SG: Sporkman #15 - A New 'Splosion

Greg Fishbone gfishbone at
Sun Feb 24 21:01:21 PST 2008

     "So here we are, among hundreds of surviving passengers in an
airship gondola, dangling by a single cable from a hydrogen-filled
envelope that's set to explode in about five minutes," Samuel L.
Jackson summarized. "Somebody needs to crawl through that access door,
scale the top edge of the gondola, and slice through that
motherfarkin' cable."

     "Not me," said Courtney. "If I couldn't cut through a rope to win
a 'Survivor: China' reward challenge, I sure couldn't do it merely to
save a bunch of lives."

     "It's up to you, Mickey," said Samuel.

     "Why don't you do it, Mr. Action Hero?" Mickey asked.

     "Don't be stupid. An actor of my caliber doesn't do his own
motherfarkin' stunts!"

     "Mickey, you can do this," Jeanette insisted. "Eet is the reason
zhat you are here!"

     "I don't know about this, Jeanette. I'm operating without a net here."

     "Wizhout a superguy to back you up, you mean?"

     "Exactly. People's lives are at stake and you're expecting an
awful lot from just an ordinary man with a spork."

     "You are not just a man with a spork," Jeanette insisted. "You
are... Sporkman!"

**  The Sporkarific Sporkman
**  Episode #15: A New 'Splosion
**  By Greg R. Fishbone
** Lemurs on a Dirigible #10 of 10--FINALLY!
** 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?

     As Mickey prepared for the task ahead, Jeanette leaned over and
gave him a kiss on the cheek. "For luck," she said. "And maybe tonight
we could both stay awake for a change, oui?"

     "Whee!" Mickey agreed. He made the jump to what had once been the
ceiling of the Luxury Level, now oriented vertically like a wall, and
dug in the tines of his stainless-steel spork to slow his descent
toward the access door. Through it clouds seemed to rush back and
forth as the gondola spun first in one direction and then in the

     On the other side of the vertical ceiling, the surface that had
been the top of the gondola was coated with a non-slip surface
designed for walking on. The welded edges and rows of rivets offered
little in the way of fingerholds, but somehow Mickey made slow and
steady progress upward. He could see the uncut cable above of him and
beyond that the floating bulk of the dirigible's gas- and lemur-filled

     "Hey, Mr. Prime Minister!" Mickey called up to the balloon. "Are
you still alive in there?"

     "Hey yourself!" Mr. Howard's voice replied, squeaky as a
chipmunk's from all the hydrogen leaking from the gas bags. "I was
just about to knock off for a cut lunch. Care to join me for a
Foster's and some creme brulee?"

     "No!" Mickey shouted. "Please, whatever you do, don't light that
culinary blowtorch!"

     "Caramelized custard's not your style, eh? All right then, mate,
I also have the makings of a fine barbecue up here. I'll even let you
throw a shrimp on the barbie--that's what you Yanks call prawns, isn't
it? Shrimps?"

     "Don't light a barbecue either," said Mickey. "Any open flames,
or even a tiny spark, and boom! We all get blown into the

     "Oh," Mr. Howard's squeaky voice replied. "Then I suppose I
shouldn't light these fifteen tons of fireworks I brought with me to
celebrate my impending electoral triumph?"

     "Don't. Light. Anything." Mickey wondered if Mr. Howard could
still somehow be saved. It seemed impossible, but how many seemingly
impossible things had he accomplished as a member of the Preteen
Patrol? No, he told himself, he hadn't been the one who had done all
those things--it had been the power-kiddies like Astatine and Nancy.
It would be absurd for Mickey on his own to risk all the lives in the
gondola below in an attempt to save the one in the envelope above, but

     "I can save you, sir!" Mickey called. "Just tell me what the
lemurs are doing."

     "What, you mean these here dingoes?"

     "They're lemurs," Mickey told him.

     "I know a dingo when I see one, mate--you can tell by the
distinctive frink-frinking noises they make. But dingoes don't bother
me none because I was stolen by a dingo as a little baby, and raised
as one of their own."

     "I see..." Mickey had reached the cable by this point and
positioned himself to shimmy up to the gas envelope--although he was
also ready to saw through the cable with the sharp edge of his spork
if anything went wrong. "You really should come down here where it's
safe, sir!"

     "Says who?" asked Mr. Howard.

     "Says, um, 68% of registered voters?" Mickey improvised. "They
just took a poll."

     "Really? In that case, I'll be right there!"

