Outright denial: This was actually written by UCSBdad's Evil Twin, Skippy. He's the one who lives in the bunker in Montana and impersonates good, old Dad. Time: Various. Very various. Spoilers: Have you had your lunch yet? Rating: V for vorlag. Archiving: Oh, go ahead.
Hi, my name is Larry, the razor tooth vorlag. I'm from the planet Vorlag, in the Uncharted Territories. Last cycle, I was watching TV on Vorlag, when I saw a program called Farscape, which had been broadcast through a convenient wormhole. I was so impressed, that I took a bus to Earth to get a job on Farscape. But, I accidentally got off the bus at Brisbane, California, instead of Brisbane, Australia. Luckily for me, I met my friend, UCSBdad, and decided to stay in California and try to get into the UCLA Film School so I could get a good job on Farscape. My ultimate goal is to direct, of course.
Let's see. We vorlags are quadrupeds, of course, stand about five feet high at the shoulder and weigh about twelve hundred pounds. We have huge, sharp fangs and claws and I am covered with brown fur. My brother Moe has black fur, and my younger brother Curly is somewhat smaller than I. Oh, yes. My brothers have moved here to Earth with me. While we vorlags look rather fierce, we're really very friendly and peaceable. I like to think of us as cuddly. Fortunately, in the San Francisco Bay area, no one much bothers with vorlags, except for the occasional tourist. We vorlags are also HUGE 'shippers.
I confess that, on occasions, we vorlags can get a little carried away. A little too over enthusiastic. If you've read Dad Cassidy and the Sundance Vorlag, you'll know what I mean. But, this fanfic will be different. I promise. Trust me.
And now, it's time for my friend, UCSBdad to take over.
I gathered my characters around me to go over a few last minute details.
"Okay, John, Aeryn, Larry, Moe, and Curly. This is a little Alternate Universe fic about Aeryn's death. In this one, Aeryn has had to escape the clutches of the evil Scorpius and has taken refuge as a domestic goddess with the Seven Vorlags. He catches up to her and kills her in spite of the valiant defense of our favorite vorlags. John arrives just as she is about to be buried. Interestingly, due to some commitment problems, we're doing this just like a real Farscape episode. That is, were doing the end of the fic last, and then we'll do the rest. Okay?"
Larry looked upset and his tail drooped. "Dad, we only have three vorlags here. I don't know where we'd find four more. Barry the razor tooth stunt driver went back to Vorlag and Sid the razor tooth agent couldn't be an actor. He tried, but he kept charging himself ten percent and then ten percent of that ten percent and then ten percent of that ten percent and then---"
I decided I'd better stop Larry. "No, problems, Lar. In this fic you're the chairman of the board of Sevenvorlags.com. Moe is the CEO and Curly is the CFO. Any other vorlags will be off stage."
Larry nodded, but he had a puzzled look on his face. I patted him on the head and told him it would be okay.
"Dad. Do I have to wear this stupid suit? And why do I have to be a cee-eff-ooh?" said Curly.
Curly is the youngest vorlag, and hates to be referred to as the "little" brother. I twitched Curly's tie back into place and straightened his lapels.
"You're a very handsome young vorlag, Curly, and you look great in an Armani suit. A CFO is the chief financial officer, and someone who has to be very smart. Just like Mr. Browder had to be able to play a scientist convincingly, we need a vorlag who can play a dot commie."
Curly looked at me. "A dot commie? This isn't some sort of Cold War fanfic is it, Dad?"
Remembering who I was dealing with, I only said, "I hope not, Curly."
I stood back and looked at my setting and the characters. "Okay, lets do some fanfic."
The three vorlags looked heartbroken as Aeryn lay in her coffin.
Curly sniffed and rubbed his eyes with his sleeve.
Moe blew his nose on a vorlag-sized hankie.
"Doesn't she look like herself?" said Larry.
I checked my clipboard. "Larry! No ad libbing. Remember what happened the last time."
Suddenly, John Crichton burst through the door. "Oh my God! Aeryn!" John started to cry and walked over to Aeryn. Unable to control his emotions, he sank to his knees by her coffin. Tenderly, he reached over and kissed his lost love. A tear slid down his cheek and landed on Aeryn's cheek.
Aeryn sat up, looking confused. She stared at John, smiled slightly, then resumed her "all-business" expression.
"Thank you, Crichton. We should be off now."
Aeryn stood stiffly, stretched and headed for the door. John looked at me, then turned to follow her.
"Wait a minute!" I called to Aeryn. "I wrote something a little more 'shippy and romantic, Aeryn. Was there something wrong with it?"
Aeryn tried to look away, but found herself staring at John. Instead, she stared at her feet. "Dad, it's just that this relationship dren is kinda new to me. Let's just take it slowly, okay? Especially in public."
I read my notes for the fanfic, trying to figure out how I was going to re-write it to account for the sudden change in the ending.
I noticed Larry had edged over to me. "Dad, I think I know what Aeryn's trouble is."
I sighed. "Okay, Larry. What do you think it is?"
"She's worried about John going back to Earth. You know she'll go with him, she'll go anywhere John goes, but she's worried. She really doesn't understand Earth. We really need to teach Aeryn about Earth and show her that she'll fit in."
I stared up into Larry's eyes. "And you have a solution?"
"Trust me, Dad,"
"Okay, Larry. I just have one question."
"Why is the stagecoach stopping?" I yelled up at Larry the razor tooth stagecoach driver.
"We have a new passenger that wants to board, Doc Dad," he called down.
Larry pushed down hard on the brake while the razor tooth shotgun guard, Curly, covered the newcomer with his shotgun.
"You headed to Lordsburg, pilgrim?" The newcomer was dressed in leather and carried a Winchester carbine in one hand. His blue eyes stared out from under a broad brimmed hat.
"Yummy." Said Dallas the Trelk, who was sitting next to me. Across from us were Aeryn Hatfield, a former soldier, now a gambler, and Rygel the Banker.
"I paid good money for this seat, I don't want to share it." grumbled Rygel, hugging his suitcase to his chest.
"I'll sit on the floor, hombre, don't you worry none," said the newcomer, opening the stagecoach door and sitting with his back to the other door. He looked up at Aeryn Hatfield and shyly smiled. Aeryn raised her eyebrow ever so slightly.
"Frell!" Said Dallas the Trelk. "They're a couple already." I nodded in agreement.
I looked closer at the newcomer. "Say, you're John Ringo Kid, aren't you? I set your busted arm once, didn't I?"
"It was my brother's arm you set, Doc Dad." The Kid replied.
"Well I hope he doesn't have any problems with it now." I said.
"He don't. The Scorpius brothers killed him." The Kid said bitterly.
"Sorry to hear that. Where are the Scorpius brothers now?"
"Lordsburg." The Kid answered quietly.
"Injuns!" Came the shout from the driver.
"What tribe?" shouted The Kid.
"Dunno." Answered Curly. "Might be Cleveland, Kansas City or even Washington. Can't be Stanford, though."
"It'd better not be Atlanta again." I mumbled under my breath.
Aeryn rolled her eyes. "More frelling Earp cultural references."
I leaned out and shouted to Larry, "This is supposed to make her feel at home, Lar."
Larry smiled down at me and uttered that doom-laden phrase. "Trust me. I have a cunning plan."
Meanwhile, The Kid pushed himself up off the floor. "I'll get up on top of the coach. I'll be able to get a better shot from there."
"What kind of a plan is that? You'll get on the frelling roof and shoot from there?" Snorted Aeryn.
The Kid turned, "It's a damned good plan. Do you have a better one?"
Aeryn started to climb out the window. "I sure do. I'll get on the roof and shoot from there. I'll be able to hit something from there."
John quickly went through the other window and pulled himself onto the roof. Aeryn had beaten him there, of course. I could hear them continue to argue.
"Wait until the Indians get close, then you won't miss," yelled The Kid.
"I'm an ex-soldier. I won't miss and I'll shoot as soon as they're in range." Aeryn yelled back.
"That's the same plan you used with the tabloids!"
I left them to it and rummaged around in my medical bag. All I found were some old tequila bottles, so I threw them at the Indians.
"You can get a deposit on those things, you yotz," screamed Rygel the Banker. I ignored him.
Dallas the Trelk hauled out a huge pistol and started blasting away at the Indians, emptying saddles with each shot.
I saw an Indian speed by on his Mustang and throw himself onto the lead horse. I yelled up to Aeryn and the Kid to get him before he stopped the stage.
Aeryn raised her pistol and aimed at the Indian.
"No!" Screamed The Kid. "You'll hit the horses." He pushed the barrel of Aeryn's pistol up.
"I will not hit the horses. And what plan do you have?"
John chewed his thumb briefly. "I'll leap down on the wagon tree, the piece of wood between the horses, and run out to the Indian and knock him off."
"You call that a plan?" Aeryn scoffed. She raised her pistol and took careful aim, but The Kid pushed the barrel up again.
