I haven’t been taking this month too seriously. It’s been nice having some time to relax and rebuild a little bit. So I’ve done some dumb and wacky things. But I at least hoped some of my actions would have an effect. You know what I found out? Even that distraction with the meatheads didn’t work out the way I wanted.
I’ve been keeping an eye out on the super section of the news for any word about me. Amidst all the speculation about weird events in Ohio, they had a superhuman interest story. The touching tale of two meat-based villains attacked by a random force, launched into the Arctic circle, and then struggling to survive together. By the time they road into Canada on a grizzly-looking animated polar bear corpse, it became a love story.
That’s just great. I went through all that trouble. I didn’t kill them prematurely. I didn’t even follow up on my plan when it turned out Venus snuck around and disabled the warheads on their rockets. But after all that, did they have enough gratitude to die on me?
Where’s the appreciation? Where’s the decency?
Also, it sounds like I got out of Ohio in time. Something else must have been trapped in the Rubik’s Cube with me, and it appears I let it out. Normally, such vague reports would have been investigated by now, but Ohio is out of the way for most heroes. Forcelight is kinda close, but she might be throwing herself into her company’s new push to release their version of my nanites.
There are holes in coverage like that. Not every threat shows up in a big city. Usually, the kinds of villains who only attack towns are the sorted out by the kinds of heroes who stay around those towns.
Then again, y’all barely ever hear about the bigger-name villains who aren’t me anyway. But what y’all showed up for was to hear about a certain well-trained hero interacting with me. I invited Venus to dinner.
Yep, I sprung for a big dinner gathering at my grand and imposing gas station. I hid just in case Venus brought the cops along. I hoped she wouldn’t. I guess that goes back to people being decent.
Venus lived up to my hopes. She arrived in civilian clothes, as did Ball Boy. Purely to evaluate the threat she may have posed, I kicked open the bathroom door and jumped out. She started and pulled out an EMP rod while staring at the double-barrel bazooka I held on my shoulder.
“Wassup?” I asked with a nod. “How ya been, Venus?”
“I’m alright. You?” she responded, holding her thumb over the button to turn on the portable pain machine.
“I’ve been better. Was looking to enjoy a nice holiday meal. You in?”
“I don’t have anything better to do. I can’t eat with a bazooka trained on me. Two barrels is a bit much.” She eased toward the cover of a set of shelves I left up.
“Really? So is bringing that stick of yours. Hard to work the carving knife when I can’t see?” I winked at her with my empty socket.
“I only have half the work I used to for that.” She smirked. Then, at the same time, we eased up. I started to put down my bazooka and she retracted her rod.
I thought she twitched, so I brought it up again. “Hey!”
She pulled out EMP again. “Hey!”
We went back and forth like that for a few seconds.
Then we both figured out nothing happened, so we put the weapons down. After that, Moai and Tricia came out of hiding as well. Carl had the night off to be with his own family. Ball Boy asked to use the bathroom real quick, though. He’d kinda frozen up there during the standoff, so hopefully he didn’t reach the bathroom too late.
“Who is she?” Venus asked, nodding toward Tricia.
“Oh, just this reporter who wanted to get up close and personal with the real me. I owed her, so officially she’s kidnapped.” I threw my arm around Tricia’s shoulders.
Trish held out her hand and Venus shook it. “Hello. I’m not in trouble, am I?” She cringed as she asked, no doubt sure my lack of tact would be her undoing.
Venus’s response left her hopes quite intact. “I know what Gecko is like. That’s why I almost didn’t show.”
“Well, now that you did, perhaps it’d be a good time to sit down and shove food into our body cavities until we can’t hold anymore?” I offered, holding out chairs for them. They were practically shocked by the show of manners. They both sat, though Venus checked under her chair. As if I’d really hide something under a padded metal chair like that.
I mean, I could have put a mine or other explosive device down there. I even drew up plans for a springy ejector seat. But I didn’t use any of that. Still, perhaps my guests’ paranoia was justified.
