Returning from Antarctica, Dawson Filter walked into a bank. It was a nice bank, plenty of walls, a flower pot on the windowsill. Not every person in the bank was so nice, though. There was a nanny with a “Support Arson” button yelling at her dog, a gold-plated man robbing the bank, a butler who was a real grouch, and a teller in the habit of beating her ferrets. It was the robber who caught Dawson Filter’s attention first.
“You can’t rob in here! You’ll only bring in an atmosphere of negativity,” Dawson Filter objected.
As the man turned around, it became apparent that he was Wayne Rubblefish, Dawson Filter’s long-standing archenemy.
“I was wondering when I’d get your attention,” Mr. Rubblefish said, “this is the fifth bank I’ve robbed, and the first time you bothered to show up.”
Dawson Filter invited Wayne to a nearby gazebo, where they could talk matters out with fewer shady characters watching. They arrived not long after, wet because of the unaforementioned rain.
“You know, Filter,” Wayne Rubblefish said, “the thing about gazebos is they have to be built to exist. But you can’t build an omelette without breaking some eggs. I had a friend in Reno, Greasy-Palmed Paul, he once tried to built a gazebo without hurting anyone’s feelings. But then there was the guy whose house he wanted to build it on, and then there was the police; and in the end, that gazebo never did get built, became ol’ Paul was afraid of making the pig who owned the house and the pigs who owned the city feel a little sadness. You know what I’m saying?”
Dawson Filter shook his head, as Wayne had mispronounced the word ‘sadness’ as ‘pancreas.’
“I’m sayin’ you’re a pig, D. And your quest is an egg. And I’m going to fry myself up a nice bacon omelet.”
Dawson Filter had set out on a quest some time ago to discover the True Meaning of Feelings. It was the clue to a crossword puzzle. The true meaning of feelings. 241 letters. 132nd was A. The newspaper that would have published the answer was destroyed along with a decent portion of North America before Dawson could read it. He tried to think back to the name of the crossword author. Plaid Stevens? No, that wasn’t it. Oh yes, Sherlock Dracula. This would be a good name to investigate as Wayne Rubblefish opposed the quest.
“Of what omelet do you speak?” Dawson Filter asked.
“I have a list of things I intend to do before I die. Ending your quest is next on the list. This is, of course, a dull item, and one with which I’d like very much to get over. After that I plan to establish a new world order, which I shall call ‘the Official Government.’ But alas, I am a man of rigid schedule. I’d like to skip the item that involves interacting with you directly to make your life worse, and get to the stuff with the government and the fun; but that is not the manner in which I roll.”
Wayne Rubblefish took a chain out of his satchel, tied Dawson Filter to the gazebo, and left.
Felipe, an intern of sorts, arrived in the time machine that the Quest Committee had decided to use when any member was in a real jam.
“What are you doing, Felipe?” asked Dawson Filter, “This is hardly a real jam; I could probably break these chains with my bare hands, if not with my mind.”
“No,” Felipe said, “Wayne leaves you to die if I don’t save you.”
Dawson Filter stepped into the machine, and stepped out with a slight headache into a mostly-white room.