As much as I hate to say it, there are some things even I can’t do alone. The plan I am planning, with all its plannedness, is one such plan. Even Moai, with his many skills and talents, is unsuited for the tasks ahead of me.
I guess I’m getting ahead of myself some. You probably have questions about how things went with Venus versus Snowblower, Flamethrower, Captain Flamebeard, and crew. As expected, Snowblower and Flamethrower didn’t put up too much resistance. Flamethrower especially, what with the broken arm and all. I couldn’t see all of it, but then all I had to go on was the news coverage of that fight. Details tended to get left out of the news version of events. I was reviewing it again to see how I would twist a knife in Venus, metaphorically.
At least Flamethrower could walk out of there, but they were extra cautious. They had two guys with fire extinguishers nearby at all times with him. They couldn’t put the power neutralizer cuffs on. They work in a pair, you see, or at least they tend to. Really depends what model you’re working with.
They’re technology, see, and a big mix and match. They’re difficult to mass produce because of the different designs and different methods they try. Most frequently, they pair them up so they can run a current through the person’s body. It’s distracting, numbs the hands, short circuits some powers, and the cuffs can be fitted with a cable. If someone tries to wander too far, the cable provides easy tracking, a way to haul them back or keep them from escaping, and an electrical line to provide a much stronger shock.
Superhumans come in all shapes, sizes, and powersets, though, so there are lots of variations. Some better suited for reptiles or furry superhumans. Others drug the subjects. Some are made of special materials to resist superstrength. Superstrength being what it is, those tend to come with a lot of chemicals to keep the person in question conked out.
Like most law enforcement tools these days, they are proudly computerized, can synch up with computers and satellites, and are overused. Take me for instance. You hear that, Mary Elizabeth Winstead? Take me, take me!
Naw, seriously, they aren’t all that clued in about my abilities. They’ve figured out I have some form of regeneration, but don’t know how it functions. Or they didn’t, at least. If they’re sharing information, then the arm I lost and my gear back in Kingscrow is going to enlighten them. They know I come up with unusual gadgets, but they aren’t sure if there’s any sort of superior intelligence power with me or if I’m a ditzy genius. They’ve seen the eyes. Don’t know if they know it means I’m cybernetically enhanced. Either way, they don’t know enough about me and they slip cuffs on me anyway. That’s why they come off so easily.
There’s no magic way to just neutralize all superpowers, or at least I hope there isn’t. If everyone I fought was as weak as a baseline human, no offense to you readers, then the only threat to me would be if one pulled out some boredom and tried to kill me with it. I know, big words from a guy who got his ass handed to his torn off arm by an unpowered woman just a little while back, but she’s the exception. Even an exceptional human is still only human. That showed when Venus left the house on North McClean. She looked a bit harried. Parts of her costume were torn and scorched. It looked like she had frost along her right arm. I’d count her hair looking like a mess in with that, but she looked better with it like that.
They didn’t have cuffs on Snowblower when he was carried out because he was on a stretcher and they were more focused on checking him over.
Not that it seemed to matter. The van the supers were transported in was found burning down a side street along the route back to the lockup. All the bodies were accounted for, extra crispy and beat up as they were. I even left them a message for whoever found it, all spelled out in a gasoline-styrofoam mix.
It was a little rushed, but it reads, “Set a fire for a man, keep him warm for a night. Set a man on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life.” See, I couldn’t do that quickly without some help.
So then the hunt was on for the location they traced from the phone call. This time, Memphis PD were there from the start of the confrontation, but held far back to let Venus go in first. I had it recorded so I could see how it all went down. A deficient record to study, but better than nothing. Venus was making her way through the yard of this former auto shop when she was spotted by a drunken member of Flamebeard’s crew. She had cutlasses and boarding axes to dodge this time. I think somebody had a blunderbuss, and there was even a big husky fellow with a harpoon. Just when she thought she had finished, the walls of the store blew open and Flamebeard’s ship, the Pompeii’s Revenge, began to ascend into the air with sails of fire.
The crew tried to make it back aboard, but the police moved in then. The only person who made it onto that ship was Venus, who had an epic one-on-one confrontation with Flamebeard, who has a neat trick where he imbues objects with flames. In this case, the object was his sword. Not what I would have chosen, as it cauterized the cut on her leg, the slash on her arm, and even the shallow wound along her belly. Didn’t stop her from tying his wrists with a rope and hanging him off the side of the ship, in full view of the cops and their helicopters and their guns.
A funny thing happened when they were being taken away, too. That van was on an overpass when the street blew and tilted downward. The police van couldn’t arrest, pun intended, its motion in time and drove right down to the freeway below. It was then crushed as a section further along the overpass was caught in an explosion, dropping a lot of road on the van.
All part of the plan.
As I finished my perusal of Venus’s well-toned ass kicking its villainous brethren and my own reminiscences of what I did afterwards, I grabbed my phone and gave my old pal Mix N’ Max a call.
“Wrapper’s Delight Plastic Wrap Shop, how may I help you?” came the answer.
“Yo, what up wrappers, this is your boy Vanilla Geck in the hizzie fo shizzie!”
A cuss was cut short by the sound of a face entering a palm. I waited patiently. She didn’t even come back to the conversation. Instead, Max took over on that end, “Won any good fights lately, Gecko?”
