REPOST: RAC Challenge! #18

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Thu Dec 3 18:56:19 PST 2015

Chapter by Jeff "Drizzt" Barnes who wrote a number of
LNH stories like Cry.Sig and Tales of Continuity as
well as creating a lot of LNH concepts in the early
days of the LNH..

From: franke at (Jerry L Franke)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.creative
Subject: REPOST:  RAC Challenge! Ch. 18
Date: 1 Dec 1995 16:28:26 GMT

Ok, I screwed up and got our distribution schedule all wrong, so I'm
reposting several chapters today to get us back on track.  For those of you
who were wondering what had happened to the Challenge! over the Thanksgiving
holiday, I goofed.


                                 RAC CHALLENGE
Chapter 18: Ghost, Ghost, Gander

   by Drizzt
   title by Jerry Stratton
   The next thing the Ultimate Man knew, he was lying on a couch. To be
   certain, it was a nice couch, but it was by no means the perfect couch
   that had been the object of his search for so long. Paragon pushed
   himself up on one arm and looked around the comfortable office.
   "Ah, you're awake at last," an unfamiliar voice said.
   Paragon turned to see an older man in a black suit sitting behind a
   large wooden desk, peering at him over horn-rimmed glasses. "Who are
   you?" the Ultimate Man demanded. "Where am I? How did I get here? What
   happened to my Ultimate Marble? Do you think Agent Mulder is really
   dead? Will Lois tell Clark yes or no? And is there any mango juice?"
   The old man gestured to a small glass on his desk. "We anticipated
   your need when you awakened."
   Paragon took the glass and eagerly raised it to his lips, then paused
   as a suspicious thought crossed his mind. "It is mango juice, right?
   Not grapefruit?"
   The old man nodded. "That's correct." As Paragon drank, he continued
   speaking. "And, to answer your questions, I am Thanatos, division head
   over superhuman souls in the Grim Reaper Corps. This is my office. You
   are dead. Your marble has apparently achieved sentience. Agent Mulder
   is not dead. Lois will turn Clark down, but later change her mind. Any
   other questions?"
   Somewhere in the midst of Thanatos' words, Paragon had choked on his
   mango juice. "Ridiculing remora!" he exclaimed, wiping the juice off
   his face with a napkin. "Dead?"
   Thanatos nodded again. "We're working on getting you a time-share
   condo in the Third Heaven as your eternal reward."
   "Sweltering swamprats! I can't be dead!"
   Thanatos sighed. "You superheroes, all alike. You all think you're
   "But I am invulnerable!"
   "That's what they all say. Either that or But I've got a healing
   factor! I do so detest whiners."
   "Listen, there must be some way I can get out of this. I mean,
   trembling tarantulas--"
   "All right, all right," Thanatos sighed. "As I was saying before you
   interrupted me, you are dead. However, it is customary to give
   superheroes a second chance at life, ever since Cheatem, Lye, and
   Swindell won that lawsuit on behalf of Superman." He glanced down at
   his pocketwatch, then pressed a button on his speakerphone. "Lucy,
   hold my calls for a while. I'll be in conference with Mr. Derringer."
   He turned back to Paragon.
   "All right, then, according to the rules, we have to have some sort of
   contest which is equally fair to both of us. Is chess all right with
   "I'm afraid I never learned to play. Such are the sacrifices one must
   make when one is the scourge of evil, for there is little time for
   personal recreation." He paused in thought. "How about one-on-one
   Australian rules football?"
   "I'm afraid not. Do you play craps?"
   "What, dice with Death for my soul? I'm not that stupid. How about
   "No, I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with that, too." Thanatos paused, then
   snapped his fingers. "Wait, I know. Are you familiar with Trivia
   "I've heard of it," Paragon replied.
   "Here's what I propose, then. We'll alternate asking questions of each
   other. The first one to miss a question loses if the other gets his
   next question right. If I win, you go on to your eternal reward."
   Paragon nodded. "And if I win, I return to life."
   "Agreed, then." Thanatos pulled a box of game cards out of a drawer in
   his desk, then selected a card. "Let us begin, then." He read the
   card. "What sports broadcaster graduated Phi Beta Kappa from law
   Paragon snorted. "Everyone knows that. Howard Cosell." Thanatos
   confirmed his answer with a nod, and it was the Ultimate Man's turn to
   ask. "What's the claim to fame of Abraham Zapruder?"
   "He filmed John F. Kennedy's death," Thanatos said with a smile. "Next
   question: What does a harness racing driver sit in?"
   "Easy, again. A sulky." Paragon drew a card. "What does a
