Thursday, February 28, 2008


Mischa and Rupert ventured into the haunted forest with much trepidation. It was dark and dank, tenebrous and gloomy; none of the trees had any leaves, yet somehow, no sunlight could penetrate the upper canopy. Instead of birds, bats fluttered about; the woodland creatures were indistinguishable from one another, because it was impossible to get a good look at them – they all appeared to be no more than sets of malevolent red eyes.

“Boy, this forest sure is haunted, Comrade,” said Mischa. “I cannot remember the last time I was this frightened! I sure hope nothing bad happens.”

Nothing bad did happen though, and they passed through the forest without incident, arriving at the rentsy faux-volcano more quickly than they would have had they not taken the forest route, as per Rupert’s prediction.

“See Mischa, I told you it’d be okay,” said Rupert. “When it comes to things like this, you should just listen to me from now on. I’m obviously better at making plans than you are. I’m stronger too. And more attractive.”

Rupert went on for another five minutes or so as the two descended the spiral staircase. They reached the end and searched around for the door, which they had some trouble finding despite their knowing where to look.

“You two sure got here fast,” said Dr. Awesome, “for people who aren’t awesome. You have my money, I presume?”

“We certainly do, Comrade!” said Mischa. “This should be more than sufficient to pay for 99 clones of one of us.”

“Awesome,” said the good doctor. “It’ll take me approximately one second to make all the clones. I just need to know which one of you wants to be the model.”

“Well, Rupert is probably the better fighter, so I think we should clone him,” said Mischa. “We are going into a battle, after all.”

“I think Mischa’s more expendable, so we should probably clone him,” said Rupert. “We are going into a battle, after all.”

“Well this is a dilemma that won’t be resolved by you two,” said Dr. Awesome. “No, the only way to solve this problem is for me to be the model. 99 copies of Dr. Awesome, coming right up!”
Dr. Awesome retired to his private cloning room, cheerfully leafing through the innumerable bills Mischa had handed him. One second later, he marched out, followed by Dr. Awesome, and Dr. Awesome, and…well, 99 more Drs. Awesome.

“I have never seen so many copies of one person before!” exclaimed Mischa. “Thank you, Dr. Awesome. You have truly done us a great service. Now I am certain that I will win the battle for Cyprus.”

“You’re welcome!” replied all the doctors in unison.

The original then stepped forward, looking only slightly more awesome than the other 99. He put one hand on Mischa’s shoulder, then another on Rupert’s. He didn’t look at either one directly, instead staring straight between them.

“You two had better win. These are the most awesome clones ever made. If they fail, I’ll know it’s entirely your fault,” he said. “Now get the hell out of here! It’s time for me to find a new assistant. I have a feeling that moron Ted has met with an unfortunate accident. And by unfortunate, I mean awesome. For me. Not him though, he wasn’t awesome at all.”

Shaking his head, the doctor left. Mischa and Rupert stood there for a while, just admiring their 99 Dr. Awesome clones. Feeling very satisfied, they then proceeded to leave the island.

The plane they’d commandeered was still sitting there, untouched, and who should be waiting outside but Captain Arousing, looking more arousing than ever.

“I wondered where he’d gone,” said Rupert. “Hey, Mischa, I think it’s time we test these clones out. Clone 56! Kill Captain Arousing!”

One of the clones leapt forward with blinding speed and, with one punch, decapitated Captain Arousing. Mischa and Rupert looked at each other excitedly for a second and could find only one word to express their feelings:


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Shamus, John and Bill sat in a circle on a set of luxurious chairs in John’s throne room. John was listening intently to Shamus, while Bill was engrossed with a rubix cube, one side of which he’d almost managed to complete. Well, not really. He loved the purple cushions though; they were divinely comfortable.

“So Josiah’s been in a coma all this time?” asked John. “That’s incredible! This means he hasn’t had a chance to carry out his evil plan, and I can keep searching without worrying about wasting time! We really owe you one, Shamus.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it, laddie. After all, we’re workin’ toward the same goal, aren’t we?” said Shamus. “I was just doin’ me job.”

“But now that I think about it, why didn’t you kill him?” asked John. “I mean, you obviously had the upper hand in there, and I saw you take out two dozen armed marines once. You didn’t have to stop at knocking him unconscious for a year.”

“I was pretty drunk,” said Shamus. “I’m sure I had my reasons. I do some of my best thinking drunk, you know. Well, not really; that’s a blatant lie, that is. But trust me! It works out well this way. Now he’ll wake up in time to start that battle of yours –”

“ – Without having made any progress at all with his actual plans,” concluded John. “Then this really is the perfect solution. I’ll finish gathering my army, show up at the battle and win it. Then Cyprus will be mine!”

“About that, laddie…” began Shamus.

“What?” said John coldly.

“You do realize she’s workin’ for Josiah, right?” said Shamus. “I’ve a fair feeling she’ll betray you as soon as you marry her.”

“Oh, I’ve taken that into consideration,” said John. “That’s why I plan on killing Josiah as soon as I win the battle.”

“Won’t he have planned for that?” asked Shamus.

“Probably, but I’ll outsmart him, because I’m a genius!” proclaimed John. “He thinks he’ll use this battle to eliminate me and Mischa, but he’s walking right into my trap that I haven’t made yet. But I’ll make it. Oh, I’ll make it. And it will be brilliant!”

“Hey laddie, want me to fight on your team?” asked Shamus. “I am the greatest fighter on the planet, you know. I’m sure I could help ya.”

“That would be a good idea, Shamus,” said John, “but I don’t think so. Seeing you on my team will confirm in Josiah’s mind the fact that I’m still working against him. Now he thinks I’m just infatuated with Cyprus, that I’ve forgotten all about thwarting him – it’s imperative that he continue to think this.”

