Despite the worried phone call from Carl, I had to spend yet another night with Alysha at her place. It wasn’t planned that way, at least by Alysha. She insisted I stay at a motel for the night and pick her up to continue our search of the last couple of residences. Her trust in me is somewhat limited. Oh well. I snuck her phone away when she wasn’t looking and put my own personal tap on it so that it functioned as a bug for me. She’s got a home phone, too, so it seemed possible she’d try to warn someone on that one.
I wanted to keep on going, hopefully nail that stinking son of a koala’s afterbirth in the night, but it seemed like the kind of thing to upset my guide.
As I left Alysha’s, though, I spotted some guy walking up. Magnificent dome on him. I wanted to use his head in an overly elaborate laser trap.
He gave me a look. Wide eyes at first, then he narrowed them. Followed me with his eyes. Immediately, the most polite response to come to mind was to pick him up and drive his head into the floor repeatedly while making barnyard animal noises. It would have been grand, but nooooooooo, I had to behave. Because apparently regular people aren’t allowed to trust people just because they like to murder a little bit.
I was checking my future victim’s Twitter account and email again, making sure he hadn’t skipped town. He tried to, actually. After finding out local chopper pilots were too busy being investigated due to recent attacks on the Statue of Liberty and Empyre State Building, he figured it was easier to take a jet. Unfortunately for him, someone else was reading up on that, because strange events began occurring at private air strips around the city soon after he claimed he would be “Flyyng out of here. Kiss my ass goodby EC!”
Horrible spelling. At least he now has more time in the city to practice grammar. I even have a few practice words he could have been working on. Disembowel. Decapitate. Dental drill. Demolition. Dehydration. Detonate. Deez nuts. Defenestrate. That last one is my personal favorite of the bunch.
Taking a yacht out from clinic’s off-site marina wouldn’t have worked either after the mysterious fire that occurred there a couple days ago. Police suspect arson, but that’s ridiculous. Their suspects are a man in a balaclava and a statue in a balaclava. Utterly ridiculous. Poppycock. A poppy’s cock, I say!
We, and I use that here to refer to the entire bunch of us killing sons of bitches, were all just waiting for him to try and drive out. He wouldn’t get far, I’m sure. Just let him get pulled over once. With his legal trouble, driving history, and a bunch of people out to kill him who probably all monitor police radios, he would be announcing where he was to all of us.
I was dragged from future murderous thoughts to present, at that time, thoughts of slaughter by the sounds from my bug in Alysha’s place. Baldy back there had a raised voice and was demanding to know if I was the reason she told him not to come over lately.
I saw a good way to look heroic in front of the fair damsel, or at least keep my informant from winding up in the hospital. I did what any hero would do: I threw the door open, ran at the man, and gave him a flying dropkick that sent him out the window. We were only five stories up, so yeah… he survived. I know, I’m bummed about it too. Alysha was more shocked than anything else. She wanted to ride along with the guy in the ambulance, who had at most grabbed her a little harder than usual, but I convinced her to stay. Just like I convinced the paramedics in the ambulance that Alysha’s boy toy had slipped and fell down the stairs in such a way that he also dropped out a window. A large wad of cash can make physics do wonderful things.
Stephen Hawking may say different, but I still want a rematch to settle that question in another dance battle.
So it turns out I needed to stay at Alysha’s after all to keep her safe. I don’t think she cared for that so much, but nevertheless, we set out refreshed the next day to bag me a bastard.
Of course, I began to suspect that she had begun to suspect I wasn’t quite a hero. Maybe it was how she’d glance nervously at me, or the way she’d start to type 911, then stop. It could have been the way she texted some friends that she thought she was in trouble, or perhaps it had something to do with her looking up villains who could look like someone else. Nice to see I’m still listed as “Most Likely Dead”. That’s not fair. I’d give myself at least fifty-fifty odds of being alive. What’s Schrodinger’s Cat got that I don’t? Besides a mad Austrian scientist trying to put me in a death trap, of course.
I figured a nice conversation would distract her. “So, just how did a smart person like yourself wind up catering to the lifestyles of the rich and irresponsible?”
“It was good money.”
“Isn’t it? Yep, that’s how it works. A dollar extra an hour for you means a better life to you. To them, it just means having to pretend they’ve sobered up so it’ll get the news and victims’ families off their backs. So it’s either make decent money and enable that, or be poor and slightly more clean.”
“I wanted to help people originally, but everybody has a degree nowadays. It was this or cook fries for McDonald’s,” she said defensively.
“Oh, I get it. I wouldn’t want to work that sort of job either.”
“I was raised by parents who said they wanted me to go to college so I don’t have to have a job flipping burgers, then when they’ve wrecked the economy they wonder why I’m too proud to flip burgers. So instead, I work at the clinic. I’m not a therapist, but some of them honestly want to change, you know. People like you shouldn’t criticize me for something that genuinely does help people who have problems and money,” she raised her voice at me. The conversation had struck a nerve. In the heat of the moment, my propriety was forgotten.
