Hotel Mario: Revisited
It was a time, it was a place; the specifics arenít important, suffice it to say that the Koopa family had returned home after a particularly cacophonous a-koopaing in the afternoon.
For the Koopas, these ill-conceived ďoutingsĒ inevitably resulted in a sense of frustration and despondency which had become, for them, the leitmotiv of their daily toil; they had become accustomed to a sullen dinner table, though their familiar repast was still, no doubt, unpalatable to a point of nausea.
Thus we find eight dour characters, partaking in a strange communion...
"Ya know, I really gotta get this off my chest," Larry interposed, shaking his head. "Has anyone here encountered those Signs people? You know, the ones that think it's like the creepiest movie?"
"No way, dude," scoffed Ludwig, who was working his way through a mouthful of Kraft macaroni. "Signs stinks."
"I think... I don't know, it just wasn't that great. Why do people like it so much?"
Wendy swallowed her hot dog and offered a rebuttal. "I love that movie. You just don't get it, that's all."
Larry chortled. "Wha... what? What am I not getting? It's just a-"
"What about that scene where they were in the basement, and the alien was upstairs-"
"No, no, no. That was stupid..."
"No! It was really creepy. How were you not creeped out by that? You're just lying."
Larry chuckled. "Lying? ... Why would I lie about something like that?"
"That alien was a putz!" chuckled Ludwig. "Oh no... he's upstairs, and he might figure out how to use the toaster oven... eventually..."
"It's so hokey," said Larry, continuing his brother's mirthful sentiment. "I... I can't even take it seriously."
There was a break in the conversation. Larry looked at Roy, who was seated next to him.
"How 'bout you, Roy?"
"Never saw it."
"You never saw Signs?" gasped Wendy.
Roy began to fidget. "Ugh... you know, this really grinds my gears. Why do I haveto watch it? Why? People take movies too seriously, theyíre not even fun to watchÖpar
"Okay, so because we actually like a movie thatís not stupid itís Ďtoo seriousí?" "No, no. You know what? Iím just sittiní around tryiní to enjoy myself, and this movie comes on and itís like, Ďoh, you gotta be quiet, weíre trying to wat-"
"We are trying to watch! Itís a good movie!" his sister shouted.
"Oh, so then youíre like, Oh, there must be somethiní wrong with you, or whatever. I... I canít. Watching movies is too much." Roy resigned and returned to his dinner.
"Signs is really goofy," rejoined Larry. "At one point Mel Gibson starts eating the food on everyoneís plate at the dinner table. Itís like something he would do," he said, while motioning with his head toward Bowser.
"You should at least give it a try, Roy," offered Wendy.
"No, I donít want to watch it."
Larry persisted. "Dude, it's not that bad-"
"You were just sayin' you didnít like it!"
"I said it wasnít that great... Itís different."
"What? No it isnít! How is that different?!"
"Because..." Lemmy interjected, "you can say something isn't that great and still enjoy some of it."
"Just watch it! Whatís the big deal?" asked Larry.
Roy hesitated. "Eh... movies are so much work. Have you noticed that? Itís just so aggravating sitting down to watch Ďem..."
"Oh, you don't give anything a chanceÖ" Wendy pouted.
"What? Okay, so now there's something wrong with me?! I hate this-"
"Look," said Larry, "Iíll just put it on after dinner, and we can all go and watch it..."
"Yes, youíre going to watch it..."
"No," Roy shook his head and rose from his seat, pointing in his brother's face. "NO! ...NO!" Larry shrugged. "Dude-"
"No! Ya see? This is what Iím talking about..."
Presently, Bowser Koopa, the head of the Koopa household, was adrift in a strange reverie amidst the ongoing banter. After years of inept scheming, he had begun to reach his limit. There was a time - ah, yes! - a more romantic period in his life when his ambition of seizing the coveted Mushroom Throne seemed possible, if not inevitable. Having been served a surfeit of failures, however, insecurities were starting to linger in his mind; perhaps he wasn't destined to rule this land after all.
The Koopa King looked around his shattered household. His plans for world conquest carried a price tag, the tab for which had started to take its toll on his family's future.
Bowser cleared his throat. "Look, kids... uh... we gotta do somethiní ."
As he spoke, the procession of the argument came to a halt.
