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User:Michael Bard/Wanted: Bobs

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Wanted: Bobs

Author: Michael Bard

Many moons ago on the TSA-talk list, a thread was started about people who just got stuck with random TFs. The victims of TF writers, as it were. For some reason, these were named "Bobs". The rest, as they say, is history.


Bobs Wanted
Short Hours
Easy Work
Good Pay
Lots of Variety

That looks interesting, and my name is Bob, thought Bob as Bob noticed the sign in window of the local bunker...offices of Derksen Industries. Currently between contracts, Bob looked around for the entrance and finally made his way to the armoured steel portal.

Clunk...clunk...clunk... Ow! Steel hurts the knuckles...

Bob's thoughts were interrupted as a steel slit scraped open and a green beam shot out and scanned up and down his body, humming as it moved. Then it vanished and the steel portal clanked upwards and a short and muscular woman wearing white armour (but with a clear Plexiglas visor) was revealed in the daylight that slowly spilled into the darkness beyond the 6" thick armoured portal.

"Bob!" she shouted. "Come in, come in - we need you right now!"

Of course Bob was startled and just stood in place. "How'd you know my name?"

"Because I'm a wizard - oops - forget I said that. Let's just say that I really want to be from the government and be here to help you."

"Errr..."

"Oh come on. We'll pay you $100/hour and that's just to start."

A hundred dollar.... It was too good to be true. But then a few hours couldn't hurt - and he could really use the money. But... "Why should I believe you?"

"Our motto is 'Better Living Through World Domination' and we need you and your good will. Besides, we dutifully obey all the rules on the Evil Overlord List and certainly don't want to harm anybody to allow the handsome hero popular backing."

"World Domination...?" He took a step back...

But she leaned out and grabbed him and yanked him inside and into darkness as the steel portal slammed back into place. Bob struggled but then felt a prick in his wrist...


Bob regained consciousness in a brightly lit white room. He was strapped to a white bed by his wrists, ankles, waist, and even by each finger. Above him were around 600 video screens. Most showed just a black background with a single word in green text - LURKER - but a hundred or so were filled with multiple images. A bunch showed some kind of bar with a bull bartender. A few showed what appeared to be an elk reading the news. One or two showed a lonely lizard with the words WE'RE CHARACTERS IN A STORY scrolling below. Others showed a man in a tatty bathrobe, a horse-woman fighting with a sword, a silver dragon splatting onto a muddy football field, a silverback monkey using a Macintosh computer, a centaur in a hospital surrounded by masked doctors, and tens of other images.

Bob couldn't move.

And then a panel slid open and two more white armoured persons, again beautiful woman with clear Plexiglas visors, were dragging a man between them. Or what had once been a man...

His head was still human, mostly, but his chest was definitely female, his right leg was that of a wolf, his left leg that of a fox, he had a single scaled arm and a massive silver tail that extended almost twelve feet. His eyes were opened wider than a sane man's could and foam dribbled from his mouth and splattered to the floor.

"Now Joe Generro Bob, don't worry. Dr. Derksen has the best of medical facilities..."

The group vanished through another panel that opened and shut.

What the hell? Why was that thing named Bob? Was he...

A loud rasping whisper caused him to suddenly spin his head..

"Hopefully not Bob."

...and look up into what appeared to be a man-sized praying mantis with the word DERKSEN on a small black plastic nameplate on the left side of his chest.

"We should have all the bugs...bugs!" there was almost a minute of insane laughter before the praying mantis continued, "out of the process."

"What are you going to do to me?!"

"It's simple - you're part of my master plan for World Domination through Transformation."

"Aren't you stealing ideas from The Brain(tm)?"

The voice of the praying mantis turned cold, "Actually he works for me," as a claw unfolded and pointed to a monitor that showed Iron Man(tm) talking to The Brain(tm)."

"Oh," Bob whispered.

With a hiss the praying mantis continued, "You see, you are what I hope to be the last test subject for my ultimate plan. All I have now are BOBNITES(c) which only affect people named Bob."

"That makes no sense!"

The claw that had unfolded to point now unfolded again until Bob could feel the soft touch of its teeth on his neck. "It's simple really, and I'd tell you but that would break one of the rules from the Evil Overlord List."

"What the hell is that?!"

"Ah, but that would be telling, and no, I don't expect you to die Mr. Bob."

"What?"

"Soon the BOBNITES(C) shall be injected and your form will be controlled by the imagination of almost six hundred of my lackeys as they write what THEY think is fiction for the TSA list that I created..."

"Err, aren't the members of the TSA mailing list independent persons and wasn't the mailing listed created by Thomas Hassan in 1995?"

"How'd you know that?!"

Bob was stunned. How HAD he known that. Was he a character in a bad transformation quickie being fed information he wouldn't know to inform the reader since the writer wasn't clever enough to work it in properly? Nah. "I don't know - but you did let your plan slip."

"WHAT?!"

"Yes, you told me all about your lackeys who will control my form because of your BOBNITES(C). And now I'm guessing that you're working on MIKENITES(C), POSTINITES(C), THOMASNITES(C), PHILGUESZNITES(C) (only lagomorphic quality there), and loads of others."

"Well, it won't help you, because they're already finished." And evil cackling filled the room again as Dr. Derksen injected what must have been twenty gallons of a glowing green liquid into his legs.

As the laughter echoed into silence, nothing happened. Bob looked up and saw that all the monitors were blank. He turned his head and looked up into the black orbs of the praying mantis. "It didn't work."

"Ah, but it did work. Even now the BOBNITES(C) are awaiting somebody to start writing."

In the corner of his vision Bob saw one of the monitors flicker to light and he turned to face it.

"NOOOOO!" he screamed as he started to transform amidst the praying mantis' insane laughter...