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    The Alpha Trilogy

    THE

    EXCESS MEN

     

     

    CHAPTER TWO

    Part I - Conspiracy

    Rain falls steadily on the city of P’tucket. The main gates to the Ocean State Penitentiary swing open, accompanied by the growing sound of footsteps. A short, pudgy man with blonde hair in a brush cut emerges, escorted by two armed guards. He is wearing the drab brown sweater and pea green slacks he wore upon his arrest some four years earlier. An impish man, who instantly appears distasteful to anyone he meets, and conveys the look of what would be referred to in a schoolyard as a ‘douche bag’. As the man walks off one of the guards calls out to him, “Try to stay clean.”

    “Not likely. I have some human cartoons I need to deal with.”

    “That’s not what I meant,” says the guard.

    Suddenly a Chevy Chevette skids to a halt in front of the man. A large, hideous woman with tattoos of crosses and dashes all over her face awaits the ex-felon in the car. She has long, black, greasy hair, sporting a gothic look in her makeup and dress. The portly man climbs in, "Have all the arrangements been taken care of?” he asks.

    “Yes,” she replies, “but you’re not going to like what I have to tell you.” As the car drives off the woman screams, “Not on the upholstery!!”

     

    It is one month after the release of the convict. There is a small office in the kitchen at The Capital Grille in The Capital City. A large, well-proportioned man in uniform walks through the kitchen and enters. Upon crossing the threshold he is greeted by Professor Exhausting. “You wanted to see me?”

    “Yes,” says the officer, slightly taken aback and scanning the room. “Why did you want to meet here?”

    “I own this establishment. So what can I do for you?”

    “I’m Lieutenant Tenant, special investigator with The Ocean State SWAT.”

    “Boy, I’ll bet you weren’t too happy about that promotion,” Professor Exhausting quips.

    Tenant is stern. “We know about you and your operation. Isn’t it true you oversee a squad of subversives?”

    The Professor coyly snides, “Maybe.”

    “A criminal was recently released from prison. Here’s his picture and a brief bio.” The Lieutenant tosses a file to The Professor, and comments smugly, “Recognize him?”

    The Professor glances over the information, and replies, “No – he looks like a twerp. At the very least I’d remember that name.”

    “We believe he’s planning something big, and we think you and your team are involved.”

    “Involved?” snarls The Professor. “You mean like helping him commit a crime?”

    Lieutenant Tenant nods.

    “Look, dickface,” snaps Professor Exhausting, “we don’t associate with criminals unless we’re putting their ass in a cast.”

    “Really?” says Tenant. “Well, aside from the fact that you have no authority to act on behalf of the law, we have evidence that shows you are connected with this person.”

    The Professor is growing angry. ”What do you have, dingalong?”

    The Lieutenant pulls a picture from an envelope, and puts it on the side table that adorns The Express. “This is a picture from the wall of his jail. As you can see, it has your name and phone number – that is how I came to call you – directions to a castle in The City By the Sea, and it says ‘The Excess Men – Men Who Do Something to Excess!’ So Professor, you want to tell me what’s going on here? How do you know this man? I’ll go easy on you if you don’t bullshit me.”

    Professor Exhausting becomes agitated. “You know, I’m cutting you some slack here because you are an emissary of the law. But, you’re like, this close to me kicking you so hard in the nuts that your stones will be rolling around your intestines like pinballs.” The Professor focuses on the picture of the ex con. “I don’t know who this buttplug is, but if he’s involving The Excess Men then we’re going to find out.”

    “Look Professor,” warns the Lieutenant with disdain, “keep out of this. We’re going to find him. And we’ll be keeping an eye on you and your little boy's club. You make one wrong move and we’re hauling you in.”

    The Professor accelerates The Express to smash the officer in the shin. He crumbles to the ground crying out in pain. “Get the fuck out of my restaurant before I run you through the pasta maker.” Professor Exhausting rides his chaise lounge over the Lieutenant’s body, and down the walkway that runs along the edge of the kitchen. He grabs and hurls a hunk of parmesan that wallops the head chef in the temple, yelling, “The Alfredo was like rancid curd.”

     

    It is closing time at the Apple Valley Home Depot. The lights systematically shut down throughout the store as the employees slowly file out. However, in the back of the massive warehouse structure a lone figure works tediously under a small light. He is repairing a forklift that had broken down that day. It is not an urgent task. This particular Home Depot has three forklifts. But this man is no ordinary employee. His skills are finely honed. He has a gift – his mind is a blueprint. He is Maintenance Man!!

    As a member of The Excess Men - adorned in his titanium hardhat, his porcelain chest plate, chainmesh gloves, down to his steel enforced boots - he is the blue collar heart and soul of the heroic group of Zeroes.             

