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Tim's father isn't very happy about Tim's new tattoos, and goes after him. Tim goes skating to relax. A car almost hits him, and he magically puts it in a hole as a response. His scorpion tattoo stabs him painfully in return, as it is supposed to keep him from practicing ill-advised magic.

At home, Bill and his new lady-friend, Holly, her son Cyril, and their housekeeper Gwendolyn are trying to get the house ready for Tim's 14th birthday.

The occupants of the car are now stuck inside, and as they try to get out, they are visited by the man's son, and two mysterious people in black, known as the Margraves. It turns out that the couple in the care are actually having an affair. The boy is understandably unhappy with his father, and under the Margraves' supervision, he magically explodes the car and the couple inside. The explosion also destroys him, but he recreates himself. He is one of a series of children called the Strafenkind that are manipulated by the Margraves.

Tim gets some fabric for Gwendolyn, but while at the store, he sees a miniature statue version of his friend Jimmy, last seen in issue 9 when he was turned into gutta-percha by Reverend Slaggingham. Tim buys him and as he walks away wondering who did it, the wall (another of Tim's childhood creations, known as In the No!) tells him it was Slaggingham. It then tells him that Cyril is eating his cake, and Tim doesn't even know who he is, and that Gwendolyn is leaving.

Cyril, meanwhile, has finished the cake and runs off, no longer happy with his mom now that she's fascinated with Bill. He runs into the Margraves, who tell him how right he is to be angry at Tim, saying that he is too amazing to be true. Then they give him one of their magic pins, and tell him to go home and explode in his mother's presence.

Tim shows up, however, and releases Cyril from their spell, and reveals that the two Margraves are in fact one combined being. Tim thanks them for helping him realize that he can't stay around his family and friends, where he'll always endanger them. The Margrave leaves, and Tim walks off, with Jimmy in his pocket.

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