I spent all of Thursday banging objects of increasing size against the bone wall that grew up and separated Empyreal City from the outside world. It’s not like I had better things to watch on TV. Television’s down. It’s hard to call people for service with phones down except within the city. So it’s not like people can call for phone sex as much as they used to, which disappointed all the porn addicts now cut off from their favorite porn sites. The internet is down, too.
That’s why I started. I like being connected. I can have the world at my fingertips. Telepresence. Even if I don’t always use it, it’s nice to have it. Also, way too many people leave their cameras unsecured. Trust me. I use it. Don’t worry, I don’t see much. Just everything.
So I started by banging my head into the wall. When I got tired and mildly concussed, I started throwing things. Chairs, mailboxes, small pets, large pets, people. Anything bigger than that and I couldn’t throw it very easily. A more accurate verb to use is “drive”. I started my own fifteen-car pileup trying to break through that fucking wall and left not a single dent. Not an ounce of give in that thing, especially for fucks.
On my second day of crashing stuff into it, I sat down to take a break and noticed major changes to the Trade Center towers. The bigger ones were warping and twisting into a pair of spiked spinal columns that met in a giant skull with eyes that glowed red.
Gotta give the guy credit, he knows how to throw together a metal album cover. It surprised me that the air didn’t instantly fill with something like Brocas Helm or Cradle of Filth. He missed an opportunity. I couldn’t stare at it for too long; not out of jealousy but because of the pain. Something about that red glow bothered my eye.
When the semi truck failed to dent the wall, I just had to throw my hands up and walk away. Well, up until my car arrived. Black Sunshine is too nice to ram into the wall. Not my classy baby. From there, I headed back to my lair, which lately crowded with poor, huddled masses yearning to breath free. Not in my backyard!
Unfortunately, that’s where I stayed. Venus, too. Carl actually started sleeping over at his ex’s in order to protect his kids. There wasn’t much chance of monsters getting the drop on them. Not after a visit from Uncle Gecko. The first time one of the kids told Carl they thought there might be a monster under the bed, he called me over.
Between the minipistol, lasers, and Moai’s cricket bat, they’re lucky they had enough wall left to consider the room part of the interior. But you know what? There’s damn sure not any monsters under that bed. I know this, because while they were all concentrating on the bed, I slipped into the closet and strangled that one to death. Thin, gangly critter, with a four foot tongue that could stab like a sword. I used the closet monster as a hand puppet and yanked the tongue out its ass when I finished. Furry little bastard, too.
Carl looked at me when I stepped out, not commenting on my new fur boa. I think the mother noticed, but she didn’t say anything. Carl still chose to stay and watch after them, leaving me to personally interact with Venus.
As I walked in and found her kneeling on the bed holding a pillow over her own head, I had to admit it has its benefits.
“Having trouble facing the world today, sunshine?” I asked Venus.
“Shut the fuck up, Gecko,” she responded with a croak. “Better yet, can you shut that baby up?”
“I know one or two ways. You know what they say, you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs.” I said the last part loud enough to be heard over the noise of all the people. You get a couple dozen folks all crowded into one space, they’re gonna make noise. There are just too many bodily functions. The only reason my room remained off limits was because I still have my reputation as a vicious killer. But if this place keeps filling up, I’ll soon have a reputation for vicious pillow fights.
“God, I wish I could let you.” Venus said. She sat up, eyes puffy. She didn’t like to take her mask off around the civilians. I stepped in and closed the door.
“You’re taking things well. Pleasant nap?” I asked.
“Yeah. This time, nobody came to pick me up. Not Mr. Master…nobody.” She shook her head.
I shrugged. “Alright. I guess ‘Tingler’s learning where people are sensitive at. Hey, I gotta go do a thing. You want to come with me?”
Venus grabbed a water bottle off the floor next to my bed and unscrewed it. “I’m not going to walk on the bad side of the law. I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but I’m no bank robber. The money’s worthless, anyway.”
I rolled my eye, “Nah, we’ve got plenty of toilet paper for now. I think we can stand to get out of here for awhile. You don’t have to do anything bad unless you want to.”
“The people.” Venus pointed to the wall by the door.
“We’ll leave them some guns and explosives. Either they’ll be fine or we’ll solve the noise problem.”
That’s how Venus and I got out of there and went to do a little exploring in an old subway maintenance tunnel. I led the way, more because I was the one who knew where I was going than because Venus expected traps.
“If we get all the way down this ladder and I find out we only took this route so you could stare at my ass, you’re going to be exploring some new bruises tonight,” she called down from above me as we made our way down one particularly long ladder. “Where are we going, anyway?”
“Well, some people think you can find objects of great power by walking into any mental hospital in any city of America and asking for a certain person. I’m sure it’s symbolic of something. Anyway, I have some stuff in storage down here.”
