Chapter 6

You don't generally see superheroes in hospital waiting rooms.

For that matter, you don't generally see sidekicks waiting there either. So naturally, JB was getting more than a bit of attention. The fact that he was dressed like he just walked off of an early 70's TV show that had just discovered color didn't help much either. That would, of course have explained folks simply glancing at him. It didn't explain the nervous stares.

JB was oblivious to it all. His head was back, his eyes were closed and his mind was whirling with the details of what had happened, constantly replaying the events after Chris had been shot. Chris was ok-ish, other than dripping wet from the puddle and winded from the bullet. The police had caught the two punks with weapon still in hand. They had wisely dodged into the back entrance of the Boise Police Departments Off Duty Nite at Big Tony's Indoor firing range.

Chris didn't want to go to the hospital, the bullet didn't make it through the armor. JB saw the flattened shell, along with a large number of shattered plastic panels fall to the ground when Chris attempted to stand up. JB didn't want Chris to take any chances and had driven them both to the hospital for a quick check.

That was one of the benefits of even having a learner's permit with the United Super Heroes Association. You get a really good health plan.

Oh, about the nervous stares? JB was fiddling with something, his tazer. Although slightly larger than a pistol, and having most of its weight in the handle, the grip was basically the same as a .45. Initially JB's idle hands studied the form and feel of the weapon; testing the grips, feeling the trigger, studying the location of the safety. His hand balanced it and learned it's weight and it's form.

What really got the stares going was that after JB's hands had grown accustomed to the item, they started twirling and drawing the tazer in and out of the holster. First backhanded, then forehanded tossing it with accustomed grace and timing. Almost showing off. Even going so far as to toss the tazer into the air, wave at the ten year old sitting across the aisle, catch and holster it in one fluid move.

"You're a very lucky man."

"So I've been told."

Chris' voice brought JB back to his senses. The tazer clattered onto the floor. JB looked at it for a second then quickly grabbed it and slid it clumsily back into it's holster, after turning it the right way. He walked quickly to Chris and the doctor.

"You've got a couple of bruised ribs and a slightly pulled muscle in your lower back. It could have been much, much worse. You're mighty lucky that discount plastic managed to deflect most of the force of that .22 round."

Chris just mumbled.

"Here. This is the name and address of a colleague of mine that deals in active lifestyles like yours."

Chris looked at the offered card, JB took it.

"Thank you Doctor."

The doctor looked at Puppyboy, "Ah, I take it you are his life partner?"

"No." JB responded a bit curtly and then swelled out his chest heroically, "I'm Puppyboy.".

"I see, well, maybe you can do something about his weight and cholesterol. Superheroes, huh? Are you two licensed?"

JB deflated a bit. "Well, no, but we do have our learner's permit."

The doctor looked a bit confused. "They give those out?"

JB deflated even more.

"Well," the doctor continued, "I'll need both of you to sign here. And let's see if you can use those super bullet avoidance skills from now on.."

Chris and JB signed the required forms using their required aliases and headed for the door.

Chris wasn't very happy. "22 my ass. That thing hurt." he grumbled as they waked out.

"And just what the hell were you two doing?"

JB didn't recognize the voice. Chris did. The side of his head hurt again. He turned and looked at the woman from the Department of Super Heroes. She wasn't much taller than she was when sitting down, or for that matter whatever way she happened to be, and she had her fists pressing deep against her hips. In one hand she held her clipboard. Around her shoulder was slung a large black bag that in comparison, she made look rather small.

She was not very happy either.

"Excuse me, do we..", she never let JB finish.

"Didn't you two read the manual? You boys were way the heck out of your league on that call, and you paid the price didn't you? Just who do you think you are?"

Chris responded as curtly, "They beat up an old woman and took her purse. There weren't any cops around. Some Heroes we'd be if we just let that woman get mugged."

"Superheroes?" the Clerk laughed, "since when do you two think you two are superheroes? Listen here Mister Fancy, just because you put on a mask and run around the city don't mean you are a superhero. You two have a learner's permit. That means you're still learning the ropes. You two have enough on your hands to go and chase local hooligans? So that means you've figured out why so many people have gone crazy and started singing show tunes all day and night? No, don't answer, you haven't, have you? I bet you didn't even think about using those fancy stun things you got? No, not you, Mister Superhero and Mister Sidekick! Why would you do something like that when you can case after them like fat escapees from a costume party?"

