The following has been taken from the pages of a rather shabby-looking journal, its pages strewn about Star Road. Handwriting is neat at first– almost neurotically so –but by end of journal, the lettering becomes abnormally messy. Journal has been taken into custody by the Mushroom Kingdom Royal Family, and may be displayed at the Family’s discretion.
Well, that’s it! I justleft home this morning and I’m rearin’ to go. Go where, you ask, journal? To places completely unknown! Oh, I can hear you already. “You’re gonna die, Goombarry! You’ve never even been outside Goombaville!” Yeah, I know, my mom said the same thing, but she worries too much, you know? Like she won’t even let me go outside five days of the week because she thinks the oh-so-scary Great Stompy Man will squish me. Psh, like the Great Stompy Man even exists. There’s no way something that big could exist. Especially not one bigger than me– everyone says I’m the tallest Goomba in the village at one foot and two inches tall.
Anyway, I’m leaving home. I guess I’m a little bit sad, but I like to think about what the great poet Goombçois Goombelais said when he left home: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Well, Goombçois, I’m gonna go ahead and follow you, I think. It’s gonna be awesome, journal, just watch.
Only my second day and I’ve met new people already. This guy calls himself Koopie. He looks like a Goomba, except he doesn’t really, because he’s yellow and he’s got some kind of weird thing on his back that he can hide in. Pretty handy if you ask me. And also, he’s huge! He must be twice as tall as me. More proof that the Great Stompy Man can’t exist. No way he could be this huge.
Koopie tells me that some kind of crazy war is going on and that he’s going to go see if he can be a part of it. Actually, I really want to go, too! Mom always wanted me to try new things, like spinach. I’m sure she’d be proud of me if I went off to war. And besides, it’ll be fun! Or at least that’s what Koopie tells me. Oh man, I can’t wait. I wonder if I get to learn Goomb-fu? That alone would be worth the price of admission. As long as the price of admission isn’t death.
Ha ha! Just kidding, journal. As if anyone could beat team Goombarry and Koopie!
Met another guy along the way to wartime. He calls himself Boo, but he also says that he’s kind of forgotten his real name and that all his people call themselves Boo, too. I think this is pretty stupid, and he’s really not that bright of a lightbulb if you know what I’m saying, but hey, I’m not going to say anything about it, because my mom didn’t raise no bad Goomba. Anyway, our new buddy Boo is actually kind of cool, dumbness aside. Koopie and I make fun of him all the time but he’s cool with it. He just blushes a lot. What a wuss.
I’ve realized that I haven’t brought any food though on this journey. Kind of dumb but I’m sure we’ll all find something to eat soon. We’re smart like that.
So here we are, a Goomba, a Koopa, and a Boo, and we’re off to war. Pretty exciting, right? Triple team! But we’ve kind of just been walking in a straight line, and none of us really know where we’re going. I think we should stop and ask for directions, but Koopie keeps saying he knows the way. I guess I’ll trust him. For now.
Oh! I saw a few other Goombas recently. They were all running in the opposite direction and told me that I should run, too. Little do they know I’m probably one of the bravest Goombas they’ve ever met. They don’t call me Goombrave back at home for nothing!
Anyway, Koopie just tripped and rolled over again, I gotta get him back up.
Oh man, what a ridiculous day. We were sleeping in the forest as usual when all of a sudden a troop of Koopas comes marching down the road. Some of them had black armor, and were carrying these huge hammers. Koopie says that those are Bowser’s elite guard, and that they’re crazy strong. I asked him how he knows that they’re that strong. “Well,” said Koopie. “Just look at those hammers! They’re as big as you!” I don’t really appreciate him making fun of my size, but I guess it must be true.
Then I asked him about Bowser. Before Koopie and Boo could tell me, though, I had my question answered for me, ‘cos right after the troop marched past, this gigantic Koopa came out of the woods following them. I can’t even tell you how incredible this was, journal. This guy must have been a hundred feet tall, and had these giant spines coming all over his back. He looked like what Koopie might if he were a hundred times bigger, and a lot scarier. And his hair! Red as fire, blazing in the wind. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even my maverick big brother had something crazy like that.
Yes, he did look this menacing.
