Frank and Gordon in: Moospillhaim

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There was once a man named Hoskuld, who was the son of Olaf, who was the son of Ingjald the Red. He was a powerful chieftain and fierce warrior, who went abroad on many raids and won much plunder and word-fame. Present with Hoskuld Olafsson were Earl Sigurd the son of Hallbjorn, Atli Gormundsson Feather-Breeches, Hroald Hakonsson the Red-Lipped, Eyjolf Egilsson the son of Egil, Harald Grey-Beard the White, Bjornbork Borkstein Bork-Bork the Grey Breeches, Egilsson Eyjolf the son of Eyjolf, Earl Hoskuld Olafsson the Blue, and Hakon Hallbjornsson-Skalla-Gormundsson-Hroaldsson the Long-Winded. The raiding party under Hoskuld the White happened across a small settlement called Maple Grove Apartments, and, finding this to be a spot where much plunder could be gained, decided to raid this settlement, which was decided in this way:

—I think it would be very good for us ten, said Hroald Olafsson the son of Ingjald the Red, —to raid yon Maple Grove Complex, as there is much meat for our Queen to feast upon and bountiful treasures for us ten. What say you?

—Indeed, said Olaffson the Grey, —for I imagine there is much to be plundered here.

—Aye, said Egil Hallbjornsson the Blue Breeches. —There indeed appears to be much meat for the Queen to feast upon.

—And indeed many more bountiful treasures for us ten, added Egilsson Eyjolf.

And so a fierce battle-cry was uttered and away went the raiding party under Hoskuld Olaffson.

*

Now the saga shifts to a man named Frank, who was the son of Frank, who was the son of Frank, who was the son of Gerald Montgomery Robertson VII. Frank lived at number three hundred and seven at yon Maple Grove Apartments. He was neither a powerful chieftain, nor a fierce warrior, but was renowned far and wide as a man of no luck. One morning Frank Franksson rose from his bed and, wearing a blue cloak and slippers fashioned in the shape of the sacred animal of the spring festival, made himself a draught brewed from the ground black beans of South America mixed with sugar and milk. He then sat upon a couch facing an enchanted mirrored box, which tells the ways of men and the goings-on of the world.

Frank Franksson then heard a loud bang at the entrance to his residence. A group of ten men breached the locked door and charged into three hundred and seven of yon Maple Grove Apartments. Kari Gudmundsson the Grey-Breeches drew his halberd and dropped it onto the enchanted mirrored box. It whistled in the air before cleaving the box, and the wizard inside the box, into halves before the wizard could complete his news regarding the ways of man and the goings-on of the world. The rest of the company fought bravely against many foes. Egil Horkuldsson slew three lanterns, lit by wires of thunder, and Sigurd the son of Bolli broke five windows. Hallbjorn Hakonsson destroyed many fixtures alongside Egil, but one fell hard and gave a fierce blow to the head, which left Hallbjorn unconscious. Though he survived the battle, he was never able to use his head for the rest of his days.

Many more fought with valor, but not all survived the battle. Gormund Atlisson, doing battle with the contraption which brews the black draught, decided to drown it in a pool of water, already full of dirty platters and chalices. However, before the draught-brewer gave up its spirit, it cast a spell of lightning upon the hapless Gormund which struck him fierce, and that was his bane. Thus, since his death Gormund was known as Gormund Atlisson Thunder-Slain. Hoskuld then called three of his comrades to his side, and they together knocked over a great white vault of ice which, once toppled, gave up Frank Franksson’s supply of meat. Having seized a bounty of meat for their Queen and countless treasures for their benefit, Hoskuld and his comrades withdrew, bringing their great bounty and carrying their fallen comrades.

Meanwhile Frank Franksson stood by and did nothing, far too astonished to stop the fierce raiding party of Hoskuld the Stout. Hroald Egilsson re-entered three hundred and seven and, wishing to avenge the honor of his friend Hallbjorn, drew his sword and slew the last remaining light-bearing contraption. Frank Franksson set down his mug of black draught and decided to report news of this raid. In those days, men had no use of carrier pigeons, but instead relayed messages through enchanted contraptions connected to wires of thunder. Frank grasped the contraption in his hand and entered in three numbers.

—Hello, what is your emergency?

—Yeah, I think my neighborhood is being pillaged by the Vikings.

*

Frank Franksson of the Ill-Luck, after witnessing the harrowing raid upon his residence, decided to leave Franksstadtir three hundred and seven behind and head toward the residence of his friend Gordon. He was often sorely vexed by the ways of his friend Gordon, and yet it was said among all that Frank and Gordon were the greatest of friends, so much that, when referred to in conversation, they were called ‘the two friends.’

As soon as Frank Franksson fetched his friend Gordon at Gordonsstadtir, they both rode on to the marketplace, known as the Merchant Joseph’s, so Frank could replenish his supply of meat which was stolen by the fierce raiding party of Hoskuld. While on their way to the Merchant Joseph’s, Gordon assured his friend that he would not hesitate to bring up this matter at the next Althing, and, since the raiders were clearly guilty of a great wrongdoing, it would not be difficult to gain the support of several powerful chieftains to aid them in their case.

—What is that supposed to mean?

—You know, I’m not really sure.

*

The two friends soon reached their destination, the blackened parking fields that met travelers on their way to the Merchant Joseph’s.

—Huh. I didn’t know they opened one up all the way out here. Good to know.

