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A Better Place

Posted by meekrat on September 30, 2010

Posted in Time-Mind Sync-Warp | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Apocalyptic Council: Suddenly, an End!

Posted by meekrat on September 30, 2010

The head of the Apocalyptic Council sat at his desk in the darkness. He couldn’t remember being a young man. He couldn’t remember being an old man, either. He could only remember the days when he had been less ancient, but he truly wanted to remember his younger days so he could undo the curse of immortality that had been placed upon him. This was the reason he had founded the Council, after all. Surely the end of the world would end him as well. It was all he dreamed about, all he wanted: the sweet embrace of death. He could not even remember the name he had been given at birth, and simply called himself Checker. He couldn’t remember why.

The door opened, letting in a sliver of light and a young man with claws.

Checker squinted, his ancient eyes rapidly adjusting to the light. “Ah, Joshua.”

Joshua leaned against the wall and took a steel file out of his pocket and began to sharpen his claws, “How are you doing today?”

“Absolutely wretchedly,” Checker hobbled over to a file cabinet and began paging through its files, “Any luck?”

“None whatsoever,” said Joshua, “We’ve sent out many agents to try and find out who you are and why you’re still alive. No luck yet. Also, we’ve had an infiltration.”

Checker slammed the file cabinet shut and hobbled back over to his desk, “Has it been taken care of?”

“Kind of,” said Joshua.

Checker cursed under his breath, “Kind of. How do you kind of take care of an infiltration? Did someone escape?”

“Nothing like that. We seem to have attracted some very interesting individuals.”

“How interesting?”

“Charleston Charge, for one.”

Checker hobbled back over to the file cabinet and began paging through the files contained within. The cabinet was a surrogate memory, though some things had been forgotten entirely. Joshua sat and waited patiently for Checker to pull out a file, read it, place it back into the cabinet, and hobble back to his desk.

Checker grinned, though his teeth had long ago been replaced with dentures, “Charleston Charge, eh? Good thing you’ve captured that one. According to my memory, he’s quite important. Could have put this entire operation in jeopardy.”

“That’s not all. We also captured a young man named Edwin Cloudstar. No, don’t bother going to your cabinet. He’s not in your memory,” said Joshua.

“He sounds familiar, though,” said Checker, “So familiar. Cloudstar. Hm. If he’s not in the cabinet then he can’t be important. Good work, all the same.”

“We also captured the Impossible Mister Frink and Vincenzo Fitzpatrick,” said Joshua.

Checker’s eyes lit up, “I remember those lads! Dashing young men. I remember seeing them so many years ago. Weren’t there more?”

“Yes. They weren’t here, but I think we should take the precaution of contracting some outside help with this. I’ve got contacts out there, and there’s probably more than a few people who would like a piece of the Basset Hound Brigade,” said Joshua.

Checker nodded, “No. The Basset Hound Brigade and Charleston Charge? We’ve got to move our operation.”

Joshua balked, “Do we have time?”

Checker chuckled, “You know damn well that you and I have all the time in the world.”

“I know that, but really, sir. We’re on a time-table.”

“We’ve got time. It’s better to just move than to have our whole operation dismantled by the likes of them. Get on it, please. Release the prisoners, first. Give them a fight, but let them go. We mustn’t let on that they haven’t won, nor can we kill them. It’ll bring the rest of them down upon us” said Checker, leaning back in his chair.

“Of course,” Joshua left the room, grinning. He was itching for a fight.

***

Charleston Charge paced the cell while Mister Frink sat in the corner and thought. Vinny Fitzpatrick gazed longingly out the window while Edwin Cloudstar remained up against the wall, being unable to move.

“Back in the day, we could count on the Little Spick to get us out of jams like this,” said Vinny with a sigh, “Back in the day. I wonder what he’s up to?”

“He’s dead,” said Mister Frink, “I think Orphan Freelance is still operational.”

“That’s sort of racist, isn’t it?” asked Charleston, who had stopped in his tracks upon hearing “the Little Spick”.

“It was a different time. Now, are we going to go through with this plan?” asked Mister Frink.

“It don’t feel right, Mister Frink, killin’ some lad,” said Vinny, “Even if he says he’ll just pop back.”

“It’s the only way,” said Edwin.

Vinny slumped to the ground, “Can’t we just wait for something to happen to you?”

“It’s impossible for anything to kill Edwin while we’re sitting in this cell,” growled Mister Frink.

Just then, a meteorite came flying through the window, hitting Edwin square between the eyes. It plowed through his brain and burrowed itself deeply into the wall. Vinny stared.

“We must act!” screamed Mister Frink, throwing himself against the door. It budged slightly, and Charleston aided him in the next impact. The door broke off of its hinges.

“Grab Edwin!” said Mister Frink, striding down the hallway. There were no guards. This bothered him.

Charleston threw Edwin’s body over his shoulder and Vinny followed. The quartet walked down the hallway to the next door, easily opening it.

“This can’t be right,” said Mister Frink, “There’s nothing in here but the sword.”

***

In the realm between life and death, Edwin watched as his companions carried his body down the hallway. There was a tap on his shoulder and he turned to see a tan red-headed woman wearing a purple blazer and skirt, holding a clipboard.

“Nice to see you again,” she said.

“Nice to see you, too, Camilla. I’m pretty sure I haven’t fulfilled the prophecies,” said Edwin.

Camilla looked at her clipboard, “No. Of course you haven’t. So what mess have you gotten into this time?”

Edwin pointed to Charleston, “I’m helping that guy with the hat stop a group dedicated to the Apocalypse. They had to kill me so that they could reunite me with my sword.”

“Fun,” Camilla wrote something on her clipboard and it vanished, “How’d you get separated from it in the first place? You haven’t died for a while.”

“What?” Edwin’s brow furrowed, “Then how did this happen?”

“I don’t know,” said Camilla, “Well, looks like it’s time for you to get back to living. Be careful. Not that I don’t like seeing you, of course.”

“Of course,” Edwin vanished from the realm.

***

Fifteen minutes later, the quartet was wandering through the mysteriously empty halls.

“This isn’t right,” said Mister Frink.

“You’re telling me,” said Charleston Charge, sidling along the wall.

“I feel a disturbance,” said Edwin, stopping dead in his tracks, his hand instinctively going to the hilt of his sword, “Not really. It’s more of just bad mojo.”

Joshua stepped around the corner, his claws shining, “Hello. You can’t leave here alive.”

Edwin stopped and stared at Joshua, his hand resting on the sword’s hilt, and suddenly things made sense.

“Maddon! He’s you!” shouted Vinny.

“I’d love to know your history sometime,” said Joshua Cloudstar, “Not right now. Right now, we’re going to test your immortality.”

Edwin Cloudstar drew his sword, “Same to you.”

“So witty,” Joshua ran forward, claw raised. He brought it down, meeting Edwin’s sword and giving off sparks.

“Run,” said Edwin, attempting to force Joshua forward. Despite being dimensional twins, Joshua was stronger, and so this attempt met with failure.

As the pair continued to battle, Mister Frink and the others were running through the compound. Suddenly, there was a flash of light, and they fell to the ground.

***

Vinny Fitzpatrick awoke to find himself on Mister Frink’s couch. Charleston Charge was eating a plate of waffles on a cot next to him, while Mister Frink was already up and about. Edwin Cloudstar was nowhere to be seen, but Mister Frink’s son was there.

“Are you sure you don’t want the Neo-Bassets to track these people down?” he said, not wearing his uniform.

“You know them?” said Charleston, in between mouthfuls.

Brian Frink stopped, and then nodded slowly, “Yes. I’m their pal.”

“What happened?” said Vinny.

“Ah, good. You’re awake,” said Mister Frink, “It’s been nearly a week. To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure what happened. All I know is that that compound has vanished into nothingness.”

“So we won?” said Vinny.

“I can only assume so,” said Mister Frink, pouring some tea.

“For the first time in years, I have nothing to do,” said Charleston, “It feels weird. I tell you what, though. I’m tendering my resignation with Brachiosaur. I’m going to do things my own way from now on. Maybe start a detective agency.”

“Bully for you,” said Mister Frink.

Vinny walked over to the table and took a cup of tea, “What happened to Edwin?”

“I don’t know,” said Mister Frink.

“The Neo-Bassets could find out,” said Brian.

“No. I don’t think we could find these people again unless they wanted to be found,” said Mister Frink.

***

Edwin Cloudstar floated in the void between universes once again, shunted once the Apocalyptic Council’s compound transported itself to its new location. Joshua was nowhere to be seen, and Edwin couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to his dimensional twin that made him think the Apocalypse was a good idea. Oh well. Soon, Edwin would either find his way back to a universe at some point soon.

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Time-Mind Sync-Warp #53

Posted by meekrat on September 27, 2010

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The Apocalyptic Council: Mister Frink’s Holiday

Posted by meekrat on September 27, 2010

Note: This is the finale of Choose Your Own Blogventure.
Note #2: This takes place before March Meekrat Madness 2010.

Charleston Charge awoke to find himself in a closet, and remembered what he was doing there. There was a conspiracy to bring about the Apocalypse, or at least to keep it on track, and Charleston had somehow become responsible for making sure that the world didn’t end. He opened the door to see a tribe of Mayans standing in the hallway, some walking and chatting with each other, some drinking coffee. They all turned to him and Charleston slammed the closet door behind him and hoped and prayed that his ally, Edwin Cloudstar, was able to find him.

