Title: Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils – “Jagged Image”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Pencils: Amanda Conner
Inks: Jeff Albrecht
Colors: Michael Higgins
Letters: Janice Chiang
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Summary: A group of suburban ninjas must face a demonic threat in New Jersey.
With the American Girl recaps finally done, I can freely focus on doing 90s comic recaps without feeling guilt. This particular recap’s been left unfinished since 2018.
Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils is one of my favorite one-shot comics from the 90s, and it is bizarre as the title leads you to believe. Its two immediate claims to fame are being written by Steve Gerber and penciled by Amanda Conner. Gerber’s famous for co-creating Man-Thing and Howard the Duck, while Conner would go on to be recognized as THE Power Girl artist and one-half of the modern day creative team behind the current Harley Quinn mythos (alongside her husband Jimmy Palmiotti). It’s a little weird, because you can recognize Conner’s artwork but this is back when she had more of an adult Archie Comics vibe (well before Riverdale and the rebooted line).
The title immediately brings to mind Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, being published in 1991 (two years before Saban adapted Zyuranger for American audiences), I’m led to believe TMNT was the main source of parody for this book. Not surprising, as a LOT of people enjoyed doing parodies of the TMNT concept. This makes sense since the original TMNT comics were meant as a joke.
Despite being a Marvel comic, the story doesn’t really have anything to do with the Marvel Universe. Gerber throws in a couple of references but not enough to really give a sense these women operate in the same realm as the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man. After publication, the title’s never been referenced again and I’m not even sure you can buy it on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited. I stumbled upon this comic several years ago among a collection of stuff someone brought to the store. It’s an obscure comic, but not obscure to the point it goes for $25 on eBay.
I’m not sure if the reason the book’s never mentioned in the Marvel Universe was due to Gerber’s wishes, or no one particularly cares enough TO reference it. It sucks they didn’t get picked as part of the 50 State Initiative in the post-Civil War status quo, or get referenced during the 2010s Secret Wars event. So once again it’s up to me to bring some cultural to your sad, sorry lives.
One last thing before we begin. Whatever happens in this comic, remember, JUST GO WITH IT.
It’s a quiet night in Scarswell, New Jersey, an affluent community for rich people leading quiet lives away from the horrors of the city. Or at least they were, because tonight they’ll learn there’s no such thing as safety when a horrible, bat like monster remorselessly slaughtered an innocent five year girl in her bed.
The next day, iron-curled, menopausal Melba Slotnick is going over her grocery list and trying to figure out if she forgot anything, not realizing or caring she’s holding up traffic. The car radio announces the brutal death of five year old Weena Karlsson (Jesus Christ, that name), adding the police chief reported it looked like the girl had been sacrificed. Melba immediately deduces Weena’s death was the work of the Vampyrions, realizing something called “The Incursion’s” about to start and the only people who can stop it are… Holly Nordoff, Midge Yakamura, and Phyllis Pollack! As Melba speeds away, she suddenly remembers she needed to get avocado. [Wing: Uh, well, that was a quick realisation for her.]
By the by, the only other Weena I’m familiar with is Weena Mercator, famous for her role as “The Hopping Woman” in Freakazoid.
In Holly Nordoff’s lava lamp decorated kitchen (which also features a poster of Ronald Reagan for… some reason) Holly stutters she can’t save the universe tonight. Her husband Arthur always expects them to watch thirtysomething together whenever it’s on, thinking it can save their marriage. Melba reminds Holly she never watches TV except for professional wrestling.
[Wing: A+ choice there with the tv watching.]
Melba’s understandably disappointed, after all the years she spent training Holly, Midge, and Phyllis for this very event, and now Holly’s wussing out on her? Holly’s about to stammer another apology when Melba snaps Holly will either address her as “Sensei,” her nom de guerre “Atilla,” or both. Hoisting Holly up, Melba orders her student to get ready for war as she tidies up Holly’s living room before Midge and Phyllis arrive.
A short while later we get a good look at Midge Yakamura and Phyllis Pollack. Midge and Phyllis look like Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge respectively, except if the two got married and Veronica’s wealth went to Betty’s head. Inside Holly’s Empire State Building decorated living room, Phyllis snarks about Holly’s addiction to catalog shopping before Midge tells her to stuff it. Melba informs the two they have more important matters, like the fate of reality and the upcoming invasion of the demonic entity known as “Ombu-Doksi.”