Oh man, I couldn’t help but just stare at him for what seemed like forever. He must have noticed me, though, because he sent one of his Hammer Brothers over to talk to us. Boo blushed immediately, but Koopie and I set our shoulders and gave the guy our best I-wanna-join-the-army glare. It must have worked, because the Hammer Brother just grabbed us– a little roughly, I’ll admit –and threw us in line with the other soldiers. They’re a little racist, though, segregating the Goombas from the Koopas, but I don’t mind. There must be some kind of strategy for it all.
Anyway, it sure was an exciting day! I have no idea what life as a soldier entails for me, but this must have been what Goombelais meant by a Great Perhaps. I’ve never been this nervous in my life– though it must be a good thing.
During a break, Koopie and I realized we left Boo behind. I hadn’t even noticed, but it’s his fault for not keeping up. Or talking, at least, so we’d notice him. But eh, he never really felt like he was part of the group anyway. We asked Bowser anyway if we could turn around and grab him, but all he did was laugh at us and say something about a haunted castle. I didn’t really get it, but I laughed anyway because I thought it was a joke. But Bowser immediately smacked me, so I guess it wasn’t. Ouch.
Anyway, I don’t have time to write much anymore because we’re always marching. So I guess I’ll write more later!
It’s been two days since I last wrote, but there’s a reason for that. I don’t have much time, but I’ll try my best to relate. Right on the night we realized Boo was gone, he came to us in the night and woke me and Koopie up. We were really friggin’ sleepy, but I guess he was trying to tell us not to go any more into the road than we had already gone. Of course, we thought this was totally cowardly. We were in King Bowser’s army now, after all, and we had to stick to it. But Boo kept shaking his head no and telling us that he had gone ahead, and seen some terrible things– armies of giants, even bigger than Koopie, marching towards us. People with magical powers– so powerful that they had managed to replace their heads with mushrooms. Of course, at this, Koopie and I laughed so hard the entire encampment woke up. Including King Bowser– who took one swift turn towards us, and, well– he roared.
Then he leapt upon us, almost knocking my head off, and grabbed Boo. I’m not afraid to say I screamed. Then, snarling, he yelled something at Boo, who tried in vain to just wriggle out of his grip. All I heard was something like “so one of you escaped the concentration castles! Well, why don’t we put you back, then?” Boo kept pleading to be let go, but eventually he just gave up as Bowser crushed the life out of him. Then Bowser handed him over to a Hammer Brother, who promptly turned around and trampled off with Boo. I haven’t seen him since.
That was just day seven. Day eight, those things that Boo was talking about finally made their way toward us, and boy, I can’t even describe it. I realized that I didn’t even know how to fight, and spent most of my time just running around, trying to get out of the way of the Koopas, who flung themselves forward in their hiding-things with reckless abandon. It was madness. I saw Koopie put himself in his hiding-thing, and just throw himself straight into a Mushroom-head, who should’ve died right then and there, but suddenly shrunk down to a tinier Mushroom-head instead. What kind of sorcery this is, I have no idea, but somehow I think that even with these Hammer Brothers and King Bowser on our side, this might not be such a great war.
Thank goodness we managed to get out of there, though. I don’t even remember how. But I’m thankful that Koopie and I are alive, at least. Really glad.
Koopie is dead.
They promoted him to the Elite Squad, after seeing his brave exploits back in the first battle, and gave him new armor to boot. Spikes on his shell (that’s what it’s called, apparently), iron coatings for his head, and these great honking boots. Supposedly it was to stop him from being jumped on, which I thought was funny because I didn’t remember seeing much of that in the first battle. Anyway, the Mushroom Kingdom Army– I’ve learned that that’s what they call themselves –ambushed us just as we were heading near a Koopa village, and this time, they were armed with Koopa Shells. Apparently they had gotten them by slaying all the inhabitants of the Koopa Village. So instead of jumping on our new Elite Squad, all they had to do was fling their own people’s shells back at them. Funny how Koopa Shells seem to go right through all that metal armor, when flung at just the right velocity.
As I ran aimlessly around the shells, I looked around for Koopie. Finally I found him. He stood, majestically, against one particularly nasty-looking Mushroom Person, raised his spear, and– and–
Another Mushroom soldier had seen his countryman in peril, and thrown a shell right smack in Koopie’s face, before he could do anything to him. In slow motion I saw my best friend fall backwards, imagining his eyes wide open behind his visor, as he crumbled into the earth and rolled into the abyss. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even scream, as the other Goombas frantically tried to push me around to save my life. (Evolution really screwed us over with that lack of arms.) I can only do one thing now: cry.
