By "Blue Raja"
June 5, 1998. 9:00 PM: The Endelfuten Mansion...
The rain beat steadily on the roof as Ms. Endelfuten, the richest woman in
Champion city, sat on her king-sized bed and waited for the phone to ring.
It rang, and she frantically grabbed it. She quickly composed herself and tried to speak in the most dignified "I'm-WAY-richer-than-you" voice that she could muster.
"Hello? Veronique?" she asked into the phone.
"Oui, Madam," a slightly French accent replied, "it is I."
"Thank God!" cried Ms. Endelfuten, "Did you put it in a safe place?"
"But, of course! What do you think I am? A man?" said the voice indignantly.
"No, of course not! I was just checking. You know how important it is to me..."
"Madam, I hid it where only you and I can find it. There is nothing to be afraid about!" reassured Veronique.
"Thank you soo much, Veronique. I really appreciate it."
"I know," Veronique said, and hung up. Ms. Endelfuten sighed and looked down at her cat. It was fluffy, white, and fat. "Come on, Duchess." Duchess rose slowly to her feet and meowed piteously. "Oh, are you hungry again? I just had Clouse feed you a few minutes ago!" Duchess meowed again, and flopped back onto the fuzzy carpet. Ms. Caroline Endelfuten, known as "Ms. Endelfuten" by her friends, stood in front of the large window in her room, and looked out at the twinkling city lights. She felt relief wash over her like a wave washing over a beach. She closed her eyes and relaxed.
The Endelfuten Mansion overlooked Champion city. Champion city holds a large variety of people. There are rich people, poor people, people in between, accountants, lawyers, janitors, teachers, engineers, and artists. And, like every other city, it has it's superhero wanna-bes. Actually, there are quite alot more of them than usual, but they don't get to do much, because Champion city has it's own official superhero... "Captain Amazing (tm, ®, and ©)!" Captain Amazing keeps the city free of crime... and the other superheroes free of work.
Ms. Endelfuten opened her eyes, and tried to scream. Outside her window stood Champion city's most overlooked supervillan, Opposite Man. Opposite Man frowned happily, opened the window, and stepped inside with his clean muddy boots. Ms. Endelfuten's fright turned to outrage.
"What are you doing here? What do you want?" she screamed at him.
Opposite Man cringed from his former wife. "I want it back, Caroline." He
"Want WHAT back, Charles?" Ms. Endelfuten asked sincerely.
"You know what I mean!" Charles snorted. Ms. Endelfuten tried to look confused. Charles continued, "IT! Remember IT? The IT? I know you have IT, Caroline, and I want IT back right now!"
Ms. Endelfuten scoffed. "It's too late, Charles. I have given 'IT' to someone else, and that someone has hidden IT. So, I don't have IT, and you'll never get IT back! Ha- ha-haha-HA!" she cackled shrilly for five minutes, then stopped abruptly and looked at Charles' calm face. "What?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing," smiled Opposite Man, "just that now, you don't know where IT is, either, do you?" As these words struck home, Ms. Endelfuten's face drained of color, and turned a pale yellow. Opposite man grinned sadly and shook his head. "I thought so. You never were very clever, were you, Caroline?" Caroline fainted, and fell onto Duchess. Duchess yowled loudly and ran out the window. Opposite Man looked down at his ex-wife and shrugged knowingly. He carefully picked her up (She was really light for a 35-year-old woman) and carried her out the window. He carefully threw her into his car and trudged happily back to her room.
"Now what?" he thought. An idea struck him. "Ow!" he muttered. Opposite Man grabbed the pretty stationery that Ms. Endelfuten kept on her night table, and carefully wrote out a ransom letter. It read:
"To whom it may concern,
I have Ms. Endelfuten.
If you want to see her... ALIVE... ever again, bring IT to the old
abandoned factory on Waxencosh Street. Put IT in an envelope, and put
the envelope on the top step of the crooked stairs, under the big ceramic
guard dog, and come alone. This should all be done by midnight
tomorrow night. If you don't do it by then...
Opposite man smiled wickedly and ran out to his car. A minute later, he was off the Endelfuten Mansion property, and headed into the city.
June 5, 1998. 10:00 PM: "The Lakeside Diner"
"Why do we EVER come here?" asked Jeff in his overly British accent. Eddie
shrugged and Roy ignored the question. They had ordered their food a half an hour ago, and they were still waiting. "Really, the food is terrible, and the service is just plain lousy. I want to speak to the mana-" Jeff snapped his mouth shut as the beautiful blonde waitress sauntered to their table.
"May I take your order?" she asked.
