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Title: The Bloop of Cthulhu
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale/Cthulhu Mythos
Author: tikistitch
Rating: Teen
Characters/Pairings: Cecil/Carlos
Warnings: Cursing, sexual situations
Word Count: ~11,000
Summary: Carlos goes to investigate the Night Vale Bloop, but returns with more than he bargained for in the form of an adorable little soul-munching Elder God. Meanwhile, Cecil endlessly contemplates the state of their relationship, and several individuals from Carlos’s past drop by for a visit. This is sort of my weird and twisted version of a kid fic, if the kid in question had green tentacles and god-like powers.
Notes: This is complete fluffy nonsense, as befits the holiday season. Avó is Portuguese for Grandmother, and Avô is the word for Grandfather. More notes at the end.

“The Bloop.”

“The Bloop?”

“The Bloop!”

Cecil slouched at Carlos’s kitchen table, scratching at his chipped fingernail polish. He needed a manicure. “Is that the scientific term for it, Carlos? The Bloop?”

“Why, yes, in fact!” The scientist was currently bent over his oven, giving Cecil a rather lovely view of his utterly perfect derrière. Cecil often wondered how someone as ridiculously good-looking as Carlos had managed to live his life with no awareness of just how gorgeous he really was. Carlos straightened and, executing a flawless pirouette, deposited a steaming Pyrex dish to the kitchen table with his potholder-mittened hands.

The potholders were hand-knit, and depicted the alpha-decay of uranium-235 to thorium-231.

“Tuna casserole!” Carlos announced proudly, as if this accomplishment would put him in line for a sort of culinary Nobel Prize for Awesome. He took a whiff and grinned, his glasses slightly askew, a curl of hair dangling over his sweating brow. “I had tried rigatoni, but it kept crawling away.”

Cecil smiled. “That happens a lot here.” He rose and sidled in between the table and the beaming scientist, where he straightened out Carlos’s eyeglasses and carefully tucked the stray lock behind an ear for him. And then he gave him a quick kiss on the forehead. “You have lovely eyes,” Cecil told Carlos. As well as lovely everything else, he failed to mention.

“They’re my grandmother’s eyes!” said Carlos.

“Oh. Does she want them back?” Cecil hoped not.

“Here, let me show you!” Carlos grabbed his laptop off the counter, where he had left it running some bootstrap estimations of standard errors, and plonked it down on the table. “My tia just sent me some family photos,” he explained as he took a chair.

“Your family photos?” said Cecil. “You’re showing me your family photos?” This appeared to be a sort of significant relationship milestone, so he insinuated himself into Carlos’s lap to get a good look.

Carlos, one hand curled around Cecil’s waist, the other on the mousepad, brought up a folder labeled Tia Bronislawa. “Here’s my, Avó, Maria Sklodowska.”

“Ah!” said Cecil. She was, not surprisingly, gorgeous, with flaming red hair and pretty pale green eyes. She was dressed in a lab coat, wearing the most unbecoming chunky glasses Cecil had ever seen.

The next photo depicted her along with another scientist. The male of the pair was dark-haired and dark-skinned, and, unsurprisingly, excruciatingly handsome. Both were dressed in lab coats, and both wore the exact same style of reprehensible eyeglasses. They were holding test tubes over the same Bunsen burner. “And here she is with my Avô Omar. He is a poet as well as a scientist.”

“A very good-looking couple,” said Cecil. Despite the attire, the pair looked to be out of the Vogue Presents Nuclear Science issue.

“Here are my other grandparents,” said Carlos, indicating another couple, a man with Asian features and a dark-skinned woman. They were, needless to say, wearing lab coats and eyeglasses of a different but similarly hideous design as his other ancestors.

And they were, needless to say, utterly stunning in appearance.

“And here they all are at my parents’s wedding, all in their finest formal lab coats: it was a special day.”

Carlos’s parents (a jaw-droppingly gorgeous man and a breathtakingly gorgeous woman) were pictured cutting into a cake baked to resemble the human genome. Carlos flipped through a few more images from the ceremony, and Cecil spotted not only from whom Carlos had inherited his spectacular green eyes, but also his gorgeous black, curly hair; his perfect, dark, delicate skin; his amazing high cheekbones; and even that spectacular ass (Great Uncle Nicolai, an inventor, as it turned out was also a total babe).

“And, of course, here I am.” Carlos clicked on a new picture of the smiling parents surrounding a baby carriage. The infant, who looked to be only a few months old, was nevertheless already wearing thick eyeglasses.

Cecil squinted at the image. “I didn’t realize they made lab coats in that size.”

Carlos continued clicking. “Yes, and here I am with my very first particle accelerator.”

Cecil nodded. Carlos was definitely the world’s most adorable baby. “So everyone in your family is a scientist?”

“Oh, yes! I come from a proud line of Cientistas! Several of my forbearers were persecuted for their lack of beliefs. As my Tio Neil always says, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether you believe it or not!”

Carlos clicked on a particularly adorable picture of his toddler self, snuggled into the arms of his obviously adoring and also spectacularly photogenic parents. They were all standing in front of a perfect sunset. This image, Cecil reckoned, could probably punch a hole in reality through sheer transcendent beauty.

Carlos’s arm had tightened around his waist. “Family. It’s important, don’t you think?”

“I suppose so,” said Cecil. “So. Are you going after your Bloop?”

“Why, yes!” said Carlos, nudging Cecil off his lap so he could stand up. He grabbed a couple of plates and began to dishing up tuna casserole. “I was going to start at the abandoned missile silo on the edge of town. I’ve heard it’s connected to the underground cavern system.”

Cecil nodded and poured himself another drink. “Yes, the cavern leads to the unknowable darkness beneath. I haven't been there yet as I've heard they still don't have WiFi. Stay clear of the Sheriff’s Secret Police,” he warned.

“They haven’t been a problem since you told me about the warding sigils!” said Carlos, pulling down his shirt to reveal an array of arcane markings now tattooed onto his upper chest. Cecil sighed. Much as he regretted anything that would besmirch Carlos’s perfect skin, somehow the markings only made him even more attractive.

Cecil shook his head. What was he thinking? Groucho Marx glasses and a bucket for a hat would make Carlos more attractive! “Well, be careful.”

“Oh, and I had forgotten to mention, an old acquaintance will be in town this week.”

“Yes?” Cecil wondered if said acquaintance happened to be an old boyfriend, in which case, he’d have one of the NVCR interns research certain arcane charms and spells that caused itching in the nether regions.

“My old mentor at the Miskatonic Institute of Technology, Prof. Angell.”

“Prof. Angell,” said Cecil, trying out the name, his mind wandering to whether Carlos might have been intimate with his advisor, in which case he would also have the intern research untraceable poisons. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “And why is he visiting?”

“He is on the study section reviewing my new grant proposal!”

“What did you propose?” asked Cecil, impaling the bit tuna casserole with a fork where it had tried to slither away. “I mean, in your grant.”

Carlos put down his fork and leaned nearer. “I’d like to stay in Night Vale for a few more years, and study the many interesting phenomena here. What do you think about that?”

“A few more years?”

“Yes! I think there are many, many more things to investigate here.” He reached out and put a hand on Cecil’s knee.

“St- study?” stammered Cecil, who felt a current from Carlos's touch suddenly jolt up his thigh where it caused a considerable electric storm in the pelvic region.

