“So I thought I lost my phone yesterday…” droned on my fake wife. I thought Harlon sent her, but this latest visit gave me more doubts than twin nymphomaniac strippers at a bachelor party. Every time I mentioned something, it reminded her of some story. The overseers wouldn’t have let it go on if they didn’t enjoy the effect on me, though. I couldn’t keep my attention on it if I tried. I think they snuck me lots of caffeine or something. I’d been jittery. Twitchy. Couldn’t keep a thought in my head very-
“…so we went out and looked and it WAS in my car. Wasn’t that funny, dear?”
“Yeah, fancy that. Who’da thunk it? You’d better stay safe out there. I’m expecting, ya know, people might come around. I know stuff. Lots of stuff. I know about heroes and secret organizations and high tech shit. Lots of people would want what I have in my brain.They might try and use you as leverage, do you feel me?” I ran at the wall and smacked myself against it, sticking there through sheer force of skin oil. “Tell me you feel me!”
“Oh my god, yes, I feel you. It’s like when this friend texted me all day last month trying to convince me to buy a hedgehog…”
“That’s it,” came the voice of Dick from above. “I can’t stand to hear another story. Lady, your visiting time is up. It’s over and done with. Goodbye. Sayonara. Do you feel me?”
My “wife” pulled out her shrill voice, “Don’t you dare take me away from-!” Something shut her up. Probably the walls getting closed, or however they did things here. I looked up whatever they may have meant when they called this place the Rubik’s Cube. Seeing as I’m probably not inside the puzzle, the most I have on the place is an archived Wikipedia disambiguation page that mentions a Rubik’s Cube facility. I never followed up on it.
“I don’t know how you stand her, Tyrese,” Dick said.
“What’d you call me?” I asked up at the ceiling. I jumped off the visitation chair just before they pulled it into the ground and felt around for my bed. They moved it to where the toilet had been previously. You know, just in case I got the runs and had to run.
“Tyrese. We had your wife bring your marriage license this time. We weren’t convinced she was the real deal. I mean, sure, she’s wearing old clothes and she kinda stinks. Her teeth are crooked. I think I saw a dead bug in her hair. We knew all that so we expected her be to one of those crazy women who fall in love with serial killers and marry them in prison. We thought it was hilarious. Then she had photos, a video, the whole kit n’ caboodle. Now we have a name to go to the supervillain. You are Tyrese Tijuana.”
Deep down, somewhere around my gooey cheese center, a part of me fell in love with that loony woman. Or whoever picked out that alias.
Ass jumped into the conversation then. “No wonder you turned out bad. If I had a name like that, I’d want to hurt people too.”
“Hey now,” I feigned injury from the insult, “it can’t be that hard. After all, you’re not in here, and I know for a fact your face is killin’ people.”
“That’s it, let’s gas him,” said Ass.
Dick stopped him. “Uh uh, that stuff is expensive.”
“Wow, your buddy doesn’t want you passing gas. Must be bad ventilation in that guard booth.”
“Maybe we gas him a little,” Dick added.
“All this damn abuse, and now I know why you’re at it. It’s because I’m black!” I stood up and raised my fist in the classic black power salute. “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!”
“What?” Dick and Ass both asked.
I shrugged. “Tyrese Tijuana. Name like that, you know I was born to be a dark-skinned pimp in a leopard skin suit.”
“If you’re so black, how come your skin is white?” Dick asked.
“You never heard of Michael Jackson? I changed my skin color!”
Ass joined in the Spanish Inquisition. “How come you like rock over rap then?”
“Bitch please, crackers stole that music and gradually turned it into modern rock. If this was back during segregation, rock n’roll wouldn’t pass the 1/32nd rule. And I don’t like how y’all wanna test me like this. All this prison abuse, now questioning my inherent blackitude? You’re just asking to get marched on. I’ll build a cloning pod and stage my own Million Man March if I have to.”
Ass had another one for me. “Why’d you change your skin?”
“Seriously?” I asked, laying the condescension on thick. “Cops disproportionately stop and question non-whites. Any criminal who had the option to change their skin tone would take it. Shit, if you’re pale enough, you could get away with diddling kids.”
Slagathor ended the fun. “This discussion is fruitless. We’re going to ignore you for the rest of the day, Psycho Gecko. Try not to have a medical emergency.”
At least their attempted punishment helped me keep track of the days. Or it would have, if I didn’t have a clock running. Everything looked black without my eyes present to see things for me, so the HUD inside my head helped keep me somewhat up to date in a manner similar to my eye HUD.
They kept it up until the next day when they revealed that I had yet another visitor. “Wow, good job on the solitary confinement here, guys. You sure know how to keep me from talking to people.”
Slagathor answered back, “Nobody could stop you from talking. We’re giving you people to talk to. We’re fine parading you out to let everyone know that we’re the place that can contain Psycho Gecko. According to the other two, they also let in people who could annoy you. Our next guest is from someone who is a little bit of both. After that, we’re thinking of inviting in a Jehovah’s Witness to see you.”
I sat on the edge of my bed and tapped at my chest. As antsy as I’d been getting the past few days, a secondary escape plan had been hatched in the cuckoo nest of my brain. Something had to give, the headache I had. I understood why Zeus wanted a hammer. Dude didn’t know his daughter would pop out of his head. He was just like “Fuck it, I’d rather bash my fucking brains out than put up with this shit anymore!”
