He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
|“||I am Adam, Prince of Eternia and defender of the secrets of Castle Greyskull.
This is Cringer, my fearless friend.
Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said:
“By the power of Greyskull! I have the power!”
Cringer became the mighty Battle Cat, and I became He-Man, the most powerful man in the Universe!
Only three others share this secret — our friends: the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms, and Orko.
Together, we defend Castle Greyskull from the evil forces of Skeletor.
I know you guys wanna make a fly-on-the-wall documentary and all. And I appreciate the opportunity to show everyone that I'm not the air-head people think I am. But, strictly off the record, Clive's a dick! He makes me say the opening monologue every episode even though the words haven't changed in four decades. Says it stops it getting stale! Does Superman tell everyone that he can leap tall buildings with a single bound every week? No! Superman has staff to tell him how great he is every time he stops for breath, the stupid, greasy-haired bastard with his stupid cape and stupid kiss-curl. I hate that guy. No wonder they blasted him off his home planet. If Clive was his director every episode would start with, “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s me.” Those two shitheads deserve each other.
Sometimes I wonder why Pop ever let Clive convince him into signing up for Keeping Up with King Randor. This must be, like, Season Ninety-Nine or something. Who even watches Reality TV these days anyway?
Actually, I don’t really know what Teela’s saying half the time these days. I'm not stupid but it's like she's talking in some code I don't understand. Still, she’s cool and everything — if you ignore all the nagging…. “Come practice sword-drills, Adam”, “You'll go blind if you keep doing that”, “Don't snort so much gear, you don't know what it's doing to your brain”. Like I'm the one with learning difficulties?! The whole universe knows I'm He-Man except Skeletor, his goons and Teela. It's not like I wear a false moustache and sun-glasses when I transform, I just take my shirt off and parade round in my panties. Still, for some reason that's kept me on TV since the '80s.
I've thought about letting her in on my unpaid work as a hero but I doubt she'd give me a break even if she knew. It's just in her nature to moan. She even moans about me looking out for staff welfare round the palace. I mean, she’s the Captain of the Royal Guards...So, you’d think she’d be grateful that I like hanging with the guys in the barracks instead of sticking my nose in the air and refusing to talk to anyone who isn’t as royal as me. Not that anyone’s as royal as me except Pop, and he’s too busy being King to do rounds of Flaming Sambucas with the guys every evening. And when was the last time he played who-can piss-highest-up-the-wall behind the canteen?
It does get kinda wearing listening to her carp on. It’s not as though she ever says anything different. You’d think she’d know I wasn’t listening by now. But no. If I've heard “Soggy-biscuit isn’t a real sport” once, I've heard it a million times. And if I hear “Why can’t you wear something more regal?” one more time I'll scream. Have you seen what she wears? I get that the Captain of the Guard has to be in uniform. So, I guess that’s why she’s been in the same outfit every day since 1983. But, she designed that uniform herself and if you’re gonna strut your stuff in a skin-tight, bikini-cut bodice, then whining about guys staring at your camel-toe is a bit much. You point that man-grenade at the guys down at the barracks, you gotta be prepared to deal with the shrapnel. Just saying. And, sure, Teela, Indestructium is … well indestructible. So, I totally get the blingy armour. I really do. But how come it only covers your fun-bags?
Still, love the gal, really. Me and T-girl, we’ve known each other since we were knee-high to Wolfbats. We were always skinny dipping in the moat, teasing the crocodiles or else playing Hide and Seek in the parts of the palace where we weren't meant to go. You'd be surprised how many prisoners Man-at-Arms has down in the dungeons — it's like every teenage girl in the Eternia's some kind of criminal.
And when we weren't swimming or playing... Man, did we ever wrestle! I mean, I didn’t even have to let that gal win. She’s a natural warrior. If I took my eyes off her for more than a minute she’d have me flat on my back with a double-leg takedown and she'd have pinned me before I knew what was happening. I can’t tell you how often I've nearly choked to death with my neck gripped between her thighs — sometimes before we’d got dressed after the skinny-dipping.
