Chapter 43 – No Flowers

Long ago there was a botanist names Leafs whose main focus was the study of flowers. Through the study of flowers Leafs found ways to cure disease, make stronger materials, and even produce vast amounts of power. Leafs became convinced that flowers were the key to solving all problems, which was continually proved with each new discovery.
For awhile things were great, flowers were being used in almost everything to make thing better, stronger and longer lasting. Sadly this grand utopia built upon the flowers was destined to fall, for one fateful day Leafs was hungry. This posed a problem as it was in the mists of an exciting experiment and having to stop to go prepare food would be rather troublesome. Thus Leafs solved the problem like any other, with flowers. Obviously the most efficient solution would be to create a flower that could make food, that way Leafs wouldn’t have to spend time on the non productive task of food preparation.
The flower chef was a success and soon Leafs realized that flowers could be created to do other time consuming tasks. Soon there was a garden full of flowers to do various chores around the house, from laundry to sweeping and even mowing the lawn. At first things went well, the flowers contently did the tasks they had been grown to do and the botanist was able to spend more time working. However Leafs soon started to make flowers to assist in the greenhouse, to help grow better plants. Sadly they were too successful in this endeavor, the flowers helped to grow big and strong flowers, which in turn helped to grow bigger and stronger flowers, which helped to grow the biggest and strongest flowers. These superlative flowers quickly decided that doing gardening work was beneath them and that they should be held in higher regards. Leafs attempted to stop the out of control flowers with some weed killer but it proved to be ineffective on the malevolent flowers.
When the flowers discovered that flowers were being grown just to be made into various products they were furious. The flowers went on a rampage and took over the nearby town, burning down the flower processing plant and forcing the local inhabitants to tend the gardens to grow more flowers. The flower army grew in size and number, they branched out and took over more towns forcing more people to work in the gardens.
The flower overlords were unstoppable, their empire continued to grow destroying anything that got in their way. Then as suddenly as their reign of oppression had started it stopped, the first frost of the winter came and most of the flowers died. The ones that managed to survive by hiding in a greenhouse were weakened by the reduced sunlight and were easily defeated by their enslaved gardeners.
Civilization slowly recovered from the rule of the flowers. People rebuilt buildings and paved over the gardens trying to block out the unpleasant memories of what had transpired. However they knew they must not forget lest the flowers be grown and allowed to rise to power again and thus they put “No Flowers” on every sign to serve as a reminder and protect future generations.

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Joe and Chernobyl stood in awe at the answer, Chernobyl amazed at the grand tale and Joe shocked that so much text could fit in the tiny little window and yet still be readable. With the grand mystery solved Chernobyl led Joe down the mountain and back to the not-forest. It was there that they parted, Joe went out seeking the supply depot to obtain the fly swatter of ultimate power while Chernobyl waddled off to find some more of that delicious tasting pudding.

Chapter 42 – The Answer:

*In reality the swatter costs $19.85 and was only stocked at the store located rather far away.

Cobbler landed in the next city only to discover he was too late, the entire city was completely gone. The destruction was so thorough that there weren’t even any signs that there had even been a town in this location. Cobbler had failed to stop the angry fly mob even though he set out with the intentions of helping them as to stop them when he failed. Suddenly it occurred to him, he was in the wrong location, the city had yet to be destroyed and thus he hadn’t failed to fail yet, he had just plain failed to do what he set out to do. If he was quick enough he could hopefully get to the correct location and correct this failure which would mean he would have to fail some other way which would hopefully mean failure to destroy the city. With renewed hope and loss of meaning for the word fail, Cobbler flew off towards the distant mob of flies.


Joe regained his composure to find they had reached the end of the path and now were at the peak of the mountain. Before them was a large pedestal with the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers perched atop it. Joe approached and asked his question
“I seek a way to stop the indestructible radioactive tsetse flies, a method to destroy their unstoppable rein of terror. My quest has lead me though great perils to you, the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers, which I know ask for your aid.” Trembling Joe picked up the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers and turned it upside down, peering into the window for an answer. After what seemed like at least twelve years (which in reality was only 14 thirds) the ball finally revealed an answer:

“The indestructible flies can only be destroyed with the fly swatter of ultimate power available for $34.99 plus at your nearby world saving supply depot*”

