It was a great day. I walked down the middle of Beale Street, singing to myself, armor sealed to the fog that drifted through the city. A bar to my right had its doors closed and secured. Frightened faces stared out from behind the glass. I stepped over to a metal chair from one of their outside tables, grabbed it, and swung. It flew through the air and smashed through the doorway, sending people scattering back from the door. They were somewhat less paranoid when a headless rubber chicken bounced off their floor and helped itself to its feet to try and walk back out the door.
Then, of course, came fire and screams. I added my laugh to the cacophony and continued singing, “So let’s sink another drink, ’cause it’ll give me time to think, if I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, and I’ll be dancing with myself.”
I stopped at a bar where a pair of men stood, bloody, scratched and scraped. They were back to back, bodies on the floor. One held a broken two by four. The other had a hammer in his hand. They turned to me and the hammer guy said something about “Look, another one.”
His buddy told him, “No, everyone else has gone insane now. We can’t trust anybody.”
The hammer guy shook his head, “We should at least try. You never know. He’s wearing something, after all.”
I removed one of my lever grenades from my belt, set it, and pitched it in. “Oh dancing with myself, dancing with myself,” Their quandary was solved by shrapnel. The explosion was matched and even superseded by more explosions from over by Main street. I saw a National Guard helicopter lose control and crash to the ground. Even with it down, more rockets were fired into the air, only to turn and look for more targets of sufficient heat. A quick listen in on the radio chatter told the tale. The soldiers thought they were fighting Godzilla.
Amazing, the things you can do with regular old chemicals. Mix N’ Max wants to use his special mixtures. You can’t recreate the stuff he pulls off, no matter what you try. His power makes it work when it shouldn’t. But in my training, I learned about other things I could just toss out into a city to cause a big mess. There’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing prove, I’ll be dancing with myself.
3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate. A handy little chemical if you want to get a whole bunch of people fucked up. In this instance, fucked up includes: acting stupid, confusion, memory distortion, memory loss, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, slurred speech, difficulty sweating, loss of coordination, illusions, hallucinations, group hallucinations, mumbling, overuse of clichés, paranoia, getting naked, and a desire to crawl. To be fair, some of these are pretty much how I act all the time. If you’re lucky, symptoms only last for a day. There weren’t a lot of lucky people in Memphis right about now.
What a very unfortunate time for a few groups of heroes, some marauding villains, and a lot of people armed with guns and military vehicles to all be within the area of exposure. Why should I have all the fun blowing things up and maiming everyone? I invited all our favorite heroes over to play too. From the sound of things, a Kaiju enthusiast is helping to clear the skies near here.
Good idea. I’d better see what I can do to give Venus and I a little privacy. “Hey everyone!” I called out to whatever passerby and bystanders were on the street and bars and stores, “Better watch out for that zombie virus going around!” I’d get people to fight imaginary vampires, but that clueless hack had to go and pussify vampires in her masturbatory crackfic. Oooh, shiny skin, how terrifying. I’m not going to be seduced by any creature of the night that feels no urge to impale their enemies and are so stupid they don’t know the difference between animal and vegetable. Even a modern major general knows the difference.
I wanted this next moment to be between myself and Venus. I had Moai out grabbing me a van and loading up my junk. I feel like moving, and a whole lot of people are about to feel the same way once they get done murdering their neighbors who just got zombified according to their fragile little minds.
Listen to them, screaming. Someone they knew just turned. A loved one or a friend. Or maybe their asshole boss that they always wanted to drive a steak into. But they’ll realize when they wake up that “Oh no…I just slew another person…with a T-bone. What a waste of a perfectly good steak. Why couldn’t it have been you, sirloin?!” and then a knight made of meat will threaten them with his lance. But in the end, they’ll despair. They’ll want to make things right again. Embrace this change, kiddoes. Were your lives so absolutely perfect before this?
Bunch of scaredy cats. Sometimes you have to run as fast as you can just to stay where you are when you should be running in a different direction. That’s what this is for, in a way. People think they become a different person when they’re drunk or high. They actually show their real selves then.
