SG: Sporkman #16 - A New Rescue (DCB 1/12)
gfishbone at gmail.com
Mon Mar 17 08:08:54 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. I've grown rather fond of Mickey's main squeeze, Jeanette LeBlanc.
For someone who isn't a superhero and knows her limitations on this
front, she is nevertheless an active protagonist who tries to assist
people in her own way and to the best of her ability. Her angst about
the ramifications of her powers is an interesting twist on her
otherwise chipper personality. Her hunches give her a confidence, calm
and poise that makes her, paradoxically, emotionally passive even at
the same time that we know she has been active in manipulating events
and shaping the story's direction. Will we see her role expanded
significantly in the next story arc?
A. For anyone who's a real fan of Jeanette LeBlanc, I'm truly sorry
about what's about to happen to her.
Q. OMG!!!! What?!!!
A. Support groups and grief counselors will be made available after the episode.
** The Sporkarific Sporkman
** Episode #16: A New Rescue
** By Greg R. Fishbone
** Dillweed City Blues #1 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?
Mickey had dreamt this particular nightmare before, but even
though he knew it was a dream he still couldn't break free. He stood
on the Luxury Level of the Supersonic Airship Unsplodable after riding
the gondola to a rough crash landing in the ocean. All around him the
remaining passengers and crew hugged each other in joy, and for just
that moment it seemed that everything would be all right.
Jeanette wrapped her arms around him and gave him a big kiss on
the lips, followed by lots of little kisses on his cheeks and nose,
and once more on the mouth. "I knew you would save us all. My
superhero, my Sporkman!"
"Hooray for Sporkman!" everyone shouted, and Mickey only cringed
a little at this new nickname. Perhaps, just this once, he could be a
hero--but only because Jeanette had maneuvered him into the right
place at the right time. Almost certainly it would never happen again.
"What do we do now?" somebody asked.
"Now we wait for the real heroes to show up," Mickey had said.
"They couldn't miss an explosion that big, so there should be a rescue
crew here any minute. In fact..." He listened closely and caught the
sound of an approaching helicopter. "There it is!"
The entire deck erupted in celebration except for Jeanette, who
took a step back and cast her eyes downward in dejection. "I am so
"Sorry? For what?"
"Anozher hunch. But I do have a feeling zhat we will see each other again."
Mickey frowned, feeling an increasing sense of confusion and
panic. A man in a black hat and trench coat stepped forward from the
crowd and put an arm around Jeanette. "So long, Sporkman," he said. "I
also have a hunch that we'll meet again."
The man in black and Jeanette vanished in a puff of pink smoke.
After a moment of shocked hesitation, Mickey made a mad scramble
for the access hatch in the top of the gondola. An unmarked military
helicopter buzzed past close enough for Mickey to see Jeanette's face
pressed against the window. The dream ended with the helicopter
shrinking into a retreating speck in the sky, just like always.
Mickey woke up in a cocoon of blankets on the same Luxury Level.
The sense of loss and failure was as strong as ever, even after twelve
weeks adrift on the open ocean. "Good morning, Sporkman!" called
Courtney from her station at the improvised kitchen she'd built from
slot machine parts.
"Good morning," Mickey told the skeleton-woman.
"That same dream again?" she asked, cautiously.
Mickey nodded. "The only good thing is that when I'm dreaming
about Jeanette, I can't be dreaming about Nancy."
"Who is Nancy?" asked Courtney.
"Believe me, you don't want to know." Mickey sniffed the air.
Courtney's skull pivoted up and down on one of her neck
vertebrae. "A scavenging party found a drum of it in the cargo hold.
It's probably the last food left on the ship, though."
Mickey stretched his limbs and made his way through the maze of
makeshift shelters to the Forward Observation Lounge. Thanks to a
shattered window, the lounge now opened directly to the outside. "Hey,
Your Majesty," he called to the Queen of England. "How's that joke
book I found for you?"
"We are not amused," she stated. "However, the Prince has been
snorting beef stroganoff out his nose, so we suppose the humor is
sufficiently juvenile for some tastes."
Mickey nodded and moved on. "Hey, fly-girls," he called to
Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. "What's up?"
"We've been having the most interesting debate," said Lindsay.
"After prolonged withdrawal from alcohol and drugs, do brain cells
"I've taken the pro-position," Britney explained. "Since the
airship bar ran out of liquid refreshments, I'm feeling more
clearheaded than ever. More alert. More perceptive. More like myself."
"More like the person you always would have been without the
booze," said Lindsay. "That's the con-position. You and I haven't
grown additional brain cells. The ones we have just work better
because they're no longer soaking in a brine of complex hydrocarbons."
"So what do you think, Sporkman?" Britney asked.
Mickey shrugged. "Either way, if you guys can figure out how to
fix our emergency beacon, I'd nominate you both for an Einstein
"We're on it!" the two chorused.
At the front of the ship, some men trawled with nets made from
shredded clothing. "How's the fishing today?" Mickey asked.
"Dick Cheney shot me in the face again," said Ryan Seacrest, dejectedly.
