From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James I Maijala)
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 02:30:21 EDT
Subject: re: It's only a nickname ... Chapter 1
Mel looked into the eyes of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her perfect features, long silky hair, and great personality only made her seem like the most perfect creature to ever walk the earth. He leaned closer to her to kiss her, but she wanted to say something. She opened her rosy red lips and said ...
Mel awoke from that most pleasant dream and jabbed repeatedly at the button on the alarm clock before finally connecting. He lay there, for a moment, cursing the dawn. Struggling to swing his feet over the end of the bed, he yawned and stretched his arms. He stood now, in the middle of the bedroom. With a sigh and grimace, he reached down to touch his toes ... he didn't make it. His hamstrings barked in defiance as he pushed his hands lower and lower.
It was nice to notice that his back didn't hurt quite as much. Maybe the exercise program really was working. He sat down into a butterfly stretch, using his elbows to push his knees to the floor. A moment later he rose and began doing 'jumping jacks.' He counted to fifty and stopped. Now came the stretch he hated the most ... down he went, down into the splits ... ooohhhhhh that hurts ... but, he noticed that he was able to get fractionally farther down today. Hmm, maybe this was working after all.
Now he was warmed up. He picked up the sheet he had taken from his Karate School and began practicing his form and combinations. He proceeded through his form slowly, he didn't know it well enough yet, pausing to consult the instruction sheet. He went through a series of chop/punch, hook kick, round kick, elbow strike, push/pull, ridge hands and front kicks. That hook kick/round kick combo was a tough one. He always lost his balance on that one.
After his session, he hit the shower. As much as he hated getting up and immediately exercising he always felt better when he did, and it set a good tempo for the day. As he toweled off after the shower, he looked in the mirror ... one of these days he was going to shave off that beard and mustache!! ... but not today.
He threw on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and stepped outside to pick up the paper. The weather was nice, about 72 degrees with a few fair weather clouds over head. He glanced at the front section and then immediately turned to the sports page ... ooohhhhhhh!! the Tribe had lost game six to the Yankees. That was going to cost him $100 to Don. He hated to pay Don. Don always rubbed it in.
He poured himself a glass of orange juice and sat in front of his computer. He booted up his email program and checked his mailbox. Well, there was the usual assorment of emails from the roadkill gang. They hadn't yet figured out who he was, not that they would. He almost never posted anything. He was what they called a "Lurker." He chuckled to himself as he read a few of the posts. There was one from a guy who kept a list of nicknames. Some of them were pretty clever, others didn't have a nickname and were asking for help.
A couple of posts were about new releases of albums and TV programs about the band. There was even a mild flame war going on, started by some rube who called himself "Jim's a good mans brother." But he deleted most of them right away. He was looking for a different kind of post. You see, he had been hired by the administrator of the network to help with a problem. A problem that only members of the band could help solve. Someone was posting some disturbing messages that the administrator thought the boys should know about.
He decided to sent an email to the Administrator ...
From: email@example.com (James I Maijala)
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 12:29:45 EDT
Subject: Re: It's only a nickname ... Chapter 2
In an odd sort of way, Las Vegas and a Federal Prison had many similarities ... there weren't any clocks! It was very difficult to keep track of time sitting in a jail cell, but, Terry Day was doing the best he could. He knew that the lights came on at about 6:30 A.M. and that they went off at 9:00 P.M. But he wasn't sure what day it was ... every day was like every day ... there was no change. Only the guards would change. He kept track of that.
Terry had been in prison for about 18 months. Since his arrest in the Crosshair incident he had been on his best behavior. His trial had been swift and sure, 20 years for attempted murder. His good behavior had earned him library priviledges. This was very important, they had computers in the library. Terry had been such a good boy that he was able to arrange to work in the library.
The guard had just passed by his cell on his routine inspection walk and Terry walked over to the drain pipe in the middle of his cell. It was about 4 inches in diameter with a little grate covering it. Terry took the little tool that he had created from a spoon (hidden in the hollowed out leg of his rack) and pried open the grate. He carefully removed the credit card sized modem and the four foot length of phone cord from the drain pipe. He removed his prison trousers and wrapped the phone cord around his left leg. The modem he literally put 'up his sleeve' attached to a piece of velcro he had sewn into the armpit of his prison shirt. His shift in the library would start right after breakfast.
An hour later, Terry was putting some books back on the shelf. He felt he was finally beginning to understand the 'Dewey Decimal System.' He decided that who ever thought that one up should have been shot ... probably Dewey himself. The computers were located against a wall. There were three of them. But, only one was sitting next to a telephone outlet. After putting the books away, Terry asked for, and received permission to use one of the computers to look up something in an encyclopedia disk they had. Terry made a big show of loading the CD into the drive. He began looking up words ... the guard quit paying attention to Terry and started watching some other prisoners in the library.
Without hardly moving his arm, Terry managed to retrieve the modem card from his shirt and then by scratching his leg, released the telephone cord. Using his feet he plugged the phone cord into the wall, never taking his eyes off the screen or looking up words. Again using his feet, he managed to raise the end of the phone cord right next to a port on the computer. Luckily it was on the side away from the guard. Using his left hand and not looking, Terry plugged in the modem and the cord. The guards attention was now elsewhere completely. Terry closed the encyclopedia program and typed in a few secret commands and his email program came up. He dialed into the server and received his mail ... there were 47 messages. Almost all were from Roadkill.
He deleted all but 6 of them. All six were from people who didn't post much, "the lurkers." First he stored the email addresses in his server address book. He noticed that most of them were nicknames and not actual names, except maybe one who called himself "Lem." After storing the names and addresses he sent an email to all six. It read ...
My dear friends, I am trying to create a select group of "Funk Friends" that can act as special escort for the band when they travel around the country. I have noticed your love for the band and wondered if you would like to be included in the selection process? Please respond within the 72 hour window of oportunity. Thank you, One band to rule them all, one band to find them, one band to rule them all in the darknes bind them. I. N. Rality ...
Terry punched the "send mail" key.
