Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Headphone Heist

FooDaddy's FooDaddy lurked in his underground Lair, plotting and chuckling over a large, unfolded sheet of draft paper. Upon the paper were drawn the detailed plans for a top secret headphone depository. It had come to his attention that in this carefully guarded location was kept the only surviving model of the WS9000-II, the most powerful and crystally-clear set of headphones known to mankind.

"I must have them!" hooted FooDaddy's FooDaddy, raising his fists into the air. "And I shall!" He chortled in beardish glee and pushed a wallside button. Within moments, the door opened and a tuxedo-clad butler appeared, holding a glass bottle on a silver platter.

"Your crappy wine, sir," the butler said blandly. "Shall I remove the price tag?"

"Certainly not!" FooDaddy's FooDaddy said. "As long as it's crappy, I want to make sure I didn't pay much for it."

"It was a bargain, sir."

FooDaddy's FooDaddy took a long swig and allowed the liquid to cavort about his molars for a bit. "I doubt that," he said. "This wine is truly crap-worthy. Good job, Dullworth."

"Thank you, sir. Shall I lay out your adventuring garments?"

"Yes, Dullworth. I may be out on a mission this night."

"Dangerous, sir?"

"Brutally."

"I shall fill your pockets with Band-Aids, sir."

"You're a good man, Dullworth."

"I know, sir." Dullworth nodded appreciatively and left the Inner Lair. Once the door had closed behind him, however, his bland, harmless face twisted into a nasty leer and he uttered a laugh of pure evil. He had managed to catch a glimpse of the plans on the table and knew what FooDaddy's FooDaddy was planning. Dullworth had also heard of the WS9000-II and his true allegiance was a jealously guarded secret. For although Dullworth was publicly in the employ of FooDaddy's FooDaddy, he was also taking large amounts of under-the-table remuneration from said employer's nemesis, the evil headphone glutton Philips Emerson.

Both Emerson and FooDaddy's FooDaddy had been in competition for the WS9000-II for many years, but the government had been keeping the set under wraps for fear of a general dissatisfaction with the regular run of headphone fare.

FooDaddy's FooDaddy clamped a monstrous pair of Stax headphones onto his ears and cranked up Hindemith's Symphony in E-flat. Within a moment or two, he was completely engrossed in crafting the final plans for the night's heist.

*     *     *

The phone rang.

"Ignore it," The Girlfriend said.

FooDaddy pushed her gently away. "No, my love. I must heed the device. It could very well be the call of justice."

"Justice can leave a message. Let's finish this."

FooDaddy shook his head dutifully, regretfully. "We can finish baking the cookies later. I happen to be an internationally-known Crime Fighter. I have responsibilities."

He answered the phone, but didn't recognize the voice on the other end of the line. Its dulcet tones, however, were pleasing to the ear.

"Hey!" FooDaddy said. "You've got a great voice, there. How about reciting The Song of Hiawatha?"

"There isn't time," said the voice. "I'm afraid I have troubling news."

"The government's outlawed coffee!"

"No."

"Blu-ray?"

No, no." The voice took on a strained tone, as if it was wondering if this was all worth the effort.

"Kittens?"

"No, now please listen. You are the son of FooDaddy's FooDaddy, are you not?"

"Did he tell you that?" FooDaddy was instantly on guard. Whoever this voice was had keen insight into the obvious. A worthy foe, to be sure.

"Well, actually, I've never been able to make him admit it," said the voice. "But it all seems to fit together."

"You're a shrewd voice," said FooDaddy, with grudging admiration. "And I loathe you. Are you sure you won't recite The Song of Hiawatha?"

The voice muttered something too low for FooDaddy to entirely make out.

"Did you just call me a bastard?" FooDaddy was shocked at the language and began searching his pockets for a New Testament.

"Uh, why no! Of course not," the voice said hurriedly. "I said, 'Denny Hastert.' I voted for him in the last election. Now on to business."

"Right, business. Uh...what business?"

"The reason I called, you...never mind. I have troubling news, as I said. I'm afraid your father may be about to make the most serious mistake of his life."

"I thought he already made that."

"Don't be silly. He loves you like a son."

"I am his son."

"Ah ha! You admit it, then!"

