A TALE NOT SO HOLLOW

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"Minako took one look at the Spiral Dominion trapped beneath the Suicide Kingdom. Smiling – she ran – across the hills and valleys to the Palace Of The Insane.

With laughter pure as silver – she danced among the graves under the tell tale moonlight. Curious shadows hung back and Death watched from afar with awe.

The symphony of the night played its tune. The spirit of the wind surrounded Minako's body – lifting her higher and higher.

Then she fell.

Minako woke up – self-realization forcing its way into her mind.

Screaming – she pounded on the lid of her wooden shell –"

"Not feeling it."

"But it goes with your image."

"Something I'm trying to change. I want my autobiography to be fun. You have two more shots – thrill me!"

IT DOESN'T PAY

"Mike Poole stood outside Mr. Killjoy's office – staring at the slip of paper the robotic receptionist had given him. Crushing the slip – he knocked twice.

Slowly the door opened – revealing a brightly lit room. Mike stepped inside. Killjoy looked up from his papers – eyes hidden behind triangle shaped dark glasses.

Mike shuffled over to the chair in front of Killjoy's desk and sat down.

"I don't believe in questions Mr. Poole," Killjoy said, standing up and coming round. "Action is all that counts."

"I don't follow."

Killjoy pulled out a gun from his pocket. "I want you to kill me."

"Kill you?" Mike leaned back in disgust. "That's insane."

"Final chance – kill me or I kill you," Killjoy said, taking the safety off.

"Go right ahead. After the shitty year I've had – you would be doing me a favor."

"Congratulations Mr. Poole – you have the job," Killjoy said, placing the gun back in his pocket.

"I do?" Confusion took over.

"Our process is simple – your refusal to kill showed me your true character. The job is yours if you want it."

"Exactly – what is the job?"

Killjoy smiled.

Next Day –

"Monkey Dick Fun Pills – the only treat to make your bulging manhood look sweet!" Mike shouted – while dancing around in his little monkey's outfit.

Several people walked by – ignoring the spectacle.

Mike stopped dancing and checked his reflection in a nearby shop window.

He swallowed hard – shaking his head.

"Everybody's right," Mike uttered to himself. "Shit like this doesn't pay!"

"Too human. I want something whimsical."

"How whimsical – 'childlike glee' or 'teenage girl falling in love for the first time'?"

"Surprise me."

FREEDOM FOR ALL

"Freedom is what we wanted. Freedom to run into the world and experience this magical thing called life.

Escape plan – jump off the slave ship and break for cover under the bridge.

All systems go.

I leapt into the air – thinking I could fly. Instead I fell straight into the hands of the enemy.

Drowning.

White powder all over.

Blue liquid burning my eyes.

Tossed over and over – metallic banging adding an additional level of chaos to the pain.

Followed by the driest wave my kind has ever felt.

How long it lasted – I have no idea.

With my body slowly turning extra crispy – I realized the great legion of socks had come to an end and we stank no more."

"I ask for something whimsical and the best you can do is give me a story about socks – absolutely pathetic," Lucifer said, demonic hand hovering above the 'Ultimate Burn' button. "Three strikes – you're out."

Joining the League Of The Extremely Toasted – Rotdagg's body slumped forward – slowly turning to dust.

"With all due respect – my Lord – you shouldn't have done that."

"Why not?"

"Rotdagg was the last member of your official ghost-writing team."

"Big deal – there are hundreds of demons who would kill to take his place."

"True but many of them can't write for shit."

"What about the Top Ten Human Hit List?"

"Seven candidates but only two who have Best Seller status attached to their names – Stephen King and J.K. Rowling."

"King is overrated. As for the woman – her name is familiar."

"She wrote the books about the boy wizard."

"That dork!" Lucifer smirked. "Pass."

"Would you like me to post an ad online?"

"Last resort. Check the Total Hack List first."

"There's only one guy – Safdar Muttaqi."

"The name sounds promising," Lucifer said, stroking his goatee. "Send him in."

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