#1 [en] 

by R.L. Jorgenstine

Book Cover:

Editor’s Note:

Every Atysmas ( or ‘Tysmas’ as the author is insisting on calling it for reasons of scansion ), striking navy blue gift boxes appear o’er the land. There are four sizes: small to huge, and all contain power-up eggs or tokens. They bring great joy.


I’m Anita Woodnode. Tonight I was at the Karavan Temple with my family, attending the Tysmas Eve candlelight service. We sat near the back in the comfortable sawdust among the kipees, as the Space Chaplain preached at us.

“Sorry?” I whispered to my stepdad, “You discovered what?”

“I discovered how to fall off of things,” Professor Beckers Barker explained quietly.

“The true meaning of Tysmas,” intoned the Chaplain, wheezing through her mask, “isn’t to run around finding fun gifts from the Kamis. It is to go to church a lot, and to be miserable.”

“Praise Jena!” exclaimed my mother, Cpl Patty Woodnode. She loved stuff like this.

The Space Chaplain glanced our way, “Thank you sister Patricia, as always, for your enthusiasm. We now read from the Book of The 100 Mortal Sins. Take heed, for souls found guilty will be inserted into Sweet Jena’s Eternal Trash Compactor of Mercy.”

I hissed to Stepdad, “One does not simply ‘fall off’ of things!”

He smiled, very impressed with himself, “Well now we can. Even the Space Karas have noticed my breakthrough. I present my findings tomorrow and I want everything to go smoothly. So please Anita, no disruptive adventures. Anyway here’s a sample.”

He slipped me a corked flask of gross brown liquid, modestly labeled Professor Barker’s Miracle Gravity Gargle.

The Chaplain was droning through her list of sins, “.. 21:Rambunctiousness. 22:Squinting. 23: Yams. 24:Découpage. 25:Kazoo. 26:Flair! 27:Webinars..”

My mother listened raptly. “Amen!” she yelled every time.

My little brother Amoeba Dan was snoring against my shoulder.

I wished that my best ( and only ) friend Amber-soo was here. But not tonight. She was on a date and I was worried.

What if she fell in love and had no time for me? On account of all the kissing? Who would I go on adventures with? With whom would I slap high-fives?

“.. 49:Weevils. 50:Pantone Blue. 51:Darren. 52:Crocs. 53:Roller Derby. 54:Jazz Hands..”


Tysmas Morn! Yes! I awoke and found everyone already up and in the kitchen. Eating, drinking, laughing.

Professor Stepdad was cracking jokes to Amoeba Dan. Corporal Mom was chatting with her bad-girl sister Joan Reitzak from Silan, and her cool bartender brother Liffan Ba'Naer.

Sprinkles the family yubo was out on the dock, barking at Joan’s Kipesta Flappy Tim.

Amoeba Dan cheered when he saw me. “Yay you are finally up! Mom, now can I go hunting for presents? Anita can go with me! I promise we’ll stay in the q50 regions. Pleeease?”

Mom was frowning at her Fairhaven Police blotter, “Danny there is some bad news. It seems that –”

Amber-soo burst in the back door without knocking, “The gifts! They are gone! They are all gone!”


“Waaa!” cried little Amoeba Dan inconsolably, “Tysmas is ruined!”

Amber-soo just grabbed us both and herded us out the front door.

“Waaa!” cried little Amoeba Dan inconsolably, “Amber is being weird!”

On the dock, Amber-soo said angrily, “I know who stole them too! Aighgh!” she noticed the massive kipesta and jumped back in alarm.

“Relax,” I laughed, “Flappy Tim is tame. He’s Aunt Joan’s mount.”

“Oh her! Why doesn’t your mother arrest your aunt? Joan Reitzak is a bandit. She punches noobs in the face.”

“Waaa!” cried little Amoeba Dan inconsolably, “This is so off-topic!”

“Amber,” I frowned, “Who stole the gifts? Was it the Cutes?”