Jeff looked at his google-eyed friends and sighed. "Now I know why..." he
muttered under his breath. "...Miss, we ordered about a half an hour ago, I don't think that we want to order agai-" Roy cut him off in mid-sentence.
"I'll have the steak."
"Me, too." Eddie said automatically.
"I think I've lost my appetite, thank-you-very-much." Jeff complained.
The waitress looked confused for a second, then she smiled. "You're welcome!" she said cheerfully and walked to the kitchen.
Jeff looked at Roy and Eddie again and rolled his eyes. "You two are pathetic!"
Before Roy could even start thinking about a witty comeback, a bedraggled old man burst into the diner. He was wearing his pants backwards, his shirt inside-out, and was holding a very large, muddy cat. "SHE'S GONE!" he screamed. "MS. ENDELFUTEN HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED!"
Eddie stared at the man for a second, then realized what he had just said. "SHE HAS?" he asked loudly.
"YES! AND I CAN'T STOP SCREAMING... I'M TOO HAPPY!" The man did a quick little dance and nearly dropped the cat.
Roy shoved the man onto a chair and tried to calm him down. "Okay, who's been kidnapped? When? Where? And why?"
The old man took a deep breath and started answering the questions. "I was going to check on Ms. Endelfuten when I found Duchess..." he held up the muddy cat, "...outside in the rain. Naturally, I brought the dumb animal in. Then I started wondering why she was outside in the first place. I mean, madam cares for this lump of fur more than she cares for me, and... well, it was around 9:30 when I found the note, and then I jumped into the car and sped down here. I really dunno why I came here, but it seemed right at the moment, soo..."
"Do you have the note with you, sir?" Jeff asked.
The cat hissed as the man pulled a piece of rumpled paper from his pocket. He gave it to Jeff.
Roy snatched it from Jeff. "Thanks, mister." With that, Roy grabbed Eddie and Jeff by the arm and dragged them out to their car. He stared the engine and stepped on the gas. A few blocks later, he turned into a dark alley.
"What in the blazes was THAT all about?" asked Jeff.
"I don't like that old dude very much." Roy explained simply. He smoothed out the paper and read the note out loud. There were muddy cat footprints all over it, and some of the words were smeared:
I have Ms. Endelfuten.
If you want to see her again, bring IT to the old abandoned
factory on Street. Put IT in and put the envelope
on the crooked stairs, under the big guard dog,
and come alone. by midnight tomorrow night. If you don't do it
~O OSITE MAN"
"Oh, my!" muttered Jeff.
Eddie looked at his companions and said gravely, "I think this is a job for..."
"...Superman?" asked Roy.
"...Captain Amazing?" guessed Jeff.
Eddie shook his head. "No, wrong, I think this is a job for... US!"
Roy and Jeff glanced at each other. "ARE YOU CRAZY?" yelled Roy.
"Actually," Eddie started, "I had an appointment with my psychiatrist a week ago, and, according to-"
"Finally!" exclaimed Jeff, obviously taking a different point of view on the situation, "How long has it been since our last job? A month? A week?"
"Three days?" added Roy sarcastically. "Come on, guys! Last time, we got our butts kicked! Jeff, has your nose even stopped bleeding yet? I say we just hand this one over to Captain Amazing..."
Eddie slapped Roy.
"OW! ...Thanks. I needed that. Let's get going..."
"Whoa!" interrupted Eddie. "Don't we have to get ready?"
"Oh, yeah. I forgot... where's the nearest phone booth?"
June 5, 1998. 10:30 PM: The Endelfuten Mansion
"Is this it?" asked Roy hopefully. He was wearing a long black leather trench coat and his hair was spiked. He was in the bushes outside of the Endelfuten Mansion entrance gate, shining a flashlight on the ground. "It looks like a trail to me."
Eddie popped up from the bush next to him. "No, you dummy, that's MY trail!" Eddie was wearing a miner's helmet with a little light on the front. He turned to where Jeff had been the moment before, and the shovel on his back snagged onto a bush and fell to the ground. "Dang it." He muttered. "Hey, Jeff, find anything?" he asked quietly. Jeff didn't say anything. "Jeff? This isn't funny..."
"What isn't funny?" Eddie jumped two feet into the air and spun around to see Jeff. "Did I startle you?" asked Jeff.
"No-o-ooo..." gasped Eddie, "I knew you were there all along."
Jeff shrugged. He was trying to find a trail, but all he could find were tire tracks. He pulled his swami robes out of the mud and held his turban onto his head as he jumped over a puddle. "More tire tracks!" he mused. "Very strange, indeed." He took a few steps backward to examine his find, and tripped. "Whoooa!"