Midge finds this hilarious as she reveals none of the women thought Melba was serious about all that “Magic Ninja” crap, putting up with it because the training was good exercise. Phyllis asks Melba see reason, adding the three of them have got too much on their plate right now. Shopping to do, children to send to school, husbands to patronize, you know how it is.
Melba loses it, asking how Midge and Phyllis intend to lead these lives if Ombu-Doksi eats the world before smacking some common sense into them. She reminds them they’ve got responsibilities to “The principle of universal continuance Melbajutsu was founded!” Melba orders Midge and Phyllis to recite the principle now as Holly joins them, dressed for action.
“The world goes on and on – on and on – it never stops – on and on – and Ombu-Doksi, all-devouring mouth of doom, is not allowed to eat it!”
Melba thanks Holly for finishing the chant before some unexpected guests show up. In a cloud of smoke, more of the Vampyrions appear declaring how Ombu-Doksi hungers, consumes, and rules. While Holly and the other two are freaked out, Melba snarks Ombu-Doksi thinks too highly of herself. The Vampyrions ambush the four, while far away and in another dimension, someone watches.
In her horrible domain, the monstrous Ombu-Doksi gloats this is the end for Melba and her She-Devils, how all the years of training, all the lavishing with “Marzipan and avocado” she spent on Holly, Midge, and Phyllis, was for nothing.
Back in Holly’s living room, Melba’s more than prepared to deal with the Vampyrions and their showboating. Whipping out some ol’ fashioned marzipan, Melba declares they’re not worth the effort it takes to banish them back to Ombu-Doksi.
(Yeah for some reason marzipan and avocado is treated as poison to these creatures, and it’s never explained why)
[Wing: This comic is something else entirely, and I am rolling with it so hard.]
Despite getting ambushed early on, Phyllis, Midge and Holly begin to get their second wind as Melba implores them not to panic. The three women glow while Melba states the Vampyrions are chickenshits who have no problem slaughtering defenseless children and housewives. Yet when dealing with a target who fights back? They better WATCH OUT!
The dust clears and Midge and Phyllis are suited up alongside Holly. The Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils are armed and ready to destroy!
Midge wields dual staffs and manages to shatter one Vampyrion’s skull while Phyllis slices one in half after it gets too vulgar. Holly’s officially steamed over the mess they’ve made in her living room. I mean, invading her dimension’s one thing but trashing her house’s where Holly draws the line! After bombarding some poor unsuspecting Vampyrion with shurikens, Holly looks back on the last time she decapitated something. It’s not something she’s proud of but it felt good then and it does now!
Melba’s got the last Vampyrion in a headlock, stating she’s not gonna kill him. He gets to head back to Ombu-Doksi to report how badly they failed to kill the She-Devils. As the creature vanishes, Melba promises she’s got some marzipan waiting for “Hot Lips.”
Meanwhile, Holly’s husband, chiropractor Arthur Nordoff, is at his clinic inspecting a patient’s back pain. The man claims it feels like his lower back is puckering, whatever that means. Arthur’s in for a shocking surprise when all of a sudden, a giant pair of lips appears on the patient’s back!
They tell Arthur how Holly’s cheating on him, and she just had a fight with her boytoy that ended with them demolishing the living room. Arthur stumbles back like he’s about to vomit, but the patient doesn’t seem to be aware of any of this while the lips keep talking.
“Call her Arthur. Say you’ll be home early. See what she says. Then come back and give me a kiss.”
Arthur tells his receptionist to cancel his appointments and call Holly.
Back in her lair, Ombu-Doksi laughs as she pries her lips off her crystal ball. Men, they always make it so easy. A little innuendo from a giant pair of lips, that’s all it takes. She’s also super pissed at her little minion for failing. One simple blood bath is all she asked for and her Vampyrions end up eating floor! The survivor begs for mercy, but Ombu-Doksi don’t do no mercy! She then EATS HIM WHOLE.
