The Death of Mr. Mystic

by Long Haired Hippy Freak,
Upright, and the Freak's Chick o' the Month

Skip to Part Two


Part One

The Most Horrific War Ever
by Grunion Guy

It was the most horrific war ever. A lot of people were dead and a lot more would die in the future. The bad guys, the fiendish Quargs, were winning. The good guys, the peaceful Whamps, were losing.

Grunion Guy paused. Boy, he thought, this is gonna be the Great American Novel.

The Quargs and Whamps had been fighting for a long time. It had been years and years. The Whamps were good, and so, they were peaceful. The Quargs were bad, and so, they were not peaceful. They had attacked the Whamps because the Whamps were good and they did not like good people. And so the two groups had been fighting for a really long time.

Okay, thought Grunion Guy, the background has been set. Whoever reads this will be dying to know what happens next.

"We're losing!" screeched the Whamps of the land to their leader, the handsome and good Whamper, Woody.

He said,"I will go on a quest, and save all of Whamp Land!"

"Yeah! " yelled the Whamps.

Woody said goodbye to the rest of the Whamps and set off on his quest to save Whamp Land because the Whamps were losing the war with the Quargs and they needed to be saved. So he left.

He left and won the war for the Whamps. All the Whamps were very very happy and said, "Yeah!"

The End

 

Damn, thought Grunion Guy. It's a great story, but no Great American Novel was only a half-page long. I need more experience, more material to fill it out, make it at least a page longer...

"Grunion Guy!" screamed Captain Dick, "get your pathetic ass into my office! Pronto! You're goin' on a mission!"

If only I had more time to complete my stories, Grunion Guy pondered, slowly rising to his feet and gathering all his notes. Suddenly he turned and dashed to the typewriter for a quick addition to his novel before he was teleported away once again.

"Get your funky shit-filled ass away from that typewriter! " Captain Dick screamed.

Grunion Guy stopped short glancing back over his shoulder. He looked back at the typewriter, than back in the direction of Captain Dick's voice and then back at the typewriter.

"Where the hell are you, you fucking fish? If I have to come get your slimy ass over here, you'll be so fucking sorry."

Grunion Guy dropped his notes in a panic and ran back toward the transporter room where the others were waiting.

Halfway down the hall, Grunion Guy turned a corner and ran head on into Death Rock.

"Sorry," screamed Grunion Guy, prepared to meet Death Rock's duke. Again.

"S'okay, fish head." said Death Rock. Nice Alice was right behind him. Death Rock was always on his guard when he was around Alice. He really liked her. Which was fine with Grunion Guy.

"Okay, blubberbutts, your mission is to get in that damn transporter room right now! Do you understand, morons? Can you do that without fucking up? Fuck! I knew it! Grunion Guy, can you maybe try to walk with a little more panache! Like that word- I learned it today on the Today Show. Fuck! Quit tripping, Grunion Guy, you worthless dung-heap! Get in the transporter room! Get! Get! NOW!!!" Captain Dick's voice reverberated throughout the room as the Corps ran into the transporter room.

Waiting in the transporter room with Captain Dick was Carlotta Everyday, Bright Boy, Insectorama, Death Rock and Nice Alice.

"Carlotta, we're ready."

"Has the sun come by or has the moon been lying?"

"What the fuck? I said let's get going!"

"Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like dancing."

"Carlotta, you bitch, transport us now."

"The milk went frigid yesterday."

"Shit. Shit. Shit. Where is Teleman? I hate depending on that fuck. Teleman, you shit, get the hell in the transporter room, now. Fucking idjits."

Teleman ran in, all excited. He was wearing his new uniform, a much more exciting one. It was a gold jumpsuit with 'Tele-" instead of Teleman written in block letters across his chest. Now was the time to make an impact, to reveal to the world the new Teleman. I hope the other's think the part in my hair isn't too daring.

But just as he entered, Carlotta finally got the clue and transported the others. Captain Dick looked at him, sneering. "You look like a pathetic idiot, Teleman." And then he left, laughing.

Damn...

Leaving Teleman behind looking dejected as usual, Carlotta was able to transport the group to the correct destination, the murky swamps of Gaseous. There in the dark depths lay their evil nemesis, Octoflare.

The group splashed to the ground after materializing about five feet in the air.

"Why did Captain Dick send us here?" asked Bright Boy.

"Octoflare is loose," responded Carlotta, surprising everyone.

"That flat-chested bitch actually makes sense sometimes, huh?" asked Death Rock as he scooted between Bright Boy and Nice Alice.

Bright Boy looked up at Death Rock, red faced and frustrated. "I guess, but who the fuck's Octoflare?"

"Can we breathe here?" asked Grunion Guy.

Suddenly everybody was on the ground, choking. As they had stood there talking, the air had filled with a sickly green gas and spread throughout the superheroes.

"I wo what wo wo. We wust wrawl wo wa wair! " mumbled Death
Rock as he pinched his nose trying to keep from falling into a fatal coma

from the smell.

"Wait! Although at first this air could be construed to be poisonous, I know that it is not. I know what it is!" announced Insectorama.

"What?"

"It smells like a fart!" yelled Insectorama.

"But what could make a smell that bad?" asked Bright Boy.

"Only one person I know of: Buck the Ogre," said Insectorama just as Buck, Snailman, Greased Lightning and Teleman appeared from the mist.

"Sorry, guys," said Buck, "but you know how teleporting wreaks havoc with my system."

"Why are you guys here?"

"Uh..."

"I'm here to save all your butts," announced Greased Lightning.

"You can save my butt anytime Greased." Insectorama screamed.

"How do you like my new uniform guys?"

"Shut up Teleman."

"Oh..."

"Oh no, I'm sticking to the muck," said Snailman slowly.

"That's because you're sticky and covered in slime," announced Insectorama.

"Let me touch your cookies! Let me touch your cookies..." Death Rock sang as he played air guitar and eyed Nice Alice meaningfully.

Nice Alice blushed. Bright Boy frowned.

"So, what do we have to do?" Nice Alice asked.

"Have to do...have to do...have to do... Storm the Bastille!" shouted Carlotta Everyday, ripping Teleman's new cape as she grabbed it, wrapped it around a stick and set it on fire. With her torch blazing, she marched off singing Marseilles.

"My costume," screamed Teleman. "I worked all night on that!" Teleman began to pout as the others shrugged their shoulders and followed Carlotta, having no better idea.

"What do you think she meant?" asked Bright Boy.

"Beats me. What do you think she ever means?" asked Greased Lightning.

Grunion Guy began looking around, taking in the surrounding terrain as they walked along. A huge swamp with lots of gas in the air, thought Grunion Guy. Talk about experience, this is great! Suddenly Nice Alice screamed and he turned to see what had happened, making a mental note to add something suspenseful like this in his next book.

"Eeewww yuck! Buck!"

"Sorry Nice Alice, it's just, well, you know..."

"Check it out guys!" yelled Bright Boy, ignoring Alice. The female sex, for that matter. He pointed at a castle.

"It's a castle!"

"Hey, look at that, it's a castle!"

"A castle? Where?"

"In front of you, bug eyes!"

"Maybe a king lives in it, or a duke..."

"Let's introduce him to my duke!"

"Oh Death Rock, what are we going to do with you?"

"Hell, lets just forget intros, let's just kick some butt!"