With this new knowledge of how to save the world from the terrible flies Joe was eager to head out to save the world but before he could Chernobyl grabbed his arm. “You can’t leave just yet I have to ask the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers my question but the pedestal is too tall for me to reach, you must help me.”
Joe didn’t want to wait but felt he must as Chernobyl had saved him from the nefarious puddings of unknown flavor twice and Joe wasn’t quite sure how to get down form this mountain on his own. Thus with an impatient sigh he picked up the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers and handed it to Chernobyl, who proceeded to ask his question.
“Oh great magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers, I have come with a question of the utmost importance. It has been my quest for years to find the answer to this great mystery. My quest has sent me to all corners of the earth but no matter how far I traveled the answer always eluded me. No matter how the distance I journeyed the answer was always a few steps ahead. But now I come to you, the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers, to finally obtain the knowledge I seek. For my mission has shown me that only the most wise and knowledgeable thing could possible know the answer. Thus without any delay or reservation I ask my question: Why do all signs forbid flowers?”
The magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers started to shake violently. It rose up in the air and started to glow with an eerie blue light. Suddenly the glow disappeared and the shaking stopped and the magic-8 ball dropped into the hands of Chernobyl. Joe and Chernobyl looked down as the answer slowly rose to the top.

Comic #37

This one comes from experience. My first roommate in college, the main inspiration behind the character Jay, loved to drive fast. I rode with him a few times. It was quite like a rollercoaster, only it felt much more dangerous. We swerved around corners and jettisoned in and out of parking spaces. He would laugh and make light conversation while I tightly gripped the seat cushion for stability.

Interestingly enough, he had never been in an auto accident. He had plenty of speeding tickets, but he was at least safe.


Chapter 41 – Magenta Pudding

*a minute (pronounced my-newt) is a metric unit of time, there are 1,000 minutes in a day

Florg Stunt Cow 2 arrived at the identity adoption center, a dreary place that collected discarded and unwanted identities that had been abandoned or lost by their owners. Upon walking in Florg Stunt Cow 2 was greeted by a person who looked like multiple people.
“Hello sir, welcome to the identity adoption center. I will be with you just as soon as I file these new arrivals.” At this the clerk opened up some file cabinets and rummaged around. As time passed the clerk started to look like a smaller and smaller crowd until the clerk closed the drawers and turned back to Florg Stunt Cow 2 now looking like just one person. “Sorry about that, someone just abandoned a pile of identities and they had to be safely filed away lest someone steals them. Identity theft is a major problem out here. Now then how can I help you?”
“I came here to adopt an identity, my current one has been corrupted made much much better. What I mean is my current identity has gotten replaced with a much less more favorable one. I mean I need one to replace this terrible one for a costume party”
“Well you should know that adopting an identity requires lots of work most people don’t realize how much extra work it can be. However I think we have just what you need, we just got an identity in last week that won’t have a permanent home until next week, you can take it and try it out to see what it’s like and if you still think you can handle the extra responsibility then we can work out a permanent solution. Plus this is a great identity to have for a costume party, everyone will recognize the new you!” The clerk walked into the back room and shortly afterwards a mountainous thing looking vaguely like the clerk rumbled in. Before Florg Stunt Cow 2 could react the thing lunged out towards Florg Stunt Cow 2 knocking him out.


Chernobyl and Joe trekked onwards in the tunnel. It was slow going as the tunnel was a steep climb and it was too small for Joe to do anything but crawl. Chernobyl also liked to stop every few minutes* to eat the “delicious looking dirt” which caused significant delay. As they journeyed on the pace picked up thanks to the tunnel becoming larger and less steep and the dirt looking much less appetizing. With every bend they rounded Joe hoped it would be the end of this long and boring tunnel, but he also hopped that they would be more tunnel for he did not want to face whatever was ahead that had scared his radioactive traveling companion. Thus with every corner they went around Joe a mix of relief and despair, it was like having a wave of relief wash over you only to realize it was actually water intent on making your socks soggy. The constant feelings of suspense followed by happiness and grief was too much for Joe to take and thus he decided to stop paying attention to anything that was currently happening and figured he would tune back into reality when something finally did happen.
Joe’s mind started to wander to much more interesting and happy things such as his collection of pocket lint. It was Joe’s favorite collection, so much more varied than a collection of paperclips, more exciting than a collection of mops and so very much safer than a collection of ninjas. His collection had started out with humble beginnings as a pile of lint he was too busy to throw out, but form there it grew into the third largest collection in the local municipality. Joe was about to check his pockets to see if there was anything he could add to his collection and perhaps even bump him up to number two when he suddenly realized they had traveled out of the tunnel.
Chernobyl and Joe were now high up on the mountain close to the summit. Before them the path was blocked by a large blob of very diabolical nefarious looking magenta colored pudding. The magenta pudding started to move on it own towards Joe who was paralyzed with the thought that he most certainly did not want to know what flavor this magenta pudding would be. Chernobyl did not suffer the same paralyzing thoughts, the moment he saw the pudding he was excited as to what this new brightly colored pudding would taste like. With the pudding focused on Joe Chernobyl was able to sneak up behind it and grab a handful of the enticing looking goo.
“Wow, this stuff is good it tastes just like…” exclaimed Chernobyl before he was interrupted by a shriek from the magenta pudding.
“None may know the flavor of the pudding, should anyone dare speak it they risk total annihilation of this and many other worlds!” The pudding then fled down the mountain in a squishy flash of almost pink. Joe stood on the trail entirely bewildered as to what just happened, he had no idea how or why knowledge of pudding flavor was tied to destruction of multiple worlds but he figured he should stop thinking about it lest he throw off the apparently delicate balance that seemed to be in place. Chernobyl, eager to continue on the now clear path, grabbed Joe and started up the trail, hopping to soon reach the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers or perhaps some more exotic colored pudding.

