JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 25

Wake Up Call: Finding a girl in your bedroom is an unpleasant experience when you’re Jake Blatowski!

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 25: WAKE UP CALL

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Jake spun around. There in the corner next to the door sat a girl, curled up in a ball with her knees against her chest. She must have been hiding behind the door when he came in. She had her right arm pointed at him, her hand bunched into a fist. That hand was shaking.

“Who—?”

With a loud clatter like tumbling kitchen utensils, several objects jumped out of her wrist: white knobs, spheres, and lozenges, all with long, gray tubes attached to them. The tubes pointed at him.

Tears ran down the girl’s face. She shuddered and ducked her head. “I’m … I’m r-really s-sorry—”

So dumbfounded was he that it took him several seconds to realize she had a dozen guns trained on him, enough time for her to shoot him several times over. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 25”

Jake and Dana’s St. Valentine’s Day Extravaganza

Revenge is sweet, but obligatory Valentine’s Day chocolate is sweeter still.

Jake and Dana’s St. Valentine’s Day Extravaganza

It was late afternoon on St. Valentine’s Day. Now that school was out, Jake and Ralph sat on the floor in front of the couch and played a video game.

The game, specifically, was a port of Magical Girl Rumble for the Nintendo Ultimate. Although not a bad fighting game, it didn’t compare to the arcade version: it had only twenty playable girls instead of thousands, and somebody had decided not to bother taking advantage of the Ultimate’s motion sensor technology, so they had to play the old-fashioned way with handheld controllers.

“Boom!” Ralph shouted as he executed a devastating triple combo with Razor Urchin’s monomolecular filament. “You’re dead, dude. Just a few more hits, and—”

Jake mashed buttons until his Pretty Dynamo avatar jabbed and slashed with her spear, finally pinning Razor Urchin against a bombed-out building. Once Urchin’s health bar slid down to zero, she bounced into the air in slow motion before slamming hard into the pavement.

Jake dropped his controller. “Thank you, thank you. I’m here all night.”

“Ah, you got lucky! Where’s your stash?”

Jake reached behind himself, grabbed a plastic grocery bag off the sofa, and tossed it into Ralph’s lap.

“Ya gotta admit,” Ralph said as he dug through the bag’s contents, “going back to fifth grade has its perks.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Are you kiddin’? Just look at this haul. I haven’t seen this much obligatory chocolate since—”

“Since fifth grade?” Continue reading “Jake and Dana’s St. Valentine’s Day Extravaganza”

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 24

Bitter Tears: Does Dana Volt’s dark secret conceal a deadly threat?

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 24: BITTER TEARS

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Jake sat on the sofa with his parents and fidgeted. He swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and tried to steel himself for what was likely to be the most awkward meeting of his life.

“Don’t mention Pretty Dynamo,” his mother said for the hundredth time as she patted his shoulder. “Just don’t mention her.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “I won’t, Mom—”

“And if you go out with Pretty Dynamo again, maybe you should wear a mask,” she added. “And if you talk to any reporters or anything, change your voice.”

“Change my voice? How?”

“I don’t know. Pretend you have a smoker’s cough. Like Batman.”

“Mom, Batman is fictional. I’m running around with magical girls, not cartoon characters.” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 24”

Pizza Margherita! Part 3 of 3

When health food goes bad, pizza gets mad!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 3 of 3

READ PART 1 | READ PART 2

Pizza Margherita flew over a desolate, broken landscape. The moon and the twinkling stars offered only a little light. The distant horizon glowed a faint red, but that wasn’t an approaching dawn: it was the glow of lava from the volcanos that had sprung up across the globe during the upheavals of the First Invasion, the onslaught that wiped out most of humanity.

Margherita never veered from her course. The Pie in Sky was swift and silent. The land below was nothing but a dark blur, so Margherita and Pepper were spared the sight of broad plains of glassy sand fused by alien weaponry, of vast seas of rubble that were formerly human cities, and of the bleached bones of the countless dead. Urbanopolis was the Earth’s one remaining habitation. All the rest of the planet was now the tomb of a once-great species.

