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Young Sage

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  1. Chicago Wildlife Act 8: Deposit and Withdraw Ugh, this feels like I’m recreating the sloth scene from Zootopia. Why did I do this to myself? International crime lord and dashingly handsome jewel thief over here, and I convince myself that it’s the smartest decision to go to the bank to deposit my check during the busiest day, during the busiest hour. It’s like everyone in the neighborhood was threatened at gunpoint to enroll at this specific bank. Was the Bank Mafia also breaking people’s kneecaps if they didn’t go during this time as well? “Oh hello there Robin. Such a pleasure to see you here.” I turn around to see Mabel hobbling up to me. Of course, she is surrounded by the Golden Girls as well. They all feed off the same life force, you see. Whether Jessabelle, Annabelle, or Isabelle have any business at this bank, I don’t know, but Mabel certainly does. Apparently the wiser of the two of us, she already finished whatever her business was here and was walking towards the door with her brat pack in tow before she saw me. “Oh, it’s always a pleasure to see you, Mrs. Cirup,” I respond back, overly formal. “Bah! When are you going to drop the formal act and start calling me Mabel?!” I laugh politely. “Well not all of us age so gracefully and retain our memories like you, Mrs. Cirup.” I explain. “Oh you flatterer!” she says, flicking a hand at me. “When are you going to bring a fine young woman to bridge night?” pipes Annabelle. “We won’t bite…much!” The girls cackle. “Only three of us are ex-criminals!” adds Isabelle, causing the girls to laugh harder. ‘And one a current criminal,’ I think to myself. “Well, you see…” I respond, acting all flustered. “We won’t judge if it’s someone new every night,” chimes in Jessabelle. “It’s not like we remember what we ate that morning!” Cackling. “Girls, I’m not…” I try to muster. “Oh don’t say that you can’t find one, Robin!” says Mabel. “What girl wouldn’t want a fine, strapping young man such as yourself? Why, if I was 180 years younger…!” They’re about to wet themselves again, this time from laughing so hard. People around us are starting to stare. The Golden Girls are an unruly bunch, trolling me like this. I force myself to think of embarrassing moments to get myself to blush. Hopefully a little sweat might form as well. “Mabel, I don’t think…” “Do you need some help, dear?” asks Isabelle. “We can cast our granny net pretty wide, reach a lot of people. Surely we’ll find some sweet young thing…” “I…don’t think that’ll be necessary,” I stammer. “Awww, look what a precious red you girls have made him!” Mabel points out helpfully and loudly. “Such a darling boy. Oh, but look at the time! Girls, I think it best we be going. I don’t want to miss Judge Judy! Robin, I’ll expect to see you at bridge night on Thursday.” “Of course, Mrs. Cirup. Wouldn’t want to miss ladies night for anything.” “Because if you do, you can expect a whole swarm of spry old ladies banging down your door and dragging you to your doom! Aha ha ha!” Another polite laugh. “We wouldn’t want that. I’ll see you all then!” I say, acting as though I’m relieved that they’re leaving for now. “Goodbye, sweetie!” Mabel says. And then they walk off. Mabel’s a sweet old coot, dangerous, too. She and the other old ladies in the neighborhood sort of adopted me a couple years ago. I guess they took a shining to me. I allowed it, of course. What better way to throw off the scent of a master jewel thief than to be associated with a bunch of retired women who zealously guard whomever they see as a grandchild-by-proxy? All I have to do is act like I’m just a sweet little boy from next door, completely overwhelmed by their enthusiasm, and they provide the perfect illusion for the entire neighborhood. With the Golden Girls gone, I realize once again that the line is moving slightly slower than when Mabel sprints with that tennis ball walker of hers. I consider whipping out my phone to play some games on it, but then I remember that I’m a criminally genius thief extraordinaire, so of course I forgot to charge it overnight. I have enough to call 911 in case I go into a boredom-induced coma, but that’s about it. Just as I’m about to yell a bomb threat to get everyone moving, a gun goes off in the distance. “EVERYONE GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!” I hear. I instinctively crouch down and start surveying my surroundings. A few men in ski masks. Typical. It’s never women who do these sorts of things. Hollywood has lied to me again. And the ski masks? Really? How unoriginal. At least put a tacky, cumbersome costume on and make stupid jokes based on a blatantly obvious theme. That’s what everybody else does. Now, everyone else is cowering in terror, but for a seasoned pro like me, I got different things in mind. I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling like sitting around and waiting for an armed gunman to come waltzing up to me and start demanding orders. So, once I see that all prying eyes are off me, I crawl my way towards a blind spot. Once there, I start making my exit plan. There should be an exit at the back of the bank leading to sweet, sweet freedom, assuming the stooges haven’t completely surrounded the building. Some flipping and flopping, and I should be out the door with none the wiser. But wait! Now that all the staff are preoccupied with saving their sorry hides, maybe now’s a good time as any to help myself to any precious stones kept locked up in that safe of theirs. Now I don’t want to say that I can do a pretty good imitation of the Grinch’s legendary grin, but I’m pretty sure I just got a wonderful, awful idea. I peer around the corner. Good, no one’s noticed my absence yet, and the goons haven’t spotted me. I look up to the ceiling. Also good, the dolts at least had the good sense to knock out the security cameras beforehand. The vault is behind me, and the staff is too busy cowering on the floor or handing out free money to the nice men. Time to get to work. First up, getting into the vault. If I stand up straight, the goons will see me. So, why not just roll to the vault? It’s quicker than crab-walking my way to it, and the thugs will be looking for people crawling, not a contortionist rolling. So I roll up tightly and somersault as quietly as I can to the vault door. My clothes aren’t going to like this. It’s why I tend not to use my power without my special suit on, but when am I going to get such a delicious opportunity like this again? And there goes my dress suit. I can almost hear the rip being born and growing. I sure hope that turquoise turtle I pinched last year can pay for a $4,000 new suit. However am I to survive in this harsh world? I tumble to the vault door. Next part of the plan, figuring out how to get in. Looks like this is another one of those password protected doors that’s all the rage these days. So fancy. Much defense. And yet powdering the keypad with some face powder that I had on me reveals all four digits to this top of the line state of defense door. Why do I have face powder on me? Trade secret, I’m afraid. Now, how many times is this door going to forgive me for entering the wrong code? I mean, sixteen times seems appropriate in this situation, don’t you think? Do I have enough time to roughshod this without getting blown to smithereens by these tall, burly men (too cowardly to show their face, by the way)? I look over and see that they’re making their way towards me, robbing every teller along the way. Damn, that’s a no. What- I snap my head around at the sound of the front door slamming open. “Stop right there, evil doers!” booms a gallant voice. Oh great. Ted, better known as Villain Vanquisher, is here to save the day. Just what I need. “It’s the cape!” one of the goons yells. I see the goons that were heading towards me turn around and jog back to the entrance. Well, I suppose he is good for something. “Relinquish your weapons and return your ill-gotten gains to the proper authorities and submit to rehabilitation.” Does he really think anyone talks like this? I’m hiding from armed thugs and even I want to go up to him and slap him. I start entering in possible passcodes while I still have the chance. Let’s see…1379, 1397, 1739, 1793… “Aim for the head, you idiots! He’s got some sort of bulletproof vest on!” “I swear I shot him in the head! I thought he wasn’t immune to bullets!” “Keep firing! Johnson, try stabbing him!” “Give yourselves up now, fiends! You won’t win!” “Just shut up already!” And it’s not 3791, or 3971. Is it really going to be the very last sequence I think of? Just then, the glass ceiling shatters. What now?! “License and registration, boys,” comes a very familiar voice. I stop what I’m doing and peer around the corner. Sure enough, Voted Chicago’s #1 Boy Scout, Blue Fox, is already on the ground floor and slamming his fist in the face of some poor sap. Before the first guy even has time to crumple to the ground, Foxy’s turned around already and delivering a roundhouse kick to the guy next to him. A third guy runs screaming up to him, ready for a brawl. Foxy ducks beneath a highly telegraphed punch and wastes no time throwing a punch at the man’s stomach. As the man bowed over in pain, Foxy elbows the back of his head and the thug goes down hard. It’s all very fun to watch. I remember the last time Foxy threw me into a wall and attempted to knock me out with a blow to the back of the head. Focus! Focus, Robin! Now that Foxy’s here, you’ve got to contend with two superheroes, and you’re not exactly looking pretty innocent here yourself. I continue to punch more combinations in. Finally… “9731…got it!” I whisper to myself. The vault door unlocks, but then that nasty conscious starts butting in. Do I slink in and help myself now, or not risk getting caught by Dudley Do-Right and Foxy? On the one hand, jewels! On the other, if Foxy catches me in the act, he might piece things together. Even if he doesn’t catch on, he’ll either throw me in jail (not a fun time), or I’ll have to fight my way to freedom, which will undoubtedly reveal my power to him, in which case he will DEFINITELY piece things together. Decisions, decisions… Ah what the hell? It’s as those whippersnappers say nowadays: you only live once! I pry the door open just a sliver, and I swear to God if another superhero announces himself and joins the fray for a simple five-man robbery… A body flies through a glass window and slams against the vault door, closing and locking it shut. I’m unfazed, as used to up-close danger as I am, but maybe I should’ve “eeped,” if only to make myself look more like a civilian. I’m about to kick the body of the thug out of sheer frustration when…clarity! ‘Crap! Based on the velocity of the body flying, only Foxy could’ve thrown him. And that means he’ll check to make sure no one got hurt in the collateral. Time to put on a show.’ I get into a comfy fetal position and start trembling. I really should have been in theater as a kid, but nooooo, I had to be on the track team. My talent was wasted there. Sure enough, Foxy comes leaping over and sees poor helpless little old me cowering in the corner next to a big, scawy-wooking bwute who, oh would you look at that, is completely unarmed. Gee, however could that have happened? Silly butterfingers, he must have dropped his gun along the way. I decide to throw in a good “instinctive” flinch as Foxy comes onto the scene, for good measure. Make it seem like I can’t recognize anyone in all the ruckus. I reconsider tearing up. Might be too obvious. I’m not exactly a feminine looking guy, after all. “Sir, are you going to be alright? I didn’t hurt you with that throw, right? I mean, hurt…physically,” he asks. I look him square in the nipples. “Y-you’re Blue Fox, right?” I say, remembering to put on a more nasally version of my real voice. “You’re Light Devil’s guy?” Sorry, Foxy, I just had to. Really! I can see just the slightest hint of a pained reaction in his face before he replaced it with something a little more “talking to a scared hostage in the middle of a brawl.” “Yeah, I’m his graduated sidekick. You know how much ass we kicked before I looked this sweet? Well, all that’s going towards kicking these guys straight to prison. Literally, if I can help it.” I look at him with a little more awe than I personally would have. “Uh…y-yeah! Go get them, Blue Fox!” …Look, I can’t be expected to whip up snarky, golden one-liners all the time. He beams a smile at me (and me alone!) and grabs the unconscious thug and leaps back out into the fray. I crawl over to a vantage point to check him out…you know, just to make sure that he hasn’t suspected a thing and see how the situation is turning out. Crap, the goons are almost all rounded up. If I’m gonna steal something priceless today, I better do it soon! I crawl over to the vault door again and enter the secret passcode. The door recognizes it and unlocks. I open it just a sliver again and wait a moment, listening for any signs of the battle having ended and the heroes making the rounds with the hostages. Much less gun firing. I’m going to have to be quick. I slip in. Inside there are countless locked doors, all containing something no one’s going to miss. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if I, purely by coincidence, happen to steal something from Mabel or the other girls? Knowing Mabel, it would probably be some heavily perfumed china elephant or something kitschy like that. I don’t have time to plan this out. I need to just pick a box, unlock it, and take what’s inside, provided I can smuggle it out. I spot one of the compartments nearest me. Box 102, perfect. Small enough to probably only contain some diamonds or fat stacks of paper. I loosen my trusty lockpicking needle from within my sleeve (because you never can know when you’ll need to pick a lock), and get to work. In one and three quarters of a jiffy, I pick the lock and open the box. Ooh la la, come to papa. I pull out a sparkling diamond necklace. Oh if only I had a special someone to give these to. Oh well, I’m not going to wear them. Guess I’d better “donate” these to the next available buyer. I stash the necklace into my pocket, close and lock the box, and peek out the vault door. No one’s spotted me just yet, but there’s no sound of a fight happening either. The last goon must’ve been subdued. Dumb and Dumber will be making the rounds any second now. I creep out the door, close it as tenderly as I can, and assume the position. Curled, that is. Seconds later, Ted walks into view, scanning the area for survivors. Damn, I was really hoping it would be Foxy. Oh well. At least now I can make a clean getaway. I put on a frightened face. Ted, of course, falls for it completely. “Don’t worry, citizen! The robbers have all been apprehended. It is safe to leave now. May I assist you to the door? Do you need a ride back to your residence?” “Oh thank you ever so much for taking care of those awful, despicable men!” I say in a Southern Belle accent. I can’t help myself from putting on a dramatic act. It’s so easy to do in front of him. “I thought for sure that I was to perish! I was ever so scared!” “Think nothing of it, sir. All I care about is the safety of you and this fair city’s. Now please, follow me to the entrance.” I stand up and follow him back to the bank’s entrance. The place is a mess. Damn, and it was so convenient for me to bank here as well. Now I’m going to have to find a new bank, and honestly I just don’t want to bother. I make sure to keep up the scared shitless act, darting my eyes here and there, bringing my arms and hands close to my chest, flinching at every noise, the works. Then I see Foxy at the door, ushering people out. What a Boy Scout. His eyes greet mine. I hold it for a second, and then consciously make the decision to move them somewhere else. I have to remind myself to continue with the scared act. ‘Don’t let him know, Robin. Don’t even give him a hint. Don’t do it. Now’s not the time to play cat and mouse.’ “Hey, sir!” he says. Now me jumping three feet out of my skin, that wasn’t a conscious decision. How did this jock piece everything together from just one meaningful glance?! “You’ll be okay now. I suggest just going home and binging on Netflix for the rest of the day. Sounds like a plan, huh?” he continues. Crap, which accent did I use for him?! “U-uh, s-sure! Y-yeah, sounds like a plan!” I squeak, hoping my voice was as nasally as I had made it before. He smiles at me as I exit the door and I can’t help but to smile back. You poor, simple fool. Thanks for letting me try a sampler from the back vault, Foxy. Bonsoir. I exit the building and immediately book it back to my place. Time to put my new bling in a safe place and visit a much frequented website. I’m one of their best clients after all.
