SG: Sporkman #5 - A New Villainy

Greg Fishbone gfishbone at
Mon Dec 10 12:00:59 PST 2007

     Roger tried to remember the instructions his Uncle Nobody had
given, back when he'd first started working in the underground death
factory. "Roger," Uncle Nobody had said, "this is the easiest job
you'll ever have. All you have to do is sit in the control room and
play video games. If a superhero attacks, the factory defenses should
be able to hold them off, and there's an emergency signal on the back
wall that you can use to summon me."

     Roger risked a glance and saw the bright red button in a case
under a large sign that read, "IN CASE OF SUPERGUY, BREAK GLASS."

     "So what are you?" Roger asked, trying his best to distract the

     "Excuse me?" asked Spoonstryke.

     "If you're not hot and you're not cool, what are you? Room
temperature? Luke warm? Tepid?"

     "I AM NOT TEPID!" she stated.

     "Of course not," said Roger, shuffling toward the back wall. "But
you are a bit defensive, don't you think?"

     Spoonstryke sighed. "You're right, of course. I guess it all
stems from my childhood. I started very young in the superhero
business, as the daughter of a famous hero--you've heard of Spoonman,

     "They guy who owns all the Spoonburger restaurants?" asked Roger,
inching ever closer to the button. "The one whose action figures were
recalled because they were made entirely out of lead paint and razor

     "The current governor of New Jersey who's running to be our next
president?" Number Twenty-Two added from her place under Spoonstryke's

     "Yeah, that's him," said Spoonstryke. "Villains never took me
seriously when I was just Spoonman's cute little tag-along daughter,
and I guess I developed something of a complex about it. But really,
is it so wrong to want people to recognize my accomplishments first
and my physical attributes second, or maybe even third?"

     "Poor Spoonstryke," said Number Twenty-Two, articulating the best
she could with her face mashed into the floor.

     "Maybe you will be better my uncle and his
powerful gang of Serially Numbered Underlings!" Roger reached out and
slammed his hand across the emergency call button. Video screens
flickered to life on every wall in the control room and throughout the
factory floor below.

     Roger crossed his arms imperiously as his Uncle Nobody's voice
echoed throughout the complex. "Greetings, superhero and/or
superheroine! If you're hearing this recording, it can only mean that
you have been captured by my nephew and his underling. I'm sure that
by now he's bound you into a cunning death-trap of his own design."

     Roger's jaw dropped in surprise. "What? That's not what it's
supposed to say! It's supposed to announce that he'll be here any
second to defeat you!"

     "Now that I've been alerted to the situation, rest assured that
I'll be by to pick up your remains," the recording continued. "Maybe
I'll run some errands first, though--buy some stamps, dry clean my
costume, replace the batteries in all the smoke detectors--it's so
comforting to know that my capable nephew has everything under

     "No!" Roger shouted. "Uncle Nobody, please! I need help!"

     "This recording will self-destruct in three seconds," Nobody
Important concluded. Three seconds later, every video screen shattered
with a shower of sparks and then went blank.

     Roger dropped to his knees. "Um... Spoonstryke? I don't suppose I
could convince you to pretend that never happened?"

     Spoonstryke cracked her knuckles.

     Roger swallowed hard. "I didn't think so."

**  The Sporkarific Sporkman
**  Episode #5: A New Villainy
**  By Greg R. Fishbone
** Rude Awakenings #5 of 5

     Mickey slumped in a chair at the VIP Club at Charles de Gaulle
Airport. The lounge was crammed with rich and famous passengers,
making Mickey feel very much out of place. "Really," he told Jeanette,
"you didn't have to spring for such expensive tickets."

     "Luxury class is zee only way to travel," said Jeanette,
cheerfully stirring her complimentary beverage with a gem-encrusted

     "But I'll never be able to pay you back for all of this."

     "Hush, Mickey. You will pay me back by saving my life--unless you
are saying zhat my life is worth less zhan a transatlantic dirigible

     "I keep telling you, I'm not a superguy."

     "And I keep not believing you," Jeanette replied.

     Mickey took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Okay, I'll tell
you about my secret past--but only so you'll stop expecting me to save

     "I am, how you say, all ears."

     "I am... I was... That is, they used to call me..." He had to
close his eyes before he could speak the name. "I'm Sporkboy."

     "Pardon?" asked Jeanette. "Sports Boy?"

     "Sporkboy," said Mickey. "You know, like this." He held out his
right hand and this time Jeanette saw the ring flow off his finger
like mercury and reform into a spoon with forkish points.

     "You can shape metal with your mind!" Jeanette exclaimed.