FooDaddy wrinkled his forehead in puzzlement. "I thought we'd already established that?"

"Oh, right. Anyway, it has come to my attention that your father is planning to knock off a government establishment for personal gain."

"He wouldn't do that!" FooDaddy was livid. "He is a fine, upstanding gentleman who has supreme respect for the laws of the land!"

"There are headphones involved."

"Ah. So what do you want me to do?"

"Why, stop him, of course! He has no idea who he's dealing with, here. There are other forces on the move. Forces who have it as their highest life's goal to have these headphones. They will stop at nothing."

"And just what is your stake in this?"

"Just a concerned citizen trying to do his duty. Heed my words, oh FooDaddy's FooDaddy's FooDaddy!"

The phone went dead and then emitted a dial tone. FooDaddy hung up and took two steps before the phone rang again.

"Hello?"

"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water..."

*     *     *

Night had fallen over the landscape, crushing trees and small, furry creatures in its path. The shadows, which before had merely tickled the horizon, had now grown long and put a stranglehold on the heavens, causing stars to dance before the eyes of the populace. The Writer sat back and tried to decipher this paragraph. Failing miserably, he decided to leave it in anyway, hoping it would pass for "deep" literature.

FooDaddy's FooDaddy rolled up the plans and slipped them into a plastic tube. Not that he would need them, as he had memorized every line and detail, but better to err on the side of safety.

Walking to a nearby closet, he removed the clothes that Dullworth had put aside for him. It had been some time since he had had opportunity to don his adventuring garb and a little thrill shot through him as he gazed upon the familiar garments. Before long, he had suited up.

He walked to a full-length mirror and examined himself with a critical eye. A stocking cap with a LED lantern attached to the front (for caves and such), a black jumpsuit designed with reflective horizontal lines (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself), and sleek, black leather sandals with built-in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound speakers.

FooDaddy's FooDaddy wheezed craftily and put the critical eye back into its specially-designed side pocket. "Hot dang, I still got it! The WS9000-II shall be mine!" He started to hoot, but decided it wasn't worth the effort. "HOOooo...nah. Dullworth! Bring the auto!"

In mere moments, Dullworth had careened to a stop in front of the Lair and FooDaddy's FooDaddy clambered inside the red Mazda 6.

"To the Depository!"

Before Dullworth could accelerate, however, a large, rusted Ford Taurus station wagon belched from the shadows and blocked their path. It came to a screeching halt and a door fell off.

FooDaddy stepped grandly out of the Taurus and began swaggering toward the Mazda. The dramatic effect of his approach was dampened somewhat when the fumes from the Taurus finally overcame him and he was forced to pause in a fit of coughing.

He quickly recovered and managed to crawl to the side of the Mazda. "I received word that you were planning to knock off a government establishment. I must stop you."

"But, son, there are headphones involved."

"Yes, but..."

"The WS9000-II!"

"Can I help?"

"Certainly!" FooDaddy's FooDaddy said. "Climb in the back and...hey! How did you know what I was planning?"

"I got a phone call from a mysterious, well-spoken stranger," FooDaddy explained. "He didn't identify himself."

"Ah, well that explains why he was stranger." FooDaddy's FooDaddy rolled his eyes. "There weren't many people who knew about my plans. Do you have any idea who it could be, Dullworth?"

Dullworth shook his head.

"Why do you not speak, Dullworth? Is it because you know that my fine son will recognize your voice, eh? No one knew about my plans, except for you. Who else did you tell?"

"No one, sir. I can assure you that I remain faithful to your cause."

"That's him!" FooDaddy shrieked. "I recognize his voice!"

FooDaddy's FooDaddy sighed. "We've already moved beyond that, boy. Silence, please. And try to keep up." He deliberated for a bit. "Well, there's no choice but to go ahead with the plan. I must have those headphones! Onward, Traitorworth!"

"I can't, sir. There is a monstrosity blocking our path."

"Ah, yes. Boy, move the Crime Wagon."

FooDaddy backed the Taurus out of the way, leaving a pile of rust and car parts in his wake. "I'll follow you!" he shouted out the window. "We might need the Crime Wagon if things get dangerous."