  2. Act 10: The First Issue You pick the lock to the home with ease. Your prey would not be smart enough to invest in a superior form of security. And why would they? Only a real, thinking, flesh and blood human being would think to do so. Someone not cursed to lead such a meaningless “existence.” It was all pointless anyway. They were destined to die an uneventful death. Such is the sick will of the Readers. You enter the home without making a sound. No alarms blare. You knew such would be the case. After all, this was all preordained. You are merely pushing along a straight line others would call “life.” Your prey are upstairs, two in one room, and one in another. You find the stairs and start ascending. At the top, you find a hallway connecting four rooms- a bathroom and three bedrooms. Two rooms are unimportant. They contain nothing relevant to your story and are, for all intents and purposes, blank voids not worth scribbling in background details. Two bedrooms contain prey. The biggest room is the one you creep towards first. The door is closed, though not locked. They would never know. Not until it is too late. You grip the doorknob and twist slowly. You push the door open slightly to see if there is a creek. None. You push further and peer inside. There, on the queen size bed, lays one man and one woman. Both middle aged, both white, both in perfectly average health, both fast asleep. Their past is irrelevant. Their future was never there. Their final dream, pointless. Their reaction…vital. It is imperative that they overreact to what is about to happen, for the sake of this universe. You hope that they will not disappoint. You step to the side of the bed, brandishing a butcher knife. It is your preferred weapon, as it helps establish your image to the Readers. Too many people nowadays use guns. It no longer strikes fear in the hearts of the innocent. The ignorant masses have dulled and ruined the image of a firearm. But a knife, a blade, that still holds a primal grip over their hearts. Their insipid media helps promote this picture. The man wakes up, as he is made to do. He sees you and yells. You spend no time plunging the knife right through his heart. The motion is so fluid, so flawless, you would think a robot had performed it. Your eyes do not even flutter when the man’s blood comes dangerously close to splashing upon them. The man’s character arc is just about finished. His final act, the yelling, wakes the woman. Even in her sleepy haze, she realizes what has just happened and starts screaming too. You would feel empathy for her if it were all real. Alas, it is tough to feel for someone such as her, who has no feelings. She attempts to bolt to the door, but you intercept her easily. You tackle her to the floor and quickly start choking her. She flails about, desperately trying to get you to release her, but you do not give her an inch. Her nails digging into your arms and drawing blood illicit no response from you. You don’t even feel the pain. After all, you, too, are incapable of feeling any emotions, for they are not necessary. After a short period of time, she stops moving. You release her and stand. The bodies will disappear later. You turn around towards the door. There is still one more target. The child. You slink out the door and into the hallway. Your work is exemplary. The child will not have heard you working, despite the screams. He, or she, at the Author’s discretion, will still be sound asleep, safe in their overly childish-looking bedroom, with a light smattering of toys scattered across the floor, just sparse enough for a villain to tiptoe through, like a minefield. A panel will draw attention to a cheery poster on the wall, perhaps with some significant double meaning. It will be ceremoniously splattered with the child’s blood moments later. A nightlight will be lit, only to go out at a thematic time, the child unawares. All this, you know, for it is the only way the scene can progress as the Author intends. You slowly open the door to the child’s room, resolved in what you must do to further the story along. It will all be okay, though. You are sure that the Author will transition to a less controversial scene before anything truly grisly happens. Later, you find yourself at the old, abandoned toy factory. How you ended up there is unimportant. All that matters is that you are there now, which means you are needed once again. You recognize the surroundings and determine that you are in your “lair.” You surmise that this means that the action is coming to you this time. You figure that the police found out about your recent activities, and that drew the attention of the hero. As the laws of this universe dictate, he will track you down and fight you. This location has become iconic in the eyes of the Readers, so it is only natural that it be used to house a dramatic confrontation between you and the hero. You shuffle about, wondering which hero it would be this time. You consider yourself a fairly popular character, able to cross paths with multiple different superheroes over the years. You even managed to belong to a supervillain gang at one point, despite not having any powers, so the Readers belonging to multiple different heroes would recognize you. Your battle plan will have to change according to which hero you are pitted against. Suddenly, a flashy bright light. You are momentarily stunned, blinded by it. Then, you regain your senses. Standing before you, seemingly having materialized out of nowhere, is the Light Devil himself. If this were a live-action movie, you would hear the dramatic leitmotif start to swell here. This is a fortunate turn of events. You have fought Light Devil many times by now. He is perhaps your most personable enemy, and maybe, the only one you could call a friend. “Right on cue,” you say. “You play your part perfectly.” “Your sick games end tonight,” he responds. Not the most original lines, but to be fair, no one reads comic books for the sophisticated language and engaging repertoire. “I only do-” But he interrupts you by charging forward, fully intent on mowing you down with his bulk alone. Even this reckless behavior is anticipated by you, planned and accounted for, as Light Devil is known to be a player who does not adhere to antiquated rules. A rogue class is still a class though, and thus is bound by rogue rules. You dart into the shadows, sprinting here and there amongst the columns, until even you are not sure where you are in the toy factory’s labyrinth. Light Devil chases after you, his defenses up and your scent fresh against his nose. He tells you to give yourself up, that you aren’t making this any easier, and a bunch of other Writing For Dummies 101 lines, in due fear that the Readers won’t like wordless panels that exist solely for atmospheric enhancement. You push a crate full of toys on top of his head in response. He ducks out of the way, but by the time he grapples up to where you were, you had already disappeared into the darkness. The next several minutes are a game of cat and mouse. Light Devil scours the factory, and you occasionally manipulate something in the environment to try to kill him. You operate machinery, you press buttons, you push objects, everything a good villain should do to pad out the page count. And Light Devil, naturally, escapes just barely in the nick of time. After almost hitting you with a rubber bullet, you slink back into safety, and he is left wandering once more. You are every corner, you are every nook and cranny, you are every pitch black shadow that swallows everything in its path. But light always pierces the darkness. Just as you are about to sneak up behind him and sink your knife into the back of his skull, he whips around and blinds you with some brilliant weapon. You flinch, and then you are hit. Before you realize that you have lost, you feel, for the briefest of moments, the pain of a fist smacking the back of your head. And then you black out. The time that span afterwards is a blur to you. Your consciousness recalls a ride in a car with red and blue lights swirling, a dank jail cell with no roommate nor sanitary standards, and finally, a courtroom. It is here where you regain clarity, which must mean that the narrative has begun again. You look forward and see the “honorable” judge presiding before you. “…the senseless slaughter of the entire Smith family, both John and Jane Smith and their child, Jessie. Oh, it seems you’ve decided to ‘grace’ us, Mr. Tamari,” says the judge. “May the records show that Mr. Yu Tamari awoken to the words of his heinous misdeeds, as a sign of his admission and guilt to committing the act,” says the Smiths’ representative. “Objection, Your Honor. That is conjecture, putting words in Mr. Tamari’s mouth,” says yours, Mr. Doe. “Sustained,” says the judge. “As we have previously discussed,” continues Mr. Doe, “my client has already been clinically diagnosed as mentally incompetent-” “He’s insane!” shouts someone from the stands. “…mentally incompetent to stand trial. The paperwork has already been presented, and obviously none of it has ‘expired.’ There’s no reason for this trial to have happened.” The judge looks at Mr. Doe quizzically. “Mr. Doe, am I to take it that you are unaware of the fact that your client had personally requested this trial?” “What?!” he asks, suddenly turning to you. Had you really done that? You don’t particularly remember, but figure that if you had, it must be important to the narrative. “Mr. Tamari,” continues the judge, “what is the reason you have brought us here today? Why did you murder the Smiths, a pillar of the local community, and besmirch their outstanding reputation that we all will remember them by?” The absurdity of his words forces you to give out a slight chuckle. “No, you won’t,” you say, barely above a whisper. “The names of some throwaway characters won’t be remembered by the Readers. Nor will the names, actions, and legacy be remembered of anyone in this court, like Mr. Doe here.” “Mr. Tamari, that is not my name-” “But MY name will be remembered!” you say, your voice louder now. “I was created to be a recurring character. My existence will have meaning, not in this universe, but to the Readers’. I will provide them with sick entertainment, enthrall them with macabre machinations, convince them that there is no way out for the heroes, trap them in a never-ending cycle of shilling out their finances to continue watching a made-up story unfold!” The judge bangs his gavel. “That is enough, Mr. Tamari!” “None of this is real!” you shout. You are tired of having to explain this seemingly every week. “You bang a gavel to silence me, an illegal move you should be well aware of, and yet you are not disbarred. Does no one find that odd? A man dressed in a devil costume assaulted a mentally unwell man without witnesses or police backing! And the mentally unwell man is on trial! This whole reality is poorly written! Nothing but a cheap, cookie-cutter comic. This whole scene only exists to set up a future plot point in a sequel. None of you will ever understand the truth of our reality, because none of you are significant characters. The only one here who is truly important…is me.” The judge bangs his gavel again and goes on to sentence you. Mr. Doe stays silent. The state finds you insane, and thus, you are never killed off for committing so many murders. You get to live to kill again, escaping every kind of prison you’re thrown in, no matter how secure it is, because the Readers demand it. You are too entertaining to get rid of. You make too much money for the publishers. The Author hasn’t exhausted their ideas with you in mind. You will never change, for you are iconic. Immortal. That is how you were written, and you have no choice but to comply.
  3. Chicago Wildlife Act 9: Polar Similars Cid Cinders sat in the sauna, reading War and Peace again. He was rapidly approaching the point in the book where the pages were nigh unreadable due to all the blood. Cid was unperturbed. He had already memorized everything. Obtaining a novel novel around these parts was inconceivable regardless, as he was performing covert practices. The walkie-talkie sprang to life. “Hey! Get over here! I got the deets hammered out!” Cid sighed and closed his tome. He lay prostrate, feeling lethargic, apprehensive towards the notion of trekking all the way to the other side of the abandoned hotel. Begrudgingly, he arose and exited the sauna, trudged across the hotel and to the security room. There, was his temporary partner in crime, Frederick Cole, aka Malartic. Judging Fred solely by exterior appearances, Cid wondered the limits of his tolerance with Fred. Cid was as cold and unmoving as they come, and Fred was a titanic sphere of fiery energy, unable to stay placated for long. It exhausted Cid just to interact with Fred, but he had to admit that they made a formidable team. “I’ve decided to go ahead with the original plan to rob the Field Museum of Natural History of its Nano Wrimo Diamond!” “We were usurped via Disappearance performing that same heist just days ago. We discussed this already.” “Dude, I’m just joking! You need to learn to lighten up a little! You light everything else up!” “Punning like a prepubescent does not assist in successful plan manufacturing.” “Whatever! So get this!” Cid listened to Fred’s plan, and it was not a bad plan. Cid always lacked the ambition to plan intricate operations, and was chronically creatively dry. Fred was the artist here. It was part of the reason why Cid agreed to a partnership to begin with. Cid’s role was merely the muscle. However, he was a muscle that was getting paid and a muscle that could choke out Fred on a whim if he did not like his lot in life. The operation was a basic hostage plan. Kidnap scores of people, including the mayor, receive the ransom money, and escape. Simple. # Fred had totally come up with an awesome plan to get lots of money! There was going to be a high-profile charity ball that night, where lots of rich people were going to be, including the mayor! All those clods, gathered tightly together in one place...it was perfect! He and Cid would infiltrate the ball wearing costumes, take everyone there as hostage, and demand that they give them all their money! And! They would also demand ransom money from the police! That would amount to, like, double the money they could make in one night! And once they had gotten all the money, they would create some chaos as a distraction and slip away in all the confusion! Fred loved chaos! The best part was that since everyone would live and get away, Fred and Cid could rob them again really soon! It was a master plan with so many layers in it, not even superheroes could see it! Cid seemed to contain his excitement pretty well, all things considered! Fred had talked to him before about the dangers of keeping his feelings bottled up all the time, but ole Cid never seemed to change! He was a dependable man, though! He followed directions like a pro, and was a super powerhouse to boot! And Fred would never admit it, but he kinda liked the whole “fire and ice” theme they had going on there! Just like a villainous pair should be! He couldn’t wait to get things started! “Oh, I can’t WAIT to get things started!” he yelled. “I’m going back to the freezer to get ready! I’ll signal for you when I’m ready to go!” “Okay,” said Cid, who walked back to his quarters like a boss! # They had to mug an octogenarian miss for bus fare, but finally, Cid and Fred had arrived at the charity ball. Fred had expressed his desire to use his cryo-powers to create a cryo-slide to get to the ball post haste (he said he had seen it used plenty of times in comic books before), but Cid pointed out that it would be too noticeable, and that the point was to NOT bring undue attention to themselves until they had entered the building. Cid decided to wear a red suit, complete with matching red tie, red pants, and red gloves. Fred, of course, duplicated, but replaced “red” with “blue.” They were noticeable, yes, but their faces were unknown to the throng of socialites, and thus were not suspected of any ill intent. “Okay, I’ll go in and scope the place out!” Fred said in a loud whisper. “I’m more sociable than you, so I can blend in easier than you can! You can stay here and keep an eye out for any trouble!” “And if I do?” asked Cid. “How can I signal you? We dispensed with the walkie-talkies back at the hotel.” “Just come find me! I’m the one in the blue suit!” Fred responded in his natural tone, gestured at himself, looking like the cockiest man alive, and waltzed into the ball. Cid disapproved with the answer’s sufficiency, but had no superior one, and so he rotated around to watch for any interlopers. # Fred entered the ballroom and was so pleased! So many victims! So many “volunteers!” And he bet that almost all of them brought their checkbooks, so even lack of cash or jewelry on them didn’t exclude them from the fun! Yoo-hoo, any obvious superheroes in the room?! Nope! None that he could tell! Only some stupid guards with guns! Now, where was the mayor?! Surely he would’ve arrived before all the guests! But all the men were wearing the same black and white tux! It was frustratingly difficult to find him in a sea of bland men! A woman decked out in faux fur suddenly bumped into him! “Oh so terribly sorry!” she said. “Oh my, glad to see a man with some pizzazz around here.” Fred couldn’t help but to smile! “I like to dress as sharp as an ice pick! Say, have you seen the mayor?!” # Cid stood outside, watching pedestrians pool into the building. He crossed his arms and hoped that he looked like someone waiting for another fellow to rendezvous, not a felon about to commit a premeditated, multimillion dollar crime. Just then, three costumed people rounded a corner, while flying, and landed near the building. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that only one of them was flying, merely carrying the other two. Cid immediately concluded that their presence brought a major problem. Cid and Fred figured that armed guards would be at the occasion, but not superheroes. Cid recognized the three heroes. Phoczar, a Russian man in a metallic suit, with the ability to project energy beams, painful ones at that, from his palms. Spinetingler, a soldier capable of sprouting nanomachines from his spinal cord. Mother Nature, a woman with shapeshifting abilities. Unfortunately for Cid and Fred, these three were actually somewhat dangerous foes to be dealt with. Cid had to think fast. Could he dissuade them from entering the building in his public persona? Would he have to engage them in a tussle (in “costume,” using powers)? Could he get Fred’s attention unbeknownst to them? Or tip his hand as to his backup’s existence? Should he tarry until all parties consolidated in the building before striking? Possibly use the people in there as potential collateral damage? Maybe abandon the entire plan? Could the two of them take on three superheroes? Decisions were made. The plan had to continue, and that meant sullying his hands, loathe as he wanted. There was insufficient time to formulate unobtrusive, peaceful options. Thus, Cid power-walked to the side of the building and made sure he was unobserved. He then concentrated, felt himself briefly feel hot, before feeling rather cold. In the interim between sensations, his body combusted, incinerating all of his garments in an instant. Cid’s newfound appearance looked like an exposed mummy, surrounded by an aura of fire. The chill of the night air rendered him cold, as he was naturally numb to the feeling of his own flames. He then jolted out of the alleyway he was in and located the nearest important-looking building. Cid whipped a hand outwards and a stream of fire burst forth, blasting in the windows of the building and no doubt setting ablaze a lot of belongings inside. He looked up and realized the burning building coincidentally was a bank. He glanced over and confirmed that he had attracted the attention of the three heroes. “Oh. Hello. I did not see you there.” “You’re under arrest for damage of property and attempted robbery!” yelled Mother Nature, transforming into an anaconda. “I decline, and opt for the route where I obtain mass quantities of currency.” Cid then rapid-fired fireballs aimed at the heroes, who easily dodged them. Phoczar levitated into the air, charged energy into his hands, and started flinging his own kind of fireballs at Cid. Spinetingler sprouted mechanical arms out from his back in such a way as to tip off the fact that he was familiar with Spider-Man villains, and he clambered towards Cid. Mother Nature, as an anaconda, slithered her way towards Cid. Cid’s fireballs connected with Phoczar’s, inciting an explosion. Concurrently, to put distance between him and the heroes, Cid channeled his inner flame, causing himself to levitate, in which he directed himself backwards and away. The mechanics that allowed him to do this were safely hidden away behind the mutilated and bloated corpse of what once was logic. For added defense, Cid threw a fireball to the ground and commanded it to grow rapidly into a literal fire wall. Spinetingler leapt through the wall regardless. “Keep resisting,” Spinetingler espoused, a worryingly sadistic smile plastered across his face. “It gives me all the more cause to beat you to a bloody pulp.” “I hate to burn your dreams into ashes,” Cid replied. “Desist or you will get a thorough scalding.” “Can it with the fire puns!” Spinetingler yelled back, throwing one of his tentacles at Cid as a punch. Cid dodged, but before Spinetingler could launch another, an explosion presented itself, coming from where the ball was being held. Cid thought to himself: ‘That ignoramus could not even wait ten minutes before acting.’ # Fred certainly had everyone’s attention now! After locating the mayor, he had slipped into the men’s bathroom without anyone suspecting! And then, after making sure that the coast was clear, he transformed! Spiky icicles jutted from all over his body, piercing through his nice suit like a pincushion! They grew and grew, hundreds of them! His skin iced over, turning the specific hue of blue that one would expect a walking iceberg to look like! His hair had turned into icy spikes, his face was unrecognizable, his suit lay tattered on the floor… and the water in the toilet froze solid! He bolted straight out of the bathroom and into the main lobby! “Everybody freeze!” he shouted! Can’t go wrong with the classic lines! With a sweep of his chilly hand, Fred released a wave of ice across the floor, freezing everyone in place! Oh how they shrilled and shrieked! Fred was so giddy at his plan coming along, he couldn’t help but to laugh evilly! He darted his way over to the mayor, and then he noticed that what little law enforcement there was had drawn their guns! “Chill out, copsicles!” Another sweeping motion, and Fred shot out a beam of ice, encasing the guns, as well as the hands of the police, rendering the guns useless! Fred formed an ice gun in his hand and pointed it at the mayor! “Here’s the deal, folks! We’re…erm, I’m here to take your generous donations towards our…um…my personal funds! And IF you’re so inclined to keep your fat paychecks to yourself…” Fred then raised his gun to the air and attempted to fire off a warning shot! However! In his fervor, he accidentally charged too much into that shot, and so what was a shot ended up becoming more like cannon fire, causing a large eruption to happen on the roof! Everyone screamed bloody murder, and while that isn’t what Fred was going for, he certainly didn’t mind letting everyone bear witness to his raw strength! He giggled a little at his incredible show of power! “Haha, well that’s not the ice-pick lobotomy I was going for, but I think that’s just as good! Let’s just say that no amount of ice packs are going to make our dear mayor feel any better after something like that happens inside his head!” The people were still panicking! The cowards! “Now if you’ll please hand over all your shiny goods!” Just then, the doors are blown off their hinges by the force of Cid’s body being thrown through them! # Cid could not fathom how Mother Nature managed to sneak past his fire wall. What he could ascertain was that being grabbed by an angry silverback gorilla and tossed through the doors of an exploding building was no fun. He would prefer not to do that again. He glanced around and saw ice everywhere. If he was not currently a being composed almost entirely of flames, he was sure that he would be shivering right now. It looked like Fred had already introduced himself to the live captive audience. This was not going according to plan, not at all. In order to avoid incarceration, perhaps they would need to call off the attack and make a clean getaway. “Yo, C.C.! Light of the party! Fancy crashing into you here! Or you crashing into me! Whatever!” shouted Fred. He looked like he was in no mood to quietly retreat into the night with nothing gained. Just then, Phoczar entered through the gap in the wall that was once the doors. “Of course. Where one of you is, the other is sure to be there as well,” he said. A fact Cid wished other people had not keyed into so quickly. Perhaps distancing himself from Fred would prove to be beneficial. Before he had any more time to ponder to himself, Spinetingler and Mother Nature, now shaped like a Velociraptor, entered the ballroom as well. “And you brought friends!” chimed Fred. “Of course Malartic is here as well,” whined Spinetingler. “Cease and desist at once!” yelled Mother Nature, somehow, even though Cid was fairly certain that Velociraptors aren’t…weren’t capable of human speech. Though how could he know with absolute certainty? They went extinct long before he had any time to observe them clinically. “I think all our latecomers missed the part where I had an icicle-shooting gun pointed at the mayor’s head! And also threatened to explode it! Maybe they missed that part, too!” “Cease and desist that action as well!” she…wait, what? Did…did she really say that with a straight face? This act of stupidity gave even the highly improvising and adaptive Fred pause. It certainly rendered Cid gobsmacked. He looked to Fred for guidance, a rare occurrence indeed. “No,” was the only answer Cid could supply on such short notice. It was then that all hell broke loose. # Fred guessed the Trio of Stupids didn’t like that response! Not one bit! “Then prepared to be beaten into submission!” Mother Nature warned! Fred’s bestest friend Cid decided to stop holding back and just unleashed a heatwave of fire at the heroes! Phoczar used his fancy lasers to shield himself from the flames! It was so cool how lasers can do anything when you stop thinking and learn to appreciate the spectacle! Spinetingler had his mechanical tentacles protect himself from harm! And holy shit, is that a polar bear leaping through the flames?! A paw swiped at poor Cid, which would have knocked him out if he hadn’t dodged to the side at the last second! Fred was getting fired up now! He didn’t want to be left out of the fun! He shoved the mayor off to the side, produced some extra-sharp icicles on his fingertips, and ejected them with alarming precision at Phoczar’s neck! Phoczar managed to block all but one of them, but one is all that matters when a sharp, piercing object is being hurled towards you! However, it only managed to graze his neck! No comically tragic bleeding out from the neck tonight! Fred could only gleefully guess how long Phoczar could last before he would start to get woozy! Laser blasts! Lickity-split knives! Did you know that Spinetingler could shoot tiny little knives out of his tentacles like they were pneumatic tubes?! Fred sure did now! Mother Nature was spitting acid at them, which is definitely something Fred knew dinosaurs could do! Fireballs! Ice shards! Everything was flying everywhere! An explosion! Before anyone knew it, all fighters had somehow made their way out of the building and onto the streets! Fred and Cid looked like ice and fire golems, respectfully, and particularly menacing ones at that! The heroes, unfortunately, looked just as menacing! Fred and Cid didn’t even have to look at each other to know what the other was thinking! After sooooo many battles together, they knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, such as Fred’s proficiency in aerial combat, and Cid’s ability to think two steps ahead of everyone! So Fred shot up into the sky by making ice pillars and standing atop one of them! Phoczar came flying around, aiming his arm for a precision strike against Cid! Fred formed ice balls the size of softballs in his hands and flung them fast and hard, straight at the flying tin can! The attacks connected, disrupting Phoczar and causing him to turn to Fred! “Hey, Copper Man! You ain’t about to forget about me, are you?! I can do this all day!” # Cid realized that they most certainly could not do this all day. The two of them together weren’t exactly powerless, but they were not nearly powerful enough to combat three veteran superheroes unassisted. To make matters worse, Fred had impulsively left the mayor’s side, meaning their one leverage was now voided, and no one donning any expensive jewelry was going to be astoundingly obtuse enough to loiter around still when a five-man superpower brawl was going on. The mission had been a total bust, and now an escape plan had to be concocted on the fly. If only he could convey the importance of that towards Fred over Fred’s blind enthusiasm over getting into a ruckus with formidable antagonizers. “Time to serve up some magma on the rocks,” Cid said, using the special phrase only he and Fred knew the meaning of. “What’d you say?! Oh, okay!” he yelled. Fred built a wall of ice separating them from their aggressors. Cid then threw a multitude of super-hot fireballs at the wall, resulting in a huge amount of steam to form. Cid subsequently decided to book it, not really caring if Fred opted to stay behind and fight some more. Cid could only barely hear voices coming from the other side of the wall. “Phoczar!” “He is bleeding from the neck.” “Let’s get him to the hospital, now.” Fred caught up to Cid. “Why’re we running away?! Let’s let them have it!” “All we’d have is two very ornery superheroes beating us to a pulp, and no money. This plan failed. It’s time to retreat and think of a new one.” Once the two were in the clear and were sure that no one had seen them, they resumed their normal-looking selves, dressed themselves using one of their hidden caches of clothes, and hightailed it back to their hideout. Fred burned off all his clothes besides his boxers and started pacing. “Aw man, we were so close this time!” “We couldn’t have predicted that three veteran superheroes would be in the area tonight.” “Sure made it a lot more interesting, though!” “And why did you let go of the mayor when we could have used him as leverage?” “Aw snap! I wasn’t even thinking! I just wanted to join in on the fun! Hey, maybe next time you should be the one to stick someone up!” “It’s not very practical to try the same move twice in a row. Plus, when are they going to hold another fancy ball like this after tonight?” “Aw man, why do you have to be such a downer?! I’m going to my room to cook up something great!” And without waiting for a reply, Fred zipped right off to his room. This left Cid with time to think. What variables were in play that caused tonight to go so wrong? How could they mitigate them in the future? And what should their next plan be? It would take weeks to come up with a carefully formulated plan that could be expertly pulled off. # Fred had an excellent plan to strike it rich! They could rig a bomb to explode! But only if it plays the entirety of Never Gonna Give You Up! And they would use tigers to carry the bomb around everywhere! And in order for the bomb to blow up, they would have to do a secret handshake first! And they would threaten the city with the bomb by playing it on a commercial! And their ransom demands would be announced by Zendaya! No wait, Jennifer Aniston! And their demands would be one million dollars! Just for the lolz! And! And!