***

Deep within the bowels of the Apocalyptic Council’s headquarters, Edwin Cloudstar sat in a dank dungeon. It wasn’t the worst dungeon he had ever been in, to be certain, but it was still quite annoying because they somehow knew how to circumvent the mystical connection he had with his sword. Again, not the first time, but no less annoying than all the other times. He sat and hoped that his ally, Charleston Charge, would be able to find him.

***

The Impossible Mister Frink sat in his breakfast nook, sipping some tea and reading his paper, basically enjoying his morning. His adopted son, Brian, was off on some adventure with some costumed heroes, so it was a fairly quiet day. Most days had been quiet since the unofficial disbanding of the Basset Hound Brigade, in fact. Not too quiet, of course. A man like Mister Frink knew how to create his own excitement, after all, but it was still nice to have a quiet day every now and again.

There was a knock at the door, the sort of knock that insinuated that if you didn’t open the door, then it would be opened by force. Were Brian there, Mister Frink likely would have continued sitting there enjoying the comic strips. Since he wasn’t, he cracked his knuckles and walked over to the door.

Vinny Fitzpatrick was standing on the other side, holding his aviator cap and goggles in front of him.

Mister Frink sighed and opened the door, “Good morning, Vincenzo. What brings you here?”

“I know we only get the ol’ team back together for big things, Mister Frink, but I got word that there’s the mother of all trouble brewin’ down south,” said Vinny.

“Very well,” said Mister Frink, “I suppose we’re expected to just go down there and solve things?”

“I was hoping,” Vinny smiled, “Only I wasn’t able to get anyone else.”

Mister Frink’s eyebrow raised, “What’s Douglas and Jenkins doing that are so important?”

“They’re on a case,” said Vinny, “And Mister Lucky’s nowhere to be found.”

“He’s busy with that blasted literature club,” replied Mister Frink, grabbing his overcoat, “Details, Vincenzo! Details!”

They walked to Mister Frink’s private airstrip, and along the way Vinny explained how he had found himself in contact with the new iteration of the spy organization, CAST, most notably a young woman who called herself E. A young man she knew had traveled south months ago and no one had heard from him since, and she was unable to travel there herself. Since she knew Vinny’s history with the Basset Hound Brigade, she hoped that he would at least check into it, which eventually led him to this point.

Mister Frink nodded, “Do we know where this complex is?”

“She says she don’t know,” said Vinny, “Could we take your plane? Only I had a bit o’ trouble wit’ mine.”

Vinny’s plane had been crashed, like the vast majority of his planes, into a small grove of trees several hundred yards from the airfield. He had never been able to land, except in the direst of circumstances. Mister Frink just tossed him the keys to the plane and hoped for the best.

***

Several hours later, the pair flew over some farmland.

“Have you been here before?” asked Mister Frink, pointing to a crashed bi-plane.

“Never,” said Vinny, “I think we’re on the right track. Look!”

A giant monster loomed in front of them, lumbering down the road, its massive black wings flapping slowly. As far as such things went, it wasn’t that terrifying, having the normal amount of arms and legs. Of course, all these arms and legs were tentacles, and its head looked like an octopus. It looked up and its giant coal-black eyes narrowed.

“It’s seen us, Mister Frink!” shouted Vinny, who threw the plane into a dive.

“Pull up, lad! Pull up!” screamed Mister Frink.

It was too late. The tentacle monster reached out and plucked the plane from the air. Instead of crushing it, he placed it gently on the ground, and then shrank, pulling his wings inwards. They formed a cloak around his body. He slithered over to the plane and knocked on the window.

“Are you two all right?” slobbered the demon.

Mister Frink and Vinny stared out the window, a look of shock upon Mister Frink’s face. Vinny, however, was either too afraid or too dumb to realize that he should be afraid, and gave the monster a thumbs-up. He hopped out of the plane.

“I’m so sorry about that,” said the tentacle monster, grasping Vinny’s hand, “I was in deep thought. I didn’t mean to make you crash.”

“No harm done,” said Vinny, gently pulling his hand away, “Say, you couldn’t tell us where some base for a bunch o’ Apocalypse nut-jobs is, could you?”

Mister Frink groaned.

“You’re the second two guys I’ve met today who are on their way there,” said the tentacle monster, “I’m S’treafael, but please, call me Steve. It’s right up the road. I’d love to help you storm the place, but I’m probably already in deep with my uncle.”

“No worries,” Vinny smiled. He saluted Steve and hopped back into the plane, “He said — ”

“I know what he said,” said Mister Frink, “Take us there, and for the love of God, keep us alive until we get there.”

***

Charleston Charge sat in the closet. He had built a small-scale model of his homeland, the Lost City of Uhld, out of various janitorial supplies. He pulled a voice recorder out of his pocket. He clicked the record button, “While trying to figure out what to do, I’ve built my home town. I would build a scale model of this place, but I’m not entirely sure what this place looks like.” He clicked it off and put the recorder back in his coat.

“At least they’re not trying to kill me,” said Charleston, idly knocking over bits of his model with flicks of his fingers, “They could totally get in here if they wanted to. Kill me right off.”

He leaned on his side and thought about taking a nap when he heard a noise. By the time he realized what it was, a small plane had crashed into the wall. Charleston barged through the door, knocking it from his hinges, and continued running down the hallway, holding onto his fedora-like hat. Behind him, the plane continued to come, by this time its wings had snapped off and it was just the cockpit and fuselage sliding down the hallway, knocking over Mayans left and right. It began to slow, and Charleston braced himself for its impact, hoping his low-level super-strength would be enough to stop it entirely.

The plane slid into his ready hands and his feet began to skid down the hallway, but Charleston could tell that the plane was slowing down. Behind him, a wall continued coming towards him, and he hoped he would stop before he became a pancake.

He grinned and laughed, “After all, I prefer waffles.”

Soon, the plane stopped, several feet away from the wall. Charleston stepped back and sat heavily on the ground, trying to catch his breath. The plane’s doors opened and two men he recognized as the Impossible Mister Frink and Vinny Fitzpatrick hopped out.

Vinny looked at him, “You Charleston Charge?”

“I am,” said Charleston.

“We’re here to rescue you, though it may not look like it,” said the Impossible Mister Frink, “Now then, shall we get going?”

“Not yet,” said Charleston, “My friend is somewhere in this complex. Also, these people are trying to bring about the Apocalypse. Or make sure it happens. I’m not really sure. We have to stop it.”

“You were trying to stop it by yourself?” said Mister Frink, obviously impressed.

“No,” said Charleston, “I had a friend with me. Is Mister Lucky with you guys?”

“He was busy with other matters,” said Mister Frink, “Though I’m sure if he thought he was required to stop these people, then he’d be here by now.”

Vinny nodded, “Do you know where this friend of yours is?”

“No,” said Charleston again, “We got separated when we came in.”

“Damn and blast,” growled Mister Frink, “It’ll be impossible to find him!”

Just then, all the Mayans that had fled when the plane began to crash through the hallway returned. They took their spears and pointed them at the two Bassets and Charleston Charge. It didn’t take a genius to know what they wanted.

***

“I’m so glad you found me,” said Edwin, “I really mean that. Even if this really stinks as a rescue attempt.”

Charleston Charge was shackled to the wall next to him, with shackles strong enough to withstand his super-strength, “It’s not like we planned this.”

“I know. At least we’re all together now,” said Edwin, “Who are those guys?”

Vinny smiled, lying on his side. Both his hands and ankles had been tied. Mister Frink has shackled to the wall on the opposite side of Edwin and Charleston.

“Those are Vinny Fitzpatrick and Mister Frink. Two members of the Basset Hound Brigade,” said Charleston, “They’re adventurers. Bassets, this is Edwin Cloudstar.”

“Are they? Good,” said Edwin, “I’ve seen stranger.”

“Your hands aren’t bound,” said Mister Frink.

“They don’t need to. My sword’s on the other side of this wall, and the only way it leaves my back is if I grab hold of its hilt,” said Edwin, “It’s a mystical thing.”

“Vincenzo is, for some reason, not secured in any way,” said Mister Frink, “I can’t imagine why our captors would do this, but we can work this to our benefit. Vincenzo, please see if you can make your way over to Edwin. Good, good. Now, Edwin, can you untie Vinny’s hands? Good. I would hate to have to stand alone against these ruffians.” Mister Frink took a deep breath and then tore his shackles from the wall, freeing himself.

Charleston’s eyes went wide, “You’re super-strong?”

“Indeed I am, though I do prefer to use my wits instead of my fists. Needs must, however,” said Mister Frink. He grabbed hold of Charleston’s shackles, “On the count of three, boy! One. Two. Three!”

The shackles resisted at first, remaining secure against the wall, but eventually gave when Vinny lent his own strength to the effort.

“Now what?” said Edwin, still unable to free himself, “How am I going to get free?”

“What would Mister Lucky do?” asked Vinny.

Mister Frink chose to ignore that comment, knowing full well that there was no way he could match Mister Lucky’s intelligence. He was still quite formidable in that department, able to craft machines that pushed against the laws of the universe. Mysticism was not one of his strong suits, however, and so the mechanisms of the sword’s bond with Edwin were a puzzle he could not solve. Something else puzzled him, though.

“How did you get into this position in the first place?” asked Mister Frink.

“They killed me and tossed my body in here, and my sword in the other room,” said Edwin, “When I came to, I was stuck against this wall.”

