Are You a Secret Hero?, by Michael Kupperman
Are you the heroic type? You might just need the right opportunity to prove yourself. Or maybe you’d make the perfect victim. Take this quiz to find out!
1. You are having dinner in a nice-type restaurant with your date. Suddenly armed robbers burst in, waving shotguns. “Everybody put their hands in the air!” bellows the leader. “We’re here for the stew — and we’ll take your valuables as well!” Do you:
A: Say “Yes, sir” in a sniveling little voice, and put your hands in the air
B: Blink stupidly at them, remaining in a frozen position even as the leader comes over yelling and hits you with the butt of his gun
C: Slide beneath the table to the ground, palming your steak knife, as you wriggle like a snake towards the work area, where you will get started preparing your deathtraps.
2. You are watching a movie with your date when some drunken Gauchos burst into the theater, singing nursery rhymes from their childhood. “Everybody, sing along!” yells the leader menacingly, as his friends notice your lady and move towards her, chuckling lustfully. Do you:
A: Say “Yes, sir” in a sniveling wormy voice, then begin an off-key version of “Row, Row, Row your Boat” while the Gauchos paw your date
B: Sit staring at them like a witless oaf, until they come over and begin urinating on you; still you do not react
C: Gently kickbox your date to the ground; then, dragging her with you, wriggle your way to the mens room to begin preparing your deathtraps
3. You are visiting your young son at his new home with your ex-wife and her new husband, a Jonathan Pryce-type sneery billionaire, who is unveiling a new laser system that can target major cities and hold them to ransom. Mingling with the journalists, however, are a clique of determined terrorists, who capture the laser and start issuing demands, gunning down all those who oppose them. They seize your child and threaten to spank him unless the President kneels in obeisance. Do you:
A: Yell at the President to kneel, screaming “They’ve got my son! They’ve got my son!”
B: Stand staring at the scene in front of you blankly as if you’re on TV, until a terrorist comes over and clubs you down.
C: Methodically elude and kill all the terrorists, all the time making deadpan wisecracks and patronizing the Billionaire as he grovels wormily and then stabs you in the back, being treacherous like all billionaires are! But you survive, defeating all odds and winning back your wife and son, if you want them.
4. You are dressed up as Lemony Fresh, the Lemon Pledge mascot, because you are working as a character at the Cleansing Products World amusement park. Every day you stand near the entrance to the Germworld ride, where you wordlessly portray your distress at the footprints that visitors to the park are leaving. Suddenly you see the notorious terrorist madman Osama Bin Laden, dressed as an ordinary tourist. “Hey man,” he hisses, sidling up to you, “know where I can get me some real Dutch pornography, the serious hardcore stuff? I always look at it before blowing up an amusement pa- I mean, going on a ride” he finishes lamely. Do you:
A: Say “Yes, sir” in a sniveling, wormy little voice, then lead him over to the Dutch Pornography stand
B: Stand gaping stupidly as he grows impatient, then says “whatever” and goes to get his pornography elsewhere.
C: Keeping your voice steady, you nod. “The snowflake has blown with the wind to the land of ice” you mutter. “What’s that?” he says, suddenly suspicious, but you lock eyes with him. “I’m one of you, man! I had an accident that scrambled my brains and now I can’t remember the proper code.” He nods at this, completely reassured, and you lead him through a doorway marked “OFFICIAL ACCESS ONLY.” This leads into a warren of steel stairs and walkways, hissing steam pipes etc. At the bottom there is a modest office space where you sometimes take refuge in the newspaper crossword. Ironic, since newspapers destroyed your life when they exaggerated what had been said about you at the military board of inquiry. Now you’re a civilian and forever denied the simple joy of kickboxing through the air while firing a machine gun or two. Until now.
“Mister Osama,” you begin, “I’m a simple American, and I believe—” “What is this Simple American?” he interrupts rudely, spitting as he talks. “Where is my pornography? Show me my pornography, you ignorant son of a dung.” At this moment you see in his face every lousy, nagging boss you ever had, and you snap. Leaping over the desk, you grip his lapels in your fists. “Listen to me, you piece of-” and he becomes alarmed. “Comrades, seize him!” he shouts. “Comrades? You have no comrades here! Just you and me” you point out, but then you feel a rifle barrel touching your ear. “You have reasoned incorrectly, my friend,” sneers the owner of the rifle, and you realize it is none other than Doctor Drew, who is sporting a new, large curly mustache and a new accent. “Welcome home… brother” he says to Osama, and you use your surprise at this revelation to kick the gun out of his hands. “Get him!” snarls Bin Laden, and you run up the stairs as terrorists appear seemingly everywhere, their uzis spitting bullets that never quite reach you but ping and pong everywhere as you escape and get to work on the deathtraps. The whole affair climaxes with you tying a nude Osama to the highest tower in all of Cleansing Products World, to lure his elegantly sinister brother out of hiding after all his minions and ninjas have been killed and a lot of the park is blown up but no civilians are hurt. Maybe a few of the security guards. That big loudmouth Roy is humiliated by being forced to strip down to his underwear. Anyway Doctor Drew comes out holding a gun to the head of your Mother. “Show yourself!” he shouts, and your Mother says “Do as he says, now,” taking the other person’s side as usual. But you see she is about to sneeze and when she does you swing on an electric cord from the tower right onto the astonished TV doctor as you put six bullets into his chest while shouting “This is how we do it in America!” Even then your Mother can’t act grateful.
5. You feel you have reason to be angry with Ronald Passinas, a milk distributor based in Atwood, New Jersey. Do you:
A: Write an angry letter
B: Do nothing
C: Murder him on the night of December 5th, 2003
For questions 1-4, give yourself 1 points for every ‘A’ answer, 2 points for every ‘B’ answer, and ten pints for every ‘C’ answer.
4-8 points: Oh dear, you are a worm! Hello down there, worm!
9-23 points: You have some good instincts, although you tend to feel underappreciated and underutilized.
24-40 points: Nobody pushes you around. You are the ultimate man of action, a one-man killing machine.
For question 5, award yourself 1 point for a yes on A or B, and a ten for a yes on C.
2-4 points: You know how to hold your temper. You may have gotten pretty angry at Ronald Passinas, but you stayed within the confines of the law and didn’t let your rage get out of hand.
5-10 points: Aha! So YOU are the killer of Ronald Passinas! I’m waited eight long years to say these words: Cuff him, boys!
Michael Kupperman is a comic artist whose work has in places ranging from The New Yorker to Saturday Night Live. His comics have been collected in the books Snake’N’Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret and Tales Designed To Thrizzle; his next book, Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010, will be out in August.
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