She always used to whisper that in a weird-ass, kinda strangulated voice — like the effort of pinning me was getting to her. I’d say Uncle immediately. Partly so she didn’t over-exert herself, but mostly just to get her Mooseknuckle out of my eye-line. But it was always,
Sometimes I had to wait until she’d polished her Indestructium breast-plates four or fives times before she’d let me go — even if she wasn’t wearing it. To be honest, I always thought she had a crush on me but I mentioned it one time when we were fifteen and she kneed me in the love-spuds before chinning me with a left-hook Man-at Arms would have been proud of. I wasn’t all that upset really. I always preferred hanging out with the lads but even that seems to wind her up these days.
|“||The Royal Buffoon’s here.
Orko to his friends.
Orko to everyone. He doesn't have any friends.
The only people he converses with are his clients, and occasionally the magistrates.
The purveyor of rare herbs and proscribed chemicals is back.
Will we never be set free?
Only kidding. Actually, the one guy Teela never seems to mind me hanging with is Orko. He’s kinda cool, I guess. He’s from Trolla, which is, like, another planet or something. I don’t usually like foreigners — when I’m in charge I’m going to build a big wall around the kingdom and make Skeletor pay for it — but Orko’s cool. And he’s blue. Teela says it’s okay to have a little blue buddy if I need one.
And Orko does magic! He can steal my nose and make it reappear, which is very cool. One time he put Man-at Arms’ watch in his handkerchief and smashed it with a hammer. I don’t know why. He didn’t even try putting it back together. Comedy gold!
One of the guys in the guards’ barracks, Ozric, he said he’d like to see Orko saw Teela in half. I don’t think that would be a good idea because Orko’s magic is kinda unreliable and he probably wouldn’t be able to put her back together. But Ozric said that might not be such a bad thing provided he got the bottom half. I didn’t understand what that meant but I laughed anyway because all the other guards thought it was hysterical and I didn't wanna look like a retard. They used to call me A-dumb. In fact, they only stopped when I had a couple of the guys burned at the stake. Sometimes a Prince has to maintain his dignity, you know.
Saint Peter preached the epistles to the Apostles looking like that.
I have something you’ll be interested in under my hat. Wanna take a trip to the observatory?”
These guys are from space too. Some place called Earth.
Sounds like a shitty sort of place to me. Might as well call their homeworld Mud!
Or Crud, come to that. No wonder they keep coming to Eternia.
Mind if they come to the observatory with us, O-man? They'll love it up there. There's a view of the whole kingdom like Clive never showed on TV before.”
The best thing about Orko is the amount of stuff he can store in his hat. Apart from his head, I mean. It’s amazing! One time he brought me a whole Roast Eternian Chicken, and those things are bigger than Battlecat. It took me six days to eat it all and then I was stuffed from arsehole to beak for the next week. But you don’t get biceps like mine without plenty of protein. If you can't take the hustle, you won't get the muscle!
Mostly what Orko keeps under his hat is stuff that the palace guards would confiscate if they knew he was bringing it in. Gamalon Ganja is the best. Orko levitates us up to the top of the highest tower and then casts a concealment charm on it so Teela can’t follow us. Then he rolls the biggest, fattest joint you've ever seen. It's like, bigger than my head!
The joint I roll you is called the Ripped Radish on account that I invented it while ripped off my tits and it looks like radish.
It’s impossible to roll one with anything less than twelve skins but it doesn’t really look as much like a radish so much as it looks like one of the buzzy-things Teela keeps under her bed where she thinks no one looks.”
Why do we even fight over this kingdom?
Pop should just get a retirement condo and take up golf. Leave this shit-pit to Skeletor.
I mean, there's nothing here and it’s, like, 90% purple — like Teela’s bedroom once she’d got through her pink phase and before she started decorating it with the intestines of her vanquished foes.