"Jeff, you okay?" asked Roy.
Jeff looked disgustedly at the mud on his hands. "Yes. I guess I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" Eddie came out of the bushes and grinned at the sight of his muddy friend. Before he could start laughing, he noticed the tire tracks.
"You found them!" Eddie exclaimed excitedly.
"Found what?" asked Jeff, as he picked up some forks that he had dropped.
"A trail! Look! Tire tracks! Those must lead to the secret hiding place of this 'O. Osite' guy! Good job!" Eddie started to hop from foot to foot excitedly.
June 5, 1998. 10:47 PM: Opposite Man's Hideout
"Turn off the headlights, Eddie." Roy ordered. Eddie fumbled around until he found the switch, then turned off the one working light on his blue Ford Esquire. They stopped in front of a tall brick building. The building was old, and it leaned ominously to it's right.
"I have a really bad feeling about this..." began Jeff.
"He's in there... I can feel it!" exclaimed Eddie.
"Great, he can feel it." Mumbled Roy.
Eddie slammed the door and stood in front of the building. "Wow." He thought. He turned to the car. "Well? Aren't you guys coming? We don't have all night, you know!"
Roy jumped onto the curb and looked at Jeff expectantly
Jeff sighed and reluctantly got out of the car. "I'm muddy, and tired, and I want to go home." He complained.
The trio snuck over to the door to the building. "Shhh!" Roy warned. He pushed the door slightly. Nothing happened. He pushed harder. Nothing. He shoved it with all his might. Still nothing. "It's stuck!" he said. He was about to attempt to ram it down when Jeff pointed at a little sign on the door. It said "PULL." Roy grinned sheepishly and pulled. The door swung open easily.
Jeff poked his head into the long corridor. "Hello?" he asked nervously. He turned back to his friends. "No-one here... let's go-"
"Trust me, someone IS in there!" exclaimed Eddie as Roy shoved Jeff into the building.
"H-h-hello? A-an-anybody h-h-home?" Jeff stuttered. There was a scraping
sound as a door somewhere in the building opened. "Guys?" he turned to see his friends looking at him with wide eyes. "Come on... I'm not going alone." Jeff noticed that their eyes were slowly widening with terror. A shadow fell over him. "Oh, geez. There's someone behind me, isn't there?"
Roy nodded. "Yeah. Um. Hello... sir? We'll be going now." Eddie and Roy spun around and ran back to Eddie's car.
Jeff stood, petrified, in the hallway. Slowly, he turned to see a large man, holding some kind of gun. The man's expression was fierce, and the scar over his eyebrow didn't help. "Hi," the man said. "I'm Joe. You must be here to speak to Opposite man." Jeff squeaked. Joe took that as a yes. "Thought so. Come with me." Joe grabbed Jeff by the wrist and lumbered off into the building, his footsteps echoing through the halls like thunder. He stopped, suddenly getting an idea. Joe quickly (well, as quick as a big guy like him can be) found a damp rag in one of his pockets and stuffed it under Jeff's nose. The strong smell of chloroform filled the air, as Jeff squeaked again and fainted.
June 5, 1998. 11:20 PM. "The Lakeside Diner"
Eddie and Roy ordered more coffee. The waitress they had googled at earlier tried to get their attention, but they were too deep in thought to notice her attempts.
"We should've waited, Roy," began Eddie for the tenth time, "really, I mean, aren't we some sort of TEAM?"
Roy snorted. "Yeah, well, who drove the car so fast that we got pulled over, huh? Tell me THAT, Mr. We're-supposed-to-be-a-team."
"You were supposed to make sure that everyone was in the car before slamming the door shut!" shouted Eddie.
"But you started driving before I shut the door!"
"Whoa! Eddie! Listen to us, man! We're yellin' at each other! What kind of a team are we? Why don't we just focus on the main points, here. You got freaked out, and you forgot Jeff."
"WHAT? I got freaked out? I forgot Jeff? What about you? You practically dived in through the window!"
Roy gave Eddie an angry look. "I'm sure we're just stressing out over nothing. Jeff can take care of himself. Yeah, sure, we acted like cowards, but, hey, at least Jeff gets to try flying solo."
"He can't fly." Scoffed Eddie.
June 5, 1998. 11:20 PM. Opposite Man's Hideout
Jeff came to with his face in a pillow. It smelled musty and old. He could feel that he was wearing handcuffs. He tried to jiggle them off.
"Good morning," a voice said almost pleasantly, "we've been waiting for you."
