The 'Shroom:Issue 105/Fake News
Welcome to a special Holiday edition of the Fake News and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday Isaac Newton, etc. This year, I've learnt that doing all of your Christmas shopping on December 24th is truly the smartest way to do things.
2015's drawing to a close and it's been one hell of a year. Lots of ups and downs... high and lows... lefts and rights...?
I really can't think of anything else to write here. My imagination must've finally died. Have a great 2016, and I'll see you next year!
Section of the Month
Nex interviews a Goomba, but things take a dark turn...
Anton and Shoey make a surprise return for Christmas.
The Chestnut Cracker
Our nutty reporter returns in The Chestnut Cracker.
Time always changes things, last month I was singing the praises of whoever killed Pink Gold Peach... I mean mourning, probably. But this month I have to start on a very sombre note. Not going to sugercoat this, mainly because sugar may be in poor taste here, but Santa Claus has died. Now I'm sure many of you have guessed that this means Christmas is ruined... and you're right. Christmas is 100% ruined, and no-one is going to be delivering any toys, on the bright side if you brought someone a shoddy gift, you don't have to give it to them anymore.
The funeral has attended by hundreds of elves, as well as esteemed members of the Mario series, such as Mario, Toad, and someone who prided himself on heavily resembling the deceased: Smithy. The process nearly went without a hitch, it was only when they had to push him down a cremation shaft they had to determine if previous occupants had been naughty or nice.
Now, I'm sure many of you remember at the start of this, I mentioned how Christmas had been ruined, but thankfully it's been unruined, as the man on the left has bravely accepted the job. No-one knows his qualifications, or anything about him, but it can be assumed that he'll do a bang-up job... or just a normal bog-standard job... or a really bad one. Let's hope for the former folks.
Hello, discerning music lovers! This is a very special occasion, as I get to review the 1994 holiday classic "Songs About Bones" by Dead Bones. Why am I reviewing a 20 year old album? Because it's being graciously reissued (with bonus tracks, of course)!
Dead Bones is a bit of an oddball in the electronica scene of which he's worked quite a niche for himself. For quite a while, his recordings were only available to purchase via a mail-order, and only as mp3 files on a 100 MB zip disk. A fair weight of the zip disk's storage was occupied by some dozens of very compressed pictures of Dead Bones' personal belongings, presumably for insurance documentation purposes.
It's shorter album, with only three movements in the suite.
1. Christmas in Late November - 8:55
The album's biggest weakness is how well it's aged. Dead Bones' insistence on referencing then-topical events, such as the brutal hit-and-run of a local Toad on Black Friday, who was trying to secure a Christmas present for his son. This of course turned out to be a very misinterpreted report of one of Mario's yearly karting events, so most of the punch from the track is gone. Pet Stockings is the real Christmas standard of the lot, though. The fantastically heartwrenching track of the loss of a family pet still hits home today. What you don't get from listening to the album version of the track (as opposed to the radio single) is the extra ~4 minutes of reindeer field recordings that really brings the whole thing to a fantastic close.
Despite the albums weak points, this reissue is still worth a buy if you are a fan of holiday staples or got rid of your zip disk drive.
A Shellcreeper in the audience bursts in laughter saying "BAHAHAHAHA! DID YOU JUST SAY MONTLY INQUISITION?!".
"Yes... anyways, welcome to the MONTHLY Inquisition. I'm your host, NEXandGBX. Just call me Nex." Nex speaks loud and clear. "Today, on our third episode, we've got a guest of a particularly common species around these parts. Though they're weak, they've got quite a bit of versatility. Ladies and gents, welcome the humble Goomba!"
"Hi, uh, I'm Steven. I'm a Goomba who works for King Bowser Koopa." The Goomba introduces. In shock, Nex shouts "Whoa, you can speak?!"
"Yes, I can. All Goombas do. We just make those noises in an attempt to scare the pesky plumbers away." Steven replies. "Though I'm on my winter break right now."
