LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths #49: "The Big Bandshell Battle"
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 20:11:37 PST 2021
There were three men came out of the West
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow:
John Barleycorn must die
HUNGRY, HUNGRY SABERTOOTHS! #49
"The Big Bandshell Battle"
A long-awaited climax (hee hee hee) by Jeanne Morningstar
Because of the quarantine, the Net.ropolis Bandshell was emptier than it
had been since the day it was created to host the RACCelestial Madonna
Beauty Pageant in a crossover long ago. [in Retcon Hour--Footnote Girl]
Well, it was empty except for all the net.heroes, cosmic beings who were
sitting on top of it, crowds of kiwis who'd come to gawk and a
Mini-Balrog (an elemental of typo) which the Writer had hastily removed
from the first draft, who had all been gathered here to face the story's
long-overdue climax, as Token Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon faced each
They were all waiting, in absolute silence, for the end.
The silence was broken by Thematically Important Emotional Music Lass,
who put on some Ennio Morricone.
"Ah man," whispered Cannon Fodder. "This whole setup, with this like,
weird fusion being, possessed by a cosmic force... is anyone else
reminded of DeFacto V?"
"Who's that?" whispered Merissa.
WikiBoy, whose mind was linked to the LNH Wiki, tried to explain X Post
Facto but couldn't, as he was still a mastodon.
"Uh, I'll explain later, but the point is," said Cannon Fodder, "that
was when Sig.Lad died. You've seen his statue, right? That
funeral--everyone who was around those days still remembers that. I
wonder how many funerals we're gonna have when this is over."
"Zero," said Merissa. "Because I'll--"
Kid Occultism Kid shook their head. "This is not the time. The balance
of the narrative is delicate. If you try and intervene now--"
"I'll win! Because I'm the most important and awesome person ever!"
Cannon Fodder put his hand on her shoulder and held her back. "Kid, I've
been around a while, and I know--sometimes being awesome isn't enough."
"I mean," said Horrible Name Lad, "I'm sure it's not gonna be like that
They looked at Poignant Death Lass, who was staring off into the
distance, and saying nothing.
"I'll do it," said Token Girl.
"Wait, you?" said Halls Jordan. "But--you don't even have any powers--"
"Doesn't matter. You have powers, and you get your ass kicked all the
time. Sorry, it's true."
"No, it does make sense," said Occultism Kid. "Out of everyone in the
LNH you are one of the ones who possesses the strongest levels of Heroic
Determination. In spite of your lack of powers, you are one of the ones
most able to defeat him. But..."
"There's a very good chance you're going to die. This is the kind of
battle that ends in a heroic death."
"Yeah, well," said Token Girl.
Merissa thrust forward from the crowd. "No!" she shouted. "It has to be
me! Obviously I'm the only one awesome enough to defeat him!" She
pointed her gun into the air for effect.
"Nah, see, you've still got your life ahead of me. I'm still pretty
young, I guess, because most of the time net.heroes don't age after a
certain point, but I've lived a life. It wasn't all good... some things
I wish I hadn't done, some things I wish I had... but it was good enough."
"No. Not you too." Merissa started crying and Token Girl hugged her and
stroked her hair.
"Excuse me?" said DeltaKiwi Megantereon. "Don't we have a battle to fight?"
"Shhhh," said Enthusiasm, "have to leave room for drama," and then
vooped out of existence.
"Bye, Merissa. Bye, Halls. Bye, Cliche. Bye, Cat." Token Girl walked up
to Catalyst Lass and hugged her tight. "In case I don't make it back...
I just wanted to say... It's been real. I am glad for every moment I
spent with you. Also... you can have all the Rumiko Takahashi stuff,
Merissa gets all the Dragon Ball, Fairy Princess Lad can have the
Ghibli, Victoria and Alice can have the Dirty Pair and Utena, Halls gets
the oldschool mecha anime stuff and the terrible hentai, and Sarcastic
Lad gets the godawful Manga Entertainment dubs. And... Ultimate Ninja
gets Tenchi. You know why. All the other anime and manga, you get to
pick who keeps it. And... you can have Totoro. I trust you to take good
care of them. OK?"
"I don't think it'll come to that," said Cat. "I mean, I was hoping to
watch Maison Ikkoku, but i want to do it with you." She punched her on
the shoulder gently. "Knock 'em dead, tiger."
"Hey, I'm not one of the tigers," said Tara.
