He had, quite obviously, never stared down three thousand of the little treasures who were now charging at full gallop toward our heroes.
The large crowd who had gathered in Confederation Square to welcome the Grayhound and Puppyboy stood in a sort of odd puzzled stance, not quite sure what to make of the coming doom. JB tried to quickly assess the options. Chris was making a direct beeline for the stairs back down to the parking lot.
JB knew instantly what he had to do. He practically shouted into the microphones "Right you are, Grayhound! Let me help you!" and took off at full sprint after his older brother. Fortunately, being somewhat taller (and apparently in better shape than) Chris, JB quickly grabbed his brother by the shoulder and gruffly directed him toward one of the folding tables nearby.
The sinking feeling that the assembled wave of fluffy fur balls may not wish to stop, nor, quite be able to stop before overrunning them slowly started to dawn upon the throng. A few of the more clever souls broke out in dead sprints toward shelter. Any shelter.
"GRAB THAT TABLE!!" JB screamed at Chris.
"What!?" Chris stammered, This won't protect us from.."
"JUST DO IT AND FOLLOW ME!", JB's tone proved that he had little intention of hiding, and wasn't about to let Chris do the same.
The two dumped off the various refreshments and headed toward the main fountain. Chris realized what JB was planning. He doubted that it would work, but decided it was better than dying beneath a swarm of short hairs
They reached the central jet and on JB's count, they shoved the table into the fountain's stream. The geyser had a lot more pressure than Chris initially expected and he nearly lost grip. JB closed his eyes and focused on keeping the table in the flow. It wasn't much, but it was enough to deflect the spray of water toward the oncoming cats. Some of the cats scattered immediately, others turned and ran down alleys. Within minutes, all of the cats had been disbursed.
It was a good thing too, the table gave out.
Chris and JB picked themselves out of the fountain's pool and started walking back toward the main dais.
Out in the crowd someone started clapping. Another joined in. Within seconds the crowd was cheering. JB smiled and waved. Chris tried to be pleasant, but he wasn't looking forward to putting on wet sneakers tomorrow morning.
Mayor Brown came out from hiding and greeted the soggy saviors. "Well done Lads! He raised their hands up for the cameras."
Chris had enough for the time being, "If you don't mind Mayor, we'd like to go check into our room."
JB piped in, "Yes, we must rest before our next encounter."
"Of course, of course. Stop by tomorrow and we can go over details, I've got a lunch expo planned so I can introduce you to ..."
"No Mayor," JB said, "it's important that the Grayhound and I get started on our case quickly, it's in the best interest of the population."
"..And certainly good for the population count", Chris mumbled.
"Now, where was I?" boomed Bob's voice through the now relatively
empty cavern of Confederation Square.
The Grayhound and Puppyboy established their temporary crime fighting headquarters. Well, actually, they unloaded their stuff into room 203 at the Motel 6.
JB lay in bed staring up at the ceiling while Chris tried to dry off.
"Something's been kinda bothering me, Chris."
"Really? What's been bugging you?"
"Well, you, really."
"Huh?", JB was a little hurt and surprised. "What did I do?"
"I told you that I had no interest in becoming this burg's superhero for hire. All I wanted to do was show up, say 'Thanks, but no thanks' and leave. You get up there and start quoting Captain Adventure in front of every bloody camera in the state."
"I guess I just got carried away."
"Not a bad idea really."
"You mean becoming heroes?"
"No, having you carried away."
"Now we're stuck here."
"What do you mean?", JB asked, "Aren't you gonna just tell the Mayor you aren't a superhero?"
"JB, I'd tell the county clerk I wasn't a superhero because chances are my picture wouldn't be splattered across newspapers with a big ol' 'HE'S A FAKE' under it. Besides, Mom 'n Dad would have a coronary."
"Heh, yeah, They always did want us to do our best."
"'If I wanted you to get B's I'd've thrown you in the azalea bushes!'"
"Heh, Dad was pretty strict too."
"'Finish what you start, Chris!'"
"Carry through, JB, don't just roll over and play dead!'"
"Let's just take care of this.. who the heck are we fighting again?"
JB shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, Whoever and then we'll just slip back into comfortable anonymity."
"You know, I bet the folks would be proud to see us in the papers."
"Of course now, they'll get to see you in that getup. And what's the deal with it anyway?"
"What do you mean?"
"JB, We just jumped in a fountain filled with Gawdonlyknows what and held off a stampede of cats with a flimsy card table. I think I'll have to burn my clothes, but your getup actually looks better. Heck, you're not wet or cold and I think your hair is combed."
