Olivia jerked awake. Where am I? Wherever it is, these sheets are soft, at least.
She opened her eyes, looking up at the ceiling. It didn’t tell Olivia anything. Looked too plain for that.
She thought back to what she could remember. She’d been in Westward, with her friends. Maybe I drank some of that horse piss. Didn’t that make people pass out and forget things?
She threw the covers off of her, feeling sore.
“You’re awake,” a loud deep voice said, behind her. She twisted around and saw a large, blond man. He wore a suit covered in runes.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Who am I?” the blond-haired man asked, speaking in a loud, theatrical manner. “Name’s Coyote. You might know me as Fenrir.
“Fenrir?” Olivia asked. That doesn’t sound like a name. Am I supposed to know him?
“Fenrir,” the blond-man bellowed, “Fen-dweller, fame wolf, killer of Odin, son of Loki, killed by Vioarr, monster-wolf, jazz-lover, long-walker-on-the-beach, amateur busker, world-famous pickle-eater, 1984’s drag queen of the year, lumber-tugger, and Scandinavian scatter.”
A silence fell over the room.
“I don’t know what most of those words mean,” said Olivia.
“Pha!” said Coyote, “Nobody knows me, not really. I told Odin, ‘Don’t call me fame wolf, my name’s Coyote.’
“He told me, ‘Coyotes are weak. Gods can’t be weak. You’re a wolf.’
“I said, ‘Coyotes are very powerful. My name’s Coyote. The one-eyed man thinks himself great?”’
“‘He said, ‘Coyote is nothing. If the one-eyed snake powerful, the one-eyed man is powerful too.’
“‘I said, ‘The one-eyed snake is why Zeus got in so much trouble. The one-eyed man is nothing.’
“‘He said, ‘I’ll kill you.’
“I said, ‘The prophecy says that I kill you. I’ll kill you now!’
“He said, ‘Save it for Ragnarok.’
“I said, ‘Your mother is a two-fisted–’”
Something slammed against the door. Olivia and Coyote both turned to look. Nothing happened for a few seconds.
“Is this a strange Los Angeles ghost? I’ve read about such things. I’m sorry you died unloved, American starlet. I’ll make sweet love to you, if you don’t haunt us.”
Inch-by-inch, the door opened with a drawn out creak. Someone should probably fix that door.
“The dramatic effect’s long gone,” Coyote yelled. “Make sweet love to me, American starlet. That’ll make everything better.”
The door continued to open, swinging slowly into the room. Olivia saw three black fingers holding onto the bottom of the door.
A black man in a martial arts uniform somersaulted from behind the door, rolling to the chair Coyote was sitting at.
“You’re not an American starlet.”
“Shhhhh,” said Jabberwock, standing up slowly, finger on his lips. “I’m gyring and gimbling.”
“That’s some bullshit nonsense,” said Coyote. “Why do you always have to speak nonsense? English isn’t my first language, but I learned it. You want to speak nonsense, try speaking Norse. Then we’ll be on the same level.”
“Um,” said Olivia, cheeks turning red. I must’ve done something wrong to end up in a position like this. “Why am I in Los Angeles?”
“‘Who are you?’ ‘Why am I in Los Angeles?’ You ask too many questions, Dragon Girl. You want answers, you should read a newspaper. Do I look like a newspaper to you?”
“No,” said Olivia. “You don’t look like a newspaper to me.”
“That’s good,” said Coyote. “It shows your dragon eyes work, and don’t just see dragon things.”
“How do you know you’re in Los Angeles?” said Jabberwock. “Er, um, wait. What I mean to say is, ‘Why do you think you’re in Los Angeles?’”
“Coyote said so,” said Olivia.
“Yes,” said Coyote. “In retrospect, accusing you of being a Los Angeles ghost? That was mistake.”
“So,” said Olivia, voice soft with embarrassment, “Why am I in Los Angeles?”
Jabberwock steepled his fingers together, putting his hands up to his mouth. He hummed, loudly.
“What are you doing?” asked Coyote.
“I’m brooding,” whispered Jabberwock, “like a flower in the green.”
“Flowers don’t brood!” said Coyote. “You always say flowers brood, and I always correct you. Why do you think flowers brood? Flowers are happy. A sunflower? That’s a thing. Broodflower? No. You brood, but sunflower does not. Therefore, your metaphor is wrong.”
