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What We Do Is What You Just Can't Do

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Michael Bluth looked up from the counter as the sun began to turn darker and more golden as it sunk beyond the coastline. He smiled and looked over at his son.

“Ready, George Michael?”

“Ready.”

In unison, the two grabbed the shutter that hung above the counter of the banana stand and pulled it closed. After checking to make sure it was locked, they turned around and pressed a button on the back wall. A piece of the floor slid back and revealed a sort of chute that seemed to slip away into the nothingness far beneath the earth.

“Okay, who’s first?” asked Michael, hanging up his apron.

“Age before beauty,” George Michael said with an awkward chuckle, causing his father to give him an odd look.

“Right. Well, I’ll see you at the bottom. Remember—“

“Right, push the button to close the top, I got it.”

Michael ruffled the kid’s hair then jumped down the slide. He always hated this part, but it was necessary. After several moments of rushing through the stiff plastic tube, he landed hard on the cement floor at the bottom of the slide.

“Ow! What the—who moved the mattress down here?”

The other members of his family, who were sitting around a long table looking bored, all turned to look at him at the same time. The lair of the Bluth family had a few ways to enter—an underground motorcar used only by Lucille, a well of water that was connected to another well a few miles away used by the Fünkes, a teleportation system used by Buster, Gob, and George Senior, and the most direct route—the slide under the banana stand used by Michael and his son. It was a massive underground cave, fitted with several pieces of state-of-art technology.

“Mother said it was starting to smell,” Buster said, scratching his head with his third hand.

“That mattress was twenty years old,” Lucille replied. She had a glass of scotch with her that she placed on the table with a clink. “I conceived your brother on it.”

“Which one?” Buster asked.

Lucille gave him a dire look. “Gob.”

“Oh, god,” Buster, Michael, and Lindsay replied at the same time, scrunching their faces in identical manners.

“Really, Michael, we should have replaced it years ago,” Lindsay said, adjusting the hem of her cape. “Not all of us are impervious to pain like Mother.”

“That’s less because of her superpowers and more because of the large number of prescription pills she takes,” Michael said, putting his hands on his hips. “Okay, I’ll just add it to the list of upgrades this place needs, like OOOFFF—“

Michael was cut off as George Michael came down the slide and slammed into it. He staggered to his feet, patting his son on the back.

“While you’re making a list, do you think you could schedule me for flying lessons?” asked Gob. He was especially curious about flying because the only superpower he possessed (besides the self-healing ability the entire family was inflicted with) was the ability to cause pieces of paper to become blank instantly. This was useful for a variety of card tricks, but not much else.

“You and your father have been bogarting the whole flying thing for quite a while,” said Tobias, standing and walking over to Michael. He placed a hand on his brother-in-law’s shoulder, adding, “You could, for example, take me up there some time. The two of us, grown men in spandex, flying through the open air, letting the wind whip over our bodies. We could have a grand old ball of a time.”

“I don’t think that’s going to be an option, Tobias,” Michael replied, shrugging off the other man’s hand. “For the last time, everyone, flying is not something you learn, it’s something you’re born with. For example—“ and there was more than a modicum of fatherly pride as he added the next part—“George Michael hovered today, nearly three feet off the ground. Isn’t that right, buddy?”

“Uh, yeah,” said George Michael, turning away.

“I still don’t see why you get to do it and I can’t,” said Gob. “I’m the oldest!”

“I don’t understand what your obsession with flying is,” said Lindsay. “I can’t fly either.”

“Well, maybe if you lost some weight, dear,” Lucille said, taking a sip of her drink.

“Where is dad, by the way?” Michael asked, looking around.

“Oh, he got arrested,” Lucille said carelessly.

“You’re telling me my father, a man with the strength to lift an eighteen wheeler and the ability to fly? He’s a superhero. A pillar of the community. There’s no way he was arrested.”

 

(George Senior, had in fact, been arrested. As it turned out, his superpowers had begun to wane in his old age, and he could no longer lift an eighteen wheeler. He could, however, lift a two wheeler. The local police, who had been trying to crack down on vigilante justice, were not pleased when he threw a bicycle at them. )

 

“Well, none of you posted bail?” asked Michael.

“They considered him a flight risk,” said Gob.

