'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Ten:


   "You are about to enter the dungeon of The Dead
Eye--things are not as they seem and seems are not as they

                                 - A stupid notice
                                  scrawled upon a nearby

   "Ah," Kaye-Boom commented as a youthful wizard walked
into his midst.  "Thy group is now complete!" he announced to
the three other adventurers while motioning the fourth
   The wizard stepped forward, his blue, black, yellow and
orange colored robes ruffling in the slight breeze, making
gaudy glitters on the sewn-in sequins.  "Hi," he said.  "'Tis
a gloomy place."
   "'Tis true, most crypts are gloomy," Kaye-Boom remarked.  
"Especially since the mountains hide the moon from our view."  
He mentally turned up the light output of his fiery robe.
   "Great," the fighter said, shielding his eyes from the
almost overpowering glow.  "Thy dead will love thy new
   "Really?" a slightly overweight human squeaked with
horror.  He turned slowly, half expecting to see a ghoul
lying in the glow of Kaye-Boom's robe, rubbing a vial of oil
on its rotting flesh.
   "Howdy," the beach blanket ghoul said, waving her bony
   "Hey, Beach-Ball!" the fighter yelled.
   The fat human turned back around.
   "Pay attention.  Thy introductions are up next," the
wizard commented, motioning Beach-Ball closer.
   "But guys!  There's a ghoul over--"
   "So what?" the fighter asked.
   "But nothing.  Leave her alone.  She's not bothering
   Beach-Ball turned back to the ghoul.  The ghoul waved
again then rolled over and held up a vial of oil.  "Mind
doing thy back for me?" the rotting female ghoul asked.
   Beach-Ball shook his head then turned and walked back to
the group.
   "My name is Emmerick," an elf said.  "I am an elf."
   "We can see that," the fighter replied.
   Emmerick frowned.  "As I was saying, I am an elf but not
an ordinary elf, mind you.  I am..."  He paused then declared
proudly, "I am a Misty elf!"
   "What on planet Moss is a Misty elf?" the fighter
   "I am a Misty elf," Emmerick said simply.
   "Oh.  That makes sense," the fighter said, although it
didn't.  "So that's why thy wardrobe is so... so..."  The
fighter feigned a gag; "So pink!"
   "No, silly," Emmerick gestured elvishly.  "My wearing
stylish clothing has little to do with my race."
   "Oh-kay...  Next."  Kaye-Boom pointed to the fighter.
   "Simple," the fighter said.  "Kill-M-All," he said then
pointed to himself.  "Sword;" he pointed to his shinny sword.  
"Tombstone;" he pointed to a very large solid stone
tombstone.  He looked to the group.
   Everyone nodded silently.
   He sheathed his sword.  "Two tombstones;" he pointed to
the two evenly sliced halves of the recently whole grave
marker.  He bowed then stepped aside.
   The wizard stepped up.  He waved his hands twice,
clapped, then shouted a quick string of magical phrases into
the air.
   The words "I am a full grown cow" glowed softly up above
in the gloomy night air.
   The wizard frowned.  "'Tis not correct.  I shall try thy
spell again."  He repeated the spell, modifying it slightly.
   The phrase "Meet my blue nose hairs" glowed softly up
above in the gloomy evening sky.
   "No!  It is supposed to read, "My name is Shae-doe."  Why
isn't it working?" Shae-doe whined.
   "'Tis because you couldn't cast your way out of thy paper
sack!" Kill-M-All remarked with a smile.
   "I shall turn ye into thy paper bag if thy remarks
twice!" Shae-doe retorted, wiggling his fingers at
   "Don't ye carry a spell-book, wizard?" asked Emmerick,
the elf.
   Shae-doe waved away the remark.  "We high-level wizards
don't use spell-books.  'Tis only a crutch for an
undisciplined mind."
   "In that case you'd be best to carry one..." Kill-M-All
   "We'll have to carry ye in a second!" Shae-doe retorted.
   "'Tis not thy time for arguments!" Kaye-Boom interjected,
pushing between the both of them.  "Now then..."  He
straightened the length of his fiery robes.  "I am, as all ye
already know, thy greatest wizard--"
   Shae-doe cleared his throat noisily.
   "One of thy greatest wizards," Kaye-Boom continued, "on
all of thy planet Moss!"
   "Yeah, yeah," Kill-M-All interrupted.  "We're not paid by
thy hour ye know..."  He waved Beach-Ball to the center of
thy group.  "Beach-Ball, ye is up."
   Beach-Ball waddled forward.  "Uh, hello--"
   "Do we really have to take him?" Emmerick asked.
   Kill-M-All frowned in thought.
   "My name is Beach-Ball and--"
   "We have to..." Kill-M-All said, although he wasn't sure
if he really meant it.
   "Why?  All he does is tag along and eat all of our silver
food rations."
   "And I can do lots of things--" Beach-Ball continued
   "Like what?" Shae-doe asked Beach-Ball, drawn into the
   "Well?... I can... well..."  Beach-Ball couldn't think of
anything special about himself.  He was on the verge of
   "See!" Emmerick blurted.  "He can't do anything!"
   "Wait!" Kaye-Boom commanded.  "Every party of adventurers
needs a cliche wimp-type person to pick on!"
   "Oh, that's right!" Kill-M-All exclaimed, now knowing the
reason he let Beach-Ball hang around with him.
   "Oh, all right," Emmerick reluctantly agreed.
   "And I'm Connie!" the ghoul said, standing up.
   "No, you can't come!" Kill-M-All said.
   "Aw!  Come on!... Please!"  Gobs of suntan oil dripped
from her rotted dirty bikini.
   "No!  Whoever heard of a party of adventurers hanging
around with a ghoul named Connie?!"
   "I could change my name," the ghoul pleaded.  "And I've
got a nice suntan, too."
   "No!  Go away or we'll go find a cleric or a priest or
someone like that and turn you!" Kill-M-All yelled.
   "If that's how you feel..." she sniffed.  The ghoul
turned and shuffled slowly away.  "I'll go and join the Dead
Eye's evil forces then!"
   "Oh-kay..."  Kaye-Boom shook his head.  "Onward!"
   They bravely entered the evil crypt, walked down the
cracked stone staircase that led down from the crypt into the
bowels and other foul-smelling parts of the underground, then
stopped in front of a large metal door at the bottom of the
stairs.  Then they found out that the door was locked...