Tag Archives: Captain Flamebeard

Die Seas Adventure 2



Seeing as I’m not supposed to be leaving the island and Captain Flamebeard knows what he’s doing, I busied myself on other things than preparations for the attack. Unlike China or India, this place doesn’t work on the raw material side of the marketplace. All these cybernetic parts and pieces had to come from somewhere, even if there’s a high degree of personalization. People are starting to get back to work in the factories. These guys were some of my competitors when my old corporation was selling medical prostheses, except these are aimed at a wider market.

Records are spotty, but managers on the ground are trying to fill back orders to some organizations that I know to be fronts for groups who like violence in the dark. Wetworks. CIA, maybe, though they’re not technically supposed to be assassinating people, but also stuff like military dark ops. I remember them from back when I ruled the world and its delicious computer mainframes.

Hey, as long as they aren’t trying to fuck me over, I’m willing to live and let kill. They look like they could use the help, too. The United States looks like it’s having a heck of a time. Some sort of racist nationalist group launched a couple of attacks. They’d been in hiding, simmering under the surface, and boiled over with their own supers and minions. A bit unsophisticated, maybe, but the size and scope hints at the same hidden funding that Ricca and groups even within the States gave them.

Up in Canada, Dr. Creeper showed up with another robot haphazardly painted over with pink paint and wore a crossed-out swastika on the back of his lab coat when he next went out, which was just a quick march run through the streets to steal some groceries. Something tells me he won’t be playing Nazi anymore just for the heat it draws.

Master Academy, other teams, and individual heroes did a fairly good job of stopping them without too many people killed. Even the FBI got in on the action, stopping one of them blowing up a building in Oklahoma City. Just like during World War II, superheroes stopped a Nazi fifth column. Huzzah, and all that. Venus cut a striking figure. They got a photo of her in mid-jump, about to punch the teeth out of a man about to drop a survival tomahawk on a woman’s head. There are already memes and everything.

She’s saving the day from assholes; I’m selling the next batch equipment for when they try. Some people not on any government’s books are really interested in exoskeletons.

In other domestic issues, I finally figured out what Citra and Silver Shark have been up to. Citra’s been kinda living with me, though she’s been sleeping in the quarters she had in this section before. Silver has taken up in a side room now, and hasn’t been all that close. Then there was the whole Lola thing and they disappeared for a bit. Not like I invited the pirate to live here, too.

So I woke up the morning before the planned attack with my head feeling like it would explode, a result more of having fallen asleep hanging upside down off a couch than the bottles scattered around me. I thought something had crashed in my dream from the sound. I tried to wiggle around and almost woke up Qiang, who had crawled onto my stomach to sleep.

I managed to get sideways when she was awakened by a door slamming elsewhere in the mansion. Another door opened, the main door to the residence. Silver Shark walked in with an enormous stockpile of clothing in her arms.

“What’s going on?” Qiang asked no one and everyone at once.

I sat up and patted her head. “I dunno. I think something stereotypical.”

Silver shot me a glare before stomping back to Citra’s room. I carried Qiang with me as I went back there to take a look at what was going on. The door to Citra’s room opened as I got close and Silver stepped out. She took one look at me, grabbed Qiang, and told her, “You can help us. Your dad can go play elsewhere. He has been stupid.” Then she slammed the door in my face.

I knocked on the door a couple of times, then got an idea in my sleep-addled brain. “So… anything I should know?”

Silver called back. “Yeah, go get yourself checked for fleas and anything else you might have picked up lately!”

“I take very good care of myself!” I answered back, though I felt rather oily and dirty from the night before. “The nanites gave me a clean bill of health.”

“Good for you,” she answered back.

“Good for you too, if you want to head upstairs,” I responded.

She opened the door just enough to poke her head out. “No. You’re not going to bring back some pirate hooker then pretend like you and I have that kind of relationship.”

I scratched my head. “I mean, you hadn’t wanted to make the beast with a billion backs lately. I thought you’d be fine with it.”

She gave me a look that made me glad the Claw never installed lasers in those eyes. “I thought you wanted a relationship. I thought you liked me for more than my body parts. I gave you a chance and you blew it.”

She thinks the chance was bad, she should have seen me working my way through the North Koreans. Actually, she did. “Your body parts are what first caused us to get busy, though. Like those fins, and your neck, and all the neat things they put inside you.”

She sighed. “There’s a woman underneath these cybernetics.” I was about to tell her I certainly knew and appreciated that, but she cut me off as I opened my mouth. “You have a lot to prove to apologize right now, and not just to me. Go think about that and leave us alone.”

She closed the door on me. I thought for a second, then asked, “Does this mean you’re moving out?”

“And give out the second best bed on the entire island? No way!”

See, this is why it’s easier to date guys. You pound another guy in the ass hard one night, they don’t have any problem letting you do it someone else the next.

Speaking of manly sodomy, Flamebeard’s plan to attack the Sea Org craft involved pretending to depart, then crossing around to cross the T. He didn’t expect any real resistance from them, and Sea Org was here for the Cult. Indeed, he maneuvered around in the way he let on, his pirate ship’s sails catching fire as he accellerated to attack. One cruise liner owned by a conspiratorial religious group versus one old-looking ship of anachronistic pirates led by a supervillain pirate captain.

I meant to at least pay attention during the attack, but I was busy on some very important Imperial duties. Qiang and I were watching a movie while I braided her hair. I’m trying to spend time with her a lot while I do all this stuff. I feel like it’s a thing parents are supposed to do. I dunno. I sometimes feel weird in pretending to do all the things parents do with this young girl given to me as an incentive who I then tricked into thinking I was her father while having her genetically altered to make that kinda true.

I didn’t have to ponder that for long, as I got a call on the official black phone. I had it installed for official Imperial business, not to be confused with the red phone, which is more for official hiding from nuclear war. I reached out a hand to the landline, which had bluetooth activated speaker mode. “You are go for Gecko. What’s up and who is this?”

“Emperor, this is the Intercept team at the base. We run the radar and sonar systems detecting incoming enemies. We have an unauthorized entry by a boat dispatched from that cruise ship anchored offshore. Are we under attack?”

“Just a little bit of religious warfare. I’ll handle it.”

