SG: Sporkman #6 - A New Luxury

Greg Fishbone gfishbone at
Mon Dec 17 20:10:00 PST 2007

     Mickey and Jeanette ascended the field tower elevator to the
airship's luxury level. "Where are the other luxury class passengers?"
Mickey asked. "There were actors, pop stars, professional athletes,
talk show hosts, politicians, and a hotel heiress in that VIP
lounge--aren't they on the same flight as us?"

     "Zhey probably do not have zee Double-Plus-Plus Diamond Club
preboarding privileges." Jeanette waved a glittering golden card at
him and smiled.

     Mickey stared. "Just how wealthy is your family?"

     "Eet is not just wealth, Mickey. Some of eet is merely influence.
Besides, zhere is less of a difference zhan you would think between
zee luxury level and zee ordinary first class level."

     "I don't fly first class. I've only ever been in coach."

     "Mon Dieu!" Jeanette gave him a scandalized expression. "Zhen
perhaps you will be in for a bit of a shock after all."

     The elevator doors opened onto an opulent high-ceilinged plaza of
marble and brass with an enormous window looking down onto the
airport's control tower. The airship's captain and crew stood at
attention as Mickey and Jeanette walked past. "Welcome aboard the
Supersonic Airship Unsplodable. I am your pilot, Captain Jack. Please
take a complementary gift bag of normally unapproved electronic
devices and feel free to select any seat you wish--except that you
can't have my seat because I need access to all the flight controls."

     The crew chuckled uncomfortably.

     "Unless you really do want my seat," Captain Jack amended, as
nervous sweat dripped from under his cap. "It's not as plush and
comfortable as the ones up here but you're the ones with
Double-Plus-Plus Diamond Club access while I'm merely an airship pilot
with 20 years of flight experience. If you want to fly the airship,
just say the word!"

     "That won't be necessary," said Mickey.

     "At ease," Jeanette added, and the crew scrambled away to their stations.

     Mickey looked around with his eyes agog. "A hot-and-cold buffet?
An open bar? Casino table games? that a swimming pool?"

     "Of course. Zhey do not have a swimming pool in coach?" Jeanette
asked with honest surprise in her voice.

     "No," said Mickey. "The closest you can come to swimming in coach
is when the clumsy jerk next to you spills diet cola all down the
front of your shirt."

     "I'd prefer zee swimming pool," Jeanette affirmed.

**  The Sporkarific Sporkman
**  Episode #6: A New Luxury
**  By Greg R. Fishbone
** Lemurs on a Dirigible #1 of 8ish

     Underling Number Thirteen stood at the departure gate window,
watching the last group of first class passengers troop across the
tarmac to the field tower elevator. Above the tower, the Supersonic
Airship Unsplodable hung in the sky like a casaba melon. A
concrete-gray casaba melon. A floating concrete-gray casaba melon with
a giant gondola attached to its underside.

     "The Supersonic Airship Unsplodable is now boarding coach
passengers in rows one through ten," the desk attendant announced.
Families of travel-weary tourists formed a line that stretched far
down the waiting area, like a mob of refugees with overhead luggage
and "J'aime Paris" T-shirts.

     "Finally!" Number Thirteen checked his ticket with hopeful
expression that crashed quickly into a groan of despair. "Row number
seventy-seven? Aw, HELL(tm)!"

     A mobile phone buzzed, and Number Thirteen grimaced at the name
on the caller ID. "Hello, chief," he answered.

     "Are you on board yet?" his employer asked.

     "Any minute now, chief."

     The employer exploded in anger, like Number Thirteen had
expected. "What exactly is the problem, Thirteen? It's been an hour
since your target boarded the airship, and you're still inside the

     "Affirmative, chief. I wasn't able to get a luxury class ticket
on such short notice. Do you know those fancy clubs with the velvet
ropes and the ginormous bouncer who decides whether you're important
enough to get in?"


     "They've got one of those guys working for the airship line's
luxury class. There's a three-year waiting list just for people to
plead their case to him."

     "Then how did Jeanette LeBlanc--?"

