Henry the Adequate

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero
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  • Experimental Brain Stuff

    Posted on May 22nd, 2010 ben 2 comments

    So, I am strapped into a chair.

    “Nice straps,” I remark, and it becomes obvious that I have been working on my heroic banter.

    “Ugh…” I remark, as the goon slash dragger tightens the straps a whole lot more while slapping me about a bit as though he does not appreciate my heroic banter, which is clearly impossible.

    But it could be worse. They could be about to do some weird experimental brain stuff to me.

    “Now, Mister… ” The white coat mad scientist guy checks his clipboard. “… Adeque? French?”

    “No thanks. I’m not really attracted to you.” I am the king of banter.

    “Right. So, today we are going to experiment on your brains.”

    “Brains? How many do you think I have?” Just call me Mister Banter. Anyway, clearly this guy is some kind of moron.

    The moron gestures meaningfully to my right with his eyes, as though there is something glaringly obvious just off to my right. But I am not going to fall for that. No sir. You just know that as soon as I look he will just leap right in and do some kind of weird experiment on my brain.

    “Henry, you fuckwit.”

    “Oh, hello dear.” My girlfriend is strapped into a similar chair, just off to the right. Which might explain the plural. Or it might not. At this point I am not giving up on the idea that I may have several brains. Well, stranger things have happened. For example, my girlfriend… girlfriend? Evil supervillain sister? I don’t know. There are a lot of strangely conflicting memories floating around my brain(s) right now. Disturbing memories. Am I a superhero? But I’m not, right? Not here. Not now. But then this isn’t here and this isn’t now. This is just some kind of suppressed memory, or an hallucination, or ….. stuff…

    “This is your fucking fault Henry. Fuck!”

    “Well, sure.” Credit where credit’s due.

    “You and your fucking refund.”

    “Uh…” I wonder if this is part of the experiment. “Have we started yet?” But no, the mad scientist guy is still attaching electrodes and setting up some very strange looking electronic things. “So, what’s all this stuff?”

    “Oh this is tremendously exciting. We are extremely close right now.” The shaggy haired mad scientist guy is clearly very enthusiastic about his experiments. “I am clearly very enthusiastic about my experiments,” he explains.

    “Close to what?”

    “Close to having survivors.”

    “What?” I ask, because I am not sure what he is talking about.

    “Yes, exciting isn’t it. You both have an excellent chance of surviving the experiment!”

    “Uh, great. Great. I’d like that.”

    “What the fuck!” Apparently my girlfriend, whatever her name is, finds this a little distressing. I find it a little distressing that I can’t remember her name.

    “Well, you know what they say - ‘a dead depositor pays no fees’.” Apparently they have a saying.

    “No no dear; it’s WTF. You have to say WTF.” I explain, cleverly ignoring the scruffy scientist guy in the hope that he will go away, or that he will turn out to be some kind of two dimensional character in a really bad story…

    “Fuck off Henry.”

    “Ok, we’re ready.” Mr lab coat smiles widely and rubs his hands together as though he has some kind of skin condition, or as though he is a bad actor attempting to portray enthusiasm. But this is no movie, and I am no superhero, and he probably does have a skin condition after all. Perhaps I should recommend some kind of salve…. “Now, your brains are wired to this machine here, which we like to refer to as The Machine. First we will calibrate the control mechanism…”

    Now he takes up a microphone and for a second I think, “Oh, no, Karaoke” because that really would be bad. Fortunately it appears he is only performing some kind of brain experiments on us.

    He flicks a couple of switches and an LCD display lights before each of our chairs. “You are a pumpkin,” he explains to the microphone and then I hear myself say “I am a watermelon” at exactly the same time as I hear another voice - a female voice - say “I am a turnip”. He puts down the microphone and types some stuff into his machine, although how I can possibly see this without eyes is quite beyond my comprehension, but then I am only a watermelon and we watermelons are not particularly known for our intellects.