I wonder if it says anything that so many people think I’m high all the time?
Anyway, got a call from Flamethrower. He said something about being chased by a giant hamburger man, but somewhere in there was that Venus was trying the Voodoo shop here for a cure. I’ll bet that store does have a ward up to prevent just this kind of thing affecting the people there, which means there’s a chance they could actually do something about this.
I barely touched the door to the Voodoo shop when somebody dropped down behind me. Ambush, of course! Yay! More casualties! I whirled on my new playmate and found Flamethrower. Holding a rather familiar looking rod. I have my suspicions about him and Snowblower, but it wasn’t that kind of rod. He pressed a button and a painful crackling hit me. My armor shut down. The rod shocked him though and he dropped it. Venus must have some shock resistance in that armor.
“Remember this?” Flamethrower asked, getting up in my face. He looked surprisingly sober, and yet he was terrible at personal dental care. I just held still, waiting for the restart. “You just play around and don’t pay attention. You didn’t even ask about this after we caught your girlfriend. Now, you and me, we’re going to settle up about my arm you broke.” He turned then toward the street and raised his arms, which caught flame, “Hey everyone, watch me kill Psycho Gecko! It’s me who did it once and for all!”
Armor back online. Aren’t upgrades great? I slipped my laser potato peeler out of my belt and gripped it in a fist as I rammed it up Flamethrower’s puckered Tunnel of Love while yelling, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”
He joined me in a duet.
“Now this turkey’s good and stuffed, so it’s time to get rid of the giblets!” I said, giving the worst cooking lesson ever. I fired the laser potato peeler inside of him. It was hard to aim, but I didn’t care about that anyway. I lifted Flamethrower off his feet that way, grasped him by the shoulder with the other hand, spun him around a couple of times, then dropped him head first onto a mailbox, smashing his head into the interior. After wiping my laser and my gloves hand off on his tight costume pants, I pointed at him with both hands and said, “Your ass just got the full package.” Then I sprayed the laser down with air freshener so it smelled like fresh laundry done on a pleasantly warm summer’s day. It took the whole bottle.
Betrayal. Not a bad thing to try as long as you succeed. Success is often the measure of whether something was good or bad, right or wrong. For example, to quote Richard Dawkins on how he can be sure that the scientific approach is correct, “It works, bitches.” Same reason why I assault people in the ass in order to kill them.
Getting back on track, I grabbed the door to the Voodoo shop and stepped in accompanied by the pleasant dinging of bells on the door. I glimpsed Venus, kneeling, with a bocor chanting over her. Shadow suddenly filled my vision and took shape. A familiar shape. The barkeep. “There will be no fighting in here, Psycho Gecko.” It sounded odd, like she said it twice in a row, but the second time was catching up to the first. It was when I tried to push her aside and wave to Boopsie that I realized how sluggish I now felt. The barkeep pushed my hand away like she was brushing off a fly. “No, you stay here right now. We’ll be with you in a minute.”
“You’re helping heroes now?” I asked, feeling my center of weight shift. I stumbled back a step before catching myself.
There was amusement to her words, but no smile to match, “We help ourselves. We also help the balance when it is asked of us. Otherwise, we’re happy to see you do so well for yourself.”
“Whatever. Hey Venus!” I yelled to her. She didn’t respond, but nothing stopped me from goading her so far. “You want to set up some arrangements now, while you still have time? Just be warned, I don’t really do ‘closed casket’ stuff. When I kick an ass, it tends to affect the whole body.” I emphasized that last point by pantomiming a circle with my hands. “Tsk. Not even paying attention. You don’t appreciate anything I do for you!”
The chant stopped and Venus stirred. She stood and turned to look at me. I could see her eyes were red and puffy, until she fitted the gas mask on, that is. She reached down and unhooked another EMP rod from her hip. The barkeep moved out of the way and a windstorm accompanied that movement, moving past her to blow me off my feet and through the door.
