Posted in Quotes

Go

Joss Whedon by Gage Skidmore 7.jpg

The thing with the comics is that you have license to go down every alley your brain can think of.   Joss Whedon

Joseph Hill Whedon (born June 23, 1964) is an American producer, director, screenwriter, comic book writer, and composer. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of several television series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Angel (1999–2004), Firefly (2002), Dollhouse (2009–10), and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–present).

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Posted in Quotes

Alcohol

Steve-Martin

Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.    Steve Martin

Stephen GlennSteveMartin (born August 14, 1945) is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, producer, and musician.  Martin came to public notice as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, Martin has become a successful actor, as well as an author, playwright, pianist and banjo player, eventually earning him an Emmy, Grammy and American Comedy awards, among other honors.  In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. He was awarded an honorary Oscar at the Academy’s 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013.

Steve Martin performs with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Steve Martin performs with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Posted in Quotes

Thanksgiving- Language warning

warrenellis“Here in Britain, of course, it’s Thank Fuck We Got Those Weird Jesus Bastards On The Boat Day”Warren Ellis

Warren Girard Ellis (born 16 February 1968) is an English author of comics, novels, and television, who is well known for sociocultural commentary, both through his online presence and through his writing, which covers transhumanist themes (most notably nanotechnology, cryonics, mind transfer, and human enhancement). He is a resident of Southend-on-Sea, England.

warrenellissigning

 

Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 21.

Tried a new way of posting the image.

Chapter 1

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

“How long have I been asleep?”

“About two hours.” Gary said holding up a cup of coffee from the kitchen.

Sharon shook her head. “Too much caffeine last night, I will get a shower, some clean clothes and I will be ready for the day.”

“Good we got three more places to check out.”

“Three, I thought there was five places to check out?” She said stretching and yawning.

“Andrew checked out two on his way back from dropping off Jimmy, Clark and Bruce.” Andrew responded, yawning now. He called this next part towards her back as she started to walk down the hall. “Oh and I finally got a hold of my uncle.”

“You did?” Sharon said turning quickly and coming back to the kitchen.

“Yep, and I think I know something about the Disruption Field.”

“You do,” Sharon was almost jumping up and down. “Tell me already.”

“Well my uncle responded to a letter that my father wrote him. My uncle was surly and rude, but he told me all about it. My father asked him all about things that he might have had or given away and or gotten when my father was in high school.”

“And?”

“He knew exactly what it was, and it matches up perfectly with the invention.”

“Well what is it?” Sharon said excitedly.

“It’s a lamp.”

“A lamp, like a pull the string the light comes on.”

“Yeah but it was made out a world war two one mortar shell.”

This stopped Sharon cold. “A mortar shell?”

“Yeah one of those homemade jobs, something like you would make in shop class, wood base, mount the shell, run a cord thru it and put a socket on it and you got yourself a lamp.”

“Did you uncle make it?”

“No he said he won it in a poker game from some guy that came from Hill Valley”

“What, you mean the place with the time machine report.” Sharon asked referring to the The Enigmatic Findings Group report.

“Yeah.” Gary said shaking his head.

“Then what happened to the lamp?”

“My uncle lost in a bet to a guy going back to college, something about smashing beer cans with his head, full ones.”

Sharon laughed. “Now I know why you uncle is the prop master for professional wrestlers.”

Gary just shook his head.

“So your father was looking for this lamp made out of a mortar shell.”

“Yeah looks that way, I wonder if he found it, but more importantly I wonder if it will be in his lab?” Sharon shrugged her shoulders in response, then kissed Gary quick and headed off to the bathroom.

The three of them climbed back into Gary’s truck, only two places left to look for the lab, this one had turned out to be a bust, nothing but an empty building with lots of trash strewn about.

“I got a good feeling about this next place.” Andrew said motioning for Gary to take a right up ahead.

“That is what you said about the last place.” Gary responded.

“Well yeah but I like the name of this owner ‘Szigeti Mate Limited’ what do you think are they a dating service?”

“Well they could help you out.” Sharon said laughing.

“What is that supposed to mean, I’ll have you know Bobbie sent me a text last night, I think we might try and reconcile.”

Sharon was about to protest when Gary slammed his hand onto the dashboard. “Szigeti, Sziegti was the name of one of Nikola Tesla’s best friends. My Dad was crazy about Tesla.”

“See I told you I had a good feeling about this next place.”

Sharon rolled her eyes and looked over the map. “Okay boys if you really think this is the place we should really be careful, I am betting Gable is going to be hanging around the place, waiting to see if we find this place on our own.”

“That is a little far-fetched don’t you think. I mean Stuckey said we had till seven p.m. tonight.”

Gary spoke up. “He stated he has a lot of money tied up in this project, I am betting he is hedging his bets.”

Fifteen minutes later they arrived at the address. They had walked the last block looking for Jack Gable’s dark mini-van was nowhere to be seen. After walking past the address once on the far side of the street they crossed and came back to the old brick building which sat alone, no windows, and only two doors, one in the front and the other along a gravel driveway on the side of the building.

