“As I’ll ever be” came Tee Bone’s reply. “Let’s do this”
The Australian pressed the accelerator, and with the roar of the eight-cylinder engine, the car lurched forward and began its journey towards Hell. The needle climbed with every passing second, but even with the power of Tee Bone’s Scotch coursing through it, the old Ford was not what it used to be.
The Australian began to worry. They were not going fast enough, and they would run into a turn or, worse, another car soon. He threw his head back towards the direction of Tee Bone
“I don’t think we’re gonna make it!”
“Hold on!” Tee Bone yelled back. Then he began to wind his arm around a couple times, gathering air. The supercharger roared with delight. Then he hit the loudest power chord he had ever played, and the car surged forward as the world seemed to disappear in a flash of white.
For several seconds the only sound either of the men heard was the engine in front of them. Then colour returned to their vision. The colour red.
They had made it to Hell. Now they just needed to find the source of these disturbances, stop them and get back to the real world without dying. Somehow.
CHAPTER THREE: HELL AIN’T A BAD PLACE TO BE
“How did I get into this mess?” asked the Australian to himself, hiding behind a rock. “48 hours ago, I was grooming my moustache in my room, listening to the superior Blaze Bayley…and now here I am trapped in Hell with a madman!”
The flying madman in question, dressed in tights and cape, and wielding an electric guitar, was like a whirling dervish in the middle of a hellish landscape too twisted and horrific to describe.
Yet the sound of it all was music to the mustachioed Australian’s ears.
The spell had worked, and the pair entered Hell. With world-rending earthquakes set to ravage the Earth, Tee Bone Man and his young accomplice sought to find the source of the seismic waves, at the very core of the underworld. Surely they did not expect the entrance to the everlasting fire be unguarded, but what they faced before them was beyond their sickest nightmares.
Staring the pair down were thousands upon thousands of monsters. Assorted ghouls from the tradition of fire and brimstone: demons, goblins, evil spirits, orcs, darkfriends, dragons, and worse. If Tolkien had crossed paths with George R.R. Martin to write the ultimate battle scene, you’d still be looking at a day at a picnic compared to what our heroic duo now stared down!
Tee Bone Man was unshaken.
“Hold this?” he asked casually of his smaller friend, handing over his trademark black Van Halen mask for safekeeping.
“This means business.” Tee Bone Man reached behind his electric guitar, and unscrewed a compartment.
“Secret stash,” he winked as he grabbed a tiny capsule. “Scotch on the rocks.”
Tee Bone Man opened the capsule and downed the noxious substance inside. Suddenly he glowed in radioactive green light as he seemed to grow two times in size.
“Listen, friend,” Tee Bone said to the Australian. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this. But we’re not alone. Use this transmitter, call for help. Ask for Superdekes.” He handed the smaller man a pager-like device with a picture of an amp head on it. “We’ve opened the gates of Hell, he should be able to get in without having to do the spell over again, right?”
“Affirmative,” answered the Australian. “But the portal only stays open for one day. If you’re expecting help, help better hurry.”
Tee Bone Man winked again. “No problem for this guy. He’s inventive.”
With that, the hero grabbed his guitar, and began shredding. Lightning and flame ripped from the instrument, striking the demons and orcs charging their way. Tee Bone Man then ascended above them and dive-bombed the demons with the kind of power riffs they had never heard before. Even for hellspawn, the brain-melting power of the music was far too much to handle. Dozens at a time, the monsters were slain by the flying guitar slinger, banking to and fro in the air, dodging spears, axes and arrows.
“Take cover!” he yelled below to his friend.
Hiding behind a rock, the Australian pushed a button on the transmitter given to him by Tee Bone Man.
Somewhere in the tundra of Thunder Bay, Superdekes was fretting.
The quakes were worsening. They were worldwide. And he had not heard from his friend Tee Bone Man. Tracking him was usually routine, but this time he disappeared off the map. Not that Tee Bone Man couldn’t take care of himself, but this was the most critical adventure yet. This wasn’t just saving a bunch of southerners from a Sasquatch, this was saving the world!
A crackle on the radio.
“Come in? Tee Bone?” begged Superdekes into the microphone.
