LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #56

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 7 21:42:03 PST 2015

    Doused with microwave radiation, Theodore Wong gained the
ability to glow and be detected at great distances by anyone
with a Geiger counter.  Forced to retire, Wong has left former
sidekick Lite to continue his battle against the forces of
corruption, chaos and common sense, and to carry on the
legacy of the fabulous EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN.
    The following takes place sometime after issue #8 of the
Legion of Net.Heroes mini-series "Beige Countdown."

-----Previously on "The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man"----

     On a quest to solve the murder of the WAFFLE QUEEN 
-- Easily-Discovered Man's arch-nemesis -- Easily-Discovered
Man Lite travels to the late villain's hometown of Mount 
Roosevelt, Ohio, where he finds heartbreak, a few puzzling clues 
and a nest of zombies guarding a hidden laboratory.

     Lite's efforts are further hampered upon his return to
Net.ropolis when he is ambushed by the super-villain 
LONDONBROIL -- a former ally -- and nearly beaten to death.
He is rescued by the cosmic entity known as RAVENSCROFT,
who asks that he seek out the missing LUKE JONES in a move
that sounds suspiciously like the set-up for a series 

     First, however, Lite is determined to visit the one man he 
believes can help him sort through the puzzle pieces he has amassed 
on his journey -- his friend and mentor Theodore Wong, the former 
EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN, who has resumed his career as a professor 
of physics at Dave Thomas Deluxe University.  
     Before presenting their long-awaited conversation, the author
would like to continue what has become a tradition in this pages:
an apparent non-sequitur showcasing the private lives of these
characters ...

     --EDM--          --EDM--          --EDM--     

     "So it's settled then," Cynical Lass said.  "Palpatine meets
Shmi at the Mos Eisley cantina, but nearly loses her in a fight
with a malfunctioning droid -- which is why the cantina forever
afterward forbids droids from coming in."

     "And the droid turns out to be EV-9D9," Substitute Lad added.

     "Hey guys," I said, walking into the TV lounge at Legion of
Net.Heroes headquarters.  Like most lounges of its type, it was crammed
with several couches and half a dozen televisions that no one seemed
to be watching.  "What are you doing?"

     The three super-heroes -- Cynical Lass, Substitute Lad and 
Ubiquitous Boy -- glanced at each other.  Cynical Lass nodded.

     "We're drafting a new version of the _Star Wars_ prequel trilogy,"
Substitute Lad said.

     "A more emotionally satisfying one," Cynical Lass said.

     "Yeah," Ubiquitous Boy said.  "Like, in this one, we explain that
Palpatine was actually Anakin's father, but ended up wiping Shmi's
memory of his time on Tatooine when his political career began to 
take off."

     "And we make Sebulba the one who takes Yoda to Dagobah, which
turns out to be his home planet," Cynical Lass said.

     I looked at the mountains of index cards, data pads and dog-eared
copies of Timothy Zahn novels surrounding the three friends.

     "Why, exactly, are you doing this?" I asked.

     "We felt Sebulba's character deserved a redemptive arc," Ubiquitous
Boy said, as if it was something that ought to be perfectly obvious to

     "No," I said.  "I mean -- all of this.  Are you hoping that George
Lucas will come out with a new version of the..."

     "Changing the canon is heresy!" all three heroes said at the same

     "Okay," I said, gathering up the mounds of paper in front of me
before any of them had time to protest.  "That's it.  I'm putting a stop
to this here and now."

     "You can't do that," Cynical Lass said.  "It's our God-given right
to waste our free time in any manner we choose."

     "Right," Substitute Lad said, trying to snatch his Kindle from
my confiscating arms.  "You don't see any of us barging in on a 
Saturday night while you're watching _Detectives With Cleavage_. "

     "First," I said.  "_Detectives With Cleavage_ comes out on
Sunday nights, not Saturday.  "Second, you'd never catch me sitting around
on a Sunday night watching _Detectives With Cleavage_.  I TiVo the show
while watching _Dangerous Threat_. "

     "Ooh," Ubiquitous Boy said.  "Is that the show in which the 
unorthodox hero, who is a member of a government agency no one has ever
heard of but which somehow has jurisdiction over all the others and is
considered to be the most responsible member of the team despite 
clearly being a dangerous psychopath, works to defeat global evil while
a group of attractive people stand around in a room full of monitors
and gradually increase the speed and volume of their dialogue?"

