Because I didn't get it all out of my system the first time, here's
another installment of that trip into mayhem, stupidity, and
SHOCK VALUE 3: THE SEARCH FOR SHOCK
The Lord of All Darkness stalked the corridors of his Edifice of
Death and Terror, weaving the intricate threads of intrigue into a
vast Byzantine tapestry of power that would soon engulf the
worlds and see all who opposed him crushed beneath his heel.
"Looks like he's doing a bad 'Darkwing Duck' impersonation,
doesn't it?" Lydia asked her companion, not really expecting an
Darren nodded absently, his eyes flicking to the pacing form of
the Bradleyard for the briefest of moments before returning to
their more accustomed position of staring at Lydia's bosom.
Here in the precincts of his grim lair, the Bradleyard brooded
and schemed and connived and devised. His was the shadow
that would darken the Sun. His was the soul that would feast
upon the moans of the conquered. His was the voice whose
commands would move the world. His were the feet that would
track mud upon the linoleum floor of destiny. His was the talent
that would beguile and enthrall the puny mortals who infested
the temporal world. He was the Dark Master of Fan Fiction, and
soon the world in general and BKWillis in particular would feel
his literary heel upon their metaphorical (or, in BKWillis's case,
actual physical) chests.
Except that he couldn't come up with a plot to save his life.
"ARRRRGH!" he groaned theatrically as he hurled his Pen of
Might across his Sanctum of Gloom, as he'd renamed the den of
the little two-bedroom cottage he and Lydia were renting.
"Constipated again?" Lydia inquired as she opened the blinds to
let a bit more light into the room. "I told you to try that prune-
"That was a snarl of Malevolent Anger," the Bradleyard insisted
petulantly, "not blocked bowels. And-- Hey! Don't open those!
You're spoiling the atmosphere!"
"Atmosphere-shmatmosphere," Lydia scoffed. "I don't see how
you were planning on getting anything written in the dark, any-
way." She got the second set of blinds open as well, letting the
sunshine bathe the room and its cheerfully tacky bunny-rabbit
"Great." The Really Really Evil author gave the wallpaper a
sulky thwack. "How am I supposed to compose great and awe-
inspiring works of prose while looking at a Lepus sylvilagus?"
"No, that's a rabbit," Darren helpfully corrected. The Bradleyard
merely sighed and sprawled out on his Couch of Ultimate Evil.
"So, boss, what have you got done so far?" Lydia tried to put as
chipper and upbeat a tone in her voice as possible, hoping to
break him out of his sullen mood. Few things were as annoying
as a whiny, mopey arch-villain.
"Well, my dear, you have to understand that this sort of thing isn't
to be rushed or forced. Especially when you are turning out the
kind of quality fan-fictional masterpieces that I produce. These
things have to be properly considered and developed..."
Lydia narrowed her eyes a bit. "What have you actually gotten
done?" she repeated.
The Bradleyard rubbed at his goatee nervously. "Well, I've just
done up a few preliminary outline drafts, sample-type... uh..."
Darren picked up his notebook and flipped through several pages.
"It just says, 'I am a fish' over and over and over," he said. "No,
wait. Here's something different. Now it says, 'All work and no
play makes the Bradleyard a dull arch-villain' over and over and
The arch-villain in question gave an uneasy laugh. "Yes, well,
you see, I was trying to... uh... set mood... or something... OWW!"
He yelped as Lydia bounced a Thesaurus off his head.
"Okay, I admit it!" he moaned. "This stuff's a lot harder than it
looks! I've got no ideas on a plot and no clue how to get the
story moving!" He pounded a hapless bunny-rabbit pillow in
frustration. "Damn it, if Willis can do this, then _I_ should
certainly be able to!" After a moment, he seemed to realize that
pouting was not proper arch-villain behavior, and straightened
up. Angsty brooding was okay, but pouting was a no-no.
