Well folks, I’m here in my suite at the Bel…er, at an unnamed hotel on the Strip on Las Vegas, courtesy of WarCry. It’s about 2:30AM, local time. I went downstairs to play some blackjack for a while with the complementary chips the hotel gave me. I managed to parlay $5000 up to about $8500. Heh! Just lucky, I guess! [smug grin]
Only reason I quit playing and came back upstairs is that my winnings were starting to attract attention. Then someone recognized me as Urfang of the Snowhawk Clan who writes for WarCry. After that I was getting mobbed for autographs. No way I could concentrate on blackjack.
Still, I try to be nice. I signed as many as I could…kind of edging over to the elevators as I did. (You know, it’s amazing what some women will ask you to autograph!)
Melinda and Debbie are still off in the casino somewhere. I gave them each a couple thousand in chips to go play with since I needed some quite time to finish typing up my interview with Crom.
You know, it’s funny…I’m not even tired. I’ve heard that they pump oxygen into the casinos to keep people awake and gambling. Don’t know if that’s true. Maybe it’s just the excitement of Las Vegas. Maybe I’m just too wound up because of meeting Crom, Conan and George Patton.
When I got back from the expedition, I looked up George Patton on Wikipedia and found this:
excerpt from wikipedia entry on George Patton:
He took part in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, September 1918, and was wounded by machine gun fire as he sought assistance for tanks that were mired in the mud. The bullet passed through his upper thigh and for years afterwards, when Patton was inebriated at social events, he would drop his pants to show his wound and called himself a “half-assed general.”
I post it here now because I can tell you that this is true. He still does.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I guess I tend to ramble sometimes. So let me collect my thoughts for a moment and pickup where I left off last time.
Oh, right. Conan had just left me with Crom and gone back to his tennis match.
Well, I don’t want to spend a lot of time describing the surroundings. After all, magnificent though it was, that’s just a place. So let’s jump into the heart of the issue.
Being one of the old Hyborian Gods, Crom can pretty much assume whatever form he chooses. He was kind enough to demonstrate for me by turning into a boulder, an oak tree and a 1968 Peugeot station wagon. Still, he does have one form…a sort of “standard” that he uses most of the time. He was basically a man…but easily ten meters tall. And he looked like…looked like…Jack Elam.
Now I should tell my loyal readers that I’m only going to be able to give you pieces of this interview, and those from hand written notes I took. Sure, I brought all kinds of recording equipment, but what with the incidents with the bear, the cliff and the bottomless chasm… Well, I had to leave it back on the mountain in the snow. So I’m just going to hit the high spots that I can remember along with what I can make out of my notes.
Crom invited me in and offered me a seat. It seems he knew who I was and that I’d come to interview him for WarCry. I knew that WarCry carried a lot of weight, but…Crom!
Well, I don’t know what I expected, but Crom was actually pretty civil. Friendly even. He had some serving maidens bring in a big table loaded with food and drink. (Before you get the wrong idea, these “maidens” were easily twice my height and built like weight lifters on ‘roids. And beaten…hard…with the ugly stick.) He joined me at the table…huge for me, smallish for him. I felt like a kid sitting in a high chair! Crom dug into the food and so did I. That was some good chow, I’ll tell you that much! We talked as we ate. Here are a few things I can make out from my notes.
Crom on Robert E. Howard:
Well h—! I’d be depressed too if I’d never q— g— my h— with a woman for thirty years!!! … What? Her? Oh h—, of course they didn’t! In that day and age?
Bob thought he was writing fiction. Early on I’d seen that the guy had talent as a writer and, well, Big C deserved some recognition! I sent him dreams about Conan from an early age.
Nah, Bob didn’t remember he’d had the dreams…but the ideas where there. Most of what he wrote was pretty accurate. Well, except for the map of Hyboria. It was really a lot more like Eurasia is today. But I didn’t figure that really mattered to the stories.
Crom on H.P. Lovecraft:
Ha ha! I dunno why, but I loved poking at that Lovecraft guy! I sent him Cthulhu nightmares just to mess with him. Who’d have thought he’d get famous writing about it! Cthulhu my third l—!!
Crom on Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Nah, I don’t blame him. Bad writing. Probably not even the writers fault. Some j— movie executives most likely. Y— j— q— x— p— wanna be g— l—s with no talent of their own!