“You make a good point, laddie,” said Shamus. “I’ll stay away then. But if you need help, just blow on this whistle and I’ll be there!”

“You can hear this from anywhere on the planet?” asked John, amazed. “This is quite a whistle! Where’d you get it?”

“A box of Lucky Charms,” replied Shamus.

“I love that cereal!” said John.

“Yes, they remind me of home!” agreed Shamus. “I ate these all the time in Japan. Well, I’ll be seein’ ya!”

He stood up, extended an arm and flew away, leaving the whistle to John and a gaping hole in the palace roof. Heroic music started playing, but where it was coming from, nobody knew.

“Come on Bill, let’s go down to the feast. I’m sure it’s ready by now,” said John.

“Yeah! I’m real hungry. I remember one time I was so hungry I ate a whole horse! Well it was actually only a hamburger, but they both start with h! And I didn’t even really finish it, cause it was too big. I mean, I wasn’t THAT hungry.”

“On second thought, I’ll go down and eat and you’ll stay here and fix the roof. I’m not going to feed you today. There’s a ladder in that supply closet.”

“But I’m afraid of heights!” protested Bill.


Sunday, February 24, 2008


“It looks like I’ve got you right where I want you,” said the old man, pointing his gun alternatively at Mischa and Rupert. “You must’ve thought you’d have an easy time robbing me, what with my being old and all. How wrong you were!”

“Please Comrade, we just wanted money so that we could clone ourselves!” supplicated Mischa. “We didn’t mean you any harm.”

“If you didn’t mean me any harm, why did you beat me up?” demanded the man. “You could’ve just asked for the money, you know, instead of pummeling a poor, defenseless old man.”

“Would you have given it to us if we had just asked you?” asked Mischa, surprised.

“Of course not, I would’ve sicced my lions on you,” replied the man. “Oh, I know what you’re thinking: ‘lions?’ Yes, lions! I’m rich, so I can afford them. They’re much better than dogs. Infinitely more leonine, which is a word that means having to do with lions. Clever, no? Now, what was I talking about again?”

“You were just about to give us more money, to make clones of ourselves,” said Rupert, “and let us walk out with that and the money we already found.”

“Oh, really? That doesn’t sound like something I’d do, but I’ll take your word for it,” said the old man, throwing a wallet stuffed with money at Rupert.

Rupert caught it, being a great athlete, and he and Mischa turned around ready to leave, when all of a sudden, they noticed that there was a lion blocking their path. It looked angry.

“I have never seen a lion so angry!” shouted Mischa fearfully. “And I have seen many an angry lion, Comrade!”

“I have too, Mischa, but I’ve seen lions much madder than this one” said Rupert. “Don’t worry, I know how to deal with angry lions. All I need is my trusty – ah, crap, I didn’t bring it. We’re screwed.”

But then down from the ceiling fell Ted, the receptionist from Dr. Awesome’s office! He had been hanging from a chandelier the whole time.

“Dr. Awesome told me to let myself get eaten by the lion to help you two escape,” he said. “He said I wouldn’t die though. I didn’t believe him, but then he said some stuff about being awesome, and I dunno…it was pretty convincing.”

Unfortunately, Ted was merely learning first-hand how Dr. Awesome fired his receptionists.

“Well Comrade, I guess we should escape now,” said Mischa, several minutes later.

“Good idea, Mischa. Good idea.”

The two men ran as quickly as they could, past the sated lion and out the door, safe and – more importantly – with all the money they needed. Beautiful, beautiful money.

“That was a pretty successful venture, Comrade,” noted Mischa. “And best of all, nobody important got hurt! Now, let us return to Dr. Awesome.”

“We’re running out of time though,” said Rupert. “We have less than an hour left, and we won’t make it if we go back the same way we came. I think we should take a shortcut through this haunted forest.”

“Are you sure, Comrade? That seems a little unnecessarily dangerous, if you ask me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, did you think I was asking for your opinion? Because I wasn’t. I don’t value your input,” said Rupert. “Now come on – do you want that clone army or not?”

“Of course I do!” said Mischa. “But I think putting our lives in jeopardy again just to cut ten minutes off our walk is a little stupid.”

“That’s Commie talk, Mischa. You’re not a Communist, are you?” pressed Rupert, taking out his bowie knife. “You know what happens if you are…”

“To the forest!”

Friday, February 22, 2008


John, Bill and Jeannine were skipping back to the castle. They were all in high spirits, having defeated both Wendel and his mother, and the fact that they were on their way to collect 50 men for the battle only added to their happiness.

“Maybe I’ll get even more for killing his mother!” thought John hopefully as the castle came into sight. “Then I’ll be done my search, and we can spend the extra time preparing.”

Suddenly, however, a cacophonous boom knocked all three of them to the ground as a dazzling flash temporarily rendered them blind. There had been an explosion!

“Did you guys see that?” asked John, slowly picking himself up.

“Yes. No. Wait, yes! Wait…no,” said Bill, disappointed. “Wait, what did you say? I wasn’t listening.”

“The explosion, Bill! I think it came from about a mile to the left. We should go check it out,” said John. “We can spare a few minutes.”

The three changed their course and set off for where the explosion had occurred. They jogged there, hoping to reach it quickly. After a minute, they realized that the explosion had come from inside a forest; they would have to go through it.

The forest was densely packed with all sorts of vegetation, so when they reached an area with charred tree trunks and burning grass, they knew that this clearing must have been caused by the explosion.

They all looked around, hoping to find the source, when a bright green flicker caught their eyes. It was Shamus!

“Well hello there, laddies! And you, missy” he said, nodding politely to Jeannine. “It’s been a fine while since we’ve met, ain’t it?”

“Shamus!” cried John. “It’s great to see you again! What are you doing here? What’s been going on with Josiah and the NBA? We have a lot to catch up on.”