Now, the nature of the vehicle in which Frank and Gordon rode in must be addressed in the saga. In those days, instead of riding on horses, most people rode inside enchanted chariots, which would require a draught refined from a certain black pitch beneath the ground, made from the bile of dwarves long since deceased. Some people so coveted these chariots that they were often stolen. It was therefore common for most people to use locking devices to discourage thieves. Now, Frank’s enchanted chariot, or automobile, as it was so called during those days, was by no means a covetable treasure. The paint that once covered it was peeling off in such a way that one would wonder if there was any paint to begin with. The front of the chariot would heat to such a degree that it would be unbearable to touch. Finally, the window normally found on the right side of the chariot was long since broken, perhaps by a boulder carelessly thrown during pitched battle, and was replaced by a thin, transparent fabric fastened to the chariot by gray strips of sticky paper. When Frank Franksson and his friend reached their destination, the former left his chariot without using the locking device. This was greatly puzzling to Gordon, who related his curiosity in this way:

—Hey, Frank? Aren’t you going to lock your door? It might get stolen.

—Are you kidding me?

Gordon shook his head in reply to his friend’s question. Frank sighed and put a hand on his friend’s shoulder.

—All right, take a look around you. Notice the hundreds of cars in nice condition, probably worth thousands or so of dollars. See it? Alright, now take a good, long gander at my car. Notice the broken window with Saran Wrap duct-taped onto it. Notice the lack of paint, and the abundance of rust to make up for it. Now if, hypothetically, you were a car thief, and you had a cornucopia of nice, valuable cars at your disposal, would you even think of lifting this absolute nadir of automobile engineering which you see in front of you?

—Yeah, but…

—Alright then. Let’s go.

Being not entirely satisfied, however, Gordon on the way to The Merchant Joseph’s once again brought the matter into discussion, which was related in this way:

—But what if someone was being chased by something, like, a lion? They could see your unlocked car and make a quick getaway.

—Well, if we lived in the African savannahs, then that could very well be a problem. But since we don’t, then it isn’t.

—Yeah, maybe you’re right…

—No, Gordon, I’m definitely right. There are no lions around here.

—But what about zoos? Zoos have lions in them.

—If they’re in zoos, then I don’t have to worry about them chasing someone who might try to steal my car, do I?

—But what about the Vikings? They might let the lions out, and then someone might get chased by one and steal your car. They’re already stealing food, they’re obviously up to no good.

—In that case, so many calamitous things will be happening to me that my car will be the least of my concerns. Now let’s talk about something else.

*

Now the saga will relate what was said among Hoskuld the Fierce, Marauder of Much Meat With Which the Queen Can Consume, Slayer of the Thousand Thunder-Riding Devices, and his nine companions. When Hoskuld the Fierce, etc., and his companions rode upon the blackened fields of the Merchant Joseph’s, they discussed among themselves these things which the saga now relates:

—I think it would be good for us ten, said Hoskuld the, etc., —to raid upon yon settlement, known by men to be called the Merchant Joseph’s, that we may win for our Queen much meat to gorge upon, and win much honor and treasures that will greatly improve our word-fame.

—Aye, said Thorgeir Hallbardsson. —It would be very good to raid yon Merchant Joseph’s.

—Indeed, said Hallbard Thorberdsson, —there is much meat for our Queen to gorge upon.

—And plenty to plunder, which may improve our word-fame, said Eyjolf Hroaldsson.

Therefore, the band of ten men, all in accordance with their leader, set out through the blackened fields to raid upon the yon settlement of the Merchant Joseph’s. This was consummated by Egil Thorkelsson, who, with words that flew, uttered this verse from the reddest of lips:

 

Fierce and battle-bold

We ten breakers of shields¹

Upon fleet-footed forest fliers²

To Merchant Joseph’s we ride

For much meat to be had

By the Balder of Queens³

 

1 breakers of shields– warriors

2 forest fliers– horses

3 Balder of Queens– The Queen

 

Meanwhile, in the lanes of plenty at the Merchant Joseph’s, the two friends sought to procure their supply of food, which in this way the saga will now relate:

—Steaks. I have to get some steaks.

Yet before Frank could procure these very meats in the way the saga related, Sigurd Hoskulddson the Fierce met the meat-mongers of the Merchant Joseph’s, drew his battle axe and fought against them. Though the meat-mongers outnumbered Sigurd seven to one, he slew them all, hacking off limbs, severing heads and splitting open guts. It was said among those who saw the aftermath of the fierce battle that none could discern between the meat from the cows and the slain meat-mongers, and so to that day Sigurd Hoskuldsson was known as Sigurd Mincemeat-Maker. When the two friends reached the meat section they waited for the assistance of a meat monger, and rang the bell at the front counter many times to summon these meat servants. After a long passage of time, Frank grew impatient, filled his cart with slightly-imperfect cuts of meat, and left the meat-monger stand.

—Customer service these days, honestly.

Next, Frank Franksson hoped to procure a certain black draught, sweet to the taste, made with bubbles of the air, which burned one’s throat on the way down as a good ale would. He expressed his favor of this draught to Gordon in this way:

—Now I need some Vanilla Coke. I’m telling you, Gordon, it’s good for the Coca-Cola Company that they finally started putting vanilla back into their drinks. I remember a couple years ago I had to settle with Vanilla Pepsi. Have you ever had that before?

—I don’t think I did, Frank.

—Well, you should be glad you never have. It was terrible. Like, suppose there’s something that kind of wears a similar costume, a Vanilla Coke costume, you might say, and tries really hard to be like Vanilla Coke, but it isn’t. Like in The Fly, where Jeff Goldblum clones meat and it doesn’t taste like real meat.

—Maybe Jeff Goldblum cloned some Vanilla Coke and it turned into Vanilla Pepsi.

—They don’t know how much money they lost discontinuing that stuff. Like, thousands, probably. I’m sure people were fired. And now that they reintroduced it, I’m sure they’re going to see quite a big spike in their revenues.

