Strawberry Days

by Doom Bunny & Upright


"Huh? What?"

"Strawberry Days, you old gimp! C'mon, remember the old days, when you and your little sister Weazy would leave the inner city an' pick strawberries to your heart's content. Remember? Remember?"

"Weazy? Is she here? I thought she'd passed on." The old enchanter turned around. "Weaz! Com'n give yo' brother Pookie a big smooch!"

Bright Boy turned away, disgusted. He understood that the new guy on the block had to do a lot of the shit jobs, but baby sitting Mr. Mystic, Enchanter Supreme, was more than a shit job -- it was criminal.

° ° °

The day had started off well. He didn't even have to duck out of the corridor to avoid Snailman this morning, since he was out on assignment. Then Super Hot Babe Nice Alice sat by him at breakfast. No one forgot his name today. Bright Boy was finally becoming a part of the team.

Captain Dick had called Bright Boy in to assign him his first independent duties. Oh yeah, Brandon had thought, my first assignment by myself!

"Listen up, you little weasel: You're bottom of the totem! Toilet latrine material! Numero Zero-O! I fuckin' shit on a stick and you lick it and you like it! Understood?!"

"Screw off."

Captain Dick looked Bright Boy up and down, smirking. He grabbed a thick and well used folder from off his desk and threw it at Brandon. "There you go, you pathetic weasel shit licker! Oh, and, heh heh, good luck."

Brandon looked at the folder. Five words struck him at the heart of his being and sent him into spasms -

Mr. Mystic, Baby Sitting Duty.

Nooooooooo!!!!


° ° °

His thoughts returned to the present when Mr. Mystic spoke. "Boy, I thought you said Weazy was here."

Bright Boy was getting annoyed.

"She's dead, you old fart!" he yelled.

"Oh, did I? Excuse me."

Bright Boy laid his face in his hands. Why me?, he asked himself. This was worse than any assignment. "Shit!"

"Oh come now, it can't smell that bad. Now what were we talking about?"

Bright Boy took advantage of the situation. "Uh... you were just telling me about how you were going to take your nap."

"Oh, was I? Oh yeah, I remember now. I was just going to take my nap. Goodnight!"

Nice Alice entered the television room, a look of concern crossing her beautiful Barbie face. "You know, that wasn't very nice, Brandon. Now you go and take that dear old man to Strawberry Days. He needs to get out and take in the air while it's still breathable..."

"Come on Super Hot Babe -- I mean, Alice -- it wasn't really a mean thing to do." Bright Boy paused. "I prefer the term 'necessary.'"

Super Hot Babe Nice Alice took in a deep, deep, deep breath, her ample and quite sufficient chest rising to meet the challenge.

"Brandon..." Alice began, puppy sadness just flickering into existence. Tears began to collect on the rim of her eyes...

Brandon really wanted to squeeze her butt. "Okay Alice, I'll take him to Strawberry Days for you."

"Oh Brandon! You're such a sweetheart! I just love you to pieces!" She leaned over and kissed Bright Boy lightly on the cheek. He felt his sixteen-year-old body rising to meet the challenge.

"Well, I have to make sure that Bill and Teleman aren't squabbling over the best seat for the television. Goodbye! Have fun at Strawberry Days!" Alice left the room.

Bright Boy turned around to find Mr. Mystic still asleep. "Come on Pookie, wake up."

Pookie?

"Mr. Mystic, its time to go to Strawberry Days."

The old man shot up from the couch. "What? Where's that there commie-bastard Savant? I'll finish him this time."

Oh man, thought Brandon, this is gonna be swell.

° ° °

Strawberry Days. A day for strawberries. A special event created by the Council For Strawberry Consumption and Public Awareness fifty years ago in 2047, it soon became a popular holiday in a time that saw political correctness take away that special feeling of Christmas, that springy fresh feeling of Easter, that nostalgic feeling for home at Thanksgiving. So far, nobody could find anything politically incorrect about Strawberry Days. Not that they hadn't tried, but all efforts were destroyed utterly by the now-powerful Strawberry Council.

Bright Boy, disguised as mild-mannered Brandon Tanner, escorted Pete Black (a.k.a. Mr. Mystic) through the fair. The place was crowded and noisy, a huge gathering of the masses.

Bright Boy sighed. He wanted to be doing real superhero stuff, not babysitting the old guy. Well, he decided, if he was going to be stuck at this stupid festival, at least he was going to enjoy himself. Brandon checked out the babes in the crowd, and soon found himself having fun.

Then it happened. It was unthinkable, unimaginable. He turned around to check on Mr. Mystic and no one was there. Mr. Mystic had vanished!

