What’s Going On In Gil Thorp? Why is Gil Thorp sometimes in color now? March – May 2021


Beats me! There’s a couple different feeds for Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp and one of them offers colorized pictures. GoComics.com, where I read the strip, has, like, always used the black-and-white feed. But then in March it started, sometimes, switching to the color feed for a week or two. And then switching back to black-and-white. If I ever hear an explanation why I’ll pass it on. I do find the color version of the strip easier to read, making me wonder how Rod Whigham plans out the comics.

So this essay, I hope, will catch you up to date on Gil Thorp for late May 2021. If you’re reading after about August 2021 there’s likely a more up-to-date Gil Thorp plot recap here. Thanks for reading.

Gil Thorp.

8 March – 30 May 2021.

When last we saw Milford Sports, girls basketball center Tessi Milton was declining Vic Doucette for a date. Any date. This after she flirted with him to get the enthusiastic student sports commenter to cover girls basketball games.

The other girls basketball players decide Doucette needs to know she’ll never date him and why. She says it’s because he drives this “grandpa van”. The other players take her at her word. I’d wonder if Milton was offering a less-bad excuse than that she doesn’t want to date someone handicapped like Doucette is. His car is a 2004 GMC Something, modified so that he can drive it on days his cerebral palsy is particularly bad.

So they tell him. She won’t date him, because of his car. “And because she’s vapid and shallow”. Doucette says he can stop working on his prom-posal, then, a statement they take at face value. I’m not sure he wasn’t being wry. Doucette’s friend Doug Guthrie (they bonded over car stuff) tries consoling by the weird tack of asking why he was interested in Milton at all. Doucette liked how she was cute and seemed interested in him, and asks if that isn’t shallow. Which … like, all right, but you don’t need deep reasons to go see a movie with someone. It could be Guthrie’s bad at sympathy. But Guthrie does know that revenge is a dish best served in a cryptic, confusing way.

[ At the unofficial team photo ] A 1966 Pontiac GTO, licence plate 'MST3K', drives up in front of the girls basketball team. Vic Doucette waves from the driver's seat: 'Hey, Tessi! Looking good!' And then the car tears out of there.
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 26th of March, 2021. Okay, so I see why the boys teams can’t get to the playdowns if they’re made up of Mystery Science Theater 3000 nerds and not athletes. Quick check here, Coach Thorp: if you tell a player “heads up” and toss a softball at them, do they flinch before or after the ball hits them? If it’s after, maybe make them second-string.

Guthrie gets the team to take some photos. At the photo session, after the team gets knocked out of the first round of playdowns? Why, Doucette pulls up behind the wheels of a 1966 Pontiac Something, which I’m told is a cool car to have. He waves to Milton and then tears off.

He’s physically able to do this because Doug Guthrie crouches under the seat, working the pedals. (It’s Guthrie’s car; he and his father restored it.) And that sure showed her … uh … I’m not sure I can tell you. It has the shape of revenge, but I can’t imagine Milton feeling humiliated by this. But I also can’t read Doucette as being too traumatized by someone who flirted with him not being willing to date. Disappointed, sure, but … ? Eh, what do I understand of high school drama?


With that, the 27th of March, the Vic Doucette and girls-basketball storyline ended. The current one began the 29th of March, with one of the Milford Library Board resigning. Family’s moving to Denver. Also with senior Zane Clark rejoining the boys softball team. Things are “looking up” at home, in that he thinks he can make the time to be on the ball team. His father’s disabled, and his mother can only work part-time. So Zane Clark’s working, like, to midnight most nights. I am not sure what Zane thinks is “looking up”. But he’s also the vice-president of the senior class. So he seems to be one of those people who needs to do everything. He might even see his girlfriend Katy Brito again.

Meanwhile, Brito’s family Internet is out. This sends her father, grumbling, to the library to get some work done. There, Abel Brito discovers the library has computers that aren’t even being used. And a librarian who’s just, like, standing there answering questions that better signage could handle. He comes home fuming about the waste of taxpayer money.

(At a family dinner) [ Abel Brito gets ramped up --- again --- about the library ] Abel: 'Seriously, why do they need all those computers?' Zach Clark: 'For people like me! We can't even pay for cable anymore, Mr Brito. We have three kids sharing one outdated PC.'
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 23rd of April, 2021. “And another thing! The library had lights on over stacks that nobody was even in! And don’t get me started on how much money they’re throwing down the toilet with bathrooms on both floors of the building!”

He’s still fuming weeks later, after Zane Clark’s first and ultimately successful spell as relief pitcher, when he comes for a family dinner. Clark takes Abel’s attack on the library having computers personally. He depends on them, after all, and knows other people do, and that the library does not always have more than it needs. And storms out. It plays a bit abrupt, but we have to allow some narrative compression. I suppose also that they must have met before. The story introduces Clark and Katy Brito as an established couple. And Abel Brito must have been like this before. You don’t wake up one day the sort of person who fumes about the city spending money on the library. You get there by making a long series of wrong choices about your politics.

Mrs Brito says if Abel is so worked up about the library why doesn’t he join its board. And since it would be a terrible idea for him to take this advice, he takes this advice. When Clark learns there aren’t any other candidates, he decides to take responsibility and applies. Partly to kick back at Abel Brito, yes. Partly also because Corinna Karenna has pointed out his need to focus instead of bouncing around things. She meant about his pitching, which flutters between lousy and awesome. But when you give someone advice there’s no controlling how they’re going to use it.

So things look to be exciting for Katy Brito, who knew nothing about Clark’s plans until after they were made. So she’s angry at him, even though he declares he can’t see what he was wrong about.

Mimi Thorp: 'I'm telling you, Corina, you're a college-level talent.' Corina Karenna: 'Maybe. But I didn't go to any of the camps that get you noticed. And I haven't even applied, and it isn't going to happen. Okay?' Later, Gil Thorp: 'The problem is, she's right. The athletic scholarships are taken, and most admissions deadlines were months ago.'
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 27th of May, 2021. I don’t know why every time we cut away to Gil and Mimi Thorp they’re cooking but I guess that’s a normal thing to do. Me, I grew up in a family with the rule that if one person was cooking everyone else cleared out except to fetch things as directed.

Meanwhile there’s a story going about Corina Karenna. She’s been delivering blunt and perceptive advice to the Milford kids. Coach Mimi Thorp also notes she’s a skilled athlete. Has she considered applying for athletic scholarships to college? Karenna has. But her mother’s too depressed to function if she were to go to college. And anyway, all the deadlines are long past. I don’t know whether the Thorps are going to find some way around that. Sometimes the comic strip admits that things suck and there’s only bits one can do about that. We’ll have to wait and see what develops.

Milford Sports Watch!

Who does Milford play? Who do they just talk about playing? Here’s teams that showed up in the strip the last couple months.

Next Week!

Did April Parker just extract Randy Parker from his own comic strip? Did Sam Driver just get arrested? I hope to have any kind of answers when I look over Francesco Marciuliano and Mike Manley’s Judge Parker next week, all going well.

MiSTed: Dreams of a Lost Past/Loss, Part 4 of 4


And now to wrap up this vintage Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic, based on Doug Atkinson’s own Legion of Superheroes fanfics, “Dreams of a Lost Past” and “Loss”. The incomplete “Dreams of a Lost Past” was riffed in the first part of this series. It was starting from the second part that “Loss” began. It’s set after Supergirl died, part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Brainiac-5, super-intelligent but kinda dumb 30th century super-teen, has a plan he very much needs to be talked out of.

In the credit blurb at the end I mention having taken one sketch from another MiSTing I was procrastinating. I no longer remember what MiSTing that was, but imagine a time when I might have two whole projects under way at once. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?

And now, the conclusion. I don’t know what I’ll do next week, but I am leaning toward sharing another forgotten MiSTing.


> "All
> right, who says it’ll even work? Lightning Lad

JOEL: A daring hero from the world of typing exercises.

> wasn’t really
> dead when Proty used his life-force to revive him. I bet
> Mon-El wasn’t really dead when Eltro Gand

CROW: [ Giggles ]

> used this Exchanger
> to do the same thing. It probably just has some sort of
> mysterious healing powers that bring people back from comas,

JOEL: Maybe even semicomas and the occasional parenthetical expression.

> and Supergirl isn’t just in a coma. She’s *dead*, and people
> don’t come back from that. You wouldn’t want to die for
> nothing."

CROW: Not that you’d be in a position to complain about it.

> "I never had a good chance to examine Garth, because he
> was quickly shoved in that glass coffin and put on display.

JOEL: It was cool.

> I suspect he was really dead, though, because how many people
> in comas survive for weeks without food or water?"

TOM: Uhm…nine. No, thirteen.

> Jo
> shrugged. "And Superboy will tell you that Mon-El was dead,
> too. Lead poisoning kills Daxamites quickly,

JOEL: And Mon-El was a professional Daxamatician.

> and there was
> no breathing and no pulse. ‘Life-force’ isn’t something that
> can be isolated in a laboratory,

CROW: Unless it gets naughty and has to be grounded.

> but mystics like the White
> Witch will tell you that it exists. Although I reject terms
> like ‘soul’ that they would use,

JOEL: I also reject the term "pH balanced," so what do I know?

> the evidence requires me to
> agree with them."

TOM: That is to say, I reject the notion of a soul, but accept wholeheartedly the evidence for it and the consequences of that idea.

> "Not buying the arguments, I see. How about this? The
> Legion Constitution forbids killing.

CROW: Except for the badnasty jumpjumps.

> If you used this
> machine, you’d be killing yourself. That means you’d be
> kicked out of the Legion, and you don’t want that, do you?"

TOM: You’d miss out on Meat Loaf Mondays.

> "That is the most illogical–" Brainy caught himself,
> and smiled slightly. "You’re joking, of course."

JOEL: I have heard of these jokes; perhaps we might witness one someday.

> "A smile…there’s hope for you. Look, are you still
> going to do this?"

CROW: I don’t know; I have to wait for the zoning commission to meet.

> Brainy sighed. "Weighing the benefits and costs, I’m
> still forced to conclude that I’m willing to sacrifice
> everything for her."

CROW: Except my "McVote ’86" commemorative glasses celebrating the McD.L.T.

> "Wow…that’s selfless, since you wouldn’t be around to
> reap the benefits.

TOM: Unless she goes back in time to before when he’s dead and fulfills the relationship they didn’t have because she didn’t know she’d be dead later on.

> I think I love Tinya that much, but I
> don’t know if I’d be able to follow through. Think, though.

JOEL: Hong Kong Phooey and the cartoon Pac-Man had exactly the same voice. Doesn’t it make you wonder about the universe?

> You don’t think it was right for Supergirl to die, even
> though it slowed the Anti-Monitor and possibly saved the
> lives of billions?"
> "No, of course not."

CROW: How about if she slowed the Anti-Monitor, saved the lives of billions, and got you what’s behind door number three?

TOM: Mmm…I’m thinking.

> "So it would be even less just if she died for just one
> life…even if it was yours."
> "No. She’s too important to the universe, and to me."

CROW: Slowed the Anti-Monitor, saved the billions, door number three, *and* five hundred dollars.

TOM: Uhm…no, not this time.

> "Then why do you think she would want you to reverse
> your positions? You may think you’re below her, but I know
> she didn’t.

CROW: All of the above, with *seven* hundred dollars.

TOM: Maybe…no, not gonna take it.

> Was she that selfish, to put herself on the same
> pedestal you put her on?"
> Brainy was caught flat-footed. "I–" He paused. "I never
> saw it like that. You have a point."

CROW: Last offer, slow the Anti-Monitor, save billions, door number three, one *thousand* dollars and what’s behind the box!

TOM: I’ll take it! I’ll take it!

> "Damn right I do. Look, Brainy, all the Legionnaires
> are willing to put our lives on the line for others,

JOEL: Except Ray. He is not working out.

> and she
> was no exception. But it shouldn’t be robbed of its meaning,

TOM: Because heroism is negated by living afterwards.

> should it? All the dead Legionnaires gave their lives saving
> others. Ferro Lad…Invisible Kid…Chemical King…Karate
> Kid,

CROW: Actually, Ferro Lad just died of embarassment.

> just recently, and now Supergirl. Even Garth and
> Luornu’s third body were willing to give up their lives if it
> meant protecting others.

TOM: Even if those others were the cast of "Jesse."

> "That doesn’t mean that what you’re trying isn’t noble,
> of course.

JOEL: Just that it’s loopy.

> It’s just that those other deaths had some
> meaning, while you’d just be throwing your life away for
> someone who knew the risks she was taking.

CROW: So, if you become a superhero, you have to stop fighting the inevitability of your own death.

> All of us liked
> Supergirl, but we like you too, believe it or not. It’s not
> just a matter of weighing costs to the world–we’d miss you,
> and you’d be hurting a lot of people.

JOEL: ‘Course, that’s kind of balanced out by the people who won’t be accidentally killed by some goofy new invention of yours.

> Kara wouldn’t have
> wanted that, and I don’t think she’d want a second chance
> with a cost like that attached."

TOM: Maybe they could just keep the Exchanger and swap life-forces every week?

> Querl was silent. He reached out to the corpse and
> stroked its hair while contemplating.

JOEL: Ew, is this danduff shampoo? What the heck is this? Are people supposed to seep there?

> Finally he said, "My
> twelfth-level brain can’t compute emotional equations. I
> think you’ve convinced me, though.

TOM: But we’ll have to wait for my subcommittees to vote on it before I can go ahead with a new plan of action.

> As long as I have the
> body here, there’s one thing we can do, though."

CROW: Get the funny hat.

>
> * * * * *
>
> A group of Legionnaires stood on Shanghalla, the
> asteroid where the galaxy’s greatest heroes are buried.

JOEL: Those buried preposthumously were most upset about it.

> All
> the active Legionnaires who’d known Supergirl were here,
> while those who hadn’t–all the new members except Polar Boy
> and, surprisingly, Sensor Girl–remained to guard Earth.

CROW: Ooh, that Sensor Girl…one surprise after another.

> The
> others were gathered in the shadow of the Ferro Lad memorial
> to pay their final respects.

TOM: [ Whispering ] Psst! Did you bring the poem magnets?

> Brainiac 5 stood before the hole Element Lad’s powers
> had created. "The Twentieth Century has already paid its
> respects to one of its greatest heroes,

CROW: Back around the first couple times that Superman died.

> but I doubt they
> would deny us the chance for our own personal observance,"

JOEL: Even one made possible by grave robbing and borderline necrophilia.

> he
> said, his eyes on the black coffin embossed with the "S"
> symbol.

TOM: Ahem. Chuckles loved to laugh…tears were abhorrent to him…

> "All of us knew Supergirl, and fought alongside her.

JOEL: Except for *you*, Ray.

> We were her friends–some of us were more.

TOM: Some of us were androids she constructed in her sleep, too.

> "I am very poor at emotional speeches, as some of you
> know." Jo caught his eye briefly and smiled encouragingly.

JOEL: [ As Jo ] You’re doing a great job saying stuff that couldn’t be said at every other eulogy ever delivered.

> "It’s difficult to put Supergirl’s value to the universe into
> words.

CROW: Watch me try. "Slookelty bopplenerf weantroolub blix." See how difficult it is?

> Moreover, I know each of you have your own special
> memories of her. I would suggest we pause a moment and
> remember Kara."

TOM: HmmmmmmmMMMMMM…There! I’m done. What did you get?

> The group was silent for a minute. Some Legionnaires
> smiled as they remembered her; some cried softly; a few were
> incapable of showing their emotions on their faces.

JOEL: Some of the Legionnaires didn’t even exist.

> Brainiac
> 5 was stoic throughout.
> He broke into the reverie by putting his hand on the
> coffin. "Farewell, Kara. We will never forget you."

TOM: [ Stage whisper ] Who’s Kara?

CROW: [ As above ] I think we’re in the wrong room.

> He
> turned to the pallbearers and said, "You may commence."
> As Mon-El and Timber Wolf lowered the coffin into the
> ground, Element Lad prepared to fill in the grave again.

JOEL: Real friends show love by synthesizing manganese.

> Blok placed a block of marble at the head of the grave, and
> rumbled, "Wait until I am out of the way before you begin
> carving, Wildfire."
> "Hey, I’m always careful," said the energy man.

CROW: [ As Wildfire ] So — white or dark meat?

> He
> raised an arm of his containment suit and, with a tightly
> controlled beam of energy,

TOM: Is that the blue hand-ray or the red hand-ray?

JOEL: It’s the green hand-ray.

> carved words into the surface of
> the stone:
>
> Here Lies
>
> SUPERGIRL
>
> Kara Zor-El
>
> Linda Lee Danvers

TOM: Caroline Rhea.

JOEL: Angela "Scoop" Quickly.

CROW: Wheelie *and* the Chopper Bunch.

>
> Legionnaire and Friend
>
>
> When the burial was complete, the group split up.

JOEL: So, uh, wanna hit Big Stosh’s?

CROW: Knockwurst bar open?

JOEL: You bet.

> Jo
> and Tinya approached Brainy, who was still standing by the
> grave.
> "Great speech, man," Jo said, laying his hand on
> Brainy’s shoulder. Tinya gently put her hand on his arm.

CROW: It’s a slow-motion tackle.

> "Opening up like that was the bravest thing I’ve seen you do,
> Brainy.

JOEL: He opened up?

TOM: Yeah, didn’t you notice his eye twitching?

> I’m glad to see you’re coming to terms with this."
> "Indeed." He raised his eyes from the grave to the
> stars. "I was able to fight my obsessive tendencies for once,

TOM: And nobody new got killed by them.

> which is probably just as well. Who knows what might have
> gone wrong with the Exchanger?

CROW: He could have ended up with the body of a chicken and the mind of a Power Puff Girl.

> "We should make haste. There won’t be room on the
> Legion cruisers if we stay here to long."

JOEL: Rush hour is horrible around these desolate cemetary asteroids.

> They hurried
> towards the spaceship, leaving the asteroid’s memorials to
> departed heroes behind them.

CROW: They tried taking the memorials with them but realized that was dumb.

> [Credit where credit is due dep’t:

TOM: Ooh, it’s the introduction to a Mad Magazine article.

CROW: I love these.

> Superman’s speech is
> quoted from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #7,

JOEL: Except on Earth Two, where it was Crisis On Infinite Earths #9.

> and was written by
> Marv Wolfman. The Exchanger was created by Jim Shooter,

CROW: Yeah — on a dare.

> based on a concept by Jerry Siegel. The initial inspiration
> for this story came from LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (third
> series) #16,

TOM: Or maybe sixteenth series, number three…it’s hard to keep track.

> written by Paul Levitz.]

JOEL: You’ll love it, Paul Levitz!

CROW: And that’s a wrap.

[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]

[ SOL DESK. JOEL is standing, a little embarassed, in a Superman-style costume with a cursive ‘J’ at the center. He looks around, puts his arms out and starts a tiny hop. CROW and TOM enter from the right. ]

JOEL: [ Noticing them, slapping his arms to his side ] Aaugh!

CROW: Uhm…Joel?

JOEL: No, no, citizen. I do not know this "Joel" of whom you speak.

TOM: Joel, you’re just embarassing yourself now.

JOEL: I am not Joel! I am a friendly but powerful being from another star, here to help save you from your imminent peril.

CROW: That’s nice, honey, but we’re not in any imminent peril.

TOM: The story’s already done, remember? And you’re going to embarass *us* if you keep that up.

JOEL: [ Crestfallen ] Aw, c’mon, guys. Do you have to be so cynical?

CROW: I’m not saying it’s a bad look for you, you understand.

JOEL: Why not be silly? What’s it going to hurt? What kind of a world do we live in if whimsy, if silliness, if daydreams are rudely and immediately squashed flat? Is a world without levity worth getting out of bed for?

TOM: We’re not calling for the death of the imaginative spirit, we’re just asking that it show some dignity.

CROW: Can I be your sidekick?

JOEL: Of course, Crow. We’ll pick out a sensible yet identity-concealing costume for you right after we’re done with this. [ JOEL pats CROW on the head. ]

TOM: Crow! You’re betraying your trust as a keeper of public decorum and sensible frivolity!

CROW: Yeah, but it’s fun.

TOM: But…but I…I…

JOEL: Aw, c’mon, Tom. Join the legion.

TOM: [ Sobbing, and leaning into JOEL ] I will, I will.

JOEL: [ Hugging and patting TOM ] That’s a good robot. [ Looking to the camera ] What do you think, sirs?

[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER is studying TV’S FRANK’s snow brain. ]

FRANK: I’m so…woozy…

DR. F: Ah, yes, I think I see the problem… [ Noticing JOEL ] Ah, yes, Joel, a fine costume. I’ll be sure to whip up a hearty Kryptonite cheesecake to help you celebrate.
[ DR. FORRESTER takes out a container of fish food, pops open the top of FRANK’s snow brain, and sprinkles some food in. ]

FRANK: [ Sighs happily ]

DR. F: Until next time, Silverhawks…push the button, Frank.

FRANK: Can I do it with my mind?

DR. F: Oh, if you insist.

[ FRANK leans over, hitting his head on the desk. ]

                   \  |  /
                    \ | /                           
                     \|/                         
                   ---o---                           
                     /|\                          
                    / | \                         
                   /  |  \

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its related characters and situations are trademarks of and Copyright to Best Brains, Inc. The Legion of Superheroes is Copyright DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner, a corporation so vast and powerful if it wanted it could have all traces of my existence wiped out.

Use of copyrighted and trademarked material is for entertainment only; no infringement on or challenge to the copyrights and trademarks held by Best Brains or DC Comics is intended or should be inferred. The stories "Dreams of a Lost Past" and "Loss" are by Doug Atkinson and are used with permission. Whatever original material is in this MST3K fanfic is the creation of Joseph Nebus. This MiSTing is meant solely for personal entertainment and is not intended to be an insult to the creators or fans of the Legion of Superheros, Mystery Scence Theater 3000, the Game Show Network, or the Silverhawks. Discontinue use if rash persists.

The midshow sketch started out as the introductory piece, and only moved when I had no ideas for the midshow sketch, and could steal an introduction from another MiSTing I’m procrastinating. Sorry if it seems weird.

> Brainiac 5 looked at Jo with undisguised hostility. "I’m
> working on a private project, Ultra Boy. Leave me alone."

MiSTed: Dreams of a Lost Past/Loss, Part 3 of 4


Thanks for joining me on another day of reusing a late-90s Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. This continues Doug Atkinson’s “Loss”, a story about talking Brainiac-5 out of doing something really dumb, which the Legion of Superheroes gang had to do a lot back in the day. Probably still does. I don’t know; I haven’t read a recent Legion of Superheroes book except for the crossover issue they did with Batman ’66, which was everything I had hoped for. Nothing against comic books, I’m just not very good at reading new ones. At heart, I like the Silver Age Nonsense parade.

So the mid-show host sketch here is inspired by some Silver Age Nonsense. I’d picked up a collection of Silver Age Superman story reprints from the closing sale of a comic book shop in the legendary Latham Circle Mall. So that’s where that sketch comes from, and I’m happy to say I was ahead of the curve on the Internet noticing Silver Age Superman was like that. Of course, nobody cared that I was there ahead of time. All the references are accurate and unexaggerated.

I regret the line that just assumed obesity was by itself a health threat. I accepted uncritically the social consensus about that. I stand by the thesis of the sketch; I would hope I’d write it better today.

Part 1 of the MiSTing covered the incomplete “Dreams of a Lost Past”. And then Part 2 started “Loss”, set in the aftermath of the death of Supergirl in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I haven’t decided what to do after this is done. I’m leaning toward bringing out another MiSTing. If you dimly remember an old piece of mine you’d like to see reprinted and maybe apologetically explained, please let me know. I’ve got stuff I forgot I ever did. Not sharing the Lynn Johnston piece.


[ SOL DESK. JOEL is sitting behind the desk, playing with the courderoy starship. ]

JOEL: [ Looking up ] Welcome back, folks. It’s quiet right now, but I expect my youthful wards Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot to come to me momentarily with some silly but endearing crisis of faith in our pop cultural world.

TOM: [ From offscreen ] JOEL!

CROW: [ Also offscreen ] We need to talk!

JOEL: [ Calling ] That’s what I’m here for, guys.

[ TOM and CROW suddenly enter on opposite sides of JOEL. TOM is holding "Giant Superman Annual" #1. ]

CROW: OK, we were reading this bunch of old Superman stories.

TOM: And there’s this sick one where Lois Lane witnesses a murder but can’t give a good description of who did it.
[ JOEL picks up TOM’s comic book and shows it to the camera. ]

CROW: But afterwards she gets accidentally zapped with this experimental ray that’s supposed to make plants grow better and it makes her enormously fat.

TOM: And it turns out Metropolis is basically worldwide headquarters for ways to embarass fat people.

CROW: And after a month of feeling horribly ashamed at Superman seeing her overweight Lois runs into the murderer and he gets ready to shoot her when Superman comes and catches him. Turns out he was watching her the whole time for the muderer to show himself.

JOEL: [ Nodding ] I’m with you so far.

TOM: OK, but then Superman reveals Lois *wasn’t* accidentally zapped with the fat ray. He arranged for it to happen on purpose while he used her — without *telling* her — as bait to drag out the bad guy.

CROW: And he knew how to get her back to normal anytime he wanted.

TOM: So why did Superman want to do anything that changed how she looked?

CROW: The fact is, putting aside his non-consenting use of her to trap a crook, the Supester subjected the putative love of his life to an experimental ray that did all sorts of screwball stuff to her metabolism, inflicted who knows what long-term trauma to her cardiac and skeletal systems, and blasted her self-esteem into subatomic pieces, without even thinking to ask her…

TOM: And for absolutely no comprehensible reason other than he wanted to watch her being fat!

JOEL: Well, hey, nothing wrong with liking a heavy-set girlfriend, right?

TOM: Nothing wrong with it, except what kind of *creep* do you have to be to *mutate* your girlfriend to please your own eye?

CROW: Yeah! Where’s the consideration? Where’s the respect? What kind of animals raised Superman anyway?

JOEL: That would be his foster parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent.

CROW: And could they not take a moment to explain to Clark he should ask someone before transmogrifying her?

TOM: Isn’t this basic, common courtesy?

JOEL: Guys, it’s just an old comic book…you shouldn’t try to read too much into it.

[ MOVIE SIGN. General alarm. ]

JOEL: We gotta run, guys!

CROW: Oh, and don’t get us *started* on the comic where Lois gets turned into a witch!

TOM: Crow, come on!

[ 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. ]

[ ALL enter theater ]

TOM: And then right here in the back of the book, Batman and Superman play this duel of mind-warping games in pursuit of some mad birthday prank!

CROW: Not to mention the mermaid!

JOEL: I wouldn’t.

> Whacked-out Querl Dox,

JOEL: [ Singing ] Querl Dox…a little dox’ll do ya!

> who builds the machines
> that go berserk."

CROW: Just ’cause they accidentally blew up seventeen planets you think I’m the problem.

> He pointed the electronic spanner at Jo
> viciously.

TOM: Heh…you know what he’s *really* saying…

CROW: No, actually, I don’t.

TOM: [ After a pause ] Me neither.

> "Supergirl died to save the universe from the
> Anti-Monitor.

CROW: Isn’t that always the way?

> She was always risking her life to save
> others.

TOM: And vice-versa.

> That devotion…that selflessness shouldn’t be
> allowed to perish from the universe before its time! She was
> only in her twenties…

JOEL: Oh, but that’s actually in dog-twenties.

> who knows how long she could have
> lived, fighting all the time to save others."

TOM: Uhm…I’ll say eight. No, ten. Definitely ten.

> He dropped his head and arm abruptly. "Not like me. I
> try to good, and what happens?

CROW: Maybe if he tried to great instead, things would average out?

> People die. I build the
> Earth’s most powerful AI, and it rampages through Metropolis.

JOEL: That’s Metropolis’s fault, though, for not enacting those no-rampaging-AI ordinances a few years back.

> Pulsar Stargrave uses my genius, and I channel all the
> universe’s evil into Omega."

TOM: I set the VCR to tape "Pokemon" and it melts Spain.

> A broad arm gesture took in the
> Exchanger, the two flat bed with the powerful apparatus
> connecting them.

CROW: So this exchanger is pretty much your generic Two-Victim Bad Guy Machine.

> "Once this is working again, I’ll be able to
> transfer my life energy into Kara and bring her back to life.

JOEL: Even though everything else I’ve ever tried has screwed up in horrible, terrifying ways.

> I’m willing to die to bring her back."
> _Dr. Frankenstein has entered the headquarters_, thought
> Jo. "Don’t talk like that, Brainy.

TOM: Let’s just cuddle instead.