I bounced off the street outside and rolled back. I stood up brushed off my chest and shoulders. There, about ten sub sandwiches away from me, stood Venus, also recovering. I hadn’t seen her pass me, but I was too busy thinking of ways to tell the guys at the bar that the barkeep had blown me. I reached for my pleasant-smelling potato peeler and took aim. Venus noticed my aggressive movement and readied the rod. My laser cut into it and left a gash. Venus pressed the button to make it work but it crackled and electricity arced down her body. She went rigid. That made two of us.
I sent a charge through my gloves and swatted the rod away, then gave it a zap. Venus stumbled back, trying to keep from slumping over in my presence. “You look like crap,” I told her, smooth ladies man that I am. I walked around behind her and she swiveled to keep me within sight. “Must have been a lot of work, but I figured you had it in you. I hope you enjoyed the death trap, by the way. I had to improvise because you only brought the cops along. You’re a smart girl, but it took awhile for you to rally everyone here to help me barbecue Memphis.”
I stopped once I had walked a full circle around here. “You wanted us all here?” she asked, perhaps not quite believing it.
“Yepperdy depperdy. I let you clean up the others while I laid low. I seemingly killed them but actually broke them out, securing their temporary loyalty. Then I gave you the puzzle pieces to fit together. ‘How do I find this guy? I don’t know, let’s look into that hot dog assault and the Moai sightings.’ I’m glad you were that clever, at least. I’ve noticed you and the Honky Tonk Hero liaise with the cops really well. How is he, anyway?” You better believe I monologued. I rarely put myself in that kind of position. I find it inconvenient for actually getting things done. In this case, what I wanted done was to echo a sentiment she expressed in an earlier conversation.
She straightened up, her fingers clenching along the sides of her tights. Let me talk or take me down now? Which is her better option? “Recovering,” was her muffled response.
My casual tone was quickly turning to jovial. I have to hold in the laughter, “Ah, alive. You heroes have an odd survival rate lately. But you’ve been a big help to each other as well. How is anyone supposed to get any decent killing done with all of y’all running around trying to punch me in the face and give me a swirly? Police forces, even armies I can deal with,” I raised my hands up just over my head and swirled them around, “All well and good to send an army in, but at the end of the day, you’d be surprised what just a few guys with superpowers can do. Case in point, your army becomes my army. You got an ear on the feed?” Must hold in the laughter.
I linked in my monitoring of the Guard’s comms with my suit’s speakers. The Guard had send in unexposed units in MOPP gear to bail their own people out. “Our own people are firing on us!” “Push back the Commie bastards!” “WAAAAGH!” A myriad of voices told the tale as confused and delusional soldiers fought their own.
I cut the speakers. Venus looked around, fully taking in just what I had done to the self-proclaimed protectors of the innocent. I couldn’t read her expression behind that mask. Pain, maybe? If I remember correctly, it can be quite a heartrending experience to realize you’ve become the villain, unless you decide not to care.
“So now, thanks to your failure to catch me, your failure to predict me, and your reasonable response to bring in help, all your little friends, all your little army men, and a lot of people in this city are all fighting, squabbling, shooting away at each other,” I chucked, putting my hand on my forehead. I pulled it away quickly to check. Clean glove. I put it back on my helmet’s forehead and resumed chuckling as if nothing had happened. It lasted a little too long before I stopped myself. “Attacking each other and bystanders and little imaginary butt trolls that are stealing the world’s peaches. You must feel like such the heroes. I bet you beat up a lot of people on the way here, thinking they were something hostile. Zombies. Aliens. Ninjas. Me. A lot of good you’re doing for the world Boopsie. Teach them not to be afraid, Boopsie.”
“Don’t you call me that,” she shot back quickly. Was that pain in her voice? Nommy nommy pain? Om nom nom. I hit a nerve.
I tried to speak in a lazy, dismissive tone to calm her down. Oh, wait, it was actually to help twist the knife riding my next words, “Someone sounds pained. Reminds me of that conversation awhile back. How did it go…’You can’t hurt me. I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone anymore.’ That sounds about right,” I savored the moment, smiling to myself. I continued in that dismissive tone, tempering my next question with spite in the last two words, “Have I hurt you yet?”
I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. Making it worse, I was so fucking hard in the crotch right then.