No. 1 - Subscription

El Humidor is smoking.

In bed.

At ten in the morning.

With his "fumokinesis," the cigarette smoke drifts and curls into recognizable shapes: a crude, buxom female form, an airship under attack by biplanes, a cowboy fighting a robot. He glances at the clock, butts out the cigarette, and heads downstairs.

At the bottom of the stairwell he glances as Jerry Rig, still asleep on the couch, Cartoon Network droning along on the TV. Rig's miniscule robot furniture gaze back at El Humidor. At least he thinks they're looking back at him, he can never tell. He's always felt that the miniature wardrobe doesn't like him.

Scratching his scalp, El Humidor steps out on the porch, looks around, tries to reenter house. Locked himself out. Shrugs, lights a cigarette and begins to watch Cartoon Network through the front window.

The VCR clock blinks 10:50. Humidor snubs out his cigarette. The clock digitally flips to 11:10, Humidor butts out a out another cigarette, again. Just before noon, Aecca/Decca tiptoes does the stairs (trying not to build up a static charge, he does this by only trying to contact things "point-to-point, no sluffing, shuffling, sliding, or rubbing"), notices Humidor outside the window.

He unlocks the the front door, but blocks El Humidor from re-entry.

"Lock yourself out again?" Aecca/Decca asks.

El Humidor stares blankly at Aecca/Decca.

Aecca/Decca grimaces slightly, "came outside to get the paper, huh?"

El Humidor maintains his expressionless gaze.

"Have we ever gotten the paper?" asks Aecca/Decca, with a tired tone of voice which suggests he's made this speech before.

El Humidor remains unmoved. The two of them stand in the doorway in silence for what seems an eternity. Finally, El Humidor speaks.

"Can I go in now?"

El Humidor passes by Aecca/Decca, and plops down into an easy chair, stares dumbly for a few seconds at what's on the teevee, then looks at Jerry Rig, then back at the teevee, the back at Rig, and excitedly asks, "ooh, ooh, is Pokemon on? I LOVE that show! With the Ash and the Pikachu and the Squirtle and the 'gotta catch 'em all!' and the Brock and the Team Rocket!"

Rig's eyes loll lazily in Humidor's direction, then back to the teevee, "no. Pokemon is on around 8 in the morning. This is twelve-thirty in the afternoon."

"Hmm," ponders El Humidor, getting out another cigarette, rolling it between his thumb and index finger ruefully, "not even on the Pokemon channel?"

"There is no Pokemon channel," replies Rig.

"Are you one hundred percent certain?" asks Humidor, a wry smirk on his face.

"About one hundred percent certain you're about to find out what's on the me-kicking-your ass channel!" says Aecca/Decca as he walks into the living room, a mug of Yuban coffee in one hand, two in the other. He holds the duo out into the space roughly between Rig and Humidor. Both sit up to reach out and grab a cup.

El Humidor leans back into his chair, slides his cigarette behind his ear, and blows on his coffee to cool it, "I believe that channel went off the air, for two reasons," raises a finger into the air, "one, low ratings," raises a second finger, "two, it did not exist."

"Low ratings, huh? So tell me, was it a bigger ratings flop than El Humidor trying to hit on the bartender down at the tavern last night?" Aecca grins largely. Jerry Rig chortles.

El Humidor take a big gulp of coffee, set his mug down, pulls his cigarette back out from behind his ear, "Allow me to reply to that comment in two parts: First..."

Aecca/Decca cuts in, snickering "...I mean, we're talking the live action Thunderbirds movie bad here."

Rig becomes alarmed, "Hey hey hey, now! Let's not say things we can't take back!"

"Yes-yes, alright," El Humidor continues, ignoring Aecca/Decca's cheap shots, "first of all, El Humidor will be the first to admit that sometimes he ties one too many on, and that his usually rayzor sharrrp wit will become a wee bit dull, much like an axe that has been chopping for much too long at a stand of bamboo. It becomes chipped and blunt. Very very blunt. And the bamboo? She is tough. She is resilient. But she is tall. And thin. And her bark is so very very smooth, yes. So smooth. But El Humidor? He is blunt. And so his wit, usually so sharp, has become clouded. Clouded as if it had been dipped in a sauce. Some sort of a.. beer sauce. Yes. What can El Humidor say? I did not bring my "A" game to the field that night, eh? Secondly..."

"Um," says Jerry Rig, on his way to the kitchen, follwed by his brood of miniature robotic furniture. "I really don't think its healthy for you to mix your metaphors like that."

Without missing a beat, El Humidor continues on, "... El Humidor would like to offer his sincerest apologies and regrets for getting himself and hees compatriots eighty-sixed from the local public house. But for as long as El Humidor breathes life, he swears he shall seek the redressing of these injustice. It is the way of my people... to seek redress for injustices, and to breathe life. Not to get eighty-sixed."

"Are you done, now?" asks Aecca/Decca, nodding good morning to Mudman, who has emerged from his basement abode. Mudman yawns, nods back, stands by the teevee, staring at the screen, absently scratching his ass.

"Well," replies El Humidor, "at least I try to talk to the women. El Humidor's recollection is that our friend Aecca/Decca over here spent the evening swilling his own body weight in beer and asking Mudman to pull his finger. Repeatedly. Before falling off his barstool."

"Heh. Aecca/Decca fall down," chuckles Mudman, recollecting the night before.

Aecca/Decca stews quietly, staring at the television. Mudman goes in the bathroom and closes the door. Jerry Rig emerges from the kitchen, a freshly micro-waved Hot Pocket clutched in each fist.

"Hey, Humey," he says, between mouthfuls of melted cheesefood and processed ham, "you seen today's paper? Its not on the porch."

From the bathroom, the toilet is heard to flush.

El Humidor concurs, " Yes. El Humidor is aware of that. Tell me about it!"

Aecca/Decca becomes nervous after noticing El Humidor walking on the rug with wool socks on, and hurriedly makes his way goes to the kitchen, as the toilet is again heard to flush.

"Well, you see," Rig explains, " I woke up. And I went outside to see if the paper was here yet." Pauses to wolf-down half of his hot pocket in a manner that makes El Humidor's face contort in shock and disgust. "So I'm outside, and I look around. And its not there. Not on the porch, not on the walk, and not in the yard. Its. Just. Not. There." Rig pauses for dramatic effect, then starts in on his second Hot Pocket.

Mudman emerges from the bathroom, pauses, turns, and closes the door behind him.

"That's not what El Humidor meant," says El Humidor, "not at all."

"Oh," says Jerry Rig, finishing the last bite of his Hot Pocket, "So... Do you have the paper?"

Mudman says, "we don't have a subscription."

Rig and Humidor: "huh?"

Mudman, "to the newspaper."

In unison, again, "what?"

"A subscription. We don't have a subscription to the newspaper."

El Humidor exclaims, "oh, well that explains that, then."

Rig: "scientifically, yes."

Mudman notes, dryly, "another mystery solved, huh, guys?"

High-fives are distributed mightily betwixt the three, followed by each striking various "finishing move" poses of their own design.

Words by C. Collision & D.D. Tinzeroes, drawings by D.D. Tinzeroes