LNH: Possum-Man: Relinquished #1: High School Reunion

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Tue Feb 13 22:04:59 PST 2007

Life is a funny thing.

Funny in a really quite depressing way. We're born, we live, we die.
End of story? We're always told to make something of our lives. To
enjoy it while we can. To make a difference. But what difference does
making a difference make? Surely it would all be the same one hundred
years down the track. A thousand. A million. Who'll ever know who we
are then?

Life's a funny thing. Especially when you work all day as a party-
clown for hire.

Life's a depressing thing. Especially when you work all night as a
caped superhero.

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

_____         ___  ____
\  _ \        \  \ \  /
 ||_||         ||\\ ||
 | _/          || \\||  O
 ||   OSSUM-MA ||  \ |  O
/__\          /__\  \|


-{ School Reunion }-

The cover shows Possum-Man holding a duck-shaped bomb with a confused
expression on his face. The fuse is almost burnt up. The duck is also
badly drawn, so it could probably be mistaken for some breed of
dinosaur. But it's not. It's a duck. And you can tell.

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

"And voila!" Sticks Tarqchevskison proclaimed as he held up the
balloon poodle. "A bird!"

The children blinked and looked confused. After a moment, one called
from the back of the group, "That's not a bird! It's a _dinosaur_!"

The children jumped up and down, screaming happily, "Not a bird, it's
a dinosaur! A dinosaur!"

Sticks put on a surprised face (easily accomplished under his layers
of clown make-up), and looked from the poodle to the children. "Is it?
Is it really?"

"Yes, yes!" they screamed.

He looked back to the poodle, keeping his incredulity to himself, as
he exclaimed, "Wow! It is too!"

He flipped it around his back, out of their sight, and applied some
super-fast balloon-fiddlin'. When he held it back up in his other
hand, it was a flamingo. "What about now?"

The children shrieked with laughter, but then the one up the back
yelled again, "No, it's just a different type of dinosaur!"

Sticks blinked, but played along anyway. "Well, so it is!"

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

Dragging his clown suit behind him, and holding his mail in the other
hand, Sticks stepped out of the elevator and walked along the corridor
to his apartment. He opened the door, and made himself at home, at
home. Pouring himself a nice big glass of OJ, he opened the first

Water bill.

He rolled his eyes, and opened the second envelope.

Electricity bill.

His eyebrows crawled up his forehead a bit, and he opened the third

Phone bill.

Not even bothering to make another exasperated facial motion, he
opened the fourth envelope.

Newspaper article detailing the death of an old school friend, Joe, at
the hands of a super-powered costumed villain with the words 'YOU'RE
NEXT' scrawled in red ink.

Nodding acceptingly, he opened the fifth envelope.

Gas bill.

Sticks got up from his comfortable green lounge and got himself
another glass of OJ. His mail was so boring. The same stuff day in,
day out. Sure, most people didn't get the whole 'dead friend' letter
every day like he had for the last month, but he'd been getting the
articles for so long now that he knew he didn't have many friends
left. They'd stop soon enough.

The first one he had received was for Ray Tonare, the coolest kid in
school. Since then, his classmates had been crossed off daily. He'd
been following the progress on his old school photos, but he could see
no distinguishable pattern.

He took another look at the school photos now, and mentally erased Joe
from the picture. That left only him, his old besty Stones, and
Monica. Last he'd heard, Moni had moved to the Loonited States for
some bizarre, definitely not superhuman- or plot-related reasons of
her own.

Which meant that tonight, he'd be paying a visit to old Stones. He had
been for every night over the last month, but his time had been
divided between him and every other ex-student of his old school. None
of them knew he was there, of course. The only person who seemed to
detect his presence was the killer.

Checking his watch, he picked up his clown costume and hung it in the
wardrobe. He then picked out a very different sort of costume.

It was mostly a silvery grey spandex from head to toe, but large shiny
yellow goggles dominated the face, which was cut away to reveal the
nose and mouth (and by extension, chin) of the wearer. A golden brown
belt around the waist was there not to hold the remarkably tight
tights up, but rather to hold various small pouches and a unique
silver belt buckle.

On the floor below the costume was a pair of supremely well-gripped
gloves and boots, in the same shade as the belt. The boots each had a
small ring on the heel, through which hooks on the golden cape (which
was hanging a separate coat hanger nearby) could attach to, to allow
the wearer to glide through the skies. And in silver grey on the back
of the cape was the same symbol that was proudly displayed in
brilliant gold on the front:

A stylised possum face.

Because, behind the make-up of a clown and the face that was the real
mask, Sticks Tarqchevskison was Possum-Man.

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

Stones didn't live too far away, which was fortunate, really. Despite
having been back in the costume for a month, it still felt weird, and
he hadn't really gotten back into the routine of climbing up gutters
to get to the top of buildings.

