Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hurricane Punch

Hurricane Punch
Mark A Davis

"Did I ever tell you about the time Grandpa Anarchy stopped a hurricane with his fists?"

Jay Medberry, known as the Electric Bluejay, downed his gin and tonic.  The mostly-retired hero and public face of Temporary Superfriends was, as usual, dressed in a suit of electric blue.  He was a good-looking man, apparently in his mid-twenties.  The bartender -- a sharp-dressed man of about the same age with brown hair and a closely-cropped beard, known as Walter Vandroogenbroeck -- prepared another.

"That's not possible," said Continuitae.  The young woman was dressed like a reject from a Sailor Moon show.  She had a white leotard with a sailor pattern and a short skirt of dark purple with a stardust pattern.  There were bows, ribbons, ruffles, tiaras, bracelets, and necklaces.  Her girlfriend Saturnae was similarly dressed, only with a skirt of golden brown with gold numbers around the border, so that it would resemble a clock if seen from above.

The others present were Sun Wukong, his wife Ravella the Traveller, and Dog Is My Copilot.  The latter was a woman with white fur and the head of a dog.  She wore flight goggles and a red scarf, and had two metal license tags on a chain around her neck -- one a dog's license, the other her pilot's license.  Ravella was tall and beautiful, with dark skin and long, straight black hair.  She wore khaki shorts and a black tank top.  Sun Wukong, meanwhile, was dressed in loose black pants and a green silk robe with gold trim.  He was, of course, a monkey -- the famous Monkey King -- but was as tall as a human and very  well muscled.

The six of them were gathered in the secret bar room of the the Eternal Order of the Second Banana, a place where former sidekicks gathered.  A large mandala hanging behind the bar depicted the all-seeing eye of Horus, with scales balancing a banana on each side, and a diamond mask depicted just below.  The words written clockwise around the border were:  Avete ariera secundus.  Fidelitas.  Ministerium  Consilium Prudens -- loyalty, service, wise counsel, hail the second banana.

There were vaulted ceilings with stained glass windows depicting scenes out of mythology and fiction in which heroes fought beside their famous sidekicks.  The bar itself was carved from polished hardwood in the shape of a large banana.

Sun Wukong sipped his beer.  "It is said that in ancient times, the monks of the Hanging Temple in China's Shanxi province were able to throw punches so powerful that they created tornados," he said.  "The trick, I'm told, lies in inciting your enemy's fury, producing a red-hot battle aura while you yourself maintaining an aura as cold as ice.  When the timing of the punch is right and the hot air meets the cold, a tornado is the result.  The technique can be quite devastating."

"Okay, sure," Continuitae replied.  "A tornado, maybe.  But nobody's creating a freaking hurricane with a single punch -- nor stopping one."

Saturnae narrowed her eyes.  "Hang on," she said.  "Why is the Monkey King even here?  I thought this was a club for former sidekicks.  Sun Wukong is not just a hero, he's a god!"

Sun Wukong held up a finger.  "Point of order, my lady.  I was made a living Buddha because I proved my loyalty and my strength as the disciple and bodyguard to the great teacher Xuanzang on his journey to the West.  So you see, before I became the Victorious Fighting Buddha, I was first a sidekick."

Saturnae frowned.  "Well," she said, "fair enough, I suppose -- although it feels like you belong in the same special category that we place Grandpa Anarchy in -- you were always the hero, even when you were a sidekick."

"But that is clearly not the case," said Sun Wukong.  "Before my redemption I was imprisoned in a mountain for five hundred years for my many crimes.  They had so little trust in me that they fitted me with this magical headband which Xuanzang could constrict at a word.  I was a powerful warrior before that point, but also quite arrogant and mischevious."

"Do you people want to hear this story, or not?" asked Jay.

"Yes, of course," said Sun Wukong.  "I myself probably could not stop a hurricane with a punch, so I am curious how Grandpa Anarchy managed this.  Do continue."

Continuitae opened her laptop and began to type.  "As long as this isn't another of your stupid shaggy dog stories...."

"Bark?" exclaimed Dog Is My Copilot excitedly.

"No, not about a dog," replied Continutae.  "It's just an expression.  Sorry to disappoint."  Dog Is My Copilot's ears drooped.

"I assure you, this tale is true," Jay replied.  He sipped his drink, then said, "This was when I was Grandpa's sidekick, of course.  It was the Spring of 1965, and a freak hurricane appeared in the gulf coast, just south of Louisiana.  It was quite early in the hurricane season, and there was no warning, it just appeared overnight...."

