Ah, Los Angeles. The land of opportunity. The land where a person can find their happy ending in any massage parlor around. A home to heroes and stars.
It would have been a great place for my latest companions, the Rejects, to make a go of things. Instead, they wanted to raid the Hephaestus building. I doubted there was anything worth destroying there now. The best I could do instead was direct them to a plastic surgery clinic that Hephaestus used as a front.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” asked Roberta, giving me the cyclopic version of a puppy dog eye on a stalk.
I waved her off. “Sorry there, Roberta. I’ve won and I say I’ve earned some down time.” I turned away and plopped on my folding lawn chair. With a woomph, I fell through it, bending it inward.
“What about Lone Gunman? Aren’t you going to kill him?” she asked, curling her mouth tube around to talk right in my ear.
I piled up the pieces of the lawn chair and sat on that. “Lone Gunman isn’t part of Hephaestus after all that. Yep, he’s on the run. I’d say I deserve a brief vacation.”
Roberta sighed and scuttled off to join the others.
I lasted ten minutes on my own before I got bored and walked inside the trailer. “Someone really needs to turn that sun off someday,” I said to myself. I didn’t have much else to do around there.
An idea quickly popped into my head on how to entertain myself in such a city. Better yet, it would give me time with Moai. But first, I needed my costume.
An hour later, we gave up on our taxi and abandoned it in the middle of traffic to the chagrin of our distraught driver. We weren’t far. We cut through a building and we were there. Well, we didn’t so much cut through as charge through and smash a hole in every wall in out path, but that sort of thing happens.
After busting through there onto Rodeo Drive, I hopped off the saddle on Moai’s back and changed the projection from a cowboy to a minotaur. Moai got into costume too. He removed the horsehead mask and replace dit with a longhorn headband.
I took it all in. the wide streets, the palm trees, the metal torso statue. I pointed that last one out in particular. “Look at these guys. They think a person with no brains is a piece of art.”
Moai scraped the bottom right of his base against the sidewalk, then the left. I gave him a slap on the rear. “Giddyup!”
Moai ran for the torso, lowering his big stone head. I started after him, but I ran hard enough to catch up so I could rum up his backside. I hit my jump boosters and powered off his head, causing him to stumble as I flung myself at the big metal torso statue. I bounced off an landed in the windshield of what used to be a very nice Porsche, having caught a bad case of the Ow My Fucking Shoulders. I didn’t get to see how well I did against the torso statue because by the time I looked up, Moai had already knocked off its pedestal with a metal groaning sound.
I pumped my fist in the air. “Good job! That’s grabbing the bull by the horns!”
“Good heavens, what have you done?!” asked some gasping voice from nearby. I turned to find a woman who wore a dress that puffed out every foot or so. It looked like Dr. Seuss was high fashion.
I rolled off the windshield of the car I had rested on and grabbed the woman’s hand to shake. “Howdy! We’re here to make Rodeo Drive live up to its name. Mind the cow patties.”
She looked me in my visor, mouth agape. She didn’t close that damn mouth, so I grabbed onto her tongue with one hand. “I would not wear that in a house, I would not wear that with a mouse, I would not wear this dress, no no, I think this dress really needs to go!” I ripped her outfit off with the other hand.
She screamed and tried to run away. I let her go only to take the dress in both fists, jump on her back, and try to ride her like a horse. Sadly, the mare didn’t have much in the way of horsepower left in her.
I had to put her down. “Yo momma’s so ugly whenever she goes by the zoo, everyone thinks an orangatang learned to walk backwards on its hands. Yo momma’s so fat, the only way to fuck her is to find the unprotected thermal exhaust port and go in with a pair of wingmen. Yo momma so stupid, she thought herpes was a Greek monster.”
I was soon interrupted by a man in a suit weeping over his car. He was on his knees in front of the damaged Porsche, hands in his hair. “What happened to you, baby? Who hurt you?”
I gave an “Ahem” and waved. His eyes widened. He shot to his feet and ran for it, leaving his “baby” behind. I skipped after him, humming the song “Common People” to myself.
I caught up to him after a minute. He laid on the sidewalk, sweat drenching his suit and dripping off of him like he’d been left out in the rain. I set my boot on his ass. “Too bad for you the fashion community has never heard the term ‘shorts weather’ eh? Or one of those windbreaker suits? I’d like to make that fashionable next season. Part of a series on outfits that aren’t fucking idiotic in the summer.”
I backed up, took aim, and allocated power to the muscle enhancers in one leg. Then I punted him in the pucker. Socked him in the sphincter, he achieved flight and ended it down the block in a palm tree.
I turned to see what I could find to mess with next and saw one of those fancy fashion stores that Rodeo Drive was so infamous for. I kicked in the door and walked in.
The inside was immaculately clean. Everything looked so new, like they’d just opened the place. There were displays of weird outfits all around, but just to show off, though most of the clothing was more conventional looking and on a rack that had more lights hanging over it than some theater stages. In fact, there was way too much light in general, as it refracted through glass and crystal decorations. Next to the door was a short white table with dark blue flowers.
