What to do, what to do? This quiet game shit is booooring. Maybe while I’m fabricating new armor, I should put together a new suit and go out incognito as another villain. Or maybe I can go around pretending to be a hero?
On the one hand, that never works out well for the villains who do it. The henchmen might start to get ideas about being good because it feels good to do good things or however that bullshit goes. I’m sure it feels real fucking fantastic to do good things when you’re in a financial state where you can, but not everybody’s got the money to buy poor kids new houses and new cars and new rims. Hell, you ever follow up on the people that receive those gifts from those shows? Not a pretty picture, because the assholes giving them the gift are so focused on being nice that they forget the fancy house they just gave that family just tripled their property taxes and is going to be on the market in a few months when the banks send some large men to throw away everything inside the place.
There was a woman once who suggested I could reform myself. Two, actually. The first one was a non-combatant. A teacher. This scumbag paid me to beat down some reformed minions she was helping and haul her in. And I mean scumbag. This is the kind of guy who doesn’t give sugar pills to sick people…not when he could put his own urine in the capsules instead. Someone for whom eye gouging is a babysitting technique. A real asshole. The punks that woman had helped went down easily enough, but I just couldn’t make it to get her in time. I had to wash my hair and do laundry and then there was a flat tire. I had to start grabbing people and piling them up under the car to lift it up high enough to cut the wheel off, and then I learned you weren’t supposed to do that with a laser. You win some, you lose some, I guess. But then she had to send that note saying it wasn’t too late to change, which I lost when my bathroom mysteriously caught fire some time after I purchased a flamethrower.
I blame the fluoridated water. It should have been more watery.
On the other hand, a lot of things I do don’t work out how I planned them, so maybe planning to do something that never works out will confuse and discombobulate however that works and I’ll be the guy to rescue the inventor of the Blowjob Pop. Just pop it in your mouth, and it’ll feel like you’re getting a blowjob! Comes in wax lip varieties for women.
Ah, but that’s right. No need to worry about my own finances at this time. Seems I chose a sufficiently evil firm to invest with. I learned the other day that they’ve done some great things with my investments. I got part of a credit default swap. Near as I can tell, that’s when I make money if someone refuses to pay a loan. The kind of thing that causes a depression if a bunch of the companies did it en masse.
So the company took out this bet on some company casinos or tacos or something. Then they wrote the company a big ass loan with a condition that they pay back their other loan a few days late, which caused that bet my investors made to strike it rich. I’m sure that sounds a bit illegal to all of you. It’s insurance fraud writ large and legal. Yes, I said legal. I could have bragged about that shit to Shieldwall and they couldn’t have done a thing.
See, the biggest criminals don’t have to hide because they’ve bribed the right people to have their crimes made legal. Perhaps I should go into corporate evil fulltime. The costumes aren’t as awesome, but you can get away with anything.
I don’t know, something to consider. It’d certainly be a good step toward my goal of owning a gold-plated gun that shoots liquid gold. I could go to a grocery store and they’d all be like “Mr. Gecko! What an amazing gun you have, and such a smooth barrel. Can I touch it?”
And I’ll be like “Why certainly, my dears. Matter of fact, all the supermodels who happen to shop in this particular Cheep-Mart can take a break from the bottom barrel prices and pet the barrel of my gun. Try to contain your eagerness, ladies, and watch your fingers. We wouldn’t like for it to slide into the wrong hole and fire off a drippy liquid round. I’ve got liquid gold coming out this barrel.”
Then the manager will come over and be like, “Sir, do you mind if my daughter touches it? She’s a little young, but this might be her only opportunity to get her hands on something so magnificent.”
And I’ll go, “I really think this has gotten awkward now and I’d rather kids weren’t touching the heat I’m packing. Ladies, shall we retire to my private ‘firing range?’”
Then it’d probably go off accidentally while I was cleaning it or something. The important thing is having a useless status symbol I’ll barely if ever use that would only make me look good to a society I’m hardly a part of. That’s what having lots of money is all about here when you have no crimes to spend it on.
Someone meant for me to consider something else with my time and attention as well. I got a Christmas card.
The front featured a man, a robot, and a rock with eyes drawn in a simplistic, childish manner. They all stood outside a house, holding sticks with white things on the end over an open fire that led to the house by a trail. The house was on fire.
The inside had this to say: “Dear Gecko, I’d hoped you’d curtail your Christmas sins, but you still like knocking people down like pins. If this year you want to avoid drowning in coal bins, then go to 674 East 24th before the end begins.”
It was signed “De Goede Sint”. The good saint, another name for the spirit of the season.
A little Santa in the same style as the figures on the front had its hand up in a wave toward me.
“Hey boss, welcome back. You get some mail?” asked Carl as I came inside. He was sitting across from Moai, cleaning his new gun.
I closed the card and held it up, “I hope you’ve spent some time with that thing not in your hand while I’ve been gone. You see anyone stop by and drop this off?”
“Nope. And I have too set it down,” he answered and set the mini-pistol down to take a swig of his beer. He then set the can down on the table and slammed his head against it, not quite getting it flat. Moai then got up and hopped over to a nearby keg and headbutted it flat.
