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The Monster Manual

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It was a fine early October morning in Arizona. A tour bus was purring on its way along the highway, heading for New Mexico. Inside the bus sat four men in various stages of inebriation, playing a board game and having a bit of a discussion.

"What sort of a flaming monkeybrain idiot," asked Greg Proops from the left side of the table, lighting up another joint, "goes to a cave without a spare torch? I am looking at you, Stiles."

"Goddammit, why me? It's Jeff's kid shit game. Were it up to me, we'd be still playing poker."

"Dungeons and Dragons," said Jeff Bryan Davis, "is a noble game, requiring improvisation skills. Kid shit it may be, but if you are a man enough, you shall not feel emasculated." He adjusted the tiara on his head. It sparkled under the overhead light. "Which is why I am not afraid to call myself Princess Papillion Piri Piri Silver Sunrise Nando Chicken."

Greg smirked. "Well, you are not the only one here to name yourself after a takeaway box, in a desperate search for inspiration. What a joy to work with the best improv wits in the country."

Both Jeff and Ryan shifted slightly in their chairs. "Hey, smartass," said Jeff, "you're the wizard. Don't you have a wand of fire, or something?"

"That I do," said Greg. "Whose go is it, Chip?"

"I prefer the appellation Master Esten," said Chip loftily, looking at his notes. "OK, Greg, you are lighting your wand. You now see that you are in yet another cave in a dungeon," Chip said, ignoring a growl of 'well quelle fucking surprise' from the left. "You see a treasure chest and a skeleton, hanging from the ceiling on chains. Three brutal thugs with wooden clubs are approaching briskly from the left."

"For god's sake, man, can't you think up something more original? Three thugs with clubs. Hrumpf. I thought this is supposed to be a mystical world, with dragons and shit."

"I am so sorry, Greg,“ said Chip sweetly, "I have misread that. It is four brutal thugs."


"Approaching briskly."

"You haven't misread that?"

"Nono, that one's fine."

Greg picked up the ten-sided dice, closed his eyes and kissed it. He rattled his cupped palms seven times for luck, and threw it with flourish.

It flew across the grid, knocked over a can of beer, fell on the floor and disappeared under the fridge.


"The famous smartass wizard strikes again," said Chip and fished the dice out with a slipper. "One. Your spell backfires from the thugs shield and turns the lower part of your body into stone. The thugs laugh heartily and poise themselves to attack."

"Allow me, my friend," said Ryan, cracking his fingers. "Us blood elves can handle a thug or four. I reach for my Elven Thinblade, wishing I did not have such a sissy weapon in the first place, and whistling on a merry note, STAB! the bastard in the throat. One down, three to go."

"Ryan, I am both touched and turned on," announced Greg.

"Call me Ryavioli." Ryan threw the dice. "Oookay. Eluding the enemy, I am hoisting you over my shoulder and we are both slipping away to safety."

„You have left me,“ said princess Papillion, disbelieving. „You have actually left me here to face the motherfuckers alone, you syphilitic sons of a discarded piece of organic refuse that crawled out of a diseased buffalo's ass.“

There was a bit of respectful silence.

"Situation is serious, my lady," said Chip. "Throw your dice."

Jeff tipped his tiara rakishly over one ear, took a deep gulp of Scotch and did so.

"Three!" said the Dungeon Master. "What a lucky coincidence." He cleared his throat and sat up straight, shuffling his papers. "Ehm! The darkness of the cave suddenly flares up with golden light, as a thirty feet tall unicorn gallops in, accompanied by a flock of purple hummingbirds! His hooves kick the thugs to the ground, rendering them dead in a few seconds. The hummingbirds pick you up with their beaks, lowering you on the top of the mighty beast, who leaves the dungeon through a secret passage, making you the official Victor of the Crawl!!"

All three men stared at him, speechless.

After a while, Ryan stirred. "…the FUCK?" he said. "Fucking hummingbirds? With their fucking beaks? And what about the fucking unicorn, does it wear a fucking tutu?"

"It's from the new edition of the Monster Manual," said Chip hastily and stood up, pulling princess Papillion with him. "Totally legitimate. It's time to go to bed, anyway. My lady, allow me to escort you. Gentlemen." They both bowed with exaggerated dignity and disappeared in the direction of the beds, Jeff's tiara still perched on his head. Greg and Ryan watched them go.

Greg tipped the last drops of his vodka down his throat and stretched, long and lazy. "So, how about us?"

"Mmm. Yeah." Ryan stood up and clasped his hand, helping him up to his feet. His other palm slid along Greg´s back, lingering just above the curve of his ass, and then cupped him, drawing him close.

"So," Ryan murmured into Greg's ear, feeling their bodies gently thrumming as they pressed together. "I hear something about a wand of fire."

"Hmmm. It might backfire though. Mmm. Turn your… lower part… oh... to stone…"

"…you mind...?"

"Hell no."

And after that, they whispered and bit and sighed so quietly, that only an elf or a wizard would be able to hear the actual words.

It suited them both just fine.



- the end -