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October 12 2004 at 8:11 AM
Harbinger of Death 

Bird and Manto were busying themselves with all kinds of filing and paperwork in the chancellorial office of OmarSnake. This would be unusual, maybe even alarming, if they were truly working, but in fact they were filling out acquisition forms for all kinds of contraband items with the forged chancellor’s signature they had come to perfect. Indeed, the real signature may not have passed muster, were he to actually show up and try to sign anything official.

“Did you finish the form for the love swing yet?” asked Bird.

“Almost. How about the cabana boy?” Manto replied.

“He should be here next week.”

“Excellent. Make sure the ‘Brazilian thong’ box is checked.”

“Are you sure? I thought we agreed to the ‘No thong at all’ box.”

“There has to be some element of mystery, you know,” Manto said.

There was a knock at the door. Ladybug peeked her head in. “You guys ready for lunch?”

“We have so much work to do, I don’t know if we can get away,” Bird sighed.

Ladybug rolled her eyes. “This is why I gave up being an assistant. Too much work. Come on, I’ve even got a picnic basket.”

“Ooh, did you bring the spinach dip and pita chips?” Manto eyed the basket.

“Of course. Now get your behinds out here and let’s have some fun.”

They abandoned the office and were headed for a sunny spot in the meadow when they saw Omar and Cathbad tossing a football around. [Truth be told, the guys had waited until seeing the girls come down the path, and then picked up the football to show off.]

“Let us stop and admire the scenery for a moment,” said Ladybug. “I do so love to see the colors change.”

“Forget the trees, I see a couple of nice tushies,” Manto commented.

“Well dur, but I was trying to be subtle.”

“Subtlety is pointless. You never get what you want by just hinting at it.”

“Mmm, rippling muscles,” said Bird fondly.

“Hi, ladies,” called Cathbad, grinning at them.

“Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there. Hi,” said Omar nonchalantly, trying desperately not to wince at his aching arm.

“You big strong men are so impressive out there,” said Bird, half-teasing.

“Well, you know we like to stay fit,” said Cathbad modestly, flexing his arms for them.


“Okay, what just happened? Where’s my picnic basket?” Ladybug looked around at the mats they were standing on in a gymnasium. The five of them were facing each other in a circle, with dumbbells in front of each of them.

“BEGIN.” A voice boomed from somewhere.

“This is a piece of cake,” said Omar. “Look how teeny the weights are.” He hefted it up easily over his head. “See? You try.”

Cathbad and Manto followed suit, but Bird and Ladybug just looked at each other. “Nuh uh,” said Bird. “No way.”

“You’re just begging for trouble,” Ladybug said.



“Bok bok bok!”

“Fine, fine, just shut up.” They also lifted up their bars. “Now what?”

Five dark Things lumbered up and hoisted giant weights onto all their dumbbells. The Debs trembled and perspired under the massive burdens.

“What are you doing??”

“I can’t hold it any more!”


They all collapsed and the metal bars crushed their windpipes and snapped their spines at the neck.

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