Legs are back and working just fine after a little jabbing with needles. I had to sit around, but the Reds didn’t come back. The Greens and Yurples are gone too. The guys in charge have changed up where they’re hiding. The Reds are outright hostile, Big Red having figured out what I did to get the Yurples on my side. I know that because another squad showed up. They opened up on the building with the humvee-mounted minigun.
“Yeah, you gonna fuck over anybody, ain’t you? Well you ain’t fuckin’ over the Reds! Not you or any other power hungry mad dog who thinks we’re nothing but labor to be used up and spat out. We’re the Reds! A family. A Soviet. A revolution.”
It sounded really impressive right up until I flung a headless rubber chicken out. They laughed at it even as it got to its feet and began walking. And walking. And boom. Then I was the one laughing. For the visually impaired, here’s the sound effects: “ratttttttttttta, ha ha ha, flooooong, boink, waka waka waka waka, fwoom!”
The Yurples and the Greens just bugged after all that because nobody wants to fight a heroic colossus. I tried to tell them we could just get some swords and some climbing lessons and take it out with a few well-placed stabs to the weak point, but they hung up. I guess it doesn’t help that none of them, not even the Yurples, fully got over me starting a gang war. Greed and fear of me is one thing. Fear of Paveman has overshadowed that, it seems.
That’s one thing Machiavelli left out of that little satire of his. Fear only works so long as you’re the thing they’re most afraid of. That didn’t mean I was out of cards to play, though. I took some footage out of the ole memory banks. Suddenly, the cops would like to speak to the bosses about their connections to arms dealing, prison breaking, drug trafficking, and not having tags on boat trailers.
As for going after Paveman…well…that had to wait until Halloween. There’s the truce for Halloween, and it’s just an occasion I enjoy.
There’s just something about Halloween. A holiday of costumes and masks. See, a lot of people in the U.S. get dressed up for it, but especially those with simple, childlike minds. So kids and politicians. Either way, you have lots of people running around in costumes and masks. A hero could drop in on his nemesis only to find he’s beating up his next door neighbor. A villain could kidnap some heroine he’s obsessed with and find out it’s just some random woman named Jenny.
So we take the day off. That simple. It’s more of a community thing. You know, there’s villain websites, villain news, even villain parties around. It’s not a huge deal. There are no gigantic team-ups in a legion or anything. They don’t invite me. They have all these unofficial rules, chiefly that you shouldn’t kill heroes. They gave me a shot, once, at a party. Some heroes they invited didn’t like me, though, and murdering a friend of theirs stuck in their craw a lot worse than just killing a hostage. The difference between the Them that don’t have powers or masks, and the Us that do.
I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I was new. I’d made a grand entrance at the center of an explosion that wiped out a town. I was mysterious and dangerous. Boy was I ever mysterious and dangerous. I was also weak. First responders show up, with heroes among them. I couldn’t speak the language, I didn’t know where I was. I lashed out. Well, technically the guy with the whip lashed out. I just hung him with it. Hanged him with it. To this day, I don’t even know enough English to tell which of those past tense versions of “hang” is correct. But I know now that whippersnapper was the friend of a very annoying person with a shrill voice.
So after I got forcibly ejected by a talking erudite dinosaur, they explained why I’d no longer be on the mailing list. Something about escalation and other reasons. Ooh, I remember now. Because if heroes and villains fight but don’t try to kill each other, then people feel safer about the fact that people with superpowers are fighting each other but not killing each other. I think they were bullshitting me on that one, but I’m just not allowed at parties anymore. I suppose I can see the escalation thing, someone. I don’t need their stinkin’ community, though. With parties. And Blackjack. And hookers. Actually, one of the villains used to be a prostitute. Nice lady. Her name was Minnie the Moocher and I’ll have to tell you a story about her sometime. Ah, but I’m telling a little too much now as it is instead of showing.
I like the Halloween truce, though. It’s based on sound reasoning, and I am obviously a perfectly rational person. Plus, it’s maybe the only day of the year I have fans here. Not many, but they exist. Maybe
You know, the whole killing people all the time thing, that really turns off the costume makers. I get Icelandic death metal guys that like to run around pretending they’re into murder and mayhem while singing loud. They’re not here even on Halloween, though.
So I just kinda mingled. Walked around in costume with Moai by my side, out in the open, for everyone to see. There were no random high fives. Is it too much to ask that someone would just randomly want to high five me? Anyway, walking got boring, so we stopped by Central Park, which is the temporary home of the Statue of Liberty right now. Paveman took the day off from using his power on it. The only problem was finding a pose that worked. There were supports all in the thing, down to the base. He didn’t take the base, though, and the human body isn’t perfectly balanced. Throw in the wind, and there was potential for some real danger or embarrassment there.