He paused and waited. “Anyone there?”
Suddenly another crackle, louder this time.
“Hello, I’m looking for Superdekes,” came a voice with a unique accent that was uncategorizable. “Come in Superdekes!”
“This is Superdekes, who’s this on Tee Bone’s radio?”
“This is Harrison Holden in Australia…well, Hell actually. Tee Bone Man and I are outnumbered and we need your help! Can you track us from this signal? The portal will only be open for 23 more hours and I don’t know if Tee Bone Man can hold them off that long!” A short pause followed and then the voice returned. “I am completely unarmed and hiding behind a rock. Not the most comfortable position to be in while being divebombed by parademons.”
“Oh boy,” said Superdekes to himself. “What did Tee Bone get himself into this time?” He pushed the button on his device again. Into the radio he spoke. “No problem kid. I can be there in a jiffy. I’ve been working on something. As for being unarmed, I got your back. Sit tight. What did you say your name was again?”
“I’m Harrison, from Australia,” the young man answered. “They call me the Man with the Moustache.”
“See you soon, Moustache Man,” answered Superdekes. He opened the door to the garage of their headquarters, Deke’s Palace.
Deke’s old black motorcycle helmet and suit hung on the wall, but the bike in the center of the room was brand new. It glimmered with a fiery red sheen, seemingly independent of the ambient light in the room. It evoked power, speed, and stealth all at once. It was a beauty.
“I was hoping to give this baby a trial run first, but duty calls. And you always gotta do your rock and roll duty.”
Superdekes opened a weapons locker, packed a couple bags, and sat atop the bike. With the push of a button, the whisper-quiet engine was engaged. Superdekes lowered the visor of his helmet and revved. The garage door opened and he rode out into the Thunder Bay arctic sun. It was frosty for August, as his breath formed clouds in front of his face.
With a sudden charge, the fire-red bike tore off, down the secret driveway onto the road.
“Here we go,” said Superdekes with a tinge of concern. He opened a control panel on the dash of his bike and flipped a toggle. As he accelerated down the road, flaps emerged from the sides of the bike, forming horizontal wings. At 160 kilometers per hour, Superdekes began to climb!
The flying motorcycle set course for the south Pacific, and Superdekes engaged the afterburners. Like the USS Enterprise going to warp speed, the bike disappeared in the air as it raced to save the world.
Wave after wave had fallen but our hero fought on!
With a stab, he impaled a hideous troll through the back with his guitar. A swing of the weapon removed the head from another. A kick to the face, and another one bit the dust. Focusing all his power, Tee Bone Man created the ultimate power chord and aimed it directly at a dragon overhead. With a thunderous cry, the mighty beast fell, unable to withstand distortion of that magnitude.
But they were getting nowhere! With young Harrison pinned down behind a rock, and Tee Bone fully engaged battling enemies, there was no way to find the source of, and stop the earthquakes.
“This is ridiculous,” said the young Australian. “I’m not hiding here behind a rock all day! I’ve got to find the source of the quakes.”
Venturing out, the man evaded the eyes of evil. He slunk along a line of rocks, using his keen Australian sense of seismic forces to triangulate the quakes. As Tee Bone Man blasted beasts overhead, the young man leaped from cover to cover, sensing he was getting closer.
A flying insectoid beasty landed right before him! It bared its fangs and approached.
“Meesa in big doo doo this time,” sighed the Australian as he prepared to defend himself hand to hand against the giant bug.
As the beasty dove at him to attack, it was distracted by a sound overhead. It looked up.
“Hey, Harrison! El Moustachio! Catch!”
The young Australian looked up and gasped at a sight he’d never seen before: a sleek flying motorcycle, slicing through the air like an arrow! Atop the flying bike, a rider in black. He tossed the young man a weapon.
A moustache-shaped weapon! A sonic boomerang!
“Thanks Superdekes!” shouted the young man with a smile on his face. He raised the moustache-shaped weapon and aimed. He’d been throwing boomerangs all his life, since Grade 1 Boomerang class at the local school. With deadly aim, he fired the weapon, which hummed with sonic cutting power. It swiftly removed an arm and two legs from the beast, leaving it Anakin-crippled in the hot sand.
