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CYRIL MACK AND THE VERY COLD CUP OF TEA • by Kevin Shamel

I’d just returned from the Himalayas and was brewing tea.

The kettle whistled.

The doorbell rang.

I poured water into my mug, on top of a bag of Hairy Guy in the Tea Bush tea. The bell rang again. I answered the door.

Two happy-looking people stood on my porch — all smiles and nodding.

“HI,” said the man. “I’M DICK RICHARD AND THIS IS MY FRIEND AND LOVER RICHEENA DICKERSON. WE’RE WITH THE WELCOME WAGON WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD CAN WE COME IN THANKS!”

Before I knew it, Richeena and Dick were smiling and nodding in my living room.

Richeena handed me a huge, cellophane-wrapped basket. “YES IT IS GOOD THAT YOU MOVED TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. HERE IS A BASKET TO WELCOME YOU. TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. WELCOME.”

Dick pulled his pipe from his mouth and said, “YEAH, PARD. YOU SHOULD LOOK IN THE WELCOME BASKET THAT WE BROUGHT YOU.”

“But I’ve lived here for ten years.” I looked at the basket.

Richeena smashed me on the back of the head with something like a gold brick.

I awoke sometime later, tied spread-eagle in the bottom of an empty wading pool, facing the dark ceiling of a musty warehouse. A huge, black plastic tarp hung above me — tied off under metal rafters. It bulged and roiled. Something sloshed inside it.

Dick spoke when I found him and Richeena staring down at me. “HELLO VICTIM WE ARE GLAD THAT YOU ARE AWAKE. WE ARE NOW GOING TO SHOW YOU A LETTER FROM YOUR CAPTOR.”

Richeena held a note above me. It read:

Dear cuzin Cyril, you are reeding this becuz I have capshured you. I’m givin ya the chois of facin me in my secret lare or dyin right now. My henchmen will tell ya what’s the way you’ll die, no matter what yer choice. Screw you, ya poof. Either way I’ve got you!
~Capp. Haggis MacMack.

Dick continued, “WE ARE GOING TO DUMP THE CONTENTS OF THE TARP ON YOU AND YOU WILL DROWN OR BE KILLED BY SOMETHING IN THE TARP. OR YOU CAN COME WITH US TO CRAZY DEVIL MAD PIRATE RABID WEASEL GHOST GHOUL MAD MAD CRAZY HORROR ISLAND, WHERE YOU WILL FACE HAGGIS IN HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT WHERE YOU ARE STANDING IN A POOL OF SHARKS WITH NO CLOTHES AND HAGGIS IS STANDING OUTSIDE THE POOL WITH A LONG POINTY STICK AND TWO GUNS.”

“What’s in the tarp?”

The tarp lurched. I saw something long and thick slide across the bottom.

Richeena said, “I WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS IN THERE AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TEN SECONDS TO CHOOSE YOUR FATE. THERE ARE EIGHTY-SEVEN GALLONS OF ALLIGATOR URINE, ONE HUNDRED POUNDS OF BOILED BACON, SOME BEETLES, THIRTY MOUTHFULS OF BABOON EAR WAX, TWO HIGHLY POISONOUS SEA SNAKES, EIGHTY UNDERWATER VAMPIRE BATS, TWO LIVE GRENADES DUCT-TAPED TO A MUTE GRIZZLY BEAR, SOME RAZOR BLADES, A TACK, ASSORTED SURGICAL WASTES, CHEESE, SAUSAGE, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS, LEECHES, SOME NIGHT CRAWLERS THAT WE THOUGHT WERE LEECHES, A SCORPION RIDING A FROG, NINETY-THREE POUNDS OF WORM CASTINGS, BARBARA WALTERS, CUMIN, EIGHTY BALLOONS FILLED WITH SKUNK JUICE, SOME HAIKU, URINAL CAKES, A VERY ANGRY CHICKEN, LIQUID MEAT, AND A DVD OF MONICA LEWINSKY AND TONYA HARDING FIGHTING IN A SECRET BATTLE ARENA IN YAKUTSK. YOUR TEN SECONDS STARTS NOW.”

I told them quickly that I’d go fight Haggis. I figured I’d escape somewhere along the way.

They untied me.

I jumped up and kicked Dick in the balls. He didn’t flinch. I kicked him again. No reaction.

I looked to Richeena, who grinned. I kicked Dick again.

“YOU HAD BETTER QUIT KICKING ME IN MY BALLSACK,” Dick told me.

“YES, DO NOT KICK DICK’S BALLSACK.”

“What the hell?” I kicked Dick again.

“DO NOT KICK MY BALLSACK AND WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT THE HELL.”