"Wow, Bowser doesn't seem like the type of person to give anyone a break." Nex states. "Anyways, what are your plans for the holidays?" Steven just imitates walking on his chair. "...practice walking?" Nex says a bit confused. Steven nods.
Nex gets out of his chair. "You know, what exactly is your plan for stopping the Mario Brothers?"
Steven replies "Yeah, I can run ya through. First, our usual method is just strollin."
"Strolling?" Nex says. "And that accomplishes...?"
Steven jumps up and says "A lot, actually! For one, it's refreshing. Secondly, we sometimes end up hurting our prey!"
Nex thinks to himself "Your prey, huh... you seem more like the prey to me..."
"Thirdly, it opens the door for MORE strategy!" Steven finishes explaining. "What kind of strategies you ask? I'll tell ya! You know those walls? Yeah, we actually turn around when we bump into those. Gives us a better chance of catching him off guard."
"I see..." Nex replies. "But what about you guys jumping down pits? What's that all about?"
Steven starts to explain yet again. "Well, they could be hiding anywhere! I can't count the amount of times I've seen comrades get squashed because a plumber was in the pits."
"Sometimes, I see you guys chasing after them instead of walking in a line. Why don't you just do that?" Nex asks.
"That's unofficial strategy!" Steven shouts. "I, for one, follow Bowser's order and only his!"
"But if that's the case, why are you answering my questions period? These are technically orders, since it is an interview and all." Nex asks.
"I, uh... not important, anyways, I'll set up a demonstration!" Steven replies. He calls upon five Hammer Bros. Three of them move the stage props, one makes a small brick wall, and one smashes a hole in the stage's floor."
Steven then proceeds to walk to the right, into the pit.
The crowd leaves in disgust, the five Hammer Bros walk out the exit back to Bowser's castle, and Nex stares at the hole.
"Ooooh, this is bad. This is very very bad..."
To be continued...
It was a relaxed December morning in Yoshi876 and GBAToad's home; the scent of cinnamon and baked cookies permeated the air, the old radio on top of the kitchen counter played everybody's favorite seasonal songs, and the warmth of the house clashing with the crisp chillness of the outside produced a light frost on the windowpanes. Outside of the kitchen, the living room was graced by a colorful array of garlands, lights strung up around the windowsills and on the shelves, a nice rug located in the center of the room, two stockings hanging by the chimney, and a tall tree with all sorts of presents underneath. Above all else, after a long and often stressful year, the Christmas spirit was strong and could be felt throughout every room.
*singing along with the radio*
The duo pulled the tray out of the oven and saw atop an amazing batch of warm, golden brown cookies; it was the perfect gift to give to Santa for the holiday. As they moved the cookies onto a plate and placed them on the table in the living room, there was a knock at the door. Yoshi876 was surprised when he answered:
Standing at the door were none other than SMB, Dippy, and Packy. The three had gone missing several months earlier in October, after a feud between Packy and the other two involving space rocks and pie led to their banishment in an inderdimensional void. Stories of the disappearances spread far and wide, and everybody presumed the trio to be dead. But there they stood, on Yoshi876 and GBAToad's snowy lawn, just outside of the doorway.
So a new day had begun, and Yoshi876 and GBAToad would proceed about their daily routines as if they didn't have an elf wearing a dress, an Australian electric rat, and a gluttonous cosmic horror living in their home, leaving the three of their guests to lay down on their home floor and feel like garbage. That was, until the trio decided to actually do something...
Gee, it sure wAs nice of Yoshi876 and GBAToAd to invite us over to stAy!
And so, our heroes proceeded to bake. They baked and they baked into the late hours of the afternoon, baking with such ferocity that it was as if their entire holidays depended on it... actually it did, kind of. After a massive mess made, the trio were done. The cookies were baked, packed, and ready to go. After a short trip to the post office, our heroes returned home triumphantly, having finally made up for the bad karma they accumulated in their last adventure. There was... just one slight problem...
