The ridiculous

Painter H.A.G.

By Skot and Garote, with guest player Ken

hag 1 - 8/30/00 2:11 pm


Skot: Console Garote: Player

You wake up on your back. The plaster above is sagging in most places. In fact, it's more sag than ceiling. Big brown spots occupy most of the remaining landscape. You look at the ceiling from the bottom of a canyon made by two large tables with shelves at your level. They are splattered with ... paint. The shelves are filled with paint pots, tubes, and brushes stuck in random places. There is an ice axe here.

> inventory

>stand up and look for exits

You experience a swimming sensation, but manage to prop yourself up on the edge of the table. You get red paint on your hands. The door to the north is wide open. People are walking by in crowds along a dusty, unpaved street. It is hot and dry out. There are windows to the south, but they look as if they won't open. You see the backs of several canvases on easels, all facing the windows.

>examine one canvas

You walk over to the window and face the six canvases. You are now facing north. The one on your far left has been painted over. The two to the right are red underpaintings. The one to the right of that is a fairly finished nude woman, mostly in red. The other two are incomprehensible.

>scream "ACH, NEIN!!" and kick over the leftmost canvas

Your outburst fails to attract notice. The easel does not move, but you get your foot stuck in the middle of the canvas. Your exertion makes you dizzy and you hit the floor. The turpentine fumes probably don't help things.

>extricate self from painting.

You remove your foot from the canvas with a great struggle. There is a small pain in your back. You hear a timid knock. A young man's voice says: "Maestro?"

>yell "come in, help me up! ACH!!"

He finds you on the ground and exclaims, "ACH! What happened, MAestro?" He extends a hand to you.

>accept the hand and say "A little self-critique, that's all. ACH!"

He is puzzled, but indulgently helps you up. He notices the ice axe and points at it accusingly. "Oh, maestro, not another!"

>scream "And what OF IT, MAN!?!"

He is speechless for a moment. "Well, if you don't stop, you'll have the police on your back, and you'll never find another naive girl willing to pose for you! Now straighten up, you look dreadful..." He pulls the paintbrush out of your hair with a rip and sticks it in your pocket.

>mutter "I need air." and shove past him out the door to the north.

He does not follow.


You are in an alley. About three doors to the west the alley lets out to a plaza. There are no doors to your north. Twenty yards to the east the alley lets out into a complex of streets.

>run west


Once you get through the crowd of people at the edge of the plaza (hiding in the shady part) you come out into the open sun. The plaza is relatively large, and contains a huge statue. Most everybody is lounging by the west wall. There is a clock hanging from one arch; it is a few minutes past ten. You trip over a pigeon and your poor sense of balance prevents you from running further.

>look at the statue

He is an old bronze hero, with his arm out from his chest in a patriotic salute. You see some graffiti at the base. One reads: "In my day, the shitheap was THIS HIGH!"

>look for a familiar face in the crowd

They are too far away to distinguish well. They do appear to be people, however. One stocky individual seems to be scrutinizing you from his shelter in an arch to the northeast. You pick him out from the deep shade with your excellent eyes.

>approach the stocky man


As you approach, he disappears from sight. You are now standing on the corner. A restaurant/pub is southeast. A large street is east. You see no sign of him down the street. The restaurant is called "Wappy's"

>enter restaurant


Man, this place STINKS! Your eyes need a moment to adjust to the dark. A voice calls out: "Yer plezhure, zhir?"

>find the originator of that voice

Your eyes have adjusted. A toothless barkeep is doing his best to appear unctuous. Several characters wearing sunglasses are lounging at tables. There is a stocky individual at the far end of the bar.

>hand the sandwich to the barkeep. say "fix this for me."

He takes the sandwich reluctantly and considers it with a curious look. The man at the end of the bar doesn't even acknowlege your presence. Neither do the loungers.

>try to determine what the loungers are eating

The responses you recieve from the loungers are varied, unexpected, and universally rude: "Chopped glass."
"Jellyfish Cake."
"Grape seeds flambe."
The bartender triumphantly hands your sandwich to you on a plate.
"That'll be ..." He names an astronomical sum. You can't tell if he's being serious.

>tilt head at the stocky man and say "My man there'll pay for it."

He looks at you, looks at the sandwich, looks at the man, and pushes the sandwich back towards you. "Never mind, that's just a joke there zhir. No charge, aye? Don't mention it, what? Just a little jestin', what? Now right, that'll do ya, just you forget about it."