"Well, then, my loyal henchpersons," he declared in a grand and
politically-correct manner, "I hope that you bring good news of
your efforts to recruit a cast?"
Lydia nodded efficiently and brandished her clipboard. "I do.
Mr. Ullman and I split up, to cover more ground. I went round to
all the known character hangouts, except TTR, of course, while
he went to the studios on Authors' Row to talk to some of the
major players and maybe even work up a little sympathy from
some of the other writers. I was able to get us quite a few people
signed on to the project."
"Wonderful, my dear and faithful Lydia!" The Bradleyard rubbed
his hands together in delight. "Who did you get? The Brigadier?
Roz Forrester? How about Peri?"
"No, no. None of those, unfortunately," Lydia said. "But I did
manage to recruit, let's see..." She ran a finger down her list.
"There's Vayoy, Gevahlltoy, Shugahmah, Lemielsch, and Com-
"Who in the Wide World of Sports are they?!" the Bradleyard
"They're Kvetchians," she explained. Seeing his blank look
completely failing to change, she added, "You remember. The
bad guy aliens from the first 'Shock Value'."
The Bradleyard rummaged on the coffee-table for a moment,
setting aside several bunny-rabbit figurines, finally dredging up
his copy of 'Shock Value'. "Oh," he said after a quick scan of the
first page. "Right you are. We can use them as extras, or baddies,
or some such. Very good. Carry on, my dear."
"Thank you." Lydia found her place on the list and continued.
"Captain Yates said he's willing to help, as long as it doesn't take
up too much time. He's got a part-time contract with Jeri Massi,
but he said he had a little spare time when he'd be available. He
seemed pretty eager for the chance to get back at Willis. Some
kind of grudge that has to do with five words, or something."
She shrugged prettily.
"Good, good. Maybe I can work in a UNIT angle. Who else?"
"There's Chris Cwej. He's interested on account of he says Willis
doesn't like him, so--"
"I know," the Bradleyard interrupted, scowling. "I don't like him,
either. Take him off the list."
Lydia regarded her employer with an arched eyebrow. "Are you
sure? He's a big name, with lots of fans."
"He's also an utter prat."
"Can't argue with that," Lydia muttered, x-ing out his name. She
thought she heard Darren mumble something about pots and
kettles, but she shrugged it off as unimportant. "I also signed
up one of Ken Young's employees that I just happened to run
into, a nice woman named Varne."
"Never heard of her."
"She was in a fic called 'Gates of Dawn' that Willis did an MPT3k
"Ah, excellent. She should be well-motivated, then. Who else?"
"Davros?" Darren and the Bradleyard chorused.
"Yes, Davros. No Daleks, though," she added, watching her
boss's face fall. "Just him. The pepperpots have all got jobs
singing backup for Pearl Jam, and he's out of work."
The Bradleyard pursed his lips, considering. "Davros without
Daleks. Hmmm... Maybe I can work something out. Anyone
else?" When she shook her head, he turned to Darren. "So, how
did you make out? Sign up anyone good?"
The ex-WANKER consulted his clipboard. "Ummm... no."
The Bradleyard glared. "Did you sign up anyone at all?"
Darren flipped through his notes again. "Um, nope."
"What do you mean, 'nope'?" the Bradleyard demanded. "Didn't
you go to the studios?"
"Yes, I did, and..."
Darren stood at the front door of a large mansion, talking to an
elfin-faced young woman in a skimpy tennis outfit. A sign by
the door read: Wilcox Manor and Drabble Studio.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Ullman," Zany Zoe said, "but I'm really not inter-
ested right now in working for anybody but Mikey-dearest."
"Are you sure?" Darren pressed. "It's a chance to be involved in
the..." He paused to study the notes Lydia had written for him.
"...In the most innovative and original fanfic of the past decade."
"Thanks, but no thanks," Zoe said firmly. "I'll tell you what,
though. Since you came all the way over here, take this with you
so your trip won't be wasted." She handed him a small package
wrapped in plain brown paper.