“We sure do, laddie – sure as shamrocks! All we need now is a place to talk without bein’ overheard,” said Shamus.

“We’re going to the castle now,” said John. “I’m the king, so I should be able to get us some privacy.”

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend, John?” asked Jeannine.

“No, you’re just not important,” replied John. “You remember Bill though, don’t you, Shamus? He brought down that helicopter by pointing at it?”

“Of course, laddie! Now, let’s get to that castle.”

Shamus, John, Bill, and a very angry Jeannine set off for John’s palace once more.
“So what was that explosion just now?” asked John. “I’m assuming you were behind it in some capacity.”

“Ay, I was, laddie. I flew here pretty fast and didn’t have much time to slow down, so when I
landed, I did a fair amount of damage, I did!”

“You flew here? I didn’t see a plane or anything,” said Jeannine.

“Right, I flew by meself.”

“You…you can fly?” asked John. “How?”

“Why, all Asians can fly, of course!"


"Now let’s not be sayin’ anything more till we get to your castle!”

They walked on in silence, and it was very boring. In fact, it was probably the most boring thing to have happened since that fateful day John opened the letter to Newsweek. He reflected on how turbulent his life had become as he continued walking, but that actually made him long for some excitement, which ended up only increasing his boredom.

Finally, they reached the castle. The doors were already open, and Pompetus stood there to greet them, straining to look relieved.

“King John! You’ve returned!” said Pompetus brightly. “And I see you’re still alive, thereby retaining control of the crown and preventing me, Pompetus, your loyal servant, from taking it. What…good news!”

“Yes, thank you, Pompetus. This is Shamus,” said John, pointing to Shamus. “He’s with me. Now we’re going to go to my throne room and discuss the present situation. I’ll be leaving tomorrow. Ready my 50 men.”

“Certainly, my Lord,” said Pompetus, scowling cheerfully.

“And prepare a feast. I could go for a nice feast right about now,” continued John.

“But of course,” replied Pompetus.

“Excellent. Jeannine, help the cooks with dinner. Bill, Shamus? Come with me.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Mischa and Rupert left Dr. Awesome’s stem cell research clinic in a hurry and set off for the other side of the island, where they hoped to find the man who allegedly had enough money to be worth robbing.

“You have robbed people before, right, Comrade?” inquired Mischa.

“Of course I have. I’m robbing you right now!” said Rupert, stealing Mischa’s empty wallet. “Walk faster! We don’t have all day, you know.”

“Right. Because we have three days!” said Mischa.

“No, we only have one day. Didn’t you hear Dr. Awesome’s last sentence? It was awesome!” snapped Rupert.

“Oh, right. I am sorry, Comrade. All of that running must have damaged my brain, or something,” explained Mischa.

The two increased their pace and finally stumbled across a gigantic mansion. An insurmountable stone wall surrounded the property, and the only way in was through a wrought iron gate, which was bolted shut.

Marble pillars formed a walkway from the gate to the front door, which was also made of marble, so presumably it would be extremely difficult to open – which was just as well, as the man who lived in the mansion neither left its confines nor let people inside, being a bitter, resentful misanthrope.

Mischa rang the bell, and much to his surprise, a reply came almost immediately.

It was a gruff, peevish voice that came through the speaker: “What do you want? I hate everyone.”

“We are going to rob you,” said Mischa. “Could you let us in, please?”

“Dammit Mischa, could you be any less competent? Let me handle this,” said Rupert, pushing Mischa out of the way and moving up to the speaker. “Hello sir, we’re selling girl scout cookies. Would you like to buy some?”

“Oh, yes. I love girl scout cookies! Come on in!” said the voice.

The gate slowly opened – very slowly. Mischa and Rupert actually considered leaving because it was taking so long. But they waited.

They squeezed through when there was a gap big enough to fit them and approached the main entrance, where they waited for the marble door to open. It didn’t.

Mischa knocked, grievously injuring his hand; then Rupert knocked, punching a hole straight through the door, which then opened somehow. The old man was standing right there, clearly having been expecting them.

“I’d like three boxes of those thin mints; they’re delicious!” he said. “And do you still have those caramel ones? Oh, those are good. Those are real good. Hey, hang on a minute…you don’t look like girl scouts! Girl scouts are little girls, not grown men!”

“He is onto us, Comrade. Get him!” shouted Mischa.

Mischa and Rupert tackled the man and started punching him. He didn’t fight back, instead berating himself for having fired all his security guards that morning.

“I think he is unconscious, Comrade. Let us take his money,” said Mischa.

“There’s just one problem, Mischa,” noted Rupert. “We don’t know where it is. We’ll have to split up and search the mansion.”

They split up and searched the mansion, finding lots and lots of money.

“Well done, Comrade,” said Mischa. “Now let us return to Dr. Awesome’s stem cell research clinic, so that he can clone us!”

“Not so fast!” said the voice of the old man, who had regained consciousness and was blocking their exit path. “You’re not going anywhere!”

“Oh? And how do you propose to stop us, old man?” asked Mischa, moving forward threateningly.

“With this gun I'm holding.”


Monday, February 18, 2008


John, Bill and Jeannine were searching frantically for Wendel’s escaped mother. John, having grown up in Denmark, was familiar with the area, so he led the way. Of course, he would’ve led the way anyway, being the leader; but, you know.

The real problem was that, as usual, they had absolutely no idea where to look. They searched through jungles; they searched through swamps; they searched through deserts – all to no avail.

Suddenly, as the three traipsed through a random parking lot, Jeannine got an idea.

“Maybe we should check her house,” she said. “For all we know, she went back there to prepare a defense or something. That’s what I would do, anyway.”