Before Aeryn could do anything, he leaped off the top of the coach and onto the wagon tree. Steadying himself by holding onto the horse's harness, he edged towards the Indian on the lead horse. But the Indian saw him and slashed at The Kid with a knife. Aeryn calmly sighted along her pistol's barrel and shot the Indian. Then she smiled radiantly at The Kid.
"Dammit." John muttered to himself. "Who is that woman?"
Suddenly the coach went into an arroyo and came to a stop. Larry stood up on the box and shouted, "We'll stop here briefly, folks, while the second unit does some work in Monument Valley and some distance shots of the Cavalry."
The head Indian came over and started to hand out business cards. "Hello, folks. We're the Hollywood Indians. In addition to the Indian schtick, we do weddings, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and anniversaries. We also do dances and have some dyno-mite DJs. If we have time, we can do a little "YMCA" for you."
I motioned to Larry. "How much are these guys setting me back?"
Larry looked at his feet. "They were very reasonable, Dad."
I sighed. "Okay, Lar. But I'd like to look at the contract before we pay them."
I heard the head Indian mutter "Schmuck." as he walked away.
We accelerated out of the arroyo with the Indians in hot pursuit. Suddenly I heard bugles, then the orchestra and then the backup singers.
"Larry, I'd better not be paying for Bette Midler to sing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"."
Larry laughed. "It's a tape, Dad. I got it off of Napster."
Silently adding attorney's fees to the cost of the fanfic, I watched the Cavalry chase the Indians off.
The stage stopped and the Cavalry Captain approached, riding an obviously pregnant mare. He scratched at his goatee and eyed Aeryn.
"I'm Captain Nathan Brittles. Regrettably, I won't be able to escort you into Lordsburg, my horse is pregnant with a new hybrid warhorse. I have to get back to Fort Gammack." The Captain grinned maniacally. "They laughed at me at the University, you know. Laughed at me. Who'll be laughing now?"
The Kid interrupted him. "You can't leave us out here with no protection. There are helpless women folk here."
Once he picked himself up, he turned and glared at Aeryn. "We'll talk about this later."
Captain Brittles watched Dallas the Trelk calmly carving new notches into the butt of her pistol. She winked at the Captain. "If you think the number of notches on my pistol is impressive, you should see my bed."
Captain Brittles gestured to one of his men. "Ka Hondo, I appoint you to convoy these civilians into Lordsburg. Can you do that?"
Ka Hondo swung down from his horse and walked toward the stage with a peculiar gait. "The good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise, Cap'n."
"Can't you at least get someone who doesn't walk funny?" Muttered the Kid.
"If you have any complaints, take it up with the Minister of Silly Walks." Snarled Captain Brittles.
"That'll be the day." Snorted The Kid.
In no time at all, Ka Hondo led us into Lordsburg. The Kid swung down out of the coach and checked the action of his Winchester. Then he turned to Aeryn.
"The problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans...."
"Larry!" I hissed under my breath. "We did this scene last time."
The Kid quickly recovered. "Here's looking at you, Aeryn."
"Here's looking at you, Kid." Aeryn replied.
Then he strode off towards the saloon where the Scorpius brothers were holed up. All at once a burst of fire pinned The Kid down behind a horse trough across the street from the Longbranch Saloon. Water poured out of the riddled trough onto The Kid.
"Damn!" Muttered Larry. "The Kid's leather clothes will shrink, sure as shooting."
"Look!" Cried Curly. "The Kid shot the lights out in the general store."
"Yeah, now the storekeeper is shooting at him, too." Aeryn said. "The Kid is pinned down by the Scorpius brothers and the storekeeper. Oh, frell." With that Aeryn drew her own pistol and fired three shots in quick succession. This was followed by three thuds as the Scorpius brothers bit the dust.
Aeryn walked over to The Kid. "Come on, John. It's time for you to take me to your spread in Mexico, right?"
John looked at Larry, who looked at me. I suddenly noticed I was being stared at by a pair of angry, but still beautiful, blue eyes. "He does have a spread in Mexico to take me to, doesn't he?" Aeryn asked icily.
I cleared my throat. "Aeryn, a spread in Mexico was cut from the budget, I'm afraid. We were able to get you a nice little cantina in Cabo San Lucas. I'm afraid you'll have to wait about a century for the Spring Break crowd to come down from US colleges, but if you wear a miniskirt, I'm sure they'll fill the place up."
Aeryn snorted. "We'll feature a shirtless waiter and depend on the Shameless Hussies for business."
I heard a series of distinct thuds, but couldn't place where they came from.
With that, Aeryn and The Kid walked off into the Western night.
I turned around in the bright Western sunlight and watched the gorgeous black clad gunslinger, Chris Sun and her blue eyed sidekick, Vin, walk back from boot hill after making a deposit. Two vorlags in white approached them.
The bearded vorlag spoke. "Excuse us, but we are poor peasant vorlags from south of the border who are being victimized by evil bandidos. We were hoping to hire seven gunslingers such as yourselves to help us. We can pay in currency we have in a shadow depository."
Chris smiled at her companion. "Well, we just happen to have Rygel the Dude, and D'Argo who's as fast with a qualta blade as most men are with a Colt. There's also Stark, but I don't know where we'll get another two."
That was my cue. "You'll get one right here, Chris."
"Dad Luck," Said Chris with a smile. "This really isn't your style. Just a little job for some poor vorlags for just enough to pay for our food."
I laughed at Chris. "Come on, Chris. You can tell me. What is it, really?" Montezuma's tequila stash? Cortez's lost beer? I know you wouldn't do this for less."
Chris just laughed. "It's just what I said it is, but come along if you want, Dad Luck."
I smiled at Chris. She smiled back. God what a smile!
"Now we have six." She said.
"Seven." Said a tall, rangy vorlag lounging against the side of the saloon. "I'd be proud to ride with you, Chris."
Chris looked at the young vorlag. "What do they call you?"
"They call you "Tex" for short because you're from Texas?" drawled Vin.
"Because I'm from Louisiana and I hated being called Louise for short." The vorlag replied.
Chris stood in front of Tex. "Okay, Tex, clap your hands together."
The vorlag stared at her, but did as he was told. Vorlags are very polite and helpful, you know. Before his hands came together, Chris's pistol was between his hands.
"Okay, Tex, now you do the same." Chris held her hands apart, but before she could clap them together, the vorlag's mighty tail shot up between his legs and between her hands.
"I'm as fast with my tail as most people are with a pistol." Tex smiled.
"Seven," said Chris.
I swung down from the saddle to stand in the dusty plaza of the small vorlag village south of the border. I motioned to "Tex".
"Okay, Tex, why didn't we cover any of the selection of the seven or the trip down?"
Tex smiled. "We've already done the character development. Everyone knows Rygel and D'Argo Aeryn and John and you and me, and even Stark, so we can go straight to the action adventure part. Pretty neat, eh, Dad Luck?"
"Another thing, Tex, how come I ended up with the Harry Luck part in this? Everybody else was played by actors who became famous or were already famous. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson. Even Horst Buchholz was more or less famous. Do you know who played the part of Harry Luck in the "Magnificent Seven", Larry?"
Larry's tail drooped. "Eli Wallach?"
I silently shook my head.
"Whit Bissel?" Larry guessed.
"Really, Lar. I would have thought...."
I stopped. In the distance I could hear the sound of hoof beats. "It's Calvera and the bandits! Where is everyone else?"
I reached down to pull my Colt and froze at what my hand found.
"Larry! I'm carrying a katana. A frelling Samurai sword! Did you have to do the Akira Kurosawa homage now?"
I drew the sword, looked at it and tested the edge with my thumb. "Ouch! This thing is razor sharp, Larry."
"Yes, Dad-san?" Inquired my samurai vorlag friend.
I waved the sword around and neatly bisected a Japanese lantern hanging nearby. "Larry, these things are dangerous. You could put someone's eye out with one of these things."
"Dad-san. Please, watch the accessories. Any damages come out of my allowance."
"How about damages to me?" I screamed, pointing to the horde of heavily armed ronin headed our way. "Do you have any idea how many people are coming to skewer us, young vorlag?"
"Forty seven." Larry answered promptly. "Be calm, Grasshopper Dad-san. Remember the Crouching Vorlag, Hidden Vorlag." Intoned the vorlag mystic.
In front of the horde of ronin appeared a single, slim, black clad figure. What happened next was unbelievable. She ran up the sides of trees and skipped across clouds to attack the ronin where they least expected it. Once she was trapped and ran up the side of a convenient castle to escape. Before I knew it, Aeryn-San had defeated the forty-seven ronin.
All at once I was back in the plaza of the vorlag village. "Tex, oh my God. The pain. " I screamed.
"Yes, Dad Luck. It's me, Tex. We were really after Azteca beer. A huge stash. " Larry blubbered.
