A knock on the door. One of the worst sounds of human invention. I took a moment to reorient myself with my surroundings.

Miss Bukowski’s rooming house.

Another rap-bang-boom on room number [classified].




I got out of bed and felt glad for closed blinds. Wearing black boxer shorts with white lightning symbols, I walked toward the pound, pound, pounding ...

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Opened the door.

Miss Bukowski, all three hundred pounds of her.

She handed me a card.

“Mail,” she said.

“Huh, don’tcha have a damn box?”

“All the mail comes to the front desk, but …”


“Said I should see it to you now.”

“Who said?”

“Creepy sonofabitch in a dark coat and hat, couldn’t see his face, like some kinda monster movie. I hate this Halloween crap. Probably for some kind of fancy Satanic ho-down going on tonight. La-di-da,” she said, “message delivered.”

I looked at her curlers strangling her brainwaves. “You waitin for a kiss?”

“Just don’t be makin a bunch of noise when you come stumbling home tonight.”

“Have I ever stumbled?”

She thought about it.

“The lady downstairs says she hears things.”


“The lady downstairs says she hears things.”

“What does she hear?”

“You,” she said.

“What are you going to be for Halloween?” I asked.

She puffed up her chest and said, “Shelly Winters from The Poseidon Adventure.”

We both laughed at that. She was okay. Huevo bueno. “Thanks,” I said.

I closed the door and opened the card …

[Contents of invitation not cleared for print].



Smelling like soap and toothpaste and Old Spice aftershave, but what the hell could I wear to a Halloween party?

I checked my watch, saw that I didn’t have a watch, and settled on a scotch & soda.


Got into the mood listening to the Cramps sing about dead things and rock & roll and decided to make my own costume.

I had an old white sweatshirt that wouldn’t be a great loss if I drew on it with a black laundry marker. I looked around the room for about a half hour searching for a marker and decided to write myself a note with the pencil I did have.

[Note to self: Always keep a black laundry marker handy. Tools of the blackout trade].

The pencil lead broke, so I drank two beers and threw the bottles at my designated wall.

Something pounded upward from the floor that served as ceiling for the thing that lived downstairs.

I walked down to the front desk, quiet-like, borrowed some ink and a reluctantly given pair of scissors.

Under the direction of a glass of scotch I drew the following symbol on my white sweatshirt:

Combination of an “A” and an “M,” as in “Alcoholman,” also looks like my initials for Alex Adams.


Ought to confuse people long enough to gut punch ‘em, if the situation demanded.

I then made a black mask out of a pair of socks, but the scotch opted for shades instead. Is good. Infrared. See in the dark. Blue jeans, black shoes—good to go.

I seem to remember making my way to the local supermarket and buying a black vampire cape from the Halloween accessories section.

All set.

Go cat go.

The house existed just outside of Surf City, up in the mountains, the party at some old mansion. I was guessing these Society cats really knew how to throw a spooky Halloween fiesta. Well, good enough for Eddie Crossbones, possibly good enough for me. I assumed Eddie left the message, based on Miss B's description, but the card didn't say. I mean, how many guys are running around with dead faces and detective clothes.

Don't answer that.

I rolled up to the huge compound in a custom Cadillac Coup de Ville, basic black, circa 1950 – on loan from Dr. Go, runs on saltwater and rumored to have the Ghost of Elvis haunting the damn thing.

The car looked out of my league, like that Devilgirl named Lucy, but I don’t believe in leagues, only Societies, secret ones and not-so secret ones.

I talked into a speaker at the gate and the iron bars opened. A guy in an ape suit tried to take my keys but I shook my head and parked the ride around the side of the house.

The house felt huge and oddly disproportioned. Rooms protruded at different heights from above, rounded and pointed at the top like a mad castle or a drawing carved out by Charles Addams. A woman who either lived the life of a nun or dressed up as one for All Hallows opened the door and motioned for me to step inside the foyer.

“I want you to know,” she said, “before joining the other guests …”


“The house,” she said, “it’s preoccupied.”

I said, “Huh?”

“Troubled,” she said.

I smiled. “Sounds like fun.”

“Anxious,” she said, “perhaps, it’s just anxious.”

“Okay,” I said.