     "The very same," I said.  "Third: look at what you're doing!
Attempting to rewrite a text because it disagrees with your 
interpretation of it?  Taking something that was supposed to be
exciting and fun and entertaining and treating it like it was
sacred scripture?  Getting into arguments with people who ought
to be your contemporaries and peers over trivial details?
This is how religions get started!  And I'm not going to let
something like that happen on my watch."

     "He's... right," Cynical Lass said.  "My God, he's right.
We're... no better than the Scientologists!"

     The three of us stared at her.

     "All right," she said.  "We're still better than the

     "Hang on," Ubiquitous Boy said.  "You can't seriously be saying
that we should just sit back and allow people who enjoy Kevin J.
Anderson novels to be part of our fandom."

     "I'm saying that people around the world are dying today because
other people think they have the right to tell them what parts of a
mythology to accept and believe," I said.  "Stories are supposed to
inspire you, make you stronger, bring you together as a people.
Nobody should ever have to die because of an argument over whether
Han shot first."

     "Han shot..." began Ubiquitous Boy and Substitute Lad 
simultaneously, before Cynical Lass silenced them by saying the
last thing anyone who had known her for any length of time could
ever have expected her to say.

     "Lite's right," she said.  "When was the last time any of us
enjoyed a _Star Wars_ film -- not as the subject of an academic
debate, a quasi-religion or a cultural moment -- but as a movie?"

     "May 22, 1980," Ubiquitous Boy said.  "The day I saw _The
Empire Strikes Back_."

     "You see what I mean?" Cynical Lass said.  "And that's just..."

     "Wait," Ubiquitous Boy said.  "Now that I think about it, that
experience was actually a meta-commentary, as I juxtaposed actually
watching the film with my previous close reading of the Marvel Comics

     Cynical Lass grabbed my paper-filled arms and pressed them against
my chest.

     "Thank you," she said.  "For stopping us.  For stopping me -- before
I became like... that," she said, nodding toward Substitute Lad and
Ubiquitous Boy, who were engaged in a furious debate over the relative
merits of _Empire Strikes Back_ as a comics limited series versus the
triple-sized spectacular issue. 

     "It's the least I can do for humanity," I said, shooing the three 
of them out of the lounge.  

     I waited until I could no longer hear the heavy tread of Ubiquitous 
Boy's boots in the corridor before pulling out my phone.  I swiped through 
several pages of apps before finding the icon I was looking for -- a tiny 
image of Darth Vader's helmet sporting a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.

     I pressed the app, then dropped to my knees as a holographic 
image of Disney CEO Bob Iger sprang to life in the center of the lounge.

     "It is done, my master," I said.

     "Good.  Good," the hologram said, his genial face shimmering with
light as he knit his translucent fingers together.  "You have done well, 
my young apprentice.  With the release of _The Force Awakens_ scheduled
for next December, it is more important than ever that those who profess
belief in... alternative storylines... be shown the error of their ways."

     "And our deal stands?" I asked.  "You promise that Marvel will
at least consider making an _Easily-Discovered Man_ movie?"

     Iger's phosphorescent eyes glittered.  "My people have already
inserted a reference in an Easter egg that will appear in the DVD
version of the second credit sequence of _The Inhumans 2_," he
purred.  "That is, they will... if Kevin Smith were to publish a 
gushing review of the _Episode VII_ trailer on Moviepoopshoot.com."

     I raised my eyes to the glowing apparition.

     "He will join us... or diet, my master," I said.
     We now present episode #56 of "The Adventures of Easily-
Discovered Man," "Leather and Laces."  Some contents may have
settled during shipping.