He continued. "This... this " the king said, as he made a sweeping gesture with his arms, "itís just not working."
"What do you mean?" Lemmy asked.
"I mean... the whole castle thing. I... I canít do it anymore. I mean I just canít keep replacing them. Iíve actually been losing money for three years, and thatís pretty sad, considering that itís just lying around everywhere..."
Having said this, Bowser became thoughtful. He continued.
"I meanÖ pretty soon we're actually going to have to start selling some of our stuff. I've been doin' a lot of dumpster diving lately," he said, as he gazed to his right. "This table, for instance, is actually a Blockbuster promotional sign."
The family took another look under the table and - sure enough - two rentals for the price of one.
"And that whole 'braces' issue with Iggy, boy..." Bowser chortled to himself and shook his head. "You know I actually found those in a Blockbuster dumpster too? Unbelievable."
The children all turned to Iggy.
"Frankly, I'm impressed," said Iggy, as he wiped his mouth with a napkin. "Clearly, this man is a master of his craft."
"Huh... They really gotta tighten up security down there," added Roy.
"The only reason I can keep the place," said Bowser, continuing the lecture, "is because all the booby traps and lava pits we've installed over the years bring down its property value. Man, those were a pain to put in..."
"Hey," asked Ludwig, with his mouth full, "is that deal at Blockbuster still going on?"
"To cut a long story short, kids, weíre broke. Dirt broke. I mean... I just want to provide a good life for you guys..."
With these words the mood of the table suddenly became remorseful. After a brief pause, Bowser continued.
"This time, we're gonna need to pull out all the stops..."
The Koopa King stopped and looked over at Iggy. He gestured at him with his right hand.
"However, Iggy, I'm, uh... I'm cuttin' ya from the plan, buddy."
"Hmm..." replied Iggy, who nodded as he finished chewing the food in his mouth. "Why is that?"
"I... uh, geez... I don't know, I just can't think of anything for you to do."
"Can't think of anything for me to do...?" he said to himself. "Wha..."
Bowser shook his head and smiled uncomfortably.
Iggy gave an incredulous chortle. "All right. Fine." He shrugged and turned to Morton, who was seated next to him. "Can't think of anything for me to do."
"Nonsense, nonsense. Someone's gotta... stay behind and look after the castle..."
"So, basically, someone's gotta putt around and clean up gordita wrappers and empty beer cans all day."
"... Uh, yeah..."
Bowser cleared his throat as the awkward moment passed between the two.
"... Well, anyway, picture this: hotels."
Larry rose from his seat. "My God..."
"Okay... okay," Iggy interrupted. "What are hotels going to do?"
"... Well, you know, I figure we need the money, and we could just make 'em difficult to navigate or something..."
"Yeah, so... so what? Whatís that going to do? Flood the kingdom with low-income housing?"
Bowser glanced to the side and bit his lip.
"You can't even succesfully fix a tennis tournament. How are you gonna manage hotels? And what are we gonna do if the Marios show up-"
"All right!" the Koopa King stopped his son. "Listen... we set up an ambush in the hotels, capture the princess, and..."
"Lure the Marios into the hotels, yeah, I got it. See ya at five."
Bowser leaned back in his seat. "Good grief..."
"Wait..." said Lemmy. "You never answered the question."
"What? What question?"
"Is that deal at Blockbuster still going on? You never answered."
Bowser shrugged with a dubious expression.
"Well ... is it?" Lemmy prodded.
"Look, I don't
know, just shut up about it!"
Slogan's Heroes; or, Kid Tested, Bowser Approved:
In the last installment of Hotel Mario: Revisited, Bowser Koopa was feeling a bit distressed over the imminent ruin of his family. Half-baked schemes and a life of excess Ė racing, tennis, and Mario Party-ing nearly every night Ė threatened to hang his operation out to dry, permanently. Whatís more, his eight children faced a future of wretched poverty; what was he to do?
Having, perhaps, been listening to a little too much Al Di Meola recently, the Koopa King proposed his most perplexing plot yet Ė namely, to open a chain of hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom, which would be managed, as always, by those same Koopa Kids.
At this point
the details were sketchy; but, our fellow reasoned, once his plan got rolling,
it would begin to find its direction. At least, for now, he could commence
this "madcap" plot with a traditional Toadstool kidnapping...
