ASH: LL&DD #8 - Everyday Things

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Wed Apr 30 06:26:23 PDT 2008

Author: Andrew Burton

     The cover shows Lady Lawful sitting on a bed in her civvies, Doctor
Developer in standing next to the bed rubbing his chin; they're both looking
at a pile of odds and ends laid out between them.
 Coherent                                                  LL&DD #8
 Comics          | ADY | AWFUL    __        __             "Everyday Things"
 Presents an     |__   |__     &  | \ OCTOR | \ EVELOPER   copyright 2008
 ASHistory Tale:                  |_/       |_/            by Andrew Burton

[Editor's note: there's a conceit behind the additional element of the scene
tags, it'll be explained at the end.]

[January 5, 1995 - Chicago, IL - Empty aluminum can]

     "I'm impressed that you found my safe house," Doctor Developer said,
referring to the empty studio apartment which he and Lady Lawful currently
occupied.  He turned his attention away from his guest and back to the the
can of peaches he was opening with his pocket knife.
     Lady Lawful scowled and grunted, which was about all she could do tied
as tightly as she was.  As far as she could tell, the ropes wrapped around
her body, her limbs...just about everything...were as normal as they came,
but without her belt, there were enough of them to hold her in place.  "I'm a
hero," she explained, "we're very good at tracking down bad guys."
     Doctor Developer nodded as he finished opening his can and peeled the
jagged-edged lid back far enough to stick his knife into and stab a peach
chunk.  "Yep, you are," he agreed.  He popped the chunk into his mouth,
chewed a few times and swallowed.  "'Scuse me," he apologized, "I missed
lunch...and breakfast."
     Before Lady Lawful could answer verbally, her stomach let out a small
rumble in reply.  Doctor Developer raised his eyebrows in surprise, and Lady
Lawful's scowl perceptibly darkened.  "I missed lunch too," she snapped,
"trying to find someone's hideout."  Breakfast too, but she didn't say that.
     Doctor Developer popped another chunk in his mouth.  Once he'd swallowed
it, he extended the can toward Lady Lawful.  "You want one?" he asked.  Lady
Lawful raised her head for a better look at the can, prompting Doctor
Developer to set the can on the ground.  He crawled over to where Lady Lawful
lay, and sat her up on her knees.  "They're really good."
     "One," she replied, giving him a hairy look.
     Doctor Developer nodded and complied by fishing out a peach chunk with
his knife.  He offered the chunk to Lady Lawful, dangling the piece within
reach of her teeth.  She bit the peach chunk off the end of the can-opener
     "They are good," she replied after swallowing.  Doctor Developer took
another for himself, then offered again, silently. "Okay, two," she said,
accepting the peach chunk.
     Several chunks each later, Doctor Developer tipped the peachless can
toward Lady Lawful.  "You want the juice?" he asked.  Lady Lawful crinkled
her nose and shook her head, which was all the incentive Doctor Developer
needed to tip the can just above his lips and let the yellow liquid drain
into his mouth.  "That's the best part..."
     Suddenly, Doctor Developer began to beep.  He dropped the empty can on
the floor as he jumped in surprise, and then began patting himself down,
ultimately finding his pager.  He gave the black lozenge a quick glance, then
hopped to his feet.  "Um," he fumbled, "ah, you'll have to excuse me, I
forgot all about...yeah, no...nice try."
     Lady Lawful cocked an eyebrow up, trying to decipher Doctor Developer's
half sentences.  She watched him tuck the pager back into his jacket.  When
he pulled his hand back out of his coat, he pulled a handkerchief along with
it.  "Oh, come on," Lady Lawful groused, "really, Deedee?  And we were having
such a nice time."
     Doctor Developer rolled the handkerchief up and tied a knot in the
middle of it.  "I'll be back by the morning," he explained, "want anything
for breakfast?"  The question, whether intended as rhetorical or simply asked
in some form of absent-minded politeness, was moot.  Before Lady Lawful could
reply, Doctor Developer worked the knot in between her teeth and tied the
kerchief off behind her head.
     Without another word between them, Doctor Developer bolted for the door
of his apartment.  He was gone.
     Lady Lawful waited until she was sure he was gone, until she was as
certain as she could be that he wouldn't return, before she started trying to
get loose.  Unfortunately, nothing had changed from her previous struggles:
there was no way to squirm free, there were no knots within reach to untie,
and there were too many coils of rope to break without her belt.
     She noted, with equally mixed relief and irritation, that her belt was
still in the apartment.  It was sitting atop an overturned box, which was
tantalizingly out of reach thanks to the way Doctor Developer had bound her.
     To get free, barring some random rescuer, she knew she needed something a knife, a rough edge, or...her eyes fell on the emptied peach
can Doctor Developer dropped earlier.  Looking at it more closely, she saw
that the edges of the lid were jagged from the way he opened it.  Lady Lawful
chuckled behind her gag as she began to carefully twist herself closer to the
     As she moved herself closer to the instrument of her freedom, she
completely failed to notice the camera lens watching her from beneath the
cardboard box holding her belt, which was exactly as Doctor Developer had

