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Shousetsu Bang*Bang
Issue 37: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Edited by Shousetsu Bang*Bang
Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2012 Shousetsu Bang*Bang

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Shousetsu Bang*Bang Issue 37 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Based on a work at http://shousetsubangbang.com

Table of contents

Professor Worthington and the Search for the One-Eyed Trouser Snake, by Hinata Yamimoto

Deadly Scorpions Ate My Shirt!, by Igirisujin,

illustrated by quaedam

On Earth My Nina, by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ),

illustrated by serenity_winner

Tastes Like True Grit, by Daisuke Yaki (大輔焼)

I survived a deadly camping trip with an Australian park ranger, by Shikkoku no Suzu (漆黒のスズ)

Through the hostile jungles of Gaia, by Kaerutobi Ike (蛙跳び池)

Bodies in Space, by shukyou (主教),

illustrated by Neru Momochimuchi (百千鞭練)

———

Swamped!, by melanofly (メラノ飛)

Front cover by Chira and Doyle

Edited and published by the Shousetsu Bang*Bang editorial staff. Read more about this issue at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/wiki/index.php?title=Issue_37

Professor Worthington and the Search for the One-Eyed Trouser Snake

By Hinata Yamimoto

I was balls-deep in secondhand embarrassment from the start of the safari.

Let’s be clear, this was not my usual sort of client. As the only Good Ol’ Boy offering tours on Nakkavara Island (it’s this little uninhabited place a fuckton of miles away from any coast, don’t bother), I tend to attract a certain personality type. Like the rich asshole who wants to shoot something with horns. Or the trust fund asshole who wants to shoot something with claws. Or (my personal favorite) the rich asshole who brings his kids along so they can watch daddy be a man while he, yes, shoots something. I don’t know, something about having the only Texan accent for 200 miles tends to draw them to me.

But anyway, this character wasn’t one of those assholes. He was an entirely different type of asshole. No, not an asshole. Douchebag? Dumbass? Something like a cross between a ‘tool’ and a ‘twit,’ with a major emphasis on ‘dork.’ Fuckwit? Fuckwit.

Where to begin with this fella? Guess the best place would be a name. “James Worthington,” the paper said, or, as I learned when I had my hand gripped in a bone-crushing handshake, “Professor James T. Worthington the third, so utterly spiffing to meet you, I say, wot!”

Professah. James. T. Worthington. The third.

I shit you not.

Guy was just about my height, thought it was hard to tell with the fucking ridiculous safari hat on his head–you know, the tan one with the point on top that bowls out to the sides? It matched the lumpy tan safari gear pack and clothes and … were those the pants with snaps on them so you could turn them into shorts without exposing your junk to the elements? Jesus fucking wept.

“And you would be Jeb Walker, I presume?” he asked, shaking my hand between both of his, like it was the ham in a ham sandwich that had been particularly sassy and needed to be taught a lesson.

“Ayep,” I said, because I was. And now you know my name. See how I slipped it in all casual and seamless-like? I am one fucking considerate narrator, never say otherwise.

“Splendid!” Worthington said, and his face was all thick glasses and unfortunate moustache and big, British, buck-toothed grin.

Did I mention that according to the info sheet he’d filled out, this parody of Disney’s Gentlemen Adventurer Club was all of twenty-five?

When he’d had enough of shaking my hand and the sound of Rohit’s motorboat had faded away, he let me go. I looked at the boxes on the shore and the gathering clouds–just in time for the upcoming 3:00 shower.

“We’d best be getting to the base camp afore we get soaked,” I said, hefting one of the boxes onto my hip, and good Lord, was he packing enough bricks to build a traditional British hunting lodge?

“Capital idea!” he said, piling the other two boxes on top of each other and lifting them like they weighed nothing.

We trudged down the path to the main camp, Worthington quietly mumbling a jaunty little hedgehog-themed marching song in beat with his steps. It wasn’t long until we reached the lodge. The lodge was a Frankenstein’s masterpiece. I’d worked on it for the past eight years, from when I’d first inherited the single-room cabin from the island’s previous owners. Since then, I’d added two guest rooms, a fireplace, an electrical generator, a decent kitchenette, a bathroom with the most fantastic water pressure ever, and a satellite dish so I can Skype with my sister.

We dumped his possessions in the swankier of the guest rooms. His pack hit the floor with a loud thud. Boy was packing some guns, is what I’m saying, and I don’t mean the type that shoots bullets.

“You get yourself settled and come on out when you want to start planning the week,” I said, and left him with his things.

I took the maps of the island and spread them over the table, trying to figure out what would interest the Perfessor. On his form, written on the line that asked what he wanted to do, was only ‘that is confidential. wink.’ Still, I could make a guess or two. He hadn’t declared any weapons beyond a few things with blades and a small sidearm, so he probably wasn’t there to hunt. Or he was more extreme than I thought.

Maybe he’d like to meet Abby. Everyone loves to meet Abby.

All along, over the sound of rain hitting the roof, there were clangs and bangs and a few sproings. What the hell had he packed?

Worthington came bustling out of his room. He had left the hat behind, and his hair, though black, otherwise looked like it could give Einstein a run for his money. He carried several silver- and cream-colored devices and deposited them in the kitchen.

“What’s all that?” I asked.

“I suspected you might not have a proper tea set,” he said, tapping his finger against his nose. It only drew more attention to his terrible moustache. “You Americans only ever care about your coffee.”

I bristled a little. “I’ll have you know my coffee has been compared unfavorably to piss.”

He laughed at that, a full-throated chortle, head tossed back and everything. He gave me a hearty slap on the back. “Well said, Walker, well said. I like your tweed!”

“Always been proud of my tweed. Have a seat,” I said, kicking the chair opposite me so it slid into an inviting position. He sat.

I leaned forward, folding my hands over the map. “Now. Perfessor. What are you here for?”

He laughed again, said, “That is confidential!” and winked.

In hindsight, I’m not sure what else I expected.

