DOOMLANDS

CHAPTER SEVEN

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CHAPTER SEVEN

THE WRATH OF NAAN

 The Oasis has a problem. Even though it was always known primarily as a low-rent watering hole, Tetsuo did always try to provide what passed for a decent meal. But this particular shortcoming is blown wide open by a review written by a food critic who came to The Oasis secretly. Tetsuo takes the review very poorly, locking himself in his room and listening to overwrought opera at very high volumes. Danny convinces his friend that they’ll focus all their attention on launching a brand new Oasis menu. Tetsuo seizes the chance to restore his reputation. In a montage, we see Danny and Tetsuo collecting ingredients from various exotic locales: wrestling two-foot snails from an aquamarine bog, chopping down toadstools the size of trees on the side of a mountain, gathering pus from the cyst of a cave wolf (Danny raises an eyebrow at this one, but when Tetsuo makes him taste it, damned if it isn’t delicious).

 Finally the night of the menu launch arrives. Xanthena, Danny, and Lhandi have decorated the Oasis as elegantly as they can given their resources (candles that are really just TNT with the gunpowder taken out, a sheet over the passed-out drunks, the words “FANCY WINE” written over the Doomshine kegs). Even Jep has combed back his hair and is acting as Maitre D’, greeting all the diners with a, “Welcome. Act proper, we’re fucking classy tonight!” Finally Tetsuo emerges from the kitchen and delivers a speech about how much he cares about food and that the daily grind of the wasteland had made him lose his way. He pledges that tonight is the first day of the rest of his life as a chef and calls for the meals to be brought out. It’s an amazing spread of every color, shape, and size, and when the diners begin to eat, they moan in ecstasy. The food is the most delicious they’ve ever had. Danny raises a toast to his friend, the greatest chef in all the wasteland. Then, the diners’ moaning begins to change. They writhe and groan in pain. They begin vomiting, shitting, and bleeding out of their eyes. After an atrocious few minutes, they are all dead. Jep assesses the room and tsks, “They get all dressed up and then act like this.”

 It becomes very clear to Danny that Tetsuo has accidentally poisoned everyone, but he can’t confirm this as Tetsuo has once again locked himself in his room, opera and all. This is, of course, the least of Danny’s problems. He has bar full of corpses to get rid of. Thankfully, Xanthena has an idea. She reminds Danny of the horde of cannibals that live in Razor Canyon. “We’d be giving them groceries for a month.” Danny has always had a distaste for cannibals (pun so intended) but agrees that this is the tidiest solution. They head to Razor Canyon and are greeted by a village of emaciated cannibals. Turns out that their head hunter and chef died on an expedition and they’ve all been starving since. Lhandi finds this strange as there appears to be fruit trees all around the canyon. “It’s true, we’re sort of picky eaters. It’s just a thing.” They’re so picky, in fact, that they refuse to eat any of the bodies raw. Danny sees a chance to help his friend. He bursts into Tetsuo’s room and offers him the chance to redeem himself. He can cook all of the people he poisoned for the cannibals and prove he’s a great chef! Tetsuo reluctantly agrees. In another stirring montage we see Danny sous-chef-ing for Tetsuo, carving up the bodies, stirring the soup, placing garnish next to a hand.

 The banquet is presented to the weak-but-appreciative cannibals and they eat everything in sight with nothing but rave reviews. As Tetsuo and Danny share a cigar in celebration, Jep totters over them to offer his congratulations. “But one thing, Danny,” Jep asks, “If all them people was poisoned, wouldn’t that just--” Before Jep can finish a familiar scene bursts to life as the cannibals begin vomiting, shitting, and bleeding out of their eyes like the earlier diners. Danny tries to console Tetsuo. “That one’s on me, bud. I shoulda done the math on that.” But it’s too much. In a moment of heightened shame, Tetsuo drinks down an entire pot of his soup. His flesh instantly begins to slough off his body and land as a sludge on the floor. Danny sighs heavily and calls out to Lhandi. “Lhandi, Tetsuo’s killed himself. Can you come put him in some jars for me?”