The verbal assault was relentless. JB kept trying to interrupt and object, but could never get a word in edgewise. By the time she had finished taking whatever wind may have been in their sails, JB was poking his stomach and thinking that he wasn't that fat.

She glared at the two for a few moments. Finally she sighed heavily (as if there were another way that she could sigh) and said, "Look, you two are new at this. There are rules to these types of things. Sure, and you did the right thing by stopping those hooligans, but next time, be smart! Street thugs won't just strap you to a linear accelerator and walk away, they'll shoot you through the head without so much as thinking about it. You know the Blue Paladin, the Chival Crusader? I'll have you know that he'll sneak up and whack the happy tar out of a street punk with the flat end of his sword now adays. Some chivalry, you're thinking? Well he tried to do the right thing and wound up with about as much metal in him as there is outside him. 'Fool me once..'"

She reached into he bag and produced two booklets. "Here you boys go. Read that. It's a quick primer that you might find helpful." JB and Chris looked at the booklets, "Superheroing for Dummies"

"Wow," JB said, "they have one of these for everything. So where do we get…" JB looked up and didn't see the woman. She was gone, an impressive maneuver for someone of her girth.

Chris opened his and read the hand written note inside. All it said was: "Tell Annie you need the works."

It must have been contagious. Well, the bad day thing at least.

The mayor's press secretary was also having a very bad day. "I told you already, the mayor will release a statement once it is properly prepared. We are still in the midst of researching the problem and determining the possible cause and solution. It wouldn't be prudent for us to make some statement now."

He waited until the voice on the other end of the phone had finished. "Yes, I am fully aware of your deadlines, but our advisors are working as fast as they can. I assure you that we will be making an official statement very shortly and that you will be the first station that I call. No, really, you will be. Because the less I have to deal with you the better my day becomes. Good day."

Tom slammed the phone back into its cradle and took off his headset.

He slowly massaged the bridge of his nose and tried to fend off the severe migraine he already had. The last thing he needed was Anne Marie slamming the mayor's door behind him.

"ARGH!" she yelled, "If I hear one more song from The Sound of Music I'm going to rip his throat out!"

Tom continued to rub, possibly a great deal harder than he should. "It's not going well, then?"

"Every time we start making headway and get the Mayor reading the speech, he reads some damn phrase that gets him off onto another frigging song. Tom, I love show tunes. My CD collection is filled with Broadway productions. I can sing every lyric from "Le Miz" in English and French. I'M SICK OF HEARING SHOWTUNES!"

Tom stayed calm. "How much of the speech do we have on tape?"

"Most of it. We're missing about a page and a half in the middle. Tom, we've been at this for eight hours. Can't I take a break and let you do it for a while?"

Tom's phone began to ring again. It was Channel 2 again. He looked at Anne Marie with a steel gaze "Don't tempt me."

Anne Marie sighed. She knew that they had to have something ready before six and it was six thirty already. Her mock enthusiasm was wearing exceptionally thin. "Oh, Mr. Mayor? It's Showtime!"

She opened the heavy doors and got the latest rendition of Our State Fair sung half an octave above the Mayor's range. "Oh, God, why did I say that?"

She winced and got the script ready. 'Just one more page' she kept thinking, 'get him through just one more page…'

You are in Superhero Sidekicks Forum:1 (Savin' the bacon of the big guys and gals)

Logging Boise_Puppyboy into the chat system…You are in Superhero Sidekicks Forum:1

wndr_grrl: lol!

drsnlad: Hey! Welcome PB!

boise_puppyboy: Thanks. I just got on line. What did I miss?

drsnlad: Nothing, nothing at all.

sarahmc: DL was lamenting how he got his tag.

boise_puppyboy: What do you mean? Who's DL, DrsnLad?

drsnlad: o god.

k_colt: he's the Salad Barbarian's sk.

drsnlad: Ok, ok, I'm Dressing Lad. Fighter of crime with my trusty Creamy Condiments of Justice. Lay off.

boise_puppyboy: ;) Man, that just sucks. So why do you put up with it?

sarahmc: Why do any of us put of with it?

sarahmc: we do it because we have to.

drsnlad: SB saved my family from a horde of radioactive rabbits. I owe him big. Even if his brain is mostly broccolli

wndr_grrl: What about you PB? You're new here. What's your story?