Post-home invasion, Holly and the rest are frantically trying to clean up the living room before Arthur gets home. You know how hard it is to get rid of blood out of carpet, right? Phyllis jokes that Arthur’s used to a little messiness by this point, but Melba tells them to can the pettiness. If the Vampyrions can get into the mortal world that means Ombu-Doksi’s get her crystal ball powered enough to act as a portal. After this, she’ll probably be sending Blossom, Demon Queen of the Thids.
What’s a “Thid?”
Thids are basically creatures that devour souls and regurgitate them into a form Ombu-Doksi can consume. The more souls she consumes, the stronger she gets, until her mouth will become big and powerful enough to envelop and eat the entire world!
As Melba drags out trash bags containing the Vampyrion carcasses, Holly, Midge and Phyllis are thoroughly disgusted. Phyllis still doesn’t entirely believe all this until Midge points out they’ve slaughtered a bunch of demons. Holly’s worried they’re not qualified enough to handle this.
Outside, Arthur drives up to the house while Melba stuffs the bags into the trash cans. Shocked at seeing Melba and not some guy, Arthur starts babbling about Holly having an affair and hearing it from his patient’s back. While Arthur looks like he’s having a nervous breakdown, Ombu-Doksi watches through her crystal and gloats. She states Melba has no clue the many ways she can destroy the Ninja She-Devils. Oh but she’s not alone. Joining Ombu-Doksi’s a blonde woman in a white dress, flowers in her hair, cleaver in one hand, dead rat in the other. Ombu-Doksi informs Blossom, Demon Queen of the Thids, its lunchtime.
The She-Devils drive off, crammed in Melba’s car, while Arthur calls Midge’s husband Hiroshi at the TV station. He reports Midge’ll be home late and the girls are “Wearing those weird outfits again.” Arthur asks if Hiroshi can leave work early to grab a drink, but if Arthur thinks HIS day’s been weird, Hiroshi can top that. At Scarswell Cable, something’s fucked up all the channels. No MTV, no HBO, nothing. All that’s on is giant pair of lips on every channel, whispering “Lick You Raw” over and over.
Arthur did NOT need to hear that.
[Wing: No one needed to hear that.]
Now we get to check in on Hubby #3 at Jack Pollack’s car dealership, “Temple of Aculex.” Designed to look like a Japanese mansion for some reason.
Jack’s dealing with none other than Lief and Helga Karlsson, parents of the recently deceased Weena Karlsson. This is either their way of processing grief or these two are the most detached douchebags around, because even their five year old’s death isn’t deterring them from car shopping. Jack’s surprised the two kept their appointment, all things considered. Helga feels Weena “Would have wanted us to be here today” and says all three of them have living wills.
“We decided to accept her death with dignity, as if she had chosen it.”
…lady your kid got ripped apart by a monster in her bed, I really hope this is shock talking.
Nevertheless, Jack shows them the V42-XLQ model they were interested in, calling it a “lifestyle vehicle.” Helga gets behind the wheel, saying she’s sure Weena would’ve loved it when she learns the car’s got a brand new feature. Mainly a red, monkey like creature that emerges from under the wheel and bites onto Helga’s face!
The creature keeps saying “Thiddy-Tid-Tid” as it latches onto Helga’s head, much to the horror of Lief and Jack. By the time Lief’s able to get the thing off, Helga’s head is basically an empty hole where her face used to be. It then hurks up some green gunk onto Lief’s face and does the same thing to him.
All around Jack Pollack, the car dealership descends into chaos as Thids destroy everything and everyone around him. Jack barely escapes with his life but starts ranting “Thid” repeatedly. A mile away, the She-Devils spot the dealership in flames and Phyllis screams at Melba to gun it. That’s her lifestyle going up in flames! Holly tells Melba to be careful because she’s about to hit-WHAM! Oh hi Jack.
With Jack stuck on Melba’s windshield, Midge comments this is the closest Jack and Phyllis have been since their last kid was conceived.
Phyllis runs from the car, shouting she should’ve been here to protect her darling husband.
“Oh Jack! My dear, darling Jack! If only I’d known! I’d have been here to protect you!”
“Yeah, if she could reschedule her hair.”
Geez Midge, kick her while she’s down why don’t you?