I hung up and headed not to the Gecko cave, but to the man cave. I had an armor stand in one closet, and a wall of gadgets in another. I suited up in no time and grabbed my equipment. Rubber chicken grenades. Flares. A pair of machete’s rigged with explosives. And, as a last minute thought, a bunch of fluffy pink handcuffs.

Qiang clapped for me. “When can I come with you?”

I patted her on the head. “After you’re trained and have your own armor. See you later, sweet pea.”

I linked back up with Intercept, who gave me the route the boat had taken. They were landing right about the same time Flamebeard’s ship crossed the liner’s T and fired on it with howitzers. According to my observers, Sea Org was packing rifles and doing a fine job of missing depending on the sway of the ship.

I landed near the boat on the beach and found it unguarded, with tracks leading inland. I disabled its motor so no one would be making a quick escape and headed in. They’d actually landed in an undeveloped portion of the island, with plenty of trees and other flora. That led to me sneaking through the underbrush and occasionally leaping up to hold onto the sides of trees.

They traveled in a line, wearing camo. It wasn’t hard to find them with one big, boisterious one making about as much noise as possible. He tromped through bushes, spat chew, and offered some to one of his colleagues. When the man rebuffed him, he said, “Bunch of slack-jawed faggots around here. This stuff will make you a goddamn sexual Tyranosaurus, just like me.”

The guy he offered it to just laughed. “We all had the celibacy clause in our billion-year contract. You’re not fooling anyone.”

Virgins, six of them. Good thing I brought the handcuffs. These guys will make excellent sacrifices.

I went after the little one with the radio first. I eased myself up behind him, hologram projectors working overtime to make it look like I wasn’t there. I snatched the gun out of his hand with one hand, shoved my other hand into his mouth, and then jumped us both out of there. It took less than a second, and gave me time to leave the radio man cuffed around a tree with a mouthful of leaves and a broken radio.

“What the hell happened to Hawkins?” I heard someone yell from where the squad were marching.

The second one I took turned out to be the big guy. Got him in a sleeper hold and dragged him off into the foliage. Another one, a black guy, got upset at this and emptied his gun and the one left behind by the big guy into it. Did fuck-all to me, but it did kill the big one. Funny thing is, they inspected where the guy bled and thought they hit me. The one leading them looked at the blood on the leaves and remarked, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

Of course, then he turned around and the black guy was missing too. They decided then they’d turn around and try to escape, with me whittling away at them the whole time. In the end, it came down to just me and the leader, who tripped and fell out onto the beach, losing his gun in the process. He rolled to his knees and pulled a knife, expecting an immediate attack. Instead, I stepped out from the treeline, dropping my cloak and pulling an explosive machete from my belt.

He started to say “You are one ugly-”

“Motherfucker,” I said, cutting him off, along with his leg below the knee. He swung the knife at me but I knocked it away, grabbed his wrists, and handcuffed him. For good measure, I dropped a fallen tree on him to hold him there while I tied off his wound. “Stick around.”

The mission was a complete success. I got my five virgins, the big guy bleeding out before I could get him out of there. Flamebeard and his men ended up taking out the ship’s ability to flee, which caused the survivors to disembark. The ones not caught by Flamebeard were rounded up once they hit the island by anyone the Intercept team could scramble to meet them. I had a quick meeting with the Assembly’s transitional people who quickly dropped the question of religious liberty when I started showing them the businesses owned or run by the relatives of several of the people we captured. Throw in the landing they made, and these were POWs, not refugees.

Sacrifices for a cult, a new cruise liner for the island, booty for pirates, and now plenty of hostages to ransom back. Maybe we need more religious tourism here. I already have an idea involving all that gold we got from Flamebeard being melted into a general “plate” shape…




Die Seas Adventure 1



Life is good, so it’s inevitably going to be fucked up. But before it does, I should at least enjoy it. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to just sit around and enjoy myself. Now I’ve even got myself saddled with a kid now.

But I can still have a bit of fun. Like how I had Captain Flamebeard show up in port one day with his ship’s hold full of shiny goods. Gold, gemstones, and consumer electronics. “It’s the TV sets and computers that most people buy,” Flamebeard said when I stopped by the port to see his old-time pirate ship. “Most people don’t accept gold baubles for services.”

I handed him a bottle of plum wine, careful to keep it away from his beard of fire. If it fell in to a burning beard of fire, it’d burt out, out, out, and the flame would grow higher. And it’d burn, burn, burn, the beard of fire. The beard of fire. “We’re more than happy to take your stolen goods of all shapes and sizes here. I’m afraid there’s not much here for tourists, but we’re working on it.” I pointed at his ship. “Looks nice. Been awhile since I saw it fly off into the sunset.”

“Aye, she’s as seaworthy as she’s ever been, though I been lookin’ t’upgrade her cannons.” He pulled the cork out with his teeth and took a swig before offering it. I waved him off, then pulled out my own bottle to open up and sip on. “Any smiths in town know their way around fire and iron?”

I shrugged. “We might have a few people who know how to make your grape shot even graper.” He grimaced at that one. “And if that doesn’t work for you, Faustus sent me a…bird. They want to set up an outlet on the island.”

“A bird! I’d like to see a crow fly this far to deliver a message,” Flamebeard laughed and took another swig.

I shook my head. “Turns out they have magical messenger pelicans. Didn’t see it coming. Do you think they can do flamingoes?”

He had to stop drinking long enough to have a snort at that. Flamebeard and I werent’ exactly best buds last time we encountered each other, but he seemed to get my message loud and clear about this being a friendly port of call for criminals. I also made sure he knew I was personally enforcing the peace around here. That said, I didn’t mind if he and his guy shad themselves a cooling-off period ashore. They’re sailors. Gotta let them do some drinking, fighting, and whoring, or else what’s the point?

All the money, I guess. He paid me a personal port service fee out of a number of these gold coins and artifacts they had. They might have a lot more value than just the worthless yellow rock normally commands on Earth. They even helped me tutor Qiang on her math homework. She’s starting to understand that it’s easier to count in real time if you learn make things into tens and add the remainder. I like to think she’s growing up grounded for someone thrust into such a position.

It was there, teaching her to count on gold, that I was interrupted by furious knocking at my front door. Wondering who it could be so early in the day, I stepped outside in the Imperial bathrobe, wielding the Imperial brick tied to a string. “Ok, who the fuck’s on my lawn!”

