Snuff (Un)Sporting Activities

This story marks the beginning of the end for my creative excesses. The stories were getting longer and more involved, but the work from my first-year courses was already piling up and my creative juices were being drained. This one is dated September 19, 1985, shortly before I had to give up my paper route because the demands on my time were too much to be getting up at 5:20 every morning. It hurt, and I still missed things at the old high school. As usual, the inspiration for this tale remains a mystery, but probably is related to one Sunday afternoon with nothing but golf on TV and no exuse (other than writing) to goof off and not do Physics.
Copyright © Harold Reynolds, 1998.

"OUCH! Who's the son-of-a-Snuff who--" Papa Snuff's curse was cut off by the explosion of the experiment he'd been working on, which also shredded him into bloody blue ribbons and gouts of gore. Afterwards, the interior of the lab house looked like it had just caught a nasty case of the measles. Meanwhile, the little white ball covered with a regular pattern of dents that had caused this accident by shooting through a window and bouncing off the old Snuff's red-clad head continued to ricochet wildly around the lab, breaking more stuff that hadn't been destroyed in the explosion, and finally came to rest in a bowl of jelly.

"Gee, I hope Papa isn't too angry," said Hefty Snuff, peeking in through the partly open door. He noticed the wall decorations. "Whoops! Vanity, better give me the two-iron. I want to get out of here before he gets back!" Both Hefty and Vanity came in, with Vanity lugging a long bag of various odd-shaped clubs.

"Hefty, don't you think you should just take this ball outside and accept the one-stroke penalty?" asked the latter.

"Nah. I'll get it out of here easily," replied the other. "Now let's find the thing." The errant ball was quickly located in the bowl of jelly, which was on top of a tall work bench that, like the floor, was strewn with broken glass, crockery and clotting gore. Undaunted, Hefty stacked a couple of chairs on a crate, scrambled up them and, tottering dangerously, made a swing at the ball. He always was a swinger.

"HEFTY! VANITY! WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?" Papa Snuff shouted as he stomped in through the doorway. He had been recloned on the other side of the village and he'd had to run all the way back. He was angry and out of breath and irritated that the other Snuffs hadn't come flocking to his lab. This was mainly because the explosions had been becoming more frequent of late. He saw Hefty swiping at his bowl of wintergreen jelly and hastily ducked before the ball could clobber him again. As a result, the jelly hit his face with a moist splut due to a different trajectory and bits of smashed pottery, often with gobs of the green goo on them, rattled about all around him.

"Aiyee!" screeched Hefty as he lost his balance and fell onto the bench, causing it to collapse with more crashes and smashes. Vanity, unfazed, grabbed Hefty's club and zapped Papa on the head with it, stunning the white-bearded Snuff long enough to allow them to escape. The laboratory was in shambles.

**** **** ****

"Today," said the newscaster on one of Poppy Street's Adult-controlled TV stations the night before the event previously described occurred, "The Adult leaders of our City played the latest game craze to sweep the continents to our north, something called "golf"." He snickered. "This sport involves clobbering a little white ball with clubs around a course with eighteen holes in it in the fewest number of strokes." He snickered again, but suddenly stopped when the muzzle of an assault rifle appeared at the left edge of the screen. He began sweating instead. The Snuffs, watching on their conjured-up TV's while eating dinner, laughed as they noticed this.

"Heh-heh. Now for the films that our camera crew took of the game." The view switched to Bob teeing off at the seventh hole and making a beautiful, high-rising shot. It abruptly switched to Susan chipping out of a sand trap (or "bunker" as the golfers call it) and finally ended with Mr Hooper shooting his ball from the rough onto the twelfth fairway.

"Well, heh-heh," the newscaster faltered weakly, "that was fun, wasn't it?" Before he could answer his rhetorical question, there was a loud report of a heavy-caliber handgun firing and the man's head blew up, splattering the set and the camera lens with blood. There was another shot and the Adult stooge who'd been holding the assault rifle expired. Muppets scurried onto the set.

"Now then," said Grover, a furry blue creature with a large nose as Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch grabbed the twitching corpse that was gouting blood from its neck stump and threw it into a corner. The Snuffs and everyone else watching were not grossed out in the least, for such things were commonplace. "Here are the uncensored tapes of what REALLY happened!" The view switched to Bob teeing off.

"He made a beautiful shot all right, but in the wrong direction! This is what you didn't see!" They saw the ball bounce off a couple of trees in the distance and land in some longish grass. Bob then screamed some unprintable oaths, none of which were bleeped out, jumped up and down, smashed his club into the ground and then tried to clobber his caddy with it. The caddy, an "innocent" kid, ducked and then decked him with a one-iron to the temple. Blood gushed plentifully.

"Here are the parts of Susan's clip that weren't broadcast," said Cookie Monster gleefully. The screen switched to Susan standing in the bunker looking perplexed. She grabbed what looked like a six-iron from her bag, took up a stance and made a swing. There was an explosion of sand, and when it cleared the ball was still sitting innocently in its original spot with a deep gouge in the sand in front of it. Susan cursed and swung again. There was another blast of silica, but this time the sphere had moved a couple of inches. She screamed in frustration and swung again. And again. And again. After ten swipes with a total net gain of of three feet, she yelled:

"ENOUGH OF THIS BLOODY CLUB!", snapped it in two and grabbed a three wood. Her caddy protested. All caddies were "innocent" kids.

