So, yeah. Things could have gone better lately. I’ve been running back and forth to the hardware stores getting stuff for Moai to patch himself up with. We’ve relocated well away from the warehouses. I’m currently based in this old club that closed up. I think it was some sort of goth club called Heart Failure, but with an image of a heart there in front of the word Failure. I will freely admit to not spending a lot of time in clubs, let alone goth ones, but I don’t expect that a heart is what they want to see if they go to a club. If it was an anatomical heart, then I think they’d still be in business. Regular ole “I heart you” heart, though…that’s not bringing in the daywalkers.
Still, the guy who owns the building needed money more than he needed questions answered, and sales of windows have been pretty high lately. I have enough for what I’m doing, but working for myself just isn’t as profitable as killing individuals that other people dislike a great deal. I hear the Mafia’s got an offer out on the Pope right now, as a matter of fact. Kiddy fucking? They don’t care. But a Pope riding around without the bulletproof glass, embracing the diseased, and suggesting that atheists can be good people? That’s a step too far for the Sicilian murderers.
You know, I should call up Father Poffo, see if he’s willing to make me a counter offer. Maybe later.
Rather than worry about traps at this juncture, I stopped by Rothstein’s Sports Bar to have a nice lunch, lay down some feelers, and fish for people who I could trick into taking a bullet or mystical blast for me. Like, maybe I’ll get lucky and find some skinheads dressed up in tights with swastikas, pretending that being around people with powers makes them some sort of superior men. Those types are great. I hear people talk all the time about how bad it is to kill your own minions, but those people have clearly never sweet-talked wannabe-Nazis into working for them using nothing but code words about keeping the government out of small business matters. The good guys don’t even feel bad when you execute those fuckers.
Unfortunately, I have yet to get those expendable idiots. All these bigots around, but I’ve got no luck finding them to serve as my human shields.
Well, they might have been in there, but no sooner had I tried to make the bouncer live up to his name by using him as a pogo stick than Elita bitchslapped me a few streets away. And by bitchslap, I mean I was the bitch, not her.
So I dusted myself off, set my wrist back in its socket, and gave myself a small injection of nanites to handle all the repair work. I didn’t have my armor on. I make sure to point that out because that fall could have been a lot worse if that bunch of charity-fundraising nuns wasn’t there for me to land on. Not only did they break my fall, they had money just waiting around for the Buy Psycho Gecko Lunch Fund. I’ll have to thank them when they get out of the hospital.
While there was little chance I would meet some new people to rope into my schemes, there was a diner and I was hungry. I went in, I found a booth, I ordered food and drink, and I waited.
It was then, while my chicken sandwich was being cooked, that I found myself facing Apollo. He didn’t look marble, but it was him. He had the same face and the build was about right.
Powers with an on/off switch. They can be a blessing and a curse. A big, bad monster can turn back into a mild-mannered man to hide. Or perhaps forced back into that form. Either way, it provides a great way to hide one’s job as a crimefighter from vicious villains and parasitical paparazzi. I’m glad I have hardly ever had to deal with them, by the way. Last time someone in news tried to get all up in my business, it went very badly for two of them and their boss.
While some powers are inconvenient for people to keep on all the time, like a man made of marble, it also means that someone can be killed when they have a protective power off, like a man made of marble.
Back to this encounter. I saw Apollo. My face was changed, like it tends to be, and it’s cold enough now that the trenchcoat doesn’t look out of place so he didn’t realize it was me at first. He sat down with his back to me in the booth next to mine, but closer to the door, across from a man with Asian features and short blue hair. Mechamoto, perhaps?
Either way, I slid under the table and popped up on the other side. I grabbed a napkin and tapped Apollo on the shoulder. He turned to look at me, curious. “Hello handsome, I think you dropped something.” I folded up the napkin and handed it to him.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“My number,” I told him.
He opened it up. “It’s blank.”
“I dropped my pen. I guess you’ll just have to give me yours.”
“My…pen?” he queried with raised eyebrows.
“I meant your number.”
“Listen, I don’t know you and I’m not-“
“Don’t bother. He’s probably not serious,” spoke a voice I had a tendency to hear only at the worst times. “And if he is, you don’t want him to call you.”
Apollo and I both looked over to see Venus, outside of her costume, standing there at the end of the table.
“Hello Boopsie,” I welcomed her with a grim smile. It’s not the fighting that bothered me so much as the potential loss of my chicken sandwich. I wanted my chicken sandwich.
“Hello Gecko,” she nodded to me. Apollo scooted away from me along the booth.
I looked between the three of them, noting how Mechamoto, or who I thought was Mechamoto, had his hands beneath the table. I looked at him, “Hey, do we have to do this right now? Come on, man, I’m hungry. You’re probably hungry. There are squishy people around who are going to get hurt. Can’t we just sit down and eat some food without me having to cut somebody?” I whipped my butter knife around in front of me. “Besides,” I offered, “If I have to leave here, I’ll be in a bad mood out in public where it’s hard to contain me.” I wiggled the knife helpfully.
