Monday, September 26, 2016


Mark A Davis

Fog rolled in off the bay, transforming the world into one of weird shadows and strange, hallucinary objects.  They only resolved into the normal and everyday when you were right on top of them.  Sound was distorted, and every creak and rustle was loud and immediate and just around the corner.

Grandpa Anarchy gripped his gun tightly as he crouched beside a boarded-up candycorn stand.  It's not as if an abandoned  theme park ain't creepy enough, he thought.  You gotta add an impenetrable fog to it.

Somewhere machinery creaked and groaned, and then carnival music began to play, off-kilter and out-of-tune.  There was a rumbling, clattering sound and then a whoosh -- somewhere in the fog, a roller coaster was in motion.

"Grampy-poo, where are you?"  The voice was broadcast over loudspeakers  throughout the theme park.  It was scratchy, tinny, but unmistakably that of Grandpa's arch nemesis Carnival Act.  "Why don't you come out and play?  I have a special bullet with your name on it...."

"Give it up, Carnival Act!" Grandpa yelled.  "Your attempt to bomb the subway station failed!"

"Oh, I don't know about that," Carnival Act replied.  "It got you here, on a fog-filled evening, where we can have a little fun.  I'd call that a success!"

The criminal clown dropped from somewhere above, landing twenty feet from Grandpa.  Even this close Grandpa could barely make the man out -- but there was no mistaking that black silk top hat sitting atop rainbow-hued hair, or the red silk jacket of a circus ringmaster, or the fancy walking cane.  The clown fired two shots at Grandpa, who was already dodging and rolling out of the way.

Laughing like a hyena, Carnival Act disappeared into the mist.  Grandpa charged after him.

The carnival music continued to lurch and flop along.  A fun house loomed out of the gloom  Grandpa entered.  Distorted Grandpa Anarchys loomed and leered, but also several squat or elongated Carnival Acts.

Grandpa smashed one with his fist.  Mirrored glass shattered.  He smashed a second, then a third.  A bullet whizzed past his ear, shattering a mirror behind him.  Grandpa charged forward, chasing images that grew fewer as more of the mirrors were smashed.  Then he flew out the back, and there was Carnival Act, gun aimed straight at him.

"Say goodnight, Grampy-poo," the clown said.  "It's been real, and it's been fun, but it hasn't been...."

A man dressed all in black, with a wide-brimmed hat and a billowing cloak, tackled Carnival Act from  the side.  "Good going, Guy Shadow!" Grandpa exclaimed, leaping into the fight.  The three rolled and grappled on the ground, trading punches, but finally Grandpa wound up on top of Carnival Act, while Guy Shadow stood to the side, gun trained at the villain's head.  The clown froze, but grinned maniacally.

"Always on top," said the clown.  "Isn't that always how Grandpa Anarchy likes it?"

"You're going to jail for a long, long time, Carnival Act," Grandpa replied.  "You're going to pay for your crimes."

The clown's grin widened.  "Am I?" he asked.  "Am I?"


"Is there a point to this this story?" asked Death Medal.

Grandpa Anarchy stood over Death Medal, gun drawn.  The villain in the black SS-style military uniform with silver skulls, a chest full of medals, and a burning skull for a head stared up at him.  They were in the yard of an abandoned steel plant.  Death Medal's minions were scattered about, lying on the ground and moaning.  Grandpa's sidekick the Princess of Purple Prose floated nearby, dressed in a fancy purple gown.

"The point?  Only that bad guys get caught," replied Grandpa.  "That, and having a companion you can trust at your back is a good thing."  He glared at the floating woman, who appeared to be writing in a small notebook.  "And one last thing.  Carnival Act had style.  Abandoned theme park by the ocean?  Classic!  Creaky old ferris wheel, rusting roller coaster -- the kind with wooden trestles.  Hall of mirrors, derelict haunted log ride.  Carnival Act never did anything by half measures.  When the fog rolled in off the bay, there wasn't a creepier place for a criminal clown to be.

"Not," he added in a much louder voice, "like the overblown, special-effects laden Hollywood hideouts favored by some villains I could name."

"The one hundred Cthulhu chorus line dancers were a bit much?" asked Death Medal.

"And the fireworks display, and the fire-eating stunt bikers jumping over a tank filled with sharks," said Grandpa.  "Although hiring AC/DC to perform My Way -- never liked them myself, but it was a nice touch."