"But Susan, er--Your Majesty--that's a driver!"

"I don't give a hoot if it's an eggplant!" she snarled. "Get out of my way or I'll kill you!" He got. "EeeYAAH!" she howled, swinging. There was a muffled crack as the club connected and the ball erupted from the bunker, shot fifty yards to the green, hit Gordon on the head, staving it in just as he was making a crucial putt, and landed right in the hole. So did his, to her chagrin.

But before the Mr Hooper segment could be shown, several hand grenades were tossed into the studio and destroyed the Muppets. The indestructible cameras swung over to the newscaster.

"And that's the news! Good night!" The general audience, and especially the Snuffs, were in hysterics by this time and were too weak to protest. After regaining their strength, the Snuffs converged in an unruly mob upon Papa Snuff's house.

"We want golf! We want fun!" they chanted.

"GO AWAY! I'M BUSY!" shouted Papa.

"Say, I don't see Snuffette anywhere," said Brainy in his loud, penetratingly nasal voice.

"We won't let you sleep until you give them to us!" said Poet.

"And neither, I suspect, will Snuffette," snickered Brainy, putting two and three together and getting four.

"GET LOST!" shouted another voice. "I've had enough of you miserable varmints already!"

"That's not Papa!" said Clumsy, picking his nose and accidentally ripping it off. "That sounds like Gargamel!" Since the Snuffs were only eighteen inches tall and Papa's place was surrounded, it was obvious that the full-sized, nasty, two-bit wizard wasn't in there. "Let's go and look," he added, hastily trying to glue his proboscis back on and, failing, committing suicide. The locks were picked expertly and in the proper sequence (the wrong sequence bringing death by electrocution) and several Snuffs stormed in, only to find a tape recorder and a timer setup.

"Ooh, do come in now," cooed a husky female voice seductively. "I'm ready for you." The timer clicked off. It was Lemon Meringue's voice, practically dripping lust. When the Snuffs inside looked outside, it was deserted.

"Hmm," said Painter Snuff, "he must be hiding somewhere."

"I hate hiding!" groused Grouchy grumpily. Harmony, who always kept his trumpet with him, blew a few off-key squeals that shattered several glass beakers. Part of the ceiling fell down onto the floor, revealing Papa and Snuffette straightening their clothes and looking innocent.

"Give us the golf course and clubs tomorrow so we can play," said Harmony, "or I'll play." He raised his trumpet to his lips.

"All right, all right!" said the red-garbed (as opposed the the usual white) Papa Snuff hastily. "Tomorrow morning at 6:00 half of you will find golf clubs at your doorsteps. The other half of the village will be the caddies. Don't try and steal someone's clubs if you don't get any either!" he added sternly. It was the others' turn to look innocent. "After lunch I'll create the course for you," he added benevolently.

"Oh boy!" squealed the Snuffs excitedly, fighting viciously to get out the door first.

"Now Snuffette, where were we?" asked Papa.

**** **** ****

At exactly 6:00 the following morning, there was a series of 50 poofs as 50 sets of golf clubs and balls appeared on the doorsteps of 50 Snuff dwellings. The Snuffs, generally light sleepers save Lazy and Dreamy, heard them, awoke and rushed for their doors. Greedy, to his dismay, found that he wasn't one of the lucky ones. He happened to live next door to Dreamy, who had gotten some clubs, so he scooted over, snatched the bag and hoofed it back. He never made it. The golf bag magically transformed itself into a very large stick of dynamite that promptly exploded, gouging a large crater in the ground, demolishing Greedy's house, severely damaging those of his neighbours and sending a tall column of smoke into the atmosphere, where it caught the first rays of the rising sun.

"Papa Snuff told you not to steal clubs, but did you listen? Oh, no!" Brainy carped at Greedy's clone, smugly clutching his own set of clubs.

"Aw, stuff it!" snarled Greedy as his house and everything else was recloned. "I didn't want to play anyway!" He stomped inside and slammed the door. But now chaos was to break loose as the Snuffs who had clubs tried to get those who didn't have any to caddy for them.

"Lazy!" said Hefty, corralling the Snuff, who was slinking towards the forest. "I want you to caddy for me!"

"No way! It's too much work! Why can't we have sleeping contests instead?" He ran for it, but was nabbed.

"Rubbish! You'll love it!" said Hefty confidently, dragging him back. The captive Snuff then gave his captor a judo throw and scooted off, only to round a corner and collide with Clumsy, who was carrying an armful of wood for his house. Sticks, logs and curses worthy of Papa Snuff in one of his bad moods or Gargamel in one of his better ones flew in all directions.

"LAZY, YOU IDIOT!" yelled Clumsy, doing a lead-footed dance on said Snuff's head until Lazy grabbed a big stick and whacked him hard on the knees. "For the first time ever I went to the forest and gathered my firewood without getting bushwhacked by Shorties or injuring myself! Then you came along and wrecked it! Garr!" His tirade was interrupted by Hefty's appearance.