"Larry, will you just get off my foot? I'm not dying."
I heard a high pitched wail behind me and turned to face the Ex-Peacekeeper With No Name. She flicked her serape back to reveal her pistol holstered at her side. Her eyes were narrowed to slits. Across from her was Tuco Crichton and between them was Larry Eyes. I slid into a conveniently opened grave to take cover. The scene alternated between close ups of her beautiful blue eyes, Tuco's eyes and Larry's. She drew and fired at Larry Eyes faster than the eye could see. Tuco drew and fired at Larry Eyes, but Wynona wouldn't fire.
Larry staggered towards the open grave I was in. "The varmints got me, Dad. I'm headin' for the last round-up, amigo. I'm shot in the breast and I know I must die. Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin, get six pretty Raven Haired Goddesses to carry my pall."
I interrupted Larry. "Yeah, yeah. I can see by your outfit that you are a vorlag. Get yourself an outfit and be a vorlag, too. You're badly over acting, Lar."
Larry shrugged and toppled artistically into the grave. He twitched several times and then lay still.
"Is it safe to get up, Dad?" He whispered.
I peeked over the rim of the hole we were in. "Larry, didn't this originally end with Tuco standing on a grave marker while the other one rode away?"
"Well, I don't think this Tuco will be upright for some time. We can sneak away, but keep your eyes closed. I don't think a gently bred vorlag should see this."
In no time at all I was sitting on my couch with the three vorlags watching the Giants play on TV. Sharing a small couch with three large vorlags takes a little getting used to. But so does having your refrigerator raided by three vorlags. I noticed the beer was running a little low. I was about to get up to get some more when Larry announced we had company coming up the walk, and then the doorbell rang.
I opened the door and found a lovely dark haired woman in a dark business suit and dark glasses waiting for me with a badge.
"I'm Special Agent Aeryn Scully, FBI. This is my partner, Fox Crichton,"
Her partner, in a sports coat and tie, but also wearing shades, flashed me a peace sign and a smile.
His partner got right down to business. "We've heard rumors of three extra-terrestrial monsters on the loose in the Bay Area. They're huge, vicious beasts with claws and teeth that could tear a tank apart. We're checking the neighborhood for them. Mind if we look around?"
I nodded and the pair came in the house.
"Having a party?" Asked Agent Crichton.
"Just a few friends over to watch the Giants." I replied. Strangely, Larry, Moe and Curly were no where to be seen.
"What's the score"?"
"Twelve zip. Bottom half of the seventh. Ortiz has a no-hitter going against the Dodgers." Hey, this is my fanfic.
"Excuse me a sec." I headed down the hallway to the bedroom looking for my lost vorlags. I opened the door and Curly almost took my head off with a baseball bat. Curly blushed and I started to ask him why he was trying to kill me, when I noticed Larry was trying to hide under the bed and Moe had stuffed about half of himself in the closet.
"What ever is the matter with you vorlags?" I asked.
Larry stuck his head up from under the bed with a look of panic on his face. "Didn't you hear those FBI agents, Dad?"
"Larry, Moe, Curly. Haven't I always told you that you have nothing to worry about from a policeman if you haven't done anything wrong?"
The three stared at me. "Dad, there are three terrible extra-terrestrial monsters out there. They're probably just looking for three nice, friendly, cuddly vorlags to have for lunch. And I don't mean as guests." Moe wailed.
Curly waved the baseball bat at me. "You must be the only human who doesn't have an automatic weapon to defend his home with, Dad. Just this thing."
"Curly, we don't need weapons. I'm sure the three extra-terrestrial monsters are you three."
Larry looked disgusted. "Don't be absurd, Dad. Who would mistake three friendly, affectionate, cuddly vorlags for some outer space monsters?" The other two nodded in agreement.
There was a tapping at my door.
Agent Scully walked in followed by her partner.
"Oh, three vorlags. That explains the call." She rolled her eyes.
Agent Crichton nodded. "We got one last week from some guy claiming a Hynerian Despot was living in his attic. Turned out to be a skunk. You can see where that kind of a mistake would happen, though."
Larry looked very offended. "Who would make such a silly report. Mistaking three vorlags for a bunch of critters. The very idea!"
Agent Scully shrugged. "Tourists!"
Agent Crichton had leaned over and was scratching Curly behind his ears. Curly had a dreamy smile on his face, but then he pulled back.
"Agent Crichton, I know that sort of things happen all the time on Farscape, but I'm a guy vorlag."
John smiled and then blushed. "Sorry, young vorlag."
Larry smiled at Agent Scully. "If the Radiant Agent Scully would like to scratch behind my ears…?"
The two other vorlags perked up at once.
Aeryn gave them a cold look. "We must be going, Mr. Dad. We'll make a note that you have three vorlags here so this won't happen again."
The four of us settled back down in front of the TV for the second game of the double header. The doorbell rang again, and I got up to answer it again.
"Yes, Miss?" I inquired.
"Good evening, sir." Said the attractive blonde young lady at the door.
Before she could continue, I had to ask a question. "Are you all right, miss? You look terrible."
She smiled wanly. "I'm dead, I'm afraid. And my show is on a new network."
"There's a lot of that going around." I commiserated. "How can I help you."
She brightened considerably. "Actually, I'm here to help you. I'm Buffy the Vorlag Slayer."
I slammed the door, yelling, "I gave at the office." As I backed away from the door, a giant stake crashed through the door.
"Fee-Fie-Foe-Fum, I smell the blood of a vorlag." Screamed the girl from the other side of the door.
"That doesn't rhyme." I yelled through the rapidly splintering door.
"You want good writing, go to Masterpiece Theater." She screamed back.
"Dad! What do we do now?" I saw Larry towering over me, and the other two vorlags hiding behind him.
"Out the back door and head for the hills." I yelled.
Larry picked me up and put me on his back and we ran out the back door. Each vorlag took off in a separate direction.
After a few seconds, I looked around. "Larry, did you change the locale of this fanfic? This doesn't look familiar."
Larry nodded. "You did say head for the hills. These are hills, aren't they?"
"Did you get us into one of those little, mythical Eastern European countries so beloved of thirties horror movie makers, Lar?" I asked.
Larry shrugged. "I just wanted us out of there, Dad."
I looked around. "Let's see. Peasantry armed with torches and pitchforks are coming out of that little village. That's where we are, all right, Lar."
A burst of automatic weapons fire lashed the trees around us. "Slightly updated to the twenty-first century, of course." I yelled as Larry took off. "Those were AK-47s, Larry. No wonder vampires don't hang around here any more. They wouldn't stand a chance."
"Neither would a vorlag," Grumped Larry.
Suddenly I noticed where Larry was heading. "Lar, in this part of the world, you do not head for the creepy looking castles on the mountain top when the weather gets bad." All of a sudden it had started to rain hard.
"Dad! I'm getting wet!"
"Don't be a wimp, Lar."
Larry headed straight to the castle and pounded on the door.
"Let me do the talking, Lar." I said, looking around. Larry had apparently dropped us right into Count Dracula country.
The door opened and revealed Dr. Frank-N-Furter in all his transvestite glory.
"Hello," he said, smirking. "You must be Brad and Janet." He stared at us for a moment.
"Sorry, we're Dad and Larry." I mumbled.
The good doctor looked me over. "Boxers or briefs?"
"Depends." I said, using the old Bob Dole joke.
He turned to Larry. "And you?"
Larry tucked his "Claudia Black Rocks" tee shirt back into his Levis. "I go commando."
Dr. Furter's face fell. "I was looking forward to seeing you in something lacy and naughty."
I tried to peer into the castle. "Say, is Meatloaf here, Doc?"
"You know, I am hungry, Dad." Larry said, brightening.
"Not that kind of meatloaf, Lar." I replied.
"Might be interesting, though." Muttered the doctor.
The doorbell rang again. Dr. Furter opened the door to let Aeryn and John in.
"My!" He said, leering. "Now, I'm looking forward to seeing you in something very sheer and very sexy. Why don't you take off that hot leather?"
I reached over and covered Larry's eyes so my gentle vorlag friend wouldn't see what happened next. When the screaming stopped, I helped the good doctor pick up his teeth. John tried to calm Aeryn down.
"You didn't have to hit him just because be thinks you're beautiful, Aeryn."
"He was talking to you, John!" Aeryn shot back.
The doorbell rang again and Larry opened it after the doctor declined to let anyone else in.
"We're sorry we're late," said Janet, blushing prettily. "The car stalled and it rained. That always happens when we pass a castle."
Brad's smile faded when he saw the four of us already there. "I hope we're not too late, Dr. Frank-N-Furter?"
"Don't be thilly." Doctor Frank-N-Furter lisped through missing teeth. "Thethe people were just leafing."
As we left, Janet put out her hand to stop Larry. "Larry, dear, don't forget to wear a garter belt. It'll help with your control."
"Control?" Said the confused vorlag.
