I think a lot about mashup novels. I love the classics, but I also love out of place zombies and such. It's a delightful juxtaposition for my spastic imagination. Related to this is my relentless pursuit of completely useless knowledge (My friend was invested in Spider-Ham but seemed less interested in a gerbil man-thing existing) So I have googled mashups and variations and unofficial sequels to nearly every classic franchise that interests me, when I hit a bizarre roadblock. Tarzan, of all things.
What can you throw at him? He's dealt with dinosaurs and monsters and aliens. He's been to the center of the Earth. He's been to Mars. He fought Kong. He fought Dracula. He's met Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein's monster. But really none of that matters because Tarzan eats weird for breakfast. He's a bit like Ash Williams in that way, only much more extreme, in that I could see Tarzan at a fancy tea party, Ash not so much.
Tarzan can be put into any bizarre situation because he'll take it in stride. Space, the future, Hell. Tarzan would find a way to not only survive, but to thrive. Tarzan cannot be mashed because he does not live in the ridged world of, say, Sherlock Holmes or the world of Tom Sawyer. You can mash those things with werewolves or aliens because they are so out of place in that setting that it becomes interesting. Whereas if you add Cthulhu to a Tarzan story all you have is a Tarzan story with Cthulhu. Yes, I'd read that story, but it would be just another weird adventure for Tarzan. Write him into Moby Dick and you will have Moby Dick with Tarzan (another book I would read) Him being on the boat wouldn't break the setting any more than it would displace him as a character.
Tarzan will never be a notorious mashup novel for snooty people to hate, not because he has long since passed the genre mixer stage, but because he is simply too flexible to be forced into any setting or genre or time period. He is Tarzan the Un-Mashable.
Archivist note: To further streamline the reading experience presented here, some stories have been considered non-canon per this archivist. To those whom feel I have overstepped my bounds I will remind this is a fan project. These stories have not been removed from the main list out of any malicious intent. It is purely an objective decision to improve the overall timeline. You are encouraged to visit the stories contained in this non-canon list for their own literary merit.
The story must connect to the larger connected universe. No story will be considered non-canon regardless of content or quality so long as it connects to the bigger story. The bigger story is defined by any continuous or related story arc shared by 2 or more authors, or which spans more than one multi chapter story
For years people have theorized as to the origins of the gen one ghostly trio. Cute theories to be sure, but somewhat tripped up over them being part of a continuous evolutionary line.
The truth is so much simpler. What Pokemon is a purple toxic ball with a toothy grin? Uhhh, Koffing anyone? Gastly is called the gas Pokemon, Koffing is the poison gas Pokemon. Both have the levitate ability. Both are in the amorphous breeding group. Both have a weakness to Psychic. Both are immune to Ground. Both have resistance to Poison/Bug/Grass and Fairy type. And they share some attacks--
So that's my original theory. Gastly is the ghost of a Koffing. There are still quite a few differences, but maybe something gets lost between life and death or something. This theory works better then Cloyster / Gastly or Clefairy / Gengar anyway.
I'm okay with Nintendo introducing a new type. I wish they would make more types. I'm even fine with older Pokemon being reclassified as Fairy type. Well, therein is where my complaint lies actually. Looking over the 34 Pokemon labeled as Fairy type, there are is an obvious trend, which just makes the odd ones seem more odd, and makes the absence of one family glaringly obvious.
If you look over the list, you see most of them are pink, cuddly or both. Or they have a certain graceful look, like Gardevoir and Flabebe. Dedenne seems tacked on as the generations Pikachu, and as an excuse to have an electric/fairy.
So where is the complaint you ask? Hmmm, what cute pink, and cuddly Pokemon is absent? Oh, I dunno, maybe Chansey??
Yes. Suspiciously absent from this grab bag of critters is the Chansey family: Happiny, Chansey, and Blissy. I guess there wasn't room with the mime, and the nightmare known as Mawile. Cause when I think fairy I automatically think about Mime's and steel-jawed alligator monstrosities. Or a set of sentient keys. Cause sure, okay.
