Category Archives: 14. I Got Clubbed

What happens when a supervillain comes back to his lair to find it’s been partially converted into a club by his minions? A heartwarming tale of liquor and hostages, that’s what.

I Got Clubbed 8

I think I mentioned to Breakdown, and I’m sure you readers have noticed, I state things in a manner other people are not used to. My metaphorical stories, for instance. Well folks, let’s just say it’s my way of talking about how I feel before I have to go all obvious. “You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!” to quote the Robot Devil. Problem is, I doubt y’all deal that well with the confusing mess of being in my head. And sometimes plainly getting your point across is more important than trying to be coy and intelligent. Look how many times people died in horror movies because some idiot wanted to play charades with all the pointing and shaking when he could have just said “There’s a man with a machete behind you. Run bitch, run!”

So let me start off saying that I’ve been somewhat contemplative about things.

It’s kinda like a maze.

When people talk about something being difficult to find a way through, it’s not uncommon to hear it being referred to as a maze. So many branches, so many possibilities, that someone is stunned by the possible reactions they can take. Of course, some paths have to be taken for a person to be who they are. A doctor needing to figure out what he wants to do with his career, for instance. There are so many paths to take, but his own past influences him and urges him toward one corridor or another. Sadly, this all too often leads to dead ends.

Is it any wonder that mazes are used as philosophical symbols in some pretentious way? It works about like how I’m doing now, where someone takes it and uses it as a simplistic metaphor of life.

If you want to look at things that way, then I do something special. I change the maze. Usually, it’s something dickish, like tossing a few extra dead ends into the mix, but I mess with lives. You could probably say the walls are relationships and society’s rules or the limits of nature, whatever it is that serves as a restriction on you in life.

I am, in fact, amazing. That is, if you take amazing as what the dictionary says, where it means something is stupefying or stunning. It comes from the word “maze” too, probably because of how people react to mazes that are hard. They freeze up and go “I don’t even…”.

What about mazes for people like myself? Good question. Bet you thought I was wishing someone didn’t ask that. Ha! See, Sun Tzu said all that crap about knowing thyself. Rather than a reference to masturbation, I think a lot of it meant knowing your own nature and living according to it. Even though I don’t know what I’m going to do, what tiny course I’m going to take toward my goal, I know who I am each step of the way. I know what I can do. I know that the walls between paths won’t stand in my way.

Cheaters are just going pull out bombs and blow open walls to get to the ends of the while the more noble people have to follow the maze around or use grappling hooks.

I just need to make sure that whatever makes up the walls for me doesn’t suddenly become solid. Part of the reason you all love me and would probably wear steel underwear if you ever got to meet me is that you know I will do all sorts of things other people wouldn’t. For one thing, I’d carry a welder if I met any of y’all. That’s not what I mean. A great deal of strength comes from people not having a clue what you’re going to say or do.

I like macaroni and cheese.

Now a maze is different form a labyrinth. Most people get them confused, but a labyrinth only has one path to and from its center. It’s made for meditation and art and crap. There’s supposed to be something meaningful about the journey in, where you let go of everything, and the time in the center, and then on the trip back out.

This section on the labyrinth was just a way to segue between the important topics of mac and cheese and having infiltrated the compound where the heroes were keeping Dr. Unity. They couldn’t just drop him in a normal lockup or prison population, after all. They were keeping him nice and separate at Empyreal City’s Special Detention Center. It was built with a modular design so they could quickly swap things out to meet different circumstances with people who couldn’t just be restrained, like Marscow Prison in Kingscrow. Where Marscow grew up out of a prison that had already been built, the SDF was built after the older Metropolitan Correctional Center was leveled during the attack on Empyreal City by a rogue Soviet telepath in 1981 where a modified aircraft carrier was used to fire giant squids into the city. Truly, that man had vision. It only holds superhumans for a short amount of time before they get sent somewhere permanent, like Supermax, but it’s got a good track record amongst law enforcement. The brilliant thing is that it’s an ode to ignorance. Most people would hate the idea of living so close to such a facility, but they’re ignorant of it so it’s fine to them.

Making security a little better in this case is that Forcelight and her crew were waiting around there at the time. Call it a hunch, but I think they were expecting me to visit. Now, I didn’t go in and visit Good Doctor or Mix N’Max at Marscow Prison because it’s pretty easy to detect me with a metal detector and because it was a hell of a lot more fun to bounce a truck up into the yard.

The truck idea wouldn’t work quite as well for what I’m planning this time. Besides, why should I only stick to something I’ve done before?

Nope, this time I came in the way a guard does. I figured they have some sort of scanner set up in there. Metal detector, full body scanner, something. That’s why I waited outside, invisibly, until a guard showed up. One did, a burly fellow with a mustache and curly hair. He had thick eyebrows from a lack of shaving, and the inside corner of one eyebrow turned up for some reason. He also had a scar running diagonally from the middle of his nose to his left cheek. That was important to note when I jumped him in the parking lot. It was necessary to steal his keys. It wasn’t necessary for when I shoved the peanut butter in his ears, but it did help for getting him in the purple bunny suit.

I could have skipped it all entirely if not for the keys. I could handle electronic locks, sneak past visuals, and I had an idea for how to fool the scanner to get in, but dammit if primitive key locks are tougher to fool. Break, sure, but hack? It isn’t happening.

When I rushed in the same door that guard left, I was confronted with a manned booth and a full body scanner. Made me smile under my armor.

“You forget something, Pete?” asked the man in the booth.

I nodded, then pointed to the scanner, “Do I have to?”

My voice must not have given the game away because he just told me, “Naw, man, go on through.”

That’s how I fooled equipment that would have shown I wasn’t who I said I was. Social engineering, the most useful sort of hacking. Every system has a weak point and it’s usually the people. You know, like a bunch of guards who have to go through a full body scanner every singly day. Either they get tired of it, or they resent their comrades getting a look at their junk. What a bunch of dicks. It’s even worse than if they didn’t have the scanner. At least then they’d realize there was a chance someone was getting through with something. This way, the people in charge probably don’t expect it.

First stop after that, the restroom. A quick check confirmed that my experiences in other situations were still applicable in this one. Staff bathrooms are like that. Cameras all over this place, little black half-spheres along the white ceiling. It’s like walking around a casino, but with fewer one-armed bandits.

I dropped the holographic disguise of being “Pete the Security Guard” and did my impression of The Invisible Man.

After that, finding Administration was as easy as sneaking into a guard station and peeking at a map hidden behind plastic. The guard was confused about the door, but not so confused after I snapped his neck and laid him down like he fell asleep.

Sacrifices, sacrifices. Butt slaughter was too conspicuous.

They compartmentalized their networks so a simple guard station computer couldn’t even find everyone. Those computers were better for little more than checking computers and catching up with people’s favorite shows. The dead guard’s favorite show? Survivor.

Administration, on the other hand, had information galore. And superheroes. Forcelight, Mechamoto Musashi, and Troubleshooter were hanging out there getting chewed out by some guy in a suit with a briefcase.

“I don’t care what you did before with the Master Academy kids. The truth will come out at trial and not a second before. You can present your testimony there. Did you think about what happens if you taint my trial? I’ll tell you what I told those “Catch a Predator” morons when that entrapment ruling came down and everyone they caught got off: you catch them the wrong way and it doesn’t matter if you have a pile of evidence.”

“Sir,” said Forcelight, speaking respectfully, but forcefully, “with all due respect, I’ve met individuals before who you do not want to pressure this way. I don’t know if Breakdown is that sort of person, but if he is, he will go out of his way to come after Dr. Unity and set the record straight. He might set the entire facility loose in the process. Besides, there may not be a trial.”

“You really think I’d let him go?”

“I don’t know, how many times have you struck deals? We know you have an election coming up. You need money, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people will pay to have Dr. Unity released just in time to take a quiet job in a research facility in a country without an extradition treaty.”

They continued bickering on and on like kids. I padded by them silently and knelt down under a desk to slip a glove off and merge with the tower. That got me the information, shut down the cameras on that floor, and caused a loop in the elevator cameras. I also scheduled a special email from the facility to the local and national news companies. Harlon got it first, of course, for a brief time period of exclusivity. Harlon’s this guy I once crossed paths with in the news. I kept him to help me keep my ear to the ground, and occasionally let me shove something in his ear to put on the news for me.

“And what’s this I heard about some supervillain in the UN besides Dr. Unity? Are you protecting someone else who was involved in this?”

Forcelight fixed him with a stare and told him firmly, “No.”

This guy, a District Attorney I think, turned to Troubleshooter. She wilted under his glare until one of her waldos accidentally fired a net all over her and caused her to struggle with it instead of answering. He tried Mechamoto next, who was propped up against the wall next to a water cooler with his arms crossed. The heroe’s voice was distorted as he snored.

The trip up to the floor they held Unity on was mostly uneventful. I did practice my singing though. Schizofrantic, a supervillain more by default than intent, was being hauled up in the same car accompanied by a trio of guards in riot gear when I began to belt out “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from that Disney ride. ‘Frantic ignored it as if he was in on it, but the guards got nervous, especially when I didn’t stop. They checked and rechecked these grey cylinders attached to their helmets. Finally one of them elbowed the dirty-looking telepathic homeless vet. “Hey, are you doing that? Make it stop.”

“Doing what?” he asked.

“That noise. The singing.”

“You mean the muzak? They don’t sing in elevator music. I should know, I used to write songs.”

“Cut it out. We can hear something.”

“I’m not doing anything. Maybe it’s the other person.”

“Other person?”

“You don’t see that man?”

“What man?”

“Oooooh. Just remember. It will only hurt for a second.”

The guard grabbed hold of Schizofrantic and shook him by the shoulders. “What are you talking about?! Stop doing this! Stop it!”

Since ‘Frantic was being such a good sport and playing along, I made it fun too.

I projected a molten landscape with islands of obsidian for land. I covered myself in the image of man in a bloodstained straightjacket with long black hair. My eyes were covered in a bandana that had spikes jammed through it at the eyes. My lower face was torn apart in an unnatural grin made up of torn skin, blood, and bones shaped into loose approximations of pointed teeth. A twisted version of a face.

“Don’t worry,” I gurgled, “this will only hurt…for an eternity.”

All three guards shit their pants all at once. I jammed my hand up one guy’s ass all the way so I could punch out of his mouth and grab his friend’s gun. I turned it on that second guard and shot him in the foot. I then dropped the gun, grabbed his head, and pulled it into the first guard’s mouth and down his throat. The third guard huddled up in the fetal position and cried, trying to hide from the horror. When he looked up he found me…in the form of a giant marshmallow peep.

He clutched at his chest then and fell to the side, struggling with his breathing. I think he had a heart attack. Oh well. Everything looked normal except for the dead bodies when it was time for my stop.

“Bye ‘Frantic. Have a nice time.” I told him, giving an invisible wave.

“Bye elevator demon. Say ‘hello’ to my mom for me next time you’re in hell.”

“Sure thing. It’ll make her head spin to hear from you.”

I found another pair of guards at the cell I wanted, right on the end of the hallway. Those were the easiest to isolate in this place.

They were standing at the door, holding a slot at eye level open, and one of them was taking potshots inside with his gun. His buddy tried to give him pointers, before smacking him on the ear and declaring, “That’s useless! It only works if you try to kill him with it. A flesh wound isn’t going to make him drop anybody. Here, let me show you how.”

They swapped positions and the guard giving the tips fired off a shot. I heard the familiar sound of Unity expelling someone immediately afterward. Got a running start, skidded on my knees, and stood up as I double uppercutting, punching through pants and puckers alike to raise them into the air, squirming like maniacs with barbed wire up their asses. Considering that they were maniacs with barbed wire up their asses, it was a highly appropriate response.

Dr. Unity ended their suffering before I could, however. They disappeared, leaving behind Unity’s hands reaching through the bars on that door opening.

I appeared, dressed as an unarmored Playboy bunny, chomping on a holographic carrot. “Eeeeeeh. What’s up doc?”

He grabbed my chin then and concentrated. Nothing happened. He needed skin contact, not armor contact. With a frustrated yell, he let me go.

“There, there. Not everyone wants to join your little Unity love fest in there.”

“You’re here to taunt me?”


“Ha! I am the world’s preeminent chemist. I am the true peacemaker, not people like you and your violence. Lock me up and I will be freed in no time by people with more vision than you. Kill me, and I become a martyr for future generations to follow the lead of.”

“Right. It would look bad no matter what if either a villain or hero killed you while you’re all locked up.”

He smiled at me. You know, I don’t think that guy was all there. “You can’t stop my escape. I’ll tell everyone about it and they can’t stop it. My knowledge and abilities are too valuable. People will be lining up to set me loose.”

“No, I think not. Not in another few minutes when the videos I sent go public.”

He lost his crazed grin in an awful hurry at that.

“What video?”

“My helmet, my dear moron. Same one that got Breakdown’s very sincere admission that you were calling the shots and you at the UN actually calling the shots and explaining your motivations.”

“They’ll never convict me. You know how the system works for someone like me. I’m one of the greatest heroes the world ever saw. Generations have grown up looking up to me. I can be the smartest man in the world. I’ll be free in no time.

“No, actually it is perfectly allowable. If a cop or a hero had done that, then you’d have your chance to get out of jail free, but I’m neither. I’m the guy who screwed your little ‘system’ in the ass. Isn’t it convenient when someone like you actually has to face some consequences for his actions and has his dirty secrets dragged out for all to see in court? The hero to millions becomes the monster, and your little hero buddies in the know will realize who you are. When it comes to me and you, I’m the hero all your old friends will be thankful to. Why kill you when I can bend your legend over and fuck it in the ear?”

“You can’t do that. I’ll die a martyr. I was trying to save the world. I’m the hero. I’m not like you. This isn’t what people like you do to people like me. This isn’t what people like you do! Get back here and kill me you son of a bitch! I’m the hero. I’m the hero!”