"Who are you?" Jeff asked. It came out more like "Ooh or ooh?" because of the pillow.
Opposite Man looked at his sidekick, Joe. "What?" he asked.
Joe shrugged. "He said he wanted to see Opposite Man."
Jeff suddenly realized the predicament he was in. "Opposite Man," he stuttered, "how am I supposed to see you if I can't see you?" Jeff grimaced at the dumb thing he had just said. "That was pitiful," He thought.
Opposite Man brightened up instantly. "Oh! It's you, Mr. Obvious!" he grinned. "I always wanted to meet you in person, those phones are awfully impersonal!" Opposite Man snapped his fingers at Joe, who quickly uncuffed Jeff. "So," began Opposite Man, "what do you want to talk about?"
"Um..." Jeff looked at the skinny, balding guy in front of him, and decided to play along. He instantly "became" Mr. Obvious. "Uhh… Isn't it obvious? What have we been discussing lately?"
"Ah... Ms. Endelfuten. I thought so." Opposite Man shook his head. "What do we do with her?"
"Why don't we give her back?" asked Jeff hopefully. "And stop holding her for ransom?"
Opposite Man suddenly turned furious. "WHAT? After all she's done to me? Until I get IT back, she's staying with me!"
Jeff, nervous now that he had angered Opposite Man, tried to make a
comeback. "Hmm..." he said thoughtfully, "Why don't you refresh my memory. What is 'IT', and what did Ms. Endelfuten do to you?"
Opposite Man cooled off instantly, he loved to talk about stuff like this. "IT is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. IT is more precious to me than my head, and living without IT is driving me crazy!" Jeff wanted to ask again what "IT" was, but decided against it as Opposite Man continued. "Ms. Endelfuten," he declared scornfully, "put me through a painful divorce, and then... she stole IT from me!"
Jeff forced a gasp. "Really? That's awful!"
Opposite Man nodded in agreement, and resumed his tale of woe, "She stole IT, and gave IT to someone else. She has informed me that this someone has hidden IT! And I want IT back! I'm holding her ransom until I get IT!"
Jeff had a sudden inspiration. "May I speak to Ms. Endelfuten?" he asked.
Opposite Man shook his head forcefully. "No, I've had her sedated. She was
getting on my nerves."
"Oh." Another dead end. "Well, I'll be going now, Opposite Man-"
"Haven't I told you to call me Charles?" Opposite Man scolded playfully.
"Uh... Charles... I'll be going now, if you don't mind... But if you DO mind..."
Opposite Man waved a hand at him. "No, I don't mind. Be on your way. I'm glad we had this chat. Bye!"
Jeff almost ran out of the building. His head was swimming with all the information he had. When he stepped out into the cold early-June air, he remembered that Eddie and Roy had left him stranded.
He sighed loudly and trudged down the street, hoping to find a cab.
June 6, 1998. 12:18 AM. "The Lakeside Diner"
Roy and Eddie were sitting in their usual booth when Jeff stomped in.
"There you are!" he yelled angrily, "I have something to discuss with you two!"
"Uh, oh, we're in deep doggie-doo, Roy!" Eddie whispered as Jeff stormed towards them.
Jeff sat next to Eddie and suddenly grinned. "Guess what you chaps missed!" When they couldn't guess, Jeff told his tale. And then retold it.
Roy leaned back in his chair, looking satisfied with himself. "See, Eddie? I told you he could fly solo!"
Jeff looked at Roy as if he was crazy. "Fly? I can't fly! ...Anyway, what I think we should do is find some other superheroes to help us!"
"That's a great idea, Jeff!" said Roy sarcastically, "let's go find other people that act like they have powers. I betcha we'll find a few Batman imitators!"
Ignoring Roy's tirade, Eddie and Jeff set a place and a time (they suddenly
recalled that they only had until midnight that night).
June 6, 1998. 2:00 PM. The Junkyard
"...AND I'm going to get in trouble with Sally! She specifically said, 'NO PARTIES!'" Roy groaned. "Why are we having it HERE, anyway?"
"Because we need a big place, with enough room for a bunch of people." explained Jeff, as he taped up another sign.
They had been taping up signs since noon, and there were already seven
"superheroes" at the junkyard.
An old man limped by and read the announcement aloud, "'Attention, superheroes! We need help right away! If you have any special crime-fighting abilities, come join us at the Champion City junkyard. Thank you. -Shoveler, Mr. Furious, and Blue Raja' What is the younger generation coming to?" The old man shook his head sadly, and hobbled on his way.
Eddie started interviewing the seven people that were there. "Tell me about yourself." He told a beer-bellied guy in a sweat-stained tee-shirt.
