Empire on Ice #28: The Empire on Ice Skaters: The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 3
This week! The evil criminal mastermind Doctor Silence von Kablooey has stolen all the Valentine's Day chocolates in Joshalonia. The Empire on Ice Skaters, determined to stop her, have gone to her treacherous tower and defeated her vile henchmates the Black Brothers, and dissuaded their apprentice Afiach Bard from the temptations of villainy. Now our fleet-footed heroes have climbed the top of Silence treacherous tower, and the final showdown is at hand. But what menacing mischief awaits them? Surely Silence won't give up without a fight! The fate of Valentine's Day hangs in the balance, in The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 3!
[At Doctor Silence von Kablooey's maniacally tall tower, the Empire on Ice Skaters finally skate their way to the top floor. Exhausted and panting, they nonetheless have little time to rest as more henchmates and traps appear. They skate their way past these obstacles, all while retaining the good aesthetic form necessary to respectfully and compellingly convey the art and sport of ice skating to an impressionable public.]
[In her throne room at the very top, Silence has a big crown encrusted with jewels of every variety. More impressively, however, she is flaunting more than a few rolls of fat—far beyond what is customary even for her. She is vast as she sits upon, and completely fills out, a gigantic gold throne. The throne is surrounded by assorted chocolates, and she is eating them daintily one at a time. Silence has a bunch of melted chocolate around her mouth, on her hands and forearms, and on her shirt front. She is noticeably sweating and seems to be out of breath just sitting there. On her shoulder sits a small crow.]
[In the background, a line of minions is bringing in wheelbarrows of the confections and dumping them out wherever they can find room. Some of the mountains are chocolate are precariously tall, reaching clear to the vaulted ceilings some ninety feet above.]
Silence: [Speaking to the crow.] Soon, Ebenezer! Soon all the Valentine's candy will be mine, and the world will live in endless winter!
Silence: Yes, and best part is there's absolutely no one who can possibly stop me!
Silence: Yes, yes, I'll import some rodents and insects for you. I didn't want to share my chocolates with you anyway.
[The Empire on Ice Skaters break through the doors. Silence gasps, but quickly recomposes herself.]
Galavar: Doctor von Kablooey!
Silence: Well! If it isn't the Empire on Ice Blunders come to congratulate me on my biggest caper!
DeLatia: "Biggest" is right. You're huge! What happened to you?
Silence: Sex appeal! They say chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Now I know why.
Gregor: And what is the meaning of this…of this… [Aside to Galavar.] I am not going to say it.
Galavar: [Aside to Gregor.] You have to say it.
Gregor: [Aside to Galavar.] Sometimes I think that if I say another bad pun I'm going to explode.
Galavar: [Aside to Gregor.] Because she's Doctor von Kablooey, eh? Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Gregor: [Aside to Galavar.] Ugh!
Jemis: [Interjecting.] I think you're supposed to say "Say no more," Gregor.
Galavar: [Aside to Gregor.] Just say the puns, Gregor. It's the way people know that we're us! How else would anyone figure it out?
Gregor: [Aside to Galavar.] Fine, fine. Fine. [To Silence.] What is the meaning of this…ugh…this…chocolate-coated calamity? [Aside to Galavar.] It's not even a pun, Galavar. It's just bad.
Celeste: Stick 'em up, Doctor!
Silence: Stick? Oh, I'm afraid that it's you who are in a most sticky situation, Empire on Ice Blowhards! You're a day late and a dulce short. As you have no doubt surmised, I now control the Empire's supply of Valentine's Day chocolates!
Galavar: To what end?
Silence: No, Mister Galamook. Not to any end at all. That's precisely my goal! Muah ha ha *gasp* ha hah!
DeLatia: What do you mean?
Silence: Well, it's the new year, isn't it? All the mooks are reflecting on their lives and looking at the year ahead, in a ritual as pointless as it is trite.
[The Empire on Ice Skaters look away and shuffle on their feet uncomfortably.]
Silence: The trouble is, people have forgotten how to really do it. We've become a consumerist society. Most of our opportunities for social interaction—and even for personal introspection—depend upon the things that we mutually buy. Some of these things we buy at an appointed time of the year, and that's how we know what season it is anymore. Do you know how we know that Valentine's Day is coming up? Why, the stores are stocked to the rafters with Valentine's Day chocolates! Or, at least, they were stocked! Muah hah! And were it not for that, who could tell?
