Superkid and the Mutant Plants

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Roar of the Dandelion

Since Superkid, Darrin, and Derrick possessed rusty weapons of mass vegetation destruction, they were able to reach Darrin's house without any further trouble, right?

WRONG!

Back at the junkyard, the mutant plants knew the destructive power that rust had on them. Out here, they were pretty clueless and so attacked our heroes relentlessly. Plenty of sensitive plant organs were smashed and valuable appendages chopped, but eventually sheer numbers overpowered them, they lost their rusty weapons, and they were forced to flee for their lives. They ran to Darrin's house, dodged past the ferns that the Snolls kept next to their front door, rushed upstairs and into Darrin's bedroom where he slammed the door shut.

"Where's my costume?" Superkid asked breathlessly.

"In there." Darrin waved at his closet.

Superkid dashed inside, pulling the closet door shut while he changed. Derrick moved to follow him inside.

Darrin shot him a look. "What are you doing?"

Derrick jumped. "Oh, ah, er…" then he shrugged and turned to the bed instead. Then he leaped backwards, pointed to the door, and screeched, "Look out!"

Darrin leaped away from the door. At the base, white wormy roots wriggled inside and began traveling up the door toward the knob. Darrin kicked the roots, crushing most and severing a few, causing the creatures outside to screech horrifically.

Then the window shattered and a hail of razor-sharp arrow-shaped leaves stuck into the wall. Derrick shrieked and dove to the floor to remove himself from the line of fire. Darrin flattened himself against the closet door and called to Superkid, "Done yet?"

"Hold on, just about!"

A white, leafy branch thrust itself through the broken window and began patting its way around the room as though feeling for something.

Darrin had lost his water blaster on the way here, but he worked a spare from his commando belt and blasted the branch. It drew back, shook itself like a wet dog, and then swung toward Darrin, who ducked.

The closet door opened to reveal Superkid in his costume. "What'd I…"

The branch smacked into the closet door, which slammed on the young hero's face. It smashed into the bedroom door, punching a gaping hole in it. Then it pulled away and began patting the ground again until it felt Darrin. He tried scrambling away from it but it grabbed him, lifted him up, and pulled him outside. He screamed just before disappearing.

The closet door opened again and Superkid stumbled out, pinching his nose and grimacing in pain. "Don' worry, Darrid! I'll sabe you!"

"Look out!" Derrick yelled, still cowering on the floor.

In the jagged hole in the bedroom door, the wormy roots appeared. They gripped the hole and lifted their bodies into view, which turned out to be enormous potatoes - Bud's Spuds to be exact, guaranteed to be the biggest, the ugliest, and the hardest to scrub.

Superkid gave one glance at the evil potatoes and then dashed to the window. Outside, he saw Darrin in the grips of a deciduous tree, being lowered to a knothole that flexed hungrily. Darrin was going to be eaten!

Superkid climbed onto the window sill, grabbing the hose that led to his cape. Derrick cried as he scrambled to his feet, "Where are you going?"

"To sabe Darrid. You cobing?"

Unless he wanted to be subjected to the mutant potatoes' villainy, Derrick was going with him. That should have been obvious. But then again, Derrick is a bit strange; he might decide to stay with those evil bulbs after all.

But no, he was going with Superkid. He ran to him and latched himself tightly to his waist, almost sending them prematurely out the window. Superkid glared at him.

"Ready?"

"Not really."

"Od three, we jubp."

"What?! Can't you just blow up your balloon and float us out of here?"

"Wud…"

"Three's really too short, couldn't we make it ten?"

"Two…"

"Oh crap, we're really - "

"Three!"

Superkid had been worried that Derrick wouldn't push off, which would cause them to slam onto the sill and drop straight down, but Derrick managed to not mess it up and they arced toward the evil deciduous where Darrin was about to get eaten. Derrick screamed as they fell, convinced that they were either going to splat on the ground like a paint ball or tangle in the clutches of the tree like a kite - neither of which was an appealing image.

But Superkid deserved more credit than that. Even with Derrick added to his bulk, he managed to aim straight through the widespread branches and right into the branch holding Darrin. The branch jerked from the force, causing the tree's meal to miss its knothole mouth by an inch or so. Before the carnivorous tree could recover, Superkid rolled off, snatched Darrin out of its grasp, then quickly stuffed the hose into his mouth and blew up his cape into a balloon that slowed their descent.

Meanwhile, the branch whipped up to the tree's face and the two prongs tapped together, gripping something that wasn't there. Then it roared, "Re-e-e-e-e-ed!" and all of its branches began whipping around as though it was caught in a windstorm. One of the branches whapped Superkid around the chest, sending him spinning dizzily toward the ground. Darrin and Derrick were pulled off by centrifugal force, which changed hands with gravity, which dragged them to the ground. Fortunately, the distance hadn't been far, but it was still pretty painful.

Superkid, though, spun to the ground like a copter wing. Not only was his chest smarting and his breathing ragged, but his head was spinning and his stomach churning like a volcano about to erupt. He staggered to his feet, spinning around to see if his two friends were all right.

"Guys okay?" he wheezed.

