Category Archives: 06. Bananarama

It’s easier to hit a target that isn’t moving. Let’s see how easy it is to hit a girl.

Bananarama 12

It wasn’t easy, readers, but if anyone could escape from the might arrayed against me, it would be me. I assure you, I never lacked confidence in my own ability. I always sweat heavily and cuss when I’m doing intensive thinking. I may have beat my head against a brick walls a couple of times in what was obviously an attempt to become inspired, but I wasn’t worried one bit. If the mythological being called Zeus could get a beautiful virgin goddess to pop out of his head by cracking it open, why can’t I make a magical escape hole appear the same way?

I did, however, lack allies. The city’s villains, including the ones I had worked with in all this, were none too happy about dosing them along with everyone else. I wasn’t even welcome back at the Back Alley Voodoo Bar. I tried to get in but the Baron drawing slammed the door in my face. The shop itself was closed. After helping the heroes get the BZ out of their systems, they shut down temporarily to avoid doing the same for anybody else the heroes wanted on their feet again, like a SWAT team.

No allies…no plan…a situation where killing everyone was not an option…an unfriendly population…and I didn’t even have a virgin goddess to alleviate my headache.

As things cleared up, the heroes finally got their act together. They rounded up Snowblower and got Flamebeard when he tried to make a break for it across the river. Those were more incidental than anything else because public enemy number 1 in this town was me. I even saw those Master Academy heroes, minus Venus of course, let this one terrified woman in a costume go. Sounded confrontational, so I’m guessing she was one of ours, except she agreed to alert them if she saw me. That’s not very smart. Girl please, neither is that fashion sense of hers. Must have been someone real minor or just starting, because the outfit looked like something you’d grab from a store.

Some people can make that work, but most of the time people just look stupid unless they get creative. You’d think it would be tough to find someone to handle those sorts of things, but there has always been a pretty good costume industry. Cosplayers, furries, movie and TV wardrobe departments, wrestlers, ren faire players, and superhumans are all in vaguely the same market.

That’s just for the small potatoes, though. For the big potato heads, like these teams I’m facing, they have the means for better costumes, armor, and equipment. Gorilla Awesome and Honky Tonk Hero are exceptions there. Awesome doesn’t need a costume and Honky Tonk just buys from the suppliers of all the Elvis impersonators. But for teams like the Masters, the better funding is an incentive to join up all its own. Aside from that, heroes need endorsement deals or a wealthy secret identity.

That’s where villains have an advantage. We have to work more in the back alleys, but a big part of what we do is stealing money. As long as the little potatoes take enough, they can look like a big potato in no time flat. Then they lose their gear when the heroes mash them and reuse what the villains had. I know, those thieving heroes. Good thing there’s someone like me out here to hunt down a hero and make some French fries.

They cleared the city that day, while I scouted for a way out. Bridges were easily covered. The shipping lanes that the semis took were also being checked. Nearly got caught there. Ran into this one bunch of guys patrolling through the loading docks. I couldn’t get out that way, so it would have to be one of the many civilian routes out. It took a lot of guesswork to find a gap. The Guard was stretched too thin. They couldn’t discount the possibility of a submarine or a car that turned into a submersible, so they had to cover not just the bridges over the Mississippi, but the shoreline as well. The route south to Mississippi was especially clogged. I also saw they had a pretty good watch going on the shipping lanes east out of Memphis. That left a whole hell of a lot of suburbs and lonely roads to rural Tennessee for them to cover.

I decided I would take one of the lonely roads where I spotted what looked like a team that wasn’t exactly set up like a fortress. These guys were weren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch. They didn’t even keep most of their unit at the checkpoint. They just played around in this parking lot and closed down BP gas station. It was around 2 am when I called up Moai and told him to get in the van and drive it my way. Now for a surgical strike, right in the taint of the enemy.

They were a colorful bunch, but they weren’t keeping on their toes. This one skinny little guy wasn’t even paying attention. He just kept practicing hitting a ball with a baseball bat at a chainlink fence still standing. I took that bat and turned him into a popsicle. A quiet popsicle. It was difficult, but I had to gag him all the way from the ass. Warriors, come out to plaaaaaaaaay.

I used his radio to figure out what channel to keep an ear on. Best to do this quietly for now.

Next was a big bald guy who kept faking a Russian accent sitting next to a fire they’d made with a bunch of gathered sticks inside an old tire. I didn’t like the look of that SAW he had next to him. I took five to mess around with one of my last chicken grenades. Had to reduce the size and power. I slipped a smaller and less detectable charge into his sandwich as I snuck by invisibly. He took a bite of that “sandvich” as he called it and pop went his weasel. Looked like he was zoned out at first. The guy next to him by the campfire just kept staring into it like he was mesmerized. Total pyro. Didn’t notice a thing. My gloves are fireproof. His face wasn’t. He definitely reacted to that, his cries for help muffled by ash and wood. I suppose his tongue and mouth being on fire did nothing to help him speak.

As much as I wanted to leave him like that, it had been awhile since I’d eaten and I didn’t want to put up with the smell making me hungry. I left him looking sound asleep, face buried in his arms.

I quietly snuck through the darkness, looking for any outliers. Off by the far corner of the parking lot was a makeshift guard tower made out of an old sign. There was the fire where they’d left their gear. Past the guard tower were bushes and a drainage ditch, then the road where the actual checkpoint was. They only had one man checking the cars, but they had someone up there in the tower to cover him.

Another of them had a balaclava on and kept practicing with a butterfly knife where the gas pumps used to be. I scalded his face with hot coffee from the coffee blaster. When he went to scream, I shoved the barrel in there and drowned him. It’s possible he won’t stay dead. If there’s any form of murder that would cause the victim to spring back to life before long, coffee drowning is it. I copied his image and projected it around myself while I handled the others.

His butterfly knife came in handy when I heard something on the radio. Someone thought something might be wrong with the big guy. I headed back around to the fire to find the medic, who was apparently playing a mad scientist with a German accent, checking on the heavy gunner. Muffled him and did a passable version of a Mime performing an Aztec sacrifice. I’m telling you, those Mime’s are planning something and you’ll never hear them coming. Tried to interrogate one of them once with a blowtorch, 10 snow cones, and an anal plug. Not a peep. Someone with a Scottish accent spoke up wondering what was up. I answered him that the “Nothing, he was just being an asshole. It was all a stupid prank.”

Yes, nothing to worry about over here at all.

There was one trying to be all gung ho, like some wannabe Patton with a firm grip on his entrenching tool, who was hanging out with, get this, a one-eyed black Scottish guy. I have no clue when the Tennessee National Guard became the fucking UN. I mean geez, they got more [censored] than they got guys like him. As the balaclava guy, I got them each aside for a private word about some things I’d been told behind their backs. The soldier didn’t like his helmet supposedly being made fun off behind his back by the one-eyed guy who had all the grenades strapped on. The grenade man didn’t like the soldier mocking his missing eye.

I wanted to pull the pin on one of the grenades, but alas, this was stealth. Instead, I headed up the guard tower. Continuing the strange multinational trend, this guy had on one of those Australian hats that’s clipped up on one side. He also had several jars full of pee. There were places all around to go drain the gecko, but this guy was collecting it in jars. The argument down below was so loud, they didn’t even notice when I smashed the sniper in the head with his own piss jar and got the shards good and in there. Even if it’s with a jar, you should have a plan to kill everyone you meet. Nice to meet you, sniper.

Hopped down then, I saw that in all the pushing, the wannabe Patton dropped his shovel. They hate it when you call it that, too. With the balisong, aka butterfly knife, in my left hand, I got Patton Jr. through the throat. With my right, I conked the Cyclops man on the head. That’s what happens when you take your eye off the ball.

Finally, I just had to relieve the guy manning the checkpoint. He wasn’t going to feel so relieved when I was done, but that’s why you don’t do that alone if you are competent. He also wasn’t supposed to be playing guitar while he did it. Still, they had some sort of weird turret thing with a gun mounted on it to keep him company. He probably had a laser on him to paint the target the gun was supposed to fire on. Most cars don’t have IFFs and motion or heat sensors are a bad idea when trying to avoid civilian casualties.

I waited alongside as he strummed a tune on his guitar. “Howdy there. You here to keep my company on this lonely vigil, or was all that arguing over yonder too much of a break in our camaraderie for you to stand?”

“Just bored,” I answered. Readers, you’d be so proud of me. I barely reacted when he started playing “Hound Dog”. That’s right, I didn’t garrote him with his own guitar strings. I got antsy as I saw the moving van approach and finally it was up there. This folksy sentry stood up and spotted the unusual head of the driver. He set his guitar down and reached for his radio. I took up his guitar and drove it down on his head. He crumpled in a heap of splinters.

Guitars make excellent weapons. You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but a nice solid wood one can break a person’s neck if you hit them in the head. I waved Moai up, dropped the disguise, and hopped in the cab.

Moai and I got away with my equipment, my scooter, and my field gear. Nobody is looking for the car. I’ll send for it later.

There were more soldiers up ahead. They weren’t stopping cars but it wouldn’t do for a Moai and a man in power armor to be spotted. I covered myself in a hologram of an old man version of James Gandolfini. Great, I’m hiding from the authorities by disguising myself as someone so gangster even nature had him whacked. I had prepared for Moai to cover up too. I reached back behind the seat and pulled out a big wooden mask in a growl.

“Here, put this on and sit still,” I told my minion as I handed it to him.

As I passed close to one of the Guardsmen leaning against the side of a jeep, I nodded to him, “Howdy son,”

Slipped by no problem. We were in the all clear then. I turned to Moai. “We did it. You know what that means right? Grab the mojitos, buddy, and keep that mask on. It’s tiki time!”

I cranked the radio. The hosts were talking about how Memphis finally recovering after the horrific events that had shocked the country. They were just so happy to all the heroes who had joined forces to stop the evil plan of Psycho Gecko.

Yes, my plan was totally stopped. My plan to expose people to that gas so they’d fight and kill each other. The plan to do the same to police and other authorities who showed up to help. My plan to beat the crap out of Venus but leave her alive to know how thoroughly she’d been beat, what she’d helped cause, and what she’d done under the effects of the gas. Yes, it’s a good thing the heroes were there, or I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that.

Special mention to the National Guard. Some people have been saying that the military would be able to take out superhumans in a fair fight. Better luck in a Rock-Paper-Scissors competition, camo clowns. I won’t fight fair unless I get a chance to use a Ferris wheel as a weapon.

And after that, by sheer coincidence, the station played a familiar little tune, “On the floor of Tokyo, or down in London town to go, go, with the record selection and the mirror’s reflection, I’m dancing with myself.”

What can I say? If I had the chance, I’d ask the world to dance and I’d be dancing with myself.

 

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Bananarama 11

And now we continue our story of just what happened that day I confronted Venus. What a story it is. Action! Intrigue! Ballshots! In fact, a kick to the groin is right where we left off. There are times when it doesn’t pay to have a hard-on from verbally tearing down a woman.

Well geez, saying it that way almost makes me come across like a real jerk. I meant that while normally I would hit this woman, this time I just gave her a tongue-lashing. Where the hell was I going with that last sentence? I know, I’ll distract you, readers. Look, down below!

I’d taken my eye off her as I laughed and paid for it. Venus was quick and got her knee in there before I could react. The armor helped weaken the blow, but blunt force trauma is still blunt force trauma. I doubled over instinctively too. Venus went to sweep me off my feet with a blow to the back of my knees. I relaxed with the hit. Instead of falling on my ass, I went forward to my knees.

She grabbed my helmet and rammed her knee into the visor. All she got was a sore knee. She tried to punch me in the throat, which is one of my favorite places to punch too. Don’t we just have so much in common? I ducked my chin before she could hit that vulnerable area and caught her forearm with my left hand. I gave it a hard twist to the right. She cartwheeled in the same direction. It was impressive. I was so impressed I grabbed her hand with my right, held her hand bent down, and headbutted her at the wrist.

Snap! Her response started as a grunt but ended as a pained yelp. Then I twisted her forearm back to the left. No cartwheel this time. Snap! Another yelp of pain. She kept her cool, though. She put her other leg on my right arm, trying to force it away. I let go and grabbed hold of her leg. She didn’t try to get away. Instead, she threw her body at me, wrapping her right around my arm and head while her left, the one I had a hold on, wrapped around her right ankle after it was around me. For all the kiddos reading at home and copying the moves, this is called a Triangle Choke. One way it can be countered is if you happen to be strong enough to overcome your opponent’s weight.

Now, Venus was no twig-thin model that weighs less than your average cheeseburger, and she has muscles. Muscles have weight. But her muscles didn’t beat my armor. I held fast to her as I got my feet under me. She was still trying to choke me out as I dialed for less power to the jump enhancers. I projected an emoticon over the face of my helmet just before I left. A :P. While my head was trapped between her legs. You know, I didn’t think of it that way at the time.