    His tape measure phone rings. But this time it is not The Professor summoning him. It is one of his fellow Superzeroes requesting a rendezvous. “I’ll be right there,” says Maintenance Man.

    Twenty minutes later on the roof of a Dutchland Farms in Western Creeanston, Maintenance Man is greeted upon his arrival. “What the fuck took you so long? Geez, did you take the freakin' bus?”

    “Nice to see you too Sarcasm,” says the Tool Titan.

    “Did you stop to fix street lights again?” snaps the Caustic One.

    Maintenance Man exhibits a guilty look. “What’s going on? Why did you want to see me?”

    “The Professor is calling the team in,” says Sarcasm. “Some fuckin’ nut called The Pisser is planning…(he shrugs)…some kind of destruction. He wants us to track him – find out anything we can about him.”

    “The Pisser? Why does he call himself that?” Maintenance Man asks quizzically.

    “I don’t know, and I think we’d be better off not finding out. You especially should be concerned. With your outfit he’s liable to take you for a urinal.”

    Maintenance Man curiously scans his ensemble.

    Sarcasm continues. “Anyways, The Professor has Irrelevant and Methane Man in The CBS scoping out a castle we think he’s working out of. Can you believe that? A fucking castle. How cliché is that? Why not just put him on a mysterious island, or have him working out of a ‘farm-slash-compound’! I mean, what the……”

    “Sarcasm!!” yells a frustrated Maintenance Man. “Please…,”

    Sarcasm lets out a moan as he tensely brings his hand to his head. “Uh, yeah, well….you see, there’s another problem – Consumption. He’s missing”

    “Missing!” exclaims Maintenance Man. “Do you think he’s….”

    “With that crazy fuck anything’s possible. We have to find him and straighten him out before The Professor discovers.”

    “What do you think The Professor would do to him?” asks the Skilled Sentinel.

    “Well, I don’t know,” says Sarcasm. “That’s hard to say. He already treats us like shit.”

    A short time later the two Zeroes arrive at a homeless shelter in Providence. As they enter the building a kindly old man gently approaches them and whispers, “Oh, you boys don’t have to dress like that. There’s some pretty decent clothing in the back room over there.”

    Sarcasm is just about to offer a comment when Maintenance Man intervenes, “Thank you sir.”

    The Zeroes survey the room. Over in the corner is a small mass of fur wrapped in purple velvet and a black fanny pack.

    “Consumption?” says Sarcasm. “You look like shit, and that’s saying something because you were no prize to start with.”

    Consumption can barely mumble, and even that is indiscernible.

    “He’s wasted away to nothing,” says Maintenance Man. “We have to re-energize him, but we must bring him back slowly or he might shut down altogether. Look, there’s a candy machine over there.”

    The Zeroes stockpile a load of candy bars and start feeding Consumption Zagnuts.

    “Nice work making those slugs, Double M,” says Sarcasm.

    As the duo tend to Consumption, they suddenly hear the whir of a small motor, and catch a whiff of Aqua Velva. A figure appears from around the corner.

    “Professor Exhausting, what are you doing here?” exclaims Maintenance Man.

    “Exactly how stupid do you think I am?” says their leader. “When I didn’t hear from Consumption I tracked him with a homing device I had planted in your ExPhones.”

    “I knew there was more to those things than communication!” yells an angry Sarcasm.

    “Yes, it was quite the chore pulling one over on you Zeroes,” says The Professor sardonically as he lights an illegal Cuban cigar. “Well, where is he? The Excessory tells me he’s here someplace.”

    Maintenance Man and Sarcasm glance at each other. Sarcasm points to the mangy pelt on the floor. “What the fuck is that?” The Professor asks curiously. “It looks like a big Tribble wrapped in a towel.”

    The Professor leans in closer for a better look. “Consumption, is that you?” he says. “You look like shit, and that’s saying something because you weren’t much to start with. What happened to him?”

    “Well,” explains Sarcasm hesitantly. “He gets like this…You see, sometimes he just gets hungry. Oh, not hungry like you and I know him to get. But I mean ravenously, uncontrollably hungry. He eats everything in sight! I’ve seen him eat forests, neighborhoods – he consumes a marsh like its kale soup. I once saw him eat through a flock of sheep. It was disgusting – I puked. And then he ate that.  He eats so much that his system shuts down, and he becomes like…………. (pointing to Consumption) well, this.”

    “The only way to save him,” explains Maintenance Man, “is to build him back up by increasing his intake a little at a time.”

    “Well, he’s no help to me like this, and I need all of you at full strength.” The Professor stops to ponder his last statement, “Is that fuckin’ sad, or what? Alright, Sarcasm, build this prick back up to pie eating contest form. Maintenance Man, take this layout of Malbone Castle, get to The CBS and help out Methane Man and um,…uh…”

    “Captain Irrelevant,” offers Maintenance Man.

