Avant garde, no?

In my mailbox, came this:

Dearest Campbellina,

I just thought you'd like to know last night I had this dream that you and I
were at the beach. It was a beautiful day, and the sun was just beginning
to set. We were swimming under the waning sun... When all of a sudden a
shark appeared! So I punched it in the face! But not before it had already
bitten off your leg. Not just any leg, but your right leg - the one you use
the most when walking! Then we swam to shore. And had a nice barbecue,
where Steve Buscemi joined us. (Now, here's the twist...) But he was the
shark all along! Then we all barbecued together. And Buscemi tasted good.
Haha, Sea-mi food.

Love, Victoria.


Victoria: What do you think, Leigh?
Leigh: I think you stole that off ME.
Victoria: ...What's your point? There's plenty of Cam for both of us.

To which I replied:

Dear Leigh and Victoria,

Oh man! Two sisters, fighting over me. It's like my fantasies, come to life.

Victoria, are you a seven foot tall valkyrie goddess? Because that would
just, how you say, seal the deal.

Anyway, none of this is the point. The point is this:

Goosebumps, baby. Or, uh, babies. (Sisters! YES!)

R.L. Stine. Robert Leopold Stine. Or Jovial Bob, as he once was known.

You know who I'm talking about. The guy that writes those scary stories
who's just a big cuddly teddy bear. You just want to pick him up and cuddle
him, but you can't, because he's an accursed teddy bear, and the one who
picks him up must forever cuddle him, unless they are freed from their warm,
cuddly prison by a symbol of love. (Love! Of course! If only we had been
less concerned with candy, Carly, and realised that the true spirit of
halloween was to love your family, we never would have gotten stuck in our
flying disembodied head-related situation. For full details, see: The
Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine. Or inexplicably, The Haunted Mask II by R.L.
Stine)

Anyway, I was at Steve's place, failing, as always, to collect my precious
stash what he stole from me. The fiend. I was like, hey you guys, drugs? And
Steve was like, "What drugs?" And I'm like, "Nevermind." And then later on I
was like, "Hey, where are my drugs?" And I imagine Steve was like, "Ahahaha.
I have his drugs." And I was like, "I'm gonna get you, you slimy irishman!
ALL THE LEPRECHAUNS IN THE WORLD CAN'T SAVE YOU NOW, BITCH! FEAR MY WRATH!
FEEAARR MY WRATHHHH!!! wrath."

Anyway, I was at Steve's place, and he was telling me about a nefarious
scheme to pass university through a complex network of underground tunnels
when I was distracted by some bright colours (as I often am). Kind of green,
and yellow and there was some purple, and green. And other colours. Well,
you know what sort of colours one might expect to find when thinking, "Say,
what are the names of all the different colours, fool?"

Anyway, the bright colours were attached to these book-like things, but
behind the book-like things, were some ACTUAL BOOKS.

Can you guess what books they were?

Goosebumps books, you idiot. I can't believe you couldn't guess! NURSE! GET
THESE WOMENS SOME TRANQUILIZERS. And make sure you do it in your low cut,
white uniform. woah woah WOAH. Everything's going fine and dandy for me
today. Incidentally, Leigh, we were shooting a commercial for some recycling
ad, so a schoolgirl came into the studio.

But she was like 10, so we only got to second base, and that was it. I'm not
a MONSTER! Well, second and a half.

Anyway, pederasty aside, I was like, "Hey, Steve, can I borrow these
Goosebumps books? I feel nostalgic and like reliving certain aspects of my
childhood that didn't involve foiling diamond smugglers. Oh, it was fine for
the Hardy boys, they'd succeed every time, but if you didn't. Boy, those
smugglers sure knew how to burn your genitals with their fine cuban cigars."

Steve was like, "So, once the explosives are planted, we just run back
through the tunnels and watch the fireworks. KABOOOM!!! Man, explosions are
fucking cool. Sorry, did you say something?"

"Goosebumps books, can I borrow them?"
"Can you borrow them," he asked in disbelief, "Can you BORROW them?"
"What? Are you deaf as well as stupid?"
"Yes..." he sobbed, "Oh, Campbell, it's my secret shame. Please don't tell
my parents, they think hearing is the most vital of the senses, you know, I
don't think they'd understand."
"Get the fuck off me, fag," I lamented commiseratedly, "I don't want to
catch deafness."