“Fine,” said Jabberwock. “I’m thinking, like moss on a stone.”
“I think we should tell her why she’s here,” said Jabberwock. “What use is an ignorant prisoner who is ignorant and a prisoner?”
“You always talk like this!” said Coyote. “You put words together in weird way, and say it is ‘brooding’ and ‘clever’! It is not! It is dumb! Your mother is a two-fisted–”
“Overlord wants to see you,” said Jabberwock. “We were hired to bring you here, for when he visits.”
“You guys work for Overlord?” asked Olivia. I thought they were the good guys.
“Yeah,” said Jabberwock “Um, wait. Maybe. Who knows? We’re mysterious.” Olivia gave Jabberwock a quizzical look. “Yeah. Yeah, we’re ‘secretly’ working for Overlord.”
Rose sat in the chair, while Olivia lay in bed. The Chevaliers — who were apparently Overlord’s secret team — watched over Olivia in shifts. And so Rose sat there, cigarette in hand. Occasionally she would reach over to the small coffee table behind her, pouring herself some boxed wine.
“Overlord’s not so bad,” said Rose, her voice husky like a Jewish grandmother’s. “When you say, ‘techie despot conqueror,’ people make assumptions. And I get that. I mean, the term made me a lil nervous when I first heard it. But really, Overlord’s not like that. Labels are so hurtful, you know?”
“Yeah,” said Olivia. She doesn’t seem so bad.
Rose finished her glass of wine. She picked up the box and poured some more into her glass.
“I remember when he was a kid, he loved goin’ to Radio Shack. I tried explaining to him that Radio Shack was for nerds and that he’d never get laid. But do you think he listened? No siree. Hell no. But I respected that about the lil scamp. He didn’t let people tell him who he was. And that’s what I hear, when someone calls him a ‘techie despot conqueror.’ I hear someone who doesn’t let other people label him.”
“Is that what those words mean?” asked Olivia. This lady seems kind of sad and weird.
Rose let out a deep throaty laugh. Halfway through, she sucked on her cigarette real hard. She spat out the smoke, laughing.
“You’re simple, kid. Real simple. Innocent, probably, I’ll give you that. But you’re just so simple. Must be a real drag at parties.” She laughed some more, actually and literally slapping her right knee. “Do you think your stories drag on? Aha. Holy shit, I’m funny.” She laughed some more. “Get it? ‘Cause you’re a dragon. Damn, I slay me.”
“Haha?” said Olivia. I really wish I wasn’t here. I wonder if my friends know where I am. They have to be looking for me, right?
“Gotta figure out a way to tell my bridge club about that one, without mentioning that you’re a dragon. Or the kidnapping. They’re real prudes, you know. God, you’re fun to talk to. I can see why Jimmy…”
“What?” asked Olivia.
“Nothing,” said Rose.
“Weren’t you going to say something?” asked Olivia.
“What? Me? No. That was the boxed wine talking,” said Rose. “Ever wonder what boxed wine would say if it could talk? I do. Bet it’d say something like, ‘Holy shit, I’m in a box.’ Ha. Hoo. Oh god I’m drunk.”
With that, a cigar-chewing penguin walked into the room.
“*waugh *waugh* *waugh* *waugh*,” said the penguin, which Olivia didn’t find all that surprising. The penguin was surprising, sure. But the fact that the penguin said, “*waugh* *waugh* *waugh* *waugh*”? That didn’t surprise her so much, since she figured that’s how penguins talked.
Strangest of all was the shirt that the penguin was wearing. It had a picture of a penguin on it. Why would a penguin wear a shirt that had a picture of a penguin on it? I didn’t realize penguins wore shirts. Sometimes dogs wear clothes, I guess. And it’s cold in Antarctica, so I can see why penguins would wear shirts. Okay, I guess this isn’t so weird after all.
“*waugh*? You never seen a *waugh* penguin before? You’re staring, you *waugh* *waugh* *waugh*.”
Olivia lay there in confused horror. I think this penguin’s talking to me.
“I’m sorry,” said Olivia. “I didn’t realize penguins could talk. Or wear shirts. Or chew cigars.”
