This is the 11th round of The Alphabet Challenge mentioned in THIS post. As a refresher, the Broxson twins, Gary and Perry, and I will each write one story for each letter of the alphabet. Meaning, a story whose title begins with the given letter. For this round, it’s the letter “K”.
Readers have until the publication of the next round of stories (about two weeks between rounds) to vote for their favorite story in the current round. Points will be assigned to each writer based on total votes received.
In each round, the story with the most votes gets three points. Second place gets two points, third place gets one point. In the case of a tie, the points for the tied rankings are added and then split equally among the writers who tied. At the end of the year, we tally up and crown the winner with the most points.
Long or short, each story will appear on its own post and the trio will be followed by a fourth post where readers can vote.
Here we go. Presented anonymously, the second of three stories with titles beginning with the letter “K” as submitted by its author.
Kid Kool versus Kaptain Kaos
Copyright 2020 — Gary Broxson
3,218 words – approx. reading time: about 12 minutes based on 265 WPM)
“Sissy, you are such a wonderful writer,” Ned Coolidge said, batting his eyes at his sister from the crack of her bedroom doorway.
“First of all, get out of my room. Second, what do you want?”
“I’m glad you asked,” Ned said, taking her stern smile as an invitation to enter his sister’s room. “Ol’ Mrs. Baine, my ELA teacher, wants us to design a comic book for a class project. And I sure could use your help, Sis.”
“Nedder, you know I’m trying to finish my Master’s thesis. It’s due in one week and I haven’t even decided on my topic. Besides, you love comic books. Writing one should be a breeze for you.”
“Sure, I love reading them, but you know I hate writing. Pleeeeassse…”
Sighing, “I might as well. Nothing is happening here,” Sissy surrendered, eyeing a blank word document on her laptop, the curser flashing impatiently. “What have you got so far?”
“A title—Kid Kool versus Kaptain Kaos. Whaddya’ think?”
“Meh,” she said. “What else?”
“Okay, there’s this evil radioactive spider that comes from outer space and…”
“Hold it, Space Boy. That is so cliché. I can’t attach my literary reputation to that kind of hackneyed crap. Put your imagination cap on and think up a better origin story for your antagonist.”
“What about your protagonist—Kid Kool; what’s the story there?”
“My what?” Ned asked.
“Dear God, don’t they teach you kids anything in eighth grade? The protagonist is the main character, usually the good guy in a story.”
“Oh that’s easy. He’s based on me—a cool kid.”
Sissy laughed out loud, erasing the grin from Ned’s face. “I’m sorry, Nedder. I didn’t mean to suggest…” she stifled another laugh with her hand, looking at the skinny, bug-eyed thirteen-year-old boy standing before her.
“I know,” Ned said, “you can’t spell nerd without Ned.”
Sissy tousled her brother’s hair and said, “And you can’t spell wonderful without Ned, either.
He thought about that for a moment, then smiled at his sister.
“But here’s a deal-breaker, Mr. Wonderful,” she said. “Your hero has got to be a girl. If you want my help that is.”
“Uugh,” Ned moaned. “You know I don’t know anything about girls.”
“Well, this will be a learning experience,” Sissy said, pinching Ned’s cheek. “The trick is to write what you know, and more importantly,” she thought about it for moment, “what you want to know.”
“Now, you get back to your room. Scratch out a rough draft before you even think about drawing panels. Brainstorm some ideas for your characters’ origins, throw in some superpowers, work up a simple plot to the story, then blow me away with a real kickass ending. Share your draft with me on Google Docs and I’ll be able to peek at it from time to time on my computer and add my thoughts. ‘Kay?”
“Protagonist…what I want to know…kickass ending…” Ned mumbled to himself in effort to lock in all of his sister’s advice and direction. He retreated to his room to begin the vaunted writing process.
Ned logged in, opened a Google Doc and waited for inspiration. Ok, he thought, it didn’t come from outer space, so maybe it came from…he looked around his room. His science book lay open on a video game controller he hadn’t used in a very long time. The oft-memed depiction of modern man evolving from ape caught Ned’s eye. His science teacher had instructed the class that life began on earth about four billion years ago. Creatures crawling out of primordial soup.
