SG: Sporkman #14 - A New Victory

Greg Fishbone gfishbone at
Mon Feb 11 18:33:56 PST 2008

     Mickey Dunne climbed hand-over-hand up the rope ladder toward the
fabric-covered envelope of the Supersonic Airship Unsplodable. Below
him lay the passenger gondola with its open hatch into the Luxury
Level, and far below that the surface of the North Atlantic peeked
through gaps in the clouds.

     For just a moment, Mickey thought he saw the outline of a
military helicopter hidden in the cloudbank, but it disappeared with a
blink of his eyes and he convinced himself that it had probably been a
trick of the light.

     Mickey fought the bitter cold and sharp wind all the way up the
ladder, nearly slipping twice and only just maintaining his grasp on
his load of pinup posters. Somehow he reached the access door and
pulled himself inside the airship's gigantic envelope. The enormous
space was filled with gasbags, mechanical equipment, a skeleton
framework of fiberglass, spare engine parts, and a tangle of inflation

     Near the entry hatch, a short, balding man in an impeccable suit
and tie strained with effort as he squeezed one of the hoses with both
hands. He looked awfully well-dressed for a mechanic, Mickey thought.
"Um... excuse me?"

     The man looked over at Mickey and spoke a greeting in Australian:
"G'day, mate!"

     "G'day," said Mickey, who was suddenly thankful for the semester
of Australian he'd taken in college before dropping out. "You'll need
to, um, walkabout to the nearest billabong," He told the man. "In
about three bonzer minutes, this fairdinkum area is going to be
crawling with ravenous-- er, that is, bloody lemurs."

     "No can do, Yank. I made a campaign promise, and it'll take more
than lemurs to keep me from my duty."

     "What--?" Mickey started, but as he was talking to a
hose-squeezing Australian in the envelope of a trans-Atlantic
dirigible during a lemur assault, the question-forming part of his
brain had apparently decided that it didn't really want to know
anything more. "Who--?" he tried again, and once again failed to get
farther than a single word. He frowned and poured all his mental
energy into one final effort that came out something like: "What, who,
what-what, huh?"

     "The Honorable John Winston Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
by popular request, at your service. I've pledged to fight inflation
wherever it rears its ugly inflatable head, and that's just what I'm
doing now!" Mr. Howard nodded toward a chugging pump on one side of
the hose and a partially-inflated gas bag on the other side. Standing
between them with is hands strangling the hose, the Prime Minister was
indeed preventing the bag from inflating any further.

     "How long have you been doing that?" asked Mickey.

     "Ever since the airship was last parked in Sydney. About fourteen
days, I think. If this doesn't win me the election, I don't know what

     "But... wild lemurs are coming," Mickey tried to explain. "Wild,
ravenous, man-eating lemurs hopped up on piranha pheromones, and
they've already developed a taste for politicians. Please sir, if you
want to live, you'll have to let go of that tubing and come with me."

     "I'd rather die than surrender to the dreaded scourge of inflation!"

     Mickey sighed, wishing he still had his Cousin Astatine with him.
He could see himself snapping off an outrageous order like, "Teeny,
grab the Prime Minister of Australia and let's get out of here!" She'd
have done it, too--without questioning him or giving it even a second
thought. Astatine had trusted him completely, which was of course the
main reason why she wasn't around anymore.

     "Suit yourself," he told the Prime Minister. "It's not like I
don't have enough people to rescue already." Mickey spaced the
Portentous Piranha posters around the inside of the envelope and
wished that any of the others could be there to help him through this
situation. Even Nancy. Or better yet, if Nancy were there instead of
him, since that way she could handle things and he wouldn't have to
see or talk to her again. What would Spoonstryke have done against an
army of scent-crazed lemurs? Mickey didn't know for sure, but it would
have involved a whole lot more ass-kicking and a whole lot fewer
celebrity deaths.

