As ever, readers who are new to the diary, please scroll down a bit to where you see the Thppgrg tag. Click on it. Yeah, that’s right. Otherwise, if you missed part seven, you can just click here. (Art by Chris McFann.)
Odd day, today.
Our landlord stopped by this morning, and apparently Jimbo’s lease is technically commercial/industrial, rather than residential; this means that he cannot keep his adopted infant frost-elven daughter, Princess Leafirellha, in his section of Level One any longer. Jimbo has asked, somewhat sheepishly, if she can maybe move in with me in the residentially approved and strategically important Fountain Room, at least temporarily; my assistant manager—Stonnehyldd the Super-Smart Stone Golem—has intimated to me that it would look pretty good to the boss-man at my next performance review if I at least took over some babysitting duties.
Also, I was informed that the regional company picnic is coming up; we’ll be competing in a kickball tournament along with two other dungeons, a cursed forest, and the Haunted Home Office. I will be required to purchase a t-shirt.
And to attend, and to play kickball.
This raises several questions.
Primarily: We have a landlord?
Secondly: Jimbo has an adopted infant frost-elven daughter named Princess Leafirellha?
And thirdly: Just, seriously, what the freaking hell?
It turns out that Dark Lord Torkelheim does not, in fact, own the dungeon. He’s not even the top guy in the company that RENTS the dungeon, which is apparently properly called Azathrax, Hastur, Hastur, Stonebook, Fronkuhnshteen, Devil-Guy, Hastur, and He Who Shall Not Be Named But Who Is Nevertheless a Founding Partner of This Very Large Multidimensional and Exceptionally Evil Corporation. The dungeon I live in is just one of several “subterranean supernatural-horror-based commercial/residential/industrial properties” owned, operated, and managed by a retired, transuniversal, sphere-of-unearthly-light-shaped über-entity named Mister Bliss—and he is pretty friendly for an immortal, glowing-ball-looking multidimensional cosmic overbeing from the timeless void before the current shape of the universe.
He showed me pictures of his grandkids (most of them look like spheres of unearthly light with braces and acne; one of them is a ginger) and—while cleaning out a clog in my fountain and oiling the hinges on Sigvald’s secret door—talked at length about the last Big Bang. Not the most recent one. The one before that.
The upshot of all this is that Dark Lord Torkelheim and the higher-ups at Exceptionally Evil Corporation (as I will henceforth be referring to my previously unknown employers) aren’t the only companies operating out of the dungeon; for example, Jimbo is apparently an independent small-businessman specializing, according to his tax returns, in “semisentient toxic-slime-mold-related acquisitions, funding, and development,” and he pays some type of rent on his “office” to Mister Bliss.
I did not inquire as to the exact form of rent. I do not want to know about it.
Moreover, my friend Jimbo has—and has had for some time—an adopted infant frost-elven daughter named Princess Leafirellha, who is now my problem. Significantly more on that in a moment; I have several complaints about diapers, frost-elf-baby-vomit, and pacifiers that I’m going to make, and I really want to be sure I have the space to properly vent on these topics.
To summarize the rest of today’s odd developments, the new assistant manager for Levels One through Thirty-Eight, Stonnehyldd the Super-Smart Stone Golem, is a recent transfer from another dungeon also owned by Exceptionally Evil Corporation, apparently one half-sunk in a partially frozen Lake of Doom; she will be taking over for a few weeks while Dark Lord Torkelheim is on paid administrative leave for tension resulting from professionally diagnosed “edition-change-related super-villain anxiety.”
Apparently he got drunk and used the company scrying pool to send several illusory images of his own butt to several dozen other dungeons, two old girlfriends from back in wizarding college, and at least one appalled demon lord.
The new assistant manager seems pretty cool, so that’s good. She’s also a hopeless gossip, which I’ve found invaluable in figuring out what in the living hell is going on, so that’s even better. So far she is relatively easy-going . . . but then again, it’s a Saturday. She claims not to be into micromanagement and to have a pretty lenient dress code, so I’m feeling somewhat calm about all this.
But she also wants me to start giving her “progress reports” on my “projects” so that she can “disambiguate our synergies and, moving forward, value-add and game-changerize our action items,” so we’ll see relatively shortly if my immediate instinct to panic and flee was justified.
Not entirely certain how to write up a progress report on my very casual—perhaps even “lackadaisical,” one might say, or “most affirmedly, although hardly intensely, noncommittal”—guarding of a strategically important fountain; I initially told her that I was illiterate so I could get out of it, but she quite keenly observed me both reading my book of dwarven humor and also writing in this journal—with my feet up on the lip of the fountain, which is apparently a no-no—so that one didn’t fly.
She laughed and told me that I was “quite a joker,” so I guess that’s good.
Oh, and if anybody asks, I’m totally writing a romantic, fast-paced comedy-of-errors musical/rock-opera about star-crossed lovers meeting at a high-stakes spiked-pit-trapbuilding competition—starring a stuttering vampire astrophysicist and his astigmatic yeti lab assistant—in this book (don’t ask; my lies are getting too damn fast for me to keep up with when I’m talking), rather than journaling about my experiences with the Exceptionally Evil Corporation.
That’s apparently quite heavily frowned upon. The punishment for revealing company secrets is termination, and not so much in the “firing” sense as in the “fired out of a canon, stuffed in a bag of rabid dire weasels, into a volcano made of razor-blades” sense.
Must come up with a convincing title for my fake musical; must hope that Stonnehyldd the Super-Smart Stone Golem was just being polite when she said she would love to see a performance of the musical when it’s done.