THE ADVENTURES OF TEE BONE MAN
Chapter 7 – The Revenge of Common Knowledge
Late afternoon. Saturday. Deke’s Palace.
Tee Bone Man was snoring away in the basement, having downed more than his fair share of Scotch. His mouth agape and eyes closed, he looked like he was trying to take a giant bite of a monster-sized sandwich. The sound was like that of 100 chainsaws clearing their way through the Thunder Bay brush.
Superdekes entered the room with an armful of tools. He noticed a pile of mail on his workdesk, off to one side. On top of the mail, lay a picture postcard from their Australian friend, Harrison Holden. Together, Deke, Tee Bone Man, and “El Moustachio” had defeated the forces of Satan himself. Good times! He was smiling in the photo, waving with one hand, while another hand held a large satchel. Peeking from the satchel, was a tiny black-ish blur that Deke could not make out. But Deke wasn’t interested in the postcard.
He sat at the desk, resuming serious work. There Deke focused, deeply concentrating. His brow furrowed as he worked, on a new device that he was looking forward to testing in the field. With the utmost patience, he drove in a tiny screw, sweat beading on his forehead in concentration. This was delicate work and he needed to be steady. His gadgets were nothing if not clever, complicated and dangerous. Tee Bone Man snored away on the couch.
“HNNNNNGGGGGGGGCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” came the sound from Tee Bone’s piehole. Deke turned, gave an annoyed glare, and got back to his work.
“HNNCHHH…HNCCHHHH…” snored Tee Bone in response. The superhero clutched his cape like a blanket, and snuggled in deeper on the couch.
Standing up, Deke made an announcement to no one. “That’s it!” He slammed his hands down on the table. “I can’t work with the sound of a garbage disposal unit fighting with a Sasquatch! Finit!! I’m out!” Deke grabbed his backpack and made for the door. “BYE!” he shouted at the sleeping Tee Bone Man, who stirred just a tad before falling back sound asleep. Deke scowled. Even with all his jeering, he was unable to stir the superhero even slightly from his deafening slumber.
It was a lovely day outside. The sun was starting to cast lengthening shadows through the trees. Superdekes paused a moment at the serenity of the outdoors while his partner sawed logs indoors. He looked around and inhaled, trying to find some inner peace. It was a glorious day! Strapping on his backpack, Deke made his way down the path, to the main road. Deke’s Palace shrank into the distance behind him.
“Nice day for a walk anyway. I’ll give the big guy two hours to sleep it off. I may as well see what’s going on down at the old current river.”
Superdekes turned right onto the road and made his way down the shady, tree-lined lane. When the Palace was built many years before, this place was selected for its seclusion, with very little activity or traffic. It made it easier to solve crimes and save rock and roll, while avoiding the attention of darker forces. Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that he had to get outside for some peace of mind after all. It was a pretty sweet spot.
Cool air wafted his way in light fluttering breaths. The breeze was so pleasant. He could identify the smell of lilacs, pine trees, and…something else. He wrinkled his nose. Was that parmesan cheese? Strange, he thought. He gave his underarm a quick whiff. Nope, it wasn’t him.
As Superdekes walked, he felt more and more uneasy. Deke’s Palace was out of sight behind him, and he felt increasingly nervous the further he got. He turned around and smelled the air again. Parmesan. Stronger this time. Clouds began to roll overhead, covering the day with a dark aura.
“I better go back and make sure I locked the door,” said Superdekes with worry in his words.
His instincts were keen and his concern was justified. From out of nowhere boomed a voice. A bass-y voice that was vaguely familiar to Deke’s ageing though still sharp memory banks. “Too late, Superdekes. Too late!”
Deke stopped dead in his tracks.
“You can’t go back now,” taunted the voice; directionless, all encompassing. “You got a little too loose with your precautions, and now you’re alone and without your flying motorcycle. I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. I knew it would come if I was patient. It was simply…common knowledge.”
“Oh, no,” murmured Deke. “Not him. No, no, no. I better call Tee Bone Man right away. I need reinforcements.” Superdekes fumbled with his phone and called the Palace, but there was no ring! Deke shook the phone in frustration. He looked around the treeline for any visual. “No, no. Not this guy. Not again. Not again.”