Bowser warms up for throwing Mushroom people around.
They’re monsters, all of them. No, not just the Mushrooms. The Bowser army is made up of demons. Today we were doing fairly well in a battle, as far as battles go, and all of a sudden the opposing army surrenders. Of course it’s not the main army, but it’s still a victory. So Bowser goes out to meet the general, who of course already looks pretty downcast, his spirit broken. Bowser takes a nearby Koopa, and rips off his shell. Then, all of us watching, he flings the shell right in the general’s face. Neither side made a sound as the Mushroom general flew into the air. The Mushrooms seemed shocked. Our side, meanwhile, seemed even more so. All we could hear was the crunching of bones as the general fell back to earth.
I thought you were supposed to take prisoners when they surrender. Apparently in Bowser’s army, that’s all moot. He may look like a nice guy, but– Bowser. He’s a monster. The Koopa, by the way, begged for his shell back as he lay bleeding on the field, but Bowser just stomped on his face. Then he told that warlock lizard that’s always around to get his corpse and “drybonify” it. I don’t know what that means. I sure hope I never find out.
Tried to cheer up Goomba troops by telling them stories about the Great Stompy Man. Judging by their steadily paler faces, this was not a good idea. One of the quieter Goombas even screamed at me to stop, his shrill voice resounding way further out than our camp’s boundaries as he screamed. I don’t know what their deal is, but I understand if you’re afraid of something, especially in these dark times. I just didn’t expect them to be afraid of an old Goombs’ tale.
Speaking of which, I’ve learned what “drybonifying” entails. Turns out Bowser’s lizard wizard is pretty good at necromancy. We’ve taken all of our army’s casualties and turned them into reanimated skeletons. What kind of life is that? I know Koopie would’ve hated to live a life like this in eternal servitude.
Oh, no. Koopie. Are you one of them now?
Bowser heard about the story I told. Apparently one of the Goombas had told a Koopa about it, who told a Hammer Brother and so on. Well. He ordered me to his encampment, and I had no choice but to go. So I went.
“So, you know about the Great Stompy Man, eh?” Bowser didn’t seem too angry, so I told him all about what I knew about him. How he was supposed to wear a goofy red porkpie hat, blue overalls and this crazy mustache. Not to mention white gloves that he kept neurotically clean. As he listened to me, Bowser’s eyes grew wider and wider. Then he punched me in the face. It hurt.
Then he accused me of spreading propaganda for the enemy. Propaganda? The Great Stompy Man isn’t even real! But I knew what happened to people Bowser didn’t like. I stood tall and only wished for a quick death.
But the lizard wizard whispered something in Bowser’s ear, and whatever it was, he liked it, because instead of killing me he turned, picked me up and grinned in my face.
“Now listen, you,” he snarled. “If you like the Great Stompy Man so much, you’ll love this. I’m sending you on a little exploration trip. Go out there ahead of us and see what’s going on with the enemy. Just to see what they’re up to. I want you to come back in ten days and tell us all about this Great Stompy Man– about the Mushroom Kingdom army.”
I mumbled something about not walking very fast, but Bowser wouldn’t have any of it. “It’ll be fun,” he smiled, rather too jovially. “Now get to it before I roast your face off.”
I’ve never seen Bowser roast anything, but I guess at this stage anything is possible. I’m off.
The Great Stompy Man is everywhere.
I don’t have much time. They found me snooping around what they call Toadtopia, and immediately chased after me. One of them screamed that he’d call Mario, whoever that is, and ran into the town hall. It was all I could do to jump in some bushes and play dead. (Lots of experience with that in the past thirty days.) So now I’m here, as they’re still searching for me. I should probably stop, actually. Th–
Oh no. He’s here. The Great Stompy Man. He’s real. Bowser was right. He’s walking around the– he’s– oh no. He’s talking to the Mushrooms now. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but both of them looked right at the bushes where I was. Mario’s nodding. He’s– he’s coming towards me.
This is it. Oh mother, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. War is despicable. We fight for nothing. And we’re all monsters.
The least I can do is walk out, straight and tall, like my father would have wanted me to do.
The following is taken from Mario’s journal, provided courtesy of Princess Peach, who had it in her possession.
Called to investigate a cockroach infestation. Turned out to be a Goomba. Man, this stuff never comes off my shoes.