JB looked at his outfit. Chris was right. It did look better than when he left that afternoon. "Got me, I didn't notice until now."
"Guess this means I get to go shopping tomorrow. Here." Chris handed JB a beer from the fridge.
"Thanks, don't these things cost, like, five bucks a bottle or something?"
Chris just looked at JB, he slowly raised an eyebrow.
JB realized that opportunities such as these are few and far between. "You're right, we've earned it."
They popped the tops together and both drained the contents in one long draw.
|MsRE:||So what are you gonna do with an army of cats anyway? I mean, c'mon,
cats are impossible to control, they friggin' do whatever they please?
|PrfDoom:||You could give them each a mighty robot warsuit with missiles and laser arm shots, that will get them cowering. Man, thousands of feline warriors at your beck and call each armed to their pointy little teeth.|
|Scarab64:||Yeah, right. Not everyone has your budget Tony.|
|MsRE||Seriously Bob, Cats?|
|PrfDoom:||Well, then, don't use high grade tungsten steel, use a nickel alloy for the armature.|
|BM_BSev_682:||It's not my fault! The FOIA stuff didn't say how powerful the thing was, just that there was an old satellite with a laser on it. I was planning on taking out Pier One but it wasn't strong enough.|
|Scarab64:||How are you going to stuff three thousand cats into robotic suits?|
|C-Rchn:||Why would you want to take out a Pier One? I like their stuff. It goes well in my underground base.|
|MsRE:||No Tom, Pier One is the big tourist attraction in Boise. It's loaded up with expensive shops and stuff. It's kinda like a big mall for rubes.|
|Scarab64:||MIND CONTROL?? ON A CAT???|
|C-Rchn:||Oh, sorry, I thought you meant the store.|
I aimed the satellite at the docks, fired it up, and all that happened was a big red dot.
|PrfDoom:||Ok, so we drug the cats and then alter their DNA so that they become mutants.|
The only thing that happened was I noticed a bunch of cats started chasing it.
|Scarab64:||Tony? How the hell are you going to alter their DNA and make mutants out of them? You're going to spend millions of dollars on research alone for a foot and a half tall mutant!!!|
|BM_BSev_682:||I was really bummed out for a while, but then I found out that cats can't resist a laser pointer.|
|C-Rchn:||Heh, Bob's got the world's biggest laster pointer ;)|
|MsRE:||Couldn't you use it to, I dunno, blind pilots or something?|
|ProfDoom:||Well, then we take the cats and graft the weaponry onto them. A mighty horde of graceful killers armed with gattling guns, missile launchers and megawatt lasers.|
Nah, it's not powerful enough, and since it's in geosync, it doesn't really have the right angle for that. Heck Boise is about the limit for it.
|Scarab64:||ARE YOU ON CRACK!?!? How the @#!$ can a 3lb cat carry 120lbs of weapons!?!?!?!|
Did you try doing a stampede?
Ok Mr. Smart Guy, what ideas to YOU have?
Yup. Got the Mayor when he was introducing some new hero or someone.
I dunno, get'em wet or ticked off or something.
Uh oh :(
Yeah, they didn't look like much.
|MsRE:||Did you shoot them yet?|
|Scarab64||Or, I dunno, have them scratch the heck out of city hall or something.|
Are you kidding? I'm not getting near them. Look what happened to Ralph when he decided to confront his hero? I want to know what these bozos are capable of first.
Oh, yeah, that will grab the headlines. "Million cat march on capitol results in thousands of ruined couches."
Actually Bob, why don't you use them for a while?
|Scarab64||Better than "Terror strikes from hair ball hacking midgets"|
|BM_BSev_682||What do you mean, Kristine?|
|MsRE:||Well, you need to have a victim for your masters, right? Sounds like they just showed up.|
|ProfDoom||Oh yeah? This from "Cricket Boy"|
Hmm, hadn't thought of that.
|Scarab64||Hey!! You know how hard it is to find scarabs in Ohio, professor ty-dy-bowl?|
|BM_BSev_682||Still don't know what to do with the cats...|
|ProfDoom||Blow it out your ear mr. "I'll replace preparation h with nair"|
Oh, I'm sure something will come up.
Chris and JB headed out early the next day.
"JB, we are not renaming the car, The Grayhoundmobile, that's dumb and is damn near impossible to say."
"So what do you suggest?"
"I dunno, how about 'the Maxima'?"