Princess "Peach" Toadstool was quietly deliberating over some kind of correspondence in one of her cozier studies.
Dear Mr. Kent:
Thank you for your interest. I will address the salient points of your letter.
Firstly, itís "Plit", not "Pilt". I apologize for the grief this has caused you or any dyslexic visitor. Regrettably, renaming the planet extends beyond my jurisdiction as a parochial magistrate.
Secondly, Toad is fine, and he thanks you for asking.
Thirdly, itís "Kabuki", not "Cubookie". Normally, I am happy to oblige requests for these strange, oversized boots; however, given that you acquire tremendous super-powers while living under a yellow sun, you may understand why I will decline your request. For your reference, this is because:
A) At this
point, the boot is probably superfluous;
B) I doubt that a Kabuki Shoe will do anyone much good against Braniac, anyway;
C) Shipping any power-up through a warp pipe is expensive, especially if that warp pipe passes through Canada.
Sadly, pernicious economic circumstances have been festering over the past few years, and have discouraged all but the most lucrative commercial interaction with outside parties.
Consequently I'm not just handing out jewels to protect people anymore, but as a consolation I have included a bag of Andy Capp's Hot Fries and some bubble wrap for you to play with, at your discretion.
I wish you luck and hope you get some sleep.
Having finished another dayís work, the princess placed her pen on the parchment and began to settle into her thoughts. Fading afternoon sunlight streamed in through the window.
Just as she was about to drift away, someone knocked on the door.
"Hey... it's me. Can I come in?"
"Oh... hey! Yeah, come on in..." said the princess, coming to her senses.
Toad popped into the room, caked in white soot. He glanced around circumspectly.
"Well, look at you!" announced Peach. "They must really got you working down there."
Toad shrugged. "Well, ya know... they, uh... appointed me as their supervisor, so..."
"Supervisor? Huh." The princess bit her lip. "What do you do, exactly?"
"I, uh..." Toad began, scratching his nose. "I... help, holding down boards, and stuff..."
"That's... that's good."
"What are you doin' up here?"
"Oh!" Peach chuckled to herself. "This... Superman, thing..."
"Anyway, how's the project going?" she inquired, after a pause.
"Meh," shrugged Toad. "It'll be done in a few days."
"Was that the estimate?"
"Yeah. It's not lookin' dat bad."
"Great, because... I'm really tired of going dutch on the snacks. I don't like it... It... changes people, Toad," she added with a shudder. The princess looked genuinely disturbed.
"It's tough," acknowledged the Royal Retainer, whose years of experience allowed him to commiserate with his mistress.
A few days earlier, on a clear and starry evening, Toad had retired to the Royal Outhouse to address an impending concern, and was dismayed to return to a chaotic kitchen under fire.
For whatever reason, the castle staff was beset by several of the very worst snack thieves of the past two decades; among them, Craze E. Craving, the Soggies, and of course Barney Rubble (both the Smacks Frog and Coconuts, the Coco Crispies Monkey, were conspicuously absent). Individually, their antics would unravel in less than thirty seconds; but as a team they proved formidable.
Toad took control of the stiuation and, in an equally elaborate ploy that involved the castle garrison, the Chex Quest Guy, and about twenty of those kids one sees thwarting the baddies in the cereal commercials, deterred the attack. However, the battle was not without its casualties. The kitchen itself was in shambles; the marketing gimmicks had absconded with nearly all of the snacks, while the cabinets had been ripped from the walls by ravenous pillaging. Then there was the considerable physical and psychic damage to the staff, which had been mislead and bamboozled to the cusp of madness.
Presently, the kitchen was being restored to its former majesty by a staff of professionals, and was thus in a convalescent state. This had drastically altered the established eating practices of the castle, and one of the new arrangements was that everyone purchased and ate only their own snack food.
"It's so hard when people start to get territorial with their food. You lose friends," said the princess.
"Lose friends?" Toad asked incredulously, with a smile. "What are you, kidding?"
"Whose Bugles have you been eating?"
"So you don't think people... hold grudges about that kind of thing?"
"Nah," said Toad, shaking his head. "Who would care about such a thing?"
"This whole thing has been terrible. How could it have happened? Do you think it was Bowser?"