    “You are a red hot chilli pepper,” he continues to which, of course, I respond with “I am a lukewarm chilli pepper with delusions of being a watermelon”. The female says something too, but we chilli peppers have a very short attention span…

    “You are a chocolate sponge cake.”

    “I am a chocolate mud cake.”

    “You are a superhero.”

    “I am a superhero.” Which explains the sinister machine I am currently strapped into. Us superheros are always being strapped into strange devices and such. No doubt there is a nemesis of some kind behind all of this.

    “Excellent, calibration successful,” says the minion with the lab coat. Suddenly the phone rings. Clearly this is my opportunity to escape. As soon as his back is turned I will use my superheroic strength to break free… “You are a normal human being,” he says, before going to answer the phone.

    … if only I were some kind of superhero that is. “I am an ordinary human being.”

    “Yes, we’re doing it now. Brain wave calibration is done. Yes, already. It’s very promising. Ok… Yes… bye.” The lab coat guy hangs up the phone and returns to the control panel, grinning like a cat who has just learned how to grin. “Right. Great. Now we’re going to cure you folks of your strange ‘refund’ delusion. And it isn’t going to hurt a bit.”

    “Great.” Seems things are looking up.

    “Although it may kill you of course.” He adjust a couple of dials, switches the microphone back on and reads from some kind of notes. “The bank is your friend.”

    “The bank is my friend,” we say. As if we didn’t already know that. Talk about obvious.

    “Echo off.”

    “Echo off,” I say only now suddenly I don’t feel like I need to repeat everything he says, which I’m sure must be a tremendous relief to everybody out there.

    “The bank owes you nothing.”

    I suddenly realise that the bank owes me nothing.

    “The bank is always right.”

    “The bank can do no wrong.”

    “Has the bank overcharged you on fees?”

    “Hell no!” How is that even possible? After all, the bank can do no wrong.

    This is fun, this talking about the bank. I love the bank. If it weren’t for the bank all sorts of bad things might happen. No doubt the country would be in a terrible mess, economically speaking, if it weren’t for the bankers. But wait; the phone is ringing again and our friendly bank science guy hurries over.

    “Yes? Can’t it wait… Well, ok. Be right there.” And he is gone.

    “Henry! “Your chair is still turned on!”

    What? I notice that the LCD display above whats-her-name’s chair is black. Mine though…

    “Henry, listen carefully.” I decide that it is very important for me to listen carefully. “Henry, you have to get me out of here.” I must get her out of here. But how? I twist and strain and throw myself against the restraints, but they do not give. Harder, harder, until my wrists are scraped and bleeding.

    “I can’t. The straps…” The need to help her is overpowering, but I cannot free myself, let alone her. I must help her. I must. I cannot. I must. I cannot. Agony tears through my synapses like a freight train tearing through a coyote. “I feel so inadequate…” Vision fading, I feel myself slipping into a deep well of ….

    “You’re adequate Henry. You’re the adequate one, Henry. You’re my hero.” There is such desperation in her voice that it breaks my heart and I shriek like a coyote that has just been torn through by a freight train. “You’re my hero Henry. My superhero!”

    “What?” Suddenly the pain is gone, on account of my magnificent brain finally overcoming the pathetic mind control techniques perpetrated by these evil minions of chaos.

    “Yes. Protect me Henry. Like family. Like… like a sister.”

    “It is time,” I announce dramatically, tearing my arms free from the flimsy straps and rippling electrodes from my flesh as though they are mere wires. “Come, sister, we must leave this place!”

    “What?”

    “Come, we must leave.”

    “No no, I said LIKE a sister.”

