big in the final act
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 38:
t the other end of the door, Mel ended up in Jeuss Rucker's dark
lair. The eyeless fiend was still tending his dark, swirling sphere.
It was no bigger than when Mel had last been sucked into it, but
it looked unmistakably bloated. Rucker displayed his vicious smile.
"I've never had anyone come back through. I think your second
trip might be the one that ends it all!"
Rucker sounded positively giddy.
"Jeuss, I've figured it all out and I see that I can't win.
So I'm giving it up. If you get rid of that thing, I'll give you
the terrible godlike power that I'm blessed with." He hoped
that Rucker would not be wise to the trick, because he had indeed
figured it out.
"Wonderful, Mel. It would have been an effort to do this the
hard way, you know."
Rucker reached out and stopped the spin of the sphere. It seemed
to dwindle, until at last nothing was left. Suddenly the atmosphere
was much less oppressive, and Rucker looked like someone had knocked
his ice cream cone to the ground.
"Well? Hand it over."
Mel shook his head and, with a twist of mind that was surprisingly
easy, handed over the shining crown of godhood that had gotten him
in all the trouble to start. Rucker straightened, seeming taller.
Light streamed from his empty eye sockets and he moaned softly.
Then he began a sinister laugh and Mel knew it was time for his
last and greatest con job.
just one more thing," he said in a passable Peter Falk impression.
"Frank!" He reached into the pocket of his red hoody and
pulled out the golden Ma Yuan.
Out of the ring, or out of nowhere, Frank Burley appeared.
"Son of a bitch!" uttered Frank. He stretched, the material
of his cosmonaut suit crinkling. "Mel, you're not the Messiah
anymore! That's amazing. But how?"
By way of an answer, Mel pointed at Jeuss Rucker, and that was
all Frank needed. He grabbed the gold ring from Mel and crushed
it with his fingers. "Ha!" Then Frank turned to Rucker.
Looking like a pro wrestler, Burley grabbed Rucker, lifted him in
the air, then snapped him in half over his knee. There was a soundless
explosion of light and Jeuss Rucker was gone. Mel felt the power
floating in the air and had to concentrate to keep it from
returning to him.
"Wow," said Frank. "I feel better. You figured out
the Ma Yuan, then?"
Mel nodded. "Until now, the Ma Yuan has been keeping the gods
on their toes by a little skirmishing action. But you had to do
something big in the final act, and that was it."
"Right. So who's the big cheese now? Don't worry, I don't
have to kill them for a good, long time."
Mel scratched his chin. "I only know one person who's up for
Anderson Demetrius Dean appeared in a sparkling mist. "My
ears are burning. Well, are you guys done?" Mel and Frank were
both speechless. "Of course I knew. I had it planned all along!"
"Dean, you are one tricky mofo. You knew I wouldn't keep this
thing, and you used me to clear the field. Man!"
"Is that so bad, Mel? Would you rather be the anchor for the
universe and have a constant struggle? You know what you want, and
it's waiting for you on a beach somewhere. Besides, you and I both
know that I'm perfect for this. Don't get me wrong you were
the right man for the job. But it takes a real management-type to
run this gig smoothly. So whadaya say?"
Mel laughed. "It's all yours, Dean."
The power settled out of the air. Dean didn't shine or glow any
more than usual, though, as if this were how it was supposed to
"Nice," was Dean's only comment.
"It's been cool," said Frank gruffly, "but I have
to motorvate out of here."
"Hold it, Burley. Let's send Mel on his way. Then you and
I need to talk."
Mel looked back and forth between them. "You guys are something
else. Well, this is it." As he shook their hands, he wondered
how much of his power was left. Mel gestured and the door to Tahiti
he only took tips!" That must have been the punchline to Lucifer's
joke, and apparently a good one. He could hear Anne laugh heartily.
"Later," he said. Then he jumped through the door and
"So where's the door, Dean? I'm dying for a burger right about
Dean put his arm around Frank's shoulders as they began to walk.
"You know, Frank, I think this could be the beginning of a