“That’s no fair, you got that big head made of rock,” Carl told Moai. Then he pulled out another beer and gulped it down all in one sitting. A large belch followed me to the computer. I had an idea what happened, but I still pressed my hands to the computer and ran through the surveillance cameras’ memory to see how the card got there.
Nothing helpful. It was just there at one point. Poof, right out of thin air.
Seeing as I wasn’t likely in the guy’s good graces this year, I figured I’d better look into it.
I checked the fabricator. The armor wasn’t done yet. A lot of the basic stuff, like muscle enhancement systems and hologram subsystems, was done, but the external armor and micro cameras weren’t present yet.
When I was working out the latest upgrades, I considered not even rebuilding the armor to this general design since I’m supposed to keep a low profile. My other thought was armor that looked like a jester’s outfit. It would seem loose in some places to conceal the thickest armor.
I still might go ahead and put that together too. Something useful to let me fight without constantly keeping an illusion up. This time, though, I’d be going in my civvies.
Luckily, we had a van by this time. My car’s still in the hands of the police right now. Damn thing’s almost more trouble than it’s worth. Almost. That’s the problem with having no secret identity but a car that’s meant to pass with the mundanes.
Anyway, Carl drove, Moai sat shotgun. Of course I leave shotgun to the limbless statue while I sat in back. Better acoustics as we sang Bohemian Rhapsody. When we were at the last intersection before our stop, our Bohemian hedonism was interrupted by another van skidding out through an intersection right in front of us. We weren’t able to stop in time, so we had ourselves a low-speed collision.
I was the first out of our van, popping open the door and affecting an exaggerated stagger. “Oooh, ah, my ass! My poor sphincter! Oh the pain, oh the suffering. Somebody get me a goat, a knife, some robes, and a book of Latin chanting. I need to summon a lawyer.”
By that time, I’d made my way to the driver’s side. Come to think of it, no one had exited the other van. When I looked up through the driver’s side window, I saw why. A bronze man in a copper helmet with gears and sprockets on both face and helmet.
He opened the door and smacked me in the nose, knocking me away. More such men began to file out of their van. Even with the sky cloudy and the sidewalk covered in snow, their copper and leather breastplates gleamed. Clunkers. Steampunk robot men. Whirring and grinding accompanied their movements, as did small sprays of steam.
They were a general type of minion. Some steampunk supervillain used them at some point and supposedly sold the blueprints whenever he got caught to pay his attorney’s fees. You see them turn up from time to time being used by somebody with too many goggles and bowler hats and not enough sense to give them lasers or shark teeth or something.
“Only eight of you, eh? You might take it easy on me because I’m mostly flesh and blood, but you only got steam, punks. Boys?” I turned toward the van. Carl stood beside the driver’s side, automatic pistol with rotating minigun-style barrels in one hand, glove with jagged razor sharp knuckle edges on the other. Moai was not only heavy and made of stone, but he had a shotgun. I wanted a literal seating arrangement.
Suffice it to say, the clunkers didn’t last long. The last two only went when I was finished trying to muddle through that Carol of the Bells with their heads and the side of their van.
“Boss, what are you doing?”
“Carol of the Bells!”
“…I don’t see no woman here.”
“It’s a song.”
“I don’t see no song here.”
I threw my hands up in the air, still holding the heads of the clunkers. Their headless bodies slumped to the street. “Fine, screw it. See if I get in the holiday spirit!”
Moai checked the back of their van, then leaned out to look at me. He looked back in, then leaned back out. He did this a few more times.
“Alright, what is it?” I walked back there to check. “Dammit, Santa, this better not turn into a holiday special.” I pointed at the wee blonde baby swaddled in the back of the van and looked up at the sky. “Curse you, Santa Claus!”
I like to think he was somewhere overhead as I yelled it, but that’s unlikely. Either way, not as satisfying as cursing the name Balthazar. It’s the best name to curse, hands down. Well, hands up. No, no, don’t hand over the money, I was talking about how you stand when you curse Balthazar.
The kid was fine, by the way. Amazingly quiet, which has me worried, but unhurt. We had no idea where they got it. No parent or cop giving chase. Nothing.
I did see one sight that stood out in regards to the baby’s safety. I caught a glimpse of a man in an old-fashioned suit watching us. Unkempt hair, dark circles around his eyes, and something dried and red around his lips and down one corner of his mouth. He was clinging to the side of a building but skittered out of sight when he noticed me looking. Skittering like his namesake. Spider. I recognized him from last year. The same incident that confirmed for me that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Granted, he’s more like a personification of the holiday season instead of a confirmation of any one holiday, but Santa’s still real dammit!
So, we had old steampunk robots kidnapping a baby with a magical old villain nearby too. I’d have rather left the baby for the authorities to find when investigating the hubbub, but there was no way in hell I was leaving the kid to Spider.
And that’s why we have an unusual baby hanging around that doesn’t do a lot of crying. Luckily, Carl’s had lots of experience with kids. Moai keeps a close guard on the crib we threw together out of spare parts from the Heatflasher ray and some blankets. Enough blogging for now, though. I should get back to hunting down any kidnappings in the city that may have been involved with Spider or his clunkers.