"Come back here, caddy! I want to practise!"

"Tough tarts!" snapped Lazy to both of them, scrambling up and kicking Clumsy in the breadbasket.

"Did somebody say tarts?" asked Greedy, poking his head around the corner of Hefty's home.

"GET OUT OF HERE!" shouted the other three. "And I think I'll follow that advice," muttered Lazy.

"What? Did I hear some Snuff tell another to get lost?" came Brainy's nasal bleat from across the 100-yard in diameter village green. "Papa Snuff always says to stand up for the underSnuff and also--" He was drowned out by several teeth-rattling blasts from Harmony's trumpet.

"Hi there! Why the big crowd?" he asked, emerging from the woods. Lazy strongly regretted his not having a machine-gun.

"GOLF! GOLF! GAAH!" he raved, storming off.

"I hate ruckus!" came Grouchy's characteristic growl as he too appeared on the village green. Jokey was with him.

"Here Brainy, have a surprise!" said the latter, giving the bothersome, bespectacled Snuff a large, gaudily-wrapped box.

"Why thank you, Jokey," he replied as they approached the noisy, rapidly-swelling crowd around Hefty's place. "But I don't--Oh helLO Snuffette!" he interrupted himself (for once) as she emerged from her house. "You're looking absoLUTEly gorgeous today! Here, have a present." He beamed smarmily and Jokey snickered.

"Ooh, thank you Brainy!" she gushed, pulling the ribbon. The box exploded violently, tearing her body to shreds. Her gushing continued. Brainy, Jokey and even Grouchy laughed. They then began running away when her clone appeared, brandishing a long, wicked knife. But they still laughed.

By now the entire village green was swarming with Snuffs, embroiled in noisy and often acrimonious debates about caddying. The position of the Snuffs who had no clubs was simple.

"I don't want to be your servant, lugging your stuff around for you! And that's it!" yelled Greedy at Handy. Several no-holds-barred mass fist fights erupted, mainly for who would caddy for Snuffette and who wouldn't for Brainy. Finally, the noise got too much for Papa Snuff, who stormed from his house, set up a .75-caliber machine gun, complete with Clone-a-Matic cartridge of exploding bullets, and began slaughtering Snuffs. Blood, guts, bullet fragments and screams flew through the air as Papa shot and laughed maniacally. He finally stopped when the cooling system failed and the gun jammed. Finally it was quiet. Smoke and red fog drifted over the carnage of gore and body parts, for many Snuff clones had been butchered as well.

Then he heard a soft squelching approaching, but the visibility was so poor that the Snuff leader could not identify its source. Then a blood-spattered Brainy, holding an equally grimy golf bag, slithered into view. Papa jumped on seeing the smoke- and gore-stained specter and tried to shoot him, but only scattered the shell casings that had accumulated at his feet.

"Papa Snuff, am I ever glad to see you!" he began. Then the village green and all the Snuffs were recloned and the bodies and bits of bodies were removed.

"Now that I have your attention, Snuffs," said Papa before they could start babbling, "it has become obvious to me that I will have to choose caddies for those who haven't already done so. But on this condition!" he shouted over the rising storm of protest. They shut up. "The condition that the caddies get every other shot!" There was more babbling. "Fob wok yak crack!" he chanted, waving his arms and jumping up and down simultaneously. There was a brief pause and suddenly the Snuffs were arranged in fifty pairs. Papa got one look at his partner, Brainy, and cursed.

"Now git out of here and start practising!" he commanded. "Brainy, you'll have to practise by yourself, I'm afraid. I have to create a new counterspell to keep the Shorties and their seek spells out of the village."

"But Papa Snuff..." whined Brainy.

"If I don't, Raspberry Tart will come and get you!"

"Oh, but of course!" Brainy blanched. "Bye-bye!" He scuttled off to find someone else to boss around. Within minutes the village was full of flying golf balls and foul oaths as Snuffs were beaned by the balls. Several deaths, both accidental and deliberate, the latter usually occurring after the former, occurred too. It was not a safe place to be.

**** **** ****

Meanwhile, in a large, rundown house a couple of miles away from the Snuff village, Gargamel was brooding.

"Ooh, how I hate Snuffs!" he snarled, kicking at his cat Asriel, who nimbly dodged. "Everything I do to harass them they make a game of! My land mines in the forest are worthless now that they've been putting in some of their own and blowing me up too! I wish I could exterminate all of them!" he raved, stomping around. Asriel skittered out of the way of his large, flat feet.

"Really Gargamel, your monomania is becoming truly obsessive," chided a female voice from behind him.

"WHAT--" he snapped, whirling around. There at the doorway stood the sorceress Sour Grapes. "ARGH!"

"Why don't you turn on your neat little monitors, see what they're doing and sabotage it with your magic?" Gargamel blinked in surprise and she was gone. He shook his head, ignoring the rattling sound thus produced.