She led me into a sitting room straight out of a time machine, everything an ancient shade of brown. The small couches looked two-hundred years old. Bookshelves lined the walls with arcane hardback volumes, but the decor didn’t hold my interest as much as the other guests.

A man in a skin-tight blue-black outfit, kind of like the old scuba suit G.I. Joe used to wear, wobbled toward me like a walking plate of spaghetti, his arms and legs looking all bendy like a Gumby toy played with by an excited kid. “Wait a sec',” he said. “Lemme pull myself together.”

He stretched out a hand in my direction. I grabbed onto it and shook, felt like a big piece of Silly Putty. “Sorry,” he said, “I’m usually more solid. I’ve had a few drinks, affects me adversely.”

“No problem.”

“Codename: Twisted.”

A strangely beautiful woman corrected him from his side. “Mr. Twisted,” she said.

“Okay, Mr. Twisted,” he said, “the Human Pretzel — to be exact.”

“Adams,” I told him, “Alex Adams.”

“Real name not classified?”

“Uh, I have no idea, don’t see what difference it makes, not like the cops hide their names.”

“Maybe we’re a good deal aways from the cops,” he said.

“Well, on the street they call me Alcoholman, the Intoxicated Detective.”

The girl that looked like a human eraser giggled.

“Yeah, well, I was also thinking maybe “White Lightning” as a more kid friendly option, not like you can make an action figure named Alcoholman.

“White Lightning,” said the woman, “that’s funny. You’re getting your own action doll?”

“Figure,” I said, “action figure, no, probably not.”

“Well, my friend," said Twisted, "this doll," motioning to his female companion, "is none other than the sensationally outrageous Rubbergirl!"

She seemed a little embarrassed by the attention, shy even, despite her gregarious half red, half pink costume with long pink hair and pig-tails. Superhero pretty.

“I,” said Mr. Twisted, “wanted to call her Rubber Doll, but the moms at the PTA complained.”

“Rubbergirl,” I said, “and she’s laughing at me?”

A sexy voice cut in: “Have you seen your costume?”

I turned to see: Lucy Hell, Devilgirl.

“Great scotch!” [Trademark pending].

The blonde wore a red devil-themed costume with thigh-high boots, mask across the eyes, and I always wondered if the horns were real.

A white-haired butler wearing shades almost as cool as mine opened a door to a larger room. “Please,” he said, “join the party, but beware the Cherry Kool-Aid punch.” He smiled. “I do believe the band ‘spiked’ it with moonshine.”

Pig-Man patted the butler on the back. “Okay, Pops, thanks.”

To look at Agent Karl Kowalski, aka “Pig-Man,” you would definitely assume, big guy in a hog outfit, especially on Halloween. What else could he be? A pig man, that’s what, one of the trainers over at the Sanctuary.

“Where’s Eddie?” he asked. “Where’s Crossbones? Didn’t he invite us to this kooky jamboree?”

We all thought it had been Eddie who invited us, but it might be hard to find him in this crazy loud ballroom full of ghosts, witches, werewolves and live music. And just who the hell owned this wacky house?

The residual scotch from earlier in the evening asked questions inside my head but all thoughts of investigation left the building as Devilgirl and Rubbergirl started gyrating their hips to the punk girl beat of Vicki & the Vampires.

“Girl bands are awesome,” said Rubbergirl.

Lucy swayed in motion with the bubblegum princess. “For sure,” she said, “we should start our own band. We could totally do what they’re doing – and look way better doin’ it.”

As the foremost feminine fighters chatted, the men gravitated toward the giant bowls of red punch.

Pig-Man filled a plastic cup with a ladle of liquid, but found himself preempted from drinking by a hand from an arm stretching at him from five feet away.

“Hold on, don’t drink that!” Mr. Twisted held a white pill between his elastic fingers. “Let’s test this stuff first,” he said, dropping the pill into the drink.

“Good idea,” said Pig, “how’s it work?”

“Easy, if the punch is drugged it’ll turn red.”

Karl and I just looked at Twisted and waited.

“Oh … yeah,” he said, “Cherry Kool-Aid …”

We all cracked up laughing and when you see a rubber man laugh you can’t help but laugh harder.

“Okay, okay,” he said. “I will be your guinea pig, Pig-Man.” And with that he gulped down the punch …



Woke up in a room inside the mansion set up as a home theatre, comfortable chairs and a big screen ready to go. Pig-Man helped Lucy Hell to her feet.