"Dandies in their overcoats meet their beginning at the end. Nothing is innocent, not even Pooh Bear." Everybody stopped in there tracks and stared at Carlotta. Her torch had been replaced by a shoulder mounted bazooka and she wore a helmet with dark glasses. She turned toward the rest of the group and yelled, "Let's Rock!"

"All right, now she's got the idea," roared Death Rock as he waved his fist in the air and charged the castle, falling almost instantly into the surrounding moat. "Whoops," he said as he sank under.

"Well, I guess it's about time I saved his butt, too," shrugged Greased Lightning as he dove into the moat.

"That's okay, you needn't..." began Bright Boy.

But it was too late, Greased was in. His control over friction kept the slime of the moat off, but he would have to turn it back on when he grabbed Death Rock. Greased Lightning hesitated.

"What's wrong! Save him Greased!" screamed Buck.

"But I'll get all dirty!" he complained.

Suddenly, a look of bug eyed surprise came over Greased. A ham sized, skull ringed, tattooed hand reached out of the muck and grabbed his leg and dragged him down. Death Rock pulled himself out of the muck, using Greased Lightning as a step ladder. Greased got really dirty.

"Thanks dude."

"You bastard!"

"Well, now you've saved even Death Rock!" said Nice Alice, gleefully clapping her hands together.

"Yeah, well, I do save everyone's butt sooner or later..."

Suddenly, there was a loud boom as Carlotta fired the bazooka. A giant hole appeared in the side of the castle and rubble rained down into the moat, making a makeshift bridge across.

"We're lucky the fish are biting," said Carlotta thoughtfully as she ran across the rubble and disappeared into the hole.

"What's gotten into Carlotta?" asked Bright Boy. Nobody answered. Again, they all followed Carlotta for the sake that nobody had any better ideas.

It was pitch dark inside. Nobody could see a thing until a giant spotlight flashed on, blinding them all. Again, nobody could see a thing.

"What is the meaning of this!" yelled a commanding voice from somewhere behind the spotlight.

"What is the meaning of this?" yelled Quincy, Head Quarg of the Quargs.

Boy, this is great, thought Grunion Guy, typing furiously on his wrist computer. He paused, awaiting the response.

"Meaning is a state of euphoria in the chaotic plane of linear time," intoned Carlotta, firing a bazooka round into the glaring light.

"I'll show you, you big fat Quarg!" yelled Woody the Whamp. He stabbed at Quincy with his big sword.

There was a huge explosion and the light disappeared.

"I'M BLIND! OH GOD, I'M BLIND!"

"Shut up Insectorama."

Suddenly, torches mounted high above the room flared into light, revealing a giant in armor standing before a huge doorway next to a ruined spot light.

"I am The Guardian of Octoflare's secret domain!" boomed a giant voice from out of the giant helmet. "If your champion can defeat me, you may pass."

A large number of heads swiveled back and forth.

"Champion? Greased, you're our champion, right?" bubbled Insectorama.

Greased Lightning looked up, way up, at the giant in armor. "Um, I think maybe we should test out the new kid? What do you think, Death Rock?"

Death Rock examined the hard shiny surface of the giant armor. "Well, normally, I'd teach this overgrown New Waver a thing or two about dukes, but, well, I think Bright Boy could use the experience in a one-on-one fight."

All heads turned toward Bright Boy. Bright Boy looked around to see who he could pass the buck to. Buck, no, Snailman, no, Teleman, no, Grunion Guy, no, Super Hot Babe Nice Alice, definitely no, and Carlotta, well, you know. Bright Boy looked back toward Death Rock, "Flip for it?"

"Shee-it! Can't you rock?" sneered Death Rock. Suddenly, he flipped his head back and howled, "Rock rock 'til you drop! Rock rock never stop!"

"Enough!" boomed the Guardian of Octoflare's Secret Domain. "You have been selected champion!" He pointed in the general direction of the group.

"Me? Well, okay!" Insectorama leapt forward, metallic green not so tight tights glistening in the weak torch light.

"No Insectorama! We want to win this fight!" yelled Teleman. Then he looked puzzled. "At least, I think we do? Why do we want to find Octoflare's Secret Domain anyway?"

"To the death!" screamed The Guardian, raising a huge armored fist.

"Okay!" screamed Insectorama back. He turned into a flea and charged the Guardian.

"Screw the one-on-one shit! You fight one of us, you fight us all!" announced Greased Lightning. He charged.

"Yeah, way to rock!" bellowed Death Rock, charging.

"Yeah," said Snailman slowly, launching a barrage of slime at the figure.

"Yeah," yelled Teleman.

"Yeah," said Bright Boy, pointing a finger and firing a blast of lightning.

"Hey, no fair," whined the Guardian as the slime slid off his armor and the lightning bounced away. Greased Lightning slid to a halt, looking back at Bright Boy.

"How much power did you put into that?" Greased whispered.

"Everything I got." Bright Boy took a step back, bumping into Nice Alice.

The Guardian had lifted his hands up to protect his face when he suddenly realized the barrage had ended. He lowered his hands and looked at the hesitant bunch of heroes.

"Well..." he said, waiting for the imminent rush. Death Rock was now the closest, looking back at the others, puzzled.

"Are we gonna smash this dweeb or what?" he asked. The others began to creep forward again, not sure what to do.

"Hey, there was nothing in here to bite," echoed Insectorama's voice from out of the giant's helmet, "So I turned back. I think I'm in a boot."

"What? You mean, oh God, it's not true!" screamed the Guardian. He lifted his visor and felt around for something, anything. It wasn't there. "It's true, oh no, oh no, it's true..." He started wailing as the Corps crept forward carefully.

"Oh dear, what's wrong?" asked Nice Alice. She sat next to him and put her arm around his shoulder.

"I'm not real! Octoflare said I was real, but I'm not, I'm nothing b-b-but a ghost."

"It's true. I scanned him telepathically and there's nothing there," announced Teleman.

The Guardian wailed a little louder.

"You're a complete ass, Teleman," said Buck.

"Guys, get me out," echoed Insectorama.

"If I'm not real, there's no point in existing anymore," pouted the Guardian.

"Don't talk like that," consoled Nice Alice. "I'm sure there's plenty of reasons to go on existing."

"Like for your family," said Teleman.

The Guardian broke down crying even more. "My family's dead," screamed the Guardian who began shuddering from his frantic sobs.

Suddenly, a loud buzzing sound filled the room. It came echoing out of the visor, followed by a small mosquito which began circling in the air.

"Being who you are is no reason to stop being," said Carlotta from the corner of the room, now dressed in full camouflage battle fatigues and armed with a semi-automatic pistol. "So shut up and take it like the man you used to be," she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Let's go." With that, Carlotta ran through a doorway and down another darkened passage.

"C'mon, you can go with us," said Nice Alice, as everyone ran past them.

"But I can't really do anything," said the Guardian. "I just guard things like entrances and stuff."

"Maybe you could join the Corps and help guard Headquarters with Bill," said Alice, suddenly inspired.

"Well, maybe... hey, that doesn't sound half bad!"

"C'mon! You can show the rest of us around this place."

"Yeah!"

"You could show us where all the secret traps are!"

"Yeah! I can do that!"

Down the passage there was the large boom of something dropping.

"What was that?"

"Oh. Uh, it was one of the traps I was supposed to tell you about."

Nice Alice and The Guardian ran up the passage to a huge steel gate barring the way. Everyone was inside.

"Hey, this is a trap," complained Teleman.