Cradling her husband in her arms, Phyllis sobs and begs Jack to speak to her…and then gets pissed when he refers to someone named Suzanne. Phyllis almost breaks Jack’s hand before Melba tells her to knock it off, since Jack’s clearly delusional. They’ve got bigger problems right now, and it looks like the thid’s officially hit the fan.
Blossom’s officially arrived while Melba gives the rundown on Thid extermination. You can’t really kill them unless you get rid of Blossom. The best you can do is hack through them until you reach Blossom. You can go for their heads, but don’t destroy their bodies or it unleashes half digested souls that REALLY mess with your senses.
The She-Devils manage fine for a while, but Phyllis makes the mistake of slicing two through their chests. Inhaling the aforementioned “soul smutz,” Phyllis begins to suffer a very, VERY bad trip.
Midge dares to take on Blossom by herself, who starts spewing razor flowers from her fanged mouth. Midge’s staffs are quickly reduced to kindling and Holly tries to reach her in time. Blossom intercepts Holly by dousing her in some horrid “dew drop,” leaving Midge all alone. Holly’s frozen, Phyllis’s having a psychedelic seizure, and now Blossom’s vomiting stakes trying to impale Midge.
Midge does a good job of dodging long enough for Melba to sneak up behind Blossom and give her the “Georgia Bulldog,” a wrestling move ending with Melba ramming one of Blossom’s half coughed-up stakes through her head. [Wing: I have no idea if the “Georgia Bulldog” is a real wrestling move.]
Midge incredulously asks how the “Georgia Bulldog” is a ninja move. Melba explains it was popularized by pro wrestler Bambi. She considers wrestling to be VERY artistic, and most demons are sucker for a good wrestling hold.
While the Thids pop out of existence since Blossom’s been overthrown, Holly’s free but Phyllis needs help.
“Oh golly, is everybody all right?”
“Not quite. There are some things even the ‘Georgia Bulldog’ can’t fix.”
“It’s no cure for psychosis, but I assure you it works on sarcasm.”
Bringing Phyllis back to Melba’s car, Holly asks if they should help Jack too. Melba points out they’re helping Jack by salvaging Phyllis and the cosmos they live in.
An hour’s drive brings the She-Devils to Dick’s River, N.J., and the office of one Madame Fogwa (Spiritual Consultation and Tax Preparation – All Major Credit Cards Accepted). Midge’s not sure why they need a bunko artist who’s not even home and suggests they bring Phyllis to a hospital. Popping out of her OWN crystal ball, Madame Fogwa advises Midge to learn the virtue of postponed gratification.
Apologizing for being late (her kick boxing lesson, you understand), Fogwa’s told Melba believed it’d be best for the She-Devils to hear the rest of “the story” straight from her.
“Don’t count on it. Nobody born since 1914’s got any sense of history, anyway.”
“Oh yeah? What about George Will?!”
“I meant prior to supply-side economics, sweets – like around the end of the Jurassic period.”
“Oh gee, we never studied President Jurassic.”
#PresidentJurassic2020, right Wing? [Wing: #PresidentVelociraptor: Eat the Faces of Your Enemies.]
Fogwa has everyone bring Phyllis down to her basement apartment, but Holly’s aghast at the sight of fur lining the floor. Fogwa’s apartment certainly has something of a Neolithic theme going as she explains the fur’s from wooly rhinos. Back then, no one had the sense to develop polyester. See, Fogwa’s older than she looks. Like, 125,000 years older. But that’s nothing compared to Ombu-Doksi who might be at least 50,000,000. Pulling out a scroll, Fogwa begins to tell the She-Devils the life story of their adversary.
Starting around the death of the dinosaurs, earliest records indicate Ombu-Doksi was born as a lemur with several odd mutations in its genetic code. Aside from its unusually large mouth, the creature simply would not die. Over the course of millions of years, it evolved and kept up with even the most advanced primates. The creature gained its first name, “Ombu,” during the Pleistocene Era. “Ombu” meaning “Sucking Death.”
Pre-Hyborian, records locate her in Atlantis where she’d taken up sewing and sorcery. Knowing by then she was immortal, Ombu developed a hobby of stitching rather nasty, violent scenes which tended to come true. After pitting lesser beings against one another, Ombu’d enjoy dancing in the carnage. She apparently also instigated the deaths of Conan the Barbarian and Groo the Wanderer.