    “Yes, yes, - Irrelevant,” groans a frustrated Professor as he maneuvers The Express out the door.

    “What are you going to do?” asks Sarcasm.

    “None of your fuckin’ business,” yells The Professor. “Worry about your own shit you worthless bastards.”

    Sarcasm and Maintenance Man glance at each other with confusion.

     

    Part II - Wicked Pisser!

    Meanwhile, in The City By the Sea, Methane Man and Captain Irrelevant are scanning the grounds at the majestic Malbone Castle. Tensions are running high between the two Zeroes. Methane Man’s emissions keep sending Captain Irrelevant into unconsciousness, and The Captain keeps scaring Methane Man who forgets he’s there. The team has been staking out the castle watching for anyone who may be the man known as The Pisser. “Except for that south tower the whole place looks dark and deserted,” says Methane Man. “Would you agree Captain?......Captain?” 

    The Indiscernible One gasps as he picks himself up off the ground. 

    “Sorry, buddy,” says the Man of Odor.

    Suddenly they hear a rustling moving swiftly through the brush. The duo position themselves as not to be seen. Methane Man hides behind a water fountain, while Captain Irrelevant stands out in the open. A figure chops his way through the hedges.

    “Double M,” exclaims The Pungent Protector. 

    “Methane Man…Hey, how’d you know it was me?”

    “You were cutting the brush with a turbo lopper,” explains Methane Man. “That kind of narrowed it down.”

    “The Professor sent me down to help. The others are…grabbin’ a bite, sort of. Hey, where’s The Captain?”

    “I’m right here,” says a frustrated Captain Irrelevant standing next to Methane Man.

    Maintenance Man offers an apologetic nod. “Any info on The Pisser?”

    Methane Man details his observations to that point. 

    “We need to get in there and see what’s happening,” says Methane Man. “The only lights, and activity, is at the base of that tower…Maybe we should just go in through the main door.”

    “I have an idea,” says Maintenance Man. “The Professor provided me with this map of the castle. Let’s see if we can figure out how to get to that tower from the inside.”

    A short time later the group hears movement in a large bed of thorn bushes, and then an angry voice. “Oh shit, damn thorns……oww, FUCK!!...son of a bitch!!” Sarcasm emerges, and joins the team. 

    “How’s Consumption?” asks Maintenance Man. 

    “Better,” says the Offensive Defender, pulling a thorn from his ass. “I dropped him off at the landfill to really build up. There’s one nasty belch brewing there. What’s up, Methane. Say, where’s The….”

    “I am right fucking here,” says Captain Irrelevant from beside Sarcasm.

    The team brings Sarcasm up to speed on the plan, and the Zeroes approach and enter Malbone Castle’s main door. They separate into various points of the structure, looking for any clues or access to the tower. A short while later they meet back in the rotunda having found no passage to the buildings tallest point. 

    “This is crazy,” says Sarcasm. “The only way in there is the outside door?”

    “That can’t be,” states Maintenance Man. “Basic architectural design, even during this period of building, insists there be at least two means of egress. If not for the safety and protection of any inhabitants, but to provide ease in…..”

    Sarcasm interrupts, pointing across the room, “Hey, the leg of that chair is broken.”

    Maintenance Man stops, turns and rushes to the chair to begin repairs. Sarcasm smiles and raises one eyebrow.

    The team signals The Professor, hoping he might have another option for them in approaching the castle. The Zeroes arrange to meet their leader at Port Adams. When they arrive The Professor is there with a fully regenerated Consumption.

    “Hey, big guy,” yells Sarcasm. “You found us.”

    “Yeah,” says Consumption, “That trail of narwhal carcasses you left for me to consume really helped.”

    Methane Man looks at Sarcasm, “Where did you get narwhal carcasses?”

    “Professor, we need to know if there’s another way into that tower,” asks Maintenance Man.

    “Yes, yes, yes,” says the Leader testily. “I have some diagrams. There’s a secret basement entrance that leads through underground caverns to a door which accesses the tower at its base.”

    “How did you get this info?” asks Consumption. “Sonar wave mapping of the grounds? Intercepting secret internet communications? Covert intelligence? Black espionage?”

    “No, there was an article on Malbone in the Thames Street Quarterly,” notes The Professor, holding up the most recent issue. “Now, this underground passage is like an extremely intricate maze. And there is no way on God’s green Earth that idiots like you could figure your way through it. But, with The Excessory I think I can guide you along. Just keep me on the speaker phone at all times……Well, GO!!!”

    Upon arriving at Malbone Castle, the Zeroes find the passage to the underground only to realize that it is not a maze, but in fact a long, straight corridor.

    “Are you receiving my coordinates?” asks The Professor over the ExPhone.