    Oh, the poor deluded creature. “It seems they have brainwashed you. Clearly your powers of resisting brain stuff are not nearly as advanced as my own!” I hurry over to the controls and switch her chair back on. “You are my sister, you know,” I explain to the microphone, and I can see in her eyes that she believes. ” So, naturally we hate each other and there is the whole sibling rivalry thing. And, of course it is likely that YOU are, in fact, my arch nemesis, but none of that matters now, for you are family and family must do as family must do, and now I shall free you!” And, so saying, I tear her restrains apart with my bare hands and my magnificent superheroic muscles all bulging and massive and slick with sweat and I pose for the cameras a bit, because that seems like the thing to do…

    “About fucking time.” She leaps from the chair. “So long Henry.”

    “Ha! You cannot escape me so easil….” But it appears she can. Not that it matters, for I am Henry the Adequate, and I am a….


    … And suddenly the memories are just memories and it is here, and it is now, and I remember it all… All of it… And… but that means… I never was… Henry the Adequate? Superhero?

    … but if that is true, then this must surely be…

    THE END.

  • The Chair

    Posted on February 22nd, 2009 ben 3 comments

    “So, what’s this all about then?” I enquire, as I am roughly strapped into a big grey metallic looking chair made of wood. Or a big wooden looking chair made of metal. Whatever. It is definitely a chair they are strapping me into. This is one of the first things I notice when consciousness returns. Well, this and the cell I am dragged out of and the hallway I am dragged down and the bright room I am dragged into with the something-looking chair made of something-else right in the centre.

    It occurs to me in a sort of vague sort of way, such as one might experience after being brutally clubbed into unconsciousness, that I do not seem to have wandered into the correct end of this scene. However, being the kind of fellow who is not at all keen on rewriting a couple of hundred words, I will now skip back to the beginning in a way that we are all going to pretend is really quite arty and not at all lazy and incompetent…

    ….

    I wake. My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero. No, wait, no I’m not. That was a dream, wasn’t it? These weird semi-dream semi-flash-forward episodes are beginning to get on my nerves. It is… Today is… Well, I was at the bank. Am at the bank still, apparently, and feeling not in the least super, and only mildly heroic and my head hurts like an enormous head full of broken glass and bowling balls all rattling around together. That’s the heroic part you see, because heroes always get all beat up right before they emerge triumphant and stuff.

    I look forward to my imminent triumphant emergence with such glee that I am quite giddy. Although that may just be the blood loss.

    The room in which I have awakened is a dank, dark, steamy cell with water running down the walls and a single window high in one wall, through which the smell of death and decay wafts like a particularly enticing roast. The room is exactly like this, only air-conditioned, and the water running down the walls is, well, not there, but it does appear there is a private bathroom, and that probably has water. And it is a particularly well lighted level of darkness they have going here. But anyway, you get the idea. You see how ominous my lot is at this point. And there is still the smell of death and decay to deal with.

    Actually I think that might be roast beef.

    I stand now, easily despite my many wounds. Concussion? Major blood loss? Pah! These are minor things to a man who has valiantly and fearlessly requested a refund on his bank fees.

    I only fall down a few times on the way to the door.

    It is locked. Right. Great. Perhaps if I just fall down here for a bit.

    …..

    I am being dragged down a hall, past offices and what look like labs of some kind. The men dragging me are dressed in plain grey uniforms that seem vaguely medical, vaguely mad-scientist, and I flash back suddenly to one of those freaky movies with the monsters and the lab coats and the thunder and lightning and horror horror horror - you know, like The Man With Two Brains, or Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, or Flashdance (Shudder).

    “So,” I remark cleverly in a clever attempt to find out what is going on, “What’s going on?”

    “You’ll find out soon enough.”

    “Right. So. You drag people down here often?”

    “Shut up.”

    I am about to suggest a group hug, but it appears we have arrived somewhere. I realise this because we have stopped at one of the doors and because there is a guy there in a white uniform who says “You have arrived somewhere.”

    “Where do you want him?” asks one of the draggers. I wonder if that is what they’re called. Draggers. I was going to say “goons” but that seemed a bit too judgemental, you know. Actually one of them has an earring so is probably quite sensitive and deep. Yes, I bet they’re called draggers.