“Hey now, I don’t blame you, or the clinic. It’s not your fault that some people see your life’s value as a dollar sign. Y’all are just one part of an exclusive special society set apart from everyone else. Just think about what the world would be like without such special fancy clinics. Why, people playing bumper cars with the pedestrians might actually have to serve some jail time like a poor person would. More likely, whether they exist or not, judges out there would find some way to let people off who have the power of gratuitous cash. So it’s not like you’re actually doing anything to affect if someone with money thoughtlessly kills people and gets away with it. All the money comes from letting them get away with it, and it’s the money that’s important. Not your fellow man.”
Ouch. Told off by a mass murdering serial killer. But hey, I value people’s lives for reasons other than money. To me, their value is in how fun their death is, or if it’s a little more convenient, or if they’re one of these boy band moron trying to bring back 80s hair. And in the future.
Think of everyone you meet on a daily basis. A kind word here that make someone feel good about themselves. A lover that leads to kids and a family tree. An inspiration that, while not nationally known, still leads to regular people being just a little bit better. And everybody I kill destroys that. Your dream lover never meets you and instead hooks up with some abusive jerk with a tattoo made from playing Connect The Dots with his track marks. The person you would have helped has a miserable day, gets depressed, and decided to fellate a shotgun. The people you would have inspired instead aren’t shown how important that value you instilled was and go on to exemplify the kind of person you hate.
Psh, a dollar value. When I do something to someone, I control an entire multiverse.
Alysha, not privy to my thoughts, glared at me. She even opened her mouth, once, then caught herself. She tried it again, but this time her words were stifled by fear that now replaced her anger. She remembered I probably wasn’t a good person.
“I’m not going to hurt you, or kill you, or anything,” I went ahead and told her. It didn’t reassure her as much as I would have liked. We were not far from reaching diminishing hostage returns, which is the point where the chance of a hostage returning diminishes.
Lucky for her, we found the place. It was easy to make out because of all the wounded and dead people around. I even saw some of the Butterfly gangsters huddled up out by a tree, bench, and trash can. They occasionally fired into the house whenever they saw someone stick a head out. I dropped the illusion of being Cunthead X-treme and took on the guise of my unarmored self as I stepped out of the car. Alysha reached for her door as well, but I locked it all of a sudden.
“Hey, fairy wings gang, is it him?” I nodded toward the two story house. It was fairly similar to the one where I’d encountered Kinnari, actually.
One of the Butterfly gang, who had been one of their guys at the table way back at the meeting, heard me. “Yeah, it’s him. He’s got traps all in there, though. We lost a few guys to it, so we thought we’d just shoot it enough.”
“Might as well be shooting blanks for all the good you’re doing,” I said, to his irritation. Then I ducked my head back into the car.
“So, Alysha, it was nice to meet you and nice to hang out with you. Tell your boyfriend something. I don’t know. Make something up to smooth this over with him. Maybe go with ‘He was just a friend with a magnificent penis. I think I’ll be able to love again, but it’s going to be difficult to ever feel the same way about another man, vaginacly speaking’.”
I stepped out of the car, unlocked her side, then leapt over the car to open it for her. She was not very responsive to my act of kindness. I did help her one last time even as she fled in terror. As I turned to walk away, I saw one of the Butterflies aiming her way. Whatever happened to the old fashioned days of taking a woman out and buying her a nice pair of cement high heels?
I stepped in his way and he got the picture. “Aim somewhere else.” He lowered his gun, then directed the muzzle back towards the building that lay before me like a treasure chest waiting for me to shove my key in its hole. A treasure chest with a fire on the second story. Crap.
For all my talk of guns, you might think I have ulterior motives. That maybe I say all that so no one will have one any time there’s a chance to pop me in the back when I’m out of my suit. Let this next part exemplify why regular people having guns around supervillains is a bad thing.
That Mafioso I mentioned? As I walked toward the house, he shot me. I didn’t take it well. I mean, my armor protected me and I was completely unhurt, but psychologically I didn’t take it well. And then there’s the matter of his gun and his ass. He didn’t take it well either.
His shocked buddies were about to do something, I’m sure, so I grabbed the fellow I knew and a chicken grenade off my belt and I introduced the two. I tore the head off one and tied it to the other’s cock. For clarity’s sake, my rubber chickens aren’t anatomically correct.
Sadly, it seems that in this instance the homophobes were correct in insisting that two cocks touching could wipe out a group of people, though the causality of that statement is fucked over worse than the homophobes themselves in a sauna with a parishioner while their wives are out of town.