"Well," said the flaming skull, "if you're going to fall short, then being compared to a genuine craftsman like Carnival Act isn't that bad.  But what if my ostentatious display was merely a means to distract you from my true goal?  What if, this time, I wasn't planning to destroy the world, but merely to trap you, Grandpa Anarchy, and send you to hell?  What if I produced this extravagant presentation merely to lure you into my trap?  Now that would be a stylish move, would it not?"

A firey pentragram flared up around Grandpa and his sidekick.  Grandpa frowned.  "Dang," he said.  "That is pretty good...."  With a shriek of demonic laughter, Grandpa Anarchy and the Princess were sucked down into the ground.


Monday, September 19, 2016


Mark A Davis

"You know," said Grandpa Anarchy, world's oldest hero, as he hung upside down in a spiked iron cage, "I've had sidekicks who were useless.  Low Blood Sugar Boy, for example, or Most Common Girl, or Boy Waitress or Distractigirl.  And I've had sidekicks who were less than useless -- Whole Grain Kid, may he rest in peace, was no great assett in battle, as I'm  sure you won't be surprised to learn.  But he couldn't even get strawberry pancakes right -- he always grabbed the whole grain batter.  Like I said, less than useless.

"And then there's you," he continued, staring at his current sidekick, the Princess of Purple Prose.  The woman in the elaborate 19th-century purple gown was seated in a cage next to his.  They were being held deep in the space ganome caverns, with a dozen armed guards watching them.  "You talk a good game.  You publish stories on the web -- although I'm having a hard time seeing where that benefits me, per se.  And you claim to have these amazing powers that can turn the tide of battle when things are most dire, but until things have reached their bleakest point, you basically float around in an impenetrable bubble and make notes for your next story.  In fact, I've never seen you do anything else.  Far be it from me to complain about the quality of help my sidekick provides, but I've been wondering, have I ever had a sidekick as useless as you?"

"That is a very rude and inconsiderate thing to say," the princess replied.  "Did I not bring you back to life earlier today?"

"Perhaps you did, perhaps you didn't," replied Grandpa.  "I didn't see it happen, being dead at the time.  But here is the crux of my argument:  I've been in dire circumstances before.  I've even been dead before.  And you know what?  I always escaped or got better.  I came back, and I defeated the villain.  And do you know why?  Because I'm the hero.  Not just a hero, but the hero.  I make the story about myself and my struggle with evil.  So long as that's the story, I will always prevail, because that's how stories work, and stories drive the universe.  You know that better than anybody."

"That is precisely what my powers are all about," said the Princess of Purple Prose.  "When things are darkest, I bring about redemption.  My power of Dramatic Climax Pivot turns things around for the hero."

"Sure," said Grandpa, "but here's my point:  that happens regardless of whether you're present or not.  Trust me, I've been doing this for a very long time, and I haven't ever needed you for things to work in my favor.  So what is it you bring to the table again?"

The princess frowned.

"Well," she said, "of course, that is hardly my only ability.  I have my Impenetrable Third Person Observatory Bubble of Lavender, for one.  Then there is also...."  She paused.  "Well, I am reluctant to even bring it up, because I know you will immediately get the wrong idea, but I do have my Sphere of Purest Amethyst Flame...."

"What's that?" asked Grandpa.  "That sounds like some sort of ball of fire...."

"It is precisely that," replied the princess.  "But I did not want to bring it up because...."

"Hey,  that sounds perfect," Grandpa said.  "You could maybe blast us out of these cages and fry any space ganomes we meet into a crisp...."

"No!" the woman exclaimed.  "See?  I knew you'd get it wrong!  Grandfather Anarchy, I am the impartial observer.  I write the story.  Having me save the day by tossing fireballs about absolutely reeks of a kind of deus ex machina.  You could even term it a sidekick ex machina, or perhaps strictly speaking it would be socius ex machina...."

"Princess," said Grandpa, "there's no such thing as sidekick ex machina.  My sidekick doesn't appear out of nowhere -- he or she is an integral part of the story."

The Princess of Purple Prose stared at him.  Her eyes widened.  "My stars!" she exclaimed.  "I think you are right -- I had never even considered that before!  I could just blast us out of here, could I not?"


