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Where's Norman?

Chapter Two

"Don't get all excited, you big dumb machine." Roger buckled his seat belt inside the Griffon and turned to face Little O. "I'm only letting you ride with me because without Dorothy or Norman I have no sidekick. I guess I could get Major Dastun, but you were closer."

Little O tried to mimic Roger and buckle its seat belt, but it only tore the seat belt out of the car. "Feel proud Little O." Roger mused, "You're in the Griffon, the fastest, sleekest, literally the best automobile on the road. Why I remember-Little O! Stop dinking the brake fluid!" Little O stopped and shoved the brake fluid container behind its back then tried to look innocent. "Oh great! Now I'll have to crash into a wall to stop! And I just changed the air freshener in this thing..."

After crashing into a wall, Roger and Little O stumbled out of the wreckage and into the Speakeasy, the bar where Big Ear, Paradigm's top informant, waited. "Alright, this is it Little O." Roger whispered. "I'm going to have a little chat with a friend of mine. You try to look inconspicuous." Little O sauntered up to the bar and Roger took a seat behind the pool tables, next to where Big Ear was sitting.

Without looking at him, Roger Smith spoke. "Tell me about bandages."

Big Ear's face was buried in a newspaper. "Why, did you cut yourself?"

"No," Roger Smith whimpered as he cradled a deeply gashed arm. "My android/butler combo was kidnapped today by someone wearing bandages."

Big Ear flipped a news page. "Well, I've heard a lot recently. Some things from my cousin Big Nose. Also from my uncle up in the Pacific Northwest, Bigfoot. And my mother in law Little Brain. Then I heard something from my sister Cross Eyed. And my brother, Fat A-"

"Hey, hey hey!" Roger Smith cut him short. "Kids could be reading this."

"So anyway, as I was saying, I've heard that... what in heaven's name is that thing?!?"

Big Ear pointed to the bar where Little O was seated on a stool. But its tremendous weight had completely shoved the bar stool into the ground. It was trying to drink a beer, but without any mouth the beer just ran down the sides of Little O's face. Everyone was staring at it.

Roger Smith sunk deep into his chair. "I have no idea." He said nervously with a hint of embarrassment. He cleared his throat. "What about your second cousin Big Butt?"

"No, she hasn't told me anything recently." Big Ear leaned forward. "But I've heard that Schwarzwald has been able to find another megadeus, one called 'Junkyard.' I think he found it in one of those port-o-potties at a fair or something. I hear he's held up in a gorilla factory."

"Thanks." Roger Smith got up, and nonchalantly placed a stack of dollar bills at Big Ear's table. Big Ear placed the newspaper discretely on top of them. He quietly stepped forward so as not to attract any attention to himself. Then he shouted, "Quick Little O; to the Griffon! Or at least, what's left of it."

As Roger and Little O left the bar, Little O taking the door with itself, Big Ear looked toward them. "Good luck, Negotiator." He said under his breath. Then he lifted the newspaper up and inspected the bills. "Hey," he looked around quickly, "This is Monopoly money! I can't believe I fell for that again!"

Outside, Roger and Little O climbed into the Griffon, tried for an hour to start the darn thing, and then took the bus. On board, Roger Smith explained to Little O the situation. "There is only one working gorilla factory left in the entire city. And this-" he pointed out the window toward Phil's Yucky Sandwich Shop, "is not it."

Confused, Roger pulled out a bus schedule. "Wait a second," Roger tapped the driver on the shoulder. "Isn't this the number 666 bus?" But the driver was a high strung man, and as Roger tapped his shoulder, he had a sudden and massive heart attack, and the bus crashed into Chuck's Gorilla Factory and Bait Shop. As Roger Smith and Little O stepped out of another fiery wreck, Roger quipped, "Gee... that was sure convenient."

It was bone chilling cold as our two misguided heroes entered the building. Roger spotted a door marked "Main Office" located at the top of a set of old, rusted iron stairs. As they made their way to the door, their footsteps sounded like shrill thunderclaps on a warm summer night.

Finally they were at the top. Roger's hand slowly and silently reached for the doorknob. Sweat poured from his face as the tension became fever pitch. The slightest noise could set off any kind of alarm. His hand just graced the knob, when a crash of cymbals came from behind him. Roger turned and saw Little O practicing its one-man-band routine. "Do you have to do that now?" Roger sighed. Little O nodded. Roger closed his eyes as the click of gun hammers seemed to surround them.

A huge figure came out of the darkness. It was the giant robot Junkyard, with Schwarzwald standing on its shoulder. "Hello Negotiator!" Schwarzwald shouted from his perch, "I bet you're wondering why I kidnapped your hired help this very morning."

"Not really. I just want-" Roger could not finish, but who can with super villains?