    “You have the paperwork,” asks white uniform guy.

    “Sure, where do you want him?” Which brings me back to the chair…

  • The Wisdom of Henry #174

    Posted on April 27th, 2008 ben No comments

    Become one with the Tao, but do not become one with your towel.

    It is, however, ok to become two with your towel, and becoming three with the twins next door is keenly encouraged.

  • Back on the Banks of Des Pair

    Posted on April 26th, 2008 ben No comments

    What’s that?

    Am I awake again? I try to feel about for some heart pits. Or pocket plumbs. Yes, I think I may be awake.

    Strange Other Memory floods my senses, like a tidal wave of stuff that floods. Kind of the way water does. Only it is memories. Well mostly memories. I do notice that I am dripping and there is a guy with a bucket nearby.

    The bank teller stands to one side, arms folded beneath her breasts as though she is saying “Here, look at my arms. Are they not enormous? Are they not magnificent?” Or something like that anyway.

    A large gentleman in a suit is saying stuff to me but I do not know what it is because my head is throbbing and because I am too busy admiring the teller’s arms. Something large and solid impacts the side of my face, almost like a hand except it is way too big for that.

    He slaps me again. “Who are you working with?”

    “What? Nobody.” I am confused and shaken and disoriented and strangely aroused. I am also, it seems, tied to a chair.

    “We have your girlfriend.”

    “Oh,” I say as though he has just told me something I do not know, “Can you ask her if she turned the gas off, because I think I might have left it on and that is really bugging me.”

    “You think you’re funny?” I am about to say something clever and macho, such as “Yes, actually,” or “I KNOW I’m funny,” or “Can i go now?”, but… “What are you - some kind of communist agitator?” he demands, while simultaneously playing my face like a drum, “Trying to destabilise the banking sector?”

    “Huh.”

    “That’s it, isn’t it.” He hits me again.

    “No,” I wail, my powerful voice echoing from the walls like a thin warble of defiance, “My account was overcharged. I just wanted a refund on the fees.”

    “Ha! So, you admit it! Filthy communist agitator scum!” He hits me again, harder this time.

    “Ow,” I say, because I have such a way with words.

    “You all heard the confession.” The teller steps forward. “Time for sentencing.”

    “Wait a….. Ow,” I point out, eloquently.

    “Send them to R&D.”

    “What?”

    “Does he need to be conscious?”

    “Not particularly.”

    I have a feeling this is about to get ugly.

  • Shiny

    Posted on April 19th, 2008 ben 1 comment

    It was a dark day in the old city. Ominous storm clouds spread their oppressive shadows like an enormous shroud of Turin, only not nearly so mouldy. A few enormous drops of water hurled themselves onto the road like suicidal toaster ovens, but still the heavens persisted in not opening up.

    “Damn humid,” remarked a stranger as I passed.

    “Yes, it is.” As I approached the corner I couldn’t help noticing that the stranger with the enormous brown thighs stopped talking to me. This, I concluded, was a good thing. I have had my fill of enormous brown thighed strangers, let me tell you.

    And anyway, these kind of literary devices - you know like when you have somebody say something instead of the narrator just coming out and telling you that it a humid day - never seem to work out the way I’d hoped and I think it’s because they are too clever by half. It certainly has nothing to do with any kind of imagined incompetence on my part. No sir. I’m here to assure you right now that none of my incompetences are at all imagined…

    So, I glanced around the corner to see if it was safe to proceed. You can never be too careful. Unless you really want to. If you want to be too careful, please go right ahead. Don’t mind me. Moron.

    Fortunately it seemed as though the demon lords had neglected to place any wards about this particular quarter of the city. Complacency? Carelessness? Overconfidence? No such thing as a demon lord? Who can say. All I know/knew is I was not taking any chances.

