After getting stood up a couple of times, I decided the time was right to take care of some business that needed doing. It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means a lot of people are getting pissed off at the heat and needing someone to take it out on.
Such was the case with Mister Toy. He’s an older guy, a throwback who used to specialize in crimes using toys. He’s a second-generation villain. His father made remote control toys. Mister Toy somehow found a way to mentally control toys, but he never used it for anything giant. He’s got a son in the business, too. Doctor Digital or something like that. He does freaky things with videogames and apps.
Now, Mister Toy is mostly retired. He’s old and he’s living on whatever he squirreled away. He either likes supplementing his income or staying busy. I guess he can’t make and sell toy soldiers with working rifles like his dad. So he went and robbed a credit union, like you do. There was some sort of toys for charity thing, and he slipped a bunch of his in there, along with some stuff he left in a safe deposit box. One night, the toys get up, blow the vault, and make off with cash and the contents of a few boxes.
A vigilante mob formed, but there wasn’t much they could do. Mister Toy didn’t live in that community. He didn’t have anybody helping him on the inside, but they insisted on standing around with guns while people went in. I imagine that alone caused a lot of problems for the bank, and there was something of a stand-off with the police.
That seemed to be the end of it, until Doctor Digital, Mister Toy’s son, was ambushed while arriving home one evening. Doctor Digital isn’t really the hand-to-hand type, so he got his ass beat. The people who did it dropped him off at the police station, handcuffed, with a note tied around his neck saying he’s Doctor Digital. That happened the other day. The police have questioned him, even did a search of his house, but turned up no more evidence than the word of a bunch of anonymous assailants. Realistically, they could have beat up anyone and left them there, so it doesn’t do much to him legally.
When he talked with his dad, Doc Digital revealed that they came after him because of what Mister Toy did. It was a small gang of five or six pissed-off guys who just never let it go even though the robbery happened back in December. “They said they were fed up. They said somebody needed to do something about all the filth in their country. They decided they would if no one else would,” Mister Toy had written in his statement about the incident.
VillaiNet’s reaction might have been better if they’d worn masks and pretended to be heroes while doing it. The news about Doctor Digital’s alleged identity wasn’t out at that point, though, so they decided not to engage my services at that time. Instead, some of the oldtimers who had kids in the business got together to make those guys their pet project. Cars were blown up or vandalized, houses were robbed, and at least one vigilante’s place of work was defaced with life-sized replicas of the vigilante’s flaccid penis.
It was a measured response. The vigilantes didn’t know how good they had it. They escalated it by planting evidence about Doctor Digital and kids. They took his wife, too, and said she could go free if he confesses and pleads guilty.
Less than a day later, I get the call. Less than a day after that, I arrived on the edge of their nowhere community in the wasteland that is Utah. I had the benefit of loads of intel on them. The various golden oldies who had been involved knew where these guys lived and worked if they still had jobs. I had the details on where they hung out and where they fucked their mistresses. They looked into it and confirmed there were five of the guys altogether.
Three of them had a side business selling censored DVDs. Utah is Mormon country. These people fought multiple wars with the United States over their religious beliefs, so it’s no surprise they’d pay people to turn Scarface into a short film about a Cuban immigrant who comes to America, gets hooked on sugar, and dies of diabetes one night after snorting an entire pile. One of them was the cock replica guy, so he’s new to the censorship business.
They received a knock on their door and a package on the porch. Inside, they found a DVD case with no artwork on it. I’d written a short note on it, just saying, “This has too much gore. Remove it.” They took it in to watch.
The first segment showed one of their friends sitting on the floor of a mobile home, bloody and beaten. I was there too, holding a metal baseball bat and a gas can. Neither looked necessary with me in my form-fitting armor, but that’s how it goes. “So, tell me about that framejob you pulled on that guy you claim is Doctor Digital.”
“He is Doctor Digital!” the man yelled.
I knelt down in front of him and rubbed his hair with the bat. “Naughty naughty. He most certainly is not the guy who hired me to clear his name.” I’m proud of that line. I don’t mind lying, but it’s also fun to say things in such a way as to tell the truth while still lying. It’s all in the pronouns. I want someone watching to think I mean Doctor Digital hired me to clear his own name, but that’s not what I said. It’s petty, but so am I.
