LNH: Possum-Man: Relinquished #4: Mummy, Don't Let the Bad Possum Hurt Me

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Tue Dec 18 19:31:52 PST 2007


When STICKS TARQCHEVSKISON's ex-girlfriend, MONICA JADE, is abducted
by the incredibly powerful WHITE BOOMER, Sticks once more dons his
POSSUM-MAN spandex (as well as a vest and cargo pants to keep him
warm) in order to retrieve her. With Police Officer HANK's help,
Possum-Man is able to determine that the Boomer was working with DUCK
McMUCK, a deranged an ex-peer who has been plotting to kill Monica,
Sticks' friend STONES, and to a lesser degree, Sticks himself.

We now return to our Furry Friend's adventure as he whizzes through
the streets of WWW.OLLONGONG to McMuck's home...

----=== {PM} ===----
_____         ___  ____
\  _ \        \  \ \  /
 ||_||         ||\\ ||
 | _/          || \\||  O
 ||   OSSUM-MA ||  \ |  O
/__\          /__\  \|

                   4 4
 An ongoing       4  4
    LNH SERIES    44444
         by          4

-{ Mummy, Don't Let the Bad Possum Get Me }-

The cover shows Possum-Man scratching the back of his neck as he
abashedly regards the bodies of Monica, Stones and Hank underneath his
feet. Large, transparent versions of the faces of Duck McMuck, the
White Boomer and Green-on-Black can be seen in the background.

----=== {PM} ===----

Possum-Man, for the second time that day, pulled up outside of Duck
McMuck's suburban home. He gulped dramatically, but realised it wasn't
quite as audible as he would have preferred. He cut the engines on his
motorbike, and then tried again.

He gulped audibly. Quite, quite audibly.

Happy with the theatrics, he put the stand down and dismounted before
walking boldly towards the front door. No more heinous backdoor for
him, no sir! -- he was going straight for the prize. The house was
simple enough, really; single story, made of bricks, had a roof. The
walls, Pos strongly suspected, probably held up the roof.

He paused on the path for a moment, inspecting said roof. If the
Boomer had employed the same tactics he had at the newspaper office,
the roof would have been cracked and crumbling, and the windows would
be shattered. Observing no evidence of this, he began anew his
approach to the front door.

Once he arrived, he rang the doorbell. After no reply, he rang a few
more times. After numerous no replies, he called, "Are you there,
Duck? Boomer? Monica? ...okay, listen, if any of you are there, you'd
better stand away from the door. I'm about to kick it down, okay?"

"Okay!" came the reply, followed by some giggles and 'sshh!'s.

Possum-Man nodded, and prepared to kick the door. "Right. Here I --
wait. Hang on, no, what? What?"

He took further notice of the door. Printed on it in very neat
handwriting were the words 'KICK HERE TO OPEN', with an arrow pointing
to an outline in the shape of a foot. But Pos was no fool; the section
of the door outlined was, he realised, made of glass! If he did indeed
kick there, he would be stuck with his leg inside and the rest of him
outside, unable to retrieve his leg without getting it all sliced up
and messy from the broken glass. Heck, there would probably be blood-
crazed Rottweilers on the other side, just waiting for a piece of
net.ahuman leg to chew on.

"Oh, you think you're a wily one, Duck," Pos growled under his breath.
He then tried the handle.

The door swung open, creaking slightly, and the Possum-Man took a
brave step backwards just in case any blood-crazed Rottweilers were to
jump out. When nothing happened, he began to creep inside. A few steps
in, a voice called out, "Close the door!" This was followed by more
giggles and hushing noises.

Slightly suspicious of the unseen source of the voice, Possum-Man
turned back around and shut the door. When he faced into the house
again, several small children jumped out and yelled, "Surprise!" They
then began laughing and shrieking and led him through further into the
house, despite his muffled, confused protests.

