This classic GameCola article was originally published in January 2008.
Hey, everyone! Last month, I mentioned that I had some adventures on Bird-Girl Island. Well, just for the heck of it, I decided to write a story about these adventures. It starts off as fun(ny), but then evolves into a mature piece with dramatic material like torture and burning people at the stake. I’m not sure why. Paul and Lizo were there, too. Anyway, hope you enjoy the story!
Michael and Paul’s Adventures on Bird-Girl Island
In Which Michael and Paul Land on Bird-Girl Island
SCENE 1: A rough, mountainous countryside. Michael and Paul climb into view, both of them carrying birds.
How much longer do we have to do this?
Not much longer, I think.
You think? You think? We’ve been tramping across these stupid mountains for over half an hour now! If we don’t get there in five minutes, I say we turn around and go home.
It has to be here! Don’t you think so?
I don’t know what to think, Michael. If there is such a place, I don’t think these stupid birds can–
(Paul’s bird pecks Paul.)
Ow! The stupid bird bit me!
Guess the bird isn’t so stupid after all.
Well, even if the birds know something, the people reading this don’t. Tell them what’s going on, Michael.
O GameCola readers,
Hear this tale of Michael and Paul.
We are good gamers,
But we have left the world of gaming.
Not that we don’t like playing videogames,
The videogames that come out today are great,
Great big wastes of time.
For every forty-hour RPG that comes out,
Thirty-nine of those hours are spent on useless sidequests.
Paul and I are sick of it.
One day I met an old man.
The old man told me of a gamer’s paradise,
The land of the birds.
He said the games there are always fun,
And you don’t have to waste time with sidequests,
The graphics are always beautiful,
And the controls are easy to master.
He sold me these birds,
And so I got my friend Paul
To come with me, and follow these birds
In hopes of finding the gamer’s paradise.
Why did you say all that in verse?
It’s more poetic that way.
I think it’s kind of stupid. I mean, we’re trying to find a magical paradise called the land of the birds? That’s stupid. I’m leaving.
(Paul starts to leave, when a deep voice from out of nowhere speaks.)
Who dares disturb the land of the birds?
What the heck is that?
It must be the guardian of the land of the birds!
But there’s no such place!
Again, I ask, who dares disturb the land of the birds?
It is the guardian of the land of the birds!
And he sounds mad at us! What do we say?
How should I know?
Michael, if you get me killed by the guardian of the land of the birds, I’m going to kill you!
(A flash of light, and the Guardian of the Birds appears)
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
I’ve asked you twice, already! WHO ARE YOU? HUMANS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT THE KINGDOM OF THE BIRDS!
Humans? We’re not humans! We’re birds!
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
Uh huh! I’m an African…um….
Crapnose. African Crapnose.
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
I’ve never heard of the African Crapnose…
It’s a member of the quail family.
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
I see. And what about you?
He’s a Crapple, better known by the Latin name Turdus Maximus.
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
OK, so you’re birds. Very well. What do you want?
We want to go to Bird-Girl Island!
GUARDIAN OF THE BIRDS
Very well, I will take you there.
Could you wait for just a second?
Michael, this is crazy. I don’t want to go to Bird-Girl Island!
But Paul! I can’t go by myself! You have to come along!
OK…I’ll go along on one condition: That everyone who reads this article gives it a 5, so it becomes the highest-rated article ever.
Agreed! Let’s go!
SCENE TWO: In the middle of the air. The Guardian of the Birds is flying. In his left talon, he is carrying Paul, and in his right talon, he is carrying Michael.
I’m tired of doing this article in play format. Formatting all of our dialogue is really tough on the good GameCola editors.
OK, fine, you big wuss. I’ll switch to a third-person narrative.
“Happy now?” Michael asked.
“Sure am,” Paul replied. He looked up at the Guardian of the Birds. “How much longer until we get to Bird-Girl Island?”
The Guardian of the Birds chuckled at Paul’s question. “Look below you. You are already here.”
“Oh,” Paul said.
“If we’re here, what are we waiting for?” Michael asked. “Why don’t we land already?”
“I myself cannot set foot on the island, because it is against the law for any males to spend time on Bird-Girl Island,” the Guardian of the Birds said. “I shall have to drop you into the island’s lake, rather than risk touching the sacred island’s shore.”
“Against the law?” Paul asked. “What’s the penalty for breaking the law?”
“Death,” the Guardian of the Birds said, opening his talons and releasing Paul and Michael.“Farewell!”
