ASH: LL&DD #6 - Inter-lewd

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Mon Oct 29 11:27:53 PDT 2007

[Author: Andy Burton]

     The cover shows Doctor Developer staring forlornly at a closed bedroom
door, pillow in hand and wedding ring on his finger.  

 Coherent                                                  LL&DD #6
 Comics          | ADY | AWFUL    __        __               "Inter-Lewd"
 Presents an     |__   |__     &  | \ OCTOR | \ EVELOPER   copyright 2007
 ASHistory Tale:                  |_/       |_/            by Andrew Burton

     It was all too easy to make jokes about men's insensitivities toward
their spouses, but it was even easier to fall into the trap when your day job
dealt closely with super-sciences.  Despite the stereotypes surrounding
absent-minded, mad scientists, Cameron McKay, a.k.a. Doctor Developer, prided
himself on being keenly aware of his wife's feelings.  It was this fine-tuned
skill at detection that led him to make the statement, "You're upset," when
he heard their bedroom door lock after nearly being hit in the face when said
door was slammed shut right in front of him.
     "Me?" Jennifer McKay loudly replied on the other side of the door, "No,
I'm fine!"
     Cameron's mind immediately began working through the Switch...Case stack
he kept prepared for such times:

switch (offense)
    case "Forgot anniversary":
    case "Forgot to perform task":
    case "Forgot to shut-off deathtrap":
        while (Jennifer->mood == Angry)
        cout << "Was it something I did?";
        cin >> answer;
        if (answer == Yes)

     He knew it wasn't their anniversary.  He kept Prototype programmed to
remind him of all the anniversaries he could remember: wedding, first date,
first kiss, when he met her parents, when he joined The Three Strikes, when
it became The Four Strikes and a few others that he couldn't remember off
hand, which was why he programmed them into his robotic sidekick.  As far as
he knew, all of the things on his "Honey Do" list were up-to-date.  Finally,
the fact that Jennifer was ambulatory enough to go slamming doors meant that
there were no deathtraps in play.
     That left only one thing.
     "Was it something I did?" he asked through the door.
     "What ever could you have done?" Jennifer asked back, which pretty much
meant, "Yes."
     "I..." Cameron said carefully, "I obviously upset you.  I'm not exactly
sure what I did, but I didn't mean  I didn't do it intentionally.
I'm sorry, Jennifer."
     She didn't immediately reply.  However, after a few seconds, Cameron
heard the door unlock and saw the knob begin to turn.  He was about to
continue his apology when, in quite rapid succession: the door snapped open,
a pillow slammed into his face, and the door slammed shut again, followed by
a familiar click.
     After tucking the pillow beneath his arm, Cameron looked down at the
lock.  It would not be difficult to pick.  It would be even easier to bypass
with a solid kick...Jennifer's strength meant either investing in heavy vault
doors or just sticking with inexpensive and easy to replace ones, and they'd
decided on the latter.  Either way, once he was inside, it meant confronting
Jennifer.  Playfully, the super strength that let her be Lady Lawful made
most bedroom "confrontations" quite enjoyable; he wasn't sure, though, what
kind of mood she would be in if he forced his way in, especially after she
locked the door.  Playful might not be on the menu.
     Deciding that a dislocated anything probably wouldn't look too
professional at his meeting the next day, Cameron erred on the side of
caution.  He lowered his head until it was resting against the door.  "Okay,"
he called out, "I'll be on the couch.  I love you, Jennifer."
     She didn't reply.

               *              *              *              *

     Jennifer was gracious enough to unlock the bedroom door the next
morning, giving Cameron access to clothes and their bathroom.  She didn't
speak to him unless he pointedly asked a question.  Instead, she puttered
around, making up the bed and finding ways to accidentally-on-purpose get in
Cameron's way as he moved about.  If it had not been a Saturday, meaning she
didn't have to go to her job at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry,
Cameron suspected he would have found himself fully, physically barred from
the room until she was finished.
     "Have you been replaced by an evil clone?" Cameron asked skeptically as
he stepped out of the bathroom.  His attempts to straighten his tie paused
while he waited for a reply.  That question warranted a scowl from Jennifer.
     "You'd like that, huh?" she asked in an almost accusing tone.
     Cameron rolled her answer-slash-question over in his mind for a minute.
He thought about not answering, and if not for a combination of not sleeping
well on the couch and Jennifer's random shift in attitude, he might not have.
But he did.  "Yeah, I actually would," he snapped, "because that would offer
some reasonable explanation for this tantrum."
     He didn't wait for Jennifer to reply, nor did he finish fighting with
his tie.  Leaving with the last word and a crooked tie, Cameron stomped out
of the bedroom.

               *              *              *              *

     "I just don't know what to do, Mom," Jennifer said over the phone.
     June Hartworth-Blair, offering her motherly advice via telephone from
Florida, asked, "What's so different about this time, Jenny?  You know how
Cameron is when he's working on a project.  I know you do.  What about this
time has you so upset?"
     Jennifer was slow to answer, but eventually she put her concerns into
words.  "Because this time...with this so-called project of his...."  She
took a deep breath.  "I know there's another woman involved."