My first thought? I didn’t like it that he had helped her up and not I, the intoxicating Alcoholman.

Pig-Man looked around. “Everybody okay?”

“Yes, I am fine. Thank you for asking,” said the Scarlet Swashbuckler, whom we hadn’t seen until that moment.

“I’ve got a headache,” said Mr. Twisted.

“What the hell?” I said. “I thought you said that punch was all right.”

Mr. Twisted rubbed his pliable head. “Hmm, I don’t remember saying that …”

Devilgirl frowned. “I don’t even like punch.”

Rubbergirl sighed. “We are so dumb.”

“Take it easy,” said Pig. “I got suckered just like the rest of you. Stupid. I should have checked with the Sanctuary before coming out here.” “Well, even if you did,” I said," what would stop any one of us from having a party? Not like we’d let ‘work’ know about it ahead of time, right? We have to have our own lives. Got suckered here because we wanna be normal people.”

“Too late,” said a voice on an intercom.

“I know that accent,” said Pig-Man.

“Yeah,” said Rubbergirl, “the angry science guy …”

“Angry Mad Scientist Man,” said the voice.

I laughed.

“Yes, Alcoholic man, it is funny, funny strange that we have all these comic book names and clichés and that life sometimes is stranger than fiction, but when the fates give you a bigger than life persona you need a bigger than life handle. I’m going to play a film for you, black and white, very noir, the story of my life. I hope you won’t get bored, but escape is impossible. The walls are all lined with [classification of metal classified]. Your strength won’t win the game, Pig-Man. Stretching and/or bouncing ain’t gonna help. Alcoholman is nothing without his alcohol, and Lucy Hell, well, what does she do, anyway? About as much as the Swashbuckler, I suppose. All of your little toys, gadgets, and communication devices have been removed, except for Swashbuckler’s metaphorical steel penis of a sword, and don’t expect that walking, talking, skeleton man to come blasting in here to save you, either. He’s out of town, wasn’t him who invited you here. I sent one of my ‘fix-its,’ Undead 11, to do the footwork. You have but one decision to make while you’re trapped here: Who dies?

“Pick one member to sacrifice and the rest of you are free to go. Nice little science experiment for me to watch. You’ll notice I have even given you the convenience of a less active Society member, the Scarlet Swashbuckler, to throw to the wolves if you wish. Since he’s a homosexual, you conservative folks shouldn’t be too long in your deliberation.”

“I am not gay!” said the Scarlet Swashbuckler. “I am French!”

We all looked at the Scarlet Swashbuckler in his scarlet leotard and swishy swashbuckler gear, but no one said anything.

I whispered to Lucy: “He doesn’t know about your mind control power. Can’t you reach out to him and make him stop all this?”

“You know what?” she said. “Everyone keeps thinking I have all this ‘mind control’ power and stuff, but it’s not that easy. Yeah, I may have an influence, but that’s very hard to control—doesn’t always work on you. I was just thinking: Alex should totally keep his mouth shut, but nope, that didn’t happen.”

“Then, uh,” I asked, “why are you in the Society?”

“Have you seen how I look in this costume?”

“Well,” said Angry Mad Scientist Man, “my little film lasts about fifteen minutes. After that, if you haven’t given me a sacrifice, the room will fill with a very deadly gas, sort of a flesh-eating type thing and you’ll all die an extremely painful death.”

Pig-Man grunted and rushed at one of the walls. The room vibrated with his fury, but the wall held solid.

“If,” said the scientist, “you keep trying to escape I will release the gas early, and just to give you a real example, you may look to the cylinder descending now from the ceiling. I advise you not to break the glass or you’ll all be infected and die the same way.”

One occupant stood inside a domed glass tube lowering down on a thick chain.

“Captain Blast!” Pig-Man grunted.

Rubbergirl said: “He should be able to blast out of there, easy!”

“He can’t,” said Pig-Man. “He knows he’d infect the rest of us with the gas. Besides, he obviously doesn’t have his cosmic ray blaster.”

“Very good, piggy wiggy,” said Angry Mad.

We all looked at Captain Blast, a hero of the old guard, an idol so popular he actually used to have to his own TV show. With the quasi science fiction costume, ray blast gun, and collective cosmic strength – he taught kids about good and evil and didn’t just talk the talk.