After that, one thing led to another, as it often did, and that was how Cecil ended up on top of Carlos’s kitchen table, performing acts for which perhaps no kitchen table had ever been designed. Cecil, who was at that point wearing little more than his socks and Carlos's lab coat, moaned and reached out to clutch a fistful of the tablecloth, upsetting a tureen of Swedish meatballs, which, after a bit of protest, suddenly swarmed and fluttered off, as processed meat products were wont to do in Night Vale.

“Carlos,” Cecil managed to croak out. The scientist, who at that point was wearing Cecil's left leg over one shoulder and really nothing else, paused a moment in his ministrations and looked down at Cecil, his glasses askew, black, twisted currents of hair straying over his sweat-dampened brow, while the paper-winged entree buzzed around his head.

He was, in other words, perfect.

Which meant Cecil needed to add a small dash of imperfection to this moment. “Carlos,” he whispered. “I want you to take me.”

“I am, dear,” Carlos grunted.

“I want you to take me to-“

“Cecil!” The voice carried an undercurrent of warning.

“Take me to-“


“THE BROWNSTONE SPIRE!” intoned Cecil, his voice suddenly infused with a strange, unearthly echo.

Black storm clouds gathered overhead, lightning struck, and the earth beneath the small desert town trembled.

And in Carlos’s house, the kitchen table, which was never designed to do such things, shuddered and then collapsed to the floor, taking Cecil and Carlos down with it.

“Oops!” said Cecil, pushing away some of the remains of the tuna casserole, which had fallen on his stomach.

“Cecil!” grumbled Carlos, disentangling himself from the tablecloth. “You’ve got to quit doing that!”

“I thought it added zest!” Cecil protested, licking some gravy off of Carlos’s cheek.

“We’ve broken my kitchen table,” sighed Carlos.

“It wasn’t much of a challenge. Maybe we should work on breaking the bed?” grinned Cecil.

Carlos started to say something, but then evidently thought the better of it. “You’re impossible,” he told Cecil, smiling and giving him a hand up. And with that, they retired to Carlos’s bedroom, leaving the remains of the tuna casserole to start its own civilization in the ruins of the table.

“So I have to ask, listeners … when Carlos shows me his baby pictures, what exactly does that mean? Does that mean he’d like to have children? I mean, is he implying that he intends to adopt a child, maybe from one of Night Vale’s unlicensed cloning emporiums, or did he mean that he’d like to raise a family with somebody? I mean, like a baby? What do we know about babies, anyway? I for one find them extremely suspicious in nature. What mysteries lie behind those large, soulful eyes? Why do they always make those odd cooing noises instead of speaking? What are babies hiding? Think about it, alert citizens! Be baby-wary!”

“In other news, the Sheriff’s Secret Police is conducting its periodic raids against the Esoteric Order of Dagon. So remember, if you are a deranged cultist, try not to wear your queerly proportioned tiaras around outside the house, and go easy on the human sacrifices this week.”

And now … the weather!

It's slithering in motion
When an Elder God I see
He sleeps beneath the ocean
Dreaming of hegemony
They blinded me with Cthulhu
They blinded me … with Cthulhu
And alien technology

When performing rituals
Blinding me with Cthulhu! (Cthulhu!)
Smelling foul redolency

As he was sitting, head bobbing to the pleasant electronica, an intern tapped at the window of Cecil's booth. It was odd, to say the least, as the intern in question was quite visibly not in his death throes, or at least fighting off shadow energy or management tentacles or the like. When Cecil opened the door, he was surprised to find the young man in fact still in the pink of health.

“There are some people here to see you, Cecil.”

“What people? Do I know any people?”

The intern – Wenceslas was his name – shrugged and pointed towards the lobby. There were two people waiting there, a woman whose bright red hair was streaked with grey, and a dark-skinned man. Cecil placed them as perhaps in their sixties, but they were both still strikingly attractive.

“Is that him? Is this Cecil?” asked the man. He had a slight accent Cecil couldn't quite pin down.

“Well of course it's Cecil! Who else could it be?” said the woman, coming over to give Cecil a fond embrace. She too had a slight accent, as well as cheekbones that could cut glass. She pushed back, holding Cecil's chin and clucking her tongue. “Tsk, look at you! You're only skin and bones.”

“Are you eating?” asked the man, who also gave Cecil a hearty hug – in fact, it was so hearty, it took Cecil's breath away. “Is he remembering to eat? You should always remember to eat!”

Cecil, who was still gasping for breath, noticed for the first time that the both of them were wearing lab coats. He peered again at their somehow familiar faces, and suddenly the penny dropped. “Are you...?” His eyes widened in recognition. “Are you Carlos's grandparents?”

“Well of course we're his grandparents!” said the man, taking out a strange, beeping instrument and waving it around the lobby. “I'm Omar, and this is Maria. Wow, some interesting readings here.”

“Hold out your arms, dear,” said Maria, who held up some knitting to Cecil's chest. “I need to measure this periodic table of the elements sweater for size.” She began tutting once again. “I'll need to take out a couple of rows.”

“Aw, don't bother, we'll soon have him fattened up,” declared Omar, who was evidently taking a reading of the ficus plant in the lobby. “Hrmmm,” he said, consulting the dials. “Very interesting readings!”

The doors opened and Carlos burst into the room. He was dirty and sweating and out of breath. He quickly and carefully set down a heavy backpack, and then rushed over to his grandparents. “Avó! Avô! Thank you for meeting me here.”

“Carlos, how are you?” said Maria, as the scientists turned their attention to him, drowning him in hugs and kisses.

“Cecil, these are my grandparents!” Carlos told him, once he had recovered from the onslaught. “Avó Maria and Avô Omar.

“Yes, we've just met,” said Cecil, who was feeling more than slightly confused.

“I'm so glad you could meet them here, just like we arranged,” said Carlos, giving Cecil a terribly odd look.

“Like we arranged?” said Cecil.

“Yes, just like we talked about,” repeated Carlos, who seemed rather more frantic than usual.

“So, is Cecil coming to your Cousin Oppenheimer's wedding?” asked Omar.

“Well, of course he's coming along to Cousin Oppenheimer's wedding,” said Maria.

“You'll need a formal lab coat, you know,” Omar told Cecil. “We don't go in for those modern dressed down weddings. Flip-flops and casual lab coats. Why, in my day-”

“Avô,” said Carlos, who had grabbed Cecil's arm and was marching him outside. “We'll get Cecil a proper lab coat. Now, if you could just stay here a minute,” he told his grandparents, “I need to chat.” Grabbing the backpack, Carlos marched Cecil outside.

“That's all right, I still have some readings to take!” said Omar, who was now waving his buzzing, flashing device at a very confused intern.

“Carlos, what is going on?” Cecil demanded as they stood outside in the parking lot.

“Cousin Oppenheimer,” grumbled Carlos. “What a jerk.”


Carlos was still peering inside the station. “My grandparents are visiting, you know, like we talked about?” he said distractedly.

“You never told me you had relatives coming here! You told me your old MiskTech advisor was going to visit.” Cecil glared, wishing for not the first time that scientists communicated like other people.

“Yes. That too,” said Carlos, who still seemed to be off in another world.

Cecil was going to rant more, but found himself distracted. “Carlos, is your backpack … moving?” he asked. Indeed, the pack appeared to be wriggling away.

“There's been a snag,” said Carlos.

“A snag?”