Give me a downer, Orko. I think my brain’s capsizing!”
You’ve got a rush. It’ll pass.
Be seated. Eat some sugar.
I have something real special for you this time, my Prince.
Trade: Phenodihydrochloride benzorex. Street: the Embalmer."
Shit, man. Orko left. Now what am I gonna do? We're stuck up here in the clouds and I feel like an Andreenos Jungle-Pig shat in my head! I can’t even see the fucking stairs for the concealment spell. I knew I shouldn't have brought you. This is all Clives' fault. Orko doesn’t trust cameras since they used that CCTV footage in court last time. You shoulda left your camera in the courtyard — he was never gonna doesn't trust you carrying that around. And he thinks you're in league with Clive. Keeping up with King Randor is meant to be a documentary too but Clive always makes Orko seem like a clown. But, I'm telling you, man, Orko's a genius! He’s the only one round here who really gets me. Everyone else is always going on about my gear: “No son of mine would wear pastel hot-pants”. Or my hair: “Are you sure, Monsieur? La cropped-fringe avec le tousled blond bob — she is tres cute on a four-year-old... mais pour un twenty-five-year-old warrior-Prince? Alors!”
I hate the Royal Barber. He’s foreign and he’s not even blue. Worse than that, I think he may be French. Orko says that all Barbers are in the employment of King Randor. He says I should keep my hair because they’re my aerials to pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly to my brain. He says a lot of clever things like that. I don't know what he's going on about half the time, but he may have a point. If Skeletor wasn’t bald, maybe he wouldn’t be so uptight.
There's nothing else for it. We gotta just sit up here until either Orko comes back or the charm wears off and we can take the stairs. And I'm real hungry suddenly too. There's like five gallons of Ben and Jerry's in the refrigerator with my name on it and Cringer will finish the lot if we don't get there soon. And man, is Lactose-intolerant! You don't wanna be there when that hits the fan.
I guess we may as well finish the Radish. Anybody got matches?
Battle Cat is the alter ego of my very best friend, Cringer. He’s a cowardly, lazy, over-eating pussy who spends all his time sleeping and avoiding responsibility. I love that pussy anyhow but it’s a good job it’s me who’s going to leader of the free world of Eternia one day! Some people are surprised that Cringer can talk. Most are just surprised that what he says is so inane. If you’ve ever had a cat you’ll know exactly how it is. “I’m a very stable Tiger.” “I have an IQ higher than I can count to.” “Hey, Russian chick! Come scent-mark all over me!”. That sort of thing. A lot of the time he just lays by the fire licking his balls. Sometimes I envy him — not about licking his balls, obviously. We've all done that! But I've never been flexible enough to lick my own.
Cringer’s in on my big secret. When my mighty sword points north I get all excited and shoot energy-beams all over that poor pussy. He swells up to twice his usual size — I don’t know how. Something to do with getting engorged with blood, I guess. But whoa, does that pussy ever demand attention once I've roused it up! I have to saddle up and ride it til it’s too tired to be ridden any more. And he gets so excited he, like, lathers up with sweat or something. And then he gets these muscle-contractions like he's having a fit and it's all I can do to cling on. But, like, twenty minutes later it’s, “Hey, He-Man. Fancy round two?” I mean, I’m as up for fun as any other red-blooded Prince of the Realm but give a guy a break!
He is my very bestest buddy though. I can hardly remember life without that big fur-ball. I found him in the jungle when I was a boy. There was no sign of his mother so I took him back to the palace. Man-at-Arms showed me how to take care of pussies. I slept with that little sucker every night even though he smells like an Eternia Skunk-Fish when he doesn’t wash properly. I called him Growler, but the other kids in the palace used to tease me about what a scaredy-kit he is — which is how he came to be Cringer. It doesn’t seem to bother him, and the weird thing is that all those kids disappeared before I could tell them how cool he as as Battle Cat. Really, all of them, just upped and vanished in the middle of the night, with just a trail of blood and sometimes a bit of crushed cranium left on the doorstep to remind you that they ever existed. Skeletor up to his tricks, I guess, the scamp!
