Several long weeks ago, I began what was to become another of my ongoing storylines. Since the story started, I decided to include it within my ‘Six Sentence Stories’ line up, and since my recent break away from blogging, I made the decision for (at the moment) to concentrate only on this one story there.
The reason for this post is simple. To combine all previous parts into one (long) post, and then, moving forward, each subsequent part will then be added to my Storylines menu in chronological order. That’s the order the stories are published… the stories themselves may not follow a similar order whatsoever – it is supervillains we are dealing with here.
Several long months ago…
The despicable Dropped Apostrophe stood proudly behind the lectern on the stage, his latest piece of handiwork hanging on the wall behind him. The gathered supervillains spaced themselves around the large auditorium, too many seats to be filled by the two of them, and their spacing made the room seem all the more emptier.
“What’s that behind you?” Matthew Mist shouted from his second row seat. The Dropped Apostrophe smiled.
“That is our new logo.” Pride shone out from his face.
“And you expect us to believe you did that?” Matthew said, “with all the letters in the correct place and not an apostrophe in sight?”
“Believe what you like!” The Apostrophe said. “But I made it. It’s something special for our new little group.”
“You’ve emphasised the ‘the’.” Matthew said.
“The ‘the’?” Asked the Apostrophe.
“The ‘the’?! The ‘the’?!?!”
“Well, you’ve emphasised the ‘the’ now!” Bubblegum said, from her seat on the back row. She blew a large bubble and twirled the hair in her left ponytail around her finger. “It’s all I can see. Actually, it’s all I can see from here. The rest is a jumbled mess.”
“If you’ve both quite finished.” Dropped Apostrophe’s patience started to wear thin. “I will explain my plan.”
“You have a plan?” Matthew asked, as he lifted his legs over the backs of the seats in front of him and crossed his ankles. “Go on then, tell us!”
“It’s really very simple.” The Dropped Apostrophe’s smugness returned. “We are going to capture every single superhero on the planet, and then the world is ours.”
“That’s it?” Matthew said.
“Just us three?” Bubblegum piped up.
“And the whole planet? Even the superheroes not in this country?” Matthew Mist sat properly on his chair, but then put his head in his hands.
“Every single one of them. But no, not only us three. We are the Co-ordination of Supervillains, the world’s premier supervillain team.” Apostrophe said the last part of his sentence leaning closer to the microphone, so it echoed around the auditorium.
“But there’s still only three of us.” Bubblegum repeated.
“Only three of us in this room, my dear. Once word gets out that every supervillain on the entire planet is part of our group, well, you can see what I’m saying.”
“Not really.” Bubblegum said, blowing another bubble.
“Then every single supervillain on the planet will be part of our group!” The Apostrophe sounded exasperated.
“And then?” Matthew Mist wasn’t sure whether Bubblegum was playing dum, but decided not to say anything.
The Dropped Apostrophe punched the lectern, and spoke slowly. “Then. We. Can. Capture. All. Of. The. Superheroes. Er. Super. Heroes. And. The. World. Is. Ours. For. The. Taking.” His smug smile returned.
“Oh!” Bubblegum appeared to realise what the Apostrophe was saying. “So all of the supervillains together will go after each hero in turn. I get it!”
“Something like that!” The Apostrophe switched off the mic.
Matthew Mist decided silence was still his best course of action.
The grand ballroom of the Elixir Spa Resort Hotel and Leisure Complex stood empty. Round tables stood around the perimeter of the room with round chairs around them, all positioned so they face into the room. Large glass doors at the entrance to the room were covered by heavy red velvet drapes, which hadn’t been cleaned in months. At the opposite end of the room, another table, a rectangular one, had been placed inside the room, with three chairs facing the door. A single chair was opposite, facing the three. A desk lamp on the table provided the only means of light in this part of the room, with other beams of light filtering through the gap at the centre of the curtains over the door at the other end.
Amidst a cacophony of clatter, laughter and shuffles, the doors burst open outwards, away from the room, and three figures fought with the red velvet to enter the room.
“Draw them!” one of the figures commanded, and walked across the room toward the rectangular table.
“Why us?” another figure asked, although the third had already pulled the curtains across as far as she could.
“Ew!” she said, blowing a bubble. “Dusty.”
“Never mind that! Take your seats!” the first man said, and the two followed the first to the table, who’d already sat on the centre seat facing the door. “Hurry! The first interviewee will be along shortly.”
