Story. "Hammer Man" The Comic Book Commando has never fought anything so strange. If only he could get some rest.
"Look at this, Cartoon!"
Johnnie's fairy tale princess, made of luminous light and glowing flesh, walked into the living room, her feet hammering the floor with waves of light as she crossed the wooden floor and its single large rug that hugged the furniture in the center. She was dressed to the hilt, glowing necklace, earrings of dazzling diamond moons, sparkling rings that made her hands light up and a smile that would make any teenage boy's genes go from double helix to triple in the blink of an eye.
She sat next to him on the arm of his chair, pushing her golden hair back from her eyes so she could look at what he was reading. Her golden eyes smiled. "Hammer Man. Never heard of him."
For a brief moment he hadn't either as the touch of her skin on his arm caused his neuron receptors to begin working overtime hollering, "What are you waiting for you, dolt? She loves you, you love her. What more do you need?"
"Me either." He admitted, ignoring the pleading of his body. After all he wasn't a jerk, and he didn't believe that sex solved everything. Usually it just complicated things, not made them better. His blonde hair was dropping limply across his shoulders from the shower he had gotten out of about fifteen minutes ago. A cold shower. All the way cold. And during winter time that was skin turning blue cold. "He was doing a lot of those kinds of showers lately." He sighed inwardly.
His blue eyes caught hers for a moment and the obvious love between them flamed for a moment.
He caught his breath and shifted his six foot frame slightly to accommodate the waves of hormones that threatened to overwhelm him. Again! He loved her. She lived in his apartment. Mostly. But he had never...you know. It wasn't honorable. And she would probably have turned him into a toad if he had tried. He wanted to think. Sometimes he didn't know if he was just in denial, or truly wanted the best for her, or both, or...the thoughts were too confusing, like most of those kinds of thoughts are to the young and as yet unwise in the matters of love, so he killed them. Gently.
Sometimes when he woke up before her, he would lie on his side, just watching her breath, her eyelids fluttering as she visited whatever world cartoons went to in their sleep. He would see her chest rising and falling gently like soft surf on a sunny beach. His heart would stop sometimes during those moments and he would catch his breath and then he would feel his eyes starting to water. Usually, she didn't wake up when he felt like that. She must have known he was watching her, she was pretty sensitive to that, but she gave him his moments of introspection and pride and kept him closer to her by doing so. Easier to catch a honey bee with honey than with sour grapes.
Yeah. They bundled. Slept side by side, arms wrapped around each other at night. Sometimes. When they weren't battling zombies, werewolves, vampires, mad doctors, aliens and other assorted human and inhuman beasties, but they did sleep...mostly on the go. Him on a bus to school or work, and her...he wasn't really sure if she ever really slept. He would open his eyes up at night sometimes to check if she was really asleep or not and she would either be gone, or if she was still next to him, her eyes would be closed. But he knew her well enough by now to know she could also be doing something else.
You see, Cartoon, was a Princess from the universe of cartoons. It was a strip of infinite land that bordered our own universe. It had few contact points. One of them had been the burning high rise where Johnnie had rescued her when she was pretending to be a small child so she could test his courage. He had passed the test and he had been granted enormous comic book powers. One day she had sat up beside him in bed, taken his trembling hands...because he still had to fight those hormones, remember?
She told him. "Johnnie, you're now the Comic Book Commando. Fighting for good against evil."
He had almost died on that bed, because he had burst into laughter. Not a good thing when you're seated next to a woman who can turn you into a froggie, or even just slice your head off with her magical sword which she could pull out of the air anytime she needed it. Nice trick he had thought at the time, until she looked ready to use it on him.
Then she had calmed down. After he had promised to cook breakfast for her the next morning and make her favorite waffles and fries. For some reason she loved fries and waffles. Don't ask him where she got that from, but he suspected it was from reading comic books about his world. And yeah, right her people wrote stories about this world and the heroes here. He didn't think such existed much anymore, but evidently her world had a sliding scale of values when it came to heroes that accommodate the earth's sometimes sparse treasury of such.
