It’s awfully hard for a guy to get some work done around here, even with these guys on my side now. If it’s not the questions, it’s them refusing to work as hard as I want. If they’re working, it’s the interruptions. If it’s not the interruptions, it’s the disloyalty.
Can’t a guy work on a way to kill a few hundred thousand people in peace?!
I mean, sure, I have those assholes gather up all the stuff we’ll need for the Statue of Libety job, at least when Paveman isn’t ambushing some of them in the line of duty, but my eyes have to stay on the prize. That means I spent a lot of time working on the gun that’s a major part of making that happen. The prize is the destruction of Shieldwall, utterly and totally, and that means I finish building this intricate piece of hardware. I can imagine the headlines now. “Stupid heroes defeated by handsome, dashing, and well-hung rogue!”
“Boss. Boss! Hey, guy in charge, can you hear what I am saying?”
That, for example, is the kind of interruption I had to deal with.
I turned away from where I was lost in my thoughts to look at the Green who’d been sent to inform me of something. What had he been sent to inform me about? Why are you asking me? Ask him instead. “What do you want?” I asked him instead.
“We got a problem. Those two heroes got the Yurple boss in custody. He’s down at the precinct right now.”
I looked up from my screwing. I mean, I had a screwdriver and I was using it. “How’d they know where he was holed up?” The leaders were now in other accommodations. We knew where they were, but the point was that the father and son heroes fighting against us wouldn’t.
Oh yeah, Paveman’s still around, still ok. Whatever the specifics of his power, it’s not limited to rocks. I don’t know if there’s much of the original man under all of it anymore, but it gives him a surprising ability to bounce back from injury.
“I guess that worked out for him, didn’t it? Didn’t want to bother making sure Paveman was finished and now he’s been spanked by him instead. You ever fought a team of superheroes?”
The messenger shook his head.
“Well that’s too bad and is subject to change. Apollo, he of the body of a Greek god sculpture, still has their number and we have a traitor.” That last bit was very possible, but I don’t know for sure. I have to either break out Yurple Nurple or leave him in there. The second option means his gang will become uncooperative. Uncooperative is unhealthy around me, but people have notably thick skulls. I should know, I’ve busted enough of them. Might have to bust Nurple’s head if I leave him, because there are legal benefits to talking about more important criminals.
In the interest of not being defeated quite so easily, it’s time to try and maneuver a loss or a setback into something more useful. Improvisation, if done properly, is how you turn a setback into something helpful or at least not harmful to your goals. It can also impart a psychological advantage to your actions if it appears that anything done to you doesn’t even slow you down. And if everything done to you helps you even more, then you’ll really get people freaking out.
“A traitor? Why do you think that?”
I grabbed the Green by his shirt and slammed him against the wall. Bringing my face closer to his, I growled at him, “Because we are the only ones who knew where he was. In fact, not even all of you guys knew where he was. This was someone in the mid-to-high information group. Middle management and up. The assistant director of Strickland propane is naming names to the heroes! Help me find him! This man won’t be king of the hill while I’m around…unless it was you.” I narrowed my eyes at him and raised the screwdriver in my hand menacingly. Believe me, this screwdriver wasn’t meant for drinking alone on a Saturday night.
“Hey, it’s not me! Geez, you’re paranoid.”
“Paranoid?!” I raised the screwdriver closer to his eye, “Who told you I was paranoid? I want names!”
“Nobody fucking told me you were paranoid! Don’t put my eye out, man. I don’t know anything!”
“Oh yeah? What’s the capital of France?”
His panicked answer was, “Napoleon, D.C.?”
I let him go. “Good answer. Just what I wanted to hear.” He really didn’t know anything. I set him down and tossed the screwdriver behind me. It landed with the sound of broken glass.
“Alright, I think it’s very important I get ole Yurple Nurple out of there. Then we can focus on the traitor.”
Sometime later, I finished explaining my plan to the other two bosses and a couple of their top guys via conference call.
“Why tell us all of this?” asked Mean Green. I still haven’t bothered with their names. Rather than calling one Bob, one Jane, and the last one Slagathor, I’ve nicknamed them Big Red, Mean Green, and Yurple Nurple.
“Just in case any of y’all were willing to help out a comrade in arms or felt threatened if I was to run around killing people at the lockup. I know you don’t have a history of cooperation, but it can be useful to coordinate information like this when working together. Especially when working on my noble mission to help what’s-his-name escape from police custody as he clearly wants me to. And I will answer that call, because I care about him that much. Whoever he is.”
“But he’s got a-,” Big Red started to say, but I interrupted.
“I’ll get with y’all about who owes me the getaway car for him, later, bye!”
I hung up.