"I'm Remote Control Man. I change the evil channel in people to good! I..."
"That's great," interrupted Eddie, "why don't you go mingle while I interview someone else?" Remote Control Man smiled and went off to do just that. A preteen girl, wearing a short dress that almost showed everything, stepped up to the table.
"Like, hey! I'm, like, 'Valley Girl'. I am, like, a valley-girl. I can, like, annoy, like people. That's, like, what I do. Okay?"
"Thanks. Like, why don't you wait over there?" asked Roy, who had joined Eddie at the interview table.
A few more people joined the original seven. "Wow! Look at all of them!"
exclaimed Jeff as he sat next to Roy, "What a turnout! I didn't expect much at such short notice!"
Three superheroes marched to the table and introduced themselves. "We-" said one.
"-Are-" said another.
"-The Dynamic Trio!" yelled the third. Eddie, Jeff, and Roy looked at the Trio.
They all looked the same.
"Are you guys... Triplets?" asked Jeff.
"Yes, we are." Said triplet #1.
"How did you guess?" Asked triplet #2.
"Intuition." Answered Jeff.
Triplet #3 cleared his throat, "We confuse the enemy!"
"Oooh. Okay. Um..." Roy gestured to the growing crowd. The Dynamic Trio got the hint, and moved off.
They spent two hours going through all the superheroes. At 4:00, Jeff looked at the list he had. There were alot of names on it. He read them under his breath. "Lint Man, Lawn Woman, Captain No-Bones, Dragon Snot, The Chaste Chalise, Fat Man & Rat Man, The Car Waxer, The Hairdresser, Laser Man, Road Man, The Boogeyman, The Tooth Fairy, Paper Cup Man, Insignificant Woman, Bird Boy, The Dried Pansy, Pickled Tuna & Pickled Herring, Andregomondotika..." he paused, "Huh?" then went back to the list, "...The Pint-Sized Patriot, Giant Grasshopper, The Page Ripper, The Human Stain, Superwoman, Dictionary Dude, Dr. Calculus, Mirror Man, Hair-Gel man, Feminine Guy, The Sulky Sultan of The Broken Swiss Army Knife..." Jeff stopped reading. He already knew what would happen.
They were doomed.
June 6, 1998. 5:25 PM. The Junkyard
Roy looked at the pathetic group that stood in front of him. "We have chosen you..." he started.
"Yeah!" whooped Bird Boy, fluttering his feathers.
Roy looked at him sternly. "AHEM, we have chosen you five out of the many that applied for this position. There were alot of people that would BEG for the chance you're getting. And there still are, keep that in mind... soo, I should tell you what we're up against..."
"Hello!" interrupted a blonde woman as she poked her head around the corner. "Is this where we apply for the free ice-cream?" she asked.
"Huh?" asked Jeff.
The woman stumbled into full view as a man came out from behind her. "Wrong sign, Jess," he muttered to the woman. "Hi! We're the Improbable Bunch!" he announced. He motioned to someone. Three more people appeared.
"I'm the Mail Man." introduced the man. Sure enough, he was dressed in a light blue postal worker's uniform. His dark brown hair was neatly parted down the middle. He moved his heavy mail bag to his other shoulder and introduced the team.
"This is The Misunderstander," he said as he pointed at the blonde woman.
The Misunderstander was picking at the glitter on her pink skirt. Her short blonde hair hung in her eyes a bit. Her cape fluttered dramatically in the breeze as she looked up, gave them a toothy grin and stepped forward to shake hands. She tripped on her high heels and fell into Mail Man's awaiting arms. "Hi," she said sheepishly. "I'm not used to them yet," she indicated the shoes.
"I'm Velcro Guy!" said a 30-ish man. He had bright red hair, and was wearing a sticky-looking costume. He was covered in velcro and tape, and was holding a squirt gun that was full of what looked like glue. On the bottom of his shoes were suction cups that made a funny slurping noise whenever he walked.
"Outhouse Man," said a younger looking man. "I come from the Outhouse Of Doom. Perhaps you've heard of it?" he asked hopefully. No-one had ever heard of such a place.
He seemed to be dressed normally, except that he had a toilet plunger stuck on his head, a towel tied around his neck like a cape, and toilet paper rolls up his sleeves. Roy resisted the temptation to ask what they were for.
Mail Man prompted the last member of the team by elbowing her. She stood up straight, and enunciated every word she said. "I am The Klutz. I really don't have a power, but my brother," she nudged Mail Man, knocking him over, "insisted that I have superhuman strength." She rolled her eyes.