I was met by a half dozen dirty men and women dressed like it was the Caribbean in the early 1700s. I grabbed one of the women who seemed a bit cleaner than most, even if she needed to clean her dreadlocks a bit. I pulled her by my side and said to the others out there. “I don’t know what you’re here for, but make it quick. I have a woman over,” here I nodded to the pirate I grabbed, “and it’s not going to be a good time for company.”

While that got a little bit of an “Oooh,” from some of them, one with a bandana covering up a bald spot on his head spoke above the others. “Cap’n Flamebeard needs you. Evil cultists kidnapped some of the crew! Someone said they was to sacrifice them to their heathen god and bring about the end of days!”

I took a moment to think. “Cultists… were any of them in overalls and packing shotguns?” I immediately thought of Old Man Hoodless and his people out at the Agriculture Mall. The nods from the pirates confirmed it. I sighed and turned to the pirate I’d nabbed, with her corset and tricorn. “Sorry, we’ll have to continue this after a visit to this funny farm outside of town, where life is wonderful all the time.” I started inside for my armor, then stopped and stepped back out. “What is your name, anyway?”

In a dark brown voice, she said, “Lola.”

Looks like the pretty pirate’s packing a pistol. Fun.

I got there ahead of all of them thanks to the roads not being so straightforward. Pretty good traffic for the island, all things considered. Maybe I’ll see if Flamebeard can mug a car shipper out of Japan, get some people something nice. Maybe I’ll hold a lottery for people who avoid tickets.

Anyway, I landed in front of the Agriculture Mall, where Captain Flamebeard had a slim, modern twenty-five pound howitzer on an old-fashioned cannon cart, aimed at the door of the compound. He waved his flaming sword at the Agriculture Mall’s fortified door which had so recently dealt with animal rights attacks. Slots were opened all over, with the cult’s shotguns sticking out. I mean, I expect the howitzer would get them in, but most of the pirates only had some cars for cover. One poor sod even yelled from the safety of his doorless, topless jeep. At least the pirates had some of their own guns among the cutlasses they wielded.

“Ok, that’s enough!” I yelled out, my helmet amplifying my voice. “The only one killing anybody around here tonight is me. Any volunteers?”

That shut up the pirates, so I walked on over to the compound door. “Knock, knock, kna-knock, knock!” I said, then rapped the door twice with my fist for the two bits. “Come on, Old Man, open up. I hear we have an incident here!” Behind me, Flamebeard was stepping ahead of his men to stand behind me.

Old Man Hoodless opened the door and raised his shotgun toward the pirate, who held his sword our, careful to avoid touching me with it. I held up my hands between both of them. “Gentlemen, let’s put down our weapons or I’ll tear you apart with my hands, alright?” I looked between them and they reluctantly lowered the offending items, Flamebeard’s extinguishing itself.

I turned to Hoodless, who had exited to reveal himself draped in crap-brown robes that looked course and itchy. “These no-good, dirty, rotten scoundrels are currently guests on our island. I hear you kidnapped one of them for a human sacrifice?”

“Well,” Old Man Hoodless scratched at his scruffy chin hairs. “Maybe I done did. You know how hard it is to get a good human sacrifice? We can’t just use any ol’ body!” He gestured with his gun hand off toward the city. “We don’t wanna take any of them folks. We got to live around them.”

“Well, that’s considerate, kinda, but I think we need to find another way here. This human sacrifice, is it on a deadline here? Ya know, is an eclipse needed or a certain day? Full moon? Anything like that?”

He shook his head. “Naw. Just tryin’ to summon infernal legal advice from the depths of Hades to handle this Cease and Desist from them damn Scientologists.” He reached to a fanny pack on the outside of his robe.

“Hard to reach the pockets?” I asked.

“Well, you know, I didn’t want nothin’ endangering the ritual. Nothing on under it.” He patted the material.

“Really? Looks hellaciously itchy.” I reached out. “May I?”

“Go ahead!” He held out his arm. “It’s really soft material.”

I stroked the sleeve. “Wow. That’s high-quality culting right there. Flamebeard, feel this.” I moved out of the way to let him feel. “Geez, is that from y’all? Where’d you get this?”

“I know a guy,” Hoodless said as the pirate also felt him up. “Maybe we can discuss tailoring another time. I’m really concerned about this Cease and Desist. This is Scientology, we’re talking about. Legend tells they captured a unicorn using the virgin blood of a sacred hunter-priestess of Artemis and bargained away its crimson life’s vigor for an Enochian contract the likes of which the planet has never seen.” The Old Man was practically foaming at the mouth by the end. Flamebeard had quietly stepped back to avoid splatter.

“Geez, even better than OJ Simpson?” I asked.

Old Man Hoodless wiped away his mouth. “Oh yes. After all, he only sacrificed the two people.”

Ba dum tish.

“Ok, so let’s get back on track here,” I said, smacking my palm with my fist. “This isn’t that time intensive, right? It can wait a few days?”

“I suppose,” grumbled Old Man Hoodless.

I turned to Flamebeard. “You’ve kidnapped people before, right?”

He stopped picking at one of his teeth with his sword and slipped the tooth back into his gums. “Yar, though it be more of a hostage situation than a kidnapping. Rich young bastards are worth a lot to the older bastard what spat ’em out.”

Somewhere, there’s a dyslexic or someone who didn’t grow up with English as a first language who is losing their mind right now. Between me, the hillbilly cult leader, and Captain Throwback, we’re beating the English language to death and lighting the body on fire.

I negotiated a deal. Flamebeard will go off and kidnap someone, preferably someone with a car I can use for the good driver lottery, and bring the unfortunate soul back to be sacrificed in a corn field pagan blood orgy in exchange for legal services to counter the Scientologist threat. Should be nice and simple. Though, before I left the cultists and crew to party with moonshine, I did pull Old Man Hoodless aside and ask him just what the Cease and Desist was all about.

“Well, we sometimes send people fruit baskets with some literature, an’ it turned out we done proselytized to a bunch of Scientologists that way. Scientology don’t take kindly to that, nosiree, so they threatened us. After that, it’s more I thought they was a bunch of assholes and sent ’em even more baskets. Then came the Cease and Desist.”

I grinned under my helmet. “I like you, Old Man. You’ve got the support of Ricca behind you, don’t worry.”

A small wrinkle did appear the next day, but I believe it just gave the plan a distinguished look. A ship was spotted off the coast. They didn’t hail us or approach the port. Looked like a big cruise liner.