Grandpa Anarchy strolled through the space ganome tunnels while his sidekick floated beside him in her lavender bubble.  "So," he said, "no fireballs?  Not even one?"

"Well, I considered it," the princess replied.  "And then I thought:  why get my own hands dirty?  Why not a sidekick ex machina, after all?"

Ahead of them floated a heavily-muscled young man in a spandex outfit and with the head of a goat.  He hurled one ganome soldier into three others, then blasted a fourth with beams from his eyes.  "Have no fear, Grandpa Anarchy!" the goat-boy exclaimed.  "SuperGOAT is on the job!  We'll defeat that ganome king and rescue his captive in no  time!"


Monday, September 12, 2016

Write Your Way Out

Write Your Way Out
Mark A Davis

"I have decided upon a plan to publish one new prose offering on the Grandpa Anarchy Story web site each week," said the Princess of Purple Prose.  "I can certainly manage to write one single story each week, of that I am quite convinced.  These are, after all, what one calls short-short stories -- flash fiction is the more recent name.  I am talking about stories of around a thousand words, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.  I can easily write several of those in a week if the inspiration strikes me.

"In fact I am hoping to finish several such stories this week so that I have a decent backlog -- a cushion of several weeks, just in case, I get sick, or I suffer writer's block, or for some reason laziness strikes me, or perhaps, for example, we are stuck for three weeks in the Orthoxx Beta 7 dimension battling space ganomes."

Grandpa Anarchy, world's oldest hero, dodged a laser spear, then grabbed the shaft and yanked.  As its wielder flew forward, Grandpa met the face with his gloved fist.  "Sounds like a plan!" he called out, as he tossed the warrior over the bridge and down into the gorge below.

"Many webcomics publish on a once-a-week schedule," she added, "so that seems a perfectly suitable proposal to me.  What we are doing is akin to a web comic after all -- except that there are no pictures, only a prose story.  But I feel that the same rules can apply to both.  Really, what I am proposing is quite similar to the pulp stories that Evron Lempel himself wrote -- and as you know, many of those were works of fiction, based on the true details of your life."

Grandpa dodged spear thrusts and laser fire.  His usual rumpled gray suit with the silver anarchy symbol stitched over the left breast was charred at the shoulder and arm and side.   Red-skinned creatures with bright red hair in blackened armor -- they looked a bit like toy troll dolls on steroids -- charged at him across a narrow stone arch.  Above the fray his sidekick floated inside an apparent lavender soap bubble.  Arrows and laser beams deflected from its surface.

"Of course, I placed the first story up on a Sunday night, so I think that will become my schedule going forward -- a new story every Sunday night or Monday morning, a new offering to begin each week.  How does that sound to you?"

"That... sounds great," Grandpa replied as he grappled with a particularly powerful ganome.  The creature produced a short-bladed laser knife that glowed bright green.  Grandpa gripped the creature's wrist, keeping the blade inches from his neck.

"I went back and rewrote the first story," she added.  "Do you think I should have done that?  I mean, it's only published on the web, so it was easy to do...."

"Princess," said Grandpa, "I don't mean to interrupt, but... a little help here?"  Red-haired ganome soldiers crowded the bridge, trying to reach him.  On the far side of the gorge several thousand warriors waited to cross.

The princess glanced down from her impregnable bubble.  "Well, it is certainly  true that my power of Dramatic Climax Pivot can turn the tide against immense odds.  To paraphrase Archimedes:  Give me a climax dramatic enough, and a means to script it, and I can shift the universe.  But that is, after all, the entire problem, is it not?  As I am certain I have explained to you several times, my powers are most effective when we have actually reached a point of climax -- the peak point of maximum dramatic tension.  It is difficult, nearly impossible, for me to do anything at the wrong point in the story.  Here, we have barely landed on this planet, we have not yet determined where the captives are being held, we have not met the villain, not even a hologram or video of him or her, and we are fighting a hoarde of what could charitably be called faceless minions.  Obviously we are nowhere near the dramatic climax...."

A space ganome shoved his laser spear through Grandpa's chest.  Grandpa screamed.  In moments several warriors were hoisting the lifeless body of Grandpa high overhead.  A cheer went up.

The princess frowned.  "By all that is holy, Grandfather Anarchy -- dying to a bunch of faceless mooks?  This is not how things are to be done!"  She crossed her arms, scowling.

