Chapter 47

Oooh, this will do just fine, I mean poorly, darn it, err, damn it!

Bill will you just relax?

I'm sorry Lou, I guess I'm just nervous.

Look we had no problem getting the place.

True, but then let's face it. We've got more realtors than they do. I'm guessing that the previous owners had no idea what this was. I'm just glad you didn't have to meet them.

Why? Do you think the long black robes would have been an issue?

No, but I'm guessing the pentagram tattoo on your forehead might have been a concern.

Bill? I've put tequila behind me. When will you let me forget about Tijuana?

Bill where do you want this?

Oh, put the candles over there, we'll set up the alter there and uhm, I guess we'll do the sacrifice over there. Wow, I'm always amazed at the amount of stuff you guys can fit into those little cars. S'ok Bill?

Hmm? Uh, sure.

So, uh when should we start?

Start? Oh, any time, really.

What? We can summon forth such a beast at any time?

Well, yeah. It's why I picked this plan over the other one.

Oh, I liked the other plan.

Yeah, but it was complicated.

I suppose, I mean first we had to find a gallon of inverse invisible ink, then sneak it in to the cathedral during Easter.

Plus we'd have to get it past the UN inspectors.

Hmm, hadn't thought of that, but I guess they would probably get involved.

Yeah, they're paying special attention to weapons of Mass destruction.

Oh that's terrible.

Yes, yes it is.

So that's why you're going with plan B as it were.

Yeah, it's not as flashy, but it's probably far more effective. Nick? Why don't you start outlining the pentagram on the floor here. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is the spot. Oh, where's the Tome of Darkness? Ah, thanks Harry.

Wow. I didn't know that came in paperback now.

Yep, but this was the last copy over at Books-a-Million.

Ok, start the music… Ouray atherfay ohay artay innay…

Lou, that's not religious music.

Yes it is.

Lou, the tome says that we need to play religious music backwards. That's not religious music. Who is that, the Bee Gees?

No, it's the *hrmbl*

The who?

No, it's the Osmonds. It's all I could find at Kmart.

Lou, no. Man, if you want to do some things right, Harry? Here are my keys, go out to my car and get the Amy Grant 8-track.

What?

You've got an Amy Grant 8-Track?

Yeah, my wife likes that one song of hers, "Baby Baby" or whatever.

No, it's not that, I'm just surprised you've got an 8-track.

What? It works fine.

Uh, Harry? Hold on a minute. We -- we may not need that tape…

Oh brother.


"Mr. Malevolent."

There was an icy tone to the voice, a tone that spoke of mausoleums, shadows darker than starless nights. A voice that rung like cold steel on marble.

Bob envied that voice, or would have, if it were not being used upon him.

"I'm very disappointed in you, Mr. Malevolent." Dean Incectus stated as calmly if he were casually discussing the proper methods to filet a puppy in front of a small child. Bob felt the hairs on the back of his head stand on end.

"Dean, I know I've been falling behind on my studies lately, but I assure you that.."

"Your studies, Mr. Malevolent, are the very least of your concerns."

Bob was caught short. He had prepared himself for any number of academic arguments, but this was unexpected.

Incectus leafed through the folder on his desk slowly. Letting the sound of paper sliding against paper linger in the parts of the office that weren't filled with dread.

"I've been reviewing your... accomplishments… as of late. I suppose that there are those that would be quite proud of these sorts of actions. Rescued a lost boy; saved the planet from an invasion, by one of you professors, mind you; hmm… twice? And you still haven't managed to find a use for that robot, have you?" He closed the file and leaned back into his chair.

"Mr. Malevolent, it would appear that you may not be chaos advocate material. Perhaps I could interest you in a set of spandex?"

Bob saw red.

In a blur Bob arm had flashed across the desk and pulled the Dean to within microns of his own face. His eyes burned with pure hatred and anger at the mere suggestion that he might be in the same ranks as a "hero".

Insectivus remained unfazed by his student's reaction. "You see, Mr. Malevolent, this is exactly what I was talking about. There are other members of your class that would have tried to kill me, not simply haul me up in some sort of dramatic flourish."

"Kill you?" Bob said, equally calmly. "No, I know full well that you've got this place wired with dampeners and sensors. You know full well that I am unarmed, per your own request. If I were to kill you I would simply have to do it the old fashioned way and snap your neck like the ancient twig it is."

Bob relaxed his grip and began to smile. "But really, what fun would killing you be? Particularly when there would be easy witnesses. No Dean, I have no intention of harming you here."