"Re-e-e-e-e-ed!" the vicious deciduous roared again.

Rather than stop to answer, the two friends of our hero grabbed him by the arms and ran with him to find safety. This was getting increasingly difficult to find as more and more plants were turning evil and more and more of them were turning to these three pesky boys who were outright defying their tyranny by not huddling in feeble safe rooms that they would eventually crush.

The three heroes tried to run, but they were soon surrounded by evil plants. Superkid quickly took stock of the situation to determine options. The most obvious one was to fight their way out, but first let's see what they're up against:

A thin, towering tomato plant with two bulbous tomato fists punching together and rocking on two tomato feet -

A car-sized tumbleweed with its brambles acting as its legs, looking like a bony spider -

A man-shaped cacti plant made up of connecting biscuit-shaped segments with long needles protruding from its body, including three on either hand that made it look like wolverine claws -

Snake-sized celery stalks with white feelers protruding from their heads -

A corn stalk with a cob for a head -

And a dark green mass of moss -

Oooh, the odds did not look good for our heroes. Fighting, then, was going to have to be a last resort. But what other options did they have?

Superkid knew another option. He said to his friends, "All right, guys," as he stretched his arms out to them. "Hang on to me. I'm going to see if I can fly us out of here."

But as they were preparing to launch off - Superkid had his hose to his mouth - one of the mutant plants - a daffodil - stepped forward. It let out a screech that stopped the three friends in their tracks. Then it quieted and waited as though expecting a response.

Superkid blinked. Then he asked his sidekicks, "Did that thing say what I think it said?"

Derrick asked, "What did it say?"

As if to answer, the plant shrieked again.

"That," Superkid replied.

Darrin turned to him. "Do you think…"

"I didn't hear anything," Derrick interrupted. "Just sounded like a bunch of roaring to me."

Superkid shot him an exasperated look and cried, "Derrick! It said…"

When the three of them hadn't responded after the second time, the daffodil turned and signaled to its comrades. A moment later, an enormous plant bounded into the circle.

The three of them froze and gaped in horror at the monster. It was a creature on four legs with jagged leaves for feet. Its body was a thick tube ending in a tubular tail that dripped white slime. And at its forefront was a massive and frilly golden head with two lines of sharp teeth.

You guessed it. It was a dandelion.

So our heroes were about to go toe to toe with a vicious weed based off of a feline/plant pun. Kind of reminds me of the days of the gladiators when they fought real lions for the amusement of the masses. And of course no gladiator match was complete without a wager on the outcome. So in the interest of tradition, how about we make bets? Say, 40 dollars that Superkid beats the dandelion in ten minutes?

Wait, you think that just because I'm the narrator of the story, I automatically know what's going to happen? That's not necessarily true! The outcome could go the other way, you know. And it could take up to thirty minutes!

No? You'll stick with Superkid beating up the dandelion in ten minutes? Well if everyone's going to bet that way, no one's going to win! But if you insist.

"You guys better move out of the way," Superkid told his friends. "This could get rough."

"We're sticking by you no matter what," Darrin said bravely.

"You're our only way out of this," Derrick added less bravely and more truthfully.

"No offense, guys, but I'm the best of us to take this monster on. It would be best if you find safe spots away from the action."

"Problem is…" Derrick glanced around the circle that the mutant plants had formed, "where are the safe spots?"

Superkid didn't get a chance to give an answer - if he had one. The vine that leashed the monstrous dandelion whipped off of its neck and, with an excited cheer from the spectating plants, the beast belted out a roar and charged forward.

Superkid shoved his friends to either side and then jumped into the air. He blew up his balloon to gain extra hang time, pulling up his legs as the beast leaped and swiped its leafy paws at him. Then he released the air from his balloon to drop onto the vicious dandelion's neck. Here the crowd booed.

A little forethought might have been helpful, but admittedly this was fast-paced action with little time for thinking, so it's understandable that Superkid found himself straddled backwards on this monster and unable to steer it as it bucked furiously to throw him off. Fortunately, its pipe-like body was just thin enough for him to wrap his arms securely around it, thus preventing the dandelion from its objective.

After 1 minute 17 seconds, when it realized bucking wasn't going to work, it tried using its tail to swat him off. The tail wasn't long enough but it did spray Superkid a few times with milky slime that made him smell bitter. Didn't dislodge him though. So then the dandelion tried something else: it rolled over.

That did it. Superkid had been working out plans in his head to take this beast down when he felt the world heave to the side. Then his body crashed to the ground and the dandelion's weight pressed him against it, causing his arms and legs to spring apart, freeing the monstrous weed of its burden. The crowd cheered.

Superkid lay on the ground winded, unable to get to his feet. The dandelion rolled to its feet then turned and lowered its head to the fallen hero, its mouth open and dripping with dewy drool… or would that be drooly dew?

It looked to be a gruesome end for our hero after only 3 minutes 32 seconds - and for our bet. But he wasn't ready to bite the dirt just yet - he was on his back. For as the dandelion was about to snatch him up as snack, it got a blast of pale green liquid that made it turn away.

"Leave him alone, ugly," Darrin growled, pointing his water cannon at it.

