REPOST/NTB/LNH: Beige Countdown #0 -- 'The Book of Deus ex Machinas' (Part I)

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Tue Jun 26 22:26:08 PDT 2012

[Note for Readers:  Read Beige Countdown #1 before you read this.  This 
is the last issue.  Issue #12 is the first issue!]

[Cover:  A colorful tornado swallows a number of people dressed in 
costumes and trenchcoats into a gigantic book.  On the bottom in bold 
letters is the text, 'THE COUNTDOWN ENDS HERE!!!!!']

                             [B  E  I  G  E]
                                   1 2
                                   1 1
                                   1 0
                                    |                !
                 C     U            |          W
                    O               2             N
                           N        1       O
                             T      -    D
              ***************[#  Z E R O  !!]***************

Written by Arthur Spitzer (and one sentence by Dave Van Domelen -- can 
you guess which one?)




1956 --

On a nearly deserted quiet Net.ropolis street corner, a gang of kids 
wearing helicopter beanie caps and coonskin hats were playing a game of 
stickball.  One of the kids spotted something in the sky.

"Look it's a bird!"  The other kids looked up.

"Nah, it's a plane!"

"You're both wrong!  It's the Reds!  Or Martians!" the kid said as he 
pulled a slingshot out of his back pocket and took aim at it.

"No, dum dum!" another kid said whacking the slingshot kid with a comic 
book.  "That ain't no Martian or Red!  Look here!"  The kid showed the 
rest of the kids the cover on his comic book.  It was issue number 57 of 
Classic Squad Comics.  On the cover was a gigantic golden car that was 
flying in the air even as Net.zi batwinged kangaroos tried to bring it down.

"Gosh Golly!  You think so?!"

"It has to be!  Look!  It's got to be!  If that ain't the 
Big-Flying-Golden-Jalopy.Thingee, I'll eat my hat!"  The kid took off 
his coonskin hat and grabbed a shaker of salt from one of his pockets.

The rest of the kids gazed in spellbound amazement at the golden object 
from the sky that was coming closer and closer.  Like a chariot from the 
heavens it glowed blinding those that gaped at it with awe and wonder. 
It gave a sly wink to the Laws of Physics as it slowly descended to the 

And finally, it touched ground.  For a brief second, everything felt 
frozen as the golden vehicle did nothing.  Nothing at all.  And then one 
of shining golden doors opened.  And out stepped the Golden People.


"Wow!  It's really them!  There's Golden Man and Golden Lord!  And 
Golden Lass!  And Goldy the Golden Mutt!"

Goldy the Golden Mutt barked, "Arf! Arf!" at the mention of his name.

"And there's Mr. Multitask and Comic Swiper Man!  And Captain Backdate! 
  And Kid Presentdaze!" [Kid Presentdaze will be Kid Yesterdaze in the 
present -- Golden Age Footnote Girl]

"And don't forget the 4-Color Kid and our newest member Young Elvis Man, 
kids!" Golden Man said as he walked up to the group of youngsters.

"Thank you, Thank you very much.  You're too kind, Man," Young Elvis Man 
said pointing at Golden Man while winking and giving his hips a little 

"What about those guys in white sheets over there by the tea tray?!" 
questioned the youngsters.

"Umm.. them?  Oh, right!  Those two are members of the Society of 
Wireless Heroes all the way from Great Britian!  I believe they're names 
are The Blue Bottle and Neddie Thunderbox!  They're here for a joint 
mission with us because the American Government asked us to let them 
join us so they could help us with this special mission!  I have no idea 
why they're wearing white sheets over their bodies or why there's a tea 
tray in the middle of the street!"

"I say, Bloody -- I mean Neddie, that bloke with the shiny gold hair has 
blown our undercover operation!"

"I nod my head trying to find profound meaning in Yellow -- I mean Blue 
-- I mean Bottle's gibberish.  But find none.  I steal a few biscuits 
from the table.  Yellow -- I mean Blue -- I mean Bottle steals a cup of 

"Not, bad. I must say that leaving a sheet over my head while drinking 
tea certainly livens me, with almost relief that I can put aside the dry 
cleaning anxiety."

"By God, man I say while watching with fascinating interest while Yellow 
-- I mean Blue -- I mean Bottle's tea stain takes its highly abstract 
shape into that of a famous living royal family member's body part, 
Prince Phillips's Nose?"

"Prince Phillips Knows?  By God, man how?  I know we are both the 
illegitimate children of Winston the Bold and Juanita the Maid, but I've 
always been the dishonest, secret villainous step-uncle to him he never 
had.  How could he?  Is it ..Too late?"

"Who knows?"

"Who Knows too?  By god!  This must then be a conspiracy of the most 
naughty we were told about!"

"I know."

"Eye knows too?  Funny I had an eye named nose once."

"You named your nose Once?"

"Yes, and all the other noses made fun of him.  Never trust a female 
sheep.  By God, man -- if they knows, he knows, she knows, who knows, 
ewe knows, the writer knows, the Shadow knows, Anthony Eden knows.."

"You're fibbing.."

"You caught me again, Bloody -- I mean um -- Neddie.  All right -- 
everyone else knows, but Anthony Eden.  You know what this means, don't 

"Oh my!  Oh my -- you  -- you don't mean...?"


"Oh -- Nobody nose the trouble eye have seen, nobody nose it better.."

"Doesn't organ music get you right there, I say placing dramatically my 
fist onto my heart until the sheer joy knocks my wind!"

"And no, before you ask," Golden Man said interrupting the two sheeted 
men, "I have no idea why the government is forcing us to work with these 
people either..."

"Wow!  Could I get you to sign my comic?!  It would be swell!  My name 
is Mookie!"

