Empire on Ice #22: Evil Pizza
[Chronus Ill Thanatos is sitting cross-legged on a pentagram etching carved into the floor, surrounded by candles. His eyes are closed, and he is chanting a spell.]
Thanatos: Lamech! Lamech, barlyos! Lamech, bacharous! Carbahaji, sabalyos, eeko!
[Suddenly a pale blue light appears. It fills the room with its insubstantial glare, warbling and flashing, until it finally takes the form of a gigantic, godlike face. It is obnoxiously large, filling up much of the room.]
Jaash: I AM JAASH , THE ALMIGHTY!
[Thanatos stops chanting. One of his eyes squints open, incredulous.]
Jaash: THOU WILT BOW BEFORE ME, O SUPPLICANT OF ON HIGH, FOR I AM GOD LORD PRESIDENT JAASH.
[Thanatos opens his eyes fully. They're wearing a sour, annoyed look.]
Thanatos: The hell you are.
Jaash: DIDST THOU NOT CALLETH OUT TO ME IN PRAYER?
Thanatos: No. I'm hungry. I was trying to summon a pizza.
Jaash: THOU WOULDST DENY ME, ALMIGHTY JAASH?
Jaash: DOST THOU WISH TO RETRACT THY STATEMENT?
Jaash: THEN THOU WILT BE SUBJECTED TO MINE ETERNAL FLAME OF WOE.
Thanatos: Do your worst. This ought to be good.
Jaash: O, FOO GOO, MOO GOO, BULA WAMBA!
Thanatos: You're making fun of me. Stop that!
Jaash: IT IS THY WEAKNESS. THOU CRINGETH WHEN DISRESPECTED. WOE UNTO THEE, FOR I HAVE PREPARED AN ENTIRE ASSEMBLY HALL FULL OF FIFTH-GRADE CHILDREN, AND SHALL DELIVER THEM UNTO THY MIDST HEREWITH.
Thanatos: All right, let's talk. What do you want?
Jaash: YOU MENTIONED PIZZA?
Thanatos: I can get two, if that's what it'll take.
Jaash: THIS PLEASES ME. COMMENCE YOUR INCANTATION.
Thanatos: You disrupted by concentration. I'll have to resort to temporal means.
[Thanatos gets up and goes to the telephone, an old landline with 1940s-era aesthetic sensibilities, polished black, with a relief of a little white skull on the base. He rings the operator.]
Thanatos: Operator, Zultargo's Chthonian Pizzeria.
Thanatos: [To Jaash.] It's going through now. … [On the phone.] Yes, hello. This is "Mister T." … What? No, not him. The other "Mister T."
[Thanatos' expression sours as he listens to the person on the other end.]
Thanatos: Are you kidding? I'm not going to utter my full name over the telephone. That's how souls get captured. Even the lowliest broom pusher should know that. How long have you been working at Zultargo's, anyway?
JAASH: MY TIME IS PRECIOUS. I COMMAND THEE TO EXPEDITE THESE INANE CHATTERINGS.
Thanatos: Quiet, you! [On the phone.] Look, just open your book and search under the letter T. … What do you mean there are 347?! … Fine, whatever. Look, call me Mister Muller. It doesn't matter. Look me up by address. I can be found at Mansion of Malady, 1313 666th Street. … Yes, that "Mister T," damn it.
Thanatos: For delivery, yes.
[A final pause.]
Thanatos: Finally! I'll have a margherita pizza with mushrooms, extra large. [To Jaash.] What do you want on yours?
Jaash: GOAT'S BLOOD, MIXED TOGETHER WITH THE ASHES OF MY MARTYRS, BLESSED BY THIRTEEN HIGH PRIESTS.
Thanatos: And an extra large Number 7.
Jaash: WITH MAYONNAISE AND CORN.
Thanatos: With mayonnaise and corn. … Oh. Well, the Number 12, then. … Yes, good. … 30 minutes is fine. Bye.
