The Story

Meanwhile back on the loading dock the joyous throng of songsters still wrapped in the throes of taffy fumed bliss had begun to sing the ancient epic yarn of Usysses. With great feeling and beating of small tympanum and the hearty bleating of bucina's the tragic tale unfolded in its vast series of rhymed quatrains from the well lubricated lips of the group on the loading dock. The stolid police sergeant Boggs bringing his booming Basso to the fore.

Ye hearty souls of iron hearts on who's breast
fall foes blows just like kisses
Hark near and let me impart
the great tale of the man called Usysses.

A warrior true with a sword of flame
who slew the great beast of Conlingua
with just his bare knuckles and so
rose his fame
to noble reknown and all that kindo of thing-ah

Naturally as with all epic poetry it doesn't really begin to get interesting until about a third of the way in.
At that juncture following the single-handed defeat of Injunjoticus the Mighty in the Polypartesian Wars.

"Faced Usysses his dreaded foe like the unarmed goose
whilst his army watched filled with dread
but our hero failed to balk
spake he thus to his (mortal) enemy
"Thy sandals come loose!"
and bashed he Injunjoticus' brains in
with a rock"

(D. Doetzer trans. 1947)

Thus it continues that on the return journey to his homeland that a mighty gale blows Usysses ship, the Minnow, of course, and hopelessly lost Usysses is forced to nail his "prodigous mighty member"(ibid) to the mast in order to avoid the temptations of the siren song of L'il Debbie and her ferocious and fattening snackcake minions.

"Stooooop!!!" squeaked Vigo at the top of his tiny lungs. Omar stopped his pogo dance on the computer keyboard. "Great Ceasar's Gouda! What have I done?!" Vigo lamented and, falling to his furry little knees, buried his pointy little face in his pointy little claws. Kleg and Omar could only stare at him in confusion.

It was at that moment, fortunately for Vigo's conscience, that the world renowned Quiche Lorraine decided to make her move. Tiny bubbles began to rise from the bottom of the salt water tank. The lobsters were beginning to suspect they were not in fact in a sauna and some of them, those who had been rescued from the boiling cauldron before, began to scream. Quick as a flash the famous poodle (Don't you dare say she's not a real dog!) flew over the softly boiling vat and scooped out the lobsters 2 or 3 at a time until they were all free. Free from the boiling salt water and free from evil grip of the megalomaniacal canine corpse, Muffy. Of course, seeing that the lobsters were turned loose set Muffy into a rage and he flew straight for Quiche.

By this time, Barbara had chewed through enough taffy to free her right arm and just as Joselito was spewing some encouraging words, she socked him in his kisser and fell to the floor unconcious. Barbara, with one on the dog fight above her, resumed gnawing and spitting until she was free. She could just hear a chorus of masculine voices wafting in through the window. Monty and the cops had just begun a resounding version of the 'Lumberjack Song'. She felt an overwhelming urge to be at home in her own bed. Glancing frantically about the warehouse in search of an exit, she spotted Dr. Evelyn Phibes.
Evelyn was a lovely creature. Shoulder length dirty blond hair (or was it sun bleached light brown?). She wore a short sleeved khaki safari shirt casually unbuttoned at the top exposing the sensuous outline of her collar bones and the inviting glance of her sternum, the sight of which made Barbara flush, much to her surprise. She'd never been so taken at the site of another woman. She felt as if she might hyperventilate. Her own bed, indeed, was a comfortable if not dangerous thought.
"You'll be soooooo-rrreeeeeee," cautioned Joselito from his strategic position in the shell-whorl of her ear. "Remember what happened that night at the Old Grouse, when you tried to pick up Nina the waitress... Wouldn't want to repeat that, now would we, tut-tut?" He clucked his tongue in the manner he knew was guaranteed to rile her up.
"But this is oh different, Josey," purred Barbara to the surprise and consternation of her Higher Power. "I feel this all the way through me," she sighed as she ran her hands over her heaving breasts and over the slight drumlin of her belly, faintly most with sweat through the taffy-flecked remains of her blouse.
Everything logical in Barbara screamed not to do it, Josey's high pitched screech commanded her not to do it, but her body begged her to. With a determined air, Barbara advanced to where Evelyn invitingly lingered.
Could she really go through with it? It would be a fairly ballsy maneuver on Barbara's part. First she runs over Evelyn's dog, then flees the scene, and now she can hardly restrain herself from coming on to the lovely Evelyn as she wanders about the factory in a devoted but somewhat helpless search for the flying carcass of her poor muffy. Barbara gazed wantonly, driven by the sight of the smallest amount of luscious flesh and the hot unperceptable scent of pheremones wafting through the air (the factory was not air conditioned and Evelyn had begun to perspire ever so slightly in her explorations around the factory).
Unfortunately (as it was to be) for Evelyn, Barbara was not the only one to by olfactorily fingered by her fetching pheromones. No, a creature with a far greater sense of smell than Barbara despite the incipient deterioration of it vomeronasal nerves found its sensitive organ of olfaction stroked and tickled and fondled by the essence de la Evelyn, not entirely unlike a mixture comprised of equal parts blood and river water, topped with a generous dash of some mid-1980s white Burgundy, which wafted in on the gently swirling evening breezes. And thus it was the the Dead Dog fell in love.
And with a large leap, the dog sprung from the place of its supposed death and launched through the air towards Evelyn. It landed square on her chest and pushed her down to the floor. Eagerly it licked her face, its stubby tail wagging out a wild beat. Evelyn laughed with delight and threw her arms around the skinny dog. Barbara stopped at the sight of the touching scene. It reminded her of the Lassie movies she obssesivly watched everytime she couldn't sleep, and brought tears to her eyes. Her lust for Evelyn fled and left her weak and shaky. Her foot caught the edge of a large crate and she fell with a slight cry. Evelyn heard the small sound and reluctantly got up from the ground, after giving her pet once last pat on the head. Barbara cowered as she heard Evelyn's quivery voice, "hello, hello... who's there?" The sound of her footsteps, clicked closer and Barbara looked up to see Evelyn's astonished face peering down at her from the frame of long blond curls.
The dead dog, meanwhile, was undergoing a transformation which resembled, somewhat, the impossible process of the pink filling of a strawberry-creme-filled crueller suddenly somehow doubling in mass, exiting its skin of sugared dough in a glossy pink column, a liberated pink banana, a self-peeling candy-cane, a -- okay, enough metaphors: peering down at her from above as Evelyn bent over the bruised and stunned Barbara, and thus blessed with the fortuitous, the magnimanious spectacle of Evelyn's, of Evelyn-who-wasn't-wearing-any-panties's, of her, her, her -- (aw, shucks, I'm blushing so hard and boiled-lobsterly (speaking of whom...) now, I'm just gonna have to let Mr. Tom Lehrer sing it for me, in 3/4 time no less):

It was I who stepped on your dress (la-la-la)
The skirts all came off, I confess (la-la-la)
Revealing for all of the others to see
Just what it was that endeared you to me...

...In other words, the dead dog got an erection. Without recourse to Viagra (this was Petaluma, remember) and suffering the formidable challenge of rigor mortis having set into most of his extremities, nevertheless -- there, for all the world to see --Muffy the dead dog proudly sported a stiffy!
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Grossssssssssssss! Eeeeeeeeeeeeh!" shrieked the two women as one --
Muffy was a canine corpse possessed! The dog lunged at Dr. Evelyn and mounting her leg began to do the dirty boogie horn dog style. Dr. Evelyn was used to this type of behavior from her pet. After all, he was a male and she lived alone and there must have been some reason that she named him 'Muffy'. She hadn't really minded it when Muffy was still alive, but now her poor dog was dead and fouling the air with a stench much worse than any stench it had ever created before and it caused the two women to gag.
Siezed by convusions Barbara clutched her throat and then her stomach. To her surprise she found that she still had her gun strapped to her waist. Nimbly she plucked it from the holster and took careful aim at the dirty dog. With swift decision she pulled the trigger, but at the exact same moment was seized by a fit of retching. The gun shot echoed in her ears and filled the air with smoke. When it finally cleared, to her horror, Barbara saw Dr. Evelyn laying in a puddle of blood, eyes wide and staring. Muffy wimpered and began to lick the gaping hole in Evelyns temple. Barbara dropped the gun and began to run.

