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


   "[Bing.]  Dr. Steakburger, report to the morgue, room
A-1; Dr. Steakburger to the morgue, room A-1, please.  

                                 - A methodical woman's
voice over the hospital
P.A. system.

   Lou Morris awoke to a very hospital-like bedroom,
complete with pure white walls, two Craftmatic adjustable
beds--with those stupid metal bars, a pay-for-view television
set--always facing the other way (which currently was the
case) no matter how much money you paid them, and a picture
window view of the parking lot.
   Reality hit him:  "Where am I?" Lou asked himself.
   "Righty-ho!" came a reply from a lump of covers in the
other bed.
   Lou sat up, got very dizzy, then fell flat on his face
into the covers between his legs.  His head hurt.  Why? he
   "Goonie Goo-goo!" the lump said.
   Lou slowly turned his head to look at the lump.  "Who are
you?" he asked.
   The lump tossed his bed covers aside, revealing himself.  
It was Corbin Wick.  He sat up and chirped, "I'm The Dead
   "Please," Lou whispered, holding his ears shut, "Don't
yell so loud."
   "Sorry, dude," Corbin Wick said.
   "What happened to you, Corbin?" Lou asked, shaking his
head slowly.  "I haven't seen you since last year's high
school graduation."
   "Corbin?" Corbin said.  "Corbin's dead.  I ejected his
soul, dude.  Needed a willing body to metamorphize in, ya
know?  This Corbin person was willing, so I stole his body.  
Borrowed some of his memories, though, so I wouldn't be that
much out of place here."
   "Huh?" Lou asked, not following a word of what Corbin had
   Corbin shook his head, then banged it against the wall.  
   Lou stared, mouth dangling open, at Corbin's left eye.  
The eye grew an inch; it now bulged out of his eye socket.  
Puss poured around the edges, making a disgusting mess.
   "What's wrong with your eye, Corbin?" Lou asked.
   "My name isn't Corbin--it's The Dead Eye, thank you,"
Corbin replied, wiping some of the puss away.  "Anyway, dude,
when this eye grows big enough, it'll become my final
form--The Dead Eye; then I can leave this scrawny body and
destroy this scrawny world."
   Lou nodded, going along with Corbin.  "Destroy this
world, huh?"  Lou noticed a plastic guitar laying on the
floor beside his bed.  He bent over the side to pick it up,
but fell on the floor beside it, instead.
   "Yup," Corbin said, fiddling with his eye.
   Lou picked himself and the guitar up.  "Why can't you
destroy the world now?" he asked out of curiosity--mostly to
get Corbin to screw his story up.
   "Oh, I can't do it now.  In my spirit form, I have a few
powers.  But, in my final form, I'll have all the powers!"
   "What about right now, in this form?" Lou asked, still
playing along with the mentally deficient Corbin Wick.
   "Right now, I've got zilch," Corbin admitted.  "That's
why I have to go and find Kaye-Boom before he can find me.  
Then if I can stall him long enough, I can change into my
final form and destroy him first!"
   "Kaye-Boom?" Lou asked.  "I played a role-playing game in
high school with a bunch of friends.  I had a fire-wizard
named Kaye-Boom."
   "Yeah, sure dude," Corbin said, playing along with Lou.  
"Anyway, I know he's still alive because I saw him land
somewhere in a forest around here.  Near a lake... and a...
an amusement park?  I don't know, dude.  Some sort of fair."
   "Sounds like Death Adventure," Lou blanched.
   "Nice name," Corbin smiled.  "But this Corbin dude never
went there.  Where is it?"
   "Cassville."  Lou looked at the plastic guitar he held,
totally disgusted by the way the conversation had turned
towards that place.
   It was a plastic Mickey Moose brand children's band
guitar, complete with moose stickers and fish-line for
strings.  On the backside, Lou was surprised to read the

    * Magic Guitar- model # AGX-14M--Made in Asgard. *

   Lou frowned.  Magic?  "Whatever," he mumbled.
   "Well, gotta scoot," Corbin said.  He got up and scooted.  
But not before grabbing a pile of Corbin's clothing from
inside one of the small hospital closets; Corbin giggled
furiously at something in the other closet for some strange
but funny reason.
   Lou watched him shut both closet doors, giggle again, and
then leave, dripping eye slime behind as he left.
   "Oh, well," Lou remarked.  He then pressed the "nurse
call" button.
   Ten minutes later, a two hundred pound marshmallow walked
in.  It was a nurse, all in white.
   "You called.  What do ya want?" she blubbered.
   "Two things," Lou replied, feeling much better now.  
"First, your little wacko just flew the coop," Lou said,
pointing to Corbin's unoccupied bed.
   "Second, I could go for a nice cold Cherry Coke right
about now..."