The danger was if it fell over. The embarrassment was if he chose a pose like Lady Liberty on all fours. Instead, she’s got her arms out from her sides and a wide stance. Reminds me of Vitruvian Man, actually. I guess we’ll find out if Paveman is as good at balancing copper statues as he is at taking over them
I thought his power involved sucking up nearby rocks and stones and stoney-like things. I never really figured out how that applied to asphalt, but I figured that was just some sort of theme thing. I don’t know exactly how it works, and Paveman’s not talking about it, so I just have to assume he can pull that on metal. He must have tried to pull in almost the entire Statue, future chewing outs be damned!
As a man who uses metal on a suit to help protect myself from bullets, this ability is cause for concern. As a man vulnerable to being squished by something giant, so is what he pulled with the Statue.
I ran into him there, by the way. He and Apollo were posing for the kids, taking photographs, giving autographs.
“Hey,” I said, and gave a little wave.
“Hiya,” said Paveman. Apollo frowned.
“How’s the autographs going?”
“They’re ok. Thinking of joining me for a few? Play up the big fight?” Paveman offered. He may be old school and made of road that’s had roadkill on it…but Paveman’s got class. There are some concerned adults around and the cops are eyeing me funny, but I struck a pose.
“Moai, look threatening,” I said. He didn’t move. I checked the rear display. Nope. No moving, “I can see you didn’t do anything. I said look threatening.” Once again nothing. Then, he slowly began to tip.
“Look out, it’s gonna fall!” someone in the crowd shouted. Moai just held himself there. Itself. Whatever. It’s pretty much interchangeable with the big lug.
“Good job,” I told him. Then, to Paveman, “So, you want to lock up, or have us just about to punch or what?”
“Locking up isn’t very photogenic. Maybe an action pose, where I’m holding your throat and getting ready to hit,” he said.
“Good thinking. I can be kicking you in the stones,” I said.
“I like it. That image really shows how you fight,” he told me as I stood there and let him put his hand around my throat. He raised his hand up as if to swing an ungainly punch at my head.
Moai just tilted ominously near us, as if about to fall.
I grabbed at his wrist with one hand and lifted my leg, resting my shin gently between his legs as I spoke, “Well, I doubt they’d let us get away with me trying to stick my hand up your-“
“Whoa! Dad, you’re cool with this?” Apollo interrupted.
“Son, it’s Halloween. He’s not fighting, we’re not fighting,” Paveman tried to reassure his son.
“Yeah, for all you know I could just be a man in a costume, guy-whose-name-I-don’t-know-because-I’m-just-a-man-in-a-costume,” I said to cover my ass.
“A lot of us think that breaking the rules like you do means you shouldn’t be protected by them. I’m inclined to agree with them with the way you treated Venus and the Human Sloth. I heard you had to kill him because he was beating you in a breakdance fight.”
“Fool! Nobody can outdance me! Except for Stephen Hawking, that is, but I have sworn revenge upon him!” I yelled, throwing my fist to the sky. It stayed attached, in case you were wondering.
Apollo furrowed his brow as contemplated the implications of my outburst, “Definitely Psycho Gecko. You’re really like that all the time?”
I lowered my upthrust hand and answered with a question, “Like what?”
“You are fairly eccentric,” Paveman said.
“Such a statement from Mountain Man and Boulder Boy does not impress me. It wouldn’t even impress your friend the talking gorilla,” I turned away from Paveman to address the crowd, “We’re all different, unique even. Would you pave over those differences and stay a uniform cog in the machine? I hope not. Arete, my friends. Be the best you that you can be. For all your strengths and all your faults, be absolutely fucking awesome!”
I got applause, save for a few people with sour expressions and kids with innocent little ears who never heard the word “fuck” before no matter how many times their parents watched HBO or hit their own thumb with a hammer.
Despite the possibility I’d get to people, the heroes posed with me and we all had a time. Kids brought us candy, which is another good thing about Halloween, and then they left to go to some hero charity Halloween ball or something. Not even an invitation for poor lil Psycho Gecko. But that’s ok. I don’t need their balls! Psycho Gecko doesn’t need any balls at all!
What I needed was to finish work on my special weapon…the Heat Ray! Ok, it needs a better name. I can do this. Think, think, think…lightbulb! Beware, heroes, for soon you shall feel the wrath of my terrible Heatflasher! I’m just glad I didn’t have to give up my ride. I was considering cannibalizing my scooter for parts so I didn’t have to rewire a few things, but luckily I didn’t have to lose the Minstrel cycle.
Lady Liberty will be the first, something to draw their attention as I failed to merely amuse myself with it. Soon, this city will be forced to defend itself with a Shieldwall. Soon, it will be shattered…bwahahahahaha!
The Shieldwall, that is. I don’t care if the city is. Just wanted to clarify the subject there. Good grammar and all that. Oh, and I definitely didn’t mean the State of Liberty would be shattered, just in case you were wondering.
Now back to what I was doing before…Bwahahahahahaha!