Michael smiled. “All right, that was a good one.”

“What was a good one?”

“Never mind,” Michael sighed. He clapped his hands together and changed the subject. “All right, everyone, it seems we have a bit of a problem.”

“Oh, are we finally going to talk about Tobias’ tights?” Buster asked.

“My tights are the same ones I’ve had since my childhood ballet class,” Tobias said, taking a seat at the table. “As you can see, I’ve kept my figure.”

“Yes, but do you have to wear them over the cutoffs?” Lindsay asked.

“Tobias’ tights aside,” Michael said in a firm voice. “I meant we’re being sued.”

“We as in you?” asked Gob.

“’We’ as in the Bluth Company, the multimillion dollar company that is a front for our superhero activities.”

“Who would sue us?” Lindsay asked. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”

(Several people had sued the Bluth Company over the years, including but not limited to: Ross Perot, Microsoft, the Armenian government, the United States government, Sears Roebuck Incorporated, Enron, the producers of the Simpsons, and a very disgruntled mall Santa. )

“This time, it’s the Blob,” Michael said, pressing a button on the control panel at the head of the table. A projected image appeared on a gigantic screen at the other end of the room, showing a gelatinous blue mound with eyes and a mouth.

“Michael, that’s no way to refer to Bill Gates,” said Gob.

“Bill Gates isn’t even fat. The Blob in this situation is referring to the reformed villain turned superhero THE Blob. It appears the Bluth Company built his house, which is now falling apart.”

“So call a repairman, what does that have to do with us?” Lucille asked.

“It appears Mister The Blob has called forty-seven different repairmen who all blame the problem on shoddy construction. Not only that, but seven other residents of the housing development participating in the suit. They have all tried to contact the company directly. Their lawyer, Bob Loblaw, has put a log together of all their complaints.”

Michael pulled out a ledger book and placed it on the table. “Bob Loblaw’s Blob log has over seven hundred building violations we are directly responsible for.”

“Get to the point, Michael. How much is this going to cost us?” Lucille said, pouring herself another drink.

Michael took a deep breath. “Fifteen million.”

“Fifteen million?!” Lucille cried. “Ridiculous. Let Momma handle it.”

“Mom, it’s fine, we actually—“

But Lucille was gone. Blessed with the gift of super speed, she had made her escape at the end of her sentence.

“Well, that went better than I thought,” Michael said, looking down at the table.

“The problems are all in this book?” said Gob, grabbing the ledger eagerly. “Ta-da! Blank! Problems gone. Take a look at Blob log, Michael.”

Gob slid the ledger back down the table where Michael stopped it with the tips of his fingers. “Gob, this is just a copy. The main complaints have been filed with the civil court. All you’ve done is erase one of many, many duplicates.”

“I get what you’re saying, Michael,” Gob nodded knowingly.

Michael cocked his head to the side. “I don’t think you do.”

“Sure,” said Gob, standing and walking over to his brother. “You want me to go down to the court house, get inside the records office, and—“ here he leaned over to speak softly in Michael’s ear— “seduce the female clerk.”

“That’s not what I’m asking at all,” Michael replied.

They were interrupted by several whooshing sounds, and out of the long chute came several figures, clad in black from head to toe. Six of them leapt into a formation, waving various weapons.

“Oh great,” said Lindsay, rising into a fighting position. “Ninjas. They better not pull my hair.”

“Your hair is the least of our worries,” Michael replied, stepping forward and punching one of the ninjas in the face. “I’m more concerned about the Blog log.”

“Poppycock,” said Tobias, swinging his leg in a roundhouse kick, catching a ninja in the chin. “This Blob fellow can go straight back to the bog he came from.”

“How did you know he came from a bog?” Lindsay asked. She smoothly brought up her knee into one of the ninja’s stomachs, then brought her fists down on the back of his head.

“I thought you said that book was the Blob bog,” Buster yelled over the scuffle. The third arm that grew out of his chest surprised the ninja he was fighting with and he managed to knock it unconscious.

“No, it was the log blog,” replied Gob, deftly flipping one of the ninjas by one arm.

“No,” cried Maeby, sliding on her knees to get closer to an attacking figure. She brought her elbow back and caught a ninja in the sternum. “He lobbed a log at the Blob.”