I saw it from a high balcony at my residence, zooming in with my eyes to see one of the most generic naval insignias out there. My eyes immediately matched it to Sea Org, the paramilitary navy of Scientology.

From behind me stepped Lola, dressed in bedsheet if at all. “Hey baby,” she said, stepping up behind me and going in for a kiss that I turned my cheek into. Pirate chicks have some nasty breath. I don’t know if there are water restrictions that keep them from brushing so often, or if it’s just all the alcohol. Either way, I’d need to down quite a bit of rum to numb myself to the taste of trying that again. “What are you looking at?” she asked.

I pointed to the ship. “Well, I think I found your boss a good source of kidnap victims.”



Psychos of the Caribbean 3



Ah yes, the cargo job. I’d never done one before. Especially in the age of globalization, cargo ships are necessary but vulnerable pieces of the economy. They’re giant targets that can’t reverse or change direction very quickly. They’re mostly automated, so they don’t need a lot of crewmen, either. Let me rephrase that. There are hardly any people on them who can fight back. Also, it keeps the cost down if they don’t carry any armament.

That’s why y’all have heard of small boats of a few pirates being able to capture these things. That, and a bunch of pollution and illegal fishing in sovereign waters off Somalia, but you can’t much expect foreigners to take fishing rights seriously for a place with no government. It’s a wonder this fellow we’re attacking didn’t set up there instead. I really should have asked the President for a name for him, but it only really matters so I have something short to call him in reference.

So that’s the quick rundown on cargo ships and international politics. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Yooooooo, Psycho!

That’s right, I’m all for education. Always be wary of someone who wants to keep you ignorant. They have ulterior motives. They might say it’s to protect you, that the knowledge would hurt you. It usually would hurt them instead. Funny how that works.

Like Captain Flamebeard. The man with the fiery facial hair had a problem with me discovering what it was like to stand on the front of his ship and declare myself the emperor of the world. The third time I tried it, he had someone throw a harpoon at me.

I turned around. “Who threw that?” The crew, decked out in their pirate costumes, didn’t answer. They glanced at me and went back to their various duties. I doubt they really had to work that hard. I don’t think they even need the wind on their side with Flamebeard empowering the sails like he does. Then again, I left all the technical sailing stuff to them. “Carl, did you see who threw that?”

I glanced at my henchman. The inner-city thug hunched over the rail, spitting up. At this point, he had to be down to the stomach acid. He just shook his head, then heaved again. I hopped down and walked over to him. “Is anything staying down at all?”

He didn’t answer, just spat up something clear. Right, saliva. Forgot about the saliva. If you’re going to puke a lot, try to remember the saliva. Vomiting, much like fucking, will get saliva everywhere. You won’t believe how much the human body produces. And anyone who does know is probably suffering from one very sore throat.

“I wanted you here to watch my back. I lost the eyes in the back of my head, but I didn’t think you’d be useless like this.”

Carl mumbled something, then tried again, louder. “How’d you not throw up?”

“Some people are more susceptible to seasickness than others. If it helps, it does effect me.” I pointed to my forehead. “Feels like my brain isn’t completely connected to itself. I can’t do math. How about you, Moai?”

I turned to the magically animate statue. He just stared at me. To Carl, I said, “See? Even Moai’s lost his marbles.”

Moai and I both glanced down to Moai’s marble bag, which hung empty around his neck. They went overboard a few minutes out. Luckily, this wasn’t a trip that would last more than a day. The President tracked the ship as it approached so we could set out on a quick intercept. In a ship with flaming sails, we’d be better off relying on speed over stealth.

“If it’s any consolation, the ninjas aren’t doing any better.” I pointed over to where some of the Chinese ninjas hung over the railing on the other side, tossing their egg rolls into the water.

As little as I think they actually need to do on this thing, at least Flamebeard’s crew was ready to fight.

When we got close, Flamebeard himself approached me as I used the little landlubber’s room down below deck. “We’re almost there! Ye’ll be wanting to get ready. Do yer want me to bring ya yer brown pants?”

“That won’t be necessary. I’m almost done swabbing my poop deck. And I’ve got a very different set of pants to wear.”

With my lack of an internal power supply, I can’t really wear my power armor. Maybe if I did a bunch of crack, speed, and Red Bull, but I don’t want to go down that road. Energy drinks are dangerous. That didn’t mean I was completely out of things to wear, though. If y’all recall, there’s at least one costume I’ve held in reserve. If Flamebeard asks, I stole it from the rightful wearer.

Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time Patriot missiles were deployed in other countries. So deploying the Missile Patriot isn’t out of the question. I stepped out onto the deck in my red, white, and blue soldier’s uniform, and strapped the helmet on. I passed the CO, XO, and finally stopped at the DJ.

“The Cap’n banned me from playing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme no matter how many times you ask,” he said, running his fingers through a Fu Manchu beard.

I shook my head. “That’s not what I’m here for. DJ, I’m requesting a song for a fight. A beat-down, you might say.”

He thought about it for a moment, then reached over and tapped at his MP3 player. I raised my hands to the air and had time for a quick “What the fuck?” before I heard the first lines of the song blasting over the ship and our radio signal.

“If it hadn’t been for Cotton-Eye Joe, I’d been married long time ago. Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did you come from, Cotton-Eye Joe?”

It’s dangerous to make a guy bust out laughing at the same time he’s launched into the air by a pair of forearm-mounted rockets. Something tells me the Cap’n requested something to take the piss out of me. Ha!

High in the air, I could see see the ship. Small people ran around, gathering numbers and weapons. I looked down upon them and scoffed! They looked like aunts, in that they were about to scream “Uncle” after I got done fucking them up. I swooped in for the kill, braking suddenly using one of the would-be defenders. He absorbed just enough of my kinetic energy to go flying off the container and over the side of the ship.

He made a poor wall, but a decent soccer ball. The hit bled enough speed from me that I could reverse the rockets and drop myself on the container. He’d left his rifle behind, something I discovered along with the existence of a second gunman. He caught me with a shot to my side, but the armor prevented penetration. Still hurt like a bitch. I grabbed the loose gun and swung the butt into the second dude’s face, knocking the spit out of his mouth. I slipped around behind him, grabbed the stock, and shoved the end of it deep inside the guy’s turd holster. It was more fun than a barrel of monkey shit.

