It was tea time in Bejing and we had sat down for a quiet time of refreshment at Madame Chin's when the Tongs attacked.
I never knew you were so adept at self-defense with nothing but a pair of chopsticks.
Three minutes later, you retook your seat, flicked somebody's spleen off the tablecloth and resumed your tea as if nothing had ever happened.
"Where ..." I gasped, "Where did you learn such martial arts?!?!"
You simply smiled at me over your cup of steaming Jasmine tea. "I see you never ate lunch at the Fullerton College cafeteria."
When the Amazon Women from Mars invaded, Earth was thrown into total turmoil.
Fleeing the rubble of what was left of San Francisco, I found you walking among the wreckage.
"Those alien women are coming!" I cried. "We need to hide!"
You just smiled as you pulled out your ray gun. "Sorry, old chap, but I was one of the advance spies. Mars needs men."
When I came to, it was to discover I was now one of your many slaves.
Mars has such a pretty pink sky.
"Call her name," you said.
"E-e-e-s-Esmerelda!" I called, my voice shaking.
In the shadows you told me the words of love to woo her and I followed your advice and then and there she pledged me her vows of true love.
"I'll be right down!" she cried gaily. I almost wept for joy.
She ran out into the dewy lawn and the moonlight and I reached out to hold her in my arms.
Suddenly she saw me and with a cry of despair, she stopped and suddenly began to weep. "I thought you were Torahanjyuu!" she wailed.
I was the best man at your wedding.
"Please, kind sir," she said, her cheeks flushed from flight. "Can you help a lady is distress?"
She sat in my lap and fiddled with my hair. The police, looking for a mistress of international crime, ignored the romantic couple and ran on.
As their whistles and shouts faded away, she thanked me for my kindness and melted into the bustling Parisian crowds.
Later, back at the hotel, I discovered my wallet was missing.
Likewise, my heart.
"Stay behind me," you yelled as we stormed the beach.
Bullets knit a tattoo of death around us, and though other men's lives were forfeit that bloody day, we made it to the first line of dunes.
"There's a pillbox just over this hill," you said. "Wait here until you hear the grenade go off," You grinned at me like it was a picnic outing.
Far over head, ack-ack guns burst in colors of black and gray as Allied bombers flew deeper into enemy territory to deliver the death they carried in their wombs.
You rolled over the dune and I heard an explosion, but little did I know it wasn't the grenade you had yet to throw.
With a war cry, I stood to run over the dune and took a round in the gut.
When I came too, you were standing over me putting away the suture kit back into the med bag. "I had to jury rig you back together, but you'll be okay."
To this day, I still taste steel canteen when I belch, but you saved my life. I don't think I've ever thanked you.
It was that evening when Dave carelessly showed himself in front of the big glass window.
Next thing we know, ravenous zombies had broken through and it was every man for himself. You stood on the counter and dealt final death to the undead with the biggest pizza cutter I had ever seen.
You got away. The rest of us didn't and I hope you still have the pizza cutter 'cause I'm coming for you and I'm getting really tired of eating nothing but brains and watching pieces of me slowly fall off.
You were an old hand at the spy business. This was first outing.
She was slim and blonde and her legs went all the way to the ground and she wore a red dress that fit her like her own skin.
You swept her off her feet. I sweated and twitched and hiccuped.
When she betrayed us later than night, you smooth talked your way into having her release you from your bonds. She cried and kissed you, provided the keys, and you swept her away to Istanbul where she now works as your new sidekick.
It seems you forgot your old sidekick. The bomb went off and now half my body is now metal and plastic.
I'm now the new Mr. Big and the world's #1 Bad Guy and when you and your new partner come to take me out, you'll find that all my sidekicks are ugly old men you won't be able to seduce.
I would write more, but it's 10 o'clock and I have to go oil myself.
The clues given to us by that dying Mountain Shuar Indian led us to the greatest treasure trove of all, the hidden gold of the Incan leader, Rhumunauhui.
We stood inside the ancient Incan temple and, because of my ignorance, I needed you to read the ancient pictographs on the wall.
"Yes," you said. "The treasure is behind this door. Tell you what. You open it and I'll nip outside to fetch more flashlight batteries.
The treasure was there just as you saw in the ancient inscriptions, but you got the gold and all I got was the curse.
You now live in regal splendor, but I'm just a pile of amorphous slime and if it takes me all night, I'm going to ooze through that front door keyhole.
I'll see you in the morning.