"Well, I guess there's no harm in doing that, Mookie!"  Golden Man took 
the comic and flipped through its contents.  Golden Man chuckled while 
he skimmed through the book.  "Here!  Take a look at this!" he said 
tossing it to the other members of the Classic Squad.

Mr. Multi-Task laughed while he read the comic, lit his pipe, made a 
martini for himself, played MailTrek, and handed it back to Golden Man. 
  "Those crazy writers!  Net.zi Batwinged Kangaroos!?  What will they 
think up next!?"

Golden Man nodded in agreement as he pressed his finger against the 
paper scribing in gold the text, 'Keep America Strong, Mookie!  Best 
Wishes from Golden Man and the Classic Squad!' and handed the comic back 
to the kid.

"Now, kids...  We've been getting reports of strange happenings from 
this area!" Golden Man said with a slightly more serious voice.  "Have 
you seen any adults around here lately who've been acting in a 
suspicious manner!?"

"Now that you mention it mister, all this morning spooky guys in 
trenchcoats have been popping up and going into the same house!  They 
kind of looked like high-class hobos!  Does that help!?"

"Which house did they go into?!"

"That one!  Over there!"  The kids pointed to a rather nightmarish 
looking dwelling.

"Okay, thanks kids!  I think it would be best if you run along now 
though!  There might be acts of violence that wouldn't be suitable for 
impressionable youngsters such as yourselves!

"Aww, geeze!  We never get to have any fun!" said little Mookie with 
regret in his eyes.  "Come on fellas!  Let's go hit a malt shop!"  And 
with that the kids left leaving the street empty except for the 
Superheroes and the Golden Jalopy.

"Okay," Captain Backdate said, "With the kids gone I can apprise you of 
the emergency that has brought us all together!  We've gotten word that 
a major magic war is about to begin in Net.ropolis!  Apparently, 
sometime last month a book was smuggled into Net.ropolis!  A magic book! 
  A magic book so gosh darn powerful that it could warp all reality to 
the whims of whoever controls this book!  Everyone wants this book! 
Even countries -- especially Russia!  And from what I've been told a 
number of magically inclined people have been pouring into Net.ropolis! 
  And not just magical supervillains that we've fought like the Schwa 
Khan, Baron Umlaut [Father of the Baron Umlaut that appeared in 
Constellation -- Golden Age Footnote Girl], and Lord Prolixdraft -- but 
many other mysterious trenchcoated occult types!  A lot of whom seem to 
have British accents!  Which I suppose is why the British Government 
sent these two to help us!" he said pointing towards the two sheeted men.

"Oh, look Bloody -- I mean -- hmm --- oh yeah -- Neddie!  That strange 
man is pointing at us!  We should wave at him!"

"I am waving, Yellow -- I mean Blue -- I mean Christ -- umm I mean -- 
Bottle, I say while waving my hand."

"And you think it's in there, the Magic Book!?" said Kid Presentdaze 
pointing to the Spooky Building.

"It has to be!" Comic Swiper Man said.  "I can feel it in there!"

"There's something strange about the perspective of the building and the 
color -- I can't -- Oh god!  I've got a funny feeling in my mind!" 
4-Color Kid said as he winced in pain.

"I don't think we should go in there, Golden Man!" said Golden Lass in a 
distressed tone.  "I'm getting a feeling too!  My woman's intuition is 
going crazy!  Something very bad is in there!"

Golden Man chuckled to himself.  "Women's intuition!  Now you're just 
being silly!"

Golden Lass grabbed Golden Man by the shoulder.  "Please, Golden Man! 
If we go in there, something horrible is going to happen!  Something 
that will end the Classic Squad!  I feel it strongly!  Please listen to 
me!  If we go in there this will be the last adventure of the Classic 

"We have to go in there, Golden Lass!  We need to stop whatever is 
happening there!  We need to get that Book so it can be safe from the 
Hands of Evil!"

"That of course begs the question about whose hands will get the Book 
once we have it!" mused Golden Lord.

"Why, we'll give the book to our government once we have it!" Golden Man 

"Really!?  And why should we do that -- when we could use it for ourselves!"

"I'm not sure I know what you're getting at, Golden Lord!  Why would we 
want to use this book!?"

"To change things!  Can't you see what's happening to this world, Golden 
Man?!  The Golden Age is ending!  We're ending!  The world is becoming 
more morally ambiguous!  Boy Lad, Boy Lad jr., and Commander Comics have 
gone missing! [Commander Comics who will be called Old Comics Man in the 
present day has joined the secret group called the Challengers of the 
Abominable -- Golden Age Footnote Girl] Look at him!" Golden Lord said 
pointing towards Young Elvis Man who was strumming on his guitar.  "Him! 
  With his greasy hair!  And jiggling his hips to that Negro Music!  Is 
that what we want!?  Is this why we fought Hitler and the Japs!?  So his 
generation could destroy everything that has made America great!?"

"Hey now, Man -- Don't be cruel, uhuuh, And uh don't uhuuh you step on 
my Blue Sued Shoes, uhuuhuh!"  Young Elvis Man gave his hips another jiggle.

"We can stop this!  We can bring everything back to the way it should be 
-- like it was back in the 40s!  We just need to use the book and the 
Golden Age will never end!"

"Golden Lord, I'm not sure what to say!" Golden Man replied, "This plan 
of yours sounds like it goes against everything the Classic Squad stands 
for!  Times change, we have to accept that!  A new generation of heroes 
will take our place!  And maybe they'll talk funny and dress in strange 
clothes like Young Elvis Man, but that's they way things go!  We cannot 
halt time!  And I believe in my heart of hearts that the future will 
only get better and better!  When we get that book we're giving it to 
the government!  They'll know how to handle it!  This will be the end of 
this discussion!"

"Arf!  Arf!" barked Goldy the Golden Mutt.