“A snag!” said Carlos, taking up the backpack. He unzipped the flap, and a small creature, about the size of three month old wombat, slithered out. Cecil stared. It looked somewhat like a small green octopus, and somewhat not like a small green octopus.

“Bloop!” said the creature.

Carlos picked it up, and it twined its tentacles around his neck. “I was in the caverns just now, investigating The Bloop. I was in a hurry to get back, because I needed to meet my grandparents. They were attending a conference on rare isotopes, and changed their flight at the last minute so they could stop by and see me. Anyway, this one must have sneaked into my backpack some time when I was down there. But by the time I discovered I had a stowaway, I was already driving back into town.”

“Bloop,” noted the creature, batting somewhat more than half a dozen large black eyes at Cecil.

“Carlos, do you know what this is? You brought back an Elder God!”

“Well, a little one,” said Carlos.

“Bloop bloop,” added the creature.

“You need to get him back to the cavern, Carlos,” said Cecil. “And soon! Before his parents find out and rend the fabric of the universe. They tend to do that when they're upset, you know.”

“I know, but I'm a little busy right now, what with my grandparents here unexpectedly and my faculty advisor on his way.” Carlos grabbed Cecil's wrist, staring at his wristwatch. “In fact, I need to get to the Night Vale Airport soon to pick up Prof. Angell. You'll be all right watching him in the meantime?” he asked, thrusting the creature at Cecil.

“Mrrrph!” said Cecil, as the little Elder God reached out its chubby little tentacles and wrapped itself around his head.

Carlos grinned. “Oh, this will be great, I see you're already getting along just fine!”

“Bloop!” said the creature.

“Carlos!” said Cecil, once he had mostly de-tentacled his mouth.


“And you're going to some … some wedding?”

“Yes, Cousin Oppenheimer. Don't worry, we'll go shopping for a formal lab coat.”

“I'm supposed to go with you?” asked Cecil, pulling a tentacle out of his ear to aid in the hearing process.

Carlos looked puzzled, as if he couldn't quite make out a theorem. “Why, yes.”

Cecil stilled his beating heart, and tried to reposition the bloop creature so it was not interfering too badly with his breathing. “As... As your wedding date?” he asked at last, eyes shining.

“Of course,” said Carlos, as if this were the most natural thing in the world instead of a remarkable relationship milestone. He leaned over and gave Cecil a kiss on a tentacle-free expanse of skin on his face, and then rushed back inside, calling, “Thank you, Cecil! I'll be in touch soon.”

“A wedding date,” said Cecil, stars in his eyes. As well as some sticky green protuberances.

“Bloop!” agreed the creature.

Some time after Carlos had tucked his impossibly good-looking relatives and their suitcases full of scientific equipment and fashion-forward lab coats into his hybrid sports coupe and roared off out of the station parking lot, it occurred to Cecil that he had utterly no idea what went into the care and feeding of a juvenile Elder God. And so he headed to Ralphs, sticking Bloop (as he had come to refer to the creature) into the child’s seat of his shopping cart and wending his way through the well-stocked aisles.

He was assaying the comparative merits of Captain Crunch versus Flaky-Os as a breakfast staple (Bloop appeared to prefer the latter, but Cecil was convinced he only wanted the collectible Cat Ballou-themed action figure included free in every box) when he heard a familiar voice bleating in his ear.

“Cecil!” demanded Steve Carlsberg.

Cecil sighed and tossed both cereal boxes into his cart. “What is it now, Steve Carlsberg?” he asked, beginning to wheel his cart in the opposite direction from Night Vale's most irksome presence.

“I need to talk to you about The Esoteric Order of Dagon!” Steve Carlsberg maneuvered around the cart and stood directly in front of it, where he stood, arms defiantly crossed. “This is important! It’s regarding human sacrifice.”

Cecil rolled his eyes, wondering if every unassuming small town community radio host had to put up with such annoyances. “Steve, we can’t just bring the entire town to a halt every time someone wants to slay someone else in order to pledge their eternal fealty to a malicious all-powerful entity.”

“But they’re killing people! While wearing funny hats! Foreign-made funny hats. And that’s just not right.”

"Maybe they don't think the hats are funny?”

"I suspect the government is involved."

It was at this point that Bloop, who had been amusing himself by oozing tentacle goo onto the unlucky cartoon mascots on the cereal boxes, slithered around to face Steve Carlsberg. “Bloop!” he said in greeting, blinking his many large black eyes and wiggling his little tentacles in greeting.

Steve Carlsberg went pale, and then he went whiter still. His eyes gaped, and his jaw dropped. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention, and his testicles crept back up his epididymis into his pelvic area. He let out a strangled scream, and then ran off, blithering, down the cereal aisle and out the store, the cars on Route 800 screeching to a halt as he continued to run heedlessly out onto the highway.

“Bloop,” chided Cecil, “did you just drive Steve Carlsberg to madness by showing him the face of infinity?”

“Bloop!” confirmed the young Elder God, in a tone that Cecil, for one, interpreted as, “Yes, and that jerk well deserved it!"

While Cecil shook his head and mischievously gave the creature a small tickle underneath a green, scaly tentacle, he started to feel a humming sensation, as if someone were making a noise just outside his range of hearing. It could mean only one thing.

“Josie!” he said in greeting. The old woman hunched over the shopping cart, peering through a pair of Coke-bottle-thick lenses at Bloop, whilst a duo of her angel companions hovered nearby. It was they, no doubt, who were responsible for the otherworldly humming sensation.

“Oh my stars and garters,” the aged woman exclaimed, directing a pair of palsied hands towards the cute little abomination.

“More stars than garters,” Cecil told her. “They are evidently in alignment.”

“Bloop!” giggled Bloop as Josie picked him up and gave him a bounce or two for good measure. He twined a tentacle around her eyeglasses and tried them on for size, appearing a bit discombobulated that the old woman had a mere two eyes instead of eight. Continuing to hum, the angels bent down and took a gander at the tot.

“And who is the little one?” asked Josie.

“That's Bloop, one of the unknowable Elder Gods. I’m watching him for Carlos,” said Cecil, who managed to extract Josie’s eyeglasses from Bloop’s sticky grasp.

“Isn’t that nice,” said Josie, handing off Bloop to the somewhat nonplussed vermillion-tinted angel to her left. “Carlos is such a lovely boy. And he smells just like fresh sawdust and moonbeams!”

Cecil leaned closer to Josie, eager to make a confession. “Carlos invited me to his cousin’s wedding!” he whispered. He rubbed her glasses on his sleeve, trying to remove the worst of Bloop’s tentacle goo from the lenses.

“Ooo, has he?” asked Josie, her old eyes crinkling. “A wedding date. That’s a big step!”

“A big step,” agreed Cecil, who was happy for the confirmation. Bloop, who had been running an inquisitive tentacle over one of the chalcedony-tinted angel’s broad wings, gave its feathers a yank, and the angel emitted a high-pitched hum that sounded a lot like a celestial version of a girlie scream. The vermillion angel, with a rather amused if still celestially serene expression, tugged Bloop away from his brother angel, and may have emitted an ill-tempered chuckle. Bloop, for his part, waved a tentacle full of shimmering light blue feathers.

Cecil grabbed Bloop back from the angel and attempted to situate him back in the shopping cart. “How are you fixed for baby supplies?” inquired Josie.

“I have nothing, unfortunately,” Cecil lamented. “And my apartment is nowhere near Elder God-proofed!”