As Possum-Man was herded into the family room, a sickening, deranged
sight met him. More children, laughing and playing, and in the middle
of them all stood Duck McMuck, his sinister brown and green spandex
on, accompanied by comically oversized shoes, a curly rainbow wig and
a red nose.

"Surprise," he growled, his deep, rough voice clearly distinct from
the laughing tones of the children. "I gotcha some ballooooons," he
continued, cruelly warping every word as he moved forward to give the
balloons to Pos. When he was close enough, he whispered into his ear,
"I hear you can do mighty fine tricks with balloons and electricity."

Possum-Man's eyes widened in terror as he processed this taunt. Did
Duck know who he was, behind the mask? Or was he referring to his
conflict with Green-On-Black? Why was he dressed like a clown...?

"The children and I," Duck suddenly shrieked, "decided to throw you a
party! Didn't we, children?"

The children laughed and agreed, innocent and completely ignorant of
the danger they were in.

"Because we knew it was your _birthday_ today! Isn't it your birthday
today, Possum-Man?"

This is where Sticks faltered. Today was nowhere _near_ his birthday.
What was Duck playing at? And then he sighted the writing on the
balloons he was holding; 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY', it read to the untrained
eye. And while Pos still had a relatively untrained eye compared to,
say, someone with a trained eye, he could still pick up on the
subscript '2' after the 'H' in 'HAPPY'.

These weren't balloons.

They were hydrogen bombs!

Again! [*]

[* See Alt.stralian Yarns #14 -- Footnote Girl]

Possum-Man nodded slowly, realising that McMuck was quite likely to
blow them all to kingdom come if he didn't play along. "Yeeesss," he
drawled. "Today definitely _is_ my birthday, this strange man in the
freaky clothes definitely _isn't_ going to kill you all, and you
definitely _shouldn't_ all run as though the devil himself is in hot

The children paused. One of the more inquisitive let out a small,

But Duck, one step ahead, chortled heartily, which is odd, when you
consider how little of the chortling action actually comes from the
heart. I mean, really. "What he means," he told the kids in his sick
play-voice, "is that you should all run along into the next room now
while we prepare the cake."

"Cake?!" The children were gone in a flash, leaving the two
adversaries alone.

Possum-Man looked around, taking in his surroundings; Duck obviously
had the home ground advantage here, seeing as how it was his home and
all that shazam. "What's your game, Duck?" he hissed. "Where did you
get these children from?"

"All over," Duck replied nonchalantly as he removed his wig and nose.
"Some from the orphanage, others..." He paused to flick the nose at
Possum-Man, hitting the net.hero on his right goggle lens. "...straight
off the streets."

"Why?" Pos pressed. "Why go to all this trouble when you knew I would
be coming here anyway?"

"Because now you know we've got a room full of little hostages,"
McMuck joyously explained as he removed his ludicrously sized shoes
and clapped them together, "so you should _probably_ do what we ask
you to."

Seeming to have taken his cue from the clapping shoes, the White
Boomer entered the room, pushing a trolley with an enormous fake cake
ahead of him. He unsheathed a two-foot knife from his belt, and held
it out for Possum-Man to retrieve.

"And now," Duck McMuck concluded, his voice rising with joy, "I guess
it's time for you to cut your cake. Ooh, won't that be fun?"

Pos accepted the knife and looked around suspiciously. He knocked on
the cake; it was cardboard and hollow, by the sound of it. Clearly,
the villains wanted him to cut the cake. But what would happen if they
didn't? Certainly, the White Boomer would be able to rip him apart...
but if he stabbed him first, Duck didn't look like he had any way to
immediately harm the children.

Deciding that taking out the super-powerful Boomer would be his best
course of action, the Possum-Man adjusted his grip on the knife,
braced himself, and-

"Oh, but we almost forgot!" Duck cut in. "If you cut the cake, you'll
have to kiss the nearest girl, won't you?"

The hulking mountain of muscle that was the White Boomer left the
room, returning a few seconds later with a camera and a small girl,
beaming away at the bright colours the room had been decorated in.

