Excerpt: 'From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain'
Friday, June 30, 1:43 P.M.
There's No "I" in Team, but You Can't Spell "Teamwork" Without "Me at Work"
"Omnipotent Man," shouted Iron Lass, "help me knock ziss monster off balance!" Her cloak exploding like coal dust and transforming itself into huge black wings, the Valkyrie streaked into the sky with Omnipotent Man behind her as a red, blue, and white flash.
The rest of the team scrambled in the badlands sands, narrowly escaping being crushed. With ever-increasing speed, the mile-high metal wheel of mayhem rolled its juggernaut path northwest toward the ten million people of Los Ditkos.
"What is that thing?" screamed Power Grrrl.
Buzzing above us and almost silhouetted by the flaming sunset, the Brotherfly whooped, "Muss be Codzilla's hula hoop!"
"Don't either of you know a kot-tam thing? That's Cyclo-Tron!" yelled the X-Man, gaping at the terror wheel rolling its long arc to merge onto the interstate toward its target. From this distance, Cyclo-Tron's twirling lights resembled an ultramassive Ferris wheel, but only for a carnival of destruction in which the cotton candy is made of pink insulation and the corndogs have sticks of dynamite inside them. "Nearly destroyed Houston in '78," yelled X-Man, "until—"
"—until Captain Alamo and the Confederate Wrecking Crew turned it into the world's largest spare-parts yard," said the Flying Squirrel, focusing his Squirreloscope on the retreating spectacle of Iron Lass and Omnipotent Man failing to knock over the unicycled behemoth. "Well, X-Man? We need a vehicle!"
The X-Man closed his eyes. Slowly, carefully, he enunciated the word au-to-mo-bile.
A geometry of shadows—onyx curves, lines, and planes—congealed in front of me, composing themselves into the finned sleekness of a shining 1955 Ford Fairlane. X-Man and his elder jumped inside, rocketing down the cracked and splintered highway. Meanwhile, Brotherfly wrapped his arms and legs around Power Grrrl to fly her away, scraping the ground occasionally with her legs from bearing the additional weight.
Clicking forward several miles, I found Iron Lass and Omnipotent Man swirling like chaff in a dust devil, desperately dodging deathbeams from the sinister spokes of the Cyclo-Tron. The wheel's blinding neon rays slashed mile-long smoking scars into the badlands, the rubble reeking of sulfur. Omnipotent Man was virtually invulnerable, but Iron Lass lacked the protection of her impregnable wings while airborne, and was ignitable as a chicken breast marinated in ethanol.
After witnessing Cyclo-Tron nearly incinerate the Brotherfly and Power Grrrl, Iron Lass swooped down to where they were flying mere inches above the badlands floor of cactus and purple sage. "Get her out uff here, you verdammt ik-noramus!" she yelled.
"Like, we have every right to be here?" shouted Power Grrrl, clinging to the Brotherfly's midsection like a baby possum to its mother's belly. Even while furious, she intoned her statements like questions, as if expressing uncertainty or seeking the permission of some unknown agency.
"You cannot do any goot here, Broderfly!" yelled Iron Lass. "Get aheadt to Los Ditkos—get ze civilians out of ze way!"
"But damn, Lass," said the Brotherfly, "you c'n fly faster than I can, specially with this lil girly-girl weighin me down!"
"Omnipotent Man unt I vill slow Cyclo-Tron down—now you get her out uff here!"
Off flew the two youngest members, and Iron Lass shouted to her partner to follow her lead. Zooming miles ahead on the highway and then hovering low, she swung her black longsword Darkalfheimsdottir toward the road. Muspells-fire belched from her blade, turning a hundred-yard stretch into a hundred-foot-deep flaming crater.
Streaking back another mile, the valorous Valkyrie dragged her white Grendelsmuter shortsword with her, the entire distance crackling into ice in her wake. "Vally, rip it up!"
Sweeping low like a stealth bomber, Omnipotent Man dug his arms beneath the skin of the road, ripping it into the air like grass clippings.
Cyclo-Tron rolled right through their speed bump, slowing slighty but not stopping.
Iron Lass: "Odin damn it!"
Omnipotent Man: "Hnossi, I unnerstand y'upset, but there's never any need for that kinda language, even if y'are invokin' your heathenish blasphemy again—"
"Vally, for ze love of fuckink Loki, just do sumsing!"
"Roger that, Iron Lass, ma'am," he said, streaking off.
Clicking over to Route 22 on the outskirts of Los Ditkos, I found the Brotherfly and Power Grrrl struggling to evacuate a Squirrel Burger drive-in franchise.
"Yo, my peeps," yelled the Brotherfly, crawling along the ceiling and yelling down toward the customers, "you gots to get your Squirrelly Fries and Nut Shakes on an turn yo highways to bye-ways, cuz danger is biz-anging on the door and briz-anging hell with it, kwamn sayin?"
Apparently none did know what he was saying, for staring back at him were nothing but blank eyes, while mouths kept chewing and seam-popping polyestered legs remained motionless beneath the bright pink furry tables.
"I got this one, Brotherfly!" said Power Grrrl. "Hear ye, hear me," she called out, disco lights streaming out of her bustier, a dance track thumping out of her Power Pumps. She sang:
"You got to get the move on, your groove on!
It's time for PG's smooth song, the lube song!
she intoned, rippling in her trademarked R&B/gospel trill,
"—can you think! slink! and JINK like ME?"
In a Squirrel Burger blink, sixty diners of all ages, body shapes, races, and genders simply disappeared.
Replacing them instantly, in the same chairs and the same poses, were threescore uniformed Power Grrrls, "booty-shaking" their way behind the original as she dance-beat them to safety outside and away.
A moment later, a gray-haired man in plaid slacks shuffled his way out of the restroom, reclasping his eagle-shaped "Elvis" belt buckle. Swooping down on him, the Brotherfly plucked him up and out of the restaurant an instant before Cyclo-Tron flattened the diner into an inch-high greasy crust of flaming rubble and burning food products.
Excerpted from From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister Faust. Copyright © 2007 by Minister Faust. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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