"Control." I screamed, coming out of the dugout and heading for the pitcher's mound and Larry. A quick look around confirmed that Larry had changed the locale of the fanfic again. Now I was in Durham, North Carolina.
I arrived at the pitcher's mound and stared at my ace pitcher, "Nuke" La Larry.
"Nuke, what happened to your control? Your pitches are all over the ball yard?"
Larry's tail drooped and he stared at his feet. My catcher, "Crash" Crichton arrived at the mound, followed shortly by the first baseman and the shortstop. My second baseman was talking to the second base about helping it to cross over. We all gathered around Larry.
"I don't know, Dad." Muttered the shamefaced vorlag. "I've been wearing a woman's garter belt, just like Aeryn told me, but it binds." Larry shot a quick glance to where Aeryn and her friend Pip were sitting in the stands.
Crash interrupted. "Look, meat. Don't think. Just do, okay? And you think you have problems? The nickname "Crash" might be okay for a baseball player, but not for a guy who's also an astronaut and test pilot. Try impressing a girl who flies a Prowler with a name like "Crash." Crash's gaze followed Larry's to the drop dead gorgeous, seriously blue eyed, raven-haired goddess in the stands.
My shortstop snorted. "Crash! Big frelling deal. How'd you like to be called "Pee-Wee?"
"Dad, I don't know if I can throw any high heat tonight." Larry snuffled.
The first baseman interrupted. "Frell this. Why the frell do these humans keep asking me who's on first? I say D'Argo and they say, "No, who's on first?"
"It binds me, Dad."
"Crash! Who thought up such a dumb nickname?"
"I'd prefer it to Pee-Wee."
"We could call you "Buck" Crichton, " Larry said helpfully.
"Like Buck Rogers?"
"No, more like that great San Francisco band, "Buck" Naked and the Bare Bottom Boys." Larry replied.
John gave Larry a disgusted look.
"Flash Crichton?" Said our helpful vorlag.
"I'm not sure that "Flash" is the image I want to project to Aeryn." John looked again at the raven haired goddess sitting in the stands.
I interjected, "Well, if we're into band names, how about that little ole' band from Palestine, Texas? Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys? One of the great socially conscious country bands of all time."
John gave me a very disgusted look. "Kinky Crichton? What's the matter with you people?"
D'Argo and Rygel were trying to find out who was on first. I decided I'd better settle this.
"Look, D'Argo," I said. "If their pitcher's batting and he tries to bunt, "Crash"' grabs the ball and throws to Who, right?"
"What?" D'Argo questioned.
"Second base!" "Crash", Larry and I said in unison.
After a few microts, I managed to calm my players down. All except the second baseman who was down on his knees hugging the base and crying. John Edwards was standing next to him.
"Look, Larry, just throw as hard as you can, okay?" And Crichton, you no longer have a nickname. Well, maybe "Rocket Jockey", but only occasionally. "Pee-Wee", you can have your pick of nicknames. I suggest "Shoeless Rygel". D'Argo, Who's on first is a comedy routine based on a play on words. The name of the player on first is Who, second base is played by a man named What and so on. Okay?"
D'Argo looked puzzled. "Can you tell me the name of the pitcher?"
"Tomorrow!" I replied.
"Why not today?" Grumbled D'Argo.
As I headed back to the dugout a voice whispered in my ear. "Build it and they will come."
I turned around. "Larry, did you say something?"
I thought about it. "Okay, but chase Miss Cleo off of second base before you pitch."
I continued on into the stands and sat down next to a redheaded lady. Just be fore I sat down I heard, "Strike three." Then the scene changed again.
"Dad, do you think you need all of this food just to watch a footy game? Aussies get by on meat pies and a thermos of tea."
"Jool, if I'm going to be in this fanfic, I want to go first class. What do you have?"
"A cooler of Victoria Bitter, something called nachos and cheese, and something called kielbasa?" Jool said uncertainly.
"Polish dogs, Jool." I told her. "Did we get the giant soft pretzels, the ice cream turkey legs, a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and some peanuts and Crackerjack? Can't have an Australian Rules football game without peanuts and Crackerjack "
"I think we have it all, Dad." Jool said, looking uncertainly at the pile of food in front of her.
"Well, sit and watch the game, Jool. Have a beer and something to eat."
Jool sat down beside me and opened a beer. The game had started and the Essandon Bombers were tearing through the St. Kilda Saint's defense. Then a roar erupted from the fans as their newest player ran onto the field with his bushy tail sticking out of the back of his very tight footy shorts.
Just as Larry ran past the Saint's goal post, the ball sailed straight for the middle of the posts. A score for Essandon for sure, unless……
Larry, casually leaped twenty meters in the air and caught the ball, and before hitting the ground, kicked it eighty meters straight through the Bomber's goal. The crowd went wild. Then Moe and Curly ran onto the field in their St. Kilda's red, white and black and a rout of epic proportions began.
Curly, the smallest of the vorlags was their last line of defense. He stood in front of the St. Kilda goal and on those rare occasions when a ball came towards the goal, he simply leaped up and snared it before it went through. But few Bombers got past Moe's defense, which consisted of our mighty vorlag dashing around the field collecting the entire Essandon team under one muscular arm and then discarding them until he got to the one with the ball. Moe would then politely remove the ball and hand it to Larry who would score again. Finally, after Larry had scored somewhat over six hundred points and Moe and Curly held Essandon scoreless, the game ended. Luckily, I was just finishing up the last burrito as the game ended.
"Jool, will you take Thorpe here over to Janet and have him take her home?" Jool nodded.
I walked over to the three vorlags who were introducing US sports cliches to a new audience.
"It was a total team effort." Opined Larry.
"We made a statement here today." Said Moe.
"I'm just happy I could make a contribution." Curly said.
"We came to play." Nodded Larry.
"They didn't respect our athleticism"
"This was just huge."
"I'm proud of the way our guys hung in there."
"This team has overcome a lot of adversity."
I got to Larry just a he was starting on "Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again." Then I dragged him away from the cameras and press.
"Larry, we have a fanfic to do."
"That's Sergeant Major Larry, Private Dad."
I looked at the rifle in my hand and the uniform I now wore. "Okay, Larry, a .45 caliber Martini-Henry rifle, a red home service tunic and a white helmet. We're doing the movie "Zulu", right? So where are John and Aeryn?"
Sergeant Major Larry drew himself up, but I could see him blushing. "Lieutenants John Chard and Aeryn Bromhead have been inspecting the hospital for the last two arns."
I looked around and saw only two other soldiers in the tiny mission station. "So it's just you, me, Moe and Curly against the Zulus?"
Larry blushed. "Do you know there are no Zulus in the San Francisco phone book, Dad? I looked all over trying to find some Zulus for my fanfic. I couldn't find a one."
In the distance I heard a strange rhythmic thumping. It was somehow familiar, but I couldn't place it. "Who did you get, Lar?"
Larry pointed to the black form rapidly approaching us. Suddenly, I knew who it was.
"Michael Jordan?" Was all I had time to scream as Jordan slam-dunked over me.
Larry shook his head. "White men can't jump, Dad."
Jordan shot from three point land, but Larry leaped up and caught the ball before it started down With one mighty leap, the athletic vorlag sailed over the other basket and dropped the ball in.
"That's his patented jumper." I yelled
But Larry sailed so far past the backboard that Jordan got the ball back and jammed it before Larry hit the ground.
Larry took the ball out of bounds and headed down the court, but Air Jordan was all over him like a cheap suit. All at once Larry tossed the ball behind him and started dribbling with his tail. Before Jordan could react, Larry zoomed past him and then shot, using his tail to shoot over his head.
"Nothing but net!" I exulted. It took Air Jordan a few tries to get used to Larry's unorthodox style, but then he pulled ahead and defeated Lar 21to 15.
Larry shyly asked for an autograph as Michael congratulated him on a good game. Then Larry came over to where I was sitting by Jack Nicholson.
"Dad, I'm hungry."
"We'll eat at John's Grill on Ellis after this caper is over." I said to my partner as I pulled the collar of my trench coat up as the San Francisco fog slowly slipped into the city like a mugger sneaking up on an old lady. I walked up the stairs to our office and looked at the sadly outdated names painted on the door. "Spade, Archer, and Vorlag. Private Investigations."
Aeryn O'Shaugnessy sat in the only chair in our office. She was a babe from her slim ankles to her raven hair and everything in between was perfect, too. She was dressed in a little black number that cost more than my bar tab for a year. Sitting next to her was her rich college-boy boyfriend, John.
I sat down on the corner of my desk and took a bottle of cheap rye whiskey out of the top drawer and took a drink. I made sure my Colt .45 was within reach. I made sure I had a gun, too.
I turned and looked into those gorgeous blue eyes. Blue eyes that a man could get lost in for an eternity. Blue eyes that would make a man forget everything. Blue eyes that could promise a man anything. Blue eyes that could…."