One of the ganomes raised his hand.  "If I may, Miss," he said.  "Isn't the death of the hero by definition the bleakest moment in the tale?"

The princess brightened.  "Why, I do believe you are correct!" she said.  She raised her hands overhead and began to chant:  "By the ancient structures of literary drama, in accordance with the words of Aristotle and Horace, by the pyramid of Gustav Freytag, I call upon Calliliope and Melpomene to bring about the hero's epiphany and transform tragedy into triumph...."

One ganome said, "Way to go, Horace....."


Monday, September 5, 2016

Teddy's Bear

Teddy's Bear
Mark A Davis

The carnival barker wore a handlebar mustache, a suit of red and white stripes, and a black stovepipe hat.  He gestured to a young man in a white shirt and suspenders, with a young woman in a blue dress on his arm.  The woman had some sort of flyer in her hand.

"Have a go, Sir?" the carny asked.  He tossed three baseballs in the air, juggling them  expertly.  "Three balls for a buffalo nickel, my friend!  Such a bargain you will not find anywhere else on these fairgrounds!  Get one ball in the hole, win a kepwie doll.  Three times, you win a stuffed teddy bear.  These bears are the genuine article, my good man, made by Morris Michtom's Ideal Novelty and Toy Company to commemorate the little bear cub which President Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill.  Accept no substitutes!  Why, your pretty girlfriend would look simply smashing with a stuffed Teddy's bear in her arms, and no mistake!  Three balls in the hole!  Surely a strapping young lad like yourself can manage such a simple task!"

Behind the barker was a long alleyway.  At the far end a blue canvas blanket hung down, with a small black hole in the center.  A nearby table was piled high with small bisque dolls -- the naked children with the pointed hair on top that everyone recognized as kewpies from the Rose O'Neil illustrations -- and several mohair teddy bears with jointed arms, legs, and head, felt paws and glass eyes.

A brass band nearby was playing a sprightly marching tune -- The Gallant Seventh, John Philip Sousa's most recent composition.  Men in suits and women in long dresses strolled the fairgrounds, munching on popcorn and roasted peanuts.  It was a brilliant, sunny day.

The young man said, "It weren't no bear cub."

The barker frowned.  "Come again?"

"I said it weren't no bear cub that Roosevelt refused to kill," insisted the young man.  "It was a full grown bear."

The barker forced a smile.  "Listen, Kid, what we have here is a teddy bear made by the company that made the first teddy bear.  It's cute and cuddly, facts that are certain to please your lady friend.  Now, it's three balls for a nickel, are you in or not?"

"Yeah, okay," the young man said.  He tossed a nickle onto the counter.

"A fine choice, a fine choice!" the barker exclaimed, handing over three baseballs.  "Now, if you'll take my advice, aim carefully...."

Before he could even finish, the young man had hurled the first ball.  It sailed cleanly through the hole.  "Oh, Paul, nice throw!" the young girl exclaimed.

"Nicely done, Sir, nicely done!" said the barker.  "That's the ticket!  Why, you're a regular Cy Young!  You could pitch for the Brooklyn Robins with an arm like that and no mistake!"

"Do you mean the Trolley Dodgers?" asked the young man.

"Some call them that, some do," said the barker.  "Now, one successful throw is worth a kewpie doll."  He held up one of the figurines.  "Let's see you do it twice more, and win your bird a teddy bear!"

"Oh yes, Paul!" the woman said.  "Do it!"  The young man tossed again, striking the hole in the center.  Once again he appeared to do this casually, as if not even taking aim.

The barker's eyes narrowed.  "Say..." he said.  "Don't I know you?  You're that young boy who fought alongside that Gentleman Brawler, aren't you?  Of course you are!  Little Pauley Pugilist!  The crime fighter's sidekick!"

"It's Kid Anarchy now," the young man replied.  "The Gentleman Brawler is dead."

"Quite right," the barker replied.  "So, you're on your own now?"

The young man did not reply.  He studied the target carefully, took aim -- and threw the baseball squarely at one of the teddy bears.  It flew off the table and rolled on the ground.

"Here now," said the barker, "you're supposed to throw at the hole, not at the bear...."  As he spoke, the bear climbed to its feet.  Its eyes glowed red.

"Curse you, Kid Anarchy!" the bear growled.  "Curse you to the depths below!  How did you spot me?"