Now, I know I told y’all a long time ago that I don’t care for guns. They’re usually pretty boring as weapons. Let’s also remember that I’m a bad guy who does whatever he wants. That should adequately explain why I squeezed the trigger and blew a hole from the man’s ass to the top of his skull, spewing bodily fluids into the air. And not the easily replaceable bodily fluids, either.

Down below, I saw men rotating a cannon in a clear space along the edge of the deck. It looked more like an anti-air gun with its quadruple barrels, but that would still do plenty to a bunch of people on an open deck. I swooped in to deliver a prompt ass-kicking in the name of American involvement in Latin America. One fellow I kicked off again, leaving him floating in the middle of the ocean in clothes and whatever he had in his harness.

Once again, it didn’t stop my momentum right away, so I turned it into a run toward another guy who drew a knife. I grabbed his stabbing arm and lifted my legs up, catching him in a head scissors that spun us both around until he dropped to the deck. Another man, preferring force over good sense and ability to measure distance, pulled the pin on a grenade and rolled it to my feet. I had enough time to pick it up and rocket toward him, shoving my fist into his mouth and leaving the grenade behind. I threw him up to the man strapped into the big AA gun’s harness while he frantically pissed himself.

It wound up killing three birds with one stone, because we here at World Domination in Retrospect like to go above and beyond.

Then I radioed the rest of the team, “You guys won’t believe how good this song is. It’s really got a beat you can kick ass to.”

“Any resistance?” asked Flamebeard.

“Less than there was a few minutes ago. Looks like your standard Darkwater mercs, and one ack-ack gun that y’all no longer need to worry about. Send in the cannon fodder!”

I heard a cheer from the other side of the radio, followed by Flamebeard issuing the order, “Send in the cannon fod-, I mean the clan fodde-; send in the clan!” A moment later, Flamebeard’s ship took to the air on empowered sails riding the sky aflame. Lines fell from the side of the ship, with Chinese ninjas sliding down in their colorful outfits. One of them didn’t even get all the way down before a lucky burst of automatic fire sent him off to the mystical Chinese sweatshop in the sky.

The pirates followed them, hesitantly. Flamebeard’s men were of the opinion that it wouldn’t be proper to get between some ninjas and their adoring bullet fans. Really, us getting onto the ship was most of the battle anyway. Most of those left were the crew, and an attack by pirates, ninjas, and patriotic superheroes was above their pay grade. Really not a lot of people to fight on these things. On the plus side, the rocking got more tolerable. I almost, just barely avoided telling Carl, “I need you to keep watch on Flamebeard’s boat.

So we got the server. I checked it myself. It was all there, storing data representing a lot of money and a truly epic porn stash. The whiskey almost didn’t survive, though. The pirates wanted to party. I reminded them the whiskey was part of the President’s deal. Besides, there was plenty of other booty for them. Like gold bars, sports cars, weapons, and drugs.

For a guy building a new nation in the middle of an ocean, you’d think there’d be more food, but we stopped looking the whole thing over once we’d had our fill. Then we departed, having left the President’s official bobblehead sitting where the server used to be, bobbing its head and waving his national flag.

It wasn’t until we were well on our way back to Isla Tropica that we realized we forgot the ninjas on the ship. Turns out they were stealthy after all.



Arete in Destruction 4

Life’s hard for a guy trying to share his love of pranks with the city. The love wasn’t the bombs that have gone off in a few places, either. The love, as you might call it, involved me making some changes to the window washer equipment and water system of the Trump International Hotel and Tower right off this bigass park here in the city.

It was by far the biggest order of squirrel and pigeon pheromone concentrate Michelangelo had ever had to fill, even if you include those guys that time with the crappy animal themes.

It also left every squirrel in Empyreal City hanging on to the outside of that over-compensation station called a hotel, jizzing their nutty little brains out. While the squirrels are busy busting their nuts, pigeons keep sexually assaulting the heads of tenants who are trying to mind their own business as they escape.

It was a big laugh all over the internet and late night comedian shows. It didn’t help matters that The Don tried to hire local heroes and Shieldwall to clear off the building. Shieldwall couldn’t do the job. Too busy trying to track me down. The heroes that did take the money didn’t fare very well on their own. You ever disturb a horde of horny squirrels? Furry little humpmongers jumping around, landing on eyes and ears and mouths and noses. Scratches and bites. Thrusts. PETA protestors clung to legs, arms, even backs.

In perhaps the most accurate use of the term ever, it was a clusterfuck.

I only learned after the events of the past day why Shieldwall didn’t feel like making an easy million bucks.

Moai and I were just hanging out back at my crime crib, minding our own business. Not doing anything wrong at all. I was busy working on the Heatflasher. There were melted foci in that thing. Melted foci are a bad thing. Trust me, you don’t want your foci melted on a sensitive machine of mass death. I could have fired the thing without one, maybe two of them, but it had burned through all the primaries and a couple of the redundant ones. The rockets still worked, but the damn thing was out of commission as a weapon until I got it fixed. So I was elbows deep in the ‘Flasher when there was an explosion at the front door of the warehouse.

“Coming!” I shouted. Having solicitors like that sucks, but it’s even worse when they get impatient enough to blow your door to pieces. I scrambled into my armor and grabbed my laser potato peeler. You know, in case someone really needed their potatoes peeled. It happens.

I had time for all that thanks to the traps. “Moai, you make sure nobody sneaks in and destroys the ‘Flasher. Try to take at least one alive if it’s convenient.” I tossed the electrified cage over the heat ray again as I made my way to check on the traps.

All was surprisingly quiet. Too quiet. The Spamocles Sword room was empty. Too empty. No, really, it was too empty. The spam that had been left on the plate had clearly been disturbed, but that’s no surprise. Spam’s very existence has disturbed me for some time. There’s something not right about that food. Still, it had been poked and prodded, I knew that much, as the sword had clearly fired from the crate it had been hidden within. Anyone messes with the mystery meat on the plate, and the pressure plate beneath, and they got a sword to the head. In theory, at least. Blood stains showed someone survived long enough to bleed as they were dragged out. That means more than one enemy, including one without the decency to die for me.

The flashlight room was a different story. I rounded the corner to enter that room from behind the flashing lights and found a large robot with a head in the shape of a furiously roaring sloth standing in the middle of it, completely unperturbed by the razor blade strips laid over the floor, walls, and table of that makeshift room.

