June 15th, 2007


The Chocolateer

Top hat askew and with Mauser drawn, Will Wonka stepped from the glass elevator to the wreckage of the smoke-filled airship gondola.

"The jig's up, evildoer," declared the daredevil youth, tossing a taffy grenade that ensnared several crewmen. "I don't know why you killed Dr. Mars or kidnapped Ruthie, but your crime spree stops here. You may be a world-famous confectioner, but the world won't spare you justice just because you're Arthur Slugworth!"

The white-coated villain smiled thinly. "Actually, it's 'Slugwald'," he confessed, "and I did it for love of the Vaterland. When I return to Germany and give the secrets of Fizzy Lifting Drink to the Wehrmacht, our armies shall be unstoppable. Airborne paratroopers of the Third Reich shall sweep across Loompaland and unify Europe in the name of Greater Germany!"

"Not if I have anything to do with it!" retorted Will. "Maybe you didn't notice, but your candy balloon airship is crippled and is going down fast! Most of your goons are gobstopped, and Ruthie's back safe where she belongs! You don't have much left to go on!"

"On the contrary," smirked Slugwald, drawing a rapier. "I have a legion of Vermicious Knids. I have an arsenal of candied weaponry at my disposal. Really, all that stands between me and my goals is you. And what are you, Will Wonka?" As the insidious candymaker stepped down from his control console, Will realized his weapon was out of bullets.

"You're nothing but a young punk," sneered Slugwald, advancing with leisure on Wonka. "You happen to stumble upon a mysterious glass conveyance, and what do you do with it? Nothing, save make trouble! You show a bit of talent -- just a bit, mind you -- with chocolate making, but you do not turn it to its obvious principal use of waging war! You, Will Wonka, are beneath notice! You're nothing! You, my boy, are NOBODY!" Slugwald's remaining crewmen circled around Will.

"You're wrong," whispered Will. "I *am* somebody." Slipping a hand into his vest pocket, the lad pressed a secret stud. Within the Glass Elevator, a button reading UP AND OUT illuminated itself. The craft began to rattle and buzz.

"I'm The Chocolateer," Will proclaimed.

The universe exploded in a rainbow of sugar and light.