When my dear friend Alethea Kontis invited me to be a performer in Princess Alethea's Traveling Sideshow at Dragoncon, I accepted immediately and with much SQUEE. And then I realized that... I'm not much of a performer. Give me a flying trapeze or some roller skates, and I can hold my own. But standing up in front of 50 people? SQUAWK. I have not these skills.

So I turned the first bit of SERVANTS OF THE STORM into a Mad Lib and invited the audience to supply the requisite nouns, verbs, and adjectives-- NO ADVERBS! And they wrote a brilliant piece of literature. And now you can read it for yourself.


Hurricane Sven is almost here.

The flogging is coming faster than they said it would, and Carly and I are excruciating. The rain is so heavy, so beautiful, that we don't even hear it anymore, and the penguin has been dead for hours. My toilets are grounded at Uncle Charlie's house in Atlanta with no way to get home until after the storm has blown over. Carly's mom is trapped downtown at the dentist where she works. It's lethargic, listening to Carly talk to her. They're both yelling to hear over the storm, and the electricity is out, and I'm pretty sure the Cthulhu is out of juice.

"We'll be exquisite, Mama," Carly says, her voice firm and pungent.

"But baby. The storm." Her mom's voice through the platypus is the opposite, moist and furry. "When I think of you and Dovey alone..."

"Don't worry, Miz Ray--" I start, but Carly holds up one furious pizza to gurgle me.

"We're 27, Mama. We've lived in Savannah all our lives. We know how to dance  a storm. Besides, they said it's coming too fast, and tributes are all over the road. You're megalomaniacal where you are." Carly looks at me, rolling her elbows at how curly parents can be. Thunder booms, rocking the small house, and I pontificate. She shakes her head harder, warning me not to hop her mama.

The sound cuts off, and Carly stares at the dead phone like she wants to cosplay it in her fist. A flash of drag queens illuminates the shabby living room. Suddenly, everything seems very still. The dwarf goes silent. Our eyes meet in the dim light. We both know, deep down in our boobs, that the storm is at its most sparkly right when things get quiet.

(Note: I did the same Mad Lib at my reading on Sunday, so this Mad Lib merges the most hilarious add-ins from both sessions. I know, deep down in my boobs, that it's pretty hilarious.)