A few weeks later, after sleeping in the back of a United States military transport vehicle–that although cramped, cold, and full of extremely long stretches down rocky terrain, was far more comfortable than her quarters in Dachau because of the lifted looming threat of death–and living off some shared military rations, Ruth and her fellow survivors were delivered to an improvised base that had been established by Allied forces. With her health coming back slightly, it became clear to Ruth and all those around her that she was in fact pregnant. Any signs of it earlier were easily dismayed as a side effect of the miserable living conditions and life-threatening lack of basic needs. Ruth was far from the first prisoner to spend nights vomiting and fighting off dizzy spells. But in the care of her protectors, and about four months since the conception, it was evident that Ruth was indeed with child. Because of her unique situation, Ruth was granted a special trip back to America on a flight that was carrying several injured troops that were being sent back stateside as well. The soldier that initially guaranteed her spot on the first transport out of Dachau was on board the flight. He wasn’t one of the injured, but rather a doctor who was sent to monitor those on board for the duration of the trip.
Months later in the city of New York, Ruth Scheinberg gave birth to David Hershel Scheinberg. She was unsure if the middle name was in honor of or in spite of the child’s father, but Ruth determined she should hold no ill will toward Hershel. They were both in a situation of imminent death and accepted the experience without question. There was no worry about bringing a child into the world because their worlds were sure to end within days. While Ruth would have never brought a child into that world had she somehow managed to deliver a baby within a Nazi-controlled concentration camp, America seemed to provide an entirely different opportunity for her and the newborn. Admittedly, she had no idea what that opportunity was. But she knew it was there. She could feel it. And she knew her child had to be something special to come out of such an unimaginable darkness.
“Ugh, what happened?” were the first words out of my insult-slinging victim uttered upon my return to him.
“Heeyyyyy” I said in an almost sing-song-like tone. I’m sure his vision wasn’t back completely, so the smile I was flashing him probably only came through in a mash of blurry multiples. “Welcome back, asshole.”
“What the…Man, what did you do to me?” he inquired, wiping his hands over his eyes. I suspected it was half to try to get his vision back quicker and half to make sure his entire face was still in tact.
“I punched you. In the face.” I couldn’t think of a fairer description and I figured I owed him some honesty. “With my fist,” I added for full disclosure.
“When? All I remember was you walking away while we were laughing at your gay ass–”
I interrupted. “See, that is the exact attitude that got you in this position in the first place. I brought you ice and medical gauze, would you like me to apply it with my fist as well?”
“Sorry, bro. Just the costume ain’t exactly straight,” he offered as an explanation.
“It’s a Halloween costume. Can I not dress up for Halloween? Is that really such a crime?” I asked rhetorically while examining his eye. His socket was swollen, and his nose was probably broken, but the rest of the damage seemed minimal. I held the cold pack to his face and wrapped a few layers of gauze around it to secure it in place. “See, now you’re in costume too. You’re a douchebag who got the shit beat out of him. Or a pirate. Take your pick.”
“Could you just tell me how you hit me so quick? I don’t even remember you throwing a punch, let alone coming near me.” His genuine confusion amused me, and I wasn’t about to let an opportunity to milk this go to waste.
“You know the whole super hero costume thing?” I started. “Not a costume at all. I’m the real deal.”
“Man, what kind of hero punches bystanders in the face?” He asked with a raised voice, somewhat incensed but not about to throw his arms up in a way that would signify an intention to fight.
“You lose ‘bystander’ status when you start shouting slurs. You elevated yourself from ‘bystander’ to ‘loudmouth’ to ‘ignorant’ and landed at ‘ignorant loudmouth fuck stick’ with a vengeance,” I explained.
Reading his body language, I could tell he was angered but was in no condition nor position to start a fight. I decided maybe I should diffuse the situation a little.
“Look, I had a shitty day and I was a little temperamental. Maybe it was irritation. Maybe it was the fact I’m a pint of ice cream and an emotional breakdown away from being a full blown chick and your words hit a little close to home. Either way, your nose caught the brunt of my aggression and I’m sorry for that. I realize what I should have done was politely asked you to keep your remarks to yourself, or at least wait until I was out of earshot– though you would have been waiting for some time since I do have enhanced auditory perception. The point is, I handled this wrong and I apologize.”
There. It doesn’t get much more sincere than that. I gave him the truth, left myself vulnerable, and took all the blame despite his inflammatory remarks. I don’t care how tough this guy is, there’s nothing more disarming that complete honesty and total repentance.
