Suggested Audio Jukebox
 Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”
 Lyn Collins “Think (About It)”
 Mötley Crüe “Looks That Kill”
 James Brown “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”
 The Police “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”
 Pet Shop Boys “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”
 Go West “We Close Our Eyes”
 Adeva “Respect”
 Metallica “Holier than Thou”
 Frank Sinatra “Fly Me To The Moon”
The year is 2016 and the fate of the entire planet hangs precariously in the balance. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it would appear that has something to do with little old me. You see, a few weeks back, I had the crazy idea of creating my own ultimate superhero. Initially it seemed like a stupendous plan as I’m all for making the world a safer place for all and figured mankind needs somebody they can really count on in a fix. Impervious Man was my solution, a caped crusader for the new generation, fighting tooth and nail in the name of justice and liberty. My intentions were pure at the offset and, as I fashioned this champion from his very nuts and bolts, things were once again looking good for humanity. No more war, no more world hunger, far less media exposure for Justin Bieber, and the opportunity to nab myself a Nobel Peace Prize in the process. How could it possibly fail?
Of course, I tooled my superhero up to the nines, as he would need to be well equipped for such a momentous undertaking and also stand out from the crowd. After meticulous research and much deliberation, I supplied Impervious Man with a ten-strong inventory of special powers, just to turn the tide of battle in his favor. Some of these were defensive, others utterly offensive, but all had a distinct purpose, that being to rid us of crime once and for all. His training went decidedly well and he got the hang of his new gadgetry in no time whatsoever. After graduating the programme with honors, it was time to slacken the reins and unleash my superhero on the unsuspecting wider community. In no time whatsoever, he made his presence felt, and crime rates plummeted to all-time lows within days. Have you ever heard the term quit while you’re ahead? Perhaps I should have considered this before heading back to the laboratory.
I had the foolish notion that he needed a more stern challenge than the one being provided by the thugs on the street and this entailed concocting an opposing supervillain to keep Impervious Man on the front foot. To truly elevate himself into the list of luminary greats, he would first have to battle against the odds and save our planet from inevitable termination. It’s all a matter of public relations really, selling your product, and making yourself indispensable in the process. His opposite number would give him a run for his money, one of great raggedness, and I added another ten special powers to basket, before applying any last spit and polish. Given that Impervious Man was your alpha strain of superhero, it felt only right to represent the ladies and give them a voice in matters of such global urgency. I didn’t mean to imply that our fate should be decided by the battle of the sexes but who really wants to watch two sweaty men wrestling in a sand pit? If nothing else, this particular dish of skirmish proposed to be spicy.
I named her Very Worst Nightmare Girl on account of her fitting the bill rather snugly. You see, with a generous dash of hindsight at my disposal, I could really go to town on those upgrades and suspect I may have gotten a little spirited away by the time I fitted her up with THE MOTHERNATOR! This was perhaps a step too far as even Impervious Man would struggle against the bogus genetic mutation it encouraged. When you see the signs, you are supposed to heed them, but this process was exhaustive and left scant time for the necessary reflection. Instead, I motored on, polished her chrome (thoroughly I might add), and released her like a flying monkey who had just licked the tip of a ripened banana. To frame the moment in words, I waved her off with “Fly my pretty! FLY!” and headed back inside to sit and contemplate how I would look on the cover of Rolling Stone. Should my Behold! brand take off, then I could be looking at lucrative sponsorship deals with antiperspirant brands and potential merchandising. It worked for Marvel so why not for a well-meaning country boy like myself?
It was about this time that the phone started to ring off the hook. Regrettably, Very Worst Nightmare Girl had gotten up to a smidgen of mischief in the short time since I released her manacles and none of it was mild. Any parents amongst us know what it’s like, you fill your children’s stockings to capacity with all manner of new-fangled playthings and they head straight for the largest gift, forsaking all others in a half beat. Who gives a hoot about Etch-a-Sketch when you’ve got a shiny new BMX to wreak havoc on? Baptizing THE MOTHERNATOR! was her first priority and I just figured she’d cast her eye over her other nine upgrades after she’d started to grow indifferent to her number one toy. What I hadn’t figured was that adults aren’t quite as fickle as ankle-biters, and our attention spans are far greater. The calls I received were mostly reports of a hideous rampaging fishwife obliterating anything she came into contact with. Given that I had soldered Very Worst Nightmare Girl’s motherboard in the first place, it stood to reason that I would become public enemy number one. Actually, I believe the word is pariah.
