You're listening to KRYZ-E, the wildest station in the universe. And now, Story hour, with... -----=====##### GUITAR MAN #####=====----- [Episode 5: Not to be read aloud!] "" -Omar Sharif, not reading this episode aloud. Guitar Man stroked a delicate (to his ears) rhythm from his guitar, picking carefully through a bridge and rushing into a new verse that rattled the windows. Beside him, Bladed Lad jerked and danced, a nearly empty beercan in his hand. On the floor around him were several cans that were empty. A thunderous bang came from the vicinity of the door, and a bullet- hole appeared at head height. The round continued across the room and punched a hole in the window, then zinged out into the night. GM killed the amp, while Bladed Lad jumped up and put one eye to the hole in the door. Standing outside was Masterblaster. Bladed Lad opened the door; Master Blaster was in his pyjamas and holding a very large gun, with a wisp of smoke snaking out the barrel. The corridor smelt of cordite. "Hi there," slurred Bladed Lad, "couldn't you knock?" "I did," said Master Blaster coldly. "Do you know what time it is?" "Miller Time?" said BL. Master Blaster cocked a new round into the chamber, with a very nasty metallic click-clack. "No. It's time to turn down the noise and go to sleep. I have this on good authority from most of the first floor residents." "Shleep," said Bladed Lad, "we couldn't poshibly go to shleep. Why, it'sh only -" he looked at his watch "- um... Thursday. Wait, there's some numbersh here, it'sh..." "4:30 in the morning." "Yeah, that'sh it," said Bladed Lad. GM shouldered him out of the way. "Sorry, um, Master Blaster. Didn't realise it was so late. We'll call it a night." "No," said Bladed Lad, "we don't need to. Shee, it's already called a night. That'sh why it'sh dark." "I won't forget this," said Master Blaster, turning to return to his room. Guitar Man closed the door behind him, then flopped on the bed. Bladed Lad sagged, and slid down the door to collapse on the floor. "Party Pooper," said Bladed Lad. "Well, maybe we were being a bit loud. Go on, go be drunk in your own room." "Hell, where'sh my room? I'll never make it when I'm thish drink. Drank. Drunk," he corrected. "It's right next door. Here, let me help you." Guitar Man carried Bladed Lad into his room, and put him down on the bed. Bladed Lad dropped asleep almost as he hit the bed. Guitar Man shook his head, and walked out into the corridor, which was now lit by a soft green glow. GM looked about, and spotted a dastardly figure from which the glow originated. "Halt," said GM. "I will not halt for you, puny hero, for I am Glow-in-the-Dark Inflatable Villain (3 for $2 from your local toy store)," said the villain, in a high, squeaky voice. "Tremble, for I am Guitar Man, and I shall now kick your ass." GitDIV failed to tremble. Instead, he reached into a pouch at his belt and pulled out a small toy axe, which he rapped once on the wall. It sprang to full size, with a pssssht of compressed air. GitDIV swung, but GM was already performing an amazing dodge, rolling back into his room and out of the axe's way ... the doorframe splintered where the axe impacted, and GitDIV cursed and tried to pull it out. GM hopped to his feet and reached for the closest available weapon - a pot plant. A cactus, in fact. He threw it, almost missing but grazing GitDIV across the shoulder. GitDIV lifted off the ground and span crazily around the room like a balloon letting all its air out which was, coincidentally, almost exactly what was happening. He passed over GM's head in a low trajectory, shrinking, and smashed out the window and disappeared into the night. As he faded from sight, his voice echoed across the buildings, merging with the tinkling of glass falling on the sidewalk below. "You haven't seen the last of meeeeeeeeee..." "That was odd," thought GM. "I wonder who he was." And on that note, he went to bed. === Bladed Lad dreamed of being trapped in a harem, surrounded by hundreds of beautiful scantily-clad willing women. [Editor's note - clean this guy's subconscious up.] Just as he was getting to the "good part" there was a thumping on the harem door... wait, it's from real life, it's someone thumping on his door. BL awoke, and instantly regretted it. He felt like someone had spent an industrious twenty minutes beating him around the head with an iron bar. He opened his eyes, and discovered that what he had thought was major regret on waking up was in fact merely minor regret, the major regret of opening his eyes and staring into the sunlight streaming in his window instantly surpassing the previous regret. Thus suitably regretful he climbed to his feet (momentarily regretting it as his head ached) and staggered over to the door. Upon opening it, he discovered Guitar Man outside, beaming. "He's going to regret that grin later," thought BL. "Good morning," started GM, "it's a lovely -" ... he was cut off by the door closing in his face, an act that BL didn't regret one bit except for the