“I know what this place used to be.” Andrew stated.

They were a few doors down and walking towards it. “What?”

“It used to be an old telephone switching building.”

Sharon looked at him. “How do you know that?”

“I did a report on changing technology when I was in high school. This building used to be full of mechanical switches that was how they connect one phone to another. But with the advent of the computer, all the mechanical switches were done away with, so these buildings required less and less space, what used to take a building this size now fits in a simple table top computer.”

“Wow, I am impressed.” Gary said as they arrived at the door. He had pulled out the keys and was looking at them, it took two tries from the five keys on the ring to find the right one, they opened the door and peered in. There were lights on, and Gary took a deep breath and entered the building.

It was a bit like he expected from Stuckey’s description, big room, cement floor and walls, lite with fluorescent lights surrounding a smaller room made out of concrete blocks and painted white. The three of them walked around the perimeter of the smaller building carefully, and when they got to the back side opposite the front of the building they found door. It was a metal sliding door recessed into the wall, with no other openings, along the wall where the door was a row of work benches mounted along the exterior wall.

Sharon started going thru the boxes containing files. While Gary and Andrew looked closer at the door.

“EFG files.” Sharon announced after looking into a couple.

“Old computer,” Gary announced. “I wonder if this is the same model my father had when he was a kid.”

Andrew nodded. “Maybe, that is why he used it, he knew it very well, and any new hacker would first have to figure out the antiquated operating system before he could even begin to hack it.”

Sharon came over and joined the boys around the computer. Gary was looking at a laminated card that was flipped over the screen. “Here is the warning Stuckey said was here,” he continued to read it, flipped it over and noted the opposite side was blank. He flipped it over and laid it on top of the old computer monitor.

“Green on black computer screen, I have not seen one of these since elementary school dude.” Andrew said as he brushed some dust off the monitor.

Gary read the screen out loud. “Enter with each question with one key stoke only, Y, N, O, F or 1, 2,3,4,5, 6. The only person that should know all answers is my son Gary. Hit the number 1 if you are Gary.”

Gary looked around at his two companions. “Are we ready to start guys?”

Gary looked at Sharon first; she nodded her head and smiled. Andrew put his hand on his shoulder and nodded. “Go for it bud.”

Gary took out his hand and hit the 1 key.

A half an hour later the computer showed they were on the last question, it had been relatively straight forward, in fact it had been easy, all the puzzles, all the clues left behind for Gary had been the answers in the computer. The first question had read like this. “Was the puzzle box made of wood?” The simple answer expected by the computer ‘Y’. The next was just as easy. “There were four comic books listed in the smaller envelope left with Andrew’s pull list? Y or N.” The answer of course was N. The computer list went on like this for thirty questions, it even got into the resistor, tap code problem, asking if such and such letter matched what color bands on the resistors, working the problem backwards.

“Okay last question guys.” Gary announced and the other two leaned in closer to the screen and he read the words in green lettering. “Do you have the key? Y or N.”

Gary turned to Sharon before he hit the key. Sharon was already digging around in her bag, and a few seconds later held the key up for everyone to see.

“Hey what key is that?” Andrew asked.

That is when they heard the sneering nasally voice of Mr. Stuckey. “Ah, the key we have been looking for.”

The three of them turned. Mr. Stuckey was flanked by a very large man holding a shotgun and Jack Gable. The shotgun was not pointing at them currently but was held down at the big man’s side.

“How did you know we found the place?” Gary asked as the three came closer.

“Oh I had some video and audio surveillance going, Jack has been waiting in his van for you kids to find it, and when you did he called, I came and brought Jerry here as insurance policy.” He said motioning towards the guy on his right with the shotgun.

Gary thought about running for it, but was unsure if Stuckey or the man with the gun was bluffing.

“You two” He said motioning towards Sharon and Andrew. “Over here where Jerry can keep an eye on you, but first Miss Towner give Gary the key.”

Sharon handed Gary the key, she winked at him as she handed him the key and then walked with Andrew towards the corner Stuckey had pointed out. Gary did not know what the wink meant but he figured Sharon had something planned. Stuckey came over and looked at the screen. “Well are you going to push Y or shall I?”

Holding onto the key with his left hand he hit the ‘Y’ button. That is when the computer started a countdown, from twenty. Gary read the words at the bottom of the screen. “Insert key and turn when the countdown reaches zero.”

“Ah a sort of dead man’s switch, please place the key in the lock Gary.”

Gary looked at his friends who were watching as well, then back at the numbers on the screen.

“While we are still young, young Gary.”

Gary inserted the key and waited for the numbers to reach zero. When he did he turned the key and nothing happened for ten whole seconds. Then he saw a recessed panel next to the door slide back and reveal six differently colored keys, all lite from behind. Gary looked back at the screen. It had gone black.

“That screen has not gone blank in three months; I had a camera pointed at it all this time.” Stuckey said pointing to a corner of the room. Gary saw the lens now up in the rafters. “Boy I hope you know the right keys.”