Pos' heart sank. He couldn't jump Boomer while this little girl was in
the room; she would be completely disillusioned with her hero! It
later occurred to him that she might have deep-seated emotional trauma
after having someone who she thought was her friend being stabbed to
death right in front of her. What's more, he reasoned, he probably
couldn't take the White Boomer even with his knife, no matter how
large it was.

His eyes hardened behind his yellow goggles, and he raised the knife
to plunge it into the cake. "Remember, Possum-Man," chirped Duck,
"you'll have to kiss the nearest gi-irl..."

Smiling insidiously, the White Boomer raised the camera he held in one
hand, and put his other hand on the child's shoulder.

And it all clicked into place.

Of _course_ Duck and Boomer wanted him to cut the cake -- they wanted
to take a photo of him kissing the young lass and thusly scandalise
him with claims of paedophilia!

Pos couldn't cut the cake. But he sure as anything couldn't let this
poor girl die.

"I don't suppose you'd let me hold the camera?" he asked with a faint
wobble in his voice.

The villains smirked and chortled heartily, and hearty was the manner
in which they chortled, and indeed, they even managed to chortle from
their hearts. Their chortling was heartily cut off, however, with a
unified, "No."

Gulping deeply, Possum-Man turned to the cardboard cake, raised the
large knife above his head, and brought it down with as much might as
his styrofoam-muscled arms could muster. With an odd-sounding thud, he
knew he'd hit the bottom.

He turned away from the cake, and White Boomer made pushing motions
with his hands to usher the hero and the girl into appropriate
positions in front of the large cake. "To the right, to the right,"
the Boomer growled under his breath as he peered through the camera.
"Work with me here, yikes. Amateurs!"

Itching with discomfort at the thought of kissing anyone for a photo
in Duck McMuck's private collection, Possum-Man knelt down and pecked
the girl on the cheek. Her bouncing blonde curls did nothing to hide
the extraordinary shade of red she turned.

"Good job, Lucy," Duck McMuck cackled. "Now, why don't you run along
into the other room with all your little friends?"

Lucy nodded sheepishly and ran off, casting several excited glances
over her shoulder as she went.

As soon as she was gone, Pos assumed a fighting stance. "I know what
you're doing, McMuck! You'll never get away with it!"

"Aah, but my dearest Possum-Man," Duck sneered, "I already have! We've
taken the two pictures doomed to doom you. You'll never be allowed to
work in public service again!"

"I- wait. Two pictures? What was the other one?"

"You cutting the cake, of course."

"What? How does that doom me at all?"

"Because then they know it was you who cut the cake."

"But... why? Wouldn't it be better off for your heinous ploy if it
looked like I was kissing the kid of my own accord?"

Duck McMuck blinked, and exchanged a confused look with the White
Boomer. "What?" He rubbed his forehead and turned his full attention
to the net.hero. "Um, listen, what, exactly, do you think our plan is,
here? Just so, y'know, we're on the same page."

Pos frowned. "Well, obviously, you wanted a photo of me kissing a
small child so that you could claim I was a paedophile and discredit

"Claim you were a paedophi...? That's the stupidest thing I've ever
heard!" Duck shook his head as if to demonstrate the stupidity of the
idea, and White Boomer committed a mighty sonic boom of a facepalm.
"You run around in _spandex_, for crying out loud. No one who doesn't
already hate you would think any less of you for liking kids, you

Pos looked down at his tight-fitting outfit. "True," he conceded. "But
haven't you noticed my nice pants? They keep me warm in the twenty-
degrees-above-freezing Alt.stralian winter."

The White Boomer had clearly had enough of these shenanigans.
"Listen," he interrupted, "have you even looked around lately? Do you
realise what we were actually taking photos off?"

Pos thought for a moment, and then slowly shook his head.

"Then how about," Boomer growled, "you turn around and take a look at
what's inside the cake?"