And with a dramatic flourish, I vanished in a noisy cloud of smoke. Steve's
parents rushed into his room.

"What the hell was that noise," SHOUTED HIS FATHER.
"What, I didn't hear anything," said Steve.
"BURN HIM!"

Meanwhile, at the old Sexenheimer house, Cam was tucking down to an old
fashioned book reading, when suddenly - DEN DEN DENNNN - who should a-knock
at his phone than Vegie.

Vegie: Sup?
Cam: Skysharks.
Vegie: Rad.
Cam: Yo. I hear dat.
Vegie: Fool. U doin NEthing l8r?
Cam: Ummm.... reading?
Vegie: Get yo punk ass over here, we've got Monopoly to play!

So, after I lost (impressively) at Monopoly (having eventually given over
all my stuff to Vegie, to prevent the now somewhat charred Steve from
winning my properties - since I had a whole $9... oh, how the mighty did
fall. Whence did my $3000 go? Whence? WHENCE?) it was 1am, and Vegie and
Steve were too drunk to go do an irish jig in the streets (an event which
has been postponed until this weekend). They were like, normal people would
be going to sleep now, but I had to pick up my drunken parents from an
after-party at 3am, out in the sticks, and needed something to occupy
myself. 2 Goosebumps books wouldn't be enough. I said to Veg.... "Say, fool,
do you have any Goosebumps books?"

He was like, "..."

He didn't say anything. He just walked out of the room and came back with a
box full of Goosebumps books. I metaphorically ejaculated over EVERYTHING.
Metaphorically.

Anyway, the books I read were the followings:

Ghost Beach
Ghost Camp.
Be Careful What You Wish For.
Say Cheese And Die.
Night Of The Living Dummy III.

Ghost Beach can be summed up by adding a single word to the end of the
blurb.

This is the blurb. The final word is my own addition.

Jerry can't wait to explore the dark, spooky old cave he found down by the
beach.
Then the other kids tell him a story. A story about a ghost who lives deep
inside the cave.
A ghost who is three hundred years old.
A ghost who comes out when the moon is full.
A ghost who is haunting the beach.
Just another stupid ghost story. Right? No.

No, there really are ghosts... AT THE GHOST BEACH. Surprise, surprise.

Incest Points to R.L. Stine for this line, though: "Nooooo!" Nat let out a
terrified wail and tried to bury his head in his sister's wet T-shirt.

Of course, in an incest competition, there really aren't any winners, are
there? It reminds me of the 1972 Munich Redneck Olympics... this is a funny
story, actually... what? we're out of time? Okay, another time. Funny story,
though.

Ghost Camp came next. Again, the story can be summed up with the addition of
a single word to the blurb. The same word, in fact.

Harry and his brother, Alex, are dying (LOL fagz!) to fit in at Camp Spirit
Moon. But the camp has so many weird traditions. Like the goofy camp salute.
The odd camp greeting. And the way the old campers love to play jokes on the
new campers.
Then the jokes start to get really serious. Really creepy. Really scary.
First a girl sticks her arm in the campfire. Then a boy jams a pole through
is foot.
Still, they're just jokes... right? NO!

Of course they're not jokes, you fags.

I had two major problems with this book. Firstly, the front cover shows a
bunch of ghost campers hiking, followed by a shocked alive camper. What is
shocking her is the fact that all the other campers have no bodies, they're
just clothes and shoes and backpacks floating along. On closer inspection,
one of the ghost campers is wearing floating ear-rings and a floating beret,
and the ghost camper two back is kind of checking her out. R.L. Stine is one
twisted cat.

Anyway, Harry and Alex are neither chicks, nor particularly bright, which
leads me to my next problem with the book.

It's fairly obvious, fairly early on, that all of the campers are ghosts.
Okay, maybe it was a trick of the light when the dude stuck a pole through
his foot, or when the chick put her arm in the fire. But they only get the
vaguest idea of the truth when another camper's HEAD IS KICKED OFF DURING A
SOCCER MATCH. Their fucking head.

Anyway, next came Be Careful What You Wish For.

I wish for a protagonist who can make an intelligent wish. Damn, it didn't
come true.