     "Double-Plus-Plus Diamond Club access. The airline bumped the
Queen of England and Prince Charles to make room for Miss LeBlanc and
her...male companion. Any further information on his identity, by the

     "The guy's a cipher, Thirteen. His name is Michael Dunne, an
American national with no known alternate identities or agency

     "So it's not a problem if he dies while I'm completing my mission?"

     "It's okay if he dies, and if the rest of the passengers die, and
if you yourself die as well--as long as the mission objective is

     "As you command, chief," said Number Thirteen. "Carrying out your
final order will be the capstone of my genetically-engineered
lifetime." He hung up the phone and looked up hopefully at the
slowly-shortening line of airship passengers.

     "Now boarding coach class passengers in rows one through ten--and
now row eleven as well," the desk attendant announced.

     Number Thirteen tucked his row-seventy-seven ticket into a pocket
of his coat and banged his head on the nearest wall.

* * *

     "Here you are, sir," said a fawning flight attendant, falling
over himself with a series of bows as he presented Mickey with a blue
pair of swim trunks. "32 waist, as requested."

     "You have extra bathing suits just lying around?" asked Mickey.

     "The coach class baggage section has been inventoried in detail.
Anything there is available at your request."

     "What?" asked Mickey, outraged. "You can't just take a bathing
suit out of somebody's luggage and give it to somebody else!"

     "Not to worry, sir. We have a thorough delousing and molecular
decontamination process."

     "That's not what I meant. This suit belongs to another passenger
and you don't have permission to give it away."

     The flight attendant smiled. "Obviously you have never read the
disclaimers printed on the back of a coach class ticket."

* * *

     "Come on, come on, come on," said Number Thirteen, as the
passengers in rows one through seventy-six trickled through the gate.

     "And now we are seating the absolute back of the airship, row

     "Yes!" Number Thirteen exclaimed.

     "That's row seventy-seven, seats A through X," the attendant amended.

     Number Thirteen looked down at his ticket for seat 77Y. "I really
hate this airline."

     "And now we are boarding seats 77Y and 77Z."

     Number Thirteen ran forward and handed over his ticket.

     The desk attendant clucked her tongue. "Welcome aboard, Mr.
Thirteen. You only just made it to the gate in time. In the future, we
ask that you arrive at least three hours in advance of an
international airship flight."

     "I was here three hours in advance," said Number Thirteen through
gritted teeth. "It took you three hours to announce my seat!"

     "Are we going to have a problem?" The desk attendant looked over
at a pair of airport security guards standing nearby.

     "No," said Number Thirteen, adding silently to himself, "There
won't be any problems until we're over international waters, at

     "Then stop wasting our time and get aboard so that we can depart."

     Number Thirteen moved at the back of the line, step by step,
toward the field tower. The line passed by an elevator bank. The first
elevator had a sign that read, "ACCESS RESTRICTED TO NON-PLUS-DIAMOND
CLASS AND ABOVE." The second elevator had a sign that read, "ACCESS
RESTRICTED TO FIRST CLASS." The third elevator had a sign that read,
"COACH CLASS--OUT OF ORDER." Number Thirteen looked up and groaned at
the sight of his fellow coach passengers climbing fifteen flights of
stairs up to the airship gondola.

* * *

     The luxury level had become livelier with the addition of
Single-Plus-Plus Diamond Club members, Extra-Plus-Diamond Club
members, Ordinary-Plus-Diamond Club members, and Non-Plus Diamond Club
members. Among the rich and famous passengers were Paris Hilton, Ryan
Seacrest, Lindsay Lohan, O.J. Simpson, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Jackson,
and Britney Spears. And over by the pool... Mickey rubbed his eyes in
disbelief. "Is that really Ann Coulter?" he asked.

     "Oui," said Jeanette. "By popular demand."

     "And is that really Michael Moore?"


     "And are they really feeding each other peeled grapes in the hot tub?"

     "What happens on zee luxury level stays on zee luxury level,"
Jeanette stated. "We are also not supposed to remark on Hillary
Clinton and Ted Kennedy playing strip poker with Dick Cheney and Rudy

     "I have a bad feeling about this," said Mickey. "A lot of these
people are... well..."

