This post was initially published with a minor plot hole, that I had intended to, but neglected to close. The salient resolution has been added near the end of the story as of 8:20. Not that anyone cares, or indeed, has bothered to read that far anyway.
(The first installment of the epic LearnedFoot saga can be found here.)
The cave walls flickered and strobed from the sole source of light in the cavern: the lit tip of his wand. As LearnedFoot made his way through the chamber, he heard the demurring echoes of - well, he didn't know what. The voices were definitely human. But his ears only caught enough of the sounds to catch a word or two. It was as though he was listening in on a person talking to himself over a radio with poor reception, which cut out momentarily every three seconds.
"In the words..."
"Businesses would be..."
There was someone here. But where? And who, if anyone, was he talking to? The words became gradually louder. Foot could now hear entire sentences, yet they still sounded of incoherent thought. For some reason, this person's monologue sounded like a schizophrenic 7 year old trying to defend a PhD dissertation about microeconomics.
Whoever it was, he was drawing closer.
Foot paused, then advanced toward the source of the noise. He managed four steps when he felt the moist and unnerving (at least in this situation) sensation of someone's breath on the back of his neck. In one smooth motion he raised his wand and spun on his heel.
And there was O'Bonermort.
Foot's archnemesis raised his wand and began to chant.
"In the words of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's spokesman, Brian McClung..."
Foot recoiled in horror. "Nooooooooooooo."
Foot bolted upright in his bed. He was soaked with sweat.
"Goddam cheap literary tricks," he muttered to himself. Rising and grabbing a terrycloth bathrobe from his closet, he set off for the lieu in his very ordinary, yet exceedingly comforting suburban home. On his way, he tripped over an old copy of "Atlas Shrugged" that had been read to about half-way through the 190 page John Galt soliloquy before it was retasked as a doorstop. Much to Foot's chagrin, the ensuing toe-stubbing on the door jamb did nothing to shake his drowsiness. However, what he saw upon turning on the bathroom light more than did the job.
Standing in the bathtub was a Shit Eater - one of the evil O'Bonermort's dark minions.
Before Foot could react, the Shit Eater cast a vicious curse at Foot, that read thus:
In the words of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's spokesman, Brian McClung, the governor thinks a raise in the minimum wage to $6.75 now, and $7.75 next year, "goes too far."
A pay rate of $6.75 per hour, 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year (in other words, full time with no vacation) produces only $14,040 annual income. At $7.75 per hour, the annual income is only $16,120.
The suggestion that businesses would be "hurt" by increasing the minimum wage to these levels is just ridiculous. How can a minimum wage that keeps a full-time worker way below the poverty level be going too far? Why should we even care about preservation of any business that can't afford this?
Enough with the veto threats. The only people protected by such a veto would be predatory, irresponsible employers we don't want or need anyway.
KENT B. BONERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
It was a Pure Stupidity curse; a curse that Foot had never learned to defend himself against. Ordinary evil was one thing. While evil can never be fully defeated, it can be defended against and marginalized. Stupidity is made of more pervasive - more intangible - stuff, and can be found in places where it was least expected; especially in places it is supposedly less welcome. That's what makes it so dangerous.
And it was flying right at Foot.
Knowing there was little he could do, Foot slumped his shoulders and resigned himself to his fate, whatever that might be. Just then he heard a thunderous crash behind him.
All at once a bright light engulfed the room. Foot felt himself spun around while being sucked toward the bathtub, where the Shit Eater had been standing. He heard bizarre sounds, like a record being played at high speed backwards. The unknown force knocked him into the tub. Despite the chaos filling the room, Foot managed to notice that the Shit Eater was gone before his head hit the wall, knocking him out.
O'Bonermort stood over Foot, smirking. Foot looked up into his dead, snake-like eyes, and O'Bonermort kicked him in the shoulder. Foot expected blazing pain from the blow, but instead it felt like nothing more than a gentle nudge. Relieved, Foot rose to face his nemesis for what he hoped would be the final time. One way or another he was going to end this once and for all.
O'Bonermort kicked him in the head. Again and again. And like before, Foot only felt a gentle tapping. Certainly not the vicious blow that it appeared O'Bonermort had intended. Appearing frustrated, O'bonermort chided:
"Wake up you assnozzle!"
Foot opened his eyes to see an old friend, gently knocking on his head. Foot recognized him immediately.
"Ripe Ass Rhodes!"
Ripe Ass smiled. "You took a nasty blow to the head there. Funny thing about that - did you ever notice that 'blow jobs' are good, but 'blows to the head' hurt? I wonder who came up with those terms, and whether they were on drugs when they did."
"What just happened there," Foot asked, shaking off the stars he was still seeing.
"Oh, I just saved your life, no biggie. I'm a hero, donchaknow?" Ripe Ass tossed a small, brown tennis ball-sized orb in his right hand.
"What's that?" Foot asked pointing to the orb.