"Is that a threat Mr. Malevolent?"

"Why yes, yes it is. And don't worry about your recording devices. The jamming circuit I have in my backpack is providing them with enough to worry about right now."

Insectivus smiled, much as he had continued to do during the entire meeting. "Mr. Malevolent, there may be hope for you still. However, I am still going to have to place you under academic probation."

Bob shoved the Dean backwards into his chair and reached for his backpack.

He hefted it, reached inside and turned off the jammer. "I understand." Bob left without another word.

"Ah dear Bob, why can't you be like some of our other students?"


"I said, give me your money." The head thug said as he pressed the point of his knife closer to his victims throat. She was shaking and sobbing nearly uncontrollably, her eyes closed wishing she could be anywhere else.

"I've got a better idea," a strange voice said from down the alley. "How about you give her all of yours?"

The thug snapped his head around to stare at the idiot that suggested it. All he saw was a guy standing in a trenchcoat with a hat. The thug looked up to his companion, "Kill that motherf.." The thug cut short his command as his associate disappeared down the alleyway in a pink blur. He heard the scaffolding ring as the ball of pink slammed into it hard. The pink material began to quickly constrict. There was a sickening pop as the material wrenched both shoulders out of it's prey. They were followed by his screams of agony.

The head thug looked to his other companion who was now several shades whiter than he had ever been. "What are you waiting for, fool! Get that fu.." there was a burst of grey as the small figure landed both feet against the second thug's chest and drove him hard into the wall. The thug's chest sounded like a drum as the hit resounded through him. He dropped to his knees. The gray figure quickly drove his staff against the second thug's head in a series of harsh cracks. A trickle of blood flowed from the fallen thug's thugs eye as he slumped over against the crates.

The head thug pulled his victim up against himself, using her as a shield. He held his knife to her throat, "Back off! I'll cut her, dammit!".

The gray figure said nothing, but slowly held out his staff horizontal to the ground. The thug couldn't see the gray guy's eyes, but could feel them burning into his. "That's it. Now drop it or she bleeds!"

The Gray figure dropped the staff, but kept his arm out straight. "That's it, motherfu.."

Twin spikes of pain laced through his face and neck as he felt his muscles seize. He heard his knife clatter to the ground. He thought his head was on fire. He wanted to scream, but his voice wouldn't let the sound escape. He remembered seeing his victim being swept out of his arms as he fell, and then, with unblinking eyes he remembered seeing a boot headed toward his skull.


There had been a series of high profile robberies in Portland. The police were baffled, The Detective was intrigued.

The unconscious body was the first clue, but not the one that The Detective needed. The most important clue was the one that was the most overlooked. One of the security guards had signed with his right hand, but had included an odd flourish with his "R"s. Normally this was not something that would indicate anything unless you happened to notice that at the four prior incidents where he had managed to find individuals and get writing samples from them, he had noticed that there was the same odd flourish.

He followed her, playing on a hunch. Something still didn't make sense though, none of the people were the same. The first person was a heavy-set man in his late fifties, the second was a woman of 21 who was under 100 lbs., the third was a man who had lost his leg and now he was following a tall middle aged woman. If this was the same person, he or she wouldn't be just a Master of disguise, they would be the very epitome of disguise.

As she entered the main square, The Detective called out. The woman turned and looked at him with unfocused eyes. Something was wrong, very, very wrong. He reached for the empty holster and quickly swore at the Seattle police department. Instead he pulled his bolo and launched it at the woman.

The bolo quickly wrapped around her chest. She stood, frozen in place for a second before unleashing an unearthly scream. The other people in the square turned in shock as a thin fog enveloped the woman. The fog spread out, growing into a larger form, before solidifying into a rakish horror best left for nightmares.

The woman shook herself as if coming out of a deep sleep, she looked up above her to see the terror that had been her master and screamed again, this time a more earthy shriek. There was a panic as the other occupants of the square realized that it would be far safer to watch the events from a distance, say, New York.

The creature shot out a ropy arm that shattered the planter The Detective had been standing in front of. A few stray shards of concrete skittered against his shoe. The Detective longed for the early days when thugs were more normal and the only thing supernatural about them was their propensity for painfully obvious nicknames. Now adays it seemed like every villain he would come across would be either be a screaming sociopath, or capable of flipping battleships at him like playing cards.

"Halt Felon"

The voice was mechanical, alien in nature. The Detective determined that it more than likely did not come from the creature that was turning Portland Square into more of a circle. The Detective leaned around the corner to behold a man, floating with what appeared to be a large glowing codpiece. The man appeared to stand.. err.. float with authority, but also appeared to be either embarrassed or annoyed.