“Alrighty. Ground rules. And just so you know, technically, you’ve already agreed to all this, so if you don’t like it, take it up with my lawyer. Who is my sister, and therefore Texan, too. So good luck there.” I thumped the contract for emphasis. “Number one: I say, you do. There’s all sorts of nasty critters and accidents waiting to happen out there, and I’d be none-too-pleased if’n you got maimed on account of foolishness such as going where I say don’t go, talking when I tell you hush, or shooting when I say hold your goddamned fire. You hear me?”

“No tomfoolery. Understood.”

“Rule number two: no going off by your lonesome. We’re not in the lodge, we use the buddy system. Holding hands and looking both ways before we cross the street just like you learned in kindergarten or whatever the equivalent is for you folks back in England, comprende?”

“Comprehended.”

“Rule number three: no shooting things you don’t plan on taking with you. Mother Nature keeps this island in a delicate ecological balance like a bunch of plates spinning on those pole things, and you do not want to be that yahoo who jumps up on stage and knocks them all over by removing the apex predators and then waits for applause. You need trophies, fine, but you only take what you can carry.” Worthington began to speak, but I held up a finger. “Rule 3b: I’m your guide and bodyguard. I do not carry your shit.”

I scratched my head, getting to the end of my spiel. “Rule number I’ve-already-forgotten-what-number-we’re-o

n: my job ends once you get off the island. Any customs rules you want to take care of, you figure them out on your own. I am not legally responsible for any injuries or emotional damage or anything else that happens off the island, blah blah blah, any complaints, see my lawyer.”I folded my hands again, giving Worthington my best ‘business settled’ look. “Any questions?”

He actually raised a hand, like he was some proper British schoolboy looking to see if there would be a test on this. I nodded at him, hoping he’d rise to ask with his hands neatly clasped in front of his crotch, but no dice.

“Have you any qualms with the capture of live animals?” he asked, leaning forward, an almost manic gleam in his eyes.

I whistled through my teeth. “Just what are we talking about?”

He tapped his nose and winked.

“Confidential. Right. Mind giving me a clue? Is it bigger than a breadbox and full of claws?”

Worthington chortled. “I assure you, it is of moderate size and is not an apex predator, and I have brought all the necessary equipment to trap and contain it.” He sighed. “I do hope you don’t take offense at this. After the debacle with Doctor Biggerstaf and the Two-Bulged Snipe, I’ve found it paramount to maintain a certain level of discretion when it comes to these things.”

It says something about my life when I can hear things like that and not even blink. “I hear you. It’s the height of bad manners to go interfering with another man’s snipe.”

Worthington beamed and clapped his hands. “Excellent! Then we are of accord!” He scooted his chair over to my side of the table. “Now, let us see about these maps.”

I pointed out the various features of the island, important landmarks and paths as well as the shacks we could use to hide from the three o’clock deluges. As the rain outside tapered down, we picked a preliminary scouting path.

* * *

I’ll say this for Worthington: he has the gams for hiking. When the rain stopped pouring and the heated ground stopped steaming, we set off on the most difficult path on the island. It’s the one I generally only take the douchebag gym-bunny pricks on to try and tire them out, but Worthington took it with a bounce in his step and a grin under his terrible, terrible moustache. He kept a hand on his bushwhacking knife, unneeded as it was. He would have probably been singing a jolly hiking song if I hadn’t made it perfectly clear to cut that shit out. Then again, he was probably too busy paying attention to everything we passed. Every time I looked back when the sound of his footsteps had stopped, he was bent down, eyes wide, lips whispering names in Latin.

Something in the bushes caught my eye. “Hold,” I said, raising my arm in the traditional ‘stop yo shit’ motion. It was unnecessary in this case, since Worthington was already stopped, hand curled firmly around the handle of his knife. It was still sheathed, which was a good sign that things weren’t about to escalate.

I locked eyes with the beastie in front of us. “You don’t want to do this, darlin,” I said softly. I drew my sword and held it over my head, blade pointed down like some lopsided sabretooth tiger. I glared at him, the very picture of ‘don’t start none, won’t be none.’

“Walker!” Worthington shouted just as the sneak attack came. It was from the left, just as I predicted. I switched my grip, swinging my sword like a baseball bat. I caught the attacker in the side with the flat of my blade.

“Not today, Marley!” I yelled, following it up with a sharp kick to the ribs. He whimpered and rushed back into the woods, partner following him. “You’re getting the short end of the stick, Marley! Make Bob do the dirty work sometimes!” I shouted after their retreating tails.

I looked back to Worthington, who had drawn his blade and turned to protect my right flank–good instincts, if unnecessary in this case. “It’s okay, Perfessor. Those two only ever hunt together.”

“Ah, I see,” Worthington said, putting his sword away with shaking hands.

“Everything all right there?” I asked. I was worried that I may have traumatized the poor kid, which for once wasn’t my intention, but when he looked back at me, he was grinning wide enough to show every one of his oversized teeth. Adrenaline, then. I could relate.

“That was a fantastic scrum, Walker!” Worthington enthused. “The way you intercepted that sneak attack without even looking? Phwoar! I just hope next time you’ll let me have a bit of a scrap too, wot?”

I huffed a laugh and continued down the trail, Worthington following at my heels like a puppy. “Don’t be too impressed. Marley and Bob know a grand total of one strategy, which they use every fucking time. At this point, the only way they can hurt me is with secondhand embarrassment.”

I could feel the question mark forming over Worthington’s head. “But if they attack you every time, why don’t you–”

“Kill them?” I finished, cutting him off. I shrugged. “Don’t see the point. My job’s hard enough maintaining the ecological balance without getting rid of any more predators, and besides, if two homosexual life partners want to make it their life’s mission to eat me, who am I to judge?”

Worthington laughed loudly and clapped me on the shoulder. “Who are we to judge indeed, Walker? Well said!”

We continued down the path, Worthington following behind.

“Walker…those two creatures. Were they perhaps Amphicyonidae Orthipicus?” Worthington asked.

He couldn’t see my eyebrows rise, which was a real pity, since they so rarely do that. “Ayep. Gold star, Perfessor.” Worthington hummed happily. “They happen to be the mystery critter you’re after?”

