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Every Grog Has Its Day
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Chapter 5: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder
Guybrush wasn’t sure anyone was actually there until he heard the voice speak again.
“Trade you this ‘ere monkey for them shoes.”
“Nice monkey, but I like my shoes.”
“What about this coil of rope?”
“Forget about it.”
“A banana picker?”
“Tempting. Maybe I’ll come back later.”
The spook shifted impatiently, and Guybrush could just barely see a belt buckle or two glimmer as it caught the light. Other than that, the fellow remained darker than the shadows in which he was reclused.
Guybrush wandered away, hopelessly confused and disoriented. Sure, it wasn’t the first time he’d sneaked aboard a pirate ship of the undead, but then he’d had a mission, a plan, a reason…
“Elaine,” Guybrush thought, wondering what she was doing right now. It was nearly morning, though the ship was locked in a dense fog, preventing Guybrush from calculating the precise time or their location. All of this was messed up anyway.
“I don’t even know what the Ultimate Intoxicant is!” he grumbled.
“I can help you with that.” A skeleton lounging against a deck rail raised a finger.
Guybrush meandered over, trying to conceal both amusement and glee. Not only would he learn the significance of the Ultimate Intoxicant, but this poor undead sailor had a large pair of ears affixed to the side of his head. Murray would be embittered forever if he could see how much better this prostheses was than his own.
“Who are you?” asked Guybrush, attempting a little friendly conversation.
“One-Ear Pete- Well, actually, I used to be One-Ear Pete. Now I’m just Pete. After Captain Tiddlywink killed me and the rest of the crew, I won these ears playing First Mate Sam’s ‘You’ve Got Nothing Game.’”
“And they’re quite… noticeable.”
“And look! They wiggle!” Pete’s face contorted as he fought to make them move. Sure enough, they waggled like a Jolly Roger in the breeze.
“Well if that doesn’t just take a stick and beat you,” marveled Guybrush. “Now about that Ultimate Intoxicant…”
“Oh yes!” rejoindered Pete. “I always loved this story. It just gave me a sense of hope and encouragement, even when I was feeling like the worst low-down scum-of-the-earth dirty privateer that ever lived.”
“I wish I could feel like that,” Guybrush grimly lamented.
“Well, yeah, it’s nice sometimes, and it really gets the ladies, but once in a while you need something else. You don’t feel whole.”
“I suppose it’s worse now, what with the whole skeleton thing and all.”
Pete shrugged. “Could be better, could be worse. I can’t even tell a story nowadays. Everything I knew was a ghost story, and face it, when you’re dead, ghost stories just aren’t that frightening. I tried it once, and the crew got such a tickle out of it, they went around haunting each other for weeks. Tiddlywink almost made me morale officer. But enough talk, I want to tell my story.”
“Go for it.”
“A tale of sorrow, wassail, and woe,
that happened many years ago-”
“Wait just one second.”
“I don’t like poetry.”
“Well I do.”
“And I’m your only audience.”
Pete considered this. “You are a horrid man. Okay. We’ll try it your way. A really long time ago, before the Caribbean really even had pirates as we know them today, two entrepreneurial adventurers named Sven and Larry were sailing about looking for what else? Booty. Well, they weren’t particularly good at treasure hunting, and the only map they had turned out to be a set of dance steps, so before long, they found themselves in the middle of the ocean with two bananas, a book about treasure hunting, a hold full of building and excavating materials, and a monkey. So they sent the monkey for help, but after a week or two they decided he wasn’t coming back.”
“Hang on,” Guybrush interjected. “How could they send a monkey for help?”
Pete shook his head over Guybrush’s stupidity. “They put him in a bottle and threw him overboard of course. I can’t believe your inanity.”
“Well I can’t believe your- oh never mind. Keep going.”
“A little while later, Sven and Larry realized that the rum barrel was not as full as it used to be. Both blamed the other, then blamed the monkey.
Either way, they needed something to drink, and fast. So down to the hold they went, hauling out anything caustic or possibly lubricating that they could find.
You know how the list goes. Anyway, a long boil and a short headache later, Sven and Larry declared their invention a success. They called it grog, after the only noise the monkey could make following a round with a cup of rum. Well, where there’s drink, the pirates will come, and all decided grog was better than rum, and soon Sven and Larry abandoned the sea, and started a grog-making industry-”
“A-hem,” Guybrush growled.