I really don't know how this happened. Clefairy and Jigglypuff got in. Chansey family should have been an obvious shoo in for Fairy type. I mean, was there a cut off number? Its not like they tried to divide them up evenly by generation or whatever.
Other Pokemon that should have been Fairy type over Mr Mime or Mawile.
Long ago before there were a million freaking Pokemon to catch, there was a mouse thing called Cubone (there still is, I'm just in story telling mode.) Anyway, the story was that all the Marrowak (Adult Cubone's for those not in the know) had been killed by dastardly Team Rocket in Pokemon Tower. Pokemon Tower being the place dead Pokemon were laid to rest. Cause you know, kids game...
Also best not to contemplate what animals that use bones for armor and weapons would be doing in a graveyard. Cause that's kinda messed up.
So the story goes that Team Rocket killed Cubone's mother, leaving the poor Cubone cub(s) orphaned. And in his sorrow Cubone put his mothers skull over its own head, never to remove it again. Then end.
Kinda melancholy, sure, but it was an okay story in gen 1. Then came gen 2 and the wonderful world of Pokemon breeding. And that smashed the Cubone story to bits. Because why would Cubone miss its mother if its mom is in your party? And more alarmingly, whose skull is it wearing??
Lets come back to that. Another gen 1 that seems a tad off storywise is Kangaskhan. She's one of those odd gender singular mons. Always female. And even though she always has a baby in her pouch, she has no pre-evolution. Its been theorized (I don't know how true this is) that Cubone was supposed to be the baby Kangaskhan originally.
Now I know baby Kangaskhan is purple rather then burnt orange/brown, but adult Kangaskhan isn't purple herself. And as illustrated above, there are some similar physical traits between Marrowak and Kangaskhan. So how do we go about bringing these two together, especially since this would bring the evolutionary stage count to a record breaking 4?
First, we make the Kangaskhan child its own thing. Baby Pokemon exist, so there's nothing new there. I say it should be called Kangaskhid myself. : P
Kangaskhid (Female) could evolve into Kangaskhan through normal leveling. Khangaskhid males would not evolve unless traded while holding a Kangaskhan skull, at which they would become Cubone. The Pokedex entries could be changed to say something like "Cubone wear the skulls of their ancestors to honor them." Or something like that. This way Cubone keeps its design, its back story makes sense, and we get a new Pokemon to boot.
I'm Wv and I blog about Pokemon so you don't have to.
This is a bit of a throw back. This takes place at the end of the first Howard story arc "A time paraducks" and obviously picks up where Joygirl left off AXF. It also takes place before the events of Tales from the Raft. There is a reason it starts where it does. You'll see why in a few issues.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, New York:
Dr. Kirby Martell sighed as she heard her name being called. Of all the robotic technicians on the flying brick that was the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, she was the one that got called most. "What is it now?" she asked Agent Coulson, who had fallen into step beside her. "Another Iron Man villain suit gone rogue?"
"Not since the last incident. We remove anything that looks like a power core now." Coulson replied with a wry smile. "This one is strange, even for us.It was called in by a former A.R.M.O.R. operative. Truth be told, this could technically fall under their jurisdiction of operation."
"So why aren't they handling it?" She asked as they passed through the holding area. Before he replied something in one of the holding rooms slammed into the reinforced door of its cell, causing a huge dent. mark.
"Damaging government property will add to your sentence Mr Rhino." Coulson called calmly through the door to the raging monster. Kirby didn't think she would ever get used to working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson on the other hand seemed bred for this job.
'Or grown' The thought made her smile till she remembered it wasn't exactly an impossibility.
"A.R.M.O.R. is dealing with more pressing matters. They asked Director Hill to handle this as a favor."
"And Director Hill wanted me..."
"Mud flows downhill Dr. Martell." Coulson replied as they entered the level three holding area. "Here's your entertainment for the night." he pulled a cover sheet off the half crushed body of Dr. Bong. "According to our witness, this is a case of a chronological anomaly."
