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Midday Matinee – Tuesday’s Tale: The Just Us League

February 19, 2013

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – Tuesday’s Tale: The Just Us League

“Red tie or green tie?” he asked, wiping sweat from his brow. “Which is it?”

“Relax, James,” N said. “I’m sure they’ll hire you.” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Ancient Carnaubans and The Papal Primary Debate. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….


“Bomb,” he said, extending his hand. “James Bomb. Double-oh seven … six … five … four….”

“Pleased to meet you,” Dick Rage said, adjusting his eye patch. “I see you’re here to interview for the Just Us League opening.”

“I am,” James said, pushing the tiny button on the clasp holding his red tie. “I see you’re carrying a Mont Blanc pen in your shirt, under that jacket. A friend put a miniaturized CT scanner in my tie clasp that transmits images to my dashingly blue contact lenses.”

“Very good,” Dick said. “Come with me and we’ll meet the rest of the team.”

James followed Dick down a dramatically lighted corridor to a room where two men and the obligatory woman were sparring. “Guys,” Dick said, “meet James.”

“Bomb,” James said. “James Bomb. Double-oh seven … six … five … four….”

“Do you turn big and green when you get to zero?” a dark-haired, lantern-jawed, deep-chested, broad-shouldered, piercing-eyed man asked.

“No,” James said. “That’s someone else. Who are you?”

“Tony Severe,” the man said. “CEO of Severe Industries. We build most of  the gadgets for the Just Us League. When I’m not doing that, I’m Peppers Man.”

Tony waved a hand at James, who burst into sneezes.

“Pretty impressive, huh?” Tony said.

“Rather annoying, actually,” James replied.

“You’ll get used to him,” a raven-haired, full-lipped, buxom, slender-waisted, piercing-eyed woman said. She offered her hand. “I’m Lana Craft.”

James kissed her hand. “And what’s your special power?”

Lana squared back her shoulders. “Well, I can poke your eyes out with these.”

“That’s how I lost my hair,” a bald, lantern-jawed, deep-chested, broad-shouldered, piercing-eyed man said. “I’m John McAlley. Former New York cop in L.A. Then an L.A. cop in D.C. Then a New York cop again, in New York and Canada and New Jersey and D.C. and West Virginia and Baltimore. Yippie High Way, as I say.”

“That sounds … confusing,” James said. “And your super ability?”

“I clean air conditioning vents,” John said.

Dick’s eye patch began to glow. “No time to waste. They just sunk a jet ski in the Reflecting Pool.”

“Who did?” James asked.

“Does it really matter?” Tony asked. “There’s Just Us, and there’s Them.”


Have fun!

  • winterbanyan

    Bomb, James Bomb turned as someone new entered the room. A guy all in green wearing a mask that wouldn’t fool a complete stranger. “Are you one of Them?” he asked, forgoing his usual countdown because he hadn’t repeated his name yet.

    “I’m the Green Foghorn, Leghorn.”

    “I’m Bomb, James Bomb, Double-oh seven … six … five … four ….”

    Before he could finish, the Green Foghorn silenced him with a deafening blast that blew out the one window and threw Tony Severe against the wall. At once metal encased him, unoiled hinges shrieking.

    “He must be one of Them,” Severe said, lifting his creaking arms threateningly.

    “I don’t know which them you’re talking about, but I found a jet ski in the Reflecting Pool and someone said it belongs to one of you guys.” He paused. “Who are you and why is the jet ski counting down like that guy Bomb?”

  • NCrissieB

    “I know how to disable it,” James said.

    He rushed over and found the inevitable digital timer, inevitably ticking down, inevitably with less than a minute left. Just once, he thought, pausing, wouldn’t it be nice if the timer read ‘8 years, 11 months, 19 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes, 45 seconds?’ But it never happened that way, did it?

    “Are you planning to do anything?” Lana asked, watching the seconds tick by.

    “But of course,” James said. “In the meantime, might I have a drink?”

    “I’m not a cocktail waitress,” Lana said, turning away so quickly that she was shaken and the men stirred.

    “What are you doing?” Tony asked John, twisting his wrist to season John’s soup.

    “I thought I should have something warm in my tummy before I strip down to my tank top,” John replied.

    “Y’know,” Dick said to James, “you could probably cut that red wire.”

    “Or the green one,” Green Foghorn said.

  • addisnana

    “Oh, oh,” said Tony Severe, looking out the window. “It looks like someone from not them and not the Just Us league is attempting to start the jet ski. His life jacket has a Presidential seal on the back but I don’t think it’s the President.”

    “Who is it then?” asked Lana.

    Dick Rage lifted his eye patch and said, “It’s Mittens. We heard he’d already measured for new drapes but I think the life jacket was presuming quite a bit. Don’t you?”

  • NCrissieB

    James cut the red wire. The timer on the jet ski stopped, but the jet ski started and zoomed across the Reflecting Pool toward the man in the life jacket. Everything seemed to move in slow motion except for the stirring music played by the National Symphony, toward whom the jet ski was headed.

    “Look out!” Green Foghorn bellowed, shattering windows across the Potomac.

    “Would you stop that?” the National Symphony conductor shouted, breaking his baton. “How are we supposed to concentrate with all this noise?”

    “You’re supposed to record the soundtrack in a studio,” Dick said. “Several weeks from now.”

    “We’ll be touring,” the conductor said. “We thought we’d do it live instead.”

    The jet ski turned off and John bubbled up out of the water. “Sorry. It took me awhile to find the right air conditioning duct.”

    “There’s air conditioning under the Reflecting Pool?” James asked.

    “I like air conditioning,” Lana said, shakily and stirringly.

  • winterbanyan

    Rage looked enraged, but whether because of the air conditioning or Lana’s shakily stirring him, no one could tell. It didn’t matter anyway.

    “Someone has to save Mittens,” Severe yawned, doffing his metal suit. “As if.”

    “The Just Us don’t let the harmless die,” the Green Foghorn said, watching out the window with interest.

    “Who said he was harmless?” Severe asked. He leaned out the window. “Hey, John, you forgot to strip to your T-shirt. And who the hell is your tailor anyway?”

  • NCrissieB

    “I don’t wear t-shirts,” John said. “I wear the tank top of invincibility. It protects me from even the most extreme danger. But since I was only stopping a jet ski, I didn’t figure I’d need it.”

    “I like tank tops,” Lana said, stirring the Reflecting Pool with her shaking toe. “That’s dreadfully cold.”

    “My eyes!” Green Foghorn said, holding his face.

    “Reflecccccccting pool, Refleccccccccting pool, God shed his grace on theeeee,” Mittens sang.

    “Will you stop him?” the conductor pleaded. “He’s scaring the notes off the sheet music!”

    Tony waved his hand in front of Mittens’ face. The song ended in sneezes.

    “Not bad,” James said.

    “I told you I was impressive,” Tony agreed.