However, when the two friends reached the stand where this black draught was to be had, Frank was sorely disappointed. When he lifted a case of the draught to put in his cart, he noticed how unusually lightweight it was. After careful inspection he noticed six holes pierced all the way through each case. What they did not know was that Thorbard Thorgeirsson had engaged in combat with a certain thrall tasked with the stocking of cases of this black draught. He stabbed the thrall six times in the guts to insure his death, which pierced each small case of draught. Thorbard was then so overtaken by the berserker rage that he decided to destroy each case, that he may vex the villagers who relied on its procurement for their festivals and feasts of merry-making and din. Thus, from then on Thorbard was known as Thorbard Sword-Stabber-of-Six. Frank Franksson grumbled at his ill-luck, and then he and his friend moved on. On the way they were accosted by a free-sample monger, hawking samples of cheese and crackers seasoned in a variety of flavors. The two friends took these samples and went on their way.

—Mm, not bad.

—Eh, it could use a bit of finesse.

The free-sample monger soon paid for his lack of finesse with his life. Thorberk Berksson charged the free-sample monger, lifted his axe in the air, and brought it down upon the crown of his skull, splitting it in half, and that was his killing blow.

*

After the two friends had procured all the provisions that they required, they brought them to the merchant who awaited them near the exit of the Merchant Joseph’s. When Frank had given the merchant all the money that she required, she placed his goods in paper bags and gave him a small piece of paper meant to serve as a record of Frank’s purchases, which he crumbled and threw into a nearby wastebasket. This greatly confused his friend Gordon. However, on this matter Gordon decided to hold his tongue.

The two friends then decided that it would be most prudent to ride within Frank’s automobile and journey forth to Franksstadtir and Gordon to Gordonsstadtir. But Frank of the Ill-Luck, approaching his chariot, saw a giant warrior of the wind and thunder-rider standing before the window on the driver’s side of the chariot. The warrior hoisted his weapon high in the air and brought it down. It shattered the window on the left side of the enchanted chariot, and that was its killing blow. Frank of the Ill-Luck chased the warrior of the wind and thunder-rider in vain, for he was not able to regain his stolen chariot. Frank then, admitting defeat and greatly out of breath, flung many curses into the air with words that flew.

*

Many minutes later, the two friends sat, with their bags of paper filled with provisions, upon a curb made of stone, a boundary between the halls of plenty of the Merchant Joseph’sand its blackened fields. After many moments of silence, Frank decided to break it in this way:

—So, I was right. There were no lions.

—Yeah, you were right.

—See? I’m not a complete idiot. Sometimes I know what I’m talking about.

—Yeah, Frank.

—It’s important to know stuff like that. You know, the natural habitats of lions and other predatory feline animals…

—Yeah, Frank… So, what are we going to do now?

—I don’t know.

—I think we might be stranded. We may have to stay here forever. I’m worried about doing that, though. I hear squatting’s illegal.

—Gordon, we’re not squatting in a supermarket, alright? Don’t worry, we’ll think of something. I’ll call someone.

Frank Franksson patted his breeches, then, finding something sorely lacking in the sewn folds of his breeches, let loose words that flew.

—Son of a bitch! I must have left my phone in my car. How about you?

—I left mine at my apartment.

—What in the hell did you do that for? Who leaves their phone at their apartment?

—I dunno, why’d you leave yours in the car?

—I dunno, I guess I forgot it, when I got done with the navigation, to get here…

—Hm.

—So that means we can’t call the police now.

—Maybe one of our friends might come to get some groceries, and then they could give us a ride when we see them.

—Do you have any other friends?

—Hm. Do you?

—Hm.

—Huh. Never mind.

—All right. I think we’re gonna have to stay here for a while.

*

After many moments of silence Gordon’s stomach gurgled such as the din and clamor the gods of Asgard were known to make during great feasts of mead and meat. The innards of Frank made a similar din. After much perusal through many pouches of paper, Frank Franksson of the Ill-Luck relayed the entirety of his provisions to his friend Gordon in this way:

—All I have are steaks. Bad steaks. What do you got?

Gordon also relayed the entirety of his provisions to his friend Frank Franksson of the Ill-Luck in this way:

—I’ve got some ziti, and some vodka sauce. Baked beans, artichoke hearts, salt… Want some ziti? If you sprinkle salt on them they kind of taste like potato chips.

Frank did as his friend instructed, and did not find this provision pleasing to taste.

—Want some vodka sauce to wash down that ziti?

Frank quenched himself with Gordon’s draught, and, finding it pleasing to taste, drew off many more gulps than was customary during those days. Gordon, much aware of the amount of draught his friend Frank was consuming, relayed his concern to his friend in this way:

—Hey there! Easy on the vodka sauce!

—Give me a break, Gordon, I have a mouthful of uncooked pasta and salt.

—Yeah, but if you have too much you’ll get drunk off it.

—Gordon, you can’t get drunk off of vodka sauce.

—Yes you can, because it’s made out of vodka.

—It’s not made out of vodka, it has a tiny amount of vodka added to enhance its flavor.

—Oh yeah, well, why did the cashier ID me?

—Because the back of your credit card says “see ID,” you moron!

—Yeah, she checked it for the card, and also because I was buying an alcoholic product.

—Ah, Jesus, take it then if it’ll shut you up.

—I’m just looking out for you, Frank. Alcoholism is one ugly disease, you know.

—Gordon, I’m not an alcoholic.

—Well, not yet, and thank goodness for that! And thank goodness your car’s stolen, because if you drove home now who knows who you’d be hurting, yourself or other innocent people, or both.