"Okay! Okay!" He had hollered, clamoring to get her temper down into the more arctic regions, so he could survive the night. "I'm sorry. Look, let me make it up to you. Waffles and fries for breakfast!"
Her sword had wavered over her head, from which it would have descended and struck his head off. (Though she swore afterwards she had only been pretending; he didn't believe it for a minute. No one's that perfect an actor! ) "Really?"
She let the sword slide back into her dimension and slid closer to him. "I'm just being honest with you, Johnnie. You know I can't lie." She told him sweetly.
He looked into her eyes and smiled. But inside he was thinking, right and I'm a horse in sheep's clothing. Everyone lies about something! He had thought.
Immediately the sword reappeared.
"You read his thoughts!" He snapped at her. "That's so...so..."
The sword wavered over his head.
"Scary." He finally said.
She burst into laughter and the sword vanished again. She threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him close. He was reluctant at first. The hormone thing you know, but it's not good to say no to a Princess, especially one with a magical sword that could appear and take your head off at any given moment.
But getting back to the Hammer Man. He was really cool. A great red suit with blue and white stars on the shoulders, shoes that were solid blue with white stars on their tips, and a great big hammer, even bigger than Thor's. As a matter of fact the hammer could be any size you wanted. He was on page twenty and he had already clobbered a skyscraper with it to get at aliens who had taken it over and killed everyone inside. Just like that! BOOM! The building was history and a cloud of dust dirtying the skies of Chicago.
Did he mention that he was a Chicagoan? That's right. And an ex-policeman who had tried to stop corruption in his department and been framed for the very thing he was exposing. How's that for turnaround. Then one night he went camping out in the woods and a nuclear tipped missile accidentally strayed from an overflying Air Force jet. It had been struck by lightning. Yeah. Big storm. So he wasn't having much fun anyway, except for the display of lightning in the sky. So when he saw the incredibly huge object coming down from the sky at him, he had this hammer in his hands. It was made of a new alloy and he was testing it on the firewood to see if he could split logs with it. Didn't work, but as luck would have it, a lightning bolt struck the nuclear missile. It detonated. But not in the usual way. Instead of exploding outwards, it exploded inwards, but even though he wasn't smashed to smithereens and turned radioactive at least, the energies released from the inversion...for some crazy kind of comic book logic...the energies lanced into his hammer.
Of course he was holding tight to the hammer, and voila, Hammer Man was born.
Cartoon looked at him and shook her head. "Johnnie, you and your comic books."
"Yeah. And don't forget you wouldn't be here if I didn't love them, light bulb!"
It was a term of endearment He had for her. She frowned. She didn't like the implications of being a light bulb, because they can be switched off. "And He would be missing out on the most beautiful, smart Princess in this or any other universe...not to mention He would not be a..." He raised his voice in an imitation of the way TV announces heroes..."THE COMIC BOOK COMMANDO!"
He leaped to his feet and held his hand up, the Hammer of the comic book appearing in it.
Cartoon almost burst her gut with laughter.
He set the Hammer down and gave her a hug. She leaned into me. "Someday."
"Yeah." He sighed.
Guess I didn't tell you either that if we were to have...you know...her connection to our world would be broken. Then kaboom, no more Princess. Gone. Forever. And me, a lonely Comic Book Commando. Very lonely.
He felt a tear wetting his eyes.
She pressed it away gently with her finger. "What's wrong?"
"This is going to sound stupid and silly."
"And everything else doesn't?" She laughed.
He smiled. And just like that she forgot about what he might have told her and he forgot about what was causing his eyes to get moist.
The front door flung open and Laurie burst inside. She's his brunette friend he hangs with sometimes and plays music with. She's got one of me for a boyfriend too, a clone of me. I made two extras of me for her and Koomay. Aren't I nice? She finally discovered it, but she didn't care. He was me, even if cloned. And that was enough. Or at least that's what I hoped when she and Cartoon hung out together without me. God only knows what they said behind his back, which might explain why his ears burned sometimes when they were together and turned red hot when they were with Koomay as well.
Koomay is the other woman in his life at work.
"Johnnie! Come quickly!" She urged in alarm.
