The Company Apprentice has ended
Heroes Blogs | Moose Humor

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You're Hired!

Coming back from the commercial break, the audience erupted into spontaneous applause, brought about by the lighting of the applause sign.

"Let's here from the people whose opinions don't matter at all," I suggested. "Henchman. Who would you hire?"

"Gyrobo, of course," the non-descript baddie answered.

"Ciera?" I asked.

"Gyrobo!" she happily cheered the mechanical maniac's name.

"How about Koma, perhaps the most controversial Australian contestant ever on The Company Apprentice?" I asked. "What's he got to say?"

In that odd accent of his, he replied, "I'm going with Gyrobo."

"Even though he had your former team capture and interrogate you?"

"Because of it!" he announced proudly. I always suspected he was a masochist.

"Wolverine?" I continued.

"Xavier," he said, then growled, "Hold on there. Out of my head, Chuck. Hire Gyrobo."

"Well, all four of your teammates think I should hire you. What do you think about that?"

"Hmm..." Gyrobo contemplated, "I'm flattered and legally blind in some states."

"I see," I said, moving quickly to Charles. "Now, let's see what your team thinks, Professor. Mr. Muggles, who should I hire?"

I looked over at the loser bench, but didn't see my wife's Pomeranian. "Mr. Muggles? What happened to Mr. Muggles?"

A stagehand came and whispered about the dog's agent requesting a cash incentive for his appearance on the finale. I remembered how this show has no budget, and moved on. "Bernard? Who would you hire if you were me?"

No response.

"Well, come on, then. Answer," I insisted.

Still, there was no response.

"Umm, who is Bernard?" Charles asked. "I'm sure he'd say you should hire me, but I just don't know who you're talking about."

"Bernard," I repeated the name. "You know, the doofus boy that I fired in the first week."

"Oh, me?" Bernard asked.

"Yeah, who should I hire?"

"Uh, it's Lyle," Bernard replied.

"Lyle isn't one of the options," I explained. "Either Charles or Gyrobo. Who should I hire?"

"This is too hard," Bernard cried. "I don't want to be special anymore. Can I please just go home? The camera lights are giving me a sunburn." The scrawny loser darted out of the studio, shielding himself from the glaring studio lights with his hand.

"Jon?" I said looking over at our trusted intergalactic gladiator. "What say you?"

He hiccuped and passed out.

"Great," Nepharia rolled her eyes and pried an empty bottle from his hand, "more Irish whiskey. I'm sure when he's sober again, he'll go with Xavier. And I'm going with Xavier, too. You should obviously hire him."

"One out of four ain't bad," I nodded at the professor.

"Not bad at all," he replied.

"This is it," I announced. "It's time for me to make the decision. Professor, you lost the very first task as project manager. Nepharia was the only one that thinks I should hire you, and with her being a Sith, I have to assume it's all part of the Emperor's grand scheme. That makes me think you're a pawn. Gyrobo, though, he's not a pawn. He's a Queen. He can move anywhere on the board, and he does, usually to places he has no business going. While you've been a tough competitor, Gyrobo has continually shined on every challenge. Nobody else has come close."

"So, you're saying," Xavier rubbed his chin as he spoke, "that it's a tie?"

"What I'm saying," I explained to the contestants and the audience, "is that this competition is over. We have our Company Apprentice."

The audience leaned forward in their chairs awaiting the announcement.

"Professor X," I said.

"Yes?" he waited.

"Don't pick him!" Gyrobo warned. "I was manufactured to do this job."

"Charles..." I continued. "You're...fired. Gyrobo, you're hired!"

The Company Apprentice

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Final Boardroom

"Ten of you set off on the most grueling job application process the blogosphere has ever seen," I said dramatically. "You two are all that's left. And now, one of you, like eight before, will be fired. Are you ready to find out who will be The Company Apprentice?"

That cued the theme song music, and the live studio audience began cheering.

"The world has been waiting," I read from the teleprompter, "for weeks, and we have finally arri--Was that Jimmy Fallon?"

We all waited as security escorted the so-called comedian from the premises.

"Now, we have finally arrived," I continued, "at the moment where somebody will be hired."