> You don’t really want to
> die. Is it really worth it?"
> "Ask Matter-Eater Lad,

CROW: Oh, he’s the guy with the power to turn anything in the world into garlic bread.

> who went insane because of me.
> Ask Duo Damsel, whose third body was killed by Computo.

JOEL: Fortunately Duo doesn’t hold grudges.

> Ask
> the people whose homes were leveled by Omega, or whose loved
> ones he killed. They’d say it’s a fair exchange."
> Jo held his hands up in a T. "All right, time out.

TOM: Offensive holding; ten yard penalty.

> Enough with the death talk for a moment, and for God’s sake
> put down the spanner."

CROW: You have no idea where it’s been.

> Jo’s blue eyes met Brainy’s yellow-
> and-green ones, and locked with them. Finally Brainy lowered
> his gaze and placed the spanner on a table.

TOM: Secretly unknown to Brainiac 5, Jo is his older brother Rex who disappeared in the mountain ranges of Krypton several years earlier.

> "Now. I understand that we aren’t the best of friends.
> You’ve never been the type to pal around, and we tend to move
> in different circles.

JOEL: Plus there was that time you tore my brain out of my skull and planted it in a large wolverine.

> But I know that it’s difficult losing
> a loved one, and that’s it’s good to talk things out.

TOM: Yes, a bland, impersonal conversation with a casual acquaintance helps you recover from losing the love of your life.

> Especially for someone like you,

CROW: Such as Benton Frazier’s boss on "Due South."

> who keeps his feelings
> bottled up all the time.
> "Why are you having so much trouble accepting her death?

JOEL: ‘Cause I wasn’t there to sign for it and the delivery company’s a pain.

> Not to sound insensitive, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise."
> Brainy kept his eyes on the floor for a while.

TOM: Hey…the wood trim isn’t level.

> When he
> spoke, his voice was hoarse. "I loved Kara from the time we
> first met, at her membership trial.

CROW: I told her so after she got her first twelve CDs for a penny.

> I never stopped loving
> her during all the time she hardly ever came to the Thirtieth
> Century. I valued the short times I spent with her, knowing

JOEL: That if we stand on tippy-toes the times would seem taller.

> I wouldn’t have very many of them.
> "It hurt when she decided not to pursue our romance any
> further.

TOM: It was like she had the idea I was some borderline-psychotic mad scientist who keeps accidentally unleashing destruction on the world.

> I went a little crazy then…you remember the
> Supergirl robot I built in my sleep?" Jo nodded.

CROW: Did you ever build a Supergirl robot in your sleep, Joel?

JOEL: I’ll talk with you about that when you’re older, dear.

> "And all
> that time I had to keep my distance a little, because she was
> living under a death sentence. It was like loving someone
> with a terminal disease, except that she didn’t know it was
> coming…and I couldn’t tell her.

TOM: Mind you, it is really hard to work into casual conversation.

> Knowledge of the future is
> a curse…it’s why Superboy quit for a couple of years.

CROW: Er, why he’s going to quit, next year.

> "I never learned to let my feelings out as a child–
> Coluans aren’t encouraged to.

JOEL: And, by the way, I’m Coluan.

TOM: You know, when in Colua, you should do like the Coluans do.

> My parents were dead, and the
> other children resented my intelligence so much that I never
> made any friends.

CROW: The only guy who’d play with me was that Keith Aksland guy.

> I’d never had someone I could let myself
> open up to before. But I resented having this barrier
> between us,

TOM: And it hurt all the worse that it was the Cone of Silence.

> that I always knew we wouldn’t have much longer,
> and she didn’t. Perhaps if she had, she’d have visited more
> often, I thought, but telling her would be far too cruel.

JOEL: Unless I broke it to her with sock puppets. They make anything fun.

> It
> might also cause a paradox, and even I couldn’t predict the
> results.

TOM: Heck, who couldn’t call *that* one from miles away?

> "I hate feeling powerless, Jo. My whole scientific
> career has been devoting to pushing the limits of natural
> law.

JOEL: Except for that sabbatical year I spent developing new flavors for Velveeta.

> Science tells us that time only moves forward, so I
> work on time travel.

CROW: Actually, it tells us the most probable sequence of events is one which maximizes entropy, which is commonly interpreted to represent the forward flow of time.

> Science tells us that tons of material
> can’t be stored in a closet,

TOM: Unless you try.

> so I invent the storage
> tesseract. Science tells us that inanimate materials can’t
> think–Blok notwithstanding–so I design a supercomputer.

JOEL: Science just keeps calling up late at night, snickering at me, and hanging up.

> I
> don’t like thinking that there are forces behind my control
> that I can’t harness.

TOM: If we could just make the forces of nature run on a really *big* hamster wheel…

> "I especially don’t accept the idea of ‘fate,’ or
> whatever you want to call it.

CROW: OK. I want to call it "Destiny."

TOM: I want to call it "Thor."

JOEL: How about "Mookie?"

CROW: On second thought "Fate" is fine by me.

> Projectra or the White Witch

JOEL: Hey, they were bit characters on H.R. Pufnstuf.

> would call me hopelessly hard-headed and small-minded, but I
> can’t accept that Kara had a predestined time to die, and
> that nothing could have been done to stop it.

CROW: I mean, c’mon, she’s a superhero. They never die for more than maybe two months at the outside.

> It’s in my
> hands to reverse that." He cast a glance at the Exchanger.
> "Perhaps you don’t understand–you and Phantom Girl have been
> together for years now."
> "I understand losing a loved one.

JOEL: I still have a shrine to my dead hamster Benny.

> Maybe you remember An
> Ryd? Y’know, the woman you killed and framed me for the
> murder?

TOM: [ As Brainiac 5 ] What, you’re not over that yet?

> I know it wasn’t your fault, but I still loved her
> once." Brainy bit his lip, and Jo decided to change the
> subject.

TOM: [ As Jo ] What do you think of ginger ale?

> "What about the paradox problem? I’m no temporal
> scientist like you, but I thought the history books couldn’t
> be changed. History says that Supergirl died in 1985."

JOEL: ‘Course, History also says Jay Ward was the 14th president of the United States. I think it’s drunk or something.

> "First of all, I don’t think history is all that
> trustworthy. Supergirl was seen to die,

CROW: But heck, who hasn’t been seen to die at least a couple times?

> but we all saw you
> killed in an explosion, too. As I recall, you returned in
> Superboy’s body and calling yourself ‘Reflecto.’

TOM: So he lost his sense of dignity in the explosion.

> While I
> don’t pretend to understand that convoluted series of events,
> it tells me that Supergirl’s perceived ‘death’ isn’t
> incompatible with her living under an another name."

JOEL: As…uh…Superlady…woman…hero. Or something.

> Brainiac seemed to animate with the argument.

CROW: Sketch Quick Draw McGraw in only four easy moves.

> "Secondly,
> who says history is immutable?

JOEL: R. L. Stein, that’s who.

> The Legion decided early on
> to go back in time and meet Supergirl, invite her to join us.
> Later on we did the same thing with Superboy.

TOM: Still later we traveled back in time to warn our younger selves not to request "Clyde’s Car Crusher" as a birthday present.

> Later on we
> found historical evidence that they’d time travelled
> occasionally.

CROW: The evidence for this being that the Sphinx suddenly resembled Gleek the Wonder Monkey.

> Were the time trips predestined? As I said, I
> don’t accept that. I believe history would heal itself,

JOEL: Or would wipe us out of existence. Whichever.

> and
> we’d come to accept that Supergirl miraculously returned to
> life, after she was thought dead. Alternatively, she could
> live in our century, causing no conflict with our history
> books."

TOM: Alternatively, she could move to Long Island and come into the city for special occasions.

> Jo realized that Querl could run circles around him in
> temporal arguments. He decided to change his tactics.

CROW: [ As Jo ] If I invade Russia in winter it’s bound to impress him!


[ To be concluded … ]

MiSTed: Dreams of a Lost Past/Loss, Part 2 of 4


Last week I began sharing a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic from the late 90s. This was based on two pieces of Legion of Superheroes fan fiction, the incomplete “Dreams of a Lost Past” and the complete “Loss”. “Dreams … ” was run in full last week. Now, let me begin “Loss”.

The Legion of Superheroes written about here were a 30th Century team of teenagers using their superpowers to play a never-ending bonkers game of “The Floor Is Lava”, each round of which had a 15% chance of blowing up the Universe. Anyway, a longrunning piece of the setup was how Brainiac-5, descendant of the city-shrinking-and-stealing computer-brain supervillain Brainiac, had a doomed crush on Supergirl. Not because Supergirl lived in the 20th century — they were up to their hips in time-travel — but because she died for real and good and this time we mean it in a pivotal issue of the Crisis On Infinite Earths series. And Brainac-5, most intelligent being in the galaxy, with a whole twelfth-level computer brain, with access to a time machine and the ability to make robot duplicates of whatever the heck he pleased, couldn’t figure a way to keep her in the 30th century while she’s seen to have died in the 20th. If you’re going to keep looking at me like that we aren’t going to have any superhero comic books to read at all. Anyway, “Loss” is about Brainiac-5 dealing with how Supergirl just died in 1985. Let’s read.


>
>
> LOSS

CROW: The inside story of the New Jersey Nets.

>
> An untold tale of the Legion of Super-Heroes

TOM: All the tales too ticklish to untell.

>
> by Doug Atkinson

TOM: Or At Dougkinson. Whichever.

>
> The Man of Steel soared into space,

JOEL: Hey, look, there he is.

> carrying his grim
> red-wrapped burden.

CROW: So that’s Krypto’s Super-Pooper-Scooper.

> He came to a stop somewhere outside the
> orbit of Jupiter,

TOM: He’ll have to swerve to avoid hitting the monolith.

> and released it with a gentle push. As it
> slowly tumbled towards the giant planet,

CROW: Bet Irwin Allen’s behind this story too.

> he bowed his head
> and whispered, "Good-bye, Kara…Linda Lee…Supergirl.

JOEL: And all the ships at sea.

> I
> will miss you forever."

TOM: At least if you keep ducking.

> He remained there for a moment, then
> turned back towards Earth. There was a Crisis that demanded
> his attention.

JOEL: Wendy and Marvin need help on their homework.

> The corpse of Supergirl, wrapped in her cape of
> stretchable Kryptonian cloth,

CROW: [ Singing ] It’s magically delicious!

> drifted until it impacted the
> surface of the moon Callisto. With a faint spray of methane
> snow, it settled into the ice.

CROW: Give me a Supergirl, straight up, on the rocks.

> A short time later, a large sphere of metal and glass
> appeared from nowhere. Its front opened, and a purple-clad,
> green-skinned man stepped forth.

JOEL: The Incredible Hulk?

TOM: The Mask?

CROW: Rattfink?

> Although seemingly
> undefended from the vacuum and near-absolute zero
> temperature, his molecule-thin transuit served as more than
> adequate protection.

TOM: So don’t think he was a dummy.

> Gathering the corpse into his arms, he whispered, "At
> last I have a chance to correct one of the greatest
> injustices in history."

JOEL: Excuse me, it’s called Social Studies now.

> He cradled the corpse for a second
> before stepping back into the time sphere and activating the
> return control.

TOM: No, Mr. Beckett, I’m not going to give you a ride home.

> The sphere entered the time stream, vast
> bands of hallucinogenic color shooting past with neon
> numbers.

CROW: Or neon colors with hallucinogenic numbers. Whichever.

> 11111000001….11111001011…11111010101…until he
> at last 101110101001 flashed past, and the sphere came to a
> stop.

JOEL: [ Singing, roughly, "21" ] So it seems like 101110101001 is gonna be a good year…

> Its pilot stepped into an enormous laboratory and
> carried his prize to a strange device, which looked archaic
> and out-of-place amongst the high-tech wonders surrounding
> it.

TOM: It’s hard to explain the love a person has for his first Mattell Aquarius.

> He gently placed the body on a bench that had been
> specially cleared for this purpose, and turned to work.

JOEL: You know, sawing a woman in half doesn’t have the same suspense when she’s dead.

>
> * * * * *
>
> A brown-haired man in an exotic red-and-green costume
> stood before the thick door and hammered futilely.

CROW: So he’s visiting a Christmas ornament?

> "C’mon,
> Brainy. Open up already. You don’t want me using my ultra-
> strength to tear this door open, do you?" There was no
> response.

TOM: [ Whining, nerdily ] Aw, c’mon, let me in… I’ll cry!

> His hands and feet were braced to rip open the blast-
> shielded door when a foot-wide sphere of metal and energy
> floated to him.

JOEL: Ooh, Carl Sagan’s spaceship is visiting.

> "*breep* Legionnaire Jo Nah will refrain from
> damaging Legion headquarters. *breep*"

TOM: [ Sinister voice ] Oh, yes, you will *indeed* refrain from damaging Legion headquarters. Mwuh-ha-ha-ha-HA!

> Jo turned from the door to face the floating major-domo.
> "Computo, I have to talk to Brainy. Open the door."
> "*breep* My master has set the privacy warning

JOEL: Bet he’s looking for dirty pictures of Catwoman on the Internet.

> and has
> indicated his desire not to be disturbed. No one is allowed
> past this door. *breep*"

TOM: You know, I think Computo is being typecast as the *breep*ing boy.

> _I hate this obstinate bundle of
> circuits_, Jo thought.
> "This is on Element Lad’s orders,

CROW: Element Lad.

JOEL: A lad, a plan, a canal, lanthanum.

> Computo, on his
> authority as leader. Priority override the door…now."

TOM: You cross me, boy, and I’ll get the whole series of actinides on your case.

> "*breep* Complying…" The doors slid open.

JOEL: Such airtight security. You really see why computer locks have replaced latch and key ones that can’t be overridden.

> Jo didn’t
> bother to thank the computer; he just walked in, the doors,
> shutting behind him.
> Brainiac 5

CROW: Detroit 4, in ten innings.

> looked at Jo with undisguised hostility. "I’m
> working on a private project, Ultra Boy. Leave me alone."
> "Yeah, I know what your ‘private project’ is.

TOM: Gerbil farming for fun and profit.

> He
> squinted. "My penetra-vision shows me Supergirl’s body on
> that bench, so don’t try to pretend.

CROW: You’re planning to go to the Genesis planet!

> I figured this was what
> you were up to."
> "How did you know?

JOEL: I don’t…actually I’m kind of winging this whole deal.

> I hid my traces when I stole the
> time sphere."
> "Rond and Dr. Chaseer knew something was wrong when you

CROW: Put on that Afro wig and demanded we address you as "Courageous Cat."

> got that look in your eyes and took of from the bar like a
> Korbalian lightning beast was on your tail.

TOM: The lightning beast’s not Korbal?

> You may have
> designed the time travel monitor at the Time Institute,

JOEL: I mean, sure you may have. I don’t know. Heck, I don’t even know who you are.

> but
> you can’t sabotage humanoid intuition. And when we saw the
> Exchanger was gone from the security room, it didn’t take a
> twelfth-level computer brain to figure out what you were up
> to."

CROW: So… what are you up to?

> "Well, now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can
> leave." He turned back to the Exchanger and began making
> small adjustments to its circuitry.

JOEL: Stupid picture-in-picture button never works…

> "Not so fast, pal. Dreamy thinks you’re going to try
> something desperate, and I think she’s right. You’ve never
> been good at handling emotions.

TOM: But you make up for it with your telephone skills.

> You need someone to talk to
> before you do something crazy."

CROW: Now step away from the corpse, return the magic machine to the library, and leave the frozen moons of Jupiter in peace.

> "Crazy?" Brainy’s voice raised for the first time as he
> spun on Jo. "Crazy?

JOEL: [ Cheery ] And proud of it.

> That’s what I am, isn’t it?

CROW: [ As above ] Well, yeah!

> The crazy
> Legionnaire!

TOM: Man, it’s like you’re reading our minds.

JOEL: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

CROW: Sure.

[ ALL file out. ]

[ COMMERCIAL BREAK ]

[ To be continued … ]

MiSTed: Dreams of a Lost Past/Loss, Part 1 of 4


So I have another Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction to share here. This is a really old one, first published on Usenet in the 1990s. You’ll only be able to tell by how dated some particular riffs are but, you know? I like just how extremely dated they are.

This pair of stories — the incomplete “Dreams of a Lost Past” and the complete “Loss” — are fan fiction for the Legion of Superheroes, a comic book I had never read at the time and knew almost nothing about. I have since learned a bit more about the bonkiest superhero group outside the Metal Men. It turns out everything preposterous I made up about Brainiac-5 and his gang was pretty much real and actually literally true. So that’s fun.

I believe that this pair of stories was volunteered by their author, Doug Atkinson, to the Web Site Number Nine Dibs List, an e-mail chain that tried to match up original fanfic authors and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic writers. I can say that, at least back then, Atkinson was pleased with my work. I hope that, wherever he is, he still is, or at least that he is no more embarrassed by his youthful writing than I am by mine.


[ OPENING SEQUENCE ]

[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]

[ SOL DESK. CROW is wearing a polyester suit and has a card propped up in his hand. TOM is standing in front of JOEL, with the cap on his head replaced with a balloon-like pad. JOEL is holding his hands over TOM’s head. TOM is making sound effects. Sketch is fast paced; no break between lines. ]

JOEL: Come on, big money, big money, no whammies… [ Hitting TOM’s head ] STOP!

TOM: Ow!

CROW: OK, you stop on our survey question; we asked 100 people at random the following question; top five answers on the board. ‘What is a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day?’

JOEL: I’m gonna say… an ice cream soda!

TOM: Good answer, good answer.

CROW: Show meeeeeeee…ice cream soda!

TOM: Ding ding ding ding ding!

JOEL: Wahoo!

CROW: Bringing you to the Speed Round; seven-letter word on the board, you start with an L and a D and twenty-five seconds.

JOEL: L!

TOM: Ping!

JOEL: J!

TOM: Ping!

JOEL: E!

TOM: Ping!

JOEL: D!

TOM: Ping!

JOEL: ‘Pharmacist’

TOM: Ding ding ding ding ding!

CROW: That puts you on the board with a Five.

JOEL: I’m gonna say, 300 dollars, higher! [ Pointing up with both thumbs. ]

CROW: Reveals a Three.

TOM: Ding.

JOEL: 250 dollars, Lower, lower. [ Again motions with his thumbs. ]

CROW: Got a Jack.

TOM: Ding.

JOEL: Everything I got, higher!

CROW: And we have an Eight!

TOM: Ding.

JOEL: Gonna freeze.

CROW: Freeze, freeze at four cards in, and that takes you to the prizes.

JOEL: [ Looking around ] I’d like the Amana freezer for three hundred forty-nine dollars…

CROW: Freezer.

JOEL: The microwave oven for one hundred eighty-five…

CROW: It’s yours.

JOEL: The Presidential chess set replica for seventy dollars…and the rest on a gift certificate.

[ CAMBOT pulls back to reveal GYPSY ]

GYPSY: Things you see on the Game Show Network. Things that were junk the first time around. Things you remember too well.

TOM: Ding ding ding ding ding!

[ TOM, CROW, GYPSY, and JOEL start jumping gleefuly as CAMBOT flashes $25,000 on the bottom of the screen and a simulacrum of the $25,000 Pyramid plays. ]

JOEL: We did it!

[ COMMERCIAL SIGN flashes ]

MAGIC VOICE: Thanks for playing, and we’ll be right back after this word from our sponsors.

[ COMMERCIAL BREAK ]

[ SOL. Calmed down considerably from above. JOEL is polishing CROW’s beak.TOM is reading a comic book. ]

JOEL: We ever figure out what to buy with that gift certificate?

TOM: They gave us a service certificate instead.

CROW: What’s the difference?

TOM: This wasn’t good for anything.

JOEL: Still, that was fun.

CROW: We should do that more often.

TOM: Can’t. You can’t be on another game show for at least ninety days.

JOEL: Says who?

TOM: It’s a rule.

CROW: I never heard that rule.

TOM: You dare question me?

JOEL: Hang on, boys, the trylon and the perisphere are on the line.

[ JOEL taps MADS SIGN ]

[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER and TV’S FRANK are wearing large sacks covering some kind of globes on top of their heads. ]

DR. F: Ahoy, hoy, lackeys and layabouts. Are you prepared to see yourselves bested in yet another Invention Exchange?

FRANK: I know I am!

[ SOL DESK. JOEL and the bots have a model spaceship covered by a piece of velvet. The desk is cleaned and TOM has nothing in his hands ]

JOEL: You bet.

TOM: We were thinking, as we often do, about the 70s.

CROW: And we realized there were some stylistic touches about that much maligned decade which, while goofy, were still kind of fun.

JOEL: So, combining that with our own precarious situation in space, we decided to create… [ Pulls off the velvet to reveal…]

ALL: The courderoy starship!

CROW: Warm, durable, and easily washed, this vision of tomorrow from the days of yesterday is sure to keep you at least as comfortable as a wood-paneled station wagon while waiting in line at the antimatter refilling module.

JOEL: Plus it makes the cutest little "fwit-fwit" noise when you go into warp.

TOM: [ Disclaimer voice ] Stephen Collins and Robert Forster sold separately. James Brolin not available in all areas.

[ DEEP 13. As before; their heads are still covered. ]

DR. F:Fascinating. Now then: Many, many — perhaps too many — science fiction and comic book writers have tried to look into the future of human evolution and concluded that in the future, people willhave vastly larger brains.

FRANK: Which means they’re going to need bigger heads.

DR. F: Right. But since evolution is slow, inexact, and ugly, we’re giving it a little hand up.

[ DR. FORRESTER and TV’S FRANK pull of the sacks, revealing snow globe-like shapes on their heads. ]

FRANK: But rather than fill this extra space with hair, we got creative!
[ They turn around, revealing cityscapes with the white snowflakes. ]

DR. F: So that you can display civic pride or make an amusing conversation piece while you wait for superhuman intelligence and psychic powers.

FRANK: We call them, ‘Snow brains.’

[ They turn back to the camera. ]

DR. F: Now then. Your medicine this week is a pair of "Legion of Superheros" works by one Doug Atkinson — the start of a story called "Dreams of a Lost Past," in which events almost happen, and "Loss," in which the main character is argued out of doing something interesting. Read ’em and weep, boyos.

[ SOL DESK. JOEL is holding the starship and making fwit-fwit noises ]

TOM: I think they stole my look.

CROW: They can keep it.

[ MOVIE SIGN flashes. General chaos. ]

JOEL: We got movie sign!

TOM: Yaaaaa!

CROW: Woo-hoo!

[ 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. ]

[ ALL enter theater ]

> DREAMS OF A LOST PAST

CROW: An untold tale of another tomorrow in which "Squiddly Diddly" rules the world!

>
> An untold story of the Legion of Super-Heroes

TOM: Not any more. Thanks *so much*, Doug Atkinson.

>
> by Doug Atkinson

JOEL: Oh, the defendants have to go talk to him after they see Rusty the bailiff.

>
> Jacques Foccart tossed on his bed as his slumbering
> brain was wracked by uneasy dreams.

CROW: [ As if talking in his sleep ] Scott Adams…stairmaster…horse shampoo…term life insurance…AAAUGH!

> In his sleeping visions,
> he was in a vague land of mists and shadows, seen as if out
> of the corner of the eye.

TOM: So he’s mostly seeing the annoying network logo.

> He wandered aimlessly, but there
> seemed no escape.

JOEL: Danged foolproof travelers’ alarm clocks…

> A blurred, humanoid figure drifted in front of him. It
> began to say something…

CROW: [ Gasping ] Warranty restrictions…may not be valid…in some states.

> Jacques awoke and sat bolt upright. _Sacre couer…what
> a dream. I cannot say why it disturbed me so,

TOM: Maybe ’cause it was a *bad* dream?

> but my sheets
> are soaked in sweat. Perhaps it reminded me of something?_

CROW: I know…it’s a signal. This time, I must be serious. I must reorganize my spice drawer.

> He shook his head and resolved to put it out of his
> mind. Element Lad had assigned him to Mission Monitor Board
> duty,

TOM: Element Lad really knows how to let other folks in on the party.

> and it would not do to be distracted when other
> Legionnaires’ lives depended on him.

JOEL: He should be asleep instead.

> Blearily he pulled on
> his yellow-and-black costume and wandered to the command
> center.

CROW: Commander honeybee is on the job!

>
> * * * * *
>
> Blok looked up from the Legion history holo he was
> viewing.

JOEL: Those who do not study their history are doomed to see it in flashbacks.

> "Good morning, Invisible Kid," he rumbled. "Are you
> here to relieve me?"
> "Yes," said Jacques, rubbing his eyes. "Oh, good
> morning.

CROW: That’s a relief.

> Forgive my not observing the pleasantries, but I
> had an uneasy sleep, with strange dreams."

TOM: Hey, does it mean anything in your dream when your parents become 500 foot tall giants moaning about how you’ve failed them in everything you’ve ever tried and then when they notice you they think you’re a fly and stomp on you repeatedly?

> "Curious. I confess I do not fully understand these
> ‘dreams’ you organic beings experience. If you wish, I could
> take your turn at Board duty."
> "No, thank you." He suppressed a yawn. "I should not be
> derelict in my duty.

JOEL: It’s much better if I do it in an inattentive and distracted manner.

> Which Legionnaires are on missions?"
> Blok instructed the board to show current mission
> status. "Lightning Lass, Polar Boy,

CROW: And his sidekick, the amazing Cartesian Kid.

> Phantom Girl, Sun Boy,
> and Magnetic Kid are investigating a solar-powered satellite
> on Mars.

JOEL: Superheros just never stop having a good time.

> Tellus, Quislet, Wildfire, and the White Witch are
> undertaking extended duty on Tellus’ homeworld of Hykraius.

TOM: Rock me, Hykraius!

> Shadow Lass and Mon-El are returning from investigating
> Starfinger’s corpse on Labyrinth. Dream Girl is off-duty and
> somewhere in Metropolis, I believe."

CROW: You know how those Dream Girls get.

> "Thank you." Blok left, and Jacques pulled a normal
> chair to the Board to replace the heavy-duty and
> uncomfortable one Blok used. Idly he ran a duty check,
> confirming Blok’s information.

JOEL: Well. I’m done for the day. Anyone wanna hit Friendly’s? Got a coupon for free Fribbles.

> He saw that Star Boy had not
> been removed from the list of active Legionnaires, and began
> to instruct Computo to make the correction. _No. It is not
> my place–it should be left to Element Lad or Brainiac Five._

TOM: Red-hot protocol activity!

> He looked at the holo Blok had left behind. It was an
> account of one of the Legion’s earliest missions, when they
> captured the Concentrator from Lucifer Seven.

CROW: Finally, the orange juice consortium will bend to our will!

> He remembered
> the Concentrator–a fabulously powerful weapon that could
> take energy from any source and focus it against any target.
> It hadn’t been around the arsenal lately, however.

TOM: It had dropped out of its afterschool activities and rarely talked to its old friends. Many suspected it was depressed.

> A quick
> check with Computo told him that Element Lad had decided it
> was too dangerous to keep active; he’d turned its wires into
> Inertron and moved it to the trophy room.

JOEL: Isn’t Inertron the thing that makes tires resist hydroplaning?

> The holo was one
> he’d seen before, so he put it aside with a mental note to
> make sure Blok returned it to the library.
> That just about exhausted his ready sources of
> amusement.

CROW: [ As Jacques ] I wonder what joysticks taste like.

> Unless there was some emergency requiring the
> Legionnaires’ presence, Monitor Board duty didn’t take a lot
> of thought.

TOM: Uhm…I like twine.

> He yawned again, not suppressing it this time.

[ JOEL pantomimes throwing something into his yawn. ]

> Slowly his eyelids began drifting downwards. His head
> nodded…
> And he was back in the land of mists.

CROW: *And* honey.

> The figure
> hovered before him again. Although it was transparent, it
> was now distinct enough to be seen as female.
> *who are you?* he asked/thought.

TOM: [ Pleading ] Please say Mary Tyler Moore. Please say Mary Tyler Moore. Please say Mary Tyler Moore.

> Sound didn’t seem to
> work in this strange land, but he made himself understood
> nonetheless.

CROW: Finally his habit of carrying semaphore flags everywhere pays off!

> *ask lyle norg,* she responded. *he knew.*
> *lyle is dead,* he thought in alarm.

TOM: [ Chanting ] Long live the Lyle.

> *are you the dream
> demon?*

JOEL: The acid queen? Who’ll tear your soul apart?

> She shook her head. *no. just one who is unjustly
> condemned to an eternity in the beyond.

CROW: Uhm…wait. This is Ebeneezer’s house, right? The afterlife has lousy maps, y’know.

> my time had come…*
> *what do you need?*
> *free me…*

TOM: Well, 50 percent off me and the rest is a mail-in rebate.

> She drifted away, and Jacques was alone. A soft hand
> was on his shoulder. "Jacques…Jacques…wake up!"