boise_puppyboy: I do it because it's kinda fun.

k_colt: Fun? Being beat up every bloody day is fun? You're sick!

boise_puppyboy: well, that and Chris is my brother.

sarahmc: No RL names BP!

boise_Puppyboy: Sorry, I meant the Grayhound.

sarahmc: It's OK, PB, but remember who might be listening.

wndr_grrl: grapevine says you two haven't had a chance to catch your breath. Blowd up and shot and all.

boise_Puppyboy: Well, it was G who got shot, (he's ok, his "armor" took most of it.

k_colt: What about the blowd up part?

boise_Puppyboy: We're ok, got thrown pretty far though.

wndr_grrl: how far?

boise_Puppyboy: far as we can figure, about 500 feet. we landed on a roof.

drsnlad: cool! vulcan or god?

boise_Puppyboy: ??

sarahmc: who made your armor, or are you meta?

boise_Puppyboy: we're not meta, we're pretty normal. I wasn't wearing much more than elbow guards and G had some crap he got second hand.

drsnlad: u r f n lucky!

boise_Puppyboy: that's the weird bit. the stuff protected us from a blast that removed a pier but shattered like glass when G got hit by a .22.

k_colt: a .22? did it have bits of crackerjack still stuck to it?

sarahmc: PB, get yourself some liqui-steel!

boise_Puppyboy: surething, do they sell that at target?

sarahmc: ;)

sarahmc: I'll send you the contact info. It's not cheap, but it takes almost anything.

boise_Puppyboy: Thanks sarah.

k_colt: No, walmart :)

boise_Puppyboy: Say, sarah, how come you're not using your alias?

sarahmc: I'm retired.

wndr_grrl: her SH got religion.

sarahmc: Can't complain. I kinda like him taking that vow of poverty. Left me with the industry.

k_colt: sarah, can I borrow the DynaCycle this weekend? I've got a hot date. ;)

wndr_grrl: don't you usually use helium to fill up your dates? ^_^

drsnlad: Yea but they hate hz spurs.

wndr_grrl: leaves them feelin flat ^_^

k_colt: WG, stop by the stable if you'd like a ride.

boise_Puppyboy: so about this liqui-steel, how pricey is it?

wndr_grrl: Dream on ponyboy.

drsnlad: Expensive enough that u only need 2 buy it 1ce

k_colt: but less expensive than a funeral

boise_Puppyboy: Ah, good logic that I'll use it on G.

boise_Puppyboy: well, nite all. Quick nite tonight, I gotta get to bed. haven't really slept in days.

wndr_grrl: night PB. *hug*

k_colt: thanks WG.

sarahmc: Cool it you two!

sarahmc: PB, I'll send you the contact tonight. check your mail tomorrow.

k_colt: o god, the perv ranger is at it again.

sarahmc: take pictures this time! :)

*Session ends*


Chris awoke to the sounds of heavy typing and various papers being quickly shuffled about. He squinted at the clock beside his mattress. The glowing red digits read 06:15 and knew full well that he wouldn't be getting back to sleep this morning.

For a few minutes he lay there listening to the quiet commotion going on the other side of the wall of cardboard boxes that separated his "room" from the rest of the loft. He shluffed the sheet and blanket off and pulled himself to his feet. His side still hurt and he was quickly reminded of that fact when he stretched.

Chris shuffled out from behind the crates. His eyes squinted against the brighter lights of the main area.

JB was a flurry of activity and still dressed in that goofball outfit. Oddly, he'd hear JB mumble some affirmative as papers were shuffled an notes scratched. 'The little creep must have stayed up all night'

"Good God, JB, Don't you ever take that damn thing off? Man, I do NOT want to think what your underwear looks like. You are wearing underwear, aren't you? "

JB, his back to Chris, ignored him and continued to stare at the newspapers spread out across the table. It was hard to believe that there was a table underneath the weight of the dead trees that covered it. Chris scratched his back and headed toward the kitchen. "That's what I love about you geeks." he jibed, "your ability to work in a paperless office."

Chris emerged a bit later laden with a spoon, bowl, milk in hand and a carton of Buzzy Bits stuffed beneath his arm. He pulled out one of the chairs and prepared his breakfast atop of several of the papers. JB had returned to the whiteboard where he was sketching a confusing array of formulae and diagrams.

