By Veronica Toone
An excerpt from our issue Nonsense Goes To Space!
We’re back, babies! You thought this shit would taper off? You thought we were done with the ol’ CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE SECTION? I wish. But I’ve been recruited by the fabled High Council to tell you all a SICK SPACE EPIC. We’re continuing on a seemingly endless journey. The immolation of all ecosystems is at hand. I miss my kids.
Mama Joni—that’s me—will be your, quite frankly, underpaid guide today. So strap in, adjust your HELMETS and get your motherfucking TANG ready to go, because we’re gonna all up and venture where no man has ever dared to tread: space, the LAST FRONTIER. (I can’t say final: Mama Joni likes to follow copyright law.)
That’s right, kiddies: this week’s adventure is:
Literal Outer Space.
START HERE! The year is 2689. You and your crew of ASTRONAUT PEEPS are gathered on board the Omnibus, a great big ol’ rocket whose name will not be mentioned again. CHRISTOPHER KRISTOFFERSON, your commander, approaches your teeny squadron. His eyes lock on you and you feel the dark-coffee heat of lust somewhere just below your hairline. “Gentlemen, ladies, and those that transcend primal human gender binary,” he barks. “We’re beginning our descent into the Karrian system. We’ll reach Parlius in T minus twenty minutes. Remember your mission. Are you ready to jump?” His strong jaw twitches with anticipation, and something in your LOWER INTESTINE twitches with something else. Kristofferson is one hell of a pilot, and one hell of a man. The broccoli in his teeth forces you out of your fantasy and redirects your attention to the FLIGHT SUIT on the wall. Do you jump?
If you choose to jump, go to PARAGRAPH 3.
If you choose not to jump, go to PARAGRAPH 2.
PARAGRAPH 2: You look Kristofferson directly in his rugged, tasty, face and swallow your humility in favor of looking like a grizzled veteran space traveler. You stay in your seat as your squadron adorns their flight suits.
“Sir,” you say, “I don’t think I’m ready. Perhaps I should stay on the ship?”
“Perhaps you should do your goddamn job, Soldier. Go back to your quarters, you’re on latrine duty for the next 12 star-days. No food, either: have fun being hungry. Also, I’m fucking your sister,” said Kristofferson.
You got demoted. Your sister got fucked. Go back to START. Did you even go through basic training?
PARAGRAPH 3: You look Kristofferson directly in his rugged tasty face and swallow your pride in favor of looking like you’re a good little soldier who went through basic training, and knows at the very least how to do your goddamn job. “Yes Sir, ready to be doing the jumping on your go, Sir.” What? You turn your head and briskly approach the hatch before he can reply. Just adorn your flight suit, you awkward fuck. Mama Joni hopes your communication skills improve over the course of this choose your own adventure. The hatch opens—take your last breath of artificial air. 3…2—did you remember your oxygen tank?—1. You drop out of the hatch and float down to Parlius, home of the Hareenians, a misunderstood and slightly-below-average-intelligence alien race whose name Mama Joni pulled outta her ass, and also will not be mentioned again. You change into your alternate outfit [flight suit now equipped!) and begin walking through a SICKASS ALIEN FOREST. Eventually you come to a fork in the road.
If you choose to go left, go to PARAGRAPH 4.
If you choose to go right, go to PARAGRAPH 5.
PARAGRAPH 4: You decide to go left, because right is always wrong, and you walk through said Sickass Alien Forest for what feels like star-weeks. (I just like putting ‘star’ before actual increments of Earth time, welcome to space.) Eventually you reach the FABLED ALIEN CITY OF KAREEFER, home of the—what were they called? Whatever, doesn’t matter—and look around you in wonder. You seem to blend in with the race of suspiciously-humanoid, fairly below-average-looking creatures that would never be so observant as to not notice a literal alien walking among them. You ask one of the aliens where the royal palace is, and they answer you in a language you do not understand. Shit! You didn’t think to read up on the local language, did you? What are you gonna do now?
If you decide to just wander around, go to PARAGRAPH 6.
If you decide you want to try and talk back to the alien, go to PARAGRAPH 7.