"You're about to die!"
He gave Cartoon a blank look, grabbed the Hammer that stay was manifested on his chair and ran after her, Cartoon on his heels, manifesting her sword as she flew along behind me. The Landlord managed to come out of an apartment at that moment, a bottle of Jim Bean in his right hand. He was swigging on it, when we rushed by.
Had he taken the time to look back he would have seen the Landlord empty the bottle, and go back into the room and slam the door. No doubt to sleep off what he thought was hallucinations. He took a moment to worry about the guy, and maybe even pity him, but not much longer. The man was a snoop and a Lech, and if he wasn't also nice in other ways, he would've sent him packing into another dimension or something the way he treated the women sometimes.
Laurie threw open her front door and he ran inside. My clone double was on the floor and a very odd creature was about to swallow him. He was almost all the way inside its throat, when he dashed in. The monster rolled several eyestalks around to look at me, sprouted a mouth with lots of teeth and said. "You're inside me!"
"Not really." He said with a smile, then grew his hammer to the size of a small horse and smashed its tail. My duplicate shot from its mouth and collided into the wall. Laurie ran to him as the creature rolled over to give me its full attention.
"Regards from hell." It bubbled in a strange, wet voice to me.
"Regards from heaven." He shot back at it, then increased the density of his hammer, made it with sharp, wicked little points on its head, then smashed it in the face.
The face sank inwards, but then popped out again.
Cartoon raced in front of me and sliced the head with her sword. The sword passed through it, and then exited the other side. The head squirted some green ichors several moments, but didn't tumble.
"Nice try, chickie!" The monster told Cartoon then slammed her with one its tentacle eyeballs. She flew against the wall, stunned.
He looked at his hammer and thought for a moment, what if...?
The creature leaped at me.
He shoved the hammer down its throat and told it what to do.
The creature's eyes shone with triumph for a moment, thinking it was going to swallow me and the hammer, and then the hammer did its thing. It began doubling in size, over and over and over.
He grabbed his duplicate from the floor where he lay and Cartoon and Laurie helped me carry him outside as the hammer did its job. Laurie shut the door.
The Landlord chose that moment to come out of his door again.
He saw the second Johnnie between him, Laurie and Cartoon...Cartoon's glowing skin, which was bright enough to light the entire complex, now that she was emotionally supercharged...and the sword in her hand.
He looked at the second bottle of Jim Bean in his hands, shook his head, and then went back inside. Several moments later we heard a bottle smash against the door of the apartment.
We paused to see if he would come out again. He didn't.
There was a WHOOMPH sound from inside Laurie's apartment and she opened the door to look inside. There was monster all over the floor, ceiling and walls. She groaned. "It'll take me days to clean the place up!"
The Johnnie in our arms stirred, and we helped him stand up. He gave me a quick glance, winked, and then took Laurie by the hand and inside. "Don't worry, honey baby, I'll clean it up for you. He blinked at his hands and they became mop heads gleaming with soap.
Cartoon shut their door and turned to me, after her flaming sword vanished.
She gave him a big kiss and a hug, and all their differences dissolved once more into the heap of memories none of us really want to reinvestigate when it comes to people we truly love with our heart and soul. He could feel her energies melding with his own and while maybe not exactly human as we understand it, it was something he loved and cared deeply about. Something he lived for and would....die for if necessary.
The Comic Book Commando was once more just a normal teen, walking beside the best looking girl this side of the universe. Now wasn't he just the luckiest of guys!
Glow! A Cartoon Story by John Pirillo. She's the light of his life and he's the light of hers. But monsters don't like that!
A Cartoon Story
By John Pirillo
"Take that!" He said, tossing the huge garbage bag into the dumpster behind Al's Diner, the place where he made his living while he worked his way through college. His name was Johnnie and he was a Comic Book Commando. Some months back he rushed to the rescue of a young girl in a burning high rise building. She would've died without his help. He saved her, but a strange thing happened during the rescue. One of his arms had stretched like plastic to grab a railing to save him and the girl from a fatal plunge.