     Mickey looked up and to his surprise, the Prime Minister appeared
in the doorway above him, holding a lemur in his arms. His voice was
still high-pitched when he spoke, and the air around him rippled with
flammable gases. "Crikey! I guess Steve Irwin's not the only bloke who
can tame the wild beasts, eh?"

     "Climb down to safety!" Mickey called.

     "Safety is overrated, young man."

     "Well, in that case, climb down to your victory celebration. It's
being held in the gondola."

     Mr. Howard blinked. "What? Really? I've won already? Brilliant!
Looks like a good party, too--halfway to upside-down already!"

     "Yeah, just climb down. We've got shrimps on the Barbie, shrimps
on the Ken, shrimps on the G.I. Joe... There's shrimps on the entire
inventory of Toys R' Us!"

     "Good on you, mate!" The Prime Minister wiped a tear from his eye
and popped a celebratory cigar into his mouth. "Here's to a bright and
prosperous future for us all!"

     "Wait! No! Stop!" Mickey watched in horror as the Prime Minister
raised his lighter. A real superhero would have done something, thrown
something, or said something to save the day--Spoonstryke certainly
would have--but all Mickey had was a spork, and there was nothing he
could do with it except cut the cable between the dirigible envelope
and the gondola.

     The rush of air blocked all sound. Mickey's eyes remained fixed
on the envelope as it pulled away from him like a balloon freed from a
small child's grasp. The flames started where Mr. Howard had stood and
quickly spread across the fabric surface of the ovoid shape, exposing
the framework underneath. Mickey imagined that he could make out
charred shapes that might have been lemurs and a larger shape that
might have once been a man.

     "Oh, the humanity," he whispered. It was a line of dialogue from
a fictional film set in an alternate world where an early dirigible
called the Hindenburg had been destroyed, rather than being saved at
the last moment by Mystery Men as it had in 000SUPERGUY. "Oh, the
humanity," he said again. It seemed fitting somehow.

     On the other end of Mickey's cable, the dirigible's gondola
plunged through the clouds toward the open ocean below. An emergency
wing popped out from the left side of the gondola, then retracted,
then reappeared, this time joined by a counterpart on the right side,
then retracted again, as if being controlled by a pair of drunken
celebrities fighting over a control stick which, in fact, was actually
the case. Finally, either by design or happy accident, both wings
extended at the same time and were joined by a tail stabilizer. The
rate of descent slowed and the gondola glided to a rough landing in
the ocean.

     The celebration in the Luxury Level was every bit as boisterous
as the one Mickey had described to Mr. Howard. Everyone had assembled
there, since Coach Class was under water and First Class was still
disturbingly full of human remains. "Mickey! You did eet!" exclaimed
Jeanette, throwing her arms around his neck the moment he dropped back
down through the ceiling.

     "Yeah, I did it all right," he grumbled. "I saved half of the
passengers and half of the airship. I guess that makes me half of a

     "Half a hero is better zhan none at all."

     At the far end of the celebration, Underling Number Thirteen and
Zombie Bill O'Reilly threw down their fists. "Paper covers rock,"
Number Thirteen noted. "Again."

     "Best out of 51?" asked Zombie Bill hopefully.

     Number Thirteen shoved the undead talk show host through the
smashed window of the Forward Observation Lounge. "Don't be a sore

     Zombie Bill flailed his arms, discovering that his undead body
was not quite as buoyant as living flesh. He struggled to keep his
head above the water. "You win for now. UNCLE will recognize your
claim on Jeanette LeBlanc, but only because the larger battle is
already won. The Great Devourer is coming, and there is nothing anyone
can do to stop it!"

     Number Thirteen watched Zombie Bill sink beneath the waves, and
kept watching until he was sure the UNCLE member wasn't coming up

* * *


     Nobody Important whistled a happy tune as he strode past a
gigantic hole blasted through the wall of his underground death
factory. Sparking cables and torrents of gushing water would have been
visible through the gap if he'd bothered to turn his head, which he
pointedly declined to do. The notorious supervillain also failed to
look as he walked past the three-meter-high letters spray-painted on
the still-intact portion of the wall, spelling out the words:

     It was a lovely late-autumn afternoon, made even more lovely for
Nobody by the return of gingerbread soy lattes to the menu of his
favorite coffee house. Hardly anything could have dampened his spirits
as he drained the last drops from a "largeoso"-sized paper cup and
tossed it carelessly into the distinctive treads left behind in the
mud by Spoonstryke's Spoonmobile Mark IV.