Seems odd that everyone always forgets that Athena wasn’t a literal brainchild. Instead, she was the child of a woman Zeus transformed into a fly and swallowed so Hera wouldn’t find out he’d been cheating again. Larger than life figures always seem to pull a deus ex machina out of nowhere, but if you pay attention, we’ve had things set up for awhile. In my case, while I at first told y’all not to worry about the power source of my armor, it’s been established for a whole year now that I keep a power core inside my body. Right there in my chest, a nigh-inexhaustible aggregator and source of energy. And I’m so handy with explosives, too.
Hopefully it won’t come to that. The surgery would be painful and risky. The good news is, I didn’t hide the power core in my dick. Then I’d never find it, ladies. Uh huh, you know what I’m talking about. Drink that thought in like fine wine. Get a whiff of it, swirl it around your mouth for awhile, then spit in a glass. Just don’t let your wild, animalistic attraction to me get tainted.
But enough poor quality second person almost-erotica. Let’s get back to the poor quality first person almost-erotica that was my visit with…
“Well, well, well…evenin’, Venus.” I grinned toward the wall.
Venus’ voice came from another direction. “I’m over here, Gecko.”
“Of course you are,” I said, not turning. “I’m being dramatic. And creepy. Tell me, Venus, did your father own a farm where lambs got slaughtered?”
“Nope. Now turn around. You’ve got an opportunity here and I’m going to make sure you use it.”
I turned around with my left hand up to prevent her from seeing what I held in the other. “I got you a present, Venus. A little something to show my appreciation for all you’ve done for me.” My right middle finger shot up, “Ta da!”
Then, using nothing but the “na” sound, I started singing that cliché can-can music seen in every movie. I even kicked my legs in time to it and the rise of my finger. I did that for eight minutes, and at the end of it, when I took a bow, she cleared her throat. So either Venus sat through eight minutes of me flipping her off and trying to get her to leave, or she used that time to take a quick bathroom break.
Either way, she cleared her throat, then said, “I don’t care if I have to come in there and beat you up some more, we’re going to go over the options here. There are programs where you could start to turn around and do some good like I know you want to. I had the Academy look some up, and I think you could get into a few of them. There’s one that wouldn’t work, though. They surgically implant bombs in villains with the threat of detonation if they go off the reservation. I don’t think we need a bomb in you that you can control.”
I tried to stare her down in order to assert my dominance, but I didn’t know where Venus’ face was. I had to aim without the benefit of visuals.
“Hey,” she said, “listen to me! I know you’re not paying attention because even without eyes you’re still staring at my chest.”
I looked up. “That’s ridiculous. You always dress so conservatively, and you have realistic boobs that don’t draw exaggerated attention.”
I could almost hear the smile behind her words as Venus told me, “I guess I shouldn’t have worn the sexy nurse costume with red high heels to visit you today.”
The next thing I know, Slagathor’s yelling down at me, “Gecko! Stop rubbing your nipples against the barrier!”
“It was a reflex!” I called up at her. “Besides, anything that wears at this damn uniform you put me in could only be a good thing.” Then, to Venus. “You know what I hate most about this thing? The way the sweat and condensation works in it, I get a bad case of swamp ass. Makes me feel like I gambled on a fart and lost every single time I drop gas.”
“That’s…nice, Gecko. We need to get back on topic,” Venus said.
That was it. Time to kick Venus out and work on my escape, which Venus gave me an idea for. We don’t need a bomb in me, but we don’t need surgery either. We need gullible people who want to study my technology to the extent they’d steal my eyes. Plus, even if takes too long, it’ll still help my other plan to escape by having people fight over who wants my juicy brain knowledge. Not knowledge about the brain, but knowledge in my brain.“Right, the topic of helping people. Ok, then let me go over, step-by-step, the building of an advanced piece of technology that provides nearly inexhaustible power. Now, first you’re going to need-“
“This is a bad idea,” Venus said, but probably not to me. “Even if he’s telling the truth, don’t trust what he says.”
“That’s enough of you, superhero.” Slagathor’s voice coincided with the silencing of Venus. “We know to thoroughly analyze what you tell us in case you’re trying to trick us, Psycho Gecko. Don’t get any ideas about elaborate recipes for beer.”
I shook my head. “Nope, no beer recipes, though I can make a mean teriyaki pork chop if you’re interested. That’ll have to wait, however. First, I toss down a few steps toward my little power core. Then, I’ll request a song, and maybe some food without any drugs in it. I swear, a guy named ‘Psycho’ comes along and everyone starts trying to medicate him. Oh, wait, I should probably just wait until someone who knows their stuff is around. No sense wasting all this valuable knowledge on y’all, or on your recordings. Especially because y’all won’t likely give me a patent.”
“Our in-house researchers and your eyes would beg to differ. Go on,” Slagathor responded. Good. That saved me the trouble of coming up with some ridiculous reason for them to build it right near me in defiance of all common sense. Like saying I needed to speak directly with someone to make sure it went smoothly. Or claiming that if I tricked them into building a bomb, they could just make it near me so it’d get me too. Which, incidentally, is one reason I’ll need to be very careful in converting this thing into a bomb. I wouldn’t want to suffer a premature detonation.
Also, it kinda made sense now why prison guards would seize my eyes like they did, with talking about not having to come back for the other.
And as for analyzing what I tell them? Please. If they knew what they were doing enough to save themselves, they would have figured the design out on their own by now.
Knowledge is power, and I got the power. Incidentally, that’s the song I made them play for me.