Angel and the Ape
Super Spectacular #1

Ok, Maybe Not So Super...
and not so Spectacular...

(Sigh... I guess I'll have to tell the truth)...

Angel and the Ape:
At Least It's a Story #1

"Have You Seen Me?"

by David Marshall

Angel O' Day stood on the balcony of the twenty-third floor apartment she shared with her partner Sam, and surveyed the Apollyon skyline. The city was modern and pristine compared to the harsh rigidity of Gotham's gothic architecture. It was the perfect place for she and Sam to follow their dreams. For too long the pair rotted in Gotham and other locations, but now they were settled in a new city and freshly retired from the Private Detective business. She felt excited for the first time in awhile and was eager to begin life anew as an exotic dancer. She pulled her silk robe tightly around her lithe frame as the cool October air brushed her skin with the frigidity of a school marm. A noise from beneath the balcony startled her. "Who's there?"

"Gxh whul ehsy!"

"Why didn't you say so Sam? What have I told you about the King Kong Express?" Angel slapped her hand over her mouth. Sam was sensitive to Simian references.

"Edj keod tjle sioj?" Sam asked. He pulled himself over the edge of the balcony and onto firm footing and towered over his partner.

"I'm sorry, Sam. You know me. Everything always comes out all wrong. I just meant that there are laws against climbing up the sides of buildings. That's all. I promise," Angel pleaded. Sam's dark, piercing gaze fell upon her.

Angel cocked her head to the left and modeled what Sam called her "puppy dog" face. "I'm sorry Sam," she said in the sweetest voice she could muster.

Sam's face softened as Angel knew it would. "Yfol eoiule fjweitl."

Angel threw her arms around her partner's thick, hairy neck. "Oh thank you Sam! You are too kind to this mean ol' Angel!"

Sam squirmed free of the hug and made his way inside the apartment to his desk and adjusted the name plate Angel once insisted he keep there to make their joint business venture look official. It read, "Sam Simian, Esq. Private Detective, Comic Book Artist". He kept it even though the pair "retired" from the detective business. Sam grunted loudly as he shoe-horned his massive Simian frame into the tiny rolling office chair at his desk. Once the Herculean task was complete, he leaned back and took a pencil between his massive toes. Peering over his knees, he began sketching the latest adventures of the Teen Legion Society of America. "Yri eouwl poijwrg hklerlw......GRUNT"

Angel moved into the doorway and sighed. "I know you hate to draw Sunstar, Sam, but she's so sexy with those big, white wings on her back." Sam always needed encouragement with certain characters. For a guy who drew funny pictures for a living he could sure be a cranky....er.....guy.

Angel was interrupted by a frantic knock on their apartment's front door. She moved to the door and cracked it open. She was careful never to open her door to strangers. "May I help you?"

A mysterious-looking man forced his way inside and bowed graciously before her. He was dressed in a dark, blue suit and matching cape. His eyes were hidden beneath his hat. "I certainly hope so, Ms. O' Day. I have tried to get the Sentinel, or Green Lantern, or whatever he's calling himself now, to help me, but he tends to deal only with cosmic menaces these days. I think it's part of his contract with the super-hero union or something," the man answered. "I am the Phantom Stranger."

"Whld opijwr jall?" Sam asked.

"Yeah!" Angel added. "If you're the Phantom Stranger, then how come you had to knock on the door?"

"You cannot begin to fathom the ways of the Phantom Stranger, child," answered the mysterious visitor.

"Wuytio jow keouye?" Sam asked.

"I agree Sam. I would think the Phantom Stranger could afford a better suit too. And look at that ratty old cape! What did you do? Rob the dumpsters outside an off-Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera?"

The Phantom Stranger sighed. "Ok! Ok! You got me! I'm not the Phantom Stranger. I'm his second cousin, Louie. He gets me to fill in for him sometimes with his light work. I usually work bar mitzvahs and comic book conventions and those animated adventures. Oh, and I was supposed to work a few panels for him back in the Crisis miniseries, but George Perez cut my scene in favor of a Blue Devil one-liner. Go figure, huh? And where is the Blue Devil these days?"

"What do you want?" Angel asked.>

"I was hired by Miry Clay. One of his writers is missing," Louie answered.

