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Atomic Punk
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DRAGNET MYSTERY THEATER PRESENTS: CEMETERY DANCE



The Diecast City Junkyard was a burial ground for
crushed metal bones of cars that were piled like dinosaur
steaks on a Flintstones re-run. It was no coincidence that
it was located just down the street from the cemetery. Most
people in this city loved their cars more than most of their
meat and plasma type relatives. Rats the size of wolverines
scampered before us as Frank and I were escorted through the
cathedral of steel toward a hydraulic press. It gleamed
blood red in the light of a full moon.



"It only hurts for a second or two," Rob said,
scratching the underside of his chin with the barrel of his
.38. "I don't think anyone screamed for longer than two
seconds, right boys?"
The three men who walked behind us with Tommy guns,
tittered amongst themselves like school-yard bullies who
cornered their favorite prey.
"There's never anything left but paste," said Rob. He
turned a key inside the starter and the press roared into
life. "We feed it to the rats. Makes 'em grow."
"You'll have to shoot me before I get inside that
thing," Frank said.
The three Tommy guns pointed at us with eager smiles.
"Dead or alive," said one of the men, "makes no
difference to us. You're goin' in all the same."
I wondered what our chances were if we rushed them.
Frank and I were dead men no matter what we did. I took a
deep breath and clenched my fists. I was about to give
Frank the high-sign when two of the men suddenly began
screaming. I thought for a moment they were mocking our
death howls. Then I saw the throwing stars--shaped to
vaguely resemble bats. They were sunk deep into the
bleeding hands of the two men. The third gunman looked
skyward and began shooting at a dark shape that descended
upon him. The man was enveloped by Batman's cape. It
swirled around him like black mist. An arm snaked out of
the cape like a viper and a fist connected with one gunman's
jaw. It made a sound like wood splintering. Then a foot
sank into the second gunman's solar plexus. He went down
gasping for a breath that wouldn't come.
Batman tossed one of the Tommy guns to Frank, saying,
"Keep the other two covered."
The third man--the one inside the folds of the
cape--became visible. He was tied hand and foot. Batman
dragged him over to the press as if he were nothing more
significant than a rag-doll, and threw him into it.
"Let's see if you can remember the name of the man you
work for before your own two seconds of screaming ends."
I put a hand on Batman's shoulder. "I appreciate your
assistance," I said, "but I can't condone this method of
interrogation."
He shrugged off my hand as he walked toward the
controls of the press.
I stepped in front of him. "This is my town, mister,
and we have rules concerning how we execute justice."
"I believe you've got more important things to do at
the moment." Batman pointed toward the row of crushed cars.
Rob was making a run for it. I snatched up one of the Tommy
guns and started after him. I hadn't taken three steps
before the black Eldorado appeared from behind a stack of
cars. A door opened and Rob leapt into the rear seat.



There was a shrill cry in the night, as if a jet were
firing it's engine. The Batmobile materialized out of the
darkness and stopped alongside me. The cockpit opened.
There was no one driving it.
"Get in," Batman said. "There's a radio inside, you
can call for back up. Your partner can hold down the fort
here."
I remembered what happened earlier when I climbed into
a stranger's car. This time I had a Tommy gun in my hand,
and I brought it with me as I climbed into the Batmobile.
It felt as if my stomach collided with my spine as we
took off after the black Eldorado. The road in front of us
took on a dreamlike quality as the Batmobile seemed to
devour blacktop at an alarming rate. Trees whooshed past us
as if they were caught within a tremendous vacuum. The tail
lights of the Eldorado grew closer as we tightened the gap
between us and them. We were just about to overtake their
vehicle, when it lurched forward in a sudden burst of speed.
"Impossible," I heard Batman say.
He pressed a button on the steering wheel and the
Batmobile increased it's already formidable speed. We were
holding our distance behind the Eldorado, but that was all.
I watched Batman's lips curl into a sneer as he hit a
second button. This time, there was a hissing sound, like
that of a toy rocket leaving it's launch pad. A grappling
hook and line shot from the front of the Batmobile, catching
the rear bumper of the Eldorado. As Batman eased the brake
peddle, the line between the two cars tightened.
"He has more pull than I would've given him credit for,
Batman said. "But like a fish on a line, he has to tire
sooner or later."
Ahead of us the black Eldorado roared like a cornered
beast as it's white counterpart leapt from behind a
billboard--coming to a halt dead center of the road.
"Is that guy crazy," I said. "He'll kill us all."
"Hold on," Batman said. And punching another button on
the steering wheel, the line connecting us to the black
Eldorado was cut. He yanked the wheel of the Batmobile hard
to the left. Tires screamed like a sorority house during a
panty raid. The world outside became a blur as the
Batmobile went into a spin. There was a crunching of
gravel, signaling that we left the road.
When we came to a halt, the headlights illuminated rows
of marble slabs ahead of us. Leafless trees seemed frozen
in time, like claws ready to slash at our slightest
movement. An angel spread her granite wings inches from the
nose of the Batmobile, welcoming us to the Diecast City
Cemetery.
The roof of the cockpit slid open. There was a
rustling of his leather cape as Batman leapt out of the
vehicle. My own legs were feeling like a pair of rubbery
twigs as I braced them between me and the hallowed ground.
The white Eldorado was still parked across both lanes of the
narrow secondary road that ran past the cemetery. Not a
scratch or dent was visible on the white car's paint.
"Where did the black one go?" I asked.
The white Eldorado flickered once, like an old
television with a bad picture tube, then disappeared
altogether.
"Hologram," Batman said.
I was at his heels as he walked toward the road.
Another white Eldorado--the real one?--emerged from behind
the billboard.