Ever refreshed in the blood of mere mortals, I set out for the safehouse that had become much less safe. The place was indeed a death trap. With the cold weather lately, it was a clever move coating the front steps with water to freeze into ice, then tossing on industrial-strength sexual lubricant. Sometimes, you feel like letting your factory sodomize someone, you know?
Piston? No thanks, I’m not into water sports.
I could see where someone was stuck in the doggy door too. Upon closer inspection, the Butterfly pin laying nearby was suggestive of his identity. He was either a mobster who dreamed he was a butterfly, or he was a butterfly who dreamed he was a mobster. I tried to kick him out of the way, but the metal on his coat, and probably his zipper too come to think about it, had frozen to the ice.
No one was getting out that way, so I figured I’d try for a side or rear entrance.
The back door was booby trapped as well, complete with a flaming booby in a white robe laying at the bottom of the stairwell. The backdoor went into the basement, so there were stairs leading down to it. Those stairs were glistening with ice. The booby I mentioned, a Klansman, was down at the bottom and made a convenient step to get over the ice down there. I got a little surprise when I opened the door, too. A string had been rigged up to trigger a makeshift flamethrower at about head height. That explained the dead secessionist in the doorway. Ding dong, the dumbass was dead.
It left me feeling a little hot under, or over, the collar, but I didn’t exactly stand still when it went off. Some of us respond to seeing a dead man on fire by leaping directly into things.
I didn’t know at the time where the little nutsack had gotten his trap ideas from, but I liked it even then. I stopped liking it around the time a paint can almost got me on the stairs up to the second story. Despite the smoke and possibility that fire had weakened the floor, I jumped the rest of the way up. I found another Klansman waiting for me, his robe marred with soot. He held out his hands and tried to plead for mercy while coughing. I punched down, splattering his head like a ripe watermelon and dropping him halfway through the floor. Float like a butterfly, sting like King Ghidorah.
“What’s going on back there?” called a voice from a nearby room. As I found out, it was our old pal Curtain Call. His outfit wasn’t as spiffy as it usually was. That smoke was getting everywhere. I think the fire was off in the rear of the house, but even distant flames can be a problem. Smoke poured out of the house’s ductwork. Ventilation is very handy when you have smoke in one location and need to get it everywhere in a dwelling. The fire was isolated, but the confusion was shared with everybody.
Curtain Call had the target at gunpoint. A gun was his signature weapon ever since that first fateful assassination by the originator of his gimmick. I set my hand on his head and twisted it around. “Soliloquy’s over, like your acting.” Then I reached in, grabbed his tongue, and gave it a hard pull for good measure. His head flopped toward me a bit, so I actually had to hold onto him with one hand and pull with the other, but I snapped it out of him after a second in time to look down at the cowering, sniveling little idiot in front of me.
I wish I could say there was some epic fight here. That he could make himself grow, or a cool car for the remaining killers and I to get into a big chase, or even some sort of chemical he could inject to become an insectoid monster.
But no. He was just a man who could have been dealt with by anybody long before then. I wouldn’t say I pitied him. I just didn’t like him. He was shit. Full-on feces. He had been sitting on his ass, tear stains and snot running down his face, but then he inexplicably tried to duck around me. It didn’t work and I put him back in his place with a boot.
“I should never have had to deal with you, you piece of crap. Every life you’ve destroyed and you’re just a little worm. No, the pillow doesn’t make you invisible to me. See, ya never learned. Power is a means, and only as strong the person wielding it. Just die and stop using valuable air.”
I gave him the ole 63: I shoved my right hand up his asshole, grabbed on real tight, and rotated him 63 degrees. This time, I finished it by extending the Nasty Surprise miniature chainsaw under my left arm and taking his head off while I held him up. Unfortunately, it didn’t pop off like a cork. Oh well. It’s tough to get all the red wine up anyway.
Seconds later, Kinnari herself showed up and split the body from neck hole to groin in her frustration. She’s cute when she’s just a little too late and doesn’t see me watching her invisibly while slipping around behind her. Courtesy of approaching flames and the resulting melting effect that tends to have on a lot of electronics, she got out of there on my heels. My invisible heels, though a little smoke was threatening to expose me with every step. The dripping blood from the severed head wasn’t helping matters either.
I considered giving her a Nasty Surprise too, but then she made herself useful. She handled the crowd of police officers while I hightailed it for the car, my suit straining to hide gaps in coverage caused by soot and my brief run-ins with fire. Energy discs halved cars and cops alike. Bullets bounced off her armor and her extended tail wings. In the end, our escapes were serendipitously synchronized, albeit with me hidden behind tinted glass. Everyone was a little too busy with the entire mess to worry about one car escaping.
Next will be to meet up with the boys and go set up a rendezvous with whoever wants this thing on a silver platter. In the end, though, I’m the one who has made it out with the head, and sometimes a little head is all you need to get ahead.