CROW: You’re missing your boring, mind-crushingly routine job!

> His eyes opened and looked into a blue, long-lashed
> pair.

ALL: [ Jumping back ] Aaaugh!

> "Trying to take my niche? Jan wouldn’t like it if he
> found you napping on duty."
> "Dream Girl…" He blinked a few more times, bringing
> himself to full consciousness. "You are right.

CROW: You’re the only one who’s good at sleeping on duty.

> I should
> have some stim-bev.

TOM: Stim-bev: An exciting new flavorful liquid from TechCorp Inc.

> Oh, by the way…I must ask you about
> something."
> "Sure." She gently ran her hand down his arm.

JOEL: [ As Jacques ] Remember they did this remake of "Duck Amuck," only it’s Bugs Bunny who gets tormented by the animator who turns out to be Elmer Fudd? How come they never show that anymore?

> "If
> Monitor Board duty is that dull, I’m sure I could keep
> you…entertained."

CROW: Have you ever played…Go Fish?

> _Sacre bleu, if only she were still with Star Boy she
> might be under control…_ "Just talk, please, Nura. Your
> powers are the closest to what I have just experienced."

TOM: Only superpowers can match a bad dream.

> "All right." She sat in the chair next to him, crossing
> her long legs. "Shoot."

JOEL: [ Shuffling around, slightly embarassed ] I got my legs tied in a knot again…sorry about this. Won’t be a second.

> "A woman has been speaking to me in my dreams. She says
> she is entrapped, and that the first Invisible Kid, Lyle,
> knew her. I do not know what to make of this."

JOEL: I suspect she may have been his sled.

> "Hmmm. You’ve read about Lyle’s death, right?"
> "Of course. I have studied everything about my
> predecesor, in the hopes of emulating him."

CROW: Except I think I can do a cooler death than him.

> "I wasn’t in headquarters when it happened, but I heard
> about it. There was something about an interdimensional
> realm and a ghost…

TOM: Oh, the usual.

> that could be your mystery woman. Let’s
> look it up. Computo!"

JOEL: [ As if suddenly waking up ] Mommy! Oh, uh, nothing, nothing.

> The energy-and-metal sphere drifted to her. "*breep* May
> I serve you, Nura Nal? *breep*"
> "Connect the Monitor Board to the Legion holo-library
> and Brainiac Five’s log reports.

CROW: We need everything he’s got on dutch elm disease by five o’clock or we’re dead!

> We need June and July of
> 2981. Oh, and get Jacques a stim-bev."
> "*breep* Connecting…"
> Nura’s manicured fingers slid deftly across the control
> panel. "Okay. This seems useful."

TOM: Must’ve gone to http://www.what’s_wrong_with_Jacques.com.

> The board lit up with scrolling Interlac text. Nura
> pressed a key, and the system began transmitting the vocals.
> "Brainiac Five’s medical log, 26 June 2981.

JOEL: About…call it sixish.

> Report on
> condition of Lyle Norg.
> "Norg collapsed in the trophy room for no apparent
> reason.

TOM: On second examination it was determined his head was chopped off.

> When connected to the mento-scanner, he displayed
> memories of the realm he sometimes enters when becoming
> invisible (ref. log entry, 19 September 2978).

JOEL: In the Arts and Leisure section, page four.

> "Subject encountered humanoid woman (species unclear),
> addressed as ‘Myla.’

CROW: Which is of course ‘Alym’ spelled backwards.

> Interaction indicated several previous
> meetings and apparent mutual attraction. Myla stated she had
> a revelation for the subject. At that moment, the screen
> shattered and subject awakened.

TOM: He reported his faith in professional wrestling was shattered forever.

> He became upset when
> confronted with Myla, and refused to speak further.

JOEL: Subject was unable to tell a cabbage from a lettuce.

> "Suggested to Mon-El that subject was experiencing
> hysterical amnesia, causing scanner overload. Recommended
> placing Norg under surveillance.

CROW: Noted he was a boogerhead.

> Mon-El agreed to discuss
> matter with Phantom Girl." Nura pressed another key, and the
> screen faded.
> "Yes, it has occurred to me that Myla might have been
> the one to whom I spoke," said Jacques, rubbing his chin.

TOM: Hey…if I glued a big box of tissue paper to my chin, would it get me invited to more parties?

> "I
> am unsure if it is her, however…she spoke of her time
> having come, and being unjustly entrapped."
> "Well, let’s take a look at the holo-record.

JOEL: Oh, yeah, if you have an adaptor you can play those on a hi-fi turntable.

> I think we
> have one of her…June 27, 2981."
> An image appeared of the old Legion headquarters. Lyle
> lay unmoving and crushed on the floor, while Phantom Girl
> wept and Mon-El and Superboy consoled her.

TOM: [ As Superboy ] It’s all right, Phantom Girl…we’ll get a new Tamagotchi.

> Nura fast-
> forwarded until the spectral form of a long-haired woman in a
> dress appeared.

CROW: The Spirit of Saint Louis, graphically depicted.

> "Myla–the girl from the invisible world!" said Mon-El,
> his jaw dropping in astonishment.

TOM: Boing-oing-oing-oing-oing…

> "Not a girl, Mon-El…but a ghost! When I told Lyle
> what I really was…he couldn’t accept the truth!

JOEL: But I must follow my heart! I must edit plastic scale modeling magazines!

> He went
> into shock and collapsed at your feet!
> "I, myself, died several years ago…

CROW: That really hurt my ability to participate in community bake-offs.

> but my spirit-form
> was stranded in this dimensional realm Lyle discovered when
> he became invisible!

JOEL: Cool beans, huh?

> I-I loved him…but I had to tell him I
> wasn’t among the living!"

TOM: Oh. Civil service.

> Myla faded out. "Sh-she’s fading…" Mon-El began.
> The scene vanished abruptly as Nura stopped the replay.

CROW: I’ll need a note from your mother to show you more.

> "That’s the relevant part. That thing about her time
> coming could refer to her death, and she’s obviously trapped
> there."
> "Perhaps. My experience was somewhat different,

JOEL: Like it occured later, under a different writer.

> although the mists were somewhat similar to what Lyle
> described. I entered other dimensions with my power myself,
> you know, until Brainiac Five removed that ability.

TOM: I was kinda peeved, but I guess I earned it when I transported a miniature solar system into his ear lobes.

> Could my
> dreaming mind still be able to reach into other worlds?"
> "Well, I know about reaching through time and space in
> dreams firsthand.

JOEL: It’s a neat way to gain valuable experience points and impress your Dungeon Master.

> There’s another possibility, though…"
> Her face went grim.
> "What is it?"

CROW: Space donkeys.

> "Lyle only encountered Myla a little while before
> Validus killed him. What if she’s some sort of banshee…a
> being who can only be seen by those who will die soon?"

TOM: What if she’s a lively puppet portrayed by a highly trained team of Brady siblings?

> "That is tres ridiculous, Dream Girl. Unless–have you
> had a vision of my death?"

CROW: Yup.

> "No." She looked uncomfortable.

TOM: [ As Dream Girl ] That means the same thing as yes, right?

> "What are you not telling me?"

JOEL: Uhm…I’m not telling you "yes."

> "I have had a vague dream about some sort of death or
> destruction. I didn’t sense any details, though…which
> means it might not have been a prophetic dream.

CROW: It might just have been foreshadowing.

> Those are
> usually pretty clear." She waved her hand. "It’s probably
> nothing.

JOEL: [ As Dream Girl ] By the way, long as we’re talking, next Thursday at 4:17 p.m., I’d avoid going to the Blockbuster Video and loitering around the fourth row, and absolutely don’t lean towards the stand of Comedy movies, accidentally knocking it over, dropping down on a display table causing it to fling a package of "Power Rangers" episode tapes into the ceiling, where it shorts out the electrical system and starts the sprinkers, which accidentally pour into just the spot to cause a massive sinkhole that swallows you and the building and the rest of the postal subdivision, killing you instantly. But you knew not to do that anyway.

TOM: C’mon, Joel, breathe.
[ JOEL gasps ]

> She’s not the dream demon you fought before, is
> it?"

[ JOEL coughs ]

> "I do not think so. I would know the feel of that mind
> if it attacked me again, and it is too clever to raise my
> suspicions this quickly.

CROW: So this would be a good disguise for you.
[ JOEL gulps ]

TOM: You all right, man?

JOEL: Yeah, I am.

> Perhaps I should wait until I have
> another dream to make a decision."

TOM: But I’m going to wait before making up my mind to do that.

> "I’d talk to Phantom Girl, too. There’s no record of
> what Lyle told her. Where is Tinya, anyway?"

CROW: You know, ‘Tinya’ is an anagram of ‘Viola.’

TOM: No, it isn’t.

CROW: Oh, right. I was confused.

>
> [end]

JOEL: That was a good place for the dramatic release.

[ To be continued … ]

MiSTed: Eating for Death, Part 2 of 2


Did you enjoy the first half of Eating For Death? This was another of my pieces of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fictions, written in late 2015 I believe, and taking apart an article from the March 1922 issue of Physical Culture. I bet Bernarr Macfadden is felling all foolish about his whole crusade to get people to eat when they’re hungry instead of bored or feeling obligated. The very unneeded joke about the Snorks is there because I was reading the Wikipedia article about the Snorks for some reason and that stuck in my mind. I apologize for putting the Snorks in your mind now too.


>
> The “eat-to-keep-up-your-strength” idea that
> has been advocated for generations by allopathic
> physicians,

CROW: *And* Popeye!

MIKE: Gotta respect Popeye on strength.

> has sent, literally, millions of people to
> premature graves.

TOM: Underneath a giant avalanche of casseroles and loaves of bread!

>
> Even a person in good health can miss one meal or
> fifty meals, for that matter, without serious results.

CROW: Fifty meals! You’d be spending your whole day eating at that rate.

TOM: You know you miss all the meals you don’t eat.

> But abstinence of some sort is absolutely essential if
> appetite is missing; and is especially necessary in many
> illnesses.

MIKE: Like chronic mouthlessness.

TOM: McWhirtle’s Indigestibility Fever.

CROW: Temporarily made of cardboard; can’t take liquids.

>
> There is no sauce better than hunger;

CROW: Except bleu cheese salad dressing.

> and there
> can be no health of a superior sort, unless food is eaten
> with enjoyment.

MIKE: Wait, so now enjoyment is a sauce?

CROW: *Yes*, and it’s made of bleu cheese.

>
> When you eat a meal with what is known as a
> “coming appetite”

TOM: My appetite went upstairs and it can’t find the way back.

CROW: “The stairs are past the third door!”

MIKE: “I can’t find the door!”

CROW: “Are you in a room or in the hall?”

MIKE: “I … don’t know?”

> you are often treading on dangerous
> ground. This “coming appetite” is often due to
> overstimulation of nerves

MIKE: By the penetrating electropasta needles.

> rather than to natural bodily
> demand, and is, therefore, frequently of the voracious
> character. It compels you to overeat.

TOM: To be fair, ordering a box of Hypnofood didn’t help.

> You are not
> satisfied until you eat so much you cannot hold any more.

CROW: Eat until fingers don’t work. Got it.

>
> At such times a fast is often necessary. But if
> you cannot do that it is absolutely essential that the
> meals should be very light,

TOM: Chew on a balloon, or possibly a bulb of some kind.

MIKE: Any method of general illumination will do.

> if you desire to avoid
> illness that might be serious in character.

CROW: Try illnesses that are lighthearted in character, such as clown flu and the a deficiency in vitamin giggle.

>
> Three square meals a day will send any one to an
> early grave.

TOM: Diversify your meal with triangles and ellipsoids.

> You may be able to follow a regime of this
> sort in growing years, but when full maturity arrives
> look out for trouble if you persist in this habit.

MIKE: In your fallow years just sit in the middle of a room not eating and waiting for death to overcome you.

>
> Three light meals or two medium heavy meals daily
> will prolong your life and increase your efficiency
> mentally and physically.

CROW: Four times a day grab an open-faced sandwich.

TOM: Six times a day, just gnaw on the kitchen counter.

MIKE: When feeling restless, lick an oven door.

>
> I eat but one hearty meal a day, and that is
> preferably taken at noon, though sometimes it is eaten in
> the evening. Occasionally I eat a light meal in the
> morning or evening,

MIKE: Thursdays I spend passed out in a bathtub full of potato salad.

> if I have a craving for food, though
> these light meals frequently consist of fruit alone or
> nuts and fruit with a warm or hot drink.

TOM: Occasionally I rub a slice of lettuce against one cheek.

>
> But the main point that I want to emphasize is

CROW: Food is a good idea but it will never be made practical.

> the necessity of avoiding the habit of eating by the
> clock — without appetite.

TOM: Wait until your clock cries and then feed it all it needs.

>
> Wait for a definite feeling of hunger. Let your
> stomach dictate your eating habits.

MIKE: And leave me some of the garlic-stuffed olives, people.

>

> http://blog.modernmechanix.com/eating-for-death/

CROW: I had death for lunch, can’t we have joi de vivre for supper?

MIKE: Who wants a bowl of hot, buttered MURDER?

TOM: And with that, everybody, good night and be merry!

MIKE: Happy.

TOM: Whichever.

CROW: Night, folks.

                                       |
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Disclaimer: Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters and situations and premise and all that, are the property of … uh … I was going to say Best Brains, but I guess it’s Shout! Factory and Consolidated Puppets? Or something? I’m not positive. Well, it’s theirs, and I’m just using it as long as they don’t notice. Bernarr Macfadden’s “Eating For Death” appeared in the _Physical Culture_ magazine from March 1922 and I believe it to be in the public domain. I ran across it from the Modern Mechanix blog linked above, and it’s a crying shame that’s gone defunct because it was so much fascinating reading. Supporting Snorks: Sad Wikipedia sub-section, or saddest Wikipdia sub-section?

> You can be a palpitating force, a veritable human
> dynamo, or you can be a half-alive mass of human
> flesh — not unlike the jelly-fish.

MiSTed: Eating For Death, Part 1 of 2


So I’m going to run another Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic here. This one’s short enough to do in two segments — it’s a bit long for a single piece — and it’s riffing on an article of dietary advice that the Modern Mechanix blog ran years ago. They used to run weird bits from the back issues of their magazines and it was such a delight. I wrote this somewhere around late 2015, if my notes are right. See if you can spot where I future-proofed a riff!


[ START. The Brains are in the theater. ]

>
> Eating for Death

TOM: My favorite _Columbo_ episode! Patrick McGoohan plays this world-famous chef being blackmailed and …

>
> By Bernarr Macfadden

CROW: Um …

TOM: Yeah, exactly which parts of that name are spelled wrong?

>
> _Physical Culture_, March 1922

MIKE: I forgot to renew my subscription!

>
> THE crime of the age is meal time eating — without
> appetite.

CROW: Also that Sacco and Vanzetti thing. But mostly eating.

TOM: Snacking is the misdemeanor of the age!

>
> It is the direct cause of more suffering,
> weakness and disease than any other evil.

CROW: Even more than not appreciating your parents?

>
> It poisons the life stream at its very source.

TOM: Its Snackables!

>
> “The blood is the life.”

MIKE: The spice is the life?

TOM: The blood is spiced?

> The quality of this
> liquid determines vital activity throughout every part of
> the body.

CROW: I think Bernarr Macfadden grossly underestimates the importance of acetylcholinesterase.

MIKE: You’re *always* accusing people of underestimating the importance of acetylcholinesterase.

CROW: I just think it’s very important is all.

>
> You can be a palpitating force, a veritable human
> dynamo,

TOM: You can be a large turtle-like artificial intelligence!

CROW: You can be a leading importer of cheese to Denmark!

MIKE: You can be several key innovations in the history of Timothy hay!

> or you can be a half-alive mass of human
> flesh — not unlike the jelly-fish.

CROW: Jellyfish are made of human flesh?

TOM: Ew ew ew ew ew ew *ew*.

> It is the quality of
> your blood that determines entirely to which class you
> belong.

CROW: Is this gonna be one of those stories where Bernarr Macfadden finds out his blood was replaced with a high-grade polymer and suddenly nobody will talk to him anymore?

>
> Eating without appetite means devitalized blood.

MIKE: Or that you’re putting more melted cheese on everything.

> The stomach is not ready to digest food at such times.

TOM: It’s off wandering around, taking in museums, reading good books, and then you throw a big slab of bean-and-cheese burrito at it.

>
> It is appetite — a strong craving for food —

CROW: A lesser craving for pottery shards.

> which
> definitely indicates that the stomach is ready for
> digestion.

TOM: Why not just wait for the stomach to call?

CROW: Yeah, like, ‘Hey, stomach here. I’m raring to digest!’

> The food eaten is then keenly enjoyed.

MIKE: Well, it is like 2016.

TOM: So?

MIKE: So who calls for *that*? That’s more like a tweet or a text message or something.

CROW: Excuse *us* for maintaining some dignified propriety, Mike.

>
> The pleasure in eating serves a very valuable
> purpose.

MIKE: It gives us a reason to go eat a second time, sometime.

> It not only causes an unusual activity of the
> salivary glands, but also of the glands of the stomach.

TOM: Glands! Is your stomach going through puberty?

CROW: It’s so awkward to have esophageal zits.

> So that when the food arrives in this organ, digestion
> and assimilation progress rapidly and satisfactorily.

MIKE: Though not without some sarcasm.

>
> Now when you eat without appetite, these
> invaluable functional processes are inactive or entirely
> absent

TOM: They take one sabbatical year and everything comes crashing down!

> and the food can do nothing but lie like lead in
> the stomach.

MIKE: Stop eating lead! There’s your problem.

>
> You say it won’t digest.

TOM: *You* say it won’t digest. We’re just nibbling some here.

> Why should it? No
> self-respecting stomach will allow itself to be outraged
> in this manner, without protest.

MIKE: My stomach’s wracked with depression and low self-esteem though.

CROW: Well, so you can eat any old time.

MIKE: Which … fits.

>
> Eat at meal time if you are hungry, but if the
> food has no taste respect the mandates of your stomach

MIKE: And sprinkle on the MSG powder.

> and wait until the next meal or until your appetite
> appears, even if it takes several meals or several days.

TOM: If you never eat again, then you may be losing weight.

[ To conclude … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Conclusion


I decided to write a concluding host sketch for my MiSTing of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. It’s just the Brains aboard the Satellite of Love. If I ever did reassemble these chapters into a full, complete, MiSTing, I might rewrite or replace this.
https://nebushumor.wordpress.com/tag/fatty-coon/


[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. TOM zips in, wearing a nightshirt, cap, and an eye mask over his transparent dome. CAMBOT is close on TOM. ]

TOM: I’ll change, I’ll change, I’m not the raccoon I was! [ Looking to the opposite corner of the screen ] You there!

[ CAMBOT pulls back, revealing GYPSY in front of the desk, at the corner of the screen ]

GYPSY: Me?

TOM: What day is it?

GYPSY: What day? … Why it’s Thursday.

TOM: Thursday! Then I haven’t missed it! The spirits must have done everything in one night!

GYPSY: Uh-huh.

TOM: Well, of course they can, they’re spirits — Tell me, Farmer Green’s house, does he still have those turkeys there?

GYPSY: The ones as big as me? They’re still there.

TOM: Quick, run there and tell them I’m not going to eat them! Do it in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half a crown!

GYPSY: Uh-huh.

[ GYPSY leaves the frame; CAMBOT pans back in on TOM ]

TOM: [ Sing-song, dancing about ] Oh, I don’t know anything, I never did know anything, I don’t know anything … I need to … I need to stand on my head!

[ TOM wiggles a bit and, of course, does not ]

TOM: I *don’t* need to stand on my head! … Oh, oh, to work, now. To setting things right.

[ TOM zips off-camera, and reappears with a decent coat and a hat on. As he crosses the desk, the off-camera voice of CROW becomes audible. He’s singing ‘Barbara Allen’. TOM comes up to MIKE, who’s holding a feather duster and wearing a ruffled collar to evoke a maid. TOM looks wistfully out of frame, in CROW’s direction. MIKE gently takes TOM’s hat, smiles the tiniest bit and nods, and steps out of frame. CAMBOT pulls back to reveal CROW, wearing rabbit ears, and pink eyes. CROW is singing and whooping it up in front of an imaginary party. ]

CROW: [ Singing ] For love of Barbara Al — [ Abruptly stopping ] Uncle Fatty!

TOM: Jimmy … is it too late to accept your invitation to dinner?

CROW: Too late? Too late! I’m delighted, Uncle Fatty. [ Talking to the air ] Brother, look who it is!

TOM: Can you forgive a pigheaded old fool? For clinging to my soreness about the barber shop thing? For not visiting you recovering from your pink eye?

CROW: Of course, dear Uncle! Oh, bless you, you’ve made me and my brother [ waving his arm out to nothing ] boundlessly happy!

TOM: Yes, Jimmy. You … [ looking to the camera, shaking his head ] … and your ‘brother’. [ He looks down, sad, a moment ]

CROW: Jasper, a polka! o/` Pol-i-tics and foreign wars! o/`

[ Music; CAMBOT focuses in on TOM as the light dims and he moves back to the original side of the desk. After a short while, the lights come on again. MIKE, holding a pitchfork, enters from the opposite side of the screen. ]

TOM: [ Surly ] Farmer Green! You’re late! What do you mean coming in this time of day? Mmm?!

MIKE: [ Baffled ] I’m … sorry?

TOM: Well, we won’t beat around the bush. I’m not going to stand for this sort of thing any longer; I have *no alternative* but to raise your corn. …

[ MIKE shows no sign of understanding any of this ]

TOM: Oh, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, Green. I’ve come to them. I’ve seen what my gluttony, my selfishness, my pettiness has done. I — I want to try to help you and that boy Johnnie of yours. No one should grow up without benefit of raccoon.

MIKE: [ Jabbing TOM with the pitchfork ] Shoo! Shoo, raccoon! Go on! Get out of here!

TOM: No! Wait! I’ve learned the errors of my — Ow! Ow! Stop! I know what —

[ MIKE jabs a bit more ]

TOM: These spirits showed me how my refusal to connect —

MIKE: Git on home!

[ MIKE connects with the pitchfork again; TOM moves away, eventually going off-screen ]

TOM: Stop it! We could make viral videos together!

MIKE: Crazy old forest animals. Don’t know what gets into …

TOM: [ Simultaneously ] I HOPE YOU GET EATEN BY A FLIVVER!

CROW: [ Leaning into camera ] God … bless us? Everyone?

                            | 
                         \  |  /
                          \ | /
                           \|/
                         ---O---
                           /|\
                          / | \
                         /  |  \
                            | 

Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters, its setup, and whatever else I’m overlooking are the property of someone who isn’t me. Satellite of Love, LLC, I guess. Arthur Scott Bailey’s _The Tale of Fatty Raccoon_ is in the public domain and so *does* belong to me, and to you, and to anyone else who wants to create something new that brings joy to the world. So now you go out and bring some world-joy with all this. No pressure. But start … *now*.

> “Ho, ho! That’s a good one! That’s a good joke!” The tramp
> raccoon laughed heartily.

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XX


And now, dear patient readers of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, I bring you the end of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. This has been fun to do, for me at least. I tel you truthfully I do not know what I’ll do here next week. These MiSTings have been good for me, in that they’ve been nice manageable things carrying me through a stressful time. Leaping right into another Sleepy-Time Tale might be a bit much, though. We’ll see.

Although this concluding chapter largely stands on its own, it does lean a bit on something from Chapter X, which you can read here.

And this and all the chapters of Fatty Raccoon’s adventures are at this link. I have not yet gotten around to editing the earliest chapters to revise his last name to Raccoon; I intend to. And the earlier chapters lean into fat jokes, which I regret.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.


> XX

TOM: The departure of Xander Cage.

>
> THE TRACKS IN THE SNOW

CROW: o/` Go round and round, round and round … o/`
[ MIKE puts his hand on CROW’s shoulder.]

>
> One fine winter’s day Fatty Raccoon

MIKE: Who *had permission* by the way. He wasn’t just swiping days off of winter.

> came upon the queerest tracks
> in the snow.

CROW: It’s just the Gay and Non-Binary Rail Road. No big deal.

> They were huge—a great deal bigger, even, than
> bear-tracks,

TOM: Maybe they were Big Bear tracks? Did you think of that?

> which Fatty had sometimes seen, for once in a while,
> before the weather grew too cold,

MIKE: After the weather grew that tall, though.

> and he fell into his winter’s sleep,
> a bear would come down into the valley from his home on Blue Mountain.

CROW: That is a lot of comma-splicing.

MIKE: Everybody’s got to have some writing quirk.

>
> But these were six times as big as bear tracks.

TOM: Is that six times in diameter or in area?

MIKE: Six times in popularity.

> And Fatty felt
> a shiver of fear run up and down his back.

CROW: I won’t believe he’s scared until his tail spirals like a barberpole, just like in the cartoons.

TOM: Jimmy Rabbit?

>
> He followed the trail a little way. But he was very careful.
> He was always ready to scramble up a tree,

CROW: Bringing his frying pan, some melted butter, a little shredded cheese, some onions and chopped peppers and he’s set to scramble a tree for you.

> in case he should suddenly
> see the strange animal—or rather, in case the strange animal should
> see HIM.

MIKE: The strange animal’s the only creature in the forest who doesn’t hate Fatty!

>
> The great tracks led straight toward Farmer Green’s house.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Farmer Green has one of those walking houses?

> And
> Fatty did not want to go there.

TOM: Too many painful memories of saying something awkward.

> So he hurried home to ask his mother
> what he had found. Mrs. Raccoon listened to Fatty’s story.

MIKE: [ As Mom ] This is more of a scenario than a story, Fatty. Where’s insight into how people act?

>
> “I think it must be the monster that almost caught me in the
> road last summer,”

TOM: Ooooooh, yeah.

CROW: Oh, this is it! This is where all the threads of Fatty’s life come together!

> said Fatty, meaning the automobile that had given
> him a great fright.

MIKE: It wasn’t that *great* a fright. Just a pretty good fright.

> “Maybe he’s come back again to catch Farmer Green
> and his family … Do you suppose he’s eaten them up?”

MIKE: [ As Mom ] Oh no, child. When Farmer Green’s eaten it’ll be by finance capitalism pushing him into debt and stripping the right to own his equipment or even his seeds, at the same time industrialism demands ecologically suicidal chemical spraying alongside climate change.

>
> Mrs. Raccoon was puzzled. And she was somewhat alarmed, too. She
> wanted to see those strange tracks herself.

TOM: Mrs Raccoon doesn’t get to do a lot of fun things for herself anymore.

> So she told her other
> children not to step a foot out of the house until she came back.

ALL: [ As Fatty’s siblings ] Yes, Mom … *again*.

MIKE: You figure Fatty ever has to stay home while Mom deals with Fluffy’s issue?

> And
> then she asked Fatty to run along and show her where he had come upon
> the monster’s trail.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] It’ll be easy to find because I left it on the ground!

>
> Fatty Raccoon felt very important,

MIKE: From his moustache on down.

> as he led the way across the
> swamp and into the woods. It was not often that he could show his
> mother anything.

TOM: He’s been showing her something every two chapters all book!

> And he was so proud that he almost forgot his fright.
>
> “I guess you’re glad I have sharp eyes,” he said, as they
> hurried along.

MIKE: Fatty’s got a smooth technique in fishing for compliments.

>
> “If the tracks are as big as you say they are, your eyes
> wouldn’t have to be very sharp to see them,” his mother told him.

TOM: Ouch!

CROW: Major smackdown from Mrs Raccoon.

> Mrs.
> Raccoon never liked to hear her children boast. She knew that boasting is
> one of the most unpleasant things anyone can do.

CROW: Next to eating potato chips with your mouth open.

>
> “Well—maybe you don’t think I saw the monster’s tracks at
> all,” said Fatty.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Maybe I don’t even exist! Mom, you’d tell me if I didn’t exist, right?

> “Maybe you don’t think I heard him screech—“

CROW: [ As Mom ] I think you think it’s important whether you think I think you heard him screech.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Yeah! … … What?

>
> “When did you hear him screech?” Mrs. Raccoon asked. “This is the
> first you’ve said about SCREECHING. When was it?”

MIKE: Was it in the screechery zone? We can get them ticketed if they were outside the screechery zone

TOM: Fatty showed his Mom the monster last summer! Why doesn’t she know about the screeching?

>
> “Last summer,” Fatty answered.

TOM: [ As Mom ] Last summer?! How long did you *take* to get home?

>
> Mrs. Raccoon didn’t smile. Perhaps she was too worried for that.

MIKE: She’s trying to figure out. How does this involve the Tramp Raccoon, Jimmy Rabbit and his imaginary brother, Jasper Jay, Farmer Green’s son, and a flivver?