“I wouldn’t call them good fights. Bad fights, maybe, in the name of badness! By the way, make sure Sam knows she’s a horrible secretary and she needs to be moved down to janitorial duty.”
“Gecko, if you and Sam really want to fight then we’ll all get together one day, give you two a pair of purses, and let you fight it out over the last pair of heels at Sachs.”
“Wow, I may be over here, but that doesn’t mean Sam can’t kick your ass for that one.”
“She knows it’s better to let me recover. Broke my collar fighting Paveman. Things are a little wild here, but a little Mouth-B-Gone freaked him out enough to for me to escape.”
“Well, Max, I need something a little more mundane than your potent potions.”
I named what I wanted, he named a price, I named a lower price, he named my ass “Cheap” and things went from there. That’ll be my little secret for now. Don’t worry, you’ll get a different secret revealed soon enough.
I took a walk then. I was hungry and the base was getting a bit crowded, what with Flamebeard, Flamebeard’s crew, Flamethrower, and Snowblower all hiding out there and playing nice after I’d broke them out and faked their deaths. I’d taken care of the other players in this drama and I’d arranged for more props. Not a whole lot left to influence in this upcoming comedy.
I made my way up to the street, then pulled out an earpiece and a smartphone. Unfortunately, can’t do this trick with a disposable, but by virtue of disposing of a smartphone, it can become the smartest phone you’ve ever disposed of. I was walking along the sidewalk as I did all this. There was a hot dog vendor nearby and there’s nothing like a good wiener in your mouth.
I got a hold of Venus’s phone easily enough. You pick up a few tricks about spying on private phone calls here or there. I HAVE worked for the government before, after all.
“…just hate hearing you’re out there getting hurt,” came a male voice. Looks like I picked up while she was in the middle of a call.
“Baby, it’s fine. I’ve patched myself up from a lot worse. The only one of them that I’m worried about isn’t even trying to jump out and punch me in the face anymore,” said Venus.
“You just have to wonder what a loud guy like that is doing being so quiet. So does the academy. The stuff they’re making you say is going to provoke him out.”
I remember that. Looked shoehorned in when reporters caught up to Venus afterwards. Out of breath, she was still pumping out some talking point about how her victories were further proof that “Memphis doesn’t have to sleep afraid as long as people are willing to stand up to bullies like this, who abuse people like they do because they think they have more power. We are one people, united, all of us, and no one can truly harm us as long as we hold to our ideals and principles.”
Such powerful, meaningful words. I think I’ll have them printed on my toilet paper.
“If anything happens, they’ll have backup for me. It’s good publicity. People give people like him places to hide. I just don’t like giving someone the idea to be a hero during a robbery.”
“Yeah, leave the heroics to my pretty Boopsie.”
“Hush,” she said, a light-hearted whine.
“Boopsie the magnificent. Boopsie the great and powerful. Whatcha gonna do when Boopsiemania runs wild on you?”
Someone knocked at the door and said something that didn’t quite make it to the phone.
“I gotta go, babe,” said Venus.
I gave her a couple of minutes then. Say her goodbye, get herself ready, get her mind on wherever she’s going at the time. Also I had made it to the street vendor and was buying a tasty piece of meat from the guy. Then I crossed the street to Overton Park and called Venus up to make her day just a little bit better.
This time she answered me the first time, “Hello?”
“Hey there Boopsikins. Remember me?”
“Yes, I go by many names, but you may call me Psycho Gecko.”
“What do you want?”
“I just wanted to call and taunt you a little bit. Let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you.”
“Anymore wild goose chases to lead me on?”
Great, some old lady and her froo froo dog was walking by. Guess I’ll have to watch my language. I am a master wordsmith, you know. I have my way with words.
“Nope, not from here on out. If I lead you anywhere, it’ll be down a dark alley where I will straight up murder your fine ass!”
The old lady stopped and, I swear, she and her dog both went wide-eyed as I said that. Then she muttered, “Sodomite!” and began to walk her froo froo dog away at a little faster pace. I stuck out my tongue after her.
“You were there for the fight, Psycho. You can’t hurt me. I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone anymore.”
Time to drop a hint, “Hey, do I come to your town and try to keep you out of the BDSM clubs? Nope. Though I do appreciate you helping me kill the other guys. And the cops with them. You know, you’re not so bad at hurting innocent people yourself. Maybe we can put all this behind us and I can trade up from my current sidekick? He’s a little stiff and formal, except on Hawaiian shirt day.”
She hung up. Argh! My poor damaged phone conversation feelings. How ever shall they recover from such a vicious hanging up?
I know how! I ran across the street, grabbed the hot dog cart from the guy manning it, and ran along the sidewalk with it until I caught up to the snooty old lady with the froo froo dog. I had to dodge a car and stopped another with a well-timed squirt of mustard, but I made it across. Then I began pelting the old woman with handful after handful of hot dogs. She cried out, sinking to the ground. “Oh the humanity! Think of the children!” that kind of thing.
I just kept hitting her with those crappy little meat byproducts and yelled at her, “Come on, you old bitch, who doesn’t like to be buried under wieners! It’s raining meat! Hallelujah, it’s raining meat! Amen!”