...Not, however, fast enough -- for hardly had Babs gotten six steps away from the scene of the crime than the odiferous Muffy was upon her, humping away at the back of her leg for dear life, emitting a succession of what from a set of rigor mortis'd vocal cords passed for ardent whimpers, and dislodging the first in a series of snotlike gobs of greenish doggy-jit along the taffy-veined hem of her sun-dress.
Barbara fell to the hard stone floor again, and Muffy lept upon her. "Go away," she sobbed and pleaded, "get off of me, please." The dog continued at a faster pace, panting in her ear. Barb felt her senses slipping away from her, and she began to lose consciousness. Just before she succumbed to the peaceful respite, away from the rutting dog and the vision of Evelyn's sightless eyes peering at her, a sharp yell pulled her back to reality. A hissing sound filled her ears, and she cautiously opened one eye to see a dark shape descending a rope from the rafters of the warehouse. A dark cape billowed about the broad shoulders of a masked man. A swift kick of his booted foot sent Muffy flying, and with little effort he pulled Barbara to her feet and then linked his arm around her waist. Barb moaned, the stranger did not seem to notice and impatiently tugged twice on the black rope. Suddenly their feet left the ground, and Barb found herself being whisked away with the daring rogue to the unknown above...
Barbara's head was in a fog. This had been the most unbelievably bizarre day of her life. She looked at the masked hero who had come to her rescue.
"What are you, Batman?" she said.
"No," he said, eyes locked on the rope above them. "I'm Flatman."
Some how it would have made more sense to Barbara if he'd said 'Yes, I'm Batman' crazy as that would have sounded.
"Flatman?" she asked.
They reached the end of the rope which had been secured to a beam high above the taffy factory floor.
"Yeah, well it's short for Flatulence Man." He lifted Barbara onto the beam and as he swung himself up onto the beam next to her she heard a sound like a motorcycle revving it's engine. The smell that followed made it clear to her how Flatman got his name.
At these admissions (both verbal and anal) she threw up her hands in despair. "What the fuck is wrong with this world?' wailed Barbara. "This day has been like a machine, a machine that you can put anything into, and no matter what it is, it comes out floobified and completely fucked up on the other end. Metal intestines and tarnation! Madre del diablo! First my potential boyfriend is kidnapped by lobsters, then I poke out my potential girlfriend's eye, then a dead dog jisms all over my legs, and now I'm kidnapped by fartman! Screw it! I'm giving up on you, Joselito, you're always around when I don't want you, and never around when I actually need you! Calgon., take me away!"
Barbara began to shimmer then, and glow and sparkle and dissipate in a swirling cloud of lemon-fresh, and just before she did, she reached into the whorl of her left ear, dug about till she found the favorite sitting-nook of Joselito, her lazy Higher Power, removed him bodily and flicked him -- in much the way one flicks a booger -- in Flatulence Man's face. Then poof! -- she was gone.
The gust of wind that followed Barb's exit made Flatulence Man lose his balance. He teetered for a moment on the rafter and then began to fall headfirst to the cold cement floor below. He landed by the other corpes of Barbara's adventure, spilling his guts beside Evelyn's and Muffy's. And Barbara flying to oblivion didn't care anymore...
-- This might be said to representative of the flawed streak of character in Flatulence Man to which could be traced his failure as a superhero. For he always, at moments of crisis or catharsis, saw visions of his own doom and end dancing before his eyes like sugarplums gone rancid in a heatwave.
He sighed. Have to call in the clean-up crew. Get rid of this mess before that pesky Scully and Mulder come snopping round, heh-heh-heh... He doubled over in a fit of coughing, speckling the factory floor with brown phlegm. Kee-rist... Gotta give up the smokes.
He was prone, at such moments, to all manner of fatalistic ruminations... Though Life seemed to have robbed him of hope, grace, joyousness and spontaneity over the past several decades, a few years of therapy back in his late twenties had equipped him with the faculties for receiving and deconstructing some of these other unconscious thoughts and fantasies. Lately they'd taken the form of an inner tirade about how corporate sponsorship and mergers were putting the little guy, the local superhero, out of business. Why just the other day, he'd seen Superman fly past him with a giant Duracell logo on his back -- hell, it was even bigger than his the signature "S" on his chest. And the thing was, it hadn't even been the Superman! Ever since the monumental Starbucks-Barnes and Noble-The Gap-Raytheon merger of a few years back, Superman was a trademarked commodity, a commoner and commoner sight in every city on earth, spreading his universal message of loose-fitting clothing, overpriced espresso with pretentious size-names, and democracy, from Timbuctoo to Taiwan to Toledo. They had schools now, they recruited these kids fresh out of college, and train 'em to be Superman. Over and over again. Like clones. Except the kids have no respect for the real Supe, the guy we grew up with. Why, the one he'd seen soaring over Petaluma the other day'd had a set of lampchop whiskers! Superman with facial hair! It was a fuckin' travesty.
...And then he'd gone round to the Batcave, the bar where all the superheros hung out, and there were Jerry, Bob and Sam, a.k.a. Winken, Blinken and Nod, the acrobat-triplets whose circus career had been cut short when they got bitten by a radioactive tse-tse fly and (though it took three years for them to wake up) were each granted one-third of the secrets and powers of Morpheus, god of sleep... And they were talkin' about joining up with the Legion of Doom, fer pity's sake, sayin' that the only way for an indy superhero to make a living anymore was t'turn to crime!
"Ah, boys, hang yer heads in shame!" Flatty (as he was called) pounded his fist upon the table and shook his head and growled, reverting (as stress often had him do) to the lilting County-Mayo-transplanted-to-Brooklyn cadences of the two spinster aunts who raised him after his own parents tragic death during the excavations of the tomb of Amon-Ka-Koogle III... "If Spongeboy was still with us, he'd beat the lot of yehs black and bloody blue for such unmanlysentiments. Blasphemy! Who raised ya, then, laddies? Who? Would Mrs. McGillicuddy not be rollin' over in her sweet grave, in the name a Jesus, if she heard that her sons -- and not just one of 'em, mind yehs, but all one, two, three of her darlin' boys -- had forsaken the sacred oath they took, the vow to protect and serve mankind against the gathering forces of Darkness and Chaos -- simply on account of money! Och, the shame, the freakin' feckin' shame of it all..."
"But the gathering forces of Darkness and Chaos have corporate sponsorship now!" (Winken)
"The Legion of Doom is in partnership with the McDonald's-KFC-Wendy's-Superdog-Nabisco-Tampax consortium, principal sponsor of the 2004 Baghdad Summer Olympics. Even Dr. Octopus is doing Nike ads!" (Blinken)
"Flatty! Snap out of it! Grow up! Irony's made us unnecessary, man. You gotta change with the world --" (Nod)
"Or be left behind!" (Winken & Blinken)
"Come with us, Flatty!" (All three)
"And just think, in a year's time he'd be the fucking Tidy Bowl mascot, right?" This last line uttered by a newcomer, a raincoated, slouch-hatted, but unmistakeably female shadow falling over the four of them from the direction of the door.
They turned.

"M-M-Mystery Babe?"
"Hi boys. How's tricks?"
"Holy Christ, Mystery Babe, we heard you'd disappeared down in Paraguay, huntin' down the Red Skull and them escaped Nazi war criminals after Captain America went over to the Russkies... But here you are! And what a sight you are for these sore eyes!"
"Alright, Flatty, enough of that monkeytalk. [Aside]: They shoulda named him Flirtman, maybe h'd have gotten laid a little more often if he'd worn it on his chest." She slipped from her raingear, flinging coat and head over the tiny squeaking form of Mr. Preeth, the house-dwarf, and there stood the slim figure they knew so well from the old days of the Mystery Men and the JLA, dressed in the bodysuit of so smoky a black it seemed to blur all lines of definition and physical reference down to ambiguous suggestions of an anatomy perhaps not entirely human, though just how, of course, even the non-casual observer would be hardpressed to pinpoint. Just a somewhat discomfitting afterthought burning on the undersides of the eyelids, though there were of course men who would have paid millions for the chance to investigate her unique corporeality for a night. Many had tried -- by force, threat, plea, and gunpoint -- to arrange such an exchange, and the Fates they brought upon themselves cannot reasonably be mentioned in a Christian, family-values-bolstering publication such as this, but as chronicler of these strange events I can rightly say that no man had ever successfully pried those long legs open by force, and to no man had ever been extended the invitation to enter between them save one, and that man was Mr. Preeth, and his lips were sealed, though it's true that for a dwarf with a reputation for being surly, from then on in he sure grinned a lot...
-- Flatman, on the other hand, had spent the rainy evening sulking in a corner, nursing a succesion of tequila sunrises (well, frankly, in his case they were tequila sunsets) and sneaking little peeks at what anatomical details could be gleaned through Mystery Babe's costume as she chattered and gesticulated to the smallish, close-set attentions of Winken, Blinken and Nod...
-- At some point that night (but he was extremely drunk by then, and what memeory he retained of it was of the gooey, indistinct consistency of tepid Wheatina) she had made her way over to his table.
"Why so glum, chum?" she purred.
"Ah, what the hell d'you care, MB? Off arresting alien gauchos on the occupied pampas while the rest of us rot here in Petaluma..."
"Awwwww -- de poor wittle babykins, dwowning himsewf in dwink, boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. He's waiting foh someone to pway the smawwest viowin in de world between her thumb and fowfingew -- wemme guess -- 'My Heawt Bweeds Fow Woo'?"
"Alright, enough a that, MB, fuck off and go home... Jus' lea' me be..."
"What in God's name has happened to this miserable annex of a town? WHat happened to the Flatulence Man I knew? The one who took me on as his partner when I was just a buck-toothed, knock-kneed teenybopper fresh out of the cornfields of Iowa? What happened to the man who was like the father I never had, Flatty? Where's the Flatulence Man who was once so dedicated to the fight for Justice, Truth, and High Fiber in the Universe that he selflessly consumed 99 cans of Goya frijoles negros a night for six whole weeks just to make sure he had enough ammunition to fight off the invading Fruitfly-Men in the double-sized summer issue? Where's the man who taught me over telephathic mind-link to repair my Mystery Babe utility belt with nothing more than chewing gum and good ol' American chutzpah when I was caught in a pickle inside those Giant-Ant-Farms the Insidious Dr. Sneeze was trying to undermine Topeka with? Where? Because all I see before me is a lowdown, broken, cowardly, prideless old souse sitting here before me..."
-- She bent forward and (no, no, not that, anything but tears, he thought) began sobbing into her hands. These things he cursed inwardly: himself, her, the Bat Cave, the trio of Winken, Blinken and Nod, his ulcer, the three ingrown hairs presently inflaming his left buttock no matter how eptly he shifted in the booth, himself, her, age, the government, the National Debt, the ever-impending but never-quite-arriving millenium, the arm-and-a-leg his mechanic was going to charge him to get the Fartmobile up and running again, those inane beaurocrats and management consultants the Justice League had hired five or six years back and who were going to be the death of them all, himself, her, himself, her, the vision of his old man's face after reading the note to the effect that Flatman's mother had run off with a door-to-door vaccuum cleaner salesman -- he stopped it there. He couldn't take her crying, anything but those gushing, unbound sobs, waves of sobs, ubersobs, displays of emotion unbefitting a superheroine, unbefitting the company of Great Ones, even in a dingy bar in Petaluma, unbefitting, unbefitting -- unbefitting him, the great Flatulence Man, because they struck these cords in him, oh the cords her sobs struck (which she well knew, ever since that first time when she was sixteen and he was teaching her how to scale skyscrapers a la Spiderman and she'd fallen and he'd caught her just in the nick of time thirty-seven storeys above the teeming sidewalks of Gotham, and she'd confessed then her lifelong fear of heights and burst sobbing into gob-sobs of sob-sob-sob-sobbings while the whole body of the Justice League's Student Jury looked on aghast and ashamed and embarrassed and appalled through the mobile unit video cameras built into Flatman's shoe-phone), those fucking sobs, conjuring emotions he hadn't heard in the dry hollow echoing depths of himself in decades, except by the grace or curse of her, and he put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her tight and something in him broke and he too was sobbing, rusty clumsy chokes and gasps, fat quarters and half-dollars of tears boinging onto the scratched formica tabletop, and he thought Heavens to Tutankhamen! A grown man weeping in public! I'll lose my license! -- and he might have, too, loyalty being the atrophied thing it was in those lean times, if there had been a single dry eye in the sooty packed speakeasy atmosphere of the Bat Cave but there was not. Glimpy the bartender, Mr. Preeth, and threescore out-of-work superheroes lay in various postures of sobbing repose, weeping openly and remorselessly into their hands and arms and chests, into each others' hair and rancid armpits, crying so hard that pools of tears began to form on the floor, and the air rang in shrill nursery cadences, and they shared something, then, a moment, a timelessness, and --
-- And she stood up, then, up on top of the table, clapping her hands and whistling for silence. "Okay, boys and girls -- I rest my case."
Flatman looked up. "Huh?"
"We're going indy. Union. No more Justice League. No more Hasbro Worldwide merchandising for which we never see a penny. No more 'wars' arranged behind our backs between the JLA and the Legion of Doom, between Marvel and DC, to try and secure next year's primetime ratings..."
"No more sappy endings!" shouted a tiny, piping voice it took Flatman a minute or two to recognize as that of the usually reticent Chinchilla-Woman...
"No more unscheduled visits to Earth-Prime!" coughed the Human Hairball...
"No more whoring ourselves for Hostess Fruit-Pies," tapped Tap-Man with his ionic tap-dance shoes...
"No more iron bras!" thundered the Valkyrie Twins.
He shook his head. She was that good, Mystery Babe was. She'd gone into the wrong trade, he sometimes thought. She shoulda been a politician.
-- Flatman, then, never a one to let someone else get the last word in (not to mention completely drunk) rose then, amid the cheering crowd of fired-up superheroes, climbed wobbily to the top of a table, knocking several full drinks to the floor, and tried to one-up Mystery Babe by leading the mob in a rousingly sarcastic rendition of "The Internationale." By the third line, however, his empassioned rocking back and forth -- to an internal music only he heard -- had upset his alright compromised balance -- his legs gave out from under him, and who can say what sort of harm he might have come to had it not been for the bravery and lightning-fast reflexes of Mrs. Jello, who shot a pseudopod of celery-flavored salad Jello from the 1950s beneath him just in the knick of time.
Within seconds, Flatman was sound asleep. Faint strains of "The Internationale" were still audible in the bumpy nasal cadences of his snores.
Shaking her ambrosia head and clucking a maraschino tongue, Mrs. Jell-O slipped her saving pseudopod out from beneath him and replaced it with a dusty cushion from one of the booths.
That was where he woke up the next morning, dry of tongue (he seemed to have eaten several mouthfuls of the sawdust which Mr. Preeth had thrown down on someone's vomit), bloodshot of eye, and volcanic of headache.
Making nary a mention of his disreputable behavior of the night before, Mystery Babe breezed in with a thermos of hot, black coffee, poured each of them a cup (he sweetened his with a shot of 151 proof rum), wrinkled her nose at him (which meant = Lord knew what she was going to ask him to do for her...) --
"So --" she said. "What're your plans, Flatty?"
He was barely able to accomplish the Herculean labor of responding to her (admittedly rather vague) query with the syntactically complex "Whuddayatalkinabout?" before the sudden onset of monsoon season in his lower gastrointestinal tract (already naturally unstable due to the years of radium-infused Metamucil his two spinster aunts had fed him in hopes of creating in him the potential to someday come into his own as a superhero with powers a cut (of cheese) above the rest) forced him to his feet. He raced across the refuse-strewn floor for the bathroom, but alas, all the recent months of dissolution had dulled his formerly lightning-swift super-reflexes -- he slipped in the saem pile of sawdust he'd slept in, came down hard on the floorboards, and released -- into the atomic Flatulence Man drawers beneath his wind-breaker tights the first foetid gush of diarrhea accompanied by a wet squeal of a super-fart. A colony of termites gnawing away the Bat Cave's foundation instantly fell dead, and Mystery Babe, nearly green, was alreadyclamping over her nose a metaolfactory clothespin from her utility belt.
"Flatty [but when she said his name, he heard 'Daddy'] -- you're fucking hopeless!"
He turned away, his eyes burning with tears, and crawled on his hands and knees to the loo.
Mystery Babe had seen the glimmer of his tears and she felt awful.But this was no time for feeling awful! Too much action was called for, things were only just beginning, she couldn't believe how far this place had fallen since her departure for South America three years previously. Everyone a walking corpse, an addict, a hopeless chump or an apprenctice geriatric...