Now the saga shifts to two men, charged with the tending of the Merchant Joseph’s. These two men were an overseer, Ethan the White, and a thrall, known as Trevor the Braced, who was so named due to a contraption of tightly-wound wires of iron worn across his teeth. The overseer and his thrall were charged to gather information pertaining to the raid, the seizing of many provisions and the unannounced slayings of many thralls of the Merchant Joseph’s. The overseer, upon seeing Frank and Gordon sitting on the stone curb, feasting from pouches of paper, suspected their treachery and investigated in this manner, as the saga will now relate:

—Hey, what are you two up to?

—Squatting.

—No, Gordon! I mean, we’re not squatting, sir, we’re just eating our groceries.

—Oh really. Where’s your receipt?

—I don’t have it. I threw it out. I never keep my receipts. So what?

—Oh. How convenient. Trevor, call the police.

—Yes, sir

The thrall then produced an enchanted messaging device.

—Hey! Wait a minute, what’s the big idea?

—You two are shoplifters, that’s what’s the big idea.

—Okay, wait a second. Hey Trevor, could you knock that off for a second?

—Sorry sir.

The thrall Trevor turned off his messaging contraption.

—Alright, look, as a matter of fact I’m a victim of a crime myself…

—You don’t listen to him, Trevor, I’m your boss! Call the police again!

—Sorry sir.

Once again the thrall Trevor activated his messaging contraption.

—Anyway, I got my car stolen, by a Viking…

—A Viking? What do you take me for, an idiot? Everyone knows Vikings don’t exist.

—Alright, well then, granted, someone dressed in a fairly convincing Viking costume stole my car, and broke my window…

—They did too exist.

—Thank you, Gordon, anyway, so my car was stolen, and my window…

—Vikings were the Nomadic people of Iceland and Scandinavia who, from about 500 A.D. until their decline, around their defeat at the Battle of Clontarf where the Irish King Brian Boru, uh, hey Trevor, could you give us some time to explain?

—Sorry, sir.

—Look, the bottom line is without… Trevor! You don’t listen to him either! I’m your boss, call the police again!

—Sorry sir.

—Look, the bottom line is without documentation I have to assume the worst.

—Are you kidding me? They’re inside paper bags! With your logo on them!

—Yeah, right, A likely story. I bet those bags are forged. I bet the both of you have some kind of grocery racket going on.

—Oh, for Christ’s sake. Yes, that’s exactly it. I’m running a grocery racket. I steal several packages of the same food item, then cleverly place them in shopping bags, and then place those bags into shopping carts, so as to give the impression that I had paid for them when I actually have not. In fact, they call me ‘The Bagger-Thief.’ Congratulations, Hercule Poirot. Pat yourself on the back, you sure cracked that case.

Ethan the White then showed Frank a drawing, in those days called a photograph, drawn to scale with an enchanted box of light (which in those days men called a camera). The drawing showed a wall within The Merchant Joseph’s with a verse written upon it with the blood of the slain meat-mongers, which the saga will now relate:

 

Bagger-Thief¹, they call me

I steal much meat

Then place in paper pouches

And make mockery of commerce

Diviner of Gaul² cracks and

Pats upon his innards-castle³

 

1 bagger-thief- grocery racketeer

2 Diviner of Gaul- Hercule Poirot

3 innards-castle- back

 

Frank Franksson of the Ill-Luck, upon seeing this wicked stave, was in such a state that his face was all at once red as blood, pale as grass, and blacker than Hel itself.

—That’s impossible! I, just made that name up literally three seconds ago!

—I might have an explanation. He may not have been in his right mind when he wrote this.

—Gordon, I never wrote this, goddamn it!

—He was pretty hopped up on vodka sauce, so this may be the result of a drunken…

—You were intoxicated?!

—Goddamn it, I’m not drunk!

—Sir?

—What, Trevor?

—I called the police. No one’s there.

—What do you mean no one’s there?

—No one picked up. It went to their answering machine.

—Did you leave a message?

—You can leave messages for the police?

—Call the police again and leave a message!

—Yes, sir, sorry sir.

—And as for you, Oh! I see your bag is full of steak. I bet you lifted that from the meat section right after writing that bloody message of yours.

—What? Look at how bad these cuts are! This one has two inches of fat on it! And I’ll have you know that your customer service sucks! I waited for someone to assist me at the meat stand for ten minutes, and someone poked holes in all the Vanilla Coke, and your free samples, they could use a bit of finesse.

—Your ziti’s not bad though. If you put salt on them they taste like potato chips.

—Oh, that’s rich, steal from us and then complain about the service. I’d bet it wouldn’t have been beneath you to have murdered all those poor employees!

—What?! Has everyone lost their minds?! Do you see me with a bloody axe? Am I waving around a bloody Viking sword?! Do I honestly look like I killed a single person today?!

—How did you know they were killed with Viking weapons?

At this accusation Frank was in such a state that his face was at once even more redder than blood, paler than grass and blacker than Hel itself than it was previously. Before he could defend himself against his accuser, however, Trevor the Braced had this to say, which the saga will now relate:

—Hello, police, this is Trevor. My boss wants you to arrest these two guys, I think they’re squatting. Anyway, call me back whenever you get this. Thanks, talk to you later. Bye.

*

Since Frank Franksson of the Ill-Luck, The Bagger-Thief, and his friend Gordon had killed and had not publicly proclaimed their deeds, they were declared outlaws, banished from The Merchant Joseph’s and immediately placed in prison. While Frank the Bagger-Thief seethed in his misfortune and resigned himself to his fate, his friend devised possible ways of gaining their freedom, which the saga will now relate:

—I was thinking, if we’re dealing with Vikings, we should petition to their deities for aid. Like Thor. Thor’s a good Viking god, right?

—That’s your plan? Petition for help from a pantheon of imaginary friends that people stopped believing in a thousand years ago?