"Uh, thanks," he said, puzzled. "What is it?"
"A time bomb," she replied as she slammed the door.
"Oh." Darren just looked at the thing for a moment. "Hey, wait!
Did you say--"
Darren stood at the guard shack in front of the sprawling complex
that was That Certain Third Doctor Studio. He shifted impatiently
on his feet as the guard, resplendent in his UNIT uniform, talked
on the phone to someone in upper management.
"Yes ma'am," the guard said. "That's right. That's who he says
he works for. And it's about some big fanfic project." He paused
to peek at the visitors' log that Darren had signed. "Darren Ullman.
Yes ma'am. Most likely, yes ma'am. Miss Shaw and Miss Grant, I
believe. Yes, ma'am. Okay, I'll be sure to tell him. Goodbye." With
that, the man hung up and turned back to his visitor.
"Well?" Darren asked. "Did they say I could go in and discuss
this with someone?"
The man smiled. "Actually, that was the Studio President, herself,
and she's coming down here to see you in person."
"Really? Cool! Nothing like going right to the top. Maybe she
wants to work out some kind of partnership deal!"
A few moments later, he spotted an athletic-looking woman in a
martial-arts gi walking across the parking lot towards them,
cracking her knuckles. She paused for a moment to take her
"Ah, it's feet today," the guard murmurred cryptically. He turned
back to Darren. "Boy, you should probably go ahead and step
outside," he advised.
"Eh? Why?" Darren asked.
"If you're outside, then you won't go through the window when
she drop-kicks you off the property..."
Darren stood on the front stoop of the peculiarly baroque-looking
building that housed May Productions, looking puzzled. He'd
knocked several times, but no one had come to the door, even
though he was certain he'd heard someone moving around in
there. He decided to try once more before giving up.
TOK-TOK-TOK went the big brass doorknocker, which was
made in the shape of a squid, for some reason.
There it was again. There was no doubt that someone was moving
around in there. Why wouldn't they open up?
He was just about to walk away when he heard the doorknob
finally turning. As the door creaked open, he put on the business-
like smile that Lydia had coached him on and prepared to begin
What he saw when the door swung open drove all thoughts of
cast recruitment and strategic authorial alliance out of his mind.
The thing was a fanged, looming horror, its bristly face half-
hidden in the shadows. Its fetid, vaguely fishy breath panted
into his face as its undulating bulk filled the doorway.
"AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaahhh..." Darren's scream dopplered into
the distance as he fled.
The walrus stood in the doorway, watching the running man
with much perplexity. Finally, he shrugged his flippers and pushed
the door closed.
"What was that all about?" the pterodactyl asked as he wiped at
"I have no idea," the walrus answered in a puzzled tone. "Some
chap spends ten minutes knocking at the door, then runs away
screaming when I finally get the thing open."
"There are some very odd sorts out there these days," the pelican
said, shaking her head.
"...that's why I didn't get any recruits," Darren finished.
"A 'fanged, undulating beast'?" the Bradleyard scoffed. "You
expect me to believe that?"
"It was! It was like something from one of that Loveboat guy's
stories! 'The Call of Cootchie-Coo', and all that! OWWWW!"
"That's Love*craft*, you idiot," Lydia growled as she hit him
with a hardback copy of _The Case of Charles Dexter Ward_.
"So, _anyway_," the Bradleyard overrode them, "what I've got to
work with is Davros, Mike Yates, a woman named Varne, five
evil aliens, and the two of you, correct?"
"Essentially, yes sir," Lydia smartly replied.
"I see." The Really Really Evil future avatar of BKWillis took a
deep breath and declared, "Waaah! The project is doomed from
the start! I've got a crummy cast and no ideas! I'll never get to
beat Willis and kick him in the shins hard and burn his Marshall
Tucker albums and pour espresso up his nose and make him
watch 'Bridges of Madison County' and force-feed him a copy
of _Earth in the Balance_ and..."