"Well said, Goldy," laughed Golden Man.

"We'll see about that, Golden Man," Golden Lord said in a hushed tone to 
himself.  "We'll see."

Suddenly the 4-Color Kid screamed.  "There!  Can you see it!?  It's a 
Tower!  Oh, lord, it's huge!  It's beyond everything!  It's cracking the 
sky!  Everything's bleeding Beige!  Beige is blotting out everything! 
Everything!  We're too late!  We're too late!"

"4-Color Kid!?  You're seeing things!  There's nothing there -- no 
tower!  Comic Swiper Man, what's wrong with the 4-Color Kid!?"

"I'm afraid that the madness in the building is starting to leak out of 
it!  We've got to go in there and put a stop to it before everyone in 
the world becomes Loony Tunes like 4-Color Kid!"

"Young Elvis Man!" Golden Man said tossing the 
Big-Flying-Golden-Jalopy.Thingee's keys to Young Elvis Man, "You've got 
to get 4-Color Kid to a hospital!  And the rest of us are going in there!"

"Hmm, what do you think, Bottle -- I mean Yellow -- I mean -- oh Christ 
-- I was right the first time -- umm Bottle?!  Should we go in there too?"

"Yes, Yellow Bottle -- oh wait -- that's me -- who are you -- oh yes -- 
Bloody -- I mean -- Neddie!  I can sense it!  The Jolly Mixture of all 
Jolly Mixtures is in there!  And once we get it we'll live like kings, 
umm -- well, you know what your name is!  Or at least we'll live like 
people who pretend to be kings, but aren't really kings!"

"Ah, you know what your name is too!  Always the dreamer, I say while 
secretly resenting you know what your name is too for always being the 
dreamer as I step into the building first"

"And you, you know what your name is, always the person who steps into 
buildings before I can step into buildings, I say with burning jealousy 
over umm -- you know what your name is's ability to walk into buildings 
before I walk into them!"

And when the last hero entered the strange spooky building, Young Elvis 
Man and the 4-Color Kid were left all alone.

"Hey, there 4-Color," said Young Elvis Man grabbing 4-Color Kid by the 
arm, "Let's get you out of this crazy joint!  You're all shook up -- and 
I know how that is!  Man, it was like, Man, this time I was popping 
prescription pain killers while eating fried peanut butter and banana 
sandwiches!  You ever had one of those -- it's crazy, Man!  Like having 
a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich!  Crazy!  And so I was doing 
that and along comes this..."  But before Young Elvis Man could finish 
his amusing anecdote, the 4-Color tore himself free from Young Elvis 
Man's grip.

"Don't you people see!?  They're coming!  They're coming!  Nothing can 
stop them!  Nothing!  They are the death of everything!  Everything!  Oh 
lord!  They're almost through!  They're almost here!  They're..."



                    'The Book of Deus ex Machinas'


2008 --

The taxi cab driver looked into his mirror at who was entering his cab. 
  "Hey.  Another trenchcoated guy, huh?  You're like the fifth one today!"

"Drive me to Net.ropolis," said the Trenchcoated Man.

"Hey, that's where the rest of them wanted me to drive them to, too! 
What's happening there?  Some type of trenchcoat convention?"

The trenchcoated man didn't answer.  He took out a pack of cigarettes 
and lit one.

"Hey!  No smoking -- Net.ropolis is a smoking free zone, fella!"

The trenchcoated man didn't put out his cigarette.  He just glared at 
cab driver and said, "Drive.  Don't talk to me.  Drive."

The cab driver thought about stopping the cab and throwing the bum out, 
but before he could do that -- the ninjas started coming.  And the guy 
in the trenchcoat began to shoot at them.

And the cab driver closed his eyes.  Goddamn trenchcoaters!


2007 --

"Oh August One!  I need to speak with you about..." Occultism Kid 
started to say.

"Silence!  I need to concentrate -- to focus all of my energy on this 
one important..."  The August One paused.  For a brief second there was 
doubt in his eyes.  Had he chosen the right one?  Perhaps, he had made a 
wrong decision.  Maybe he should choose another.  One that was more 
worthy of the task at hand.  No.  No time for second guessing.  This is 
the one.  The one that will win.  The one that will redeem everything! 
And then with determination in his eyes he gave a grunt.  And took a 
deep breath.  And moved his arms upwards -- for one incredible swing -- 
of the golf club.  The golf club smacked the ball, which sped right into 
a sand pit.

{[Your ball is now ours, August One!  Can you hear it whimpering for 
mercy, August One?!  Can you?!  We shall torture it!  Brand it with the 
Mark of the Seventh Sun of Gulkjababnokto!  Make it our slave!  Yes!  It 
shall be ours -- for all -- *Eternity*!  Muhahahhahhahah!!!!]} cackled 
the very animated sand pit.

"Damn.  Demon Sand Pit.  Gonna need my Nine Iron of Exorcism for this 
shot.  Occultism Kid?"

"Umm, right."  Occultism Kid fished out the club from the golf bag and 
handed it to his teacher.  "Look.  I need to talk with you about the 
Book of Deus ex Machinas."

The August One took his attention off the ball for a moment and looked 
at Occultism Kid.  "The Book?  What about it?"

"Whatever you know about it.  And if possible where it is right now."

"Where it is?  It's gone.  It was destroyed.  Back in the 1950s."

"I have reason to believe otherwise.  Kid Kirby said that I had to find 
the book if we were to defeat Dekay and Diskolor."

"Yes.  It would probably be very helpful in that.  It's a very powerful 
book.  Very dangerous."

"Did you ever see it?"