“That would be a good idea, Jeannine – if I had thought of it. Coming from you…eh. But we’ll check it out anyway, just for the hell of it. Come on!” said John, leading them back to the vile lake.

This time they all dived in and swam down to the bottom at top speed (which wasn’t very fast, since none of them were particularly good swimmers).

When they reached the bottom, Jeannine’s hunch was confirmed. Sure enough, the lights were all on in the house of Wendel’s mother. Signaling for everyone to move in, John swam to the door and opened it, without knocking. Bill and Jeannine swam in close behind.

John walked slowly forward, aware that the woman could be anywhere, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. He saw the tray of cookies from earlier still lying on the ground, uneaten.

“All right, Wendel’s mother, you eluded us for a couple of hours, but now the game is up. Show yourself and come quietly, or I’ll kill you right here,” said John.

“I’d like to see you try!” said Wendel’s mother, running out of the kitchen with a gigantic butcher knife.

She leapt upon John and the two proceeded to struggle. After a while, she gained the upper hand, stabbing John in the chest. Jeannine shrieked in terror; Bill was busy trying to catch his own shadow.

“Ha!” laughed John. “Luckily for me, I put on my mithril armor this morning. Not even the sharpest knife can pierce through it. But I’ll bet this knife can pierce through you.”

And with that, John wrested the knife from Wendel’s mother’s grip; and he sliced her head from her body in one clean blow. Thus defeated, the wench’s body vanished, fading out of existence.

“That’s odd,” said John.

“You sure showed her who’s the mailman!” said Bill.


“Well done, John! I knew you could win,” lauded Jeannine, nearly bursting with relief. “Now, I think we should be getting back up to the castle. You need to collect those soldiers for your battle…for Cyprus.”

“Ah yes! Cyprus! She sure is beautiful, isn’t she, Jeannine? I mean, wow. There’s no woman in the world I’d rather marry than Cyprus,” said John.

Jeannine looked upset and slowly started back toward the door. John remained lost in his fantasies for a few minutes, but miraculously, he did eventually notice the plight of his companion.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Oh, it’s –”

“Wait, never mind. I don’t care. Back to the castle!”

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Dr. Awesome led Mischa and Rupert to the stem cell research clinic. There was a staircase beginning at the top of the volcano that formed a winding pathway down its interior. Mischa was apprehensive when they reached the lava, but Dr. Awesome kept on walking. It turned out that it wasn’t lava at all, just orange juice; and the volcano was completely fake.

“That explains why it didn’t taste like lava!” Mischa remarked.

They continued down the staircase, wading deeper and deeper into the orange juice, when Dr. Awesome stopped. Before them was a door, practically invisible to anyone who didn’t know it was there. The doctor winked, and the door opened automatically.

Mischa and Rupert followed Dr. Awesome into the waiting room of a very professional-looking office. A receptionist sat at a clean, metal desk, above which was a sign that read “Volcano Stem Cell Research Clinic.”

“This is definitely the place, Comrade!” said Mischa.

“Hey you, stop talking,” said Dr. Awesome. “Your voice isn’t nearly awesome enough. Now you two wait here with the receptionist while I go look at myself in the mirror for a while. Then we’ll get down to business.”

Mischa and Rupert stood around in the waiting area awkwardly. The receptionist didn’t introduce herself or, indeed, say anything at all. He just stared into space, apparently looking for something that nobody else could see.

“Hello?” tried Mischa. “Mrs. Receptionist? Are you…awake?”

There was no answer.

“I think that’s a man, Mischa, and I think he’s insane,” offered Rupert. “The ‘Receptionist Is Insane: Do Not Provoke’ sign is a pretty good clue. I hope Dr. Awesome gets back soon; he’s really starting to creep me out.”

“All right, I’m back,” said Dr. Awesome, walking back into the room. “I see you’ve noticed our receptionist, Ted. We got him from a mental institution. I don’t know why.”

“Ah, I see. I notice you are saying we, Comrade. Is there another doctor here as well?” asked Mischa, curious.

“No, I’m just so awesome that I sometimes need to refer to myself in the plural,” explained Dr. Awesome, who upon seeing the look on Mischa’s face added, “We aren’t joking.”

“Oh, I see. Well, we have come to –”

“I know why you’re here, Mischa. And you too, Rupert. Yes, I know everything; I’m just that awesome. You two want me to clone you into an army, right?” asked Dr. Awesome.

“That’s right,” replied Rupert. “Can you do it?”

“Of course I can. I’m awesome!” answered Dr. Awesome. “But it isn’t free. No, I’m going to need money. Well, I don’t need it; I mean, I am awesome enough to subsist without it. But I like it. And so I want it. And I just so happen to know that neither of you has anywhere near enough to pay me.”

Mischa’s happiness, which had been welling like a balloon for the past few minutes, was instantly punctured. Cloning was his last hope; now he had no way to get another 99 men for the battle. Cyprus was lost to him forever.

“Fortunately for you, there’s a really rich old guy living on the other side of this island. You could rob him to get the money,” suggested Dr. Awesome. “I’ll give you three days. And by three days, I mean one day. Go!”

Mischa and Rupert jumped up and dashed out of Dr. Awesome’s office and back up the volcano staircase, their next move clear: to rob an old man.

“Do you think that we can do this in one day, Comrade?” asked Mischa, panting.

“Under normal circumstances, no; but I think a little awesomeness from Dr. Awesome rubbed off on us. Let’s do this, Mischa.”

Thursday, February 14, 2008


John dived into the vile lake. It was really, really vile. I mean, you may think you’ve seen a vile lake before, but trust me, no lake could compare to this one in terms of pure vileness. It’s way off the Vile Scale, and that’s a very comprehensive scale.

Anyway, John sank down for a while, remembering that Wendel’s mother was said to live at the very bottom. Unfortunately, this took a long time, as the lake was almost as deep as it was vile. And it was extremely vile.