"Why's he wearing a bell for a helmet?" She asked. She had seen some absurd costumes, but this one took the cake.
"Its designed to imitate in action and appearance a lessor known villain called Doctor Bong."
"Never heard of him." Kirby replied.
"You wouldn't have. He's considered a Delta level threat. So he serves at Rykers Island when he's caught. But if he someday gets time travel technology..." He let it hang in the air.
"Right. I'll get right on him, er, it." She replied.
* * *
The Nightengale, heading towards Portland, OR.
"Almost there team." Domino said over the intercom. "Might hit a little turbulence." She added as an after thought. Venom's claws gripped his hand rests a little harder, the only sign of anxiety he would allow themself.
"I want to make a Rocket Man joke, but I'm afraid Emo Spider-Man there will snap and eat my face." Deadpool grumbled.
Not if he got a good look at it first. Yellow Box interjected
"I resent that. Emo's give vampires a bad name." Jubilee called back from the seat in front of Venom.
"Dude, we've been over this back in issue 2. You're my straight man. I do the jokes." Deadpool replied. "Know who was a great straight man?" he continued without waiting for a reply, content with the sound of his own voice. "Old Frankie. I don't think he's cracked a smile like, ever."
Talk about emo.
Thank goodness this is a filler issue, cause the jokes are kinda weak.
"Do not compare us to Spider-Man and his antics." Venom hissed. "Our methods are better then his. We remove crime, rather then giving it to the police to babysit."
The Dark Beast listened to the conversation quietly, making mental notes based off their interactions. Wade could be directed, if not controlled. Jubilee was accustomed to a team environment, and Domino was a soldier. If any of them was going to endanger the mission, it would be Brock. Domino had her private orders, in the event of the unfortunate.
Mercy awoke with the sunrise, as she always did. it didn't matter that after two weeks she had finally caught a day off. Even sleep deprived, Mercy wasn't one for sleeping in. She loved watching the sun come up while sipping a mug of black coffee. It was always put her in good spirits, seeing a day born so full of promise. She gave her orange cat Booster a scratch behind the ears and poured him some over priced cat food. She then decided to boot up her computer and work on her book for a couple of hours.
* * *
Some hours later, and elsewhere in the city another person was thinking about their second career as well. His apartment was messy, but not filthy. His uniform hung on a hook inside his closet. The mask's lower half was open to allow freer speech. he didn't understand how Spider-Man could fight bad guys while trying to breath through that mask of his. "Probably better fabric" The figure mused aloud.
Lately things hadn't been going so well for him. He was in danger of losing his crap job, his girlfriend only stayed with him because she had a cape fetish, and he had never really broken into the hero business. Maybe it was the name. Then again, Spider-Man seemed to do well enough, and spiders themselves were generally viewed as creepy. His dusty old police scanner suddenly crackled to life.
"All units all units, we have a Code Blue situation at the George Washington Bridge. Use of excessive force has been approved."
"Code Blue?" The man said to himself. "Meta-human scoundrels are afoot! Innocent civilians are in danger!" He quickly slipped into his hand made costume. As he stepped out onto the fire escape he remembered how much he hated heights. Taking a deep breath, he leaped off the fire escape, and flew with haste to the George Washington Bridge.
* * *
Mercy decided it was time for a late breakfast. She had made good progress and had earned a small break. She decided to check her email before she left the apartment. There was a live update from the local news station, and she clicked on it. Then immediately wished she hadn't.
"Oh my god." Mercy whispered, horrified at the damage one psycho had caused.
"The terrorist responsible has been apprehended by Thor, but this story is far from over. One unnamed hero was ruthlessly gunned down by Bullseye. A member of Code Blue is in critical condition, and-- Wait, Thor just collapsed to the ground. He looks hurt bad. Rescue teams and various members of the hero community are working to get the survivors out of the water..."