Chapter three soon.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James I Maijala)
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 15:16:58 EDT
Subject: Re: It's only a nickname ... Chapter 3
Kurt Patten was a regular participant in the roadkill network. He checked his mail twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. He had just finished dinner with his wife, Julie, and decided to check the mail box. There were 23 messages. He scrolled through them quickly, until he came to the one from the guy named I.N. Rality. He read it with interest until the last part. As he read the short verse, that seemed vaguely familiar, a strange feeling came over him. He immediately replied to the message ... "In life and in Funk, I am with you." That was the entire extent of the message. He then punched the "send" key.
Next he stood up and walked over to the closet and retrieved his suitcase. Without a word he walked to his bedroom and began packing for a trip. Julie walked in and asked what he was doing. In a string of profanities that would make a sailor squirm, he ordered Julie to mind her own business and that he was going out of town for a few days and would be back in a week. Julie didn't recognize the look in Kurts' eye. It almost looked blank.
John Rodger also received the message. He read it without much thought but, didn't delete it like he did the others. He then walked over to the refrigerator and removed a Bud long neck from the top shelf. He had a tough time removing the "twist off" cap. He almost dropped it when a sudden pain shot through his brain.
As he struggled with it he grew more angry ... with a shout of "FUNK FOREVER!!!, he broke the end of the beer bottle on the end of the counter top, glass flying everywhere. Then he raised the bottle high in the air and with a cry of "I'm with you" he chugged the beer while pouring into his mouth from high in the air. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he ran to the computer and replied to Rality's message ... "You can count on me." He hit the "send" key.
Three others, Tom Brooks, Randy Jacobs, and Rob Grimes, didn't even read the message and just deleted it as trash. However, Mel didn't. He received the message. It was addressed to "Lem." He didn't reply to the sender right away, although for a moment he really wanted to. He fought the urge and instead sent a message to the "Administrator." ... "I think this may be our boy. He is recruiting people for his hit squad. He is trying to use a mind control tactic. I'll keep you posted." He then sent a message to Rality ... "I need more information." He then send both messages.
The next day, Terry resumed his duties in the prison library. He once more logged on to the roadkill network and retrieved his mail. He got three responses ... not bad. Hmm, one of them, Lem, wanted more information. He would have to be careful about that. He could be a plant.
Terry was just able to disconnect himself from the network and stash the modem and phone cord as a guard came over to check on him. It was a close call. Later he was returned to his cell. He hid the modem and cord down the drain hole. It was time to start planning the operation.
Chapter 4 to come ...
From: email@example.com (James I Maijala)
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 03:02:37 EDT
Subject: Re: It's only a nickname ... Chapter 4
Mark Farner was trying to keep a straight face. He had rigged the door to dump a large plastic bucket of shaving cream onto the next person who walked through it. The door was sitting partially open and Mark was sitting about 10 feet away. "Don!, come 'ere, I want to show you a new riff."
"On the way!" called Don from the other room. Mark could hear his footsteps as Don approached the booby trapped door. He could see Don and noticed that Don was looking to the side and smiling and waving at someone. Don came through the door ...
"What's up wit ... HEY!!!!" Don was covered in white shaving cream and the plastic bucket was bouncing off his head. Mark was laughing so hard his sides hurt. Howard came through the door to see what was so funny and slipped on some of the shaving cream on the floor and fell smack dab on his ass!! This only made Mark laugh harder, man he was really hurting now.
Don and Howard looked at each other and then looked at Mark. He was theirs now. They both attacked at the same time ... Don grabbed Mark in a head lock and started giving him a knuggie while Howard started stuffing the remaining shaving cream down Mark's pants!!
Sunny Quinn walked through the door and saw the shaving cream bursting from Marks pants and said ... "Now that's what I call a real man! See Don, why can't you be like that?" ... Don looked down at Mark and burst into laughter. Howard joined suit and pretty soon everyone was having a shaving cream fight.
A few minutes later, Mel walked in and surveyed the carnage. The others by this time had tired out and were just sitting around covered in shaving cream. Mel just shook his head and said ... "Kids nowadays, you just can't take them anywhere." He walked over to the sink to get a towel, but didn't see Mark sneak up behind him with a shaving cream pie.
"Mel, were sorry we trashed the place," said Mark.
"That's okay, Mark", he turned around, "It's only ... HEY!" ... splat!!!!! Mark plants the pie on Mel's mug. This results in a renewed round of shaving cream fighting. A few minutes later everyone is sitting down again.
"I've been talking to the roadkill administrator," Mel starts.
"Really, what's up with roadkill these days?" asks Don.
"Well, there is this one guy, who calls himself I.N. Rality, that is posting some pretty wierd shit. I received an email from him personally asking if I wanted to become involved in Grand Funk personally.
"What?, doesn't he know who you are?" laughs Mark.
"No, I go by the nickname, LEM, many of the people on roadkill have nicknames that are related to our music in some way ... you know, stuff like 'closer to Homer' and 'Jimmie Shelter' and crap like that."
"Well, do you know who this guy is?" asks Sunny cautiously.
"I'm not sure, but I have a theory ... it may be Terry Day." Everyone is stunned by Mel's statement.
"No funking way, man. Day's in jail, the slammer, the crossbar hotel, the stalag, the hole, the pen, the pokey, the dungeon, the ..."
"Shut up, Howard." everyone says in unison.
"Have you told anyone else?" asks Don.
"Yeah, I've let the Administrator, Monk, know. He hasn't sent me a reply yet. Come to think of it, he may not have picked up his email yet. It's not time to panic yet, unless I'm not the only one he's trying to recruit."
They all continued the conversation for a few minutes and then decided it was time to rehearse. They had a new contract with crapitol records and they needed to finish enough songs to fill it up. They picked up their instruments and began to warm up. They certainly hadn't lost their touch in all these years. The music sounded as fresh and powerful as ever.
They rehearsed for about two hours and then called it quits for the day. They all went their separate ways. Howard went to the local Indian reservation for some gambling. Don and Sunny went out to a nice restaurant. Mark stayed to practice on his guitar some more. Mel went home and checked his email. There was nothing new from 'I.N. Rality.'
Chapter 5 to follow ...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James I Maijala)
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 00:52:28 EST
Subject: Re: It's only a nickname ... Chapter 5
Chapter 5 ...