I gave his ear a gentle smack with the bat. “And that whole kid thing? People pay lots of money to avoid having that tied to their name. Save yourself some trouble.”
The man spat at me. I shrugged and popped him in the mouth with the bat. His front incisors came out with the next lob of spittle and blood. I raised the gas can and poured it out in a circle around him, then all over the mobile home. “You know, the lucky way to go when facing death by burning is to die of poisoning from the carbon monoxide. I recently watched Return Of The Living Dead, though, and I thought more about how that chemical works. The body still feels after death, and it keeps doing so until the brain is completely destroyed. And one guy lights himself on fire to end it all.”
I tossed the gas can aside, then bent down and began to undo one of the man’s shoes. He kicked at me, but I brought the baseball bat down. His leg let out a crack as it shattered. He whimpered and tried kicking, but he really couldn’t dislodge me anyway. The reprisal was for my own pleasure. I tugged his shoe off, and his sock, then pulled out a syringe. “Can you imagine what that was like? Flames consuming you, bit by bit, and you unable to die by poisoning? Can’t even die because your body’s burnt to a crisp?”
I jabbed the syringe in between his big toe and the next one, injecting him. Bloody spit flecked his face and sprayed off as he yelled, “Fuck you! He got what he deserved. Nobody should be allowed to disrespect us!”
I pulled the syringe out and patted the man’s foot. “Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to think on what you deserve.” I stood up, dropped the syringe, and pulled out a lighter.
“You’re just as much shit as him and his dad,” said my victim. “You deserve everything coming to you. So does that slut he married who stands by a fucking criminal.”
I shrugged it off. From the way I was playing it up, I didn’t want to indicate the wife meant anything. “And I bet you never went over the speed limit,” I said in the video, flicking the lighter and holding the flame down to the soaking carpet. It lit and the fire spread as I walked out of the mobile home, then shut the door. A camera view from outside showed me nailing it shut, but not doing anything to the window right next to it before walking away.
The man inside managed to get to his feet and hopped to the window. He unlocked it easily, then threw himself out. The fire disappeared, then the whole interior of the mobile home. The outside shot came up again, showing the outside of a large building and the man plummeting. The camera panned down to show him land with a thud, then back up to show me waving at it from inside the building.
“Oh fuck, oh shit, oh fuck,” said one of the three in the business. He ran for the bathroom, not quite making it before he lost his lunch. That made the other two gag, one of them using the sink in the bathroom and the other heading outside. That last one confirmed that there was an outside still.
When the next part started up, the screen was dark. They heard the voice of the other member of their group coming from it. “We made it all up, alright? Are we good? I didn’t think we’d snatch some lady off the street over this. You got her back, now please don’t kill me!”
“The fuck… we left him to guard her,” said the guy who’d been using the sink as he looked back at the screen.
The message played over again. “We made it all up. I didn’t think we’d snatch some lady off the street over this.”
Then I flashed on screen, facing the camera and waving. The man watching it looked around at the others, “Guys, I think we better go.”
The one from the doorway had turned to look inward, but checked outside again. “We’re fine for now. No one’s here.”
“Good,” said the fellow from the toilet. “I need to wash my mouth out. Anyone else want some?” he asked, going over to a small fridge where they had a pitcher of colorful flavored sugar water whose mascot likes to destroy walls.
“Yeah, sure,” said the one who had been watching the video. The two had a cup of Kool-Aid while the one at the door squinted. He seemed ready when they dropped the cups and pitcher and began to keel over. He turned and tried to run for it. Something caught him around the neck and lifted him up. The noose materialized and I moved it over to a better mooring that didn’t require me to hold onto it.
The case against Doctor Digital was dropped a couple of days later, after prosecutors had time to consider the confession from the sole survivor of what had been seen by the news as a weird suicide pact of guilty vigilantes.
I guess it was all a bit dark, but have y’all seen how hot it is outside? I needed the shade.