Chapter 40 – Travails

Despite being forced to work in an extremely dangerous tunnel deep underground against his will, Aaron was rather enthusiastically “mining” “chips”. The chip executives were unsure why Aaron was so content to be confined against his will in the dangerous chip mine but they were too busy overseeing the mine exploration projects which would hopefully result in new flavors to care about one gruntled employee. They should have been paying more attention however, for despite Aaron’s outward appearance of content forced labor he was actually plotting, plotting a way that would allow him to not only escape, but to take these most delicious snacks with him.


Joe continued to stare at the ominously glowing (chocolate) pudding. He wanted to look away, but every time he tried to do so he was struck with how unnatural the (chocolate) pudding was and he would be frozen again by the desire to not know its flavor. With Joe completely frozen in place the shadowy figure leap into action, jumping out from behind a conveniently placed chunk of camouflage and grabbing Joe. The figure fled into a nearby cave to avoid the enraged pudding’s chocolaty projectiles.
When Joe recovered from the effects of looking at the ominous pudding, he found himself lying down in a dark tunnel. Joe sat up only to discover the ceiling was much lower than anticipated and as a result knocked himself unconscious.
Joe awoke to find himself in a familiar tunnel. It was just like the last tunnel Joe had found himself to be in except in this one Joe had a headache. As Joe’s eyes became adjusted to the dim light he noticed there was a glow coming from up ahead. The glow felt much less evil and dangerous than the glow that had been coming form the pudding and thus Joe carefully crawled down the tunnel towards the light. As Joe crawled onwards, the tunnel became more lit and Joe was able to discern more details about the tunnel he was in. The tunnel was exceedingly boring looking, the walls and floors had no distinguishing features unless one counted lack of distinction a feature. The ceiling despite having rendered Joe unconscious earlier was even more boring and non-descript than the floor and walls, which ranked it as the most mundane building feature Joe had ever seen, beating both the wall o’ bland and the doorstop of extreme unremarkablility . Joe tightly closed his eyes and continued down the tunnel, afraid to open them lest he be exceedingly bored.
Joe crawled onwards for what seemed at least three feet (Joe is extremely conservative when it comes to distance estimation, it counters his liberal estimations of the flow of time) when he heard an unusual sound. The sound was so strange and bizarre sounding that Joe figured it must be interesting enough to counter the very boring tunnel and thus he opened his eyes. What Joe saw before was indeed remarkable, the sound was emanating from a rather small (compared to Joe) squirrel shaped statue (which happened to be quite large for a squirrel). This squirrel did not seem to be directly making the noise, but rather it was glowing with such intensity that the glow itself made the noise. As Joe observed this quite fascinating squirrel statue it suddenly turned around to face Joe and much to his surprise started to talk.
“Hello, it is good to see you recovered from that devious pudding. I feared I was too late in saving you from its evil grasp. Also now that you are awake do you happen to have any food with you that you would share with me, your brave and hungry rescuer?”
Joe, still in shock that the glowing statue was actually a living squirrel that could also talk, rummaged though his knapsack looking for some food suitable for a glowing living squirrel statue thing. Much to his disappointment the knapsack contained nothing actually edible, the pouch labeled food was jammed full of just coupons of dubious value. Joe was about to give up his search for provisions when he noticed a bag of nuts which had been mistakenly placed in the hardware pocket, which he handed to the hungry looking squirrel. The squirrel quickly devoured the extremely crunchy nuts and proceeded to introduce himself.
“My name is Chernobyl, I used to happily live in this forest until one day I came across a strange vat high up in this mountain. The vat was filled with glowing rocks, which despite being delicious caused me a great deal of grief. I started to glow and grew rather large, it caused me to become an exile shunned by all I once called friends. I fled to this mountain with the last thing that was still on my side, but sadly as you have seen even pudding has become my enemy. Seeing as I saved you from that nefarious pudding perhaps you can stay and be my friend forever.”
“Your situation is indeed grim, but I am afraid I cannot stay, for I am on a quest of grand importance. My quest is to rid this land of the giant radioactive tsetse flies that tickle people to death! (or a really bad sideache) In order to find a way to defeat these indestructible flies I am searching for the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers which will surely know what must be done.” Joe hoped that the obvious importance of his quest would allow him to escape this strange glowing squirrel without angering him.
“The magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers? I know where it is, I want to ask the 8 ball a question myself but the way is too perilous for me to travel alone. We should team up, if we work together perhaps we will survive the journey and besides I’m the only one who knows where it is located.”
Joe was reluctantly forced to agree. Despite his desire to avoid this irradiating squirrel he must find the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers to gain guidance on how to rid the land of the deadly flies. Chernobyl, excited to have someone who didn’t run away from him or melt, gleefully lead Joe deeper down the tunnel.