"There must be something wrong with my still," he muttered, trudging over to his bank of TV sets and turning them on. The balding quasi-wizard had been able to magic cameras with powerful zoom lenses in various trees surrounding the Snuff village, but was still unable to get an exact fix on its location. To his surprise, he saw Farmer Snuff hit a white ball with an odd metal club and saw it bounce off a house, whisk a piece of cake from Greedy's hand and smash Vanity's hand mirror.

"What on earth?" asked Gargamel. With a few flicks of switches, he replayed the events that had happened that morning, laughing coarsely all the while. "So, the Snuffs have discovered golf, eh?" he muttered. "Well, I'll show them a thing or three! They'll rue the day they wanted to play a human's sport!"

**** **** ****

Chaos was the order of the day in Snuffland as the little blue creatures practised their golf game. Fortunately for them, their golf bags could clone golf balls because once a ball was shot, it was rarely found again by the shooter. Needless to say, they were always finding other Snuffs' strays and bludgeoning them too. They were having loads of fun and, as usual, were heedless of the destruction they were creating. One such incident was described at the start of the story and after it Hefty and Vanity made themselves scarce around Papa Snuff's laboratory.

"I hope we didn't do too much damage," said Vanity as he set a fresh ball on a tee between two houses in preparation for shooting onto the village green. "I don't want Papa sneaking into my house in the middle of the night and throttling me like he did to Brainy once. FORE!" he shouted, taking a swing.

"Hi guys! Want a surprise?" It was Jokey, holding one of his nefarious "presents" as he rounded a corner to Vanity's left. Said Snuff was startled and his shot was thrown off as a result. There was a dull thud and then a crack as the club hit first the ground and then the ball. A huge clod of grass and dirt was propelled up and away as the ball shanked at a 45-degree angle to his right, bounced off the wall of Hefty's house, adding to its already sizable collection of dents, and hit Jokey on the forehead.

Jokey, whose head was thicker than most out of necessity, was only stunned and, after weaving about cross-eyed for a few seconds, fell forward onto his "present", which exploded vigorously. His body, relieved of the weight of its chest, which was distributed around the area, flipped 180 degrees lengthwise and proceeded to decorate the vicinity with sprays of blood for the next thirty seconds, before they abruptly ceased. The clod of earth hit Grouchy on the head, but only knocked his cap off.

"I hate divots!" he growled, throwing the divot accurately and with great force at its perpetrator, Vanity.

"Serves Jokey right for disturbing me," muttered Vanity.

Elsewhere, Snuffette was sharing her practising with Clumsy, whom she thought was cute. He, of course, was a walking disaster area at the best of times, and now was certainly not one of these.

"Uh, okay Snuffette, I'm ready to shoot now," he said. "Are you ready?"

"Just a minute Clumsy," she replied, adjusting her bullet-proof armour and face mask and moving well away from him. Maybe he was cute, but he was also hazardous and Snuffette was a realist. "I'm ready now. Go ahead." The Snuff cleared his throat, shouted

"FORE!", wound up and made a power shot with a two-wood. It was so powerful that the hard plastic-like outer cover of the ball was ripped off and the long rubber windings that surrounded the core began trailing behind like a long tail. Meanwhile, the head of his club had also broken off and it whizzed through the air, zanged off Snuffette's helmet and smashed a window in a nearby house. But Clumsy was so entranced watching the ball unwind that the club shaft flew from his fingers, spun lazily in the air a few times and finally hit the ground, made a freak bounce and the broken end flipped up and skewered Handy through his right eye.

"Uh, whoops," said Clumsy over the noise of Handy's dying screams. "What happened?" He looked confused, as usual.

"Oh, Clumsy!" scolded Snuffette, clanking up to him and ignoring the other now-dead Snuff. "How could anybody possibly break a golf club and kill someone at the same time?"

"Gee, I don't know," he replied, picking up the golf bag. "Maybe I should stop drinking coffee."

"Nonsense!" she chided. "There are many excellent decaffeinated brands available. Here, try mine." She opened a pocket in the golf bag and pulled out a can. "Try my new Snuffette brand instant decaffeinated coffee. You'll like it." She snapped her fingers and a cup of hot coffee materialized in her hand. She gave it to him and he drank some of it.

"Not bad," he said. Then a golf ball knocked the mug from his hand, smashing it and spilling the murky brown fluid onto the grass. Curiously enough, the grass dissolved, but Clumsy didn't notice. He was too busy throwing up behind a bush.

"Hmm," Snuffette muttered, examining the can. "What could have gone wrong?" She opened it, took a whiff of the contents and gasped. "What? Why that scum! Papa Snuff, why did you put barfberry extract into my coffee?" she shouted angrily. "Just because my coffee is far better than yours is no bloody reason to spike it! You'll pay for this!" Papa, who just happened to be within hearing distance, laughed heartily as she collected the retching Clumsy and stomped off to get the antidote.

The rest of the morning was filled with events unlike this in every way save the violence. When the Snuffs broke off for lunch, the village looked like it had been the scene of a particularly vicious and prolonged machine-gun battle. House walls were pockmarked, windows were broken, doors unhinged, the grass was gouged and miscellaneous body parts were liberally strewn everywhere. By now, each Snuff had worked up a long list of grudges to be repaid during the golf game, and the part of the lunch break not spent eating was spent preparing to pay them off. It would not be a pleasant, relaxing game by any means.