Ever since that day he'd been working with the girl of his dreams...a forever young looking Princess from the land of Cartoon. And her name was, appropriately enough, Cartoon. Everyone in her world looked like cartoons. She did too at night. Her body gave off a golden glow. During the day, not so much, barely visible. Most people wrote it off to t he sunlight in their eyes. She wasn't just a Princess, but a damned good warrior as well. This to her credit saved his bacon from the fire many a time.
But today was Mister Normal day, not super comic book hero guy. Behind the dumpster and to the right was the old warehouse where all kinds of fruit and veggies were packed and stored. A very small wood and wire cage held a guard dog in there during the day. He roamed the warehouse at night to protect it from intruders. He was a terribly mean and nasty guard dog accordingly to Al, but Johnnie hadn't had any problem with it.
The first day he'd seen the dog, he'd fallen in love with it. He'd found some scraps left over from a meal, and shoveled them into the dog's cage. It had run up with teeth bared at first, but Johnnie just smiled. It lost its grimace and shoved its nose and mouth to the wire and began licking at him through it. He had put his face closer and felt the wet tongue roll across his cheek, and then he had pulled back and carefully put his hand inside and stroked the dog's neck while it ate hungrily at the steak and eggs he had provided.
Some trucker had been in a rush and just eaten his Danish and bacon and left the rest. Bad luck for him. Good luck for the dog.
"Good boy." He told the dog, who looked up a minute, licked its chops, wriggled its tail happily, and then returned to eating.
Johnnie went back inside, where he caught Koomay watching him. She hurriedly put her hands back into the sink where she was cleaning bacon for the next rush of customers on the morrow. "You're pretty good with animals." She told him, not asked. Told him.
He shrugged. "Do unto."
She giggled. "Well you do unto pretty good, Johnnie boy."
Without another word she returned to her cleaning and he to his.
At the end of the day he hung up his gloves, apron and dragged the ribbed rubber mat back inside where he laid it down behind the counter. It accumulated all kinds of dropped food and dirt from the constant back and forth of Koomay and Al while they worked. It was a small diner. Al did the cooking and she did the serving and waitressing mostly.
Johnnie was the go to man. What they couldn't do. He did.
He rushed to the front door after he'd finished cleaning the windows, then waved at Al, who grunted with a smile, and Koomay who gave him a lovely dimpled smile, then exited.
He was in a rush to get to the comic book store. There was a new comic book hero coming out and he wanted to grab the first edition copy. His apartment had a whole closet filled with first run copies. He figured someday they'd be worth a fortune.
Cartoon looked into it one day and made a face, until she saw the look on his face and he said very patiently. "You wouldn't be here today if I didn't collect these...and now...he looked at a hand that suddenly sprouted a rose. He offered it to her.
Her eyes widened. "I can actually smell it!"
"Yeah. I've been working on my skills." He answered, and then walked away part of his hand missing. But in a few seconds the rose sprouted wings and a face, then flew after him and rejoined his hand. Cartoon giggled. She loved it.
He had promised to take her on a walk along the levy that night. The one that ran parallel to the Sacramento University. And he intended to keep his promise.
He probably could have used his Plastic Man comic book and changed into a car and driven her there inside his body, but that would be revealing a bit too much. He'd been spending a lot of time saving lives lately and only the simple face mask that he sprouted now every time kept his identity secret.
Most of the time people didn't even know they were in danger when he saved them. From giant insects, zombies, vampires, werewolves, psychotic robots from Mars, twisting globs of gooey monster that sucked you dry and other adverse and not so chummy things. So he was able to work the little miracles of his comic book commando life without them even realizing he had a hand in it. But like that Mall Incident last Christmas where there was a zombie invasion, that time he couldn't hide. People got all kinds of photos of him on their cells. Fortunately for him, he never stayed still long enough and it was dark enough no one got good clear shots.
That's when he and Cartoon decided they needed disguises. She could change into anyone she wanted to look like, but for him, he had to have a comic book handy. Like in his hand or pocket. But sometimes, he and Cartoon couldn't figure out why, sometimes he was able to transform or initiate a change without a comic book nearby.