What can I say? We live in a blame culture. That said, it’s hard for a bird of prey to plead its innocence when there’s topsoil beneath its talons and it all leads back to a nestful of shrew carcasses. I had chronicled the whole experiment from very first nut to final bolt and even bust out the Dictaphone to dig myself in deeper still. Moreover, my laboratory was literally heaving with similarly damning evidence, such as the waft of Love Potion No. 9 and incriminating bodily fluids that suggested I had gotten off habitually during her creation. Of course, I was guiltier than sin, as that Pantyhose of Persuasion sure does live up to its billing. For as much as I deserved whatever harsh judgement was coming to me, I didn’t see nothing wrong with a few frisky bumps amidst all this laborious grind. It wasn’t as if it was the prospect of global catastrophe that got my flag flying, The Oestrogen 500 Exoskeleton did a pretty thorough job of raising that mast. However, they had me bang to rights, and my only way out of this mess was to call upon Impervious Man to bail me out. Needless to say, he wasn’t best pleased.
After a good hour of failing to convince him that there had been absolutely no preferential treatment, he finally agreed to help me, for a small fee of course. I was in no position to bargain so agreed to his terms and promised him I’d construct one final gadget to help him in his bid for triumph. This would need to remain on the down low as, should Very Worst Nightmare Girl catch a solitary whiff of WD40, then I could be about to meet THE MOTHERNATOR! in the putrid flesh. This actually would qualify as preferential and when you’ve created a monster, the last thing you possibility want is to grind its gears. I was about to enter a covert operation so dicey that both testicles shrunk to the size of microscopic atoms at the mere prospect of getting rumbled. Worse still, the word on the street was that she had given that Pantyhose of Persuasion a run out and constructed herself a 100-strong small army. This equates to 200 beady eyes all probing for the faintest slip-up and primed to strike from the shadows at any given time. That’s one helluva pussy whip.
This was all well and good but I was only too aware of my tendency to clusterfuck once the chips had been lowered, and had a niggling concern that all was not destined to end well. However, I was also a man of my word, and a deal’s a deal so Impervious Man would indeed be cunningly outfitted with an extra sweetener as the fate of mankind was hanging somewhat fretfully in the balance. With THE MOTHERNATOR! proving such a devastating weapon, it seemed only right to break out the bold capitals and exclamation mark once again and shore up the playing field some. Time was of the über-essence so I needed to produce this rabbit from my hat quick smart and give that shit a title before the walls came crashing in around me and the baying sentinels entered the fray. Double dang I’m proud of the results. Given the stringent time constraints and lack of available resources, I would say I did rather well wouldn’t you agree?
Seemed like a no-brainer to me. You see, while Impervious Man looked rather fetching in lycra, pops didn’t fare quite so well in the handsome buck stakes. Like its tenuously feminine counterpart, THE FATHERNATOR! could activate via a singular self-administered jab from a pint-sized hypodermic syringe. Chances were, both superhero and supervillain would jack up in unison and this would leave the fate of humanity down to good old-fashioned parental dispute. There were no guarantees that daddy would trump mommy in such hell for leather marital combat but neither was there anything left to be lost from giving it the old college try. Impervious Man was thrilled with the token and scurried off back to H.Q. to do some last-minute stomach crunches and slip into his tights with his own personal hero now waiting in the wings. I neglected to remind him that his father was also something of a sloth. Hardly the most motivated of couch potatoes, chances were, he would sit around in his underpants, occasionally running one finger along the sweat crease beside his unwashed balls, just for a quick hit of something pungent while he downed his fifth can of cheap industrial-strength lager and belched with ominous melody. There was a lot riding on THE FATHERNATOR! and that sinking feeling kept on coming as the pair agreed to eleventh hour crisis talks.
I acted as go-between and opted for a neutral meeting point so as to not appear biased or arouse suspicion of foul play. Starbucks seemed like the ideal spot for a nice public tête-à-tête and I decided to grab myself a caramel frappe to slurp on, while spying from an unobserved vantage and ensuring nothing untoward occurred. Of course, I knew two things: firstly something untoward would invariably occur as it always does in any pulp fiction worth its salt and, secondly, there wasn’t a damn thing I would be able to do once shit hit the fan as its uppermost oscillate setting would prove far too gusty not to come away reeking of poo vapors. However, I had to take responsibility for my actions as this fine mess was ultimately of my making. Being treated like a pariah is no fun you know. This was my sole opportunity to save face and perhaps mankind in the process. If nothing else, it proposed a clash of the titans that had pay-per-view written all over it. I may not possess Don King’s head of moss and neither do I exude his blackness, but I could have his bank balance to console myself with and everyday could still end up a Starbucks day.