“Ah, no. But a rare animal, and compatible with what I’m searching for? Oh yes,” Worthington said.

“Glad to hear it,” I said.

We soon came to the place we were looking for: the top of the cliff face which gave a good view of the east side of the island. We had a good hour of rest time before the sun began to set and we had to turn around and head back to the lodge. Worthington took out the spare copy of the map I’d given him, a compass, a pair of binoculars, and a few textbooks. How he managed to carry all of that up the super-steep hill, I have no idea.

I took the opportunity to lounge out against a tree and enjoy the view. The island had really recovered over the years since I’d bought it. The foliage’s coverage had gone from badly-used-fishnets to sleek-and-sexy-thigh-highs, and the noise from the birds trying to get laid or encourage other birds to get the fuck out of their territory was twice as loud. Yeah, I’ll admit it. I done good.

Worthington seemed to appreciate it too, from the way he was looking like he wanted to tear into the jungles below and strip them of their secrets. But, classy-like, like he wanted to make sure they had a good time, too, because he was a gentleman explorer at heart.

He finished marking things on his maps and stood up. “Pardon, Walker, just need to get a bird’s-eye view of the other side of the island, won’t be a moment,” he said and, with a move worthy of the finest bowtied stripper in Vegas, reached down and tore off the bottom parts of his pants.

Let me pause a moment here so I can wax poetic about his thighs.

Okay, first, a minor digression. I’m a good-looking man. The combination of living on the island and narcissism have given me a pretty perfectly toned body. I’ve been naked in front of the webcam enough times to have hundreds of loyal subscribers more-or-less tell me I’m the equivalent of a bronzed Adonis who can’t tan. A perma-sunburned Adonis. What I’m saying is, I’m cut.

Worthington was not cut. Worthington was like if you lifted weights real hard and the UPS guy came with your shipment of muscles and was like, “whoops, looks like they sent you a double shipment of muscles, do you want me to send the extra back?” and Worthington said, “No trouble my good man, just slap those extra muscles on wherever they can fit!” His calves swelled like party balloons ready to pop. This muscles of his thighs flexed and bulged like an undulating orgy of snakes. When he bent to hoist himself into the tree, the seat of his pants clung so tight I could see the dimples in each cheek.

I believe that he did not climb the tree so much as he wrapped his thighs around it, and the tree submitted to their will.

Which, to be honest, was starting to sound like a right fine idea.

This was going to be a heck of an awkward week.

* * *

The next morning, when the sun was just starting to peek over the hills, Worthington thrust his maps between me and my morning Franken Berry cereal. “Judging by the thickness of foliage and elevation levels, I’ve narrowed it down to these three areas,” he said, indicating the points circled on the maps.

I glanced at them, tapped one, and went back to my breakfast before the milk turned too dark a shade of pink. Not exactly a morning person here.

“Right-o,” Worthington said. “Any particular reason you’re choosing this place?”

“Think you’d like to meet someone,” I grunted. For the morning, this was goddamned erudite for me.

The trek wasn’t so bad this time–we curved around the cliff’s face so there wasn’t as much of an uphill trek, and Worthington’s legs kept up just fine. More than fine. He paused now and then to investigate a plant or insect, and every time he bent, I could just hear the fabric straining around his gloriously built ass. I spent the whole journey just thinking about those legs, the way the muscles must band and flex as he moved. I bet if you put a walnut between his cheeks, he could crack it with just one squat.

Oh God. I bet he does squats.

Fuck.

We reached the place I was looking for in just a few hours and a minimal number of awkward boners. I held up a hand for quiet again, and damned if he didn’t take orders well. I stuck my fingers in my mouth and gave three whistles: low, high, low. When there wasn’t a response, I did it again.

“What are–” Worthington began to ask, but I held up a hand again. A few moments later, the grass rustled, and out came a large, tusked, furry friend. She came up to me and reared up on her back legs, resting her front paws on my shoulder.

Smilodon Gratuius,” Worthington whispered.

“Good catch,” I said, then had to close my mouth as she nuzzled the heck out of my face. I rubbed back, then turned my head to the side. “But I just call her Abby.” Her paw gently cuffed my head, bringing it back to her shoulder. “Yes, yes, I love you too, darlin,” I said, laughing. Worthington was laughing, too.

“You seem to have quite the bond,” Worthington said.

“Well, I am sort of her papa,” I said, settling Abby back to the ground. She nosed at my hand, so I bent over and scruffed behind her ears while I talked. “Her mama passed away when she was little, so I ended up raising her until she was big enough to look after herself.”

The brush rustled again. “Oh look, here comes the grandkids,” I said. Three more creatures came out, smaller than Abby, perhaps the size of a full grown human.

“Be careful,” I warned, when Worthington stuck out his hand for a cub to sniff. “Abby might be tamed, but these’uns ain’t.”

“Poppycock, they seem fine,” Worthington said, and playfully tousled the cub’s fur. The cub reached a paw out and casually knocked off Worthington’s stupid hat. Worthington lightly tapped its nose. The cub leaned in close and huffed. “One moment,” Worthington said to the cub, and removed his glasses.

“Walker, if you would be so kind?” he said, extending them in my direction. I took them and tucked them into a pocket.

“You sure you know what you’re…” My train of thought got derailed on account of sudden shirtlessness. My train of thought was so derailed the little conductor was fired and the little commuters were issued bus passes to make up for the inconvenience, because, damn, Worthington had some beautifully built arms hidden under that shirt, and the thin undershirt left very little to the imagination. I had to sit down.

A moment later, the legs of his trousers were also removed, and Worthington was getting into a wide-legged stance. The cub came up to him, stretching until they were nose-to-nose, each staring the other down.

At some signal, Worthington’s arms landed on the cub’s shoulders, at the same time its front paws started to rise from the ground. Worthington’s legs worked overtime, bracing himself on the ground as the two tried to push each other off balance. I suppose I should’ve worried, but the cub was keeping its claws sheathed, and Abby laid down next to me and put her head in my lap. If they weren’t worried, I guess I shouldn’t be, either. They were just two cubs playing.

