We have a teeny tiny problem in our little holiday. It was incredibly easy to dismiss all the accounts of the deputies who were clearly getting high. They were all laughingstocks and the only reason Sheriff Burt didn’t lock them all up right then is because he didn’t have enough cells to hold all his deputies.
It didn’t help him that he faced a small crime wave while all this happened. The banks here aren’t all that big, but they still carry a lot of cash. Moai crashed through the glass doors. I, of course, took the window. People didn’t seem to believe me at first that this was a robbery, but I was still picking myself up off the thin blue carpet at the time. People just stopped and stared as I stood up, but that’s to be expected when you appear to be the President of the United States of America. One bozo with a camo baseball cap on did yell out, “I knew it! I told you he’d do this!” and went for a revolver in the back waistband of his pants but I decided I didn’t like that guy so Moai headbutted him. Even with the ski mask pulled over Moai’s head, you know to prevent recognition, the blow was hard enough that the guy crumpled into a heap on the floor, but with a loud bang. Congraulations, Mr. Quickdraw there made it to the trigger by the time he got headbutted. I hope you like the new asshole you just tore yourself with a bullet.
“My fellow Americans… shut the fuck up for once. I’ve been waiting five long years to say that. Now is the time to pay up, bitches.”
Moai hit the vault while I hit the tellers. One of us was more figurative about that. It wasn’t me. You know, very few people get to say they took a presidential bitchslap. I don’t think I had President Clinton beat, but I like to think I came close. That being what she said, I then focused on loading up a duffle bag full of cash from their drawers. The money drawers, not their underpants. This isn’t Italy you know.
The vault has a big, heavy door, even outside the big cities. Moai is a big, heavy statue. If they have anything automated to close it, he’ll just give it a little punt. He tossed a stream of cash out. I stood guard, whistling “Hail to the Chief” since this branch didn’t have any guards. No need to worry about guards at all. That’s something special right there. Just the police, and it just so happens that the local Sheriff’s office is a little shorthanded. Oh this rampant breakdown of law and order!
So it was with great surprise during our escape that I was struck by a patrol car. It slammed into me and sent me flying against the side of a building. It looked like a Crown Victoria, but it hit like a H2. I’m still feeling that one, by the way. No need to toss out nanites all the time. The car backed up and prepared to make a second go of it. The driver was the desk sergeant, now in civilian clothes, with some other guy in the passenger seat with screwed-up looking nose.
I left a hologram of my disguise in place as I rolled to the side. I wanted to clutch my stomach. Ooh yeah, been awhile since I was hit with a car. That’s a special feeling, even with armor on. I think it rattled something else in me because all of a sudden I began to remember a lovely little story. A boy and a girl and a medallion and the boy gets stuck going to boarding school in the girl’s body. Why this came up at this time, I have no clue, but it gave me an idea. I charged my glove.
When the car gunned it, it slammed into the building this time, causing some cracking of the bricks. Their air bags deployed. “Lift em up, Moai!” My stoic henchstatue dropped a duffle bag and got around to the rear of the car, levering it up under his head. That’s the thing, looking back on it now, I wish I knew how thinking about that story caused me to think about this.
I mean, I got the plan. Moai lifts the car up, they can’t reverse, then we lock them in and I have some fun with them. It went according to plan, too. When he dropped them, something gave and the car’s engine sputtered to a stop. I smashed my fist into the driver’s side handle and lock with enough force to lock it there. I saw the one with the messed up nose trying to get out his side. “Moai!” I called, “Keep him in the car!” I remember grinning. I don’t smile like that often anymore, but on occasion you have a good time. In this case, my good time consisted of watching the second deputy’s hand getting smooshed by a bunch of rock hard minion slamming the door into his hand hard enough to draw blood. I hopped onto the hood, switching to my civilian look, the person they knew as Adenoid Hynkel. Except no ordinary man named Adenoid could jump that high into the air or shake off landing on the roof and crumpling it around them like that.
I tore a hole in that roof and got out my knives. “Time to play Operation! Now, don’t worry boys, you only have to make a loud noise when I touch the sides!” I started on the driver, spraying blood all over. The passenger with the broken nose just kept screaming and screaming and I was doing good about pulling organs out of his friend. Some people are just rude like that. I don’t care about rudeness, actually, but it suited me to say he was rude so I could shove the driver’s gallbladder into his mouth and shush him. “Dammit, if you don’t shut the hell up, your friend might make a full recovery!”
