Ah, beautiful Memphis. At least, it’s beautiful if you like drunk people and rain. From what I understand, y’all have the same name for it in your universe. That’s good, I guess. I’m sure it can’t possibly be known to have as high a murder rate over there as it does here in this universe, what with our alien invasions and demonic incursions and people in tights fighting. You would have no excuse if it was.
Anyway, yeah, this time the name’s the same. Slight differences, universe to universe, as you may have noticed. I looked it up to understand why. In yours, you have The Big Apple. In the one I’m currently in, some writer cracked a literary joke in the newspapers back during the days of imperialism. You know, the holier-than-thou righteousness mixed with imperialism, and suddenly it’s Empyreal City. Then they built that Empyre Building, and that just really sealed the deal.
Of course, the city’s had enough parts destroyed and rebuilt at different times that I doubt it bears much resemblance to its counterparts in other dimensions.
But enough history, let’s get back to me.
Memphis. I’ve been here before. It’s a bit out of the way as far as superpowered conflicts go. Not every city gets the A-listers, which is handy for me on several levels.
It’s a place where a guy like me can sit in Dino’s Italian Grill and eat a huge plate of ravioli or fettuccini alfredo, then go next door and buy a keg if I so choose. And in the end, is that not the dream of liberty that is America?
Why not? I just got into town and I was hungry from all the face sculpting and nanite regeneration. One of these days, I think I’m going to have them change my skin color to black just to see what that’s like. I don’t anticipate any problem changing back if I need to. That will have to wait for a day when I am better equipped, like tomorrow at the very least. Regardless, I go through a lot of protein and carbs because of those wonderful little buggers. Nothing like a pile of food to help me heal.
That all-important task taken care of, it was time to pull my junk out. I don’t keep all of it in just one place in case someone was to grab it in another city. Or in case someone blew it a couple times. So I was off to the storage place. I nearly blew my cover as a civilian guy with cybernetic eyes too. Long line of cars and vans was leaving the place and I was very tempted to just plow through them. However, I had also just eaten a lot of food, and thus my anger was somewhat toned down by realizing I was too full for a car crash.
My patience held out just long enough that I didn’t flip the switch for the missiles.
I pulled in to the blue and white front building and waddled quite unhungrily to the cheap wooden counter. Service arrived after about 5 minutes of bell ringing. A blond man with hair that was gelled to stick up a little in front stepped up to the counter, a smile falling from his face as I continued ringing with every second he wasn’t up there. He sucked on the toothpick between his lips and put on a fake smile instead, “How can I help you sir?”
“I lost my key in an explosion,” I said.
“Okay, that’s no problem. Let me just get some information from you then we can go unlock it, how about that?” He asked, far too enthusiastic for me. Maybe it was just me feeling like I had a cannonball in my belly having to stand up. Maybe it was the sneaking suspicion that the cannonball would like to drop out sometime soon. Maybe it was just that this was a clear example of where people like me had the most fun. Any other storage place I wanted to get into, I’d just ram through the fence, blast a locker open, laugh maniacally, then beat this guy half to death with someone’s singing fish. Instead I was there staring at his gelled up hair, how it looked so fake separated into thicker strands like that, and giving him some confirmation numbers and the faked name.
I wasn’t going to break from laying low but he got all twitchy. I grabbed the bell and rang it upside his head. Take it from me, anything you can do that is described as “upside someone’s head” is always fun. That’s an important lesson to any children reading this whose parents suck enough that their children are reading this. In fact, go try it out on mommy or daddy right now! I’ll wait.
Alright, so while they’re gone, gel guy was like “The fuck?!” which was not what I was going to suggest happen next. I slammed his face on the counter and started beating him over the head with his own keyboard.
“What do you know and when did you know it? Who are you working for? Who’s your daddy?” I asked.
“Swallowed my toothpick!” he called out. Damn, he’s being uncooperative. I think this is the point where the movie cops start electrocuting nipples.
The interrogation was put on hold before anything like that could happen as an old woman with thick glasses and hair that was both big and thinning at the same time came running out of the back, eyes looking wide, or just hugely magnified, at the assault. I stopped and smiled at her, pulling gel guy up into a friendly facelock. “Hi there, me and my pal here, ole Namey McManperson, were just kidding around.”
“What’s going on here, Daniel?”
Gel guy, aka Daniel, pushed away from me as he explained to his superior. “I don’t know. He just attacked me. He thinks there’s something wrong with his unit.”
“Hey, my eyes are up here. No one asked you to examine my unit.”
“You know he meant the storage unit, young fella.”
“Yeah, well…he got twitchy. Nervous. Is something the matter, Daniel?” I leaned forward as I asked the question.
“No, it’s just…”
“Here, you get going fella,” said the lady as she walked up to the counter, shooing me away, “’Sides, ‘cording to the computer, you got nothing in that unit.”
“Then we have a problem indeed, Daniel. What did you do with my stuff?”
To clear the whole mess up, the old lady led us to the units in the back. She was the owner and curious to learn what had happened as well. Sure enough, when we all stepped into the unit, there was nothing there. Fabrication equipment, spare materials, spare suit, leftover weapons, all of it.
“Daniel, how did this happen?” The granny asked from beside the door. I was furthest in, checking to make sure there wasn’t some sort of spontaneous invisibility happening. Daniel was standing between us, wishing he could trade spots with the old woman.
“It was that reality show, Storage Genocide. The unit had been left alone for so long, I didn’t think anyone would notice if I put it on the auction. All the devices, I figured super stuff would make us a lot of money.”
The old lady just shut her mouth, looked down, and shook her head, throwing her hair completely out of alignment. “Let me get this straight. You found a unit full of some super man’s weapons and equipment, and figured you’d auction it off without anyone, including myself, knowing about it, and on top of that you knew it was going to be put on the TV?” She looked at me then for a minute. Old gal like that, seemed to have a much better idea of the situation than Daniel realized. She was the type who had been around long enough to get a sense about people like me. She reached up to the door and took it in her wrinkled hands. “I’m going on break, Daniel. You’re on your own for 10 minutes,” she said flatly, then shut the dark, dark unit.
She seemed nice.
After a couple minutes alone in the dark, Daniel figured out how to speak with fewer teeth, “Wait! If you go, just before you showed up, they were leaving. All the people for the show. Maybe you can catch them!” he yelled up at me.
“You volunteer this information now, after you held me up checking the computer and coming back here with me?”
“I’m sorry, but maybe you can still find them.”
“Danny boy, you get to ride with me while we find out.”
What do you think happened? Of course we didn’t find them. Memphis is a big ass city, and those people could be on their way out by now. It didn’t take much searching before I figured out I’d need an actual line on the people.
Before I worried about the hunt for the Storage Genocide people, I had to deal with a certain asshat. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill him.
On the contrary, I’m sure Daniel will be perfectly fine how I left him. Knocked out, covered in hair gel, panda fur stuck to him all over, and the uncovered spots covered in black and white spray paint. I got the fur from one the panda’s at the zoo, of course. Yes, a zoo again. I’m just good with animals. How else do you think that panda would have let me drug it and then shave it while it was unconscious?
Thing is, I did this part at night and I’d swear I got turned around in the dark, but do I look like the kind of motherfucker who swears? Ah well, I probably put him in the right enclosure. Whatever was in that high-security enclosure was white with some black on it, I know that much. Never knew pandas could growl like that though.