“Alright, if you’re serious, we’ll leave you be, for now,” Venus conceded and took a seat next to Mechamoto. She turned to whisper something to him that, according to my reading, could have been either “Call in reinforcements,” or “At least he’s not out killing people.”
I reached over and stroked Apollo’s earlobe. He got goosebumps. “How about you eat without putting your hands on other people?”
“Awww,” I whispered loudly to Apollo, “That’s ok. I’m sure I’ll get my hands on you later.”
Just then the waitress arrived with my chicken sandwich. I turned and commenced to condimenting it. “Thanks.” Then the ambulance sped by with alarms going.
“Ambulances…did you kill someone already today?” Venus asked. I saw the others tense.
“Nah, the nuns will live,” I turned to reassure her. People like being reassured face to face. You can tell. Just ask how many people would be reassured by meeting a faceless person. Not too many, I think.
“Wasn’t my fault,” I said with a shrug.
She raised an eyebrow at me.
“It was an act of God. It rained men. Hallelujah, it rained men. Amen!” I raised a hand and pointed at the ceiling.
Mechamoto just stared at me for a good few seconds, then spoke, “He really is like this all the time.”
“Yep,” said Apollo and Venus at the same time.
“Hey, you know your hair?” I asked as I pointed at his blue furry head cover.
“I know of it.”
He and I just stared at each other for about a minute after that as he didn’t answer and I waited. He with his hands still below the table, me with my eyes bugging out and a wide grin on my face.
“You done eating, hon?” asked the waitress as she stopped by to fill up my Coke. The soft drink, not the drug. There are people of a strange mind out there who seem to believe I do a lot of drugs. I have no clue where they get this from, but fear not! Aside from alcohol, I don’t bother with such things. No drugs, no narcotics, no prescribed medication. Remember kids, say no to drugs and you could wind up to be like me.
Maintaining my gaze, I brought my sandwich around in front of me. Staring. The whole time.
And yet, it was still better to them than the thought of me running around doing whatever it is I do with myself. That’s how you out-crazy the people in tight pants right there.
“Fuck!” said my waitress as she looked down at a recently-abandoned table. I slid out of my chair and was behind her in no time, tapping her on the shoulder.
“Huh. No, these people left me this! Look at this!”
She held it up for me to see. The “it” in question looked like a shorter 10 dollar bill from the rear. On the other side was some tract about accepting Jesus and blah blah blah. Ouch. You think you’re getting money that you need because you make like $2 an hour, but it’s all a bait and switch? Harsh.
“It’s the third time I’ve gotten one of these in the last couple of weeks,” she smoldered.
“What’d they look like?” I asked.
The heroes, meanwhile, had stood up and joined us around the fake money.
“It was that old couple. They took a carryout box, the ungrateful shits,” answered the waitress.
“Is there anything we can do to help?” asked Mechamoto.
“Not you,” I said with a grin and a growing chuckle, “But I sure as hell can help.”
He tried to grab me as I ran for the door, tossing money behind me. It was a cold, calculated plot to tip the waitress, pay for me meal, and encourage other diners to obstruct pursuit. Over my laughter, I thought I heard him say, “I’m calling in the team.”
I wasn’t sure which direction they were headed, but randomly running took me to them as they tried to get into their car around the corner.
“Heyheyheyheyhey!” I called out as the old man helped his wife into their car. He looked up as I raised a hand and slapped him hard enough to send his dentures flying. His head bounced off the old towncar and I grabbed hold of it again. His screaming wife tried to crawl across the seat.
“Open wide, honey. I got a tip for you!”
As expected, there was a horrified gasp. Don’t worry, I didn’t touch the old bat. Not even once. No, I threw her husband at her and lodged his head somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go. If you’d like to know more, then congratulations, you get to learn about the word “unbirthing” today!
Images are NSFW, of course. Ah, World Domination in Retrospect. Teaching people all the things they didn’t know they needed to know since January 2013.
I turned to see Mechamoto standing there holding a phone in one hand and a black bladed tanto that didn’t hold a reflection.
“Oh come on, you’re really going to hold this against me?” I asked.
He just stood there, not saying anything, but not raising the weapon. “It doesn’t matter if I think they deserve it. It’s about duty. Doing what’s right isn’t about when it’s just convenient and you like the people you save.”
“And sometimes it’s about doing things that seem wrong and illegal to make sure that assholes get what’s coming to them,” I took a pause as the lady groaned in pain and hit the roof of the car a couple times. “Hey, shut up in there or I’ll remember I was aiming for your other hole!”
Seeing as Mechamoto was inclined to run me through, I had to jump into the old car, sit on the old lady’s head, and fished out the old fellow’s keys to make my getaway.
It was nice to have a breather considering everything I’ve been doing lately. It cheered me up at least. But then, isn’t that what hurting people is for?