Jemis: That's just capitalistic marketing trying to generate public demand. There's no foul in always having the next holiday's goodies on sale. It's maybe a little crass, but ultimately benign. The real harm only starts when overly large corporations that wield disproportionate market influence begin to warp the—
Silence: Oh, save it, Jemis Brainiac. I quite agree with your first point. Let mooks market to mooks all they want, with their cards and roses and pink bows of lace. But follow my point here if you will: It's chocolate to which we truly set our Valentine clocks. Chocolate, my dear Empire on Ice Losers, and nobody will be selling any aphrodisiacal chocolates anytime soon, I'll tell you that much!
Jemis: But why?
DeLatia: It doesn't matter why. Your scheme is through, von Kablooey! We're taking these confections back to the megastores, dollar shops, and gas stations where they rightly belong.
Silence: I think not. And I'll tell you why, since you asked so nicely. I'm surprised you still haven't figured it out, but then I remind myself that you're just a bunch of Empire on Ice Dimwits after all! Attend!
[She snaps her finger. Her crow, Ebenezer, flies from her shoulder and retrieves a towel from a long rack of clean towels, then resumes his perch on her shoulder. Silence takes the towel and damps her forehead, which is glistening in sweat.]
Silence: I do it because spring is hot. Fall is hot. Even in here right now it's uncomfortably warm. But, most of all, summer is hot. Gruelingly, debilitatingly, dementingly hot. How do you think I came to be Doctor von Kablooey in the first place? Four months out of every year I spend half out of my mind from the heat. There's nothing to do but scheme! It's enough to drive anybody to a career in reckless mad science. Even with fans swirling all around me, and an endless supply of refreshing iced beverages, and lying stark naked on the stone basement floor of my tower, still there is never relief!
DeLatia: Maybe if you didn't eat so much chocolate you wouldn't have such a fine winter coat all year round.
Silence: [Incensed.] Metabolic thermoregulation has little to do with body fat mass percentage!
Gregor: Actually, to say nothing of fat tissue's excellent insulative properties, heat dissipation becomes exponentially less efficient with volume, with body volume being cubic and body surface area being—
Silence: You know, I don't think you're being very…cordial.
[She pushes a button on the arm of her throne, and a pile of cherry cordials falls from above, burying Gregor up to his waist. Many of them crack, coating him in red goop.]
Gregor: I am soooo thinking about quitting right now.
Galavar: Don't let the children at home hear you talking like that, Gregor! This is merely the dark chocolate before the dawn.
Gregor: So tempted…
DeLatia: Wait a minute. You said you spend summers in the basement here. How do you climb the ramp all the way back up here from the basement?
Silence: Oh, I take the elevator.
DeLatia: THERE'S AN ELEVATOR?!!
Silence: Well of course.
Silence: Not gonna tell!
Celeste: Lilit, if it weren't for having to climb the tower ourselves every week, we wouldn't be in shape to beat her! ^_^
Silence: [To herself, suspiciously.] You know…that's a good point.
Jemis: Forget about the elevator. We're here to rescue Valentine's Day.
Silence: You'll never succeed. The chocolate is here to stay. And so long as there's no Valentine's Day chocolate in stores, there's no way to know that Valentine's Day is coming up. Right?
Silence: And what's the last stuff that was in stores?
Galavar: The Christmas stuff.
Silence: Precisely. So, as long as Christmas is over and Valentine's Day never comes, we're all going to be stuck in the interim. Right?
Galavar: That's…that's devil's food.
Gregor: Don't you mean "diabolical"? "That's diabolical"?
Galavar: Not on this occasion!
Silence: Think of it! Everlasting January!!! A world of winter and ice! Muah ha ha *gasp* ha hah!
NARRATOR: With the chocolates chucked out of stores, it's looking as though Valentine's Day may be done for. Do our figure-skating friends have any hope of unhinging this harbinger of the hiemal season?! Or has Silence von Kablooey had her sweet revenge on those who want a warmer world? Tune in next week to the Empire on Ice Skaters for the continuation of "The Cocoa No-No Caper": Same Imperial time! Same Imperial channel!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!