I’d forgotten how good it feels to be “off my meds” as some might say. I’m not actually on meds, so that’s why that was in quotes. Scare quotes. SCARE quotes! Rawr! “RAWR!!!”
Enough scaring, for now at least. I’ll have to see what I can do next month as October is nearly upon us. A wonderful little month. A month where my investments will come to fruition, especially the ones in glass companies.
No need to fill up thinking about candy. It’s time for a picnic! Just Sam, Max, Holly, Moai, and I all headed up outside to the city. We actually settled on an old graveyard. Part of Max’s tastes, as he’s done some grave robbing in the past.
From a certain distance away, Kingscrow isn’t so bad. Dark and moody up close, but a lot of that is the packed atmosphere. All those old buildings and gothic designs mashed in with more modern ideas and designs. Unlike, say Empyreal City, which has been attacked to hell and back. In fact, I think they had an incident with a hell-like dimension. That’s not a cop-out to keep from calling it Hell, either. There’s more than one dimension that fits one of the many definitions of hell. There was even one full of nothing but lava that people thought fit the Biblical “Lake of Fire” definition, until someone figured out it was a portal to a volcano.
I’d like to meet a volcano goddess someday. Contrary to popular beliefs, they don’t blow all that often, but when they do it is incredibly hot. Mmm. Dat ash.
While I’m still temporarily untouchable by the heroes within Kingscrow, apparently all the gawking and screaming and fleeing for lives messes with all of us going out for a group meal. Not the first of our problems related to me carrying around the trigger to a bomb they hadn’t found yet.
Technically, that’s terrorism. It’s amazingly effective as far as tactics goes. Think about it. For the price of one bomb in a building, I have the heroes thinking I’m going to nuke the city. They’re keeping it somewhat quiet, though. A gamble on their part. It mainly has to do with the fact that they have no evidence such a bomb exists within the city.
As a funny aside, they have overturned at least three hidden nuclear reactors in the city. Two were from secret labs. The third was some kid in his basement.
“I’m just gonna have to fucking blow it,” I told the girls as they unloaded the baskets. I was laying back on one of those reclining lawn chair thingies. Relaxing. Hey, I had to go steal the food for this adventure. I reached over and picked a banana off my tilted over Moai’s fruit hat. Chiquita banana. Only the most evil of food for our little trip.
What, you don’t believe me? Look up their history. Those bananas have blood on them. Oooh, there’s an idea. Maybe someone can make a red banana. No, wait. Too many dick jokes associated with it. No one would have the balls.
“The fuck., Gecko!” said Sam.
Obviously, not everyone was on board with this plan.
“Why?” she continued.
“It’s obvious, really. So long as I have what they assume is a nuke, I’m a potential threat. People are afraid of a potential threat. People will give themselves to dictators and beat the innocent to death with deviled eggs over a potential threat. It’s called being a scared little bitch. A survival instinct can be a powerful tool for control but it can also be incredibly destructive.”
“That makes no sense.”
“That’s humanity for you. I am utterly unfit to fit into a society of such mad people.”
“You’re calling us crazy?” asked Holly now.
“Says the woman who trusts unapologetic killers more than your own family,” answered Max, getting my back on this one. Moai tilted to offer Sam fruit as she set down a bowl with plastic wrap stretched over the top.
She thanked him and took a pear, then turned to Max, “Thought you were looking for ingredients?” I closed my eyes while I soaked in whatever rays got in through the near-perpetual cloudiness surrounding Kingscrow.
“I thought of something important I had to tell you all. It was on the tip of my tongue. It was something to do with…oh…what’s the name… Right, that’s right. Forcelight was on her way.”
“I’m right here now.”
“Move then, you’re in my sunlight,” I told her.
“Careful, you don’t want to get cancer,” said Max, oblivious to heroine. Then again, it’s just like Max to be oblivious to heroine.
“What are you here for, Forcelight? Can you wait until after the potato salad to fight us?” I asked as I opened my eyes and checked around. Nobody there but us chickens. And the super fox, of course.
“I’m here to de-escalate things, so go ahead and eat. In fact, got any extra?”
“Do we have any extra plates? We have an extra guest for some reason,” I ordered and clapped my hands. Holly clapped her hand against my ear.
“I’m here to talk for now.”
“Unusual. Sit. Eat. Drink. Be Mary Marvel. But no matter what goes on here, Max and the others don’t need to get arrested because of your sensitive disposition and thin skin.”
“Okay. I’m here on my own anyway. No Shieldwall or Long Life.”
And so began the epic mealtime. It was mostly silent due to the unexpected guest, until “This is what you robbed that store for, isn’t it?”
“Mhm. I provide the food, Max provides the drinks.”
Forcelight swiftly set down the two liter she held and pointed to Max “He provides the drinks? The guy who does the drugs gets the drinks?”
