up with devil power
Weve been following our rumpled yellow-haired
hero ever since early 2001,
when he lost his motel along with everything else but the
red hooded sweatshirt on his back in a poker game. Hes
been bouncing around through several different dimensions ever since.
Here's episode 37:
ended his longing glance at the eternal Tahiti, then gestured forcefully
at the beach. A glowing doorway opened and he knew that the other
side ended at Anne whom he had left in the lurch. He took
a step forward, but before he reached the door another one opened
right next to it.
Out of this new portal stepped ... himself, only a
considerably nerdier version.
"Is that a tweed jacket? With leather elbow patches?"
His duplicate grinned and spun around like a model. "Real cool,"
was Mel's sarcastic summation.
"You don't look so hot yourself." He reached into the
pocket of his tweed jacket and shoved a military hand mirror at
Mel. "Take a look if you don't believe it."
Mel did, and didn't.
The view in the mirror was limited, so he had to move it all around
to get a good look. He was younger, like the physical peak he'd
hit in his early 30s. Rolling up his sleeves and pulling up his
shirt, he discovered that his collection of scars was gone without
a trace. Have to take up stamps or coins now, he thought.
"I thought I wasn't going to catch you," said the duplicate
"How did this happen? And what's your deal?"
"Heh. The devil gave you a new body, and I'm you from the
future. Look, things aren't so hot here. There are a lot of worlds
other than the ones thrown out of whack by Jeuss Rucker. I've had
to go around collecting our allies from all along the way. Now,
I need to warn you: Don't try to figure things out as far as the
time goes. Your mind is so powerful and unchecked right now that
if you carried a line of thought into paradox, you might do more
damage than Rucker ever dreamed. Okay?"
"Okay. But the body?"
"Lucifer did that because ... he can. He likes you, and wants
to preserve your spirit for the rest of the work you we
will do. He made your body out of light, your bones out of fire
and your blood out of Jagermeister and raw devil power. It'll take
a thousand years before your first wrinkle shows, and that'll mean
Tahiti is over. You'll be me after about another thousand years."
He shrugged. "So you need to go finish with Rucker. Wanna say
He pointed behind him into the doorway, and Mel saw all his friends
and otherwise from his many journeys: the dogmen, Clay, Daniel,
the Master, Dimpe and Azrael, and others. In front was Anne, in
her older time and looking spectacularly unhappy. "I just found
her, because she didn't want to be found."
"Wait that means I can't rescue her now."
"Sorry, not for 2,000 years, your time. That's unchangeable."
Mel almost thought about paradox, then remembered his older self's
warning. "Look, can I just say a quick goodbye?"
The other nodded, and Anne gave a half-smile as she stepped out
of the doorway. Mel grabbed her by the hand and drew her a few feet
away. He looked into her beautiful eyes and found that he loved
this version just as much as her younger self. He put a finger to
her lips and winked. Then he went for it.
Just on the physical side, Mel's young body gave him the edge,
but he was charged up with devil power, and moved at blinding speed.
He laid an elbow smash on his duplicate, spun and delivered a thunderous
backhand, then sealed the deal with a kick to the groin. He bum-rushed
himself back into the glowing doorway to the cheers and laughter
of his friends, then grabbed the edges of the portal and slammed
"Lucifer!" he yelled, and somehow the Devil stepped out
from behind him, still looking like Claude Rains. "Look what
you made me do!"
The devil rolled his eyes. "If I had a nickel for every time
someone said that ..."
this is my special lady," Mel said, touching Anne's shoulder.
She looked absolutely surprised, and even more so when Lucifer kissed
her hand. "I'll be right back and I need you to keep an eye
on her for me."
"I would be honored to escort your beautiful Anne."
"Then I'm gone." Mel stepped half through the doorway
and turned. "But I'll be back, I promise."
Anne found her voice at last. "Mel ..."
He looked at her for a moment more, then stepped through. Instantly
he was in a room at JPL. It was the one that held the accelerator,
and in front of said machinery was Anne again. This time it was
her younger self, and she was staring at the bisected accelerator
and holding back tears.
She started at his voice, then jumped up with a look that mingled
elation and rage.
"Mel, you bast" She stopped when she saw him.
"Things have changed. A lot. I don't have time to explain,
but it's time to come with me."
She nodded, the tears flowing now. He grabbed her hand and took
her back through the doorway. He thought they had both looked confused
before, but Anne dropped his hand and stepped over to herself. Both
Annes reached out and touched each others' faces in a simultaneous
mirrored gesture. Mel could hear Lucifer chuckle.
"You have excellent taste, Mel. Are you sure you aren't biting
off more than you can chew?"
"You're one to talk, chief."
"Guilty as charged. You should go ... I will keep the ladies
company. There is a crate of merlot and crackers washed up down
the beach, if I am not mistaken ..."
Mel looked at Anne and Anne. They seemed to have overcome their
initial surprise. Both looked at him expectantly.
was fiercely aroused all of a sudden, and he realized that his situation
was somewhere in between "The Graduate" and the lucky
guy who gets to take home those blonde beer-ad twins no incest
taboo, just something more sublime and disturbing. He didn't want
to think about it too earnestly, for fear of blowing up the universe.
"I'll be back as soon as I can."
He opened a new door and hopped through with some difficulty, telling
himself that he would indeed be back soon.