By Kim McFarland
Chris Barat as Toadie
Mark Lungo as Don Karnage
and Kim McFarland as Negaduck
It was a dark and stormy night at Castle Drekmore, where the Disney Afternoon Villains' Union was holding its meeting. Negaduck banged the gun butt which he used as a gavel on the podium to silence the chatter. The room quieted immediately. They knew better than to annoy Negaduck while he had a loaded pistol in his hand.
"All right, this meeting of the Disney Afternoon Villains' Union is now in session, so shaddap." Negaduck called. "Before we get to the main event we got some routine junk to go through. First, the minutes. Toadie, get it over with fast. Or else."
The miniature ogre hopped up onto the podium clutching a piece of paper. "Last monthly meeting of Disney Afternoon Villains' Union came to order at gloomy Castle Drekmore on October 15th. Efficient Toadie read minutes of previous meeting, approved by rest of group as just dandy. Then, Negaduck pull out nasty weapon of mass destruction and demand explanation of decaffeinated coffee in Union supply room. Meeting quickly came to disorder. Toadie think meeting was adjourned, but he not certain. People sure leave fast, though." He looked at Negaduck, then at the audience. "Did secretarial Toadie do OK?"
There were a few yawns from the audience. Negaduck glared at Toadie, then snatched the paper from him. "Yeah, fine. I'll let you live again this time."
"Thank you, O Mallard of Meanness!" Toadie said, quickly retaking his seat.
Negaduck continued, "Next order of business. Membership. We got some new members who've filled the base requirement of surviving three screen appearances. About time - we got just about nothing out of 'Goof Troop' and 'Bonkers'."
"I wouldn't say that!" Al Vermin spoke up.
Negaduck looked at him for a moment, then replied, "I would. Anyway, the new kids are: Mechanicles. Finally, an evil gadgeteer for a change. Abis Mal, one of those plotter-schemer types. Haroud, henchman to Abis Mal. Mozenrath, an evil sorcerer. Xerxes, Mozenrath's, er, whatever. Nefir, an - ugh - imp. Sadeira- wait a minute! DISQUALIFIED!" Angrily he scratched her name off the list with a pencil. "Ahem. Xanatos, a manipulator businessman type. And Demona, a Gargoyle warrior broad with a vendetta against Humans." Negaduck murmured loudly enough to be heard in the back rows, "Genocidal... I like that in a woman." The reply was a threatening growl. He touched the brim of his hat and grinned. "Let's make them feel welcome as only we can, shall we?" he said. The room filled with snarls, wolf whistles directed at Demona, and a few Bronx cheers.
"Next, we got two applicants who don't make the 'three strikes and you're in' rule, but think they can join anyhow. You know the drill; vote on it. First one's 'Bubbles' - friend of yours, Liquidator?"
"'The Hooded Menace'!" a husky mouse corrected him angrily.
"Whatever." Negaduck said. "Bubbles took over a Cola Cult during the Rescue Ranger days - one episode - and he's come back in one APA text fiction story since. That's it. Well, any 'Ayes'?"
A few people raised their hands. Negaduck said, "'Nays'."
The response was similar. Negaduck said, "Does anyone CARE?" An apathetic response later, Negaduck folded the resumé into a paper airplane and flew it at the mouse. "Try again when you got something interesting to put on here."
The mouse looked ready to object, but the presence of the Union's security force - a number of Beagles and Eggmen - discouraged him.
"Second one. 'Mirage'. A sorceress type - oh, just what I wanted, another witch! - who claims to be 'evil incarnate'." He glanced at her. "You and everyone else, sister." Speaking to the crowd again, he continued, "She's out to mess with Aladdin and destroy Agrabah, and anything else that occurs to her. Thrives on fear and confusion. Two episodes. 'Ayes'." The room filled with cheers and a few catcalls. "'Nays'?" A subdued response. "You're in. Let's hope you're good enough to get a third episode!"
"Next. As of right now, decaffeinated coffee is a strictly controlled substance. Possession of the stuff is punishable by... well, I'll think of something suitable. ANY OBJECTIONS?" He scanned the crowd. There were none. "Good. And that brings us to the main event. As anyone with half a brain knows, among Disney Afternoon villains, Negaduck reigns supreme. However, a certain dingo éstupido has proven himself mentally challenged enough to try challenge me." He grinned nastily at Karnage, who had already stood up, and said, "Grovel a little, and I may let you live."
"Never will the great Don Karnage grovel to you, you moronic mallard!" Don Karnage walked onto the floor, looking ready to spit fire. "After I defeat you, it is YOU who will cover the toes of my boots with adoring kisses... if I allow you to live, that is!"
"Not bloody likely, after what you just stepped in." Negaduck said, amused.
