REPOST/LNH: Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch #4 out of 4: Beyond Heaven and Hell

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer2 at
Mon Dec 19 14:33:16 PST 2022

This Holiday Special is brought to you by:

Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch Action Figures:  Now you can 
have fun recreating the Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch 
mini-series in your own home!  The set includes Dying-of-Disease-Little 
Girl, Santa Claus-Strapped-to-a-Nuclear-Warhead, Namer Boy, 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad, Treesus Lyce, and of course Cauliflower!

Money:  Money.  The more you have the more powerful you are!  The more 
you have the happier you are!  If you had no money you would be on the 
streets cold, starving, and rummaging through dumpsters!  Money.  You 
need it.  You need it bad!  Money.  This has been a public service 
announcement brought to you by The Church of the Mammon Worshippers.

                                And now...

                   The JONG Company proudly presents:


                              #4 (out of 4)

                         Beyond Heaven and Hell

The Incredible Man-With-No-Life flipped through another magazine.  It 
was an issue of Geo.graph.GIF.  It had a big cover story on 
Andale Atoll.  There were pictures of the Andale Atoll beaches filled 
with bikini-clad tourists sunbathing.  There was also an interview with 
Acton Lord in it.  It was a pretty cheesy interview.  Acton Lord went on 
about the corruption of environmental protectionism and also slammed 
Sig.Lad and the LNH.  There was a lot of stuff in the article about 
Robot Invasion.  How old was this magazine?  The Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life looked at the cover.  July 1994.  Damn.  That would 
have been around the time of Retcon Hour.  God, these magazines were 
old.  Hell, they probably weren't even in continuity.  One of these days 
he was going to have to tell someone to buy some updated magazines for 
the waiting hallway. The Incredible Man-With-No-Life put the magazine 
back in the magazine pile and picked another.  Off in the distance, he 
could hear the sound of Captain Clean-up's vacuum cleaner.

Occultism Kid returned yesterday with the Pinecone from the One True 
Christmas Tree.  A pinecone that would, according to legend, heal anyone 
who believed in The Power of Christmas.  Right now Organic Lass, Dr. 
Stomper, Kid Kirby, Occultism Kid, and Vapid Veterinarian were in a room 
trying to save Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch with that very 
pinecone.  And of course they would, wouldn't they?  They had to.  This 
was a Christmas story.  And that's how Christmas stories worked.  They 
always had a happy ending.  Then again, this might be one of those 
cynical postmodern type Christmas Stories, which deconstructs the whole 
Christmas story genre.  And if that was the case who knew what would 
happen.  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life sighed.  This waiting was 
killing him.  He couldn't keep it up anymore.  He wanted Cauliflower to 
either be cured or dead.  Something absolute.  Something that resolved 
all of this.

And after awhile, The Incredible Man-With-No-Life got that resolution. 
Organic Lass, Dr. Stomper, Kid Kirby, Occultism Kid, and Vapid 
Veterinarian all walked out of the room together.  Each one except for 
Kid Kirby looked exhausted.

"Well?  Did it work?" asked The Incredible Man-With-No-Life.  "Did the 
pinecone work?  Is Cauliflower all right?"

At first none of them answered.  And they probably didn't need to answer 
since the grave defeated look on each one of their faces answered the 
question.  Finally, Kid Kirby spoke.  "Our will was strong, Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life, but..."  Kid Kirby gave a pause as if he really didn't 
want to finish what he'd been saying.  Finally, he did finish.  "But the 
Writer -- The Writer's will was stronger."

And somewhere, Captain Clean-up's vacuum cleaner filled the empty 
silence with noise.

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There he was.  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life saw the body on the 
examining table.  Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch's lifeless 
body.  He was dead.  A few hours ago, he had been alive.  But now?  He 
was dead.  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life lightly brushed the fur on 
Cauliflower's head with his hand.

"I'm sorry."  The voice came from Occultism Kid who also was standing 
there.  "I must have picked the wrong tree.  I must have.  I thought it 
was the right one.  Should have searched longer."

"It's all right, Occultism Kid," The Incredible Man-With-No-Life 
responded.  "You tried.  You went to Hell, and tried.  Maybe there was 
no tree.  Maybe it was just a myth."

"Maybe.  Hopefully, you're right.  Just don't know."  Occultism Kid 
scratched his head.

"You know?" The Incredible Man-With-No-Life said looking at Occultism 
Kid.  "There's always one thing I wondered about Cauliflower.  Where he 
came from.  We never found that out.  He never talked about his past."

