The Adventures of Naughty Naut and Bilius Schnackel (short story)

 

The Republic of Ugoff was no longer a Democracy.  The last ruler to be titled “President,” C. Montgomery Picard, had a fatal stroke ten years before.  When Picard’s teenaged son found his father’s corpse on the Executive Mansion’s lawn, he rushed to all of Picard’s Cabinet.  After days of heavy conversation, a new President could not be found.  Picard’s Vice President, John Elton, had piloted a plane to Canada to help with the War Between the Provinces, but had never returned.  No one had found John Elton’s body after months of searching.  Some conspiracy theorists even believed that he was not really dead, but had become a recluse among the ancient Eskimos.

Whatever the case, there was no decent replacement for Picard—not even the last of the Kennedys, Rabbi Shimon ben Kennedoffowitzky, or the fifteen-sixteenths alien prodigal descendant of the famous William Jenkins—L ROY.

Instead, a bureaucrat from far-off Luxembourg, one Nadir von Günter von Loaff, was placed in charge of the country’s population.  The instant Nad Loaff began his reign in the Republic of Ugoff, it was clear that he was a Dictator and not a President.  Classic, yet “inappropriate” books such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower were not only banned and burned in the South, but were banned and burned everywhere in the United States.

Three thousand miles away from Ugoff Central (once known as Washington), our hero Naughty Naut was tiredly viewing his holograms he had received while he was working at the Melvin Snix Corporation.  Most of these holograms were of relatively little importance, such as a government dentist reminding Naughty to floss his teeth daily  Ironically, Naughty held a cinnamon-flavored cigar in his pale, bony hand.  Another hologram consisted of Naughty’s Croatian electrician confirming that the repairing of our hero’s time machine would not take place until Wednesday.

Suddenly, the fuzzy blue picture of Professor Alexander Metalworks, Naughty’s close friend and mentor, appeared on the machine’s screen.  Alexander Metalworks was a master at crafting almost anything out of metal, preferably steel.  An older man, his face was wrinkled and weary, and his gray hair was long and untamed.  Naughty would not have visited any planet other than Earth if it were not for Naughty.  Though, space travel was so common nowadays, it was now an Olympic sport.

“My boy, Naughty, I am calling you from the year 1953.  I have completed seventeen humanoid androids, the majority being that of my trademark EOP design.  I just added the finishing touches on EOP Number Nine…”

Oddly enough, the old hologram machine started skipping Metalworks’ words much like a broken record.  Metalworks’ expressions were also oddly repeated.  The machine was a hand-me-down from Naughty’s father Luke, after all.

“Number Nine…Number Nine…Number Nine…” echoed the machine.  The frustrated Naughty Naut flicked the orange-handled lever that turned the machine off.  Just then, he heard a knock on his front door.  Could it be one of his neighbors?  His annoying neighbors—especially that squeaky-voiced East Virginian pharmacist and that rotund, gruff-voiced, Mormon bowling instructor were the second and third to be listed on Naughty’s personal list of enemies.

When Naughty hastily opened the lopsided door, he faced a man he never thought he would see again.  A man Naughty Naut also admittedly never wanted to see again.  His name was Bilius Schnackel.  Naughty Naut had been illegally adopted by Schnackel after his real parents abandoned him.  “Uncle Bilius” was never around because he was constantly working an odd job.  Naughty Naut believed his guardian’s occupation to be an important one, though Bilius Schnackel turned out to actually be a roadie for the highly controversial band The Spleen.

“Gary!  Hello!” greeted Schnackel.  His arms were outstretched, and he was leaning towards Naughty.  Naughty was hesitant.  His supposed uncle had never referred to him by his old nickname, Gary, before.  Instead, he always addressed Naughty as “boy,” or “kid,” or occasionally “you bastard.”

“Um…why are you here?” Naughty asked.  “The last time I saw you, you threatened to kill me with your bare hands.”

“Look, I may have been a little harsh to you in the past, but what I’m about to tell you is serious.  You probably have heard of Nad Loaff’s rise to power.  Well, it’s a sad story.  Have you seen any people on the street wearing five-digit numbers on both the front and back of curious teal polo shirts?”

Strange and random as it was, Naughty was reminded of a female coworker he had seen today.  She actually was wearing a teal polo shirt with the number “23768” stitched onto it.  Her name was Julia O’Brien, but that was all Naughty Naut knew of her.  He had simply believed her uniform to be some new stylish preppy trend.  Naughty never liked popularity.  “Yes,” Naughty mumbled in an antisocial fashion.

“Ah.  That individual you glimpsed was a noid.  A noid, as you should know, is one descended from…Walter Jid.  Nad Loaff is making each and every noid wear a noid-identification uniform.  When the time is right, all noids will be sentenced to death.  Some already have been killed, actually.”  Bilius bit his lip—stifling a chuckle or two.