“AAAAAA!” Paul screamed as he and Michael fell in a forty-foot free fall. Michael didn’t scream, because he’s writing this story, so he wants to look like a brave he-man.
Michael and Paul both quickly surfaced. Paul looked concerned.
“Michael, this Bird-Girl Island thing is looking more and more like a bad idea,” Paul said. “You didn’t mention that our presence here is punishable by death.”
“I didn’t know about it,” Michael shrugged. “Don’t worry so much. All we have to do is make sure no one notices we’re guys, and we’ll be fine.”
“But this island is full of bird-girls,” Paul pointed out. “One of them is bound to realize we’re not bird-girls ourselves!”
“Oh, stop whining already, and let’s start enjoying this!” Michael said. “Besides, we’re already through with Act One!”
Paul grimaced to himself, and swam to the lake’s shore.
In Which Michael and Paul Get Separated. Michael Has Some Romantic and Freaky Adventures, and Paul Learns the Terrible Secret of Bird-Girl Island.
SCENE ONE: On the shores of Feather Lake.
Paul and Michael neared the shore, where they could see a group of four bird-girls waiting for them.
“Uh oh,” Paul said. “Those bird-girls look like they’re angry at us.”
But Michael hadn’t noticed how angry the bird-girls looked. He was focused on something else. “Check out the redhead on the left,” he said to Paul. “She is hot for a bird-girl.”
Paul rolled his eyes. “Knock it off, Michael. We didn’t come here to pick up chicks.”
“Chicks?” Michael grinned. “You know, it’s kinda funny to call them chicks, because they’re bird-girls.”
Paul groaned. “If you’re going to make jokes like that, I’m getting out of here.” He swam to the shore and pulled himself out of the water, followed closely by Michael.
“Who are you, strangers?” asked the tallest bird-girl. “Are you men, whose presence on this island is forbidden?”
“No, no!” Michael said quickly. “I’m Michelle, and this is Paula. We’re girls, and we’re here for the gamer’s paradise.”
The bird-girls smiled. “Fellow gamers, then?” asked the tallest bird-girl. “We keep all the games inside. Dry off, and Igrene here can show you everything.”
Michael smiled. Igrene was the pretty bird-girl he had noticed earlier.
SCENE TWO: Bird-Girl Island, Top Floor.
Michael leaned back in his sofa and put his NES64 controller down.
“I love these old-school videogames,” he said, “and I especially love how you guys have a ton of sequels I’ve never seen before. I mean, Donkey Kong 64 2 rocks!”
“Those sequels were made by our special team of programmers here on Bird-Girl Island,” Igrene said.
“I don’t care how you guys got them, they are awesome,” Michael asserted. “Bird-Girl Island is the best! It has everything that you could ever want!”
“Not everything,” Igrene said, looking down at the ground sadly.
“?” Michael asked. “What don’t you have here?”
“Love,” Igrene said. “There are no men on the island, so there’s no one to love.”
“You could love me,” Michael said.
“You!” Igrene said, surprised. “You’re a strange girl who showed up not less than an hour ago, and you think I could just love you?”
“Couldn’t you?” Michael asked, his eyes sparkling like, um, sparkling cider. [Author’s note: Give me a break; I’m not good at writing love scenes. You know, this whole thing is kind of stupid anyway. I’m going to end the scene here.]
SCENE THREE: Below the Island.
Paul, meanwhile, had gotten kind of bored.
“Unlike Michael, I actually have a girlfriend,” he said, “So I don’t need to waste time having pathetic fantasies about bird-girls.”
So Paul decided to take a break from playing his PS360, and he started exploring Bird-Girl Island. Since he was on the lowest level of the island, he decided to go down to the basement, where he came upon a mysteriously clean hallway and several doors marked “PROGRAMMING ROOM; DO NOT ENTER AND DISTURB THE PROGRAMMERS”.
Now, normally, Paul would never enter a door marked “DO NOT ENTER,” but he was curious about the hallway, and meeting the people who programmed all the wonderful games on Bird-Girl Island.
“I won’t disturb the programmers,” Paul said. “I’ll just thank them for their wonderful work on the videogames here, and leave immediately afterwards.”
So Paul opened one of the doors at random, and went inside. He immediately gasped.
Working at a computer, no, chained to a computer was an attractive girl. A human girl, Paul soon found out, as she was being beaten by a large bird-girl. The bird-girl shouted, “Foolish human! We told you to finish programming this game a year ago! Why have you not done so?”