Samantha Byrd is a klutz. An accident waiting to happen. She's the laughing
stock of the girl's basketball team. And that mean, rotten Judith Bellwood
is making her life miserable on and off the court.
But everything's about to change.
Sam's met someone who can grant her three wishes. For real.
Too bad Sam wasn't careful what she wished for.
Because her wishes are coming true.
And they're turning her life into a living nightmare!

Fuck, Samantha. Blame everything on the wishes. Maybe a little INWARD
REFLECTION and SELF IMPROVEMENT might yield some positive answers.

Okay, so she's a klutz. It's not her fault. She's tall (Not something that
you would understand, Leigh, though I'm sure your seven foot tall sibling
will get where I'm coming from.) It kind of takes a while to get used to
being a lot higher than everything. The air is thinner, for one thing.

Anyway, she gets a hard time from Judith, but does she do anything
constructive about it? No! Does she try and talk to Judith, work out their
problems? No! Does she consult any sort of school counsellor, not that rare
an occurence in the American public school system? No!

What does she do? She strangles Judith. Lunges at her. Nice going, psycho.

Anyway, then she goes home, seething. That Judith, she probably thinks, I'll
show her. I'll show all of them. Come prom night, there won't be a dry eye
in the house. BECAUSE THEY'LL ALL BE DEAD.

That's just speculation, though. Such thoughts of mass murder are cleared
from her mind by a doddery old lady. The old lady is like, "Oh new! I'm
loost!" And Sam is like (for the first time thinking of someone else), "I
suppose I'll help you find your way."

Anyway, in return, the old lady is like, "Thanks Samantha, have three
wishes."

All of which go wrong, and Samantha is like, "Sheey-it, MAN! My wishes are
fucked."
And the old lady is like, "Fine. Have a fourth wish to clear things up."

That's right. Having fucked up her first wish, she then corrected it with
another wish, that also fucked up. She now knew that the wishes were totally
fucked and that she had to BE CAREFUL WHAT SHE WISHED FOR. But she still
managed to fuck up her third wish.

And now she was being given a bonus wish. This is the wish that you wish for
when all of your other wishes have been fucked up and you get a bonus wish
to set things right: I wish that things were back to normal.

Or even: I wish that I had never met you.

Samantha's wish:

"I-I wish I'd never met you!" I cried to the Crystal Woman. "I wish Judith
had met you instead of me!"

You stupid fucking harlot. Naturally, this backfires, and provides a neat
twist. In disgust, I threw the book down, not even bothering to read the
preview of Piano Lessons Can Be Murder.

Instead, I moved on to Say Cheese And Die, which is by far the coolest
cover. There's a family eating a barbecue... but they're all SKELETONS! OMG!

Anyway, this is about an evil camera. Or is it evil? Perhaps it's just
telling the future?

Anyway, we open with the following dialouge:

"There's nothing to do in Pitts Landing," Michale Warner said, his hands
shoved into the pockets of his faded denim cutoffs.
"Yeah. Pitts Landing is the pits," Greg Banks said.

ZING! Take that Pitts Landing, you smarmy muthafuckah!

Some other stuff happens, and then we have the dramatic confrontation:

"I'm a scientist," Spidey replied. "Or, I should say, I was a scientist. My
name is Fredericks. Dr. Fritz Fredericks." He transferred the camera from
one hand to the other. "My lab partner invented this camera. It was his
pride and joy. More than that, it would have made him a fortune. Would have,
I say." He paused, a thoughtful expression sinking over his face.
"What happened to him? DId he die?" Shari asked, still fiddling with the
strand of hair.
Dr. Fredericks snickered. "No. Worse. I stole the invention from him. I
stole the plans and the camera. I was evil, you see. I was young and greedy.
So very greedy. And I wasn't above stealing to make my fortune."
He paused, eyeing them both as if waiting for them to say something, to
offer their disapproval of him, perhaps. But when Greg and Shari remained
silent, staring up at him from the low plywood table, he continued his
story.

Cam's Note: Why would they disapprove of theft? They stole your camera, you
fucking hack.

