1) Hans and his Delusions of Grandeur.
Hans stared out through the glass door of the liquor cabinet where he lived. A white-haired, jolly faced, mustachioed Aryan in lederhosen. He was the largest and most talented knick-knack in the house. Touch his switch and Hans would mechanically raise his arm, lift a shot glass to his lips and tilt it back. Then his nose would light up and smoke would issue comically from his red ears. Hans liked to think of himself as the God of Alcohol. On the cupboard beside him stood Santa and Rudolph. Elf and reindeer. Maybe they had the power of myth, but Hans towered over them nonetheless. If they got uppity, he'd start smoking.
"Yes, Hans. You are the God of Alcohol," Santa would quickly agree.
Rudolph didn't say much. But then, he was about as smart as your average dairy cow. His nose wouldn't even light up.
It occurred to Hans that the reindeer's batteries might be dead.
"Hans is the God of Alcohol," Santa would repeat, wishing he too could blow smoke out of his ears.
2) Sparky and the Gun.
Sparky was a mule who lived on the big burl coffee table. He was made of plastic and when his tail was lifted, a cigarette would slide, filter-first out of his butt. All cigarette filters in the sixties were splotchy brown, the darker the funnier.
He grew dependent on the laughter which inevitably accompanied a session of tail-lifting and ciggy sliding. He even grew to enjoy the feel of each stiff length being pulled out of him. Before he reached his first birthday, Sparky experienced orgasm.
Then came the gun.
It wasn't really a gun, but a cigarette lighter shaped like a silver derringer. Just like the derringer on Maverick. It found a permanent home on the coffee table beside Sparky. It pointed right at him, in fact. At first it was just plain scary, but after awhile, the sensuous mule began to enjoy riding the razor-edge of erotica. It doubled his pleasure. Tripled his fun.
3) High at Noon , Home by Nighty-night-night.
When Hans, the erstwhile God of Alcohol was moved from the liquor cabinet to a dominant position in the centre of the coffee table, beer bottles congregated around him. But Sparky would have nothing to do with the barbarian (although he secretly admired the Aryan's curvy legs from afar).
A showdown was inevitable.
In retrospect, it was plain to see -- as black and white as "Our Show of Shows", as simple as "Leave it to Beaver".
It began with taunts. One night after everyone had gone to bed Sparky said to the lush, "Sooner or later your batteries will give up the ghost and no-one will bother replacing them. You'll end up in a trunk in the attic beside the remote control cars, crammed in underneath the electric blanket with the short-circuit."
"Oh, ja?" said Hans arrogantly. "Vell, you know vut vill to happen to you? None of zeez cotton picking people vill lift your tail any more and ven they do, they von't laugh. Your cigarettes vill dry out. Small children vill crush them in your rectum, filling your hollow feet mit dry tobacco. Oh, vell. At least you vill still haf your gun, zo you can blow out your brains. Ho ho ha!" Abruptly, he lifted a tankard to his lips and tossed back another beer.
The derringer's proximity was meaningless unless Sparky figured out a way to take advantage of it. He reached out telepathically to the stalwart knick-knack.
"Hey Derringer! Are you interested in being a hired gun? Like 'Have Gun Will Travel'."
Sparky wondered for a moment if his psychic powers were on the blink. But on his second attempt he made contact, and found out why the gun was so stalwart. That saying "thick as a sack of hammers" didn't apply, because the derringer had an intellect of less than one of those hammers. The derringer didn't know its own trigger from a hole in the ground.
Sparky had another idea!
Telepathy was useless. It was telekinesis he wanted!
Concentrating his full attention on the derringer, Sparky willed it to rise and point itself at Hans. It twitched and spun a little on the glossy surface of the coffee table.
This was going to be harder than he thought. Sparky put every tiny bit of his strength into pulling that trigger. As the hammer drew back, sparks rained down onto the fluffy, bone dry wick. There was no smell of lighter fluid. Nothing. The gun was empty!
"Gaaaakk!" screamed Sparky in frustration as the hammer of the gun seemed to snap down on his consciousness like a wire trap. The mule's poor mind went permanently blank.
Hans had a celebratory drink. His nose was a victory beacon. Ultimately all his challengers defeated themselves. It was because they over-reached their capacity.
Transformation has its limits, and through his willingness to settle for altering nothing more than his mental state, Hans became the God of Alcohol every night ( until the day his batteries died and they put him in the trunk under the electric blanket).
This story is an old favourite. Maybe the silliest story I ever wrote - or maybe not! It went over well read out loud to a large crowd during the year I taught at the Victoria School of Writing. Copyright 1995 by Dale L. Sproule. First published in The Urbanite #7, Aug. 1996. Republished in ChiZine somewhere along the way.