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.

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