I thought wildly about what we could do, didn’t come up with a good answer, so I said, “Don’t do it! I’ll volunteer for the sacrifice! You don’t need to set an example!”

“Interesting,” said Angry Mad, “you must have watched his show as little Alcohol Boy.”

“Thanks for offering, Alex,” said Pig-Man, “but I think it’s obvious who he wants. Look at me, man. I’m a goddamned pig, man. How do think I got this way?”

His question came with lots of aggressive snorting and the answers would have to wait for another time.

“I’ll go,” said Lucy.

“What?” I said. “Hey …”

“What? You were going all heroic. What I am supposed to do, just sit here? I died once before and came back. [See info below! Shhh...] I’m sure I can do it again.”

“I don’t think you really died a little after midnight, so you better be careful what you say. I’ve really been meaning to look into your whole back story …”

Mr. Twisted’s hand and arm stretched up to the glass tube holding Captain Blast. “I’ll do it. I’ll make the sacrifice for Captain Blast. You guys are more powerful than I, be logical.”

“More powerful?” said Rubbergirl. “Put your hand down! I am not losing you! We need to figure a way out of here together!”

The Scarlet Swashbuckler, having listened to all this, took off his feathered hat, buried his face for a few seconds, then dropped the French sombrero and said, “What the hell, take me. I’m older than all of you. Heroics are for the young. He was correct. I am just a man with a rapier to fence with. I am the most expendable here. I have no super powers to speak of, just, you know, swashbuckling stuff, good with the sword, amazing really, swinging on the ropes, etcetera …”

As the Swashbuckler made his case Angry Mad Scientist Man released the lethal gas inside the tube. Captain Blast tried to hold his breath at first, but couldn’t. The gas worked fierce and fast, like the phantom tendrils of a vicious ghost attacking without warning. Tears poured out of eyes no one had ever seen cry. Snot ran down his nose, degrading the hero of millions. His skin seemed to grow tight around his frame as he clenched his teeth. Maybe he wanted to scream, but he didn’t let out a sound.

Captain Blast came to attention and tightly raised his right arm in the cramped space to sharply salute us all as he took his final breath, his head slumping to the side in a stiff but never hideous grimace of death.

He died smiling at the rest of us would-be “heroes.”

I thought of the nun outside and how she strangely tried to warn me.

What did she say, the house was “haunted”?

Anxious, she said. Anxious, preoccupied, and troubled.

Haunted by the living, I thought.

“Okay nut job,” I said, “you just sacrificed yourself, cuz when we get at you, and you know we will, we’re gonna rip your old man face off.”

"Not so," he said. “Your Society has taken an oath not to kill human beings.”

Pig-Man grunted. “Don’t believe everything you read in Super Villain Magazine. You haven’t been paying close enough attention. We kill bad monsters all the time, and you, you depraved little freak – are less than a bad monster, just an ugly cold to wipe from a dead man’s nose.”

I wasn’t even sure that made sense, but we looked at each other in agreement. I think I had just made a friend, but a sad way to go about the thing.

A low, deep, moan crept up into laughter. Something in the dark laughed like it didn’t want to laugh but had to let it out like an unwanted poison. “Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhu …”

“Quiet, son!” said Angry Mad. We could see them now as a light flicked on above the movie screen behind a window “Undead 11’s really getting a kick out of all this." The dead thing jittered and sort of jumped up and down. "I have to say, you people have in truth made this a Halloween to remember. I didn’t say any of you could sacrifice yourselves for the Captain. I had my own beef with Cosmic. He got what he got." He rubbed his gloved hands together. "Oh, boy, isn't Frankenstein 9 going to be jealous! However, I’ll be starting the film now, and I’ll be back for your decision. Undead 11 is looking forward to playing with whomever you give up.”

The light went dead and the film began, a propaganda piece about Dr. Marvin Moreau, the man who once worked for both the Nazis and NASA, the cliché of a nerdy scientist, government-issued black framed glasses, lab coat, gloves, the works—the man who became the crazy caricature of the evil mad scientist: Angry Mad Scientist Man.