  4. Chicago Wildlife Chapter 6: The Honest Interview “Are you ready to begin?” “Yeah yeah, ready when you are, toots.” “Please, for the remainder of the interview, refer to me as Ms. Pike.” “Whatever you say, Pike.” “Very good then. Let us begin. This is Turner Pike, interviewing Mr. Jacques Hein, for the Chicago Tribune. The current date is April first, 20XX. The current time is 4:00PM. Good afternoon, Mr. Hein.” “How ya doin’, too-, ah, Ms. Pike?” “Splendid, Mr. Hein. Thank you again for allowing this interview inside your office. I hope you are feeling well today?” “Couldn’t be better! I got a private interview with a hot piece such as yourself. What more could a man want?” “Um…I’m glad you feel that way. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yourself. Your job-” “So I was born and raised in this fair city of Chicago, around the time when disco was at its best. Shame, you know? Anyway, my mother was too poor to go to the hospital, so she wound up having to give birth to me on my bunk bed. The stain’s still there, I bet!” “I wasn’t asking about your past-” “And don’t even ask about my father! The deadbeat left before I was brought dragging and screaming into this world. We had it rough, my mother and I. We had to do some unsavory things just to scrape by. Why, by the time I was sixteen…” “Please, Mr. Hein! I want to focus on your association with the various super-humans in this city.” “Ohhhh, you wanna know some juicy tidbits about my friends, do ya?” “Yes, Mr. Hein. It’s unheard of for someone without any powers such as yourself to be able to make so many connections with the superhero and supervillain community.” “Ah, what can I say? I’m magnetic! Dames just drape themselves over me. Can’t say I blame them. I mean, look at this! Who wouldn’t want to be close to a fine specimen of a man like me?” “It…it certainly is a mystery. Moving on, I hear that you’ve had a run in with a foreign assassin at some point?” “Ugh, that freak? The bitch nearly broke my neck! Ooh, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you there.” “That’s okay. Can you tell me what happened?” “Can I?! I’ll tell you the whole story! See, I work with a lot of clients, some of them the sort of unsavory types that I can’t repeat here, you getting me? And one of them, well, let’s just say that they aren’t the kind of people who tend to think clearly when they get mad. Not that I gave them a reason to be mad at me to begin with. Their interpreter just misunderstood what I said. It’s not my fault that the dweeb decided to have a grudge against me. He probably was intimidated by my efficiency. Figured that I would rise above him in ranks within the organization. Take me out early, you getting me?” “I see.” “Anyway, he snitches to the head of the household about a certain ‘deal’ I did to a tee, only he says that I messed up by giving the prize to someone else. So the head of the household, completely duped over by this snitch, decides to send some broad from overseas to outfit me in some new cement shoes. The gal’s call name is supposedly ‘Monster Hunter.’ If you ask me, that sounds like the name of someone who’s trying too hard to sound tough. Anyway, I don’t know how she found me, but she somehow managed to track me down to the docks one night. There I was, taking a peaceful stroll along the waters, minding my own business, when this crazy bitch starts attacking me. Now, she’s supposed to be this world-class assassin, right? She had on her several guns, swords, knives, grenades, and a freaking axe!” “She had all of those weapons on her? I find that hard to believe. The sheer weight of all those weapons alone…” “Ha ha! Yeah, I bet you would think that. Between you and me, I don’t think she’s even human. More like an ogre, you getting me? She’s jacked up to shit, muscles bulging everywhere, puts my man Schwarzenegger to shame. Ah, and she tries to call ME a ‘monster.’ Ha! A dependable guy like me ain’t even close to some monstrous broad that goes around ironically calling herself a ‘Monster Hunter.’ You getting all this? ‘Cause it looks like you ain’t buying this for a second.” “I’m recording everything, Mr. Hein. With the various superpowers on display in the city, having super strength isn’t so farfetched. Please continue with your account.” “Yeah, so I was surprised by this chick in the middle of the night. She said my time was up, and drew a samurai sword. Now, I’m still here and in one piece, talking to you, so obviously I made it out alive. Let me tell you how I did it. So, she swings at me, but I dodge at the last second. Heh, I was a little nimbler back then. You should have seen me in my prime! Like a freaking ninja.” “You don’t say, Mr. Hein. Please avoid using anymore exaggerations. The readers cannot always tell humor from fact just by reading.” “What, you don’t think I’m hiding some serious moves behind this Adonis of a body? I’ll have to show you some of my packed-away pecs sometime. Haha! Anyway, I see a lead pipe lying on the ground and pick it up. She starts swinging again and I block the sword with my pipe. So then we both start swinging at each other. Clang! Pow! Just like in the movies. Finally, I smack the sword right out of her hands, and it goes flying! Whoosh! Right into the river.” “So the sword might be recoverable, if it’s still sitting at the bottom of the riverbed? We might be able to lift some fingerprints off of it if it’s still there.” “Ah, I wouldn’t know about any of that sciency stuff. Anyway, after that goes flying, she pulled out this high-powered rifle. Now, even I know that a pipe isn’t going to do me much good against a freaking gun, so I look around and see this discarded riot shield. Why was a riot shield left to rot at the docks? Who cares! I grab it and hold it up and she starts firing. Now, I didn’t want to chance it breaking after so many shots, so I think to myself, ‘Hey! How about charging at her and bash her skull in with the shield?’ And I think to myself, ‘Yeah, that does sound like a good idea! I’m glad I thought of it!’ So I do just that. Not the whole ‘bash her skull in with the shield’ thing, but rather just the ‘charging at her’ thing. I manage to knock her back a little and she dropped the rifle in her surprise. After that, it was a grapple to the finish.” “What do you mean by that?” “What do you mean, what do I mean?! At close quarters, all an assassin can do is use their fists! That bitch grabbed me, and not in the way that I like, and tried to choke the shit out of me! Well actually, she tried to snap my neck, but hey, you think some poor soul hasn’t tried that on me before? I could see that move coming a mile away, so I did some maneuvering of my own and got her grabby hands safely away from my slender and porcelain neck. Haha!” “And what happened after that?” “I did some sweet karate moves and beat my so-called ‘killer’ back into submission!” “You don’t have to make those karate gestures. The readers can’t see you doing them.” “Ah, but you can, and can you blame me for wanting to impress such a woman as yourself? Eh?” “Please continue with your account, Mr. Hein.” “Sure thing, toots. Now, I kicked her scrawny little ass from here to Milwaukee and back. Course, along the way I accidentally got some bones broken. Must’ve hit her too hard! Haha! Anyway, with her out of the picture, I booked it so that I could call our efficient and not at all corrupt police to come arrest her. From what I’ve heard, she got away before they showed up, so she’s still at large.” “It sounds like it was an eventful night.” “Nah, just another typical night for good ole Jacques Hein, consultant to the supers!” “I see. Thank you for your input, Mr. Hein. I’d like to talk next about someone our male readerships have requested for a long time now. The notoriously hard to get along with holy vigilante, Sister Catherine, aka Sisterly Bond?” “Gah! Why can’t we ever talk about someone I actually like?!” “I’m sorry, Mr. Hein. It’s a highly requested topic. We can’t disappoint our readers, especially when we have the chance to talk to someone who’s actually met and worked with Catherine before.” “Eh heh, she wouldn’t like hearing you refer to her as just ‘Catherine,’ I can tell you that, toots. She’d probably say ‘Oh, I worked hard for the title of Sister! And my slutty superhero name is there for a reason!’ Haha, am I right, or am I right?” “I…wouldn’t know, Mr. Hein. I never met Sister Catherine before.” “And if you’re smart, you never will! That witch is bad news, you hear me? Every time I stick my neck out for her, I somehow end up footing the bill, not to mention putting myself at Death’s doorstep.” “That’s very interesting to hear, Mr. Hein. Could you give us an example?” “Can I?! Okay, so that loony Trump Card was making a racket. I happen to see it all go down, so I figure ‘Hey! Why not go tell the only mystical gal I know in town about this and get HER to do all the dirty work?’ Not a bad plan, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, her office/orgy meet-up place is clear on the other side of town. I thought to myself, ‘Why should I waste all my gas driving all the way down there just to get one woman?’ But then I thought, ‘I’d rather be alive and out of gas money than dead and out of fucks to give.’ You know what I’m saying?” “I-” “So I make the drive down there and explain the whole thing to her. Heh heh, I’m actually glad that I did. I must’ve interrupted her ‘session’ with at least six different guys! Oh, don’t look so shocked, toots. You report-types do your homework, so you must’ve known what her other profession was. Anyway, little known fact: if it doesn’t have to do with kicking demon butt, her powers are useless. So since the act of actually getting to where Trump Card was doesn’t have to do with said demon butt, she can’t just fly there, so she begs me to drive her there, seeing as how she doesn’t have a car of her own and have you seen the highway at rush hour? Forget about it! I agree to driving her because I’m somewhat of a saint myself. Boy, that was a mistake. She kept whining on and on the whole time, and it was at least a 45 minute drive, even with all the shortcuts I had to take and speed limits I had to ignore. For the safety of the city, of course.” “Of course, Mr. Hein. Do go on.” “So we finally get there, ‘there’ being this big junkyard in the middle of nowhere, and crazy old Carde is just chanting spells like no one’s business. And you know Carde, if he’s saying something you don’t understand, then you’re about to be neck-deep in demons. So I tell her, ‘Hey, how’s about doing something about this? That’s why you’re here, ain’t it?’ And she’s like ‘Very well. Pish posh. I act so British so people will think I’m sophisticated.’ So she makes googly eyes at him and he totally falls for it! I turn to the side to bark up my lungs, and then suddenly I hear shooting. So I turn back around and there she is, firing her magic guns at a whole swarm of demons.” “Where did the demons come from?” “From Carde, of course! He just opened a few new assholes in the sky and the little turd nuggets came popping out like BB gun bullets. Anyway, she starts blasting them out of the sky, and when she got bored with that, just starts cleaving them with an axe.” “An axe?” “Yeah, don’t you know her super powers? Her little breast implants can do anything she wants them to. She wants an axe? She gets an axe! Her more creative uses have been courtesy of MY imaginative suggestions, by the way. So she’s running around, killing demons left and right, and I’m in the back, shouting orders and telling her where demons are coming from. Warning her when one tries to sneak up on her, that sort of thing, you know? So finally she gets rid of them all and corners poor old Carde. Man, you wouldn’t believe the kinds of things that come out of a president’s mouth! He blasts her, she blasts him, I want to make it home in time to cook my kids their dinner, and finally a big explosion happens and he goes down hard. I make a witty comment (I forget what it was at the moment. You’ll have to get back to me later about that) and try to usher Sisterly Bond back into the car because I’m kind of in a hurry, right? But then the freaking bastard gets back up again!” “So she didn’t kill him.” “Trust me, toots, she tried. That broad ain’t one of those ‘no-killing’ heroes you hear so much about. But, Trump Card did sell his soul to the devil for dark magic, so it’s actually a lot harder to put him down than you’d think. Anyway, he just makes some vague threats and disappears. You know how villains are. They get beat up, and they try to save face by making an idle threat they know they can’t deliver. So THEN we leave.” “So she saved the entire city from being overrun by demons. I’d say that qualifies her as a hero.” “Eh, she definitely gets some sort of sick pleasure out of it. Otherwise, I don’t think she would even do it.” “If you say so, Mr. Hein. And at that, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. Thank you again for participating in this interview and sharing your valuable insight. I believe we really shed some light on some of the lesser known figures in the local superhero community today.” “Yeah, no problem toots, I mean, Ms. Pike. Always wanted a captive audience. It’s about time someone heard what I had to say! I tells ya, no respect these days. It ain’t easy being me, and I should know! I do that gig every day! Ha ha!” “Ha, yes, I’m sure. This is Ms. Turner Pike, for the Chicago Tribune, stopping the recording now.” “We good now, toots?” “Please don’t call me that.” “Oh right, Turner. We off the air now?” “In a manner of speaking, yes.” “Great! You know, there’s plenty more of those titillating stories where that came from. Maybe you’d like a more in-depth interview over dinner? I know a great Italian place across the bridge…” “I’ll have to decline, Mr. Hein. I’m scheduled for another interview later on, and a rendezvous with my ‘boyfriend.’ Thank you for the offer, though.” “Bah…you’re missing out. Just give me a call when you change your mind.” “If that happens, Mr. Hein. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.” “You know who to call for all the great scoops!”
  5. Oh look, it’s the Field Museum of Natural History. Now I don’t mind knocking over the same place more than once, but to do so only a few weeks after a previous run? It’s like kicking a handicapped kid after you’ve already thrown him off his wheelchair. Still, I’m getting paid big for this gig, so I hope that kid is wearing a cup. Now I know what everybody is thinking: “Aren’t you rich enough from stylishly stealing that whatever-it-was-called diamond?” Clearly they don’t have the arduous task of experiencing an expensive lifestyle like I have to. Those cubicle dwellers just don’t have that same taste for thrill and extravagance that free spirits like me do. It’s a pity, really. But it’s also less competition, so, stay unhappy, I guess. As for why I’m here, well, my contractor contacted me a couple days ago, asking me to steal an item for him. I guess pinching precious stones gives people the illusion that I steal for hire. I contemplated telling him that I wasn’t, in fact, Dick Dastardly, when he mentioned that the target was studded in pearls. THAT caught my attention. He called it the Tlazolteotl relief sculpture. He didn’t give me many details, which is normally a deal-breaker for me, but he offered to pay a hefty sum for the target, so I agreed and decided to do a little digging. The sculpture wasn’t the most expensive or well protected piece there, so I figured it must have some personal meaning to the contractor. Fine by me. I was just going to keep it for myself and 3D print off a copy for the contractor anyway. I’d get to have my pearl-encrusted cake and eat it, too. And so that brings me here, outside the museum, ready to kick crippled kids and chew bubblegum. Once I’m inside the museum, it’s only a matter of locating the sculpture. Looks like security’s been beefed up since last time, meaning there’s more guards I have to avoid. I wonder if they’ve noticed yet that the Nanny Writhing Diamond is a fake? If I have the time, I should swing by and check on that. Maybe see how Diane’s doing. I waltz into the lobby and pick up a pamphlet. Hmmm…what a fascinating read! Absolutely nothing about an ancient Aztec rock in it whatsoever! What a complete waste of my time! I’m so glad I took time out of my life reading this illuminating picture book! I throw the pamphlet down to the ground in disgust before bending down and picking it back up and placing it back on the shelf. Guess I’m going to have to find this thing the old fashioned way. I spend a good twenty goddamn minutes wandering around in a carefully organized, aimless motion, trying to find a small, dark object in a large, dark building, avoiding every guard I see all the while. It’s very thrilling. You should try it sometime. I highly recommend. Finally, I enter a large room with many small exhibits lined up all around the walls. The center is supposed to have a T-Rex display, but it hasn’t been put up yet. Of course, the museum thinks the skeleton is real, but I pulled another switcharoo on them a couple years back. Anyway, long story short, my mineral senses are tingling and I spy out of the corner of my eye, something that begins with “expensive, pearl-encrusted, tens of thousands of years old, probably not incredibly booby trapped, fits in my pocket, and it doesn’t even set off metal scanners to boot!” It’s being held inside one of the glass exhibits embedded into the walls. I strut my way over, spray for security lasers, block those with my Doodad 3000™, carve a nice heart-shaped hole out of the glass with some glass cutters, and pull the glass piece out. In order to shake this client of mine for all he’s got, I’m going to steal this hunk of rock tonight and up my fee for “quick delivery.” I’ll send my counterfeit tomorrow to the museum, maybe attach a Post-It note to it. I’ll think of something witty to write in bed tonight. I get a moment to really look at the relief sculpture for once. The figure, whom I’m assuming is Tlazolteotl, is in a squatting position, with an ox ring in his nose, a decorative skirt on, sporting a fancy headdress that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Whoopi Goldberg wear on occasion, some sort of arrows on his back, a rather pleased with himself look on his face, with one hand raised above him in a fist and the other…oh. Well, now I know why it’s called a relief statue. The statue as a whole is rather conical. Just as I’m about to reach for it, someone bursts in from the ceiling window. I spin around to see who it is. Foxy? Is he still mad about that whole “stole a precious diamond out from underneath his nose” thing? Ugh, it better not be Villain Vanquisher. Ted always acts like he got the whole “heroes and villains” concept from cartoons. Kind of a killjoy, frankly. What I see is, gotta be honest, not what I was expecting. A woman in her 30s, looking very much like a topless dominatrix (though thankfully with some cute pasties on), wearing impractical high heels, her hair rolled up into Princess Leia buns, catwalks her way towards me. “I wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” she says, in a British accent, of course. “At least not without a bottle of sanitizer.” An interesting choice of outfit, sure, but if this treasure hunter thinks she can use raw sexual power to boss me around, she’s in for a flaccid reception. I reach for the sculpture while maintaining eye contact