"I think..." Toad hesitated for a moment, at a loss for words. "I guess we just had too many snacks in the same place. It was like the Tower of Babel, or something."
"Hmm... Maybe." Peach thought for a moment. "Do you think we blame things on the Koopas too easily?"
"Yeah," Toad asserted. "Oh yeah. This regime- if... if it weren't for the Koopas, we wouldn't be able to get away with half the nonsense dat goes on around here. The whole thing is just a... big circus of idiots."
"Hmm... No wonder they don't like us..." Peach leaned back and ran her fingers through her hair. Toad was about to say something, but was interrupted. "Actually, it's good you're here, because I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Okay," nodded Toad, folding his arms.
"One of my cousins is... passing through the Mushroom Kingdom tomorrow afternoon..."
"Daisy?" asked Toad.
"Daisy isn't my cousin. I meant, uh... Prune..."
Toad let out a deep sigh. "Ah, geez... and you're gonna want her to-"
"It'll just be for the day, that's it," pleaded Peach.
"Princess," Toad protested, "ya know I'm not good with the mentally retarded. Can I even say dat? Is "mentally retarded" okay?"
"You can just avoid her, or something. She won't be staying for that long..."
"But it's not dat easy!" he whined. "What if she, uh, I don't know... asks me to help her use the bathroom or something, what do I say?"
"It's not going to be like that-"
"Eh? You know, imagine you had a guest coming over, and there was the possibility you would be forced to help them use the bathroom. And smile about it, or whatever. Would you be excited about having dat guest over?"
"Toad, Prune is mentally challenged, not handicapped. She can use the bathroom by herself."
Toad put his hands back in his pockets. "Are we sure about dat? I wanna be sure."
"Yes!" The princess groaned, rolling her eyes. "I don't feel like arguing about it with you."
"... Fine." he conceded.
"So I need you to make sure she has a safe arrival tomorrow. Can you do that?"
"Hold on..." The princess began to rumage through one of the drawers of her desk. She pulled out a slip of paper and wrote something on it. "Here..."
Toad took the paper and scrutinized it.
"This is her cell... Please give her a call before she gets here..."
"Cell phone? Why does she have a cell phone?"
Peach sighed. "It's... basically so the family can keep track of her."
"... This is like Inspector Gadget, or something..." Toad chortled, looking at the paper. "Maybe... maybe I can get a little video wristwatch that helps me communicate with my dog..."
"What are you talking about?"
Toad shrugged and shook his head.
"Well, if that's settled..." Peach began, standing up, "I need to go buy a new bumper sticker for my go-kart-"
"Oh, um..." Toad interposed, "listen, the guys were lookin' for something to listen to downstairs and I had something in mind... but I lost it..."
"Have you seen an album around anywhere called 'Hulk Rules'? It's this rap album Hulk Hogan made."
Peach made a puzzled look. "I don't think so."
"Are you sure?"
"I think I would remember a rap album with Hulk Hogan on it. Why would you have something like that?"
"I don't know..." said Toad, blushing. "You know how the wrestlers have like... an entrance theme for when they enter the arena? I've always wanted one of those. You know... I enter the room and this song starts playin', gettin' people pumped about my arrival..."
"Pumped for the board holder?"
Toad didn't respond, but instead began to swagger around to each side of the room, shouting and waving his arms as though he were entering a wrestling arena. He gesticulated in exciting ways and shouted inaudibly.
"All right, well, good luck..." said Peach, rolling her eyes. She made her way out of the room, leaving Toad to his fantasy.
"Okay, so here's the plan." Bowser Koopa peeped through the arabesque crevices of a leafy bush. "When the princess comes strolling along that path, I introduce her to, uh... Mr. Potato Sack, hehe."
"Right," sighed Morton, who waited patiently beside his father.
After a pause, Bowser gazed wistfully into the forest canopy. "Hmm... I sure wish Ludwig were here..."
Morton stared at the reptile-in-reverie. "What? Why Ludwig?"
"Eh... It's just no fun having you around..."
"You forced me to go! I don't even know why I'm here!"
"Yeah... I just like to have someone around that lifts my spirits every once in a while. But you're no Ludwig..."
"He's just fun-loving, and witty... He's the peanut butter to my jelly. It's a shame he's missin' this."