echo the noise made in his synapses. BL snicked the lock into place and climbed back into bed, pulling the pillow over his head and snuggling down under the blankets. He ignored the thumping, and yelling, which only went on for a few minutes, and was almost asleep again when GM flew around to his window and let himself in. "WAKE UP," yelled GM in Bladed Lad's ear. BL casually reached out and punched at GM, who caught his wrist. "Good. Get up, we're going out into the city with Marshmallow Lass." "No," said Bladed Lad, "I'm hung over." "Aha," said GM, "I know a GREAT cure for hangovers." === Ant.net.tica. Large expanses of calm, cold water, as well as a myriad of icy life. A blue streak flew along almost at water level, scattering penguins in its path, then slowed and landed carefully on the edge of an iceberg. "It's c-c-c-c-old here," said Bladed Lad, his teeth chattering. "Nope," said GM, "but it's cold in there..." He grabbed BL by the ankles and dangled him awkwardly as he took flight. GM dipped lower, and lower, until BL's head dipped under the water for a second. Then he rose again and accelerated back towards Net.ropolis. "You'll regret thissssss...." echoed faintly as they flew off. === Guitar Man and a now suitably un-hungover Bladed Lad sat and ate in the cafe. GM looked at the selection, and sighed internally, picking a Cornflake and Rice Bubble cheesecake. Bladed Lad stood at the table for a moment, and then turned a light shade of green and hurried to collect just a cup of coffee. They found a table and sat. "Feeling better?" asked GM. "Get bent," replied Bladed Lad. "If you ever do that again I may be forced to exact revenge. It took me 10 minutes to get the ice out of my hair." "By the way, I dispatched a villain last night," said GM around a mouthful of cheesecake. "A villain? Who?" A tiny figure, previously unnoticed, finished the climb up their table leg and stood on their table. "Glow in the Dark Inflatable Villain," it said, in a squeaky voice. It banged its head on the table, and suddenly inflated to human size with a pssssht. The room went suddenly quiet. "Heroes beware, for I am your doom," said GitDIV from on top of the table. He had a inner-tube repair patch on his shoulder where the cactus had hit. He pulled out a small chainsaw, inflated it, and kicked it into life with a roar. Bladed Lad formed a whirling fist, and punched him in the foot. GitDIV deflated again, bouncing off the walls, the ceiling, several surprised heroes, a swift *splat* on the cheesecake selection, and then vanishing out the door with a noise usually reserved for heavy eaters of baked beans. "You still haven't seen the last of meeeeeeeeeeee..." cried GitDIV. "Him," said GM. "I see," said Bladed Lad. Marshmallow Lass wandered over to the table, and sat down. "Morning, guys," she said nonchalantly. "Hi," they replied. "Who was that?" "Um," said GM, "just some villain. He was here last night, too." "Was he that easy to get rid of last time?" "Pretty much." "Can I ask a favour then? Well... y'see, I've never actually fought a villain, and if he shows up again, could you leave him for me?" Guitar Man looked at Bladed Lad. Bladed Lad shrugged. "Sure," said GM. "Why not. He seems pretty harmless, if somewhat... persistant." "Stupid, more like," said BL. "You should never underestimate a villain," GM told him, "for there's not often anything more ... villainous than a villain. Um, what I'm trying to say is..." "Never mind," said BL. "I get the point." === Guitar Man and Marshmallow Lass went looking for something heroic to do, wandering the streets looking for crime/super-crime, and coincidentally keeping an eye out for any shopping bargains. They were walking through a largish mall when GitDIV dropped from the ceiling. He drew something from his belt, and banged it against a handy wall. It inflated into a large rifle, and the people in the mall started to run when they saw the gun. ML elbowed GM in the ribs. "Mine?" "Be my guest," he said, folding his arms. "You are getting to be a pest," said GitDIV. "Eat lead." He started to take aim as ML charged forward, drawing her baseball bat. GitDIV made a swift choice of targets, and loosed a round at ML. It hit her square in the region of her breastbone, punching right through and leaving a slight carbon ring on her pink tutu. The bullet smashed a shopwindow behind her, and GitDIV was just aiming again when the rifle was knocked from his hands by ML's swing. It skittered across the floor, and GitDIV fumbled in his beltpouches for something else. Marshmallow Lass' next swing connected with a *whomp*, much like the sound of someone hitting a beachball with a baseball bat, and sent him sprawling backwards across the floor. He took a swift assessment of the situation and ran for it. Marshmallow Lass took off after him, and GM flew along behind. "Need some help?" offered Guitar Man. "No thanks, I'm on him," said Marshmallow Lass, puffing. Finally she managed to close the gap, and swept the faintly glowing villain's feet out