Proceed With Caution

Welcome to the Stranger Than Truth Club Minutes, featuring conversations between me and my closest group of friends – one, my IRL bestie, the rest… a little reality-impaired.

“But what we lack in so-called reality,” Will Scarlet inserts, “we make up for in awesomeness!”

Fact, that.

The way of it is, the Stranger Than Truth Club takes people from all walks of life, universes, times, and species, and brings us together through beautiful, ever-evolving, cross-plane friendships.

I wish I could give you a glimpse into our insightful, loving, hilarious, open community. Unfortunately, I can only give you transcripts of our idiocy.

And so without further ado: Truth is stranger than fiction. We are—

Stranger Than Truth 02

StT Prompt

Lute: “You will not win.”

Sy: Try me.

Lute: Wouldn’t you love to.

Danielle: You talking to Will?

Sy: Yeah, you’re thinking of Will.

<<<>>>

Allyn: “My voice may break you”?

Danielle: Well, I mean, it may.

<<<>>>

Bruno: I feel I should be wearing so many.

Tirzah: What’s the biggest one?

Sy: “F*** off”?

Bruno: Pretty much.

<<<>>>

Tirzah and Danielle: [bickering heavily]

Edgwyn: Warning label for you two: “It’s only fun until it’s not.”

<<<>>>

Bruno: And then there’s Kitten’s: “No, seriously, f*** off.”

Sy: “F*** off or get f***ed.”

Tirzah: What a couple. What a beautiful— no, just what a couple.

<<<>>>

Robin Hood: All my brain is giving me is this stupid clickbait ad that’s like, “Sheriffs hate him! Use this one weird trick for saving the peasantry!”

Tirzah: “This one weird trick turns the gold of the rich into food for the poor!”

Will: “This man turned outlaw! You won’t believe what happens next!”

Tirzah: “Find out what King John doesn’t want you to know!”

<<<>>>

Will: Was that the TARDIS??

Tirzah: I’m getting a cookie.

<<<>>>

Tirzah [re: Marion]: “Warning: Married and faithful.”

Will: DAMMIT.

<<<>>>

Allyn: I feel like Will doesn’t need a warning label. It’s like in nature: A color that bright, you just stay away.

<<<>>>

Will [re: Little John]: Isn’t nature like, “He’s that big, just stay away”?

Tirzah: Yeah, bears don’t need to be bright.

<<<>>>

Danielle [re: Edgwyn]: “Warning: He’ll love you too much.”

Edgwyn: I don’t want you to be warned away, though. I want to get you.

<<<>>>

Danielle: Warning for Little Allyn. … Nobody warned us.

[Long, messy conversation ensues]

Tirzah [summarizes]: “Warning: Hot mess.”

Danielle: That covers it.

<<<>>>

Tirzah [re: Sy]: “Extremely dangerous in general” seems to suit. “It’s sharp! It’s explosive! It’s dynamic!”

Sy: It’s even flammable.

Danielle: Aaaaugh, I just remembered he’s our leader!

Sy: You should see the power behind the throne.

Will: Why, who’s back there? OH, GOD.

Sy: Him exactly.

<<<>>>

Will [re: Danielle]: “Warning: Basically, run.”

3 out of 12 Doctors agree.
3 out of 12 Doctors agree.

Sy: “Warning: This smile can mean absolutely anything.”

Danielle: “Warning: This warning will soon cease to apply.”

Tirzah: You know what they say around here: “If you don’t like the mood, wait five minutes.”

<<<>>>

Danielle [mutters re: Tirzah]: “Warning: She touches weird stuff and doesn’t bother to wash her hands.”

Tirzah: Spiders are neither filthy nor weird. And anyway, that’s a warning only you would need to have.

Danielle: I would have liked that warning, yes.

Will: “Warning: Scottish.” “Warning: C.S. Lewis is her spirit animal.”

Tirzah: What the hell?! You people are just listing things about me!

Will: “Warning: White female.”

Tirzah: Assumptions!

Tirzah: “Warning: Not suitable for the closed-minded.”

Danielle: …Why are we friends?

<<<>>>

Hey, readers! What’s YOUR label? Warn us in the comments!

If WILL SCARLET … Broke the Economy

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Took Me Out

Ah, browsing a book store with Will Scarlet… That would be one part potential embarrassment, one part envy over all the books that are on display where my own are not, and the rest of the parts awesome. It would be great having someone to share things with. Point out funny titles and eye-catching covers. I’d take my sweet time over everything, while he’d be zipping back and forth all over the place, grabbing things off the shelves to shove in my face and remarking over it at some indiscreet volume, requiring me to frantically, laughingly shush him.