She flipped through the conents of the Lost and Found box until she'd located a pair of tights that seemed his size, and an embossed bulletproof jockstop bearing (surprise, surprise) the unmistakeable turnip-crest of Capt. Root Vegetable (RIP; boiled, mashed with milk and salt and butter, and fed to the unsuspecting attendees of an Iron City charity ball during the crazy Summer of '94, when those pesky R'wamblios from the Crab Nebula had staged their ill-fated colonizations...)

Still behind the bar, she fixed him a sort of "Breakfast of Champions" -- (1) a pint-glass of Alka-Seltzer brand Superhero Hangover Remedy ("made for the overindulgences of Titans!"), (2) a tremendous Bloody Mary fresh horseradish, extra tabasco and coarse-ground black pepper, vestal vodka from the sacred fjords of Iimtikklishvik (the discerning drinker -- not, in this case, Flatulence Man -- could detect, if he or she were clever enough to listen with [his/her] tongue, as the slogan went, the faint tang of reindeer-droppings beneath the swirling bitter surface-tastes of the vodka) and (3) a classic Sally Bowles "prairie oyster" (raw eggs and Worcestershire sauce beaten together in a highball glass). All of this she placed on a tray, which she set atop one of the bar tables, with his change-of-clothes folded conspicuously next to it. She scribbled a note on a bar-napkin -- "Be back soon. Feel better. MB" and left the rose-red lipstick imprint of her lips by way of a signature. She blinked three-times then, swirling her Mystery Babe trenchcoat around herself like a Burberry dustdevil -- the airshimmered vaguely and -- blink! -- she was gone.
Flatman sucked on his Bloody Mary and nibbled mindlessly on the stalk of celery that garnished it. Memories of the night before began to reveal themselves. He remembered what Mystery Babe had said and he knew that she was right. God what woman she was! And how pathetic I am, he thought to himself. He sucked hard on his drink and bit back the tears of self pity that were waiting just under the surface to break free.
"Stop it!" he heard himself say, breaking the cycle of self-berrating thoughts that would drive him to drink bloody mary's until he passed out. It was time to earn back Mystery Babe's respect. He pushed aside the half consumed Bloody Mary, scooped up his soiled tights and marched out of the dank bar with his head held precariously high.
As he stepped out onto the street, into a light, late-morning drizzle, redolent with the rich musk of industrial by-products and rotten ferns, so lost was he in the shining thoughts of A Man With a New Lease on Life, that he failed to notice the trio of teenage boys standing on the corner, brazenly huffing soy-ink fumes from paper sacks (or "hooting," as it had come to be called in the vernacular).
"Yo, Fartman!" cackled one as he passed them. "Ya gonna cut the cheese or what?"
He looked at the boy through a bleared hungover squint. "It's Flatman. For Flatulence Man. Fartman's in Chi-town. Cap'n Borborigmy covers Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Mistresses of Indigestion ensure the safety of citizens on the mean streets of Des Moin--"
"Ah, shaddup!" The kid cut him off. "Shaddup and cut the cheese, Fartboy!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"I beg your pardon?" mimed the punk in cruel falsetto, twisting his pimply face up into a prunelike grimace which elicited throaty guffaws from his two slouching colleagues. "Now, is you Fartman, or aintcha?"
"I say he's Buttman," said the second punk.
"Yeah, huh-huh, like, Takes-It-Up-the-Buttman," hypothesized the third, bending over with wheezing, half-suppressed, soy-ink-fume-stoned hysterics at his own joke. His two companions soon followed suit. "Takes-It-Up-the-Buttman," they chanted and chuckled, "Fagman, Fruitman, Ponceman!"
Flatman went beet-red in the face, and his mind raced down its own dim corridors, frantically trying ever door for a means of saving face, or escape, or what-would-Superman-do-in-this-situation?, how-would-the-Silver-Surfer-respond?, etcetera, none of them quite sufficing (no one ever made fun of Superman, certainly not to the extent of questioning his sexual preferences), and in his mind he found himself circling repeatedly back to the same door, so to speak, the same possibility or approach or vantage-point, which basically amounted to: What would Mystery Babe say if I let a couple punks get the better of me?
He narrowed his eyes at them. "Alright, boys: you want a fart, I'll give you a fart..." And he smiled a smile he hadn't had cause to smile in a very long time, spun around until he faced away from them, pulled down the borrowed tights to present them with the full round white moons of his buttocks, took a deep breath, bent forward slightly at the waist to allow for the shift in his center of balance, and let fly with a tremendous, supercharged, atomic fart of the classic "bowl-ringer" variety...
Unfortunately for the three delinquents, his second attack of diarrhea came at the same time.

-- Now, a single fetid blast of atomic flatulence was all it ever took to teach punk-chump youngsters to respect their elders, mind their manners, and permanently cease and desist all littering, cussing, and all those other nasty habits known to cause chronic vagrancy, palm-hair, madness, devil worship and the myriad other forms which Liberalism assumes in its hedonistic way through this fallen world... Why, it could be said that Flatman had in his time created more solid, upstanding American citizens than the combined efforts of Emily Post and Politenessman...
But such sulphurous emissions, such putrid come-uppance, such lashing of quivering basal bodies with the thousand whips of the damned... It has always prove more than enough medicine for idle hands and bedeviled minds... But oh, to top it off, nay, to cube its disciplinary wizardry with a veritable blizzard of diarrhea, the rancid, liquid contents of Flatman's gurgling, overworked gastrointestinal tract, was simply too much... It engulfed the three boys, covered them entirely... Was blown away by a second blast of wind from Flatman's overactive colon... Revealing, where once had been three tattooed, pierced, gang-colorsemblazoned young deliquents, three sellers of playground insurance, three petty thieves, three users of illegal drugs, three takers of the name of the Lord in vain... where once had been these three, their now lay the rosy-cheeked, white-robe-wearing, soft and fleecy bodies of three innocent altar boys, sleeping the innocent sleep of lambs, glowing with a radiant, cherubic health, purified by the cleansing power of... well, shit.
Flatman shrugged with an "Aww, shucks..." and blushed. He left them their sleeping, pulled up his tights and turned away. That was when Mystery Babe stepped form the shadow of an alley, clapping her hands together with a slow finality, and nodding grin on her face.
"Well," she said, "I see someone hasn't lost his touch."
"Mystery Babe! I uh.. I uh.. What're you.. I didn't expect.." the great Flatulenceman stammered. She stood with her hands on her hips and looked him up and down. Could that be respect he saw in her eyes? "Listen," he said, gaining control of himself. "I'm sorry for the way I acted in the bar back there, last night."
"Forget it. We all have our low points now and then." She smiled warmly at him.
"Not you Mystery Babe." Flatman gushed. "You never lose your focus, your sense of purpose. You have such good self-esteem."
"True." Mystery Babe shrugged. She took a tissue from her utility belt and wiped a brown splatter from Flatman's hair. "Come on, Flatty, let's go get some breakfast."

