It’s true, it’s true. Oh, it’s damn true. My leg is cured! Also, I can see again and I think my arthritis is gone. I can walk again, no longer have halitosis, and my athlete’s foot is gone. My hair’s not receding, my dick’s not impotent, and my legs aren’t restless. I’m no longer short on vitamin B12, I’ve regrown my kidney, and wisdom teeth are coming back in. Oh frabjous day, callooh, callay. Now please stand up and donate a few thousand dollars to the Church of Mix N’Max of Latter Day Witnesses. They’re called Latter Day Witnesses because I made sure they didn’t make it to the trial, capisce?
As you may have gathered by now, Max fixed up my leg and the rest of me. Then we went out and got a drink at the Low Earthy Bar, where I found that I didn’t need money. True, a lot of the guys from Marscow had only been out a short amount of time, but it had been a busy few days for them.
I sat drinking my fair share of the bar’s vodka, laughing with Max, Holly, and Sam. “The pillows were pretty good!” said Max, having mixed some rum with his horse ecstasy or whatever he took. Holly nodded along with him.
“Well it’s a good thing I didn’t hit a women’s prison too, otherwise a fight would have broken out at that point,” I said. With enough people drunk and feeling good, I actually got some laughs from the rest of the bar on that one.
“Look at that. Rupt is in a good mood,” said Sam, looking off into the packed crowd of patrons. I looked around and couldn’t see the guy.
“I don’t see him. Why’s he having such a good time?” I asked.
Holly snorted at that. “Because you took out Rawhide.”
She explained, “That giant you fought off when you found us. He and Rupt have been feuding because they wear the exact same costume and neither one would change. You solved that problem for him.”
“Well that’s awkward. Show up to rob a bank and they’re wearing the same thing? Scratch that, showing up to rob the same bank at the same time, and then in the same outfit? I guess it could be worse. They could have been robbing a wedding.”
“Who robs a wedding?” asked Sam.
Max and I both raised our hands to that one.
“Seriously you guys?”
Max shrugged, “They had good wine.”
“They had good cake,” I added.
“Did you guys actually take anything of worth?” Holly queried.
Max answered a question with a question. “You remember that awesome coffeemaker we used to have, right?”
“Hey, we’re on the news again!” someone shouted. A large portion of the bar shut up and turned to the TV.
They did a quick rehash of who I was and the breakout itself, noting that I was not working with superheroes. “He is to be considered armed and dangerous at all times. Even if he’s holding something you wouldn’t normally consider lethal. Even if he’s got nothing in his hands at all.” That’s a heartwarming disclaimer.
I turned to the guy at the next table and shoved his head into a bowl of peanuts. He struggled against me and the table with his four arms, but his friends had to force me to let go, revealing the four eyed guy to be puffing up and turning a funny color. Yellow and green plaid, I think. “Carl, speak to me!” said one of his buddies. The man turned to me, “He’s allergic to peanuts you asshole!”
I was too busy paying attention to the TV again.
“But one of the inmates is not happy with his rescuer,” spoke the announcer to the boos and thrown trash of the bar patrons. One guy even toss his salad at the screen. It left a glop of French dressing running down the screen.
“Hey, if I wanted to watch the French run on TV, I’d put on the History Channel!” I said. It’s a dumb joke on many levels, starting with the fact that the History Channel is only good if you want to watch how bigfoot and sasquatch worked with ancient aliens to fulfill the end times prophecies by creating the earth for the Illuminati to rule. Or something like that.
“We have here a video sent to the station by notorious mastermind ‘Breakdown’,” she said before cutting to the video itself.
It shows Breakdown in his modest costume. Dark green tights and cane with domino mask on of the same color but for a blue teardrop under one eye of the mask. On his chest was a design of a similarly colored drama mask from the theater. You know, the crying mask associated with Greek tragedy. He smiled and twirled his cane, then caught it on the bottom and pointed it at the camera. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I have a message for the one called Psycho Gecko. He runs and he fights and the heroes have not stopped him yet. Nothing physical has shown itself his complete superior, but I wager our poor mental gekkonidae, shallow as he is, can’t stand up to the challenge I pose. I do this not out of valor or righteousness. No, I will show them all which one of is truly the giant of the grey matter. Seek me out, Gecko.” The video panned to the side as he tapped his cane against the floor. A spotlight shown on ten children in patient gowns, huddled up with a crowd of gun toting henchmen around. “Or I’ll exploit the one weakness I know you have. Your first clue shall be present in this riddle: How is a raven like a writing desk?”