"Hey, we're trapped!" screamed Insectorama.

"I just said that, buttface!"

"Shut up Teleman," said Snailman slowly.

Woody was trapped in a big trap...

Grunion Guy waited in anticipation for something more to add. Suddenly, spikes extended from the roof and the the ceiling began to drop.

Suddenly, real big spikes came out of the ceiling and the ceiling began to drop slowly. It was a trap, thought Woody.

Grunion Guy began to get real excited, waiting to see how Woody would escape from the deadly trap. He sat down in the corner and watched.

"I think we're going to die," said Teleman as he watched the spikes get closer.

Greased began looking around. There was only one other way out, and it too, was barred. "Hey, Insectorama, turn into a bug and go through the bars to see if there's any way of stopping that ceiling."

"Okay," replied Insectorama happily, turning into a Black Widow and crawling between the bars. The spider sat on the other side of the bars while the others waited. And waited. The spikes grew closer. They waited.

The spikes fell further.

"Insectorama!" screamed Teleman.

And further...

"InsectoERK!" screamed Buck, his massive fifteen foot high head the first to be impaled by the spikes.

Fortunately, Buck's mass was enough to stop the spikes advance. Grunion Guy thought in the corner, his fingers at the ready.

Suddenly, the dropping ceiling was stopped by the big ogre's fat head. Woody sighed, he was safe. Now to find Quincy, he thought, and resume our sword fight. He left.

As the ceiling ground to a halt, the bars lifted and the ceiling began to reverse directions. With a loud pop, the spike which had entered Buck's head slid from his skull and back into the roof. "Owww," commented Buck as he rubbed his head, sliding his finger a foot deep in the puncture wound which was spouting blood all over the room.

"Guys, I think I need a doctor..." were Buck's last words as he slumped to the ground and died, died, died. He was dead.

"Oh God, Buck's dead!" cried Nice Alice.

"Well, he weren't much use to us anyway," answered Greased Lightning.

"But his meatloaf was the best," mumbled Snailman.

Buck's body shriveled into a tiny, hairy, dry corpse. A wind came out of nowhere and blew away the remains.

"Buck died as a hero should. Sacrificially!" cried out Insectorama, who had turned back to a human.

"No thanks to you, dufus," said Teleman, poking at Insectorama's ribs.

"Hee Hee! Don't! That tickles!"

"Yeah? How about this then?"

"Hee Hee Hee! Stop that! Stop!"

"And that! And that!"

Insectorama was prancing about, retreating before the barrage of Teleman's poking index fingers. Teleman stalked him, weaving in and out of the group, fingers at the ready.

The entire group suddenly turned as a loud roaring sound began making its way down the hallway.

"What the hell is that?" asked Greased Lightning, peering casually down the corridor. He could see nothing.

"Everyone be quiet," whispered Nice Alice as the group of heroes strained to listen at the approaching sound.

"Yah hah ha ha ha ha!" screamed Insectorama as Teleman gave him a truly vicious poke to the ribs.

"Knock it off, Teleman," screamed everyone in unison. Except for Buck, who was dead. And shriveled. And blown away. The sound emanating from the hall stopped and everyone again was quiet, waiting.

"You all knock it off, bastards!" Teleman screamed, sick of everybody treating him like they would Insectorama.

"Right. Look, I'm gonna take care of that noise, you guys just stay out of trouble cause I might be too busy to save your butts!" With that, Greased Lightning flashed away down the corridor.

"If there's gonna be fist throwin', then my fists have gotta be there!" roared Death Rock as he ran after Greased Lightning.

Shlomp, shlomp, schlomp, schlomp. Snailman did not speak as he followed Death Rock.

"Edward sought to make England the silk capital of the West. He smuggled out hundreds of silk worms from Cathay and planted hundreds of black mulberry bushes for the worms to feed upon. Little did he know that silk worms preferred the white mulberry bush, thus ending Edward's dreams." Carlotta stormed out of the room in full Royal Guard regalia.

"Stop it Teleman! Ha Ha Ha! STOP!" screamed Insectorama as he ran out of the room, Teleman in full pursuit.

"Uh, I guess, uh, it's just you and me now, Nice Alice," stammered Bright Boy, flushing and drawing circles in the ground with his foot.

"And the Guardian! Don't forget him!"

"Oh yeah. See ya," sighed Bright Boy as he ran out the room.

"I think he likes you Nice Alice." said the Guardian.

"Brandon's a nice boy."

"Yeah, well, I guess we should go and see what they're about to get killed by."

"Don't you know?"

"Nuh-uh. I only guarded the entrance to Octoflare's Secret Domain. Never went in it."

"Oh. Let's go and have a nice adventure then."

"Okay."

As they left, Grunion Guy typed furiously from his corner of the room.

"No," answered the Quarg rebel helping Woody. " Quincy only let us guard his stuff. We did a lot of guarding."

"Let us face then this unknown thing that threatens me. We will battle it and win, for the end of the story is already written and all the Whamps say "Yeah." So I won't die. Hopefully you won't either, though you be Quargian."

"Yes, but I am a good Quarg, and hate my parents for ever giving me birth."

Grunion Guy looked up worriedly as he heard Greased Lightning's distressed yell from down the hallway, followed almost instantaneously by the rest of the group's distressed yell. I'm missing out on the adventure, thought Grunion Guy as he jumped up and ran headlong down the corridor. He stopped halfway down it, noticing that there was no sign of the rest of the Corps. He glanced back over his shoulder, but there was nobody there. He glanced forward down the hall, but there was nothing there but a tiny speaker blaring out the strange roar they had heard. He looked up, but saw only a soot stained ceiling. Shrugging his shoulders, he started forward and fell directly into the pit in front of him.

He landed with a splash in a pool of water in a darkened cavern. Small amounts of light filtered down through the pit and he could make out the forms of the others lying on the banks of the pool, gasping for breath.

"Hey, are you guys okay?" asked Grunion Guy as he floated in the middle of the pool.

"Hunh?" gasped Greased Lightning, looking back over his shoulder. "Grunion Guy! Get out of that pool!" he yelled. Just then Grunion Guy felt something wrap around his ankle and pull him under. As he was dragged under, he struggled valiantly to keep his wrist computer from going under, unsure if it was the waterproof model or not. I can't lose my story, Grunion Guy panicked.

Grunion Guy placed his head under the water. "Hey! Let me go!"

His assailant, a bright orange octopus the size of three dead Bucks before he was shrunk, looked up in surprise. "Gloob Gloob?"

"Yeah, you! I have the Great American Novel on my wrist computer! Now you let me go or I'll, I'll..."

"Gloob Gloob."

"I'll, I'll piss in the water! So there! You better let go, cause I like to pee in water! It feels so warm and..."

The octopus let go of Grunion Guy. With his superior swimming abilities, Grunion Guy had no problem making it to the edge without his computer getting wet.

"What the hell is an octopus doing here?" wondered Greased Lightning.

"Oh, just doing his job. He said that he was one of Octoflare's elite guard. That must mean were really close to Octoflare."

"That's nice, but what's an Octoflare?" inquired Nice Alice.

Grunion Guy considered. "Well, the guard said that Octoflare was some kind of inter-dimensional creature, I think."

"Stop it right now! OhOhOhOh! Ssssttttoooopppp!" Insectorama had tears in his eyes.

"And that! And that! And that!" cried Teleman, with a strange gleam in his eyes.