The girl cried, in fear and pain. “I told you, I can’t–”
A heavy punch to the eye caused the poor programmer to lapse into silence.
“It’s been over two years, and you say you’re not even halfway through with the game,” the bird-girl said. “If you do not finish by next month, you will not live to work on another game.”
Then the bird-girl stood up. “No food for this one until she finishes her foolish game,” she announced loudly. “If she dies from starvation before then…that’s her tough luck.”
The bird-girl then turned and left the room. Paul quickly ducked out of the way, because he knew he couldn’t be caught.
He knew he had to help that poor programming girl somehow. He knew he had to save her.
Because he knew who that programmer was.
It was his girlfriend.
In Which Michael and Paul Incur the Wrath of the Bird-Girls and Attempt to Escape Bird-Girl Island.
SCENE ONE: The Programmers’ Room.
“Lizo!” Paul cried, running to his girlfriend’s side. “What–how did you–?”
Lizo slowly looked up into Paul’s face, and her eyes moistened.
“Not again,” she whispered. “Not another one.”
“What?” Paul asked.
Lizo pushed Paul aside. “Go away,” she said. “Go away! You’re not Paul! You’re another hallucination!”
Paul’s eyes moistened. “Lizo, I’m not a hallucination, I–”
“You’re not real! You can’t be–!”
Paul put his fingers over Lizo’s lips. “Lizo, I understand, you’re hurt. I saw that bird-girl hit you. Why did she do such a terrible thing?”
Lizo laughed. “You know just as well as I do, Mr. Paullucination. I haven’t finished programming testgame, and they—they don’t like it when games are programmed slowly.”
“We have to get you out of here,” Paul said. “We have to get you away from Bird-Girl Island. You and all the other programmers that they’re keeping hostage.”
Lizo didn’t say anything or move. She just stared off into space. If Paul didn’t know otherwise, he would have sworn she was dead.
After an eternity, her lower lip trembled.
“Paul…” she whispered. “It’s…it’s really you.”
Paul felt the tears well up in his eyes again. “Yes,” he choked. “Yes, it is.”
Then Lizo suddenly jumped at Paul and kissed him passionately, as tears streamed down both their faces.
SCENE TWO: The Old-School Room.
“Wow, this fanfic has become unexpectedly dramatic,” Michael said. “Who would have expected Paul and Lizo to have a more interesting plotline than me?”
Igrene was busy playing Banjo-Threeie. “What was that?” she asked.
“Nothing,” Michael said.
“I’m so glad you came here,” she said. “Before you came, I thought I’d never find a bird-girl who could be my Player Two.”
“Igrene, I’ve got a secret to tell you,” Michael sighed. “I’m not really a bird-girl.”
“You’re not?” Igrene gasped.
“I’m not a bird, and I’m not a girl,” Michael said. “I thought that would be kind of obvious, but you bird-girls apparently aren’t very smart.”
Igrene flared up. “You—you—LIAR! I—I—I’m going to tell the elders, and they’ll KILL YOU! No one tricks Igrene!”
With that, Igrene flew out the window.
“Oh, crap,” Michael said. “Now I’ve got a mad bird-girl who wants to kill me. I’d better find Paul and get us off this island quick!”
SCENE THREE: The Programmers’ Room.
Paul and Lizo broke apart. “I thought I’d never see you again,” she said.
“I didn’t know you were here,” Paul said honestly. “But now that I do, I’m going to help you escape.”
Lizo pointed helplessly at the chains that kept her tied to the computer. “How? The only person with the keys is the captain of the guards, and she never leaves her room except to beat us.”
Paul thought for a moment. “If only we had someone who was willing to provide a distraction for us…” he mused.
“Only an idiot would do that,” Lizo pointed out.
Suddenly, Michael burst into the room. “Paul, we’ve got to get out of here! That crazy bird-girl I met is out to kill me!”
Lizo and Paul looked at Michael. “He’s perfect!” they both cried.
“Who’s perfect?” Michael asked.
“You are,” Paul said. “Michael, we need you to provide a distraction for us.”
“A distraction?” Michael asked. “Paul, did you not hear me? The bird-girls know I’m a guy, and now they want to kill me. We have to leave now, or they’ll probably kill you, too!”
“I’m not leaving without Lizo,” Paul said. “I’d rather be dead than abandon her.”
“Oh, Paul,” Lizo said adoringly, leaning in to kiss Paul again because he was such a sweet guy.
Michael pretended to gag. “There’s no time to do any kissing scenes,” he said. “This story is almost over. I mean, there’s only three scenes left!”