The other man took his seat on the left of the man already seated, which would be on the right looking at them from the single chair. The woman sat on the other side, right or left, depending on the point of view.
“Papers! Papers!” the middle man said. “Get your papers ready!”
“They are ready!” the other man said, “They’re on the table in front of us. Maybe you should have gone for a brighter bulb.”
“No. This is bright enough. We need to be dark. Menacing.” The first man glared at his colleague.
“But you can be dark and menacing without being actually in the dark.” The woman said, blowing another bubble. “Besides, it’s so bright outside, it makes being in here even more darker. Maybe I should open the curtains…”
“No!” the middle man interrupted. “This lighting is fine. Pen! Pen! Have you got a pen?”
“They’re on the table in front as well.” sighed the second man.
“Time! What time is it?” the middle man bellowed.
“It’s 12:30.” The woman checked her watch. “I think.” She twisted her arm toward the lamp for a better view.
“Fine. Not long to wait now.”
The woman felt a sudden shaking on her left shoulder. “Wha? Where?” she asked, as she started to chew her gum again.
“You’ve been asleep for hours.” The man who sat in the middle said, in a disapproving tone.
“Hours?” she looked at her watch again, and in the dull light saw it was now 9:25. “Nine hours? I’ve been asleep for nine hours?”
“And you snore. Very annoying.” The man at the other side of the man in the middle said.
“Why didn’t you wake me sooner?” the woman asked. “I’ve not slept through the interviews, have I?”
“No, you haven’t slept through.” The middle man said. “Nobody’s turned up yet.”
As if on cue, the curtains over the door parted in the centre, and another figure entered the room. “Hello…” he said, quietly. “Is nobody there?”
“Yes. We’re here.” The middle man said, very disgruntled. “Get over here and take a seat.”
“Where are… ah… I can’t see you.” The man walked across the dance floor and took a seat in the empty wooden chair. “The light’s a bit dark in here, don’t you think?”
“No. We need it that way.” The woman said, blowing another bubble. “It’s dark and moody.”
“Menacing.” Said the man who sat facing the new man’s right.
“Now we’ve that sorted, let’s begin. I am the Dropped Apostrophe.” declared the man in the middle. “To my left is Matthew Mist and on my right is Bubblegum. Firstly, what is your name?”
“I am the Opposite Man.” said the man opposite.
“Yes, but what is your name?” the Apostrophe asked again.
“I think that is his name.” Bubblegum said, squinting at the badly printed and dribble-smeared row of text at the top of a sheet of paper before her.
“The Opposite Man?” Apostrophe asked with ridicule. “Do you have any type of super power?”
“No.” answered the Opposite Man.
“No?” the Apostrophe repeated. “What kind of super criminal are you?”
“I’m not.” The Opposite Man said with a smirk, although the three sat opposite him at the table couldn’t see it.
“So you’re telling me you have applied to join the world’s premier supervillain team without a superpower and without being a super criminal?” Tension in the Apostrophe’s voice was coming through clearly.
“No.” The Opposite Man answered.
“No?” The Apostrophe was confused.
“Are you trying to confuse us?” Matthew asked, hoping he would be able to calm the Apostrophe down somewhat.
“No.” The Opposite Man replied.
“You like one word answers, Op Man, don’t you?” Bubblegum asked.
“No.” The Opposite Man smirked again. “But I think you’re feeling my super power.”
“You’ve just this minute told us you have no super power.” fumed the Apostrophe.
“I didn’t.” The Opposite Man held back his laughter.
“Yes you did.” The Apostrophe’s voice was now two octaves higher. “I asked you if you had a super power and you said no. Is that not right?”
“Yes, it isn’t right.”
“Yes it isn’t…”
“So your power is confusion?” Matthew Mist asked, trying to work out what was going on.
“Yes.” Said the Opposite Man, “but no.”
“Yes but no?” Matthew screwed his face. “What do you mean by that?”
“Yes, but no. My power isn’t confusion, but it is.”
“Eh?” the Dropped Apostrophe sat back in his chair.
“Am I still asleep?” Bubblegum asked, blowing yet another bubble. “I feel like I’m dreaming.”
“You’re not dreaming,” Matthew answered, “this is real.”
The Opposite Man looked at Bubblegum. He squinted hard and focussed on her cheek, where he could make out what looked like printed letters. “Call me Tom,” he said. “Op Man is somebody else completely.”