With the speed and grace of an intoxicated snail, Possum-Man spun
around to the see the sight that he saw. The first thing that he
noticed was that, while the White Boomer had been snapping away at
Lucy and him, Duck had removed this side of the cardboard cake,
allowing the camera to also capture what lie inside of it.

Bound and gagged inside a giant fake cake lay Monica Jade. Unmoving.
Unconscious. And covered in her own blood after Pos had slashed
through the cake with a two-foot knife.

He eyes widened in horror, and his mouth screamed in silence as he
collapsed onto his knees.

"No, Possum-Man," Duck gloated, "we don't need to ruin you. You've
already ruined yourself."

Pos gripped the knife tightly, and turned to face his adversaries.
Part of him recognised very much that he wanted to drive it through
both them, but another part realised that he'd sooner carve out his
own innards before reveal to them that, underneath his mask, he knew
the poor girl he'd just hacked up.

"Well," Sticks proclaimed in a shaky bravado, feigning indifference
with every ounce of energy he could muster. It occurs to me that
'ounce of energy' is a particularly odd phrase in that energy isn't
measured in ounces, but rather in joules. "On the brighter side, I
definitely did not know her personally, and thusly am definitely not
shattered to core by her... y'know..." His voice broke up, and he cleared
his throat before continuing. "Yeah. Pity, that."

"Brave show, Possum-Man," Duck McMuck gloated, "but we all of us know
the truth, don't we all? You knew her, you caped kook, and so did I!"

"Really?" inquired the Possum-Man, determined to hold onto his façade
for as long as he could. "Did I? Did I really?"

The villains looked at each other and exchanged frowns. "Yes," the
White Boomer replied slowly. "She was the editor at the newspaper,
remember? The one you were going to sort out? It wasn't that long ago,
really. I didn't bump your noggin _that_ hard."

"Oh. Oh, right, yeah. That's how I know her. Sure. Well, yeah, hrm,
at... at least no more bad grammar will be plaguing our newspapers, you
know? I mean, I would have preferred to sort it out in a more... what's
it... diplomatic way. But, hey, I guess this works too." Pos paused to
scratch at the mask under his goggles, where a tear was beginning to
itch. "I guess."

"That's what you'll be saying for a long time now, Possum-Man," crowed
Duck. "Once we release these two photos along with the recording of
your previous visit -- 'ooh, bad grammar is the real crime here!' --
everyone will believe that you were working with the oh-so-similarly-
dressed White Boomer to destroy our poor little editor here."

"Unless, that is," the White Boomer interjected, "you agree to come
with us to our mistress. Then your reputation may be spared... even if
your life is not."

Duck whipped around. "What? No! _She_ will have no part in this!"

"She orchestrated the entire event," growled Boomer, his tone
dangerously calm. "You never could have directed this fool to an
office full of journalists! You never even would have considered the

"I never agreed to give this up," McMuck growled. "This clown ruined
me! I would have finished my old classmates off by now if it weren't
for him- !"

"And you never would have been able to get a single one done if it
weren't for her. You deserted her once, McMuck, and my mistress --
_our_ mistress -- doesn't look kindly upon such things."

Possum-Man watched this exchange in silence. He remembered Duck's
pleas for helps on the night he was caught in Stones' old apartment;
remembered him screaming about his mistress' attitude towards failure.
If this conversation was anything to go by, Duck McMuck wouldn't be a
public threat much longer. Now, if he could only get Moni out of here,
to safety... and evacuate the kids...

"I'll kill them all!" Duck was howling. "I don't need her help. I'll
find Stones again, and I'll find Sticks, and I'll hunt down Monica
Jade and tear her limb from limb!"

"Stones has been taken care of already," Boomer rumbled. "The
opportunity was grasped while Possum-Man was on a wild goose chase
that _she_ put him on. You ought to be grateful, you useless swine."