When Burt and his other former deputies caught up to me, they had already gathered quite the crowd. By that time, I was in a wonderful mood. I had been spreading decorations all over the street. Christmas in July, complete with intestines strung out from street lamp to street lamp. See, I’d had a realization. It was either completely random or perhaps caused by my brain rattling around in my skull, but I realized why I thought of that story! It’s because it had a happy ending, and that pissed me off. Someone had something done to them that was wrong. The boy’s life was twisted into a direction it never would have taken, into something he couldn’t have prepared for, and the way of righting the world was a happy ending in the end by getting boned and probably impregnated by the girl he swapped with who grew up in his body? I don’t mean to be a literary critic here, as if I know good literature all that well, but a good ending isn’t made by coping! A good ending isn’t defined as “Well, it’s good enough. It’ll do.”
I’m not coping, and I’m just doing fine and dandy, can’t you tell?!
I was happy though. I actually felt like mutilating again. Not everyone has the stomach for it, but with two extras I intended to get to it well enough.
So it was like that, hanging organs around that street, that I was caught up to by the Sheriff, his deputies, and the curious townsfolk. Some of them even joined in on the decorating! They took one look at what was going on and got sick all over the sidewalk and street. Not Burt, though. He tried to stare me down. “Hynkel,” he said, “I don’t know who you really are, but you’d better put down the knife…and the head…and the kidney…and that femur…and that lightbulb, and put your hands over your head.
“Doesn’t a guy have a right to defend himself from dangerous hit and run drivers?” I asked with a chuckle.
“Even if that was the case, we have you on video at the station, and I’m betting that somehow you robbed the bank as well. You have the statue that took part in it giving you a lift up to that traffic light.”
“Oh, but Sheriff-poo. I can’t go yet. There’s a frabjous day, caloo, calay, that we all need to have.”
“You are nuttier than squirrel shit. Who are you, really?”
I fucked with him, naturally. I turned around on top of Moai’s head and altered the hologram. My eyes got more red, eventually turning into a glow. Fingernails extended. Wings grew from my back, feathery and pure white, then turned black, then the feathers seemed to fall off and disappear all in a matter of moments. The resulting wings were black, boney, and held together by whatever thin membrane ran below the feathers. My forehead erupted forward into a single horn, like a rhino, that split in halves that turned sharply to the sides and curved back and further up to resemble a small crown of horns.
I smiled a mouth of very thin, elongated black fangs at the Sheriff before I tapped my chest and said, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long year, stolen many men’s soul and faith.”
The crowd was enthralled. Not by any power or anything. Most people with no experience around such odd events don’t believe it when it happens. For them, real life was an incredible movie, even for a short time.
“What are you doing here?” said Burt, much more softly this time. He had paled as well.
“I’m getting all set up,” I said, spreading my arms wide, “for a special holiday. A time to sit around and challenge the status quo. Look at you all. You’ve been told to accept whatever slight is dealt because it’s civilization. Notice how that only ever benefits the people giving you shit?”
There was a murmur of agreement from a few in the crowd. Some people I’d talked to or who just felt that way on their own. Burt turned toward them, his unflinching glare and dark sunglasses putting a halt to any spoken agreement. He then turned to speak to me, but I cut him off.
“I invite you to forget about being happy by settling for whatever is less troublesome for your betters. Let yourselves feel that righteous anger. The world exists to hurt you, stomp you, and take advantage of you. It’s Payback Day!”
Admittedly a little corny, but corn is a great food. Helps you stay regular.
With that announcement, about the payback not the corn, I sent out the signal. I mentioned an earlier time that I was mixing some rust and aluminum together. In case of an emergency, I’d left that little mixture around in a few places for maximum confusion. The school meth lab, Buddy’s house, Donna’s house, the impound, and of course the sheriff’s office. Like I’m going to stop messing with that place now. The thermite I’d set up erupted loud and bright. The building at the school, a band storage area, went up as the lab inside was burned through. Why they were storing bands, I don’t know, but they’re going to need a few new buildings now and some members of the crowd needed new pants. I added to the cacophony with my usual bag of tricks. Throwing knives that shattered windows and windshields with explosions. Exploding chickens that fried whatever got too close. I had even made a few of my fireball capsules and launched those into the air, a demon seemingly throwing balls of flame. Goodness gracious.
The crowd raced out of there in a panic, trampling some of the folks. The posse of men was right behind them just until they were right in front of them. Sheriff Burt looked for a minute like he might stand his ground. Or maybe he was just frozen momentarily. Either way, he did the smart thing and ran for it too.
That’s when I knew that even if I had no good reason to do so, I was not going to accept “just getting by” when I could be stopping the world’s greatest failures. Shieldwall won’t have to look for me much longer. They go around, trying to save the day, failing, one by one, to me. I won’t treat it as a happy ending to be content with them.
And to think, some people think I should be on medication. Hahahahahahahahahaha!