When the earth was young, Ned wrote, lightning flashed across the blood red sky. Proteins and enzymes sparked to life and a blob formed in the bottom of a very deep lake. The creature rose to the surface, crawled up onto the shoreline, looked around at the erupting volcanoes and whizzing meteors, and then dove back into the dark, murky depths. The world was not yet ready for it.
Fast forward four billion years.
A single bubble rises from the deepest ravine in a lake in what is now Minnesota. Two friends, Karen and Kristen, are skinny dipping in Lake Whatchamacallit. The blob beast swims up, up, up from its muddy tomb. The creature must impregnate the girls in order to evolve into a new lifefo…
Whoa, little brother. You are not going to learn about girls that way. The red text appeared as if by magic on Ned’s Google Document. Big Sister is watching, he thought.
“Okay,” Ned responded. “I guess I got carried away. We just saw ‘the movie’ in Health class. You know the one.”
Yes, I know the one, she typed. All those happy little sperm racing toward the ovum. But you’ve got to consider your audience. Sure, your horny little friends might like it. But who will be grading this project?
Ned stared at the screen. There was a long pause in his sister’s reply.
“Right,” Sissy said aloud, suddenly behind Ned. “And she was a thousand years old when she taught me. And, she’s a devout Catholic. You’ll have to make this an immaculate conception.”
“How do you sneak up on me like that?” Ned said, a little out of breath.
“I spray my ball bearings with WD-40. Puts me in stealth mode,” Sissy smiled. “I thought maybe you could use a brain break.” On a tray attached to her wheelchair, sat a glass of lemonade.
“Maybe a little sugar shockwave will get you on track. Now let’s keep it PG,” Sissy chided, as she spun her chair around and rolled out of Ned’s room.
Ned took a sip, thanked her as she made her way down the hallway back to her own project.
He considered the lemonade on his desk, deleted the inappropriate text, and continued typing.
The blob beast swims up, up, up from its muddy tomb. It uses fin-like appendages to crawl onto the bank. As the girls swim, the slimy blob scuttles to their picnic spread. It climbs into an open cooler and plops into a pitcher of lemonade. There, inside the container, it drinks every drop and begins to swell up, pressing against the glass, magnifying its hideous features. The toad-like creature holds the liquid inside its bloated body for a few minutes, then pees it back into the pitcher, deflating the blob. The new / improved lemonade begins to dissolve the blob. It disappears into the cool yellow liquid—its life cycle complete.
Karen and Kristen, wearing conservative swim attire, finish their dip and return to the picnic site. They gulp lemonade, remarking on its amazing fresh flavor. After summer vacation, Karen returns to Omaha while Kristen remains in Minnesota.
Ned paused for a moment, waiting to see if his sister was going to object to the fact that he has his characters drinking old toad piss. When she didn’t chime in, he continued.
Nine months later, Karen and Kristen have babies, even though they didn’t have a boyfriend or a baby-daddy or in-vitro fertilization.
Karen’s parents did not believe her and treated the unwanted child badly. They called him nasty names and made him do all the chores, like slopping the hogs and cleaning out Uncle Blindbob’s spittoon—Splat!
Horrible visual, but a great onomatopoeia, Sissy commented.
At an early age, little Freddy Farflung fought back. He was smarter than his family and he played tricks on them for fun. He started out by loosening the tops of salt shakers and putting blood-plump ticks in the Raisin Bran box and quickly moved on to more serious practical jokes like burning the farm down and running away.
Sheila KoolKinder had a better life. Her family was happy to have her and loved her very much. The family joke was, ‘there must have been something in the water.’ Sheila did great in school and became very popular. She was also very smart, but used her wits to help her family, friends, and community. Sheila was a cheerleader in high school and was very pretty.
Freddy roamed aimlessly. He made his own friends, but they were low-lifes that feared and revered Freddy because he was an evil genius. Freddy spread chaos everywhere he went. He would flush rolls of toilet paper down public toilets; with a special cellphone he could change green lights to red and change bathroom scales to make you feel fat; he put rat poison in bottles of baby aspirin; he yelled ‘Fire!’ in crowded theaters, and he would Xerox fake $20 dollar bills and scatter them all around town.
It wasn’t long before his minions promoted Freddy to Kaptain, and he became Kaptain Kaos.
