The lizard people and the one owl person clustered together outside of the former Barnaby Willacre’s Hideous House of Horrors. It was the middle of the night, and no one else was in sight. The boss lizard addressed the rest of the group.
“All right, blokes,” he said in his exaggeratedly Cockney accent. This circus tent here is where we saw that nerd and his nerd friends go into earlier this evenin’. We know that he has two of the boss’s artifacts that he brought in with him. I says that we go in while they’re asleep and snatch ‘me right up! Right under their noses! It’s a good old-fashioned burglary!” The other lizard people chattered in agreement among themselves. Alan, the one owl person, raised his hand. The boss lizard’s eyes narrowed upon seeing this.
“Alan,” he growled. “Did I leave something unexplained? Do you have a problem with what I said? Because I sincerely consider it a fundamental failure on my part if I didn’t properly convey myself to you.”
Alan lowered his arm meekly. “Well, boss,” he stuttered. “It’s just that, we’ve already tried to stop the Steward twice now, and failed both times. And we’ve been reprimanded by the Grumblegator both times as well.” Alan cleared his throat nervously. “Do you, uh, do you really think we need to try a third time? Especially without telling the Grumblegator?”
The boss lizard stared at Alan blankly.
“I’m just afraid the Grumblegator has lost all faith in us,” Alan continued. “I don’t think he even talks about us anymore.”
“Alan, you damned beautiful creature,” the boss lizard growled back. “I’m one hundred percent positive that the Grumblegator talks about us all the time. In fact, I believe any objective observer can cite several instances in which the Grumblegator expressly mentions us in some fashion.”
The boss lizard clenched his hands into fists. “But I’d be a damned liar if I denied how enraged I am that your concerns are so valid. Your caution makes me so furious. So furious that I don’t think things through like you. Some nights I find myself sitting in the shower, fully clothed and crying my eyes out as I let the icy cold water flow over me. All because I genuinely wish I was more like you.” The boss lizard flexed his biceps in rage. “It just makes me so mad!”
Alan wrung his hands together and looked to the side. “Look, I’m sorry guys. I don’t want to be a stick in the mud. You all seem really excited about going into the circus tent, and I don’t want to be the one to keep you from having a good time.”
The boss lizard approached Alan, and put his scaly his hands on Alan’s feathery shoulders. “Alan,” he growled. “You know that Ryan’s Special Dreamboat is a group of stone cold badasses that will never marginalize the feelings of its members. We will not go in there if you don’t think it’s a good idea. I will not lose an ounce of respect for you if you think we should back out.”
The boss lizard knelt down into a thinker pose and flexed his calf muscles. “Because I respect you just so damn much already,” he added.
Alan took a step back. “Uh, well, I know that this is, like, really important to you guys, and I’m just happy I get to hang out with you and stuff. If you all want to go in and beat up that kid…” He clumsily put his hands on his hips. “Then you can count me in!” he shouted awkwardly, his voice cracking as he said this.
The boss lizard stood up straight. “Alan, you inspire so much rage within me, knowing that I will never be even a fraction of the noble, whimsical spirit that you are. I will be eternally I your debt for giving this mission your blessing.” The lizard backed up and addressed the entire group. “Okay, chaps. You know what to do!”
The others nodded. The groups rearranged themselves into the pyramid stack formation they had created on the road to Heaven’s Head. Once they were in formation, they all changed in unison.
“We are Ryan’s Special Dreamboat! OO-RAH!”
The boss lizard stood at the top of the pyramid, beaming with pride. He looked down at the ground.
“Uh, okay guys. Let’s get down. This isn’t really doing anything.”
The other’s nodded in agreement and got back down on the ground.
The boss lizard lifted the entrance flap to the tent. “All right, chaps! Let’s move out!”
The group shouted a war cry and charged into the tent.
The next thing they knew, they were in a dark and dusty hallway. There was purple, peeling wallpaper on either side and cobwebs hung down from the ceiling. A nearby window conveyed there was somehow a lightning storm outside.
“Guys, this is one of be scariest things I have ever seen in my whole life,” one of the lizard people stuttered.
“I completely agree,” the boss lizard whispered. “I don’t believe it is possible for this to get any scarier.”
The ghost of a rough rider came out of the wall in front of them. It stopped to look at them. It stared blankly in half-surprise, half-confusion, as if it wasn’t expecting to run into anybody.
One of the lizard people screamed in terror. “It’s the ghost of Theodore Roosevelt, here to haunt us all!”
“Theodore Roosevelt!?” the boss lizard exclaimed. “He’s the scariest United States president!”
The group began to panic running in all directions. More ghosts began to fly in to see what was going on, which only exacerbated their fright.
The boss lizard, in his terror saw a door at the other end of the hall. He read somewhere that even the scariest ghosts were weak to doors, so he began to sprint for it. He stopped in his tracks when he remembered something important. He found Alan off to the side, cowering his hands over his eyes. The boss lizard approached Alan and nudged him.
“Alan,” he growled furiously. “We need to move! You know damn well I would never be able to forgive myself if I left you behind in this really, really scary hallway! Come on!”
Alan gulped and sprinted after the boss lizard. The two of them made it to the door and stumbled through.
They were now in a forest. Meat was hanging from the trees around them.
“This is somehow even scarier than the last room,” the boss lizard muttered. He turned around and stumbled over Alan who had been paralyzed with fear. The boss lizard looked up and saw a giant spider right in front of them. It did not look happy.
“Who are you losers?” it asked. “What are you doing in my house?”
The boss lizard collapsed on the floor. “You’re a scary spider!” he mumbled.
The spider scoffed. “My name is Bastiomandus,” it bellowed. It was quiet for a second before adding, “But most people call me Mandy.”
Mandy looked down at the lizard and owl people in front of her. “What are you turds doing? I don’t think Steve invited you. You need to get out.”
The boss lizard watched as a flash of bravery appeared on Alan’s face. The boss lizard was enraged with joy to see Alan seemingly step up and finally believe in himself.
Alan approached the spider. “We are Ryan’s Special Dreamboat, and we are here to burgle your artifacts!”
Mandy appeared to smirk. “Oh, really?” she laughed.
Alan saw there was what looked like a river of brown liquid next to the spider. The liquid began to ripple as Alan saw something completely indescribable and infinitely more terrifying than anything else they had seen so far rise above the surface.
“What did they say?” asked Terrence.
“Oh, they want to burgle us and stuff,” Mandy answered.
“Cool,” replied Terrence. “Let’s get them.”
The boss lizard promptly decided that coming might have been a mistake after all.