from under him. He hit the floor with another *whomp* and bounced slightly. Marshmallow Lass swung an overhead smash, that hit GitDIV and bounced off, knocking her in the forehead and causing her to drop her bat. GitDIV took the opportunity to scramble to his feet and continue his run. Marshmallow Lass scooped up her bat and started running again, a determined set to her face. She sprinted around a corner and almost went sprawling as she skidded on some inflatable marbles that GitDIV had dropped to slow her. Guitar Man grabbed her from behind to stop her from falling and she elbowed him aside and continued running. In the distance, GitDIV smashed a window and jumped out, falling 4 floors and landing lightly. Marshmallow Lass hit the ledge running... and jumped out into space. "Ummm..." said GM, dubiously, as he flew beside her as she fell. "I'll be OK," replied ML, and then she hit the ground. She started to stand, but saw GitDIV speeding off in an inflatable taxi. ML slumped against a wall, and slid down, crying. Guitar Man looked at her, decided she'd live, and flew after GitDIV. He flew over the car and drew a razor- sharp pick, then slashed down. The taxi accelerated suddenly, bouncing off another car and smashing through a storefront into a crockery shop. "Give it up, Villain" said GM, flying through the hole GitDIV's entrance had made and tackling him as he struggled free of the deflated car. "Never," replied the villain in question, and bruised his knee on GM's armour. "Ow." GM smashed a plate over his head, and flew off the ground, kicking GitDIV away as he went. GitDIV landed square on the bits of broken plate and exited rapidly in deflating form. GM tried to keep up with him, but he drifted through an airconditioning grate and vanished. GM hurried back to check on Marshmallow Lass, and she was where he left her, sobbing. He landed beside her, then sat down and tried to comfort her. "I'm useless, I can never do it," sobbed ML. GM put his arm around her. "What's the problem, Marsha?" "Well. *sniff* He's just a minor-league villain and I couldn't even defeat him. Bladed Lad *sob* took him out without even thinking, *sniff* and I tried my best and couldn't hurt him." "You can't let this get you down. Heroing isn't easy. When Paintac Nome stole my goldfish, I didn't let him get away with it, I went out and found him and jolly well made him give her back. Er. Is that a useful anecdote?" "No," sobbed ML. "Take me home." === Guitar Man wandered aimlessly through the halls of the LNH, trying to think of some way to cheer up Marshmallow Lass. Eventually he gave up, and tried to think of some way to figure out where GitDIV's secret villain lair might be. Then, completely stumped, he went back to his room and played video games until 3 in the morning, obliterating countless thousands of pixelated aliens, until finally tiredness set in and he went to bed. === Guitar Man dreamed. Faces drifted across his dreamscape... his mother, and his father. Then most of his school friends, now totally alien to his solitary life, and some of the teachers. He twisted and turned in his sleep. Grass grew under his feet and Marshmallow Lass' face appeared in the sky, made of clouds. "Oh a Hero's life is not a happy one," she sang. Wind whipped across the landscape, and pale ghosts of Heroes of the ages danced around GM. "Happy one," they sang in unison, sounding very distant. GM had a very helpless feeling, and he didn't know why. "Help me," he cried to the ghosts. "Tell me what to do." The wind blew stronger, and the clouds making the face blew away. The ghostly forms drifted loosely around GM, and the grass wilted and died where their feet trod. "Doooo... dooooooo..." they murmured, fading. The grass around GM was completely dead. He flew into the sky but as the ground dropped away he lost perspective and was surrounded by inky blackness, and his mind span. He felt like he was falling, but he had no idea how or where to. Suddenly, he was standing in a library. The librarian had Ultimate Ninja's face. "Do, not do not. Be, not be not. Do be do be do." said UN, and started cutting up books with his katana. GM felt a sense of loss as each book was split and he cried out to UN to stop cutting the books. UN just laughed, and kept slicing. Suddenly, the world smashed as though it were a mirror, GM fell with shards around him, and landed in a comfortable chair. Sitting next to him in another comfortable chair was a ghost of a hero. "Who're you?" asked GM "I'm the ghost of Primal Man," replied the shade. "I was the first hero in this world." "Why are you in my dream?" "Racial memory. Plus, I have some things to tell you." "What things?" "I don't remember. I had a list, but the Guardian of Beyond stole it from me when I had to fight my way past him to get to this dream." "Great. Any idea at all?" "I see a softly glowing villain in your future, coming to you as a friend." "Um. Isn't mystical advice usually less specific than that?" "I'm a bit rushed here, you're going to wake up