Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RPG.NET rant #21 The Prequel Trilogy III: All Hands On Dec

RPG.NET rant #21
The Prequel Trilogy III:
All Hands On Dec

originally posted to on 02-28-2008, 07:31 PM


There is a simple science experiment we all did in grade school where you fill a pie tin with water, put some pepper in the water and let it float around a little. Then you get a bar of soap and dip it in one end of the water and the change in surface tension drives all the pepper to the other side. I am sure you remember it. Well if you can imagine the pie tin of water as a upscale dance club, the pepper as chicks of varying hotness and me as the soap you will have a good idea what the singles scene was like for the Wild One, Kid Snotrocket and myself.

Perhaps that was why I found myself deciding to forgo shaking my groove thing on ladies’ night and instead got my dice bag and pencils and headed over to Psycho Dave’s.

When I got there Psycho Dave had the top of his shuttlecraft-shaped fishbowl open and he was feeding his little pets.

Me: “Hey Dave how are the little critters?”

Psycho Dave: “They’re not little critters, they’re Brine Shrimp.”

Me: “Sea Monkeys …Brine Shrimp …what’s the difference?”

Psycho Dave: “Using one name instead of the other allows your characters to avoid random limb loss.”

Weasly Crusher: “He means it. He really does.”

Me: “Hey Weasly, how have you been doing?”

Weasly Crusher: “Ok I guess.”

Me: “Still looking for a new college?”

Weasly Crusher: “I think I’m going to take a semester or two off and wait for this whole thing to blow over.”

I should take a moment to explain that Weasly had recently been expelled from college due to a freak accident involving a moped with faulty brakes, a Take Back The Night rally and an inflatable bath pillow.

Cheating Bastard: “Who needs college? They expelled me because I happened to have some test answers hidden in my socks. I mean if cheating is good enough for Captain James T Kirk then it should be good enough for SUNY Albany.”

Psycho Dave: “Truer words were never spoken. Give your character 5,000 experience points.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Sheesh. Who do I have to screw to get a few levels for my character.”

Deviant Boy: “You know…”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I’ve got mace!”

We started to get out a dice, pencils and character sheets ready. I noticed that one of our group was missing but before I could comment on it El Disgusto came trundling up the stairs. He was sweat stained and streaked with grime.

El Disgusto: “Not one word.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “We were just wondering what happened. If you have the flu I could drink to your health.”

El Disgusto: “I never get sick. My body is a flawless machine.”

Me: “I dunno it smells like you’re burning oil there…”

El Disgusto: “Shut up newbie! And for your information my parents made me move
Into the basement because they felt the damn dog needed more room. I hate that dog.”

Psycho Dave: “I am sure you all remember, except for the Amazing Boozehound of course, that we left off last week with you all recovering from your last adventure in the castle owned by Cheating Bastard’s fighter ‘Olaf’.”

Cheating Bastard: “Actually its his summer castle remember?”

Psycho Dave: “How could I forget? Now as I said you are all recovering from your injuries, or waiting for Deviant Boy’s character ‘Deb Sonia’ to make her way back to the party.”

Me: “I thought she was imprisoned.”

Deviant Boy: “She was but Psycho Dave and I roleplayed her escape over the phone while I was at work. I wrote up a story about it and made copies for all of you.”

El Disgusto: “You expect me to read something you wrote? As if Lord Baron Whoopass Von Baddass didn’t loathe the rest of the party enough.”

Cheating Bastard: “I’ll just file it back here in my folder with these court summonses.”

Me: “Well I for one look forward to reading this, I think that creative writing is always a – AAAAAAAGH!!! What is this? What is this?”

Deviant Boy: “Oh sorry. That is for my Unified Porn Theory project. I don’t know how it got stapled in there.”

Me: “It’s… it’s…”

Deviant Boy: “Yeah it isn’t quite perfected yet.”

Me: “It’s a picture of a green skinned large breasted elf chick dressed like a Catholic Schoolgirl… and she’s peeing on Mayor McCheese!”

Deviant Boy: “Yeah but its missing something isn’t it? Maybe if it was two elf chicks…”

Me: “I… I can taste bile…”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Do you have those in wallet size?”

