AUTHOR'S NOTES: I love you.

What?

Oh, all right. The Cheat Commandos are exclusive property and trademark of the TBC Brothers, etc., etc. Jumpin' jackhammers. A guy tries to be spontaneous and they jump all over him.

DINING WITH DESTRUCTION

By P. Hernandez

Sit tight, kids! It's Cheat Commandos time on your Cheat Commandos wristwatch!

($10.00 Cheap as Free electronics, plus $5.00 shipping and handling. Call 1-800-CMMANDO now!)

Our episode begins, as do they all, at Cheat Commandos Headquarters Playset. Fightgar is discussing something with Silent Rip.

"And by that point it was a bloody Pier 6 brawl, and there I was, entirely outta ammo. I kicked some guy's face into the dirt, but then two of his buddies grabbed me and started hitting me with their truncheons." Fightgar is saying.

"Wow! So what did you do?" Silent Rip asks.

"Well, me dagger was still stuck in the ground, so I did what anybody would have done - I took on the both of them with nothing more than me teeth! That was the day I truly knew what it meant to be alive." Fightgar boasts.

"Gosh. My family reunions are never like that." Silent Rip replies.

"Granny Sybil has a nasty headlock, let me tell you!" Fightgar insists.

Meanwhile, Firebert is looking out the window with binoculars. Gunhaver stands behind him.

"See anything evil, Firebert?" Gunhaver asks.

Firebert makes a vague waving motion.

"Ah, good. We've got to stay on guard at all times! Especially since Reinforcements spilled coffee on the Blue Las-alert! How's it going, Reynold?" Gunhaver asks.

Reynold is sitting in the innards of the Blue Las-alert with a wrench.

"Oh, fine, I guess." Reynold says. "I'm not really a mechanic, but I'll probably be able to figure something..."

Suddenly his wrench touches a sparking component and he gets zapped, his X-ray visible.

"EEEEE-yow-wow-wowch!" Reynold comically yells.

The force sends him flying across the room, smashing against the wall.

"I probably should have unplugged it first, I guess." Reynold rationalizes. "And I suppose I really didn't need a wrench, since there are no bolts on the..."

"I just can't believe my eyes! Reynold finally learned to fly! Geh-heh-hah-HA!" laughs Crackotage (who else?).

"Crackotage, that's kind of annoying..." Reynold sighs.

Firebert jumps up and down.

"Oh, come on, Firebert!" Gunhaver scolds. "You should have thought of that before you... oh, what? Let me see!"

He looks through the binoculars and sees a Cheat in a business suit with a briefcase approaching the front door.

"Hm!" Gunhaver remarks. "I'll bet that's an undercover Blue Laser agent attempting to infiltrate our high-security Headquarters! That briefcase likely has illegal bioweapons in it! I'm assuming that "IRS" stands for Intensely Radioactive... uh... Stuff! Firebert, prepare the front porch for our visitor!"

Outside the headquarters, the Cheat steps onto the "welcome" mat and rings the doorbell, which chimes the Cheat Commandos theme. A security camera pops out of the wall.

"All right, pilgrim!" Gunhaver's voice barks. "Let's hear your name, rank and serial number!"

"Um, excuse me," the IRS agent politely asks. "But I'm here to speak with a Mr. Flashfight."

Inside, the assembled Commandos gasp.

"He knows Flashfight's secret commando name! Only a Blue Laser could know that!" Gunhaver declares.

The IRS agent continues. "Those electromagnetic bolas he purchased last month have yet to be declared as deductible, and we..."

"He knows about our top-secret weapons that we purchased from ShopMart last month!" Gunhaver yells. "Firebert, get rid of him!"

Firebert pushes on a detonator. The welcome mat explodes, sending the IRS man soaring over the horizon. "Aaaaaiiiiieeeeee...."

"Good work, men! Another victory against the forces of evil!" Gunhaver cheers.

"You know, this might explain that court summons we got last week..." Reynold suggests, still dazed from hitting the wall.

Firebert squeaks and points out the window.

"What...? Of course! Blue Laser always comes with a backup plan!" Gunhaver announces. "Firebert, hold up the binoculars so we can all look through them at once."