"Ahem, Dad Spade?" said Larry.
I glared at my partner, but went back to the matter at hand.
I fixed Aeryn in my gaze. This wouldn't be easy for either of us. "Rygel Archer would never have walked down the alley where he was killed unless he absolutely trusted the person he was with. That means the only person that could have killed him was…."
"All right, I did it, Dad." Larry screamed.
"You killed Rygel Archer?" I said in shock.
"Of course not, Dad." Larry said primly. "Vorlags are friendly, affectionate people. Rygel is in the closet."
I walked over to our closet and opened it to find Rygel Archer.
"You frelling yotz." Rygel screamed at Larry.
Then I saw them, in the back of the closet. There must have been hundreds of them. I pulled one out and held it up for Larry. It was a balloon that read "Happy Birthday to Our Beloved Raven Haired Goddess." I released the balloon and it floated gently upward.
"I confess." Larry sobbed. "I kidnapped Rygel, knowing that in captivity he'd fart helium. I used the helium to fill up Her Claudianess's birthday party balloons."
John reached over and patted Lar on the shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll see you get the best lawyer in this one horse town."
I had forgotten John was from La La Land.
"But what about the Sebacean Falcon?" I asked.
"Oh, this?" Said drop dead gorgeous Aeryn O'Shaugnessy, taking the Falcon out of her purse. "It's just the hood ornament off my old Prowler. Can we go now?"
I waved the two of them out of my office.
"You want to go driving in my new Stutz Bearcat, Aeryn?" I heard John say.
"If I can drive." was the reply.
"Dad, I'm still hungry."
As we walked in the bright San Francisco sunshine, I suddenly gagged. "Larry! What the frell is that smell."
"It's me, Dad."
"It smells like you've been rolling in vorlag dren, Lar." I managed to get out.
"I was, Dad."
"Why?" Was all I could get out.
"I'm not just Larry any more, Dad. I'm Dirty Larry."
I stared at Larry. Then I shrugged and backed off. "Okay, Lar, who are you after? Scorpio? Scorpius? Rogue cops? Calvera's bandidos? A Libyan suicide squad? The Gnomes of Zurich?"
"Worse, Dad, much worse. The worst miscreants San Francisco has to offer."
It took a microt, but then it hit me. "Larry, you're a meter maid?"
Larry looked offended. "A parking control officer, Dad. And look, there's a man parking his fancy car in a loading zone. I'll put a stop to that!"
Larry marched over and grabbed the front end of the car in his massive jaws and shook the car until the driver popped out and landed on the sidewalk. Larry smiled down at the man. "I know what you're thinking, punk. Did I shake the car five times or was it six? Well, to tell the truth, in all the excitement, I sort of lost count. So, seeing as how these are vorlag's teeth and will just naturally take your head clean off, you have to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"
I peered around Larry at the well-dressed gentleman on the sidewalk. "Lar, I think Mayor Brown passed out as soon as you got in sniffing range of him."
Larry gulped. "Should we take this fanfic elsewhere, Dad?"
"Let's blow this pop stand, Larry." I replied.
"That's Senior Chief Detective Inspector Larry, to you, Assistant Junior Supernumerary Acting Sub-Constable Dad."
I looked around. We were still in a city by the bay, but not the one we had been in a microt ago.
"No, I'm Larry." Lar replied testily.
"Can you tell me the name of the catcher?" I answered.
"Okay, Larry. Why are we in Sydney?"
"We're looking for Water Rats, Dad." Larry grinned smugly. "When we find them, we'll arrest them. "
"Larry, I think the Water Rats are the Sydney police who work around the harbor, not the bad guys."
"Oh bother." Said the crestfallen Larry. Then he brightened. "What about him?" He pointed to a large aquatic rodent hauling himself out of Sydney Harbor.
"It is your fanfic, Larry."
"Dad, that should be, "It's your fanfic, mate." We Australians always call each other mate."
I put my hand on Larry's shoulder. "But were not Australians. We'd just sound like Americans dropping "Mate" in at the end of every sentence."
"Fair dinkum." Larry replied.
"Fair dinkum? Lar, you don't even know what that means, do you young vorlag?"
"Of course I do." Bristled Larry. "It's a dinkum that stays in fair territory, as opposed to a foul dinkum."
I just stared at Larry.
"Er, it's a light complexioned dinkum, Dad."
I shook my head. "I don't think so, Larry."
"It's an adequate dinkum. Not really good and not really bad, just a fair dinkum."
"Lar, I don't think we should use fair dinkum if we don't know what it means."
"Well, what does it mean, Dad" Larry said unhappily.
"How would I know, Larry?"
Larry brightened and turned around. "The Water Rat is meeting his supplier. It's going down."
I stared at his supplier. "That's John Crichton. What's he doing back on Earp?"
John opened a brief case and showed the Water Rat the contents. The Rat's eyes brightened. "This is primo. Do you know that the street value of this is?" Squeaked the rat.
Larry and I moved in, but before we could make the bust, a familiar throaty female voice stopped us in our tracks.
"Don't move coppers. I have you covered with a shotgun."
I felt the barrel pressed against my neck while she searched me and then Larry. Larry giggled and complained that she was tickling him.
"They're clean, John." said the mysterious, but familiar woman's voice.
"Okay, Jill." John turned to the Rat. "You know the price, I can move all the weight you want."
The Rat snarled at him. Okay, a very high pitched snarl. "Are you farbot? The police are onto us. I'm outta here." The Rat dove back into Sydney Harbor.
"Jill, honey, were gonna have to get out of here." John said quietly.
"Jill, honey?" Aeryn Sun stepped out from behind a convenient garbage can to confront John and Jill. "Jill, honey! How long has this been going on, Crichton."
"Aeryn, honey. Don't worry. I came back to Earth to get Jill Mayhew here for Moya John, since she looks so much like you."
"She looks like me?" Both women said in unison.
I nudged Larry. "I thought Jill Mayhew was in "Good Guys, Bad Guys" and not "Water Rats", Larry."
Larry just shrugged.
Aeryn looked at Jill. "Well, she might look like me if I used makeup like a trelk and wore a short trelk's dress and ridiculous shoes."
Jill stepped out from behind Larry and me. She was dressed in that figure hugging black mini-dress and had on high heels. Her black hair hung loose and her blue eyes flashed in anger. "Tell your friend, John, that the seventies are over. If she want's to do "YMCA" with the rest of Village People, she's out of luck."
Aeryn took a step towards Jill and reached for her pulse pistol. Jill raised her shotgun. John quickly stepped between them. "Look, I can explain everything. But not here, not in front of the K-9 squad here."
Both women looked into John's innocent blue eyes and his friendly smile. Naturally, they shrugged, and left with him, each holding one hand.
"Dad, I think I've been insulted." Larry said sadly.
"Well, it is your fanfic, so you have no one to blame but yourself, young vorlag."
Larry picked up the briefcase and examined the contents. "Look, Dad. Autographed pictures of our Beloved Raven Haired Goddess. These are worth a fortune."
I ran my finger over a photo. "And I bet they're all really pictures of Jill Mayhew."
Larry nodded. "It's a losing proposition, but one you can't refuse, it's the politics of contraband, it's smugglers blues."
I brightened. "If we catch up with Jill, maybe we can do Z. Z. Top's "Legs"."
Larry squared his massive shoulders and raised his furry head. "Quick, Dad, the game is afoot."
We chased the three down the street and saw them head into an alley. We got to the alley and peered down it. It was dark. Very, very dark.
"Follow me, Dad." Larry said, heading down the alley.
Soon we couldn't see a thing. "Larry, it's pitch black in here."
Then it hit me. "Pitch Black?"
I quickly turned on a flashlight. Since I had been in one of Larry's fics before, I knew to come prepared. Around us a whole passel of critters scattered.
"That was too frelling close." Muttered John.
I looked at the four of them huddled behind a rock on the darkened planet. Four of them? Sure enough, it was John, Aeryn, Jill and Shazza.
"Can you just keep the light on until we make it to the transport pod, Dad?" John asked. I nodded and escorted the foursome to the pod. In no time at all, they were off for the Uncharted Territories.
"Larry! Now Talyn John and Moya John have three tough, drop dead gorgeous raven haired goddesses between them."
Larry grinned broadly." The problem with that is?"
I sighed. Maybe it wouldn't be a problem. I noticed we were back in the alley on Earth.
"Where does this come out, Lar?"
"Back in Oz. I'm going to pick up some friends."
Somehow, I was suddenly suspicious. "What friends, Larry?"
"Oh, no one you know, Dad."
Larry sighed. "All right. I wanted to pick up Beth Williams, Angela Kostapas and Claire Bonacci."
"And what do these three ladies have in common, as if I didn't know?"
Larry's tail drooped. "Gee, Dad."