>
> “It may not be the same monster,” she said. “It may not be a
> monster at all.”

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Don’t tell me it’s our own ids being projected against us *again*!

>
> But by this time Fatty was sure he was right. He was sure he
> knew more than his mother.

TOM: Ah, raccoons that age, think they have the whole world figured out.

>
> “Why can’t we go right over to Farmer Green’s and take some of
> his chickens?” he asked.

MIKE: Why *mayn’t* we go right over to Farmer Green’s and take some of his chickens.

> “The monster has probably eaten him by this
> time, and all his family, too.”

TOM: Feels like Fatty is being an accelerationist with this monster issue.

>
> But Mrs. Raccoon would do no such thing.

CROW: [ As Mom ] ‘That’s a Snuffy Smith thing to do, child. We stay classy.’

>
> “Show me the tracks,” she said firmly.

TOM: She wants to get some prints for Raccoon Scene Investigations.

> And so they went on
> into the woods.
>
> “There they are!” Fatty cried, a few minutes later.

MIKE: Told you they were in the ground!

> “See,
> Mother! They’re even bigger than I said.”

CROW: Oh no, the monster’s gaining weight!

> He heard a funny noise
> behind him, then. And when Fatty Raccoon looked around he saw that his
> mother was actually holding her sides, she was laughing so hard.

TOM: Literally a funny noise.

>
> “Those are Farmer Green’s tracks,” she said,

CROW: And over here is Farmer Green’s beatboxing.

> as soon as she
> could stop laughing long enough to speak.

MIKE: This seems funnier to Mrs Raccoon than to me.

TOM: Thing is this dialogue is a complicated pun in Raccoon.

>
> “What—as big as that?” Fatty pointed at the huge prints in the
> snow.

CROW: [ As Mom ] Oh, you’re right. Not as big as *that*. Say hi to the monster for me, bye!

>
> “Snowshoes!” Mrs. Raccoon said.

TOM: Is she explaining or is she avoiding a cuss word?

> “He was wearing snowshoes—great
> frames made of thongs and sticks,

CROW: [ Snorting ] Thongs?!

> to keep him from sinking into the
> snow.”

CROW: Between the thongs and the tank-ini he’s completely safe!

>
> So that was all there was to Fatty’s monster.

CROW: Thongs, a tank-ini and a great big set of novelty sunglasses.
[ MIKE puts his hand on CROW’s shoulder. ]

> Somehow, he was
> disappointed.

TOM: Fatty was looking forward to being eaten by a monster.

> But he was very glad he had said nothing to Jasper Jay
> about his strange animal.

MIKE: [ As Groucho ] Weeird animal.

> For if he had, he knew he would never have
> heard the last of it.

CROW: Is it Jasper or is it Fatty who’s holding on to the turkeys thing?

TOM: Jasper Jay will be portrayed today by Ben Murphy.

>
> And Fatty was glad about another thing, too.

MIKE: [ Holding his arms up for attention ] Oh, oh, here it is, guys. The thesis of the book! What we should know about life as a young raccoon in the wild!

> He felt very
> happy that his mother had not let him go after Farmer Green’s
> chickens.

MIKE: [ Clapping ] A message for all time!

>
> THE END

TOM: *That’s* what we end on? That’s *all*?

CROW: There’s also that cute ringed tail dangling from the end, that’s something.

>
> End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Sleepy-Time Tales:

MIKE: THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING.

> The
> Tale of Fatty Raccoon, by Arthur Scott Bailey

TOM: Imagine if after all this we learn his name’s Scott Arthur Bailey, would that be wild or what?

>
> *** END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TALE OF FATTY COON ***

MIKE: OKAY, THIS! *THIS* IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!

TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

CROW: Done.

[ MIKE picks up TOM and ALL file out. ]

[ And we’re done! See you next time, whatever that is! ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIX


So now I reach nearly the end of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. Again, I don’t know what I’m doing with myself two weeks from now. This chapter is one you can understand without reading much of what’s gone before. It does refer to a loggers’ camp established in chapter 18. But now that I’ve mentioned that, you know as much as you need to from that chapter. Still, that and the rest of Fatty Raccoon’s adventures are at this link. Thank you.


> XIX

TOM: Xixi of Ix.

>
> FATTY GROWS EVEN FATTER

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I thought we were dumping the fat jokes!’

>
> When Fatty Raccoon’s burned feet were well once more,

MIKE: Ah, continuity again. Serial adventures.

> the very
> first night he left his mother’s house he went straight to the
> loggers’ camp.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I swear if they’re doing Monty Python routines I’m giving them all dysentery.’

> He did not wait long after dark, because he was afraid
> that some of his neighbors might have found

TOM: That sweet Moon that Farmer Green’s son was leaving out.

> that there were good
> things to eat about the camp. And Fatty wanted them all.

MIKE: Fatty’s a big fan of Queen.

>
> To his delight, there were goodies almost without end. He
> nosed about, picking up potato peelings, and bits of bacon.

CROW: Pumpkin scraps.

TOM: Remaindered butter.

MIKE: Irregular porks.

TOM: Off-brand onions.

CROW: Second-hand hash browns.

MIKE: Good-as-new eggs.

> And
> perhaps the best of all was a piece of cornbread, which Fatty fairly
> gobbled.

MIKE: Fairly. He gave the cornbread a chance to get away.

> And then he found a box half-full of something—scraps that
> tasted like apples, only they were not round like apples,

TOM: Ah yes, ‘Fool’s Apples’.

> and they
> were quite dry, instead of being juicy.

CROW: Then there’s the spikes they eject and the wailing of the doomed they emit, but otherwise? Great stuff.

> But Fatty liked them; and he
> ate them all, down to the smallest bit.

MIKE: Animals are famous for liking to eat strange and painfully dry foods.

>
> He was thirsty, then. So he went down to the brook,

CROW: Raccoons are natural problem-solvers.

> which ran
> close by the camp. The loggers had cut a hole through the ice,

TOM: [ As the author ] Uh — did I mention it’s winter? … Because it’s winter.

> so they
> could get water.

MIKE: [ As the author ] Oh and, uh, maybe I didn’t say before but the loggers are all French-Canadian but *not* Catholic. Not sure it’s important, just think you should know.

> And Fatty crept close to the edge of the hole and
> drank.

CROW: [ As the author ] Oh yeah, also remember the animals all wear clown hats, that’s going to be really important next chapter.

> He drank a great deal of water, because he was very thirsty.

TOM: [ As the author ] Sorry, one last thing, they’re all robots who don’t know they’re in a band.

> And when he had finished he sat down on the ice for a time. He did not
> care to stir about just then.

CROW: Lucky thing he’s at one of those newfangled self-stirring rivers.

> And he did not think he would ever want
> anything to eat again.

MIKE: What’s a ‘fangle’ and what makes a fangle ‘new’?

TOM: Um …

>
> At last Fatty Raccoon rose to his feet. He felt very queer. There
> was a strange, tight feeling about his stomach.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Am I being strangled by a boa constrictor — *again*?’

> And his sides were no
> longer thin. They stuck out just as they had before winter came—only
> more so.

CROW: Raccoon with attached porch.

> And what alarmed Fatty was this: his sides seemed to be
> sticking out more and more all the time.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘I keep seeing this happen to cartoon characters but never dreamed it could happen to me!’

>
> He wondered what he had been eating. Those dry things that
> tasted like apples—he wondered what they were.

CROW: Bad luck of Fatty that this was the summer of the apple-flavored self-inflating life-raft fad.

>
> Now, there was some printing on the outside of the box which
> held those queer, spongy, flat things.

MIKE:> Oh yeah, there it is on the label: ‘Queer, Spongy, Flat Things to Inflate Your Raccoon’, should have expected that.

> Of course, Fatty Raccoon could not
> read,

TOM: Of course?

> so the printing did him no good at all. But if you had seen the
> box, and if you are old enough to read,

CROW: Arthur Scott Bailey pandering to his audience here.

> you would have known that the
> printing said: EVAPORATED APPLES

TOM: E … Evaporated apples?

CROW: Consolidated grapes!

MIKE: Abbreviated radishes!

CROW: Imaginary corn!

TOM: Dark matter potatoes!

>
> Now, evaporated apples are nothing more or less than dried
> apples.

MIKE: To the lay audience, anyway.

> The cook of the loggers’ camp used them to make apple pies.

TOM: Not to get in good with condensed teachers?

> And first, before making his pies, he always soaked them in water so
> they would swell.

CROW: [ As Logger ] ‘How do the apples look?’

MIKE: [ As cook ] ‘Swell!’

CROW: [ As Logger ] ‘So they’re ready to go!’

>
> Now you see what made Fatty Raccoon feel so queer and
> uncomfortable.

TOM: He missed out on apple pie?

> He had first eaten his dried apples.

CROW: Okay, okay wait, let me write this down.

> And then he had
> soaked them,

CROW: All right, keep laying out the clues, I’ll figure it out.

> by drinking out of the brook.

MIKE: Brook water? What’s wrong with *real* water?

> It was no wonder that his
> sides stuck out, for the apples that he had bolted were swelling and
> puffing him out until he felt that he should burst.

TOM: So evaporated apples take revenge. Got it.

> In fact, the
> wonder of it was that he was able to get through his mother’s doorway,
> when he reached home.

MIKE: Not because of the fatness, because he was out after curfew.

>
> But he did it, though it cost him a few groans. And he
> frightened his mother, too.

CROW: Mrs Raccoon is a long-suffering character this book.

>
> "I only hope you’re not poisoned," she said, when Fatty told
> her what he had been doing.

TOM: Oh, c’mon, where would humans even *get* poison from? Be realistic!

>
> And that remark frightened Fatty more than ever.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘Poissoned? I didn’t even *see* any fish!’

MIKE: [ As Mom ] ‘No, I … you know, I’ll let this one go.’

> He was sure
> he was never going to feel any better.

TOM: This is me whenever I have *anything*.

>
> Poor Mrs. Raccoon was much worried all the rest of the night.

MIKE: Wonder what Fatty’s siblings are up to tonight … ah well.

> But
> when morning came she knew that Fatty was out of danger.

CROW: Aaah?

> She knew it
> because of something he said.

MIKE: Oh, classic Fatty line coming in.

> It was this:

TOM: He’s gonna say it? He’s gonna say it!

>
> "Oh, dear! I wish I had something to eat!"

[ ALL go wild as a sitcom audience, cheering and clapping. ]

>
>

[ To be concluded … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVIII


And welcome all to the 18th chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, in MiSTed form. Yes, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I reach the end, which should be in a couple more weeks. I’m open to suggestions. Basically if you’ve got Fatty Raccoon in a Kids Crew adventure? I’m interested.

This chapter stands on its own. But if you’d like to read what led to this point, all the chapters of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. Enjoy.


> XVIII
>
> THE LOGGERS COME

MIKE: Episode 18 … I don’t know, the Star Wars movies aren’t doing it for me anymore.

>
> Fatty Raccoon was frightened;

CROW: By what? Everyone in the forest mocking him, Jimmy Rabbit shaving him, or Farmer Green’s son trapping him?

> he had just waked up and he heard a
> sound

TOM: ‘Waked up’?

> that was exactly like the noise Farmer Green and his hired man
> had made when they cut down the tall chestnut tree where he was
> perched.

MIKE: Major breakthrough in the tree-falling-in-a-forest problem.

>
> "Oh, Mother! What is it?" he cried.

CROW: ‘Oh, Mother!’? Is Fatty dressed in a Lord Fauntleroy costume?

>
> "The loggers have come," Mrs. Raccoon said.

MIKE: Yup, this year’s got brood-X cicadas and brood-IV loggers.

> "They are cutting
> down all the big trees in the swamp."

TOM: The final week of _Pogo_.

>
> "Then we’ll have to move, won’t we?" Fatty asked.

CROW: Picturing Fatty’s family tromping off somewhere with a bunch of bindles.

TOM: Oh so cute!

>
> "No! They won’t touch this tree," his mother told him.

MIKE: ‘They signed my quitclaim deed, the fools!’

> "It’s
> an old tree, and hollow—so they won’t chop it down. It’s only the good
> sound trees that they’ll take."

CROW: Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

>
> "But I thought this was a good tree." Fatty was puzzled.

TOM: Fatty about to learn his home is actually on the wrong side of the deer tracks.

>
> "So it is, my son! It’s a good tree for us.

CROW: Wallpaper peeling off.

MIKE: Cabinet falling loose in the pantry.

TOM: Raccoon infestation … wait, wait.

> But not for the
> loggers. They would have little use for it."

CROW: But what if the loggers are just jerks?

>
> Fatty Raccoon felt better when he heard that.

MIKE: Just to be sure, Mom hires a spider to write out ‘SOME RACC’ in the branches.

> And he had a good
> deal of fun, peeping down at the loggers and watching them work.

TOM: Joking around with that Robin Williams Bat and watching the loggers summon that liquid ooze monster.

> But
> he took care that they should not see HIM. He knew what their bright
> axes could do.

CROW: They could curl his moustache!

>
> When night came Fatty had still more fun.

MIKE: More fun than watching loggers? Sure you can handle that, Fatty?

> When the loggers
> were asleep Fatty went to their camp in the woods beside the brook and
> he found many good things to eat.

TOM: Ah, playing his hits. Nice.

> He did not know the names of all the
> goodies;

CROW: ‘My name’s *Jimmy*!’

MIKE: ‘Yeah, and I remember your barber shop!

> but he ate them just the same. He ‘specially liked some
> potatoes which the careless cook had left in a pan near the open
> camp-fire.

TOM: Potatoes au gratin? In only fifteen minutes!

> The fire was out.

MIKE: It had errands in town but if you want to wait, I’ll let you know when the fire gets back in.

> And the pan rested on a stump close
> beside it. Fatty Raccoon climbed up and crawled right inside the pan.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘FOUND ANOTHER THE MOON!’

> And
> after he had had one taste of those potatoes he grew so excited—they
> were so good—

TOM: They weren’t *that* good. They were only *so* good.

> that he tipped the pan off the stump and the potatoes
> rolled right into the ashes.

MIKE: Oh no, the potatoes are getting dirt on them!

>
> Fatty had jumped to one side, when the tin pan fell.

CROW: [ muttering ] Tin pan … alley … all … eat?

TOM: Needs work.
[ CROW grunts, agreeing ]

> It made a
> great clatter;

MIKE: Quick, rush to the window and see what’s the matter!

> and he kept very still for a few moments, while he
> listened. But no one stirred.

CROW: Not even a mouse.

> And then Fatty jumped plump into the
> ashes.

TOM: Hey, Fatty wins a cricket tournament.

>
> WHEW! He jumped out again as fast as he could; for beneath the
> ashes there were plenty of hot coals.

MIKE: It’s ‘hot’ as in ‘spicy’. Don’t be a food wimp.

> Fatty stood in them for not more
> than three seconds, but that was quite long enough.

TOM: Don’t want to over-braise your raccoons.

MIKE: That’s … not braising.

> The bottoms of his
> feet burned as if a hundred hornets had stung them.

TOM: Is it parboiling?

MIKE: No, not even remotely.

>

TOM: Sous-vide?

MIKE: I’m not letting you cook anymore.

> He stood first on one foot and then on another.

CROW: And still had two feet to go!

> If you could
> have seen him you would have thought Fatty was dancing.

MIKE: It’d be a cakewalk if someone brought some cake.

> And you might
> have laughed, because he looked funny.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Hey, I’m in actual pain here! Also I need potatoes.’

>
> But Fatty Raccoon did not laugh. In fact, he came very near
> crying.

MIKE: Jeez. This book was *fun* back when it was Fatty eating sweet corn.

CROW: Tom Batiuk wrote the back half.

> And he did not wait to eat another mouthful. He limped along
> toward home.

CROW: Loggers wake up to this scene and figure, job well done.

> And it was several days before he stirred out of his
> mother’s house again. He just lay in his bed and waited until his
> burns were well again.

TOM: Mom writes a note to keep him home from Raccoon School.

>
> It was very hard.

CROW: I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind if I had never stirred from bed since 2015.

> For Fatty did not like to think of all those
> good things to eat that he was missing.

TOM: Like … sausage and Duraflame logs.

> And he hoped the loggers would
> not go away before his feet were well again.

MIKE: And before he gets his new tongue installed.

TOM: It’s wireless!

>
>

[ to be continued ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVII


I hope you’re all still enjoying this MiSTing of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. If not, don’t worry, there’s only a couple more chapters and then I have no idea what I’m going to do.

This chapter stands on its own. But if you’d like to read what led to this point, all the chapters of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. Enjoy.


> XVII

MIKE: I usually take a 2XVII but I’ve been feeling thin lately.

>
> FATTY FINDS THE MOON

TOM: Not *that* The Moon, mind you. A different The Moon.

>
> Wandering through the woods one day,

CROW: In the very merry month of … December.

> Fatty Raccoon’s bright eyes
> caught a strange gleam from something—something that shone and
> glittered out of the green.

MIKE: Oh yeah, it’s Gleam Squirrel season.

> Fatty wanted to see what it was,

TOM: Raccoon laser eyes on.

> though he
> hardly thought it was anything to eat.

TOM: Oh. Raccoon laser eyes off, then.

> But whenever he came upon
> something new he always wanted to examine it. So now Fatty hurried to
> see what the strange thing was.
>
> It was the oddest thing he had ever found—flat, round, and
> silvery;

CROW: Fatty discovers his first flying saucer.

> and it hung in the air, under a tree, just over Fatty’s head.

MIKE: A shower head?

TOM: Jeez, there’s got to be nicer ways to tell him to take a bath.

> Fatty Raccoon looked carefully at the bright thing. He walked all around
> it, so he could see it from all sides.

MIKE: So someone hung a half-dollar from a tree?

> And at last he thought he knew
> what it was. He made up his mind that it was the moon!

TOM: Oh, yeah, I can see where — *what*?

>
> He had often seen the moon up in the sky;

MIKE: Okay, yeah, sky, that checks out.

> and here it was,
> just the same size exactly,

CROW: *Exactly*?

TOM: I think Fatty’s one of those people who doesn’t believe you can see the moon during the day.

> hanging so low that he could have reached
> it with his paw.

MIKE: ‘Could have’. Big talk there, Fatty.

> He saw nothing strange in that; for he knew that the
> moon often touched the earth.

CROW: Fatty studied astronomy at an un-accredited college.

> Had he not seen it many a time, resting
> on the side of Blue Mountain?

TOM: Uh … all right, Counselor, I’ll let this continue but you’re on a short leash.

> One night he had asked his mother if he
> might go up on the mountain to play with the moon; but she had only
> laughed.

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘The Moon is a cow place. We raccoons have Toronto.’

> And here, at last, was the moon come to him!

TOM: This is so awkward because The Moon’s meeting someone else there.

> Fatty was so
> excited that he ran home as fast as he could go, to tell his mother,
> and his brother Blackie, and Fluffy and Cutey, his sisters.

MIKE: And Jimmy Rabbit’s imaginary brother.

>
> "Oh! the moon! the moon!" Fatty shouted.

CROW: Tattoo’s catchphrase for _Fantasy Island: 1999_.

> He had run so fast
> that, being so plump, he was quite out of breath. And that was all he
> could say.

MIKE: He’s thinking of making Moon Pies and … Moon cakes …

>
> "Well, well! What about the moon!" Mrs. Raccoon asked.

TOM: Moon salad, Moon pudding …

CROW: Moon sausages? … I don’t know, this category’s stumped me.

> "Anybody
> would think you had found it, almost." And she smiled.

CROW: Is … is ‘you found the moon’ some 1915 slang or something?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

>
> Fatty puffed and gasped. And at last he caught his breath
> again.
>
> "Yes—I’ve found it! It’s over in the woods—just a little way
> from here!" he said.

TOM: And up a considerable bit!

> "Big, and round, and shiny!

CROW: Huh … well, that sounds like the Moon, sure.

> Let’s all go and
> bring it home!"

MIKE: Oh, I don’t know. You never play with that Ceres you brought home last year.

>
> "Well, well, well!" Mrs. Raccoon was puzzled. She had never heard
> of the moon being found in those woods;

TOM: Oh, now our woods aren’t good enough for the Moon?

> and she hardly knew what to
> think. "Are you sure?" she asked.

CROW: Have you checked it for any identifying Apollo landing sites?

>
> "Oh, yes, Mother!" Fatty could hardly wait, he was so eager to
> lead the way.

TOM: He’s going to be so embarrassed when he gets back and it’s just Pluto.

> And with many a shake of the head, Mrs. Raccoon, with her
> family, started off to see the moon.

MIKE: This reminds her of the time Fluffy brought home a Lesser Magellanic Cloud.

>
> "There!" Fatty cried, as they came in sight of the bright,
> round thing.

CROW: Oh, that’s not the Moon, that’s just Callisto.

> "There it is—just as I told you!" And they all set up a
> great shouting.

TOM: Finally a Raccoon Moon.

MIKE: Man in the Moon wearing in eye mask.

>
> All but Mrs. Raccoon. She wasn’t quite sure, even yet, that Fatty
> had really found the moon.

CROW: If this is the Moon why does it have a sticker saying Made In Queens?

> And she walked close to the shining thing
> and peered at it. But not too close!

MIKE: Screen falling off the door, door hanging off the hinges …

> Mrs. Raccoon didn’t go too near it.
> And she told her children quite sternly to stand back.

TOM: Don’t want you to get scrooched by mistake.

> It was well
> that she did; for when Mrs. Raccoon took her eyes off Fatty’s moon and
> looked at the ground beneath it—well!

CROW: Wait, that’s no moon …

> she jumped back so quickly that
> she knocked two of her children flat on the ground.

CROW: It’s a space station!

>
> A trap!

CROW: It’s a trap?!

MIKE: Subverted expectations.

> THAT was what Mrs. Raccoon saw right in front of her.

TOM: Sharp eyes on Mrs Raccoon.

MIKE: She learned from that time she tried to bring home Saturn’s rings.

> And
> Farmer Green, or his boy, or whoever it was that set the trap,

CROW: Like there’s another person in the story?

MIKE: [ Shaking his fist ] Jasper Jay!

> had
> hung that bright piece of TIN over the trap hoping that one of her
> family would see it and play with it—and fall into the trap.

TOM: The trap of carrying your old-timey tintype photograph around the amusement park all day.

> Yes—it
> was a mercy that Fatty hadn’t begun knocking it about. For if he had
> he would have stepped right into the trap and it would have shut—SNAP!

CROW: Jeez, who tries to trap a perfectly innocent Moon?

> Just like that. And there he would have been, caught fast.

TOM: All right he’d be trapped, sure, but he’d have a Moon, too.

>
> It was no wonder that Mrs. Raccoon hurried her family away from
> that spot.

CROW: What can I say? This house is falling apart.

> And Fatty led them all home again. He couldn’t get away
> from his moon fast enough.

MIKE: Leaving the trap as a little surprise for Brownie Beaver there.

>
>

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVI


For this week I bring you chapter 16 of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. This and all previous chapters of this into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. If that seems like a lot to read to get up to speed here, yeah, and don’t worry. The chapter explains itself pretty well. But it does reference Chapter 13, when Jimmy Rabbit and, he claims, his brother played a prank on Fatty.


> XVI

TOM: Everyone who used to be a Vi, stand up.

>
> FATTY RACCOON PLAYS ROBBER

CROW: Stealing Farmer Green’s cornfield, as a bit.

>
> After Fatty Raccoon played barber-shop with Jimmy Rabbit and his
> brother it was a long time before he met them again.

CROW: So Jimmy Rabbit’s brother is a figment of his imagination, right? That’s why he doesn’t have a name?

> But one day Fatty
> was wandering through the woods when he caught sight of Jimmy. Jimmy
> dodged behind a tree.

TOM: Gee, why?

> And Fatty saw Jimmy’s brother peep from behind
> another.

MIKE: One more peep and we turn this forest around and go home.

> You see, his ears were so long that they stuck far beyond the
> tree,

CROW: Whoops!

MIKE: Be fair, now, why would a rabbit learn how to hide?

> and Fatty couldn’t help seeing them.
>
> "Hello!" Fatty called. "I’m glad to see you."

TOM: Mwuh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaa!

> And he told the
> truth, too. He had been trying to find those two brothers for weeks,
> because he wanted to get even with them for cutting off his moustache.

CROW: And hiding his fez and penny-farthing bicycle.

> Jimmy and his brother hopped out from behind their trees.
>
> "Hello!" said Jimmy. "We were just looking for you." Probably
> he meant to say, "We were just looking AT you."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Well, I was looking *through* you.

CROW: [ As Jimmy’s brother ] But you’re not there.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Like you even exist!

> He was somewhat upset
> by meeting Fatty; for he knew that Fatty was angry with him.
>
> "Oh, ho! You were, were you?" Fatty answered. He began to
> slide down the tree he had been climbing.

MIKE: [ Sings the Batman 66 transition theme, slowly ]

>
> Jimmy Rabbit and his brother edged a little further away.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] Have to … go … wax a … squirrel?

>
> "Better not come too near us!" he said. "We’ve both got the
> pink-eye, and you don’t want to catch it."

TOM: Why, a pink-eyed raccoon would be adorable!

MIKE: Or haunt your nightmares.

>
> Fatty paused and looked at the brothers.

MIKE: [ Making air quotes ] ‘Brothers’.

> Sure enough! their
> eyes were as pink as anything.
>
> "Does it hurt much?" Fatty asked.

CROW: Only when we look at stuff.

>
> "Well—it does and it doesn’t," Jimmy replied.

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Like, my brother? Nothing bothers him, because he’s made of nothing! Neat how that works, right?

> "I just stuck a
> brier into one of my eyes a few minutes ago and it hurt awful, then.
> But you’ll be perfectly safe, so long as you don’t touch us."

TOM: And you don’t jab a brier into your eyes. Sheesh.

>
> "How long does it last?" Fatty inquired.

MIKE: How long do you hold a grudge?

>
> "Probably we’ll never get over it," Jimmy Rabbit said
> cheerfully. And his brother nodded his head, as much as to say,
> "That’s so!"

CROW: Cut that out! You don’t get to support your brother if you don’t exist!

>
> Fatty Raccoon was just the least bit alarmed. He really thought
> that there was something the matter with their eyes.

TOM: Oh, they just need reading glasses. It’s nothing.

> You see, though
> the Rabbit brothers’ eyes were always pink (for they were born that
> way), he had never noticed it before.

MIKE: Also raccoons are maybe colorblind? Who knows?

> So Fatty thought it would be
> safer not to go too near them.

CROW: Fatty is the most bluffable raccoon out there.

TOM: He’s used to just chewing his way through life.

>
> "Well, it’s too bad," he told Jimmy. "I’m sorry. I wanted to
> play with you."

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Oh yeah? What game?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Well, it’s 1915, so the only games are tiddlywinks, whacking each other with rolled-up newspapers, and baseball.

>
> "Oh, that’s all right!" Jimmy said.

CROW: Hey, there’s stuffing ferrets down your trousers, that’s something.

MIKE: Crow! They’re *children*!

> "We can play, just the
> same. I’ll tell you what we’ll play. We’ll play—"

TOM: PLINKO! For a chance to win up to FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!
[ MIKE, CROW cheer ]

>
> "Not barber-shop!" Fatty interrupted. "I won’t play
> barber-shop, I never liked that game."

MIKE: Even though I started playing it with my brother right away.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit started to smile. But he turned his smile into a
> sneeze.

CROW: Awwwww, bunny sneezes, too adorable!

> And he said—

MIKE: Yes yes, go on?

>
> "We’ll play robber.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Robert?

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Robber.

> You’ll like that, I know.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] But how do you play Robert?

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] It’s Robber. You play a robber.

> And you can be
> the robber. You look like one, anyhow."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] How can I look like a ‘Robert’? Anyone could look like a ‘Robert’, there’s like four kinds of Robert out there.

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] I … you know what? Yes.

>
> That remark made Fatty Raccoon angry.

TOM: ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry … heck, our author doesn’t like me at all!’

> And he wished that Jimmy
> hadn’t the pink-eye. He would have liked to make an end of him right
> then and there.

CROW: You know what Fatty could use? A peer group.

>
> "What do you mean?" he shouted. "Robber nothing! I’m just as
> good as you are!"

TOM: Really curious how this scene plays out in _The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit_.

>
> "Of course, of course!" Jimmy said hastily. "It’s your face,
> you know, That black patch covers your eyes just like a robber’s mask.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] Oh! I thought you were talking about this giant bag with a dollar sign on it.

> That’s why we want you to be the robber."
>
> Fatty had slipped down his tree to the ground; and now he
> looked down into the creek.

CROW: Right next to the mirror department of the forest.