    “Yeah we got your fuckin’ coordinates,” snaps Sarcasm as he throws the phone against a wall, breaking it to pieces. The damaged speaker is still operational as a barely audible Professor speaks. “Okay go ten feet to the left till you come to an archway, and then take a right for twenty paces, till you see a fork……” 

    As the Zeroes make their way down the long corridor, they notice torture rooms, stone furnaces, archaic tools, and large rats - momentarily, until they are gobbled up by Consumption.

    “You are one disgusting motherfucker,” observes Sarcasm.

    Further down they come across a long series of holding cells. The team hears a whisper for help coming from a cell down the corridor. The Zeroes rush down and are surprised by what they find in one of the small rooms.

    “Captain Irrelevant,” says Methane Man. “What are you doing in there?”

    “I wandered down to this dungeon when we searched the castle, and got locked in here by accident.”

    “You mean you’ve been locked in there the whole time?” laughs Sarcasm. 

    “Did you at least find out anything?” asks Methane Man.

    “Yes, whatever he’s up to he is doing it in that south tower. I hear him giggling. There is a lever that opens the door right at the base of those four stairs,” The Captain motions down towards the far end of the passage.

    “Let’s go Zeroes!” calls Maintenance Man.

    The team makes its way to the entrance, and engages the steel lever. The stone door opens up to a room that, by direction, is seemingly underneath the base of the tower. It is a round room, twenty feet in circumference, completely encased in the stone from the castle’s structure. The pudgy man recently released from the OSP – The Pisser - is standing before them. There is nothing else in the room. 

    “The Excess Men! Yes!!” exclaims The Pisser, throwing his arms in the air. “Welcome. I’ve looked forward to finally meeting you,”

    “You know of us?” asks The Hungry Hero.

    “Indeed I do Consumption, my well gorged friend. I know all about you and your friends here…..AND the incredible powers you all possess. You see, I was recently released from prison. I was serving four years for the Hot Weiner Misdemeanor.  The last six months were spent rooming with a man I think you are familiar with. He goes by the name of The Inventor? Apparently he doesn’t like you all too much. Talked about you all the time. Obsessed really. I have been trying to track you down since I got released.” 

    “Here we go,” says Methane Man matter-of-factly. “Okay, what’s it going to be? You gonna try and kill us? Or have you developed a way to offset our powers? Maybe a plot to capture us for some evil experiment?”

    “No, no, no,” laughs The Pisser. “I don’t want to fight.”

    “Then what do you want?” inquires Methane Man.

    “I want you, gentlemen.”

    “What the fuck,” yells Sarcasm. “Why does everyone want us?”

    “Please….understand. I want you to join me.”

    “Join you? In what?” inquires Maintenance Man.

    “My master plan, my dream. All my life I wanted to be a leader, be in charge,” The Pisser is animated in his excitement; his body is tense as he can barely contain himself. “Oh, I know, I just know that I was born to be in a position of greatness!! And with you and all your powers I can make it happen. I have given this much thought, much thought…I want to rule…my own country, and you all will make my coup possible!”

    The Zeroes are stunned at such a proposal.

    “You’re crazy if you think we’re going to help you take over the United States,” exclaims Maintenance Man.

    “The United States? You’re the crazy one,” notes The Pisser sharply. “No, I want to take over Tuvalu. It is a small, impoverished southeast Asian island nation. We could overthrow it easily, and make it our own paradise. It has no army, very little defense measures, and plenty of highly sought and desirable natural resources,”

    “You’re dreaming pal,” says Sarcasm. ”We’re not helping you conquer any island.”

    “Gentlemen all your dreams could come true. We’d each own a castle like this. The men would be our servants. The women would be our whores.”

    Sarcasm leans in to Methane Man. “Focus!”

    The Pisser continues. “You’d have everything you ever wanted. You’d live like kings. Well…..not exactly kings. I’d be king…..but certainly royalty.”

    “You don’t understand,” says Consumption. “We’re the good guys. We’re not going to overthrow a small government for you or anyone else.”

    “Yeah,” Sarcasm barks sternly. “And besides, we never leave the Ocean State.”

    “Really?.....Why is that?” asks The Pisser.

    The Zeroes look curiously at each other.

    “I don’t know” says Maintenance Man uncertainly. “We just…don’t.”

    “Well – Plan B. We could take over Block Island,” suggests The Pisser.

    The Zeroes stare down the evil one letting him know they would not accept his offer.

    “Too bad boys. Now I have to go to plan C.” 