What I was thinking was “Wheeeeeeeee!” as I launched the both of us into the air. She fought me even there. She tried to let go, tried to spin me, tried to flip me. Time was up awfully quickly though. I slammed her into the street’s hard pavement. She let go then. While she was stunned, I grabbed her by the ankle and swung her over me to slam against the sidewalk.

So that’s what it’s like to play the power guy? I could get used to that. I just began to walk away then, calling back to her, “Puny Venus.”

She threw a rock at me. I turned back to her. “Seriously?”

She collapsed back against the ground. She was done, sticks and stones notwithstanding. “Look at you. Out of breath. Outmuscled. Outsmarted. And let’s be honest about the costumes here: outfabuloused!” I did the magic hands when I said that. ”You beat me once, I’ll give you that. Let’s see…I killed your pet dog. Yep. Smooches the Sloth. Ran over him with my mansion. Also, the house got a little scratched in all that…and kind of exploded…so I need your insurance information.” She was struggling to sit up with muffled wincing from under her mask. “I got you beat, hero. Brawn and brains.”

I talk too much. I recognize that when I’m not in the middle of it, but you get to taunting them when they’re down and it just feels so good. I don’t just mean the monologue last time. Monologues are for expressing the enormity of the whoopin’ so vociferously unleashed upon an ass.

Venus had time to catch her breath, among other things. She levered herself up on her elbows and said something I couldn’t hear. ”I have friends.”

“What was that?” I humored her.

”I have friends.” Still couldn’t make it out. Well hell, if she’s saying it twice, it must be important. I walked closer to her. “Come again? I feel I should ignore my plan to get out of town in favor of moving closer while you say something.” If I understood why I said things like that, I feel I’d be a lot closer to understanding the world.

I had to get fairly close, too. By then, she managed to gulp in enough air to speak where I could hear her. She said “I have friends.”

I put my face in my palm, shook my head, and sighed. “Personal distress beacon started at the beginning of the fight, right?” I asked, still not looking up.

She probably nodded. I turned around and kept looking down with my hand shielding my visor. I started walking away like I intended to when I beat her down. “Not looking up, not looking up, not looking up…”

A sudden impact with my helmet threw me to the ground and gave me a headache. I took a moment to look straight up into the sky. “Yep…things are NOT looking up.” I sat up and faced the music.

Heroes. I recognized Paveman, Forcelight, and Gorilla Awesome. The rest were unknown to me at the time. There was a teen made of marble next to Paveman that looked like a chip off the old block if Paveman had the body of a Greek god and a pair of gold tights with yellow griffins on them. Another new one was a young man in blue tights that had white stars running down the sides of the legs, a large white star on the chest, white sleeves. His gloves and sleeves were red and he had a helmet of blue with a white visor in the shape of a beak. The cape joining with his helmet was blue as well, with a feather pattern that featured white along the edges. It was good enough that I don’t feel so bad spending so long describing it. They also had a woman with them in a deep red cloak and a pair of sandals. Her toenails were periwinkle, too, but I doubt that was part of the whole thing. Green flame trailed from her eyes as she looked down at me from where she floated in the air.

In the words of Ron White, “I didn’t know how many of them it was going to take to kick my ass, but I knew how many they were going to use. That’s a handy piece of information to have right there.”

I kipped up to my feet only for Gorilla Awesome’s grappling hook to latch onto me and pull. Out came the Nasty Surprise to chew through the hook and I hit the invisibility. He reached out to grab at where I should be. He miscalculated. I hit the ground and jumped onto Gorilla Awesome’s head and upper back. “Nice catch, banana breath,” I taunted with complete originality. He didn’t take kindly to his new hat. To make matters worse, I saw Forcelight drawing light into her hands. Becoming visible once more, I jumped off Gorilla Awesome and turned to face the rest of the heroes with a crotch chop. Apparently, this was a gesture from the late 90s which indicated a hostile desire for someone to perform fellatio upon the person gesturing.

A few things happened at once. Gorilla Awesome jumped up and clasped his hands upon thin air. Forcelight fired a beam from her hand which snapped Awesome’s head back and sent him sprawling. Lastly, I was struck by a couple streams of sparks coming from that patriotic superhero. One was green, another was red. When they hit me, they redirected me into a streetlight with explosive force that was represented by fireworks. The green had a Peony effect and the red was Dahlia.

Gecko Fact: Peony fireworks effects is a roughly spherical burst of “stars” that lacks a trail. If it leaves a trail in kind of a slow fall, it’s a Chrysanthemum, but if they burst out quickly with a trail and then disappear before falling, that’s a Spider. A Dahlia is a Peony with bigger but fewer stars. Note that if your universe does not follow natural laws to such a degree that fireworks are capable of existing, then you should probably ignore a lot of this story’s action scenes due to the existence of chemistry and gravity.

I hit my three-way illusion, then reminded y’all to get your minds out of the gutter. Two holograms of myself ran out of me with a blue trail. One stayed behind against the pole as I cut to invisibility and rolled to the side and to my feet. I made a break for it while they stayed and taunted the heroes. I was at an alleyway when Foreclight blasted the illusions with enough power that it pushed back the BZ fog and created a clearing. I dropped the holograms when they did so and began to project my image for moments at a time in different places.

The heroes had held it together this long when facing me, but this was where things went wrong for them. The patriot guy started blasting all around himself with fireworks. Gorilla Awesome woke up, beat his chest a few times, and flew at Forcelight with his jetpack. Paveman and the marble boy were trying to help up Venus, but something triggered in Paveman and he started fighting his own hallucinations while shouting “They’re Commie Geckos! Wolveriiiiiiiiines!”

Side note: Paveman’s been doing this too long.

I dialed down the power on my jump enhancers while I headed down the alley and jumped off the wall on one side, which sent me to the other. That way, I was near roof level as I hopped from wall to wall, and to the clear. The party was pooped thanks to the girl in the cloak with the sandals and the enflamed eyes. Remember, use hand sanitizer to avoid a bad case of green flame eye. She struck me down with a bolt of red lightning. I broke through the plastic top of a dumpster as I landed half inside of it, knocking a great deal of air out of myself as well.

Something wrapped around me with a dull humming “vroom” kind of sound. I was being hauled back into the air by that flying mystic with some sort of glowing rope of energy wrapped around me. My arms were held at my side as well. At the time, I wondered if that energy was anywhere near some of the nonlethal wavelengths I had to deal with when fighting the Phenomenal Fighting Justice Rangers back home. If so, I have a little trick up my sleeve. A little trick called my gloves.

The readout in my visor classified her eyes as a magical disturbance. I could have told it that. Even with my visor in the way, she was looking right into my eyes. “Your trickery shall not deceive me, for I have the power to see truly past all your illusions.” She threw the cloak back, revealing a colorful silky outfit that played up the magic thing. I don’t understand why the skirt was done more akin to a loincloth, but I’m guess Master Academy has a male marketing staff.

“I’m glad you’re looking at my eyes right now then. If you were looking lower, things would get embarrassing quick,” I told her, then raised my hands up. My gloves were charged with energy of their own and dispersed the glowing rope as they passed through it, their own glow weakening with every loop destroyed. We were up in the air, however, so I reached out for the nearest thing I could hold. In her case, it was the mystic girl’s loincloth skirt. She kicked at me, which only made matters worse as it ripped and I sank lower. I lifted myself high enough to grab it at her waist, but that didn’t hold very long. The lower half of her outfit tore and I fell, catching myself on her ankle. As she tried to shake me off, I realized that either marketing is more sexist than I thought, or I had also grabbed her underwear when I tried to climb up her waist.

I projected a cellphone into my hand and raised it up as if taking a picture of the bare bottom heroine. “Hey, stop that!” she said, sounding a lot less like a composed master of the mystic arts. I made a bunch of noises like I was taking pictures while she pulled her cloak around herself.

I slipped a throwing knife out of my belt and stuck it through her cloak, then let myself drop. She had to notice, but she threw off the cloak and booked it to avoid becoming the hot new tabloid sensation. That still left me with a problem related to gravity. This is gonna hurt. Despite my best efforts to try and reason with the universe by pointing out that gravity is just a theory, like germs, atoms, and evolution, it has so far not allowed me to fly under my own power. This would have come in handy to keep me from landing on a vent on some store’s roof, staring up at a dark and cloudy sky that began to roar.

Luckily, everybody else was too busy losing their minds. It’s a shame it’s not a permanent effect.

There were no more problems as I got away from them. I met Moai at a big moving truck he’d stolen but we soon found a small, tiny, minor, miniscule, gigantic problem. Turns out there’s a little bit of a perimeter around the city. I’ve got to get through that or I won’t get to keep my stuff. I like my stuff. I have a limited time as well before the city is finished with its hangover. Venus showed the heroes where to get the effects removed and Forcelight’s blast there showed them how to clear enough of the city. The rain soon to come that night didn’t help matters.

I’ve won the battle. Now I just have to win the retreat.

Oh, and readers? Made you look.

 

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Bananarama 10

It was a great day. I walked down the middle of Beale Street, singing to myself, armor sealed to the fog that drifted through the city. A bar to my right had its doors closed and secured. Frightened faces stared out from behind the glass. I stepped over to a metal chair from one of their outside tables, grabbed it, and swung. It flew through the air and smashed through the doorway, sending people scattering back from the door. They were somewhat less paranoid when a headless rubber chicken bounced off their floor and helped itself to its feet to try and walk back out the door.

Then, of course, came fire and screams. I added my laugh to the cacophony and continued singing, “So let’s sink another drink, ’cause it’ll give me time to think, if I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, and I’ll be dancing with myself.”

I stopped at a bar where a pair of men stood, bloody, scratched and scraped. They were back to back, bodies on the floor. One held a broken two by four. The other had a hammer in his hand. They turned to me and the hammer guy said something about “Look, another one.”

His buddy told him, “No, everyone else has gone insane now. We can’t trust anybody.”

The hammer guy shook his head, “We should at least try. You never know. He’s wearing something, after all.”

I removed one of my lever grenades from my belt, set it, and pitched it in. “Oh dancing with myself, dancing with myself,” Their quandary was solved by shrapnel. The explosion was matched and even superseded by more explosions from over by Main street. I saw a National Guard helicopter lose control and crash to the ground. Even with it down, more rockets were fired into the air, only to turn and look for more targets of sufficient heat. A quick listen in on the radio chatter told the tale. The soldiers thought they were fighting Godzilla.

Amazing, the things you can do with regular old chemicals. Mix N’ Max wants to use his special mixtures. You can’t recreate the stuff he pulls off, no matter what you try. His power makes it work when it shouldn’t. But in my training, I learned about other things I could just toss out into a city to cause a big mess. There’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing prove, I’ll be dancing with myself.

3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate. A handy little chemical if you want to get a whole bunch of people fucked up. In this instance, fucked up includes: acting stupid, confusion, memory distortion, memory loss, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, slurred speech, difficulty sweating, loss of coordination, illusions, hallucinations, group hallucinations, mumbling, overuse of clichés, paranoia, getting naked, and a desire to crawl. To be fair, some of these are pretty much how I act all the time. If you’re lucky, symptoms only last for a day. There weren’t a lot of lucky people in Memphis right about now.

What a very unfortunate time for a few groups of heroes, some marauding villains, and a lot of people armed with guns and military vehicles to all be within the area of exposure. Why should I have all the fun blowing things up and maiming everyone? I invited all our favorite heroes over to play too. From the sound of things, a Kaiju enthusiast is helping to clear the skies near here.

Good idea. I’d better see what I can do to give Venus and I a little privacy. “Hey everyone!” I called out to whatever passerby and bystanders were on the street and bars and stores, “Better watch out for that zombie virus going around!” I’d get people to fight imaginary vampires, but that clueless hack had to go and pussify vampires in her masturbatory crackfic. Oooh, shiny skin, how terrifying. I’m not going to be seduced by any creature of the night that feels no urge to impale their enemies and are so stupid they don’t know the difference between animal and vegetable. Even a modern major general knows the difference.

I wanted this next moment to be between myself and Venus. I had Moai out grabbing me a van and loading up my junk. I feel like moving, and a whole lot of people are about to feel the same way once they get done murdering their neighbors who just got zombified according to their fragile little minds.

Listen to them, screaming. Someone they knew just turned. A loved one or a friend. Or maybe their asshole boss that they always wanted to drive a steak into. But they’ll realize when they wake up that “Oh no…I just slew another person…with a T-bone. What a waste of a perfectly good steak. Why couldn’t it have been you, sirloin?!” and then a knight made of meat will threaten them with his lance. But in the end, they’ll despair. They’ll want to make things right again. Embrace this change, kiddoes. Were your lives so absolutely perfect before this?

Bunch of scaredy cats. Sometimes you have to run as fast as you can just to stay where you are when you should be running in a different direction. That’s what this is for, in a way. People think they become a different person when they’re drunk or high. They actually show their real selves then.

I wonder if it says anything that so many people think I’m high all the time?