Gary turned and looked at the keys; he stared at them for a good minute. Nothing came to him. “Guys, I got six buttons here, red, orange, yellow, blue, a darker blue, and purple, any clue.”

Sharon shook her head as did Andrew.

“Is there anything we did not answer yet, something we might have left out?”

Sharon shook her head. Andrew snapped his fingers. “Yea, at the end of the resistor code, once we figured out the words and numbers, which lead us to the library, wasn’t there something else?”

Gary smacked his own forehead. “Yeah there were three colors.”

Stuckey leaned in close to Gary. “Well what were they young man?”

Gary closed his eyes and thought fast. “What happens when I tell you? You going to let us go?”

Stuckey looked at him. “Once this door is open, and I have what I want, then yes you and your friends can go.”

“Okay here goes everything.” Gary reached out and hit the buttons: Red then blue then blue again.

Chapter 22

Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 19

Green_Goblin_Vol_1_2Green-Arrow-New-52-Comic-Book-Cover Decided to go Green this week, to protect the Earth and all that jazz. (Okay so sue me, it is a lame theme) Typical disclaimer, art work has nothing to do blah, blah blah.

Chapter 1

Last Week’s Chapter

Chapter 19

It was several hours later before Sharon would talk to him again. First she had gone to her room, and then he saw her briefly when she had walked past him to get a shower. Then Sharon had grabbed a muffin from the plastic container filled by Andrew’s mother the previous day, grabbed a file and went back to her room and closed the door. After an hour she came out fully dressed, Gary noted it had coincided with Andrew announcing loudly he was taking a shower. It was then Sharon came out to the living room. Gary put down the file as she approached and she came and sat in his lap without asking, he put his arm around her waist and she positioned her arms around his neck.

“I am sorry I got mad earlier.”

Gary looked her in the eyes. “Why were you mad?”

Sharon sighed. “I guess I was thinking ahead, trying to solve the whole mystery of all this I sometimes forget that the only reason you are searching for answers is to find your father, you don’t really care about the rest of this stuff.” She said motioning to the files spread around.

Gary shrugged. “You are right there; all I care about is finding my father, not about what he got involved with.”

“Well I was mad that you let gave information away,” Sharon stopped and paused, Gary was about to say something when he just nodded. “but you are emotionally involved, deeply, me I never met your father and I was given a glimpse at this great mystery and I want to get to the bottom of all this, to see what is causing all these fantastic things.”

“So you believe all this?”

Sharon gave a half nod. “Yeah I do, you see my father was not just an electrician he was also sort of an adventurer.”

“An adventurer, does that pay well?” Gary said sarcastically.

Sharon frowned and he could feel her stiffen. “Your sarcasm is one of the most unattractive things about you.”

“Sorry.”

“That is okay,” He felt her relax. “I just get defensive, I really love my family, and my father is a really great guy I cannot wait for you meet him.”

Gary did not know how to react to that, so he just nodded.

Sharon realized what she said and tried to cover it up. “I mean if he ever comes up here to pick me up, you know if you happen to be around when he comes around.”

“Of course.” Gary said quickly.

“So what do you think we should try and get out of this Mr. Stuckey.”

“Who is Mr. Stuckey?” Andrew said entering the room.

“Why are you wearing my godfather’s robe dude.”

“That is nothing bud, I plan on wearing opening a sealed package of new underwear I found in his closet and wear them later. So who is Mr. Stuckey?”

It was five minutes till twelve and the three of them were sitting in the comic book store. Sharon had a notepad in front of her, along with a couple of pencils. Andrew was behind the counter and Gary was sitting next to Sharon playing with the reassembled wooden puzzle box where the key had been found.

They saw a limousine pull up in front of the store. No chauffer got out but the back door opened and first out was Jack Gable, sometime since this morning he had evidently showered and put on an ill-fitting suit, he held the door and out of the back seat a smaller man, bald, a little rotund got out of the back of the limousine.

“I am guessing that is Mr. Stuckey.” Andrew stated.

“Do you think he really needs that cane?” Sharon commented, not really expecting an answer.

Gary shrugged. “I don’t care, I just want to know if he knows anything about my father.”

“Big picture baby, if we get some of those details filled in it can’t help but help us find your Dad.” Sharon said reaching over and holding his hand. They had discussed this after Andrew had gone to get dressed, and had agreed that when Mr. Stuckey showed up any details gained would be useful.

“Right you are.”

By now the two men had gotten to the door and Andrew had walked over to unlock the door. They followed him across the shop and Sharon and Gary stood.

“Quaint little shop you have here.” Mr. Stuckey said when he was across the table from the two of them.

Gary nodded. Andrew had joined them on the far side of the table. “Please sit down.” Gary said motioning towards the chairs.

“Of course.” Stuckey sat first with Jack Gable stood behind the older man and slightly towards his left. “Of course you know me as Mr. Stuckey, and you know my employee, Jack, and you are Gary Donnelly son of Wyatt, this lovely lady is Sharon Towner, and this fine man here is Andrew Harlan.”

