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Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heckby Dale E. Basye
Synopses & Reviews
1 • Scamming the Fat
Virgil’s stomach rumbled like a gastric earthquake, registering somewhere between a 6.7 and 9.4 on the digestive Richter scale. He was starving, but that was only half of it. His belly was also waging a protest against Blimpo’s aptly named Gymnauseum.
No matter where Virgil looked across the strobe-lit gym, the checkered pattern of the walls—painted in Pepto-Bismol pink and vomit-green hues—wobbled in sickening throbs. Between the hunger and the nausea, Virgil’s stomach was currently more active than the rest of his body had ever been.
Like Virgil, the other boys in the bleachers were hunched over with hunger at the sight of their seldom-seen-yet-surprisingly-appetizing vice principals on the raised platform below. It was, apparently, the first time in years that the vice principals had descended from the floating castle that bobbed above Blimpo, tethered to the Circle’s inner courtyard. Virgil could instantly see why. Even the girthy girls perched across the auditorium—normally separated from the boys in Girls’ Blimpo but brought together for this special assembly—were rubbing their distended bellies with want.
The Burgermeister sat imperiously on an over-stuffed, wheat-colored throne. His face was a pinkish-brown gray, as plump and shiny as a roasted frankfurter, with a lattice of crisscrossed marks that made him seem flame broiled. Grease stains darkened his plush, ketchup-colored armrests; his round, pickle-colored head cushion; and the lettuce-green blanket he kept on his lap.
Next to him, melted in a conical chair, was Lady Lactose, a vision of creamy arrogance, patting the vanilla hair scooped high atop her head in soft spirals.
Virgil wiped his drool-slick lips. Teachers, principals, and most every flavor of authority figure usually filled him with dread. But now, as he stared down at the Burgermeister and Lady Lactose, he was filled with the barely controlled urge to tie a bib around his neck and tuck into his vice principals with a fork and a spoon. It was as if he were at the Gobble ’n’ Hobble back home in Dallas, that all-you-can-eat (and more) place that made you sign a waiver before it granted access to its legendary Bonanza Buffet.
The potent aroma of just-grilled hamburger and just-churned ice cream wafted from the stage. Considering the inedible slop the kids were served in the Cafeterium—or as the boys had dubbed it, the Lose-Your-Lunch Room—the smell made Virgil ravenous. And, judging from the bellyaching he heard gurgling from his fellow students, he was not alone.
The Burgermeister slicked back his greasy, poppy-seed-flecked hair until it looked like a rearing tidal wave. He leaned into the microphone set before him.
“Guten morgen, students of Blimpo,” the Burgermeister said as he wiped his oily meat hooks on his checkered lederhosen. “How geht es you all? You wundern vermutlich why you’re here?”
“More like wondering what you just said,” muttered Hugo DeWitt, a boy with a dark crew cut and massive cheeks that nearly swallowed his nose and mouth, seated next to Virgil.
Lady Lactose scowled at the wave of confusion that spread slowly throughout the crowd like a spill soaked up by a paper towel. She tilted the microphone toward her. The pained squeak of the metal
Visiting an otherworldly reform school where his friend Virgil is doomed to run on a giant hamster wheel, Milton Fauster is challenged to rescue his perfectionist sister, who has failed the devil's Infernship program. By the author of Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go.
Eleven-year-old Milton Fauster puts aside his own escape plans to help his sister, Marlo, who is in training to be an underworld secretary, and his best friend, Virgil, who is stuck in the circle of Heck reserved for overweight children.
About the Author
DALE E. BASYE, a recovering journalist and advertising copywriter, has written his way out of many a tense situation. He was a film critic, winning several national awards, and studied neon sculpture in art school, which—puzzlingly—never resulted in a consistent income. Dale E. Basye once made a plaster cast of himself in class and passed out, awaking to find himself in class in a plaster cast.
Here's what Dale E. Basye has to say about his latest book:
"Take a heaping helping of boys and girls, soak them in pre-adolescence until their bodies are unrecognizable, then blend them together until all lumps of reason have been smoothed into self-consciousness. Bake at half the appropriate temperature until half-baked. Now throw the whole mess—and everyone's expectations—out the window and onto a group of smug authority figures. Serves: them right. Heck is like that. And, no matter what anyone tells you, Heck is real. This story is real. Or as real as anything like this can be."
Dale E. Basye lives in Portland, Oregon, inside of a giant rotating loaf of fiberglass bread. His spinning domicile provides him with an excellent vantage point from which to fight crime, though his principal foe tends to be debilitating vertigo.
Visit wherethebadkidsgo.com and Dale's blog at wherethebadkidsgo.wordpress.com to find out more.
BOB DOB draws inspiration from painter Edward Hopper, classic Disney, and Film Noir. He lives in Redondo Beach, California where he draws, paints, and drinks coffee all day. For more on Bob and his art, visit BobDob.com.
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