"I've got all kinds of sources in the Occult world.  I'm sure they could 
dig something up if you want," Occultism Kid suggested.

"It's tempting, but.." The Incredible Man-With-No-Life shook his head, 
"Cauliflower wanted his past to be a secret.  I don't know why he wanted 
it to be, but he did.  As much as I'd like to know, I've got to respect 
that secrecy.  Maybe he had good reasons for his secrets.  Or maybe 
there were some skeletons that Cauliflower didn't want us to know about. 
  Maybe Cauliflower was some kind of supervillain who had committed 
horrible crimes and he came to Net.ropolis for some kind of redemption. 
  Or maybe not.  I don't know.  He didn't want us to know his past and 
we have to respect that.   Because of what he did."

"Yeah.  You're probably right.  Although as a betting man, I'd say that 
his past was probably cleaner than most people, IMWNL."

There were a few seconds of silence as the two heroes stared at their 
fallen comrade.  Then the Incredible Man-With-No-Life resumed the 
conversation.  "You know.  Considering all of the things Cauliflower did 
while he was here, you would almost expect him to just rise up from the 
dead.  Don't you?"

Occultism Kid put his hand on The Incredible Man-With-No-Life's 
shoulder.  "Don't think so.  I don't think that's going to happen, IMWNL."

"Yeah.  You're probably right," The Incredible Man-With-No-Life said 
petting Cauliflower one last time.  "You're probably right."

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Christmas Day

"The Brotherhood of Net.Villains sends their condolences.  Out of 
respect for Cauliflower they will refrain from attacking the LNH and 
Net.ropolis for one week," Kyoko Ishikawa said reading a message pad in 
her left hand.

"Yeah, right.  I believe that," the Ultimate Ninja said rolling his 
eyes.  "I want surveillance doubled on all their members."

Kyoko scribbled something on a sheet of paper.  "Oh, and there are these 
two cults.  One called the Church of the Living Cauliflower.  The other 
the Church of the Miracle Pooch.  They both are requesting that the LNH 
hand over Cauliflower's body over to their specific churches."

"That's just great.  Well, tell them that they're too late.  We already 
handed Cauliflower's body to the Cult of the Cauliflower Pickers."

"We did what -- ?" Kyoko did a double take before she realized that the 
Ultimate Ninja wasn't being serious.  "Oh.  I see.  So where is this 
'Cult of the Cauliflower Pickers' located?"

The Ultimate Ninja rubbed his chin as he thought about it.  Finally he 
answered, "Hmm.  The Northpole sounds like a good location."

"The Northpole.  Gotcha.  Oh, and Oliver Stone called.  He wants to 
examine Cauliflower's body."

"Oliver Stone?  Okay, this ought to be good.  Explain to me why the hell 
Oliver Stone wants to examine Cauliflower's body."

"Well, he's doing this film about Cauliflower and has this theory that 
the CIA had Cauliflower assassinated to prevent him from becoming the 
next President because they were afraid of his secret plan to end the 
war in I.Racc and create a lasting Middle East peace.  He also believes 
that the Russians and Chinese may also be involved.  And maybe even some 
Space Aliens.  Oh yeah, he's calling the film, 'The Passion of the 
Cauliflower'.  So what should I tell him?"

"Tell him we already handed Cauliflower's body over to a group of Space 
Aliens with Russian accents.  And tell him I want a refund for 
'Alexander'.  God, I can't believe this.  Both Sig.Lad's and Lost Cause 
Boy's deaths were picnics of sanity compared to this!  Every goddamn 
world leader wants to be at Cauliflower's funeral.  We're even getting 
ambassadors from outer space!  Is it just me, or is all of this starting 
to get totally ludicrous?  He was a dog for God's sake!  He was just a dog!"

Kyoko shook her head.  "He wasn't just a dog, UN.  He was Cauliflower."

"You're right.  I'm sorry.  He was Cauliflower.  I guess I'm stressed 
out.  With the media swarming outside -- It's been a tough morning, 
Kyoko.  This is the worst part about being leader of the LNH.  Arranging 
funerals for members.  I hate it.  Every single time I hope it's the 
last one.  But I know it won't be."  The Ultimate Ninja clenched his 
fist as if he had a great desire to hit something.  But there was 
nothing to hit.  "God, I hate it."

Kyoko nodded her head.  There was silence for a few seconds before the 
Incredible Man-With-No-Life entered the lobby and broke it.