“I’ll show you, Tosser,” Margherita whispered. “I’ll show you what happens when Pizza goes bad.” Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 3 of 3”

Pizza Margherita! Part 2 of 3

When darkness cover the land, pizza makes its final stand!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 2 of 3

READ PART 1 | READ PART 3

It was now one in the morning. Smarting from the recent disaster at the Unnatural History Museum, Magical Girl Space Princess Pizza Margherita and her faithful dog Pepper had retired to the Tomato Base, their secret hideout hidden in an old pizzeria down by the docks. This abandoned restaurant had been decidedly run-down when they first found it, but Margherita had spruced up the place. However, the carpet was still full of holes and the old tables were still piled in a corner. Cockroaches occasionally crawled around the floor. The wood-fired brick pizza oven, however, was intact and pristine. It stood behind the short-order bar, where it had been in full view of the customers.

Where a stainless steel kitchen counter had formerly stood, Pepper had installed a massive supercomputer, its surface full of knobs, switches, flashing lights, and blinking screens. Running on PizzaTech, the magic that Pepper had brought to Earth from Planet Italia, this computer required no electricity: it could easily and rapidly perform the most complex calculations as long as it had a steady supply of fresh ingredients. At the moment, Pepper stood on top of the bulky machine and grated a block of mozzarella cheese into its fuel tank. Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 2 of 3”

Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3

When killer vegetables attack, pizza bites back!

In honor of National Pizza Day, we present this three-part short story featuring the sauciest—and cheesiest!—magical girl in all of Urbanopolis: Space Princess Pizza Margherita! Enjoy this story I decided to write just now … and did!

This is an official prequel to Jake and the Dynamo!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 1 of 3

READ PART 2 | READ PART 3

Midnight. In the midst of a sea of coldly twinkling stars, the full moon hung over Urbanopolis, and in the Sea of Serenity, the lights of the Eternal Kingdom were steady, clear, and unblinking. Down below, the citizens of man’s last city slumbered peacefully in their beds. It was a cool night, a clear night, a calm night. As the Urbanopolitans love to say, The Moon Princess is in her sailor suit, and all’s right with the world.

But hark! A crash of breaking glass! The lonely, frantic wail of an alarm! Once again, an evildoer has shattered the city’s peace—for there is no rest for the wicked.

In the lavish, velvet-carpeted lobby of the Unnatural History Museum, the night guards made their final stand. Armed only with nightsticks and conventional firearms, they stood no chance against the slavering, vicious horde that skittered through the smashed glass entryway. Foul, greenish beasts, their backs covered in rustling leaves and their insect-like limbs crackling with every twist and bend, poured in like a flood. The guards overturned tables and display cases to set up a barrier, but it did no good. The creatures swept them aside, heedless of the bullets from the guards’ pistols. They picked up screaming men who begged for their lives or called for their mothers, and threw them whole into their slavering maws. Deep in their gullets, the drowning, dying men dissolved in the monsters’ digestive vegetable juices. These monstrosities were neither animal nor mineral: they were the Salad Soldiers, carnivorous plants grown in the volcanic wilds of the Earth’s hollow core. In man’s last days, these fell creatures had ascended to the surface to claim their place as the planet’s new overlords. Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3”

Jake and the Dynamo Fan Art #3

Featured image: “Jake and Dana” by Roffles Lowell.

I asked Roffles if he’d be willing to draw Jake and Dana together, and he came through. Looks like Jake finally got Dana that juice box he owes her, though from the design on the box, it looks like he didn’t find strawberry milk. That’s probably why she’s pouting. Of course, she’d pout anyway. I like the big brother/little sister vibe he’s captured in this drawing. Three different artists have produced interpretations of the characters now, but I believe this is our first picture of Dana in her non-magical form.

Roffles doesn’t like the way I dress Dana and has told me so, so he went his own route with her clothes. But the joke’s on him: she’d probably be perfectly comfortable in ripped jeans and sneakers.

For the record, Dana’s canonical couture is based on Jake and the Dynamo‘s inspiration. Before I went to bed and had the dream about Jake and Dana that eventually became the serial novel, I was watching the anime adaptation of Shugo Chara, an influential and successful magical girl title from the beginning of this millennium, created by the two-woman manga-ka team Peach-Pit (who are probably best known, at least in the U.S., for Rozen Maiden, which has a substantial internet cult following).

Anyway, the protagonist of Shugo Chara is a fifth-grader whose mode of dress is described in-universe as “Goth-punk.” I attempted to mimic the look, more or less, with Dana’s wardrobe.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 23

The Beach Episode of Darkness: Can Marionette win a battle of wills against the enemy within her own mind?