Oh God, what the fuck am I going to do now?

Brandon went over their path in his head. Okay, they'd sat in on the Strawberry Council's welcoming speech to all attendee's of this year's festival. Then they'd hobbled over to the Strawberry Jamming Exhibition, because Mr. Mystic was interested in jamming and it was, after all, his day - though Brandon would've much rather have partaken in the Strawberry Jelly Coed Wrestling Match.

Then Mr. Mystic insisted on singing the Strawberry Song with the rest of the geriatric cases in the auditorium. Then they'd gone to the bathroom. Then they had gone to the Strawberry Jelly Coed Wrestling Match...

Wait! Perhaps I left Mr. Mystic to mix it up with tight ripe girls covered in strawberry jelly! Perhaps I left Mr. Mystic in the bathroom!

Brandon ran back to the lavatory.

Please be there, please be there...

Mr. Mystic was there, with his pants and underwear draped around his ankles, bearing it all for all the men in the world to see. Hooray.

Mr. Mystic looked up at Brandon, who stood frozen at the doorway, not believing what he was seeing. "You know, Weazy, it's gotten kinda cold 'round heres."

Jesus Christ...

The two heroes walked out of the bathroom and into the crowd. Bright Boy was still determined to have fun.

"Boy, boy, I can't move! The Savant musta cast a freeze spell on me! Now, what was that reversal incantation..."

"No! Wait! We just need to pull up your pants --"

"So I do. So I do. Help me out here, son. Just don't touch nothing, you hear?"

Grimly, Brandon pulled up the old man's yellow boxers. A crowd was gathering around them.

"Get out of here," he yelled at them. "Haven't you ever seen an old man with his pants down before?"

"Nuh-uh," answered the crowd.

"I have, and it was that same old man!"

Brandon looked up from his struggle with Mr. Mystic's corduroys. A man stepped out from the crowd.

Even Brandon, new to the GHC, recognized the person who stood before him. "The Savant," he whispered.

"Boy? Boy, whatchoo doin' down there?"

Just when Bright Boy thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. An arrow, a crimson arrow, landed at his feet. From the look of it the arrow could only belong to one person:

The Native American!

Oh geez, thought Brandon. Just when the greatest threat to civilization appears, the Native American shows up!

Brandon had to act fast. He had to do something drastic, something that he hated to do.

"Look! Mr. Mystic, it's the Savant!"

"Where? Why that no good, back-stabbing commie! Where is that rat?"

"Well, uh, he's right in front of you."

"Well, shoot! An' I went an' left my glasses at home..."

Brandon pointed Mr. Mystic in the Savant's general direction. Giving him a gentle push, he yelled, "Go get him Mr. Mystic! I'll take care of the Native American!"

Mr. Mystic, pants still down, fell to the ground. "Savannnnnt!" he cried out pitifully.

Whomp. Mr. Mystic didn't try to get up.

Bright Boy, watching Mr. Mystic fall like the old man he was, felt another arrow whiz by his head, so he began to look for the nearest shelter.

No, I'm a hero! I've got to prove myself and take out the Native American. Grandpa there will have to hold his own against the Savant.

The Savant knelt next to the comatose Mr. Mystic. "Somebody call for the paramedics!" he yelled.

Brandon, however, was too busy to listen. He ducked back into the bathroom and stripped off his killer threads to reveal a blue spandex uniform with yellow electric zigzags running down his back, chest and the sides of his legs. He pulled up an attached hood that was opened at the top to reveal his really cool blond hair. He was ready. He was Bright Boy.

He looked up and could see the Native American, high on an exhibit building. Bright Boy pointed a finger at the villain, all the while saying to himself: "I will control it. I will control it. I won't blow up the building."

He closed his eyes and released his power.

Fizzle-Pop!

The scent of ozone and failure surrounded Brandon. "Shit!" he yelled.

Suddenly, the Savant was standing next to him.

"Who the hell are you supposed to be?"

Bright Boy realized that his power had chosen a very inopportune time to quit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Native American ducking out. Having publicly displayed his heroic persona, Bright Boy couldn't be seen quitting just because his power wasn't working.

"Later, dude," yelled Bright Boy. "I got me an Injun to catch!"

° ° °

The Native American, seeing he was being pursued, turned a corner. Ha! He won't get away that...

Brandon rounded the corner. The Native American stood ten feet away, arrow nocked and aimed for his heart.

...easily. Brandon felt his bowels loosening.

Suddenly, the Native American's arrow turned into a snake, and he dropped it quickly. He looked up at Bright Boy.

"How you do that?" he asked.