Gary tried to keep his eyes on Mr. Stuckey but he was distracted by Jack Gable who was staring intently at Sharon, doing the creepy lip licking thing.

“We’ll let me start by first saying that I am a huge admirer of your father, some of the early work he did on his game controller was amazing, too bad Nakatomi corporation did not see it that way and let him go.”

“Ancient history really.”

“Yes of course,” Mr. Stuckey said continuing. “But what is it your father was working on lately, something truly revolutionary I bet.”

“Is that why you are here, Mr. Stuckey to invest in my father’s invention?”

“Well partially, you see several years ago I was an investor, some might have called me a corporate pirate really, go in buy a company and then strip it’s assets, sell if off for parts, making a lot of money in the progress.” Gary could tell this man liked talking about himself. “But alas my business partner and I had a falling out over a pretty woman.” He paused here. Gary watched him play with his cane head which was a silver eagle. “I had some reversal of my fortunes, but coming back from it, I decided to start looking at the creation of true wealth, what if a person could get in on the ground floor of such things as Edison’s light bulb, or Bill Gate’s DOS, why the sky could be the limit.”

“Sure I get that.” Gary said hoping the man would continue.

Stuckey looked at Gary now with eagerness. “But the more I studied the invention process, the more I realized that small inventors that I would be able to get on the ground floor with were few and far between and mostly they worked on small things, bettering the light bulb, making things faster. But then I found a group called The Enigmatic Findings Group founded by Dr. Riley.”

Gary tried not to show any emotion, but this was the same group Mrs. Eastman had said was founded by her first husband. Heck every report had the EFG letterhead.

“I see you have heard of it.” Stuckey said chuckling to himself. “Yes, I know all about Mrs. Eastman’s first husband, in fact using his guidelines and structure I have increased the size of the EFG quite sustainably and I know all about your father and his creation.”

“So where is my father now?” Gary said.

“Oh I don’t know exactly where he is right now, but I do not where his lab is.”

Gary looked at Sharon, then at Andrew.

“You are wondering how I know where his lab is, aren’t you, something Mrs. Eastman does not even know.” Behind Stuckey Jack Gable seemed to be chuckling silently.

“Where is it?” Gary said getting excited now.

“Not yet youngster,” the portly man said shaking his finger, “you see your father was working for me, well not for me, but for a EFG, he has never actually met me, but I have signed all the checks for his work. You see I wanted him to re-create his experiment that brought that virtual reality creature to life back when your dear old dad was in high school.”

“So what happened, where he is.”

Stuckey looked at him sideways now. “That is what I want to know, he stopped sending reports in 6 months ago, all attempts to contact him went unanswered, and all attempts to enter his lab have met with negative results.” The man paused there as if intentionally.

Gary looked at him and slowly asked the question the man had set him up for. “Okay, all attempts to enter his lab, what does that mean?”

Stuckey smiled a rather reptilian smile. “Well it seems your father set up an elaborate security system. If anyone enters, according to the system, without permission, all the data inside will be wiped from the computers and several incendiary devices will destroy the contents of the lab as well.”

“How do you know this?”

Stuckey smiled again. “Well you see the lab is set up inside a building, actually a building within a building. Gaining entrance to the first level is easy enough, just some simple locks, I even have the keys which I will give you.” He looked over his shoulder and motioned for Gable to give Gary the keys. Gable reached into his pocket and slide the keys across the table. Gary did not reach for them he just let them sit there. “But there is only one door to the interior area, and that is wired to computer. On the computer screen is very precise directions for opening the door. First the door must be unlocked with the key, secondarily the questions on the computer must be answered correctly and precisely before another panel opens, in which I imagine will contain the controls to open the door and disable the destruction device.”

Gary leaned back in his chair, his hands reached out and played with the wooden puzzle box.

Andrew spoke up. “I assume you have not tried to hack the computer?”

Stuckey leaned back. “No actually we did try. Gary’s father was quite adept at his programming, and he kept it very simple but complex at the same time. The computer has triple backups for the power, it is wired directly into the power system, no plug to pull and restart the computer, along with some battery backups, trust me young man, I hired some very proficient people to hack that computer and not one of them could even begin to make headway, it is a closed system, with only one way to enter the door that is to put the proper answers in after the key is placed in the lock.”

Sharon spoke now. “So you want Gary to open the door.”

Stuckey smiled. “Precisely.”

“Why do you think Gary can open the door?” Sharon asked.

Stuckey smiled again. “Because the computer has told us only he has the answers to the questions.”

The five of them all looked at Gary now, the room was silent for a few minutes with the only sound coming for Gary turning over the puzzle box several times on the table. Finally without saying another word Gary stood up and placed both hands on the table, taking the keys and placing them in his pocket. “I will let you know in 48 hours if I will open the lab.”

Stuckey looked at him, at first shocked, then gave a little smirk. “You are going to see Mrs. Eastman to see if what I told you is true.” He said it in such a way that it was not a question.