“Okay.”

“OKAY,” they said together. And they popped off their faces.

Yep. They reached up, grabbed their chins and eye-sockets and pulled their faces off.

There were not brains, blood and boogers inside their heads. There were chinchillas!

Two little chinchillas sat inside the faces of Dick and Richeena. Chinchillas with headsets, joysticks, foot-pedals, and microphones.

“I AM NOT REALLY DICK RICHARD AND THIS IS NOT RICHEENA DICKERSON,” said the chinchilla in Dick’s face. He spoke into a microphone and his voice came out from a speaker where Dick’s teeth would have been.

“YES, WE ARE CHINCHILLAS,” said the chinchilla in Richeena’s face.

“Wow,”I said, “I love chinchillas! My friend Mariette lives with a chinchilla.”

The two exchanged a weighted glance.

“YOU KNOW MARIETTE?” asked Richeena Chinchilla.

“WHAT IS THE MARIETTE YOU KNOW’S LAST NAME?” Dick Chinchilla asked into the mic.

“___________,” I said. (Mariette’s last name has been turned invisible to protect the identity of the chinchilla that lives with her, as that chinchilla is a secret agent in the Dominican Republic Secret Engagement Xyloforce.)

“You do know Mariette!” Richeena Chinchilla shouted in her regular chinchilla voice. She climbed out of her personmobile.

Soon Dick Chinchilla was on the ground slappin’ me low fives, and talking about how much he loves Mariette and his sister, the chinchilla who lives with Mariette.

So the chinchillas and I ditched the whole going to Crazy Devil Mad Pirate Rabid Weasel Ghost Ghoul Mad Mad Crazy Horror Island thing and went instead to the Secret Chinchilla Sweet Times All-You-Can-Eat Party Island for two weeks.

This is where the chinchillas told me of how my wickedly stupid cousin Haggis and his evil partner Mr. Sneaky took over — and renamed — the island of Happy Loving Chinchilla Love Land and are kidnapping chinchillas and performing horrible consumerism-zombification experiments on them. Haggis and Sneaky then extort favors from the chinchillas in exchange for flat-screen TVs and cell phones.

We plan on rounding up some yeti, the Libyan giraffes, my orangutan gang and that giant squid to get us there. Then we’re freeing the chinchillas and their renamed island. We go next weekend. Commandos and Navy dudes are welcome.


Kevin Shamel is in his thirties, married, has two kids, a dog and a cat, and lives in an old haunted house in the Pacific Northwest. He spends his days playing with the aforementioned critters, practicing joyful oddness, and writing. You will rarely find him speaking (or writing) about himself in third person because it’s a very odd practice, even for him. Visit his blog at Shameless Stuff for links to more of his stories and whatever else is going on.


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CYRIL MACK AND THE VERY COLD CUP OF TEA • by Kevin Shamel, 3.4 out of 5 based on 82 ratings
Posted on February 25, 2009 in Humour/Satire, Stories, Surreal
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  • http://users.beagle.com.au/peterl P.M.Lawrence

    Great (apart from the shouting).

  • http://sarah-crawl-space.blogspot.com/ Sarah Hilary

    Oh good lord, Kevin, you know how to wake a reader up! That was like six shots of caffeine, intraveneously. Brilliant. Twist after twist. Very funny. I envy your weird and wonderful imagination! Five stars from me for pure 24-carat gold impact.

  • http://joshuamreynolds.blogspot.com/2009/02/absent-hourly-doors.html Joshua Reynolds

    That was oddly satisfying. I always knew chinchillas were up to something…five stars.

  • Paul Freeman

    Brilliant first line, but gradually got too psychedelic and ‘Men in Balck III’ for me.

  • James Lecky

    Loved it! Had a great free-wheeling strangness about it, and maybe a wee touch of the G.K Chestertons.

  • http://teenangel.netfirms.com Jim Hartley

    SORRY! THE WHOLE THING STRUCK ME AS BEING KIND OF SILLY.

  • Gerard Demayne

    I thought that was woeful. Quit reading at roughly the halfway mark.

  • Gerard Demayne

    Oh. UNLESS it was some perverse homage to RSG. Then fair enough, but you should have waited until April 1st.

  • http://blogtiderising.wordpress.com Deven

    That was brilliant! So much imagery, so densely packed.

    Embrace the quirky weirdness, Kevin, embrace it!

    I don’t do this often… let alone post about it: 5 stars!

  • http://nowplayinginseattle.blogspot.com/ kcball

    Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. [sighing] You are off your meds again, aren’t you? ;)

    That was absolutely insane; you made me spew coffee again. I liked it.

