Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Demon Cloud

Martin was a simple man with a simple shopping list.  You could even argue that it was TOO simple, but we won't bother having that argument right now.  His shopping list contained only six items, and they were all basic household needs.  In case you're curious enough, I'll let you read them here:

White bread
2% Milk

honey baked ham
BBQ chips
paper towels

See?  Simple and boring.  He even wrote "simple and boring" at the top of the list but even he's not sure why he bothered to do that.  In short, the words "simple" and "boring" described Martin perfectly.  Which is what makes the events on the afternoon of October 3rd so damn interesting.

Martin stepped out of his home and locked the deadbolt door behind.  The grocery store was just a short walk away.  He plodded down the 3 cobblestone steps to his small front yard and strolled down the path to the street.  He passed the colorful stone swans decorating his front yard, making the small plot look even more cramped.  It was a pretty hideous sight honestly.  I mean the guy clearly had no taste and you could see it from all the way down the street.  Ugh.

He walked with his hands in his pockets and eyes fixated on the sidewalk.  It had been brutally hot for the past few weeks and the cool breeze that drifted through the trees was extremely calming.  The entire day was cast in shadow but didn't seem dark at all.  In a way everything seemed to glow in a faint orange tint that reminded the world fall was coming.  His eyes remained fixed on the ground.

Every step the breeze seems to grow more forceful, pushing back on him, almost telling him to go home.  If only he had looked up he would have seen why.  He pulled out his neatly folded shopping list from his back pocket, re-reading it a few times admiring his own handwriting.
"God I can't wait to chow down on some honey baked ham," he nearly shouted.  The words echoed off nearby houses and scuttled down alleys and driveways like an army of small but surprisingly hive minded crickets.

He unfolded his shopping list yet again to make sure he included the honey baked ham but before he could even BEGIN to read the first item he heard a booming thunderclap directly overhead.

He looked up at the sky and saw a gigantic glowing red cloud.  It was unreasonably bright and the hellish red light made the back of his eyes sting.
"Holy shit," he said, eyes transfixed on the morphing cloud.  A sweet old woman happened to walk by at the exact moment he yelled the word "shit" and the crass word severly offended her gentle sensibilities.  Once the vile language entered her ear, she gasped and began to wobble at the knees.  She nearly stumbled over into a rose bush.  Luckily she regained her balance, and just glared sternly at Martin, but honestly he didn't see because he was so focused on the cloud.  It was a pretty embarassing moment and he was just blissfully unaware.

He couldn't stop looking at the cloud.  It was enormous, and changed from orange to red like a pulsating heart.  What really shocked Martin's boring brain was how extremely tall it was.  He thought of it as a fluffy red Tower of Babel, reaching far into the atmosphere.

But it was not a tower.
'Twas a cloud.
A Demon Cloud.

There was no mistaking it, this was a demonic puff of sky.  It bellowed and moaned loudly like a dying elephant, and shook the entire earth below his feet with a delayed invisible impact.
He went "Woah!" and almost fell but he didn't so it was fine.  Like I said he was very uninteresting but he just happened to have the best view of this incredible phenomenon. 
"That is crazy!" he yelled in a pretty high pitched voice.  If you hadn't been looking at him you would've thought it was an 8th grader shouting, but nope it was a 32 year old man named Martin.  He sucks.  I fucking hate him.

The trembling soon stopped, and the autumn afternoon was once again still.  Martin gazed upward in utter disbelief.  His ears were still ringing from the unearthly noises that suddenly fell silent.

Then it began.

The bottom of the cloud opened up and hundreds of thousands of demons poured out like rain.  Demons of all shapes and sizes dropped from the sky with their pointed tails draped behind them.  Some fell with their red horns pointed downward while others threw steaming hot pitchforks down on the horrified townsfolk.  There was even one riding on an evil looking motorcycle and it actually was pretty cool.

The deafening thunder was replaced by a symphony of high pitched cackling.  Laughing Spectres, giggling Spooks, and chuckling Goblins were falling all over the county.  These demons were jubilant.  Every soul in the town began screaming like hogs before the slaughter.

Everyone except Martin.  He had an idea.

He quickly opened up his shopping list.  His eyes frantically searched the page for the desired words.  There were only six things on there but it still took him about 17 seconds to find what he was looking for.
"This has to work!" he said, pointing his finger directly in the middle of the page.  The movement was so quick and reckless that it ripped clean through the sheet of loose leaf paper.  There was no need to be so brutish with the paper, I mean what would that accomplish?  God.  Sorry everything he does irritates me.