And that's what they were discussing when they got off the transit and walked up the sidewalk into the school grounds. Students were still streaming from the Library and cafeteria where late snacks were available. A couple guys were playing guitars in front of the Library and a team of Cheerleaders were practicing on the grass quad as the sun descended from view.
The veered away from the busier parts of the campus and found the footbridge that crossed over the American River. They reached the other side and began walking the levy, still in a contemplative conversation about the changes.
"I don't see how it's possible, Johnnie." She told him in exasperation, letting go of his right hand for a moment to smooth her golden hair back behind her shoulder again. She had been letting it grow longer and longer. Even though in public when working with him she looked kind of like a Japanese power ninja girl, in private and at times like this she reverted to her normal look. Which was tall like him, narrow hipped, long flowing golden hair and eyes, and skin that was bronze and glowed a soft white or yellow depending on her mood. When she was angry in battle her glow would turn a violent red or a disturbing black color. When she was sad her colors would fall back into a kind of dull olive green.
Tonight it was golden, just like the golden girl she was.
"Maybe someone out there likes me." He kidded.
She rolled her eyes. "Please. Don't go pulling one of those Norse god legends on me."
"No, I was thinking more along the lines of a President Bush, or Clinton."
She laughed and then punched him on his arm. "You're terrible, Johnnie!"
"Yeah. But you love it."
"No. I love you." She promptly pointed out. "And that's a whale of a different color."
My turn to laugh. "Where in the world did you pick up that old term?"
She blushed. I got it. "You read my grandfather's yearbook."
He smiled. "He was something else." Then he saddened. Felt his eyes moistening. "I loved him so much."
She stopped and threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. "Oh Johnnie! You big baby!"
She gave him a sweet kiss, and then pulled back. "Don't ever stop!"
"Fat chance." He quipped, and then burst into a run.
"Johnnie!" She cried after him.
"Catch me if you can!" He hollered over his shoulder.
She screeched angrily, and then cut out after him. In a few seconds she had caught up. He stopped, grabbed her by the waist and tossed her round and round like you might do a child in play. She laughed and laughed, her sweet voice warming the chill night air.
Then he froze. Rising from the river next to them was something large and glowing. It had two huge eyes, four tusks and eight ears up and down its body. It was segmented and had a face like a human and a tail like a fish.
"What the..." He gasped.
He set her down and she turned to look. She gasped too, took his hand. "We must leave. Now!"
"Why? I've got just the thing on me for a creature like that." He reached back into his pocket for his Superman comic. He had picked it up at the comic book store when he couldn't get a copy of the new super hero one. It had sold out when the store opened, much to his dismay.
He reached for the comic, and then went pale as a ghost.
"Oh crap!" He swore.
"I must have dumped it on the path when I ran."
They looked back. There was the comic book about fifty yard back, lying on the asphalt pathway, its pages fluttering in the breeze.
From the river came a horrendous sound. They turned to face it. Cartoon summoned a wicked looking sword into being and eyed the creature as it reached the bank and began to crawl up it. "Behind me! Now!"
He didn't argue. He was defenseless. He didn't have anything to fight with. He looked around as Cartoon tensed for battle. Nothing. Not even any large rocks to toss. He turned back in frustration.
The monster came closer. Its human eyes and mouth crinkled in a wicked smile. "I am for the Comic Book Commando, not you Princess."
"Over my dead body." She shouted, raising her sword.
The creature's tail lashed out and caught the sword, wrenching it from her hand. It tossed it into the river. She summoned a second one and a second time its tail lashed out, taking the new sword away as well.
Johnnie was thinking as hard as he could of something, anything he could do to help, as she summoned an even larger sword and rushed the creature.
"Die then!" It admonished her, opening its mouth wider and wider.
Johnnie's body suddenly grew as bright as the sun.
Cartoon's glow was washed away in the harshness of the glow.
The giant centipede like creature recoiled from the light and began sliding back into the water, its eyes sightless, its skin beginning to smoke. It cried out like a small child in pain, and then slipped out of sight into the depths of the fast rolling waters of the river.