John Rodger and Kurt Patten checked in at the hotel lobby. After receiving their keys they made their way to the room. The room was rather ordinary with a bathroom, two double beds, a TV and a small desk. This would do just fine.
They unpacked their bags and spread the contents onto one of the beds. Dark clothing, rope, various steel hooks and clamps, four semi-automatic machine pistols, five pounds of plastic explosive, remote battery operated detonators with transmitters, and a laptop computer with fully integrated modem and net access. They silently took inventory.
After confirming they had everything, Kurt picked up the Computer and plugged it into the phone jack in the room. He booted up the email program and began pecking away at the keys ...
To: I.N. Rality@jaybird.com Subject: freedom Message: 2p.m. rec-yard south wall ... one band to rule them all ...
Kurt punched the send key. John was already getting prepared for the operation. He had tied the plastic explosive around his waste and was shoving the detonators down his pockets. He tossed the transmitter to Kurt and swung a machine pistol over his shoulder. Kurt donned a small satchel with the rope and hooks in it along with one of the pistols. The other two he put on opposite shoulders. They nodded to each other silently and put on large overcoats and headed out the door. In the parking lot they hopped into the rental car, a Dodge Intrepid.
It was a short drive to Levenworth and the Kansas weather was cooperating, it was overcast and looked like there might be rain coming soon.
It was time to report for his library shift. The guard came by, right on time, and escorted Terry to the library. Terry went about his usual routine of putting books back on the shelf and checking the returned book hopper. After he had returned all the wayward volumes he asked for, and received, permission to use one of the computers. Using the conceled modem and phone cord he logged into the email program.
He discarded most of the roadkill mail except for the previously saved message from LEM and a new message from Patten and Rodger. He read the new one first ... excellent!, they were in the area and the breakout was going to happen later today! It was a good thing that visiting day and recreation day were on the same day ... He deleted the message, no sense taking an unneccessary chance. Next he composed a message to LEM ...
There is a new power in the land of Funkdom and YOU can be involved in the lead element!! All it takes is for you to commit to me that you will always be faithful to the greatness of Grand Funk and never to forsake your sacred pledge. One band to rule them all, one band to find them. One band to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.
... He signed the message and then hit the send key. After confirmation of the transmission he disconnected from the modem and hid the device up his sleeve.
Two hours later, Terry sat in his cell, a guard came by and told Day that he had visitors. A surprised Terry stood up from his bunk and was escorted to the area where visitors were allowed to talk to inmates through telephones while sitting on opposite sides of a glass wall. The visitors room was the only place that clocks were allowed. Terry noticed that it was about 2 p.m. A guard sat him down at a booth and Terry saw across from him the awestruck face of Kurt Patten. Behind him stood an equally enthralled John Rodger.
Terry picked up the phone on his side of the glass and Kurt picked up his ... Mr. Day, it is a great honor to see you. I have everything under control and you should be getting a package very soon. John grabbed the phone from Kurt ... My life is dedicated to your great vision, Mr. Day. Soon you will lead us to a great happening ... a guard walked by and everyone became quiet. After the guard passed, Terry spoke once more ...
"My friends, there is no need to be nervous. All is proceeding according to my great plan. Soon we will be together and you will be rewarded for your hard work."
It was time to end the communication. Terry bade them farewell and was escorted back to his cell. He estimated that it was about two hours until he would be out in the recreation yard. He would make sure he was near the south wall. But, not too near the south wall. Everything was coming together nicely. He decided to take a nap.
After leaving the prison, Kurt and John left the grounds of the prison and drove about a mile away. Parking the car by the side of the road they got out and began walking through the woods, back towards the south side of the prison. In short order they arrived at a barbed wire fence. It was fairly easy to get inside the fence, you see, prisons are made to keep people from escaping, not to keep them from trying to get in!!
They slowly crawled through the field that bordered the southern wall of the prison. All of the guards attention was focused on activity inside the walls, not outside. In their dark clothing they were not spotted. They finally reached the wall and John began pressing the plasitc explosive into the aging block wall. Then he afixed the detonators to the plastic in three different places. They backed away from the wall about 200 feet and waited. They were almost invisible in their dark clothes.
The sweat beaded up on their foreheads as they bidded their time. The guards still had no inkling that anything was amiss. John glanced at his watch and nodded to Kurt. Kurt then looked at his watch to confirm the time. They looked into each others eyes as Kurt drew the transmitter from his pocket.
He flipped the "ON" switch and a red light began glowing on the front of the little box. Kurt took a deep breath and both he and John shoved their heads as far into the ground as possible. Kurt held up the transmitter and pushed the little green button on the front. The red light flashed three times ...
A six foot section of the block wall vaporized.
Chapter 6 to come ...
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 09:29:37 -0500
Subject: re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 6
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Due to 'puter problems (beyond Monk's control) I was unable to continue the story for a few days. After getting my modem realigned I am ready to resume the story. Thanks to all of you who were asking about the story (more than I thought!!). Special thanks to Bill who saves everything (I'd hate to see his garage!) Without further delay ... Chapter 6 ...
Terry Day was loitering around the recreation yard. He looked up at the sky and noticed that it was rather overcast. They might get some rain soon ... perfect ... it might cover his tracks. Being in prison hightens certain senses. For example, his sense of "time" was right on. It was just about 2 o'clock and it was about time for the exp ...
... Terry was knocked to the ground along with everyone else in the recreation yard. The guards in the towers were also knocked to the floor. A large cloud of dust rose from inside and outside the wall. Some thought that a bolt of lightening had hit one of the towers. The 6 foot hole in the wall was hidden by the cloud of dust.
The guards began standing up in the towers again, bewildered at what had just happened. The alarm siren began blaring as Terry moved, through the dust cloud, toward freedom. Loudspeakers began blaring instructions for all prisoners to return to their cellblocks. Day ignored the order and proceeded through the hole in the wall, unseen for the moment because of the dust cloud.
