Chapter 36

Damage estimates from the Crystal Catastrophe are in. Estimators have placed it between forty and seventy million dollars. Representatives from USHA have stated that they are willing to pay the city up to thirty million for the resulting damages. Which they feel covers the cost of damages resulting directly from actions performed by the local representative The Grayhound, however they were not immediately willing to discuss any possible reparations for damages created by the Canadian League of Heroes representatives, Hydrogen Guy and Deuterium Boy.

Insurance companies at first stated that they were not liable for covering the balance of the repairs because of initial reports that the large crystalline outgrowths were the result of some natural phenomenon, and therefore fell under the "Acts of God" clause. This decision was later reversed when, on Wednesday of this week, huge flaming letters appeared above the damaged area stating "No it's not. Pony up"

And speaking of religious acts, promotions have begun for what's been billed as The Cage Match of Destiny. The event has gathered more attention then simply record breaking advanced ticket sales, since it reportedly features clones of major historical religious figures. Several religious organizations have already filed official protests with the City regarding this event.

We asked City Hall if there was any comment and received this statement: "The office of the Mayor is carefully reviewing the concerns raised by the various members of the religious community regarding the upcoming attraction, "Cage Match of Destiny". The office wishes to express that it will thoroughly investigate this fun-filled event for the whole family to determine if the participants are the true to life, clones of the major historical religious figures of our time. The office takes such matters very seriously and although tickets are still available, we urge citizens to consult with their religious consultant and or pastors before they act now to get good seats."

Bob! Hey! Long time, no chat! How's Margie?
Fine, Tony, fine. Tony? What are you doing?
Right now? I'm chatting to you Bob. ;)
You know what I mean, Tony. What's up with the Wrasslers for Jesus or whatever I keep seeing commercials for?
What makes you think that has anything to do with me?
The fact that it's brought to us by "Professor Doom, Inc."
Oh, yes, well, I suppose I probably should have been a bit more creative when it came to naming the holding company, but I was in a bit of a hurry.
You know how hard it is to find good mindless drones that can do decent marketing?

Well, it's even harder to grow them from a Petri dish, let me tell you...

Tony I
Plus all the good ones want to go work for WalMart
TONY!! Look, Boise's my territory. Why can't you do this shindig in Poughkeepsie?
I couldn't get a hall. It's wedding season.
Ah, right. So why Boise?
I got a really, really good deal. Apparently the Hare Krishna / Amway conference got cancelled at the last moment.
And you had nothing to do with that?
No, absolutely not.
well, nothing that can be easily traced at least.
Besides, Boise's been a hopping place lately. I thought it might be nice to get a bit of exposure myself.
By having actors wrestle?
Bob! You insult me! Those aren't actors, they're the real deal.
Wait, you really did clone Jesus?
Yep, and Mohammad, and Buddha, and anyone else I could get a reasonable DNA sequence of. It was a lot of work, I'll have you know, but I think it was worth it.
Oh, that's right, you don't watch much TV. Let me just say that I wasn't up for yet another rerun of Fraiser.
Tony, Good Lord, man, you realize that it would have been nice if you had given me a bit of a heads up or asked or something, right?
I suppose, but like I said, it was a good deal and I was in kind of a hurry
TONY! Look, I'm a bit tired after that whole crystal thing and would have liked to take a bit of time off first before I have to get into something like this.
What do you mean? You don't have to do anything! I've done all the hard work
What's Rule 103, again?
Rule 103? Hang on I need to look it up…
Oh, poop.


And we're back, LIVE in Boise, I'm Brother William from the Brotherhood of Notre Dame and I'm joined by the 2001 Hooters Calendar Girl, Holly Pechogrande.

Hi! Brother Bill!

That sure was some battle on the opening card, wasn't it Holly?

You bet Brother Bill! If you had asked me putting Confucius up against someone like Bjarke my money certainly wouldn't be on Confucius.

No, but looks like he's a regular demon when he's cornered, doesn't it?

Confucius say, you goin' down now!

But that wasn't the only surprise of the night, was it Holly?

You bet Brother Bill! Early on in the Swami Sqwabble, Swami Vivekananda came out strong against eighties EST founder Werner Erhard. I'm guessing that Vivekananda has a sensitive spot about his sarong.

But nowhere near as sensitive as Erhard's glass jaw.

I don't think it was Erhard's jaw that was glass.

Maybe you can talk to him about that vow of celibacy later.

Ha ha!

Of course most of the serious action has been going on in the stands.

You bet! Naturally for an event such as this, security has been tight, but that didn't stop a group of zealots trying to take out sections of the crowd with stuff from the concession stands.

Ooh, which sect?

Most of them.