"When you've got the Crime Wagon, things are always dangerous," answered FooDaddy's FooDaddy, but the words were lost in the roar of the Crime Wagon's lopsided engine. "I say, he's got someone else in there." A chill shot through him and mingled with the earlier thrill, which had already overstayed its welcome. "It looks like...no, it can't be!"

But it was. The Stupid Blogger was sitting smugly in the Crime Wagon's passenger seat, eating his horrible mayonnaise doughnuts and toying carelessly with the Wagon's various crime-fighting devices. Suddenly, a tarp shot out from the rear of the Crime Wagon and wrapped itself around the Mazda 6, completely immobilizing it.

"Now look what you've done," FooDaddy scolded. "How many times will I have to tell you not to toy with the devices?"

"A few more?" The Stupid Blogger grinned. He had a spot of mayonnaise on his chin and FooDaddy had to turn away in disgust.

"Well, stop it. It looks like my dad and his lousy butler are going to have to ride with us and we want to present a professional front."

"Good luck with that." The Stupid Blogger scarfed another doughnut and took a long swig from a bottle of green tea. "I'm kind of a health nut," he explained.

"Health nut? But you're eating mayonnaise doughnuts by the bagful! You should be carrying around your own defibrillator!"

"Ha! Look who's talking. You, who glugs down pots full of coffee spiced with Cherry Coke. I'll bet you even brush your teeth with caffeine and sugar. At least I'm killing myself the old-fashioned way. With cholesterol. The pioneers practically lived on deep fried fat and gravy."

By this time, FooDaddy's FooDaddy and Dullworth had taken their places in the back seat. "Can we cut the amusing banter, please? The night is waning."

"Let it wait its turn," The Stupid Blogger said, and he and FooDaddy instantly burst into wild gales of laughter.

"Wait...its...turn!" FooDaddy gasped. "You're a genius, Stupid!"

"I know!" The Stupid Blogger was bent over in a paroxysm of mirth.

Finally, the two intrepid crime fighters managed to control the hilarity and FooDaddy put the Crime Wagon into gear. Occasionally, there would be a snicker or a snort, but no major outbursts, and the foursome arrived at the Depository safely and in one piece, if you don't count the dozen or so random mechanical parts that the Crime Wagon left strewn along the interstate.

The Depository looked deserted as FooDaddy's FooDaddy stepped from the Crime Wagon and shook the rust from his sandals. Within these walls were held hostage the most powerful headphones ever conceived by mankind. And soon they would be his!

"Hoot!"

Working quickly, FooDaddy's FooDaddy opened a horizontally-designed side pocket on his jumpsuit and removed a long coil of nylon rope. From another, he took a disassembled crossbow and hurriedly put it together. Attaching the rope to an arrow, he used the crossbow to lodge the arrow at the top of the wall.

Within minutes, he had scaled the wall and used a horizontal cutter to remove a portion of the skylight. Using the same section of rope, he lowered himself down onto the main floor of the Depository.

"Now for my headphones!"

Suddenly, there was a voice from the shadows. "Not so fast."

"Hoot?"

"Those are my headphones, FooDaddy's FooDaddy." The overhead lights clicked on and FooDaddy's FooDaddy found himself face to face with his arch nemesis.

"Well, if it isn't Philips Emerson. Fancy meeting you here." FooDaddy's FooDaddy frantically searched his memory for some clever 007 in-the-face-of-danger remarks.

"Is it so surprising that I should want these headphones? After all, we've always been fierce competitors."

"But on the same night? Those are long odds."

"Not when you have friends in the right places," Emerson replied. "Your butler, for instance, is an old acquaintance of mine."

"Dullworth?"

"The same. He gave me a call as soon as he figured out what you were up to. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to get the headphones and then frame you for the heist."

"You fiend!"

"Quite. My general fiendish fiendishness is surpassed only by my fiendishly fiendish desire for fiendishly excellent headfiends, I mean, phones. Something you should be able to appreciate."

"Oh, but I do," FooDaddy's FooDaddy said. "My only question is, how do you expect to prevent my securing the headphones. I am, after all, sporting a Frank Lloyd Wright designed jump suit."

"Simple," said Emerson, beckoning to the shadows, out of which stepped three large henchmen. "My bodyguards. Allow me to introduce them. Bruno, Biff, and Marge."