“Tom,” Bubblegum asked, “just tell me what is your power? We’ve been here all day waiting for you to arrive, and none of us are ready for guessing games.”
“You’ve been asleep for most of it.” Snarled the Apostrophe, “but that’s a valid question. Answer.” He seemed to calm a little as he looked at the Opposite Man opposite, through the dull light.
“I answer questions opposite to what you expect.” He said, leaning back in his chair.
“So when you say ‘yes’, you mean ‘no’?” Apostrophe asked.
“No.” Tom replied.
Matthew Mist slumped forward onto the table and sighed heavily. “Hfmnoffstmmnpck.”
“What did you say?” Apostrophe asked.
“I think he was comparing Tom to you.” Bubblegum remarked, with a broad grin. She stood and held out her hand. “Welcome to the team, Tom!” she declared.
“Now wait a minute!” Apostrophe pounded the table.
Tom took Bubblegum’s hand and shook it. “Thank you. I won’t see you soon.” He stood and walked away from the table.
The Apostrophe watched in silence open-mouthed as he left. He turned to Bubblegum. “I am in charge of this team…” he started.
“Yeah, well,” Bubblegum blew a very large bubble, “I don’t see the point of these interviews if everyone’s in anyway! I just need to get some sleep and I’ll be right as rain tomorrow.”
Matthew sat back up into his chair. “Sense at last!” he sighed, “Sleep sounds very good right now.”
“Hopefully, more delegates will attend tomorrow’s session.” Apostrophe said. “Make sure you’re here early tomorrow.” He stood and walked out of the room without another word.
The Lady broke into the grand ballroom of the Elixir Spa Resort Hotel and Leisure Complex with ease – she wasn’t spotted – but being the owner of the vast establishment it wouldn’t have mattered if she had been; she gracefully crossed the dance floor to the desk at the far end, which was still covered in glossy photos.
She picked each photo up in turn, and looked at the back of each one so she could remember her team-mates’ names and specialist abilities: beside her photo was the red-headed Ellova Palava (international mistress of disguise); above Ellova was the unimaginatively named Jordan Granger (getaway driver); Bubblegum’s photo was next to Jordan (hypnotic bubbles); Rust (fists of steel) next to Bubblegum; Tom the Opposite Man next to Rust; and below Rust and Tom was Moonbeam (power of night). Matthew Mist was the final photo that surrounded that of the group’s illustrious leader, The Dropped Apostrophe.
“It looks like we have the ingredients to a really good team here,” The Lady pondered, before lifting the photo of The Dropped Apostrophe again, with a sigh. “With their help, I should be able to get my hands on the rarest of rare jewels – they’ll all soon be mine!”
Smiling, she tidied all the photos together, deliberately putting the Apostrophe at the bottom of the pile, and whispered “such a pity we have a nincompoop in charge!” under her breath.
All a Matter of Timing
Ellova Palava (international mistress of disguise) and Jordan Grainger (getaway driver) waited in the old 1962 Sambabus outside the main entrance to the bank on the Main Road, as requested by their illustrious leader the Dropped Apostrophe (utter nincompoop), both frantically looking for any signs of movement from within the bank.
Jordan noticed an approaching police car in his driver side mirror, and instantly reached into the small glove box at the front of the vehicle to retrieve a folded atlas, the police car pulling in behind them just as he managed to unfold it and turn it the right way up. The policeman walked up to the driver side window, waited for Jordan to wind it down, and asked the expected term is there a problem here, sir, to which Jordan replied “no, not really a problem, but we seem to be lost – we’re looking for Avenue Road.”
“There’s no Avenue Road in this town, sir,” the policeman said helpfully, looking at the map “although you’ll not get very far if there was with that map – it’s for somewhere in Spain.”
“I told you I couldn’t read maps…” Jordan said, glaring at Ellova, desperate for a way out of the situation.
Ellova lowered her dark sunglasses and looked directly into the policeman’s eyes about to say something in Spanish, when the policeman’s attention turned to the bank doors which had burst open and two people ran through carrying open holdalls which were leaking money; the policeman quickly spoke into his collar radio and then, looking back at Jordan, said “you’ll have to move along now, there’s a robbery in progress here…”
Bubblegum sat, legs up, with her right leg bent slightly at the knee and crossed over her left, on the sofa in the lounge, absentmindedly flicking through the pages of the latest copy of her favourite gossip magazine, neither reading words or looking at pictures, whilst at the same time blowing huge bubbles with her regular cherry-flavoured bubblegum, bursting them, chewing once more, and then repeating the progress.