An hour later, as Mystery Babe and Flatman sat over their nineteenth and thirty-seventh cups of coffee, respectively, having gorged themselves to the point of exhaustion on the vittles of the cornucopic $4.99 All-U-Can-Nosh buffet at a local Rabbi Ponderosa Wild West Family Restaurant. These are the diverse foodstuffs they did consume: Flatman, son of Candace (daughter of Steve and Edna of the tribe of O'Hernia) and Vladimir (only begotten son of Gregor of the lineage of the Samsas and Nora of the tribe of Sabatchkavich) ate: fried eggs, scrambled eggs with salsa and squid-roe, sausage in both links and patties, bacon, hash brown potatoes, fresh honeydew melon, grits, biscuits and gravy, bagels with cream cheese/lox/red onion/cucumber slices, maple-cured Albertan pork tripe, prosciutto-swaddled canteloupe, a stack of buckwheat flapjacks, two raspberry danishes, 3 quarts of freshly besquozen grapefruit juice, seventeen bloody marys made with the quality product of our sponsor -- DiGiovanni brand tomato juice -- the tomato juice of champions!, topped off with a sampling of smoked chublings, a dollop of whitefish salad, rye toast with homemade gooseberry-rhubarb compote, a dish of fresh-cut 'mountain oysters', a large helping of that Biblical classic les douceurs de Moloch St.-Germain, a salad of lilac petals and chicory in a light cognac dressing, six delicious crepes topped with crabmeat and wild mushrooms in a delightful sauce Bechamel, countless alternating platefuls of French toast and zesty huevos rancheros, eight slices of whole wheat toast smothered in creamed chipped beef (out of nostalgia for his Army days) and a chocolate crueller.
Mystery Babe (illegitimate progeny of Ethyl [hic!] Merman and a door-to-door Britannica salesman of the line of Cain) contented herself with a bowl of fresh fruit in season.
"Burp," said Flatman.
"Now, listen up, buddy," said Mystery Babe.
"A wafer-theen meent?" queried the waiter.
Flatman pleaded with Mystery Babe with his eyes but she shook her head. "There'll be none of that nonsense today, Flatty." She shooed the waiter off. "We've got work to do. Now -- what do you know about taffy?"
"Taffy... Uh, only that goddamn -- burrrrr-rup! -- pardon me -- only that goddamned Laffy Taffy factory down the street from the abandoned warehouse which serves as a front for Flatulence headquarters, a.k.a. The Flatcave -- whenever I'm mixing up a new batch of some superpowered fart variation, all my olfaction software and electric noses get completely fucked up by some new batch of fruit-flavored, filling-loosening, chewy gooey Laffy Taffy... Why do you ask, my dear Mystery Babe?"
"You're only confirming my suspicions. Those Laffy Taffy people -- whoever they are -- are up to no good, I'm sure of it. Why, just the other day --"
But here she was interrupted by the return of the waiter, accompanied by the maitre d'hotel, both of whose faces wore downturned expressions of deepest consternation. Acting as if Mystery Babe weren't even present ("the nerve!" she thought, with an internal hmmph!) the bent their heads deferentially towards Flatman, their lips trembling. "Sir --" began the waiter --
"Monsieur," chimed in the maitre d' --
"Just a single --" (waiter)
"Wafer-theen -- " (maitre d')
"Meent -- ?" (together, as if pleading with Flatman for their very lives.
The foil-wrapped mint was extended, on a silver tray, until it was directly beneath Flatman's nose.
As he read the label he could see that it was made by the same folks who made Laffy Taffy. He began to salivate.
He ogled the sweety (and here I don't mean Mystery Babe) on the sterling silver tray. Flatman could never resist and after breakfast chocolate mint. it beckoned him and he reached for it but Mystery Babe grabbed his wrist with stern "No, Flatman!"
Flatman sighed. "She's right, I've already had enough to eat. Bwuuuuurrrp!"
"But monsieur," began the maitre d', picking up the mint with a tiny pair of silver tongs. "Eet ees wafer theen!"
"Oh, alright." Flatman opened his mouth so that the maitre d' could place the mint on his tongue but the fast as lightening Mystery Babe grabbed the mint from the maitre d'. She ran to an open window, flung the confection out and ducked under a nearby table. The mint hit the sidewalk and exploded on impact leaving a 3 foot crater in the sidewalk and alot of broken glass and panic stricken patrons in the restaraunt.
"Holy Underwear!" cried Flatman, running to Mystery Babe's side. "Are you alright? You saved my life!"
"Flatman, they're getting away!" said Mystery Babe but it was to late. The waiter and the maitre d' had left the building and disappeared.
Mystery Babe, however, shrewd superheroine that was, had not failed to notice something drop onto the floor of the restaurant behind the maitre d' as he ran away, and rooting about on her hands and knees beneath one of the tables, with a great many Excuse-me's to the two old ladies sitting there (one of whose feet smelled of rancid cheese), she soon came up triumphantly waving the maitre d's wallet.
"Now, Mister Man, lets see who you are when you're at home," she said, opening it.
"Ah-ha!" said Flatman.
"Oh-ho," said MB.
"Help!" came a muffled voice from beneath their feet.
"My suspicions entirely," lied Flatman, peering intently at the unflattering driver's-license-photo of one Ted Miller, CEO, Laffy Taffy Confections, Inc.
"I always said, 'this job's three-quarters intuition and one-quarter brute force,' didn't I?" replied Mystery Babe, easily lifting up on the iron handle of a trapdoor set into floor, which, when opened, revealed the real maitre d' and head waiter, bound and gagged among the dusty racks of the wine-cellar.
"At last! We're finally starting to get somewhere, Flatty!" exclaimed MB with a beaming smile, throwing her arms around our Fearless Flatulator and planting a rosebush of a kiss on his lips. Flatman could only blush.
And fart.
"Smells like someone's baking brownies." said the blue-haired old lady at the table next to them.
"Quick, MB, let's get this to the Hall of Fairness and see what Master Computer has to say about our friend Mr. Miller." said Flatman after they'd untied the innocent restaraunt workers.
"Hall of Fairies?" gasped the maitre d'. The entire restaurant responded with a collective indrawn breath.
"You are -- homosexuals?" inquired the blue-haired old lady snidely.
"We have -- heard about the existence of people such as yourselves," said her companion.
"Yes, and your barbaric practices --"
"Worthy of the fiery fate visitied upon Sodom and Gomorrah --"
"Oh, no," said Flatman, affecting a passable Irish accent. "Not 'Hall of Fairies' as in 'Hallm of Homosexuals,' but as in 'Hall of The Little People,' secret protectors of mankind and helpers of poor shoemakers." He looked to Mystery Babe, already dancing a nimble jig from Riverdance, for confirmation.
"Aye," she replied, "We count among our peers nixies and pixies, elves and kobolds, nyads and banshees, mischievous leprechauns and soul-drinking succubi, ravenous sea-hags and hare-gutting druids, Sammy Davis Jr. and Shirley Jones..."
"SHIRLEY JONES?" shrieked the head-waiter.
"SHIRLEY JONES?" screamed the blue-haired lady, her companion, and the Pekineses in each of their laps.
"Shirley Jones," replied our two superheroes, nodding vigourously.

"You silly old biddies!" Flatman sneered. "What I said was "Hall of FAIRNESS."
"Hall of Fairness? What kind of a name is that for a superhero headquarters?" said the maitre d', outsneering Flatman as only a maitre d' can.
"It's fine name!" piped in Mystery Babe in her best pep-squad-possitive-attitude voice. "Besides Hall of Justice was taken. Anyway, we've got some world saving business to attend to so if you all don't mind we'd like to get on with it!"
Meanwhile, in her super secret suburban lair Shirley Jones was baking brownies. The dappled sunlight that filtered through the bright yellow chintz curtains gleamed and dazzled playfully across the polished mirror of the linoleum floor. A happy bluebird chirruped gleefully on the sill. The rich homey smell of fresh baked goods wafted gently through the neighborhood and causing a hopeful rumble in the tummies of the wholesome boys playing stickball in the yard next door.
Her ultra sensitive sixth Mom sense was tingling. Placing the fresh baked brownies on the windowsill cool, she quickly squeezed some fresh lemonade for after the stickball game and picked up her rubber Battle Spatula. "There's naughtiness afoot", she thought to herself, "and somebody needs a spanking."
She pulled the hidden lever on the waffle iron and the entrance to her Mom cave slid open behind the oven. She'd already pulled on a fresh apron by the time she hit her atomic powered station wagon.
Through a series of digital cameras linked via satellite to the mainframe at the HALL of FAR NESS (called so not because of the distance at which it stood from the addled workaday world of humanity, nor from any connection with the Loch Ness Monster, but because some prankster schoolboys had stolen the median "T" shortly after Flatman had originally set up his Headquarters-of-Breakwindery) Flatman and Mystery Babe watched Shirley Jones' atomic 'Woody' station wagon speed out of her garage with a most unmatronly squeal of tires and zoomed away. This was always a bad sign, they knew; when Shirley felt compelled to get in on the game, it could only mean trouble.
"Oh Christ," he grumbled, "that's all we need right now. Another goddam aging washed-up TV star trying to parley a crime fighting turn into a comeback. You remember The Plunger, Babe?"
Mystery Babe grimaced. "Was that the guy who played the superintendent on "One Day At A Time?"
"Yeah, that Schneider asshole. Bastard almost got me killed that time The Sizzler had me over a mesquite grill and he was busy showing off his "superpower"..ahem...plunging techniques with a waitress from Fresno. I was in a bad spot. If i'd used my powers the resulting methane explosion would've taken out half the district. Thank God The Bungler (rest his soul)got there."
"Oh yeah, he was before your time. His superpower was that he would totally and disastrously screw up whatever he tried to do. He fought crime by helping the forces of evil. Squid Brothers got him back in '79. Inked him good. It was horrible, horrible."