There was more cheering, and a gasp from Jon.

"Gyrobo," I spoke the name of everyone's second favorite robotic clown. The audience cheered, and there were a few screams admitting to feelings of love for the oddball.

I waited for the enthusiasm to die down, and moved on, "And Professor Xavier." The audience cheered once again as I spoke the name of everyone's fourth favorite rumored sex offender.

Once the crazy outburst calmed, I began my judgment. "You two have out performed all the others, and you're both showing me today, in this boardroom, how much you truly want to be The Company Apprentice. Gyrobo, I appreciate you dressing up as a woman in an attempt to lure me into hiring you. Mind you, hiring females can come with so my legal technicalities. And Professor, the mustache is a great touch. It makes you look truly....well, something. I just don't know what."

"Ah, stuff it Bennett," said the bald teach.

"It's Bennet," I corrected him.

"I believe I will spell your name however I choose," he replied, "after all, I'm the one with the gun."

The audience cheered enthusiastically. Someone shouted, "I love being shot!"

The Haitian tensed. "It's okay," I said to my trusty foreign friend, and he relaxed back in his chair. "Why the violence, Professor?"

"We all know you're going to hire Gyrobo. This so-called contest is rigged," he explained. "So, I thought I'd take matters into my own hands. I don't need a job this badly, but I would enjoy the parking space in the city that comes with it. I'm not one for the subway, and I can't rightly walk in my condition, and taxis....forty dollars for a ride into Manhattan?"

"Well, actually," I said, "the job doesn't come with a parking space."

"Oh," Charles lowered his rifle. "Well, carry on then."

"But you shouldn't worry. I really haven't made up my mind yet, and this contest definitely isn't rigged."

The audience erupted into applause.

"Oops. Sorry 'bout that Mr. Bennet," the crewman in charge of the applause sign said embarrassingly.

"You're fired!" I said to the schlub.

"Hey, you can't fire me. I'm with the union," he replied in a thick Brooklyn accent.

"Why didn't we think of that?" Jon mumbled to the other former contestants sitting on the loser bench.

Mr. Muggles barked.

"Let's get on with this," I took back control of the show. "Now, let's see here. Gyrobo, you did some good work taking down Australia, and by that I mean Koma. Your team man and duck handled Australia's least genius evil genius. Your humiliation of the Queen....did that ever happen? I don't read the tabloids. I'm hoping the plan worked, though. It was a good plan. And a smart move going after the Queen of England. Most people forget that wrinkled bag of bones controls most of world, not just her little island of Brits."

"But," The Haitian interjected, "there was no mention of Rupert Murdoch."

"Yes," I said, looking critically at Gyrobo's clowny little face. "He's perhaps even more of a threat than their border fence. And you let him go on unscathed."

"There just wasn't time to scathe everyone," Gyrobo explained in his defense.

"Now, Professor, you went up against the single most evil and powerful organization on Earth, with perhaps the exception of the Vatican. I'm sure it was a very taxing challenge."

"Boo!" The audience said in unison. I threw my speaker phone at the aforementioned schlub. He quickly flipped a switch and the audience applauded my delightful pun.

"You made excellent use of your X-Men team," I said. "It must be nice to have a special ability for any situation at your disposal like that. That's our ultimate goal here at the Company. However, I'm not sure exactly what Nepharia was doing. A Sith is a far more valuable asset than a mere mutant. They get lightsabers!"

"Well, she..." he began. "...maybe I should reconsider shooting you."

"No need to shoot me, Doc," I assured him. "It's still anyone's game. I want to know why the two of you want this job. Why should I fire the other one? Why should I hire you? You have both given superb performances. And I'd like to see what the other contestants think, too. Who should I hire? How was it working with these two? Let's find out, after this."

And with that, we cut to a commercial break. What happens next in the boardroom? We'll have to wait and see.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Duck and Cover

“Can’t… break… free…”

The now finger-sized Captain Koma struggled valiantly against the rubber bands binding him to my shoebox. It wasn’t enough to extract his national secrets and cupcake recipés — no. He would soon be witness to the abject humiliation of Australia’s most respected and underweight prime minister in 300 years.