Cartoon spun around, the sword vanishing from her hands as he turned to look at him.
The incredibly bright glow vanished, but not entirely. Now his skin glows a soft golden color like hers.
"What's happening to me?" He asked. "I'm starting to glow like you."
She came up and wrapped her arms around him. "I was so frightened for you."
"But it was going to eat you." He protested, not her arms about him, but her sense of sacrifice.
"No. I cannot die in your world from such as that."
"What was it?"
She didn't answer at first, and then she said. "I need to prepare you better. Next time it may not be so simple to scare it off."
"Hell, Cartoon, I didn't just scare it off. If it had been a human with pants, it would've dropped its pants and had a dump right there and then!"
She laughed, and shook her head. She gently caressed his cheeks. "This is why I love you so much. You're such a hopeless romantic."
She gave him a really great kiss and that was all folks that night as far as he was concerned.
"I think we need to go home." He told her, his blood boiling.
She smiled. "Not really."
That night the moon's glow was bright, but not nearly as bright as that of the couple beneath it at the water's edge, lost in the glow of love and friendship.
Battling a Genie is one thing, but a horde of demons...well, that could be a bit tough. The Magic Lamp. A Cartoon Story by John Pirillo
The Magic Lamp
"A Cartoon Story"
by John Pirillo
"Stuff it!" Johnnie told the Genie hovering over Aladdin's lamp. "I am not going to build you a duplex inside that ugly thing."
The Genie waxed his long mustaches with wet fingers he had just dipped in wax and gave Johnnie a loathsome smile. "It's the deal. Either you build me the duplex, or I vanish your girlfriends for the next thousand years!"
"You can't do that!" He screamed at the ugly being who pretended to be a nice man. "You're friggin' crazy!"
"No. I am just...me."
The Genie vanished into his ugly lamp and it shook around a bit.
Cartoon glanced at Johnnie, where he stood in the antiquities store, still stunned by what had happened. "You can't let him do that to Koomay and Laurie."
"I won't, but I just don't get it. I never touched any comic book with a genie in it. Never. Not in this life or any other!" He exclaimed angrily, his face flushed with anger.
"Maybe." Cartoon said soothingly. "But are you absolutely certain?"
Johnnie gave her a scrutinizing look. "You're up to something."
"Always." She said with the glint of a smile on her lips.
"From the day you tricked me in to rescuing you as a young girl in that high rise fire, you've been manipulating me."
He started to explode again, and then caught himself. "Okay. Mostly for the better, but you've never once....once explained the rules of this power I've been given."
Cartoon picked up the lamp.
"Ouch! Don't be so rough!" The Genie cried out from inside.
The Shop Owner glanced over at the two arguing, and then came over. "Is there a problem?"
He said it to Cartoon, thinking that Johnnie was abusing her. He hated abusive people. His father had been abusive to his mother and he was ready to knock anyone down if they even hinted at such. He stood over Johnnie by a good foot. He was an extremely tall man, and there was something oddly familiar about him, though he couldn't place it at the time.
"No problem. We'll take this lamp. Just a bit of a disagreement as to...how." She said with an amused look on her face.
Johnnie was stewing with anger at the way he was being manipulated, but inside of himself he knew it wasn't what it appeared to be. It never was. He just hated always being on the wrong end of the eight ball.
"Yeah. How much?"
The Shop Owner gave him a blank look.
"I said we'd take it." Johnnie said again, starting to lose his temper. He really needed to learn how to meditate. The stress was starting to really scramble his brain and his temperament.
"Take what, sir?"
Johnnie gestured to the lamp in Cartoon's hand. The Shop Owner looked that way. "She does have lovely hands, but you don't need my permission to take them."
He laughed, thinking his joke was quite amusing.
Johnnie slouched on the sofa, his brains scrambling to figure out what had just happened in that old store. He could clearly see the lamp. It would shake every once in awhile on the coffee table and he could even hear the Genie taking a shower. Taking a shower! Of all the ungodly things to do inside a lamp.
"I can't build a duplex." Johnnie muttered angrily to himself.