I walked away laughing over his berserker screams.

That little bit taken care of, it was time to repeat my journey back to the outside and figure out the next adventure. I did so, visible for all to see, and encountered no further resistance until the first floor. I caught a figure in black with a shiny mask and bangle slinking after me. When I turned to confront her, Dame crossed her arms and shifted her weight most of the way to her left leg.

“I’m proud of you, Gecko. I don’t understand it, but I think it’s encouraging to see you using society to your benefit for once.”

“Hello Dame, you saucy spy. I’m just neatly undoing everyone’s expectations about what’s meant to happen. Shit’s going down that’s not supposed to happen if you know a damn thing about how your precious society works.”

I paused as the DA’s voice reached me us down the halls. “WHO THE FUCK SENT THAT OUT?!”

I chuckled at that, then continued. “How do you always know where to find me?”

“Skill. Oh, and you aren’t the first invisible person they have had to deal with here. Lucky for you I’m the only one who bothered to check those sensors.”

“Huh. Good point. ” Oops. It made sense and there I went forgetting about it. Yes. Forgetting. Or part of my master plan? Have some chocolate pudding and think that over. “What, do they have you spying on Unity, or just me? Going to alert the guards now, give me a fun time getting out of here?”

“Not at this point, no. The guards have gotten sleepy all of a sudden, so they won’t be responding to you on your way out,” she said, smiling, and stepped around me in a circle.

I didn’t know what the point of her little visit was. I also didn’t care. “Dame, I just gotta know. Who was it, you think, who alerted Forcelight, and told them to bring along those nanites, and who suggested they deliver it similar to how I did at the club? Who called the heroes to ‘help’ me for once?”

She stopped in front of me with a sly little smile on her pink lips. We both already knew the answer. The local thief that Forcelight had keeping tabs on me, that’s who. The one who had a direct line to her and a few other heroes. In other words, Dame. Did she think I’d be happy?

I threw my hand up as I walked out, giving her the finger. “Right there, bitch. Suck it hard, suck it long.”



I Got Clubbed 7

I should have kept Breakdown around and made him deal with this mess.

Everything did eventually get settled once the puking was done. Getting that worked out took well into the morning, and there was almost an epic brawl over it.

Here is the brief rundown: everyone at the club was unhappy. The prevailing emotion was anger-based in some way, with scattered showers from the less angry people. Gave me a damn headache. Then there was the puke. It was all over my floor. Sadly, murder was an inconvenient option this time.

I didn’t so much calm things down as much as stand there as and threaten them into not fighting, not while I was the guy who saved their sorry asses. For people who are used to exercising more power than most people, having them stand off was quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately, I think they did it more because those who knew my name were passing it along. I was mainly concerned about being unable to pull off insurance fraud.

After laying down the law, a phrase which should never be used in relation to me, I let them work things out amongst themselves. The important points were that they didn’t fight amongst themselves, I was taking down Unity, and some people would be spending a lot of time at The Secret Lair. Some of the folks expressed concerns about being around a bunch of brainwashed friends and loved ones back home and around their jobs. I bet some of them were also afraid of what they’d do knowing that just about anyone in the city they were ever attracted to would be easily talked into bed.

Perhaps that’s why the heroes and villains that Breakdown tried to throw at me made it a point to stop by the throne and thank me. I just wanted them to leave and take the carpet with them at that point, but nope. The guys shuffled up embarrassed and quickly left. Even Paveman, despite our history. Seriously, the guy absorbs material from surfaces he stands on and it becomes part of his body. I didn’t think this Sexahol crap could affect him.

At least Nos and Hydroplane rushed through it. I don’t mind that bit of speedster rudeness. Elita gave me a bearhug. In her case, it’s a hug that could kill a bear. Dame was next and helped me pop my arm back into my shoulder. I asked her to find out where Dr. Unity was hiding and call me on the screen when she found out. The last one, teen girl, was a shy little thing. Same one who tried to sneak in with the fake ID and, after looking her up for info, I found out she was the same one from that school incident. The one with the color manipulation power. She said I smelled like shit.

All the cherry and strawberry smelling vomit around, I’m surprised anyone could tell.

I told them to get the hell out of there. Not in a particularly mean way. Just “Go on, get the hell out of here.” That kind of thing. I’m not a guy who spends a lot of time on a throne dealing with courtiers, as you may have noticed by now.

I had work to do. Starting with getting the suit cleaned out of what was clearly chocolate pudding. I mean, obviously that stuff was no good to eat with me sweating and all that, so it had to go.

The repairs took awhile too. The damage was a bit more extensive than just the cameras and projectors. I had a crack problem once I removed it. The armor, I mean, not me personally. I’d never do crack. Takes time away from my meth habit.

It took longer to get the armor fixed, though. My previous armor design didn’t have nearly the defensive or offensive capabilities of this one, and neither of them are the absolute best I could do. There’s a problem. As the armor gets higher in quality, everything about it becomes more complicated and harder to repair. A good example is the nanite quilt layer. Once I use a syringe, I can do whatever I want with it. Keep it, throw it away, stab it into someone’s eye, whatever. As long as I have more syringes and nanites, I can still use them to heal myself. The quilted portions are useless if they aren’t repaired and refilled before going into a fight. That problem would become worse in a hurry if I added flight boots, missile launchers, flak, drones with guns, and a fog machine. I would need my own logistics.

It took me a little bit of time, made worse by Carl moping around. He’d stop by occasionally to make sure I knew how sorry he was. I told him each time that I didn’t care about all the stuff he told Breakdown.

Finally, after he had taken yet another break from steam cleaning the carpet, I grabbed him by the shoulders. I then shook him repeatedly, yelling “Get a hold of yourself, man! If you keep coming around here like this, I’ll kill you out of annoyance!”

He grabbed hold of the catwalk rail to control himself, then bent over it and threw up.

“Damn, you know you’re cleaning that up too, right?”

He nodded and wiped his mouth.

“Good. Now stop being all sorry. If you want me to put it in certain words I’d rather not use, than fine, I forgive you. No need to crucify yourself looking for my approval.”

“Are you sure about that, boss?”

“Of course. When you forgive someone, you forgive them. No need to get sadistic about it or ask for a human sacrifice or something.”

“Are you absolutely sure?”

“I don’t know, let me go get my whoop-ass stick and we’ll discuss it over a funeral.”

“That’s alright, boss.”

“Good,” I said, patting him on the back. “Keep your head in the game. I want you ready to pilot the keg armor into battle. We’ve got a superhero to kill.”

“Sir, yes boss!” he said, giving a lighthearted salute.

“You call that a salute, maggot!” I stood up all stiff and held my face right in front of his. “That’s no proper salute. That’s the kind of salute I get from a company of prostitutes after I’ve put their brothel out of business armed with nothing but my dick and a six pack!”

Carl began to snicker and I joined him for a moment.

“Alright, alright, go get the rest of the puke up and we’ll see what we can yank out of Dr. Unity’s insides instead, you got it?”

“Oorah!” he exclaimed as he turned to jog back down to work.

I noticed a message on there from Dame wanting me to call her back, so I returned it and got a black screen as it rang. That kind of screen usually means a phone. It only occupied half the screen, though. The rest was reserved for my research on Dr. Unity. Quotations from a biography in the eighties. A wikiPowers page. His entry on a website called The Unofficial Superhuman Database. He didn’t have a TV Tropes page, though. He had one consistent power, too, but his other schemes and inventions always augmented his ability.

Dame picked up. “Hello?”

“Hey there 900 girl. My five free minutes started already? You’ve got a sexy voice. Mmmm, what are you wearing?”

“A gun. Why don’t you tell me your name so I can carve it on a bullet?”

“Oooh, sounds like somebody’s naughty. Just let me know when I start paying for the call you dirty, dirty girl.”

“This is Gecko, isn’t it?”

“That’s right, say my name. Jump on it, girl, let me take that thing through the car wash. I want to wax it down, rub down the leather interior, take out the floor mats, vacuum the sand off them, then leave a crappy pine tree air freshener behind.”

“I’m hanging up now, Gecko.”

There was a click. When I called her back, I got her almost immediately.

“Was it as good for you as it was for me, honeysuckle?” I asked with a groan.

“Figures. You’re out of gas leaving me unsatisfied and wishing you would put that mouth to better use.”

“Wow, my compliments on the comeback. Do I detect a hint of indifference blossoming?”

“I found Unity.”

“You make it sound like a cult.”

“You know what I mean. He’s actually using the UN complex as a base. He’s living there and keeps the diplomats coming back there even though their governments have all acknowledged that any agreements they make are not representative of their wishes.”

“I wonder if any oysters have cults?”

“Gecko, stop trying to lead into a Blue Oyster Cult joke. You’re supposed to be stopping the bad guy and saving the city.”

“Hey! That was uncalled for. I’m not saving anyone. I just got into a personal disagreement with Breakdown that turned into a personal disagreement with a superhero. A hero who believes in saving the world by spreading his own personal date rape drug, if you remember. I wouldn’t save anything. I am the pit stain under the world’s sleeve. I am the lint rabbit clogging society’s vacuum cleaner. I am the cold shower when you were expecting hot water.”

“Easy now. You megalomaniac types really love to monologue, don’t you?”

“Madam, I have not yet begun to monologue!”

“Don’t, not for too long. This city was just the beginning. He’s working out of the General Assembly Hall to arrange teams of people and superhumans to spread this stuff to other cities.”

“I’m cleaning my smiting codpiece as we speak.”

“By the way, I was wondering…” she just trailed off.

After she didn’t follow up on that, I said, “Ok. Good to know. Keep up the good wondering.”

“Oh, uh, alright. Yeah. You know, you surprise me, Gecko.”

“It’s kinda my thing.”

“I just wanted to say that you didn’t have to-“

I broke in while she was talking and yelled, “Surprise!” Then I hung up.

She was getting a little mushy for me. I meant too mushy. I doubt she was getting, you know, mushy anywhere that mush occurs. Not for me.

But enough of that shit. You’re probably wondering about the fight. Duh.

I snuck my way into the General Assembly Hall of the aptly named General Assembly building as soon as my armor was ready. It was easy to slip through a door into that famous room while hidden behind a holographic cloak of invisibility. He was training people to safely move and operate machines like the one I stole from him. The chemical distributors. Those who smelt it were being taught to dealt it. The joke only works phrased that way. He was growing frustrated though. All too often the trainees and diplomats tried some monkey business instead of what he wanted. You know, monkey business. They wanted to play with their bananas.

I saw the looks the Saudi and Israeli representatives were giving each other. The effects of the Sexahol made them want to feel each other up, not feel how to connect this hose or that hose.

Dr. Unity himself was a smaller man now that time had taken its toll. He had to be in his seventies, with all sorts of aches from his past fights, especially with giants and radiation and space aliens involved. Despite that, he moved easily around the room and didn’t show any sign of pain. He didn’t even use a cane.

I got in position behind the dais where Dr. Unity stood demonstrating the distributor. I charged up my fists, and then swung for his head. There was a flash of light and a blurring, then two people fell from where he had stood. The assembled trainees gawked at what happened before rushing over to check on the pair. Both were alive and unharmed. One was Dr. Unity, and the other was the Secretary General of the UN.

It must have been linked to that power of his. Dr. Unity didn’t just pick the name to go with his goals. As he demonstrated then, the ability that made him stand apart from regular humanity was to merge with people whose skin he touched. He sought out the faces and hands of people in the crowd which refused to listen as I yelled at them to “Get back!” They disappeared in twos, joining with Dr. Unity.

I called out over the comms, “Moai, Carl, get in here!” Then, I jumped up above the crowd and went to slam my boots into Dr. Unity where he laid, but he rolled out of the way and continued to take more people as I missed him.

He stood then, and did his best to dodge me. His movements were fluid and smart. As much as he knew and as good as he had been, merging with someone made him better. He gained each person’s strength, each person’s intelligence, and each person’s talents, even though his body looked as old as ever. The payoff, as was found out when I did manage to catch him across the face, was that people could also be expelled from him if he was hurt enough at one time. I caught his jaw with a glowing fist. He fell, as did three others. None of them were hurt, not even Unity, but he was at least weaker. Unity couldn’t reabsorb someone very quickly after having them expelled from his body.

In all my time mopping the floors with heroes, I have often noticed that they aren’t very absorbent.

Still, all but those four were quickly abducted and made a part of him for now. That left him with twenty people still inside. Dr. Unity stood there, looking around the room for me. I’d gone back into stealth mode by then. “You won’t ruin this. I’ve worked too hard. This is the right way, don’t you see?” he pleaded.

After a pregnant pause, I jumped up, wrapped my legs around his head, threw my weight toward the ground, and carried him over me in a flip that landed him right on the top of his head as I released him. Another person fell from Unity, dazed and possibly unconscious.

“You know where that’s falling? Deaf motherfucking ears, doc. With little motherfucking dicks of their own to fuck your motherfucking mother. I don’t exactly like your goal or your methods,” I said as I lunged for his throat. I figured he would lose even more of his human shields as I choked the life from his body. It didn’t happen. Instead, his kick sent me flying to where I crashed against the podium. He dusted himself off, but couldn’t advance to finish me off.

Why? Oh, just because Moai and Carl crashed through the door. Moai wore one of those hats with a pair of beer and hoses up top. Carl was seated safely behind the armor plating I’d added on to the cockpit of the keg armor. He looked over at them. Carl raised one arm of the keg armor, showing off the newly-installed spike.

“Hiya. Distracted enough yet?” asked Carl.

Unity took that as a cue and turned to look for my invisible ass, instinctively raising his arms to guard against an attack that wasn’t coming in a way he could stop. A rubber chicken’s head bounced off his arms. He caught it and looked it over, which is how he discovered the rest of the rubber chicken at his feet, laying on the floor but trying to push itself toward the nearest road.

It went off. He lost six people in the explosion.