“Hold on, killed you?” said Vinny, stepping back, “You a vampire?”

“No, I just can’t stay dead,” said Edwin, “I’m still not entirely sure how they did this. Usually, the only one able to lift my sword is me.”

Charleston turned to Mister Frink, “Couldn’t you just impossible us out of this situation?”

“It’s passive,” said Mister Frink, “So if you’re killed, the sword can leave your body, but the only one who can lift your sword is you?”

“That’s what I said. I guess they could have moved my body,” said Edwin.

“You’re not from this place, are ya?” asked Vinny, “You got the air of a traveler about ya.”

“No, I’m from a different universe,” said Edwin.

Vinny nodded, “You don’t stay in this business this long without picking up a few things.”

“We could smash through the prison door and the door to wherever they put Edwin’s sword, and then kill Edwin and carry his body to his sword,” said Charleston Charge, “Not the perfect plan, I grant you, but it’s the only one I’ve got.”

“Could work,” said Edwin.

***

Elsewhere in the compound, the second-in-command of the Apocalyptic Council sat and watched their captives on a closed-circuit television. He was sure they didn’t know they were being watched, and was quite pleased that none of them had realized what had gone on. He smiled. It was only a matter of time now.

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An Unimportant Matter

Posted by meekrat on September 24, 2010

It was the early nineties, and Mister Lucky, famed member of the Basset Hound Brigade, found himself tied to a chair. He was quite surprised, as this sort of thing hadn’t happened in decades. Since he was a rookie, in fact, just starting out in the adventuring business. A cold shiver went up his spine as he realized that he was genuinely surprised by this turn of events. While to the world at large he was the Luckiest Man in the World, he was actually the smartest man who ever lived, and had long been able to extrapolate what would happen to him using his excessive intelligence. Surprise was something that no longer happened to him. As he tried to free himself from his bonds, he felt his finger brush against another finger, followed by a low groan. Another surprise. It was not a very good day.

Mister Lucky tried to turn to look at his fellow prisoner, but whoever tied him to the chair knew darn well that a knot had to be tied ungodly tight to trap Mister Lucky. He settled on whispering, “Hey there, I’m Mister Lucky, and today’s your lucky day, because I’m going to get us out of this mess! But wait, there’s more! When I find out who did this, I’ll kick his teeth in!”

He waited a few moments for the other prisoner to respond, and when he did, Mister Lucky instantly recognized the voice of Shoshy Raphael, “Not my lucky day if I’m stuck here with you.”

“Sure it is. You’re some Detroit councilman, you’re on the straight and narrow! It’s my job to save people like you, long as you don’t try to kill me first,” said Mister Lucky, “Now let’s see about getting out of here.”

A light went on, momentarily blinding Mister Lucky. He bet it did the same to Shoshy Raphael, and another groan confirmed this. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a figure standing in the shadows.

“You’re awake. Good. I was getting bored,” said the figure, “My name is unimportant, but my message is quite important.”

“Well then, Unimportant, give us the message and let us go on our way,” said Mister Lucky, smiling wryly.

“I’m not stupid,” said Unimportant, “For too long, you and your kind have been a cancer upon this world. Adventurers and costumed heroes and the like running around thinking they’re better than the average man. I’ve taken the liberty of reuniting the Basset Hound Brigade and Nantucket Dragon Group, or at least those I could find, and there’s quite the surprise waiting for all of you once you’re out of here.”

“What kind of surprise?” slurred Shoshy Raphael, probably coming off the effects of some sort of drug.

“If I told you, then it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?” said Unimportant, “In five minutes, I’m sure you’ll both be free. Then you’ll find out what the surprise is.”

The light went off and a door opened. Mister Lucky’s mind and hands began to race.

“He didn’t gloat,” said Mister Lucky.

“So,” said Shoshy Raphael.

“Villains gloat. It’s what they do,” Mister Lucky managed to free one of his hands and began work on the other, “So either he’s not a villain, or… I don’t know.”

Shoshy Raphael sat straight up, “You don’t know?”

“Why’s that so surprising,” said Mister Lucky, freeing his other hand and working on the other bonds, “I’m the World’s Luckiest Man, not the smartest one.”

Shoshy slouched, “Yes. Of course. Are you almost free?”

Mister Lucky stood up and began untying Shoshy Raphael, “Sure am! Sit tight, councilman, I’ll get you out of here in a jiffy.”

A minute and twenty seconds later, Shoshy Raphael stood up. Neither he nor Mister Lucky looked a day older than they had in the nineteen-twenties, owing their longevity and youthfulness to a mystical dragon ring and an immortality serum, respectively. Mister Lucky closed his eyes and turned on the light. The door was open, at once inviting and menacing.

“I’m not looking forward to this surprise,” spat Mister Lucky, making his way to the door regardless. He looked out and saw a dimly-lit warehouse, and not a very good one, either. There was a catwalk connecting several second-story rooms and an empty floor. No boxes at all. In addition to a normal door, there were two loading docks.

Shoshy Raphael joined him at the doorway and peeked out, holding his ivory cane in front of him, “No boxes? What is this world coming to?”

“I know,” said Mister Lucky, “Back in the good old days, you made sure there were boxes to buckle swashes off of and all that.”

“Remember the Charleston Death Ray,” asked Shoshy Raphael, “You almost didn’t make it out of that one.”

“I think that was your most fiendish plan,” said Mister Lucky, almost smiling.

Shoshy Raphael did smile, “Why is that? The casualties? The far-reaching implications of such a device?”

“Nope,” said Mister Lucky, “If it wasn’t for that, I think that stupid Charlie Charleston would never have shown up.”

“Ah, yes. Charlie. During the second Great War, we all joked that he was the true force behind Adolf Hitler,” said Shoshy Raphael, “Could you imagine it? A legion of Nazis dancing the Charleston across the battlefield? A race of Aryan Supermen who were exceptional at dancing that infernal dance.”

“I shudder to think,” said Mister Lucky, “Just because I’m all chummy with you right now doesn’t mean I like you. I still think you’re one of the worst eggs I’ve ever come across.”

“Of course. My hatred for you is matched only by my hatred for Edwin Cloudstar,” said Shoshy.

“Who? Never mind, let’s check the other rooms. See if our compatriots are in them,” said Mister Lucky.

A quick check of the rooms revealed the Amazing Rando tied to a chair with Vinny Fitzpatrick, Guerdon Trueblood shackled together with the Impossible Mister Frink, Guy Magistro chained to a wall with Jojo Jenkins by his side, and Simon McCockindale in a room with Dick Douglas. All had been visited by Unimportant.

“I can’t wait for the surprise,” said Vinny Fitzpatrick, “D’ya think it’s a party?”

“Nazi jewel thieves,” said Dick Douglas, “I’d bet your hat on it.”

Guy Magistro flicked his wrist and summoned his basket of magic eggs, “Don’t be daft. We’ve done nothing worth celebrating. More likely that fool means to kill us.”

As if on cue, a large television screen flipped down from the ceiling and the silhouetted Unimportant appeared on its screen. The collective members of the Basset Hound Brigade and Nantucket Dragon Group looked up and waited.

“By my estimates, you should all have escaped by now. Don’t bother looking for me, as I’ve been gone for several minutes, and I took measures to keep you from following me. Now, if you’ll look down, you’ll see two loading bay doors. If my instructions are followed, then they should be opening now,” said Unimportant. The doors did, in fact, open and ten men walked out of the trailers. The Bassets and Nantucket Dragon Group looked down upon them warily. Unimportant continued, “I scoured the Earth to find beings who were your polar opposites. Anti-Bassets and Anti-Dragons, if you wish. It’s my hope that you all kill each other, though I admit my hopes aren’t very high. Have at it, gentlemen.”

The screen ascended and the ten men stared up at the Basset Hound Brigade and Nantucket Dragon Group.

“It’s impossible for us to survive,” gasped Mister Frink.

“Anything’s possible,” said a hippie, among the men on the ground, “I can do what you do, Mister Frink. You can call me the possible Mister Harold.”

“I never liked hippies,” said Mister Frink, under his breath.

“There’s no chance you can beat us,” said Mister Lucky, “I mean, look at you? Are you supposed to be my guy?”

A hulking brute of a man dressed like Mister Lucky just stared, “I’m Mister Unlucky. We’re gonna kill you dead.”

“I like him,” said Shoshy Raphael with a grin, “Right to the point. Nantucket Dragon Group, it would appear that they’re one short, and I’m sure we’re all terribly busy, so why don’t we end this quickly?”

“It’s been years since we done that,” said Simon McCockindale, “You think he’s still around?”

“Of course,” said Guy Magistro, “He’s a demon.”

“True,” said Simon McCockindale.

“Fire,” said Shoshy Raphael, thrusting out his fist.

“Earth,” said Guy Magistro, doing the same.

“Air,” said Guerdon Trueblood.

“Water,” said the Amazing Rando.

“Energy,” said Simon McCockindale.

The five dragon rings each emitted a beam of energy, meeting in the center of the room and drilling into the ground. Moments later, in a flash of brimstone and fire, the demonic hobo Baggy Satan emerged.

“What’s all this, then?” he said, honestly confused. He looked around and realized what was happening, “You lot! Just the other day I was having a chat with me mate about you! How long’s it been?”

“Decades,” said Shoshy Raphael, “If you would, destroy all those men on the ground.”