"Fine then, I'll tell you!" Schwarzwald put on a little pair of reading glasses and pulled a large notebook that read, "My Evil Plan" on the front cover out of his pocket. "In all our past encounters I wondered how you could defeat robots that were far more powerful than your own. Then I realized that it was neither you nor the Big O. It was your home team! So I am having your butler keep my megadeus in perfect shape and your little girlfriend will be at my side during battle. I've seen how you and your megadeus seem to draw strength from her, so I constructed her a special chair that feeds directly into my robot's power system!"

At those words, Schwarzwald popped his robot's head open, and pushed the special chair forward. Roger looked at it for a minute. "That's no special chair," he finally blurted out. "That's just a folding chair with the word "Dorothy" poorly scrawled onto the back. And is that a Playstation controller taped to the seat?"

"It is not!" Schwarzwald pouted. "It's an X-Box controller. Anyway, you should talk. I got a hold of your manuscript. Because I was an award winning reporter before I went totally nuts, I'll give you some pointers."

Roger Smith stepped forward and pulled out some paper and a pencil to take notes. Schwarzwald spoke. "First I should remind you that some sentences need comas. And question marks. And periods. In fact, most of it is just one big run-on sentence."

"It's supposed to be like that for dramatic purposes." Roger hoped that sounded clever, but it didn't.

"Okay. Secondly, you misspelled 'Big,' and 'O.'"

"That could have happened to anyone."

"Also, you called me 'Barzwald?'"

"That was a typo. You were supposed to be called..." Roger fished for the ultimate compliment. "Marzwald?"

"Marzwald? Marzw-just forget it. I'll just get this over with, and kill you now."

"We'll see if you can kill me, when you're dead!" Roger chuckled, and raised his watch to his mouth. "Big O! Show time!" he shouted into the watch. Schwarzwald gasped and looked around, but nothing happened. Roger laughed nervously, and then tried to summon his giant robot again. "I said, Big O! Big O, Big O, Big O!" Roger yelled through his teeth until the watch fogged up.

"Wait a second, no Norman or Dorothy at home means no one to send me Big O! Uh oh... what I am going to do?" Little O jumped up and down and waved its arms. Roger buried his head in his arm and said weakly. "Alright. Little O, show time."

Little O's head opened as it ran behind Roger. It picked him up, and placed his rear end squarely into the opening. It was a fairly tight fit. The megadeus Junkyard stepped forward to meet them.

"Quick Little O, fire your lasers!" Roger yelled. Little O's eyes glowed red as Roger realized his mistake; the lasers were mounted right behind his butt! As his rear end grew enflamed, Roger Smith struggled to get out of the robot. He got out all right; the lasers burned a hole through his pants and sent him flying out of Little O, and into a fuse box.

The electrocution from the fuse box sent Roger flying back toward the bus. The electricity flowing from Roger's body was able to jumpstart the driver, who drove the bus straight into Schwarzwald's robot. Junkyard toppled to the ground, powerless. Schwarzwald peeked over the side, waving a white flag. Major Dan Dastun and several Military Police tanks arrived characteristically too late.

Roger stepped out of his third piece of flaming wreckage for the day; his trousers were completely burned off, revealing a pair of jet black silken boxers. "Has anyone seen my pants?" Everyone laughed at him.

As the police pulled Schwarzwald away, he yelled, "I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for that meddling Negotiator and his pesky robot!"

"Sure, tell it to the judge." Dastun scoffed. "If I had a nickel for every time I said that, I'd have five cents."

"It's better this way I guess." Schwarzwald sighed. "That darn Dorothy was eating me out of house and home."

"But Dorothy's an android." Roger gasped, "She doesn't eat!"

"What! That dirty liar!"

Norman stepped out of the main office room and went up to Roger. "It's good to see you again Norman."

"Actually sir, I wish to continue working for Master Schwarzwald. I have a longer lunch break, I get free medical and dental, and he pays me with actual money instead of dead mealworms and back issues of TV Guide."

"Just get in the bus."

Norman hung his head. "Yes sir..."

Then Dorothy came out. She had been eating some; she must have gained at least two hundred thousand pounds. As she came down the stairs, and snapped them in two under her great weight, she decided to confess her love to Roger.

"Roger," said the Dorothy that was wider than a barge but had retained her ladylike monotone, "I love you."

She came in close to hug Roger, as he backed toward the wall. "Oh man, this is like a really, really, bad trip!" But before she could hug him, Dorothy noticed a decaying éclair on a bus seat, and moved in for the kill.

Roger raced onto the bus, but Little O was already there. Sighing in disgust, he shoved the driver out of his seat and took his place behind the wheel. "I declare this the maiden voyage of the Griffon 2!"

Roger turned the on ignition, and the bus burst into flame. Everyone screamed.

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