The interactive story has now ended but you can read the whole thing here and see how the votes went. Enjoy!
ADVENTURES OF BOZ
Boz was an ugly Scumworlder who worked in the slime mines on Scumworld Six.
He considered himself to be very unlucky.
Not because he was ugly. Everyone on Scumworld Six was ugly. In fact, for a Scumworlder he was quite goodlooking. His nose had slightly less warts than most, his knuckles didn’t quite scrape the floor, and though he had hairs coming out of his ears, they were fine and blond and he rather liked them.
And he didn’t consider himself unlucky because he worked in the slime mines. He loved it. Slime was great. Slime was cool. The Slime Mines were the pride of the Scumworld System. Even Scumworld One-ers, in between bites of still-beating garump heart on board their luxury yachts, sometimes spoke with affection of the slime of Scumworld Six and its contribution to the Scumworld economy. Boz went to work every day with a spring in his step – or at the very least an ooze in his slime – looking forward to another happy day scraping slime off the walls of the mine.
No, Boz was feeling unlucky for an entirely different reason.
You chose Option B with 41% of the votes…
Boz knew he should be grateful. Not many Scumworlders got to be dads. But Boz was happy with that. He loved his work. He loved scraping the slime off the mine walls. What he didn’t fancy was scraping the slime off babies’ bottoms. No siree.
Why Mrs Boz had chosen to enter the baby lottery he had no idea. She had never even told him until she won – and it was a rollover week. Three thousand babies she was expecting now. Three thousand! And he was expected to come up with the names by the end of the week, before they were due to hatch on Saturday. So far he had only come up with one name: Slimey. But it was beautiful. And it would do for a boy or a girl.
He flicked some more slime into his bucket. Sorted!
It was Slimey Sorg, Boz’s boss and the world’s slimiest Scumworlder. Years of working in the mines had turned his skin green and every pore oozed slime. As a result he could creep up on virtually anyone undetected – a useful skill when it came to people management. As the squelchy hand touched his shoulder, Boz jumped in the air, knocking over his bucket of slime. A whole morning’s work lost – almost a whole centimetre.
“Well helloooooooo,” Sorg said, the words dripping out of his mouth. “I’ve got some important news for you, Boz old chap.”
He thrust a messenger ant into Boz’s hand. Boz ripped off its head and tipped out the entrails. He waited until they stopped wriggling and read the crude letters they formed.
You chose Option C with 54% of the votes…
Boz shuffled the ant entrails around with his foot. “They’re all yours,” he read out slowly. Was this Mrs Boz’s way of sending him some lunch? If so, he really didn’t like the look of it.
“Congratulations.” Slimey Sorg put an oozing hand on his shoulder. “You’re a dad, three thousand times over.”
“But I’ve missed the birth!” Boz cried, his heart sinking. “Is… is she angry with me?”
“You could say that. Come on, old chap.”
Sort guided Boz to the rickety wooden lift and they were pulled up to the surface by a team of slow-witted apes, or ‘Rooneys’ as they were known.
Boz climbed out into the bright daylight. The rocky world of Scumworld Six was harsh and featureless – apart from a giant basket of baby Scumworlders right in front of him. Boz’s eyes filled with tears of emotion as he peered into the basket at his spectacularly ugly children, pushing and shoving each other and wailing horribly. Then he saw the note.
I have just given birth 3,000 times. I’m rather tired. So now let’s see how you manage. I’m off to the Slimey Spa.
“Well, I suppose it could be worse,” Boz said, trying to look on the bright side. “There’s only about 500 here, I reckon.”
“Yes,” nodded Sorg sagely. “And another 500 over there, and another 500 over there, and…”
Boz spun round wildly. Sorg was right. Unattended, the babies had been escaping. They grew fast in the slime-enriched climate of Scumworld Six and were already crawling in every direction.
“Well, at least there are 500 left,” he said, glancing nervously at Sorg.
“Boz….” Sorg said warningly. “Are you a dad, or aren’t you? Come on, take some responsibility! And this air gun. With a few good shots you can pick off that lot on the horizon.”
“No!” protested Boz, waving Sorg’s gun away. “I’m going to do this properly. I’m going to be a father and prove myself to Mrs Boz!”
Rolling up his slime-stained sleeves, Boz prepared to leap into action. But which babies should he rescue first? There were thousands of them!
You chose option C with 56% of the votes…
Boz felt torn. If only he could rip himself in three and rescue all his groups of babies! But those days were behind him, and patch up operations weren’t cheap any more. He would have to prioritise.
He leapt towards the slime mining machine. It was amazing how the little critters had just jumped right in there, as though they knew slime mining was in their blood. He would be proud to have them working alongside him in the future , wasting the precious few years of their little lives scraping slime off the walls of underground tunnels, but for now he had to stop them. After all, they hadn’t been trained in drilling, and even if they had, there was health and safety to think about. Where on Slimeworld Six could he get 500 hard hats in a hurry, and did they even make them in ‘newborn’ size? The logistics were exhausting. He would just have to try and stop them.
Instructing his boss Slimey Sorg to round up the rest of the tribe, he leapt into the mining machine just as it began to career towards the mine entrance.
“Daddy’s here!” he yelled, landing in the driving seat. Good, he had only squashed a few. And he had a feeling those weren’t going to be his favourites anyway.