with her. “Oh, don’t worry. I’ve gotten my cooties shots.” I grab the statue and…nothing happens. Heh…I knew it was a bluff. Now how do I get rid of Miss Conservative over here? She doesn’t look concerned in the slightest. In fact, she looks more amused than anything. “Oh dear. Well, love, I do hope you are prepared to face the consequences,” she says. “Sorry, I don’t think I’m in the mood for stern lectures and a whipping today. But I do think there’s a BDSM library down the road that’s in need of your services, so you’re free to leave now.” All of a sudden, the statue starts to glow and increase in temperature. Thinking it’s a bomb, I drop the thing and leap back. And then a hearty laugh echoes throughout the room. “Ha ha ha…so there is use for you mortals after all.” The new voice seems to come from everywhere at once. “I see I was right in choosing you for the job of dismantling the protective charm surrounding the summoning artifact.” I start piecing together the puzzle. “Am I speaking to the contractor I spoke to over the phone? What did you say your name was? Seymour Butz? Mike Huntz? Richard Zwallower? I know there was a ‘z’ in there somewhere,” I say. The shadows from everything start to move across the room and gather into one form on the other side of the room. A figure starts to materialize. “I do so hope your ‘sharp tongue’ was blessed by a priest within the past twenty-four hours, darling,” says Miss Modesty over there. “Perhaps you can best Morgasmon by performing ‘Anilingus from God’?” The shadowy figure starts to define “himself,” and might I say, there’s certainly less handsome men I’ve tangoed with before. He has a lean, swimmer’s build, taut muscles everywhere with no shred of fat, chest puffed out, completely naked bar the tiniest of loincloths (that, even from a distance, I could tell wasn’t long enough to cover everything), a mess of hair that seems to float unnaturally in the air in all directions, and a dominating sneer across his chiseled face. His skin tone never reaches a natural color, opting instead to stay on “gargoyle grey,” obviously the ladies’ choice. Oh, did I mention that he’s around eight feet tall? “If you think, witch, that I will be surprised at you knowing my name, you will be sorely disappointed,” says Morgasmon, flexing his muscles. “I’m sure many women you encounter leave sorely disappointed,” she replies, striking some Playboy pose. I’m definitely feeling like the third wheel here, walking in on two exes meeting after the divorce papers had been signed. Still, why do I suddenly feel a sense of attraction towards this interloper? The male one, I mean. “Experiencing a little bit of a chubby, are we?” says Miss My-Eyes-Are-Up-Here. “No surprise, seeing as we have a bit of an incubus infestation here.” A sex demon? In my pilfered museum? Huh, I guess it is more likely than I think. “Even those who dare resist my sway will nonetheless be overwhelmed by my otherworldly might!” boasts Morgasmon. “You sound like you have a tiny dick,” I respond. “Typical overcompensation,” chimes in Lady Latex. Morgasmon glows purple and then I notice the statue whiz past me and into his hand. “Tainted Fucker Upper!” Before I can even turn my head around to see if she had really just said that out loud with full confidence in her words, I hear a gunshot go off. I look over and see that a golden handgun has magically appeared in her hands. I whip my head back and I also see that Morgasmon has vaporized into a black mist. “Bloody hell, I was too slow,” she says, more annoyed than fearful. His laughter echoes throughout the room again. She turns to me. “If you’re going to get out of this alive, listen close, because I’m only going to have time to explain it once. The Tlazolteotl relief sculpture was modeled after Tlazolteotl, the Aztecan goddess of filth. It is an ancient tool that was used to help women, and men, achieve sexual relief.” Oh good. I risked my neck and helped unleash a demon for a dildo. “I found out Morgasmon was going to steal it tonight by means of using you to obtain it for him. Before you ask, I have my sources. Morgasmon can’t touch the statue normally, as the glass and containment around it had been blessed by priests against demonic threats. So he tricked you into taking the statue out of containment for him. You must’ve been an easy sap for him to target. I tried to stop you, but you insisted on being a naughty boy.” Oh yes, so much effort on your end there, lady. “It doesn’t matter if I stopped you or not,” she continues. “My holy weapons will still make short work of our dear friend here.” Unsurprisingly, the demonic laughter continued. “You foolish doll. You cannot hope to slay me.” Dozens of purple (why is it always purple?), swirling vortexes appear all around us. Danger and imminent death is surely beyond those vortexes. And yet I feel…aroused? “I will use this relic, so imbued with the sexual energies of hundreds of mortals, to amplify my own powers, allowing me to summon a legion of my brethren, to do as my command. They will suck the sexual life energy from your bodies and feed it to me, making myself more powerful by the second. Then they will feast upon other mortals, wave after wave of them, feeding all their energies back into me, and soon, I will be unrivaled! I will slaughter the upper echelons of the Underworld and rule as undisputed king! I will hold dominion over Hell and Earth; and then, I will unleash war upon the Heavens, and reign as Supreme Ruler over all of existence!” Small demons start crawling out of the vortexes. “Yeah, definitely has a small penis,” I say. “Suck them dry,” Morgasmon commands. “Slut Sword!” I hear her shout, and sure enough, there is now a fucking huge sword resting on her shoulder. The demons advance towards us. I go up to the nearest one, fighting against all my urges to just fuck it right then and there, and slash at its eyes with the glass cutters. It screams in agony and then turns to look at me. The gashes are rapidly healing themselves, as is the eyeball itself. Oh me oh my, this looks like it’s going to take awhile… ### Sisterly Bond cleaved five minor incubi in half, their blood gushing out of their bodies and guts perfectly mirroring themselves in each half. The bodies soon thereafter crackled, fizzled, and turned to ash. She would pity the poor soul who would have to sweep all this mess up, if she didn’t remember that it was literally part of their job description. She sensed a succubus approaching her from behind, so she brought her firearm to her side, fired behind her, and relished in hearing the demon cry out in pain and start to deteriorate. She looked over to see if her new chew toy was still alive and lo and behold, there he was, clad in a sexy, diamond-snakeskin-like patterned catsuit, domino mask, and mop top of hair, jumping all around and stabbing demons from Hell with a toothpick. Certainly by now he would have realized that demons are simply too powerful for ordinary weapons to work on them and can regenerate any damage done to them. Any damage not inflicted by holy weapons such as hers, actually. “Bisecting Bitch Blade!” she yelled as she rubbed her pasties, causing an enormous axe to appear in her hand. Out of pity, she flung the axe like a boomerang at the poor boy. She had to say, he seemed rather cute, with his eyes going wide and taking a defensive stance once he finally noticed the axe hurling towards him. Did this git think it would simply bounce off him? How adorable. She watched as the axe simply phased right through him like he was made of air and collide with a succubus on his right, about to attack him. The axe then twirled its way back to her hand. The slightly traumatized child looked up at her in bewilderment. “Don’t worry, love. My beauties can only affect the demonic, and you’re certainly just stupid, not evil,” she graciously explained. It looked like he was about to say something rather uncouth, but she had already left him behind to focus on the matter at hand. That matter had grey skin, no sense of fashion, and desperately needed a circumcision, followed by a vasectomy, concluded with castration. To top it off, he was obviously shielding himself with annoying specks of winged, horny matter. She supposed that instead of being a nun today, she would be a doctor and “treat” them all. Snip, snip. “Snatch O’Nine Tails!” A piping red hot whip was granted to her. She used it to round up a bunch of demons around her into one bunch. The whip extended its length to however she wanted it, allowing her to trap a dozen demons in one snare. “Whore’s Lash!” And then a bolt of lightning incinerated them all. But enough about the small fry. Where was Morgasmon himself? He was still shrouded in the shadows, perhaps too afraid to die by her silky smooth hands. He couldn’t leave without losing his command over the swarm of nuisances that kept on coming, so he would have to face her eventually. “You know, I heard The Big Man Downstairs doesn’t look too kindly on little boys who hide in disgrace,” she said, looking around at the shifting darkness. “Pitiful girl. The words of a mere child mean nothing to me.” He was a tough cookie. She would have to apply more pressure here. “All I hear is a scared little wanker, too afraid to get his bottom spanked by his mum and have Daddy find out. I don’t know how you intend to rule over Hell if you can’t even handle one simple woman.” Morgasmon reformed as corporeal. “I grow tired of your shrill voice, girl,” he said. “I shall stuff your awaiting mouth full of my power to silence it before I drown the world in their own lust for destruction.” “Cheeky, but I’d rather have my mouth clean for tonight’s sermon,” she retaliated. A deep, purple slit appeared over Morgasmon’s head. He reached into it with both hands and slowly withdrew a spiked, bludgeoning club wedged deep within its recesses. The club looked very much like a five foot long, veiny, circumcised penis. He then charged at Sisterly Bond. In response, she gripped both hands on her axe and charged at him. The two weapons clanged against each other before both fighters started swiping at the other’s head. A swipe for the stomach. A downward slash meant to lovingly separate an unnecessary limb from the rest of an undesirable body. A rather audacious attempt to remove one’s bollocks. Both combatants pushed away to give themselves some breathing room. “You do not possess the stamina to keep up with me, little witch,” Morgasmon taunted. “I’m sorry, did you confuse all of that for foreplay? You men are all the same,” Sisterly Bond returned. “Tear her asunder,” he growled. More demons poured forth to swipe at her, but she merely spun herself around in a circle with her axe held outwards, and she vivisected all of the lesser demons. “Come a little closer, Quasimodo,” she said, turning herself back around to face Morgasmon, “and let me remove that little bump of yours.” Morgasmon attacked her again, but she nimbly dodged and counterattacked, only for him to side swipe her. He was proving more challenging than handsome. Sisterly Bond summoned her whip to wrest the club out of his hands, but he merely snapped the Snatch O’Nine Tails in half. Using her handgun only saw Morgasmon block every bullet. “Your attacks are as predictable and inevitable as humanity’s self-destruction,” he taunted. “And your pillow talk game is about as strong as your daddy’s,” she replied, smirking. Morgasmon chanted in demonic tongue, something that roughly translated to “Snake’s Wisdom,” and his one club morphed into two, one in each hand. “I will doubly penetrate you with my sacred weapons, Phallos and Priapus, from both ends, like a skewer.” She stared at him incredulously for a moment. “Now you’re trying too hard. Are you saying this on purpose?” He replied by advancing towards her, swinging his twin clubs around like an expert bo staff user. Sisterly Bond was starting to get irritated by how long this was taking. Perhaps it was time she brought out her big guns? “Lilith’s Pleasure Rod!” she called out. A massive battering ram, majestically phallic in its own special way, materialized in both of her hands, heavy enough that even she needed to readjust herself just to keep it from falling onto the floor. She wasted no time in ramming its massive girth straight into Morgasmon’s abdomen. She then broke the ram in two and twirled them around her like a pair of nunchucks. “Ready for your second filling, you nasty bloke?” The two forces clashed against each other again and again for the next several minutes. Eventually, Sisterly Bond made a complete rotation around the room. She was now near where the relief sculpture had been snatched. “Your demise will be ecstasy to my ears,” said Morgasmon, swinging yet again for Sisterly Bond’s head. “Aw, what’s the matter? Can’t get it up any other way?” she replied, dodging. “Squirter’s Release!” She then fired a brand new bazooka at point blank range right in his chest. This knocked him back quite a ways, but when the smoke settled, she was displeased to find him still in one piece and breathing. “You miserable bitch,” he growled. “Oh, I don’t think you want me using my Miserable Bitch spell,” she said. “It’d be too embarrassing for us both.” “Enough of this pathetic dance!” “I’m the only one dancing. Anything pathetic is all you, love.” “Hyahh!” He charged at her again. Really? Sisterly Bond smiled. She bolted straight at him while his arms were raised high for a strike, and leaned down for a surprise stabbing straight to his gut, with enough force to stop him dead in his tracks. “What is this?!” he bellowed. She followed that up with several more stabbings in quick succession, followed by an uppercut and a swipe across the upper chest, leaving a bloodied cross figure on the demon. She stepped back to admire her handiwork, holding up the red-stained shards of glass. “Looks like somebody, in their old age, forgot that the enchanted pane of glass that protected that sculpture was enchanted. And probably with holy magic much more powerful than my own. But, I do think that if I combine it with my magic…” “Inconceivable!” he shouted, staggering back. “Which is what your mother should have been! Now show me where it hurts. I don’t want to leave an inch untouched.” Before she could deliver a killing blow, Morgasmon’s body simply disintegrated into dust. The shadows in the room started to reappear as they once were. “Muahahahaha! It seems I underestimated your powers, little girl. Rest assured, it will not happen again.” He laughed some more before all was silent. The shadows stayed still. Sisterly Bond walked around the room. It looked like a movie crew had been filming a disaster movie. Everything was ruined and in tatters. It was certainly too bad for the museum that Sisterly Bond had no desire to help pay for reparation. More concerning for her, however, was the fact that there were no signs of the relief sculpture anywhere. If any of the demons had gotten their grabby claws on that… No… Somehow, she realized, in all this chaos and bloodshed, the one who managed to snag the relief sculpture underneath everyone’s eyes was... “Cheeky.” ### I study the rock before me as I speed away in some poor sap’s car. Those beautiful pearls will make me a beautiful salary for the next several months. As far as the actual relief sculpture goes, well, I think saying it can “shove it” has been done a thousand times. Perhaps Lokitty can bat it around a little bit before I shove it in the garbage disposal. Maybe hurl it at Old Man Jenkins’ window, that rascally old coot. However it is I get rid of it, I won’t be holding on to it for very long. It was ever so fortunate that I found the sculpture lying on the floor during that whole mess back at the museum. My guess is that Orgasmotron, or whatever his name was, decided to become a little butterfingers when Boobs Mcgee thought to shove her gigantic axe so far up his ass, opening his mouth would reveal a nice little Aliens homage. However it happened, I saw the sculpture, I snagged it, I dodged about a million saucy demons hellbent on ripping my asshole a new one (and I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic here), and amscrayed right out the front doors and into this “rustic” luxury Sedan. Thank the Holy Lady’s two massive…generosities, that the car was automatic transmission. After hotwiring it, it was a breeze tearing down the highway. Much smoother than if I had to relearn how to work a stick shift on the go and ruin a perfectly good car that I plan on selling later. I look over the stone again. True, keeping it intact like this might cause tall, dark, and handsome to come after me again, especially now that it wasn’t protected by magical lucky charms anymore. But, I bet removing these stones will depower the whole thing. At the very least, he’ll be looking for the statue itself, since it’s got the goddess carved onto it, not the pearls. Whatever turns him on, I guess. Speaking of how to get rid of a demonic tracking device slash terrorizing ticking time bomb, I just had a brilliant idea! I should go see my good friend and bestest pal Jacques Hein and show him my new toy. Why, I may even gift it to him. Won’t he be just thrilled? After all, no one’s ever died from being regifted before.
