A Day in the Life "A Cartoon Story" By John Pirillo Being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask the Comic Book Commando!
A Day in the Life
A Cartoon Story
By John Pirillo
He stood beneath the star studded skies, Cartoon to his left and a strange cactus with big brown eyes on his right that held a cactus spear. They were watching the horizon for signs of the approaching enemy. "I don't like it." Johnnie finally spoke after the building silence.
"Who does?" The gruff sounding cactus shot back in an annoyed tone. "No one likes to pull up their roots in the middle of the night to fight Karnies."
Cartoon glanced at the cactus. "Spine, they're your own people."
"Yeah. But their spines go the wrong way."
Johnnie almost laughed, but then he remembered where he wasn't. He wasn't on Earth. He was in the land of Cartoon, her domain. A world caught in a universe where all the laws of man were turned upside down by the fourth law of cartoonism, "That which man has imagined. Exists. That which man has not imagined. Exists. Put them together and you have our world. Everything is real, including a few improbabilities and impossibilities."
How in the world had he, just a simple teenager wanting to finish college, with a part time janitorial job end up being a Comic Book Commando with the power to command the powers of every comic that had ever existed? Simple. He had saved a young girl from a horrible fire and the horrible girl turned out to be Cartoon. She had triggered the magic within him that gave him the powers.
It was something no one, including himself, ever talked about, but soon he would have to. The dead kept lining up to be killed again, werewolves, vampires, things of unimaginable ferocity, prehistoric creatures...you name it...kept trying to put a nick in his shiny new armor. He really, really hated that.
Spine gave him a roguish smile. "You understand laddy?"
"Boy, do I."
Cartoon glared at him.
He shrugged. She was the Princess, not him. It was her job to smooth the feathers of the disgruntled. His job was to put them three under if they were evil and mean. Simple fact. He was the hero.
She elbowed him.
The hint of arrogance blew out of him like air from a balloon. "Why'd you do that?"
"Third Law of Cartoonism." She recited. "No hero shall gloat over the misfortune of others, nor shall he ever disagree with the Princess!"
He gave her a blank look for a moment, and then broke into laughter. Bad move. She elbowed him again. "Look, Cartoon, I'm not your subject. I'm just here to help."
Spine nodded. "He has a valid point, My Lady. Best not to upset him. We need all the heroes we can get right now. Especially now. They're coming and coming fast."
Johnnie surveyed the horizon, but the nearest of the cactus army was still about the same distance away. "If that's fast, then I'm a Westinghouse Washing Machine."
Spine gave him a suspicious look. "You're making fun of me."
"Not really." He lied, reminded again of how sharp Spine's, ah, spines were.
Cartoon gave him a knowing look, but said nothing.
"So what's the plan?" Johnnie asked Spine.
"We hurry down this hill and ambush them."
Spine began moving, a fraction of an inch at a time, as if he were attempting to move, but couldn't get past slow motion.
"Nope. Don't think so." Johnnie said.
"Then what?" Spine asked, miffed at Johnnie's refusal to run down the hill.
"How about I run down the hill and ambush them?"
Before Spine could reply, Cartoon spoke up. "Better yet, how about if we don't ambush them, but just slow them down." She bent closer and whispered in his ear. "We build a trench in their path and it'll take those years to get past it. Maybe by then they'll have changed their mind about war."
"By then we probably won't even be alive." Johnnie quipped, then instantly regretted it as he got a look from both Spine and Cartoon that boded nothing good for him.
"Okay. Your way, Princess."
Johnnie unslung his backpack and reached into it. He rifled through the comic books in their plastic protections and finally stopped on one. "Got it! Give me a minute!"
He closed his eyes and imagined his right hand changing.
"Johnnie!" Shrieked Cartoon.
He opened his eyes and his right hand had turned into an electric pump shovel capable of digging a shovel load a second. Thick wire cables ran up from his shovel hand into his wrist and arms. He grinned. "Back in a sec!"
He winked at Spine and ran down the hill. Awkwardly. Holding a comic book in one hand and a hundred pound electric pump shovel in the other made for a bit of lack of balance. He fell forward at the bottom.
"I'll help you, laddy." Spine called out from above, and fractionally moved.
"I've got it!" Johnnie said, getting back to his feet. He shoved the comic book into his rear pocket, and then turned his other hand into an electric pump shovel. He almost fell again.
"I'm almost there, laddy!" Spine hollered enthusiastically.
Johnnie looked back. Spine didn't look as if he had moved an inch yet.
Johnnie eyed the plain before him. "Mmmmm." He muttered, realizing he had a long stretch to dig, even with electric pump shovel hands. The next moment his legs turned into motorized wheels and he began moving swiftly along the stretch of land, shoveling sand and rock aside, until within a few minutes he had dug a trench about ten inches deep and about a dozen miles long. He undid his electric pump shovel hands and motorized wheel feet and turned his legs into a huge water borer. The tube struck the earth and pounded into it, directly in the trench. In about ten minutes he heard water gurgling and it began to trickle up and around his water borer legs.
He made his legs...legs again and stepped out of the gathering water.
He ran back up the hill and stopped beside Spine. "It's okay; you don't have to run anymore."
"Thanks laddy." Spine said, gasping for air. "All this physical exercise is running me down a bit."
Johnnie smiled at Cartoon.
"Let's go home." She suggested.
She closed her eyes and a bubble of light opened before them. She gently lifted Spine by his arms, which had no spines, and stepped into the light. He followed.
"Libraries closing." The Librarian told him.
He jerked awake.
His head had fallen across the book he had been reading. Arizona Desert Explained. He yawned, stretched, then went to a book stack and placed the book there.
"Find what you needed?" The Librarian asked him.
"Not really. I'll be back tomorrow."
"We open at noon tomorrow." She reminded him, pushing the stack of books on the cart they lay upon towards her desk.
"Gotcha!" He acknowledged, and then headed for the elevator.
"Strangest damn dream." He said, yawning yet again.
He got into the elevator after the doors pinged open and pressed lobby. The elevator sank slowly. "I wonder what Cartoon's world really looks like."
The doors pinged open and he stepped out into the lobby, where other students were still chatting on benches, and preparing to leave. He passed several girls he knew, waved and they waved back, and then returned to chatting. He frowned a bit. He hadn't had much of a college life lately because of the adventures he inevitably found himself falling into...sometimes literally. But he didn't resent it. It was just...he yawned again. Exhausting.
He pressed through the huge close doors and stepped out into the quad, where dozens of students were talking to each other as others skated, skateboarded, walked and ran past to their classes, homes, cars and buses.
Speaking of which.
He barely made his bus.
He went to the back and shut his eyes. He could use a bit more rest. Last night he had fought off ten dozen zombies dressed like cheerleaders. It had been hard to polish them off, because they had such cute legs.
He grinned. Better not let Cartoon hear that thought or zombies would be the last thing he'd have to dread. And with that amusing thought, he sank into a gentle sleep. As he slept, he didn't notice that the passenger just in front of him and to the right wore a hat too tall and an overcoat with strange bumps poking from it all over the place.
Spine chuckled on the seat he was upon. "There's a good laddy now. Sleep well. More work to be done on the morrow."
Some kids turned to look back at the strange voice, but all they saw was Johnnie, his mouth hanging open in sleep. They laughed, giggled and joked and turned away.