Wowwee, I hAven't worked up A sweAt like thAt since I convinced thAt idiot to do A wAlnut report!
An hour later...
On the road trip...
Are we there yet?
After some rather heated exchanges among the group, the three finally decided to get out of the car and assess the situation. When Dippy observed the car, she noticed that the tire was shredded to pieces and that Yoshi876 apparently didn't keep a spare in the trunk. SMB discovered that he had run over an acoustic guitar and music stand, but amid the wreckage he found a strange guitar pick that he was compelled to take with him. When he had come back to the car, Packy suggested camping out since it was almost nighttime; but first, they were all starving and wanted a bite to eat.
Dippy, do you hAve our rAtions?
And no one ate dinner that night... but there was one very sore, very drunk Pikachu.
Playin' in a Rock and Roll Band
The night had passed, and the next day dawned; Christmas Eve was upon our heroes. The three had less than a day to save Christmas, for Santa was to begin his deliveries in the evening and would likely want a sweet treat before his departure. As for our trio? Well, they had no food, no money, and no way to even get around. Having grown frustrated and tired, they had fallen asleep; SMB and Packy could be found in the car, whereas Dippy had passed out in a grassy area nearby with a beer bottle in hand. The situation appeared to be very dim, until something strange happened:
SMB and Packy were abruptly woken up by the startling noise, and subsequently hopped out of the car to see what had happened. They caught sight of a person frantically running toward the ruins of the guitar and music stand in the distance. They went over to Dippy to get her up, but she simply told them to get lost and to let her sleep off her headache; instead, the two decided to take matters into their own hands and approach the strange person.
Hey buddy, is everything okAy? You look A little lost...
The three troubled heroes somehow found themselves on stage with Stooben Rooben, who promised to help them get the car back on the road if the group raised enough money at the performance. With Packy on percussion, SMB on bass, Stooben on guitar, and Dippy on vocals, they were ready to jam. Things started off well, until Packy had a sneezing fit during an intricate drum solo; the sheer force blew the cymbals onto SMB's head, which caused Dippy to burst into laughter. In frustration, the makeshift bass player threw his instrument to the ground; as a result, one of the strings that popped struck the blue Pikachu's leg and created a strong electrical current.
All of a sudden, the pick that SMB had picked up earlier rose out of his pocket and flew over to Stooben.
Oh my, I thought I had lost it!
Dippy followed his instructions, and directed the electric current at Stooben while he shredded. As the stage and other surrounding instruments exploded and burst into flames, he shot a beam from the end of his guitar offstage and opened an otherworldly portal. Our three heroes decided to take Stooben's van to try to get away, but the strength of the interdimensional rift proved too strong; it consumed the entire vehicle and closed behind it.
Too Hot, Hot Damn
Suddenly, in a frigid location with a surprisingly efficient road network, a wormhole tore open, spitting out our three rejects onto the side of a food vendor that appeared to set up shop next to the cool road...
WhAt in the world just hAppened?
Our trio looked around, and suddenly noticed the vendor not too far up the road...
Oh, hello there, locAl store clerk! Would you be Able to tell us where we Are?
After Dippy whinged and complained, she finally yielded and payed up, and the three decided to quickly eat their tacos... what they didn't expect, however, was the abundance of one particular ingredient...
With their meeting with the Sexy Merchant over, after what felt like ten years, the trio were now on their way to Santa's workshop, with a van full of recording software, hot sauce, and regrets. After a few minutes of driving, finally, they had arrived...
Naughty and Nice
SMB, Dippy, and Packy barged into Santa's workshop...
Santa Claus, who was reading Christmas-related reports and statistics regarding his workshop, set the papers down and removed his reading glasses. He arose from the chair he was sitting in and approached the three heroes and addressed their concerns:
Of course not, do you know how many calories are in those things?
