Prose That Blows

Better Luck Next Time

BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME

The door to the evil laboratory was strong, but Captain Fabulous was stronger, wrenching the steel panels from their frame with no more difficulty than an ordinary person would have placing a small marble statue on a particularly high shelf.

“Freeze, ne’er-do-well!” he exclaimed triumphantly. “I am Captain Fabulous, champion of justice, leaping forward to fight crime without a moment’s hesitation!”

All of this would have been much more dramatic if there was anyone there. The main control room appeared to be completely devoid of occupants. Every light on every diabolical instrument was switched off, giving the room a pitch-black, abandoned appearance.

“Erm…” the Captain muttered to himself. “This is… huh.” As he sheepishly turned to leave, however, his choice of entrance was salvaged by a lady’s voice from the far end of the room.

“Captain Fabulous? Could it really be you?” she said. Her voice sounded hopeful.

“Why yes, it is!” he proclaimed, resuming his previous stance of triumph.

“Thank goodness you’ve come!” replied the woman enthusiastically. “The evil doctor has imprisoned me here while she carries out her diabolical schemes! She’ll be back any moment! Please set me free!”

“Not to worry, fair damsel! But it would be easier to free you if I could see! Surely there must be some Light Switch of Terror somewhere in this evil chamber?”

“Um… I don’t know about ‘of Terror’, but there should be a light switch in the middle of the room.”

“Okay!” affirmed Captain Fabulous, and he strode forward into the blackened chamber. There was a crash.

“Are you alright, Captain?” gasped the lady. Invisible in the pitch darkness, Captain Fabulous raised a dismissive hand.

“No worries, dear maiden! The super-durable spandex of my Fabulous Suit has protected me from far worse perils!” He chuckled before adding, “It’s span-tastic!”

“Oh, clearly…” came the reply, the voice’s enthusiasm somewhat diminished.

“Is this the light switch?” the superhero queried a few moments later. “The large button with a ‘Warning’ label in luminescent paint?”

“It sure is, Captain!” exclaimed the lady. “Hurry and press it so I can be free!”

With one gloved finger, the hero pressed the switch. There was a loud beep, and then the room was flooded with light. At the same time, Captain Fabulous felt strong shackles attach themselves to his wrist.

“My hero!” cackled the woman.

“What in the name of justice is going on here?” demanded the superhero. He looked up to see a curvaceous woman seated in the back of the chamber, her lab coat partially unbuttoned to reveal her ample bosom, her eyes obscured by a familiar pair of horn-rimmed sunglasses.

“Captain Fabulous,” she cooed, her voice lowering as she dropped the damsel-in-distress routine. “The moron-champion of justice, blundering in to fight crime without a moment’s consideration.” She spread her arms wide.

“Welcome to my laboratory.”

“Dr. Luscious!” exclaimed Captain Fabulous angrily. “I should have known!” The evil scientist rolled her eyes in frustration.

“For the love of…” she sighed. “It’s Dr. Lucius, okay? Lucius.” She shook her head, walking over to a small control panel, where she began making adjustments. “I don’t know where the press got ‘Dr. Luscious’. That just sounds like a bad stripper name. It’s my boobs, isn’t it? It’s always about the boobs.”

“What do you want, Luscious?” demanded her inattentive captive. The super-villainess sighed again.

“Whatever…” she muttered. She sauntered over to where Captain Fabulous was now chained, her curvy hips swaying as she circled around him.

“To be honest, Captain,” she said, “I’ve always been rather in awe of you. Your strength, your speed, your… muscles.” She traced one finger over the hero’s bicep, giggling when he attempted to jerk his arm away. “But, you see, I’ve got the whole world to take over. I can’t afford to be constantly sidetracked by a single meddling man.”

Luscious walked back over to the control panel. Reaching underneath, she pulled out a gas mask, which she quickly proceeded to pull on, concealing the lower half of her pretty, but evil, face.

“So I’m just going to have to take your ridiculously handsome body away.” With that, she slammed her hand down on a button.

“What are you talking about?” demanded Captain Fabulous, but he was distracted as the room was flooded with a pale blue mist. “Ha! Your evil gas won’t have any effect on my Fabu-Lungs!” So confident was he that he didn’t notice the odd hissing noise that his body was now making.

“Oh, I assure you, it will,” replied the evil scientist, her voice slightly muffled by the gas mask. She watched his stomach, carefully observing the change taking place there. The hero seemed to notice as well.

“My Fab-dominals!” he cried. “What have you done to them?” His rock-hard abs, earned by the relentless training of the superhero, was being replaced by a large, most un-heroic belly as his body began to fill with air.

“Nothing, compared to what’s happening to the rest of you!” she replied gleefully.

Sure enough, the growth was by no means confined to Captain Fabulous’ belly. Both hero and villain looked on as his entire body swelled, his musculature devolving to an inflatable caricature of obesity. Circling the inflating superhero, Dr. Lucius paused behind him as she observed his magnificently sculpted rear had become a pair of giant round balloons, constrained by his ever-tightening spandex suit. His muscular arms and legs were puffy as the gas inside him robbed them of their definition; even his chest, once the proud placement of a beautiful set of pectorals, now featured only a pair of ridiculously sized man-boobs.

“Say, do you work out?” inquired the villainess mockingly. “Because it certainly doesn’t show!”

“Stop this right now, Luscious!” demanded Captain Fabulous. Even his face was becoming distorted as his cheeks puffed up with air.

“Oh why ever would I want to stop this?” purred Lucius in response. “Of course, if you ask nicely, I—”

“I mean it, Luscious!” interrupted the superhero. His body was becoming more spherical, overtaking his legs and arms as his torso grew and grew. “Change me back this instant!”

“As I was saying, if you just ask nicely—“

“I demand you stop inflating me right this minute!”

“I don’t think you’re in a position to make demands—“

“In the name of justice, I implore you to deflate me!”

“Look, if you’re just going to interrupt me—“

“At once!”

Dr. Lucius threw up her hands. “You know what? I don’t need to take this from you.” She grabbed her clipboard and walked around the now-completely-round superhero as she made her way to the exit, her heels clacking against the tile floor authoritatively. As she departed, she observed the seams of the ultra-durable Fabulous Suit beginning to split open, no longer able to contain the ultra-expansive Captain Fabulous.

“Come back here, fiend!” shouted the ballooning superhero. His skin creaked ominously under the tearing fabric of his suit. “Come back here and reverse this right now!”

~~~

As Dr. Lucius walked down the corridor, she pulled off her gas mask and threw it to the ground. Pulling a No. 2 pencil from her pocket, she examined her to-do list.

“Ah, here we are,” she mused. “’Find an arch-nemesis worthy of me.’” She erased the checkmark from the little box.

“Well, that was disappointing,” she said to herself. There was a loud blast. “Better luck next time.”

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