Yet, most importantly, and perhaps the deepest measure of his insecurity remained in the aspect of his heritage. He was in fact the direct descendant of the infamous Doctor Moreau, the forever overshadowing ancestor that rose to wild fame (and acclaim from all would-be scientific baddies) after famously being documented by writer H.G. Wells in 1896 for his experiments on human-animal hybrids.

“I should have known better than to drink that punch,” I said.

Pig-Man grunted. “We all should have, but everyone knows Kool-Aid products are irresistible.

"Yes," said the Swashbuckler, "remember that mind control cult from Jonestown?”

“Yeah,” I said, “but that group just gives Kool-Aid a bad name for nothing. The punch was a generic rip off called ‘Flavor Aid,’ and grape, not cherry. No sense in giving the fine product of Kool-Aid anymore bad press, erroneously. Hell, Ken Kesey did enough of that.”

They all looked at me, probably wondering how I could ramble on like that after just seeing Captain Blast get murdered. "I'm, um, I'm done."

“All right, let’s bust out of here,” said Pig.

“The roof,” said Lucy, “isn’t probably all super strong like down here, right? I mean, it’s way up there.”

We looked up from where Captain Blast had been lowered. “Must be one of the narrow looking structures we could see from the outside. All dark after twenty-five feet or so,” I said.

“Maybe higher,” said Mr. Twisted. “I’ll stretch up and check it out. Higher than I can reach, but I can get about fifteen feet …”

“Just be careful,” said Pig, “of that tube with the gas. You smash into that thing and it's all over.”

“I can get up there.”

Someone said, “Huh?”

The Scarlet Swashbuckler said again: “I can get up there, no problem. Just get me above the gas tube. I’ll climb the chain, looks sturdy enough.”

“If it isn’t,” said Pig, “we’re through.”

“Not necessarily,” said Rubbergirl. “If something does happen to the cylinder, Twisted and I can catch it softly with our elastic bodies.”

I looked at Lucy. “Look at you,” I said, “gettin the whole teamwork plan goin.”

“Whatever,” she said, “and, what are you going to do?”

“I’ve gotta plan,” I whispered, “but we’ve gotta be quiet, discreet, he’s watching, listening.”

The Scarlet Swashbuckler climbed up on Mr. Twisted’s shoulders and held on as Mr. Twisted did that incredibly strange stretching act as his body rose getting thinner and thinner and wobbly – until the Swashbuckler could grab the chain and pull himself upward, ascending like a man-monkey. “Huh,” said Pig-Man, “look at the little pirate go.”

“He’ll be watching the Swashbuckler,” I said to Lucy. Meanwhile, I reached down and turned the heal of my left boot and a small bottle popped out. I unscrewed it, downed it, and put the bottle back in a matter of seconds. Rye whiskey …

Soon, I would disappear. I whispered the rest of my plan to Lucy, and she in turn told Pig-Man.

“He made it,” said Rubbergirl.

“Doesn’t look reinforced like the walls below. I’m going to test the roof with my sword.”

The Swashbuckler, hanging onto the chain with one hand, thrust his sword into the roofing above.

The electric shock raced down the steel sword and into the Swashbuckler’s body. He couldn’t let go.

“Get me up there,” said Rubber Girl, “quick!”

Mr. Twisted grabbed her and leaped up to his maximum stretch, from there, he threw her at the Swashbuckler. She grabbed onto him, her elastic body insulating them both as she pulled him free, and just as we thought they would drop – she bounced from one wall to the other, quickly but safely descending, until they landed into Mr. Twisted’s elongated lap.

The Scarlet Swashbuckler was still holding onto his sword, darkened and hot. “Watch out for the pig sticker,” said Mr. Twisted.

Pig-Man grunted. “He all right?”

Mr. Twisted felt his pulse. “His pulse is racing, but he’s out.”

The laughter swelled up into the room, the mirth of someone detached from human emotion.

“What,” said Angry Mad Scientist Man, “you think I’d make the walls tough enough to stop the powerful Pig-Man, but forget about the roof? I may be crazy, but I’m not dim-witted. The film’s over. Did you enjoy it? I bet Frankenstein 9 doesn’t have his own documentary. Have you reached a decision?”

“Yes,” said Pig-Man. “We got rid of the Alcoholman.”

“What? Where is he?”

Pig-Man held up my clothes as I sat in one of the movie chairs, careful not to make the seat squeak.