PARAGRAPH 5: You should know by now that one of these is gonna lead you to death, right? I can’t fill up too much space. Listen, you can think of Mama Joni more like a better-looking, cookie-baking Jiminy Cricket here, honey: you’re the one that has to make the decisions. Anyway, you go and—I don’t know, dude. You go to the right and meet a PISSED OFF ALIEN who just blows your goddamn brains out. This magazine is free, isn’t it? You’re not wasting any money on this?
YOU DIED. Go back to the beginning. Life is meaningless.
PARAGRAPH 6: Always polite, you say the only phrase you know in the language that these things happen to speak: “reéairot quinoh.” The alien looks mildly offended as you walk away, and you realize that you told them you might have fucked a dog once. Whatever, it’s not like you were invited to their Whiega feast or anything. (I’m trying my best, I’m the DM, these are made up words.) You round the corner and enter the CENTER OF TOWN. The aliens, whose species name escapes me right now, are watching you. You look past a square building at the ROYAL PALACE. It’s big ay-eff. Your mission was clear from the beginning, even though I may or may not have mentioned it: you are Earth’s sole ambassador on this weird planet, and you have to talk to their weird king so they won’t blow up your shit. You go to the town square and look up at the BIG ASS STATUE of one of these, uh, extraterrestrials.
If you decide to ignore the statue and hail a Space Cab™, go to the LAZY ENDING.
If you decide to ask for a picture with the statue, go to PARAGRAPH 9.
PARAGRAPH 7: To your untrained human listening apparatuses, this whatever-they’re-called said something along the lines of: “Bahaké treiej.” You look her dead in her face: she is tall, taller than you, and is dense with muscle. Her face looks like a cross between Steve Buscemi and Scarlett Johansson. Take a second and try to visualize that shit. “Oh, I’m sorry—uh…eloch gah more-own-a,” you say. She gasps and slaps across the face. “I speak English,” she says as she goes on her way. “And I’m at a very healthy weight, thank you. Earth trash.”
Wow, insulting a young alien’s appearance. Way to go. Bet you feel like a real asshole, huh? Go back to Paragraph 4. You make me sick.
PARAGRAPH 8: Skip this. Go to Paragraph 9. I just need to have a number 8 here. Don’t read this: this is for me and me alone. Remember to take your clothes out of the dryer. Remember to take your clothes out of the dryer. Doo dee doo doo doot.
PARAGRAPH 9: You give your ANTIQUATED EARTH PICTURE-TAKING APPARATUS to a passing alien. “Hey, can you get a picture of me with this bomb-ass statue?” The alien looks at you in confusion, but after putting the camera in their little ol’ grubby hands, they seem to understand. They brush their hand to the side—get closer. You put your hand on the statue and it CRUMBLES INTO PIECES IMMEDIATELY. You and the alien stare in horror: what have you done? You’re supposed to be Earth’s sole ambassador, grade-A dumb shit. And you destroyed the statue. It’s broken. And you did that.
Go to the REAL ENDING.
LAZY ENDING: You ignore the statue and hail a Space Cab™ and the driver shoots you in the fucking neck. Go away.
REAL ENDING: More aliens crowd around you, shouting obscenities in their native tongue. You try to defend yourself, saying it was an accident, and finally an alien steps forward. She speaks to you in English. “Alien,” she says, “you have destroyed the great Statue of Ganja. You must appear before the High Court, where your fate will be judged by a judge.” The SPACE PO-PO arrive and put handcuffs on you, and off you’re carted to SPACE COURT. Space Court is a lot like regular court, except everyone is—you know what? This is my world. I do what I want, and you destroyed a statue. So you have to appear NUDE before the High Council and all the jurors are aiming LASER GUNS right at your dumb fucking forehead. The judge rules you guilty, and you remember that when you are found guilty in Space Court, all the jurors get to just blast their little ol’ lasers at you whenever they see fit, because you ruined their shit and now you deserve it. Perhaps you would have been better off in the Space Cab™, huh? Ha ha.
YOU GET DRAGGED OFF TO SPACE JAIL AND ARE SENTENCED FOUR AND A HALF INTERPLANETARY CYCLES. YOU’RE OVER. YOU’RE CANCELLED.