I pulled back the curtain and surveyed Canberra. “Think of it, Koma. In each building, there is at least one toilet and sink. AT LAST, my extensive knowledge of plumbing espionage is paying dividends!”


“You know so little. Imagine,” I whispered, caressing the $80 million mainframe, “we can hear every conversation conducted in any loo in the city. Even the prime minister’s headquarters’ hindquarters.”

He banged his head contemptuously. The ducks were waddling closer and closer to the box. “What are you going to do to Rudd?”

I laughed. “You want to know my plan so you can escape and foil me! How delightful.”

I ate another candied yam from my tray of caramelized vegetables. This one was shifty, this Koma.

“You’re planning to spring coils of wires out the toilet and give him a massive coronary?”

Persistent little bug. “Ha! No… all I need are the records. Do you know who he’s called from that toilet? How many people he’s conference called? Once the public gets wind of this, they’ll be clamoring to put Ron Howard back on top!”

“Toy fiend! I mean, you fiend! I mean, wait — what?”

“RON HOWARD! Brilliant plan of mine, it is, bringing in a deposed former leader to create the appearance of legitimacy whilst I pillage your treasury.”

“You’re confusing politicians and Hollywood show-folk again.”

I sneered. “If you’re referring to my 2004 campaign to stop Jim Carrey from becoming president of the good ol’ U.S. of A. then you really didn’t pay any attention to my manifesto. He couldn’t have been president — he may have been a senator, but Jim Carrey was born in Kenya.”


“I don’t much care for the local pronunciation, thank you.”

Alternating the z-control knob brought up an oscillating display on the LCD output. The prime ministerial toilet was online!

“It is now…” I counted the ticks on my analogue watch, “3:25 PM, local time. As his usual habit, Kevin Rudd will now enter his private restroom and order a large pizza with extra garlic.”

“His one weakness! How did you—”

“You forget, I’ve been analyzing his sewage and communication lines for weeks. There’s nothing I don’t know,” I sprayed, spewing bits of hydraulic cupcake onto the nosy homunculi.

“No harm can ever come to the prime minister while in the sacred confines of the ‘Marble Ministry,’” Koma declared, referencing the common phrase coined for the prime minister’s secret, state-protected toilet.

“Really?” I asked, arching my left eyebrow while drawing in my lip provocatively. I grabbed a taped-up microphone and flipped to the out line. “KEVIN RUDD! THIS IS THE SPIRIT OF LOW-FLOW PLUMBING!”

The speakers buzzed. “If it isn’t the anus of the body politic.”

I have never been more insulted by anything said over the public airwaves, and immediately moved to censure the originator of that sentence. “Who is this?”

“Lars Plumberdale, executive flush co-ordinator.”

He sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t place the voice. “Where’s Kevin Rudd?”

A flushing sound drowned out any further communiques. Somehow, my plan to wiretap Kevin Rudd’s toilet and force him to publicly admit his office was haunted had gone horribly awry.

By now, Koma had freed himself and was using the broken rubber bands and a toothpick as a makeshift harness to bridle the carnivorous duck. “Come on,” I said, plucking him up like a tick on a dog’s ear.

The confused (and probably dyslexic) duck chased after us as I shimmied down the spiral staircase to the hotel’s lobby. I threw the concierge a dirty look and violently knocked over a potted palm tree. The security guards were too busy racing to fetch dustpans to remember my boyish good looks when the police would ask for my description.

Cleanliness. It had always been Australia’s Achilles heel.

I crossed the street discreetly, keeping my juggling act to under five pins and only one flaming chainsaw. Large men with swords and walkie-talkies stood outside the federal palace, flexing and keeping watch. There were more men than usual; something had happened.

“Howdy!” I shouted, trying to pull off the old “Dancin’ Texan” maneuver. “I’m here to see Kevin Rudd. You may have heard of him—”

“Nobody gets in,” the largest, angriest man said. His sunglasses were bulging with muscles, and his shoes looked like they could spit iron bullets.

“But I’m here to see him!” I danced. “He paid good money to see a leprechaun fight the world’s smallest kangaroo!”