We all spat on the dock. But Amber-soo shook her head. “No, it wasn’t the Cutes.”

“Hmm,” I frowned harder, “Was it the Marauders?”

We all spat on the dock. But Amber-soo shook her head. “No, it wasn’t the Marauders.”

“Hmm,” I frowned mega hard, “Was it the Matis?”

We started spitting again, but Amber-soo yelled, “Will you shut up!? It was the the Space Karavans!”

“What!? No!!”


Amber-soo explained more, “Yes! So I went on this date last night right?”

I nodded, “Uh-huh. When is the wedding?”

Amoeba Dan yelled, “Ha ha! Amber gots the hornchers for a boy!!”

She shoved us, “Oh grow up, Woodnodes. You should be happy for me.”

“I am,” I lied, “Tell me about him then. What is his name?”

“He’s a Space Karavan. His name is Spock. And he said that – ”

“Spock?” I spluttered, “Seriously?”

“What?” she snapped, “It is a very common name! Like, half the dudes in Space are called Spock.”

“Fair enough. I’m happy for you and Spock.” I patted her shoulder.

“The thing is, he got a bit drunk and he said some things. Such as: the Space Karas will take all the gifts tonight. I thought he was joking at the time. But now..”

I winced, “Ooo. My folks are heavily into Karavan stuff. They won’t want to hear this.”

“No-duh. That’s why I moved us outside. Grown-ups can’t fix anything.”

“True, true. But also, what can three dumb kids do about it?”

“I don’t know!” Amber-soo scratched her head, “But Spock is meeting me soon. We’ll interrogate him.”

Little Amoeba Dan punched his fist into his other hand, “Sweet! Let’s make Spock talk!”

We slapped high fives.


The Weeny Ragus was empty this morning. Yet we heard sobbing. Very high pitched sobbing.

Under a table we found a tiny gnome dressed in disturbingly tight red pants, flopped in front of a huge shookitini. He drank it with both hands while bawling in absolute despair.

“I’m also sad,” little Amoeba Dan nudged me, “Can I drink myself happy too?”

I approached the miserable Lutrykin and sat beside him, “Hi little guy, I’m Anita. What is your name?”

“I’m Disco. Boo hooooo! All year we worked to make the gifts! And now they are gone! Bwa bwooooo!”

“Did some Space Karavans take the gifts, Disco?”

“No, it was kinchers! Hundreds of kinchers! Bla bloooooo!”

Disco the Tysmas Elf dunked his entire head into the drink and his blubs bubbled up. I gently pulled him out and sat him down, “There-there. Where did the kinchers go?”

The dripping munchkin cried, “Nobody knows! Please, I can’t be happy unless someone saves Tysmas! I’m too small, but you are a kind, giant lady with two helpers!”

“Helpers!?” my helpers spluttered angrily.

“We will find the gifts,” I vowed solemnly.

“Yaaaay!” he piped in a twee squeal, and began a magical but inappropriately suggestive disco-dance. Replete with sound effects. We glanced awkwardly at each other. The dance conjured an egg in his hands. A big egg. A Disco Egg.

“I present thee with a mighty weapon!” he squeaked, “When in danger, crack it open, but don’t stand too close! Tee hee heeeee!”

With that, Disco began to rumba on down to the snow-globe, and disappeared back to Atysoël Town in a puff of glam.

I stood up, slurping the large girly drink that remained. “So who did it? Karas or kinchers?”


Presently a boy about our age in a Karavan Space Suit walked up, waving shyly at Amber-soo, “Hello Amber! Oh! You brought your friends. That’s cool too – Ack!”

Amber-soo grabbed him, “Start talking, Space-boy. The children’s gifts are gone and you admitted that you are involved.”

“Oh..” he stammered, looking at her angry face, “I thought this was our second date.”

“Tell us what happened or it might be your first funeral!” Amber-soo snapped, gesturing back to Flappy Tim out by the apartments. Spock gulped. He was terrified of this planet full of giant monsters, violent tribes and powerful CSRs.

