Monthly Archives: January 2017

Top Ten Reasons Why Your Butt Hurts


Hello 3.5 readers.

Many of you may be unaware of this, but in my spare time, I dabble in the fine arts of proctology and have even been named an Amateur Proctologist by a noted correspondence school.

Does your butt hurt?  If it does, you’ve got to get on that.  A hurt butt left to chance is a disaster, not only for you but for anyone unlucky enough to be standing within your blast radius when it goes off.

Note that I’m talking about “hurt butts” and not “butt hurt.”  Butt hurt is when you experience emotional pain so deep that you end up feeling it in your butt.

I’m talking about actual hurting butts.  From BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, here are the top ten reasons why your butt might be hurting:

#10 – Alien Probes

Alien Jones informs me that this experimental method of human butt research has been banned, but there are aliens who have been known to go rogue all over human butts.  If your butt hurts, it may be because aliens snuck into your room and inserted all kinds of devices filled with bells, lights and whistles.

If you think it is possible that you have been probed by aliens, I would suggest that you set up surveillance cameras.  If, in the morning, your butt hurts, check the footage to see if any aliens were in your room.  Note that some aliens have Predator style cloaking devices, so you will have to look at the footage closely for the tell tale shimmer.

#9 – Wrong Toilet Paper

Take a look at your supermarket’s butt wipe aisle and you’ll find a smorgasbord of toilet paper.  Butts are like Goldilocks – sometimes they’ll find a paper to be too soft or too hard.  Your butt needs to keep looking until it finds the paper that is just right.  If you are using coarse sandpaper on your butt, you’re doing it wrong.

#8 – Parasites 

I told you not to drink that rain puddle water and/or to not make out with your dog but you just didn’t listen, did you?  Report to your doctor for immediate tapeworm removal.  Don’t look at me.  I’m just an amateur.

#7 – Getting Your Butt Kicked

Did you hit on someone else’s girlfriend?  Did you stick your nose some place where it didn’t belong?  Did you insult someone?  Then problem solved.  That giant shoe that connected with your butt is the reason why your butt hurts.  Put some ice on your butt and learn some manners.

#6 – Wiping Revisited

You might be doing it wrong.  Maybe you have the right toilet paper but the wrong technique.  Your butt is very sensitive so you must gently caress your butt as if you are touching it with the wings of an angel.  Don’t just stick a wad of toilet paper up your butt and go all jackhammer style.  That’s a good way to end up with a bad case of roids.

 #5 – Lightning Infused Toaster Pastry Toilet Death

Totally happened to me.  If you shoot a lightning bolt out of your butt, you will destroy your toilet, your life, and your butt.  Beware breakfast foods that have absorbed lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes or other catastrophic weather events.

#4 – Olympic Flatulence Competitions

Pictured above is East Randomtown Mayor Harvey Smotchenbocker.  Though he is a world class athlete who is able to shoot fire out of his butt, he has undergone years of training, thus allowing him to flex his butt muscles so as to shoot fire out of his butt without causing himself any damage.  I advise you to leave such flatulence theatrics to the professionals and to not try this at home.

#3 – Ingrown Butt Hairs

It happens.  Sometimes a butt hair grows rogue and causes all kinds of damage.  My best advice is to find a trustworthy friend who is willing to do you a solid and keep your butt hair trimmed.

#2 – Brazilian Wax 

Ah, the Brazilians.  They have given us so much.  Restaurants where they serve meat on swords AND super clean nether region waxing.  It’ll hurt today, but your butt will be totally smooth tomorrow…or the next day…or the day after that…whenever the swelling goes down.

#1 – Botched Colonoscopies

You don’t get to eat for a day before, you’ve got to take all kinds of laxatives or do whatever your doctor instructs you.  Then a giant camera attached to what can only be described as a leather octopus tentacle is shoved up your butt.  Done just right, it won’t hurt at all.  However, if your butt doctor just jams it up there and wiggles it around like he’s beating a bowl full of cake batter, then it will probably hurt.  Luckily, butt doctors go to school to practice their butt inspection techniques to avoid this problem.


I’m just an amateur so don’t take my advice.  If your butt hurts, seek the wise counsel of a professional butt doctor.  Women, you never know what’s going in your butts and the men staring at them can only tell you what’s going on outside of your pants.  Men, you’ve got those prostrates so get them checked before the Big C sets up shop.

A good butt doctor can save your life and keep you being one of my 3.5 readers for many years to come.

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Stop Sucking with Vinny Baggadouchio – The Power of Positive Sucking


World Renowned Motivational Speaker, Anti-Suck Book Author and Bookshelf Battle Blog Columnist, Vinny Baggadouchio

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and I’m an anti-suck robot sent from the future to teach you present day suckers how to not suck anymore.