The part I didn’t see until it was too late was Miss Tycism summoning up a bolt of lightning that threw me back what I assume was several feet. I didn’t have time to lay down an exact number of foot longs sub sandwiches. I did have time to wish that my strobe light idea hadn’t worked against me that way.

The pair didn’t follow, giving me time to recover. Now, the last thing I should have done was run right back into the room. It’s what a moron would do in this kind of fight. I’d be coming at them from the exact same route. With all my abilities and knowledge of the terrain, there were any number of possible attack paths I could take. I chose to run right back into the room, albeit invisible and with the aid of holographic doubles.

They were on guard and the first doppelganger caught a hot bolt of purple lightning for his troubles. Ah, purple lightning. Must happen during a purple rainstorm. Still better than trying the Batdance in order to pull off some Pussy Control. That’s how Prince scares off the women.

The second hologram was found to not be a threat when the Mecha Human Sloth ran and put its fist through the thing. His bulky body provided me with an excellent opportunity to show Miss Tycism that she’d made a Miss Take invading my base of operations. I grabbed the table with its many blades and held it in front of me as I ran up Sloth’s back. I soared through the air like a fat hungover buzzard and slammed the table into Miss Tycism, puncturing a few minor veins. As an added bonus, they were her veins this time, not mine. What really made her scream was how it pushed into her and then scraped against her as I fell.

Mecha Human Sloth put himself between us as Miss Tycism levitated toward the roof and threw a green energy blast that removed a clean circle in the roof for her to escape.

They were being cautious. That still left me with Sloth to deal with. He charged and I went invisible. I jumped to the side. Despite my stealthy state, he adjusted and slammed into me. I hit the metal container behind me and was pushed against it. I thought I’d go right through it but it slid out of the way with a line of sparks.

Instead, Sloth kept going against the windows of the break room built into the front of the warehouse and threw me through it. I landed hard on a shoddy metal table and felt it collapse around me. I coughed a few times as I stood up then yelled to him, “Hey, I’m the one who throws me through windows, not you! Bad touch. Stranger danger!”

A metal claw dug into the drywall and tore it away with two swipes, opening that side up. It left me exposed in a kitchen area. If I ran, I could go to one side and escape out the room’s door, or to another side and take a bathroom break. I grabbed the coffee pot, pulled a small cord from it, and threw it at Sloth. The cold liquid inside did nothing. The block of C4 hidden in it did significantly more. It stumbled him. Don’t you love fighting someone like that?

I threw open the door to the refrigerator and began to empty the contents at him. He was unperturbed by the stink grenade. The knockwurst was useless. He slipped a little on the sour milk. The year-old birthday cake that had been in there long before I moved in dented his armor a little, I think.

It almost made me proud to see my work stand up to all this, but I was too busy seeing what I could do to get him in a better position. Except just then, the man in the red, white, and blue costume ran up. Bright Star, I think. Generates fireworks explosions. “Remember, you don’t close with him,” instructed Mecha Human Sloth.

“I remember. We won’t need to anyway. Everything’s coming down, Gecko,” spoke the smug patriotic hero. A smug hero is one thing, but one wrapped in a flag is much more grating.

“Let me guess, this is the point where you ask me to surrender and make things easy on you?”

Bright Star shook his head. “No. We don’t trust you enough to let you surrender, but if you want to knock yourself out I promise you’ll wake up in a cell with a toilet lid.”

“Guess I’d better handle that before this goes any further then,” I said and rushed over to the bathroom door. I closed it behind me as explosions blasted apart the kitchen. One of them took the door off the hinges, the toilet paper rolling over it and past Bright Star as he approached. A faint mist glowed in his palms as he got a little too close for comfort to find me on the john. “Eek!” I screamed and tried to cover up.

“Your pants aren’t even down,” he stoically informed me.

“I’m going to have to clean this armor out then. Do me a favor and hand me the TP?” I pointed to the roll of toilet paper.

He started to look and caught himself, so my swing with the toilet lid didn’t catch him completely offguard. It knocked his hand up, where a red explosion brought down pink insulation on me as I swung again. The lid broke as it popped him on the side of his face. He staggered back near the toilet paper with the now-armed Claymore mine within.

I flushed the toilet, triggering the remote.

The blast, which involves some C4 and hundreds of steel balls, didn’t catch him full-on, but it got him enough to rip open the back of his costume and send him into my waiting arms, where I raised him over my head and dropped him headfirst into the toilet bowl.

“We need evac on Bright Star. Man down. No visual on primary target,” I heard in the electronic growl of Sloth.

There was a lot of dust in the air, obscuring the much of the view, but I could see how they trashed the kitchen. They even left the sink hanging half off. Hmm…

“Here’s your visual, Slothy!” I yelled as I flew out of the ruined break room with a pipe in my hands. The porcelain sink it was attached to smacked into the face of the robot and shattered. I landed and spun, avoiding a retaliatory kick. “Too slow, Three-Toe.” I used the pipe to keep him from bringing he leg back down. Unable to compensate, he fell. I circled around to the eyes of the machine with a very important question to ask. “Hey, does this look like a laser to you?”

I fired the potato peeler into Mecha Human Sloth’s mechanical eyes and saw them crack. His flailings failed to find or fling me, so I took the time to run off to the main room and workshop.

A disheveled Forcelight was there. As usual. Of course. She had gotten shocked by the electric cage as she tossed it away. I let out a loud “Oh shit!” and turned to run for the side door. Forcelight pursued. Instead of blasting me out of my pants, she was closing to melee. Works for me and the reverse punji. She caught up to me at the door and I ducked. She flew over the threshold and the welcome mat thrust up into the air. The spring-loaded mechanism threw her up to the spiked awning overhead that clamped around her as she bumped into it. Then the thrusters kicked in. The awning broke away from the building and flew straight off into the distance with its captive.

It was glorious. Too bad it probably didn’t kill her.

When I got back inside, I found a cracked Moai slowly rolling over to the HeatFlasher to guard it. “You’re looking beat up, Moai. I expect you did the best you could?”

He nodded, then tipped his head toward a hole in the wall shaped like a small woman wearing a giant backpack with waldos coming out of it.

“Good. Doesn’t look like they see have us completely surrounded anymore. Bright Star, Sloth, Forcelight, Miss Tycism, and Troubleshooter out of the way for now. I’ll call in the cavalry. You take the scooter. I’ll have to get the ‘Flasher and the car myself. Side door’s clear.”

