SG: Sporkman #21 - A New Aftermath - (DCB 6/12)
gfishbone at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 13:27:05 PDT 2008
* THE SPORKMAN LETTER COLUMN: READER Q&A
* The Author reserves the right to excerpt, alter, or
* invent all reader feedback presented in this feature.
Q. The Sporkman series reminds me of the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle"
cartoons in that each episode is short and funny but not a whole lot
happens. It's enough, I suppose, for it to be short and funny.
A. Thanks! Let's test that out...
JEANETTE: Hey, Mickey! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my chapeau!
JEANETTE: Nothing up my sleeve... Oh, my! Zhat's not a rabbit. Eet's a
MICKEY: And now for something really neat, here's another episode of Sporkman!
** The Sporkarific Sporkman
** Episode #21: A New Aftermath
** By Greg R. Fishbone
** Dillweed City Blues #6 of 12
** Mickey Dunne, a former child superhero, has reinvented
** himself as Sporkman, savior of the Supersonic Airship
** Unsplodable. Can he save the future by confronting the past?
Spoonstryke wrenched the steering wheel to the right, pulled down
on the air-brake, and prayed. Prayed! Like some helpless non-powered
civilian, calling on God to dispatch an angel or a superguy. She
realized how absurd she sounded but still couldn't stop herself from
mouthing the words, "Dear God, make something miraculous happen
because this situation is totally beyond me, amen."
Spoonstryke and God hadn't had much to do with each other since
Astatine-- Ah, but that wasn't what she wanted to think about right
now. Not when she might be so close to losing Mickey as well.
The Spoonmobile Mark IV skidded sideways like a six-ton armored
brick, and the police car slid off the front viewplate. Spoonstryke
could have dialed up a side view, but only if she let go of the
servo-brake, and that wasn't about to happen. Voice controls, she
chided herself. Why hadn't she added some voice controls to this heap
of military surplus scrap?
She'd only gotten the tiniest split-second look into the
passenger side of the police car, but Mickey appeared well, all things
considered. A couple years older, a couple years leaner, a couple
years harder, a bright scar across his forehead, but still
recognizable as the boy who used to stick frogs down the back of her
shirt in third grade. The one who had become Sporkboy to her
Spoongirl. The first boy she'd ever kissed, and more. The boy whose
vehicle was about to be crushed like an aluminum can under the bulk of
The analytical part of her mind tried to distract her with
numbers and physics. Force and speed, vectors and tensile strength.
Was there any way for a police car to survive the impact? Astatine
would have known. Astatine would have been able to tell her to a
million decimal points, but Astatine was no longer--
The Spoonmobile flipped into the air, wheels over top, whirling
for a moment before coming down with a sickening crunch on something
that certainly felt like a vehicle. There was another crunch that
sounded vaguely like masonry and the monitors went to static.
Spoonstryke took an inventory of scrapes and bruises. She wasn't
invulnerable, much as she might pretend otherwise, and the inside of
the Spoonmobile sported some pretty hard surfaces. A normalguy would
have been battered into a fine paste, but Spoonstryke would probably
just be a little sore in the morning. "Memo to self. Seatbelts: Start
Spoonstryke popped the Spoonmobile's hatch, normally located on
the vehicle's top but which now opened sideways like a bank vault. A
haze of brick dust assaulted her senses. The Spoonmoble had come to
rest in the lobby of an office building, having first punched a new
entrance through a formerly solid wall.
"Better have a structural engineer check those support beams,"
she told a pair of slack-jawed guards. "Buildings this old can hardly
take a friendly little tap from a harmless vehicle like this one."
One of the guards raised a finger to point at her. "You-- You're--"
"Spoonstryke?" she asked, trying to help him finish the sentence
so that she might move on to more important things.
The guard shook his head. "You're--"
"Angry? Annoyed? Bitter? Busy?" Spoonstryke tried, in
alphabetical order. "Cranky? Cross?"
"Cute," the second guard supplied.
The first guard grinned. "Yeah, cute, but in an
all-grown-up-and-ready-for-action kind of way."
The second guard nodded in agreement. "For me, it's that single
strand of red hair that's come loose and is dangling down in front of
"The hair certainly is cute," the first guard admitted, "but
you've got to look at the whole cuteness package--the pouting lips,
the smoldering green eyes, and the cute way she's wringing her fingers
as if barely stifling an urge to strangle somebody."
"For the last time, I AM NOT CUTE!" Spoonstryke bellowed. The
force of her voice lifted the two men off their feet and sent them
flying back against what was left of the wall. "Geez! How old will I
have to be before anyone takes me seriously?"