When he finally reached the bottom, he saw a lovely, suburban-style house: white picket fence, brick chimney, lawn ornaments – everything!

How strange, John thought to himself. I didn’t think they built houses underwater. In fact, I know they don’t build houses underwater. Something’s horribly wrong here. A man less smart than I would probably need to be cautious.

Putting his reservations aside, John deduced that this was almost certainly where the fiend’s mother took up residence. Bracing himself, he swam forward and knocked on the door, waiting for a response.

The door swung open, and sure enough, Wendel’s mother was standing there. Her countenance bore the unmistakable signs of fury, but she gestured for John to enter. He did, wondering for a moment why water wasn’t flowing in through the open door, which the woman then shut.

“What are you doing here, you murderer?” she demanded. “I was just baking cookies. Cookies…they were Wendel’s favorite!”

She began sobbing, falling to the floor in grief. John rolled his eyes and sighed impatiently; he had urgent business to attend to and needed to hurry.

“Listen, I don’t have time to play games. Oh, except Scrabble. There’s always time for Scrabble. But anyway, I’m here because I don’t really want to be sued right now. Sorry, but you’ll just have to drop the suit,” said John.

“You can’t tell me what to do! This is America, and I have the right to –”

“Correction: you have NO rights. This isn’t America, we’re in Denmark,” said John. “Moreover, I’m the king, so I can do whatever I want. In fact, I think I’m going to have you executed. Guards!”

John snapped his fingers, evidently waiting for some guards to show up. Of course, as he’d gone down into the lake alone, nobody came. Wendel’s mother raised an eyebrow. John scowled.

“Hmm, I guess I’ll have to use my incredible intellect to outwit you,” he said. “Follow me, wench, so I can have you executed!”

“All right then,” said Wendel’s mother. “But are you sure you don’t want a cookie first? They’re chocolate chip.”

She held out a plate of the now-finished cookies she’d been baking. John looked at them cautiously, remembering the Blizzard’s attempt to poison him, Bill, and Mischa back in Antarctica. He laughed.

“Yes, I’m sure. I don’t like poison!” he spat. “Well, actually, I do like poison – very useful stuff, for assassinations and such. But I don’t like eating it, that’s for sure. Anyway, follow me.”
She cursed, and John knew he’d made the right decision. She followed John out of the house and together they swam back to the surface. When they got there, Bill and Jeannine were waiting.

“Jeannine, get some handcuffs on her. We’re going to bring this witch back to my palace so she can be executed for trying to sue me,” said John.

“Isn’t that a bit harsh, John?” asked Jeannine.

“No it isn’t,” said John. “Hurry up, cuff her before she escapes.”

“But I don’t have any handcuffs,” protested Jeannine. “You never told me to bring any, you know. What, did you just assume I’d have a pair of handcuffs on me?”

“Obviously. Anyway, fine, I guess we’ll have to make some. Bill! Take that rock over there and turn it into handcuffs,” ordered John.

“Sure thing, John!”

Bill ran over to the rock to which John had pointed and, using his alchemy skills, transformed it into a pair of shining silver handcuffs.

“Here you go! Oh, whoops, I’ve got myself trapped in them. Don’t worry though, I know how to get myself out,” said Bill.

He struggled for almost ten minutes before realizing he didn’t know how to get himself out at all.

“Oh, I guess I don’t,” said Bill, grinning cluelessly.

“Bill,” said John, “if you were any stupider, you’d – oh crap! Wendel’s mother escaped. I knew this would happen. Come on, we need to go look for her.”

“For who?” asked Bill.

“Whom! For whom!”

“Oh, okay! Who’s Whom?”

“I’m going to kill you.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Mischa landed the plane at the remarkably convenient airport, and he and Rupert exited, leaving Captain Arousing aboard.

As soon as they stepped outside, they were hit with a blast of humidity. It was excruciatingly hot on the island, something which troubled Mischa greatly.

“I did not think it would be so hot in South America, Comrade,” he said. “I wish I hadn’t brought these heavy jackets.”

“Why don’t you just take them off?” asked Rupert.

“Oh no, I can’t do that.”

Rupert shook his head and started walking, but Mischa wasn’t moving. Rupert stopped too, then turned to stare at Mischa impatiently.

“Are you coming?”

“Just a minute, Comrade. I am trying to remember the title of a song I once heard.”

The two stood there for a good five minutes, until Mischa finally remembered. He smiled, then walked over to Rupert.

“Okay Comrade, we must go toward that volcano. But maybe we should wait until it stops erupting; I hear lava can be quite painful if you touch it!” cautioned Mischa.

“Nonsense!” rebuked Rupert. “A little lava never hurt anyone. Let’s go!”

Rupert and Mischa set off in the direction of the volcano. Mischa was nervous, not knowing what to expect, until he remembered his plan for getting inside. He figured now was as good a time as any to tell Rupert.

“I just realized I never told you my plan, Comrade,” said Mischa.

“Yeah, I know. I was gonna ask you, but I don’t like talking to you,” said Rupert. “Anyway, what is it?”

“Well, I am simply going to use my freeze ray to freeze the lava!” said Mischa. “That way, we won’t be burned when we try to get to the stem cell research clinic.”

“That’s a great idea, Mischa,” said Captain Arousing, who had been following them. “Speaking of great ideas, I have one of my own. It involves you, me, a mouse, and lots of whipped cream.”

Rupert’s eyebrows rose in alarm, and Mischa started backing away slowly. Evidently, they’d mistakenly assumed Captain Arousing was coming onto them. Really though, he just wanted to bake one of his famous mouse-and-whipped-cream pies.

Then use it to seduce Mischa.

“What’s wrong, fellas?” asked Captain Arousing.

