By ‘Hard Luck’ Lou Zerr
Staff Schlub Writer
Don’t let pain and suffering get in the way of a good time. After all, pain and suffering is fun here in Shadow City.
Up in Black Hand Heights, the excitement hasn’t even begun yet. Don’t worry -- a couple mafia mutant hoods will have you outta the trunk shortly. How was the ride with those other bodies in there? You’ll be rubbing shoulders with them again real soon, on the way to the Oil Fields later tonight. But first the fun. You feelin’ eager?
The boss’s place is nice, ain’t it? Nothing like it anywhere else in town. The boss is poppin’ a couple champagne bottles open now. He’ll be right with us . . .
Where you think you’re gonna go? You don’t even know the way back into town -- you were in the trunk the whole way up here. Go ahead, run.
Hope you get along with nuclear zombie thugs. They’re after you. The boss is pretty fumed, too. He’s already got the cement mixer turning. I’d offer you a spot in that cement to put your name, but you’ll be in that cement.
The werewolf women are onto your scent. Stop off at Chef Mafia Machiavelli’s Kitchen for a bite to eat. Got some mutants there to join you for a plate of tommy gun Parmesan. Come on, you think you’re really gonna make it outta the Heights?
So you made it out of the Heights. Go ahead, run to the cops. Everyone at the Shadow City Station takes orders from the boss. City Hall isn’t exactly on the straight and narrow, either. We’ll be seeing you back up here momentarily.
Clever how you got through Boogie Man’s Bend, but don’t forget, you’re in Shadow City -- there’s no luck but bad luck.
There you are -- Shadow City Studios on Studio Strip. Great idea. Nice thing about the Studios -- they got all kinds of torture devices lying around from that Edgar Allen Poe picture they just wrapped. Maybe we’ll see if those things still work.
Which way you goin’ now? You just missed Witch Way into Witches Meadow. Too late to turn back. The mutants got it covered. Not like you’d be any better off with those covens out there anyway.
There’s only one way to go, and that’s into Gore Gardens again, and you know what that place is like. Time for one last plunge, eh? Try the Big Dipper. Watch for falling passengers.
That’s a fun little land in the park. It’s called Puppet Cove, and believe me, those aren’t the Muppets. Ever see a puppet work a set of hedge trimmers? Those things make some real pretty tattoos. No one’s gonna hear a scream -- everyone and everything is at the motor speedway over at the Scaregrounds. The sports complex across from that has a few events goin’ as well.
Maybe when we get you we’ll take you to the zoo and throw you in the cages with the people. Those people are wicked. Ever see what they do to each other?
I can tell you’re runnin’ outta breath. You’re slowin’ down and you made a wrong turn into Gore Gardens’ worst section of the park. Crazyland will turn you upside down. Then the freaks there will ship you off to Wacky Island. Check out the Giant Joke Shop while you’re there. I hear it’s a real laugh. And you know what that means in Shadow City.
Go ahead, try the portals in Happy Holiday Hollow for the human world. None of them are open to anyone but the spirits and monsters of their respective holidays, and you won’t find any assistance, either. The turkeys in Turkey Pines are deadly, Santa’s too busy making toys, the ghosts of Christmas at Christmas Spirit Crossing are rehearsing for their yearly production of the “Carol,” and Franken Claws on Franken Claws Lane is a friggin’ psycho. You’re talking about a Halloween guy who prefers Christmas.
Go ahead, go into Valentine’s Monster Meadow. The Valentine’s Monster won’t harm you. He’s also no help to you. He’s a disgrace to the entire monster population. He was actually kicked outta Halloween for being purple and pink and not scary at all. He’ll probably try to cuddle you.
Groundhog Ridge is a good idea. The only shadow the groundhogs out there see is the one over Shadow City, the better for hiding and waiting to get you and take you back to where you belong in the Heights. You’re through -- tired and outta options.
OK, yeah, so Happy Holiday Hollow still has Leprechaun Forest and Easter Beast Burrows to search for relief. Hey, even we don’t like going into those parts, and we’re native Shadow Citians.
So you’ve had your fun. It’s time to call it quits. It’s over.
What’re you gonna do, dive off the pier and swim to nowhere? You see the water’s glowing, right? Maybe you’re into that kind of thing. Some monsters are . . . until it starts to burn. But hey, you’re in Shadow City, where pain is what we strive for.
Or you can jump into that car and hit the road. Sure, go ahead. But no one gets this deep in Shadow City and makes it to Hell’s Highway.
Nice driving. You shook some of the best wheel mutants we got.
Why you lousy . . . Do yourself a favor: Hit the gas. Because now we’re really mad. And if we catch you . . .
The city lights are probably in your rearview by now. Hear that? No car horns, gunshots, sirens or screams -- just peace and quiet. Where you’re headed you can breathe again. But if you ever show your face in this town again . . .
Keep following that blacktop toward the horizon. Few hours and you’re home free.
Looks like you’re gonna make it.
Why’s that 18-wheeler coming up so fast? Why’s it riding your tail? Why won’t it pass?
This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.