Moai didn’t move.

“Now, go, go, go! We don’t have all day.”

Moai slowly nodded, then hopped towards the side door. I made my way to the big giant screen in the main room and tried to call up old friends via video call.

“Elita!” I proclaimed happily. Elita the Warrior Woman dropped her loofa and covered her wet body up with her arms, then the shower curtain. “Listen, amigo, I need some help with-“ She punched out her own screen. “Why the hell do you have one in the shower then?!”

Next call went through to a grey room. “Hello? Max, you there?” Holly flopped over into view, waving the smoke out of her face.

“Hey Gex. What’s up?”

“I’m in a pickle here. I need backup in Empyreal City.”

“Mmm..pickle. Pickles sounds good,” she said, then called out into the obscured room, “Hey guys, let’s go get some pickles!” Then she turned to me, “Hey, we’re all feeling kinda hungry here. We’re gonna take a snack brake from working on the bazhookah. You should stop by some time.” She then switched the screen off.

Who else do I have in my contacts…

Captain Flamebeard appeared on screen in a shower cap, steam rising off his beard. With a scream, he dropped his loofah and went to cover up his nipples. Water splashed against the screen as he frantically scrabbled to turn it off. All I got to say before the transmission ended was, “You know waxing is a thing now, right?”

That was more body hair than I hoped to see in one place.

It looked like help wasn’t on the way. There was just one last person left to call.

The next person to appear on screen was Ouroboros. He was taken aback by my appearance on his monitor. “Douche,” I said, and cut the feed.

“He really is,” said a familiar feminine voice from behind me. I turned to find a beauty in pink, gold, and white armored tights.

“Trying to take me on one-on-one again, Venus?” I spoke amiably. We were, after all, old enemies by now.

“Remember, one of us actually has friends. They’ll be here soon. And,” she pulled out one of their old EMP rods, “You’re not going anywhere anyway.” She activated it. Her hair lifted up briefly as the EMP hit.

I saw the lights on the Heatflasher go dark while my own armor went dead for a few moments. It rebooted and I approached the ‘Flasher and set a gloved hand down on it. Venus circled me, but kept her distance. “What’s a matter, your Caddy out of gas?” said a man in greased hair and a tiger-stripped jumpsuit glimmering with rhinestones in the shape of lightning bolts. The Honky Tonk Hero pointed his guitar at me. “Did you forget to remember to forget about me?”

A man trailing red and blue glowing lines dropped down on the other side of the Heatflasher. His armor was black metal and he brandished a high-tech katana. He didn’t say anything, as always. “Huh, you know I’d just about forgotten about you,” I told him.

“Mechamoto has been busy. I missed out on fighting the alien incursion thanks to you, but he got a lot of experience against warriors in power armor from it. By the way, sorry we’re late for the party. Someone blew up our ride,” said a marble teen in gold tights with yellow griffin designs.

“You got some valuable experience too, Apollo. Don’t forget that ass-whoopin’,” I chuckled and noticed a blinking red light on the console of the Heatflasher, “Well, I think we’ve waited long enough, lady and gentlemen.”

They all got in fighting stances. I got in the Heatflasher and fired up the rockets. I heard someone call out, “The fuck?” as I lifted off.

“Ahahahaha, it’s called redundancy, bitches. Ciao!” I called to them and slammed the ‘Flasher into the big giant screen. It crashed to the floor as I ascended and made for the hole in the roof. I caught a view of a white gleaming dot flying towards me and gave it the finger while hitting the stick to get my ass out of the line of fire.

And so I live to fight another day, like for getting my car back or setting this thing on a skyscraper and going to town on the town if I find a scratch on my car when I blow up the impound.



Bananarama 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bananarama 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It is?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Huh, sounds- what the fuck?”

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

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

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

Mistakes happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What next?” asked Snowblower.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Bananarama 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She screamed and ran for it.

Like I said, terrible luck with women.

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

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

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




Bananarama 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All part of the plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I gotta go, babe,” said Venus.

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

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

“Hey there Boopsikins. Remember me?”


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

“What do you want?”

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

“Anymore wild goose chases to lead me on?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bananarama 1

Started out as a pretty easy going day. Woke up without any pants on. Had a strange dream too.

I fought a dragon with a plunger. What the dragon was doing with the plunger, I don’t know. Maybe I had crawled up its toilet bowl before it sat down on the porcelain throne and issued any “decrees”. I assume I crawled up it before it did so because I’d prefer not to think that I crawled up during or after and it’s my story. So I hopped on a robot shark with eight legs and was fighting it in deadly hand to hand combat with golden kitchen sink, glad all the while that the cliché wasn’t to hit someone with a shower. But enough about the daydream I snapped out of in the middle of some family’s house while wearing nothing but my trenchcoat and a pair of black boxers with yellow smiley faces all over them.

Maybe I should talk about my actual dream. It went like…something about judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their…hair? Actually, nevermind, I forgot most of it.

After ruining the most important meal of the day for the Johnson family, I took a shower, which got really awkward when the Johnsons insisted I leave or they’ll call the cops. I don’t I care all that much about the cops since Gorilla Awesome and Honky Tonk Hero left for Kingscrow to repay Forcelight’s team by helping with the hell that broke loose there. Still, it was hard to manhandle my right hand man with the wife screaming at me and banging on the door. Finally I grabbed a towel, dried off, and let her out of the bathroom. Naked and dripping, I passed by the husband and gave him a friendly slap on the cheek while saying, “She’s got a hell of a mouth on her, doesn’t she?”

From there I made my way back to the hideout, where I had left Moai as a guard, got dressed, and headed out for lunch. Why did I go alone? Because Moais don’t need food and booze, silly. I made my way to Dino’s. Best fucking cheesesticks I ever tasted. Combine them with their alfredo and I would kill for them. I swear. I would grab your mom, whoever is reading this, and punch her right there between the lips. Then I’d turn her rightside up and work on her face. I would wrap a chain around a dildo that I then shoved a hammer head onto the end of and beat her senseless with it, then drown her in a bowl of that alfredo right there, yes I would. Then I’d dip my cheesesticks in it for good measure and let out a barbaric yawp. Preferably while wearing a tuxedo and singing it like an opera note.

