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And the the Male --
By RD Rivero



“And Then The Male --”
By RD Rivero
April 1, 2000

The sky was crisp and clear, moonless, starless, not a single cloud,
thick or thin, could be seen anywhere.  Tall buildings with jagged
crowns, dotted and covered in countless, in innumerable lighted windows
shot up into the air as though they were knives, as though they were
forks that stabbed the darkness of night.  The hustle and bustle of the
streets were muffled both by distance and by the loud howl of the echoed
breeze that sounded through the trees deep in the wilderness opposite
the river, opposite the city.
There was a large lake that reflected the images of the buildings that
rose, that towered above the still treetops.  An otherwise red, wooden
dock adorned the far end of the pond where no boat rested.  Immediately
next to that artificial construction was an equally misplaced cabin,
small and square.  Bright lights from inside shined outside through the
single, open window that overlooked the calm, gentle waters.  Around the
clearing that surrounded the lodge, over the green grass mowed and
trimmed neatly, a thin mist evolved from the dark spaces of the faraway
wilderness there.
The door to the cabin swung open suddenly by the force of a strong
wind.  The figure within got up from the desk and moved to close the
wooden barricade.  His red shoal wavered violently in the breeze and it
took him more than the usual amount of time to secure the door in
place.  He put an empty, an unused chair before it, jammed under the
brass knob.  Satisfied, he returned to the desk.
While he walked back he looked all around him.  The walls were covered
with overstuffed bookshelves.  The floor was lined in a brown rug that
blended naturally to the general colors of the environs.  Along the
sides of the window were two lamps.  On the corners and in other spaces
of the sort were pots of plants long since dead, long since withered but
never cleared.  There was a bed but it was unnoticeable under masses of
yellowed and browned papers strewn over and about the mattress.  At the
desk were a small green light, two piles of paper in separate metal
plates and an old manual typewriter with a long name etched in a gold
plate attached to the top above the keys.
The cloaked figure sat back at the table and returned to his work.  He
scrolled out the sheet he had already typed on, placed it on that pile
he had already used and entered another, a fresh new page from the other
pile into the machine.  As he was about to begin, as he was about to
start the next paragraph, he stopped, he looked behind him aware of a
new presence in the only room of that one-room shack.
He smiled though no one could actually see, his eyes glowed red but not
bright enough to illuminate his face that remained in shadows cast by
the hood of his shoal.  He pulled back the sheath and out rolled his
head.  Thunder and lightning -- for no reason, for no reason at all --
ravaged the otherwise tranquil idleness.
Outside a tree burned, it could be seen clearly through the open window.

He spoke:  “I’m sorry to disappoint you but RD isn’t in today, or should
I say tonight.  He’s all tied up at the moment.”  A slight moan or a
groan -- a barely audible murmur -- could be heard come from the
ceiling.  The figure looked up at the approximate center of the source.
Once again thunder and lightning, in that precise order, followed and
even the cabin shook.  There was nothing but silence after that.  “We
might have ourselves a storm.  How fortunate.  If you didn’t know
already, I am Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!”  The figure, profusely wrapped
in bandages, flailed his arms into the air and laughed hysterically.
His cackle was punctuated with more thunder and lighting so bright that
for a few brief moment the flashes overpowered the interior lamps.  “I
will be writing this story.”  The strange murmur came back just as the
figure turned around to face the typewriter.  “I require ABSOLUTE
SILENCE!”  He waited.  “Now that’s better.  Where was I?  Oh yes, yes.
The title of this piece is ‘What Are You Doing To My Brother?’ and it
will star my all time favorite targets, the kittens.”  From a drawer he
pulled out two dolls of Wileykat and Wileykit, locked arm in arm, with
the most intense look of terror painted on the tiny faces.  “They are so
cute, aren’t they, don’t you just want to pet them all over?”  He
laughed.  “Why must it always be the innocent that suffer?”  Even under
the piles of bandages covered his head he could not keep a straight
face.  He slammed a clenched fist on the tabletop and in response the
two dolls vibrated across the desk’s edge to fall onto the hard floor
where the forms broke, shattered to pieces.