Crunching heavily on his cereal Chris looked at the assortment of papers. All of them talked about the victims of the Boise Hum, it's history, editorials about the mayor, damn near everything about the past two weeks. Chris wondered when JB had found the time to gather up all that information, then wondered where his wallet was. He hoped JB remembered to get receipts.

His hat was nearby. Chris put it on his head, swallowed the mouthful of caffinated chocolate rice puffs, and asked his brother in a false serious voice, "So, what have you uncovered, Puppyboy?"

JB kept his back to Chris but stepped away from his diagrams.

"The dastardly fiend. He's using the powers of sweet harmony as a weapon for mass destruction!",

Chris didn't know which made less sense, what JB had just said that, or the way that he said it. He focused on the what for now. "He's doing what?"

"Let me explain, old Chum."

"'old Chum?'"

"From my research, I've determined that the Boise Hum is a relatively new phenomenon that strikes the city once every four years and always starts in April. Although for the most part it's reasonably harmless, this year things are far different. The evil Bob has somehow found out the secret to the Hum and is using it for his own nefarious ends."

"The secret to the hum? You mean it's not just a bunch of idiots with ambitions of Broadway?"

"Let's not bemoan the suffering citizens of our beloved town, old friend. They are merely victims of this dilemma."

"Tell that to their audience."

"The first recorded outbreak of the Boise Hum occurred in 1943, an otherwise auspicious year, and one that I shall not forget..."

"Yeah, it's funny how events that happened when Mom & Dad were in diapers can haunt your memories like that."

"None the less, I also note that reports of the illness happen to correspond directly with the BiAnnual Barbershop Finals held in Fergus Falls, Minnesota."

"You're telling me folks are getting whacked out listening to four guys singing in Minnesota? That's, what? a thousand miles away?"

"According to my calculations, one thousand three hundred miles. But due to the acoustics of the areas, select individuals do hear them, and only a few of those come down with the Hum."

"So why have so many come down with it this year? Really good baritones?"

"Yes, but there's something else, my Faithful Compadre, why is it happening now?"

"Well, it's spring…"

"Your math skills are rusty, Grayhound think, it happens every four years since 1943…"

"Hey, it's early for some of us. Ok, it's 2001, so it started… fifty eight years ago, and fifty eight divided by four is… Oh. it's a bit out of cycle."

"Correct, exactly two years out of cycle, which means that that wicked Bob must be using artificial means to stimulate the Hum. A theory that also explains the faint signal you heard from the Marconi."

"The what? You mean that damn stereo?" Chris pointed to the AudioTronic that was faintly playing some station from Canada. Two hyper DeeJays were going on about some $50,000 contest. Still, they played Pant Pant Pant, so how bad could they be?

"Yes, of course, the stereo. But to what end is Bob planning to use the good folks and how can we stop him?"

"I dunno, after his last effort, maybe he wants to put on the worlds biggest performance of 'Cats'"

"Or maybe he's planning to


Use it to destroy the city."

Chris just stared at JB's back for a few seconds before he responded. "You're gonna get us sued, you know. Look, it's early. I'm gonna go take a jog while the muggers are still asleep. Why don't you go take a shower or do your laundry or whatever and we'll work on this a bit more later when we're both more awake." Chris dropped his dishes in the sink and headed back to his room to change into his running clothes. He had decided he needed to get back into shape if he was going to keep running for his life.

JB simply stood there, his face to the board, still sound asleep.

The arena was dark.

The contestants had gone home days ago.

Well, almost all of them.

Under the main stage the dark was illuminated by the flickering glow of a screen. If anyone had been there they would have heard singing, if you could call the slurred alien warbling singing.

Krullux was drunk, again. The Resumatrix, being finely tuned to the thoughts of its master, staggered around beneath the stage. The off key strained refrains of a Doomian drinking song issuing from the finely crafted speaker. Eventually, Resumatrix found one of the large stage robots and plopped less than gracefully down next to it, one mechanical arm leaning up against the larger 'bot.

"Did I *hic* ever tell you that I was the one that kickeded the butt of that Gordon feller? Twice? But did I ever get a lick of fame out of the deal? Noooshirreee, not Krullux! Lousy writersh shaid 'Krullux is too hard for folks to remember. We're going to use something easier.' Great, sho the rip of the name of some dead Chinese guy and shay I'm him. Itsh jusht not fair I tell you."

