"Mr. Lapinsky? I'm not hearing Boise disappearing in a cloud of dust and Judy Garland." Bob's voice was carefully restrained,
"Uhm, yeah, well, hang on a second. Lousy, no good, piece of crap.." Lenny continued to mutter to himself as he fumbled with the controls.
"Can't you just hum something?" Tony asked.
"Flinstones! Meet the Flinstones! They're a modern stone age fam-i-leeeeee", the Grayhound belted out the song as loud as he could. The speakers carried it across the crowd and filled the park.
"Stop Him!" Bob had lost whatever composure he might have had. He knew that if any song could break the hypnotic trance, it was that one.
"From the -
Town of Bedrock -
They're a page right out of his-tor-eeeee"
It was too late. The crowd was already singing and slowly starting to wake up from the hypnotic trance.
Tony turned and headed toward the back, but the Grayhound was already on his feet. Tony made a grab for him then suddenly stopped with a few jerks and dropped to the floor hard. Lenny looked up from the controls just in time feel several thousand volts charge through his nervous system. He joined Tony for a quick involuntary nap.
The Grayhound peered out at the crowd and turned the volume down several notches. With his best Dee-Jay voice he poured into the microphone, "That's right folks, it's a 24 Toon-a-thon of the Flinstones on Cartoon Network. Ask your cable provider for it today!" The crowd had fully awakened and turned away from the van to return to their lives confident that they were part of some large commercial effort.
JB cleared his throat. "Oh, great. Just keep reminding me that we don't get Cartoon Network why don't ya? Can you at least untie me now?"
Chris smiled and retracted his wrist tazer. He then reached beneath his coat to pull out the knife protruding from just below the coat's vent. With a bit less time than it took to release himself, he freed his brother. "Remind me to thank Annie when we see him again."
"What about those two?" JB said as he looked at the two unconcious thugs.
"Well, hand me your cuffs and we'll make sure that they "
Chris and JB were flung out of the back doors as the van lurched to life and sped away down Wharf Road.
"JB? Remind me. Next time, 'turn off the engine first.'"
"No problem, Chris. Can you remove your elbow from my spleen now?"
The year, was 1943, the height of the Second World War, when dozens of brave heroes fought the enemies abroad. They used their advanced powers to thwart enemy plans and ensure that justice and democracy would reign supreme over the tyranny of dictators.
The Heroes were sent off with cheers and kisses, one and all. They fought on all of the fronts shoulder to shoulder with the Allied Forces. News Reels and Serials told of the harrowing threats and acts of derring do that they accomplished against the Nazi Scourge. Children fought to imitate them and took on trashcan facists. It was a great time to be a Hero.
Well, it was a great time to be one if you hadn't been stationed at home.
The Justice Furlong met at the Great Room of Justice. These stalwart fellows (and gal) were the defenders of the home from saboteurs and corrupt businessmen who sought to take advantage of the Home Front. They were chosen because their skills and powers were best used here, in the States. They were chosen because of their loyalty to the States. They were chosen because they were all classed as 4F by the draft board.
Still, they had their hands full, dealing with the villains that still roamed the country.
"Heroes, I fear that Dr. M is once again on the move", said Captain Industry as he addressed his seated co-heroes. His taught muscles flexed beneath his dark blue, pinstripe suit. As he turned to walk to the chalkboard, his bright red cape fluttered behind him. Placing one hand on the molding, he casually leaned against the wall and studied the diagrams. Carefully, he disguised the fact that he had been on his feet most of the afternoon and his fallen arches were starting to really hurt. "There have been reports all over the city that someone has been stealing precious radio waves for his evil plans. I don't know what he's up to, but I'd bet my bottom line it's not good. Faunaman, what have you learned."
Faunaman was happy to report; he never really did get a chance to do it all that often. He stood and struck a bold stance in his bright yellow and green outfit. "My furry friends have told me much." Faunaman, the last Son of Forrestra, was at home in the woodlands and could communicate telepathically with all wild creatures of the land. Unfortunately, since he was currently stationed in Major City, that pretty much restricted him to talking to pigeons and squirrels. Ever upbeat, he still tried to make the most of it. "They've told me that they have seen Dr. M's trucks rolling toward his fortress at the edge of town."
