is an April Fool's Day story that resulted from a supremely silly
LiveJournal meme called, "What's Your Battle Cry?"
Battle Cry, or Your Momma
"What is it, Van Helsing?"
"I was about to ask you."
"Oh. That’s not good."
"Probably not." Van Helsing snapped a tojo and flicked it at
the creature, catching its shoulder and propelling it against a tree.
Its body was too thick to allow the tojo to pin it, but it slumped to
the ground, mumbling. Carl stared, wide-eyed, and decided whatever it
was it was having a hell of a bad day.
The creature had burst upon them, catching them both by
surprise as they sat talking around the fire. It had lunged at Carl,
but Van Helsing pushed him quickly out of the way and the monster was
unable stop itself, its momentum hurling it forward onto the flames. It
jumped and took a single step forward before Van Helsing shot it
several times. The creature registered the pain and the odd feeling of
lightness that started to overtake it, but instinct pushed it forward
until the blade sliced into its arm and threw it back against the tree.
"Have you never seen one before?" Van Helsing stood between
the fallen creature and Carl, in case the monster attempted to rise.
"Uh, no. Nothing like it. It's not nearly as big as an ogre,
has too many eyes to be a Cyclops, definitely not a vampire, werewolf,
witch or warlock or. . . " He had the insane urge to run over and pat
out the flames on the top of its head. "If only I had access to books
"Carl, get back!" Van Helsing motioned to him as the creature
lifted its head. "What are you? What do you want? Are there others?"
"You are ugly and smelly, and stupidly pale," the creature
growled out. "I'm going to eat you alive and laugh as you scream. You
are weak, and cannot see in the dark," it said, its voice going
higher-pitched as it slapped at itself, trying to douse the fire that
rapidly spread over its oily-looking skin.
"Holy man! Your mother wept when she saw you for the first
time, and regretted being ugly man's whore! I am going to find her and
she will congratulate me as I kill you with knives."
Carl sucked air and put his hands on his hips. "Now see here,
you, you horribly rude creature! You don't even know my mother, just
where do you--"
"I'm going to tear out your heart and wear your bones as a
necklace. I'm going to pop your eyeballs between my teeth and wear your
skin as my cloak. I'm going to cause you such pain--"
The creature burst into flame and after one long keening wail,
fell silent. Carl and Van Helsing watched as the body of the creature
turned to ash, the flames sputtering out, leaving only a great black
smudge against the side of the tree.
After several moments, Van Helsing turned to Carl. "I doubt
there are more of them. He would have at least called out if there were
more. Are you all right?"
"Yes, yes I'm fine. You?"
They sat next to each other beside the fire in silence, until
Van Helsing chuckled and turned to Carl. "You. . . horribly rude
Carl blinked a few times. "It's the first thing that came to
"What?" Carl threw his hands up. "I was caught off guard. How
often does one of the creatures we go up against insult either of our
mothers? He called my mother a. . . a strumpet, for goodness sakes."
"I believe his word was whore."
"Whore, then. Same difference."
"No, Carl, it's not the same. That's your problem. You say
things like 'horribly rude creature' where most people would say
"You don't like it when I curse, remember?" He made big eyes
and wiggled his fingers. "Ooh, shocking. And according to you I don’t
do it very well anyway."
Van Helsing poked at the fire with a stick. "You don't. Yet
I'd rather have heard you call that creature a hell-be-damned bastard
than," here Van Helsing's voice went falsetto, "horribly rude."
"You're mocking me."
"You. . . you're a horribly rude. . . bastard."
Van Helsing smirked. "That doesn't count. We've covered that
one already. Pretend we're faced with such a creature again. Only this
creature wounds with words instead of. . . whatever that one would have
wounded us with. And it says something awful about your mother. You
have to defend yourself. It calls her a strum--a whore and then starts
threatening you the way this one did. Now, threaten it back. Just get
angry and blurt it out."
"I can't get angry just like that, Van Helsing."
"I saw you get angry pretty damned quick right before we
left." He twirled the stick in hands.
"Well yes, but I told you not to touch that model because I
didn't have all the parts properly secured yet." Carl combed his
fingers back through his hair. "Six hours I'd spent and all you do is
poke it, and poof. Back to the beginning."