"So where to now?" asked Bright Boy, looking toward Nice Alice.

"The trout swim upstream to mate," cried Carlotta, giving Grunion Guy a sly wink as she ran down another passage. Again, everyone followed.

They soon came to another room with a huge pool in the middle. Beneath the water could be seen an even bigger octopus than in the other room.

"It must be another one of Octoflare's guards," guessed Grunion Guy. "Let's get him!" Grunion Guy was about to jump into the water and beat the creature to a pulp when Greased Lightning tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to a passage on the other side of the room. "Oh." Grunion Guy walked around the pool with the others as the octopus watched them leave in frustration.

After about ten more rooms like the first, each housing an even bigger octopus than before, they arrived at a gigantic set of glowing double doors. Carlotta was standing at the bottom of them, feeling around the base. "Home is where the heart is," she smiled as she swung them open with a casual flick of the wrist.

The doors swung open into a void, an empty space where nothing could be seen. Immediately everyone was sucked in.

"Well, this is a fix," decided Greased Lightning as they floated about in nothing.

"I don't know. It's kind of nice," said Alice.

"Yeah. And quiet," whispered Snailman.

"Yaaaaaaaa!!! HaHaHaHaHa! Quit it Teleman!"

"And that!"

"Over yonder is where the trails splits. Ya'll headed for Caleefornia or Oreegon?" asked Carlotta, dressed in a cowgirl outfit.

"What's that?" cried Bright Boy, pointing.

In the distance a speck of light that was quickly growing larger came toward them. It grew larger and larger and larger.

"Ya'll better make a decision quick afore them coyotes get here," drawled Carlotta.

"Calee-hee-heee-hee, Calee-hee-heee-hee, Calee-hee hee haa haa ha," laughed Insectorama.

The light was practically upon them, impossibly large, when Nice Alice finally screamed, "California!"

Carlotta nodded, "Nice a you to choose, little lady!" Carlotta twirled on her heels in the vast nothingness and they were suddenly elsewhere. They stood on a huge outcropping of rock over looking a star studded valley below. Standing at the edge of the rock was a stranger dressed in dusty cowboy garb. Slung about his waist were eight dangerous looking firearms.

"So we meet again, stranger," said Carlotta as she advanced on him, her own gun set at her side.

"I ain't no stranger to ya, little lady."

"So ya ain't, Octoflare. So ya ain't."

"You's should just give up now, Carlotta. Epochalypse ain't hired just a gun fer hire, he went an' got himself the best there ever was, at anytime."

"That's Octoflare? I thought he was gonna be a big flaming octopus or something," sighed Bright Boy .

"Why are they talking like they're cowboys?"

"Shut up Insectorama."

"Who's Epochalypse?"

"Shut up Insectorama."

"So Epochalypse cain't fight his own battles no more, huh?" prodded Carlotta as she stepped closer, her spurs clinking in the still air.

"Epochalypse just don't want ter waste his time, is all. And in a way, it was always fitting that I take you down myself." He went for his gun, going down on one knee, and firing repeatedly toward Carlotta. Death Rock dove in front of the fire, catching all five bullets with his face. He shook his head, the bullets spraying off like drops of water.

"Now you've gone and pissed me off, Octofuck. Prepare to meet my duke," he yelled, charging at Octoflare. Octoflare pulled a different gun and fired a yellow beam of energy at Death Rock, freezing him in some kind of pink light.

"I see you don't fight your own battles either, Carlotta." Octoflare pulled a third gun, while somehow still aiming the other two, and fired at the group of Corps members standing in the background. A large grenade came flying at them.

"HaHaHaH...Gulp!" Insectorama was laughing loudly when the grenade landed squarely in his mouth.

However, Teleman wasn't done tickling. "And that! And that!"

Insectorama swallowed the grenade.

"Dive trooper dive!" screamed Carlotta through her gas mask.

Insectorama dove toward Octoflare.

"What in tarnation..." began Octoflare, surprised at this stupidity. He drew another gun and fired at Insectorama. Insectorama changed into a flea to dodge the bullet and landed on Octoflare. There was a tiny pop as the grenade exploded, leaving a naked Insectorama lying at Octoflare's feet. Octoflare holstered his guns. "Ya want more of your friends to die, Carlotta, or ya wannna duke this out one on one."

"Duke," strained Death Rock as he slowly began to move toward Octoflare, the pink light struggling to hold him still.

"She'll never fight alone, you bad man," screamed Nice Alice. "Bright Boy, do something."

Bright Boy smiled. Death Rock was helpless and Super Hot Babe Nice Alice was asking for his help. This was his chance to impress her. He pointed his finger at Octoflare and yelled, "Eat this!" There was a brief flash of light and a strange popping sound, and Bright Boy turned bright red, embarrassed.

The battle between Quincy Quarg and Woody Whamp raged on. The blows were going back and forth. First Woody, then Quincy, then Woody. The battle could go either way, although Woody was good so of course he would win, especially since the end had already been written. But until then, the battle raged on unpredictably.

Yes! thought Grunion Guy.

"Break on through! Break on through!" sang out Death Rock, fighting against the pink light with all his might. The light wavered. Death Rock began to foam at the mouth and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. "Break on through to the other side! Break on through to the other side!"

And with that, the pink light disappeared. Death Rock roared and charged Octoflare again, fists cocked.

Octoflare raised an eyebrow in minor irritation. As Death Rock neared, Snailman and Greased Lightning began to charge Octoflare also. Octoflare raised his biggest gun and pointed it in Death Rock's face. Death Rock never hesitated, knocking the gun out of Octoflare's grasp and bowling him over. Octoflare tumbled to the ground and rolled up to the edge of the cliff. Death Rock tripped over him and flipped over the edge, grabbing onto Octoflare in sheer desperation. Octoflare grabbed at the ground trying to keep himself upon the cliff as Death Rock hung over the edge, slowly pulling both of them over.

"Be a rocker, man!" screamed Death Rock. "Don't be a wuss! Hang on, don't be a Jovi fan!"

"Shut the hell up, you stinkin' varmint!"

"Rock on! Rock on! Rock on!"

"I say shut up already, you dang blamed fool! All your shakin' an' jitterin' is upsettin' my grip!"

Death Rock calmed down.

Woody hung on to Quincy's boot with all his might. "Don't be a Jovi fan!" he yelled really loudly.

"Death to all Whamps, and especially you Woody. You ain't gonna have a happy ending! I'll see to that! Ha Ha Ha!"

"No Quincy!"

Nice Alice ran to the edge along side Bright Boy and Greased Lightning. Carlotta just stood back, the gun still resting on her hip. Snailman was still charging Octoflare and Grunion Guy was absorbed in his writing. Teleman thought.

This could be my big chance, Teleman thought excitedly. He reached out with his telekinetic ability and began to raise Death Rock to safety. Death Rock floated about an inch higher than he previously hung and then stopped. Sweat poured down Teleman's head. What's this guy made out of, thought Teleman. He couldn't lift him any higher.

Octoflare was beginning to scramble back up to safety as Death Rock's body lightened. Nice Alice and Greased each grabbed one arm and began helping pull Octoflare to safety. As they yanked, Nice Alice suddenly had a huge gun pointed in her face. Her vision blurred as she tried to comprehend what she was seeing. Her and Greased Lightning each had a tight hold on a separate arm, but he still had a gun in her face. Carlotta screamed and suddenly Nice Alice was standing back in a cowgirl suit, gun at her side and Carlotta was standing by Octoflare with the gun in her face. Octoflare pulled the trigger.