"Yes.  One time.  You see -- I was there.  I watched it.  I watched them 
destroy it.  I watched it burn into nothingness.  An eternity of 
knowledge gone in a few paltry seconds."  The August One snapped his 


It was Nineteen Fifty -- Umm Six I believe.  Back when I was this 
World's Occultism Kid.  I had been chasing this necromancer named Lord 
Prolixdraft all across the planet and had this tip I got in Rome that 
pointed me to Net.ropolis.

Of course little did I know that every other single sorcerer, 
trenchcoater, occult type, immortal, god, superhero, and demon were also 
headed right to the same place.

This spooky little house.

It was a place where reason and sense didn't exist.  Beyond Time and 
Space.  A place of living dreams and nightmares.  Of Temptation and 
Despair.  Of Never Ending Madness.  A Nexus to everything and everywhere.

And I walked in there knowing nothing of its horrors.


1956 --

The Occultism Kid floated in a void of ever changing colors.  The only 
tangible objects were paintings that were floating around him.  When he 
had first entered here, the place looked like an ordinary hallway -- but 
as soon as he had shut the door the place changed to some surrealist 
nightmare and the door he had come from had vanished.  He had to find 
someway out of this place.  And that's when he spotted another door. 
Quickly, he grabbed the doorknob and yanked it open and threw himself 
into the room.

What was behind the door though surprised the Master of that is Arcane. 
  It looked like a bar, or a wine cellar?  Or both?  And behind the bar 
stood a man in a black trenchcoat who had a crown of grapes on his head 
who poured himself a glass of wine and then put the glass of wine on the 
bar and proceeded to swig from the wine bottle itself instead. 
Underneath the trenchcoat the man appeared to be wearing a toga.  "Care 
for a glass?" he said pointing to the glass of win.  "August?"

"Umm -- no.  I mean -- wait -- How do you know my name?  Have we met...?"

The grape crowned man smiled.  "Names -- names -- names.  They're such 
boring things.  Now wine -- there's something.  Are you sure you're not 
thirsty?  You look like someone who could use a drink?"  The man offered 
the wine glass again.

"No.  I've got more important things to do!  I need to find..." 
Occultism Kid paused.  What was he going to say?  Everything was so 
disorienting here.  Think.  Oh, right.  "Prolixdraft.  Lord Prolixdraft! 
  I need to find him.  Is he here?"

"That boring necromancer?"  The grape crowned man yawned.  "Oh probably. 
  They're all here.  Searching for something that shouldn't be found. 
Sure you don't want a drink?  I've got every kind of wine here.  Wines 
that could make all your dreams come true if you want."

"You're not human, are you?  You're filled with great power.  Who are 
you?  What are you?  Some kind of a demon?"

The grape crowned man bellowed a laugh.  "Demon?  Well, some would think 
so.  I prefer to think of myself as a Professional Drinker though.  The 
Professional Drinker."

"No.  Not a demon.  You're something -- oh lord.  Oh God.  You -- you're 

"A God.  Yes.  That would be me."

"Dionysus?  Greek God of Wine?"

"I prefer to go by my Roman name these days," Bacchus said taking 
another swig from the bottle.  "So.  Are you NTB?"

"The NTB?"

"Oh, you know.  The Trenchcoat."

"The Trenchcoat.  Oh.  Are you talking about the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade? 
  No, I'm not one those people.  I've heard of them, but..."

"Of course the number one sign that someone is a member of the NTB is 
that they deny being a member of NTB."

"Are you a member?"

"Of course not," laughed Bacchus as he took another swig from the 
bottle.  "Now.  Let's talk about this wine glass right here.  Sure you 
don't want it?"

"No.  I really need to be going.  I need to stop whatever is happening 
out there.  What is happening out there?"

Before the God of Wine could speak, the door to the room they were in 
opened again.  A man made of gold briefly looked in at them.  "My eyes! 
  My eyes?  Where are they?  Golden Lass -- Mr. Multitask!  Oh, god. 
They're gone.  All of them.  I'm melting.  I can feel everything melting 
away.  Everything's gone," said the Golden Man and then he shut the door 
leaving Occultism Kid and Bacchus alone again.

"There's someone who's going to be needing lots of therapy when this is 
all over," said Bacchus taking another swig.

"What happened to him?  What's happening here?"

"Someone cast a spell from a book that should have never been cast.  Now 
everything will either be destroyed -- or saved depending on your view 
point.  Never the less, a new age is coming."  Bacchus plucked a grape 
from his crown and popped it into his mouth.  "Some might call this new 
era a Silver Age.  But then this place is a nexus of all Ages.  Golden. 
  Bronze.  Dark.  Beige."

"Beige?  What's that?"

"Oh, just the last Age.  It will take a while for that one to come.  I 
think our Golden friend might have stepped into a room that is 
influenced by the Dark Age."

"I need to stop this," said Occultism Kid reaching for the door.

"You could do that I suppose.  Of course you really haven't a clue of 
what you're up against, now do you?  Now, do you see that bottle up 
there."  Bacchus pointed to a dusty bottle up on the highest shelf.

"Yes.  Your point?"

"That bottle contains all of the secrets and mysteries of the Universe. 
  Or Looniverse if you prefer that name.  Right in that bottle. 
Everything you've ever needed to know.  Right in there.  Why don't you 
take a drink from it?  Of course you shouldn't try to drink all of it. 
That would be bad."

"Every answer?  In that bottle?"

Bacchus nodded.  "Just take it.  No one's looking."

"I can't do that -- that would be -- well, maybe just one drink.  That 
wouldn't be that big of a..." Occultism Kid said staring at the bottle.

"One drink?" Bacchus said with a smirk.

"Yes.  Just one drink."

Bacchus laughed as he reached for the bottle.


2007 -

"And so you spent your time boozing during the greatest Magic Battle of 
the 20th Century?" asked Occultism Kid in disbelief.

