Surprisingly, personifications of the year eventually disappear after their death. I thought Matty just felt like cleaning up my place last year when I had to protect him from his murderous predecessor. Too bad, too. I meant to give him a bit of a viking funeral, but now I’ll have to make do without a body.
Moai and Carl had their own service, but I’ve been busy hunting down Pink Pixie since she plugged Matty. Or unplugged him.
I needed a lot more eyes and ears quickly, so I cut in to local phone and internet services using a few hidden towers. The more I had, the less lag as I received signals from further abroad, but I had limited time. I wished I could have used my nanites somehow, but the ones I injected people with were meant for more of a hostage situation. No amount of wishful thinking could give them audio recording devices. They could build antennas on people to transmit a signal back to me, but that would be conspicuous.
There was no way to physically stop her Pixie from fleeing. I could probably keep boats and planes from leaving, but the roads and bridges were another matter. Besides all that, Pixie can just fly out.
No, I quickly realized that racing around to find her while she flew the coop just wouldn’t work. I needed bait. Problem was, if I had hostages, Venus and her big friend would probably respond instead. I could make an announcement that I’d kill them unless Pixie came, but she’d never come along. Venus wouldn’t let her. She’d be disinclined to acquiesce to my request since I bent the rules so readily on our deal with Pixie.
She’ll probably understand why I’m going after her fiery little friend at this point, but that won’t make her any more likely to take me up on another deal. Used to be, I was a man of my word for such an agreement. That’s been less true lately.
A little late to take a football team hostage. Celebrities…celebrities…you know, I really don’t float in the celebrity scene. As much as I can flawlessly blend in with the rich and famous, it’s not because I like eating expensive fish eggs and drinking the highest quality rotten grape juice. I know! Elected officials!
I hear the cops don’t even like this guy. Something about his kids being profiled. Yeah, he’ll do.
The first part of the plan involved getting a good view of City Hall and seeing if any of my enemies were around. I sent Carl out into the bustling local executive branch to test the weight of the limb and see if I risked getting pecked. Trust me, I don’t want my pickle pecked, not even by a pack of pickled pepper peckers led by Peter Piper.
Carl went in, dressed much like any other normal person, and changed into a janitorial jumpsuit in a bathroom. That got him access pretty much anywhere he needed to go. He managed to get close enough to the Mayor’s office to determine that no superpowered guards waited within. “Uh, looks like we’re all clear, boss.”
I tapped Moai on the shoulder and he dropped onto his side. I jumped on and began running backwards as he rolled forward. I didn’t hide this time. No pirates, no pimps, just Psycho Gecko rolling up the stairs chasing a couple cops inside on my own personal rolling Moai conveyance. Once inside, I hopped off Moai and let him continue chasing the security. I had a bigger fish to gut.
I made a beeline for the Mayor’s office. The mayor’s secretary looked shocked to see me. “Hello there, miss personal assistant…and I’m sure you have many lovely assets for the job, too…but I’m here to see the big cheese. Hold all his calls and don’t bother alerting the police, or I may have to cut the cheese, ya hear?”
She nodded, though I still heard the panicked responses as people called out on cell phones. I even noticed the secretary pushing a panic button. I passed by Carl, who stood there with a bucket and mop. “”Scuse me, let me just borrow this here for a second…” I turned and smacked the mop against the secretary’s head, breaking the end off. She slumped over onto her keyboard with the mop’s dirty head draped over her hair. I then handed the broken handle to Carl and gave him a pat on the shoulder. He had another part to play.
When I broke in the door, I found the mayor and another man behind a large wooden desk. It was a warm office, with its own rug and rich wooden flooring, and a fireplace. Old books and memorabilia of past mayors from the city’s history adorned the walls. It looked just as much like a museum as an office. I hummed a jaunty little tune and closed the door behind me even as the other man in the office, a balding man in a blue suit of very thin pinstripes, talked to 911.
I whirled around and walked as if this wasn’t a terrible interruption in anyone’s day, then hopped up on the desk and leaned down, holding out my hand toward the guy. “A word with them, if you’ll please?”
“Do it, Tom,” said the Mayor. He had on a tan shirt with a blue tie, having slipped his jacket off to tend to business. I nodded toward the Mayor to emphasize what the man said. Tom handed me the phone.
“Greetings! It is I, the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko. I know you have heard I died after a brief stint in the loving care of Uncle Sam, but I’m here to tell you now that rumors of my death are premature. That’s a good thing, just so you know. It looks like y’all need me. Without me around to be a murder-hungry destroyer of all that’s good, looks like some of the hero population is trying to take the job. That’s why I want you to let the fine heroes know that I want one of them delivered to me here. The Pink Pixie. I know she may not want to see me again, but just tell her I’ve changed and I think I’m ready to help her look after the baby now. If I don’t get her, your mayor and his friend here will fall down and go boom.”