"Call it a knack," the young man said.  "You radiate evil."

The bear sprung forward, hatred in its beady eyes.  The young man punched it, knocking it to the ground.  "Wait!" the barker exclaimed.  "What's going on?"

The bear produced a straight razor.  "Gonna gut you like a fish!" it snarled, launching into the air again over the table.  Kid Anarchy spun, and his foot struck the bear's paw, knocking the razor away.  Kid Anarchy leaped over the barrier and rolled in the dirt, grappling with the toy bear.

"Paul!" the woman exclaimed.  The young man threw the bear to one side and rolled in the other.  The woman threw her arms forward.  Flames shot from her outstretched palms.  In seconds the bear -- and half of the carnival stand -- was on fire.

The teddy bear screamed -- an inarticulate wail, like that of a real person afire.  It stumbled about and collapsed.  A crowd gathered, but the bear was already clearly dead.  Only the carnival barker and the young man and woman had actually seen it move.  Several men helped put out the fire.  After checking the ashes of the toy, Kid Anarchy and the woman turned to go.

"Hey!" the barker exclaimed.  "Who's going to pay for this damage?"

The woman turned on him.  She held up the flyer -- it was a wanted poster, depicting a teddy bear with glowing eyes.  "Good Sir," she said, "this toy has been terrorizing the children of this town at night for the past several days.  Do you want me to inform fathers and mothers of this area that you were harboring a demonic stuffed bear?"

"Well that's..." the barker stammered.  "I mean that's not... I had no idea!"

"Exactly," the woman said.  "Which is why we will not be pressing charges.  Good day, Sir!"

The two disappeared into the crowd.  The barker looked from the bear, burned beyond all recognition, to the ruins of his carnival stand.  "What just happened here?" he asked, of no one in particular.


"And?" asked the Princess of Purple Prose, current sidekick to Grandpa Anarchy.  "Is that the entire tale?  You and your companion fought a demonic teddy bear and it was consumed in a fire?"

"What more do you want?" Grandpa replied.  "You asked for a tale from when I was Kid Anarchy.  I gave you one."

"Fair enough," replied the woman in the purple gown.  She stood and walked to Grandpa's desk.  The two were in Grandpa's study on the second floor of the Anarchy Mansion.  "Still, this certainly explains why you have got this kewpie doll on this shelf above your desk.  I have been wondering about it since first I saw it.  These were once quite popular, were they not?"  Her hand reached out for the small bisque doll, but drew back quickly as it's eyes flared red.

"Foolish mortal!" the doll exclaimed.  "Touch me and die!"

"Thing is," said Grandpa, "Lady Prometheus didn't know how to banish the darned thing, so it just possessed the next nearest doll.  But those old kewpie dolls don't have moving parts, so it's stuck.  I've been keeping watch over it ever since...."

"But one day I shall be free of this intolerable prison!" the doll exclaimed, "and on that day, you, Kid Anarchy, shall perish!"


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Classic Anarchy: Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension
Mark Allen Davis

It was a moonless night.  Leaves crunched underfoot as two figures crossed the lonely street.  They climbed marble steps to an imposing building.  An older gentleman in a rumpled gray suit and a brown trench-coat reached for the door.  His face was shadowed by a fedora brim, his eyes framed by a diamond mask.

The second was a young boy in a tight-fitting green and black bodysuit with bare arms and legs, green gloves and pixie-style boots.  A gymnast or dancer might wear such an outfit, but generally not in the open for fear of being beaten up.

The boy waved a piece of paper.  "I don't get it, Grandpa Anarchy," he said.  "How did you solve the riddle?  I was stumped."

"Well, Kid Enigma," the older man replied, "The first thing I noticed were references to classic Russian authors."

"Yes, I saw that too," said the boy.

The old man tried the door.  It was locked.  "Second," he said, "Most of it was in iambic pentameter."

The younger man nodded.  "Poetry, yes."

Grandpa Anarchy studied the glass door before him.  "Third," he said. "I saw that at least two lines made reference to the 4th century China and the teachings of Laozi."


"Precisely.  That's when I knew we were dealing with the Literate Lemur," Grandpa said.  "Only that fruitcake goes in for literary mumbo-jumbo crap of that sort."

Kid Enigma slammed his fist into his palm.  "Of course!  But how...."