Well, enough chit chat.

That's right! Coming up next are the heavy weight tickets so get to the bathroom now, you're not gonna want to miss this!

We'll be right back!

Hey, there you are, Jeez! Check this out!

What's up Sid?

Well, a bunch of us were just sitting around talking about this whole cage match thing.

Yeah, kind weird isn't it?

You bet. I mean, it's not like we're actually the guys, right? I mean you haven't made the water cooler any more fun or anything have you? Anyway, so I was talking with the Moes…


Yeah, Moses and Mohammad.

Oh, right.

Anyway so we were talking about the stuff that we got drilled into us in the tanks, and I think we've got it!

Got what?

The answer! Heck, we don't have to fight it out, dude! We don't have to lift a finger.

Ok, I'm listening.

It's so dang simple, really. We just should be nice to each other.

And what? Ask before we hit or something?

No, no, no. That's the basic thing! All of the big-time religions boil down to just that. "Be nice to each other." Instead of beating each other up, all we need to do is just go out there and tell folks that.

Hmm, You know, now that you mention it, you're right. I'm pretty sure that's the key bit for me as well. That and something about eating seafood before the weekend or something.

Forget that part, Jeez. It's just extra junk they made up after the fact. So, you in?

Are you kidding? You bet! Heck, I'll be the first one to shout it out.


After all, what's the worst thing they can do to me?

"…that Fluffy will be back catching Frisbees in about a week. Ken?"

"Thanks Susan. Recapping our top story, the Enoscom Center erupted into massive rioting last night as thousands of the devout stormed the center ring after an announcement made by one of the participants… *click*"

Luigi turned off the television set when he heard the jingle of the door chime.

"'Ey, Welcome to Luigi's Deli, What can I get for you.?"

The figure stood dressed in bright red and green garb that had seen better days.

"Meyer!" Luigi called as he spread his arms to welcome his best customer. Luigi, a large man by any standard, embraced the smaller customer in an Old Country bear hug as he laughed. "It's been too long Edward! That's odd. Ey! I smell cherries. You change your shampoo or something."

Edward extricated himself a bit and brushed bits of hardened pink foam from his cuff. "No, no. I was merely.. detained, a bit longer than I really wanted to."

Luigi turned on his heel and strode back behind the deli case. "I have something for you to try."

Luigi pulled out a long, thick salami. He carefully chose his sharpest knife and with the skill of a master split and then sliced a paper thin selection from the log. He held out the translucent slice of cured meat that glinted in the late afternoon light.

Edward smiled, knowing from the scent alone that this was one of the legendary Pironelli. He carefully took the offered meat and tasted it. It filled his mouth with delicate flavors from the bite of pepper and hints of fine wine to the ancient dried molds that offered an earthy sweetness to the skin. Pironelli was the Stradivarius of Salami, and the offered slice was easily worth it's weight in 24K gold, and generally cost that much too.

"Here" Luigi offered a deep red wine served in a simple tumbler to accompany it. The wine was no where near as rare or phenomenal as the salami. Luigi knew that, as did Edward. Still, it was the perfect companion. For a few moments, Edward said nothing, simply enjoying the taste.

"So, my friend" Luigi said, "what have you been up to, eh?"

"Oh, the usual. Plotting revenge and destruction to those that deserve it most."

Luigi sighed heavily and hung his head. "I don't understand you sometime, Edward. Why are you so hard on your family? They've taken good care of you. They even give you plenty of money. Why are you always planning and plotting."

Edward smiled. It was an argument they had a hundred times. "Luigi, you, you of all people should know why. I am doing what has to be done. I've tried everything else. This is the only way I have left. I have to stop them."

Luigi held up his hands conceding the point. There simply was no changing Edward's mind when it came to this.

"And now there's someone else I must deal with. Someone who has decided he needs to stand in my way, and that simply will not be tolerated."

"Oh? And just who is this somebody."

"Just someone in town. Someone… forgetful." Edward flicked a few more hardened morsels off of his chef's silks and stared intently at nothing. In a wink Edward turned to Luigi and smiled.

"Luigi, my friend, I need some sliced meats. Let's start with the Maple Roasted Ham."

Luigi laughed and reached for the ham inside the case. "Good choice, Edward. How much you need? Half a pound this time?"

"No, a bit more. Let's try seventy three thousand, nine hundred and four slices. Number two thin please."

Luigi hesitated halfway to the slicer. "Seventy three thousand… " He loaded the block of meat into the slicer. "I'm going to have to check the locker."

That's it?

He goes on vacation for two weeks and that's it?

No wonder they rioted.
Can I get my money back?

Tune in Next Time for:

Pastrami on Ire
Ham-Fisted Vengance


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