On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again. The life I love is killing heroes with my friends, and I can’t wait to get on the road again. I’m stalled in a town for a little while, but I’ve just been traveling the highways with almost everything I own in a moving van/truck. The terms seem interchangeable at times, like how an armored car is really more like a van or a truck. The computer with our handy interdimensional communication device was back there in the truck too. Can’t forget that or I might lose y’all to some educational article. Something that teaches about history or art or cooking instead of chemical warfare, fireworks, and the origins of the spork.
Like I said, I’ve been traveling. Thursday, I looped back around to head south. They figured out I escaped the city. That was unusual efficiency. I suspect my old drinking buddies from the bar were more than happy to assist the search. It’s troubling what resources they all have at their fingertips together. Normally such leagues fall apart soon after whatever drew them together, though. I’ll keep an eye out, but right now it’s my eyes they’re after because I poked out a few of theirs.
Stopped for a motel in some random town. I don’t even remember the name. Cleared out the video data to help me review a bug splatting on the windshield because that was more interesting. I swear it glowed. I was at this place, whatever you call it, dropping a few dollars on Funyons and Cheetoes when I got strange readings on the chemical composition of the air. The cashier had scrunched up her face like she smelled something bad and that caused me to double check the readings. They were present inside and outside the suit.
When I got outside, I grabbed my Tiki statue, actually the Moai in disguise, and pushed it along on the handcart I had. When no one was around I pulled off its mask and asked if it smelled anything suspicious. Somehow, it had gotten a laundry clip on its nose under that mask. “Ha ha. I think I’ll seek independent confirmation.”
I stopped by a hardware store and poked my head in and addressed the man behind the counter, “Excuse me, but could you tell me how I smell?”
“With your nose,” he said.
I went back to my cart and began to push Moai back to the truck, passing by a hole in the display window of the hardware store. I heard the door swing open behind me as I told Moai, “See, not me.” That’s when I noticed that under the mask, it had a vice clamped to its nose.
Someone was talking loudly and rudely behind me about stealing and cops but I ignored it. Nothing to do with me this time. “Stop playing around,” I told Moai, and took the vice off its nose. I tossed it back behind me. The rude person shut up with a clang.
Still, it wasn’t going to hurt me to stop at a motel and get a shower. Need to decontaminate the suit. It wasn’t designed to be worn quite so long as I’d been in it at that point. I was sure I could survive the town’s foul funky air for that long.
Discovered as I was paying that my prepaid cards are almost all worthless junk now. Between this costly vendetta I pursued that included little actual thievery and the massive exposure to EMP, I’m about broke. Can’t EMP cash.
I put on the TV to have some noise and found out they were still talking about what happened. Specifically, the miracle of how St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital somehow was spared the entire time. I suppose they are somewhat right that a higher power than them had something to do with those containers we laid down somehow not being activated with the rest of them. I’m sure I just forgot.
They were also putting my latest face up on the news. Time to change it. I had the nanites to spare right now. Stood there in the mirror trying to figure out what I’d go for. I considered something of a blank slate look. Very close, nearly bald stubble on head, slightly more stubble on the face. Didn’t have the effect I was going for.
Thin mustache, but not pencil. I’m not John Waters, though I have nothing against the guy. Black this time…clean up the eyebrows. Shift the forehead up a little, alter the curvature of the jaw, widen the chin a little, get rid of that little butt cleft thing in it. There in the mirror, I went with a small sentiment. Inner ends of the eyebrows curved down, outer ends curved up. That and the reverse way of doing were popular back in my home dimension. It was laughed off at first, I think, or looked down on a little, but became popular by the time I left. Something of a metrosexual thing, to use a term from where I’m at now.
Got the notion to more radically shift my skin color. There’s only so pale I can go without drawing attention and spending money I don’t have on sunscreen. I have nothing against pale people, especially pale people with black fingernails and soft blue hair, but plenty of these small town yahoos do. I chose to go somewhere around looking Latino.
I know, you’re thinking that I’ll look more conspicuous that way than if I were pale with weird hair. Right. But instead of thinking I’m some strange white person, possibly like that Psycho Gecko guy running around who they expect to look strange, they’ll view me through the lens of “Mexican”. These are simple Southerners. These are people of the land. The common clay of the Old South. You know. Morons. Or at least the racist ones. They get to hate people of different skin colors, I get to trick them and get away with murder.