"I thought my trick would slow the black car down,"
said the driver as he opened his door and stepped out onto
the road.
"Your trick allowed criminals to escape," Batman said.
"Couldn't you see I had a tow-line attached to their rear
bumper?"
No, I couldn't see from--"
Batman grabbed a fistful of the driver's jacket and
shoved him back against the side of his Eldorado.
"Whose side are you on? Who are you and what's your
connection with that black car?"
"M-my name is Nick Shonsky, most folks call me
CenterShock, andI'monyoursiiiide. I think?"
"Let him talk," I said.
Batman released his grip and Nick began brushing the
creases from the front of his jacket. He gazed at the Tommy
gun I was carrying. "Who the hell are you guys?" he said.
I produced my badge and introduced Batman.
"Batman?" Nick said. "I thought he was something the
paper's made up." He held up both hands in a gesture of
surrender as Batman whirled toward him.
"Why have you been trying to run down the black
Eldorado?" I asked.
Nick took in a breath and let it out slowly. "Because
a friend of mine may be driving it. A friend who I believe
has become possessed by that car. Do you believe it's
possible for an inanimate object to be inherently evil?"
"I believe it's possible for some people to be
influenced by anything," Batman said. "If the dark seed in
their heart is uncovered and watered properly, it can grow
almost as swift as it is ugly."
Nick was nodding. He found himself a colleague.
"I remember when my friend first brought it home from
the junkyard. Dirty and worn as it was, the door and front
fender on the driver's side painted a flat red like it had
been wounded and covered in dried blood. But I knew it was
far from dead. Something lived beneath the surface.
Something that gave me the shivers and thrilled me somehow
at the same time. Like a parasite that offered it's host
power for the use of it's soul."



"That's crazy," I said. And yet, what Nick had just
described--that same overwhelming mixture of emotions--was
exactly how I felt the time I encountered Professor
Lightning at the Winslow Halloween party. Could this friend
he spoke of and the professor be one and the same person?
"Nick," I said, "what's the name of this friend of
yours?"
Batman clamped his gloved hand over Nick's mouth. "Not
here," the Dark Knight said in a voice hardly above a breath
of air. "The graves have ears."
I gazed over Batman's shoulder to where a man in a dark
trench coat was raking leaves in the distance. His glasses
were of the heavy black rimmed variety. And a wire ran from
a headset he was wearing, down into the front pocket of his
jacket.
"His headset, Batman continued, "might look like a
Walkman or an iPod to the casual observer, but it is, in
fact, a listening device."
I wasn't sure if Batman was guessing about the
listening device or not, but I knew human behavior. And any
caretaker that just stood there raking leaves instead of
asking what had happened, or running to call the police, was
a curious thing indeed.
"Batman," I said, "if you would care to take his left
flank, CenterShock his right. I'll take him straight on."
The three of us broke our huddle and began running.
The man in the black coat lifted his rake above his right
shoulder, hurtling it at me like a javelin. However, he was
too far away for his makeshift spear to reach it's target.
The man turned and started running. Extracting my revolver
from it's shoulder holster I fired a warning shot. But the
man had already concealed himself behind a concrete
mausoleum.
There came a sudden growling of an engine. Gravel
popped and flew as a black car leapt from behind the
mausoleum. I fired at the tires, but the bullets went
ricocheting from the tombstones that rose like battlements
between us. The car was not the black Eldorado, as I fist
expected. But a 1967 GTO, black on black.