Anyway, got a call from Flamethrower. He said something about being chased by a giant hamburger man, but somewhere in there was that Venus was trying the Voodoo shop here for a cure. I’ll bet that store does have a ward up to prevent just this kind of thing affecting the people there, which means there’s a chance they could actually do something about this.

I barely touched the door to the Voodoo shop when somebody dropped down behind me. Ambush, of course! Yay! More casualties! I whirled on my new playmate and found Flamethrower. Holding a rather familiar looking rod. I have my suspicions about him and Snowblower, but it wasn’t that kind of rod. He pressed a button and a painful crackling hit me. My armor shut down. The rod shocked him though and he dropped it. Venus must have some shock resistance in that armor.

“Remember this?” Flamethrower asked, getting up in my face. He looked surprisingly sober, and yet he was terrible at personal dental care. I just held still, waiting for the restart. “You just play around and don’t pay attention. You didn’t even ask about this after we caught your girlfriend. Now, you and me, we’re going to settle up about my arm you broke.” He turned then toward the street and raised his arms, which caught flame, “Hey everyone, watch me kill Psycho Gecko! It’s me who did it once and for all!”

Armor back online. Aren’t upgrades great? I slipped my laser potato peeler out of my belt and gripped it in a fist as I rammed it up Flamethrower’s puckered Tunnel of Love while yelling, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”

He joined me in a duet.

“Now this turkey’s good and stuffed, so it’s time to get rid of the giblets!” I said, giving the worst cooking lesson ever. I fired the laser potato peeler inside of him. It was hard to aim, but I didn’t care about that anyway. I lifted Flamethrower off his feet that way, grasped him by the shoulder with the other hand, spun him around a couple of times, then dropped him head first onto a mailbox, smashing his head into the interior. After wiping my laser and my gloves hand off on his tight costume pants, I pointed at him with both hands and said, “Your ass just got the full package.” Then I sprayed the laser down with air freshener so it smelled like fresh laundry done on a pleasantly warm summer’s day. It took the whole bottle.

Betrayal. Not a bad thing to try as long as you succeed. Success is often the measure of whether something was good or bad, right or wrong. For example, to quote Richard Dawkins on how he can be sure that the scientific approach is correct, “It works, bitches.” Same reason why I assault people in the ass in order to kill them.

Getting back on track, I grabbed the door to the Voodoo shop and stepped in accompanied by the pleasant dinging of bells on the door. I glimpsed Venus, kneeling, with a bocor chanting over her. Shadow suddenly filled my vision and took shape. A familiar shape. The barkeep. “There will be no fighting in here, Psycho Gecko.” It sounded odd, like she said it twice in a row, but the second time was catching up to the first. It was when I tried to push her aside and wave to Boopsie that I realized how sluggish I now felt. The barkeep pushed my hand away like she was brushing off a fly. “No, you stay here right now. We’ll be with you in a minute.”

“You’re helping heroes now?” I asked, feeling my center of weight shift. I stumbled back a step before catching myself.

There was amusement to her words, but no smile to match, “We help ourselves. We also help the balance when it is asked of us. Otherwise, we’re happy to see you do so well for yourself.”

“Whatever. Hey Venus!” I yelled to her. She didn’t respond, but nothing stopped me from goading her so far. “You want to set up some arrangements now, while you still have time? Just be warned, I don’t really do ‘closed casket’ stuff. When I kick an ass, it tends to affect the whole body.” I emphasized that last point by pantomiming a circle with my hands. “Tsk. Not even paying attention. You don’t appreciate anything I do for you!”

The chant stopped and Venus stirred. She stood and turned to look at me. I could see her eyes were red and puffy, until she fitted the gas mask on, that is. She reached down and unhooked another EMP rod from her hip. The barkeep moved out of the way and a windstorm accompanied that movement, moving past her to blow me off my feet and through the door.

I bounced off the street outside and rolled back. I stood up brushed off my chest and shoulders. There, about ten sub sandwiches away from me, stood Venus, also recovering. I hadn’t seen her pass me, but I was too busy thinking of ways to tell the guys at the bar that the barkeep had blown me. I reached for my pleasant-smelling potato peeler and took aim. Venus noticed my aggressive movement and readied the rod. My laser cut into it and left a gash. Venus pressed the button to make it work but it crackled and electricity arced down her body. She went rigid. That made two of us.

I sent a charge through my gloves and swatted the rod away, then gave it a zap. Venus stumbled back, trying to keep from slumping over in my presence. “You look like crap,” I told her, smooth ladies man that I am. I walked around behind her and she swiveled to keep me within sight. “Must have been a lot of work, but I figured you had it in you. I hope you enjoyed the death trap, by the way. I had to improvise because you only brought the cops along. You’re a smart girl, but it took awhile for you to rally everyone here to help me barbecue Memphis.”

I stopped once I had walked a full circle around here. “You wanted us all here?” she asked, perhaps not quite believing it.

“Yepperdy depperdy. I let you clean up the others while I laid low. I seemingly killed them but actually broke them out, securing their temporary loyalty. Then I gave you the puzzle pieces to fit together. ‘How do I find this guy? I don’t know, let’s look into that hot dog assault and the Moai sightings.’ I’m glad you were that clever, at least. I’ve noticed you and the Honky Tonk Hero liaise with the cops really well. How is he, anyway?” You better believe I monologued. I rarely put myself in that kind of position. I find it inconvenient for actually getting things done. In this case, what I wanted done was to echo a sentiment she expressed in an earlier conversation.

She straightened up, her fingers clenching along the sides of her tights. Let me talk or take me down now? Which is her better option? “Recovering,” was her muffled response.

My casual tone was quickly turning to jovial. I have to hold in the laughter, “Ah, alive. You heroes have an odd survival rate lately. But you’ve been a big help to each other as well. How is anyone supposed to get any decent killing done with all of y’all running around trying to punch me in the face and give me a swirly? Police forces, even armies I can deal with,” I raised my hands up just over my head and swirled them around, “All well and good to send an army in, but at the end of the day, you’d be surprised what just a few guys with superpowers can do. Case in point, your army becomes my army. You got an ear on the feed?” Must hold in the laughter.

I linked in my monitoring of the Guard’s comms with my suit’s speakers. The Guard had send in unexposed units in MOPP gear to bail their own people out. “Our own people are firing on us!” “Push back the Commie bastards!” “WAAAAGH!” A myriad of voices told the tale as confused and delusional soldiers fought their own.

I cut the speakers. Venus looked around, fully taking in just what I had done to the self-proclaimed protectors of the innocent. I couldn’t read her expression behind that mask. Pain, maybe? If I remember correctly, it can be quite a heartrending experience to realize you’ve become the villain, unless you decide not to care.

“So now, thanks to your failure to catch me, your failure to predict me, and your reasonable response to bring in help, all your little friends, all your little army men, and a lot of people in this city are all fighting, squabbling, shooting away at each other,” I chucked, putting my hand on my forehead. I pulled it away quickly to check. Clean glove. I put it back on my helmet’s forehead and resumed chuckling as if nothing had happened. It lasted a little too long before I stopped myself. “Attacking each other and bystanders and little imaginary butt trolls that are stealing the world’s peaches. You must feel like such the heroes. I bet you beat up a lot of people on the way here, thinking they were something hostile. Zombies. Aliens. Ninjas. Me. A lot of good you’re doing for the world Boopsie. Teach them not to be afraid, Boopsie.”

“Don’t you call me that,” she shot back quickly. Was that pain in her voice? Nommy nommy pain? Om nom nom. I hit a nerve.

I tried to speak in a lazy, dismissive tone to calm her down. Oh, wait, it was actually to help twist the knife riding my next words, “Someone sounds pained. Reminds me of that conversation awhile back. How did it go…’You can’t hurt me. I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone anymore.’ That sounds about right,” I savored the moment, smiling to myself. I continued in that dismissive tone, tempering my next question with spite in the last two words, “Have I hurt you yet?”

I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. Making it worse, I was so fucking hard in the crotch right then.

 

Next

Previous

Bananarama 9

Staying in Graceland was not a good idea. I’m not talking strategically. It was bad enough once again bringing up Elvis while I was in Memphis. I’m personally beginning to hate the name. I’m a hair away from going Biblical and murdering everybody named Elvis in Egypt. Go ahead, call me on it. It doesn’t sound like much of a threat now, but just wait until you get a phone call from poor Elvis Bin Zayd begging you because he’s got a wife and kids. “Please,” he’ll beg you through tears, “Kill my parents instead. They’re the ones who named me!” Then you’re going to be in the middle of an ethical dilemma. Do you kill this man’s parents who named, or do you let me kill him for being named Elvis?

Aha! It was a trick question. His parents were the ones to name him Elvis, thus they are clearly the ideal candidates to be painfully eradicated.

Let me tell you, I’ve stayed in some skeezy, scuzzbucket places. War zones. Dumpsters. New Jersey. I’ve sat on a lot of crappers. Toilets, to use another term. The porcelain god. The one true throne. The thinker’s pedestal. The stinker’s pedestal. The facilities. The john. New Jersey. In none of those places, and in none of those bathrooms, did I have to put up with some wide-eyed tourists taking my picture as I used the toilet. The toilet. The one the King died on. I tell you, finding out those perverts were watching me put me off the pills I was trying to shovel into my mouth.

They’re not mine, by the way. I found them up there in his bedroom. Along with a few dirty magazines. By the way, about those magazines? I enjoy a nice foot as much as the next guy, but I was about ready to tell any woman in an open-toed shoe to cover herself like a decent person.

So, let’s see…what did I do next? Oh yeah, I took the tourist guy, squeezed his head into a peanut butter jar, bonked him with a couple of hard old bread loves, smooshed a banana on his head, and held his head in the fryer like that. Apparently fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches were good enough for his idol but he wants no part of them. I then dragged him outside to either eject him from my property or let him choose where he would be buried. I always get those two mixed up.

That was when I saw the motherfucking tank in the street. It wasn’t aiming at me, but the floating Elvis impersonator clearly was. Honky Tonk Hero dropped down low and flew right at me, his gleaming guitar outstretched before him. I made a run for it. I leapfrogged the family graves and he followed. I made good on one of my threats and gave the signal via my ocular implants. The bombs weren’t particularly big as far as explosive devices go, but they were channeled downward and into the last resting places of the Presley family.

I know you’re all worried and gasping and going “Oh the humanity!” but I’m perfectly fine. The majority of the blast was directed into the graves and the earth, but it threw up a layer of dirt and other particulates that may have once been part bone. That layer was what caught Honky Tonk Hero. He started to cough, and choke, and give a giant “No” like some punk ass Dark Lord of the Sith. I used his distraction to run to the racquetball building and start gathering up weapons.

A painful howl of rage from a good distance outside prompted me to stick my head back out the door and see where my enemy was at. Honky Tonk was kneeling over the destroyed gravesite in anguish. I yelled, “Elvis has left the building!” Didn’t cause him to fly after me. Instead, he slumped, then seemed to notice something and start digging into the dirt.

Alas, poor Honky Tonk’s sanity. I knew it well. He was a superhero who dressed as Elvis and flew around bashing people over the head with a guitar. Everyone had an idea about his sanity. Perhaps, like many people, he was right on the precipice due to his worship of a good singer. All he needed was a little push. He even began to laugh at the situation, which some people take as a sign of madness when I do it, but I like to think of it as good sportsmanship. After all, thanks to me, Elvis’s body was destroyed, but at least now all the conspiracy theorists get to run around saying that there is no body to prove he is dead.

Or so it seemed, until the Honky Tonk Hero pulled up a metallic case of smooth, flowing, otherworldly design. I couldn’t tell what it was made from at that distance, but it was shiny, big enough to hold a coffin, and intact.

Just my luck. Fucking alien Elvis fans. You know what? Egyptian Elvis is gonna get his head blown off now. Too many people have been surviving my fights lately. Now I even failed to destroy Elvis’s dead body? That’s the last straw!

Which will have to be put away right now, because I have a glorious plan to bring to fruition. “Yoohoo, oh Honky! I wonder if I can fit Elvis’s gold record up my ass!”

It takes a special man to come running when you say a thing like that. Honky Tonk Hero didn’t just run. He flew, careening through the doorway with an outstretched guitar so fast that I wouldn’t have known what hit me. However, I had pushed one of the display cases with some black and gold jumpsuit in it in the way. Honky Tonk put on the brakes too late as he crashed into it. He was all tangled in the jumpsuit as well. I dropped one of the silver records I was holding and grabbed hold of a sleeve so I could keep him within easy reach as I bashed him over the head with a gold record. I threw him into another case then and broke open the case to the silver record I set down. I jammed one of my spikey explosives, the one that looks like it has the three cans on it, and through the middle and flung it at him. I proceeded to haul ass out of there before it went off, shattering a hell of a lot of glass in the process. That much glass in just a racquetball court, you ask? Jumpsuits and records? They redid the racquetball court as his trophy room.