—They do too exist!

—Alright, they don’t exist, but to make this argument shorter, then, granted, how do you propose we enlist the help of Thor?

—Hm. Well, by offering burnt sacrifices, or showing valor or berserker rage in combat. But since we can’t do that, maybe we should just try to call him.

—Call him? What, like on his phone?

—No, silly. Gods don’t have phones, everyone knows that. No, like this. THOR!

—Gordon!

—THOR!

—Gordon!

—THOR! WE NEED YOUR HELP! We have to do it together, and we have to believe, or it won’t work.

—Okay, Peter Pan…

—Really, Frank! You have to call him with me,or he won’t hear us. THOR!

—For Christ sake. Thor…

—THOR!

—Thor, where are you?

—THOOOOR!

—Hey, Thor…

They then heard a loud crash of thunder and beheld a bright flash of white light which caused them to fall to the floor. When the two friends rose to their feet, they beheld a great man, immense in strength and stature, riding on a chariot pulled by two goats. He was as broad as if the two friends were looking at two mortal men side by side, and as tall as if one man was standing on top of the other. His broad, chiseled face, long locks of blond hair, and his thick, long beard of the same color, were all splendid to see. His eyes shone bright like the sun and could easily blind a man who gazed into them for too long. He wore a helmet and mail coat plated with gold that glistened almost as brightly as his two-sunned eyes, but not quite as much. In his left hand he held a flagon filled to the brim with mead that tasted better than the lovemakings of one hundred and twenty virgin women, and in his right hand he clutched a fierce war hammer that seemed to speak in peals of thunder, stained with the blood of many giant skulls, and for all that had a handle that was far too short.

—You gotta be kidding me.

The great man stepped down from his chariot and spoke to the two friends in this manner:

—I am Thor! Asa-Thor the Charioteer, Thunder-Rider, Ever-Vigilant, Wielder of Hrungnir’s Bane! Who calls upon me?

After a moment of silence, Frank Franksson replied in this manner:

—Is that a rhetorical question? Because, you realize we’re the only people in here, right?

—You, the luckless one I see before me, replied Thor, what is your name?

—Uh… Frank?

—And who is of your lineage?

—What? Oh, alright. Well, my, dad’s name was Frank, too. And, I think everyone else was too, it was kind of a lame tradition…

—I do not recognize this man. He is no kinsman of Asa-Thor the Charioteer!

—Hearken to my plea, O Asa-Thor the Charioteer, pleaded Gordon. I am Gordon the Godi of Gordonsstadtir, the son of Sigurd, the son of Hallbjorn the White, the son of Gunnar the Stout!

—Ah! Thor the Charioteer knows Gunnar the Stout well! Many partakings of meat and draughts of mead have Gunnar the Stout, the Balder of Einherjars, shared with Asa-Thor! Many times have Gunnar the Stout and Asa-Thor to Jotunheim journeyed, many skulls of giants have cracked beneath the Uru of Hrungnir’s Bane, and of Gunnar’s hallowed halberd, called The Whistler. A kinsman of Gunnar the Stout is a kinsman of Thor!

—Since when in the hell are you Icelandic?

—A little on my mother’s side… O Thor the Charioteer! We have no offerings, and no skulls of Jotunheim have cracked with berserker rage under the wrath of our forges, but our need is great. We have been beset by breakers of shields of much wickedness. We call upon your aid, O Thor Wielder of Hrungnir’s Bane, that my kinsman Frank Franksson The Bagger-Thief of the Ill-Luck and I may bring justice to the lands, for we feel that this matter may be beyond the means of the Althing.

—I still don’t know what that is…

—I hearken to your plea, Gordon Godi-Gordonsstadtir, and will with wise words such as these advise you in the matter: You have been beset by those who are in thrall to the Wicked White Queen of the Waste, who gorges upon meat and souls of all men, who devours all and spreads waste and filth in her nest in Muspellheim, the realm of the Fire Giants. I will with much haste bring you to yon Muspellheim upon my goatful forest rider. Though I be of Asgard, I am yet a god of great drengskapur. However, I refuse to bring your companion along with me.

Upon the utterance of these words Gordon of Gordonsstadtir hesitated to approach Asa-Thor The Charioteer, Thunder-Rider.

—You mean, Frank can’t come along?

—Leave this man of much ogaefa behind, replied the Asgardian. My guess is, the man who takes him in will find much trouble for himself.

Gordon let out a sigh of sadness and approached the chariot of Asa-Thor the Charioteer, Thunder-Rider of the Wind of Hrungnir’s Bane.

—Sorry, Frank. Looks like you’ve got too much ogaefa.

—Oga, what? Wait, where are you going?

—Burning ice, biting flame, in this way life did begin. In the South, Muspell of dancing flames, where Black Surt resides, waiting to consume the world in flame, and in the North, Niflheim of ice and vast heaps of snow and the spring Hvergelmir. And in the middle, the emptiness of Ginnungagap. The springs of Muspell did blow North, and the Hvergelmir did flow South, and did mingle in Ginnungagap, and the mingling rivers took the shape of Ymir world-beast.

—What the hell is that supposed to mean?

—We’re going to Muspellheim, You can meet us there. Just head to Ginnungagap where Ymir world-beast lives, and head south. If you see Black Surt waiting to consume the world in flames, you’ll know you’re in the right direction.

—Okay, Gordon, I don’t think I’ll be able to find…

—Don’t worry, Frank, it’ll be alright. Just ask for directions if you get lost.

—No! Wait!