    Not here. Not now. Not while so much is at stake. Steeling my resolve I swore to stop thinking about steak, but you have no idea how hungry I was at this point. It was a hunger that burned in the pit of my heart, like flaming heart-pits. I longed for her with an intensity that can only be understood by somebody who has lived the depths and heights of legendary romance, or somebody who has suffered from heart-pits.

    I have got to stop talking about heart-pits on account of there is probably no such thing and also because it seems to be ruining that which passes for a narrative…

    Too late, she cried.

    So, having prepared myself mentally for what was to come, I turned the corner confidently and with much aplomb. Well, with some plumbs, at least. I always keep a few plumbs handy, just in case. I mean, they’re not steak, but they’re better than heart-pits.

    “Stop!”

    Damn! Spotted! Spotted dog. See Spot run. See Spot hide. See me hide. See me watch as the evil minions of chaos seek and fail to find and wander off to do something unspeakable to somebody who isn’t me. And a good thing it is too. Because I am a man with a mission. Well, not so much a mission, as a calling. But “calling” is not really the right word either.

    Dollar. I am a man with a dollar. Dammit. I have a dollar, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore. I am invincible! Because of my dollar.

    Did I mention I have a dollar? A nice shiny dollar. Shiiiiiiny.

  • The Wisdom of Henry #173

    Posted on November 8th, 2007 Ben 21 comments

    Good thing are worth the wait. As are hideous things. Hideous things are totally worth the wait - the longer the better.

  • The Great Battles of Henry #7

    Posted on November 5th, 2007 Ben 8 comments

    My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a….

    “Excuse me, have you seen a kitten?”

    “Yes,” I respond, heroically, “Yes I have. They are small and furry and taste like chicken. But I am too busy to talk about that right now…” I hurl the nearest minion of chaos against the wall like a sack of potatoes who is really angry at another sack of potatoes and is therefore hurling it against the wall. I sidestep to the left just in time to avoid a nasty boot to the head from some guy in a suit.

    “Wow,” remarks the strange woman whom I have never seen before, “Great hurl!” She fishes a camera from between her pendulous breasts. “Can I get a photo?”

    “Ok, but make it snappy,” (get it) I respond heroically, and strike a few super-heroic poses while one nasty villainous scuzzbucket beats me repeatedly about the head with an enormous club and another pokes me savagely with a feather. Damn those feather-wielding creatures of the night!

    “That’s it!” she enthuses, “Yeah, like that!! Oooh, it’s GOOOD!!!! And again! Yes! Yes! Yes! OH FUCK, FUCK, FUUUUUUUUUCCCK!!!!” I really am quite good at posing for photos. Super, in fact.

    But anyway, enough of this foolishness, for it appears there are two or three criminal masterminds currently pounding on my face; no doubt ruining several good photo opportunities in the process, damn them. “Enough of this foolishness!” I explain carefully, “for it appears there are two or three crimin….”

    And here I pause for effect, and also because an orge-like creature with enormous fangs is gnawing on my shoulder. But mostly for effect. Pausing in the middle of a word for effect is very effectorizing. Trust me - I’m a super-word-thingy guy.

    “LOL,” she says - or spells - “super-word-thingy. That’s sooooo funny!” And I’m about to respond, because that seems to be the polite thing to do even though I am kind of busy right now, but then I notice an awful lot of blood spattering about the place and flowing down from my shoulder and several other severe looking injuries and then I begin to think it might be time to start fighting back again…

    “Maybe you should start fighting back again,” she suggests, helpfully.

    “Uh… look, do you mind if I… you know.” I indicate the not-insignificant array of enemy combatants. “I mean, I’d love to chat…”

    “Sure,” she says, “Go ahead.”

    Right.

    And then there is a whole heap of screaming, and moaning, and roaring flames from the flamethrower embedded in my forearm and it gets quite messy really and unpleasant and there’s probably no point going into any great detail hereabouts what with this being a family show and everything and no it has nothing whatsoever to do with the tremendous difficulty I seem to be having lately with action scenes but anyway I can’t be expected to keep it up forever now can I.