Somehow Firebert does so. The Commandos gasp at the sight of an azure tank parked in front of a classy restaurant.

"Blue Laser is having supper at Leon's Fine Dining!" Silent Rip gasps.

"And on a Wednesday! That's their buffet night!" Fightgar adds.

"Of course!" Gunhaver declares. "All you can eat for $9.45! Blue Laser is obviously stocking up on rations! I don't even want to think how powerful they'll be once they've had their fill of cabbage rolls and seasoned chicken wings!"

"To that restaurant we'd better get, I'll go ahead and warm up the jet! Geh-heh-hah-HA!" Crackotage quips.

"Oh, Crackotage. You don't have to take the jet." A still prone Reynold suggests. "The restaurant is only two blocks away! You could take the Action Figure Storage Truck! Or maybe you could walk! There's a nice breeze out today."

The Commandos stare.

"Uh... Crackotage, you'd better go warm up the jet." Gunhaver orders. "C'mon, Cheat Commandos! We've got a restaurant to Rock, Rock On! ...at."

The Theme Music plays.

"I get the front seat!" Fightgar yells.

"You always get the front seat!" Silent Rip complains.

"Reynold?" Gunhaver asks to the still-dazed colleague.

"Yes?" Reynold asks, hopefully.

"...sign for any packages." Gunhaver commands.

"Yes, sir." Reynold sighs, crestfallen.

Outside, the five Cheat Commandos have boarded the jet.

"Buckle up, you guys!" Gunhaver announces. "It's gonna be a long flight! Fightgar, stop teasing Silent Rip! Here we go!"

The jet blasts off. Two seconds later it lands in the restaurant parking lot, crushing several cars.

"Ah, another three-point landing!" Gunhaver declares. "All right, Commandos. Let's get busy! Crackotage, you'd better stay with the plane. We don't want a bunch of kids joyriding in it like last time!"

Crackotage salutes, staying mercifully mute for once.

"Fightgar and Silent Rip will come with me." Gunhaver continues. "Here! Take these civilian wristbands!"

He gives them plastic bands with the word "civvie" on them.

"When we're wearing these, nobody will know our true identities!" Gunhaver explains. "Firebert, what have you got for me?"

Firebert is busily writing something. He holds up the paper. It reads "BLASTERNEST: (It almost sounds like "Blast Furnace")"

"Where did you go to Commando school?" Gunhaver demands. "That makes me sick! Just for that, you don't get a civilian wristband!"

"Meeeeh..." Firebert sighs.

"All right, Commandos, let's get going!" Gunhaver yells.

"Should we go in through the front door?" Silent Rip asks.

"Of course not! That's the first thing they'll suspect!" Gunhaver scoffs. "We'll go in through that window instead!"

He points to a window right next to the front door.

"Let's move, move, move!" Gunhaver yells.

Gunhaver, Fightgar, Silent Rip and Firebert head for the window. Crackotage hits a button his headset and lays back, listening to Smokey Robinson.

Inside, we see the Blue Laser Commander and one of his henchmen standing with trays.

"NOTHING CAN SPOIL MY DINNER TONIGHT!" Blue Laser squawks. "ESPECIALLY SINCE THE CONDIMENT AISLE NOW CONTAINS GARLIC SALT!!!"

Ominous music sting.

"The salad bar is open, sir." The henchman snivels.

"EXCELLENT!!!" Blue Laser cheers.

Outside, the Cheat Commandos reach the window. Triumphant music plays.

"Stand back, mates!" Fightgar yells. "YAAAARRRGGGH!"

He smashes through the window. Gunhaver jumps through the jagged hole in the glass. Silent Rip shrugs and opens the broken window and climbs in. Firebert leans against the outside wall and cries tears of self-loathing.

Inside, the three Commandos are approached by a Reynold-like maitre d'.

"Excuse me," he asks, "but what are you doing here, Cheat Comma..."

The commandos flash their civilian wristbands.

"Oh, forgive me, sirs." The maitre d' apologizes. "I had you mixed up with somebody else. Would you like to see a table?"

"No thank you." Gunhaver replies. W"e're just here to... uh... use your coat-check room."