  6. Sylvester Yagatoni walked into the small room. The blinds were lowered and the incense was lit. A yoga mat lay on the floor, with a cheap pillow on one end. The ceiling fan turned at its slowest setting. Sitting on the work desk was a stunningly beautiful young woman, early 30s at most. She wore the traditional nun’s habit which, unfortunately for Sylvester, did not accentuate any of her well-sculpted curves. Even her breast size was concealed by her all consuming love of God and her total commitment to Him. “Good evening, Mr. Yagatoni,” she said warmly. “I hope you did not have trouble finding this place?” Her voice was low, like an alto’s, motherly, warm, and her accent did nothing to hide the fact that she had lived in Chicago for most of her life. “Nah, you happen to give good directions, Sister Catherine.” She chuckled to herself. “I’m glad to hear it, Mr. Yagatoni. It has not been the first time I’ve been complimented like that.” She motioned towards the yoga mat. “We may begin the first act towards forgiveness. You may choose to remove your clothing at any time. There is no rush.” Sylvester took off his jacket. He appeared to not be in a hurry to get to the climax of their session. He laid on the mat. Catherine picked up some rosary beads and a copy of the Holy Bible. “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…” she began. “Amen,” they both said. “We are here today to ask our Heavenly Father for forgiveness for this humble man’s soul, for he has sinned and seeks penance. You may now confess your sins in this holy sanctity.” Sylvester spoke up. “So I’m eating my spaghetti at Fazoli’s, y’know? And I hear this couple next to me arguing with each other. Something trivial, y’know? But they were doing it so loudly. Like, could you possibly pick a worse place to vent your marital issues? Like, I’m eating my spaghetti here, y’know?! I’m just trying to get by my day, and you two have to go and ruin it like that! So I hoped that their relationship would end badly. Just to spite them, y’know? How terrible is that?” “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee,” Catherine said. “And later, I find out on the evening news that the quarterback for the Packers hurt his ankle during practice, and I’m thinking ‘I hope this guy broke his whole foot, irreparably, and his promising career goes straight down the toilet because of that.’ Like, those shouldn’t be the kinds of things you should think about towards other people, right, Sister Catherine?” “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee,” she said. “I just keep feeling like I should be punished for having these obtrusive thoughts, y’know? Catherine finally stood up. “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen” they both said, making the signs of the cross with their right hand. Catherine stared down at Sylvester, who was still lying on the mat. “Your prayers to our Lord have been sent and heard and forgiven, but you have said in the past that this didn’t satisfy your need to be considered ‘redempted.’ You sought my own specialties that would improve your relationship to God.” “Only then did I feel like I was truly being observed and punished for my evil misdeeds.” Sister Catherine walked over to his body and then knelt down over his, effectively draping herself over hm. She had him breathe in. Her superpower was now taking effect. Whatever pheromones were being dispersed by her would make him feel aroused. He was well aware of this. Once she was sure that Sylvester had been thoroughly soaked, she rose up again to her feet. “Then we may now proceed to the second act of this forgiveness arrival.” Sylvester was now too out of it to really know what was going on. He only had one hand on the wheel, but he didn’t seem to mind. Suddenly, a combat boot slammed into Sylvester’s chest, causing all of the air in his lungs to escape rather quickly. A quick look at those heeled boots showed that they would ill-fit such a holy lady such as Sister Catherine. Her hand grabbed him by the collar and yanked him up to her face. “You think I don’t remember you telling me about your long dry spell? You think any self-respecting woman would want you? I’m not surprised trailer trash such as yourself hasn’t found a single woman dumb enough to want to be with you,” she snarled, her tone and inflection changing dramatically compared to her “professional” voice. Still Chicagoan, but higher, more acidic. She smacked him like a disapproving girlfriend and dropped him to the floor. “The Lord Almighty only brings into His flock the most powerful and faithful, with the rest being banished to Hell for all eternity. Can you high-school dropouts figure out the one you’re going to?” She stepped on Sylvester’s crotch is and noticed that it was very, VERY hard. For all the more simple confessions he’d admitted earlier, this session would probably not be as long as others. She unzipped a little bit of her habit, showing off just a little skin. Of course, the mere existence of a zipper revealed that this was a custom-made habit of hers that she wore only when doing these kinds of sessions with clients. She then crawled on her hands and knees on top of Sylvester’s body, making sure for it to be as painful to him as possible. “Are you looking?” she inquired. “N-n-” “Lying as well, Sylvester? We have discussed this before! Are you lying again in this house of sanctity that I have lovingly provided to you?” “Nonononono!” he said. By this point, Sister Catherine was applying all her pressure from her knee being on top of Sylvester’s balls, and her squeezes on his skin were definitely going to leave marks, if not cuts (though certainly none that would require more than a BandAid to apply to). His lips were almost touching one of her succulent nipples. He hadn’t been this hard since his last confessional. The door to the office was literally kicked open. “Jacques!” Catherine said, pulling herself up and forgetting about the man she was treating in an instant. “I put bolts on those doors for a reason. You’re paying for those, I hope you know.” “Don’t worry about the effing doors! One of the guys, who knew a guy, who knew a gay, who knew a guy, told me that there’s been some purple lightning going on East Side!” Sister Catherine’s eyes lit up. She’d been bored lately. Thought she’d killed them all. Nice to see things were still as apocalyptic as ever. She turned over to the man masturbating to himself on an old yoga mat. “So sorry that we’ll have to cut our meeting short. Something much more important that my bosses gave to me just came up. I’ll see you again next week, same time and place,” she said, now adopting a third tone of voice, her true one, when she wasn’t in her nun or dominatrix role. It was a faux-British one she’d picked up from one too many BBC marathons. “Ah-AHHHHH!!!” Sylvester screamed as he came all over himself. Ignoring him, Catherine turned to Jacques Hein. “YOU’RE going to be my escort for the night. You know these ‘men who know men,’ and you’re going to track them all down for me so I don’t waste any of my power before figuring out where the demon entrance is coming from.” Unfortunately for Jacques, he knew just as well as Sisterly Bond, the “superhero” persona that Sister Catherine puts on when she’s “in costume,” that purple lightning typically means that a demonic summoning rite was being performed. And worse, now Sisterly Bond was forcing him to retrace his steps that he’s been taking for the past hour or two. “It’s East Side, right? Let’s just hightail it there and see if we can find anything man wasn’t meant to see.” “Hmm …you see, Jacques? If you put that noodle of yours to good use beyond ranking which Harry Potter actress you want to anally penetrate from 1 to 10, you might be able to achieve some great things.” “Rrgh …let’s just go before a demon portal swallows us all.” “Not before I put all my clothes on.” She walked over to behind her desk and opened a drawer. She pulled out a pair of golden pasties and tucked them into her pocket. “Come along then. We haven’t got all day.” They exited the room, leaving a man panting in his own jizz behind. A normal occurrence. Soon they were driving down the highway towards the East Side. “So you’re telling me that those gold things give you all those superpowers?” Jacques asked incredulously. “The men in my order thought no woman should be a part of it. When we demanded inclusion, one of them thought to teach us a lesson by fashioning one of the strongest weapons they had into a pair of these babies,” Sisterly Bond said, brandishing the pasties momentarily. “He thought we would consider it too demeaning to wear. For the past 200 years, there has always been one selected woman who proudly wears these as she does battle against the forces of evil.” Jacques was simply stunned. “The emotional manipulation bit I have is just all-natural powers, though,” she continued. “It really helps with calming my clients down during a session …or making demons more furious than they already are, which helps them to make more mistakes.” “I think I’ll pass on the pastie-related superpowers,” Jacques said. Just then, they both saw a flash of purple lightning coming from the northeast horizon. “Step on it!” she yelled. “You got it!” he replied. In no time at all, the duo had arrived to where they had spotted the lightning coming from. “Of course the Satanist would want to summon a legion of demons in a metal scrap yard,” complained Jacques. They came to a small clearing and found the evil sorcerer standing in the middle. His skin was bleached white, his hair long since gone, his tattered robes befitting more an evil warlock than a former president, and it seemed that his posture had gotten worse since the last time Sisterly Bond saw him. He was chanting some arcane incantation when Sisterly Bond stepped out of the shadows and spoke up. “Cue Ball!” she said, bemused. “Have you returned for another good spanking?” “Wench! Harlot! I’m not ‘Cue Ball!’ My name is Trump Card!” yelled former president Card. “But what a fitting name ‘Cue Ball’ is for you, darling. Your shiny white head always manages to get shoved into a dark hole eventually. Not to mention that everyone actively avoids you until they need to get rid of you.” “You dare speak lies against me?! I’ll have your soul arrested and detained in Hell for all eternity for this!” She smirked. “Let’s get this show on the road. I’d like to make the seven o’clock charity drive.” Trump Card laughed. “You’re too late, she-demon. The portal’s about to open, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” He turned around and chanted the final verse. “And I say in my mother tongue: blight all who are not me! The bitches and the midgets, the niggers and the chinks, the faggots and the wetbacks and the gypsies and those greedy, God-killing Jews! Smite them all, and use my hate as your sword!” Sisterly Bond was momentarily taken aback by the constant stream of slurs used just in front of her. Sure, people felt that way, but no one had the audacity to say it out loud, and in front of a nun no less. The purple lightning struck once again, and now a demon portal materialized in front of them all. From within the portal, winged demons spewed forth, intent on annihilation. “Jesus!” Sisterly Bond could hear Jacques say from a distance. She only continued to look bemused for a moment. “It’s time for some divine punishment,” she said. And at that, she took out her pasties and threw them into the air. Then she ripped off her habit, revealing a bondage outfit underneath that was both pleasurable to wear and see AND practical enough to fit hordes of demons in. Though she had sleeves on and some straps going along her stomach, she was completely topless and quite well endowed. Only Jacques would appreciate that, if he weren’t cowering in fear for his life at the moment. She jumped up in the air and, hands free, had the pasties attach exactly where they needed to be on her breasts. After a stellar landing, she rubbed the pasties in a circular motion, much like one would do to a genie’s lamp. They started to glow and she chanted the mystical phrase: “Slut Sword of Sodom!” A rather thick greatsword materialized out of nowhere and into Sisterly Bond’s hands. She then sprang forth and sliced the nearest demon cleanly in half. She turned 90 degrees and cut another one. And another one. And another one. She mowed down a dozen demons in the time it would take for a passerby to realize this was their horrible new reality. A demon managed to make it past her and towards Jacques. Sisterly Bond rubbed herself again. “Tainted Fucker Upper!” A golden handgun popped into her free hand, with which she fired upon the demon until it was too busy being dead to harm Jacques. From there on, she hacked and slashed and shot her way through demon after demon, all while twirling about like an Olympic gymnast. A demon managed to swat the gun out of her hand. It made an attempt to swipe at her, but she merely backhanded it in such a way as to brush her hand against the pasty on the upstroke. “Whore’s Lash!” A bolt of white lightning fried the demon instantly. It was the last to escape the portal. Sisterly Bond casually walked up to her gun and bent down in the most seductive way to pick it up. “You will not defeat me, you bedeviled seductress of the night!” yelled Trump Card. She turned to face him, gun resting on her hip and sword on her shoulder. “I must say, I’m a little bit miffed. Here I am, forced to call out all these ridiculous attack names because some sexist old man decided to name them that way, and all you can come up with is ‘bedeviled seductress of the night?’ You had more spark and creativity in your oath of office speech.” “Silence, witch!” The nun put on a mock expression of shock. “Well that’s just rude.” Trump Card cupped his hands close to his chest and muttered some forbidden words, causing a purple energy circle to form between his hands. Sisterly Bond tossed both of her weapons into the air and they dematerialized. She rubbed her pasties. “Spit roast, cowgirl, sixty-nine, doggy. Lotus, butterfly, scissors, missionary!” As she said these holy words, two white energy circles formed around her breasts. Trump Card fired off his black magic, and Sisterly Bond fired off her holy magic, the two beams clashing together between them. Shockwaves could be felt all around them as the two diametrically opposed mystical forces tried to overwhelm the other. “Just finish the bastard off already before you get me killed!” shouted Jacques. “You heard the man. Lie down and die!” she yelled over the sounds of magic firing. “Rrgh …never!” The reverse tug-of-war between the two beams had almost made its way to Trump Card. After a few seconds, it finally reached him, causing a bright flash and stopping the two spellcasters. When Sisterly Bond’s eyes adjusted, she saw Trump Card crumpled in a heap on the ground, smoke wafting from his body. His body then rose like an invisible hand was pinching the back of his robes and lifting him. “Foolish woman. You may have bested me today, but it seems my brethren still see use in me.” His voice was unsettlingly calm compared to what it just was seconds ago. “When next we meet, a new circle in Hell will be created just for you. I count the seconds.” And then a portal opened beneath him, whereupon shadowy hands came out of it and dragged his body through the portal, and then it closed. Sisterly Bond had more of a satisfied look on her face. “I’ve had worse rejections on Myspace.” She turned around and walked over to Jacques. “Let’s go home. I need to put on a fresh new habit before I take part in the charity drive.” “You mean you weren’t just making that shit up to get under his skin?!” he asked, incredulously. “Of course not. I’m an ordained nun.”
  7. I strut into the Field Museum of Natural History, metal briefcase in one hand and fedora on my head. I’m dressed in my Sunday best and I’ll admit it, I’m feeling a little bit naked without all the makeup on and sporting my real hair for all to see. I do my best not to let my eyes wander all over the place as I make my way up to the receptionist’s desk. A beautiful, long-haired brunette sat there, typing some itinerary on her computer. She looks up to greet me. “Welcome to the Field Museum. May I assist you?” I see that her nameplate says Brittany. “Well good morning to you, Brittany,” I say in my best Cajun accent. “I’m Casey Klozed, the inspector from the United States Jewelry Council? I believe we’ve spoke on the phone before.” “Oh, yes, Mr. Klozed. I’ll inform Mr. Aguet of your arrival.” She dials a number on her phone and soon the director of Protection Services comes out to greet me. We shake hands and I reintroduce myself to him, being mindful not to seem like I’m in a hurry. We talk back and forth jovially as we walk back to where the diamond was being held. “I must admit,” I say, “I’m surprised the diamond is even still here, what with that rascal phantom thief trying to steal it last night.” “So word about that reached even you?” he inquires. “Mr. Aguet, it is my job to know the status of all the diamonds I’m put in charge of overseeing. I must say, I am impressed your guards managed to keep him away from the diamond. I heard this little thief of yours has super powers, and I am under the impression that your guard staff do not.” It is a well known fact that men, just like women, love to be complimented, and telling him that I believe his security force fought off a supervillain all by themselves will no doubt cause him to trust me a little more than a minute ago. “Well, we are a very prestigious cultural museum that houses many rare and valuable artifacts. We take great pride in our security,” he says. We come to the room the diamond is in, a different, sealed room than yesterday’s. A middle-aged woman, looking a little rough around the edges and all serious, but otherwise fair looking, stands in front of it. “This is Diane,” Mr. Aguet says. “She’ll be your guard and supervisor during your stay. Enjoy your visit here, Mr. Klozed.” “Thank you very much,” I reply. He walks off. I turn to Diane. “Charmed to make your acquaintance,” I say, extending a hand for a handshake. “The name’s Casey Klozed.” She reciprocates the handshake. “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Klozed-” “Oh, uh, please just call me Casey. I let the big wigs call me Mr. Klozed because they’re signing my paychecks, but I much prefer that casual, friendly tone of a first name basis. Makes me seem like a human being and not a cog in the machine.” Women love a vulnerable man, and especially not stoic, stick in the mud types. “Sure, Casey,” she says. More charm will be required. “I understand security is crucial around here, so let me explain the procedure I will be doing today. To make sure that the diamond is legitimate, I’ll need complete darkness once I’m in the room. Any glare from the overhead lights might cause a clue as to the diamond’s fakeness to be concealed, which I might overlook during my appraisal. All the tools I’ll need are in this briefcase, including micro-flashlights, so that I can control any light glare that might arise.” I flip the briefcase on its side on one arm and snap it open. “Inside, you’ll find a manufactured fake diamond. I’ll be using this fake diamond as a reference point.” I make sure she sees the fake diamond. To anyone untrained, it looks like a diamond should, and no one would be able to tell that it’s a fake. I close the briefcase before she can memorize the details. “Once I ascertain that the Nano Wrimo Diamond housed here is the real deal, I’ll knock on the door, and you can let me out. If you wish, you may even inspect BOTH diamonds before escorting me out. Did you follow all of that, Diane?” “Yes, Casey. How long do you anticipate the procedure to take?” “Oh, considering how precious this diamond is, I’ll be doing a second and third check on it, covering all aspects and dimensions of the diamond, so I expect to take at least 30 minutes.” “Okay. Whenever you are ready.” A woman of few words. I know some men who would like that. She enters a passcode on a lock pad and opens the door. I step through. “Please kill the lights in exactly five minutes,” I say. “Okay. Knock when you’re done. If you require any further assistance, please contact me immediately. The door is not soundproof, so I’ll still be able to hear you.” “Thank you very much, Diane. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.” The door closes and I have five minutes to act like I’m getting out my appraisal tools, testing and calibrating them, and remove the diamond and place it on a more secure brace of sorts. Five minutes go by and the lights go out. I simply remove the diamond and switch it with the fake. Job done. It’s easy for me to make the switch, given that I put in night vision contact lenses that morning before going to “work.” I then turn on one of the flashlights and begin appraising the fake diamond. I have no doubt that the security camera in the room can still see me working, even with as little light as the flashlight gives, so I only had that small moment between the lights going off and me turning a flashlight on to make the switch. I take the time during my “appraisal” to let my mind wander. This whole plan hinges on the entire museum not knowing how diamond appraisal works, and just trusting a guy to come in and look at a rock long enough to say “Yep, that’s a rock all right.” The fake ID card I made beforehand didn’t even come into play. I almost feel cheated. I sure hope the millions of dollars this diamond will fetch me on the black market will make me feel a little better. After precisely half an hour of pretending like I’m judging this worthless rock’s sky high value, I place the fake diamond back on the pedestal, pack up my tools, and walk over to the door and knock. “All finished, Casey?” Diane asks. “Yes, I’m pleased to say that this museum does indeed have the real Nano Wrimo Diamond in their possession. Thank you for letting the USJC satisfy their concern as to whether the diamond had been replaced with a fake during transport or not. With how easy it is to make carbon copies these days and supervillains running around, you can never be too sure.” “You’re welcome, Casey.” “Would you like to see the diamond in my briefcase?” “I would, in fact.” I open up the briefcase and show her the real Nano Wrimo Diamond, along with the tools that were still warm from my having used them just minutes ago. “As you can see, a blemish here, an imperfection there, a slight asymmetry to the whole piece…” I am banking on the idea that none of them have ever seriously studied how to identify a rare and valuable diamond before. I close up the briefcase. “And now you got the rare privilege of seeing a fake diamond up close and personal with your eyes, Diane. Shall we head upstairs? “Of course, Casey. Mr. Ageut will escort you out the rest of the way.” We walk back the way we came. Pretty soon, it is the man in charge himself who greets me. “I trust I’m still in possession of the Nano Wrimo Diamond?” “Don’t worry yourself over it anymore. I double and triple checked my list. The diamond is indeed real. We at the USJC issue an apology to the Field Museum for confronting to your organization our fear that the diamond might have been stolen at some point during transport. It seems nothing of the sort has been made.” “Well,” Mr. Aguet, “we appreciate your concern.” I am already making my way to the front doors to freedom. “You know how to write your checks, I presume. Now if you’ll excuse me, I always wanted to see the dolphin show at the Aquarium before the crowd gets there.” And with that, I left the building with a priceless artifact in a suitcase using mostly my true body, no powers, and a bunch of prep work done in the past several weeks …including last night. Too bad Foxy will never put two and two together. He’s only the city’s second smartest superhero around, and in this city, that meant that he could Velcro his shoes together without assistance. The whole plan was a success. I intentionally go out at night, dressed in my Disappearance costume, get his attention, tussle with him (though I wanted to do that at the museum and not on some rooftops several miles away), “fail” in getting the diamond, and then let him think that that was my only primary plan for that diamond (when in fact, IT was the distraction). Then have the audacity to just stroll in the next day, in my public persona, and just talk my way into being handed the diamond in such a way that they won’t notice the fake for what it is for months on end. Foxy wouldn’t think I’d strike so soon, in the daytime with a lot less theatrics. I want to keep him thinking like that. Makes my job easier. Though I will say, I love both the acquisition of new gems AND the fights on rooftops. And I love doing it with Foxy. I hail a cab (don’t want anyone else asking about this briefcase) and go back home. Looks like Alaskan cod is back on the menu, Lokitty!