    “Plan C?” says Consumption. “I’m getting hungry, so if you’re planning on going through the whole fuckin' alphab………”

    Suddenly from behind the Zeroes the stone door slams shut. “If you won’t join me then I’m afraid I cannot allow you to leave…or live,” warns The Pisser. “Don’t try to escape. There is solid stone surrounding you on every side. Consumption can’t eat into it, Methane Man’s fireballs won’t affect it, and Maintenance Man doesn’t have a tool that can cut through it. At least, not before you asphyxiate, or (looking at Methane Man) succumb to some deadly gaseous compound.”

    “Sorry guys,” says Methane Man apologetically.

    “Hey, fuck face,” says Sarcasm, addressing the villain. “You seem to forget one thing – you’re locked in here with us.”

    “Am I?” asks The Pisser, calmly giggling.

    Suddenly The Pissers laugh begins to distort. He becomes fuzzy to the eyes of The Excess Men. 

    “What’s happening to him?” asks Methane Man.

    A red laser light appears and scans The Pisser up and down, his body distorts.

    “He’s a hologram!” yells Consumption, just as the image of The Pisser disappears.   

    Maintenance Man growls, “Where’s my Chicago Pneumatic Chipping Hammer?”

    “Relax,” says Sarcasm rolling his eyes. “You’re never gonna get through this stone.”

    “Uh, guys, I feel a big one coming on,” says Methane Man.

    Sarcasm lets out a sorrowful sigh, as his right hand deeply rubs his forehead. 

    “I got a gas bubble building up, myself,” says Consumption. 

    “FUCK!!!” yells Sarcasm. The situation is critical as the Zeroes realize their shortage of time.

    Suddenly Maintenance Man looks up, coming to a realization. “The lever.”

    “What lever?” asks Sarcasm. “The one to open the stone door? We can’t get to it.”

    “But it’s steel,” says the Tool Titan. “My sonic Neodymium magnet might be able to trigger it even through stone!!”

    “Where do you get these fucking things?” a curious Sarcasm asks sharply.

    “Who cares,” winces a tense Methane Man. “I can’t hold off much longer. Let’s give it a shot.”

    Maintenance Man presses the sonic magnet at the crack in the stone doors perimeter. The Zeroes hear the sound of a mechanism turning. The door opens just as Methane Man and Consumption expel their anal and oral gases respectively. The team dashes out of the tower base, running down the corridor for their lives. Halfway down they suddenly stop as an arm frantically flags them down. The Zeroes are startled at what they find in one of the cells.

    “Captain Irrelevant?” exclaims Consumption. “How did you get yourself locked in there again?”

    “Not again – you assholes!”

    “Ohhhh shit, that’s right,” realizes Methane Man. “We never let him out.”

    Sarcasm laughs uncontrollably.

    “Will you please just get me out of here,” pleads an aggravated Captain Irrelevant. “I’m going crazy!!”

    Maintenance Man produces his Lenox High Tension Hacksaw and cuts the lock through. The Captain emerges from the cell.

    “Really sorry,” says a repentant Maintenance Man.

    “Yeah, our fault,” follows Consumption.

    Captain Irrelevant looks frustrated, as he works to release the toe of his footy leotard that had snagged a nail on the cell door.

    Methane Man declares. “We need to talk to The Professor and see if he can help us find The Pisser.”

    “You know guys,” says The Captain. “It’s a little frustrating to know that you forgot about me in that……”

    “Let’s go Zeroes!!” yells Maintenance Man. The Zeroes exit the dungeon.

    Captain Irrelevant is momentarily stymied and confused. Then he heads off to follow the team. “Hey guys……wait up!”

    Part III - The Access Men

    Upon exiting the castle the Zeroes contact The Professor, back at the Great Hall of Excess, who gives the team an update. “The Pisser is in the base of the tower. But be careful. I think it might be trap. Apparently he’s developed some holographic imaging thing. He may try to use that on you.”

    “Professor, he’s left the castle,” says Maintenance Man. “He is trying to overtake the island of Tuvalu. We need to stop him before he leaves The Ocean State. We need to know how he intends to get there.”

    The Professor adjusts the controls on his sunglasses. “Hang on. I’m picking him up on The Excessory. He seems to have had a change of plans. He’s heading to Block Island.”

    “Block Island,” yells Consumption. “Plan B!”

    Just then Captain Irrelevant arrives. “What’s Plan B?” he asks.

    The team updates The Captain on what he missed when he was in the cell, as they head to the city of Gansett to catch the ferry to Block Island.

    “Why are we taking the Ferry?” asks Consumption.

    “To promote tourism and help the economy in the Ocean State,” says Maintenance Man. “There’s a lot of good union people working at these hotels and restaurants.”

    Sarcasm mumbles under his breath, as Methane Man, seated, lowers his head and sighs. The Excess Men try to blend in on the ferry ride across the Gansett Bay, but it is challenging.

    “Excuse me,” interrupts an approaching man with his young son. “Are you mascots? My boy was hoping to go for a ride on the Woolley Mammoth.”

