The General gave me a blank stare, then glanced over at his men, who shrugged. He then turned back to me, looking almost apologetic. “No. Should I have?”
Well… that was a little blow to my ego. I would have thought I had done something to gain at least a bit of notoriety at this point in my career. “Frank Clay?” I tried again. “You know, the guy who was in that big accident out in the mountains. Now every couple of days I change bodies. It was in all the journals. I’ve been in the newspaper….”
The General slowly nodded. I have never felt more embarrassed in my life. “Yes,” he said. “I think I have heard of you. Mr. Unstable Quantums. I have seen him on the news from America. Always a different man, they have. Washington has found the perfect propaganda. They do not even need to bring in the same actor to play him. They can just grab whoever is nearby and say ‘speak these lines.”
“Propaganda?” That was a new one on me. I had never heard myself called that. Most people in the government didn’t even like me. On the other hand, this whole thing did start with me working on a peace treaty for them with the Dinozens, then going undercover over here. So maybe I was letting myself be used occasionally. But I did it not just to help America, but to help the world. “I’m just one man,” I told him. “They were all me. Seriously.”
“Oh, yes, sure,” the General laughed and seconds later so did his men. “Like I am to believe a man can change his form whenever he wants?”
“It’s not whenever I want. But tell me, what’s so hard to believe about it? You have an army of lizard men. You have a dragon. What is so much stranger about a man who has to change his body every few days than a man with a magical horn on his forehead?”
The General stopped laughing and grew very self-conscious. “What? I have no horn on my head! Who has a horn on their head? What are you talking about?” He looked self-consciously at his men. They had either been bewitched into not being able to see it or they were very good at pretending it wasn’t there.
“Oh, come on, General. It’s as plain as the horn in the middle of your forehead. I can see it clearly. You can’t fool me.”
“That’t it!” he roared. “I’ve had enough of you and your silly claims! You are not my wife and I do not have a horn! You are just a pathetic little creature sent here by the American government to undermine me! You have failed and I will have no more of it! Guards, kill him!”
The Dracs grabbed me and held me arms tight so I couldn’t get free. One of them pulled out a knife and walked in front of me. Another of the Dracs, one of the ones behind me, grabbed my hair and pulled my head back exposing my throat. The Drac in front of me came closer. He pressed the knife against my throat, then glanced back at his boss for permission. “Do it!” the General yelled at him. “Kill him!”
“I don’t think so, fiend!” Lu Wu yelled from above us, hovering in the air. We all looked up at him in surprise. And as we were distracted, Tilly jumped through me and slamming into the Drac with the knife knocking him down. Tilly rolled to her feet.
“No!” The General screamed. “Where’d you come from?”
“See?” I said. “I told you Lina was here.”
“She’s not my daughter! She’s an imposter!”
“You’re right, idiot!” Tilly told him. “I’m not your daughter and I never was! Your stupid magic doesn’t work on me!”
“You can’t defeat us, General,” Lu Wu told him. “So give up. Your armies, your dragons. All they are are distractions. I will send them away just as easily as I did this last batch. You are the real villain. Nothing you do will trick me into thinking otherwise.”
“Villain?” the General echoed. “You want a villain? I’ll show you a villain! Kill them! Kill them all!” The remaining Dracs attacked, but the Sharkwoman came diving through them. Between the four of us, we made quick work of the General’s Dracs.
Now, it was just the General standing before us. I held my hand out to him. “Hand over the horn, General. Don’t make us take it from you.”
“My horn?” The General reached up toward his forehead and grabbed his horn. A smile slowly formed on his face. Suddenly, the General began to grow. He was getting taller and broader and more muscular. In seconds, he was twice the size he had been! He continued to grow larger and larger.
“Wu! Stop him!”
“I…I…I can’t!” Lu yelled back. “He’s too powerful!”
“Yes,” the General replied, his voice booming. “I am too powerful for you! Too powerful for all of you!”
to be continued…