"Well, I didn't spend it all drinking.  I was at the final moment of the 
battle and the destruction of the Book of Deus ex Machinas.  The thing 
was -- Bacchus was right about the bottle.  It was an ocean of 
knowledge.  Most of what I know comes from that bottle.  And there was 
so much more that I could have learned.  I could have spent my life 
drinking in that room.  The God of Wine is a very tempting being.  But I 
did manage to free myself from his grip and reach the final battle."

"Well, that's good," Occultism Kid said in a sarcastic manner.  "Are you 
sure you saw the Book's destruction?  Perhaps you were hoodwinked by a 
false one."

"That's possible, I suppose.  And I was pretty drunk at the time.  Who 
knows.  It might be out there still.  Of course even if it is -- it 
might be best if it's never found."

"I have to find it.  It's the only thing that can stop Dekay and Diskolor."

"Is it?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It's your call.  I cannot tell you more 
than that, young one."

"I understand.  Well, thanks."

"Good luck."

Occultism Kid nodded his head and vanished from the golf course.


1992 -

Golden Man hesitated for a bit, although eventually he opened the door.

"Hey, Golden!" said a familiar face.  It was an old team mate of his 
known as the 4-Color Kid.  "So, this is where you've been holed up."

"Yes -- I -- How -- how are you 4-Color -- I'm sorry the place is a mess 
-- I haven't..."

"It's okay.  It's just been a long time though.  Things going all right?"

Golden Man shrugged.  "I guess so.  I haven't been doing much lately. 
Just thinking.  Thinking about the way it used to be.  So -- what do you 

"Well, thing is -- I'm a member of the LNH now.  This new incarnation 
that just formed.  You know Kid Presentdaze?  Well, he calls himself Kid 
Yesterdaze these days.  He's a member too -- in fact he was the one who 
recruited me.  Anyway, most of the LNH'rs are kids right now.  Clueless 
teens -- you know.  I was wondering if you'd like to be a..."

"No.  I'm sorry.  You know I don't do that hero stuff anymore.  Not 
since the -- the..."

"It's been 36 years, Golden.  You need to get over..."

"Get over what?  The death of Golden Lass, Mr. Multitask -- Goldy the 
Golden Mutt!?"

"We don't know if they're dead.  There was no trace of..."

"You saw what happened to those villains."

"Villains?  Oh.  Right.  You're talking about those idiots who 
shanghaied the Blue Bottle and Neddie Thunderbox's identities, right? 
Who were they again?  What was it -- the 'Syndicate of Goonish 
Challenged Speaking Naughty Types' from Earth-Can't-Speak-Goonish -- is 
that right?" The 4-Color Kid gave a short laugh.  "The Yellow Bottle and 
Bloody Thundersox."  The 4-Color Kid shook his head.  "Yeah."  The 
4-Color Kid sighed.  "That was horrible -- what happened to them.  Poor 

"Yes.  I guess we were the lucky idiots.  Captain Backdate went insane. 
  Golden Lord -- Well, who knows what happened to Golden Lord.  [See 
Tales of the LNH #278 for what happened to Golden Lord -- Footnote Girl] 
It's all gone.  The Classic Squad ended that day.  It's over.  All of 
it.  And I'm done.  I'm retired."

"You can still do some good."

Golden Man turned his head away.  "No.  I don't think so.  Not anymore."

"I see."  The 4-Color Kid looked over his old teammates room.  Other 
than a TV set and some furniture, it was pretty blank.  He looked to see 
what Golden Man was watching.  "That the Marx Brothers?"

"Yeah.  Duck Soup."  Golden Man sighed.  "The Marx Brothers.  Dead. 
They're all dead.  Like everything..."  Before Golden Man could continue 
with that thought a News Break interrupted the picture.  "Hmm.  What the 
....?  Some kind of Tower?  A Beige Clock Tower.  I wonder why..."

"Christ!  Got to get back to LNH Headquarters, Golden Man.  Here's my 
card if you change your mind."  The 4-Color Kid handed Golden Man a card 
and raced out of the apartment.

Golden Man looked at the card and then looked at his TV.  He crumpled 
the card up in this hand, locked the door, sat back down, and switched 
to another channel.


2008 -

"Hey-ya, Occulty!  What ya doing?"  Catalyst Lass leaned over Occultism 
Kid's shoulder while Occultism Kid read from a very old and dusty book.

"Umm -- hi Cat.  I'm trying to do some research about the Book of Deus 
ex Machinas if you don't mind."

"Oh, I don't mind.  Anyways, have this question to ask you -- What do 
you think about Hex Luthor?  Hmm?"

"I'm not a fan.  And I can't say that I like how the Ultimate Ninja 
seems to be best buddies with him now days either."

"That's interesting.  Okay, look.  We're having this meeting.  This 
secret meeting -- that no one can know about!  And I'd like you to come 
to it.  I'd really, really, really like you to come!  It's going to be 

"No, Cat.  Do you see this?"  Occultism Kid pointed to a charm on his 
trenchcoat.  "It's a Protection Pin.  It protects me from people's 
powers and attempts at mind control.  It means I'm not going to this 

"I wasn't -- I didn't..." Catalyst Lass said with a hurt expression on 
her face.

"I'm busy.  I need to do this.  I need to find this book.  I can't deal 
with LNH politics or whatever.  Finding the Book of Deus ex Machinas is 
the most important thing.  Now please let me be, Cat."

"I'm sorry I'm bothering you.  I'll let you go back to your Hocus Pocus 
books."  Catalyst Lass walked off.

Occultism Kid shut the book he was reading and gave a sigh.  He 
shouldn't have said that to Cat.  Or at least he should have said it in 
a nicer way.  Maybe he should go apologize.  No.  He had to keep 
reading.  Researching.  There was just so little time left and he wasn't 
making any progress.  Where was this damn book?  Where was it hiding? 
It didn't seem to exist and everyone that knew anything about it seemed 
to be convinced that it had been destroyed.