Psycho Dave: “And regardless of any of this a slightly more bedraggled than usual Deb Sonja arrives at Olaf’s summer castle,”

Deviant Boy: “Deb Sonja warmly greets all her old friends… what was your dwarven fighter’s name again Ab3?”

Me: “Thad his name was Thad.”

Deviant Boy: “She greets Olaf and Thad and the wizard Dean…”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Cheers!”

Deviant Boy: “…and Lord Baron Whoopass Von Badass the first.”

El Disgusto: “I’m a ninja! How did you see me? How did you see me? Out of character knowledge!”

Me: “Yeah just stay behind the tapestries with Polonius…”

Weasly Crusher: “I made another thief named Worrell… is he there?”

Psycho Dave: “Not yet.”

Me: “How did we all get back together again after the Deck of Many Things debacle?”

Cheating Bastard: “I used some of the wishes from one of my rings of wishing.”

Me: “One of the…?”

Weasly Crusher: “I just don’t see why you couldn’t have wished my old character alive again.”

El Disgusto: “Because he was lame.”

Cheating Bastard: “Sorry pal but it was either save your character or have my castle made from pure Adamantium . The choice was obvious.”

Me: “…you what?”

The Amazing Boozehound: “It’s awesome… the portcullis goes ‘Shnik!’ and everything!”

Psycho Dave: “One of your palace guards sounds the alert… a lone rider is approaching.”

Weasly Crusher: “Ok my character is riding…”

Psycho Dave: “Shhhhh. Not yet.”

El Disgusto: “I get ready to backstab whoever it is.”

Cheating Bastard: “I call the palace guard to arms!”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I’m too busy in my room studying up on brewing.”

Deviant Boy: “My character follows everyone else to the gate to see what the commotion is. She draws her blade, comforted by the rigid steel in her hand.”

Me: “I go along too.”

Psycho Dave: “The lone rider draws up to the gate…”

Weasly Crusher: “My character…”

Psycho Dave: “SHHHHHH! The rider has dark curly hair and a prodigious nose, he wears flowing Gandalf robes covered with kabbalic symbols. He says – ‘I heard there were adventurers here looking for adventure instead all I see is a bunch of archers and a closed gate. Oy!’”

Me” Why are you doing a Jackie Mason impression? And a bad one at that?”

Psycho Dave: “The lone rider says, ‘Who is this Jackie Mason mashugina? Never heard of him- should I have heard of him- why would I heard of him? My name is Apollo, Apolllo Dec. Oy!’”

Cheating Bastard: “I ask this eccentric person why he has come seeking The League of Adventuring Adventurers.”

Me: “We have a team name now?”

Weasly Crusher: “If they had had one more wish spell we would have had team jackets.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Adamantium-lines team jackets. The zippers would have gone ‘Shnik!’ and everything!”

Psycho Dave: “Apollo Dec says ‘The League of Adventuring Adventurers’ what a name I guess that would mean you are up for an adventure. Is adventure what you’re up for? Oy!’”

Me: “Please stop doing that.”

Psycho Dave: “Doing what?”

Me: “Ending every sentence with ‘Oy!’. It’s anti-Semitic.”

Psycho Dave: “What are you talking about there a no Jews in Greyhawk.”

Me: “This is a base stereotype… it you were a Jewish comedian this might be funny but all you’re doing is taking the game to a dark place.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Man you would’ve flipped out when we met up with that all Drow Minstrel show.”

Deviant Boy: “Smoke break!”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I’m with you.”

Psycho Dave: “Take it outside gentlemen, I don’t want any smoke stains hurting the resale value of this place.”

Deviant Boy: “Why it belongs to your parents not you.”

Psycho Dave: “They’re not gonna live forever are they?”

Deviant Boy and The Amazing Boozehound headed downstairs to smoke. For a little while it was quiet, Psycho Dave was going over his 5 pages of critical hit tables, Weasly Crusher was his newly painted Halfling mini with a palpable aura of anticipation and Cheating Bastard was doodling on the borders of his character sheet. We would only find out later that he was adding things to his inventory. Finally I said something, I had to.

Me: “Psycho Dave, I just don’t get your racism.”

Psycho Dave: “Well what I don’t get is quotas and special treatment in a country where everyone is supposed to have an equal chance.”

