What's all this barmy stuff?
Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?
Not enough barminess for you?
the Barmy Shorts Company
A Play in Three Scenes
by Tom Bubul
The curtains open on a normal Gehennan day. Ruddy, ash filled skies surround and accent a single great peak of burning evil, in and around which live the Yugoloths. Slightly audible screams of terror are heard from backstage, for mood. The stage floor is covered in sacking, which was apparently covered in red paint and a sort of gelatinous substance for the affect of looking like magma. The landscape is battered and scarred by the mountain's flames, but one beast walks happily. Hobbling across the magma, one gigantic arm used as a crutch the other tiny arm holding a walking stick, the bat-headed thing whistles merrily. It turns toward the crowd.
Yagnoloth (Y): What a lovely day this is, ahh, the greatness of the Yugoloths. Promotion is in the air, for I have done my duties to the Furnaces. The 'loth whistles more, and apparently seems to skip slightly.
A whooshing of curtains, billowing of smoke, swaying of the background as a ladder crashes into it, slightly louder screams from backstage, and a black garbed, faceless thing descends on the Yagnoloth from above. It widens it's two bulbous eyes, and it's lack of facial features still seem to contort into a grin. It's voice is deep and powerful.
Ultroloth (U): My my, we seem happy today, Scrnly'arglh. Are you skipping, or is it just me?
Y: No, I'm skipping lightly, O observant one. I was told I'm being promoted to Arcano sometime this decade, how about that, eh?
U: (aside) mad snickering (to the Yagno) Yes, yes. I heard... an emissary from the Tower told me all about it. Lots of good things in your career, apparently. Something about burning villages... rape and pillage, all that sort of thing?
Y: Yes, yes. I'm quite good at commanding the armies, I won't let the Furnaces down in my new position, O great one. What brings you, O mighty balancer of evil, to my lowly level?
Props fall off of a shelf behind the scenes, the stage manager screams.
U: Well, I came to just have a look at the magma. When you're my age, it's relaxing to dip your feet in and relax every few milennia... things get rather harrowing sometimes. Continental drift has been rather bad these years... very stressful for me. And, I came to look at you, and see if I should vote you in as an Arcano. He nudges the Yagno and maintains his faceless grin, You'll probably be a scheming bastard like the rest of them, so I thought I should know what I'll be dealing with.
Y: His bat winged ears flap happily, I promise to you, O fantastically mighty one, that I'll be the best bastard I can posibly be. If you vote me in, boy o boy, I'll sure do a good job. I'll torture and manipulate and do all sorts of things like that to the very best of my ability.
U: Yes, yes... well my friend with humorously shaped arms, I must be off. Planes to conquer, armies to manipulate, people to blame my deeds on. Ta ta.
The Ultroloth flies away in an equally interesting amount of bellowing cloaks and fire as when he arrived.
Y: What a nice evil overlord. I hope someday I get to backstab him or manipulate people against him to show how much his kindness means to me. The Yagnoloth smiles a shining grin, sighs, bats his eyelids, and skips off stage.
The curtains close, and more crashes can be heard in the background.
In several minutes, the curtains reopen on a dark stage, lit by one candle in it's center. Behind the candle, sitting around it, are three Ultroloths facing the audience. The shadows playing across their (for lack of a better word) faces make them horible to behold, and what sounds like Phineas' howler flute in the background adds to the mood of earieness. In the center, in crimson robes, is the Ultroloth from the previous scene. On the left is one in black, and on the right one in capes of deep navy blue. Above them glows the symbol of Gehenna in the air. They all are whispering in deep, haunting voices... and apparently sharing pints of some horible Gehennan liquor.
The Ultroloth in Red (Red): Boys, you should've seen the poor bugger... he was skipping with joy. Thinks he's going to be an Arcano. Poor thing.
The Ultroloth in Blue (Blue): Well, what exactly do we plan to do with him, come promotion time? I mean, he'll just keep bugging people if someone doesn't tell him the jokes on him. Demote him?
The Ultroloth in Black (Black): I say we just slap him in the face and tell him he's ugly - he'll get along. That's what me mum did to me when I was a we Mezzo, and look at me now.
Blue: (laughing madly) Well, you're ugly is what you still are. Your damned mum is ugly too, I hear.
Black: Just as ugly as yours, you...
Red: Boys, boys! Please, must we degrade ourselves to jokes about eachother's mommas? We're supposed to manipulate people and such. Back to this Yaggy. What'll we do with him?
Black: I still say we slap him in the...
Red: Shut up. Seriously.
Black: I am serious.