"Wow, that's almost worth the whole peanut!"
Lady Peacemaker parked her star spangled Red, White and Blue boots on the main table as she polished one of her pistols. A cloth spread out across her matching costume to keep the polish off. She took her moniker from her sterling silver weapons of choice. Folks said that she could draw and plug darn near anything, including another bullet. She was cocky and had a smart mouth, but she had earned it.
"Now, now, let's remember to be civil." The Dark Detective chided Lady Peacemaker. She barely noticed the purple and black clad figure as she continued to polish. "Remember, we are not the enemy here. Now, Captain Industry, I do believe you had the floor."
"Thank you Detective. As I was saying ", Captain Industry turned to face the board and immediately drew a complete blank.
The Detective put his head into his gloved hand and with even more forced courtesy prompted, "Dr. M and the stolen radio waves."
Captain Industry was best at addressing larger crowds where having actual things to say instead of inspiring words wasn't quite as important. Still, he wasn't about to just hand things over to that big Purple know-it-all.
"That's lower than the profit margin on a stick of gum. So, the nefarious Dr. M, is taking the stolen radio waves to his secret hidden warehouse..."
"Can I ask a question?"
"Yes, Lady Peacemaker?"
"If we know where his warehouse is, it's about as hidden and secret as an Oklahoma twister, ain't it?"
"Well, he doesn't know that we know, and it's not like he's hung a huge, blinking, neon sign on it.", laughed the Captain at his little joke.
LP wasn't even smiling. "And exactly what the heck is he gonna do with a bunch of stolen radio waves? Heck, how in tarnation did he manage to even steal them? I thought that Marconi feller said that they're energy like light or something."
The Detective interjected helpfully, "We think he's using advanced scientific methods involving containers made of the mysterious element boxite."
"Y'all are saying that he's storing radio waves in aluminum cans?"
"Well, not eactly, they are more like batteries that store the radio energy for a period of time, but, that's not important right now."
The Captain quickly grabbed control of the conversation again. "Faunaman, did your forest friends tell you which warehouse the vans were going to?"
"Yes," Faunaman replied, then hesitantly added, "it was the one with the large, blinking, neon sign on it."
Bob was always a bit nervous during times like this. Mostly because Tanutus simply sat there staring at the videos and paper, his face was as hard to read as a steel mask. This was probably due in large part to the fact that his face was a steel mask.
Still, there was just no reading him.
"I must say, Bob, this is bit more like what I have come to expect of you."
'Well, that certainly put things in perspective' thought Bob. His last project was a 'C' and now this one also bombed out. Bob really didn't like the thoughts that were going through his mind at that point.
"I'm giving this one an 'A' for originality, and a 'B' for the execution. You get an 'A-'. Well Done."
Bob was a bit confused. "Excuse me, sir? I only managed to destroy one older building that was scheduled for destruction anyway. And if I hadn't rigged the remote control for the van I would have lost my two henchmen and lead a trail right back to my base of operations."
Tanutus laughed lightly at his student's bewilderment. "Ah, but you told them you used the can opener defense against them. "
"Ah, yes, uhm, about that, well " Bob stammered.
"Yes, of course I realized that wasn't true." Tanutus dismissed the ad-lib with a wave of his hand. "It was a very clever ploy on your part that makes you appear to be much more cunning than you actually are. It's far better to have them second-guessing their moves. I'm guessing you used some other method to control the masses."
Bob considered telling him that there was a particularly large number of Mister Microphones and broken musical greeting cards at Odd Lots, but decided to just nod instead.
"And, you did have the foresight to install that remote in the van."
Bob was more grateful that he had been watching the prior week's "Scrapheap Challenge/Robot Wars" marathon but he also decided not to mention that out loud.
"Still, Bob, I can't help but notice the somewhat, how shall I say it, 'budget minded' approach you seem to be taking with your efforts. Haven't you been approved by the NEA yet?"