“Yes, I will be seeing her. But I am not sure how your problem with the lab really concern me,” Gary paused for effect. “The only thing I care about is finding my father and his friend, so unless their itinerary for a South American vacation is in the lab I don’t really care about his work for you.”

Stuckey chuckled at this and stood up still chuckling, then he smiled back but a flash of anger crossed his face but regained control. “You father did not leave the country, in fact I know your father never left this town. I had a lot of motivated investigators looking for your father; you know what each one told me, totally independent of each other. Your father never left this town, he is still here somewhere, I personally think he and your namesake had an accident in the lab and when we finally open that door we will find two corpses. But the choice is yours. Come to my hotel tomorrow at 7 pm with the proper answer, if not,” He left that hang in the air as he turned and walked towards the door. “I will open that door and your father’s corpse is going to be a little crispy when it goes to the funeral.”

Gable opened the door for his boss, then turned and looked towards Sharon again; he did the creepy thing with his lips and then followed his boss back to the limousine.

The three friends looked at each other and realized that had not gone anything like they had thought. Gary was the first to speak. “We are going to see Mrs. Eastman tonight.”

The day had passed uneventfully, before they opened the doors at one they had briefly discussed their plans; talk to Mrs. Eastman, try and discover where the lab was and after that figure out if they could get in without Stuckey knowing about it. Gary kept turning over the problem of the computer lock in his head, he wondered what if what Stuckey had said was true, was his Dad really dead in a lab somewhere close by, if so why all the puzzles, why not just send Gary a letter telling him where the lab was, especially if they were doing something dangerous. His Dad was not a risk taker, but his god father was, had Gary finally done something to get them both killed.

As Gary was lost in thought most of the afternoon he did not notice Andrew and Sharon having short intense conversations with some of the regular customers, he also did not notice the
phone kept constantly busy, with either customers using it, or Sharon and Andrew answering it.

An hour before closing Sharon approached Gary. “Lot on your mind boss.”

“Yeah,” He paused. “You don’t think they are dead in that lab do you?”

Sharon took his hands in her and looked at him directly in the eyes. “If your Dad is as half as smart as you are, no way.”

Gary smiled back at her, then kissed her on the lips very softly. “That was exactly what I needed to hear.”

Sharon almost blushed and then got serious for a second. “Hey I have to run and errand, and Andrew is going to run to his house for some clothes as he thinks we should not really split up until we find your father, so he was going to pack a bag for tonight. So we were going to combine the trip.” She took a breath. “You okay to lock up the place by yourself?”

He glanced around. “I think I can handle it. Try and get back here before too long, I want to get to Mrs. Eastman’s tonight before it gets too late.” They kissed again and then Sharon and Andrew grabbed their coats and went out the door.

Chapter 20

Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 15

Robinroy-rogers-comic-cover Some covers from some non-superheros.

Chapter One for those just joining the story now in progress.

Chapter 14 for those who might have forgetten where we left off, last week.

Chapter 15

The next morning, they all opened up the shop but had very few customers. By 10:30 Gary apologized to the few regulars that were in the store but asked them to leave as they had somewhere they had to go. Before leaving the store, Sharon grabbed her bag what she had kept in the storage closet all this time. It was a medium sized tough canvas bag with a shoulder strap, Gary raised a quizzical eyebrow.

Sharon simply replied with a sweet smile. “Just a few things a girl might need, I like to be prepared.”

Andrew drove his car and Gary held the bag while Sharon climbed in the back seat, the bag was heavier than it looked. He then handed her the bag. “What do you got in here bricks?” The sweet smile, again, Gary was beginning to realize that that particular smile camouflaged if not a devious nature, at least a cunning mind. They got to Andrew’s house in a few minutes and Andrew ushered them in the side doors which lead directly into the kitchen. Ms. Harlan had freshly baked muffins stacked on every flat surface in the room, she said it was for a church bake sale and told them to dig in. Sharon and Ms. Harlan made friends fast, and eventually Andrew’s sister wandered in, fresh from bed in fact she might have been still asleep. She saw Gary and immediately turned around and went back to her room. Ten minutes later she was back with make-up on and her hair tied up in a ponytail.

“Sharon this is my daughter Mary.”

“Hi Mary.” Sharon responded with her typical friendly self from across the room.

Mary saw Sharon with her perfect hair and pretty face but she was not rude. “Oh hi.” Mary stated responded in a deflated manner, then she gathered up a glass of milk and a muffin and left the room for other parts of the house.

“Well I would say you just popped her bubble.” Andrew stated putting some butter on a muffin top.

Sharon gave a quizzical look and Andrew’s mom responded. “Mary has a little crush on Gary.”

“Oh?” Sharon said looking sideways at Gary, then she quickly smiled as she saw that he had not even noticed the teenager enter the room.

Gary had been mostly oblivious to the conversation swirling around him, had looked up when his name was mentioned. “Did I miss something?”

“No go back to reading the paper Gary.” Sharon said chuckling which Andrew’s mom joined in as well.

