27 November, 2005

Ackmena's Golden Pub

It's been rough around here lately. Like, seriously.
See, we got the flat remodelled, and it was a fully functioning bachelor pad. A swingin' one at that. Problem with that is that me and JJ, well. As for bachelors, we aren't, like, Don Juan De La Nooch, that's for sure.
But, JJ, man... He's married now. Like, tied the knot. Hitched the nearest post he could find. Bought a hundred thousand credit ball and chain.
And didn't even invite me to the wedding.
To say that I was a bit miffed was not an understatement, because I'm usually really mellow about everything. I think I was slightly hurt, but it was a serious slightly.
When I brought it up, he, like, went on a tirade. Called her 'Mrs Black N'Decker,' whatever, like, that means... But he was being really heavy. Like, King of the Bringdown people. Lord von Bad Time. Emperor Palpameanie (where did that one come from?).
As an empath, I could sense Rhonda's sadness. That, and the big goobery tears that Ithorians cry. She ran to JJ's room and fell on his bed, sobbing. I did my best to calm her down, but being ethereal and all, the shoulder patting (do Ithorians even have shoulders?) didn't work.
"Why does he hate me so much?" she sobbed.
Look, I've woken up in some strange situations in my day. I know how it feels to not remember making the mistake, but have it blinking up at you, all saucily the next morning, with the taste of cheap death sticks and sick in your mouth and your Jedi Robe hanging out the window.
Thing is, Jedi are negotiators. We know how to get out of spots like that. That and there is this really stellar clause in the Jedi Code that makes all pre-nups null and void on Knights and Masters. But then there is that counter clause that says that Jedi aren't supposed to get well pissed and marry the nearest female.
So, right, once Rhonda was done with her blubber-fest, and, that's, like, not me being insensitive, man. Seriously. She has two mouths. Bawling coming from both. Stereo crying.
Well, she said she needed a drink. Now, there are plenty of pubs and bars around Coruscant. There is even a nice one right outside of the Temple. And O'Shenanigans down the way from our flat.
"Nothing like that!" she said, suddenly, all, like, not weepy. "I'll take you to my special little place!" She drug my poncho, thus me, into her wedding present, parked in the docking bay of our flat. An '06 Mercedes Talz luxury speeder, fully equipped with leather interior, a 400 audio-disc changer, toe-warmers, tea-maker, 1.21 Gigawatt Flux Capacitor, cup-holders, gun-holsters, towel-rack, in-dash GPS thermal detonation system, the CLUB (R), the RACK (TM), Easy-Bake Oven (TM), a cooler, a freezer, an ice-box, wind-screen wipers, wind-screen wiper wipers, track lighting, Sno-Cone maker, deep fryer, candy corn compartments, Stow-And-Go seating, Smash-And-Go roadkill removal device, Kill-And-Gob roadkill cooking device, a broiler, gun sentries that drop from the ceiling if the speeder is stolen, a change machine, and platinum spinner bling rims.
It was the most gaudy and redonkulous vehicle that I'd, like, ever seen. "Wow..."
"Yeah," she said, in stereo. "Ain't it a beaut! My little Scrummy-lumpin got it for me. It was a steal at 2 million credits!"
There was a scream from down stairs. And some stuff breaking. And some sobbing and cursing. I guess JJ found the receipt.
I sighed. I hoped he'd be okay and would have, like, gone to make sure that he wasn't in the process of drinking all of the Ajax in the place mixed with some of that hydrochloric acid that we keep in case of emergencies, but she'd already started. We were already half way to, uh...
"Where are we going?"
We were past light-speed. Moving onto ludicrous speed. I closed my eyes. It was even blurrier than the Ether.
"To my special little place! Weren't you listening?"
I knew that tone. I played it cool and kept quiet. That, and if I'd have opened my mouth, I'd have melfed brownie in her posh new interior. Too bloody fast for someone who lives their days at the speed of brownie influenced thought.
We skid to a halt and after I found my bearings and fell out of the door, she scooped up a handful of poncho and drug me inside.
It was a grungy little place, filled with all female patrons of any species that you could imagine. They all sat at high tables, sipping on glowing drinks.
"Ackmena!" Rhonda brought me to the front of the bar.