One of Worthington’s legs buckled, the cub toppling over him, but Worthington managed to use his momentum to keep them rolling. Each struggled to stay on top, Worthington laughing madly the whole time.

“The guy comes all the way out here, and his first instincts on meeting a new critter is to see how well it can wrestle,” I said to Abby, scratching her head.

Worthington managed to pin the cub to the ground. He turned to me, all bright blue eyes and buck-toothed grin, sweat sliding down his arms, and said, “Walker! Do you want next match?”

Holy fuck yes please.

“No thanks, I’m good,” I said, waving him on.

He shrugged and let the cub up, ready for round two.

I looked at Abby. “Sad thing is?” I said to her. “I’d still totally let him put his dick in me.”

Abby looked at Worthington, looked at me, huffed, and put her head back on my lap.

* * *

I worked on my sketchbook that evening while Worthington sang in the bathtub. I wanted to record how big Abby’s cubs had gotten, and the image of the Perfessor wrestling wild animals wouldn’t leave my head. I did a few rough sketches before I realized that the sounds of singing had died off and the air was suspiciously steamier.

“I didn’t know you could draw!”

I didn’t jump. Why would I jump when there was an attractively ridiculous dripping wet man wearing only a towel standing three feet away from me?

God damn it. I hadn’t gotten this many awkward boners since that time way back in AP history when we had a sub who kept dropping his goddamned piece of chalk.

“Can I help you?” I drawled.

“Ah, yes, you’re out of talcum powder. Can’t finish drying up without it, it’s just not cricket!” he said cheerfully, leaning over my shoulder. The water from his hair dripped onto my neck. He smelled amazing.

“There’s Abby and the cubs! You have a real knack for this!” he enthused. He grasped the page’s edge. “May I?”

“Suit yourself.” Why yes, nearly naked man, I would like to show you my etchings.

He flipped through the book, looking at all the sketches of plants and wildlife I’d seen on the island. He cooed over the page that showed Abby’s cubs at just three weeks old. “Do you take most visitors to see them?”

“Hell no!” I blurted out. Worthington looked a little shocked. “I mean, I’m not likely to bring her out to meet someone who’d like to shoot her, is all. I save her for the folks with kids.”

Worthington nodded in understanding. “Ah yes, they’re the ones who are here to look at the wilderness rather than hunt.”

I gave him a strange look. “No, they’re the ones who’re here to shoot things, same as anyone else. But show them a mama with a bunch of cuddly, furry cubs, and your daddy wants to shoot them? That’s a recipe for tears like none other.” I laughed to myself. “Must’ve put a dozen kids off of shooting things in the past year alone.”

“Isn’t that a bit risky?” Worthington asked.

“Ain’t one papa who’s shot yet. And the kids are fine, all told. Heck, one at the end was talking about setting up a wildlife fund at her school.” I smiled proudly at the memory of the little girl with pigtails and a big dream.

Worthington laughed. “You’re a queer one, Walker.”

I pointed my finger like a pistol at him and winked. “You said it.”

He continued flipping back, until he noticed something other than my sketches that surprised him. “Are these the dates?” he said, pointing at the corner of the page. I nodded; he frowned. “How long have you been here?”

I leaned back and stretched, like I had to actually think about it. “It’s gotta be close on eight years now,” I said. “When I bought this place up, it was a miserable, overhunted piece of land. Sunk nearly all my money into it, too. Still not sure why, to tell the truth. I was a stupid, idealistic twenty-one-year-old, just out of college with nothing better to do. But the island’s gotten better, so that’s something.”

Worthington frowned again. “But if hunting was the problem, why do you let hunters come here?”

I shrugged. “Need the money. And I figure, if you give them a controlled way to hunt, I won’t have to worry about poachers. And also, tourists don’t hardly pay anything, and I need the money.

Worthington hummed to himself in thought. I could see something forming at the front of his brain. “Wait one bleeding moment. You’re four years older than me?” he asked in absolute shock, and I couldn’t help it, I started laughing. After a few seconds, he started laughing, too.

He straightened up suddenly. “Oh! I’ve just had the most marvelous idea!” He rushed back to his room, holding his towel in place to my disappointment. A moment later he was back–no more fully clothed, thankfully, but he was holding a book and grinning at me, like I held all the secrets he was looking for.

I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to hold him down and shave his moustache, or at least lick it until it lost all power over me.

“What’s that there?” I asked. He sat down on the couch, thighs pressed hotly against my own.

“One of my grandfather’s books,” he said, opening to a certain page. “He was an explorer, like my father and myself. I’ve been attempting to find all the creatures he described in these pages.” He pointed to a page with an illustration of a plant with rather suggestively shaped purplish berries, each hung in a pair from a joined stem. “Have you seen a plant that looks like this?”

I flipped back a couple dozen pages, to the stuff I’d drawn my sixth year here. “This look like a match?” I asked. “Don’t know what they are. I’ve been calling them dongleberries on account of how they look like–”

“Yes, splendid, that’s it!” Worthington cheered. “And do you happen to know if any of them grow in an area with a lot of these?” He pointed to another page with a small animal, kind of like a vole.

I flipped to another page, which showed a little rat-like creature hiding under the dongleberry’s leaves. “That serve?”

Worthington leaned in even closer, hand gripping high on my thigh. “And do you happen to know if you can find both of these in any of the areas I’ve circled?”

I huffed a laugh and leaned back, praying to the ceiling for deliverance. “Perfessor, I think you’ve just planned out tomorrow’s journey.”

* * *

We’d laid several traps that morning. Worthington certainly believed we were in the right area, and by the quivering of his godawful moustache, I’d lay even bets he was right. The traps were an unusual design: slim, weight-sensitive, rectangular boxes with a right strange fabric covering, but Worthington seemed pretty sure that they’d work, and it was no skin off me either way.

