The Truth Is In There
Sweethaven was abuzz with the news! Two FBI agents were in town
looking for Popeye! They finally found him in Rough House's diner,
sitting next to Bluto and eating lunch at the counter.
The red-haired, distaff member of the duo spoke first, while flashing her
badge. "Mr. Popeye? This is Agent Mudder and I'm Agent
"I don't know, Babe," Bluto leered, "you look pretty normal
to me! In fact, you look outstanding!"
"Mr. Popeye," Agent Mudder broke in, "we understand that you
are a multiple abductee."
"That's ridiculous! I ain't never owned one of them abs machines
in me life! I stays in such good shape by sparring with this big
"No, no Mr. Popeye. I mean that you have been kidnapped by
aliens on more than one occasion."
"Well, why didn't ya say so in the firsts place, Matey? Yeah, I
got nabbed, but I gave them intergalactic goofs what for with me
[NOTE TO THE READER: Popeye is referring to the events recorded in two
cartoons by Famous Studios and KFS, respectively, both entitled,
"Popeye The Ace Of Space."]
"See, Agent Silly," Agent Mudder said smugly, "spinach is
green and green is the color of the earth, so the mystical life force of
our planet, what some would call, 'Mother Earth,' repelled the
invasions. Many primitive cultures speak of things like this.
It's only we who are' enlightened' and have cut ourselves off
"Nonsense, Mudder," Silly sighed. "There's a more
logical explanation. Alien physiology is probably not compatible with
our native plant life. In short, they had an allergic reaction to
spinach. Or maybe the abductions never happened at all. Mr.
Popeye overdosed on vegetables and hallucinated."
"Yer both wrong!" Popeye roared. "What happind was
that I'm strong to the finich 'cause I eats me spinach."
Bluto sidled up next to Silly and put his arms around her shoulders.
"Hey, Beautiful, did you know that I was once abducted, too?"
"Oh, really." Silly was skeptical.
"Yeah....think about this for a minute. I first appeared in the
Segar comic strips way back when. Then I vanished and wasn't seen
again in the newspapers or comic books until decades later when Bobby
London took over. Now, where was I all that time if not abducted by
aliens? And why was a mutated clone of me calling itself, 'Brutus',
walking around, huh? I'll tell you all about it over dinner on the
"I don't think so." Silly broke free. "There's a
perfectly logical explanation for what happened to you. Suppose
the newspaper syndicate didn't know who owned the copyright to use
you? Besides, my heart belongs to my partner, but don't tell
him. We're not scheduled to reveal our feelings for several TV seasons
Bluto glanced at Mudder. "That geek?!?!?!"
"What can I tell you. Geekiness is in."
Bluto thought about his bodybuilder's physique and ladykiller ways and
slowly walked away with his head hung down, cursing his fate.
"Mr. Popeye," Agent Mudder was saying, "we need you to come
with us to the desert. There's a military base there where one
doesn't officially exist. People are spotting strange objects in the
sky, flying in and out of the installation. We want you to tell us if
those UFOs are similar to the ones that abducted you."
"Mudder, Silly sighed, "it's a desert. Can you say,
'Mirage?' You're missing the perfectly logical solution in favor
"We think," Mudder went on, "that renegades in our
government who care only about their own pleasures and
Popeye broke in. "Blow me down! I thought Bill Clinton was
out of office!"
"...are selling our planet out to alien forces. But we need
proof. Plus, I believe that my sister, who was abducted, may be imprisoned
there and subjected to unspeakable experiments."
"Oh, you know, fingernails scraping across a chalk board, being forced
to watch episodes of Hanna-Barbera's 'Popeye And Son,' stuff like
"That's inhumane! Let's go bust them swabs in the mush and
rescue yer sister!"
And so, a few nights later the agents and The Sailorman could be found
perched atop a mesa looking down on a fenced-in airfield and hangars
surrounded by signs which each read, "Top Secret! Keep
out! In fact, don't even look any longer at this notice! Just
scram! What? Are you still here? Buzz off!
Trespassers will be very, very, very, extremely sorry!"
Minutes turned into hours as the night wore on, but no strange craft was
spotted in the sky.
"I must say, Popeye, you're being very patient. Waiting is
always the hardest part of a stakeout," Silly said.
"I gots plenty of payshins at all times, 'cept when I runs out.
And I'm used ta waitin'. I keeps waitin' for Olive Oyl ta decide
between me and other guys, for Wimpy to pay me back for alla them meals,
for Pappy ta acts his age, for..."
"Wait, Popeye!" Mudder gasped.
"Yep, that's what I'm good at. I was just sayin'..."
"No, I mean, 'Stop talking, Popeye!' Look up instead!"
The astonished Sailor gazed upwards and saw scores of blinking lights that
seemed to be on crafts of indiscernible shapes and sizes darting this way
and that across the star-filled sky. Mudder began clicking away with
a camera while Silly muttered, "There's a logical
explanation for this. Namely, that we've all gone crazy."
Mudder, tracking one particular set of lights, disappeared behind a
boulder. When he reappeared, he had a strange, malevolent look on his
face and he was now carrying two ropes. Quick as a flash, he lassoed both
Silly and Popeye!
"Truss no one, Agent Mudder," Popeye said menacingly. He
burned through the rope binding him using his pipe.
Suddenly, a second Mudder ran out from behind the boulder shouting,
"That's not me! That's a shape-shifter!"
