The fists, the kicks and the evils
Popo: Is nothing sacred? Is there no lower rung on the ladder of evil? Can’t a decent, hard-working old fella run a kung fu dojo without becoming the target of goons? See how they assemble and plot with hearts full of mischief. Goons, where is your honour? Where is your compassion and-
Lazlo: Oh stop your ranting and griping. I love kung fu goons. Without kung fu goons there’d be no-one to clobber…leerahahahahaaa!
Popo: Hm, you know, he kind of has a point. Maybe if I think about it some more, I’ll find out what it is.
Partijama: I think he’s saying it’s good to see bad guys get their come-uppances.
Lazlo: Needed that explained, did you, Popo?
Popo: Wha…I…(laughter) gotcha! I was just pulling your legs-
Popo: Speaking of “bah,” that Ah Lang was one hard-headed someone, eh? I tell you, that kid could find trouble in Bahslimea; this is a planet inhabited by beings that look quite like Bombastyk slugs and-
Lazlo: I know Bahslimea, bard…hmph. Anyway, it was the hardness of Ah Lang’s head that saved him in the end.
Popo: I shall call him “Hard-head.” So it all starts when two baddies, accompanied by their gang of misfits, challenge the master of a kung fu school to a fight. The baddie fighter is Master Lung, but I shall call him Master Muscle because he looks like he could choke out a buffalo with one hand…weehahahaa.
Partijama: He looked very strong, yet he moved with uncanny grace and agility, don’t you think?
Popo: Sure do. You know, I actually admired that about him. So anyway, Muscle clobbers school teacher under the watchful gaze of the real boss of the gang, the one I shall call Master Pipe on account of the impressive pipe he’s always carrying around and smokes from time to time.
Lazlo: And kills with from time to time.
Popo: Yep, that was no peace pipe, that’s for sure. So the bad guys dump the badly injured master teacher in the town square where Hard-head quickly appears and takes teacher to his father who is a doctor.
Partijama: At that point, I thought Hard-head knew kung fu based on how eager he was to take on Pipe and company who’ve now taken over the school.
Lazlo: He didn’t know a thing besides getting people in trouble. If he hadn’t egged his father on when Muscle came around, exposing his father’s kung fu secrets, Muscle would’ve just let them alone. On the bright side we did get to see an entertaining fight.
Partijama: Hard-head’s dad was giving a good account of himself too, until Muscle landed a few that just seemed to sap his strength.
Popo: Did they ever; dad just deflated then…like a pricked balloon. What a move Muscle finished him with…incredible. He walked his hands up dad’s torso, from his waist up, just kind of kneading and jabbing a-and…
Lazlo: Pfft, that was nothing compared to the Laquan Flabbachook. Observe! (Leaps up, drives his arms out, moving them like pistons while his rolling his wrists and wriggling his fingers)
Popo: Mm-mm, must have baked you some fine bread with that technique, huh, buddy.
Lazlo: Grrr…why you-
Partijama: I don’t think Muscle needed to land that last punch either; just the nature of the man, I suppose.
Popo: Oh yeah, that man was a brute. I couldn’t wait to see him get his just deserts.
Partijama: I was surprised at how well Hard-head did under the injured teacher’s tutelage.
Popo: Me too. I guess his head was soft when it came to kung fu. If only his father had trained him before…
Partijama: I think his father, and just about everyone who knew him, knew how trouble-prone he was. Although, who knows, perhaps the discipline of training might have calmed his fiery ways.
Lazlo: It didn’t calm them fast enough. He went out fighting with his new-found skills and led Muscle right back to the teacher’s hideout – got the teacher and his other young pupil killed. That vexed me…sorely.
Popo: Me too, buddy.
Partijama: Hard-head did put up a good fight at the school. I was so hoping he’d take down at least one of the bosses. In the end, going after the whole gang on his own at that stage was not good thinking.
Lazlo: He got some good sense knocked into him by Muscle.
Popo (cackling): Boy, did he ever…what a thump!