"Umm, Ultimate Ninja?  You wanted to see me?" asked the Incredible 

"Yes," the Ultimate Ninja said turning to face the Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life.  "I want you to do something for me.  You know the 
girl that Cauliflower saved?  Misty Summers?  Well, she and her family 
are coming to the LNHQ at noon today.  I want you to meet them and talk 
to them."

"Me?" the Incredible Man-With-No-Life said in a shaky voice.  "Why me?"

"Look.  Normally I'd do this myself, but this is going to be a really 
busy day for me.  Not only do I have to help with managing the funeral, 
but there are also a number of LNH crises taking shape.  Apparently a 
bunch of sentient snowmen have overthrown the Canadian government."

"Really?  When did that happen?"

"Umm, not sure.  Two weeks ago I'd guess.  And well the LNH probably 
should do something about it.  Plus there have been rumors that Manga 
Man has been trying to destabilize the economy in various fanfiction 
newsgroups in a power grab attempt.  I've got to send some teams to 
check it out.  If it's true we might be on the brink of a large 
inter-newsgroup war.  Hopefully we can stop it before it reaches that 
point.  So, it's going to be a busy day and I need you to do this for 
me.  Of all the LNH'rs you knew Cauliflower the best, so I figured you'd 
be the best person to do this.  Besides -- not like you've got anything 
better to do, right?"

"Umm, yeah.  I guess."

"Good.  They'll be here at noon.  You probably should comb your hair, or 
something.  Well, goodluck."  And with that the Ultimate Ninja left the 
lobby to go wherever LNH leaders go to when they have busy days.

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The Incredible Man-With-No-Life looked at his watch.  It was noon.  Why 
was the Ultimate Ninja making him do this?  Why couldn't he have given 
this job to Catalyst Lass or Special Bonding Boy?  There were good at 
this sort of crap.  What was he going to say to them?  What could he say?

He glanced at the LNH's doorway.  There was a guy and a woman in their 
thirties walking through it.  And he saw the guy holding the door open 
for someone who he recognized.  Misty Summers.  She was looking a lot 
better than she had when he'd seen her last.  Still, she didn't look 
very happy to be here.  She looked nervous.  Well, guess I'd better go 
meet them, the Incredible Man-With-No-Life thought to himself.

"Hi, there.  I'm the Incredible Man-With-No-Life.  You must be Misty's 
parents, right?"

The woman gave a large smile.  "Yep.  I'm Mindy and this is Mike -- my 
husband."  The man also smiled and waved his hand.  "We just want to 
thank you and the LNH for inviting us here."

"Well, you're certainly welcome.  So, I take it Misty's feeling a lot 

"Oh, it's just amazing what's happened.  I just don't know where to 
begin.  We can't even begin to thank you for what you've done for our 

The Incredible Man-With-No-Life began to look a little uncomfortable. 
"Well, you shouldn't be thanking me for it.  It was Cauliflower.  He was 
the one who cured your daughter."

"Yes.  Cauliflower."  The name seemed to sober up whatever happiness 
there was in the room.  "I wish we'd had a chance to thank him.  When we 
heard the news -- it was devastating.  It's been a strange week.  On one 
hand our daughter is healthy again, but on the other hand...  It's 
painful watching anyone die.  Back when we had to watch Misty -- it was 
horrible.  There's nothing worse than watching your own child waste 
away.  And there's a point where you start to give up hope.  Prayers 
become meaningless.  You start to wonder what color dress you're going 
to bury your...  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to..."  A tear started to 
stream down one of Mindy's eyes.  Mike went over and comforted her. 
"Misty's alive.  She's alive.  God.  It's like a dream.  Sometimes I'm 
afraid it is a dream.  Sometimes..."

"It's not a dream, Mrs. Summers.  It's real," the Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life said in a reassuring voice.  "Would you like to see 
Cauliflower's room?  We shared a room and it still has quite a bit of 
Cauliflower's stuff still in it."

"We could do that," Mike Summers said.  "What do you think, Misty? 
Would you like to go see Cauliflower's room?"

"I guess," Misty said in a not very cheerful voice looking away from 

"Well, okay," the Incredible Man-With-No-Life said starting to head 
towards the LNHQ hallways.  "You should probably stick close to me.  The 
LNHQ is a very weird place.  Sometimes hallways and rooms disappear and 
walls appear out of nowhere."