Lydia G. Gordon sighed and weighed the copy of _The Case of
Charles Dexter Ward_ that she had handy. Not nearly enough.
How about that _Hammond World Atlas_? Still too light. Ah!
Perfect! A _Webster's Unabridged New Collegiate Dictionary_.
She hefted the heavy tome and strode purposefully to the sobbing
"...and give him papercuts on his tongue and stick beef tarts in
his ears and let ferrets chew out his nasal hair and--"
The Bradleyard didn't even get to yelp. The gigantic reference
book caught him between the eyes, knocking him completely off
the Couch of Ultimate Evil. He lay twitching on the floor in a
highly comical and anime-influenced fashion, with little spirally-
thingies where his eyes normally were.
"Quit that," ordered Lydia. "This isn't anime fan-fiction. That's
completely out of place in 'Doctor Who'."
The Bradleyard took the spirals off his eyes and climbed woozily
to his feet. "What'd you do that for?!" he demanded.
"I thought I said to knock off the anime refs," she growled. "This
isn't 'Ranma 1/2', you baka!" She pulled a mallet out of thin air
and waved it menacingly.
"You are _so_ uncute!" He stuck out his tongue at her as a blue
aura began to form around her body.
"Um, excuse me," Darren asked nervously, "but why do you both
suddenly have great big eyes and little pointy chins?"
A repairman poked his head in the door. "Sorry, folks!" he said.
"We're having a little trouble with the reality stabilizers. A Taka-
hashi wavefront just moved through and knocked everything out
of whack." From outside came the sound of a piece of machinery
being hit repeatedly with a mallet, and everything came back to
its normal focus. "That ought to do it," the repairman stated,
giving them a quick thumbs-up and then vanishing in a puff of
The three blinked at one another.
"What were we doing again?" the Bradleyard asked.
"You were pouting," Lydia replied. "And I was giving you blunt
trauma to the skull."
"I was _not_ pouting," the Bradleyard whined. "I was angsting."
"Looked like a pout to me," muttered Darren.
"Shut up," the other two offered helpfully.
"So, _anyway_," the Bradleyard repeated, "what I've got to work
with is Davros, Mike Yates, a woman named Varne, five evil
aliens, and the two of you, correct?"
"Essentially, yes sir," Lydia smartly replied again. "And please
don't bitch about it this time."
"I wasn't going to _angst_ about it," he shot back, putting extra
emphasis on the word. "I was just going to ask if you had any
helpful suggestions about how to plot something for such a cast."
Lydia opened her mouth, then closed it. She really didn't have a
clue how to plot a fanfic. She was a character, and her specialty
was acting out the stories, not creating them.
"Sir? Can I ask something?"
The Bradleyard glanced at Darren. "As long as it isn't a hope-
lessly stupid question."
"Oh." Darren thought for a few seconds. "Uh, what if it's just
sort of stupid?"
The Bradleyard sighed. "Oh, just go ahead and ask."
"Okay. What I'm wondering is, you're a future version of BKWillis,
right? If that's so, don't you have all his memories and talents?
Why not just pick a story that he's going to do, but hasn't done
just yet, and write it yourself, just changing the characters around
a little for the different cast?"
Lydia's mouth opened again, this time in shock. "Why, Darren,"
she said, "that was actually sort of intelligent."
"Yes, it was, a bit, but it still won't work." The Bradleyard looked
more glum than ever. "You see, when I became Really Really Evil,
I got rid of all my merely Basically Evil memories, so I wouldn't
have the weakness of a less-Evil personality dogging me. I am
but a shadow what I was."
"Wow," Lydia husked, a catch in her voice. "That's really--"
The Bradleyard shrugged helplessly. "It seemed like a good idea
at the time." He perked up suddenly. "Speaking of good ideas, I
just had a brilliant one!"
