Grieving

Alistair,

My pet cat recently died. What is the best way to bring Mowsers back from the dead?

Grieving in Key West


Grieving,

Ordinarily I would tell people to let their dead pets stay dead. Trying to resurrect a deceased animal is most often an unspeakable nightmare of red tape. As it happens, however, cats don’t have souls. Almost every other creature – from cockroaches to manatees – have some sort of primitive Soul OS. Cats just don’t. Spiritually, they’re undead; a slow-moving, apathetic apocalypse of soullessness. This actually makes your task easier. Without the necessity of patching in a soul, there’s no need to consult the authorities on making this thing happen. You simply need to find some competently insane biophysicist and have him conduct an old-school reanimation on your cat’s corpse. Will your cat be the same Mowsers as you knew and loved before? Yes. Because when something undead dies and then gets back up again, their personality doesn’t change. They just have more rotted bits.

Alistair

Waiting For You

Alistair,

I know you dislike me. Believe me, the feeling is mutual, but I’ve been getting desperate. Understand what it is for me to acknowledge this: you are better qualified to advise me than any other. The point is, I’ve not got good publicity (to say the least), living in an area that violates every principle of real estate, and don’t even know what I’m looking for. I’ve tried cutting a few deals, a few websites, I’ve even asked a few colleagues out. There is one really cute angel, but that’s a match made back home. If you could possibly recommend someone, or a place to meet them, we’ll try to go easy on you when your time comes.

Waiting For You in The Other Side

P.S. We won’t make it easy. 


Waiting For You,

Don’t reject a match just because you’re different. Opposites attract; an honest man meets a liar, they fall in love, live happily ever after, then die in heartbreak when the man realizes that she never meant a single “I love you.” Angels only give off a little bit of cleansing light – it’d be barely agonizing for you. Perhaps she/he/it won’t immediately snuff you as the unholy abomination that you are. Perhaps she may grow to tolerate you, eventually making you into a spineless chew toy that your colleagues use as a watchword to warn the few new players off from developing softer feelings.

Alistair

P.S. Easy is for the weak.

Right-Handed

Alistair,

I have recently undertaken a great adventure in search of an item of unfathomable power in the name of my honoured queen. It so happens that the legend I was told as a mere babe is true; there is a Guardian. I was not prepared for such an adversary. Naturally, I quickly asked Yahoo Answers for advice. That was a waste of time and my left arm. I trust that you can give me more profitable counsel. 

I believe this thing is some sort of prehistoric demigod (Twenty-nine heads, three feet, lizard tongue, etc.). What can you offer by way of strategy? Possibly before he – or she; haven’t had the opportunity to ask – takes me as his/her/its supper.

Now Right-Handed in The London Underground


Right-Handed,

This letter arrived on a weekend while I was in Cancun, so you’ve probably been messily devoured since writing. In case you haven’t, and for those of our readers attempting similar feats, here’s a brief list of first principles:

If the massive wealth of treasure you were told of as a callow youth is still where the legends dictate that it lies, there’s likely an excellent reason that it’s still there. 

Slaying ancient gods and guardians typically requires whatever it is you’re trying to get in the first place; obvious problems present themselves. 

More generally, power is nothing special; powerful artifacts, ancient superweapons, and dirty bombs all give leverage (the problem, incidentally, is that exact principle applies to everyone else). 

If your queen can’t fetch it out herself, there’s no reason for you to go risking your neck so that an unappreciative overlord can have great power. In fact, there’s a decent amount of precedence for the idea that if you can acquire the item of legend, then you are the person intended to possess/wield it. Think about that for a heartbeat. 

Just a theory: Have you considered that you may have been given this assignment – seeking a legendary weapon hidden behind an immensely powerful creature while armed with nothing more than a webpage for fools seeking the advice of their peers – as an elaborate way for your monarch to get relief from a likely insufferable personality?

Finally, don’t use Yahoo Answers, you imbecile. Not when Reddit is a thing.

Alistair

Puzzled

Alistair:

I recently had the extreme good fortune of finding a magic lamp at my local flea-market. Ever since I was a kid I thought about what I would pick if I ever did find a Genie so I was ready with my three wishes as soon as I was asked. I put a lot of thought over the years into what my three wishes should be (just in case) and made my choices carefully. 1. A cherry red Ferrari. 2. A lifetime supply of Skittles. 3. The world’s biggest and best collection of Elvis figurines. My dilemma is this, my Genie informs me that due to inflation I get a fourth wish! I never prepared for this and don’t know what to choose. I am leaning towards either the ability to breathe fire or a time machine. What do you advise?

Puzzled in Perth


Puzzled,

Interestingly, there is no requirement for a released Djinn to go about offering wishes in triplicate. The extra was likely because he believed that you would wish him free. Don’t do that. At least, not unless you know exactly what this particular Djinn did to earn such treatment. The last thing you want to do is end up releasing a supernatural serial killer on the planet – heaven knows we have enough of those. 

On a similar token, don’t wish for ultimate power, intelligence, or something else that could be deliberately misinterpreted for revenge. I suggest wishing for a small ice cream sundae. You certainly weren’t planning on getting something else anyway.

