Being John Wondertainment
rating: +26+x

Just a few short seconds ago...

The first thing that John noticed is that it was dark. There are, of course, many types of darkness. There's the comfortable darkness, with the gentle embrace of good nights sleep. On the other side of that coin, there's darkness that presses down with the gentle embrace of an enemy sworn to strangle you. Most people would say that the worst kind of darkness has just enough light to let you see things slinking around. They are wrong. This was the kind of darkness that loudly and violently denied that light even existed. This was… advanced darkness.

The second thing, and possibly more disquieting, was that it was very moist. Slimy could also be bandied about, if basic linguistics could have surfaced above the untold number1 of other questions he had about where, what, and why it's undulating.

Things did not undulate in John's world. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that John's world had been swallowed by a very excitable Shiba Inu.

With a slippery surge, John burst out of something, the extraordinary sights of his surroundings not at all reaching him through his very closed eyes. Not opening his eyes was vital. Opening his eyes meant that everything that had happened was real. It meant that his home was destroyed, he wasn't anywhere near his town, and that the dog-

"Welcome home!"

John very slowly opened his eyes, only to be greeted by the face of a happy Shiba Inu.

Said Shiba Inu2 continued.

"Sorry about the travel time!".

Had everything gone as planned, John would have woken up slightly slobbery but no worse for wear. An unfortunate mathematical error on the half of Reginald, who forgot to carry the 3, had landed them in some wonky chocolate factory. A fun destination for small children, it was more of a terrifying exercise in cacao based death for Reginald. Still, it was impressive that he could calculate trans-dimensional quantum vector calculus without looking at his paws.

John propped himself up on the fluffy carpet and looked around. It was his father's office.
There was the large mahogany desk, caringly and humbly marked with the number of pygmies who died to acquire the wood. The dark chocolatey leather of the office chair. Towering bookshelves dusted with sugar. It was still almost correct. The stuffed alligator was, in fact, a crocodile. One potted plant was a particularly suspicious shade of green.

Nothing had changed in his since he was a kid. Except for the bits that had.

The swaths of jungle print carpet were the same. His father had never really got the idea behind jungle print, John reflected from his position sitting on a helvetica 'e'. A dense fog shrouded the room in what might have been mystery were it not such a pleasantly bland relief from the visual assault on his eyes.

The fog machine was still present, at least. That was fairly comforting to John.

And John desperately needed all the comfort he could get. The shock of his kidnapping had taken a crowded back seat to nostalgia and loneliness. Waking up in unfamiliar places was no new ground to him - it wasn't uncommon to find himself next to his father in entirely unfamiliar lands, if there were lands at all3. Here, now, the death of his father was finally hitting him. There was just something about the news being delivered by a talking dog that made it fail to sink in. Needing guidance, John turned to the most normal, familiar thing in his life at that moment, who was currently chasing his tail around a gothic print 'g'.

John sat for a bit, considering the innumerable failures that had led him to this point. Being born, that was up there. He had to imagine that semester abroad held some measure of blame. Branton, Missouri! What was he thinking, a place so… so… exotic! But if he knew his family, the only way out of this was straight through.

"Reginald." His words drifted through the fog, exciting currants and Eddies in the wafting mists.

"Yes!" Reginald snapped to salute from his thorough ocular patdown of the room, one ear upright and the other half cocked as if in salute. He held this pose for a full 0.23 seconds before his eyes began to slowly trail back towards his tail, an infinitely more engaging and lively target than the slimy John before him.

"I. Ok. What are we doing? What do you need me for? You told me dad was in danger."

Reginald's ears wilted as he lowered his head in shame.

" I'm sorry John but your dad really is gone he didn't even say goodbye to me"

John had long ago processed his separation from his father. In an unusually creative turn years ago, he planted a modest garden with a tasteful and respectable selection of flowers, appropriately somber for a funeral. His father would have hated it.

"He never was much one for goodbyes."

" No but he was a good boy and now we need to help him"

John sighed. "Help… how?"

"The Executive Board is trying to come back the Chairman4 is trying to break the seals after your dad shook all those cans and made them sniff their dividends!"