Suddenly, as if to illustrate that point, they heard someone shouting 

"Gang way, folks!  I'm going for the world's record!"  The voice was 
Bad-Timing Boy's who was balancing on one hand on a bicycle that was 
barreling through the hallway at incredible speeds.  The Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life quickly grabbed Misty's arm and pushed her to safety 
from Bad-Timing Boy's out of control bicycle.

"Dammit, Bad-Timing Boy!"  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life looked at 
Misty.  "Are you all right?"

Misty nodded her head although her heart was still beating rapidly.

The Incredible Man-With-No-Life looked around.  There were no signs of 
Bad-Timing Boy or Misty's parents.  "Look.  It's okay.  Your parents are 
somewhere in the LNHQ.  I've got a comm.thingee back in my room.  We can 
use it to contact someone to go find them.  Okay?"

Misty gave another nod as her heart rate returned to normal.

As they entered his room, the Incredible Man-With-No-Life clicked on his 
comm.thingee.  "Multi-Tasking Man?  There are two normals somewhere in 
the LNHQ.  Mike and Mindy Summers.  They're probably with Bad-Timing 
Boy.  I want you to get someone to find them and bring them to my room. 
  Oh yeah, tell them their daughter's fine.  Thanks!"  The Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life clicked off his comm.thingee.  "Your parents will 
probably be here in a few minutes."

"This is Cauliflower's room.  Also mine.  The Ultimate Ninja was too 
cheap to give Cauliflower his own room so we became roommates.  There, 
that bed," the Incredible Man-With-No-Life said pointing to a very small 
bed, "That was Cauliflower's.  You see that gigantic card on that wall? 
  That's a trophy from when Cauliflower teamed-up with Elvis Man and 
saved Las Vegas from being destroyed by the Robot with Lawrence Welk's 
Brain.  And this..."  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life picked up a very 
small skateboard.  "This was given to him by the California Kid. 
California Kid designed it himself.  Here," the Incredible 
Man-With-No-Life said as he handed the skateboard to Misty to look at.

"And there?" the Incredible Man-With-No-Life pointed to a large 
collection of CDs.  "That's Cauliflower's Neil Diamond collection.  God. 
  He had every single album that Neil Diamond ever made.  Cauliflower 
loved Neil Diamond almost as much as he loved eggnog.  God."  The 
Incredible Man-With-No-Life picked out one of the CDs.  The CD was 
called Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show.  "I really hate Neil 
Diamond.  But sometimes -- sometimes I miss it.  The way Cauliflower 
would come back to our room sometimes after a long grueling day of 
saving the world and he would just crank that Neil Diamond up on the 
stereo.  I miss that."  He put the CD back into its place on the rack. 
"Miss that."

"I'm sorry," Misty said with a sad expression on her face.

Her voice brought the Incredible Man-With-No-Life back to the present. 
"Sorry?  For what?"

"For killing Cauliflower."  Misty's eyes started to well up.

"No!  Don't say that.  Please?  You didn't kill Cauliflower.  Don't 
think it.  Here," He said as he helped Misty on to his bed.  "Sit down. 
  And I'll try to explain.  You see..."  He looked at Misty and then he 
looked at a big Neil Diamond poster on the wall.

"Cauliflower was the type of dog that if he saw something was wrong with 
the world, he had to change it.  Even if it were impossible, he would 
try his hardest to make it possible.  Sometimes no matter the cost he 
would try.  I don't know.  I guess that day he saw you in your sick bed 
-- he knew it was wrong.  He had to change it.  He had to stop this 
little girl from dying and was willing to do whatever it took.  He knew 
the risks.  But he still he had to do it.  That was Cauliflower.  He 
wouldn't be Cauliflower if he didn't try to save us all.  Don't feel 
guilty, Misty.  Cauliflower wanted you to live a long happy life. 
That's why he did it.  He wanted us all to be happy."

"Is he in heaven?" Misty asked.

"If there is one, he's there."

Misty looked directly into the Incredible Man-With-No-Life's face. 
"What if there's no heaven?"

The Incredible Man-With-No-Life paused as if he wasn't sure what to say. 
  Then he finally answered.  "I --  He lives in our memories.  He lives 
in our hearts.  He's always going to be there.  Cauliflower's always 
there somewhere.  He's the part of us that refuses to give up when 
everything looks bleak.  He's the helping hand to those that need help. 
  He's our compassion and forgiveness.  He's the part of us that 
believes you can fight City Hall.  He's the fire in all of us that will 
never stop burning.  He's there somewhere.  You can't completely kill 
him because what Cauliflower stands for -- it's more powerful than any 
disease -- than any wound or poison.  Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Misty looked at the big Neil Diamond poster.  "I think so."