    Sarcasm looks confused, and then glances over at Consumption and makes the connection.

    “Mister, we’re not mascots,” explains Methane Man. “ We’re……”

    “Then how about a picture with the medieval plumber?”

    “Sir, you don’t understand,” Methane Man states. “We are…,” The team proclaims in unison “The Excess Men – Men Who Do Something to Excess!”

    The man and his son stare for a brief moment, then turn and slowly walk away.   

    Upon arriving on Block Island the team departs the boat to find Professor Exhausting waiting for them at the pier. “Professor, what are you doing here?” asks Consumption.  

    “What am I doing here? What the fuck are you dolts doing on the ferry? This isn’t a fuckin’ vacation, you know. Why didn’t you all just float over on tire tubes, and we could have met here next Thursday!!”

    “Alright, alright – we’re here,” says Sarcasm,” What’s the story?”

    “The Pisser has put together some thugs, and they are taking over the island. They’ve pretty much secured everything. Right now the whole lot of them are operating out of the courthouse in the city of Pistoff…..”

    Methane Man interjects, “Hold it – there is no city of Pistoff on Block Island.”

    “There is now,” informs The Professor. “Here are the coordinates to get you to the courthouse. Now get your asses over there; and see if you can do this without screwing it all up………shit, I’d get better odds at rolling a thirteen with a pair of dice.”

    Having left The Expired on the mainland, The Excess Men need transportation to navigate the island. They enter a nearby bike shop. Inside a middle-aged man, who owns the store, looks cautiously at the Zeroes.

    “You…must be the rock band playing over at the club…right?”

    “No, sir,” says Maintenance Man. “We’re The Excess…” Methane Man interrupts him, and shakes his head, “Uh…sir, we just need bikes.”

    “Well, I don’t have enough for all of you. It’s been a busy day. I only have two…But, I do have that.” The man points towards the corner, where there sits a bicycle built for five.”

    The Zeroes all express looks of horror, except Maintenance Man who says, “We’ll take it!” He climbs on in the first position, as the others hesitantly follow. Consumption winds up with the last spot, behind Methane Man. As they ride off he screams out in disgust.

    The team follows the Professor’s coordinates which leads them to an open field in a state park.

    “What the fuck! Is he ever right?” yells Sarcasm. “Seriously? I mean, is he?......Ever?!”

    “Okay, calm down,” Methane Man directs loudly.

    “Hey,” notes Maintenance Man, “using my Aven MightyMag Magnifying Lamp I can see the courthouse about two miles down the road.”

    The team approaches the courthouse using the five step-three point entry plan. The Pissers men are guarding the outside of the building. Methane Man unleashes an eye tearing stink bomb, taking down most of the front line. Maintenance Man strikes three that remain conscious over the head with his Mega Mallet, as Consumption eats through the main door. They rush in taking out the remainder of the thugs in a similar fashion. Maintenance Man pummels the goons, ninja style, in wielding his magnesium T-square. Methane Man launches flaming stink bombs, accompanied by a rapid-fire barrage of rock candy hurled by the Human Mass. “Yeah! Take that!” yells Sarcasm.

    Upon entering the rotunda the Zeroes are surprised by what they find in the foyer.

    “Captain Irrelevant?” exclaims Maintenance Man. “What are you doing in here?”

    “I lost you guys at the pier,” explains The Captain, who shrugs. “And I wound up here.”

    “But…..how did you get in? How did you get past the…..?”

    Sarcasm interrupts The Blue Collar Zero. “DON’T………bother.”

    The team begins to search the building. They come upon the door to the security surveillance room, fashioned with a makeshift sign that reads “Kings Chambers”.

    Methane Man comments with disgust. “This little dungball. He thinks he’s royalty.”

    Consumption bites off the doorknob and spits it to the floor, as The Zeroes storm in surrounding a startled Pisser.

    “Excess Men?” exclaims the evil little man. “You escaped the tower?”

    “Don’t underestimate us Pisser,” barks Maintenance Man. “We’re…….”

    “Yes, yes, I know,” says the frustrated madman. “The Excess Men, blah, blah, blah….”

    “Hey, how do we know he’s real this time?” Consumption inquires.

    Sarcasm nonchalantly walks over and kicks him in the balls.

    “Ohhhh!!” screams The Pisser, keeling over in agony.

    “He’s real,” notes the Terse Titan.

    “Alright, Pisser, no games this time. You’re coming with us,” orders Maintenance Man, taunting the scoundrel. “Your days as ‘King’ are over. We have taken out your subjects, and shut down your empire. You are about to abdicate your thro………….,” The Zero pauses for a second, and then redirects his thoughts.  “Uh, excuse me. Did you just pee yourself?”