Unfortunately for Frank Franksson Bagger-Thief of the Ill-Luck, Gordon Sigurdsson Godi-Gordonsstadtir, kinsman of Gunnar the Stout, and Asa-Thor Charioteer of Hrungnir’s Bane did not wait, but proceeded to ride the lightning to Muspellheim, where Black Surt, etc. After a while, noticing that the bars to his cell had been broken by the god, he stepped out of his cage and began his quest for directions to the land of the Fire Giants.

*

Now the saga shifts to another man. In those days there was a man who spent his days as a thrall for various powerful chieftains. One such chieftain was a monger of the black pitch of long-dead dwarves which many men used for their enchanted chariots. In those days it was common for men who have lost their way to visit these merchants of the black pitch of long-dead dwarves, so Frank Franksson The Bagger-Thief, the Butcher-Shop-Butcher of the Ill-Luck decided to visit such a monger.

—Excuse me. I was wondering if you could give me some, directions. I was wondering if, you knew, by any chance… If, maybe you know how to… how to get to… Muspellheim?

—I beg your pardon?

—You know, Muspellheim? The, land of the Fire Giants?

This was greatly confusing to the thrall, who in all his days as a direction-giving thrall had never heard such an outlandish request. He said nothing to Frank Franksson, and, to show his drengskapur which was required of him, tried to stifle his ever-building laughter.

—Or, if you don’t know where that is, then, you can point me in the direction of Ginnungagap. And then I can just head south. As you, may well know.

At this point the thrall, so perplexed and amused by Frank’s request, could no longer preserve his pretense of drengskapur, and began this flyting, which the saga will now relate:

—Why? Did you leave your twenty-sided die there?

At this witty insult the thrall let out a hearty laugh, which aroused the attention of other men and women interested in the purchase of the black pitch of long dead dwarves, among other provisions. Their attention aroused, the thrall continued his flyting:

—Hey, Listen to this loser! He wants to go to the land of the Fire Giants!

This greatly amused the throng of black-pitch buyers, who laughed along as heartily as Barry Pahn the thrall. Frank was sorely vexed by this flyting.

—Okay. Now you’re just being a jerk…

—Looks like a raid’s going on in Muspellheim! Make sure you bring your level 70 Dork-Machine, loser!

—You could just say, ‘I’m sorry, sir, I’d love to help you, but unfortunately I just don’t know the way.’ That would have been fine.

—Aw, what’s the matter? You can’t find the land of the Fire Giants? Why don’t you go roll for initiative in your mother’s basement, dork?

At this Frank’s face turned at once, the reddest than blood, palest than grass, and the blackest than Hel than his face had ever turned at once before, and, his face having at once turned these colors, ended the flyting with words that flew in this way:

—Okay, you know what, shut up!

Having uttered these words which promptly ended the thrall’s heap of insults, Frank Franksson began to heap his own insults upon the former heapers, which the saga will relate:

—All you had to do was give me a straight answer, to my very simple goddamned question. But no, you had to be a smart-ass about it! Well I’ll tell you what, when you find your little store getting raided by Vikings, yeah, a bunch of hairy, bear-pelted Nordic-looking motherfuckers splitting your head open with a battle-axe, maybe then you’ll tell yourself you know, I sure wish I wasn’t a complete asswad to that guy who wanted some directions, because then maybe he could have stopped them! Well, gee whiz, that’s just my rotten luck, isn’t it? Or, you know what, if I do come back, guess what? Congratulations, asshole, you just permanently lost a customer! Yeah, what do you think about that? You think I’m ever going to patronize this convenience store? Well, think again!

Now Frank Franksson was greatly distressed and took his leave of the black-pitch mongers. He passed by a strange fellow by the name of Sven, who was troll-wise and eager to help those in need. Sven noticed Frank’s need and accosted him in this way:

—Well met, stranger! I see you have need to go to Muspellheim, the land of Fire Giants.

—Yeah. How did you know?

—I know of many secret arts, and with them can discern much that men cannot. It would be a simple thing indeed to transport you to Muspellheim with my magic.

At this Sven placed a goat skin upon his head and uttered this verse:

 

Let there be chariots of gold

Bearing safe passage to Muspell

Let no man

 

—Wait a second. You saw me in there just now, trying to get directions.

—Verily.

—So you must have seen them all making fun of me, right?

—Well…

—So it was totally cool for you to just sit back and let them humiliate me while you knew perfectly well what I was talking about, is that what you’re saying?

—Er, um, that is…

—Well, thanks a lot, I sure appreciate your decency.

—Sorry, I guess. Do you, uh, still want…

—Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Wave your goddamn magic wand, or pelt, whatever the hell it is.

Sven of the Yawning continued the verse which was begun and interrupted halfway between, which the saga will now relate:

 

Let there be chariots of gold

Bearing safe passage to Muspell

Let no man hinder thee toward

Where Black Surt of the Burning lurks

 

Upon the utterance of this mighty stave, a yellow chariot was summoned, bearing the former black-pitch thrall, now the Golden-Charioteer-Thrall, who relayed his business to Frank of the Ill-Luck in this way:

—Someone needs to get to Muspellheim?

*

An hour of time having passed, Frank Franksson Bagger-Thief-Butcher-Shop-Butcher-of-the-Flyting-of-the-Black-Pitch-Mongers-of-the-Rider-of-the-Chariot-of-Gold-of-the-Ill-Luck arrived at the blackened fields of Muspellheim. The charioteer, before he took his leave, with outstretched hand demanded payment for charioteering Frank in this way:

—Thirty-five dollars.

—What?

—Your ride. That’ll be thirty-five dollars.

—It costs thirty-five dollars to get to a mythical, non-existent place?

—During surge hours, yeah.