Me” Those things are because of the discrimination that used to be so prevalent-“

Psycho Dave: “Yes! Used to be prevalent- Why should my people have to pay for the sins of a previous generation? It’s reverse racism that’s what it is!”

Me: “No its not.”

Psycho Dave: “It’s like how this country is all hot and bothered for 2 Live Crew’s free speech rights but if I try to hold a white power rally at a Star Trek convention suddenly there’s some liberal in a Gorn costume kicking me in the testicles.”

Me: “Yeah and that’s another thing how can you be racist and a Star Trek fan… Star Trek is all about different races and cultures learning to work together to explore space.”

Psycho Dave: “No that’s only what stupid people think Star Trek is about.”

Me: “Huh?”

Psycho Dave: “Yes Star Trek is about Star Trek is all about different races and cultures learning to work together to explore space under the command of a virile white man. Under the command of James T Kirk all races and cultures know their place. I don’t understand how so many people could have missed such an important part of the series.”

Me: “Wow. Crazy talk off the starboard bow. All this because you got passed over to be a fireman?”

Psycho Dave: “Think about it. Think about how every time we are shown a black admiral or black captain in the series or in the movies they are shown to be blisteringly incompetent? Jim Kirk has to ride in to save the day, taking precious time off from spreading he seed to all the lesser races of the galaxy. Take a look at Fleet Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek IV – ‘We can’t survive without the sun!’ How stupid can you get?”

Me: “But in the Next Generation…”

Psycho Dave: “I don’t discuss the Next Generation… it’s not canon.”

Me: “What do you mean it’s a continuation they had Bones and Klingons in it and…”

Psycho Dave: “It’s Not. Canon.”

About this time The Amazing Boozehound and Deviant Boy came back, they were cackling conspiratorially. A glare and a rattling of dice from Psycho Dave got them back to the gaming table and into character. The League of Adventuring Adventurers had a dinner meeting with Apollo Dec; the Yiddish wizard, my character, Deb, Olaf and Dean at a sumptuous meal served on adamantium dinnerware that went ‘Shnik!’ at the slightest provocation. Lord Baron Whoopass Von Baddass hid beneath the table, occasionally stealing a dinner roll and cursing at us. We could only assume Weasly’s character was on his way.

It turned out that Apollo Dec was in possession of a map that gave the location of five treasure hordes that happened to be nearby. He promised us an even share of the loot if we helped him. He also promised to tell the Amazing Boozehound’s character of a place where he could get his robes wholesale.

Psycho Dave: “So you guys gear up and head out. Apollo Dec leads the way on his noble charger.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “My character asks him what kind of spells he specializes in, maybe we could trade a few.”

Psych Dave: “He says to you, ‘ What do I look like a spellbook to you? Buy your spells like everyone else … but I know a scribe who can get you a good rate if you buy in bulk. Oy!”

Me: “Sigh.”

Psycho Dave: “Your party makes surprisingly good time but you have to camp for the night.”

El Disgusto: “I lace my daggers with paralyzing poison, The next giant beaver that takes a shot at my character is going to be sorry.”

Cheating Bastard: “My character takes first watch.”

Psycho Dave: “Lets roll for random encounters … you are in luck. A wandering goddess gives you a…”

The Amazing Boozehound: “A quest?”

El Disgusto: “A katana?”

Deviant Boy: “A handjob?”

Me: “Sheesh, why not all of the above?”

Psycho Dave: “Hmmmm I like that Ab3 I really do. Ok Cheating Bastard you are given a vorpral blade that magically homes in on a particular body part. The goddess Solanas tells you the sword is called ‘Groinsplitter. There are two sister swords Nadcleaver and Cockslayer- perhaps someday you will encounter them.”

Me: “Somewhere Fred Saberhagen is weeping.”

Deviant Boy: “I take second watch.”

Psycho Dave: “Ok lets roll for your encounter…”

Me: “You know just because the Dungeon Master’s guide has random encounter tables doesn’t mean you have to use them for every waking hour of a player character’s life.”

Psycho Dave: “Oh sure you’re not supposed to Ab3. Next thing you know you’ll be telling us that ‘BIRTH OF A NATION’ wasn’t a documentary.”