Perhaps you’ve read one of my fine anti-suck books:

Six Sigma Certified Non-Sucking

Raise Your Hand if You Don’t Want to Suck

Hug it Out, Suck it Out

De-Suck Your Way to Greatness

The Good, the Bad and the Sucky

Get this Suck Out of My Life (and Into My Car)

The Art of the Non-Sucking Deal

A Million Little Suck Pieces

Sucks to Be You

Suck No More

Suck or Suck-cess?

3.5 readers, today’s question comes from Larissa Smatchencraft from East Buttfork, Wisconsin:

Dear Vinny,

I am a huge fan of your anti-suck books.  I have attended all of your seminars and worked through all of your anti-suck lessons.  I want you to know you have helped me to stop sucking at my job, my marriage and in so many other aspects of my daily life.

I have a question though.  Is it ok to suck at certain things?  For example, the other day I was walking down the street and I found a wallet just lying there on the sidewalk.  It contained a hundred dollars in cash, but the idea to take it for myself never even crossed my mind.  Instead, I used the ID inside to track down the wallet’s rightful owner.  He was pleased as this was the only money he had and he needed it to purchase his prescription strength anti-anal wart flare up cream.

As I walked home, I was pleased with myself for having done a good deed.  Then it dawned on me: “I suck at dishonesty.”

You’ve always taught me that I should not suck in all things and yet, it seems like dishonesty is something I should suck at.

The question blows my mind but I’ll go ahead and ask it anyway…is it possible that not sucking at certain bad behaviors is a good thing?

Congratulations, Larissa.  The student has finally become the master.

Make no mistake about it:  the general rule is that it sucks to suck.  It sucks so much to suck that I have dedicated my life to helping suckers all over the globe in their efforts to suck the suck right out of their sucky suck bag lives.

Most of the time, my clients come to me in extremely dire, sucky straights.  They are lonely, poor, addicted to a variety of unsavory behaviors and more often than not, huffing anything from soiled ladies’ undergarments to model airplane glue.  I actually had a client who would dip the ladies’ undergarments into the model airplane glue, but that’s a terrible tale for another day.

The point is that I usually try not to bog down the sucky minds of big fat suckers with confusing concepts.  When you suck so much that you can’t even tie your shoes without sucking it up, you can’t handle the more complex lessons found in my advanced courses of anti-suck studies.

What I am about to tell you is such a giant piece of vital, crucial information that frankly, I should charge you for it.  But I won’t.  Because I don’t suck.  And I don’t want you to suck so you must have this knowledge.

Here we go:

Sometimes it is good to suck at something.

I know.  Sounds like blasphemy, right?

But follow me on this.


  • Your job.
  • Your marriage.
  • Maintaining your health.
  • Raising your children.
  • Financial stability.
  • Maturity.
  • Responsibility.

Makes sense right?  There are so many good things in this life that you should not suck at.

Then again, and here’s where we swallow the red pill and follow Alice down the rabbit hole so hang on, there are many things that you SHOULD totally suck at if you want to be a decent, well-adjusted, happy and productive non-sucking citizen:


  • Dishonesty
  • Deception
  • Adultery
  • Alcoholism
  • Racism
  • Hate
  • Theft
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Selling Your Spouse to a Sex Slavery Ring Run by Foreign Businessmen/Perverts
  • Addiction
  • Gambling
  • Selling Your Body to Pay Off Your Gambling Debts
  • …and so much more!

Think about that time when you found the wallet, Larissa.  You’ve followed my anti-suck lessons and turned your life from sucking to non-sucking.  You didn’t want to suck it up by doing something that sucks, like stealing money from a stranger who needs it for his anti-anal wart flare up medication.

You were confused, so listened to your gut – a gut you have trained through my many, many anti-suck lessons.  Though, in theory, you have learned that in most cases, you should NOT suck at something, you realized in this case, it would, indeed, suck to be good at something…dishonesty!

In my advanced courses, the ones I reserve for only the creme de la creme of folks who have utterly mastered all of my anti-suck lessons, I teach about “The Power of Positive Sucking.”

Sometimes referred to alternatively as, “Next Level Sucking,” this skill essentially means that you are able to figure out when you MUST suck at something in order to not suck at something.

I know.  You feel like getting out a flow chart and a slide rule, but trust me, the more you dabble in the world of the non-sucker, the easier this all becomes.

Sure, you could have not sucked at dishonesty.  You could have kept the cash, thereby sucking as a human being.  If anyone asked you where you got the money, you could have not sucked at lying and told them it’s yours, that you withdrew it from your bank account or what have you.

You would have not sucked at lying but by not sucking at lying you actually end up sucking at not sucking.  Only filthy degenerate suckers take something that does not belong to them and lie about it.  Non suckers suck at lying in order to not suck at life.  If you suck at dishonesty and theft, you’ll avoid going to jail, ruining your reputation, and ending up with a sucky suck ass life.

I know it is confusing but there so many instances in which you must suck in order to not suck.  For example:

YOU MUST SUCK AT RACISM:  I know.  This is hard.  You’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours on my books and seminars and you know that is time and money well spent.  I’ve etched into your brain the need for you to not suck at most aspects of life.  However, here you must suck at racism.  Sure, you could shout inappropriate names at those outside your ethnic group, but then you’d be sucking up your reputation.  You’d be making others feel like they suck and the suck that you put out into the world always returns back to you two fold.  Suck karma exists.

