Bulletman and Bulletgirl
Jim and Susan Barr are hoping to go on a nice, peaceful ocean cruise along with Lance O’Casey and their friend Carol Clews. But when a prehistoric warrior tries to take Carol as his mate, Bulletman and Bulletgirl are called into action!
My name is Susan Kent Barr, Bulletgirl, police department brat, and all-around glamor goddess (OK, so I made that last one up; don’t blame a girl for trying). My husband Jim Barr is a police scientist, and he really works hard. He spends so much time in his lab that I qualify as a test tube widow!
Jim loves his work, and he should — it changed both our lives. I could have ended up as just another bored housewife had Jim not invented a formula that gave him a vastly superior physique. He had been a bookish, frail man before. I was already an athletic woman, so it actually boosted my strength slightly above his, although neither of us dwell on that fact. He also invented the antigravity devices that allowed us to become the cutest crime-fighting couple ever (unless you count Mister Scarlet and Pinky)!
In the present, after spending twenty years in suspended animation, due to a rat named Sivana, we find ourselves much younger and more vital than most of the friends we once knew. Don’t dare suggest I should be on Social Security!
Well, I digress. Jim says I can’t stop talking, even when it’s in writing! Now, as I started to say, Jim works hard. So it was a major effort on little Susie’s part to get him to agree to take a cruise. I hope he’ll relax and not get tangled up in some mystery.
I have little hope of that, since I have been known to stumble into action at the least likely times myself.
“Sure, and it was mighty kind o’ Mr. Brian Butler to buy this here new boat for us, eh, Mr. Hogan?” said a happy Lance O’Casey. At his side, a remarkable monkey named Mr. Hogan cheep-cheeped in reply.
“He said his friend Bulletman spoke up for us, and he wanted to help his fellow mystery-men out!” said the handsome, red-haired O’Casey. “That was a truly noble thing for that man to do! You and me is just two old salts in search of some knockabout fun, but a swell like Bulletman considered us his peers!” Mr. Hogan remained silent, as if in deep thought.
“The new Brian Boru is as neat and trim a ship as a sea lover could ever hope for! I hope our maiden voyage will bring us success. Poor ol’ S’ville back on Maloana saw danger in our trip, but then the poor old gloomy soul sees death in his mornin’ eggs, too, I wager!” The broad-chested sailor laughed.
Welcoming the Barrs aboard, O’Casey waited patiently on the last couple to join them.
“Dan and Carol must be running late,” said Jim Barr.
“I bet Carol is still in front of her dressing mirror,” agreed Susan. “That sweet girl has no idea that she makes Marilyn Monroe look like James Monroe!”
“You’re dating yourself, honey,” quipped Jim.
Susan laughed and tossed back her thick auburn hair. “OK, she makes Michelle Pfeiffer look like James Pfeiffer! Now just tell me who James Pfeiffer is, big man!” she teased.
O’Casey laughed a hearty, good-natured laugh.
Then a cab pulled up, and gorgeous blonde Carol Clews ran up the plank, her high heels clicking as she scurried aboard. She wore a bright pink dress with a white sash across one shoulder, and her makeup was perfect as always.
“I am sooo sorry!” she said with a dreamy look on her exquisite face. “Dan insisted that I go alone. He broke his leg diving off a speeding truck on our last case, the poor lug! He refused to let me nurse him. He said I should have enough fun for us both!”
“Then we’re off!” shouted O’Casey as the monkey capered about.
A powerful, primitive-looking figure watched the Brian Boru II make its way through the warm waters. He saw the merry captain and the ever-joking Susan Barr, noticed her more serious husband Jim, and then spotted the sun-bathing Carol Clews.
“By the abyss!” he roared. “I have never felt such stirrings for a modern human! I must have that wench for my own!”
Turning to a horde of inhuman creatures who servilely awaited his every command, he shouted, “Bring that ship to me, and at the cost of your own lives, see that the fair-haired woman is unharmed. She is to be the mate of your master!”
This would not bode well for Carol Clews and her traveling companions.
So there we were — tanning, joking, sailing along — when a huge, red-scaled sea monster broke through the waters and loomed above us.
Jim leaped up and said (and I quote), “Great guns! That creature is like no prehistoric beast known to man! It is a new and living species of unknown dinosaur!”
I suited up and tossed him his own costume. “Write the thesis later, honey. We need altitude!”
We jetted upward as Carol screamed, and Mr. Hogan cheeped and shook his little paw skyward.
Lance O’Casey stayed at the helm and said, “By the emerald isle, her own self! That’s another o’ them sea serpents!”
Later, I would reflect that his outburst said a lot about Lance’s life up to that point. He was no mere sailor. Beneath that unshakeably cheerful smile and broad shoulders rested a hero’s heart and an amazing life story. Lance steered clear, and Jim and I zoomed up the beast to try to drive it back.
“That worked about as well as if we were flies,” I quipped.
“Look out! He may just swat us like flies!” called my husband as we streaked back and forth.
The beast snorted steam, and in the cloud that formed around us, I could just hear Casey shouting and the monkey jibbering. Then Carol screamed, and when the mist had cleared, the beast had swallowed the entire ship!