Naughty was shell-shocked.  “What the hey?  I’m a descendant of Walter Jid!  And so is Wendy Cronmaker, that girl from my childhood!”  As an adolescent, Naughty Naut (then known as Garrison Leet) had a massive crush on a girl in his class named Wendy.  However, Wendy was actually Naughty’s distant cousin, and ended up dating a hippie jock named Moe Binns—much to Naughty’s utter dismay.

“Well, I found a list of noids slaughtered this year.  Wendy was among them.  It won’t be long until you are identified.  Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing good will happen for them.  They’ll rot.”  Bilius, a non-noid himself, was speaking very calmly.  “You see, Nad’s most well-known American ancestor was George Hiltrus—a third-rate stage actor, and Jid’s archenemy.”

“You bastard!  You probably want me to be extinguished!”  Naughty’s pale, lean face was reddening with fury.

“If I wanted you to die, I wouldn’t be giving you this warning.  Take action, quick.”

*                                              *                                              *

Back in Nad Loaff’s newly-built palace in the swampy Ugoff Central, the genocidal dictator was actually enjoying a gruesome meal of frankenfurters at his twelve-foot long dinner table.  The juicy, meaty frankenfurter sausages were oozing in lime-green slime reminiscent of old Nickelodeon game shows.  Nad was a grotesquely heavyset man in his late forties.  He was the proud owner of a full-grown black mustache and beard, which he would often caress with his pudgy hands.

“Rocky!  Hoff a frankenfurter!” Nad Loaff screeched in his foreign accent to the palace’s head chef, Rockeau Shmaudernlaif.  While Rockeau was the chef, he was not allowed to devour any other forms of food but sausage and rice pudding—for strictly commercial purposes.

“Please, I’m not hungry,” whimpered Rockeau.  He was an ancient, scrawny figure with a crooked back and an Adam’s apple of great size.  The Adam’s apple seemed to bob up and down his neck at great speed as he spoke.

Nad Loaff spat in a trash can a long-eared midget set for him under the table.  He grinned from ear to ear.  “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t hoff any pudding!” cackled the dictator, sickening his mistreated cook even more.

“Please, Your Excellency.  Stop treating me like I’m six.  I already said I’m not hungry.”  Nevertheless, Nad literally forced Rockeau to digest a whole frankenfurter sausage.  Rockeau passed out, and Nad ignored him.

Nad clapped four times.  He always clapped a certain number of times as a cue for the servant associated with that number.  “Bring out yer noids!”

Jeevis, the hunchbacked black security guard, slouched into Nad’s kitchen, muttering to himself.  He then spoke in his Arkansas drawl.  “Your Excellency, I cannot explain.  All of the noids we shipped to Ugoff Central today have escaped!  They’re all gone!  Someone must have released all twenty-one of them!”

“Suttle down now, Jeevis.  There must be some explanation for this disaster.”  While these were the words Nad spoke, he was truthfully quivering with fear.  He had nearly forgotten why his family hated the noids so fiercely, but he was not going to stop there.

“To tell you the truth, I read some of your ancestor George’s diary he wrote centuries ago,” Jeevis explained in his monotonous drawl.  “Apparently, he did kill Walter Jid while he was in ghost form.  So, in the end, both Walter Jid and George Hiltrus were dead.  Therefore, this whole noid-killing business is nonsense.”

*                                              *                                              *

Naughty Naut was currently in his junk-laden garage administering gasoline to his dusty spacecraft he had bought two years ago, the Carpenter.  He planned to travel across the country to Ugoff Central in a clever disguise.  However, Naughty had not thought up a disguise at this minute.  All of a sudden, he heard the ecstatic cries of Bilius Schnackel coming from the locked wooden door leading to the garage.

“What do you want now?” muttered Naughty Naut.  Annoyed, he twisted the doorknob to let his former guardian inside.

“You won,” Bilius breathed.  His hazel eyes were wide open and gleaming.

“I won what?” snapped Naughty, only thinking of his newfound plan to save his fellow noids—and the fact that Wendy Cronmaker was gone.

“You’re no longer in danger.  It was on every network television channel.  The little-known truth about Nad Loaff’s ancestor was revealed by one of his most faithful servants.  When told the facts, Nad Loaff would not believe them.  So, the servant showed Nad the official diary Nad had inherited but never bothered to read, since it was not in his native tongue.  Still, Nad would not believe.  Now, for the persecution of an innocent family, Nad is being exiled to a distant planet.  Bernum, I believe it’s called.  Something about that planet makes human habitants go insane.  Gary, my boy, you’ve won!”  With that last monologue, and without a goodbye, Bilius Schnackel glided out the door in the opposite direction of the way that Cosmo Kramer had glided in way back when.

Naughty was disappointed that he had not done anything at all to save his family, but his feelings of disappointment were notably overweighed with glee that he was to live.  Naughty silently slipped back into his study, where he had dozens of unchecked holograms waiting for him.

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