“I can’t believe I got knocked out by such a faggot.”
Ok, fuck this guy. If he thought his face hurt after the first punch, I’d love to watch him looking around on the ground for shattered pieces when he wakes up after the second one. Unfortunately, that would be the pleasure of the paramedic crew that found him, who I called in on his cell phone.
“Hey, I’m going to need some help,” I started the conversation. “I’m on the corner of Mullholland and Vanderblit.
“And what is your emergency?” The feminine voice asked with a calmness that only barely covered her exasperated tone.
“I have two black eyes and a broken nose. Don’t worry though, I kind of had an ugly face to begin with.”
“Is this some sort of joke, sir?” the respondent asked, her irritation more openly displayed.
“No joke. I ran into a guy’s fist. Twice.”
“Alright, we’ll have someone in the area to you shortly. I suggest that if this is a prank you admit it now, sir,” she warned.
“Just send someone,” I insisted before falling back into my role as the knocked out bully. “I’ll be unconscious when they get here. Oh, and make sure you send some gays if you can. I love the gays.” With that, I hung up the phone and put it back into the guy’s pocket. Before leaving, I propped him up against the cement exterior of the building at the corner. I ripped the gauze from around his head, freeing the ice pack which I grabbed. At the same moment, my phone rang. Removing it from my pocket and sliding it open with my free hand, I placed it against my shoulder blade to hold it up to my ear. A familiar female voice spoke.
“We just had a paramedic request come from around your base. Something about two black eyes and being knocked unconscious. Do you think you can look into any leads while the med team picks up the caller?”
I laughed to myself as I applied the now freezing cold ice pack to the hand inflicted those two black eyes. “Consider me on the case. I’ve already got a lead. Whoever did this is brilliantly strong, downright cunning, and undeniably handsome.”
“I swear, everyone has lost it today…” the voice trailed off as I hung up the phone.
The first (and only) question that Ruth was able to ask Hershel was, “Who are you?” His response, simply, was “Hershel Shay. Nice to meet you.” When Ruth attempted to ask a follow up question, she was silenced by a sudden embrace. In a moment that was neither from complete irrationality nor clarity, but perhaps was a little of each, Hershel planted his lips on Ruth’s. With no notice, Ruth was suddenly involved in an interaction that she hadn’t felt in years. While she was in no condition to physically fight off a sizable man, Hershel wasn’t exactly a shining example of health. She easily could have ended the entwinement without much effort, yet she decided not to. Despite the dryness of the kiss and the awkward fumbling of bony hands that was passing over her malnourished body, she needed this as badly as Hershel did. They both felt that their death was imminent and they were simply counting days to an undeclared expiration date. For Hershel, this was a the last feeling from his life that he needed to experience again before death; For Ruth, an eighteen year old from an extremely orthodox Jewish family, it was a first that needed to be accomplished.
It was only a matter of minutes until the intimacy ended. The circumstances didn’t lend themselves to romanticism. As such, Hershel made his best attempt at being a gentleman. He helped Ruth to her feet, wiped off the fresh dirt that had covered the back of her white and blue striped uniform top and pants, and led her back into her sleeping quarters. Again taking the flashlight, he lit the path for her to bed. She climbed up and laid down. Before turning to leave, Hershel flashed the light toward her face and, speaking the first words to her, asked, “Who are you?” She responded sternly, but with the slightest hit of a smirk as a dimple grew her cheeks, “Ruth Scheinberg. Nice to meet you.” With that she turned over as Hershel turned off his light and left the room. Moving quietly but swiftly, Hershel returned to his bunk with little commotion. The only one in the room who was still awake when Hershel returned was a man lying in the bed across the room from him. Confused by why Hershel would leave and return, both on his own will, the man asked, “Were you looking for something.” Hershel smiled a little and responded, “Yes.” Curious, his roommate followed up with another question. “Well, did you find it?” With a tone that could have easily been taken as happiness, an emotion that the men or women within the camp’s walls remembered with faintness, Hershel again simply said, “Yes,” before retiring to his bed.
