Johnny Thunder: Peril of the Purple Priestess, Chapter 1: Youth for Sale

by Libbylawrence

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Daisy Thunder leaned forward and began to gently kiss her blond husband as he stared idly at a TV set.

“You know, I just can’t get into these I Dream of Jeannie reruns,” he said. “I mean, this ordinary lug lucks out to get a magical being who places herself at his beck and call! It’s too far-fetched!”

Daisy grinned at the irony. “That’s very funny, coming from the famous Johnny Thunder — JSA member and master of the mystical Thunderbolt!”

Johnny laughed and took her hand. “OK, maybe it’s not that unlikely. Still, my T-bolt’s no Barbara Eden!”

Daisy playfully slapped his hand. “And that’s a good thing. You don’t need her when you’ve got me in your harem!”

Johnny smiled and said, “True! I didn’t mean anything. You are the only gal for me!”

“Good!” said Daisy. “Now get your coat. We need to go shopping.”

Johnny frowned. “Aw, just take my credit card. I’d rather arm-wrestle the Ultra-Humanite in his ape body than wait on you to finish hitting the shoe stores!”

Daisy pulled him up and pouted. “Get going, Mr. Thunder! We’re shopping for you! You need a new suit for the ball at the Zarikan Embassy. I went to school with Eleanora Ankova, and she wrangled us an invite.”

Johnny sighed. “OK, OK! I hope they have something in green,” he said wistfully.


Much later, a weary Johnny sat across from Daisy and Eleanora as they hosted a small dinner party for the pretty Zarikanian. Eleanora was surprisingly free from stuffy airs, and she laughed with a loud delight as Daisy recounted some of Johnny’s mishaps.

“And he caught the Radio Robber and turned him in before realizing that his pants were ripped in the back!” she continued.

Johnny blushed and said, “Enough about me. Eleanora, you must be plenty nervous about getting everything just right for the big party at the embassy. It’s not every night that a small nation like Zarikan gets to present the wonders of its revitalized economy to global big shots!”

Eleanora nodded. “All too true. I have been working my staff to death. We hope to interest American investors by showing that Zarikan may be small, but it has much to offer. It’s almost a mini-world’s fair that features only the best of our island nation.”

“Don’t worry,” said Daisy. “We’ll be there for moral support. What could go wrong?”

The pretty, brunette Mrs. Thunder would learn the answer all too soon.


Johnny paced the floor at Peachy Pet Ice Cream’s headquarters. He shrugged as a secretary glanced up apologetically for what seemed like the fifth time.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Thunder, but Ms. Thunder is too busy to see you,” whined the dark-haired receptionist. “She’s got people on the line from overseas, and she’s swamped with the ad men.”

Johnny grinned ruefully. “It’s OK, Miss Fine. I guess Peachy Pet is just too busy for her old man these days.” He sighed as he exited the office, leaving the Flushing native to polish her nails.

“Even though I put on a brave front for Frann back there, I am worried that Peachy is sore at me or something,” he muttered. “She has been avoiding me for weeks now. Say, you know, I should just storm on inside her office!”

Since Johnny had accidentally spoken the words, say you, which were homonyms for his magic phrase Cei-U, he had summoned his magical ally, the Thunderbolt. The pinkish fifth-dimensional being always responded to Johnny’s commands in the most literal manner possible. Thus, in a flash, Johnny found himself standing inside Peachy Pet’s office as thunder echoed and a mini rain cloud gushed around him.

“Enough already!” he snapped as his mystical Thunderbolt shrugged sheepishly.

“Into all lives some rain must fall,” suggested the Thunderbolt.

Johnny’s adopted daughter Peachy Pet Thunder fumed as she slammed down a phone and glared at her father. She was a blonde woman in her late forties, and she looked fabulous even for her years. She had a glow of vitality and health about her that would have been flattering on a twenty-year-old.

“Can you rain… I mean… rein him in? This is a designer suit!” she sputtered.

“Sorry. T-bolt, make everything dry. Looks like in over forty years, you’d learn about figurative language!” sighed Johnny.

“You’re never gonna stop the rain by complaining,” smirked the Thunderbolt as he obeyed Johnny’s command to clean and dry everything and everyone.

Johnny gazed at his daughter. “Peachy, you look swell. I’m sorry to cause you trouble. I just wanted to see you and check in with my favorite kid.”

Peachy smiled and said, “I’m sorry to sound like such a grump. I am really busy. ”

At that moment, Miss Fine’s shrill scream echoed from outside, and two burly men pushed past the receptionist to enter Peachy’s office. They ignored Johnny to confront his blonde daughter.