     --EDM--          --EDM--          --EDM--

    The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man #56
                  "Leather and Laces"
      Plot:                                     Script:
      Rob Rogers                                Rob Rogers

     "Are you sure this is such a good idea?" Cynical Lass asked.

     "Which part?" I replied, as we walked beneath the great golden
archway welcoming students to Dave Thomas Deluxe University.  "The part
where I ask Professor Wong for help, even though he made a promise never
to have anything to do with Easily-Discovered Man -- or any other super-
hero -- for the rest of his life?  Or the part where I'm waltzing into
his classroom at a time when Mynabird and his Legion of Super.Villains
are tearing the country apart looking for me?"

     "Having studied Ame.rec.an history in great detail, I can tell you
that your country was doing a perfectly good job of tearing itself apart
long before you had anything to do with it," Cynical Lass said.  "What I
was referring to was whether coming to see your former mentor would be a 
good thing for you."

     "He's your mentor too," I said, falling into pace just behind a pair of 
students as they keyed the entrance code into the physics lab doors.  "At least
I thought he was.  Just how long is your internship supposed to last, anyway?"

     "I'm English, dear.  Our apprenticeships last forever.  Just ask Prince
Charles.  But that's hardly the point," she said, as we entered the building.
"Being Easily-Discovered Man's intern is hardly the same as being his 

     "I'm guessing you get paid more."

     "He's helped me learn to become the kind of hero I want to be.  Whereas
I think he has something a little more particular in mind for you."

     "Don't start in on that again," I said, poking my head around the corner.
I knew the place was likely to be deserted -- it was, after all, 8 a.m. on a
Monday morning -- but as I'd lately discovered, it never hurt to be too 
careful.  "The Prof has never wanted me to succeed him as Easily-Discovered Man."

     "Then how do you explain all the lectures?  The speeches about what it
is a super-hero is supposed to do, and be?"

     "He does that with everybody."

     "Only when you're around," Cynical Lass said.  "He sees something in you,
Hector.  Something he doesn't see in anyone else."

     "Sure," I said.  "That explains why he asked Substitute Lad to take over
for him as Easily-Discovered Man when Deathstocker took away his powers." 
[Way back in Easily-Discovered Man #18 -- Footnote Girl].

     "That was a condition of his will, Lite," Cynical Lass said.  "The 
Professor is an expert on comic books.  He knows that death is hardly ever
permanent... but retirement often is.  You were his plan for the future."

     "Yeah, well, that seems to have changed, hasn't it?" I said, carefully
opening one of the fire doors that led to the stairwell.  "I mean he's 
retired now, and I'm running around the country doing everything but 
being Easily-Discovered Man."

     "That's your choice, isn't it?"

     I turned around to face Cynical Lass.  I did this as both of us were
entering the stairwell, so it brought me much closer to her face than I'd
intended.  Her eyes locked on to mine with an intensity that drove me back.

     "How, exactly, is it my choice?" I asked.  "I promised Ravenscroft
after she'd saved my life that I'd deliver a message to Luke Jones. 
[Last ish -- Footnote Girl].  And then I have to get back to finding the 
Waffle Queen's murderer so that I can fulfill the promise I made to Londonbroil 
back when he was saving my life and not actively trying to kill me [in Easily-Discovered
Man #49 -- Footnote Girl].  And then maybe I can get around to rounding up a team to 
go to the Apocryphal Universe, like I promised both Apocalypso [EDM #34 -- F.G.] 
and Professor Perhap [EDM #47 -- Footnote Girl, the hardest-working super-heroine
in the business] -- neither of whom actually saved my life, but..."

     "You know," Cynical Lass said, "for someone who's supposed to be
a super-hero sidekick, you spend an awful lot of your time helping
super-villains.  There has to be something more productive you
could be doing.  Have you ever considered Candy Crush Saga?"

     I stared down the long, empty corridor filled with doorways,
the walls plastered with ink-dotted whiteboards, posted protest signs
and Scotch-taped cartoons that had been hilarious three years ago.

