It’s a brand new day and the sun is high, all the Ukrainians are singing that they’re gonna die. Well, I suppose that sounds like I’m engaging in some ethnic cleansing. And that’s just not fair. I’m fairly certain at least a few of these guys I’ve killed have bathed recently, and not all of them are Ukrainians. There could be some Slovaks and Belarussians in the mix. I was going to add something about general all-American opportunists, too, but that’s not actually mutually exclusive to being Ukrainian, Slovakian, Belarussian, or any other -ian.
Because America is a land of immigrants, starting way back when the first Native Americans were brought across the Atlantic by riding domesticated giant prehistoric swallows given to them by the aliens. I presume African, though European isn’t out of the question either. Something like that, at least. Point is, all of them around here have shifty backgrounds. They’re only as American as apple pie, but go around all hoity-toity like they’re as American as potato pie.
Or perhaps I’m just the poster child for dangerously criminal illegal immigrants myself. But at least I fit right in with the New World, don’t I? I wouldn’t begrudge my fellow criminals the same opportunity. I just wanted their stuff and wanted to know what they had to do with some bunch of guys running around calling themselves an army of one percenters. Hey, don’t look at me for that one. Some bunch of right-wing militias actually named themselves something like that. It’s not as catchy as Boobzilla, but I think Forcelight is still a worse name.
So this one-percenter wannabe-army is doing some stuff it shouldn’t do, like shooting me with guns that they shouldn’t have. That makes them my business. And I suppose they also hurt students of this school, who I technically owe a debt to, so that plays into it as well.
I’m not fighting for truth, honor, or the American way. Sadly, most who do try to fight for something greater than themselves fall short and into a big, steaming vat of hypocrisy. So I don’t. I fight for myself and the things I care about.
Like making it back for Taco Tuesday.
See, I hung there, upside down, in a dark room. Yes, on Tuesday. Did I mention I was upside down already? I feel that was important, because the people who had me here were more than a little upset it wasn’t doing much for me. Not that blood flow isn’t an interesting thing when someone’s tied upside down, but I meant it didn’t do anything for me as far as suggesting anything wrong was occurring.
“So there I am, about to spank her, when suddenly she realizes, ‘Wait a second, that really was a shaved weasel!’….Eh? Eh? Come on, guys, that was a funny story,” I said to the two guys in front of me. In contrast to the normal overbearing beardedness of some of the ones I’ve been facing, the one with the jumper cables was thin, bald, and clean shaven. He was thin, but with muscles on there. Like an evil, Eastern European Mr. Clean.
That gives me an awesome movie idea.
His partner, a younger man, was also wiry, but without the muscle to back it up. He threw up his arms. “That’s it!” He turned to the bald one. “Listen, I know you don’t like gags because you want to hear them scream, but this one’s just going to keep talking. He didn’t shut up, even when I twisted the knife.”
“Did you nick the intestines?” asked baldy.
His partner, exasperated, told him, “Oh yeah.” He looked at me to say, “That’s a long, slow death
I shook my head from side to side and mouthed “Nope,” to the bald one. Then, exaggerating a bit, I said, “Oh yeah, I can feel it already. Long, slow death. Ooooh, the agony. The pain. I can feel the rigor mortis setting in on my nipples already.”
It hurt, but I the knife to the belly that my captor had inflicted on me hadn’t gone so far as to hit an intestine. That’s one of those situations when there’s not a lot of ambiguity to it. There’s a bit of a smell.
“You smell that?” asked cue ball.
“I don’t smell spit!” said the agitated helper. Thank you, psychic censor block. Reminds me over and over again to find Psychsaur in the alps without lube whenever I’m free of it.
“Exactly. You don’t. You missed.” Monsieur chrome dome knelt down, looking me in the eyes. “He’s new. Don’t worry about me. I’m very experienced. You’ll find out if you don’t tell me what I want to know.”
“Eh… well, what were you wanting to know? I’m a wealth of information, though most of it’s stuff no one wants to hear.” I smiled at him around some of the pain.
“Yeah, right,” said the enthusiastic assistant who couldn’t stab the broad side of a broad. “What do you have on us?”
“I know you’re working with the militia. I know they were trying to rile up Master Academy. Selling weapons they’re not supposed to have. How’s that?”
The wiry assistant looked back to the bald guy, then slapped me with the back of his hand. I’ve had worse. “And here I was worried we’d need a safeword. This is practically PG. You need a cigarette? I got plenty of room to put it out,” I said. I wiggled my hips for emphasis.
The bald one fixed me with a cold look. “How long have you been onto us? Your account isn’t new. How long have you been looking into us? Three, four months?”
Huh. So they’ve been doing this for at least four months.
“I’ve seen what’s going on long enough, that’s all you need to know. You made waves, doing what you did to the Tornelli family. You think no one would notice?” I snorted.
Chrome dome shrugged. “Everyone had bigger things to worry about. The city’s a mess. It needs discipline.”
I would have raised a finger to object if my hands weren’t handcuffed behind me at the time. “More like you wanted money.” A twinkle came to his eye on that. Almost like a smile. “Well, that’s more of a perk, I guess. I’m sure it was satisfying to take the city. Take your ‘proper’ place, right? Except you got this school for superheroes around. But now you have this movement of misguided nincompoops running around, protesting, talking about heroes making bad things happen just by existing.”
