Once (and only once) the Trickster fell in love. The girl loved him too, though this was hardly surprising since most women (and many men) loved him at first sight. She was very traditional, however, and insisted that her parents approve of the marriage. Convincing her mother was no problem, but her father was suspicious.
Do not make the mistake of thinking he was concerned for the happiness or well-being of his daughter, for he was a small-minded and vain man whose only concern was to better his own wealth and standing in the eyes of the world. He had dined with kings, queens and presidents, he had appeared on television twice, and he was a member of the homeowner’s association. His lawn had won “Lawn of the Year” for the past fourteen years in a row and was the envy of the neighborhood. He doubted whether adding the Trickster to his family could provide the kind of life that he desired.
So, he devised a series of tests which he was sure were impossible. “You must understand,” he told the Trickster, “She is my only daughter and she is most precious to me. I want to make sure that she marries the kind of man who can provide a good life for her.”
“I will take your tests,” the Trickster said, “But you must swear that if I pass them you will let me marry her, and that if you break your vow my sister Fate will visit misfortune on your family for a thousand generations.”
The father swore the oath. “Now then, I want to know that the man my daughter marries is financially secure. Show me a million dollars in cash.”
The Trickster smiled. “That’s easy!” he said, and headed into town. A few hours later, he returned, carrying the vault from a bank. He dropped it on the front lawn with a heavy THUD. The door flew open and money poured out. “Here is one million, two hundred thirty-five thousand, six hundred ninety-three dollars and sixty cents,” he said.
The father scowled. “Well, you have passed the first test,” he said, “But the measure of a man is more than money. It is important that a man be reliable, and to be known by all to be trustworthy. I would like for you to gather a hundred character witnesses to vouch for your reliability.”
The Trickster threw his head back and laughed. “I am the most reliable man in the world!” he said. “Everyone knows I can always be trusted to do or say what will cause the most discord in any situation, and you can reliably predict that I will do the most unpredictable thing possible.”
He pulled out his phone and made several calls. Over the next few days, thousands came to the house vouching for the Trickster’s reliability at always being nothing but trouble. The steady influx of pilgrims trampled the grass, leaving the front lawn muddy and ruined.
“That is not quite what I was hoping for,” the father said grimly, “But I suppose it fulfills the letter of my request. Some say it is better to know that a man will cause trouble, rather than to be uncertain if he will. Very well. You have shown that you are a man of the world, but are you also a man of the heart? My daughter was raised on Disney movies and Nicholas Sparks novels and has grandiose ideas of romance and love. She will expect the kinds of gestures that would impress a queen.”
“My friend,” the Trickster said, “Over-the-top is the only way I know how to live! While other men would buy their sweethearts a dozen roses, I would dig up the yard and cover it in rose bushes! While other men might take their wives to a cabin by the lake, I would take her to an oceanside castle! While other men might close the blinds to keep the sun from her eyes, I…I would eat the sun itself!”
To prove his point, he plucked the sun from the sky and swallowed it, plunging the Earth into darkness.
“For the love of God, man, spit it back up!” hollered the father.
The Trickster stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited the sun onto the lawn. What little grass remained in the yard immediately burst into flame. Nonchalantly, he picked up the sun and flung it back into the sky.
The father stared at the ruins of his yard in dismay.
“What’s the next test?” the Trickster asked.
“No more tests,” the father said, “Just get out of here before you do any more damage.”
The Trickster and his wife lived happily for many years, though her father spent a great deal of time in prison when the police discovered a stolen bank vault in his yard.
The curator walked the new security guard through the premises. “Have you visited the Museum of Improbable Things before?” he asked.
The guard shook his head.
“Well,” the curator said, smiling, “I suppose I should take you on a quick tour through some of the exhibits, so you can get an idea what it is you’re protecting. I would recommend you come back some time during normal visiting hours to get the full experience, though. It’s all very fascinating.”
He stopped in front of a case containing a coin. “That,” he said, “As far as anyone can tell, is a regular quarter. It’s not weighted, not double-sided, nothing like that. The strange thing about it is, when you flip it, it always lands on whatever side you want it to land on.”
The guard grunted.
“Moving along,” the curator said, “Next up we have one of my favorite exhibits.” Inside the case was a copy of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. “Playing it forward, it sounds like it should, but if you play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ backwards…”
“Let me guess,” the security guard said, “Satanic messages?”
The curator shook his head with a smile. “Not at all. If you play it backwards, you can very clearly hear ‘Glory to God in the highest, for God is great.'”
The guard stared at him.
“We don’t have enough time right now,” the curator whined, “But if you’d come back during normal visiting hours you could, of course, see the demonstration.”
“Continuing,” he said, walking to the next exhibit, “This is a VHS of ‘Return of the Jedi.’ The interesting thing about it, is that the ending is not the same. In this version, Luke turns to the Dark Side and joins Darth Vader, they kill the Emperor and take over the galaxy.”
“Never seen Star Wars,” the guard said, “But lemme ask you something, how do you know this, or that album, aren’t fakes?”
“They could be fakes,” the curator said, “They could be, that’s true. But if they’re fakes, the quality is incredible. The actors in the ending of this Star Wars, they look and sound exactly like the real actors. Of course, everyone involved with the film denies that anything like this was ever filmed, but…” the curator shrugged.
“So what the hell is it, then?” the guard asked.
The curator brightened. “That’s a very good question. Nobody really knows where the things in the museum originally came from. But it certainly shows that we live in a much stranger world than anyone thinks, eh?”