The rains came. We moved to the nearest shelter–a lean-to, really, just three wooden walls and a roof on a padded, elevated floor, but it was enough to keep the rain off. Worthington pulled a pipe from God-knows-where and puffed at it as he thumbed through some hardcover volume. I noticed his name on the spine, though if it were this James T. Worthington or the two that preceded him, I had no clue. I didn’t mind the smoke, since it kept the mosquitoes away, and if he didn’t care about the scent alerting the other animals in the region, neither did I.

I sat by the open wall, eyes closed, breathing in the scent of the rain falling on my island, and felt myself drifting off to sleep.

“You truly love this island, don’t you?” Worthington asked.

“A-yep,” I said, keeping my eyes closed.

“Why don’t you try to get some more official protections for it?” he asked.

I sighed. “The home country don’t exactly like the idea of declaring all of this a not-for-profit sanctuary, and there ain’t a federation I’ve contacted that wants to spend the money sticking their necks out for this thumbprint of an island.” I made a face. “Don’t worry your pretty little head there, Perfessor. S’long as I’m here, we’ll be okay.”

I heard him slide on closer in, smelled the cloud of his tobacco get stronger. “I have…a bit of pull when it comes to these things,” he said awkwardly. Should’ve known it’d take the embarrassment of offering a favor to get the wind out of his sails. “If you’d like, when the week is out, I could perhaps advocate on your behalf?”

I opened one eye to look at him. “You know what, Perfessor? I’d sure appreciate that.”

Worthington beamed. “Oh, not at all, it’s nothing, truly. In fact, it should be a charm once I find–” He cut himself off, looking instantly guilty. “Oh dash it all, why not?” He turned to me, looking me dead in the eye. “Walker. Can you keep a secret?”

I looked left and right, at all the nothing that could overhear us. “Think I could be persuaded to.”

“Very well! I am on the hunt–” he leaned in closer, whispering the words “–for the One-Eyed Trouser Snake.”

I’ll give you a moment there. I needed one, too.

I dug my pinky into my ear, swirling it around a bit. “Beg pardon?”

“The One-Eyed Trouser Snake!” Worthington repeated.

Welp, if he insisted.

I reached over and took his pipe out of his hand, conscientiously smothering the glowing tobacco. Because, if I learned one thing from Saturday morning cartoons, it was that only me and a big anthropomorphic teddy bear could prevent forest fires. I took Worthington’s book and placed it, and the pipe, carefully to the side.

Then, and only then, did I jump on Worthington, pushing his back against the floor. He fell with only a slight exhalation to mark the point when he hit the ground, pith hat rolling across the floor. I took advantage of his momentary stupor to pin his arms above his head. I wrapped my legs around his thighs, bracing my feet under his knees. I leaned in, lips pressed next to his ear, and growled, “Shit, man, you only had to ask.”

Worthington laughed at that, a deep, rounded “Ho ho ho!” and I swear it made me taste British toffee on the back of my teeth. “I see! Fisticuffs!”

He bucked his hips, crotch rubbing against my already half-hard dick, throwing me off balance. He spun us around so he was on top, landing sideways across my stomach. He slid an arm under my leg, pulling it up into a textbook leg lock. “Nice moves, Perfessor,” I purred.

“Sorry, old chum. I’m an Eton boy. We scrum all the time.”

“Oh, do you now?” Did I say it was a textbook leg lock? It was a textbook leg lock on anyone except a guy who’d done yoga with his sister all throughout high school. I bent my leg back with the hold, all the way until my boots were at my nose, and wrapped my knee around the back of his neck, pushing him down again. I scissored my other leg under his chest and squeezed.

That was the plan, anyway, until he grabbed one of my thighs in each hand and pushed until I was spread eagled on the floor, exposed and panting. I reached for him, but he executed a beautiful flip, turning me onto my belly and pressing his full weight onto my back.

He reached an arm around my neck. I twisted my arm back around his. He leaned onto my body. I bent my legs back until they wrapped around his knees, ankles locking in place.

“We…seem to be at an impasse,” Worthington said, breathing heavily onto my neck. I could feel the bristles of his stupid moustache scratching my skin.

“Seems that way,” I agreed.

“Best of three?” he offered, but made no move to let go of his grip.

“I think we might find another way to settle this,” I said, shamelessly rubbing my ass against his crotch.

“Oh…oh!” Worthington said. I squeezed my legs tight around his thighs to get better leverage and gave another shameless rub, long and hard, against his crotch. And speaking of things that were growing long and hard…

“Ready to continue your exploration, Perfessor?” I asked, releasing my legs and giving him the sultriest look over my shoulder.

He sat back, blushing, and said, “Well, I am an Eton boy,” and I had no idea what the fuck that meant, but boy did it sound dirty.

He started to slowly unlace his boots, but I wasn’t having none of that. I grabbed each boot and yanked it off, giving him the option of either doing ballet points or losing a toe. I allowed him to unbuckle his own belt, then unzipped and yanked them off, too, throwing them in a corner because, seriously, fuck pants.

All he wore below the equator was a pair of plain white undies, a pair of socks, and–were those sock garters? Holy fuck he was wearing sock garters. I slipped a thumb under each elastic, just to feel the press against his rock solid calves. I leaned in and up until my cheek was pressed against his crotch, his dick hot and straining against the fabric.

I rubbed my face against the cloth, enjoying the heavy, salty scent. It had been a while since I’d had a dick on my face. I wanted to enjoy it while I could. I wanted to rub up against it, get its good, dickish scent all over me. I wanted to walk through my island after this and have all the critters go, “Hey, is that a giant walking dick? It smells like a giant walking dick! Wait, it’s just Walker. Way to get a dick, Walker!” and give me whatever version of a thumbs-up a critter could do without an opposable thumb.

Okay, largely I just wanted Worthington to keep making those little, hitched noises in his throat. I mouthed at the bulge under the fabric, working my way up its length, and giving a little extra suck at the top. I slid my hands up his calves to his thighs, feeling all those impossible muscles twitch under my hands. I grabbed the waistband of his underwear and pulled, sliding it off his hips, and tossing it to another corner of the room.

