You trudge resolutely up the embankment, the noon Sun a baleful glare against the back of your exposed neck. The air is hushed, close, a silence echoing loud with the siren song of long abandonment, and the steady grit of your weary steps its only accompaniment. You've heard the stories, of course—tales of other fools who have taken this journey, those driven to madness by the relentless press of muted screams along the path and pushed over the edge by what they have found waiting for them at its bitter end. You are undeterred. Those sojourners were from before, driven inexorably toward the very past that had made the future seem so fleeting, children picking futilely at a festering scab. Your mission is a different one, purposeful. You have come from that future, wreathed in Promethean hope, to retrieve something buried amid the ruins, something long presumed lost to the vagaries of time and sorrow. Success in your quest is far from assured; indeed, even should you succeed, the benefits of accomplishment are far from clear. Nevertheless, you persist. Whatever awaits, nothing deserves to moulder forever beneath the ashes of a phantom empire, haunted by the pitiful specters of what might have been.
With a final rush, you crest the top of the escarpment. Below, the mouth of a decrepit amphitheater yawns, wide enough to swallow the world. The silence here is twice as deep, and thrice as loud, the very air straining under the weight of some barely perceptible burden. Even with the Sun at its apogee, its light comes edged in a sullen darkness, as though filtered through the bottom of a grime-smeared glass. Below, sprouting haphazardly from the sweep of cracked and exhausted earth at the coliseum's center, blades of obsidian grass wave, somehow, malevolently.
You had prepared for this sight, had girded yourself against it. Even still, it cuts to the core, and you sway like a willow in a gale, sharp tears pricking the corners of eyes made soft by wistfulness. Next comes the familiar anger, a fury like fire and just as eager to consume. You close your eyes, taking a steadying breath of that dusty, choked off air. You have already mourned, and long, your tears dried and anger quenched and shattered hope slowly pieced back together. The tableau that awaits is just a shade, easily dispelled by light. Your eyes flick open, resolute; you came with a purpose, after all.
You make your way down to the grim oasis at the center of this once thriving concrete heart, mentally preparing for the task ahead. With each step of your descent, the air grows heavier and the miasma thicker, but neither deters you. The black field rustles evilly, yet still you press on. Coming to the edge of that tenebrous expanse, you stop, feet planted firmly and arms spread wide. This is the moment, the first test of all that you have learned, of the righteousness of your cause. With a sharp intake of breath, you proclaim in a loud voice:
"Better call him Ian McShane, 'cause he was definitely—"
—pausing for effect, you brandish a pair of sunglasses, sliding them elegantly over the bridge of your nose—
The grass of the field stiffens in what can only be purest agony. At the edge of your hearing, a keening whine confirms the same. Taking another breath, you exult:
"There's a reason they don't call him Winstar, 'cause he just couldn't fit the bill."
The noise grows louder, more strained, the tortured fronds shuddering in justifiable horror. Emboldened, you step out onto the pitch, strides swiftly carrying you to the field's quivering center. Fist raised Heavenward, you bellow in a voice to shake all of Creation:
"MORE LIKE FART BRILES AMIRITE"
Everything happens at once. With a deafening rumble, the turf before you opens wide, great cracks stretching in every direction. The strange dimness drains away like old bathwater; in its place, the sun burns again a triumphant gold, somehow merrier and less harsh than the one that so oppressed on your approach. Wherever this new light touches, grass like ash is kindled again to verdant life. The rising screech, almost unbearable in its potency mere moments before, cuts off with blessed finality. Silence, true silence, returns, unmarred by history.
You know, however, that your job is not yet complete. Steeling yourself anew, you proceed forward, levering yourself over a ledge and into the central crevasse. For hours, it seems, you clamber downward, convenient hand and footholds always precisely where you need them, even as the material comprising their surfaces shifts from rich loam to hard-packed sand to rippling, volcanic stone.
At last, you again reach solid ground. Turning from the wall's sheer face, you see it—the true object of your journey. Jutting from the gleaming igneous is a granite chest, scored everywhere with esoteric runes that offer no hint as to its opening. You approach cautiously, brow prickling with nervous sweat. This part was always the least certain, the words untested and their result unclear. Was there yet room enough in the heart of Man for what was in this chest?
You grimace in resignation—probably not. Nevertheless, you have come too far to turn back now. Placing your hand on the warm stone surface, you whisper:
"More like Mack Streets Ahead, amirite?"
The chest pulses once beneath your touch, eager.
"There's a reason we don't call her Linda Livingstoned, but that doesn't mean we aren't high on her."
From the glyphs carved deep into the chest's surface, a flickering light begins to play, waxing and waning with the rhythmic thrumming now beating somewhere deep within.
"I guess there really is a difference between being born in Rule and living as one."
The lid of the chest flies open, and your vision suddenly floods with a brilliant flash of argent gold. From the depths of the light, a warm chuckle resounds.
"I think you might've taken "Liberty Edition" a bit too literally."
Sic 'em, Bears, and welcome, again and at long last, to the Pun Primer, your weekly foray into the furthest reaches of madness in search of laughter, sick burnz, and poorly structured allegory. It's been quite a while since last we spoke, but I'm truly happy to be back amongst you, especially as we enter this new, more hopeful, era of Baylor football. This season's missives will likely be rather shorter than was the case the first time around due to time constraints—this edition especially, in light of the above. Nonetheless, it remains my mission and calling to furnish you and your twitter feed with the choicest of puns relevant to Baylor's opponent for that week, and I will do my best to discharge this duty to the best of my addled ability. This week, the Liberty University Flames.
The Shutdown Corners
- "There's a reason they don't call them Liberty safeties."
- "You'd think a Christian institution would make conversions more of a priority."
Turn Over the Other Cheek
- "MORE LIKE LIBERTY MUTUAL AMIRITE"
- "The Liberty quarterback taking Dispensationalism a bit too literally."
- "I didn't realize Liberty was Epickscopalian!"
- "I don't know what all the fuss is about—Liberty seems quite anti-Dominionist, to me."
- "There's a reason they don't like to be called Fundamentalists."
- "I just expected them to know more about arcs, I guess."
- "Difficult not to be a Calvinist after a game like this."
- "NOTED SEVENTH DOWN ADVENTISTS LIBERTY UNIVERSITY"
Ad Hominem VII: Anu Hope
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.
- "more like Jerry Doesn't Take the Fall Well, amirite"
- "THERE"S A REASON THEY DON'T CALL HIM FORTUNATE FALWELL"
- [end of 4th quarter] "I guess this makes us *sunglasses* postlapsarian."
- "PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALWELL"
Liberty HC Turner Gill
- "Coach Gill taking the phrase "sign of Jonah" a bit too literally."
- "There's a reason we weren't called to be a city on a Gill."
- "YOU'D THINK A GUY NAMED TURNER WOULD MAKE CONVERSIONS MORE OF A PR—"[is cast into the outer darkness]
Liberty QB Stephen Buckshot Calvert
- "There's a reason they don't call it Calvertism."
- "I've heard of spray and pray, but this is ridiculous!"
- "THE BAYLOR DEFENSE REALLY CLINGING TO GUNS AND RELIGION"
And that's quite enough to be getting on with from me for now. Go forth, then, and remember: pun responsibly.