Can you believe that asshole? Stealing my thunder and wanting to challenge me. Like I don’t have enough to deal with. “Yo, anybody got a number I can call the guy up?” I asked of the stunned crowd. “Anybody at all?”
A guy at the bar stood up. Looked like just a regular guy. Henchman maybe? Plenty of those got let out too. “One of his men was a buddy of mine. I got the number of his sister, might be able to get to him through her.”
“Number por favor. While I’m speaking Spanish, Sister Rockefeller! Get this man a bottle of your best tequila! In exchange for helping me, I will erase this man’s memory and make him wake up wondering who peed in his pants!”
The answer, of course, was me. He was just too drunk to notice it at the time.
I called the number later that night when we were back at the base under La Cosa Pasta. Luckily, Max had one of the big TVs in there. Giant-sized thing, wider than I am tall. And when I say big TV I mean it was one of the Big TVs. The capitalized letter is important. Nobody calls up the UN or the President or their rival hero on a simple phone. That won’t do. Big TVs are a product all their own. A secure phone line with the ability to take and make calls that include video. A must for any supervillain with an axe to grind against the world.
So I called up this henchman’s sister. She got her brother on the phone. He, in turn, got me the number for Breakdown’s Big TV. I adjusted my helmet comm’s distortion to “Deep and Threatening” for this one.
The screen suddenly showed Breakdown on his computer.
“Impertinent fool!” I said, raising a fist toward the screen, “To think you dare presume on my time with this wasteful idiocy! I ought to smack you with a rusty ladle for this!”
Exclamation marks are a vital part of threats that go out over a Big TV, hence their reinforced speakers.
Breakdown opened his mouth. I let him get the beginnings of a syllable out before I interrupted, “Did I say you could speak? I’d pull down my pants and stretch my head between my legs if I wanted to hear you talk. Now why did you pull this shit?”
He went to answer me but I interrupted again, “I didn’t say you could talk yet! Assholesayswhat?”
“What?” he asked.
“Somebody isn’t paying attention over there. I’m tempted to end this call. First, however, tell me, yes, tell me with your words, why did you issue this challenge?”
He opened his mouth as if to talk. Realizing I wasn’t cutting in again, Breakdown cleared his throat and attempted to regain his attitude. “Ahem…I saw your weakness. Asking prisoners to help fight for kids? I thought that was such a strange request for you to make. Then I looked up. You gassed all of Memphis but St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital went mysteriously untouched? ‘Somebody has a weakness,’ I said to myself. I can’t fight you physically, we both know that, but I can prove myself to be the better of the man with an entire super group of heroes after him. You’re not completely over the edge. You still have one rule. To beat me, Psycho Gecko, you’ll have to break it.”
He was trying to play up his modus operandi. Psychological challenges that caused mental breakdowns in his victims. He chose the wrong person to try it on. “Yes, I do have one rule, Breakdown. It goes ‘Never deny a Rabbi a pepperoni pizza on an Autumn Friday afternoon when you’re there to assassinate him.’ It’s never been invoked, but it’s there. I don’t see what it has to do with anything. The kids are yours. Keep them. Everyone knows you have them. Everyone knows who to blame if they die, including that huge group of heroes who have their base in this very city. They’re going to be pissed at this when they’re done cleaning up the robots. Oh, and Breakdown? I’d really try and keep them alive if I were you. I don’t like to see kids die. I don’t have to save them, but it would be very bad to let them die. How is a raven like a writing desk? I’ll shove both of them up your ass if anything happens to them. If you think I won’t, I suggest checking out what I did with a reality TV producer and a kayak. It should still be on Youtube in the playlist called ‘Don’t Fuck With Psycho Gecko’. Because the only thing worse than me killing you? Me NOT killing you.”
I cut the feed.
I told you, I’m too busy to play mind games. Parents or heroes, they might have to rush out there in case the kids are killed. I like my way better. Now Breakdown and his guys have to protect a bunch of sick kids.
“Now that that’s done, you heading out soon?’ Max asked, putting a hand on my shoulder. I turned around toward him.
“Naw, I still have business in town. Things I need you to help me with.”
“Like what?” said Sam from the stool she was propped up on. She and Holly were passing a bowl of popcorn between them. It seems I’m entertaining when I threaten people.
“Ladies and high men. Not hymen, you can keep your legs closed. I have a minion to break out.”
Max cocked his head to the side. “He wasn’t in Marscow?”
“It seems not. Checked the manifest while I was in the system. Makes sense, I guess. He’s a Moai. You know, big statue from Easter Island. I figure he’s in the Long Life Tower somewhere, or at least we can find out where they dumped him there. So here’s the breaks: I’m not down and we get Moai out.”