Blue: Bugger off then, think of something else! Ye gods.
Black's featureless face appears to look sullen.
Red: We could always clober him on the head and make him dance the Dance of I'm A Fool And Was Played For One.
Blue: No, that's a bit harsh. Besides, Yags can't dance, what with that one damn big arm always throwing them off balance.
Red: True, true.
Black: Turn him into a sheep! It's been ages since we had a good Black Sheep Of Doom And Destruction running about, c'mon, for old time's sake!
Blue looks hopefully at Red, and Black's featureless face seems to perk up. The candle flickers a bit.
Red: Wellll... you all know how much I hate sheep... soiled my robes, the last Black Sheep Of Doom And Destruction did. Dunno if I feel like dealing with the Night Hags to get my robes dry cleaned again.
Black and Blue: Pleeeeease?
Red: (his face seeming to grin slightly) Well, ok, I suppose. Just not right off. Play with him a bit first, eh?
Black and Blue both nod happily.
Black: Playing with them is the best part... toying with underlings is what we do best.
The curtains close as the three burst into uproarous laughter, and the candle flickers out.
After a brief intermission, the lights dim again and the curtains open onto a torchlit stage. On a dais towards the stages back sit the Ultroloths, Red in the center, Black on the right, and Blue on the left. Great pillars of cardboard painted poorly to look like ivory adorn the stage, and a crimson carpet leads up to the three thrones. Stepping out of the wings and onto the red carpet, back to the audience, is the Yagnoloth. He adjusts his bat wings, and looks expectantly towards the Ultroloths, who don't even seem to acknowledge his prescence.
Black: (shouting) Boo!
The Yagnoloth jumps, and apparently wets itself. The three Ultroloths surpress a bit of laughter.
Red: (nodding to the Yagnoloth after a grin at Black) Proclaim yourself, underling.
Y: (rigid, and standing up straight) I am Scrnly'arglh the 17th of Oinos, sponsored by the 88th Ultroloth of Oinos for promotion to Arcanoloth status.
Blue: (whispered to the other Ultros) A bit tight, isn't he?
Black: (whispered back) I get to turn him into a sheep, guys, since it was my idea.
Red: Arglh, kid, loosen up. This is going to be an informal interview. We're all your pals, you don't have to act all military. Now, talk to me. Why should we, the most powerful of our kind, make you, a sniveling, skipping, whistling snot of a loth with humorously shaped arms into an Arcano?
Y: (grinning slightly, and easing up) Well, guys, I'm just a good guy for it. You know, rape and pillage is my thing. I manipulated a bunch of Baatezu into fighting a bunch of Tanar'ri the other day, too. Easy as pie. I'm right cut out for the job, no question about it.
Blue: Who said you could refer to us as guys? I happen to be a girl. (whispered to Black) Well, not really (stiffled giggling from both).
Y: (nervous silence, shuffeling of feet)
Red: Don't worry about him, Arglh... you're doing fine. So, you're a rape and pillage kinda guy, eh? How would you feel about working in the Tower of Arcanoes? Not much to rape there, I'm afraid, but lots of things to pillage.
Y: That'd be great, my friend.
All three Ultroloths start coughing uncontrollably for about thirty seconds.
Red: Er, sorry about that. Static in the Ultro system that keeps us linked. Made us all cough. Nothing funny was said whatsoever.
Black: Have you ever had any experience with shepards in any past lives?
Blue: How do you feel about barns?
Red: So, you'd like to be an Arcano...
Y: Actually, I know this farmer who keeps sheep who was a right bastard. I wish I could get back at him.
Black: Well, have I got a treat for you, kiddo.
Y: Really? Great, what is it?
Black looks at Red, who nods, and at Blue, who bursts into maniacle laughter.
Black: (points a finger at the Yagno) A'zikazi'blacksheepa'mazaki! You are now the Black Sheep Of Doom And Destruction! We haven't had one in years, and since you hate that farmer so much, you can now get revenge! Go out and bah at people, oh Black Sheep Of Doom And Destruction!
The sheep, who now sits in the Yagno's place, bucks up and down like mad, and then runs out extaticlly to go and find some grass to eat and a farmer to gore. It grins madly, and prances about happily. It bows thrice to each 'loth, and runs away.
The three remaining 'loths burst into completely barmy laughter. Black almost falls out of his chair.
Blue: Damn, that gets funnier every time we do it!
Red: You've gotta admit boys, I got the perfect candidate for it this time!
Black: Same thing next decade?
Red: Sure, see you boys then. Doing anything next year? Get together for a pint?
Blue and Black: Sure.
All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.