They studied Koma closely. He put up a fight and totally beat on one of their moustaches, but I think what convinced them was the green suit I’d forced him into, and the shillelagh glued to his arm.

“Coming through!” I brayed, tossing aside interns and coatracks with equal measure. Finally, I arrived at Kevin Rudd’s office. He stood there, mouth agape, awed by the little man struggling in my fist.

“Is he rea—”

“Enough idle chatter. I’m the fabled garbageman-savant, Lou Tintarello. You may remember my travails on the US Board of Landfill Ecology?”

He hesitated. “THE Lou Tintarello?”

“Well, I ain’t his one-toothed grandpa. My grandpa was a circus performer, juggled from sunup to sundown until his shoulders gave out on him. Then he settled down and became a lion tamer. Tell me everything about the current plumbing-related mishap.”

Rudd wavered. He may have been wearing a large coat to hide it, but one arm was half the size of the other. “Someone stole an ancient statue from my private washroom.”

“Fascinating,” I said patronizingly. “You did a good job!”

“Where was your flushing co-ordinator?” Koma yelled from my hydrogenated vest pocket. “Lars Plumberdale?”

“I don’t have a flushing co-ordinator.”

“REAL Australians let the Coriolis Effect do their flushing,” I said with an air of unearned expertise. “This crime was obviously perpetrated by Ron Howard in an attempt to humiliate you.”

“Why? Why would Ron Howard do this?”

“POLITICAL REVENGE. Canberra’s most prestigious periodical, the Daily Beagle, has already confirmed as much.”

It was amazing someone so idealistic could survive the rigors of Australia’s cutthroat system of kickbacks and daily elections. He even had all his original teeth!

“What should I do?”

I weighed his options. “Australia’s border fence is a proven farce. Likely, Ron Howard has absconded with your statue to his homestead in the Philippines.”

Rudd slammed his tiny fist on the porcelain sink. “What can I do?”

“I’ll need surveillance footage from the room.”

“It’s a toilet.”

“You’re right, I’ve already got what I need. Here,” I handed him a piece of paper with an address on it, “at 7:45 PM tonight, Ron Howard will be at this address AND disguised as an old lady. Apprehend him at all costs!”

He saluted me. “You’re the best, Mister Tintarello.”

I stamped out of the building, touching each desk obsessively on the way.

“It was a long con, but we nailed him, Koma!”

The microscopic varmint gnawed to escape my denim slacks. “What? By getting him to go after Ron Howard?”

“You think I’m a no-neck who buried his head in the cat litter when it comes to Australian government, you frivolous bogart! Rudd wasn’t my target.”

He squirmed uncomfortably. “Then what…?”

“It was STAGED for you. So you wouldn’t warn him,” I said as I picked up pace.

My elaborately laborious plan was now hurtling inexorably to fruition! I flipped the lid to my portable mobile cellular devicicle and called mister “Plumberdale.”

“What’s going on?!”

“Plumberdale? The leak’s been mended. Repeat, the leak’s been mended.” There was a chuckle on the other line, then it went dead. I tried to resuscitate — no luck.

“This was all a wild goose chase to humiliate Ron Howard, wasn’t it? What’ve you got against Opie?”

“I don’t understand that reference, not being Australian. It was never about Howard, or Rudd. This was about getting a pot-shot at Australia’s REAL leader.”

“Was that a clone of Rudd?”

“Yes, but the original didn’t matter anyway. Remember, I’ve got all Canberran toilets wiretapped. Even toilets with… diplomatic immunity?”

He stared incredulously. “What does that mean?”

“My intended target has always been Australia’s rightful ruler, the Queen of England.”

His jaw dropped like a tea tray. “That’s…”

“When Rudd’s surly, surly swordsmen drag her out of her bath, the resulting diplomatic incident will shame them both and likely cause the British Empire to fracture! Warlords will roam the Outback once more, as it was in the days when Ron Howard’s iron fist was law!”