Amazingly, he missed. "Dammit anyhow!"

"Strawberry fields forever!" demanded Carlotta.

"You're kiddin', right? Epochalypse would tan my hide real good."

"Can't buy me love," regretted Carlotta, shrugging.

"Hey, I'm not down for the count yet!" Suddenly, a flurry of gun butts cracked everyone on the head.

Except for Greased Lightning. "Your ass is mine, Octolooser!"

"It's your burial son."

Greased charged Octoflare super quickly. Octoflare fired another weapon the size of Milwaukee. An emerald green light flooded Greased Lightning. To no effect.

"Yeah! Now I'll turn my friction on and... Hey!" cried Greased Lightning, sliding around Octoflare and headed back to the cliff edge.

"My power! I can't turn it back on! Help!" Just as Greased Lightning was about to go over the edge, he jarred to a halt. He looked around shakily and saw Snailman lying unconscious beneath him, a puddle of his grotesque slime gathered about his feet, holding his frictionless body fast. Wow, thought Greased as he looked around, I hope nobody saw that Snailman just saved my ass.

Grunion Guy was typing furiously, a grand look in his eyes. I'm going to be rich, he dreamed.

Octoflare stood amongst the bodies of the Corps laying about his feet. "Time to die," was all he said as he pulled the deadliest looking gun yet. He glanced around to see who he should shoot first when Nice Alice spoke up.

"Keep away from my friends, you evil creep, you." Nice Alice pulled the gun from the holster at her hip and raised it shakily toward Octoflare. She covered her eyes with her free hand as her other shook uncontrollably. Peeking between two of her fingers, she pulled the trigger.

Amazingly, she hit him. Octoflare's eyes widened as he took a bullet in the chest. Spastically, he hit the ground, moaning. Nice Alice, frozen in shocked horror, just stared.

And stared.

And stared.

Octoflare was saying something.

Alice couldn't hear. She walked forward.

"...I, I got shot down by a girl! A little bitty girl!"

"Actually, I'm not a girl. I'm a hermaphrodite from Yuokev."

"Huh?"

"I'm this!" Nice Alice suddenly transformed into a huge, grotesque, four-eyed, bearded creature.

"Oh, oh, good. Good, then I weren't shot down by no girl then."

Octoflare's eyes shuddered, then shut. His body disappeared in a flash of light.

"Boo hoo hooo! I killed Octoflare!"

"He died not yet today!" comforted Carlotta Everyday, shimmering as she appeared next to Nice Alice as Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross. "In dimensions of four, one was birthed and killed in all seconds of all time. No one is innocent of this, not even Pooh Bear."

"You mean, Octoflare's alive? Not dead?"

Carlotta turned to Nice Alice, smiling. "Is the sky red on the eve of the planet's creation?"

"Uh, I don't know."

"Hey, somebody want to help me out of this shit," yelled Greased Lightning, whose power had returned. "I can't believe this shit sticks to me even when I'm frictionless. It's disgusting." Carlotta smiled and walked toward Greased. She reached down and touched the slime, a grimace appearing on her face as she did so, and it suddenly disappeared.

"Strange bedfellows," she laughed at Greased, leaving him wondering if her comment was a come on or an insult.

Quincy lay dying on the floor. He coughed up blood because he was dying and he had a sword sticking out of his body. It was Woody's sword. He had killed Quincy and saved the Whamps. But he felt bad because he was a peaceful Whamp and he had done a bad thing, not a good thing. Killing is bad, he thought. But saving Whamp Land is good. He smiled. He was happy and Whamp Land was happy. He knew because they said, "Yeah!"

"Is that it guys?" asked Grunion Guy. "Are we going home now?"

"Yes," was all Carlotta said before they disappeared, leaving the huge bluff empty.

 

PART TWO

"Hey, why didn't you fucks leave yet?" screamed Captain Dick. Then he blinked. "Hey, where the fuck's Buck?"

"Buck's dead."

"What the fuck?"

"We defeated Octoflare," said Nice Alice cheerfully.

"Yeah, he met me and the Dukes," growled Death Rock, grinding his fists together meatily.

"What do you mean you defeated Octoflare? Who the fuck's Octoflare? You pathetic, miserable, no fucking good fucks! You went on the wrong mission! And you didn't even leave!"

"Hold on," yelled Teleman, running for the phone and dialing POPCORN.

"At the tone, the time will be 2:30 and thirty seconds. Exactly. BEEP!"

"He's right. I used the telephone and found out the time we left is the same time we came back."

"Shut up Teleman. Anyone can use the phone. What an ass," announced Greased Lightning to the whole team.

Everyone laughed, even Captain Dick. Then he recovered himself and screamed, "Okay underlings, go on to your real mission!"

"What is it?" asked Bright Boy.

"You have to save Mr. Mystic from the clutches of the Maniacal Madman!"

"I've kicked his butt before! All ya have to do is shoot the guy," said Greased Lightning.

Yes, thought Grunion Guy. Another adventure, more experience. He quickly got to typing once again.

Woody looked at Quincy's body. It didn't look right. He looked again. It still didn't look right. He got down on his hands and knees and looked at it closer. Oh no, thought Woody, that's not Quincy. It's his mom! Woody felt terrible. He had killed the wrong person, so Whamp Land wasn't exactly saved yet. But it would be, thought Woody. I'll find that maniacal Quincy.

"Let's go guys!" screamed Grunion Guy as he finished typing.

"Hold it, you fucks! Look at your miserable asses! Half of you don't look fit enough for this mission. Shit, one second you look good as new and the next, half of you fucks are unconscious. What a bunch of fucking wimps! I'm leading this mission. I don't want anything going wrong. Greased Lightning, Death Rock, Carlotta and Ranger... Where the fuck is Ranger Ruben? That shit! Teleman, go get that fuck. God, sometimes you people just make me so fucking bug shit."

"Sorry about that," said Insectorama.

"Hey, I want to go!" cried out Grunion Guy and Bright Boy at the same time. They looked at each other and grinned.

"Jinx! Buy me a coke!" they yelled at the same time again.

"Everybody just shut up dammit!"

Teleman entered the room. "Sir, mission completed! I have retrieved Ranger... Hey, get back here!" Teleman reached out into the corridor and pulled Ruben in.

"Y-you want me to go on a mission? I don't know if..."

"Shut up you fuck! You're going to earn you're pay for the first time in five years or you're out! Do you understand, Ranger Pathetic Ruben?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"I can't go."

"What do you mean you can't go Greased Lightning?"

"I've got a hair appointment at four. And you know I never miss a hair appointment. Philip would never forgive me."

"Fine. That's just fucking fine. Who am I gonna get to take your fucking place? Wait! I know." Captain Dick ran out the door and into the TV room.

"Bill, you miserable worm. Wanna go on a mission with us?"

Bill was dressed in a grease stained white undershirt with BILL printed on the front of it. One hand on the remote and the other in a bowl of cornchips, he shook his head without taking his eyes off the TV.

"Damn. Fuck you then." Captain Dick ran back into the transporter room.

"Heeeeyyy, who the fuck's that," demanded Captain Dick, pointing at the quiet armored behemoth that was the Guardian.

"That's the Guardian. He's gonna help guard Headquarters with Bill," said Nice Alice cheerfully.

"Hi," said the Guardian, waving meekly.