It was three months later when American soldiers came knocking at the walls of Dachau. Their presence at that point was expected and Nazi troops attempted to slaughter as many of the remaining prisoners as they could. Ruth, thanks to an anonymous note given to her in the middle of the night, was able to find a safe place to hide within a metal container against the far wall of one of the Nazi buildings. She sat for days until she heard a language that was unfamiliar to her. Taking a risk, she exited her hiding location and stumbled toward the voices that she couldn’t understand. They appeared to be organizing people, a gesture that didn’t raise good memories. Ruth had lived this long off instinct though, and decided to join the line of people that the soldiers were loading into vehicles. The first soldier she met pointed away from the line and said, “This one’s full, you’ll have to wait.” Ruth of course didn’t understand this, just followed where he was pointing with her gaze. She didn’t move. The soldier re-emphasized his directional pointing and said, “We’ll be back, but you can’t come now.” Again Ruth stayed standing and looked the American up and down, attempting to take any message she could from his body language. A second troop walked over, looked at Ruth and put his arm around her, directing her body back to the line. He reassured her with a pleasant tone that she was fine to come with them. She understood his sentiment better and followed the steps of the line as it inched forward. Ruth could still here the soldiers behind her talking.
“Do you see how many we’re already taking on this trip? We don’t have room for her,” the first of the two Americans said.
“We need to get her out sooner, not later. Did you see her?” the second asked rhetorically. “We need to get her out of here.”
“Everyone here is in terrible shape. They’re all lucky to be alive. If you’re taking her just because of the scar–” The second American cut off his partner before he could finish, batting his hand from his face as he went to draw Ruth’s scar across his own cheek.
“It’s not the scar. Just get her out of here.”
With that, Ruth was added to the first group of Jewish prisoners that could be called Holocaust survivors. Now in the convoy of American military personnel, she was set to travel to where ever she could find safety. It was a journey that Ruth was willing to take alone, but it wasn’t long until she had company.
Unbeknownst to the scientists that Cramer was meant to serve with and even unknown to Cramer himself, at the same time research was taking place to create super humans, one had already been created completely of nature. In September of 1944, just a few miles northwest of Munich, Germany, a Jewish man by the name of Hershel Shay was waiting to die. Everyone in the Dachau concentration camp was, but Hershel suspected that he would be selected to die within the next few days. After angering a guard several weeks earlier by offering a portion of his food to a far more malnourished prisoner, Hershel became the subject of regular extracurricular beatings. He responded to these by shouting vulgarities in German back at his captors and offering blood-soaked smiles as he attempted to hobble back to his quarters. The fact that he wasn’t dead yet would normally be a blessing but after an extended stay in the Third Reich-ran hell hole, Hershel was ready for the bullet that he felt would inevitably come. Hershel was trying to earn it. Perhaps that’s what he wasn’t dead yet– the SS officers knew it was more painful for him to live.
Because of Hershel’s behavior, a group of Nazi guards that dealt with him regularly had taken to pulling him whatever it was he may be doing, dragging him to various locations around the camp, and mercilessly bashing his body with their fists, boots, gun butts, pots, pans, and anything else they could manage to strike with. Because of these random assaults, Hershel was able to take in the layout of the camp and even learn a few of the guards’ shifts. Armed with a keen eye and a developed sense of time based on guard positions and actions, Hershel decided one night to get particularly brave.
During one of his many beatings, Hershel managed to look up and wipe the mud and blood from his face in time to make eye contact with a female prisoner named Ruth Scheinberg. In most cases this would be the moment in a romantic comedy where everything moves in slow motion, the wind suddenly blows through Ruth’s hair, Hershel realizes that she is everything he’s been missing in his life, and they run to one another to meet in a loving embrace. However, this story takes place at a concentration camp during the Holocaust, so the wind in Ruth’s hair was replaced by a guard grabbing her by her arm and slapping her face so hard that the sound from it echoed and Hershel’s realization of love is substituted with a rifle butt to his spine. Honestly, there wasn’t a strong physical attraction between the two anyway: Both were emaciated from a complete lack of food, water, and basic nutrients. The distinction that made Ruth stand out to Hershel was the sizable scar that ran across her face, from just below her left eye to under her nostril. The connection they made when their eyes met was in no way loving, lustful, or passionate. It was a simple moment that said, “We’ve been through some shit.” That was the only message delivered in their gazes, but it was enough for Hershel to watch for the building that Ruth was taken into.