     "And you think I should just walk away from all of that," I
said.  "Is that what you think Easily-Discovered Man would do?"

     "I think Easily-Discovered Man would be asking himself who
Mynabird is, and why he hates you so very, very much," Cynical
Lass said. 

     "I'd just assumed he was one of the writers of _Arrow_," I said.

     "Why would the writers of _Arrow_ want to kill you?"

     "Clearly you haven't been reading my column on 'Television 
Without Pity,' " I said.

     "Oh, Hector.  You sweet, silly man," Cynical Lass said.  "When
will you accept the truth that the other members of our generation
have already embraced?  Nothing you write or post on the Internet
will ever mean anything to anyone for more than five minutes."

     "So you're saying that there might be some other reason why a
criminal mastermind with the largest private army in the known 
universe might be obsessed with killing me?"

     "And that running away from the problem isn't likely to improve
your situation."

     "Hold it," I said, stopping beneath a poster of a smiling Malcolm
X.  "Putting aside the fact that I have all of this other stuff to do...
doesn't 'Insane Criminal Genius and His Army of Evil Psychopaths' fall
under the same category as 'Rabid Leopard,' 'Horde of Mutant Cannibal
Mimes' and the band Creed as 'Things That It Actually Makes a Lot of
Sense to Run Away From, and Keep Running Away From?"

     "Are there still mimes?  Why are we still doing mime jokes?" Cynical
Lass asked.

     "They're like polio," I replied.  "The moment you think they've been
completely eradicated... they're back.  With a vengeance."

     "You're right, Hector," Cynical Lass said. "It does make sense to run
away from leopards.  Or mimes.  Or people like Mynabird."

     "Or Creed."

     "I think you're dating yourself with that reference, but yes," Cynical
Lass said.  "But that's the whole point of being a super-hero: you do things
that don't make a lot of sense because you know they're the right things to do."

     "So what do you want me to do?" I asked, trying and mostly failing to 
keep my voice from rising above the level of normal, relaxed, let's-not-draw
attention-to-ourselves conversation.  "Drop everything that I'm doing, go after
Mynabird and hope that my spatula and a few bad jokes will be enough to take
down him and his army?"

     "I don't know, Hector," Cynical Lass said.  "I'm not Easily-Discovered Man.
Nor do I want to be him.  In fact, I'm not even really here."

     "You're not even...?" 

     I looked back over my shoulder, and there she wasn't.  Of course she wasn't.
The real Cynical Lass was somewhere far away -- really, really far away, working 
with the Legion of Net.Heroes to keep Mynabird from freeing the worst criminals
in the universe from something called the Ultimate Black Hole [in Beige Countdown #10-8. 
Yes, the numbering is backwards.  Don't blame me. -- Footnote Girl].  You'd think all
of that would give Mynabird less time to make my life miserable, but it's amazing
what they can do with long-distance communications these days.

     I let myself slump against one of the closed classroom doors, more relieved
than ever that the corridor was deserted.  

     As hallucinations went, Imaginary Cynical Lass was a pretty good one -- better 
than, say, a psychopathic Brad Pitt or a man in a creepy rabbit suit -- especially 
since she smoked less and dressed a little less conservatively than the real Cynical 
Lass.  Yet having an extended conversation with any kind of imaginary person felt 
like a sign that perhaps things were going even less well for me than I had previously 
supposed.  It was one thing not being able to trust my friends, my family, the Legion 
of Net.Heroes, George R.R. Martin or certain members of the super-villain community 
(whom, granted, I should never have trusted in the first place).  It was something 
else entirely not to be able to trust the evidence of my own eyes.

     It was time, then, to talk to the one person I had always been able to trust.

     I looked at the door I had been leaning against, smiled, and opened it.

     He was standing in front of the long green chalkboard, lost in thought,
the sleeves of his Oxford shirt rolled up past his elbows.  Although I had called
him "Professor" from the moment we'd met, I had never actually seen Theodore Wong
at work in the classroom.  With his glasses perched on top of his head, a piece
of yellow chalk dangling from his fingers like a cigarette, he looked stronger,
more sure of himself than he ever had in his Easily-Discovered Man costume.