Bright Boy, thinking quickly, replied, "Uh, um, I just did."

Native American was clueless to the situation. Hell, the guy was just clueless. Born to a well-to-do Irish family in New York, this plucky redhead decided to carry on the crusade of political correctness since he had one sixty-fourth Apache blood coursing through his veins. He learned all his skills from the renegade Raging Navaho, who was once a circus performer in India. Returning to the states, Native American took up his title and threw away his clothes and carried out the proud traditions of all Indians, as he understood them to be, which wasn't right, but oh well...

"I thought I might be of assistance."

Bright Boy whirled around to see the threat of all mankind -- except MacFahopf -- standing behind him.

The Savant!

"Great! I knew Mr. Mystic sucked! You two are in cahoots, aren't ya!" cried Bright Boy. Two against one, he thought, was just not fair.

"What are you talking about?" asked the Native American. Two against one, he thought, was just not fair.

"You should be ashamed, hurting an old man like that," said the Savant, seeing how Bright Boy had infiltrated the Hero Corps to tear it apart inside-out and was now trying to make good his escape with the Native American. He didn't think two against one was unfair, however, since he was the Savant.

All three glared at each other. Each one preparing to battle with the other two that had ganged up on him. They stood staring at each other for ten minutes.

° ° °

They stood another ten minutes, wondering what was taking the other two.

"So..." the Savant said slowly.

"Yeah. Uh, well..."

"You no trickee me, paleface!"

Another minute passed when an explosion rocked the fairgrounds. Apparently, Mr. Mystic had woken up and was battling the Savant, or whom he thought was the Savant.

A loud pop POPPED over the trio's heads. Carlotta Everyday had materialized with three other people two stories above Bright Boy, the Savant and the Native American.

"Dammit, Carlotta! Can't you ever just get us anywhere safely!" screamed Buck the Ogre as he hurtled toward the pavement.

Buck hit the ground with a comforting splat, Greased Lightning hit the ground, but not really, since his frictionless body prevented any impact, Super Mummy slammed into the pavement in a flurry of wrappings, and Carlotta landed quietly beside them. "Wonder at the universe and know you are alive, an enigma in the face of confusion and chaos," Carlotta intoned.

Super Mummy got up. "Unnhhh," he wondered.

"Yeah, how did the new kid catch two villains all by himself?" snapped Greased Lightning, initially sliding around until he turned on the friction so he could stand up. Sneering, he added, "Well, one and a half, that is." He looked at Native American, who was busy nocking another arrow.

"You no trickee me, paleface!" screamed Native American, shooting wildly at Greased Lightning.

The arrow reflected off Greased Lightning's frictionless body. "Ha! You're not even half a villain."

Cocking a fist, Greased Lightning smacked Native American a solid one across the face. Native American hit the ground hard. "Aiiieee!" he cried before passing out.

Super Mummy turned toward the Savant. "Unnhhh..."

"Yeah, whatever..." In a flash, the Savant disappeared.

"Hurray, we beat the bad guys!" cried the Galactic Hero Corps - except Super Mummy, that is, who said something like, "Unh!"

By now a crowd had gathered and had witnessed the spectacle.

"Wow," one spectator exclaimed. "That was great!"

Greased Lighting tried to think of something witty to say, something fitting of a superhero. He decided on the team motto:

"A hero's got to do what to do."

"Uh, whatever," murmured the crowd.

"You're all just a bunch of boneheads anyway, so shut up!" Greased screamed, flexing his arm to remind the crowd who was the real man here.

"I think we should remember who took on two villains at the same time," said Buck, laying a hand -- after a lot of effort -- on Bright Boy's shoulder. "It's not everyday somebody can hold their own against the Savant like that, Bright Boy!"

"Hip Hip Hooray," cried everybody present.

"But the Savant, he didn't --" began Bright Boy.

"Unnhhh!" exclaimed Super Mummy.

"I agree with Super Mummy, I think he just got scared of us and ran," said Greased Lightning, frictioning the dirt off his white spandex uniform until it gleamed.

They all started to go home. Then, another explosion rocked the festival.

"What was that?" wondered Buck.

Bright Boy blinked. "Oh man! Mr. Mystic!"

They found him in the middle of what used to be a strawberry-flavored soap display.

"Come on," Bright Boy said. "Let's go home Mr. Mystic."

"Did I get him?" Mr. Mystic asked, covered in strawberry jam.

"No," Bright Boy replied. "But you were close. Come on."

"Oh-Tay," declared Mr. Mystic, winking at the reader and holding up a big okay signal. End of story.

Yay.

 

Copyright © 1994 No Apologies! Press

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