Baggy Satan’s eyes glowed with happiness, “Truly? No pullin’ levers or makin’ bears out of pizza? Just straight up hellfire an’ brimstone?”

“Yes!” said Shoshy Raphael.

The men on the ground began to converse nervously, and then they all stepped back. The possible Mister Harold waved to the Basset Hound Brigade and Nantucket Dragon Group, “Sorry, fellas, but we quit. Come on, Mister Unlucky.”

The veins on Mister Unlucky’s neck throbbed, his eyes bulged, and his suit tore. He turned to the possible Mister Harold and growled at him, “No!” He ran at Baggy Satan and punched him into a wall, leaving an imprint. There was a collective gasp, “I don’t run!”

“We do,” said Mister Harold, “Good luck taking on ten men and a demon.”

With that, the Anti-Bassets and Anti-Dragons disbanded, leaving only Mister Unlucky to oppose the Nantucket Dragon Group and Basset Hound Brigade.

“I don’t run, neither,” said Baggy Satan, standing up and wiping the blood from the corner of his mouth, “Let’s see you do that again!”

Mister Unlucky cracked his knuckles and lumbered towards Baggy Satan, who lashed out with a flaming uppercut that threw Mister Unlucky into the air. He landed with a sickening crack, but immediately stood back up, tearing out a piece of the floor and hurling it at Baggy Satan. The demon countered it with a stream of hellfire, and then turned the fire on Mister Unlucky. He shielded his face from the fire and strode through it as if it were water, back-handing Baggy Satan once he reached him.

“Should we help?” said Vinny Fitzpatrick.

“Already on it,” said Mister Lucky, who took out a notebook, wrote something down, and slid the notebook into his pocket. Scant seconds later, a hundred Mister Luckys appeared in the warehouse and all of them swarmed Mister Unlucky. The brute easily threw them off and used several of them as weapons against Baggy Satan.

“He’s impossible to defeat,” said Mister Frink, whose words caused the large television to fall from the ceiling and crash upon Mister Unlucky, knocking him to the ground. Baggy Satan spat on him and vanished back into Hell and all the Mister Luckys dissolved into goo. The one true Mister Lucky made his way down and walked over to the fallen brute.

He checked for a pulse, “Oh my god. He’s still alive.”

“Quite a feat,” said Shoshy Raphael, “Now then, are we going to continue this little team-up or can we all go our separate ways?”

“We’re done here,” said Mister Lucky, nudging Mister Unlucky with his foot, “Be on the look-out, though. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this Unimportant. Or Mister Unlucky.”

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Retro AOMP: BFNA 3

Posted by meekrat on September 24, 2010

Posted in Redex Comics | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

I Don’t Give Adam

Posted by meekrat on September 23, 2010

It was a lovely spring day, seemingly like any other, and most of the city’s notable citizens were gathered at Central Park to celebrate the city’s upper crust, its most generous citizens. Among those gathered were Mister Lucky, the Impossible Mister Frink, and Dick Douglas, who had been invited by the mayor himself.

“There’s absolutely no reason for us to be here,” groaned Mister Lucky, looking at his pocket watch, “It’s a complete waste of our time, and I don’t like the fact that we left Jojo, the Little Spick, and Vinny Fitzgerald in charge of things. Who knows what trouble they’re getting into?”

“Yes, our unique talents do seem to be wasted here,” said Mister Frink, trying to deal with the situation with the legendary stiff upper lip of the Britons. He was not doing a very good job, and seemed to be on the verge of shouting at someone.

“This is the worst free play I’ve ever been to,” said Dick Douglas, reclining on the grass, “When are they going to stop just milling around and get to actually doing something?”

Mister Lucky put away his watch and was about to leave when a large blond man took the stage, “Look, that big fella’s about to say something!”

The man took the microphone and smiled at the crowd, the sun glinting off his perfect white teeth, “Hello, fellow philanthropists and people working for a better tomorrow! As many of you know, I’m Adam Supreme, and the mayor has asked me to say a few words on behalf of the Committee for a Better Tomorrow. In order for us to have a better tomorrow, we certainly have to work for it, and there are some in this fair city of ours who want nothing more than to upset the delicate balance we’ve achieved so far. This, my friends, is the worst form of injustice: trying to undo what others have worked so hard to achieve…”

“Blah blah blah,” said Dick, shaking his fist at Adam Supreme, “Won’t this guy ever shut up?”

“Don’t be so impolite,” said Mister Frink, who felt some sort of odd connection with Supreme, “I< for one, find him very charismatic."

"If you think he's so charismatic, why don't you marry him?" sneered Dick.

"Look up there!" whispered Mister Lucky, pointing to the tree line, "The sun's glinting off something in those branches! It looks like a gun!"

Mister Frink turned, "I do believe that assassin means to shoot Mister Supreme!"

"We have to act quickly," said Mister Lucky, glad to have something to do, "I'll go try and warn Supreme, you two go after the assassin!"

"Indeed!" said Mister Frink, sprinting towards the gun.

"Meh," said Dick, who lied down and put his hat over his face.

Mister Lucky grabbed his hat and threw it after Mister Frink, "Just do it, Dick!"

"Fine, fine," Dick grudgingly got up and stalked off after Mister Frink, picking up his hat on the way, "I'm going."

"We must hurry," Mister Frink ran back, grabbed Dick by the arm, and began running again, dragging the detective behind him, "If we don't make it to the tree line before the assassin shoots, then a man might fall this day!"

"Why don't we just shout at him," asked Dick, half-struggling against Mister Frink's vice-like grip.

"We want to capture him if we're able, and then question him, of course," said Mister Frink.

"Oh yeah, of course. So shouting is a no-go," said Dick, reaching into his coat for his gun, "What if I shoot him?"

Mister Frink turned to him and scowled, "I think it would serve us best if you would keep you mouth shut and kept running!"

"Fine, Mister Grump," muttered Dick, though he was nearly drowned out by the sound of a gunshot, "We're too late, anyway."

Mister Frink let go of Dick and kept running, "No, there's still a chance that we may be able to catch him, but I fear it's impossible for anyone to save Adam Supreme now!"

"I don't see why you're so worried," said Dick, slowing down to a casual saunter, "The guy seemed like kind of a self-righteous jerk."

Mister Frink shouted back to Dick, knowing that once the assassin's deed was done, the need for stealth was negligible, "He seemed like a good man to me, and I consider myself to be an excellent judge of character. Look, descending from the treetops! The assassin!"

"Eh, he's getting away. Oh well," Dick stopped to nudge a dead squirrel with his foot, "Let's go back, I think they had some food, and no one's going to be eating it since that Supreme guy got shot."

"No! I shall persevere!" screamed Mister Frink as he launched himself at the retreating assassin.

Dick stared in amazement as Mister Frink flew through the air, tackling the assassin with a heavy thud, "Jesus, you probably crushed that guy."

Mister Frink stood up, lifting up the assassin with one hand, "He is unharmed, except he appears to be a harlequin!"

"No, that's a clown," said Dick.

Mister Frink chose to ignore him, "This is positively bizarre."

***

As the gun went off, Adam Supreme stopped speaking and looked up, "What was that?"

Mister Lucky leapt onto the stage and shoved Adam Supreme to the ground, "Get down!"

As the two men fell to the ground, the bullet whizzed overhead. Adam Supreme looked at the hole it left in the backdrop, "I owe you my life."

Mister Lucky stood up and helped Adam Supreme up, "Just part of what the Basset Hound Brigade does, Mister Supreme."

"Please, call me Adam," said Adam Supreme, holding out his hand, "I'd like to invite you and the rest of the Bassets to my home for dinner. Just my way of saying thank you."

"Sure thing, Adam!" Mister Lucky grasped Adam's hand enthusiastically, "See you there!"

By this time, Dick Douglas and Mister Frink, clown assassin in tow, had made their way back to the stage. Adam Supreme and Mister Lucky watched them, and all the blood drained from the latter's face. Adam noticed, "What's wrong?"

"It's nothing," said Mister Lucky quietly, "We'll be by around seven."

Adam Supreme looked at him for a moment and then walked away as Mister Frink and Dick Douglas walked to the stage. Mister Lucky hopped down and Mister Frink tossed the clown down in front of him.

"We caught the assassin," said Mister Frink, immediately regretting stating the obvious.

"I see that," said Mister Lucky, unable to tear his bespectacled eyes from the clown, "We have to turn him over to the police, I guess."

"So he almost killed that Supreme guy," said Dick, leaning against the stage, "He should get a medal, not jail-time!"

"I won't hear you say an unkind word about Adam Supreme," said Mister Lucky, who had begun to feel the same odd connection with Supreme as Mister Frink felt, "He's invited all the Bassets over for dinner."

"Aw, shucks, do I have to go?" said Dick, pouting.

"We're all going," said Mister Lucky, "Even Jojo and the Little Spick."

"Aw nertz," said Dick, "Pardon my French, but you're a pain in the rear!"

"Not to interrupt, but the clown has gone quite limp," said Mister Frink, leaning over the assassin.

"Mister Lucky probably bored him to death talking about Supreme," said Dick.

"I'd say it's far more likely that he took a poison capsule after he got captured," said Mister Lucky, deep in thought, "It doesn't matter. Just toss the body somewhere, we have other things to worry about."

"More important than a suicidal assassin clown?" said Mister Frink, who couldn't believe the malarkey that was coming out of his mouth.

"Yes," said Mister Lucky.

"We really should find out who's behind it," said Mister Frink, "Or at least bury him."