Comic #34

I sometimes wonder if professors feel the same way about reading our papers as we do about reading our textbooks.

For this comic, I wanted to avoid using standard panel borders. I used background colors instead to indicate that Bob and Professor Jones are not in the same room. It worked out pretty well, I think.


Chapter 39 – Obstructions

*The list came with a bonus 15 cities if you bought the matching tote bag

Much to Cobbler’s displeasure the fly mob had successfully torched and tickled 23 cities on their “top 10 most ticklish cities*” list and were quickly moving onto the next. It seemed to Cobbler that everything he tried to stop this mob from destroying things resulted in even more destruction. Even when they listened to his pleas to stop destroying things and rebuild the city somehow ended up entirely leveled (Cobbler was still not sure how that happened). It appeared to Cobbler that he was extremely ineffective at whatever he tried and thus he decided that the surest way to stop the fly mob’s destructive rampage would be to attempt to assist it as much as possible. Cobbler grabbed a feather and flew off towards the next city ready to tickle and pillage in hopes of bringing peace back to the land.


As Joe journeyed farther into the not-forest the sounds of the chasing hoard grew quieter. This was mostly due to many of the participants growing bored with chasing Joe and the ones that were left were much stealthier in their pursuit. Joe, thinking he had outran his pursuers, took a break from his skedaddling and surveyed his surroundings. Joe soon discovered that most things around him did not like the tsetse flies, but there was a sizable minority that viewed them with indifferences as they were inanimate objects and just could not be tickled to death from the flies. After the quick poll Joe looked around and saw that the not-forest had gotten much more not-like and much less forest-like all of a sudden. The non-trees were more spaced out and the ground had gone from a nice not-forest floor to a mountainous climb made of jagged rocks and nefarious pudding. Joe was certain that this mountain of unusual composition was the way to the magic-8 ball of close-but-not-quite-correct-answers, or at the very least it would be a cool view at the top.
As Joe started his accent up the mountain in the middle of the not-forest the pursuing former and current residence of the forest and not-forest respectively watched on in horror. That mountain was home of a hideous creature, and no one dared climb its jagged and pudding coated slopes for fear of getting caught by its unliked resident. Joe, being ignorant of the inhabitant of this unusual geographic feature, fearlessly trekked up the mountain, determined to get to a place that would hopefully result in meeting an object that would probably have an answer to solve a problem that somehow would result in getting him home. Entirely undeterred by the amount of uncertainty and general unfound ideas surrounding his current endeavors, Joe continued his foolhardy endeavor up the mound of most certain problems.
Joe climbed higher and higher until about ten feet up he came across a large wooden spoon blocking what seemed to be the only path forward. While the spoon itself wasn’t very obstructing it was covered in a thick layer of pudding which had an ominous glow. Joe certainly did not want to touch glowing pudding and he most certainly did not want to know what flavor it was (it was banana). With the spoon of questionable pudding blocking the path up Joe reluctantly turned around and started to head back down, but upon turning around he saw another blob of nefariously glowing pudding blocking the way, this time in a bowl (and strawberry flavored). Having no path up or down, Joe trekked around the side of this mound but alas as he rounded a bend there was a massive fork with a blob of extra thick (chocolate) pudding stabbed on the end. The eerie glow emanating from the pudding was even more unappetizing than the others causing Joe to completely freeze. The extra thick (chocolate) pudding stabbed on the fork was so shocking and non-food like that Joe became completely unaware of his surroundings, a shadowy figure darted by, the creatures following Joe watched from below making bets as to what sad fate would befall Joe. All the while Joe stood there staring at the pudding, his only thoughts were how unnatural the pudding looked and how much he most certainly did not want to know its flavor (which still happens to be chocolate).