“Why are you blaming me?” he complained, “I was against all this! Do you think that the Space Grown-ups require my permission or something?”

You couldn’t argue with Spock’s logic. Amber-soo released him.

“Listen,” he said quietly, “The Ministry of Atysian Plundering took the gifts last night. They used a horde of MiniKinch™ grinchbots with gift-homing joydar.”

“Why? You don’t need speed eggs! You have Space Ships and whatnot!”

Spock nodded, “Exactly. They just dump the contents. It is the fragile egg-shaped internal containers that they want. They are perfect for Jena Juice.”

Appalling! “They destroyed the children’s gifts .. for the eggshells!? What is this Jena Juice?”

Spock ticked off the ingredients on his fingers, “First, you get all the Lumper Love Barf you can get, then you ferment it in a well-used septic tank, then you add *more* Lumper Love Barf, then you add Space Sharts –”

“WHY!?” we all screamed.

“Well, you put the Jena Juice in the eggs. Then you fling the eggs at sinners. To teach them a lesson.”

Amber-soo grabbed her forehead, “Un-kipucking-believable..”

He continued sheepishly, “Yeah. Anyone caught committing the 1000 Mortal Sins is in for a good Juicing.”

“You mean the 100 Sins,” I corrected sadly.

“No 1000. You’re only taught the simplified, remedial version for Trykers and other Cave Men.”

How insulting! “Rawrrrr!” we gibbered, jumping up and down. I brandished my spear.

Anyway now we knew enough. I leaned on the bar despondently, “It is over then. We were too late.”

Spock looked hopeful, “Maybe not. The gifts aren’t processed until later today I think. They are currently stacked on an orbiting Jena Juice factory platform called the Barf Barge.”

Good news at last! Amber-soo took his hand, “Perfect. Take us there.”


Spock pulled back in alarm, “I can’t! I’ll suffocate!”

Amoeba Dan laughed, “You big derp! You are literally wearing a Space Suit!”

“No I’m not! Why would I wear a Space Suit down here? This is a Jena Suit! It keeps all the sin out, and all the Jena in!”

“Eww!” we yelled.

Spock was not impressed with our cultural insensitivity. “The point is, it isn’t airtight.”

“Where do they keep the real Space Suits?”

“No idea,” he shrugged, “And it doesn’t even matter. You guys don’t need them. Your race is still hundreds of years away from discovering how to die of explosive decompression in the icy vacuum of Space.”

I decided to ponder that one later. “Good. So now we just need to get up there somehow.”

Spock glanced around nervously, “Look .. possibly I could procure 3 teleport pacts to the Barf Barge. I’ve seen them in the shuttle-craft. But guys, this isn’t exactly legal. Don’t draw *any* attention to yourselves up there, understand?”

“Trust us,” Amber-soo hugged him happily, “They won’t even know we were there.”


We stood under the glorious stars and nebulae, on the edge of the massive Barf Barge, far higher than the Canopy Branches. Looking downwards, I could see from the Lagoons of Loria all the way to Fount.

On the left side of the barge many MiniKinch™ grinchbots sat dormant. On the right side was a massive wall of stolen gift boxes. Between them: a giant vat of chunky slimy greenish Jena Juice. Techno Stuff whirred and kept everything balanced.

The place seemed deserted. The bottling festival clearly hadn’t started yet.

“How will we return so many gifts?” I asked, “Where are the Space Shuttles? There is nothing on this platform except grinchbots, gifts, and religious fluid.”

“And me!” a voice behind us barked, “Freeze, scumbags! Hands up!”


We whirled to see a short, fat, bald man in a blue Space Suit pointing a Ray-Gun at us. His name tag read: “Walt Spacinski: Juice Cop.”

“Gotcha! You Tryker brats are in big trouble! I’ve disabled your teleport pacts. I hope you all like hard labor in the Science Mines.”

“Please Officer,” I pleaded, “All we want is to return the gifts to the sad children. Is that so wrong?”

