Ask Dr. Eldritch

Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
I've had the weirdest thing happen to me, and I hope you can help figure out what's going on. A few months ago, some guy, who I'd been raised to kill, shot me with this ray gun.... Um, maybe I better explain from the beginning.

My earliest memories are of my Master's laboratory. I don't know his real name, he was always just "Master." He wasn't particularly warm or loving, but he was the only parent I've ever known. Every time I see a handsome man with an eyepatch and goatee, I get a little homesick. Anyway, right after I transformed from my larval stage, he started training me to attack anyone wearing a bright blue spandex outfit. In hindsight, I know that's wrong, but all I can remember thinking during that time was "Kill, kill!"

So when some guy shows up wearing the blue outfit, the Master releases me from my cage and I go after the guy to, you know, kill him. But he whips out a ray gun and zaps me with it, and suddenly I'm standing near a cave by an isolated beach, and everything's all weird. For example, gravity is constant, and it affects everything equally. I get hungry and can feel pain. There are long moments where nothing is happening. Strangest of all, I now have complex thoughts and feelings. It's not all "Kill, kill!", but I wonder why I'm here and whether the universe exists for a purpose.

When I found a fishing village a little way up the coast, I was so excited, I ran up to the first people I saw. They just screamed and fled. I should probably explain that I'm about nine feet tall, with rubbery skin and a mass of tentacles for a head. I tried to communicate with them, but none of them speak English and I got tired of the screaming, so I went back to the cave. I figured out how to catch fish and crabs and was resigning myself to a lonely life, when someone left a teenage girl tied up by my cave for me to raise!

At first I was thrilled, thinking I'd finally have some company. Once she got over being frightened of me, though, she became a bit... demanding. First, she refused to eat raw fish, so I had to gather firewood and cook everything. Then she wasn't happy with the way the cave smelled, so I had to clean out all the bones and crab shells. At the next full moon, another tied-up girl arrives! That meant another mouth to feed, and the two of them spent all day lounging about on the beach while I kept the cave clean and gathered food. I've tried to get them to help, but they just shrug to say that they don't understand and go whisper together and laugh. Yesterday there was a third girl left by my cave, and I can't take it any more!

I need to explain to the village that I'm not some sort of charity orphanage, and they have to take these girls back and care for them. I don't want to spend my life feeding and cleaning up after a bunch of ungrateful teenagers. I also don't want to go back to the lab, but I'd like to do something meaningful with my life, like flower arranging. I bet I'd be good at that. How can I escape the drudgery and do something fun?

-- Ed the Tentacle Monster

Dear Ed,

I don't think the villagers left those girls there for you to raise, but were expecting you to... well, that's not important. Return them to the village. I'm sure they'll be fine once they get over the disappointment of having to go back to their normal lives. Years from now, they'll have an interesting story to tell their grandchildren.

As for you, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways for someone to slip from one universe to another. Based on your description, I'd guess that you've been blasted into this world from a Literary Reality. Probably a graphic novel. Your disorientation is therefore understandable, as there are a number of significant differences in the rules that these universes go by. For example:

  • Normal people have more personality than one main trait or quirk (most normal people, anyway), and rarely engage in thoroughly unmotivated behaviors.

  • Most real-world jobs don't involve chasing, fighting, shooting, exploding, attempting to take over the world, or stopping people from taking over the world.

  • Real people don't always speak in quick, pithy declaratives and simple questions, or say things like "Ha! You dare mock me? I shall destroy you!"

  • Not everyone with a goatee is evil.

Most importantly, as you've noticed, the Real World is frequently boring. Time doesn't jump from Exciting Event to Exciting Event, but is filled with the tedious activities that make up daily life. Food must be prepared, dishes and clothes cleaned, bills paid, and the cave floor swept. This is particularly true when raising children, as you found out. At least you didn't have to cart them around for soccer games and play dates.

So you can't completely escape drudgery; it's an integral part of this existence. You'll have to chop wood and carry water, so to speak, but that's just Life. Once you've emptied the nest of your young charges, you will have more time to explore activities you enjoy, like flower arranging. Give yourself some time to get used to the way things work in this world. Some of the best advice can be found in the archive on my website, but be aware that not every fearsome-looking creature has a sensitive side. And sometimes a very attractive face has a monster behind it.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-- Dr. Eldritch


(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
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© 2005 Evan M. Nichols