On the chilly September night when Hershel decided that he would attempt to leave his cabin, he had no intention of doing so to escape. His only goal was to find the woman with the scar that saw him being beat and chose not to look away. He waited for the final visit of an SS officer for the night; they usually made three appearances once the sun was completely down and the stars were visible. After the last check-in the guards would retire to their living quarters or take their position as a look out. Hershel knew that the guard that made the final rounds would be lookout. He also knew that this particular guard had a tendency to raid the Nazi mess hall before retiring to his post. Hershel knew this for two reasons. First: the officer in question regularly had food in hand during his shifts as a lookout and Second: He was fat.
Once the overweight officer had been gone for fifteen minutes by Hershel’s count, he decided it was time to make his move. Ignoring the whispers from his fellow prisoners, only acknowledging one that begged to go with to tell him no, Hershel exited the door and snuck across the grounds of the camp. It was pretty bare, with little presence of guard or prisoner to be scene. After several years of being stationed there, and with the war becoming increasingly more difficult for German forces, morale wasn’t exactly high for anyone within the camp’s walls. As such, the Nazis weren’t always as motivated as they once were, and while security was still anything but lax, there were occasional lapses in their once meticulous behavior.
Hershel managed to arrive at the building he believed to house the woman that looked him in the eye some days earlier. Hershel opened the door of the cabin and, reaching for the same place that he had seen many a guard reach for in his cabin, ran his hand across the side wall until he found a flash light. Turning it on, he scanned the room, illuminating the faces of every bunk as he glided past. The women in this room were no doubt used to this, and thought nothing of it. Those that were awake just kept their eyes closed and waited for it to end. Hershel continued around the room until he came to a face with a familiar marking on the left cheek. Grabbing her shoulder, he began to shake her. Before she arose and acknowledged his attempts, he noticed her hand slide under pillow and the veins in her arm tightened as if she had gripped something. As he continued to attempt to wake her, he whispered in their native tongue, “Wake up and come with me.” Hearing the familiar language, her eyes shot open and again she made contact with Hershel. This time it was uninterrupted, and without a word Ruth climbed out of her bed. Grabbing her wrist, Hershel led her outside.
He means well, old Paragon Man, but he’s not exactly well adjusted. Back in his hay day, there was no one better. After all, Paragon was the first of his kind; the original organic hero. Back in the sixties when the US government was still under operating the guise of protecting its citizens from the impending Soviet threat, they started performing experiments to develop a “Super Soldier.” I know, It’s the same old story that starts every piece of historical fiction and comic book lore: Government starts modifying genetics, an experiment goes terribly wrong, and thus is the origin of whatever hero or villain that may be the subject. Well, that’s not quite what happens.
See, when the feds started okaying genetic experiments, they managed to create humans that possessed what everyone now calls “super powers.” Strength, flight, speed, telekinesis, telepathy; you named it and they made a guy who had it. The problem became the isolation of powers. Every super hero possessed a single ability, but were effectively useless when it came to almost everything else. Some suffered from under-developed communication skills, others were deemed to be totally incapable of performing simple tasks, a few couldn’t manage to harness their skills at all, and most were afflicted with shortened life spans and painful death.
While most of these experiments came from government funded research and studies there were a few black sheep scientists. One such, and probably the most important, example was Dr. Steven Cramer, a geneticist that was one of the first selections to lead experimentation. He quickly distinguished himself amongst the other researchers by focusing on the parts of the human DNA code that already existed rather than attempt to fabricate genetic structure that may be rejected by the body. This approach landed Dr. Cramer with the unique distinction of being considered a “quack” among the world’s greatest collection of scientists. After being reported multiple times by his contemporaries for his believed ineptness, Cramer was thrown off the project and sent back to his previous job with a feeling of shame and one giant terrible reference. Thanks to a handful of calls from others at the government facility, Cramer’s employer found him to be incapable of returning to his former position because of reported “mental instability” and a “consistently unsatisfactory performance.” He was out of his old job less than a week after returning.
With evidence collected during his stay at the federal research lab and a few spare strands of discarded DNA that he managed to swipe before his removal, Cramer decided to conduct some research of his own. He continued examining the line of study that he was attempting to establish while working for the feds, attempting to search the human genetic code for any sign of super-ness. There was one strand in particular that he found to be fascinating. The line of code came from an African man, known as Subject A-12, from Algeria. The country had been under the oppressive rule of despotic French rulers for years, and the tribe of this particular man had been nearly wiped out. A-12 was believed to be the first member of the forth generation of the tyrannized. What Cramer noticed was with every generation of tribesman that fell under the subjugation of the decidedly cruel rulers, there was a slight change to the DNA’s sequence. In some cases it provided nearly unnoticeable differences: thicker skin to fend off pain from whips, slower metabolism to store fat when food becomes scarce, an almost camel-like ability to retain water. By the forth generation, though, there was an entirely new DNA variant that had appeared– one that appeared to allow for quicker muscle development. When the changes in the code were applied to lab mice that Cramer had collected, he noticed they were not only setting entirely new benchmarks for strength and dexterity but experienced another completely unexpected change: A predisposed notion to do “good.”
