CHAPTER FOUR: TEE BONE MAN AND THE RINK OF… DOOM?
Tee Bone Man was exhausted. Going to hell will do that to a guy. Our masked hero was collapsed on a chaise lounge of rock in the basement of Deke’s Palace, drinking fine scotch with the ever-amazing hero Superdekes, his trusty partner in (repeatedly) saving the world.
Superdekes was saying something wise and interesting about Eddie Van Halen’s tapping technique on the guitar, and Tee Bone Man was trying desperately to pay attention, but he was falling asleep. Being Canadian, he naturally felt bad about being rude, but unconsciousness was very quickly gripping him despite his best intentions. What was going on? And then….
Where was he? This wasn’t Deke’s Palace. Superdekes wasn’t there. This didn’t even look like Earth… It was a vast, darkened room with a high ceiling, an echo that was only exacerbated by the cement floor. As Tee Bone Man’s eyes adjusted to the darkness of his surroundings, though, he saw a score clock, hanging from the ceiling of the room. He saw white boards with yellow dashers and thick glass around the top, with ads on them… he was standing at the hash marks of a hockey rink. In summer, clearly, because the floor was cement rather than ice.
Even though he knew he was dreaming, in that weird dream logic he also knew that this experience was completely real and his heightened super senses put his guard up immediately. His exhaustion vanished as his eyes darted around and his ears strained to pick up any noise of danger in the empty space.
Suddenly the score clock lit up, and loud music began blaring through the rink. The message on the board read Welcome To Your Doom, Tee Bone Man!, and the timer on the clock started counting down from ten minutes. Moving to the center ice circle, Tee Bone Man walked around the clock from underneath, but saw nothing of danger, no bomb, no guns, no evil henchmen. Not even a single demon to be found. Then he heard laughter echoing around the massive space, and saw a light come on in the announcer booth above the stands at center ice. A silhouetted figure stood there, arms wide, laughing.
The music stopped and a gravelly voice came over the PA, still laughing, saying “Welcome to your demise, Tee Bone Man. You have been brought here to be decimated once and for all. There is no escape. Your time is running out, now less than nine minutes. Your end will do the world a favour!”
Facing the dark figure, Tee Bone Man struck the most awesome super hero pose ever, and said loudly “Who are you? Why are you doing this? Stop this madness at once!” The voice boomed overhead, “You know who I am, you love to hate me. I am a hero myself, but the heel of every situation. I am a friend, but also always the enemy. It is time for me to be the hero, and to do that I must end you to make way. Good bye, Tee Bone Man.” And with that the light in the announcer booth went dark, leaving Tee Bone Man alone at center ice with an inexorably ticking clock overhead.
His eyes having fully adjusted to the dark, Tee Bone Man made a quick survey of his surroundings. Nothing impeded him from free movement on the floor of the rink, so he headed towards the zamboni gate but found it locked. Quickly crossing the floor to the far side again, he headed to the team benches, hopped the boards, then climbed the shorter glass into the bleachers. Taking the stairs three at a time, he made his way up into the concourse. All the concessions were closed. Damn. A pretzel at the end of everything would’ve been nice, would’ve helped him think.
Running around the concourse to the announcer booth, Tee Bone Man was able to see the clock ticking down, now under eight minutes. As he ran, he thought about this situation. He knew it was a dream but it felt so real. Who was the figure in the announcer booth? What would he find when he got there? Rounding the last corner of the walkway, the announcer booth came into view. Tee Bone Man slowed up and started a cautious approach. No one was visible. He ducked down a few rows into the stands and approached the booth from underneath. Less than seven minutes now as he crouched and watched for any sign of movement, any booby traps or henchmen. There was nothing.
It seemed he was alone in the building. Had the figure already left? And if so, why did bad guys do this? Why construct some elaborate death trap and then leave a full ten minutes for the good guy to figure it out. And why leave, so there’s no way of confirming you’d been successful? He supposed that this was why the bad guys were always caught: they weren’t necessarily always the brightest.