Frank, bemoaning his ill-luck, reached into the pocket of his breeches and paid the charioteer his fare. Taking his leave of the charioteer so hateful to him, Frank Franksson then journeyed into the blackened fields of Muspellheim to look for his friend Gordon Godi-Gordonsstadtir. As he journeyed, he noticed an abundance, not of flames and Black Surt who waits to consume the world in said flames, but of many large wooden boxes full of many provisions. Fearing he may have been deceived by the hateful charioteer, he then noticed his friend Gordon, standing by a great sign of durable brown paper, which in those days was known as cardboard, with runes written upon it which read: WELCUM TOO MOOSPILLHAIM. Frank was sorely vexed at this, and took much self control to keep the berserker rage within from being unleashed. Gordon Godi-Gordonsstadtir then greeted his friend in this way:

—Hey Frank, you made it! Thank goodness, I was so worried when I found out you couldn’t come with us.

—Oh, it was no problem. You’d be surprised to learn how happy your local gas station worker is to give you a cab ride to mythical realms. I didn’t feel stupid about asking him at all.

—Even still, it’s a perilous journey. Thor said you might get attacked by giants or trolls.

—No, I didn’t see any giants or trolls.

—Good. For what it’s worth, Frank, even if the man who takes you in finds much trouble later on, I’m still glad I’m your friend.

—Thank you.

Then, still stifling his berserker rage the best he could, Frank Franksson put forth this query to his friend Gordon, which the saga will now relate:

—Hey, Gordon.

—Yeah Frank?

—Where are we?

—We’re in Muspellheim, Frank!

—Hey, Gordon.

—Yeah Frank?

—Are you sure?

—Of course I’m sure. Someone did put up a sign, after all.

Gordon pointed to the cardboard sign, and then a great berserker rage swelled up within Frank, yet still he stifled it with a hearty laugh.

—Oh! Of course! There’s a sign! There’s a sign, posted right here, that lets us know exactly where we are, isn’t there?! Well, thank goodness for that, huh? Because, you know, for a second there, I mean maybe it was just me, I don’t know, I might be completely out of my mind, but for a second I was pretty sure that, you know, upon a first look at this place, I was pretty sure that we were actually in the BACK OF A GODDAMNED TRADER JOES!!!

At this Frank unbridled the full fury of his berserker rage, and with a ferocious howl he kicked the sign onto the ground and broke it in half, and that was its killing blow.

—I mean, is that thing even spelled right?!

—Well, since they’re Nordic, their first language isn’t English, so I’m sure whoever made it sounded it out the best they could.

—Oh, whatever. Let’s just get this thing over with.

*

The two friends Frank and Gordon entered the halls in the blackened fields of Moospillhaim, filled to the ceiling with tall wooden boxes full of meat, dry goods, and perishable food items. Within was the White Queen of the Waste, sitting upon her throne made of bacon and spareribs, with cushions made of a certain red, gooey slime, flavored with berries sweet to the taste, which in those days men called jello, surrounded by her loyal Viking servants who were simultaneously relaying her provisions to eat and receiving orders regarding the procuring of other provisions. The Queen had finished devouring six oxen, and as it was now time for her dessert, she summoned some drone Vikings to send her some yellow cakes filled with heavy cream and instructed some worker Vikings to fetch seven more oxen for dinner. The two friends hid behind a ceiling-tall stack of provisions to avoid detection by the Queen, and then devised for themselves a stratagem for thwarting her in this way:

—So here’s the Viking Queen, just like Thor said. If you kill the Queen, the rest of the Vikings can’t survive without her. It’s just like that movie we saw with the dragons in it.

—Gordon, now is definitely not the time to remind me of that movie. So, what are we going to do?

—Well, Thor gave me this idea on the way here. It’s crazy, but then again he said it worked for his dad, so…

At this Gordon made a disguise for himself, producing for himself a cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. He pulled the brim of his cap over his right eye.

—Frank, can you see my right eye?

—No? Gordon, what are you…

—It’s not Gordon anymore.

*

Meanwhile Hoskuld Olafsson and his kinsman Earl Sigurd Hallbjornsson were about to leave Moospillhaim together, on their way to fetch oxen for their Queen, when Hoskuld said these words to his kinsman, which the saga will now relate.

—Do you, Hallbjorn my kinsman, see that yon penguin?

—What in all of Midgard, Hoskuld my kinsman, is a penguin?

—I see a small fowl, much like the ones we usually see, but it walks upright like a man. It has black feathers, a snow-white underbelly, and it does a small dance. It looks merry indeed.

—I see no such small fowl.

—Then look harder. It is surely right where I point.

—I think that you have seen your

—Look! There it is! Can you not see it, right there!

—As I was saying, kinsman, I think you have seen your fylgur

—Wave to it! Say, greetings yon penguin, and well met indeed!

—I think that you have seen your fylgur, and your luck has left you.

—My fylgur, you say?

—Verily, and I believe your luck has so left you, that you will not live to bring our Queen another ox to devour.

—Mayhaps fylgur is indeed the Old Norse word for penguin.

—I tell you, it is not.

—Well… shit.

The two kinsmen then saw a mysterious man approach the Queen, dressed in strange garb, as if he meant to disguise himself, his right eye hidden by the wide brim of his cap. He had this to say to her:

 

Hail, Queen of the Waste, who sits Six-Oxen-Big

In her huge hall at Muspell

Gagnrad is my name, I come world-weary and far-traveled

To test my lore against your wisdom.

 

The Queen said:

Bold words are flung by Gagnrad, his hall shall be

The ribs and innards of the Queen.

If the Queen proves wiser than you, she shall be

Six-Oxen-and-Gagnrad-Big.

My first question, if you can reply, Gagnrad

Learned in lore you are,

In what way did Midgard begin, in what way

Do men now walk upon Ymir?

 

Gagnrad said:

Burning ice, biting flame, thus did Midgard begin.