"Marge?"

"He's a big Simpsons fan. Boys? Please snatch this man and tie him up. Then force him to peruse pages and pages of Victorian architecture."

FooDaddy's FooDaddy paled, but resolved to be strong.

The overhead skylights shattered with a deafening shatter and FooDaddy and The Stupid Blogger descended, supported by torn strips of tarp. Dramatic music filled the air as the two crime fighters made their entrance and landed gently on the floor of the Depository.

Emerson and his three thugs looked around in confusion. "What the heck is that sound?"

"That's our theme song," The Stupid Blogger replied. "It strikes terror into the hearts of criminals everywhere."

"But you're playing it on kazoos."

"Well, of course," FooDaddy said scornfully. "You expected us to haul around the Boston Pops? Kazoos are simple to learn and very portable. The obvious choice. Now all of you get your hands up."

The Stupid Blogger raised his hands before remembering that he was one of the good guys. He lowered his hands quickly, hoping no one had noticed.

"I don't have time for this," Emerson said. "Tie them all up, men, and perhaps a little torture would be in order. It's Victorian architecture for my good friend, here, and the other two can take turns reading aloud from Pride and Prejudice." Emerson clamped his hands over his ears, grimacing. "And gag them. I can't stand that screaming."

Using the nylon rope, the very bad men had the crime fighters tied up in a flash and Phillips Emerson raced away to find the headphones, followed closely by his three cohorts.

"I can't stand this much longer," groaned The Stupid Blogger, after managing to chew off the gag. Fortunately, the thugs had forgotten to bring dirty socks with them and had been forced to gag our heroes with lengths of taffy. "One more page of this trite prose and I'm gonna snap."

"You two are lucky," retorted FooDaddy's FooDaddy. "At least you have words and such. All I have are curls, scallops, spindles, and little onion-type carvings to look at. I'm going mad!"

"Don't be gone long," said FooDaddy. "We'll need you to help get us out of this direness."

"Don't worry," said FooDaddy's FooDaddy. "Emerson will never get the headphones."

"How do you know?"

"Because he's in too big of a hurry. My plans showed several traps set up around the vault where the headphones are kept. I have methods of circumventing those traps, but that fool Emerson will never make it through."

Just then, there was a sudden outburst of maniacal laughter from somewhere in the building.

"Ah," said FooDaddy's FooDaddy. "It would seem he has accidentally released the tickling monkeys." He smiled cruelly. "If that doesn't discourage him, then I'm sure the horde of sarcastic bats will. He always did have a fragile ego."

Sure enough, within minutes, Emerson and his assistants ran by the captives at break-neck speed, closely pursued by a multitude of bats and monkeys.

"Well, that takes care of Emerson," said FooDaddy. "But what about us? We're kind of tied up at the moment."

"Never fear. The ropes are designed to deteriorate quickly after having been touched by evil hands. In fact, they should now be weak enough to break away."

Both FooDaddy's FooDaddy and FooDaddy easily dispatched their bonds, while The Stupid Blogger still struggled.

"Mine must be defective," he whined.

FooDaddy reached down and snapped the ropes with a pinky. "Be glad they didn't bind you with dental floss," he said.

"Meanie." The Stupid Blogger pouted for a little while, but was soon ready to go. "Let's go get us some headphones!"

The farther back into the building they walked, the darker it became, but FooDaddy's FooDaddy solved that by turning on his LED stocking cap. "We shouldn't have to worry about the traps," he said. "It would appear that Emerson set them all off for us. Thoughtful chap."

At last they reached a solid steel door. To one side was a keypad with flashing buttons.

"I think it wants a password," said The Stupid Blogger. "Was that in your plans?"

FooDaddy's FooDaddy leaned forward and examined the keypad. "Can't say that it was," he admitted. "But it shouldn't be too hard to figure out."

Over the next hour, they entered hundreds of passwords, but the keypad only smiled coyly and refused to accept any of them. Finally, in desperation, FooDaddy kicked the solid steel door and was surprised to see it crumble at impact.

"Hey, this stuff isn't steel. It's just painted drywall with some rivet decals pasted on. Stupid government."