“Oh, I can help there, dear. I have a few things up in the attic. I’ll just have my angels transubstantiate them over to you this afternoon!”

The vermillion angel nodded, and bent low to coochie-coo Bloop at approximately where his chin would have been, although the chalcedony angel kept himself back several feet and appeared rather peeved about his injured wing.

“How’s it going?” Cecil balanced his phone between ear and shoulder while (with Bloop’s dubious “help”) he unloaded his groceries. The little abomination had grabbed the Flaky-Os cereal box and was apparently shaking it, looking for his prize.

“Not as well as I had hoped,” said Carlos, his voice hushed. He sounded frazzled. “Between Prof. Angell and my grandparents ... Well, I love my avôs, but they don't seem to get along with him."

“I’m so sorry. Can I help?”

Carlos’s voice went down another notch. He sounded very husky, and also pretty damned sexy. “How is our … little guest?”

Cecil watched as Bloop played with his Cat Ballou action figures, having Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn both cower in his mighty presence on the kitchen counter. “He’s doing just fine. He’s pretending he has some worshippers right now!”

“Will you be able to look after him for just a while longer?” Carlos whispered. “I don't think I'll be able to get back to the caverns while Prof. Angell on is here."

“Josie is going to send over some baby stuff, so I think we’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”

“Cecil. Thank you. You’re terrific.”

Cecil sighed happily as he put down the phone. Being called “terrific” in Carlos's oaky tones! That was neat!

There was a knock on the door. Cecil opened it to find two visitors, one tall, and one not so tall.

"Josie sent us," said the shorter of the two, the one Cecil didn't recognize. "I'm Kokabiel," he added, sticking out a hand. Unlike the tall vermillion angel, his companion, he was about human-sized, and more or less human-shaped, other than the two sharp horns on his forehead.

Cecil shook his hand. "Are you an angel too?" he asked, hoping he wasn't prying.

Kokabiel looked pained. "Uh, former."

"Oh! A fallen angel?

Kokabiel drew himself up as the vermillion angel hummed with dry amusement. "I prefer the term, de-ascended celestial being if you don't mind."

"My apologies," said Cecil, as Kokabiel had begun to turn a little scarlet with the offense. "I didn't want to be racist!"

This appeared to mollify Kokabiel. "Anyway, my buddy here thought I'd be an expert in terms of the culturally appropriate."

"By all means!" said Cecil. "I'm new to this endeavor."

"A new parent, huh?"

Bloop had by this time slithered over to look curiously at the new arrivals. "Bloop?" He inquired of Kokabiel, reaching out his little tentacles.

"Aw, is this your little hell spawn?" Asked Kokabiel, picking up Bloop and holding him on one hip. "Hey, kiddo! Hey, he looks sorta like a green octopus. And sorta not." There was the squeaking of a wheel as the vermillion angel pushed in a very odd-looking baby carriage.

"I have some DW 40," Cecil offered, giving the carriage a once-over. Oddly enough, it didn't appear to have any right angles at all. It was trapezoidal or something.

"This is just how it manifests on this plane of existence," Kokabiel explained while Bloop eagerly clambered inside. "Non-Euclidean geometry." Cecil peered in at Bloop, who looked both close up and very far away. The little creature eagerly waved its tentacles.

"We also have a non-Euclidean high chair," said Kokabiel as the angel brought it in and then stood posing by it like some feathery Vanna White. Bloop eagerly crawled out of the stroller and tried the chair out for size. Cecil gave it a shake: unsurprisingly, one leg appeared shorter than the others.

"That beings up a question," said Cecil. "What does Bloop eat? I went through Ralphs, but he only seemed interested in the breakfast cereal.” Cecil held up a box of Flaky-Os and gave it a shake.

“Well, the adults feast on the souls of their worshippers of course, but this little guy's fangs probably haven't grown in yet. So, I suppose a little sugary cereal won't kill him.” Kokabiel reached into the box and brought up a handful of tasty toasted corn Flaky-Os, which he popped in his mouth. “Maybe with a nice bowl of yak milk?”

“I’ll have the milkman deliver a bottle,” said Cecil, as the vermillion angel handed him a non-Euclidean sippy cup. “In the meantime, how about some nice mango juice?”

“Bloop!” enthused Bloop.

Parenting was not so hard after all, Cecil reflected.

“Any other questions for now?” asked Kokabiel as the vermillion angel hauled in the last of the oddly-shaped baby furniture.

Cecil thought about Carlos, and the photo of him with the tiny particle accelerator. Obviously, the scientist would want Bloop to learn linear algebra, or perhaps how to speak Klingon. “What about enrichment?”

“We have some books,” said Kokabiel, pulling out a little hardback, My First Necronomicom. “And it’s got plastic pages, so you can wipe off tentacle goo.”

“This is wonderful,” said Cecil, admiring the pictures of the cartoon Elder Gods.

“Say, is that a Playstation?” asked Kokabiel, who was now leaning over Cecil’s entertainment center. The vermillion angel stood over the device and hummed appreciatively.

“Yes, as a matter of fact. I bought it to play Ferrante and Teicher: Dynamic Twin Pianos.”

Kokabiel glanced at the vermillion angel, who nodded. “It’s possible we might be able to locate some … educational software, you might say.”

“That sounds wonderful!” said Cecil.

“The City Council has once again issued an advisory for citizens: please, if you are going to engage in kidnapping as a way of fulfilling your orgiastic Elder God-worshipping rituals, they urge you to wait until after 6 pm on weeknights. You're tying up traffic on route 800. And none of us want our commute dampened by the pitiful howls of the victims as you send their eternal souls screaming into the pit. Seriously listeners, a little common courtesy!

“In other news, there has been another of those subterranean earthquakes reported directly under Night Vale. Listeners, words to the wise: if you’re in an earthquake, remember the basic safety precautions: don’t panic. Round up your family members, find your towels and bathrobes, and proceed cautiously through that strange hole that has just appeared in your dining room wall. And don’t forget to leave a plate of cookies out for the Faceless Old Woman!”

Cecil picked up his cell phone on the second ring, grinning as he espied the Caller ID. He hadn't seen much of Carlos since his visitors had come into town, and he missed him. His lips, his perfect hair, his dark eyes … as well as all his other exciting and amusing parts. “Carlos?” He winced. There was a huge crash and the sounds of shouting in the background. “Carlos? Are you all right?”

He heard a light sigh from the other end. “I'm fine, Cecil. My grandparents are conducting some research with gravitational fields.” Cecil heard another loud sound, and then someone shouting, “Ouch! My back!”

“We miss you,” said Cecil, watching as Bloop sat on the floor nearby forming his Tinker Toys into a non-euclidean inter-dimensional portal.

“I miss you too! I'm calling for personal reasons, Cecil. I need another favor!”

“What do you need?” asked Cecil.

Carlos's voice grew somewhat lower and much, much sexier. “Cecil, my grandparents and Prof. Angell aren't getting along.”

“But they're all into science, aren't they?” asked Cecil. He had imagined them all making s'mores in the particle accelerator or some such. Isn't that what scientists did?

“Yes. But it's like trying to solubilize silver chloride in water! They're not even metastable.”

That didn't sound appealing. “I'm sorry.”

“So I've been attempting to keep them separated. That's why I'm asking: do you think you could distract Prof. Angell for an hour or so?”