YOU MUST SUCK AT IMMATURITY:   You are an adult.  You must suck at staying up late.  You must suck at eating junk food.  You must suck at paying your bills late.  You must suck at procrastination.

YOU MUST SUCK AT INFIDELITY:  In the moment, it would feel not sucky at all to rip the clothes off of and go to town on someone other than your spouse.  You wouldn’t suck at adultery at all but by not sucking at cheating you, in fact, are sucking at marriage.

YOU MUST SUCK AT ADDICTION:  Sure, you could learn all the ins and outs of addiction the hard way and become the best addict ever, but if you did, you’d end up poor, downtrodden, unhealthy, alone and most likely, dead – all outcomes that suck.  So, when someone offers you drugs, be sure to suck at saying, “Yes.”


If you don’t suck at these emotions, then you will never not suck at being happy and content.


3.5 readers, there are so many things you MUST suck at in order to not suck in life.  We’ve scratched the surface of these aspects today, and if you are a beginner to my anti-suck lessons, then do try to put the Power of Positive Sucking out of your mind for now and once you have learned to not suck at tying your shoes and putting your pants on, we’ll be able to discuss the more complicated concepts, i.e., the things you must suck at.

Thank you for stopping by.  In fact, you might say you sucked at ignoring your favorite blog, which, if you think about it, is an example of positive sucking.

Don’t forget to suck at not checking out my anti-suck books, available at a book store that does not suck near you.

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The Prognostications of the Astounding Nerdstradamus – Robot Hookers, Unsavory Acts with Hobos and Orange Sherbet Monsters

And now, from Bookshelf Q. Battler Headquarters in Fabulous East Randomtown, the Astounding Nerdstradamus shares his confounding prognostications of the future of nerd kind…


Come forth, 3.5 readers and bask in my all seeing glory for I, the Astounding Nerdstradamus, shall open your eyes so that you might peer deep into the future of nerd-dom:

  • Humanity will come to an end in the year 2105, due to a sharp decrease in worldwide reproduction.  Will it be a coincidence when cheap and affordable robot hookers are invented in 2030?  Maybe, maybe not.
  • Nerds of the future shall one day invent a time phone that will allow your present self to call your past self.  However, due to concerns about the integrity of the space-time continuum, you will only be able to ask your past self if he or she has Prince Albert in a can.  For an extra fifty dollars, the time phone company will allow you to ask your past self if his/her refrigerator is running.  Under no circumstances will you be able to finish the joke by telling your past self to catch the running fridge.  If you were too lazy to catch the running fridge in the past, you’ll only screw up world history if you try to fix that past mistake now.
  • The good news about video games of the future?  You will be able to be a character in one of them.  The bad news?  Only an asshole would want to smash bricks with his head and murder poor, defenseless turtles.
  • Doctors will invent an anti-flatulence pill that causes the body to store farts and save them until later.  Unfortunately, the entire Western Hemisphere will go up in flames when Esther Thompson of Phoenix, Arizona lets her anti-flatulence pill prescription run out and lets out ninety years’ worth of gas at once.  Whoa nelly.
  • Pez will become an international currency.  Alas, many will be murdered in the ensuing war over who can collect the most plastic cartoon character dispensers.  Also, politicians will fight each other with phrases like, “The top 99% of all Pez owners need to share their Pez with the rest of us” and “What is this, Communism?  If you want Pez, you need to jerk off hobos at the bus station for Pez like the rest of us.”
  • That reminds me:  in the future, all jobs will be performed by robots.  The only means of income for humans will be jerking off bus station hobos in exchange for Pez.
  • “That’s What She Said” will become America’s official motto.
  • President Robo Trump will step down from his rule in the year 2782 in order to spend more time doing what he loves: grabbing hot ass robot supermodels by their fuel injectors.  He will hand dominion over his kingdom to Queen Ivanka, First of Her Name.
  • Note that President Robo Trump will not still be ruling in 2782 due to any dictatorial actions but rather, because Robo Hillary Clinton will never, ever, ever stop running for Emperor of Earth and literally no one, not even Robo Bill Clinton, will be willing to pull her aside and tell her that it is time for a fresh robo face.
  • Not gonna lie – Robo Bill will also be totally into the aforementioned robot hookers.  Then again, who won’t be?  They will be programmed to perform wild acrobatics in the boudoir…and then bake you a pie afterwards.  Word peace through artificial sex and delicious pie, because literally no one will have time to fight, what with all of the robot sex and robot baked pie and all.  Ah, the robot sex pie era shall truly be a magnificent time period to live in.
  • “Yo Mama” jokes will be considered a serious art form.  Nelson Chatsworth of Scranton, PA will win a Pulitzer for telling a friend that said friend’s mother is, and I quote, “So fat her blood type is rocky road.”  Alas, Nelson will be forced to return the award when it is determined that a) this joke has been told for centuries and b) it is scientifically impossible for someone to bleed rocky road ice cream.  However, by the year 4102, it will be possible for people to bleed orange sherbet, but I don’t want to keep you up at night with tales of the half-human/half orange sherbet monsters that will be created.  Let’s just say, “Oh it’s ok.  You can eat me!  Technically, I’m not ice cream so its not really cheating on your diet!” will take on a whole new meaning.
  • Bloggers will beam their posts directly into the minds of their readers.  Alas, BQB will only be beaming his posts to 3.5 minds.