Some people just have to look with their hands. Will Scarlet is one, snatching at everything that, in his defense, snatched at his interest first. He’d probably make a point of seeking out all the Robin Hood books, just so he could check on the Scarlet representation therein. Books pertaining to Doctor Who and/or Torchwood would also be of interest, along with anything red. If anything came with a button that resulted in light or noise, he’d press it. I’d make a memo to self: Do not take him into a toy store.

Price, meanwhile, would be no object. “Dude,” he’d murmur excitedly, holding up a card. “Abréal credit. Cash for them, no cost for us. We’re going to break the economy.”

Hoo-boy. I wouldn’t even know how to feel about that. I’d maybe figure it out sometime after I made off with a heck ton of books. Supporting the writing community comes first.

He wasn’t kidding, before, about the Build-a-Bear. We head over there next, neither of us too proud and grownup to be seen in the place. I’ve only been in there in earnest twice before, a good while ago. The first time, I got Moot da Bent-Eared Bunny. The second time, it was Shaquandi, the pink teddy I pretty much gave the most ghetto name ever for no reason other than my sisters gave their bears names ending in “-andy” and in my moment of need, the joke answer prevailed.

I don’t know off the top of my head what styles of stuffed animals they’re sporting, these days, though a glance at their website just now [i.e., back around Christmas time] suggests that, HELLO, they’ve got Santa’s reindeer! Methinks Will and I would go straight for that. We’d take the soft, empty skins over to the associate at the stuffing machine, watch them get plumped up with fluff, and do the goofy dance and make the faux-vow of best-friendship that is all apiece of the heart insertion ceremony. Then would come the dithering over what outfits to get our new stuffed buddies, and what in the world to name them.

#CapFabulous
#CapFabulous

“Let’s keep this simple,” Will would suggest, holding up his reindeer. “This is Dani Doe.” He’d point to mine. “That is Buck Scarlet. They are our spirit animals in cuddly toy form.”

That would bring a smile to my heart. “So for once, the ceremonial vow of best-friendship will hold true.”

“Absolutely,” he’d say, giving his Dani Doe a full-on face smooch. “Feel free to nickname yours ‘Bucky’, after the Winter Soldier.”

“If my best friend is Bucky,” I’d say, “that would make me Captain America!”

Will would shrug. “My reasoning was just that the Winter Soldier and I are both hot, but sure, you can be Steve.”

Our next stop would be the resident Hot Topic – the chain Allyn once so scathingly derided as an emo-poser that lost all its hipster points the day it sold out to Disney, Doctor Who, and Adventure Time. What I wouldn’t give to remember his cold little tirade word for word.

“Gants,” Will would say, shaking his head at our reminiscence. “Can’t nobody judge harder than a Gant.”

“He may have been half-joking,” I’d say.

Will would raise an eyebrow. “Ever notice how a Gant joke can make its target curl up and want to end itself?”

Will: “Because dat man and his coat, tho.”
Will: “Because dat man and his coat, tho.”

Ouch but true, that.

While Will in his Captain Jack Harkness coat takes selfies with something with Tennant’s face on it for his Instagram – (#FoundMyDoctor #CapTenJack) – I’ll browse all the merchandise I’m normally too cheap to buy, trying to decide just how much I want to take advantage of Will’s cheat of a credit card. The potential breaking of the economy aside, I don’t actually have the storage space for everything I could be persuaded to own. Besides which, I wouldn’t want to feel overly materialistic. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to feel like a chump who could have walked out with anything and chose to decline on no better grounds than half-assed principle. If nothing else, I’d get a couple of Marvel hoodies.

[To be continued…]

To Hel in a Handbasket (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 21)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘To Hel in a Handbasket’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the TARDIS interior set. Will Scarlet as a grim, Doctor-guised Mad Hatter fiddles with the controls at the console, with Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED standing, body-switched, at his side.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: So Loki announces that he and Fenrir the Antichristmas Wolf are gonna kick off Ragnarok, and you tell us to retreat?

Will/Hatter Doctor [jaw tight ]: Nothing for it. Our past selves were due to reach the top of Mount Atlas at any moment. If we’d been caught loitering there when we did, it would have thrown all of time into a paradox that would make Ragnarok look like the end of the world as the ancient Norse know it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Um, yes. That’s what it is.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nope. It’s the end of Christmas. And that is far worse.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Okay, so what are doing to stop it? Still fishing around in the past for someone to stop you from getting shot in Steampunk Sherwood, or what?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [shaking Annabelle’s head ]: I fear that would do little good. Loki seemed to have all too clear a view of the big picture across time. He manipulated us all into doing as he wished before. He could do it again, rerouting any course we took to bring us right back around to where we started.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Too right, knight. There’s no going back, now – only forward. We’ve got to get to the North Pole ahead of father and wolf. And we’ve got to get its chosen Santa Claus back.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: That won’t be easy if Hel’s got him.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [surprised ]: I’d gotten the impression his immortal soul was in a holier state than that.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Mythology, Wilbur. Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [brightening ]: Oh.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: She’s also Loki’s daughter.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [moaning ]: Oh.

Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com - http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead
Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com – http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nobody freak out. I’ve got a plan.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [wincing ]: If you don’t want us freaking out, “I’ve got a plan” is really not the thing for you to say, Hatter.

Will/Hatter Doctor: No, really. Step one: I go to the land of the dead. Step two: I have a panic attack, because HELLO, land of the dead! Yikes! Step three: The crisis releases my Shadow, leaving my body wide open for possession. Step four: Jack Snow rides me out of the underworld and to the North Pole, where the wedding of his Christmas spirit and my good looks will beat back Ragnarok, and – callooh, callay! – Christmas will be merry as a Brandybuck.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What about Hel?

Will/Hatter Doctor: What about her? She only rules the Norse mythological underworld. Jack Snow’s life isn’t mythological – it’s a fairytale. That means his death will be, too.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: All right, then. Story expert – [turns to Annabelle in his body ] –where do dead fairytale characters go?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Oh, heck, they could end up anywhere, or hang around in any form. Plants. Animals. Just plain ghosts. If his body weren’t currently alive and in the Antichristmas’s possession, it would be par for the course for his decapitated head or bones to start talking to us in riddles. I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for him.

Will/Hatter Doctor: So we don’t look. We just find him.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [glaring ]: Does your madness provide a method for that?

Will/Hatter Doctor: OH, yes! [cranks a lever on the console ] Next stop: The Shortcut to Everywhere!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a wedding’ and ‘Brandybuck’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

From Bad to Norse (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 20)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘From Bad to Norse’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the top of the mountain set, where stands Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki, masses of clouds heaped like haystacks around him, his shoulders casually bearing the weighted curtain of the sky.]

Lute/Loki: La-di-dum. Ten minutes more of waiting, and my replacement shall arrive.

[At that moment, with a noise like a straining mechanical elephant – or however the Doctor Who fans in the house would describe it – one of the cloud stacks spins around, revealing the blue police box shape of the time/space-traveling TARDIS. Out the door step Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter in his Doctor getup, author Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED in the body of her character, Sir Wilbur Lamb, and Sir Wilbur in the body of Annabelle.]

Lute/Loki [brows raised ]: You’re early.

Will/Hatter Doctor: A Time Lord is never early, Loki, nor is he late. He arrives precisely when he means to. More or less. Depends how well he input the coordinates, and the TARDIS’s level of cooperation, phases of the universe’s various moons…

Lute/Loki: “Loki”, is it? Not “Atlas”? So, you’re from the future. [unperturbed grin ] Just how far ahead have you seen?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: We stepped back in time about when we realized Jack Snow’s spirit is in some realm of the dead, with his body bearing the Antichristmas Beast toward the probable ruination of Christmas.

Lute/Loki [grin widening ]: My, oh, my. And what brings you back here?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: We need someone to go the point just before the Antichristmas Beast shoots Hatter and forestall its happening, thereby preventing the release of Hatter’s Shadow and the body-switching disaster it caused.

Lute/Loki: And you come in the hope that this needed someone is me? That I shall abandon all to play fairy godmother by setting right your wrongs? Why in the world would I do that?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Well, you helped us before. …or, erm, will help us later.

Lute/Loki [amused ]: Help you? By shooting down the Antichristmas’s airship before he can kill you? Or do you refer to when I release Hatter from his entrapment under the sky? Odd that you should call that help, when it all leads to the very event you wish me to counteract.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [frowning ]: Are we then to understand that you wished for this to happen?

Lute/Loki: Mortals understand the ways of a god? I’ve no expectation of that. But yes, this is all of my deliberate doing.

Will/Hatter Doctor [expression pained ]: But why? Why would you kill Jack?

Lute/Loki: You killed Jack, Wonderlander, because you are mad. And I wielded that madness because we had need of it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: “We”?

Lute/Loki [casting the sky from his shoulders ]: The revolutionaries! The ushers of the end times! The great Antichristmas Wolf and I!

Will/Hatter Doctor: Wait – Antichristmas Wolf? Look who’s talking madness now. What kind of wolf has horns?