soon." "Right. Glowing villain is my friend. Got it. Anything else." "Ummmmm... yes. The dame of the confectioned personage will be departing the powerful dooers of good." "Pardon?" "You wanted mystical. Let me put it another way. A person of the female persuasion who is a friend of yours, whose heroic powers are related in some integral way to Mr Staypuft, and also S'mores is going to depart the group of good-doers and heroes with which you have found your affiliation." GM's brow wrinkled as he considered this. "Could you repeat that, like, slower?" He started sinking into his chair, wakefulness replacing his deep sleep. "Marshmallow Lass is leaving the LNH," said Primal Man's ghost, and then GM awoke. He sat bolt upright. His room was lit by a soft green glow. "Excuse me," said GitDIV. "You again," shouted GM, and fumbled about for something to throw at him. "Wait," said GitDIV. "I only want to talk." GM eyed him warily, then remembered his ghostly advice and relaxed. "Say, do you always glow like that? It must be handy to read in bed at night." GitDIV looked surprised. "That has to be the crassest use of my power anyone has every suggested." He paused, and thought a moment. "I'll try it some time." "Um. Why didn't all the alarms go off when you came in?" "Alarms?" "Yeah, this building has alarms all over it." "Oh. I guess it doesn't count inflated plastic as a threat." "Hmm. Is that all you are? How do you manage to repair yourself." "Oh, sure, I tell you, you tell your friends, and soon every puncture repair kit manufacturer in the world is out of business. No dice, buddy." "OK, OK. Why are you trying to kill me?" "I don't know." He paused. "It just feels... right. I've wanted to kill everyone in the LNH since I was ... born. And since I met you first, I decided to kill you first." GM shifted in his bed, and wondered about the intelligence of sitting discussing his death with someone. "But ... um ... you don't have to kill me." "Sure I do. Heroes always kill villains. And villains always try to kill Heroes." "Um... sometimes I think villains can change sides. Or turn to a good purpose, and then vanish to have a period of anguish with their inner side." "And how would they do that?" "Well... everything I know happens around here is via Doctor Stomper, or Ultimate Ninja." A flash of his dream went before his eyes, UN swinging his katana with inhuman speed. "I guess we could go see Ultimate Ninja." "Won't he mind being bothered at 6 in the morning?" "I'm sure he'll be happy to see us." === They paused outside UN's office. Light showed from the crack under the door, and GM could hear voices. "Well, I guess if you're sure, there's nothing I can do about it." said Ultimate Ninja. "I'll be sorry to see you go, though." "I'm not cut out for this," said Marshmallow Lass. "I couldn't even handle a second-rate villain. No, I'm going to go home and forget all about heroing, and re-enter the corn market." Guitar Man reached up a fist to knock on the door, but it opened before he could. Marshmallow Lass started in surprise to see him here, saw the softly glowing figure beside him, screamed, and ran down the corridor. GM started down the corridor, flying after her. As he accelerated, he heard Ultimate Ninja yell... "You!" "No," cried GitDIV and GM flipped course in the passageway, glancing off a wall and leaving only a slight dent in it. He turned to see GitDIV with an expression of pure terror on his face, and UN with his katana drawn. "Wait..." GM started to say, but UN's blade blurred with a sound like a food processor. GM landed beside UN, and watched the postage-stamped-sized pieces of GitDIV drift gently to the floor, his emotions whirling. "He won't bother her again," said Ultimate Ninja, with satisfaction. "Um," said GM. "What do you want?" UN looked at his watch. "Sheesh. People treat me like a 24 hour Helpdesk line. 'I need to leave the LNH'" said UN, in a sing-song voice. "'I want a bigger room'. 'The Peril Room is on fire again'. 'This Hero's become a villain'. 'Someone stole the LNH'. Well?" "Um," said GM again. His mouth lost an argument with his confidence, and he decided against trying to explain it all to an enraged, sleep-deprived Ninja. "Nothing. I just thought I heard something in the corridor." "Go away. I want to sleep." "Sure. Good night." ===================================================== Coming: GM#6 - The Story the Author Hasn't Planned Yet. *Guitar Man Guitar Man, Bladed Lad & Marshmallow Lass & Glow-in-the-Dark-Inflatable Villain are copyright me - Campbell "Sasquatch" March (email@example.com) Ultimate Ninja is property of wReam, used without permission, sorry. I'll try not to do it again. Dream sequence by Industrial Light and Magic. Guitar Man's stunt double played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Omar Sharif's quote appears without permission, but he's been not saying anything enough times in his life to probably not mind me quoting him on it. =====================================================Back to the Index.