“Sorry Missy,” he seemed to be enjoying this, “They don’t pay me enough to afford a conscience.”

“It is Tysmas! Can’t you just pretend you didn’t see us? We don’t need to fight.”

“Fight!? Lol! Kid, I’m wearing powered Space Armor, and you are wearing q60 turquoise LA with food stains. What is this – amateur hour?”

“These are pajamas,” I said, but then I had ... =: A Good Idea :=

With a victory cry, I tossed the Disco Egg to the far corner of the Barf Barge.

It cracked open. A tiny yubo emerged. It peed.

I won’t lie to you, I had been hoping for more.

Spacinski rolled his annoying eyes, “Lame-o.”

But then it grew bigger. And Bigger. AND BIGGER! Our captor’s smirk was fading. “Alright kids that’s enough – this barge isn’t made for – Woah!”

The entire floor lurched. The yubo was as big as a ploderos now and still growing!

“What have you done!?” Walt howled, stumbling forward, beginning to slide, shooting at the monster uselessly, “The Techno Stuff is failing! You’ll blow us to Space Smithereens!”

The yubo was beyond huge now, and the deck groaned and tilted down towards it. Walt Spacinski: Juice Cop slid over the edge and with single Wilhelm scream, was gone.

Amber-soo clung to my arm for balance, “Wow! Karavans really *can* fall off of things! He’ll be fine, right?”

“Anita what *is* that monster?” shouted Dan as the yubo grew bigger than the biggest, most bossiest boss.

I shouted back, “The Disco Egg was labeled: Yubohohohohoho.”

“Aighgh!” Little Amoeba Dan screamed, “Too many ho’s!”

“Warning!” a Robot Voice boomed as a siren started wailing, “Barge Will Self Destruct in …”


“… 9 … 8 … 7 ...”

The gifts and the MiniKinch™ grinchbots were sliding over the edge. The vat of reeking Jena Juice was overflowing in huge disgusting blobs. Sparks flew and smoke billowed from the Techno Stuff.

“We need to go NOW!” Amoeba Dan hollered, trying in vain to leap off the edge.

“… 6 … 5 … 4 ...”

“We’re doomed!” Amber-soo scrunched up her face and started crying.

Then I had … =★ A Great Idea ★=

I fished in my bag and retrieved Professor Barker’s Miracle Gravity Gargle!

“Quickly!” I tipped some into my mouth, passing the flask to the others. We stood together on a doomed orbital Barf Barge gargling brown liquid in three-part harmony.

This was not how I had expected my Tysmas Day would go.

“… 3 … 2 ...”

The gargle worked! Suddenly, falling off of things seemed simple! We jumped, and down we plummeted.

Barf Barge went BOOOOM!


Adrift between Space and Atys! So peaceful. Around us floated thousands of gifts and several grinchbots, saying things like “error!”, “meep morp”, and that sort of crap.

But soon the wind was rushing more strongly past my ears. I began to wonder if it was actually 100% safe to fall off of things. In fact I was quickly becoming convinced that it wasn’t very safe at all.

The ground was getting much closer. And much faster.

Amoeba Dan gulped, “We gonna splat.”

Amber-soo gathered me and Amoeba Dan into an airborne group-hug, “Yep. Hey guys, at least we saved Tysmas.”

It all felt surreal. I laughed sadly, snatched a nearby floating gift box. “I guess we still have time to open a few presents before we .. you know.”

Dan sniffled, “I like speed eggs. But we sure don’t need any extra speed right now..”

Then I had ... =© A Freakin’ Amazeballs Idea ©=

“OMG!” I squawked, “The huge presents contain invulnerability eggs! Quick! Float around! Find them! Open and eat them! Hurry Hurry!”

Along with this hope came panic. Fairhaven was rushing up to meet us.


Dr. Beckers Barker stood anxiously on the beach near the Karavan Teleporter. Many important Karavans, such as the Space Pope and the Space Rear Admiral, sat in the rows of chairs before him.