“What are you tryin to pull?”

“I,” said Lucy, “sent him to Hell.”

“You don’t have the power to do that!”

“Wanna try me?”

“You like the drunk man. You wouldn’t send him away.”

“He was getting on my nerves, besides, he was sick from all the drinking. He wouldn’t have lasted as long as the rest of us.”

“It,” said Pig-Man, “was the logical thing to do. She has some kind of vortex power that can blast people out of existence.”

“If she could do that she would already gotten rid of me.”

“I have to touch someone to pull it off and it’s very hard to control, but I’d be happy to show you how it works.”

The scientist was right. He wasn’t stupid, and he wasn’t buying our trick, not all the way, but, I thought, we’ve got his attention and he’s distracted. “I’m sending in Undead 11. Make him disappear.”

Lucy gave Pig-Man a nervous look. The rest of the crew kept their mouths shut because they didn’t know what the hell happened to me.

A door that could not be seen to the naked eye opened up like one of the old Star Trek entrances – and Undead 11 walked inside. I got up from my seat, but the door closed behind him before I could slip out.

Pig-Man called out: “You would sacrifice your fix-it man?

“I can make another. Give Alcoholman’s clothes to Undead 11. If your man’s invisible—it’ll be fun watching him deal with his fate in the nude.”

“How could he turn invisible?” said Lucy. “You took his belt full of bottles.”

“Probably had something up his rear end. I don’t know, but a good Halloween trick. I’ll give you that. You wanna take a shot at making my fix-it man disappear?”

Undead 11 stood in front of Lucy Hell.

His skin was zombie tight upon his face, stretched and scarred, his body misshapen in Mad’s attempt to not only outdo his ancestor but more importantly, his major competition. He was sown together in an absurd parody of Frankenstein 9’s work, whom we all know had an even more popular ancestor. Lucy tried to think but Undead 11’s breath smelled like maggoty hamburger and parmesan cheese.

“Well?” said Angry Mad.

“Just a minute,” she said. “I think I just threw up a little bit.”

Any false move by the monster and I would have to try and rush the thing. Yet, Lucy started talking to the fella.

“Can you talk?” she asked.

“Talk,” he said.

“Good. Can you think?”

“Think.” The creature smiled and said. “Think girl pretty.”

“Thanks,” she said.

“Did you know your master has us all trapped in here and he’s trying to make me hurt you?”

“Hurt me?”

“Yes, the Angry Mad Scientist Man, your master, he wants to hurt you and … me.”

The thing looked up and shouted: “Science man! Father? Hurt pretty girl?”

“He’s a very bad man,” said Lucy.

“Papa bad?”

“Yes,” said Lucy. “He wants to hurt you and he wants to hurt me.”

“Father bad,” he said.

“Very bad,” said Lucy.

“Ha,” said Angry Mad, “this has been fascinating, really, more than I could have hoped for. I have learned so much, but the fun’s over. Undead 11, kill the girl.”

“You see,” she said, pushing forward with that ability she didn’t quite understand yet, “he wants you to hurt me.”

Undead 11 raised his huge hands in front of Lucy.

Pig-Man and I moved in closer.

“Do you like me?” she asked.

Undead 11 made a sound like a lawnmower revving. “Like you,” he said.

“Here’s what I want you to do,” she told him. “I want you to get us out of here and then I want you to put those big beautiful hands of yours around the neck of your master and …”

She gestured a twisting motion.

Undead 11 chuckled.

He looked toward the doorway.

“Open door!” he said.

“Well,” said Angry Mad, “looks like it’s time to release the gas. It’s been fun. Bye now.”

“The door,” said Pig-Man, “hit it now!”

Pig-Man ran hard at the space where he had seen the door. A terrific crashing sound rang out as I scurried over to my clothes, got dressed, twisted the other boot heal and popped out a bottle of bourbon, drank that down, and waited.

Pig-Man looked at Undead 11 and said, “Come on!”

“Gas,” said Rubbergirl, “I can see it trickling in …”

“Hold your breath!” said Pig-Man.

Undead 11 moved toward the door and slammed his flat hands against the metal. You could hear an audible weakness in the doorframe. The bourbon kicked in just as I started to become visible. “Let me give you a hand with that.”