"Get your ass in the guard station then, you miserable... ah, forget it. Just get your butt into the guard station." Captain Dick was relieved, since he knew that Bill never really guarded anything anyways. But it still left the question unanswered: Who would replace Greased Lightning?

Just then, Dirk Daring came into the transporter room from the TV room. At the same time, Duck Wonder entered from the kitchen. "Hi guys!" both yelled at the same time.

Bright Boy and Grunion Guy were jittery, just waiting to see if Daring and Wonder would yell "Jinx" at the same time. Wouldn't that be great, both thought.

But instead, Duck Wonder and Dirk Daring eyed each other warily. Dirk Daring was the most popular member of the Corps three years running, but that could all be threatened by the reemergence of Duck Wonder from retirement. In his day, Duck Wonder had been the most popular. Now both were eagerly waiting for and at the same time dreading the polls. Who would be voted most popular?

"I need one of you fucks for this mission," said Captain Dick.

"What's the mission?" asked Dirk Daring.

"That bastard, The Maniacal Madman, is running loose on the Alpha Colony on Mars. Fucking backwards Hicksville shit. I hate that place. On second thought, I'm going to need two of you pathetic fucks to go on the mission. I'm fucking staying here."

Pick me, pick me, pick me thought Grunion Guy as he wrung his hands together and closed his eyes tight.

"Well, I don't care too much for Mars either. Remember, part of my deal after coming out of retirement let's me pick the places I want to go. I think I'll skip Mars."

Dirk, seeing as how Duck Wonder wasn't going, breathed a sigh of relief. No more extra publicity for the birdbrain. Now, I don't have to go either, thought Dirk. "Forget it, Captain Dick. I've got a hot date." Dirk left.

Yes, thought Grunion Guy as he looked around. Captain Dick would have to pick him as one of the team. Just then, Super Mummy came walking in.

"Unnhh," moaned Super Mummy.

"Get out of here, you dried up shit wad. We already have our group selected you pathetic waste," said Grunion Guy in his best Captain Dick imitation. Super Mummy bought it and with a final "Unnhh," he left.

"All right you fuck. Next time I catch you trying to sound like me, well, your gonna be sorry. On second thought, you bastard fuck, your gonna be sorry this time. Get set to go to Mars. You too, Teleman, you stupid shit head. Now get the fuck out of here."

Death Rock, Ranger Ruben, Carlotta, Teleman and Grunion Guy all crowded into the transporter room. Just as Carlotta began teleporting them away, Grunion Guy's foot kicked something. It was Insectorama lying unconscious on the floor. Oh well, he thought, one more Corps member couldn't hurt.

Well, actually, it could. Especially when the member is Insectorama.

"Mama, I don't wanna get up now, I don't wanna go to school..."

"Get up you little fungus," said Teleman, telekineticly throwing red sand up Insectorama's nose.

"Dammit Teleman!" screamed Insectorama, getting up suddenly. "You're always putting something up my nose! Hey, where are we?"

"W-w-were in a desert!" said Ranger Ruben. He looked around, arms crossed and shivering. "I-I haven't been in a desert since, since..."

"Ah, shuddup, Country-Western. You can't rock! You can't rock an' roll!" Death Rock flexed his arms inversely and started singing, "I love rock and roll/ Put another dime in the jukebox baby!"

"This, folks, is Alpha Colony!" said an familiar but unfamiliar voice.

Everyone turned around. It was The Stranger.

"Hi. Captain Dick knew you guys would be lost without some sort of inspired commanding, so he sent me, his second in command. He sent- The Stranger."

"Great," cried Teleman. He thought maybe he could be leader, but now...

"Wow, that pink costume with the white daisy sure looks cool," noted Ranger Ruben, temporarily forgetting his fear of the desert as he stared at the daisy and thought of the forest.

"You look like a faggot, a Jovi-lovin' faggot!" grumbled Death Rock, who didn't need to be on guard since Alice wasn't here.

Grunion Guy shivered. Oh oh, he thought, just like he had just before he had met Death Rock's dukes the first time.

WHAM! Grunion Guy splattered across the desert sand wetly.

"Why'd you go and hit him for?" demanded The Stranger.

"Just workin' out some o' my frustrations. Have a problem?"

"N-no, not at all."

Woody hit the ground and splattered across it heroically. He had been taken by surprise, so of course his assailant would have the drop on him. But now Woody the Whamp would show him or thing or two...

"May I get up now Death Rock?"

"Yeah, why not?"

"And let that be a lesson to you!" cried Woody after his would-be attacker.

"Now, Ranger Ruben, find The Maniacal Madman and Mr. Mystic," commanded The Stranger.

"Well," said Ranger Ruben as he glanced around the barren waste. He shuddered from a fleeting memory of the Gobi disaster and then tried to push the thought from his mind. I will be of use, he thought confidently. He looked around on the ground. "This way," he yelled as he strode off in what seemed like a random direction.

"Why are we in the desert?" asked Insectorama.

"We're trying to save Mr. Mystic from the evil clutches of The Maniacal Madman," replied Grunion Guy. Hey, that sounded pretty good, he thought.

Woody the Whamp was trying to save Whamp Land from the evil clutches of the maniacal Quincy the Quarg. He was looking for him in Quincy's evil hideout, which turned out to be in the middle of the desert, not the middle of a swamp. Woody felt bad about killing Quincy's mom, but then again, she was a Quarg and Quargs were bad, so Woody soon decided it had been okay and he no longer thought about it. Woody was brave. He was the leader of Whamp Land.

"What's that?" asked Death Rock, pointing to a small building standing a couple of hundred feet away.

"Using my telescopic vision, I can see a neon sign on the top of the building that says 'Jurgles Titty Bar'. Wow, too bad the windows are tinted black."

"Yes," screamed Death Rock. "Alien tits! This is gonna be great!" he yelled as he sprinted across the desert toward the small wooden building.

"Wait," yelled Ranger Ruben wussily. "It might be a trap!"

"Ah, traps are for faggots anyway!" cried out Death Rock as he opened the door and entered the building.

The building blew up.

"It was a trap! See, I told ya!" cried out Ruben, shaking his fist at nothing. A flash of confidence ran through him as the concussion of the blast knocked Ruben and everyone else on their ass.

"Mommy?" asked Insectorama for no particular reason.

A blackened lump of muscle landed with a thud next to The Stranger. "Wow," cried Death Rock. "That place really rocks! Whooooweeee!"

"You okay?" asked Teleman.

"Shut up dumb ass! I just had the ride of my life! Now somebody's gonna get to meet my dukes!"

Alpha Colony, by the way, is a collection of bars and general stores and more bars, all made out of aluminum siding. When the town's best titty showcase blew up, naturally the upstanding citizens of Alpha Colony were upset. They wandered over to the Hero Corps, in a single group of a hundred miners, barkeeps and whores. "So, why'd you go and kill off Jurgles?" asked one mad barkeep.

The Stranger had been personally trained by Captain Dick himself how to handle himself in front of the public. "We don't need to explain anything to you, lowly citizens, we're the Hero Corps!"

"Yeah, an' one of you is gonna tell us where to find The Maniacal Madman before we go and accidentally crack your heads!" cried out Teleman, who wanted to be like Death Rock cause Death Rock had flair and he didn't.

"Knock it off, poser!" screamed Death Rock, back handing Teleman bloodily across the face.

"Who?" asked one of the whores who had wandered up.