He'd given up being Possum-Man for five months after an incident in
the Alt.stralian outback with an estranged farmer with severe social
issues (see Alt.stralian Yarns #6: Screwed -- Footnote Girl).

But now he was back in the spandex, sitting on the roof of a corner
store, spying on none other than his best friend. Truly interesting
was the way the life of the Possum-Man worked out.

He sat there for a few hours, and watched as Stones munched lazily on
chips and watched late-night television. But the act didn't fool
Possum-Man one bit. Stones wouldn't be up this late unless he had a
reason -- which probably meant that he had been getting some
disturbing mail, too.

Finally, the tiniest shadow appeared in Stones' window. Something
blocking the light. Something on this side of the glass.

Possum-Man dived into action, completely fluffing a flip off the roof
of the store, but still managing to recover and scurry up a nearby
tree at a miraculous pace just in time to dive through the window the
same time the assailant did.

"Muddy thwacker!" cried Stones as the two costumed men rolled through
his lounge room, trading punches and blows. He stood there in shock
for a moment, before racing out screaming for his life.

Meanwhile, the assailant had drawn some strange metallic claw weapon
out -- it protected the top of his hand, while three thick, sharp
protrusions protruded from it. With these, he slashed wildly at the
Possum-Man, becoming nothing but a brown-and-green blur.

Possum-Man dodged these fairly easily -- this was clearly no
supervillain, but rather just a punk in a fancy costume. Fancy enough
that the hood still hadn't fallen down to get a decent view of the

Eventually, however, a solid punch from Pos knocked him against the
wall, moaning.

Rubbing his fist gingerly, the Possum-Man boomed, "Ow." which he soon
followed with "So..." and then "You come here often?"

The hero flung the hood back. "Wait -- I know you. You're meant to be

Because Possum-Man was looking down at one of his old peers, Duck
McMuck. Sticks and Duck had never been friends, exactly. While Sticks
and Stones had mostly been tolerated by the vicious teenage society of
high school, Duck had always been an outcast. He had been unwilling to
do anything for anyone he considered below him, especially anyone
'cool' -- and, as far as he ever let on, anyone who was socially
accepted came under this category. And the jocks had made him pay for
that, time and time again.

"Holy fuck... Duck McMuck?"

Duck looked up, hatred still lingering in his eyes. "You should have
let me kill him," he spat. He was bald now, which was a better look
than the outdated comb over he used to bring to school every day.

"Uuh... why? And why aren't you dead? I mean... everyone else, they were
all from your year in high school. Only Stones, Monica and Sticks

"Only Stones, Monica and Sticks were left in the photo," finished
Duck. Man oh man, whoever put F next to D on the keyboard was a cruel,
cruel person. You have no idea how many times I've misspelt Duck.
"Because on photo day, Ray Tonare bloodied my nose so badly just to
keep me out of _his_ photo. Because no one wanted anything to do with
Duck McMuck. Because I was so much better than all of them!"

Possum-Man blinked. He was completely taken back by the ferocity of
Duck's lingering hatred -- that had been years and years ago. Before
university. Before the UniBar incident. Sticks usually forgot things
in a matter of seconds.

"Um. Okay. Is that why you started with Ray when you, you know... killed
them all?"

"And then I worked my way down the popularity chain... but Monica got
away. Ran to the Loonited States. But I would have gotten her

Despite everything, Pos couldn't help but find this vaguely amusing.
"Heh. So that's why you left Stones for last, huh?"

Duck frowned. "What? No! Sticks is last. Stones at least had a small
group of friends."

"Oh... right. But why now? Why not, say, ten years ago?"

All of a sudden, Duck went very, very quiet. "Don't you get it?" he
whispered urgently. "She's here. She'll kill me if I tell you."

"She? Who's 'she'?"

The silence was broken as they both turned to look out the shattered
glass door of Stones' balcony (sorry, I forgot to mention it was an
apartment with a balcony. But you know now anyway. You can always go
back and re-read it all if you're having difficulty incorporating this
into your previous idea of the layout of Stones' home) as sirens
sliced through the cold night.

"Huh." Pos stated. "I guess that that's going to really inconveniently
interrupt my questioning of you. S'pose I'll be going now then,
actually. You know, just to look mysterious. Avoid the police, et
cetera, et cetera."

"No!" begged the desperate Duck. "Why don't you understand?! She's
going to kill me!!"

Possum-Man chuckled chummily, and playfully punched Duck on the
shoulder. "Aah, you crazy supervillains. Have a nice night, okay?"

"Please! You have to save me!"

Pos bent down, and hooked his cape onto his boots. "Oh, stop being so
melodramatic, you silly drama queen. Just tell her it was her all
along and you were never unfaithful and it'll all work out fine in the

Duck could only gaze exasperatedly out after the ununderstanding
(derstanding??) hero as he glided out off the balcony. "Wait, what?
Wait! Please! Come back!!"