Now, one might say that what is morally right and wrong is completely up for interpretation and depends more on upbringing and belief systems than it does with genetics. It’s a little more complicated than that though. There’s a reason parents have to have a “sex talk” with their kids, but rarely do they have a have a “Hey, don’t kill people” talk. All humans come with a moral compass of sorts built into their psyche, and the majority of humans are born “good.” Where it comes from is anyone’s guess, but it is more than likely defined by generations of societal expectations and and long-standing laws. We know from a young age that killing is wrong, we have an understanding of equality, we have a tendency to be truthful and fair. For example, children of different ethnicities tend to get along fine until the influence of a prejudicial mindset is introduced. Then similar prejudices may develop, but it goes against their genetic disposition.
Does that mean every person that does something bad is “evil?” Of course not. Good people do terrible things. For example, I just punched a guy in the face a few minutes ago. Was that a bad thing to do? Yeah. But the good in me knows that I have to go fix it, hence the bag full of medical gear. Then again I am going to wrap his face with pink gauze, but that’s not evil as much as it is me personally enforcing karma.
So what makes Subject A-12 different from everyone else? All humans are designed to be good. A-12′s genetic do good. It sounds like a small difference, but in action it’s quite noticeable. A person who is being good doesn’t steal; A person who is doing good sees someone stealing and stops them. Could I make the argument that by slamming my fist into the jaw of a person shouting derogatory statements was doing good? Yes, but it’d be a terrible argument because he wasn’t slurring me. Despite my inherit interior design skills, I’m not gay so the words really meant nothing to me. i just had a bad day. As for Subject A-12? He was going to do some good. His DNA was built to end years of hatred, discrimination, and oppression. Every fiber of his being was pulsing with righteousness and integrity. He was going to be able to sense injustice within a five mile radius and stomp it out with the boot of equality. He was going to– he was killed before he was able to harness any of this ability.
What about the mice, right? How did they show any signs of goodness? They’re mice. Here’s how: Once Cramer noticed the clear marks of strength that the two mice with the genetic modifications displayed, he also began to notice they worked together on things. When placed in a maze to see who could get to a block of cheese first, the mice seemed to communicate with one another by tapping on the walls and leaving markings– a more pleasant way of saying shit– at paths that led to dead ends. When one of the mice finally reached the end of the maze, he chattered incessantly to give the other mouse an audible target. Once the second mouse also arrived at the end, the two shared the block of cheese, splitting it completely evenly. This behavior left the doctor somewhat befuddled. To test the theory that they may have some sense of equality now built into them, Cramer introduced a third mouse with no genetic alterations. The two modified mice again found the cheese together, and waited for the third mouse to complete the task. Upon reaching the finish the third mouse dove at the cheese, eating as much as it possibly could fit into it’s fat little furry cheeks. It’s instincts said that food didn’t come easy, so take whatever comes. The other two mice recognized this and acknowledged the fact that they ate a similar meal the previous day and as such accepted and split the scraps that remained after the cheese’s dismantling.
Stepping out of the elevator is still an moment of excitement for me, although I’ve been here many times. The walls crawl up for twenty feet or so to meet the ceiling and concrete surrounds the place, leaving an open room that runs for at least a hundred feet before ever being met with wall. It’s an impressive sight, but by itself isn’t extremely conducive to a hideout. It’s great for floor hockey but not so much for a crime fighting. So off the the corner of the room, I built an office. To the left of the entrance is the medical center. Well, you could call it a medical center. It’s really more of a cabinet I found abandoned on a street corner filled with medical gauze, bandaids, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, and some other odds and ends. Opening the doors of the cabinet, I pushed away the two tubes of toothpaste– there was a sale– and grabbed an instant cold pack and some of the gauze. Throwing my finds into the messenger bag that was hanging around my shoulder, I decided to head to the office to make sure my “patient” was still where I left him.