I heard a roar from the house. Whatever that was, it sounded like it had a lot of saliva and not enough stuff to spray it on. I ran for the house. Normally I wouldn’t, but my armor was in there. As I entered, I headed for the basement stares but found Moai in the Jungle room, which has kind of a jungle motif and shag carpet on the ceiling. You can take the hillbilly out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the hillbilly. Moai was going head to head, via headbutts, with a giant, hairy monster. It was tall enough to play in the NBA. Its thickness and musculature were hidden beneath a carpet of light brown and blonde fur, though its claws, eyes, and fanged mouth were easy enough to see. Rather than punch Moai, he grabbed at things nearby to hit my durable minion with. A chair cracked over Moai’s head, but the houseplant just thudded off and rolled over by me. I grabbed it and held it in front of me as I crossed in front of the doorway. I set it down near the top of the stairs and at the halfway point I just raised my legs up and jumped to the bottom. My armor was on the couch in the TV room. I’d modified two of the three old-fashioned things to switch between a view of cameras I’d mounted to keep me informed of when the cavalry arrived. I took a look as I pulled on my power armor.

National Guard helicopters and trucks relieved police and evacuating civilians. The Pompeii’s Revenge was downed on top of a building, a transport helicopter trapped in a burning net pulled close to the wreckage. The building next door was on fire from the Pompeii’s flaming sails. There was no sign of the Captain or his crew, but Gorilla Awesome was carrying people out of the upper floors to the street below. One of the bridges that crossed the Mississippi river that I could see was frozen over. Ice in the middle of summer. Forcelight crashed through walls that left between the supports that prevented travel along the length of the bridge. Meanwhile, Snowblower and Flamethrower were on the roof of the Peabody Hotel, enjoying a fine lunch made from the hotel’s ducks that march to the interior fountain in a ceremony every day. There was even a group of heroes I didn’t know at the time fighting some villains who looked familiar from the bar. I didn’t bring the magic villains in on this, but it figured they’d get caught up in all this too. And that big white and neon jet was floating over things again.

The cavalry had arrived, alright. Memphis heroes, Kingscrow heroes, heroes from out of town, the Tennessee National Guard. With my helmet latched and the breathing seals secured, I was ready to turn the tide. I sent out a signal to my little surprises hidden in the city’s sewers. Oh yes, the cavalry had arrived.

I was stopped as I made my way upstairs by Moai crashing through a wall in the hall. “Come on, Moai, we’ve rocked this joint. Now it’s time to roll.” That was the moment when the big blonde monster thing stepped through the wall between myself and my way out and fallen minion. He caught me in his peripheral vision and turned to look.

“You,” he said, flinging spittle.

“Me,” I responded. Hell if I know what he wants.

“I’m going to put an end to this. I won’t let you be another risk to her life,” he said, closing his mouth finally as he took a step for me and grabbed me. I’ll give him credit for his speed. I need to go that way anyway, though. I wriggled free and grabbed onto his fur, quickly swinging under his armpit and wrapping my arms around his neck in a sleeper hold. His long, dark claws scraped at my gloves and forearms. He got a hold and tried to pull me overhead by one arm. I latched onto his other arm from behind with my legs and tried to pull back on both arms as I fought that furry and furious fellow. It didn’t work. He easily powered through and went to pull me around to his front. I latched on to his hips with my legs.

There I was, parallel to the ground, when I got an idea. I charged my gloves, causing him to let go with a yelp as I singed the fur of the claw grabbing my arm. Then I swung my body down between his legs as I struck at his shins and released the energy. He toppled forward and I came out of it behind him, scrambling out between his legs.

Moai was up and looking to me. “Find an exterior wall and make us a doorway,” I told him. He turned and crashed back the way he came. I followed. So too did that mongrel thing as he got up. Moai made it out via the next hole he made in a wall. I grabbed both sides as I picked my way over the wreckage and baseboard at the bottom of the hole, but was caught from behind in that creature’s meaty mitts. He had me by both biceps in an instant and turned me to face him.

“You’ll make an excellent gift for Boopsie,” he said. I didn’t have a lot of options, but the pet name for Venus reminded me that I did have armor with a handy older feature on board. I set a leg against the ground and activated the jumping muscle enhancers. When I pushed off, it was with enough strength to leap across a football field. I am fairly certain that when my knee connected with his balls, I hit him hard enough that he could taste his own ball sweat. He dropped me and flew back to the interior of the house. I next jumped out of the house as I hit the detonator, sending the entire mess up in a blast that hit me like a hammer and flung myself and Moai a good distance.

Laying there, I looked up at the smoldering ruins of the house Moai and I had just been thrown from and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.” I dropped my head back to the grass below. After Holdout, I’d like to look for a body, but there was some very chunky goo nearby that used to be a skull. I know it’s not salsa because I looked all over that kitchen and didn’t find it. Elvis may have stolen music from other races, but his food was all cracker.

I figured that was a good time to catch the breath that escaped me when the force of the explosion practiced some CPR. The chest armor had held enough, though. The sirens were approaching and there were guardsmen likely about to fall on my ass, but there’s nothing they can do now that will stick for very long and that was one hell of a tiring start to my day.

I got what I wanted, you know. They’ll think it’s just smoke, at first. Or maybe it’s so hot a day that they’re getting a bit of smog. Maybe even water that’s boiled off the roads if they aren’t sure when it rained last. All across the city, a rather innocuous fog is drifting out of the sewers thanks to my signal.

I get movement from what would be the top of my head if I were standing. White, gold, and pink tights. Venus had me. She had to know that, but she was hesitant. Unsure. Put that together with the rather personal way that behemoth talked and I think I know who was just so caring toward her over the telephone.

Moai rolled to a standing position as my fair Venus raised her hand to her mouth. I raised a hand and waved him off, “Not right now, Moai. She and I have one last fight, and it’s not going to be today. For now, we let our dear Boopsie-” and at that point a tormented growl issued from her. She had been crying. My systems are so out of whack after the explosion I couldn’t hear it and there’s not enough detail in the 360 cameras for the top of my head. I continued, “We let our dear Boopsie bury her dead and make her vows of vengeance. Also, it’s possible that I had an involuntary reflex and I’d like to go change my lower armor.”

Moai rolled closer and I closed my eyes as I winced and tried to sit up. I reached for Moai, got a hold of him, and pulled myself to my feet and my broken leg. I told you those jump muscle enhancers were changed out for a reason. As we limped off into the onset of fog, I checked back behind me. Venus wasn’t pressing the fight right now either. And it turned out I had landed on and crushed a jar of peanut butter, so there was less urgency about changing my armor.

And it’s less a mercy for Venus. The breathing seals all check out on my helmet, but something tells me she’s one of the heroes, villains, guardsmen, and regular civilians who won’t know what’s wrong until it’s too late. As a great man once said, “Have a little whiff of my posy.”

Next

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Bananarama 8

Such a nice pleasant day. That’s what I thought. Normally I hate Tuesdays as much as anybody who wears a lot of orange and hates lasagna, but I was enjoying myself, now that a guy like me can just walk around Memphis again (OOC’s Note: Psycho Gecko doesn’t actually read Garfield). Shut up, OOC, yes I do! Anyway, this was starting to become quite the hostile city to a guy who enjoys a fine, cheap, stolen wine and a nice bubble bloodbath. With Venus out of the way, all this “hey, maybe we should stop the colorful thieves and murderers” business is just water under the bridge. Water under a bridge where you dump the bodies with a weight tied to them.

Didn’t even have to scramble to get my stuff back from the cops. They were probably a bit confused when they got into the lair and realized that the tech villain didn’t have a whole lot of junk around for his reputation. The junk, in fact, was in my trunk, which was at the end of our escape tunnel to facilitate my getaway.

Now, it’s not that I think the people of this or any other city have no right to defend themselves. The problem is when they defend themselves against me. I mean, if everyone I ever wrong is going to start taking a stand against me, I’m just going to have to go back to killing rather than maiming.

It’s become a disturbing trend lately. I’ve been going a lot easier on people ever since right after the space marine ship.

For instance, there I was, chowing down on some Chicken Teriyaki at a Chinese place that probably got really annoyed of people asking them for Japanese food. The part that gets to me is why the FUCK did they put onions in my fried rice when I told them not to. I know what you’re thinking. Jump up, terrify some poor immigrants, play with them a bit, and maybe toss the chef’s ass onto the grill, with the added benefit of frying up his egg roll and sperm sack.

Instead, I picked my helmet off the flimsy wood folding table with its underside of discarded gum and boogers and stood, causing the already-terrified man with his body between myself and his family to set his face. Determined. Fatalistically so. I was quite a sight in my full armor, complete with a pair of machetes strapped to my back and all sorts of improvised weaponry hanging off my belt. Throwing knives. A potato peeler. Rubber chickens. A ballistic knife. Those he recognized. The cans attached to spikes and the spheres with levers on them, not so much, and we all know how people fear the unknown. I came loaded up with all sorts of toys thanks to actually taking a few days to throw things together, and me with a plan or preparation also seems to be something to worry about. Plus, you know, I was a murderer who had bounded in happily asking for NO FUCKING ONIONS in my food.

I slipped my helmet on and got it properly latched and attached. Always important to keep your head properly protected. Don’t believe me? A few years back, I saw in the news about a biker driving around to protest helmet laws. Lost control of his bike, put on the breaks, flew over his own handles. Would have survived if he’d been wearing his helmet.

I showed up at the service dressed to blend in. Big fake beard, flannel shirt. Jeans. Ok, so the blood on the lap of the jeans had them on edge. They also didn’t like when I muscled my way up to the front of the bar to say something by the casket. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was when I told them all that their buddy was a great inspiration to me in my struggle against the metal cup regulations in my day job as the supervisor of a team of child lumberjacks. I too knew the pain of losing a head in my protest. To this date, that is the only time I ever got into a bar brawl while giving a eulogy, though I hope to change that some day.

Nearly got caught graverobbing too, because I dug his dumb ass back up that night just to laugh at him some more. And Mix N’ Max needed a body for something. I don’t ask many questions about that sort of thing.

He edged closer as I walked over right in front of the man to the boxes on the counter and grabbed a bunch of soy sauce packets. I held them up and told the man, “I like this stuff. It’s mind blowing. It opens doors to other worlds, man,” before working them into one of the pouches on my belt Then I projected a cowboy hat on my head and gave the man a tip of my hat.

Rather than take the door, with its simple paper sign saying “Try our new Kung Pao Chicken!”, I threw myself out the window. Just for the hell of it. Seriously, you guys should try it the next time you’re encased in armor.

I stood up, made a show of brushing myself off, and began to walk away. Just walk away. You’d almost think I was learning to be a more patient person. This time, feel free to imagine I was walking in slow motion as the shop went up courtesy of the bomb I left in the soy sauce box. Why did the improvised explosive device go in the Chinese restaurant? Because the cooks there would have spotted the chicken grenade. Ba dum tish!

The mental image would be slightly distorted by me running back afterward and grabbing the sign out of the shattered glass from their door. When I taped it back to the door frame, it read, “Try our new Kung Pao Chicken! Now with 80% more pao!”

Yep, nice pleasant day outside too. Distant smoke. Police sirens in the distance. The blazing sails of the Pompeii’s Revenge floating over Downtown as Flamebeard attacked another bank. Those corporate raiders can be a vicious lot. I’m not quite sure what the other two guys are doing. All I know for sure is that Snowblower has covered the big glass pyramid in ice. If he had enough time, I’d suggest making an igloo, but it’s summer here right now and ice is not allowed to exist outside by law in the South during summer. Unlike most laws in the South, though, this one is based on science. Something to do with temperature, to be specific.

Currently, the legislature of Tennessee is working on a bill making it illegal to even mention the word “ice” outside, in the hopes that not saying something means people won’t even notice anything about its existence. They tried the same thing with the word “gay” but then were forced to pass yet another of these bills regarding the existence of the bill to not say “gay”.

Between the supervillains and the Tennessee State Legislature, there was more than enough criminal actions and criminal idiocy going on without me. But why not pile on? After all, I want things in Memphis to be intolerable. Make life miserable enough to get the city right where I want them. Operation Troll the Fuck out of Memphis is a go.

I guess that’s why I started with the good food places first. I’m trying to work away from that though.

I walked down the road. Radio Chic, good place for spare parts. I chucked in a chicken and lit that motherclucker up. Even better place for spare parts now.

Autozone. I pulled out a throwing knife and tossed it at the window. It exploded and took out the door, but that’s not the best part. The best part came when I pulled out one of the lever grenades, jammed the levers all the way to the opposite side, and threw it into the doorway. The resulting explosion was followed by the sound of tires all over the shop deflating from the nail pieces now embedded in them Autopwned.

ATT phone store. I left it alone. Do you know how hard it is in this day and age to chase victims who have terrible phone reception while trying to call for help? There are these masked killers out there who do nothing but murder teenagers and they absolutely love that company.

