It was shaping up to be another summer scorcher in the city of St. Canard, and Megavolt was cranky. Maybe it was the fact that the thermostat had just climbed to 96 degrees. Then again, it might be the fact that he was wearing an outfit made entirely of rubber. Of course after basically wearing that same outfit ever since he could remember-since his earliest memory of eating a bowl of Frosty-O's this morning, actually, which was quite a long time for Megavolt-and for many years before that, he'd had a considerable while to become accustomed to it. Nonetheless, today the heat and humidity were seriously getting to him and his customary yellow rubber jumpsuit was not helping.
Unfastening his goggles, Megavolt held them at arm's length and shook off the gallon or so of sweat that had accumulated on the inner rim since the last time he had done this. There was getting to be a noticeable wet area on the floor next to his chair. His latest project, comprised of a school calculator wired up to a small satellite dish and an old wind-dial telephone, was looking encouraging. Soon he'd be able to use it to contact the uncanny and fantastic inhabitants of distant planets, opening brave new vistas of inspiration and conspiracy. Or at least be able to cheat the long distance rates on out-of-state phone calls.
Megavolt blinked blearily at this latest testament to his insane genius, trying to work up enough interest to keep working on it. Just a little tweak with the pliers here, a little zap with his finger there, and….
He pressed the "On" button to the calculator and the satellite dish began to revolve. So far, so good. Pressing in a sequence of numbers and symbols, he then picked up the phone and started dialing that same sequence again.
About the fifth or sixth number his finger got stuck in one of the holes on the dial pad. Cussing, Megavolt tried to pry it free, even going so far as to place one foot against the main body of the phone and push in his attempt at separation. It wasn't the most intelligent thing he'd ever done. His finger came free so suddenly that he lost his balance and fell backwards into his worktable. This proved to be the last straw for a humble little table already straining under a towering pile of gadgets and gizmos and other whatsits and thingummies. There was a sound of cracking wood….
When the dust cleared, a hand slowly emerged from the rubble. Opening and closing in a spasmodic way, it clutched weakly at the air. The upper half of Megavolt's body gradually followed. Stunned and in no small amount of pain, he noticed that he was still holding the phone. The super villain gritted his teeth in annoyance and forced himself to enter the rest of the sequence. As he held the receiver to the side of his head he listened to the dial tone. One. Two. Three. Click.
Wow! Megavolt suddenly forgot his irritation. It looked like his invention was a success! "Hello?" he asked in an excited voice. "Is this Betelguise?"
There was a moment's silence.
The phone exploded.
Covered with soot, Megavolt stared at the piece of receiver in his hand. He then jumped to his feet and proceeded to throw an incomprehensible hissy fit that would have made Donald Duck proud. A few intelligible words like, "YOU LOUSY…ROTTEN NO-GOODNIK…PIECE A'…STUPID…ALIEN JERKS…D'OH…" graced the lighthouse's surveillance room. With a final "OOOH!" Megavolt stomped into the control room, flung himself on the couch and seethed.
Suddenly, he glanced over as if he'd heard something. "What?"
"Well, where are you, then?"
"Oh," said Megavolt. He reached under the afghan bunched up at the end of the couch and searched briefly before pulling out a light bulb. "No, I'm fine, it's just that this is turning out to be a sucky day so far….Yeah, my invention exploded….Oh really, the fifth time this week? Well thanks, that comment really helps," he said sarcastically. "….Ok ok, fine, you're forgiven….No, there really isn't anything else….I don't want to take a nap, I'm not sleepy….Crabby? Am not! I just don't want to have to start all over again-I've already spent five hours on that thing…."
"How can you say that? I have a social life….Well, I have you, my other little buddies, the rest of the Four….No, not Five-I want Negaduck in my life about as much as a deadly flesh-eating virus!" Megavolt shuddered at the thought. "….You think I should go hang out with Quackerjack? But I'm sick of that….Well, because Quackerjack's not the one I want to be with, that's all….No, no, there isn't anyone else…."
