by John Rickett
Little pink men ask how Gronk come to wear shiny gold hat.
Gronk tribe once had many men. Many women for mating. Then, Gronk's tribe do what Boss call "implode." Boss use big words. Not of Gronk's tribe. Boss from pink men's tribe. Find Gronk smashing sheep with rock, tell Gronk, "Shatter their gates. Kill their knights. Help me seize the crown."
Gronk understand 'smash' and 'kill.'
Boss promise Gronk many mates. Big hills with many rocks to smash. Much food. Gronk bored smashing sheep, so, Gronk agree.
Gronk pick up Boss, Boss sit on Gronk's shoulder. Gronk ask Boss why shiny gold hat so important. Boss say, "Because Gronk, wearing it means nothing is impossible."
Boss ride Gronk into combat.
Men in village—men in shiny suits and silver hats—close big gate made of dead trees, tell Gronk and Boss, "Advance, and we will be forced to defend ourselves."
Gronk crush gate to splinters, grab log and smash shiny men into sticky red puddles. Boss cheer. Gronk smile first time since tribe implode. Shiny men raise silver sticks, make loud noises, charge Gronk.
Gronk welcome charge. Lift leg. Bring foot down on silver man. Mash him into mud. Another shiny man poke Gronk's foot with small silver stick. Small drop of blood appear. Gronk growl. Take big log and swing it. Man fly. Splat against rock wall. Stick there moment. Slide down, leaving bloody smear. Boss pat Gronk's head, tell in Gronk's ear, "Kill every last maggot!"
Gronk plan too.
More shiny men on rock wall shoot pointy twigs at Gronk that stick to him and make itches. After itching, Gronk peel squished man off bottom of foot and fling into men on wall. Hit one silver man so hard he turn into red cloud that spray men around him.
Then Gronk grab different silver man and rip him in half. Gronk roar, make houses shake. Toss chunks at silver men on wall. Gronk do this many times—until ground men stop charging and men on wall run, covered in small pieces of friends.
"I'm going to give you hundreds of mates, Gronk," Boss say. "Thousands. As many cows as you can shove in your gullet. Onward to the castle!"
Gronk understand some. Has Boss point out castle. Biggest house.
Gronk stomp up hill towards castle. Pink man not wearing silver clothes scream, try to push wood cart full of chicken away. Gronk kick him through building. Take cart. Dump chickens into mouth. Chew.
Killing make Gronk hungry.
Group of silver men guard door to biggest house. Some ride horses. Carry pointy sticks bigger than self. Men ride at Gronk, yell, "For the king!"
Gronk pluck man from horse, smash head between fingers. Take bite out of horse. Beat next man with wet horse. Stomp up to doors. Standing over shaking silver men, Gronk thump each one. Send flying. Many cracking sounds. Much blood. Pink men scream make Gronk laugh. Boss say, "Invigorating—music to my ears, dear Gronk!"
Boss say man named King inside. So, Gronk smash wall around door. Enough hole so Gronk walk right in without bending.
Inside, more shiny men run at Gronk. Gronk take chunks of rocks from new hole and throw. One man vanish. Other man, half vanish. Bottom half stay, flop on ground like fish. Other men run, drop pointy sticks.
Man with shiny gold hat stand from big chair. Boss, still on Gronk's shoulder, say, "If you surrender your crown and kingdom, perhaps I'll let you live."
Man in shiny gold hat say, "I'd rather die than surrender."
Boss say, "Okay. Gronk?"
And Gronk know what boss mean, even though it sound like question. King try to hide behind big chair, but Gronk not stupid. Gronk see him, pluck him out.
"Lift him up here, so I can see him," Boss say.
So, Gronk do.
And King become ooze in Gronk's hand. Gronk wipe messy hand on leg.
Boss climb down, pick shiny gold hat off gooey king. Put on head. Gronk never see Boss smile so big. Make Gronk very happy to help.
Then, Boss walk over to big chair and sit.
Gronk not know 'Sir' but go anyway.
"Kneel before me, Gronk."
Gronk kneel, but he too close—squish Boss. Crush big chair.
Shiny gold hat roll away. Gronk sad as hat plink down few stairs, stop at Gronk's feet. Sad about boss. More sad about losing rocky hill and many mates. Then Gronk think: if shiny gold hat help Boss get Gronk mates, maybe Gronk wear hat. Still get mates.
So, Gronk wipe Boss guts off knee, put tiny gold hat on head. It fall off Gronk's big head, so Gronk slide on smallest finger. Soon, pink men come. Bring Gronk much cows and sheep. Tell Gronk biggest house now his.
When Gronk try mating with pink men, men run, yell at Gronk, "That's impossible!"
But now, Gronk wear shiny gold hat.
About the Creators
John Rickett dwells in the armpit of NE America, where he claws at the walls, escaping his suburban nightmare by performing woodworking ninjutsu, moonlighting as a word-sorcerer. His stories have been published in print, digital and audio. His post-apocalyptic fairytale retelling "Three Brittle Pigs" was selected for The Molotov Cocktail's 2015 prize-winners anthology.
World's Shortest Creator Interview
The robot overlords have gifted you with the choice of one cybernetic module that will make one of your existing skills or traits all bionic and stuff. What do you choose to buff up, and what would be the unexpected plot twist?
Something the Nappyalimus Napatosis in your brain, the part that controls sleep. I’d somehow shut that off so I could just get more shit done during the day. Of course, we’d have to create a subroutine that would run instead, that stored memories and did general defragmentation. It would probably require me to power off for 8 or so hours every day.
If you had to officiate an internationally-viewed wedding, who'd be the bride and groom? What would your delicious viewing snack be, and how would you dress for the occasion?
I’m really like to see the union of the two guys I saw masturbating at their urinals yesterday. I think they got off on the wrong foot.
Everyone would wear Crocs to the wedding, for sanity sake, and we’d serve fondant urinal cakes for dessert.
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 cover designs and other squid stuff.