After they had all eaten too many muffins they started to say good bye and Sharon was told to come back anytime so they could really talk and Sharon promised she would. They were about to walk out the door when Ms. Harlan handed Andrew the cookies in a red metal tin, when she asked who the cookies were for. Andrew stopped and his friends saw that he did not want to answer, but he did.

“They are for Bobbie,” and he held up his hand real quick. “For a favor nothing more.”

Ms. Harlan looked like she was about to say something, but a look of resignation came across her face and she handed over the tin of cookies. “Okay, but I want the tin back.”

The group said their good-byes and Sharon was bursting with curiosity when they got to the car.

“Why does your mother not like Bobbie?”

Andrew simply said. “Long story but we got into a lot of trouble when we were younger.”

Sharon was about to ask more questions when Gary piped up. “Guys black mini-van about a block back, it just pulled out as we did.”

Andrew who was driving, looked into the rearview mirror. “Can’t tell it who is driving due to the wind shield glare, but I am betting it is Mr. Creepy from last night.”

Gary turned around in the sit and looked at Sharon. “What do you think, should we care that he is following us?”

Sharon just shrugged. “The guy hasn’t done anything except buy a book from us,” She turned and looked back and then leaned forward between the seats. “Andrew can we park somewhere out of the way and then use some back ways, through alleys and such to get to the library.”

“I think I got just the place.”

“I hate their pizza.”

“Why.” Gary asked us they hustled thru the side parking lot and into the pizza joint.

“It’s cheap and greasy.” Sharon whispered to Gary. Andrew was leading the way and waved to the owner telling them he would be back later for a slice or two, the old man just smiled and nodded while he continued to knead his dough.

Andrew responded. “Well we are not here for the pizza, at least not right now but now we are going through here because they have a back door that goes almost up to the biology building, and once we get there it is almost a maze and you can’t see most of the walkways from the road due to the trees.” With that said they were out the back door and made a quick walk over to the campus property line.

Gary was carrying Sharon’s bag, and Andrew had the red cookie tin in his gloved hand as they made their way through the deserted campus. Luckily it had not snowed lately as the sidewalks had not been shoveled and their tracks were not the only ones on campus. The three walked in silence each lost in their thoughts and walking quickly to get out of the cold.
Sharon turned on the path that lead to the front door of the library. Andrew pulled her arm and directed her way. “Bobbie said come in the side door nearest the auditorium.”

Gary just nodded and the three of them walked down a lesser used path. As the door came into sight it opened and a figure held the door open and yelled. “Andrew you are late.”
Andrew quickly looked at his watch. “Only five minutes.”

“Bobbie is a girl.” Gary stated surprised, and kept staring at her, she was on the petite side with short red hair, pretty or cute he could not figure out which way he would describe her.

“Bobbie Joe to be exact, long Southern tradition, her mom is from Alabama.”

They reached the door and Sharon reached out her hand. “Hi I’m Sharon.”

After introducing themselves in the stairwell they made their way to the interior of the library, Bobbie leading the way.

“So how long have you two known each other?” Sharon asked.

“Long time since I moved here in the 6th grade and we went to high school together. In fact Andrew and I used to date.”

Gary and Sharon looked at Andrew, who just got busy taking off his coat and then handing the tin of cookies over to Bobbie. “I bet your mom was not happy to be giving me any cookies.”

Andrew responded quickly. “She did not say a word, but she wants her tin back.”

“She still has not forgiven me.” Bobbie said sitting on a table and opening the tin and taking out a cookie, looking it over and then smelling it.

“Forgave you for what?” Sharon asked sensing a really good story.

“Do you want to tell them or should I?” Bobbie said around a mouthful of cookie.

Andrew held up his hand. “I will give them the basics.” Sharon and Gary looked back and forth between the two of them. Bobbie smiling, and Andrew looking very uncomfortable. “Bobbie and I ran away together in the summer between our Jr. and Sr. year in high school.

Gary was shocked. Sharon could barely wait to hear more and leaned forward. Andrew saw the story could not end there. “It was not as sorted as it sounds. We were supposed to go work at a summer camp together, but Bobbie had a cousin working at Sea World in Ohio, so instead of going to camp we slept on the floor of her cousin’s apartment and worked at Sea World instead.”

“And we would have gotten away with it for the whole summer if our high school principal had not visited Sea World, saw us, and then ran into Andrew’s mother as soon as he got home and told her about seeing us feeding the fish.”

“We weren’t feeding the fish, we were feeding the dolphins, dolphins are not fish.” Andrew said sounding like he had had this fight before, but he stopped himself and held up his hand to stop Bobbie. “We came here to find a book.”

“Oh yeah,” Bobbie said sliding off the table top. “What book?”

Gary got out his note cards. “The only thing we know is ‘JV 1868 3rd Edition Page 150’.”

Bobbie went behind the help desk and the three followed leaning against the countertop. “I am guessing the book came out in 1868,” Bobbie said her tone changing to a professional demeanor. “That limits it , any clue if JV refers to the title or the Author?”

Gary shook his head, but then after a second he reconsidered. “It is probably a classic.”