"I'll get the pudding," Lydia said, starting for the kitchen.
"No, not that," the Bradleyard corrected. "Not yet, anyway. I
mean, I just had a notion about how to plot this story."
"And that is...?" the other two said in stereo.
"We plagiarize! NYAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!"
"Plagiarism?" Darren asked, then blew the others' minds by
showing that he actually knew what the word meant. "That's
kind of... _bad_... isn't it?"
"So?! I'm EVIL! Really Really EVIL! NYAHAHAHAHAHA!"
"Time out!" Lydia called, making a T-shape with her hands.
"Plagiarism won't work. The goal is for everybody to worship us
as the gods of fanfic, right? They won't do that if we obviously
stole our story from someone."
"Well, what else can we do?" the Bradleyard whined.
A light abruptly went on in Lydia's mind. "Simple! We beat
Willis at his own game! Instead of copying one of his stories,
we copy his style. His fics are apparently popular, so we just
use the same basic elements that he does and we use them to
make our own story. We out-Herod Herod!"
"Yes!" the Bradleyard shouted, his bipolar disorder swinging
from 'Somber Sicko' back to 'Euphoric Idiot' in the time it takes
a photon to parallel-park. He danced a happy and utterly rhythm-
free jig across the room and picked up his Notepad of Domination
and his Pen of Might. "Beautiful! Now all we have to do is fig-
ure out what makes a Willis-fic special!"
The room went abruptly quiet again.
"Oh, come on," the Bradleyard tried to stay happy and optimistic.
"You've both acted in his fics before. What sorts of things does
he put in them?"
The room stayed quiet.
The Bradleyard's bipolar pendulum started its return swing.
"There must be something that stands out..."
"Head injuries," Darren said suddenly.
"Yes, I think you've both had too many," Lydia growled back.
"No! I mean yes! I mean... That's what's in his stories." He
looked pleadingly at the other two. "That last episode of 'The
Feminine Mistake' was full of people getting hit on the head, you
"Well, that's a start, I suppose," the Bradleyard mumbled uncer-
tainly as he wrote 'HEAD INJURIES' on his notepad. "What
"Breasts," Lydia said, noticing that Darren was again staring at
hers. "Not a woman shows up in a Willis-fic that he doesn't say
something about her chest."
The Bradleyard wrote this down as well. "Boobs, yeah. Boobs
Darren had had another idea. "Dream sequences. Every other
story of his has a dream sequence in it."
"Right-wing politics," Lydia said a moment behind him. "He's
so far to the Right, he thinks Jesse Helms is a pinko and he's
always going on about it and bashing Commies and Democrats."
"Dreams," the Bradleyard muttered as he scribbled. "Pontificating
Lydia and Darren looked at each other. "Gratuitous lesbianism,"
they said together, then exchanged high-fives.
The Bradleyard looked at them, grinning like a deranged fool,
which was perfectly fitting. "I believe I have enough to work
with," he said, eyes blazing with the fires of creativity. "I can
see the plot unfolding before me. The Doctor gets hit on the
head and dreams that he's on a planet inhabited by wife-beating
lesbian Fascists who are facing a shortage of push-up bras..."
Lydia and Darren exchanged a worried look.
"...and that's when the A-Team shows up..."
Lydia and Darren exchanged a _very_ worried look.
"...but it'll all hinge on us getting Davros in drag..."
With a deep sigh, Lydia reached for the Dictionary.
'Doctor Who' is property of the BBC.
This Time Round created by Tyler Dion.
Zany Zoe concept by K. Michael Wilcox.
The character Varne is the property of Ken Young, used by permission.
Original characters by BKWillis.
I hope that those whose works were indirectly or directly referred to in
this bit of silliness aren't angry with me. Specifically, K. Michael
Wilcox, Jeri Massi, and Clive May. This was all in good clean fun and
meant with the greatest respect and affection. Thanks to Ken Young for
offering the loan of Miss Varne.