"Rhonda!" came a deep voice. The person behind the counter had long grey white hair, with thick dark eyebrows, and wore a tasteful tunic. With my Force sense, I knew the person before me was a woman, but she was so very masculine, man.
Rhonda introduced me. "This is Qui-Gon, Ack. He's a Jedi ghost."
The woman stared at my poncho, with disbelief. She shrugged her broad shoulders. "I'll take your word for it."
Rhonda turned to me. "Qui, this is Ackmena. She runs the bar here."
I waved. She ignored me. "What will you have, dear?" she said, looking through me.
Rhonda giggled. "I'll have a Purple Nerfle... Give Qui a hot cocoa."
I love hot cocoa! "I love hot cocoa!" I said. It's like an unspiced brownie in drinkable form. With those little marshmallows all mixed in.
Ackmena shook her head and called out our order.
"Hey, Rhonda," I said, pulling out a Jinn and JJ brownie. "Give this to Ms Non-Believer. She'll see me in no time, man."
Ackmena watched Rhonda and blinked. "Where did you get that brownie?"
"Magic. It's for you."
The older woman copped the brownie goodness and it was gone in a flash of dentures. Within moments, she was looking buzzed. "I see dead hippies." The giggles came then. "Rho'Tsu! Bring me some funyuns! And some Snapple!"
I knew what that meant. "Munchies, man."
From the swinging saloon kitchen doors, another older looking woman exited. She carried a tray with drinks and assorted munchies on it and had big white poofy hair. The, like, closer she got to the table, the bigger her eyes got. "You're a ghost!" She handed us our drinks.
I drank mine straight away. The cocoa was good. Very good. Better than the Brew of Dooku. Better than Dagobah cocoa, with the, like, mud and sticks at the bottom. And, like, infinitely better than Obi-Wan's infamous Skittle-Brau. "This is, like, really stellar, man."
"Oh yes," the waitress said, "It's an old recipe from St. Olaf. We used to make it every frosty winter. I've got a plate of Weiderhugen Crispies too. It's a traditional snack dating back to Viking times... Back in St. Olaf, we'd..."
She was interrupted by Ackmena. "Rho'tsu! Don't scare off the customers! "
A small woman piped up from the back corner. "No, pussycat, that's your job."
Then, like, the weirdest thing happened. Laughing came from out of nowhere.
Rhonda turned to me. "That's something about this place too, Qui. There is a laugh-track."
"Sounds expensive." I'd been to places like that... I think, like, Bob Saget had to pay millions to keep his laugh-track running at Full House Land on Skaari Minor. He'd gone mad... And that tinny recording was the only laughs he got.
The little woman in the corner replied, "With jokes like these, it costs a fortune." She looked up at me. She was, like, really small, and like, she was the epitome of a little old lady, man. In her dressing gown with a light robe over it, with curly white hair, she wore spectacles and fluffy slippers. "You're new around here. What brings you to Dorothy's Karaoke Bar?"
"Ma!" Ackmena yelled, "It's Ackmena!" She looked at me and Rhonda. "You'll have to excuse my mother. She suffered a slight stroke a few years ago which rendered her totally annoying."
There went that laugh track again.
"Picture it," the smaller woman began, waving her hand, "Gungan City, 20 aught 6 tango 2. A young beautiful woman delivered a baby with the biggest ears and feet in the whole village..."
Ackmena looked relieved as another woman entered, like, thus interrupting her mother's story. She was about the same height as the waitress, but with reddish hair, and like, a very pretty face.
She greeted the others. "Hello Rho'tsu. Hello Sof'ia. Hello Do... Ackmena."
The returned the greeting. "Hello Blanjhe." She started sauntering toward the kitchen. She stopped when she, like, caught gaze of the dead hippie, who is, like, me. She was over to our table, sitting, her head propped up on her elbows, gazing at me, in a flash. "Hello there."
Rhonda rolled her eyes. "Blanjhe, this is Qui-Gon."
She nodded. "Qui-Gon."
I was fairly nervous. "Huh, yeah."
"He's a ghost."
She nodded again, looking in my eyes. "Interesting."
"He's a Jedi."
Another nod. "Bet he has a big lightsabre."
Laugh-track. Bleh.
"He's a hippie."