He began to type and the view of the scene changed, altered dramatically
though caught in the torrents of a dream, misty and watery complete with
the poignant mutter of a distant harp.  For a while the figure’s voice
spoke the narration through the metamorphosis:

It was the late afternoon and all was quiet at the Liter Box.  Except in
the kitten’s bedroom.  The door was closed, the windows were open and
bare.  The TV was on and the twins were perched on the edge of the
mattress of WileyKit's bed.  The two watched the nature show very
attentively.
>From the TV:  “We now return to the QCT documentary on ‘The Practices of
Human Sexuality.”  Images of all corrupt manner flashed across the
screen.  WileyKat’s eyes opened wide, his sister, meanwhile, took notice
of something else that was developing, more than passingly curious about
her brother.  “And then the male --”
The bedroom door opened suddenly.  The kittens struggled to get up and
change the channel in time.  “No, no, stay on the bed, Kat.”  WileyKat
did what his sister told him when he realized why it was a good idea.
WileyKit managed to switch to a different station but all she got was a
blank blue screen -- it was too late to act further without arousing any
suspicions.  She darted back to the bed where she sat on her brother’s
lap.
“You know you’re not helping any,” he whispered to her but she told him
to hush.
Snarf was in sight.  The two tried but it was too difficult to hold back
the giggles, the laughter.  Snarf wore the strangest red robe,
embroidered like the kind of outfits Cheetara often wore around Liono
and embossed with the monogram ‘T.’  There was a white handkerchief
folded into the upper pocket.  He approached the twins while he held a
curved, wooden pipe in his hands, his gait was tempered by the sounds of
passing gas produced by his slippers while he walked.
“You two better quiet down and get to bed, Snarf, Snarf.  You have a big
day tomorrow, big day.”
“Get to bed?”  WileyKit asked stunned.
“We weren’t watching that dirty show,” WileyKat said, his sister poked
him in the ribs.
Cue Laugh Track.
Although Snarf did not notice, the kittens were aware of the unexpected
laughter.  They looked around the room confused until they reasoned that
the noise may have come from the TV.
“We haven’t eaten dinner yet, Snarf,” Wileykit said.
Snarf dropped his pipe, the burnt tobacco it contained spilled onto the
white floor.  The Thundercat spit out a black wad of God-knows-what over
the mess.  “Diner!  Snarf!  Snarf!  I forgot to make dinner!  I forgot
to make dinner!”  He ran around the room flailing his arms in the air
like a madman.  He slipped and he fell face forward into the mess he had
made.  He smeared the substances all over his face and his body then he
got up and without a word he walked out of the room.
Cue Laugh Track.
Once again the kittens were confused because the sound of the laughter
clearly did not come from the TV speakers.  Still, the two looked into
each other's eyes and smiled.  He put his arms around her, she petted
his mane.  She turned the TV back to the documentary and the two watched
the show under the blankets, in the bed.
Well, now, not so innocent are they?  Rwow!  Imagine what the adults
must be like.  Along while later the older Thundercats migrated to the
area in and around the dinning room.
In the hall outside the dining room Panthro and Tygra conversed before a
tall window, one of the many that lined the left hand wall of the
passageway.  The two Thundercats could see the large, orange sun set.
The sky was painted by long, thin clouds.  The land, too, seemed to
stretch and to roll on and on forever.  Sprawled before them were the
various shades of greenery of the forests and open farm fields with the
clearly-visible dividing lines of the planted agriculture.  Even some
snatches of Wollo villages -- complete with vented smoke fro tall
chimneys -- could be made out clearly from on up that high.
Panthro sat on a small bench next to the window.  Tygra stood close to
his friend but moved closer still.  While the panther spoke he gently,
he quietly put his hand on his shoulder.
“So the Lunatic turned around and told the bartender to stomp on his
lemon too.”
Cue Laugh Track.
Panthro’s own laughter drowned out that external sound.  He stopped when
he realized that Tygra had not reacted to his story.  “You do know that
was a joke?”