After lunch and the preparations had been finished, the Snuffs gathered in a large, clanking crowd, all adorned in body armour to ward off flying balls, rocks, divots and other missiles that might come their way. Papa Snuff, however, was unwilling to come out.

"Come, my little Snuffs," he patronized from a window, "do you really want to do this?" The Snuffs were unconvinced. "If you play you'll wind up like Bob and the others on Poppy Street."

"Yeah, but if we record it now, we can laugh at it later," said Jokey. "Besides, you might win the big prize."

"What is it?" asked Papa, suddenly alert.

"Beats me," he shrugged.

"And if you don't, we'll break your arms, then your legs, your fingers..." Hefty drooled.

"All right, all right," sighed Papa. "I guess we all have tensions to rid ourselves of." Hefty looked disappointed. "Ready? Yurba, yurba, nogga noo! Goplay golf and slaughter too!" The transition from woodland and village to golf course was, for a change, smooth and instantaneous. Nothing blew up or was destroyed in any way and Gargamel's hovel could be seen in the distance.

"This is a special 20-hole golf course," Papa explained hurriedly as the Snuffs luxuriated in not being gratuitously massacred by Papa's spell as they usually were. "Instead of having a long wait at the first hole, there shall be 16 groups of six and one group of four and each group shall start at a hole and play the entire course in order."

"But Papa Snuff," said Brainy loudly, "that means three holes will be without Snuffs on them at any one time."

"That's to give them a rest, idiot!" chastised Farmer Snuff. Before Brainy could come up with a suitably vulgar reply, all the Snuffs save Farmer, Papa, Poet and Painter abruptly vanished.

"Let the game begin!" boomed Papa self-importantly.

**** **** ****

"Ha! I see that snivelling goody-goody Papa Snuff has finally gotten around to producing the golf course," Gargamel laughed. His laughter sounded like somebody tramping up an ancient, squeaky staircase and, at the top, breaking through the step and crashing all the way down again. Asriel laughed too, not because the pseudo-wizard was funny but because he saw on a monitor Lazy in dire straights. With the flick of a switch, Gargamel launched the seven aerial mobile cameras in his control and with another activated the remainder of his tree ones.

"And now for the fun part!" he added, grabbing a spell book. "Traps and land mines, square and round, throughout this golf course shall abound! Havoc and mayhem, murder and mess! Let these little goodies do nothing less!" He waved his arms, pulled his nose, stuck out his tongue and crossed his eyes while reciting the chant. There was a single crash of thunder and then silence, which was broken by Asriel gagging in the far corner.

"Stop that, Asriel!" snarled the magician. "I know that, being a cat, you hate doggerel, but these bloody spells are either nonsense or poetry fit for the deranged! But never mind that, we've got golf to watch!" They rushed to the banks of TV sets, slavering for blood. They wouldn't be disappointed.

The crash of thunder from a cloudless sky told all but the stupidest Snuffs (i.e. Brainy) that the half-baked sorcerer was up to his old tricks. This gave them the opportunity they were looking for to plant some traps and blame them on Gargamel.

**** **** ****

The game did not start well for the sextet of Snuffette, Clumsy, Hefty, Vanity, Brainy and Harmony for a few reasons. The first was that they reappeared at their start, the eighth tee, like all the other Snuffs at their tees, minus all their body armour and all weapons secreted on their little blue persons such as pistols, knives of various calibres, brass knuckles and studded wristbands. The second was that they also appeared with their body parts not quite where they should be, like an arm sprouting from Vanity's head or a nose incongruously appearing in Snuffette's bellybutton. This happened to all the other Snuffs as well and all died unpleasantly, especially those who had their major blood vessels tied around their necks in neat bows.

"My badness," gasped Gargamel between gusts of laughter as he saw this, "I must find out how Papa Snuff does that! It's very amusing." Asriel yawned. "Well even if he is a Snuff, it doesn't mean he can't have defective spells I can steal!" he snapped.

"I just knew Papa Snuff would do this to us! I just knew it!" said Harmony crossly.

"Snuffs may Snuff from sun to sun, but Papa's work is never done," recited Brainy, ignoring the hostile glowers of the others. "Well it's true! He's the one who does the work that counts, aside from myself, of course, so he's entitled to a little recreation now and then. And besides--" Harmony cut him off with a raucous blast from his trumpet.

"Shut up Brainy and play golf! You tee off first!" Brainy sighed, set up his ball on his tee, examined the par five hole, grabbed his driver and belted the ball a good 300 yards.

"Nice shot," begrudged Snuffette. "But you forgot to shout "fore"." The ball landed on the fairway in their sight, bounced twice and suddenly disappeared with a flash of fire and a shower of turf. The sound reached them a second later. "It seems like Gargamel is up to his old tricks again," she added.

"But my ball!" wailed Brainy. "Am I going to have to shoot from there?" A speck of white appeared in the centre of the crater and Harmony swore some horrible oaths.