"Don't play stupid with me, woman," said Ranger Ruben as his confidence continued to build. "If you don't tell us, well, I'll just have to track him myself." Ranger Ruben shook his fist at her menacingly.

"Fuckin' pansy," said Death Rock. "Do you think you could ever be intimidating in that prissy outfit?"

"I think he looks good," said Insectorama. Death Rock flashed him a withering glare and Insectorama, frightened by the glance, changed into a mosquito.

"Ahhhhhh!" screamed the Martians in unison. "It's a Dwingle Fly. Look out! Run!" The Martians took off running in every direction, fleeing for the safety of their buildings and slamming the doors shut. A hundred locks clicked shut at once.

"What the fuck?" asked Death Rock.

"Well, apparently," explained Teleman, "there is a creature on Mars which resembles a mosquito called the Dwingle Fly which must be very dangerous!" Teleman nodded at him with a superior nod just before he was flattened by Death Rock's duke.

"Smart ass," mumbled Death Rock.

"Ranger Ruben, lead us to Mr. Mystic," shouted The Stranger.

"Yes, sir," cried Ruben happily as he began falling comfortably back into the hero role. "This way, people."

The Corps began marching off between the aluminum buildings until they finally came to a bar called The Unzipped Fly. "I think he's in here," said Ranger Ruben proudly.

"I'm not going in that faggot bar," said Death Rock, eying the name of the place warily.

"You will to go in there, recruit!" shouted The Stranger, who regretted the statement the very next second. He got up painfully as Death Rock polished his duke proudly.

"Not a chance in hell."

"Well, the rest of you, enter!" commanded The Stranger.

"Not if it's a real faggot bar," said Teleman.

"I'm with them," agreed Grunion Guy.

"Banana's shouldn't be red," said Carlotta.

"I'll go," chirped up Insectorama.

"Figures," chided Death Rock. "Have fun."

"Thanks!" cried Insectorama innocently. He went in.

It was dark, and the atmosphere was warm and wet. Disco played in the background as a crystal ball hanging from the ceiling flashed specks of light everywhere. A figure saddled up next to Insectorama.

"Hey big boy, you lookin' for a good time."

"Actually, I'm looking for a Maniacal Madman," chirped Insectorama.

"Well, you can usually talk me into doing some crazy things, lover." The figure stuck a tongue into Insectorama's ear.

Insectorama immediately felt for the figure's crotch. After squeezing a few minutes, Insectorama, using his quick and calculating insect brain, decided that indeed, this was a Maniacal Madman.

"Aha! I have caught you!"

"Hey baby, what's gotten up your ass... HEY STOP THAT RIGHT NOW! OUCH!"

Insectorama had not given up his grip on the figure's crotch. Now he was squeezing really hard. "Hey guys, I found the Maniacal Madman! Hurry up!" Nobody entered. "Hey guys, come on." A few seconds later and the door opened. The Stranger came tumbling in head over heels.

"Get him yerself, pansy!" cried Death Rock from somewhere outside.

"Hey, nice outfit!" said a slinky figure coming up beside The Stranger and helping him to his feet.

"Uh, thanks," said The Stranger brushing himself off. The figure who had helped him up began brushing at his backside. "Um, hey, I got that, o.k?"

"Whatever," whispered the figure as he slowly slid his hand down The Strangers butt. The Stranger pushed him away angrily.

"All right, stop everything right now!" he shouted furiously. The music stopped and a dozen shocked faces turned toward him, all male. "That's better. Look, I'm looking for The Maniacal Madman and Mr. Mystic. If you don't help us out we're going to smash all of your disco records!"

A sudden gasp filled the room. "You brute!" shouted a whiny voice as somebody's drink splashed across The Stranger. Seconds later, it was followed by the glass.

"Oww! O.k., you're in for it now!" screamed the Stranger in a frenzy.

"Psssst!" came a voice from the door. Insectorama walked over to see who it was as The Stranger began searching the crowd for the drinkless person.

"Hey, uh, Insectorama." It was Ranger Ruben. "Sorry about this, but it seems like I had the wrong place. The tracks go around the building, not in it. Sorry."

"That's okay," said Insectorama as he exited the building. "They had some good music in there."

"OUCHOUCHOUCH!"

"Hey, you okay?" asked Insectorama.

"I WILL BE ONCE YOU STOP SQUEEZING MY GENITALIA!"

"Oh, hey, sorry. If you want though, I could come back. That was a really cool place."

"I hope I never see you again, you bully!" gasped the victim as he clutched his crutch and fell to the ground.

Miffed, Insectorama walked with the others around the building.

"OH MERCIFUL GOD NO!" cried The Stranger from inside the bar. There was a large crash as The Stranger threw himself out a window and into the alley where the rest of the Corps were passing through. His uniform was torn to shreds. The Stranger was sobbing.

"It was horrible! Oh god, all those men!" he cried.

"Oh, I don't know. It wasn't that bad!"

"Shut up Insectorama."

"Here it is, the trail leads to here!" cried out Ranger Ruben. His rosy cheeks were shiny, he was grinning so hard. He pointed at another door.

"Death Rock, take point."

Death Rock looked around for a sign that would indicate what this place was. Seeing none, and hearing no disco, Death Rock shrugged, sang out "Can I play with madness?" and kicked in the door. The door flew off it's hinges and landed somewhere within. Death Rock lunged in, ready for a fight and stopped cold in his tracks. "Cool," he whispered in awe. Hanging from the inside of the building were hundreds of meat hooks. And hanging on each hook was a dead naked body.

"I think we've found our man," said Grunion Guy as he entered behind Death Rock. "Only a man named The Maniacal Madman could be this disgusting." Grunion Guy was about to start typing when he thought that maybe these images would be too disgusting for his publisher. With a shrug, he thought maybe they'd be just right.

Woody Whamp entered Quincy's torture room. Dead bodies were hanging from hooks in the ceiling. They were naked and dead and Woody thought, that is bad. Quincy must pay for what he has done to Whamp Land and I am just the Whamp to make him pay. He looked at the dead naked bodies and felt like crying, because he was good and bad things made him sad.

The rest of the Corps entered the building.

"I think I'm going to be sick," said Teleman.

Suddenly a familiar voice came from the back of the room. "You want me to do what to these people? Well, I'll tell you son, I think you're idea of a good time isn't all that good. You kids of today are sickos. Perverts."

"Save him, Corps!" yelled the Stranger as the rest rushed passed the dead bodies and into the back of the building.

A brief memory of the Gobi campaign flashed again through Ranger Ruben's head. "Wait! It could be another trap!" he cried.

Everyone stopped.

"You think Ruben's right?" asked Teleman.

"Yeah," answered Grunion Guy.

"Why?"

"Cause I think Mr Mystic's right there." He pointed to a body that hung from a hook.

"Eeeewww, no! You're wrong!"

"How do you know?"

"Cause that guy's white. Mr. Mystic's black! I mean, Afro-American!"

"Oh."

"What's that!" demanded a younger, crazed voice. "I'll be right back. Don't you move. They're maybe intruders in the meat locker."

"Oh God," said The Stranger. He looked both ways. There was nowhere to hide.

Another door opened, and a cross eyed red haired young man dressed in spandex covered in swirls and other crazy things looked out into the meat locker. All he saw were dead bodies and a lot of bushes. Hmm, thought The Maniacal Madman as he closed the door.