Mischa and Rupert took this as a cue to run off as quickly as possible. Captain Arousing stood contemplating the situation for a moment.

“I’ll follow them. I’m like that,” he said, chasing after them.

Less than a minute later, they all reached the volcano, which was just finishing erupting. Mischa had been using his freeze ray to clear a path to the volcano, and he held it aloft as they began to scale it.

“Where’d you get a freeze ray, anyway?” asked Rupert.

“Garage sale.”

It was an arduous climb, and it took at least three hours for them to reach the peak. When they did, they peered down into the fiery abyss below. Rupert checked behind him to see that Captain Arousing was still there. He told Mischa.

After briefly considering pushing Captain Arousing in, Mischa raised his freeze ray and prepared to fire, when all of a sudden, someone grabbed him harshly by the shoulder.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” said the man, shaking Mischa roughly and causing him to drop the freeze ray.

“Ow! Get off of me, Captain Arousing. I am trying to clear a path into the volcano, because we need to visit the stem cell research clinic!” explained Mischa. “Now please, let me go. I have a very low pain threshold.”

“I ain’t Captain Arousing, you stupid little whiner-baby! You really thought the only way to get in was to freeze the lava? Just follow me; I’ll take you to the clinic. Moron.”

“But then, who are you?” inquired Rupert.

“The name’s Awesome: Dr. Awesome.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The sound of the knocks reverberated throughout the room. Everyone’s attention was drawn to the door, but nobody answered it. The knocking continued. At last, John threw back his head in a gesture of confidence and walked over. Hesitantly, he eased the door open, revealing a very angry woman.

“Are you John Morgan?” she demanded immediately.

“Yes, I’m John Morgan. King John Morgan to you,” corrected John. “And I’ll thank you to tell me what the hell you’re doing here. We’re trying to have a party! I just killed a monster, you know.”

“Oh yes, I know all right!” said the woman, her face red with anger. “I know what you did, you awful man! But I’m not here to celebrate. You killed my boy Wendel, and now I’m going to take revenge!”

“Revenge?” said John skeptically. “And how do you plan on doing that? I’m stronger, faster and smarter than you are, probably.”

“I’m going to file a lawsuit so big you won’t even know what hit you!” cried the woman.

“You and your son have a lot in common, like saying things that don’t make any sense. ‘A lawsuit so big I won’t even know what hit me?’” asked John. “Regardless of how big the lawsuit is, I’m pretty sure I’ll always know it’s a lawsuit. I’m not stupid. You really need to work on your threats. Good day. Wait. Scratch that. Bad day.”

He slammed the door and barred it, leaving Wendel’s unfortunate mother alone in the cold. John returned to the feast, and for a time he forgot all about the incursion of Wendel’s mom.

But in the night, she came. She came with lawyers, deceitful, treacherous. She came and she filed suit, and when John awoke the next morning he was most displeased.

“What?! She actually filed the lawsuit? How is that even possible; I’m the king of this stupid country!” yelled John. “I’m going to have a word with this lady. Pompetus, where does she live?”

“At the bottom of a vile lake, my Lord; but I must caution you against –”

“Excellent,” said John. “Come on Bill, Jeannine. We have a lawsuit to avoid. Then we’ll take those men I earned and try to find 50 more before the battle.”

After breakfast, John, Bill and Jeannine left the castle and went searching for the lake. Of course, Pompetus had never gotten a chance to tell them where it was, so they looked for quite a while without finding anything.

Finally, after a lot of tedious searching, they did find a lake, but it was the wrong lake, so they turned back and set off for the castle again, where they got more specific directions from Pompetus.

After Pompetus told them what to look for and where to look for it, they left once more. After about an hour they stumbled across another lake – a vile lake.

“This must be the place,” said Jeannine. “Something doesn’t seem quite right about this, John. I mean, how does she stay alive underwater?”

“I tried to stay alive underwater once,” said Bill. “I was pretending I was a fish. I like fish. Especially salmon. With lemon. I don’t like lemons though; they’re too sour. Oh, but I like Shock Tarts. They’re shocktastic!”

John grabbed Bill and roughly shoved his head underwater. He held it there for a few minutes in a half-hearted attempt to drown his insufferable companion, then gave up and decided to dive in himself.

“Wish me luck!” he called.

Jeannine began, “Good lu –”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” said John curtly. “No, not you either, Bill. I was talking to that tree over there. I care more about what that tree thinks than I do about either of you. Well, down I go!”

Friday, February 8, 2008


“Excuse me, sir, I would like to fly a plane to an island off the coast of South America, please,” said Mischa to the first uniformed person he saw at the airport.

“I’m just a janitor; I don’t have the authority to give planes to people impersonating pilots,” said the man. “Try the security guard.”

“Thank you, Comrade!” replied Mischa.

He ran over to the security guard the janitor had been pointing to, Rupert close behind. Rupert grabbed Mischa by the shoulder right before they reached him.

“You’d better let me do the talking. I’m better at it than you are,” he said.

“Good thinking, Comrade. I will wait beside you quietly,” responded Mischa.

“Sir,” said Rupert to the guard, “my friend and I are impersonating pilots, and we want to fly a plane to an island off the coast of South America. Can you help us?”

“Yeah, sure.”

One hour later, they sat in the cockpit of an airliner, preparing to take it to the remote island containing the volcano in which they’d find the stem cell research clinic they so desperately sought.

But then, about a minute before takeoff, Mischa realized a fatal error in his plan: he didn’t know how to fly a plane. Mischa had just assumed he could fly planes well.

Luckily, it turned out he could. Within a few hours of takeoff, they were well on their way to that nameless island.

“I sure hope that island has an airport,” said Mischa, the thought just having struck him. “If not, we will have nowhere to land!”

“Don’t worry about it,” reassured Rupert. “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s finding airports in places they may or may not exist. Not a skill I use often, but when I do, the results are spectacular.”