So I sat at the head of our little fold-up table with Venus and Tricia to one side of me. Moai and Ball Boy sat across from them. I looked over them all and the modest spread of food in front of us and declared, “I think we can safely say that none of us have anything better to do tonight. It’s not unusual for less uptight heroes and better behaved villains to encounter each other and not get into a fight so…why not us?”
“That was a nice sentiment, Gecko. Should we make it into a toast?” Venus suggested.
They did, which left me feeling awkward and out of place. While I’ve cut a lot of polite chatter and conversations not involving me from this telling for obvious reasons, these despicable dinner guests didn’t stop there. Ball Boy maintained his wariness around me, but Venus actually treated me like I wasn’t her nemesis, or even a person wanted for enough murders to make Charles Manson queasy.
Usually when I say something’s awkward, it’s because I made things awkward for other people or because the situation is physically clumsy. And I’m so good in conflicts that awkwardness never lasts for long. Which, really, it shouldn’t. If you’re ever unsure what to do in a fight, you can always rely on punching someone.
At my polite dinner party, that would have caused problems. While causing problems isn’t a problem for me most of the time, it defeated the purpose of why I did this. See? This is what giving a shit does to a great a person as myself! The moment I erected fetters, even simple ones, someone came along and made things difficult on me.
I knew Venus didn’t like me, but she also started trying to change me again. The “Come to Jesus” kinda thing, that she’s been on since the day she used the magical truth serum on me. I bet she’s been dying to follow up, but why should I accommodate her? My stories amuse. I don’t need to make anyone cry to be taken seriously. Except for Jesus, but a guy has to release the pressure sometime, you know? And he should be sympathetic; the eschatology claims everyone gets a Happy Ending.
I couldn’t do that at the table any more than I could punch someone. No, I had trapped myself as thoroughly as anyone attending a family gathering with relatives. Like the weird uncle who keeps trying to give porn magazines and condoms to twelve-year-olds, or the uncle who insists he’s not doing cocaine even though his nose looks like a ski slope, or the grandma who brought corn mixed with ranch dressing when it wasn’t even potluck. In my case…
“This is great,” Venus said, “You’re not bad at cooking.”
I shrugged. “Well, it’s just like orchestrating a biological and chemical attack on the taste buds.”
“Festive imagery,” said Tricia. “But this isn’t as bad as I expected.”
I rolled my eye, but Venus spoke up before I could, “Gecko has a way with words. I have learned to respect his creativity. He could put it to much better use.”
On and on through the meal, she peppered the conversation with such compliments.
“This was very thoughtful of you,” she said.
“I’m glad you can have a bit of holiday spirit,” she told me. Yeah, sure. I’ve had holiday spirit out the wazoo in prior years.
“This may sound weird, but I’m glad you got out of there.” That one gave me pause. “It was horrible and I never meant to do that to you.”
She smiled at me, and that’s when I knew it. She had turned into an evil genius. Or she’d been replaced with an evil twin. I grabbed the carving knife. “That’s it! Who are you? Evil clone? Other a dimensional version? Is there an alien mind control slug in your head? Or were you brainwashed? Venus, if you’re in there, find a way to let me know. Punch me once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’!”
Venus laughed at that one. Yep, she laughed in the face of danger. She needed a mint. “Calm down, please. You think compliments are that unusual?”
“From you they are.” I sat and set the knife back down. Yep, must have somehow become an evil genius. She discovered a way to hurt me with nice words. To castrate me with compliments. To kill me with kindness. At least Bugs Bunny was man enough to kiss Elmer on the lips when he pulled the same trick on the dopey hunter.
Little did she know it took more than mere words to stop me. She needed sticks and stones at the very least.
Before I could suggest she use the one she’d pulled out of her own ass, a ninja burst in the door. He crashed through it, threw down some smoke pellets, and dove for the back of Venus’s chair with his sword pointed right for her. If he wanted the chair, he got the chair. Venus stood quickly, grabbed it, and swung the back right into his face.
Now, in pro wrestling, people have gotten hit by chairs all the time and lived to fight another day. Of course. wrestlers also know to turn so the side of their head hits the flat of the chair to make it slightly safer. Even then, they’ve suffered a hell of a lot of concussions in the process. Fun Fact: “con” means “with” in Spanish, and it should be obvious what “cuss” means, so a concussion is an injury “with cussing”.
