You know how damn hard it is to get news on superheroes with all this political crap going on? The major news networks are shit anyway, of course. Hell, the most watched one actually decreases your knowledge of the world. So, like all people do, I tried the internet. You’d just be surprised what sorts of searches turn up when you’re looking for news involving heroines. Especially strong heroine. Boy, did I ever feel like a dope. Hash out the puns later.
I even called up Harlon. He was a little preoccupied when he picked up. “Uh, hello old friend. Pardon me, Senator, this will only be a moment.” He quieted down as he spoke next, “I hate to blow you off, but I’m discussing campaign strategy with a, um, business partner. Is this something quick?”
“Geez, didn’t mean to catch you in the middle of blowing one of the candidates you’re going to try and get elected. Or getting blown by. I haven’t quite worked that relationship out.”
“Nobody’s blowing anybody! Shit.”
“Nice upscale restaurant you’re in?”
“Like they’d kick you and a Senator out just for talking about fellatio. Well, maybe don’t mention fellatio to the Congressman. They’ll think it’s an Italian dish or a Shakespeare character or something.”
“What did you actually call for?”
“I wanted to know about Long Life and how the board and top guys were handling Forcelight. Aneta Long, that is.”
“The only thing the network cares about right now is putting a positive spin on this shutdown. I can pull some strings when we get back, but you of all people should know we don’t actually deal with news.”
“Do what you can, Harlon. Now, you’d better get back to jacking off the politicians.”
“I’m not jacking anyone o-!”
I hung up on him there. He gets loud when he’s embarrassed like that. I should make it up to him. Send him a big kielbasa later, that sort of thing. Yeah, kielbasa and meatballs. Some good food so he can enjoy letting the taste explode in his mouth.
I found it the news I was looking for on the corporate business reports and sites related to stock trading. That explains how the super boards didn’t have it. Boom, there in the pixels all over: Shieldwall and Long Life split.
Funding, slashed. Sounds like a little thing, but there’s the flyers, crew, support staff for maintenance of the machines and the people. Special shampoo for Gorilla Awesome. A thousand different ways that heroes become capable of fighting people like me for a day job. Otherwise, you need a double life.
I’ve spent a lot of this time having to be ready to run. I lost hideouts and equipment. People that should be dead are conspicuously alive. That hurts a man’s reputation when he prides himself on being able to eviscerate victims with a can opener.
This was always, in part, a matter of attrition, though the occasional grand gestures worked pretty well too. You want to know why it wasn’t the army, the national guard, the CIA, FBI, NSA, SWAT, or even the Long Life Peace Officers who had their chance? Those regular people may be perfectly fit for the day to day normal world, but I’m an exceptional circumstance. To beat me, you have to be superhuman or the last of your kind. A martial arts master. An unstoppable force of nature. A super soldier. A god.
Yes, a little bit of gloating megalomania. I think I’m entitled to it, though that could be the megalomania again. Good thing I can keep myself sorted out in spite of that. It’s because I’m so awesome, you know.
You know, Shieldwall may yet attempt to stand against me, but they’ll have to do better than they have been. They’ll just have to ride the bus to pursue me.
Which reminds me, got my car in. Very important. When the driver pulled up in the parking lot behind Shithole Apartments, as I call them at least, I hauled him out the open window and had Moai hold him against a wall while I inspected my Black Sunshine. Everything was in order. Nothing fiddled with, though that reminded me to check the radio. “A pop station, eh? It’s your lucky day, you know,” I said as I turned to the terrified young man who had the misfortune of doing a good job for me. I walked over to a collection of objects I’d brought out for this: a heavy stone, a carving knife, a cooler, a jar of white fluid, a belt, and a sandwich grill.
I opened the cooler, grabbed a bottle of Pepsi, and held it out for the man. He looked at me, his look of confusion compounded by his inability to completely breathe in. I patted Moai on the shoulder. “Ease up and let the man enjoy his survival.”
Moai let the driver go. I shoved the soft drink into his hand. “Like I said, good choice. One of these was yours based on what station you left it on. In this case, you have pop!”
“Do I want to know what the others represent?”
“Well, Rock was pretty easy, though Jazz,” I held up the jar of white fluid, “would have gotten…messy. If you had the blues, then you’d have been blue,” I cracked the belt at him. “While Rap would have been a more pressing matter,” I told him as I picked some crumbs out of the sandwich maker.”
“What about the knife?”
Like cats are the only curious ones.
“That was for Country stations.”
“How is a knife the same as giving me Country?”
“It would have involved getting rid of your Penisry. There’s your damn drink, here’s your damn money, and I suggest getting out of town in a hurry,” I told him as I handed him money. I then began pushing him toward the street.