Impervious Man took his seat and activated The X-Ray Chest Wig just to while away the time while waiting for his lady’s fashionably late arrival and get to know his waitress better. Her name was Betsy and she had only recently returned to active duty from undergoing extensive reconstructive vaginal surgery after becoming afflicted with the dreaded prolapse. She was in her mid-to-late forties, had a tattoo of a pork chop on her right buttock, and made up for what she lacked in elasticity with a fine pair of unflagging breasts that were of 100% man-made fibers. Impervious Man he may be but, when Betsy fumbled his Americano and bent over practically in his face to sweep up any shattered crockery, he was betrayed by his very loins. Mercifully, The Panties of Penetration were on hand to scrub themselves up and apply a few squirts of fabric softener. However, this was a close shave, albeit figuratively, and suggested that his eyes may not have been quite on the prize.
Very Worst Nightmare Girl was now twenty minutes tardy and it was a good job he had activated The G.S.O.H. Ankle Bracelet prior to engagement as his patience was starting to wear decidedly thin and there was only so much of Betsy’s rectal bouquet he was prepared to inhale before bending her over the espresso machine and providing the term bat cave with new meaning by spring cleaning seven years of dense labial cobwebs. That kind of knee-jerk reaction could have catastrophic repercussions in such a well-populated hot spot and he would be left banking on The Cape of A Thousand Cheetahs to dig him out of a hole before the baying crowd encroached on his personal space. To be fair, he was wearing The Mask of Fletch so Chevy Chase could always take the fall on his behalf. But it was hardly the kind of conclusion I had hoped for when playing matchmaker and poor Betsy would be left incapable of sitting for weeks afterwards. I happen to be rather partial to a refreshing caramel frappe and didn’t fancy my name being mud or having my bonus card confiscated when I was only one stamp from a free Rocky Road. Alas, all hell was about to break loose, and Betsy’s bruised ovaries would soon be the very least of my concerns.
From across the crowded coffee shop, I suddenly heard the words no fast-fading outcast wishes to hear – “Bieber at six o’clock!” Impervious Man’s Anti-Bieber Homing Gauntlets had picked up a disturbance in the street outside and promptly informed their host of this imposing threat to national security. Even more disparaging was the fact that this was no isolated sighting. Several lookalikes were also in the vicinity and there simply wasn’t sufficient ammunition to disband this number of irritants. The sole upshot to all this despair was that I now knew Very Worst Nightmare Girl was nearby as only Pro-Bieber Lip Gloss could have multiplied the madness to the power of seven. Up until then, I’d suspected this meet and greet to have been a write-off, but the girl had come good and it wasn’t too late for a spot of damage limitation. True to form, a Garterang then entered my peripheral vision, and the hot dog vendor outside doubled over as his prize Weiner became little more than fast food for swarms of parasitic genital lice. With a paltry 35 yard rangefinder, the Garterang proved that she was already puckered up for the kiss of death and all set to engage in a spot of face sucking.
Moments later, after sneaking straight past me using The Veil of Volton to camouflage her whereabouts, she arrived at the table where Impervious Man was seated and pulled herself up a pew. The moment he became aware of her presence, he retreated a few inches so as to reveal his Chromatic Gosling Abs Ver. 0.02 so she knew precisely what he was packing. Despite this shameless exhibition of vanity, I could see only too well that he was riddled with pre-fight jitters and this didn’t bode well at all. Thankfully, The Glass Jaw of Jomalia settled his nerves with a rapid shot of Jim Beam and crisis appeared to have been averted. Still, he wasn’t taking any chances, and had his Colt .45 Peacemaker already cocked beneath the tablecloth just in case things took a turn for the worse. Silly rabbit should have known by now that simple bullets could never harm such an advanced prototype as The Oestrogen 500 Exoskeleton was fully resistant to lead and that had been raised in his briefing just an hour ago. Alas, he was too mesmerized by her Boom Bust Plunder Bra to consider anything other than how her mechanized cans would feel to the jiggle.