When one considers the Executive Board, it is important to recognise two things. One is, of course, the delicate balance of homonyms in the English language and the broader implications of transdimensional etymology. The second is that the Executive Board of any corporation is a parasitic arm5 full of metaphorically soulless, vile, horrible, inhuman, eldritch, abominable, dreadful, cheating-at-foosball, odious, offensive, obnoxious, no-good-very bad hornswaggling blood sucking zombies who are categorically incapable of contributing any value to the company.

In the case of Wondertainment, this description is also literal.

The Wondertainment Board of Executives hailed from a place beyond conception where the stars had long burned out, husks rolling aimless, unheeded horror without names or knowledge. This did not bother them, for they had no eyes. The company was their vision.

In several years, John's father would drive them out with arcane magics and rollicking fun. The specifics were rather lost on John, who at the time was 3 years old and engaged with the Wondertainment Grabby-Claw-Thing™. Without thinking about it, John absentmindedly began to rub his back, remembering flashes of the glowing orange hexagons.

"I know this is a silly question, but what do you need me for in any of this?"

"Joooooohn John John you need to renew the blood rites inside the Workshop of Wonder they're about to faaaaaaiiiiil"

"Are they," replied John flatly.

"yes"

"You know, you kidnapped me."

Reginald cocked his head at John, panting lightly.

"I'm a bit upset about that."

"yes that's pretty reasonable."

"Reasonable!" shouted John, standing abruptly. "Nothing is re-tiddly-von-sidderlysonable anymo-"

He caught himself. That part of him was gone. He left it behind with the Wondertainment Super Secret Surprise Box™.

"Ok." John took a deep breath, readying himself. "Take me to it. So I can do whatever this is. And then I can go home."

Reginald looked between John and the door. John sighed, and followed the Shiba Inu to the door, slipping through the Way and towards the the Factory Floor.


It would perhaps be worth taking a moment to describe the wacky, weird, and wonky world of Wondertainment. Wondertainments through the years would tell people that it's located between imagination and fun, but that's a flight of fancy. The Wondertainment complex was hapazardly strewn across slips and crevasses in more esoteric spacetimes, the kind that contain more than one time dimension, and at least 5.3 spacelike ones. Commonplace directions, such as "turn left at the Corgi Pits", were as productive as a pit full of Corgis. This would pose a problem to any employees that were attempting to clock out, had the machine not disappeared under mysterious circumstances6 three eternities ago.

The Wondertainment Factory Floor, which did overtime as R&D and a janitorial closet, was built on the founding principles of wonder and fun. Work fit into neither of these categories, and was greeted with a mixture of shame and some mild gastrointestinal stress. Describing it would be as fruitless as describing the infinite potential of imagination; indeed, a particularly well negotiated deal meant that sections of the Floor were built from the minds of children7.

Perhaps an observer would see a gaggle of Wonderneers working merrily over a vat of innocuously bubbling cauldrons. Possibly be they would find a delightful gorilla in some spiffy overalls. Perhaps hear the screams of some unfortunate mister. Maybe see an unfortunate Wonderneer fall over a nonexistent railing into an innocuous bubbling cauldron8.


Beyond the factory floor, across 5.3 space-ish dimensions, there were the Wondices, less painfully referred to as the fun-gulags.9 It was here that John and Reginald found themselves after a perfectly cromulent trip through the firmament of reality. The only particularly interesting encounter in their journey, other than the usual pattern screamers, was a rather nice young man named Arthur, who was enjoying a nice ham sandwich on his lunchbreak. This run-in with John and Reginald would quite seriously traumatise the otherwise perfectly respectable accountant and leave him with an extraordinarily unlikely idea. During his stay in the sanitarium, many would comment on his peculiar mantra: "contain the man secure the dog protect the sandwich". This did not dissuade him of his fascinatingly foundational idea, and he eventually shortened it to something a bit more catchy. It would eventually become quite the influential idea.