"You are so not into this, aren't you?"
Chris stopped his brother and looked at him square in the eyes. "Chris, bad guys have guns, knives, bombs and very little respect for the lives of good guys. This isn't some dumb comic book, this is real. We don't know what that idiot has in mind or is capable of."
"Well, we know he can control cats."
"And what else?"
"I dunno, what?"
"Exactly. Try not to get carried away here. Let's do our job and get out of here with our skins intact. C'mon, let's go shopping."
Welcome back to Mornings on 2, I'm Ken Griffith. Susan McCaffry has more information about the resent rash of sightings in New Jersey of small, furry, lazy children, Mike Summersby has the weather, and later in this broadcast, we'll be talking to Pete Marka who's live at Ore-Ida Park for tonight's annual Orphans and Sushi night festivities. But first...
Last night the city officially welcomed it's new superhero. Festivities were cut short, however, but a stampede of cats. The crisis was quickly averted by the actions of the new heroes, shown here. Only minor injuries were reported. Some have been excited about this turn, while others are not sure what this means for Boise. Some are excited that our town will have it's own superhero and look forward to joining the ranks of other metropolises such as New York, Los Angeles, and Maple Ridge. Others see the disruption as being bad for business, tourism, and want the city to step in and prevent expensive damage.
On our panel this morning we've invited Ms. Kimberly Parks, president of the Grayhound Fan Club,
Good morning. The next panelist is Mr. Thorton Hammermill, of the Citizens against Supre Heroes,
and Dr. Nathan Sullivan, noted psychologist from the University of Idaho, Boise. Welcome to you all. Mr. Hammermill, your organization has taken out a full page ad in this morning's Chronicle denouncing the Grayhound as a desperate vigilante, yet his actions last night saved hundreds of citizens from being scratched to death or at the very least nasty allergy attacks.
Oh Hogwash. How do we know that this "Grayhound" person didn't organize that whole event in order to lull us into a false sense of panic?
He is not! That, like, poopyhead Bill Malcontent guy is, you know, the one that's causing all of the, you know, problems and stuff. Like, the Grayhound got here in, like the nick of time and stuff! And he's got like the dreamiest eyes. When he was holding that table in the fountain? I swear he, like, winked at me.
Well how come we've never seen or heard of this Malcontent guy before?
Mr. Hammermill, according to the Mayor's press office, Bob Malevolent recently relocated to Boise for unknown reasons. The local police seem to be working on tracking him down, but have not had much success. The Mayor thought it would be prudent to call in the city's Superhero to deal with this issue.
A-Ha! So the Mayor plans to raise taxes to pay for this git and his costumed clown sidekick? That's just the kind of response that I'd expect from this administration. You know, the good business owners of ...
According to this release, the Mayor has not nor plans to pay for any direct Grayhound expenses. Apparently, they have volunteered for the position.
See? He, like, cares about this city and is, like, willing to risk his life to protect it. He's, like, Angel, but he, like doesn't drink blood and stuff. Well, like, I hope he doesn't because that would be all gross and junk.
If I may continue? The good business owners of our fair city have worked long and hard to make a living for themselves. Sure, everyone was excited when The Piece flew into Salt Lake City, but I do you know what his latest escapade cost the city? I hold in my hands a bill for clean up and removal of nine hundred and twenty eight Martian Conqueror bodies, repair and replacement of Big Ed's Restaurant and Brewery, restoration of grounds and removal of three hundred and sixty two tap-dancing hamsters from Reservoir Park... I could go on and on.
Are you saying that the merchants haven't also benefited from the increased tourism that The Piece has brought to Salt Lake?
What I'm saying is that super heroes and the villainy that they attract are bad for business. How can average citizens feel comfortable spending their hard earned cash in a downtown where they may be transformed into zombie trout by some nefarious scheme, or possibly have the paint on the family car scratched by mechanized war-bots?
Like, USHA paid for, like, the damage to those cars.
Yes, but you never filled out the paperwork that they required. Working Moms can't afford to take a day off to have their claims forms inspected by Torvolian Weapons Expert. Super heroes are off balanced nut jobs with little to no respect for the damages and terror they cause while they so call "protect" their cities.
Hel-LO-wah they're, like, protecting us! Besides, he's got, like the cutest butt!
I'm afraid we're running short on time. Professor Sullivan, do you have anything to add to this discussion?
Yes, he's obviously a suppressed megalomaniac repressing deeply seated angst against a society which has created him and that he views as being too corrupt for the greater good.
You're a nutjob.
