Title: Not Everything Brainless is Dead
Author : Joshua Price
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Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
I’ve always been quite the goof, and at the same time I’ve always had a fond love of both the written word and nerdy things like comic books, superheroes, and zombies. So the book seemed like a natural amalgamation of the four.
Tell us about the book cover.
I made the book cover myself! It’s the outcome of a twelve hour Adobe binge, one in which I had no clue what I was doing when I began, so it was quite the learning experience and I am quite pleased with the outcome.
How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I think it does a splendid job conveying the spirit of the book. The typography and the banners give it a real comic book vibe, I think. The stick figure zombie is a tad bit ghastly, while still being relatively goofy so that nobody takes it too seriously.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
You can find my nonsensical ramblings at http://thejosh86.blogspot.com/. I can also be followed on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/thejosh86, where you can find my nonsensical ramblings in a 140 character format, much to my dismay.
The only thing standing between Dr. Malevolent and her salary was the large brick wall of the bank that held it. This bank, however, went by another name, an ostentatious name: The Bank. Intimidating yes—but it is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy, one that, unremarkably, worked perfectly. Everyone and their mothers flocked to The Bank. Regular Joes put their money in while criminals took it right back out. In retrospect, the founders would have had better luck naming their bank Cletus’s Farm Depot, but then, of course, it would be flocked to by nothing but hillbillies.
The story of how The Bank got its name was one of adventure and deceit. Before settling on its current and exceedingly successful moniker, much deliberation transpired of possible other names. To settle this deadlock, board members were asked to submit their suggestions so it could be put it to a vote. Dozens upon dozens of names found their way into the top hat, most of which were quite terrible. After a lengthy process, they had their winner. Shortly thereafter, they threw the winner out and The Bank was chosen. The other suggestions, like making the B backwards, or stylizing the name like “Banque” or “Baynk”, were collectively deemed lame, not a term the well-dressed businessmen used lightly.
Bank naming semantics aside, the most pressing concern right now, of course, is who is Dr. Malevolent? To answer that simply, she’s not only the most audacious, brilliant criminal mastermind the world has ever known, but she’s also the head of her own criminal organization that employs dozens of hardened criminals, liars, cheats, and a few flat out crazies. Like any good super villain, she is up to her dirty old trick again, refusing to learn any differently.
Right now, her lackeys are in position to breach The Bank, its succulent benefits ripe for the reaping. This, however, was not just a heist with the sole goal of getting rich. As everyone knows, all major criminals need to eat, pay their employees, take their dog to the vet when he eats those things he shouldn’t, spend all that money trying to figure out how to blow up the world, replace all their DVDs with their Blu-ray counterparts, so on and so forth. Since super villains didn’t exactly pay taxes or hold steady jobs, they needed to make ends meet somehow, even if it meant robbing banks or ripping candy from the hands of shrieking babies.
The city’s clock tower rang out, 3:00 in the afternoon, the perfect time for a bank robbery. Dr. Malevolent and her crew had slipped down a dark alley behind the bank and away from the prying eyes of pedestrians, although she wouldn’t be opposed to one or two eyes, after all, any publicity is good publicity, even more so those eyes belonged to possible recuits. With an air of embellished arrogance, the good doctor turned to her lead goon, Boris, and spouted the order, “Place the charges and let’s do this!”
“Sure thing, boss,” he replied through a feigned Russian accent. Boris was, after all, from the great state of Iowa. His parents had given him the birth name of Cecil DeWitt and he, among other things, enjoyed to role-play. On weekends (or weekdays that he felt he just needed to get away from the stresses of super villainy) Boris went by Charlie, a very tall and quite fuzzy blue bunny rabbit on a quest to find his one true love. He was not fussy though, any animal would do; it did not have to be another rabbit. He would have been just as happy with a fox, or a raccoon, or even those cute twins who ran around in a pantomime horse.
Dr. Malevolent glanced over to her second in command, who showed all the signs of being lost in one of his furry fantasies, not that it took mastery in the subtleties of the human face to point them out. Among other things, Boris’ eyes glazed over and his tongue rolled out of his mouth. She reminded him that there were no furry animals within the bank’s vault (that she knew of) and slapped the back of his head. He had other concerns—like the door frame he had lined with nothing less than a metric shit-ton of C5 (C4’s big brother), an amount fit only for a super villain like Boris, who enjoyed things in excess, from explosives to furry animals. However, this much C5 would not only allow them access to the building, but could possibly level a few square blocks of the city in the process. To make the situation truly ironic, the door was unlocked. Not that it would have persuaded Boris from blowing it up anyway.