The beast stared curiously at him for a second or two and then turned back to Superkid. It got a second blast that brought it spinning back with a warning growl. Darrin blasted it once more for good measure and then started running when the mutant dandelion lunged for him. As it chased after Darrin, Derrick rushed in and pulled Superkid to his feet. Superkid swayed as he struggled to remain upright.

"You okay?" Derrick asked him worriedly.

"Just need my breath back," Superkid gasped, gripping Derrick's shoulder to keep from falling over.

"Just fly us out of here," Derrick pleaded with him. "That thing's going to kill us if we stay!"

"They'll just come after us. We'd never get away."

"They'll never go away no matter how many of them you defeat! They'll just keep coming and coming and coming and - "

"All right, all right, I get it!" Superkid snapped, giving him a shove to shut him up. "But I still need to rescue Darrin."

Valiant Darrin. Brave Darrin. Poor, foolish, unfortunate Darrin. He had saved Superkid's life by distracting the beast, but now his own was in jeopardy. It had only taken two seconds for that beast to knock him to the ground and pin him. Now it grinned at him, milky sap dripping from its mouth onto Darrin's forehead.

But as we have learned by now, distraction was its Achilles heel. A sudden thump on its back diverted its attention from its meal. That sudden thump turned out to be none other than Superkid, who grinned and waved at it. Derrick sat behind him with an expression that said quite plainly, "Uh oh."

Superkid snatched up the dandelion's petals in both hands and yanked. The dandelion roared and reared up on its hind legs, freeing Darrin, who quickly scrambled out of the way. Then, as an experiment, Superkid tugged the petals with his left hand. As he had hoped, the dandelion lurched to the left, landing just in front of the mutant plant crowd, which scrambled backwards safely out of the way. Superkid then tugged the petals in his right hand, which sent the monstrous weed to the right. And when he tugged the petals in both hands… care to guess? It roared and sprang into the air, spinning itself in a half circle so that when it landed it was facing the opposite direction. Before the fearless kid could tug on its mane again, it sprang into the air again and twisted in the opposite direction. It barely touched the ground when it was back in the air, twisting back. It was trying to buck them off!

"Hold tight!" Superkid yelled, his voice bungled through the bucking.

"Get me off this thing!" Derrick screeched in terror.

It was quite a ride - a terrifying one for Derrick and a thrilling ride for the super kid, considering that he was hypnotized to feel no fear. But while it was thrilling for Superkid and terrifying for Derrick, it was devastating for the mutant plants unfortunate enough to be in the way. They had neglected an essential element to enjoying a gladiator spectacle: strong, high walls. As a result, they were flattened, battered, and even decapitated by the out-of-control dandelion monster and then left to gasp out, "Re-e-e-e-ed!" before they collapsed and withered. Superkid did try his best to bring this beastie under control but with minimal luck.

It was finally brought to its knees by planting its face into a telephone pole. It came away, leaving a few twisted teeth embedded in the wood and landing with a heavy flump. Superkid and Derrick had dived off just before impact and now got to their feet. Derrick scooted away. Superkid, however, stepped closer to the beast-plant.

"A little tuckered out there, whiskers?" he asked, giving its mane a tug.

The thing roared and struggled to its feet… and then fell again. Superkid grinned, gave it a pat and said, "Thanks for clearing out those wicked weeds for us. Saved me a lot of work."

It snorted grumpily and shifted to get to its feet but eventually stopped struggling. Darrin jogged over and asked, "Is it dead?"

"Just winded," Superkid replied. Then when something caught his eye, he looked down.

The golden petals were curling into the dandelion's face. They pulled at each other, tensing together until the fluffy mane became a solid bulb.

Darrin stepped closer curiously. "Did it just die?"

"Not sure," Superkid answered. He gave the bulb a poke.

The petals suddenly blew outward. White fluff sprang out. Then the monster roared, "RE-E-E-E-E-ED!" blasting the fluff into the air and sending them drifting off to find someplace to take root. Then the dandelion beast, now pockmarked after shedding its whiskers, flumped to the ground, now truly dead.

Superkid wasn't looking well. "Crap," he groaned. "We're going to have more of them."

"Well, now what?" Derrick asked.

"There's got to be a way to get rid of them all," said Darrin.

"Our best bet," said Superkid, "is to go right to the source and figure out what's going on. And our best bet for that is to find the man responsible for all of this."

"Who's that?" Derrick asked.

Superkid rolled his eyes. "Who do you think? These plant monsters all yelled his name when they died."

Darrin exclaimed, "Oh! You mean…"

Superkid nodded. "Doctor Red."


Well, I guess we were wrong after all. The battle ended at 6 minutes 38 seconds. We all bet ten minutes so none of us won. At least we get our money back…

Hold on. What's this? Someone put $500 on six minutes! He… he won the bet! Are you kidding me? Wait! He bet on six minutes and thirty-eight seconds?! How could he have known that? He must have cheated!

Great. We just lost our money to someone who got the fight down to the second. That's why, folks, it's never a good idea to bet. You only end up lining someone else's pockets.

And with these words of wisdom, let's move on to the next chapter.

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