     "It is indeed a remarkable device," he said, and I looked from the 
chalkboard to the image on the screen next to it.  It was a projection of the
photographs Penelope Laine had taken in a barn outside of Mount Roosevelt,
Ohio, the one she'd brought me to when I'd asked her for information about the
Waffle Queen's past [in EDM #54 -- Footnote Girl].  Both of us had hoped that 
Professor Wong would be able to make sense of the equipment stored inside the barn 
-- and help us understand why the Waffle Queen's father had left a half-dozen 
of the living dead around to guard it.

     "The idea of sending short bursts of information into the past has, of
course, been considered and discussed for decades," Professor Wong said.
"Most of the proponents of this theory -- Professor Waid, especially -- 
believed the thing to do was to generate the tiniest possible wormhole for
the barest fraction of a second, just long enough to transmit the 
encoded data.  Yet this machine bypasses the need for generating a singularity
altogether by essentially etching vast quantities of information into

     He shook his head, placing the piece of chalk on the little tray beneath
the blackboard.  "An impressive achievement, but one that remains completely
pointless, alas," he continued.  "Why construct such a machine unless one knew
-- knew beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that an even more technologically-
advanced device existed in the past that was capable of receiving and 
interpreting the data stream?"

     "Hold on a second, Prof," I said.  "Are you saying that this thing is
like a kind of one-way, time-traveling fax machine?  A timewriter?"

     Professor Wong turned around slowly, his glasses falling down onto 
the bridge of his nose as neatly as though they had practiced that 
maneuver on a daily basis.

     "Hector Lopez," the Prof said, in the same tone of voice he'd used to
describe the machine.

     "Sorry to just drop in on you like this, Prof," I said, looking for 
a table to lean against that wasn't completely covered in stacks of blue
books or piled texts.  "It's just that I wanted to ask you about..."

     "It's good to see you, Hector," Professor Wong said.  "I trust that
you have been keeping yourself busy?  Working hard at school, and all of
that?  Discovering new hobbies?"
     "Well, actually, I..."

     "Certainly nothing whatsoever to do with the Legion of Net.Heroes
or anything of that nature," the Prof said.  "You must know, of course, 
that I have renounced all such activities for the good of my family and 
my professional career.  I strongly recommend that you do the same."

     "I understand that, Prof.  It's just that I..."

     "It has been difficult, I am sure, for the world to know that it no
longer lives under the protection of the mighty Easily-Discovered Man --
that evil need nevermore quake in its foetid hiding places, knowing that
the green glow of justice would soon illuminate its foul deeds and bring
its despicable practitioners to account!  Doubt I not that the day-to-day
activities of the working men and women in our fair community seem but
empty and lifeless affairs, as the huddled masses know enow that no longer
can they ease the ennui of their empty existences by thrilling to the 
adventures of their illuminescent champion and his capable partner in..."

     "...in any case," the Prof said, removing his glasses and wiping
them with the end of his tie, "you see that I really cannot be of any
help to you whatsoever in matters of an heroic nature.  It is good to
see you, however.  Really, very good."

     "It's good to see you too, boss," I said.  "What I really wanted to
talk with you about has nothing to do with super-heroes.  It has to do
with physics."

     "Physics?  The queen of the sciences?"

     "Uh, yeah."

     "Go on, then.  I am always pleased to enlighten others on the subject
dearest to mine own heart -- and most fundamental to us all!"

     "Okay.  Here goes," I said, taking a deep breath.  "Prof, how does
time travel work?"

     "Time... travel?"

     "Look," I said, as the Prof's brow furrowed in what appeared to be
frustration, "I understand if that's not really your area of..."

     "No, no, no.  My dear Mr. Lopez, the problem is not in explaining
time travel; the problem is with the concept of time travel itself.
People always wonder how they will get from there to here -- or from
'now' to 'then' -- when in reality there is not anywhere for them to

     "Well, maybe they aren't physical places," I began.