Jaash: WAIT. I JUST REMEMBERED THAT I HAVE A COUPON FOR ONE FREE ORDER OF CHEESY BREAD AT PIZZA PIZZA.
Thanatos: Well, it's too late now. I'm not calling back. I don't think Zultargo's accepts Pizza Pizza coupons anyway.
Jaash: NONSENSE. MY COUPONS SHALL BE REDEEMED. I AM THE REDEEMER. OR WOULD IT BE THE "REDEEMEE"?
Thanatos: I'm having trouble caring.
Jaash: WHEN OUR VICTUALS ARRIVETH, MAY I JOIN THEE FOR DINNER? THEN AFTERWARDS WE CAN PLAY A GAME OF UNO.
Thanatos: No. You'll take your pizza and go.
Jaash: HARRUMPH! I WILL SMITE THEE.
Thanatos: One game of Uno.
Over in the Bad Part of Town…
[Afiach and Aroen are playing jacks in his abandoned warehouse lair down in the bad part of town. He's wearing a red silk shirt with a black leather coat, and his polished leather eye patch glints under the light of the sodium lamps hanging down from the ceiling. Aroen is cursing miserably, behind on points and clearly lacking in skill for the game, while Afiach is having a grand old time.]
Aroen: Grrr! How can I be losing this badly?! I rigged the jacks and poisoned your drink!
Afiach: I just love jacks! ^_^
[Suddenly a large portal appears above them. Out of it fall two pizzas, landing on the game.]
Afiach: Ooh, a portal.
Aroen: What is this sorcery?! Farothar!
Farothar: Yeah, Boss?
Aroen: Find out where this portal goes!
Farothar: You want me to jump through it?
Aroen: Right now.
Aroen: I don't pay you to say anything except—
Farothar: Yes sir!
[Farothar gets a stepladder and climbs through the portal. He returns a moment later.]
Farothar: Pizza shop, Boss.
Aroen: Well, obviously it's a pizza shop. But why? What are these pizzas doing here?
Afiach: One of these pizzas looks horrible…
[Farothar climbs back up into the portal.]
[Farothar returns from the portal, which closes behind him.]
Farothar: Wrong address, Boss. It was supposed to go to 1313 666th Street, but the mystical ether sent it to 3131 999th Street instead.
Farothar: They said we can keep the pizzas, but that one of them might cause psychotic delusions and demonic possession.
Aroen: Which one?
Farothar: They didn't say.
Aroen: How am I supposed to know which one?! Is it the one with the mushrooms, or the consecrated goat's blood? Damn it, Farothar!
Farothar: Sorry, Boss. I'll taste them first, if you want.
Aroen: That won't be necessary. We have our lovely guest Afiach Bard…right…here…watching me and…listening.
Aroen: I probably should have said some of that under my breath. As should've you!
Afiach: It's all right. You can feed me the evil pizza if you want. I don't want to cause any trouble.
Aroen: Now, now. A beautiful young lady like yourself shouldn't go around eating strange pizza. Let me taste it first, I insist.
Forty Minutes Later, at Imperial Beth Samech General Hospital
[A pair of double doors in the emergency ward burst open to accommodate a gurney, being run by a team of emergency medical technicians. Aroen is on the gurney, covered in splotches, foaming at the mouth, and shouting vile-sounding incantations. A doctor joins them as they run.]
EMT: Look out! We've got a hot one! Clear the way!
Doctor: What happened?
EMT: Food poisoning.
Doctor: That doesn't look like food poisoning.
EMT: He ate some kind of tainted pizza. Something about the netherworld, and intercepting a divine sacrifice. I didn't really catch all of it.
[Aroen's fingernails begin to glow, and all around them tiny portals open. Winglies fly through them and begin biting the medical staff.]
Doctor: We'd better call Doctor Graham. … And maybe the army.
Meanwhile, back at Malady Mansion…
[Jaash and Thanatos are sitting around listlessly, hungry and bored.]
Jaash: OUR PIZZAS ARE NOT COMING, ARE THEY?
Thanatos: [Angrily snapping his summoning rod in half.] This always happens!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!