>nod, then scowl. Walk up to the stocky man

He barely notices you. He mutters: "You're Dr. Prof. Herr W.G.H.B. von Hoerkmeister, (aka 'Blitz'), the painter from the alley, right?"

>mutter "depends on who's askin'" and take a bite out of the sandwich

Garote: Console Skot: Player

The man turns around and leans both elbows on the bar, finally looking at you. "So if I was, say, a seventeen year old girlie askin' here, you would be someone else? Huh?"


He leans out a little. "'Cause a while back, there was a little seventeen-year-old girlie around here, looking for ye. And I ain't seen her in a while. In fact, nobody has."

>say, "Well, I've seen her. Every inch of her luscious ... hair. I've been doing her portrait."

The man leans back. "Helluva portrait, I bet." All of the loungers in sunglasses are looking at you, as is the barkeep.

>say "interested? I can give you a fair price..."

the stocky man walks past you, saying "You just keep ... painting, Blitz. I may see you later." He vanishes into the street. The hep cats in shades are all looking elsewhere now, with great interest. One, a tall man in a black jacket, throws some bills onto his table and stands up to leave. "Have a good one, Bromide," calls the skanky barkeep.

>Leave Wappy's.

You stagger out into the street. The plaza is at hand, to the southwest. The street continues to the east, where it forks. People from diverse social strata cruise around you, moving briskly in the midday sun. Though you must squint, your eyes catch a scrap of the stocky man rounding the corner to the east. The tall man emerges from WAPPY'S behind you and breaks left.

>Air paint.

With some effort, you wrench your paintbrush from your smock. A moment's pause brings inspiration, and your arm dances as you race to catch the colors of a passing woman in the air before you. A few people rubberneck, but everyone keeps moving, possibly from fear - or respect. You stop only when you flick a dot of red paint into your eye and drop your brush.

>Leave brush. EAST. Down the street.

The brush whimpers, but you trudge resolutely on. It just wasn't working out!


You'd never remember the name of this twisty promenade if it wasn't spraypainted on a wall to the east, above "STINKS!". A street-mime plies his trade in front of it. The street runs north and south, more or less. A chinaman in a wide-brimmed hat runs by, pulling a heavy rickshaw. There is a great deal of bustle on the sidewalks, and the mime has a tidy pile of bills in his upside-down hat.

>accost rickshaw man. Offer him the jellyfish toy for a ride somewhere. Stress the joy it could bring his son.

You take off running after the chinaman, and one block down you pull in front of him, flailing the jellyfish in his face. "Anto daaarree?!" he screams in one big breath. "Nihongo ga tenushikute desu yo!" He hunkers down in mid-stride and leaps, kicking you square in the chest. Screaming, he vaults over your falling body and turns a corner, barely missing your legs with one wheel of the rickshaw. The old man in the seat cries out and drops his suitcase into the road. You sit up, rubbing your head. Some of this sticky crap could be blood, but the fact that it's red doesn't prove anything. The rickshaw is long gone, but the suitcase is nearby.


Two streets cross at a traffic accident. A coachman has become hopelessly tangled with a fire engine and a marching band. Amidst the confusion, people are gawking and looting shops.

>snatch the suitcase

Skot: Console Garote: Player

You snatch the heavy suitcase. A strolling beat officer tells you to move on or get out of the way of traffic. As the firemen pull wounded men from the accident they caused, the marching band plays their arrangement of 'Fascinatin' Rhythm'.

>run into the nearest store for shelter


There are aisles of grain before you. There is a small dining area in the back. Behind the counter are a very busy team of employees, collecting money. There is a relatively hidden table in the deli area. The only person there is in the opposite corner, in a business suit, obliviously reading a newspaper.

>walk to the deli table and drop the suitcase onto it

*FWAP* You attract the passing attention of the businessman, who flaps his paper in an irritated manner and goes back to reading. He adjusts his glasses and coughs. The older man behind the counter notices you but does not call out; he's too busy helping others at the moment.

>try to open the suitcase

The suitcase has two latches with combinations. One is set to '000'. This one pops open. The other is set to '001'. This one does not open. You try to open the suitcase and fail.

>scream "Arrrrgghh!" and beat the suitcase with fists

The businessman sighs, and approaches you. "Can you tell me, sir, just WHAT IS WRONG with you people?"

>quickly grab the man 'round the neck and slam his head into the suitcase, screaming "OPEN!! OOPPEEENN!!"

