MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SHORTSTOP EVIL ENTERPRISES, INC., BUSINESS BUREAU BUILDING....
Hot on the heels of Neuron Shortstop, Noddle Bungledrip dribbled after, struggling to keep up.
"My Dumbsday Weapon is a masterwork!" Neuron exclaimed, and a flash of lightning and peal of thunder punctuated his triumph. "The time is ripe. We must apply this technology at once. By morning, we'll have struck an irreversibly debilitating blow for the forces of wisdom!"
"We've struck several blows already," Noddle burbled, "but there are a lot of people in Nuga City left to conk."
"Tonight was just a test, my stalwart Lilliputian," Neuron said, swooping to the side to let Noddle catch up. "A prototype! We must return to the Stupefying Lab and construct a more powerful weapon, and in the morning we will strike Nuga City where it hurts most!"
"I didn't know cities had heads."
"Figurative head, small semious minion, figurative head. Where might the head of Nuga City be? Think hard, dear Noddle, with that prodigious lump of beef hunkered in your wrinkly prune of a cranium. If you wanted to turn the denizens of a whole city obtuse, where would you start?"
"I'd start by hitting them on the head."
"Of course, you stolid proletariat, but what figurative head? The school! The Nuga City Institute for Academic Study itself! Nuga City's greatest minds will be gathered there for the annual Nuga City Institute for Academic Study Convention! At precisely 9am tomorrow morning, you and I will have the greatest minds in the universe! Mwa ha ha! Hoo hoo ha ha ha haw haw! But we have much to do before then, my rattle-witted toddler. Come."
MEANWHILE, BACK AT INSPIRATION HALL, SIMON P. SYNAPSE DINED WITH MISS SALLY SCONCE AND NICOLAS C. PATE AND AFTERWARDS USHERED MISS SALLY OUT THE DOOR AND ESCORTED HER BACK HOME. MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SHORTSTOP EVIL ENTERPRISES, INC., BUSINESS BUREAU BUILDING, THE MASKED IMBECILE LABORED INTO THE NIGHT. MEANWHILE, BACK AT INSPIRATION HALL, SIMON P. SYNAPSE AND NICOLAS C. PATE DONNED THE OUTFITS OF THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS ALTER-EGOS AND RETIRED TO THE THINKING LAB IN SECRET, TO PLAN THEIR PLAN.
"We must plan our plan in advance, so we will sally forth with girded loins, secured against whatever skullduggery or corrupt prestidigitation The Masked Imbecile has in store," Smart Man declared.
"Yes," Sidekick Man agreed, loosening the hold his purple scarf had on his neck. "But remember to disguise your voice."
"Oh, right," Smart Man said, "my man."
"So what might The Masked Imbecile do to us?"
"Yo, that's what we must divine, homey," Smart Man replied. "That's why we are chillin' down in the Thinking Lab. We gotta ruminate about what The Masked Imbecile might have in store for us. What could that be?"
"That's a good question," Sidekick Man said. "If we go stop him from turning people stupid, what's he going to do about it?"
"What, indeed?" Smart Man said grimly. "I figure The Masked Bad Dude will have some fine moves. Hark! Epiphany! Check out this whole new world of pain: What if he makes us stupid too?"
"Naw! Wait, you're right. This is bad."
"It's a bust, man. A veritable, verifiable bust. Show's over -- we is BUSTED."
"But as long as we don't let him hit us in the heads, we'll be fine."
"That's it!" Smart Man agreed triumphantly. "Sidekick Man, you are DA BOMB. Now all we have to do is go to the Shortstop Evil Enterprises, Inc., Business Bureau Building, not let him wallop us in the bean, and stop him! Come! We must away and blow this joint!"
SMART MAN AND SIDEKICK MAN FLED THE THINKING LAB AND VANISHED INTO THE DARK STREETS OF NUGA CITY. THEY DARTED BETWEEN TOWERING, TOP-HEAVY SKYSCRAPERS, WOVE IN AND OUT OF DARKENED ALLEYS, AND PENETRATED THROUGH THE SUFFOCATING CLOUD OF PERPETUAL NIGHT GLOOM THAT HOVERED IN THE AIR LIKE A SUFFOCATING CLOUD OF PERPETUAL NIGHT GLOOM. AT LAST THEY ARRIVED AT THE SHORTSTOP EVIL ENTERPRISES, INC., BUSINESS BUREAU BUILDING.
