Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

The Power of The Freak

by Mathew D. Rhys

Ah, the city of--Washington DC? But where are those daring, darling do-gooders, the Powerpuff Girls? Why, they're at the Lincoln Memorial with Professor Utonium.

"Professor," Bubbles says, poking her head around the base of the great statue, "was this guy some kind of super-hero? He must have been for people to make such a big statue of him."

The Professor laughs. "We-ell, not really a super-hero, Bubbles, but a lot of people think was a great hero!"

"Well, what did he do?" Bubbles confusedly asks.

Blossom flies down from the ceiling and proudly states, "He freed the slaves during the Civil War."

"Yeah, Bubbles, don't be dumb." Buttercup says, pushing Bubbles from behind, "Everybody knows that."

Bubbles turns around and hits Buttercup with a flying tackle. "I am not dumb! Take it baaack!" Bubbles screams as she and Buttercup tumble to the ground.

They roll about yelling. The Professor walks up to the girls as Buttercup is about to lay a hefty punch into Bubbles. "Now girls," he says in calm and even tones, "this is not the way heroes act. I'm very disappointed in you both." The girls stand up in front of him with faces long and heads hung while Blossom floats smugly behind the Professor.

"Buttercup, it's a very bad thing to call anybody dumb. And Bubbles, you know better that to hit back."

"Unless it's a monster!" Blossom interjects as she flies up behind him.

The Professor turns to Blossom and frowns. "And you should know better than act in such a haughty manner, Blossom.

"You girls are heroes, and I love you; but you need to understand that there is more to being heroes than having powers and beating up monsters." Professor dramatically turns around and walks toward the seated form of the "Great Emancipator". "Being a hero is about helping people. Not because it's fun or exciting, and not because people like you, but because it the right thing to do."

Having dramatically lifted his hands, the Professor turns around, but the girls are nowhere to be seen. "Girls, come out here." Stark silence clamors above the tourist noises. "Blossom! Bubbles? Buttercup!?"

The Professor panics and runs to the surrounding tourists. "Have you seen my babies? Have you? My girls, oh my girls!" he cries. He runs up to a business man and grabs him by the shoulders. Have you seen my girls?" the Professor screams as he shakes the hapless clerk. "They're five years old and about this tall. They have beautiful eyes and the fly around. Have you seen them?! TELL ME YOU'VE SEEN THEM! HAVEYOUSEENTHEM!?" The businessman cowers beneath the tall, fear-enraged man.

PHWEET! The blast of a whistle shortly precedes a stern, "You'd best put that man down, Mister." Professor Utonium turns suddenly to see a blue-skinned man with a black domino mask dressed in a police officer's uniform, his electrically spiked hair jutting out from beneath the hat. The Professor follows the direction and the businessman crawls off into a nearby bush. "Now then," the blue man said in a manner almost too serious, "what seems to be the problem?"

"It's my girls, my babies. They're gone! They must have been KIDNAPPED!"

"Now that's quite a conclusion to jump to. Why would any one kidnap them?"

"Because they're the Powerpuff Girls!"

"Oh. I could see that," the blue man says matter-of-factly. Then he leans over and lifts the Professor to his feet. "Well," he said, "this is your lucky day!"

Professor Utonium half-stumbles back and confusedly asks, "What?!"

With a single, fluid, animated movement, the blue man tears off the uniform revealing a red spandex suit with a yellow "F!" emblazoned across the chest. The man steps close to the Professor and puts his arm around his shoulders. "Cheer up," the blue fellow says, tossing the policeman's hat behind him, "Freakazoid is here to help!" And with a blue-white flash the two men vanish.

* * *

Hi, I'm Freakazoid's sidekick FanBoy, and this is...

FUN FREAK FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL!
Did you know that Freakazoid can turn convert his body into semi-free electrons, allowing him to literally surf the 'Net. In the real world he can travel at speeds nearing the speed of light. That's really fast! Then why, you may ask does he drive the Freakmobile? Well, chicks dig the car! That, and the management of Gargando Burger refuses to serve sentient bolts of electricity in the drive-through!

* * *

In his ears the surf caresses the shore as the warm sun wafts down on his face. The soft wind blows down and Professor Utonium feels totally at peace.