Suddenly he glared at the light bulb. "I'm not talking about her!….No I'm not!….I dumped her, remember?….Oh really? Well, you heard wrong….Look, we just weren't on the same wavelength, ok? She wanted me to get a career. I mean, I ask you, what's terrorizing the populace if not a career?" Megavolt sighed. "She just couldn't accept me the way I am…besides, she was a sixty-watt…."
"That so?….Well sure, maybe a little robbery could improve my mood….New places, new faces?" He chuckled evilly. "Yeah, I guess you could say crime is a good way of meeting people. And getting their money….Fine, it's a plan." He set the light bulb down again and rubbed his hands together in wicked anticipation. Certainly it was something to do. And passing his time with an activity like this might give him some way to beat this blasted heat.
Or just give him heatstroke.
Megavolt's mouth was dry, and the frizzly little hairs sticking out from under his sparkplug helmet were looking wilted. His footsteps were dragging a little as he sent a few weak volts after the innocent citizens fleeing in front of him. Somehow terrorizing the populace just wasn't as satisfying in such hot weather.
Oh heck, at this rate he was never going to reach the bank—it was two whole blocks away and Megavolt was already nearly pooped. Then he spotted a parts and supply outlet, Webbing's Screws'N'Stuff. "Hmm. Who says I can't try a change of venue?" he remarked. It wasn't as if there was some law he was breaking, like, "Thou Shalt Only Rob Banks," or something like that. (The fact that there were laws against robbing banks Megavolt regarded as a mere technicality.)
Inside the little hardware store, Tesla, the young woman behind the counter, wasn't having the best day in the world herself. She was behind on rent, her car hadn't started this morning, Ralph was probably going to be Employee of the Month again (of all people, Ralph Applesnoot: a sleaze who constantly dumped work on her and took the credit!) and the store was being robbed by a super villain.
The store was being robbed by a super villain?!
"MUA-HA-HA-HA! Quiver in fear and all that good stuff, for it is I, MEGAVOLT!" The electricity fiend went into a fit of mad giggles that slowly trailed off. A perturbed expression came over his face as he stared back at all the frozen faces. "Ok, feel free to scream any time now."
"That's better," said Megavolt. There was a thud as Ralph chose that moment to faint. Megavolt looked at the unconscious pig with interest. "Hey, not bad. You're pretty good at this sort of thing. Kudos."
Tesla looked around quickly but it didn't look like there was going to be any help. Her coworker was out for the count and the customers were all terrified out of their wits. It looked like she was the only one with any self-possession left. "What do you want?" she managed, the words tasting like sand in her mouth.
"What do I want?" Megavolt asked in an astonished voice. "Why, I want money! Power! Your fear and adulation! But first…." Suddenly his shoulders slumped and he looked desperate. "Can I have something to drink? I am really, really thirsty."
Tesla blinked. "Um. Sure. I guess. Follow me." She left the counter and headed for the back of the store. A parched-looking Megavolt followed her while everyone else in the store blinked at each other and wondered what they were supposed to do now. They then, of one accord, made the decision to run screaming from the store.
Tesla went to one of the vending machines in the employee coffee lounge. "Anything in particular? We've got coffee, tea, soda…." Megavolt stared at her with slightly glazed eyes. Tesla stared back, for the first time really taking in the super villain's appearance. What she saw made her worried. "Wow. You really don't look so good. I guess water's quickest," she said. Opening a cupboard door and grabbing a glass, she hurriedly filled it at the tap. "Here," she said, holding the glass of water out to Megavolt.
As he took the glass his fingers brushed hers. A powerful electrical charge passed between the two of them. Literally. Tesla snatched her hand back with a gasp of pain and blew on it as Megavolt put the glass to his mouth and chugged the contents. "Ahhhhhh…." he sighed. "More."
Tesla filled it for him again, and then a third time. Around the fifth glass, Megavolt wiped his mouth with the back of his glove. "Wow…thanks, I really needed that."
"I could tell," she said. "No offence, but that's a really stupid get-up to wear on a hot day like this."
Megavolt looked offended anyway. "Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you something, Miss…Miss…."
"Coyle. Tesla Coyle."
He blinked at her. "You just made that up."
"I did not! It's my name!" she exclaimed in outrage.