"She went over my head?!" Duck yelled. "Stones was _mine_! They were
all _mine_!! I'll kill her!" he raged. "I'll kill her!!"

The White Boomer shoved his massive hand into the agitated Duck's
chest, pinning him against the wall. "Pull yourself together," he
spat. "Stones isn't dead. Merely... incapacitated. And as for Monica
Jade... oh, you stupid, stupid man. Couldn't you even recognise your own
grudge? That dame from the newspaper _is_ Jade!"

Duck's eyes flickered towards the cake, widened, and then went back to
the Boomer. "She's gone."


"She's gone!" Duck ran forwards towards the shell of the cake as the
White Boomer released him. "She's gone!"

"Possum-Man," growled White Boomer as he realised who else was now
missing. "He's taken her and run off! Listen here, McMuck," he hissed,
his voice dropping dangerously, "you're going to help me find them.
And you're going to help me catch them. Because if you don't, I'll
catch _you_ -- and more than anything else, our mistress hates losing
useful tools. Got it?"

Duck glared his partner in the eye and pushed past. "I'm going to
check on the kids. We can still use them."

In the time it had taken for Duck to run through the door, the Boomer
had walked through the wall. The room they'd just entered was empty.

"Our mistress," Boomer reiterated pointedly, "_hates_ losing useful
tools. You go and find the Possum-Man, McMuck." Boomer sighed, and
walked out of the room. "I'll let the hydrogen out of these balloons.
It was such an original idea, too."

----=== {PM} ===----

Possum-Man ran around the street corner, Monica draped over his
shoulder and a flock of small children chasing after him. His eyes
scanned desperately, and finally he saw it: Hank's car, parked
inconspicuously in the 'burbs.

"Hank!" Pos screamed as he ran at the car. "Ha- oh, damn," he muttered
as he tripped over, and Monica's limp body went sprawling. "Sorry,
Moni. Um -- oh, great..." He paused to pick up the small beads from her
newly-broken necklace.

"Possum-Man!" cried Hank as he bolted out of the car. "What's

"You need to get these kids to safety," Pos declared as the children
dispersed themselves into various homes and drains around the street.
"And get this lady to a hospital! I'll clean up these beads!"

"Don't worry, Pos," Hank replied with a solid conviction in his voice
as he grabbed his pistol out of his holster. "These beads won't give
you any more trouble."

There were two loud bangs as Hank shot the ground where the beads lay.

"Consider these beads cleaned up," Hank declared in a ultra-masculine
voice as he blew imaginary smoke from his weapon and put it back into
his holster.

"No, Hank! I was trying to help those beads!"

"Oh." Hank frowned. "Well... it's too late for them now. Go on without

Possum-Man stood back up and saluted dutifully at the fallen beads.
"I'll never forget you, little buddies," he whispered under his voice.
He then moved Monica's body off of his shoulder and onto Hank's.
"Okay! Get her to a hospital, Hank!"

"Will do. But one more thing before you go."


"Where, exactly, are you going?"

"Stones' new address. Duck McMuck is up to his old peer-killin' tricks
again, and this time he's brought in friends."

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks slowly allowed the door to his apartment swing open. For the
first time, he entered through the front door as Possum-Man.

The first thing he noticed was that everything was wet. Soaked, in
fact. Totally sopping wet. As if he were standing in a fish tank. But
not quite like he was standing in a fish tank, because his apartment
was considerably larger than a fish tank, and not all the walls were
made of glass. It also wasn't exactly full of water, but rather, if I
may reiterate, wet. There were also no fish.

So, in hindsight, that simile doesn't quite work.

The second thing he noticed was the hose that had been shoved into his
face. He stumbled backwards into a bookshelf, nudging the door shut as
he went. He looked through his goggles at the assailant and saw, as
the water turned off, Green-on-Black.

And tied to a chair next to him, soaked, shivering, and with blood
running out of one nostril, was Stones.

"Hi again, friend," Green-on-Black murmured. "You never call, you
never write, sometimes it like you don't even exist."