What prognostications do you have of the future, 3.5 readers?  Share them with the Astounding Nerdstradamus in the comments!

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Zomcation – My Favorite Chapters So Far

Hey 3.5.

I was just going over Zomcation and there are three chapters that really tickled my funny bone.  Hope you will check them out.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to vote in my Zomcation book cover contest.


Chapter 11 – In this book, a Republican and a Democrat have teamed up as President and Vice-President.  President Stugotz is a Trump clone while Vice-President Pierce is a Hillary wannabe.  They fight and bicker constantly.  General Merrick tries his best to remain calm as Stugotz goes to one extreme and demands that all the zombies be nuked while Pierce goes to the other extreme and demands that everyone should coddle the zombies and give them free, government subsidized brains.  In the end, they agree on one thing – they’ll deny all culpability and pin it all on Merrick.

Chapter 15 – Mister Reynaldo, an eccentric male diva/ex-off, off, off incredibly off Broadway star informs Jess that she can no longer play Princess Paulina because she turned 30.  For Jess, it’s now the Willy Wombat mascot costume or bust.

Chapter 23 – Wombat World Security Guard Doug has a classic, cop TV show fight with the Chief of Wombat World security.  It ends with the Chief relieving Doug of his wombat shaped badge and security whistle.  Doug must now decide whether to give up or go rogue and search for his partner, who really isn’t his partner, but just an old man he stood next to and annoyed regularly.

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#OscarsSoPretty – Why We Must Rally Behind Michael Shannon for Best Supporting Actor

Hey 3.5 readers.

Ugly rights activist BQB here.  I don’t particularly care for the taste of crow but I must eat some.  I was incorrect in my column a few days ago when I said no ugly actors had been nominated this year.

One has.  And his nomination is a glorious shining beacon of hope to every ugly child who dared to dream about taken seriously despite his or her hideous face.

Michael Shannon has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a little known film called Nocturnal Animals.

I haven’t seen it.  Frankly, I just heard about it yesterday.  From what I have been able to glean from the Internet, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a lovesick writer.  Dumped by his wife (Amy Adams) because she feels he’s basically a loser that will never go anywhere with his writing career (story of my life, baby), the Jakester sets out to write a novel the contents of which read like a revenge fantasy on his ex.

The film moves between the real world of Jake and Amy’s misery to the fantasy world where the events of the novel take place.  Michael Shannon plays a creepy, close to retirement cop that helps a fictionalized version of Jake’s character get revenge on some bad dudes.

Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  Michael Shannon is a talented thespian, but he also looks like the result of a one night stand between a gargoyle and a goblin.

I’m not trying to offend the man and I’m in no position to mock others because I am wretchedly ugly myself.  I’m just being straight up with you all by letting you know that when I envision hell, I picture multiple creatures with Michael Shannon-esque faces poking me in the ass and demanding that I push a boulder up hill until the end of time.

But seriously.  No offense Mike.  In fact, you kinda owe me one.  I can only assume that my 3.5 readers are members of the academy and when they saw my #OscarsSoPretty rants, they had no choice but to nominate a fine, upstanding Aesthetically Challenged American.

I’d be in remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that it is unfortunate that Mike is often typecast as creepy weirdos, based on no other reason that he looks like a dude who would totally crank one out while staring at you through your bedroom window.

FYI – I’m not saying he does that.  I’m just saying he looks like he could do that.  Then again, who does look like a bedroom window masturbator when you really think about it?  We have all these preconceived notions as to what a weirdo looks like but for all we know, good looking attractive people are just as likely to spank the monkey in a bizarre and disturbing fashion.

I digress.  It’s nice to see Mike nominated, but I wish Hollywood had seen fit to broaden the public’s minds about the ugly by casting Mike not as a creepy weirdo but as a head of state or captain of industry.

Seriously.  Over the years we have seen Michael Shannon play the uber psychotic Federal agent Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire, as well as the maniacal alien overlord General Zod in Man of Steel.

When does Michael Shannon get to play the lead in a wacky romantic comedy?  What?  Michael Shannon can’t woo Bridget Jones just because he wasn’t blessed with good looks?