"Yeah, sure, I buy it. Very funny," said Megavolt, rolling his eyes. "Well, whatever your name may be, Miss Tesla Coyle Lady-Type-Person, I'm about to rob your store. So why don't you go open that register for me?"
Tesla scowled but knew she had no other choice than to do what he said. Just as they were heading back into the main part of the store, though-
"I am the Terror…that FLAPS in the night!"
"Oh shoot," said Megavolt as blue smoke began to fill the store's entrance.
"I am the VCR that breaks during the best part of the movie!"
Megavolt grabbed Tesla. "Hey!" she protested as he pulled her against him.
"I…am Dark-wiiiiiing Duck!"
"You are seriously toasting my batteries, Dorkwing. But I've got a hostage," said Megavolt. "Nyah nyah!"
Darkwing scowled at him, opening his bill to speak. Just then, however, the hostage began to laugh, surprising both him and Megavolt. "Oh Megsie dearest, you are such a kidder," exclaimed Tesla, laying her head against Megavolt's chest and giggling. "Tee-hee. I laugh in amusement at your antics, you widdle cutie, you!"
"Huh?" said Megavolt.
Darkwing looked somewhat ill. "Miss, please, control yourself! That's Megavolt! Ugh, you're getting his cooties all over you!"
"Oh, don't be silly!" Tesla exclaimed airily, waving away Darkwing's objections. "Besides, Megsie isn't robbing the place. He was just dropping by to pay me a little visit."
"He was?" said Darkwing.
"I was?" said Megavolt.
"Aw, you're so adorable when you play clueless," giggled Tesla, pinching his cheek. The prongs on Megavolt's sparkplug helmet began to spark. He wasn't sure whether he should fry her or not. That hurt!
Darkwing was confused. "Then Megavolt isn't robbing the store? You aren't a hostage?"
"Oh no, never. Not my widdle sweetums," said Tesla, her arms around the super villain's neck.
"Eeyew." Darkwing looked totally grossed out. "I guess this was a false alarm. I thought you were robbing the place, Sparky, not visiting your girlfriend. My bad. Carry on." He got out of there quickly.
Tesla let go of Megavolt. "Uh," he said, staring at her. "Thanks." She was kind of pretty, he thought to himself. A slim, curvy swan with silky white feathers, she was wearing a black cotton halter-top and khaki pants. Her hair hung in fetching chestnut curls down to her lightly freckled shoulders, and she had sparkling sky-blue eyes and cheeks that dimpled in an appealing way when she smiled, as she was doing now.
She, in turn, was thinking that Megavolt was kind of cute. Maybe not classically handsome. But cute. "Don't mention it."
"Why did you do that?" he asked as she moved behind the counter.
She shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I don't feel as if I should antagonize a customer."
"Customer?" asked Megavolt.
"Well, sure. If it means I'll be seeing you in my store again," said Tesla.
Megavolt began to smile as well.
He was standing in Webbing's Screws'N'Stuff again two weeks later. He had been going there nearly every day since that first fateful encounter. It was late afternoon, and the shadows of street lamps and mailboxes were growing long in the approaching sunset of a hot summer's evening. From a forgotten open window a radio was releasing notes of classical music onto the street. Inside, however, Megavolt was oblivious to how late it was getting. As he embraced his beloved, all he could really feel was that he didn't want this moment to end. "You're so beautiful," he whispered as he finally, reluctantly let go. "Thank you," he said to Tesla.
"For existing. Without you….If it hadn't been for you, I would still be alone. But you've brought love into my life. When I met you I met someone special, someone who would change my world forever."
"And you're thanking me? I should be thanking you." Tesla was deeply touched by the super villain's words.
There was a moment's overcome silence as the sound of violins swelled to a passionate crescendo.
"I wonder how soon you can move in with me," Megavolt said to the love of his life.
"Tomorrow's looking pretty good," remarked Tesla.
Quackerjack giggled as he ran through the alley the next evening. Oh how he loved a good act of mischief. Yup, breaking up the St. Canard Policemen's Ball by sneaking in disguised as a cop and tying all the wallflowers' shoelaces together had been brilliant. He felt terribly proud of himself. "Oh, the cleverness of me!" he sing-songed.
