The Cruise Report
the Chicago Trip
-Belleview C. Cruise
It was 11:00 in the morning, and the five hits of Golden
Apple blotter, raisin bagel and cup of coffee I had recently had
for breakfast were beginning to make themselves felt. The carpet
was looking fuzzier than it had, and the chair in the corner was
exhibiting some rather rude personality traits. I took this to
mean that I had to back off the caffeine for a while.
I was sitting on my desk, minding my very own business thankyou,
hard at work fighting a race of twisted alien beings who had
chosen this particular afternoon to attempt a fullscale invasion
of my magnificent mind, when I received a vivid psychic
impression from my friend the Doctor. As usual, it felt
something like millions of tiny braincells screaming out in
terminal agony and then vanishing into the void. I knew that I
was needed back on earth, so I would have to finish these
bastards off quick! Summoning what was left of my massive
resources, I reached out into the heart of the alien armada. .
.and changed them all into cute little mushrooms.
Opening my eyes, I found myself once again in the regional
offices of Kallisti Komiks, high atop the Fabe building in
downtown Cincinnati. The Brooks Brothers decor was a bit much to
cope with from where I was coming from, so I focused in on the
six foot tall water pipe in the middle of the room. It was 7-up
bottle green glass, with five hoses and along its base someone
had stenciled "Kallisti Komiks Home of Kick-ass journalism" in
red spray paint. We called it the emerald city.
"Cruise. if you don't get you fool ass in here this
instant...!" I refocused my attention towards the door of one of
the offices, and saw a strangely red and throbbing face glaring
back at me. I felt that I should recognize this person from
somewhere, but. . . .
"I swear I'll cut off your coffee ration for a week!" the
face threatened. (Oh, yeah. . .the assistant editor. I keep
"'Be right there, Kelly!" I spat back cheerfully.
"Damn it, Cruise! That's what you said an hour ago!" SInce
the poor fellow was frothing at the mouth from some obviously
incurable disease, I took pity and followed him into his office.
This particular assistant editor had already been with us
for over two weeks and was coming up fast on a new record of
three. I couldn't blame him if the stress was just getting to be
too much to bear. The last ass. ed. had been found huddled under
the basement stairs, babbling some nonsense about dead gods and a
huge, mind sucking worm. Most of them, however, know when it's
time to leave, and avoid such hardship. All this considered, I
wasn't too surprised to find the Kelly was packing as I stepped
into his office. Still, the atmosphere was a bit disturbing,
even to a fearless intergalactic pirate such as myself.
There were leather whips and chrome chains hanging in
intricate patterns from the studded leather walls, and strange
insects buzzed in small cages suspended from the ceiling. Never
one to judge a book by its cover - or an assistant editor by the
decor he keeps, especially since we've had to start importing
them from 'abroad' - I walked in as casually as possible and took
a seat in the first chair I came across.
"Cruise, I think I've finally found an assignment worthy of
your. . .talents. And one you might even finish for a change!"
"Okay. You've piqued my interest," I replied politely.
"What is it?" (Did the purple chair in the corner just move?)
"Well, once every five years the American Medical
Association. . ."
(Yes it did! THE PURPLE CHAIR DID MOVE!!)
". . .big convention in Chicago. . ."
(IS THIS DUMB BASTARD BLIND OR WHAT?!!!)
". . .impress upon you enough. . . - CRUISE! Are you even
listening to me?!"
"Sure, man. A.M.A. convention, Chicago, Palmer House, the.
"What? Nevermind! I'm sure I don't want to know. Anyway,
K. K. will cover your basic expenses. . ."
(THE GODDAMN CHAIR IS MOVING TOWARDS ME!!!!)
"Say up to $500. . .?"
"JEZUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!" I screamed as the alien creature
slithered towards me across the shag carpet. Grabbing a handy
lamp from a nearby table I let the monster have it right in the
"Okay, okay! I'll make it $1,000"
This threw the chair off balance and it tried to make a run
for it. I leaped across the room and pulled over a bookcase in
its path, effectively trapping it in the room. . .
