When we last left off, I was eagerly awaiting my foes while stringing up traps in a TV station. They would attack, I would smite them, so on and so forth.
That’s what you’d expect, but we were all wrong. I began to suspect as much as the hours passed without even a siren. At the very least the police would be legally obligated to storm the place.
Moai, Ricky, and I just sat there all night long. That was not real fun. Moai, my companion of late, is not real talkative. Ricky, some guy I don’t know and don’t care to know, is.
There were computers, though, but that’s not so fun with this guy insisting that you HAVE to play one of his favorite games. Some piece of shit browser game that screws your graphics up and can’t be won unless you’re dropping real money into it. It was bad enough it was called Legacy of Heroes, but apparently they’ve created a game so horribly balanced, players have gotten used to opponents being able to play 5 to 12 times as many cards as they are allowed to. To each his own, I guess. Some people play games because they have no sense of quality and want something to throw their money at futilely. I play a few because they are fun and there is a sense of accomplishment. You know, if you spend days on end working to become a big enough badass, the game doesn’t squash you by giving a regular street punk an unfair advantage.
Ah well, just something to pencil in the next time I go after scum sucking asswipes.
No games and fun that night. Next day, we all wake about noon. It’s then that I forced Ricky to find me a radio. There had to be some sort of news out there. Oh boy was there.
Due to a certain handsome and devious supervillain’s plan, the city didn’t have their TV or their dancing with washed up famous people or their watching of that show “Shitting on Musicians Who Actually Pay Dues” so the Honky Tonk Hero and Gorilla Awesome were inviting everyone to Beale Street to have a good time with an impromptu music festival.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think these guys had some intelligence. They were luring me out. It’s obvious they didn’t want to take a chance walking into a spot that I had time to fortify when they have no clue what to expect. Too bad for them that as long as I’m involved, they’ll never know what to expect.
So Moai and I left in order to go deal with a couple of smartass heroes and their smartass plan. We didn’t go straight to where my enemies waited. No, instead I made my way to that pawn shop, the one from whatever that show was called. Assholes Ripping You Off With Sex Name To Catch Dumb Pervs. Something like that. Yes, I returned to the scene of the crime. The classic “first mistake you make” as a criminal, except everyone already knows I wrecked the place the first time. That time I wasn’t in a bad mood, though.
Didn’t bother with the door this time. Threw myself through the window. Tripped up a mannequin showing off an old white Zoot suit. A security guy in their dark, semi-button up shirt, drew a gun, but I grabbed the mannequin I landed on and smacked him with it. He dropped the gun, then he held up his arms to shield himself. Then he fell back down as I continued. Eventually he stopped moving at all. Took longer to beat him to death with a mannequin than I thought it would. Must be the suit. That’s a lot of fabric. Next time I hit someone with a fake person, I’ll make sure they’re naked first. That’s sound advice for living. Go ahead, try that sentence out next time you’re asked a profound question like “What is the meaning of life?” or “Why do good things happen to bad people?”
The suit looked better with a little blood on it too.
The place was good as new. Shelves with gleaming appliances. The katana hanging back on the wall behind the counter. Same old security guards for the most part, but just a little bit smarter from the way they were cowering with everyone else around.
There was that girl behind the counter, some one as before. Same screaming as before. Grabbed her by the back of the head and shoved her face into the cash register. “You are a three dollar moron dealing with a hundred dollar badass. Let’s make some change,” I told her as I punched in the transaction using her head. Just for good measure, the drawer shot out, smacked her in the throat, and shut her up.
Don’t think too hard on that three dollar moron and making change bit. I don’t know why I said that, but it sounded great.
Somebody tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to find a husky Indian woman with red, white, and blue hair. “Excuse me sir, can I get my money from the register? The man there bought my priceless gold thong of the god Shiva made for a Rajput king.”
I don’t believe she understood the full meaning of the actions I had just performed to another human being. “How much do you need?”