She started nodding, but stopped suddenly. Like, her face bunched up in a look of disgust. "A hippie? Ain't no way I'm gettin' with another hippie!" She stood. "The last one was trying to get me to join his commune and 'show me the beauty of Mother Nature' in the back of his Fahrfegneugen Bus!" Laugh-track. She stormed off and went like behind the counter.
Ackmena handed her an apron. "You know what time it is."
Rhonda clapped her hands. "Spontaneous song time!"
She wasn't lying. Suddenly, there was this sappy sitcom theme music piping through the place. Worst thing was, I knew the song. It was weird, because, like, I had no control over myself, and I started singing along with everyone else.
Thank you for being a friend.
Travel down the road and back again,
Your heart is true.
You're a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party,
Inviting everyone you knew,
You would see
The biggest gift would be from me,
And the card attached would say
Thank you for being a friend.

This whole experience was traumatising. See, like, not only did the little women, and Ackmena sing, but so did all of the other species in there. Snivvians, Wookies, Chagrinians, those Yak-Faced things... All singing, or barking, or bleating, or snorting, or belching that song. Everyone singing.
After the, like rousing choral number, the little woman spoke up. "Rho'Tsu, get me a stronger drink. I just glanced at that picture of Dorothy's ex hanging on the wall and I want to burn my retinas."
As a hippie Jedi, I'm not allowed to hate anything. So, right, I seriously disliked that bloody laugh-track, man. I wanted to find it and hack into little bits with my big lightsabre.
Rhonda started to talk about JJ. "You would not believe it, Ack," Rhonda flashed that big gaudy rock. "I'm married."
The women looked shocked. Sof'ia shook her head. "The woman who could double as hardware gets hitched and I can't even find one old coot to swap dentures with."
"He's a Jawa," Rhonda explained.
The old woman blinked. "He's yours... I don't want to date anyone shorter than I am."
"So," Blanjhe asked, "What's under his robe?"
This conversation was creeping me out. "Uh."
"Well, let's just say that JJ's shortness is made up in some other big ways."
Laugh-track. Bloody buggery laugh-track.
I wondered if Tahl went to places like this when we were married, as I was trying to keep my mind off the current convo topic.
"...think Polish sausage..."
Meditate! I'd needed something desperate to run screaming from the horrid things that were trying to form in my imagination. I exhaled and began to settle into my trance.
"...studly Jawa stamina..."
Mantra! Peace! Uh, the Code of Jedi stamina... No! The Ethical Under the Robe Sausage of Serenity... Oh WOW... NO... All I could see is a giant hot dog wearing JJ's robe. Dancing. Singing that Banana Phone song.
"Uh..." I interrupted Rhonda. "I need to go. Now. Jedi... things... Lightsabre handling... Man things... BUT, uh! No, I need to watch wrestling and, uh, drink beer. Eat, like, Brownies..."
"Brownies, huh?" Sof'ia asked. "I bet I eat the same kind of brownies for my glaucoma."
I laughed like a goon with the laugh-track. I was freaking out. I needed brownies. I needed Scooby Doo. I needed out of there.
Rhonda got the hint. "I think me and Qui need to get back. My Schmoopie should be rested up now. He's so grumpy when he hasn't had enough sleep and booze."
They all hugged Rhonda and gave those, like, womany good luck comments. I waved and was out the door and strapped into the speeder but quick.
It too Rhonda a minute, but she got in and started off as soon as she turned the platinum key. "What did you think, Qui?"
"I think I need some male bonding. At least there we hardly ever break into song."

08 November, 2005

Second Bananas

"A journey through the Ether." Qui-Gon Jinn knew that he needed to help the spirit of the side-kick before him.
JawaJuice cocked his head to the side, his large bright eyes inquisitive. "Can I come too?"
The ghostly master's shoulder slumped. He gave a fleeting half-smile. "You gotta be dead to get a passport to travel out there, man."
The Jawa's face creased in a frown.
"Hey, you can, like, listen to my vintage vinyl while I'm gone," Qui-Gon suggested, "But no pawning the rare stuff on eBay, man. Or any other pawn shop, for that matter."
JJ nodded. "No pawning. Check." He fiddled with a frayed edge of his sleeve. "Want some brownies for the trip?"
"I want a banana daiquiri!" JoJo said, bouncing on his heels.