“Shut up, Michael,” Paul said, as he and Lizo kissed again. “If I’m going to die, at least I’m going to die happy.”
SCENE FOUR: The Captain of the Guards’ Room.
Igrene burst into the room belonging to the Captain of the Guards. “We have a dangerous situation!” she cried.
“Did one of the prisoners escape?” the captain asked.
“Worse! Remember the two girls who came to visit our island today? It turns out that they’re…men.”
A hoarse squawk flew from the captain’s beak. “We must kill them at once! Where are they?”
“I don’t know,” Igrene said. “But we should—no, look!” she said suddenly, pointing out the window. “There’s one of them now!”
Outside the window, Michael was running around and dancing, shouting, “Yo! Bird-girls! Look at me! I’m not a girl! I’m a man!”
“Grab him quickly!” the Captain shouted, as she and Igrene flew out of the room at top speed.
The room was silent for a minute, then the door opened and Paul stepped inside.
“I hope Michael can keep them busy long enough,” Paul muttered to himself as he looked around for the captain’s keys.
SCENE FIVE: Cliffside.
As it turned out, Michael’s distraction did not work well. After two minutes, he was caught, and taken away to be burned at the stake.
“This could have turned out slightly better for me,” Michael said to himself, as the bird-girls crowded around him and set up wood for the fire.
“Man!” the Captain cried as she started the fire. “Men are always killing birds! Now it’s time for birds to kill men! Die, man, die!”
“Paul, if you’re going to save me, do it soon!” Michael cried loudly.
But Paul did not come. No one did.
Michael held his head high. If he was going to die, he was going to die with dignity. Under no circumstances would he start cowering like a spineless wretch.
Then he burst into tears. “Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!” he bawled. “I don’t wanna die!”
The bird-girls started hooting. “Die! Die!” they chanted.
“You can’t kill me!” Michael cried. “If you do, who’s going to finish writing the story?”
The bird-girls started chanting louder. “Die! Die! Die! Die!”
Michael raised his head to the sky. “I don’t want to die like this!” he screamed. By now, he was crying so hard that it looked like he was attempting to put the fire out with his tears.
“You won’t die!” a voice bellowed from on top of the cliff. “They will!”
Michael and the bird-girls looked at the person on top of the cliff. Standing there were Paul and Lizo, along with all the programmers they had freed.
“The prisoners have escaped!” the captain of the guards shrieked. “Get them!”
“Kill them!” a programmer cried. “Kill them all, and then we’ll escape this horrible place forever!”
The programmers surged forward, as the bird-girls took to the air and started diving at them. “Die! Die! Die! Die!” they began chanting again.
“Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!” the programmers chanted in return.
“Somebody save me or I’m going to be burned like a Pop-Tart!” Michael screamed as the flames crept higher and higher toward him.
Paul and Lizo ran to help Michael, but as the battle raged, it looked like they were too late…
FINAL SCENE: The rough, mountainous countryside again.
“You’re sure you’re not hurt?” Paul asked Lizo again.
Lizo laughed. “I told you ten times already, I’m fine,” she said. “Besides, what about you? That one bird-girl scraped your arm pretty badly.”
“I’ll be fine,” Paul said, helping Lizo up toward the top of the hill. “It’s only a few more hills, and we’ll be back home. Let’s rest here, OK?”
“Whatever you want,” Lizo said, sitting down next to Paul.
They were silent for a moment.
“This is where Michael took me to go to Bird-Girl Island,” Paul said in a strange voice.
Lizo looked downcast. “I didn’t know him that well,” she admitted.
“He was kind of a goon,” Paul said. “But he died trying to save us. I’m going to miss him.”
Lizo looked out at the scenery. “What did all this mean?” she asked.
“All this?” Paul asked.
“All this craziness that happened. A crowd of bird-girls lock up programmers to torture them into making a videogame paradise. We helped free the programmers, but instead of escaping, they stayed to fight on the island. Now the island’s blown up, and most of the bird-girls and programmers are dead. What does it mean?”
“I’m not sure,” Paul said. “Maybe the moral of the story is that people should get along with programmers instead of acting like animals and treating them like prisoners.”
“Maybe it’s that there can never be a videogame paradise,” Lizo suggested.
“Lizo,” Paul said. “I don’t care if I play the worst games in the world. As long as I’m playing with you, I’ll be in videogame paradise.”
“Paul, you’re such a sap,” Lizo said, cuffing him on the shoulder.
But she smiled anyway.