The scene was horrific. The streets were deserted except for a small handful of straggling stupid people, engaged in various forms of futile activity. One was contorting every which way to grab hold of his elbow with the hand on the same arm. Another was putting socks over his hands and recoiling from the smell. Still another was perched tenuously on the side of the building, maybe six inches from the ground and attempting to climb further up. But there was no sign of the menace that made them so.
Smart Man drew Sidekick Man aside to confer with him. "Sidekick Man, dig these dudes engaged in mal entendu efforts. Amongst their midst might be our arch-nemesis, the man himself, The Masked Imbecile! Or perhaps the other man himself, his evil minion Noddle Bungledrip! Check them out scrutinizingly. Disguised might be neither, either, or both."
"Let's have a talk with that sock guy over there."
"Excuse me, sir," Sidekick Man said, wandering over to the man with the socks on his hands. "Might we have a word with you?"
"Yes," Smart Man continued, "we are the superheroes Smart Man and Sidekick Man. A very jiving afternoon to you."
The man looked over, puzzled. "It's morning, isn't it?"
"Morning, of course it is," Smart Man said hesitantly. "Tell me, might we inquire to hit you up for some info?"
"Hit me up for some info??" the man said indignantly. "Hit me up for some info?? Oh, by all means, assault me in the street. Go on, give me a good smack in the jaw. There shouldn't be anything illegal about that; I'm just an ordinary citizen. I must say, you lot are doing a fine job as superheroes. Protecting our beloved Nuga City and all from the deathly threat of people living in it. Go on, rough me up a little, that'll teach me, and I wish you luck with the rest."
"Actually we just wanted to ask you a couple questions," Sidekick Man said.
"Oh, ask away, ask away," the man urged. "Go on, ask me anything. Sorry, I didn't realize what your superpower was. Ask me some really hard ones. I'm sure I'll keel over and die from it, and then you'll have got me."
"Why are you wearing socks on your hands?"
"Why am I wearing socks on my hands??" the man spat in a frenzy. "Why am I wearing socks on my hands?? Well I suppose it's perfectly normal to you to wear scarves and chaps and capes and...sweaters...but, well, sorry, I guess I misunderstood you again. I figured you two would be saving the city or something. So when the fashion police aren't enough, you two take over, eh? The fashion superhero duo -- saving the world from conventional clothing! Ah, won't that make for rich bedtime stories for the grandkiddies! Why do you THINK I'm wearing socks on my hands?"
"Because you're stupid."
"Because I'm stupid!! Because I'm stupid!! Blimey, you're right! I'm just a festering lump of a moron! Imagine that, me warming up my hands when they get cold. Oh! I'm so embarrassed! Please, for heaven's sake, save me from myself. Whatever shall I do? I tell you, it's a good thing you and your sweater are here to save the day."
"All right, this conversation is phat and cool, but let's indulge an alternative tack," Smart Man suggested. "Do you remember getting hit over the head tonight?"
"Hit over the head??" the man spluttered. "Hit over the head?? Right, that must be it then. I'm not just stupid, I'm brain damaged. Can't wander 'round the streets at night anymore. Someone's liable to smack you on the head, and the next thing you know, you're putting clothing on your hands to keep warm. Oh, the shame of it all! Whatever is the world coming to?"
"I don't think we're getting anywhere," Smart Man said to Sidekick Man.
"What now, then?"
"I think it's clear The Masked Imbecile isn't here any longer. We'd better retire for the night and hunt for him in the morning."
"But tomorrow's the annual Nuga City Institute for Academic Study Convention! At precisely 9am!"
"That's it!" Smart Man exclaimed. "Sidekick Man, you are da quintessential bomb! Of course! The annual Nuga City Institute for Academic Study Convention! That's where The Masked Imbecile will strike next. Tonight, here, was just a test of his evil weapon. Tomorrow morning, he'll strike where the world's finest minds are all gathered together. But we will be ready for him. We must be!"