               *              *              *              *

[April 20, 1996 - Chicago, IL - Party blower]

     One of the last boxes of Cameron's to be moved into Jennifer's house had
the label "TOY SUPRIZE" scrawled across the side of it.  As Jennifer set the
box down in her garage, where the bulk of Cameron's less deadly equipment was
being stored (as opposed to his extremely volatile equipment, which Jack
Striker insisted stay locked up at the Three Strikes' base), she turned to
look at Cameron, who was counting his stack.
     "Toy Surprise?" she asked.  When Cameron looked over at her, Jennifer
pointed to the box.  "What's the toy surprise?"
     "Not what," Cameron corrected her.  "It was a who...well, almost a who."
Jennifer's tapping foot and crossed arms were enough that Cameron realized he
had failed to answer her question.  He scratched the back of his neck.  "A
while back, when I first got to Chicago and was trying to score a gig, one of
my contacts told me about a guy who wanted to be a super-villain.  Codename
was going to be 'Toy Suprize' spelled like on the box.
     "He had this idea, he wanted to be an evil party clown.  He wanted
modified party gimmicks for his gadgets: an electric buzzer, acid squirting
flower...clown stuff.  He was paying, so I took the job.  I mocked up a bunch
of prototypes of stuff for him, but by the time I got finished he'd moved on
to some other theme...butterflies or moths...something.  I'm sure you've met
the type on the other side of the fence, more interested in coming up with an
identity than actually inhabiting it."
     Cameron knelt down and opened up the box. Inside were all sorts of
various party trinkets, streamers, balloons, but what caught Jennifer's eye
was a party whistle.  She pulled the blower out, put it to her lips, and blew
into it unfurling the end and making a metallic, whistling sound.
     "I love these," Jennifer said. She gave the whistle another blow.
     "It's actually part of a pair," Cameron told her.  He pulled an
identical blower out of the box.  "May I?" he asked, extending his hand.
Jennifer offered him the blower.  "The whistle is actually a very small,
wind-powered generator, and the 'paper' is coated with an early prototype of
my restraint gel."
     He put the blowers in his mouth, one with the rolled paper up and the
other with the rolled paper down.  After a quick intake of air, Cameron blew
out the rolls of paper to their full length.  Once they were out, he reached
out, grabbed Jennifer's wrists, and simultaneously brought them up to touch
the unrolled paper and released the blowers from his mouth.
     Instantly the paper began to wind itself back up, only instead of
pulling itself into regular roll, it wrapped around Jennifer's wrists.  The
moment the paper finished wrapping itself up, Cameron tugged her wrists so
that the blowers' streamers touched.
     "They won't budge," Jennifer noted, trying to twist her wrists free.
     "This version of the restraint gel worked backwards than the current
version: without an electric current, the molecules align in a rigid,
crystalline form.  Apply a current, and they go limp," he told her.  Jennifer
looked up from her wrists with a wry look.  "Some super with a chemistry
degree figured out the molecular structure a while back, I just found a way
to use it.  The generator supplies enough current to loosen the structure,
but if you make the two touch when they're reforming, it basically becomes
one solid piece."
     Jennifer raised her wrists.  "So, how do you keep people from just
blowing on the whistle again and getting loose?"
     "Hmm," Cameron considered.  He looked at Jennifer and smiled.  "Off the
top of my head...."  In a moment, he pressed himself against Jennifer,
occupying her mouth with his own.
     When he eventually pulled away, Jennifer pointed out, "I hope that's
only how you keep *me* from getting loose, or I might get jealous."