He's still cute.
"CHRIS, BEHIND HERE!" JB yelled out to his brother.
Chris leapt the counter with something less than ease. His brother pulled him down, they both kept still as the hordes raced by.
After a few minutes, JB slowly raised his head above the display cases. "I think we're in the clear."
"What the hell was that all about?" Chris said, pretty much to no one.
"You're a Superhero, Grayhound. You're gonna get groupies."
"Well, how come they didn't swarm you?"
"Me? I'm not Puppyboy, I'm JB Reid, mild mannered computer consultant."
"What? You stood up at that podium for at least five minutes while I hung out in the shadows!"
"True, but I was wearing the costume. People don't recognize you if you're not wearing the costume." JB said rather nonchalantly, as he looked about to see if the crowd was really gone.
"Maybe, I mean, you've got that stupid mask thing and it was dark." Chris said as he slowly stood up.
JB handed Chris a pair of eyeglasses from the counter, "Here, put these on."
"Huh? JB, I don't need glasses."
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing."
Chris reluctantly slipped them on.
Chris jumped as the woman put her hand on his shoulder.
"Excuse me, I heard the Grayhound is here somewhere, have you seen him?"
"Uhm, do you know what he looks like?", Chris asked hesitantly..
"Yeah, I've got his picture right here!" the young woman held up the picture for him to see. It had been torn out of the local paper and decorated with hearts and several variations of 'Kimmie Grayhound'. "Isn't he Dreamy??"
Chris looked at the picture again. It wasn't the best picture, but it did show his face. "Well, yes, of course I would think so, but..."
The blonde crinkled her nose, "Eeeewww, I don't think someone like him would be into, like, you know, guys. Maybe you could try his partner!"
"Hey!" JB said, as Chris flashed him a silencing look.
"I think he might have gone that way" Chris indicated where the former hordes had charged.
"Thanks!!", Kimmie giggled and sprinted down the aisle.
"See." JB gloated.
"One idiot does not a disguise make, JB. Still..." Chris looked around trying to spot a checker, failed, and decided to just leave the money on the counter.
"A Hundred and twenty bucks!?" Chris exclaimed when he saw the price tag. "No way am I paying that!"
"Yeah, but they look good on you, Chris." JB hoped Chris' vanity would overcome his generally cheap nature, it didn't.
Chris dug around the set of frames before finding a much cheaper set and left the tag and the twenty next to the register.
Chris adjusted the frames. "Now, let's go back and get my pants."
Kristine is right, I need to use what I have instead of dreaming about bigger or better. Genghis Khan swept through most of Asia with just horses and arrows. Rockefeller controlled the oil industry without a shot, and look what kinda of terror The Grey Terror has done by controlling the MPAA.
I can easily beat all of that. I'm more cunning, more stealthy, and I read the Evil Overlord's List. I'll hone my skills against this Grayhound Goof and Poopyboy. I'll get my Masters and Doctorate. I'll control Boise, then Idaho, then the US and the world.
But first I've got to get through this interview.
It's Malevolent, Bob Malevolent.
Ah, yes, quite right. Welcome to Tabor and Associates. Can I offer you some coffee, water, a soda?
No, thank you. I'm quite all right.
Good, good. Let's begin, shall we? Why do you want to work at Tabor and Associates?
I felt that this company would be the best fit for helping me achieve my goals.
Your goals... I see you have written that you "wish to work for a company that provides a challenging environment you can excel in, a team oriented workforce that you can provide worth to, and to quietly assist you in your plans for ultimate world domination."
Yes, and I feel that this advertising agency offers all of that and attractive benefits package as well.
Ha, ha, well, I like your attitude. We'll discus the details later. I see you're a new college grad...
Yes, I graduated cum laude.
And I see you have quite an impressive list of extracurricular activities too. Secretary of Omega, Omega, Omega, Vice President of the Young Rotarians, and who is FTA?
Oh, "Future Tyrants of America", I was only with them for three semesters though, before they got kicked off campus.
Too much partying?
No, it was white slavery.
Oh good, good... Heh, I remember my days back in college we would do panty raids all the time. I guess they need to be stricter nowadays.
Yes, times do change.
Do you have any letters of reference.
Well, not exactly. I do have this from the Dean of my Department.
Is that a television?
Not exactly, excuse me I just need to plug it in. Dr. Krullux preferred providing his recommendations this way.
I see, well, the outlet is beneath that table over there.
But now I will launch my wave of terror against your puny planet. Robot, Activate and DESTROY!