FooDaddy's FooDaddy coughed. "Ahem. Yes, well I don't think we should mention this to anyone. I..." Then he looked into the room and spotted a shiny pedestal, on top of which rested a glistening pair of headphones. "The WS9000-II! Hoot, hoot, and yet again, hoot!"

They crowded into the room and gathered around the pedestal. FooDaddy's FooDaddy picked them up gently and began caressing the noise-canceling ear pieces.

"Um, I think maybe we should be going," The Stupid Blogger suggested.

"Can't I just admire them for awhile?"

"Later. Right now I think I hear the bats returning and my ego's not all that great, either."

To make a long story short (a little late for that, I know), the WS9000-II headphones now occupy a place of honor in FooDaddy's FooDaddy's Lair. Dullworth was turned over to the authorities, but escaped by lulling his captors to sleep by being, well, dull. FooDaddy and The Stupid Blogger continue their war on crime and are still driving the Crime Wagon. Philips Emerson has never been found and it can only be assumed that he will turn up the next time there is a pair of headphones worthy of his attention.

11 comments:

Stupid Blogger's Wifey said...

Hey! This took me two hours to read. Ha! Just kidding. I loved it. I liked the part where Foodaddy's foodaddy chortled a beardish laugh.

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

I too enjoyed the beardishness of the chortle. There's good stuff in here, Craig old sock!

Longest. Post. Ever.

facelvega said...

I know FooDaddy's Foodaddy personally (I once traded him Erich Honneker's personal HOK80-II for a pristine YH-100, and amazingly enough I'm not even kidding), and I can assure you he would never lust after a headphone with noise-canceling earpieces. Heck, he'd probably drill holes in such earpieces to let the noise out.

Otherwise, the story is pretty accurate.

ps, I'm also friends with Philips Emerson, but not so much as ever to have visited his secret headphone museum on the cliffs of the mediterranean. Once again, not kiddding.

foodaddy's foodaddy said...

These days I wheeze craftily like Muttley the cartoon dog, but either way, I'm still beardy and lovin' it.

Jacob "Pickle Weasel" Nordby said...

HA!

I loved the story--beardishness and all.

There are so many layers of subtlety that one can not help but be intrigued.

Stupid lards this tale with elements of truth--such as his own pettiness and poutishness (these are most unattractive traits and I have observed them to be in heightened display during times of tension, danger or other arousal).

All in all, I found this longish story to be quite readable and very much liked new additions like the tickling monkeys and the sarcastic bats. Very nice.

By the way, I have to think that FooDaddy's FooDaddy's obsession with stereophonic headgear points ever more certainly to his other addiction...crack cocaine!

I'll be watching ye, ye old heathen.

Curvy Cosmo girl (the girlfriend) said...

this was a very long post indeed.

FooDaddy if you would ever be in need of a new "crime vehicle" (which you will be if you keep losing parts off the Crime Wagon) I might be willing to allow you to use the Cobalt.

Yes, Stupid you may continue to play with all the gadgets that the Cobalt would then be equipped with.

I do agree that justice could leave a message. Only in certain cases of course.

The Stupid Blogger said...

facelvega: Oops! You'll have to pardon my headphone faux pas. I'm a novice in such things and must be excused at least once.

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Oh, I also got a snortle out of "Adventuring Garments". I shall have to apprehend some of my own.

Anonymous said...

Hoot, hoot, and AWAAAYYY!

foodaddy's foodaddy said...

There's just a faint whiff of the anarchic and seminal BBC radio comedy The Goon Show. For those of you youngsters who've never heard this incunabulum of Montry Prythong and other modren British comic-type things, there's a good sample of it on this page:
http://otrcat.com/goon-show-p-1329.html

Fast-forward past the lame 1950s musical numbers. This was more than 50 years ago, you know, when people were more easily amused and oil companies were beloved service organizations.

The castperson you may have heard of is the late (very late) Peter Sellers.

Senna is an herbal laxative.

foodaddy's foodaddy said...

I love the idea of Frank Lloyd Wright coming up with a secret jumpsuit with strong horizontal stripes for the OSS during ww2 designed to fool the enemy into thinking that you were lying down, becoming one with the horizon, when in fact you were attacking.