Was it pure coincidence, or the miscreant workings of some sinister overmind which, at that very moment, had one of the cameras on the Fartman RMU (Robotic Mobile Unit, patent pending), following Shirley Jones' speeding Superwoody (Jan, Dean and Brian's howled "Two girls for ev-ry booooooy" pulsing giddily from the car stereo, Shirley humming along, the resultant auditory pleasance floating off into space and -- unbeknownst to anyone but Mrs. Jones -- staving off the imminent heat-death of the Universe for another day -- "What'll they ever do when I'm gone?" she thought to herself) -- but I digress -- at the exact moment that all of this was occuring, what environs did the aforementioned pursuant RMU film the former Mrs. Partridge driving through -- transmitting said footage via triple-encrypted satellite linkage to the former Hall of Fartness -- what place of great men and their time-honored valorous deeds did she pass through, on her way to Godknowswhere, but Daniel Patrick Harrington, Jr. Square, so named, statued, and landscaped as to ensure that no American schoolchild ever forgot the glorious martyrdom of the man best-known for his earthy portrayals of Schneider, the frisky superintendent who'd fathered over thirty illegitimate children with Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips over the course of the ten heartrending primetime seasons of the award-winning Channel Two paen to the horrors of addiction and the madness of isolated nobility dining exclusively on pate de fois gras and stinky Camembert, that "dizzying investigation into the Marianas Trenches of the human soul" (Siskel & Ebert), that "arrow of truth and light, perhaps the only truly authentic American myth-as-expression-primal-soul" (Georges Rochineault) -- One Day At a Time.
...And there stands the statue of moustachioed Schneider in the midst of the dusty square. Leaves fall sadly from the sycamore trees and rasp along the ground. Not one child gazes reverentially up at that Man among men, that "Buddha-with-a-pipewrench." The air smells of sand, and hay, and milkweed. Nothing stirs. Not even the birds. The summer breathes asthmatically, and then keels over in the grip of an asthma attack and we lose even our awareness of it.
...And then all of a sudden there is something. A wavering on the edge of our hearing becomes finally a faint noise, in approach, and after a little while takes shape as music (you there with head cocked quizzically as Buster Brown's faithful dog), and then from the music there grow words, singing, which after yet another brief aiting period you begin to be able to pluck form the morass of other sounds and try to find sense or at the very least context for: --

My physic teachers got me workin' too hard
Relax after school sittin' out in the yard
Just me & my baby, I'm holdin' her hand
Then pop (ding-a-ling) here comes that popsicle man

Orange, lemon, cherry & lime
Fudge, tutti frutti & a grape that's fine
Buy one for me & one for my chick
A lot of good eatin' on a popsicle stick

Popsicle, popsicle
Wanna keep cool? It does the trick
& it comes on a stick, uh huh

Some people buy popsicles just for kicks
Me & my baby, we save the sticks
To keep brothers & sisters quiet as a mouse
We give them popsicle sticks to build a popsicle house

Popsicle, popsicle
Wanna keep cool? It does the trick
& it comes on a stick, uh huh!

So when you hear the bell goin' (ding-a-ling)
That's the popsicle man, & he's the goodie king
Save popsicle wrappers, & before long
You'll take the phonograph to play this record on...

...By that time, of course, Mrs. Jones had already come and gone, stirring up billowing eddies of leaves across the square, spinning almost sentiently like singing children round the stolid bronze feet of Schneider. Shirley Jones seemed to have that effect just about everywhere she went.
The RMU pulled back and arched into the cool evening twilight. There wasn't anything left to see here. In the Hall of Fartness, Fartman knew that it would only be a matter of another fifteen minutes or so before Shirley burst through his doors in a gleam of light followed by a lemony fresh scent. She greatly disapproved of his housekeeping skills when it came to his own personal Hide Out. It may be kind of messy, but it was his mess and his hide out, and he was fine with it just the way it was. But it wasn't good enough for Shirley. He just fucking knew she'd come strutting in here humming "Walking On Sunshine", and run a casual gloved finger around the room when she thought he wasn't looking. "A clean healthy life is what separates us from the Forces of Evil" she say or her other favorite motto, "It takes an organized mind to fight organized crime." God, she got on his nerves. It was enough to make him really and truly consider Winken, Blinken and Nod's offer. If for no other reason than that it's give him a good excuse to pop her once in that smugly set mouth with all those tiny rows of pearly whites.
"Well, F-Man," said Mystery Babe as she headed for the door, "like it or not she's on her way. It looks like it's gonna be a long night. I'll go grab us some grub. What do you want?"
Fartman grunted and sulked by the monitors. "Something fresh and healthy with a side of arsenic."
"Cut the crap, what do you feel like."
"Better make it Mexican, Gotta arm myself good and proper for tonight."
Mystery Babe made a face. "Had it for lunch"
"How about Cuban then? Lots of black beans and garlic and fried plantains. Hold on a minute I got a menu for Che's Home Style around here somewhere"
Fartman rummaged under some old prune juice containers and produced a crumpled menu tattooed with coffee rings and other indefinable stains.
At that precise moment, whilst these two bastions of righteousness stood head to head by the FartPhone haggling over spicy pork and beans or chicken, while at that very self same moment as Shirley Jones crossed the railroad tracks by the Natural Gas Power Plant and thusly into the secret passage to Fartman's lair, even so at that instance while the RMU's autonomous sensor's began to pick up stronger and more profound anomalous readings in the direction of Petaluma and began veering East to find the source, this was the precise moment that dear dear Monty and his choir of hearty Policemen had finished the 326th and final verse of "The Tale of Brave Usysses" with a rousing chorus of mighty "Hey!'s" and "Ho!'s" and as the last quavering note slipped smoothly from betwixt Policeman Bogg's smacking wet lips in his deep grand Basso there stepped in a sudden and profound second of silence in which the men basked in the fruits of their songish labors, and it was in that the silent basking second there on the loading dock amidst the flushed proud Taffy Fumed faces of Monty and Policeman choir that the great door opening into Laffy Taffy Factory squealed into begrudging life and began to rise.

And then there came a low growl, recognizable as the sonorous voice of the dead dog, and then beneath it (though above it in pitch) another sound, midway betwixt the Whine, the Growl and the Moan, unmistakeably feminine in nature, wrapping round the deeper glottals of the dead dog's throaty song like two snakes around a caduceus. But who? What was it? The singing policemen cocked their ears as one, half in expectation, weighing their fear in their hands and trying to decided whether or not they ought to feel it, the fear -- was this new presence to be a threat or an ally? Wearing the expressions of Little Boys Lost, the blinked at each other and scratched their bellies. One raised his voice in the opening bars of "A Bicycle Built For Two," but a cold, disgusted look from the Chief cut him off mid-bar. And meanwhile the great doors groaned slowly, slowly open.
All was grimly silent save for the ominous rumbling of the loading dock door. The birds in the trees ceased their cheerful chirping. The elves and nyads slunk back to their secret underworld lairs with a wary slouching look back at the now worried Singing Policemen. Chief squinted into the setting sun and spit a stray bit of popcorn husk that he'd finally managed to free from a back tooth. Even the usually kinetic Monty slumped sullen and expectantly whiles the great door rose. All eyes peeled on the bottom until it had finished rising and was swallowed into the building completely.
Hesitantly and as one, they looked into the now revealed opening. There by the switch stood a tall dark haired woman in a long white lab coat. She'd obviously been involved in some kind of arduous and difficult struggle. A thin trickle of blood pulsed and gobbed from her temple. No one spoke. Muffy floated hissing lowly beside the woman tightly tethered to her wrist by a hastily constructed leash made out of "Bodacious Blueberry" taffy. As one the Singing Policemen and Monty let out a long held breath. Everything seemed at last in control. Another moment passed while the Burly Boys in Blue geared up to begin the victory song.
Their deep opening breaths stopped in mid inhale as Monty made the first sound.
A low and quiet and unmistakable sound.
He said "Uh Oh."
The woman was not touching the ground. She was floating, in fact, a clear and definite four inches or so above the cold concrete floor.

