LNH: Possum-Man: Relinquished #6: Possum-Man Minus Possum-Man

Mitchell Crouch msc376 at uowmail.edu.au
Fri Jul 6 10:20:38 PDT 2012


STICKS TARQCHEVSKISON, a party clown for hire by day and POSSUM-MAN by night, has not donned his mask for many moons now since the mysterious villainess THE VIXEN promised to stop attacking his loved ones if he gave up the life of a costumed vigilante. His adversaries DUCK McMUCK, GREEN-ON-BLACK and THE WHITE BOOMER have been taken into custody by police officer HANK, along with DAVID SAWLEY, who's just kind of a douche to both Sticks and the Possum-Man, much to the dismay of Sawley's son DEANO. Also Sawley works with MONICA JADE, Sticks' ex-girlfriend who has just returned from years away in Ame.rec.a, for unknown reasons not at all plot-related, mysteriously turning up at roughly exactly the same time as the Vixen. And Sticks lives with his best friend STONES, who's also kind of a douche, I guess.

For those confused about continuity, the events of Possum-Man: Relinquished take place before Infinite April.

----=== {PM} ===----
_____         ___  ____
\  _ \        \  \ \  /
 ||_||         ||\\ ||
 | _/          || \\||  O
 ||   OSSUM-MA ||  \ |  O
/__\          /__\  \|

 An ongoing        6
    LNH SERIES     6666
         by        6   6

-{ Possum-Man Minus Possum-Man }-

The cover is that of the famous "I AM SPIDER-MAN NO MORE", but 'Spider-Man' has been crossed out with what appears to have been a cheap permanent marker, with 'POSSUM-MAN' substituted in its place. Nothing else has been changed.

----=== {PM} ===----

"Aha! You must be Sticks!"

Sticks Tarqchevskison, dressed up in his very best clown outfit, looked up to see a lean, middle-aged man exiting the museum to come out and greet him. "Yep," he confirmed for the slower readers, and also for the man, "that's me. Are you Professor Sah Mumiyah?"

Professor Mumiyah bowed deeply. "At your service! And please, just call me Sah."

"I probably won't, your name sounds ridiculous."

"It sure does!" replied Mumiyah, whose name, like so many within the Looniverse, was overtly and completely coincidentally linked to his occupation -- in his case, as an archaeologist and Egyptologist. "I'm so glad you were able to make it. Like I said over the phone, while many of the older patrons are sure to enjoy our newest exhibition on the ancient Egyptian sorcerer Netmakahn, some of the children will likely require... alternative entertainment."

Sticks squeezed his bright red nose twice, emitting a loud honking sound the first time and sort of just gasping pathetically the second. "No problem! I'm the best of the best of the best, sir."

"Daddy, look! It's that dumb dumb clown from my party!"

Both men turned to see, walking towards them, David Sawley and his young son Deano. Sticks had, months prior, accidentally arrived hours late and failed to impress the Sawleys at Deano's birthday party -- an event that apparently father nor son had forgotten. Of more interest to Sticks was that Sawley Sr. was out of prison; he had been gaoled for suspected ties to the Vixen and her net.villain posse, but now was apparently released.

"Yes," Sawley drawled. "Yes, apparently it is. What on Looniearth is he doing at this exhibition, Sah?"

Mumiyah stepped forward to defuse the situation. "Mister Tarquacheski- Tarknevska- uh, Sticks, will be looking after the children while I run the tour of the Netmakahn exhibition. That's not going to be a problem is it, Dave?"

Sawley scoffed. He rolled his eyes from Mumiyah to Sticks, scoffed again, and rolled them back to Mumiyah. And then scoffed. And rolled his eyes. And scoffed again. Popping his collar, he took his son's hand and lead him into the museum.

"Just ignore him," murmured Mumiyah. "He's always like that. He doesn't really care about Netmakahn, he's only here because I tutor his son, Deano, and I insisted."

"I- wait, hold on." Sticks frowned. "You tutor Deano? As in... homeschool?"

"Yes, that's right. Is... that a problem?"

Sticks considered this. This explained a lot. When he, as Possum-Man, had been trying to find Deano at school, he's been unable to do so. If the boy was homeschooled, his absence from the school system made more sense. "Not at all." Smiling, he motioned for Mumiyah to lead the way inside.

"It's a sad tale, really," Mumiyah mused as they made their way into the museum, "that of old Dave Sawley. Do you keep up with net.hero news, Mister... Sticks?"

The question caught Sticks off guard, and he blushed under his heavy clown make up. "No not at all I don't even care even a little bit about net.heroes and I don't see why I would," he replied quickly, his eyes darting from side to side.

"Ah. A shame. Nevertheless, maybe you've heard of her -- Dave's wife, before she died. She was a rather well-known net.hero who went by the name of Rose."