It's like she was nine again, already a fully trained
crime-fighter but handicapped by a terminal case of cuteness...
* * *
Responding to a call on the police scanner, Spoongirl's father
had sent her alone into a convenience store where two masked men held
the store's sole employee at bay with a pair of long sticks. She stood
in the doorway for a moment, taking a measure of the situation and
standing on tip-toes to measure herself up to the four-foot-tall mark
on the door frame.
"Come on, come on, we haven't got all day," one of the men
stated, gesturing toward a large burlap sack on the counter.
"I will do so at once," said the clerk in a mild Pakistani
accent. "And you can be sure that I am not just stalling now until the
police respond to the silent alarm."
"Silent alarm?" one of the masked men asked his partner. "How can
an alarm be silent?"
"I don't know," the other responded. "That would kind of defeat
the purpose, wouldn't it?"
"All right, I have placed all the money in the bag," said the
clerk. "Now, I suppose you would like all the money in the safe as
"Hey, if you want to give us more money, who are we to argue?"
"Hold it right there!" shouted Spoongirl, announcing her
presence. All three men turned to see the nine-year-old standing in
the doorway in her crimson and black costume, pointing a spoon
directly at them. Her expression was deadly serious, her manner
strictly professional, and for a few seconds the three men were too
stunned to do anything but stand there, gaping.
"It is Spoongirl!" the store clerk announced.
"Awwwwwwwwwww!" cooed the masked men in unison. "She's so cute!"
Spoongirl winced, as if in pain. "Drop your weapons," she
ordered. The two men complied. "Keep your arms above your heads and
face the counter... Good. Now put your hands on the--" There was a
bright flash of light, and Spoongirl responded instantly by turning
and firing a blast from her spoonlaser. The store clerk dropped to the
floor, so quickly that he almost smashed his camera.
"I just wanted to get a picture of you in action," he told her.
"Oh! Can you get one of her standing in front of the two of us?"
asked one of the masked men.
"I don't think that--" Spoongirl started.
"Sure, no problem. Say goat-cheese!"
"Ah, what a wonderful shot!" the clerk exclaimed.
"Can you make copies for us?" asked one of the masked men.
"That will be no problem, most assuredly."
"Listen," said Spoongirl, "this really isn't the time--"
"How 'bout another one where I have my arm around her like this?"
"Oh, now that is just *too* precious!"
"And how 'bout one where we're on our knees on either side of her..."
"Can we be serious here for a minute?" asked Spoongirl.
The clerk snapped off another shot and moved in for a close-up.
Suddenly, the double doors of the store swung open and two police
officers burst inside with their guns drawn. "All right, everybody
freeze! Up against the-- Oh, hey, it's Spoongirl! Look, she really is
as cute as everybody says!"
"I am not cute!" she shouted.
"Awwwwwwwwwwww!" they all chorused.
* * *
Spoonstryke shook off the traumatic flashback and stepped
gingerly over a pile of rubble. The intersection outside was a chaos
of gawping spectators, barking dogs, stopped vehicles, and a spraying
fire hydrant. In the middle of it all, a navy-and-white police car had
been crushed down to about two feet thick.
"Mickey!" she shouted, racing forward even though there was no
possibility of a normalguy surviving such an impact, and Mickey was as
normal a guy as they come. Spoonstryke tore at the metal, prying it
open at the expense of shredding her gloves and cutting her hands. Her
prayer had gone unheeded after all, but maybe she could still uncover
some last trace of life, a brain with a few still-firing neurons, and
a working ear capable of hearing her apology. Not like Astatine, not
"What the--?" Spoonstryke examined the seatbelt strap uncovered
by her efforts. It had been sliced neatly by an extremely sharp knife,
or perhaps...an extremely sharp spork! Spoonstryke spun around quickly
and there he was, Mickey Dunne, very much alive and glaring at her
over a pair of crossed arms while an older police officer next to him
sat in a daze on the pavement.
"Hello, Spoonstryke," said Mickey, coldly.
"Um...hi there," said Spoonstryke, with a shy wave.
Mickey's scowl deepened, scary like his father's. Had he always
had that scowl, she wondered, or was it issued with the police
uniform? Mickey's fingers traced the scar across his forehead. "Have
you come to finish what you started?" he asked.
"N-no, of course not," she stammered, like the awkward schoolgirl
she'd never really been. "You, um, look really nice in that uniform,
Mickey. Gah! Did I just say that?"
The other officer strained to look at the heroine but his focus
kept shifting to other parts of his surroundings. "Is
Mickey gave the man a pat on the head. "Very good, Martini. Tasty
biscuit for you!"
Spoonstryke gave him a curious look.