Intimidating. Trykers hadn’t even discovered how to sit in chairs yet.

The Space Pope began, “Professor, this could be a pivotal moment for your primitive, smelly species.”

“Thank you, Your Supreme Massiveness,” Beckers simped.

The Space Rear Admiral explained the rules, “Demonstrate that you fully grok how to fall off of things, and we just might invite your paltry race into the Intergalactic Mega Club of Win. You may proceed.”

“Well,” Beckers stuttered, “The idea came to me when I was spectacularly drunk one night – hold on, what is that sound?”

It was the sound of three kids screaming. Louder and louder. He recognized the voices. Looking skyward, his heart sank, “Oh no kids.. not now..”

Yes now! Anita, Amoeba Dan, and Amber-soo shot out of the sky into the water, shrieking and cursing like three very unladylike cannonballs. They drenched Beckers and the Karavan assembly with a thunderous SPLOOSH!

Beckers’ two stepkids and their friend stood up in the water, looking truly shocked. They grabbed their body parts to make sure everything was still there.

Then they cheered, hugged each other, slapped high-fives, and ran joyfully away doing cartwheels, apparently delighted just to be alive.

Horrified, Beckers turned back to the officials, who were now soaking wet and covered in seaweed and clopper spawn, “Your Hugenesses, a thousand apologies! I am so sorry about .. about whatever the heck that even was. Please – ”

But they were clapping! They were giving him standing ovation!


“Well done, Professor Barker!” The Space Rear Admiral enthused, “What a brilliant demonstration of falling off of things! Welcome, Trykers, into the Intergalacti – ”

Then a MiniKinch™ grinchbot splashed into the water, drenching them again. Then three more.

“Ga!” spluttered the Space Pope, spitting out seawater, “Yes Professor, outstanding. Feel free to stop the demonstration now. Ack!”

Splash! Kerplunk! Kerplooie! The dignitaries were coughing and gasping for breath after so many face-fulls of tepid, brackish water.

“Please!” they choked, “For the love of Jena! Stop!”

Finally there was some peace and quiet.

Beckers said, “Umm – ”

That’s when the mighty wobbling blob of Jena Juice splashed down right on top of the delegation with a tremendously moist roar! Loud as a sticky Virginia Falls of mucus! They were blown off their seats, ka-JJ’d from head to toe!

Beckers covered his face in dismay. He couldn’t help but worry that this unexpected development might negatively impact their impression of his lecture.

“No!” he sobbed into his hands, “At least things can’t get any – ”

On cue, the behemothic Yubohohohohoho came squealing out of the sky and ‘sploded into a bazillion red streamers of chunks, sternums, colons, googe, lymph nodes, nostrils, and prostate glands.

It buried the entire delegation in a glistening purple megapudding of festive Tysmas gibs.

Up on the hill, at the Kami teleporter, the Sentinels were laughing their furry white butts off, and the little Kami Bear went clap clap clap clap clap!


We three kids stood happily on the beach, as homins ran about joyfully and endless gifts continued to flutter down from on high.

To nobody’s surprise, the sticky dignitaries had gone. Probably to a different galaxy. A large cleanup crew was hosing down the teleporter area.

Amber-soo was trying to reach Spock on his Space Phone but he wasn’t answering for some reason.

Professor Stepdad was wandering about in a daze. We called him over.

“Hi Beckers,” I waved innocently, “How was the presentation?”

“There were a few little .. hiccups,” he glowered, pointing at each of us in turn.

But he stood with us as we enjoyed the merry Tysmas tableau unfolding around Fairhaven. Finally he said grudgingly, “Nice work returning all the gifts though. You’re good kids, even if you keep ruining my entire life.”

Jolly Tysmas to all!


Addendum 1 to the Immutable Book of The 100 Mortal Sins for Dummies and Trykers
101:Falling off of things.
Last visit Friday, 19 July 12:01:55 UTC

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