Ok, not a bad origin story, if you like that type of potty humor and the ticks, yeck! Sissy interjected on Ned’s screen. But now you’ve got to build tension. It’s called rising action and it leads to the climax of the story. You need to bring them together, create some conflict and then go for the big showdown.
“I think I’ve got it,” typed Ned.
As fate would have it, Ned continued. Freddy, aka Kaptain Kaos or KK for short, felt drawn to Minnesota. It was cold there and he wore a long, black coat with many pockets. Each pocket held items needed to spread chaos and calamity around the world. While strolling through a gated community, KK took a handful of dog poop and placed it in the yard of a cat lady. He also relocated voting posters, switching Trump and Biden signs in neighbor’s yards. Using his unique cellphone, Freddy called in a bomb threat to the local high school. He watched from across the street as panicked students fled from the building. He laughed out loud when he saw a girl fall and get trampled by the stampeding schoolchildren. His work was fulfilling.
The girl was Sheila Koolkinder. In the commotion a defensive end on the football team had knocked her down and stepped on her back with his cleats. She was paralyzed. But Sheila would not be denied; she intended to graduate with her classmates, even though she was in a wheelchair.
Very interesting, Sissy typed on Ned’s screen. Do your characters have superpowers?
Ned thought for a moment.
The reason KK had never been captured was because he could not be seen on video cameras. He emitted electrical pulses that fuzzed out his image when detectives viewed the security footage.
Sheila did not seem to have any super powers. She had a boyfriend, Kenny Patterson, however, in robotics class that helped her create a super wheelchair with all sorts of gadgets.
That’s a no-no. Let’s agree to keep real people out of this. And, he’s NOT my boyfriend, Sheila typed.
Backspacing to ‘powers,’ Ned started over. She stayed after school every night and worked secretly in the robotics classroom, creating a super wheelchair with all sorts of cool gadgets.
Kaptain Kaos enjoyed living in Minnesota and loved creating chaos. However, he always felt something was missing from his life. That’s when he decided to play another prank on the local high school, another bomb threat, only this time there would be a real bomb. It was fiendishly clever. He would make sure the bomb threat was exactly like the last one where they had all panicked. This time, they would think it was a hoax and would not evacuate, then Boom!
It was June and the senior class was preparing to graduate at the football stadium. Crowds of people arrived for the special occasion and the seniors were all dressed in funny robes and square hats. Just as the principal was about to begin the ceremony, the ELA teacher came up and whispered in his ear. He looked surprised for a second and then laughed, telling her not to worry about it—saying the boy had cried wolf too many times.
You are doing a great job with the rising action, I can’t wait to see how you bring it to a peak, Sissy typed. It seemed that she was neglecting her own writing in order to follow along with Ned’s comic drama.
“Thanks, Sissy,” he responded, and then thought about how he should end this story. Write what you know, he thought.
The bomb was hidden under the stage. It was nuclear and would destroy the entire arena. KK just wanted to wait until the right moment. This would be his most devious deed of all.
The seniors filed past the principal, shaking hands and waving their diplomas at their friends and families. KK was just about to push the detonator button on his special cellphone when he saw a young lady roll her chair up onto the stage. He took his finger off the button and watched her.
She was the valedictorian and the principal handed her the microphone. First she thanked her family, then all the teachers, then all her friends. The crowd grew silent as she slowly picked herself up from the wheelchair and stood behind the podium. Then she said she wanted to thank the person that had called in the bomb threat the year before. The crowd was surprised, but KK was even more shocked.
Sheila Koolkinder went on to explain that all her life, things had come so easy for her. And it would have been simple for her to just go with the flow and live an ordinary life. The day her back was broken was the day she had realized how precious all life was and now she was going to become a world-renown scientist or doctor and going to cure cancer and paralysis and make sure every dog and cat got a good home.
Kaptain Kaos was stunned. He listened to the brave girl talk and he started to cry. It was my fault he screamed out loud. It was my fault you are in a wheelchair. nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Nothing else appeared on the screen for several minutes. Worried, Sissy made her way back down the hallway to her brother’s room. There she found him sobbing, his head on the keyboard. Random letters streaking across the screen.
“What’s wrong, little brother?” she asked. He began to cry even harder.
“I’m so sorry, so, so sorry,” Ned mumbled into his hands, tears wetting his cheeks.
