A few seconds, that was all it took; the camera was gone, and my only chance of success with it. As I watched it tumble down into the gaping ravine below, I knew the film within would never be recovered. More importantly, I had to grab on to something fast or I too would share a similar fate to that of my Kodak SLR.
My arms wind-milled almost comically as I flailed wildly in an attempt to maintain my balance. Too late! My footing abandoned me and I tumbled backwards over the cliff edge. Is this it? Is this finally the end for super sleuth journalist Archibald Abergast?
Out of the ether came a hand to rescue me – big and strong and… hairy? No, it couldn't be! It was my arch nemesis, the evil Professor Luther-Dexter, the wide grin taunting me through his bushy black beard. Gripping my wrist tightly he held me up, legs dangling over the chasm, relishing this moment of complete power.
“At last Abergast! How I have yearned for this day!”
I struggled in vain.
“Damn you Luther-Dexter! I should have known you were behind this…”
He cackled loudly.
“But of course! Did you think that the massive avalanche that swept you out here was an accident? Or that it was a mere coincidence that the swamp you waded through was filled with mutant piranhas? Did you really think that a robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex is a product of Mother Nature? You fool!”
“I knew something seemed suspicious! That sentient weather cloud following me around – was that your doing too?”
“…And the two-headed fire-breathing dragon chickens… grown in your labs, I presume?”
“…And the guys in purple jumpsuits wielding ray guns that turned your hair ginger?”
“Who else could be so utterly gifted?”
“…Wait a second. You put that turd through the letter box of my log cabin? You know it stained the rug, right? That was a really expensive! You owe me a new rug, asshole!”
“Er… no that wasn't me. That's actually kind of gross… …But now I wish I had thought of that… Mwahahaha! Anyway, now that you've lost your precious photographic evidence of all my criminal operations, you have nothing. You ARE nothing! Enough talk! Farewell, Abergast!”
And with that he let go.
Luckily, my cat-like reflexes served me well and I managed to grab onto the ledge as I fell. It was only one hand, but I was strong enough. What I didn't count on was the Professor’s boot coming down hard on top of it.
“Die! Die!” he yelled maniacally, stomping wildly.
Quick as a flash I reached up with my other hand and grabbed onto his boot. He tried to shake me off but my vice-like grip remained resolute.
“You think that will save you, little man?” he laughed, quickly undoing his laces. He kicked off his boot but I anticipated his move and latched onto his thick woollen sock instead.
He wriggled his leg desperately, making the sock start to slide off his foot.
“Gah! …What the…?”
The sock was off, but now I had grabbed onto his foot. His toes were hairy and hard with calluses - but I had little choice.
“Damn you…. Let go!”
“Never! Just as Good will never let go… of the fight to defeat Evil!”
“That doesn’t even make sense…!
He was getting desperate - I could see it in his eyes.
It was then that he pulled out his ace in the hole. Reaching down, he unlatched a strap on his leg, releasing it in its entirety. A fake leg! If I weren’t so preoccupied with my imminent doom I would have taken more time to ponder why he would go to the lengths of having a fake leg with hair and calluses on its foot.
It was then I remembered my prototype hang-glider gadget concealed in my belt buckle. These Deus Ex Machina Products certainly lived up to their name, I thought to myself as I pressed the switch, releasing the contraption. Professor Luther-Dexter looked on enraged as the wings caught the air, sweeping me to safety.
“I’ll get you Abergast! This isn’t over yet!” he bellowed, the figure hopping up and down on one leg slowly getting smaller as I glided further away.
“You owe me a new rug, asshole!” I retorted.
His voice echoed as the distance between us grew.
“I told you, that wasn't meeeeeeeeeee……….!”
30th August 2012