Originals Work Force #2

Stan Lee’s Work Force Book 2, Chapter 12: The Lunch Thief

Mouse and Politenessman stare in awe, both at the detail of Ditto’s drawing, and at the revelation that Ernie Fugnitch is in fact the office lunch thief that they’ve been tracking. “I can’t say that I’m not shocked,” Politenessman utters. “I guess I’ll have a nap and let you confront our mutual acquaintance.” Politenessman removes his hat. His facial disposition changes. He loosens his tie and scruffy stubble seems to sprout out of his face. “Good luck, my dear.”

Politenessman fades away and Ernie takes over with a growl. He immediately sees the image of himself printed out on copy paper. “What’s this?” he demands.

“Now Ernie, while you were away… certain allegations were made,” Mouse explains.

“This rolling heap of plastic accused ME of stealing my own lunch!?” Ernie charges.

Beeps and mechanical noises emit in an angry torrent from Ditto’s insides. Ernie counters, “This ink jet is lying, I tell ya! Why would I do it? Why gank my own lunch?”

A sheet of paper pops out of Ditto so fast that it nearly sails away. Mouse plucks it out of the air and reads it. “I cannot lie. My programming forbids it.”

“This is a load of toner!” Ernie exclaims and storms out of the kitchen.

Ernie lumbers through the office. Mouse and Ditto chase after him. As Ernie barrels across the workplace he passes the reception desk. He stops. He ponders for a moment, then returns to the greeting area of POW! Entertainment. He stares incredulously at the person sitting behind the desk.

Mouse and Ditto arrive on the scene to find Ernie staring blank faced into the reception area. “Ernie, where are you going? We have to…” Mouse’s voice trails off. She too has been taken aback by what she sees.

Sitting behind the reception desk is Ernie Fugnitch. He is eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a side of caviar, potato chips, and a cup of tea. He notices all the attention that’s suddenly wafting his way. He looks up, a bite of sandwich hanging out of his mouth, and comes face to face with… himself.

“Oomphs,” the Ernie doppelganger mutters through peanut butter-caked teeth.

The imposter morphs from Ernie into none other than Alter-Ego. “I… forgot to go grocery shopping this week,” Alter-Ego reasons. Ernie lunges at the trickster, but Mouse leaps in between them to intervene. Ditto tries to help by shooting out pages and pages of paper with exclamation points, pound signs, and other various keyboard symbols printed on them. It’s a mess of tumbling bodies and raining papers.

“I demand justice!” Ernie yells from the chaos.

“Ernie! Calm down!” Mouse pleads.

“Capital punishment!”

“Oh goodness!”

The action continues in STAN LEE’S WORK FORCE Book 3, which debuts next Thursday here on TheRealStanLee.com!