Okay, you weirdos, it has come to my attention that some of you have been wondering who the hex I am. Some of you wanted to know exactly my relationship to Mira. Some of you losers even thought I was being too harsh on her.
Sorry for calling you losers, everybody.
Anyway, I guess I ought to set the record straight on this. Explain myself, lay out what happened, make myself clear, or at least translucent. So let me look at clearing the air here, okay?
Our setting? The jungle, of course. A pretty quiet place for the most part. Some chirps, some squeaks, some growls, and, if you listen closely, a guitar. At first listen one might have been tempted to say this guitar was being played sloppily, but if they payed close attention they’d realize the guitar was actually being played perfectly because the sloppy playing was exactly how the player intended it.
It was exactly how I intended it.
What do I look like? Who wants to know? I look human, at least. Underneath that thin purple robe, anyway. Well, it used to be purple, it was turning mauve at this point. My dark hair tumbled over my face and glasses, and even combed it scattered in waves and curls. My face has been described as “squeezable”. They’re not wrong.
But that doesn’t matter. I have a way to change how I look. I hardly remember what I originally looked like now.
I paced my way through the jungle, strumming on that guitar like it was going out of style, or like it was never in style to begin with, because in the deep jungle where there’s fierce predators and slippery deceivers, the obvious thing to do is draw attention to yourself, right? Especially if you’re looking for some fun.
So I sang a song.
She’s spinnin’ me around in circles . . . again
Oh that scaly lamia
Somethin’ about the ages
I went and crashed my ship The Cloud, again
Whoa that scaly lamia
She took me to different places!
Like isolated treetops!
And the deepest part of the jungle!
I had to sleep in her coils!
Hangin’ in her long tail!
At the old temple lab!
I totally found out her origin!
Oh that scaly lamia!
And the circles and the ages and the ages!
I took a knee and thrashed on the guitar until a string broke. “Beautiful!”
As I strummed the last of the song I stood up and looked around. “Wait a minute, where am I?” I looked at the guitar. “Is this song really in G?”
It was at that moment that I heard a sound that would change the rest of my life—okay, I really shouldn’t be lying like this. It changed like, the next day of my life. Though, I wasn’t accustomed to applause. Someone in the treetops was clapping. Not to leave them hanging—though I imagined they were anyway—I hopped onto a convenient stump and took a bow.
“Thank you, thank you! And now, this next song, is the eighteenth song on my twenty-seventh album, and I call it . . .” I strummed once then gave three sharp chords as I shouted, “Who! Are! You!” On the last word I hurled the guitar to the side and it smashed to pieces.
The applause stopped with a harsh clap. A woman’s voice from the trees asked, “Did you—mean to throw the guitar?”
“Oh, yeah, sure, I got another,” I said. I pulled out from the recesses of my robe a kazoo and buzzed on it for a while.
“Okay, okay, stop, I get it,” the voice said. “You can stop now!”
I restored the kazoo to the robe. “Now, seriously, who are ya?”
With a shuffle of leaves a hooded figure of a human emerged upside-down from the branches. See, I’d known they were hanging. Don’t let the fact that I’m writing this from the future and already know what’s going to happen fool you.
Upon seeing the figure had a purple hood as I did—even if mine was practically gray compared to her sunset-purple one—I said, “Hey, you’re gnawing my fashion! Wait, that’s not the phrase.” I pulled the hood of my robe over my head. “A pair of purples? Oh, what a fashion faux pas!” I stepped heavily off the stump. “How dreadfully garish, whatever will the Podsnaps think?”
The figure laughed. “We just share good fashion sense.” She removed her hood to reveal hair as green as fresh leaves tumbling to her dark olive shoulders. Wait, she was still hanging upside-down at this point, wasn’t she? Well, her hair was long enough to do that, and it would later on. The sunny yellow eyes of her smooth, smiling face looked me over. Yellow eyes were definitely something you’d trust in a mysterious tree person. “I’m Mira.”
“My name’s Duth, and we do not share good fashion sense, not with that green hair of yours.”
The lamia—except I wasn’t supposed to know that yet, so Mira—screwed her mouth in a pout and looked away. “Well, at least my hair doesn’t look like tangled lake weeds.”
I pointed a finger at her. “Hey, those lake weeds are very styling. They come out with a great fashion magazine every month.”
Mira laughed. “Okay, sorry I insulted you.”
“I’m not,” I said. “You smell like poo.”
“Hey!” She glared at me and removed a flower from her hood. “These flowers are supposed to smell pleasant.”
“You ought to fix your nose,” I said.
She sighed and let several flowers fall to the ground. She looked down, sliding lower from the tree and making the shadowy green tunic over her slender body more visible. I had to say, I appreciated her modesty with the outfit, even if it was probably to aid with camouflage. Way too many out in the jungle are just like “skin, skin, skin!!” Your mileage may vary, of course. To each their own.
She looked back to me. “I wanted to ask—did you say something earlier about not knowing where you are?”
“I know exactly where I am,” I said. I leaned against a tree. “I am here. Every map in every mall I’ve ever been to told me that.”
“But are you lost?”