"But of course, good sirs." The maitre d' replies and walks off.

"Nice bluff, Commander!" Fightgar smiles.

"Look!" Silent Rip shouts. "There's Blue Laser!"

Blue Laser can be seen at the buffet line.

"Let's rush 'em!" Fightgar insists.

"No, we can't risk it!" Gunhaver insists. "Blue Laser is crafty enough to see through our wristbands! Silent Rip, you're the sneakiest of us all! Use your skills and go "covert" some "ops"!"

"Yes, sir!" Silent Rip salutes.

He climbs underneath a potted plant and walks around with it, his feet visible underneath.

"Nothing like watching a professional in action!" Fightgar says.

Silent Rip weaves around wildly with the heavy plant, knocking over several diners and waiters. "Excuse me! Pardon me! Sorry! Whoops! Potted plant coming through! Heads up!"

Finally he ends up standing behind Blue Laser and his henchman, who are filling their trays at the buffet.

"THIS FRUIT SALAD DOESN'T HAVE PINEAPPLE IN IT!" Blue Laser complains.

"Ah... ah... AH-CHOO!" Silent Rip suddenly releases a very telegraphed sneeze from his hiding place.

"DON'T SNEEZE ON MY FOOD!" Blue Laser scolds his henchman. "YOU'RE DISGUSTING!!!"

"It wasn't me, sir. It was the potted plant." The henchman replies.

"YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH THAT EXCUSE FOREVER!" Blue Laser warns.

Silent Rip runs back to Gunhaver and Fightgar, knocking over a dessert tray on his way.

"Blue Laser's almost done at the buffet line, and they're headed for the salad bar!" Silent Rip reports.

"The salad bar! I should have known!" Gunhaver says, gravely. "Why, there's enough C and D vitamins there for Blue Laser to turn himself and his minions into supersoldiers! Let's go cut 'em off!"

Meanwhile, we cut back to headquarters. Reynold is welding when the doorbell rings. He takes off his mask and gloves and runs to the security monitor. What is obviously the other Blue Laser henchman in drag is standing at the front door.

"Who are you?" Reynold asks the face on the viewscreen.

"Singing telegram, sir." The henchman replies.

"Oh, great! Come on in!" Reynold smiles. "I'll just open the... whoops!"

On his way to the door, he trips over the detonator by mistake. The welcome mat explodes, sending the henchman flying. "Aaahhhhhh.... sir..."

"Oh, stars and garters!" Reynold frets. "Gunhaver's gonna kill me! He likes singing telegrams!"

Back to the restaurant. Blue Laser and his henchman are at the salad bar.

"WHAT'S TAKING THEM SO LONG TO REFILL THE BACON BITS?" Blue Laser screeches.

The Cheat Commandos burst onto the scene, bringing their theme music with them! Gunhaver jumps down from a light fixture, Silent Rip pops out of a vat of soup, and Fightgar kicks the henchman's tray out of his hands, covering him with macaroni salad.

"Not so fast, Blue Laser!" Gunhaver counters. "Consider your dinner plans cancelled!"

"DON'T YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO?" Blue Laser rants. "I'M FILING FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER!!!"

"If you'll come along peacefully, I'll only punch you three or four 'undred times!" Fightgar growls, all tough-guy-like.

Blue Laser looks around and sees and opportunity. A disconsolate Firebert shuffles up to a tray and pours himself a shot of Sparkling Milk. He swigs it down in one gulp and leans against the wall unsteadily. Blue Laser gives his henchman a meaningful look.

"NOT SO FAST, CHEAT COMMANDOS! I HAVE A HOSTAGE!" Blue Laser cackles.

The henchman does nothing.

"I SAID I HAVE A HOSTAGE!" Blue Laser repeats.

"Congratulations, sir." The henchman mumbles.

"I SAID I HAVE A HOSTAGE!!!" Blue Laser screams directly into the henchman's face.

"I heard you the first time, sir." The henchman replies.

"OH, FOR THE LOVE OF FREAKIN' LARRY!!!" Blue Laser shrieks.

He reaches out and grabs Firebert and holds him in front of him.

"Holy crap, you guys!" Silent Rip gasps. "That lunatic's got Firebert!"