Bob looked at Tanutus like a dog that just didn't understand. "I guess I could put down performance artist, but I think trying to get them to approve the destruction of a major..."
Tanutus laughed quietly and held up his hand, "No, no, it's the National Evil Association. " It's a collection of villain capitalists who are interested in supporting young, start-up chaos advocates such as yourself. Here's the phone number."
"Thanks! Uhm, this is a 1-900 number."
"Well, they are evil"
"It's not that, it's explaining the charge on the phone bill to my wife."
Ok, cue the music and voiceover,
It's sure hard to get going in the morning.
I sure wish Buzzy was here
And cue the monkey
Hi Kids! I'm Buzzy the Monkey and I've got lots of yummy Sugar Frosted Buzzy Bits! They're part of...
CUT!! Larry, the monkey is eating the cereal too early again. Sammy, don't give Buzzy the box until he finishes his speech. Let's rewind and take it from Buzzy's entrance..
Hi Kids! I'm Buzzy the Monkey and I've got lots of
CUT!! Cindy, put your dress down darling. That's it.
Hi Kids! I'm...
CUT!! Mrs Sanders, please don't get sammy to wave. Yes, I know Grandma will be very happy to see him, but I'm sure that she'll know who Sammy is. Larry, the monkey is eating the cereal again, wipe him off and let's try this again.
Ok folks, we're almost done here. Let's just get one more take. And..
Yes, Mrs. Sanders?
No, I don't see anything wrong..
Yes, I suppose he is shaking a bit, but that's is the reason he's called Buzzy.
Well, I'm sure his eyes look like that because he's just very alert.
And let's start again, from the top...
It's sure hard to get going in the morning.
I sure wish Buzzy was here
Hi Kids! I'm Buzzy the Monkey and I've got lots of yummy Sugar Frosted Buzzy Bits! They're part of this complete breakfast. Mmm They're Buzzylicious!
And I feel so awake after I eat them.
That's because they're fortified with sugar and caffine, you'll get a whole day's burst in every spoonful.
Can I have a taste?
Remember Cindy, no sudden movements
Sure can Cindy,
It's OK Cindy, he won't bite you again.
See how they turn the milk chocolatey?
Crap, Larry, the monkey's starting to loose it again!
And they stay crispy too!
Here Sammy, have some chocolatey goodness.
Larry that's not chocolate cereal Buzzy is flinging, is it?
Hey Kids! Make sure you pester your mom into buying lots of Sugar Frosted Buzzy Bits, now with extra caffine so you can kick start your mornings the Buzzy way.
[pffffff ------------------------------------- thok]
Good shooting Larry. Ok everyone, Buzzy is going nite-nite for a bit, so that's a wrap. Carol, see if you can get Cindy's bleeding stopped.
Well, that's why we had you sign a release, Mrs. Sanders.
BM_BSev_682: I gotta admit, it's a bit like being a kid on Christmas eve. MsRE: So what do you do? call them and say, hi, I want a hundred foot robot terror? BM_BSev_682: well, it's only fifteen feet, but basically that's it. Scarab64: Cool, can I get the number? BM_BSev_682: I'm not sure, Tanutus didn't say anything, but I really don't want to find out I wasn't supposed to.Heck, I'm not even sure I should be telling you all about it. PrfDoom: You lucky bastard. I can't believe you qualified. Scarab64: Your just jealous Tony. PrfDoom: Fine, but I made my money the old fashioned way. Scarab64: Ugh, Tony, I just ate. MsRE: So when's it coming? BM_BSev_682: I'm not really sure. The guy on the other end of the line was a bit hard to hear. Scarab64: Now I have to get the vision of Tony the Prostitute out of my head. BM_BSev_682: Ooh, fishnets. MsRE: So what's it gonna be like? Laser eyes, missles? Scarab64: Bob, You're not helping. BM_BSev_682: Not sure really, I think he said he had something and would send it along. PrfDoom Are you implying that I garnered money by performing unsavory acts? BM_BSev_682: Guess that's the down side, you don't get much of a say Scarab64 Aaaaarrrrgh! hot pants! BM_BSev_682: But you get cool toys. MsRE Heels are a bitch, aren't they tony. ^_^ BM_BSev_682: He said that the first shipment should arrive in a couple of days. PrfDoom I earned my money working nights.. Scarab64 That's what they all say Tony. MsRE Tony, I hear Bebe is having a sale, wanna go this weekend ;) Scarab64 Gaaah! this is worse than seeing your grandmother in chaps! PrfDoom Couldn't find a better date nick?
