By James Hold
[Copyright 2017 James Roy Hold
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THE MONSTER MASH
It had been a long and tiring trek across a vast alkali flat when the Yegua Kid spotted what he first thought to be a mirage but proved instead to be a historic Old World castle.
“Come in, my friend,” greeted the Baron, an old man with a long white coat and a lisp. “Come inthide, you and your horth, and make yourthelves comfortable.”
Kid and Horse stepped into a world of Bavarian luxury.
“You are just in time to help me with a little experiment,” the Baron rubbed his hands cheerfully. “Unfortunately my a-thith-thant, Ygor,” the Baron indicated a hunchbacked midget with an eyepatch, “wath incapa-thi-tated as the rethult of an accident.” The eyepatch dripped a yucky yellow substance.
“Right,” the Kid addressed the Horse, sotto voce. “Eye gore.” Then: “What sort of experiment?”
“Something to benefit all mankind,” the Baron beamed benignly, at the same time dispensing with the lisp. “Now if you’ll follow me to my basement…”
The basement was filled with all sorts of scientific gadgetry, chemical and electrical.
“Where’s your power source?” the Kid asked curiously.
“Out there,” the Baron pointed to the window. “Alkali sands, properly used, can provide an ample source of electricity.”
“I didn’t know that,” the Kid confessed.
“Not many do,” the Baron admitted. “Anyhow what I need is someone to handle various switches when I give the signal.”
“Before we do that, why not tell me what you hope to accomplish.”
“But of course.” The Baron reached into a packing crate and pulled out an object. “You know what this is, don’t you?”
“It’s a frankfurter sausage,” the Kid answered.
The Baron nodded. “Specifically it’s a pork sausage, the ground remnants of what was once a pig. Now turning a pig into a sausage is relatively easy. But what if one were able to turn a sausage back into a pig? Think of the benefit to shipping if pigs and cattle could be reduced to a fraction of their size and reassembled at their destination. Why,” he stepped closer to the Kid and said in a softer voice, “one might even transport horses across vast distances without subjecting them to the trauma of long confinement in freight cars.”
To the Baron’s dismay, the Yegua Horse overheard this and voiced a vehement objection.
“Easy, fellow,” the Yegua Kid patted the stallion’s cheek soothingly. “Let’s see if the old quack can even do it before we get upset.”
To the Kid’s dismay, the Baron overheard this and voiced a vehement objection.
“So I’m a quack, am I? Well I’ll show you! Ygor,” he shouted, “the chains!” And before the Kid could react, the small but powerful hunchback had Kid and Horse securely fastened to the castle wall.
“Now,” the Baron cackled. “Watch as I recreate a full-size pig from this Frankfurter Würstchen.”
“That means ‘sausage’,” the Kid explained to the Horse, who did not speak German.
“Ygor! Man the switches!”
“But master,” the hunchback lorried, “you know I can’t see with my bad eye.”
“Don’t argue; just do as you’re told.”
The Baron placed the sausage on a table beneath an enormous lens. At his signal, Ygor flipped a switch on the control panel. A crackling beam of light shot out from the lens, bombarding the sausage. The sausage began to pulsate, to take shape, to grow.
“It’s working, Ygor!” The Baron danced excitedly. “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
“Master!” Ygor called out. “Be careful! The other sausages!”
Too late, the Baron saw he had danced too close to the packing crate containing the remaining sausages and in his carelessness caused it to tip over. They spilled onto the table with the first sausage where they also received the brunt of the Baron’s converter ray.
“Master!” Ygor cried. “Things are growing Würst!”
Unable to intervene, the mountain of sausages fused into a single entity, huge and monstrous, as before their eyes the pile of pork franks were transformed into—a Frankenswine Monster.
“No, stop!” the Baron stood before it. “I’m your master. I created you. I—“
Unfortunately, pigs are not the easiest creatures to control when they’re upset. The Monster took the Baron by the throat and tossed him across the room.
“I’ll save you Master,” yelled Ygor, racing to his aid.
“Um, could you toss us the key to these chains first?” the Kid asked.
“There’s no need,” Ygor told him. “I didn’t have time to fasten the locks. You can free yourself anytime.”
“Now he tells us,” the Kid told the Horse and soon they were racing up the steps and out of the basement laboratory.
The last thing they heard was the Baron yelling to Ygor to keep the Monster away from the control panel. Apparently though Ygor was too late and as the Yegua Kid and his horse reached the outside an enormous surge of energy set the entire castle alight, after which it disintegrated from view.
Sometime later, the Yegua Kid found himself lying on the ground, his horse a short distance away. The sun was settling in the west and all around him stretch an endless expanse of alkali flat, all of it barren and empty. Slowly he got to his feet. The horse came over and nuzzled his outstretched hand.
“The sun must have gotten to me,” he told it, taking down his canteen and sharing a sip with the steed. “We need to be more careful out here.”
Then he rode off into the setting sun, the gathering dusk causing him not to see a half-buried crate labeled Frankfurter Würstchen lying there alone in the glistening salt sands.
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The Yegua Kid roams the Texas southwest observing many things as he goes along. Like the lazy river for which he is named, he keeps to himself and lets life unfold as it will.