"How do I know where he'll strike?" Grandpa asked.  He tried the door again.  It remained stubbornly locked.  "No idea.  But twice a year the library has a big book sale -- The Library Family Sale, they call it."

"And that sale happens tomorrow!"

Grandpa nodded.  "I learned that from my former sidekick, Whole Grain Kid...."

"May he rest in peace,"

"Yeah, yeah.  He was exactly the kind of Nancy-boy who loved reading books.  Think we read books in my day?  Heck no!  We didn't read adventure stories, we lived them!"

Kid Enigma frowned.  "So you think the Literate Lemur will strike here?"

"Dang straight," Grandpa replied.  "That poetry-spoutin' fool's a sucker for a book sale."  He studied the door critically.  "The only problem is:  how do we get in?"

"Here," Kid Enigma said, producing a backpack and digging into it.  "Let me analyze the security mechanism with my crime laptop...."

"Don't bother," Grandpa Anarchy replied, and smashed one gloved fist through the door pane.  Shards of glass bounced and skittered across marble.

"I always think better with this," Grandpa said, holding up his fist.  "This is the only crime computer I need."

The city library was as dark and quiet as a tomb.  The two crime fighters stepped carefully into the cavernous entryway.  Every breath, every small scrape sounded loud and sharp.

Maniacal laughter shattered the silence.  "Grandpa Anarchy!  Once again we meet!  Or I should say, we meet physically, if not intellectually.  As  the proverb goes, 'A thousand cups of wine do not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when there is no meeting of minds.'"

"That's more than half a sentence," muttered Grandpa Anarchy, peering into the gloom.

"You appear to have solved my little riddle," the voice said.  "I'm not surprised.  You were ever a worthy adversary.  But it can't have been easy to deduce that the key lay in reading Doctor Zhivago backwards by moonlight and cross-referencing it with Pasternak's first book of poetry, My Sister Life."

"Quite difficult, I'm sure," Grandpa replied, looking up.

"By moonlight?" Kid Enigma muttered.  "No wonder...."

"And the interlocking Taoist parables must have represented a formidable challenge!" the voice said.

"Something like that, yeah," Grandpa replied.

"Actually, those were not so diff..." began Kid Enigma.

"And the crossword puzzle using Egyptian hieroglyphs, with dual meanings for symbolic and phonetic readings?  That wasn't too difficult?"

"I'd say it was just about right," said Grandpa.

Kid Enigma frowned.  "I was having trouble with 17 down..."

"And you came at Midnight, knowing, as you did, that the very name lemur derives from the Latin lemures, meaning 'spirit of the night' or 'ghost.'"

"Look," Grandpa said, "can we hurry this up?  I got a support literacy for kids photo-shoot later on today, and it'd be nice to get a good night's sleep...."

A man dropped from the gloom above to land thirty feet in front of them.  He was dressed in a costume of black and white stripes with a long stripped tail.  Reflective eyes glittered in the moonlight, framed in a black masked face.  He carried a book with him like a Baptist preacher.

"But of course," said the Literate Lemur, bowing.  "By now, I'm sure you've deduced my entire plan.  As Sir Francis Bacon noted, knowledge is power.  Control knowledge, and you control power."  He paused to laugh the laugh of the insane.  "Ah, but how sad that I am cast as the villain in these meetings, for it is I who want to better the world, and you who oppose me.  Truly Socrates said that the only good in the world is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance!  You see, I am not the evil one here!"  The Lemur laughed, then added, "And thus I clothe my naked villainy / With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ; / And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."

"Less talking, more punching," said Grandpa, cracking his knuckles.

"Ah, yes.  As the bard also said, 'Action is eloquence.'  In any case, I am being boorish.  All of these lovely quotes must fly over your poor sidekick's head."

"Actually, I...." Kid Enigma began.

"Confound it!" Grandpa yelled, springing forward.  "You always talk too danged much!"

Kid Enigma followed Grandpa into action.  The Literate Lemur raised an eyebrow.  The marble floor below their feet irised open.  Grandpa Anarchy and his sidekick plunged twenty feet into darkness.

The sides of the pit were as smooth as glass.  Water began pouring in.  Far above a face peered down.

"Oh my," said the Lemur.  "How very disappointing.  Are you certain you decoded my message properly?  My warning of this pit was the easy part...."

"Dang," Grandpa swore, as the door closed overhead.