Yeah, you laugh but first they refuse to put ugly actors in non-creepy roles.  Before you know it, they’re rounding up uggos and locking them away in concentration camps.  Total anarchy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I salute Hollywood for recognizing that an ugly actor has talent and deserves recognition.  Normally, Hollywood just uglies up a good looking actor with prosthetics and make up when they need a character in a movie to be ugly, so its a major coup that (are you sitting down for this?) an honest to God ugly person was hired to play an actual ugly person.  No makeup and/or prosthetics necessary.

I’ll take Mike’s nomination as a positive sign, but I’m putting Hollywood on notice that I do expect to see ugly actors playing nice, good natured, non-murderous folks in the future.  I want to see ugly actors not merely cast in their stereotypical roles as bridge trolls, CHUDs, monsters, criminals and psychos, but I also want to see uggos playing doctors, lawyers, business people, CEOS, titans of industry and pillars of the community.

We’re here.  We’re ugly.  Get used to it.  We have cast the paper bags placed on our heads by “The Man” and we are ready to support Michael Shannon in his quest for Oscar glory.

Who’s with me?  Academy, you must heal beautiful/ugly relations by giving Mike a statue!

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Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Canine reincarnation.  Animal acting controversy.  Pooch Hall in a 1980s Jerry curl.

BQB here with a review of the sappy schmaltz fest that is, A Dog’s Life.

Before I venture into this review, I suppose I should discuss the elephant in the room.  This film was expected to get more play as an ode to man’s best friend, but all that was cast aside when video surfaced of a trainer struggling to get a German Shepherd to enter a turbulent pool of water, followed by the dog later ending up submerged a little longer than anyone would like to see.

More on that from the LA Times.

Honestly, I don’t know.  I watched the video.  The dog isn’t beaten or anything, though that shouldn’t necessarily be the low bar that is set for dog treatment.  The dog is scared.  The trainer tries to get him to go into the pool anyway.  Eventually the dog is in the pool and he goes underwater for a bit.  At the end of the day, he’s safe.

Animal activists are all over the movie like stink on a monkey, raising the question of whether or not animals should be made to appear/perform in movies at all.

On the other hand, W. Bruce Cameron, author of the book the film is based on, released this letter to USA Today, which, if you read it, seems reasonable.

I don’t want to put words into the man’s mouth but my takeaway was, “We goofed.  We’re sorry.  I love dogs.  The movie is meant as a love song to the relationship between man and dog.”

I’ll let you decide.  Personally, I think it might be one of those lessons where everything worked out, the dog’s fine and there was a lesson learned.  Movie dog trainers are now on notice to not force dogs to do things they aren’t cool with.  Yes, it’s a teachable moment for the PETA crowd to express their views, but then again, in today’s knee jerk to become outraged within 30 seconds Internet/social media culture, the folks behind the movie are being treated as if they are collectively Satan…and I don’t sense a vibe that they are Satan.

Moving on to the film itself, Bailey, voiced by Josh Gad, begins his journey as a golden retriever owned by young Ethan.  Time moves on.  As in any life, there are happy times and sad times, proud times and profoundly disappointing times.

Long story short, the pooch buys the farm and is reincarnated as a different dog over and over again, each time to a different owner in a different time period.

Each owner has his/her backstory and it’s up to Bailey to help each human with their personal problems as best he can.  Some owners are kind.  Some owners are douches.

Morals laid down by the tale:

  • Your dog’s life is in your hands and ultimately, he/she ends up being as happy as you are.  If you’re a douche and you treat your dog in a douche-like manner, your dog will be unhappy.  If you rise above whatever it is that is dragging you down, you’ll find happiness if you remember to treat your dog right.
  • Your dog has thoughts.  No, a dog’s inner voice probably doesn’t sound like Josh Gad, but dogs get the gist.  They know if you are mad at them or happy with them.  They know what it is like to be treated well and they know what it is like to be treated like crap.
  • Give your dog a break.  Sure, they occasionally poop on your rug, but if you wouldn’t cast out a family member for making a mistake then give your dog the same courtesy.
  • Dogs are a lot of work.  Being a dog owner is a big commitment.  Think about whether or not you are up for it.  Being chained up in the back yard with occasional feedings and waterings whenever you feel like it is no life for a dog.
  • Ultimately, your dog is a source of unconditional love.  Your dog won’t leave you a Dear John letter or tell you to get lost.  Though you’ll often go to work, go out into the world and leave your dog alone, he/she is like a friend that’s always there waiting for you when you get home.

I hate to admit it, but the film was a real tearjerker.  I mean, not to spoil it, but as a viewer, you’re forced to witness a dog die over and over and over again and that’s before you even scrape the surface of the emotional pain his various owners are in.  Oh and time flashes by at a lightning pace and entire decades have come and gone before you realize it, so try to make the most of it before it is too late.

It sucks that the controversy derailed this film.  I sympathize with the people that are mad.  I sympathize with the people behind this film.

All and all, I’d say give the movie a chance.  There’s a definite love of all things furry behind it.

STATUS: Shelf worthy.  Woof.


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Zom Fu – Chapter 35


Shaoshang sniffed the air. “You reek of fear, whelp.”