Mercy closed her laptop, as if that would shut out the horror. As if all those lives wouldn't be lost if she didn't listen to the story. "Looks like my day off got cancelled." She told her cat grimly. She grabbed her purse and left the sanity of her cozy apartment. Her phone buzzed a moment later.
"Whats going on at the Bugle? Did Bullseye hit there too?" She hurried down the stairs and hailed the first cab she saw, hoping it wasn't a sarcastic duck man again, because this just wasn't the day for that. "George Washington Bridge." she told the driver who appeared human.
"I hear their closing the streets that lead to it." The driver replied. "Something about Thor destroying the bridge. Doesn't surprise me, after what he did to the Wrecking Crew." Like a lot of people in tragic situations, the driver clearly wanted to blame someone. And sadly enough it was often the heroes that got crucified in the media for their failures.
* * *
Howard awoke from his nap, having slept through all the excitement and picked up the evening edition of the Daily News, a smaller news paper that basically ran the stories the Bugle didn't want. Plus it was a cheap read.
Howard looked over at the stack of Bugle papers, and saw an interesting contrast between the two papers. "Bugle is proven right!Spider-Man revealed to be Menace" its headline crowed. The picture showed Spider-Man walking towards a broken window in the Bugle office. Under the picture it said, "Masked menace to society hangs up his webs."
"Oh boy." Howard groaned. he had that bad feeling again. Like all this was just the pre-show and the main event was yet to come.
"Rrrrrrrrrrrr" Came another moan from the passenger side of the cab. This one hitting at the glass with its rotten hand, leaving a greasy smear with each thump. The crash seemed to have knocked the guy in the back seat out. Howard could see he was breathing though.
"Rrrrrrrrr" Another zombie started to crawl up over the hood of the taxi. Howard didn't know what had happened, or where they were. All he knew was they needed to get somewhere else. Fast. He tried to start the cab. Rrrarrrrarrra. It made a sound eerily similar to the zombie sounds.
"Come on you piece of sh--" He slammed a hand on the wheel and cranked it again, to no avail.
"Rrrrrrrrrrr" A crack formed on the window one zombie was beating insistently at, like a desperate salesmen.
"We don't want any." Howard told the zombie, and cranked again, risking flooding it. With a sudden start the car came to life. But from the sounds under the hood, it wasn't much more alive then the zombies assaulting it. Howard drove backward, smashing zombies unfortunate to be behind him. The tires briefly spun out, trying to catch purchase on the slimy ground. Howard noticed the fuel gauge needle dropping to E quickly. Apparently the fuel line had been broken during the crash. Or maybe one of the smarter zombies was an undead mechanic. Whatever the case, they weren't going to get far. Howard drove as fast as he dared with the car laboring through a crowded street. Trash and leaves piled up in the gutters and up besides buildings.
It was obvious this version New York City had been going to seed for years. He half expected some super zombie in tattered spandex to jump the taxi, but he only saw more undead regular humans. Crawling through the streets and wandering out of open doorways. Howard parked the taxi on a quiet side street and turned in his seat. He saw no reason to get out. Yet.
"Hey man." He grabbed Charles by the jacket lapels and shook him roughly. "Something happened. We're in a George freaking Romero movie. Wake up!" He slapped the man across the face, but he didn't wake up. "Great. Busted taxi in a zombie world, with an unconscious fare to babysit. This is more crap then a duck should have to deal with." He gave Charles another hard shake, then let him fall back against the back seat.
Howard noticed more undead appearing, drawn by the movement and sounds of the taxi. At the same moment he saw the mans bag on the seat besides him. "I hope you're the packing type." Howard muttered, unzipping the bag. Inside was an ARMOR badge, several pieces of disjointed armoring, and a gun that was too big to be a civilian weapon. "Hello beautiful." Howard breathed, digging into the bag.