The springs of Muspell did flow north

And Hvergelmir south to Ginnungagap, these waters

Mingled to make Ymir-World-Beast.

 

The Queen said:

Gagnrad, you have proven your lore. Brain-Mighty

You have traveled far to Muspell.

Ask upon me a question, the loser of which his head

Shall fall to the winner’s lore.

 

Gagnrad said:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

Tell me, Queen of the Waste of Muspellheim Hall,

If a plane crashes on the American and Canadian border,

Where are the survivors buried?

 

The Queen said:

Wherefore would the survivors need burial?

Surely Wotan needs not Einherjars

Still Quick-With-Life, such men are passed over

By Valkyries, see not Valhalla.

 

Gagnrad said:

Oh, yeah, that’s right. That was a tricky one,

But, uh, you figured it out. Okay,

Wow, this is pretty hard, I sure hope I can think

Of something. Ah-ha! Alright, here goes:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

If Pete and Re-Pete are on a boat, and Pete

Falls off, which of them is left?

 

The Queen said:

Re-Pete.

 

Gagnrad said:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

If Pete and Re-Pete are on a boat, and Pete

Falls off, which of them is left?

 

The Queen said:

Re-Pete.

 

Gagnrad said:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

If Pete and Re-Pete are on a boat, and Pete

Falls off, which of them is left?

 

The Queen said:

Re-Pete.

 

Gagnrad said:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

If Pete and Re-Pete are on a boat, and

 

The Queen said:

Enough! I see through your stratagem, Gagnrad,

I see the name of the second friend

Sounds like the word that means to say again

That which was said before.

 

Then Gagnrad said:

Far I have traveled, many things I have learned,

Against the gods proven my Brain-Might.

When Wotan placed his son Balder upon the pyre,

And sent the burning sea-dragon South

At a speed of twenty miles per hour, at the time of

Nine hours after midnight, and

Meanwhile ten and a half hours past midnight, another

Funeral boat sails North fifteen miles per hour,

And still another boat set out, carrying fifteen men

Northeasterly, at ten hours past midnight,

Twenty five miles per hour, and accounting for wind

Velocity and the weight of each sea-splitter,

When, Queen of the Waste, learned in lore above

All Queens, will these ships

Of three intersect and meet with each other,

And be sure to show all work.

 

The Queen said:

There is no one living who may calculate when

Your son will meet those two ships,

All my lore is less than Brain-Mighty Wotan’s,

Your wisdom wins, and death is my witness.

 

And that was the killing blow for Hoskuld Olafsson, Earl Sigurd the son of Hallbjorn, Atli Gormundsson Feather-Breeches, Hroald Hakonsson the Red-Lipped, Eyjolf Egilsson the son of Egil, Harald Grey Beard the White, Bjornbork Borkstein Bork-Bork the Grey Breeches, Egilsson Eyjolf the son of Eyjolf, Earl Hoskuld Olafsson the Blue, and Hakon Hallbjornsson-Skalla-Gormundsson-Hroaldsson the Long Winded.

—Jesus, did she just eat herself?

Before Frank’s question could be answered, Thor arrived in Moospillhaim upon a new chariot. He took leave of his chariot, approached the two friends and bid them kneel before him. Asa-Thor the Charioteer then relayed these words to them, which the saga will now relate:

—I must commend you both for the slaying of the Wicked White Queen of the Waste. Boons which I may grant upon you include these things, which I will relate:

While Thor was about to relate the boons, Frank peeked up from his kneeling position and took notice of the new chariot which the Charioteer rode upon.

—First, a spot in Valhalla shall be granted to you, an Einherjar in Wotan’s hall you shall be until you fight against Loki and his progeny in Ragnarok.

He noticed the lack of paint upon the chariot, the smell of the black-pitch of long-dead dwarves, the missing window replaced with the thin transparent fabric, and also noticed the corresponding window was shattered.

—Second, you shall partake of seven oxen a day, and imbibe seven barrels of Wotan’s mead each day for the rest of your days until Ragnarok. Third, the lovemakings of one hundred and twenty women shall be partook by you both each day for the rest of your days until Ragnarok.

—Oh, that’s a pretty good boon.

—Did you steal my car?!

Frank of the Ill-Luck interrupted Thor from his boon relatings, approached the chariot and discovered the Charioteer had indeed stolen his chariot. Frank, with a face that was at once the reddest than blood, the palest than grass, and the blackest than Hel than it had ever been before, with words that flew uttered this verse:

 

You stole my fucking car¹

Are you fucking kidding me

I mean Jesus Christ² what

The hell is wrong with you

Are you out of your goddamned

Mind or something, fuck³

 

1 car: enchanted chariot

2 Jesus Christ: god of the Romans

3 fuck: to copulate, a malediction

 

—Fourth, any chariot which you may wish to ride the wind and lightning upon shall be granted…

—I mean, you’re Thor for Christsake, why in the hell do you need my car anyway?

—It couldn’t be helped, I was being chased by a lion. It must have been let out of a zoo…

—Oh, I hear that happens a lot when there are Viking infestations.

—You’re from Scandinavia, how do you even know what a lion is?! And why did you break the window?! It’s unlocked, you could have just opened the door!

—Yeah, I know. Sorry about that, I didn’t realize it until I had already stolen it.

—And oh look, I see the gas tank’s almost on empty!

—Oh, come on, man. You know how much a gallon is now?

—Ugh, welcome to Trump’s America, everyone, where even the Norse God of Thunder is starting to feel it at the pump. Come on, Gordon, let’s get out of here.

—Hey, Thor, I have to go. Thanks for the boons, though…

With those words Frank and Gordon journeyed toward Franksstadtir and Gordonsstadtir, respectively.

And here ends the saga.

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