Junjie’s hands trembled as he raised his fists.

“Bah ha ha!” The monster guffawed as he slapped his knee. “Oh, Yaozu! What a gaggle of women your clan has become if this is the best you were able to bring me.”

The master turned to Junjie. “Ignore his insults. Pay no mind to his games.”

“Are you going to cry, little girl?” Shaoshang asked.

Junjie looked at the beast with stone faced defiance.

“Why don’t you just step aside?” Shaoshang asked. “Clearly, you are a failure.”

“I’m…” Junjie stopped and gulped. “I’m not.”

“Your master is dead,” Shaoshang said as he paced to and fro, dragging the chain behind him. “Yet you are so weak he must carry you even in death.”

Junjie gritted his teeth. He squeezed his fists tightly, putting so much pressure on his fingers they looked as though they might pop.

The beast grinned. In doing so, he lit up the room with his shiny, dagger-like teeth. “Does your master wipe your nose and your bottom for you too, little one?”

That did it. “Ahhhh!” Junjie shouted a battle cry as he lunged at the monster, only to be repelled back by a flawless kick. The monster took great pride in making his moves seem effortless.

“Will you cry when Dragonhand rules China?” Shaoshang asked. “Will it pain you to your core to know that so many people died because a worthless nothing was called upon to save them?”

Junjie stood up. Without thinking, he sprang to his feet and fired off a kick at the monster. It did not connect. Rather, Shaoshang caught his opponent’s foot and used it to flip Junjie through the air.  The hero landed on his backside.

Shaoshang sighed. “This is what you get for taking in orphans, Yaozu. People don’t feed stray dogs and abandoned children for a reason.  No one in their right mind wants what others have thrown away.”

Finally, the hero landed a punch. Junjie assailed the monster’s abdomen with rapid fire punches. Shaoshang took seven or eight hits before he swatted his attacker away.

Swoosh! Woosh! Like two sets of sharp knives, Shaoshang’s claws passed over Junjie’s head again and again, coming closer to shredding Junjie into ribbons each time. The chain attached to the creature’s neck clanked loudly across the floor.

Junjie stepped backward. He and Shaoshang eyeballed one another.

“I can’t imagine what a sad disappointment you were to motivate your parents to look at you and say, ‘Eh, we won’t miss much if we rid ourselves of this little shit.’”

Junjie lost control. He ran at the monster. Shaoshang sidestepped the attack, then picked up a length of his chain, twirled it, and wrapped it tightly around Junjie’s neck.

“Yes,” Shaoshang said as he yanked up on the chain. “You want to give up. You want this agony to end. You want to be free of a lifetime of failure.”

Junjie’s face turned red. He slapped at the beast’s claws to no avail.

“Shh,” Shaoshang said. “Let it happen.”

The master stepped in front of Junjie’s face. “Disciple! Your focus must only be on your opponent’s defeat! Nothing else!”

“Erghhhh.” Junjie’s muscles strained as he tugged on Shaoshang’s claws.

“Every opponent has a weakness,” the master said. “Find his!”

Junjie’s face turned purple. He stomped on Shaoshang’s foot. The monster roared in pain. The hero stomped and stomped until Shaoshang let go.

“Gahh!” Junjie gasped for air. He ran forward and turned around. Shaoshang was angry. His body was in motion and he was on a collision course for Junjie.

Shaoshang ran and ran until…CLANK! He reached the end of his chain.

Junjie marveled at the sight before him. The vile demon strained and struggled but the chain prevented him from moving any closer. He took a few swipes, but Junjie easily dodged them.

The hero chuckled.

“And what are you laughing at, whelp?” Shaoshang asked.

Junjie ran into Shaoshang’s space, pummeled the beast, then returned to safety just before…CLANK! The monster was stymied by the chain once more.

“Your weakness,” Junjie said.

“A lucky shot,” Shaoshang said.

Junjie lept into the air and sent a flying kick toward the beast. Shaoshang took three shots to the face before Junjie landed. The hero backflipped out of the monster’s perimeter just in time to avoid a razor claw swipe.
“You’re cheating,” Shaoshang griped. “Just like the First Master of your joke of a clan!”

Junjie backed up…and up….and up…putting plenty of distance between his body and the monster.

“I knew your bitch would give up, Yaozu,” Shaoshang said.

“Wait for it,” the master replied.

Junjie ran toward the beast. Shaoshang’s claws burst into flames as he hurled a barrage of fire balls at his opponent.

The hero gained momentum. He picked up speed. Soon his body became an unstoppable force, one that rammed right into the creature, knocking him off his feet.

Shaoshang attempted to stand, but was pulled back to the ground by his chain. He looked up. Junjie was holding it.

“No,” Shaoshang said.

Junjie nodded his head up and down as if to say, “Yes.”

Out of sheer desperation, Shaoshang reached for his collar and tried to remove it, even though he had not been able to do so in thousands of years. He braced his feet against the ground but was not able to slow Junjie from pulling his catch in.

