I Was a Teenage Shrimp
I Was a Teenage Shrimp
Nyllon Tines’ short stature did not seem to be helped by his motorcycle jacket, slick ducktail, or punk demeanor. He was still called “Shrimp.” He smoked, skipped class, stole hubcaps, yet managed to be both insider and outsider at the same time: an unpopular rebel.
Except where Rosty Newlar was concerned. As an art major she was automatically fringe. Besides that, she was unable to express anything. But she dug Nyllon’s scene. The most.
The troubled teen pondered life as he sat brooding youthfully on Holeport’s moonlit pier. Something at water’s edge disrupted his thoughts of hotrods and he snatched it up. A shrimp. Man, what a trip.
Naturally he did what any unpopular rebel would do. He took it home, cooked it and ate it. Stupid shrimp.
At school the next day Nyllon felt weird. Man.
“What’s a’ matter, Shrimp? Eat a bad cupcake?” sneered football hero Clack Foalgood whose entourage laughed in unison. Nyllon just skulked away.
That night, Nyllon and Rosty parked at the pier.
“Did you hear, Nyllon? Cargo of radioactive shrimp washed overboard, returning from atomic testing,” droned Rosty.
“Don’t bug me, Rosty.”
“Hey look, high tide,” Rosty observed blandly.
Suddenly, Nyllon felt weird. “I gotta split, baby.”
Before Rosty could express disinterest, Nyllon disappeared into the night. Rosty stared for a full minute before asking, “What I do with your wheels, baby?”
Nyllon closed the door to his darkened room just the way his parents liked it. In the mirror, moonlight etched the barest hint of a sickening transformation beginning.
Clack Foalgood chuckled goodnight to his pals at the malt shop and started home.
“Gee, I like fun,” offered the high school brain trust.
He always took the alley shortcut because he was large and footballish. That wouldn’t help him.
The leather-jacketed thing hissed as creepy feelers emerged from the darkness, rapidly feeling Clack’s meaty face, which made him cry like a little girl. It was the last little-girl crying he would ever do.
Headlines trumpeted the butchery: TEEN KILLED BY TEENAGE SHRIMP they screamed.
Rosty mentioned it to Nyllon who grunted, “Don’t bug me, Rosty.” He didn’t remember a thing. Only that something strange happened to him…
Like popsicles taped to a summer fence, Clack’s jock friends went in succession — Braugh Morkis, Heth Punner, Jimmy Waiver — one with every high tide. In fact, papers started calling it the “High Tide Murders,” though many stuck with the whole “Teenage Shrimp” thing.
But one night, as Nyllon and Rosty parked in their usual spot…
“Hey, know what I just thought of? There’s a Teenage Shrimp on the loose. And, like, your nickname’s Shrimp. Crazy, huh?”
“Don’t bug me, Rosty,” sulked the rebel.
“Hey, Nyllon, how’s come you all a’ time sneak off at high tide, why is that, I ask?”
“Knock it off, Rosty, ya’ crowdin’ me.”
But it was happening quicker. Nyllon didn’t have a chance to sneak off. Before Rosty’s jaded teenaged eyes, her troubled boyfriend began to change. His eyes became beady and black and grotesquely extended outward on stalks, while disgusting twitchy-feely things — too numerous to make sense of — started springing out all over, until there was hardly any teenage face there.
“Hey. You’re Teenage Shrimp,” Rosty observed through a chewing gum snap.
Just when it seemed everything was still cool, even Rosty showed emotion as loathsome feelers began stroking her face. It was too much, even for an art major. For the first time in her young life, Rosty screamed, though not a very good one.
Science teacher Jantine Nuthers, working late in the school lab, listened patiently to her student’s traumatic tale. “Rosty, I’m just a high school science teacher, but it sounds like Nyllon might have eaten one of those missing radioactive shrimp and became a kind of wereshrimp, but at this point it’s only a guess… However, if we can find him, I might be able to give him an antidote.”
Rosty suddenly remembered it was the night of the big dance at the gym, an event not cool enough for her and Nyllon to attend, but something that would be lousy with jocks.
Sure enough, at that very moment, at the height of a particularly frenetic and dangerous version of the Twist, the dancers became aware of a new presence in the gym. A girl screamed. Then another. Soon, many girls were screaming, like it was a thing.
It took a while for the jocks to get that something might be wrong, but eventually one of them, Voy Danover, swaggered into the crowd to see what all the ruckus was. Like hamsters when an octopus is dropped in their midst, the crowd began parting, and Voy looked to the center of it.
There was the coolest Teenage Shrimp ever — black leather jacket, jeans — strutting forward while trying unsuccessfully to comb his feelers. Voy stood staring like a bear in a flashlight as Teenage Shrimp swaggered right up to him and let those disgusting little feelers have their way with his face. Voy screamed as he was stung numerous times. Then he dropped.
Suddenly, Jantine was there. “Nyllon, I just whipped up this antidote so if you could drink this that would be great. I know you can’t help it, and none of this is your fault.”
For the first time, they heard Teenage Shrimp speak, with difficulty: a tortured shrimp-like rasp.
“You don’t dig me, Miss Nuthers… I like… like this whole shrimp scene.”
Before he could attack her, Rosty sprang between them. “Hey, cool it, Nyllon. Okay?”
Teenage Shrimp wrestled with his fading humanity, though that’s kind of hard to see when something looks like that. But police were filing in, and, with a brief glance at Rosty, Nyllon rushed them, only to be cut down in a hail of bullets.
Jantine comforted Rosty, as all watched Teenage Shrimp change back to Nyllon.
“Hey, look. It’s Shrimp,” said someone in the crowd. For the first time, Rosty shed a tear.
'Twas the night before Christmas, so the campaign is likely to be a bit quiet for the next few days - I'll likely be running silent (running deep) for a bit - but remember to share your excitement about this kickstarter in your social circles and on your social media! We're less than $1,000 to our next Stretch Goal - more monsters! more antagonists! - and holiday gatherings are the perfect time to recruit more backers! What a great oppor-tuna-ty!
I've seen more than a few suggestions of using this game as part of a movie and game night or weekend, and I think that's an awesome idea! Especially if you pick the perfect companion movie to set the mood and get a chance to show the trailer for the game before you play!