But it was too late to take control. The vehicle was plunging into the entrance tunnel. The rooneys scattered, and a few made it to the outside. The weight of the vehicle crushed the rickety lift and Boz and his babies dropped down into the mine like a bomb from a Nargavin deathship.
“This is Daddy’s work,” Boz said proudly as the babies zoomed through the lower levels of the mine. “And that’s where the Flat Five got squashed last year – hang on, where are you going you little critters?”
The machine blasted through a mine wall, splattering a tidal wave of slime, and emerged into a cool, dark tunnel. It appeared the babies had managed to find a shortcut into the Slimeworld Underground system. Perhaps they knew what they were doing after all? Boz removed his hands from over his eyes and peered through the darkness. As far as he could recall, there were only three destinations this far east of town. Where were the babies taking him?
It’s over to you. Time to vote and seal their fate…
You choose Option A with 45% of the votes…
The boring machine, actually a lot more interesting than it sounds, pressed on, churning up slime as it careered through the tunnel. Boz gasped. It was heading straight on! They were about to emerge on the crumbling cliff edge which led to the Boiling Sea!
“Goodbye, cruel Scumworld,” Boz said, gathering his nearest children to him and crushing some of them in a final deadly embrace.
At the last moment the machine swerved to the right, almost as though some higher power had decided Boz’s destiny. Boz brushed the remains of his children from his chest and cheered up. In fact, he cheered up immensely. His nerves began to tingle, and his two hearts sped up as though racing each other to the operating table.
They were going to Mould Park. Five miles of mould-themed extreme fun. Mrs Boz had banned him from ever returning, but he couldn’t help it. He was trapped in an out of control machine driven by three hundred of his children. Surely she would understand.
The machine emerged into daylight. Spread out below them was a huge natural bowl filled with mould.
“Welcome to Mould Park!” trilled a merry voice as the babies climbed out, gurgling. “I’m Mouldy Wouldy! Would your kids like a photo with me?”
Before Boz could answer, the mould-encased costumed character had set up a tripod and grabbed the first of the babies. Boz shrugged and walked past. Mould Park was waiting for him in all its decaying glory. It would be just like the last time, when he had spent six months and all his Scumworld dollars on one long Mouldycoaster ride. Bliss.
Boz felt a hard slap on his cheek.
“I can’t believe you brought them here, of all places! Have you forgotten your five-step mould addiction plan?” It was Mrs Boz. He had forgotten how beautiful she was. With her protruding forehead, wart-tipped nose and greasy strands of hair, she was a match for any of Scumworld Six’s top totty.
“It wasn’t me, it was them!” Boz pointed at the babies, half of whom had now been photographed with Mouldy Wouldy and were climbing on to the Putrid Puffa, a junior rollercoaster which promised a near-death experience. “How did you know we were even here?” As he said the words, his heart sank. “It was Slimy Sorg, wasn’t it? The sleazebag. I knew he had a thing for you.”
Mrs Boz tossed her greasy locks. “Actually it was these boys.”
For the first time Boz noticed the two tall, hunky blue aliens flanking his wife. They wore loin cloths and each carried a large ray gun.
“Narvagins!” he shrieked, recoiling.
“That’s right. I was hoping they’d appear before now but nobody ever voted for that option.” Mrs Boz’s eyes flicked briefly away as though looking reproachfully at someone just over Boz’s shoulder. “They’ve promised me a better life, far away from here.” She reached out an arm suddenly to her husband. “Come with me, Boz! Let’s start afresh in a warmongering alien dictatorship!”
Boz was taken aback. Leave Scumworld Six? Leave his beloved slime? Not to mention Mould Park. How could he live without the evil smell of rot and decay filling his nostrils every day? “I’m sorry,” he said finally. “But I can’t live without -”
“The children?” Mrs Boz’s face lit up. She signalled with her hand and celebratory exploding ants hurled themselves into the air, detonating their innards to spell out the words ‘SCUMWORLD’S TOP DAD’ in the air. “I knew you’d pass my test! Well, to be honest I wasn’t quite sure. In fact, I was convinced you’d fail. But that doesn’t matter, because you passed, my darling, you passed!”
Mrs Boz enveloped him in a hug. The two Narvagins stepped out of their costumes, revealing themselves to be two of Boz’s workmates from the mine.
“You…!” grinned Boz, pretending to threaten them.
“Come on,” Mrs Boz said happily. “Let’s round up the kids.”
“Some of them are still at the mine,” Boz began to explain.
“The ones Slimy Sorg didn’t shoot with his air gun.”
“And I did sit on some earlier. And hug a few to death when I thought we were about to go over a cliff.” Boz stopped, looking worried. “I am still Scumworld’s top dad, aren’t I?”
Mrs Boz put a hand on her husband’s shoulder. “Why do you think we had three thousand in the first place, darling? Don’t worry, we’ll collect the ones that survive the Putrid Puffa ride.”
Arm in arm they walked away, chuckling gently.
Overhead a Narvagin ship cast a huge shadow over Mould Park, its massive artillery poised in readiness for complete carnage. A thin blue head poked out of the driver’s side window. “Yeuch, this place is, like, rancid!” it squealed. “Get out of here, dudes!” And the ship sped away back into the stars, as quickly as it possibly go.
Thank you to everyone who voted. I hope you enjoyed reading Boz’s adventures as much as I did writing them, and I am delighted to award a free family ticket to Mould Park for the person who voted the most over the series!*
* Terms and conditions – Winner must not be related to Mould Park staff and must provide own transport to and from Scumworld Six.