"Okje klkwuy kweriuljnv?" Sam asked.

"That's what I was wondering too, Sam," said Angel. "You mean THE Miry Clay of FDC infamy? Even I've heard of him! Sam says his company employs fanboys with comic-shop hygiene to hack the adventures of their favorite characters and fulfill their twisted comic book fantasies. To what do we owe this... pleasure, Mr. Stranger, sir?"

"Please... Call me Louie. It is indeed a pleasure to meet you and your partner, Ms. O' Day. Your reputation...precedes you. I only wish the circumstances were less grim."

Angel could tell by the look on Louie's face that he was greatly troubled, but she and Sam retired from the detective business. There would be no more parading around fictional settings scavenging for hopeless clues. No, that life was behind them. The move to Apollyon was supposed to afford them the opportunity to pursue other dreams. Sam was finally going to get his big break in the comics industry and she could pursue her most recent interest, exotic dancing. Besides, it was a great way for her to meet ladies now that she finally understood why the endless parade of godlings and superheroes in tight spandex never got her attention. "I'm sorry Mr...Louie, but Sam and I retired from our practice to pursue other dreams."

Louie's shoulders lurched forward and he sobbed uncontrollably. "Then I have no hope! Oh, how I rue the day my father spilled such bad seed from his loins!"

Angel touched Louie's shoulder. "There! There! You poor dear. I didn't mean to upset you. It's just that Sam and I grew tired of the rat race so to speak. Seems every time we started a case, we lost out to the boys in blue or the boys in spandex. What's a poor girl to do but dance?"

Louie took a seat by Sam's desk and looked up at the retired detectives. "Help me, Angel O'Day. You're my only hope."

Angel looked to her partner for answers. Sam was still seated at his diminutive desk and mumbled something about Brain Lad's costume needing updating despite the editor's insistence on sticking with the traditional Avenger Comics look. And a super cat? Who ever heard of such a thing?

"Sam, what do you think?" Angel finally asked.

"Oina whklr pwroij. Hyokw jloer wpdjew. Lleheholeie."

"Sam's right! Maybe if you told us more about the problem, Louie."

Louie sighed and began to spin his woeful tale. "Miry and Ralph left me in charge for one week and now one of our writers has disappeared! He writes the Sentinel, Birds of Prey, Legionnaires, and the occasional throwaway tale. I would hate to see his titles cancelled. Who will write the stories no one will read if you don't find him? I shudder to think of the poor birds whose cages will go unlined."

Angel felt horrible for being so selfish. How dare she allow a poor second-rate writer to go missing just so she could get an occasional booty call while following her own lurid desires? Was she really reduced to this? Where was her sense of decency? Had Gotham taken such a large bite out of her? And was that really a banana under the covers the other night when she and Sam were forced to sleep together because the furniture hadn't arrived yet? "Louie.... we'll take the case!"

Louie fell to his knees and kissed Angel's feet. "Oh thank you. Thank you so much."

"Umm.... As much as I do enjoy that kind of thing Louie, you're not my type so could you please remove your lips from the tootsies? Sam, get me an antiseptic wipe please," Angel instructed.

Sam grunted and retrieved a moist, sterile towelette from his desk and tossed it to his partner.

Louie stood. "I apologize Ms. O' Day, but you have made me a very happy man. I feel confident now that everything will be ok with you and Sam on the case.

Angel bent down and wiped her feet. She could feel that old investigative magic coursing through her veins once more. "Now Louie, tell me more about this missing writer."

"Hmmm, yes. His name is David Marshall. The site was last updated a few weeks ago and there was a chat reminder posted on the mailing list. We hoped it would bring him out of hiding, but it's like he's a ghost, a fleeting apparition who submits stories sporadically at best. I also believe he's having an illicit affair with someone from Tijuana that he met in a chat room called Overweight Transvestite Would-Be Porn Queens For Would-Be Comic Writers," Louie answered.

"Hmmm.... That may be something. Sam, you check on that lead while I change into something better suited for an investigation," Angel advised. She walked behind a silk tri-fold screen and removed her clothes. She could feel Louie's eyes peering at the image of her naked body silhouetted against the screen as she changed. "Do continue, Louie."