"This is a Stupidity Sucker. Beautiful invention, really. When you're under attack by a Stupidity Curse, all you have to do is hold this baby aloft - for maximum coverage - say the incantation, and the Sucker does the rest."
"What is 'the rest'?"
"Well, it uses a kind of time-warping Jiu Jitsu. It uses the energy of the Stupidity Curse to tear a slit in the Time-Space Continuum, through which the Stupidity Curse is sucked. The curse is then deposited in another place and time where it can do less harm. A neat-o byproduct of this process is that the caster of the Stupid Spell is then transfigured into something useful."
Foot looked around the room. "So the Shit Eater -"
"Yes." replied Ryan as he pointed to the brand new roll of 2-ply sitting atop the toilet tank.
Foot beamed at the toilet paper, fascinated at the power this wonderful new device. He had become used to the notion that Pure Stupidity was invincible, at least to him and other less, skilled wizards. But now this wonderful new device had given him hope. In all his life, the best he could hope to do was avoid Stupidity. It couldn't be argued with. Because of its sheer volume and its seemingly infinite sources, it couldn't be marginalized. And because of humanity's innate hive instincts, any banal form of the curse had the potential to become an overpowering force focused in a single direction.
"So this is the end of the Stupidity Curse."
"Not exactly," said Ripe Ass, a tone of urgency creeping into his voice. "There's a problem with the technology. And that, as it turns out, is the reason for my fortuitously timed visit."
"What are you saying, Ripe Ass?"
"Grab your flying toilet. We have work to do."
Ripe Ass Rhodes and LearnedFoot soared through the cloudy morning sky on their flying toilets. Foot struggled to keep up with him, as Ripe Ass was flying the super sleek and lightning fast Kohler Sidewinder, while Foot was still riding his reliable, if a bit slow, Crapper 3000. Once Foot was finally able to pull abreast of Ripe Ass he asked about the objective of this unexpected mission.
"Like I said, the technology with the Stupidity Sucker is imperfect," Ripe Ass explained. "It's supposed to take the stupidity from the immediate location and dump it someplace where it will do less harm. And it has been doing that, but..."
"I have a feeling that what you're about to tell me is going to suck," Foot interjected.
"That's putting it mildly. It's supposed to deposit the Stupidity in different places. You know, kind of like diluting it. Dispersing it across wide and remote frontiers."
"But it hasn't been doing that." Foot deduced.
"No. It's been depositing all the Sucked Stupidity in the same place, every time it's been used. And now, all that localized Stupidity has reached such immense proportions that it has reached critical mass. The Stupidity has begun to manifest itself in some extremely stupid ways there, even for Stupidity."
"Oh crap. We're not going to...?"
"Yes." Ryan sighed. "Berkeley."
By dusk they had reached their destination, the roof of Boalt Hall. Foot cast an invisibility spell, and they rested there for the evening. They would need all their energy come tomorrow. When they awoke the next morning, Ripe Ass briefed foot on their daunting task ahead. He handed Foot a news article he'd printed off of the muggle internet. As Foot read it, he felt an awful pang in his stomach.
Code Pink is now resorting to witchcraft to beef up the number of its supporters protesting a controversial Marine Corps Recruiting Center in Berkeley, Calif.
The women's anti-war group has told ralliers to come equipped with spells and pointy hats Friday for "witches, crones and sirens" day, the last of the group's weeklong homage to Mother's Day.
"Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we're going to end war," Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told FOXNews.com.
"Merlin's beard!" Foot exclaimed. "This is worse than I thought. These muggles think they're normal witches and wizards. Like us.
"It's grim." Ripe Ass nodded. "It'll take a miracle."
Foot pondered that a moment, then replied, "No. Getting through the rest of this story without a poop or a fart joke would take a miracle. This? This is doable. Let me have a look at that Stupidity Sucker."
The hours rolled by until finally it was time to make their way to the Marine recruiting center. Foot and Ripe Ass developed a theory - and a plan. Now was the moment to implement it. Any number of things could go wrong. After all they were working off of theories about the behavior of an imperfect magical technology. Any number of things could go wrong. And the consequences of such an outcome ranged from disastrous to mildly amusing. The risks were big. The risks needed to be taken for the sake of humanity.
They made their way through the pink throngs and located the leader of the "Muggle Witches," Zanne Sam Joi. They quickly pushed aside her cohorts with whom she was discussing "Peace Spells" (Ripe Ass had to work so hard to stifle a laugh that he farted) and introduced themselves.
"Madame witch," LearnedFoot improvised trying to sound like a "real" fake wizard, "please allow us to introduce our, er, magical selves. I am Learned - er - Hand, master of the Pink Arts."
Ripe Ass stepped forward and proclaimed in his most regal mien "And I am Ripe - um, Ryan! Umm... er, Also...Master of the Pink Arts! Ha ha!"
Zanne looked them over for a moment, scrutinizing their wizard robes and pointed hats that Ripe Ass had charmed to appear pink. With a little hesitation, she said "Well, it's good to see that there are some sensitive, caring, peace-loving new age men willing to harass the dirty war-mongering killer Marines. What can I do for you?"