“Oh, *waugh*. Well ex-cuuuuse me *waugh*, Ms. Perfect Human *waugh*-ing. Didn’t realize dragons were so *waugh*ing normal and *waugh*ing judgmental. Yeah, sometimes I’m a penguin, sometimes I’m a *waugh* human. What of it?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be mean. I just…” Olivia’s cheeks were red. This place is really weird. I didn’t even know wine came in a box.
“Yeah, well you *waugh* hurt my *waugh*ing feelings. You know how *waugh*ing hard it is to be a penguin half the *waugh*ing time? You try having *waugh*ing sex with a *waugh*ing penguin in *waugh*ing Antarctica. It’s *waugh*ing cold out there. And the *waugh*ing cops are *waugh*ing calling it beastiality, ‘cause I’m a *waugh*ing human half the *waugh*ing time.” I bet that would be pretty bad.
The penguin turned its eyes towards the door. Olivia saw a grey mist curl its way from underneath the door way. It swirled its way towards the penguin and Rose.
“Don’t even get me started on my *waugh*ing name. Overlord called me *waugh*ing Tempest, even though Overlord made this guy a *waugh*ing gas cloud.” Overlord made him a gas cloud? He can make people have powers?
“Gas clouds and tempests,” the gas cloud known as Soul explained, his voice sounding like gaseous sex, “are two very different things.”
“So are penguins and *waugh*ing tempests. They’re two different *waugh*-ing things, but did Overlord listen when I tried *waugh*ing explaining that to him? NoOooOo. Wanted to *waugh* use the name ‘Tempest’, and you *waugh* wanted to be called ‘Soul’. What the *waugh* is that about? You’re a gas cloud, not a *waugh*ing soul.”
“We all have souls,” explained Soul.
“Sure,” said Rose. “That doesn’t mean we have to talk about it. I mean, I’ve got a third nipple, but I’m not running around calling myself–”
Coyote burst through the door. “Overlord’s here!”
Jabberwock the ninja rolled in after him, too late to deliver the news.
The Chevaliers guided Olivia through a bunch of really fancy hallways. You know what a fancy hallway looks like: bunch of fancy stuff, like paintings and chandeliers and other fancy stuff. You’ve walked through a hallway. At least one. I know you have.
Anyway, eventually she was led to an ornate-looking door.
The Chevaliers all stood there, surrounding Olivia. This feels really weird. Why does Overlord want to see me so bad?
“Now or never, kid,” barked Rose.
“Now is always a reality, but never? It’s an illusion–” said Jabberwock.
But he was cut off by the penguin named Tempest: “Shut the *waugh* up.”
Olivia’s heart beat rapidly. She moved her hand towards the handle. Overlord kills people. He ruins things. He might have turned me into what I am. What can I possibly say to him? What could he possibly say to me?
She turned the handle and walked in. The door closed behind her. She turned around and saw that no one had followed her.
“Overlord?” she said, softly in the darkness.
The room was really dark, actually. Like it was the sort of dark that happened when you’d been on your computer for a really long time and you didn’t notice night had even fallen and it’s 11 PM and you’re like, ‘Whoa it’s dark in here I can’t even see my lamp.’ That’s roughly how dark it was.
A breathy voice responded, “Yes. It is me. I am Overlord.”
Olivia swallowed hard. “I can’t see.”
“You can turn on a light, if you want,” said Overlord.
Olivia reached around to the wall next to the door, and eventually found the light. When she flicked it on, she saw a man in an iron mask staring at her.
“Would you care to,” he took a loud breath, “take a seat?”
“Yeah, thanks.” She sat down across from Overlord. The seat was kind of uncomfortable, which made sense, seeing as how she was a dragon and all. I hate backrests.
“I imagine you’re wondering why I asked you here.”
“Yeah,” said Olivia. “On the news they say you’re not a good person, and I thought you’d be busy taking over countries.”
Overlord shook his head. He took a deep breath, then exhaled. The exhalation was uncomfortably long, but to be fair the dude had a lot to exhale about. Olivia didn’t pay it too much attention, since she didn’t feel confident enough to get bothered by many forms of rudeness.
“I’m sorry,” said Olivia. “You probably have some really sad backstory about your face getting hurt. I didn’t mean to be mean.”
“What? Oh,” said Overlord. “I’m sorry. I was blacksmithing earlier, and I forgot to take off my mask.” He removed the mask with a surprising degree of ease.