The voice from the woods answered him. “Yes again! I knew eventually you would take a walk, and leave the snoring Tee Bone there alone, sleeping defenceless. His sleep apnea is…common knowledge! Quite legendary on Reddit, in fact. Now I’ve cut the phone lines, and it’s time for my merciless revenge! Everybody needs a little trouble, and I’m about to give you a lot! You thought you saw the last of me, but you have actually seen the last of Tee Bone! Once I finish you, knocking him off will be a simple task!”
Deke stood his ground and prepared for battle. “Shut up and show yourself! I’m right here by myself. Or are you a coward? You never could stop chattering.”
With a thunderous thwack, suddenly before him, a tall figure brandishing a bright teal-coloured doubleneck bass guitar leaped from the trees and landed in the middle of the road, blocking Deke’s path home. The figure had his long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, while balancing a Tilley hat upon his ample head. He adjusted the volume knob on his bass, turning it past 10, all the way up to 11. His spandex-covered legs leaned into it, and took firm ground as he prepared to unleash his bass fury. On his feet were genuine white platform boots from the 1970s, perfectly preserved as if frozen in a moment in time. The villain raised his head, revealing his face.
“Hello, Deke. You remember me, don’t you? I got you on the road to ruin!” The bassist aimed his instrument right at Deke’s head.
With a tired sigh, Deke answered. “Yes, I remember you, Common Knowledge.” He did indeed clearly recall the last time they encountered this villain. They barely escaped with their lives that time. And now he was back for revenge. “I should have known you were creeping around from the smell of parmesan.”
The bassist named Common Knowledge grinned. “That’s right! Throwing away your cheese rinds is a shame! You can make a rich, delicious and versatile broth with them, and while simmering, the forest will smell fantastic! In case you’re worried, the ink used on cheese rinds is food grade and perfectly safe!”
“Yeah, that wasn’t really something I was too worried about,” answered Superdekes, realizing he forgot his personal power shield. He took up a defensive position and a mental inventory of every gadget in his backpack. Common Knowledge was one of the most annoying foes that Superdekes has ever faced. Claiming to have foreknowledge of almost everything, the villain had a knack for seeing attacks coming. Worse though, he simply couldn’t stop pointing it out every time. He’s as irritating as he is dangerous.
“What’s it gonna be?” challenged Deke, raising his fists. “You won’t get what you want this time.”
Common Knowledge laughed. “I already got what I wanted. You and Tee Bone Man separated! Two fools born a minute.” He then launched a volley of 16th notes from the E string. They formed a powerful wave that knocked Superdekes right off his feet. “Hah! I bet you can feel that right down to your knucklebones!”
With a creak, Deke got himself back up off the ground. “Yep…affirmative…” he groaned as he stood. “Thanks for asking,” said Dekes with a hint of salty sarcasm. Steadying himself, he saw how this was going to go. He reached into his backpack for a specific gadget.
“Hey Common Knowledge,” said Deke as he stalled for time. “Tell me again how you were unemployed after leaving your original band!”
The bassist turned red in anger. He visibly had to calm himself down to answer. “I was never ‘unemployed’,” he boomed. He was boiling! Then it happened, the moment Deke was waiting for – Common Knowledge briefly closed his eyes to center himself after the insulting comment! “‘Unemployed’…You are the first person in 33 years to assume such a thing.”
“Assume this!” said Deke as he blasted the bassist with one of his favourite gadgets – a shrinking ray! The beam hit Common Knowledge right in the Tilley hat. Yet the bassist simply opened his eyes and brushed it off. No effect! Though his hat shrunk, he casually tossed it aside and pulled another identical one from thin air! He adjusted his new hat.
“A shrinking ray? Really? I’m ‘Mr. Big’! Or didn’t you know that? I thought it was…common knowledge.”
“Oh shit,” whispered Deke to himself. “This guy is so annoying. Not only does he deflect everything you throw at him, he always brags that he saw it coming because it’s ‘common knowledge’.” Thinking it through, Deke’s computer-like mind worked out a plan. “Somehow, I’m going to have to really take him by surprise. Something he can’t see coming. In the meantime. I’ll keep him off balance by annoying him…just as much as he annoys me! His one weakness.” Superdekes grabbed something else from his backpack to stall the villain. With force, he tossed a sonic grenade.