* * *
Outside the taxi the hordes of the undead bumped into each other mindlessly as they lurched toward the yellow vehicle, eager to be the first ones there. Word travels fast in a dead city. With no traffic, or cars, or TVs to make noise, zombies from blocks around had heard the hungry moans of their brethren. Not the questing groan that they all issued at all times. No. This was the groan of the hunt. Of pursuit.
The driver side door opened, and Howard stepped out. The guys body armor fit his short body pretty well. The upper body parts anyway. Gripped in his hands was Charles's plasma gun. He climbed on the trunk of his cab to get the high ground and better defend himself and his passenger. It was like ringing the dinner bell and the army of the decaying surged forward. "Alright, you want some fresh duck? Come get some." It was kinda an absurd line, since there was no one around to hear it. It brought a grim smile to Howard's face anyway.
He started firing, and at first it was like zombies in a barrel. Zombies exploding in a spray of mess and gore. More and more they came. Seemingly an army of the dead. "Get your hand off me you damned hairless ape!!" he shook a zombie off his leg before reducing it to cream of zombie soup with a blast. There were too many of them, and the ammo wouldn't last forever. "At least this way I'm spared the chili in the fridge." Howard told no one as the revenant horde closed in. A hand on his shoulder made him spin around and pull the triggor, but it clicked on empty.
"Come on." Charles yelled, pulling Howard towards the roof on the cab.
"Whaaa?" Howard started to ask as he was hurried forward. The two of them landed in the street, and a car just barely stopped short of hitting them. They were back in non zombie overrun New York.
"You saved my life." Charles exclaimed. "How can I thank you?"
"With three hundred dollars in fare. Travelling to alternate realities cost extra." Howard replied without a smile. "Oh, and someone owes me a new taxi."
"What is this you're giving me Liddle?" Jameson tossed the blurry, out of focus photo back on the desk. It was so bad it was cliche. Like pretty much every picture of a "monster" ever taken by a tourist. It looked even to her eyes like a bad hoax. Just a blur of green with a splotch of red that had been the creatures eye as it had turned away from her. If she hadn't seen it, hadn't felt the things touch on her, she would not have believed it herself.
So she understood Jameson's attitude. Plus he would have been surly if she had walked the monster itself in here. You couldn't really win with JJ. You just tried to score higher then last time. "Lance was unconscious. And it was a surreal moment. You had to be there boss. I just snapped the picture as an afterthought." She started to pick up the photo like she was leaving.
"Sit down. Gimme that." Jameson snapped, snatching the photo from her hand. He gave it a glance, then looked off into space again. Mercy could practically hear the wheels in his head spinning. "We'll push it to page two. Search for the mysterious Man-Thing continues. Where is Luke anyway?"
"Lance, sir. He's at the downtown hospital now--"
"Take a taxi and pick him up. I have a new story for you two." He pulled a file out of a desk drawer and tossed it across the desk. "A killer on the loose, and not the useful kind like Castle." He said without irony, even though he often ranted against Spider-Man being a vigilante. The photos were beyond disturbing. Each victim had been ritually slaughtered. Flayed, gutted. It made Mercy sick to her stomach.
"How.." she started to ask. If this case was ongoing, the police would never release them to a newspaper.
"Friends in high places." Jameson replied. "Ghoul calls himself Zodiac."
* * *
"Taxi!!" Mercy yelled, flagging down the first one she saw. "Thanks for stopping." She said as she climbed in the back.
"No problem." The cabbie grunted, pulling his cap a little lower. To block glare she assumed. "Where to lady?"
"One seventy William street. The hospital." She replied. Now that she could relax and catch her breath, she couldn't help but notice the cab driver was short. Really short. In fact, he looked like a human duck hybrid. "Has anyone ever told you--"
"Like a duck. Yup." he grunted again, tapping ashes off his cigar out the window. "Maybe cause I am a duck" He replied so flatly she had no trouble believing him.
"Where are you from." She asked, trying to recover from her surprise.
"Cleveland." He replied, and this time she hear a smirk in his voice. As if he were telling an old joke he still found amusing.