    “Well…..that explains a lot,” says Sarcasm.

    “I do that when I get upset,” explains The Pisser, clearly agitated.

    “I think it’s disgusting” says Methane Man.

    ”Who are you to comment on what’s disgusting?” notes The Pisser. “You’re a human stench, and you have skid marks on the ass of your……….costume.”

    Part IV - White Suit's Revenge

    Suddenly a man comes out from behind the corner. The Zeroes quickly recognize him.

    “White Suit!” exclaims Methane Man. In a brief moment of surprise the Zeroes are stunned. The Pisser, seeing an opportunity at their distraction, escapes - running from the room, giggling as he goes.

    “Excess Men!” White Suit announces in a welcoming manner. “It is good to see you again. And look, you’re all here -  Handy, Stinky, Cranky and Hungry.”

    “AHEM!!”.

    “Oh yes, and Nobody,” notes the dapper adversary.

    “I see you’re still wearing that tacky white suit,” says Consumption.

    Their old nemesis focuses on The Human Mass. “You’re wearing a purple velvet sweat suit with a silver cape in the shape of a giant fork, and red and yellow boots that dispense ketchup and mustard respectively. You’re in no position to criticize.”

    White Suit looks over the Excess Men with a quiet confidence. “We haven’t been in each other’s company since you left me barricaded in Angelo’s.”

    Sarcasm smirks. Maintenance Man inquires with sincere interest, “Do you still have the stool and rocking horse?”

    “Kindling,” says White Suit sharply. “You know, I don’t appreciate being humiliated. And I am a man who always gets his revenge. I have thought of nothing else since that day.”

    “You need to expand your horizons pal,” offers Sarcasm.

    “So you were behind The Pisser’s scheme all along?” asks Methane Man.

    “Sort of,” explains White Suit. “I enlisted his help, thus retaining his services. He insisted on trying his plan to recruit you. I didn’t believe it would work, but I knew he had learned well from The Inventor, and that information would prove to be helpful. I figured whether his plan worked or not, I would be certain of finding you.”

    At that moment the hideous woman that drove The Pisser from the OSP steps out from a back room, accompanied by a small group of men. She walks over to White Suit and takes him in a loving embrace. “Allow me to introduce my moll – Positive-Negative.”

    The Zeroes cringe. Maintenance Man whimpers.

    “I’ve lost my appetite,” whispers Consumption, suppressing the urge to vomit.

    “Isn’t she stunning?” asks a clearly infatuated White Suit.

    “Well, I do feel as if I’ve been tased,” winces Sarcasm.

    White Suit glares at the Antagonistic Zero, then gestures towards the group of men behind Positive-Negative.

    “I’d like you to meet some more friends of mine,” White Suit announces.

    “I can’t believe you have any friends at all,” Sarcasm retorts.

    White Suit is visibly angered. He looks to Sarcasm’s fellow Zeroes. “How do you stand him?”

    “Well,” says Methane Man, “we, uh……”

    “Yeah,” follows Consumption, “You know, he……is what he is.”

    “HEY!” yells Sarcasm. “He’s the bad guy. Let’s keep things in perspective here.”

    “Right! Okay, cut the crap, White Suit,” a more focused Methane Man states curtly. “Something smells here, and we want to know what it is.”

    White Suit momentarily ponders the irony of that statement, and then explains. “My apologies for toying with you. I am in the process of plotting to rob the Block Island bank. From there I will go on to the mainland and rob every bank in the Ocean State. That should suffice - and after that, then I will retire.”

    “Why are you only robbing banks in the Ocean State” asks Maintenance Man.

    “Because you won’t leave the Ocean State.”

    “He’s busting our balls,” yells Sarcasm.

    White Suit smiles, “Not quite. I’m working within your parameters. This way you can help me.”

    “Help you?” says a shocked Methane Man.

    “What the fuck,” yells Sarcasm. “Why do all these villains think that we’ll help them?”

    “I’m not asking you to help me. I’m telling you you’re going to help me.”

    Methane Man looks cautiously towards the other Zeroes.

    White Suit finally divulges the identities of his friends. “I have put together my own team. Excess Men meet - The Access Men – Men Who Can Access Anything!”

    The Zeroes are perplexed.

    White Suit walks over to introduce the first Access Man. He is a small, mousy looking man, wearing a trench coat and a bola hat. “Meet Louie the Lift. He has got the smoothest hands around. He can pick your teeth without you even knowing about it,” Consumption looks disturbed as he curls his lips into his mouth.

    White Suit continues to name his crooked crew. “This is Ignition (a scruffy, middle aged man in greasy mechanics overalls, smoking a cigar). He can hot wire and overhaul any motorized mechanism. Next is Binary Code, (a nerdy high school kid with tape wrapped around the bridge of his glasses, focused intently on his smart phone) able to crack any computer security system or code. He’s practically a computer himself. Over here we have The Tumbler (a stereotypical clockmaker type that you would see in a small town as depicted in a 1940’s movie). He can pick his way through any keyed mechanism ever made. And last, but not least – George.”