Pete sighed. “They went into all sorts of grog-related markets: grog tea sets, reinforced with wrought iron (so as to last longer), grog candy, grog t-shirts, Sven and Larry’s grog oven mitts, grog soup, grog cookbooks, a chain of Grog n’ Burgers restaurants throughout the Caribbean, and of course the top sellers, flavored grog. Cotton candy grog, strawberry grog, banana grog, pina colada grog, windshield wiper fluid grog, gangrene grog (although that didn’t sell particularly well), tutti fruiti grog, cinnamon grog, grog grog-”
“So there was grog.”
“Audiences are not supposed to interrupt.”
“Audiences are not supposed to fall asleep.”
“Fine. So one day as Sven and Larry are testing a new flavor, voodoo grog, Larry accidentally falls in the vat while stirring. Luckily, Sven was able to fish him out. Unluckily, Larry was a little on the dead side. Five minutes later, Larry asked Sven if he could have another cup of the stuff. This greatly surprised Sven, who was hunting about for a really big box and a trowel.
They didn’t tell anyone their discovery, and Larry stopped making public appearances. They didn’t market voodoo grog either, although Larry had a glass a few times a week, just because he liked the taste. Eventually the market ran out, as Java the Hut coffee bars popped up around the region. That, and too many micro-breweries were springing up for competition. So the ghoulish Larry and aging Sven packed it up for a different target market.
Sure enough, the cannibals of Monkey Island were thrilled to see Sven. They thought he was great, especially in a light wine sauce. Larry was a shade too thin.” Pete paused, but as Guybrush did not laugh, he continued, a little more disgruntled.
“So the bulk of the barrels of voodoo grog were buried away beneath the volcano of Monkey Island. But then, what Larry and Sven had not realized was that the voodoo grog had short-term effects. Eventually, Larry simply faded away, but not before passing the secret on.
A young adventurous and scheming pirate, by the glorious name of LeChuck, had alighted on the island in search of The Secret of Monkey Island™. He’d left a trail of deserted debutantes in his wake, and now sought to impress the gorgeous governor of Melee Island.”
“My wife,” said Guybrush dreamily, forgetting for a brief second his perilous position. “I mean, that is…”
“Yeah, yeah, we all wanted Elaine, I know what you mean. Maybe one of these days she’ll fall down the stairs or something while holding a cup of voodoo grog and we’ll all get another shot. But I digress…
“Larry, delighted to once more see a human of three dimensions that didn’t eat his friends battered and breaded, passed on his personal recipe book to LeChuck, along with the powerful voodoo grog. Soon after, Larry vanished, and LeChuck went about trying to find a way to increase the voodoo grog’s potency. A little more voodoo tinkering, a trip through the gates of Hell, and naturally some mushrooms all made the voodoo grog the volatile, mighty drink it is today. LeChuck employed it to create his infernal armies, and would have succeeded in his plots for world domination but for one thing.”
“What’s that?” Guybrush asked, his face lighting up as anticipation flipped the switch.
“Voodoo can be counteracted with voodoo, and so after many years, the barrels had disintegrated, and the voodoo grog worked its evil way through the soil. The indigenous plants absorbed it, and one in particular reformulated itself as an antidote. Mixed into a lovely refreshing drink, it can knock out even the most dangerous of fiends.”
“But what does this have to do with the Ultimate Intoxicant?”
“Voodoo grog IS the Ultimate Intoxicant. Weren’t you paying attention? Well, something close to it.”
“So what’s the ultimate Ultimate Intoxicant?”
“Why do you think we’re blockading Lockjaw Island? All they have to do is hand over their cellars of premium quality grog, and we’ll let them off easy.”
Guybrush shook his head. “I’m still lost. Why does the quality of the grog matter?”
Pete leaned forward confidentially. “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but Captain Tiddlywink is working on one of LeChuck’s last endeavors. This time the grog will kill you, yes, but you can still keep your mortal body.
Essentially, you’ll have eternal life, but never need to eat, sleep, or do anything mortally binding like that.
And as usual, the only side effect is from the rootbeer.”
“Well, hey, thanks for the story, but I just realized I have some pressing business to attend to. I’ll be back later, and we’ll discuss that rootbeer thing some more, okay? Bye.”
Guybrush walked away, plans, ideas, and thoughts of Elaine swirling like eddies in his head.
"I hope there’s a grog machine around here somewhere,” he thought, “because I’m going to need more rootbeer.”