The old woman behind him that we all forgot about until now asked "What is your plan young man?  How are you gonna stop all these red hot demons up in that sky up there?"
Martin jolted around in absolute shock.  He never even knew she was there in the first place, and was frankly far more frightened by this kind, sweet old woman than any of the screamin' demons raining from the Demon Cloud.
"Well," Martin coyly sighed, "I'm gonna feed those demons a harty meal of honey baked ham."
The woman's eyes blinked behind her thick horn rimmed glasses.
"Honey baked ha-" she tried to respond but Martin quickly screamed "YES!  Honeybaked ham!  I must run to the grocery store!"
He sped off down the street, disappearing in the red glow of the cloud.  The woman was once again knocked down but this time it was because Martin carelessly clobbered the old woman with his sweaty elbow, catapaulting her into a dried up thorny rose bush.  What a clumsy asshole.

Martin ran through town, faster than ever before.  He weaved in & out of alleyways, dashing accross sidewalks and leaping over cars.  He was focused on one goal: buying his groceries. 

He was nearing his destination, but just as the grocery store came into view, the demons began landing on the ground.  It was sheer calamity.  The goat-men began decapitating townspeople left & right.  Bodies exploded like balloons filled with freshly cooked spaghetti.

A demon landed directly in Martin's path.  It opened it's mighty jaws and laughed, preparing to consume his soul.  Martin didn't slow down, but instead ran faster and slid between the demon's gross legs like a baseball player.

"Safe!" The demon yelped. 

Martin ran through the automic doors of the grocery store.  He knew what he had to do.  The checkout girl screamed when he bolted directly for her, doing yet another baseball slide straight into the counter. 

"Get out!"  She demanded.
"No, it's 'you're out!' heh heh" Martin grinned in response.
"No, dickhead get out of here you're being even more obnoxious than Satan's Army outside."
"Oh," he whispered and slowly stood up.  He then slapped his credit card on the counter and calmly said, "I'll take 50 pounds of honey baked ham please, and make it snappy."

Fifteen minutes later Martin is standing outside the grocery store with a shopping cart overflowing with honey baked ham.  He stands confidently with a pink ham tucked under one arm.  His eyes are skyward, staring at the Demon Cloud.

He raises the ham over his head and shouts "Attention all ye demons!  Pray give me thine attention, for I am to oppose thee with mine hams of honey baked!"
Every demon stopped what it's doing and glares back at him.  No one knew what he meant.
"Uh," Martin stammers "I mean, ya'll better get back in that cloud or I'm gonna start throwing these hams at you!"
The demons gasp, and step back in fear.  A few demons even fly back toward the cloud, fearing the worst.

A tall, dark red demon steps forth and looks Martin square in the eye.  He blows out hot steam from his nostrils, and strokes his long, thin goatee. 
"You wouldn't," he chuckles.
"I'll do it man," Martin retorts.
Silence falls on the street.  No one knows what's going to happen next.
Martin reaches both hands in to his shopping cart and pulls out two sealed packages of honey baked ham lunch meat.  He throws both packages of meat directly at the demon and they second they touch his sulfur laden flesh, he vanishes in a puff of red smoke.

Everyone screams.  Every demon that fell from the sky hastily flies back toward the cloud.
Martin begins unloading his shopping cart, throwing ham after ham at every demon in range.  Dozens of Beelzebub's soldiers perish in a smokey puff of demon dust. 
Soon every demon flees back into the safety of the cloud or dies a honey baked death.

The cloud itself races for the horizon, never to be seen again.

Everyone on the street is completely silent.  No one can believe what they just witnessed.  They just saw a weird guy defeat hundreds of demons with honey baked ham.  A small boy emerges from the crowd and approaches Martin, who stands solitary outside the grocery store.  He's panting like a maniac and wiping sweat from his brow.  He is a hero in everyone's mind.

The boy tugs on Martin's tattered sleeve and quietly asks, "How did you know mister?  How could you have possibly known that the demons' weakness was honey baked ham?"
"Huh?" Martin asked, shaking his head trying to understand the question.

"Oh," he says regaining his composure, "Well I mean, honey baked ham is disgusting."

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