“We could take him on a tour of Night Vale!” said Cecil, as Bloop slithered up into his lap to show him his newest creation.

“We? Oh, and how is … you know?” asked Carlos.

“Bloop and I are doing well, although we did lose a few interns to the spatial vortex he summoned.”

“He summoned a spatial vortex! My goodness, that is precocious.”

Cecil puffed with pride.

“Cecil, I need to warn you about Prof. Angell. He's a bit.... A bit … set in his ways.”

“That's just fine. We'll show him around town. Let him get to know our friendly little desert community! He'll come to love it, just like we do.”

“Uh…” hedged Carlos. “By the way, this is probably hardly worth mentioning, but there is a small chance, probably plus or minus a very large standard error term, so the alpha term….”

“Carlos!” scolded Cecil. There he went, talking like a scientist again.

“Well, if my grant proposal is not renewed, I wouldn’t be able to stay in Night Vale. I would have to go … elsewhere to conduct my studies. Anyway, Prof. Angell will be there at noon.” Suddenly, there was a great boom, and the sound of something shattering, and a cry of “Carlos! Was there always a ten ton safe in the middle of your floor?”

“I must go,” said Carlos, and before Cecil could reply, the call terminated, and he was left with only the dial tone buzzing in his ear.

“Carlos? Leaving Night Vale?” Cecil asked Bloop.

“Bloop!” said the small Elder God, as if to say, “That would be a significant step backwards in your relationship, wouldn’t it?” He held out a small structure constructed of Tinker Toys to Cecil, who turned it over and over in his hands. “Is this the Brownstone Spire?” asked Cecil, who noticed the toy was throbbing ominously, just like the real Brownstone Spire.


“Well, that’s very good. It’s almost noon now. What do you say we get ready to greet Prof. Angell?”

“Cecil!” announced intern Melchior. “You have visitors!”

“More visitors?” asked Cecil, peering inquisitively at Bloop. His life was busy this week! He brought Bloop out to the lobby where he was confronted by about a half dozen men wearing the robes of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. As Cecil walked in, they spotted his small charge and there were “Ooo's” and “Ahhh's.”

One of them, who was wearing a very oddly-shaped tiara (it was elliptical and didn't really fit his head, so it kept falling down into his eyes), came forward. He bowed, which nearly sent the tiara crashing to the floor. “We are the Esoteric Order of Dagon,” he said, a little needlessly, as well, who the hell else would gad about looking like that? “And we are here to offer our souls to the great Elder God!”

“Well, about that...” Cecil began.

“Oh, mighty Elder God!” exclaimed one of the Order, who leapt forward. “Please feast upon my immortal soul!” he added, holding out a hand.

“Rude!” muttered another of the Order, who had been politely standing in line.

Bloop agreeably slithered over and nommed on the man's arm. However, he didn't make much progress in the soul-devouring process, and only managed to cover the man's arm with a sort of greenish goo.

“He doesn't have his adult fangs yet, you see,” explained Cecil. “He can't really chew your souls yet.”

“Oh,” said their leader, pushing up his tiara as it had slid down into his eyes.

“Maybe we could puree our souls?” proposed another of the Order. “So they would be easier on his digestion?” There were murmurs of agreement amongst the eager faithful.

“It might be best to just wait,” said Cecil. The man who had offered himself to Bloop was examining his slime-encrusted arm. “I don't want to upset his stomach. If, er, he actually has one.”

Bloop wriggled back to Cecil, clutching his toy. “You know,” Cecil suggested, “if you’d like to make a supplication, he enjoys Tinker Toys a lot.”

The faithful exchanged many eager glances. Several seized the toys and examined them closely. “Are these made of the desiccated spines of dead creatures?” asked a one.

“Um, I believe you can pick them up at a toy store,” Cecil told them. There were impressed Ooo’s and Ahh’s from the crowd, who now gathered around Bloop, assembling colorful wooden sticks into spokes.

Intern Nicholas had burst into the room, looking eager. “Excuse me, Cecil, but you have a guest.”

“More guests? This is a busy day!”

Intern Nicholas led another man into the lobby. He was hunched over a recording device, speaking into it, all the while peering suspiciously around him. “I have spent many days here in the fetid swamp that is Night Vale, interacting with the horrid, inbred specimens who dwell here.”

“Night Vale isn’t a swamp,” Cecil told him brightly. “It’s an arid, desert environment.”

The man looked up as if startled, and glared at Cecil. “And what are you supposed to be?” he grumbled.

“Supposed to be?” Cecil mused. “Well, that’s one of those existential questions, isn’t it? I always thought if I hadn’t become a radio host, I might be a ditch digger, or perhaps a blade of grass!”


“But I am Cecil Palmer, host of Night Vale Community Radio. You are Prof. Angell, I presume?” Cecil extended a hand. (It was his own hand, as he was attempting to be polite.)

“I am,” said Angell, cautiously holding out his own hand.

“Well, you’re in for a treat! We’re going to take you on a tour of our beloved town. Come on, Bloop!”

Bloop eagerly slithered over. He was now proudly wearing a crown fashioned out of Tinker Toys.

“Oh, what do you have there, Bloop?” asked Cecil, picking him up. “That’s very attractive!”

“Bloop!” answered Bloop

“What is this hell creature?” raved Angell.

“We’re calling him Bloop, because we can’t pronounce his proper name.”

“He’s an Elder God!” said one of the Order of Dagon.

“But just a little one,” said another.

“It is unspeakable!” said Angell, holding a hand in front of his face.

“Really?” said the acolyte. “Because we think he looks sort of like a green octopus. But sort of not.”

“Have you gone to the little Elder Gods room, Bloop?” asked Cecil. “I thought we’d take you to a local landmark,” he told Angell as they walked toward the exit. “I was thinking about the clock tower, but since that’s invisible and constantly teleporting, it’s a little difficult to locate sometimes. And there’s also our harborfront recreation center, but, since we haven’t had a flash flood in a while, you might find that disappointing as well.” They crossed the parking lot, heading for Cecil’s minivan. “So I thought I’d take you to-“

“I’ve got you, foul thing!” screamed Steve Carlsberg, who was racing across the parking lot, waving an axe. “You won’t get away from me.”

“Oh, what is it this time?” Cecil sighed.

“DIEEEEE!” wailed Steve Carlsberg, bringing the axe down on Bloop, and efficiently cutting the creature in two.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed Prof. Angell.

“Bloop-bloop!” chortled the two separate halves of Bloop. And then, as everyone watched, the two halves knitted themselves together again, somewhat like a reverse mitosis. “BLOOP!” giggled the reconstituted young god.

Steve Carlsberg stood frozen in horror.

“Please excuse me, Professor,” Cecil told Angell. “Steve Carlsberg,” he scolded, “Bloop doesn’t have time to play with you now. We’re going to take a very important guest on a tour of Night Vale!” He knelt down to scoop up Bloop’s Tinker Toy crown, which had gotten clobbered. “Oh, and see what you did to his toy?”

Unfortunately, Steve Carlsberg obtained questionable benefit from this edifying lecture, as he was already screaming and running away.

“The abomination has somehow … reconstituted itself!” Angell was crouched in front of Bloop, whispering into his recording device. “Ack!”

The professor emitted a cry as Bloop snaked out a couple of chubby green tentacles and snatched the recorder from him. “Bloop!” he told the device, which suddenly turned red-hot and began to flash its lights.

