Matt Mouser, Ala-Kat-Zam
Matt Mouser and the Magic Wand
Matt Mouser is nothing more than a stool pigeon on the run from thugs working for the criminal kingpin Fat Kat. That is, until he discovers a magical wand that can do almost anything he wishes it to. Using it, he becomes the super-hero known as Ala-Kat-Zam. But is even the power of the wand enough to keep him safe?
Matt Mouser looked over his shoulder and saw that those two thugs were still chasing him. The fleeing cat had to lose them somehow. Ducking into a small shop that caught his eye, he ran to the back of the building past the startled counterperson.
Back door, back door, back door, he chanted to himself silently but found only a blank wall. He was in deep poop now.
Matt looked all over the back of the shop. A small wooden wand said to him, “Pick me up.” As he did so, energy suddenly raced through him, and he felt like he could stop the world, like he was all-powerful.
Then he saw the two thugs, and they saw him. “Aw, poop!” he said.
“Time to die, Mouser!” said one of the thugs, swinging one furry hand at the cowering cat.
Bringing the wand in his paw up to block by instinct, Matt caused the thug to rebound in a series of somersaults across the room. The other one watched him in puzzlement. Desperately, Matt also brought the wand down on the other guy. That tough also did a series of cartwheels before crashing into the wall.
“Shazam!” cried Matt happily as he ran from the shop.
“Hey!” shouted the shop owner. “That wand is twenty bucks!”
Matt threw him a bill as he passed. He was all-powerful now. Nothing could stand in his way. Nothing — except that massive black limousine with the two goons leaning out the windows shooting at him with pistols.
Dropping to the ground, Matt accidentally slapped the wand against the sidewalk, and a wave of concrete ran under the limo, tossing it up in the air. The goons’ eyes stood out in surprise until the limo kablowied the street and all the tires zammoed apart. The cat took his cue and ran the other way.
Running like the wind, Matt’s furry head swiveled wildly, his ears bent down in fear as he looked for a place to hide. He had to get off the streets before something awful happened and needed to find a place to hide. Spotting a fire escape in an alley, he jumped on top of a dumpster, then leaped up and just barely managed to grab the bottom rung of the ladder. He climbed up to the first floor landing in a quick set of lines, then ran up to the roof of the of the building.
Looking back, he couldn’t believe what the wand had done. He had lucked into something amazing — if he could figure it out. He could open that stoolie school now if he wasn’t killed in the next few days by those mobsters he had ratted on.
Matt Mouser ran across the rooftop, wand clutched tightly in one hand. He had something magical in his hands. How had it gotten in that shop? Oh, well. No time to think about it now. Now, he had to run like his pants were on fire. Those crooks weren’t going to stop chasing just because he had a wand to wave at them.
“Stop chasing me!” a Matt Mouser cartoon said. Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! blotted the cartoon out in a cloud of smoke. That would be way too counterproductive to his way of thinking.
Matt leaped from roof to roof until he ran out of roofs to leap to. “Shazam,” he said in frustration and fear. “What am I going to do now?”
Looking down at the street far below, he didn’t see any more killers waiting for him. He knew the kingpin of crime would keep trying right up until Matt testified, maybe even after. Cautiously heading down the fire escape a moment later, he knew he had to hide for a while until he could figure out what he could do with the wand. But where could he hide?
He crossed the street and walked into an alley on the other side. The wand tapped against his leg as he walked, and all the dirt on his pants fell from that spot. Soon, even the blue dye in his jeans had turned snowy white as the color dropped off in flakes. Matt didn’t notice, because he thought he had found a place to stay for a while. He pulled a rickety door out of the way and stepped into a dirty basement.
“I need some light,” he said. Zig-zagging streaks of light erupted from the wand, lighting the whole area. “That’s good,” he said absently.
Matt looked around, wand glowing bright. This basement would be a great place to hide if he cleaned it up and moved everything next to the door. That would take hours, he decided. Still, he had nothing better to do with those goons still looking for him.
He dropped the wand on a box, which leaped into the air and dropped by the door in a cloud of dust. Matt grabbed the wand out of the air before it hit the ground. “Why didn’t I think of that?” he asked himself.
Slamming the floor with the wand, he caused the boxes to leap into the air and stack themselves by the door. Dust became a rainbow streak of color cleaning everything in sight. Even the burned-out bulb in the ceiling lamp came to life.
Matt smiled at the scene before him, a wizard surveying his kingdom. The wand had cleaned the basement as fast as Mary Puffins. It could do anything — he just knew it — except get him out of his jam. For that, he needed a super-hero like Captain Carrot or Alley-Kat-Abra to help him. He knew the police only cared as long as he testified.
Inspiration struck. Maybe he could be a super-hero. Maybe he could make the Kingpin sing. But he would need a cool name and costume first.
