I swung my unarmored fist, smashing through the wall of a building. “Ahahahahaha! Run in fear, you miserable little ants. I’m a glue-sniffing grim reaper! When I’m done, there will be a tombstone with the planet Earth engraved on it!”
I pounded the sand, crushing a simple mound-like building erected by the child next to me. The kid, a little girl with pink overalls and pigtails, began crying.
Nearby, frozen parents watched from underneath the “Kingscrow Children’s Sand Castle Contest” banner. Not frozen literally. That would be ridiculous. These people just didn’t know how to react when an adult barged into a kiddie sand castle contest and went King Kong on stuff.
There’s just something about crying children that makes me smile. Like the teary-eyed, squishy-faced munchkin next to me whose face looked like some sort of prune due to the redness and squishiness. Squish.
I liked the sound of that. I even reached over to her snot-nosed snotty nose and gave it a little squeeze. “Squish!”
I didn’t know what that pipsqueak was crying about. I was the one with mucus on my fingers. I thought it was a booger, but it’s snot.
The reporters sent to cover the boring human interest story were delighted that something interesting happened. I waved to the camera held by a large black guy. The reporter, a young woman of some mixed white and Asian ancestry, turned toward me, telling them all about how I was menacing the folks there.
As for me, I used the my little cranial computer to put on some music and started shaking my groove thing. “California knows how to party. In the cityyy, of good ole Watts.” That gave a couple of parents time to drag their son away from the castle he was hugging onto. As soon as he was away, I jumped up and belly flopped onto the thing, smooshing it flat.
And that was terrible.
The police soon joined our little get-together, which I found disappointing. For one thing, nobody thought to confront me on their own. It would have ended badly for them if they used violence, but not a single person even walked up calmly and tried to deal with me. They occasionally yelled at me or at their kids, but no talking it out.
Two squad cars pulled up two dozen feet from the reporter and a quartet of officers approached, guns drawn.
They yelled in my direction. “Put the weapon down!”
“Down on the ground!”
“Hands over your head!”
The cameraman tried to turn to record their arrival, at which point the officers opened fire on him. He dropped under the camera before he’d even finished facing them.
Cops these days. They were overreacting so much, I almost thought Max put something in the water to make them stupid. If so, he managed to pull it off on a national scale, and he hadn’t had that kind of time.
One of the cops spoke into the radio clipped to his shirt. “Shots fired. Suspect got violent and resisted arrest. I think he might have had a knife. He’s really big, too. And the sun was in my eyes. Over.”
“Officers! What are you doing? That’s the guy over there!” the reporter shrieked. She pointed right at me.
I pulled the sobbing snotty pigtailed girl close. “Now honey, that’s what we call justified use of force. The officers put down the mean criminal man and now the liberal media is going to try and spin this whole thing as if it was a bad thing.”
“Are you sure, ma’am? He’s awfully white to be a criminal.” The officer who spoke looked between me and the reporter who knelt by her dead comrade. He scratched his temple with the barrel of his gun.
Well, almost dead. He gasped, which caused one of the cops to frantically push the reporter away and blow the cameraman’s head off with a shotgun. “Whew, that was close, ma’am. He nearly raped you.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you people?” she screamed.
“Shush, you emotional thing. You’re upsetting the kids. They shouldn’t be exposed to that sort of language.” The cop with the shotgun put his hand over her mouth.
“Officers,” I spoke up, glad I’d chosen to look white this time around. “Don’t look now, but I think she has a camera…yeah, right there on the ground next to her and the perp. I think she might try to tape all this.”
The officer shushing her held her at shotgun point while two others tased her and maced her face, getting it all in her mouth as she tried to scream. The one who called in on his radio spoke into it again. “We’ve got an accomplice in custody. Resisting? No, so far she’s not resisting. We’ll let you know if there are more shots fired.”
The parents had collectively lost their shit and were hightailing it out of there as all this happened. In the midst of it all, someone left little miss snotty with me.
I stood up and brushed myself off, then guided the kid along toward the cops with my hand on her upper back. “See? These brave officers just risked their lives to help us.” Turning to the one doing all the talking, I asked. “Hey, if it’s not too much trouble, think I can get a picture with you?”
“Sure,” he said, and we put our arms around each other. “Where’s your camera?”
I slipped his smartphone out of his pocket, careful not to disturb the raging erection in his pants. I tossed it to the little girl, “Here, take a picture of us, sweety?”
To her credit, the little pre-schooler had no trouble snapping a couple of us. The other cops posed behind us, as well. It was a good public relations opportunity, after all. They had to be mindful of that these days. After we were done, I shook the officer’s hand, then acted startled and pointed to the kid. “Look out, she’s taking a video of everything!”
Three of the cops dog piled her. I think I heard the taser again. Meanwhile, the cop next to me was busy on the radio once again. “We have an armed hooligan. Looks like she’s taping people without permission.” Then, to me, he asked. “Sir, is this your daughter?”