"No, we don't," said Mister Lucky with the air of someone who was done with the conversation, "It's nothing for us to worry about."

"My keen detecting skills tell me something's bothering him," said Dick Douglas as Mister Lucky walked away.

Mister Frink watched him walk away and a deep sense of unease fell upon him, "Yes, but it's something he alone must face, I think. Let's get back to the Fox's Den. We must prepare for tonight. Whatever is happening, I doubt this clown is the end of it."

***

Around seven, the Basset Hound Brigade arrived at Adam Supreme's house, which was a mansion on the outskirts of the city.

"Golly!" said the Little Spick in awe, "I ain't never seen a house this big!"

"My granddaddy used to work at a house like this," said Jojo Jenkins, "Then he and his friends burned it down."

"Why'd they do that? Oh!" said Vinny Fitzpatrick.

"Well, it was during the war, and my granddaddy and his friends were just fed up with being treated like slaves," explained Jojo.

Vinny looked at him while still trying to look at the house, "They weren't?"

"No, they was," said Jojo darkly, "Until they burned the house down."

"Yeah, I know how he felt," said the Little Spick, "I burned down this one workhouse I used to live at. Best thing I ever did."

"Maddon! You two are the devil's own brand o' nuts," said Vinny.

"Enough chatter, you three," said Mister Lucky, walking past them and motioning for them to follow, "We have to be on our best behavior. That means no stealing. Any of you."

"I don't need to steal when they're givin' me stuff," said the Little Spick defensively.

"I wasn't necessarily talking to you, Little Spick," said Mister Lucky, turning his gaze upon Dick Douglas.

Dick grumbled, "You take one cup from a place and you get branded for life. I don't even want to be here. This Adam Supreme is bad news."

"You're the only one who thinks that," said Mister Frink, who had combed his beard for this occasion.

They reached the front door and before they knocked, Adam Supreme opened it, wearing an apron, "Hello, Bassets! Come on in, dinner will be ready soon. Until then, I've got a slight problem."

"Told you," said Dick, "He just wanted us to come over and fix his problem for him."

"Shut up, Dick," said Mister Lucky, "What's the problem?"

"Since I got home from the banquet, someone keeps shooting things at my house," said Adam, removing the apron, "Strange things."

"What sort of things?" said Mister Frink.

"Little people with pointed helmets," said Adam.

"Midget bullets?" said Dick, immediately scanning the skies for any sign of such a thing.

"Yes, I suppose you could call them that," said Adam, "You've gone all white again, Mister Lucky."

"I just need to get inside," croaked Mister Lucky, "That's all."

The team followed Adam inside, and the Little Spick looked at the splendor surrounding him, "Golly! It's even better on the inside! A man could eat like a king all his life with all this loot!"

Adam wagged a finger at him, "A man could also eat like a king by working hard and staying on the straight and narrow, young man. Earning your way in life is better than just surviving."

"Yeah, I guess so," said the Little Spick dejectedly.

"Of course, tonight you can eat your fill and more," Adam placed his hand on the Little Spick's shoulder, "All of you can!"

There was a knock on the door and Adam walked over and opened it. No one was there, save for a package. He picked it up, "I wonder what's inside."

"Don't open it," said Mister Lucky, "I think it's a very good idea not to open it."

"Don't be silly," said Adam, placing the box on a table, "What's the worse that could happen?"

"You should listen to the man," said a voice. Everyone turned as a man stepped out of the shadows, "He is known for his luck, after all."

Adam Supreme grabbed an umbrella from the stand by the door and held it in front of him, "Who the blazes are you?"

"Mister Lucky knows me all too well," said the man.

"I certainly do, PT Barnum!" said Mister Lucky, venom in his voice.

"But didn't you die years ago?" said Adam Supreme.

"That's just what I want the world to think," said PT Barnum, "I'm a master showman, after all, and all the world's my stage."

"Why is the owner of a circus trying to kill Adam Supreme?" said Mister Frink.

"I'll tell you why," said PT Barnum, pulling a telescoping baton from his belt. He pointed it to Mister Lucky, "It's all because of him!"

"I find all of this hard to believe, especially that," said Adam Supreme, "Besides, why would you attack me because of Mister Lucky?"

PT Barnum whipped his baton at a chair and it telescoped to it, wrapping around it, and the chair was pulled towards Barnum, who sat upon it, "It all started years ago, before Mister Lucky joined the Bassets, when he was just a man wandering around the country getting by on his luck. You know how he operates, don't you?"

"I certainly do," said Adam Supreme, "He's the World's Luckiest Man! Good luck happens all around him, and he uses that to perform good deeds."

"Yes, and as you know, a circus has no need for the world's luckiest man," said Barnum, "However, I happened upon Mister Lucky performing a feat of so-called luck and it got me to thinking that, perhaps, he wasn't the world's luckiest man!"

"Then what is he?" said Adam Supreme skeptically.

PT Barnum stood up and kicked the chair away, forcing it to flip through the air and land where it had originally sat, "The world's smartest man, which would be an attraction indeed! However, until he joined the Basset Hound Brigade, I was unable to find him and test my theory. Now, though, I had the happy circumstance to be performing in New Jersey and heard about the banquet in the park. It was the perfect chance to see if Lucky was, indeed, lucky."

"Hold on a second," said Dick Douglas, attempting to digest all this information.

"Yes?" said Barnum.

"The circus is in town?" said Dick.

"Yes," said Barnum, sidling up to Dick, "The famed Dick Douglas, no doubt acting dumb in order to lure me into a corner! It won't work."

"How the blazes is attacking Adam Supreme testing Mister Lucky?" said Mister Frink angrily.

"I don't expect anyone to understand my motives," said Barnum, "Except the world's smartest man! Do you understand why I did this?"

"What?" said Mister Lucky, "No? No! Of course not! I'm not smart, just really lucky!"

"I see," said PT Barnum as the front door opened behind him. He stepped through it, "Well then, I'm done here. Farewell."

The door shut and all was silent until Adam Supreme said, "That was relatively bizarre."

"I only got one question," said the Little Spick, "When are we gonna eat?"

Adam Supreme smiled and laughed, "Right away."

"I'll be along in a minute," said Mister Lucky, still staring at the door, "I need to wash my hands. No need to test my luck. Heh."

"Right you are," said Adam, "In fact, we should all wash our hands."

"Don't think you're off the hook, Supreme," hissed Dick Douglas, "I swear I will take you down one day."

Soon, Mister Lucky and Mister Frink were left alone in the foyer. "Now that we're alone, tell me. Are you the world's luckiest man, or the world's smartest man?"

"What do you think I am, Frinky?" said Mister Lucky weakly.

Mister Frink pondered this for a moment and nodded, "I see."

Adam Supreme returned, "It sure takes you fellas a long time to wash your hands!"

"Yeah, but they're washed now," said Mister Lucky, the weakness vanishing from his voice, "Let's go eat!"

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Article of Evidence

Posted by meekrat on September 22, 2010

At the Fox’s Den, headquarters of the world famous Basset Hound Brigade, the team was enjoying a rare night in when suddenly trouble stuck! In the form of a man knocking on the door! The first on the scene was Jojo Jenkins, gardener.

“Hello?” Jojo answered, but as he opened the door he was met with a flash of blinding light.

“Gee whiz, what a story!” said the light, though as it dimmed it revealed a short stocky man in a pork-pie hat with a “PRESS” ticket sticking out of its brim, “The Basset Hound Brigade keep a slave!”

Jojo stepped back nervously, raising his hands defensively, “Why you taking my picture? I never did no crime!”

Jojo’s cries did not go unheard, and the Impossible Mister Frink joined him at the doorway, “What’s going on here, Mister Jenkins?”

Jojo pointed to the reporter outside, “That man just took my picture!”

“A slave and one of our British oppressors? The Basset Hound Brigade is a regular house of sin,” exclaimed the reporter, snapping more pictures, “This is the story that’ll take me right to the top!”

“Oh dear,” sighed Mister Frink as he rolled up his sleeves and approached the newspaperman, “You must be a newspaperman. I believe our official policy is to turn you out upon your arse and wish you the best.”

“I’ve no doubt about that,” said the reporter, escaping Mister Frink’s grasp with the ease of one who had done so many times before, “What else do you have in there? Vampires? Automatons?”

The Little Spick, commander of the Orphan Freelance and member of the Basset Hound Brigade, chose that inopportune moment to join his compatriots at the doorway, “What’s goin’ on here?”

The reporter snapped more pictures, deftly moving so that he could see past Jojo and Mister Frink, “Why, hello there, son! I’m Arlo Flannery, newspaperman! What do you know about this Basset Hound Brigade?”

The Little Spick grinned and jammed his thumb into his chest proudly, “Why, I’m a bona-fide member!”

Arlo nodded, “What do your parents have to say about that?”

“Nothing, on account of me not havin’ any!” said the Little Spick, still grinning.

Arlo shot more pictures, “Child labor! Not only that, but minority child labor! I know we don’t have any laws against that sort of thing, this being the nineteen-twenties, but it’s still sensational! Off I go to make a name for myself by dragging yours through the mud! Farewell, gentlemen!” With that, Arlo Flannery tipped his hat and ran off.

Jojo turned to Mister Frink, “We’re in trouble, ain’t we?”

“Indubitably,” said Mister Frink solemnly, “We must alert the rest of the Bassets!”