“You’re all wrong,” cried Michael, grabbing two ninjas by the back of the neck and slamming their heads together. “But that’s not important right now.”

“Family’s important, right dad?” George Michael asked, pinning a ninja’s arms back.

“Yes, son, but you don’t need to mention it right now.”

When the last ninja had been knocked down, George Michael and Maeby tied the group together with rope.

“All right, now let’s see who we’re dealing with.” Michael leaned down and pulled off the mask of the lead ninja, revealing a round faced blond girl.

“Ann?” said George Michael.

“Her?” asked Michael.

“Whuh—George Michael?” Ann seemed to snap out of her stupor almost instantly.

“Ann, what are you doing here?” George Michael asked. “And why are you a ninja?”

“I’m not a ninja,” Ann retorted. “I’m a Holy Warrior.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means we go on holy missions to defeat those who stand in the way of God’s plan. Superheroes affect the flow of how the world is supposed to work! You save too many lives!”

“Whoa, she’s crazy,” Lindsay murmured.

“Yeah, it’s kind of hot,” Gob added.

“You’re disgusting,” replied Lindsay.

Michael, fighting exasperation, turned to George Michael and Maeby. “Okay, kids, put them in the isolation chamber. And George Michael, remember to close the top of the chute next time.”

(George Michael would have closed the top of the chute, except at the very moment he had raised his hand to do so, he had gotten a text from his cousin Maeby.

get down here nao! soooo boreddd. can't wait to c u~! xo

George Michael had grinned and said to himself, “X O? That’s a kiss and a hug.”

Really, Maeby had been trying to convey a frustrated face with squinched together eyes and a screaming mouth, but George Michael had willfully misinterpreted the message.)

“Sorry, dad,” George Michael mumbled at his father. “It won’t happen again.”

“They’ve seen our faces. They know our secret identities. Get the memory loss gas.”

“Uncle Gob used it last.”

“Gob, where did you leave the memory loss gas?”

“I forgot.”

“. . . of course you did.”

Maeby and George Michael dragged the tied together ninjas to the back of the lair. There was a large isolation cell made of glass that was bulletproof, fireproof, and bombproof. Maeby punched in the code to open the door and threw the ninjas inside. The door made a loud hiss as it closed, and the ninjas, still bound together, slumped to the ground.

Maeby stood outside of the cell, staring as the ninjas tried to get free, Three Stooges style. She rubbed her chin thoughtfully.

“Something doesn’t make sense, George Michael,” she said quietly.

“A lot of things don’t make sense. Being able to fly, having a third hand, that weird paper thing Uncle Gob does.”

“No, I mean, these ninjas? They had to know at least, like, where the vicinity of the chute was. Who told them?”

“Well, anybody could have told them—“

“No! Not anybody!” Maeby whirled around and faced her cousin. “Only someone in the family. Someone who isn’t here.”

“You don’t mean Pop Pop?”

“No,” said Maeby. “He would have sold us out to the police.”

(At that moment, George Senior was indeed, selling them out to the police. He was in talks with the California attorney general to give up his family in exchange for leniency. Unfortunately, since George Senior could no longer display his super powers, the prosecutors took his ramblings as that of an old man desperate to get out of prison.)

“No,” repeated Maeby. “I mean Gangee.”

George Michael’s eyes went wide with surprise. He immediately turned to the intercom that went into the cell. “Hey! Hey, you guys.”

“What is it, George Michael?” Ann snapped, struggling at her bonds.

“Who hired you to come down here?”

“Never saw ‘em. Only had a phone conversation. Sounded like a drunk old lady.”

George Michael and Maeby turned and looked at each other.

“Gangee,” they said in unison.

-

“Mom?” Michael knocked on his mother’s penthouse door. “Mom, come on. Open up.”

The door opened, and Lucille stood there with a feigned look of surprise. “Michael! What a pleasure! Come in! Oh and I see you brought . . . everyone.”

George Michael, Lindsay, Gob, Buster, Maeby, and Tobias filed into the apartment after Michael.

“Mom, why did you send the ninjas?” asked Michael.

“I have no idea what you’re implying, and I deny the accusation.” Lucille swept around and took a seat in a lavish chair.

“Mother, how could you do this?” asked Buster. “We were nearly killed.”