She shook her head, “I made $400. It is good, a lot of American dollars.”
I looked for the man she had talked about, pretty sure I’d seen something out of my peripheral vision. Scrammed through the door to the back already, most likely. He unscrammed in a hurry, backed up through that door again by Moai, who had stealthily snuck in the rear of the dwelling with a giant hockey mask on. I just looked at the rotund fellow skeptically and tilted my head towards the Indian woman who was happily collecting her pittance. He shrugged, then moved the fingers of his right hand closer to me, palm up. I rolled my eyes, shook my head, cracked my fingers, looked at him, and raised my eyebrow. He sighed, resignedly, and punched himself in the balls. He sank to the floor, holding his painfully vibrating sack.
They say that what goes around comes around. Whenever the day comes that I’m faced with the penance for all my ball shots, I may have to consider castration.
Done putting up with any resistance, I looked around at the store and held out a hand toward Moai, who had brought the duffle bags. “Alright, Mo, let’s fill our sacks.”
I bring up Beale Street a lot as if it’s the center of Memphis. Some people wonder about the pyramid, other people figure there’s got to be a good business district. There are some good places near Beale Street, but at the end of the day, it’s the fixture people care about. It has bars and stages and shops for tourists. It’s not too far from that fancy hotel with the ducks that walk to the fountain and I think the Orpheum is a bit further along the place. Parts of it are closed off from driving as well, so that the acrobats that do flips don’t have to worry about dodging cars. I think that would add to their tips, but that’s me.
And yes, given all the stages set up along it and the Beale Street Music Fest held every year, it is the ideal choice for a huge crowd of people to get drunk and have fun without television. A guy like me can sneak up on it easy. Even easier if I’m “delivering” a Moai statue to the local voodoo store. It’s one of those tourist places as far as most people are concerned. It doesn’t work as a hideaway, though. The thing that opens the doors to it is very much against letting people in who are the subject of hot pursuit.
It was late afternoon when I got there and was making my move. Honky Tonk Hero was on stage, starting on “An American Trilogy” with Gorilla Awesome sitting behind the drums, useless during the song’s opening. People crowded around, watching, or buying merchandise from tables, or just swigging beer out of red plastic cups. There were a lot fewer drinking than I’d have thought, actually.
I can get that they’d want to lure me out, but what I can’t understand is why they think they can take me, and why they’d risk this crowd of people. I had a hunch though. I mean, part of my disguise was a big hump on my back. I also had a suspicion. It was a sneaking suspicion, but I caught it because I know a little more than most people about deceiving people.
I saw an overly enthusiastic fan break away from deeper in the crowd around the stage and calm down a little before heading into a bar, looking around, and heading off to a dark and smelly corner of the place.
I feigned stopping to enjoy the music to wait on the person to get back. When he did so, I maneuvered myself into his path as he stepped out the door so that he knocked into me. “Woopth, thorry thir,” I thaid.
He raised his hands up in a placative gesture and continued on. I did as well, pushing my Moai along with one hand while flipping open the man’s wallet in the other. Yep, a badge. Distracted, I didn’t avoid a woman in a sundress that went from pink to a soft blue down the length of it. She spilled her purse and I stopped to help her, “Tho thorry, madam. Let me help with that.”
She smiled at, “Thank you, it was just an accident though, so don’t feel bad.”
Too nice of a response. I felt around a little as I helped her put stuff back into her purse and found another badge. After I finished helping the undercover police officer, I took my Moai down a back alley next to the voodoo shop. There, I loosened up the bungee cords that tied him to the dolly and stripped off the jacket I was wearing so I could undo the straps under my shirt. My hump, my hump, my lovely lethal lump fell out the back, a duffle bag full of whatever I wanted to hit the heroes with. Moai and I were in position and ready to go. Just a few dozen extra enemies in my way, but I’ve never had a problem handling more sweaty men than I can shake my stick at.