No one’s certain if she caused the sinking of Atlantis, but she certainly enjoyed it. Survivors witnessed her merrily skipping through the city as buildings collapsed and people died. Ombu figured she’d gotten the last laugh thanks to stitching a quilt depicting her safely escaping the city’s demise. However, Ombu forgot to sew a follow-up scene of her boat reaching dry land. For weeks, if not months, she was stranded out at sea. As a creature incapable of dying, she suffered from starvation and dehydration without the release of death. By the time the boat finally reached shore, her trauma left its mark on her sanity. Coupled with a being already depraved and evil, that’s not a good thing.
Over the next several thousand years, Ombu did whatever she could to befoul mankind. No deceit was too low for her. She tripped Moses, she told Judas of a great business opportunity, and while she didn’t cause the Black Plague she got a kick out of making it worse. It’s a sure bet she had a hand in a lot of history’s darkest moments even if she wasn’t the instigator.
By around the 18th Century Ombu took residence in Latveria where she’d adopted her surname “Doksi,” meaning “Commitment to Excellence.” Combining her sewing and witchcraft with science, she set about her greatest task: creating life in her image. Vandalizing graves for spare body parts, she created a dimwitted monstrosity named “Huggerz the Living Devil Doll.” It’s one order? Kill.
Huggerz went on a rampage breaking the necks of dozens of animals and a few peasants. Like her escape from Atlantis, Ombu-Doksi didn’t consider the long term when Latverian villagers managed to kill Huggerz and took her prisoner. Convicted as a witch and murderer, Ombu-Doksi was burned at the stake. Or at least, her body was. Having personally been there, Fogwa recounts Ombu-Doksi’s unnaturally large mouth detached itself from her face and disappeared into the sky.
What no one else knew was Ombu-Doksi’s lips escaped to the Quasiverse, a dimension on the very fringes of reality. Again, her short-term planning was her downfall when she learned the Quasiverse was populated by monstrosities as predatory as her. Ombu-Doksi’s only recourse was to hide inside an asteroid, sealing inside while her body grew back. She’s thus the only demonic entity suffering from PTSD and agoraphobia.
Creating a portal crystal from the asteroid’s silicon, Ombu-Doksi went back to business blighting mankind around the turn of the 20th Century. Her lips appeared in 1918 to tell a German artist who was really to blame for the Fatherland’s defeat, then again in 1929 at Wall Street, then in Saudi Arabia and Soviet Russia, and so on.
Midge can’t believe Ombu-Doksi caused the Gulf War and the Soviet Coup. Melba clarifies she DIDN’T; Ombu-Doksi got someone else to do it for her. As a follow-up question, Midge doesn’t understand why Scarswell’s her target. Why couldn’t she blight Poughkeepsie instead? Fogwa explains Scarswell’s a secondary nexus of realities, an intersection where all planes of existence cross into one another. I mean, it’s Jersey, it’s not the worst thing to happen there.
Oh and technically the primary nexus’s in a swamp in Florida, but the smell’s nasty so Ombu-Doksi’s not interested. This’s a reference to Gerber’s work on Man-Thing.
Moving on, it’s time to help Phyllis. Fogwa’s waiting for Phyllis, in her state, to utter the words “Goat Looker.” No one knows what it means, but anyone who’s inhaled soul smutz always says it. The words are a sign of when a person’s mind’s at the edge of the psychosphere, where you can STICK YOUR HAND IN THEIR HEADS AND PULL THEIR MINDS BACK.
Midge and Holly are appropriately horrified.
Meanwhile, Phyllis’s mind is wandering a psychotropic landscape as she wanders to a demonic goat-like entity enticing her to come closer. Fogwa’s hand manages to grab Phyllis’s mind-self before she gets too close.
“Madame Fogwa’s mind is in direct contact with Phyllis’s.”
“Hope she’s got a high threshold for boredom.”
But then OH SHIT, THE GOAT’S BITTEN FOGWA! Fogwa screams she can see the Goat and that it’s after HER, as Melba, Midge and Holly try to pull Fogwa back. Fogwa comes loose and Phyllis awakens.
“Is this oblivion… or Jersey?”
“Six of one, as they say…!”