With a scamper and a skip (they have a flair for this sort of thing), the small group of criminals darted around the corner of the bank. Once in place, everyone slid their fingers into their ears to shield themselves from the forthcoming blast—a blast that had a high chance of liquefying their brains.
“Hit it!” Dr. Malevolent yelled to Boris, who did not budge. Clearly the old finger-in-the-ear trick worked wonders for noise cancellation in this backwards little universe.
“Hit it!” She repeated.
“What?” Boris yelled with his fingers still plugged into his ears. Dr. Malevolent yanked at his hand, plucking it from its humble abode.
With hushed annoyance, Dr. Malevolent practically whispered, “Blow up the damn door.”
She and Boris reinserted their fingers into their ears, and then Boris tried as best he could to press the switch using something other than his hands. He was eventually able to devise a way to nudge it with his elbow, and the ensuing shockwave tore through the city, shattering glass and causing babies in every direction to cry. After the ringing in her and Boris’ ears subsided, Dr. Malevolent and her little gang of lackeys scurried out from around the corner and approached the door, only to find it still standing. What was not standing was the wall, which had been completely decimated by the blast. Dr. Malevolent sighed as she watched a section that had been dangling from the ceiling fall to the floor. The establishment had apparently spent millions to fortify the door, only to leave a paper-mâché wall surrounding it.
Boris did the only thing he could think of as the situation presented itself; he reached to see whether the door was locked and chuckled at the fact that it was not. He shoved it forcefully, causing it to spin around on its hinges and collide with one of Dr. Malevolent’s lackeys.
The evil genius glared at Boris and uttered one word in compliment, “Smooth.”
His lips morphed into a wide smirk and they entered the bank.
What would a super villain be without her super hero counterpart? The simple answer to that little riddle is obviously: a lot happier. If super villains dreamed of one thing at night, it would be a life without the incessant battling back and forth with their super hero foil, but that would mean that any super villain would have free reign to do as he or she pleased, something nobody wanted. On top of that, without super villains, super heroes would have to get a real job.
Speaking of extraordinary super heroes, the guest of honor appears to be running a little late. This is probably due to traffic, or maybe he got lost. It’s also possible that he has yet to leave because he’s busy watching scrambled programs on cable television, but fear not, for he is sure to appear just when needed the most, just when the fate of mankind seems to hang in the balance—as any hero does.
In the meantime, a large gaping hole resided rent-free in one of the walls neighboring the bank vault. With work on the doorway completed, masked men poured into the room. Although, because they were masked, there was really no way of telling what they were, and since this was not the time to jump to such blatant conclusions, these masked “men” could have easily been masked women, or zombies, or werewolves, or aliens, or vampires, or even pantomime people with chimpanzees hiding within.
These masked—beings—poured into the vault, bags embroidered with the cliché money symbol upon their face at the ready, but since these bags were round, they did not exactly have faces to begin with. Face just refers to the side with the money symbol. Actually, since round objects do not exactly have sides, this was not correct either. Screw it, the man of the hour has arrived, so this needless rambling can end as abruptly as it began.
Perched on a rooftop’s ledge, a man wearing a black domino mask stood alone with dark mascara around his eyes (this was not normally part of the ensemble, and was probably leftover from lady’s night at the bars). Covering his body was a purple spandex outfit that rode into God-knows-where. This suit came equipped with a pair of glossy black gloves and matching boots, as well as an extremely ornate utility belt that would have made even a certain dark knight jealous. It was mainly just for show; the crime-fighting tools contained within were just too much for him to manage on his own. Rest assured, though, he worked diligently to figure it all out, slaving over the foreign language sections of the user’s manual night after night. To complete this look, a simple black cape extended just past his buttocks with his hands resting triumphantly upon his love handles and his head held heroically upwards ever so slightly.
As the beacon of hope stood atop the ledge, the solitary doorway stories below (looking just as heroic), he came to a sudden realization: he was deathly afraid of heights. This ledge may not have been the wisest of decisions for an observation point. Nevertheless, a hero must do what a hero must do, and this hero must flee from the rooftop before he hurls all over the heads of the bank robbers below—an act that, if anything, would rob him of the element of surprise—one of the few elements he had within his super hero repertoire.