     Mickey shook his head. "No, I can't. I have a ring that turns
into a spork--a half-fork, half-spoon--and that's it. Other than that,
I'm just an ordinary guy."

     "But no," said Jeanette. "Zhis is not possible. I can sense Mask
Principle residue, so I can tell zhat you many times wore a mask."

     "I wore a mask, but that doesn't make me a superguy. My cousin
was a superguy--she could do just about anything--and that was the
only reason why I didn't get myself killed every time I put on that
stupid Sporkboy costume. At the time, I told myself that I was just as
much of a hero as the other members of our team, but it wasn't true.
They were the heroes, and I was just a dorky kid playing superhero

     Jeanette put her glass down on the solid mahogany bar and thought
for a moment. "So your friends had powers, and all you had was zhat


     "Your friends were bulletproof maybe, yes? Or zhey could fly? Or
zhey could move at super speed? And you...had a spork."

     "That's right."

     "Zhen it seems to me zhat you were zee bravest one of all."

     "Not brave, Jeanette, just stupid. And if you're putting your
life in my hands, I've got to wonder about your common sense as well."

     "We will be stupid togezher, mon ami. Now we'd better go--zhey
just announced preboarding for Double-Plus-Plus Diamond Club members
and zhat would be us."

* * *

     Roger Important and Underling Number Twenty-Two hung
back-to-back, wrapped in stainless steel cable, suspended just inside
the entrance to the underground death factory. Below them, Spoonstryke
absently struck a steel I-beam over and over again with her bare
fists. Or at least, it had started out as an I-beam. Three hours of
repetitive pounding had flattened and shaped it to resemble a gigantic

     "My uncle will be here any second now, and then you'll be sorry,"
said Roger once again, hardly believing it himself anymore.

     Spoonstryke stepped back from her handiwork and circled the
two-ton sculpture, admiring it from every angle. "Eat your heart out,
Claes Oldenburg!"

     "Any second now... Any second now... Any second now..." said Roger.

     "Sir?" asked Number Twenty-Two. "Perhaps it's time to concede
that your uncle won't be showing up."

     Roger sighed deeply, or as deeply as he was able to with steel
cables constricting his chest. "You're right, Tee-Tee. What do you
say, Spoonstryke? Can we call the battle a draw and all go home?"

     "I guess so," said Spoonstryke.

     Roger blinked. "Really?"

     "This afternoon has been a complete waste of my time, although it
was nice to work out a bit against your security droids. When your
uncle does finally show up, tell him I look forward to seeing him real

     "Wait! Hold on!" Roger called to her. "You're just going to leave
us like this?"

     Spoonstryke reached into a costume pocket for a curiously
spoon-shaped mobile phone. "You're not really worth my effort, but if
you want the local authorities to cut you down--"

     "No!" Roger shouted. "I mean really, like you said, we're not
worth your effort. Why trouble yourself on our account?"

     Spoonstryke put the phone away and pondered the hanging teenager
for a moment. "You know, Roger, you don't have to enter your family's
line of business just because that's what's expected of you. Follow
your own heart and get out before--" She turned away, and for just a
moment Roger thought he heard a tremble in her voice. "Get out before
you no longer have a choice in the matter."

     "I'll think about it," Roger promised. "That's some very deep
advice, Spoonstryke."

     "I'm not deep," Spoonstryke stated, and then she was gone.





Author's Notes:

It's interesting for me as an author to revisit Mickey and Nancy after
a ten-year gap. Writing them as young adults is so different from
writing them as children! Mickey's mantra, as Sporkboy, was that
having powers and being a hero were mutually exclusive things. Now he
seems to think only of how much danger he was putting himself into,
and how he might have been more ignorant than brave after all. And
Nancy, as Spoongirl, would have been incapable of showing the
self-doubt and regret hinted at in this episode--although if she
weren't a superhero, I honestly don't know what she'd do with her life
instead. Part of the change in each character comes from obtaining
wisdom and experience, but there's also been some pretty traumatic
stuff happening during the hiatus.

That spork ring is something Mickey never had before. In addition to
being a useful countermeasure to today's stricter airport security,
the ring also hints at some reequipping that must have gone on during
the hiatus. Also interesting is Mickey's mention of belonging to a
team of superguys. The official team in the Preteen Patrol series
wasn't officially formed until around Episode #40 or so, and didn't
get much chance to take off before the series ground to a halt. Is
this the team Mickey is talking about? Maybe, maybe not!

Regardless of what Spoonstryke believes, her spoon sculpture isn't
nearly as big as Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's "Spoonbridge
and Cherry", although it surely took her less time and fewer tools to
create. --

Greg R. Fishbone -
* President: Class of 2k7 -
* ARA: New England SCBWI -

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