He recovers quickly and floors you. "That's about even, I suppose. Now BE QUIET!"

>Pick self up and apologize. Grab suitcase

The man tacitly acknowledges your apology. You grab the suitcase. And you stand there, grabbing it. You attract some notice from the old man. He says: "You know, your stuff is probably safe there, if you want a sandwich, sir."

>Laugh eerily. Say "You don't know what's IN this suitcase, man." Walk out.

The businessman loudly mutters:"I doubt you do, either."


The accident has mostly been cleared up. The marching band has been taking requests for tips. Now they're playing a sensitive ballad.

>slam the suitcase against the wall as hard as possible.

The latch pops open. Bundles of money and women's underwear fall out onto the sidewalk. The band begins to play somewhat out of key.

>kick the money into the street, exclaiming "Awww, USELESS PAPER!!"

The policeman walks over carefully, glances at the money, and gives you a 'look'. A loud voice shouts:"AYE, ol' BLITZ! What's goin' on, huh? Hey, what's all this, that lady must've given you a good time for that PORTRAIT, WHAT?" He hoves into sight... your old friend, the apprentice. The policeman shrugs and goes back to the accident.

>shake the apprentice's hand. Tell him the money is all his.

"Selfish BASTARD," he jokes. "Let's clean this up before the trumpeter has a heart attack." The trumpet player has been straining to see what happened for ten minutes.

>wonder aloud where I got this spangly purple bra

It's not like you to mention that. But anyway, "GEE, WONDER WHERE I GOT THIS BRA?" You arouse titters from the women walking past. "Do you feel quite well?" asks your apprentice, sharply. The stocky man reappears on the scene. He regards your situation curiously and does a little window-shopping.

>don the purple bra. It's tradition. Introduce the apprentice to the stocky man.

You strap the purple bra to your head and call the man over. "Hey, YOU!" He strolls over. "This is my apprentice. He doesn't have a name, as far as I'm aware, do you? HUH?" Your apprentice stammers. "And this is... what's your name, again?" "Stockhausen." "RiiiIIIIIght, Stockhausen, this is my apprentice! What's wrong, huh? Look sharp!" Your apprentice is visibly agitated.

>Tell Stockhausen "You'll want to talk to this man about that girlie, then." Stroll off.

THe band has stopped playing. The police officer looks at you VERY sharply as you walk into the plaza.


Oh boy, THIS time you attract notice!

>cut a lively tap dance

A passing mime joins in and 'paints you'. The two of you draw an appreciative crowd. All you need is music.

>clap hands and shout "music!"

The band director knows a good show when he sees one. Soon you have Lt. Cprl J.W. "Nobby" DeNobbes Esq. and his Ragtime Band playing the 'Mahogony Hall Stomp" behind you. People are throwing money at you.

>finish with a grand flourish, and bequeath all the money to the mime and the band

The band and the mime have a dispute over the money; the band wins. Forcibly. The crowd claps and throws more money.

>bequeath the money to the mime and band, again!!

Again, the band wins. This time the spectacle tires people and they drift off. Stockhausen lays a hand on your shoulder. "Talented fellow," he smirks. "Practice practice practice. Look, I think I'd like to see that portrait of yours, maybe I am interested."

>gleefully shout "Of course!" and show him to the studio


The studio door is locked. Damn that pesky apprentice! Got a spare?

>smile at Stockhausen. Kick in the window.

*CLISHTINKCLANK* You can now reach the doorknob.

>Tell Stockhausen "After you."

He looks at you.
Your apprentice, wheezing and hacking, stumbles up with the suitcase and nearly collapses at your feet. "Oh," *COUGH HACK* "The place is a dreadul-" **QUEEZHASYDEUIR** "mess --" He trails off and chokes.

>Sigh and ask the apprentice for the key

He feebly gets his balance and hands you a sweaty metal key.

>thank him and slap him on the back.

He stumbles over the suitcase and falls headfirst into the window. He survives with minor wounds. "So," *AHEM* "You going to show me that portrait, or what?"

>Bark "ACH!!", irritated. Open the door.

"Ah, that's your old self," says your battered, exhausted apprentice.


Boy, it IS a mess. Just the way you left it. Stockhausen strides forward to have a look at the paintings. He whistles. "Some portrait," he sneers appreciatively. "How much you want for it?"

>carefully aquire the ice-axe

There is no ice-axe here.

Garote: Console Skot: Player

>Grin at Stocky. Say "Thirty-five rubles. No, make that lire."