               *              *              *              *

[April 21, 1996 - Chicago, IL - Peanut butter and jelly sandwich]

     "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best sex food ever,"
Jennifer Blair explained between bites of her sandwich.  "Bread and jelly are
sugars required for a quick burst of energy, and the peanuts are protein,
which give you staying power."  She took another bite.
     Cameron McKay watched as Jennifer continued to eat her sandwich.  There
were some scientific fundamentals behind her theory that sounded legitimate,
but other parts he knew he would need to double-check.  Either way, she
seemed content with her snack.  After a minute, when she swallowed the last
chunk of sandwich, Cameron smiled at her.
     "You forgot something," he told her.
     "What's that?" she asked.  In answer, Cameron leaned closer, and began
to kiss Jennifer around mouth, which led to her rolling atop him.  As they
finished kissing, she asked once more, "What did I forget that makes peanut
butter and jelly the best sex food?"
     Cameron smiled and licked his lips as he answered, "Cleaning up the

               *              *              *              *

[December 21, 1996 - Chicago, IL - a string of Christmas lights]

     "Is this what you wanted?" Cameron asked.  He handed a small, beige box
to Jennifer.  The box was a basic electronics project box, not much bigger
than a small tape recorder.  Part of the top had been cut away to expose the
kind of socket one might expect to find on the wall.  The other side featured
a latch, for easy removal.  "It'll hold eight AA's, but that's not going to
give you very much juice."
     Jennifer accepted the box with a beaming grin.  Once it was in her
hands, she leaned forward and gave Cameron a peck on the cheek.  "You're the
best, Deedee!"
     "What's it for anyway?" he asked, watching as Jennifer removed the
battery cover.  "You're not going to be able to run a whole lot off eight
     Jennifer snapped the battery cover into place, still grinning.  "If I
told you that, it would ruin the surprise!"


     Jennifer waited until she was sure Cameron was gone before she sprung
from her chair.  She knew he would only be gone for a few minutes, twenty at
the most.  That was okay, though, because as she calculated it, she only
needed five.
     Up in their room, Jennifer rooted through the dresser drawer where she
kept her unmentionables and T-shirts...hopefully the one place Deedee
wouldn't look.  In just a few moments, she pulled out the items she'd hidden
away: the battery box he'd made for her, a pair of foam reindeer antlers, and
a string of Christmas lights.
     Now, Jennifer thought as she jogged down stairs, all she needed was a
roll of electrical tape and to find her accomplice.


     "I got the stuff you wanted," Cameron called out.  "Eggnog, cookies, and
they had the cocoa you wanted."
     "I'm in the den!" Jennifer called out.  Cameron stowed the perishable
from his list, and moved toward the den.  As he stepped into view, he stopped
and stared.  "Merry Christmas!" Jennifer cheered.
     Her greeting was followed by a series of playful beeps from Prototype...
technically Prototype 2.0, since the original had run off several weeks
before after taking part in someone else's trap aimed at Cameron himself.
Prototype 2.0 was decked out in what Cameron could only assume passed for
robotic holiday attire.  Christmas lights were wrapped around its torso and
arms, taped at a few strategic locations, blinking every few seconds.  A pair
of reindeer antlers were attached to the top of what passed as its head.
     "What's do you think?" Jennifer asked.  She was standing next to
Prototype, showing off the holiday decorations like a designer would show off
their favorite model.
     Speechless, Cameron said the only thing he could.  "I'm speechless."
     "Since this is Prototype Two's first Christmas, I wanted to make him
feel welcomed," Jennifer explained.  She patted the robot on his back.
"Prototype Two, welcome to our family."

