It was a hot day in the Arancaho jungle. And muggy. The frogs were chirping, the brooks were bubbling and any hope of a cooling breeze was swallowed by the dense and suffocating underbrush. Kaylee couldn’t remember how he got to be in this unforgiving jungle alone. All he could remember before passing out was having a vague sense that something wasn’t right. His veiny muscles were bulging with exhaustion. How long was it since he ate anything? How long since he last savored the refreshing splash of water on his pouty lips? His entire life he only knew one thing: bodybuilding. Picking it up, putting it back down. Picking it up, putting it back down. His life had always had a reassuring and relentless rhythm. But the staccato of insect noises and the loud dissonant shrieks of birds were putting him into a syncopated funk that was at odds with his military-march sensibilities.
Between the “KAW!!” of the toucan and the “oohahAHAHAHAH!!!” of the bonobo, Kaylee thought he heard a strangely familiar wheezy “bhvvvvvv.” He heard it again. And again. And each time it got louder, as if approaching. Being unsure of what to do with himself, he looked nervously for something heavy to pick up. And then put back down. But before he could, an enigmatic creature appeared through the dense, green groundcover. It was an angry-looking man, vaguely familiar, of about six feet wearing an impeccably tailored but messily ruffled grey pinstripe suit. His fedora matched his suit, and the solid mauve tie that completed the ensemble was currently being held in his hands. Tied into a noose. There was a menace in this creature’s eyes and neckware that upset Kaylee. This was an unstable creature, not to be trusted. And what’s more, every time he breathed in, or out, a wheezy high pitched hum accompanied the hot air. Or was it a squeaky wheeze? Before he could react, the creature charged and leapt on Kaylee, immediately finding his thick neck with the makeshift noose. Kaylee flung his arms around to strike his assailant, but after years of building strength, he had neglected flexibility, rendering him completely unable to touch the well-dressed attacker currently standing on his shoulders, quickly tightening the suffocating formal-wear around his neck. The volume and intensity of the squeaky wheeze became deafening and before long, Kaylee began to turn purple and succumb to a confusion even more deep and profound than usual. He ceased to know which way was up and which way was “that way.” The frantic wheezing in his ears penetrated so deep into his brain that he could not even think those simple thoughts that had kept him occupied most of his life, a life which was quickly coming to an end at the hands of a fashionable frenzied foe.
Wilhelm waited until all of the bulging, veiny muscles relaxed completely, freed from the weight of a life spent lifting. He had gotten his revenge here in the Arancaho. And for now, he could relax. He didn’t know the name of the lifeless mass of muted strength heaped under him. All he knew was that this monster was the midwife to his sufferings; the accomplice to the crime that left Wilhelm forever squeaky, uncurably wheezy...comically miserable. All he ever wanted to do was sell musical plastic happiness to others. But now that cheap happiness was irrevocably lodged in his own throat, an integral part of his newly noisy respiratory system, reminding him with every breath of what he used to be...and can never be again. The extra business cards in his inside breast pocket used to mock him with taunts of “Wilhelm Gravy – kazoo specialist.” He could have thrown them away, fed them to the snakes and the alligators. But no. He adopted a more poetic distribution strategy: he would leave one on every body he left lifeless. He left one on every person who had done this to him. He left one on Karla, his first wife who had gotten him into sales. He left one on his old boss Guido. He left one on his high school music teacher, Mrs. Happy. She used to adore the kazoo; now she’s dead. There was only one card left. He was saving that one for the person who had the most blame resting on his shoulders. The man most directly responsible for Wilhelm’s squeaky agony, his wheezy torment.
Dolfhankton was quietly working in his lab in a boathouse when he heard a knock at the door. “Why, that’s impossible,” he muttered to himself. He thought it was strange that someone would be here. In the Arancaho jungle. Miles away from anything at all. After hearing a second knock, he figured that stranger things have happened, and decided to open the door. On the way to the door, he could feel his leg acting up again. It had been fussy ever since that photoshoot in the Hellagata swamp for the Jellyfish Mania calendar. One sting too many, apparently. As he opened the door ever so slightly to avoid ruining the pictures for the Muscley Men of Might calendar, the man on the outside burst through screaming, “My name is Wilhelm! Would you like to buy some kazoos?!” This man was dressed in grey, holding a mauve noose and sporting a sadistic grin. Dolfhankton could not believe it. It had been so long since “the incident” that he had almost completely forgotten about it. Almost. And now those memories were back. For blood. Or at least choking. Dolfhankton knew that Wilhelm would have no mercy. And he was right; Wilhelm had special plans for this victim. Dolfhankton was special and he was going to get special treatment; a good old-fashioned neck-tie strangling was nowhere near formal enough. After easily pinning him down, Wilhelm pulled out a kazoo. Unlike most kazoos, this one was covered with sharp metal barbs and filled with broken glass and hydrochloric acid.
But Wilhelm could not perform his revenge in the dim red light of Dolfhankton’s darkroom. He had to see every tortured contour of this bastard’s dying face. He had to find the lights. Distracted by this thought, he barely noticed the twitching in Dolfhankton’s legs. Suddenly, one of his legs violently spasmed right into Wilhelm’s low-hung testicles. The pain was excruciating. He let out a shriek of agony accompanied by a dehumanizingly festive party noise. Dolfhankton couldn’t help but laugh maniacally while pushing himself free of his musically mutated captor. He then bolted out of the door towards the other end of the boathouse, where he had tied up his metal fishing boat with the name “Dolf’s Plankton” painted in a bold red nautical font on the forward starboard. As he tried to start the engine, the battery would not spark. Would he be stranded in a piranha-infested river waiting to die at the hands of either unforgiving nature or kazooey revenge? He looked around desperately for salvation and in the bottom of the boat he found it: a piece of tinfoil he had used to cook fish the night before! He quickly wound it into a makeshift wire and used it to patch the frayed contacts of the battery just in time to putter off watching Wilhelm stumble up to the pier, wheezing (as always) and holding his crotch.
Dolfhankton had escaped justice, Wilhelm thought. For now.