"So remember that, get mad, and shout a threat like your life
depended on it. I know you can do it."
Carl stood and started pacing a circle around the fire. "All
right, all right, I'll try." He took a deep breath. "I'm going to. . .
punch you so hard and for such a long time. . . "
Van Helsing shook his head.
Carl twisted his hands together as he walked. "No? Hmm. I'm
going to pummel you with such zeal. . . "
"I'm going to. . . transmogrify everything you hold dear!" He
smiled at Van Helsing. "What about that one?"
"The creature is killing you, Carl."
"Ummm, I'm going to seriously bruise you so badly that. . .
that your own mother won't even recognize you? Your whorish
"I'm going to clobber you with such ferocity you'll see
crooked for a week?"
"Why are you asking, Carl? Just say it like you mean it. Stop
thinking so hard and just be angry. I just destroyed your precious
weapon and your mother is ugly and easy."
"I'm going to slice through your beating heart. . . "
". . . and spank you heinously with malice."
Van Helsing put his hand on his forehead and closed his eyes.
"I'm trying!" Carl walked faster, pumping his fists up and
down as he spoke. "I'm going to brutalize you for such a long time,
you'll see ultraviolet! I'm going to discombobulate you and wear your
arm as a scarf. I'm going to beat you beyond the end of time, and grin
like a fucking maniac!"
Van Helsing flinched at the curse, but only sighed.
Carl rounded the fire and stood in front of Van Helsing. ""I'm
going to contort you beyond mortal comprehension, and add a notch to my
bedpost. Belt." He snapped his fingers and pointed at Van Helsing with
a sly look. "Sword handle."
Van Helsing rubbed his face. "I should have known you didn't
have it in you. I'm sorry, Carl. Just forget it."
"What? No, I can't forget it now. What do you mean I don't
have it in me. I may not be like you, Van Helsing, but I can--"
"Just let it go, this was a bad idea. Just like that wretched
weapon model you got so upset over."
"Wha--oh, I see. You're trying to provoke me, thinking I'll
get genuinely angry so that saying horribly threatening things becomes
natural. Well I don't need you to provoke me. All I have to do is
remember the hours of work I put into it that you destroyed, and how
you bully me around and come up with these cockamamie plans, barking
orders and acting like I'm your personal manservant."
"You're just an impotent little friar. I think manservant is a
few steps up."
Carl's mouth fell open. He knew Van Helsing was just baiting
him, but it was working. "Impotent? I am not. . . do you mean that
figuratively or literally?"
"I am not impotent, damn it." Carl circled the fire again.
"I'm the creature, Carl. You're impotent, your mother's an
ugly whore, and your inventions are wastes of space."
"Ooh, I'm going to. . . strike a match on your crotch and set
"Your sister's an--"
"I don't much like my sister, Van Helsing."
"Oh, then you run like a girl, and have a matching haircut."
"I'm going to forcibly reverse your gender!"
"You're going to what?"
"I'm going to beat you until my glands are satisfied! I'm
going to cram objects into you from every conceivable angle! We'll see
who you're calling impotent. . . I'm going to fuck you into the stuff
of nightmares!" Carl clapped both hands over his mouth.
Van Helsing stared. "Jesus, Carl."
Carl blushed deep red. "I--I--"
"Do I detect a pattern? Those last several threats seemed
centered around my crotch. I--the creature's crotch." Van Helsing
stared into the fire. "Any particular reason?"
"It must have been--must have been the word impotent that did
that. That brings one's mind to that general area, after all." Carl
wiped sweat from the side of his face. "So, how did I do? Would I have
killed the creature, do you think?"
"You certainly scared me."
"If I knew that calling you impotent would work you into such
a crotch-centered lather. . . I'd have done it a long time ago. And on
a fairly regular basis since." He looked up at Carl and smiled at the
stunned reaction on his face.
Carl stared, open-mouthed, for a few moments. Then his smile
grew to match Van Helsing's. "You. . . "
"I. . . am a horribly rude bastard?
Carl sat next to Van Helsing, close enough that their
shoulders touched, and spoke in a low voice. "Pretty much."