Monty whistled, not coming up with such a phenonemon in such a long time. Remembering the last time this had happened, he knew this wasn't a good sing. The time was thanksgiving, he was very young. Such a small lad that it is amazing that he could remember it in detail. Not really though, since Monty had a photographic memory. His aunt Mildred had eaten too much turkey and slipped him some of the gooseberry wine, which dribbled on his little lips. Then she started floating off the chair, at least four inches off the ground...and turning into this strange monstourous thing a ma bob. A dragon but with eyes like a praying mantis...and large crablike pinchers. Nothing was worse than when that aunt pinched. Just thinking of it made him break into a cold sweat.
"No, no" he muttered...staring up at the floating woman...."not agiaaaaaaan!"
Craning her long neck down, her eyes like two china saucers she stared deep down into her soul. The cops weren't any help, too busy quibbling over a stray donut that was found on the long green graas, the grass was like..those..sticks with sugar. Green apple, Monty hates green apple. Used to like the stuff but ate too much of them when his mother gave him a big bin of the stuff one Christmas. Why are all of my bad memories linked to holidays? Every day that is supposed be good turns out rotten. The dragon insectiod looked at him, wiggling a wormish opened a large mouth filled with sharks teeth..thousands of tiny black wriggling tounges hiss...:"Maybe it is because you are a rotten kid!"
Squealing his heart thuds, he jumps up from under the covers...It was a dream or was it? that is what you are expecting isn't it...Monty sighs digging into his warm bed, and looks up to see a giant floating woman hovering over his head
Hovering high up into the sky, the women's eyes stared glowing an eerie orange. The glow concentrated into a beam of light, that spread across the land. Somehow this beam made anyone who was here before scatter about, turning into little atoms. She cackled.
"I beat you all, now nobody is left but me!"
The world is silent and still with not a peep in the gallery to help the characters live...
Is this the end?
I think it is...Maybe the atoms will gather back together somehow? The woman floats in the clouds and waits...
The woman fell from the sky, making quite a dent on the earth. Voices sang up from the ground, even with the apparent killing of everyone.
"With one death, begets life."
The first Atom met another Atom.
Her name was Mota, even though Atom was the only one left she didn't like him at all. He was so neutral about everything. Nothing really mattered to him but starting a new (so called) perfect worls with the offspring of the two Atoms. Mota, on the other hand was negative.
"This world will turn out just like the other..." She told Atom.
Atom made a pop, and glowed with a postive charge.
"There is still a chance that someone will save us."
Mota smiled, atracted to him. Zoom Zoom Zoom you make my heart go boom boom super nova girl...With the light of an exploded star..creating beams of light...the night is bright with the new future ahead
"We're not dead." The floating woman who was no longer floating heard a tiny, meek voice say from behind her.
"What?!" she spun around in the dent she had made in the earth, looking for the source of the voice.
"We're getting better." The voice was a little louder now as the atoms began to coalesce and fuse into molecules. "We think we'll pull through!" the molecules began to sing. "We feel happy! We feel happy!"
"No!" screamed the woman. "I've already killed you! You can't come back to life, it's not fair!" She screamed and jumped up and down in a rage.
"All is fair in love and war"
Warbled the gellational one celled creature that was swimming in the primoradal sea. A happy little thing, it danced splitting into many different personalitys. One jumped from the water, and screaming from a pore it yelled: "Ha, you floating lady..we are back and there is nothing you can do about it!"
Flicking her large serpentine tail, she whacked at the tiny creatures floating in the sea, opened her mouth and blew her rage into it. Fish grinned up from a pool, they flipped up the dorsal fin jutting up proudly.
"Ha, it doesn't we have the will to live you are doomed."
The aunt pinching crab dragon cried, filling the sea back up agian. Curses...Foiled agian!
As she was swimming away, sneaking across the bottom of the sea, the old aunt was coming up with a new and much better plan. "They will never deter me again", laughing to herself she swam away into the dark, murky water under the salt caverns.
This wasn't a very healthy place and the old crab dragon did not plan to spend long here. There was someone she had to see as soon as possible.
She took up a dark space in the cracks of the rocks. She would not have to wait long.
This is taking much longer than stomach is starting to growl with hunger for vengance. Revenge was sweet tasting while it lasted, that boy just had to come along just as I thought I was getting it. Peeking those buggy eyes from the shelter, she watched as large retilain creatures frociled in the misty waves. Might not be so seems that the dark creature is running late so I will mingle. If I like it I will send him away. She slipped out of the cave, waving her wispy wings at a dinasour that was eating green fruits from a tip of a tree. It grinned, and waved large greeen scales back. Oh repile love is like no other!
His lips smacking and lightly tingling from the cayene and jalepenos In another corner of the Fartlab, Mystery Babe sat hunched over her plate nervously reading a three year old copy of "Entertainment Weekly" waiting for him to finish. "Any sign of Supermom?", she asked.
"No. But we better hit it before she gets there first or we won't get any credit. TV crews love the "Partridge Family" angle. I can finish the rest of this in the Fartmobile. You drive."

"Highways in the sky, rolling clouds are the hills as we ride on the Fartmobile! Yes it stinks, it is true but nomatter what we do. The sky will always be blue. When we get there, everyone will cry boo hoo. The dragon lady will prevail cause the dark one is on her tail!"
Whoever hired Dark Vader as the singer for this little bit is going to lose his (or her) job in a couple of minutes. Why couldn't the dark one be somebody else...Like..the guy who used to play on Star Trek. That bald guy... least he didn't sound like he needed a resprator when he talked. Black Masks can do that, probably had drugs in it.
With a low growl of irritation Flatman flicked the radio off. "Fuckin' Keerist! I hate that damn song!"
Beside him in the passenger seat of the Fartmobile, Mystery Babe tried to hide her smile. "I think it's cute F-Man."
"You would. It's not about you."
"Oh, come on. You should be flattered."
"Well, all I gotta say, is that if the Knack were going to engineer a comeback with a superhero tribute, I really wish it had been at the Spelunker's or the Quohog Avengers expense. I mean, it's the frickin' Knack for god's sake."
"Who'd you rather then?"
"Sammy Hager"
With that, Flatman cut loose a powerful burst of methane and floored it.
Within a nanosecond, the G force had rendered Mystery Babe flat as a pancake. With breasts poking out from behind her armpits, her back was a shocking semblance of a young Scarlett O'Hara, a la Siamese Twin, peeking from behind her Mammy's hoops. "Gadzooks, F-Man." she squeeked, "What have you done to me?" Feeling faint, she quickly placed her head betwixt her knees - a much easier task now than in previous days. Flatman glanced over at the creature in the seat next to his, back flattened, arms curved seductively around her opulent thighs, but those exquisite breasts, such angelic eminence, seemed to be searching for him, and aiming for his right eye. What should have been a moment of ignominy for Mystery Babe, had some how, in some obscure fashion, caused a twinkling of desire in the deep recesses of Flatman's groin. He thought for just a moment, and then throwing caution to the wind (and taking a very deep breath), took both hands off the wheel to reach for the creamy cupcakes that were just within his reach. MB's head was still millimeters from the floorboards of the passenger side, so he felt a slim measure of safety, but enough to cause his heartstrings to pluck pluck pluck the melody of his heart's desire. "What the hell?" squawked Mystery Babe, as she attempted to maintain upright status, without immediate success. Imagine her confusion when she realized that the center of her personal gravity was suddenly nestled below each armpit. This was truly a new shenanigan. How could Mystery Babe tackle this?
Flatman, of course, remained absolutely oblivious to this. Why, you ask? Why the man who would be Mystery Babe's swain and lover, he who had lost hundreds and night and dozens of bottles of Jergen's lotion and thousands of dollars' worth of call-girl charges to the imago of Mystery Babe, naked and willing, swishing her prehensile tailwhile she wrapped her legs around the small of his back and held herself aloft there, fucking him nearly senseless against a rusty iron fire escape in the pouring rain -- or so one fantasy among countless went -- why would the lusty Flatman not notice her bare breasts eyeing him like two fried eggs in a skillet and calling to mind Ivor Cutler's timeless epigram ("If your breasts are too large you will fall over. Unless you wear a rucksack.")-- why? Because of the cupcakes. Two luscious, chocolate-with-white-icing-squiggles-covered, creamy-sweet-filling-centered, munchy crunchy chocolatey Hostess Cupcakes! He couldn't resist! Something about the bright crinkly plastic wrap... Sta-Fresh, they'd called it... It would keep them fresh through a dozen nuclear winters... He felt so good, he couldn't believe it, he felt like a lad again... "Ah-hah!" he exclaimed, and then, unable to resist, rolled down the window of the aerial Fartmobile, stuck his head out like a dog on the highway, and howled out at the world, "Alllllllllllllll Abooooooooard for Cup-cake Island!" Mystery Babe looked at him strangely but he was already wondering if she knew how to make one of those delicious Jello-mold salads with red Jello and sliced bananas and mini-marshmallows, when the Fartmobile smashed head-on into the thick gnarled boughs of a tall ancient oak tree. As neither Fartman nor Mystery Babe had had the prudence to fasten their seatbelts, both were thrown hard and head-on into the dashboard, with its myriad little buttons and bleeping lights and neeping meters, and knocked quite unconscious...
Half a mile away, on the ground, in the purring interior of a most curiosly altered and souped up "Woodie" stationwagon, Shirley Jones shook her head and clucked her tongue and giggled quietly to herself as she watched the aforementioned events on the dashboard monitor through the secret mini-cams installed inside the patented Nostalgia-for-1970s-Advertising Gas-Releasing
cupcakes which now lay willynilly across the floor of the ruined Fartmobile, their shiny chocolate faces already glinting and softing with the light and heat of the fire which was beginning to engulf the old dry branches of the oak tree.
"Gets 'em every time," she said.
Feeling strangely confident, yet a wee bit remorseful, Shirley gunned her engine and sped off into the obscurity of the night; her station wagon belching soft butter burps as it went. Back at the smoldering Fartmobile, though still quite unconscious, the final four inches of Mystery Babe's tail began to spring to life. Peeking about, it twitched off the impulses of pain sent by MB's double-crossing CNS. Having met the dashboard at high velocity, the visages of both F-Man and MB resembled the mutilated faces of a certain alien rebel species made so notorious from a series of X-Files episodes. Feeling a bit squeamish at the sight, MB's prehensile tail, known to some as Praeghed, lashed off a bout of nausea. Crackling branches dropped all around the car, and the night was lit with fireworks worthy of London's Year 2000 celebration. It was time to get crackin'. Praeghed knew in his heart of hearts, or lack thereof, that now was the moment.
A Seven-Eleven or a Food Lion, any 24-hour facility with ready cash and fluorescent lighting would do. It was damn hard for a prehensile tail to reach the clutch. Coasting into Vondra's Bar and Laundry, Praeghed figured he could get a quick fix of fluorine, just enough calm the nausea and get the chutzpah up. Slithering up the wall was easy,Praeghed sucked the precious gas until he felt heady. As the laundry gradually dimmed, he knew it was time....time to do the dastardly deed and finally put an end to Shirley's malfesance. Resolved to impregnate himself and give birth to thousands of slug-like creatures, he calmly crawled into the detergent vending dispenser and began licking his foramen.

From the corner a torch flashed, it was Vondra checking out the lighting failure. Having pulled one too many martinis out of her beehive she collapsed on the folding table. The only thing that would make this New Year's eve night more special, she thought to herself, would be a piece of tail.

David and Shawn were down in the dumps. Not only was their Woody missing, so was their mother, Shirley. Who would do the laundry? As they chomped on a couple of cold pop-tarts, they thumbed through the white pages looking for that dykey broad who used to clean up after them....but neither could remember her name. Too much Purple Owlsley in their youths. Tossing their last lincoln it was decided that the older brother, David would have to go in search of Shirley and a clean pair of flares.
Chaos has come to the final chapter. If no one reads, was it actually written?
As for me, the last author, I will find solace in a bottle and warm myself by the stove. I'm no Plath nor am I a Vachel Lindsay. Lysol or gas? I must find a new muse.
The mass has ended, go in peace.
Has the dry cleaner bag trip already been tried? Bukowski, I presume.