What methods or gadgets would an amazing hero such as this have for descending the six stories from here to the ground? Well, aside from the ever-popular face plant, valiant defenders of truth and justice have a multitude of means in which to scale such great heights, realize they’re deathly afraid of them, and then come screaming back down. The one he is going to demonstrate today is easily, and quite secretly, the most popular. With that, he made a beeline for the stairwell, cape billowing in the wind. That’s right, kids, true heroes use the stairs.
Back at the scene of the crime, the coterie of criminals had begun loading their getaway van with everything held inside the bank vault, including money, jewelry, and vials of strange green liquid that were certainly no good for anyone. From atop its roof, Dr. Malevolent oversaw the loading of the van, which had the words “Getaway Van” painted elegantly upon its sides, and yes, the roof was a particularly odd spot to oversee anything.
Dr. Malevolent did have a flare for the dramatic, either that or she just wanted to give her hard working employees a free peep show. After all, there was an ample amount of leather underneath that simple white lab coat, which framed her voluptuous breasts perfectly. To keep her glistening brown hair out of the way while conquering the world, Dr. Malevolent usually kept in tied in a ponytail.
In her hand, she waved about an inanimate carbon rod, her signature and third-in-command next to Boris. Many villains had something to make them unique. Some had weapons like hers, others had disfiguring scars, and yet others were made unique because of their mental dispositions. These villains felt that society had somehow wronged them and were compelled to strike out against it. However, in the case of signature weapons, most villains usually opted for something more intimidating than a simple rod. Needless to say, it was probably time for an upgrade.
Just before the lackeys loaded the van with the last of the stolen goods, a booming voice echoed out, “Well, what have we here!”
The bank robbers instinctively dropped what they were doing and snapped their heads towards the voice. The source of which was none other than the masked man in purple standing on a pile of rubble near the solitary door. A door that stood as a testament to doors everywhere that if they wanted to succeed and be awesome, all they needed to do was simply believe in themselves (and withstand a metric shit-ton of C5).
Dr. Malevolent snapped back at him, “Why if it isn’t Captain Rescue! What we have here, you two-bit imbecile, is your undoing!”
“We’ll just have to see who undoes who!”
“It’s who undoes ‘whom’, you blabbering idiot.”
“Hey, my job is to save the world, not speak good.”
Dr. Malevolent cringed, “Boys, take care of him.”
The hero cracked his knuckles and then took a single step forward. At precisely that same moment in time, the loose rubble he had been standing on decided to stop cooperating—it was bound to happen eventually. As it slid out from under him, Captain Rescue lost his footing and fell flat on his back. During this tumble, he decided that, in the future, it was best not to make heroic entrances from atop unstable piles of rubble.
Dr. Malevolent’s lackeys swarmed the hero before he had the chance to get back to his feet, leaving him in one dilly of a pickle. Fortunately, the mild-mannered defender was quite a fan of those delightful kosher treats. As six men scrambled to subdue him (a job that could have easily been carried out by just one), his mind drifted to those green wonders and the situation became a little more bearable.
“Look boys, we caught ourselves a little toy!” Dr. Malevolent said, grinning wickedly at Captain Rescue as she knelt down to look him in the eyes. She drew her rod back and slapped him across the jaw.
“Your hair smells pretty,” the hero said in a daze, clearly suffering from a sudden onset of Stockholm syndrome. He spat a little blood from his mouth and then leaned in slightly, almost expecting a kiss. What he found was the rod as it made another pass.
“Tie him up! We’re taking him on a little trip,” Dr. Malevolent ordered as she straightened herself, kicking him in the gut with her boot.
“Perfect! Play right into my hands, why don’t you!” Captain Rescue said, his white teeth sparling as he smiled to the various lackeys, who were busy tying his arms behind his back. They hauled the bound Captain Rescue to the van and tossed him in with the stolen goods. The hero had read somewhere that that whenever faced with a hostage situation to remain pleasant to the captors. He had some serious second thoughts about this idea as his fanny bounced painfully against the cold steel of the van. The back doors closing ominously reinforced these doubts further as he found himself shut in with the crooks. Nevertheless, he continued smiling through the darkness—even if nobody could see.