“Bad hero, bad bad!” I taunted him. He took a moment to get up from that one. I connected with a blow that would have crushed his windpipe, but someone fell from his body instead. He traded me, sending me flying with the strength of what I think was around thirteen people at that point. Moai and Carl made him an asshole sandwich, though. They were the bread and he was the asshole. It cost him two people but the whole vibrating glowy thing he did kept him from being trapped between them.

Unity slipped loose and began to head for the door.

“Don’t go just yet, Dr. Daterape. The fun’s just begun.” I went to grab him but he flipped me overhead and into a desk.

He grabbed my armored head, trying to get a good hold. “How dare you ruin this? The world, man! My life’s dream! The world my baby girl should have grown up in! I was going to do it. I was going to save them all even if I had to do it by dishonest means. Don’t you try to turn that into something so dirty sounding as ‘Dr. Daterape.’”

“Think about the world you made instead. So disgusting that superheroes were willing to let me have you because of what you did to them, your old colleagues and friends.” I think he gasped even before I kneed him in the balls. Then a beam of light struck him. He fell right in front of me, losing two people.

Moai helped me up and I turned to Carl. “Good shot, Carl. Didn’t think I put a laser on there.”

“Wasn’t me boss. It was them.” He pointed with the arm of his walker.

There, at the entrance to the room, was a set of old friends. A floating young woman who glowed white light from whatever skin her simple white costume didn’t cover lowered her hand from where she had fired at Unity. A tech samurai whose armor glowed red and blue. Another young woman carrying a backpack that was a mess of various devices and gadgets larger than she was. Forcelight, Mechamoto Musashi, and Troubleshooter.

“Gecko,” said Forcelight without a hint of emotion.

“Forcelight! Didn’t expect to see you here. You know they said I could kill him, right?”

“That was a hasty decision made soon after you saved them,” she responded. Somebody had tattled to Forcelight. Maybe I pissed Dame off with that last little surprise.

“Yeah, they were upset after the Sexahol and you used that to rile them up,” added Troubleshooter.

I looked to Musashi for his two cents. He shrugged.

“Nothing from you? Huh. Ok. Well come on, guys. He deserves it, even more than a bad guy. Look at the asshole. You’d expect a villain doing this. We’re not nice people. Some of us aren’t even in control of our own actions. But this guy, a hero, one of you? This guy who always held himself up to higher morals than us just helped do some despicable stuff in this city, and he had more cities on his little list.”

“Our agreement is in jeopardy here, Gecko. I think it’s best if you leave the building,” said Forcelight. The deal she meant was where she and her buddies didn’t mess with me so long as I didn’t mess with them. As long as I didn’t do too much to show off I was still alive, they wouldn’t reveal that they knew for sure that I survived the destruction of the Empyre State Building. Considering recent events, that last point was already pretty iffy, unless people were going to just ignore the name that got passed around as their savior at the club.

I stared into her eyes even as I heard Dr. Unity stand behind me. A dish on Troubleshooter’s backpack whirled around and aimed right for him. I heard more bodies hit the ground. Forcelight wasn’t blinking. I had a visor on. She couldn’t see my eyes. I was considering getting into it, but I was also realizing, in a rare event, that some other people would lose out of all this even if I won. People I shouldn’t have been thinking about, especially because thinking of other people really sucks. It wasn’t a moment of weakness. It was just some chocolate pudding or something.

Finally, I turned toward my minions. Carl in his walker, Moai in his helmet, headbutting Dr. Unity to knock someone else free. “Let’s go. Leave this moron here for them, guys. He’s not worth having a turf war over.”

Outside, I saw the flyer that Forcelight’s team used to use rebuilt. Similar to the distributor back at the club, it was spraying down the city. Probably my stolen nanites that Forcelight’s company, Long Life, had figured out how reprogram and make more of.

“Damn. They are really using my shit against me today.”

“What was that, boss?” asked Carl as he exited the building with Moai.

“Nothing. Ah well. Let’s go rob a Victoria’s Secret on our way back to base, shall we?”

“Why Victoria’s Secret?”

“I’ll tell you why, boys. I’ve heard jokes about something called ‘edible underwear’ and they might be a good item to serve at the club.”

And so we walked off into a nanite rainbow.



I Got Clubbed 6

They got the whole city. It’s one big howdy neighbor lovefest around here! I don’t mean orgies in the streets, that I could handle. Everyone’s just so fucking…nice. People are holding doors, saying please and thank you. Hugging me. Groping me. Now I know what it’s like to be nothing but a piece of meat to everyone I pass by. It gets old fast when grannies on walkers are asking you to make an old woman happy one last time before they die.

One of them that tried it, I pointed off to the side and said, “Look, Elvis is back!” She got all happy and then I threw her under a bus passing by.

The driver stopped, shocked that the old lady has fallen under there, but I reassured him. “It’s the way she wanted to go,” I said while patting him on the shoulder. Then I felt something touching my ankle. It was the old lady’s hand.

“I don’t know. Ever since Breakdown enlightened the city, it’s been hard to imagine anyone committing suicide.”

I kicked the hand away, then slammed my boot at something soft under the bus. The arm went limp.

“Maybe it was something she thought of doing but couldn’t bring herself to try,” I suggested.

“I better call 911.”

“Good idea, but please, don’t look. It’s such a gruesome sight,” I told him.

The driver turned away as he pulled out his cellphone. “You’re right. Hello, 911…”

While he was on the phone with them, I turned and dropped down to look under the bus. The old lady was regaining consciousness again. I punched her a few more times to put her back out again. “Die you old bat! Things as old as you ought to blow away in the wind.”

“You say something?” asked the driver.

I turned toward him and brushed myself off. “Oh, just seeing to her. She’s definitely a goner. Hey, why don’t you make it easy on the cops and paramedics and back up the bus a little.”

“You think I should? Isn’t this a crime scene?”

“Has anyone been committing any crimes in the city lately? Go ahead. Back it up.”

“Oh, alright.” He jogged over to the door, got in, put the bus in gear, and backed it on up.

The old lady let out a moan as the front tires rolled over here. Damn, this old bitty was tough. What, did Hulk Hogan get a sex change here?

“What was that?” called the driver out the window.

“I said you can’t park back there after all. Something about a fire hydrant. Wouldn’t want to break the law now, would we?”

“No, I’ll pull up.”

He drove forward, bouncing over the old lady twice. That shut her up.

“Great job, that was perfect!” I called to the driver.

I got out of there before the cops arrived though, out of habit. I made it back to the Secret Lair without a problem though.

I closed the club for the duration of this little crisis. I’ve wondered if I should barricade it. It’s like living in a reverse zombie movie. Instead of wanting to eat my brains, people want to hug me or sex me up. That’s a different sort of way for people to spread the virus, I suppose. I’d just rather not catch anything they’d spread that way. Besides, the stuff making them do this isn’t a virus.

Empyreal City belonged to Breakdown now. The announcement had gone out like a press conference. He had all sorts of celebrities, heroes, diplomats, and other VIPs. They all loved him now. He even showed off this old retired superhero, Dr. Unity. He had been a super scientist best known for his research into how to create world peace. It had caused him all sorts of personal drama back in the day to deal with world conqueror’s who wanted to stop people from killing each other, but only because they would all be unified under a dictator’s rule.

The old man expressed his admiration of Breakdown doing what he couldn’t. Big PR victory for Breakdown.

The government had been forced to recognize that the city was temporarily controlled by a supervillain, one who ruled through love instead of fear. Machiavelli, eat your heart out. They kept recon drones flying overhead as best as they could in the weather, but it’s hard to send people in when the guy they’re after would have the entire population of a city on his side as hostages and supporters.

Some other powered people probably survived because of they had a filter or a mask or didn’t need to breathe, but they probably didn’t stick around too long after all this happened. He had also taken recently to airing a local commercial with my face, warning people to try to get me to drink up, but otherwise stay well away from me.

Thing is, Sexahol makes me a cuddly, sexy beast to those same people. I could probably brag about killing that old lady and someone doped on the love juice would want to give me a big snuggle.

I survived, though. Of course. As I once said long ago, even after the heroes have been beaten by some supervillain, there’s always another villain who doesn’t want to live under the other guy’s rule.

Moai stood guard just inside the club wearing one of those bronze Spartan helmets with the Mohawk-looking thing on it. “They’re still all sickeningly sweet out there.”

There wasn’t a lot to guard, really. It was a place for people to dance and work. Fuck ‘em. Not even that gas thing that Moai and I brought back from the warehouse was of much use, at least to them. I had hauled it back in case I needed to do something similar to what Breakdown did.

I’ll admit, even though it paints me in a good light, I worked on altering enough of my nanites to half-fill that gizmo of Breakdown’s. Adapting their programming to general medical use, as well as basic testing, has kept the remnants of Shieldwall from selling nanites for medical use all over the place. I didn’t have either problem. Even got a batch of general purpose nanites in there now set to react to living human and near-human organisms and clear them of this crap.

If I don’t set them to something nonspecific like that, then they do very bad things when encountering organisms that aren’t me or that don’t belong in my body.

I got what I had loaded into that mist mechanism to test it, counting on the extraneous fluid around the nanites to be dissolved into a cloud capable of counteracting what the pink clouds had done. I didn’t get a chance to test it, however.

Just then, there was a call on the giant screen. I climbed up on Moai and he hopped, allowing me to grab the upper floor and pull myself up. Moai went for the stairs while I rushed over to take my seat on the throne and bring the giant screen down.

Breakdown’s visage greeted me, covered with a gray domino mask that hid his eyes and had a large, stylized blue teardrop at the corner of his right eye. “Hello, my dear Psycho Gecko, hello. You’re looking well. Quite trim. Quite fit.”

“Hey Breakdown. You look like you could use a throat lozenge and an anal rapin’.”

“That’s no way to talk to the city’s regent,” he said in reference to an announcement he’d made to the world. Holding onto the United Nations after they’ve been all kinds of lovegassed gives you a lot of bargaining power, it turns out. “You should willingly bow before me and join my cause. You’re all alone in the city now. No friends left outside your toy soldier. No family that you ever speak of. Nobody who cares about you. You don’t have to live such an isolated life.”

“Blah blah blah. You sound just as bad as the people on your little Sexahol, you know that? Love this and care that. Oh no, Mr. Psychology wants to mess with me psychologically. Geez, you’d think a guy like me is used to being alone and friendless by now. Like I haven’t taken on a city before. Or have you forgotten that little stunt where I bitchslapped Lady Liberty and caught the city around the Empyre State Building in my own personal flame war. Don’t even bother, Achy Breaky Heart. You lost from the moment I knew you were trying to screw with my head.”

“I had hoped we could remain civil with one another and share a pleasant meal. Care to dine with me and discuss your place in my society.”

Now, about this time, my inner monologue decided to give me some advice about this. “Trap trap trap trap trap trap trap trap trap trap trap trap, see if he’ll pay.”

“Where did you have in mind? Hopefully somewhere fancy since you’re paying.”

He nodded. “I’ve heard Da Silvano is good. Celebrities eat there often. They will appreciate having the most famous person in the city around.”

“Thanks for the compliment, Breakdown. Also, thanks for paying for the entire meal. You know, I always knew that if I refused to work hard, lacked determination, and never did an honest day’s work in my life, my amateur porn career would make me famous. I do all my own butt bleaching, you know. It’s how I stand out. People get snow blindness staring at my ass long enough.”

“No, Gecko, I meant me, obviously. From what a little bird has told me, you don’t even have an amateur porn career. You’re not that famous, either. You have your exploits, but most people don’t treat terrorists like celebrities.”
I think I was getting to him through that friendly facade.

“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! That’s not true at all. Everybody knows that terrorism gets you the cover of Rolling Stone. You know, provided you’re an attractive terrorist with fangirls.”

“Do try to keep the fangirls at bay when we meet for dinner, Gecko. I’ll have them reserve us a table at seven o’clock.”

“Seven’s a good time. Can I bring my own wine?”

“As long as it’s real wine. Don’t bring anything that the hobos drink. I will see you at seven.”

He cut the transmission. The screen raised up to reveal Moai standing behind where it had been. “Good, Moai, did you hear that bit about us having a dinner reservation?”

He nodded.

“Alright, so here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to fill a wine bottle with something that goes ‘boom’. You should go with me as backup. Go lock the door and do a quick sweep to make sure the traps are ready. I’m going to go see if we have any absinthe and nitroglycerin. Oh, yeah, and let’s see if we can lift this gas thingy way up out of reach of anyone who manages to get past the traps. I don’t need someone else trying to use these nanites to save the world instead of saving me.”

I won’t go into specifics about what I put in there, at least as much for the sake of the bar selling the drink as a secret recipe in the future, but it was at least stable enough for me to gun it and smash my car through the back rolling garage. With one remote, I armed the traps. With another, the replacement garage door began to close. Then we got our rears in gear and headed for the restaurant.

Moai stayed outside with the car until I knew what the situation was like. I was in full armor, too, so the last thing I needed was an actual meal. I’d have to take the helmet off for that, and then I’d have to wash the outside really well if ketchup got on it. At least it didn’t do as much to metal as it would to something tight.

Irrelevant though. As soon as I walked in, I could tell something was off about Breakdown. Same costume and same mask, but differences in body shape and face structure. They’d tried to get a lookalike in there. I pulled on the cork of the wine bottle and armed it. The man in the Breakdown costume figured out something was up as well. The chair he had sat in fell to the floor behind him as he rose to his feet and pulled a detonator of his own.

As I threw the bottle, I could make out something about, “For the one I love!”

Then the whole place went up and I took a small break while my mind tried to figure out how I got across the street and between a tree that had been broken in half.

Moai found me and helped me up and to the car in my dazed state. It was blurry at the time, but my recordings show that the restaurant itself was just gone. It looked like it had always been some sort of firepit surrounded by two buildings that had been mostly blown apart. I was too stunned physiologically to make much sense of the kind of firepower that meant at the time. I didn’t even get pissed at the dings and scratches on my car caused by shrapnel.