John and Kurt cautiously raised their heads above the level of the grass and looked toward the wall. They couldn't see if they had made a hole because the dust was too thick. A few seconds later they noticed that the guards were looking upward toward the sky ... maybe they thought it was a lightning strike!? That would be a lucky break. They continued to watch as, slowly, the dust began to settle. Out of the dust cloud walked Terry Day, their leader. He walked with a purpose they had not seen before. Even though he was covered in dirt and was cut in a few places from flying objects he was free, on the outside of the wall.
Terry didn't look back, as he walked from the prison he heard shouts from behind and overhead. He had finally been spotted by the guards. He looked ahead and saw Patten and Rodgers rise from the grass with their machine pistols pointing ahead. "Were they going to shoot him" he thought for a split second as they both let loose a short burst. He vaguely heard some return fire from the guard tower and then loud "thud" as someone hit the ground behind him. Day began running now and he ran right past John and Kurt, who were still firing at the guard towers.
John and Kurt watched the towers as their leader walked towards them. They saw one of the guards look outside the wall and spot Day. He tapped the other guards and pointed. They began to raise their rifles toward Terry. Kurt and John raised theirs faster and began sweeping the towers with their machine pistols. The guards went down in a hail of hot steel and one even fell from the tower to the ground. Mr. Day began running and sped past them. Rodgers and Patten kept up covering fire for about 20 seconds and then joined their master.
They joined up at the road and began running for the waiting automobile. It was a quick 5 minute run. Kurt opened the truck of the car and threw the equipment in, except for the weapons. John opened the door of the car and Terry got in the drivers seat. John slammed the door shut and pounded on the roof of the car. Terry fired up the Intrepid and floored the gas pedal. The Dodge leaped from the shoulder of the road and sped away. John watched it for a second and then returned to where Kurt was setting up an ambush for the police.
The rain hadn't come as they had hoped so their trail was easy to follow. A platoon of guards slowly converged on Rodger's and Patten's position. A police captain with a bullhorn ordered them to surrender. The captain paid for that with his life as a burst of shells nearly cut him in two. The entire platton opened up on John and Kurt.
John and Kurt nearly expended all their ammunition in holding off the guards for as long as they could. They had given Terry enough of a lead that he probably wouldn't be caught now. In fact, the guards had been calling for Terry to come out ... They didn't even know he wasn't there!! With the grim satisfaction that they had done all they could, they shook hands and said, "One's just like the other, sin's a good man's brother." They leveled their pistols at each other and pulled the triggers together.
The guards heard the short burst of fire from the stronghold and then silence. After about 15 minutes they cafefully approached the position. What they saw made the newspapers the next day. A million spent shell casing and two men lying next to each other with bullet holes through their heads. They were looking at each other with unseeing eyes and the most grissly grins anyone could imagine.
The next morning, Mark Farner looked at the picture on the front page of the newspaper. The hackles on the back of his neck stood straight up ...
Chapter seven to follow ...
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 23:55:56 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 7
Chapter 7 ...
Mark Farner walked into the recording studio and tossed the newspaper to Don who was pouring himself a cup of coffee ...
"Check out the headline, beanpole." Don caught the paper in mid-air and nearly spilled the coffee on his shirt ...
"Watch it, oh one who is bitten by mongrels, you almost made me spill my coffee."
"You realize that coffee has been sitting in that pot for over 3 days, don't you?"
"I like it hot, I like it cold, I like it in the pot, nine days old! You find something you like, you stick with it! ... So what's in the paper, hmmmm, Hey!, I don't believe it, Lindberg made it across the Atlantic! ... and look at this ... Moving Pictures that talk!? ... it's just a fad, I tell you! ..."
Don, of course, was just having a little fun with Mark. That is, until he saw the picture of Terry Day, the picture of the dead John and Kurt, and the report that Terry was still "at large." This was going to be a shit day for sure.
"Have you called Mel yet?", asked Don
"No, I was waiting ... I thought he might be here already." Don checked his watch, "He's probably on the way now. I call him on his mobile."
Don picked up the phone and dialed Mel's number. The receiver indicated a number of switches and relays clicking and then the buzz of the ringing phone on the other end. The tired voice of Mel answered ...
"Yeah, this is Mel, what can you do for me?"
"What you can do for me is to tell me that your almost to the studio, wise-ass."
"Why Donald, you sweet talker, is that anyway to treat your favorite funk brother?"
"Yes, it is, Mel. And by the way, Howard is my favorite."
"Howard? Who's that?" Mel starts laughing, "I'll be there in a minute, I'm almost in the parking lot now. What's up?"
"I'll let you in on it when you get here, hurry up!" Don terminated the connection and hung the phone back up. He looked at the paper again and began pacing the floor. That was a bad sign. It meant that Don was really upset and at a loss for action. Mark busied himself making a fresh pot of coffee. He never understood why Don drank Three day old brew. Just thinking about it almost made him puke.
A few minutes later Mel burst into the room ...
"Hi guys, what's the big emergency? Is my copy of 'Spartacus' missing again?"
"Cop a gander at this", Mark tosses the newspaper to him. Mel checks out the pictures. He almost turns white as he reads the names of the two dead guys who helped break Day out of the prison.
"Umm, I think I know something about these dead guys." Mel looks up at the aghast faces of Mark and Don. A moment later Howard Eddy Jr. walks through the door ...
"Gee, you two guys look like you've just seen a ghost!" pointing at Mark and Don ... "Close your mouths, you're gathering flys!"
By this time, Mel had regained his composure. He walked over to the computer they had rigged up in the studio and logged on. Using his password he checked up on the roadkill mail. The others gathered around him to see what he was doing. There was alot of mail, about 85 messages. Almost all of the mail was concerning the breakout of Day. Most of the people were very worried and spoke in support of the band. But, there were a few that indicated support for Terry Day ... an ominous sign. Mel noticed a couple of messages for him that were not part of the regular roadkill traffic. He saw one from the Administrator and opened it.
Mel, I suppose by now you have read or heard of the breakout at Leavenworth. Day is on the loose. I would advise that you and the others should take all precautions. Watch your backsides! Contact me on my private line if you feel the need. Monk
"I didn't know that MONK was the administrator of the roadkill network", said Mark with curiosity.
"Yes, he has many roles to play in the overall scheme of the funk experience. His is a bilateral existence known only to a few. He exists on many different planes and dimensions. He is multi-faceted," pontificated Mel.