I put my arm around Larry's shoulder. "Lar, I'm sure these young ladies can scratch behind a vorlag's ears like nobody's business, but can you imagine what UCSBmom would do if she found three Raven Haired Goddesses living with us as well as three vorlags?"
Larry whipped out a clipboard. "I do, as a matter of fact, Dad." Larry flipped through the pages. "Here it is, Dad. Chapter 14. "Mominator." Mild mannered housewife and mother, UCSBmom, armed only with a dull spoon…."
"Larry! Do you know what a rhetorical question is?"
"Is it anything like a fair dinkum?" Larry asked quietly.
We left he alley. I saw that we had left Sydney, but I wasn't sure where we were. "Is this still Oz, Lar?"
Larry nodded. "The Northern Territory, Dad. Say, do you notice anything different about me?"
I looked Larry over and then noticed his hat. "You have a cowboy hat on again, Lar. Very nice. It'll keep the sun out of your eyes." I suddenly grew suspicious. "We're not going to get attacked by bandidos or anything, are we?"
Larry looked crestfallen. "Dad! This is not a cowboy hat. Look carefully and then tell me who I am now."
I looked at Larry. "Larry the razor tooth vorlag in a cowboy hat?"
Lar looked disgusted. "Dad, I'm "Crocodile" Larry."
And with that a huge green crocodile dropped out of a tree and onto Larry's back. First the croc was on top and then Larry. Each tried to rip the other with their claws and batter the other with their massive tails.
"Crikey! Look at the fangs on that monster, er, those monsters." Screamed Steve Irwin. "You don't want to even think about getting near those, mate."
Larry got on top of the croc and grabbed his tail. He used his leverage to force the croc's head into the ground. But the croc knocked Larry over with a kick to the midsection. Then, he picked up a folding chair and slammed it across Larry's head. Larry collapsed and the croc was on him like stink on dren. The croc stood over Larry and bellowed in victory. He didn't know his vorlags. Larry knocked the croc's legs out from under him with one sweep of his mighty tail, and slammed the croc's head into a convenient tree. The croc collapsed, out cold.
"Larry," Screamed Steve Irwin, "What do you have to say of this turn of events."
Larry smiled. "Now that I've taken care of the Lean Green Croc Machine, I want a shot at the PK Predator. I want a rematch with Scorpius."
Larry turned to me. "What did you think, Dad."
"If you're going to be getting into fights, young vorlag, I think we should go home."
Larry just smiled. "Dad, this was WCW."
I stared blankly at Larry,
"World Crocodile Wrestling." Said Larry helpfully. Larry put his arm around the crocodile. "My partner and I have it all figured out. First, I'll be Good Larry, and he'll be the Bad Croc. But then, something will happen and I'll become Bad Larry. Maybe I'll get twinned or something."
I shook my head. "Just don't branch off into pro football, Lar."
The croc smiled and held out his hand. "Howdy, I'm "Gator" McClusky." He drawled.
"Larry! You have an alligator impersonating a crocodile? How will that look?"
Larry shook his head. "Dad, this is show biz. Do you think The Undertaker is a real undertaker? That Sergeant Slaughter is a real soldier? Why, Rowdy Roddy Piper sounds less Scottish than you sound Australian."
"Fair dinkum, mate." I replied.
Larry just looked confused.
"Lar, we have to go. We were trying to do a fanfic, remember?"
"Sure, Dad, you'll love the next part."
I was sure I wouldn't.
The scenery changed again. "Where are we, Larry? Oz?" I had a feeling I knew. "Are we in New Zealand?"
"No, Dad. We're in Ancient Greece." Said a grumpy voice on the other side of me.
"Curly! How nice to see…" I stopped in mid-sentence and mid-stride when I saw Curly. Our young vorlag was dressed in some sort of leather mini-skirt with a brass bustier. I wondered if he had been to one too many Madonna concerts. Well, I just had to ask.
"Er, Curly, about your outfit."
Larry interrupted. "Dad! That's not Curly. That's Curlyna, Vorlag Princess."
Curly came to a sudden stop. "I am not. I am not any sort of princess. I am a guy vorlag and I'm mad a Hezmana and I'm not going to take it any more."
Larry put his arm around his brother's shoulder. "Who was it said they'd love to have a major role in a fanfic. And a role where you get to meet Our Lady of Perpetual Leather?"
Curly looked up at his brother and then shrugged. "Well, okay then."
I noticed we weren't alone. A beautiful blue eyed, dark haired and, did I say very beautiful, lady, wearing a black leather outfit much like Curly's, er, Curlyna's, approached with her companion. The companion sported a large woody.
"Ahem, Larry. I think you made a typo there with Johnielle." I pointed to the woody.
Larry mumbled something under his breath that I wouldn't have said in front of Curly and I heard a quick re-write being done.
"Frelling Earp expressions." Mumbled Larry.
"That's my line!" Replied Aeryna, Ex-Peacekeeper Princess.
Larry turned and smiled at Aeryna. Not exactly radiant, but when a vorlag smiles, you have to admire the sheer size of the thing. "Hello, Aeryna. I am HercuLarry, half god, half man and half vorlag. These are my friends, Curlyna, Vorlag Princess and UCSBdad. "
Aeryna and Johnielle just stared at Larry. Finally Johnielle spoke. "Shouldn't I have a quarter stave or something, instead of a Louisville Slugger?"
Larry turned to me. "Dad, can I have an advance on my allowance to buy a quarter staff?"
I sighed and turned to Johnielle. "Just keep your eye on your target and swing all the way through."
"That furry critter looks a little like me in that leather get up. I'll bet this is a plot by my enemy Callistius to impersonate me and make everyone think I've gone back to my Peacekeeper ways. Some people," Aeryn looked pointedly at Johnielle, "seem to think that I want to go back to that life."
John blushed. "Aw, honey. You know that I don't really think that. We'll go back to Earp and settle down someplace and…" John didn't finish the sentence, but grinned wickedly at Aeryna.
Aeryna blushed, but then returned to her all business look. "So what do you want, HercuLarry?"
Both HercuLarry and Curlyna spoke at once.
"Have you seen Cassandra or the Queen of the Amazons lately?"
"Do you rub behind the ears on the first date?"
Aeryna glared at us. "That's a very personal question, young vorlag. As for the Amazon Queen, I haven't seen her in a while. I think Cassandra has been hanging around the Disney Studio, though."
I interrupted. "Larry, why are we looking for the Amazon Queen and Cassandra, as if I didn't know?"
Larry looked innocently around him and ignored me completely.
I turned to Aeryna and her companion. "If you don't mind my asking, can you tell us if, you're em, er, you know, close?"
Johnielle smiled. "We've been going at it like demented rabbits for more than a cycle now."
Aeryna smiled, too. "I can't imagine why some people think we haven't been."
Johnielle leaned over and whispered in Aeryna's ear. She giggled.
I decided a change of scenery was in order. "Come on, Larry. You too, Curly."
Suddenly Aeryna and Johnielle moved away from each other. Aeryna looked suspiciously at us. "Wait a microt! You called him Larry and not HercuLarry. And the other one you called Curly and not Curlyna. I wonder if they're Ares and his minion Braca in disguise."
I smiled hopefully. "My, look at the time it's getting to be. We'll be going now, boys."
Fast as lightning, Aeryna threw her chakra at me. Even faster, Larry leaped up and caught it. He dropped it at my feet, his tail wagging madly. "Look, Dad, a Frisbee. Can we play?"
I could see Aeryna and Johnielle heading for us. I picked up the chakra and jumped on Larry's back, tossing the chakra far down the beach. Larry and Curly took off. The chakra landed by a conveniently beached Greek galley.
"Get aboard, guys," I yelled, clambering onto the deck of the galley.
"Can't we play catch some more, Dad?" Larry whined.
"Larry, we have to go."
Moe popped up from below decks where he'd been waiting. "Dad, I can't find the motor on this thing."
"Larry, Moe, this has no motor. Normally it'd take hundreds of sweaty, muscular human men to row this, but they're all dancing for the Shameless Hussies. I think two vorlags will do fine. Start rowing, boys." I turned and motioned for Curly to sit at the drums. "Curly, you beat the drums for the rower's rhythm, okay."
Curly nodded and sat down and started on the bass drum's pedal, pounding on the beat, and then with a clash of cymbals, he started a drum solo. I noticed that Aeryna and Johnielle were almost to us. Moe and Larry were rowing away madly on the same side of the ship. I put Larry on the port side and we started to move away from shore. Just then, a young dark haired man in an early nineteenth century Royal Navy uniform started blowing his horn.
"A little pun there, Larry?"
Larry just smiled.
As we sailed away from the shore, the sound of the drums and the rowers was overlaid with something else, a long, low rumbling sound.
"Arc Light." I mumbled. The vorlag crew of my riverboat nodded agreement. I turned to our passenger.
"I think we've found the First of the Ninth, Captain Willard."
