I've Got a Receipt (II-III)

Or, Bizarre Bazaar

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.

Tonight’s tale...


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT
II-III: Bizarre Bazaar

The bustling bizarre bazaar beneath the mall - a collection of assorted booths, carnival games, eateries, and curiosities operated and enjoyed by EMPLOYEES, their FAMILY MEMBERS, and DARK FIGURES dressed in ceremonial hooded robes.

DARK FIGURE #1 attempts, fails, and rages at a game somewhat resembling a typical carnival bottle toss. Their friend, DARK FIGURE #2, watches. The game ATTENDANT doesn’t get paid enough for this.

DARK FIGURE #1: (crazed) This game is freakin’ rigged, man!

ATTENDANT: (panicked) Miss, I need you to let go of the Quantum Madness Ball!

DARK FIGURE #2:(to DARK FIGURE #1) Maybe we should go before someone writes us up.

DARK FIGURE #1:(heavy sigh) Fine… 

Dark Figure #1 returns the Quantum Madness Ball.

DARK FIGURE #1: I really wanted that Frankie the Insanity Flea doll…

Dark Figure #2 comforts Dark Figure #1 as they exit in disgrace.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Due to the convenient way the abyss defies both the laws of physics and story structure, Cassie and Bobert arrived at the docks of an island bobbing about there in the nothingness approximately twelve minutes before they originally departed.

Now. For Bobert, their impossibly early arrival meant there was plenty of time to give Cassie a full tour. Unfortunately for Cassie, this also meant there was time for a full tour.

Bobert and Cassie enter. Bobert leads while Cassie follows, a bit wobbly in the knees.

BOBERT: (gesturing) And this is the employee store, cafeteria, and midway!

CASSIE: How do you even navigate this place? I’m so turned around, I think I’m gonna be sick.

BOBERT: Oh, you don’t want to do that. There’s no telling what might come out.

They carry on from one booth to another.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) They navigated this unholy union of consumerism and madness given form, stopping to peruse the various cheap jewelry, impressively unimpressive paintings of local landscapes, and several sorts of fish-like nightmares.

Cassie turns to the posted sign written in blood.

CASSIE:(reads) “Chrono-finned Tuna”... What the Hell?

She takes a big whiff of the chrono-finned tuna.

CASSIE:(smiling) Hey! These things smell like peppermint!

Bobert curiously observes Cassie.

BOBERT: Uh...

CASSIE: What? What’s wrong?

Bobert dismisses this with a wave of his hand.

BOBERT: I’m sure you’ll probably be fine.

They venture onward.

A MAN hands out out pamphlets between whatever a “nightcare center” is and a churro cart.

MAN: You clocking out, Bobert?

BOBERT: Nah, I’m just giving the new girl a tour of the place on the way to get her a new badge.

Cassie waves “hello”, Man waves back.

CASSIE: Hi.

COWORKER: Hi, I’m (frightened screaming).

CASSIE: (considers this) That, uh… that short for something?

MAN: (offended) Wow.

CASSIE: What?

MAN: (ignores this) Anyway. Are you coming to the show in the screaming fields this Friday?

CASSIE: Show?

Man hands Cassie a pamphlet.

CASSIE:(reading) The Mangina Monologues…

MAN: It’s an all-male reimagining of--

CASSIE: Of the Vagina Monologues. Yeah. I got it. Cute.

BONG! The ominous clattering of a large ceremonial bell.

BOBERT: (squealing) Oh, my god!

CASSIE: (so done with all of this) What? What the Hell’s next? And what’s with all the floaty dudes in robes?

MAN: They’re headed towards the amphitheater.

BOBERT: (childish glee) It’s time for an offering!

CASSIE: Offering?

MAN: Yeah. We don’t get too many of these lately.

BOBERT: Come on, Newbie!

Bobert scuttles off to the amphitheater, and Cassie follows.

To be continued…

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The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021