There he was, my greatest nemesis of all time, Dr Petrubia. The man who had kidnapped electricity and held it for ransom. The man who had developed an instant cure for ringworm and then withheld it from a desperate public. I should have known that Mr. Leopard wasn't smart enough to design this thing on his own. I leapt over the kitty litter, my arms in battle position and aimed at Mr. Leopard's throat.
"The bomb is completely done," said Petrubia.
Mr. Leopard dodged my attack and then somersaulted back to slam his hand onto a large button.
"Then it seems I have no more use for you..."
The room that Dr. Petrubia was working in was suddenly encased in thick glass, and was rapidly filling with kitty litter. He howled in rage, pointing at Leopard and shooting tiny bullets of spit onto the glass as he shouted. Meanwhile, the cat man had leaped from the platform and disappeared into the pit below. A computerized voice began a countdown from ten. I hesitated. Should I go after Mr. Leopard? Try to stop the bomb launch? Save Dr. Petrubia's life, evil as he was?
It looked like I would have to do all at once. I activated my rocket boots and straightened my tie.
Dr. Petrubia sits across from me calmly. His eyes narrow slightly. A twitch in his shoulder. Is he preparing to move his arm?
"So," he says.
"So," I say.
A loaded pause. Finally.
"Would you mind...if I had that last potato chip?" he asks.
"No, go ahead."
His hand darts out and grabs the chip.
Ever since we ran into each other for the first time in years, Dr. Petrubia and I have become best friends. We have both reached that point in our respective careers where there's not a soul in the world who cares what we do anymore, so we have chosen to be the ones to care about each other. Our friendship has had some rocky bits, points of contention from epic battles past, but generally we get along as well as ex-nemeses can.
"Do you remember Mr. Leopard?" I say through a mouthful of bologna sandwich. Petrubia's face darkens.
"Oh...I remember the man. A little hard to forget the ones who completely betray you and leave you to choke to death in a giant waste receptacle. Why?"
I flip the newspaper over to him and point at a small headline towards the bottom of the page. Petrubia reads the article slowly, a few times. His mouth is not exactly a smile, but his eyes are beaming.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.