    “Where the hell did he come from?” says a surprised Sarcasm.

    “George is the most unassuming man in the world,” continues White Suit. “He can walk onto a stage in a sold out theater, and no one would even notice him. Here’s a picture of him naked, standing behind the President in the Oval Office.”

    Consumption and Maintenance Man look at the picture in near disbelief.

    Sarcasm leans in towards Methane Man. “Remind you of someone?” At first The Smellmaster shakes his head slowly. Then he stops, and his eyes widen. “Ohhh, yeah-yeah, You’re right!”

    Maintenance Man laughs. “You think they can defeat us?”

    “No, of course not,” says White Suit. “I will defeat you. I need them to rob the bank.”

    “You’ll never get past us,” says Captain Irrelevant.

    “Who said that?” asks George.

    “Who said that?” asks Captain Irrelevant.

    “Who said that?” asks George.

    “ALRIGHT! ENOUGH!” screams Sarcasm, his hands grabbing his head in frustration. “You two - shut the fuck up.”

    “White Suit, you messed up.” says Consumption. “The Pisser led us right to you.”

    “On the contrary, everything is going according to plan,” states the sinister gentleman. “I plotted everything knowing he would track you down. I let him do the legwork. In the end I knew I would have you under my control.”

    “Under your control?” questions Maintenance Man. “You’re no threat to us.”

    “Oh yes I am. You see, unlike others who try to capture you or enlist you, I know how to really stop you. Why don’t you contact your Professor friend on your ExPhone.”

    The Zeroes look cautiously at each other as Sarcasm connects to the team’s leader.

    The voice answering the phone is not that of The Professor. The Zeroes recognize it as the voice of The Pisser. “Sir, I have secured The Professor.”

    “Good work Sterling,” responds White Suit.

    “Sterling?” notes Sarcasm in a mocking tone.

    The voice from the speaker screams out, “Don’t call me that. I am The Pisser!!”

    “As you wish,” says White Suit in a patronizing manner. “Keep The Professor on ice for now, thank you.”

    “It’s a trick,” Consumption tells his fellow Zeroes. “He doesn’t have The Professor. He tapped into the ExPhones frequency.”

    “Sterling,” directs White Suit. “Would you activate the video camera please?”

    “Pisser! I’m The Pisser!”    

    “Just activate the God damn camera!!” screams an agitated White Suit, losing his elegant tone.

    A video monitor powers on behind the Zeroes as they turn and gaze at it.

    “Who’s that?” asks Consumption.

    “That is your Professor Exhausting,” says the Evil One.

    “Wow, I never saw him without The Excessory on,” says Maintenance Man.

    “As you can see,” explains White Suit. “We have taken his chaise lounge and forced him to sit in a beanbag chair.”

    “You fiend!” howls Methane Man, letting out a small poof.

    “So I’m sure you will concede Excess Men, I have the upper hand here. You will do as I instruct you or you’ll never see The Professor on the chaise lounge again.”

    Consumption leans in to Sarcasm, “You think he’s serious?”

    “Serious? I don’t even know what he means by that!”

    “It’s a metaphor,” says White Suit. “But for right now, my immediate concern is that the police are on their way over here as we speak. They found out about our plan through a small glitch in our security.”

    “Sorry sir,” says an apologetic Pisser from the speaker-phone.

    White Suit smirks, disgustedly exhaling through his nose as he peers downward. He turns and addresses the Excess Men. “I need you to stop the police and SWAT divisions for me.”

    “We are not going to fight law enforcement officials,” Consumption states emphatically.

    “Sterling,” a sly White Suit says. “Force The Professor to drink Thunderbird wine and eat Kraft American cheese.”

    The Zeroes look angrily concerned, but stand firm.

    “And pop in a tape of Melrose Place.”

    As the opening theme music starts to play, Maintenance Man exclaims, “Okay!! Enough!! We’ll help.”

    White Suit smirks. “Good, good. I thought you would see things my way.”

    Suddenly a voice projected through a megaphone calls out from beyond the buildings walls –

    “This is Lieutenant Louis Tenant of the Ocean State SWAT unit.”

    “Lieutenant Lou Tenant?” says Sarcasm curiously.

    “We have the courthouse surrounded White Suit. Come out with your hands up.”

    “Gentlemen, you have work to do,” says White Suit, gesturing our Zeroes to the front door of the building.

    The Zeroes, powerless with Professor Exhausting held captive, slowly head to the front of the courthouse to confront the authorities.

    To Be Continued!!

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