Me: “…oy.”

Weasly Crusher: “Ab3 why are you pinching your eyes like that?”

Psycho Dave: “Deviant Boy, Deb Sonia has no encounters during her watch. Next up is the Amazing Boozehound during your watch you encounter a wandering Paladin wanders up to the campsite.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I make sure there are no open containers.”

Psycho Dave: “The paladin introduces himself as Rey-Gunn, he is old but very noble in bearing. He asks you if you are The League of Adventuring Adventurers.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I say ‘Hell yeah!’”

Psycho Dave: “He explains that he is a knight of the holy order of Lovitar and he would like to know whatever happened to the two clerics you hired to travel with you.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Oh? Oh them? I tell him that we sent them ahead.”

Psycho Dave: “Do you now?”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I mean we left them behind at the castle where its safer.”

Psycho Dave: “He asks were the castle is.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “I give him directions to the Caves of Chaos.”

Psycho Dave: “He rides off but not before telling you to be careful. He tells you that groups of looters are rampant in these parts and no one is safe. Now Ab3 during your watch your character must make a saving throw versus magic.”

Me: “For what?”

Psycho Dave: “Who knows? Maybe for nothing.”

Me: “Fine.”

Psycho Dave: “And you have rolled a spectacular failure Ab3. Thad the dwarf falls asleep on watch and wakes up to find his head is a giant piece of broccoli.”

I began to laugh hysterically, then I realized he was serious.

Me: “My head is a what?”

Psycho Dave: “A giant piece of broccoli.”

Me: “Why?”

Psycho Dave: “It’s magic.”

Me: “But why? What happened?”

Psycho Dave: “A spell was cast on you and you failed your save vs. magic.”

Me: “I mean is my head still flesh that looks like a giant piece of broccoli or is it actual vegetable matter somehow grafted to the flesh of my neck? How can I see? How can I breathe?”

Psycho Dave: “its magic, I don’t have to explain it.”

El Disgusto: “Serves you right for falling asleep on watch. I take watch next, making sure to hide in the shadows. I am sure baron Bon Whoopass and thinking to himself how proud his master sensi would have been if Baron Von Whoopass hadn’t been forced to kill him.”

Deviant Boy: “Oooooo backstory!”

El Disgusto: “And by forced I mean felt like it.”

Psycho Dave: “While your character is on watch El Disgusto he spies a halfling approaching the camp.”

El Disgusto: “I throw my dagger at whoever it is.”

Psycho Dave: “All right then. Weasly, roll to save vs. the paralysis poison on the dagger.”

Weasly Crusher: “But… but…”

Psycho Dave: “Ah another failed save. Weasly’s new character collapses outside the campsite. His name was Worrel wasn’t it?”

Weasly Crusher: “Yes.”

Psycho Dave: “Well he only took 2 points of damage so aside from that and the paralysis he’s doing all right.”

El Disgusto: “I cut a long sturdy branch from one of the trees and tie him to it.”

And that was how our part ended up being a dwarven fighter with a piece of broccoli for a head, a chick in a chainmail bikini, two wizards, the luckiest fighter in the world and a ninja brandishing the dreaded halfling on a stick. Apollo Dec lead us to the first treasure horde. It was guarded buy a number of savage hobgoblins that we managed to dispatch with relative ease, many skulls were crushed and even more groins were cleaved. We were going over the treasure when The Amazing Boozehound and Deviant Boy excused themselves again.

Deviant Boy: “Smoke break!”

The Amazing Boozehound: “All right!”

Me: “When did you start smoking?”

Deviant Boy: “It’s a very sexy habit. You know if a woman blows cigarette smoke in your face it means she wants to bang you.”

El Disgusto: “Does it matter if it comes out of her mouth or her neckhole?”

Deviant Boy: “Be back in five.”

El Disgusto: “Come on lets go through the treasure.”

Weasly Crusher: “Can my character move yet?”

Psycho Dave: “It hasn’t been 24 hours yet has it?”

Me: “Maybe we shouldn’t be letting the ninja use a player character on a stick as a hand to hand weapon.”

El Disgusto: “You think you can stop me… broccoli head?”