You’ll never catch a fish if you’re too busy watching the light bounce off the surface. Racism is like living fishless. Nothing stopping you from giving a man a fish, but they’ll only become self-sufficient when they learn how to fish.
I awoke to someone banging on the door at the crack of noon. Truly, man was not meant to wake up so early. I was just going to cuss out whoever it was in the buff, but then they started yelling that they were the police.
“Be right there, I’m on the john!” I yelled to him, then gathered up my suit and clothes, cracked open the side window, and slid out into bushes with far too many thorns in them. I held the window for Moai, then shut it and we snuck around back to the truck. I got dressed in the cab and pulled right out of there.
Ah yes, backcountry cops. Truly the most grueling test of a villain’s mettle.
Then again, getting pulled over just outside another little town doesn’t help the sarcasm of that phrase. I was just leaving Yabloo City. With a name like that, I had to drive through it. I complied, figuring I had a few options. Murder, bribery, a high speed chase. The last could be fun. Moai could look up the old Dukes of Hazzard theme song for it.
Except before long, I had another cop car pull up from the opposite direction. Must be a slow day in bumfuck. The officer stepped up to the window. According to the badge, he was a Yabloo City sheriff, not a state trooper. I don’t remember doing anything particularly bad there. I had the window rolled down already, so I leaned my head out. “Mornin’, occifer. I mean, officer. What seems to be the problem?”
“Care to tell me why you were driving that speed through town?”
Oh, right. “I wasn’t aware it was illegal to go 5 miles an hour in a 45.”
“Son, that was the first traffic we’ve had in this town in 67 years. Old ladies waiting for you to get out of the way so they could cross the street. Why on God’s earth would you drive so slow?”
“Because the guy behind me passed me. Yep, I tell you, I was going the speed limit and he sped up and got around me. I managed to slip in front of him on a curve, all Nascar style,” Yeah, if Nascar involves crashing through the fence of a horse pasture, ”and I figured I’d slow him down a bit to get back at him. Officer, arrest that man.”
“Son, that man was my next door neighbor and his wife’s water broke. He was taking her to the hospital. Thanks to you, his brand new baby boy was born in the seat of his pickup truck. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
I thought about it. Then I raised a finger as if to say “One moment” and rolled up the window. I turned to Moai and held out my hand. “You got any petty cash on you?”
My attention was drawn to the second cop walking over to join the first, the two talking about something. I felt something crumple into my hand and turned to find Monopoly money with “Your ass is fat,” written on it.
I glanced at Moai and said with a pout, “That was hurtful.” Then I tossed the money in the floorboard. “Now, for real, any small bills?”
The officers were rapping on the window. Like any time a white guy from the country raps, it was not a good thing to hear. I felt Moai drop something else in my hand and rolled down the window. “Yo, officer, my man, how’s it hanging?” I said and grabbed his hand for a friendly handshake, making sure my hand was emptier when it was all said and done.
The sheriff looked down at his hand, then raised it up to show tiny dollar bills, about the size of a quarter. Dammit, Moai. “You got something you want to tell us, son?”
Ah hell, I’ll be out and they won’t know to tell the heroes. Let’s have fun with it, that’s what I thought. “Yes sir. Maybe I could help pick the name of that baby I forced to be born in a truck. How about my uncle’s name, Ford?”
“Son, I’m going to need to see that license and registration now.”
“Or how about naming him after my other uncle, Chevy?”
“You do have your license and registration, don’t you?”
“Officer, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a veterinarian and I had to help birth a calf this morning and, well, to avoid all the gooey details, I’m sure as hell not getting those back without the help of a whole lotta bull.”
“Son, step out of the vehicle.”
I’m in the lockup at the moment, no big deal. They have nothing to identify me as myself. I’m just hanging out in jail here for a few days, then they’ll let me go and slap me with a fine. Technically this was all just for driving without a license, so they could just let me go with a fine, but they seem to have taken offense to my attitude.
Yeah, getting arrested for Speeding is so cliché. You’ve got to try harder, guys, if you want to be like Psycho Gecko and get arrested for Slowing. Even if the actual crime is Driving Without a License and the alias I gave them was Adenoid Hynkel.