And so, Dear Reader, we begin a new tale. A tale, no doubt, full of adventure, drama, mystery, wit and more than a little sex. What will become of our as yet unnamed protagonist and how will his or her character develop? What far away lands will he/she travel to and how many supporting characters will meander through these paragraphs? Only time will tell. Lot's of time. Lot's of time that was probably better spent doing more productive things. Be grateful, Dear Reader, that these authors have sacrificed their valuable time to entertain you so thoroughly. Let us now sit back and enjoy the Second Book of MOTS as it unfolds before our very eyes.
Ilana was so tired. She could barely keep her eyes open as she pulled out of the employee parking garage behind Cuddlesville Hospital, where she worked as a night-nurse in Urology & Proctology. The circulation of a mysterious, debilitating flu among the staff had necessitated Ilana's working a double shift -- by the time she finally got off, she'd been on her feet for 18 consecutive hours. Poor Mr. Tickles! she thought; so many hours alone, without love and without kitty-treats! Why, I'll bet that little rascal's litterbox is as full as Stimpy's! She yawned, widely and sensuously, imagining the martini awaiting her at home, and that fat ball of fur and felinitude rolling and purring in her lap. One drink; a shower; then bed time...
She yawned a luxuriously deep and satisfying yawn and clicked on the car radio. The soothing sound of Willie Nelson's own rendition of "Night Life" gently wafted from the speakers like the mellow bouquet of a fine Kentucky bourbon of a vintage that qualified it vote.
"...Well the night life
ain't no good life
But it's my life..."
In her mind she was already peeling off her still slightly urea scented nurses uniform (the biggest drawback to her job in the incontinence ward was the inevitable splashing of bodily fluids)and stepping into the misty swirl of her bathroom and the hot hot shower awaiting her and the martini shaker prepared and chilling in the fridge. After 18 freaking hours of work, it was everything that she deserved. Kripes! Dawn to dusk of elderly gents with the veriest last shreds of their meager dignity lost to always too short hospital gowns and inevitably black stocking feet mincing about the ward with tiny carefully considered steps (Musn't jar the innards too much or I'll have another accident...) Eighteen long suffering hours of overweight middle aged men who while they personally haven't seen the source of their Urological problem in decades are always a bit to willing to set it out and display it on the palm of their soft moist hands like some rare treat for her consideration. She had to wince whenever some new aquaintance (inevitably a gay male)would let out an adolescent giggle and make some also inevitable comment about the temptation of it all working in the Urology Department. It was with a practiced and withering sigh she could only reply, "It ain't all glamour, Hon..." and leave it there.
Mr. Tickles and Stimpy greeted her at the door of her second floor apartment that overlooked Welsh Avenue in downtown Cuddlesville. It was a modest apartment, sparsely decorated and cheaply furnished. She scooped up Mr. Tickles, who was her favorite, and nuzzled him against her cheek. She cherished the simplicity of her relationship with her cats. An unconditional and uncomplicated love she could never expect from a man. Ilana slipped off her white orthopedic nurse's shoes and carried Mr. Tickles with her to the kitchen. She opened two tins of cat food into two small bowls and placed them on the floor for her feline companions. She poured herself an ice cold vodka martini and dropped in two speared garlic stuffed olives. She settled onto the couch and sipped her liquid attitude adjustment.
Mr. Tickles jumped onto Ilana's lap just as she tossed back the last of her cocktail.
"That was an exceptionally fine martini, Mr. Tickles." Ilana said, stroking Mr. Tickles back. "I think I'll have another." she said to Stimpy who was curled up on the ottoman by her feet.
She got up and fixed another martini.She sits down to relax and ponder the days events. How her heart ached for a companion.Thinking how lonely the world can be as she stroked Mr.Tickles. She felt a deep sadness from within. Just as she took the last drink of martini, the phone rang.
"Hello?" she said, quietly and confused, unsure who the call might be from.
"hello" a male voice answered, steadied and sure, confident, deep, and careful.
"yes..." Ilana replied, worried, concerned, unsure what she was to say.
"is this Ilana? Ilana who works in Cuddlesville Hospital? Who works in the Urology and Proctology Dept? Ilana who owns two cats, and talks to them? Ilana who is waiting for a love?"
" is..."
Quickly, "oh, okay. Thank you." He says and then hangs up. She stares quizically at her martini, wondering if she had too many that night, then quickly downs the glass and pours another. Could this be tooo muchfor her mind? Was her job closing in on her? Was she sane? Just who WAS that voice? How did he know all that?
Still wondering all these things and more, infintissmal human ponderings that go unanswered in each of us every day, Ilana poured another martini.
She slowly opened her eyes. She realized that she must have fallen asleep at the table. Her cigarette had gone out, fell out of the ashtray and then rolled off of the table. Had she been that drunk? Suddenly it dawned on her,it was Dan who had called last night. How dare he call her? Rubbing it in, she hated her job, her life. What a jerk! She was done with him, so she thought.
She had loved him so much, once upon a time. Then, what happens in almost all true love stories, it had gone wrong. He cheated on me, with that floozy he works with. His personal assistant, how original.
'But I'll get him, someday. She stands up, and pours another martini, knocking it back, decides to move on to something stronger, a little Gentlman Jack she had saved for when she felt low.
A few shots later, a few heavily slurred words flung at her cat, she stumbles to the bedroom.
"I'll...hiccup...get him...even..with..."
And I sly little grin perks up on her cheeks, as a little vomit begins to make its way up her esophagus.
She awoke the next morning feeling very ill. She just had to stop this, that would be the best way to get even with Dan. She had to become a better woman, a better person. She grabbed the phone book and made a few calls, she had set up her first AA meeting. She had made a decision and that was final. She was going to do this if it was the last thing she did.
However, before she could do anything, she heard a CRASH outside. She discovered that it a basket ball-sized meteorite had landed on her only car. But before her eyes the meteorite changed...
into a beautiful and mysterious flower, somewhat like a rose, but with two vine like tentacles rising from the center. As she watched, a bud appeared on the tip of each tentacle, opened, shot out a burst of brilliant golden dust, glittering in the moonlight. As the dust settled, the flower began to wilt, metamorphosing back into the meteroite, then finally melting into an acidic pool, which ate through the remains of here car and disapeared into the soil.
'I definately need to get to those AA meetings.' she thought turned away to go back inside.
After she had gone into her meager home, the glittery dust began to...
Well, I will tell you about the dust. But first, you must understand something about the meteorite.
There was once a Roman landowner named Caius Marcus. Marcus was a selfish man that utilized his wife only for intercourse, plotted and schemed against his neighbours, and showed affection only to his acres of gardens.
On his fiftieth birthday, a meteorite fell of the heavens and obliterated his garden, his cheated neighbours beat him to death, and his wife left him. In that order.
Now, the meteorite was never recovered--it's only through local accounts that anything was known about it. But it was ascribed as to having "a golden tail", "a golden halo", or "made of gold", depending on which translation you use.
Yes, I'm going to tell you about the dust. But what's even more important right now is to talk about Tandy Miles, of Toronto.
Trust me on this one.
Ahh, Tandy Miles, there was a fine lass. She had flaxen hair, more delicate than a misty rainbow. Her eyes burned with a passion deeper than any well. And her lips ran as red as the blood in her veins. Sure was the peak of Darwinian evolution. To loook on her was to know true happiness.
But her life becomes not a story of peace and happiness, bit a miserable parable of horror and terror, such sheer random and catastrophic events, that it makes a truly worthy and apt metaphor for this occasion.
So, she...
knew she was not going to have the best of times when she was awoken at six in the morning by the sound of the builders next door. She'd never even seen the face of her neighbour, but the frequency with which he (or she)had renovations done to the fabric of the house, rattling the walls and sending showers of finely-powdered masonry drifting onto every available surface, indicated that this was either somebody with a lot of disposable income who was just too lazy to move, or somebody with an awful lot of dead bodies to dispose of.
I have come to the conclussion that she, yes she was a mass murderer and had at least a dozen rotting corpses to dispose of. I heard the bloody screams coming from the second story of the large house nextdoor.
...ah, but I was wrong...the screams proved to be nothing more than sudden gusts of wind rounding the corners of the antiquated buildings. A gable here, a broken weathervane there. But such is the imagination on those particular stormy nights when all alone, a fellow longs for the morning noises, the ones that continue to get louder and so irritate him as the day drags to a close.
But back to the Lady--the mystery surrounding her life has begun to take an obsessive turn in MY life. I tell myself that it's the silly musings of a lonely man to constantly wonder about her. Am I becoming a part of that once-loathed sector of society that includes old men, lechers and voyeurs? No, I am genuinely concerned--yes, that's it--concern is good. But then, I do catch myself inventing little vignettes that feature me in the starring role---oh, must I suffer the fate of the old Steppenwolfe, yes, Hesse's self-portrait--hmmm, I wonder.
But, I'll save that thought until I'm faced with more white than grey upon my head.
For now, I must concentrate on reality-- I must seek the truth about her--where it will take me, I don't know--but I feel sure that it will be much more dangerous than my fictitious thoughts. Yes,today I begin...
Oh, but silly me. I forgot the car keys! Somehow I must find some other way of following her to the Club Roque. That's where she dances with just a thong on her private parts. You see, I saw her one day when I was catching my bus, the 302. It goes from Main, takes a left on High Gate, then... well, back to the story.

I saw Lola (yes, that's her name, but I'll explain later) go inside this exclusive club for the artistically inclined. I know it is only for the artistically inclined because the people who go there know everything about Mona Lisa (they say they know the secret of her smile, but they won't tell me because it had cost them a bit inside a dark room). But back to the story, I saw her go inide the Club Roque once when I was on my bus that goes through Main. And I never thought I saw a prettier girl. She had really big eyes that made my heart melt like toffee when you heat it really high, and she had a nice nose too. But someone started singing that "Lola" song with the words "Cherry Cola" in it when she walked in, so I put two and two together and thought her name was Lola. You see, people tend to think that I'm really dumb, but I am really good at addition when it comes to it.
But I digress. As I said, I had forgotten my keys I needed to figure out a way to get to the Club Roque without them. I also didn't have much cash. Only fifty bucks, and I needed that for the cover charge, a drink, and then the rest was for Lola. Hopefully that other guy won't be there. She doesn't like dancing with him, I can see it in those beautiful toffee eyes. But, she does need to make a living, and money from an aging bald guy is just as good as money from me... better when there's more of it.

You know, come to think of it, maybe I won't go straight to the Club. If I can figure out a good way to pick some extra cash before I get there (however I might get there) then I could have Lola all to myself for the whole night. In fact, with some dough she might even remember my name.