“Now, Bloop,” said Cecil. “That’s not a toy. You give that back.”

“Bloop,” said Bloop contritely. He handed the recorder back to Angell, who juggled it in his hands like a hot potato.

Cecil gave over the broken Tinker Toy crown. “Now, let’s get you into your car seat!” He opened the sliding panel on his minivan and began to strap Bloop into the back seat. It wasn’t the easiest thing, as the seat appeared to be caught partially in an alternate dimension, which made doing the straps a bit of a pain.

“Is that … Euclidiean geometry?” asked Angell.

“Yes, according to Kokabiel, it tends to create a dimensional paradox. I’m lucky I got a minivan!”


“Yes, that’s the fallen angel – I’m sorry, the de-ascended celestial being who’s been helping me out with Bloop.”

“But angels don’t exist!”

“Shhh! I know, they’re not supposed to exist. But they had all this lightly used baby furniture!”

Angell didn’t reply, but instead wiped some of Bloop’s tentacle goo from his recording device with his sleeve and began to mutter into it about degeneracy as Cecil finished strapping Bloop into his car seat.

Cecil finished and rolled the back door closed. “Now! As I was saying, Prof. Angell, we have a special treat for you! We’re going to see … THE BROWNSTONE SPIRE.” Suddenly, Cecil’s voice took on an uncanny echo, and the entire parking trembled.

“Was that an earthquake?” asked Angell, clutching his recorder and suddenly looking around in a panic.

“What? No, we rarely get those. Except for rumblings deep underground where no man dares venture.” Cecil opened the passenger door. “Now, let’s get going! Sunset is always a lovely time to experience … THE BROWNSTONE SPIRE.” This time, the sky darkened, inky black clouds roiled overhead, and lightning crackled, leaving a faint whiff of ozone in the air.

Angell leapt into the passenger seat and swiftly shut the door behind him.

“No, Carlos, it will be lovely. Josie’s angels have already agreed to Elder God-sit for us.” Cecil looked over to where the vermillion angel, Kokabiel and little Bloop were gathered around his television set. Kokabiel was trying to cut into the plastic shell of Grand Theft Tentacles: the Great Void, the educational software program the angels had obtained for him, but it was proving beyond the capabilities of the combined efforts of the angels. “I think I’ve heard you can use a can opener!” Cecil called to them.

“My grandparents are really looking forward to talking to you,” Carlos told him. “I hope you won’t be too bored. It will be us and Prof. Angell, so you’ll have to contend with a room full of scientists.”

“Now, Carlos, you know I am very into science these days,” Cecil assured him. “By the way, how is Prof. Angell?”

“I think that the Br- I mean, that monument, made quite an impression on him!”

“You mean … THE BROWNSTONE SPIRE?” asked Cecil mischievously. As the ground beneath Night Vale tremble, he heard Carlos yelp on his end of the phone, and something crashed.

“You don’t need to do that,” grumbled Carlos when he finally got back on the line.

“Yes I do,” giggled Cecil. “Anyway, we ran into some of the Esoteric Order of Dagon practicing one of their arcane rituals. They evidently believe the Elder God is fated to rise there and devour their souls. Your Prof. Angell got a little overwrought at it all. I thought he would have already been a bit bored by human sacrifice and orgiastic dancing.”

“He’s currently under heavy sedation. Fortunately, my grandparents packed along some potent tranquilizers. My Avô Omar has always had a great interest in experimental psychopharmacology.”

“Well, that’s fortunate!” Cecil cringed as there was the sound of a giant explosion on the other end of the phone. “Are they still doing their gravitational experiments?”

“No, that’s Avó Maria’s cinnabar soufflé.” Cecil suddenly heard the sound of cursing in Portuguese. “I’ve told her time and again that mercury is tricky to work with in my stove. Although it has a very appealing refractive index!”

“Well, I’ll leave you to that. Can I bring anything?” Cecil’s mind strayed to flowers – there were some peonies that reminded him of Carlos’s eyes – or a bottle of wine.

“Do you have any rare earth elements? Maybe some yttrium? We’re in need of some superconductors.”

“Uhhhh, I’ll see what I have in the pantry.” Cecil ended the phone call. Probably a jaunt to Ralphs would be in order!

Carlos’s kitchen looked something like a cross between the aftermath of the Hindenburg disaster and a nursery school finger-painting session. There were footprints on the ceiling, and something that resembled radiation burns all over the refrigerator.

But the food was utterly delicious.

Carlos’s grandparents brought dish after dish after dish of their hometown specialties to the table as Carlos and Cecil ate and drank wine and ate some more, and Prof. Angel sat clutching his recording device to his chest and quietly drooled, his eyes fixed somewhere in the mid-distance.

“Try some more of the half-life potatoes,” urged Maria.

“I am really stuffed,” said Cecil, holding his tummy, which had begun to glow a faint green. He was wearing his new Krebs Cycle sweater vest which Carlos’s grandmother had knitted for him.

“Nonsense. You’re too thin! Carlos, he’s far too thin.”

“He looks just perfect to me,” said Carlos, putting a hand on Cecil’s knee. Cecil sighed.

“So, Cecil, are you a scientist too?” asked Omar, sitting back and letting out the belt in his lab coat another notch.

“He’s more of a science educator, aren’t you, Cecil?” said Maria. “Weren’t you telling me about the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner?”

“Well…” Cecil demurred.

Carlos suddenly sat up straighter. “Avô. Avó. Cecil not a scientist. He is a community radio personality.”

“Ooooo!” said his grandparents.

Carlos interlaced his hand with Cecil's. “I- I hadn’t told the family yet, but…”

“Omar, he’s a celebrity!” said Maria, clapping delightedly. “Our little Carlos is dating a celebrity!”

“I never thought I'd see the day!” declared Omar.

“You think- You think it will be all right with my parents?” asked Carlos, the nervousness showing on his face.

“About damned time someone married outside the tribe,” said Omar. “We have nothing to talk about at family gatherings! Just, 'Hey, violated any laws of physics lately?'”

“You intend to expose the children to the ways of science?” asked Maria.

Carlos blushed deeply, tightening his grip Cecil's hand. “Well, uh, we haven't discussed that yet.”

“I'm already knitting some little test tube holders!” warned Maria.

Cecil sat back, sipping Madeira, and grinning from ear to ear. Between the wine and the food he had lost track of all the Significant Relationship Milestones they had passed tonight, but he was pretty sure it would be at least a good half dozen.

“Speaking of which,” said Carlos, “Cecil, I'm so sorry I left you to deal with, er, Bloop.”

“He's been just fine,” said Cecil. “I was about the call the sitters to see how they're doing.” To be honest, Cecil thought his apartment was probably neat as a pin compared to the disaster zone at Carlos's house.

“Carlos, why don't you go pay that young one a visit?” asked Omar.

“Well, there's clean up,” said Carlos.

“Oh, we can clean up here, miho. And it will be good for Prof Angell to get a little exercise.”

“Blaaarrrgh,” opined Prof. Angell.

Cecil looked at Carlos, who smiled. And, that was how, some minutes later, they ended up across town, in the middle of Cecil's apartment.

Sadly, however, Cecil's picture of an environment filled with culturally appropriate entertainment and nourishing, fair trade food was quashed the instant the opened the door. The coffee table was piled with a veritable mountain (if Cecil had believed in mountains) of pizza boxes, and an assortment of angels, former angels and elder gods were all parked on the floor in front of the television playing some kind of first-person shooter video game that featured rather a lot of green blood being splashed here and there.