“For what, Ned? You haven’t done anything.” She put an arm around the thin boy.
“It was my fault. It was my fault.” He looked at her through blurry eyes. “Why don’t you hate me?”
“Ned, no. You didn’t do this.” Sissy said, surprised. “The police report came back stating that there was a glitch in the traffic lights. The car that hit us thought it was okay to drive through. None of this,” she gestured down at the chair, “is your fault.”
“But that family night at Chuck E. Cheese, I told Dad I wanted to go home. I told him I had a stomach ache. But I really just wanted to play online Fortnite with my friends. So we left early. That makes it my fault. If we hadn’t left early, we wouldn’t have even been at the stupid stoplight when it was on the fritz.”
“Oh, Nedder. Look at me,” Sissy said, tilting his face up to hers. “You silly boy. Don’t you understand? Sometimes an accident is just an accident. There is no plan, no fate, no… no grand design; we are the destiny that we make. Life is truly chaos. It’s up to us to make sense out of it.”
Ned turned from his desk and hugged his sister. They embraced for a long while. They talked, they cried, and they laughed until all the demons were purged. Then, after taking a sip from Ned’s leftover lemonade and making a silly face, Sissy said, “Alright, Ned. We both need to get back to work. I still haven’t got a clue for my thesis.”
Ned turned back to his screen and took a deep breath. “Here we go,” he whispered to himself as his sister left his room.
Tired from her speech, Sheila Koolkinder sat back in her wheelchair. Kaptain Kaos’s screams were drowned out by the cheering of the crowd. A red light flashed on the armrest of Sheila’s chair. It was her Geiger counter and it warned of nuclear radiation. There was only one thing to do. She grabbed the microphone back from the principal and quickly wrapped the cord around her chair. She pushed more buttons and rockets ignited, lifting Sheila, her chair and the entire stage into the sky.
Kaptain Kaos waved at Sheila as she lifted off. He cried out to her, “Don’t worry, I won’t destroy you!” As he waved frantically, he dropped his special phone, the button was pushed; the countdown began. Two minutes remained.
Hmmmmm, Ned thought, looking around his room for inspiration. His eyes settled on the Ironman poster on his wall.
Higher and higher Sheila, the stage, and the ticking bomb rose into the air.
‘Plagiarism’, flashed on his screen. Sissy was still watching the shared Google Document from her room.
And then the battery on Sheila’s wheelchair started to die. The rockets sputtered and the entire structure began to fall back toward the football field. The crowd began to scramble and run for cover. All except Kaptain Kaos. He stood tall, his black coat flapping in the wind, and focused all his electrical energy on the wheelchair. Only one minute remaining.
Sheila looked down and saw KK, she spoke into the microphone: “Thank you, brother. I’ll take it from here.” She turned the supercharged chair toward Lake Whatchamacallit and hovered over it for a moment. Only 30 seconds until explosion.
Like a butterfly, Sheila launched herself from the chair. A parachute with the words ‘Kid Kool’ printed across the canopy blossomed above her head. The structure plunged into the cold waters of the nearly bottomless lake. 15, 14, 13, 12…she landed the paraglider on the 50 yard line. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
The entire city rumbled. Sheila’s legs gave out and she fell to the ground. A geyser of water erupted from the lake, spraying straight up into the sky. As the lake rained down onto the football field, Freddy Farflung, aka Kaptain Kaos, stood over his nemesister, Sheila Koolkinder. From his black overcoat he pulled out an umbrella and shielded her from the fallout.
In the sky above them, a radioactive rainbow arced over the city. It was a promise that peace would now prevail.
That was awesome, Sissy typed at the bottom of the narrative. You literally came close to blowing me away with that kickass ending. So, I see that the brother and sister now understand each other and are back to being a family again. And that cool wheelchair; that was Sheila’s superpower.
“No, silly,” Ned replied to his sister. “Did you even read the story? My protagonist’s superpower was the power of love.”
######### ######### #########
Sipping lemonade and buckling down to the task at hand. Sheila began her thesis.
Graphic Novels: Therapeutic Mechanisms for Dealing with Emotional Distress in Young Adults
Ned reread his draft; then added one line: Following the explosion in the lake, thousands of blob-like creatures awoke and began swimming up, up, up from their muddy tombs.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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