Nah, I’m just kidding. I hauled open the door and sprayed down the place in hot latte, scorching people and cheap phones alike in the unrighteous coffee of evil.

It was getting boring just hitting up whatever crossed my path. I don’t want to get stuck as the food guy, but restaurants have a lot of people in them and interesting projectiles. Hmmm. It would fuck with Memphis on a cultural, financial, and religious level. Luckily, I know a place that’s even better about projectile weaponry and screwing with Memphis. I opened a channel back to my temporary lodging at a dirty little Motel 6.

“Moai, bring me the Minstrel cycle. We’re going house hunting.”

***

Go ahead, take a look at the giant memorial they built to Elvis’s house and his nearby grave and tell me it doesn’t fit. You don’t just drive up to the house on your own, though. You are supposed to stop off across the street at the visitor center and take a small shuttle through the gates. Did I mention the street itself was called Elvis Presley Boulevard? Ever heard of overkill? Neither have the people at Graceland. However, I don’t need a shuttle to get through a simple gate. I scooted up, took aim, and fired a rocket from behind the headlight of my Minstrel cycle. I like my vehicles to carry a lot of ordinance.

In the aftermath of the explosion, sirens approached. Two patrol cars coming at me from each direction on the boulevard. “Hold on, I’ll choke their point,” I said to my passenger in his new sidecar. Moai had his helmet on too. It had flames surrounding a scene of that statue, Aphrodite of Milos, laying on towel by the beach. I let Moai pick it out, the horndog. Then again, have you seen that statue? I’d fuck that rock.

I dropped a chicken. I gunned it up the driveway a short distance, popped a wheelie and loosed a stream off the Minstrel’s flamethrower into the air as the explosion went off. It caught one car attempting to turn in after me and stopped it there, the engine block smoking. Another one was part of the way up the driveway, having made it in time. They had braked when the grenade blocked off the entrance and probably killed a buddy of theirs. Now the engine roared and it shot forward for me. I angled the scooter around to face them, giving it gas as well, but not moving in any direction as they played a game of chicken that I was meant to lose.

The headlight on my scooter shifted out and lowered as a rocket extended out of the hole it had just occupied in the frame. “I play chicken to win, motherfuckers!” I yelled out at them as I fired it. The cops saw the flames and tried to swerve and put on the brakes, anything. The rocket crashed through the windshield and exploded.

I enlisted the help of my new hostages to help Moai push the burning police car into place at the gate. On my orders, they were released with a message for the police and the city of Memphis before the burning car sealed up the entranceway of the house.

I told them to tell all the official types that I have officially stolen Graceland mansion. Mine. If anyone attempts to take it from me, I will totally wreck Elvis’s shit and crap in the bushes. I am also rigging Elvis’s grave and parts of the mansion to blow by remote detonator if anyone gets any ideas of trespassing while I’m out buying groceries or something. If the family and Elvis Presley Enterprises want it back, they’re going to have to pony up a hell of a lot of cash.

I didn’t actually tell them how much cash. I know they’ve made a lot off the place, but the real reason for being so vague is so I can spend even more time here while we negotiate. I’ve never had my own mansion before. Life is looking up. Women are just going to fall into my lap now.

It’s almost a shame the whole place will have to go when Honky Tonk Hero drags the out of town heroes and Gorilla Awesome back and into the middle of my plan. I very much want a lot of heroes back here for this next part.

Next

Previous

Bananarama 7

From deep in my underground lair below the offices of Herman Shalhoub, C.P.A., about as deep as the basement is, I sent out a signal. Using improvements of the signal interceptor, I blanketed Memphis in PGTV! Bwahahahahahaha!

I don’t mean I stuck them all with Disney shows or Justin Bieber concerts, though. There’s evil and then there’s unforgivable.

Nope, I cut in to city’s TV time to make a bold proclamation. I was standing there, shirtless, my upper body oiled up, eyes bulging out, and with a gold belt around my waist. “Ooooh yeah, let me tell you something brother. Brother, I know the Geckomaniacs are just itching to see a rematch, brother. Can I get a hell yeah?” The pirates, off camera, gave me a hell yeah. “Oooh yeah, see I don’t think one fight was just enough for us. The people weren’t satisfied. I wasn’t satisfied. I know you weren’t satisfied. And if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s satisfying people. And myself! So this is going to be best of three. You’ve already got one win. Now comes the greatest challenge ever…two wins. And you better know, if you even have the testicular fortitude to come after me, that I’m going to take this championship belt,” I held it up close to the camera, showing off that it was for the 2010 hog wrasslin’ contest at some county fair, “shine it up real nice, turn it side ways, shove it straight up your candy ass, and then out your mouth so I can have it back after I detail it a little bit.”

I dropped the belt and motioned to the crewman behind the camera. “Alright, that’s a cut.” I turned around and pulled at my crotch. “The oil must be reacting to the armor.” Then I reached down the back of my pants and gave a good scratch in the crack. I even started shaking one of my legs, like a dog.

“Hey, is that thing still on?” I asked, as I turned around.

“No, it isn’t,” came the reply from the cameraman.

“It is?”

“It isn’t. We turned it off when you waved. Good thing, too, all that stuff you just did would have been embarrassing.”

See, that’s why I hate having seamen at my base.

Another of Flamebeard’s crew chimed in, “The whole thing was pretty embarrassing, actually. I thought you killed people for a living? You came across like an idiot.”

See the kind of morons I have to put up with when I don’t work alone?

Nothing really happened that first night. No fights broke out, though we came close to it. I had the guys stay inside my somewhat cramped little hole in the ground and tossed a couple of bear traps out in the hallway leading to it. I also unscrewed the lightbulb. Those are some high tech deathtraps right there. Mhm, that’s quality.

The next day, we were all just sitting around, me playing cards with the crew, Flamethrower cooking smores, Flamebeard sleeping off the last of my vodka, and Snowblower watching some Mexican soap opera when we heard it.

“So how do you think they’ll find this place? You think they’ll track the signal or look through financial records or something?” asked Flamethrower.

“Moai there. Went out, did a bunch of loud things to get attention with Moai by my side, dropped a subtle hint about his presence on a phone call to her, and I also dumped hot dogs on that woman not that far from here. Eventually, you can narrow down a place where you see a man act like that with a Moai sometimes seen moving around on its own.”

“Huh, sounds- what the fuck?”

We were cut off by a clank and a howl of pain from the corridor to the stares.

“Who is it?” I called out to the door.

“It’s Steve! Steve the pirate! Fuck, I went out drinking and you put down a bear trap?!”

Mistakes happen.

I pointed to the cameraman and the guy who insulted my excellent promo work. “You two, go out and get him.”

Flamebeard had woken and pulled himself to his feet. He held his sword out, the flat of the blade against my chest, “No one gives orders to my crew but me. I hear you try it again, and we’ll keelhaul you once our deal is done.”

“Geez. Fine, you take the formalities, Cap’N Crunch.” I bowed sarcastically.

He pointed at the same guys I ordered. “You two, go out and get him.” This time, they hopped right to it, opening up the door and heading out into the darkness beyond. They were barely out there before I heard two metal clanking sounds and two more screams.

I looked to Flamebeard, eyes were close to matching the flickering of his beard, “Hey, I have a twisted sense of humor. What was your excuse for sending them out there with the traps?”

He growled, not having known about the traps, but just then, we heard fighting from the hallway. I reached out and closed the door, just in case. Then I put the little chain on the door. Nobody’s invading my secret base without a good, hard shove, I’ll tell you that much.

I barely got it on there when the door was knocked in. A note here, it doesn’t really happen like in the movies or comics. The door doesn’t swing open really fast with splinter flying or anything like that. The door frame cracked and the thing came loose. THEN it swung hard, slamming against the wall, smacking into a crewman who had run to the door to try and brace it. I rushed the door before our intruder could get a clear view and was rewarded with Venus kicking me in the balls. Wait a minute, that’s a terrible reward. Someone ought to say something to her about that!

The initial pain wasn’t so bad, but by the time she leapt on my and forced me to the ground with her knees against my shoulders, the reverberations were really going to town on my boys.

As Venus found out when Magic Moai, the crew, Flamebeard, Snowblower, and Flamethrower surrounded her, my other boys were prepared to go to town on her.

After that point, she was a model prisoner. We had her tied up. And handcuffed. Zip-tied. Gagged. Blindfolded. Fingers duct-taped together. Sound-canceling headphones were put on her head. It almost got me a little hot. If only we’d had some latex to go with it.

“What next?” asked Snowblower.

Flamethrower stopped scratching with a plastic straw down his arm cast long enough to add, “Yeah, you’re going to kill her, right?”

“Of course I am, but I’m going to do this the old fashioned way. We need a deathtrap.”

The big crewman with the harpoon just looked around, “Uh, I don’t see anything for a death trap. No sharks, no mutated sea bass, no mechanical octopus.”

“Well I didn’t originally plan for this, I just didn’t think this was going to go over so well,” I told them. Then I spotted more lights at the end of the corridor. Then a can of tear gas came flying through the doorway and began to expel its contents.

“Gentlemen,” I said as I grabbed my coffee blaster and fired hot latte at the advancing SWAT team, “I have no problem massacring cops, but at this time I really feel a proper deathtrap is more important than the potential of her going loose because we’re all busy brawling with the popo. Now is the time we show our true colors, gentlemen!” I threw Venus over my shoulder and headed for the back of the basement to the escape hatch built into a wall-hanging flatscreen TV. Functions perfectly well, but press a latch and it swings out. Ta da! Instant hole to freedom.

At first, some guys wanted to go after their buddies. It was Flamebeard who shut them up, “We can lose three people or we can risk losing the rest of us. We’ll do this the Gecko’s way this time.”

So all the seamen packed into my freedom hole and we liberated ourselves from the Man.

I gave them orders to find me a few useful items, then stay out of sight and meet me when the heat was off. After a day of hiding out in various places that no one would find us at, like the stadium during a Tennessee Titans game, we all made our way to a YMCA. A Y-M-C-A-a!

“So what is all this for, again?” said harpoon guy, who was dragging along a shopvac. Someone else had spaghetti and meatballs. Another guy was blowing up whoopee cushions.

“It serves a very important purpose. Hey, I need someone to dive into the pool here and loosen up the lightbulb. It needs to barely flicker on every few minutes. Someone want to do that?”

Snowblower raised his hand, then began to strip down to his underwear. He was a tighty whitey guy.

“Ok, good. Now, where’s that motor I wanted?” I looked around. A crewman helping to carry a box took a hand off it to wave. “Alright, set that down, fix it into place real well, and I’ve got the rope here. Harpoon fellow, think you can get this rope over those rafters?” I pointed to the metal rafters above the pool. He nodded.

Flamebeard came marching in then with a bulk case of ketchup, growling, “What is the meaning of this?”

“It’s a pronoun or adjective to indicate someone or something close at hand, or an adverb implying an extra degree or extent of something. But that’s not important right now. We have to dump that ketchup in the pool.”

“What is this ridiculous thing you’re having us do!” he roared, causing everyone but Snowblower to turn and look at us.

“Fine, fine,” I put an arm around Flamebeard’s shoulder. He was not amused by this. “I didn’t put any work whatsoever into a deathtrap. Last minute addition to the plan. I had that stuff I got from Max, I had the way they’d find us figured out, all that, but no deathtrap. So here’s what we’re gonna do. The pool is going to be dark. The lights in the room will be off. Venus will be suspended and slowly lowered toward the water, still bound and gagged, but no longer blindfolded or deaf. She’s upside down. She can’t get a clear view. All of a sudden, a single pool light flickers. Red ooze is in the water. Mysterous dark tentacles and odd masses and round things are barely seen. She craps her pants and as we all know, shit flows downhill, obscuring her vision even more. And she’s being lowered into that…and she drowns, probably thinking some genetically engineered alien squid thing is about to eat her. The panic will make it all go quicker.”

Flamebeard shook his head. “I can’t believe it. It’s not half bad.” He nodded to his guys and told them, “Back to work, do what he wants.”

I turned with him to watch as harpoon guy got the rope over the rafters and people began to tie up Venus. Snowblower climbed out of the darkened pool, distractingly wet in those tight white underwear. The shopvac with its hose was dumped in the water and sank. Someone began emptying ketchup bottles into the water. The spaghetti and meatballs were tossed in. For good measure, Flamethrower even began unwrapping Snickers bars and throwing them in.

Flamebeard stepped well away to the side as I squeed. “Oooh, this is great. You think she’ll like the deathtrap?”

Flamebeard patted me on the shoulder, “It’s the thought that counts, and you put a lot more into this than you otherwise seem capable of.”

I turned to him, “Well, I decided I needed to do something very special for her. You think I should propose something?”

He raised an eyebrow, “Like ‘We’re not so different, you and I?’ or that she join the dark side? You’ve only been feuding less than a month. Give it some time. You two need to feel each other out more as arch nemeses before you ask something like that. Just relax.”