Lazlo: It was a thump followed by a kick, but it was definitely the thump that made Hard-head see the error of his ways.
Popo: He flopped to the ground, bounced back up immediately, and just took off, wriggling and squirming all the way.
Partijama: He took off so fast, it seems even Muscle and the others hadn’t processed what was happening until he was out of the compound.
Popo: He had time to fall down in the street and get dragged away by the merchant and his daughter before the gang appeared. Master Muscle, hats off to you, that thump would’ve made the…what’s it called…the minotaur, that’s it, made the minotaur curl up and cry for his mommy.
Partijama: He actually lost a significant portion of his memory when he woke up the next day.
Popo: I don’t blame him. If I’d gotten that blow, I was going to try my best to forget about it too.
Lazlo: The rascal would’ve run off to fight, injured, had the girl not stopped him.
Popo: She had fine skills too, fantastic kicking techniques. I guess that should’ve tipped us off to her father being a kung fu master.
Partijama: He did a great job with Hard-head.
Popo: That part was awesome – Hard-head smashing those super-hard nuts, punching through tables with his crane technique, and doing all sorts of acrobatic kung fu stuff. The boy wasn’t too smart but he had natural talent.
Lazlo: Even his master couldn’t believe it when he saw how Hard-head had turned the rocks to sand with his bare hands.
Partijama: That was amazing.
Popo: Did you see his hands during the rock crushing, all blistered and bleeding, and he refused to stop? Whoa, I had to salute him there. And then he disobeyed his new master and went off to fight the gang on his own, I was thinking – oh brother, here we go again; Hard-head, you better not mess this up!
Partijama: Thank goodness, he didn’t.
Popo: Hahaa, when he pummelled that bad guy with the Crane strike, right to the throat, that’s when I started thinking – oh yeah, he’s ready.
Lazlo: I liked the way he taunted Muscle before their fight.
Partijama: Me too. Muscle had done that same thing at one point.
Popo: Hey, that was a great fight.
Partijama: Did you notice how Muscle fought without looking at his opponent?
Popo: Yes, so cool…shame he was a crook, he had style.
Lazlo: He got finished with style too.
Popo: Oh yeah, Hard-head repaid him for that brain-scrambling thump with a crane-stab, right to the chest.
Partijama: For all our talk of how, uh, not very intellectual Hard-head was, he did show quite a bit of ingenuity in the fight with Pipe.
Popo: The guy learned a new style by watching two little birds cage fight. I guess he was fully recovered from Muscle’s thump strike.
Lazlo: Or maybe the thump had knocked out some of the stupidity that was clogging up his brain.
Popo: (Ponders for a while) Reasonable.
Partijama: He did really well, his dad and his first master would’ve been really proud. Pipe threw his whole arsenal at him – his pipe, the iron curtain technique…
Popo: And Hard-head took all his shots, and gave him back as good as he was getting, too. I can’t fault those guys at all, it was a fabulous battle. I couldn’t tear my gaze away if I wanted to…and I didn’t.
Lazlo (snickering): That last attack that Hard-head got him with, the one he learned from the birds, and used to break through Pipe’s iron curtain technique, was, um…rather unconventional.
Popo (wiping eyes): Ohh maaan, hey guys, where did he hit him? Lazlo.
Lazlo (straight-face faltering): I, uh, didn’t see it clearly…must’ve looked away just then.
Popo: Yeah right. Partijama, where did-
Partijama (snickering): I seem to have a glitch in my memory, Razz.
Popo: You two knaves.
Popo: I couldn’t blame Pipe for losing focus with that strike. My iron curtain would’ve turned to powder then too.
Lazlo: Oh, the look on his face…(legs kicking in the air) waahahahaa.
Partijama: What do you think did Pipe in? A master blow to his weak point, or shock at Hard-head’s audacity?
Popo: Definitely shock; one, that he would even consider that location for a weak spot; and two, that he’d actually strike it.
Partijama: The Bombastykans have a term for that; they call it a “butt-whupping.”