“I’m never lost,” I said, marching to her with a raised arm. “However, the location that I’m supposed to be at may have waylaid itself.”
Mira smirked. “Would you like some help finding your lost location, then?”
“Nah, I’m good,” I said before she could say another word.
“But,” she said, stretching a toned arm to me, “this area is dangerous. This is—”
“Wolf territory?” I asked. “Look, either they’d have already been upon me after overhearing all my noise or my singing sent them fleeing to the mountains. Not gonna buy it.” She started to speak but I continued, balancing on one foot; her face dropped and eyes darted as I went on. “Next you’d try maybe for tigers, although of course that’s not as strong an argument since they can get up trees. Which, yeah, you want me to go up that tree, so next you’ll suggest I head up it for a better look around to figure out where I am. Then you’ll just ask if maybe I’d like a rest up there for a bit—I’ve heard it all, sister!” I snickered at her discomfort. “Get some new material, would you!”
I hopped from one foot to the other and her tail gripped air instead of my ankle.
“And when persuasion fails,” I said, spinning around and walking backwards from the tail, “you’ll just go for the grab.”
Mira gasped. I glanced at her face, her eyes wide and hand near her mouth. “A snake down there—it almost grabbed you,” she said in a hushed voice. She held out a hand to me. “Listen, they’re slow at climbing trees. I can pull you up, hurry!”
Instead I bent down and examined her tail, red and blue bands as bright as jewels with a paler yellow underside.
“Now there’s a color scheme,” I said, adjusting my glasses. “Did you have to pay for all the paint you spilled to get that mess of a tail?”
“What?” Mira shouted, her wide look of fear clenching into anger. The snake tail lunged and grabbed at me, but I hopped away. Honestly, her pattern wasn’t bad; the bright red and blue were quite striking, and the creamy yellow complemented it even if it was a bit pasty. But she didn’t have to know that.
“Nope, can’t get me through anger,” I said. “Aren’t you getting tired of hanging upside-down?”
Mira groaned and slid down, revealing her thick snake tail below her tunic; she flipped upright. “Okay, fine. I’m a lamia. Is that so bad? People don’t trust us, so I have to protect myself before I reveal it.”
“Oh, yeah, and I wonder why people don’t trust lamias.” With a smile I said, “A valiant effort, but you’ll have to try harder to get me.” I spun to the side, skipped away, and fell flat on my face.
Apparently I hadn’t calculated all the moves. In a moment her tail wrapped around my ankle and snaked up my leg. She lifted me in the air and now I was the one hanging upside-down. My light robe flopped over, revealing my knee-length slacks. I’d tripped over her red and blue tail hidden in the shrubbery, wide as my own waist.
“Dang, guess you’re thicker than I thought,” I said. She smirked as she held me level with her face; I met her smirk.
“Ah, now you have compliments for me, now that I have you in my grasp.”
Honestly, whatever ideas, plans, intentions she had, I wanted it. Okay, probably. Still, why else would I head out in this empty tree land? Her blanket-soft tail squished around my leg, her cool scales felt soothing, and I could well imagine the hefty weight of her mid-tail sliding over me. She seemed to like her tail around my leg, too, as her rubbing scales lingered over my skin.
And last, of course, after bumming around longer than most civilizations stood, it was nice to have the chance for my mind to shut off for a while—assuming she was a lamia who had that power.
But I wasn’t about to make things easy for her! If she wanted a playmate, I was going to make her work for it. Because no matter what delights someone could give, it’ll always be funnier to me to torment them on the way to it. They’ll just appreciate the conclusion all the more. I’m practically doing them a service! Hah!
“I must warn you though,” I said, my face hardening, “not to wrap my leg any further.”
“Or this!” I hurled my robe off and she got tangled in it. I grinned as I flipped upright and spun around her tail, loosening her grip until I dropped to the ground below.
“And you owe me a robe!” I shouted as I ran off—only to run right into her broad tail lifted between two trees. I flopped over it and she grabbed me in a loop twice my leg’s thickness before I could scramble away.
“Here you go,” she spat, throwing my light robe over my head. I pulled it back on, crumpled against her thick tail around my midsection. She softened her grumpy snarl to a pleasing smile. “That wasn’t a half-bad trick. Want to see one of mine?”
“Ooh, like a card trick?” I asked. I whipped out a deck of cards from my robe and shuffled them in mid-air.
Mira’s smile fell. “No. No, not like a—” She shouted as I shuffled the cards into her face. She swatted at them and her grip released enough for me to slide out.
“Come on, Mira,” I said with a maniacal grin, “you’re making this too easy!” I dashed away, this time not getting tripped up by any of her coil traps.
I ran through the jungle—skipped through it, really—I was practically twirling and dancing, I was so graceful, it was like a ballet.
I halted next to a tree and adjusted my glasses. “Now, at this point,” I said, “somebody lost track of what they were going to do and didn’t make a list ahead of time, so I forgot what’s supposed to happen next while I was running off!” An arrow hit the tree.
“This!” Mira leapt from the shrubbery, a bow and arrow aimed at me.
“Now you’re resorting to violence?” I grinned. “You must be desperate. I can see why you’re all alone out here.”