I reached up and snatched his eyeglasses, pulling them down for just a moment. I wanted to see his eyes, his amazing, bright blue eyes so dilated they were practically black. I pushed them back on–I wanted him to have a good view of what was coming next.

Making sure he was watching every moment, I wrapped my lips around the tip of his cock, giving the leaking tip a good, quick lick. Slowly, slowly, inch by inch, I lowered myself down his cock. God, his dick was amazing, all hot and firm and wide enough to give a real nice stretch. It didn’t hurt that all the while he was saying things like, “Oh bother that’s a right good jimmying there boy-o,” and other such Britishisms. They got more and more nonsensical the deeper I sank.

Fun biology fact: the neurochemical emotion known as “shame” originates in the gag reflex. Since I lack the latter, it explains why I have such a pathological lack of the former. Go ahead, ask Bill Nye, he’ll tell you. It’s science.

I grabbed Worthington’s hands and brought them to my head. After a moment he caught on, fingers gently closing in my hair. I rose up and sank down again, giving a little suck at the top. He groaned, fingers tightening, pulling at my hair. I moaned at that little bit of pain, working my mouth up and down his cock again, faster this time.

Worthington made a little humming noise, and when I glanced up, I saw him giving me a calculating look. His hands tightened in my hair, deliberately this time, and damn, it felt so good. I reached down and unbuttoned my pants, sticking my hand inside and grasping my cock, giving it a good tug.

Worthington’s hands went flat and still on my scalp. I looked up, questions in my eyes, dick in my mouth.

“Apologies, Walker, I’m not playing fair, am I?” he said. “One should give as good as one takes, eh?”

My mouth came free with a little pop. Worthington’s cock bobbled back and forth, glistening with saliva like it had been blessed by three royally kinky fairies.

“I ain’t complaining,” I said, though my jaw was a touch sore.

“Even so,” he said, and reached for the top button on my shirt. Before he could waste any time, I pulled my shirt over my head, then shucked off my pants, boxers, socks, and shoes in one quick move.

“Better?” I asked, stretching to show off my admittedly awesome physique.

“I would say so, yes!” He nodded in agreement and removed his own shirt, tossing it aside. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed–I was hoping he’d do that thing where you flex and the shirt tears into tiny shreds, because that would be awesome.

He bent to remove his socks, but I put a hand out to stop him, murmuring, “Leave them on.” He left them alone with a goofy smile. “Now where were we? That’s right…” I mused, and hooked a foot around his ankle. I gave a little yank, and he fell with me, landing on top. I wiggled around so my ass was in the air, pressed up against him, just like we’d been before.

“Looks like you win this round, Perfessor,” I said in a monotone voice. “What you gonna do now?”

“One moment, old chap,” he said, and I heard some rustling and the snap of a bottle. A dollop of something cold and slippery landed on my ass.

“This another one of your Eton things?” I said.

“Preparedness is one of Eton’s mottos,” he said proudly, and poked a finger into my ass. Dang it felt good, Worthington slicking me up all careful and deliberate-like. It’d been awhile since I’d had anything up there that wasn’t bright purple or run on batteries.

I smelled something sweet. “Is that…is that fruit punch flavored?”

He honest-to-God harrumphed at that. “Strawberry kiwi flavored, I’ll have you know,” he said with great dignity.

It was official. I was about to get fucked by the world’s most perfect man.

“You about ready to stick it in?” I asked. He got a nice, firm grip on my hips, lined himself up, and pushed.

I groaned as he slid in, feeling myself stretch around his cock. He was just the right size, not big enough to hurt, but wide enough that it took a little pushing to get in. His hands were hard on my hips, keeping me in place, and I hoped to God I’d have two matching hand-shaped bruises tomorrow to remember this by.

“You all right, chap?” Worthington asked, hand smoothing over my hip bone.

“God yes,” I said, and pushed my ass back on him a few times. He got the hint right quick, pounding into me with military rhythm and precision. I pillowed my head in my arms and lifted my hips, canting them at just the right angle so he’d hit that one perfect spot every time. Man was a machine, driving hard into me without slowing, and I learned one more reason to love those thick legs of his.

Wish I could say it lasted a long time, but it only took a few minutes of that relentless rhythm to bring me to the edge. Worthington leaned over me, fisted my cock in his hand, and sank his teeth into my shoulder, and I was gone with a shout so loud I disturbed a whole flock of birds.

Fly away, little birds. Tell the rest of the island how Jeb Walker just got fucked to within an inch of his life.

Worthington came a minute later. Silently, I’m sad to say, because if he’d yelled something like, “God save the Queen!” or “Tally-ho!” I would’ve been obligated to gay marry him right then and there.

He collapsed onto my back, all sweaty and heavy and perfect.

“A-yep,” I drawled, sighing happily.

“Rather,” Worthington agreed.

I winced a little as he lifted his hips and his dick slid out. He rolled off of me onto his back, spread out for all the world to see his collapsing penis in a pretty purple condom. He poked at it once, then rolled it off and tied it up, tucking it into one of the garbage bags. Good. I don’t truck with non-biodegradable garbage on my island.

I debated getting up to get my bag. I’ve got a deck of cards in there which should tide us over until round two (and oh yes, there would damned better be a round two), and I wanted to make sure I had access to my stash of condoms, which have silver stars printed on them and are therefore superior.

Instead, I rolled onto my side, gave him the biggest shit-eating grin, and said, “Sooooo…you find what you’re looking for?”

He kissed me.

I don’t know why that surprised me, but it did. He kissed me like he did everything: full of enthusiasm and a purposefulness that meant he was categorizing everything in that strange little head of his. His glasses clacked against my forehead, and his big buck teeth pulled at my lower lip, and his moustache…was still godawful, but it was beginning to grow on me, really. He kissed me until my head was in a fog and started thinking, you know what, sex is good and all, but I think I’d prefer just kissing this man and never ever stopping for the rest of my life.

He pulled back. “Hold one moment,” he said, whispering against my lips. His gaze was focused over my shoulder.

He crawled over to where I had tossed my pants in the corner of the room. In one quick move he pounced on my pants, hands wrapping around it like he wanted to strangle my invisible ankle.