There had to be someone out there who knew something.  Think.  Think. 
Occultism Kid panned all of the bookshelves of the LNH library.  There 
was something he was missing.  And then he spotted something.  There was 
a warping of space.  Something was coming through.  Occultism Kid walked 
over to where the warp was forming.

Before he could reach the spot though an energy burst exploded from the 
warp.  A crack in time and space developed.  And out of it stepped a 
familiar face.  The face of Occultism Kid.

This Occultism Kid, however, was wearing the Insanity Gauntlet, Ring of 
Retconn, and Cosmic Plot Device.

It had to be Bart, Occutlism Kid thought to himself, trying to fool me. 
  But that would mean that Bart now had the Cosmic Plot Device?  He 
would be unstoppable!

"Quit the charade, Bart.  I know it's you."

The Occultism Kid looking figure just gazed in confusion.  "Where am I? 
  Are you me?  Yes.  Past me.  I must be -- Yes, the past.  Why am I 
here?  Oh, yes."

What game was Bart playing here?  Maybe it wasn't Bart.  Could it be -- 
could it possibly be him from the future, Occultism Kid studied his 
double.  And if so, what did this all mean -- why was he wearing the 
Insanity Gauntlet?  Why was he here?  Maybe it was Bart, playing some 
mind game.  It didn't matter.  He would have to assume this was his 
future self.  He had to play along.

"Worms are in my brain.  Eating away and eating away." The future 
Occultism Kid started to laugh.  "It hurts.  It's cracking.  Everyone is 
dying.  I can see too much.  Too much!  All of it!  All the stories that 
have been written and that will be written.  And all the stories that 
won't be written.  All of them!  I see them all."

"It's the Insanity Gauntlet, isn't it?  It's destroying your brain.  Why 
are you wearing it?  You're from Beige Midnight, aren't you?  Why are 
you here?"

"Have to be.  Always been here.  Need to stop.  Stop something.  That's 
why I came.  Thinking is becoming hard.  Casting a spell.  That's why 
I'm wearing the Gauntlet.  Have to wear it to cast the spell from the 
Book.  The Book.  The Book of Deus ex Machinas."

"You've got the book?  It exists?  Where did you find it?"

"Can I change it?  Or does it matter?  Does it happen whatever choice I 
make?  Will they escape regardless?  They can't be stopped.  I shouldn't 
be here."

"Who are you talking about?  The Bryttle Brothers?  I need your help 
finding the book."

"Maybe it's too late to change.  Maybe I should tell him.  I'll need the 
book.  Perhaps it doesn't matter.  Yes.  The Book of Deus ex Machinas. 
The Paper Puller knows where it is.  Find him."

"The Paper Puller.  What's that -- oh wait.  Do you mean 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad?  Is that who you're talking about?"

"Peril Room safeties are starting to fail.  It's falling apart.  All our 
enemies have gathered.  Too many of them.  The force field is cracking. 
  They're coming in!  Dekay and Diskolor are waking.  Everyone is dying! 
  I need to go back.  Stop this!  Help them.  Need to help them.  Need 
to..."  And then the future Occultism Kid disappeared from the library.

"Wait -- I need..."  But he was gone.  Occultism Kid rushed over to 
Librarian Lady's desk.  "I need your help.  Is this place monitored?  Do 
you have cameras monitoring this place?"

"Umm.  Yes.  We do in fact," said Librarian Lady in an uneasy manner.

"I need to watch the video of my conversation with my future self."

"Umm.  You mean this," she said rewinding the monitor tape on screen #6. 
  "It has you, but you're talking to nothing."

"Damn.  Well, send me a copy of the tape to my room anyway.  I'll need 
to look at it.  Right now I need to find Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad."

"Okay.  Gotcha."  Librarian Lady started to type away on her computer.


1992 --

The 4-Color Kid looked at his door.  The lock was broken.  Thieves? 
Cautiously, he entered his house.  He switched on the lights.  Sitting 
on his chair was a monochromish man in a trenchcoat.  And a man in a 
golden trenchcoat stood next to him.

The monochromish man dumped an empty tequila bottle onto the ground. 
"You're out of liquor."

"What the hell are you doing here?  Get out -- or I'm calling the cops!"

"Relax, buddy.  I'm here to tell you about your destiny.  You see -- a 
week from now -- you're going to save the entire Universe."

"What are you talking about?"

"What my friend is saying," answered the man in the golden trenchcoat, 
"Is that you're going to stop the Brothers of Dekay and Diskolor.  You 
will end this Time of Beige and restore this world to its proper colors."

"You're talking about this whole Beige Sky stuff and the Beige Clock 
Tower, right?  Do you know what's happening?  How am I supposed to save 

"By dying," said the monochrome man.  "You see, you're going to explode 
in a bright burst of colors and stop the Bryttle Brothers's havoc.  Alas 
though, it won't kill them -- but it will weaken them enough for us to 
trap them in the book my friend is carrying.

The 4-Color Kid noticed that the Golden Trenchcoated Man was carrying 
some type of book.  "Wait.  Dying?  Did you say I was going to die?"

"Fraid so.  Can't be helped.  You'll just have to grin you're teeth and 
bear it."  The monochrome man lit himself a cigarette.

"But -- I don't want to die!  Isn't there some other way?"

"Nope.  Wanna a drink?  There might be something left in this bottle?" 
The monochrome man grabbed the nearly empty tequila bottle off the floor.

"I'm going to die?  I've never been married.  Never had kids.  And I'm 
going to die?"

"Yeah.  It's tough.  But that's the way it goes.  Anyways, here's our 
card."  The monochromed man handed the 4-Color Kid a grayish card and 
then both men left his place.