Crom on Age of Conan:
Of course I’m going to play! I’m active on the forums and I’ve sent in my application for the beta! My main is going to be a priest of set! Ha ha! That’ll p— the old worm off!!!
Aside from the map? Even Bob got that wrong. Sure, there’s some inconsistencies. But all I want to do is make sure I get on the same server as Set. PvP hopefully! Ha ha! I’d love to beat that stinking worm with a priest of Set! That’d be rich! Better still, beat Set with one of his own priests and then role play a conversion to Ibis! Ha ha!
After a while we’d had our fill, or at least I had…Crom ate like a bottomless pit! The serving maidens (reasonably nice once you got to know them) cleared away the remains of our meal. From that point on they brought a steady supply of…something. Some drink. Not sure what it was. But it was pretty good!
We talked some more. Crom laughed a lot. Damn, I like that guy! Good guy, that Crom. Hummm… Here’s some more of what he said, as well as I can remember.
Crom on Pastiche Conan Authors:
Ha ha ha! I suppose hacks have to do something to make a buck!
I like some of DeCamp’s stories. Pure fiction, of course, but what the h—.
Crom on Crom:
I like a good laugh as much as anyone. But start getting a reputation as a happy, cheerful god and then where are you?! People don’t stop asking you for stuff!!
Involved? I used to be. But start helping people and you hurt them in the long run. They get weak. Dependant. You want to help people? I mean in the long run? Make them fend for themselves. Maybe even toss them some trouble if things are going too easy. Besides, it’s fun to see them running around down their cussing at me! Ha ha!
That’s right…I invented flipping the bird! AND thumbing your nose! They started out as religious gestures. Ha ha! … No, the meaning hasn’t changed. Why do you ask?
Crom on Conan:
Big C’s a good guy. And funnier than Bob wrote him. Great warrior, for sure. My halls are stronger for having him here. But you should hear him tell the one about … <my notes become unreadable here> … and then they went to Shem! Ha ha! Huh… Well, it’s funny when Big C tells it.
Crom on Political Correctness:
Those h— m—s can t— m— my w— and n— their own k— n— just for fun!!!
I’m not sure when he got there, but after a bit I noticed that Crom and I (and those serving maidens, kind of cute, once you got past their height) weren’t the only ones there. George Patton had joined us, still in his tennis clothes.
Patton on Drink:
Crom! I thought I smelled liquor, you b—! And you didn’t invite me!?!
Crom on Patton:
George, you m— k— g—! I should have know I couldn’t crack a keg around here without you knowing! Got any of your special stuff around?
Crom (to Patton) on Guests:
Say “hi” to Urfang, George! He’s ok!
Patton (to Urfang) on Guests:
Ha! You ever see a half assed general before?
[Patton moons me]
I have more notes after this, but they’re a bit hard to make out and my memory after that gets a bit hazy. My exhaustion from the mountain trek must have been catching up with me by then.
But I do remember one thing. Crom, Patton and I had been talking and drinking and laughing for a while when one of those cute serving girls brought a big black jar to the table. “Crom’s Doom” they called it. It was some kind of foul smelling liquid.
Sweetie (that’s what I called the girl what was waiting on me) filled my mug with this black, tar-like stuff and Crom and George filled their mugs too. Patton poured something from a hip flask into his drink and then into mine. “Makes it go down a bit easier!” he said.
I have a vague memory of not really wanting to drink the stuff, but George said “To General Montgomery!” and downed his without stopping. Crom said something in a language I didn’t understand, laughed and then drank his in a single swallow.
Sweetie whispered in my ear “Think of someone you don’t like.”
I think…I think a picture of a former boss came to mind. But I’m not sure. But then Crom, George and I all walked through a stone passage to a ledge that opened to outer storm. The wind tore by us, but I wasn’t cold. Crom and George both, well, how to put it nicely… They relieved themselves off the ledge into the raging storm outside. And…I really had to go. So I did too.
Everything after that is pretty hazy. I still have some notes, but they’re sort of tough to make out. I’ll try to decipher them and, if I can, include more from my interview with Crom in future installments. But for now, it’s getting late here in Las Vegas. Or early. I’m going to call it a night and wrap this up.
So Sayeth Urfang,
Bear Shaman of the Snowhawk Clan
We at WarCry, though we’ve said it before, believe we should remind people that Urfang is writing fiction. Again, we categorically deny funding mountaineering expeditions, sending our writers to Las Vegas or having an armada of…oh, wait, he didn’t write about that after all. Um. Never mind.