But everyone’s got bigger problems, cuz even though Phyllis’s free the goat’s possessed Fogwa! Stealing her crystal ball, the goat flies through the ceiling and up into the sky at which point Melba realizes this was a set up. Blossom and the Thids were patsies, so one of the She-Devils would inhale soul smutz and be taken to Fogwa so the goat could possess her and steal the crystal.
Midge doesn’t understand why Ombu-Doksi would need it if she has her own crystal. Melba explains Ombu-Doksi’s crystal lets her meddle, but it’s not powerful enough to let her physically invade the world again. Fogwa specifically set up her business outside the Scarswell nexus, in case Ombu-Doksi attempted to establish a crystal link. That way, Ombu-Doksi could return, devour the entire population, and repopulate the world with more of her experiments like Huggerz.
Midge FINALLY asks Holly and Phyllis what we’ve all been thinking since this story began.
Up in the sky, the goat holds up the crystal ball to establish the link. In the process, the goat and poor Fogwa are obliterated. Ombu-Doksi’s asteroid bursts through the broken sky, her giant lips proclaiming the arrival of doomsday. Holly asks if this is really the end but Melba holds steady and says they can only defeat Ombu-Doksi by extracting her from the asteroid.
Melba quickly tells the She-Devils to join hands and form a circle.
“Is this dodge ball or ring around the rosy?”
“It’s life or death!”
Melba orders them to start reciting their oath. While joined, the four women repeat the principles of Melbajutsu, acting as a spell summoning… AN INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MARZIPAN.
The heat-seeking pastry’s on a direct course for Ombu-Doksi’s asteroid and obliterates it in one shot! However, the She-Devils have to hurry in case she survived the explosion. Being outside for the first time in centuries is gonna cause her to go off the deep end.
Turns out yes, Ombu-Doksi survived by the skin of her tongue. Slowly getting her bearings, she realizes she’s outside her home… AND SHE HAAAAAATES OUTSIDE!
Ombu-Doksi’s freaking out so much she doesn’t notice the She-Devils are driving straight towards her. Melba screams at the girls to jump because she’s taking Hot Lips down the old fashioned way, with marzipan and gasoline! Gunning the engine, Melba throws herself out the door the second her car gets lodged in Ombu-Doksi’s mouth. The minute she hits the ground, Melba flings two marzipans to finish Ombu-Doksi off.
A week later, the police have ruled Jack Pollack innocent of the explosion at his dealership but he’s still under observation at the Jersey Shore Psychiatric Clinic while Madame Fogwa’s body hasn’t been found.
Holly and Arthur are sitting down to dinner as Arthur states he heard Hiroshi Nakamura’s selling the cable company. Midge and Hiroshi are thinking of moving to Oregon. Arthur asks how Holly’d feel about moving to Vermont, but she doesn’t want to leave Melba and Phyllis behind even though she’d have more time to spend with Arthur.
Oh by the way Holly, Arthur found a ninja throwing star and you know how he feels about the kids playing with dangerous toys. Yeah, Holly feels the same way. BTW, didja hear they cancelled thirtysomething?
Well. Okay then. That was something. This comic was gratuitous, ridiculous, cheesy, and made up shit as it went along. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I guess the only downside is the comic doesn’t make an attempt to explain why, exactly, avocado and marzipan are lethal to the demons, but if Gerber wanted to go with something ridiculous I guess I can’t fault him.
I’d have gladly supported an entire franchise about these four women. How is it Grant Morrison got away with doing stuff like this in Doom Patrol and it gets a digital TV show, while no one ever talks about Melba, Holly, Midge and Phyllis? To quote Frank Cho, OUTRAGE!
If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d go with Melba due to how she’s clearly used to all this nonsense and frankly doesn’t give a fuck. There’s probably an entire story around how she got involved in the world saving business, but since Steve Gerber’s dead I don’t think it’d feel right to try and give her one. All due respect, it only seems right if anyone did future stories with the She-Devils they should take place after the end of the original tale.
Imagine how they would’ve been characterized during the era of Jersey Shore-no scratch that, that’s too nightmarish to contemplate.
[Wing: This comic is a lot. A L O T. It’s weird and funny and irreverent, and I simultaneously wish there was more and am satisfied with the ridiculousness we got.]