Green-on-Black clenched a fist, and everything in the room flashed
green as electricity charged through it. This time, Pos' styrofoam
provided him with no protection.

"So I thought I'd arrange a playdate," GoB concluded.

There was a momentary silence.

"Anything else?" Possum-Man prompted.

Green-on-Black frowned and shook his head. "Not really, no. I... that's
all I thought I'd need, y'know, as an opener. I figured we might
fight, or you might make some ridiculous demand or something. But
yeah, that's all I had planned." There was another silence. "Do you
think I needed a bit more? I'd really appreciate some feedback, you

"Maybe," Pos conceded. "Maybe a few more words, and a bit less
electricity. The hose was a definite no."

"Hey," argued Green-on-Black, firing up, "the hose was a _great_ idea.
This way, no matter where you are, I just have to let out a little
jolt and you get totally zapped. It was about the best opener I could
have had!"

"But it kind of killed the theatrical impact of your first words; I
already knew you were there when you started speaking."

Green-on-Black kicked at the ground sulkily. "Well, I did my best,

"That's totally okay," Pos agreed, hoping to get rid of the
electrokinetic without getting himself zapped any more. "Maybe you'd
like to leave, and come back another time? Try again? How about next
Sunday, hm?"

"Next Sunday?" Green-on-Black frowned. "Um. I'm not sure. I have a
luncheon on at one thirty, so..."

"How about three? You doing anything at three?"

"Could I just check my diary?"

"Sure thing."


Green-on-Black pulled a small diary out from behind his back, and
wandered into the apartment's small kitchen to flick through the
pages. Stones, in his groggy state, did nothing more than raise an
eyebrow. Pos gave a reassuring thumbs-up, right before Green-on-Black
turned around with a hellish scream and the room dissolved into green
darkness once more.

THREE!!" he roared.

Pos let out a falsetto shriek of mixed pain and fear as his limbs went
rigid, closely followed by a, "Why does the pain hurt so much?!"

When his perception spun back into a comprehendible version of
reality, Possum-Man placed a hand on his head to steady himself, and
carefully looked Green-on-Black up and down. While ever the entire
apartment was covered in water, the electric villain was simply too
powerful. Stones, by the look of it, wasn't holding it together too
well; his head lolled to one side, and the blood spewing from his
nostrils looked like enough lost to kill him.

"Are you trying to get me," Green-on-Black was huffing, "to simply
disregard my mothers birthday?"

"Not at all," Pos reassured him, though his voice was far more
difficult to utilise than he remembered it being.

"That woman raised me from birth!" Small sparks fizzled from his
fingertips, and Possum-Man twitched with the few jolts that struck wet

"I could be wrong here," he tried again, "but weren't you specifically
told just to hold Stones here for Duck? I mean, if you were to
accidentally kill him, wouldn't your mistress... you know..."

GoB frowned. "Actually, you've got a really vali- wait. How do you
know about her?!"

The villains eyes turned an electric green, and Pos knew he'd made a
potentially fatal error. Well, he didn't know it, exactly, but he had
a pretty darn good inkling. Feeling very certain of his intuition, he
was. "Duck McMuck," Possum-Man declared instantly. "He's pretty lousy
at keeping secrets, isn't he?"

"Yes," Green-on-Black agreed. "Like this one time, right, I was trying
on my mothers dresses, and- urhg, sorry! I keep doing that. I'm very
easily distracted today."

"No, please. Go on."

"Right. Well, yeah, I was trying on my mothers dresses, because, you

"Curious little one, aren't ya?" Pos said with a grin and a wink.

Green-on-Black looked down at the floor and smiled bashfully. "Yeah.
Yeah, a little. And then Duck walks in, and he's all-"

A knock at the door interrupted the anecdote, and both hero and
villain turned to face it. "That's probably him now," remarked Possum-
Man, terrified of what was to come next."