"Darkwiz is alive," I said aloud.
"Why didn't you tell me you knew him?" Batman said.
"Because the last time I saw him, he was wearing a
disguise. It was the car that gave him away. Darkwiz is a
man who knows an awful lot about what's happening in Diecast
City, if we could manage to corner him and make him talk."
"His kind seldom do," said Batman. "Not unless you're
willing to apply the right sort of pressure." His tone
carried with the undeniable notes of sarcasm. "He's someone
else's eyes and ears. A small fish who supplies information
for a price. Find out who he's talking to, then you'll have
your answers."
The Dark Knight's gaze drifted across the length of the
cemetery. "It isn't safe to talk here in the open. I'll
set up a safe meeting place and contact the both of you.
Soon."
He turned and made his way back to the Batmobile. He
made no offer of giving me a ride.
I looked at Nick. "I don't suppose you could give me a
lift?"



Saturday, November fourth. It was raining in Diecast
City. Rich was finger-combing his hair in the two-way
mirror as Frank and I entered the interrogation room. It
didn't improve his appearance. A day's growth of facial
hair shadowed his jaws like fly specks on a greasy tenement
window. He sat down in one of the wooden chairs at the
table and occupied himself by looking at something beneath
the fingernails of his right hand.
I sat down across from him, put a yellow pad in front
of me and clicked out the tip of a ball-point pen.
"Mind telling us what you meant last night," I said,
"when you mentioned that I signed all our death warrants?"
"Keep talking," Rich said. "It's only hot air."
"Who were you running from last night?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Is it Professor Lightning? Is he the one your trying
to get away from?"
Rich's eyes widened. His finger went quickly to his
lips in a shushing gesture.
"You're out of your mind, Friday." He pointed to the
legal pad. I slid it across the table. Rich wrote two
words in block letters: HE'S HERE, and pushed the pad back
toward me.
"You aren't doing yourself, or Ellen Winslow any good
by not cooperating with us," I said.
I wrote: WHO'S HERE?
"I know my rights. Where's my attorney?"
He wrote: THE PROFESSOR.
"If you're talking about Farnsworth, I think he
deserted you."
IS THE PROFESSOR HERE AT THE STATION?
"What the hell am I being charged with any way? What
have I done to deserve being locked up all night?"
NOT AT THE STATION. HE'S INSIDE MY HEAD.
"You're interfering in a police investigation, Rich.
Have you ever had a psychiatric evaluation?"
"Have you ever made it past the fifth grade?" he said.
THE PROFESSOR IMPLANTED A CHIP IN MY HEAD, YOU IDIOT!
He pointed to a small scar behind his left ear. It
looked fairly recent, but could've been self inflicted.
HE CAN HEAR EVERYTHING WE SAY. HE CAN TALK TO ME TOO.
HE SAYS HE'LL FRY MY BRAIN IF I DON'T DO WHAT HE SAYS.
"This is getting us nowhere, Rich."
Frank and I left the room.
I decided to take Rich's story to Chief of Detectives,
Thad Brown. We also filled him in on the professor's
blackmail threat to Ellen Winslow.
"Assuming for the moment that what Rich is saying were
true," I said, "maybe we could use him. Set up a phony
payment drop in order to lure the professor out into the
open."
"Based on what? Some deranged science fiction story?"
Thad said. "With a potential gang war ready to erupt at any
moment, I can't spare the manpower on some whim of yours,
Joe."
"He's right," Frank said. "How do we know Rich isn't
after Ms. Winslow's money himself?"
I was treading on thin ice and I knew it. I told the
chief about our meeting with Batman, the interview with
Bruce Wayne, and how the Winslow money could act as funding
for the Electron Discharge Canon.
The chief was on the phone to Bruce Wayne in a matter
of seconds. I watched the gullies of his forehead deepen,
listened to him grunt out his responses. By the time he
hung up the receiver, he had to wipe sweat from his brow.
"This is a job for the Feds," he said. "But from what
Wayne tells me, they've already been alerted to the theft of
the E.D.C.. And Wayne can't vouch for what this Batman told
you about the Joker. I've read about him, of course. He's
a homicidal maniac, and these Corelli murders fit his
profile, sure enough."
"Thad," I said, trying to sound sympathetic, "what do
you want us to do with Rich?"
The chief ran his fingers through his thinning hair.
"Do what you like. But get me something tangible. Get me
anything. And if you see Batman again, bring him in too."
We wrote out our plan on the legal pad and showed it to
Rich. After some hesitation, he agreed to it. All that was
left was to fill in Ellen Winslow and ask for her
cooperation in the matter.