  • Celeste

    I love Capp. Haggis MacMack. I want what you are having. Brilliant, Kevin!

  • http://www.afburns.com Alexander Burns

    hah! fun! Since KC missed the opportunity: Those chinchillas make this a real tail to amaze. *rimshot*

  • http://nowplayinginseattle.blogspot.com/ kcball

    Alex: I considered tossing out that pun, but just wasn’t sable. ;)

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Excellently written and forceful realistic story. The details well chosen and depicted with exactitude to bring the events alive. Just the sort of realism to disprove such easy “aestheticisms” as “and beauty” truth–That’s all we need to know.”

  • http://www.tommybsmith.com Tommy B. Smith

    Congratulations on pulling this one off.

  • Jen

    Absolutly brilliantly crazy random! I loved it!

  • http://rumjhumkbiswas.wordpress.com/ Rumjhum

    This story is a hoot! My kids would enjoy its insanity!

  • http://joeprentis.com Joe Prentis

    No!

  • gay

    Random weirdness totally rocks, Kev, and you are the undisputed king. It was like getting hit in the butt and falling back into the seat of a roller coaster ride that whooped and swirled through the South Seas volcano zone at full eruption time. Krakatoa on crack. Love it. LOVE IT.

  • http://www.myspace.com/stormthegatesuk M.Sherlock

    awesome dude!

  • http://www.MadelineMora-Summonte.com Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Weird and wacky. Oh, if only to visit your imagination, Kevin – notice I only want to visit, I don’t think I could handle it long term! :)

  • Sharon

    Audaciously wackadelic!

  • http://www.erinmkinch.com Erin

    That was so wacky and weird! I enjoyed reading it. The craziness made me laugh. Loved the chinchillas in people suits!

    The only bad thing — I was reading it while eating my lunch (inlcuding the description of what was in the tarp!). :-O

  • Robin

    It started off very well, but quickly got difficult to read (all the CAPS) and confusing and … a little weird. I found it hard to follow.

  • http://canyonsofgray.blogspot.com dj barber

    I think maybe you slipped sixth gear and fell out of warp speed into the Fungi of Uranus by accident, but that was funny as hell, Kev.

    –dj

  • Bob

    You had me at “I’d just returned from the Himalayas and was brewing tea.” But it wasn’t until “. . . LEECHES, SOME NIGHT CRAWLERS THAT WE THOUGHT WERE LEECHES, A SCORPION RIDING A FROG, NINETY-THREE POUNDS OF WORM CASTINGS, BARBARA WALTERS . . .” that I lost it.

    The whole thing was an inspired ride; the first time, ever, that I’ve regretted not being able to award more than 5 of those star-shaped thingies.

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    Thanks for reading everyone! Your comments crack me up. I’m so happy to have so many of you laughing–that’s what ridiculous humor is all about. That, and getting chinchillas out of their dicky people-suits and back to having fun.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    I have re-read the story, and am still impressed with it’s “slice of life” realistic detail. I do have another minor suggestion, though. The first line, upon first reading had me thinking, “Oh, no. One of those anemic high-toned 19th cent. things. Wouldn’t it be more forceful to use a dynamic set of lines like: “It was time to brew tea. I’d put the trip to the Himalayas behind me.” It seems more in keeping with the tough chiarascuro of the following developments.

  • Audrey

    Deliciously maniacal Kevin, I loved it.

  • http://grailseeker.wordpress.com/ Travis King

    ZOMG I LOVED IT! I was hooked at the first sentence. Then there was a sudden change-up and I thought OH NO HOW JUVENILE but it didn’t take long for me to see that YOU ARE REALLY DOUGLAS ADAMS AREN’T YOU HE DIDN’T DIE I KNEW IT. This is the first story I have given 5 stars to. And on top of that a FNORD!

    YOU BRING MUCH HONOR TO THE NORTHWEST. IT MUST BE ALL THE COFFEE AND THE RAIN. INCESSANT RAIN. AND THE SLUGS.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    Ahhhhhhh….. There you go, Travis, totally GETTING it. It’s funny, I went to pick up my kid from preschool after reading a bunch of these comments. It was raining. The sun was shining. I drove through a patch of hail about five feet in width. I thought about mentioning FNORDS in rebuttle to those who aren’t getting it, but then I figured… FNORD! You rock. Thank you!!!

  • Staci

    I’m sorry….but I couldn’t finish it, either. Not only are they shouting at me as I read but…the whole thing is just really weird. I guess if you’re going for weird, then good job. Otherwise, I didn’t like.