“Shut up,” Mira said. “Shut up or instead of taking your heart for mine I’ll just skewer it.” I reached for a recess in my robe. “Don’t. Don’t grab anything in there.”
My smile fell. I put my hands up. “Okay, okay, so it’s an impasse. If you can’t have me you’ll make sure no one else can.” I didn’t expect that she would actually fire an arrow, though—it was just a threat.
Mira slumped but gave a sweet smile, though her grip on the bow never wavered. “There is a way we could end this peacefully. If you’ll just look into my eyes for a moment–”
I fell on my back and laughed like a maniac. “Yeah, like I’m going to fall for the oldest lamia trick in the book! You’re never going to get anyone when you’re that transparent.”
Mira snarled. She shot the bow. I guess I overplayed it.
I caught the arrow in my right hand.
Okay, fine, it actually shot into my hand, but I have such a high defense stat it just glanced off me.
“And your arrows are dull as peaches,” I said. She stared and lowered the bow. During this cease-fire I stood and dusted my robe off.
“I can’t do it,” Mira said. She sat back on her tail and looked down. “I can’t. I—oh, Nagaraja, why?” She put her face in her hands.
I stared at her. Was she trying to make me feel bad or make herself feel bad? I guessed it didn’t really matter, if she wasn’t going to continue the chase I’d might as well let her have me. With a sigh I raised my arms outward and smiled.
“Okay, you can hypnotize me if you really want to.”
“No!” she said, looking at me. I flinched back—didn’t expect that. “It’s not the same! I want to catch someone. I’ve always met people in villages who want me, but there was no real attraction there. If you just give yourself to me, I’m not relevant to it. I can’t love someone I don’t get through my own actions, that’s a false love! It’s hollow!” Her head dropped. “But maybe that’s all I can get.”
I turned around with a toothy grin. I clenched to avoid from snickering. At that moment I had a fun idea, and once I calmed my face down I put an arm around her shoulders.
“Why don’t we step into my office?”
She looked at me, her downcast face cocked slightly. “What do you mean office?”
“Well, outside my office,” I said. “Where’d I park that thing, anyway?” I pulled a phone from my robe and checked its location. “Ah, this way. We’re not too far. Let’s-a-go! To kidnap a phrase as opposed to a princess.”
I dragged Mira to The Cloud. I haven’t introduced The Cloud yet, have I? It appeared at the end of the first Mira tale. The Cloud is The Cloud. It’s a multi-purpose inter-dimensional flying observational godmodding ship debugger machine, or MPIDFOGSD . . . you know what, forget that part. It’s just The Cloud. It was disguised as a cloud, though right now fog would be more appropriate since it sat on the ground, expanded to a size near a one-story house.
I pointed to Mira. “You want a date. Right?” I leaned closer, eyes narrowed. “That is right, right, you want a mate date, not someone to be ate, their fate, at any rate, is a date, not some bait that you’ll elate and then sedate into a hypnotic state so they’ll be cate that you’ll have ate?” Halfway through I grinned.
Mira glared at me. “What did you even just say?”
My smile fell. “You’re not gonna eat them, right?” I poked her chest. “Of course, it’s not like you got any room in that passage, th’only way you’d get someone through there is if you had more stretching capability than a slime girl. You’d have to be a Ditto girl.” I smiled. “Or maybe you can just split apart like some sort of plant, oh man, that’d be gross, ha ha ha, can you do that?”
“No!” Mira leaned back. “What are you talking about? Eat—Eat who?”
“Your date, silly!” I grabbed her arm and spun her around me. “I’m gonna find someone to send your way! Someone easy enough for you to catch without too much help!”
“What?” she asked, her head flailing. “How?” I let her go and she twirled, her tail twisted.
“You’ll see.” I leapt into The Cloud.
Now, for security purposes, I cannot tell you what the inside of The Cloud looks like, so close your eyes while reading this part, okay?
“ALFALFA!” I shouted for my mechanical mechanic. “You got this piece of junk going again yet?”
“Yes,” came a whirring whine like a blender that learned to talk. “The damage was minor. I’m surprised you’re back already. Did they get fed up with you or did you just not find anyone?”
“Oh, I found something better.” I ran to the control deck and jumped into my comfy office chair, rolling it to the controls. “Okay, maybe not better, but way funnier. I found a movie show!” I hit the controls and a vast screen flickered to life; the camera feed showed Mira watching The Cloud with her face twisted in doubt.
“Hey, Mira!” I screamed through the microphone. She jumped back at the sudden surge of sound; birds scattered from the trees in the distance. I danced my hands over all the incredibly complex controls that took longer than my entire lifespan to learn and scrunched The Cloud to the size of her head before I zipped around her. “Let’s! find you! a date!”
And that’s the story of how I met Mira.
Now listen, I want to make it clear I’m only writing this because The Cloud crashed again—no, ALFALFA, The Cloud crashed, I did not crash it—and we ended up in some stupid barren area without any lamias around. Not even anybody interesting or fun or cute! Not even anybody at all!
I better crash somewhere more interesting next time.
Circles is from Homestar Runner
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