Under the mask, Overlord was a fifteen year old boy.
“Oh,” said Olivia.
“What?” asked Overlord.
“I just didn’t realize you were a fifteen year old boy,” said Olivia. This is embarrassing. “Sorry.”
“Yeah,” said Overlord. “Aunt Rose says I’m young for my age.”
“Yeah,” said Olivia.
“Yeah,” replied Overlord.
The two sat there like that, nodding their heads and looking around the room. Olivia scratched at the spikes on her back. Overlord rubbed his nose.
“Overlord’s a cool name,” said Olivia.
“Yeah,” said Overlord, nodding his head. “Thanks. I didn’t really want it, but Aunt Rose said Jimmy wasn’t an intimidating title.”
“Oh, your name’s Jimmy?” asked Olivia.
“Yeah.” He coughed, not because he had to cough, but more because he wanted to fill the silence.
“What are you lord over?” asked Olivia.
“Sorry,” said Olivia. “There’s a lot I don’t remember, and I never really understood the word ‘Overlord.’ But thinking about it, you’re probably a lord over something.”
“Yeah, I guess. I never really thought about it much, you know, because it was Aunt Rose’s idea and all. To call me Overlord, I mean.”
“Yeah,” said Olivia. “That makes sense.”
“I guess I’m lord over everything. Not right now, but that’s the goal. Like, stop me if you’ve heard this, but apparently some basketball players make more shots if they visualize making them. So I guess that’s what my name is. I imagine that I’m the lord over everything, so eventually that’s what I become.”
“Okay,” said Olivia. “Yeah, that makes sense.”
“Yeah, okay,” said Overlord. “I’m, uh, really glad it makes sense. I guess I’m already lord over technology and some people and places and stuff, but I like the basketball answer better, so that’s what I’m going to go with.’
“Cool, yeah,” said Olivia.
“Yeah, cool,” said Overlord.
Why am I here? Though she was a little afraid, Olivia decided to voice the thought. “Why am I here?”
Overlord’s cheeks turned an even darker shade of red. “You’re a dragon.”
“Yeah,” said Olivia. You’re the one who made me a dragon.
“My bad,” said Overlord, blushing even more, putting his hands in the air. “That’s my bad. Me turning you into a dragon was totally a bad thing.”
“Yeah,” said Olivia. “Wait, I’m here because you turned me into a dragon?”
“Not exactly,” said Overlord. “Well, yeah. Kind of exactly. Yes. You got it. That is exactly why I brought you here. Do you remember middle school?”
“What?” Overlord knows where I came from.
“You and I,” said Overlord. “We went to middle school together.”
“Oh,” said Olivia. “Wow.”
“Yeah,” said Overlord, letting out a bit of a chuckle. He looked at the floor, like he was too embarrassed to look Olivia in the eyes. “Your name was Sarah, then. But I like the name ‘Olivia’. It suits you better.” This is so creepy.
A silence fell between the two of them. Olivia scratched at her scales, while Overlord twiddled his thumbs.
“I’m a furry,” blurted Overlord.
“What?” said Olivia.
“Furry’s probably not the right word for it,” rambled Overlord, “since dragons don’t have fur. But, uh, funky times in dragon land? Slaying the dragon with my sword? Getting freaky with the fire-breathers? That’s… that’s what I’m about.”
“You’re a furry,” said Olivia.
“Yeah,” said Overlord.
“You turned me into a dragon because you want to have sex with me, don’t you?” asked Olivia. I hate men.
Overlord coughed. “Yeah, kinda.”
A long silence lingered over the proceedings. Overlord squirmed a little bit.
“So,” said Overlord. “Do you wanna have sex with me?”
“No,” said Olivia. “Definitely not.”
The crazy, zany, and completely NOT CANON! interlude you’ve just read is part of the Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap, 2015 Edition. The mindblowing gag post you’ve just read was written by Billy Higgins, who normally writes the story Future-Past, found here.
Syphax, who normally writes this story, today has created their own piece of tomfoolery for Corpies!
For a full list of all our April Fool’s Swappers and their stories, as well as dozens of other serial novels that will tickle your fancy, check out the Web Fiction Guide forum thread here.
Thanks for reading and remember, the best way to support your favorite serial novelist is to tell all your friends about them.