The three awkwardly stared at each other for a few seconds, not knowing what to say. They were admittedly a bit disappointed to hear that Santa had stopped eating the cookies that people all over the world prepared for him; on the other hand, the fact that there probably were millions of treats waiting for him every Christmas Eve did seem to justify the whole situation. Nonetheless, they were relieved that he did not eat the mistake batch that they had sent.
Why are you three here, anyway? You aren't from the Human Rights Commission, are you? I swear, whatever those elves have been telling you is defamation!
Santa pressed his face up against a window that overlooked the toy making station. He saw red-eyed elves sitting in a circle and laughing. He then peeked outside of a door with the label "Delivery Depot" marked above it, and was taken aback when he saw Rudolph rummaging through a refrigerator while all of the other reindeer were polishing off a bag of Doritos. He proceeded to return to the trio.
I do feed those cookies to my elves and reindeer, though. And you know what I see?
Santa went back to his desk and began reading a list with the word "NAUGHTY" printed on top. He returned with an angry, red face.
You're the ones that threatened the world with those stupid meteor-related shenanigans!
GBAToad and Yoshi876 were staring into the blackened remains of their kitchen:
I can't believe those idiots forgot to turn off the oven!
Back at Santa's workshop...
Well, I'm not dealing with this mess. You all caused it, and you'll fix it. Thousands of families across the world are waiting for their gifts to arrive; with the workforce out, you have to make the toys and hand-deliver them. Good luck, I'm taking a nap!
Santa proceeded to go into his private quarters, once again leaving Dippy, SMB, and Packy to have to save Christmas.
Our heroes toiled all through the afternoon, working with more ferocity than they've ever worked before, deep into the late hours of the evening. Except for Palkia, who was given a free ride on present-building.
I don't see why we have to bake when it was Packy that ate the original batch...
Finally, the toys were complete, and Dippy and SMB were finally able to lay down on the floor, completely motionless from the sheer physical strain of rushing half the world's supply of commercial goods in a few short hours. "It's finally over," our heroes thought to themselves as they struggled to get themselves off the floor before giving up entirely... until Santa walked in from his office.
Hmm... well, the workmanship is off and there's smudged paint on half of these dolls. I guess I can't expect much from junkie amateurs, I suppose.
Santa took great pleasure in humiliating the proud, otherworldly horror, treating him as little more than an animal. The preparations were done, the presents were all loaded (by Packy, of course), and the two finally set off to deliver goodwill and cheer throughout the world. Several hours had passed, as was to be expected. Many more passed. Even more passed. Dippy and SMB failed to notice the clock as they were writhing in pain on the floor, questioning their life choices and why they were being punished by the greater cosmos, but their attention got dragged away from their existential crisis when one of Santa's elves woke them up...
You two, wake up! WAKE UP! It's an emergency!
Written by: Wall Nettan
It had only been six months since the horrendous ordeal that led to my being isolated in a criminal haven, but it felt so much longer than that. It wasn't my intention to end up on the bad side of the law; I had always wanted to be a reporter, but that dream became a nightmare when my first task for The 'Shroom was to investigate local walnut consumption rates. Unfortunately, I was kidnapped by an illegal walnut cartel and forced to take down the Goomba family that owned the goomnut monopoly, which critics derided as "Big Nuts" due to their government ties. After committing arson and busting Big Nuts, I managed to escape the ensuing altercation with my life, but one of the family members accidentally killed the cartel leader Wal – whose capture and trial could have potentially indicated my innocence – with a bullet that was meant for me. At that point, I had no choice but to run as far as I could.
Despite Rogueport having terrible standards of living, it actually proved to be a great hideout. Practically everybody in the town is a criminal and has dirt to hide, so nobody dares to stick their nose in anybody's personal business unless they intend to get mixed up in even more trouble. The agents that are occasionally assigned to the city usually only go after those that are active local criminals, directly admit to having committed prior offenses, or those who they have been anonymously tipped off about. Those who keep to themselves and don't share too much information get along, and are able to find under-the-table job opportunities. Oftentimes, however, the authorities pose as believable patrons and nab individuals who are under investigation; indeed, I had to be the lucky one that needed just that much more cash to get away from the island, and picked a job that wound up being a sting operation.