Jim and I broke the water and powered ourselves down the depths in pursuit. Just when I thought my lungs could take no more, we emerged in a huge underground cavern, where the outer waters were kept out through some kind of magic.
There we saw Carol being carried off by hairy man-apes. Lance was fighting a dozen of them, and doing a fine job, too. Mr. Hogan jumped from one head to another to help his pal.
“That’s it, me boyo! Keep these cave people guessing!” said Lance. He slugged two of them and wrestled toward the frightened Carol Clews. She kicked helplessly in the grip of their king, who towered above the rest and sneered in evil lust.
“Welcome to the underworld, my beauty!” he laughed, revealing a set of fanged teeth that, along with his light brown beard and mane of hair, made this immortal caveman look almost leonine. “You will soon be the mate of the Warrior of Wai!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Warrior of Wai,” Captain Marvel Adventures #10 (May 1, 1942).]
We charged toward him from each side and did a good job of distracting him, allowing Carol to tear free and flee toward us. But when one of the creatures under the Warrior’s control grabbed for her, she slipped and rolled into a hole.
Bulletman threw himself forward as I kicked the Warrior of Wai in the face. The Warrior seemed unharmed and charged me, only to eat air as I pulled a fast up, up and away. (Can I say that without getting in trouble?)
Jim just caught Carol by one shapely foot and hauled her to safety. She coughed from inhaling the odd fumes of that underworld hole or geyser.
“I hate modern humanity,” said the Warrior of Wai threateningly. “It is unheard of that I would honor your mongrel race by selecting one of you to mate. But this yellow-haired ape is delightful, so I would have her!”
Lance O’Casey ripped free of the caveman and the beasts under his thrall and swung across the chamber on a vine, then kicked the Warrior backward. A gasp escaped his mouth as he took a good look at his foe. “You are the ugliest specimen of humanity I have ever seen!”
The Warrior of Wai roared and nearly ripped Lance’s head off. The sailor-man ducked and pushed the Warrior off his steps near the throne.
I comforted Carol, and she nodded that she was OK.
“This ends here!” vowed Jim. “Captain Marvel is my friend, and he has told me of the remarkable way you survived your prehistoric civilization by being perfectly preserved in an enchanted pool.”
The Warrior sneered. “I hate Marvel more than I hate most humans. If you are his ally, then I shall make your death more painful and bloody than I had planned.”
The mighty caveman was strong, and we were limited in terms of numbers and resources. However, I figured A: he lived underground. And B: he must be sensitive to light! I pulled my flare-gun from my belt and fired it directly at the thick skinned caveman, who roared in pain as the light and heat bore down on him.
“Great idea!” called Jim as he looked for a second source of light. Before he could find it, the Warrior of Wai unleashed a hulking green monster. This thing pile-drived (pile-drove? Sue me, I am not up on wrestling grammar!) Lance to the floor and spat a thick goo at me. It hit me, and I could not move. I went numb. It also ruined a great blouse.
Jim blocked the creature from me and charged it again and again at top speed, finally driving it away through sheer daring and blunt force.
The Warrior of Wai had grabbed Carol and had tossed the bikini-clad blonde over one shoulder. But before we could rescue her, Carol Clew did something amazing. She started to glow bright yellow and generated a nimbus or halo of powerful light! She waved her arms, and the light spread to drive the beast-man backward.
“Bah! That foul illumination pains me!” he cried. “Go! I release you!”
Carol Clews smiled and walked that runway model walk of hers right up to his foul-breathed presence. “Don’t ever attack another ship again, or I’ll return and turn this dark hole of yours into Radio City Music Hall!” she vowed, tossing back her mane of golden curls and looking every bit like a Hollywood glamor gal ready for her big close-up.
The Warrior of Wai was beaten. Heck, the whole cave was glowing from Carol’s new powers. Jim later surmised that her inhaling those weird fumes had given her super-powers.
Lance O’Casey and Mr. Hogan followed us up to safety. We figured the Warrior must have magically allowed air to follow us out of his evil land, hoping we wouldn’t come back and flash our lights at him again.
Back on the boat, which was covered with dragon spit but ultimately undamaged, we sailed off eagerly.
Mr. Hogan tossed Lance an odd belt. “Now, Mr. Hogan, did ya steal this here do-dad from the Warrior of Wai?” asked Lance. Mr. Hogan didn’t answer him in so many words, but Lance seemed to be waiting for the monkey to talk!
Jim spoke up. “Carol, I’d like to study you.” I glared at him until he coughed nervously. “Your powers, I mean,” he added sheepishly.
Lance put on the golden belt and smiled. “It does match me shirt.”
“You look divine!” I said, flirting shamelessly to get back at Jim.
And when Lance gripped a rail, it splintered. “I broke it with a mere touch! This here belt must be magic, and it gave me super-strength!”
It did give Lance super-strength but that is another story, as is how Carol Clews became a costumed heroine.
I’ll end this one here and enjoy a bit of real vacation. A girl is entitled!