The assistant barked out a laugh. “Sounds like a big conspiracy theory.”
The muscular guy just stared at me, squeezing the handles of the jumper cables. He walked closer and squatted down in front of me. “What do you know?”
I think I’m starting to hit on something. It’s not the usual plot organized crime goes with, though. It’s the kind of overly-complicated Bantha poodoo I might think up. Or another supervillain, like Oligarch or someone. One of the ones who is ambitious and plot-minded, which is sorta shaped like itself.
Supervillains are not a monolith, except for Mister Monolith. He’s beside the point, though. There are lots of different types. Some are pettier than others. Hitmen, robbers, corporate sabotage, and on and on. Some are just out for revenge, destruction, or just proving they’re big and bad. Lots of different goals in mind, and that list was not intended to hold all the possible motives. I left out the crazy ones, for instance, and those are near and dear to my own designer heart.
So all kinds of different villains. Can’t say I specifically know of any Ukrainian ones, and my internet connection is cut off now. I know of a few that might do something like this, but one of them’s dead and the other is more concerned with Asia at the moment.
So I didn’t have too much to say. I smiled, though. “No matter what place you take, you’re still an errand boy for a supervillain.”
This hairless cat pursed his lips slightly, then reached up and clamped a cable to one of my balls. I objected without many words because this was clearly no time for my ability to cuss to be damaged. After the first one, though, my tormentor said, “You won’t leave this room alive. You know too much. But I don’t have to turn this on.” And there went the second clamp on the second nut. He continued, seemingly ignoring my red face and held breath. “I can make this quick. Tell me who else knows. The name of your superiors. Any hidden evidence.” When I didn’t say anything, he lowered his voice and leaned in, looking to the side. “We will make an example of you if we need to. Tell me and your family will be safe, spared. You have a wife? Son? Daughter? Your ma alive? I am a family man, so I understand.”
I said a little something that he leaned in to hear. “What was that?”
“I said,” I said, “’Revelation leading to my psychosis, and inspiration,’ it’s from a song. I like music, especially when I’m fighting people. And for the record, I won’t spare your family.”
I reached around and stabbed him in one of his eyes with the open handcuff. I quickly grabbed one of the clamps and unclamped that sucker, then reclamped it on his free eye. Squeesh.
The other guy yelled and came at me, bro, with a knife. I went to grab the knife and took it through my left hand. The nails of my right hand tore through his throat, hitting me right in the face with the money shot. He slunk to his knees right there.
“Hey, want to see how you really slap someone upside the head?” I asked, then slapped him with the back of my left hand, slashing him across the cheek and pushing the knife a little bit out. Just the whole way. That had to wait for me. Darn inconvenient, that. That thought helped me turn pain into giggles while I pulled myself up by my clothing to the rope holding me up. I’d have gotten through the bond easy even without it, but it was still so kind of them to provide me a slightly easier escape.
Sadly, this back room in a local dog food cannery didn’t have much more in the way of information. Criminal organizations don’t tend to keep a lot of prisoners. Prisoners talk. They’re good if you want to know how to dispose of a dead body, though. Cement shoes and rugs in the harbor are old-fashioned compared to some of what they can do now.
After a bit of bandaging, I left the cops an anonymous tip. Keep the heroes out of that one, expose another front in all this crazy business. When life hides your lemons, dangle yourself out there until the lemon trees decide to kidnap you. Had to take the knife, though. Found the guy’s driver’s license and a picture of his wife and kid in his wallet. Can’t just walk into a guy’s house where potentially unarmed people have no way to fight back against someone with armor. If I did that, I might not be able to go through with it. But wounded, unarmored, and with a weapon laying right there within reach of them?
Sadly, only the wife took me up on that opportunity. She went all Mama Bear on me, or tried to. The little girl is merely scarred for life, but at least her bedroom is a fabulous new shade of red. Getting enough paint was an issue, but I made it work by carefully texturing it all using the mother’s body. Just drag that back and forth against a bunch of times, or until I figure police are on their way.
What’s really frustrating is that I didn’t feel anything. A bit of relief with the other guys taken down, but none of that high of old. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel bad about it. I just didn’t feel much of anything about it, and that’s a bit odd. A bit wrong. Could be an issue, especially because some students staying at the Academy were walking just a little too slow in front of me and I began to wonder if I should just reach around and slit their throat. Not even in a funny way. Just that, without much feeling one way or the other, I might still kill a person for convenience.
That’s terrible. That just makes it a job, ya know? It’s like how they say to do what you love so you never work a day in your life. Ugh. It’s kind of like if jumping out of an airplane became boring and mundane, with absolutely no thrill to it. Then it’s just some droning, monotone, “Wheee, I’m falling through the air at terminal velocity and the world is so tiny. Mind if I bring a laptop along so I can browse TV Tropes or watch some porn or something?”
I didn’t see her though. Odd. I figured after that dream I had of her last night, I’d be sure to catch a faceful of palm at some point. However, I did make it back in time for Taco Tuesday. And some days, there’s no better pleasure than getting a faceful of taco instead.
That’s what she said.