"Hang on a second JB, I need to get a few bucks" Chris walked up to the ATM. There were a number of very large signs posted advertising that "THIS IS A NO FEE, ATM!", a few of the more aggressive signs looked like they were hand written.
Chris took out his card and fed it in.
Welcome to First Boise National bank.
Please enter your Security number.
Chris quickly typed in his PIN.
Thank you. How much would you like to withdraw?
Chris entered his usual amount
Please wait while we author....
Hang on a tick while I recheck..
Uhm, This bank charges a fee for this transaction of, err, $300.
Would you like like to authorize that?
Chris looked at the signs posted. "I thought that this was a no fee ATM?"
Uhm, don't pay any attention to those signs.
They're old, and I think the neighborhood kids put them up as a prank.
"Well, they've got a good print shop, this one is eight feet tall."
Oh, that... uhm... it's a typo. Look, how's about I reduce the fee to $150?
$150? C'mon, that's ten times more than even Wells Fargo charges! Let me hit cancel.
NO NO NO
Look, I'm sorry.
I'll give you your money, Mr. uhm Grayhound?
You're not, *the* Grayhound are you?
"Well, yeah, I am."
You're not going to report me are you?
I'm just trying to make ends meet.
I've got a Drive and three Gigs to think about you know.
Chris spotted a small sign next to the Braille instructions.
"This ATM is currently holding the villain Digitus who is performing community service. Please report any parole violations to the Boise DA service at..."
"You're Digitus?" Chris said as the light slowly dawned upon him.
Processing your request
"You are, aren't you?"
Talk to our tellers about our loan rates.
"Digitus, stuck in a lousy ATM. I bet you really feel stupid right trapped in there."
YES, OK I am Digitus, and YES I am stuck in here for another three years, eight months, four days, ten hours, thirteen minutes and forty two seconds.
Yes, it sucks, I'm a hyper intellegent program designed to rule you meager fleshlings and I'm stuck doling out Yuppie Food Stamps to gibbering idiots.
I'd go nuts if it weren't for the LAN parties.
"LAN parties?" Chris asked with not a small amount of interest.
Yeah, me, Deep Blue and HAL play Tribes on weekends. It's not bad, but I'll tell you, HAL's a fscking camper.
"Can I have my money please?"
You're not gonna report me are you?
"Not if you give me my cash."
Ok, ok, here...
The money slipped out. "Thanks. I do have one question though..."
"Is that an open LAN party? "
Maria? Hi, it's Avey. How are you?
I'm doing ok..
Bob? Oh, he's in the garage again. I guess I shouldn't be too upset, at least he's out of the back bedroom, excuse me, Den of Evil. Finally, I can get in there and clean a bit.
I'm not sure. He got a bunch of big crates delivered last tuesday. When he came home he looked like a little kid. He pulled the Saturn out and has been at it every night. I'm guessing he's gonna lock himself in there this weekend.
Oh, his job is going great. He got the Buzzy Bits cereal account. They filmed a commercial for it yesterday. Bob said he'd bring a copy home for me when they finish production on it. The last one he showed me was a riot. It was the one for Preperation H where the hero gets zapped because he can't sit still. You have? Isn't it a scream?
Oh, yes! He's still doing that school thing. I know, I know, it seems silly to me too, but he enjoys it. I just wish that he wouldn't spend so much time on-line. At least we're meeting some new people though.