Sharon and Andrew made noises in the affirmative.

Bobbie looked curiously at the three of them. “You mean like Jules Verne.”

“Jules Verne of course, what did he write in 1868?” Gary said excitedly.

Bobbie typed a few things into the desktop computer. “Only one book, In Search of the Castaways.”

The three of them shrieked and yelled almost all together. “That’s it.”

Gary recovered first. “Where is it, and is it a third edition, here in the library?”

Bobbie looked at her screen, then took up a pencil and wrote down some numbers. “Third floor, back in the back, you two go up and get it, if you would not mind Andrew will stay down here and help me find some place for my cookies, I am guessing his mother wants the tin back.”

Sharon and Gary looked at their friend who just nodded. The two of them headed for the stairs and somewhere along the way, they ended up holding hands. Gary looked back over his shoulder at the last minute and saw Bobbie standing very close to the much taller Andrew. Once they were a floor above Sharon spoke up. “That girl is very sure of herself, and I am a little worried about Andrew.”

Gary was about to tell her there was nothing to worry about but then thought back over the conversation and had to agree with her, the girl was incredibly self-assured not to mention pretty. They reached the third floor and they began to search the stacks. After a few minutes they found the book. Gary opened the book to page one hundred and fifty. Nothing fell out, but numerous letters were underlined. The immediately found a table and Gary read off the letters and Sharon dutifully copied them down. This was the message they found, no code, no clues just an address and a short message.

Six two seven main street bring key

“Main Street, what is on Main Street down there, I thought that was all residential areas down that far.” Gary said out loud.

Sharon shrugged, she took the book from Gary and quickly examined it, even looking at the interior cover and flipping quickly through it to determine if anything else was in between the pages. Finding nothing she closed it and smiled at Gary. “Should we go and rescue Andrew now?”

Chapter 16

Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 10

 

captamericacover

(and in case you don’t know by now, this cover has nothing to do with the story)

Chapter One and in case you want to go back a week and get reaquainted with where the story left off Chapter 9.

Chapter 10.

“Okay let’s do this.”

Sharon and Andrew were standing beside him looking at the shelving unit mounted on the wall, he pulled the card, not that he really needed it now. He just wanted to be absolutely sure. “First Hawkeye. Andrew was closest to that title and he pulled all the issues off the shelf and examined the space behind it. Then he noticed that the part of the shelf behind this was stuck to the wall at a funny angle, he put his fingers behind it and it popped off. The other two were right behind him and he handed them the small wooden panel.

“Magnetics, and it was sticking to an old fashion metal toggle switch, the switch was in the up position with no label on it.” Andrew announced.

Sharon and Gary leaned in to look at it. Gary was about to flip it when Sharon grabbed his hand. “Not yet, let us find what is behind the rest of the books.” She stated cautiously.

Gary just nodded, and looked at the list again. “JLA.”

Sharon was closet to this title and moved all the issues off the shelf and on to the table. She again found the panel with the magnet, but this toggle switch was in the down position.

“Okay now for the last one. Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man.” Gary moved to the end of the lowest shelf and then to the top of the next one looking for the title, he found it on the next shelving unit over and repeated to procedure, but this time the backing was not sectional, it was one long piece and nailed to the rest of the shelf. “Something is wrong, no section it is one long piece.” He shook the self and all the comic books moved.

The other two came over and looked as well.

“Something is wrong, we missed something.” Gary exclaimed.

“But what, the first two were exactly where they were supposed to be.”

Gary stated the obvious, “Well I supposed we could take down every comic book and look behind each one.” He shook his head at the thought of all the work, and looked at his watch if they started right now, they had nine hours till the shop opened on Saturday morning, and sales lately had been very good lately on Saturday, a lot of people buying something for the geek in their life for Christmas.

Sharon leaned against the table and looked at the shelves, and then she snapped her fingers. “Do you remember what you told me the first time we met?”

Gary was puzzled. “Ah don’t be late and taking Wednesday off was grounds for immediate termination.”

She punched him. “No, the instructions you received from you father thru the lawyer. No major changes to the shop.”

“Yea so,” He motioned around the shop. “same as when I first started running it, same stupid mismatched furniture, same cash register with a broken 3 key, and same ugly carpeting. Same stupid store.”

“Not exactly, remember I talked you into changing you orders. A few more copies of some titles, and we got rid of a couple because they never sold.”

“Yeah so.” Then the light went off. “We changed how we stocked shelves.” He turned to Andrew. “Where is that photograph of you and my god father?”

Andrew had been watching the two of them as they worked it all out together, and realized at the same time about the photograph and was reaching for it on the counter. “Here it is.”

They all gathered around the photograph that showed the same shelf the other two switches had been found on.

“JLA is in the same place.”

“Hawkeye, too.”

“But Bionic Man was all the way down here.” Gary said pointing to the lowest part of the middle shelving unit.

The three of them looked at each other, Gary moved to where the book used to be placed. “Huh, Joe the Barbarian,” Gary said moving the books. “How is that selling?”