A pink snake, body as thick as a prize-winning zucchini, slithered out of the other leg. It reared up, hissing at Worthington, who wasted no time grabbing it under the jaw so it couldn’t bite him. He wrapped his legs around its body so it couldn’t wriggle away. Worthington was bare-ass naked, fisting a giant pink snake clenched between his thighs.

It was, in fact, the hottest damned thing I have ever seen.

“Walker! The cage!” he yelled, but I was already on it, legs moving faster than I could think. I grabbed one of the spare cages, opened it up, and shoved it down on the snake’s head, slamming the door shut before it had time to turn around and slither out again.

“Got ‘im!” I shouted, rattling the cage a little to make sure everything was secure. The snake hissed at me, and I could distinctly see the single golden eye smack in the middle of its forehead. “Huh. So, Perfessor. That One-Eyed Trouser Snake you were looking for?”

“Yes?” Worthington dug a book from his pack, looking way too dignified for someone who was starkers and had just wrestled a snake.

“Turns out, that ain’t a colorful metaphor?” I asked.

Worthington blinked at me. “Whatever do you mean?”

“Nothing.”

“This is another excellent discovery to add to my collection! Come, Walker, look!” He waved me over, and I saw that the book he had was a scrapbook. He pointed to the photographs on the various pages. “This was my first big discovery–Oncorhynchus Barba, the Bearded Trout! After that I went to the tropics and found Tridacna Capilli and Acanthaster Connivi, the Hairy Clam and Winking Starfish, respectively.” He pointed to pages of him and various sea life.

“After that I went to the jungles of South America and found Mustela Pupure, the Purple Helmet Warrior Weasel.” He winked at me. “That was my greatest find until today.”

He turned to the next page, which was blank. “And here’s where our newest find will go. Of course, I’ll have to spend a good deal of time here, researching its habitat and life cycle and all that. Must be thorough, after all.”

“Of course,” I repeated.

“With this kind of discovery, I suppose there would be all sorts of grants out there to protect the habitat of such a rare creature, and I would need an assistant who knows how to navigate the wilds…” He continued giving me a meaningful look.

Huh. So that’s what hope feels like.

I coughed and turned away. “And once all that’s done?” I asked, never one to not ruin a good thing.

“There are always more places to explore!” He got a sly look on his face. “Would you be interested in joining my search? I think I have a good lead on a specimen.”

“And that would be?”

He leaned in close and whispered, “The Beast with Two Backs.”

When I was through laughing hysterically, I nodded, said, “Perfessor, I think I can manage that,” and tackled him to the ground again.

Deadly Scorpions Ate My Shirt!

A desert adventure by Igirisujin
illustrated by quaedam

Jimmy Olsen slapped his tattered passport on the table and pointed to the first page. It’s a long shot, he thought, but it might just work.

“Do you know what this says?” he asked.

Seid Suhail shook his head. Smoke eddied around his furrowed brow and collected in a thick layer beneath the trading post’s low ceiling. He bent over to examine the dog-eared page with a sceptical expression.

“It says that Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.” He smiled and pushed the passport towards Seid Suhail. It was lucky for him that the Arab trader had no way of knowing that Olsen was in the Sahara without the embassy’s knowledge or consent. “Assistance, Seid Suhail, and protection. Keid is still a British province. That means you have to help.”

The Arab trader looked at Olsen like he was crazy. “You can pass,” he said. “That’s not the problem. But nobody will go with you. There are no maps of that region. No man has ever entered Eram and come out alive. It is very bad luck.”

“How do you know the ruins are there,” asked Olsen with a grin, “if nobody’s ever returned?”

Seid Suhail sighed. “There are some things only the English need to be told,” he said grimly. “There is nothing in Eram worth seeing. You will only die, and then there will be an enquiry, and men with guns will come from the city and accuse us of murdering you for your money. I would not go there for a kingdom.” He took a long drag on his hookah and spat out the fumes. “And neither should you.”

Olsen took the passport back. “There won’t be an enquiry,” he said quietly.

“Even so,” replied Seid Suhail. “Why do you want to go there, anyhow?”

Olsen only shook his head. He had spent his life exploring, and it was the only trade that he had not yet tired of. He had travelled half of Africa, and traded for diamonds in the shadows of the mountains of the Moon. He had dived on wrecks for gold, hunted man-eating leopards through the dusty streets of Indian towns and captured rare animals in the South American jungles. But the world was smaller, these days, and he’d found himself hunting for the few corners left unmapped. An Oxford archaeologist had paid him good money to find the lost city’s location. It had given Jimmy an excuse to head into the desert once again. He relished the challenge.

They sat in silence for a while. Olsen shifted his weight uneasily as the old scar on his knee, the one where the Gold Coast shark had gouged him, began to throb.

“I could talk directly to the guides.” he said.

“As you wish.” said Seid Suhail. “But they won’t go no matter how much money you offer. Two men tried last year and they were never heard of again. Nobody has returned from that desert alive.”

Olsen tucked his passport back into his pocket. “There must be somebody in Keid crazy enough to guide me,” he said. “And if you can’t help me, I’ll just go alone.”

“Then you will die.”

“Then I’ll die.”

Seid Suhail frowned. Jimmy Olsen held his breath.

“The authorities in Cairo won’t be happy to hear of a dead Englishman,” he said.

In truth, he doubted that the Cairo embassy would ever hear of his death, and even if they did they wouldn’t care two bits. But the prospect appeared to worry Seid Suhail far more than it worried Olsen, and Olsen was well used to wielding any weapon at his disposal.

Seid Suhail shook his head. “I am sorry,” he said. “I can’t help you.”

Olsen shrugged. “I guess I’ll leave,” he said. “After all, I’ll have to get up pretty early tomorrow.” He massaged his injured knee with the palm of his left hand, wincing as muscles tensed beneath his fingers. “Suppose you just forget about it.”

“There is one man,” Seid Suhail said reluctantly.

Olsen smiled.

“He’s not a guide. He’s a foreigner like you. American, I think. But he may have maps.”