“Damn it, Yaozu!” Shaoshang cried. “This is not fair!”

The master shrugged his shoulders. “A win is a win.”

Junjie wrapped the chain around Shaoshang’s neck and yanked on it.

“I’m sorry,” Junjie said as he turned his right hand into a tiger claw. “Please forgive me.”

“No!” Shaoshang cried. “No, no, no, no, no!”

Bash! Junjie’s tiger claw tore through the beast’s skull.

“Ugh,” Junjie said as he felt the slimy demon brain in his hand. “Do I really have to, master?”

“I’m afraid so,” the master replied.

Junjie winced as he pulled the brain out. A lengthy section of spinal chord came with it.

“Disgusting,” Junjie said as he turned his nose up at the prize. “It smells awful.”

“Most brains do,” the master said. “Demon brains, more so.”

Junjie held the brain with both hands and stared at it. “I don’t want to go the way of Bohai.”

The master smiled. “You couldn’t if you tried. Eat.”

Ever so gingerly, Junjie pressed his tongue against the brain. He pulled back quickly and dry heaved. “Bleh.”

“You must gain the knowledge, my son,” the master said.

“Well,” Junjie said. “Here goes nothing.”

The hero closed his eyes and brought his teeth down on the demon brain. He bit into it and fought back the urge to vomit. He teared a good sized piece off and let it roll around in his mouth. His eyes watered and his stomach churned as he chewed. Inside his mouth, he could feel every vein, every bit of meat, every drop of blood.

Gulp. It went down.

“I don’t have to eat the whole thing do I?” Junjie asked.

“No,” the master answered. “And that you don’t want to speaks volumes of your character. Do you feel any different?”

Junjie looked at his hands and was taken aback as they burst into flames. He stared at them for awhile, then turned them off with his mind.

“I’m going to say yes,” Junjie replied.

“Good,” the master said. “Light your way back to the tank. From there, I will show you a secret passage to the forest.”

Junjie lit up his hands again. “You’re not coming?”

“I’ve served as Shaoshang’s jailer for a thousand years,” the master said. “There are certain duties I must tend to. Go along. I’ll follow shortly.”

Junjie nodded and headed up the winding staircase.

The master waited alone in silence for awhile until…poof! A giant red ghost popped up beside him.

“You do realize that there were at least four or five times when I could have snapped that boy in half had I wanted to?” Shaoshang asked.

“Excuses, excuses,” the master replied.

“I doubt this Dragonhand fellow will be as accommodating,” Shaoshang said.

“That is none of your concern,” the master said.

“And what of our deal?” Shaoshang asked.

“That is also not a reason for concern,” the master said.

“I didn’t throw a fight just to be cheated, old man,” Shaoshang said. “I’ll sneak your soul into Diyu so that you can begin your penance, but don’t think for a second I’ll let you out of your end of the bargain.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Yaozu said.

“You’ll serve twenty thousand years as my slave and not a day less,” Yaozu said. “You’ll make up for every day I was imprisoned by your pitiful clan.”

The master nodded. “I am a man of my word.”

“Even with the knowledge of my brain, the boy will fail,” Shaoshang said. “Fear drips from his every pore. The smallest slight causes him to doubt himself. Dragonhand will make short work of him.”

“My concern,” the master said. “Not yours.”

“Part of me hopes your whelp fails,” Shaoshang said. “It’ll be fun when the world is crushed under the foot of a dark warrior. Then again, I do so want that warrior to be me. When I’ve paid my debt to the Yama Kings and return to their good graces, I will move on the Dragon Throne. You can thank yourself for setting that in motion.”

“I must take my leave,” the master said.

“You’re not worried?” Shaoshang asked.

“I can only concentrate on one maniac bent on taking the Dragon Throne at a time,” the master said.

“I can’t believe your disciple apologized to me before taking my brain,” Shaoshang said.

“He’s polite,” the master said. “And pure of heart.”

“That’ll get him killed,” Shaoshang said.

“Perhaps,” the master said. “But to be impure of heart is no way to live.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 34


“An iron chain crafted by the First Infallible Master and fortified by the magic of the Staff of Ages,” the master said. “It has kept this beast in line for countless millennia.”

“Even worse,” Shaoshang said as he drummed his claws against the loops that dangled down from his neck. “It clashes with everything. I can’t do a thing with it.”

The monster paced back and forth, dragging the chain along the floor as it moved. The length continued to a plate in the wall, secured with two heavy screws.

“You’re looking well,” the master said.

Shaoshang flashed a toothy grin. “Looks have always been my strong suit, old man. Patience, on the other hand, not so much. Why do you waste my time?”

“Does it matter that much to you?” the master asked. “You have so much of it, after all.”

“Yes,” Shaoshang said. “But when you came in, you wrested me out of a splendid slumber. Oh, I was having the most magnificent dream.”

“It brought you joy, I presume?” the master asked.