"But you could have brought him along! He's probably just sitting around playing 2020 Super Baseball or something."
"You know what would be an unlikely combination of Koopa companions? You and Iggy. I just thought of that."
"How about Iggy and anyone?" snickered Morton, cupping his chin in his hand.
Bowser began to look around, when all of the sudden he leapt to his side, tackling Morton to the ground.
"Ugh! What the-"
"Shh..." hushed the Koopa King.
"Is it the princess?" asked Morton, lifting his head to look across the dirt path.
Unexpectedly, Snoopy had appeared, trodding along on his hind legs in a brown leather jacket. He had a boxing glove tied to his snout.
"Shh!" hissed Bowser. "He'll hear us, you imbecile!"
The Koopas watched as Snoopy carefully inspected the amber-lit grove, and after a few moments had passed, Bowser relaxed his grip.
"I think we lost him..." whispered Bowser.
Before Morton could respond, a small, yellow bird fluttered down from a nearby tree. It was Woodstock! The tiny fellow made his disjunct and eliptical flight toward the ground in a tumbling fervor, colliding with trees and leaving a waning, dotted-line trail behind him.
Bowser's eyes darted nervously from side to side as he listened to the strange, erratic honking of the little bird. With beads of sweat running down his temples he lay perfectly still, on top of his son, as Woodstock alighted the ground.
The parties stared at each other in silence.
In a feathery flash, Woodstock popped like a gorey firecracker, startling the Koopas into an upright position. Snoopy spun around and began to wave his fists wildly in the air.
"Oh my God!" cried Morton. "Dad, what did you do to this guy?!"
"I don't know... I was, uh..." Bowser stuttered in confusion. "I was at the library, and this dog was sittin' there laughing... The sign said "no dogs allowed", anyway, so..."
"Aw, a library nark?!"
At that moment, Peach came upon the unfolding scene. "Snoopy?"
In a single breath, a swarm of Woodstocks descended from the canopy like a cluod of deadly yellow spores.
"We gotta grab the princess and get outta here!" shouted Bowser over the cocophony of squeaking and crackling.
Little could be seen or heard as the frantic duo pushed their way through the mist of parakeets. Bowser had lost track of Snoopy, and intermittenly he heard the combustive fate of a few uncoordinated birds popping like balloons in the distance.
"Gotcha!" cried Bowser, coming up on his prize.
Well, he didn't quite have her, only about half of her. Amidst the confusion Bowser had missed his mark, and had bagged Peach uncomfortably by the torso. From here, a strange struggle ensued, Bowser pressing on from his poor angle, Peach resisting from hers.
"Dad, hurry up!" urged Morton, poking the Koopa King in the back of the shell. The air was erupting in feathers as the sound of piercing bullets hummed though the forest. Snoopy was firing at the Koopas from a rock as an imaginary pilot.
"How's he doin' that?" Bowser wheezed. In frustration, he began to punch the bag.
"Ow... Hey... Come on!" bleated the princess.
"Well? What are you waitin' for?" panted Bowser. "Fire back!"
Gazing at his hands in uncertainty, Morton slowly raised his fists and formed them into make-believe guns. He pointed in the direction of Snoopy and made pretend gun sounds.
Snoopy skillfully dodged Morton's flurry of firepower. But just as he was laughing gallantly to himself, he was hit! Black smoke was fuming from the rock as Snoopy furiously tried to steer his way to safety.
"Um... I think I got him," said Morton.
With a final blow, the princess fell limp. "Finally!" exclaimed a harried Bowser. "Let's go!"
The Koopas slipped away from the grove as dusk began to settle. Snoopy pulled himself up and kicked part of the red and yellow mess that had been left on the ground. In rage, he threw his pilot's cap on the ground and began to make his characteristic, unearthly noises.
"You see... With you it's like, I don't know... it's like I'm forced to settle for... Utz, or Wise, over good potato chips. People will say Oh, Morton's there, but... eh... it's hard to go back..."
"Uh-huh," said Morton as he preened himself of yellow feathers.
"Hey, I've got a Koopa craving for some pancakes. Let's got get some."
"But he have-" began Morton, looking up at the sack thrown over his father's shoulder. "Eh, whatever..."