The creature did not appear to suffer from either of those conditions and with another hair curling shriek, it whipped an arm toward the levitating figure. The Detective took full advantage of the distraction by racing out toward the still trembling woman locked in his bolo. He caught her square in the stomach and felt her double over his shoulder. He heard a sound that told him she had the wind knocked out of her. He kept running.

In a way it was a shame, he missed a good show.

The Codpiece easily deflected the blow with an energy shield. Then the dance began with the Detective's first footfall.

When someone has super speed, a fight tends to take an entirely new form, one that is more fitting a zero-gravity dance. When one of the figures is several times the size of the other, it just requires more blows. The Codpiece swung his leg hard at the side of the creature landing a stunning blow to the creature's head, he folded at the hip bringing both fists hard to the opposite side before the creature's skull had time to react to the first blow. This stabilized his forward momentum, which he then centered by bringing his knee up against the creatures nose, shattering the bone beneath it. The Codpiece caught his foot against the creature's nostril and used the toehold to reorient himself toward the creatures chest. He landed the first blow down near the sternum then brought around both feet toward the creature's solar plexus.

The Detective made his second footfall. The Codpiece focused his yellow force toward the middle of the creature's chest. He watched the flesh ripple from the impact and his heightened reflexes showed him the slow motion of the ribs being compressed. The force drove the creature backwards lifting him off of his feet.

All The Detective saw was the creature slam into one of the remaining buildings and then collapse into a very large pile before he had taken his third step.

The Detective took only a few more before stopping himself to stare at the results of the battle. The Codpiece drifted down to survey the situation.

"I will go restrain the creature" The Codpiece said.

"Ok go get 'em." The man stated as the yellow… unit… detached itself and drifted toward the unconscious creature.

The Detective's jaw hung wide open.

"Is she ok?" The man asked.

"Who?" The Detective said, completely forgetting about the bound, wheezing woman he was carrying on his shoulder. "Oh, uh, yes I think." He gently lifted her off of his shoulder and began removing his bolo. She was dazed, and breathing heavily, but appeared to be fine.

"That.. " The Detective stammered, ".. that was amazing."

"Yeah, whatever." The man said in an exceedingly annoyed manner as he looked toward the floating device. "actually, that thing's got me really ticked off."

"What? How? That device is fantastic."

The man simply folded his arms and looked at The Detective with a raised eyebrow. "Fantastic, huh? Let me tell you something. Ten years ago I set out to become Portland's Superhero. I carefully set up a lab and spent millions on research and development for how to reach my goals. I spent every day and night working on how to attain powers to help me to protect and bring justice to this city. No detail was too small, I calculated everything including allowing for weaknesses so that if I were ever corrupted by my own power, I could be stopped. Finally, everything was ready. I went home the night before I was to receive the final sequences that would grant me the powers I needed. I was exhausted to the point where I could barely see, but I knew that I couldn't sleep because of what I'd soon be able to accomplish."

"That's when I saw it happen, a streak of light in the early morning sky that crashed hard into a field. Because of my training, I instinctively raced over to make sure that no one was hurt. Lying in the wreckage was a stupid freaking alien who begged that I take on the role of 'The Yellow Codpiece; Gardian of Truth, Justice and Liberty'"

The man stood fuming for a few seconds.

"TEN YEARS, TEN FREAKING YEARS I'd been working on the project and this moron shows up and hands it to me. Do you have any idea just how insanely annoying that can be?"

"Couldn't you have just said , 'No Thanks'?"

The man laughed, "Oh yeah, right, I'm going to tell some dying interplanetary emissary bearing omnipotent underwear, 'Sorry Buddy, Got my own deal in the works. Give what's left of you a lift into town?' No-siree. Not me, Not 'Wayne the Recovering Boy-Scout'. Nope, like a freaking idiot, I agreed. Worse thing is that that stupid Dynamic Diaper has some sort of pre-cognitive power which gets me to places where trouble is about to happen. We would have been here sooner except for the fact that there were two robberies and a stolen car to take care of first."

He continued to fume until the Alien Undergarment returned.

"We are needed elsewhere." The alien voice stated flatly.

Wayne sighed and refitted the alien codpiece to his costume. "Right-o. Well, I'm off. Oh, nice works on figuring out that the people behind those attacks were being controlled by a mind-wraith. I would have never figured it out if the Boxers from Beyond hadn't told me on the way over. I've-got-to-think-of-something-to-yell-before-I-fly AWAAAAY!!!" And with that the Codpiece disappeared into the sky. The mind-wraith was nowhere to be seen.