"This time I thought you were a trout," said the Vice President.
Ryan turned to Mickey. "Tell him, Sporkman. Tell him that most
people don't use a pellet gun to fish for trout. Go on, tell him!"
Mickey sighed. "Mr. Vice President--"
"I know what you're going to say, Sporkman, but in all fairness
you don't know what it's like to be an avid outdoorsman with an
unwavering faith in the Second Amendment. Besides, Seacrest here is
short, pale, and--dare I say it--unmistakably troutlike. I'd be
surprised if I'm the first person to ever shoot him in the face by
"Simon Cowell got me once on a golf course," Ryan admitted, "but
I'm pretty sure it wasn't an accident."
"Never mind that," said Mickey. "Have you caught anything?"
"We caught a motherfarkin' shark," said Samuel L. Jackson. "Not
the good-eating kind of motherfarkin' shark, mind you, but the kind we
have to soften up and use for motherfarkin' shark soup."
"Shark-fin soup is a delicacy in China," said Dick Cheney.
"We're not in motherfarkin' China."
"As far as we know, we might be," said Ryan. "Six weeks of
drifting on the currents--"
"From the motherfarkin' North Atlantic?"
"There's only ocean, no matter how you subdivide it."
Ryan and Samuel continued to argue but Mickey was no longer
listening. His ears were focused on the sound of a helicopter rotor
growing louder and louder. "Jeanette!" he exclaimed, as he ran for the
access door. "Jeanette!" he called again topside, as he shielded his
eyes and looked up into the rain. When a Coast Guard copter appeared
out of the fog, Mickey didn't know whether to be disappointed or
"Vessel, identify yourself!" called an amplified voice.
"This is the Unsplodable!" Mickey called out.
"Vessel, please repeat."
"The Supersonic Airship Unsplodable!"
The helicopter hovered for a long moment before replying. "The
Supersonic Airship Unsplodable was reported lost with no survivors."
"Well then, I guess it got reported wrong!"
There was another long pause. "Is anybody injured? Do you have
any urgent medical needs?"
"No, we're all doing fine. Except for those of us who were eaten
by lemurs, but that's a preexisting condition by now."
"Okay, great! Before we call to have you towed you into port,
there's just one more question we need to ask..."
"Are you harboring any illegal immigrants?"
Mickey blinked in surprise. "Excuse me?"
"Are you harboring any illegal immigrants? Specifically from Mexico?"
"You're actually asking me whether we've picked up a boatload of
"Perhaps from a boat, or perhaps from swimming, either way."
"Swimming? From Mexico?"
"It's a standard question, sir. I'm required to ask all vessels
we intercept whether they're harboring illegal immigrants."
"We have no navigation systems or means of propulsion and we
haven't seen a speck of land in almost three months. Do you think
maybe we drifted up and down the Rio Grande without noticing because
we were too busy patching up holes, stretching our food supplies, or
pumping our makeshift bilge to keep afloat?"
"No, of course not. I'm sorry, sir. That was a stupid question. "
"That's okay. You were only doing your job."
"Tell everyone onboard to sit tight. We'll have you towed to
safety as soon as possible."
"Thanks! I'll let them know!"
Mickey dropped back into the gondola and a crowd gathered around.
"We're being rescued," he announced, and the entire deck whooped and
hollered in celebration. "And you guys," Mickey added, pointing to a
small group of men wearing sombreros and colorful ponchos. "Juan,
Paco, Fernando, and Julio--I totally covered your asses with the
"Gracias, Senior Sporkman," the four of them said.
Find out on the next issue of El Sporkman Magnifico, only on Telemundo!
Continuity nuts, rejoice! This arc brings us forward into late January
2008! While the Unsplodable survivors were floundering on the high
seas, the U.S. Presidential primaries were kicking into high gear with
then Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney airing a commercial that was
seemingly meant to be a scathing attack-ad accusing John McCain of,
essentially, not being enough of a bastard to illegal immigrants and
also not being so fiscally irresponsible as to support George W.
Bush's "Balloon Our Budget Deficit through Massive Tax Cuts for the
Wealthy" program. Since McCain at the time didn't have the funds to
run many ads of his own, Romney's frequent ads provided most of
McCain's public exposure, allowing the senior Senator from Arizona to
stun the field in New Hampshire and roll onward to his party's
In the alternate universe of Superguy, Rudy Giuliani has been devoured
by pheromone-addled lemurs and the Great and Mighty Spoonman is in the
race as a Republican. Mitt Romney's anti-Spoonman ads accuse the great
hero of rescuing kittens from trees, saving small children from
burning apartment buildings, and having the most comprehensive
anti-crime program ever conceived. At this point in the campaign,
Romney fired his chief media advisor for being generally clueless, but
the damage was already done.
Greg R. Fishbone - http://gfishbone.com
* Author: THE PENGUINS OF DOOM - http://septinanash.com
* President: Class of 2k7 - http://classof2k7.com
* ARA: New England SCBWI - http://nescbwi.org
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