It was one of those days when the rain steamed the car
windows and the defrosters wouldn't work fast enough. I had
to crank down my window just to see the driver's side
mirror. I also saw a '67 Camaro, plate numbers: CYPWR1, as
it dinged the side of a parked car. We pulled the Camaro
over. Cypwr and his friend MyHobbyCollects were newbies to
Diecast City. As it turned out, their initiation would not
soon be forgotten.
I spotted the purple Frankenstude as it slowed in
passing. It wasn't the first time I noticed the car, it was
lurking outside of Corelli's restaurant, Auto Frontier. The
driver's white face was only matched by his stark red lips.
Green hair stuck out from the brim of his purple homburg.
One might've thought he was a clown on the way to some kid's
birthday party, except his teeth were flashing right along
with the mouth of the Uzi in his hand. Bullets peppered the
side of Cypwr's Camaro with a blast of 9mm steel rain.
People began to scream in the streets.



"My car," Cypwr said as I shoved him to the ground.
Frank was already hitting the pavement alongside
MyHobbyCollects. I rolled over next to Frank. We
unharnessed our guns and came up over the hood of the Camaro
just in time to see something that resembled a pine cone
being thrown from the Frankenstude into the open window of
our Fairlane.
We ducked back behind the Camaro as the grenade
exploded with a flash of light and a spray of glass. The
gas tank went simultaneously. Flames were spraying from the
windows and the rear of the Fairlane as the tires of passing
vehicles squealed. The screaming had stopped. For the good
citizens of Diecast City, it was all over but the
rubbernecking.
The Fairlane blazed on. I really loved that car. The
Joker and I would meet again. And next time, I would be
carrying my own firearm in plain sight.


This episode of Dragnet Mystery Theater has been whimsically
worded by Dragnet_Supporter and features the vivacious
visual expertise of CenterShock.

This has been a "DIECAST CITY PRODUCTION."
 

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You guy's should really think about publishing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every time the story get's better!!!!!!!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Great writing as always Robert!!!!!!

The pic of the GTO was outstanding. :thumbsup: As were all of your shots Nick.
 

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Atomic Punk
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FYI, the PIP Eldorado was done by our very own Stupidsquirrels and the GTO was made and photographed by Darkwiz himself. I just added a couple of Photoshop effects.
 

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Atomic Punk
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
darkwiz said:
You guy's should really think about publishing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every time the story get's better!!!!!!!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I do work at a printshop. ;) There may be a limited run for all the characters and a few others once the story ends.

darkwiz said:
The pic of the GTO was outstanding. :thumbsup: As were all of your shots Nick.

I think your shot was the best of the bunch. I kind of rushed mine and am not totally happy with how they came out but I wanted to get the story out.

I may digitally remaster some pics a little later. ;)
 

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I think you have some pretty great shots there, Nick. A limited edition print of the story sounds great. On the other hand, a publisher would be awesome!

Darkwiz not only supplied the photo of the GTO here, he contributed to the story with two great ideas. One was the cemetery where he worked...which was actually being written even as he suggested it (how's that for great minds thinking alike) except I did not think of him working there as a day job. And he also suggested adding some of the HT newbies to the story, which was a perfect touch and added to the feeling of the board being a town. Great job on all counts DW :thumbsup:

And let's not forget that Nick not only does the pics, but suggested the B&W Eldorado story from some of his previous posts. I had the bare basics of a gangwar idea where Batman and Joker came to Diecast City. This collaboration with my fellow HTers has given me a lot of elements to put together, but I think they made this the best Dragnet Mystery Theater to date.
 