Qui-Gon and JJ shot JoJo a glance and returned their focus back to the task at hand.
"I could use some brownies. Something to keep me going," the Jedi said.
JJ rifled through his utility pouches, procuring a packet of brownies. A Journey Pak of Uncle Jinn and JJ's Home-Made Super-Fudgy Special-Spiced brownies. "Good luck, Qui." He handed the packet out toward the ghost.
"Brownies!" JoJo exclaimed.
Qui-Gon shook his head, taking the packet. "What a long strange trip this is going to be."

They had been travelling for 12 hours, non-stop. As both were in spirit form, neither had to walk, but keeping a constant pace while floating, drained Qui-Gon’s energy. He had devoured his Journey Pak of Uncle Jinn and JJ’s brownies in less than an hour, and their soothing effects had long since worn off.
The Ether itself was an environs of peace. It was all colour, meshing, swirling, flowing like water. However, it was in constant motion. The hard lines that formed craggy peaks one moment shattered into fragments of light and bled into the ebb of the skies and rivers. They had ventured through the 'Vast Swirly Expanse,' 'Wow, This Place Looks Just Like The Nothing From That One Flick,' and 'Man, This Place Is Yellowy' plains.
His companion, JoJo the Monkey Boy, was full of bouncing and vibrant energy. Throughout the entire trip he playfully sung the Banana Phone song, as well as a round of Numa Numa.
"...bee doo bee doo..."
His nerves were frazzled and the lack of progress had left Qui-Gon agitated. "Stop."
"Banana phone!"
"I said stop it," the elder snapped.
JoJo's bottom lip jutted out, comically. "What's wrong, bwauth?"
Qui-Gon slid his eyes closed. He inhaled deep and breathlessly. The Force hummed through him, calming the gaps between his tense nerves. "Where are we going again?"
The Monkey Boy plucked a colourful sheet of paper from his back pocket. He took great care in unfolding it and opening to the centre section. He smoothed out each crease with painstaking effort. He licked at his translucent fingers pressing them gently along a pesky fold at the top right part of the paper.
With enhanced Jedi speed, Qui-Gon yanked the sheet from JoJo's grasp. The Monkey Boy continued to rub at the air with an outstretched thumb.
"What is this?" Qui-Gon flipped the paper over, glancing at the type. "Second Banana Heaven."
JoJo shook his head briskly, making an obnoxious noise while doing so. "That's right," he said. "That's the brochure."
The master read over the paper. "Looks like the ideal place for you, man. Banana trees, Cable holo-vid with 12 pay-per-view channels. Free heat and trash removal. And, like, all the government cheese you can eat."
"Bananas plus cheese equals yum!"
Qui-Gon's eyes went wide. On the bottom of the back part of the brochure was the map that JoJo had said he had lost. "What is that?!"
The Monkey Boy grinned, sheepishly. "Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha! That pesky map. That's where it got to. I looked all over."
"So you're telling me that I've been forced to endure the Banana Phone song for, like, 12 hours, non-bloody-stop, to find out that you had the map the whole time?"
JoJo nodded, smiling hugely.
The elder blinked, his jaw open. "Why?"
For the first time through the trip, JoJo looked serious. "Because I was lonely being dead. I don't gots my buddy Jon around anymore. It's just me and my Banana Phone."
Qui-Gon looked sympathetic, his ethereal blue eyes shining. "I know how it is, man. I'm just lucky I've got JJ, Fluke and, like, Master Yoda." He felt his waning motivation renewed. "Let's see what the map says."
"Does it say... Banana Phone?"
JoJo's enthusiasm was not reciprocated. Qui-Gon sighed. "Don't you know any other songs?"
He began a new tune. "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts!"
Qui-Gon fell in with the beat. "They're lovely." The two marched in time with the song.
"There they are all standing in a row."
"One, two, three, four."
"Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head."
The elder chimed in with a smile, placing a hand on JoJo's shoulder, "And bigger!"
"Give them a twist, a flick of the wrist.
"That's what the showman said!"
"I've got a lovely..." JoJo skid to a halt, pointing a stuffed mitt out to the distance. "What in the peel is that?!"