Psycho Dave: “Well Weasly still has almost half his hit points left so he shouldn’t be whining so much.”

Cheating Bastard: “Can we just divvy up the treasure?”

El Disgusto: “…broccoli head…”

Psycho Dave: “Sure… you search through the dozens of treasure chests and loot bags and the only thing of value you find is a single gold nugget.”

Me: “One gold nugget? We came all this way for one gold nugget?”

Cheating Bastard: “Is it a big gold nugget?”

Psycho Dave: “Apollo says ‘Well waddya know! Those monsters must have melted the gold down and sold it? Whoda thunk it? Well the next location will have more treasure I’m sure. Oy!’”

El Disgusto: “…broccoli head…”

Me: “Far be it from me to question the leadership of the League of Adventuring Adventurers but maybe this whole mission is a bust. Maybe we could go back home and see if we can find a way to make my head stop looking like it belongs in a side salad.”

Cheating Bastard: “Now come on Ab3. This is Dungeons and Dragons in the true Gygaxian tradition. If they player characters don’t find themselves mutilated, gender swapped and drained of life levels how will they ever know they truly earned that treasure?”

Me: “What treasure? You mean the nugget?”

Soon enough Deviant Boy and the Amazing Boozehound returned from their smoke break relaxed and glassy eyed. Our party soldiered on to the second treasure hoard and we found ourselves fighting a small army of orcs. Again we defeated them with little difficulty, especially once Apollo Dec had summoned a squad of elementals to back us up. We tended our wounds, or in the case of Weasly mourned the loss of fingers and then started divvying up the treasure again.

El Disgusto: “…broccoli head…”

Psycho Dave: “The treasure chests contain scraps of rusty metal and old clothes but aside from that all you find is a silver nugget.”

Me: “Again with the nuggets! All we need to do is find a bronze one and we can have the D&D Olympics…”

Weasly Crusher: “Please don’t set my character on fire again. A non flaming halfling does dust as much blunt damage as a non flaming one.”

Deviant Boy: “Heh. He said blunt.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “High five!”

El Disgusto: “…broccoli head…”

Cheating Bastard: “Well I’m sure the next treasure trove must be the big one.”

Me: “I think we’re getting taken for a ride. It’s like that old saying. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me… us… the party.”

Psycho Dave: “Apollo Dec says…”

Me: “Wait a minute… Apollo… Dec… Apollo Dec… Apollo Dec… Holodeck? You bastard! Apollo Dec my ass! Wait till I get my hands on him! I attack the Yiddish wizard! …I can’t believe I said that…”

Psycho Dave: “Very well roll to hit.”

Me: “Ha! A natural 20!”

El Disgusto: “…broccoli head…”


Psycho Dave: “You miss.”

Me: “What? I rolled a natural 20!”

Psycho Dave: “You missed. And suddenly with Apollo Dec begins to fly away laughing Semiticly .”

Me: “Fly away? He can fly now? What does he have a magic item a flight spell?”

Psycho Dave: “And as he flies away the illusion spells that Apollo Dec 20th level Illusionist had been casting fades and you discover that not only has your head not been turned into a piece of broccoli but you also discover that Cheating Bastard has been wielding not a magic sword after all but a club carved from calcified dragon manure and that Weasly Crusher’s character has been dead for several hours.”

Weasly Crusher: “I… I hardly knew him at all.”

Cheating Bastard: “Thanks a lot Ab3.”

Psycho Dave: “You also discover that the treasure trove guarded by monsters you were raiding was actually an orphanage for crippled children run by hemophiliac nuns from the order of Lovitar.”

Me: “…and why didn’t we get some saving throws to notice any of this? For go sakes you have bladder control saving throws in this game!”

Psycho Dave: “I made your rolls for you. Secret rolls. You failed them all.”

Me: “Is this some kind of sick power trip for you? We’re all just puppets you make dance for your amusement?”

Weasly Crusher: “How would puppets dance when they have no feet?”

Me: “Shut up Weasly!”

Deviant Boy: “Smoke break.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “Call us when the argument is over.”

Psycho Dave: “Hey I’m here to play a game but I’m not going dumb down and wuss up my game world for a guy that rolls his eyes every time I mention that Bill Cosby is a tool of the gay Zionist conspiracy!”