"Er... yes.... As I was saying... I think we should begin back at the FDC offices. I believe David is a prisoner within one of his own titles," Louie answered. "Sometimes characters get a little over-zealous about bad writing and with the drivel David has turned in lately....well... I'm sure your partner understands, being in the business and all."

Sam offered a grunt in reply.

Angel stepped out from behind the screen and tightened a leather Gucci belt around her svelte waist to accent her snug mini-dress and go-go boots. She looked good and she knew it. She stopped to admire herself in a full-length mirror. Who knows? Maybe the criminal mind responsible was a beautiful woman who liked other beautiful women and..... Yeah right. It was probably some middle-aged comic book geek still whining over the Crisis on Infinite Earths or something lame like that. No... She couldn't allow herself to rush to snap judgements. She would follow proven investigative methods and, more importantly, her women's intuition. "Ok Louie... Lead us to the FDC offices."

The FDC offices appeared vacant when Angel and Sam arrived. "How long has David been missing, Louie, sir? From the looks of things it seems to be quite some time." Angel swiped her fingers through a thick layer of dust accumulated on a desk identified by a nameplate as David's. "He even left his FDC Direct Action Figures."

Sam took this as a cue to investigate further. He leaped behind the desk and studied the contents intently. His face wrinkled like an oversized raisin.

"What do you see Sam? A clue?" Angel asked.

"Buzcj tuwle nej"

"Please keep your mind on our work," Angel scolded. "We don't have time to see what Doc is doing with Dr. Midnite. Louie, who is Doc and why is his work on David's desk?"

"Doc? We found him wondering the street babbling about Golden Age characters and saying that he would write comics for food. I suspect our missing writer was plagiarizing Ol' Doc's work. That's how the hack usually works. "

"Hmmm....." Angel said thoughtfully. "Wondering the streets, eh? Do all your writers have such shady backgrounds?"

"Unfortunately, they do, Ms. O' Day. You don't even WANT to know where we found Bobby Danner and TJ Burns!"

"Oiw ielp oiujdsg! woiulkw roinw afbplt oij!" Sam exclaimed.

"Sam, I'm sure Louie's too busy to put in a word for you with Miry or Ralph. Besides, you're too good to work at FDC! Er... no offense to your boss, Louie!"

Louie looked crushed but quickly recovered when Angel flashed her famous puppy dog eyes. "It's ok, Ms. O' Day! I'm sure you meant it in the best possible way!" he drooled.

"Plkjw suoij jwkl?" Sam asked.

"Good question Sam," Angel replied.

Louie settled down behind a desk and looked from Sam to Angel. "What did he say?"

Angel placed her hands on her hips emphatically. "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't insult my partner's language skills, Louie! And for your information, he asked, 'Plkjw suoij jwkl?'. I thought it was pretty obvious myself. It's not like he mumbled it."

Louie nodded numbly. "Yes, of course."

"So what does David look like?" Angel asked. "Do you have a staff photo or something we could use to identify him?"

"Yes, I do," Louie answered. He moved to Dale Glaser's desk and rummaged through the top drawer. Soon, a collection of items piled up on the desktop; a Magic Easel Cracker Jack toy, a Superball, a half-eaten pack of Pop Rocks, four candy bar wrappers, a Bo Duke Mego action figure that was missing an arm, a Kermit the Frog Pez dispenser, and finally a collection of opened milk cartons.

Louie looked pleased with himself. "Miry knew these staff photos would come in handy one day. Good thing he asked Dale to take care of it, huh?" He reached a carton to Angel. In bold font, the back of the milk carton read, HAVE YOU SEEN ME? David's photo was below it as well, along with his FDC bio which was badly in need of updating.

"Yes, this will certainly help. Any ideas where we should start?" Angel asked.

"Well..." Louie began, "Since you're already in Apollyon City, why not start here? His book set is set in this city."

"Rynw skjw bneklj!"

"That sounds like a great plan," said Angel. "We'll hit the streets right away!"

Louie held up his hands and shook his head. "Oh no, my friends. Not THIS Apollyon, but the Apollyon of the FDC universe! You'll need to use the Multi-Vortex to reach it. It's a doorway to the FDC multiverse that we keep around for cheesy annuals and stuff like that."

"Neku hlk llklkl!"

Angel nodded apprehensively. "I agree Sam, but we have no choice. It may be the only way to find this... Marshall... person."