“I kind of wish I could be here to see her face when she finds out there’s no monster, but she’s going to be upside down and underwater when that happens anyway.”

“You can still keep her in your thoughts while we’re all ransacking the city. Oh, shush,” he said as the lights went off and they took her blindfold and headphones off.

I walked right up to her, took a bow with a flourish, and told her, “1-1, princess. Try and make it to our third fight, if you can.” I turned and walked away, joined by Moai hopping after me, Venus’s muffled response somewhat harder to hear as the crew began to hoist her into the air over the pool.

The only way I’d have looked cooler was if I was in slow motion and something exploded behind me.

 

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Previous

Bananarama 6

A couple of days ago, I went on a small crime spree. Just me and Moai. The other villains don’t need anymore exposure right now. I do. See, I’m about to leave this town, and I’m going to leave it in pieces. I can see how you might think I’ve settled here. That maybe Memphis is my place. That Memphis ought to like me.

After all, I’ve helped put Memphis on the map. My visits are part of the reason it’s known so much for murders. I’ve supplied more alcohol to the homeless in this city than teens arranging to get beer. Let’s face it, I’m a lot more fun than those villains who just want to wipe everyone out or trash everything because that’s their version of making a name for themselves.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Venus has been turning her fights into a big PR push. She’s determined to push this idea of cleaning up the city, as if people really know what that means. Just the supercrime? The violent crime? Corruption? Muggings, vandalism, theft, how about people cheating on their taxes and speeding a little? They just don’t think these things through, I tell you. It’s a slippery slope that I don’t think they’re prepared for.

Just like they didn’t think it through when they put up posters of my armor and my trenchcoat. Or when they started up with the commercials about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the darkness passing. You’d think I was fucking Sauron the way they talk. Interpret that last sentence however you prefer. Well, if they really want to make me out to be the devil, I shall oblige them.

It’s about time I paid a visit to a Memphis landmark. I left the other guys back at the base. It’s hard to keep a bunch of guys like that from blowing up a location if they’re all there, but I threw them some porn DVDs, a copy of one of those rock n’ roll band games, and a couple kegs. They’ll be fine. Just like babysitting kids.

They all deserve some time off, the way I had them running around the sewers. It felt very strange to be able to stand back and not have to get my hands dirty. It was the shit. I mean, the shit is what would have gotten my hands dirty. It was the motivation, not the feeling. I will stick my hand in shit if it means surviving, or beating up someone I don’t like, or if it seems like a good idea at the time. This fit none of those fluid categories.

I took the car this time, with the trunk open so Moai had a place to sit. I’d be worried Moai was feeling left out, but my understanding is that his particular type of statue is used to loneliness.

First stop was to pick up a very small trailer that stank very badly. That’s a really good way to keep people away from something you want to hide, by the way. It can backfire, though. Like that story about that aristocratic woman who slept next to a dead guy, or something. This, however, was not something that would appear all that dangerous to anyone on its own. Just my new chickens.

I popped a pill bottle and dumped them in. Don’t worry, nothing all that harmful. Just some antidepressants I took from someone. You see, antidepressants sometimes cause suicide. Such an odd thing that I knew I had to go see it for myself the other night.

As overused as they are I just busted down a random guy’s door and walked in with something I made from a blender, only on overdrive and with a flamethrower coming out of the middle. I chased him with it, yelling, trying to ask him if he was on antidepressants. He must have been on them right then, because he didn’t do anything but run and shoot at me and toss his wife in my way before he jumped out a window. That’s right, he jumped. He got a running start, hooked his leg on a loveseat for style points, and went right out to the pavement below. Tried to tell his wife she was better off without a guy who would throw her at me, but unfortunately she failed to respond to my charms. Too soon for her, the Hamlet wannabe. I marched my poor, poor blue balls into the bathroom to check and beheld the antidepressants the poor, suicidal bastard took.

That misfortunate son of a bitch. According to his prescription bottle, his name was Molly.

Now you know what makes a chicken feel like blowing itself up in the name of Admiral Allahu Akbar of the Rebel Alliance.

Our target was Gus’s Fried Chicken, a famous restaurant around here. Actors, former presidents, people with heart disease, all of them have tasted the amazing chicken here. Except me, of course. I got the door for Moai as he pushed the cage in. Then I gave a very theatrical bow and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have in this box the ugliest creatures in the world and I say that because these chickens are revolting!” I threw open the box.

Real live chickens ran out. You expected exploding chickens? That’s the problem, you expected, and so would they. And if you have to ask who “They” are, then you’re not paranoid enough to be talking about such secrets with me!

These hen-pecked fowls of the world flooded out of the cage they’d been so tightly packed into. Fueled by Molly’s medication, they hopped onto tables and began to peck the shit out of the customers of Gus’s Fried Chicken. The clucked and pecked and latched onto and flapped wings at people. Food was flying, chairs were knocked over, a man in a business suit tried to fight off his assailant with his own toupee, and I watched from the doorway, egging the chickens on, telling them, “Fly free, my feathered minions! Take vengeance for your slaughtered family! Remember, my brethren, today is a good day to fry!”

It was awesome. I don’t know why I waited so long to try that restaurant.

I blocked one woman who attempted to flee past me. “Hey there, you’re cute, want to go for some coffee?”

Her answer consisted of some panicked grunting. She actually tried to squeeze out between me and the cinderblock wall. I tell you, I have the worst luck with women. They actually try to run away when I ask them out. I don’t know if it’s my breath, or if I’m just not rich enough, or maybe I need to start stuffing the codpiece of my armor. Hard to believe I’d even need to. She has to know I have enough cock to fill a restaurant.

As the old PSA campaign tells us, “Just say ‘No’.” I said no to her refusing me and threw her over my shoulder. Predictably, she hit and kicked at me. You know, this is how a broken home starts. Reminded me of what this world calls the good old days, when men beat women over the head, leaving them brain damaged and unable to consent or refuse while they dragged them back to the cave for child-rearing. Then everything got all PC and people started considering that perhaps women were of the same species as men and deserved basic human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Bizarre, isn’t it?

It’d be just like if a guy wanted the right to say “No” when a bigger, meaner drunk guy came up, beat them over the head, tore their skimpy, seductive pants off, and just cornholed the fuck out of them with the news later saying the smaller guy deserved it and was a total manwhore. And really, we can’t have people making the ultimate determination of who possibly impregnates them, whether said impregnation is in the ass or the bajingo.

I couldn’t just toss her in the trunk with that being Moai’s seat, so I had to tie her up in the passenger seat’s seatbelt. I don’t really drink coffee, though. Crack is cheaper. But I had a tied up woman in the car with me and most people could see she didn’t want to go anywhere with me, so that restricted my choice of dates to anywhere college fraternity guys would go.

Naturally enough, that led me to a nearby Starbucks. Starbucks, home of the $13 cup of caffeine. Equivalent amounts available in better tasting form for cheaper at your nearest soda machine, with less support for South American drug kingpins just looking to important their product. Why does no one think of Pablo the Machete and all the hungry murderers he has to feed?

For whats-her-name’s own good, I had to leave her tied up in the car. Seriously, I didn’t get her name. I think she had curly black or dark brown hair, and she was Caucasian, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what she looked like. Dishonestly, I could say I was going to have coffee with Angelina Jolie.

I projected myself in civilian clothes as I walked in purposefully to find the line was incredibly long. Damn. It was going to take forever. Then I remembered I’m a bad motherfucker. I cut right to the front. Well, the people behind me didn’t take too kindly to that. This big guy in a Polo shirt put his hand on my shoulder and asked me in his deep voice to get to the back of the line. I turned around and grabbed him in the sensitive parts. You know what I did then? I SQUEEZED! Suddenly, the Barry White look- and soundalike’s screams were threatening to break glass.

Vocal correction made, I threw him onto a table. I had no idea who the next person in line was. Suit, tie, cellphone in head, suitcase. I uppercutted him under the chin. He was lifted up briefly, toothchips flying, then went limp and dropped to the ground. Third guy, dark skinned, balding, overweight fellow in a striped orange and green shirt. I honked his nose. “Honk honk!”

That was when Moai threw itself through the window and smashed a table where a man with shaggy blonde hair and untrimmed brown eyebrows had been typing something on his laptop.

At this point, people are getting the idea that they should leave. I can’t really blame them. I will anyway. It was all your fault, random people on laptops! Especially that asshole with the ponytail. That 13 year old girl scout had no business being in a Starbucks and the cookies she was selling…were actually pretty good. I liked the peanut butter ones the best.

I hopped the counter that was abandoned by fleeing baristas. The manager approached with a damp crotch, hands open, trying to say something about not hurting anyone.

“Trust me,” I told him, “I’m just here to really get these people moving fast.’

I couldn’t give it very long, with cops on their way, so I let my date loose using the easy seatbelt ejector. I installed it in case I ever had someone riding along with me that I wanted to see bash their face on the dashboard.

She stumbled through the door, confused, not paying attention to me. She was looking down, trying to get the knotted mess of a strap off her leg. “Help, I was kidnapped by a crazy person!” she cried out, then looked up to see Moai and I, both of us in aprons, working on a jumbled mass of coffeemakers and espresso machines.

I reached back to Moai, “I need a wrench.” He placed something with the consistency of a coffee stirrer in my hand and started using the jury-rigged tool to turn a nut. “Hey there beautiful. Care for a taste of my cappuccino?” I tweaked my work-in-progress, causing it to spray foam onto the woman, who looked down at her outfit. “Sorry, baby, I swear it never goes off that quick.”

She screamed and ran for it.

Like I said, terrible luck with women.

Ah well. I remote guided the car around to the next street behind the shop where Moai and I would make our escape. I didn’t want to risk running into Venus before it was the proper time. Besides, I had all I needed from this little outing, as disappointing as it was for my love life.

Yep, all I needed. The coffee blaster was just a bonus.

This is the part where you imagine me grinning in the shadows and folding my fingers while cryptically saying, “Yes, all part of the plan.”

 

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Bananarama 5

As much as I hate to say it, there are some things even I can’t do alone. The plan I am planning, with all its plannedness, is one such plan. Even Moai, with his many skills and talents, is unsuited for the tasks ahead of me.

I guess I’m getting ahead of myself some. You probably have questions about how things went with Venus versus Snowblower, Flamethrower, Captain Flamebeard, and crew. As expected, Snowblower and Flamethrower didn’t put up too much resistance. Flamethrower especially, what with the broken arm and all. I couldn’t see all of it, but then all I had to go on was the news coverage of that fight. Details tended to get left out of the news version of events. I was reviewing it again to see how I would twist a knife in Venus, metaphorically.

At least Flamethrower could walk out of there, but they were extra cautious. They had two guys with fire extinguishers nearby at all times with him. They couldn’t put the power neutralizer cuffs on. They work in a pair, you see, or at least they tend to. Really depends what model you’re working with.

They’re technology, see, and a big mix and match. They’re difficult to mass produce because of the different designs and different methods they try. Most frequently, they pair them up so they can run a current through the person’s body. It’s distracting, numbs the hands, short circuits some powers, and the cuffs can be fitted with a cable. If someone tries to wander too far, the cable provides easy tracking, a way to haul them back or keep them from escaping, and an electrical line to provide a much stronger shock.

Superhumans come in all shapes, sizes, and powersets, though, so there are lots of variations. Some better suited for reptiles or furry superhumans. Others drug the subjects. Some are made of special materials to resist superstrength. Superstrength being what it is, those tend to come with a lot of chemicals to keep the person in question conked out.

Like most law enforcement tools these days, they are proudly computerized, can synch up with computers and satellites, and are overused. Take me for instance. You hear that, Mary Elizabeth Winstead? Take me, take me!

Naw, seriously, they aren’t all that clued in about my abilities. They’ve figured out I have some form of regeneration, but don’t know how it functions. Or they didn’t, at least. If they’re sharing information, then the arm I lost and my gear back in Kingscrow is going to enlighten them. They know I come up with unusual gadgets, but they aren’t sure if there’s any sort of superior intelligence power with me or if I’m a ditzy genius. They’ve seen the eyes. Don’t know if they know it means I’m cybernetically enhanced. Either way, they don’t know enough about me and they slip cuffs on me anyway. That’s why they come off so easily.

There’s no magic way to just neutralize all superpowers, or at least I hope there isn’t. If everyone I fought was as weak as a baseline human, no offense to you readers, then the only threat to me would be if one pulled out some boredom and tried to kill me with it. I know, big words from a guy who got his ass handed to his torn off arm by an unpowered woman just a little while back, but she’s the exception. Even an exceptional human is still only human. That showed when Venus left the house on North McClean. She looked a bit harried. Parts of her costume were torn and scorched. It looked like she had frost along her right arm. I’d count her hair looking like a mess in with that, but she looked better with it like that.

They didn’t have cuffs on Snowblower when he was carried out because he was on a stretcher and they were more focused on checking him over.