  8. Eventually, I’m standing outside the museum. Well, I’m actually crouching in some bushes nearby, given that those pesky museum developers didn’t think to build any nearby buildings for me to use as a vantage point (besides the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium, both just as annoying to scale and/or break into as the museum). How very inconsiderate of them. I do my best to survey the surrounding area from my position. Nobody walking in or out. A majority of the lights turned off. Both good signs that the museum is still closed and not put on high alert. There’s a digital board down the road that displays the time and temperature. I check that out. Perfect. Despite all those dumbass distractions, I’m still on time for the changing of the guards, albeit with less free time to look things over once and plan around any new developments. I make my way around to the side of the building facing the lake. Thanks to some juicy info I got from a broker, I know the exact place where the motion sensors are. I take out a pair of doodads and place them very carefully on two specific points on the ground. These two beauties block the motion sensor lasers without tripping any alarms, tricking the program into thinking that the laser beam hasn’t been broken. I pass between the devices and carefully remove them. Well, if any alarms have been activated, I wouldn’t know about it until I enter the building. Silent alarms and all that. I walk over to the side of the building and take out my handy dandy grappling gun, firing it up to the roof. The hook secures itself, I make sure the rope is strong enough to hold my weight, and then I start climbing up the wall. What, did you expect me to just waltz through the front door? I make my way up to the top and scan the area. Good, no guards up here. Now let’s see here …where was the window that leads to the Nano Wrimo Diamond? Three to the right, two down …ah, there it is. I sneak my way towards the lucky window in question. I peer into it. A guard walks past, flashlight in hand, scanning the hallway for troublesome pests. Who would dare enter such a respected establishment, uninvited, during closing hours, with the intent to illegally gain some artifact solely for monetary means? Certainly not I. The guard goes into the other room. Now’s my chance. I take out the doodads once again and place them on the edges of the window, just in case the window itself is motion sensored. Then I take out a laser pen I had clipped onto my suit collar back at the convenience store, and start slicing a hole into the window. A three by three foot hole should be enough. Before I complete the circle, I place my adhesive hand on the glass and make sure it’s going to stick before closing off the circle, pulling the glass back, and presto! One easy breezy beautiful entrance and escape route. Eh, I’ll duck tape it back together later. No one will ever notice. I peer into the hole and double-check to make sure no guards were nearby. According to my research, the changing of the guards should be happening right about now. For a couple of minutes, no one will be patrolling. The best chance I’ve got at getting in, swiping the diamond, and getting out without being shot full of holes. As it turns out, the guard I saw is standing in the hallway, chatting with a second guard. “…still think the Nano Wrimo Diamond is just a shiny beacon beckoning that cat burglar to come swipe it. What’s his name, Cataclysm?” “Nah, I think it was some other cat pun, like Catastrophe.” They laugh. “Main Boon. Isle of Manx.” “Siamese Steal. Bengal Burglar. Savannah Swipe.” The indignity! “Toyger Terror. Bombay Boxer. Nebelung Puncture!” “Rushin’ Blew. Bob Tail. Abyss I. Nyan. Devon Rex.” “Singapurr. Korat Karat. Bail In Ease.” “Midnight Minx. Black Cat. Night Panther.” “Ooh, better not use those! I think you run the risk of a copyright infringement!” They laugh even more, and then turn to go back to the guard station. And what, exactly, about my suit and stealing diamonds means that I have to have a cat name?! Just because I’m a cat burglar, doesn’t mean I center everything around a cat motif! I should just steal the diamond and get back home before Lokitty decides to poop on my bed again. I drop down from the window. The diamond will be located a few rooms to the right. I dash to the corner of the entranceway and peer into the next room. As I suspected. A security camera. Time for another gadget. I take out what honestly looks like a toy squirt gun painted black and aim it at the camera and fire. The red light on the security camera turns off, telling me that this scrambler did its job and the camera is now experiencing a bad case of the fits. I run through the room, perform the same trick in the next room, and the next. Finally, I’m at the room housing the Nano Wrimo Diamond. Gadget time. I take out a different device, this one resembling a breath-refresher spray, and spray the immediate area. This makes the motion sensor lasers visible to the naked eye. Time for a show. I maneuver my way through the laser field, flipping, bending, scooching, sliding, and tiptoeing around lasers with elegance and style. I only sort of wish that I hadn’t disabled the camera so that at least somebody would appreciate my moves. In less than a minute, I’m standing right next to the exceedingly beautiful Nano Wrimo Diamond. It is, of course, encased in glass, but when’s that ever stopped me before? I get out my laser pen again to slice a hole into the glass case. Suddenly the whole room has been cast in red, and a shrilling siren alarm blares. I look over to the entrance I took in and there he was… a face full of complications... and deliberately stepping on one of the lasers with his big, oafish feet. “You come here often?” Foxy says. I guess the anger must have shown on my face, because he then continues with an “Oh, so you CAN play the strong, silent type when the chance presents itself. I didn’t know that. We should really talk one-on-one more often. How about we do that right now, as I’m escorting you to prison?” I took a moment to recompose myself. “Offering to walk me home is sweet and all, but isn’t it past your bedtime? You don’t want to be late for kindergarten tomorrow, do you?” “You know, baby-face jokes are only used when the person saying them is wrinkled and …hey!” While he was too busy trying to make a witty retort, I start running straight at him. He takes a bracing stance, and I drop to my knees, bending over backwards, going right between his legs. But then he simply catches me by the neck and throws me back into the room. “You’re not escaping this time, Dee!” I rub my tender neck. “So how’d you find me, Foxy? Someone tip you off? Facebook? Or did daddy have to do all the hard work for you?” “How about ‘the only place in the city that’s holding a big, sparkly diamond?’ Coupled with ‘kleptomaniac with a psychosis that compels him to only steal expensive gems?’ Oh, but let me guess: you’re too special to be soooo easily figured out. Is that it?” I take off my laser revealer device and throw it at him like it was a live grenade. He puts his hands up to shield himself from it, and by then, I’m performing a leaping kick to his exposed torso. This knocks him back a couple steps, but not enough to get past him. “Baby, how about we save the hurtful comments until after we’re in bed, hm?” And with that, our foreplay of violence begins. He brings the punches, I dodge and weave in ways you wouldn’t believe. I deliver some kicks, and besides a requisite “oof,” I doubt he’s actually experiencing any pain from them. Maybe a mild discomfort, like when an arm hair gets caught in fabric and gets ripped off. I hate when that happens. All the while during this fight, the room is painted red and the siren keeps blaring. Foxy isn’t letting me through the doorway, and reinforcements should arrive any minute now. Gotta think fast, Robin. I throw a punch to his face. He catches my fist. I throw another punch with my other hand. He catches that, too. I put some oomph behind both and try to outpower him. I lean my head in closer. He does the same, probably anticipating a headbutt or, heaven forbid, a bite. I then close the gap between us and kiss him on the lips. In my later defense, he didn’t instinctually pull away either. I slip some tongue in there as well, just to sweeten the deal. To my surprise, he tries to slip his tongue in there as well. Hmhm, so he does have feelings after all. I pull my face back, smiling like a giddy schoolgirl. And then I knee him in the crotch as hard as I can, and as he’s crumpling onto the floor, grunting in pain, I flip over him and turn around to face his juicy glutes. “Thanks for the snack attack, Foxy. We should do this again soon.” And then I run back to where I got into this mess in the first place. By now the guards are arriving on the screen. “Freeze! Or we’ll shoot!” “Drop your weapon!” “Hands behind your head!” Oh, I put my hands behind my head alright, griping the rope I brought down earlier. Then I flip up and catch the rope with my feet, flip again and catch it with my hands, then with my feet, and finally I’m at the top of the window. The guards are now shooting at me, so I don’t wait around to give them some hilarious doozy of a zinger. I. Am. OUT. OF. HERE! By the time it takes for Foxy to come up here and try to sniff my tracks, I’ll be long gone. And of course, without a single victory in my hand. Which was …of course… The plan to get back to my apartment goes with surprisingly little hitch. I get back to my convenience store and undress and soon I am just a faceless mask in a morally depressed crowd. I make my way up to my room, unlock it, and Lokitty pops his head out, trying to squeeze the rest of it through. “Mrat!” “It’s good to see you, too, Lokitty,” I coo, squeezing myself through the doorway and quickly locking the door before Lokitty can get out. “I’d better not find any Tide Balls or Elmer’s Glue lying around.” “Mrat?” I drop my stuff on the floor. “What? You want dinner again?” “Mrat! Mrat! Mrat? Mrat!” Clearly he does. I turn on the news while preparing yet another fanciful feast for him. “In other news: the Nano Wrimo Diamond was almost stolen tonight by Chicago’s own cat burglar, Disappearance, but was foiled in his attempts by the heroic actions of Light Devil’s own protégé, Blue Fox. Authorities say that Blue Fox was not able to catch this master thief, so residents are advised to please stay indoors for the rest of the night and do not open your doors or windows for the rest of the night.” Good. The whole plan is coming together nicely. And now for part three of my devious plan: get a good night’s sleep! I’m going to need it.