"He's not a person! He's a writer, dammit! Well, sort of," Louie corrected. He placed his elbows on his desk and buried his head in his hands. "Oh, whatever will I do? This could start a trend! What if all the good...well, consistent..er...other writers begin disappearing too? Miry would kill me for sure because FDC is the best thing going today. It's not like it's just another fanboy project turning out fanfics on the Internet!"

Angel and Sam stared but said nothing.

"What???" Louie demanded.

"Er... nothing Mr. Louie, sir. We're just eager to get started. Show us that vortex, please."

Louie led Angel and Sam to a coat closet. The kind you find in old school buildings where mean teachers sent perfectly undeserving students who spit paperwads into their coffee pots and .... er... nevermind..... It was a coat closet, not that the author knows too much about being sent to the coat closet in school or anything... ummm......... where was I? Oh yeah....

A swirling vortex of color irradiated the confines of the small closet, triggering nausea deep in the pit of Angel's stomach. Did she really want to jump in and make another attempt at detective work? "Sam... I.. I.... AAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!!"

Angel fell through the vortex. She looked above and saw Sam rushing toward her. She felt as if she had been flushed down a four-color toilet. Psychedelic hues meshed together in an alternating sea of solids and pastels, but at least they were coordinated enough to please Mr. Blackwell. Before long, Sam caught up with her. (She realized this broke Newton's Laws of Gravity, but after all, she too was a comic book character and such things weren't that unusual. Kinda like sound effects in outer space and gaining super powers under yellow suns.)

"Rtgb ikjjlkj woije! oijwkj woijlkj sadkjs jijsd! opwemf wieojr axznvm!"

"That's really sweet that you jumped in after me, Sam!" Angel said, blowing her partner a kiss.

Sam pointed up to the top of the vortex. "Wosl kmb woinm."

"He pushed you, too? Why that no-count, near-omnipotent wannabe.... oooh!" Angel replied.

After falling for what seemed like forever, the pair came to an abrupt, rough landing on their posterior regions. "Ouch!" "Gxluw!" they cried in unison. The erstwhile detectives struggled to their feet and surveyed their surroundings. They were in Apollyon City, but not the one they knew. The buildings were distinguished by their garish, cartoon-like appearance. A few were merely an artist's quick rendering. The sky was a solid blue with little or no variation in color. Perhaps most disturbing was the lack of three-dimensional space in places and multiple vanishing points that didn't line up properly. "My God, did David draw this himself?" Angel asked.

"Oinwll woiu cxole?" ; Sam replied.

"No, I wouldn't call it a manga influence, Sam! I'd just say it's a good thing they don't ask him to pencil his books as well. Now would you please stop thinking like an artist and put on your detective cap?"

The detectives rounded a corner and found it unfinished also. Not unfinished as in the buildings weren't built, but a landscape in rough pencil sketch only. "This is so disorienting, Sam. Is that a panel border? Come on, we have to find a finished area. I don't know how some independent comic book characters live like this! Thank God we're with a real company!"

Sam and Angel walked for awhile without seeing anyone before spotting a lady police officer. "Excuse me, officer!" Angel cried.

The policewoman turned. "How may I help you?" She was strikingly pretty, looking more at home on the runways of Paris or Metropolis than on the street beat of Appollyon. Oddly enough, her long red hair hung loosely from beneath her rigid blue hat.

Angel retrieved the milk carton. "Have you seen this man?"

"Pwkjhsv wlkjlkju qnsejjtll hyhe," Sam added.

The officer regarded the detectives for a moment before pointing to Sam and asking, "Is the hairy one a male?"

"Yyrtll woiujjj woiul si thw?" Sam asked.

"I agree, Sam! What kind of question is that?" Angel asked.

The officer blushed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. It's just that we don't see males around these parts anymore. He is cute though, even if he could use a shave and a haircut."

Angel was aghast. Such erratic behavior for an officer of the law. "Officer... my question? Have you seen..."

"Yes, he came to town a few days ago and things sure have changed since he...mmmmppphhhh!" Wide-eyed horror froze on the officer's face. And with good reason too! Her mouth suddenly disappeared, replaced by a blank smudge! She pawed frantically for lips but could find none. Finally, she ran down the street in a blind panic, waving her arms wildly.