I ended the call and tossed it back to Tom. “Here ya go, fellow. By the way, you should invest in some deodorant. You’re sweating like an almost-stuck pig.”
That didn’t inspire him to drop his humidity level, not even as I hurried him and the Mayor to where I needed them. I knew I wouldn’t have long, and I was right. Just a short while later, Venus’s old friend Forcelight came flying through the air. Yay, Venus’s stronger, tougher, flight-capable friend with the light manipulation powers and ownership of the Long Life Corporation. If I had to guess, I’d pick her to be the tall one of those slicer sisters from last time. She carried a slumping Pixie bridal-style. I watched her on an exterior camera set up in the Whambulance hidden across the street. She passed over the news crews and assembled emergency response units, ignoring their perimeter.
They made a hell of a ruckus coming through City Hall, but finally Forcelight kicked open the door to the office and saw me there. “Hello ladies,” I said, reclining on the desk with a bottle of champagne and a saxophone. “How about we drop the hero-villain formalities along with our pants and have a pleasant conversation about the best way to scream my name?”
Forcelight’s only reaction was to look around, checking out the room. No explosives or anything, just the mayor off in the corner with the same black suit on that he’d been photographed in a hundred times.
I continued, “He won’t watch. He knows if he peeks, he’s going straight into the gimp mask. But enough about me, why not drop your little girlfriend off over here and make my day? I mean, you may be in better shape, but your friend there is what I’m after. Pale, sweaty forehead, breathing mask, nubile young body. You know what they say at St. Jude’s: if the field’s condemned anyway, you might as well play ball.”
Forcelight’s own pale face frowned as she dropped Pixie’s legs to the ground and used the spare arm to blast away the hologram of me on the desk. “Where are you?” she asked. Another blast made the mayor disappear as well. Experimentally, she blasted the desk away and a few holes in the ceiling. That fiend! What kind of villain would come in and wreck an office like that?
“How rude,” I told Carl, the Mayor, Tom, and Moai in our cramped little space. “She’s wrecking the place. Carl, we’d better stop her.”
He nodded, the kicked open the backdoor of the Whambulance. The airsoft cannon I’d built into the rear extended out and took me with it in gunner’s seat. This time when I fired, explosive cylinders took flight instead of penguins. What they lacked in ability to aim, they made up for in ability to blow the fuck out of people. They weren’t packed as full as the original one I cooked up for Pixie, but Moai and Carl fed enough of them to the gun to make up the difference.
Metal cylinders burst through the walls into the side of the building where Forcelight and her Pixie stood in the Mayor’s office. The seeds I planted in the building blossomed into fireballs as the room blew apart. I whirled the cannon to the side and swept the explosive wave over the assembled police, firemen, and EMTs. The reporters didn’t escape unscathed either. When I finished, I left the gun to Carl. “Here, take care of this. Anything tries to kick you off, give ’em hell.”
“Boss, is it fun?” asked Carl. He dropped into the seat and looked over the controls.
“Pretty damn fun,” I said as I walked toward the wreckage in City Hall.
I managed to pick up a murmur from him, “I’d a thought you’d laugh more.”
Even I haven’t been at my happiest since Matty. Part of the reason was crawling out of the wreckage. Forcelight and Pink Pixie. More likely, someone pretending to be Pixie. I found Forcelight unconscious in the rubble, but still alive. A dose of nanites insured her good behavior when she woke up. As for Pixie, I found her hidden under that thick desk of the mayor’s. She looked like a mess, with her pale makeup running off and her costume torn. I ripped the mask the rest of the way off.
Wow, must have been some blast. It deformed her so much, she looked like Venus in a Pink Pixie costume. She looked up at me, a contact slipping out as she tried to blink dust and grime out of her eyes. I put my boot tread in her face, then took advantage of her stunned and hurt state to gift her with some nice, controlling nanites. “You’ll want to behave now, Venus dear. Wouldn’t want you to strain yourself and get a heart attack and stroke all at once.”
Holding onto the pair of them, I called out to the cameras trained on the scene. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank y’all for playing along. As y’all can no doubt see, someone didn’t give me what I asked for. I ordered some Pixie, and got nothing but a pair of unwelcome bitches.” I dropped the two to the ground. Forcelight began to cough. I moved my hand in a slapping gesture and she slapped herself across the face. “But that’s ok. If people want to give me more hostages, I’ll take them. Just give me Pink Pixie, soon.”
I knelt down next to Forcelight and Venus. Forcelight tried to punch me, but stopped herself. I seemingly ignored her as I looked into a camera that a ballsy operator moved forward. “Send me Pink Pixie, folks. This time, I’m not joking.”
Didn’t I used to be funny at some point? Ah, sorry about that, folks, but I’m fairly confident I’ll get this Pixie now.
In the meantime, I may have a few guests at the lair who know how to work a palm frond fan and feed me grapes.