> It was just as Jimmy said. Fatty had never
> thought of it before,

MIKE: But how *do* you tell a cabbage from a lettuce?

> but the black patch of short fur across the
> upper part of his face made him look exactly like a robber.

CROW: Fatty had gone his entire raccoon life without considering human melodrama stage conventions for marking someone a robber.

>
> "Come on!" said Jimmy. "We can’t play the game without you."

TOM: We can’t ditch you without you coming along!

>
> "Well—all right!" said Fatty. He began to feel proud of his
> mask. "What shall I do?"

TOM: Well, first, rob something.

CROW: *Robert* something.

>
> "You wait right here," Jimmy ordered. "Hide behind that tree.

MIKE: … Bob’s your uncle …

> We’ll go into the woods. And when we come back past this spot you jump
> out and say ‘Hands up!’ … You understand?"

CROW: [ As Fatty ] OK, so, the Robert I’m playing, is he motivated by avarice or desperate need?

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] Buh?

>
> "Of course!" said Fatty. "But hurry up! Don’t be gone long."

CROW: [ As Fatty ] It affects how intense the Roberting is! What directions it might go. So I’m imagining my Robert as someone who turned to crime after losing his savings in the collapse of the Knickerbocker Trust Company.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] Uh … sure?

>
> "Leave that to us," said Jimmy Rabbit. He winked at his
> brother; and they started off together.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Oh, I know, you pretend to have documents relating to the United Copper Company, that’ll really make this scene crackle!

>
> Fatty Raccoon did not see that wink.

MIKE: And with that, his life changed forever.

> If he had, he wouldn’t have
> waited there all the afternoon for those Rabbit brothers to return.
> They never came back at all.

CROW: Be cunning and full of tricks! Also have the author hate Fatty, that’ll carry you far.

> And they told everybody about the trick
> they had played on Fatty Raccoon.

TOM: ‘We told him we were gonna play with him, and then we didn’t! What a loser!’

> For a long time after that wherever
> Fatty went the forest-people called "Robber!" after him.

MIKE: Well, this has been a merry descent back into middle school.

> And Jasper
> Jay was the most annoying of all, because whenever he shouted
> "Robber!" he always laughed so loudly and so long.

TOM: You suppose Jay is the bird we’re supposed to try to be naked as?

> His hoarse screech
> echoed through the woods. And the worst of it was, everybody knew what
> he was laughing at.

CROW: This chapter’s making me understand why Fatty wants to eat everybody he knows.

>
>

[ To be continued … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XV


Hello again and welcome to a bit more of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. I have been able to turn the previous 14 chapters of this into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. And now? Chapter 15. If it helps you set your expectations, this chapter is set in February.


> XV
>
> FATTY VISITS THE SMOKE-HOUSE

CROW: It’s so nice of Fatty to visit the smoke-houses stuck at home like that.

>
> The winter was fast going.

MIKE: Until someone grabbed its tail through the hole in the sycamore.

> And one fine day in February Fatty
> Raccoon crept out of his mother’s house to enjoy the warm sunshine—

TOM: February, the Sunshine Month.

> and see what he could find to eat.
>
> Fatty was much thinner than he had been in the fall.

CROW: So be with us for next week when we start _The Tale Of Thinny Raccoon_.

> He had
> spent so much of the time sleeping that he had really eaten very
> little.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Wouldn’t mind eating little if I did it more often.’

> And now he hardly knew himself as he looked at his sides. They
> no longer stuck out as they had once.

MIKE: You know, the ‘sleep-and-pretend-barber-shop’ weight plan is the most successful diet plan.

>
> After nosing about the swamp and the woods all the afternoon
> Fatty decided that there was no use in trying to get a meal there.

CROW: What if I offered to pay someone Tuesday for a hamburger today?

> The
> ground was covered with snow. And except for rabbit tracks—and a few
> squirrels’—

TOM: And a fox.

CROW: Three deer.

MIKE: That band of river otters.

CROW: Those penguins.

TOM: That team of dressage armadillos.

MIKE: Four elephants all wearing berets.

> he could find nothing that even suggested food. And
> looking at those tracks only made him hungrier than ever.

CROW: Man, never go eating on an empty stomach.

>
> For a few minutes Fatty thought deeply. And then he turned
> about and went straight toward Farmer Green’s place.

TOM: Oh, you can’t eat a *place*. Fatty, you want to look for *food*.

> He waited behind
> the fence just beyond Farmer Green’s house; and when it began to grow
> dark he crept across the barnyard.

MIKE: So he got up in the sunlight to wait for nightfall.

>
> As Fatty passed a small, low building he noticed a delicious
> smell. And he stopped right there.

CROW: Tell me it’s a pie cooling on the windowsill.

MIKE: ‘Tramp raccoon’ already snagged that.

> He had gone far enough. The door
> was open a little way.

TOM: Ah, that’s all he needs for probable cause.

> And after one quick look all around—to make
> sure there was nobody to see him—Fatty slipped inside.

CROW: Bonk!

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] OW! … I meant to do that!

>
> It was almost dark inside Farmer Green’s smokehouse—for that
> was what the small, low building was called.

TOM: Or the smoke-house, if you edit the titles of chapters.

> It was almost dark; but
> Fatty could see just as well as you and I can see in the daytime.

MIKE: Course, him bringing the flashlight helped.

> There was a long row of hams hung up in a line. Underneath them were
> white ashes, where Farmer Green had built wood fires, to smoke the
> hams.

CROW: Wait, really? Like, that’s how smoking meat works?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

> But the fires were out, now; and Fatty was in no danger of being
> burned.

TOM: The passion was gone from the hams.

>
> The hams were what Fatty Raccoon had smelled. And the hams were
> what Fatty intended to eat.

MIKE: If he can just get them away from the guy who draws ‘Heathcliff’.

> He decided that he would eat them
> all—though of course he could never have done that—at least, not in
> one night; nor in a week, either.

TOM: Nine days, though? That would do it, if he ate through dinner breaks.

> But when it came to eating, Fatty’s
> courage never failed him. He would have tried to eat an elephant, if
> he had had the chance.

MIKE: Imagining him slurping the elephant’s trunk up like a strand of spaghetti.

CROW: Asking the elephant to rub a little alfredo sauce on him .. .

>
> Fatty did not stop to look long at that row of hams.

MIKE: He only wept, for the lack of new worlds to conquer.

> He
> climbed a post that ran up the side of the house and he crept out

TOM: If he ran out he’d be showing post-haste.

> along the pole from which the hams were hung.

CROW: Oh, they’re hamstrung.

>
> He stopped at the very first ham he came to.

MIKE: And asked for directions to town.

> There was no
> sense in going any further.

TOM: Unless you’re being whimsical!

> And Fatty dropped on top of the ham and in
> a twinkling he had torn off a big, delicious mouthful.

MIKE: [ Low-key ] o/` I wanna hold your ham … o/`

>
> Fatty could not eat fast enough. He wished he had two
> mouths

TOM: And six eyes, not all on his face!

> —he was so hungry. But he did very well, with only ONE.

CROW: You know, an expert eater can use only the one mouth and you never notice the difference.

> In no
> time at all he had made a great hole in the ham.

TOM: Oh, ham and Swiss.

> And he had no idea of
> stopping.

MIKE: ‘I will not start stopping’, he said.

> But he did stop.

CROW: ‘Wait, I started stopping anyway!’

> He stopped very suddenly.

TOM: Have you tried stopping stopping?

MIKE: Or starting not-stopping?

> For the first
> thing he knew, something threw him right down upon the floor.

CROW: [ Upbeat ] Hey, hey, hey! It’s the crushing sadness of modern life! Great to see you!

> And the
> ham fell on top of him and nearly knocked him senseless.
>
> He choked and spluttered;

TOM: He never expected to live a ‘death by snu-snu’ meme.

> for the ashes filled his mouth and
> his eyes, and his ears, too. For a moment he lay there on his back;

MIKE: Surprised he isn’t trying to eat his way out of the ham.

> but soon he managed to kick the heavy ham off his stomach and then he
> felt a little better.

CROW: On to seconds!

> But he was terribly frightened. And though his
> eyes smarted so he could hardly see, he sprang up and found the
> doorway.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Lead on, my trusty moustache! … Oh no!’

>
> Fatty swallowed a whole mouthful of ashes as he dashed across
> the barnyard.

CROW: And then he remembered he could’ve eaten the ham off him instead.

> And he never stopped running until he was almost home.
> He was puzzled. Try as he would, he couldn’t decide what it was that
> had flung him upon the floor.

MIKE: But he suspects Jasper Jay.

> And when he told his mother about his
> adventure—as he did a whole month later—she didn’t know exactly
> what had happened, either.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Why didn’t you just eat your way out of the ham?’

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I panicked, okay?’

>
> "It was some sort of trap, probably," Mrs. Raccoon said.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘I bet they were catching hams and you just got in the way.’

>
> But for once Mrs. Raccoon was mistaken.

MIKE: It was in fact an ordinary reconnaissance mission, not trapping.

>
> It was very simple.

CROW: Allow me to explain until it is complicated and you are tired.

> In his greedy haste Fatty had merely
> bitten through the cord that fastened the ham to the pole.

TOM: In his defense, that was Cajun spiced cord.

> And of
> course it had at once fallen, carrying Fatty with it!
>
> But what do you suppose?

CROW: Oh, that pet mice all just assume they’re really good at foraging because look, there’s always food blocks right when they want.

> Afterward, when Fatty had grown up,
> and had children of his own,

TOM: Wait, Fatty grows up? Spoilers!

> he often told them about the time he had
> escaped from the trap in Farmer Green’s smokehouse.

MIKE: Raccoons don’t have a lot of epics, you understand.

>
> Fatty’s children thought it very exciting. It was their
> favorite story.

TOM: Above even the barber-shop saga.

And they made their father tell it over and over

> again.

CROW: And he never suspected they were putting him on.

>
>

[ To be continued … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIV


I thank you again for joining me in rewriting Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s book about animals, The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. You can read the entire story, so much as I have made into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, at this link. This chapter builds directly on Chapter XIII, when Jimmy Rabbit and Jimmy’s Brother Rabbit set up a pretend barber shop, only to use it to give Fatty a humiliating shave. Enjoy!


> XIV
>
> THE BARBER-SHOP AGAIN

CROW: Barber-Shop *again*?

MIKE: Well, spruce it up with some frozen vegetables and bake it into a casserole and it’s like new.

>
> Although Fatty Raccoon never could get Jimmy Rabbit and his
> brother to play barber-shop with him again,

TOM: But if he asked for a rousing game of ‘patent attorney’? They were up for that.

> Fatty saw no reason why he
> should not play the game without them.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘If they won’t humiliate me I’ll humiliate myself!’

> So one day he led his brother
> Blackie

TOM: [ Grunts, in pain ]

> over to the old hollow sycamore.

MIKE: If the sycamore is hollow isn’t that a syca-less?

> His sisters, Fluffy and
> Cutey, wanted to go too.

CROW: Wait, I thought Blackie was one of his sisters?

TOM: [ As though tired of explaining ] If Blackie were a girl he’d have long eyelashes and a bow in his hair, Crow.

> But Fatty would not let them. "Girls can’t be
> barbers," he said.

MIKE: Ah, see, sexism, it’s the flaw keeping Fatty from being too good to be true.

> And of course they could find no answer to that.

TOM: Heck, they didn’t want to talk to him ever again.

>
> As soon as Fatty and Blackie reached the old sycamore I am
> sorry to say that a dispute arose.

CROW: [ As Narrator ] ‘I was hoping to get through one chapter where nothing happened but, tch.’

> Each of them wanted to use his own
> tail for the barber’s pole.

MIKE: Well, I mean, *naturally*.

> They couldn’t both stick their tails
> through the hole in the tree at the same time. So they finally agreed
> to take turns.

CROW: [ As Narrator ] ‘The dispute wasn’t exactly the Great Schism of 1054. Sorry if I set your expectations too high.’

>
> Playing barber-shop wasn’t so much fun as they had expected,

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘I don’t get it, last time a couple rabbits shaved my face bald and I was hideous for months! Why isn’t this as good?’

> because nobody would come near to get his hair cut. You see, the
> smaller forest- people were all afraid to go inside that old sycamore
> where Fatty and Blackie were.

TOM: They heard it’s haunted.

MIKE: Fortunately a couple of meddling young goats wandered through town …

> There was no telling when the two
> brothers might get so hungry they would seize and eat a rabbit or a
> squirrel or a chipmunk.

TOM: [ As Blackie ] ‘Hey! I’ve got self-control, *thank* you.’

> And you know it isn’t wise to run any such
> risk as that.

CROW: The marmots, though? They like their chances.

>
> Fatty offered to cut Blackie’s hair.

TOM: With what?

> But Blackie remembered
> what his mother had said when Fatty came home with his moustache gone
> and his head all rough and uneven.

MIKE: [ As Blackie ] ‘I remember it like it was yesterday!’

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘It *was* yesterday!’

MIKE: [ As Blackie ] ‘I didn’t say it was hard to remember!’

> So Blackie wouldn’t let Fatty touch
> him. But HE offered to cut Fatty’s hair—what there was left of it.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘But we can’t get Jimmy to play with us!’

CROW: [ As Jimmy, from a distance ] ‘I’m a *rabbit* not a *hare*!’

>
> "No, thank you!" said Fatty. "I only get my hair cut once a
> month." Of course, he had never had his hair cut except that once, in
> his whole life.

TOM: The barber-shop plot is *not* helping me understand the level of anthropomorphization here.

>
> Now, since there was so little to do inside the hollow tree,
> Fatty and Blackie kept quarreling.

MIKE: I mean, you know, brothers.

CROW: They’d come home with black eyes but who could tell?

> Blackie would no sooner stick his
> tail through the hole in the side of the tree than Fatty would want
> HIS turn.

TOM: Turns out raccoons are easier to keep occupied than I figured.

> And when Fatty had succeeded in squeezing HIS tail out
> through the opening Blackie would insist that Fatty’s time was up.

CROW: I’m starting to think this isn’t just about the hole.

>
> It was Fatty’s turn, and Blackie was shouting to him to stand
> aside and give him a chance.

MIKE: Man, to think of all the afternoons I spent sticking body parts in tree holes …

>
> "I won’t!" said Fatty. "I’m going to stay here just as long as
> I please."

CROW: [ Sighing ] Remember Winnie the Pooh? Winnie the Pooh was great.

>
> The words were hardly out of his mouth when he gave a sharp
> squeal, as if something hurt him.

TOM: It’s called a brother and that’s what they do, yes. There’s punching, there’s biting, there’s name-calling …

> And he tried to pull his tail out of
> the hole. He wanted to get it out now. But alas! it would not come!

CROW: Alack!

> It
> was caught fast!

MIKE: If he can’t move isn’t it really caught *slow*?

> And the harder Fatty pulled the more it hurt him.
>
> "Go out and see what’s the matter!" he cried to Blackie.

CROW: It’s a rival barber shop run by Grandfather Mole!

>
> But Blackie wouldn’t stir. He was afraid to leave the shelter
> of the hollow tree.

TOM: Really? Why?

>
> "It may be a bear that has hold of your tail," he told Fatty.

MIKE: Now why would a bear want a used tail?

TOM: Better than no tail.

> And somehow, that idea made Fatty tremble all over.

CROW: ‘Somehow’?

>
> "Oh, dear! oh, dear!" he wailed. "What shall I do? Oh!
> whatever shall I do?"

CROW: I mean, whatever the bear wants you to.

> He began to cry. And Blackie cried too.

MIKE: Good survival skill here. Bears are afraid of awkward emotional scenes like this.

> How
> Fatty wished that his mother was there to tell him what to do!

TOM: He regrets using up that genie’s three wishes all on fudge.

>
> But he knew of no way to fetch her. Even if she were at home
> she could never hear him calling from inside the tree.

CROW: Unless she’s next door visiting Master Meadow Mouse playing savings bank.

> So Fatty gave
> up all hope of her helping.

TOM: Dad’s not putting on a good show for his kids here.

MIKE: [ Nerdy voice ] ‘It’s biological *authenticity*.’

>
> "Please, Mr. Bear, let go of my tail!" he cried, when he could
> stand the pain no longer.

CROW: [ As Fatty, choking ] ‘No no don’t grab my neck instead!’

>
> The only answer that came was a low growl, which frightened
> Fatty and Blackie more than ever.

TOM: If Fatty had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

> And then, just as they both began to
> howl at the top of their voices Fatty’s tail was suddenly freed.

MIKE: As Walter Moose frightens off the bear to make his 2:15 mani-pedi.

> He
> was pulling on it so hard that he fell all in a heap on the floor of
> the barber-shop. And that surprised him.

CROW: This lets the bear claim he’s ‘technically’ eating free-range raccoon.

>
> But he was still more surprised when he heard his mother say—

TOM: His mother?

CROW: The heck?

>
> "Stop crying and come out—both of you!" Fatty and Blackie
> scrambled out of the hollow sycamore.

MIKE: Wait, how do you know that’s not a bear pretending to be Mom?

> Fatty looked all around. But
> there was no bear to be seen anywhere—no one but his mother.

TOM: Be bear aware!

CROW: There’s no bear there.

TOM: Be no bear aware!

>
> "Did you frighten the bear away, Mother?" he asked.
>
> "There was no bear," Mrs. Raccoon told him.

CROW: [ Gasp ]

MIKE: Fatty was found alive and of normal size three thousand miles away.

TOM: The heck?

> "And it’s lucky for
> you that there wasn’t. I saw your tail sticking out of this tree and I
> thought I would teach you a lesson.

TOM: Three chapters in a row we’ve been taken by a plot twist!

CROW: Yeah, the author outthinking me is really making me resent this book.

> Now, don’t ever do such a foolish
> thing again. Just think what a fix you would have been in if Johnnie
> Green had come along.

MIKE: But Johnnie Green’s too young to shave!

> He could have caught you just as easily as
> anything."

MIKE: Ohhhhhhhhh.

>
> Fatty Raccoon was so glad to be free once more that he promised
> to be good forever after.

CROW: Well, he can’t promise to be good forever before.

> And he was just as good as any little raccoon
> could be—all the rest of that day.

TOM: I mean, fair.

>
>

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIII


Thanks all for being with me for another chapter of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I’m still looking at Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel about animals, The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. You can read earlier installments of the MiSTing here. This chapter doesn’t demand much knowledge of what’s gone before, though. If you want to jump in all you really need to know is that Fatty Raccoon would like to eat you, and Arthur Scott Bailey hates Fatty Raccoon for it. Enjoy!


> XIII

CROW: How x-i-ting!

>
> FATTY MEETS JIMMY RABBIT

MIKE: Jimmy meets Fatty Rabbit.

TOM: Rabbit meets Jimmy Fatty.

>
> For once Fatty Raccoon was not hungry.

CROW: *What?!*

TOM: Hold me, Mike, I’m scared!

> He had eaten so much of
> Farmer Green’s corn that he felt as if he could not swallow another
> mouthful.

MIKE: So he’s taken to just rubbing corn on his belly and hoping for the best.

> He was strolling homewards through the woods when someone
> called to him. It was Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: Y’know, if Fatty had an ear of corn to introduce to Jimmy, but was indifferent to how the meeting went, Fatty could say, ‘Jimmy, Green’s Corn, and I don’t care.’

MIKE: [ Sighing ] You too?

>
> "Where are you going, Fatty?" Jimmy Rabbit asked.

CROW: The big meeting in Toronto.

>
> "Home!" said Fatty.
>
> "Are you hungry?" Jimmy Rabbit asked anxiously.

MIKE: [ As Jack Benny, putting his hand on his cheek ] ‘Well!’

>
> "I should say not!" Fatty answered.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Um … should I? Did I get my line wrong?’

> "I’ve just had the finest
> meal I ever ate in my life."

MIKE: By ‘finest’ he means ‘most recent’.

CROW: Say this for Fatty, he’s a great person to cook for.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit seemed to be relieved to hear that.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Hooray! It wasn’t me!’

>
> "Come on over and play," he said. "My brother and I are
> playing barber- shop over in the old sycamore tree; and we need you."

CROW: Wait … why are rabbits playing barber shop?

MIKE: Why are they not playing hare salon?

CROW: And we’re being the problem.

>
> "All right!" said Fatty. It was not often that any of the
> smaller forest-people were willing to play with him,

TOM: Wonder why that could be.

> because generally
> Fatty couldn’t help getting hungry and then he usually tried to eat
> his playmates.

MIKE: You know, when we make that joke it’s just sick, but when the book makes it it’s …

CROW: Ugh.

> "What do you need me for?" Fatty asked, as he trudged
> along beside Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: We need somebody to be the guy off in back complaining about the Giants.

>
> "We need you for the barber’s pole," Jimmy explained. "You can
> come inside the hollow tree and stick your tail out through a hole.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] You need me to do a stick’s job?

> It
> will make a fine barber’s pole—though the stripes DO run the wrong
> way, to be sure."

MIKE: Well, you could lean sideways a little?

>
> Fatty Raccoon was greatly pleased. He looked around at his tail
> and felt very proud.

CROW: A fine horsehair tail, one of the most elegant … wait, I’m being handed a bulletin.

>
> "I’ve got a beautiful tail—haven’t I?" he asked.
>
> "Um—yes!" Jimmy Rabbit replied, "though I must say it isn’t
> one that I would care for myself…

TOM: Frish — *Frith* Worshippers have to say that.

MIKE: Hard saying ‘Frish Wor’ — that *is* hard.

> But come along! There may be people
> waiting to get their hair cut."

CROW: I’ve lost all understanding of the level of anthropomorphization here.

>
> Sure enough! When they reached the make-believe barber-shop
> there was a gray squirrel inside,

MIKE: Can touch that up with a little Just For Squirrels.

> and Jimmy Rabbit’s brother was
> busily snipping the fur off Mr. Squirrel’s head.

TOM: Uh-oh …

CROW: What?

>
> "How much do you charge for a hair-cut?" Fatty asked.

TOM: Fatty! Get out of there! IT’S AN IMPROV TROUPE!

>
> "Oh, that depends!" Jimmy Rabbit said. "Mr. Squirrel will pay
> us six cabbage leaves.

CROW: But for you?

MIKE: Yes, yes?

CROW: Six cabbage leaves, who do you think you are?

> But if we were to cut your hair we’d have to
> ask more. We’d want a dozen cabbage leaves, at least."

CROW: Oh, dang.

MIKE: This is about that time I ate your best friend, isn’t it?

>
> "Well, don’t I get anything for the use of my tail?" Fatty
> asked.

CROW: Well, what does your tail need to use?

> He had already stuck it out through the hole; and he had half a
> mind to pull it in again.

TOM: Just picturing the dignity of Fatty here.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit and his brother whispered together for a few
> moments.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘No, no, no, no. I don’t know your name either.’

>
> "I’ll tell you what we’ll do," Jimmy said. "If you’ll let us
> use your tail for the barber’s pole, we’ll cut your hair free.

TOM: I mean, all hair that’s cut is free. That’s how it can fall off.

> Isn’t
> that fair enough?"

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Will I have to bring my own hair?’

>
> Fatty Raccoon was satisfied. But he insisted that Jimmy begin to
> cut his hair at once.

TOM: Me, I demand to know if they have, like, rabbit-size scissors or what.

CROW: Oh, man, those stupid bunny scissors that you can’t actually cut anything with.

>
> "I’m doing my part of the work now," he pointed out. "So
> there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do yours."

MIKE: Jimmy counter-offers with Fatty leaving his tail there and comes back for it later.

>
> With that Jimmy Rabbit began. He clipped and snipped at
> Fatty’s head, pausing now and then to see the effect.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘So, uh, no eating each other right?’

> He smiled once
> in a while, behind Fatty’s back, because Fatty certainly did look
> funny with his fur all ragged and uneven.

TOM: Oh, now, how bad could it OH MY GOD! RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

>
> "Moustache trimmed?" Jimmy Rabbit asked, when he had finished
> with Fatty’s head.

MIKE: Ah yes, the most renowned feature of a raccoon’s markings: the moustache.

>
> "Certainly—of course!" Fatty Raccoon answered.

CROW: You feel like Fatty shows up a lot in Animal Reddit threads about jerk customers.

> And pretty soon
> Fatty’s long white moustache lay on the floor of the barber-shop.

CROW: That’s *lie* on the floor.

TOM: No it’s not.

MIKE: Do I have to separate you two?

TOM: I mean, you do.

> Fatty felt a bit uneasy as he looked down and saw his beautiful
> moustache lying at his feet. "You haven’t cut it too short, I hope,"
> he said.

CROW: Aw, c’mon, you’re not hardly bleeding at all!

>
> "No, indeed!" Jimmy Rabbit assured him. "It’s the very latest
> style."

TOM: This is all the rage in Raccoon Paris.

>
> "What on earth has happened to you?" Mrs. Raccoon cried,—when
> Fatty reached home that night. "Have you been in a fire?"

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘You should … see … the other fire?’

>
> "It’s the latest style, Mother," Fatty told her.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘It’s by Mangee. On the Left Bank.’

> "At least,
> that’s what Jimmy Rabbit says." He felt the least bit uneasy again.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Did you tell him your Jimmy-Green’s-corn joke? Is that why he did that?’

>
> "Did you let that Jimmy Rabbit do that to you?" Mrs. Raccoon
> asked.

TOM: There was also his brother, what’s-his-name!

>
> Fatty hung his head. He said nothing at all. But his mother
> knew.
>
> "Well! you ARE a sight!" she exclaimed.

CROW: I guess? Since so far all we’ve been told is his fur’s uneven and he lost his moustache?

MIKE: Telling us there’s something funny without showing what it is; very Funky Winkerbean-y.

> "It will be months
> before you look like my child again. I shall be ashamed to go anywhere
> with you."

MIKE: Who’s gonna see? You go everywhere in the middle of the night.

>
> Fatty Raccoon felt very foolish. And there was just one thing
> that kept him from crying. And THAT was THIS:

TOM: For three months, he’ll be the chupacabra!

> he made up his mind that
> when he played barber-shop with Jimmy Rabbit again he would get even
> with him.

CROW: Jimmy and his brother are some those nasty prank-playing children from a 1910 comic strip.

MIKE: The Katzenjam-hare Kids.

>
> But when the next day came, Fatty couldn’t find Jimmy Rabbit
> and his brother anywhere. They kept out of sight.

TOM: They were wearing his eye mask as *their* eye masks!

> But they had told
> all the other forest-people about the trick they had played on Fatty
> Raccoon.

MIKE: Also they could see he was shaved naked-ish … we guess?

> And everywhere Fatty went he heard nothing but hoots and jeers
> and laughs.

TOM: [ As Forest-People ] ‘Hah, hah, doesn’t have a moustache!’

CROW: [ As Forest-People ] ‘Look at the uneven fur on that raccoon!’

MIKE: [ As Forest-People ] ‘We assume there’s something else funny about your appearance!’

> He felt very silly. And he wished that he might meet Jimmy
> Rabbit and his brother.

CROW: Funny thing is by the time he finds them, Fatty’s decided this look really works for him.

MIKE: Life, y’know?

>
>


[ To be continued, someday ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XII


Hi, friends, and I hope you’re still enjoying Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. I still am, and that’s why I got another chapter riffed and published this week. If you’re tired of me giving the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment to a harmless book that’s caused nobody any trouble, well, maybe you’re right. But it’s fun writing, too.

To catch you up: Fatty Raccoon and his family are facing the hard, cold winter. There’s not a lot of food left and what there is, Fatty’s eaten already. But Jasper Jay brought the news that Farmer Green has forty fat turkeys, ready for the eating. Are you ready for how Fatty hopes to turn this to his advantage, and how things maybe go wrong? I’m not sure you are!


> XII
>
> FORTY FAT TURKEYS

CROW: If the Twelve Day of Christmas *never ended*.

>
> When Jasper Jay told Fatty Raccoon about Farmer Green’s forty fat
> turkeys

TOM: Jasper was being a gossip.

> Fatty felt hungrier than ever.
>
> "Oh! I mustn’t go near Farmer Green’s house!" he said.

MIKE: You mustn’t?

CROW: He daren’t.

> "My
> mother told me to keep away from there. . . .

TOM: On the other hand, food. Well, she’ll understand.

> What time did you say
> the turkeys go to roost?"

CROW: It’s after the chickens come home to roost, but before the cows come home.

>
> "Oh! they go to roost every night at sundown," Jasper Jay
> explained. "And there they sit, up in the tree, all night long.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] And … turkeys just go into trees and sleep?

MIKE: [ As Jasper ] Yup! That’s totally normal behavior for turkeys!

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Of course as real wild animal I know this I just … wanted to know I got it right?

> They’re fast asleep. And you would have no trouble at all in catching
> as many as you wanted.

TOM: [ As Japser ] Assuming you want none! None is a many, right?