"Prmphm Mtmhem, mahem mf," a soft voice seems to mutter. Puzzled, the Professor opens his eyes, only to be stunned my the face of an aged man in a tuxedo. Professor Utonium screams and jerks to the side, falling from his chair to the floor.

"Oh, sorry about that Professor Utonium. That's just my mute butler Ingmar. He kinda freaks out new people. I tried warning you, but you were asleep," Freakazoid declares form his computer console. "Ingmar get us some sandwiches please." Ingmar nods in ascent and walks on mumbling.

The Professor stands to his feet and looks around. He sees that he is in a huge subterranean cavern filled with computers and purposeless paraphernalia. "Where am I? How did I get here?" he asks.

"This is the Freaka-lair, and I brought you here from the Lincoln Memorial. You blacked out at about 10 G's. You didn't yack, though, so that was good."

Still very confused, Professor Utonium asks, "How did you know who I was?"

Freakazoid jumps to his feet and points an accusing finger at the Professor. "Oh, come on! You think that just because I'm blue and have streaked, spiky hair that I'm some kind of dim-wit?! That I'm not capable on reason, of research? Well, that's racism buddy and I am not going to stand for it!" he shouts in a manner worthy of Malcom X. Then he continues in softer, almost melodic tones, "Oh, and Ingmar handed me this when we got in." Freakazoid tossed the Professor a copy of the Washington Postal. The front-page is splashed with a picture of The Professor and the girls and the headline reads "Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium to visit DC."

The Professor walks up to the console and looks up to the giant screen. He points up the complex geometrical patterns and asks "What are we doing here?"

"Three-D Tetris," Freakazoid answers. The Professors jaw drops as Freakazoid then points to a smaller screen. Here, the Freaka-computer is collating and cross-referencing its databases to find why anybody in DC would want to kidnap your daughters. It should be done any second here."

Anxious, pregnant moments tick past as the Freaka-computer processes its data. With each second that passes, the Professor's worry grows greater and greater until finally the printer begins its telltale rattle. Freakazoid spins his chair to the printer and tears off the sheet. Then he reads it. "Hmm."

"Hmm?" the Professor responds.

"HmHmm," Freakazoid says, contemplatively raising an eyebrow. Ingmar returns with the sandwiches. Freakazoid takes one, begins eating it, and continues to look over the printout.

The Professor grabs Freakazoid by his shirt and yells, "What!? What does it say, man?!"

"Ithsh mah mms rthepy far shiken thupe."

"What?"

Freakazoid swallows hard and smilingly says "It's my mom's recipe for chicken soup!"

"What?! That's not possible!"

"Tell me about it. The thing's been pretty buggy ever since the show was canceled."

"What show?!"

"Um, yeah, well, if the Freaka-computer isn't working, we'll need to check with the man in the street!" And with a flash of light, Freakazoid grabs Professor Utonium and streaks out of the cave.

Within 2.5 seconds, the pair make a dime stop at the Smithsonian Castle. Freakazoid flags down an elderly janitor and asks, "Hey mister, why would anybody kidnap three super-powered, button-cute, five-year old, little girls."

The janitor looks tiredly up from his mop, and with weary eyes he examines Freakazoid's beaming face. His gaze drops to the floor as he mutters, "Suicidal--mumble grumble--death wish--grunt."

"Oh-kay! Thanks, guy!" the Freak says just before he flashes to Union Station. The time is now four-thirty in the afternoon, and the station is crammed with people. Freakazoid corrals a tourist group of older women and in a loud voice addresses them all, "Ladies, I need some help here. Who would kidnap the Powerpuff Girls?"

He receives a bevy of replies. "Maybe somebody who is very lonely." "Or someone who liked tea parties and dresses." "Perhaps somebody very fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." "Maybe the culprit just wanted to be loved." The women join in a chorus of agreement and lauding at the last suggestion, which prompts Professor Utonium to slap his own forehead and wonder why him. He approaches Freakazoid and opens his mouth to speak, but before he can make utterance he is blinded in a burst of luminescence.

Once he can see again, the Professor finds himsself lying under a bush. He blinks to be certain he is awake, and then says, "Where am--"

Before he can finish, a white-gloved hand jumps to his mouth. "Shhh!" the Freak whispers. "We're in Arlington National Cemetery."