He sat there a few moments alone, terrified. Stones had gotten away.
Possum-Man was onto him. And was that the sound of a footstep on the

Duck McMuck looked up just as Possum-Man popped his head back in.
"Hey! Um, sorry, you just seemed really upset, so I got this for you."
The hero held out a small balloon, twisted into the shape of a duck.

Duck frowned. "A dinosaur?"

"No! It's a duck! See, heh heh, get it? Duck? Duck? Eh? Yeah!"

The villain whipped out his fistblades and popped the balloon. "What
the Hell is wrong with you?! This is really serious stuff, okay?"

Pos raised his hands defensively. "Hey man! No need to go all psycho
on me! I was trying to help you out, geez. I mean, you did kill a
whole bunch of people. It was pretty decent of me, really."

Totally unexpectedly, a few police officers barged through the
doorway. "This is Hank, I got target!" one screamed into one of those
fancy little radio things they carry around. You know, the black ones.
He had one of them. Very nifty. "Put your hands in the air! Both of

The Possum-Man stood up perfectly straight and looked from Hank, to
Duck, and back to Hank again, before pointing at Duck and yelling, "He
started it!"

McMuck, however, seemed to have other plans. He leaped forward,
impaling a nameless background cop on his blade, before sprinting out
of the apartment.

"Huh," stated Hank as he watched him go. He twirled his fancy little
baton thing that policemen get to carry around. You know, the black
ones. He had one of them. Very nifty. "Hows about that, eh?"

The impaled officer opened his mouth as if to speak, but Possum-Man
dived down to his side and dramatically placed a soothing finger over
his mouth. "Hush, gentle copper," he crooned. "No dialogue shall you
have before you leave, before you go where we cannot follow."

Hank nodded solemnly. "Poor bugger," he added. "First day on the

The Pos could not help but guffaw at this. "Caw, serious? Sucks!" He
pointed down at the dying man's face. "Sucked _in_ man, seriously.
That sucks so bad. Sucks _so_ _bad_. Sucks like a... man, man oh man,
_major_ suckage, you know?"

He looked up, and noticed Hank watching him oddly. "Oh. Right. I'll
just be going now. You know, looking mysterious, avoiding police... that
sort of thing. You know."

And so Hank stood in the doorway to Stone's balcony, dramatically
backlit as Possum-Man glided away into the cool night sky.

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

Some noises are really annoying. No matter what the situation, where
you are, what the context is, whatever. They are just plain annoying.
Sounds like three year olds trying to play violin. Or thousands of
people screaming as they slowly burn to death. But by far the most
annoying of these annoying noises is the alarm clock.

And a not-too-distant second is the average apartment's doorbell.

Bing-bong! it chimed merrily on this particular morning. Bing-bong!

Stick Tarqchevskison rolled over to face upwards, and blinked away a
night's worth of lack-of-sleep as his doorbell continued to bing-bong.
Bing-bong! Bing-bong, bing-bong, bing-bong!

"Shuthuffuggup..." he mumbled. "Sharfarfarfarp!"

Bing... bong...!

He swung himself out of bed, and marched angrily towards the door.
"I'm coming!" he called. "I'm blinkin' coming, hold your gosh darn

Sticks swung the door open, and was met by an enthusiastic (but
dreadfully sleep-derived) Stones. "Hey, buddy!" he sang as he waltzed
in, and plonked a large bag on the table. "Just so you know, I'm
living with you now."

Sticks kept the door open. "Bollocks you are," he intoned with a
distinct cheerleader-ish quality to it. You know, sort of an emphasis
on the 'ocks'. Leaving the 'are' hanging, as if he were about to add
'tart!' to the end of it.

"No, no. Seriously. I am."

"No, you're really not. It's really, really inconvenient for me."

"Well where am I meant to go, huh?! You read this morning's paper, you
darn jerk? My bleeding apartment was torn apart by some supervillain
mongrel! You know, the one who killed _all our friends_?!"

Sticks paused. His friend did make a good point, especially
considering that ol' Pos did feel a bit guilty about what had
happened. Sighing, he gave in. "Fine. But under _no_ circumstances do
you _ever_ come into my bedroom, agreed?"

"So I'll be living on the couch, then?"


"Then as long as you don't come in here after dark, we'll be all set."

"Oh, man, that's bad. You had so better not stain my lounge."

Stones could only shrug nonchalantly as he continued to make himself
at home, sharing an apartment with the Possum-Man.


So, I'm only posting this a week later than I had originally planned,
and with no game. Hah heh huh hrm.. Happy Valentines Day, RACC.


More information about the racc mailing list