“Oh,” Tygra was caught and brought back to reality.  He had been ogling
Panthro’s cut and trim upper body.  “I was distracted,” he said at
last.  The tiger ran his finger down the panther’s cheek then let his
hand drop further onto the exposed parts of his friend’s chest.
Panthro arose quickly and unexpectedly.  He held Tygra’s hands in his
own.  “Come on, you look like you’re going to drool.”  Tygra got his
arms around his friend’s body and drew that Thundercat closer, close
enough to whisper easily into his ear.  “What?  No, Tygra, no.  What
would Willa say?”  Panthro broke away from the tiger.
“You won’t even let me have a look?”  He reached out to try to grab
Panthro between the legs but his friend diverted his hands away.
Cue Laugh Track.
“What was that?” Tygra asked.
“Maybe someone saw us?”  Panthro was relieved in that at least for the
moment the tiger was distracted by something else.
Tygra looked back on his friend.  He eyed him closely from head to toe
and back again.  He let his gaze wander onto the juicer parts while he
spoke:  “I’m sorry, Panthro, it’s just that, you know, it’s been so long
--”
“I know, I know,” he rubbed Tygra’s belly then he lifted his head up to
face his.  “It’s been long for me, too, those Warrior Maidens don’t give
it up so easy.”
“The Warrior Maidens?  Right.”
“Maybe later, tonight, in my room, when we’ll be --”
“Get out of my way!  Snarf!  Snarf!  Get out of my way!  Dinner’s coming
through!”  Snarf cried -- but there was no one in his way to yell at.
Still, he managed to trip for no apparent reason, other than the fact
that he was Snarf.
Cue Laugh Track.
“Where the hell does that come from?  WileyKat?  WileyKit?  Are you two
responsible for this?”  There was no answer to the question.  Tygra
looked down at Snarf.  The small Thundercat was soiled and covered in
another oily, black substance, a tar of some sort.  Snarf apparently had
not cleaned himself at all since he had left the kitten’s bedroom.  His
hands in particular were extremely filthy and Lord-only-knew where those
fingers had been or what horrors those hands had come across that day
alone.  While Snarf picked up the spilt items:  breads, open and
uncovered butter squares that had melded in the ambient heat into a
large, oblong blob and some other saucy and sticky food items, Panthro
and Tygra were half in horror, half in confusion for that mysterious
cackle seemed to come from everywhere and no where at the same time.
“I guess we should go to the dinning room now,” Panthro said.  He
directed the tiger and himself into the nearby large, well-lit chamber.
The circular room was adorned with pillars at the outer circumference.
There were plants.  There were lamps, shaded in green glass that hung
from the walls and from the ceiling by golden chains.  At the center,
under a white dome from which came all the important light was the round
table itself with seven chairs ready and waiting to be sat upon.  Each
place on the table was set aside by a red mat, a large, shallow plate
and a cup full of water.  The utensils were wrapped in a white napkin,
smeared and marred by oily stains, by black stains no doubt from Snarf
himself.  Then as the two Thundercats took their seats they noticed that
the rest of the dinnerware was also equally discolored.
The kittens entered before Snarf who followed carrying the foodstuffs he
had picked up from the floor.  He threw the large serving tray onto the
center of the table.  Immediately the breads, spreads and other items
spewed across the surface even past the edge to the floor in a pattern
that reminded all who saw it of a wad of spit that hit the ground.
Just as WileyKat reached out to grab one of the smeared loaves of bread
--
Cue Laugh Track.
Everyone except Tygra noticed the sudden return of that sonorous
intrusion.  The tiger was too caught up, too entranced by WileyKat to
care about anything else.  He called the boy over to him and as he
passed his sister WileyKit ran her hand up the back of his brown tunic.
He did not look back on her but he did react to her in another way that
only further steamed the tiger’s passion.
“Liono!  Cheetara!  Liono!  Cheetara!”  Snarf walked around the table
screaming those names at the top of his lungs.  He made those familiar
sounds of passing gas but without the assistance of the slippers that
time.
Cue Laugh Track.
“Where are those two girls?”  He stopped and shook his head.  “Kids
these days! Snarf.  Snarf.”  He walked out of the room back into the
kitchen.