“You must come with us. The mistress demands it,” said one handsome, redheaded man.

“Time is precious, even to one such as her!” said the other man.

Peachy nodded and turned pale. “Of course. I’ll join you now. I hope she isn’t angry!”

“Hold on a second!” said Johnny. “Who are these guys? They can’t just burst in and cause a scene like this!”

Peachy glared at him. “Why not? You just did. I have to go.”

As she rushed past him, Johnny said, “Freeze!” Instantly, the Thunderbolt’s magic placed Peachy, the two men, and Ms. Fine in a trance-like state.

“Call them Scott Hamilton, ’cause they’re on ice!” said the smiling Thunderbolt as he mimicked Ms. Fine by buffing his nails.

“Thanks,” said Johnny. “Now let me get some answers. Those guys look vaguely familiar to me. I don’t like their manners or the way Peachy responded to the summons of this mysterious mistress.”

Johnny approached the nearest man. His elegant red hair and distinguished manner made him an unlikely hired goon. Johnny had plenty of experience with those types. He gestured toward the man who gazed vacantly in front of him without blinking. “Say, you know, these guys need name tags,” he said. “That would help me identify them. I know I’ve seen them before.”

The Thunderbolt grinned, and large placards appeared on each man’s chest. The first one said James Harrington Davis, and the second label read Rocky Monroe. Johnny frowned as another label appeared on his suit.

“Very funny. I know who I am,” said Johnny as he cast off the placard. “Thanks to you, I also know these two. Monroe was a rock and roll performer in the 1950s. He looks virtually unchanged. Last time I saw his picture on one of those whatever happened to shows, he looked like an older man. As for Davis, he’s the oil millionaire who made his fortune back in the 1930s. It’s weird how young he also looks,”

“Master John, perhaps you failed to notice that Peachy also looks considerably younger than her age would justify,” said the Thunderbolt.

Johnny nodded. “I did notice that. This forms an ugly pattern. I want you to do exactly as I say. Listen up.”

The Thunderbolt’s jagged head suddenly sprouted huge, elephantine ears. “I’m all ears!”

Johnny smiled. “Good. You’re so often a pain in the neck. Now, here’s what I want you to do…” he began.


Johnny, magically disguised as Peachy Pet, entered a large building and stumbled through the long entry hall. “She” frowned and spoke to the unseen but hovering Thunderbolt, “You made me Peachy’s double as I wished, but you didn’t make it easy to walk in high heels.”

The Thunderbolt grinned. “I can’t do everything; talk to Vanna White,” he sniffed indignantly. “I did as you said — we left Peachy frozen in her office, and I made you look just like her so we could accompany the Rover Boys to their secret lair. Some people would consider that a good day’s work!”

Johnny nodded. “Sorry. I’m worried about Peachy. You said it was magic that had altered her looks and made her much younger. That means we’re dealing with the supernatural. I’d prefer good old-fashioned thugs.”

He had been escorted to the large house by Davis and Monroe, who waited outside. They had no recollection of encountering him or his Thunderbolt, nor did they realize that the woman they brought to their base was not what “she” seemed.

Johnny frowned as the scent of a strong and exotic perfume wafted through the room. He felt the room grow warmer and the air become thicker with the fragrance. He thought of the many exotic lands to which he had traveled over the years, and experience taught him to be wary.

“Switch me back. I’m going to confront this mistress directly,” he whispered.

Instantly, he returned to his traditional appearance. He frowned as the Thunderbolt muttered, “Just when I was getting kind of sweet on you!”

Johnny felt odd. The fragrance seemed to swell around him. He felt warm, and his vision began to weaken.

Room’s moving. Some kind of drug! he thought as he struggled to speak. His mouth was dry, and his muscles were limp. He could neither move nor speak. Can’t command the T-bolt! This could be trouble! he thought as he struggled against the narcotic perfume.

He fell forward and looked up as a woman entered the room. She was dressed entirely in purple. She had flowing blonde hair and wore a lavender evening gown, hosiery, and high heels. A robe of sorts was draped across her bare shoulders. She spoke with an odd accent that was somehow familiar to Johnny even through his drugged stupor.

“You poor man,” she said. “You actually thought I was not watching as you affected that most bizarre transformation? How naïve! You need someone to care for you. Do not worry. I shall see that you are taken care of in a manner befitting all those who dare attempt to thwart my divine will. Such as the way of Sinestra, the Purple Priestess!”

Johnny passed out with Sinestra’s overwhelming perfume clouding his senses.

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