     Finally, at the front walkway, he made a sharp 90-degree right
turn on his right heel and took six paces to the oversized titanium
doors. "Nothing says 'secret underground factory' better than
oversized titanium doors," he proclaimed, followed by a pause, during
which he contemplated whether that should be his new dictum and if it
would look better on a plaque or a T-shirt.

     Nobody Important turned his key in the lock and listened to the
clicks, whirs, squeaks, and twanging springs of mechanism inside.
"...which turns the gear, which drops the ball, which frightens the
mouse, which bites through the string, which drops the weight, which
switches on the electric fan, which pushes the toy boat, which
completes the circuit, which turns on the light, which awakens the
bat, which--yadda, yadda, yadda--opens the deadbolts." The procession
of sounds ended with a metallic thunk, after which Nobody Important
reached out a hand and pushed the door inward.

     Nobody's nephew, Roger Important, hung from a stainless steel
cable just inside the door, tied back-to-back to his Serially Numbered
Underling. "Hello, Mr. Nobody!" called Number Twenty-Two, waving her
hand as well as she was able.

     "Nephew. Twenty-Two," said Nobody Important, with a double-nod of his head.

     "Uncle Nobody!" Roger exclaimed. "I know this looks bad, but I
can explain!"

     "Very well, Roger." Nobody Important calmly folded his arms.
"Proceed with your explanation."

     "Well you see, Spoonstryke--"

     "It was totally my fault, Mr. Nobody, sir," Number Twenty-Two
interrupted. "If I'd performed my function better, I'd have stopped
that superhero and kept Roger from suffering such an embarrassing

     Nobody Important snorted. "You? Stop Spoonstryke? Don't be
absurd, Twenty-Two. You and Roger never stood a chance."

     "But... then... I don't understand," said Roger. "You set us up to fail?"

     "Pretty much." Nobody Important reached into his bag for a pair
of amber-tinted goggles, which he pulled over his head and adjusted
over his eyes.

     "Why would you let Spoonstryke destroy your own underground death
factory?" asked Number Twenty-Two.

     The supervillain removed a spray bottle and an odd-looking
lantern from his bag. He sprayed the floor and held up the light,
tracing a spiral pattern of larger and larger circles. "Death factory
is a bit of a misnomer," he told the still-hanging pair. "After all,
how exactly would one manufacture death? No, this facility was more of
a honey-pot than anything else." He sprayed the bottle onto an
oily-looking smudge and frowned in disappointment at the results.
"Tell me, Roger, how did our intrepid superheroine fare against the
insidious defenses of this complex?"

     "Pretty well," said Roger.

     "Pretty well? Sir, she was totally awesome!" exclaimed Number Twenty-Two.

     "So then... she wasn't injured? Cut? Bleeding, perhaps?" Nobody
Important asked.

     "No, sir," said Roger.

     Nobody Important slumped his shoulders in defeat. "I should have
known this honey-pot would be too easy for Spoonstryke. Her skills
have improved yet again! But I'll make a bigger factory with deadlier
traps and guardians, and the ultimate prize will be--"

     "Sir?" asked Number Twenty Two.

     The supervillain had frozen in his tracks, directly in front of
the spoon-shaped sculpture that Spoonstryke had created in her bordom.
"Has this giant utensil always been here?"

     "No, Uncle Nobody," said Roger. "Spoonstryke pounded it out of an
I-beam while she was waiting for you."

     "With her bare hands?" asked the villain, hardly daring to breathe.

     "Well, yes. She wasn't getting enough edging control with her
gloves on, so she took them off."

     Nobody Important leapt forward and sprayed the gigantic spoon
with his bottle. "Scraped knuckles... intact epithelials... traces of
blood... this will do. This will sequence nicely!" He reached into his
bag for a test-tube and rubbed the sculpture with the business end of
a Q-tip.

     "So that's what this was about?" asked Roger. "Collecting
Spoonstryke's DNA?"

     The supervillain held up the test-tube with a triumphant grin.
"Roger, my boy, you've done good work here today. You deserve a
reward. Tell me, how would you like a shiny new underling?"




Find out in the next exciting arc of Sporkman, only on SUPERGUY!


Roger and Number Twenty-Two have been hanging around since Episode #5,
which is months ago for us but still the same looong day for the
Sporkman series.  In the RACCies ballot, I was surprised at
nominations for Number Twenty-Two and Spoonstryke because they've been
tangential to the plot...until now.  We'll see get directly into the
action in the next arc.

Sorry for missing an update last week, but we had a special
delivery...  It's a girl!  See
<<>> for details.

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

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