"No, I am!" he sputtered.

"Oh, well in that case..." said Brainy, relieved.

"Gee Harmony, that's too bad," said Clumsy as he set up for his shot. Snuffette started guiltily.

"Uh, Clumsy, perhaps I'd better make the first shot. You remember what happened the last time." He nodded, laughed and gave her the club. As she was making her swing, Hefty chanted:

"Yabba wabba gobba goo!" while spinning counterclockwise on his left foot. Unable to stop it, her club hit the ball with a splork and a splatter of brown goop. The sphere only advanced a few inches.

"HEFTY! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CLUB?" she raged over his howls of laughter.

"I turned it into a--a piece of chocolate pudding!" He and Vanity doubled over in gales of hilarity, while Brainy, Harmony and Clumsy snickered covertly.

"Yabba wurba gurble gunk!" she snapped, pointing at the culprits. To their dismay, their midsections turned into strawberry yogurt. Since they were bent over in the first place, their heads, arms and upper chests flopped onto the ground. Their clones rapidly appeared. "Now, no more tricks, savvy?"

"Yes massa, we savvy," kowtowed Vanity. "I never did like strawberry yogurt anyway," he added, eyeing his body, which shortly vanished. Snuffette took her recloned driver, replaced her ball on the tee and made her shot, unsabotaged this time. It was a beautiful long shot right down the middle of the fairway, but it rapidly developed a wicked left hook and landed in the rough near a copse of trees and not too far from Brainy's ball. She cursed fluently, as did Clumsy when he remembered who shot next.

"Well Vanity, it's up to you," said Hefty, slapping him on the back and knocking him down.

"Gee, thanks," gasped the Snuff, staggering upright. "You nearly broke my mirror!" Vanity always carried a small hand mirror around with which to admire himself and sometimes to reflect the sun into other Snuffs' eyes when they least expected it. He made a long, high drive that clobbered a low-flying duck and killed it. Both duck and ball fell to earth with a thump and a quack.

"Not bad," said Harmony. "It's a pity Greedy isn't here."

Speaking of Greedy, said Snuff was with Handy, Grouchy, Lazy, Dreamy and Jokey on the eleventh fairway getting ready to shoot.

"Hey, Lazy, get out of the way!" he shouted. Lazy was on the green trying to putt. "It's my turn to shoot!"

"Yah, stuff it!" is a translation of Lazy's rather coarse reply. Greedy grabbed a one-iron and prepared to try and nail Lazy with his shot. Meanwhile, Grouchy was tramping along in the rough near one of the sand traps by the green searching for his ball.

"I hate golf!" he was muttering as he poked around in the grass. "I also hate trip wires!" he added, spotting one and nearly tripping on it. It led to a concealed M-65 heavy machine gun with a hair trigger. "But I don't mind guns!" he added, swiftly disconnecting the weapon and stowing it in his golf bag. Also during this, Jokey, who had made the shot that Grouchy was looking for, had lagged behind as the other Snuffs raced for the balls. He rummaged around in his golf bag and found his trusty high-powered sling shot and about ten golf balls which he'd doctored by filling with high explosives and salt.

"Fortunately Papa's spell only took away weapons we were wearing," Jokey giggled. Putting all but one of the balls into his voluminous pockets, he took the other and fired it at Lazy, just as Greedy made his shot.

Handy and Dreamy were ambling towards the green as Greedy shouted "fore", but were too busy eyeballing one of Gargamel's spy cameras in a tree to care. Even the violent explosion of the fake golf ball and Lazy's scream of pain, anguish and rage as he missed the shot didn't distract them.

"Hey Gargy baby, you're sure ugly!" taunted Handy, making a very vulgar gesture and pulling a face.

"Yeah, he's so crooked that he makes Papa Snuff's card dealing look almost legitimate!" Dreamy added. Handy laughed loudly.

"Why you miserable Snuffs!" snarled Gargamel's familiar croak from a nearby speaker/receiver. "You'll pay!"

"Ha!" Handy dismissed. He snapped his fingers and a cup of coffee appeared in his hand. "Some of Snuffette's coffee ought to decommission you, you pimply voyeur!" He tossed the contents of the mug at the camera, which, though indestructible by force, was vulnerable to corrosion. It melted into slag.

"You minute pieces of stinking blue filth! I wouldn't feed you to my pig's tapeworm, even if I had a pig! So here's something I will give you instead!" A large-bored barrel poked from the tree-trunk and out from it sprayed large quantities of a sticky jelly that coated them from head to foot.

"This smells familiar," said Dreamy, retreating. "Oh no!"

"Oh yes!" cackled Gargamel. "Bye-bye!" With a roar that could be heard over a good distance, a jet of flaming napalm sprayed out and ignited the unfortunate Snuffs and the nearby brush and trees that had been coated with it already.

"I hate forest fires!" said Grouchy, quickly finding his lost ball and whacking it out of the rough and onto the green. Gargamel could easily see the pall of smoke from his window.

But as it happened, the eleventh hole ended near a clubhouse, and parked nearby was a whole fleet of little carts. Lazy spotted these and shouted:

"Hey guys! Free transportation! Maybe we can really have fun!" After rapidly completing the hole, the other five and he hustled over for a look.