So there I was, back to square one, sitting at a desk in a high security office somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom. I was sure that I would be blamed for the crimes that happened back in July, even though I was forced into the whole thing, and that I would receive harsh penalties for them. I really couldn't imagine sitting in a prison cell for the rest of my life and never living up to my hopes of being a reporter, but that is what I had come to expect at that point. At that moment, I was told that I had an important visitor that needed to speak to me. I heard heavy footsteps from down the hall, and the door handle turned; the room suddenly filled with the smell of peppermint and cinnamon, and a surprising, "Ho ho ho!" sounded. The figure that walked toward the opposite end of the desk had unmistakable black boots, an entirely red outfit topped with a fluffy hat, a long white beard, and a jolly pink face. Facing me was none other than Santa Claus himself.
And it was at that moment that I had realized that somehow, just somehow, I was on course to embark on yet another nutty adventure.
Santa's Little Helper
I couldn't possibly understand why Santa was here, of all places, rather than delivering the world's presents on his sleigh; I had been informed upon my arrest that Christmas Day had just begun, and this is usually the time that he would be halfway around the world eating cookies and leaving treats for kids. Not to mention: why was he here to specifically see me? Why was I so special, that Santa needed to interrupt his annual activity? ...Didn't he have better things to do than talk to me? I proceeded to speak to him.
I couldn't help but crack a huge grin at that point; all of my charges being dismissed, having the chance to enjoy the freedom I once had. I would finally be able to go back to my family, see my friends again, and start working toward my career in journalism. I didn't even know what Santa needed me to do, but I knew that if he had secured this sort of deal with the same government that had hunted me down for months prior, that it was of the utmost importance.
Santa then gave me a map with directions on where to find the Nutcracker, who was rumored to last be seen in Russia in 1892 watching a ballet that was created in his honor. The jolly man then hurried off to continue his deliveries; apparently, his sleigh was being guided by an otherworldly being who, in Santa's words, "had to pay for what he had done." Noticing that the location was in an entirely different continent, I scrambled to catch him before he left.
Here's Your Stop!
People never really understand how surreal the concept of Santa Claus is before you ride in his sleigh. A lot of people argue, "Is he real? Is he not?" Well let me tell you, the realest experience is being thousands of feet in the air flying at lightning speed to your destination with a man whose existence is debated. The cool sting of the frosty wind blowing in your face, seeing all of the rooftops just pass on by, hearing the man exclaim the famous "ho ho ho!" It was perhaps one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had.
Only an hour had passed when Santa told me that we were approaching our destination. Just the day before, when I was sitting in Rogueport, I never would have thought that I'd end up here. It's crazy how life works sometimes; you always have to be prepared for the unexpected twists and turns. For nobody ever knows what new circumstance will crop up and change things, for better or for worse. Who would have thought that in the span of half a year, I would be an aspiring journalist turned unwitting criminal, turned detainee, turned Santa's only hope for world peace? Certainly not me.
Speaking of unexpected, that was the moment I felt a push and suddenly saw stars and clouds. Santa had pushed me off of his sleigh!
I fell face-first into the snow. I was astounded that Santa Claus couldn't even take a second to drop me off like a normal person and say goodbye! He may be an otherwise nice guy, but I would certainly never recommend that anybody fly with him; not to mention that the seats on his sleigh are a bit worn, he routinely ignores air traffic control, and the whole "millions of presents in the trunk" thing could be a hazard... At any rate, I looked up and saw a little wooden house that emanated with warmth and light. I decided to approach it and knock on the door to see if anybody could help me.