“Oh, good,” said Mischa, placated. “Would you like to fly for a while?”


Unbeknownst to the two travelers, this plane had some passengers who weren’t very amenable to the notion of being hijacked. Well, just one. He was actually the only passenger, and he was none other than –

“Captain Arousing! What are you doing here?” demanded Mischa as Captain Arousing burst into the cockpit.

“After you killed me, I swore revenge,” said the captain. “I’ve been following you this whole time, waiting for the opportunity to strike.”

“Oh, I see,” said Mischa. “So…is this that opportunity?”

“No, not yet. Now I’m just saying hey. All right, I’ll be back in the plane if you need me,” said Captain Arousing, turning around.

Suddenly, Rupert interjected, “Wait a minute: if you’re dead, how come you’re so alive? That doesn’t make sense at all!”

“You got that right!” agreed Captain Arousing.

He departed, leaving Mischa and Rupert almost as perplexed as when they first met the talking purple mountain. Not quite though. More hours passed.

“You killed someone?” asked Rupert. “That’s pretty impressive. I never would’ve considered you manly enough to kill somebody. On the other hand, he did come back to life, or something, so you didn’t really do a good job.”

“I did not want to kill him, Comrade. My companions at the time forced me to in order to prove that I was loyal,” answered Mischa. “Ironically enough, they are the ones against whom we will be fighting in that great battle.”

“What was that?” asked Rupert. “I wasn’t paying attention; you never say anything interesting, so I’ve developed a habit of tuning you out whenever you start talking.”

“Oh,” replied Mischa, hurt. “Well I guess it isn’t important then.”

They flew on in silence for a while, Mischa too scared of saying anything to offend his friend, and Rupert too scared of making Mischa think they were really friends. Finally, Rupert spotted something out the window.

“Hey!” he cried. “There’s a volcano!”

“Is it active, Comrade?” inquired Mischa.

“Well, it’s pretty hard to – ah look, it’s erupting! I think that answers your question. Come on, let’s land at that airport I suddenly see.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


John, having defeated Wendel, was immediately declared a great hero among his people, the best king ever to have lived. Within seconds of the monster’s death, a spy behind an arras ran upstairs to tell Pompetus the wonderful news, and presently he came hurrying down with many attendants. Proud Pompetus boldly bade them promptly prepare a fantastic feast to celebrate John’s valiant victory.

“But we ate just a few hours ago,” protested someone whose name isn’t important.

“Your opinion matters even less than your name,” proclaimed Pompetus, kicking him toward the kitchens. Then, turning to John, he said, “Well, my King, you performed quite admirably! Your killing Wendel will doubtless free us from the terror of Wendel.”

“Yes, I know these things already. I’m a genius, remember? I know everything,” said John.

“Of course, of course, my Lord; forgive my insolence. Now, here are those daisies you wanted,” said Pompetus, handing John the potted plants. “I think you’ll find them more than adequate!”

“Oh, I don’t want daisies anymore. I just remembered that I only came here to recruit men for a great battle,” said John. “I need a hundred, because I’m not using Jeannine, what with her being a woman; and I’m not using Bill, because he’s an idiot.”

“No I’m not,” retorted Bill. “My mom says I’m…oh wait, did you say idiot? Never mind.”

Pompetus rudely pushed Bill to the side and shot him a glance of contempt. He took a seat – John’s seat – at the dining table (it had already been moved back) and looked up at his king with a fulsome smile.

“I am sorry, my Lord, but we do not have a hundred men to spare. I will give you what I can, but first, we must enjoy this wonderful feast!” insisted Pompetus.

At that moment, dozens of chefs came out of the kitchen holding platters of marvelous food. Somehow they’d managed to cook it all in under five minutes.

“Would you like to sit next to me, John?” asked Jeannine seductively.

“Are you still here?” asked John. “Make yourself useful and knit something.”

“I love knitting!” exclaimed Bill. “My mom says that I’m the best knitting helper she’s ever had. This one time she was knitting a sweater, and she dropped a pin and asked me to pick it up, and so I was on the floor looking for it and then I pricked myself with it. It hurt.”

They all sat down to eat, although nobody was very hungry. Jeannine kept trying to move closer to John, who kept skirting away. Finally, they finished, and Pompetus stood.

“Attention, Danish brothers. As you probably know, John, our King, just killed the demon Wendel, thereby freeing us from his ghoulish grasp. We therefore pledge to him all that we can spare: twenty of our finest men! And thirty more, who…aren’t quite as good. But what they lack in skill, they almost make up for in spirit!”

“Well, thank you…Pompetus, was it?” said John, wiping his mouth on Bill’s shirtsleeve. “Now, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all, my loyal subjects, for your continued –”

But John was interrupted by three loud knocks on the castle door. Someone was there. Someone was mad.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Mischa and Rupert had wasted another week or so searching for a laboratory where they’d be able to carry out their new plan. The idea of cloning themselves had seemed very good at the time, but it turned out to be a bit harder to get done than either of them had anticipated. After many tedious searches through phone books and the internet, they found what they were looking for on a library computer: a stem cell research clinic.

There was, however, a catch. There’s always a catch. This clinic, unlike most clinics, just so happened to be located in the middle of an active volcano, which created quite a problem, what with the lava.

“I do not think we will be able to get to this clinic, Comrade,” said Mischa sadly. “How would we get into an active volcano? It seems impossible.”

“Simple!” replied Rupert. “With these.”

He held out his hand and – very slowly, to build suspense – opened it, revealing two ordinary-looking metal spheres. Mischa looked at them for a while, then turned back to Rupert, puzzled.

“What are these, Comrade?” asked Mischa. “They appear to be ordinary spheres. I do like spheres, but I fail to see how these could help us.”