A hidden closet door opened within the confines of the dining room.  Out
came Liono, he could not hide the smile on his face although he did
try.  He was followed by Cheetara, her hair was disheveled.  Those two
looked into each other’s eyes and there was something of a twinkle but
no one else saw it.  Cheetara walked to her seat next to Panthro, Liono
sat by WileyKit and on opposite sides of the table they played footsies
underneath.
“Hey, what are you doing to my brother?” asked and adamant WileyKit.
She stormed over to Tygra.  WileyKat sat on his lap while the tiger
stroked him.
“We were just having fun,” he said with his arms around the boy.
“Oh, yes, yes,” WileyKat said.  His eyes rolled back in his head that
swayed side to side.  He also moved his body from side to side.
“No fair!  He’s mine!”  She grabbed her brother’s arm and flung him off
Tygra’s lap.  The tiger reacted quickly, he covered himself up before he
grabbed the boy’s other, free arm.
Cue Laugh Track.
The strange laugh disturbed and distracted WileyKit.  Tygra was able to
grab her brother and carry him over his shoulders.  Snarf returned with
a serving cart and, not realizing the cat fight developing, he began to
serve the Thundercats.  Unfortunately for him he came in the way of the
dueling duo and in so doing WileyKit knocked him down by accident, by no
fault of his own.  The serving cart rushed into and crashed onto one of
the walls were all the food it contained spilled onto the floor.
“Snarf!  Snarf!  All those hours of work!”
“What work, Snarf, this food’s not even cooked,” said Panthro.
“What do you mean, it’s not even cooked!  I slaved over the stove all
day!  Snarf!  Snarf!”
“Then why are there still feathers on my chicken breasts?”  He flung the
bloodied piece of meat through the air at him.  “Snarf!  Snarf!”
Cue Laugh Track.
“Where is that laughter coming from,” Liono asked.  “Why don’t you come
with me to find out, Cheetara?”
Liono and Cheetara got up from the table and coyly, slyly reentered that
closet.  Snarf took back all the food he had served on the plates and
put it in the cart.  He did not clean up the mess that had been formed
accidentally on the floor in the back of the dinning room.
Tygra and WileyKit resumed the fight.  She kicked him in the groin and
he fell to his knees.  Her brother was thrown into the air and landed on
the door of the closet.  The door opened and Liono and Cheetara fell out
on top of him.  The two adults were locked in a deep, penetrative
embrace.  Cheetara moaned loudly and Liono seemed to be shivering,
quivering until he realized that everyone’s eyes were on them.  He got
up very quickly.
Cue Laugh Track.
“Now see here!” he began.
“Liono, for Jagga’s sake, put your shorts back up,” Cheetara said.  She
reached up to help him dress.
“Oh, that’s right,” he said.
A loud moan came from under them.
“WileyKat!” his sister said.  She ran to her fallen brother and dragged
him out from under the cheetah.  “WileyKat!  Oh, what have they done to
you?”  She began to kiss him and hug him all over.  Everyone gasped.
“Oh, shut up!”
“What kind of perversion is this!  To your room both of you and think
hard about the bad things you two have done to your bodies!” Liono said
sternly.  The kittens ran away arm in arm.
Oops!  Silly me!  The Laugh Track brake after so much use.  I can not
stop it.
“Good God, Liono, we’ve been hearing that laughter all day!  Where on
Third Earth is it coming from?” the panther asked in complete
desperation.
Liono looked confused.  Then in a bewilderment of spectral, blue light
he saw the image of Jagga.  The dead Thundercat was pained and held,
pressed his hands firmly against his ears.
“Use the Sword, Liono, for my sake, use the Sword,” Jagga said.
Wait a moment, wait a moment, Jagga was not supposed to show up in this
story.
“Of course, how could I be so inept?”  There were slight murmurs from
the other Thundercats, even Cheetara had to turn her face away, but not
a word was recognizable.  “Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight,
show me where this laughter is coming from.”  He saw through the
apertures of the hilt of the sword the image of Mumm-Ra before an old,
mechanical typewriter.  “It’s Mumm-Ra.  He’s writing, a story and --”
No.  This is not supposed to happen, I am in control here.  No!  I am
loosing control!  I will show them, here, a burst of lightning!  Take
that, Lord of the Alley Cats!