"You need to get a life.", commented Don.
Howard interjected, "He's the one who taught me to play craps! He also talked me into getting a pet cat. It's a Scottish Fold. I named it Archimedes."
"What does that have to do with Terry Day?" Asks Mark.
"Nothing. I just thought it would be interesting."
"It's not," says Don.
Mel decided it was time to call the Monk personally. He fished out his wallet and found the scrap of paper that had the Monk's private line on it. He picked up the phone and dialed the number ... it rang ... and rang ... and rang ...
Chapter 8 to come.
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 21:26:50 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 8
The Monk was resting. He had been resting for a long time, since Day had been put into jail. But, the Monk's dreams had not been very good. They had been filled with forboding and dread. Now he was dreaming that a bell was ringing ... beware for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for thee!! ... he thought as the bell continued to ring. Suddenly he woke up with a start! The ringing was the bell of the telephone. His special phone, who's phone number was known only by a few. He stumbled to his feet and walked over to the ringing implement of communication. Bill flew from his perch and landed on his shoulder ... good old Bill ... always at the ready. He picked up the phone.
"This is the Monk."
"I bring you tidings, oh great Monk O' Funk, great master of the world of funkness, the cyberking of all planes of funk existence, all knowing webmaster of rock and roll, soothsayer of truth, and trivia lord of NASCAR."
"Ah Mel, my most misguided subject, you are much to superlative in your greeting. I am not the trivia lord of NASCAR. It was only by accident that I was at the race you mention, you see the United States government sent me to infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan and it turned out to be the Daytona 500. You cannot give me credit for that!"
"Then I stand corrected, oh great administrator of the funk network, all powerfull ..."
Interrupting, "Why have you called me?"
"Great Monk, it seems that Terry Day has escaped from prison. He gained help from some people from the roadkill network who became enslaved by him. I fear that others may also fall prey to him, as well. (He brings his voice to a whisper) I have my doubts about Howard!! hee, hee. (raising his voice again) It seems that nicknames are used to hide the true identities of the dark siders."
"Hmmm, it is as I might have suspected. It is important that we all get together. Are the others with you? ... good ... I will come there right away."
With that the Monk hung up the phone. He was very worried now. Bill fidgeted on his shoulder. Presently he spread his wings and flew around the room three times. While flying he emited a few well timed "groks." The Monk watched him intently and nodded. Bill was right. He had better get in contact with Daryll Davis. A shapeshifter might come in handy in the coming days.
The Monk knelt down and placed his fingers to his forhead and send a telepathic message into the great realm. He maintained this pose for an hour as he continued to put forth the great effort involved. After the hour was up he decided that he would have to make a stop before meeting with the boys.
In a deserted cabin in a forest in the pacific northwest Daryll Davis watched the moon as it rose from the forest floor. It would be a full moon tonight. Daryll carefully removed his shirt and folded it and put it on the dresser. He removed his shoes and socks as well. He stepped out onto the porch of the cabin and sat down on the steps. He continued to watch the moon rise ... higher and higher it rose ... in due time it had cleared the horizon and was now in full view. Daryll began to breath just a little harder as he felt his pulse begin to quicken.
One of the odd things about shapeshifting was that the eyes were the first thing to change; he noticed that his night vision was suddenly very acute. Now he was really taking deep breaths as he felt his body temperature rise rapidly in preparation for the change. His body went temporarily numb as he watched his hands, feet arms and legs begin to transform. He heard his bones creak and snap like a giant cracking his knuckles as his skeletal mass changed. He was having difficulty standing on two legs, so he dropped down to all fours and twisted about as he looked less and less like a man and more and more like a wolf.
He watched with satisfaction as he skull began to lengthen and his teeth began to grow. He tried to sing but noticed that he had lost much of his vocal cords and the song became a howl, a howl of joy. He glanced back and saw that he had grown a complete coat of fur in the last 45 seconds and that his tail was wagging like a puppy that had just retrieved a newspaper. As the change ended his body temperature lowered to that of a healthy canine and his breath slowed down. The pants that he had been wearing were now sitting in tattered shreds nearby, he didn't remember taking them off.
He leaped down from the porch and raised his head to the sky and howled happily at the moon. His cry was answered. It was time to go. He bounded off through the woods. After running for a while he came to a clearing. In the clearing was a gathering of werewolves. All were in the shape of wolves, some male, some female. A great council was about to begin.
Suddenly, out from behind a tree like a shadow, strode the Monk with Bill riding his shoulder. His sudden appearance startled some of the werewolves and they began to howl a warning cry. Other wolves recognized him and calmed the other canines. The Monk walked to the center of the clearing and raised his hands. He began to speak in a language that none could understand, except the wolves.
There was a great debate that night and many a bark and snap was heard. Not everyone agreed that Grand Funk should be helped ... afterall, what had they done for them? But, in the end, the Monk had won the day and had gained an agreement for a few of the shapeshifters to help out. With his business finished the Monk departed the same way he had come, like a shadow that just fades away.
With the Monk gone, the wolves continued their meeting. Though few marked it's passing. Daryll and four other werewolves left the meeting area and returned to the cabin, but not before catching a eating a few rabbits on the way. Back at the cabin, the five wolves continued to discuss how to help the Monk. Not to mention the flea problem they all seemed to have.
Chapter 9 ... soon.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:45:53 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 9
Chapter 9 is dedicated to Gary, Tom, Bill and Carla ...
It was getting hot in the rehearsal studio. Mark was sweating profusely and Don was panting like a dog. Mel decided it was time for some action ...
"Hey guys, let's go get some lunch. Whaddaya think ... Howard?"
Howard was distracted by his Guitar. He had changed from a Fender over to a Parker Fly, like Mark, "Humm, oh, okay, yeah, I could go for that. What do ya'll want to eat?"
"I know a good chinese place right around the corner," offered Don.
"Sounds good to me, let's go", said Mark as he grabbed his coat. It was cold outside as it's likely to be in November in Montana. (how did they get there?)
They all piled out the door wearing hats and gloves and very heavy coats. While walking down the street they passed an alley. Back in the alley were a group of bums, warming their hands over a burning trash can ... (oh no, here we go again!) Mark stopped short and walked back to the alley and looked. The others stopped as well ...