Before the two stood Second Banana Heaven, as told by the large neon yellow and green sign. This was one of the permanent locations found in the Ether. These places were not subject to the ebb and flow of the world around them. It was a glorious looking group of buildings, all with balconies and sliding glass-doors. There was a large crystal blue swimming pool.
The two darted over to the entrance where there were two barred doors made of shimmering pearl.
Qui-Gon gave an absent laugh. "Huh huh, I never thought there would really be, like, pearly gates, man. That's, like, really cool. They're pearl. Huh huh."
A gorgeous young woman walked toward the two from behind the gate. She wore a billowy green sports-bra and a billowy-brown wrap-around skirt, showing off her muscular abs and legs. Her hair was straight and past her shoulders, coloured a strawberry blond. She carried a staff, bound with leather straps, and wore a leather pouch at her side. She gave the two a warm, friendly smile. "Hey guys, what can I do for you?"
Both Jedi and Monkey Boy stared for a moment.
"Uh, guys?" the young woman asked at the drooling pair.
Qui-Gon snapped back into reality. "Oh wow, like, yeah," he said, in his disoriented idiom. "JoJo is, like, supposed to be here."
JoJo gave a rapid nod.
"JoJo, huh?" She pulled an ancient looking scroll from her bag. Unfolding it, she read, "Arthur, Babalooey, Barf, Barney Rubble, Booboo, Bucky, Donald Duck, yours truly," she pointed to herself, with a smile, "Gabrielle, Dick Grayson, JoJo, Jughead, Kato, Janine Melnitz, Muttley, Odie, Pinky, Miles Prower, Sancho Panza, Scrappy Doo, Tonto, TV's Frank, and Dr. Watson. That's all of us."
JoJo clapped his stuffed hands together. "JoJo! That's me!"
Gabrielle smiled and pressed a button beside the right gate. With a clicking and squeal of metal, the doors opened from the inside out. She held up a hand. "Hold on, JoJo. Who is this that you are with?"
"My new bestest friend in the galaxy! This is Qui-Gon Jinn! He's a top banana, for sure!"
Qui-Gon smiled and held out his hand in a gesture to shake. "Nice to, like, meet you."
"Likewise." Gabrielle firmly shook Qui-Gon's hand. "The Qui-Gon Jinn?" She looked awe-struck. "You're a legend in these parts!"
The three went to a large white brick building, marked Visitor's Centre. The decor was precisely what one expected in a visitors centre, stiff-backed chairs along the walls. There were framed maps and holo-pics of the grounds. A woman with bobbed red-hair and thick black rimmed glasses sat at a desk, snapping her gum and filing her nails. A holo-vid was playing what looked to be a trashy soap-opera.
"Hey, Janine," Gabrielle called. "We've got a new acquisition. Can you pull up the papers on JoJo?" She gently patted JoJo on the back.
"Typical. I get into my stories, and someone shows up." The receptionist clicked a button on a remote, turning off the show. "Come on over here."
JoJo went over to the desk, while Gabrielle pulled Qui-Gon aside. "It's gonna be a while. He's got about 500 forms to fill out, in triplicate. So," she said, looking closely at the big man's face. "What brings you here to Second Banana Heaven? You should be living it up in the Hero's Palace on the east side."
Qui-Gon shook his head. "I've never been one to settle down."
Gabrielle started for the door. "Let's take a walk."
The Jedi held the door open with a bow.
Gabrielle took the master outside, where they sat in a wrought iron bench that over-looked a small pond. "So you never told me, why are you here?"
"I wanted to help JoJo, like, find his way. He was lost."
A look of seriousness crossed the young woman's face.. "You're a Jedi. I know about you. And how you died."
Qui-Gon looked perplexed, his head cocked slightly to the side. "Like, how?"
The young one smiled. "I've been here a while. I started watching your exploits back when they started airing them in season one."
The master's confusion grew. "Season one?"
"That's right. See, they ran the seasons out of order. They started with four through six and then went back and ran seasons one through three."
"Seasons of what?"
It was the young one's turn to look confused. "You don't watch holo-vid out here, do you?"
Qui-Gon shook his head. Suddenly something clicked in his mind. "I know who you are. Gabrielle." His brow creased as he rubbed his beard, thinking. "The Amazon Princess. With that, like, Xena chick."