He was surprised at the real tip I’d given him. “Hey, this is a lot. You sure you didn’t count this wrong?” I didn’t get to answer before this asshole driver honked at us as he sped into parking lot with barely an attempt to brake. I threw my car’s delivery boy against the wall of the building and threw myself against him as well. We did not wind up city roadkill.
I handled it very calmly for a guy in life-or-death on a regular basis. I cussed out the driver. “You fucking fuckhead! Fucking watch where you’re fucking driving you fucker! Fuck you!” I pulled up the delivery guy. “You want to add anything to it? Could stand some variety.”
“No thanks. I’m lucky enough as is. You didn’t kill me for arriving, you didn’t kill me with rock or give me a…country. You tipped me good. Now this guy missed me. I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and get the hell out of here. I met you five minutes ago and nearly died three times already. I’m gone.”
And with that, he turned to leave.
“So, think you can just walk away from me, do you?” I said softly to myself. “Moai!” I called out, “fetch me my…implements.” I then whipped the air cannon out of my coat.
Moai pushed over the various items all set on the cooler. “You know, some smooth Jazz is normally good for defusing hostile situations,” I told my minion. Then I called out to the delivery guy before he got too far away, “You might want to look at me while I do this!”
He stopped and turned. I then took aim with the cannon at the car that nearly hit us and its driver who was finishing a joint before stepping out of the car. I called to Moai, “Pull!”
In the end, that just made the guy speed some more, but this time to a car wash.
But that was all the other day. Today, I attempted to take advantage of the crash with a raid on the Guggenheim. Some of you may see the problem there. Yes, the Guggenheim is not actually a Federal museum, but my only options for those were some Native American museum and a museum about aesthetics and design. What the fuck am I possibly going to do with President Lincoln’s reupholstered desk chair, huh? You tell me how menacing that is?! “Gentlemen of the UN. I have here Abraham Lincoln’s famous ass cushion. Give me $100 million by midnight, or the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum will have to re-ass-ess their exhibits.
Just great. Washington D.C. gets institutes to air and space, American history, natural history, portraits, and even a zoo for fucking animals. That’s fucking as an adjective, not a verb, though you never know. Apparently there are some people in Washington who find bestiality to be comparable to gay sex. With how natural and widespread homosexuality seems to be, that comparison leaves me wondering if some of those guys are trying a little too hard to help the pandas reproduce.
But yeah, D.C. gets a museum to everything and what does Empyreal City get? A museum to interior design! It’s the only museum where visitors pay to leave.
So I hit the Guggenheim instead because the name is funny. There was a lot of artsy shit. I guess that’s to be expected in an art museum. I’m not an art thief, though, but I doubt anyone could do jack shit with something like “Impenetrable” which is made up of fishing wire and some steel rods.
I tested it, too. Let me tell you, those rods aren’t impenetrable at all. You throw a guy hard enough and he will get through. Great exhibit for weight loss, though.
I admit, I felt some kinship with this one Russian guy, though. He drew the same way I grab weapons: whatever the hell he felt like, it was in. I saw one looked like a cross between a bacteria and a grade school project. Sadly, it wasn’t one of those works of art with a hidden inner meaning like “I’ve secretly hidden a deadly pathogen on the backside of the canvas.”
I grabbed a souvenir, though. Before you ask, no, it wasn’t the naked bronze woman. Nice full-figured woman, more realistic on the boobal region, but I was disappointed that the curves kept some things out of sight. I tried and I tried but I just couldn’t break one of her legs off to get a better view, no matter how many times I hit her with the museum director. He was happy to volunteer rather than finish that call to the cops. Those guys have more important problems to deal with. Don’t you know there are murderers running around out there?
You know, I like to think that the fire I set was itself a form of art. After all, it showed people the beauty of something they otherwise would have overlooked. A bunch of boring paintings and shit, kept in rooms to be admired by people who don’t engage with the art on anything but an intellectual level. They sure as hell engaged emotionally when they had to avoid getting smacked in the head with a still-life or rescue some burning Picassos.
It was embracing the frailty of those works, the idea that they are truly transient, that showed the beauty of them. I think. Certainly not why I started the fire. I was just playing with a lighter when I saw this awesome picture of a blue lobster scaring the crap out of a fish.
I kept that one as a souvenir. Not the only one either. There was this one of a bird on a tree as seen if the person viewing it was Cthulhu or if the bird was some sort of Old One or something. Don’t they have monsters named after weird shapes in that whole mythology? Either way, the bird looked like a striped starfish and made a fine addition to the wall over my toilet.
Besides the souvenirs, the other good thing about the trip was that it inspired me to another grandiose action. A celebration of my imminent defeat of Shieldwall, in fact.
Oh Lady Liberty, you symbol of America. As soon as I round up a bunch of people to help me out, you’re in for an update. Some things to really make you a symbol of this country.
Folks, my next scheme is as simple as it is ingenious: we give the Statue of Liberty a boob job.