“I hate sand,” mumbled Harrison Holden to himself, as the moustacherang returned to his deft hand.
Flying overhead and shredding chords, Tee Bone man saw that he had been joined by Superdekes. The tide was turning!
“Nice bike,” said Tee Bone. “When were you planning on telling me about your flying motorcycle?”
With a smirk Superdekes answered, “Since you can fly and I can’t, I was going to surprise you one day when you were on your morning scotch run. Surprise!” With that, Dekes nailed a couple flying demons with the sonic blasters attached to the wings of his bike.
Like old pros, the two formed up a position, and deftly took down a dozen or more airborne threats in one efficient strike. Below them, young Harrison Holden was tearing through a row of demons with his new favourite weapon.
“I do like this thing,” he said to no-one in particular.
Another one down, and the Australian noticed something in the rock wall dead ahead.
“Guys! This is El Moustachio,” he shouted into the transmitter. “I think I found the source. There’s a big door up ahead in the mountain face!”
Tee Bone Man looked down and saw the same thing. “I’ll clear you a path. Get to that door!” He blasted a clearing through the monsters with a supercharged solo from the Satriani book of rock.
As if on cue, the Australian bolted like Harry LaSalles towards the stone entrance. To his surprise, it opened right before his eyes! Could it be a trap? He was prepared for anything. Almost.
Harrison kept running until he entered…a beautifully decorated and lit 18th century hallway, right out of the most luxurious mansion he’d ever seen depicted. He came to a dead stop and looked around him. Paintings adored the walls; sculptures decorated the corners. There was a brightly lit room straight ahead, unguarded, and so he entered. What he saw, he could not believe. A Ming vase…a priceless Stradivarius violin…a Da Vinci sketch…a signed Gretzky rookie card…this place was beyond “millionaire” and straight into “billionaire”. What was it doing in the middle of Hell?
“Welcome, young Holden,” said a sinister voice from a dark corner, the only dark corner in the room.
“Show yourself!” demanded the young man.
“But of course,” answered the voice. On switched a light, and before him Harrison saw a red figure. Exactly as Derek Riggs had drawn him on Iron Maiden’s album covers, sat the Devil himself, comfortably in a plush chair.
“Please allow me to introduce myself, but I think you already know my name.”
“I do,” said Harrison with a lump in his throat. He certainly didn’t expect to have to face off against the great Satan all by himself. Then he remembered the transmitter in his pocket and covertly opened a channel.
“What do you want, foul one?” he said mustering all the courage he could find. “What do you want with the world? Stop your earthquakes or I’ll finish this myself!” He could not believe he was hearing himself say these things, but here he was! He felt stronger and more confident than he ever had before.
The unholiest saw through it. “You cannot hurt me, boy. But you do not have to hurt me. Let’s get to it. What I want, you have already brought with you.”
Now truly scared, Harrison answered defiantly, “Oh yeah? What’s that you evil wretch? Whatever it is, you won’t get it!”
A smile went from pointed ear to pointed ear. “I want Tee Bone Man’s autograph.”
A long pause.
“Say that again?” asked the young man.
“What I want,” said the sinister Devil, “is Tee Bone’s autograph. You see my collection here. Over there to my right, in the frame on the wall?” He pointed a long red fingernail at a record on the wall. “That’s an original. Beatles Yesterday and Today with the ‘butcher’ cover. Beautiful picture, I might add.” Lucifer paused and snickered to himself. “You know, it’s funny. All the shit that John Lennon took about being ‘bigger than Jesus’? You’re probably too young to remember that. They all said he’d be going straight to Hell for saying that. But do you see John Lennon here? No. Some of the people who swore he’d be coming here are now my neighbours, but one thing I don’t have in my collection is John Lennon.” He paused a moment, seemingly in sadness. Could a being this evil ever truly know sadness? “At least I could have Tee Bone Man’s autograph.”
A muscular figure loomed in the doorway. “If that’s what it will take to end this, then let’s talk, Devil.” Tee Bone Man, weary from the battle and covered with demon blood, entered the room. His supercharged presence lit the area even brighter. He winked at Harrison. Turning on that transmitter was a good idea.