Unfortunately, as the shock wore off, it was replaced with pain and an awareness of more fluid in my pants than I remembered having down there. What must have happened, see, is I must have kept some water and some chocolate pudding mix down there, and the explosion broke open the water bottle, tossed it into the mix, and then heated it up enough to form what could only be pudding in that armor down there.

Yep, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I didn’t think too much on it at the time, though, because of the pain. I hadn’t been flash-fried, but blunt force has this nasty habit of doing a number on me despite wearing armor.

I had Moai lay across the front to drive us out of there before the cops closed down the area. They were already in place on the road he took us down, so he had to ram the car through a barricade while I groaned from where I laid in the backseat. The pain was still there, even if the damage was quickly going bye-bye courtesy of nanite packet quilting under some portions of the armor. See? That innovation in this new armor proved to be quite useful after all.

Instead of taking us right in, Moai stopped in the street. Curious, I sat up to find that The Secret Lair was open for business. People were lined up, and my bouncer, Terrance, was at the door, looking over everyone with his glowing blue eyes.

“Huh…well, Moai, let’s not sit out here all night groaning in pain. Looks like I have a bloodbath to tend to.”

I tried to throw up a hologram that I wasn’t in armor, but that was a major systems failure. Too many of the cameras and projectors had suffered damage. I was exposed. I had nothing to protect me but armor, extensive murder training, systems enabling super strength, localized energy projection around my hands and forearms, a massive bodyguard, and chocolate pudding that could be used to blind people.

I had Moai help me in to foster a false sense of “my ass done got blown the fuck up”.

Terrance looked me over and didn’t step out of the way. I thought my own guy was going to start something, but then he moved to the side and let me pass, like I’d met somebody else’s standards.

That somebody else was Breakdown, sitting in MY throne in MY hideout and perusing MY videos of anthropological studies of human mating on MY giant screen, with MY henchman standing by his side.

He stood up and clipped a microphone to his lapel. It carried his voice through the sound system as he spoke. “Well! I see dinner was well done, but not as well done as we’d have liked. You aren’t in any shape to fight. Tsk, tsk. Have a seat, Gecko. Just enjoy yourself. Find yourself a good woman to share the night with. You will find I am more competent at dealing with dissent, but I am more forgiving as well.”

“Not just yet, you tailorless dick!” I projected via my helmet’s speakers. “Get down here and die like a man!” It’s never been confirmed that Breakdown has powers, but he’s always been more of a psychological threat to people than a physical threat. Plus, I only looked injured. Twas merely a flesh wound. I was actually fit as a fluffy carnivorous bunny.

“Why do you insist on this lonely path, Gecko? Is it that abhorrent to find someone who will accept you for who you are and make you a better man? You can not honestly believe in your anarchy as a way to live. Even you want to be accepted. You want fame. Friends. Loved-ones. You want people to think of you as a hero. You want to be a part of the world with everyone else. You can be adored. You can have the irresponsible fling. The high school sweetheart. The dance of your life while staring into a beautiful pair of eyes. You are not too damaged for my society to reject. You are not unworthy of this.” I saw Carl nodding along to all this. I was tempted to kill him too at that, but he wasn’t exactly in full possession of his own mind there.

“I am fixing the world here, Gecko. Every lonely soul will find its other half. There is a thief here. She knows you. She has shown herself capable of keeping up with you. She could help you deal with your personal demons. There is another, a young woman coming into her powers who has been pushed away from her family and friends. You could use your past experiences to guide her and keep her from following the dark path your life has taken. Protect and cherish.”

Under my armor, I was stewing. I’ll confirm nothing, but it’s possible that there was a sliver of a chance that some of what he was saying was annoying a part of me that was sensitive towards these kinds of arguments. I stood there contemplating how badly I was going to kill that son of a bitch as Dame stepped forward, as did the girl from the news the other day.

“Perhaps you need a strong woman who can keep you in line, one you have shown compassion toward.” That was Elite the Warrior Woman, apparently. Super strong, super durable, super definitely not one I want to let get a hold of me with those Kegels. What, this jerk went shopping through all the women around, trying to find me just the right woman to go with my shoes? Or like picking up a compatible dog at a dog shelter? These weren’t people to him. They were tools to convince me.

I focused on that. He was trying to get me on his side. Somehow, that had meaning to me.

“No, that’s right. Carl said you had a thing for men. I shouldn’t have been so judgemental. Surely you can take your pick. Hydroplane would love to show you there are no hard feelings for trying to kill him. Or Nos. Perhaps Paveman, if you like them older.”

What the fuck? Paveman was human enough to be affected by Sexahol? That was useful information.

Wow…he had all those guys there too. That was about when I noticed that there were a lot of superhumans present. I didn’t know how many…but I knew how many of them it would take to kick my ass. Like I said once long ago, that’s a handy piece of information to have.

That was his problem. It was just so pathetic. He made it sound so high and noble, but at the end of the day he was treating them all as pieces of meat. Just throw enough booty at the problem and it would go away. THAT was getting to me?

“Heh…hehehe…hahahahahahaha!” I bent over, caught up in the laughter.

“What’s going on here?” inquired Breakdown. The overhead camera gave me a view of Carl grabbing Breakdown’s arm and telling him something.

As quickly as merriment had set in, I stood straight up.

“Not as hurt as you-“ Breakdown started.

I cut him off. “Can it, you lintlicking hairchewer. You bulldog spittle in human form.”

I glared at him, daring him to speak up. He didn’t, so I continued. “What, you just want to throw someone at me? Some sacrificial lamb you think needs to fuck my brains back to proper working order? You think it’s as simple as saying ‘all you need is love’ or ‘that guy needs to get laid’ and someone like me becomes part of a regular family with a regular job and regular bowel movements? Seems like half the time I can’t express myself without having to use some story about transgender this or suicide that. That shit doesn’t get fixed with a kiss you know!”

I started pacing back and forth, not paying any attention to the crowd. Breakdown’s mist machine was still where I left it, hanging from the ceiling by a heavy duty cable wrapped around supports. I still had a case to make, though. “I’m a little old to have prom night with a sweetheart, too. A guy like me has to accept when they’ll never be the sort to know what that’s like. I’ve been rejected and dejected and even injected, but that’s alright. I can handle that I’m not the type who gets someone to love. Kids. A house with a big family movie sunset just before the credits roll. Society has its reasons to reject me, and they are the same reasons I reject it. So all you have is the hope that I’ll give in willingly to your mass enslavement. You failed to take me by force like all the others. You’re afraid, so you’re trying to throw sex and relationships at me to get what you couldn’t by brainwashing. I don’t want disgusting, weak-willed little humans that can’t solve their own problems but think they can solve mine. And I sure as shit don’t need anyone in my life to make me a full person.”

I stopped and hopped up on top of Moai’s head.

“And I know that you’d only be this desperate if you were afraid. Pay attention to that feeling now. It’s the one that said you should have run as soon as you tried to kill me.”

I pointed up at the gadget hanging from the ceiling, trying the remote access I had installed earlier. Nothing. That’s not good.

It was Breakdown’s turn to laugh. “I wasn’t stupid enough to let you use that old thing against me. Remember, I had that built. My new friend Carl kept me from getting your little robots over me and getting turned to slime, but I knew how to get rid of your trigger. Heroes, villains, assembled citizens. Tear Psycho Gecko apart.”

“Moai, do what you can,” I quickly blurted, then jumped. The enhancers in the legs of the armor were in better working condition than the holographic projectors. They carried me past superhumans that rose into the air and up to the device. Below me, Moai did his best to headbutt anyone trying to gain altitude or take aim, but it wasn’t enough. Most blasts, zaps, and whatever went wide. They didn’t want to risk the nanites out of a belief that they would try to disassemble them.

I had to grab on to this thing with my legs and hang upside down to unseal and discard my right hand glove, but then I pressed my palm to the device. A human can mess with my wireless connection, but there’s little to be done when I can actually molest machinery like it was a part of myself. Kinnari winged her way closer, energy disk ready to circumcise me at the neck when she got a clean shot.

She didn’t get a clean shot. The system spewed nanites out of it like a sprinkler rather than a fog machine. Everyone tried to shield themselves. Breakdown dropped from the catwalk and ran for the back. I swung over so I’d land on the catwalk, rolled with the impact, and then hurdled over side to follow him, completely ignoring Carl’s attempt to grab me in the process.

I found him back there crawling through the shower on all fours, puking. Hey, give the guy credit for sticking to his manners. I kicked him over onto his back, ignoring the pink crap he left on the tiles. I charged up my left glove.

“Wait, stop! I can’t die yet. Not until I kill the son of a bitch who did this to me!” he pleaded, the orange light of the energy sheathe splashing over his face.

“Whassat now?”

“It wasn’t me. It was the Sexahol. I was just the face he used. It was always his plan all along.”

“Sounds like something you’d say.”

“Wait! I never had a gas mask. Back in the warehouse, then around the city, I was exposed to all of it. Do you think if I thought this all out beforehand, I would have kept acting on it like that? For god’s sake man, look what your nanites did to me!”

He…had a point.

Much as I hated to admit it. Switching off the olfactory filters, I could even smell the intense cherry and strawberry flavoring of the Sexahol in his puke. It cleaned a lot of it out of his system to.

I sat down next to him and punched the wall of the shower, blowing tiles off and knocking a hole through the wall.

“Only way I’m letting you live is if you get out of this city, you understand?”

He nodded, wiping at strands of spittle stuck to his mouth and the top of his tights.

“Good. You get out of dodge, and I’ll check out whoever’s supposedly doing this. If you’re wrong, I’ll hunt you down. You know I can. If you’re right, I’m cleaning up this mess. You feel me?”

“Yes I…feel you,” he hesitated. Probably the unusual word choice.

“So, who is the unlucky bastard if you aren’t?” I asked.

“Unity. Dr. Unity. Congratulations. You get to end a superhero trying to end conflict across the world.”

“I hope you’re wrong so I can kill you. Now get the hell out of my club.”

Breakdown skittered to his feet and rushed off.

Just for good measure, I shouted “And stay out!” after him.

Lucky bastard. He wasn’t the one who had to stay behind and clean up the mess Empyreal City had become. Even I have my stupid moments.



I Got Clubbed 5

“You got that number you can reach me with, right?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sandra rolled her eyes as she responded.

“And remember, no more Sexahol,” I ordered the bartender.

“Sure thing, hon. You’ve said that every day now since you got that call with your statue,” she responded. Then she asked, “Saving it up for a hot Valentine’s night?”

She winked at me. She must have gotten into the Sexahol too.

“Nope, that stuff’s dangerous. It’s got roofie shit in it. As bad as Rohypnol is, its shit is even worse. You know, with peanuts and shit in it.”

“Ewwww, not a yummy image, bossman. I’ll remember though. No Sexahol.”

Satisfied that the lie had nailed that lesson into her head and the temporary number to call me on my armor’s helmet, I turned toward the boys. Moai and Carl were coming with me and we were all suited up. I had on my armor, Carl was bundled up with a balaclava over his face and his weapons on him, and Moai was wearing a sombrero with a whip tied around his waist. It was a good look on him. Not everyone can pull that off.

“Boys, we ready?” I asked them before we left.

Moai nodded. “Yup,” answered Carl.

My ears picked up a familiar tune to the music. “Sure, right when I’m leaving and facing some evil mastermind, that’s when I finally hear something I know.”

“You didn’t know any of the songs they’ve been playing?” Carl asked.

“Much of the music I prefer isn’t danced to. I won’t say it can’t be danced to, since that just means all those people aren’t trying hard enough, but it’s just not the stuff they play in clubs.”

“Ah, you’re a fan of rock.”

“Among other musical genres. Ah well. As this song says, ‘We’re out all night to get lucky.’”

“I don’t think they meant anything like this, boss.”

“Would you rather we go out all night and get unlucky?”

“Good point. Wish I could get lucky in my armor.”

Carl still didn’t get a chance to have his first real time out in his keg walker, since that scrape with the drunk transvestite lizard man didn’t count. We had left the makeshift power armor in the back of the club.

He was eager to try it out, too. He didn’t get to use it while we were out getting information because of the need for more subtlety than firepower. In this case, it involved bribing liquor store employees for their shipment schedule. Didn’t hurt that they were somewhat friendlier lately. Sampling the wares, it seemed.

The driver was a different story altogether. For some reason, he didn’t want me to know where all this Sexahol crap was stored at. Maybe it was the armor. People don’t often like cooperating with villains. He wasn’t a regular truck driver either. The overalls said “working stiff” but the tattoos said “I like to wear women’s hose and be a bad boy.”

I handled the situation with my usual tact. I had him bound, gagged, and tied to a chair in the office of the liquor store. Moai kept watch and made sure we weren’t interrupted unless necessary. Carl fetched me a puppy from a pet store. I sat across a table from the driver, examining a bottle of tequila and a lighter I’d taken from the front of the store.

“While I wait for you to talk, I could use a snack,” I said. The puppy Carl brought yipped excitedly as I took it in one hand. Carl exited to watch over the place with Moai. “Hey there, little guy. You’re the snack!”

The driver was agitated, but when he spouted off, I got the sense it was more due to his being restrained than any actual fear for the dog. “The hell are you doin’ man? The hell are you doin’? You’re not gonna eat a puppy.”

“I’ve never flambéed a puppy with tequila before. I wonder how it works. You think it’s like veal, or will I have to tenderize it first? You know what, I was planning on tenderizing it anyway. Just light this tequila on fire, smack the puppy with the bottle, and voila!”

“Jesus, man.”

I tossed away the top to the tequila and flicked the lighter to life.

“You want me to talk or you’ll do it, that’s it?”

“Not at all, my dear fellow. I’m going to do this anyway, because you’re probably thinking you can give me some BS that sends me on a wild goose chase while you get out and warn your buddies.”

“What are you going to do then?”