I walked across the textured carpet that was rolled across the floor– another touch of mine. If it weren’t for the whole “hero” thing, I’d make a hell of an interior decorator. I slid open the office door, which was just one of the four portable walls that make up office cubicles, and sat down at the beat up wooden computer desk. I sat my messenger bag over the initials that were carved into the top of part of the desk. It read “A.P.+T.R.” I have no clue what it means, I assume it came from some extremely passionate high schooler that felt the need to express his or her undying love for their partner on every surface that would allow. They probably broke up when she went off to another school and he was driven crazy by the jealousy of knowing that she could be doing anything– with anyone– hundreds of miles away and presumptively started accusing her of cheating on him which in turn drove her away from him even though she was willing to wait. But that’s just my guess.
Turning on the computer screen revealed the desktop of the “super computer” I used to monitor crime with: A couple strategically placed webcams on nearby street lights and a group of bookmarks in my internet browser that took me to public records, criminal databases, and a Facebook group I started called “If You See a Crime, Report it Here” that consists mostly of posts about how to increase penis size and chain mail that requires posting on ten friends’ walls in 24 hours or face death. It’s not the ideal set up, but it’s effective enough. Checking one of the webcams, I could see that my new friend had yet to leave his spot. I should still probably get back to him before someone else noticed, or at least before his friend came back. I’m pretty sure his hyena of a partner hadn’t returned yet, as there wasn’t a trail of piss leading back to their location. With confirmation of his location and the needed medical gear collected, I was off to play janitor to my own mess.
“Off to protect citizens from the scourge of the city?” The question came through in a firm, deliberate tone.
“Something like that. I’ll explain later.” Sometimes I forget this technically isn’t my place at all. I’m sharing the space– co-oping, really– with a super hero. It’s not the ideal situation, but it does give me a bit of a getaway when need be and serves as a nice storage facility. I set up the computer for him. For as good of a crime fighter he is, technology really isn’t his thing. He’s more along the lines of the old school heroes. You know, relies on his powers and superior strength combined with an undying nationalist-like pride for serving justice. It’s sickening to here him talk about it, though. I’ve yet to find the noise-canceling headphones that block out whatever frequency it is that super heroes talk at.
“I enjoy your uniform. I’m glad you’re embracing the ways of the cloak,” the voice said from behind a mask of his own. His words were delivered with such authority that could only come from a man with an extremely defined jawline.
“It’s not a cloak, why does everyone keep insisting- Listen, it’s just a Halloween costume,” I responded, frustrated at his enthusiasm about my outfit and the delay it was causing.
“So this is not becoming your daily garb as you cleanse the streets of crime?” His asked inquisitively, though with what could easily be mistaken for a hint of disappointment.
“Not a chance. I’ll continue to fight crime in a manner that doesn’t have the side effect of super wedgies,” I replied, trying to let on that the conversation would be cut short by making my way to the elevator.
“That is a shame. You know I do have a spare suit if you change your mind.”
I smirked at his attempted generosity and even came close to admiring his persistence. As I stepped into the elevator, I turned back to him. “You know what? If I ever decide that I could do my job more effectively if I wore junk-strangling spandex, you’ll be the first one I come to.” With that, I pressed the up arrow and waited for the doors to close.
“I appreciate that. May you take justice to where ever you are heading,” he shouted up the elevator shaft as I disappeared back into the walls, reappearing again under the sink.
Cracked, decrepit pavement made up the sidewalk beneath my feet, though small bunches of grass hot up between the crevasses. Fog limited visibility of anything more than a few feet in front of me. A police siren sang out in the distance, a signal that stood no more for safety than it did for danger. I turned the corner as the walk way continued down another street. Two kids leaned up against the vermillion-colored brick wall that sat adjacent from my side of the street. I could hear them snickering from across the way before one of them shouted out.
“Nice cloak!” He exclaimed as the other laughed.
“It’s not a cloak,” a replied.
“Oh, my bad. Nice cape then, Captain Douchebag,” he said. His friend was doubled over as he snorted through his cackling.
Captain Douchebag, he said. Cleverness aside, I really shouldn’t take this any further. I already shouldn’t be out in uniform, at least not here. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a choice so minimizing exposure is key. Just keep walking. Let the cape thing go. At least he thinks you’re a captain. Could have been Lieutenant. There’s tons of great captains: Planet, Morgan, Kirk. It’s good company. Plus it was a formal addressing. Just keep moving.
“Why don’t you just fly Super Fag?”
