This was published in 1996 by LIN KA-MING (Magus Firecow [kamin@mms.utoronto.ca]) of alt.callahans. It has many of the characteristics of an original-style shaggy dog, but it’s better than that.

Another ‘quiet’ evening at Callahans, Fast Eddie is doing Baby Grand with Ray Charles on the left hand and Billy Joel on the right. Mike is blessing the regulars with alarming frequency and a thousand discussions dance ballet around each other, with each speaker adding a different view on many themes. And then, in the punsters corner a big hole rips open and a large bright yellow tractor rolls in…

Laughing merrily on top of the yellow vehicle are yellow-helmed folks slugging back beers by the keg. These must be the Stray Eng on Tractors of the Kiosk Fairy by which Magus Firecow travels through fictons. Magus Firecow, missing now for over a week, was last seen incarcerated beneath the temple of the oracle at Delphi. Indeed, it is Magus Firecow who remains when the tractr mysteriously vanishes. He is smoking. Not a cigarette or cigar, but his entire body is emanating wisps of smoke. Slowly and very consciously he walks up to the bar (and not into it Nan0) and drains the mug of ale Mike had waiting for him. Sitting on the stool, and reaching for the second, he begins to tell his tale:

“What happened? Well, that’s a long story. So, from the beginning. I was sitting in my cell, with the crew, guming mad that I was locked up by religious occult mystical priestesses. So, I summoned up all the training I had and kicked one of the keystones out of the temple. Why they built the jail next to a keystone, I don’t know. The whole building started trembling and shaking, the temple was going to come down on all our heads. I was lucky my travel agent Flibe I. Knight the Kiosk Fairy, managed to get one of his Mandrel-bots down there to spin me to another thread. When it showed up it dropped a long thread of gummi worms around me and pulled me into the two cat names thread. A safe hiding place, after all, what’s more ineffable than the names of cats? As I was leaving though, I saw my crew crushed under the massive temple, my sternsman Palinurus, all the mates, they were all killed as I was being saved by a Super-coil of red jelly sticks…Ex-Palinurus.”

Magus is choked up at the loss of his comrades, but as he must, continues the story.

“The Mandrel-bot must have been handling too many threads at the time, because I managed to stay in that thread for the shortest time when I found myself dumped into a small shack with a cheap counterfeit money machine. And there in front of me was, of all people, possibly the greatest villain to have ever crossed paths with anyone at all — Tony Donuts. The sadistic behemoth was pouring cement into molds around another man’s shoes. Someone was going to be sleeping with the fishes tonight… Apparently the man had laughed a little too loud at a pun about how ‘the brothers carry Mars off’, and disturbed Tony’s ‘beauty’ sleep. Tony was playing a game where he would poke his victim with a big stick, and if the man cried he would pour more cement into the mold. I guess his plan was too dump the poor guy when the molds were full. Tony called his little game: Cry Man – Deepen Cement.”

“Gruesome, Magus. But where’s all the smoke from?” asked Mike.

“Ahhhh, at that point I tried to sneak away from Tony’s little shack. I got outside when I noticed that Tony’s shack had two chimneys on opposite sides of the building. I figured if I made enough noise at one of them, when Tony went to check it out, I could drop down the other and rescue the poor helpless victims. Well, my plan was working great until — I got stuck. Commander Claus, I don’t know how you do it, those chimneys are so narrow, I don’t know how anyone could fit through. Well psychotic Tony heard me trapped in his other chimney, and decided to turn up the heat on me by starting a fire under me. He knew that I was blocking the one chimney, so he knew there would be a lot of smoke. He managed to rig up a vent system which would vent the smoke out the other chimney. The man was nuts. Do nuts. All that work, when he could have just shot me, or something. Well, anyways, things were getting really warm when I heard all sorts of coughing from below. As it turned out, the other chimney was bricked-closed, and the shack filled completely with smoke. I managed to crawl out of the chimney in time to rescue the victim, but I couldn’t find Tony in all that smoke. He was a real psycho, the only reason I’m not a roasted Firecow, is that even though he had two chimneys, there was only one flue over the cuckoo’s nest.”

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