Stick's ears perked up and his eyes widened. He tried to take another step but, for the first time in almost two weeks (so close to two weeks!) he instead tripped on his ridiculously large clown shoes and fell flat on his face.

----=== {PM} ===----

"What do you mean, he escaped?" Stones asked incredulously as  he, Sticks and Monica walked down a street together.  I'm pretty sure that 'incredulously' is the right word to use there. Hang on, I'm just going to google it.

Yep, okay, I was right. Man I'm out of practice at this.

"I mean," Moni replied, "that he broke out. The White Boomer is pretty powerful, you know. I mean, when he kidnapped me, he literally just jumped through the roof. It's-"

"I wouldn't know because I wasn't there," interrupted Sticks, who, in fact, had been there as Possum-Man. "I wasn't anywhere near the place at the time. Nope. Because I'm just, y'know, just me. Not anyone else, or anything. Certainly," he began to laugh nervously, "certainly not Possum-Man! Nope. I don't even- what _is_ Possum-Man, you know? Is that... is that a thing? I wouldn't know, because I don't care, and even if I did, and Possum-Man was a thing, which, I don't know, it probably isn't, I'm not him. It. Or anything."

Stones nodded silently to himself. As always, Sticks had a good point, and orated it in an exceptionally clear and straightforward manner.

Monica laughed in agreement. "Yes. That would be ridiculous and completely unfounded. Especially since we're reporting now that the Possum-Man has been missing for many moons. And it's not as if he did anything useful while he was around, anyway. No one's missing him or anything. I think-"

"Especially not me!" Sticks interjected once more. "I don't miss being- I mean, I don't miss Possum-Man. At all. Not at all. I do not at all miss Possum-Man at all. Why- why would I? I didn't even know that he existed. But," he continued, "if -- you know, just hypothetically -- if I _had been_ the Possum-Man, or even just _a_ Possum-Man, just, you know, any old possum-man, I probably _would_ have noticed the absence. But because I _wasn't_, I _haven't_." He nodded his head, as if to assure himself of this fact. "Yep. That's me. 100% not the Possum-Man."

Stones nodded again. Big words and tricky thinkings made his head hurt, which is why he hung around with Sticks, who always made sense easily. Sometimes he also bought him ice cream. Stones liked ice cream.

"Just to clarify," Sticks added, "I'm not, nor have I ever been, the Possum-Man."

The trio continued walking down the street, and Sticks smiled as he inwardly congratulated himself on how skilfully he had manoeuvred through the above conversation. As much as it was still on his mind, it was true, to a degree, that he didn't miss being a net.hero. He was sleeping a lot better now that he didn't spend his nights getting purple nurples and wedgies from every thug in town, and other than the White Boomer breaking out of gaol there had been no signs of villainous activity that required him.

Maybe he was better off being free from all that.

He had relinquished the cape once before, for a different reason. When he gave up the first time, it was just that: he was giving up. He had convinced himself that he was useless and ineffective as a hero; it hadn't taken much convincing at all. But this time... he was done, surely. He'd only put the mask back on to help protect his old schoolmates from Duck McMuck; he'd saved Stones (and, he supposed, Monica, too, by extension) and Duck was locked away securely.

Sticks frowned, thinking about the Boomer's gaolbreak.

Duck was locked away _mostly_ securely, anyway.

The only loose thread in the entire ordeal had been the mastermind behind it all -- the Vixen. And he hadn't heard anything from her since he flicked her bra strap and barely escaped with his life intact. She'd told him to stop being a hero and she'd stop being a villain, and so far... so far it looked as though she'd kept up her end of the bargain.


Sticks shook his head and looked at Moni. "Sorry?"

"I just asked you a question."

"Oh, sorry, I was just having an inner monologue about how I'm not Possum-Man any more. Or ever! I wasn't Possum-Man at all, ever." He paused awkwardly. "So. Uh. What was the question?"

"We wanted to know if you were okay with popping in for tacos at the El Taco Taco Bar," Stones replied.

"Oh! Yeah, I friggin' love tacos. They're taco-licious."

It's true; you heard it here first, you guys. Possum-Man friggin' loves tacos.

Accordingly, the trio entered the El Taco Taco Bar for their tacos. Stones, as the last one in, held the door open for the gentleman behind him.

"Thanks!" said the gentleman through his balaclava. "Okay folks, this is a hold up! You all know the drill." He pulled a pistol from his pocket and shot at the ceiling to make his point. "Look you guys! Real bullets and everything. Can you just- can you all just put your wallets and phones and things in this bag? Thanks, that's swell. And you, at the register, can you give me all the money? Just pop the till open and give me what's in there, thanks. Oh man, you guys are so good at this! The last time," the man chuckled to himself, "the last time I did this, the people just, you know, they weren't very efficient at it, and I got all pissy, and I... haha... and, ah..." The man took a moment to calm his laughter. "And I had to shoot them all! Oh man, it was a nightmare, let me tell you. Blood and brains -- everywhere. Total horror show. Yes, you too, ma'am, just put the cash in, that's okay, thank you. Oh, man, where was I?"