“Yeah. I’m not supposed to anymore after that ‘pick your poison’ time and Doc’s not here to get the drinks instead. We don’t let Doc pick the cuts of meat. Just like Max isn’t supposed to be lighting any incense here.”
“This isn’t incense.”
“It’s a bong,” and that’s all you need to know about why Kingscrow has cloudy weather and residents who just don’t give a shit.
“See? Just a nice picnic in a cemetery with drugs and superpowers.”
“You’re all so…casual about it,” said our heroic guest. She turned toward Holly and Sam. “Are they always like that?”
“Gecko goes a little crazy sometimes, but yeah.”
“Problem, Forcelight? And should we call you something a little shorter?”
“No and no. It’s just surprising that you’re both so casual about it. I thought more people would be self-conscious of being so different.”
Max swallowed the pice of shish kebob he was chowing down on before speaking, “I’ve been different my whole life. Why would I worry about it now?”
Moai nudged me with a pineapple. “Whaaaaaaat?” I drew out the question. He nodded toward Forcelight where she sat on the blanket with Holly and Sam. Max had his butt planted on a rectangular headstone nearby, but it was clear Moai was pointing me to Forcelight. She looked a lot smaller when she wasn’t flying around trying to punch my head off. She was watching us and caught me looking. “What was it you wanted to talk about anyway?”
“There’s been some changes at the corporate level. A restructuring of corporate values. With things changing I thought I’d take a risk and see if you could be bought off.”
I raised an eyebrow, then remembered to pull down my shades and reraise it. “You’re going to have to be more specific about everything with that.”
“Your work is worth millions, easily. If we can get mass production of your armor and nanites down then we’re talking about a fundamental shift in how the world works. We’ll pay you. You can live with millions. There’s no need for you to go around killing people and blowing things up.”
“You’ll just, what, cut me a check for letting y’all study that stuff?”
“Give us a hand figuring it all out and we’ll cut you a check. It’ll be your intellectual property, so you’ll get paid for it as long as it’s used.”
Max broke in there. “It sounds like a good deal.”
Sam and Holly nodded along to it. “Real good,” Holly said.
Sam added to “Take it.”
“I don’t know. It’s a corporation. And you say they’re restructuring their corporate values, whatever that means. For all I know, this whole deal was written down by Bennett Long on a list somewhere called ‘How to Conquer the World in 5 Easy Steps.’ As that guy who invented vaccines over here once asked, ‘Would you patent the sun?’ Ugh. Then there’s buy suits and wearing suits and those restrictive sexual harassment policies…”
Holly joined in “He’s a pig.”
Sam too, “Yeah, it’s true.”
And Max, apparently “Yeah, you won’t believe how often we have to throw a bucket of water on him.”
I glanced around at the others. “I see that all my goodwill has been paid back with slander and lies. You wound me, you guys, you surely do.”
“Hold on, let me provide some music for this heart wrenching scene,” said Sam before bringing together her thumb and forefinger for an award winning performance of the world’s smallest violin playing My Heart Bleeds for You.
Still, everyone was looking to me for an answer. “What time is it?”
Holly glanced at her watch “Threeeeee twenty four,” she said.
“Then let it be known far and wide that on this day…” I stood up as I speechified and checked the sky. “…with the express written permission of Major League Baseball…” There was the plane. The Enola Straight. “…cream, get the money, dolla dolla bill, yo…” It was headed out over the city for a special delivery from yours truly. “…four score and seven bong hits ago, I, Psycho Gecko reject this offer. Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird!”
They followed where I seemed to be looking. Forcelight spoke up, “That was a dumb way of answering. You could have just said no.”
“Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” I grabbed an apple off Moai’s hat. “If I had, I wouldn’t have shown you the plane about to drop the bomb.”
“What?!” blurted out Forcelight. To her credit, she took to the skies immediately and began chasing after it. It was a little too far gone for her to get there in time. To her detriment, she dropped the fucking potato salad. What did the potatoes ever do to her?
“The fuck are you doing!” Holly said as she beat me over the head with a shish kebab.
I had to cover up. “Ah! Y’all can just watch! Or get out of here.” Luckily I was facing the city when it went off. There was no explosion as it wasn’t nuclear or even conventional. Instead, the clouds and the city’s natural haze of pollution shifted away, throwing exploding birds around as well. We could see the windows of the buildings shatter from where we were. The explosion that consumed the spent device afterwards was easily lost.
“What did you do, Gecko?”
I let the sound wave from the device speak for itself.
It blew past us, the volume greatly reduced at our distance. Thanks to the power of the signal interceptor and my ability to purchase and modify really big speakers, the device that went off was extremely loud. Deafening to people up close. One single word that shattered glass and other materials sensitive to vibrations while forcing a repeat out of nearby sound systems, carrying a wave of air and broken windows throughout the streets. All with the power of just one word.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the bomb has been dropped and now Moai and myself shall make our way well out of the city and to Empyreal City. There’s just not much more I can do here to top the dropping of the F-Bomb.”