Posted on: August 30th, 2009 Inventory

By Jason Fischer

You are standing at an existential crossroads, a wasteland at your feet and a song on your lips.  Overhead, a trio of mechanical vultures have begun circling, and the red dots of their laser-sights are crawling across your bare chest.

To the west runs a dank near-motionless river, and every now and then something thrashes around in the water.  The way east is blocked by an endless sense of ennui.  South is a burning city, and an ex-wife to whom you owe alimony.  To the north stretches an endless desert, with rumours of a herd of undead camels. There is a gleaming muscle-car parked here, but passage to it is blocked by an enormous white bull.

There is a set of tubular bells here, and a three-legged stool.  There is a sign on the river bank.

Obvious exits are North, South, and Angst.

>READ SIGN

It says “Do Not Swim”

>GO SOUTH

Your wife’s divorce lawyer is eyeing you from the city outskirts.  Are you sure?

>INVENTORY

You are carrying:

Compass
Pistol
Divorce Papers
3 Bullets
Your Sense of Self-Respect
Wet Towel
A Mid-Life Crisis
Toasted Cheese Sandwich

>GET INTO CAR

The bull paws at the ground and snorts.  Are you sure?

>PLAY A SONG

I’m sorry, I can’t understand that command.

>PLAY TUBULAR BELLS

You hit at the bells.  You haven’t been trained in the musical artistry of tubular bells, and the sound seems to anger the bull.  You now regret torching the Tubular Bell Academy.

>SHOOT BULL

Your pistol is unloaded

>LOAD PISTOL

You try, only to discover that these are chocolate bullets.

>LOOK AT BULL

Blocking your passage to the muscle-car is an enormous albino bull.  This powerful creature towers over you, with blood-stained horns and a piercing gaze that speaks of great intelligence.  It is looking at you expectantly, but warily.

>GIVE SANDWICH TO BULL

It sniffs at your cheese sandwich with disgust.  The sandwich appears to be soggy.

>GET STOOL

You pick up the three-legged stool.

>SIT ON STOOL

You sit down on the stool and rest.

[STAMINA +3]

>MILK BULL

What are you, some kind of wise guy?

>READ DIVORCE PAPERS TO BULL

The wet towel has soaked everything in your pack!  The papers are ruined.

>WRING OUT TOWEL

The towel is now dry, and should be safe to put in your pack.

>GIVE BULL YOUR SENSE OF SELF-RESPECT

The bull is satisfied with your offering, and leaps into the river to fight with the unseen water-creature.  It’s an epic battle of the titans, and will likely go on for hours.

>GET INTO CAR

You open the driver’s door and climb in.  It smells good.

>START CAR

The muscle-car roars into life, and the fuel gauge leaps to full.  “Born to be Wild” is playing on the stereo.

>GO NORTH

You floor it.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

7 Responses to “Inventory”

  1. Rachel Green Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Oh! I loved those adventures so much!

  2. Rachel Green Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Oh! I loved those adventures so much!

  3. Brenda Stokes Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Loved this. Really original and entertaining.

  4. Brenda Stokes Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Loved this. Really original and entertaining.

  5. susan Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 5:05 am

    I really enjoyed this.
    All the same, I would have gone west, now that the monster is engaged with the bull. What’s on the other side of the river?

  6. susan Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 5:05 am

    I really enjoyed this.
    All the same, I would have gone west, now that the monster is engaged with the bull. What’s on the other side of the river?

  7. Rachel Swirsky Says:
    September 5th, 2009 at 3:20 am

    I loved this. I wasn’t profoundly interested in the story qua story (though it was fine), but I think I’d read a grocery list if it reminded me of infocom.

  8. Rachel Swirsky Says:
    September 5th, 2009 at 3:20 am

    I loved this. I wasn’t profoundly interested in the story qua story (though it was fine), but I think I’d read a grocery list if it reminded me of infocom.

  9. Jason Fischer Says:
    September 5th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hi everyone, and thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed this story, I loved playing with the format. How many glorious and frustrating hours I spent in the 1980s playing these text-adventure games…

  10. Jason Fischer Says:
    September 5th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hi everyone, and thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed this story, I loved playing with the format. How many glorious and frustrating hours I spent in the 1980s playing these text-adventure games…

  11. Maria Deira » Soldier! Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    [...] you’re there, check out the rest of stories, including last week’s “Inventory” by Jason [...]

  12. Maria Deira » Soldier! Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    [...] you’re there, check out the rest of stories, including last week’s “Inventory” by Jason [...]

  13. Ben Godby Says:
    September 8th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Awesome story. The line, “I’m sorry, I can’t understand that command” really resonated with me… in a nostalgic, angsty, video gamer sort of way. As did the muscle car and the undead camels.

    -bn

  14. Ben Godby Says:
    September 8th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Awesome story. The line, “I’m sorry, I can’t understand that command” really resonated with me… in a nostalgic, angsty, video gamer sort of way. As did the muscle car and the undead camels.

    -bn