“But the statue…”

“The Torso of Artemis. I let Karl take it. After all, what use is it to him when the world’s only expert in ancient Greek belly dancing is… me? It’s about as useful to him as…” I had pretty much checked out by then. “You know, maybe a box. With another box in it.”

“WHY?! Why did you need to take me through all that?!”

I stopped. We were there. “Why, to distract you.”

A big sign hung over us, white letters on a green board.

Canberra Duck Park

Team 1 cracks open a can called whoop-ass!

Sometimes it comes in handy having your own private army. Jon had successfully managed to gain useful intel on penetrating IRS headquarters, despite the aid of Private "Game over, man" Hudson. In the meantime, Nepharia was completing her own part of the master plan.

I telepathically communicated with the leader of the Gold team. "Psylocke, engage."

"Yes, Professor," my psionic ninja responded in her alluring English accent. Her squad, which also included Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Gambit, snuck into the IRS building, using the codes Jon had obtained. Shadowcat, by hugging Psylocke around the waist, phased both of them through the building to Commissioner Shulman's office. There Psylocke used her mental powers to peer into Shulman's mind and then broadcasted the image to Gambit who, using a special high-tech device built by Forge, was able to encode the images on a disc which he transmitted digitally back to me. Nightcrawler snuck into the women's executive bathroom because, well, he's into that kind of thing.

With the mental images from Shulman's mind now in my computer system, I copied them onto a zip drive and handed it to Quicksilver. "Take this to the Blue team leader," I instructed. With a mind-numbing burst of speed, he ran to the Treasury Building in Washington, DC where IRS Commissioner Shulman was part of a panel chaired by Secretary Geithner. Shulman was in the middle of a Power Point presentation to the press about new revenue sources.

Quicksilver handed the zip drive to Mystique who was loitering in the back of the room. She instantaneously transformed herself into Stone Philllips and proceeded to storm to the front of the room. Her bold, masculine stride intimidated everyone she passed. No one challenged her as she marched onto the dais.

"Mr. Commissioner," she said to Shulman in a perfect imitation of Stone Phillips' commanding voice, "enough of this farce!"

Shulman gasped and shrank back before the power of Stone Phillips. "The public has learned of your plans to tax children's toys . . little, innocent children's toys . . 100 percent! Have you no shame, sir!" Mystique's voice thundered now. "How are the little children suppose to get The Rise of Cobra toys?? 100,000 children are marching on Washington as we speak! And it be on you're head, jackal!"

"Wow, that Stone Phillips is impressive," Secretary Geithner whispered to Neal Wolin, his Deputy.

"But what is even more egregious is that you plan to tax the Interwebs. The Interwebs! The last bastion of freedom and lawlessness in this world and you sir want to destroy it! One million online porn addicts are massing outside this building as we speak!"

The assembled press corps gasped. Shulman looked horrified. A dozen camera flashes went off in his face.
"But this," Mystique held up the zip drive, "this is the most . . disgusting . . depraved . . depths to which a mind can sink." She plugged the drive in the computer and put the image taken from Shulman's mind up on the giant screen behind the podium.

"This is you, at the Burning Man festival. This is the man that wants to steal from our children and deny us our internet porn."

The press screamed in horror as the cameras caught all the humiliating chaos. In the immortal words of our President, Mission Accomplised.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kidnapping Koma

I couldn't believe my ears.

"You want me to kidnap and interrogate Koma?" I asked Gyrobo. "But...but..."

"Why, yes my dear. You'll be perfect at it!" the robot said cheerfully. "After all, he's been gunning for you since day one. Wouldn't you say you have an axe to grind?"

"Hmmm, since you put it that way..."

"I knew you'd agree. Here, when you're done use this on him." Gyrobo handed me a small device.

"What will it do?" I asked, hoping my still wild electrical charges wouldn't fry the innards.

"Oh, you'll see." He laughed somewhat maniacally.

"Well, ok." I retreat to the inner rooms Gyrobo set aside and contemplate my next move. Obviously Koma is expecting us. It was nice of him to let us know where he's at. 2 hours south of Melbourne...unless it's a misdirective...

Wolverine storms in. "I can't believe that punk called me smelly."

I look him up and down. "I can't believe he called you little."