“That’s a good question. I could have my guys bring in a couple of glasses. We could sit here and have ourselves a few drinks of this tequila while they check it out. Can’t trust just anyone to bash a cute widdle puppy skull in, now can you?” I scratched behind the pup’s ears while I talked in the baby voice to him. “I already have a couple jokes ready, too. Like ‘I wouldn’t say it was a Great Dane. It would have been better with some steak sauce.’ What do you think? Maybe ‘Lady and the Tramp make better meatballs than the ones they were pushing around,’?”

He flinched at the jokes, but then he gave that proposition a minute’s thought.

“Alright. I can live with that,” he said.

I got up and knocked on the door. Moai opened it. “Hey, you guys bring a couple shot glasses and come in here.”

I took a seat while they did so, then had Carl free the prisoner’s arms so he and I could share a drink.

“It’s over by the waterfront. A warehouse.” He downed his drink and grimaced. After shaking his head clear, he gave them the actual address. “There isn’t any security, either.”

“You heard the man. Go find the place and make sure it is what it is. You still have that key?”

Carl patted his pockets looking for it, but then it fell out from under the whip Moai wore as a belt. Carl picked it up and checked to make sure nothing was out of place. It was a key fixed to a grenade, after all. It wouldn’t just suck if that thing went off. It’d blow.

After they were gone, my prisoner and I just sat there in the back of a liquor store, drinking tequila and snuggling a puppy. See how civilized I can be? It was practically a scene out of a kid’s movie. Specifically, The Lorax, where the guy sings the song “How ba-a-a-ad can I be? Just look at me pettin’ this puppy.”

The problem came when almost an hour had passed with no word from Carl and Moai. Ok, scratch that, no word from Carl.

Then I got a call. “Bossman? You got a call here, and I think it’s important. It’s on your big TV right in front of that chair of yours.”

“It’s called a throne and a giant screen.”

“Right, your throne in front of your giant screen.”

“Reverse that. And who is calling?”

“It’s some guy with these teardrops on his costume.”

Breakdown. When Mix N’Max was targeted by a team of superheroes after me, they put him in Marscow Prison. I broke him and a lot of other prisoners out. Breakdown was one of them and he tried to take advantage of a perceived weakness at the time. He liked hurting people psychologically as opposed to physically, and he was supposed to be great at quick escapes. I think he had some magician training.

Now, he’d gotten his costume back and was calling me in the middle of some important business.

“Thanks, Sandra. I’ll patch on through directly to the big giant screen.”

An image of Breakdown popped up in one of my eyes thanks to the connection through my helmet and my brain CPU. He was a thin man, though he supposedly possessed a wiry strength. Too bad for him I got wire cutters. His costume was light grey and dark blue. It wasn’t a good color combination, but there’s a limit to how intimidating you can be when your costume looks like a gentle spring shower.


He looked a little confused. “Oh, is that Psycho Gecko? Why are you a giant eyeball now?”

“I recently discovered I’m a Sauron-American and I wanted to embrace my heritage. What’s this call about? Kidnapped Westboro Baptist Church and threatening to kill them unless someone pays the ransom? You must have known you’d work your way down to the very last name on the list…”

“Ha ha. No. That’s not what this is about. It took forever to get rid of those kids in a safe way. Do you know I’m now wanted for both kidnapping and reverse kidnapping of a child? I didn’t even know that second one was a crime.”

I chuckled. “Heh, that’s right, I remember when I did that the first time. I pulled this little trick with the kids of the Israeli and Saudi Arabian ambassadors. That’s not important now. Why did you call then?”

“Oh, I just figured I would make a little deal. See, I have your friends from when they were trying to get into my warehouse.” He held up Carl’s mini-pistol. “I think it’s time for an exchange.”

“Hold up one moment,” I told him.

I turned toward the driver, who had been sitting quietly, trying to understand why I was talking to myself. I grabbed my shot glass and shoved it into his mouth. It broke, causing blood to squirt out, but it was forced down into his throat nonetheless. He clawed at his throat, trying to throw it back up but unable to as it dug in with sharp, broken angles. He collapsed on the table in a gurgling heap.

“Ok, I’m back. And if you were trying to get your guy back, he’s dead now. No exchanging him after all. Looks like you’re going to need to come up with some other deal instead.”

“How did you do it?”

“I shot him.”

“That doesn’t sound like you. Nevertheless, my deal was never about exchanging him for your people. My deal was about having you come and give yourself up. Yes, after your daring rescue of Mix N’Max, I should have realized the best way to get to you would be to get your friends and hold them over your head. A fitting punishment, that you’ll lose the few people you care about on Valentine’s Day all because you tried to stop the spread of love.”

“Breakdown, there’s not a single thing about this plan of yours that doesn’t reek of stupidity and a chance to do untold amounts of damage to a location you are making use of. Should I knock before I enter, or just come in?”

“Knock, please, and leave that gaudy armor of yours behind. We wouldn’t want the men on the jackhammers to get shocked and accidentally carve your Moai into, oh I don’t know…a goatse?”

“I would find you holey responsible for that if it occurred, Breakdown.”

He slapped his forehead with his palm. “Ugh, I always get a headache talking to you for precisely that reason. Be here before midnight, before Valentine’s Day, or else.”

He ended the transmission.

Just because he was being such an ass to me, I called him back. “Or else what?”


“Or else what?”

He blinked for a moment, then cut the transmission again.

I called back again. “Ahem, hi there. I’m calling with an important message about your credit report.”

“I know it’s you, Gecko.”

“Your credit is…fine! Now, you should really sign up for our credit card at”

He wound up having to disable his screen number by the time it was said and done with.

He didn’t want me in armor, and he didn’t get me in armor. Not my armor, at least. I got to the warehouse in question well before his stupid little Valentine’s Day deadline and got the keg armor up to speed. It wasn’t a match for what I wore, but the upgrades gave it enough strength for this. So did the stop sign I grabbed out of the ground, and the flamethrower that I borrowed from Sandra. Oh, and a lump hammer I brought for backup in the cockpit of the walker.

I crashed through a wall into the place and found another jumpsuited worker standing around, lighting a cigarette with his gun between his legs. I swung the stop sign and the edge of the octagonal sign caught him in the head, leaving behind a nasty gash as it knocked him to the ground.

Another approached, but this one had armor covering the entirety of his arms that was linked by wires to a few plates on his legs. I swung for him and he blocked it. Strength enhancements, that’s what they were. I stepped back to avoid his punches, ungainly in this walker. It was more mechanical than digital.

I brought the stop sign down in an overhead swing that he blocked with both forearms in an X-shape and then grabbed.

“Stop!” I yelled. “Hammer time!” I threw the lump hammer in his face. It was a throw that would have made Thor proud, and it cracked his nose open for blood to flow freely. He stumbled back at that and I let go of the stop sign with that arm and punched him hard. He left a trail of blood behind as he skidded along the concrete floor.

Given Breakdown’s style, I expected some slow death trap to end my guys, so I had a little time, but not enough to keep wasting on these idiots.

I had the walker kick down a series of shelves, which knocked over the next in line, and the one after that, and the one after that, and so on. It cleared me a path to the center of the warehouse, which was mostly empty, save for Carl and Moai chained up together and suspended from the ceiling. Above them, attached to the ceiling, was a device with cylinders of pink fluid.

Yep, a setup. I was glad I killed the driver when I found that out.

A voice called out to me as I clambered unsteadily over the shelving in that armor. A couple jumpsuited minions hopped out from behind a stack of crates and opened up with pistols, but I swept the left arm of the walker toward them and activated the flamethrower I’d hastily rigged to it. The were too busy watching their eyelids burn off to worry about shooting me. I left them there, rolling around on the ground next to the crates that had gone up.

The crate burst open and I smelled a little bit of cherry or strawberry. Sexahol. I got to destroy some of it at least. The rest of the crates in that stack blew as well, the fire igniting the sealed Sexahol and causing it to destroy the bottles it was in as it was consumed.

“Hey boss! I wanted to be the first to try that out,” Carl called as I got close.

“Breakdown said he’d let you go if I showed without my armor on. I just needed to technically hold to his exact words.”

“You have, and for that you will get your friends back!” said Breakdown. I looked and found him standing at the door to an office raised to a higher story and accessible by ramp. He pulled out a remote and pressed a button. With a click, the chain holding Moai and Carl was released and they fell to the floor.

I moved to help them get out of the mess. “What was the point of this? You’re actually here. You’re letting them go without any trouble. You know you’re not going to keep me locked up here. I thought you were smarter than this, Breakdown.”

“Love makes you do funny things, my friend,” he said as he tossed away the remote. “Haven’t you ever been in love?”

“If your Sexahol is any indication, I love to kill people.”

“Oh no, we’ll fix that. All you need, all anyone needs, is someone else to love. That will fix you. It will fix your friends. We’ll just have to drug everyone and get you set up with someone. Can you see it? We can solve the world’s problems.”

I helped up my comrades and turned fully to face Breakdown. “That’s how it always goes. The world would be a better place with a little bit of brainwashing. That’ll make it nice and neat and orderly. I don’t care about an orderly world caused by faked feelings that you forced on someone. I wouldn’t like a world without problems anyway, let alone one built on a foundation of raping someone’s mind and body. Now get down here, because I’m about to kick your ass so hard, you’ll feel like a shaved Filipino boy who just got passed around a NAMBLA meeting.”

Breakdown looked at his watch, “That won’t do, Psycho Gecko. It’s midnight, and we have a very special present this Valentine’s Day. I didn’t think it would be you to investigate and grab one of my assistants, but nonetheless, this was all a distraction for any heroes who stumbled onto the plan.”

I heard a hissing sound from above.

“Boss, it’s gas!”

Sure enough, I saw pink gas drifting down from the device on the ceiling. I took the precaution of jabbing myself with a syringe of nanites. They’d counteract whatever it was.

When I looked back over toward the office, Breakdown was gone.

“Come on, boys. Let’s skedaddle. I need my armor and you need a hazmat suit, Carl.”

Together, we ran for a nearby door. I let Moai and Carl take the door while I jumped through the wall. We barely made it. That stuff spread rapidly. Outside, we saw we weren’t the only ones dealing with it. Pink mist settled over the entire city, drifting down from the sky. There wasn’t anyway to escape it, not really.

Even as it inevitably fell over us, I couldn’t help but think the sounds were one thing that set this apart. People screamed as it approached. Then, silence. Then, a happy mess of babbling and laughter. I felt it settle over us.

The mist made my eyes go all fuzzy, and I felt like I was drunk on Sexahol again, but it was being cleared by the nanites. The feeling never got very intense and I could mostly keep my head about me.

It got Carl though. He had a goofy grin on his face and gave me a big hug.

Breakdown’s voice came from the thicker fog inside the warehouse. “It’s not too late to join me. The age of hate is over with. Now, we can all find ourselves someone to care about who feels the same way. We can fix the world, gentlemen.” He moved forward so I could see a silhouette of him in the thick pink mist.

Carl stepped forward at the same time I raised the flamethrower. “No, boss. You’re great, but I’m going with him.” He backed into the fog toward Breakdown. I didn’t have a shot unless I burnt him too.

“Carl, come back with us. We’ll get you sorted out and clear that crap out of your system. None of what you’re feeling is real.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m happy, boss. I feel like it’s my wedding all over again.”

“Fuck this shit,” I said and charged past Carl, shoving him out of the way to throw a punch at the silhouette. There was nothing there, however. It vanished suddenly and there was nothing there but thick Sexahol fog that was starting to overcome my nanites. I gave myself another shot of the little regenerative bots and turned the walker around. I didn’t see Carl around anywhere as I stepped out of the hole I’d broken earlier. Moai was looking around, searching.

“Carl, you around here?”

Moai shook his head.

“Moai, you see where either of them went? Or if they went together?”

The second shake seemed more forlorn than the first.

“Carl! Caaaaaaaarl! Where are you, man?!”

There was no answer.

“This guy’s better than I’ve been giving him credit for, Moai. You still with me?”

Moai nodded rapidly.

“Good. Let’s go get my armor. Then we can get Carl back to his right mind and give Breakdown a biiiiig hug. Love is a four letter word.”



I Got Clubbed 4

Work work work, work work work. I’ve been avoiding it, but doing so has been nearly exhausting.

I tried watching the news on my giant screen on the throne, but it was so loud out there that I could barely hear the story. Aside from all this mess about people being overly friendly around the city for some reason, it mostly focused on that wizard who tried to kill Congress. There’s going to be some fallout now. He died and there’s been a petition online to give him one of those fancy state funerals with the white horse and the carriage.

A bit of an exaggerated reaction, I guess, but his death has already caused some more serious problems. For all I’ve disliked how heroes don’t end the real problems out there, there are costs to them killing off a regular ole villain. Just ask that bank in D.C. where some guy made of sewage flooded the place and killed everyone, then took the money.

Or this one teenage girl around Empyreal City that panicked when using her powers to scare some people at her school. Oh, the ability to change the color of something seems innocent enough when the cheerleader who, let’s be honest about what probably happened, picked on her finds her brunette locks suddenly turned eye-blindingly pink and yellow. All her hair, to the roots. From what I hear, the carpet matches the drapes.

Sounds kinda hot, actually. Pink is a good color for hair.

School resource officer saw it and approached the scene. Girl overreacted and turned his eyes an impenetrable shade of black. The cop overreacted too and pulled out his sidearm. She tried to grab it from him. It went off, killed a couple bystanders, and now the girl is missing. The mom was all distraught it sounds like, but cops are now watching the house.

One’s a purposeful escalation, the other not so much. It tends to make some people nervous when a hero kills a villain. Though occasionally some of us are such total dicks that people don’t mind so much.

You know…that reminds me. For all the press making a big damn deal, there hasn’t been one bit of retaliation for my supposed death.

For their sakes, I’ve chosen to interpret that as them thinking I didn’t really die.