Gabrielle flashed a beautiful smile. "That's right. Me and Xena." She heaved a sigh. "Travelled all over the land, saving lives and righting wrongs."
"And bathing together."
The young woman laughed and ran a nervous hand through her hair. "It seems no-one can forget that. Our exploits were chronicled on holo-vid."
Qui-Gon gave a wry smile. "That I know. I, like, watched, like, all the time."
Gabrielle blushed. "So then you know how I met my end."
"Uh," the elder stammered, "Well, about that…" He tugged at the end of his robe. "I stopped watching at about the fourth season. I got, um, busy with, like, these big, um, Jedi things…"
She put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him mid-ramble. "It's okay. Not many people kept watching. But, do you see? Look around." She waved a hand out to those around them. Barney Rubble was sitting on a bench having what looked to be a very large steak burger. Dr. Watson was walking Muttley, with the comical dog leashed, lifting his leg on a fire hydrant and snickering. Miles 'Tails' Prower was leaping from building to building, collecting what looked to be shining golden rings with an audible 'ching' noise. Scrappy Doo shouted a mighty "Puppy Power!" before taking a flying dive into the pool. James 'Bucky' Barnes and Dick 'Robin' Grayson sat at a table under a large shade umbrella, discussing their prior adventures.
Qui-Gon knew nearly everyone of these people. Their lives had been chronicled in one way or another, either by data comics, holo-vids, novelisations, or holo-games. "I think I'm getting this," he said, "All of you are famous sidekicks, right?"
Gabrielle nodded. "In one way or another."
"But you know about me, right?"
"That's right," she said. "I know about you, and Survivor. JJ and the brownies. Yoda. Anakin. Obi-Wan. There is one thing about being in the ether, though. We get to see things before they happen."
Qui-Gon's blue eyes went wide. "The future?"
She nodded. "That's right. Sneak previews. Okay, you guys are currently in Season 2-ish. I've got three through six back at my place, if you want to see."
Moments later, the two were watching hastily loaded holo-vids.
The pain. Sadness. Anguish. Over-acting. The future played out before the master, each scene a look into all that could not be stopped. Hot tears slipped down his cheeks as he observed what was to come. Nothing that he saw he could deny. It was so very real. Gabrielle laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.
After the first vid ended, he stood. "I've got to go. Like, this is awful. I've got to warn them." He wrapped his robe around himself tightly, as if he were chilled.
Gabrielle retrieved the disc. "You can't," she said, sadness infusing her tone. "You can't. If you leave, you'll forget everything you've seen."
He bounded for the door. "I have to try."
Flying for the exit, Qui-Gon knew Gabrielle was close behind. He turned. "Thank you. Please, like, watch JoJo for me. And," he said, a ghost of a smile touching his features, "I hope you like bananas."
Gabrielle embraced the big man briefly. "Good luck. I hope you can get to them."
The gates were closed.
"Push the button, Frank!" Gabrielle called. The gate keeper, TV's Frank, did just that.
As the gates creaked open, the master burst through.

His return journey was far faster, taking several hours. The Ether was a blur of whirling colours as he rushed through.
Finally, he came to the doorway in which he came. Pushing through, he was in the flat again. The dull hum of idle speakers filled the area.
Qui-Gon found JawaJuice asleep in a recliner in his recording studio. The small Jawa snored lightly, his chest rising and falling with each breath. His bare feet were kicked out.
"JJ, man," Qui-Gon said. There was a lump that remained in his incorporeal throat. The visions were so vivid. He could hardly blink, as when his eyes closed, painful images leapt forward. "JJ. Come on, man, I gotta talk to you."
The Jawa yawned and rolled over to his side in the chair.
"Get up, man. Please."
JJ turned around, looking the spectre in the face. "That has better be good. Yoda isn't the only one who dreams of big busted women, you know."
Qui-Gon opened his mouth. "Banana phone." That wasn't what he had meant to say. The thoughts had left his mind. Everything he had seen was gone, only strong emotions remained. He began to sob, dropping to his knees. "Banana phone."
The Jawa looked perplexed as he stood from the chair. "I know, man." He patted the ghost's back. "Banana phone is the worst song in the history of history. It makes me want to cry too."
"But, I... Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring... Banana phone."
The dire feeling that something important was to be said remained with Qui-Gon, but all he could think of was that horrid song.