My blue eyed passenger smiled at me. "Okay, Chief Dad. Now all we have to do is find Colonel Kilgore."
As the boat grounded on a beach, I took in the chaos around me. Troops everywhere. Confusion, explosions, people moving around, and people sitting still, and more explosions. In the middle of all this was a slim figure with a blue Cavalry hat over her raven hair. It was Colonel Aeryn Kilgore, commander of the First of the Ninth Cavalry. Captain Willard went to explain our mission to the colonel.
She turned to Captain Willard. "We have something to do first, Ben. I can call you Ben, can't I?"
Captain Willard just looked enigmatically at the colonel.
She smiled, ever so slightly. "Load your people up on my choppers, Captain."
As we climbed aboard, I heard the Colonel order a psychological operations tape played. She yelled to Captain Willard over the roar of the engines and the beat of the rotors. "My boys just love this."
"A fine little girl, she wait for me.
Me catch the ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I never think I'll make it home.
Larry Larry, me gotta go.
Three nights and days we sailed the sea.
Me think of girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose in her hair.
Larry Larry, me gotta go."
I carefully checked my weapon and found it was loaded with blanks. We swept in low over the beach and were met by a hail of fire from beach bunnies and surf bums. I saw the Swedish Bikini Team go down in a hail of bullets from a chopper. Frankie and Annette manned a Chicom .51 caliber machine gun.
"Nice realistic touches, Larry." I screamed over the noise of battle
Colonel Kilgore's troops pushed the enemy back.
With the beach cleared, Aeryn Kilgore strode down to the surf, oblivious to the madness around her.
"I love the smell of frag cannons in the morning." She said quietly. "It reminds me of victory."
In the distance I could hear our enemy chugging down margaritas and chanting their war cry. "Serfs up! Serfs up! Serfs up!" This wasn't over by a long shot.
"Lar, are you sure you got that last line of dialogue right?" Larry just shrugged his shoulders.
"So, Captain Willard. Do you surf?" Asked the colonel.
Captain Willard just smiled, took off his shirt, grabbed a board and headed for the surf. Colonel Willard undid the buttons of her O.D. shirt and pants, revealing a tiny black bikini. All of a sudden the beach got very quiet. Colonel Aeryn Kilgore grabbed a board and followed Willard.
Larry ran over to me. "Dad! We vorlags are great surfers. I bet Colonel Kilgore would love to see us surf."
Larry and his brothers grabbed some boards and headed for the surf. The vorlags surfed brilliantly. They hung twenty. They rode the nose. Larry even balanced himself on his tail and was shooting the curl, while checking out the parties for a surfer girl. All of that time Larry and the boys had spent at Mavericks was paying off.
They eventually ran up onto the beach and looked for Colonel Kilgore. But the colonel and Captain Willard were sitting quietly on their boards out beyond the surf.
"Guys, I think that those two will be busy for a while." I said.
Curly stared out at them. "They don't know how much fun they're missing."
He is the youngest vorlag, after all.
"Okay, we can't wait for Colonel Kilgore and Captain Willard, Larry. They'll be here for arns. Back to the boat."
As the boat's engine roared, I looked over my vorlag Rangers. "I'll see you all on the beach." I said over the roar of the gunfire coming from the beach ahead.
Then, a water balloon hit Larry. "Dad! They're using ice cold water!"
"The swine!" I shouted.
My vorlag Rangers and I charged up the beach firing our Super Soakers ™ as fast as we could, but the black clad troops threw their ice cold water balloons even faster.
"There are too many of them. We're in big trouble, Larry!"
Then Larry bobbed his head under water and came back up with a vorlag-sized mouth full of sea water and sprayed it at our enemies.
"Vorlag spit. Oooooh! Gross!" Screamed Nurse Froy, frantically trying to wipe her face. The other enemy soldiers followed suit and before they knew what had hit them, they were prisoners.
"Okay, vorlags, now it's time for our main mission, Saving Private Aeryan." I stood up and faced my vorlags with a huge American flag behind me. "I know that all real vorlags love the sting of battle. Why, I almost feel sorry for those Peacekeeper sonsabitches. We'll go through them like dren through a drannit. When your grandchildren ask what you did in the war, you won't have to say, "Well, I shoveled dren at a Gammack Base." I just want you fine vorlags to know that I'd be proud to lead you in battle anytime. As you know, we have no idea where Private Aeryan's unit is, and we'll have to fight our way every metra of the way. "
Larry raised his hand. "Actually, Dad, Private Aeryan is in the village right over there."
Sure enough, Private Aeryan was in the village with another paratrooper.
"Okay, Private Aeryan, I'm Captain Dad. I'm here to see that you get to go home."
"Home?" Private Aeryan said questioningly. "I have no home."
"Sure you do, you have a home on Earth with me." Said the tall, blue eyed paratrooper.
She turned to him. Fear and joy warred in her beautiful blue eyes. "Home? With you? I'm not sure about this."
"Come on. You'll fit right in." John put his arms around her and headed for the beach.
"Well, Larry. We have a war to win. Let's get to it."
Larry's tail drooped again. "Dad, we're not exactly in the same league financially with Mr. Spielberg. Or even Mister Kemper. We've already captured all the troops I could hire."
"So what do we do now, Lar?" I knew I didn't want to know the answer to that one, but I asked it anyway.
"Do you have a helmet?" Larry grinned at me.
I gave Larry my best Jack Nicholson, Southern stoner reply. "Yeah. I have a helmet."
Larry gunned the engine of his Harley chopper as I got on behind him. Aeryn, dressed in black leather with an American flag on her back, led the way, her black hair flying behind her. John, in a buckskin jacket, jammed his cowboy hat over his long hair and grinned past his Fu Manchu. Curly mounted up behind Moe and off we went. I could hear the opening bars of "Born to Be Wild" over the roar of the engines.
"Larry, be careful on these little Southern back roads, okay? Did you ever see the end of this movie?"
"What movie, Dad? I made this up."
I saw a pickup with a gun rack in the back and a Stars and Bars flag flying from the antennae start to pass us.
"Larry, I have a bad feeling about this."
Larry laughed. "Nobody messes with Heck's Vorlags, Dad." Sure enough, Larry's jacket read "Heck's Vorlags M. C. and Ice Cream Parlor".
The two good ole boys glared at us until they got to Aeryn. One saucy grin from the lovely Aeryn was enough for them to grin back.
Aeryn turned to John. "What are you rebelling against, Johnny?"
John smiled back at her. "Whaddya got?"
I relaxed. Too soon, of course.
"Lar, are you going a little fast?"
"I have to go fast if I want to get over the barbed wire fence, Dad." Larry replied reasonably.
I looked out from behind Larry. "Barbed wire fence?" I took in my surroundings. "That's the World War Two border with Switzerland. You're doing the motorcycle scene from The Great Escape!"
Larry just nodded and accelerated.
"Larry," I screamed, "Do all vorlags have to recreate scenes from Steve McQueen movies? Don't I at least get Barry the razor tooth stunt driver? This is not good."
"Trust me, Dad. I have a plan."
Larry zoomed up a hill and shot over the fence. He started to slow down and I foolishly relaxed.
"Okay, Lar. That could have been worse. Why don't we turn around and go back to the others now?"
Larry sped up again. "I'm not done, Dad. That Evel Kneivel said he was going to jump the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle, but he only jumped the Snake River Canyon. And he didn't even get across. Think of how famous we'll be!"
I stared around Larry at a ramp that seemed to disappear into the clouds. The far side of the Grand Canyon was…..very far away.
"Do you have any idea how wide the Grand Canyon is at its widest point, young vorlag?" Why did I ask that? I didn't want to know the answer.
"Twelve miles, Dad." Larry answered politely. Then we were rocketing up the ramp, with other bikers following right behind us. Then we were shooting off into space. I opened my eyes and saw the sky above us, and the Colorado River far below. Beside us was a red and black chopper. Scorpius! He waved as he sped by us.
Then I felt the chopper start to fall. Down, down, down and more down. But, we landed with only a small a bump.
"Ooops." As soon as Larry said that, I knew we had a problem. Underneath us was the cause of the bumpy landing. A red shoe on a leather clad leg.
Suddenly, a gaggle of brightly dressed Hynerians ran out singing:
"Ding dong, the Scorpius is dead,
Which old Scorpius,
The wicked Scorpius,
Ding dong the Scorpius is dead."
I looked around and found that John, Aeryn, D'Argo, Chiana, Moe and Curly had joined us, sitting there on the yellow brick road.
"What the frell?" I said. From offstage I could hear a lot of hammering and pounding and screams of "Watch it, ya wellnitz."
Then a somewhat stout young lady marched out, dressed in what looked like a metal prom dress with a crown tied onto her head.
She smiled at John. "Well, my favorite fly boy is back, and he took care of problemo number one. Okay, John, you get the grand prize, namely me. I'm Furlow the Wicked Tech, in case you forgot."