He felt a pair of arms slip around his neck, and Cartoon nuzzles his right ear. "Sure you can."
She came around and sat next to him, sliding against his right shoulder with the warmth of her glowing body. She usually dimmed the glow in public, otherwise people would wise up, or be extremely frightened, but sometimes she'd let it all hang out, like when they were battling zombies, werewolves and vampires.
"What's really eating you?" She asked finally, after giving him a chance to say it for himself.
He slowly turned to look into her eyes. "Rules."
"You're stubborn, Johnnie. You know that, don't you?"
She smiled. "When I need to be."
"Rules!" He asked again, more firmly.
She got up and began pacing the small living room. "When you saved me, you allowed your genetics to blend with my own, with my universe. All the laws that is true there are now latent within you."
"You mean you can turn into any cartoon character you want?" He asked, a bit surprised at her answer.
"No." She answered sadly. "For some reason it only works one direction. You can become us, but we can never become you."
"Why do you think that is?"
"Our ancestors when they first slipped into that universe were like yours. Desperate and hunted by creatures from your worst nightmares."
"Very." She answered. "We figured out a way to open a doorway between the universes. At first we were frightened when our bodies became light bodies, but then we got used to it. And as we did, we learned to blend with the other cartoon beings that dwelled within the realms."
"Superman, Batman, Daffy Duck...?"
She laughed. "No, silly. Those are your creations. Not ours. The cartoon world has rules just like your own and those who lived there before us were a kind and loving race. They never knew violence or despair. They welcomed us with open arms and hearts."
Johnnie held a hand up. "So how come every time I draw upon your world's energies everything gets so..."
"Screwed up?" She answered with a giggle.
"Yeah that too."
She gave him a somber look, her eyes piercing his own with a stare he hadn't seen before. For a moment he felt like he stood on the precipice of Eternity, everything gone around him, but the vastness of the Universe, and then that strange feeling vanished, replaced by the warmth and security of her closeness and her voice.
"We don't control Creation, anymore than you here of Earth can. Its rules align with a Higher Source."
Johnnie rolled his eyes, but accepted her words for the moment, until he could consider the better. "Well, time to get to work, I guess."
He stood up and headed for the front door.
He turned back. His face lit up. "Oh, my God! I know why I recognized that Shop Owner. He's the same man who I met as a child when my parents went shopping in his store. At the time I didn't think anything of the illustrated book he pressed into my hands. When my parents weren't listening he said. I can still hear them as clear as day, someday this will be important to you. Remember that."
At that given moment the magic lamp began to shake and smoke. Cartoon stood up and hurriedly backed away from it. Johnnie put an arm around her shoulders.
"I remember now, Cartoon. I remember."
The Genie hissed out of the lantern in a huge cloud of magical dust, each fist clenching a gigantic scimitar. "Prepare for battle!"
Johnnie turned to Cartoon. "Ain't it always the same? Teen finds cartoon, cartoon finds boy, everything becomes all crazy and there's battles and cries of despair and the hero has to save the day."
Cartoon laughed. "Come on, Hero. Afraid of a little adventure?"
"Not this time." Johnnie said, waving a hand. A gigantic scimitar shone in his left fist. His clothing turned into silk garments with a bow over his right shoulder and a loop of rope at his waist, caught in a red sash.
"Lead on, Genie!"
The Genie gave Johnnie a fierce look. "You will build my duplex!"
"Okay. Okay. If you say so. So what's the problem?"
At that same moment the front door vanished and they were staring into another world where giant demons were storming a palace. Civilians were screaming and running for their lives.
"Gotcha!" Johnnie said, and then he and Cartoon ran through the door opening and vanished into the world of the Genie.
The Genie roared behind them, and charged through like a gigantic diesel engine truck blasting its horn. It soared past Johnnie and lit into the first swarm of giant demons. "For Baghdad and the Nile! It cried.
"Ah, that's so corny!" Johnnie sighed as he and Cartoon rushed the same swarm.
Cartoon didn't have time to answer, because Johnnie had to hack at a giant demon that was about to clobber them with a mace the size of a small SUV.
Such was the life of a Comic Book Commando!