Author has written 24 stories for Wild Wild West, Stargate: SG-1, Bonanza, Stargate: Atlantis, Covert Affairs, Twilight Zone, Gilligan's Island, Psych, and Hawaii Five-0.
The Night of the Morose Meeting; AKA: Artie meets Mudstalker
(I don't own Wild Wild West. If I did, I woldn't be writing this.)
Artie gave a gulp as he stood before her door- her, the newest villian in town. Folks had said she lived around here. Since she was said to posess strange and mystical powers, none of the villiagers would dare approach her lair. But she had captured James West, and only the presence of Artemus Gordon would set Jim free. The funny thing was, as Artie was leaving the train in his "Miricle Man Elixier" costume, a note came over the telegraph wire telling him not to bother with the costume; it would just be too melodramatic to rip off another fake beard. So, Artie had dressed in his best and came hoping to charm the new villian.
Her lair was not ornate as some Artie had seen. The walls were whitewashed and brightly-colored silk scarves floated in the breeze from the windows. The windows were overgrown with vine plants, and an indoor hibiscus bloomed even though there was snow on the ground outside. Candels hung from rope-hangings in the ceiling, and over the rafters were draped a variety of dried herbs and produce. But the villian, now she was strange!
Medium-sized and medium-built, she gracefully skirted around the plants to the kitchen. She offered Artie a drink; one, she promised, that had not been drugged. Her eyes were an intense blue and her hair was brown that glinted red in the sun. Oddly enough, she wore pants; it seemed as though she had been wearing pants her whole life, so comfortable was she in her movements. And her clothes! Now those were strange. A thick pant that seemed durable yet flowed like water and opened in bell shapes around a pair of laceless boots. And her...sweater? Made out of neither silk, wool, or cotton, it clung to her like a living thing and yet seemed thick and warm. Surely, she was not from around here. Artie felt nervous as the woman motioned for him to sit. It seemed as if she knew him so well... and he had no clue who she was!
"Let me begin," she stated. "I have called you here because it was my intense desire to meet you and to tell you of how greatly we... that is, I and the others like me... esteem you."
"So," Artie growled, "you decide to kidnap my partner in order to have tea with me? A letter would have done just fine."
The woman blinked. "I did not kidnap you partner... it must have been one of the others."
"But this note... it said, 'If you ever want to see your friend again, you must come to the house at the end of the Four-Cliff Range.' I even have your telegraph telling me not to dress in disguise!" Artie exclaimed.
"I did write the second telegraph," she replied. "But not the first. I bet one of the others is already starting to create again. We'll have to wait to see what fine adventures you two will go on next!"
"What are you talking about?" Artie queried, confused.
The woman smiled. "Let me start at the beginning. Have you noticed how you've been meeting so many villians nowadays? Loveless, for instance, is popping up much more than he should be. And so are other villians... ones you had no recollection of ever meeting and yet know them as soon as they hijack your train. Have you noticed how you are always just about to go on vacation and get re-assigned, or how you are always stuck in bizzare places with grevious injuries? Have you been having just one bad day after another?"
Artie growled. "Tell me about it," he said.
The woman opened her hands in supplication. "Please... forgive us. It's our fault."
"What?!" Artie jumped up. "You mean... you orchestrated all these villians?"
The woman nodded in pride. "Yes. I did... and the others. I guess you could say we are the greatest criminal masterminds of all time. We can organize any dastardly plot and come up with a colorful variety of deadly and dangerous situations. We all have the power to do so, but we all have our areas of specialty."
Artie shook his head in confusion. "I must be dreaming," he moaned.
The woman gave an amused smile. "Nope, you are not dreaming," she replied. "I'd know if you were. Dreams are my area of specialty."
"So you're the one who gave Jim all those nightmares recently!"
"Yes, isn't it great that he can't remember them? Boy I wish I could forget my nightmares."
"Wait, hold on," said Artie, holding up his hand. "This makes no sense. Organizing crime rings is one thing, but giving dreams... no one can do that!"
"Well," the woman explained, looking rather amused, "I'm not bound by the rules of your world. You see, I come from another place... another dimension, as it were. In my dimension, you live as a hero to all my people. They look at how you suffer... and it gives them strength to go on with their lives. Imagine what good it does to people when they see your life slowly fading away and see you struggle just to hang on; much more than a regular human could ever hold on. It gives them joy to know that however bad their day is, you've had a worse one."
"Oh boy," Artie replied sarcastically. "I'm so glad I get to be a part of your good samaritan society. Forgive me if I don't kill myself every week for you."
The woman practically beamed. "Oh, don't worry, Mr. Gordon. We'll do that for you. You see, you will always live on to us. No matter how mangled you or Mr. West will get, you will always be fit as fiddles by the end of the mission. You have to be, in order to survive the next ordeal."
"Oh joy. Just tell me, what do you do for a living that causes you so much stress and anxiety that you have to pick on me and Jim every week in order to feel better?"
"I'm a sixth-grade rescource teacher."
"A person like you is teaching kids?!"
Artie sighed. "Well, things being the way they are, I suppose I can't complain. After all, I quite enjoy my job and I'm sure Jim does too. As long as you leave us healthy and with girls at the end of each mission, I won't hold what you do as a grudge to you. But there is one thing I have to know... what is your name?"
"Mudstalker! What kind of a name is that?!"
"It's a long story."
"Are all the people in your dimension named such weird names?"
"No, I'm just unique."
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