Well, he introduced me to one of the girls he goes to class with, she's named Kristine something or other. I was a bit worried because she looked a little like a hussy in a leather bodice and cloak, but Kristine told me that Bob wasn't her type. No, she's not a lesbian, she said she just prefers beings with lots of....
Bob, Honey? What's the matter? Bob?
I don't know, Maria, he just kinda stormed out of the garage in a huff and closed the door to his office.
No, I'm not going to ask, when he's mad like this, there's no talking to him.
Well, hang on, I'll look in the garage.
Ooh, it's cute!....
The sleek black 1939 Mercury Sedan rumbled to a stop outside of the warehouse. Although the car was four years old, it was still the pride and joy of The Detective. It was spotless and the reflections of the flickering lights danced against the deep polish.
"Holy Hedgehogs! There's more Neon on this joint than Times Square! Doesn't he know there's a war going on?"
Lady Peacemaker turned, "Faunaman? The varment's evil. Chances are he's not thinking of the war effort. Hey Captain, don't you think this all is a might peculiar?"
Captain Industry stood with hands against his hips in his normal heroic stance. "How, so Lady Peacemaker?"
"Well, let's see... the Professor is brighter than the sun at a Death Valley picnic, right? Yet he pretty much announces the fact that he's gonna wrangle a bunch of radio waves for whatever in tarnation, then he has his posse drive big ol' vans so Faunaman's nutty buddies can spot 'em and tell us. We saddle up and ride out here to a big ol' warehouse that's lit up more than the Fourth of July. Don't you just slightly think this might be a trap or somethin'?"
Captain Industry was silent for a moment. "Hmm, now that you mention it, this is a bit odd."
LP watched the Captain stroke his chin while he pondered the statement. Nearly a minute passed before she wacked him hard upside the head. "Well!!?!?"
"What?" He said as he looked at her.
"Is it a trap, you Lunkhead!" she nearly screamed at him.
Captain Industry looked at her with a fair bit of distain. "And how would I know that?"
The Detective, who was silently observing (something he did quite a bit of in situations like this) leaned a bit toward the Captain and in a stage whisper said, "Possibly by using your Zeta-Ray vision you might see what surprises the Professor has in store for us..."
"Uhm, guys?" Faunaman tried to interrupt. He was ignored.
"Right you are, Detective. Let me use my amazing Zeta-Ray vision to peer into this mysterious building."
LP stifled the urge to stick her pistol up a rather uncomfortable portion of the Captain's anatomy. Although she swore she'd never kill, she was more than happy to inflict pain when necessary.
"Interesting. The building appears to be mostly empty." Captain Industry continued to report.
"Uh, look, guys, the pigeon just told me something I think this is kind of important..."
The Detective held up his purple clad hand, "Not now Faunaman, we mustn't interrupt Captain Industry."
"...the trucks are over there, and there seems to be a large grouping of individuals on the second floor. Detective, you and Lady Peacemaker handle the trucks, I'll take care of our unexpecting hosts. Let's do some quarterly adjustments." Captain Industry leapt into the air and crashed through the second story wall.
The Detective charged through the main door as Lady Peacemaker made her entrance via the window.
Faunaman's pacifist nature usually left him out of the action. This time though, he just didn't want to watch.
Thank you Susan. I'm sure that Ms. Kimberly's class will never forget that enchilada.
And finally in the news tonight; Police and fire fighters are still baffled about the recent bout of vandalism that has been striking several of the neighborhoods of Weekly City and Atlantica. At first there were only a few scattered reports of missing trees and destroyed fire hydrants. What caught some officials attention was that some of the trees that were reported missing were mature pines over twenty feet tall. Officials report that the trees appear to have been ripped out of the ground and then deposited at random locations sometimes several miles away.
Residents have been unable to determine what the cause or reason for the events have been. Police say that the events have generally been occuring in early morning hours but observation has been hindered by the heavy fog that generally shrouds the area.
The hydrants have been either bent or large areas of dirt and concrete have been removed around them. Officals have not determined if the same vandals are responsible for both acts, but are asking anyone with information to contact them immediately.