"What are we doing here?"

Staring intently out of the bush, Freakazoid says, "Tick, sir. Tock, sir. Mr. Knox, sir." The Professor gives the Freak a confused look. Without turning to acknowledge the look, the Freak replies with a brisk, "Nevermind." He then turns to the Professor and says, "Listen this is very important. When I say three, we both need to jump out of this bush at the same time okay?"

"Well, I guess--"

"'I GUESS' ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH!"

"I'M READY!"

"THREE!"

The two men lunge from the bush, but trip over each others ankles. End for end they roll down a steep hill until they land loudly at the bottom. Instantly, sirens sound over the area and two very disoriented men are handcuffed together.

"All right!" Freakazoid yells, "That was so cool!"

"What happened?" the Professor asks.

"We just rolled down a big hill at Arlington National Cemetery."

Professor Utonium grabs Freakazoid by the shoulders and looks him straight in the eyes. "But why?"

"I thought it would be fun, and boy was it ever!"

"Okay, you two, get you hands way in the air!" a bull-horned voice from behind a police car says. Freakazoid squints and makes out the form of a squat, heavy set cop walking towards him. "Freakazoid, what are you doing here?" the cop asks.

Freakazoid smiles, waves his spare hand and says, "Oh hi, Cosgrove. Me and Professor Utonium here just rolled down that big hill."

"Sounds like fun. Hey, the International Yogurt Fest is going on. You wanna come?"

"Do I!"

* * *

Meanwhile across town in the basement of an abandoned opera house, the Powerpuff Girls awake to the sound of an aged organ playing a Baroque arrangement. The haunting minors float through their ears and through the air, as cobwebs shake with the rhythm. Suddenly, the music shifts from J. S. Bach to George Clinton. A "wa-wa'ed" based joins the organ, and up from the keyboard stands a six-foot-five, blue-gray beast with long, curled horns and a white sequined leisure suit. Bubbles shrieks out, "The Boogie Man!"

"That's right, little ones. The Boogie Man unleashes his master plan," the beast says as he steps from behind the organ.

"You'll never get away with this, Boogie!" Blossom shouts.

"Enough talk," Buttercup says, "let's pound him!" The other two girls look at Buttercup and, smiling wicked smiles, nod their assent.

As one, the leap toward their captor, but their flight is stopped dead and they fall to the hard, concrete floor.

"Hahaha," the Boogie Man laughed "You girls failed to look behind you. If you had, you would have seen the magic chains that hold you there. You cannot escape!"

Blossom stands and brushes herself off. "What do you want with us, Boogie?"

The Boogie walks over to the girls and points and accusing finger down to them. "You pests have done more than any one to ruin my party and collapse my reign. Townsville is mine, and I intend to reclaim it."

"But we're in Washington, DC," Bubbles says, very confused.

"He thinks keeping us away from Townsville is going help his succeed," Buttercup says through her teeth. "Well listen here, Boogie Man, once I get out of here, you are dead-meat."

"Oh my!" he says in mock fear, "Whatever shall I do? Hahaha, you silly girls! Don't you know who I am? I'm the Boogie Man!

"You pesky girls and all your cuteness! You've destroyed the creepy energies of Townsville, as it's people gained confidence in you three, it's favorite daughters. So when I heard you were coming here to DC, I saw my chance. The nation's capitol has no lack of creepiness. Plenty to spare, in fact. So this town's bogeyman will never miss what I'm using."

"Is. That. So?" a wispy voice says from the other side of the basement. The girls and the Boogey turn to see a black-garbed man wearing a gray cowl float eerily toward them a mere six inches from the ground. In his right hand, he carries a floating length of rope, which trails out behind him as he moves. In his left hand is a single, lit candle in a candle stand.

As he comes closer, Bubbles is the fist to make out the skull embroidered on his cowl. She stifles a shriek.

The newcomer disregards the girls and floats toward the monster. "Boogie Man," he breathes.

"Candle Ja-" the Boogie stops suddenly and throws the newcomer a wry smile. "I'm not gonna fall for that one."

"Is my esteemed colleague afraid to address me by name--to say the name Candle Jack? Do not fear, Boogie, title and power have wrested from me."

"Jack, say it ain't so! Who is powerful enough your place?"

"Strom Thurman."