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 23: THE BEACH EPISODE OF DARKNESS

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On the desolate slope of a craggy mountain where no snow fell and no flowers grew, a high castle of black basalt stood resilient against the biting, howling wind. Deep in the castle’s bowels, the Dark Queen, mistress of all that is base and wicked, sat upon her throne of black obsidian, tapped the six-inch stiletto heel of one of her onyx-encrusted pumps against her footstool, and read the newspaper.

For several minutes, she read in regal silence. Then, at last, she slowly and with great dignity lowered the paper to her lap.

“Darn it!” she shouted. “I can’t take it anymore! Somebody bring me a lamp! A lamp with one of those full-spectrum daylight bulbs! And cute cartoon characters on the lampshade! And make sure it’s an incandescent or an LED bulb, too, not that other kind! I don’t need mercury poisoning to go with the bad eyes!” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 23”

J&tD Update

Featured image: “magical girl yellow” by SY-97Satellites

I just wrote the last word of the rough draft of chapter 23 of Jake and the Dynamo. It really didn’t want to “go” for a while until I figured out which scenes were missing. It also ended up being forty-four pages long, which makes this beach episode the longest chapter of the novel so far.

I’ll see how soon I can get it out. Probably this week.

Jake and the Dynamo Fan Art #2

Featured image: “Sukeban Tsubasa vs. the Demoniac” by Roffles Lowell.

CODENAME: Magical Girl Sukeban Tsubasa
ALTER EGO: Unknown
FAMILIAR: Kobe the tanuki.
CURRENT AGE: 15
THREAT LEVEL COMPETENCY: 2.4
MAGITECH: Gadgetry

When a spacefaring alien decided to upgrade to the latest model of mecha power suit, he gave his old model to a teenage human girl because he knew he could write it off as a tax-deductible donation. Thus, Magical Girl Sukeban Tsubasa was born.

Tsubasa’s identity is unknown. She has been seen primarily in New Beijing, though her name suggests Japanese origin. Her bizarre accent, however, is unidentified. As a brand new magical girl, Tsubasa recently made waves when she single-handedly and in a single evening cleared New Beijing of both zombies and robot dinosaurs from space. Although her threat level competency is modest, a formidable arsenal suggests that it is likely to rise rapidly.

Tsubasa’s power suit may not look like much, but it uses truncated superstrings to store a vast array of weaponry inside a pocket dimension, which Tsubasa can access through her bracelets. To assist her, the suit comes with a self-aware instruction manual that by sheer coincidence resembles a Japanese raccoon dog.

The full range of her weapons is unknown. However, it has been confirmed that the suit has a built-in antigrav unit that allows her to fly and hover. Astonishingly, she recently used a nanoprobe cannon to perform an exorcism, an ability not typically observed in magical girls who receive their powers from extraterrestrial rather than spiritual sources.

According to her own statement, she has, quote, “more guns dan a Navarrone rummage sale.” Experts are still debating what this means.

Although she has only been a magical girl for a few days, Tsubasa already has an avid fan following, primarily because of the way she boasts of scandalous behavior. Dubbed the “bad girl of magical girls,” Tsubasa claims to engage regularly in what she calls “bad stuff,” including such un-magical-girl-like behavior as smoking, drinking, vandalism, and hanging out with boys. She has not yet been observed in male company, but insists that she has several boyfriends.

Her most shocking act to date is challenging Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo to single combat. Pretty Dynamo is currently the highest-rated magical girl in Urbanopolis, with a threat competency rating of 9.0. However, critics and magical girl experts point out that Dynamo’s arsenal of electrical weapons is highly specialized. This makes her ideal for taking down large kaiju (and thus achieving a high rating), but can hinder her when facing other threats. Tsubasa has already demonstrated that she is considerably more versatile.

Tsubasa’s fans have petitioned the Threat Assessment Board to raise Tsubasa’s rating to 9.1 if she successfully overcomes Dynamo in a match. However, some experts warn that adjusting a girl’s rating when she fights other magical girls could set a dangerous precedent, as it might encourage more intra-sororal battles in the magical girl community and thereby focus the girls’ attention on competing for ratings rather than their true task, which is defeating the monsters bent on mankind’s destruction.