"Comeon Mark, it's cold out here let's get to the restaurant."
"Hey man, look at that (pointing), those people must be freezing. Let's help them out."
"I don't know, Mark, it could be pretty dangerous. Or maybe a trap." explained Howard.
"Did you hear someone say something?" grinned Mel.
"Bite me." shot back Howard.
"Comeon guys, let's check it out." and Mark walked down the alley.
Around the burning trash can were four people. They looked like they were down to their last bit of luck. They were dirty and hungry and very frightened of the four men walking up to them. They didn't recognize them as perhaps the worlds greatest rock and roll band ...
"Don't come any closer! This is our alley!" they warned.
"Hey it's okay folks. We just want to help. What are your names?" asked Mark.
They looked around at each other and then one of them spoke, "We are the lost souls of a band of people. They left us behind when they could. We are the outcasts of the rock and roll society known only as 'stooge.' Let me introduce ourselves to you. This is Tom, known only as the Funkster. That one is Gary, he is called the FBI (Funk brothers inSPECTOR). She is Carla, the one that is remembered as the Funk Sista.' And I am Bill, known by a few as the Monk."
"Well, it's very nice to meet you all. But I must say, you are not the Monk. I know the Monk and you are not him. He would never be caught dead in an alley freezing to death with a bunch of clowns like these guys ... The FBI ... you gotta be kidding me!" lectured Mark.
Just then the flaming trash can erupted into a burning cauldron of death! Flames shot sky ward and different colored sparks began to fall amongst the group. Mark, Don, Mel, and Howard were very afraid of this turn of events.
"Don't be afraid," explained Carla, "You are just being initiated into our special circle of friends."
With that, the flames began to tell a story. A story of fire and water. A story of Earth and Sky. As the flames danced the boys began to understand what was happening. They were being shown a whole new dimension of existence. They were so transfixed by the flaming image that they didn't notice that Gary, Carla, Tom and Bill had slipped behind them. The four outcasts of the stooges started to morph into something else. They grew in stature and cast off their attire of burlap and majestic robes appeared and they donned them. As the story of flame began to die down the members of Grand Funk turned around and were met by four robed druids sent by the forces of good.
"Monk!", cried Mel, "It's really you, this time. Oh great master of all that is funky, sage and soothsayer of grand railroadness ..."
"Give it a rest my bass playing friend."
"Geepers Monk, why the disguise? You didn't need to do that to meet us." said Don.
"Don, Mark, you don't know all of the facts yet. Day is at large and could be anywhere. He hates me and he hates you. We should not be seen together, it makes a tempting target."
"Okay Monk, you're right, as usual," agreed Mel, "But we're hungry and were going to lunch. Let's get out of this alley." Mel looked around, "Hey where did Howard go?"
Mark, Don and Mel were now alarmed! They began shouting and running and whining!!
"It is all right, my friends, Howard has been taken by the trash can of fire. I have sent him on a special mission."
"But Monk, he hadn't even had lunch yet," explained Don.
"Lunch, Smunch, it didn't need to have that to perform the special task I had for him to do. And Don't ask me what it is, I can not say."
With that the remaining members of Grand Funk and the four mysterious druids went to lunch at the Chineese restuarant. They didn't really pay attention, but Daryll Davis was the waiter. The name of the place was Yee's China Bistro.
Chapter 10 to follow ...
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 12:55:18 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 10
Chapter 10 ... dedicated to Donna ...
Yee's China Bistro wasn't very crowded and they easily found a booth with enough seating for the seven of them. As they sat down Mark noticed that their was something under the Monk's robes that was squirming around.
"Hey Monk, you got a mouse under your shirt?"
"Ah my long haired friend, how easy it is to forget." With that, the Monk opened his robes and out groked Bill the parrot!! He flew around the restaurant and then landed once more in his usual place on the Monk's shoulder. "You see Mark, Bill doesn't like the flames that come from my magic trash can."
"Magic Trash can?" brought up Don.
"Yes, triplet master, the can that took Howard on his special mission."
"Oh yeah, that's right, I almost forgot about Howard ... how long has it been ... five minutes? ... (Don laughs) ... what have you got him doing?"
At this time Daryll Davis, the waiter, came and took their order. The boys didn't recognize him as the shape shifter that had saved them in the past. But, Bill knew him well and groked in joy as he took the order. After he submitted the order to the cook Daryll went to the back room and dialed a special number on the phone ... ring ... ring ... ring ... "Your code please" ...
"Peace and love, my ass, I'm going to shoot something ..."
"Ah Agent Davis, my old buddy. You know that's not the right code, your code is ... 'got a strange kind of feeling, under my skin'."
"You're always too smart for me, Donna. But, I think that code is pretty lame considering I'm a shapeshifter!"
"Anyway, what can I do for you?"
"Donna, the boys are in Yee's restaurant right now. The Monk and three stooges are with them. Did you run that profile on Yee, yet?"
"Wait a minute, Daryll, is one of the stooges 'Shemp?' I always liked Shemp the best ... (hee, hee) ... Yeah, I've got the rundown on Yee right here. What you suspected is true, he's one of the bad guys. Is Yee there now?"
"No, but he might show up anytime now. I'll have to get the band out of here as quickly as possible without raising any alarm."
"Okay, but keep in touch ... and use the right recognition code the next time!" Donna hung up the phone.
Davis checked on the guys once more. He was disturbed by the fact that Howard wasn't there, but he couldn't do anything about that now. Just then he heard the front door of the restaurant open. He rushed to the front counter and saw that Mr. Yee had just walked in ... and he wasn't alone. He had four heavily armed men with him. They immediately drew their weapons and had the band members on the floor face down and were tying them up with ropes ...
There was no time to loose. First he ducked behind the counter, then, Daryll reached down into his pocket and withdrew two things ... one was a syringe filled with a strange blue fluid (Moon juice!) and the other item was a smoke bomb. He removed the safety cap from the hypo and jammed it into his arm and pushed the plunger down all the way. He stripped off his shirt and shoes as he felt the change coming over him. With the last second on human dexterity he pulled the string on the smoke bomb and lobbed it over the counter.