"I guess so," agreed Green-on-Black in an upset tone. "I suppose I
should let him in..."

"You don't really _have_ to, do you? I mean, what's he ever done for

GoB bit his lip thoughtfully.

"I mean, he spilt the secrets about your boss lady, and about you
trying on your mothers dresses... heck, has _he_ ever opened a door for

"No," Green-on-Black replied in a very small voice. "No, he hasn't."
The villain looked up at the knocking door angrily. "No, he hasn't!"

Green-on-Black ran at the door screaming, and kicked it open.
Thousands upon thousands of volts soared from his fingertips, and the
eerie green glow lit up the entire hallway and a good amount of the

Sensing his opportunity, Possum-Man snatched a large frying pan from
the nearby bench and raised it, ready to bring it down on the back of
GoB's head. He began swinging, and it was about then that it occurred
to him that smacking an electric villain with a metallic pan was an
exceptionally dumb idea. He stopped about an inch or two from his
head, and looked around for a slightly more wooden object.

Sighting the chair that Stones was tied to, Possum-Man grabbed it and,
with no small amount of difficulty, brought it down onto Green-on-
Black's head as forcefully as he could. The villain collapsed to the
ground as Stones slid out of the shoddy knots, landing straight on top
of the twitching figure in the corridor.

Pos' eyes widened as he realised that it wasn't Duck McMuck who'd been
electrocuted at all -- laying on the ground, completely unconscious,
was the White Boomer.

Surprised at his unusually good luck, Possum-Man layed some more
punches into him just to be on the safe side before tying them both up
with some rubber hosing from the rubber hose on his balcony.
Considering their odds of escape a bit more carefully, he also doused
them both in water, hoping that Green-on-Black might have a
schizophrenic moment and shock his unstoppable companion before the
Boomer could snap the hose as though it were made out of... something
really weak. Like kittens.

He slung Stones over his shoulder fireman-style, made sure his door
was firmly locked, and ran for the elevator.

Whistling distractedly to himself as he watched the little lights
above the elevator doors travel from the ground floor up, Pos wondered
if he should maybe get himself some medical training to deal with
situations like this; Stones was leaking blood all over his nice new
vest and pants. Damn it.

There was a quiet ding from the elevator, and the doors slid open. Pos
had already taken his first step inside by the time he realised who he
was sharing the elevator with; Duck McMuck. His eyes only widened
further when he noticed the insane amounts of blood that Duck was
covered in, and the bodies of Monica and Hank at his feet.

"Why is there so much blood today?" Possum-Man murmured under his
breath. Then Duck McMuck let out a scream and leapt for him, and the
fight was on.

McMuck had the same claws on that he had used to attack Stones back in
the premiere issue, and he swung wild punches with them, a thrust to
the stomach, an uppercut, all of which the Possum-Man barely evaded in
his desperate backward stumble.

Casting a glance over his shoulder at the prone bodies of Green-on-
Black and the White Boomer, which he was rapidly approaching, Pos
deflected a swing that was meant for his face and back-flipped over
the villain's bodies, kicking Duck in the face as he went. Duck took a
step backwards to catch his weight, and Possum-Man responded lightning-
fast with a punch of his own to his deranged adversary's face.
Overestimating his speed, he swung again -- only to have his wrist
caught and thrown uselessly aside by Duck.

Duck lunged brutally at the Possum-Man's throat, slicing one side of
the mask as he gripped the hero's neck. "I've waited a long time for
this, furball," Duck spat as he held Pos against the wall, his victims
tongue sticking clear out of his throat and waving around uselessly.

Well, Pos thought to himself as Duck drew his other fist back, it's
been a blast. Duck's fist -- and by extension, his claws -- flew
towards Possum-Man at a breakneck pace. Without evening thinking about
it, Pos' right hand snapped up, slapping Duck's hand to the side... and
burying the claws into the villain's other wrist.