Moonbeam walked into the room, dressed in a tight-fitting vest top and shorts, hot and sweaty after his daily fifteen-mile run, and plonked himself down on the sofa, almost on Bubblegum’s legs.
“Watch it sunshine…” Bubblegum snapped, closing the magazine and throwing it onto the coffee table next to the sofa behind her, “if just one droplet of your wetness touches me, you’ll be finding something extra special ground up in one of your teas.”
Moonbeam stood and moved over to the chair opposite, “you’re a bit grumpy today B, what’s wr…” he couldn’t finish speaking as Bubblegum huffed loudly, grabbed her magazine and stormed out of the room without uttering another word.
Matthew Mist faded into view on the part of the sofa Moonbeam had just been sitting, and smiled at Moonbeam, “I don’t mind the wet,” he said as his smile became a smirk, “but don’t mind me – you can sit in me any time!”
“That is gross…” Moonbeam screwed his face, “and I don’t even want to know what you were doing there… but aside from that, I saw something very interesting at the bank earlier, as I took a quick detour and ran across the road just up the street from it; Jordan and Ellova were there, talking to a policeman; I think they’re up to something…”
Out of Order
The Lady removed her master key after locking the door to her suite in the private section of the Elixir Spa Resort Hotel and Leisure Complex, and turned to walk along the corridor towards the lifts to go to the restaurant on the ground floor, colliding into Bubblegum who was running at speed the other way.
“B…” The Lady started, but wasn’t allowed to say anything further as Bubblegum stormed, breathlessly, “leave me alone” as she barged passed.
The Lady shrugged (and watched Bubblegum run to her room at the far end of the corridor, slamming the door after she’d entered) and continued along to the lifts at the opposite end of the corridor, where she moved the out of order sign that hung from a chain across the double doors, and placed it in a maintenance cupboard between the lifts and the stairs.
“They’ve been using the stairs long enough now,” The Lady thought, “and I’m in a very good mood, so it’s time they have full access to the facilities.”
Once on the ground floor, she put the out of order sign that was there away as well, and walked through to the empty reception area of the complex, looking at all the chairs and sofas that were dotted around all covered with dust sheets, noticing Moonbeam and Matthew Mist chatting in the lounge as she passed that room.
She walked quickly and quietly through the restaurant, making her way to the kitchen at the back, and in the corner she saw the Dropped Apostrophe sat a table speaking with a figure that she didn’t recognise; although she was well familiar with the figure’s police uniform.
Jordan Grainger and Ellova Palava were not pleased by the time they arrived at the complex, neither of them; the Sambabus had broken down just after they’d turned off the Main Road, mere minutes after they’d cleverly managed to evade capture by the police for their part in the robbery of the bank.
Jordan spent two hours trying to find the fault, which turned out to be a connection that should never have come loose coming loose – which Jordan put down to the poor state of the road on Esplanade Boulevard and the lack of suspension on the Sambabus.
Ellova left Jordan at the reception, and walked up the stairs to her room on the sixth floor; Jordan joined Matthew Mist and Moonbeam in the lounge.
“I saw you at the bank earlier,” Moonbeam said whilst sipping from a cup of tea, still wearing his running clothes but considerably drier, adding, “talking to that policeman.”
“That was a close call,” Jordan said, in all innocence, “how we managed to get away from that is beyond me… ‘specially when the two from the Pincham Mob came running out of the bank while the policeman was there – he let us go so he could deal with the robbery.”
“And that doesn’t strike you as odd…” Moonbeam asked, looking squarely and accusingly into Jordan’s face, who merely frowned; “surely he’d need you to stick around for statements, not let you drive away… but more to the point, he didn’t stop the robbery; it’s been on the local news… somebody got away with the vault load of notes, less the ones left scattered on the wind.”
A New Plan
The Dropped Apostrophe gathered Jordan Grainger, Ellova Palava, and Moonbeam together in the grand ballroom of the Elixir Spa Resort Hotel and Leisure Complex; he’d arranged three chairs in a small semi-circle in front of the coffee table he was sitting at, where all three were now taking their seats.
“We were robbed,” he started, referring to the bank robbery which didn’t go exactly as he’d planned, “and that was partly my fault, I should never trust the Pinchams.”
