Superhero Melvin Beederman had been enjoying a long shower while singing one of his favorite Grateful Fred songs, "Love Is a Nose but You Better Not Pick It." All was well in his world.
He toweled off, rubbed some Melvin Mousse into his hair to form a perfect M, flexed in front of the mirror, and went to see about breakfast.
Was there a pretzel in the house?
There was not. That's what you call an emergency.
Holy this-is-an-emergency, indeed! It sure was. Even Melvin's pet rat, Hugo, had something to say on the subject.
"Squeak," he said with a twitch of his whiskers. This either meant "Get me some pretzels and make it snappy," or "You were a little flat on ‘Love Is a Nose but You Better Not Pick It.'" Melvin was never exactly sure what Hugo was saying. He just knew he wanted pretzels as much as his rat did. Maybe more.
Melvin and Hugo lived together in a tree house overlooking the city of Los Angeles, where Melvin saved the world on a daily basis, with the help of his trusty sidekick, Candace Brinkwater. But this morning, work would have to wait. He needed to stock up on snacks so that he and his pet could start the day off properly--eating pretzels, drinking root beer, and watching their favorite TV show, The Adventures of Thunderman.
"I'll be back in a flash," Melvin said to Hugo, as he launched himself out the window. "Up, up, and away!"
He hit the ground hard. He got to his feet and tried again.
"Up, up, and away!"
He hit the ground even harder.
"Up, up, and away!"
"Up, up, and away!"
On the fifth try he was up and flying. This was how it went with Melvin Beederman. It always took him at least five tries to get up and flying. But no matter. He was up in the air now and on a mission, which is the same thing as being on a pretzel run, but mission sounds better, so we'll go with that.
As he streaked across the sky, Melvin looked down, and what did he see? Underwear--and lots of it. He couldn't turn off his x-ray vision, so he saw everyone's underwear whether he wanted to or not.
But underwear was the least of his problems. Something didn't feel right. Melvin could sense when trouble was brewing, and right now it was--or at least it was about to be. He didn't care if trouble was brewing or if it was just thinking about brewing. Trouble was trouble and it was his job to do something about it.
While Melvin was busy on his snack food errand . . . uh, mission . . . and feeling that something was not quite right, evil was lurking a few million miles away. A million miles may seem like a long distance, but not when you have a spaceship powered by Gamma Drive. And this was just what some evil aliens had. They'd stopped for gas and snacks at Alpha Centauri and were now headed to Earth to engage in sinister and devious deeds. They hadn't decided which it would be yet and were playing Rock Paper Scissors to figure it out.
"Ready? Go," said one of the aliens named Monkey Wrench.
His real name was Zzykrkv, but that was just way too hard to pronounce--especially in a children's book. Before deciding to invade Earth, he and his two companions had found an English dictionary on the Galaxy Wide Web and chosen new names so they could blend in. Monkey Wrench's companions were named Elbow and Shoe, because Przzt and Cryykt were just too weird.
Monkey Wrench was the leader. Elbow was second in command and was referred to as Number Two, since he hadn't showered in a few Gamma Years. (He was an alien version of the McNasty Brothers, if you want to know the truth.) Shoe was third in command and the officer in charge of laundry and cooking.
"Anyone care for a Zig Newton?" Shoe asked. "Fresh out of the oven."
"Later. We have to decide if we're going to be sinister or devious," Monkey Wrench said.
"Rock Paper Scissors. Ready? Go."
They went. Rock won. "Sinister, it is."
The aliens were coming from their home planet, Dork. They were on a mission to kidnap a few Earthlings for science class, and they figured Los Angeles, California, was as good a place as any to start looking for the right specimens. This was bad news, of course--bad news for Melvin Beederman and his superhero assistant, Candace Brinkwater, because they were in charge of protecting the city.
Excerpted from Melvin Beederman by Greg Trine.
Copyright Â© 2010 by Greg Trine.
Published in 2010 by Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.