The screen showed Krullux taking a rather unhealthy draw from a mostly empty bottle of blue liquid. Resumatrix mimicked the action.

There was a ringing sound. Krullux turned and tried to focus on something off screen. He reached over and picked up the telephone.

"Yellow. Krullush Here. Lord H-H-high Emperor of Planet Doom. Master of Destiny and Hoper that this ishn't another damn wrong number, becaush if you want a fargin' pizza I am gonna shend over my Cram-a-tron and he'sh gonna shove one up your…"

"Professhor, who?"

Krullux's stupor was abated a bit.

"M, ol' buddy, how'sh it hangin?

No, I'm not a little drunk. I'm shtinking drunk!

What I do between shemeshtersh ish my bushiness.

Well, not much really, jusht looshing a robot battle to a thirteen year old kid on national TV, that'sh all. And let me tell you, the little chawa cheated. I had hish p'jojo right where I wanted him and the cheating son of a t'jari crawled out of it. What?

Yeah, I shtill got that artifact. You figure out how to make it work yet?

Ok, make it 'not work'.

Well, aren't you shupposhed to be proffesher shmarty guy? You're the big cheesh that started up the shchool and all. You... you*waaurrrrruuup* 'shcush me, you went out and recruited the besht of the worsht, Well, the retired, alive onesh at leasht. Told ush all that you planned on making ush famoush again.

Didn't know about that little toy did ya? Shcared you shilly, didn't it? Thosh chawash wonked mosht of Doom and I got my p'jojo handed to me.


Of coursh I want to! I want to make them cry for their mommiesh.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, you've told me a hunnered timesh and I shtill shay you're wonked.


How are you gonna get three thoushand people to…

Fair enough, but I shtill bet you can't do it.


And why should I root for you, Mishter fanchy?"

Krullux lost some attitude as he listened.

"You have a good point. It would be very hard to cash that paycheck. But the original deal shtill standsh right? I help you and you give me Denmark.

Let'sh jusht shay you can do a lot with LEGO."

Bob looked at his phone for a few seconds, lost in thought. He glanced at the clock and realized that it was time to start up the final phase of his latest project. Let's see Tanutus take off points for this caper... He reached for the handset and began dialing a number.

"*Yawn* Man, I'm tired." JB said as they walked down the stairs.

"Well what do you expect, you were up all night."

"I was?" JB asked.

"Yeah, you were researching the Hum. You filled up the whiteboard with all kinds of stuff."

JB was about to say that he thought that was Chris' writing when Chris opened the door to Annie's.

Both of them instantly lost any other thought they might have had at that moment.

The place was filled with everything that most folks would be horribly embarrassed to look at. The only thing that looked moderately normal was the fat guy standing behind the counter with a Dr. Zog's T-Shirt on. He turned to look at the two as the door bell jingled. "Hi Boys!" he said in a husky voice and waved enthusiastically.

"Hello, we're looking for.. uhm.. Annie?" Chris said.

"That's me, sweetie." He threw his arms out with a flourish and said, "Welcome to Annie's House of Bondage. What can I do ya for? Wait, no, let me guess, you two look like you're definitely into stretch PVC. "

"Uhm, no, we're you're neighbors. My name is Chris and he's JB." JB managed a faint wave. Chris reached up to remove his glasses and…

Annie gasped in amazement and awe. It wasn't a very pretty sight. " It's YOU! You're the Grayhound aren't you? You know, something just told me you'd be stopping by and here you are. I think I'm part psychic, you know."

Chris leaned back to whisper to his brother, "Are you sure JB?"

"Yes, he's the contact that the group talked about, and I thought Jonathan mentioned him too."

"Yeah, but I didn't expect 'Annie' to be 300lbs and balding. "

Annie excitedly squeezed himself through the narrow counter gap and waved to the two, "Oh, come here, come here! Welcome, you! You know, we're awfully glad to have you here in the city. I knew you two were going to come by soon, and you're just in time too! C'mon into the back room and let's get started."

Annie unlocked a door and opened it. Chris and JB looked at each other, then the surroundings, and finally headed toward the back room. "It can't be any worse than this.." JB whispered.

It wasn't.

In fact, it was quite the opposite. Some form of armor, weapon, gadget and tool took up every square inch of wall space. Tables were nearly covered with futuristic looking elements emblazoned with various logos. A few of the items looked brand new, others looked like they had just gone through several wars. Most had some form of ding, scratch or alien bodypart still dangling from it.