Karnage addressed the crowd. "Disney Afternoon villainous-type persons, you should all be thanking me, for I am about to end the tyrannosaurical reign of this numbskulled neanderthal Negaduck. Soon I shall rid you of this cheap crook, this cretinous creature, this craven coward, this colossal chump, this... this..." Karnage hesitated for a moment, searching vainly for more 'c' words. Finally he shouted in frustration, "This stupid Negaduck!" Several Union members sighed in relief at the end of the alliteration. However, the tirade was far from over. "My fellow felons, do you wish to be led by my extremely beautiful self, or a duck with impaired fashion sense? Observe how well the timeless pirate look goes with my lithe yet muscular physique." He posed for a moment. "I believe the modern slang phrase is 'I be stylin'." Ignoring the groans from the audience, he continued. "Now compare me with the fatuous fashion failure known as Negaduck! I used to say that he looked like a bellhop, but for once my normally brilliant self was wrong. Negaduck looks more like an elevator operator! And today my mighty sword will cut his cables, and he will crash down into the sub-sub- sub-basement, where he will be reduced to a bloody, pulpy corpse!" Karnage paused briefly for effect. "I could go further, but the ever-sensitive Don Karnage has no desire to go beyond the limits of good taste-" He heard a metallic click, and turned to look.
Negaduck's thumb was still on the safety catch of his gun. He gestured carelessly with the weapon at Karnage. "Oh, don't stop on my account."
The audience wondered if Karnage would run for it. Instead, he was smart enough - or foolhardy enough - to take advantage of the incident. "You saw it here first, my fellow evildoers! Look what the once-proud Negajerk has been reduced to!" Karnage shook his head sadly and said in an atypically sympathetic voice, "Perhaps Negaduck deserves our pity rather than my foot punctuating his tailfeathers. If he was as brave as he wants us to believe, he would fight me mano-a-mano rather than hiding behind a gun." Karnage looked Negaduck in the eye. "Do not worry, my misguided miscreant. If you wish to call off the fight because you lack the courage to go through with it, we will all understand." Then, remembering a rumor that had recently circulated among the Union membership, he grinned devilishly and said, "Or, on second thought, if you merely want to postpone the fight until your back has stopped hurting-"
"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" Negaduck shouted. "That's it, groveling can't get you out of this! I can beat you with any weapon you choose!" He threw down the gun.
Karnage drew his sword and aimed it at Negaduck's heart. "En garde! I can beat you with a blade! Do you have your tombstone made?" The Air Pirate chuckled. "How do you like them oranges, Mr. Phony Poet?"
Negaduck realized that he had no weapon. He called out, "Someone give me a sword!" Then he jumped back as several thudded, point down, into the ground where he had just been standing. "Some wise guy's gonna get it." He snarled as he wrenched the largest one out of the floor. "Toadie! To the podium! You're the referee! Keep a sharp eye out for when The Pillage Idiot cheats!"
"Right away, your Malevolent Mallardness!!" the ogre said gleefully.
Karnage started and shouted, "Just a minute! You shall also watch for any dirty-type tricks by this devious duck!"
"Yes, O Villain of Vulpinetude!" Toadie agreed, donning a ref's cap and a striped sweatshirt.
Negaduck lifted the sword into the formal pose. "On guard!" he said, then lunged forward.
Karnage deflected the attack easily, turning Negaduck's sword to the side. Negaduck spun around and swung again, attacking from a different angle. Again Karnage blocked his sword.
The rest of the union members watched the battle with interest. Fights often erupted between the members - this was a villains' union, after all! - but how often did they get to see a formal duel?
"Ahh, de pirate ain't got a chance." Steelbeak smirked, folding his arms.
"Nonthenth! Negaduck can't win becauth he doethen't follow approved fighting procedureth! Karnage hath the Regulation Pirate Handbook!" sputtered Colonel Spiggot.
"Ya wanna bet? Lay ya three to one odds de fox'll be pushin' up daisies!"
"Three to one odds? Dijon would like to bet, too." Dijon said.
Steelbeak looked at the coins in Dijon's hand. "How d'you convert rupees into dollars?"
Haroud leaned forward, holding a small bag of coins. "Perhaps you... gentlemen ... would prefer to work in a common coinage. Agrabanian drachmas."
On the stage, the swordfight continued. Negaduck had not yet managed to land a blow on Karnage, but he seemed to be enjoying himself trying. Karnage, however, had his hands full defending himself against the berserker duck. Toadie, scampering around trying to watch, gasped, "Negaduck fighting just dandy. Soon clever fox's skin will be decorating Villain's Union rec room!"
Karnage yelled, "I am not a fox! Did you not read my extremely wonderful letters-type column in the Tale Spin comical book?"