Perfect. Just perfect. So unless The Detective wanted to solve nothing more complicated than missing pet cases or divorce settlements, Portland was now out too.

The Detective was beginning to identify with Wayne.


Carnival music filled Becky Sue's dreams.

She was walking the fairway once again, waving to friends she'd not seen in years. She smiled at the kids shooting B-B guns trying to pop balloons and shook her head at Roy. Even with her skill she could barely ever hit a balloon because of the screwy things he'd done to the guns. Still Roy was more honest than most of the Carnies that followed the Rodeo and was always there whenever anyone needed a hand.

The air was filled with the sweet smells of fresh hay, cotton candy and bar-be-que. She turned and headed down to where the smokey pits were.

"That's why I like hanging out in your dreams. The food's a lot better." JB said between mouthfuls of slow cooked beef.

"JB?" Becky Sue said in disbelief as she spun around to face the figure seated on a wooden fence.

"That and there aren't as many Neptunian Pengui--" JB never finished his sentence as Becky Sue tackled him off of the fencepost. They landed together in soft hay, suddenly alone in the crowded carnival.

Becky Sue frowned. "How do I know you're fer real", she asked?

"There's wasabi on this sandwich." JB stated matter-of-factly.

"Oh JB!" Becky Sue said not quite believing that he was still alive. And with her eyes starting to well up, she decked JB.

Hard.

"Why in Tarnation didn't y'all let me know you were still livin' you no good worthless son of a polecat!" She screamed at JB. "I've been worried darn near to death thinkin' you were a goner you stinking pile of cow-chips. You're lower than an earthworm in China!"

"Ow! Ow! Ow! HEY!!" JB protested before finally managing to catch Becky Sue's hands. "Look, I couldn't at first and then I figured it would be better if I didn't make everyone aware of the fact. In case you hadn't noticed Myron wasn't too up on sticking around."

Becky Sue stopped struggling. "Myron? He ain't dead neither?"

"No, he's not. He's quite alive, just like you, Karl and Roger are, but not really up on being a team player. If he knew that I could read his mind he'd have figured out some way to block me."

"You.. you can read minds?" Becky Sue said, growing confused.

"Not everyone, look, remember how everyone was in my head before?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, now I'm in everyone else's head. I know that Myron doesn't want to be part of the Furlong anymore and burned a trail out of town as fast as he could. Fortunately, for me at least, the tricks I learned to keep some of you out of my head seem to work both ways."

Becky Sue started struggling again. "You mean to tell me you've been ignorin' me?"

JB held fast. "Yes. Look I told you about your snoring problem."

"And when I'm not snorin'?"

"You're the first thing on my mind."

"I am?"

"Yep. You're an early riser. OW!" JB didn't bother blocking the last hit, he knew he had earned it.

"So now what?" Becky Sue said as she sat next to JB.

"I'm not sure. The good news is: I'm not dead. That means that like you guys, I'm probably stuck in some sort of weird limbo. I also get the feeling that I'm going to need all four of you in order to get back to where I belong."

"So what am I supposed to do?"

"I don't know, but I need you to not tell the others about this yet. I'll approach them myself, oh, and I need you to be careful not to think too hard about Myron."

"You mean like dragin' the weasel through a cactus patch a coupl'a hun'erd times?"

"Yes, exactly like that. I don't know if he might hear any really strong thoughts you might project. That's why I've got to talk to each of you alone. If all three of you started in I don't know if he might pick that up and then he'll start blocking and we'll lose what advantage I have. Think nasty thoughts about anyone else you like, just not about him directly. I can tell you that he's not having a fun time either, and whatever karma he might have had is pure crap right now."

"If karma is luck, I hope he's got a whole mess'a bad."

"To put it mildly, hell yes. Oops, I gotta go." JB gave her a small kiss, "I'll be back as soon as I can" He winked and smiled as he said, "you owe me a sandwich." And with that he was gone again.

"JB? JB! YOU GIT BACK HERE! JB!!"

Becky Sue was once again on the fairway holding something soft and fuzzy. It was a stuffed bear from the shooting gallery.


What otherworldly horror have
the suburban satanists released?

What will Bob do to get
off of academic probation?

Will this episode still get a PG-13
rating even with the violence?

Tune in next time for:

Undead Decor
or
Tomb by Tomb

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