“Cecil!” Carlos had declared, flourishing the game's plastic box, which featured a busty blonde being borne away by some kind of kraken-appearing monster wielding an automatic weapon. “I don't want Bloop exposed to this kind of material! It's not culturally appropriate!”

“You assured me Grand Theft Tentacles: the Great Void was educational software,” Cecil told Kokabiel.

The de-ascended celestial being shrugged. “Hey, I told you from the get go I was fallen.”

“That's stereotyping!” said Carlos.

“And what's his excuse?” asked Cecil, pointing to the vermillion angel, who hummed in an apologetic manner.

“Hey, you know how boring it is being a divine messenger day to day?” said Kokabiel. “Sometimes you just wanna blow up stuff!”

Cecil looked down at a tug on his pant leg. Bloop was staring up at him, all eight eyes wide as little round black holes. “Now, now, it's not your fault!” he soothed. “You know we don't want you out carjacking and going on joy rides. You're supposed to be concentrating on eating the souls of your worshippers!”

Bloop suddenly made an extra happy “Bloop!” and slithered off. He returned with one of his Cat Ballou action figures from the box of Flaky-Os. He held it up and glared at it. Suddenly, the stiff plastic figure sagged.

Cecil and Carlos exchanged a glance.

“Did you just eat the soul of that plastic action figure? Did you?” asked Cecil.

“He just devoured his first acolyte soul!” chimed in Carlos.

“That's pretty precocious,” said Kokabiel. The vermilion angel hummed in agreement.

Later, while the angels cleaned up pizza crusts, Carlos walked Cecil out to his car. “Cecil,” said Carlos, “I have something to tell you.”

Cecil stood in the driveway, car keys in hand. “What's the matter?” He could tell by Carlos's troubled expression that it was not good news.

“Prof. Angell told me that they're not going to approve my grant proposal. I'm not going to be able to stay in Night Vale, Cecil.”

Cecil leaned back against the side of his minivan. “Oh?” was all he could come up with.

“I might- I might have to take that assistant professorship at the University of Woollagaronga.”

“That's- That's too bad.” Cecil's mind reeled. And the evening had been going so well! He had impressed Carlos's relatives, and their little Elder God had just devoured its first souls. Relationship milestones had been falling like so many dominoes! He felt his heart was breaking. He really should have taken it out of his chest and deep-fried it the last time the Night Vale AMA urged him to do so.

Carlos put a hand on Cecil's cheek. “Don’t be sad, Cecil. You know, it might not be so bad! I'm sure they have community radio down there as well! You'd be able to find something. I'm sure of it!”

Cecil peered up at Carlos, carefully parsing his words. “Wait. You expect me to go with you?”

“I can't have a home if it's without you, can I?” said the scientist, quietly. “I mean, how could we bring up our little scientists if we're living on different continents?” Carlos leaned closer and finished this line of inquiry with a tender kiss.

Cecil's heart fluttered like a death's head moth. For a second. “Wait,” he said again. “So Woollagaronga is on a different continent?” Carlos nodded. “How far away is this place?”

“Far,” laughed Carlos.

Cecil frowned. “But I'm not sure I even want to leave Night Vale.”

“Well, then I suppose I can see if the Moon Lite All Nite Diner is looking for help!” said Carlos, twining his arms around Cecil.

“You'd give up science? For me?”

“A minute ago you were set to go to Woollagaronga, and you evidently didn't even know where it is!”

“True. Geography class was never my strong point at Night Vale High. Look Carlos, I don't know how, but we'll find a way. We'll stay in Night Vale, both of us, and you'll continue to do your work. And … and we'll give your grandmother an excuse to knit many test tube cosies!”

Carlos grinned and made to kiss Cecil again, but then the earth moved, but not in that pleasant, metaphorical sense: it literally shook, sending Cecil and Carlos stumbling. “Was that an earthquake?” asked Cecil.

“Have you been talking about the Br- … that tower again, Cecil?” asked Carlos, sounding suspicious.


“Then it may be an earthquake. But Night Vale is nowhere near any fault line!”

“That wasn't an earthquake,” said Kokabiel. He had just come outside along with the vermillion angel, who was holding Bloop.

“What was it?” asked Cecil.

Kokabiel nodded at Bloop. “It was this one's mommy. Or daddy. It's actually kind of hard to tell with that lot.” The vermillion angel hummed in agreement.

“We’ve got to get Bloop back to him. Or her,” said Carlos.

“I think ‘xe’ is the operative gender-neutral pronoun,” said Cecil. “We don’t want to cast judgments on anybody’s life choices!”

Carlos nodded. “Anyway, I should take Bloop and make for the cavern.”

“I don’t think it’s coming to the cavern, Carlos.”

“What do you mean?”

THE BROWNSTONE SPIRE,” said Cecil, and once again, the ground underneath their feet shook.

“Do you really think that, or do you just like saying it?” grumbled Carlos, who had literally been knocked on his ass.

“That would make sense,” said Kokabiel. “That area is a focus for paranormal activity in this town.”

“Oh, what does that even mean?” grumbled Carlos. “You don’t have any evidence for that!”

“Carlos,” said Cecil softly. “May I remind you, dear, you are currently talking to a fallen angel about a rising Elder God.”

“All right, all right,” the scientist conceded. “Let’s get Bloop and go to … that place.”

“THE BR-“ started Cecil, but Carlos grabbed him and kissed him.

“Please, dear. My posterior is sore from being knocked over,” Carlos pleaded.

“I like the shaking,” grinned Cecil.

“I’ll show you some shaking later,” whispered Carlos. “Promise.”

“Ooooo!” said Kokabiel, as the vermillion angel hooted as suggestively as an angel was able.

“Let’s get Bloop folded into his car seat, shall we?” said Cecil.

After they had piled everyone into Cecil’s minivan, Cecil stepped on the gas and they roared down Highway 800 towards the Brownstone Spire. As they traveled, the shaking continued, and seemed to grow worse and worse.

They arrived to find a small crowd had already gathered, including the members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, all in their ceremonial robes and ill-fitting tiaras. There were also assorted patrons from the Moon Lite All Nite Diner, which was right across the highway (although you had to dodge oncoming traffic, as there was no overpass, and the drawbridge was out of order), finishing their coffee and reading the Night Vale Daily Journal. A drill team and marching band from Night Vale High was present, and so were several hooded figures, although we do not speak about them. And lastly, Carlos’s grandparents, who had taken their rental car, were there. They were sitting, along with Prof. Angell, on a set of collapsible folding chairs.

“We calculated this to be the epicenter of the geological disruption,” said Omar, who sported a hat that resembled an umbrella. “Maria wanted to film it for our yearly travel slide show.”

At this point, the esoteric Order of Dagon began to sing their strange, otherworldly chant, backed up by members of the NVH marching band:

Most folk fell the gotta … run away
They gotta … get away
From the madness-inducing glance of you
You make them feel
That the faceless void is real
And you want acolytes to pray
So we say yay we gonna pray that way

Tried to run from you
And your tentacle goo
Hey Elder God we’re giving…
Eat our souls and then go lick the spoon
Elder God! Oh-oh, Elder God!

