A Warped Tales Entry …
There is an old Earth saying, “Now I’ve seen everything” but when you can travel the stars you know how impossible that really is. I thought the drinking games at the academy were wild and basically almost every planet I’ve been on has had some form of drunken insanity with various forms of alcohol or other alien intoxicants. But I have to add to the list of “seen everything” the Ataar Ratee bar game on the planet Igarthintilly near the Rigel 7 system.
The Ataar Ratee is a good example of how anyone no matter what species they are will bet on just about anything. The Ataar Ratee was developed from the Ratee plant which is well known for its intoxicating sap. The unique thing about Ratee sap is that you can only absorb the sap’s intoxicant through the blood vessels in your mouth. Besides having both an intoxicating and hallucinogenic effect it also turns the whites of your eyes a day-glow green. If you are unfortunate enough to swallow any of the sap your stomach acid reacts violently with the sap and cascades through your digestive tract and liquefies everything and creates what can only be described as instant and explosive diarrhea.
This of course is how spitting rooms started where you would purchase an atomizer filled with Ratee sap and you would then sit in a room with others and spray your mouth with the Ratee sap and then rinse your mouth out with a slightly alcoholic drink and spit that into a bowl to make sure you never swallowed any of the sap. Of course there were a few accidents when a patron would forget and drink the rinse drink instead of spitting it out and the results were, well, explosive. That’s when they started to add a strong perfume like scent to the rinse drink so that even if you were drunk or high you would be less likely to swallow it.
The Ataar Ratee was developed by an enterprising bar owner several years ago where he took the Ratee sap and combined it with an engineered a bio-bot. The Ataar Ratee bio-bot looks something like a large glob of used chewing gum and it is programmed with a basic AI escape sequence and once activated has enough power to operate for about 20 minutes. The really gross part of the Ataar Ratee is that he gene spliced the properties of a slug worm into the damn thing which make it even more disgusting. I have never tried one but I’ve been told that it has the consistency of boiled tripe and tastes like wet mushrooms.
The bar was the usual hole in the wall and had the requisite rigged gambling games and green ale. But the center of attention was the Ataar Ratee game. I don’t think you can really call it a game, but when you are dealing with drunken humans and aliens almost anything goes.
Basically several contestants are each given a vial with an activated Ataar Ratee in it and after a countdown each opens the vial and pops it into their mouth. The object of the game is to basically keep the Ataar Ratee in your mouth and not let it slide down your throat. To do so you have to chomp down on the thing to cease its motion and release the Ratee sap and in the process deactivate the bio-bot so that you can then spit it out. Of course the Ataar Ratee had been programmed to escape by crawling, slithering, and bouncing back and forth inside your mouth looking for any way out.
If it finds its way down your throat your stomach acid will deactivate it and in turn release the Ratee sap. The first one to bite down and release the Ratee sap wins and as you can guess that is easier said than done. For the tourist trade they have throat blocks so the thing can’t get down your throat but tonight it was the real game.
There is something to be said for a person or alien who is willing to make a complete ass of themselves in front of a group of strangers, but what that is I haven’t yet discovered. But it was a lot of fun to watch the contortions of the “contestants” as they grimaced and groaned. Some got real animated and the crowd got louder the more they struggled.
The first contestant to lose was readily apparent. If you’ve never seen how fast Ratee sap works on a digestive system you’re missing one of the great wonders of the universe. That’s why each contestant has to wear a plastic containment garment that covers them from the chest to the knees. Of course the garment is transparent so everyone can see when someone looses.
I don’t think anyone really cared who won because the losers were really the stars of the contest. As each one failed to contain the Ataar Ratee you could see it in their eyes and their pathetic acceptance of what was about to happen to them.
And happen it did.
Having never seen this spectacle before I was totally unprepared for the sound. At first I thought it was part of the ever present loud music playing in the background but then I realized it was from the losing contestants. There seemed to be a process the Ratee sap thrust upon each contestant that each one followed in succession.
First there was a long drawn out pitiful “Nooooooooo” and then the look of fear when you could see them remember the specific instructions and rules of the game.
Each contestant is required to sign an agreement to accept all responsibility no matter what the outcome and that they have read and understood the list of instructions of the extreme physical effects they could experience.
The first instruction on the list?
If you swallow the Ataar Ratee KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED as the Ratee sap affects the entire length of your digestive track and the resultant expulsion can extend to both ends of your intestinal track.
Even though you could see in their eyes that all they wanted to do was scream, the fear of the possibility of an exodus from both ends of their bodies was enough to freeze them in place as they held their breath and just waited for the inevitable.
Everybody giggled when the first toot went off because it was such sweet little sound and not what everyone was expecting.
But then the avalanche came roaring through with what I imagine the trumpets at the gates of hell sound like as they welcome you to everlasting agony. There was a cadence to it all as each contestants was afflicted and sank to their knees as their bottoms bellowed out BRAAAT – BRAAAT – BRAAAT that continued for what must have seemed like an eternity for the losing contestants.
As each contestant fell back onto the floor their hands reached out in front of them as if to ward off any additional unseen torture and the audience went wild.
Everyone was screaming their delight and as the roar reached a crescendo everyone suddenly stopped and turned to look at one contestant dancing a jig in the middle of all the chaos.
You could see it in his eyes as they had turned day-glow green. He had won the contest. He had beaten the Ataar Ratee and with everyone’s attention now on him he stood still and smiled at everyone and then with a great flourish he spit the now deactivated Ataar Ratee onto the floor and the crowd roared in approval.
Over a PA system the bar owner congratulated the contestant “We have a winner” he belted out and the bar lights dimmed and what looked like a small stage was now flooded with several spotlights. “This way” he said as he gestured the winner towards the stage “Come forward and accept your award” he continued.
The crowd fell silent as the winning contestant now filled with pride straightened his back and with his head held high walked as gracefully as possible while still wearing the plastic containment garment and in that quiet moment you could hear not only each of his footsteps, but the moaning of all the fallen contestants behind him.
“It gives me great pleasure to recognize the winner of tonight’s game” the bar owner said “This way please” he continued as he pointed to center stage and the contestant stepped into the spotlight and turned to face the crowd.
“You have faced the challenge and won the contest so now let me present you with your award” he said with great reverence as he turned to the winning contestant and handed him a small gold colored coin.
The amount of money that changed hands on bets in the bar after each contest was probably worth a king’s ransom and that the contestant was smiling while holding up his small apparently insignificant prize as the crowd cheered him on seemed a bit skewed.
That is until you understand the real value of that small gold colored coin. With this coin in hand you would probably never have to buy another drink again at any bar in the galaxy. Ratee spitting rooms would never again charge you, or your guests. The pleasure planets would welcome you with many of their delights at your disposal for free!
And of course the bragging rights would be endless.
And that is why as they dragged the losing contestants off into obscurity with their failure visually apparent through their transparent containment garments a line was forming for the next contest.
Now I’ve seen everything!
But then again there was that story someone told me about a planet where they have a roller coaster that you can ride through an active volcano, I might have to check that out.