"So darlin'...want some help."

"Quite. Let me call the boys and we'll be on our way." Shatner and Kenobi have been hanging around me ever since I gave them those jobs when we were doing the Dagobah gig. I place a few quick calls on me cellphone and soon Kenobi materializes in front of me and Shatner beams in. "Ok,Kenobi...I need you to scout this out. Find Koma. He is really two hours south of Melbourne? Shatner...when Kenobi sends the word, I'll need you to either beam us there...or..."

"" Shatner grins evily.


While we wait, I indulge a little.

Just a little.

A few happy hours later, Kenobi gives us the location.

"So, do..." Shatner asked.

I consider. "Kenobi, lure him outdoors...and then Billy-boy, you beam the cocky aussie here..."

"Yes, Your majesty," Kenobi said with a nod of his head, disappearing again. I never should have told him I was a princess.

Shatner rubbed his hands gleefully and began chattering into his communicator.

I tune mine into Kenobi's end and listen...

"Now!" Shatner shouted.

A stunned Koma was deposited infront of us.

I nod to Wolverine who knocks the Aussie upside the head and ties him into a chair. Too bad there wasn't more of a struggle, there's nothing quite like watching male muscles. But that's beside the point, isn't it? Bennet would accuse me of thinking like a man and give me a hard time about it.

Rising slowly to my feet, I toss the rest of my wine into Koma's face.

"You!" he cries, waking back up. "I should have known it would be you, you red-headed..."

I can hear the electricity crackling at my fingetips. Koma apparently brings it out in me. "Go me a more time..."

Koma reconsiders. "Uhm, red-headed amazon..."

"That's better." I move slowly, gracefully around the table. Reaching out my hands, I act like I'm going to caress his cheek.

"No!" He starts crying. "Please! The last time you touched me, I was out for hours."

"That would explain your sudden obsession with ducks," I reply remember how I had accidently knocked him unconscious. He was never right after that.

"Actually, I've always loved ducks," he said, still sobbing.

"Nevermind." I reign my power in. "Come now, Koma. Don't make this hard for any of us. Just tell us what we want to know, and we'll go easy on you"

"Like I believe your promises. I don't know anything about the beer consipracy. Nor do I know the combination code to the Australian fence."

"Or the secret ingredient to the beer, I would imagine."

"Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows it's kangaroo pee..."

"Do you think I'm that stupid?" I demand. I step closer to the silly purple man and get in his face. "Kangaroo pee doesn't explain the addictive quality, or the mind numbing side effect that allows the drinker to be hypnotized and seduced."

Koma doesn't answer and I realize where he's looking. I slap him hard. "Quit looking at my boobs!"

"But you put them right in my face!"

"That doesn't give you permission to stare!" I walk away. "Wolverine, beat some sense into him."

"With pleasure."

"Noooo!" Koma starts crying again. "Please, don't..."

"Then give me what I want!" I storm back to him. "Tell me the numbers, the ingredient...everything!"


In a heart beat, I change tactic. "Koma, Koma, Koma..." I lean in close again. "Would you like to see them closer? What about touch them? Be with a real woman instead of those lame synthoids."

"I think I'm gonna be sick," mutters Wolverine.

"Give me a real woman and I will!" Koma nearly shouted. "You're no woman..."

I slap him again, this time releasing a touch of electricity. Just enough to put a glaze in his eyes.

"I've seen her in the bath," Wolverine admitted. "She's more woman than you'd ever be able to handle, bub."

"You weren't supposed to tell!" I hissed.

"7 - 4 - 4 - B..." Koma started to drool. "5."

I transmit the numbers to Gyrobo, hoping the silly purple man isn't just rambling.

"Hydroxy Solution #248, with a dash of NHY-987-O."

Well, not sure what to do with that but I'm sure it'll come in handy sometime.

"Go on Koma...what else..." I give him another small zap of electricity.

"I love ducks..."

"That's no secret...unless you mean..."

"I'm wearing pretty underwear..."

"I see."

I call Gyrobo. "What do you think?"

He laughs mechanically. "The code's legit, as are the ingredients. Good job, girl. Now use that button on him and leave him to me."