“Guess so,” the guard said.
Slumping his shoulders and returning to his “official” mode, the curator continued on. “All the exhibits in that part of the museum are pretty harmless,” he said, “Next up, in this section, we have things that are a little more dangerous.” He stopped in front of a case containing a hardbound book called Able Elba.
“What’s so dangerous about a book?” the guard asked.
“My friend,” the curator said, “Books are the most dangerous things of all! Books have resulted in more upheaval and societal change than…” catching the guard’s stony glare, he cleared his throat and changed the subject. “This particular book was written by a severely mentally disabled woman. According to her caretakers, the woman is barely even literate. Apparently though, one day she just sat down and wrote this book in twelve hours straight. The remarkable thing about it, is that it’s written entirely as a palindrome. A palindrome is a word or sentence that reads the same backwards as forwards…”
“I know what a palindrome is,” the guards said. “That’s definitely improbable, but why’s it dangerous?”
“Well,” the curator said, “Most people, after they read the book, they find themselves unable to speak in anything but palindromes. Apparently for the rest of their life.”
The guard raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
“This is all well-documented,” the curator said defensively, “The book actually sold fairly well at first, what with its ‘inspirational’ back story and all. The publisher stopped printing it once the reports started coming in, though. It got banned from schools and libraries. In fact, it got so bad that the Department of Defense bought up as many copies as they could, burned them, and arrested the woman and her caretakers as threats to national security. You can look all this up, it was in the news.”
“I’ll have to do that,” the guard said.
They walked to the next exhibit.
“This,” the curator said somberly, “Is a camera that takes a picture of how you’ll look when you die.” He lifted what looked like a regular Polaroid camera out of the case and pointed it at the guard. “Say cheese!”
“Don’t.” the guard said, putting his hand in front of the lens.
“What’s the matter?” laughed the curator, “Afraid to know?” He glanced at his watch. “Damn it, I’ve got a dinner with the Board of Trustees across town in half an hour, I’ll have to show you the rest of the exhibits later. That OK?”
“Sure,” the guard said.
“Alright,” the curator said. “Well I’ll see you later. Don’t touch anything, I know how interested you are in this stuff!” he slapped the guard on the shoulder and dropped the camera rather unceremoniously into the case before running out the door.
The camera’s circuitry must have been pretty damaged. The bump from hitting the bottom of the case caused it to take a picture, nearly blinding the guard with its flash. After blinking for a few seconds and regaining his sight, he gingerly reached into the case and took the picture out of the camera’s slot. He shook the photo a bit as it slowly came into focus.
The photo showed him lying on the floor of the museum in a puddle of blood.
He lifted his eyes from the picture and stared into the depths of the museum where the rest of the “dangerous” exhibits lay, suddenly wishing he’d listened to more of what the curator had said.
I can’t get rid of the damn tape. Lord knows I’ve tried. I’ve thrown it in the trash only to find it on the ground the next day. I’ve buried it in the yard only to have the neighbor’s dog dig it up. I’ve thrown it in the river only for it to wash back up against the shore a few days later. I tried burning it once, and that seemed to work, but a few weeks later when I was cleaning out my fireplace I found it buried under the ashes. I went to Bakersfield one week to visit my sister and I found it in my suitcase.
Whenever I’ve shown it to anyone, they’ve just said things like “Great effects!” or “You really outdid yourself this time!” or “You ought to get a studio to look at this!” I tell them that it’s real and they just laugh.
I’ve asked Frank about it. He was there when it happened. We were doing some location scouting and thought it would be great place to shoot…all you have to do is watch the tape to see how wrong we were.
“You made the movie without me?” he frowns, pretending to be angry. “Who’d you get to help you?”
“You’re there!” I shout, “You’re in the video! You remember what happened that night!”
He just gives me a weird look.
Why is he pretending he doesn’t know what I’m talking about? Does he just not want to admit the truth about what happened? Sure, we’d all be better off if it wasn’t real, but I know it’s real…isn’t it?
(Author’s Note: I have to give credit to my friend Emmett for this too, because this is based on a conversation we had.)
Terminator: Salvation was a pretty cool movie, but I think it would have been a lot better if John Connor didn’t know that Kyle Reese was his father. Mainly because they could have included this scene:
After destroying one of Skynet’s major factories, JOHN CONNOR and a group of soldiers — including KYLE REESE — are celebrating by getting completely wasted. While babbling about being the chosen one and gesturing furiously, John accidentally drops a picture of his mother on the table. A soldier picks it up.
Soldier: Hey, who’s this?
John: Nothing, that’s no one, give it back.
Soldier: She’s kinda hot, dude. Do we need to tell your girlfriend about this?
John: That’s my mom, you assholes, now give it back.
Soldier: Whoa! That’s your mom? Lucky!
Kyle Reese takes the picture and looks at it for a long while. He then looks up at John with all seriousness.
Kyle: I’m gonna fuck your mom, John.
John: Dude, shut up.
Kyle: No, seriously.
John: She’s been dead for more than 10 years, dickhead.
Kyle: No man, you know that time machine we found in Skynet’s lab? I’m totally gonna use that to go back in time and bone your mom.
John: Seriously. Shut up.
Kyle: I’m gonna go back in time and you know what I’m gonna say to her?
John: Oh God no. Kyle, don’t say it.
Kyle: “Cum with me if you want to live.”
I named my cat Dante. He helps me decide which women I want to date.
If they ask if I named him after the guy in Clerks I know it’s not going to work out.