They were just a couple of crazies.  That's what the 4-Color Kid wanted 
to believe.  But he couldn't.  The dreams he had been having ever since 
'56 --they were all starting to come true.  He was going to die.  He had 
to die.

The 4-Color Kid sat down in his lazy chair and looked at the nearly 
empty tequila bottle.  Why?  Why me?  "I'm going to die," he said to 
himself.  "I'm going to die."

The 4-Color Kid had a week left to live.


2008 --

"And so this Ninja Sun is wailing the hell out of me and I'm like..." 
said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad demonstrating this by making 
punching gestures while Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad and Namer Boy having 
lunch at a table watched.

"Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad!  Need you to come with me," said Occultism 
Kid interrupting the story.

"Sure, OK!"  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad quickly sipped the last of his 
orange soda and hopped out of his chair towards where Occultism Kid was.

"Hey, Occultism Kid!" piped Namer Boy.  "What about me?  Need someone to 
name something?  Because I could like totally do that if you needed 
something named.  I mean I could do that no problem.  Just say the word 
and I'm there.  No problem."

"Sorry, Namer Boy.  I don't really need your power at the moment," said 
Occultism Kid as he and Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad made their way out 
of the cafeteria.

"That's okay.  Just checking."  Namer Boy gave a disappointed sigh.

"Hey, Namer Boy, don't let it get you down, dude.  I'm sure that someday 
'someone' will need your power," said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough 
Lad.  "Anyway, back to my story.  So these Ninja Suns were wailing at me 
and I'm like a Muhammad Ali punching bag -- I mean  Wham!  Bam!  Thank 
you, Ma'am!  And I'm..." You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad continued 
to making punching motions.


The White House --

"I am tiring of this game -- playing some dead hero," said the Ultimate 
Savior.  "I want my revenge on the LNH.  Bad-Timing Boy, Innovative 
Offense Boy, Multi-Tasking Man, and Deja Dude.  I want to destroy them. 
  All of them."

"You need to be patient.  What we're doing right now is too important to 
be... *Urk*!" President Hexadecimal Luthor said as he found his throat 
being pulled up into the air by the Ultimate Savior's hand.  However, 
right as the Ultimate Savior opened his mouth to speak some more, a 
great pain started to fill inside his head.  He dropped Hex and started 
to morph into a jelly like substance.

"*Arrrgghhggh!!" the jelly like substance screamed.  "What -- are -- you 
-- doing -- to me!!?"

"Really now," Hex Luthor said brushing himself off.  "Did you think I'd 
go to the trouble of putting you back together if I didn't also have a 
way to hurt you -- or kill you?  No.  Let's just say every single part 
of you is hooked up to a pain device that is also linked to my own 
nervous system.  So if you try to hurt me you'll feel great amounts of 
pain.  And if I should happen to die -- well -- you'll go too.  Of 
course it's a one way link.  If you should happen to feel pain or die, I 
won't be affected by it.  I guess I should have mentioned it, although I 
guess I thought that putting you all back together again would instill 
some loyalty in you.  I guess I was wrong."

"Not -- whole!  Part -- Missing!"

"Yes.  You're right.  There is a part of you missing.  But don't worry. 
  I assure you, it's in a very secure place."

"Please -- stop!  Pain!  Stop!  Hurts!!  Please!!!" whimpered the jelly 
like blob.

"I don't know.  I'm not sure you've learned your lesson.  I'm not sure 
you understand your place.  You see.  Here it is.  You're a tool.  Just 
a tool.  And your pathetic revenge fantasies about destroying the LNH 
are meaningless to me.  All of you are tools.  wReamicus Maximus.  Manga 
Man.  Mr. Tiddles.  Irony Man.  And you.  You're just tools.  Devices 
for me to carve my face into the heart of the world.  That's all.  And 
once you accept that, you'll be a lot happier.  Do you understand?"

"Yes!!  P-please!!"

"I doubt it.  What are you?"


"Good.  And who is your master?"

"Y-you!!  Y-you are!!!"

"Who is your God?"

"Y-you!!  You!!  P-please!!!?"

"Very well.  I release you from the pain.  You can return back to the 
Ultimate Savior form."

The jelly like form quickly morphed back.

"And now, I have important tasks to do.  Meetings that need to be 
attended.  Plans that need to be taken care of.  You know -- running the 
world.  And about that conversation we were having earlier about the 
Saviors of the Net -- I think that the Very-Disturbed-Scary-Creature Man 
isn't that much of a threat.  The authorities can probably take care of 
him.  The Gothic Gorilla on the other hand?  Well -- it might be best to 
eliminate him.  So you should probably start working on that.  Got that?"

The Ultimate Savior nodded his head.

"Good.  Well, see you at dinner."

Hex Luthor exited the room leaving the Ultimate Savior alone by himself. 
  A look of absolute hatred formed on the Ultimate Savior's face -- but 
it was followed by a sinister smile.  The Ultimate Savior began to morph 
again.  A few seconds later the Ultimate Savior looked exactly like Hex 
Luthor.  The false Hex Luthor laughed and then spoke to himself.  "I've 
got plans too, Hex.  And I can wait.  Oh God, I can wait.  Mr. Nasty 
(tm) has all the time in the world.  And that's a long, long time."  Mr. 
Nasty (tm) made a hideous laughing sound that lasted for quite a while.


"I don't know if I can help you, Occultism Kid.  I mean ever since 
wReamhack pulled me out of that Peril Room hard drive my powers have 
been kinda screwed up [see LNHCP #502].  And pulling a whole book out of 
my hat -- I don't know if I can do that."   Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad 
took his top hat off and placed it in his lap.

"Just do the best that you can.  I've got some spells that can help you 
concentrate if you need some help there."