But enough about your mom, who is so fat that when she went to Sea World, Shamu fell in love with her.

I was quite full when I entered the Back Alley Voodoo Bar, though it was a necessity. I need to eat a lot to make up for the rapid healing and tiring shenanigans. I was surprised, though, when the bartender, still in a girly guise, announced “Psycho Gecko’s here!” and was followed by a chorus of greetings from people who actually wanted to see me for once.

At first, I didn’t understand why they were actually glad to see me, or why they hoisted me up on their shoulders, or why they were saying things about their hero and kicking “her” ass whoever’s ass that is on whichever feminine pronounced-person they were talking about. They sat me down at the bar and a pirate with a flaming beard gave me his bottle of rum to drink.

I know what you’re thinking. A gay pirate with a flamboyant girlfriend was trying to get me drunk and flirt with me. But that’s not what happened. It was a pirate with long facial hair that appeared to be on fire. I’m right there with you, I expected the gay pirate with a girlfriend too.

“So, you think you’re up to the task, matey?” asked Captain Flamebeard. That’s actually his name, too. I was running facial recognition as best I could in the magic-laden atmosphere of the Voodoo Bar, but a simple search for “beard on fire” turned up some information on him, and it caught me up on the arson/murder mystery of the Congressional representative from Minnesota.

“What task is that?” I asked, taking a swig of the rum.

“Don’t you watch the news? Oh, that’s right,” he said with a jocular smile, getting a chuckle out of the rest of the crowd. I got this sudden urge to grab him, rip his beard off, and make him eat it while singing “America the Beautiful”. I held it in check though.

“Well?” is all I said to reiterate my question.

“You’re the one we’ve all chosen to take down that cocky bitch that’s coming to town!” he finally answered.

“Cocky bitch? Do you mean Chicken Girl or Madam Hyena?” I asked, still unclear. Remember, communication is important in any relationship. Whether you’re a guild playing together in an MMO, a couple trying to make things work in this crazy world, or a villain who has been nominated to fight someone by other villains, it’s always best to make sure there is clear communication about the situation.

“No, no, no, we mean you’re the one taking on Venus.”

I drew a blank. It looked a lot like the next sentence.

That’s what it looked like.

“Who?” I asked, once again. I don’t like asking a lot of questions like that. I had the eyes run a search for the name related to the word “superpowers”, but before I got an answer from the internet or crowd, Flamebeard clapped me on the shoulder and made a very loud proclamation.

“The fool’s gonna-, I mean, the man’s gonna do it!”

This brought on a loud cheer as they all went back to their seats.

That’s when I got the info I needed. Turns out, surprisingly, I should have been paying attention to more reality shows.

“You know they’re setting you up,” said the bartender as she leaned in. Despite her head coming so much closer to my own, I still couldn’t see her eyes. There’s no way the dark blue lighting is the cause of that.

“I don’t entirely get why they’re so frightened of an unpowered woman who wears that much pink,” I said as I perused the images overlaying my field of vision.

“Says the man whose only power is to touch machines,” was the bartender’s answer.

“Hey now, it’s good touch and not a one of them have ever gone to the cops about it. So why would I be fighting her, anyway? She’s an LA cape,” and what a notorious bunch they are. Every region has to have their particular flavor, though. You want the bright shiny defenders of freedom, you go for Empyreal City. Kingscrow has the dark brooding vigilantes, or it did before this team got put together. Then again, they’re pretty dark and brooding now after what I did to them. D.C. is full of either cynics, idealists, or assholes only in it to make themselves look better. Oh, and their heroes share those traits too. I’m not entirely sure what flavor you’d say Memphis has, though it attracts magical supers much the way New Orleans does, but with certain urban aspects more similar to Kingscrow or the poorer side of Empyreal City. And it attracts me from time to time. Hey, it got its reputation for murder somehow. Not sure where the pirate fits in with all that though.

“They want their parties and attention. She’s like you in that respect. The bright figurehead of the Master Academy,” the bartender said. Ah, something I knew more about already. Master Academy is like this private school for these younger heroes. It covers high school and college courses. Keeps a lid on identities because they work with a normal private school over there and have managed to keep it a secret which school that is. Not like it’s just one obvious school where you can sit outside and match up the faces to the masks you saw.

Venus is one of the big names coming from the school and according to the press, she’s making a tour to challenge the villains of various cities, all in the name of publicity. I guess that’s one way to convince teenage superheroes to work in an organization. Plus, Memphis could use a superhero right now.

“You know, seems there’s an awful lot of heroes from around the country working together lately,” I mused.

The barkeep poured me a fresh drink, despite me having made little headway against the rum. “Here.”

“What’s this for?”

She indicated Flamebeard where he sat with other former members of my celebratory crowd, “They only chose you to fight Venus for them because of what you did here. They probably all spit in that bottle.”

I closed one eye and looked down the opening and neck of the bottle, “They watch a lot of TV, eh?”

“They gather here to watch American Idol,” she told me with a grin. Her teeth were too white.

“I thought this enchanted grotto would have a better means of getting a signal than cable. Well, I presume you warned them,” I said, and gulped down one last swallow of the rum. I stood up, walked over to where Flamebeard sat, laughing with his friends, and smashed the bottle against his chin and his beard. He fell over backward in his chair, the alcohol and saliva mixture catching fire on his beard and spreading over his clothes. A member of his crew with a red glowing tattoo on his face stood and swung at me with a hook hand. I yanked the napkin holder off the table and caught the hook in it, then threw it away to the side, leaving the man wide open for me to punch him in the ear. He stumbled back, holding his ear and mewling far more pitifully than a pirate ought to.

The bartender appeared out of a cloud of smoke standing on the table between us and looked down at me with a raised eyebrow. I didn’t need to answer though. Flamebeard and his guys disappeared with her in another burst of smoke.

I settled in at a booth in the rear and ordered another rum while I sorted through information, trying to get a better sense of who this person was. I had a couple of days before she would be in Memphis and I got the feeling the criminal element would be surprisingly forthcoming about my whereabouts while she was around and challenging people to show just how strong Master Academy can make you.

After I beat her ass, maybe I can stick that bumper sticker on her. You know the one. “My juvenile delinquent is fucking your honor student.” Wait a second…nevermind, she’s college-aged, so we’re not looking at another situation like with Holdout. Her ass isn’t as hot as his anyway.