Klutz wore a pair of bell-bottomed jeans with little loops along the seams and a brightly-colored striped tee-shirt with the word KLUTZ embroidered on it in a swirly font. Over this, she was sporting an interesting cape. It had a large K and L on it. These two letters were entwined so much that it was hard to tell where the K ended and the L began. She shuffled her feet, which were clad with sparkly green sneakers, and pushed her glasses farther onto her nose. Her long black hair was divided into two braids, and she wore a jester's hat with jingley bells.
Eddie, Roy, and Jeff looked at the group they had made. One of the chosen
superheroes was picking his nose. They looked back at the Improbable Bunch, then back at their chosen group, and made a quick decision. "Um, sorry, but we decided that maybe you aren't the best choice for our group. We're going with the Improbable Bunch. Bye." Bird Boy led the rejected group out of the Junkyard.
The members of the Improbable Bunch exchanged quick glances.
"Does this mean we're in?" asked The Klutz, quirking an eyebrow.
Roy nodded. "Yep... welcome!"
June 6, 1998. 6:16 PM. Opposite Man's hideout
Eddie's Ford Esquire pulled up in front of the building for the second time. It was really crowded in the car and everyone was sitting on top of everyone else. Klutz had shoved her elbow into Mail Man's eye, and then stomped on Roy's foot. And that was only when they were getting into the car. Needless to say, everyone was pretty well bruised by the time they arrived at their destination. The passenger side door swung open, and the superheroes spilled out onto the sidewalk.
Roy quickly jumped to his feet, and dusted himself off. "Well, we're here again." He muttered.
Velcro Guy, who was the second person to stand up, craned his neck and looked at the roof of the building. "I betcha we can find a way in up there and then we can surprise the heck outta Opposite Man!" He walked up to the building and put his foot on the wall. The suction cups did their job and stuck. He then put on some gloves, which, sure enough, were covered in suction cups, also. Soon, Velcro Guy was on the roof. "Whoo! Take that, Human Fly!" he shouted happily as he tossed down a rope.
When everyone had climbed the rope up to the roof, Outhouse Man pointed out that the fire escape would have been an easier way up.
"Okay, so now we need to find a way in, right?" asked Klutz. Roy nodded sarcastically and rolled his eyes. Klutz started to pace around the roof. Suddenly, with a scream and a jingle of her hat, she disappeared.
"Hey!" exclaimed Mail Man, "Where'd she go?" He ran to the place where she had disappeared, and saw that she had fallen through a trapdoor. "Lindsey! Are you okay?" he shouted down the hole.
"Yeah!" said Klutz happily as she poked her head out of the trapdoor. "I think I found a way in!"
Jeff led the group through the halls of the building. "All right, it was around here somewhere..." he muttered. Since he was the only person who knew where Opposite Man was, the group had elected Jeff to lead them to where the evildoer was hiding. Jeff stopped suddenly, and searched his memory. "It's this door." He said, pointing.
Roy stepped forward, and kicked the door open. They charged into the room,
which was very dark, and ran into a wall.
"Oops." Jeff said, looking apologetic. "That's the closet."
Outhouse Man glared at the Blue Raja angrily. "You know what? I don't think you even know where this dude is hangin'."
Blue Raja laughed nervously and shifted his gaze to his friends. "Guys?" he asked under his breath. Outhouse Man was going to go "Pompeii" on his butt.
Outhouse Man advanced menacingly towards the Raja, his hands curling into fists of rage. Mr. Furious looked at Eddie. "Isn't that what I'M supposed to do?" he asked. Eddie shrugged and turned his attention back to Outhouse Man and Blue Raja.
Outhouse Man advanced some more, and Jeff kept taking nervous steps back. "I think that maybe you're just leading us on, Fork man. You are, aren't you?" Raja couldn't back up any more. He was leaning up against a railing, using his hands to shield himself from Outhouse Man.
Mail Man suddenly decided to do something. "Gary! STOP!" he shouted, stepping between Raja and Outhouse Man. Outhouse Man, enraged even more by Mail Man's interference, shoved his teammate into Jeff. Jeff fell over the railing and was gone.
"NOO!" screamed Klutz, Roy, Eddie, and Velcro Guy in unison.
The Misunderstander rushed to the edge and looked down. The floor was very far from where she stood, but she could see that Jeff wasn't there. "Ohmigosh!" she gasped, "He fell through the floor!" The rest of the team rushed to the edge, even Outhouse Man, who suddenly regretted what he had done. The Misunderstander was right. There was a fork down there, but Jeff was nowhere in sight.