"Hey, a crossbar at the back!" exclaimed Grouchy, forgetting to hate it. "Just perfect for mounting this!" He pulled out his machine gun and attached it to the crossbar. They stood looking at one another and smiling.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Jokey. They all nodded. "Let's go!" It was but the work of a moment to break into the clubhouse, locate the very large gun collection and steal some of it. Back outside they scooted, ignoring the hooting burglar alarms, mounted the other two machine-guns on two of the carts, distributed the six submachine-guns equally, hopped in and roared off. On ordinary golf courses on the mainland, the golf carts were battery powered, but this, of course, was no ordinary course. These carts had small but powerful V-8 gasoline engines and could go very fast as a result. They also had C.B. radios.

"I hate going fast," said Grouchy hypocritically.

"Who needs to play boring old golf anyway?" asked Handy. "I think it's time to pay off a few debts, don't you Greedy?"

"Yeah," he, Handy's partner, replied, slavering slightly. With Grouchy and Jokey in one of the other vehicles and Lazy and Dreamy in the other, they sped along past the clubhouse in a shortcut towards the first hole, where Papa, Farmer, Poet and Painter Snuffs were playing and not doing too well.

"An Ode to a Missing Ball," Poet was reciting as he searched the rough. "Oh miserable lump of plastic, why did you fly away? HEY! WATCH IT!" He leaped away as a cart nearly ran him over.

"YEEHAA!" shouted Jokey, letting off a burst from the M-65, but missing as Grouchy drove the welcome wagon by at suicide speed. "I see Papa! Let's get him!"

"Oh oh!" said Papa, hearing the noise of the engines in the otherwise sylvan environment. "It sounds like somebody found some golf carts!" A hail of bullets tore up the ground in front of him and he leaped into some bushes, pausing only to yank his assault rifle from his golf bag. "Time to break out the secret weapons! Gurga wurga, no more golf! Time to drive and save mysolf!"

The entire golf course echoed with several dozen bangs of displaced air as an equal number of golf carts appeared liberally scattered throughout it. One appeared near Papa too. "Drat the spell! I only wanted one for me!" These, however, were armoured with bulletproof glass, were larger and had bigger engines and oversized tires. He hopped in, started his up and drove into the open to meet his opposition.

"Oh oh," said Dreamy. "I think we've been outclassed! Run!" Lazy made an abrupt right turn, but Papa made a sharp left and broadsided them, cackling gleefully. The smaller, lighter cart was bowled over and the Snuffs were battered to death as it rolled several times and finally exploded, roasting the bodies.

"Ha! That'll teach you!" Papa laughed. Then he ran over a land mine and had the floor blasted from under him. His seat fell to the ground and he was run over messily.

While all this fooferaw was happening, Farmer Snuff was stoically ignoring it. He made a powerful drive from the middle of the first fairway and the ball plunked happily on the green as if it was born to do so. His partner Painter, one of the excitable types, had for no reason apparent to him suddenly vanished, an action soon followed by the roaring of an engine and the clattering of a machine-gun or two. Farmer made the easy putt with no trouble, but as he reached into the cup to retrieve his ball, an arm suddenly shot from it, grabbed his nose and tried to pull him through into the cup.

"OW! LET GO OF ME!" yelled the Snuff in surprise and anguish. He was proud of his proboscis and wasn't partial to having it artificially stretched, especially since his head stubbornly refused to fit into the hole. After clouting the hand (and his own head) a few times with his putter, the mangled, disembodied hand suddenly let go and withdrew.

"Don't think you can get away from me!" he growled angrily, rushing back to his golf bag, grabbing an AK-55 assault rifle and putting the muzzle right into the hole. "I'm better armed than you are," he added grimly, squeezing the trigger. About a hundred rounds later, the barrel was beginning to glow red, so he stopped shooting and wiped some sweat from his brow.

"Ha-ha, you missed me," quavered a voice from the hole.

"We'll see about that." Farmer brought his golf bag nearer the hole and began removing hand grenades from the special pocket which replaced them as soon as they were taken out. With casual aplomb brought about by similar experience dropping the explosive devices down the holes of rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels and other furry pests, he dropped two of them in and stepped back.

"AAAAGGGHH!" screamed the voice, which he recognized as Gargamel's in soprano, as they exploded, causing a great fountain of blood and diced body parts to geyser skywards.

"Now for the next hole," said Farmer Snuff as the eruption abruptly ended. For added entertainment, he took the excess grenades and one by one pulled the pins and batted them away with his five-iron. They exploded satisfactorily, often setting off booby-traps and once destroying an unclaimed golf cart.

"Attention all Snuffs! Attention all Snuffs!" boomed Hefty over the C.B. radio. "Capture Papa Snuff if you can! He must be brought to trial for his wanton and indiscriminate killings of us due to his spells! He is armed and dangerous, but I know that's never caused anyone to be scared."

"Now wait a minute!" Brainy whined, as Papa and Hefty knew he would. "He is our infallible leader! He cannot be--"

"Say, let's get Brainy too! He's never been anything more than a loud-mouthed spy!" said Snuffette loudly.