No sooner had he plumped for an ice-breaker than she swiftly turned her back and subjected him to The Cloak of Channel Zero. Death by Ricki Lake appeared a very real probability as she called out her first guest, no other than Justin Bieber. Impervious Man endeavored to live up to his name and feigned indifference although his face couldn’t mask his fragrant fixture to the crisp HD image and Def Con 5 was duly facilitated. A couple of cunning squirts of her Love Potion No.9 and the writing was very much on the wall for Impervious Man. Turned out that he was more pervious than I had hoped and one sniff of her elixir was enough to have him slobbering like a bloodhound in a butcher’s window. While I felt the urge to step in and slap him out of his daze, I dared not interfere as I’ve heard all about pets who turn against their owners. Instead I just hoped and prayed for some divine interception or a natural disaster to stop this madness before it really got out of hand. I’ll allow you three guesses as to what happened next. You got it in one, it all really got out of hand.
Sensing victory, Very Worst Nightmare Girl reached for her utility belt and produced her syringe, jabbing it straight into her upper thigh and Impervious Man summoned any remaining resolve and did likewise. That is where you join us now as, in just a few moments, our sworn enemies will have metamorphosed into THE MOTHERNATOR! and THE FATHERNATOR!, and we all know that’s a free-for-all just begging to play out. Having designed both strains, I can confirm that the side effects ain’t pretty, as I lost three perfectly good lab monkeys in the name of last-minute quality checks. It’s out of my hands now and all I can do is sit and wait. Looks like I won’t have long to wait either as both toxins have already started taking effect and my beautiful creations are looking decidedly less eye-catching by the second. If I were you Grueheads, I would hang back from the splash zone as this one may well be about to get decidedly messy. If there’s one thing that parents just don’t understand even more than their children, then that would be each other. I think it’s high time I pass you over to ma and pa and let you find out for yourselves.
“Well I have to say I’m very disappointed Harold”
“Why does that not surprise me Deirdre?”
“Are you being facetious?”
“Whatever gives you that idea?”
“I don’t like your tone”
“So what don’t you like this time?”
“Starbucks? Is that what it has come down to? Hardly the most upmarket place to bring me is it Harold? I’ve heard all about this place, it’s where all the heathens come”
“Jesus, is nothing good enough for you?”
“That’s okay. I’m getting used to this kind of thoughtlessness from you now”
“It’s always my fault isn’t it?”
“If it feels that way, then maybe that’s because it always is your fault”
“Whatever happened to that timid little wallflower I met all those years ago?”
“She got tired of waiting for you to buck up your act”
“Well I don’t see you going out and earning a living”
“You know my gout plays up if I stand for too long”
“Then get a job sitting on that fat ass of yours. Anything to get you out of the house for just one day”
“Why’s that Harold? So you can sneak your secretary Linda home and fuck her in our family bed? I’ve seen the way she looks at you. Nothing but a whore if you ask me”
“Her shorthand is second to none, I’ll have you know”
“Bullshit. You have some deluded idea that she will lower her standards simply to bag herself a promotion”
“As a matter of fact, she said I am rather dashing for an older man”
“She’s playing you like a flute Harold. And whatever happened to ’til death do us part? Conveniently forgotten your vows have you?”
[UNDER BREATH] “Didn’t realize it would be such a stretch”
“You take that back at once!”
“Why should I? I’m sick of your shit Deirdre. All you do these days is moan and it got old ten years ago. Once, just once, it would be nice if I came home to a quiet life instead of having all my flaws pointed out and being made to feel inferior”
“Look who’s talking? You haven’t so much as touched me in months now. I have needs you know. You think I don’t look in the mirror and feel worthless? I got my roots colored last week and you didn’t even think to comment”
“Superbowl was on”
“And that’s another thing Harold. You’re starting to get a beer belly on you. If you don’t buck up, you’ll turn into one of those couch potatoes”
“I need lager just to put up with your incessant whining”
“That’s it. I’ve had enough. You’ve pushed me too far this time Harold”
“Whatcha gonna do Deirdre? Divorce me? Take me to the cleaners?”
“As soon as we get home yes but right now I think I’ll make a scene instead”
“Don’t even think of embarrassing me in public”
“Too late bucko. What’s the name of our waitress again?”
“Is that her?”