     "Leaving out the theory of asynchronous parallel universes," the Prof said.

     "...but surely the past and the future are destinations?" I finished.
"I mean, that's kind of the point of every single Bruce Springsteen song,
isn't it?"

     "It is all a matter of perception," Professor Wong said.  "Human 
understanding is such that we imagine ourselves to be constantly
moving forward in time like this," he said, drawing a pointed arrow
on the chalkboard.  "Yet all of our recent experiments in temporal 
physics suggest there is nothing essentially linear about time at all.
What we perceive as past, present and future may all be occurring

     "I'm not sure I can even wrap my brain around that one," I said.

     "That is precisely the point," the Prof said, sketching what appeared
to be a stick figure on a staircase.  "Imagine that you are shopping at a
large department store."

     "Like Target?"

     "I had forgotten.  Your generation has a less intimate association
with the art of retail.  Very well, then.  Imagine yourself to be at the
very large Target on Burton and Fifth -- the one with the escalators."

     "Got it.  You know, I almost had a date there once."

     "That is among the very few areas of human knowledge I do not
wish to explore," the Prof said.  "Very well.  You are shopping at this
Target, and while you are browsing here on the lower level, you perceive
there is an item you wish to purchase on the second floor.  A new suit
jacket, perhaps."

     "Or a PlayStation 4.  Except that would probably be on the ground
floor.  Maybe a..."

     "To obtain the item," the Prof said, punctuating his sentence with a
tap of his yellow chalk, "you would have to ride the escalator all the
way to the top level, and then walk from the escalator egress to the 
men's clothing department, in which the object of your desire resides."

     "Actually, the object of my desire worked in cosmetics," I said.
"If we're still talking about the Target at Fifth and Burton."

     "We are not," the Prof said.  "The journey to obtain the jacket in
question is one that is required by your human perceptions -- by the fact
that you cannot perceive any method of reaching the men's clothing 
department other than by moving laterally throughout the store.  Freed
of your human limitations, however, you would be aware that the jacket
you wish for is located just a short distance above you -- and you could
simply reach up and pluck it for yourself."

     I snapped to attention.  "You're saying that if it were possible
to see the world as it really is -- without human limitations -- that
we wouldn't need a time machine at all?  That we'd just be able to see
everything that has already happened, is happening, and is going to
happen, all at the same time?"

     "As well as all the parallel dimensions inspired by possible choices
and permutations along the axis of possibility," the Prof said, "yes."

     "Prof, you're brilliant!"

     "Thank you," he said.  "I have often suspected that this was the case,
but observations that support my hypothesis are always welcome."

     "I don't need to travel back in time at all to find out what happened
with the Waf... er, with that girl at the Target," I said.  "I just need
to find a way to remember what happened when I was there the first time."

     "Be wary, Hector," Professor Wong said.  "The ability to forget the
past is a blessing few can appreciate until it has been removed."

     "I'll remember that," I said.  "Thanks, Professor.  Now I know exactly
where I need to go -- and who I need to see."

     "Indeed?  Few on earth could make such a claim.  Fortune has at last
smiled upon you, Hector Lopez.  I wish you more of the same."

     "Uh, yeah.  You too, Prof," I said, heading towards the door.  I
stopped before I was halfway through.  "Hey, Prof?"

     "Yes, Hector?"

     "I'm sorry that the whole Easily-Discovered Man thing didn't work out."

     "Not work out?  Nonsense, my dear boy," the Professor said.  "How many
times did you and I save the world?"

     "Well, I'm not sure that we ever actually..."

     "Countless times!  How many lives did we inspire by our acts of 
selfless bravery!" 

     "Well, this Mynabird guy seems awfully inspired..."

     "How many monsters who might otherwise be at large did we cull from the
ranks of humanity?"

     "Actually, they all seem to be hanging out in alleyways, waiting to
beat the crap out of me," I said.

     "And besides," said the Prof, who had not paid the slightest bit of 
attention to anything I had said, "was it not... in the end... fun?"

     I thought about that.  "You know," I said, "it really was."