I’d introduced you guys but he'll be hiding somewhere in the cellars again. Someone scratched up Dad’s throne and took a shit on the state-room carpet again.
Welcome to the guards' room. Make sure you use the spittoons, and careful where you tread — they only change the saw-dust once a month. I’m down here most nights, it’s the only place in the palace with a properly-stocked bar and a Cosmic Billiards table. But I don’t really know why I keep coming back. I suck at billiards and the whole place stinks of armpit. Sixty guys in a barrack room with limited ventilation and no shower will do that, I guess. Maybe it’s because this is the only part of the palace where Clive isn’t allowed to film. The guards don’t mind you guys — they know you're just crew. But Clive makes them all look like brainless automatons and… you know, even drones have their pride.
I’ll make it just the way you like it.”
Two-faced doesn’t begin to describe Man-E-Faces. The way he looks at me — I’m not sure I should trust him. But what’s the choice? He runs the bar so it’s either come here or listen to Teela whinging about duty and responsibility, or Pop going on about the necessity of absolute monarchy in providing a symbolic representation of man’s ultimate power over the chaotic, unpredictability of nature. I don’t know which is worse, the abstract rationalism, the flights of metaphysical fancy or the bad breath. Even watching Man-E-Faces’ lazy eye look me up and down that weird way is better.
What I’m really not keen on is the way that my Gargle-blaster always takes so much longer to prepare than anyone else’s. The guys are gonna think I’m getting preferential treatment. I mean, sure, Man-E-Faces makes it under the counter where no one can see what he’s up to but those guys aren’t green. Well, only Moss Man. But, if I’ve seen Man-E-Faces slipping Orko a stack of Eternium dollars in return for a bag of… pharmaceutical delight, then so has everyone else. Those two are definitely up to something. It’s kind of nice of Man-E-Faces to want to put something extra in my drinks but I wish he wouldn’t — I don’t want to be Prince Adam. I just want to be one of the guys and that’s never gonna happen if I get special treatment.
Pop — that's His Most Excellent Highness, The King Randor, Duke of the Four Dimensions, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Cummerbund, Grand Master of the Most Bodacious Guild of Pink Nadgers, Companion of the Gods, Imperial Flugah of the Honourable Company of Wombats to you — he'd rather I spent my evenings studying accountancy 'cause he says no sane ruler ought to trust a Royal Treasurer. But I got no time for Moolah! When I'm done being awesome for the day I just wanna kick back, which is why I've been coming down here since I was, like, fifteen, I guess. All I remember about my first visit is downing a couple shots and waking up the next day with my head pounding like Clamp Champ was trying to squeeze my brains out. God knows what I’d been doing that night but my mouth tasted like dumpster-juice, my back was sore, it hurt to walk and it was like someone else had dressed me. There were these weird stains all over my shirt and gunk in my hair like Cringer had coughed up a hair-ball through his nose or something. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like that every night I come down here. Except when it’s Ram Man’s turn to pay for the drinks. Wowzers! A fella can barely sit down after a night like that!
'course I could go back to my penthouse suite to sleep but Teela sleep-walks... naked. Sounds kinda funny, huh? But it's not. She's always asleep in my bed by the time I get there and, if I crash-out on the couch, she gets up all mean the next day. Well, mean-er than she would have been anyway. But if I try to share my bed, look out! That girl has nightmares about the Snakemen every single night. She's always grabbing me in her sleep, wrapping her legs round my waist and trying to kill me with bear-hugs! And then there's the sleep-talking — sleep-shouting really. It's embarrassing. What must people think when they hear her screaming "There's no Snake I can't take!", or "I love a guy with a forked tongue" in the middle of the night. One time, it was "The bigger the girth, the greater the mirth!" The looks I got from Mom next day! I guess that's why I stay down here so often.