John grinned and pointed to Larry. "Sorry, Furlow. I cannot tell a lie. Larry the razor tooth vorlag did Scorpius in. He's all yours."
Larry wisely grinned and decapitated a small tree with his left incisor. He looked at me and winked. "Gee, Dad, and I just got hungry, too."
Furlow moved quickly away from Lar. "Moving right along, we get to the consolation prizes. So, what can I do for you all?"
D'Argo stood up and cleared his throat. "Everyone says I think with my mivonks. I really need a brain, if you could."
Chiana lithely moved in front of D'Argo. "And not just any brain, either. He wants a real rocket scientist type brain, or nothing at all." She smiled sweetly at John. Aeryn dropped her hand to her pulse pistol and smiled sweetly at everyone.
Rygel jumped up onto the seat of Moe's Harley. "If something's being given away, I want my share. If I'm ever going to stop being the Dominar of the Munchkins, I'll need courage. Some courage, please."
Aeryn snorted. "And what would you do with courage if you had it, toad?"
Rygel glared back at her. "The same thing you'd do with a personality, witch."
John started towards Rygel. "You should have gotten the courage before you started talking, Rygel."
Furlow pushed herself between John and Rygel, putting her arms around John. "Who, big fella. No point in getting in a fight over that skinny little thing. Howzabout you and me take a little break and I cool you off?"
John retreated to Aeryn's side. Furlow shrugged her shoulders. "Anyone else?"
John raised his hand. "I need a heart."
Furlow stared at John. "You have a heart, human."
John blushed slightly. "Yeah, but I want to give my heart to the woman I love." With that, he put his arm around Aeryn's shoulder. Aeryn stared at the ground, but moved slightly closer to John.
Furlow frowned and pulled a tattered notebook out of a pocket. After consulting it, she turned to John. "Sorry, fly boy, no can do. I'm fresh out of hearts, brains and courage. But, all you have to do is drop by the Big Guy's office and tell him Furlow sent you. He'll fix you right up."
"The Big Guy?" John said.
"The Wizard of Oz, Emerald City, 90210. Just follow the Yellow Brick Road." And with that, Furlow disappeared in a puff of toxic fumes.
I looked at the Yellow Brick Road opening out before us, and disappearing into the distance. "Lar, I'm not sure about this. There are flying monkey's with bad attitudes, soldiers that sing basso profundo, narcotic flowers and Jack o' Lanterns out there."
Larry just laughed and kick started his Harley. "We'll be there in two hundred microts, Dad. No problemo!"
I hopped on behind Larry and watched Oz turn into an Emerald Green blur. Sure enough, in two hundred microts, we stopped at the front gate of the Emerald City. Larry banged on the door. "Open up, its Larry and Dad on a mission from God."
Lieutenant Braca looked out from behind the door. "Go away. The Captain's gone. We're closed."
"If we can't see the Captain, how about Major Major Major Major?" I asked.
"You can't see the major. He's in."
"Can we see him when he's out?" Larry inquired.
"Of course." Braca replied.
"Catch-22." We all said in unison.
Aeryn pushed her way to the front. "Look, Furlow sent us. We want to see the Wizard and we want to see him now, cat fish?"
John whispered in Aeryn's ear. "Capisce, honey."
Aeryn glared at Braca. "Oh, all right, capisce, honey?"
Braca opened the door and we walked into the Emerald City. Braca waved vaguely to the right. "Keep going until you get to the Mickey D's. Then a right. Can't miss it."
Soon we were standing before the Great and Powerful Oz, a being wise and powerful beyond our abilities to comprehend. When he spoke, thunder crashed. Lightening shot from his eyes.
"What the frell do you want?" He roared.
Only D'Argo was brave enough to step forward. "Furlow said you'd give me a brain. A nice first class rocket scientist type brain, if you could, Sir?"
"What do I look like, E.R.?" Crashed the Mighty Voice of Oz.
"Hey", yelled Rygel, "I want some courage."
"A most over rated quality." Snorted Oz.
John walked forward to stand right in front of the Mighty Oz. "I want a heart to give to Aeryn. I won't take no for an answer."
"She's an alien. How many frelling times do I have to tell you people this? She's an alien. Don't you ever listen?" The voice of Oz was causing my ears to ring.
"Dad!" Larry was pulling me back away from the Mighty Oz. "Look behind the curtain." I pulled the curtain back and saw a man in a loud Aloha shirt typing. I looked over his shoulder and saw that the words he was typing were those that Oz was speaking.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. He's not important." Roared All-Powerful Oz. We all just smiled at Oz.
Oz started rooting around on his desk. "I had a brain here a microt ago. Ah, here it is, D'Argo." He made a series of motions with his hands and mumbled some magic words.
"In a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides." D'Argo pronounced grandly. Pip smiled up at him and wrapped her arms around him.
"Courage, courage. Aha, here we go." He repeated the hand motions and mumbled some different words at Rygel.
Rygel squinted at the Wizard. "You talking to ME? YOU talking to me? You TALKING to me?"
Finally, the Wiz turned to John. "Look, you don't have to give Aeryn your heart. Believe me, she already has it. Just enjoy the ride."
John scratched his head and looked at Aeryn who smiled back at him. "Okay, so how do we get home. I don't know how to make a wormhole and I don't know where the frell Earth is."
The Wizard looked disgusted. "Wormholes! All you need to do is click your heels together and say, "There's no place like home." Didn't you read the manual in your module?"
John started to click his heels together, but Aeryn stopped him. "John, I do love you, but I just don't know about this."
John sighed, "No problem, Aeryn. I can wait."
I glanced at Larry. He glanced at me. We glanced at each other.
"Excuse us for a microt." Larry and I said. We walked out of the Wizard's Palace and into a far grander home in a slightly different dimension. As we walked past the guards and the rich furnishings, I heard the Overture from Aida playing in the background. Finally we were ushered into his presence. We knelt and kissed his massive, furry hand.
"Don Vorleone." Larry murmured.
"Larry, and Dad, too. It has been too long. How have you been? How is The Family?" Rumbled the massive being.
"Vorlagfather," said Larry, "We need a favor. Not for us, but for John and Aeryn. These two are destiny's children. They belong together. They need to get married and come to Earth."
The Vorlagfather nodded his head. "We vorlags are HUGE 'shippers. Of course, they shall marry and come to Earth."
Don Vorleone waved us out as he picked up the phone to make "arrangements."
"Okay, Larry. I just have one question."
"Why is the stagecoach stopping?" I yelled up at the stagecoach driver.
"End of the line, folks. Lordsburg, New Mexico." Came the gravelly voice of "Buck" Rickabaugh, the driver. Marshall Curley Wilcox covered the area with his shotgun.
Larry and I stepped down from the coach and looked around.
"Lordsburg's not much like it was in the 1880s, is it Dad?" Larry commented.
I smiled. "I think, Larry, you'll find one important change, anyway." Right on schedule, a brand new Corvette slowed down and stopped by us.
"Hello, Larry." Said the driver.
Larry stared into the most beautiful pair of blue eyes he'd ever seen. Around her lovely face, her raven hair blew in the breeze. She smiled radiantly at Larry.
"My name is Claudia." She said. "Claudia, the razor tooth vorlag. Need a ride, Larry?"
Larry just stared at the Radiant Claudia until I pushed him towards the car. Quickly, he jumped into the passenger seat.
Claudia smiled at me. "Need a ride, Dad?"
"No," I smiled back. "UCSBmom is coming to pick me up. There she is now."
Larry and Claudia drove away just as my wife pulled up.
"How was the fanfic, Dear?" My wife asked.
"Just fine, Dear. And I think I may have a little less trouble with my fics now that a certain vorlag will be otherwise occupied."
UCSBmom glanced at the fuel gauge. "I need gas, Dear."
She pulled into the next gas station and I headed for the pump. A young man pulled his head out from under the hood of a classic Mustang and started towards me, but I waved him off. "No problem, I'll pump it."
"Okay. Just pay my wife inside when you're done." I quickly filled the tank.
Inside, his wife stood behind the counter. "That's ten gallons at 19.9 cents a gallon. That'll be a dollar and ninety nine cents, sir."
I handed her two ones. "Pretty quiet here in Lordsburg for a young couple, isn't it?"
She just laughed and handed me my change. "John and I have had enough excitement to last us for a long time."
Her husband walked in and put his arms around her from behind. "Honey, I'm home." He teased.
She playfully pushed his hands away, but then allowed them to settle around her waist.
"Glad to see you two are so happy." Both just smiled back at me as I left.
I got back in the car and UCSBmom started down the highway. Suddenly she started slowing down.
"Oh, look, Dear. A car has broken down. And, it's Larry and a very attractive lady vorlag." My wife said.
"I'm sure they have Triple A or something. Do we have to stop?"
My wife glanced at me. "Of course we do. Oh, dear. It looks like they're arguing."