"Nooo!" cried Klutz, "Nooo! Jeff!" she turned away and started to sob quietly.
Meanwhile, unseen by the heroes above, Jeff was hanging precociously over
certain doom. He had managed to grab an exposed pipe as he fell, and was now clinging onto it for dear life.
Unknown to his friends and family, Jeff was deathly afraid of heights. He had always thought it embarrassing, and therefor never mentioned this fact to anyone. Not even his mother knew about his phobia.
Jeff squeezed his eyes shut and tightened his grip on the pipe. "This is the end," he thought sadly, "this is it. I'm going to fall, break my neck and die. I'm going to die here, in this dirty, dusty building, and no-one can save me." This thought, along with the sound of Klutz's sobs, made tears come to his eyes. "Might as well get it over with." He thought and let his hold on the pipe loosen a bit. The forks in his pockets jingled.
Klutz hastily wiped the tears from her eyes and turned back to the railing. She walked bravely to the edge and looked down at the fork. Suddenly, she heard something. A jingle. A very familiar jingle. "JEFF!" she screamed.
Jeff was about to let go totally when he heard Klutz scream. He realized what he was doing and grabbed the pipe tightly again. "Help!" he whispered weakly.
Klutz strained her ears and listened for another jingle. When she heard one, she realized that Jeff was still there. She ran for the stairs.
Someone was coming. Jeff was elated. "Saved!" he thought happily. His happy thought was cut short when he started slipping. The pipe had a leak in it, and just his luck, it had chosen this time to leak.
Klutz got to the bottom of the stairs and looked frantically around. No-one was there.
"Jeff?" she asked uncertainly into the empty hall. A faint moan reached her ears, and she looked up to see the Raja hanging on a pipe. "HEY! Everyone! It's Jeff!" she shouted.
Eddie and Roy were already halfway down the stairs. "Where?" asked Eddie, looking around on the floor. Lindsey pointed at the dangling hero.
"Hold on, Jeff! We're here, just hold on!" Roy stood under his friend and held out his arms. "Okay. Jump! Don't worry! I'll catch you!"
Somehow, that did not seem to comfort Jeff.
The other superheroes gathered under Blue Raja and made a sort of net with their arms. And just in time, too, because at that exact moment, Jeff lost his grip, and fell.
"It worked!" exclaimed The Misunderstander, who had put her hands the wrong way and wasn't even helping.
They carefully put Jeff down, and helped him to his feet.
Jeff looked at his friends and grinned.
Then everything turned black.
June 6, 1998. 6:54 PM. Opposite Man's hideout
The team had left Lindsey to stay with Jeff while they searched for Opposite Man. Klutz looked down at Jeff, and propped his head up with his turban.
She had wandered around the floor she was on until she found a water fountain. There, she had wet her handkerchief, and was dabbing it on Jeff's face when he woke up.
"Mom?" he asked groggily, looking at the foggy image of Klutz's face.
Klutz quirked an eyebrow at him, and smiled. "No, silly! It's me, Lindsey."
"Oh." Jeff sat up and blinked at her. "What happened?"
"Well..." Lindsey hesitated. "You were hanging there, and when you fell, we caught you, and you passed out."
Jeff picked up his turban and put it back on. "Yes, well, I know about THAT part. Were are the others?"
"OH! They went looking for Opposite Man, and left me here to watch you." She grinned. "You are extremely boring when you're unconscious."
Shoveler carefully cracked open the door and peeked in. "Nope." The others groaned. They had been through almost every single door in the building, and they still hadn't found Opposite Man.
They were about to open another door when Lindsey ran up to them, dragging along Jeff, who was still kind of woozy and couldn't keep up with the girl.
"YAY!" cheered Outhouse Man. Everyone looked at him, puzzled and expectant. He shuffled his feet shyly and looked at Jeff. "Um... I'm sorry I got angry at you, man. I feel like a total dork for screaming at you like that, and..." he gulped loudly, "...and almost killing you." That said, Outhouse Man turned back into his old self. "Okay, Fork Dude, which door is it?"
"Fork Dude" closed his eyes and thought for a moment. "It's... on the first floor!"
The superheroes ran down the stairs to the first floor.
"That way." Directed Raja, pointing down a long corridor. He then scrutinized the doors before him. "That one... no... THAT one." The door he was talking about was smaller than the other doors, and looked old and forgotten.
"Are you SURE?" asked Mail Man.
Jeff nodded. "Yes, because there's a surveillance camera next to it."
Mail Man looked startled. "WHAT? Quick! Hide, before we're seen!" He grabbed Klutz and dived around the corner, followed by everyone but Jeff, who chuckled and shook his head.