     "Mozart died penniless," Professor Wong said.  "Poe spent the last
years of his life broken and alone.  I, at least, have the satisfaction of
having been a part of something magnificent -- and then, retiring from the
world stage  to enjoy other pursuits in seclusion, like Diocletian with
his cabbages."

     "Or that guy who drew _Calvin and Hobbes_," I said.  "Listen, Prof,
I... I just wondered... did you ever think that maybe I... that someone
might, you know... do the whole glowing super-hero thing after you

     "I think anyone who has pursued the noblest of vocations will, if
they are honest with themselves, admit to the same reasons for having
chosen a companion," the Professor said.  "They may tell themselves they
are seeking a partner... or a student... or perhaps a friend.  In the
end, however, the decision to welcome a sidekick into the fold is 
an admission of one's mortality, and a desire to perpetuate a legacy."

     "So you did want me to become Easily-Discovered Man."

     "In the beginning, yes," Professor Wong said.  "Who, in the end,
does not wish to live forever?  In time, however, I discovered that,
if only one of you could be saved, I much preferred Hector Lopez to
Easily-Discovered Man Lite."

     "Thank you, Prof."

     "You are welcome, Li... Hector.  Good luck, and Godspeed."

     My head was spinning as I left Professor Wong's classroom, but I
kept enough of it to remember to leave the physics building, and the
university, by a different route, and to remain relatively inconspicuous
as I worked my way across the city.  

     You'd think this would be easy.  In Net.ropolis, after all, there is 
always some battle going on between super-powered teenagers, giant 
transforming robots, colorful anthropomorphic animals or the reanimated hopping  
corpse of Mao Tse-Tung.  There's a reason why the pedestrian-versus-vehicle
accident rate in Net.ropolis is the second highest in the country (after
Berkeley, California): with so much going on overhead, it's hard to pay
attention to what's in front of you.  Yet I knew the people who were looking
for me were not likely to be so easily distracted.

     Whether I actually managed to elude my pursuers, or whether they 
chose not to reveal themselves in order to find out where I was going,
I found myself forty minutes later standing in front of a dilapidated-
looking shoe store near the end of East Crouch looking at a window
display of equally-dilapidated shoes.

     I didn't know for sure that the man I sought had been responsible
for sending myself, the Professor and Substitute Lad back in time -- 
and for erasing our memories of hanging around with a teenaged Waffle 
Queen in the past.  But he'd been the one to send the Prof and I to
Mount Roosevelt, Ohio in the first place.  If nothing else, he might
be able to tell us why the wraith he'd pursued out of hell itself
might have chosen Ohio as its destination -- and why, out of all the
super-heroes in the world, he had chosen Easily-Discovered Man and I
to help him.

     I opened the door of the shoe store.  The proprietor looked up.

     "Can I help you?" he asked.

     "Yes, Mr. Blount," I said.  "I believe you can."


     --EDM--          --EDM--          --EDM--     

    NEXT ISSUE: Trevor Blount returns!  Is the treacherous
trenchcoater really the key to finding Luke and Emily Jones
-- and solving the mystery of the Waffle Queen's murder?  Is 
his shoe store a gateway into Lite's past -- and the darkest
reaches of his mind?  Is the author positively salivating with
anticipation at the thought of an entire episode's worth of 
shoe puns?  Quite a bit of this is likely to be revealed in a
story our podiatrist suggested we call "The Eldritch and the

    CHARACTERS: Footnote Girl is (c) Saxon Brenton.  Mynabird is 
(c) Arthur Spitzer and the author.   All other characters are 
(c) the author.  More information about these 
and other Legion of Net.Heroes characters is available at: 

    SPECIAL THANKS: To Dave van Domelen for physics advice and
continued inspiration.

    EXTRA-SPECIAL THANKS: To Kid Review and everyone else who 
commented on episode #55.  Thank you!

     --EDM--          --EDM--          --EDM--

    "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant 
I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got 
to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man 
had learned in seven years."
       --Mark Twain

     --EDM--          --EDM--          --EDM--   



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