She walked up and stood before DeltaKiwi Megantereon, setting her jaw
like an old-fashioned gunslinger while Ennio Morricone whistled in the
DeltaKiwi Megantereon began to slowly charge his flaming swords. The
flame grew to white heat. Everyone collectively began to realize that
they could easily take out the entire crowd of heroes and the city they
were standing in, and that would be that. "Mm," said Sister
State-the-Obvious. "This looks bad..."
Through it all, Hooded Hood'win was watching, floating off in the
sidelines as usual. She remembered the last time Token Girl was here in
the Bandshell, in the days of the RACCelestial Madonna Pageant [Retcon
Hour again], and her legendary drinking contest with the Chuggernaut.
She had an idea.
"She Who Must Know Hoo'd Win summons the contention... between Token
Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon... in a drinking contest!"
"Hmm," said DeltaKiwi Megantereon, feeling the new narrative
construction take ahold of him. "Not what I was expecting, but I'll take
it! I can outdrink a bear!"
"Yeah well," said Token Girl, "I can outdrink *three* bears."
Everyone watching--the net.heroes, the kiwis, the various cosmic
spectators, even the Mini-Balrog--were desperate to know how this would
end. Even Simplicity stopped in his tracks. For better or worse, the
moment had come.
"And now, suitable alcohol must be procured!"
"I'll bring the wine," said a quiet but resonant voice from the
audience. He was a very old deadfaced man--"old" was not adequate to
describe him; he was like the human equivalent of food that had been
left in the fridge for too long--in a black trenchcoat. He looked like
someone who had seen better days, and had also seen worse days, who had
really seen a lot of days, more than anyone should have ever seen. But
he still had the power to still the crowd with a word--or to stir it up
to destruction. He was a god.
"You're... Bacchus. Of the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade," said Token Girl.
"Of the NTB, the Olympian Gods, and a lot of other misbegotten
enterprises," said Bacchus.
DeltaKiwi Megantereon snarled. "You! This story has nothing to do with
the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade or the Olympian Gods or any of that nonsense!
You have no reason to be here!"
"Oh yes I do. This isn't just a drinking contest, you see. It's a
*cosmically important* drinking contest. And while I'm the kind of god
who makes fun of the idea of the idea of cosmic importance, I'm still a
god. So I'll bring the wine."
He stepped onto the stage and took a bottle out of his capacious pockets
(a phrase the Writer keeps putting in their stories due to reading way
too many Doctor Who books at a formative age) full of deep purple wine
which glowed just a little. "A good old vintage. Chateau Olympus 1184
BCE, brewed back when Achilles was sulking in Troy. If you believe that
story." He took two frosted wine glasses out of his pockets and slowly
and carefully poured the wine into each. "As for me, I'll just have some
whiskey while I watch this."
"Keeping it simple. I approve," said DeltaKiwi Megantereon.
Token Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon both looked uneasily at the wine
bottles. For one thing, Token Girl, at least, was usually a beer
drinker. (DeltaKiwi Megantereon hadn't been in existence long enough to
think about this yet.) For another, glowing was, in general, not
something wine was supposed to do.
They took the glasses and raised them to their lips. Quite how DeltaKiwi
Megantereon did this without a face wasn't clear, but he did. They kept
sipping and sipping from the wine glasses, which did not seem to diminish.
By now, most people, and even most cosmic beings, would have been dead.
Maybe it was the fact that the bizarre gestalt that was the avatar of a
hostile cosmic being didn't respect the LNH's strange combination of
comedy and drama to make it work for him. Maybe it was the fact that
Token Girl had once won a drinking battle at this specific location.
Maybe it was the old battle-manga cliche that DeltaKiwi Megantereon was
only fighting for himself but Token Girl was fighting for her friends
and people she loved. Maybe it was the specific fact that, while Token
Girl was generally a beer drinker, Catalyst Lass was a wine drinker and
Token Girl knew better how to drink wine from all the time spent with
her. Or maybe Token Girl really was was just able to hold her alcoh ol
Whatever it was, the titanic cosmically powered tiger-centaur toppled
like the Tower of Babel, threw up on his shoes and passed out. Token
Girl stood above him. "Woooo!" she shouted drunkenly, waving her fist in
the air. "Delta Force Megatron, suck it dowwwwn!"
"The contention is over," said Hooded Hoo'odwin. "Token Girl has won."
"Awesome!" said Token Girl. She stared out blankly past the crowd.
"Wait... why is everything so...purple? I... I can see forever..."
And then she collapsed and fell to the stage, dead.
They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow:
John Barleycorn was dead
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