DOOMLANDS

CHAPTER FIVE

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CHAPTER FIVE

TINA G.

It’s a particularly slow day on the Oasis, and despite Danny’s urgings that she just “take a goddamn break for once”, Lhandi decides to do some spring cleaning. While tidying up a storage closet that’s mostly full of Tetsuo’s shed skins and weird paintings Jep has made of crows, Lhandi finds an old 16mm film projector. When she turns it on, she’s shocked to see a younger Xanthena performing a huge concert for thousands of adoring fans. When Lhandi asks Xanthena about it, Xanth admits she used to be a huge pop star named Tina G. (“Why Tina G.?” “Oh, there were a bunch of Tinas. Tina D., Tina V., but they all wanted to be Tina G.!”) She goes on to explain that even though she loved performing, she was too good; people would become dangerously obsessed with her. (“At my shows, people would castrate themselves and throw their junk onstage. I mean, it’s flattering, but it’s a mess.”) After some heavy convincing, Xanthena agrees to do a one-off Tina G. show at the Oasis. Word travels fast, because the night of the show, the bar is packed. Xanthena performs incredibly and everyone swoons over her. Afterwards, a slick-looking guy in a suit named Huff offers to be Xanthena’s manager, promising her everything she could ever want: money, fame, power. Lastly, he offers her a drink with a bizarre little creature swimming inside. This is The Worm, a creature whose secretions, when mixed with liquid, create a potent drug that fills the user with a sense of godlike power and confidence. After a few sips, Tina G. is ready to take over the world and promptly signs a contract with Huff.

 At first, everything is going well. The shows are getting bigger, and Xanth and Huff are making money hand over fist. But in typical showbiz fashion, Xanthena is becoming too dependent on The Worm, so much so that she has done away with simply drinking its excretions and has allowed it to live inside of her. In a Worm-induced fit of rage, she lashes out at a fan at a backstage meet and greet. Xanth decides Tina G. has become the monster she never wanted to be. In a gruesome bathroom moment, Xanthena coaxes The Worm out of one of her orifices only to have it wriggle into another. After a few horrendous rounds of this, Xanth is able to flush The Worm down the toilet for good. She tells Huff she wants out, but he reminds her that her contract binds her for the next 10 years. Not only that, Huff has brokered a deal with the underground criminal Ugly Charles (think Jabba the Hutt but grosser) that has become obsessed with Tina G. She is now obligated to perform exclusively for him at his shady club.

 Meanwhile, the Oasis has seen much better days. All the maintenance Xanthena did, both on the bar and its inhabitants, is gone and it’s clear how much everyone needs her back. When the crew gets word that Xanth is being held against her will, they jump into action and storm the club. The battle climaxes with the Tina G. performance to end all Tina G. performances as she hits a note so high and powerful it explodes both the heads of both Ugly Charles and Huff. Xanthena flushes the remaining Worms down the drain and returns to her roles on the Oasis. At last call, a patron tells Xanth she looks a lot like that singer, Tina G, to which she responds, “That bitch wishes she could look like me.”