"You're the bomb, Ron!" Mister Banana Brain piped up.
"Aren't I just?" agreed Quackerjack smugly. "Just aren't I?" He paused thoughtfully at a street corner. "Now it remains only to cap off this perfect night with a final piece of entertainment. Hmm…." He glanced around and espied the glow of the Audobon Bay lighthouse at Beaker's point. "Perfect!" He rubbed his hands together gleefully. Now would be a great time to find out the truth behind those rumors he'd been hearing about Megavolt.
Word on the street was that Sparky had stumbled into some kind of fairy tale romance. The Ugly Duckling had finally found his swan, or so the story went. If it was true, Quackerjack could hardly wait to josh his compatriot about it. And to get a look at the culprit. It was hard getting Megavolt to talk about girls and he'd been wondering for a long time just what Megavolt's type was.
It wasn't long before he was at the lighthouse and had mounted the winding staircase to the surveillance room. He paused outside the door. He thought he could hear Megavolt talking to someone inside, but it was at such a low murmur that he couldn't make out the words. Quackerjack wondered if he'd hit the jackpot and Megavolt's girlfriend was there with him. "Wouldn't want to just barge in on the lovers, now would we?" he asked Mister Banana Brain.
"Let's let the two dears know we're here," agreed the doll.
Quackerjack grinned and began slamming his fist against the door. "Oh ME-EGS! Come on, open up, I know you're in there!" BANG BANG BANG. "It's me, Quackerjack. Open up!" He gave the door a couple good kicks. BANG BANG BANG. He smirked to himself as he distinctly heard Megavolt cuss and make a crude remark about Quackerjack's parentage to someone referred to as "Darling."
A moment later the door opened half an inch and one of Megavolt's eyes peered out at him. "What is it, Quackerjack?" he asked in an annoyed voice.
"Can I come in? Or are you…busy in there?" asked Quackerjack, trying to peer past him into the room.
Megavolt muttered something and suddenly pushed out. The door hit Quackerjack, knocking him out of the way, and Megavolt quickly stepped out, shutting it again behind him.
Quackerjack took this with good humor, his suspicions confirmed. "Why Sparky, I do declare, you're being so furtive," he grinned. "I guess that means it's true."
"What is?" hedged Megavolt, too on edge to notice the offensive nickname.
"Aw, cut it out, Tiger." Quackerjack punched the other villain's arm playfully. "Everyone knows. It's the talk of St. Canard's seedy criminal underworld. Even Steelbeak's been asking who the lucky broad is."
"Well…." Megavolt squirmed a little but, aware that concealing it was in vain, he started to smile.
"Ah hah!" exclaimed Quackerjack, pointing at him. "I knew it, I knew it! Out with it! What's she like?"
"Well, she's really very nice, incredibly understanding. I think we're soul mates!" said Megavolt enthusiastically.
"Yeah?" Quackerjack egged him on.
"She's sweet, sensitive, has a great sense of humor. She gives me just what I need. She's just so incredibly beautiful and…and…and cool!" he exclaimed in a burst of elevated and inspired elocution that would have left Cyrano De Bergerac in the dust.
"Wow! So can I come in? Can I meet her?" asked Quackerjack.
Abruptly Megavolt looked suspicious. "Uh, I dunno. You're liable to scare her," he said.
"And I just know you'll say something rude."
"How can you say that?"
"Because I know you," said Megavolt grimly.
"Ok, I'll be good, I promise. Woodchuck's honor," Quackerjack said, solemnly crossing his heart.
Megavolt blinked. "I didn't know you were a Woodchuck."
"There's a lot you don't know about me," Quackerjack proclaimed dramatically, the fingers of his other hand crossed behind him.
"Well…ok. I guess I can't argue with the oath of a Junior Woodchuck," said Megavolt. He opened the door.
Quackerjack, thrilled to be the first person invited to meet Megavolt's mystery woman, entered the surveillance room eagerly. He looked around-and saw no one. "Where is she?" he asked, turning to Megavolt. "Did she go into the control room?"
"No, silly, she's right here!"
Quackerjack look puzzled. "Where?"