"Seriously?" She couldn't help but sound a little incredulous.
"Well, that is where I'm from on this Earth. Long story lady."
"I'm writing a book about the Marvels--"
"The what?" He squinted at her in the rear view mirror.
"You know, the super people. Could I maybe get a small interview with you?"
"I'm not super toots. Just a guy. No powers." He almost spit the word powers, and Mercy wondered what interactions he had had in the past with other Marvels. The idea of people from other worlds who didn't have powers was a new one for her though. She had never assumed some of the "Marvels" were just normal people, relatively speaking. Just trying to make it in a world of some else's making.
The rest of the trip was in relative silence, save for the radio playing at a low level. They pulled to over to get gas, and Mercy decided to walk the rest of the way. It was a nice day for walking. She thanked him and paid her fare, leaving a small tip. This wouldn't make a chapter for her book, but it would make a nice foreword.
You can only face Death so many times before she gets tired of showing you your life. Just before you died, you got one free look at everything you had done, good or bad, so that you could give your maker a fair account for your actions. Or inaction, as the case may be. Death indeed got the page for Howard's impending doom, and she chose to ignore it. She had visited Howard once today already, and was escorting his soul away when it was whisked back to his flesh.
Howard was a wildcard in the game of life. One of those individuals who was too entertaining to the gods to stay dead. So Death noted Howard's predicament, and went about her business. Following Deadpool around kept her very busy anyway.
* * *
[The bell tolls for thee duck.] Bong groaned in a flat voice, utterly devoid of his usual grandiose, and megalomaniacal flare. He was a pathetic loser among a large crowd of loser villains, but he normally had more clear motivation then just killing Howard. It normally involved getting Beverly to love him again, then humiliating Howard, then the killing part.
"Your name" Howard choked out as he struggled with Bong's steel grip, "is really, really stupid."
Beverly grabbed Bong's arm in both of hers, and held it back as Howard struggled to get loose. "You big stupid tin headed moron! When will you let it go? I don't want to be with you, even if Howard's not around!" Bong thrust back with his arm, shoving Beverly away without a comment. He seemed unusually focused too.
Howard's shirt ripped then, and he dropped to the ground, landing on his feathery butt, and began to scoot backward as fast as he could move. Bong followed him in long, measured steps. He quickly closed what little distance Howard had gained. His yellow boots crunch on the road grit as he strode boldly into the street. He moved fast, but methodically. Mockingly. Howard's mind reeled, not ion a panic, but in the mad dash survival way it normally did in situations like this, the moment slowing down. Beverly's muted voice, yelling something. Bong's golden helmet began to shine brighter, and for a second Howard thought he had somehow spontaneously combusted. Then reality snapped back and Howard heard the screeching protest of hot tires on pavement.
A taxi slammed into Bong at an unknown speed, but the results were satisfactory nonetheless, and the caped maniac flew through the air, indenting the pavement when he struck the street with a loud crash. His impact made more noise then expected, even given all his armor. Something tickled at the back of Howard's mind. The random insights during this bizarre encounter attempting to form a mental picture.
Are you just going to sit there Sally?" Old Howard grunted from the drivers side of Howard's taxi. Beverly had already piled into the backseat. She quickly opened the door for Howard. The front end was bent in, and the engine was grumbling in a bad way.
"Great entrance." Howard said, climbing into his cab. "Is there more to this plan?" he asked, pointing to Bong who was somehow getting back to his feet.
"What'da ya want? A three to five year plan?" Old Howard grinned for the first time.
"Later!" Beverly interrupted, before the two ducks could get into a sarcasm contest. "Just drive!"
"Relax toots. I lived this, remember?" Old Howard replied turning serious again. "Hold onto your butts." He stomped his webbed foot to the gas pedal. The tires screamed again as the shot past Bong, clipping off the passenger side mirror in the process. Bong began to fade into the distance behind them.
"Old Ducky, there's more to this then you've told us." Beverly said from the backseat. "If you knew Bong was going to ambush us, why didn't you warn us?"
