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One in a Million – Chapter 26

It’s On Like Donkey Kong

Mike Bretz screamed with rage and sent a streak of orange lightning rocketing at the building. Rhonda appeared in the window, now clothed in some gossamer silks that flowed around her like a special effect. She raised her hands and a matching pink beam struck Mike’s orange light and they collided in mid-air, sending tendrils of energy arcing this way and that. Sparks cascaded down onto the street. But the two kept up their energy assaults, neither one backing off.

“She’s fighting him off!” Larry said. “Now’s our chance!”

D.J. turned to Jane. “He’s right. It’s just like the episode of the Green Hornet where he uses Kato as a distraction for the guy with the machine gun so he can get past him and gas the crooked industrialist.”

“No idea what you just said,” Jane said, “but you said it very well. I’m in.” D.J. started to protest, but she cut him off with her finger on his lips. “Don’t speak. I can take care of myself. And you, if necessary.” She turned to Hazel. “Stay here, Haz. Get ready to get us out of here quick, if necessary.”

Hazel nodded, suddenly serious. “Okay, Jane.”

Leslie untangled herself from Holly and Hazel. “I’m coming too, Deej. She’s my best friend.”
“Emotional baggage, nice,” said Jane.

“Hey!” Leslie whipped around.

“No, seriously,” said Jane. “You may need to trade on your relationship with her to get that…stuff…out of her.”

“Oh, right. Yeah, sorry.”


“Call me Stercutus,” he said.

“—yeah, I’m not gonna do that,” said D.J. “We’re going up the stairs. What are you gonna do?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Larry grinned. “I’m going up the back way. Cloacina! Attend me!”

Holly followed, her hand over her eyes. “Not gonna say a word,” she muttered. “I am not gonna say it.”

“Well, that was weird,” said D.J.

“Compared to what? This?” Linda said.

“Point taken,” he said. “Let’s go.”

The trio made for the front door of the converted tower with D.J. in the lead. He opened the door for Jane and Leslie and the pink mist swirled and swallowed them up.

Burt, Linda, and Hazel eyed each other for a few seconds, and then each one of them got busy calling in the cavalry.


Larry and Holly ran around the side of the tower, now looming hundreds of feet into the air. Once in the alley, Holly spied the fire escape, but it was now suspended halfway up the side of the tower, a hopeless tangle of metal. “Well, there went that idea,” she said.

“What idea?” Larry said.

“The fire escape,” she replied.

“I know not of this ‘fire escape,’ you speak of,” said Larry. “We’re going up the back way.”

“What does that mean?” Holly asked.

“Aha!” Larry bent down and lifted the manhole cover up with one hand and flung it aside. It crashed into a parked car, setting the alarm off.

“Jesus!” Holly said. Then she looked down into the hole and said, “No. Fucking. Way.”

“But I need you to go with me,” Larry said. “I was never so diplomatic, even at the height of my power.”

“Larry, it’s a sewer,” she said. “I am not dressed for this! I’m in open-toed heels, for Christ’s sake!”

Larry’s eyes burned. She found herself looking into them, feeling them pull her in…

“I promise you we will emerge unscathed and unsullied,” he said.

“Okay,” Holly said weakly. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her gently off the ground, her toes dangling several inches over his sneakers.

Larry walked them both to the edge and stepped inside. Holly’s squeal was quickly swallowed up by the darkness.


Six floors up, D.J. was on his last legs. He hadn’t eaten all day, and worked a full ten hours. Now this. The girls seemed as fresh as ever as they climbed the now-endless flights of steps. Can’t let them see me like this, D.J. said to himself. I gotta push through the burn…

“Hold up,” said Jane. “I think we need to take a second and get our wind.”

“What? No!” Leslie cried. “She could die at any minute!”

“Then go on up ahead,” Jane said. “D.J. will bring me up in a second. Okay?”

“Okay,” said Leslie. She kept on sprinting.

“Thanks,” said D.J. He allowed himself some deep breaths.

“We never talked about what next,” said Jane.

“What do you mean?”

“My little secret,” said Jane. “You’re not going to tell anyone about me, are you?”

D.J. stared. Now was the time to bring this up? What the hell? Still…she looked achingly beautiful, standing there, leaning on the banister like she was waiting for a bus. “No, of course not,” he said. “I didn’t tell you to upset you. I wanted you to know there’s nothing that would change the way I feel about you.”

“You don’t even know me,” Jane said. “You know nothing.”

D.J. shrugged. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“I used to,” said Jane.

“Well, I didn’t. Until I saw you. I don’t know what it means. Maybe it’s just chemicals. Maybe I just picked up on your V-thing. I don’t know, and I haven’t really thought too hard about it. I don’t want to know.”

“You’re mad,” she said.

“Maybe, but I think you think I’m interesting, if nothing else.”

Jane nodded, a little guilty. “You are the first person to ever figure it out. That’s something.”
“Then I will take your secret to my grave,” he said.

“Okay,” said Jane.

“Can we go now?”

“I don’t know. Can you walk?” she asked.

“I’ll make it,” said D.J.

“Don’t be such a tough guy. Here.” Jane walked over and kissed him. He felt cooling relief and energy surge through him like ice cold Gatorade on a hot day. The burn in his legs disappeared. His lungs filled with air.

Jane stepped away, smirking. “Feel better?”

“Whoo!” said D.J. “Best. First. Kiss. Ever.”

“Glad you liked it,” said Jane. “Now, let’s go get your friends.”


About Author

Mark Finn is an award-winning author, playwright and essayist who is active in Robert E Howard studies. His biography, Blood & Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E Howard was nominated for a World Fantasy award, and will be re-released in an updated second printing later this month. His comic books SCOUTS! Premeires in March from Ape Entertainment.

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