"What a strange world we've fallen into, Sam. We need to be careful or this case may be our last," said Angel as they continued walking.

"Foie woiuhw ssss ueh eluhg?" Sam asked.

"Sam this is no time to grab a cold one. Please keep your mind on..... Wait! That's it! Sam, you're a genius!" Angel cried. She nuzzled up to her large, hairy partner and kissed him on the cheek.

"Celkha lkje lkuj?" Sam asked.

"Your idea, silly! I don't know how I would ever get along without you sometimes. I may be a great detective, but you know the old saying, 'Behind every beautiful, unnaturally endowed female detective there is a large Simian.... no... that's not how it goes. Oh well, you know what I'm trying to say. Only a great partner who is not intimidated by my keen mind would dare tell me I overlooked such an obvious source of information!"

"Mvbhj woue lkwghk?" Sam asked.

"What idea? Bars, Sam! Bars! Everyone knows bars are a great source of information in any great work of fiction! Just think... Casablanca...Star Wars... Cocktail..."

Sam snorted. "Iwyu ej lkj lku!"

"Ok, so that last one's not quite a classic, but even girls like me thinks Tom Cruise is cute. Just look at Rosie O'Donnell!" Angel exclaimed. "Anyways, we need to find the local Cantina! Oh wait! What's this?"

There on the sidewalk was a sign that read

Lazy Plot Device Cantina Two Blocks Ahead

"Isn't that amazing, Sam? Just when we needed one we get a break! Now we don't have to spend a third of the story looking for a bar!"

Two blocks away, Sam and Angel found the Lazy Plot Device Cantina. Its design easily distinguished it from the surrounding buildings. A crumbling adobe structure, it looked out of place among the sleek architecture of Apollyon City. A brown, two-seat craft hovered near the entrance.

Angel studied the situation carefully. "There's something familiar about this scene, Sam."

The two detectives entered tentatively. They were greeted at the door by a tall, redhaired woman built like a professional wrestler. She crossed her arms and blocked their path. "Ten dollars please, but you'll have to leave your pet outside, Miss."

"Vkwjh wyuhkj oihe kjh!" Sam yelled.

"What did he say?" the woman asked.

"He's not a pet and he's with me," Angel replied.

"Ok, but you're responsible for him," the bouncer added.

Angel nodded and retrieved a twenty-dollar bill from her bra and paid the cover charge. The bouncer stamped their hands and stepped aside. The scene inside was surprising. An unusual band graced the stage with their loud music. The lead singer resembled a female beachball with lips. She crooned about the stage, gyrating wildly as she sung. She was backed by a group of exotic alien creatures complete with oversized heads and large, black eyes. They played a peculiar blend of techno and jazz on strange other-worldly instruments. But perhaps the most unusual thing about the bar was that all the patrons were beautiful, redhaired women.

Angel's face lit up. "My kind of bar!" she exclaimed.

"Mtyh slujje elujyy e!" Sam reminded her.

Angel stuck her tongue out at her partner. "Spoil sport! Using my own words against me. But you're right... business before pleasure. Thanks Sam! You're a great partner! Ok, let's split up so we can cover more territory. We'll meet back here in an hour."

Sam nodded and disappeared into the writhing sea of female flesh. Angel made her way to the bar slowly, admiring the thongs... er throng of beautiful women as she moved. At last she reached the bar and found a stool.

"So is it true?" asked a woman on the stool next to her.

"Is what true?" Angel asked. She was accustomed to asking questions not answering them.

"Do blondes really have more fun?" the woman asked as she took a slow drag from a foul-smelling Virginia Slim. "My name's Trini. Yours?"

Angel smiled and held out her hand. "Angel."

Trini returned the smile and took Angel's outstretched hand and kissed it lightly. "Yes, you are."

Angel pressed her advantage and placed the milk carton on the bar. "Have you seen this man?"

Trini's hand crept up Angel's leg in reply to her question. Angel met Trini's deep gaze as the other girl's hand inched up her thigh. "What are you doing?" Angel asked.

Trini waved her free hand before Angel's face. "You will not resist."

"I will not resist?" Angel asked.

"You want me. You desire me. Resistance is..."