JJ gave the master a concerned look. "I think you need some brownies. Big time." He held out a small Jawa hand, which Qui-Gon took, and helped the ghost to rise.
The two went into their kitchen, but were stopped at the swinging door entrance by a voice. "Thanks a lot, bwauth! It's great here! Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! There are trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who twiddle their thumbs and toes and I think I hear the banana phone!"
The crushing emotion had dulled for the ghost. "You're welcome, JoJo... Now, JJ, brownie, me, man."

03 November, 2005

Can Lost Souls Ask For Directions?

There was a ghost in my flat.
Yes, yes, I know. I'm, like, a ghost, yes. But, like, wasn't me, man.
It was Jo Jo the Monkey Boy. And it seemed that, not only has he, like, bit the big one, but he's also learned a new song.
I had brought JJ up to my meditation room to, like, check it out. See, I've seen ghosts before, man. But this was different. This wasn't Darth Maul regaling me of his work experiences. Or Yarael Poof and his bongos. This was a Monkey Boy. Jo Jo the Monkey Boy to be exact.
JJ looked at me and I looked at JJ and, like, we both shrugged.
We asked Jo Jo why he was here.
"Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" He wiped a tear from his ethereal eye. "It's very sad, bwauth. You see, I'm dead." Again, like, he gave that kind-of maniacal but kind-of really just annoying laugh.
"That's not, like, sad. It's not all bad being dead." Like, I should know, you know?
"No. No no no no no no no. See, I'm not supposed to be here, bwauth. I'm supposed to be somewhere else."
"Ya' think?" JJ sucked on his cigar. I've, like, tried to get him to quit smoking, but it really is, like, vital for his stereotypical character.
"Ya' got any bananas?" Then came the most annoying song in the history of songs, and I really mean this. There has never been a song more evil, more vile, man. "Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, BANANA PHONE!"
JJ had, like, obviously never heard it before. "What?"
"Jo Jo! Jo Jo! Noooo!" But it was, like, too late. It had taken me six years to purge that little ditty from my mind with meditation and spicy brownie residue clogging the thought processes.
"Hoo hoo ha ha! Isn't that the best song ever? I learned it while waiting in the queue at the DMV."
JJ looked confused. "I didn't know you had your drivers license."
"Nope. No no. It's the Dead Monkey Vortex. It's where we Monkey Boy Sidekicks go when get get disintegrated. Hoo hoo ha ha!"
This had to have been going somewhere. So I asked, "So, like, is this going somewhere?"
"I need your ghostly expertise," Jo Jo said. "You have seen the Shaman of the Whills, right? Ha ha?"
Look, I never told anybody about that. Ever. It's how I got here. Like, here with JJ and Yoda and Jon and everybody. It was really heavy, man. "Yeah. How do you, like, know about that?"
"Look, Mr. Qui-Ghosty, when I died I went through the Study At Home Correspondence course on Mastering the After-Life. And flower arranging, which is very useful in day-to-day situations. Creating decorative centre-pieces that motivate the hero in your life to save the galaxy. I used a lot of bananas. Hoo ha!"
"Jo Jo, this is about the Shaman, not about bananas." I wanted him to get to the point. "So, like, get to the point."
"Weeeeeell, see, you're famous in the Ether, old Jinny Jinn Jinn. You are the first person to even see the Shaman. But it is said in the books of something that sounded really old and important but I forgot, that you will go on to find us dead folks real forms and stuff like that."
I thought about that for a moment. A real form. Not my fusing the Spores or using the Fur, but something that everyone could see.
JJ was less than patient. "But that doesn't tell us why you are here, Jo Jo." He stubbed out his dwindling cigar into one of those little pouches on his utility sash.
"Oh! It's very tragic!" Jo Jo nodded his head. "Very tragic indeed, bwauth. I'm a lost soul."
I suddenly felt very sympathetic toward Jo Jo, even though Banana Phone was bouncing around in, like, my dome, man. Even JJ looked on the Monkey Boy ghost with those big Jawa eyes of sympathy. "Wow," I said, "A lost soul. That's a major bring down, man."
"See, I'm supposed to go to Second Banana Heaven, but I lost my map."
JJ and I smacked our foreheads at the same time.