While the gunman went around collecting valuables, Sticks, Stones, and Monica stood paralysed in the corner. Sticks hadn't even realised that he'd taken a step towards him when he felt Moni's hand on his arm. "Don't," she hissed. "What do you think you're doing? Do you want to get yourself shot? Just do what he says and give him your damn wallet when he asks for it."

Sticks eyes blazed around the room, desperately trying to make sense of the situation. What could he do? He still hadn't gotten out of the habit of having his costume on underneath his civilian gear... maybe if he could get to the bathroom and change...

"Sticks!" Monica grabbed his face and turned it towards her, locking eyes with him. "Whatever you're thinking -- don't do it." She glanced down at her hand in her bag. "I've dialled for the police. Just let them get here and leave it for the professionals."

"No!" whispered Stones. There was a hint of desperation in his eyes. "Look at these people -- look at how scared they are. We... we could stop him. We can't just do nothing! We can't just let him take all of their things!"

"Haha, okay, you three! Wallets, phones, jewellery, into the bag!" enthused the gunman as he broke up their whispered conversation. He shook the bag at them, and Monica promptly tossed her valuables in. The man held the bag out to Sticks and shook it. "Look! If I shake it, it makes it more enticing!"

Sticks stood there for what seemed like an eternity. To his right, Moni glared at him with what seemed like the same ruthless, calculating eyes that the Vixen had stared him down with. The similarities were only enhanced by the fact that both Monica and the Vixen shared the same shade of red hair, and were like, exactly the same height and build. It was such a bizarre coincidence.

On his left, Stones looked at him with a sad, lost sort of terror. His eyes pleaded with him to do something, anything, to give these people hope. Stones wanted him to be a hero. Poor, chubby, stupid Stones. Sticks could almost have laughed. The police were coming. They were heroes. They were professionals, doing their job. Sticks... wasn't. He was just a man. A Possum-Man, at best, but what did that mean?

A steeliness came into Sticks' eyes as he looked at the hopeless people around him. If they worked together they could stop him, certainly, and probably without anyone getting hurt. If they just had a beacon, some focal point around which to rally...

His breathing seemed like the loudest thing in the world. The only thing that compared was the sound of his heart beating in his ears like a thousand drums of war.

Sticks reached into his pockets, took out his phone and wallet, and dropped them into the bag.

"Thank you!" said the gunman. "You guys are all so co-operative today! Wow, really, it's like-"

And then Stones punched him in the face.

"Ouch!" said the gunman, and promptly shot him.

"Stones!" Sticks dived for his friend as Stones fell limply to the ground, like a particularly large sack of particularly large potatoes. "Stones!"

"Ah well, there's one in every crowd," the man said. "Well guys, thank you all for everything! I guess I'll just be going now! Just... just walking right out of here, since there's no one to stop me. Yep. Absolutely no one. That's cool!" He laughed again. "I guess I'll see you all later! Well, I mean, you probably hope that you don't, but you know!"

With that, police officer Hank walked through the door. Seeing the man leaving, he went to hold it open for him, until he realised that he was a Criminal, and there was Crime taking place. "Hey! Wait-- you! Stop!"

"Oh, you got me!" said the man. He dropped the gun and the bag and threw his hands dramatically into the air. "Haha, oh well!" He held his wrists out and Hank slapped on some handcuffs. Everyone in the El Taco Taco Bar cheered and ran out onto the streets with their tacos, starting a gigantic street party.

"Yaaay!" they cheered. "Yay for not getting shot because we were smart enough to leave everything to the professionals instead of taking matters into our own hands like unorganised vigilantes! Yaaay!"

Meanwhile, Stones was coughing up blood.

"Don't you die on me!" cried Sticks. "Don't you dare die on me!" Internally, Sticks was berating himself -- again -- for still not getting First Aid training like he said he was going to all those months ago.

"Come on," whispered Monica, handing Sticks his phone and wallet from the bag, "come on, Sticks. I've called the ambulance, they're on their way. Come on. Just leave it to the professionals."


Well there we go! It's been one month short of four years coming, but the next issue of Possum-Man: Relinquished is finally up. It, uh... it probably wasn't worth the wait? Mostly a recap issue, and I didn't go as far into the Sawley plot as I did when I started writing it all those years ago before my computer blew up, but I've got the next four issues down on paper so you'll be seeing those soon enough too. Yay for the LNH, and more goofiness will ensue -- I SWEAR IT.


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