“These aren’t just any spheres, Mischa. These are high-powered explosives,” said Rupert, “strong enough to punch a hole through ten feet of solid titanium.”

“Wow, that is impressive! But, how will these help us get into clinic?” questioned Mischa.

“We’ll throw these down into the volcano. The resulting explosion is almost guaranteed to trigger an eruption,” explained Rupert calmly.

“Wouldn’t the eruption just melt the clinic, though?” asked Mischa.

“What? Hm, I suppose it would. I don’t know why I thought that would work. Oh well, I’m fresh out of ideas. Wake me up if you think of something, Mischa” said Rupert, lying down on the library floor.

“Why are you going to sleep, Comrade? It is only 3:00 PM,” asked Mischa.

“I’m well aware.”

And with that, Rupert was asleep, leaving Mischa all alone for the time being. He stood up and started pacing around the library. Pacing always helped him think.

He knew that in order to raise an army, he and Rupert would need to clone themselves. He knew that in order to reach the stem cell research clinic, they would need to get into that active volcano. And he knew that in order to get into the active volcano, they would need a plan.

Unfortunately, he had no idea how to go about making one. Mischa had been trained to follow orders his entire life: first from his parents, then Josiah, then John. But now he was the leader, and he was confused.

“I’ve got it!” he shouted. “I’ll just use my freeze ray! Hey, Rupert, wake up! We have a volcano-located stem cell research clinic to enter!”

Rupert woke up, and the two ran out of the library, stealing as many books as they could carry, for no reason at all. They searched around for planes departing soon, and a mere two days later they set off for the airport.

The volcano containing the clinic was located on a remote island off the coast of South America, so it would be a rather long flight – and expensive. Mischa and Rupert couldn’t afford a ticket, so they had to think of a way to get on that plane.

“Let us pretend that we are pilots, Comrade!” suggested Mischa. “That way, we will be able to get onto the plane without purchasing a ticket.”

“But neither of us knows how to fly a plane, Mischa. Won’t that be a problem?”

“No, it won’t.”

Saturday, February 2, 2008


John lay awake in the dining room of his palace. Bill and Jeannine were with him, along with the castle guards who had so far managed to survive Wendel’s attacks, brave men still loyal to their king. Pompetus had left after the feast, claiming he had laundry to do, wishing John the best of luck and reassuring him that even if he were to die, he could take comfort in the knowledge that Pompetus would be his successor.

The maintenance staff of the palace had cleared out the expansive, expensive dining table, leaving the room completely bare, except for all the people. John wanted nothing to hinder his combat.

Then, when darkness dropped, Wendel went up to the palace, wondering what the warriors would do in that hall when their drinking was done. He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed.

He slowly approached one of the sleeping guards, lifted him with one hand and, with the other, tore the poor man’s head off effortlessly. Blood erupted from the wound, and Wendel drank his fill. Completely satisfied, he growled contentedly and dropped the corpse.

But then he got thirsty again, so he went over to John, who was playing solitaire. Bill kept trying to join in, despite John’s continuing protests.

Although a great way to pass the time, solitaire was a big mistake; as a result of this engrossing game, John failed to notice that Wendel was staring right at him. After a while, Wendel grew irritated with his prey’s indifference; after all, the whole “evil monster” thing was just a cry for attention.

He gave a little cough. John didn’t notice. Scowling, he coughed again, louder, this time stamping his foot concertedly.

“Are you all right?” asked John, nonchalantly glancing up at the foul fiend.

“Yes. But you’re not. Because I’m going to eat you!” cried the monster, lunging forward and making a grab for John.

“Well hang on, there’s a little flaw in your logic there,” said John, nimbly dodging aside. “It really doesn’t make much sense. I mean, you said I’m not all right because you’re going to eat me. Now when you said that, you had yet to eat me, meaning that at the time of your statement, I was all right. A more appropriate response would have been something like ‘Yes. But you won’t be for long, even though you appear to be all right at the moment.’ By changing over to future tense, you not only would have been correct; you also would’ve come across as far more determined and intimidating. And so on and so forth. You see?”

“Oh, well, I suppose you have a point there,” replied the monster. “Thanks, I’ll keep all that in mind. Anyway, now it’s time for you to die!”

“Ah, well I thought it might come to that. Sorry Wendel, but I’m afraid I can’t let you kill me. I’m far too smart to die,” said John.

“If you’re so smart, how come you’re…umm…” started Wendel.

“Yes?” pressed John.

“I’ll think of something! Just give me a minute, will you?” snapped the fiend. “Okay. If you’re so smart, how come I’m killing you right now?!”

Wendel lunged for John again, and John once more dodged to the side. He shook his head, looking down at the monster with sheer disappointment on his face.

“Okay, now, you just did it again!” said John, annoyed. “First of all, your killing me has absolutely nothing to do with my intelligence. And secondly, even if it did, thus far you’ve proven totally incapable of doing so. You’re a very ineffective monster, you know.”

“You think so?” asked Wendel with the utmost sincerity. “Well…do you have any suggestions on how I could, you know, improve?”

“For starters,” said John, “you should stop attacking my kingdom. Really, there are other kingdoms out there. Try France. Nobody likes France.”

“I like –”

“Shut up, Bill. And then, after a few years of plundering and terrorizing, maybe you could drop the monster thing entirely. I remember back when you were just a human, Wendel. That worked out fine for you, didn’t it? You really need to ask yourself, ‘Am I happier now than I was before?’ I’m pretty sure the answer will be no.”

“Your eloquence is impressive. You’ve made some extremely good points; I haven’t questioned myself so much in years. All right, I’ll do it! I’ll give up being a monster!”

And with that, the foul fiend Wendel was defeated, because as he was walking away, John shot him in the back with a rocket launcher.