Me: “Not only are you a lousy Dungeon Master but you’re crazier than a crapfight in a monkey house!”

Psycho Dave: “I am not a lousy Dungeon Master!”

Weasly Crusher: “Does anyone smell smoke?”

The Amazing Boozehound and Deviant Boy came rushing up the stairs. It turned out that since what they were not exactly smoking tobacco during their smoke breaks they had decided to go down into the basement instead of outside. Once dropped bong later and the woodpile for the disused fireplace was on fire and the flames were slowly spreading. Psycho Dave kept a calm head in the crisis…

Psycho Dave: “My God! Save the supplements!”

And so we all grabbed as many books and boxes as we could carry but for every RUNEQUEST book we saved a copy of SPACE OPERA or BOOT HILL was left behind.. We ran through the smoke and collapsed gasping on the front lawn. Flames were licking at the lower first floor already and the sirens sounded very far away.

Psycho Dave: “I am SO grounded.”

Me: “…where… where’s’ Weasly?”

El Disgusto: “I thought I stepped on something.”

The Amazing Boozehound: “The fire… its like its dancing…”

Deviant Boy: “I can see strippers in the fire… Lets see if we can get a table near the stage.“

Cheating Bastard: “I don’t see him.”

Psycho Dave: “Oh my God. Do you realize what this means?”

Psycho Dave got back to his feet and ran back into the building skirting the flames. We all stared at the house; except for El Disgusto who cursed at us got into his Hornet and drove off. One minute passed by then two. The flames spread. Suddenly a dark figure darted out of the house, running across the lawn and not stopping until he was standing in the road his hands on his sides trying to stop coughing and catch his breath. The thick smoke had blackened the figure from head to foot there was no mistaking that profile.

Me: “Weasly? Where’s Psycho Dave?”

Weasly: “I thought he was out here with you. I never saw him.”

Cheating Bastard: “What did he go back in there for?”

Then Psycho Dave staggered out of the house, smoke-blinded, his hair and shoulders smoldering, he clutched his precious Galileo shuttlecraft fishbowl to his chest. He made it all the way down the steps only to trip over the Amazing Boozehound as he sat cross legged on the lawn watching the fire. The fishbowl flew from Psycho Dave’s hands and he fell face first into Deviant Boy’s lap.

The fishbowl flew end over end through the air. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t bear to look. An earth shattering crash filled my ears.

I opened my eyes to see that Weasly had caught the fishbowl in his outstretch hands. A few blocks away I could see the real source of the crash. El Disgusto had tried to cut in front of one of the approaching firetucks with disastrous results.

As far as I was concerned this was the last straw. I was determined to never game with these or any other pack of lunatics and nerds again. Gingerly I pulled Psycho Dave away from El Disgusto, he stared blearily my way but I wasn’t sure he was really seeing me at all, it looked like any moment he might pass out so I made him a pillow from some old issues of DRAGON magazine.

Me: “Psycho Dave!”

Psycho Dave: “Shrimp …out of danger?”

Me: “Yes.”

Psycho Dave: “I never passed the Fireman’s entrance exam… What did you think of my performance?”

Me: “Psycho Dave…”

Psycho Dave: “You’ve been… even with the sniveling and whining… my best player.”

Me: “Oh God…”

Psycho Dave’s fluttered and he fainted away. I cursed under my breath… this was just great, now if I quit his stupid game I would feel guilty. Well maybe he would let me run something or we could do a super hero game. That might not be too bad. Besides maybe hanging around me could change these misfits and misanthropes. Maybe for the first time in my life I could be a positive role model! I looked over to Weasly Crusher, not sure what we were going to say to the policemen we were surely going to have to explain things too. He raised his hand to wave to me.

The Galileo shuttlecraft fishbowl hit the pavement with a wet crash.


  1. A friend asked me to help ghost-write this fantasy novel, but because of your stinking gamer anecdotes I didn't get ANY writefaggotry done today.
    Gee thanks >-<

  2. It's like a trainwreck, in which the victims, all orphans, nuns and living saints, are happily waving out the windows as a GIGANTIC Doom Bot is slamming Plasma Cannon first into said vehicle.
    And all you can do is stare on in morbid fascination.