"And what's up with old bell head anyway? He's acting strange." Howard realized the irony of suggesting a villain who called himself Bong, and wore a bell clapper on his arm strange. But by the standards of his life, it rated very low on the weird-o meter. Old Howard starred ahead, perhaps concentrating on driving. Perhaps avoiding accusing looks from himself and his past girlfriend.
"In the future, Doom takes over the world. His war with Ulton killed most of the heroes. The rising of Blackheart didn't help matters, though demons were a nice change from the machines. Oh, and the techno virus that turned most of New York into a land of the walking dead. Undead. Whatever. And I, you, we help this team of hero wannabe's stop Ultron from killing everyone on Earth." He paused and took a few breaths, seemingly winded. "So yeah, it wasn't just for self preservation that I saved your sorry feathery @ss." Another pause. "Though that factored in."
"I don't understand though." Beverly cut in. "If you died, how were you alive to come back?"
Old Howard shrugged. "Someone in this time fiddled with the time stream and created a glitch. We just took advantage of it." he looked into the rear view mirror expectantly. "And here he comes." Howard and Beverly looked back to see Bong somehow gaining on the taxi on foot. "Where's Wade when you need him?" he grumbled and accelerated more, driving through the gate to 'Klonk's car salvage yard.'
"Gee, I thought you would have to go to Jersey for a junkyard." Howard commented dryly.
"Uh guys... Where's Bong?" Beverly said.
"He's supposed to be--" Howard never finished because something slammed onto the hood of the taxi.
[There will be no escape duck.] He buzzed, slamming a gloved fist through the windshield, showering both Howard's in safety glass.
"Damn hairless apes!!" Old Howard swore loudly as he slammed the taxi into the nearest junk pile. Howard's ear holes was ringing from the crash, but he and Beverly looked okay. Old Howard though was bleeding a little from the corner of his bill. Bong, pinned between the car and the junk pile, apparently unfazed began to struggle himself loose.
"Why are we here?!!" Howard asked, trying to get his door open.
"All part of the plan." Old Howard coughed. "Just go. I got this." he wheezed semi sarcastically, holding his chest with one hand.
"What is--" Howard started to ask, but is cut off by a loud gong sound. BONG!! Any thought Howard had was scrambled by the mind shaking gong. Eyes shut, fumbling for the door handle with one hand as another gong ripped through his mind. BONG!!'This is how theworld ends' Howard thought crazily. 'Not with a bang, but with a bong.'
Maybe he blacked out for a moment. Maybe not. But the next thing he hears is not Lady Death's beckoning call, but a strange whirring sound, followed by a metallic scraping sound. Howard looked through the broken wind shield to see Bong being lifted my a huge car magnet. Struggle as he might, he couldn't break loose of its magnetic attachment. Howard and Beverly watched him be moved over a car crusher, and dropped. Beverly looked away as the machine activated, but Howard again felt that tickle in his mind, as if another clue had been dropped.
He and Beverly found Old Howard easily enough in the control box, slumped against the side. His breathing was labored, and his eyes had a dull glaze. "Okay." he grunted. "Now the timeline is stitched back together."
"Ducky, we have to get you to a hospital." Beverly knelt beside Old Howard, fumbling in her purse for her phone. Old Howard stopped her with a touch.
"They don't get here in time." He coughed. "I've lived this, remember? Now I get to die it too. And who knows? Maybe next time it will end differently." Having said all he intended to, Howard died for the second time in one day.
* * *
Old Howard, not so old now, but appearing as he did in his youthful thirties, looked down on his broken body, on the gently crying Beverly. on his younger self turning away to shed a tear.
"Hello Howard." Death said, appearing beside him. "Ready to go? Or do you want to spin again?" She chuckled. "Ow" she yelped as Old Howard kicked her shin.
"Don't even joke like that." He growled. A ghostly cigar appeared in his hand as he went into the light. "You coming or what?"