“Welcome. Is there anything I can assist you with today?” A cheerful attendant approached, looking as primped and madeup as a green-skinned alien babe on a sci fi TV show. The implacable smile etched on her face made her look just as alien.
I noticed others as well. There was a young woman, late teens to early twenties, who was dressed all in that Armani or Gucci shit that people bought because someone put a name on it. Beside her was a bulky man in a suit that looked to be the oldest outfit in the store. Bags hung from his arms like a tree that grew expensive pieces of crap as fruit. While the young lady just stood back and crossed her arms, he moved to shield her and set the bags down.
I ignored his feeble attempts to go for a weapon and instead focuses on the store’s help. I projected an oversized Cheshire cat grin. I tilted my head as I said to the woman. “Oh of course you can help me. I’ll take all the money in the register.”
The smile never left her face. “I’m sorry, sir. We don’t have a register here. Nobody pays by cash here, so I’m afraid you can’t rob us. I would ask if you’d like to try something on, but it appears you are having money problems. Please move on, sir.” She nodded.
I set my hands on her shoulders. “I see why you’d want me gone. We’d hate to have you call the police, now would we?” I faked a chuckle, eliciting one from her as well. “Oh dear, a supervillain picked up for loitering. Wouldn’t that be a tale to tell? I’d need that like you’d need another hole in your head.” I sold the fake laugh. She did as well, throwing her head back like this was the funniest thing ever. You know, like it was entertaining to lower herself to my level.
I punched through her guffawing mouth and out through the back of her skull, giving her that hole she laughed at. “Huh, I expected more resistance once I got into her skull. My mistake, thinking there’d be something there.” I shrugged in the direction of the customer and her bodyguard/bag hauler and kicked the attendant’s body unceremoniously off my arm. I also dropped that smile hologram.
I left them alone and found the counter. She was right. There was no register. There was a cash bag for some reason, but the main point of interest for me was the computer system. I altered a few numbers and helped myself to a full refund of every purchase made there in the last six months. It was boring. Too easy.
During all this, the man argued with his younger charge, who wanted to stay and enjoy the spectacle I presented. He insisted she get out of there before she got hurt. She put her foot down. In the process of taking that saying literally, she stomped on her would-be protector’s foot.
When I finished, took a seat on the counter and looked to the pair. “Alright, what the fuck are y’all doing here? You got a death wish?”
The bodyguard ran for the door, abandoning his charge to me. She stood there unconcerned. I pointed to the fleeing man. “You wouldn’t give a damn if I killed him, would you?”
She giggled. “He never wants me to have any fun. Sometimes I think that’s the only reason my father assigned him to me.”
“You know, I suspect you’re a moron. Or do you just not think I would harm you, too?” I slid off the counter and stepped close to her. “Why don’t you tell me why this doesn’t end with me killing you? I could always stand to hear a good story. Are there elephants involved?”
“The usual. Daddy’s rich and powerful, so nobody hurts me. It doesn’t pay.”
I stepped closer and she didn’t even flinch. “Supervillains too?”
“It’s all about who you know. That’s how they get invited to all the big events.”
I picked up her bags and looked through them. Clothes. Clothes. Clothes.
“Don’t mess anything up in there. It costs more than your little costume there and I have a date.”
I tore out one of her dresses. “That looked nice. What is that, silk straight from the worm’s butt?”
She threw her arms down by her sides, fists clenched. “That was Gucci, asshole.”
I grabbed her by the head and tied the torn dress around her like a diaper, covering up her mouth. “Gucci Gucci goo, baby doll. You know what this town needs?”
She pulled it off and threw it at me. She stomped toward the door as best she could in those platform pumps she wore. “Carlos! Dial Daddy!”
How rude. I jumped her from behind before she made it to the door. “Get off me! Carlos!”
“You left while we were still talking. Seriously, nobody has come by and adjusted that attitude of y’all’s? I hate to be cliché, except when it’s funny, but this town deserves a better class of criminal.” I dragged her, kicking and screaming out the door.
Oddly enough, she chose that time to pull out what I thought was a phone. Except whatever she pulled out, it went from a phone to a wand with the press of a button. She held it out. The end glowed and it knocked me back into the display window of the store.
She stood up, pointing her little wand at the window I flew through. I was too sneaky to be caught like that. Not when there was another window on the other side of the door to throw myself out. I rolled, avoiding a sparkly poof of magic. I grabbed her by the wrist and squeezed it. The bones broke and she dropped that wand.
Pushing her to her butt, I then took hold of her ankle and powered up all my enhancers. I spun her around me and jumped into the air. I left the skyline of Rodeo Drive below me as I tossed the magical little daddy’s girl into the wispy clouds. As I fell, I opened my arms wide, ready to fall back into the waiting embrace of some asshole’s Bentley.
As I fell, I smiled to myself and spoke to the clouds, “Why so cirrus?”