Standing right in the doorway was none other than the Nutcracker. I looked down at the map and saw that I was right on the spot that was marked. That sleigh ride may have ended a little roughly, but I'll have to give Santa credit — he knows how to get things done. The wooden man invited me into his house, we introduced ourselves to each other, and he then treated me with gentle hospitality.
The Nutcracker and I proceeded to pack the food and drinks that he had mentioned earlier, locked up his house, and went on our way.
We both traveled to the Arctic, toward the Chestnut Empire's temporary capital, Openfire. The Nutcracker and I talked as we journeyed along, and he shared some interesting information that he had collected over the years. Apparently, the Chestnut Empire was once a peaceful little kingdom that turned rotten when the King became corrupted after being shown how powerful his nuts could really be. He slowly started expanding his powers and territory until his sole rival, the Goomnut monopoly, had fallen; after that, with an entire void created in the market, he decided to expand more aggressively. His desire to shove his nuts everywhere, combined with his newfound thirst for political power, drove him to set his sights on the North Pole and Santa Claus.
Just as we reached the gates of the capital city, we were stopped by a group of giant mice.
I was frustrated but I had no choice; I ran past the mice into Openfire, and was immediately awestruck. The city was beautiful; the buildings were made out of the finest wood, and the cobblestone streets were kept very nicely. Up the path ahead was the Chestnut Castle, which was where I was to face off the Chestnut King. I charged in that direction, afraid to look back to see how my new friend was faring in his battle.
I stormed into the castle, which had surprisingly yet conveniently bad security detail, and looked around. There were torches lining the walls of the stone interior, a red carpet extending down the center of the room, and a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It was empty... perhaps a little too empty, as if somebody had been expecting me.
I turned around and saw a large cock-eyed Goomba with a white mustache and a crown. He slowly approached me as I stepped back a bit. Could this be...?
I looked at this so-called "Chestnut Emperor" and saw a tear well up in his eye.
He charged toward me, and I thought that this was the end. He was much larger than I was; surely, he would stomp on me or pound me to death. I closed my eyes and winced, wishing that I had never agreed to help Santa out. Then it was silent. Had I died? I slowly opened my eyes and saw the Nutcracker standing beside me and the Chestnut King facing both of us. An orchestra started to play music, and several Goombas waltzed out from behind a curtain.
I took one of the King's torches and left the castle. I walked down into the city and threw it into a random building. As they were all made out of wood, the flames spread pretty easily and starting burning the entire city. The Nutcracker came after me and was shocked with what was going on.
I then fled the city and finally returned home, having realized what a joke this entire mission had been. The Mushroom Kingdom government not only upheld their end of the bargain by pardoning me for the crimes I was accused of, but they also bestowed me with many offers and titles. Whereas the citizens, my neighbors, once viewed me as an evildoer, they now see me as a hero and call me "The Chestnut Cracker." I was able to join The 'Shroom and write an article under normal circumstances; and it is the one that you are reading now. It looks like I will now be able to live my dream of being a journalist and pursuing the truth. Things couldn't be better!
Back in the charred remains of Openfire, the Nutcracker can be seen surveying the damage. He looks down and sees one chestnut on the ground. He picks it up, sets it in his jaw, and crunches down on it hard. His eyes start to glow a haunting blood red, as a Goomba approaches him.
The angry wooden artifact lifts his hand, and the Goomba starts choking. He pulls out what appears to be a lightsaber from his pocket; he activates it and holds it up to the struggling minion.
He then releases the Goomba, who scurries off toward the remains of the castle to help out with the few that survived.
Thanks to Meta Knight (talk) (Forum profile), MeerkatMario (talk) (Forum profile), and Koopartol Brick Block (talk) (Forum profile) for sending in questions, especially MK for doing his best to bring me some holiday cheer!!
As always, if you seek my flawless advice, please send questions to me on the forum, find me in chat, or if you don't care about anonymity post them on my talk page! If you would like for there to be a doodle with the response to your question, feel free to request so and I'll see what I can do.