Fat Cat spoke up. "My dear Pirate, you yourself also once said 'they cannot outfox the fox'. Then, in your APA column, you wrote that the issue had never been resolved."
Negaduck smirked as he swung his blade. "His mother must have been a dog. He's such a son of-"
"Hold it right there, Negaduck, unless you wish an untimely divorce from your head!"
Negaduck did not stop swinging while he said, "You wanna give in now? A little public groveling might keep your skin in one piece!"
"I will never give you the satisfraction!" Karnage swung the sword at Negaduck's head. Negaduck ducked down, as Karnage had anticipated he would. Karnage speared Negaduck's hat through the brim.
"HEY!!" Negaduck yelled. "That was a new hat!"
"Such a pity." Karnage smirked. "Soon your hat will be as full of holes as the head it sits on." He flipped the hat into the air and pierced it again, this time through the crown.
Abis Mal flinched. "Why do they always ruin the best hats?"
Negaduck growled and lunged forward, aiming his sword at Karnage's midsection. The pirate dodged to the side. Negaduck's sword gashed Karnage's coat at the same time that Karnage swung his sword at Negaduck's back. The hat, still stuck on the blade, blunted the edge. Negaduck stumbled, then quickly recovered and turned to face Karnage again.
Don Karnage pulled the hat off of his sword. "If it had not been for your hat, you would be twins by now. What an ugly thought!" The pirate made a sour face. "Want to do the wise thing and give up?"
"Not on your life! Which, I might add, was nearly mine!" He pointed at Karnage's torn coat.
Karnage looked down. "You will get the bill from my tailor!"
"I'll pay your next of kin!" Negaduck leapt to the attack again.
"Negaduck sure in trouble now! Karnage got real angry when nasty duck mess up his nice wardrobe!" Toadie commented with a shudder.
Meanwhile, among the other villains, the betting pool had expanded to include half of the union members. Steelbeak marked down the progress of the match on the wall, changing the odds as the battle continued.
As the betting went on around him, Flintheart Glomgold sat shaking violently in his seat. His hand kept moving towards the pocket of his kilt, then jerking back. Finally, he let out a strangled groan and pulled out a cobwebby change purse out of his pocket. "I canna stand it!" he cried, slapping a nickel down on the betting table. "I canna let my own species down! Five cents on Negaduck! But not one penny more!"
"Five cents? And you call yourself a capitalist." Xanatos said with a faint smirk. "Where's your entrepreneurial spirit?"
"I didna see you place a bet!" retorted Flinty.
"Naturally not. I intend to wait until a clear winner becomes apparent - then bet before the odds go too far down. Why expend money without the prospect of an immediate return?"
"Why expend money?" Flinty snapped, sitting back down.
A noisy yammering suddenly arose from where Nimnul and Megavolt were arguing the merits of their favorites.
"Negaduck's the best!" Megavolt shrieked.
"Are you crazy? Karnage has the machinery to win!" Nimnul responded heatedly.
"Look who's talking, Mr. Short Straitjacket!"
"Look who's talking, Sparky!"
"Don't call me Sparky!!-"
A pair of brawny Eggmen doused the feuders with a bucket of water and carried them out of the room.
"Whew, thank badness dey're outta here." Steelbeak said, "And Meghan Brunner called her bunch De Nut Squad."
Soon both combatants began to tire, though neither would admit it. Negaduck was becoming frustrated - Karnage blocked all of his attacks, and Negaduck's costume was starting to pay the price. Negaduck held his sword, point out, at Karnage, and said, "What a coward's weapon. You don't fight with it at all, you hide behind it! I'll bet you'd fold up like a roadmap without it!"
"You are swimming on thin ice, Negaduck. Are you implying that, in your humble pie opinion, I could not fight you without a sword?"
"We're brilliant today, aren't we?"
Karnage knew he would be out of his element fighting without a sword, but then so would Negaduck. Karnage could win this swordfight if Negaduck would just stop attacking long enough for Karnage to get a blow in edgewise! But it looked like the little duck could outlast him. "Very well then! I am both generous and courageous enough - not to mention handsome enough - to humor your little whim. Besides, my victory is certainly assured anyway!" He threw down his sword.
Negaduck did too. A moment too late he realized that he could have had Karnage then and there if he hadn't let it go. But, what the heck, this way would be more fun anyway.
"Better get out the Marquis of Gummiberry Rulebook! This gonna get ugly!" Toadie gulped.
"Whoa! Hold de phone, folks! Now that de pirate's lost his sword, de odds just went to 10-to-one on de fox!" Steelbeak called, scratching out the earlier 1-2 marking.
