“How are you doing?” a female voice asked. “I bet you’re still sore from working out.”
“Yeah. I could use a massage.” answered Venus.
“Go on,” I said, leaning forward, licking my lips. Carl, Roberta, and Steve all looked at me from where I sat on the couch next to them.
Carl turned to Roberta. “Is he still listening to that wiretapped phone through his ear?”
Roberta nodded her eye stalk.
“Shh, shh!” I waved at them all to shush. I thought Venus’s friend said something, but I couldn’t hear if it was some sort of sexy affirmative.
All I heard was, “Come on, we’ll talk on the way.”
“Aww, I missed something. Let me go somewhere quieter.” I stood up.
“Try not to hog the bathroom too long, boss. The rest of us might have to go.” Carl stopped chewing on gum long enough to grin at me.
I gave him a salute with only my middle finger. “Right-o, my good minion.” I hadn’t planned to sit in the bathroom while possibly listening to Venus get a massage from another woman, but since they suggested it, I figured I might as well go in there. You know, in case I needed to take care of any bodily functions while Venus made whatever sounds she made while being massaged.
“You give a lot, don’t you?” asked the anonymous female companion of Venus.
“I have to. My body is all I can rely on out there.”
“Gosh, thanks for the vote of confidence.” Awww. Venus was right, but you don’t say that when you’re about to get a sensual massage from someone. Wait a minute, maybe she only likes guys. Awww. But I’m a guy! Woohoo! Still, no hot massage.
“You’re alright, kid.”
“Hey, my hair!”
“You just worked out. Everyone will understand.”
“I have friends who don’t know I have powers yet. I don’t want to explain to them why my hair was mussed up by the superhero Venus. What about you? I hardly ever hear of you going out into the regular world for anything but patrols.”
“I…don’t, not really. Not often. I barely know anyone who isn’t part of all this.”
“You don’t think that’s weird?” asked the newbie hero.
“I don’t know. It’s just my life. I’ve spent so much of it like this that it’s hard to imagine being normal, or having a real secret identity.”
“You need some time off. Hey, we’re here! Time to chow down.”
Whoa, ladies, ladies, what ever happened to playing coy and warming up a partner with strategic fondling?
Venus sounded just as enthusiastic. “Alright, I can’t wait to try the taco. Tacos are bitchin’.”
Over here in Empyreal City, someone knocked on the bathroom door. “Boss, are you still in there? I need the toilet, boss. I tried to fart and I think I…um…didn’t.”
I threw the door open, tossed my pants in his face, yelled “Go away, I’m in the middle of something!” and slammed the door.
Things got even more interesting as I listened in once more from across the country thanks to Venus’s compromised phone. She cooed in delight, “Ooh, I didn’t expect kielbasa. Big kielbasa.”
I decided then that as soon as I finished doing whatever I might be about to do, I’d look up transgendered young heroines in California. But later!
“Ugh, I hate sausage. And someone already took the cups of jello.”
“Relax, kid. There’s nothing wrong with having a slice of pie every now and then.”
Yeah, you tell her, Venus!
“You sound like my mother.”
Possibly kinky. I wanted to see where this went.
“I’m definitely not your mother.”
I liked where this went.
“Fine. I’m going to have a Coke to drink and I won’t eat my broccoli.” Eh…what?
“That’s fine with me. We can sit by that window. That way, no one’s around to watch you eat that taco.”
“Why would they watch me eat a taco?”
“Think about it…”
“Oh my gosh!”
Well it’s about time the innocent little teenybopper figured that one out! Still, it upset me quite a bit to realize I’d missed an invitation to have lunch earlier instead of an invitation to have a massage. It upset me so much, I kicked the toilet hard enough to knock it out of its setting. I hurt the fuck out of my toe, too.
When I came limping out of that bathroom, red-faced and pantless, Carl looked at me and asked, “Did you just…ya know…so hard you hurt yourself?”
I grunted and tucked one hand into the rim of my boxers. “It’s got a bit of recoil.”
“Aww, boss,” Carl looked into the bathroom and found the water leaking out from where I’d knocked over the toilet. “I got to use the Ladies Room and then we’ll have to fix that.”
For some reason, the Big Top Restaurant had bathrooms for only one person at a time. When we were done setting up the workshop, computers, and giant screen in the basement, we’d have to bring in someone to work on that. Maybe the guy who’d sculpted my throne in my old club. I heard he went to jail after doing something to his ex with the lasers I paid him with, but that’s hardly an obstacle. In fact, I’d be doing the jail a favor. If there were no criminals outside the lock-ups, there would be no reason to have jails to put them in. All that money would have been wasted.
Speaking of things being wasted, Carl and I had another project to worry about once he was done sorting out the plumbing problems he and the Men’s Room had. I know I said we perfected the electromagnet weapon before, but that turned out to be somewhat of a flawed initial assessment.
For my next trick, I needed to adjust lots of buildings in a relatively short amount of time. Flight would be ideal in terms of speed, but there were other impracticalities. For one thing, we had a really heavy magnet. Trust me, I knew about that problem. I had not forgotten that characteristic of the damn thing.