The ninja might have cussed if he hadn’t gotten knocked the fuck out. Instead, he made a thudding sound as he hit the floor. Another dove through a window behind me, bleeding profusely because he’s a jackass that didn’t know glass cuts if you try to jump through it. He didn’t even make it to Venus, not that she worried. I grabbed him, pushed him on to the table, and whispered to him, “If you’re looking for turducken, you’re out of luck. Now, ninjurkey on the other hand…”
He squirmed and whimpered , but everyone else concentrated on the other ninjas that charged in. Moai followed my lead and headbutted any of them in reach. Ball Boy engaged in ball to ball combat, and Venus made them fall in love with peace. I just whispered to the struggling ninja, “Shhh…your reality is pain, desire, and need, because that’s what everyone makes of it. When it gets too bad, remember you can step away from this. Reminds me of a poem. ‘So who cares? I don’t, of late. Let me tell it to you straight; life is candy, cherry brandy, ain’t that dandy, sweetie-pie?’ Make the world what you want it to be. I’d do it soon, too. Who wants a drumstick?”
Sometime in the middle of my cackling, he passed out. Right about then, everyone had mopped up the rest of the assassin assailants and turned to look at me. “That’s not right…” said Ball Boy, cringing.
“It’s a little hot,” I heard Tricia say.
“Is he alive?” asked Venus, ignoring a lot of interesting conversation.
I shrugged. She stepped forward and yanked his black mask off. “Who do you- a Mexican ninja?”
I looked. Everyone looked. Yep. Then we checked the other downed ninjas. All of them were Hispanic.
“I’ve never heard of any gang or cartel acting like this?” Venus said, arms akimbo.
“I think I got it. Hot damn I think I know how we got these guys. And I think you’re right that they’re Mexican, Venus.” I checked over one of the downed ninja’s black pajama costume. “It explains why they’re wearing completely inaccurate garb and wielding swords, too.”
I found what I was looking for and stood up, holding out the tag proudly. It said “Producto de México.”
“You can thank globalization and trade agreements for this mystery. Ladies and gentlemen, these are cheap knockoff Mexican ninjas.”
They quite spoiled the meal for us, however, so I figured I was obligated as the host to make sure my guests could leave safely. To that end, I stepped out of my door in full armor and holding the double barrel bazooka. As I spoke, holographic Spanish subtitles appeared in the air around me.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am legally obligated to begin this public threat by saying I’m a registered sex offender. My name is Psycho Gecko.” A few hidden ninjas ran at that.
“Or, as your government labeled me, Axolotl Xolotl.” That got most of them to run.
“What I have here is a double barrel bazooka.” A frozen over car squealed and pulled out of the area. How many motherfuckers were watching my place, anyway?
“In about five seconds, I’m going perform a little dance I like to call ‘Mating Rituals of the South-Central Extreme Property Damage.’” That prompted some of the homeless guys sleeping under the gas station awning to get up and stumble off to a safer resting place, supporting each other.
“After that, any survivors will be dragged out back and I will be forced to treat them like a certain hairless Eastern European boy that I’m not allowed to get within 1,000 yards of. Now, do you feel me, or do you…feel me?”
At that point, a couple last ninjas ran off, followed by a team in white and grey urban snow camo, a black minivan, a person dressed as a garbage can, and a snowman.
I wound up not making good on my threats after checking the area thoroughly for any body heat through thermals. The dinner broke up soon afterward so they could take the ninjas into custody and get the stuffed one to the hospital, though Venus did say she’d let me tag along if I wanted to get back at the people who broke up my little event.
I shoved food up another man’s ass, threatened a neighborhood, found out lots of people were watching me shower, and ran off a bunch of assholes from my dinner. In the end, isn’t that what anybody hosting a holiday get-together could hope for?
And while we’re on the subject: Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year if y’all don’t hear from me due to a misunderstanding with any Eastern European boys between then and now.