Stockhausen turns his head, eyeing you. "Planning on leaving the country?" Your apprentice has lurched upright against the wall and is inspecting you very carefully.

>say "Too bad this place doesn't have a basement..." Abstractly.

Your eyes wander up to the bloated ceiling and you list a bit as you speak. The apprentice gains an expression of familiarity and appears to relax. Stockhausen shakes his head as if to clear it, and says "You painted this, didn't you? You _are_ a painter, right, Blitz??" He points at the nude.

>say, "That's me, Professor Doktor Herr Wilhem Gottfried Blitzen Heinrich von Hoerkmeister! The FAMOUS PAINTER, GENIUS OF SEVEN CONTINENTS..." etc.

You trail off just as a shadow appears in the doorway. Your apprentice and Stockhausen both swivel to look at the visitor. It is a very attractive, petite, red-haired freckly woman in a white sun dress. Something is amiss, however. Her eyes are vacant, and her skin is green. There is an ice-axe protruding from her head. "Nrrraaaaaahhh." she moans, and steps into the studio. "Oh. Crap." Says your apprentice. "Not again." Stockhausen's chin is resting on his jacket. His hands twitch.

>While he's distracted, push him through the southerly windows.

You stride around in front of him. "Buh -- Buh --" he is trying to say. Gently you place your hands on his chest and push. He steps back obediently, and fails to realize what's happening even as you accelarate to a brisk jog and shove him at the southern window. He sails through the glass squares, the slack-jawed expression never leaving his face, all the way down to his impact on the cobbles, whereupon his eyes shut and _everything_ goes slack. The woman in the doorway has turned to your apprentice, who is shrinking into the corner of the studio. "Buuhhrrrraaaaaiiiiiiiiiinnss" she moans.

>say to apprentice: "Oh, buck up. She's just a zombie, what?" YAnk axe out of her head.

Your apprentice gives you an irritated look, and tucks his chin into his knees. You grasp the axe-handle, standing behind the woman. She realizes something is wrong because she can't get any closer to the apprentice. She struggles weakly, waving at nothing. You prop your foot on her ass and give a hard yank. The axe comes free all at once, and sails out of your grip, over your head. It clatters onto the street to the south. *PSSHHHHHHH* A column of ichor spews from the wound and coats the walls. And a nearby canvas. "Gnuh." says the woman.

>say, "Ah, just the touch of realism I needed." North.

The woman collapses in a wet heap. Your apprentice, spackled with blood, is NOT happy.


There is a trail of blood here, coming from the maze of streets to the east.

>East. Turn in opposite direction from blood trail.

You head east and come to an intersection.


A stone archway to the east provides escape, to a narrow dirt road. Bleeker Street runs north-south. There is an old man leaning on the very corner of the block, with his hat pulled over his head. The trail of blood goes south, so you turn north. In the distance you can make out a small plaza and a fountain. It is getting overcast.

>REmove bra and place in pocket. Wear beret.

Reluctantly, you peel the purple spangled bra off your head and thrust it into your smock. The cool beret takes it's place on your pate. You feel a bit saner. If you listen closely, you can hear snoring.

>Continue down dirt road at a non-suspicious pace.

You rotate to the right and pass under the arch.

Skot: Console Garote: Player


The clouds grow thicker and darker. You are getting a little hungry. The horizon is no closer. An orange ping-pong ball comes tippy-tapping down the road at you.

>snatch up ping-pong ball. Eat sandwich.

Your hunger is sated. You notice the outlines of a door in the ground down the way.

>approach door. Look 'round

The door appears to be a cellar door.


You are carrying:

>"What, a cellar door in the middle of a dirt road??"

That's right, a cellar door in the middle of a dirt road. After all, there's a big ol' city right behind you. Sounds like a perfect hideaway for a half-mad murdering painter!

>"I see your point". Drag open the hatch.

The doors open... revealing stairs. Down.

Skot: Console Ken: Player


There is a stone stairwell going down. To your north is a city gate with a city beyond it. It looks dark and SpOOkY. To your south is more dirt road, going over a hill. You cannot see further than a hundred yards. East and West is desert. I wouldn't recommend it. No wells.

>pick up city

*UNNNNGH* You fail. It is heavy.



IT's getting kind of cold. The sagebrush is buzzing. You think you hear screeching.

>look sagebrush and screeching.

You can't look a sound! The sagebrush looks prickly. The screeching sound gets louder.

>hide under sagebrush.