I just finished reading Death in the Afternoon, by Ernest Hemingway. This is a homage/parody/science fiction adaptation of that. Incidentally, I was thinking lately what the weirdest post I’ve ever posted was. This might not be it, but it’s probably in the top five.
The sport of Blizz-Blang1 is an ancient and venerable one on the planet of Tirk. It may seem confusing to outsiders, even barbaric, but in fact it is relatively simple.
There are five accepted styles of Blizz-Blang, but the most widespread is the Capitol variety. In it, the sport takes place in a ring of titanium that slowly gets smaller as the match progresses. The purpose of the sport is for the killer (whose ceremonial title is “Washerwoman”) to kill a giant scorpion-like creature, called a rrat. The rrat is sitting on a hovering platform and can only move its front claws and its fire-shooting afterburner, which was limited mobility.
The hovering platform is controlled mentally by a large, mutant slug, called a pincush, who, during the game, is simultaneously watching a documentary about reindeer. The subject matter of the documentary can change from style to style, but reindeer are the most common, followed by crop circles, the water cycle, and occasionally, sex.
In order to defeat the rrat, the Washerwoman must avoid getting killed him(or her)self, while convincing the pincush to help him kill the rrat. This is all done mentally, so to make the battle more interesting, the Washerwoman’s brainwaves are broadcast as a 3D hologram over the arena.
The method of attack can vary, depending on many factors. First, the Washerwoman must determine through leading questions, how interested the pincush is in the documentary it’s watching. If it is very interested, he might try to get it to kill the rrat absentmindedly, by running it into a wall, or dumping it into the pool of lava (which is always part of the ring.) If it not that interested in the documentary, the Washerwoman might ask it nicely to give it the laser sword which it has in its possession, so that he can kill the rrat and they can all go home. This mental conversation, which takes place while the Washerwoman is dodging the rrat and its deadly claws and afterburner, is very diverting.
If, for some reason, the pincush has a grudge against the Washerwoman, the Washerwoman has to use reverse psychology, thinking things like, “fine, I didn’t want to kill it anyway. Just get the rrat to rip off one of its own claws so I can use it to kill myself.” If this works, he then uses the claw to kill the rrat itself.
A final popular tactic is used when the pincush is both bored and very uncooperative. The Washerwoman falls on his knees, sobbing and pleading for his life, promising to sell out his friends and country for a little mercy and kissing the dirt near the pincush. When the pincush turns the rrat away in disgust, the Washerwoman jumps on its back (avoiding the afterburner) and pulls out its brainstem.
The pincush itself is never attacked in the arena, although it is often roasted and eaten at the feast that follows the game.
There are countless other traditions and varieties in Blizz-blang, including what the audiences eats in every round, and how much of it they are allowed to throw at the Washerwoman. There are rules about which holidays explosives are permitted on and which varieties allow prayer, and which ones ban it as an unfair advantage. I will not get into them all here, but if you ever visit Tirk, you will see for yourself.
1The name “Blizz-blang” comes from the traditional cry that the audience shouts when the match is over, which translates roughly as “Finally, the game is over. We can all go home and watch Blizz” (Blizz being the name of a popular reality show involving 64 white mice, know as bli).