**  The Sporkarific Sporkman
**  Episode #14: A New Victory
**  By Greg R. Fishbone
** Lemurs on a Dirigible #9 of 10
** Having achieved the height of fame, popularity, and power
** as the child hero, Sporkboy, Mickey Dunne finds himself
** friendless, broke, and haunted by a traumatic past. Can he
** pull himself together to save the world one more time?

     Mickey poked his head through the access door in the ceiling of
the Luxury Level. "All set!" he announced.

     "It's about motherfarkin' time!" Samuel L. Jackson exclaimed from
his last fallback position. His flamethrower only let out a sorry puff
of perfumed smoke when he pulled the trigger, and the lemurs arranged
all around him licked their lips.

     "Hey, lemurs! What do you think of this?" Mickey dangled his last
Portentous Piranha poster over the edge of the rope ladder.

     "Frink-frink?" asked one of the creatures.

     "P'tang?" added another.

     "Wooooooooo!" exclaimed a third, and the entire group charged up
the ladder. Mickey barely had time to scuttle away across the top of
the gondola before they passed him by, into the envelope above. He
could hear their noises of delight as they discovered the posters he
had arranged for them up there.

     Mickey gave the ladder a sharp tug and it came loose, leaving the
lemurs no escape from the envelope above. He dropped back into the
Luxury Level and grabbed the intercom handset. "Britney! Lindsay!
Detach the gondola!"

     "Aye-aye, Cap'n!" came the reply on the intercom, and speakers
throughout the entire airship crackled to life with a message that
Flight Magazine would later rank as #3 in their list of all-time
scariest airliner announcements: "Attention, everybody! This is your
pilot, Britney Spears!"

     "And your co-pilot, Lindsay Lohan--Hic!"

     "And we've just turned on the Fasten Seatbelt sign to let you
know that we're about to plunge 30,000 feet straight down into the

     "So there might be some--Hic!--turbulence! Hic-hic!"

     "Everybody grab onto something that's securely bolted down!"
Mickey shouted to the VIP passengers, and there was a mad scramble as
O. J. Simpson claimed a slot machine while Dick Cheney grabbed a
corner of the bar and Ryan Seacrest gripped the jukebox. Rush Limbaugh
ran toward a twenty-foot golden statue of Amelia Earhart flipping off
a twenty-foot statue of Charles Lindbergh. Rush grabbed the aviatrix's
leg and leered up at her in a not quite appropriate manner.

     Mickey hooked his feet to a wall-mounted safety-belt and held
Jeanette tightly, not noticing the sneers this earned him from Bill
O'Reilly and Underling Number Thirteen.

     Samuel L. Jackson gave Mickey a respectful salute. "Whether we
come though this alive or not, I just want you to know that you're one
motherfarkin' crazy motherfarker."

     "Thanks," said Mickey. "You too."

* * *

     Down in the cockpit, Britney held her hand over a bank of
controls. "Djou remember which one is the gondola release?"

     Lindsay laughed. "Gondola release? I couldn't remember that even
if I was sober!"

     "Oh, okay. Then I'll just press them all." She mashed her hand
down onto the buttons, and the inside of the cockpit was bathed with
flickering red emergency lights.

     Explosive charges popped all along the upper edge of the gondola,
snapping the passenger compartment free from the gas-filled envelope
above--except for a single dud charge at the back, which fizzled out
and remained intact. The entire gondola pitched forward until its nose
pointed down at the ocean, spinning and dangling from a single thick
cable that tethered it to the lemur-filled envelope above.

     Unsecured items in the cargo hold crashed into the forward
bulkhead. Passengers on the Coach Class Level screamed as beverage
containers and carry-on bags whipped past. On the Luxury Level, Rush
Limbaugh struggled and failed to maintain his hold on Amelia Earhart's

     Rush fell screaming into the pool and hot tub water that had
collected in the Forward Observation Lounge. A moment later he came up
for a breath of air, laughing at his good fortune to still be alive.
Humming to himself, he extended his arms and legs and floated
belly-up, totally at peace with the world.

