Mark A Davis
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in Italy, and a bus hijacking was taking place. The bus rolled down a mountainside road. Inside, people screamed. The hijacker carried an uzi and wore bright yellow fatigues decorated with images of candy, and a lime-green cloth wound around his head, leaving exposed only his eyes and the white stick from the lollipop in his mouth.
A similarly-clad terrorist held people at gunpoint at the back of the bus.
"Nobody move!" the one at the front exclaimed. His voice was slurred from speaking around hard candy. He waved his gun about -- there were several brightly-colored candy charms attached to it. "Remain calm! We're members of the Lollipop Liberation Guild! Keep this bus travelling at at least thirty miles an hour! If you're lucky, and the Italian government meets our sugary demands, then everyone will get out of this alive!"
Glass shattered as an old man in a gray suit flew through it. He landed in the center aisle, jumped to his feet, and slugged the hijacker in the jaw. Candy went flying. He grasped the uzi and snatched a package of gum from the air as the man collapsed to the floor, then turned and shot the second terrorist.
"Lodare Dio! È il Nonno l'Anarchia!" someone shouted.
"Grandpa Anarchy!" another exclaimed. "We're saved!"
Grandpa popped a stick of gum into his mouth. "Happy to be of service," he said.
It was Sunday afternoon in Edinburgh, and the Royal Bank of Scotland was being robbed. The man was tall and overweight and dressed in a spandex outfit of pea green and mustard yellow.
"Awright muckers!" he exclaimed. "Me name's the Super Scunner and I'm nicking this here bank. Keep yer hands where I can see 'em and dinnae call the grunters, ye ken?" He tossed a burlap bag onto the check counter. "Fill that and gies the didgerydoodah, and be quick about it or yer about to be leathered!"
A man in a gray suit stood up from behind the counter. "Only one person's gonna be skudded here, and it's you, ya tealeaf!" he snarled. He dove over the counter and punched the villain in the face. Quickly he had the Super Scunner on the ground and handcuffed.
"Yir nabbed, you manky heidbanger!" Grandpa Anarchy exclaimed.
"Heidbanger?" said the villain. "I don't even like heavy metal."
"No," said Grandpa, "that's Scottish slang for idiot."
"Come on, man," said the Super Scunner. "How would I know? I ain't even Scottish...."
In Des Moines, Iowa it was still early on a Sunday morning, but a villain known as the Rat Dancer was piping merrily on a silver penny whistle and leading a long line of large and ferocious-looking rats down Grand Ave. Police cowered behind blue sedans -- the magic of the flute sent fear into their hearts and prevented them from even drawing their weapons.
Up ahead, a man in a rumpled gray suit waited. As the procession of rats approached, the villain let out a laugh.
"Grandpa Anarchy?" he exclaimed. "This is who they send against me? One old man against my entire army? Good luck with that!"
Grandpa Anarchy cracked his knuckles. "I don't need to fight an army of rats," he said. "I just need to punch the one who's leading them!" He charged forward, fist swinging.
"For countless acts of valor and bravery," said President Sheppard from the steps of the white house on a Sunday morning. "For selflessly coming to the aid of this great country again and again, I am pleased and honored to present to you this Presidential Medal of Freedom. We can never repay you for all that you've done for us, Grandpa Anarchy!"
Grandpa Anarchy bowed. The President of the United States hung the medal around his neck. "The honor is all mine, Sir," said Grandpa.
In one corner, a video screen displayed top news stories of the day. The President blinked. "My goodness," he said, "is that you stopping that hijacking in Italy?" He glanced at his watch. "But that was only thirty minutes ago!"
Grandpa Anarchy laughed nervously. "Well, you know how it is with us Super Heroes," he said. "We get around. We have our ways."
Grandpa Anarchy sat in a chair in the Anarchy Cave and stared at a gaunt man in his sixties with a three-day growth of stubble, who wore a purple shirt and dirty blue jeans. The man shifted nervously under the gaze of the famous hero.
"You know," said Grandpa, "back in the day I had a butler named Wilfred. When I needed to be in two places at once, Wilfred did a pretty fair impersonation of me. Mind you, this was back when I used to wear a mask most of the time. But Wilfred died in 1959, and I never got around to replacing him. So when the President of the United States wanted to give me an award on national T.V., and I had to be on the far side of the galaxy helping out Jenny Nova, I figured, why not give my old enemy Frederick Rice a call? Sure, he's a villain, but he's basically a nice guy. He's done his time, he could use the money, and I don't know nobody who could impersonate me better than him."
"Hey, I did what you asked!" Fred said. "I promised I'd do good things and that's what I did!"
"You did good, that's true," Grandpa agreed. "You did a lot of good. In fact, you did so much good that you were doing good things in at least ten different place on earth at the same time as you were accepting that award." Grandpa sighed. "You know, the point of hiring a double is to disguise the fact that I'm in more than one place at once. You did the opposite -- you compounded the problem!"
"Gimme a break," said Fred. He spread his hands, and suddenly there were three of him. "Multiple clones is what I do! That's my power, my whole schtick! Maybe I got a little carried away -- but you can't actually say you didn't see this coming when you asked DoppleGangLord to take your place!"