***

In no time flat, the team was assembled in the study. Mister Lucky paced back and forth in front of a statue of the team’s founder, Horatio Chan, who was otherwise indisposed. Mister Frink stood against the wall, arms crossed, while the rest of the team lounged on various couches and chairs.

“I thought we had an agreement with the newspaper,” ranted Mister Lucky, waving his arms, “We keep providing the derring-do and they don’t try to pull stunts like this!”

“Faith and begorrah,” said Vinny Fitzpatrick, the team’s pilot, tears welling in his eyes, “What are we going to do?”

Mister Lucky slammed his fist on a nearby desk, “For one thing, it’s pretty clear to me that anyone with a skeleton in their closet is going to cause this guy to jump to some crazy conclusion. Which means that, god help us, Dick Douglas is our only hope.”

Vinny Fitzpatrick looked up in shock, “But Mister Lucky, what did you ever do that was wrong? You don’t got anything to worry about.”

Mister Lucky stared at Vinny and loosened his bow-tie, “Why, I was one of the founding members of the Orphan Freelance. That’s it. No other skeletons in my closet. Heh.”

“Sorry for bringing it up,” said Vinny, who remembered he was distraught and began almost crying once again.

“It’s all right, you didn’t know. No one did,” said Mister Lucky, tightening his bow-tie again, “Anyway, that’s why Dick’s our only hope. As far as I know, he’s the only one of us without any blemishes on his record. Well, not his personal record, anyway.”

“So I’m the only hope, huh?” said Dick Douglas, who had been reclining on a couch and forcing Jojo to stand, “Well then, I guess that I’m on the case! Uh, what am I doing again?”

“You have to track down this Arlo Flannery person and convince him not to do whatever he’s planning,” said Mister Lucky.

Dick stood up and walked to the door with a swagger, “Heh. Yeah, that’s right. This is a job only Dick Douglas can do, and the rest of your jokers better not forget it.”

After he left, Mister Lucky turned to the rest of the team, “While he’s keeping Arlo busy, let’s find a new headquarters and think up a new name for ourselves. In fact, we might as well try to think up pseudonyms, too.”

***

Dick Douglas wandered the streets, searching high and low for his quarry but also trying to find his office and remember exactly what he was supposed to be doing. After wandering around the city for half an hour, he finally found his office and sat down in his chair and leaned back, putting his feet on the desk.

“I remember when this office was haunted,” said Dick, reminiscing about the founding of the Basset Hound Brigade, “That was a mystery and a half, but I solved it, I did, and took down those Nazi jewel thieves! And I can solve this case! Whatever it is, no matter how many Nazis I have to take down. Huh. Maybe I should have written down what my case is…”

There was a knock at the door and Dick sat up, “Come in?”

The door creaked open, revealing Arlo Flannery, “I’m looking for a private eye to help me dig up some dirt on the Basset Hound Brigade.”

“So you came to the best,” said Dick, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

Arlo sat down in the chair opposite Dick’s desk and shook his head, “No, I came to the cheapest.”

Dick didn’t miss a beat, “That’s because I don’t want to deny anyone my keen detection skills. Who did you say you were?”

“The name is Flannery. Arlo Flannery,” the reporter held out his hand, “I’m a newspaperman and this story I’m working on is going to be my big break!”

Dick completely ignored Arlo’s hand, “What story is this?”

Arlo, nevertheless, kept it raised, “The one about the Basset Hound Brigade. You know, maybe I can find someone else.”

Dick continued ignoring Arlo’s hand, but went on the offensive, “Ah, no. I’m just being thorough. I need the money up front.”

Arlo’s hand finally went down, reaching into his pocket to get his money clip. He paged through the paltry amount of bills it contained, “I only have fifteen bucks. You see, this story is going to be — ”

Dick Douglas grabbed the money and shoved it into his own pocket, “Yes, yes. The thing about the Basset Hound Brigade. Fifteen bucks will do.”

“It’s all I have,” said Arlo, “That and this camera.”

“Huh. That’s a nice camera,” said Dick, reaching over and grabbing the camera. Since it was latched to Arlo’s neck, it wasn’t going without a fight, “I’ll take that, too.”

“I can’t give you my camera,” said Arlo, struggling against Dick, “I have pictures on it that I need for my story.”

Dick continued to pull, trying to free the camera from Arlo’s grasp, “Uh, I’ll give you the pictures. Just give me the camera and I’ll help you with your story.”

Arlo sighed and unlatched the camera, “All right. Fine. Here’s the camera. When will you give me the pictures?”

Dick began fiddling with any button or latch he could find on his new device, “Right now. How do I open it?”

“No! You’ll ruin my pictures! You’ll ruin — ” shouted Arlo, nearly leaping over the desk to save his photographs. He was too late, however, as Dick pushed a button and the back of the camera opened up, spilling out film, “– my pictures. You just ruined my pictures.”

“Did I? I never used a camera before,” Dick looked at the camera and tossed it on the ground, shattering its lens, “Oh well. It just so happens that I know where these Fox Hound Coalition fellows are holed up, and pardon my French, but they’re a pain in my rear. It’ll be a pleasure to help you take them down. I’ll even do it free of charge.”

Arlo stared at him, his face pale, “You just took my camera and all the money I have.”

“I mean from this point forward it’ll be free of charge,” said Dick, “Plus expenses, of course. Now let’s go, if we hurry we’ll be able to catch all of them. Including their ring-leader!”

The color returned to Arlo’s face and his eyes glistened, “You mean Mister Lucky? Golly, if I could just get an ounce of dirt on him, it’ll undo all the damage you’ve already done to my blossoming career! It’s a deal!”

Dick Douglas stood up and strode to the door, “Let’s go take down some Fox Hounds!”

Arlo stood up and followed him, “You mean Bassets?”

Dick opened the door and the pair walked out, “Whatever!”

***

Dick Douglas and Arlo Flannery stood in front of the Fox’s Den after wandering around the city for an hour and a half, consisting of Dick trying to remember where he was going and, once he remembered, where the place he was going was.

Arlo turned to Dick, “I was just here an hour ago.”

“Yeah?” said Dick, “Well, now we’re back here again, and this time we’ll bring down Mister Lucky. Hey, do you have a notebook I can borrow?”

Arlo stared at the detective, clutching his jacket close to his body, “I need my notebook. It has all the information I have on the Bassets so far, and I won’t be able to write down anything about Mister Lucky if I don’t have it. So I’d really rather not give you my notebook.”

Dick glared at him, “Listen, do you want me to solve this case?”

“Well, yes, but — ” stammered Arlo.

“Then give me the notebook!”

“Fine,” Arlo relented, pulling his notebook from his jacket and handing it over. He pulled out a pen, “Do you need this too?”

Dick grabbed the notebook and the pen, “I thought that went without saying.”

“Oh well,” said Arlo, rubbing his hands together with malevolent glee, “When I bring down Mister Lucky, it’ll more than make up for it!”

“All right. Knock on the door,” said Dick.

Arlo looked at Dick as if the detective had just told him to shoot the president, “Why?”

Dick smiled in what he hoped was a cunning way, “How else do you expect to get in?”

“I thought you had a way in!” said Arlo.

“Yes, knocking on the front door,” Dick pointed to the door, “It’s the perfect plan. They’ll never expect it.”

“If you say so,” said Arlo, who walked up the steps and knocked on the door.

It opened to reveal Jojo Jenkins, whose eyes bulged in surprise, “Hello? What you doing back here, Mister Douglas? Why’d you bring the newspaper man with you?”

Suspicions began to rise in Arlo’s mind, “What is he talking about?”

“Never you mind,” said Dick, pushing Arlo out of the way, “Let me in, Jojo. My client and I have business to attend to.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Mister Douglas,” said Jojo, standing his ground.

“As your employer, I demand you let me in or I’ll not feed you for a week!” said Dick.

Jojo thought about bringing up the fact that Dick rarely remembered to buy any groceries and so he and Jojo had to dine nearly exclusively at the Fox’s Den, but thought better of it, “If you say so, Mister Douglas.”

“Thanks, Jojo,” said Dick, entering the Fox’s Den. He turned to Arlo, “Follow me.”

The suspicions that had begun to rise had finished their ascent and were at the forefront of Arlo’s mind, “Wait, you’re that Dick Douglas?”

Dick stopped as if he had been stricken through the heart, “There’s more than one?” He regained his composure and continued walking, “They’re right through here.”

“So you’ve just been trying to trick me?” said Arlo, his face once again pale, his eyes sunken, looking for all the world as if someone had just shot his dog.

“No,” said Dick, “As I said, these Bassets are a pain in my rear. And they’re right through here!”
Dick swung a door open, revealing the Basset Hound Brigade, all of whom had changed their clothes. A set of fake IDs was sitting on the desk and someone had brought in a chalkboard and written down a list of locations with the heading “New Headquarters?”

Mister Lucky turned to the newcomers, dressed in a mortarboard and gown, “Dick? What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m helping to bring you and this crooked organization down,” said Dick smugly, “Why are you all dressed like that?”

“We knew you’d screw up, but we never thought you’d outright betray us,” said Mister Lucky, trying to keep from panicking.

“Well, he decided to do what’s right, not what you say,” said Arlo, who actually had no idea what was going on but was going to make the most of it, “As well he should, since I gave him all my money, my camera, and my notebook! I have virtually no proof of your wrongdoing other than my word!”

Mister Lucky stared at Arlo, then at Dick, “Is this true? You took all his stuff?”