     "Widely disliked, resented, or hated?" Jeanette asked. "Zee kind
of people zhat might be suggested if you were to ask an online
audience who zhey would like to see torn apart by wild lemurs?"

     Mickey frowned. "Are you sure you're not having any hunches about
this flight being in danger?"

     "My hunch wasn't that zhis flight would be safe," she told him.
"My hunch was zhat this was zee flight you and I were meant to take."

     Captain Jack's voice crackled over the airship's loudspeakers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we've finally coaxed our last coach passenger
aboard so that we can now request a departure slot."

     "Finally!" exclaimed Lindsay Lohan, waving a half-empty bottle of
Ouzo in the air. "Let's get this thing in the air!"

     "We have entertainment lined up for each of our three levels,"
said the captain. "During the flight, our coach passengers will enjoy
a selection of airship advertisements played on a continual loop.
First class passengers will enjoy three recent theatrical releases.
And on the luxury level, we will be featuring Snakes on a Plane."

     "Aww," said Mickey. "I've seen that one."

     "That's Snakes on a Plane," the captain continued, "a world
premiere one-man play starring Samuel L. Jackson, adapted from last
summer's cinematic triumph."

     "Hey! Is there any motherfarkin' room in that motherfarkin' hot
tub?" a large man demanded of Michael Moore and Ann Coulter.

     "Oh my god! You're Samuel L. Jackson!" Mickey exclaimed.

     "Of course I'm motherfarkin' Samuel L. Jackson," said the man.
"I'm your motherfarkin' in-flight entertainment. Now pass me some
motherfarkin' peeled grapes!"

* * *

     "We believe you're sitting in our seat." An older woman waved her
ticket at Number Thirteen. She looked familiar somehow, but Number
Thirteen couldn't quite figure out where he'd seen her before.

     He squinted at her ticket. "Okay, I can understand where you
might be confused. You're in 77Z, which is this seat by the window.
I'm assigned to 77Y, the middle-seat, which I currently occupy."

     "Our son has been assigned to 77X, so we will have to sit in 77Y
to be next to him."

     "We will?" asked Number Thirteen, wondering whether this batty
woman was really proposing to spend the entire flight sitting in his

     "We will," the woman affirmed, pointing to herself. "It's bad
enough that we were bumped from the luxury level at the last minute.
We will not be forced to sit apart from our son, separated by a
commoner such as yourself."

     Number Thirteen dropped his face into his palms. "You're Queen
Elizabeth, aren't you?" He got up and moved to the window, gesturing
back to the vacated seat. "Your throne, mum."

     "We thank you," said the queen, sitting down. Then she added, "Oh
dear, we seem to have spilled our diet cola all down the front of your

* * *

     In the airship's cargo hold, in an unassuming cardboard box, the
minute-hand on a Donald Duck wristwatch reached the top of the hour.
An alarm played a high-pitched digital version of Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah,
which triggered a sound-sensitive switch on the nozzle of a
pressurized canister. A cloud of mist slowly drifted across the hold.

     Thumps and squeals sounded from an enormous wooden crate at the
other end of the room. The front panel, covered in stencils reading
"WARNING: LIVE ANIMALS," strained against a dozen packing nails until
suddenly, it gave way with a frenzy of teeth and fur.

     Dark shapes scrambled in every direction, letting out wild noises
that sounded something like: "Frink-frink! P'tang! Woo-woo!"




Find out on the next episode of "LEMURS ON A DIRIGIBLE," only on Superguy!


It's been a while since I've written in the Superguy universe, but I
did vaguely remember that airships are more prevalent in 000SUPERGUY
than in our own world, although jumbo jets also exist there. People
who know better have told me that airships are used both for cargo and
passengers and incorporate advances that make them quite fast and

Another distinction of the Superguy universe is the prevalence of
lemurs, who tend to make distinctive noises like "Frink-frink,"
"P'tang," Woo-woo," and variations thereof. By putting lemurs on an
airship, I've ensured that this arc will contain at least 27% more
Superguy by volume than the previous arc!

By the way, Number Thirteen is the first male Serially Numbered
Underling that we've ever seen. You've come a long way, baby!

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

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