by Gordon Guano
(with apologies to Robert Bevan)
No matter the hour, Cardinia's Collapsed Sewer district is never entirely quiet. The bustle of the day, with vendors hawking their wares and counting out an honest day's wage, gives way at dusk to the more furtive rustling of rogues trying to make a dishonest night's wage. More questionable items are traded in back alleys in a quiet rustle; these deals often end in a dying gurgle from one party. After midnight, drunken revelry can be heard from behind closed doors, and night watchmen in the more upscale districts can be heard calling the hours. Through it all, the constant gurgle of fermentation in the aforementioned collapsed sewers can be heard.
Dawn comes on gradually, with vendors unfolding shades to their stalls, and a building cacophony of roosters heralding the sunrise. It is generally not considered to be the official start of a new day, though, until the Whore's Head tavern has been emptied out by Cooper's inaugurating fart.
“For fuck's sake, Cooper, is your colon possessed by a demon or something?”, Tim asked, holding his nose, as the rest of the tavern's denizens assembled outside the front doors. Some were leaning against each other for support and a few were openly retching. Dave, as usual, had gotten the worst of it. He had been sleeping on the floor next to Cooper, and been spattered. Apparently Cooper's loincloth had ridden up in the back over the course of the night.
“Shitohshitohshit, it's in my beeearrrd!”, wailed Dave. Casting about the bar for the nearest clean liquid, he upended the spittoon over his head. At least it was an improvement. Cooper, for his part, was groggily coming to from his comfortable puddle of dried vomit on the floor. His eyes grew wide as Dave waddled back across the floor and planted a kick on his ass.
“Now it's on my feeeeet!”
“Come on, guys, you know I can't help it!”, said Cooper. “And you know I'll clean up my puke as soon as I get up. That's gonna have to wait though. That fart was just a turd honking to get the right of way.”
Staggering through the back exit in the kitchen, Cooper was confronted with the dual outhouses behind the tavern. Normally he was content to do his business against the side wall, as the privies were built more on the scale of a typical human and not a six-foot-plus half-orc. It had been pointed out that his piss was making the wooden walls rot at an accelerated rate though, and he was already starting the day in the hole.
Throwing open the door to the nearest outhouse, Cooper was confronted by the sight of Rhonda the wizard's bare lower torso. She was contorting her pudgy body, holding her hiked-up robe under her second chin, and trying to clean off the remnants of her morning dump with a corncob.
“What the fuck, Cooper? This is the women's outhouse! Can you not fucking read?”, shouted Rhonda as she dropped her robe to cover her distressed bird's nest of a bush. She raised her hand and started to mutter an incantation, then seemed to think better of it.
“As a matter of fact, no, I can't read”, said Cooper defensively. “Barbarians are illiterate, remember? And for all I know, that picture on the door is Julian. He wears a dress, too, you know.”
“It's a robe, dipshit. And you're such an ignorant swine, if we drew a dick on the other picture, you'd probably think it was for the gays and never leave. Actually, that gives me an idea...”
“I don't have time to banter with someone who looks like she has a troll doll in a leglock”, grumbled Cooper. “This dump has been knocking on my back door politely so far, but it's about to break out the battering ram”. Opening the other outhouse's door, he reached in and pulled out a terrified halfling trying to light a pipe. “Sorry dude, but I need this more than you.” Positioning himself over the hole, Cooper's sphincter let go with an almost seismic rumbling.
After the commotion had died down and everyone had gotten some breakfast in them, Frank the gnome began handing out work assignments. Tim and Dave drew security detail, making sure that the other real-world players who had selected the Alchemy skill made it safely to the market to hawk their potions. Julian would have to stay in and scribe out a Ray of Frost spell onto a scroll. Using them to chill beer or make blocks of ice had become something of a phenomenon among the upper crust, and demand for them was insatiable.
“This is fricking stupid”, complained Julian. “It's a zero-level spell and it takes me, like, an hour to write one of these. I need half as much time to rest as anyone else, you'd think that would double my productivity. But no, I just have to sit here with my thumb up my butt until tomorrow.”
“The rules can be dumb”, Frank agreed. “But by no means are you going to be sitting around with your thumb up your ass. Barney needs help prepping for dinner in the kitchen. Or if you don't like that, you can help your butt-buddy Cooper haul barrels of piss to the tannery.”
“Potato peeling it is”, sighed Julian. “A wise choice, sir”, squawked Ravenus, flapping down from a rafter to settle on Julian's shoulder. “Not that I would expect any less from you.”
Frank shook his head. “I guess I've seen it all now. The dead brought back to life, magic spells-it all pales in comparison to seeing a skinny elf ass getting kissed without lips. There's a riddle that would tie the Sphinx's dick in a knot. Now off to work, the both of you.”