I spent the last year working on The Sock Puppets From Hell novel and that literary masterpiece will be released on Halloween of this year. And while this is my first book of any sort, I’ve actually been writing Sock Puppet stories for over a decade. I had a few of them up online briefly, but for the most part, very few people have ever read any of them.
What follows is one of those stories, Horrible Squirrel Ball of Doom. I wrote in back in 2006 and, like the rest of my writing, it’s terrible and reading it will actually cause several of your brain cells to suicide themselves.
But it does provide a brief introduction to some of the Sock Puppets From Hell characters. Read it if you want.
Horrible Squirrel Ball of Doom
Sam sat at the kitchen table, sipping his coffee and enjoying the momentary calm. It had been exactly three hours since any of the four Sock Puppets — Bob, Lost Cause, Doctor Sanity and Goblin — destroyed something or killed someone.
“Sam, I made something for you,” Doctor Sanity announced from behind him. Sam didn’t want to turn around. He knew that Doctor Sanity, the mad genius of the Sock Puppets, was probably about to show him something horrible. The last time Sanity had told Sam that he had made something for him, it turned out that the Doctor had found a way to make an electric toothbrush out of a chainsaw and an old broom.
Not only did it remove plaque, it could also cut through walls. Like most of his other inventions, Sam buried it in the backyard.
“Sam, look! Look at what I’ve done,” Doctor Sanity said, now standing right along side his chair. Sam, still in his robe, closed his eyes, took a deep breath, muttered an old curse he had learned from his grandfather and then exhaled. He opened his eyes and looked down. Doctor Sanity was standing next to….a basketball.
“You invented a basketball,” Sam asked hopefully. “Please tell me that’s just a basketball.”
Doctor Sanity smiled. “Not quite, Sam. I’ve invented an inescapable prison for that damn squirrel that’s been running amok.”
It took a few seconds for Sam to catch up with what Doctor Sanity was saying. “You think that basketball,” Sam said slowly, “Is going to hold a squirrel?”
Doctor Sanity nodded. “And not just any squirrel, Sam,” he said in a cheery voice, “That rogue villain of a rodent that’s been using our trees like his own personal jungle-gym. I’ve found a way to contain his madness.”
“So let me get this straight,” Sam said, “You’ve decided that you’re going to put a squirrel inside that basketball and you’re going to do this because you think the squirrel is insane and needs to be stopped.”
Doctor Sanity nodded again. “Absolutely. Only you should stop speaking hypothetically. I’ve already captured the beast.” He glanced over at the basketball, sitting beside him.
The noise that came out of Sam was a combination hiss and scream. He recoiled in shock. “Are you saying you’ve already put the squirrel into that ball,” Sam asked, not really wanting to know.
“Indeed,” Doctor Sanity said proudly, “That son of a bitch is trapped in here but something good. This world is now a safer place for all of us.”
Sam went a little pale as a few more years were removed from his lifespan. “How, exactly,” he said slowly, “Did you go about capturing a squirrel and then trapping him inside of that ball?”
“Good question,” Doctor Sanity answered, “It wasn’t easy. And the garbage man was horribly maimed in the process. We should probably send him a card.”
Sam’s shoulders dropped a little and he could feel an aneurism starting to form in his head. “What did you do to the garbage man?”
“The answer to that question will upset you, Sam,” the Doctor announced. “You’ll probably sleep better at night not knowing. Just understand that it was an unfortunate, yet entirely preventable tragedy that everyone involved feels horribly about.”
“I see,” Sam said. His eyes were now closed and he was struggling to give in to the urge to kick Doctor Sanity across the room. “Humor me and give me a clue?”
“Okay. Before the unfortunate accident occurred, the garbage man had two legs. But now he has none. Also most of his fingers are gone. And I confiscated his wallet and cellphone.” He looked up at Sam.
Sam was sitting there, holding his head in his hands with both eyes closed. In his mind, he was trying to block it all out. The squirrel, the crazy little Sock Puppet who he was talking to, and whatever Sanity had done to the garbage man, who was a really nice guy.
The Sock Puppets did senseless, incredibly destructive things like this all the time. This time it was Doctor Sanity. But they were all equally bad. Sam hated all of them and if he could figure out a way to kill them, he certainly would.
“And whatever you do,” Doctor Sanity continued, “Never, not even ever, bounce the ball more than once.”
Sam allowed himself to resume breathing. “Why?”
“Because the explosives arm on the first bounce and go off on the second.”
Sam looked over at Doctor Sanity and the basketball. Fear-sweat began to stream down his face. “Explosives?”
“Yup,” Doctor Sanity said proudly, “It’s what makes the prison so effective. If any of his little squirrel friends try to come and spring him free, they’ll no doubt activate the explosive trigger. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
“Oh Dear God,” Sam muttered. “Doc, get away from the ball. Come sit with me out on the couch. I need to think.”
“Okay, I like thinking,” Sanity said as he followed Sam out into the living room. Sam plopped down on the couch and Doctor Sanity hopped up alongside him.
“Is there anyway to disarm it,” Sam asked nervously in a low voice.
“Nope. Why would you want to disarm explosives? That’s like taking the blades off a lawnmower. You WANT the explosives to explode.”
The sweat coming off Sam’s head now was a steady river. “What are our options,” Sam asked, his voice now just a shade above a whisper.
“I could paint the ball green. That would be neat, eh?”
Sam stopped breathing and shook his head. “Stop talking.”
“Cool,” Lost Cause called out from the kitchen, “A new basketball!”
Sam and Doctor Sanity looked at each other. Sam’s face was twisted in terror and a stream a urine was running down his right leg. Doctor Sanity was smiling like a child on Christmas morning.
They heard the ball bounce once. “Goblin is gonna love this!” The ball bounced again.
Then all the downstairs windows blew out and thick, black smoke came billowing out of the kitchen. The shockwave knocked both Doctor Sanity and Sam off of the couch. Car alarms could be heard going off up and down the street.
From the kitchen, Lost Cause managed to eek out two pain-filled sentences. “Sam, I need you to come in here, man. Bring all the band-aids you can find.”