There was a knock at the Incredible Man-With-No-Life's door.  "That must 
be your parents.  So, you feel all right?  You want go to the LNH 
Cafeteria and try some of Cheesecake Eater Lad's Christmas cheesecake 
and some eggnog?"

"Yeah," Misty nodded her head and a tiny smile emerged on her face. 
"That sounds okay."

The Incredible Man-With-No-Life opened his door.  Mindy Summers gave her 
daughter a big hug.  The Incredible Man-With-No-Life picked up 
Cauliflower's skateboard off his bed and placed it on Cauliflower's bed. 
  He paused for a bit as he looked at room.  For a brief moment an image 
of a tree popped into his mind.  A Big Tree.  Weird.

And then he joined the Summers in the hallway and shut the door behind him.

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Somewhere there is a fire that never stops burning.  There are voices 
that never stop screaming.  It's a place of misery and guilt.  And 
somewhere in this place there's a tree.  A tree that never stops growing.

A glorious tree bigger than any tree there has ever been.  A tree that 
is stronger than any fire.  Any disease.  Any venom.  It grows and 
grows.  Demons try to chop it down, but no axe can chop it.  It grows so 
large that not even Hell can contain.  Its branches crack through Hell's 
barrier and all the demons in the world cannot stop it from rising. 
Their hate is useless against it.  It grinds their hate and transforms 
it into love.

Beyond Hell it stretches into Purgatory.  And it grows and grows.  Into 
our dreams it grows.  Into our hearts it grows.  It goes beyond and 
beyond.  Nothing can stop it.

Finally one day, the tree grows so big that it reaches the Halls of 
Paradise.  It stretches into Heaven.  But it doesn't pause.  It just 
keeps growing and growing.  Not even Heaven can contain its beauty.  It 
grows and grows.  It cracks through Heaven's barrier.  Nothing can stop 
it.  It keeps growing and growing.  It rises up towards the lands beyond 
Heaven.  It refuses to stop growing.  Into the beyond it goes.

And somewhere a demon curses.  "Goddammit!!! Who the *Hell* gave that 
damn tree water!!!!"

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The Incredible Man-With-No-Life is Enrique Conty's

Ultimate Ninja is wReam's

Organic Lass is Rebecca A. Drayer's

Bad Timing Boy is Vernon H Harmon's

Kyoko Ishikawa is Ken Schmidt's

Kid Kirby is Jameel's

Occultism Kid is Josh Geurink's

Vapid Veterinarian is Mark Friedman's

And I put Namer Boy, Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad, Treesus Lyce, and The 
Robot with Lawrence Welk's Brain into the Public Domain since I can't 
imagine I'll ever use them in another story.

Author's Notes:  I'd just like to add that as far as the whole Name the 
Christmas Miracle Pooch contest went, my favorite name was Rob Rogers's 
Doctor Apocalypse.  I was tempted to give Cauliflower that name because 
it would have been hilarious to have a little girl wanting to pet Doctor 
Apocalypse.  But I decided that since I was going to kill the dog, it 
would be best that I name the dog.  That way I wouldn't have to deal 
with a pissed off Rob Rogers after killing the dog that he named.  Also 
it would have involved rewriting some scenes, which I was too lazy to 
do.  So there you have it.  That's why the dog is named Cauliflower and 
not Doctor Apocalypse.  Besides Rob Rogers wins too many contests anyways.

I've always wanted to write a Christmas Story and a story filled with 
tons of LNH characters.  Hopefully, it turned out okay.  I tried to do 
something different from the typical Christmas Carol ripoff.  This is 
more of a Charlie Brown's Christmas ripoff with the Peanut's Gang going 
to Hell to save Snoopy.  Fuzzy is Lucy.  Pocket Man is Charlie Brown. 
Self-Righteous Preacher is of course Linus.

This story is dedicated in memory to my dog, Pepper, who died last year. 
  Pepper was kind of the opposite of Cauliflower in terms of morals. 
Pepper had no problem stealing candy from babies, cheating at cards, and 
biting people.  And he really hated children with a passion.  And I 
don't think he liked Neil Diamond.  But still.  He was a great dog. 
This story's for you, Pepper.

                               Pepper Spitzer
                                 1987 - 2004

Arthur "Song Sung Blue" Spitzer

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