"Ok Boss," I reply. I snap my phone shut.

"I know now's not the time for a stupid question, but..." Wolverine scratched his ear. "Why do we need the combination to the fence? Why can't we just have your...Billy-boy beam him in and out?"

"Australia raised their Ionized Particle Shield when we beamed him out," Shatner answered from the corner, managing to string an entire sentence together. But it didn't last long. "Can't...beam...through."

"Good enough?" I asked Wolverine as I pulled out the device Gyrobo had given me.


Koma was still spouting information. "Cylons are coming...soon..."

"Thanks for the warning." I point my device at him and press the middle button.

"Whoa..." we all manage to say.

Our eyes clear and we wait for the little dots to disappear.

"Where's he go?" Wolverine asked.

The ropes around the chair are empty...we search the room frantically...

"Ow!" I exclaim as something bites my ankle. " he is...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: Ohhh, that BURNS me up

“Buddy, you want another one?” the bartender asked. “Are you gonna drink that one or make love to it?”

“Ha ha, if he was making love to it, he’d be done already,” I slurred as I slammed my hand on the bar. My own drink spilled from the enthusiasm. “Just kiddin’ man. Hey barkeep why don’t you give him a refill when you get me one. ‘Preciate it.”

“Thanks,” the guy in the nice suit next to me nodded as the man behind the bar worked up two more drinks for us.”

“Hey no problem,” I sloshed back at him. “I’ve got nowhere to go right now, really. I was in this game, you know Company Apprentice?”

“I don’t think so,” he shook his head.

“Yeah well it’s big, lemme tell ya,” I replied. “But then they fired me even though I put my résumé on paper. You’d think a paper company would appreciate that, but nooooo. So then what do they do? They go and then ask me to come back to help out my former teammate. Can you believe it?”

“I guess not,” he answered noncommittally.

“But I’ve got a plan,” I hiccupped triumphantly. “I’m gonna screw them all up just like that one chick did on that other Apprentice. What was her name? A’Mimosa? Amaretto? You know who I’m talking about.”

“Heh heh, yeah.” He held up his newly filled glass. “Hey, cheers, man.”

“You got it.” I sloppily clacked my glass against his and took a sip. “Hey, I’ll be right back. I have to drain the main vein.”

I stumbled past my new friend and into the men’s bathroom. As I stood in front of the single urinal, I heard the door open behind me.

“Jus’ a minute,” I called. “Occupied.”

I stuck my thumbs up just as I felt the garrote hit my neck.

Anyone who’s been in the business knows a great way to set up someone perusing you is to act drunk. It will make them think they have the advantage which actually puts you at an advantage. To drink a lot without getting drunk takes a little timing, ice to water down your drinks, and you have to spill a lot.

With my thumbs giving me just enough breathing room between the wire and my neck, I threw my body down and tossed my assailant right over me.

“I should kill you now, but I need you alive.” I quickly wrapped him up in my Superman S-Symbol Snaring Kit. Then knocked him out with a punch to the jaw.

My name is Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator. I used to be a contestant on Company Apprentice until…
Bennet: Blah blah blah. You’re fired.
When you’re fired, you’ve got nothing: no cash, no plane ticket home, no pencil sharpener or LED keychain tchotchkes. You’re stuck in whatever city they dump you in.
Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: Where am I?
Nepharia: You’re still in New York, idiot.
You do whatever work comes your way. You rely on anyone who’s talking to you. A lightsaber-happy dark Jedi.
Nepharia: Should we stab them?
An old friend who used to inform on you to the FBI…
Private Hudson: You know spies… game over for them, man.
Other friends too…
Private Hudson: [Phone rings] Hey is that your mom again?
Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: No, it’s Professor X, dummy.
Professor Xavier: Someone needs your help, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator.
Bottom line? Until you figure out who fired you… you’re not going anywhere.
Oh yeah wait, it was that tool Bennet.

“I’ve got everything we need man,” Hudson grinned. “Check it out! Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. Vwap! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks...”

“You sure we’ll be OK in this factory?” I asked.