"Here, of course." Megavolt walked right past Quackerjack and put his arms around the newly installed metal box on the far wall. "Isn't she amazing?"
"The latest model. She's a two-stager and she runs on refrigerant instead of freon. Two pistons! I mean, can you believe it? It's like an arctic blast. Finally I understand what the big deal is in all those stupid chewing gum kiss commercials. Cold is cool."
Quackerjack continued to stare.
"I just had her installed today. Environmentally friendly-oh, I guess you wouldn't know, it's because of the refrigerant thing-and she offers dual action. Once this heat wave rolls over I can ask her for low output and she'll just reverse and switch to one piston. And there's a combined dehumidifier unit so I can control the humidity!"
Quackerjack continued to stare.
"Her name's Charlene. Isn't that simply the most beautiful name you could possibly imagine?" Megavolt's eyes were dreamy.
Quackerjack cleared his throat cautiously. "Uh…Megs?"
"Yeah?" said Megavolt, smiling in a beatific fashion.
"Your new girlfriend is an air conditioner."
"But-but this doesn't make any sense! We were all hearing she was a person!"
"Well, of course she's a person! She has feelings and thoughts just like any-"
"Yeah, sure, whatever!" Quackerjack interrupted him. "I mean, an organic carbon-based life form. With, um, with lungs and a trachea and tibia and fibia and all that fun stuff." Megavolt only looked puzzled. "We heard she was a swan? Brown curly hair, works in a hardware store or something like that?"
"Oh yeah," said Megavolt. "I know who you're talking about. That's Tesla. Oh sure, she's really nice, but she's not my girlfriend. Heh heh, what a silly thought." Seeing Quackerjack gawk at him, he explained, "Well, look, I guess she's ok in the looks department, and sure, we had a couple conversations, but I never even thought of….You know how hot out it's been lately, and I was going nuts, and she said she could help me out, so we looked through a couple hardware catalogues together. After a while I saw a model I liked, Tesla put in an order for a unit and that's how I met…Charlene." He sighed romantically. "I didn't want to take it too fast, so Tesla just agreed to keep her in the shop while we took a few days to get to know each other. After that I paid Tesla, our transaction was completed, and I had Charlene installed today."
Quackerjack put a hand over his eyes. "This is not happening," he said, shaking his head.
"What's that?" Megavolt lowered his head to the air conditioner, listening. Suddenly he gave a low, rather evil chuckle. "Oh, you naughty girl. Later, when we're alone."
Quackerjack gave an involuntary yelp, turned and ran out of the room. He did not stop running until quite a while later, when he was very far away from the lighthouse.
Megavolt stared after the other villain, then looked back at Charlene. "Huh. Whaddya think's the matter with him?"
Quackerjack refused to talk to Megavolt ever again but forgot about this resolution and broke it before forty-eight hours had passed.
Tesla Coyle was named Employee of the Month in recognition of her good salesmanship, savvy opportunism and skillful customer management. After a series of promotions she eventually became the proprietor of Webbing's Screws'N'Stuff. Under her it developed into a chain called Tesla's Screws'N'Stuff and can now be found in three states. Behold the joys of working retail.
Ralph Applesnoot lost his job and was dateless for the rest of his life. Um…who was he again?
Megavolt and Charlene were an item for quite a while, or at least until winter came and he left her for a boiler unit. They were cute while they lasted, though.
"Megavolt Meets Someone Cool" is © The Lauderdale, August of 2001. Heh heh, isn't that title ever so clever? All places and people mentioned belong to Disney, with the exception of Tesla Coyle, Ralph Applesnoot and Tesla's (formerly Webbing's) Screws'N'Stuff. My thanks go to my readers: LL, Ang D. and Paris. You three are an immense help, as well as being cool in other ways. Thanks also go to Roaming Tigress-her 08/08/01 poll at the Animated Lust (Rated PG!) Forum, "How do you think your fave chars would do to beat the heat?" was my inspiration. Blame her. 8)
This story is dedicated to Megavolt's ladies, with earnest affection and good humor. Love you guys!
Updated February 27, 2015 with minimal changes to the story itself. I just couldn't stand how badly the intervening fourteen years had screwed up the formatting.