I had watched you walk past my place of business for weeks and one day I had to test my fortune.
You came strolling up the sidewalk and I knelt in front of you holding out a bouquet of true black roses and a box of bonbons made by Belgium chocolatiers from the rich cream of virgin cows. There in the presence of the world, I professed my undying devotion.
You looked at me with a withering glance bordering on pity. "You, sir, are beneath my station."
Today I drown my sorrows in absinthe, but I bear with pride the marks from your stiletto heels made when you walked over me.
The Tyson Mansion was the Mount Everest of haunted houses and nobody had ever explored its arcane mysteries without going completely mad or failing to survive the night's adventures.
At two in the morning the apparition appeared, a grisly horror from a madman's worst nightmare.
In my panic, I dumped my attache case and threw everything I had at it: holy water, onions, sacred symbols, wolfsbane ...
The only effect was a glare of malevolent evil as holy water dripped from its nightmarish visage.
You casually walked up to the monstrosity, looked it straight in the eye, and matter-of-factly said, "I don't believe in you."
It vanished in a puff of skepticism.
Of all the coffeehouses in all the forgotten corners of the world, you had to walk into mine.
Carlton at the piano played The Lady of Shallott in E minor. You stood elegant in a little off-the-shoulders number wearing a perfume that blended the best of jasmine and cinnamon and cardamon.
I treated you to a Coffee Cream Chantilly, my house specialty, and we spent the night sampling arcane coffees from across the world.
In the morning, you excused yourself to powder your nose and when a half hour returned I realized you weren't coming back, especially when I noticed that you had so entranced me you had taken my wallet, my watch, my rings, my Saint Brendan medal, and my truss. You were good!
Keep it all. It's a small price to pay for the pleasure of your company, but please return my heart.
To demonstrate, she drew a butterfly that suddenly shimmered and flew off the page. I watched it flutter about my counseling office.
Razz shook her head in despair. “My apartment is filled with bats, unicorns, fairies, cartoon characters; all of them about the size of an eight by eleven inch sheet of paper.”
I meditated for a moment and then wrote out my prescription. Razz read it and smiled.
The next day, she returned grinning. “I never thought of drawing Aladdin’s lamp,“ she said. “I used my last two wishes to solve my problem.”
I twitched my nose. “Let me guess. Because you doubted his powers, you wasted your first wish on turning me into a giant green rabbit?”
“Bingo!” she said.
I heard her where she sang to herself in the front door of a little beach shanty. “My name is Tracy.”
She showed me mysteries in the tide pools and the sea caves. We explored the vendor stalls and I bought her a straw hat. We fed the pigeons in front of Saint Martin’s. She taught me how to drink Margaritas and how to laugh once again.
That night on my easel, I painted wild arabesques of color, pirouettes of pastels. Inspired fantasies flowed in watercolor.
The next morning, the beach stood empty, no trace of the shanty or its muse.
My watercolors are now famous, my best capturing her features with brightly-colored pigments mixed with my tears.
I nodded and wrote 'Delusional' on my notepad.
He stood and I cried out in surprise and awe as his eyes changed from human to the large orange-slitted orbs of a tiger to the the large dark wisdom wells of a bear. His features changed from feline to ursine and back. A flash of light blinded my eyes.
The receptionist burst into the room. “Dr. Loewen!” she asked, “What happened?”
I sat staring at an empty chair. “The old gods have awakened,” I whispered.
Another wave and gryphons joined the dance.
"I just can’t seem to be able to do that," I complained. I waved my hand and a dyspeptic unicorn smelling of old fish appeared and promptly melted into a greasy puddle. "What am I doing wrong?"
Stoker snapped his fingers and the puddle congealed into a pretty fairy who soared away on streaming wings trailing ginger and violet. "How are you building them?" he asked.
"Just like you. One molecule at a time."
"Ah!" he said with a nod. "There’s your problem. Your building blocks are too large. Start with smaller particles."
"Particles?" I asked. "What particles?"
"Elementary, my dear Loewen. Elementary."
For weeks we regaled ourselves with tales over bottles of Bordeaux from such vintages as Lafite Rothschild, La Conseillante and Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Playing poker, LD ended up owning all of France and most of Belgium.
Two months later, desperate to rejoin our unit, we drank the last of the priceless vintage, cast fate to the wind, and ran out into the night in a mad attempt to breach the lines from behind.
The next morning we found ourselves near frozen in a potato field, our heads pounding.
A farmer told us the war had been over for weeks.