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compelling reading,I couldn't put it down!

-Ted Lambert-
Boston Globe

I wish I could set up my monitor by the toilet,it was THAT good!
-Robert Halloway-
L.A. TIMES

It's about time, that somebody created a believable storyline, with Joe Friday and the Dark Knight !
-Stephanie Olsen-
Pulitzer prize, Cheif of Staff

I'd fist fight to the death, Martin Scorsese AND Speiberg for a chance to produce this script!
-Quentin Tarantino-
Producer/actor
 

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Oops...and almost forgot Rob (Macs_Little_Car) who suggested he be the type of character that looks innocent at first, but is actually bad. Rob also supplied the photos of his car, and himself, for the last chapter.

And John (StupidSuirrels) who did a great job on the Eldorado junkyard pip. And there's more to come in future chapters. Trying to work in as many as I can :)
 

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RobDog said:
compelling reading,I couldn't put it down!

-Ted Lambert-
Boston Globe

I wish I could set up my monitor by the toilet,it was THAT good!
-Robert Halloway-
L.A. TIMES

It's about time, that somebody created a believable storyline, with Joe Friday and the Dark Knight !
-Stephanie Olsen-
Pulitzer prize, Cheif of Staff

I'd fist fight to the death, Martin Scorsese AND Speiberg for a chance to produce this script!
-Quentin Tarantino-
Producer/actor
:lol: LMAO!!!
 

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Atomic Punk
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Dragnet_Supporter said:
I think you have some pretty great shots there, Nick.
Trying to get good detail for pics that are supposed to be taken at midnight was the hardest.

Didn't want to have it so dark that the cars couldn't be seen but also didn't want to to look like daylight.


I think a book would be fun to put together. I think I have all the software at home to do it. It would probably be small. Like 5-1/2" x 8-1/2".

Maybe we can send a box of books around like Bud's car boxes and have all the participating members sign them before I actually distribute them.

We could also possibly have a mystery contest and the winner gets a book and a car or 2 used in the actual story.
 

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CenterShock said:
I think a book would be fun to put together. I think I have all the software at home to do it. It would probably be small. Like 5-1/2" x 8-1/2".

Maybe we can send a box of books around like Bud's car boxes and have all the participating members sign them before I actually distribute them.

We could also possibly have a mystery contest and the winner gets a book and a car or 2 used in the actual story.
Those are all great idea's Nick!!!! Let me know if you need some more pic's from me. I got some cool ones last night. :thumbsup:
 

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Cool ideas, Nick. It'll give the people involved a nice keepake...and once I get my novel published and it becomes a best seller...ahem! It'll be a HT collector's piece worth hundreds and thousands of dollars!

Man's gotta dream...not to mention think positive. I WILL GET MY BOOK PUBLISHED, I WILL GET MY BOOK PUBLISHED...
 

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Great story, as always! Loved the illustrations, Nick.

With the growing list of contributors, this really IS a production, and I love the idea of a short run publication. My only problem with that is it would seem that you would have to have a final end to publish it all.

I guess that would open the way for the next book!

Thanks for the fun!

Mike
 

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MissouriMike said:
Great story, as always! Loved the illustrations, Nick.

With the growing list of contributors, this really IS a production, and I love the idea of a short run publication. My only problem with that is it would seem that you would have to have a final end to publish it all.

I guess that would open the way for the next book!

Thanks for the fun!

Mike
All great endings leave room for something more...even the final ones are never final. The best endings always leave the reader feeling there is something more, that the characters will go on, and we are left thinking: what will happen to them now?

And on that score, so shall this tale come to it's end...in 2 or 3 chapters.
 

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Dragnet_Supporter said:
And on that score, so shall this tale come to it's end...in 2 or 3 chapters.
:( I will miss them when there done. I was thinking of doing a spin-off about my charactor. It would be more Illustrated with less writing. :) I started painting 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" backgrounds. :thumbsup: They are looking pretty good in the test shots.
 

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This won't be the total end. I still have that Street Freaks story coming up at some point in the future. I'm thinking of your character in that one, DW...unless he comes to an end by the time the current tale is done. Were going to find out who your currently working for in the chapter I'm working on. The question I still need to figure out is: do you just vanish at that point, share your employers fate, none of the above?
 
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