13 years in the making



Mika Huy, reporter and all-round feisty female protagonist, sat at her desk wondering when something newsworthy would occur in Reality-on-the-Norm again. She recalled the good old days of murder, reincarnation, politics and evil geniuses. It seemed like only last week that she was discoving a nefarious plot by some politician. She checked her calendar: it was last week. It seemed so long ago.

Mika got up and went to the stationery cupboard. Inside, she found a yoghurt pot. Whatever could that be doing there? Puzzled, she closed the cupboard and took the pot to her desk. Just then, there was a knock on the door.

"Come in," she called. The Sherrif steeped into The Realizer's office and closed the door.

"Hello, Sherrif," she said, "What's the story in Reality today?"

"Mika, there's something very strange going on in the town. People are painting their houses in all kinds of bright, garish colours and some of them were singing songs about who they were. Its all rather peculiar".

"Ah, and you wanted to call on my incredible investigative powers since those indiginous to the Reality police department are somewhat lacking?"

"No, I wondered if you knew where I could get some paint. I feel like the police station could do with a touch of pink"

Mika raised an eyebrow, "Well, I suggest you try Yahtzeebrand, Sherriff"

"Thanks, Miss Huylie" he shouted as he dashed outside. Very strange, she thought. Then, Mika heard him singing in the street and ran to the window...

"Can you see all the different coloured houses in Re-al-it-y?
Well, it's part of the story in BalaRONy says 'Which is the house for me?'
Is it yellow, is it red, or should we go to the green house instead?
White, orange, blue or pink, which coloured house do you think?"

Then he went into the store.

"There's definately something afoot", she thought to herself and grabbing her reporter's notebook and pen, she set out to find what was going on.

Now, the trouble with Reality, she had found, is that there were just too many people who could be to blame for unusual happenings. Since she had to start somewhere, it may as well be with someone she liked: Davy.

On arriving at Davy's house, her heart sank. His whole house had been painted black: the strange goings on had obviously affected him, too. When he opened the door, before she had a chance to say anything, Davy too burst into song:

"I'm Davy, the necromancer,
I know how magic's done
I can cast a spell for anything
Magic is such fun!

I'm always on the lookout for ingredients I can use
Collecting odds and ends from all of my friends,
to make a bit of new voodoo"

Mika slapped Davy across the face. Stunned, he stared at her. "Wow, that actually works," she said, "I thought it was just a movie thing".

"Why did you just sing that absurd song, Davy?" she asked.

"I'm not sure: it just seemed like a good idea at the time. So, what's the story in Reality?"

"Hey, I said something like that earlier. I hope its not getting to me too. It seems that the whole town has gone slightly nuts: they're all painting their houses funny colours and singing about their identities"

"Sounds a bit emo to me. Well, I can assure you that its nothing to do with me. I can't even begin to think how you'd cast a spell to do that, let alone why"

"But can you cast a spell to protect us from the influence of whatever it is?"

Davy furrowed his brow and disappeared. Mika tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for his return. At last, he reappeared, holding a foul-smelling liquid in a dirty-looking bowl.

"I'm not drinking that!"

"No, no, its not for internal use, it requires topical application"

Mika smirked, "Well, Davy, are you going to rub it all over me?"

"I'm afraid not: it contains peanuts and I'm allergic I'm afraid"

"Hmpf!" Mika rubbed the foul brew over herself and felt a bit more clear-headed. "It seems to be working"

"I fear that I am about to break into song again, Mika. I will hide in my bathroom until you can sort this out, as Elandra tells me it is scientifically proven that sining sounds best in the bathroom. Tiled surfaces or somesuch."

Armed with her stinky lotion, Mika set off to look for clues. Maybe she could enlist Max Griff's assistance.

"If you have a little problem, do not frown, do not frown,
those things all lost and stolen can be found, can be found,
Do not touch a thing around you, not a stiff, not a stiff,
just call up your PI, Maxi Griff (Maxi Griff)"

"Oh no, not him as well!"

After waiting for Max to conclude his ditty, Mika filled him in on the goings on.

"What was that word that you said the Sherriff sang, Mika?" he asked.

"BalaRONy, I think"

"Hmmm, that's what it said too on this invitation card I found near Dr Van Ess's"

"Ahah! Let us go and interrogate him and get to the bottom of this"

Mika and Max headed up to the imposing mansion of the devious doctor. There were many cars outside, some with logos of major television companies. They crept up to a window, to see if they could see what was going on inside.

Dr Van Ess stood on a makeshift stage, and was telling a crowd of TV executives before him about his plans "... and BalaRONY will herald a new era in children's TV entertainment. Now, some of you have been worried about actors leaving long-running series, or demanding increasing wages as the series gets more popular. BalaRONy has no such problem, as I use my hypnotic mind control machine to enslave the population of Reality"

The executives give the doctor a standing ovation. Mika turns to Max and whispers "My goodness! Can it get any worse?"

At that moment, The Mayor of Reality steps onto the stage. He clears his throat. Dr Van Ess says "Even a zombie can be controlled by my machine, behold"

"Micheal Gower is my name,
Lurching and brains are my games
I'm always feeling urges
to tear at living flesh
But do not be in fear
'cause my life began with death!

Scream out, a little louder
Wave your hands
Scream out, a little louder
Run in panic

Sometimes I get the feeling I want you all to die
Then we can have a zombie party, and eat cerebellum pie

Micheal Gower is my name,
Now politics is my game
Some candidates will bore you
And make you wish you're dead
I REALLY know how it feels
So *I* should be elected"

It was then that Mika decided that this could go on no longer. Heaving a rock through the window, she jumped over the shards of glass into the room.

"Stop this now! You executives must know that it is wrong to control the minds of innocent people!"

The audience stared at her, impassively.

"And besides, Davy has found a cure, a lotion that will stop this evil plan working ( for those without allergies )". Mika pulled out the jar of pungent potion and took off the lid.

Turning towards the mayor, who still had a glazed look in his eyes, she appealed to him. "You can fight it, Mayor! Don't stand there like a mindless, like a mindless, well, zombie!"

Turning back, she saw that the audience had fled. "Hah!" she yelled in triumph, "They saw the error of their ways".

"No, my dear," said the smooth tones of Dr Van Ess behind her, "the terrible stink of that stuff you're smeared in and the pot made them run off. Now you spoiled my plans to make a fortune from merchandising to impressionable kids. You will pay!"

"Actually, I don't think so," said Max, an axe over his shoulder. "I think it's time to bury the hatchett on this one, and I did, right in your evil machine"

Max took Mika by the arm and led her out of the building.

"Well, another mystry solved"

"And another story for the Realiser. I wonder if there will be any permanent effects"

"No, I think that we'll all be OK now".

Later, Mika sat in the Realiser office, a fresh sheet of paper in the typewriter in front of her. Thinking out loud, she said,

"So, what was the story in Reality today!"