Friday, November 16, 2012
"The Case Of The Eddies" - Part The Third
Jeff from The Unbelievables here. I well remember the Case of The Eddies and the untimely end of my friend and mentor, Ralph.
Actually Ralph had been Michael and I's guidance counselor and trainer at Camp Action!, a summer camp for those super-special individuals who show a keenness towards crime-fighting, a knack for detection, and who look good in slacks.
Michael and I were taken under Ralph's wing at camp, and it was when we left school that we both received a call from Ralph to help him form an elite group of butt-kicking non-government-affiliated super-agents, to be tentatively named The Inestimables. Both Michael and I deemed this too difficult to say. It didn't quite roll off the tongue in an easy way, so we settled on the altogether more memorable The Unbelievables.
I had known Clark from before I went to camp. He was a tough-talking no-nonsense street kid from the wrong side of the tracks, but I took a shine to his wise-cracking personality straight away. Having had a somewhat deprived childhood, he ran away from the orphanage at age 8 with the treasurer's cash box tucked under his arm and lived solely on his wits, relying on his charm, good looks, and an ability to blag his way into anywhere, not to mention his innate sense of groovy style, to get by. Living this way, he knew every shortcut, knew how to pick a lock and create elaborate MacGyver-style booby traps from almost nothing (he'd captured wild animals to cook and eat this way. To this day, he makes the meanest fricassee of possum I have ever tasted), so when we got the call from Ralph, I invited Clark to come along. "Sure, what the hell," he said, "I got nuthin' to do today."
A couple of months later we were on the case of The Eddies, in which diabolical evil genius Lester Von Hornrimm was determined to erase the word Eddie from every book, poster, newspaper, and comic book on the planet. It turns out Von Hornrimm had had an older brother named Eddie who treated him very badly, teasing and bullying him and making him put on lipstick, high heels and gingham dresses, as well as his Uncle Eddie, who constantly referred to Lester as "specky git" and "four-eyed little twerp". Not to mention his father Eddie Sr. who was an alcoholic and gambler and chronic smoker and addicted to oatmeal. "LESTER!!!" he'd shout. "Where's my frickin' oatmeal, ya four-eyed specky little twerpy git!" every hour on the hour.
All of this mistreatment affected little Lester in a severe way, until his problems were finally solved for him one day when his father, brother and uncle all died in a mysterious house fire. His mother, Edwina, was arrested and did time in the slammer, leaving Lester Von Hornrimm to inherit the family fortune and barbed-wire factory, which he immediately converted into a giant workshop where he could concoct and enact his evil Eddie-erasing plans. A tragic case, really. We got him in the end, down at Surf Beach, chiseling off the word "Eddies" from all the warning signs. But back to Ralph, and his untimely demise.
So it was that Michael and I found ourselves keeping watch from the comfort of Ralph's Corvette, all the while listening to the Kostelanetz 8-tracks and sipping from our Nehi sodas (peach for Michael, grape for myself). Clark and Ralph had gone into a dictionary warehouse that had been infiltrated by Von Hornrimm. Sure enough, every copy had the page ripped out where the word "Eddie" should have been.
Suddenly the air was rent with hubbub and brouhaha as a mighty crash emanated from the interior of the warehouse. Michael and I put down our sodas and legged it inside, where we found a stunned-looking but still effortlessly stylish Clark standing next to a massive pile of books that had clearly fallen from a pallet.
"What happened?" we cried.
"Oh, well, um, Ralph's under that pile, sorta deadish", said Clark. "Still, no time to worry about that, let's go get Von Hornrimm before we get squashed too!"
We bolted from the building and piled into the 'Vette, a panoply of mixed emotions coursing through our minds, and as we revved up that sweet motor and shot out of there, I could see the warehouse exploding in the rearview to the strains of The Best of Perry Como. "What the??" I cried, looking at Clark, who gave me a sly wink and said...
"We were never here..."