Not that it seemed to matter. The van the supers were transported in was found burning down a side street along the route back to the lockup. All the bodies were accounted for, extra crispy and beat up as they were. I even left them a message for whoever found it, all spelled out in a gasoline-styrofoam mix.

It was a little rushed, but it reads, “Set a fire for a man, keep him warm for a night. Set a man on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life.” See, I couldn’t do that quickly without some help.

So then the hunt was on for the location they traced from the phone call. This time, Memphis PD were there from the start of the confrontation, but held far back to let Venus go in first. I had it recorded so I could see how it all went down. A deficient record to study, but better than nothing. Venus was making her way through the yard of this former auto shop when she was spotted by a drunken member of Flamebeard’s crew. She had cutlasses and boarding axes to dodge this time. I think somebody had a blunderbuss, and there was even a big husky fellow with a harpoon. Just when she thought she had finished, the walls of the store blew open and Flamebeard’s ship, the Pompeii’s Revenge, began to ascend into the air with sails of fire.

The crew tried to make it back aboard, but the police moved in then. The only person who made it onto that ship was Venus, who had an epic one-on-one confrontation with Flamebeard, who has a neat trick where he imbues objects with flames. In this case, the object was his sword. Not what I would have chosen, as it cauterized the cut on her leg, the slash on her arm, and even the shallow wound along her belly. Didn’t stop her from tying his wrists with a rope and hanging him off the side of the ship, in full view of the cops and their helicopters and their guns.

A funny thing happened when they were being taken away, too. That van was on an overpass when the street blew and tilted downward. The police van couldn’t arrest, pun intended, its motion in time and drove right down to the freeway below. It was then crushed as a section further along the overpass was caught in an explosion, dropping a lot of road on the van.

All part of the plan.

As I finished my perusal of Venus’s well-toned ass kicking its villainous brethren and my own reminiscences of what I did afterwards, I grabbed my phone and gave my old pal Mix N’ Max a call.

“Wrapper’s Delight Plastic Wrap Shop, how may I help you?” came the answer.

“Yo, what up wrappers, this is your boy Vanilla Geck in the hizzie fo shizzie!”

A cuss was cut short by the sound of a face entering a palm. I waited patiently. She didn’t even come back to the conversation. Instead, Max took over on that end, “Won any good fights lately, Gecko?”

“I wouldn’t call them good fights. Bad fights, maybe, in the name of badness! By the way, make sure Sam knows she’s a horrible secretary and she needs to be moved down to janitorial duty.”

“Gecko, if you and Sam really want to fight then we’ll all get together one day, give you two a pair of purses, and let you fight it out over the last pair of heels at Sachs.”

“Wow, I may be over here, but that doesn’t mean Sam can’t kick your ass for that one.”

“She knows it’s better to let me recover. Broke my collar fighting Paveman. Things are a little wild here, but a little Mouth-B-Gone freaked him out enough to for me to escape.”

“Well, Max, I need something a little more mundane than your potent potions.”

I named what I wanted, he named a price, I named a lower price, he named my ass “Cheap” and things went from there. That’ll be my little secret for now. Don’t worry, you’ll get a different secret revealed soon enough.

I took a walk then. I was hungry and the base was getting a bit crowded, what with Flamebeard, Flamebeard’s crew, Flamethrower, and Snowblower all hiding out there and playing nice after I’d broke them out and faked their deaths. I’d taken care of the other players in this drama and I’d arranged for more props. Not a whole lot left to influence in this upcoming comedy.

I made my way up to the street, then pulled out an earpiece and a smartphone. Unfortunately, can’t do this trick with a disposable, but by virtue of disposing of a smartphone, it can become the smartest phone you’ve ever disposed of. I was walking along the sidewalk as I did all this. There was a hot dog vendor nearby and there’s nothing like a good wiener in your mouth.

I got a hold of Venus’s phone easily enough. You pick up a few tricks about spying on private phone calls here or there. I HAVE worked for the government before, after all.

“…just hate hearing you’re out there getting hurt,” came a male voice. Looks like I picked up while she was in the middle of a call.

“Baby, it’s fine. I’ve patched myself up from a lot worse. The only one of them that I’m worried about isn’t even trying to jump out and punch me in the face anymore,” said Venus.

“You just have to wonder what a loud guy like that is doing being so quiet. So does the academy. The stuff they’re making you say is going to provoke him out.”

I remember that. Looked shoehorned in when reporters caught up to Venus afterwards. Out of breath, she was still pumping out some talking point about how her victories were further proof that “Memphis doesn’t have to sleep afraid as long as people are willing to stand up to bullies like this, who abuse people like they do because they think they have more power. We are one people, united, all of us, and no one can truly harm us as long as we hold to our ideals and principles.”

Such powerful, meaningful words. I think I’ll have them printed on my toilet paper.

“If anything happens, they’ll have backup for me. It’s good publicity. People give people like him places to hide. I just don’t like giving someone the idea to be a hero during a robbery.”

“Yeah, leave the heroics to my pretty Boopsie.”

“Hush,” she said, a light-hearted whine.

“Boopsie the magnificent. Boopsie the great and powerful. Whatcha gonna do when Boopsiemania runs wild on you?”

Someone knocked at the door and said something that didn’t quite make it to the phone.

“I gotta go, babe,” said Venus.

I gave her a couple of minutes then. Say her goodbye, get herself ready, get her mind on wherever she’s going at the time. Also I had made it to the street vendor and was buying a tasty piece of meat from the guy. Then I crossed the street to Overton Park and called Venus up to make her day just a little bit better.

This time she answered me the first time, “Hello?”

“Hey there Boopsikins. Remember me?”

“Fuck!”

“Yes, I go by many names, but you may call me Psycho Gecko.”

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to call and taunt you a little bit. Let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you.”

“Anymore wild goose chases to lead me on?”

Great, some old lady and her froo froo dog was walking by. Guess I’ll have to watch my language. I am a master wordsmith, you know. I have my way with words.

“Nope, not from here on out. If I lead you anywhere, it’ll be down a dark alley where I will straight up murder your fine ass!”

The old lady stopped and, I swear, she and her dog both went wide-eyed as I said that. Then she muttered, “Sodomite!” and began to walk her froo froo dog away at a little faster pace. I stuck out my tongue after her.

“You were there for the fight, Psycho. You can’t hurt me. I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone anymore.”

Time to drop a hint, “Hey, do I come to your town and try to keep you out of the BDSM clubs? Nope. Though I do appreciate you helping me kill the other guys. And the cops with them. You know, you’re not so bad at hurting innocent people yourself. Maybe we can put all this behind us and I can trade up from my current sidekick? He’s a little stiff and formal, except on Hawaiian shirt day.”

She hung up. Argh! My poor damaged phone conversation feelings. How ever shall they recover from such a vicious hanging up?

I know how! I ran across the street, grabbed the hot dog cart from the guy manning it, and ran along the sidewalk with it until I caught up to the snooty old lady with the froo froo dog. I had to dodge a car and stopped another with a well-timed squirt of mustard, but I made it across. Then I began pelting the old woman with handful after handful of hot dogs. She cried out, sinking to the ground. “Oh the humanity! Think of the children!” that kind of thing.

I just kept hitting her with those crappy little meat byproducts and yelled at her, “Come on, you old bitch, who doesn’t like to be buried under wieners! It’s raining meat! Hallelujah, it’s raining meat! Amen!”

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Bananarama 4

It’s been a tough week with only one good arm. So many things I missed. Huge milkshakes. Giving people the finger while driving. Dicing, but not slicing. On the plus side, I got to ask people if they could give me a hand all the time. That joke just never gets old as far as I tell it.

Don’t think for a second that I’ve been idle, however. One hand is more than enough for me to get involved in something dirt under the table.

First off was grabbing some money. Normally I’m one to shout and wave around as I rob a bank or something, but this time I went for a more underhanded method of making money. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the armored car’s underside.

I kinda hoped it would flip it, but the blast wasn’t strong enough. Everyone knows chicken doesn’t have enough kick. Maybe I need to add more kangaroo. Toad would be cheaper, if I could stand to go to Louisiana. Or just add some touches of a stronger animal, like a buffalo, to my chicken grenade next time. The target skidded to a stop, but the guards inside radioed for backup instead of heading out after me right away. Suited me just fine. I was too busy riding Moai like a cowboy, complete with a hat, jeans, and boots, as my mute minion rammed the rear of the truck to open it up before us. There was a guard in the back. He wasted his bullets on me, then I tossed him outside and had Moai sit on him. I’m thinking I might have to get my little rock hard buddy laid, because he sat on the fellow’s face.

Ah well, I guess it saves the guy the trouble of explaining how he got robbed and just think of all the nice insurance money his family gets now. That must have been the best day of his life! Oh, right…

So we got away with the money no problem. Not enough time for anyone to come running, least of all the spandex avenger and her father, paparazzi.

The cash was merely a way to help pay for things I needed to do to get ready for her.

Chief among those things I’ve been doing is setting up a nice little prank. It took some doing. There was information to obtain, for one thing. I needed a couple of addresses, a few spare parts, a phone number, and a little bit of time for recon. The addresses were to some other villains’ lairs. The recon was making sure they were actually there, and the parts were so I could put together something like a signal intercepter, only one that works for phone lines now. I can call anywhere around the world as much as I like with that thing, so long as Captain Flamebeard keeps paying his service. He may also get some unusual charges this month involving phone calls to an authentic Thai midget paraplegic phone sex service. I swear, all we did is talk. Can’t a guy like me get lonely without it all be about prostitution to you dirty-minded individuals?

I swear, you readers and your dirty minds. That Thai guy had one hell of a voice though. Like a very confused Barry White mixed with Patrick Stewart. Probably confused because they were now one person in the body of a Thai midget paraplegic.

Hey, back to the main story, you guys. There will be time for phone sex later. This is not going to be like Holdout, where I just issue a challenge so she’ll show up and attack, attack, attack, or like back in Kingscrow when the plan was to cause a lot of chaos to make the other person look bad. Both are good options, but that’s now how I’m taking this. Right now I’m just going to sit in this room with a knife and a phone and a computer, and we’re going to have a little chat with Venus. I’d like to say it’s because she’s tied up and I’m forcing her to listen to the recorded noises of the Thai midget, but I’m afraid that’s Plan D.

Plan A involves me giving her a little call. I’m going to keep a log of this in real time and post it, so don’t be overly confused by the change in tense. Unless you’re Barry White and Patrick Stewart possessing the body of a Thai midget paraplegic.

That phone number I had to pay for was for Venus. Wow, feel that? According to this gizmo I’ve got built in to the computer, the creepiness of the room just went up tenfold. It’s ringing…it’s ringing…it’s still fucking ringing…when I get her, her throat’s going to be rung…and we’re at voicemail. “Attention, doer of good, and other things that are not bad. It is I, Psycho Gecko, your worst nightmare! I was calling to threaten you and I don’t want you just calling back, so I’m going to try again now. Wait, did you pick up? Oh yeah, that doesn’t work on cell phones. Ok, so I’m hanging up now. Um. Have a nice day.”

Let’s try this again.

Ringing…ringing…ah, here we go, “Greetings, Venus, and quake with fear, for it is I, Psycho Gecko, calling you.”

“What are you doing calling me? Wanting to talk me into best two-out-of-three?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I am. Besides, you know that not everyone sees that as a loss on my end, exactly.”

“I know. I would say I won on your end, but there is something to be said in the media for a guy nuts enough to rip his own arm off when he’s about to get beaten. That must be what happens when a gecko doesn’t have a tail to lose instead.”

“You either went too far or I wanted it too much in the eyes of all those impressionable young potential recruits out there. Either way, I am unsatisfied with a tie.”

“Oh, is this about soothing that wounded pride? I’ve heard about you and Holdout.”

“I don’t care what you’ve heard, there was nothing between us. I just tied him up and the oil was about setting the mood!”

“I know about you trying to kill him all those times. We actually share information on this side. You keep fighting us and eventually we’ll narrow down your habits, your hideaways, even who you really are and where you really come from.”

“I’m really Psycho Gecko and I’m really from another dimension.”

“Uh huh. More than likely you’re some guy who never got any attention, from women or otherwise, and found or bought your stuff from some other minor league villain. Don’t think for a second any of us believe you’re actually supposed to be crazy. You come across like an annoying jackass’s version of acting crazy. And let me tell you, what kind of a dumbass name is-“

“Ok, ok, I get it you don’t like me, you don’t believe me, and you think I have stupid hair. Would you like to know how I feel about you?”

“Not really. You’re going to tell me anyway.”

“Right. I’m of two minds about you. On the one hand, there’s a part of me that thinks it is good that I fight you and people like you. People who can actually stand a fighting chance against me straight up, unlike the regular folks out there or your less-powerful or –skilled brethren. It reminds me of when I get stuck in my ways, even if those ways involve loud murder, and allows me a chance to work outside whatever comfort zone I’m establishing. That’s not so bad.”

“Let me guess, the other imaginary voice in your head wants to seduce me to the dark side?”