               *              *              *              *

     Cameron had taken notes during the meeting, jotting down facts he
thought pertinent to the task at hand.  He knew he had probably missed some
important ones, which meant he would have to borrow some of Jack's notes or
place a couple of follow-up calls.  Most of his attention during the meeting
had been trying to figure out what had upset Jennifer.
     He was snapped out of his reverie when he felt a hand slap his back.
Turning toward the owner of the hand, Cameron found himself facing the head
of The Four Strikes, Jack Striker.  "Maybe it's none of my business," Jack
said, "but you seemed distracted back in the meeting.  This kind of this is
usually right up your alley, Cam."
     Cameron shrugged.  "Jennifer's mad at me," he said, "and I'm preoccupied
trying to figure out what it is that I did."
     "Forget an anniversary?" Jack asked.
     "No, I triple-checked," Cameron replied.
     "You didn't throw one of those entangling vines at her again did you?"
Jack asked.  "That steamed her off last time."
     Cameron shook his head again.  "No.  I don't know what I did.  I've been
busy this week, trying to prototype a few ideas before today's meeting, so
I've missed a couple of dinners, but...she was okay with that, I thought.  I
told her I was sorry when I came in late, she said it was no problem, and
things were fine.
     "But last night, I go home...on we can have dinner...I even
suggest we order out...and things are fine.  She talked about her day, I told
her about what I was working on, and when we're heading to bed, she gets
steamed and slams the door in my face.  I thought she would have been
interested.  It's not every day I get asked to design something that she
and...I...oh, crap."
     Cameron stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes riveted to his notebook
full of questions, ideas, and diagrams.  After a full fifteen seconds of
replaying the previous night's dinner with Jennifer in his mind, listening to
every mention he made to the project, he looked back up at Jack.
     "I've got to go," Cameron said, something Jack seemed to already

               *              *              *              *

     Jennifer knew she had not slept well the night before.  Between being
angry at Cameron and worried about Cameron, she only managed a few solid
hours of sleep.  Still, as a patrolling Lady Lawful who often managed to miss
an entire night of sleep, it was more than enough to get her through the day,
or so she thought.
     Much to her surprise, as she was flipping through a book, she felt her
eye lids growing ever heavier as time passed.
     Much to her even greater surprise, after having closed her eyes for what
seemed like only a moment, Jennifer awoke and found herself securely trussed
up, lying on her bed.
     It didn't take her long to begin inspecting the ropes that encircled her
legs and torso, pinning her arms to her side by way of a cinch between each
hip and the wrist that fell next to it.  She recognized the ropes almost
immediately as being woven from the mutated hemp plants Cameron grew in his
lab.  After fully inspecting her own situation in the time it took for her to
glance down at herself, Jennifer realized she was not alone on the bed.
     "You should have told me you were jealous," Cameron said.  He was
leaning back on his side, eyes closed, with his hands folded atop his
     Jennifer squirmed as much as she could, trying to exude indignation with
what little body language she had at her disposal.  "I wasn't jealous," she
declared, followed up by, "What do I have to be jealous about?"
     "Absolutely nothing," Cameron told her.
     "See," she retorted, "As I said."
     "So...locking me out last night, what was that?" Cameron asked plainly.
     Jennifer scrunched her face up for a second, her cheeks reddening.
"Okay," she relinquished, "maybe I was a little jealous.  Just a little."
She separated her thumb and forefinger about an inch.  After a moment, she
heaved a might sigh.  "I'm sorry, Deedee," she told him.
     By now Cameron was on his side, his head propped on his left hand.
"Well, that makes us both sorry," he added.  "I didn't even stop to think you
might be..." he used his free, right hand to show an inch of space between
thumb and forefinger "...a little jealous that I've been spending this week
designing a restraint system for Brawllerina.  In hindsight, given my
record...I mean, I'd be jealous if I knew you were moonlighting as some other
villain's damsel in distress."
     After a second, he let his right hand slip over to Jennifer's side,
inspecting and tugging on various strands of rope.  "Want to both apologize
like adults and then pretend it never happened?" Jennifer suggested.
     "Deal," Cameron agreed.  He slipped his fingers out from between
Jennifer's stomach and her ligatures; then flopped onto his back, resuming
his previous position.
     "So..." Jennifer asked, "you going to untie me?"
     Cameron didn't move as he answered, "After my nap.  That couch wasn't
very comfortable."
     Jennifer squinted at him, grinning dangerously.  "You're willing to
incur my wrath...again?" she asked.
     Cameron shrugged.  "I'll risk it," he replied.
     "Says the man who doesn't want to sleep on the couch."
     Cameron cracked one eye open.  When he saw Jennifer smiling back at him,
he closed it again, repeating himself, "I'll risk it."


Next Issue:

     Okay, so this *wasn't* "The Deedee Experience," but we promise it's
coming up next issue!  Unless Andy is hit by another done-in-one inspiration,
that is.  No guarantees, just promises.


Editor's Notes:

     There's no datestamps here, but the action takes place some time in
either late 1997 or early 1998, in Chicago.  Best not to lock down the date
and then find it *was* an anniversary, after all.  ;)


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