"No! No!" wailed Brainy.

"Yes! Yes!" chorused many. "I see Papa now, heading for the nineteenth hole!" shouted Harmony, letting off a blast from his trumpet. "Charge!" By now the Snuffs, save Farmer, had tired of golf and were eager for something good, that is to say something with violence. All save Farmer had procured, sometimes by force, a golf cart of their own and were rapidly converging on the fleeing Papa Snuff, who was breaking for the woods.

"Now, now, my little Snuffs," he began. "There's no need for this behavior! Let me go and I promise not to kill you with my little spells again! My word is as good as gold!"

"Yeah, fool's gold," said Dreamy. "Right, Brainy?"

"Ha ha ha," said Brainy. "Say Dreamy, I think I see you up ahead of me," he added.

"Oh blast it, no!" screeched Dreamy, looking in his rear-view mirror. The C.B. ether was briefly filled the sound of a detonation. Brainy then stepped on the gas and rear-ended Vanity, causing him to spin out, smash into a tree and his car to explode in flames. Brainy had decided to get even.

"Ha! You'll never catch me now!" crowed Papa as he left the golf course and plunged into the depths of the forest, heading more or less for Gargamel's hovel, though he didn't know it. An anti-tank rocket whooshed by his side of the vehicle and blasted a tree trunk. "Lazy! Don't do that!" Lazy fired again, but again missed because of the evasive action required to not clobber trees. But wherever Papa Snuff looked now, he saw other armoured golf carts beside, behind or even ahead of him.

Things began getting interesting as rockets flew in all directions. Papa returned fire as best he could, but he was doomed, in spite of squabbling in the enemy ranks.

"Take that, Grouchy!" said Greedy, pulling up beside him in a clearing and trying to force him into a tree. Since they were going at thirty miles per hour, the clearing's end approached too soon and both hit trees and blew up, causing the trees to break, fall over, catch fire and crunch several other Snuffs who couldn't dodge fast enough to avoid hitting them.

Papa's scenic cruise ended suddenly, within sight of Gargamel, who filmed it with a video camera, when his front wheels fell into a Snuff trap and the whole front of the car dove into the shallow, spike-filled pit. The Snuffs had been cloned to normal human size for the game, hence the shallowness. Snuffette struck his rear end, which was sticking up into the air, and flipped on top. They were smashed by about twenty other vehicles, many of which blew up due to previous damage. Papa's clone was quickly caught and forced to say the magic words to make the village and environs reappear.

"Well!" said Handy. They all were in the village green and back to normal size again. Papa was handcuffed and tied to a chair and Brainy was swiftly caught and restrained too.

"I plead not guilty!" said Papa.

"But I haven't read the charges yet!" complained Poet Snuff.

"You haven't even concocted any!"

"You doctored my coffee mix!" accused Snuffette crossly.

"You machine-gunned us this morning and massacred us again this afternoon!" Painter Snuff added.

"And you stole my hole in one!" raved Farmer Snuff. "Just as it was going to go in, you recloned the bloody village!"

"But what about me? I haven't done anything!" said Brainy.

"Twenty years for whining and being generally obnoxious!" shouted Jokey. "Going, going, gone!"

"And so, Papa Snuff, you, our once trusted leader, are charged with these crimes," said Poet, who'd been scribbling things down. "With Brainy Snuff as your accomplice, you have sowed discord..."

"Brraaaacckk!" Papa belched crudely and noisily. Poet glared at him. "What? Oh, sorry, do go on," he added benevolently. The charges were read as the bearded blue creature shuffled his feet as best he could, whistled and blew raspberries at the crowd.

"Members of the jury, how do you find the defendant?"

"GUILTY!" the throats of 97 Snuffs shouted.

"But he needed his relaxation!" said Brainy. There was a thunk as a cosh was applied to his head.

"For your punishment and in the hopes that you'll clean up your act," said Snuffette after a brief conference with several of the Justice Committee kingpins, "you are sentenced to three continuous hours of "Quotations of Brainy Snuff" as read to you by their author." Everyone winced in a sort of sympathy. "As for Brainy, I think Jokey can use somebody to test out his new, er, presents." Brainy had to be shot and recloned to be told the news and he whimpered pitifully.

"Well, at least somebody will get to hear my quotations," he added, brightening as the second part was told to him. "Papa Snuff could always use an extra bit of divine guidance if you ask me, as all of you could, so I'm perfectly--"

"Shut UP Brainy!" said Greedy as the mob broke up and the Snuffs went their various ways.

**** **** ****

And so once more peace settled onto the little Snuff village in the forest, disrupted only by the usual minor squabbles and Shortie raids. The Snuffs forgave Papa's unusual bloodthirstiness when they found out that Snuffette had been adding a secret ingredient to the cakes she'd been baking for him, and she was subjected to Brainy's quotations as a result. Gargamel had gotten enough videotapes to last him for a long time and used them, with some success, when Sour Grapes came a-calling, to distract her.

And now the Snuffs had some new hand-to-hand combat weapons.

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