Sharon responded. “Does it really matter right now, is there a switch or not?”

Gary responded with by producing the telltale click which revealed the same setup. This switch was also in the down position.

They all looked at each other and Gary reached out and flipped the switch. The three of them looked around the shop and looked for something to happen. Sharon was near the first one they uncovered and she looked at Gary and she reached over and switched it in the opposite direction, in this case down. The three of them paused and looked around, the empty store.

“Andrew would you flip the second switch?”

“Sure.” Andrew stated calmly, and reached out and flipped the final switch in the opposite position.

This time the group waited a full minute, listening intently, all they heard was the occasional car going by outside the shop on the street.

Sharon spoke up. “You don’t think this could be operating something upstairs, or in the basement?”

Gary shook his head. “All the instructions I got from my father’s lawyer were about this shop.” He said motioning around. “Nothing about the apartment, besides no way my father could have foreseen Andrew helping out. No I am thinking he would have set it up so I could find it, whatever ‘it’ is, all by myself with no help.”

Gary walked away from the shelf, and rubbed his chin. Sharon came and leaned against the table, and Andrew walked over to a chair, turned it around so it faced away from them and then straddled the chair and sat on it backwards.

The three of them were silent for a few minutes finally Gary broke the silence. “Well let’s not make the same mistake we made before.”

“What mistake was that?” Andrew asked.

“Well we thought it was about the comic books, it wasn’t, my father was not into them, he was into puzzles, electronics, and classic novels.”

Sharon chimed in now. “Yes, like the puzzle box he sent you.”

Gary snapped his fingers and the other two looked at him. He got up and walked over to the last toggle switch found, stared intently at it and then very gently flipped the switch. He flipped it back and forth four or five times. Then he looked at the two of them. “It is another logic problem.”

“Huh?” Andrew stated.

The switch can either be in the on position or the off position. There are three switches. So they can be exactly eight settings overall. Either all off, all on, or some combination of on and off.” Gary was talking faster and faster. “So I am thinking that went we get all the switches in the proper position, whatever that is, then we will get the next clue, maybe even the answer to where my father is.”

“Makes sense.” Sharon said. “Guys, I have to run upstairs for a minute, please don’t do anything till I come back.”

“Well I might lay out all the positions, but I promise not to touch any of the switches till you get back.”

Andrew nodded as well.

Sharon gathered up her high heel shoes and walked quickly upstairs. Gary walked over to the counter and got a pen and piece of paper.

Andrew stood up and stretched, then looked at his watch. “Whoa, almost one.”

Gary did not respond, just kept working on the diagram.

“So does Sharon live here with you?”

Gary looked up. “No, she lives a couple of blocks away.” Then went back to the paper.

“So how long have you guys been a couple?”

Gary looked up again, with a confused look. “Oh well, we are not exactly going out. In fact tonight was supposed to be our first date.”

Andrew whistled. “Hey man I am sorry, I ruined your plans.”

“Dude, things like this have been messing us up all semester. Don’t sweat it.” Gary said and waved he hand dismissively. He looked at the sheet of paper. “Yeah I was right, eight permutations, of off and on for the three switches.

“Only eight, well this should not take too long.” Sharon said from across the room.

Andrew saw that she had changed into a pair of blue jeans, black Converse high tops, and a college sweat shirt. Even wearing this she was very pretty. He was a little jealous of Gary.

“Okay everyone man a switch.” Gary instructed.

They each got to a switch and they all placed their hands on them. “Okay, first thing, everyone flip the switches down.

Three clicks. Nothing.

“Everyone up.”

Three more clicks. Nothing.

“Okay everyone listen carefully,” Gary said looking at the paper. “Sharon flip yours down.”

Click. Nothing.

“Okay, switch yours back up Sharon, and Andrew switch yours down.”

Click. Then they all heard it, and felt it as well. A deeply recessed dull click and the whole shelf moved slightly toward them all.

“Okay that was weird.” Andrew said.

Gary looked around quickly. “I think this whole shelf is on a hinge, and I think,” and he pulled on the shelf, and it moved towards him. “Step back everyone.”

They all moved away from the shelf and very slowly with some effort Gary pulled the shelf away from the wall, with one end as the pivot point, and the end where Gary pulled opening like a door away from the wall.

“Can you guys pull the table back?”

Andrew and Sharon rushed around to the other side of the table and pulled it across the room and then ran around and moved the chairs out of the way. Gary then opened the bookcase entirely.

It was just a cinder block wall, but mounted on the wall were three large pieces of plywood wood painted white. Each with something different mounted on them.

The top one was a large poster board with two lines of various stick figures in various poses, some standing on their heads, some with flags; it almost looked like they were dancing.

The second board was a series of small electrical resistors, each with different bands of colors around them, fifty resistors total. Lined up in five to a row, ten rows total.

The last board was the simplest. One large box separated into five rows across and seven rows deep, with nothing in each block, just empty spaces.

“What the heck is this?” Andrew said.

The 1st Board.

photo

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