> . . . But of course, if you’re afraid—why
> there’s no use of MY talking about it.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] I’ven’t given you cause to question my *courage*.

TOM: Mustn’t doubt it, really.

> There’s a plenty of other Raccoons
> in these woods

CROW: [ As Jasper ] I’ll find love with one of them instead!

> who’d be glad to know about those turkeys. And maybe
> they’d have the manners to say ‘Thank you!’ too."

TOM: Wait, why would the turkeys say thanks for having to meet Fatty?

> And with a hoarse,
> sneering laugh Jasper Jay flew away.

MIKE: [ As the devil from ‘The Undead’ ] ‘You’re stuck here!’

>

TOM: [ Getting it ] Ooooooooh, wait.

> That was enough for Fatty. He made up his mind that he would
> show Jasper Jay that HE was not afraid.

MIKE: He whips a can of spinach out of his tail.

CROW: [ Humming the Popeye fanfare ] Da-dadada-dah-dadah!

> And he wanted a turkey to eat,
> too.

TOM: [ As Citizen Kane ] ‘I think it would be *fun* to eat a turkey?’

> He said nothing to his mother about Jasper’s news.

CROW: Wait, you’re not getting the gang together for one last heist?

> But that very
> night, when the moon came up, and the lights in Farmer Green’s house
> were all out, Fatty Raccoon went stealing across the fields.

MIKE: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip ow a rock!

CROW: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaah the creek! Splash!

TOM: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaaaaaah the ravine aaaaaaaaaah!

>
> He was not afraid, for

MIKE: For the Angel of the Lord had spoken upon him.

> he knew that Farmer Green and all his
> family were in their beds.

CROW: The Angel said, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings and raw hot dogs’.

> And it was so cold that Fatty felt sure
> that Farmer Green’s dogs would be inside their kennels.

TOM: Awww, pups in a blanket, so cute!

>
> Fatty did not intend to make any noise.

CROW: Then he stepped on the clown nose.

> The turkeys were
> asleep—so Jasper Jay had told him—

MIKE: They nestle in after having a good game of Five Hundred with the neighbors and a small dish of pistachio ice cream.

> and he expected to grab one of them
> so swiftly and silently that the other turkeys would never know it.

TOM: [ As Narrator ] I mean, they’d know eventually, when they went looking for their friend and found him gone, but … look, I’ll come in again.

>
> When Fatty Raccoon came to Farmer Green’s yard he had no trouble
> at all in finding the spreading oak.

CROW: Bonk!

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Found it!’

> He could see the turkeys plainly
> where they dozed on the bare branches.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Huh … uh yeah, turkeys. In trees. Wow.’

MIKE: ‘Man, and I thought peacocks in trees were something.’

> And in less time than it takes
> to tell it

CROW: Oh, never mind, it’s done.

> Fatty had climbed the tree. On the very lowest limb there
> was a row of four plump turkeys, all sound asleep.

TOM: [ Snoring in ]

MIKE: [ Snoring out ]

CROW: Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble.

> And Fatty reached
> out and seized the nearest one.

TOM: I seez him! He’s right dere!

> He seized the turkey by the neck,

CROW: Eek?

> so
> that the big bird could not call out.

TOM: Well, this just got less fun.

MIKE: Thanks, Arthur Scott Bailey, we needed a touch of ‘serial killer’ in this story.

> But Fatty was not quite quick
> enough.

CROW: Man, predation is so much less cool when it’s not just lions running at antelopes and stuff.

> Before he could pull her off her perch the turkey began to
> flap her wings,

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Wait, you’re reacting? You’re not allowed to react!’

> and she struck the turkey next her, so that THAT
> turkey woke up and began to gobble and flap HER wings. Then the next
> turkey on the limb woke up.

TOM: It’s a Rube Goldberg turkey roost!

CROW: It’s a 82-step process to butter a piece of toast.

> And the first thing that Fatty Raccoon knew,
> every one of the thirty-nine turkeys that were left was going
> gobble-gob-gob-gob-gobble!

TOM: He knocked down ten, that’s a strike, knocked down another ten, that’s another strike, knocked down another ten …

CROW: That’s a turkey.

MIKE: Oooh.

> And some of them went sailing off across
> the yard.

MIKE: Henry Cabot Henhouse!

CROW: That’s Super*chicken*!

> One of them lighted on top of the porch just outside Farmer
> Green’s window and it seemed to Fatty that that one made the greatest
> racket of all.

TOM: Ladies and gentlemen Ringing Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus brings you … the greatest racket of all!

MIKE: Eh, I’ve seen greater rackets.

>
> Farmer Green’s window flew up; and Farmer Green’s voice called
> "Spot! Spot!"

CROW: Stop bothering Lady Macbeth and chase that turkey thief!

>
> Fatty Raccoon did not wait to hear anything more. He dropped the
> turkey he had seized and slipped down to the ground.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Uh … no hard feelings, turkey?’

MIKE: [ As Turkey ] ‘Seriously?’

> And then he ran
> toward the woods as fast as he could go.

CROW: Just one more pleasant night wrecked by having Fatty show up in it.

>
> Farmer Green’s dog Spot was barking now. And Fatty wanted to
> climb one of the trees by the roadside. But he remembered, the narrow
> escape he had had when the dog had treed him near the cornfield. So he
> never stopped until he reached the woods.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yes! That’s what I’m thinking! I totally didn’t miss the Turnpike!’

> Then he went nimbly up into
> the trees.

MIKE: So excited he climbs ten feet past the top of the tree.

> And while Spot was barking at the foot of the first tree he
> climbed, Fatty was travelling through the tree-tops toward home.

CROW: Ah, a good night’s work.

>
> He never said anything to his mother about Farmer Green’s
> turkeys.

MIKE: His mom gets home saying she was going to grab a turkey but some fool went and unsettled them all.

CROW: Unsettlegate.

> But the next time he saw Jasper Jay Fatty told him exactly
> what he thought of him.

TOM: Hey, this heist went wrong because of you, Fatty, don’t go blaming Jasper …

>
> "Ha! ha!" Jasper Jay only laughed.

CROW: Wait …

> And he did not seem at all
> surprised that Fatty had fallen into trouble.

MIKE: Hang on, yeah, did …

> To tell the truth, he
> was only sorry because Fatty had escaped.

TOM: I think … wait …

> Jasper Jay did not like
> Fatty Raccoon.

MIKE: It’s a third-act plot twist!

> And he had told him about the forty fat turkeys because he
> hoped that Fatty would get caught if he tried to steal one of them.

CROW: Jasper played Fatty! He played us all!

>
> "Wait till I catch you!" Fatty said.

TOM: You can’t hold on to a sleeping turkey, you think you’re grabbing a jay, Fatty?

>
> But Jasper Jay only laughed harder than ever when Fatty said
> that. He seemed to think it was a great joke. He was most annoying.

MIKE: I … *dang*.

CROW: Intrigue and subterfuge! I’m stunned.

TOM: Two characters in this chapter and now I don’t know which one to dislike more.

>
>


[ To be continued, someday ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XI


So I decided to go ahead and riff another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 animal-adventure novel about how much he hates his own raccoon protagonist. Not to worry, I posted it to Usenet first, so that I have something new written this year to give rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc.

There is a little change, though, as you saw in the title. The title The Tale of Fatty Coon has bothered me. Yes, I’m aware that anyone reading this would quickly realize this is literally about raccoons. But, you know? This is supposed to be lighthearted Mystery Science Theater 3000-style fun pointed at a harmless target. Why force anyone to have to ask, even briefly, what the intentions of Joseph Nebus are? And ultimately, I remembered: Eric Cartman chose to name his raccoon-themed superhero “The Coon”. Avoiding the choice Eric Cartman would make is a good first approximation to how to live.

And happily, Bailey’s novel is in the public domain (one reason I felt comfortable riffing it to start). It belongs to us all. I can make my own version, even if all that’s changed is the family name. I still have the past chapters up under the old name and the old tag. I’ll change that if and when I have the energy.

For those just joining us: Fatty Raccoon is a really really fat raccoon who’s out to eat the world. Farmer Green’s son Johnnie has tried but failed to catch Fatty as a pet. There is more, mostly the stories of things Fatty Coon has tried to eat, with surprisingly mixed success. But that will get you going. Now, please, enjoy.


> XI

CROW: The toll for being in this chapter is the excise tax.

MIKE: D… do …

>

TOM: Don’t encourage him, Mike.

MIKE: Do I *know* you, Crow?

> JASPER JAY TELLS SOME NEWS

TOM: Then the five-day weather and then Mister Food’s Test Kitchen.

>
> It was quite late in the fall,

CROW: Not so late as to have hit bottom.

> and the weather had grown very
> cold. Mrs. Raccoon and her family had not left their home for several
> days;

MIKE: Join the club.

> but on this day she thought it would be pleasant to go out in
> the sunshine and get a breath of fresh air and a bite to eat.

TOM: Maybe run down to the comics shop, see if her pulls are in.

>
> Fatty was the only one of her children that was not asleep;

CROW: If these are ‘Sleepy-Time Tales’ why aren’t we following the sleeping kids?

> and he complained of being very hungry. So Mrs. Raccoon decided to take
> him with her.

MIKE: So hard finding a babysitter this time of year.

>
> The hunting was not very good. There were no birds’ eggs at
> all to be found in the trees.

TOM: [ As Fatty ]*Technically* eggs would be found in the *nests* in the trees.”

MIKE: Great, he’s becoming a “well, actually” raccoon.

> The river and the brook and the creek
> were all frozen over, so Fatty and his mother could not catch any
> fish.

CROW: Fish gathering underneath, sticking their tongues out at the raccoons.

> And as for corn

MIKE: It’s that “excise” joke Crow brought.

CROW: Hey!

> —Farmer Green had long ago gathered the last
> ear of it. Fatty wished that it was summertime.

CROW: o/` Summertime’s nice with a place to go, bedtime, overtime, halftime too … o/`

> But it only made him
> hungrier than ever,

TOM: How?

> to think of all the good things to eat that summer
> brings. He was feeling very unhappy when his mother said to him
> sharply—

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] “Cheddar! I mean, what?”

>
> "Run up this tree! Hurry, now! Don’t ask any questions."

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] “Wait, first put on these clown shoes and don’t let this businessman’s valise out of your grip! But no questions!”

TOM: [ As Fatty ] “Whuh — huh — ”

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] “And only answer people who speak to you in Ubby-Dubby!”

TOM: Pig Raccoon …

>
> Now, Fatty did not always mind his mother as quickly as he
> might have.

MIKE: Why, I’ve never minded Mrs Raccoon at all. She’s always been a wonderful companion and magnificent storyteller.

CROW: A real raccoonteur?

MIKE: Yeah, I was leaving that for people to work out on their own.

> But this time he saw that she had stopped and was sniffing
> the air as if there was something about it she did not like.
>
> That was enough for Fatty. He scrambled up the nearest tree.

TOM: That’s a shrub!

CROW: Thud! … OK, well, the second-nearest tree then!

> For he knew that his mother had discovered danger of some sort.

MIKE: Too late Mrs Raccoon realized the danger was raccoon-eating trees!

>
> Mrs. Raccoon followed close behind Fatty. And they had no sooner
> hidden in the branches than Fatty saw what it was that his mother had
> smelled.

CROW: Tim Horton’s doughnuts?

>
> It was Johnnie Green!

TOM: Tell us what they’ve won, Johnnie Green!

> He passed right underneath the tree
> where they were perched. And as Mrs. Raccoon peeped down at him she

MIKE: ‘Peeped’?

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘If I hear one more peep out of me I’m turning myself around and going home!’

> shuddered and shivered and shook so hard that Fatty couldn’t help
> noticing it.

MIKE: Mrs Raccoon’s powering up!

>
> "What’s the matter?" he asked, as soon as Johnnie Green was
> out of sight.

CROW: Oh, Johnnie’s an ex. Messy breakup.

>
> "His cap!" Mrs. Raccoon exclaimed.

CROW: That propeller can’t be fast enough to lift off!

> "He is wearing a raccoon-skin
> cap!" Now do you wonder that she was upset?

TOM: Oh.

MIKE: Yeah, Mom’s being fair there.

> "Don’t ever go near Farmer
> Green’s house," she warned Fatty. "You don’t want to be made into a
> cap, or a pair of gloves, or a coat, or anything like that, do you?"

CROW: No, I want it to be by my free choice!

>
> "No, indeed, Mother!" Fatty was quite sure that such an
> adventure wouldn’t please him at all.

TOM: Now, being turned into a beer can cozy? Don’t knock *that* until you’ve tried it.

> And he told himself right then
> and there that he would never go anywhere near Farmer Green’s house.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Now let’s explore this tree you found for us!’

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘It’s, uh, Farmer Green’s chimney … … … Sorry?’

> We shall see how well Fatty remembered.

CROW: Hey, foreshadowing!

>
> That very afternoon Fatty Raccoon heard some very pleasant news.
> It was Jasper Jay who told him.

TOM: Oh yeah! The *chapter*!

>
> Jasper Jay was a very noisy blue jay who lived in the
> neighborhood.

CROW: [ As Jasper ] ‘You know unlike other blue things I just *look* blue!’

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yes, all things that look blue look blue, that’s how looking blue *works*.’

> He did not go south with most of the other birds when
> the cold weather came.

MIKE: He migrated east. It started one year as a mistake he was too stubborn to admit.

> He liked the winter and he was forever tearing
> about the woods, squalling and scolding at everybody. He was a very
> noisy fellow.

TOM: Man, Arthur Scott Bailey really makes nature sound like it’s full of jerks.

>
> Well! when Fatty and his mother had reached home after their
> hunt, Fatty stayed out of doors.

MIKE: What did they hunt?

TOM: Oh, they went to the thrift scores. Scored this ceramic coaster with the Harvey Wallbanger cartoon guy on it.

> He climbed to the top of a tall pine
> tree nearby and stretched himself along a limb, to enjoy the sunshine,
> which felt very good upon his broad back.

TOM: Boy, remember being young enough you could just spend the evening flopped out on a pine tree?

> It was there that Jasper Jay
> found him and told him the pleasant news.

CROW: “Jules Rivera’s doing an AMA? We can ask her why she hates Mark Trail and wants it destroyed? Let’s go!”

> And Fatty was very glad to
> hear the news, because he was still hungry.
>

> This is what Jasper Jay told Fatty: he told him that Farmer
> Green had as many as forty fat turkeys,

TOM: Fatty wondering if he’s being insulted here.

> which roosted every night in a
> spreading oak in Farmer Green’s front yard.

CROW: Turkeys … … roost … in trees?

MIKE: I guess?

CROW: I feel weird.

>
> "If I liked turkeys I would certainly go down there some night
> and get one," said Jasper Jay.
>
>

MIKE: Wait, that’s the whole chapter?

TOM: “Jasper Jay Tells Some News, after 800 words about other stuff.”


[ To be continued, sometime ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter X


Ah, thought I might be done with Arthur Scott Bailey’s forgotten 1915 novel, did you? Fair enough. But I did take some time last month to riff the tenth chapter of this little story, and posted it to Usenet for the good old times. And now? Let me share it here. I don’t promise to go riffing the remaining ten chapters of the book, but, we’ll see what I do get to in time.

Some recaps for those who’ve joined late.. Fatty, our nominal hero, is a raccoon. He wants to eat. His author is torn between punishing him for this and letting him get away with it. He tried to eat goshawk eggs, and got attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He tried to eat squirrels. He got scared by a “tramp raccoon”. He tried to eat a fishing lure, to the delight of Farmer Green. And he has eaten green corn, successfully. Farmer Green’s son tried to catch him, unsuccessfully. And then tried again, chopping down a tree. But this failed, thanks to the presence of other trees. Who tries to catch Fatty Coon this week? The answer might just surprise you!

> X
>
> FATTY RACCOON AND THE MONSTER

CROW: My favorite bubblegum psychedelic band!

>
> One night Fatty Raccoon was strolling along the road that wound
> through the valley.

MIKE: His evening constitutional is when Fatty has all his best songwriting ideas.

> He was in no hurry, for he had just left Farmer
> Green’s apple orchard, where he had bolted all the apples he could
> possibly eat.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Oh, narrator, you sweet innocent child.

CROW: He means the farm ran out of apples.

> The night was dark and though it was not very late, all
> the country people seemed to be in bed.

MIKE: [ As country person ] ‘Yup! See me in bed? That’s me!’

CROW: ‘Me too! No need to come check!’

> There were no farmers driving
> along the road.

TOM: They’d already harvested this year’s crop of potholes.

> Fatty had it all to himself. And so he walked slowly
> homewards. It was then that the terrible monster almost caught him.

CROW: Well, that’ll happen.

>
> This is how it all happened.

MIKE: If you believe the *official* account.

> There was a br-br-br-r-r-r in the
> air. Fatty really should have heard it long before he did.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] OK, so it’s a sound, then?

MIKE: [ As Narrator ] Of course it’s a sound! What else could it be?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] I thought it was maybe a chill in the air? Like you were being metaphorical?

MIKE: [ As Narrator ] Why would I start being metaphorical on you?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] You’re the narrator! You can do what you want.

> But he had
> eaten so many apples that he had begun to feel sleepy;

CROW: Oh no, Snow White!

> and his ears
> were not so sharp as they should have been. And when at last Fatty
> heard that br- r-r-r it was quite loud. He was startled.

TOM: But you never expect a pack of feral leaf blowers.

> And he
> stopped right in the middle of the road to listen. Fatty had never
> heard such a sound before.

CROW: The heavenly host calling to give Fatty the good news of oleomargarine.

>
> The strange animal was on him before he knew it. Its glaring
> eyes blinded him.

TOM: [ As a nervous Fatty ] ‘Sc … sc … science?’

> And if it had not screamed at him Fatty would never
> have escaped. It was the terrible screech of the monster which finally
> made Fatty jump It was a frightful cry — like six wildcats all wailing
> together.

MIKE: It’s terrifying but it’s also kinda metal.

> And Fatty leaped to one side of the road just before the
> monster reached him.

CROW: It’s Johnny Appleseed and he’s MAD!

>
> The great creature went past Fatty like the wind and tore on
> up the hill. He seemed to be running so fast that he could not stop.

MIKE: Is this *our* Fatty?

> Fatty could hear him panting as he climbed the sharp rise of the road.

MIKE: Oh.

>
> Fatty Raccoon hurried away. He wanted to get home before the
> monster could stop and come back to look for him.

TOM: Weird feeling like Fatty’s doing the right thing here.

>
> When Fatty told his mother about his narrow escape Mrs. Raccoon
> became much excited. She felt sure that Fatty was not mistaken, for
> had she not heard that strange cry herself?

CROW: Mrs Raccoon thinking back of monsters who ran past her in her youth …

>
> There it was again! Woo-ooo-ooo-oo-o! It began low, rose to a
> shriek, and then died away again.

MIKE: Is it the Creeping Terror?

>
> Mrs. Raccoon and Fatty climbed to the very top of their old
> poplar and gazed down the valley.

TOM: That tree’s only pop’lar in its own clique.

>
> "Look, Mother!" Fatty cried. "He’s stopped at Farmer Green’s!

CROW: I wonder what Farmer Green’s name is in the raccoon tongue.

MIKE: You mean like, does it translate to green as the color or green as in inexperienced?

CROW: Right, that sort of thing.

> You can see his eyes from here!"

MIKE: [ Waving eagerly ] Howdy, eyes!

>
> Mrs. Raccoon looked. Sure enough! It was just as Fatty said. And
> that horrid call echoed across the valley once more.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] Looky there! A gen-u-ine 1915 Dort Motor Company Rampaging Monster! Don’t hardly see them anymore.

>
> Farmer Green stuck his head out of his chamber-window, to see
> what the man in the automobile wanted.

CROW: [ As Farmer Green ] A travelling salesman joke? I’m sorry, I don’t know any.

>
> "Where’s the nearest village, please?" the stranger asked.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Green ] This isn’t the village?

> And
> after Farmer Green had told him the man drove his car on again.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Green ] No, take me with you!

>
> From their tree-top Fatty and his mother watched the monster
> dash down the valley.

TOM: On Dasher! On Dancer!

> They knew he had gone, because they could see
> the gleam of those awful eyes.

MIKE: o/“ There ain’t no way to hide those awful eyes … o/“

>
> "Do you suppose he ate up Farmer Green and his family?" Fatty
> asked in a frightened voice.

CROW: Fatty, there are ways to interact with people besides eating them.

MIKE: Deaf ears, Crow.

>
> "I hope so," she said. "Then perhaps there’ll be no more traps
> in the woods."

TOM: But without traps how are we going to keep the woods’s tree population in control?

>
> "But who would plant the corn?" Fatty asked.

CROW: The … the Little Red Hen?

>
> Mrs. Raccoon did not appear to hear his question.

TOM: Serious moment of growing-up as Fatty learns his mother’s fallible.

>
>

[ To be continued, someday, I suppose. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter IX


And now for the ninth chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon done over as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. This is as far as I got in the MiSTing I posted to Usenet for 2019 and I hope you enjoy reading it. Next week? … Well, let’s just see what I do.

Let me recap the past. Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which Farmer Green laughed at. And he’s eaten green corn, so he could laugh at Farmer Green. Farmer Green’s son tried to catch him, and failed. And then tried again, by chopping down a tree Fatty was in.

For people who don’t need fat jokes in their recreational reading: yeah, you’re right. There are a couple in this and you should skip on to another thing that you’ll enjoy instead.

The first riff is a legitimate joke because I posted chapters six through nine I posted as one long file, so there was no break in the action after last chapter’s cliffhanger.

>

MIKE: Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of …

>
> IX

MIKE: Oh, we’re just continuing right now, then.

>
> JOHNNIE GREEN LOSES HIS PET

TOM: Oh.

CROW: Short chapter.

>
> Now, Farmer Green and his hired man had not chopped long
> before they stopped to breathe.

TOM: Now, not telling you your business, but if you breathed *while* chopping you’d be done in like half the time.

> They had not chopped long—but oh! what
> great, yawning holes they had made in the big chestnut!

MIKE: Frisky Squirrel pops out to ask why the heck you’re dragging *him* into *your* Drama.

> From the limb
> where he clung Fatty Coon looked down. The tree no longer shook. And
> Fatty felt better at once.

TOM: Well, once the wobbling dies down anyway.

> You see, he thought that the men would go
> away, just as Johnnie had gone away the night before. But they had no
> such idea at all.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘A-HEM! I SAID, you’re GOING AWAY, just as Johnnie had gone away the night before!’

>
> "Which way are you going to fell her?" the hired man asked. He
> said HER, meaning the TREE, of course.

MIKE: The more people use ‘fell’ as a verb the less I believe it is one.

>
> "That way!" said Farmer Green, pointing toward the woods.

TOM: Pointing down.

MIKE: [ As Johnnie ] ‘Oooooooohhhhh.’

> "We’ll have to drop her that way, or she’ll fall right across the
> road, and of course THAT would never do."

CROW: It’d be a fun little surprise for rush hour, though.

>
> "But will she clear the trees on the edge of the woods?" The
> hired man appeared somewhat doubtful.
>
> "Oh, to be sure—to be sure!" answered Farmer Green.

MIKE: [ As the hired hand ] ‘So you’re sure?’

TOM: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘Eh, we give it a try, we see what happens.’

>
> And with that they set to work again. But this time they both
> chopped on the same side of the tree—the side toward the woods.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘You guys do know I’m in the other tree, right?’

TOM, MIKE: D’oh!

>
> Now, if Fatty Coon was frightened before, you will believe
> that he was still more frightened when the big chestnut tree began to
> sag.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘No, no, trees sagging is pretty normal, thanks.’

> Yes! it began to lean toward the woods. Slowly, slowly it tipped.

TOM: Step by step! Inch by inch!

> And Fatty was scared half out of his mind. He climbed to the very top
> of the tree, because he wanted to get just as far away from those men
> as he could. And there he waited.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘If I wait long enough the tree will grow taller and I’ll be farther away!’

> There was nothing else he could do.
> Yes! he waited until that awful moment should come when the tree would
> go crashing down upon the ground. What was going to happen to him
> then? Fatty wondered.

TOM: What was going to happen to the *ground*?

> And while he was wondering there sounded all at
> once a great snapping and splitting.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘No, no, it’s just my pants … wait … I don’t wear pants! AAAAAUGH!’

> And Fatty felt the tree falling,
> falling. He could hear Johnnie Green shouting. And he shut his eyes
> and held fast to his branch. Then came the crash.

TOM: o/` Leader of the pack! o/`

>
> When Fatty Coon opened his eyes he expected to see Johnnie
> Green all ready to seize him. But to his great surprise he was still
> far above the ground. You see, Farmer Green had been mistaken.

CROW: It turns out Fatty was a sparrow all along!

> Either
> the big chestnut tree was taller than he had guessed, or the woods
> were nearer than he had thought.

MIKE: [ Hired hand ] ‘Maybe chopped trees don’t fall, you ever think of that, Mr Green?’

TOM: [ Farmer Green ] ‘Maybe we need to update the BIOS?’

> For instead of dropping upon the
> ground, Fatty’s tree had fallen right against another tree on the edge
> of the woods.

CROW: [ As Other Tree ] ‘Let me bear you in your troubles as you bore me in mine, my brother!’

> And there it lay, half-tipped over, with its branches
> caught fast in the branches of that other tree.

TOM: [ As Fatty’s Tree ] ‘My faithful friend! Let your name be recalled as long as the world-forest thrives!’

>
> It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted.

CROW: [ As Johnny ] ‘Hey! There’s no fulcrums in raccoon-catching!’

> And he shouted
> still more loudly when he saw Fatty scramble out of the big chestnut
> and into the other tree,

TOM: [ As Fatty’s Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

CROW: [ As Other Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> and out of that tree and into another,

CROW: [ As Other Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

MIKE: [ As Another Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> and
> then out of THAT tree.

MIKE: [ As Another Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

CROW: [ As Next Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> Fatty was going straight into the woods.

CROW: [ As Next Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

TOM: [ As Next-after Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

>
> It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted. For he had lost
> his pet coon. He had lost him before he ever had him. And he was sadly
> disappointed.

MIKE: Ferdinand Frog and Dickie Deer Mouse look at this scene and hide out of Johnnie’s sight.

>
> But Fatty Coon was not disappointed, for he had not wanted to
> be a pet at all.

CROW: Until he hears about how pets get fed every day.

MIKE: Um, it’s 1915. They hadn’t discovered taking care of pets back then.

> And he was very glad—you may be sure—to get safely
> home once more.

TOM: I *may* be sure, but I’m not perfectly convinced.

>
>

CROW: That’s enough. You think …

MIKE: Yeah. Let’s blow this popsicle stand, yeah.

[ ALL file out ]


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		  \ | /	 
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		 ---O---	 
		   /|\		 
		  / | \	 
		 /  |  \

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and settings and concept are the property of Satellite of Love, LLC. I’m just playing with their toys until any of them notices. _The Tale of Fatty Coon_ was written by Arthur Scott Bailey and published in 1915, so it’s the common property of all humanity to enjoy and develop and use as any and all of us see fit.

Keep Usenet circulating, says the guy who’s posted as recently as August to it.

> "I’d like to," said Fatty, with a sigh. "I’d like to eat all
> the corn in the world."

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VIII


Here’s the eighth chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon done over as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. What’s happened so far?

Well, Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which got Farmer Green laughing at him. And he’s eaten green corn, and would kind of like to never do anything else again. And then, in a change of pace, he got chased by Farmer Green’s son, who thought he wanted a pet raccoon. Fatty escaped, though.

For people who don’t need fat jokes in their recreational reading: yeah, you’re right. There are a couple in this and you should skip on to another thing that you’ll enjoy instead.


>
>
> VIII

MIKE: Chapter VI, part II.

>
> A TERRIBLE FRIGHT

CROW: o/` Let’s give thanks to the Lord above … o/`

>
> It was the very next night after old dog Spot had treed Fatty
> Coon in the big oak near the cornfield. They had finished their
> evening meal at Farmer Green’s house. The cows were milked, the horses
> had been fed, the chickens had all gone to roost.

CROW: Wh … wait, chickens actually do that? Like, for real?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

> And Farmer Green
> looked up at the moon, rising from behind Blue Mountain.
>
> "We’ll go coon-hunting again to-night," he said to Johnnie

MIKE: Uhm.

> and
> the hired man. "The corn has brought the coons up from the swamp.

TOM: Yeah, thanks, this story was feeling real comfortable up to now.

> We’ll start as soon as it grows a little darker."
>
> Well—after a while they set out for the cornfield. And sure
> enough! old Spot soon began to bark.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Snitch.

>
> "He’s treed!" said Farmer Green, pretty soon. And they all
> hurried over to the edge of the woods,

TOM: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘Where’s that forest?’