   resurrectionist steal?"
   "Bodies from graves. Dead bodies."
   Paragon looked at him suspiciously. "Are you sure you're not
   Thanatos drew himself up officiously. "Death cheats no man; it is men
   who cheat death." He shrugged. "Besides, I could ask you the same
   thing. I mean, a sulky?!?"
   "Well, my secret identity is as a sports reporter..." Paragon said
   almost apologetically. Thanatos drew the next card and read it.
   "What is a turkey in bowling?"
   "Whistling weasels! I... think it's... three consecutive strikes?"
   Thanatos cursed under his breath and placed the card with the other
   two as a relieved Paragon drew the next question. "Who was the pilot
   in the first fatal plane crash?"
   "There have been so many over the years," Thanatos said, stalling for
   time. "It's really hard to remember them all..."
   "Come on, either you know it or you don't."
   "I believe it was... Wilbur Wright?"
   "Ha!" Paragon shouted. "It was Orville Wright!"
   Thanatos sighed. "That's Wright... er, right. I never could keep those
   two straight. Them and their crazy flying machines..." He made a
   dismissive gesture with his hand, then reached for another card. "All
   right then, Mr. Derringer, if you get this one right, you win." He
   drew in a breath, then read off the question. "What sport features
   kabooms and swivel hip seat drops?"
   Paragon had to think for a second, but then the answer came to him. He
   smiled widely. "Trampolining."
   Thanatos sank back into his chair in defeat. "That's correct." A wan
   smile made his way to his lips. "Congratulations, you've won."
   "And now I return to life, as we agreed?"
   "As we agreed." He sighed. "The paperwork on this is going to be a
   mess, though. But first, let's get you back to the mortal realm.
   "You're not bitter at losing?"
   That odd smile was on the Grim Reaper division head's lips again. "Oh,
   no. We'll meet again, and then you'll be dead for good. There's no
   third chance, you know. And, besides that, I don't envy you your
   future. Make no mistake, Paragon; hard times are upon you. A fate
   worse than death awaits you soon, for you are to be written by...
   wReam!" Thanatos waved his hand, and Paragon began to fade.
   The Ultimate Man's eyes widened in horror as the room vanished around
   him. "Nooooo!!!" But it was too late.
   Far too late.
   Thanatos turned back to his desk and pressed his speakerphone again.
   "All right, Lucy. Get me the Derringer file, please. And, while you're
   at it, what appointments do I have this afternoon?"
   "Well, there's Mr. Richards of the Fantastic Somethingortheother," a
   female voice said over the speaker. "He's been quite insistent that
   you meet with him for his 'second chance'."
   "Ah, yes. It always seems like we're having to reschedule. Anything
   "Two others. You remember Mr. Krakatoa?"
   "The Living Mutant Island? Yes, he was one of the first to get out of
   death on a technicality; what is he doing these days?"
   "Well, he had moved to the Caspian Sea and set up shop there. Retired
   from the supervillain circuit, y'know? Seems like he came down with a
   bad case of Carpathian Tunnel Syndrome, though, so... well, that was
   it for him. You're scheduled to meet with him at 2:30."
   "All right. And the other?"
   "There's some talking goose out here from the Funny Animal Universe.
   He says he's got to meet with you.."
   "Very good. We'll take Mr. Richards, Mr. Krakatoa, then the goose."
   "Ghost, ghost, gander?"
   "That's right." And with that, Thanatos returned to his paperwork.
   To Be Continued!
   Next issue: Can Paragon avoid his dark future? Is there a way for him
   to avoid being written by wReam? Oh, yeah, what about that stuff about
   the world being taken over and all that from last issue, too? The
   answers to all these questions and more skillfully avoided in an issue
   we just had to call
     * Screaming Dreams of wReam (or, I Have No Nose, And I Must Sneeze!
   The perfect couch first debuted in Continuity Champ And The Drizzt's
   Defenders #13, and will also be mentioned in passing in issue #21 of
   that title. It can be found on IRC's #comics.
   Thanatos and the Grim Reaper Corps appeared first in CC&DDs</cite> #5.
   Paragon's problems with grapefruit juice chronicled earlier in the
   series, and then subsequently retconned away. Gone, but not
   wReam, Evil and Entropy Incarnate, (c) 1995 Microsoft.
    Jeff Barnes
    barnejd at
     "The strongest desire is neither love nor hate. It is one person's
     need to change another person's copy." - Anonymous



Jerry L. Franke                        franke at
Computer Science Dept.                 Indiana University
formerly from Florida State University

More information about the racc mailing list