               *              *              *              *

[May 5, 1997 - Chicago, IL - Collapsinum plating]

     "What's the occasion?" Jennifer Blair asked, eying the large, wrapped
package.  Whatever was in the package made it roughly four feet tall and
three feet both wide and deep.  It was covered in blue and yellow wrapping
paper, and finished off with a red bow.  "It's not my birthday.  It's not
     She looked skeptically at Cameron McKay.  "Did you do something bad?"
     Cameron's face twisted a bit and he replied, "Can't I just do something
nice for you...randomly?"
     Jennifer stepped closer to the package, putting a hand on the paper.
"You?" she asked.  "You can do nice things, but never random."  With a few
seconds of tearing, she managed to remove all the paper for the package to
     An office chair.  It looked fairly normal.  It was covered in black
faux-leather.  The back was pretty high, high enough one could lean their
head back.  Arm rests extended out of the back, to the sides.  There were
rollers on the bottom, colored matte black.
     "Go on," he urged, "Sit."  Jennifer carefully sat down in the chair,
shifting until she was comfortable, which was surprisingly easy.  "I called
in a couple of favors, and had an old colleague of mine use come scraps of
Collapsinum plating to make the framework of the chair, and then I used the
new generation of restraint gel I'm working on for the padding."
     Jennifer knew the gel he was talking about, being intimately familiar
with the earlier versions.  So to speak.  She definitely knew what the
super-strong aluminum modification Collapsinum was, and she knew it meant her
chair could likely endure any super-human flops or leans she could throw its
way, although the places where the material was joined together might be
breakable.  Not easily, though, given Cameron's design skills.
     "It's completely customizable," Cameron explained.  "The arm rests come
off.  You can adjust the height.  The system that hardens the gel can be
reprogrammed to accommodate any position.  It's the perfect chair."
     "Yes," Jennifer mumbled to herself.  "It is."  She ran her hand along
the armrests, then under the seat.  After a minute, she looked up at Cameron.
"We both know this isn't just for heavy office use.  Where are the shackles?"
     Cameron's face turned a deep red.  After a moment, he slowly began to
answer, "Um, well, they're still being, uh, built.  They should be here next

               *              *              *              *

[July 12, 1997 - Chicago, IL - stapler]

     "Hey, Deedee, have you seen my stapler?" Jennifer asked.  She stepped
into the garage just in time to see the Cameron look up at her, distracting
him just enough that the office tool slammed shut on his finger.  Cameron let
out a curse and winced.
     After a second, and Jennifer both inspecting his hand for embedded
staples and giving it a sympathy peck, Cameron weakly answered, "Yes.  I have
     Jennifer picked the stapler up from his work bench before asking, "What
are you doing with...oh."  She looked over his work bench, her eyes falling
on a Lady Lawful figure delicately tied to a framework made from pieces of a
children's building toy.  "Stapler trap?" she asked.
     Cameron nodded. "A prototype anyway.  I like to test them out before
committing the resources for the full-sized project."

               *              *              *              *

[October 30, 1997 - Chicago, IL - My Little Pony]

     "Hey, where's your little horse?" Diane asked.
     "Blossom's not a horse, she's a pony," Jennifer said.  She turned around
looking for the violet colored toy pony she kept on her desk.  It was one of
her favorite childhood toys, something she'd managed to save from her
parents' massive "We don't want to move a lot of stuff to Florida" yard sale,
and since its rescue, the pony had been a permanent fixture in Jennifer's
office.  "And she's gone."
     In Blossom's place was a white envelope.  Anxiously, Jennifer picked up
the envelope and tore it open.  Inside was a letter made from cut-out letters
from a newspaper.  Jennifer read it aloud:
     "If you ever want to see your pony again, go into the garage when you
get home."  Jennifer's eyes narrowed down to two, small slits as she
whispered, "Deedee."