“Yeah, my buddy owns it but it’s going to be closed for quite a while,” Hudson answered. “Looks like the economy is hitting the novelty dog poop business pretty hard, too.”

“Good,” I smiled. I had noticed our quarry tied to his chair had woken up but was still feigning unconsciousness. I tipped my head quickly towards him, Hudson smiled and walked over to the man.

“Wakey wakey,” the private said as he slapped the man in the face. “Hey Jon, I say we grease this rat frack son of a bitch right now.”

“No no, not yet,” I prodded Hudson away from him and looked down at the guy. “Tell me, what’s your name?”

“West,” he sputtered. “Agent Elliot West.”

“Look West,” I answered. “Can I call you West?”

He gulped and nodded.

“Look West, I don’t want to unleash the beast here.” I threw my thumb back at Private Hudson. “But he’s really itching to shoot something—”

“Or someone!” Hudson interrupted.

“Or someone right now,” I continued. “I know you’ve been following me and I’m just a little bit miffed that you are.”

When you have to get info out of someone, the classic set up is always the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. It’s well known and anyone with the right training can avoid succumbing to it, but there’s no doubt to its simple effectiveness. Of course with Hudson, you might call it the Good Cop/Dumb Cop routine.

“You’re being investigated because we got a tip that you were plotting an attack against the IRS,” he sputtered. “I was ordered to follow you to check it out. I’m just doing my job.”

“I know,” I answered. “I’m the one who made the tip.”

“You what?”

Hudson put the barrel of his pulse rifle against West’s temple. “Lemme kill ‘im,” he growled. “Come on Jon, lemme kill him!”

“No!” West cried.

“Not yet,” I pushed Hudson away again. “Well Agent West, you’re right. I am in a little group called the Americans Liberating the Oppression of IRS Dollars.”

“Altoid?” he asked.

“No thanks, I just had an Ice Breaker.”

“No, I’m saying your group’s acronym is ALTOID,” he explained.

“Shut up!” Hudson slapped the agent across the face. “We don’t need any smart mouth smartness out of you.”

“OK Hudson,” I held the Colonial Marine back like a corner trainer would hold back a caged beast in a boxing ring. “Take it easy.”

Hudson feigned another strike against the agent and then stalked away.

“We want you alive, Agent West,” I said. “Because I want you to get me into the IRS office.”


“I know there’s a security system and badges and codes and I just don’t have time to deal with all that,” I explained. “I need you to get me in and then I’ll turn you loose.”

“Don’t turn him loose,” Hudson pleaded. “Let me have him.”

“You’re going to turn me loose? I don’t believe it.”

I leaned closer towards West. “I’m not a killer like this guy,” I assured him. “In fact I’m more like you. You and I are a lot alike; I just want to do my job and then go home to my wife and kids.”

“I’m single…”

“Well you get my point nonetheless. And you will help and there’s going to be no funny business or else…”

I pulled Betsy, my blaster pistol, out just enough so he could see it.

“OK OK,” he sighed.

There are several ways to get into a high security installation. You can go in with a squad of well-armed and well-trained commandoes and guns blazing or you can do it the sneaky way. With the sneaky way, you can get in and do the damage from the inside before anyone knows it.

Agent West led me through the secured office. I kept a close eye on him to make sure he wasn’t tipping anybody off. He played it smart though, and soon I was in the main computer room.

“You’re gonna hack into the systems?” he asked. “No way. It’s triple layered super encrypted. Nothing on Earth can get through that.”

“Fortunately, I have this.” I pulled the Intergalactic Serial Port cable out of my Wristcomm and plugged it into the port on the mainframe. In no time at all, I was in the system and putting the false information into the system.

“What are you doing?” he blubbered.

“Just sending out a few official memos,” I answered.


“Oh yeah, and I can’t have you blabbing about what happened here, either.”

“Bu-but you said that you weren’t going to kill me!” he babbled.

I sighed. “Yeah, I know.”

I shot him with the sonic disrupter on my Wristcomm. He’ll remain unconscious for at least a day from the blast. Long enough for the memos to circulate.

Memo 1

Memo 2

Memo 3

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They are out there, somewhere.