Anyway, on with the story:

"When I stole the camera, it caught my partner by surprise. Unfortunately,
from then on, all of the surprises were mine." A strange, sad smile twisted
across his aged face. "My partner, you see, was much more evil than I was.
My partner was a true evil one. He dabbled in the dark arts. I should
correct myself. He didn't dabble. He was quite the master of blah blah blah
he goes on and on for a bit more and then my partner put a curse on the
camera. If he couldn't profit from it, he wanted to make sure that I never
would either. So he put a curse on it."

Then there's a struggle, and Fritz gets his ass blown away. Shortly
afterwards, there is a TWIST involving the neighbourhood bullies and their
deadly comeuppance.

Anyway, what really got me about this story, is that I'd read a number of
these as a child, and I was hanging out for a dude to get his foot totally
impaled, because I remembered that. Impaled on a nail.

But it never happened. I was like, "Huh?"

The reason it never happened was this: It happens in the fucking sequel. In
which Greg writes about his EVIL experiences with the EVIL camera the
previous summer, gets an F on his project, and retrieves the EVIL camera
from its EVIL hiding spot to prove his teacher wrong. EVIL ensues. And he is
surprised.

We'll now take a quick break for a special screening of CAMPBELL READS EVEN
OLDER STUFF THAN GOOSEBUMPS!

The year is 1987, or possibly 1988. Our hero, Campbell, is 2, or possibly 3.

In a fit of mescalin-pyschosis, he dictates two tales to his mother, who
subsequently typed them.

These are those stories:

'Once upon a time in a town called Warragul lived a boy called Campbell.
Campbell had lots of friends that he liked to play with but he did have some
special friends and one special friends name was Sarah. Sarah lived blah
blah blah. It goes on like this, ah, here's the good bit. One day Sarah came
to visit Campbell so they could play together. It was quite a hot day and
they were playing outside when a very strange thing happened. All of a
sudden, Campbell looked up in the sky and what should he see but a flying
wombat. "Look Sarah, it's the flying wombat" he cried. Sarah looked up at
the sky and saw the strangest thing she had ever seen, a wombat with wings.
And that is the first reported sighting of the flying wombat.'

And then:

'Campbell's story of the owl and the Vingananee.
Once upon a time they caught the Vingananee who had been hiding the trees.
They caught the vingananee with their guns. Vingananees don't have noses
they just put their mouths up to things to smell them. Vingananees have very
long arms but no feet but they still manage to walk around although they
can't run. Vingananees just walk around to find someone to scare and then
they roar at the people to scare them. Vingananees are not realy they are
just in story books.'

Okay, firstly, if it was the first sighting of the flying wombat, why did I
refer to it as THE flying wombat? Secondly, a wombat is a very heavy
creature - unlike a cute little puppy dog, or an adorable little kitten, if
you hit one with your car, sure you'll probably kill the wombat, but the
wombat will probably kill your car. Anyway, very heavy, and not very
aerodynamic - the whole concept of a flying wombat is ludicrous. LUDICROUS.

Secondly, where the fuck is the owl? It's my story of the owl and the
Vingananee. There is no owl! It's just a loosely pieced together op-ed piece
on the Vingananeen physiology, both physical and existential, with a bit
tacked on about the recent capture of that weasley tree-hiding Vingananee
(though there is no mention of the fact that the mountain-hiding and river
hiding Vingananees are still at large. Perhaps Michael Moore should look
into this.)

Anyway, the point of all this is to show that I'm capable of criticizing my
own work. But enough of that, let's finish off my sticking-it-to of R. L.
Stine.

The last book I read was Night Of The Living Dummy III.

A brief plot synopsis:

Okay, so Trina and Dan O'Dell are brother and sister. Their dad is an
ex-ventriloquist who owns a camera shop. He has a museum of dummies (which
he still collects) in the attic. Oh, did I mention that THEY LIVE IN A
CREEPY OLD HOUSE?

Anyway, we start off with their Dad getting a new dummy. He found it in a
trash can. Hello! You don't root around in trash cans, Mr. O'Dell! It's not
hygenic. That aside, this new dummy is totally fucked. It's almost as if IT
HAS SUSTAINED THE EXACT SAME INJURIES THAT THE ANTAGONIST DUMMY OF NIGHT OF
THE LIVING DUMMY I AND II SUSTAINED. Anyway, bright old Dan O'Dell gets off
to a great start by reading the STRANGE FORIEGN WORDS ON THE OLD PIECE OF
PAPER in the dummy's pocket, which really makes you think... after Slappy
was defeated in the second book, why didn't the protagonist... oh, I don't
know... burn the fucking paper? She could have rolled a fine ass joint. That
evil smoke really has a kick to it.