"Back off, boys!" Gunhaver warns. "There's no telling what that maniac will do!"

"Shall I shoot 'im, sir?" Fightgar asks.

"Don't be ridiculous, Fightgar!" Gunhaver replies. "Sure, he has a lousy commando name, but he's still on our side!"

"I meant Blue Laser!" Fightgar yells.

"Well, uh... of... course you did!" Gunhaver mutters. "And rest assured that I... uh... meant him as well."

"I'VE WON TODAY, CHEAT COMMANDOS!" Blue Laser gloats. "YOU'RE OUT OF OPTIONS!"

"Maybe not, Blue Laser!" Silent Rup counters, looking up.

Suddenly the jet crashes through the ceiling, its nose stopping inches short of hitting Blue Laser. In the confusion Firebert breaks away. Crackotage gives the approximation of a thumbs-up from the pilot's seat.

"HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY HOW MUCH I HATE YOU?!" Blue Laser bellows.

"Nice maneuver, Crackotage!" Gunhaver praises. "How'd you do it?"

"Well, sir, I think he got bored waiting in the jet, and was trying to change the stations on the radio when he accidentally ignited the engines, looped around, and, seeing the hostage situation, decided to crash through the ceiling and cause a diversion so Firebert could get away." Silent Rip replies, in one breath.

"Quite, quite! That's right!" Crackotage affirms.

"Well, why didn't you let him say so himself?" Gunhaver demands.

"Because it would take forever to say that in couplets!" Silent Rip explains.

"Geh-heh-hah-HA!" Crackotage laughs, inappropriate as always.

"YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, CHEAT COMMANDOS!" Blue Laser roars, taking advantage of his opponents' distraction. "COME! WE'LL ESCAPE THROUGH THE LADIES' POWDER ROOM!"

Blue Laser runs off. The henchman stands around scowling. Blue Laser runs back and drags his henchman along with him. The Cheat Commandos watch unmoving as Blue Laser knocks over three customers on his way to the powder room and then slams the door behind him.

"Sir!" Silent Rip gasps the exact instant the door closes. "Reports indicate that Blue Laser has escaped!"

"Maybe so, but we did all we could here." Gunhaver rationalizes. "Sometimes you have to settle for a moral victory!"

"Blimey! I hate those things!" Fightgar pouts, kicking an overturned bowl.

"And good work to you, Firebert." Gunhaver smiles. "A lesser man would have knuckled under in the face of such torture. You're a true commando!"

Firebert smiles.

"But your name still stinks." Gunhaver adds, quickly.

Firebert sighs.

"Oh, thank you, good sirs!" says the maitre d', running up. "You chased those low-tippers away! How fortunate that you came to use our coat-check room!"

"I'm afraid you've been deceived, sir." Gunhaver smiles. "We are..."

They remove their civilian wristbands.

"The Cheat Commandos!" the commandos chorus.

"The Cheat Commandos in my restaurant!" the maitre d' exalts. "Such an honour! How can I repay you for all you've done?"

"You can fix your ceiling!" Gunhaver declares. "This place is a dump!"

Everybody bursts into synchronized laughter (although Silent Rip doesn't look like he understands what's so funny). Fade to black.

Buy all our playsets and toys!

Epilogue:

Blue Laser and his henchman are now in an undisclosed trendy coffee shop (these were still relatively rare in the 1980s).

"I'LL HAVE A DOUBLE-TALL HALF-SKIM MOCHA GRANDE LATTE WITH EXTRA FOAM! AND DON'T YOU DARE SKIM ON THE WHIPPED TOPPING! I'M WATCHING YOU!!!" Blue Laser orders.

"The napkin holder is empty, sir." His henchman reports.

"BLAST IT ALL TO TINY BITS!!!" Blue Laser bemoans. "HOW CAN WE CRUSH THE CHEAT COMMANDOS IF WE LACK NAPPIES?"

The somewhat scorched singing telegram henchman walks in. "I have no idea, sir." He says.

"OH, SHUT UP!" Blue Laser explodes. "AND GET THAT LIPSTICK OFF! YOU LOOK LIKE A TRAMP!!!"

THE END