Wait... what's my name this week?
Oh well, I guess it doesn't really matter. Just flash some cash, whatever they call me is fine. Someone yells, "Hey Steve!" I'll smile and be Steve, their good buddy. Someone says "How's it going, Bill?" and I'll answer "Fine, Fine. How about you?" the answer everyone wants to hear.
Anyways, I could always check my wallet, if I really need a name. My wallet. With the fifty bucks. My Library card, and my dried up bank card. There's that slip with some phone numbers on it, and some coupons. Probably expired. From where? Fisher's Foods? Giant Eagle?
Doesn't matter. It's the fifty bucks I'm worried about. Right. And Lola. and the fifty bucks. Not the fifty bucks actually. Need some more. More than fifty bucks. That's right gotta get some more money. Money for Lola. Money so she'll remember me. Remember my name.
Gotta get started. Gotta get movin'. No car, so I'll have to be quick about it. I think there's a green line bus stop up about 6 blocks, near the hardware store. Green line, green line. I took the green line once, to a Chinese food place. Good buffet. Big shrimp, dipped in sauce. All that rice, wrapped in line...yeah, the green line. I think that resturant was about two blocks from Club Roque. I remember seeing the flashing sign. I've always loved the glow of neon. Exotic. The flashing, so bright, but never painful to look at, not even right in the center. I guess I'l have to walk to the hardware store. Wish I hadn't forgotten those keys. Wish I had more than fifty bucks. Wish I had my Lola here, right now, all to myself. Well, better step off the stoop, close the door. Can't lock it, though, without the keys. I can still use the puch button lock. No one will try and break in, not tonight. What would they steal? My garage sale lamp? My fuzzy TV? Doesn't even have cable. Too expensive, not worth the money, not for all those lame-brain sitcoms. Money.
Better get moving, always getting hung up on this or that. Over to the hardware store, wait for the green line. Then to my Lola. All to myself. I'll be able to come up with something, some plan, get some quick cash before Club Roque. I'm a smart guy. I'll figure somehting out. Sure.
So anyway, Ilana found herself at the AA meeting. She couldn't remember how she got there and that was probably why she was there. She took a seat in the back of the room and hoped that no one would notice her. She was definately not ready to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and recite "Hi, my name is Ilana and I'm an alcoholic." God! How cliche. She sat in the back of the room, chewing her fingernails and listening to the other alkies go on and on about their problems and thanking God all kinds of things that God had nothing to do with. She really didn't want to be here. Maybe she should be here, based on someone else's daytime tv morals, but she really did not want to be here. She really wanted to meet her friend Lola at the Tiki Lounge across the street. She decided to sneak out.
Well it's true she decided to start drinking in the first place just because she thought that by getting addicted she could start going to the AA meetings and maybe meet someone that would say hi to her. It was only now, after 5 months that she realized that even those boting vulnerable people are at least as concerned with themselves as anyone else. And if they did say hi, it's not because they ment it, it's because it was a socially accepted practice. She thought it was funny: them alcoholics they started drinking as a sign of rebellion against this superficial world, but ended up acting just as superficial as what they were rebeling against! So she left the builing and joined Lola for a couple of drinks!
Soon after Lola bought a couple of shots, she started to feel a little woosy.
After 5 shots lola took her back to her little aparmaent. Later she passed out
She woke up in the late afternoon the next day. She couldnt remember a thing that had happened the night b4. All she could feel was one hell of a hang-over!
So she started out her day, looking for her friends to tell her what the hell happened last night.
Ilana struggled up from the couch she had been sprawled on all night. Immediately she was overcome with a wave of nausea and ran into the adjoining bathroom. Ilana was sick in the sink for a while. Finally recovering her poise somewhat, she splashed water on her pale face and looked around.

Ilana recognised it as Lola's bathroom. Small and immaculately kept, everything was scrubbed shining porcelean white. All the bottles of shampoo and conditioner (and Lola used a lot) were arrayed from largest to smallest, the toothpaste was kept in its exact spot, squeezed from the bottom of the tube.

I used to be like that, thought Ilana, before I became a drunkard! Shortly, under her self berations, she found her self crying in the sink. She looked up at herself.

Stop this useless self pity! she thought.

She got up from the sink and moved back out into Lola's living room. Lola wasn't there, nor could Ilana fing Lola in the living room. She went up to Lola's bedroom door and knocked on it. The door was partly adjar, and under the knocking it swung open. Lola was nowhere to be seen.

Where is she? thought Ilana. Her concern rising, Ilana headed out the door to Lola's apartment and down the stairs to the street below.

Catapulting out onto the noisy street, she ran headlong into a man entering the same door. She raised her eyes from the dark folds of his trenchcoat to apologize, meeting his gaze.

No, it couldn't be, could it? "Dan...?"

"Dan...," he thought. "When, and with whom, have I been Dan?"

He smelled the stale alcohol on her breath, looked into twin pools of pain and hope, and hazarded, "Ilana...?"


Of course, it was her: Night nurse. Cat lover. A bottomless pit of romantic expectations that never would be filled. He understood this well, maybe a little TOO well...

"Long time, no see! What brings you to these parts, Stranger?" she feigned light-heartedly. Then, more pointedly, "Are you a friend of Lola's?"

"I see her at Club Roque," he answered.

" Ha!" she thought, picturing Lola in her butt floss. "That explains the trenchcoat..." But aloud:

"Well, you always WERE one for business relationships, Dan."

"Hey, Steve," yelled a man on the corner.

"Whoops, there's a friend of mine," said Dan. "Good to see you, Ilana." Away he jogged, let off the hook.

"Steve? Jesus!" thought Ilana. "This guy's whole life is a lie, with an occasional f___ inserted, and I was one of the f___s. Speaking of letters, maybe I SHOULD get back to AA."

But no, she had to find Lola first. Where to start looking?

Suddenly, she heard a loud screetching of tires. A scream and a crash. She whirled around. Before her was a scene of devastation. A car had came off the road into the sidewalk and a cafe front. Chairs and tables had been splinted. Several people were on the ground, injured or worse. One of them was Steve, lying motionless on the ground.

The man that had called out to Dan was slightly off to the side of the carnage. But he hadn't escaped unharmed, his leg was visibly broken, and he was dragging himself away.

Out of the window of the driver's seat hung a limp upper body, and a bloody arm. It was Lola.
"My looks like Lola", she said.
But thinking only to herself, "who the hell is Lola?"
" I guess I have amnesia now on top of everything else...fuck this shit, I'm outa here..."
So she went to the nearest bar and got immediately back on the grog.

By 12midnight, she was dead of alcohol poisoning.

It wasn't until 6am that the fat sweaty bartender found her cold body. Thinking better of becomming a necrophile, he rang the paramedics, and by 9:56pm, they'd turned up.

The two paramedics were Martha Featherstreak and George Kollonostome. Martha was a towering, beefy woman, well over six feet. She had short purple dyed hair, and twelve nose rings, as well as an assortment of tattoos. She had a bosom that Dr Livingstone would be proud to be lost in, small blue eyes and a wide mouth.

George was a bit more normal, at least outwardly, with no visible piercings or tattoos. His hair was shortly cut and brown, his nose was the most pominent thing on his face, being large and slightly bulbous. Of course, he did have that mental condition.

They both dawdled onto the scene. Martha was happily licking an icecream, while George was leisurely dragging on a cigarette as they both swaggered in.
George put his smoke out in an ashtray and bent down to examine the body while Martha flirted with the bartender who was the first man she'd met in months who was bigger than her. Latter they might go wrestling, George hated it when she acted coy. He stared at the girl on the floor, poked on her skin thinking he could feel the poison in her, feel her pain, her death. Fuck AA he thought her thoughts, fuck life, fuck Ted and his blonde bimbos, and fuck mother with her rich asswhole husband who snuck into her room to rape her when she was eight. George started to cry.
"Stop touching her." Martha looked down. Oh shit, she thought, and reached down and slapped George's hand off the body. "Stop it kid, you know how you get." She saw he'd been crying and sighed. "Just go get the damn streacther."
He looked at her with those big eyes and said "I can see, I can see how she felt, and what she wanted, and who she was. I can see it for all of them, after there're dead."
Martha Featherstreak and George Kollonostome where always called in after someone had died.
It was something about the corpse that aroused in George a state of mind that had been absent since the accident. A pleasure: to look upon this wretched thing and feel for her more love than he ever could for the living. God, how he yearned to hold her lifeless body in his arms and fondle the cold, bluing flesh..but no, Martha would see. He must return to the graveyard tonight as usual and dig up those rotting, inferior bodies - the thought was exciting him - to feel that death envelope him - oh god -
Deeply embarassed, George turned away to hide his limited but obvious erection. To make love to this would be like attaining nirvana to him. He had to get rid of Martha. The surgical sealed blade at her throat sufficed for the deed..and now i have two of them he thought gladly. He stripped the first was just showing signs of rigor mortis..the body stiff as his penis..he opened her legs to reveal the shaven ripeness of her dead flange, but before he could plunge his member in, he came in his pants. He had let down even a dead woman. But oh god did it feel good.
George was awakened from his day-wet-dream by a sharp hit to the back of the head. "Ow," he said, turning to see who did it.

It was Martha, standing there angrily. "Get that body in the cart," she said with a lot of frustration in her voice.

While grumbling under his breath George rolled the body onto the stretcher and wheeled it out the door. He moved awkwardly, the stickiness in his pants feeling a little funny (if not strange to him).

Martha followed shortly, having collected the phone number of the bar tender, and together they sped off to the hospital so some doctor could proclaim the body deceased.
But you know the funny thing was, he turned to open the suv door and when he turned back, the body and martha were vanished. He stood there much like a smok-stunned bee wishing with all his being that he was at home watching Judge Judy.

The sun rose as if on a spring and George found out that he wasn't even in Phoenix anymore, he was in a small Alaskan village dressed in furs and skins about to set out on his first coming of age walrus kill. He certainly didn't feel of age now.

What was happening to his mind? Did he even have one? "Bukou fanleigh voco voco, nespat" the old man uttered impatiently and motioned to the skinniest damn boat George had ever seen. He wants me to get in that? But the old guy insisted so he got in. Suddenly, the entire village gave a great heave and George was off afloat with his fur clothes and a rusty but very sharp spear and a bag of blubber for lunch. "Oh boy" he thought......
"I shouldn't have eaten that leftover Caesar salad for breakfast!"
George realized his concern about the Caesar salad was moot and stupid as he looked at the brown bag, soaked with grease, that held the muktuk. He didn't even want to think about the havoc 100% whale fat would wreak on his gastrointestinal tract. Had his marine voyage been to some degree predictable, he might have had the foresight to bring some loperamide or lomotil.
Of course, had he brought the loperamide or the lomotil he wouldn't have had any room for the whale fat, and George would then not be in this predicament.
Staring down at his swollen fingertips, George wondered if he had arrived just a few minutes late for the LAN party of Perpetual Maleficence.

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