Other problems involved carrying enough power. That could have been solved by hooking myself and my power core into the machine. While I long ago told y’all to not worry about how I powered my armor and other bodily cybernetics, my run-in with the superhero super team Shieldwall almost a year ago let that cat out of the bag. Which was a shame, because I worked really hard getting that cat in the bag. I meant to toss a dog, snake, chimpanzee, and a corrupt politician in there with it. There goes my little Halloween prank on the White House, thank you very much! Now what am I going to light on fire and trick the President into stomping out?
Oh, and there was a law I’d be on the wrong side of if I flew the magnet around. Normally I don’t care for laws, but this one involved equal but opposite reactions and the fact that I’d be using a small, unstable aerial vehicle to tug on metal portions of large buildings affixed to the ground below.
Flying was out of the question. But I thought up a solution. It wasn’t rocket science, after all.
So as I drove out the next morning, unarmored and pantless, I thought to myself that I was wrong about the rocket science part. I spent the night designing and building a half dozen rockets that I attached to strong points of the exterior of the van in order to help us speed through the asphalt jungle named Empyreal City.
To get us in the mood for the task, I had Carl put on the classic Guns N’ Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle”. He drove, with Moai shoved into the passenger seat. I stayed in the back, stuck to the magnet by my anatomy rather than by fundamental forces of the universe. Unless someone out there wants to think of my anatomy as one of the fundamental forces of the universe. That’s a pretty good nickname for the fellow, actually.
Hey ladies, anyone want to feel my Strong Force? That’s not gluon your face, but that is pion mine.
While we busied ourselves with a little creative redecorating of Empyreal City, the Rejects scrambled throughout the city to reconfigure a few broadcast towers and satellite dishes for me. It involved little more than hooking up a simplified interface to just a couple of wires on each.
I had my reasons for controlling the airwaves.
While they set up the simplified signal interceptors for me, I unfolded the back of the van and went to town on the city. I didn’t hit the skyscrapers, but my targets were larger buildings of at least five stories. The first rocked the hell out of the van, too. I focused on a building, not piercings. Rebar and fittings and girders. Worse, they weren’t slummy old apartment buildings. Or they weren’t all slums, at least.
Realizing this wasn’t going to be as effective unless I got lucky like the first time at the piercing parlor, I pulled out my ace in the hole. I didn’t keep it in my hole, of course. That was merely an expression, this time. I asserted my incredibly attractive force and hit the rockets, pulling the weakened structure over. Then I reversed the magnet at full power, cut the rockets, and magnetically threw the van along the road.
Rinse and repeat.
Cops showed up to intercept me at the fifth building. Five of seventeen minimum that I needed. Funny thing about cop cars; they’re magnetic too. I turned on them and pulled one into the air, then reversed the force and embedded it in the car driving up right behind it. I tossed the third into the air so it went over the building. When I tugged on that building, the cop car smashed through it from the other side and helped knock it down.
Nifty way to do things. Buildings six, seven, and eight went down with more cops. Then they tried to keep their distance, but a passing bus helped me nail building nine. That line had commendable service. They helped me and they stopped right there in someone’s home.
By the time I finished, we were stopped in the middle of a four-way intersection. SWAT vans surrounded us. Damn SWAT. I should have known they’d show up. I had a reputation for being fly, but being fly tended to make people want to SWAT me.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t remember if bullets could be affected by magnets. Not that I worried about that. I had only one magnet and they had me surrounded.
One of them approached ahead of the others with a megaphone. “Pantless man, step away from the device or we will be forced to open fire. Repeat, we will open fire if you do not back away from your weapon and put on some pants.”
“Guys,” I spoke into my personal radio to the Rejects. “Did you get everything into place?”
They sounded off one by one, save for Rattler. Whether he had a brain or the giant millipede thing controlled his body, that fellow had a bit of a language problem. At least Headgame Zane translated for him. “Yes, we’re all set.”
“Good. You’ll want to turn this radio off now. Or not, I happen to like this one.”
I sent out a signal and the effects were immediate. The various officers, detectives, and patrolmen kept radios on their persons or nearby. That became problematic for them when my little interceptors, now spreading their influence throughout every radio and satellite signal in Empyreal City, began playing music. Loud music.
A little song I once tried to obtain the rights to. The wonderful ear worm, “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” that some people unfortunately labeled annoying.
The cops were too focused on protecting their poor, molested ear holes to accost us as we escaped.
Little did they know, the horror only just began. I intended to keep this song repeating non-stop until Venus herself arrived. I didn’t make my goal too difficult to understand, I think. Not after pulling down enough of the city to form the name “Venus” in destroyed buildings if viewed from above.
As the song says, “This is what I wanna do, let’s have some fun. One on one, just me and you. Boom, boom, boom, boom!! I want you in my room.”
And so Venus must face her fate, or Empyreal City will be destroyed…by annoying music.