"Shock," Mickey explained. "And I think he hit his head. I didn't
have time to pull him out through the windshield more gently, since
there was a gigantic plaid brick falling down on us at the time."
"Hold on." Spoonstryke stepped forward, made a furious mental
calculation, and gave the older officer a sharp slap to the back of
his head. "Is that better?"
Martini blinked twice and looked at Spoonstryke in awe. "Yes,
thank you, Miss. I feel fine now, but how--?"
"It's a Tibetan anti-concussion technique," she explained. "It
took ages to master, even for me."
"You'd have done better to practice your driving skills," said Mickey.
"I had a green light!" Spoonstryke exclaimed.
"You sure did," said Officer Martini. "Your word against ours,
and we don't stand a chance." He motioned for Mickey to come closer
then whispered in his ear, "She's a superguy!"
Mickey rolled his eyes and turned back to the superheroine. "I
thought I told you that I never wanted to see you again."
"And I thought you'd gotten your wish," Spoonstryke told him.
"Then I heard about the Unsplodable and I had to see this Sporkarific
Sporkman for myself."
Mickey raised his arms and did a catwalk turn. "There. You've
seen him. Now buzz off!"
Suddenly the radio on Mickey's belt crackled. "211 in progress at
the Spoonside Galleria, Code Tartan. Repeat, Code Tartan."
"Code Tartan?" asked Mickey, unfamiliar with the term.
"Involving superhumans," said Martini.
"I'll handle it," said Spoonstryke.
"No, I'll handle it," said Mickey, pulling the policeman's hat
down tighter on his head.
"Careful, partner. We're Directive 37 on this one," Martini
warned, ominously. Mickey remembered his father mentioning something
about a Directive 37, and it sounded fairly important, but he didn't
want to admit to ignorance by asking what it meant.
"Where is this Spoonside Galleria?" asked Spoonstryke.
"Are you kidding me?" asked Mickey. "It's called Spoonside, for
god's sake. Your dad probably owns the place and you don't know where
"Well, neither do you."
"I haven't been in this city for a while."
"And I have?"
"Right, I forgot, you've been eating lobsters and steak in the
"No, actually I've been eating hotel vending machine crackers on
the Presidential election circuit."
They glared at each other for a long moment.
"A wager?" asked Mickey. "If I catch the bad guys, you're out of
my life and this time you mean it?"
"And if I catch the bad guys we talk it out over ice cream sundaes?"
Mickey frowned. "Astatine used to love ice cream sundaes."
"Fine then! We'll talk it out over a box of Ritz Bits crackers!"
"Directive 37," Officer Martini said again. He was repeating it
over and over again like a chant while rocking back and forth on his
butt. "Directive 37, Directive 37, Directive 37!"
"I think the anti-concussion is wearing off," said Spoonstryke.
"You should get your partner to a hospital."
Mickey bent over Martini and examined his head. "I think he'll be
okay. It's just a slight--" He looked up and saw that Spoonstryke was
gone. "Go ahead, take your headstart!" he shouted into the sky.
"You're going to need it!"
WILL MICKEY CATCH THE MALL SUPERVILLAINS OR WILL SPOONSTRYKE BEAT HIM TO IT?
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ASTATINE, ANYWAY?
AND WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH DIRECTIVE 37?
None of these three questions will be answered in the next episode of
"The Sporkarific Sporkman", only on SUPERGUY!
 I don't know if I ever mentioned this in the original series but
Astatine had a strong aversion to Ritz Bits crackers. Really, the
girl considered roofing tiles a perfectly acceptable afternoon snack
but wouldn't touch Ritz Bits if her life depended on it. It's
probably a sign that Ritz Bits shouldn't properly be considered fit
for human consumption. (This footnote has been sponsored by the
makers of Cheez-It brand snack crackers. Yay, Cheez-It brand, yay!)
 It's hard to remember after all these years, but I think I made my
convenience store guy Pakistani so that nobody would accuse me of
ripping off Apu from "The Simpsons". Apu is Indian. Totally
different accent, totally different culture, totally different chain
of convenience stores. (This footnote has been sponsored by Karachi
Chamber of Commerce. Think totally different, think totally
convenient, think totally Karachi!)
 Spoonstryke seems more analytical in this episode than she has in
the past, perhaps subconsciously taking over for Astatine now that
she-- But I can't really talk about that yet. *SMIRK* (This footnote
is not yet sponsored. Your ad slogan here--inquire within!)
Greg R. Fishbone
* Official Author Site - http://gfishbone.com
* The Penguins of Doom book site - http://septinanash.com
* Word of the Day blog - http://tem2.livejournal.com
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