"Hurricanes don't work that way," said Continuitae.  "Tropical depressions typically form off the coast of Africa when hot air from the Sahara creates thunderstorms out over the warm waters near the equator.  Eventually those can become hurricanes -- but meteorologists will track them long before that.  They don't just appear."

"Well, this one did," said Jay.  "If you let me tell my tale without interruptions, I'll explain how it happened."

Jay took another sip of his drink.  "Now, as you might imagine, those meteorologists Continuitae speaks of were shocked.  But they sent a plane into the eye of the hurricane, and do you know what they found?  At the center of the hurricane was a man -- or at least, a man-shaped being.  It was flying in the air with the storm swirling about it, and it was black and humanoid shaped.  It looked a bit like a man completely covered in oil."

"Kaptain Krude!" exclaimed Continuitae.  "Of course!  I remember!  Now it makes sense!"

"Woof!" Dog Is My Copilot agreed.

"What makes sense?" asked Ravella.  "Who's Kaptain Krude?"

"A 1960's villain," Continuitae.  "He's in my data base.  He had incredible powers over storms -- well, not him exactly...."

Jay cleared his throat.  "Continuitae, who's telling the story here, me or you?"

"Sorry!" the woman exclaimed.  "Just excited to actually hear some real history for once!"

"All my stories are real," said Jay, sounding hurt.  "And yes, this was Kaptain Krude -- a villain who could control wind and rain and even create hurricanes -- he was a very powerful storm shaman, as powerful as the hero Monsoon.  This was our first encounter with him.  We later learned that he'd gained his powers only a couple of days earlier in a oil rig accident... well, that's not important.  The important part is that there were no weather controllers available, so they called in Dark Dr. Dark, who brought Grandpa Anarchy and I along.

"Now, Dark Dr. Dark was a powerful sorcerer even back in the sixties, but he flew into the storm and was unable to get the villain to say anything.  Next he tried to shut the villain down -- but his magic was useless against Kaptain Krude; the oily surface seemed to repel magic.  The Air Force got involved, but bullets and even missiles bounced off his black exterior -- the oily good that encases him was like a rubbery armor that deflected projectiles.  Nothing could penetrate it -- I even tried my electricity against him, but it didn't work.

"Meanwhile, this storm was growing stronger by the hour.  It was about to hit category five, and was aimed squarely at the oil rigs off the Texas and Louisiana coast.  They weren't prepared for it.  Hundreds of lives were threatened.  We racked our brains to come up with a way to defeat the villain, but Grandpa Anarchy had an idea.

"Grandpa said he'd seen this creature before -- not necessarily the man himself, but the thing that gave him the power.  He said that it was an oil-based demon called Mhalaxal.  It crawls down your throat and dwells in your gut.  It was dredged up by an oil well in Texas in the 1930's, and consequently has a hatred for oil drilling and mining, two things that have disturbed its slumber.  Grandpa had fought it once, and while it was very very powerful, he knew how to beat it.  It had worked before.

"Of course, Grandpa Anarchy couldn't fly.  We didn't have jet packs or anything like that back then.  All we had was my glider suit.  We sabotaged that to construct glider wings for Grandpa, and Dark Dr. Dark used his magic to make Grandpa lighter than normal.  We circled around and he launched himself from the airplane and glided straight at Kaptain Krude.

"One punch was all he got, but that was all it took.  Grandpa's fist struck the man right in the stomach.  Just like the last time, the man became ill.  He vomited up a dark, oily creature which plunged into the sea.  The hurricane began to fade immediately.  As for the man himself -- Grandpa grabbed him and they managed to half-glide, half-fall to the ocean surface.  We dropped some life preservers and a floating buoy, and they were picked up a couple of hours later.  By that point the hurricane had completely vanished.

"And that," said Jay, "is how Grandpa stopped a hurricane with his fist."

"I cry foul," said Continuitae.  "Grandpa didn't stop the hurricane.  He punched Kaptain Krude, and that stopped the hurricane."

"Well, that's true enough," said Jay.  "I guess I was waxing a bit hyperbolic -- Grandpa punching a storm sounds so much better.  But it just goes to show that an ill Krude blows no wind."

Continuitae glared at Jay.  She tapped her fingers on the bar.  After a moment, Sun Wukong barked a short laugh.  "Ah, yes!  A pun, and for once I get the reference!"

"I would guess," said Continuitae, "that you've been waiting most of the last sixty-seven years for the right time to use that line?"

"That," said Jay, "is probably an accurate statement."

"Well just so you know, it wasn't worth the wait," said Continuitae.

"No," said Ravella, "It wasn't.  Jay, the next round is on you."


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