The particular subtend of the fun-gulags that Reginald and John found themselves in was formerly the manufacture of Happy Hiker Grrrranola Trail Mix™. The transition to gaping hole in shareholder value was widely considered a good move. It was here that the executive board was trapped, stymied by a dearth of bureaucracy, Wondertainment Big Foam Noodles™10 , and of course, heavy ordinance.

Reginald finished scarfing down the remains of a ham sandwich. "This is where he did it! This is where your dad 'sponged The Board!" Reginald's tail wagged excitedly as he pointed with his nose towards the 8-ball shaped hole.

The room could be described thusly: An appropriate amount of walls, the exact right amount of ceiling and floor, and sparsely decorated except for the center. The center of the room had an odd protrusion that roughly resembled an 8-ball haphazardly latticed in Wondertainment Big Foam Noodles™. Except instead of black paint on the 8-ball, it is the sheer absence of any light at all. And it wasn't an 8-ball, it was a horrid gash in the fabric of fun. And just like regular, boring gashes in the fabric of spacetime cause light to warp and bend around them, this horrid gash in the fabric had an even more mortifying effect: to warp and bend fun itself.

Whispers that bounced around the room promised stock options and treasures yet to come. It was profitic.

John noticed all of this, and a couple extra things. The Wondertainment Big Foam Noodles™ were stained with a dried, brownish substance, that was of note.

He also noticed that Reginald no longer quite looked like a Shiba Inu. The dog reminded him of the Wondertainment Mister Homemaker™ handpuppet he had growing up, with the Cobalt rod and the bleach. There were lumps and shapes where there shouldn't be. Like a hand shoved and contorted into a form not its own. John didn't remember the tentacles either, come to think of it. John shook his head. The pit was playing tricks on his mind. He couldn't have known that was the warping of fun itself, stripping the fun exterior from Reginald. John can't read the narration, you know.

The gravity of the situation was beginning to weigh on him. And slowly drag him towards the center of the room. Towards the 8-ball.

"I - I don't know about this, Reginald. I, I can't -"

The rest of the words did not make it from John's mouth. Reginald was hacking up something akin to a hairball, but as established this is not quite what John saw. In John's eyes, Reginald was revealed as an aberrant projection of some greater malefic intent, redolent of twisted Riemannian geometry and blasphemous shapes, the sum of their angles defying all measures, impudent in its Poncelet profligacy.

You know. Lovecraft shit.

By this time, John's nerves had long since broken. He may have been able to handle the talking dog. The return to the Workshops. Probably not this eldritch paroxysm before him and certainly not all those things and The Board. The shattered pieces remaining of his psyche would now be more ostentatiously described as deliquescing. With rising panic, John stepped weakly backwards, slipping on the same dark substance splattered across the Wondertainment Big Foam Noodles™. Arms wheeling, scrambling for purchase, he slammed onto the Wondertainment Absestoslutey Safe Linoleum™, falling backwards towards the 8-ball, dragged by its gravity.

"John!" Reginald bounded forward towards John, whatever thing Reginald had been throwing up - and the Shiba had been throwing up, like a weird hairball, John now realised11 - held in his mouth. Reginald quickly tossed it to the side as John instinctively grabbed a Wondertainment Big Foam Noodle™ to stop his fall.

"John! Don't panic!"

John could feel his legs, now halfway inside the abyssal 8-ball, go numb.

"Panic! I'm not panicking! This isn't panic! Wait till I adjust to all of this! Then I'll panic!"

As if sensing his panic, the abyss gave another pull. John's hands slipped on the Wondertainment Big Foam Noodle™, now slick with John's sweat and the dried brown residue.

It is said that impending doom gives great clarity. It lets people focus, collect their thoughts. It's a shame that those thoughts are often "I'm in impending doom".

John Unterhaltung noticed three things.

The first thing was that he was in impending doom.

The second thing was that it almost smelled like chocolate.

The last thing he saw was the bottle of Wondertainment Interdimensional Banishment Chocolate Syrup™.


Reginald whined sadly, curled up with his tail between his legs. He looked at the failing stickers and Wondertainment Big Foam Noodles™ that were all that remained between the Board and the pure, uncut fun of Wondertainment.

"I need to find another Wondertainment :("

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