“Partly…” Ellova started to speak, but the Apostrophe’s raised palm caused her to stop, he instead continued with what he wanted to say, “so tonight, you three will join The Lady at the Exquisite Collection, where they are displaying the rarest jewels from around the world… once we get them, we can sell them on the Underground, and the proceeds will go to our cause of world domination – get your glad rags on folks, the exhibition opens at six – run along now!”
Jordan glanced at his watch; 5:00pm; they had an hour to get dressed up to the nines and get across town to the Exquisite Collection Jewellers and Boutique on Avenue Road… a thought which triggered a memory from the bank earlier that day; he glanced at Ellova who was looking back at him, presumably thinking the same thing.
Moonbeam tightly grabbed Jordan’s shoulder, and leant closely to his ear, whispering, “You can be trusted to get this right, can’t you?”
Jordan said nothing, he merely shrugged off Moonbeam’s tight grip and ran after Ellova, who’d already crossed the dance floor and was opening the door; can any of us be trusted in this group – he thought as he stepped through, allowing the door to close before Moonbeam got there.
“I’ll show you ‘invitation only’”, Moonbeam said as he used his hands to draw down a cloak of darkness around the two security guards who prevented the group’s access to the Exquisite Collection Jewellers and Boutique, sending them instantly to sleep, “It’s a shop, and you don’t need invitations to go into a shop – be careful not to touch that.”
He walked through the door, allowing it to close before Jordan Grainger and Ellova Palava could reach it, with them having to both step over the guards and not touch the remaining darkness residue which was slowly draining away from the guard’s sleeping bodies towards the gutter at the edge of the road, where Jordan had been oddly able to park the Sambabus; inside, Jordan and Ellova found the shop to be empty.
The Lady stood at the back of the shop, looking into a glass display case as an assistant slid open the lid, and Moonbeam, dressed in a black tuxedo, looked through a reinforced glass display cabinet at, what was, the label on the shelf said, the Rainbow Diamond of the Peruvian Prince; Jordan recognised the assistant with the Lady as the policeman from earlier that day.
“Something’s very odd here…” Jordan whispered to Ellova, but could say nothing more as the door behind them burst open and a woman dressed from head to toe in bright pink flew through, flying into both Jordan and Ellova, knocking them forward into Moonbeam, who’d started to draw down his mystical darkness energies again to weaken the cabinet’s glass; the resulting chaos dazed all three of them.
“Hold it right there…” the pink lady said forcefully, “or feel the full power of Lady Might!”
The Lady grabbed the lid from the assistant – who fled into the room at the back of the shop – and threw it like a Frisbee at the pink lady who’d interrupted their operation… Lady Might went out like a light as soon as it touched her shoulder, although this was due to her foot touching Moonbeam’s residue that lay on the shop’s floor in her path, rather than the power behind The Lady’s throw; helping the others up, and herself to a few of the more expensive looking jewels, The Lady looked at the pink heap on the floor, and said proudly, with a chuckle, “My dear, yes… Lady might indeed.”
The Lady walked through the restaurant of the Elixir Spa Resort Hotel and Leisure Complex, noticing Bubblegum sitting at a table in the corner eating a bowl of cereal. She walked over and sat down opposite; Bubblegum glanced up and then continued to eat.
“Tell me, my dear,” The Lady spoke regardless, “what could possibly play with your young mind that leaves you with such a wicked temper?”
Putting her spoon into her bowl, Bubblegum looked at The Lady, thought for a moment, and then said, “I didn’t sign up for this… I didn’t sign up for taking people prisoner… but that’s OK, it’s what we have to do for the Dropped Apostrophe’s insane plan for world domination.
“Remember those sweets that were on the counter when we first came into the hotel,” The Lady nodded, “well, I put them there… they were my own recipe – made with my subliminal control formula, I put them there and everyone took one – and I need to say just one phrase which alters the mind of the person I’m speaking to.
“The phrase is ‘I’ll be right as rain tomorrow’ and the person I’m speaking to forgets everything for the last five minutes, which sometimes changes everything that they are about to say or do…” her voice trailed off; The Lady, looking somewhat confused, smiled and gently asked, “Tell me, my dear, what could possibly play with your young mind that leaves you with such a wicked temper?”
So, whatever next?
Find out in the next instalment of The Co-ordination of Supervillains!