I shook my head. “Never saw her before, officer. By the way, I think she tried to cop a feel, so why don’t you nail her for solicitation? Oh, and truancy. Gotta keep these kids in school, ya know?”
The man gave me a firm nod, then spoke into the radio again. “This little bitch is going down for a long time. We got ourselves a little hooker here. I should have known with those pouty lips. She was all dressed up for the schoolgirl fantasy, too.”
“Gecko!” called out someone behind us all, making me flinch. I glanced back and saw Steve approach, dressed in a concealing hoodie and slacks. The hood was pulled up over his face.
The cop pointed his gun at Steve. “Stop right there! Do we have a problem here?”
“Officer, there’s no problem. This guy’s a friend of mine.” I positioned myself between the two as I walked over to Steve. “He’s got a bit of a skin condition, but come on. Does this guy,” I pulled down Steve’s hood so the officer could see the skull beneath the clear skin, muscle, and blood vessels. “look like a criminal to you?”
I also helpfully pointed toward the dead black cameraman, whose brains were scattered over the park.
The cop sniffed, then rubbed at his nose. “No, I suppose not.” Then he looked me over. “Your name’s Gecko? That’s an unusual name.” He spoke into the radio again. “Dispatch, do you have anything on someone named Gecko?”
“Is that a first or last name?” responded the dispatcher. The policeman looked to me.
“Officer, you misheard my pal here. He called me Lizard. It’s an old family name going back to my great grandmother, Lizzy.”
“Lizzy, you say?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Lizzy Borden. Maybe you heard of her. She practically invented hair removal. Yep, she was known for her wax.” I nodded, Steve copying the gesture.
“Alright. That’s very informative. Why don’t you wait by my car ‘til we can get a statement from you?” He pointed towards one of the squad cars they arrived in.
I turned toward it, grinning. “My pleasure, officer.”
After quickly disabling one of the cars through creative rewiring, Steve and I took off in the other. “So, what’s on your mind, Steve-arino?”
“I was going to ask you that. You ran off without telling us anything. One moment we’re shopping, the next nobody can find you. They stayed to get everything else we need here, but I left to find you. What’s up?”
I shrugged. “Not much. Just had to get out of there, ya know? It was like an arsonist being surrounded by gas cans and matches. I was gonna go off on someone if I stayed there much longer.”
“In a grocery store? Are you serious?”
“I once destroyed a helicopter with a pineapple. If I fight someone in a grocery store, it’s going to be epic. My nipples just went hard in anticipation.” I reached down and gave one of them a rub.
Steve held up a hand to block his view of that. “Why would you get violent with us? Were we annoying you?”
I hit the lights and the siren, then sped through an intersection, causing a school bus to skid and turn sharply. It avoided us, but then a minivan crumpled against its rear. I took my eyes off the rear view mirror to address Steve. “There are some bad drivers around this city, aren’t there? Ah, Steve, it wasn’t y’all that made me want to kill things. Or at least that’s what I’d tell you if I was lying to you. Yes, y’all annoy me. I’m not good with people, but I can somewhat control myself. I don’t like that. It’s boring. Know what I mean?”
“No. You’re not happy? Don’t you have any habits?” said Steve, shaking his head.
“I kill people.”
Things got quiet for a minute. Up ahead, I saw a woman crossing the street with something in her arms. I put on the breaks and rolled the window down. I reached out and slapped her across the face as I skidded by.
The poor lady screamed and almost dropped her bundle, which turned out to be a baby. That made my actions utterly reprehensible. I put into reverse and slapped the baby too.
Then I put us in gear, heading back to Mix N’Max’s lair that we were all staying at. He let us crash there while we were in town. Apparently he was on a hot streak in Vegas. Something about spiking the craps table dice with trans-dermal laxatives. No matter what people rolled, it kept coming up number two. Once their booties started begging to go, their hands made crappy rolls.
Or maybe he used that to extort casinos. When you have trans-dermal laxatives in a casino, the opportunities become like the smell of bathrooms: endless and ripe.
I broke the silence first. “You’re right, Steve.”
Slowly, he inquired, “About what?”
“I need something more. Not just survival; I need to work toward what really makes me happy.”
When he didn’t ask what that was, I went ahead and spoke anyway. “And that, Steve, is Venus. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe any of that stuff implying a relationship between us. When I say I want to be more than enemies, I want to be the villain that defines her. I want an arch nemesis. I’ll never do that if she stays in California.”
Steve stared at me. I couldn’t read much from his expression. People get a lot of their cues off facial expressions, but all he had was a skull. To find out what emotions skulls have, you usually have to crack one open and stick something in the brain. “Are we going back already?” he inquired.
I chuckled. “Don’t be silly. California’s sucks. I’m going to call her out and make her come to me.” I threw back my head, maniacal laughter echoing out past the sirens as I plowed through a smart car, which felt like hitting a speed bump.