"Oh Trini, will you please give that tired, old schtick a rest?" asked the bartender. She was a pretty... you guessed it... redhead wearing a white halter top that barely covered her ample breasts. "My name is..."

"Holly," said Angel, pointing to the woman's chest. "The umm... nametag."

Holly smiled. "Oh yeah, that! You're sharp, unlike Trini here. She picked up that corny "jedi mind trick" in some old movie and tries it on all the new girls."

Trini stormed off.

"What can I get you, darlin'? Holly asked.

"A water and some information," Angel answered.

Holly regarded Angel with suspicion and sprayed a jet of water into a glass filled with ice cubes. "The water's on the house. What kind of information you need, toots?"

The conversation was reminiscent of bad film-noir dialogue but Angel remained focused. She flipped the milk carton around and flashed David's picture. "Do you recognize this man?"

Holly looked nervous. "I can't.. ummm... I mean, no. Here's your water." She slid the water to Angel and poured drinks for other customers at the other end of the bar. Angel watched her carefully. The pretty bartender glanced several times to see if Angel was looking and then quickly turned away each time their eyes met. Angel had seen enough. She had to find Sam.

She pushed her way through the dancing bodies and scanned the cantina. How difficult could it be to spot an eight-foot Ape in a lesbian bar full of redheads? At last she squeezed between two women who were dirty dancing and found Sam sitting beside a.... She wasn't sure what.

"Sam! What are you doing? You told me to not mix business with pleasure!"

Sam shrugged his shoulders and smiled sheepishly and turned to the creature beside him. It too was large and covered with coarse, red hair. Its face was vaguely canine but its body was more humanoid-proportioned than Sam's.

"Whdl eulkje iuljeh alkj. Oiueh lkjkjel. Pleh hehgge gee eggg kjehh."

Angel nodded to Sam's friend. "Nice to meet you, Betty. I've never met a 'Wookie' before. Sam, you'll have to get her number and call her back. I have a lead."

Sam jumped to his feet and bowed politely to his new lady friend.

Betty roared her approval.

"Gdlkje jellkkk yge," Sam added.

Angel and Sam browsed a magazine stand across from the Cantina. Angel was confident in their disguises. She was dressed as a redheaded hooker and Sam as a red-haired female orangutan.

"Ybklje kjlkje?" Sam asked.

"Yes, your dress looks fine, Sam. That style created quite a sensation in Paris this past spring. Though I still think it would look cuter if you shaved your legs."

"Vbil nx drorai netlm?"

"Yes, I know you hate going undercover in drag! Now will you please stop complaining and watch for David?" Angel answered.

"Lib niw werlih qoje po?" Sam asked.

"Oh, he'll show up alright. I could tell by the way that bartender acted when I showed her the milk carton that.... Oh no! Sam, I left the milk carton inside! We have to get it back before David sees it! If he finds his FDC bio it will blow our cover and he'll know we're here!"

The pair ran halfway across the street but saw a man wearing a long, purple trench coat and green fedora with a large, pink feather turn the corner. It was David! They ducked out of sight and watched as he entered the Cantina. They waited a few moments, then rushed across the street and burst in..

"Let me do the talking, Sam,"said Angel.

"That will be twenty dollars!" It was the bouncer they encountered earlier.

"But I..." Angel argued.

"Twenty dollars!" the bouncer demanded.

Angel reached into her bra once more and this time found no money there. "Oh my goodness! I'm out of money! Can I owe it to you?"

The bouncer regarded the pair carefully and shook her head. "Sorry sweetie! No pay, no play." Angel sized up the bouncer and waved her hands in front of the woman's eyes. "You will let us pass. You don't need our money."

The bouncer rolled her eyes. "Oh God! I'd recognize that lame gag anywhere! Trini's over in the corner. I'd rather let you pass than have you stand outside and bother the other girls as they come in."

"Thank you," said Angel.

She and Sam walked in slowly and looked around. She knew David wouldn't be difficult to find among the beautiful redheads. Angel spotted him immediately! He was at a table dressed in a lime green zoot suit and fedora. His trench coat hung loose on the chair behind him. A long, purple feather boa hugged his neck and he wore white leather gloves. He obviously learned to dress from watching Snoop Dogg videos. He held up his FDC bio and shared a laugh with several girls at his table. Pimpshizzle or not, it was Angel's job to bring him in.