     Suddenly and without warning, the Amelia Earhart statue came
loose from its base, flew toward the front of the airship, impaled
Rush Limbaugh through the chest on her upraised middle finger, and
smashed through the observation window. Streaming a trail of
chlorinated water like a comet, the statue fell into a cloudbank and
disappeared forever.

     "Oops, I did it again!" came Britney's voice over the PA system,
followed by giggling laughter.

     "Is everyone all right?" asked Mickey.

     The surviving passengers tightened their grips and looked down at
the Forward Observation Lounge.

     "Is everyone other than Rush Limbaugh all right?" Mickey amended.

     "Yes, sure, fine," they all chorused.

     "Good. We've got to break that last cable somehow."

     "Right," said Jeanette. "Before zee dirigible envelope explodes!"

     Mickey stared at her. "Um... what?"

     "Zhat was your plan, wasn't it? To blow all zee lemurs to Kingdom Come?"

     "No, of course not," said Mickey, horrified by the suggestion.
"All we had to do was separate the gondola from the envelope and use
the emergency wings to glide down to the ocean. There's no reason to
blow anything up."

     "But you can't have a motherfarkin' action movie without a huge
motherfarkin' explosion," said Samuel. "It's what the audience wants."

     "This isn't an action movie," Mickey reminded him.

     "This ship is called the Unsplodable," Samuel insisted. "That
level of hubris virtually guarantees that it will explode in a
spectacular fashion."

     "Well, now that you mention it..." Mickey felt his mind flash
back to a conversation he'd had about five minutes before, when he was
still inside the dirigible's envelope with the Prime Minister of

     "Don't you get hungry or thirsty, just standing there for days on
end, doing absolutely nothing productive-- er, I mean, fighting
inflation?" he had asked the Prime Minister, in a last-ditch attempt
to coax him down to the safety of the gondola.

     "No worries, mate! I take a break every few hours for a Vegemite
sandwich and a kegger of beer. And for dessert, I make a delicious
creme brulee." He kicked at a culinary blowtorch that rested at his

     "Well, all right then," Mickey had said. "Say, do our voices seem
unusually high-pitched to you?"

     "They sure do, mate. It's probably due to the hydrogen gas leak
that's developed in the last minute or so."

     "You mean helium, don't you? Hydrogen is highly explosive."

     "Well sure, but hydrogen is also the fuel of the future. It
wouldn't do for the airline to fill the Supersonic Airship
Unsplodable, flagship of their fleet, with any lesser gas." The Prime
Minister had then turned his wrist a little to glance at his watch.
"Ten minutes to lunchtime. I think I might make my creme brulee first,
just to switch things up. A bit of flame right now would really
brighten up the day!"

     Mickey snapped back to the present with an expression of shock on
his face. "Oh my god, you're right. The Unsplodable is about to




Find out as the "Lemurs in a Dirigible" storyline comes to an
explosive conclusion, only on SUPERGUY!


Much thanks to Saxon Brenton for suggesting the inclusion of John
Howard in this storyline, the very last celebrity to make it into the
arc "by popular request." As I don't know a whole lot about Mr.
Howard, I just made him very much Australian, very much a politician,
and let the chips fall where they may.  In the continuity of this
story, taking place at the beginning of November 2007, Mr. Howard had
not yet lost his bid for reelection. If only he'd fought just a little
bit harder against the forces of inflation...

In my wild imaginings of how a Superguy airship is configured, I made
many assumptions and very little research. If you're kind, you'll
gloss over it all and not draw too much attention to all the details I
got wrong.

I always knew "The Unsplodable" would explode, that was pretty much
telegraphed from the beginning, but I wish I'd had the foresight to
set up that Amelia Earhart statue back at the beginning of the arc.

And in case you were wondering, there's no baby yet but she will
probably be born this week.

Greg R. Fishbone -
* President: Class of 2k7 -
* ARA: New England SCBWI -

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