“CATCH!” he shouted. “Hey, remind me how your one ‘Big’ band broke up in the 90s again?”
Common Knowledge swatted the sonic grenade away with a swing of his bass. “You know this already! It was due to nothing other than us being burnt out!” The grenade went off past the treeline with a sound loud enough to wake Tee Bone Man from his slumber…or so Deke hoped. The bassist then wound up, aimed his instrument at Deke again and, with fingers flying, sent a load of lightning fast bass notes at our hero. “Sink your teeth into that!” he taunted. Superdekes dove out of the way just in time.
Stalling now, Deke kept going at him. “So, Common Knowledge, tell me your Top Five brands of parmesan cheese!” He blasted the bassist with another gadget, a blinding burst of light. Common Knowledge predicted this and simply dropped his special extra-dark sunglasses over his eyes. “Favourite cheeses? Too hard to choose,” he answered grimly.
“‘Too Hard To Choose’?” answered Deke incredulously. “I never heard of that brand before.” He fired a wrist-rocket from his watch which the bassist swatted away with his doubleneck. It flew off course and exploded somewhere high above. Leaves showered the road from the blast.
“I hear you are a bass player too,” mocked Common Knowledge. “Are you addicted to that rush?” He sent another flurry of notes, even faster this time, straight at Superdekes. With reflexes honed by years of fighting evil supervillains, Deke barely dodged this blast of bass. It was that finger-picking technique that Common Knowledge was using. Almost impossibly fast, but…wait a minute! Like a lightbulb going off in Deke’s head, he knew immediately what to do next. But Common Knowledge had already loaded up some right-hand three-finger picking and tapping combos with controlled feedback! Deke dove out of its path, but the back of his jacket received most of the blow, now smouldering with bass heat.
“I seen that coming a mile!” taunted Superdekes, intentionally using Northern Ontario grammar.
Common Knowledge began to boil in frustration. “You SAW, you mean. These words are important! They have meaning! Please use them correctly!”
“Use THESE correctly!” yelled Deke as he surprised the villain with another shot. “Or are these not common knowledge?” From a custom nuclear-powered dispenser, Deke fired a volley of bass picks! It was a gadget that Deke prototyped for live gigs, but was far too overpowered for club shows. “Hey man! Lean into this! It’s the price you gotta pay. The whole world’s gonna know who beat you.”
Common Knowledge’s eyes opened wide. This time, he didn’t see it coming! How could he? He doesn’t play with picks! The tiny pieces of plastic flew at him too fast to block. They cut his skin as they hit, leaving a thousand tiny wounds. The evil bassist slouched to the ground, unable to withstand the assault. He raised a hand in defense, to no avail. The little tiny picks kept coming at him, even cutting through the thick callouses on the bassist’s hands.
“I yield!” yelled Common Knowledge from behind his hands. “I yield!”
Deke lowered his weapon. “Drop the bass, Common Knowledge! Drop it now and you’ll get lucky this time.”
With a thud, the bright teal doubleneck bass hit the dirt. Common Knowledge sat up, broken and bleeding from the battle. He kept his head down in shame, hiding his face under his hat. “Please don’t tell anyone,” he begged. “I don’t want this humiliating defeat to be common knowledge.”
From behind him, a big voice boomed. “I’ll make sure the entire story is in a Guitar World cover article by Greg Renoff.” It was Tee Bone Man, awakened from his deep slumber! “That’s the least you deserve.”
The two heroes, Superdekes and Tee Bone Man, reunited with a hug. “I heard one of your sonic grenades go off,” said Tee Bone, “so I threw on some pants, and got here as quickly as I could! But it looks like you didn’t need my help.” He surveyed the scene around him. The sound of a squirrel happily chirping away startled him a moment, but then Tee Bone focused on Common Knowledge in scorn. Though there were signs of a battle, there was only one clear loser, and he sat crying on the road under his silly hat.
“Even separately…I could not defeat them…” he moaned to himself.
“Nope,” answered Superdekes. “I guess the power of Tee Bone Man and Superdekes isn’t common knowledge after all!”