“Uh huh. If you’re going to do what I think you’re going to do…”
Too late. Turns out that Betsy needn’t have filled out that organ donor card after all as one speedy zap from THE MOTHERNATOR! and she’s effectively a milkshake. This is all starting to get a little out of hand and THE FATHERNATOR! already appears to be gearing up for an attack of its own so it’s only about to get worse I’m sure. To his credit, her downtrodden husband seems to be taking it all in his stride and has activated his G.P.S. Shoulder Pads presumably so the soothing tones of Stevie Wayne can assist him in destressing after this latest public humiliation. Regrettably, this is more of a case of calm before the storm as he has requested the locations of all nearby Biebers and is currently sussing out his journey time. I just performed a head count and there are at least twelve Biebers on the loose in this block alone with heaven knows how many others lurking in the adjoining alleys. Methinks a bloodbath is on the cards and, while this will undoubtedly be blamed on yours truly, the prospect of front row seats for multiple JB assassinations is just too mouth-watering to pass up.
After activating The Cape of A Thousand Cheetahs, our disguised superhero vacates the premises and begins making mince meat of every little shit smudge with a quiff that he can lay eyes on. Very Worst Nightmare Girl wastes no time in activating her Aviation Pro Shower Hat but the twin jet boosters stall attempting to raise all that excess cargo and back fat off the ground. This could well be the turning point in our battle as currently it’s THE FATHERNATOR! 8 THE MOTHERNATOR! 1 and more Biebers are lined up simply begging to be dropped like flies. By my estimations, that’s match point to good right? The world will soon be rid of this tyrannical wench and, while part of me will be sad to see her go, I have several lingerie catalogs in my top drawer that will help sweeten that particular component. Sometimes you just have to let go, no matter how agonizing that may be, and I happen to draw the line at global terror. If she’s got a last-ditch plan then now would be a good time to put it into action as her adversary is only one Bieber away from a virtual whitewash.
That’s my girl. While likely best for all involved that she just accept defeat, I’m swollen with pride to see Very Worst Nightmare Girl showing a little fire in her belly and not giving up without a fight. I hope she goes down in a blaze of glory as opposed to a vague whimper as I taught her better than to quit at the first sign of trouble. Gather round Grueheads as she is just about to reveal her hand and these two vile creatures are about to face-off for the final time. I trust we have enough left in the budget for another effects-laden set-piece.
“What is it Deirdre? Can’t you see I’m busy here?”
“Well that’s just it you see. I’ve been watching you from the coffee shop and have to admit to being mildly turned on right now”
“It pains me to say it but yes. I thought you’d forgotten how to be a man and I find it all a little intoxicating if I’m honest”
“You know, I think I just remembered why I married you in the first place Deirdre. It sure as shit wasn’t your cooking”
“I’ll even let that one slide if you just kiss me Harold. Like you used to”
“I don’t know. I think I have a headache coming and…what’s that delightful aroma?”
“You like it? It’s my new perfume? Love Potion No. 9. I sprayed it all over. Here, take a long hard sniff”
“I’ll take your word for it. So I’m not in the dog house then?”
“Well that depends”
“On whether or not you can keep this up. You may claim to be good but your impressive death tally states that you’d be better served teaming up with me on the dark side. Think of the mischief we could make together”
“And you’ll keep off my back?”
“Promise. Let’s start again Harold”
“Well…I guess nobody likes a do-gooder”
“So you’ll do it? You’ll become evil and continue with your flight of destruction?”
“I want full television privileges for a month. And poker Tuesdays with Bobby and Clive are back on. Sound fair?”
“Well okay then. Time for you to sweep me off my feet and carry me over the threshold like you did on our wedding night”
“May be a slight hitch there love. You didn’t weigh half a ton in 1976”
“Fine. Just grip an ankle and drag me then”
What have I done? It has all gone terribly wrong and the entire global population is about to pay the ultimate price for my shoddy workmanship. To be fair, the issue is hardly substandard engineering. If anything, I excelled a little too much in my design. That’s by the bye now as seven billion fingers are about to wag in my direction and my scientific license may well be revoked for such heinous crimes against humanity. Ultimately it’s all about applying a little perspective. Granted, I may have come a cropper trying to do a good deed after evil just recruited itself a reasonably formidable former goody two shoes to assist in making everyone’s lives a short-lived misery. But I also patched up a relationship and that has to count for something right? Perhaps good and evil can co-exist peacefully after all. Okay, peacefully may be pushing it, but that’s still something of a doozy. Besides, Impervious Man was so busy bashing Bieber skulls that he didn’t notice he had misplaced his Cape of A Thousand Cheetahs. Remotest Alaska here I come.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016