"I guess it was nothing, probably just a few squirrels messin' around in the bushes." The Maniacal Madman paused for a second, considering what he just said. Bushes? He glanced back into the meat locker. Yeah, those were bushes All right. "Now, where were we?" asked The Maniacal Madman as he picked up a nasty looking whip and approached Mr. Mystic as he shut the door. The others breathed a sigh of relief and came out of hiding.

"You think he caught on to our disguise?" asked Teleman.

"I don't know, why don't you read his mind by telepathy and find out," replied The Stranger.

"I thought about that," said Teleman as he lowered his head and kicked his foot in the dust. "But I didn't want to."

The Stranger looked at Teleman with as much loathing as he could before he turned toward the door which the Maniacal Madman had just entered.

"Get him, Corps!" yelled The Stranger as he pointed toward the door.

Death Rock was the first in, kicking the door off the hinges, sending it flying across the room and into Mr. Mystic. It cracked across his skull and splintered into a hundred pieces.

"Well, now, that wasn't so bad as back in '63 when that ten ton safe fell on my head..." started Mr. Mystic as blood began to run down his face.

"Careful with my torture victim," yelled The Maniacal Madman as the Corps ran into the room. He pointed toward Teleman and a strange buzz filled the room. Suddenly, Teleman slumped to the floor, drooling.

"Watch it!" yelled The Stranger. "He's got some kind of scary power!"

"Look out," yelled Woody to no one in particular because there was nobody else in the room. Besides Quincy, but Quincy was the one Woody was yelling about. "He's got some kind of scary power." Woody fell to the floor, trying not to get hit by the scary power. He ducked it without getting hit. The scary power hit the wall, turning the wall into something yucky. "Wow," thought Woody, "I almost got killed and then Whamp Land would not have been saved. But it does get saved. So I probably won't die. I am the hero, thought Woody heroically.

Just as Grunion Guy stopped typing, he looked up proudly. A strange bolt caught him in the chest, causing him to babble uncontrollably.

"Prepare to meet my duke!" yelled Death Rock predictably. He took a swing at The Maniacal Madman who dodged easily. Death Rock's duke continued unabated, finally coming to rest against Mr. Mystic's jaw.

"Well, huh huh," laughed Mr. Mystic. "That reminds me of that time that Martha caught me in bed with the sheep..." He continued his story as the rest fought on.

"Hiiiiyyyaahhh!" screamed Ranger Ruben, taking a karate stance and chopping at the Maniacal Madman, who suddenly turned into Death Rock.

"Oooowwww!" screamed Ruben, clutching his broken hand into his crotch and doubling over.

"You idiot!" screamed Death Rock, foaming at the mouth as he laid a solid one on Ruben's chin, sending him flying through the air.

"Ooooowwww!" screamed Ruben, who immediately was knocked out.

The Stranger looked around at the multicolored bubbles surrounding him in the blue grass field. A green sun began to set, making the pink sky appear red. "Hey, guys? Where am I?"

Death Rock suddenly appeared at his elbow. "Take that, fascist," he said as he pulled back his fist, beating The Stranger senseless.

Meanwhile, The Maniacal Madman sat back and watched in awe as his foes quarreled amongst themselves. He picked up the whip and turned toward the old man tied securely in the chair, never noticing the tiny black widow crawling up his thigh. "Now to deal with you, old man!" He brandished his whip and suddenly doubled over in pain, grabbing his leg. "Oww," he burbled as the venom from the spider bite worked its way through his system. It was fatal in seconds, seeing as how Insectorama had no idea how to control the amount of poison he injected into his enemy. Just as quickly as The Maniacal Madman died, the rest of the group snapped back into reality.

"Well," exclaimed The Stranger in triumph, "We took care of that evil menace. Let this be an example to mean people everywhere. The Corps is here!"

"Yeah, whatever," snapped Death Rock picking up Grunion Guy and Teleman. "Let's just get the hell out of here." Just then, Carlotta entered the room, teleporting them back to headquarters.

"And then, well, Frizzy, my favorite sheep was no longer allowed in the house. I thought that was a bit rough but..." Mr. Mystic continued to babble in the darkness.

° ° °

Woody finally killed Quincy. Quincy was dead and since he was the leader, the rest of the Quargs stopped fighting and became peaceful and lived with the Whampers till the rest of their days. Everybody was happy, and they all said, "Yeah!"

The End

It's magnificent, thought Grunion Guy. It was the best he had ever written. It had been two weeks since they had returned from Mars and he had been putting the finishing touches on his story ever since. He picked up the few scattered pages and organized them in a neat pile. He was going to be rich. All he had to do was send it to the publisher. But that was just a technicality. The story was as good as gold.

"Hey! Have any of you fucks seen Mr. Mystic? I haven't seen that bastard in two weeks. He's hiding out on me and when I find him, he's gonna be fucked so badly."

Grunion Guy barely heard Captain Dick as he walked out the door and wandered off to mail in his story.

"I'm in the money, I'm in the money..." sang Grunion Guy as he walked through the beautiful grounds of headquarters. It was a beautiful day, the sun shone on the pond, the fountain in the pond played daintily, the pigeons were all over Mr. Mystic, who loved to feed the birds. Grunion Guy walked over to warn the old guy of Captain Dick's wrath.

"Well, you know, I finished my story," he began as he sat next to Mr. Mystic. "I just know it's gonna be the Great American Novel."

"Coo," answered the pigeons.

"Yep, I'm calling it The Most Horrific War Ever. It's a truly sad story of lost love and courage in the face of utter demise. You wanna read it?"

"Coo." Mr. Mystic laid his head on Grunion Guy's shoulder. Pigeons covered him from head to toe.

Grunion Guy sat there, scared. What if Mr. Mystic's gay, he thought.

A pigeon pecked at his cheek.

Nah, he can't be gay, he's too old. Grunion Guy stood up. "Well, I'll see you around, buddy. I'm gonna mail out my manuscript. See you at dinner."

"Coo."

When Grunion Guy returned to the building, there was a big commotion.

"Hey guys, what's wrong?"

Nice Alice looked up from her weeping. "Mr. Mystic, he, well, he passed on, Grunion."

"Wow. I wondered why he smelled so bad." Nice Alice broke out into tears again.

"It's okay, Alice," consoled Death Rock and Bright Boy at the same time.

"Jinx, you owe me a..." Bright Boy backed down from Death Rock's glare and shut his mouth.

Grunion Guy shrugged and headed for his room vowing that nothing would spoil his great day. Well, the death of Mr. Mystic wouldn't even spoil his worst day. He walked happily into his room and waited for his publishers answer. And waited. And waited. And waited.

The answer came. It read, "Sorry, Grunion Guy, but your story, The Most Horrific War Ever, is so good that we decided that if we published it, it would intimidate other writers and finish off the publishing business forever."

Grunion Guy nodded knowingly. Wow, those publishers are very smart, he thought. Maybe I'll rewrite the story and make with a little less intensity and cut out some of the parts that make the reader wonder about the human condition. Hmmm...

His musings were interrupted by a knock at the door. "C'mon underling! We're all headed out to pay our last respects to Buck and Mr. Mystic, so get off your lazy fat ass and get going!"

"My ass ain't that fat!" screamed Grunion Guy.

"Just get a move on, you fuck!"

Grunion Guy left his papers on the table and decided that the greatest story ever told could wait a few days more. With that he walked out the door, happy with his life.

 

Copyright © 1995 No Apologies! Press

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