by Jessica Johnson
Tagging along on the honeymoon of your two best friends makes you feel a little like the squeaky extra wheel on your nephew's tricycle. Your two best friends in the whole world are a sentient monkey named Bob and a beastman cleverly named Beastman.
So far you've been having the time of your life on a deserted island with disappointingly few desserts.
Yet in your drunken revelry you forgot to secure the rowboat you had arrived in. Your friends have just realized this after waking up from a hangover so strong that they could kill mosquitoes with their blood.
And now they so very much want to tie you to a stake and pelt you with rotten coconuts. But there is one small hang-up in their plan. The three of you are currently surrounded by a band of rather angry-looking skeletons dressed as pirates. How can skeletons look angry? Don't ask me. Use your imagination for once.
The leader, a bright red skeleton, raises a bone sword in the air that glints in the sunlight. All the other skeletons begin marching toward you and your bros. Why are these skeletons attacking you? You have no idea. Maybe they want to kill you and take your stuff. Maybe they just want to let off a little steam.
Yet the important thing to keep in mind here is that there is absolutely nothing that you or your friends can do about this. You're weaponless, hung-over and completely out of bananas.
One of the skeletons grabs you by the shoulder and points a dagger into your neck. But then you remember the one thing that you still have: your wits.
All those times your mother told you to "keep all your wits about you" have finally come in handy, because at this moment you currently have seven different wits about you. But you only need one.
"Um, excuse me," you say politely, to the rather slender fellow with his blade in your neck. "Is it just me, or are you guys too dead to be doing things?"
The skeleton scratches his chin pensively. "I guess you got us there." With that said, all the skeletons collapse.
Beyond the newly-formed pile of bones, in the distance, you see that the skeletons have conveniently parked their ship on the shore. And what assholes! They double-parked. Didn't they see the line in the sand?
When you and your buddies stumble on to the ship, you notice that the most beautiful monkey woman you have ever seen — and probably the only monkey woman you have ever seen — is currently tied to the mast.
"Untie me!" she cries. "Those evil brutes kidnapped me!"
After you release the voluptuous and gloriously hairy woman from her bonds, she introduces herself.
She is Tonga, magical priestess of the monkey-folk. She has some terrible news. A demon named "Banana Hammock III" is feasting on the blood of virgins daily in order to amplify his powers over the dead. By the end of this day — this special day of all days — the blood moon will rise into the apex of the sky, and he'll have enough power to raise an army of the undead. With which he will obviously take over the world.
At this point, you're just glad that you've never had the misfortune of knowing the first two Banana Hammocks.
When Tonga finishes her tale, you see that the pile of bones on the shore is beginning to take on a shape. The red skeleton starts shouting something about Descartes: "And I was... therefore... I could possibly be!"
You try to shout back to him that this doesn't make any sense, but he ignores you.
"We'll be coming back for our ship now, ya scurvy infested bilge drinkers!" he yells, rallying all the other skeletons. They start marching toward the ship.
"Cut the ropes!" Tonga cries.
Beastman is way ahead of her. With a knife between his teeth, he is leaning over the side of the boat snapping the rope like twine.
Meanwhile, you and Bob are content to stand around doing nothing of particular importance. You decide to use this opportune moment to scratch an itch on your left butt cheek that has been irritating the Jesus, Mary and Gandhi out of you.
Soon the ship is on its way, speeding away from the shore like a track star with ants in their jock strap.
"So, where should we go?" you ask.
"Where else?" says Tonga. "We must stop Banana Hammock III. I know where his temple is from here. We must head west."
"Uh, Tonga," you say, "how exactly are we going to defeat a demon?"
"Have a little faith." She grins, flashing you a smile of banana-yellow teeth.
After cutting through dense jungles and watching Beastman fight off ravenous demon-tigers, you and your party sneak into the secret entrance of Banana Hammock III's unholy temple.
You see many statues of monkey heroes from ancient times along with stained glass windows depicting bananas.
In the middle of the temple is a giant gorilla with two horns sticking out of his head. He's five times larger than an elephant and just as fat as your mother. He glows with an almost radioactive red hue.
"Wait," you say. "Why is the demon bound?"
"You fools!" Tonga laughs, suddenly glowing red herself. "'Banana Hammock III is my prisoner. With this brute tied in place, there is now no one strong enough to stop me in my quest for world domination!"
"But what could you possibly want with a group of hung-over idiots like us?" you gasp.
"Blood has powerful magic," says the Priestess. "And there is only one kind of blood more powerful than that of a virgin. That of a monkey and his bestial lover!"
With her hands lifted into the air, her eyes glow red. Her body hair stands up straight as if conducting static electricity.
She points at Bob and shoots a beam of magical energy at him that explodes from her fingertip like lightning. Beastman jumps in front of the beam in an attempt to save his paramour, but instead both of them are sent floating into the air.
As Tonga balls her fists together, a crimson aura surrounds Bob and Beastman. Blood begins to drip from their orifices, showering down upon the Priestess.
"Yes, yes, my power is growing," she cries in ecstasy. "I can feel it increase with every drop!"
"Do something!" your friends cry out.
Fortunately for you, you still have six wits about you, out of the seven you had earlier.
Squeezing all six of your wits together as hard as you can, your puny, hangover-glazed brain has an idea.
You run straight forward, headbutting Tonga into the gaping mouth of Banana Hammock III. In one quick bite, the demon swallows her whole. Bob and Beastman fall promptly from the air and give you a round of high fives.
They thank you and realize that you're not such a bad third wheel after all.
"What should we do now?" asks Bob.
"I could go for more rum," Beastman replies.
In a deep voice that shakes the room and sends pebbles falling from the ceiling, Banana Hammock III chips in, "I know where we can find some."
"Aw man." Bob rolls his eyes. "Does our group really need a fourth wheel?"
About the Creators
Jessica is a person with two arms and a face. She currently lives in Virginia near DC, and works as a non-profit writer and heavy metal blogger. She enjoys playing guitar, along with staring pensively into the stars as she wonders about who shot the sheriff, but why he didn't shoot the deputy.
World's Shortest Creator Interview
If, due to some very poor logistics, you had to survive several days in some random tropical wilderness, what would you do to find food, and what species would your imaginary companion be?
I'd dig a hole to South Korea with my imaginary Sarlacc (the giant wormy thing from Star Wars). His name is Josh. Not many people know that. We'd get some Bulgogi and have a good time.
I'm really into Korean TV drama right now. Why don't you just talk about that for a bit.
I'm afraid I don't know anything about that. But my Sarlacc, Josh, is an avid fan.
About the Artists
Our very own D Chang is a designer and game writer from Austin, Texas. His short fiction has appeared in Avast, Ye Airships! and the Cryptopolis science fiction anthology. He does the Space Squid illustrations, editing, and other squid stuff.