Duck McMuck howled in pain as he ripped his claws out and collapsed to
the ground in agony, grabbing his arm in a desperate attempt to
staunch the blood. Pos grimaced and ran to Hank's police radio,
pausing only to check on the vital signs of him and Monica.

"Hello?" he said into the radio. "Hello? Please, can anyone hear me?

"Hank?" came a crackly voice from the other end. "Is that you?"

"It's Possum-Man! Come quickly -- I've got six bodies here that need
desperate medical attention, one of which is Officer Hank's."

"We're on our way, Possum-Man," the voice on the other line promised.
"Just keep 'em alive till we get there."

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks Tarqchevskison sat in the medical ward between Stones and
Monica. Stones was fast asleep, and making a fast-enough recovery, but
Monica was bandaged and patched all over.

"This wasn't exactly how I planned on welcoming you home," Sticks
admitted awkwardly.

Monica chuckled softly and teasingly replied, "What? You thought that
there'd be fewer homicidal maniacs rampaging through the streets? Why
on Looniearth would you think that?"

Finding himself unable to come up with an adequate answer, Sticks
merely smiled and let out a small, "Heh..." while keeping in a string of
curses directed at himself. Clearing his throat, he tactically changed
the subject; "So, where are you staying now that you're back?"

"I've got a nice little place, just down near the beach. When they let
me out of here, I'll have a housewarming party. No net.villains this
time, okay?"

Sticks let out another, notably smaller "Heh."

"You know, you're lucky you weren't at home when Duck and those guys
came for Stones. Where were you, anyway?" Monica inquired, her green
eyes sparkling with curiousity.

Sticks paused, and his eyes shifted from left to right a few times, as
eyes are wont to do when such questions are asked. "I... was... ice-

"Ice-skating? Where were you ice-skating?"

Where _could_ I have been ice-skating? Sticks wondered. Ice in amounts
large enough to skate upon were rare in Alt.stralia, and none that he
knew of existed here in Www.ollongong. "Uuh... Syd.net. Opened a new
place recently, up in Syd.net. Yeah."

"Syd.net, huh?"

"Yeah. Syd.net."

"You got back pretty quickly once Stones got the hospital to call

Sticks gulped. "Heh."

----=== {PM} ===----

When he returned from the hospital that evening, Sticks was
unsurprised to find that his floor of his apartment building was
crawling with policemen -- the three villains had all been removed,
but blood stains still covered the walls. He spied a particularly dark
stain on the carpet from where Duck had severed his own arteries, and
he contemplated how close he'd been to his own demise.

Less than twelve parsecs, certainly.

He made his way through the sea of policemen, identifying himself to
each of them as they asked, and eventually made it to his front door.
Fumbling with his keys, he let himself in and quickly closed the door
behind him, glad to be on his own again.

He looked around wearily at his soaked, ruined apartment, and once
again it struck him how close he'd been to losing everything that
afternoon; Stones, Monica, Hank, his own life, his secret identity...
heck, if Green-on-Black had been just three metres to the south, he
would have found all of Sticks' spare Possum-Man costumes!

Sticks' eyes widened as the possibility hit him.

He ran into his room and flung open his wardrobe. There, hidden away,
were his spares. Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned around --

-- to come face-to-face with one of his masks, which had a butterknife
through it, sticking it to the wall. The lower part, which was usually
left open to allow him to speak and breath, had been messily sewn
shut, and the word 'sssh' had been written across it in thick
permanent marker, with red lipstick in the shape of a kiss drawn on
the cheek.

"Oh," murmured Sticks Tarqchevskison. "Oh dear."

----=== {PM} ===----

Kinda rushed the ending, from the Green-on-Black confrontation
onwards, but it still comes out reasonably well. I was worried that
some bits would be too heavy and macabre, but I think that the tone
remains playful enough to stop this from being an issue. Any thoughts
on this would be greatly appreciated, as well as any problems with Pos
as a character; something's nagging me there, but I can't put my
finger on it.

Thanks for reading,

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