A Prelude to

Romancing the Hourglass

by Ben Rawluk

Lipid-Arteries Lad stood, uneasily, in the darkness. The faint smell of burnt air assailed his senses. The harmless byproduct of teleportation, he was quite sure. There was no other way. The darkness was not, by any stretch, absolute; it merely forced him to use his slightly above average night vision, brought to a head by the Zuckerbar he had just downed; weak lights from the street lamps outside poured in through a few broken, dirty windows, revealing the place to be some sort of warehouse. Broken crates littered the floor.

"Tan Boy?" No answer. Obviously, he hadn't be teleported with Lipid. "Kid To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be?" Nothing. "Guess... I was the only one ...taken? Where am I?" Lipid took a step forward. He was dressed in a tight spandex costume, which showed off his flabby physique, and tried to step carefully, to avoid any shards of glass. "This isn't funny. Or Oddball. Where am I? Where are the others? Penultimate Ninja and everyone?"

"Sure it is," said a new voice. Lipid very nearly jumped, but was unable to overcome gravity. The voice had a pretentious, condescending tone to it. "Or it looks like it from the outside. I suppose you can't tell, being on the inside and all."

"Inside?" Lipid looked around, trying to find the origin of the voice. "Who are -you-?"

"Inside the story, Lipid. Who am I? I'm...." There was a flicker, followed by a flash of light. The warehouse was now perfectly lit. In front of Lipid floated a short green figure, with a notepad in hand. The figure grinned. "...the OmniDimensional Green Author Guy! Sorry for the dramatic pause. Its almost required, these days."

"I..." Lipid took a step backward. "You...you're some kind of Oddball Author?"

"HARDly, Lipid." The Author Guy smiled darkly. "Welcome back to the Looniverse, chummy. Pity you won't have a chance to menace Limp- Asparagus Lad..."

"Why would I want to... why have you brought me here?"

"Boredom, really. I was sitting here in my little warehouse, all alone. Captain Coredump's gone off somewhere, you see ..."

"Captain... Coredump?"

"Yes. One of the foolish, small-minded, little villains. Such uneventful brains; so static. Always plotting. ALWAYS seeking some kind of retributation. They never see beyond obliterating their archfoe. They -never- have fun. Anyway. I thought to myself, 'Why not do some writing, Self? How about giving an Oddball LNHer a history... a life... ?' So, that's why I brought you here. To give you a life. You see, my friend, you are a very static character."

"But, I have a life," Lipid protested, "I'm me!"

"No you ain't, Sancho," The green figure winked, lifting Lipid into the air magically. "You're a spoof of Limp-Asparagus Lad. No life beyond that. You haven't even got the write (Excuse the pun, I couldn't resist.) to call yourself a satire. Your existence doesn't mock his, or sardonically point out his foibles or follies. In fact, you doesn't seem to have any purpose whatsoever other than to be a twisted little version of Limpy. Just a silly, funhouse distortion, without anything beyond the second dimension. You're just a Mad Magazine variety parody... a silly name, a wacky power, and a kewl costume. Its not even a very kewl costume. A real waste of pencilling and inking. But..."

"Buh-but?" Lipid took a step backward. He wasn't in a particularly good mood. He pulled a chocolate bar from his belt, and absent-mindedly began to inhale it.

"But, I can -change- that," the ODGAG giggled. "I can make you more than the sum of your spoof. Want to see something?"

"I... I..."

"I'll take that as a yes." Lipid's eyes widened, as a shimmering egg formed between the two, floating in mid-air and practically glowing. "This is, a personification of a history. Not just any history. -Your- history. Back-history. Retroactive Continuity. Before Particle Man. Before your LNH. Before your -powers-. Everything. Love. Birth. The key to being more than Limp-Asparagus Lad would let you be..."

"But Limpy always encouraged," Lipid began to hop slightly, as sugar took hold.

"NO he didn't. He may have said that, but he really, secretly, deep down, LOVED having a spoof. Someone to condescend to. Someone even more ...limited than he."

"That's not true!"

"Yes it is, Lipid." ODGAG floated closer. "Well, shall I? You won't be static any longer. Maybe you'll get your own one-shot. Or, better yet, a mini-series. Or...an ongoing title. With supporting cast and everything!"

"A series... Wait! I can't give in! You're like... trying to seduce me with a history! Why are you doing this? Can't you find your own fictional characters to muck with, without messing with someone else's? Does Brenton know about this?"

"Phhbt. Actually, that's a pretty good idea. I'll do that." The ODGAG started writing on his notepad. "Add a few characters. Some archfoes... maybe some collegues for you to meet, team up with, and have adventures. I wanna see what happens... nice, little, controlled experiment. A little mini-series. But it goes part and parcel with -your- history, Bunky.

"I don't want..." Lipid lunged backward, trying to put some distance between the two. Only, he felt himself seize up, time slowing to a crawl.

"Lag is a beautiful thing, isn't it? You know, I think its time we got down to actually doing something." ODGAG chuckled insanely, and gestured. The egg began to crack. It turned, and threw itself at Lipid.

What happened next was, to Lipid's static mind, insane. He felt a horrible... retroevolution take place, his mind filling in with information. He felt his body convulse and in his very centre... there was a bubble. It burst. The violence of this bursting expanded outwards, a wave of retcon that continued on,

and on,

and on,

and on,

for all time ...

Lipid felt a chill throw itself down his spine. Waves of retcon erupted from his centre, radiating out in a sphere of retroactive power. The ODGAG merely laughed. "Oooohh... mini-series time! Shah-wing! Maybe it can be a musical!"

Somewhere, three Authors shivered and worried about what they had unleashed.

Keep tuned it, folks, for
Romancing the Hourglass #1,
Written by
Saxon Brenton, Byron Molix, and Ben Rawluk,
Coming to a RACC near you!

Copyright © 1997 Ben Rawluk, all rights reserved.
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