“An American?” Olsen asked suspiciously. “Here? Is he a spy?”

“An aviator,” Seid Suhail said. “His plane has broken down. He’s waiting here for parts.”

Jimmy Olsen shrugged. If a desert guide could not be found, good maps were the next best thing. He swatted away a coil of smoke from Seid Suhail’s hookah and asked “Where can I find this aviator?”

Seid Suhail scrawled an address in pencil upon a scrap of parchment and pushed it towards Olsen. “Here,” he said. “But don’t say that I didn’t warn you.”

“I won’t.” Jimmy said. He took the paper and headed straight for the aviator’s house, but the landlord shook his head.

“Try the airfield,” he suggested.

Jimmy limped off to try the airfield.

The airport, like most things in Keid, was a strip of dusty sand. A battered aeroplane painted in peeling desert camouflage stood at one side of the runway. A cargo net had been draped over one wing to fashion a makeshift tent. Olsen walked over to the tent and cleared his throat. “Hello?”

The plane smelt of grease and hot metal. Even Olsen, who was by no means a pilot, could see that she was in pretty poor shape. He ran his hands over one battered panel, noting the unmistakable scars of bullet holes, and jerked his hand away as a man ducked under the plane’s wing.

“Nice to see a friendly face, all the way out here,” the aviator said as he straightened. “My name’s Memphis. Johnny Memphis, at your service.” He thumped the perforated panels of the plane with affection and held out a grease-stained hand. “And this is Kittyhawk.”

Jimmy shook it. “Jimmy Olsen,” he introduced himself as Memphis wiped his hands upon an oil-streaked rag. “At yours.”

Johnny Memphis was shorter than Olsen. Most people were. He wore tattered engineers’ overalls that, like his plane, had seen better days. But there was no fault with his hospitality. He pulled up a discarded crate to serve as a chair and offered Olsen a drink from a canteen that tasted faintly of oil before listening politely to Jimmy’s explanation.

When Jimmy was done, he shook his head.

“Can’t be done,” he said. “Those maps are my ticket out of here.”

Olsen frowned. “I can pay.”

Memphis shook his head again and stubbed his cigarette out in the sand. He chain-smoked incessantly, smoking each one cigarette down to the filter before lighting a fresh one from its stub. He handled the cigarette and lighter with surprising grace, flexing long-fingered hands that would have looked more at home on an artist than a mechanic. His skin was bronzed like Jimmy’s from years of desert travel, although from his features Jimmy had a feeling that the darkness of Memphis’ skin owed more to genetics than exposure to the sun.


“I can’t leave without my charts,” he said. “They’re worth more than your English pounds to me.”

“I’ll bring them back.” Olsen said.

Johnny Memphis shook his head. “From the sound of things, you might not come back,” he said. “And then I’m stuck.”

“Come with me,” Olsen said impulsively.

Memphis frowned. He took a deep drag on his cigarette and tipped his head back, clearly savouring the nicotine. “Are you serious?” he said as he exhaled through his teeth.

Olsen nodded. “I need to get to that city, Mister Memphis,” he said, helping himself to one of the aviator’s cigarettes. “Seems like you’re the only one who can help me.”

“Just Johnny,” Johnny Memphis said. He took an enamelled lighter from the pocket of his overalls and flicked the cap open, leaning in close to light Olsen’s cigarette. “How much are you paying?”

Jimmy inhaled. “Thanks for the smoke,” he said, and named a sum.

“Don’t mention it.” Memphis said, watching Olsen speculatively through eyes half-hooded against the sun. “Buy me a few parts, you’ve got yourself a deal. When do we leave?”

“Tomorrow,” Olsen told him.

Johnny Memphis leaned back against the plane’s perished rubber tyres. “Suits me. This girl’s not going anywhere.” He reached back and ran an affectionate hand along the struts of the Kittyhawk. “A little desert adventure should help to break up the day. There’s just one thing-”

Olsen sighed. “Don’t tell me that you’ve already changed your mind.”

Memphis shook his head. “No chance. But I just need to check. There’s not much wildlife around here, is there?”

Olsen frowned. “This is the desert,” he said. “It’s famous for having nothing.” He ran through a mental list of all the animals he had seen since entering the Sahara. It was not a long list. “There may be some camels.”

“I’m okay with camels,” said Johnny Memphis.

“Why?” asked Olsen.

“Me and mother nature don’t get on,” Memphis said. There was a grim, haunted look on his face that puzzled Jimmy Olsen, but he had long since learned that most men in wild places were running from something, and didn’t think it fit to inquire.

“Eram is a ruin,” he said. “There’s nothing there but a bunch of tumbled stones. Maybe some inscriptions. But that’s all.”

Johnny Memphis grinned. “Sounds like an interesting place,” he said. “All right, Olsen. Let’s do it. Let’s find some real adventure.”

They set out at dawn in Jimmy’s tattered Jeep. The car ground its way across the gravel plains with a slow and inexorable certainty. They left the city behind within the hour. Its low-rise mud brick buildings melted seamlessly into the plains beneath the vast and empty desert sky.

Jimmy Olsen drove, hands sweating on the narrow rim of the steering wheel. Johnny Memphis lounged back in the seat beside him with both feet on the dashboard and recited bearings from his charts.

To Olsen’s surprise, the aviator was a good companion. He had an almost-inexhaustible store of dirty jokes to match his supply of cigarettes. Olsen had warmed to him down at the airfield, but now he was starting to downright like the man.

He watched as Memphis bent his head and tried to light his cigarette–no easy task in the front seat of a breezy, jolting car. Memphis’ eyes narrowed as ash fell into his lap, and he scowled at the flame like it had personally offended him. There were crows’ feet in the corners of his eyes that made Olsen review his estimate of the aviator’s age by a few years.

He crunched the gears down to second and thought about sliding his hand onto Johnny Memphis’s knee and pretending that he had missed the gear lever. He wasn’t sure if the aviator would welcome the contact, but he had learned from experience that a few months in the wilderness could have the straightest man considering an alternative lifestyle.


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