Anyways, the dummy gets off to a great start with Trina by slapping her punk
ass down. Or slapping her face at least. But nobody sees it, so nobody
believes her, and anyway, she concludes, it was probably just the wood
expanding in the heat or uh... the wind? Anyway, further investigation of
the evil dummy is foiled by the arrival of a total and utter FAG.

It's their cousin Zeke, who is staying for Thanksgiving or something with
his mom and dad, and the reason that he is a total fag is this: He likes
photography.

Okay, the last time I gave this brief plot synopsis, it was to Vegie, who
like Leigh, is a photographer of sorts, so I'll make the same clarification
now that I did then.

He likes photography... a little too much. Okay, sure, there's something to
be said for capturing the beauty of the world on film, but when YOU TAKE
PHOTOS OF CORNICES, YOU ARE A FAG.

Also, his name was Zane, not Zeke. But that's not the point.

Also, he wasn't coming with his mom and dad. His mom was on business or
something, so he was just staying there with his dad.

Anyway, the other reason that Zane is a fag is because he's a wimp. A major
wimp. He's 12, but he acts like he's five or six (in terms of assorted
bravery), Trina informs us.

Anyway, the last time that he stayed at their house, Trina and Dan scared
the fuck out of him, and he ran out of the house and wouldn't come back.
Before he arrives their dad is like, "Listen up you little shits, and listen
up good. I'm only going to say this once, be nice to your fucking fag of a
cousin, or I'll beat the fucking shit out of you."

Well, those weren't his exact words.

Anyway, Dan and Trina solemnly promise not to scare Zane.

Anyway, Zane arrives and they discover that further to him being a wimp,
he's a photography nut, and further to him being a photography nut, he's
somewhat less scared of say, the dummies, and so they go up and visit the
dummies, and get this, the EVIL dummy slaps him, but it was probably Dan,
Trina presumes.

Anyway, then weird shit starts happening. Mischief is a-happening, and Rocky
the nasty looking dummy (not the new one) keeps on turning up? Is Rocky
sentient?

Dan decides to get to the bottom of the mystery, because he and Trina are
having the hammer brought down upon them by their dad. He hides up in the
attic, to find out what's what. Trina joins him. They lay in wait. And then,
the attic door opens. And in walks... Zane?

They jump out with their flashlights.

"BUSTED, SUCKAH!" they shout.
"Oh, for SHAME!" cries Zane.

See, he was moving the dummys around to get them in trouble to get them back
for last year, but then dig this shit, after they call a truce the dummies
continue to gallivant about, and it turns out that the EVIL dummy is EVIL
and they attempt to deal with it, and fail, and eventually they succeed, and
then it's time for Zane to go home, and in all the prior mayhem that's too
boring to recount his camera got smashed, and Mr O'Dell is like, "Dude, do
you want a new camera?" becaue he owns a camera shop, and Zane is like, "No,
photography is for fags, I'd like a dummy" so he gets the evil dummy and as
he leaves Slappy the evil dummy winks at Trina as if to say, "Shit man, this
is going to be fucking awesome." and of course Trina doesn't say anything
because she's a terrible human being.

What the fuck was the point of all this?

I mean, I've just offered ranting critiques on a number of Goosebumps books,
and I can't even remember why I started. Sure, we could blame the drugs, but
keep in mind, a whole DAY has passed between when I started and when I began
to finish (this is the beginning of the end right now, fool)....

I had a dream this morning. Get this, I dreamt that I slept in. I mean,
seriously. I dreamt that I slept in, and then I woke up and it was 5am and I
was like, "Thank goodness it's 5am!" which is a totally fucked thing to say.
You should never be thankful for it being 5am. There's no point to this
story, but there wasn't much point to all the rest of the story either. I
guess, in the end, this story was about putting you two to sleep, so I could
come into your house by cover of darkness and steal your valuables. Or your
valuable tupperware at the very least.

The End.

Love,

Cam

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