Michael Dukakis bestrode the deck of the Alejandro Jodorowsky, his washboard abs rippling. The mighty battleship cut through the turbulent seas, and cold, salty spray crashed over the bow. “Maybe I should put a shirt on,” Dukakis mused.
On the bridge, surveying the horizon with steely gray eyes, Dukakis pulled a crisp white tunic over his latissimi dorsi. “Bring my hot coco,” he commanded peremptorily. Dukakis regarded the picture on the mug, of a clown in bright primary colors filling out a W-2, and chuckled.
“The World Controller is on the wireless, sir.”
Dukakis took the handset. “What is it, babe?”
The World Controller was grave. “Michael, there’s something I have to tell you. We are all androids. We’re replicas of humans who lived during the Golden Age of Earth.”
Dukakis was speechless. Then he said, “I know we’re all androids! I’m the one who told you that!”
“You did?” the World Controller asked shrewdly. “I guess I should stop eating all those hashish cupcakes.”
It seemed like forever since Dukakis had sat in that courtroom as the prosecutor droned on and on. Accusations floated through the haze of boredom: “crimes against nature,” “slave trafficking,” “children as human shields.” It was hard to believe that everything that happened since—how a poorly chaperoned bathroom break allowed him to flee to the skyscraper’s rooftop garden, where a Zeppelin piloted by fellow secret agent H. Ross Perot lowered its rope ladder to snag him as it passed, and then, after an attack by a squadron of biplanes set the airship on fire, how Dukakis parachuted to safety just moments before the blazing Zeppelin crashed into the newly chrome-plated Statue of Liberty, and then his escape to the fleet waiting offshore—had taken only fifteen minutes.
Dukakis leapt from the wrecked battleship with feline grace. He walked through the jungle to the mansion. The dizzying, labyrinthine architecture was crowded with the aristocratic detritus of three centuries: a lugubrious Artemis encrusted with lichen shared a plinth with a gilded Dolly Parton; a jeweled astrolabe sat atop an antique Whac-a-Mole.
After thirty minutes, Dukakis threw down the mallet in disgust and proceeded into the lounge. As he stood among the overstuffed leather armchairs, the room redolent of cloves, camphor, and the rich earth of the Ethiopian Uplands after the rains, a voice rang out from the mezzanine: “Welcome, Michael. I’ve been expecting you.”
Dukakis was about to turn and discover the true identity of the criminal mastermind known only as Doctor Praetorian, but he wanted to pad out the word count some more, so he turned so slowly that the revelation had to wait until the next installment of. . . The Pharaoh’s Revenge!