"Alright, alright! $1,500"
. . .and finished him off with a coup de grace with what was
left of the lamp smashed across his cerebral cortex!
"Here, take all the money you want! JUST DON'T HURT ME!!!"
I gradually became aware that the assistant editor had retreated
behind his desk, and was cowering there, tossing great handfulls
of money in my direction. I naturally assumed that he'd be
pleased with me for eliminating the alien spy, but I must admit I
hadn't expected such generosity.
"Gee, thanks, Boss!" I crammed as much dough as I could
into my pockets, then backed out, remembering to make the three
obligatory bows to Kelly, the picture of our founder on his
office wall, and my fallen enemy.
Contrary to popular opinion, I do have some vague idea of my
own limitations. Street pharmacology is one thing, but when it
comes to real Ph. D-type medicine, I'm in the dark. I knew of
few minds in this world which would be capable of helping me
through the next few weeks of medical diatribe which I was
certain to run into at the A.M.A. convention in Chicago. Out of
all these strange and twisted geniuses, one name came to mind,
Dr. Benard K. Nite. The same person whose mind call had back
into the known universe only that morning.
When last I had heard from the good doctor, he was "doing
research" at the U. C. Medical Center/Psychiatric ward. I
naturally assumed that he was doing more of his 'experiments'.
It took me a few hours to round up a suitable lure for the
doctor, but by the time I pulled Big Boris (a 1967 glo-white
Caddy ragtop) into three parking spaces and a mailbox in front of
the U. C. Med center, I was loaded for bear. . .so to speak. I
had managed to collect a generic arsenal of various instruments
of destruction, but I had to leave those in the car - too
conspicuous. As it was, I had an army surplus Alice pack loaded
with an amazing array of mind altering substances. This included
one fifth each of Dewer's, Bacardi Light, and J. T. S. Brown; I
gallon of 190 proof grain alcohol; 2 oz. of pharmaceutical
cocaine; 2 bags of domestic sens'; 50 hits of 'Zippy-the-pinhead
blotter acid and a Peter Pan Peanut Butter jar crammed with truly
colorful fruitsalad assortment of the finest of uppers, downers
and in betweeners. Mind you, this wasn't all we had for our road
trip. This was just to get him interested. and maintain his
As I strolled casually towards the front entrance, I noticed
a SWAT van parked half in and half out of the main lobby. There
were a number of bullet holes in the side of the armoured van,
and I overheard a voice from their radio reporting that 'they'
had retreated upstairs. Obviously another alien attack. I knew
that time was running out, and I must find the doctor quickly.
I scanned the building directory to get the right floor.
"Emergency; Pediatrics; Neurological; ICU; Alcohol/drug Detox. .
.no, that was last time. Ah! Here we are! Psych. Ward, top
floor." As I stepped onto the elevator, I had to wonder what
kind of sick mind put all the loonies on the top floor.
On the way up I washed down a few more hits of 'Bob' blotter
what was left of the Baccardi. I knew that I would need the
extra edge to deal with the doctor.
The elevator door opened - "Damn it, Cruise! What the fuck
TOOK you so long?!"
On the floor in front of me were a number of writhing bodies
in hospital greens, all roped up and gagged. Behind them stood
the doctor, reslendant in surgical uniform, leather motocross
boots and bombardier jacket. He wore twin belts of ammunition
"Pancho Villa" style across his chest, and carried one of those
guns out of "Apocalypse Now". In addition, he had what appeared
to be some sort of hand gun sticking out of his hip pocket, and
was hefting a 'pineapple' grenade. It seemed that the doctor was
ready to go after all.
I tossed the Alice pack to Benn, and he proceeded to dump
all its varied contents, as well as a gallon of tequila he
happened to have on him, into a bed pan. He mixed it all up,
waited for it to start fizzing, then swilled down at least half
of it before passing it to me.