“I sure did,” said Dick, in the middle of tossing the notebook and pen into a fireplace.

“Did you mean to?” said Mister Lucky, “I mean, did you plan to take all of his stuff?”

“I certainly did,” said Dick.

“So, wait,” said Mister Lucky, taking off his mortarboard and scratching his head, “You took all the proof he had. And all his money.”

“That’s what I did,” said Dick.

“So you actually,” started Mister Lucky, trying to force the rest of the words through his mind and out his mouth, “Saved the Basset Hound Brigade?”

“Yeah, I guess I did,” said Dick, shoving the Little Spick off a couch and reclining upon it, “Maybe I planned it all along.”

“So you… you… what?” Mister Lucky sat down, “You actually did it? You saved the day?”

Arlo Flannery stood in front of Dick and removed his hat, “Dick Douglas, you’re the most cunning and devious man I’ve ever met. I take off my hat to you, and it’s clear that in any battle of wits, I’ll quickly lose to you. Any organization with you as a member must be top-notch do-gooders.”

“Yeah, that’s right, spread the word,” said Dick. Arlo nodded, put on his hat, and hurried out the door.

Mister Lucky turned to Mister Frink, “Did you have anything to do with this, Frinky?”

“No,” replied Mister Frink.

“I need to go lie down. This is just too much,” said Mister Lucky as he removed his gown and exited the room, “Good job, Dick. Good job saving the day.”

“Yep, I’m great,” said Dick Douglas.

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Time-Mind Sync-Warp #52

Posted by meekrat on September 22, 2010

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Terror at the Lion Drome

Posted by meekrat on September 21, 2010

The man known only as Death-Trap Devon, and also Devon Danger, and also Devon Smith, ran through the Lion Drome through the pouring rain. Every drop mingled with his panicked sweat and caressed his danger-hardened body, eventually being soaked up by his undergarments. This led to a slight squishy noise when he turned suddenly, but he was in far too much of a tizzy to care about things like funny noises. No, for Devon worked in a Lion Drome, and when there’s terror in a Lion Drome, even the strongest of men turn yellow. Not literally, of course. Metaphorically. Death-Trap Devon crashed into the offices of his boss, Cortez Montego, with the news that had him so panicked.

“Sir! Sir! All the lions are in a tizzy, make no mistake!” gasped Devon, trying to catch his breath, “I’ve no idea what’s gotten into them!”

Cortez Montego puffed his cheap cigar, the foul aroma of which filled the tiny office and nearly made Devon opt for the downpour outside. Montego put his feet atop his desk, soaking some safety violations that had been sitting there for months, “I know. They’ve been acting that way all week! Ever since we got that new lion from Darkest Africa.”

Devon knew the lion’s reputation well, and his face grew dark, “You mean that big fella? I heard some strange things about him from the trappers, sir.”

“So did I. Apparently, there was a smaller lion riding on top of him!” Montego began to chortle, which turned into a raking cough. Devon ran over and began patting him on the back, but Montego waved him off and continued, “A lion the natives called — ” There was a crash of thunder, ” — Leon Leopolous!”

Devon leaned against a file cabinet, “Maybe the big fella misses Leon?”

Montego sat up and slammed his fist on his desk, kicking up scraps of tobacco and a good helping of dust, “Don’t be silly, Devon! Lions don’t miss things! They’re just animals, and other than the noble donkey, animals don’t have feelings at all! In any case, maybe we’d better get someone to figure out what’s going on. Get me the foremost lionologist in the United States!”

“Uh, those don’t exist,” said Devon, softly.

“Then get me the Basset Hound Brigade!”

***

In the heart of New York sat the Fox’s Den, fabled headquarters of the Basset Hound Brigade. Though few of its members chose to reside there, it had enough trappings for a dozen men to live happily and in good health for decades. The headquarters was supposedly secreted behind a gentleman’s club, but there was also a side door which proclaimed the Fox’s Den to be the home of the Bassets. It was at this door that a mysterious figure now knocked. The knocking continued until the daring detective Dick Douglas answered the door.

“Hello?” he said, looking out the door. He was about to close it when he heard a noise which sounded remarkably like purring at his feet. He looked down to find what appeared to be a soaked hairy midget, “You’re a hairy little midget, aren’t you? We don’t serve your kind here, so why don’t you make like a freight train and go somewhere else?” The midget continued to purr, more forcefully, and Dick Douglas pulled out his sidearm, “Forceful little freak of nature, ain’t ya? Well, I’ve just got the thing for that!”

The sound of gunshots caused Mister Lucky running. He met Dick Douglas in the main hallway, “I heard gunshots! What’s going on here?”

Dick Douglas shot a priceless vase, “There’s some hairy little midget running around, Lucky, and I aim to put him out of my misery!”

“A hairy little midget?” Mister Lucky pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, “What?”

“That weren’t no midget, Mister Lucky!” said Dick’s gardener, Jojo Jenkins.

“Holy Christ!” shouted Dick, leaping back and aiming his gun at Jojo, “How long have you been here?”

Mister Lucky gently pressed his forefinger on the barrel of Dick’s gun, pointing it towards the floor, “What was it, then?”

“I think it was a dog or somethin’!” said Jojo, excited to be included, “Maybe some sort of cat!”

Mister Lucky peered down the hall, seeing nothing out of the ordinary, “Well, if it’s in here, then we have to find it — ”

“And shoot it!” finished Dick.

“No! Unless it attacks us, in which case blow its brains out,” said Mister Lucky, “Jojo, go to the Room of Science and bring me back Frinky’s new invention. Dick, you come with me. We’ve got to find that beast!”

“Yessir!” Jojo saluted and ran off.

“Pardon my French, Mister Lucky, but you’re a pain in the rear!” said Dick sourly.

“You wouldn’t think it’d be so easy for some wild animal to hide in here! Especially for this long, considering your detecting skills,” said Mister Lucky.

Dick Douglas aimed his gun down the hallway and noticed something he hadn’t before, “Oh my God! My sleeves have buttons on them!”

“Then again…” said Mister Lucky, who was unable to finish his thought as the hairy midget had entered the hallway, “That’s no dog! That’s a lion!”

“Stand back! I’ll shoot it!” said Dick, already aiming his gun at the lion’s forehead.

Mister Lucky pushed Dick’s arm down, “No, it’s not even attacking us.”

“Is this what you wanted?” said Jojo, coming out of nowhere and proffering a small metal box with a leather belt connected to it.

“It sure is!” said Mister Lucky, kneeling next to the lion and wrapping the belt around its neck, “Hold still, little guy. Let me get this on you. There we go!”

The box crackled to life and soon a low scratchy monotone was heard, “Mrrowhat is happening.”

“Dear God!” shouted Dick, running into the kitchen. He peeked around the corner, “That lion is a witch!”

“No, Dick, it’s just Frinky’s invention,” Mister Lucky stood up and placed his hand on the lion’s head, “It allows animals to communicate with man!”

The box crackled, “I have to come to ask assistance. My friend was abducted by white apes. I want to find him.”

“What a silly lion,” said Dick, emerging from the kitchen with a jar of honey and a spoon, “Here, have some honey.”

“No, Dick!” said Mister Lucky, but he was too late.

The lion’s tongue cautiously licked at the honey, and then began greedily lapping it up, “I like the taste of honey. On my tongue.”

There was another knock on the door and Dick dropped the jar of honey and ran to the door. Mister Lucky dove to the floor to catch the jar and watched in terror as Dick drew his sidearm, “I hope it’s someone I can shoot!” The door opened to reveal Death-Trap Devon, dressed in a white jumpsuit and carrying his helmet under his arm. Behind him, the rain pelted his motorbike. Dick holstered his weapon, “It’s not. Just some white guy.”

“Hello there, I came here…” started Devon, and then he noticed the lion, “Oh my God! It’s a lion!”

“Hey! I know him!” said Jojo, who had obtained a brush and was brushing the lion’s mane with love, “He’s Death-Trap Devon! He works at the local Lion Drome!”

“Hello there,” said Mister Lucky, stepping in front of the lion, “What brings you to the Fox’s Den?”

“Uh, actually, I came here to ask for help with one of our lions, but it seems you have lion problems of your own,” said Devon, pointing to the lion.

The lion sniffed the air and stood up, walking close to Devon and sniffing him, “The white ape. He has the scent of my friend on him. He has my friend. Give me back my friend.”

“Jesus Christ!” said Devon, stepping back, “You gave it the ability to talk?”

“We sure did, and today’s your lucky day, because we’re all going down to this Lion Drome of yours to get to the bottom of this,” said Mister Lucky.

“All right,” said Devon, putting on his helmet.

Mister Lucky smiled widely, almost malevolently, “But wait, there’s more! If we find out this Lion Drome is up to no good, then we’re going to shut it down!”

“Oh boy!” said Jojo, “I get to go on an adventure!”

Mister Lucky’s smile shrunk into a nervous one, “Uh, by everyone, I mean everyone but you.”

“Aw man,” said Jojo, kicking a prudently placed can, “I guess someone has to watch the house.”

“Also, the Lion Drome doesn’t allow coloreds,” said Devon, with a small apologetic smile.

“Oh,” said Jojo.

***

Dick Douglas, Mister Lucky, Death-Trap Devon, and the lion known as Leon Leopolous stood outside the mammoth Lion Drome. While its lights were off, one could tell even in the darkness that it was a wonder of the world.