  • http://www.russheitz.com Russ Heitz

    Wild, is right! Wacky is right! Over the top? Yeah, I suppose so. But then so was What’s His Name? The guy who used to write all those Best Sellers about Psychodelic Koolaid Acid Stuff? Oh, I get it. That’s what you were on when you wrote this weird little piece. It’s all an advertisement aimed at Spacers.

  • Shelley

    This story was fantastic. The humor was top notch and reminded me of Dave Barry. (If you’re not a Dave Barry fan, sorry.) I love writers who aren’t afraid to be silly. Fiction is entirely to dang serious these days. Thank you!

  • http://www.hasmitachander.com Hasmita

    Oh gosh, what a teller of long tales you are, Kevin :D I have a feeling my daughter is going to grow up into a storyteller like you – she already makes up strange and strangely logical stories like this already and she’s not yet 5. I enjoyed the ridiculous, fantastical storytelling here :D Low-fives from me, too.

  • Gerard Demayne

    Travis/Kevin – have either of you actually read Douglas Adams? This was nothing like his writing and if you think it is then you’ve missed the point. Don’t get the Illuminati reference either, unless I’m the victim of some conspiracy and the other commenters are in on it. Hail Eris and all that but I prefer my storytelling to be coherent.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Gerard -
    I’m glad you finally got the point. Now there’s room for you too on this spire.
    RSG

  • http://zxvasdf.wordpress.com Sam Sanders

    I’m detecting a bit of Will S. Burroughs (mostly this) and RAW in this story. I hope there is a sequel to this madcap in the works, and if it is not necessarily to be released in EDF, that it will be open to the public somehow…

  • http://browsebuyrepeat.net net.net

    COULDN’T THINK OF AN ADEQUATELY APPROPRIATE COMMENT. JUST WANTED TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS. FIVE.

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    Thanks once again to everyone for reading and commenting. I’m happy to have affected you with my craziness. And Gerard, really, it’s not that big of a deal, and it’s only fiction. And it’s more along the lines of RAW than Adams, and yes, I’ve read all there is to read from him, and Shea, and Moore, and Robbins, and all the ridiculous people who write ridiculous stories that really mean something smart but you have to understand their smart meanings in order to make any sort of sense of their writing. It’s okay that you don’t get it, but it does make sense, there ARE meanings to it, and it’s coherent. I prefer my commenters to be as coherent, but what can I do about that? No one’s accepting or rejecting those…

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    And there’s more Cyril for Sam Sanders and everyone else interested. More in the works, and already the story Cyril Mack and the Beluga Dodecatuplets is being shopped around. It’s ridiculous, too. I keep a running list of stories on my blog.

  • http://thepygmygiant.wordpress.com Mel

    Am not surprised people have either loved this or been totally bemused/unimpressed, tis the nature of such things.
    I loved it, though :o) Thanks for making me giggle quite a lot at my desk.

  • Kate Thornton

    Great – I loved it – I want more!

  • Greg Likins

    Kevin– Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to your rousing story (dare I reference my delaying Himalayan journey?). What a wild ride! I lose interest in the bizarro stuff where it totally jumps the tracks and loses touch with reality, but your piece manages to keep just a fingerhold on the world I know, and you had me laughing out loud, but waiting for a disconnect that (fortunately!) never came. Barbara Walters – ha! This is a lot of fun, and lively, and a joy to read. Take care.

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    Thanks, everyone.

    Fingerhold. That’s awesome. That’s about what I have on reality all the time!

    More on the way.

  • Pilgrimage

    Barbara Walters. Yes, but you know, she wasn’t paid for the gig, she was doing it pro bono. Because that’s the kind of stand-up babe she is. I don’t ordinarily approve of mixed-species dating, because of the cultural problems inevitable experienced, when I want to use my regular dentist but yak-boy insists on the vet. But sometimes you have to embrace your inner crusader. That’s all I have to say. (aren’t you glad?)

  • QM

    The only story I’ve commented on (and I realise just how late I am) but AWESOME.

    YOU HAD ME DEAD AT BARBARA WALTERS.

    I always thought she was stuck somewhere in a bag with a mute grizzly.

    Douglas Adams is eating his hat somewhere with Roald Dahl.

    I commend you.

    five and three quarters, in memory of Police Squad.

  • http://shamelesscreations.blogspot.com/ Kevin Shamel

    Thank you, QM! I’m so happy you liked it. Happier still for your compliments.

    Thanks!

  • Amanda

    Wow
    This may be the most bizzare thing I have ever read.
    and yet somehow i liked it.

  • http://www.shamelesscreations.com Kevin Shamel

    Amanda, that is a terrific compliment! Thank you.

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