I was distracted from catching up on the news by some jackass throwing a beer at me. It shattered against the throne and somebody cheered.

Odd. Normally the crowd is surprisingly mellow most nights. Ah well. I looked for whoever looked like a smug dick without a bottle. There. I launched myself to my feet and ran to the end of the catwalk. The coat I wear when I’m not in armor flared out as I dropped to the floor right in front of the little ass and his friends.

The dipshit was in all black. Really tight pants with combat boots. A black sleeveless leather hoodie thing. Detached fishnet sleeves and black nailpolish.
“Oh shit!” he said tried to get away. I grabbed his forearm as he turned away to flee and twisted it around into a wrist lock. “Ow, ow, ow, let go, let go!”

I laughed at his pain. All that screaming for something so minor. The parting of the crowd around me and the sound of motors and heavy footsteps preceded Carl as he approached from behind. “There a problem here, boss?”

“Ah, yeah there’s a problem. Let me go. You can’t treat me this way,” pleaded my insolent guest. He twisted around and I could see the little horizontal lines on the underside of his forearms. I tore the fishnet sleeve to get a better view. Scabs, except for a couple that were still bleeding.

“Uh, boss?” asked Carl.

“Carl, our friend here is completely right. This is the wrong way to treat him.”

Twenty minutes later, I sat on a pier with a strong fishing pole in my hands. It was a big thick one with a huge reel. That’s the sort you use for shark fishing. Carl stood behind me, outside the armor, and laughed his ass off as I dunked the little cutter into the water.

The water had rendered that goth fellow a soprano.

“Now cut that out!” I chuckled and dunked him under the water briefly before raising him back up. “You wanted attention. You welcomed pain. Enjoy!” I dipped him back under the surface. Something tugged.

I stuck the line rod in a holder and tugged on it at a higher up position to lift the goth guy out of the water. “Hey, what was that tugging?”

“Stop it, something’s down there. Let me go, alright?”

“You’re sure there’s something down there?”

He nodded. “Yes! Yes, now can I go?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, you crazy fuck!”

“Double check,” I told him and dropped him back into the water and sat down to hold the rod again.

I turned to check on Carl as that brought a fresh bout of laughter to him. “You alright back there?”

“Yeah. Jesus, yeah. That’s..hahaha…fucking hilarious, boss.”

I felt a tug that didn’t stop, bringing my attention back to the water. The water churned as the line jerked all over the place. I stood up in a flash to get a better view. “Carl, hey Carl. Quick! Did you bring any popcorn?”

“No, boss,” came the reply. He was getting over his gigglefit now.

“Aww. Oh well, we still get a show.”

Most of the action happened underwater where we couldn’t see, though. All the splashing didn’t help matters. When it calmed down, a head poked out of the water. It was pointy like a shark’s, but seemed to be attached to a neck. He opened a mouth full of rows of pointy teeth and yanked the hook and part of the goth’s shirt out of his mouth. “Thanks for the meal. Anyone else care to go for a swim?”

I did a search for shark-like supervillains real quick. “Nope, no thanks. Cold enough up here. And you should really wait thirty minutes now.”

The shark man snorted water out of the sides of his neck. “Good one. Next time you throw someone out here, make it someone with more meat on their bones.”

Names and images flashed up on the HUD in one eye. I picked the one that best matched our friend there, as my facial recognition software isn’t set up for sharks. “Right-o, Terrorjaw.”

With a wave, Carl and I left the shark man behind.

Back at the club, our bouncer was glaring at the ID of some girl. She was obviously new. We at The Secret Lair don’t give a fuck about the drinking age.

“What’s this guy’s name, Carl?”

“You still don’t know?”

“I don’t generally use the front door.”

“How do you get in?”

“I like to come in from the back.”

Carl slapped his palm to his face.

“His name’s Terrance. He’s got powers, but he’s not a criminal or anything.”

I walked up to wear Terrance was still scrutinizing the ID that was probably fake. His eyes glowed blue through the shades he wore even though it was night. “Hey there, Terrance. Why don’t we go ahead and let this one on through, huh?”

He looked back at Carl, then at me, then handed over the flimsy little driver’s license to the girl. “Sure thing.”

“Thanks mister,” said the teen as she shuffled in ahead of Carl and me. She kept her hair over her eyes and her head lowered slightly.

“Have fun. Feel free to grab a drink.”

“Nh hun.” Not much of an answer. She needed to watch her ass. I tried to, but she was in some baggy clothing. She looked around a bit and headed off for one of the side rooms. She could have been in for a bad time if she interrupted the Russians having a poker game.

Sandra waved me over to the bar. “Hey, there, bossman. Your big…uh…stone dude, he left me a note for you. Something about some villain calling you? Oh, and the people are getting a little more…intimate…than normal.”

Like I cared. I headed for the stairs up to the catwalk so I could take the call from the throne. I did see people getting more handsy along the way, though. One of the nerdy guys who didn’t believe me was even getting some action. Some girl with a black dress and dreadlocks with little metal skulls on the ends took his glasses off and told him, “You look better without these.”

She started to lead him toward a private little corner, but he got completely lost as soon as she let go of his hand. Turns out those glasses fucking do something. As turned around as he got, they might be the only thing about him that fucking did anything that night.

I turned to Carl, though. He was still following behind me through all this. I told him, “See what we can do to keep the dance floor from turning into an orgy, alright? I mean, that guy who did the permits might be here, and now that I keep thinking about him, I just don’t want any sex to happen anywhere that he might join in.”

“Uh, I’ll see what I can do. I can set off the fire alarms if they go too far.”

“Dammit, man, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. The last thing I want is to make a whole bunch of women wet.”

“That explains a lot.”

At that, I shooed him away and ascended up the catwalk, turned a corner at another part of the walkway, took a right, then another right, and kept going straight to get to my seat in the chained-open entrails of a superhero. Seeing my throne in the middle of the dance floor, I had my suspicions that perhaps all the Sexahol sales were going too far.

I sold it to all these people in spite of my own experiences with it, but there’s a limit to how much I can tolerate everyone getting some in my club while I sit around watching.

I could see the lower half of Moai under the big giant screen. He was standing in front of my throne. I grabbed the railing and swung around to the other side of the screen.

“Hey Gecko,” said a familiar voice from the screen. It was Mix N’Max, the perpetually grinning supervillain. As always, he had the stuff on his face to look paler. He too had what I think is a goth look, but I’ve been talking about that stuff a lot lately. Long brown hair, burgundy coat, ruffled white shirt. I guess that’s what you’d call that, but fuck if I’m completely clear on the distinction or care overly much. Oh, and he smiles almost constantly. Real perky guy.

He’s an ally. A buddy, some might say. We’ve worked together in the past as part of a small team. I sent him some Sexahol to examine because he’s good with chemicals and poisons. Where I know some conventional chemical weapons, he can somehow throw together pollen, spit, and crushed rose petals to make napalm. Near as I can tell, that’s his power. Somehow, he can combine all sorts of things to unusual effect, like shrinking someone or turning them into a fish.

“Heya Max. Hey Moai, good job keeping Max entertained. What were y’all doing?”

Max answered me. “We were playing Rock Paper Scissors. I’m close to figuring out Moai’s tells. It has something to do with his hat, I think.” Ah yes, Moai’s pukao. This big rock hat that Moai statues used to wear. It was my Christmas present to him and it’s nice to see he still wears it.

I pointed a thumb at Moai. “Good luck. He’s got a hell of a poker face. I’ve never seen him flinch, and this guy’s fought a talking gorilla with a jetpack. You calling about the Sexahol stuff?”

“Yeah, but it’s good just to talk. I haven’t seen you in awhile. Sam owes Holly some money now.” He was referring to his helpers. I don’t think it’s a sexual or romantic relationship at all. Sam Hain, or just Sam, is a goth type too. She tends to have purple hair and wears a lot of black. Holly is a brunette, and goes for the middle class look. Your American Eagle and Aeropostale kinda stuff. The pair are friends who took up working for Max. They’re ok.

“Holly really thought I was dead this time?”

“You give people too many chances to bet on if you’re dead, you know. Anywho, I took a look at your Sexahol. Nice job to whoever did this. It’s just a little slow for my taste.”

“Tell that to the people getting it on over here.”

“Sure, maybe whenever I get to visit.” He smiled wide, but with his mouth and eyes closed.

“Ok, stop trying to look cute. Of course you can come visit, provided I haven’t burned the place down for insurance money.”

Moai nudged my shoulder.

“Hey, relax,” I said to him, “So far, no one will insure me. I ask too many questions about their arson procedures. Anyway, back to the Sexahol. You said it worked slow?”

“Yeah. There’s an aphrodisiac ingredient in there. It’s a synthesized chemical that attaches to receptors in the brain to mimic feelings of joy and euphoria people experience when in love, with some lust in there too. The effect is minor, but cumulative like certain toxins and heavy metals. The body can’t metabolize the artificial aphrodisiac, so it builds up in the system. The effect persists over time and intensifies the more people drink. It doesn’t abate.”

“No, I suppose abating is a natural consequence of being constantly horny from it. Is it going to kill my customers?”

“Thaaaaaaat’s iffy. If they have weak hearts or forget to eat, then they could die. Or if they don’t stay hydrated. Chafing and bleeding, I suppose. Did you try this stuff?”

“Yeah, that’s why I sent it to you. The nanites must have cleared it up when I got drunk on it.”

“Ooooh, I have to wonder what that looked like.”

Next to me, Moai shook his head rapidly.

“Not good, Moai? I’ll take your word for it. I wondered if that would change some parts of your shining personality. You’ll have an easy time around the city if this keeps up. This explains the mystery of Empyreal City. People are acting like this all over the city.”

“Hmm, much as I’d like to take credit for getting the entire city drunk, that’s not just me. Other bars, other people buying this stuff.”

Max looked contemplative for a moment. “Yeah…are you ok with that?”

“No skin off my back if everyone else is too hippiefied to do a damn thing to me.”

“Oh. Surprise, surprise.”

“What’s all this ‘surprise’ shit about?”

“Oh, just with all the date raping this is enabling. Every single one of those people. I can see you not getting laid on this stuff, but it’s going to turn that place into free love central.”

I thought about it. About the nerdy guy, and about the girl walking him back. About every single person down there and out in the city under its effects. About people finding out how people act under it and making sure someone they want drinks up. I thought about…certain times I don’t like to think about, with people who are dead now and better off for it.

“Aha…there’s the Gecko I know who doesn’t like to admit he’s there,” he said in a sing-song voice. He was teasing me over the appearance of certain preferences that some may, if they don’t know better and don’t care about living, call morals.

“Shut up, Max.”

He quieted quickly at the tone of my voice, but still grinned like a Cheshire cat.

On the one hand, I now have to be the jerk that saves the day. On the other hand, at least it’s ultimately going to make a lot of people upset that they’re no longer screwing everyone around. So maybe I can squeak by and claim it was all done in the name of fucking over the fuck fest.

I turned to my stony minion. “Moai, we’re going to need a lot of cold water. It’s time to blue some balls.”



I Got Clubbed 3

Wow, I had a nice dream last night. Well, no fighting or killing or anything, but still nice. I and some other people were living in a massive ice cave for some reason, and it felt like there had been some sort of apocalyptic tragedy. There were plenty of people still being civilized, but the main government or governments were gone. Also, it was like a school of some kind where I was writing a paper and I had a symbiotic maggot-looking worm thing living in my tongue. When I opened my mouth, it would push its way out with a crunchy kind of sound, and even though people insistently referred to it as a parasite, I was sure it more of a symbiotic relationship, with it somehow capable of healing me.

I’d like to go back to that one some day and see what else happens besides me trying to heal people by infecting them with my parasitic mouth worm.

For news in the waking world, I have sent off a sample of the Sexahol to Mix N’Max. I could do it, but he really likes it when I send him weird stuff.

In the meantime, things are ok being one of these club owner people. The same types who were in here dressed all wacky before are still here, and the place really fits them. We’re even getting some people that none of the regulars seem to know. Nerds, near as I can tell from walking amongst them. Or at least introverted types who normally don’t go to clubs but are a lot more comfortable with masks covering their faces.

“See, man, this place is cool,” one of them said to his buddy. They were both in costumes. They had made good use of pads like you see on ATV drivers, and one of them had this welder’s mask with a skull design over the front. The skull’s eyes were replaced by the solid visor piece, though. It was a good look.

They were waiting on the bartender and looking around. I had walked over to the bar myself, in armor, and they were apparently referencing my own costume.

“Hey man, that’s a great job. Did you make that yourself?” a taller one with fake molded muscles on his costume asked me.

“Yeah. Fully authentic.”

“Are you supposed to be somebody?”

“I’m Psycho Gecko,” I said.

One of them went all deer-in-headlights from not having a clue who I was, but the others recognized the name to varying degrees.

“Yeah, right,” said one future corpse. He nearly reached his full potential right then and there, but at that point Moai showed up, threw a feather bolo around me, and dragged me to the dance floor for a brief amount of time.

“They deserved it, Moai. Come on, just a pound of flesh. Half a pound. You know what, I’ll leave all their flesh on their bodies, but they’ll learn an important lesson about who I am.”

Moai wasn’t convinced. He only let me go once the guys at the bar had gotten their drinks and moved on. Then he let me go. I stuck a finger right in Moai’s face, “I’m going to get my bloodbath, you know. It’s bound to happen. Bloodbath later, though. Bloody Mary now.”

Actually, I slid up to the bar to get my Bailey’s. No more Sexahol. I ain’t turning into some lovey dovey hippy Gecko. Ladies and gentlemen, I do not want to impregnate a frozen yogurt machine! I don’t want to be tied down raising a bunch of yogurt flinging crybabies. And given how babies are little more than crapmachines normally, that bodes ill for the quality of that yogurt. It’s a lose-lose situation.

So no, for the good of people not having shityogurt, I did not have Sexahol. That, and being drunk apparently makes me less violent.