She and Sam approached in stealth mode. It was important David remained ignorant of their presence. The element of surprise was crucial to an uneventful capture. They were doing well until Sam knocked over a table, bringing a pitcher of beer and several glasses crashing to the ground. Suddenly everyone stopped what they were doing and stared.

Everyone but David. He bolted for the exit.

"Get him, Sam!" Angel cried.

Sam leaped into action. He bounded three tables and landed in the midst of a gyrating party of female flesh. The girls screamed and cleared away.

Meanwhile, Angel dropped her disguise since David was onto them and made her way to cover the door.

Realizing he was trapped between Angel and Sam, David held up a pencil. "Don't come any closer or I'll erase the whole city!" he warned.

Everything froze. The band stopped playing. Girls stopped dancing. The wind stopped blowing. The sun stopped shining. The birds stopped singing. You get the picture. Tension filled the air as the citizens of Apollyon realized the madman held their collective futures in his shaky right hand.

"Rjglkj mkown nbnnbn safgh!"

"I wouldn't try that if I were you Mr. Marshall!" Angel warned.

David faced Angel, still watching Sam out of the corner of his eye. "Oh, and why not?"

Sam smiled and retrieved a larger pencil from his fur.

"Because Sam's is bigger, will last longer, and he knows how to use it!"

David stared at his pencil and then eyed Sam's. Tension filled the air for several long minutes before David dropped to his knees. "The story of my life!"

Angel shook her head as she handcuffed David. Men were so funny. Pencil envy gets them every time. "David Marshall, you're under arrest for writing bad stories, wrecking a peaceful world, and doing away with all the other men here. As punishment, we're going to take you back to Louie and you will be forced to write a maxi-series crossover between Marvel's defunct New Universe and John Byrne's Lab Rats!"

"No!" David cried. "Anything but that!" He regarded Angel and Sam with pitiful eyes.

The sentence was brutally harsh, but Angel felt little pity for him. His crimes were heinous. She steeled herself with adamant resolve. "I'm afraid so, but the question still remains. Why did you do it? What was behind such a horrible plot? Pardon the expression."

David sighed. "It... It was all an attempt at a shameless plug! I've seen Chuck Burke use them so many times in Direct Currents. I thought it might generate interest in my titles. I know it was wrong to hold an entire fictional city hostage to my sick, twisted whims, but I'm a weak man. I... succumbed to the temptations of the flesh. I thought a gratuitous T&A book would help." He buried his face in his hands and sobbed. "And I would have gotten away with it to if it weren't for you pesky kids and that dog!"

Angel looked confused, but shrugged off the odd statement. David obviously watched too much Scooby-Doo as a child. "One more thing," she added. "What's up with the redheads?"

David looked up again and blushed. "Well... heh.. I've always been a 'Ginger-over-Mary Ann' kind of guy."

"Pervert!" said Angel. She kicked David in the face and knocked him out cold. He slumped to the floor. "C'mon Sam. It's time to take out the garbage."

Sam picked up the rogue writer and hoisted him over his shoulder. "Bkejkj jklwl yhejjlii?" Sam asked.

"No Sam, I'm sorry. You can't take the Wookie back with you. Come on! Let's find the FDC offices here in this version of Apollyon and get this creep back to Louie."

Night cast its shadow over Apollyon. Angel O'Day sat on the balcony of the apartment she shared with her partner Sam and painted her toenails a bright shade of red. Sam lounged in a chair beside her, pouring over the fine details of an FDC contract offer to fix the damage David inflicted on the Earth 2 Apollyon. "Well Sam, I think we've proven we can still pound the pavement with the best of them. What do you say partner? Do you think there may be room in this town for us after all? It did work for Sentinel... er Green Lantern... you know."

"Xvdjh hjkehkj uyytyty," Sam replied.

Angel jumped up and bounded across the balcony being careful not to mess up the polish on her nails. "Oh Sam! Thank you! I don't think I could lay down my first love anyway! Some people were just born to be detectives and I'm obviously one of them. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll cross paths with the Dark Knight himself!"

With that Angel retired to the apartment and shut the door behind her.

Sam shook his head and sighed. "God help him if we ever do!"


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