"No, it's not pointed in this direction." He said knowingly.
Mail Man poked his head around the corner. "Where is it?" he asked.
"Up high, in the corner," replied Jeff, a smile on his face.
The Misunderstander leapt into the corridor, looking excited. "A PIE IN THE CORNER!? REALLY?" she shouted.
Mail Man rolled his eyes. "No, Jessica. Up. High. In. The. Corner." Mail Man practically spelled it out for her.
Jessica looked disappointed, "Oh. Drat."
Velcro Guy tried to cheer her up, "When we're done here, though, I'll buy you a pie. 'Kay?" Jessica brightened up instantly and looked forward to the pie.
The odd conglomeration of superheroes moved silently to the door, Roy in the lead. "Okay, everyone ready?" he asked.
Everyone nodded, and stood in a ready position.
Roy turned back to the door and charged at it. The door swung open violently and the superheroes tumbled through.
They were now in a large dimly-lit room. There were a few chairs scattered
around on the floor... and one on the ceiling. The flower wallpaper was peeling off the wall, and the shutters on the windows were cracked and warped with age.
Opposite Man, who was seated at his desk, looking over his credit card bills and listening to some loud rap music with his headphones, didn't notice their grand
entrance. Mail Man and Velcro Guy snuck around to be behind Opposite Man. Velcro Guy ripped off the headphones.
"Huh? HEY!!!" yelled Opposite Man indignantly, whirling around in his swivel-chair. "Who are you?" he asked Mail Man.
Mail Man blinked at the short, bespectacled man before him. "YOU'RE Opposite Man?" he asked, holding back gales of laughter. This guy looked wimpy. He was certain that they could take him out.
Opposite Man squinted at them, taking off his glasses and wiping them off on his shirt a few times before responding. "Yes? And what is it to you?"
Outhouse Man quickly whipped something out of his sleeve, and faster than you can say "don't forget to flush", Opposite Man was wrapped in several layers of toilet paper. Outhouse Man, his job finished, stepped back into place next to the Misunderstander.
Mr. Furious, sensing that it was his turn to say or do something, stormed up to Opposite Man, who had a wad of toilet paper stuffed in his mouth. "Okay, buster. We want some answers, and we want them NOW. Got that... you... you... contradictory person?!"
Opposite Man gacked and spit out the paper. "You're going to have to ask some questions before I can answer them!" he stuttered evenly.
Mr. Furious turned red with rage. "You know perfectly well what we're going to ask, four-eyes. Where is Ms. Endelfuten?" He leaned towards Opposite Man, until their noses almost touched.
Shoveler stepped in, putting a shovel between villain and hero. "That's good, Roy. I'll take it from here..." he muttered.
Opposite Man blinked a few times at his captors. "Ms. Endel-what? OH! Ms. Endelfuten! She escaped HOURS ago." Opposite Man smiled sweetly. "She was quite rude about it, too, smashing all my Mozart CDs, so all I had left was these loud screaming things."
Klutz plucked up the CD player and put the headphones on. She cranked up the volume full power and head-banged to the music until she had a headache, which wasn't very long. Shoveler raised a confused eyebrow at her. "How can you LISTEN to that stuff?"
"WHAT?!" yelled Klutz, still wearing the headphones.
Shoveler shook his head. "Nevermind!" He turned back to Opposite Man. "What do you mean, she escaped hours ago?" he asked.
Opposite Man eyed his enemies warily. After a moment of scrutinizing each of them, he sighed, and answered the question. "She escaped. About four hours ago." He paused, then added with a half-grin, "She did not leave a forwarding address."
Velcro Guy, who was still standing next to Opposite Man, leaped into action, yanking open the drawers in the desk and dumping their contents on the floor. Everyone stared in shock as he rummaged through the mess he had created.
"What in the blazes made you do that?" asked Jeff.
Velcro Guy didn't even look up. Suddenly he yelled something that sounded like "Eureka!" and lifted something over his head in triumph. He had many pieces of paper and a few pens stuck to his costume, but he didn't take any notice of that.
Roy tilted his head to the side, looking at the... something... that his teammate was holding so very triumphantly. "Err... What is it?"
Velcro Guy frowned. "You mean you've never seen a 'Herodifier'?" he asked, visibly disappointed. Apparently, no-one had. "It's hard to explain," he said, after which he explained it.
"OH!" exclaimed the Misunderstander.
"That's... interesting." Noted Outhouse Man.
"Can I see it?!" asked Klutz. She was answered by a resounding 'NO!'
"Drat." She muttered.