“Ain’t nobody in this noggin’ but me, but my other way of thinking is that I’d really prefer if fewer heroes were as smart and skilled as yourself. I like taking it easy too. Hey, you know what would really change the subject? Why do you do this, Venus? Why go out and get into a brawl with nice guys like myself for the sake of some school when you could be stopping crime?”

“That’s none of your business!”

“Oh, what, did your trace really finish that quickly? I’m in a nice little house on North McClean. Answer me and I’ll tell you the number so you can come on over.”

“Doing what I do draws in kids with powers or without who want to help stop crime and people like you so we can help them, train them, and every time I beat a supervillain, that’s one last bad guy out there running amok.”

“Allow me to tell you why I run amok. Let’s say one day you’re cooking popcorn and your microwave explodes. You curse, you threaten to make the popcorn company rue the day they crossed you, then you go out to buy a new microwave. Who do you see behind the counter at the store? Not a guy with white eyes and power armor named Psycho Gecko, that’s who! Now be a good girl and show up at this address as fast as your little legs can run.”

I give her the address.

“This is a trap,” she says. No questioning in her voice.

“Of course, but you’ll run into it because,” and here I motion with my weak left hand to Moai at the computer behind and to my left. A wet fart issues from the speakers near myself and the phone. I wave more frantically at Moai to hit the right button, “scuse me, that wasn’t supposed to,-” and that’s when the sound of a baby crying starts up from the speakers, “woops, looks like I woke up the baby. Here, let me just put this down and I’ll rock it back to sleep.” I slam the blade of the knife I mentioned into the desk I’m sitting at with a thunk that should be recognizable. “Hush little baby. You’ll want to get your sleep. Aye, to sleep, there’s the rub. For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause. Yeah, Venus, it’s a trap. It’s the most fly trap you’ve ever walked into, Venus and you’re going to walk into it.”

I hang up.

There, all in good fun. Venus is about to rush head-on into the safehouse of that fire and ice guy I had a confrontation with at the bar the day I fought her. They go by Flamethrower and Snowblower. I really hope the names match their powers, otherwise that’s one hell of a thing for the fire guy to name himself after. I’m keeping the address secret from y’all on the off chance that other criminals use that place in your world. Honor among thieves, and all that.

I expect she’ll thrash them soundly, but it beats up two birds with one stone. No doubt she also had them run a trace on the call anyway. It will certainly give a different address than the house I sent them to. Thanks to the signal interceptor at Captain Flamebeard’s, she’ll pay him a visit next.

As for me, I’m going to be here, working on my armor. It is nearly 100%. My arm is also not quite up to snuff, but it should get there. Most importantly, I now get to scheme a scheme and try to base it on how she claimed she was helping people to strike at the very being of her soul! Bwahahahahahaha!

*lightning crack!*

Shiiii-take mushroom! Moai, that’s the last time I put you on sound effect duty! Don’t make me have to-

*Moan* “Till the break of dawn, baby got it goin’ on, a lot of simps won’t like this song, ‘cause them punks like to hit it and quit it, and I’d rather stay and play…”

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Bananarama 3

In a world brimming with tech all over, like where I’m from, the true superweapon is not the nuclear bomb. It’s the electromagnetic pulse. To use one uncontrolled in public for even a short amount of time would do immense damage. It was possible to install some interference, grounding, antennas, or coupling crap to protect things, sure, but there’s a limit to how far companies will go without being coerced. Especially since any EMP that knocked out consumer electronics would result in people just going out and buying replacements. I have some experience unleashing them myself on orders from the General back before I used power armor.

Just about the only ones who would have used those things in an urban conflict against me would have been the Phenomenal Fighting Justice Rangers, since somehow a lot of magic was tied in to their machines and lasers. While they weren’t very smart, they were at least smart enough not to shut down hospitals just to try and destroy my giant mechs.

Harder to make them here. People notice those huge numbers of materials going missing or being bought up, and this Earth is so quiet, so much more rural, that it’s harder to find space to build one in peace. You either have to get a government or corporation on your side, or you need your own island. It’s easier to build one under a city, where people don’t give a crap about noise, where there’s easy access to living quarters and materials, where it’s less reasonable to drop large ordinance on you while you’re working.

So my armor, through most of its iterations, didn’t really have anything to shield it from EMP.

My suits that have been built in this world range from the Version 20 to the Version 25. V.22 through V25 have EMP hardening and systems in place to shut down when EMP is detected, then restart the whole mess after I’ve determined the interference is over with. V.24 also had the ability to come apart in pieces that hid under clothes and then reassemble on me as a way to hide the armor, but it provided less protection in the process. Through the V.23, they even had supercharged muscle enhancers in the legs that could be used for long range jumps, but I took those out because I mostly just broke my own legs on landing.

The suit I had stockpiled in Memphis and was wearing when Venus set off a pulse from that rod she had was a Version 21, so it just fucking died on me. All the work I did to get a hold of the damn thing, I was just a little bit upset.

“Fucking lucha libre looking motherfucker!” I yelled at her as my eyes restarted, showing things less clearly with my only way of seeing out the helmet reduced to a visor. My words didn’t even making it past my helmet with the communications systems down. She approached swiftly, moving around out of my field of vision. That’s another thing. The cameras I use as part of the stealth system also give me a little bit of a heads up when facing threats from directions outside my line of sight. I still don’t always notice them due to information overload, but now I can’t notice her because they are down. I couldn’t even turn to keep track of her all that well because the torso is rather bulky without the systems that make it function so well attached to my nervous system.

I reached up for the latch on my helmet and started to pull it off. I was helped at the last moment by Venus, who tossed it down the back steps and slapped me across the face so hard, you’d think I owed her money. She hopped to my side, swinging her foot around at my face. I dropped back against the stage, the sole of her boot passing by over me. Then she raised her foot for an axe kick. I rolled to the stage as it thunked against the spot my head was just at.

“You’ll never kick my ass if you can’t even hit my head!” I spit at her.

“Your head? I thought I was aiming for your ass!” She threw right back, getting a laugh from the crowd.

I rolled over my back and head and up to my feet. She closed the gap quickly. I swung for her body. Missed. Tried to turn quickly enough for a rabbit punch. Too slow and I felt her knuckles and the protective pads worked into the glove dig into my cheek. I spun with it, kicking low at her knee but not connecting. I didn’t see her as I came around. Then I felt something on my back. She wrapped her legs around my head and neck from behind, like she was sitting on my shoulders, then she shifted her weight. I flew back as she flipped herself between my legs. My head scraped the wood of the stage and left me bleeding with splinters dug into my skin.

“Oooh, I hurt that pretty little face? Looks like you’ll need to put on a new one. Put in more time training and less time on plastic surgery and we can have a real fight.”

Psychology. Don’t bother me any.

“One of us needed to be pretty and do the bleeding. From how you look, I suspect they work you till you don’t have a period. Your boyfriend’s not out getting picked up by that Catch A Pedophile show, is he?” I can do psychology too.

It was also good having a break for just long enough to twist things around. I needed the torso armor off. I took a second to recover, putting on a little bit of a show for the crowd as well. She let it happen too. Half of what she does is showmanship. Not that I’m against that. Theatricality is a powerful tool. It can force people into tropes, clichéd ways of perceiving the world and acting.

What, the hammy supervillain and his over-the-top zany schemes knows that? Gee, doesn’t THAT shed a new light on things.

I even pulled up my belt, like I meant business. What I really meant was to hit a release switch. This time when I came at her, it was with a slower, weaker punch that she caught easily, then another with the other hand that she caught. She pulled my arms in and jumped up, throwing her knee into where my chin would be…if I hadn’t ducked out my torso armor the other direction.

I went to my ass once again, but this time as a matter of speed, and rolled over backwards to my feet again. She had my armor and her own momentum to recover from and get around. I came at her, right arm raised, hand open and pointing at her, left hand similarly open but lower down. It was meant to evoke a snake.

She tried to duck and I ducked, hand striking out at her eye, then followed by a strike from my left at her throat. She stumbled back and I leapt out of that stance to kick at her, knocking her on her ass this time.

I stopped then. Can’t let people think I actually know what the hell I’m doing, now can I? So instead, I raised my arms and celebrated a moment, “Woohoo, bet you don’t like it when someone drops that kung fu shit on you.” I wish I had a jellyfish right then to smack her in the cheek with.

She laid back and then did a kip up, then ran for me. She jumped into another kick. I moved out of the way and caught her. I was going to throw her but she had her arms and legs wrapped around me. I thought I had her. She had me. She held my left arm out, legs wrapped around it with her calves and ankles locked around my head. With the spinning motion from all this, we spun and fell. Difference is, I landed on my face again, and she landed in a good position to lock my shoulder painfully back in the socket and sit on my back.

“Say uncle!” She said, wrenching my arm back in ways it wasn’t meant to go. I just laughed. I laughed at her. I laughed at the pain. I laughed at realizing I was getting my ass kicked pretty soundly. I laughed because it was pretty damn funny. And I laughed because if I didn’t, I might have screamed.

But mostly, it was funny. It was funny that a bunch of morons elected me to do their dirty work. Not even any money involved, just them throwing a bitchfit. And even if I do lose, break out, and find Flamebeard, I’ll pull his kidneys out through his nose! That’ll be a fucking kneeslapper right there!

So my only response to that little woman using my arm as the world’s smallest stand up comedy mic stand was to laugh and try to grab at her with that wrist. Did no good, of course. It was a distraction, aided by my cackling laughter. Because I sure as hell wasn’t having a bad time. I was having the time of my life. Even sang to myself, my other hand’s fingers tapping out the tune, oh hoofbeats go a-trotting, trotting, up to heaven bold, at the gates a-knocking, knocking, sheep in wolfish clothes, holy jaws are dropping, up in heaven’s hold. Plant my hooves, my hooks, my books.

I thought I heard her quietly tell me to stop laughing. What, me stop? I’m the guy on the ground, honey. You’re the one in control with me arm, aren’t you? Those thoughts were making it awfully hard to breathe.

Nah, I didn’t stop. I pulled with my arm. Her tightened grip restrained my elbow and insisted on keeping my shoulder in pain, so I just had to keep on. And on. And…snap!

The laughter got even louder then. Oh my, I think I scared the kiddies. The break wasn’t clean though, not at all, which is just what I hoped for. Got to cut through the skin, ha ha! She was still trying to keep a hold of me and her grip was excellent. If my arm mattered anymore, I wouldn’t have been able to get away. I tore away and left her with the arm.

People were staring and for some reason they didn’t find me losing so funny anymore. There was an awkward silence when I stood up, armless. I broke it.

“Look, it’s not my first fight. You don’t have to hold my hand,” I said, breaking up a little at the end. Venus was wide-eyed as she stared at me, then glanced at my arm and dropped it.

“Little miss USA superhero, I thought I had the right to bear arms?” I told her, a smirk on my face as I indicated my missing arm with the one present.

“Fuck me,” came from a cop near the steps to the stage.

“How about a handjob?” I said. “Better yet, how about a hand? Come on folks, a round of applause for that wonderful performance!” I turned to the gawking people and tried to clap with just the one hand. Aside from an Asian guy in the back having a moment of enlightenment, there was no reaction.

I turned to Venus, “Now stand aside, worthy adversary.”

“What the hell?” she said loudly, annoyed that I just wasn’t getting what the big deal was.

“Tis but a scratch.”

“Scratch? Your arm’s off!”

“No it isn’t. I’m just using it to grab your little EMP thing.”
She turned quickly to look, only to see my arm laying there, not doing a damn thing.

She didn’t quite turn around before I punched her in the back of the neck. She moved with the blow, absorbing much of the kinetic energy, and threw herself forward. For her that meant off the stage into a crowd of people. This left me unarmored on an elevated position with armed people around. And as you may have already noticed, I was not as fully armed as I would have liked to be. I dove for the torso armor, gloves still attached to it. The police dropped the stupid shocked expressions and tried to come up the stairs after me. The first one I bullrushed with the torso armor. It deflected a shot before I smacked into him and knocked him into his partner, who had tripped on my helmet as he tried to run up the steps. I fell with them, but I managed to toss my helmet into the lower opening of my torso opening and run off with it like a bag.

They got a copter up in the air. I heard it as I rested in the backseat of my car some streets away. The blood loss started to get to me, but I dug around in my belt and found an injector ready to go. I also found the laser potato peeler I’d rebuilt. Geez, great timing, wish I’d thought of that when I was on the ground. Could have saved Lefty over there. Still, wound cauterized by laser and my wonderful machines hard at work, I made it back to the hideout with no problems.

That’s why it’s been slow to type things up. Still healing here. A hand is much less of a problem than a whole arm and I’ve had to pack on the steaks and the milk since the fight. But I’ve also been plotting. Don’t worry, I’ll get Venus. Nothing personal. I’m not mad. Well, we all go a little bit mad sometimes, but this is a matter of professional pride.

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