The bomb exploded in a smokey mess as confusion erupted. A moment later a wolf sprang over the counter and attacked the men with the guns. One mans arm was severed at the shoulder as he attempted to bring his shot gun to bear. Another lost a foot as he scrambled to get out of the way. The other two ended up shooting one another as Yee bailed out the front door. All this time, Bill the parrot flew about the room uttering "Groks" as the wolf cleaned house.
Strangely the Wolf didn't attack any of the band members or the Monk and his Stooges ... As quickly as the smoke bomb had erupted the attack stopped and when the smoke cleared the band was alone and everyone else was gone, including the Monk and the groupies. Unseen by Mark, Don and Mel, the wolf trotted out the back door carrying a shirt and shoes in his jaws.
Chapter 11 to follow
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 14:41:45 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 11
Sorry it's been awhile ... here is chapter 11 ... dedicated to all you stooges out there ...
Mark, Don and Mel piled out of the restaurant and onto the sidewalk. They hailed a cab and piled into the back seat. "Take us to the rehearsal hall on 41st street."
"Right Mac", The cabby pulled into the traffic and proceeded down the street. The boys were very quiet. They didn't want to discuss what had just happened with a stranger sitting near by. The cab driver turned right at the next light. This caught Mels' attention since the driver should not have turned that way. He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket along with a pencil and wrote ... THE DRIVER IS A PHONEY! He showed it to the others. The driver pulled up to a stop light. As he came to a halt the guys tried to open the doors ... THEY WERE LOCKED!
"Don't even try it, scum. I've been waiting for you for a long time!" cackled the driver. The driver turned around and looked at the boys ... IT WAS TERRY DAY!
Don was the first to react. He raised his fist to punch a hole right through Day, but, Day was faster. Don found himself face to face with a .38 special.
"Shit, Day, what's this all about?" asked Mark, his eyes wide at the appearance of the gun.
"It's judgment day for you pukes. And I'm only too glad to finally catch up with you, Farner. You have no idea how long I've plotted your destruction," Day was grinning like a madman.
Day honked the horn on the car and three men got up off a bench and walked over to the cab. They were three people from the roadkill network that had been seduced by Day. They entered the cab and crowded into the front seat. "I'd like to introduce you to my three friends, this is 'Sharon Needles'," said Day pointing to the man sitting next to him. "And that is 'Pat McRoin.' And last, but not least allow me to introduce to you 'Yubin Yakinov'."
Mel recognized all of the nicknames. They were regulars on the roadkill network. In fact, he had written a number of letters to them all. This thought sent a shiver down his spine.
Now Day launched into a lecture on what would happen to the boys now. It was grim listening. But, as Day talked, Don noticed that the three twisted roadkillers were staring at Day. In fact, they couldn't take their eyes off of him. It was obvious they were totally enslaved to him. This was the chance they were looking for. As Day pontificated Don slowly undid his belt and began slipping it from around his waste. He gave Mark the 'eye.' Mark nodded slightly.
Don suddenly raised the belt and wrapped it around the neck of 'Needles' and began choking the life out of him. Mark immediately locked McRoin in a similar hold using a half nelson and a choke hold combined into a killing combination. Panic ensued in the car as Day began shouting orders and steering the car back and forth across the road. Yakinov raised the .38 as Mel knocked is arm to the side. The firearm discharged and blew out the passenger side window.
Mel screamed and opened the door from the outside and jumped out of the moving cab! He rolled three times and sprang to his feet. He saw, to his dismay, that Yakinov had jumped out too, and he still had the gun. Mel started running down the street, weaving in and out of the crowd.
Don kept the belt tight around Needles' neck. Needles shortly quit struggling and passed out. However, McRoin was still fighting to escape Farners hold. Don knocked him out with a well placed punch. Day spun the cab to a halt and leaped out and started running in the direction of Yakinov. Don and Mark jumped out and ran after him.
Mel ran down an alley to get away from Yakinov. It was dark and their was alot of trash cans and debris around. RATS, it was a dead end.
Yakinov stayed at the head of the alley and watched as Mel vanished into the shadows ... "Shacher, there's no way out! I'll make it easy on you, one clean shot through your skull."
Don and Mark were about a hundred yards away from Yakinov as they watched him pause and then walk into the alley, after Mel. Day had just about caught up with Yakinov and he disappeared into the alley right after Yakinov.
Mel backed into the alley, all the way to the end. To his right and left were fire escapes hanging down from the apartment buildings to the sides, but, they were too high up, he couldn't reach them. The hackles on his neck stood up as he saw both Yakinov and Day slowly walk down the alley towards him. It looked like they didn't see him yet, but they would soon. He needed to hide, but, there wasn't any cover!! Day and Yakinov were about half way down the alley when Mel saw Don and Mark enter at the far end.
"Day, forget about him, it's me you want anyway!" shouted Mark.
Yakinov spun around and squeezed off a shot. He missed, but Mark and Don dove for the ground anyway. They started crawling toward them. Yakinov turned back around and rejoined Day who had walked a few paces closer to Mel.
Mel had his back to the far wall of the alley by this time. Day and Yakinov stood about ten feet away.
Overhead, perched on one of the fire escapes was a figure. Unseen by the participants on the ground, he watched the proceedings. He was cloaked in black and red capes. His adornment included a mask, gloves and burning green eyes. His weaponry consisted of chains, whips and swords. He grunted in satisfaction as he observed Day and Yakinov.
"This is the end of the line for you, Mel," said Day scornfully as he took the revolver from Yakinov and pointed it at Mel. Mel's eyes darted left and right looking for any means of escape. There weren't any. The shouts of Mark and Don weren't doing any good as Day's attention was focused on Mel. Terry raised the pistol and pointed it at Mel and cocked the hammer. "Beg for your life, Schacher, come on, beg!" ordered Day.
"Not on your best day, Day!" shouted Mel defiantly. But, he knew it was meaningless, he was a goner ... then quietly behind Yakinov a shadow descended from the sky. Day's focus was disrupted, he wheeled around to face the intruder, which he thought was Don or Mark. It wasn't.
"Who are you, asshole?", hissed Day.