"Welcome to 'Save It Again, Annie'" He laughed at his private joke, "I've got all kinds of extra stock items from the finest superhero supply shops in the world. Everything comes with a lifetime guarantee or your money back. Did you boys bring your outfits?"

Chris held out his coat and pulled out his hat and mask. JB pulled his sweatshirt off and started undoing his pants.

"Good Lord, do you shower in that thing?" Chris asked his brother. Oddly, it still didn't look dirty.

Annie gave JB a bit more of an admiring glance than he should have. "Very nice, very nice." Suddenly he remembered, "Oh, That's right! Mr. Grayhound, this came for you."
Annie reached behind a counter and produced a coat that looked similar to the one that Chris was still holding. Chris took the new coat. It was far lighter, but Chris knew it was far superior.

"I must say that it's quality tailoring. It's a Kittlemier, right? I LOVE what she's doing these days. Her dad would be so proud."

Of course, Chris had no idea who made it. It was another "gift" from Jonathan. Chris knew that Jonathan had spent some of the money in the joint account, but he also knew that there was nothing he could do to complain about it. Jonathan termed it as "protecting his investment".

Chris tried it on. It was a perfect fit. The coat was absolutely lined with pockets and hooks for holding equipment. In one of the pockets was a note. Chris pulled it out and read it. It was the same handwriting that was in his guidebook. "Remember! Tell Annie you want the works". These notes were a getting a bit repetitive…

"I'm supposed to ask you for 'the works'" Chris flatly told Annie.

Annie smiled broadly. "Well, let's get your equipment in order first. We'll discuss distractions later." Annie paused a few beats while looking as sexy as a 300 pound balding white guy could look.

"Oh, I'm just kidding, silly! Let's see, are you a day or night crusader?" He pointed to Chris, "You're just gonna sweat to death in the summer," and turned to JB, "and you couldn't hide in a blackout. Looks like you two are more 'twilights'"

"Well, let's see, tools, tools, tools. Ah, here. A good crime fighter is never without a pair of these."

Annie pulled two pairs of handcuffs off of a hook and handed them to Chris and JB.

"Why are the insides of these handcuffs sticky?" JB asked.

"I had to get the fur off." Annie said casually. He turned and looked at the two with a sly expression. "All of these goodies were used at night, not all of it was used on just the bad guys." He giggled, winked and turned back to the wall.

The brothers held the cuffs between fore finger and thumb and gave each other serious "Mr. Yuck" faces. The handcuffs would be washed later. Repeatedly.

"Now," continued Annie, "What do you two think about silk cords?"

The Grayhound and Puppyboy walked out of Annie's, fully equipped. Chris's coat filled out a bit more, but the equipment didn't really add that much weight. In fact, it was hard to tell exactly what he had tucked away in the pockets. He was a bit distracted by trying to remember where he put the diamond tip blade and apologized to the man he had rudely bumped into.

The man, however didn't reply. Neither did the next two women that also bumped into Chris. They all did have a strange expression on their face, and were humming slightly. Their eyes were fixed and staring down the street.

Grayhound and Puppyboy knew that something was up. A glance was all the discussion they needed. They followed the masses of people as they turned onto Outdoor Mall St and walked toward the Passenger Boat Building. The entranced hordes reached Warf Road and filled PW Herman Plaza. Parked next to the Pablo Piccasso's tribute to urban sewer systems was a truck fixed with several remarkably large p.a. speakers.

As the crowd gathered, Chris could hear a series of notes being repeated over and over again. It was only after listening to them over and over again that he figured out the pattern but something was wrong, it was familiar, but Chris was sure that there must be more to... So that's it, Chris thought, he's getting that song stuck in these people's heads. But why?

Chris indicated to JB to try to get closer to the truck. He could see two men sitting inside of it and knew that they probably had more of an idea than he did. They quietly made their way through the thickening crowds. Close enough, to hear the conversation going on inside the van.

"I tell you, Tony, there's not enough notes. He's missing two."

"What do you mean 'he's missing one'? How do you know what it's supposed to be?"

"Everyone knows that it's supposed to be BaaPaBaaPoPummm…"

"Lenny, you idiot, that's the Close Encounters music. That's not even close to what we're playing. Besides, I never did understand that movie. Why would aliens travel millions of miles just to get a song stuck in a bunch of folks heads?"