"Now that, he proclaimed, wiping his mouth, "is a Manhattan
Project!" The mixture was beginning to glow a bit around the
edges, but that seemed only natural, so I polished it off and
proceeded to fill in the doctor .
"Belleview, you've got yourself a deal! A road trip to
Chicago sounds real good right about now. But it seems I've
gotten myself into a bit of a hassle with the locals."
Attention, Lunatics!" This is Captain Allen O'Dorf, with
your friendly neighborhood S.W.A.T. team. You are completely
surrounded. If you come out with your hands up, you may not be
shot." The electronic voice seemed to come from everywhere at
once, but mostly from the character down by the stairwell with
"Get fucked!" replied the Doctor, true to form. "Here," he
said, passing me a fullface gas mask. "You'd better put this
on." He concluded by lobbing a grenade down the hallway, then
firing into the resulting explosion.
"Subtle, very subtle!" I screeched indignantly.
"Yeah," replied the doctor nonchalantly. "But I think
they'll get the idea anyway."
"Oh, darn!" Came the bullhorn voice again through the
sounds of falling plaster. "Well, look. Maybe I'm just not
expressing myself well enough. Why don't you pick up the
telephone and we can talk this over."
Hearing this, the Doctor turned to pick up one of the white
courtesy telephones, commenting, "This could be fun."
While Benn worked out the details on the telephone, I
introduced myself to his two apparently dedicated assistants.
First was 'Head', a tall, hairy person with a pronounced stomach
and a strange glowing jewel in the middle of his forehead. He
was clad in an orderlies uniform that looked like it had been
tie-dyed in a vegg-o-matic. His counterpart was more on the odd
side. A short, elderly woman, wearing a black sack dress and a
motheaten black costume cape, dirty black gloves with the fingers
chewed off, and a pair of HUGE converse all stars with red and
green laces. She seemed to answer to the title 'Demon Bag Lady'.
About this time I was starting to get curious about what was
really going down, so I interrupted Benn on at the telephone.
His conversation with Captain O'Dorf was rapidly turning into old
"Uh, Doc?" I said.
"Yeah, Belleview?" he replied.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!!????" I queried explosively.
"Well, ..uh, my therapist says I need an outlet, and there
were all these people up here who needed the exercise, so. . ."
"Holy deformities, Maddog!! Your fucking entertainment is
gonna get our asses shot off!!!" I responded formally.
"Look, old pal, as your humble EDITOR, allow me to inform
you that you are getting on my fucking nerves!! . . .and don't
call me Maddog." He then picked up a fire extinguisher and made
one of those subtle gestures he's so fond of . . .then returned
his attention to the telephone.
Seeing that I would have no further response from the
Doctor, I turned to Head and the Demon Bag Lady. They had struck
up a conversation and, being genetically nosey, I couldn't help
but listen in.
The Demon Bag Lady was hefting a trashcan liner - tall can
size - apparently full of marijuana, and speaking sonorously to
Head. "This is not ordinary marijuana, my friend," she intoned.
"Its seeds come from the same cosmic burst of energy which
created the universe itself!" She began to sway slightly back
and forth as she warmed to her subject. "This rare strain was
planted by Hassan i Sabbah, Adam Weishaupt, Alister Crowley, Greg
Hill, Bob Dobbs, Bob Wilson, Dr. von Ravenscraphter and Eris
"Oh, wow!" replied Head. "So, so what you are saying here,
if I may interrupt, that is, by way of interjection, in order to
see more clearly, you are trying to say is. . .the primordial
origin. ..of the species 'Pot'. . . ."
"...uh, yeah! That's it!"
It hit me like a zen koan. Once again, I found myself at
the crossroads of my life. I could slip quietly away from all
this silliness, leaving the good doctor and his collection of
human granola to fend for themselves; I could stick around and
sacrifice what was left of my life in what struck me as a
questionable cause; or I could talk Benn into going on a road
trip to Chicago - RIGHT NOW! . . .and what was that maniacal
chuckle coming from behind the coke machine?