“My God! It’s magnificent!” said Dick Douglas, looking up in awe.

“Oh yes. The nineteen-twenties truly are a time of wonder and decadence. Now then, Devon, show us what you need to show us!” said Mister Lucky.

“I smell my friend,” said Leon Leopolous, “My friend is here.”

“Sure thing, Mister Lucky,” said Devon nervously, “Just let me consult with my boss.” He ran off.

“He sure left in a hurry,” said Dick.

“Almost too much of a hurry. Oh well,” said Mister Lucky, placing his hand on Leon’s back, “Lead the way, Leon! The Basset Hound Brigade doesn’t need things like permission and cooperation to get the job done.”

Leon snorted and began walking, “He is this way.”

***

In Cortez Montego’s office, Montego spat out his coffee, “What do you mean you brought them here?”

Death-Trap Devon shifted nervously from foot to foot, “Isn’t that what you wanted me to do?”

“That was before I knew they had a lion with them, you nitwit,” said Montego, standing up and coming very close to slapping Devon, “Not only that, a talking lion!”

“I was thinking that maybe we could kidnap the lion and make it perform,” said Devon, unflinching, “A talking lion is pretty magnificent.”

Montego began pacing his office, “Don’t you get it? If that lion talks to the other lions, then the whole jig is up! Those are black-market lions!” There was another clap of thunder.

Devon was taken aback, “What?”

“We couldn’t afford lions the legit way, so we had to hire unsavory thugs to go to Africa and take the lions from their homes and families,” said Montego.

“I don’t get it,” said Devon, “Wouldn’t that cost the same thing as hiring legitimate trappers?”

“No, you fool!” said Montego, slapping Devon, “If that lion talks to the other lions, the jig is up! I need you to go take care of Lucky and Douglas! And the talking lion!”

“I most certainly won’t! I have no problems risking my life daily in death-defying stunts, but black market lions?” said Devon, stomping towards Montego and backing him into a corner, “Killing people? That, sir, is where I draw the line! Good day to you!”

“I thought you might say that,” said Montego slyly, “Oliver Aquarius!”

Devon stepped back, “Not him!”

“Yes me,” said a large bald man with especially dry skin, “What do you want me to do, boss?”

Montego dusted himself off and pointed at his other employee, “Grab Devon, and then take care of the Bassets and that talking lion.”

Aquarius nodded and grabbed Devon with his massive hands. Devon struggled, but was unable to free himself. Without the slightest hint of any sort of emotion, Aquarius said, “Right away, sir.”

***

Unaware of the goings-on elsewhere in the Lion Drome, the Bassets stood in front of the lion cage with Leon Leopolous.

“That’s a whole lot of lions,” said Dick, not for the first time.

“Is your friend in there, Leon?” said Mister Lucky, trying to ignore him.

Leon sniffed the air, “Yes.” A large lion looked up and walked over to the bars, and he and Leon began nuzzling.

“Are they queer lions or something?” said Dick Douglas.

“It’s not our place to judge, Dick,” said Mister Lucky, “I think lions do things differently, though. I mean, their bond is so strong that Leon found his way from Africa somehow and sought us out.”

“My friend tells me something,” said Leon, “He says that he and the others were taken from Darkest Africa badly.”

“What do you mean?” said Mister Lucky.

“Kidnapped,” said Leon as the thunder clapped overhead.

“That’s terrible, I think!” said Mister Lucky, driving his fist into his palm, “Well, we’ll just have to go set things right.”

“Danger behind you,” said Leon.

“Stupid lion,” said Oliver Aquarius, holding some rope and sacks in front of several other nameless thugs.

“Oh no! Shoot him!” said Mister Lucky.

“Right you are!” said Dick, grinning as he pulled out his gun and aimed at the brute’s head. He pulled the trigger, but the only thing the gun did was click. “Huh. Guess I used up the bullets.”

Mister Lucky stepped back and looked around for something he could use as a weapon, “Oh no!”

“Get them, boys!” said Aquarius, pointing at the trio.

Before they knew it, the Bassets were beaten and tied up in the middle of the Lion Drome’s main arena, a giant bowl-shaped track designed to allow men in motorbikes with lions in the sidecars to drive as fast as possible to the thrill of all. Nearby, Devon was tied to one of the Lion Drome’s motorbikes with Leon Leopolous in the sidecar.

“I can’t believe we lost so easily,” said Mister Lucky.

“I just wonder what they’re going to do with us,” said Dick.

“They’re going to kill us,” said Mister Lucky with a sigh, “They said that fifty times.”

“Oh. Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention,” said Dick.

Oliver Aquarius towered over his captives, “Not only that, but we’re going to kill you with each other! I’ve tied Devon up to his motorbike so that it’ll keep going until it reaches the very tip of the lion drome, at which point it will start going downwards, slowly building up speed with your lion friend in the motorbike’s sidecar. Then, when he reaches the absolute bottom, he will crash into you, killing you all in the process! And, just to make it seem like a suicide, I’m going to leave Douglas’s gun sitting right here on the ground within easy reach of you! It’s the perfect crime!”

“My God! He’s right!” said Dick, his voice rapt with appreciation for such a scheme, “What a mastermind!”

“Sorry, Bassets,” said Devon, “I didn’t know the world of Lion Dromes was such a dark and seedy place.”

“It’s okay, just let me figure out a way to get us out of this,” said Mister Lucky, “I am the World’s Luckiest Man, after all. Shouldn’t be too hard.”

“You can’t! And now I’ll retreat to a safe distance, as to not be collateral damage! See you in Hell!” Aquarius turned the key for Devon’s motorbike, bowed, and ran out of the arena.

“This is it, I guess!” said Devon as the motorbike began its ascent of doom, “I’m sorry you and your friend had to be dragged into this, Leon.”

“It is all right,” said Leon, remaining remarkably peaceful, “I forgive you.”

Devon gritted his teeth, “You do? Well, that gives me the strength to get us out of this! At least, some of us.”

“What do you mean,” said Leon.

“I know what you’re thinking, Devon, and don’t!” shouted Mister Lucky, “Better for all of us to die with honor than for one of us to die with honor and the rest of rest of us to go on to live long and happy lives!”

Dick’s brow furrowed, “Uh, wait — ”

Devon’s mind was made up, however, “No, this is what I have to do to atone for my sins.”

Mister Lucky sighed with relief, “We’ll remember you, Devon! You’re an honorary Basset!”

“Thanks, Mister Lucky! See if you can put that gun in my way!” screamed Devon, struggling to be heard over his motorbike’s engine.

Mister Lucky stuck out his leg and easily pushed the gun in front of where he knew Devon’s path lay, “Done!”

Devon turned to the lion in his sidecar, “Leon, I’m going to try to slow down. Can you jump out?”

Leon turned to him, “Yes. I am only being held here by centrifugal force and the fear of death.”

“All right then,” said Devon, closing his eyes, “Here we go.”

Using all his might and inner strength, Devon was able to relax his grip on the motorbike’s accelerator, allowing Leon Leopolous to easily leap off. As the bike continued to descend, it eventually hit the track and sped towards Mister Lucky and Dick Douglas. Once the front wheel hit the gun, the bike somersaulted into the air over the pair and landed on the ground, exploding on impact and taking Devon with it.

“Devon made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live,” said Dick, sadly.

“Quick! Get us out of this ropes!” shouted Mister Lucky, turning towards Leon. Leon ran over and easily bit through them. Mister Lucky stood up and rubbed his wrists, “There we go! Now let’s go get Montego and Aquarius!” Somewhere in the Lion Drome, a gun ran off and Mister Lucky froze in his tracks, “Oh god. That came from Montego’s office.”

Dick Douglas squinted, “I can see the window from here. Poor bastard shot himself. Couldn’t live with the shame of what he did, I guess.”

Mister Lucky took off in a sprint, “Then let’s get after Aquarius!”

***

Back the lion cage, Oliver Aquarius stood at its door with an axe in each hand and a smile on his lips, “With the Basset Hound Brigade out of the way, I can kill all these lions! Then I’ll make a killing of another kind, on the meat black market! Selling lion meat! Ha!”

Two glowing eyes looked at him from the shadows, and Leon Leopolous emerged, snarling, “No you will not.” He leapt through the air and knocked Aquarius to the ground and began clawing at the man’s face and chest.

Mister Lucky ran out of the shadows, followed by Dick Douglas, and pulled Leon off of Aquarius, “That’s enough, Leon! I know you want to exact jungle justice upon him, but he’ll get his! In jail!”

Aquarius snarled and was about to sit up when Mister Lucky brought his foot down upon his chest. Aquarius spat at him, “I swear to you, I’ll spend my life trying to get revenge on all of you and your descendants! Especially you, talking lion!”

Mister Lucky smiled down at him, “Oh, put a sock in it. We stopped your evil scheme, and you’re going to jail for the maximum length of time. Several weeks!”

Dick Douglas stood in front of the open cage door, “Should I just let the lions go, then, so they can all go back to Africa? Only I sort of already did.”

“I will lead them back to our homeland,” said Leon as he began to claw the voice box off his neck. Mister Lucky began undoing the buckles, and Leon continued, “Thank you for what you have done, Bassets. We will never forget your heroism and courage.”

With that, Leon Leopolous ran after his lion brethren to lead them back to Africa. Dick Douglas and Mister Lucky stood and watched them leave, and waved to them. Mister Lucky smiled, “It was all in a day’s work for the Basset Hound Brigade!”

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