“What can I call myself?” he asked himself. “Ala-Kat-Zam,” he answered himself in a fit of inspiration. “That’s it!” said Matt, beaming to match the light bulb. “I will be Ala-Kat-Zam!”
First, he needed a costume. What could he make into a costume down here? Almost anything could work if he wore it right.
He tapped each box in turn and found several pieces that he altered to fit. First he had some red boots with yellow cuffs. Then he found a pair of black jodphurs with red stripes down the seam. He found a ripped black shirt and mended it, then found a pair of red gloves. A mask was fashioned from a red bandana, and he found a red cowboy hat.
“Now I need something else,” Matt told himself, looking around. “Shazam!” He picked up an artificial flower and pinned it to his lapel. After a tap with the wand, the flower lived.
“A costume and a mask to hide my identity are wonderful,” Matt told himself. “What I need now is a plan.” What can I do to get off the hook? he asked himself, pacing the length of the basement until a light bulb went off over his head. “I just need to give him a bigger problem than a snitch,” said Matt, laughing a little.
First he would wait for darkness. Then Ala-Kat-Zam would make his debut as a super-hero. He hoped he wouldn’t regret it, and he really hoped he didn’t get killed. That would really make for a sucky day.
As soon as darkness fell, Matt left his redoubt. He tapped a trash can lid with his wand and stepped on it. The now-flying disk carried him to his first appointment of the day. Matt knew the boss had a numbers guy running back and forth through the city. It didn’t take long for him to find him and subdue him, and Matt took the money and floated away. It was time to get a real headquarters; he couldn’t live in a basement forever.
Matt decided it would be best to keep a low profile at first. That would let him operate with the low amount of risk he wanted. That’s what the mask and new identity would do for him, if nothing else good came of it.
He took some of the numbers money and rented a new apartment away from the rat hole his other place had been. Then he decided to make alterations to suit his new, adventurous life as a super-hero. He was satisfied and happy as a clam when he was done with everything. He even installed a roof door to zoom into action if he needed to like a real hero. Not that he planned to do that, of course. He was a stool pigeon, not Super-Squirrel, after all.
Matt used some more of his loot to furnish his place with a couch, a bed, and an entertainment center. This is the life, he thought as he settled on the couch to watch television. A remote button push later, and he was watching a live report of some duck from Cornada causing a flood through downtown.
Without thinking, he tapped his clothes to his costume and then tapped the TV screen to place him immediately on the scene.
He stared at the flood coming his way. What am I doing? he asked himself in a sudden case of second thoughts. “I’m here,” decided Matt. “Time to do something.”
Marching up to the oncoming tidal wave, he tapped it with his wand. The water rebounded easily from him, retreating back to its original course.
“What did you do, you meddler?” said a watery duck, his head seeming to boil in his rage.
Matt said, “Ala-Kat-Zam is my name. I’m here to stop your liquid game.”
“Ala-Kat-Zam, eh?” said the duck. “Fall to the power of the Water Fowl!”
Blue fists shot out at Matt like huge water ballons. The makeshift hero dodged behind a car, wincing as glass crashed into the air from the impact.
“C’mon out, you hoser!” screamed the watery Water Fowl.
Matt gulped audibly as he considered his options and realized he had none. He had to face the duck — that was the only way. He dodged from behind the car and tapped the street, and the asphalt became a huge sponge reaching for the liquid villain. He vanished in a splotz second.
“What the heck?” asked the villain as he expanded from the holey surface.
Matt threw himself forward and passed through Water Fowl’s body, his wand tapping the water as he went. A normal Cornadian duck in a blue wet suit stood aghast at the swashbuckling sorcerer.
“The rampage is over,” said Matt. “Time to roll in the clover.”
He tapped the street. The sponge gathered itself under the transformed Water Fowl, then blasted him high in the air in a spout of water before returning to normal again. The unlucky duck smashed into the ground in a heap.
I did it, Matt thought. He could feel his heart expand almost uncontrollably and quickly forced it back down as the news crew approached. Shazam! I have to get out of here, was his next thought.
Matt made sure the knocked-out Water Fowl would stay K.O.’d with a tap of his wand. Then he tapped the spongey street, and it contracted under him and then shot him into the air like a catapult. He landed on a nearby roof and used his wand to make some temporary transportation.
I did it! he thought to himself all the way home.
A criminal kingpin watching the newscast in anger slammed his fist against the top of the desk, and the furniture collapsed from the blow. First some low-life turned him in, ruining some of his enterprises. Now this Ala-Kat-Zam stopped his flooding of downtown. At least his escape from the jail had gone as smooth as anything he had planned lately.
A stool pigeon and a super-hero. They would both have to die before they ruined any more plans. The mobster known as Fat Kat threw his remote through the TV screen to turn it off.
They would both have to die.