The bar wench, because I still love the word wench despite its offensiveness to those it refers to, walked over immediately. “Hey there, I hear you’re the one in charge. Sorry I didn’t get over here quickly before your friend in the costume pulled you away, but I had to go get those guys some more Sexahol. What can I get you?”

“Lots of Bailey’s, whatever your name is. Wait, what is your name?”

“It’s Sandra. I was hired to be the T and A around here.”

“Well, miss Sandra the Titanosaurus and Anguirus, I guess I’m lukewarm to have you around. We’ll see how you do. By the way, are you scared of or get ill at the sight of blood and/or internal organs that are no longer internal?”

She rolled her eyes. “I already answered that at the interview, but no. I can handle that stuff if it happens.”

“Ah, but can you handle yourself if someone gets grabby?”

Sandra reached down and pulled out a switchblade with a little smile on her face.

“That’s cute,” I told her. “I’ll see about getting you a flamethrower. Now, fetch me the Bailey’s. A bottle, if you will. And glasses. No, wait…a monocle.”

She snorted and shook her head, but went about grabbing my current favorite. When she set a large bottle in front of me, she asked, “By the way, you want to try this Sexahol stuff? It’s selling like crazy.”

“Ah, thank you, Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx, but no thanks on the Sexahol. It makes me horny. You wouldn’t like me when I’m horny.’

“Sure, whatever. You do know T and A stands for ‘tits’ and ‘ass’ right?”

“Really? I thought there were other parts to you as well.”

“Yeah, but those are the parts that make guys want to come up here and try to buy expensive drinks so they can talk to me.”

I unsealed my helmet and pulled it from over my mouth so I could sip on the creamy liquor with the obnoxious burn that gets better over time. I’d say more about the taste and drinking experience, but only after Bailey’s works out an endorsement deal with me. Otherwise, that’s all their getting.

“Huh. Gives me an idea for a trap.”

“Huh, traps?”

“Yeah, a boobie trap.”

“Oh god,” she pressed her palm to her face at that.

“Excuse me!” called someone from the other side of the bar. A skinny fellow with a hairline not so much receding as retreating like the British from Dunkirk. He was in a suit and holding a notepad.

“I better get this,” Sandra said and slid over to him. Addressing him, she asked “What can I get you?”

I couldn’t hear what he said to her over the music and the crowd, but she turned back and walked back over to me. “This guy says he wants to speak to a manager. He’s talking about the club having a lot of violations and not having permits. “

“I’ll handle it,” I said. I took one last sip of my generic drink with a name I can’t pronounce without copious amounts of money introduced to my system, then pulled my helmet back down . I walked over with my bottle of non-specific liquor that could have even been the cheap taste of Kahlua. Not like I’d specify that without a deal of some sort, Bailey’s.

“Hello there chum,” I said, holding out my hand. The man with the hair like the forest around Isengard reached out awkwardly, having perhaps not expected a man in a costume to answer his summons. He also didn’t expect the bait and switch where I left him holding the bottle of undetermined liquor that I’d love to talk about if I had my own lifetime supply of it provided by the company. And my own cloned T-Rex to ride.

“Hi, I’m Timothy Redmond with my office got word you were operating something out of here. Now, we thought this had to be a mistake,” he said as he put on a deceptive, predatory grin, “After all, nothing had been filed with us. No permits, no licenses, no inspections. Just poof! One day, you’re here operating like this illegally.”

“Ah, yes, I see where we are having our little miscommunication here…” I put an arm around his shoulders and led him closer to the dance floor. Moai caught up to me wielding a feather boa again, but this time I smiled and said, “No, no, nothing like that. I’m just going to have a chat with Mr. Redmond here. In fact, I’d prefer you came along. I expect it will be very educational.”

Moai nodded.

A few minutes later, I held onto a screaming Timothy Redmond as the stereotypical-looking bureaucrat bounced against the side of the building. I wasn’t trying to smack him against the side of the club, but I wasn’t trying too hard to avoid it either. In fact, I figured I could scrape him against it a little. He had some lung power on him, though. That guy was close to breaking glass.

“Oh calm down, you big baby. It’s not that bad. You don’t see me whining about it, do you?”

I don’t think he heard me, so I gave him a little shake, which shook me in turn. I was also hanging down from the roof of the building, with Moai holding onto me somehow. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to how he does that.

“Easy there,” I tried to warn Tim. “What you’ll want to make absolutely sure to do is keep control of your bl- Nevermind, there you go. You’ll want to stop screaming and close your mouth right about now.”

He didn’t listen to that either, but at least his screaming stopped when he sputtered and coughed from the warm liquid I saw wet the crotch of his slacks. Let that be a lesson to everyone: do not piss your pants when hanging upside down.

“Hey, now that you’ve shut up for a moment, I think we need to have that chat now. See, I figured a talk like this had a bit of gravity to it, so why not add a little more? But just holding you over the edge seemed a bit stereotypical.”

He started to cry for help instead of pay attention, so I gently smacked his head into the wall hard enough to stun him for the moment.

“As I was saying, you rude little man, I had to find some way to spice things up, and now we’re on equal footing. Moai, haul us up!”

Moai backed up, dragging my armored body up and onto the roof. I held onto Mr. Redmond and brought him up with me. I dropped him on the roof and he curled up on the ground, keeping low while he tried to wipe his face. I bent down in front of him. “I think you’ll find that there’s merely been an oversight. Our registration or whatever just got misplaced, right?”

Mr. Redmond nodded at me from where he cowered on the roof.

“Glad to hear that. Here, use this to dry yourself.” Moai passed me a towel and I handed it to Tim. As he pressed it to his face, something within crackled. He opened it up to find a couple thousand dollars in fifties and hundreds.

“What’s this?”

“You know, it occurred to me that with our club’s policy on being costumed, a guy like yourself could probably wear a good mask over his whole head and some tights. A place like this, all those nubile young women wouldn’t know you from anyone else. You could be anyone to them. No, literally, you could dance around like a guy half your age.”

“That didn’t answer my question.”

I put my hands on my head and shook it. When I stopped, I used a hologram to make it look like a Magic Eight Ball prediction had floated up on my forehead. “Shut up, take the money, and party,” it read.

“Yo, Moai, please show Mr. Redmond down and out with discretion. Mr. Redmond, I look forward to this entire thing being cleared up. Water under the bridge and all that.”

“Water under the bridge?” he asked incredulously. He still panted a little, but he was gaining control of himself.

“Yeah, that’s where they’ll find you if this mess doesn’t get cleared up soon.” I patted him on the shoulder. He eyed the gloves, possibly very glad that he wasn’t still upside down at that moment.

That’s how we got all our proper paperwork for the club, by the way. There are many ways to cut through red tape. Next time, I think I might try a knife.



I Got Clubbed 2

I found out what this fucking Sexahol stuff is, man. We got a bunch of it, and that’s all I feel like saying about that. Just stockpiled it and the rest of the stuff we need for this week at the Lair. That’s what I’m naming the place. We all had a democratic vote about it. Carl wanted to call it “Club Villain” and Moai suggested “Underworld”. I thought the first was too easy to use as a taunt if a hero ever used a blunt instrument on me, and the second sounded too much like a movie series about ogling a hot British vampire in dominatrix gear. Put one of those fucking werewolves in a black latex outfit and then get back to me, you sick pervs. I don’t mind a lady with a little natural body hair.

My suggestion for the name was “The Secret Lair”.

“Isn’t that a bit obvious, boss?” Carl asked. Moai nodded in agreement. As is common in a democracy, I pulled out a bomb and declared that if I didn’t get my way, I was going to destroy the whole place. Simple politics. Useful bomb, too. It’s like a smaller version of the F-bomb, but it’s a purely high-pitched noise that’s even worse for stuff around. I’m thinking of putting it on a rocket designed to penetrate heavy armor and calling it the Fili-Buster. Or maybe I can use it somewhere in Philadelphia first, and call it the Philly Buster. I could see if it’s useful for taming young horses and then name it the Filly Buster. Actually, that one sounds like a porn name. Hello ladies, I’m Filly Buster. Now, which one of you wants to get broken in?

Anyway, I named my club. I even have F-Uhaul putting the sign up. I got them helping me out with all this too. They don’t like me too much, but they like my money, and so do their friends in the construction business. I don’t care if they keep it a secret, either. What, someone’s going to think I’m doing something silly and stupid again or even going legit? Ha!

If I was really concerned about what someone thought, I’d probably go pick their brain myself. That’s not a euphemism. Just crack open the skull, give the ole gray matter a poke or slice, and then call it lunch. Or call it a damn beehive for all I care, not like its original owner’s going to be complaining at that point.

I’ve been using the past few days to get the construction stuff done. The walls are up to reinforce some side rooms I wasn’t doing anything with, or to build a few booths. Most of the infrastructure was already in place as far as tables and a bar. My throne is up there too, but we had to go for something besides hanging it up there. Instead, it looks like a giant man in a cape, hood, and tights being pulled open by heavy chains that stretch out taut to the walls. The opening in his body is where I sit. I chose to have the sculptor take artistic liberties with some of the anatomy so I didn’t have any weird organs poking me in the ass.

Good fellow, that sculptor. Needed a guy who works with metal and I happened to find him. He needed me too, I think. Fellow had been in a relationship that wasn’t necessarily serious, but he cheated. She left to parts unknown, which I hear is a very cold and snowy place that produces a lot of mysterious pro wrestlers. That shit happens, as much as people don’t like to hear it. Not like it was the end of the world. For one thing, I wasn’t involved in it. Just being honest. I expect I will be mixed up with the destruction of Earth somehow or another, and I doubt that’s much of a stretch for y’all.

It wasn’t the end of the world, but this guy had a friend who was really religious and a bit controlling in a creepy way. Like, went out of his way to adopt a lot of kids kind of controlling. Not anything where he’s touching them, he didn’t think, but for some reason this guy liked to adopt and lord over kids as a father figure. If I had to guess, he probably had a thing for Dominance and submission stuff but didn’t know it because of how he’d been taught to repress his sexuality. The sculptor was religious too, after all, but there’s a point where it becomes an important character trait and you can count on verses being quoted in casual conversation.

So this guy was getting shamed by his friend. Pretty much every female that walked into the neighborhood they lived in would get warned off from dating the sculptor because he just wanted sex and would sleep around and was a cheater and all that mess, according to the friend. Makes it hard to go on a first date, you know?

Anyway, I put together a couple lasers for the sculptor to use to work on this big ass throne for me, then I let him have them as payment. Not sure what he’s going to do with them, but it oughta be fun. I gave the guy some advice, though. I said “Well, you could pray for something to happen, but I hear that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Then I handed over the power cells so he could use those lasers on his own. He left with a gleam in his eye. It was either sweet, sweet revenge, or perhaps a future kid of his.

That’s how I got the giant metal superhero sculpture as my throne. I might change it later with a proper application of C4. Also, when we get the basement level cleared, I might put the main opening there at the base of the big throne. Until I get the basement, the catwalk has to serve as the lair. We got a lot of the gadgets and tools up here while I work on figuring out how to blow open a huge chunk of whatever’s under this place without also destroying the building it is under. That second part, not blowing up a building in the process, is what makes it more difficult. Under most circumstances, I would consider it a stupid idea to avoid blowing up some place.

I was considering some acid from Max, actually. Never got around to it, though, thanks to an incident that I don’t feel like discussing here.

So, after a day wasted snarking on SuperBowl car commercials that implied STDs, I was finally able to get back to work. Work, in this instance, refers to taking some of the liquor on a test drive while Carl was busy interviewing candidates to handle the regular DJing, bartending, and managing aspects. Just because I want the place to run on its own doesn’t mean I can handle all the boring stuff, but I was able to lend Carl a hand.

He had a line of a few people wanting to handle the DJ stuff and sent Moai to fetch me. I’d have had Moai doing interviews, but my pet rock has remained rather mute.

So, yep, not a lot going on this time. Nope. Not much at all. I mean, I think there’s been stuff in the news. Some survivalist pro-theocracy militia killed some cops, bombed a funeral, and tried to get into a militia war, but was easily thwarted by some APCs and choppers backed up by drone surveillance. A wizard tried to zap Congress with a lightning bolt from atop the Washington Memorial, but was stopped by Captain Thunder. Actually, poll numbers show that a majority of Americans wish the wizard was successful. I hear that guy is already being picked as a potential Presidential candidate for whenever he gets out of the hospital and prison. Oh, and a man in a panda outfit robbed Busch Gardens down in Florida. Reports say he showed up, ate a little, shot up the place, and left.

Makes sense. After all, a panda does eat, shoots, and leaves.

Nope, nothing all that out of the ordinary around here, no matter how much certain minions watching over my shoulder might imply otherwise. You read that, Moai?

Moai might have a point. Ok. So, that Sexahol stuff I’ve mentioned before, that’s supposed to be the next big thing around here. Some sort of microbrewed liquor of questionable legal status. When we went on a big run to buy up proper supply for the bar, we grabbed a whole bunch of that stuff too. I gave Carl a break from hitting the bottle and insisted I try it instead. For all Mix N’Max’s insistence on not trying a lot of things on me, I think they mostly work the same way. He was probably just worried about delicate compositions and so on.

So I tried the Sexahol to see how excellent or bogus it would be. From the very first sip of that amber liquid, I loved the stuff. You could taste the alcohol, too, but not in that usual obnoxious way, and it warmed me like brandy as it flowed through my mouth and down my throat. Maybe it had a strawberry or cherry taste to it. Seemed to change.

It was great, though, and I kept on downing it. I gulped that shit down on an empty stomach. What followed was what I’ve been able to remember and piece together from various security cameras and dash cams.

I got goofy on this stuff. Fuzzy brain, overanalyzing each step, all of that. Like I was manually managing hydraulics to keep walking correctly. “Oh no, we slid it down the left pantleg today and didn’t compensate correctly! Seal that bladder now, boys, because we’re going doooooown!”