"Because they wanted fresh folks to talk to, or probe anally or whatever. That's why they took Richard Dreyfus into the ship with them, remember?"

"Well, maybe they should have taken Richard Gere."

"Why? You think aliens had hamsters?"

The warbling of a cell phone cut their conversation.

"Get it, Lenny, it's the boss. I've got something to take care of."

"Hello? Oh Hi, Mr. M, how's it going?

Oh, yeah, all them peoples is gatherin' all over here, just like you said.

Problems, nope no problems at all, well except one."

Chris and JB suddenly felt themselves being violently lifted off the ground by a pair of very large hands.

"But Tony's dealing with it now."

Chris had his tazer out in a flash but Tony looked at him and calmly said. "You do realize that if you were to pull the trigger right now my muscle contractions would lead me to pound your two heads together like overripe melons, don't you?"

Considering the arms that belonged to the individual making that statement along with the rest of the physique, there really wasn't much to think about. Chris and JB both slowly dropped their weapons.

"That's a good pair of heroes. Lenny, tie up their hands."

Lenny quickly fastened the Grayhound and Puppyboy's hands behind their backs while cackling "So you think the boss will pay us extra for this?"

"Probably, Let's bring our guests into the van so that we can keep an eye on them."

Lenny opened the door as Tony threw Chris and JB into the back of the van. Although they did their best to try to catch themselves, both Chris and JB hit the raw metal hard. Chris' padded and protected hat absorbed most of his blow, JB's thick skull protected him.

The smaller of the thugs scrambled back to the front of the vehicle and talked into the cellphone again.

"We got 'em boss. They didn't even put up a fight. Ok, hang on a second."

He put the phone into a socket and flicked a switch.

"Good Evening gentlemen." Bob Malevolent's voice filled the van with saccharine sweetness. "You're just in time. "

Chris retorted, "Very clever Bob, getting that song stuck in these folks head made them susceptible for more."

"Ah good, you finally figured that out. " Bob responded with not a small bit of smugness in his voice. "Granted, I have you to thank for part of it. You did an excellent job placing those can openers all over the city. Their motors were specifically tuned to play showtunes. All this time you thought you were protecting your fair city, you were helping me. Oh, and you should see what Amalgamated Can Opener's Stock is trading at."

Chris saw a few more stars, but this time it was because he whacked his own head against the floor. "Ok, great. So now what? Hold the world's biggest presentation of West Side Story?"

Bob mocked his disappointment, "Grayhound, you underestimate me, again. I'm planning nothing quite so trite. I have only the best interests of Boise at heart. I'm merely planning a bit of urban renewal. Sound is a powerful thing and frequency can do much. Applied correctly, one can accomplish quite a bit. These people will blindly sing any song I tell them to. All I need to do is provide them with the right one. Perhaps a quick demonstration is in order. Mr. Lapinski, please patch me through to the main speakers."

Lenny lowered a hanging microphone a tape recorder on the dashboard and turned a knob to "2".

"Your attention please." Bob's voice boomed out over the throng. "I believe we need to tune up a bit. Barritones, if you would…"

Lenny pressed the play button on the tape recorder.

There was a much, much louder response…

"Sweet Ad-e-line…"

Chris felt the ground vibrate as the crowd held the last note, then he noticed a building at the edge of the park as it collapsed. The rolling cloud of dust swept past the van but the crowd didn't even notice.

"Nice." Said Bob with an air of authority, "But I'm hoping for much more. Mr. Lapinski? Let's skip to the full effect and make sure everyone out there can join in the fun. Say goodbye to Downtown Boise, Grayhound."

Lenny turned the volume knob to eleven, a light feedback told Chris that this was going to be very, very loud indeed.

Lenny's finger reached for the Play button again.

And?? AND?? He picks HERE to end the chapter? What? It's on? Crap! Here, hold my burrito.


Will our Heroes thwart Bob's plan to bring down the houses?

How did that woman with the clipboard know where the Grayhound and Puppyboy were?

And what exactly is Krullux's fixation with PVC blocks?

All these questions, and many more will probably go unanswered in the next thrilling chapter...

Sad Songs Say So Long
A Tune for the Verse

Previous Chapter


How long had he been thinking of that pun? My God, that was worse than the last pair. Hey, did you take a bite out of my burrito?