     Jennifer expected to find Cameron inside the garage, waiting for her,
when she got home.  Instead, she found another envelope, sitting atop a brown
paper bundle.  Inside the envelope was another note and a polaroid.  The
photograph showed Blossom standing up in a cage, made from one of Cameron's
building sets; the cage was hanging from what appeared to be their shower
curtain rod.
     One grumpy sigh later, Jennifer read the note: "It will soon be curtains
for blossom, Cow Girl!"  Cow Girl? Jennifer wondered.  She looked at the
brown paper package again and shook her head.


     Now wearing a very hokey cowgirl's vest over her work clothes, as well
as child's cowboy hat, Jennifer stomped up stairs to her bedroom in search of
Cameron.  She knew Blossom was probably still in the bathroom.  Cameron had
not made an appearance by the time she reached their bedroom, and was still
out of sight when she stepped into the bathroom.
     "There you are, Blossom," Jennifer said a bit more loudly than really
needed.  "Did the bad man...?"  Without warning, Jennifer felt something
tighten around her arms.  A thin, black cord had lassoed around her torso.
Completely expecting what she thought would come next, Jennifer turned around
to a genuinely surprising sight.
     Cameron was completely dressed up in a cowboy costume: black boots, blue
jeans, leather belt with a bull skull buckle, black vest, checkered shirt, a
bandana covering his face, and a black hat.  In one hand, Cameron was holding
a toy gun, complete with an orange safety tip.  In his other hand, he was
holding a real least real in the sense that it seemed to be capable
of launching a lasso.
     "Ah haves yew nah, Cow Gurl," Cameron drawled in a terrible Texan
accent.  "Yew maht iz well give up now, and admit that ol' Horse Thief has
yew an' yer little pony!"
     Jennifer was torn.  Part of her wanted to chastise Cameron for stealing
her pony, part of her wanted to laugh at his accent.  Instead of either, she
shook her head and said, in her best, worst Texan accent, "Yew'll never git
away with this, Horse Thief! Yew best let me and Blossom go!"

               *              *              *              *

[February 14, 1998 - Chicago, IL - spatula]

     "There are two things I hate," Cameron grumbled.
     "Number one, I know, is mind control," Jennifer said.  She'd heard him
complain about that one before.  At first she wondered if Doctor Developer
did protest too much, but in time, she learned he really did think of mind
control, hypnosis, and the like to be a form of cheating when it came to
     "Right," Cameron nodded.
     "What's number two?" Jennifer asked.
     "Sticky traps," he complained.
     "You are such a liar," Jennifer chastised him.  "You build sticky traps
all the time."
     "Fine," Cameron replied, "then I hate when people use sticky traps on
     Jennifer knelt down next to Cameron, and kissed him on the cheek.  "You
can dish it out, but you can't take it, eh?" she asked.
     Splayed out on the kitchen floor in the form of a giant "X", Cameron
shifted as much as he could with his arms, legs, and back glued down thanks
to Jennifer turning one of his traps against him.  "I can take it...I just
want to be wearing clothes before I'm glued down like a...a..."
     "A super-hero," Jennifer suggested.
     "Ah...yeah," Cameron sheepishly replied.
     "Well, don't worry," Jennifer said, giving him a loving pat on the
chest, "I've got a spatula, so you'll be up in no time."


Author's notes:

     A couple of days ago, in an effort to focus my mind on LL&DD, I issued a
challenge to people on my LiveJournal friend's list: "Name an everyday
object, and I'll tell you how Lady Lawful and Doctor Developer have 'used' it
at one time or another."  'Used' being heavily laden with innuendo.  The
intent was not to generate a new LL&DD issue, so much as inspire me to write
one.  However, what wasn't intended has happened.  The above are stories
(sorted chronologically by events, not by suggestion) inspired by items named
by my LJ peeps.  Those peeps and the items they suggested are:

1. bariman1987, Empty aluminum can
2. scavgraphics, Party blower
3. thegr8saiyaman, a string of Christmas lights
4. stoneself, Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
5. dvandom, Collapsinum plating
6. kiffie, Stapler
7. unicronq, My Little Pony
8. prodigal, Spatula

     Prototype, the first, was lost when he was infected by Derek "Triton"
Radner's virus in the CSV Annual #2.

Editor's Note:

     Collapsinum plating is TOO an everyday item. 


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