Uneasy, silent moments follow until Buttercup speaks up. "Who are you?" she asks.

Candle Jack turns and says, "I am the bogeyman."

"But I thought you were the Boogie Man," Blossom says, addressing the horned beast.

"Oh, he is," Candle Jack continues. "There are many bogeymen--one for every city, town, and hamlet."

"Yeah, but some are more successful that others," the Boogie Man says

Candle Jack looks at the Boogie in disgust. "Oh, really? Well, what is this I see?" Jack motions to the girls. "You have kidnapped little girls in another town because you cannot maintain your own rule! Is that the best you can do? What's next, air-dropping thousands of pictures of Christina Ricci over Townsville?"

The Boogie Man stands face-to-face with Candle Jack and pokes him in his chest. "Just what did you come here for, Jack?" he practically spits.

"I just came to warn you. Freakazoid will soon find you, and you cannot creep the Freak." Jack turns and floats toward the stairs. "The up-shot is that your defeat may give me the edge unseat Thurman. And then, beware whose name you say. If I capture you, I will not be merciful." And with that, Candle Jack fades into shadow and smoke, just like his namesake.

* * *

Professor Utonium looks around nervously, his gaze skittering about the room. He stands watching a yogurt making demonstration at the International Yogurt Fest. To his right stands Cosgrove, a member of the DC Police, and chained to his left is the superhero he's come to know as Freakazoid. The two men seem utterly entranced with the exhibition as they lean against a guard rail, but the Professor can only think of his daughters.

Finally he can take no more. "WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?! WE NEED TO FIND MY GIRLS!"

"Okay, Professor," Freakazoid calmly says, "chill out. Feel the Zen of the the yogurt!"

"He bi-ya-oob da," the Professor mutters.

The Freak returns to watching the yogurt makers at work. "Quite a thing, ain't it?" he asks.

Cosgrove nods. "Sure is."

At this, the Professor begins to beat his head into the guard rail.

After a few minutes, Cosgrove says, "Hey, Freakazoid, I heard a weird thing on the police band in the car."

"Oh, really? What was it?"

"I guess someone has air-dropped thousands of pictures of Christina Ricci over the City of Townsville. Covered the place."

"Christina Ricci?" Freakazoid asks. "Creepy." A moment later, a spark of realization flashes across his face. He grabs the Professor around the waist and says, "ThanksalotCosgrovegottago." Then he flashes away.

The Freak hauls the Professor all around Washington until he finds the dilapidated opera house. He races into the basement and faces The Boogie Man.

"Halt, evil doer, or feel my wrath! Or something like that," Freakazoid says, standing valiantly with his fists on his hips.

The Boogie Man turns to see the men. Looking at Freakazoid he says, "And who are you supposed to be?"

"Well, I'm Freakazoid. I'm afraid I didn't get your name," Freakazoid says, but before the Boogie can speak, the Professor steps forward and points with his left arm, pulling Freakazoid along with him.

"Boogie Man! Let my girls go!"

"HAHAHA, foolish mortals. I have been absorbing energy since I arrived in this city. You are no match for me!" With that, the Boogie Man lowers his shades and claps his hands together. Black energy crackles and pops, jumping across the gaps between his hands like electricity.

Professor Utonium and Freakazoid jump left to dodge a dark blast. Freakazoid turns to the Professor and excitedly says, "Hey, Professor, I've got a great idea! Hold him off until I get back." And with that, the Freak zaps up the stairs and outside, leaving Professor Utonium with half-empty hand-cuffs and a vengeful, magic wielding bogeyman. The Professor starts running

Through the city streets and into the suburbs the manic lightning bolts. Freakazoid slows imperceptibly as he nears a certain bland and unassuming house.

Inside, a pudgy and pimpled young man, FanBoy (erstwhile irritant and sometimes sidekick), sits at a table while his tired mother stands, washing the dishes.

"I think the segment went really well, don't you think? I mean it was well researched and all. But I hope I did seem too presumptuous. Maybe for the next one, I'll interview Lord Bravery or..." and on and on FanBoy goes. His mother utters weary affirmations when FanBoy takes time to breath.

A blue-white blaze blows past the kitchen hall and then through the kitchen. "HiFanBoyIhadtoborrowyourlightsabreI'llbringitrightbackthanks," Freakazoid says as he zooms out the door.