Liono was fast enough to dodge the incoming blast but the table bore the
full front of the ancient mummy’s unbridled, unadulterated evil.  There
was a hail of wooden shrapnel and splinters that spread throughout the
room in a dense fog of cloudy sawdust.
You will not get away that easily.  There!  There!  There!
Each further lightning bolt simply missed the target.  The Thundercats
acted independently of Mumm-Ra’s typewritten instructions and would not
allow the lightning bolts to strike them.  Over and over again the
battle continued and when the dinning room was completely destroyed the
fight resumed in the hallways and further passageways.  Liono managed to
deflect one of Mumm-Ra’s shots with the Sword of Omens.  That put an end
to the Laugh Track.
Tygra and Panthro, bored with the all around routine matter left for the
nearby Wollo village for take-out and for something else too, maybe.
Ah, well, look at the bright side, at least I broke the Liter Box.  They
will be dealing with that for some time to come.  There will always be
plenty of time later to get even with those overgrown blunder cats.
Meanwhile --
Back in the kitten’s bedroom only the dimmest night light was on.  The
sun had set and all else was darkness.  Silence.  An oppressive
silence.  WileyKat stood motionless before one of the windows.  He could
see from the sharp reflections from the glass that his sister came
closer.  Naked, she reached out, grabbed his tunic and with one swift
jerk, with one turn of the hand down went his clothes and --

“That’s enough!” cried a voice from above the ceiling.  A nearly
invisible hatch whose outlines were almost indiscernible from the grains
of the wood of the roof acame and fell to the floor in a loud clamor.
“That’s enough!” the voice continued and then the source, a man, climbed
down carefully from the opening, from the dark attic above.
“RD!” the voice said in complete and in total surprise.
>From the TV:  “We return to the PBS documentary on ‘The Practices of
Thunderian Sexuality.’ And then the male --”
Mumm-Ra turned the TV off just then, just in time.
“Well it seems the jig is up,” the figure said, he looked to the back
were there was a chair -- unoccupied.
“Who are you talking too?”  RD was bewildered, he pointed to the figure,
what ropes were still on him hung limp from around his arms.  “You have
a lot of explaining to do!”
Bright red sirens flashed from outside.  Mumm-Ra was shocked, he looked
at RD though he was about to die.  “Why must every plan fail me?  But
how did --”
RD pulled out a cell phone:  “I called Officer Mandora.”
“What?  What sorcery?  What?  We never had those things in the 80’s!”
The door broke down, the chair that had held it in place gave way to a
pile of splinters.  Mumm-Ra tried to run out foolishly for Officer
Mandora was there already.  She grabbed him and threw the bag of bones
down on the floor.  Her deputy, Quickpick hovered over the mummy and
applied the handcuffs.
“I am so glad you found the cabin,” said RD.
“We locked in on you cell phone signal.  So what exactly was the
problem?  When we spoke you were gagged.”
“Mumm-Ra abducted me, gagged me and then started to write a story.”
“A story?  What sort of story?”
“Right here,” he showed her to the pile of papers along side the
typewriter.
“That’s a work of genius --” said Mumm-Ra face-down on the floor.
“Take him to the wagon,” she commanded her deputy.
“Curses!  Curses!”  There was thunder and lightning and all present were
taken aback.  “I’ll have vengeance!  Do you hear?  I’m Mumm-Ra, the
Ever-Living!”  The rest was muffled in silence for Quickpick had taken
him away.
Officer Mandora perused the cantankerous document the mummy had
prepared.  “This is what nothing else can be, the unquestionable mark of
a disturbed personality:  incest and other forms of deprived sexuality.
Don’t worry about Mumm-Ra, he’ll be put away for a long, long time, Dr.
Rivero.”
“Excellent, after all, I’m the only one who writes stories around here.”

“You mean that you regularly produces stories of this nature?”
RD was hesitant to speak any further.
“Of this perverse nature?”
“What about the first amendment,” he whispered inaudibly under his
breath.