The best thing about the guards-room is that Man-At Arms never comes here. Clive makes him out like he’s some sort of inventor-genius mentor dude who’s preparing me for kingship. But he’s no inventor. I’ve seen all the Amazon deliveries from The Acme TNT Co. and ThisIsNotaFlameThrower. He’s not actually Teela’s Pop but if you listen to him you’d think he was Teela with a beer-gut and a porn-star ‘tache. “We need to practise your backhand offensive slice, Prince Adam,” “Forgive me, my lord, but if you parry a spear-thrust with a half-hearted downward cut I’ll be taking your back to King Randor as a kebab.” Is it any wonder I spend so much time down at Snake Mountain?
You didn't know that? I know Snake Mountain's meant to be a realm of everything wicked and all — but, you know, a lot of that's just for TV. You wanna go visit?
You have walked straight into a trap.”
These fools are trapped and he will eat tonight!”
Stop trembling, man. This is all for show. Any minute now he'll want to show you his pressed-flower album.
I mean, sure, Skeletor can be cranky sometimes, especially in the Winter when his arthritis plays him up. But, you know, on a good day he's nowhere near as evil as people think. You should see how thin the Death-Worm is. He goes hungry every other day. You could see the poor little Annelid's ribs — you know, if worms had ribs.
Did you clear out your litter-tray yet?
I wish to see our guests accomodated comfortably...
Up to their necks! Nheheheheh!”
I mean, sure, he's not helping himself talking like that but it's just nerves, I reckon. Clive's spent years convincing everyone that Skelly spends all day every day plotting to capture Castle Greyskull so he can have his evil way with The Sorceress and learn the secrets of the Universe so that he can conquer it. So, he feels like he has to live up to character. But it's not as though his mind is as one-track as all that. He has time to think about philosophy, he digs lyrical poetry, plays the ukulele. He's a real rounded Renaissance-monster. People just expect that he'll be skulking in here in Snake Mountain plotting to capture and rape Teela, plotting to take down Pop and the whole Kingdom of Eternia, or plotting to capture and rape Man-at-Arms. And, you know, there's a lot of truth in that. A tyrannical, homicidal megalomaniac needs ambitions in his life like anyone else. But a lot of the time you'll find old Skelly just chilling, cataloguing his stamp collection, teaching his vultures to screech or working out a new timetable for his model railway.
The muscled-muppet has returned and once more you must point your Bubbies in his direction and hope to entrance him with those revolting, flesh-covered thighs.
Did you shave your love-muffin this morning? We can hardly expect Eternia's heir apparent to be tempted by a hairy Nunny smelling of drains!”
What no one ever hears about is Skeletor's good side. He's raised, like, half a million Credits for the Home for Retired Underlings. He didn't need to do that. He could have spent the cash on developing a Death-Ray, or something. He likes to give back to the community. And people should hear about that side of him more. He houses the homeless. Does Pop do that? No! But beneath the keep it's chocka-block with the undeserving poor. There's so many of them that he has to hang them from the wall by chains 'cause there's not enough room for them all to lie-down. Take that Mother Theresa. What a guy!
And, I'll tell you something else. I bet you guys never heard that when Skelly's last familiar died, he didn't just go out and buy a vampire-bat from a dealer like any other super-villain would. He did the responsible thing to show the way to other inter-dimensional fiends. He went straight down to the Rescue Centre and picked out a bunch of abandoned cats and kittens, and ever since then he's been feeding them to the Hyena pup he abducted from its mother. He bakes too. If you're in luck he may have done another Pineapple-Upside-down Cake. Just don't let him offer you Death by Chocolate — he takes that pudding way too literally.
And talking of bad press! What about Beastman? The rest of the galaxy have him down as some barely-functioning, knuckle-dragging simpleton but that guy has a degree in Liberal Arts from North-Western. Any day now and Skeletor will have taught him to roll over.