Alistair

Not Torquemada

Alistair,

My spaniel Samuel is speaking Spanish. He does not woof, growl, or bark. When I call for him, he says “si senor” and then comes running. He also shows signs of holding an Inquisition among the other dogs of the neighborhood.

What is wrong with him?

Not Torquemada in Kitchissippi


Not Torquemada,

Animals don’t generally stray into human language. There are three possible solutions that present themselves.

You’ve most likely got a straightforward possession on your hands. Just throw some salt around the dog and chant in Latin. If that doesn’t work, throw salt around yourself, then remind the spirit that it is residing in a dog; that is, one of the foremost unclean animals. It’s pretty important that you first build your defensive salt circle, otherwise the spirit may immediately find a more suitable host…a host less unclean… more to its liking… less Spaniel, more Spaniard… what I’m trying to convey is that it will possess you.

It’s also possible that somebody has been doing experiments with your animal, a la Dr. Moreau. Check for surgical scars about his head, throat and the roof of his mouth.

If neither of those options bear fruit, consider the possibility that he may not be a dog. Or at least, he is a dog, but may be more essentially jinn. If this is the case, I recommend explaining to your dog that you must kill him because you think he is possessed. Proceed as if you’re really going to do it – getting out some instrument of execution and fondly preparing him a final meal. If jinn, he will probably reveal his true identity just before you would off him and beg for his life. Or unveil his true form, leaving you blinded by horror.

Alistair

Developing

Alistair,

I keep finding bodies. More accurately, I keep finding the same body on different occasions. It’s the corpse of a middle-aged, well dressed man with a long, narrow, grey, horizontally-waxed mustache. He is always smiling and always dead. He usually shows up in public washrooms, the back seat of my car or the fire escape of my tenth-storey apartment. Alarmingly, nobody believes me because he always disappears moments before anybody else can come see. I know that he’s real (and dead) because I almost always immediately check his pulse. Two questions: What is going on here? How do I make it stop?

Developing Necrophobia in Alexandria


Developing,

Typical case of post-mortem stalking. First things first, try and recall if you killed him. If you did, that answers what he wants (revenge) and what you need to do: appease him – probably by helping him seek revenge (on yourself, obviously). 

If not, he’s probably just looking for a friend or patsy. The dead are notorious for a lack of social skills. Having taken his pulse so regularly, he likely assumes that you consider him a familiar acquaintance at least, so ignoring him will just offend the spirit. Don’t bother trying to explain the situation, just give him plenty of opportunity to communicate with you in a ghostly fashion: take hot showers that fog up the mirrors, eat plenty of alphabet soup, and pay attention to small children with a penchant for staring into the middle distance. He should communicate his desires quickly, once you start listening. If he wants something, try to oblige. If he doesn’t, you may just have yourself an awkward new friend for life. On the plus side, there will be a familiar face there to offer orientation when you pass on.

Alistair

Wants

Alistair,

I found out that my neighbor is a closet millionaire. He has only one daughter.

What does your gut say? Kidnap or marry?

Thanks,

Wants to be a Millionaire in Colorado


Wants,

Those are the choices? Hold the daughter for ransom or marry her for inheritance? Quite honestly, there are lots of easier ways to make this millionaire’s money your own. Off the top of my head, I might suggest that you simply ask him for it, or maybe create and substitute a complicated fake will.

But no. You insist on involving his daughter. This makes me think that your motives aren’t as exclusively monetary as you make them seem. This may be alien to you, as I suspect that someone whose first thoughts match yours is only passingly acquainted with human thought processes; I suggest bearing that in mind in the future.

So I vote Marry, because that way you get both woman and mammon. You run the risk of his not leaving everything to her, but if you go the kidnapping route, there’s a good chance that you won’t earn a cent and Stockholm Syndrome is not guaranteed. So. Play the odds, boyo.

Alistair

Budget

Alistair,

I am attempting to combat crime in my city. I have mastered several martial arts, tried my hand at crime in other cities to get a sense for the underworld, have become a forensic scientist/cyber crime expert/etc and even perfected a gruff, unrecognizable voice.

I have one problem:

How does one become a billionaire?

On a Budget in Candem, NJ


Budget,

Normally, people acquire unfathomable wealth by marrying well, devoting their lives to business, inventing social networking mediums… or by becoming professional criminals. As it happens, your studies in martial arts, crime and intimidating vocals make you uniquely qualified for one of those pursuits in particular. Try this out:

1. Go to Bosnia, or maybe Detroit, and become disgustingly rich by despicable means.

2. Undergo a character transformation filled with regret and horror as you realize that you’re the bad guy you set out to defeat in the first place.

3. Dissolve your criminal empire with brutal finality, move back to your home city and spend the rest of your days (and your billions) trying to make up for your checkered past.

Alistair

Backwards

Alistair,

My reflection just blinked. Do I do something?

Backwards in NH


Backwards,

Your mirror is apparently suffering some latency. Try covering the mirror in a heavy cloth, waiting several seconds and then uncovering it. If the problem persists, try operating it in better light. If the latency remains, dispose of the mirror in a safe, hazard-free way (avoiding breaking it at all costs, for obvious reasons) and purchase a new one.

Alistair