The wagon had very bad suspension and bounced and rattled violently
while the vehicle headed through the trail, through the forest.  In the
back Mumm-Ra sat in front of the doors with his bandage-covered arms
stuck out through the bars.  RD tried to sit still on one of the metal
benches.
“It’s all your fault!  If you had cooperated --”
“Cooperated?  You tied me up and threw me up in the attic and you
expected me to cooperate?  Do you know what’s up there?  The bats.  The
roaches.  Good-God the roaches!”
“Will you two stop complaining!”  Officer Mandora slid open a side
window.  “The two of you better learn to stand each other ‘cause you’ll
be in the slammer a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long
time.  Perverts the both of you.  ‘And then the male,’ corrupting the
youth with blatant innuendoes of incest, of pedophilia, homosexuality
and unrestrained heterosexual contact!  From Mumm-Ra what else could we
expect but from you, Dr. Rivero?  A man well-known and respected in the
highest scientific circles?  Yes, now I remember who you are, I've read
your ‘stories’ -- if that’s what you call that collection of garbage --
and you’re a sick-o, you’re a sadist.  The boys in prison will just love
you, will just want to pet you all over.  Where’s your laugh track
now?”  She slid the partition closed.
“Great going!  ‘That’s a work of genius.'”
“Shut up.”
“Hey, wait,” RD said.  He got up and approached the mummy.  “You believe
in sorcery, don’t you, well I might have some powers of my own.  I know
how to get out of this.”
“What are you mumbling about?  Getting ‘out of this’?  What, does that
cell phone of yours shoot blasts of plasma?”
“No, but I have a pen, I need to borrow some of your bandages.”
“Why not, what have I to loose now?”  Mumm-Ra extended his arm and
removed the part of the red shoal that covered it.  “You best know what
you’re doing.”
“Trust me, this works all the time.”  RD took out his pen and began to
write on the white linen.  “‘Mandora and Quickpick forgot all about what
had happened back at the cabin.’”
“And what does that have to do with getting us out?”
“Think about it.  None of your plans have ever worked because you don’t
know how to think ahead.  Now watch: ‘The backdoors of the wagon
suddenly, unexpectedly, inexplicably --”
“Stop it with the adverbs already!  You’re not impressing any one --”
“‘Opened.’”
“You’re a genius, a freaking genes!”
The doors were opened and before them was the view of the road, unpaved,
unkept.  “Come on!”  The two tumbled onto the ground with moans and
groans.  Mumm-Ra was the first to get on his feet, he helped RD up.
Together they saw the back of the police car fade away into the obscure
and oblivious distance.
“Well, I have to go back, I have work to finish.”  Mumm-Ra looked down
and away.  “I suppose you’ll be going back to that Black Pyramid of
yours.”
“Yes, I too have work to do.  One of these days, one of these days, I’ll
destroy those ferocious felines!”
“Yeah, right, I’m sure.”

Back in the cabin the sound of typing resonated everywhere.  Then RD
stopped and turned around to look to the back where the chair from
earlier remained.  “Oh, there you are,” he said, “I had wondered where
you had gone off to.  I hope Mumm-Ra’s story didn’t upset you too much,
I have to admit that it was pretty bad.  It’s almost on the verge of
being a weird story but thankfully I was able to edit out the, well the
really bad parts.  If he had any talent he could have turned ‘What Are
You Doing To My Brother?’ into something presentable.  What I found to
be very interesting and woefully telling was that even when he had
absolute power -- which all writers have over their stories -- he was
still unable to beat the Thundercats, the exaggerated and deranged
Thundercats he presented.  Fascinating, isn’t it, though some higher
power was involved, in charge of it all at some deeper level.  Let me
conclude by assuring you that Mumm-Ra will never, ever, never do
something like this again.  My friends, you have by reading this work
lost precious moments of your lives that you can never get back and I do
apologize for that and for all the senseless, uncalled-for, degenerate
sexuality --”
“And then the male --”
He stood up quickly and covered the TV.  In haste he had forgotten where
the power button was.  "You didn't see that!  That did not happen!"
Cue Laugh Track.





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