  9. “Well well, you look lost, sailor. You need me to point you to the nearest submarine? Or are you looking for irreputable bars overly saturated with women, or men, with loose morals?” “Wow, judging by the scathing rating of that opener going through the roof, I can’t see any reason to not think you’re up to something, Dee. How has no one caught you without your fetish gear on yet?” “Aw, Foxy, if this were fetish gear, I think you’d know it,” I reply, gently motioning my hands towards my decidedly not hard crotch. Blue Fox is perhaps the only other man around here who shares my sense of humor. It’s such a shame that he’s a goody two-shoes who sides with the law. We’d be excellent partners in crime. Well, he’d make it more entertaining at least. Not that I’m complaining about the loads of entertainment he brings me already. Other superheroes are so boring to tussle with, but Foxy? He really reinvigorates the game of cat and mouse. I notice his eyes veer towards my crotch momentarily when I gesture at them. Another thing that I liked about him- I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually had a thing for me. Always helps with a theft if the mark is infatuated with you. He isn’t so bad on the eyes either, but I can safely say that I certainly don’t have the same feelings for him. “You just keep living in that circle of denial,” he says. I put on my most charming smile. “So what brings you out all the way here, Foxy? Isn’t this past your ‘jurisdiction’? Or did daddy loosen your leash a little?” That’s right, push his buttons. Poor little Foxy doesn’t like when mean old people like me remind him of his tenure under the tutelage of one of Chicago’s first superheroes, Light Devil. I’ve seen enough battered women around these parts to know an abusive relationship when I see one. Aww, but doesn’t it just make you want to give him a hug? “You know, I’m sure that would’ve stung harder if you’d made that joke six years ago, when I was still working with him,” he says sternly. No playful banter in his voice. No bemused look. No feeling of being the superior here. Right where I want him. Now to shift the tone so much as to throw him off balance and skedaddle while he’s left picking up the pieces to his psyche. “Okay, fine, I get it. We’ve all had our fair share of bad bosses. You think I liked working for that pompous douchebag of a manager at 7-Eleven? Or that one boss I hated at that Wells Fargo. You know, the one over at Westchester? Always smelled of B.O. and peppermints? Had to turn my attention to the pretty diamonds they sometimes took in in order to keep my sanity at that place.” I put on a face of sudden realization. “Oh, but this isn’t about me! It’s about you! What I’m saying is that I understand what it’s like living under the shadow of someone more powerful than you, desperate to get out and prove that you’re not as weak as they say you are. I mean, look at me. Self-made millionaire and no one telling me what to do.” “Except literally every cop in the city, along with most of the superheroes who bother talking to you first before punching. But otherwise a touching story.” Crap. Did I overdo it with the fake sympathy? I never know how to do those perfectly. I saunter over to the edge of the rooftop, facing away from him so that he doesn’t see anything on my face that would suggest recovering from being exposed like that. “Don’t sweat the details, Foxy. You know what I’m getting at.” New plan. I turn to face him again, looking directly into those brown eyes of his. Why didn’t he choose the name Brown Fox when he emancipated himself from Light Devil? It’s always bugged me. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed the fact that you still haven’t answered my question. What brings Chicago’s most adorable little Cub Scout all the way out to the edges of the lake?” “Oh, since you asked so nicely, I heard there was a hot dog vendor down here that sells the best Chicago dogs in town. Have you seen him, Dee?” Dripping with sarcasm. And also presenting me with a new problem. I don’t have time to chat all night with him. A fight would take too long. It would just result with him being slightly out of breath and me slinking away and having to spend the rest of the night hiding from him. I’ll have to play his guessing game and quickly. Get to the point and get him out of my life for one night so that I can steal a priceless jewel and Lokitty doesn’t scratch up the couch. Okay, let’s see here. Why would Blue Fox be lakeside? Something to do with work, obviously. He’s not in his costume to look good for me. Something, or someone, on a cosmic scale would be too much for him to handle alone, so… somebody with either no powers or very weak powers. And their goons. Goons never have powers themselves. Now who is based around here, who hasn’t been active recently, who is weak enough for someone to send a former sidekick alone to go deal with? “Let me guess. Ditto Perfect got his hands on some poor sap’s power armor or doohickey, and now you’ve got two flashy supervillains to contend with!” “Hmm…” he says, crossing his arms and staring at me. “Oh, like you’ve never heard of a lucky guess before,” I reply. Ditto Perfect, so endearingly named because he constantly says “Ditto, perfect!” as a response to just about anything, has the nifty super power of copying other people’s personalities and even their powers, so long as he has constant opportunities to touch them. This apparently extends to touching their blood, and guess what supervillain gadgets always have a trace amount of on them? He’s the only one who matches all the qualities Foxy would need to come down here. “For your sake, Dee, I hope you’re not part of whatever scheme he has going on,” he says, eyeing me down. I give a small laugh, a genuine one at that. “Really, Foxy, you put too much faith in the man. You think someone like Ditto Perfect can ‘scheme?’” He continues to stare at me and I realize what I’ve not done. “Really? You’re grouping me in with him? I thought you thought I had more class than that!” He seems to believe that a little more than anything else I’ve said all night. “You know, I could have somebody else take care of Ditto Perfect instead. The Justice Youth America still need more field experience and, like you said, Ditto Perfect isn’t exactly a criminal mastermind. That leaves me more time to spend with you.” What. “I don’t know which shiny rock caught your eye this time, but I don’t see Disappearance hopping across rooftops at night in his criminal outfit just because he wanted some fresh air.” “It’s Chicago, Foxy. I have to take whatever fresh air I can get.” He is not pleased. “Now go be a superhero and stop that walking, talking, cotton candy man while I get back to my business,” I say, tersely. Silence. Silence is never good. Oh crap, what did I just say? He runs at me. The jig is up. I smile sweetly at him, and then fold myself backwards, right off the edge of the rooftop. “Auf wiedersehen, Foxy!” I fall down the next floor and grab the window ledge on the floor after. I open the window and pull myself in. “Stay where you are, Dee! I don’t want to seriously hurt you!” I hear the big lug call out. After a quick scan of the unlit room, I run to the other side of it and unlock and open the door. THEN I duck into the open closet and curl myself up as tight as I can, kind of like an armadillo, to make myself look like the owner just threw a balled up pile of dirty laundry into the closet. And then I wait. People tend to look for “people”-shaped objects when looking for someone, not spherical lumps, and definitely not when in a hurry or in the dark. Sure enough, Foxy comes bounding in from outside, sees the opened door, and runs straight for it. “You can’t run from me, Dee. I know all your tricks.” You stupid, pretty boy. I hear him run out the door and down the hall. And then stop. “Ah, shit.” Crap, he pieced it together. Now or never! I uncurl and bolt out the closet and out through the window. “Dee!” He’s already back in the room. I’m already out the window and up the side of the building, thanks to the adhesives on my gloves. Thanks, Spider-man! As I near the top, I kick my feet outwards and curl backwards, letting go of the building once my momentum’s at a certain angle, giving myself a stylish leap up to the rooftop and a couple seconds shaved off my time. And then I’m sprinting once again, as Foxy is right behind me. Curse that super jump of his. “But think of the children, Foxy! All those… dockside children… who are orphans… and live right next to Ditto Perfect. …Hey, you can’t DISprove it.” “You can make more tasteless jokes at MCC.” “Tasteless?!” I jump off one building and grapple onto the next. I hear a thumping sound and when I arrive at the next building, he’s already there waiting for me. Typical. He goes for the sucker punch technique, but that’s so outdated that my grandpa would’ve considered it an old geezer, and I swiftly bend my torso to the left to dodge it. His fist glides through the air, with the rest of his body following it. “Whoa!” he says. For a fraction of a second, his face is close to mine. His hair smells like he used strawberry-scented shampoo this morning. I am suddenly hungry for some strawberries. I kick him away. “Rude,” I says. Foxy rubs the place where I kicked him. “Says the man who probably mugged seven old ladies today alone,” he retorts. I feign shock. “Those strong, independent ladies tried to rob me first!” He recomposes himself and begins a roundhouse kick. I duck backwards to avoid it, but then he abandons the kick, revealing it to be a fake out, and delivers a lower kick to my side. Ouch, motherfucker! I retaliate by punching the side of his leg, which was the closest piece of him that I could hit at the time. He probably barely felt it. I backflip away from him. “Resorting to violence so soon? I’m just saying, I’ve probably punched less people in my criminal career than you have.” “Just shut up and come in quietly.” “Oh, no. Everyone I’ve talked to says that I’m a screamer.” I charge at him, causing him to put up a defensive stance, and then I bend backwards, sliding on the concrete on my knees, right between his legs. As soon as I’m behind him, I kick him in the back. Perhaps this pisses him off, because the next thing I know, he turns around, grabs me “delicately” by the arm, and does a full spin revolution before throwing me towards a wall. His aim is (hopefully not intentionally) off, and my body ends up folding around the edge of a corner wall. It hurt like hell, but it also cost him. The price? A lot of distance between the two of us. “I’ll see you in the Bahamas, Foxy,” I say. And then I kick myself off the wall, over the edge of the building, land on the side of a building on the opposite side of the street, clinging to it with the adhesive gloves, scamper up to the fourth floor, and punch in a window, shattering it pretty easily. I climb in quickly. It will be a lot harder for a Cub Scout to enter this hole compared to the two story building we were just on. “Ahhh!” someone screams. A little old lady is sitting in a rocking chair, pausing in the middle of her intense knitting session to scream at harmless, little ole me. “Pardonne moi, mademoiselle,” I say gently and with a smile. And then I run out of the room and out into the hallway. Now then, which way? Up, or down? What would Foxy think I do? Well, he’d assume I’d go up to the roof to grapple away, but THEN he’d assume that I’d assume that he would assume that, and would thus go down the stairs and out the front door, disappearing into some dark alleyway. So, I’M going up to the roof. I make my way up there and, not seeing his perk butt anywhere, assume that I gave him the slip for now. He’s probably still somewhere in the building, if not combing the streets below. I should probably make my getaway now while the going’s good. I use my grappling gun on the nearest building and start swinging my way to the Field Museum.
  10. Okay, the Field Museum of Natural History is still several miles away. My gold-bedazzled Lamborghini is still in the shop getting its tired rotated, so I guess cruising down the S. Lake Shore Drive in style is out of the question. Shame. Guess I’m going to have to hoof it the old fashioned way …with a grappling hook. I take that baby out of its holster and fire it at the nearest building ledge, wait for it to connect, pull on the rope to make sure it’s taut, and then I’m swinging like a circus acrobat. A mile or two could be shaved off my travel time if I’m avoiding corners, street lights, traffic, the speeding limit, and the law, and stick to a straight line all the way to the First National Bank of Payday. As soon as I get to the Lake Michigan dock area, I hear a shot ring out. Sounded like it came from the area where all those storage crates are kept. “Crazy bitch!” I hear. Yeah, that about confirms it. I find myself a cozy little spot with a view on top of a particular pile of crates (not the tallest, mind you; I still need another crate behind me to block my appearance from showing up against the night sky in case anyone were to look up), and I hunch down to watch whatever’s about to transpire here in a moment. A man is running for his life. He looks older, probably in his forties, buzz cut hair, stocky build. Definitely not a supervillain (the lack of a costume gives that away), and definitely not a master genius out for a lakeside stroll (who would choose such an obvious cut and not make any attempts to hide their identity? Not even a hat? Really?). Of course, I wouldn’t need to know any of that info to figure out who this poor sap is. The trademark pumpkin orange scarf clued me in immediately. Jacques Hein, nincompoop for hire. Gave out his real, full name to the criminal underworld and didn’t expect anyone to take advantage of it. Good for small, indirect jobs and that’s about it. I think I had him run out to get me a club sandwich once …and he came back with a hot dog and apple slices. Now he was bleeding all over the floor and limping. Guess that gunshot was aimed for his leg, so whoever it was that was after him didn’t want him dead. Great, now I don’t feel like I have to intervene. What did poor old Jacques do wrong now? Someone else saunters up to him. I internally wince. Girl was massive, had strapped across her back at least two swords, an axe, a shotgun, a crossbow, and a rapier, a pistol saddled on each leg with a strap, a rather bulky utility belt, no doubt loaded with poisons, flash pellets, daggers, fist cuffs, popcorn chicken, and bandage wraps. Crisscrossed over her chest were indeed daggers and small pouches filled with bullets. I’ve seen her use them before. She had a set of balls on her for being able to wear long, lilac-colored hair like that and still be alive and kicking. Literal kicking. The spikes on her steel-toed boots kind of hinted at that. She was a perfect hunter. I should know. She’s told me several times. She can’t stop saying it, like I’m too old to remember. The various mob families call her the Monster Hunter. She’s their enforcer when they need to send someone to deal with individuals who’ve slighted them somehow. She has a reputation for being rather brutal in her methods. “A message must be sent,” she says. “I-I-I don’t even know what I did wrong!” he replies. “To atone for one’s mistakes, one must acknowledge one has made a mistake,” she says. She loves being cryptic like that. “You, the smelly manchild, have made grave mistake with previous employer. The shipment, yes? You did not send shipment to where it was supposed to go.” “Th-the ketchup?” he stamm… The ketchup? “Yes, the ketchup laced with opium you were supposed to ship to Russia. You ship instead to China. This makes Morozov family very angry. They send me to send you message.” She reaches into one of her utility pouches and brandishes a pair of fist cuffs. “They tell me to ‘deal with smelly manchild.’ I say okay. You get wonderful deal, manchild. Fifty percent off. I only break fifty percent of your bones.” “No! No!!!” She starts wailing on him, but by that point, I was already considering the case of the drug-enhanced ketchup to be below my time and sneaking away from the future crime scene. He’ll live, and maybe not forget my order next time. I swing by the Glocko’s territory. It’s a lovely place, really. Full of gang violence, random shootings, stabbings galore, drug deals every half an hour, a mob mentality that would make Hitler blush, and maybe a pickpocket or two. Really gives off that “white picket fence” mentality, you know? Anyway, I skirt just outside of their territory, oh so helpfully marked by a chain link fence with the barbed wire finish on top, which circles all the way around what they consider to be their turf. The last thing I want tonight is to have to pick a fight with those bozos and make myself late for my appointment. Thankfully, I manage to get by them without incident, and I land on a safe building, getting ready to swing to the next, when I hear the telltale sound of someone performing a superhero landing on a flat roof. I turn around to see who it is I have to fight off this time, and I get a face full of …complications.
  11. Break out that frothy glass of chocolate milk!  I am BACK, everyone!

  12. In perhaps an anomaly, I'm someone who had an active account many years ago and left it for many years, and now I'm finally coming back to it. So...for those who don't remember me, I'm Young Sage. You can TRY to read my magnum opus Black Star Cross AND its 300+ reviews (if those survived the Great Migration; it's a door-stopper for sure) to get a sense of HOW I write. I hope to see myself on here a little more often now that I feel like I have a project that fits within GA's guidelines better.
  13. Follow the lives of various supervillains as they attempt to live their best life in The Windy City! Disappearance, a ragdoll-like thief who has eyes on jewelry. Sisterly Bond, a demon slaying, dominatrix nun. Cid Cinders, a human matchstick with a chilling demeanor. Malartic, a fiery icicle who considers anytime playtime. You, a serial killer who thinks he's a fictional character. Jacques Hein, the go-to lackey and liaison between metahumans and normal people. Monsieur Mime, an assassin who is just trying to provide for his family.
  14. Chicago, 8:00PM. The museum will have been closed for a couple of hours by now and a changing of the security guards will be implemented in an hour. Security will be at its weakest, and I’ll be set to steal the Nano Wrimo Diamond. Simple, right? And if there’s anything else within arm’s reach while I’m there …why not? I’m feeling frisky tonight. “Mrat.” “Not now, Lokitty. Daddy’s gotta get you a new diamond encrusted litter box.” “Mrat. Mrat? Mrat!” Lokitty mashes his face into my left leg and rubs the right half of his body against it as well. He’s already been fed, so I’m taking it that he just wants undivided love and attention (and scratches) from me right now. He always knows the most inopportune times to do this. I bend down and scratch his right cheek. “I know,” I say in my patented baby voice, “but some of us have to work for a living. Don’t you want fresh cod shipped straight from Alaska?” Lokitty chooses not to say anything in return, opting instead to just purr loudly from his short victory. He probably knows that anything he says will just get turned around and used against him. I stand up again and gather my things. “Now I’ll be gone for a few hours. No parties, m’kay? I don’t want to come home to find loose vixens and cocaine strewn everywhere.” I grab my keys, open the apartment door, and turn back to him. “Ciao!” I close the door before he can escape and lock it. Okay, the hardest part is done and over with. Time for the fun part of work to begin. First stop is the convenience store a couple blocks away from my apartment. I like to think of it as my own personal “phone booth.” The security cameras haven’t worked since 2002 and the cashier is always too stoned out of his mind to seem to notice that Robin Steele always walks in, but never walks out. The store was located just far enough away from my apartment to not look conspicuous, but close enough that I didn’t have to walk too far without my suit on. I also make sure to look everyone I meet on the sidewalk in the eye, smile and nod or say hello, and chat with any regulars I meet along the way. It always helps to have as many people see Robin in the flesh as possible. If they don’t think I’m some loner freak who’s always holed up in my room all the time and never comes out for anything, then it’s less likely that they’ll think that I’m Disappearance. The psychology of it all is that people are less likely to suspect a supervillain as being someone they know, so it benefits me to be acquainted with as many people in my neighborhood as possible. I’m due for another night of bridge with the crones one building over from mine. Lovely ladies. I think they’d help me conceal a diamond in a cherry pie if I asked them nicely. I make my way to the store and enter. The cashier is, as usual, behind the counter, jamming out to some tunes on his iPad, head bopping and performing what I’m sure he considers an epic air guitar solo. I’m sure you’ll be heading Lollapalooza any day now. I try not to get too close to him. Not emotionally, I mean, but physically. He constantly reeks of weed and quite honestly? It gives me a major headache whenever I’m around him. He’s probably the only “regular” I see that I try to put some distance between us. I don’t even try to make eye contact or smile or say hi to him. Anyway, he doesn’t see me, nor does he see me make a beeline straight to the men’s bathroom. In there, I unzip part of my backpack and take out my cosmetics. You would not believe how long it takes to put on your hair and makeup! I’ve thought about stealing from those companies that make it look like flawless skin just “snaps on” over your old skin before, but then I thought about it and realized that they don’t have anything worth stealing to begin with. Most of their money is purely imaginary anyway. So, I forgot about it. Anyway, I’m shaving, putting some color on the important parts of my face (to make it seem like I’m much paler than I really am), some temporary teeth whitener on that I sure hopes isn’t permanently ruining my teeth, pulling my hair into place, stripping my clothes off, and dousing myself with a powerful and popular cologne. The suit itself with have an entirely different, strong smell, and the two smells shall hopefully cancel each other out in the areas where my skin touches the suit. Even if some superhero gets a whiff of the cologne, it’s the most popular one out there. Any of the thousands of Chicagoans wearing it tonight might be behind that suit. What, are you gonna bring them all in? Just as a security precaution, I don’t don the mask until I’m out of the bathroom and slip through the maintenance door that leads up to the roof of the building. Don’t need any of the cameras to actually catch my going into the bathroom in my civilian identity and popping out full blown supervillain. Once I’m at the roof, then I put the mask on, adhere on the wig, gather all my necessary tools for tonight from the rest of my backpack, and get ready for work.
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