“Oh yes,” Shaoshang said as he paced about. “You were there, burning alive, although I guess that’s out of the question. My word, Yaozu, if this Dragonhand fellow really got the best of you then I would very much like to shake his hand.”

“The two of you would get along well,” the master said.

“Anyway,” Shaoshang said. “Before I was so rudely interrupted, in my dream I was free and sitting upon the Dragon Throne. It was soaked in the blood of my enemies, many of which were either charred to cinders or separated from their heads. Oh how I enjoy putting heads on pikes.”

The beast reached out his hand and lightly traced a claw down the side of Junjie’s cheek. The hero winced.

“Speaking of heads,” Shaoshang said. “What a lovely ripe squash you have there.”

“Know your place, creature,” the master said.

“Come now, jailer,” Shaoshang said. “Surely there’s no harm in a little fun.”

“There is in your version of fun,” the master said.

A hot puff of steam popped out of Shaoshang’s nose. The monster’s nostrils flared and his eyes grew brighter as he shouted, “Then why have you disturbed me?!”

Junjie’s heart pounded.
“We need your brain,” the master said.

Shaoshang stepped back. “My…brain?”

“You’re not using it for anything productive,” the master said. “Give it to my disciple.”

“Yaozu you crazy old fool,” Shaoshang said. “Surely you jest.”

“No,” the master said.

“You really thought you and this pup would walk right into my prison and walk out with my brain?” Shaoshang asked.

“Why not?” the master asked. “It will bring you nothing but torment and misery for as long as you are trapped down here. You will dwell on your past. You will think about what you have missed out on, would could have been or should have been. You will yearn to be free but as long as that chain remains around your neck, you never will be. Many years from now, the bones of everyone alive today will be dust, as will be the bones of their children and children’s children. All will have moved on. You will still be here…alone.”

“Hmm,” Shaoshang said. “When you put it like that…”

“My disciple will soon challenge a gruesome foe,” the master said. “Dragonhand has consumed the brain of every kung fu master, including mine.”

“All fat and gristle I’d wager,” Shaoshang said.

“You have lived a long time,” the master said.

“Too long,” Shaoshang lamented.

“In your long life, you also mastered every devastating move in kung fu,” the master said.

“I had to do something with my time and masturbation grew old after the first thousand years,” Shaoshang said.

“Give my disciple your brain,” the master said. “He will grow strong with your knowledge. Meanwhile, you will die and return to Diyu.”

“Not exactly a selling point, old man,” Shaoshang said. “I don’t miss that heat. Or the torture. Another demon can take a turn pushing boulders and getting poked in the ass with a sharp stick, thank you very much.”

“You escaped before,” the master said. “You could do it again.”

Shaoshang stroked his chin. “Odd. You’d risk giving me another chance to take the Dragon Throne?”

“I know you can be defeated,” the master said. “It’s Dragonhand that I am not sure about.”

“Pbbbht,” Shaoshang said as he blew a raspberry. “As if this ‘Dragonhand’ could ever compare to me.”

“Maybe he can,” the master said. “Maybe he can’t. You’ll never know when you’re rotting away down here while he sits on the Dragon Throne, will you?”

Shaoshang snorted. “Damn you, Yaozu.”

“The same throne you have coveted for so long,” the master said.

“Damn you, Yaozu!” the beast repeated, louder this time.

“Think quickly,” the master said. “You have a chance to die and escape this imprisonment. Refuse and another offer will never be made again.”

“Bah,” Shaoshang grumbled.

“You will remain in captivity until the world crumbles and begins again anew,” the master said.

Shaoshang nodded. “You’ve talked me into it.”

“Good,” the master said. “Now hold still while my disciple claws out your brain.”

“Not so fast,” Shaoshang said. “Did you really think I’d give up my thinker without a fight?”

“I hoped so,” the master said. “If you win, you’ll remain in this hole forever.”

“Ahh,” Shaoshang said. “But if I win, I will have defeated an Infallible Master. That juicy victory will nourish me until the end of time.”

“Very well,” the master said. “My disciple will fight you.”

“Wait,” Junjie said. “What?”

“You will fight this vile demon and devour his brain,” the master said.

“Ahem,” Junjie said as he coughed into his hand. “Master, a word?”

“Excuse us,” the master said as he and Junjie walked into the darkness.

“Oh don’t worry about me,” Shaoshang said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Master,” Junjie said once he was away from the monster. “You didn’t think I was able to defeat Dragonhand, but now you think I stand a chance against that…thing?”
“He is chained,” the master said. “He is at a great disadvantage.”

Junjie paused for a moment before continuing. “And you’d have me eat his brain? Won’t that turn me into a brain fiend?”

“It is possible,” the master said. “But I do believe you are one of a handful of people in the world who are able to eat a brain and not succumb to temptation. The Staff of Ages would not have chosen you otherwise.”

Shaoshang’s voice traveled into the darkness. “What’s it going to be?”

“You’ll need his strength if you are to get Mei-Ling back,” the master said.

Junjie exhaled. “Fine.”

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