> where Spot had chased a coon up
> into a tall chestnut tree. In the moonlight they could see the coon
> quite plainly. "Another little feller!" cried Farmer Green.

CROW: Little?

MIKE: Most improbable thing Fatty’s ever been called.

> "I
> declare, all the coons that come to the cornfield seem to be young
> ones. This one’s no bigger than the one we saw last night."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] I’m still big. It’s the *trees* that got small.

>
> Now, although Farmer Green never guessed it, it was Fatty Coon
> who was up there in the tall chestnut.

CROW: It could’ve been *any* raccoon heavy enough the tree bends over.

TOM: And sinks three feet into the ground.

> He had run almost to the woods
> this time, before he had to take to a tree.

MIKE: He’d have got to the woods if he hadn’t got to the tree?

TOM: I … I was joking before.

> In fact, if Spot hadn’t
> been quite so close to him Fatty could have reached the woods, and
> then he would have just jumped from one tree to another.

MIKE: Jumped, rolled by Oompa-Loompas, whatever.

> But there
> were no trees near enough the big chestnut for that. Fatty had to stay
> right there and wait for those men to pass on. He wasn’t afraid.

CROW: [ Fatty ] ‘I’M NOT?!’

> He
> felt perfectly safe in his big tree. And he only smiled when Johnnie
> Green said to his father—
>
> "I wish I had that young coon. He’d make a fine pet."

MIKE: On what grounds do you make that claim?

>
> "A pet!" exclaimed Farmer Green. "You remember that pet fox
> you had, that stole my chickens?"

CROW: Yeah, just letting you know if we’re reading The Tale of Tommy Fox I’m outta here.

>
> "Oh, I’d be careful," Johnnie promised. "Besides, don’t you
> think we ought to catch him, so he won’t eat any more corn?"

TOM: Pets, famously, eat no food.

>
> Farmer Green smiled. He had been a boy himself, once upon a
> time,

CROW: In the Tale of Ferdinand Farmer.

> and he had not forgotten the pet coon that he had owned when he
> was just about Johnnie’s age.

MIKE: The raccoon says he owned a pet boy when he was about Fatty’s age.

>
> "All right!" he said at last. "I’ll give you one more chance,
> Johnnie.

CROW: Now recant everything bad you ever said about springs!

> But you’ll have to see that this young coon doesn’t kill any
> of my poultry."

TOM: Maybe train Fatty to do some light filing and typing …

>
> Johnnie promised that nothing of the sort should happen. And
> then his father and the hired man picked up their axes;

MIKE: His mom sets up her drum kit …

> and standing
> on opposite sides of the tall chestnut tree, they began to chop.

CROW: [ Farmer ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

>
> How the chips did fly! At the very first blow Fatty knew that

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> this was an entirely different sort of chopping from that which

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> Johnnie had attempted the night before. The great tree shook as if it

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> knew that it would soon come crashing down upon the ground.

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow?

>
> And as for Fatty Coon, he could not see but that he must fall
> when the tree did.

TOM: It’s only fair.

> He, too, shivered and shook. And he wrapped himself
> all the way around a limb and hung on as tight as ever he could.

MIKE: Oh no!

TOM: Oh goodness!

CROW: Whatever’s going to happen?

>

MIKE: Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of …

[ And it’ll pick up next week. Promise. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VII


I hope you’re ready for a bit more of my big Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. Here’s the seventh chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon with jokes added in. And who is Fatty Coon?

Well, Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which got Farmer Green laughing at him. And he’s eaten green corn, and would kind of like to never do anything else again. What’s this week’s eating extravaganza?

… Before that, a bit of a content warning. There’s a bunch of jokes here about Fatty’s weight and his over-eating. He hasn’t got a lot of properties otherwise. But, again, if you’re not up for fat jokes in your recreational reading, then, yeah, skip this. We’ll catch up on some better material.


>
>
> VII

TOM: Sequel to the classic miniseries V.

>
> JOHNNIE GREEN IS DISAPPOINTED
>
> It made Fatty Coon feel sad, just to think that there was that
> field full of corn, and that he could never eat all of it.

CROW: Yeah, well, no matter how long you grow your hair you can never have all the hair, ever think of that?

> But Fatty
> made up his mind that he would do the best he could. He would visit
> the cornfield every night and feast on those sweet, tender kernels.

MIKE: You know, this is hard enough without the text making the jokes we want to make about Fatty here.

>
> The very next night Fatty set out toward Farmer Green’s. It
> was hardly dark. But Fatty could not wait any longer.

CROW: So he stood up and eclipsed the sun.

> He could not
> even wait for his mother and his sisters and his brother. He hurried
> away alone. And when he came in sight of the cornfield he felt better.

TOM: He finally reached the downhill part.

> He had been the least bit afraid that the corn might be gone. He
> thought that maybe Farmer Green had picked it, or that some of the
> forest people had eaten it all.

MIKE: ‘The forest people’? The heck?

> But there it was—a forest of corn,

TOM: A jungle of maize.

CROW: A glacial moraine of quinoa.

> waving and rustling in the moonlight as the breeze touched it. Fatty
> felt very happy as he slipped through the rail-fence.

MIKE: [ Snickering ] How?

>
> I wouldn’t dare say how many ears of corn Fatty ate that
> night.

TOM: Numbers don’t run that high.

> And he would have eaten more, too, if it hadn’t been for just
> one thing. A dog barked. And that spoiled Fatty’s fun.

MIKE: Now he had to post something snarky about the dog on Twitter.

> For the dog was
> altogether too near for Fatty to feel safe. He even dropped the ear of
> corn he was gnawing and hurried toward the woods.

CROW:*Dropped* the ear of corn’? Not buying it.

>
> It was lucky for Fatty that he started when he did.

TOM: ‘Hey, look, a raccoon!’

> For that dog was close behind him in no time. There was only one thing to do:
> Fatty knew that he must climb a tree at once. So he made for the
> nearest tree in sight—a big, spreading oak, which stood all alone just
> beyond the fence.

MIKE: [ As the tree ] ‘I’m sure my friends will be back for me any day now.’

> And as Fatty crouched on a limb he felt safe enough,
> though the dog barked and whined, and leaped against the tree, and
> made a great fuss.

TOM: [ The dog, as Margaret Dumont ] ‘Oh, Mister Firefly!’

>
> Fatty looked down at the dog and scolded a little. He was not
> afraid.

CROW: [ Fatty, to narrator ] ‘I’m not?!’

> But it made him cross to be driven out of the cornfield. And
> he wished the dog would go away.

CROW: [ Fatty, as Groucho ] ‘Why can’t I dance with the cows until you come home?’

> But the dog—it was Farmer Green’s
> Spot—the dog had no idea of leaving.

MIKE: [ As Groucho ] ‘Rush to Freedonia! One raccoon is trapped in a tree! Send help at once!’

TOM: ‘If you can’t send help send two more trees.’

> He stayed right there and barked
> so loudly that it was not long before Farmer Green and his hired man
> came in sight. And with them was Johnnie Green and a little, young dog
> that had just been given to him.

MIKE: Ooh, puppers!

CROW: Who’s a good boy? Is it you?

>
> When Farmer Green saw Fatty he seemed disappointed.

TOM: ‘Aw, man, Fatty Coon? Why couldn’t we be in The Tale of Frisky Squirrel instead?’

> "He’s too
> young to bother with," he said. "His skin’s not worth much.

CROW: Well, yeah, but you multiply that by the size and …

> We’ll go
> ‘long and see what we can find."
>
> But Johnnie Green stayed behind. He wanted that young coon.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘You only want me because you don’t know me!’

> And he intended to have him, too. Leaving the young dog to watch Fatty
> Coon,

CROW: [ Dog, as Margaret Dumont ] ‘Mister Firefly! Are you still here?’

MIKE: [ Fatty, as Groucho ] ‘No, no, I just went up this tree to leaf.’

> Johnnie went back to the farmhouse. After a while he appeared
> again with an axe over his shoulder. And when he began to chop away at
> the big oak, Fatty Coon felt very uneasy.

TOM: You can’t cut this down for your Christmas tree! It’s not tagged.

> Whenever Johnnie drove his
> axe into the tree, both the tree and Fatty shivered together.

CROW: Fatty’s going to be wobbling for *days* after this.

> And
> Fatty began to wish he had stayed away from the cornfield. But not for
> long, because Johnnie Green soon gave up the idea of chopping down the
> big oak.

MIKE: But his plan is foolproof, unless raccoons can jump out of trees!

> The wood was so hard to cut, and the tree was so big, that
> Johnnie had not chopped long before he saw that it would take him all
> night to cut through it. He looked up longingly at Fatty Coon.

TOM: o/` Sometimes, when we touch … the honesty’s too much … o/`

> And
> Johnnie started to climb the tree himself. But the higher he climbed,
> the higher Fatty climbed. And Johnnie knew that he could never catch
> that plump young coon in that way.

MIKE: [ As Johnnie ] ‘I don’t get it, I saw the Kratt Brothers try this.’

TOM: Did they catch the raccoon?

MIKE: ‘No, but they did *this*.’

>
> At last Johnnie Green started off, calling his dog after him.
> And then Fatty Coon came down. But he did not go back to the
> cornfield. He decided that he had had adventures enough for one night.

CROW: ‘On to Farmer Green’s workshed!’

> But Fatty had learned something—at least he thought he had. For he
> made up his mind that once he climbed a tree, no man could reach him.
> TREES COULD NOT BE CHOPPED DOWN!

TOM: Fatty’s become a sawing denier?

CROW: ‘But Fatty, what about — ‘

MIKE: ‘STUMPS ARE A NATURAL FLUCTUATION!’

> That was what Fatty believed. Perhaps
> you will know, later, whether Fatty ever found out that he was
> mistaken.

CROW: ‘But about this pile of logs?’

MIKE: ‘IT’S A CONSPIRACY BY BIG TIMBER!’

TOM: That’s … true.

[ Does he ever find out? We’ll see in future weeks or you can just read the book on your own if you have a free hour. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VI


And now more of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon. This is the sixth chapter. I’d written this, and through to chapter nine, to post as Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction last year. I didn’t have the time or energy then to surround it with host sketches introducing and resolving the piece. My excuse was that if I ever completed the book I’d put all the chapters together in a big project and have several sketches throughout, the way a real episode might. I’d posted this to Usenet several years after the first five-chapter block which is why there’s some refreshers about the story in text.

Some content to warn about. One is that there’s a riff this chapter that’s rather more risque than you’d think I could make. I had to go by what the text offered. And, as the premise behind Fatty Coon is that he’s really fat and eats a lot, there’s fat jokes. If you don’t need that in your reading for fun, you’re right. We’ll catch up later instead.


Previously, we met Fatty Coon, who combines being fat with being a raccoon. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, and failed. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and succeeded. He’s tried to eat a family of squirrels and failed, instead getting scared by a “tramp raccoon”. And he’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which defies characterization as “success” or “failure”. What will he try to eat this time? Just wait and see.


[ ALL file in to the theatre. ]

> SLEEPY-TIME TALES

TOM: Oh yeah, these guys.

> THE TALE OF FATTY COON

CROW: So what exactly happened the first five chapters of this thing?

> BY ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY

MIKE: I remember it. Fatty Coon is a raccoon who eats a lot, and his author hates him. … There, you’re caught up.

>
> VI

TOM: MURIEL!

CROW: THELMA!

>
> FATTY AND THE GREEN CORN

MIKE: That’s my favorite psychedelic pop album.

Continue reading “MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VI”

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter V


This is chapter V of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction, based on Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon. And this was the first block of the book that I’d ever written up as a MiSTing. So it has a closing sketch and “credits” and a post-credits stinger.

I don’t intend this to end my MiSTing post. I have several more chapters MiSTed, and never before published on WordPress. So next week I’ll continue with those. I hope to get at least to Chapter 10, of the 20 in the book, before going back to normal writing. We’ll see how far I do get.


Previously, we met Fatty Coon, who’s just what you’d think. He’s been beaten up by a goshawk, but bounced back to eat a turtle’s clutch of eggs, and then attempt to eat a family of squirrels only to be shamed by a “tramp raccoon”. I don’t know what makes a “tramp raccoon” either.


>
>
> V

TOM: It was [ Fatty Coon’s well-punishment ].

CROW: Maybe the real punishment was having to be Fatty Coon all along.

>
> FATTY COON GOES FISHING

MIKE: A very special episode.

>
> One day Fatty Coon was strolling along the brook which flowed
> not far from his home.

CROW: Swift Creek?

TOM: Foster Brook.

MIKE: That’s … actually too new a reference for this.

> He stopped now and then, to crouch close to the
> water’s edge, in the hope of catching a fish.

CROW: ‘What if a fish was a goshawk egg pie?’

> And one time, when he
> lay quite still among the rocks, at the side of a deep pool, with his
> eyes searching the clear water, Fatty Coon suddenly saw something
> bright, all yellow and red, that lighted on the water right before
> him. It was a bug, or a huge fly.

MIKE: Or a tiny flying saucer.

TOM: Fatty eats the aliens’ peaceful expedition before they get started.

> And Fatty was very fond of bugs—to
> eat, you know.

ALL: We *know*.

CROW: As opposed to the ones he trains for pets.

> So he lost no time. The bright thing had scarcely
> settled on the water when Fatty reached out and seized it.

CROW: But he already seezed it! It was right in front of his eyes!

> He put it
> into his mouth, when the strangest thing happened. Fatty felt himself
> pulled right over into the water.

MIKE: Finally he crosses the Chandrasekhar limit and collapses into a black hole.

>
> He was surprised, for he never knew a bug or a fly to be so
> strong as that. Something pricked his cheek and Fatty thought that the
> bright thing had stung him.

CROW: Then this family of nutrias comes up and slaps Fatty silly.

> He tried to take it out of his mouth, and
> he was surprised again. Whatever the thing was, it seemed to be stuck
> fast in his mouth.

TOM: He’s delighted by something wanting him to eat it for a change.

> And all the time Fatty was being dragged along
> through the water. He began to be frightened.

MIKE: Hungry and frightened: the Fatty Coon story.

> And for the first time
> he noticed that there was a slender line which stretched from his
> mouth straight across the pool. As he looked along the line Fatty saw
> a man at the other end of it—a man, standing on the other side of the
> brook!

CROW: ‘I don’t know how but I caught a human!’

TOM: ‘That’ll be eating for *hours*!’

> And he was pulling Fatty toward him as fast as he could.
>
> Do you wonder that Fatty Coon was frightened?

TOM: He didn’t have a license to catch men.

> He jumped
> back—as well as he could, in the water—and tried to swim away.

CROW: ‘Dive! Dive! Dive!’

> His
> mouth hurt; but he plunged and pulled just the same, and jerked his
> head and squirmed and wriggled and twisted.

MIKE: *Extremely* Chubby Checker!

> And just as Fatty had
> almost given up hope of getting free, the gay-colored bug, or fly, or
> whatever it was, flew out of his mouth and took the line with it.

CROW: I wonder if Fatty Coon will go on to learn nothing from this?


> At
> least, that was what Fatty Coon thought. And he swam quickly to the
> bank and scampered into the bushes.

MIKE: And ate his cover.

TOM: ‘Needs peanut butter!’

>
> Now, this was what really happened.

MIKE: Our story begins with the Algeciras Crisis of 1905.

> Farmer Green had come up
> the brook to catch trout. On the end of his fish-line he had tied a
> make-believe fly,

CROW: For the discerning fisher who doesn’t exist.

> with a hook hidden under its red and yellow wings.
> He had stolen along the brook very quietly, so that he wouldn’t
> frighten the fish.

TOM: He brought some presents in case he did, to reassure any scaredy-catfish.

> And he had made so little noise that Fatty Coon
> never heard him at all.

CROW: [ Fatty ] Hey, it’s hard to hear someone over the sound of my deep-fat fryer!

> Farmer Green had not seen Fatty, crouched as
> he was among the stones. And when Fatty reached out and grabbed the
> make-believe fly Farmer Green was even more surprised at what happened
> than Fatty himself.

TOM: Sammy Squirrel falls out of a tree, laughing.

MIKE: Fatty eats him.

> If the fish-hook hadn’t worked loose from Fatty’s
> mouth Farmer Green would have caught the queerest fish anybody ever
> caught, almost.

CROW: Well, there was that mermaid-cerberus this guy down in Belmar caught but that was something else.

>
> Something seemed to amuse Farmer Green, as he watched Fatty
> dive into the bushes; and he laughed loud and long.

TOM: See? Fatty Coon brings joy to the world, at last.

> But Fatty Coon
> didn’t laugh at all. His mouth was too sore;

MIKE: And full.

> and he was too
> frightened.

CROW: And awful.

> But he was very, very glad that the strange bug had flown
> away.

MIKE: And he learns the most important lesson of all, which is …

CROW: I dunno. Preferably food things.

TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

MIKE: Yeah, before Fatty eats it.

[ ALL exit the theater. ]

[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. TOM SERVO, MIKE, and CROW at the desk. ]

MIKE: Well.

TOM: So.

CROW: Well *and* so.

MIKE: So in his defense —

[ TOM, CROW groan. ]

MIKE: OK, but name something Fatty did that a real raccoon —

CROW: Don’t care.

TOM: Look, we already know Nature sucks. That’s why we have indoors. And animal stories where we like the animals.

CROW: And that is *all* the reminder of the cruel nature of the world that we ever need. Thank you.

MIKE: I .. well, over to you, Pearl.

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. PEARL, OBSERVER, and BOBO cackling. ]

PEARL: They don’t even suspect!

OBSERVER: Why would they?

BOBO: Suspect what?

[ PEARL, OBSERVER glare at BOBO. ]

BOBO: What?

OBSERVER: Chapters Six …

PEARL: Through Twenty.

BOBO: [ Not getting it. ] Oh. [ Getting it. ] Oh!

\  |  /	
 \ | /	
  \|/		
---O---	
  /|\		
 / | \	
/  |  \

BOBO: [ Off screen ] Of this?

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and settings and concept are the property of … you know, I’m not sure. It used to be Best Brains but now I think that’s different? Well, it belongs to the people it really and truly belongs to and this is just me playing with their toys. _The Tale of Fatty Coon_ was written by Arthur Scott Bailey and published in 1915 and accessed via archive.org, which is why I am reasonably confident they’re in the public domain and can be used this way.

Keep Usenet circulating.

> Fatty Coon’s eyes turned green. It was a way they had,
> whenever he was about to eat anything

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter IV


Don’t worry; I’ve still got a fair number of weeks of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction before I get back to stuff I have to work to write. The last several weeks, and the next several, I’m looking in detail at Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s animal-adventure book, The Tale of Fatty Coon.

We met Fatty Coon, a fat raccoon who likes to eat, and then saw him get beaten up by a goshawk whose eggs he tried eating. He then went on to successfully eat a turtle’s clutch of eggs, so you know who it is we’re dealing with. What does he eat, or try to eat, this week? Read on …



>
>
> IV
>
> FATTY COON’S MISTAKE

TOM: Not getting editorial approval on this hit piece.

>
> Fatty Coon was very fond of squirrels.

CROW: Oh, Lord.

> And you may think it
> strange when I tell you that not one of the squirrels anywhere around
> Blue Mountain was the least bit fond of Fatty Coon.

MIKE: Is there anybody here that likes Fatty Coon?

CROW: There’s flocks of locusts that admire his work.

TOM: But even they won’t share a room with him.

> But when I say
> that Fatty Coon was fond of squirrels, I mean that he liked to eat
> them.

CROW: Yeah, yeah, we kinda saw that one coming.

TOM: People reading other stories saw *that* one coming.

> So of course you will understand now why the squirrels did not
> care for Fatty at all.

MIKE: Because the last three chapters didn’t make it clear?

> In fact, they usually kept just as far away
> from him as they could.

TOM: It’s as though they aren’t looking for chances to die.

>
> It was easy, in the daytime, for the squirrels to keep out of
> Fatty’s way, when he wandered through the tree-tops, for the squirrels
> were much sprier than Fatty.

CROW: But then the trees are sprier than Fatty.

> But at night—ah! that was a very
> different matter. For Fatty Coon’s eyes were even sharper in the dark
> than they were in the daylight;

MIKE: And his mouth was twelve hours bigger.

> but the poor squirrels were just as
> blind as you are when you are safely tucked in bed and the light is
> put out.

CROW: Now I want to get squirrels their own night lights.

MIKE: I want to check I’m not going to get eaten by a raccoon in my bedroom.

>
> Yes—when the squirrels were in bed at night, up in their nests
> in the trees, they could see very little. And you couldn’t say they
> were SAFE in bed,

TOM: Are they literally beds or nests or? I’m trying to work out the anthropomorphism level here.

> because they never knew when Fatty Coon, or his
> mother, or his brother, or one of his sisters, or some cousin of his,
> might come along and catch them before they knew it.

MIKE: Oh, good, it’s not just his protagonist he hates, Arthur Scott Bailey has it out for every raccoon.

TOM: The important thing for children’s animal fantasy is make your lead character as much like a serial killer as possible.

>
> Fatty thought it great sport to hunt squirrels at night.

CROW: He loves his reputation as an unstoppable random death-bringer!

> Whenever he tried it he usually managed to get a good meal.

TOM: So frogs stump him but squirrels are easy?

> And after
> he had almost forgotten about the fright the goshawk had given him in
> the tall hemlock he began to roam through the tree-tops every night in
> search of squirrels and sleeping birds.

CROW: It’s like they say, when you fall off a bike you have to get back up and eat it.

>
> But a night came at last when Fatty was well punished for
> hunting squirrels.

MIKE: At this point any punishment is a good start.

> He had climbed half-way to the top of a big
> chestnut tree, when he spied a hole in the trunk. He rather thought
> that some squirrels lived inside that hole.

TOM: ‘I’d leave then in peace but it’s been two hours since I ate the last five hundred passenger pigeons!’

> And as he listened for a
> few seconds he could hear something moving about inside. Yes! Fatty
> was sure that there was a squirrel in there—probably several
> squirrels.

CROW: Maybe one squirrel, two chipmunks, and a groundhog serving in an advisory capacity?

>
> Fatty Coon’s eyes turned green.

MIKE: Whoa!

TOM: Cyborg raccoon!

> It was a way they had,
> whenever he was about to eat anything, or whenever he played with his
> brother Blackie, or Fluffy and Cutey, his sisters; or whenever he was
> frightened.

CROW: Or when his laser batteries are running low.

> And now Fatty was so sure that he was going to have a fine
> lunch that his eyes turned as green as a cat’s.

TOM: Cyborg cats?

MIKE: This is why nature just isn’t a good idea.

> He reached a paw
> inside the hole and felt all around.

CROW: ‘Hey, there’s nothing in here but a paw-remover!’

>
> WOW! Fatty gave a cry; and he pulled his paw out much faster
> than he had put it in. Something had given him a cruel dig.

TOM: A … ?

CROW: Somebody really got at his paw’s emotional weaknesses.

> And in a jiffy Fatty saw what that "something" was. It was a grumpy old tramp
> coon, whom Fatty had never seen before.

MIKE: Buh?

CROW: What makes a *tramp* raccoon?

TOM: Raids the trash bins on a freight train I guess?

>
> "What do you mean, you young rascal, by disturbing me like
> this?" the ragged stranger cried.

CROW: He can call Fatty that because ‘rascal’ is a raccoon word.

TOM: They’ve reclaimed it.

>
> "Please, sir, I never knew it was you," Fatty stammered.
>
> "Never knew it was me! Who did you think it was?"

MIKE: I dunno, but I’m reading this with a W C Fields vibe.

>
> "A—a squirrel!" Fatty said faintly. And he whimpered a little,
> because his paw hurt him.

TOM: He sees what it’s like to get eaten some.

>
> "Ho, ho! That’s a good one! That’s a good joke!"

CROW: [ As the tramp ] ‘Thinking a squirrel might be hiding in a squirrel-hole in a tree! A rich jest, yes. Now let me get back to eating these squirrels.’

> The tramp
> coon laughed heartily. And then he scowled so fiercely that poor Fatty
> nearly tumbled out of the tree. "You go home," he said to Fatty. "And
> don’t you let me catch you around here again. You hear?"

MIKE: Or your paw shall get more digs and a few sharply barbed comments!

>
> "Yes, sir!" Fatty said. And home he went. And you may be sure
> that he let THAT tree alone after that. He never went near it again.

TOM: Wait, was that his well-punishment?

MIKE: Sometimes having to talk to someone is punishment enough.

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter III


I continue trying to make my life a little easier by reprinting chapters of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. It’s riffing on Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s book The Tale of Fatty Coon. These chapters appeared before, way back in 2017, so I feel it’s fine to repeat this for everyone who’s missed.

In the first chapter, we met Fatty Coon, a raccoon who’s … fat. And then in Chapter II, Fatty gets attacked by a goshawk who would rather their eggs not be eaten. Again, Arthur Scott Bailey seems not to have liked his protagonist.

And, before I proceed, the content warning that Fatty Coon’s major personality is that he eats a lot, and so is enormously fat. So there’s original material, and there’s jokes, that are based on that. Everyone who’s had enough fat jokes in their recreational reading, you’re right. Skip this and we’ll catch up sometime later.


>
>
> III
>
> FATTY DISCOVERS MRS. TURTLE’S SECRET

TOM: Oh, tell me this is about lingerie.

>
> After his adventure with the goshawk Fatty Coon did not go
> near the tree-tops for a long time.

MIKE: Not until the trees put some elevators in.

> Whenever he left home he would
> crawl down the old poplar tree in which he lived;

CROW: Achieving speeds of up to 400 miles per hour.

> and he wouldn’t
> climb a single tree until he came home again. Somehow, he felt safer
> on the ground.

TOM: ‘You know, nobody ever drops a pie onto a tree. The ground, though, that’s some prime stuff-being-dropped territory!’

> You see, he hadn’t forgotten the fright he had had, nor
> how the goshawk’s claws had hurt his back.

MIKE: Emotionally.

>
> It was just three days after his scare, to be exact, when
> Fatty Coon found himself on the bank of the creek which flowed slowly
> into Swift River.

TOM: Suppose that’s named for how fast it is, or for its discoverer, Carol the Swift?

> Fatty had been looking for frogs, but he had had no
> luck at all.

MIKE: The frogs’ early warning system was in good shape.

> To tell the truth, Fatty was a little too young to catch
> frogs easily, even when he found one;

TOM: Except for the one he grabbed last chapter.

MIKE: Hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

> and he was a good deal too fat,
> for he was so plump that he was not very spry.

MIKE: Also last week he ate the creek.

CROW: ‘Well, last week we had nacho cheese popcorn seasoning to sprinkle on it!’

>
> Now, Fatty was hiding behind some tall rushes, and his sharp
> little eyes were looking all about him, and his nose was twitching as
> he sniffed the air.

CROW: ‘Wawa has paninis? This changes everything!

> He wished he might find a frog. But not one frog
> appeared. Fatty began to think that some other coon must have visited
> the creek just before him and caught them all.

TOM: The lifeless pond can have only one explanation.

MIKE: Raccoons: nature’s own little neutron bombs.

> And then he forgot all
> about frogs.
>
> Yes! Frogs passed completely out of Fatty Coon’s mind. For
> whom should he spy but Mrs. Turtle!

CROW: What do you suppose her maiden name was?

TOM: Oh, she kept it when she married Dr Lesser Brown Bat.

> He saw her little black head
> first, bobbing along through the water of the creek. She was swimming
> toward the bank where Fatty was hidden.

MIKE: She loves the bank with its little chained pens and deposit slips.

> And pretty soon she pulled
> herself out of the water and waddled a short distance along the sand
> at the edge of the creek.

TOM: ‘Well, at least I don’t have to worry here about getting eaten by a raccoon!’

>
> Mrs. Turtle stopped then; and for a few minutes she was very
> busy about something. First she dug a hole in the sand.

CROW: Um?

TOM: [ Giggles nervously. ]

> And Fatty
> wondered what she was looking for. But he kept very quiet.

MIKE: Should we be watching this?
[ TOM, CROW look conspicuously away. ]

> And after a
> time Mrs. Turtle splashed into the creek again and paddled away. But
> before she left she scooped sand into the hole she had dug.

TOM: Oh dear, she *is*.

> Before she
> left the place she looked all around, as if to make sure that no one
> had seen her.

CROW: What was her plan if someone did see her at this point?

MIKE: Take the eggs back?

> And as she waddled slowly to the water Fatty could see
> that she was smiling as if she was very well pleased about something.
> She seemed to have a secret.

TOM: Quick, call in Garry Moore to help!

>
> Fatty Coon had grown very curious, as he watched Mrs. Turtle.

CROW: ‘I wonder if I can use this to become an even less pleasant person?’