Ripe Ass put his hands on his hips, striking a Captain Morgan pose and bellowed "Ha Ha! It's not what you can do for us, fellow magical person! For you see, we possess an ancient artefact that can bring peace to the world this very day! Ha Ha!"
Foot leaned over and whispered into Ripe Ass' ear "I don't think that's how the muggle version of 'wizards' are supposed to speak."
"Shut up, I'm on a roll," Ripe Ass muttered back out of the corner of his mouth.
"So what is this wonderful device? You must show me!" Zanne's suspicion had turned to excitement. Foot produced the Stupid Sucker from a pocket in his robe and held it in front of her face.
"Er, this is a 'Peace Emitter'" Foot lied. "The magical positive energy that can be beamed out from this object is so powerful that people everywhere will put down their human weapons, and be over come with love!"
"And want to have sex with each other!" Ripe Ass unhelpfully added.
Zanne's eyes grew wide. "Really? can I touch it?" She moved her hand to touch the Stupid Sucker. Foot pulled it away at the last minute.
"No! But you may have it. If you are worthy." Foot was unimpressed with his own performance and could not believe this woman was buying his fake-real-fake wizard act.
"Am I worthy?" she asked earnestly. Foot and Ryan stepped away huddled together for a moment, pretending to confer. After a few moments of making sotto voce fart noises into each other's ears, they returned to Zanne.
"We have determined that you are worthy! Ha ha!" Ripe Ass was really hamming it up now.
"Oh, goody!" the woman shouted as Foot handed her the Stupid Sucker. He then told her how to use it.
"Can I use it now?" she asked excitedly.
"There is no better time! But now we must be off! Good luck, and peace, er, out, fellow witch!" With that, Ripe Ass Rhodes and LearnedFoot hustled away, as fast as they could, trying very hard to hide their panic. They got about 20 feet away, when they heard Zanne shriek the incantation.
There was a bright, blinding light. LearnedFoot was lifted off his feet and thrown through a storefront plate glass window.
Then everything went dark.
Foot awoke to see Ripe Ass staring out the large hole where the window once was. He staggered dizzily to Ripe Ass' side and took in the scene. All was quiet. There was no one left in the street. Across the street, a head popped out of the door to the Marines recruiting office, looked around, and then jerked hastily back inside. Otherwise, the entire area was deserted.
"It worked. Dammit, it worked." Ripe Ass muttered.
"The plan was genius in its simplicity." Foot added.
"Yep. If the Stupidity Sucker always teleports Stupidity to another place and time, it won't - it can't - deposit it back in Berkeley. I just hope your Infinitely Recoiling Stupidity theory holds."
"Well, it's got a shot. Think about it. If that orb can redirect the Stupid Curse's energy with such force that it rends the fabric of space-time, then it's got to have exponentially more power when a source of the Stupidity uses the Stupid Sucker on itself. If a stupid person is stupid enough to use a Stupid Sucker on herself, then there ought to be enough kinetic Stupidity generated to blast that Stupidity field in a million different directions.; enough to carry it to a million different places. Right?" Foot began to sound like he was trying to convince himself.
"I suppose." Ripe Ass was likewise unsure.
They both paused and took in the surreal scene they were witnessing. Finally Foot broke the silence.
"You know Ripe Ass, I'm famished. Haven't eaten in a day. But still, even though I suppose that's 'useful'," Foot gestured toward the street, "I think that the Stupid Sucker could have provided us with something a little more..."
"Substantial." Said Ripe Ass, finishing the thought.
Ripe Ass thought a moment then said, "Well, you know what those muggles say: garbage in, garbage out."
"I guess you're right. C'mon. Let's eat."
They walked out the door and into the street where their repast was waiting. Where the protest once was now sat a 300 foot-long, 50-foot high, street wide blob of pink cotton candy.
"I wonder where all that stupidity went?" Foot wondered while shoving handfuls of the airy candy into his maw.
"Dunno. Hopefully someplace safe," Ripe Ass mumbled through a full mouth.
Far away from Berkeley in a distant State Capitol, House Speaker Kelliboner banged her gavel on her desk. "The Speaker recognizes Representative Fizzleweener."
Representative Fizzleweener held a lapel-clip microphone in front of his mouth and began to speak. "Thank you Madame Speaker. I am introducing House File 2969, a bill to augment our transportation -"
Fizzleweener was interrupted by a loud crashing noise, as if the rotunda had collapsed, followed by a blinding light. The entire body of the House was knocked unconscious.
After about ten minutes, the legislators all came to. Fizzleweener rose, brushed himself off, grasped the mic, and continued speaking as though nothing had happened.
"DYYYYYAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! Let's make everybody ride in child car seats until they're 14! Punishable by 10 years in jail!"
The entire body at once shouted "AYE!"
"DERRRR...And let's raise the gas tax again!"
"AYE! AYE! AYE! AYE! AYE! HOORAY!!!"