    The End.

    “Wow,” she remarks, disappointment plain in the tilt of her words and the way her breasts wobble with each disappointed shake of her head, “What a cop-out.”

    Alternate ending # 1: “Wow,” she remarks, enthusiasm plain in the tilt of her breasts, “Maybe I can help you keep it up!”

    Alternate ending # 2: “Wow,” she remarks, knowingly and wise and all wobbly-breasted, like somebody who has just found an unexpected block of chocolate at the back of the fridge, behind the milk. “I have just found an unexpected block of chocolate at the back of the fridge, behind the milk.”

    Alternate ending # 3: Breasts. Breasts. Breasts. Breasts. Breasts.

  • The Wisdom of Henry #172

    Posted on October 21st, 2007 Ben 8 comments

    If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you’re probably the executioner.

  • In the Ocean of Des Pair

    Posted on October 18th, 2007 Ben 6 comments

    My name is Henry the adequate, and I may or may not be a superhero.

    Consciousness begins to fade, tendrils of the old familiar Octopus of Despair tickling about the back of my brain. I try not to think of The Wiggles, but the Octopus of Despair looks so much like the octopus on that show; WhatsHisName the Octopus. Also, I have a new deal with my publisher - henceforth I am to be paid per octopus, so every time I use the word octopus, or octopie (That’s plural, right?)… ka-ching ka-ching!

    ….

    Ken the Octopus lived down in the deep green sea. Ken the Octopus, he’s a friend to guys with octopus fetishes. Not to mention calamari merchants.

    But on this day Ken the Octopus was feeling sad, and not just because he was a stupid pantomime octopus whose friends included a pantomime dinosaur, a pantomime dog, and four pantomime gay men, but also on account of the other thing which I may tell you about later but probably won’t.

    I know, thought ken, and then he said it out loud - “I know” - for, you see, he is an octopus with a very small brain who is literally unable to think something without also saying it. Clearly such a situation just cries out for a smartarse comment like, I don’t know, something about this pointing to a career in management, but I will resist the urge, partly because it is so obvious, but mostly because I am not that clever.

    Anyway, “I know,” thought/said Ken, “I will go and visit my friend, Rags the Dog.” Ken the Octopus enjoyed visiting Rags the Dog even though Ken tended to shrivel up and die when removed from the ocean. Rags was such a pleasant fellow. Oh, sure, he had a tendency to tear apart shoes, newspapers, and any kind of sea creatures - particularly those with tentacles. Sure, there was the leg-humping thing. Who could forget the leg-humping thing. But none of that really mattered, what with Ken the Octopus being an enormous masochist and all.

    “Hello Rags,” said Ken.

    “Hello Ken,” said Rags.

    “Hello Rags,” said Ken.

    “Hello Ken,” said Rags.

    “Rags,” said Ken.

    “Yes Ken?” said Rags.

    “Will you stop humping my tentacle.”

    “I’m afraid I can’t do that Ken,” said Hal…. uh, I mean Rags, in a spooky voice. This really freaked Ken out, so he wrapped several tentacles around Rags’ throat and squeezed and sqeezed and squeezed until the dog’s eyes popped out and its windpipe collapsed with a kind of a crunching sound just like in the movies.

    “Groovy,” thought Ken, the freaked-out suddenly-1970s octopus. Then he said “Groovy”, adjusted his afro, and wandered off in search of some acid and maybe a hot she-octopus chick or two.

  • The Great Battles of Henry #6

    Posted on October 17th, 2007 Ben 7 comments

    “Excuse me, sir, Might I interest you…”

    “Diiiiieeee evil minion of chaos!” I howled politely, while simultaneously discharging a raging torrent of liquid plasma from the flamethrower embedded in my forearm, which is my way of saying, “Please don’t come to the door before I’ve had my first cup of coffee.”

    I’m subtle like that.