Seeing no movement, he crept forward as the clock ticked past six minutes. Soon he was directly underneath the announcer booth. He carefully climbed the steps and, constantly checking his surroundings for booby traps and attack, he approached the booth. The door was locked. But now he heard a faint struggling sound behind the door. Looking around, he saw the handle of an old Sherwood hockey stick, solid wood and missing its blade, leaning against the wall. Grabbing it, with now five minutes left on the clock, he smashed the door knob with one mighty, well-aimed swing of the stick, surely a five minute major penalty so hefty was that swing. The door swung open slowly, revealing the gloomy interior of the booth. The struggling sound got louder.
Rushing into the room, expecting a fight with the mysterious figure, Tee Bone found only a different figure, tied up, lying on the floor. Flicking on the light switch, he saw Superdekes bound and gagged, lying at his feet. Quickly undoing the bindings, our two heroes got caught up. “Thanks, Tee Bone, that was a close one.” Quickly scanning his pal for injury, Tee Bone Man asked him “What happened? Who tied you up? Why are you here? Does this feel like a dream to you too?” Rubbing his wrists to return circulation after being bound, Superdekes said “I don’t know who is doing this. I was drinking scotch and then woke up here, tied, in this dark room. I’m very glad you found me. As for being a dream, yeah, it all feels unreal somehow.” Tee Bone Man recapped his own story so far, and then the two heroes talked about next moves. There was now three and a half minutes left on the clock. They left the booth to search for clues.
With two better able to cover ground than one, they pair quickly searched the main areas of the concourse and found nothing of danger. With less than two minutes on the clock, they found themselves near the exit to the rear parking lot. Behind them was the door to the dressing rooms. “C’mon, Superdekes, we need to check here as well.” Our intrepid heroes, well aware that time was running out, crept through the door and down the hall to the team dressing room. Slowly pushing open the dressing room door, they found the light on but no one in view. Relaxing slightly, Superdekes was just turning to Tee Bone Man to say this was a dead end when wham-o, he was crosschecked from behind! Tee Bone Man swung around to face the assailant and saw a short, strong man in a black hood standing over Superdekes!
“Tee Bone Man, you found me! Your time is almost up!” Looking at a watch on his wrist the figure laughed and said “Less than a minute now!” Moving faster than he’d ever moved, Tee Bone Man sprang forward, swinging the Sherwood stick handle he’d never set down, catching the villain flatfooted with a mighty blow to the chest, sending him to the floor. Superdekes was getting up, stretching out his sore back and looking for revenge as Tee Bone Man stood over the figure. Kneeling on their assailant’s chest, Tee Bone Man snatched the black hood off the figure’s head to reveal… Brad Marchand! The evil Bruins forward, notorious rat, shit disturber and face licker, now holding up his hands in self-defense, crying now that it was all a joke and he’d meant no harm. Grabbing Marchand’s wrist, Tee Bone Man saw on the watch that the time had elapsed to zero but there’d been no explosion, no consequence at all.
Grabbing Marchand by the front of his collar and yanking hard, Tee Bone Man hauled Marchand up and, with fire in his eyes that was a look that could kill if there ever was one, shouted “What happened here? The clock’s run out, what happened? Speak, you fiend!” Marchand looked pained and fearful, repeating “Nothing! Nothing! It’s never anything! I was just trying to have some fun…” Quickly binding Marchand’s hands, our dynamic duo turned around to see police officers filling the hallway and bursting into the room. The day was saved. Marchand was taken away to serve his time, and our heroes were free to go home to try to make sense of it all.
Tee Bone Man started awake on the chaise lounge in Deke’s Palace. There was an empty bottle of scotch on the table, and Superdekes was just coming around as well. “Man, I had the weirdest dream, just now,” said Tee Bone Man. “You were in it, and we were in the Owen Sound rink, and…” Superdekes nodded and said “I know, I was there. I remember it all too.” They looked at each other a moment. “But that was a dream, so how…” Superdekes shook his head. “I dunno, brother, but I’m nursing a pretty good headache at the moment, and the one thing that helps with that is the good ol’ hockey game, the best game you can name…” And with that he snapped on the TV and there were the Toronto Maple Leafs facing off against the Boston Bruins! And the announcer was just saying, as they tuned in, “…and the Bruins will be without their star forward Brad Marchand tonight, out with a concussion sustained in the Bruins last game against the Rangers…”
Tee Bone Man and Superdekes started laughing, and settled in to watch the game. Tee Bone Man cracked a new bottle of scotch and Superdekes passed Tee Bone Man a pretzel.