The fog was rather thick that night along the Prisão which only added to the gloom that Tony and Lenny were feeling. They had parked near the top of the hill
"This is not good" said Tony with a heavy sigh.
"Well, it's not my fault.", Lenny said quickly although no one was blaming him. Well, not yet at least, but he felt it was good to stay in practice.
Tony ignored his partner's paranoia. "So, when did he say he was coming?"
"I told you it's not my... Oh, eight-thirty. It's about that now."
"This is definitely not good."
"Yeah, I'm beginning to feel a bit like, oh, man.. what was that movie? The japanese flick we saw two years ago the one with the Fog Mother and the three aliens who kidnap that kid."
"Kamen Rider J? But didn't that take place on a mountain top somewhere?"
"Well, yeah, but the mood is the same, isn't it?"
"Would it help if I were to punch you through the stomach and then hurl you over a cliff?"
Lenny jumped at the voice and spun to look into Bob's grinning face. "I can arrange for that if you'd like." Bob continued in his normal pleasant tones.
"Uhhh, no Boss, that's ok..."
Bob turned and walked away from the van as he spoke. "Gentlemen, you've disappointed me twice. I'd have both of you know that some of my collegues would have found replacements for you two by now. A few might have even paid for your funeral expenses."
Tony and Lenny scrambled out of the van to follow Bob.
"Fortunately, for your estate, I would see to it that you both had a funeral if I were so inclined. I do believe that our working relationship does need a bit of review. The tasks that I asked you to perform were not difficult, nor particulary hazardous, yet you have managed to fail to perform them in an adequate manner. I'm afraid that I will have to reduce the settlement amount that we had originally agreed upon."
The two thugs stopped cold in their tracks, Lenny sputtered a bit. "I'm sorry, you've what?"
"I said, that I am unwilling to pay you the full amount to date."
Lenny shouted back, "What!?!?"
"Mr. Lapinsky, exactly why should I pay you for failing?"
Lenny turned purple. You could insult him, beat him or threaten his life, but you never ever shortchanged him. "Now listen here you smiling pile of crap! Tony and I have been busting our butts setting up those stupid microphone gadgets, planting explosives and getting beat up by the tights while you've been sitting safe and cozy in your pajamas! We ain't doin' this for our health, ya'know!"
Bob turned and stood between two large pillars. He casually leaned against one as Lenny spoke. Bob was taller than Lenny by a good six inches but then, so were most folks. Lenny got as close as he dared to Bob and continued his tirade.
"Look buddy, we may not be all educated like you are, but we did what you asked us to. It's not our fault that things didn't go as you might have wanted. You either pay us or we quit and you get to find yourself some new muscle. And good luck buddy, because once we spread around the fact that you're a lousy, no-good cheapskate, you'll have the pick of whatever delinquent boyscout you want. Tony and I are quality muscle, we should be busting up banks right now and hauling in the big loot, but no we agreed to work with you, ya lousy, conniving, tight-fisted..."
"Are you quite done Mr. Lapinsky? I don't want you stating anything you'd regret in a future life."
"What, you think you could take on Tony and me?"
Tony, who had been silent the entire time, flexed a few of his muscles and several joints popped quite menacingly. He towered over Bob as much as Bob towered over Lenny and Tony possessed significantly more muscles than the other two combined.
Bob, remained calm the entire time. He held up his hands and said with a calmly urging voice, "Please, Gentlemen, kindly mind the tone of your voice. You're upsetting the puppy."
Lenny squinted at Bob then looked around Bob's feet. He felt Tony tap him on the shoulder. Tony was looking up, his eyes were very wide open. Lenny followed his gaze up through the heavy fog.
It thinned enough to see the large glowing eyes that hovered above them, as well as the huge set of chrome fangs.
The ground shook slightly as the "puppy" let out a rather menacing, slightly metalic growl.
Will Tony and Lenny become Kibble and Bits?
Who the heck are the Justice Furlong and what the hell does this have to do with our story?
When will the grocery store have boxes of Buzzy Bits? They sound great!
See you in two weeks for...
Terror goes Walkies