Lute/Loki [smiling terribly ]: The kind that’s the child of a god.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [with a gasp ]: The wolf son of Loki. That would make the Antichristmas Beast—

Lute/Loki [exultant ]: The mighty Fenrir. And together, we shall bring Ragnarok to the North Pole.

Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART - http://hallowing.deviantart.com/art/Fenrir-Concept-3-205812474
Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART)

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘fairy godmother’ and ‘revolutionaries’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

Doctor Wha—? (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 19)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Doctor Wha—?’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a single spotlight on the stage’s far end. Inside the spot, built atop a platform (currently stationary, but with rotation capabilities), is a tricked-out, sci-fantastic console built around a sort of pillar of light hung with cables, immediately recognizable (to Doctor Who fans, anyway) as a low-budget attempt at the interior of the TARDIS. Piloting this selfsame time/space machine is Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter, sporting a dark leather jacket lined with brilliant red, high-top canvas sneakers, and a fez with Hatter-chic embellishments including a broad ribbon, a feather, hat pins, and a sonic screwdriver. Looking on as the Hatter Doctor’s companions are Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, each of whom has swapped bodies with the other.]

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Is this really simpler than raising Jack Snow from the dead?

Will/Hatter Doctor [flipping thingamajigs and spinning doohickeys]: Oh, no comparison! That kind of resurrection would involve sending me into a full mind-and-body crisis, letting my Shadow loose on the underworld, and locating a body suitable to house a Christmas spirit without melting into goop. All that and we’d still have to catch up to the Antichristmas Beast in Jack’s body before he wreaks havoc on the North Pole. With the head start he’s got, time wouldn’t be on our side. Fortunately, it is on a Time Lord’s!

Doo-weeeeeee-ooooo!
Doo-weeeeeee-ooooo!

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: I hadn’t been aware you were a Time Lord.

Will/Hatter Doctor [grinning ]: I wear many hats. Next stop: The past!

[The spotlight brightens and dims, brightens and dims, as the platform spins a one-eighty. When the spot darkens for the last time, the other stage lights shine onto the rocky wall of a mountain set. Now facing the audience on the platform is the door to a big, blue police public call box, out of which step our players.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: You brought us back to Mount Atlas?

Will/Hatter Doctor: Look again, Annabelle. We’re not in mythological Greece. This is Middle Earth! And that – [pointing ] – is the Lonely Mountain. Jack and I passed by here on the way to our first meeting with you.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Goodness, that was acts and acts ago! You might have aimed for a point in time and space a little nearer to the moment of your Shadow’s release in Steampunk Sherwood.

Will/Hatter Doctor: First things first, your knightliness. Since you and I can’t cross our timelines without making the universe explode into a mess of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey madness, we need someone who wasn’t anywhere near that point to remake history. And I know just the dragon.

Annabelle and Wilbur [in unison ]: Dragon!?

[Will steps up to the mountain to rap a fist against the wall, calling, “Doo-weeeeeee-ooooo! Wakey, wakey, dragon!A hidden door swings open, and out slips the massive chocolate-scaled puppet head of S’more the candy dragon, blinking glowing eyes, tendrils of smoke curling from its nostrils.]

S’more: “Wakey, wakey”?

Will/Hatter Doctor: Perhaps you’d prefer “rise and shine”? “Up and at ‘em”? “Allons-y”?

S’more [eyes narrowing ]: I would prefer to be allowed an uninterrupted rest. Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Will/Hatter Doctor [backing away slowly ]: Soooo, that’s a “no” to the offer of becoming the candy dragon that saves Christmas. Quite all right. Have it your own way. No need to snack on anybody. [cups hand to ear; raises voice to some distant somewhere ] What’s that, Bunbury? Hold on, I’ll be right there!

[Will flees to the police box door, Annabelle and Sir Wilbur right behind him. The lights go up and down once more, the platform rotating until the spotlight’s back on the TARDIS interior.]

Will/Hatter Doctor: Welp, so much for my unlikely Plan A.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Who was that you were calling out to, just before we left?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Pretty sure that was just some classic Bunburying, a la what’s-his-name in The Importance of Being Ernest.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Actually, no – “Bunbury” is what I’ve nicknamed the TARDIS.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What happened to “Sexy”?

Will/Hatter Doctor [shrugging]: I might bring it back. Any ideas for where we should look for a hero next?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: How about—

Will/Hatter Doctor: FanTAStic idea!

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: She didn’t say anything.

Will/Hatter Doctor: She did earlier. And now we’re setting course for later! [flips a switch on the console, sending the lights all a-flicker once again ] Geronimo-o-o-o-o!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Bunburying’ and ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”