"If he can change his shapes, why did he choose ta change inta
you? Why not a giant ape or somethin'?"
The shape-shifter smiled. "Good idea," it said. And
it started growing and growing, becoming more muscular, animalistic, and
"Me and my big mouth," Popeye muttered. Then he rose up to
his full, short height and said, "Big deal! I can changes
shapes, too." Hurrying over to the boulder, he lifted it up and
hurled it up into the sky. It came crashing down on top of the
shape-shifter, squashing it. "See, I changed ya inta the shape
of a pancake. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
"Good work, Popeye!" Silly shouted.
"But they know we're here. And look down there!"
Mudder pointed to an open gate in the fence where scores of armed men were
pouring out and running toward the mesa.
"Suits me just fine!" Popeye roared and whipped out his spinach
can. "I ain't had me no impossibull life-and-death struggle fer
at least a week. I'm gettin' rusty." He gulped down the
green stuff and charged down the embankment.
Mudder and Silly just stood there in shock. That is, they stood there
until a giant vulture with landing lights on its wingtips swooped down out
of the sky and snatched them up in its claws. As they ascended, they
could discern that indeed all of the strange UFOs were, in fact, vultures
with landing lights on. In their enormous claws, the birds were
carrying machine parts and electrical components. The vulture bearing
the FBI agents joined an aerial procession that was circling one of the
hangers. One by one, the birds in formation glided down to land
inside the hangar's open doors. As the vulture released it's grip,
Mudder and Silly saw a saucer-shaped vehicle in the center of the
hangar. Surrounding it were monsters, ogres, and beings of
indeterminate species receiving the parts from the vultures and carrying
them into the grounded UFO. From within, sounds of banging and welding
could be heard. The creatures seemed to be deferring to an ugly old
woman who turned to Mudder and Silly with a cackle.
"Take a good look, My Curious Cuties. It's the last thing you'll
"Silly," Mudder gasped, "that's the Sea Hag!"
"The Sea Hag, a witch thought to be merely a legend, though there have
been whispered rumors that she was real down through the centuries."
"Mudder, why must every elderly, aesthetically challenged, sour
tempered woman be automatically labeled a witch?"
"Maybe because I can conjure up the denizens of dozens of dark
dimensions to do my bidding and build my space ship while commanding an
airforce of giant vultures that combs the world to find the parts I
need," the Sea Hag said with an evil gleam in her eyes.
"Mudder, I maintain that there's a perfectly rational response even to
"What is it?"
"HELP, POPEYE!" Silly screamed at the top of her lungs.
One side of the hangar buckled inward and then blew apart as Popeye smashed
his way through.
"You rang?" Popeye then spotted his long-time foe.
"The Sea Hag! And it looks like she wants ta be a flyin'
sorcerer to takes over the world!"
"Don't be ridiculous, Sailor Boy," the Hag sniffed, "why
would I want THIS world? It's polluted, it has lima beans, it makes
Britney Spears a cultural icon, and have you seen what's on network TV
lately? No, no, no! I'm not going to use my spaceship to take
over THIS world. Instead, I'll fly to some OTHER world and conquer
"Popeye," Mudder frantically explained, "that glowing
doorway over on her right must be her dimensional portal. If you
could just knock her through it..."
"I never hits a womming." Popeye grabbed a vulture by the neck.
"Instead, I belts a bird and lets him hit the womming." So
saying, he socked the vulture across the room. The flea-bitten bird
smashed into the Sea Hag and sent her sailing into the portal.
Instantly, sparks flew out of it and strange noises like static could be
heard. Suddenly, the portal vanished and with it all of the alien
beings. The vultures scattered in panic.
"It's as I figured, Mudder said. "The Sea Hag was the power
source for the portal. Knocking her into it caused a feedback loop
which overloaded it..."
"And caused a short circus!" Popeye finished brightly.
"Well, er, yes, a short circuit. But how did you know?"
"Just looks down there." Popeye pointed to the floor where
The Sea Hag, now shrunk to the size of a mouse, was scurrying away.
"You just wait you big bully!" Her squeak was barely
audible. "Wait until my powers return!"
"Arf! Arf! Arf! Well, that's the ends of that. We solved
the myskery of UFOs and everythin'!"
"But we still didn't find my sister," Mudder sighed dejectedly.
"Say, I knows a little swab who is real good at findin' things.
He helped me find my lorst Pappy onest. I'll call him and we'll takes
the flyin' saucer out fer a spin right to your sister. Hey,
The little animal popped up out of thin air right in front of them.
"I suppose there's a rational explanation for this, Silly?
"Of course, Mudder. It's a Jeep, a fourth-dimensional animal
with magical powers that eats orchids. Everyone knows that!"
And soon, our adventures were skimming across the sky heading toward a
typical suburban home. The UFO landed on its lawn and Mudder jumped
out and raced to the door and rang the bell.
A young woman answered it, saw Agent Mudder and said distastefully,
"Oh, it's you."
"Samantha! What happened? Where have you been all these
"I waited until you went to the store and then I moved away and
changed my name so you couldn't find me."
"You always creeped me out with all your talk about aliens. I
couldn't stand it anymore!" Samantha caught sight of the space
craft and saw Popeye and Eugene standing beside it. "They're
here!" she shrieked. "The aliens have landed!"
"Boy," Popeye exclaimed, "ya meets the strangest people in
"Tell me about it,"