Where: Crushjaw’s Muto-Trough

What the reviews said: “A single order of the squamous super-rat is so enlarged by radioactive mutation that there’s enough meat to feed an entire family, no matter how many mouths your son has.”

“The settings are arranged with careful artistry. The hubcaps they use as plates shine with divine brilliance! The war-frenzy has descended on me! Rejoice, for today you die at the hands of a god!”

The reality: You wouldn’t guess that gasoline is more precious than blood in the Southern Wastes with how long these rats were on that engine block. Sure, they’re big, but when most of that is a charred tumor filled with hair and teeth, is it really worth the credits? As for the hubcaps: plastic.

Where: The Perpetual Conflagration

What the reviews said: “A pillar of flame that reaches to the heavens, a beacon visible from every warren of filth in the Rat King’s demesne. The living fire instructs us against the illusions of the World That Was: the world is a bosom of decay and we are the maggots that feast therein.”

The reality: It reaches about a foot. If you really want to see a monument to the World That Was, Nuketown’s got an entire fortress made from urinals that got fused together. The worst part was that they wouldn’t let me throw in my servant, Backbiter, into the fire because “he isn’t trash.” They haven’t met him.

Where: The Scrapyard

What the reviews said: “Miles of pleasant pathways cut through gentle hills of trash and abandoned scrap. A safe and serene place to take a walk. Yes, it’s Scrapper territory; but as long as you don’t disturb their junk hoards they’ll leave you alone. Highly recommended!”

The reality: Scrappers tossing stinkbombs from every which way as soon as they caught sight of me. “High and mighty Nuketown scum!” “Down with Lord Serpentarius!” “Dust-Walker’s coming for you!” etc, etc. How can I take this gang seriously when they have flower baskets on their bicycles? I couldn’t help but think my walk was hardly “safe and serene” while Backbiter was busy prying off one the Scrapper’s craniums with a claw hammer.

Where: The Gladiator Pit in the Rat King’s Palace

What the reviews said: “The Dust-Walker is coming. He’s coming and he’s bringing justice with him. Justice for me, and for all the slaves! You won’t get away with this! You won’t—[incoherent screaming and gurgling as the reviewer’s neck collapsed under a series of blows from the Yelp Stick]”

The reality: Well, maybe I should’ve listened to this one, because that’s exactly what happened. The night got off to a good start—some beheadings and a giant weasel fight—but things turned south once the main gladiatorial event began. One of the combatants—a reedy-looking woman wearing an old lab coat—started off with a bunch of bluster about the Dust-Walker coming to save her, which was pretty tiresome stuff especially since I’d already heard it from the reviewer outside. Actually, she was holding her own pretty well against a Myrmidon with buzzsaws for hands when suddenly, out of nowhere there’s a bunch of Scrappers and some dude in a leather jacket hang-gliding down into the arena! The stink bombs are going off all over, and I hear from one end of the arena, “Look lady, I’ll say it again—I don’t care about saving you or Doctor Vesaly, I just wanna know where Serpentarius has got my bike, and you know where it is,” and on the other end the Rat King screeching, “The Dust-Walker! Kill him! He mustn’t escape!” As soon as the smoke clears, the Rat King’s got a throwing knife in his forehead, and his needle-toothed guards are about to fire away at the guy in the leather jacket—when what do you know but Backbiter shields him from the volley of bullets and hisses out, “Long may he walk!” before dying. The dude in the jacket even gives Backbiter’s carcass a salute before grappling out of there with the girl! Now I’m out a servant (not a huge loss considering Backbiter, but it’s the principle of the thing), my clothes smell like a fart (twice in one day!) and the rest of the show is canceled!

Needless to say, I’m never going to the Trash Zone for vacation again.