Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bumblefudge Hollow


A collection of family farms in a small valley, Bumblefudge Hollow - known simply as The Holler to residents - is known primarily for its impressive grain alcohol production, well-trained bloodhounds, and the fact that everyone in the area is related.  Very related.

It's easy for well-heeled folk from River-Town to scoff at the "yokels" of Bumblefudge and their banjo-slinging ways, but chuckling about inbreeding is certainly unfair.  Yes, there is some measure of inbreeding in Bumblefudge Hollow, and everyone in the area is either a Slupp, a Donker, or a Fimble - probably two of the three - but what makes Bumblefudge worth of note is the reincarnation curse which plagues the valley.

No one is quite certain how it began - perhaps a cruel wizard, or a rogue demigod, or some conglomeration of mischievous fey - or what the inhabitants of Bumblefudge quite did wrong to deserve such a hex.  It has been at least three generations since the curse began, and its manifestation is quite plain.  Each native-born Bumblefudger bears partial memories of several of his or her forebears - a grandparent, an uncle, an older cousin - who died before they were born.  This quirk alone might not be much of a curse, but when combined with the isolated nature of Bumblefudge and the intermarriage of its residents, the panoply of issues becomes apparent.  How do you find yourself a wife when you're related to 80% of the people in town, and have the memories of someone who's related to the other 20%?  Can you marry a man to whom you remember giving birth?  Are you your own Grandpa?  The Bumblefudgers have been forced to push the envelope with regards to certain taboos, as you might surmise.  At this point when a Bumblefudger casually mentions that someone is both his sister and his mother, it's nigh-impossible for an outsider to know if he means it biologically or metaphysically.  Some locals have taken to calling everyone "cousin" - even strangers, as it just makes everything easier.  Visitors are, for the most part, given all the same privileges as a regular resident - and that includes casual offers for coupling.

What to See
Caleb Donker has a two-headed distlefink in a cage hanging on his back porch; the bird is said to whistle thematically-appropriate prophetic songs in response to idle questions.  When I visited, my companion Scrapple the Lantern Boy wondered aloud what the future held in store for him; both of the bird's heads promptly broke into the ragtime classic "If You Touch Her Again I'll Kill You."  We all had a good chuckle about it at the time, but some weeks later I walked in on Scrapple making time with my niece, my revolver was a few melancholy rounds lighter, and with each regretful-yet-justified sniffle I couldn't help but think of the distlefink.

Where to Stay
Anywhere you please.  The moment you set foot in Bumblefudge, you're a cousin, and welcome in just about any house.  Mid-conversation, sniff the air and ask "is that sweet potater pie I smell?", or whatever's appropriate, and you're sure to be invited in for the night.  Keep in mind, however, that the dynamic at a family dinner of Bumblefudgers is fairly intense -  the normal arguing and passive aggressive eye-rolling is multiplied due to the complex interrelations at the table, and newfound "cousins" will inevitably be forced to take sides in some decades-old meaningless conflict.

Where to Pray
The Holler currently lacks a proper cleric, but a number of locals do a good job of maintaining a fairly antique roadside shrine to Gloriana.  The idol, carved of ebony, is a bit of an automaton - the goddess is depicted drinking from a horn, and when liquor is poured into the horn, her eyes roll back in her head momentarily.  That's a classy goddess, to be sure.  I humbly suggest that if that shrine was indeed ever consecrated, it was to the Lords of Vice rather than the Majestrix.

What to Eat
Travelers with strong stomachs will want to try the awful local alcohol, distilled from corn and spelt, just to say they did.  A local dish of note is mudbug burgoo - a spicy stew of crawdad, venison, squirrel, corn, and potato ladled liberally over a broad plate of corn pone.

What to Buy
The Fimble family has a long and storied reputation as luthiers; they are particularly good at crafting guitars and banjos.  In the course of a year, the Fimbles will crank out scores of banjos which are then sold to the wider world by a reseller.  Should you take the time to visit Bumblefudge, however, you will have the ability to place a custom order, designing the shape and color of your instrument with the aid of an expert.  Don't fret, you will not be the first traveler who asks for a combination dobro-battleaxe; it's been done, and Theodorus Fimble has a template ready for you.

Who to Meet
Up on Stumbler's Ridge in West Bumblefudge, you'll want to hook up with Dillard Slupp - known as "Conker" to his cousins - who manufactures an incredibly flammable version of the corn-alcohol so common here.  Conker's personal blend, in the right proportion to black powder, makes some pretty amazing hand grenades.  If that seems too materialistic for you, seek out Gordie Donker, who once became so blind stinking drunk that he stood up, spun around, emitted the phrase "seek the secret at the navel of the world" in three different voices simultaneously, the soiled himself and passed out.  Some folk in the Holler think Gordie still occasionally channels divinity like he did that night, which is only believable if divinity spends most of its time commanding teenage girls to lift up their skirts.

Thing to Avoid
Eschew conjugal relations with locals; if issue is produced, you will find the reincarnation curse manages to weave new families into the matrix.  Your new Bumblefudger son may remember being your new wife's uncle, but he also remembers being your mother.  You don't need that kind of grief.


  1. I'm loving this XD Metaphysical reincarnation... Wow :D I laughed at the end. Great writing! I'll be coming back!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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