“But why the hell — pardon the pun — why the hell didn’t you just ask me?” asked Tee Bone quite logically.
“Ask you how, exactly?” the great Satan answered. “Nobody plays records backwards anymore, there was no way to get your attention. If God can talk to people in the form of natural disasters as they claim, why can’t I?” He seemed pretty defensive, for a guy who’s supposed to be the ultimate evil.
“Listen,” the Devil started over again. “I’m not all that bad. Yes, I’ve done a lot of bad shit, but most of what goes down on Earth? That’s all you. Humans being shitty to each other. Until now, I haven’t intervened in human affairs in many years. Not since George W. Bush. He was the last one I swear. Since then, honestly, you guys have been doing a pretty good job of my work for me.”
Tee Bone Man looked down in contemplation.
“If what you say is true, then I truly have my work cut out for me up on Earth,” he said after a thought. “But dude, we just fought the armies of Mordor to get here. That was completely unnecessary!”
“It sure was awesome though, wasn’t it?” answered the demonic one.
Tee Bone sighed. It was the Devil, after all. Evil’s gonna evil.
“You can have your autograph, Lucifer.”
The Devil jumped up out of his chair and did a little dance. Just as he did, Superdekes entered the room and removed his helmet.
“Oh my God is that…did you bring…Superdekes? I thought he couldn’t fly? Sorry I’m such a big fan. Can I have his autograph too? I didn’t think there would be any way I could get both your autographs! In fact I never thought I’d ever see either of you here in Hell.” The Devil danced across the room as if on ice. He slid over to a massive bookshelf and removed his treasured autograph book.
“See? I already have a page set aside for you with your picture on it!” said the Devil to Tee Bone Man. “Sorry your picture is not in here, but I truly never expected to see Superdekes!”
“Mildy creepy, but OK. Got a pen?”
With that, pens appeared in Superdekes and Tee Bone Man’s hands.
As they signed the book, the Devil noticed young Harrison standing behind, slightly aloof.
“Come here, you,” motioned the Devil. “I want your autograph too! As far as I’m concerned, you’re part of the team now.”
With a smile, young Harrison Holden saw a pen in his hand.
“See, Tee Bone Man? What happened on that battlefield today made this young man with the moustache into a bonafide hero. The evil that I do often has a purpose.” Satan smiled from one pointed ear to the other again, his sharp teeth gleaming white.
Harrison the Hero leaned over and signed the book right under Tee Bone and Superdekes. Then he paused.
“Wait a minute,” he asked. “How do I know I didn’t just sign my soul over to you?”
Satan laughed. “Look, I may be the Devil, but the rules of contracts are very specific. For me to take your soul via a signed contract, the contract must be clear and understood by all parties. You signed my autograph book, that’s all. Look, check out page three.” The Devil magically flipped to the correct page. “That’s Elvis. And that one? Bruce Lee. You know how hard it was to get those autographs? Those guys aren’t here either. But Hitler is! I could give you a thousand numbered Hitler autographs to sell on eBay, if you want?”
“Uhhh, no thanks!” the three answered in unison.
“Then I thank you for your additions to my collection. I can’t wait to invite Adolf and Joseph to check them out! Farewell, you heroes!”
The Devil snapped his fingers and the three began to fade.
“Bye guys…” waved Harrison to the other two. They both waved back as all three disappeared, leaving the Devil alone with his new treasures.
Deke’s Palace, Thunder Bay.
The two materialized back in their old headquarters. Without a word, each took an armchair and sat, exhausted.
Long silence. An hour. Two hours.
Then Tee Bone stirred.
“Hey Superdekes. Pass the scotch? I could use a drink.”
“You got it, pal,” answered Superdekes. Their glasses clinked, a record spun, and the two friends drank. “You never got that replacement AC/DC vinyl on the Albert Productions label,” he reminded Tee Bone as an afterthought.
“Oh yeah,” said Tee Bone with a yawn. “No worries. We’ll go back and thank that Harrison Holden kid for everything one day. Then we can get you all the new vinyl you want.”
“Right on pal,” said Superdekes as the two friend clinked glasses again.
Until the next adventure!