Now we know even if we … run away
We’ll never … get away
From you inter-dimensional space beings
To make us right
Just sample one bite
Our souls are rich and delicious
And soon we wish we’ll make great dishes

Time to manifest
On this planet’s crust
Whoa Elder God you listen
Can’t wait to see your mutated skin all glisten
Elder God! Oh-oh, Elder God.

Bite me, Cthulu
Come on it’s time to chew!

There was hearty applause from the gathered crowd, and then the bass drummer from NVH dropped his drumsticks, which was a clear signal in any universe to get on with it already!

The ground trembled. The ground shook. The ground did just about everything but stand the heck still.

The Brownstone Spire began to crack.

“Oh no. They’re going to have to spackle over that,” said Cecil, who liked to preserve public monuments.

And then, the moment they’d all been waiting for, the giant Elder God appeared! It looked somewhat like a really, really, really big green octopus.

And somewhat not.

At first, in a moment of misunderstanding, it devoured the souls of a few diners from the Moon Lite All Nite Diner. But after some grumbling from the Esoteric Order of Dagon (who had gotten all dressed up and even did a really nice chant) it got down to business and began to nibble on the souls of its worshippers.

“Well, Bloop,” Cecil told their small charge. “I suppose it’s time.”

“Remember what we’ve taught you,” said Carlos. “Try and be carbon-neutral when you’re devouring souls.”

“And cultural appropriation is never a good idea!” added Cecil.

“Bloop!” Bloop told them. He began to slither away, but then immediately turned around and wriggled back. Carlos bent down and picked him up, and he reached out his little green tentacles and embraced both Carlos and Cecil in a warm, gooey hug.

And then he slithered away to greet his parent, still wearing his little Tinker Toy crown, and carrying a Flaky-Os action figure. There was a tearful reunion. And then, waving his little tentacles at a teary-eyed Cecil and Carlos, Bloop disappeared once again under the ground with his parent, leaving only a vast death toll and millions in property damage to remind them of him.

“May I borrow one of your cameras, Avó?” Carlos asked his grandmother. “I’d like to document the crater for my next paper.” Maria handed him the SLR around her neck, and Carlos dashed off to take some photographs.

“He’ll never get that paper published, if I have anything to say about it,” grumbled Prof. Angell, who had begun to come around to his grumpy self as the tranquilizers had worn off.

“By the way, Angell,” said Omar. “Our grandson, Carlos, would like to submit a new grant proposal.” Maria held up her camera, and displayed the tape she had just filmed.

“Very clever use of cinematography,” said Cecil approvingly as Maria grinned.

“That isn’t a grant proposal,” Angell told them. “You can’t just submit a video. There are procedures!”

“Maria and I are both on the study section for Carlos’s grant proposal. As are his aunt, two uncles, and several of his cousins.”

Angell searched their faces. “But- But, that’s nepotism!”

“It sure as heck is,” sighed Omar, putting an arm around Maria’s shoulders. “You, sir, have an admirable grasp of the English language. Maybe you wanna go get a professorship of literature instead? Because you don’t screw with los Cientistas!”

“You won’t get away with this!” Angell vowed.

“Actually , we probably will,” said Omar. “We’re all terribly good-looking in my family, and as you know, studies show that people tend to favor attractive people over unattractive people.”

Angell pointed a stony glare at them, and then shambled off. “But don’t you want the covalent bond scarf I knitted for you?” Maria called after him.

“Omar, Maria,” said Cecil. “You folks are actually aware of how beautiful you all are?”

Omar and Maria shared a smile. “Of course,” Omar told Cecil. “We’re scientists, but we’re not stupid!”

“So, Carlos knows he’s really gorgeous?”

“Carlos?” asked Omar.

“Well, probably not, now that you mention it,” chuckled Maria.

“The boy has always been a little other-worldly,” said Omar. “But that’s all right. Looks are fleeting! Well, except in our family, since we’re all preternaturally good-looking.” He glanced at Maria, and they both grinned. “We were always hoping that he’d find someone who accepted him for the important things, like his integrity, his great commitment to scientific inquiry, and his really amazing ass.”

“What?” blurted Cecil.

“It’s his Tio Nicolai’s ass,” Maria confessed.

“Does he want it back?” asked Cecil. He hoped not!

“What are we talking about?” asked Carlos, who had picked just this moment to stroll up and put his arm around Cecil. “Cecil, are you all right?”

Cecil blushed.

Carlos pressed the photograph of Cecil and himself getting a gooey hug from Bloop into the frame and then placed it carefully up on his hearth. He leaned the somewhat floppy soulless Cat Ballou action figure against it and stepped back to admire his work.

Cecil came up behind him, wrapping his arms around Carlos's waist, kissing his neck. “I didn't realize you wanted children,” whispered Cecil.

“You don't?”

Cecil grinned. “I want a veritable army of them.”

“An army? Literally?” asked Carlos, arching an eyebrow.

But Cecil only chuckled. He stepped back. “Did your grandparents get back home safely?”

“Yes. I find I miss having them around, although it was admittedly a little disruptive. And we need to see about getting you a formal lab coat. If we don't get to Cousin Oppenheimer's wedding, I'll never hear the end of it!”

Cecil grinned. A wedding date! It was an important relationship milestone. He idly speculated on how many of Carlos’s relatives he would need to knock over in order to catch the bridal bouquet. “By the way, what's the deal with you and Cousin Oppenheimer?”

Carlos sighed and rolled his eyes. “It's a long story.”

“I've got time,” said Cecil, looking at his watch. “What say we grab some Big Rico's for dinner?”

“All right, that sounds good.”

“And it's a nice day! We could take it somewhere to eat outside.”

“Like the park?” asked Carlos.

Cecil smiled mischievously. “Well, no. I was thinking they have a really great picnic area at … the Br-

“No!” exclaimed Carlos. He lunged for Cecil, who barely ducked him, and then gave chase until he finally had Cecil backed up against his specially retrofitted kitchen table.

“I said the Br-

“Don't. Say. It,” said Carlos, placing two fingers on Cecil's lips.

“How are you planning on stopping me?” asked Cecil. Carlos stared into his eyes, and then began to kiss Cecil. He grabbed Cecil's hips and lifted him up onto the dining room table. Cecil wrapped his legs around Carlos's waist as they continued kissing.

“Are you really hungry?” whispered Carlos.

“Mmmm,” said Cecil, who was tugging at Carlos's belt. “But maybe not for pizza just now.”

“We need to keep your mouth busy,” said Cecil.

“Why?” teased Cecil.

“So you won't say it.”

“Say what?”

“You know.”

“You mean-”


And all throughout Night Vale, the earth shook.

But in a good kind of way.

Notes: This fic was partly based on Cecil Baldwin’s comment that he pictures Carlos the Scientist as a “Brazilian male model” who wears “chunky glasses.” I’ve therefore made Carlos’s family a bunch of impossibly good-looking Brazilian scientists. The quote about science is of course from Neil deGrasse Tyson. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Li'l Cthulhu video, http://youtu.be/FOHJUrcVdJk which is just cute as a non-Euclidean button. There really is a phenomenon known as “The Bloop.” It’s probably just glaciers calving though, although it’s suspiciously near where Lovecraft placed Cthulhu’s lost island. Maria Sklodowska is Marie Curie's maiden name: if you don't know who Marie Curie is, you need to reevaluate your life choices. The Esoteric Order of Dagon’s songs ware based on She Blinded Me with Science and Tainted Love.
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