"Let me just try something first."  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad quickly 
stuck his hand into the top hat and just quickly pulled out a piece of 
paper.  "Weird," he said gazing at what appeared to be a centerfold. 
"Haven't seen this in a long time."

"What is it?" Occultism Kid said snatching the picture out of 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad's hands.  It was a centerfold from the 
magazine Furrboy that had a naked Rabbit Woman on it.  Occultism Kid 
rolled his eyes and handed it back to Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad.

"Hey, what can I say?  I told you my powers were screwed up," said 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad with a sheepish voice.  "Okay.  Let me try 

"Wait.  Let me do a spell."  Occultism Kid made some gestures with his 
hand and then said, "Concentrate!  Okay now try it."

Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad took a deep breath and reached into the hat 
again.  "I can feel it -- but -- can't seem to..." 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad struggled trying to pull his arm out of his 
hat.  "It's being blocked by something.  Can't get it.  Whatever is 
blocking me is too powerful.  Can't do it."  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad 
took his hand out of the hat empty.

"Can you tell where the book is, Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad?"

"Yeah, I think I do know where it is.  It's the hat.  It's in the hat. 
It's weird, never had that feeling before, but yeah -- it's definitely 
in the hat.  It's literally right there."

"In your hat?  Okay.  Where exactly did this hat of yours come from?" 
said Occultism Kid as he took a closer inspection of the top hat.


1992 -

"It's done.  They're trapped."  Phil M. Norrish released his grips from 
the hands of Queen Bee's Knees and the dead corpse of the Golden 
Trenchcoat and walked over to the Book.  There in the pages of the Book 
of Deus ex Machinas were the images of Dekay and Diskolor.  Trapped in 
the pages.  He slammed the book shut.

"Golden!  Golden!!  Oh god!  You killed him!  Your spell killed him!" 
said Queen Bee's Knees, an old lady in an old style flapper get up with 
a trenchcoat as she rushed over to the Golden Trenchcoat's corpse and 
cradled him while tears streamed from her eyes.  "Golden."

"He knew what he was getting into," Phil M. Norrish said fishing around 
in one of his pockets for a cigarette and match.  Finding both he placed 
the cigarette in his mouth and lit it.  He exhaled smoke into the air. 
"We all knew what we were getting into."

"We'll need to hide the book," said the Top Hat, a trenchcoated man in a 
top hat who looked a bit like Fred Astaire.  "It will only be a matter 
of time before acolytes of the Brothers try to get them out of it. 
They'll also be trying to find us.  Time is of the Essence."

"Right.  Any suggestions about where we should bury it?"

"Let me think."  The Top Hat took his hat off and gave his head a 
scratch and then he glanced at his hat.  "Of course!  This is where 
we'll hide it!"

"You want to hide the book in your Top Hat?  Are you daft?" said Phil M. 

"No.  I want to hide it in a dimension in the hat.  A dimension where we 
can all hide and protect the book.  To the outside world it will just be 
a hat.  A piece of rubbish in an alleyway.  No one will ever know."

"You better be right.  Well, Bee's Knees, you going spend your whole 
life weeping?"

"You bastards!  Don't you care?  Is this all a joke to you?  He's dead!"

"Please, Anita," said the Top Hat putting his hand on Queen Bee's Knees 
shoulder, "We need to protect the book.  Your husband died so we could 
trap the Brothers.  If we don't protect the book from the various cults 
that worship the Brothers -- his death will have been in vain.  Please, 
for the Golden Trenchcoat's sake."

Queen Bee's Knees wiped her eyes.  "For him.  Not for any of you.  Just 
for him."

"Fine."  Phil M. Norrish flicked his still burning cigarette into the 
street.  "Let's get this show on the road."

The Top Hat took out his wand and after chanting some words waved the 
wand.  The three trenchcoaters still living, the corpse, and the book 
all disappeared.  All that was left was the top hat in the alley.

A few minutes later, an eleven-year old boy walked by the alley and 
spotted the hat.

"Cool!  I always wanted to wear one of these."  But before he put it on 
he glimpsed something within the hat.  Was it a piece of paper?

The boy reached for the thing inside the hat with his extra thumb hand 
and pulled it out.  It was a centerfold!  A centerfold from some porn 
magazine depicting a totally naked bunny woman!  The boy had a strange 
feeling when he saw the picture.  A feeling that he had a power.  An 
awesome power!  It was like he could feel every single porn centerfold 
there had ever been.  And they were all in this hat.  And just by 
reaching into the hat, he could get anyone of them.  This was the power 
he had.

No more would the kids at school tease him with cruel nicknames like, 
"Four Thumbs.  Thumbo.  Thumbelina.  Thumby."  No.  They wouldn't call 
him that anymore.  They would now call him -- 
Pulls-Porn-Centerfolds-Out-of-Hats Lad and he would be the coolest kid 
in school!  Yes!  They would all stand in awe at his power!  And he'd be 
rich selling porn centerfolds to all his classmates!  Yeah!

But wait.  What if it had only been a freak thing?  Suppose he'd have to 
try again.  How did he do it?  Just reach in there and grab it.  He 
pulled his hand out of the hat.  It was paper.  Someone's tax return. 
The boy frowned.

Perhaps he needed to focus on what he wanted.  Think porn centerfold. 
Naked cheerleader centerfold.  Focus.  Naked cheerleader centerfold. 
The boy reached back into the hat and pulled out -- someone's kleenix.

An hour later --

The boy looked at the huge stack of papers next to his hat.  None of the 
papers were porn centerfolds.  The boy then screamed in frustration, 
"What am I doing wrong?!!"

The boy sighed to himself.  Oh well.  Maybe he should just call himself 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad instead.


Tomorrow:  Part II!

More information about the racc mailing list