GRARR!! *bzzrrrp* *bzzrrrp*
Ah, I've got it. One second while I adjust the picture. One second, I've nearly got it. Ah, here we go.
Odd, is that a metal helmet he is wearing?
It's actually the chromed skull of his father I believe. He said he wore it for nostalgia mostly, but it did accent his widow's peak nicely, don't you think?
Oh, too bad that this is black and white, I'd be interested in knowing who his tailor is. My wife has a cape like that.
I can write him. I'm sure he'd be happy to let you know.
Could you? Mildred would be ecstatic.
Middle management? Well, we'll start you a bit lower at first.
Although, I'm guessing you'll probably be promoted fast.
Well, I certainly like to think so myself.
Is that TV supposed to be walking through the wall like that?
I suppose, Dean Krullox always had a certain flair. I suppose it'll probably just rampage for a while until it eventually wanders into the sea.
Heh, just like my son. I really wish he'd give up that whole surfing thing and get a grip on his life. It's so sad to see future potential squandered like that. Oh well, can you tell me anything about the projects you worked on in school?
Well, on a lark I found a phrase from an old copy of "Zero Wing" and sent it to some folks a few months ago. It's seemed to have caught on.
That was you!? You're the bastard that started that damn catchphrase!? My God, I can't get away from that damn "all your base" thing. My mailbox is packed with idiots that sent me yet another "clever" riff on that hack. I've fired folks for even discussing it in my hallways. I'm sick, sick, SICK of hearing it.
Yes, that would be the one.
When can you start?
The evening sun settled past the horizon and twilight fell upon Boise. Chris and JB headed back to their temporary home.
"I still can't believe they didn't recognize me. How dumb are these people?" Chris asked, somewhat rhetorically.
"They're not dumb. They just know what they're looking for. If you don't look like it, then you're not it."
"That is the most inane thing I've heard today. And that's saying quite a bit. Where the heck did you read that claptrap?"
JB smiled and said, "SuperiourMan, issue #57."
"One day, I'll learn not to ask you questions like that. Aren't you going to yell at me for taking you out shopping most of today? I thought you were all gung-ho on being a superhero."
JB rested against the seat's headrest and looked out his window. "Nah, Super Villans are seldom day people. We'll just patrol tonight."
"Great. So much for catching up on our beauty rest."
They drove on in silence for a bit.
"Yeah, JB? What is it?"
"Do spotlights move?"
"Of course they do. They make patterns in the clouds. What about it?"
"No, I mean do they move on the ground?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, over there I see a big red spotlight kinda moving in a straight line."
"A big red...."
Chris looked out JB's window and nearly went off the overpass. "JB, Turn on the radio!!"
JB turned the car's radio on and tuned to the AM news channel.
"erd of what have been reported to be cats are racing down Outdoor Mall Street toward the center of town. Reports are coming in of several severe cases of runny noses and sneezing fits. We be sending a reporter.."
The engine roared to life as Chris pounded the gas petal to the floor. JB made a mental note that they really needed to get some sort of light or maybe a cool siren.
Chris was more interested in avoiding the VW in front of the car as his years of playing Crazy Taxi finally started to pay off.
"That lunatic he's going for the park!" Chris muttered. "We've got to stop them."
At Ore-Ida Park, thousands of sushi loving orphans cheered as the mighty Polyphemes took the field.
They knew nothing of the silver car that slid to a stop in front of the charging horde of felines. Chris leaped from the car first, JB was right after him removing his pants.
Chris was stunned. "You wore that thing under your clothes all day, JB?"
"It was comfortable. And call me Puppyboy! Take off your glasses, it's time for action."
"What? Oh." Chris removed his glasses.
JB gave him the thumbs up and said, "Now what, Grayhound?"
"Stop calling me that, JB! Ah, whatever, look right about now, we need a miracle."
Sadly, they got one.
A bank of the famous Boise fog rolled in and blocked the satellites laser beam.
The light dimmed and winked out. The cats stopped, perhaps twenty feet beyond
the heroic pair. For a few seconds, no one moved.
"Ok, so now what?" asked Chris.
"Well, we're probably ok for now. Unless they remember that it was us that sprayed them down with water last night."
"Oooo-kaaay, I think they remember...."
Will the Grayhound and Puppyboy become cat toys yet again?
Will they need to buy more new pants, or only new underware?
Will Bob get stock options that vest above water?
Tune in again in two weeks for
Kitty With a Mohawk
The Shaved Pu-THWAP