“I’m sure you were fine,” Lucille responded, lifting her glass to her lips.

“So you did send the ninjas,” Michael said, sighing. “Listen, why would you do that?”

“Why? Why Michael? Because I knew you were going to ruin us.”

“Ruin you?”

“Yes. You were going to cave into that Blob man’s demands. The company cannot afford to lose fifteen million dollars, that’s overhead on the lair for six months!”

“Mom, we made a shoddy product. We have to account for it. And with dad in jail, I think the company—“

“The company?” Lucille’s glare turned dark. “You don’t know balls about the company, Michael. I’m the one who’s kept us in business since 1983, and I’m the one who’s going to keep us in business. Not only that, but who do you think it is that covers up every time one of you idiot gets your identity outed? Who do you think funded the research on that handy memory loss gas? Do you know how many parents of kids with cancer I had to pay off to gloss over the human testing? It was quite stressful.”

“Mom, I always knew you were a danger to society. I just didn’t know on what scale. I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to take you in.” Michael moved forward, ready to grab his mother.

“Like hell!” Lucille shouted and ducked behind the couch. She immediately started firing laser beams from her eyes.

“Crap,” said Michael, and he and the rest of the family dodged behind the table and chairs in the dining room. Pieces of plaster fell from the walls and ceilings as the deadly red beams darted in multiple places.

Buster let out a scream and the third arm in the middle of his chest was missing, replaced by a dark red stain of blood on his shirt.

“Buster!” cried Lindsay.

“It’s okay, he’ll heal,” said Michael. “Buster! Hide!”

But Buster stood in the middle of the room, frozen in shock. Statues and nick-knacks were destroyed into many pieces around him. “I only have two hands now.” He clasped them over the hole in his chest and screamed up at the sky. “I’M A MONSTER!”

“Buster, get down!” Michael yelled, yanking his brother behind the table. The sound of things being destroyed and burned stopped for a moment.

“Mom?” Michael called out. “What’s wrong? Your charge dead? I know you only have a limited amount of laser use per day. Give it up, mom!”

“You forget, Michael,” said Lucille, standing up. “I’m also very, very, fast.”

She was a blur. Instantly, Maeby jumped to her feet and seemed to disappear. In the blurry place that was the realm of speedsters, she connected with her grandmother, holding her arm straight out in a clothesline, knocking the other woman down.

“You forget, Gangee,” Maeby said, standing over her. “So am I.”

-

Lindsay and Tobias managed to cuff Lucille with depowering handcuffs and take her to the jail specially designed for supervillains. Gob and Michael stayed behind with Buster, trying to comfort him and his loss of arm.

“This is terrible,” Buster moaned, sinking down onto the couch. “How am I supposed to got to the bathroom now?”

“Wait,” said Michael. “What?”

“Cheer up, little brother,” Gob said bombastically. “It’s about time someone in this family had less superpowers than I did.”

“I’m ugly,” Buster cried. “Don’t look at me!”

He jumped up and sprinted to the balcony. Michael and Gob followed him outside a little slowly.

“Just leave me alone!” Buster yelled. He squeezed his eyes shut and let out a weird scream, then suddenly shot into the sky, flying up above the city. His brothers stayed on the balcony, their mouths hanging open in shock. The only sound was a single shout from Gob:

“Oh, come on!”

-

George Michael and Maeby had went into the kitchen and were making themselves ice cream.

“So you can fly now, huh?” asked Maeby, dipping her spoon into vanilla.

“Not really. I just jumped today and hovered a few inches off the ground. Dad just got really excited about it.” George Michael lifted himself onto a stool and started in on his own bowl.

“Oh,” said Maeby. “That makes me feel a lot better.”

“It does?”

“Yeah. I can’t have you being more powerful than me. It’ll never sell.”

“What will never sell?”

“Nothing,” said Maeby quickly. “Pass the chocolate syrup.”

~end~

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~coda~

“So what do you think?” Maeby asked, leaning forward in her chair.

The famous movie director Ron Howard put down her proposal and gave her a stern look. “I just don’t see a television series about superheroes doing very well.”

“Oh,” said Maeby, deflated.

Ron Howard rubbed his chin. “But a superhero movie? Now that just might work.”

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