I stop my movement. “Ok, one quick question for you: When you say ‘fag,’ I assume you mean cigarette, correct?”
“Nah, I mean like you suck co-”
I can’t be one hundred percent sure what stopped him mid-sentence, but I narrowed it down to two possibilities. One: He smartened up midway through his vulgar statement and decided that perhaps he didn’t want to use such inflammatory remarks or two: I punched him really hard in the face. Common sense would dictate the latter of the two, after all I did leap across the street at a fast enough speed to deliver the same impact as a head-on collision at about 50 miles per hour. But I like to assume the best of people, so I hope it was the former.
I turned to his friend, who was no longer laughing. In fact, he appeared to freeze midway through his last laughing fit. Hands still on his knees, ready to barrel over from his friend’s adept observations about my outfit, but not a word came out of him. His mouth just hung open as his entire body stood stagnant.
“Anything else you’d like to add to…” I started, then stopped as I saw a spot on his jeans begin to darken. It got bigger, blotching out before continuing downward in more of a stream.
“…Did you just piss yourself?” I asked.
Suddenly he sprang to life, having no issue moving as he turned and ran. His footsteps never stopped until they were completely out of earshot, and I can only imagine they continued for some time after that. To his credit, he was impressively fast, but I had a mess to clean up. Looking down at the last place that the second kid’s feet stood together, I realized there were two messes to clean up. We’ll just say that was a dog.
Luckily for the possibly unconscious and probably concussed gentleman on the ground, I’m not that far from home. In fact if he would have just kept his mouth shut for about a minute, I would have made it to the alley down the block and up the fire escape into my apartment, which is where I’m headed now but for new reasons. I was going to call it a night but it looks like I’m going to have to play nurse for a little bit– which I’m not opposed to but these aren’t really the circumstances I prefer.
Once through the window that I use as my secondary entrance– I’m not going through the front door dressed from head to toe in latex– I head over to the pantry. Behind the wooden doors and rusty handle are some medical supplies, but I have no interest in those. I’m after something else. I reach up to turn on the light by the string cord that dangles from it and illuminate the room so I can find what I’m after. A little bit of patting down the wall and I find it: a light switch. Seems redundant, I know, but it’s not for a light. The second I flip the switch, there’s a sound from the sink that to the untrained ear would sound exactly like the garbage disposal. Well, it is the garbage disposal, but it’s to cover up what is really happening. I walk over to the windows and draw all the curtains to make sure there’s no one watching. There’s a divorcee across in the apartment complex across the street that likes to try to peep in my windows when I’m changing. It’s flattering, but she’s old and gross. This time though, I’m hiding something else. Turning back to the counter, I swing open the painted white panel doors below the sink, I crouch down and crawl in. There’s a flat metal surface for a floor, and on the right hand side wall of the under counter area is a poster of Rosie the Riveter. I peel back the corner of the iconic image and reveal a control panel that consists of several buttons, most importantly an “up” and “down” arrow. The poster’s purpose is to conceal the panel, but I do like strong women. I press the down arrow and the small box area that houses me begins to shake. After a few seconds of rattling, the metal floor begins to lower me down through what I imagine is mostly sewage and probably an old cemetery that was destroyed in order to build the structure that I currently call home.
Finally reaching my destination, I open the doors of the makeshift elevator to reveal a new surrounding. No longer am I in my stuck-in-the-early-90′s looking apartment. I instead find myself within the confides of what I like to refer to as my secret liar. Admittedly, it’s not a great name. I’m working on it. Something less cheesy. That’s not the point though.
I’ve got way too much going on now to do this, but I said I would so I’m going to try…
1. I’ve got a loose outline of what I’m going to do and characters I’m going to use. That said, the majority of this is going to get made up along the way so if there are some terrible plot devices and crappily executed story lines, and there will be, it’s kind of to be expected. Don’t let it ruin the entire experience. I can promise the project as a whole won’t suck, but some parts very well may.
2. I’m not editing at all. I don’t have time, and I’m not good at it. As such, I’ll leave editing until I’m done. If there is a word spelled wrong, misplaced apostrophes, word usage issues, feel free to point them out. Just know that they won’t get fixed for at least a month.
3. If you’re not doing this too, for shame. It’s fun. Even if you don’t finish, it forces a completely different writing process and that’s important. Also, just writing is important. It’s a good thing. Do it.
K, that’s it I think. Enjoy reading, I’ll try to enjoy writing.