"You're worst funkin' nightmare," replied the masked stranger ...
Chapter 12, the conclusion, to follow ...
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 23:51:48 -0500
Subject: Re: It's only a Nickname ... chapter 12
The 12th and final chapter of ... It's only a Nickname ...
"Nightmare, huh, well, we'll see about that!" Day raised his weapon up to fire. The shadowy figure didn't move. Day cocked the hammer and shouted another warning, "Beat it, Creep, or I'll blow you away where you stand!" The blackened figure just laughed the laugh of someone who knows the outcome of a poker hand ... Terry squeezed off a round ... the revolver barked in response ... but the round apparently was absorbed by the copious capes surrounding the shadowy man.
"Is that the best you got, Day?" inquired the stranger as he stood up to his full height, towering over Terry Day. From under his cape he produced a set of chains and doing his best Jacob Marley impression he started to rattle them and laugh a hideous laugh.
This totally unnerved Day. He raised the pistol to fire again but the stranger threw two lengths of chain at him that wrapped themselves around Day and raised him off of the ground. Day screamed in terror and emptied the .38 special into the masked man. The bullets had no effect as the chains tightened around Day squeezing the life from him like a metallic python. With a jerk, the stranger brought Day back to the ground and pinned him under his weight. Terry's face was turning blue from the lack of air and he was gasping for breath.
All this time Yakinov had just stood there watching, transfixed by the bizarre nature of the confrontation. This was the break that Mel had been waiting for ... he leapt upon the back of Yubin and rammed his head into the nearby brick wall. Yakinov's head crunched into the wall like a watermelon hitting the pavement. Yakinov crumbled to the ground, his head cracked open, his life fluids draining onto the ground.
Mark and Don now reached the area of the fight and pulled Mel from the proximity of the masked and hooded stranger. Day was now frantically trying to club the stranger with his revolver, but it was futile. Slowly his struggles became less and less and soon he slipped into unconsciousness. The stranger released the chains and started walking over to the three members of Grand Funk. Mark, Don and Mel backed away, unsure if the person was friend or foe. Behind them they heard a familiar voice say ...
"Have no fear! He is a friend of the funk!"
The boys whirled around, "Monk! are we glad to see you!" they all cried.
It was a joyous reunion. The guys ran up to the Monk and hugged him. Bill, the parrot, seemed to take no notice as he was preening his feathers. Mark began to question him about the hooded stranger, who hadn't moved, but was watching them intently.
"This guy saved my life, but, I wonder who that other guy, Yakinov, really is," said Mel.
"Why don't you find out. See if he has a wallet or some identification," suggested Don.
Mel walked carefully over to Yakinov, avoiding the ever expanding blood pool. He rifled through his pants and removed his wallet. He checked the mans drivers license and grunted, "Yeah, it's like I thought. 'Yubin Yakinov' was just his nickname. His real name is Kenneth Hamilton."
"Never heard of him." stated Mark
Mel tossed the wallet back on top of the now dead Hamilton and walked back over to his friends. All this time the stranger hadn't moved. But, was watching them intently, waiting. Waiting for what?
Terry Day wasn't dead. In fact his was regaining his senses, ever so slowly. He began to listen to the others talking. He figured out from their conversation that Yakinov was dead. But, he had the advantage in that they thought he was out of commission too, and that was wrong. Not daring to move, he began glancing around for a possible weapon to use against the stranger.
A small metal pipe about 18 inches long was laying right next to him. He slowly inched his hand over to the pipe. He gripped it very slowly and carefully pulled it back to his side. So far, so good, they hadn't noticed. Everyones attention was away from Day, including the shadowy figure who was standing about 6 feet away, but looking in the direction of the Boys and Monk. As quietly as he could he rose to his feet and brandished the pipe to strike a killing blow to the masked stranger.
The Monk was starting to explain about the dark stranger when suddenly Bill stirred and said, "GROOOOOKKKKKK!"
The Stranger, in a blinding flash, drew out his broad sword and whirled around swinging the sword in a wide arc. In a scene forever etched in the mind of Bill the parrot, Terry Days' head was cleaved from his shoulders in one mighty stroke! The sight and sound of Days' head hitting the ground caused both Mark and Mel to vomit in unison. Don just turned his head in disgust and grabbed his throat.
The stranger now returned his sword to it's scabbard and walked over to the boys and said, "Don't you know who I am?"
The voice WAS very familiar. The stranger threw the capes aside and removed the hooded mask he was wearing. All three of members of Grand Funk gasped in amazement. The Monk was smiling broadly and Bill was flapping his wings and 'groking' in delight ... it was Howard.
"Howard!? How can it be you?" cried Mark.
"Thank the Monk here, he sent me into the burning trash can into another realm where I was given certain powers, temporarily of course, and returned me here to watch over you guys. And boy, did you need watching over!" explained Howard.
"I'll never say 'Where's Howard' ever again, I promise." said Don.
"Howard, I want to thank you for saving me", said Mel.
"Think nothing of it, my Spartacus loving friend, but, we need to get out of here before the cops show up." replied Howard.
"Quite right," said the Monk, "Now I need all of you to gather close. That's right, close together now."
A gathering mist surrounded the small troop of rockers as the alley faded from their view and in it's place came the all too familiar buildings of Mark Farner's Michigan farm. The fog subsided and the boys began high-fiving each other. They headed for the farm house and some food, they hadn't eaten in quite a while. They invited the Monk and Bill to join them.
"Thank you for the invitation," said the Monk, "But Bill and I have other tasks to perform. The threat from Terry Day is now over, forever. But there are other things and other beings waiting for rock and roll bands like yourself. I must be ever vigilant to keep everyone safe."
With that, the Monk raised his hand and Bill let out a mighty 'grok' and they both disappeared in a bright flash of flame. The boys looked for a moment and then went inside. Mark had Jeanne, the farm cook, rustle up some grub, as they often said, and they all sat down and enjoyed a meal. It was a very good meal. One they could eat slowly and with the secure knowledge that Terry Day would never bother them ever again.
I hoped you all liked the story ... I finally killed off Day! This may be the last story until after Christmas, my brain is fried.
Jim's a good mans brother