“You didn’t think to get it out before now? Why don’t other villains use this place?”
“Hell if I know. I’m sure some have in the past. Ah, dry land ahoy!” I set my feet down on the floor at the bottom and moved out of the way. As Venus approached, I stayed focused on her butt. “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Call me a pirate, because I see some booty.”
Venus’s leg shot out and smacked me in the side of the face. I grabbed it and yanked her down so that she landed on said booty when hitting the floor. She glared at me a little, but we didn’t get into a fight. Being trapped in a city makes for strange bedfellows, not that we’ve gone there. Yeah, I know I have to point it out. There are people out there. Strange people, who have decided that Venus and I are like a couple. They’re just waiting for all of this to end with me staying home to bake cookies for little Venus Junior and Psychomina. Well, y’all should know that as far as Venus is concerned, the hot dog cart is closed!
I held up a hand to stop Venus before she could walk around. “Alright, now be very careful, my dear Venus. I have a top notch security system in place and it’s tied to the lights. If we don’t do things just right, we could wind up pounded, penetrated, pruned, pummeled, and pickled. That’s not even covering the Rs. You probably wouldn’t like it in the Rs.”
Venus’s head lamps showed her tilting her head at me, probably annoyed. “You’re a real pain in the Rs, Gecko.”
“Yay, you got it. Anyway, time to enter my security code…ahem…” I brought my hands together and clapped twice.
The lights turned on, revealing a giant room with a concrete floor, walls, and ceiling. It stretched five hundred yards in each direction, with a ceiling twenty feet up. Old projects laid around covered in sheets, including a mecha arm and, as Venus so eloquently put it, “Is that a tank?”
“Is it?” I turned and followed where she pointed. I lifted up the sheet and jumped over it the thing, revealing that it was, indeed, a tank. “Huh. Yep. A sonic tank. Double size, too, that’s why it’s got the back end that can pivot.” I hopped on top of it and walked over to lean on one of the focusing dishes up top on Venus’s side.
“You had this here the entire time?! Why haven’t you used it?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Forgot about it.”
Venus stared at me, her jaw having some difficulty closing. She shook her head and regained the ability to flap it. “How do you forget about a tank?”
I pointed down at it. “Well, excuse me, but I haven’t been down here in a couple years.”
“Tank, Gecko! You didn’t think about it when fighting me and Shieldwall, or against Hephaestus?” She facepalmed.
I down, legs dangling off the edge. “It’s just not lethal enough. It only fires concentrated sound bursts. It can’t even kill a person.”
Venus stomped over and kicked the tread. “It’s a tank. You can run someone over.”
“Hah! If someone stands where a tank can run them over long enough for it to do the job, it’s not murder. It’s suicide. Or natural selection. Not murder.”
Venus threw up her hands. “Ragh! You have a computer brain and you just forgot you had a tank! I, oh god, I need to breath.” She stopped to catch her breath. After she calmed down, she grabbed her belly and started laughing. When she had a good chuckle, she turned. “You have some elaborate joke setups.”
I shrugged again. “What joke? I really forgot this thing was down here. Just because a computer’s got all your files and dirty pictures stored on it doesn’t mean they’re all up on the screen all the time.
That silenced Venus again, who looked at the concrete floor and shook her head. When she looked up, she pointed at the big mecha arm, the shoulder joint of which stuck out from the sheet. “What about that? Is that anything usable?”
I hopped off and walked over, lifting up the sheet to show the fist to her. “Eh, just a mech arm. I was trying to build a giant robot to destroy a city based on this prototype I made out of wood first. The wood one didn’t survive too long, and it’s really a lot of work for one man to build a giant robot. Shame, too, because I wanted to put this giant energy shield in its hand. To activate it, you had to extend and raise the middle digit.”
Venus lightly and playfully smacked me in the back of the head. “You’re an ass. You know, if this place wasn’t so out of the way, we could probably relocate everyone down here. Why don’t other villains use all this?”
“Maybe they forgot?” I suggested. She shot me a look. A mean look. A foot long look aimed at a tight asshole.
After a couple seconds, Venus turned back to the ladder to the maintenance tunnels. “By the way, we better get going. I’m already getting hungry. Is there anywhere we can get tacos?”
I nodded, “Yeah, there’s probably near where we come out. But let’s go this way.”
I walked over to what looked like a column from two of its sides. I led Venus up the portion that was a relatively short staircase. As soon as I opened the door and revealed a subway platform, Venus kicked me in the ass out onto it. “There was a shorter way the entire time? I’m holding in pee over here.”
I picked myself up and brushed the old dust and grime off. I turned and smiled back at her. “Let’s face it, you enjoyed the nice scenic trip to take your mind off stuff, didn’t you?”
“Plus, I forgot about this entrance.”