> And just as soon as she was out of sight he came out from his hiding
> place in the tall reeds and trotted down to the edge of the creek. He
> went straight to the spot where Mrs. Turtle had dug the hole and
> filled it up again.

MIKE: Gotta say, Mrs Turtle does not come out looking good here.

TOM: Yeah, her scouting process could really use some scouting.

> And Fatty was so eager to know what she had been
> doing that he began to dig in the very spot where Mrs. Turtle had dug
> before him.

CROW: Mmm, turtle poop.

>
> It took Fatty Coon only about six seconds to discover Mrs.
> Turtle’s secret. For he did not have to paw away much of the sand
> before he came upon—what do you suppose? Eggs! Turtles’ eggs!

MIKE: No, she’s the last Galopagos Island Tortoise, it’s the only hope of avoiding extinction!

> Twenty-seven round, white eggs, which Mrs. Turtle had left there in
> the warm sand to hatch.

CROW: ‘Turtles are goshawks?’

> THAT was why she looked all around to make
> sure that no one saw her. THAT was why she seemed so pleased.

TOM: *That* was why Mrs Turtle wasn’t part of her Species Survival Plan.

> For Mrs.
> Turtle fully expected that after a time twenty-seven little turtles
> would hatch from those eggs—

TOM: Each egg.

> just as chickens do—

MIKE: Did kids in 1915 need eggs explained to them?

> and dig their way out
> of the sand.

CROW: Again, good job checking, Mrs Turtle.

>
> But it never happened that way at all.

MIKE: Fatty Coon cackles delighted at his schemes.

> For as soon as he got
> over his surprise at seeing them, Fatty Coon began at once to eat
> those twenty- seven eggs. They were delicious.

TOM: Do we know whether Arthur Scott Bailey *liked* his protagonist?

> And as he finished the
> last one he couldn’t help thinking how lucky he had been.

MIKE: Now we have nobody to foil the evil Shredder’s attacks!

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter II


Last week I began reposting a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. It’s of a 1915 children’s book, The Tale Of Fatty Coon. There’s very little about our lead character’s name that I like, even granting that he is a fat raccoon. But, I figure to post a chapter a week through at least to chapter ten. In Chapter I, we met Fatty, learned he was a raccoon, and that he likes to eat. This week, we start to learn that Arthur Scott Bailey doesn’t actually like his protagonist.

So, besides Fatty’s name, there’s a lot of fat jokes in here. I want to say that when I wrote this (mostly back in 2016) I was just rolling with what the source material gave me. But that isn’t actually an excuse and you folks who don’t need that stuff in your recreational reading? You are so very right. I apologize for the imposition and hope we can catch up after this is done.

While riffing this I made a joke about how in the (made-up) Tale of Squawky Crow Fatty is a villain. And then I discovered that in Bailey’s The Tale Of Frisky Squirrel, also published 1915, he is. In Chapter XIV, Fatty intrudes on the Squirrel family, eats all the beechnuts they had saved for winter, and gets trapped by his own fatness in their home.

Felix Salten did way better having his delightful animal characters make cameo appearances in others’ books.


>
>
> II
>

TOM: Episode II: Attack Of The Coons.

> FATTY LEARNS SOMETHING ABOUT EGGS

CROW: ‘Hey! These things break open!’

>
> When Fatty Coon started off alone to find something more to
> eat, after finishing the fish that his mother had brought home for
> him, he did not know that he was going to have an adventure.

MIKE: He just hoped adventure came with cheese fries.

> He nosed
> about among the bushes and the tall grasses and caught a few bugs and
> a frog or two. But he didn’t think that THAT was much.

CROW: [As Bug] Oh, thank goodness, that frog was gonna eat me and now … Wait, what are you doing?

> He didn’t seem
> to have much luck, down on the ground. So he climbed a tall hemlock,

TOM: A hemlock?

CROW: I dunno, it’s probably some nature thing.

> to see if he could find a squirrel’s nest, or some bird’s eggs.

MIKE: ‘Maybe I can eat a hemlock?’

>
> Fatty loved to climb trees. Up in the big hemlock he forgot,
> for a time, that he was still hungry. It was delightful to feel the
> branches swaying under him, and the bright sunshine was warm upon his
> back.

CROW: ‘You suppose the sun might be cookie-flavored?’

> He climbed almost to the very tip-top of the tree and wound
> himself around the straight stem. The thick, springy branches held him
> safely, and soon Fatty was fast asleep.

TOM: The tree tipping over, cracking under the weight.

> Next to eating, Fatty loved
> sleeping. And now he had a good nap.

CROW: ‘A nap with bacon cheese!’

>
> Fatty Coon woke up at last, yawned, and slowly unwound himself
> from the stem of the tree. He was terribly hungry now. And he felt
> that he simply MUST find something to eat at once.

TOM: Why is Mitchell a raccoon?

>
> Without going down to the ground, Fatty climbed over into the
> top of another big tree and his little beady, bright eyes began
> searching all the branches carefully.

CROW: ‘Too flimsy, too weak, that one’ll snap, that one broke yesterday, that one snapped when I thought about it too hard, hm. Ground broke under me there.’

> Pretty soon Fatty smiled. He
> smiled because he was pleased.

TOM: It was a quirky habit of his.

> And he was pleased because he saw
> exactly what he had been looking for. Not far below him was a big
> nest, built of sticks and lined with bark and moss.

CROW: ‘Garnished with bark and moss!’

> It was a crow’s
> nest, Fatty decided, and he lost no time in slipping down to the
> crotch of the tree where the nest was perched.

TOM: Thud!

>
> There were four white eggs in the nest—the biggest crow’s eggs
> Fatty had ever seen.

CROW: Ostrich!

MIKE: That’s an ostrich egg, look out!

> And he began to eat them hungrily. His nose
> became smeared with egg, but he didn’t mind that at all.

TOM: Yum, egg-flavored nose!

> He kept
> thinking how good the eggs tasted—and how he wished there were more of
> them.

MIKE: You know in the _Tale of Squawky Crow_, Fatty is one of the villains.

>
> There was a sudden rush through the branches of the tall tree.
> And Fatty Coon caught a hard blow on his head. He felt something sharp
> sink into his back, too.

TOM: There it is!

MIKE: Squawky Crow takes over the narrative! He’s getting to be the hero!

> And he clutched at the edge of the nest to
> keep from falling.
>
> Fatty was surprised, to say the least, for he had never known
> crows to fight like that.

TOM: They normally confined themselves to snarky comments, often on the Internet.

CROW: The cowards! Hey, wait.

> And he was frightened, because his back
> hurt. He couldn’t fight, because he was afraid he would fall if he let
> go of the nest.

MIKE: And there was still that meteoric crater lake from the last time he dropped four feet.

>
> There was nothing to do but run home as fast as he could.

CROW: Fatty’s greatest challenge: running.

> Fatty tried to hurry; but there was that bird, beating and clawing his
> back, and pulling him first one way and then another.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Ow! Look, if you want me to go *one* way then don’t tug me *another*! Sheesh!

> He began to
> think he would never reach home. But at last he came to the old poplar
> where his mother lived.

CROW: ‘Home! Safety! Security! Oatmeal cookies!’

> And soon, to his great joy, he reached the
> hole in the big branch; and you may well believe that Fatty was glad
> to slip down into the darkness where his mother, and his brother
> Blackie, and Fluffy and Cutey his sisters, were all fast asleep.

MIKE: You my believe this … If you dare!

> He
> was glad, because he knew that no crow could follow him down there.

CROW: To fit Fatty the hole has to be just wide enough to let a Space Shuttle slp through.

>
> Mrs. Coon waked up.

MIKE: Waked?

> She saw that Fatty’s back was sadly torn
> (for coons, you know, can see in the dark just as well as you can see
> in the daylight).

CROW: What if I need glasses?

MIKE: Well, then she wears glasses.

CROW: That … Would be adorable.

>
> "What on earth is the matter?" she exclaimed.
>
> Poor Fatty told her. He cried a little, because his back hurt
> him, and because he was so glad to be safe at home once more.

TOM: ‘Well, come here, son, let me lick that all. Nothing like raccoon spit to clean open wounds.’

>
> "What color were those eggs?" Mrs. Coon inquired.
>
> "White!" said Fatty.
>
> "Ah, ha!" Mrs. Coon said. "Don’t you remember that crows’ eggs
> are a blueish green?

MIKE: Oh no!

TOM: Fatty’s failure to prep for his Raccoon SAT’s haunts him!

CROW: *My* eggs are painted a lovely variety of colors in intricate patterns!

TOM: Ya freak.

CROW: What?

> That must have been a goshawk’s nest. And a
> goshawk is the fiercest of all the hawks there are. It’s no wonder
> your back is clawed.

MIKE: [ Mrs Coon ] ‘Why is this scratch covered in Superman ice cream?’

CROW: [ Fatty ] It was an experiment, okay?

> Come here and let me look at it."
>
> Fatty Coon felt quite proud, as his mother examined the marks
> of the goshawk’s cruel claws.

MIKE: ‘I got attacked and ran away just fast enough! Heck, I ran!’

TOM: I ran so far away.

> And he didn’t feel half as sorry for
> himself as you might think,
> for he remembered how good the eggs had
> tasted. He only wished there had been a dozen of them.

MIKE: So what did Fatty learn about eggs, exactly?

CROW: That … He can eat them?

[ To Continue … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter I


Hi. So. I need to make life a little easier on myself right now. To that end, I want to share a bit of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction I’ve been working on for just about forever. It’s riffing based on one of the children’s animal-adventure books written by Arthur Scott Bailey back in the 1910s. In it, Bailey attempts to answer the question, “Can you write a children’s animal-adventure book without liking your protagonist in even the tiniest little bit?” In this case the protagonist is a raccoon, named Fatty, and boy isn’t that great reading? But I’ve gotten about half of the book riffed.

The first five chapters of this I’ve actually shared already. But that was also, like, four years ago. I don’t want to send people plunging deep into the archives for that. So I’m going to use those already-riffed chapters as Thursday pieces for a couple weeks, and then go into about five new chapters, and then? We’ll see. So, now, here, please enjoy what I do have.

A MiSTing, as this is, is a Usenet-bred form of fan fiction. The original material gets to present itself, with > marks to denote the original author. The riffing then gets inserted, play-direction style. The first five chapters even have an opening and a closing sketch. I don’t know if I’ll have a similar framing for the second five chapters.

Take care, please, of yourselves and each other.


[ SEASON TEN opening. ]

[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. TOM is reading a newspaper and chuckling as MIKE and CROW enter. ]

TOM: Hee heee!

MIKE: What’s up there, Thomas?

CROW: He finally noticed they print the ‘Jumble’ answers upside-down.

TOM: I’m now a happy subscriber to the Ironic Comics page.

[ MIKE takes the paper from TOM’s hands. CROW peeks at a corner, letting the paper flap over his beak. ]

TOM: ‘Beetle Bailey’ as Wagnerian opera! Fred Basset portrayed by a very long duck! ‘The Lockhorns’ with neither lock nor horn!

MIKE: Hey, I like this Clip-Art ‘Cathy’. She married Irving Berlin.

CROW: Wait, this is just ‘Henry’. What’s ironic about that?

TOM: What’s *not* ironic about ‘Henry’?

[ MADS sign flashes. ]

MIKE: Ahp. Agatha Crumm is calling.

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. PEARL, PROFESSOR BOBO, and the OBSERVER are at a table. ]

OBSERVER: I love ‘For Better Or For Worse, And It Turns Out, Worse.’ [ To PEARL’s withering indifference. ] It puts at the end of every strip Anthony whining how ‘I have no home!’

PEARL: OK, Mark Trail. We’ve tried everything to break your spirits. We’ve tried bad movies.

BOBO: We’ve tried telephones!

PEARL: We’ve tried fan fiction.

OBSERVER: We’ve tried advertisements!

PEARL: We’ve tried the most Ruby-Spearsish Hanna-Barbera Christmas specials!

BOBO: I love that one with Goober and Gumdrop!

OBSERVER: Now let’s try … young-reader animal fantasy!

PEARL: Your experiment for today is the first five chapters of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 piece of ouvre _The Tale of Fatty Coon_.

BOBO: See if you learn something special from all this adorable animal fantasy!

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. MOVIE SIGN and general chaos. ]

MIKE: Oh, no! Animal fantasy!

TOM, CROW: AAAAGH!

[ 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1.. ]

[ THEATER. ALL file in. ]

> SLEEPY-TIME TALES

TOM: So … uh … good night?

> THE TALE OF FATTY COON

CROW: From Buster Keaton through learning there *is* such a thing as bad publicity.

> BY ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY

TOM: o/` Arthur was born just a plain simple man o/`

> ILLUSTRATED BY HARRY L. SMITH
> NEW YORK

MIKE: Illustrated by Harry L Smith and the New York dancers!

>
> 1915

> I
>
> FATTY COON AT HOME

TOM: Just sitting around the home …

>
> Fatty Coon was so fat and round

CROW: Oh come *on*.

MIKE: Man, 1915 and they’re ahead of our lead joke.

> that he looked like a ball of
> fur, with a plumelike tail for a handle. But if you looked at him
> closely you would have seen a pair of very bright eyes watching you.

CROW: From the tail?

TOM: Raccoons can see very well through their handles.

>
> Fatty loved to eat.

CROW: And that’s all the personality he’ll need!

MIKE: Pretty much all the personality I have.

> Yes—he loved eating better than anything
> else in the world. That was what made him so fat.

TOM: ‘I’m getting ready to hibernate for winter!’

CROW: ‘It’s May.’

TOM: ‘I don’t want to get caught by surprise.’

> And that, too, was
> what led him into many adventures.

CROW: Like the adventure of Waffle House At 3 am.

MIKE: Taking his life and his maple syrup into his own paws.

>
> Close by a swamp, which lay down in the valley, between Blue
> Mountain and Swift River,

TOM: Burger King on the right and if you come to the old middle school you’ve gone too far.

> Fatty Coon lived with his mother and his
> brother and his two sisters.

CROW: And his mayonnaise.

> Among them all there was what grown
> people call "a strong family resemblance," which is the same thing as
> saying that they all looked very much alike.

TOM: What, because all raccoons look the same to you?

> The tail of each one of
> them—mother and children too—had six black rings around it. Each of
> them had a dark brown patch of fur across the face, like a mask.

MIKE: _Clonus: The Ranger Rick Project_.

> And—what do you think?—each of them, even Fatty and his brother and
> his sisters, had a stiff, white moustache!

CROW: This is getting near body shaming, Mister Arthur Scott Bailey.

>
> Of course, though they all looked so much alike, you would
> have known which was Mrs. Coon, for she was so much bigger than her
> children.

TOM: And she had that ISO 9000 consulting job for Lockheed.

> And you would have known which was Fatty—he was so much
> rounder than his brother and his sisters.

CROW: And he had a bear claw in his mouth.

MIKE: The pastry?

CROW: We’ll see.

>
> Mrs. Coon’s home was in the hollow branch of an old tree.

TOM: They were the first wave of gentrification moving in.

MIKE: Classic cycle. Starving artists, hipsters, raccoons, rents go up.

> It
> was a giant of a tree—a poplar close by a brook which ran into the
> swamp—and the branch which was Mrs. Coon’s home was as big as most
> tree-trunks are.

MIKE: Look, it’s a tree, all right? I’m Arthur Scott Bailey, I got bigger fish to fry than specifying poplar trees.

>
> Blackie was Fatty’s brother—for the mask on his face was just
> a little darker than the others’.

TOM: *Blackie* Coon?

MIKE: Oh dear Lord.

> Fluffy was one of Fatty’s sisters,
> because her fur was just a little fluffier than the other children’s.

TOM: *Fluffy* Coon?

CROW: When Andrew WK visits Anthrocon?

> And Cutey was the other sister’s name, because she was so quaint.

TOM: I feel like I need to apologize and I don’t even know who to.

>
> Now, Fatty Coon was forever looking around for something to
> eat.

MIKE: ‘Here’s a thing!’ (Gulp)

TOM: ‘That’s a vase!’

MIKE: Needs honey mustard.’

> He was never satisfied with what his mother brought home for him.

CROW: ‘Crawdads and berries *again*?’

MIKE: ‘No, this is berries and Crawdads.’

> No matter how big a dinner Mrs. Coon set before her family, as soon as
> he had finished eating his share Fatty would wipe his white moustache
> carefully—for all the world like some old gentleman—and hurry off in
> search of something more.

MIKE: ‘Fatty, that’s a rock.’

CROW: ‘That’s a rock with ranch dressing.’

>
> Sometimes he went to the edge of the brook and tried to catch
> fish by hooking them out of the water with his sharp claws.

TOM: ‘Best case scenario, I catch a snack. Worst case, I touch a goldfish. Either way, a win!’

> Sometimes
> he went over to the swamp and hunted for duck among the tall reeds.

CROW: ‘Hey, a little deep frying and these reeds would be good.’

> And though he did not yet know how to catch a duck, he could always
> capture a frog or two; and Fatty ate them as if he hadn’t had a
> mouthful of food for days.

MIKE: ‘If I eat enough frog maybe a duck will crawl into my mouth and see what’s going on!’

>
> To tell the truth, Fatty would eat almost anything he could
> get—nuts, cherries, wild grapes,

TOM: Boring, straight-laced actuary grapes.

> blackberries, bugs, small snakes,

CROW: Large but depressed snakes.

> fish, chickens,

MIKE: Buckets of fried dough.

> honey—there was no end to the different kinds of food
> he liked.

TOM: I believe you, sugar.

> He ate everything. And he always wanted more.

MIKE: Thing is it’s fun cooking for someone who likes eating so much.

>
> "Is this all there is?" Fatty Coon asked his mother one day.

TOM: Well, you could merge with Ilia and Captain Decker maybe?

> He had gobbled up every bit of the nice fish that Mrs. Coon had
> brought home for him. It was gone in no time at all.

CROW: ‘Well, you could try the less-nice or the morally ambiguous fish.’

>
> Mrs. Coon sighed. She had heard that question so many times;
> and she wished that for once Fatty might have all the dinner he
> wanted.

MIKE: ‘Fatty, you’re a sphere.’

CROW: ‘And I could be a hypersphere, Mom!!’

>
> "Yes—that’s all," she said, "and I should think that it was
> enough for a young coon like you."
>
> Fatty said nothing more. He wiped his moustache on the back of
> his hand (I hope you’ll never do that!)

TOM: You eating raw frogs, though, Arthur Scott Bailey’s cool with.

> and without another word

MIKE: Really, what else was there to say?

> he started off to see what he could find to eat.

CROW: ‘This is delicious!’

MIKE: ‘This is an ironing board!’

CROW: ‘With marshmallows!’

[ To Continue ]

MiSTed: A Moment of Hack, Part II


Part I ran on Monday. Thanks for reading.


>
> Oh, yes .. I’m know your secret life, which you are hiding from
> everyone.

CROW: The weed of crime bears bitter fruit!

>
> Oh my God, what are your like… I saw THIS …

TOM: With a Hubbard squash?

MIKE: In the library?

CROW: On Professor Plum?

> Oh, you dirty

> naughty person … :)

MIKE: [ As Elmer Fudd ] ‘I’m just as God made me, sir …. hehehehehehehehe.’

>
>
> I took photos and videos of your most passionate funs with adult
> content,

TOM: Not my adult content! My automobile titles, my disclosure paperworks from the Dental Maintenance Organization. Ream after ream of cadastral maps for the properties I bought at the tax sale!

MIKE: Jeez, all *my* adult content is sad little grunts of pain after I kneel down and stand up again.

> and synchronized them in real time with the image of your
> camera.

MIKE: Who cares about images of my camera?
[ CROW and TOM hide down in their chairs. ]

>
> Believe it turned out very high quality!

CROW: Sing the unwashed park bench gryphon!

>
>
> So, to the business!

MIKE: [ As Adam West ] To the business-pole, old chum!

>
> I’m sure you don’t want to show these files and visiting history to
> all your contacts.

TOM: *Including* that person at hotels.com that dealt with your weird duplicate-loyalty-card nonsense.

>
>

> Transfer $848 to my Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet:

[ CROW just bursts out laughing ]

> 1GXazHVQxxUdJpe62UFozFibPlor8ToDoUn3

[ CROW continues giggling ]

MIKE: Foz Fib Plor?

TOM: I’m trying to figure this as like a Fozzie Bear branded Mister Pibb but it’s not coming together.

>
> Just copy and paste the wallet number when transferring.

TOM: It’s totally not the SimCity 2000 funding cheat code!

CROW: [ Still giggling ]

MIKE: You okay, buddy?

>

CROW: Yeah, I just, I mean, 848 dollars?

> If you do not know how to do this – ask Google.

MIKE: Well, he was going to demand $849 but figured, why be greedy?

>

TOM: I heard he was looking for $847.74 but rounded up the dollar to donate to the local food bank.

CROW: Oh, well that’s good of him, then.

>
> My system automatically recognizes the translation.

MIKE: ‘Translate from Latvian’? The heck?

>
> As soon as the specified amount is received, all your data will be
> destroyed from my server,

TOM: ‘Because I’m dealing with this annoying ransomware hacker myself.’

> and the rootkit will be automatically
> removed from your system.

CROW: Thanks to my self-propelled technogarden trowel!

>
> Do not worry, I really will delete everything,

MIKE: [ Warbly teenager voice ] E-e-everything?

TOM: ‘Well, not your DVR. That you have to watch on your own.’

> since I am ‘working’
> with many people who have fallen into your position.

CROW: Yeah, well, *I’m* taking pictures of you doing that on *your* web cam, how does *that* feel?

>
> You will only have to inform your provider about the vulnerabilities
> in the router so that other hackers will not use it.

MIKE: [ Extremely nerdy ] You know, even the most secure routers are vulnerable to a proton torpedo hitting their thermal exhaust port through a shaft right to the reactor system.

>
>
> Since opening this letter you have 48 hours.

CROW: 49, if it’s Daylight Saving Time.

>
> If funds not will be received, after the specified time has elapsed,

TOM: I’ll take $582.50 in bitcoin instead?

MIKE: How about $146 in dogecoin?

CROW: Would you believe what’s left on a $20 Borders gift card and a 50-pfennig coin I got going to Oberammergau in 1990?

> the disk of your device will be formatted,

MIKE: The format: Swiss-style match pairing, ten rounds or until 10:00.

>
> and from my server will automatically send email and sms

TOM: Oh, I don’t need all those sms, just send me one sm.

CROW: With sms an educated consumer is our best customer.

> to all your
> contacts with compromising material.

MIKE: It’s not ‘compromising’, it’s ‘seeking a pragmatic, centrist solution’!

TOM: Bad praxis, Mike.

>
>
> I advise you to remain prudent

CROW: When you’re prudent, you make a prune out of dents.
[ MIKE sets a hand on CROW’s shoulder. ]

> and not engage in nonsense (all files
> on my server).

MIKE: And all the ships at sea! Flash!

>
>
> Good luck!

TOM: If Woody had gone right to the police, this would never have happened.

MIKE: C’mon, let’s blow this popsicle stand.

[ ALL file out. ]

                                |
                             \  |  /
                              \ | /
                               \|/
                            ----O----
                               /|\
                              / | \
                             /  |  \
                                |

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and setup and situations and all are the property of … I guess it’s Satellite of Love LLC? I’m not sure anymore. The original spam was sent to my love’s work e-mail account so certain elements were modified so my love’s IT department didn’t get all cranky. It’s not a Jonah script because I still haven’t seen the Netflix series and while I started writing MiSTings after watching very few Joel and Mike episodes, ‘a few’ is still more than ‘literally zero’. Anyway, thanks for reading and let’s all have some hard funs, won’t we?

> I know what you like hard funs (adult sites).

MiSTed: A Moment of Hack, Part I


You got this e-mail. The one about how your account was hacked, with the proof being a password you used for the account you made on TeaTowelsOnline.com in 2004. We all did. But me? I decided to do something completely useless about it: I turned it into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, back in 2018. Please, enjoy, as I finally use this to buy me a couple days’ lead time on my blog-writing here.


MiSTed: You password must be need changed (your password:group2) [ 0 / 1 ]

[ THEATER. ALL file in. ]

> From: <group2@site.tld>

CROW: I love group2@site.tld’s writing!

> Subject: You password must be need changed (your password:group2)

TOM: Remember, you promised you’d walk and feed *and* change your password when we got you one!

> Date: November 15, 2018 at 4:36:12 PM EST
> To: group2 <group2@site.tld>

CROW: Group 2 is the cool group. We don’t need those Group 6 wieners.

>
>
> Dear user of site.tld!

MIKE: Hi! Been a crazy year, hasn’t it? So what’ve you been up to?

>
>
> I am a spyware software developer.

TOM: Well I’m a level-12 half-orc mage so don’t you go trying to beat my initiative roll.

>
> Your account has been hacked by me in the summer of 2018.

CROW: Man, you wanna feel old? The summer of 2018 was *this* *year*.

>
>
>
> I understand that it is hard to believe,

MIKE: But I can flare each nostril separately from the other!

> but here is my evidence:

TOM: [ Fumbling, feeble voice ] Um, heh, sorry, thought I had the thingy plugged in … uh … heh, see, it’s a mini USB … or micro … uh, heheh … maybe it’s upside-dowooops, dropped it.

>
> – I sent you this email from your account.

MIKE: It’s asking you to celebrate someone’s ‘work anniversary’ on LinkedIn for some reason?

>

> – Password from account group2@site.tld: group2 (on moment of hack).

TOM: Prices higher west of the Rocky Mountains.

>
>
>
> The hacking was carried out using a hardware vulnerability through
> which you went online

CROW: Yeah? Well I only respond to emotional vulnerability.

> (Cisco router, vulnerability CVE-2018-0296).

MIKE: [ Military Nerd voice ] Excuse me but the CVE-2018-0296 is the USS Ranger, a Forrestal-class supercarrier with a displacement of 81,000 long tons under full load *thank* you.

>
>
>
> I went around the security system in the router,

CROW: I jabbed my foot into an endtable.

> installed an
> exploit there.

TOM: Stepped on a Lego block … you know, your security is pretty *good*, I have to say.

>
> When you went online, my exploit downloaded my malicious code

MIKE: Well, it’s not malicious so much as it is passive-aggressive code.

CROW: ‘No, go ahead and read my page with the adblocker on, I’ll be fine.’

> (rootkit) to your device.

TOM: Hey, we’re trying to stay PG here!

>
> This is driver software,

CROW: This is driver software on drugs.

> I constantly updated it,

MIKE: The only way to foil it is to hit ‘postpone updates until tomorrow’ every single day!

> so your antivirus
> is silent all time.

TOM: Your Antivirus Silent All-time Hall of Famers!

>
>
> Since then I have been following you

CROW: Did you see me clicking like and share?

> (I can connect to your device
> via the VNC protocol).

MIKE: The VNC Protocol, starring Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, and Vonetta McGee.

>
> That is, I can see absolutely everything that you do, view and
> download your files and any data to yourself.

TOM: [ Voice warbling ] Even my Knuckles/Marrissa Picard fanfic?

>
> I also have access to the camera on your device,

[ CROW and TOM squirm, uncomfortable. MIKE looks up so as not to have to acknowledge either. ]

> and I periodically
> take photos and videos with you.

MIKE: [ As though reading a postcard ] Having wonderful time, wish I were here …

>
>
> At the moment, I have harvested a solid dirt…

TOM: [ Dramatic sting ] DUN-dun-dunnnnnnnn!

> on you…

CROW: Gasp!

MIKE: Merciful heavens!

TOM: Oh, Professor Firefly!

>
> I saved all your email and chats from your messangers.

MIKE: Your mess angers.

TOM: Your Me’s Sangers.

> I also saved
> the entire history of the sites you visit.

TOM: You ah, got any copies of Web Site Number Nine kicking around there?

>
>

CROW: Your Mess an’ Gers?

MIKE: Oh, you always want a plate of those if you go to a British pub.

> I note that it is useless to change the passwords.

TOM: [ As Chico ] ‘Swordfish’?

> My malware update
> passwords from your accounts every times.

CROW: Yeah? Well … my festive clockwork bubbles from your kneepads every thermostat!

>
>
> I know what you like hard funs (adult sites).

TOM: Ooh, hard funs?

MIKE: Yeah, those are the anise-tasting funs your gramma keeps in that glass dish on the coffee table that still smells like smoke even though she quit eighteen years ago.
[ TOM makes a little disappointed groan. ]


And that’s enough lumped text for just now. Web Site Number Nine was, in the 90s and early 2000s, the center of MST3K fan fiction. It went down “for the weekend” for maintenance one Friday in like 2004 and never reappeared afterwards. Boy, remember when 2018 seemed like a brutal year? Anyway, I’ll finish posting this on Wednesday. Thanks for reading.