The three us backed up, then ran for the door. Smashing against the metal frame I immediately wondered if my flesh would give out before the metal would buckle, but you could hear something breaking.

“Again!” said Pig-Man.

We hit it again, hard, and a small space appeared at the bottom and at the top. The door was actually bending. “Quick,” I said, “move everybody toward the door for air.”

We jumped back to hit it again, but Undead 11 waved us off. He wanted more room. He let out a tremendous howl and hit the door.

It gave.

He didn’t wait. He shuffled down the hallway. “Father! Master! Undead!” he said, “Undead … coming for you!”

We got everybody out of the room with the exception of Captain Blast, no time to save his body. The gas rose, spreading throughout the house.

Mr. Twisted carried the Scarlet Swashbuckler as we all hustled down the stairs. After a few false twists and turns we found the ground floor.

“Wait!” said Pig-Man. “We can’t just leave yet.”

“What,” said Lucy, “you wanna save the scientist and his undead son?”

“No,” said Pig-Man, “but we can't let that gas contaminate the community, no telling how much of that stuff the maniac let loose. You saw what it could do.”

“Is it time?”

We turned toward the voice. The old nun spoke again. “Is it time to cleanse the house?”

“Yeah, sister,” I said, “now’s the time.”

She and the old butler held candles in their hands and immediately set to catching the vintage drapes on fire.

“Go,” she said.

“We’ll burn it the ground,” said the butler, tossing several sets of keys to the vehicles waiting outside.

We all looked at each other.

“Good enough for me,” said Pig-Man. “Come on.”

We got out of there and watched the house catch fire as we searched for our cars. My keys weren’t in the batch given back, not in my pockets, and everyone found their ride but me. Maybe the man in the gorilla suit had stolen my car.

“He’s dead,” said Mr. Twisted.

“What?” I said.

“The Swashbuckler, he didn’t make it.”

We all looked at the Scarlet Swashbuckler, still holding his sword in hand as the house behind us torched furiously. He died a hero, and the best man among us.

You could see the orange flame inside the doorway and the windows and it looked like a giant jack o’ lantern burning an evil effigy for Halloween night. Lucy looked nervous. “You think the monster got out?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“He was kind of a nice monster in the end,” she said.


She looked at me in my homemade Alcoholman outfit and sighed again. “You wanna go trick or treating with me?”

“Girl pretty,” I said.

Pig-Man called out: “Hey you two, report to the Sanctuary in the morning for a debriefing on this incident. I’ll call the fire department and report the bio hazard, but we need to clear out of here.”

I flashed him the Secret Society hand signal and said, “Okay.”

He smiled. “You guys did good in there.”

“Back at ya, O powerful Pig-Man.”

They sadly loaded the Scarlet Swashbuckler’s body into Pig-Man’s van and I took off with Lucy in her red 1966 mustang convertible.

“Hey,” I said, from the passenger seat. “Why is it that my ride got stolen when you had this beautiful car sitting out here?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “guess I had some influence over the valet.”

“But you dig the Alcoholman, don’t you, baby?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I guess so.”

“Cool,” I said, “let’s get some candy.”

[Editor's Note: Mystery Island Publications does not condone the irresponsible use of intoxicating beverages, such as: drunk driving, underage drinking, drinking while pregnant, or when fighting crime. “Alcoholman,” aka “The Intoxicated Detective,” aka “White Lightning,” aka "Secret Agent Adams" is a creation of fiction and meant for entertainment purposes only. Any relation to people living or dead is dumb and crazy and not true].




by Brad Hamlin.

ART CREDITS: Secret Society logo [top page] by BMH. Alcoholman symbol by BMH. Eddie Crossbones by Mort Todd. Ghost of Elvis by BMH. Mr. Twisted & Rubbergirl by Mort Todd. Rubbergirl playing bass by Mort Todd. Lucy Hell, Devilgirl by Mort Todd. Angry Mad Scientist Man by BMH. Kool-Aid Man Thanksgiving by Ashley Jane. Pig-Man art by Mort Todd. Mushroom Man by BMH. Lucy Hell Alcoholman Christmas photo by BMH.

Originally written and published in 2007. Updated October 15, 2010. Newly revised: October 17, 2011.
Copyright © 2011 by Mystery Island Publications. Edited by Lucy Hell. All rights reserved.