Even later than that, I set up on the opposite side of a small park across from the police station. It was in a nicer part of town, not too far from where they busted Yurple Nurple. As far as I could tell from the reports, Nurple was out and menacing a waiter. Well that’s just stupid.
Ladies and gentlemen, a tip: lots of people have attempted to get better service by asking “Don’t you know who I am?” when they were known to be criminals. So long as there’s no proof, it’s not all that bad. Being witnessed in the presence of a supervillain, making a deal with him, and working with him changes the nature of that question. They were in hiding for a reason.
They also had their own lawyers and the benefit of a legal system that takes awhile to get working, so it’s not really urgent that Nurple is released. It just fits into my plan better. If anything, getting broken out by me would just make him look worse.
I was on the other side of the part, as I said, with some gun I’d burglarized from a house while no one was home.
Moai came bouncing around the corner from where he parked the Minstrel and through the doors. From past experience, I knew he had a tendency to crash through a lot of things. Doors. Desks. People. Metal bars in a holding cell. It felt like it took forever. 16.37 minutes, according to my helmet. When Moai emerged, it was bouncing behind the confused-looking Yurple Nurple. He ran for it, across the street, egged on by Moai toward where a car was supposed to be.
I’d told the Yurples that the Reds had a car for them. The Reds thought the Greens provided a car. The Greens figured the Yurples had a car for their own guy. You’ll be much closer to enlightenment when you realize that the car is like a spoon. There is no spoon. There was no car. There was, to all the world, a uniformed police officer who pulled a gun and shot the fleeing criminal dead. He disappeared, and I made my public appearance in full armor then, running to the side of the criminal that had been shot by a cop they’ll never find.
Moai adjusted his course to head for the corner now that his part was finished. He just had to get to the Minstrel cycle and escape.
My part then was to look distraught for the cameras as I cradled the body of Nurple, shouting “Whyyyy?!” up into the air all dramatically.
“Whyyy?! Oh, you took him too soon, Lord!” I yelled as I held him in my arms. Speaking of dramatic stuff, I love doing things all hammy. “This, this death scene…it’s so tragic!” Hammy is good. “Who’ll take care of the children now?! Think of the children!” When I’m having a good time, I might as well show it. “You animals, why must everything I love be shot by police?”
It was around that time that Nurple spoke. It was soft owing to the massive physical trauma. “Help me…get…to…hospital.”
More than a half dozen officers had run outside by this time with their weapons drawn. I grabbed Nurple and lifted him up princess-style in my arms. “I’m going to kill you for shooting this man. You hear me? Each and every one of you has signed your own death warrants!” I called out to them.
Suddenly, Apollo sped onto the scene on a motorcycle. He braked, did a front wheelie, and came to a stop, then held out his hands toward the cops, “Don’t, I’ll handle it!”
I hoped the police would fire on me. They did fire on me. After they were all clicking empty, I glanced down at the man in my arms. Yep, definitely dead now. I tossed him aside. “Well, going to have to give you a rain check on the death warrants. I don’t have my dancing shoes with me and without those I just can’t serve y’all.”
I disappeared and got out of there, leaving the Yurple leader clearly shot dead by cops and Apollo clearly unsatisfied at not having even a chance to bring me in.
Earlier today, the Yurples worked out who their new leader is going to be. I backed a fellow who looked just bright enough to realize he needed to do what I said or he’d wind up dead. It was easy. Sure, they had some infighting over who got to be the boss now, but then I showed up and shook my guy’s hand. Not much reason to differentiate. Same scruffy face, same pasty skin. Only difference is, this one has a fauxhawk and an earring on one ear. I think I’ll call him…Rain. Yurple Rain.
“So happy to see the gang is all united behind you. In the interest of keeping our working relationship smooth, I was all set to eliminate any threats to the unity of the Yurples that might have arisen in these tumultuous times!”
As the other potential leaders got the hint, Rain shook my hand back and responded accordingly, “Yes, you did a great deal for our gang. Even if our old boss’s wish to be freed wasn’t carried out to anyone’s satisfaction, we can all agree that you’ve shown your goodwill to us. It’s only right that we show true goodwill and hospitality to you.”
Just think, some guys earn people’s loyalty with special missions that help them instead. The gang’s got some pep in their step. Big Red and Mean Green have been a little cold toward me, though. I should be able to hit Lady Liberty next week unless they pull something. Maybe point out that they tried to tell me that Yurple guy had a lawyer and wouldn’t need to escape. Maybe realize they’d been lied to about the car.
Good thing I have people thinking that somebody in this bunch ratted them out with all that talk of a traitor. If either of the bosses speaks out against me and we’ll suddenly find they’re our traitor.
Now have a good night you crazy drunken bastards out there reading this.