"Toadie bet three Drekmorian ooblecks on Karnage." Toadie called from the podium, unable to resist the temptation.
Both Karnage and Negaduck turned and glared at the ogre. Negaduck said, "I'm gonna remember that, you little toadstool!"
"Toadie also bet three ooblecks on Negaduck!" the ogre hastily added.
Negaduck looked back at Karnage and cracked his knuckles. "Last one standing wins!" he smirked. "I'm gonna enjoy this."
"That means you are a masochistic-type person!" Karnage said. "But then, any man attracted to NegaMorgana must be!" He threw a punch.
Negaduck dodged and countered with several Quack Fu kicks to Karnage's ribs. Karnage managed to seize Negaduck's ankle. Thrown off balance, Negaduck nearly fell down, but he recovered quickly. He landed a slap on Karnage's face, just hard enough to infuriate him. Then he jumped backwards and said, "Come on, Karny. I'm getting old here!"
"I will put a stop to that!" The pirate sneered and struck out at Negaduck, who laughed and jumped out of the way. Negaduck seized the corners of his cape and swirled it around himself as he dodged, making it difficult to see just where his body was to hit it.
"What de heck is he doin'?" Steelbeak demanded.
"He's just toying with him." Quackerjack answered.
"Only a trained professional should try this!" said The Liquidator.
Negaduck dodged artfully, enjoying working Karnage up. As soon as the pirate wore himself out, Negaduck would come in for the kill. Karnage growled and snatched at Negaduck's cape. It pulled tight around Negaduck's throat. Before Karnage could take advantage of this Negaduck detached the cape from the shoulders of his jacket. Karnage threw the cape down and stepped forward onto it. "No more of the bullet dancing, Mister Nega-dead-duck!"
"Dis looks like de final round, kids. Last chance to get yer bets in, at seven-to-one against Karnage." Steelbeak announced.
"Mr. Steelbeak, I can collect the bets for you." Dijon offered eagerly.
"Yeah, fine, whatever." Steelbeak replied, his attention on the fight.
Duke Igthorn winced as he watched the fight. He had not kept his support for Karnage a secret, and now it looked as if he would pay the price in embarassment. At that moment Mozenrath sidled up, looking even more arrogant than usual. "I see that your champion is losing, Igthorn." the young sorcerer sneered.
Iggy was stung by the directness of the remark. Toadie would never speak to him this way! "Nonsense, Mozenrath. Karnage is merely reserving his strength, waiting for an opening. The pirate is a class act. He's not some psychopath with a mania for mass destruction!" Touché!, the Duke thought.
Mozenrath replied smoothly, "You can't be a real villain without an appetite for destruction. Negaduck knows that the key to victory is to mercilessly force your enemy onto the defensive until you crush him - and enjoy it! Only the strong succeed!" The wizard smirked. "Karnage's only good moment came when he built the lightning gun, and he failed then because he was unworthy of real power - just like you, old man! You should have conquered Dunwyn long ago!
Igthorn seethed. "You're treading on dangerous ground, boy. Remember whose castle this is and whose guest you are, unless you want me to use some real power on your precious Land of Black Sands!"
Before the battle could become physical a dazzling lightning bolt landed between Mozenrath and Igthorn. They turned and saw a very annoyed Magica DeSpell glaring at them. "Quiet, both of you! I am trying to watch the fight!"
Toadie tried to comment on the fight, but it was largely hidden by a cloud of dust. Only glimpses could be caught, and it was hard to tell who was throttling who. Eventually the dust cloud cleared, revealing a battered Negaduck with his foot planted on the semiconscious pirate's back.
"Negaduck wins! Negaduck wins! Toadie knew it all along." Toadie announced, leaving the podium. He scampered over to Negaduck to raise his hand. But when Toadie touched him, the duck collapsed to the floor with a thud.
Toadie stared at the fallen combatants for a moment. Then he said, "Enterprising Toadie see no one else willing to be Big Boss - or nearer to podium! Toadie declare Toadie the winner!"
The rest of the villains looked at each other in disbelief. Toadie drew himself up to his full, inconsiderable height. "Toadie the big cheese now! For first unappealable command, Toadie demand that all villains kiss his-"
The ogre stopped and glanced down when he felt something seize his legs. Two pairs of hands, one furred and one feathered, picked him up and flung him out the window and into the moat.
All the other villains broke into noisy laughter and applause. In the commotion no one noticed Dijon, his pockets stuffed with the betting money he had stolen, slip out the door.
All characters copyright © Disney. Story copyright © Kim McFarland. Permission is given by the author to copy this story for personal use only, provided no changes are made to the story or the credits.
This story, which originally appeared in the APA "WTFB", was co-written by Kim McFarland, Chris Barat, and Mark Lungo.
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