"What was that, honey?" FanBoy's mother says.

"I didn't say anything, Mom."

"Oh, that's nice."

Within seconds, Freakazoid is back at the opera house. Carefully, he creeps down the stairs. He can hear the Boogie Man's maniacal laughter and his gloating words. He hears the girls crying. Then he makes his move.

Freakazoid leaps from the stairwell and runs in between the Boogie Man and the girls. "Hold it right there, Boogie. You come into my town, you answer to me."

"Well, look at the jive superhero. HAHA! Well, boy, you might call yourself Freakazoid, but I'm the super-freak!" The Boogie Man holds his hands shoulder-width apart and creates a bolt of black energy. Then he releases it at Freakazoid. In less time than it takes to tell, the Freak reaches behind his back and pulls out FanBoy's Authentic LucasArts Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsabre, and activating it, deflects the "darkning bolt".

Shocked, the Boogie Man steps back and mutters, "Impressive. Most impressive." And then lunging at Freakazoid, he shouts, "But you can't keep me down yet!"

The Boogie releases volley after volley of the black blasts, each parried by the Freak. To the left and to the right, Freakazoid blocks each and every blast, the throbbing beam his steady aid.

Freakazoid now turns from defense to attack, forcing the Boogie Man to use the unwieldy bolts to block the lightsabre. The Freak continues the onslaught until he has the Boogie backed into a corner. Holding the blade to his throat, Freakazoid asks, "Do you yield?"

"HAHAHA!" the response comes. "Do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side of the Groove." Suddenly, the Boogie Man throws his arms up and blows the Freak back with a wave of dark energy. Freakazoid hits the floor with a crack and the lighsabre skids across the floor.

The Boogie Man steps closer and begins to blast away at Freakazoid. The Freaks body convulses with the energy and he writhes on the floor. The Boogie bends over Freakazoid and says, "Now what made you think you could take me on, Blue Boy."

Freakazoid sits straight up and says with a smile, "Well, when you've beat one bogeyman, how tough can another be?"

Stunned, the Boogie Man regains his composure and begins to fire a huge blast at his opponent. Freakazoid cups his hands in front on him and catches the bolt, absorbing the energy.

"Wow," he says, "that sure tickles the old liver!"

Again the Boogie Man fires and again the Freak absorbs. The Boogie collapses, exhausted.

"Oh, by the way," Freakazoid says, "I feel I should probably tell you that I've been tricking you into using all that 'creepy energy' so the girls could get free."

The Boogie Man looks up in horror as the three girls fly from behind Freakazoid and straight through the ceiling above him. Daylight pours over him and smoke pours off him. The Boogie Man runs screaming toward a still darkened corner and vanishes in the shadows.

* * *

Professor Utonium and the girls stand outside the Lincoln Monument with their new friend Freakazoid. The girls are floating around him and everyone is happy.

"Wow, Freakazoid," Blossom says, "that was some great planning."

"Yea, it's not very often we need rescued," Bubbles giggles

"Well, we'd have escaped eventually," Buttercup adds, "but thanks."

"Well," Freakazoid says, "you girls are so welcome. It really was my pleasure!"

The Professor looks the Freak in the eye and says, "Freakazoid, I have to say how sorry I am. For quite a bit I was very angry and judgmental of you, but you never stopped trying to save my little girls. And you did. You're just the kind of hero I hope my little angels grow up to be."

"Wow. Thanks. Professor."

As the two men shake hands, a black and white police sedan pulls up. The window rolls down and Cosgrove sticks his head out. "Hey, Freakazoid! You want to see a kid make a rocket out of a pop bottle?"

"Do I?" Freakazoid shouts as he begins to run to Cosgrove's car. He stops dead and turns around. "Hey! Do you guys wanna come?"

Professor Utonium looks to the girls and the girls to the Professor. They turn to Freakazoid and in unison say, "Yeah!"

And so the day is saved, thanks to Freakazoid!

The highly odd Mathew D Rhys is an obsessive storyteller and family man whose wife graciously allows him to prattle aimlessly, and gives him no end of joy in life. He hopes to one day write comics his son can read. You can read his original character fiction at dreamerpress.cjb.net.

 
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