I didn’t fall, though, due to my inherent superior balance and because Carl was walking by at the time and I grabbed onto him. Turns out he needed my help discouraging a few people. “They think it’s a joke. Maybe you can scare off the ones who aren’t serious? Maybe you can put the armor on and show them you mean business?”

“I’d love to,” I told him with a smile on my face. Big smile. Lots of teeth. I ran over to the line of people who were there for various jobs. I opened my arms wide, huge grin on my face. “How are you fantastic people doing today? Oh, how nice to have so many people show up. I’m glad y’all are all here.” I walked right up to the guy at the head of the line who wore a giant floppy green hat and a domino mask.

“You there, floppy flop person, with the floppiness. You want to work at the Secret Lair?”

He scoffed and toyed with his nose with one hand, “Yeah man. That’s right. I’m totally a bad dude.”

I gave him a biiiiiig hug. “Me, too, man. Me too. I feel you, dude. Totally.” I even wrapped my legs around his hips and hugged him that way. He started to say something, but I didn’t want him to ruin the moment, so I headbutted him in the throat. He couldn’t really talk after that. He just kinda struggled to breathe and fell over while I hugged onto him.

The moment was ruined by the next person in line, a woman in a fuzzy purple and black pimp jacket and a football helmet. She wouldn’t stop screaming. I tried to shut her up nicely by putting my hand over her mouth, but she bit me. I wasn’t angry. I remember being very happy just to be around her. As she turned to run, I hugged onto her and tried to haul her back. I wanted to show her I wasn’t all that bad, but she was fighting me. So rolled backward, launching her into what you’d call a German suplex. There was a bit of a snap when her head and neck hit the ground, but I rolled with it until I was sitting down with her in my lap, snuggling her. She didn’t fight me then. She was my own snuggly person doll.

“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Wrapped in plastic. It’s fantastic!” I was singing to myself.

Carl came running up and was all like “Hey, Boss, that was a bit much. Maybe you should go outside for awhile? Get out of here. Stop scaring off people, or even scare them back in. You can take, uh, your new friend there with you, if you want.”

I laughed and let him push me out the door. “You’re a great guy, Carl. Very dependable in the short time I’ve known you. You want to come party with me?”

“No sir, boss. Not at all.”

Then, out there on the street, I saw this sexy car. Whoever was driving had good taste, because that thing had some awesome curves. That’s what I assume I was thinking based on the fact that a stoplight camera shows me getting thrown off the roof car further away from the bar, and then security camera footage shows me attempting to fuck it in the grill. In my defense, though, I should note that it was a Cadillac and those are notably snobby cars who don’t like such public displays of affection.

As it burned rubber out of there, I walked after it, singing my heart out. “IIIIIIIIIIIII, will always looooooove, youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!” I can’t tell if I hit the right high note or if it was just the normal response to my singing that prompted the vomiting, but I did attempt to chase and hug the old guy who lost his lunch. He didn’t want the apology, no matter how many times I raised him on my shoulders and spun him around and around. I lowered him and grabbed onto his ankles like it was one of those disco things, but I lost my grasp on him and some of my balance. He went flying into a post box with a loud ding and an end to all his old, crotchety movements.

It was sad to see him go, I remember that much. At least he’s in a better place now. Hawaii, if I figured the postage right. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor one or two, but definitely no more than four, dead bodies stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Don’t ask us about huge green things with teeth or cake.”

Before you go thinking I massacred a lot of people, you should know there was this cop who tried to stop me. I just massacred him. It’s ok. If cops weren’t put here for us to kill, why would their shields be comically undersized?

I let him get a cuff on me so I could slip the other on him and keep him close. It’s unclear if I was attempting to get frisky with said officer, mostly because that’s the level of skepticism I use to interpret the footage of me shoving my tongue in his ear, but things got a little more violent when I tore his belt off and started spanking him with it.

He managed to crawl back to the car with me doing this to him, at which point I sat in the driver’s seat, pushed my pants down, and wiggled my bare ass in the seat cushion. The officer didn’t survive when I decided to see how good it felt with the car going. That really was my reasoning, turns out, because you can clearly hear me on the tape going, “Oh yeah, my balls want to kiss your vibrations. Let’s crank this bitch up and get some speed on!”

The cop was still handcuffed to me, though, but he was outside the car when I took off in it and did my best to hit ninety miles an hour. Instead I hit a yogurt store and got busy with the yogurt machine. By the time Moai tracked me down and carried me back, I had declared myself the “Yo-player”.

I don’t know how Moai managed it, but somehow my minion got me with a nanite syringe and then sat on me while I rode out the rest of the fuzzy brainness. The next day, he even helped me around, like my own personal crutch. Except in the bathroom, of course, where my pee was apparently a translucent black color.

Not that that’s all that important. I’m sure you would all rather have heard about Panda-Man’s raid on the beer company’s amusement park.



I Got Clubbed 1

So, I have a club now. That’s new.

Even though I got back from my little deal in more or less good spirits, the fact that my base was apparently now somewhat of a gathering place for regular people was odd. I came very close to pushing the death trap button, too. Maybe put on some Dethklok music while I was at it, a little bonus for the survivors who happened to know about that show.

I am the last person to talk about parties while I’m away, probably because I’d kill whoever I was talking to most of the time, but not my minions. Also, I was impressed that they pulled off some sort of keg mecha.

“We had all the leftover kegs and cans and all that. One day I’m in the bathroom, just minding my own business, when all of a sudden I hear something and it makes me smack my head back into the wall by accident. I got this idea about seeing if I could use what I knew about cars to make the kegs into one of those robots from that movie Aliens. Moai knows a thing or two, I know a thing or two, and between us we managed to make something that works half the time.”

I sat back in my office chair and nodded along to his story, holding a cat in my arms and stroking it. I had found outside and it didn’t seem to mind being brought back so I could play a malevolent boss. I’m a natural in the role. Now, all I need to do is blast open Fort Knox and I’ll have the world’s largest supply of destroyed military fort! Mwahahaha! It would be worth a fortune on the refurbished military fortress market, though usually that involves something a little more mobile.

“I like the keg mecha. Very fitting. With very little effort we can turn it into something with some real power behind it. Maybe some spikes. Some stacks that spew flames. Tell me, how do you feel about have wires jammed in your spinal cord to help you with fine motor control?”

Carl held out a tray on which sat a pair of reddish-orange drinks with little umbrellas in them. I grabbed one of them and took a sip. Mmm, fruity.

“I don’t like the idea, boss,” Carl answered as he grabbed the other drink and settled back in his seat.

I sipped on my drink some more. “What if I were to partially lobotomize you and replace one of your hands with a beam weapon? Do you think that would sufficiently sweeten the pot?”

“Uhhh, no. Not at all. In fact, I think I’m going to go take some fillings out now after all this.” Carl started to stand up.

“Ah yes, taking filings out. That’d mess with your brilliant smile and who knows how that would affect how well you get along with all the guests. You know, the ones at my new club,” I said with a grin as I preempted Carl turning the door handle and escaping a certain discussion. I swept my hand back toward the chair on the other side of my desk. Carl sat back down reluctantly.

“Yeah, we need to talk about that. I just wish you didn’t have that roadkill in your hands while we talked.”

“He has a name, and it’s Mr. Flatsy. Mr. Flatsy is very sensitive about his appearance, so he’s been trying to slim down!” I said as I shook the dead cat at Carl. One of its rear paws fell off and landed on my desk.

“Hmm, seems Mr. Flatsy is a little unwell. He could use a little bit of sunshine and rest,” I explained to Carl as I grabbed a trash can that had been beside my desk and used Mr. Flatsy’s body to sweep his paw off into it. “Mr. Flatsy is going to be going to a little farm upstate to frolic in nature until he gets better.” I chucked the dead cat into the trash can with his paw.

I grabbed a bottle of White Out, which I actually had before all this, but for a different purpose than this, and squeezed it out into the trash can before tossing that in too. I held onto the cap and the little brush that was still wet with the white correction fluid. “Mind if I borrow your lighter?”

Carl set the drink tray down and rifled through his pockets for a lighter he then tossed to me. A few flicks later and the cap brush was on fire. I dropped it into the trash can, sat that off in the corner, and sat back down as flames consumed Mr. Flatsy. “Now then, Mr. Flatsy is on vacation. You aren’t, so let’s hear about business.”

“It all started when I got drunk,” said Carl. With that opening, this story could go either way. “All these people came in. A whole bunch of them in all this black clothing, with loops and metal and mesh and all that hanging on them. They said they were there to party and were wondering who we were. You’d think they would have come around before now if they were going to.”

“So I was like ‘I work for the new owner,’ and they were like ‘Hey, so can we party here?’ and I was like ‘Pay me 200 bucks and I’ll think about it,’ and they were like ‘We got 150 and some alcohol,’ and I was like ‘Okay’. They spent the night playing loud music and dancing around, and I spent the night drunk. Then they kept showing up with more people and one of them was this big guy who wanted a job as the bouncer, so that’s how it all happened.”

I sat with my elbows up on the desk, fingers outstretched and fingertips touching. My face was near and I sniffed them, then turned and held them really close to the fire to try and burn off the smell of dead cat. It backfired, though, and left me smelling of burnt dead cat on hands that no longer had hair on them, or even skin in a few spots. I injected myself with the nanites, cussing all the while because I had to use the same hands that were burned for holding the syringe. The cold mixed drink with its little umbrella soothed my hands and my brain.

“Alright, Carl, I’ve had a moment to think in between painfully burning my hands. I have to say, you’ve disappointed me. My computer shouldn’t be facing the door like this.” I pointed back to behind me. The computer sat against the wall, monitor toward the rest of my office, including the door. “I could be watching porn on this thing and everyone could see it!”

Carl looked past me, “Uh, boss, you are watching porn on this thing.”

“It’s a nature channel documentary on the mating rituals of invasive species of the Equatorial region.”

“My bad. What’s it called?”

“Bitches in The Bahamas 3. As you can clearly see, in The Bahamas, Homo sapiens sapiens males apparently don’t have to do much more than communicate in ways demeaning and degrading to the opposite sex because, near as I can tell, the females have been paid off by some sort of abstract notion that exists either solely as numbers on a computer, or as a physical object that tries to trick people into thinking it is paper. The females, however, are getting back at the males subtly through the use of falsified noises that indicate higher levels of pleasure and arousal than they clearly feel based on body language and behind the scenes interviews.”

“Boss, please don’t discuss porn with me like that.”

“That is what happens when you face the monitors where everyone can see them!”

“Alright! Geez, I’ll rearrange things. Is that all you have to say about it?” Carl had a hopeful look in his eyes.

“We’ll keep it going, for now. It could be useful, but we’re going to need to add on to the place. We need a basement to hide stuff underground where no one can stumble on it. Not that we’re going to hide a damn thing.” I stood up and pointed my regenerating finger to the sky. “Light bulb!”

“Yeah, I see that. I had to change it while you were gone.” Carl shifted in his seat uneasily. For all the time he had spent around me, he was still getting used to the way I thought.

“No, light bulb like one just went off over my head in my brain. We play up the villain aspect. Hire some shady types for the bartending and DJing, see if that crocodile-looking fucker over at Rothstein’s Sports Bar has a relative with fangs that we can stick on the front door.”

Carl stood up now. “Won’t that scare people away?”

“Nope, that’s this place’s gimmick! They’ll think that’s all it is. Get me a big throne overlooking all of them from higher up, like on a level accessible by catwalks over the floor. Even set me up a big giant screen that can descend so I can threaten people from there. We’ll also need some side rooms for private functions and illegal gambling. You can bet your ass you won’t see a bunch of heroes so gung ho to drop in here on a Friday night and blow me away if they’ve got party people in the hizzy fo shizzy, my nizzy.”

“Boss, I think that may have been racist.”

“I’m not even human.”

“I don’t think it matters the way you said it.”

“I might really be black, you know. I could be using nanites to look white.”

“You offended me saying that, and I know I’m white.”

“Damn straight, cracker.”

“Please stop.”

“Alright fine. Anything else we need?”

“Well, if we’re going to keep a bar open in it…” He led me to the obvious conclusion. Alcohol. Liquor. Spirits. Flagons of mead.

“That reminds me, Carl,” I circled around my desk and put my hand on his shoulder, bringing my fruity little drink with me in my other hand, “We have to talk about your drinking. You have a serious problem. You can’t let yourself be bribed into letting people in all the time.”

I guided him to the door and opened it up, sidestepping as I did so. Carl wasn’t quite in front of it himself and managed to jump out of the way as Moai fell in, letting out a loud crack from falling on the carpeted floor. He rolled back up again and the crack was clearly not his own surface. “Oh, good, glad you heard everything, Moai. No need to repeat this. Come along. We’ll need your help getting all the booze back here.”

Moai nodded and put on a cap with straws leading to empty holders far too big for any regular little canned beer.

“I need to talk to you sometime about hiding stuff wherever you keep your hats, Moai. But for now, we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of firewater.”

Moai nudged Carl as we were walking to the car. “Ow, wh- oh, that’s right. Hey boss, there’s this one place we need to show you, too. They got stuff we’ve never seen before that might be good. Stuff that’s illegal, I think.”

“Well, not like we’re going to be licensed for any of this crap anyway, and woe to anyone who comes to enforce that. What’s this illegal stuff you think we should get?” I tossed my now-empty glass aside to shatter against the side of the wall of the club part. We stepped past a plastic curtain that had been raised to separate the garage area from the main floor. My fuzzy brain was already losing its fuzz thanks to the nanites, so I slid into the driver’s seat of my beautiful big black car.

“The label on it said, ‘Sexahol’.” Carl said as he got into the passenger seat. Moai slid into a laying position in the back seat, a seating arrangement a little better suited to his size and nature as a giant stone statue.

“Sexahol. Well then, let’s go see if we can create ‘Death by sexaholism’.”