyone found themselves looking in horror as the star exploded in front of their eyes - a supernova."
I took a quick drink from my shake - I had to make this next part difficult, or I was going to loose it, and blow the punchline. I let the image of the ship exploding settle in everyone's mind before picking the story back up.
"Of course, everyone was killed, and although search parties spent several years looking, nothing was ever found of the great ship, except for a single twisted, half-molten chunk of metal that had come from the toolkit of one of the ship's engineers. The chunk of metal was put on display in a museum dedicated to the memory of the ship." Pausing for dramatic effect, I could tell Ash knew he was already beat. I let him sweat it for a few seconds, as I looked around at the crowd. The more I got them involved, the more it would hurt when I finished the story.
"It became known as the Star-Mangled Spanner."

The crowd erupted into a wild mob - approximately three-quarters grabbed their noses and ran from the room screaming - others just sat there, stunned. A few were laughing so hard they had tears streaming down their faces. Ash sat there, looking at me like I had grown a second head.
"You better get a wash ready" I told him as I got up and left the table.

No comments: