The cry brought a smile to the old man’s lined face as he rose from his chair and strode to meet his visitors. As he turned into his entryway he was immediately rushed by two small children, their forms distorted by the puffy snowsuits they’d neglected to remove after coming in. He leaned down to embrace them as the tall shadow of their father arrived in the entryway.
”Thanks for doing this Pops,” the man said, brushing some lingering snow from the shoulder of his overcoat, “sorry about such short notice.” ”Pfft, I’ve told you before John, it’s absolutely no trouble.” The old man stood up and grinned at the two children that were still huddled about his legs. ”Especially when it’s just taking care of these old farts.” ”We’re not ooold!” the first child whined. ”Yeeah, you’re the old one Grampa!” the second added.
The old man playfully tussled the children’s hair before they ran off after each other into the other room. Cries of ”You’re it!” and heavy stomping could be heard, and the younger man winced at the sound of a loud thump.
”You sure you’ll be alright with them Pops? Storm’s blowing pretty fierce out there, could lose power soon.” ”For the last time John, I’m not enfeebled for god’s sake.” the old man replied with a grin. ”Now you get, or you’ll be late.”
The younger man returned the grin, called out his goodbyes to the boys still tussling about in the back and stepped out into the storm. The old man watched him from the frosted window until he was obscured by the snow. Seconds later, the sound of an engine reached his ears, and he could hear the children in the other room clambering to a window to wave goodbye to their father. As the sound of the car heading out faded away, he walked down to the hall closet, removing a long box from its spot on a high shelf. As he entered the back room, the two boys stop their play wrestling and looked up at him expectantly.
”Alright now boys,” he said, removing the lid from the box, ”who’s ready to play Fantasticopoly!?”
The game lasted long into the night, and eventually one of the children eked out a victory. Amidst bowls of celebratory ice cream, the old man caught a glimpse of the clock, it was already half past ten.
”Alright boys,” the old man said as he gathered the quickly emptied bowls up and placed them in the sink, ”I think it’s just about time the pair of you were going to bed. You’re already a good hour past your bedtime…” ”Nuh uh Grampa!” the first child objected. ”I won Fantasticopoly and that means you have to tell us a story!” ”Mmhmm!” the second child added emphatically, his mouth still full of ice cream.
”Oh, is that what it means now?” the old man asked, raising his brow as the children nodded vigorously. ”Well I suppose I could tell you the story about the time your father and I went and bought that old truck of his. Now it was –“ ”You told us that one last time Grampa!” the first child interrupted.
”Did I now?” the old man grinned, ”Well…how about one about scary dungeons and fearsome dragons?” ”Nah, sounds boring!” the second child muttered ”You should tell us a story no one around here’s ever heard of before!” ”YEAH!”, the first child blurted, ”Something unlike anything anyone’s ever known, something inspired by every video game, comic book, action movie or particularly drunken adventure you’ve ever played, read, seen or had!”
The old man paused a moment before replying. ”I think I have just the thing…”
He stepped out of the room a moment, reappearing with a large hand bound book a couple inches thick.
”Now this,” he ran his hand over the rough cover, ”is a little something I’ve been working on a long time…and I’ve never shown it to anybody ever before. Before I start, you’re going to have to promise you won’t mention a word of this to your father…I don’t think he’d like to know what you’d been listening to. Do you promise?”
The children agreed fervently, they’d already gathered around the old man as he sat on the couch, leaning in close so they could see the book, though neither of them could read well enough to possibly follow along. The old man smiled, opening the cover to reveal a bare page save one small line typed across the centre.
”Tales of City Fantastico"
What’s City Fantastico Grampa? the first kid asked eagerly, before the old man hushed him.
”You’ll see sonny, you’ll see. Now…let me begin.” The old man cleared his throat. ”Not so long ago, not far from here, the beginnings of something awesome occurred…”
Posted on 2011-02-15 at 17:02:53.
Edited on 2011-05-01 at 14:05:12 by Grugg
Prologue: Fantastico, the Menacing Phantom of Warring Clone Sith Revenge
It was the summer of 2003 when Fantasti Co. first made its mark. The brain-child of Mr. Fantasti IV, a relatively unknown foreign businessman, Fantasti Co. arrived in America with a bit of a whimper. Its sudden appearance coupled with the fact that no one knew exactly what they did seemed to indicate a failure to exist as a corporation, and for the first year the company largely stagnated. In the summer of 2004 however, a t-shirt, a vision disorder and a large group of hipsters would change everything.
Following their unproductive first year, Fantasti Co. dedicated what remained of their budget to a last ditch advertising effort. They commissioned a t-shirt from a local merchant, to display their brand. A simple enough order, if the executive they had sent to view the samples not been unknowingly colorblind. The result, a horrifyingly neon pink t-shirt with FantastiCo. emblazoned across the front in an eye gougingly yellow font, was nothing short of an abomination. The t-shirt shipped to a massively negative reception from consumers, and it looked like Fantasti Co. had finally sunk itself.
Moments before Fantasti Co. was set to declare bankruptcy, something extraordinary happened. Hipsters, always on the lookout for the latest unpopular style to bring back, had descended on the masses of t-shirts like deranged animals, buying out the entire stock literally overnight, mistaking the company name for an odd misspelling of fantastic. Their quest for ironic fashion statements ironically caused a country wide movement, and demand for the t-shirt soon far outstripped supply. Their initial investment returned tenfold, Fantasti Co. soon was outsourcing the creation of off colour t-shirts all over the country, establishing themselves as a national buzzword. Seeking to keep the momentum rolling, the company renamed itself Fantastico, and by the end of the year, they were among the business elite, sitting atop the lists of earners for 2004.
The years dragged on, and Fantastico expanded their business model. Fantasticola, Fantasticorn Pops, Fantasicolonoscopy kits, there seemed nothing the public wouldn’t buy with the Fantastico name slapped onto it. Fantastico became known as a company of excess, and their opulent Manhattan headquarters a testament to their dominance over the market. With Mr. Fantasti IV guiding the company, it was often joked that the company’s executive board was more organised and efficient than the country’s administration itself, and rumours abounded about a possible jump to politics for the much beloved CEO.
Public support of the company continued to rise, and following the economic downturn at the turn of the decade, Fantastico was in the unique position of being virtually the only company unaffected. This afforded them an excellent opportunity to buy out virtually all of their rivals, and by 2015, the Manhattan business sector was almost entirely dominated by Fantastico. By this point, the US of A’s national debt had ballooned to a truly unimaginable level, and Fantastico made an offer that went down in history as perhaps the most ambitious of all time. In return for paying off fully a third of the nation’s debt, they would be granted the entire Manhattan island to do with as they saw fit. The administration, desperately battling their debt and hoping to associate themselves with the wildly popular Fantastico, reluctantly agreed.
For the next five years, City Fantastico became an international titan, dedicating itself to the unbridled advancement of arts and science. Their massive funding brought in high calibre private military contractors, and their presence coupled with the high standard of living kept the city relatively crime free. At the height of its power, City Fantastico hosted the 2020 World’s Fair, showing off its splendour to the world for the first time. The world marvelled at City Fantastico, it appeared as if nothing could ever top the spectacle presented at the World Fair. That was, as so many things are, unfortunately true.
Following the closing of the World’s Fair, there was a change in City Fantastico. It was subtle at first, everything just seemed to lack the lustre it had before hand. Soon the steroid-fueled sports leagues that had entertained the populace entered a near simultaneous lock-out, citing breakdowns in negotiations. One by one business closed their doors, seemingly lacking the firm plan which had allowed them to flourish. By the time Fantastico announced that Mr. Fantasti IV had gone missing, the City had already begun to revolt.
The insertion of Mr. Fantasti’s son, Mr. Fantasti V in his place did little to quell the chaos. The company’s stock plummeted, and soon the PMC refused to continue working for the promises of better financial times to come. The population began to rally around any figurehead they could, and soon the city ran wild with warring factions. The riots and battles took a great toll on the city, its once magnificent skyline marred with smoke and flames. By the time the fighting died down three years later, the City had been irrevocably changed.
Entrenched within their heavily fortified HQ, the last remnants of the executive board and their loyalist employees are prisoners within their own city. Only the division of their enemies allowed Fantastico to retain any sort of control, and the board knew their days were numbered. If anything could be done it would had to be soon, and it would have to be awesome.
Chapter 1.1: An A-Team Montage for the Ages
Sitting alone in office, Mr. Fantasti V was afforded a magnificent view of his once magnificent city. He could remember back to a time before this all happened, before his father had disappeared, before everything he had worked to achieve crumbled without his guiding hand. He and his father would travel throughout the city daily, supervising construction and interacting with the people. It was hard for him to imagine that those people who had so warmly welcomed him into their stores and homes were now out there tearing down everything his father had built, keeping him trapped in his headquarters like a scared animal.
The buzz of the intercom on his desk drew his attention away from the large window. He turned back to his desk and pressed the casually response button.
”Yes Denise, what is it?” he asked, already confident he knew her answer.
”The board sir, they’re expecting you in their chambers shortly.”
Her voice was emotionless, as always. She used to be more cheerful and bubbly, but being trapped in the same building for three years probably would have that kind of effect on someone, Mr. Fantasti thought. It was a shame, he’d at one point thought of asking her out, not that there’d be any time for that now.
”A shame too,” he said to himself,”…she had a great rack.” ”What was that sir?”
Mr. Fantasti looked down startled, realising his finger was still on the button.
”Nothing Denise, tell them I’ll arrive momentarily.”
He released the button, double checking to make sure it hadn’t become stuck before walking away from his desk. His office opened directly onto his suite, and he took a brief moment to freshen up before departing. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror as he headed towards the elevator. His light brown hair had a tinge of grey to it, and his once handsome face streaked with worry lines. He’d deal with that later, he still had some of the best doctors in the world under his employ, and he had more pressing issues to deal with now. He took a moment to adjust his tie before stepping into the lift and selecting the executive floor.
The executive floor was dark, not from lack of power, but because Mr. Fantasti assumed they generally preferred it that way. His father had always joked that the members of his board were vampires, as the only way to succeed in business these days was to have a team of tireless abominations on your side, a joke Mr. Fantasti had always found funny until he had to deal with them directly. He stepped into the meeting room and sat down at the dimly lit table. Within moments the board had joined him, sitting around the table in silence.
The silence was broken by a voice from the other side of the table, though Mr. Fantasti had trouble figuring out just who had spoken.
”This board meeting has begun, there is one matter before the board today, gentlemen and ladies of the board, prepare to vote.”
Mr. Fantasti sighed and leaned forward on his hands. Why the board continued to issue meaningless proclamations while the City didn’t give a rat’s ass about them was a great mystery to him. His preconceptions were quickly shattered as the issue was put before the board.
”The issue today is non-confidence motion brought forward by the board against Mr. Fantasti V, as we no longer feel he is capable of steering this company in a positive direction. All those in favour?”
Mr. Fantasti could only sit there dumbfounded as one by one the members of the board gave their consent. He only got his wits about him as the original speaker began again.
”A unanimous decision has been reached, as of this moment you are--“ ”WAIT!”, Mr. Fantasti blurted, scarcely able to believe what he was hearing. ”You can’t do this! This is MY FATHER’S COMPANY! We’re the reason any of you are here today!”
He paused a moment to look around the room, though he could barely see the faces of those at the table. One or two shuffled uncomfortably as his gaze passed them, and he decided to press on.
”What’s your grand plan after you get rid of me, hmm?” he asked the group, ”The people out there still won’t listen to you, and throwing me under the bus won’t save yourselves.” He paused again, he could see some of them definitely waivering. He hadn’t prepared for this, but by god he wasn’t going to let them get rid of him that easily. ”Give me a month, one month to get control of the city back. If this city isn’t back under our control within a month, I’ll step down myself.”
The board shifted, murmuring amongst themselves. Eventually, the speaker stood and addressed Mr. Fantasti.
”Very well, you shall have your month Mr. Fantasti, but no more. Now I ask you, how do you propose we retake this city?”
Mr. Fantasti smiled, ”Well gentleman, there’s only one man electrifying enough, to save this city, there’s only one man who can captivate the world and layeth the smackdown and give us our city back, and I’ll have him in here within the hour.”
”You have reached the booking line of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. We are sorry but Dwayne is currently booked throughout the remainder of the year, please leave a message after the beep and we’ll attempt to get back to you.” ”GODDAMNIT”, Mr. Fantasti hurled the phone across his office, shattered it against a marble bust of himself. ”We’re f***ed. We’re FU-U-U-U-UCKED”
Denise stood by his desk, expressionless a small FantasticoVacbot emerged from a slot in the wall and attempted to suck up the shards of the phone. ”Was there anyone else we could call sir? Or were you banking heavily on The Rock being available.” ”What the hell do you think?” Mr Fantasti spat back, ”I didn’t expect to be put in this situation!”
Denise casually watched the Vacbot try in vain to suck up a piece of phone nearly as large as itself as Mr. Fantasti composed himself.
”I’m sorry Denise,” Mr. Fantasti said, running his hands through his hair, ”I think you can understand I’m under a bit of stress right now.” ”Of course sir,” Denise replied, not taking her eyes of the struggling Vacbot, ”What would you like me to do?” ”I don’t f***ing care anymore Denise, get me anyone…” Mr. Fantasti walked over to the window. ”Have a team go get anyone they can find that could possibly help.”
Mr. Fantasti barely slept normally, and he found it nearly impossible following the revelations of the day. Countless hours passed, and he only realised it was the following day when the sun greeted him through his window. Staring back at the sun as it rose above the city skyline, the Bzzzzt startled him to the point where he tripped over his own chair.
”The team’s returned sir, they have your men.” Denise’s empty voice greeted him as he rose back to his feet.
”Tell the captain I’ll be down immediately” Mr. Fantasti replied, slicking back his now slightly frazzled hair.
”It’s time for this city to have some heroes…” ”What was that sir?”
Sitting at her desk in the entryway, Denise’s normally emotionless face cracked a small smile as she heard her boss’s profanity through the intercom.
Mr. Fantasti’s rush to the containment level was nearly the fastest descent ever recorded on a stairway. He stopped a moment before entering, adjusting his hair and suit in a reflection from a window before stepping into the bay. The Captain of his team greeted him, along with less than a third of the men he had sent with him.
”Some men running late Captain?” Mr. Fantasti quipped, only to be shot down by the sullen look on the man’s face.
”No sir, this is all that are coming back. Street gangs accounted for a few of them, and one of your “guests” apparently had her front door wired with a few chunks of C4…and she wasn’t even home.”
The unexpected loss hit Mr. Fantasti like a truck. ”Well, certainly um…inform the next of kin Captain, and tell them we’ll compensate them appropriately.”
The captain saluted before returning to his men, Mr. Fantasti could hear some of them talking loudly about them as he headed away. ”Compensate them? With what? That s*** hasn’t paid us in months.” His first instinct was to turn and reprimand the man, but that would have to wait. When he had control of his city again, no one would dare speak out against him.
When he reached the containment cells there was a single private waiting for him there. The private saluted him and led him into the hallway, lined on all sides by interrogation rooms.
”Got a good bunch of guys fer ya’ sir!” the private gabbed, ”A real purdy girl too!”
Mr. Fantasti rolled his eyes. He remembered when his father had hired professionals to work for them, not uneducated firearms enthusiasts. Desperate times… ”Now this first one…” the private flipped through a couple pages on a clipboard. ”He’s Virago Nelahw, you remember Die Hardbo 7? This guy did stunts for that and uh…one of the guys in B-company said he saw him kick someone’s ass in a club a few years back. Took us two hours to catch the bugger, once we identified ourselves he just took off like some sort of freak, bolted straight up the face of a building he did.”
Mr. Fantasti stared dumbfounded at the private. ”A movie…stuntman…you brought a…nevermind, let’s get a move on.”
The private nodded happily, striding down to the second window. ”And this is…Danyael Greyson, nice guy, real nice. Well, next we have--" ”Wait, a second private.” Mr. Fantasti interrupted, ”Why is he here? What does he do?” ”Oh!” the private looked as if he was surprised the question had been asked. ”He’s uh, in…Analy…Litag…Finance!”
Mr. Fantasti had long decided to remain in a state of incredulous disbelief while talking to the private, so his expression barely changed. ”Did you just say Anal Finance?” ”Um…yessir?” ”You don’t even know what he can do, do you?” Mr. Fantasti asked, his face buried in his hand.
”Um…no sir…”, the private replied, looking down at his feet, “But uh…he kinda talked us into it. I think he heard us mention what we were doing and he just sorta…well he’s so charming!” ”I don’t even care anymore private…next please.”
The private nervously walked to the next window, before looking in. “Oh sir, this is that purdy lady I mentioned.” he smiled at Mr. Fantasti only to meet his blank stare. ”Oh!..and she’s good too! Um…Kathryn McDonnell, that’s her name. Caught up to her at the casino, but not before we tried to get in her home, sir. Awful mess that…door blew the whole front porch off…must have been rigged with something…I dunno.”
Mr. Fantasti looked up for a moment; this woman actually had some potential. He had begun to fear this whole thing was a waste of time.
”I think you’ll like this next one a whoooole lot, sir.” the private had already headed down to the next window. Mr. Fantasti joined him, and found himself staring at a man’s chest. Whoever was in that room was standing right in front of the glass…and was pretty damn huge.
”Whaddya think sir?” the private asked cheerfully, “Captain said he’d seen this guy around here before, can’t imagine he’d mistake this big ‘un eh? Called him Gerald Downhouser.”
Mr. Fantasti was still a bit shocked at the size of him. ”Can’t say I remember him…” he said, half under his breath.
The private shrugged. ”Dunno sir, weird part was he seemed to know what we were doing before we even knew he was there, answered all our call signs and everythang. He knows his stuff…we’re clearly dealin’ with some sort of…I dunno…some sort of genius here.”
Mr. Fantasti’s mood had brightened considerably…this was almost as good as The Rock. He turned to go to the last booth but the private refused to move.
”Something you’d like to tell me private?” Mr. Fantasti asked curiously, the private’s enthusiasm seemed greatly diminished.
”Well sir…the captain thought, what with you tryin’ to clean up the city and all that, that maybe you could use…well…one sick motherf***er to help out, sir, pardon my language. So he uh…told us about this guy see? This sick bastard he heard about while he was working the beat back in the day. This guy kidnapped people, cut them right up, then killed their families too, sir…really sick stuff. Well uh, we went to get this guy sir but uh…things got a little complicated like.” the private was by now visibly shaking.
”Well seeing how you brought in at least one more person, I’d say you stop yammering about how scary it was and introduce me to this person.” Mr. Fantasti tapped his foot impatiently.
”Well see sir…the truth is we didn’t actually get the guy…” the private stammered, “When we finally tracked this guy down…he was um…dead. Eyes scooped right out of his head like ice cream…and uh…we found this guy there…just standin’ there creepy-like.”
Mr. Fantasti stepped up to the window. Sitting quietly in the corner of the room was a slender man in a bloodstained Good Humor uniform. Something about him, just seemed off, and Mr. Fantasti instinctively looked away from the glass when man slowly looked up at the window.
”Who the hell is that then?” Mr. Fantasti asked, looking back at the window only to turn away as the man was still starring at him. There was no way he could know I’m here, Fantasti thought, …that’s a one way mirror for f***sake. ”Well that’s just it, sir.” the private drawing his attention away from the window, ”We have no idea who the hell he is. Guy wouldn’t tell us his name, has no fingerprints, and didn’t come up in any searches the Cap’n ran. We brought him in anyway, so uh…maybe he’ll be useful?”
Mr. Fantasti gave one last glance through the glass, and the creepy bastard was still looking right at him. A shudder went down his spine as he stepped away from the glass.
”That’ll do Private, I’d like these five brought to my office immediately, I’d like to talk to them about a business matter.” he began his walk out of the detainment hall, ”Oh…and that last one…better make sure you keep him cuffed, for all our sakes.”
Mr. Fantasti was sitting behind his desk when the five were brought up to greet him. He wondered what he’d done to ever deserve what he was about to get into.
”Greetings!”, he said, standing as they entered his office. ”I trust your ride here wasn’t too unpleasant?
He didn’t bother waiting for an answer before continuing.
”I trust by now you all know who I am, and just what I am capable of. What you don’t know is why I need you here. My city is tearing itself apart, and while not my first choice, you’re just about the only hope in hell I have of bringing it back around. If you help me do this, I can assure you, you will never want for anything ever again, if you should fail well…”, he turned to face the window, ”…well god help us all.”
He turned to his desk and buzzed through on the intercom. ”Denise, have the Captain come in and escort our guests to the loading bay.”
No response came through the intercom but the Captain and handful of men quickly came in and surrounded the group, rifles drawn.
”Once we’ve ensured your co-operation your belongings will be returned to you.” Mr. Fantasti called out as they filed out. ”Oh and Captain, if any try and run for it…shoot them.
The captain nodded before shutting the door behind him, escorting the group into a series of lifts to the ground floor.
The Fantastico HQ loading bay was a vast structure, located right at the base of the building. It was loaded with remnants of the vast fleet of APCs Fantastico required while it still had a military, now it simply remained a sad testament to just how few men remained. One the opposite end of the space from the lifts, a large bay door began to slowly creak open as the Captain escorted the men into the bay.
”Alright you five, you hold right there.” the captain waved at the group to stand by the bay door as a small group of soldiers dragged a couple of duffel bags (and one dragging a chunk of a lightpost) towards them.
”This is everything you had with you when we picked you up…”, the captain trailed off while looking at the man pulling the chunk of lightpost, ”…and if I see one of you open those bags while you’re still in the building, you’re swiss cheese.”
The door finished its slow rise with a loud grinding noise, and the captain motioned for the group to move outside, taking their duffel bags with them.
“You’re heading for Westside, one of our field agents will meet up with you there.”, the captain said with a grin, “It’s about half a mile…well, west of here. I hope you lot feel up for a walk.”
The door began closing as the captain turned and walked back within the loading bay.
”And don’t get any ideas about getting out of here, because we’ll know…and you won’t like that.” he laughed as he disappeared from view.
The door slammed shut with a dull thud, and the group looked out ahead of them at the deserted street.
It was time for an awesome adventure.
Posted on 2011-02-16 at 01:32:02.
Edited on 2011-02-16 at 01:33:31 by Grugg
A loud roar erupted and quickly became a gentle hum as the cowbell clang signified the start of the match. The arena was a professional grade MMA ring obtained through questionably legal means. The stands were probably stolen from the World Fair, and the lights were legitimately purchased from the local hardware store. The owner's son ran the popcorn stand and the underground fighting circuit takes care of their own.
The cage fitting over the ring was old school style, meaning there was about 5 feet of concrete floor between the edges of the ring and the cage. This allowed for maximum drop when one fighter threw the other over the ropes. No weapons were allowed to be brought in, and the equipment was not allowed to be destroyed. This is a holdover from a few years ago when one fighter ran under the mat and tore off a two-by-four to use as a bludgeon.
The two men wandered around inside the cage... sizing each other up. One was obviously bigger, faster, and stronger, but the other had a strange twitch to his step. And although he moved with the grace of an epileptic hippo there was something unsettling about his mannerism and the way the movement of his feet didn't match the movement of his legs... something that betrayed a hint of crazy that... well to be honest it was pretty well known by now. This was Virago's 5th match of the night and he had yet to be beaten.
The crowd never understood exactly how the 4th contestant died, nor did they understand why he even tried to climb up the side of the cage to chase after "The Boston Crazy." (Wild fighting style combined with an insufferable accent had earned Virago that name, by the way.) In addition, nobody really understood why "Captain Death" as he called himself decided to step into the cage as the 5th challenger.
To his credit, Captain Death showed no fear as he wandered into the cage and climbed through the ropes. He never faltered as The Boston Crazy began surgically removing the femur of his most recent victim. Nor did Captain Death seem to mind that The Boston Crazy was obviously planning on using the bone as a weapon against him. This earned him the respect of the fans.
And a cerebral hemorrhage.
There was no sixth challenger.
After the match Virago was on his way home. To him home was the rooftops of the city, far away from the plebes that roamed the streets and sidewalks. True he had an apartment - a 500 square foot room in a modest neighborhood - but that was little more than a storage shed and place to sleep. He spent most of his time wandering the skyline. And tonight would be no different. As he rounded the corner of his favorite climbing point and readied himself to launch, a voice in the distance caught his ear.
"Sir! Uh, Sir! Mr. Boston Crazy! We need to talk to you! It's uh... Fantastico. We have orders to bring you to company headquarters!"
Virago wasted no time leaping up the side of the building and used every ounce of his remaining energy to promptly GTFO. Oh shiiiiii...... fans....
That was the last thing he needed right now, a couple of fanboys wanting autographs.
And another homicide allegation. Those things tend to follow.
Forty-Five minutes of solid running from rooftop to fire exit to rooftop followed, with only 17 breaks to inject himself with "awesome juice." It did occur to him that these fanboys were long lost behind him and he *really* didn't need to be running full out, but awesome juice has a tendency to make him exaggerate his feelings and confuse absolute necessity with the dangerously excessive. And so he ran.
A short time later, back on the streets, Virago couldn't help shake the feeling he was being followed. And not just a paranoid delusion like he was used to... this one was real. He even injected himself with an antidote to the awesome juice just to be doubly sure. He was being followed.
Maybe these weren't fanboys? Maybe the police had finally found enough evidence to get a warrent? Either way he couldn't be caught with only his clothes, a handful of drugs, and a backpack filled with several useful items. He needed a weapon if this was really going to go down like this. He hailed a taxi and got one within minutes.
"Just drive! Fast!" he yelled at the driver as he jumped into the passenger seat. Before the cabby could tell him to sit in the back or otherwise complain he found a nice wad of cash on his lap. Without another word he drove as fast as he could forward, the environmentally friendly glow from the street lights becoming a "naturally white" blur.
At just the perfect time, Virago reached over and jerked the wheel, causing the cab to spin wildly to the left and plow straight into a street light. Years of training left him unharmed, however the cabby was not going to have a very good day tomorrow if he woke up at all. Virago grabbed his money back and jumped out of the window of the cab, taking a bow to the horrified screams of college kids trying frantically to dial 911. He grabbed the top half of the broken street light and, now exhausted and in a lot of pain, began to climb the nearest building so he could watch the firefighters and paramedics do their thing.
Unfortunately the Fantastico military was waiting for him on the roof and promptly stabbed him with some sort of tranquilizer.
After their little "introduction" they were released back out into the city presumably with some sort of implanted GPS bug or something. "Ok guys, we have a half mile walk. I suggest we walk quickly. That way we can get there faster. Conan should take the lead since he is the biggest target. Anyone else should probably be behind him. In case we get shot at. I plan on not being around if trouble shows up, and I don't know much about the West side so I'm assuming it's a bad part of town.
"By the way, my name is Virago. Some people call me the Boston Crazy but I promise it's not because I'm actually crazy. I don't even like the name but it's kind of stuck. I am a professional fighter and actor and do my own stunts. Used to make money doing it too until the collapse of the entertainment industry.
"Let's see, I do a lot of drugs, take a lot of risks, study drunken boxing, fight hobos, drive cars too fast, and jump from tall buildings without a safety net. I'm also very shy and keep to myself." He added a wink to that last part, but was rather upset his brand of humor seemed to be lost on the others.
He decided it was better to simply make pleasant conversation with the group to pass the time.
"You know... This is actually similar to one of my movies. James Bond and Conan the Barbarian lead an assault team against the clown guy from Twisted Metal and meet Ginger from Gilligan's Island along the way.... It was a B movie. Real low budget stuff. I did get to throw an axe at an Ice cream truck though so it wasn't a total wash. Hey guys, wanna know how I got this street light?"
Posted on 2011-02-16 at 04:16:36.
Edited on 2011-02-16 at 04:55:11 by Admiral
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
Enter the Face
The lights were dim at The Lucky Lady, and the patrons liked it that way. It was a dance club where many went to lose their woes in women, boos, drugs and of course, dancing. A mand sat at a small round table along the wall of the place, watching the other customers, and the exotic dancers as well.
Hmm, what choices to I have tonight...
His eyes flickered from woman to woman as he sized them up (from toes to hair... with focus on a few pariculars...). There she is. He had found the woman that would satisfy him tonight. She was a tall brunete with fierce green eyes, hair down to her waist and breasts that were only a small bit off of perfect. Danyael had seen her in the club before with her husband, but he seemed to be mysteriously absent tonight... Interesting. After watching her for a few moments more he realized, she was out with her female friends. All sorts of possibilities tonight. Perhaps one of the others would be a bit more fun. A thin smile found its way to his face as he stood and maneuvered across the crowded dance floor to the table the ladies had taken as their own.
"Good evening ladies." He said as he strolled up to their table. He received a few smiles and one offhand, almost disgusted look. There we go. She's the mark. "I couldn't help but notice the lack of male attention such beautiful women are receiving." His eyes locked on the disgusted woman. "Would that be by choice or only by circumstance?"
"Choice." The dark-haired woman fired back without hesitation.
"Then I see my attempts at conversation go unwanted. In that case I hope you ladies enjoy your evening." He glanced at two of the other women as he departed the table and headed for the dance floor. It wasn't long before one of them came up tojoin him for a dance, and judging by the way she was dancing... perhaps a bit more.
Within an hour he had danced with 3 of the five women and... experienced two of them. The fourth, having heard of the excitement he had caused her friends, approached him for a dance. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his mark glaring at him.
"I'm sorry. But I think I might have another engagement."
Without another word, and in fact, without even looking at the girl he headed back over to their table.
"The club is closing soon. This may be your last chance."
"I'll pass thanks. I've seen you around here before. You slut around with all of the women who come in here, working your charms to get what you want."
"I don't deny it. But then again, what harm is there in a bit of shameless fun, hmm? I don't force myself on anyone, though I must admit you are a great temptation. Join me for a single dance. If you still despise me by the time it is over, I will never speak with you again. But I promise, this dance you will never forget."
Reluctantly she gave him her hand. On their way to the dance floor, Danyael slipped the DJ a twenty he had taken from some drunk sots wallet and requested a particular song. By the end of it, she was his.
Several hours later, after an exhausting night filled with surprisingly flexible positions and gasping pleasure, he heard the door to the apartment, her apartment, open.
And here comes the part I hate.
As quickly as possible he jumped out of bed and threw his clothes on. He was almost out the window when he heard the gun shot go off. A section of the wall nearby shattered as the bullet exploded through it.
Wow, he is more pissed off than the usual!
He stopped only long enough to call "Sorry buddy, but you really should keep her more entertained!" before slipping down the fire escape and bolting. He had parked his hayabusa only a block away, hidden amongst some trash so that it wouldn't get stolen. He had to make it there before the guy killed him. Bang! Bang!... BANG!Damn! That one was close!
He sprinted around the corner and hopped on his bike. In seconds he was flying down the street to safety, or so he thought.
He arrived home to his own apartment to find the door busted in. He moved in cautiously and was jumped in an instant. Electricity shot through his body as a tazer went off on his thigh. Three men clad in black jumpsuits helped him down to the ground.
"You have 30 minutes to gather your things, then you are coming with us."
Great, which husband hired these thugs...
He gathered his things and the next thing he knew, he was at Fantastico HQ.
Introductions had been made and they had been dropped onto the street once again. The strange man, Virago (?) had told a bit of his story...
"Well, isn't that nice. I think I'll pass on the street light thing for now. I'm sure you'll understand." He turns his attention back to the group. "Now if someone wouldn't mind telling me what just happened back there, I'd be more than..." his words drift off s his eyes rest on Kathryn.
"Well, it seems at least some of the company is of interest." He steps a little closer to her, his eyes locked on her.
"So, are you a true redhead?" His eyes wander to her legs. "I must say, I have never seen such a beauty. I can only hope that I get to see more of you in the near future."
He kneels down and starts unpacking his things from the bag, and putting everything where it belongs. After a moment his eyes slowly drift from Kathryn to what he is doing.
Posted on 2011-02-16 at 19:54:04.
Edited on 2011-02-16 at 23:11:32 by Steelight
It had been a good night. There was a large crowd at the Riverside Casino, and the cash and liquor were flowing. Katie had been there for several hours, and she could feel the ever present need to switch games before her luck ran out. The Texas hold ‘em game had a full table, and she was up by $400. Katie stood up and began collecting her chips.
A drunken gambler grabbed her wrist before she could pick up the last of them, “What’s the matter, babe? Afraid of losing a little money?”
Katie flipped her hair back behind her shoulders, “Let go of my wrist.” “Come on. Give me a chance to win a little bit of that back,” he began to pull her back down to her chair, staring openly at the cleavage now in front of his face, “if you do, you might get a little bit more than money from me.”
A fist still clutching half a dozen chips pulled back. WHAM. Katie allowed most of her weight to connect with the well landed hit on the man’s jaw. The plastic chips cut little lines into her palm, and blood began to seep between her fingers.
“Codladh samh, a**wipe,” she murmured as the man’s head hit the table. Katie flipped a twenty dollar chip to the dealer before making her way towards the chip exchange. So much for another game tonight. She glanced around surreptitiously for security before setting her chips onto the counter. As the attractive woman made her change, Katie slipped one of the chips covered in her blood into her pocket for luck.
The night was clear and full of life. The row of bars, clubs, and casinos ebbed with vitality. Hawkers roamed around the streets selling stolen watches, cheap sunglasses and drugs. Prostitutes also lined the streets displaying their wares and selling them in the alleyway. For the space of a heartbeat, Katie stood on the threshold of the chance of fate and the sin of the city. From either side of her, two heavy hands dropped onto each of her shoulders.
Sh**, she thought, House Thugs.
“Yes,” she responded cynically, “And?”
A small pause, then, “And you need to come with us.”
Fully expecting to be frog marched back into the casino, Katie was surprised when they shoved her into the back of a car. She suppressed a snicker as one of the thugs pulled a small handgun and ‘casually’ held it on his knees. The other thug began into what seemed to be a prepared speech about his employer, money, and hiring her into their services.
God, the same song and dance. Only now its Fantastico instead of Boston.
She drummed her fingers on her leg as she waited for his droning to be done. Once he finally finished, she looked out the window of the car, “Well, at least your pay is acceptable. Where are you taking me?”
She was ushered into a small room with a large mirror dominating one wall. A beefy man strode in behind her with an empty duffle bag. He has several fresh cuts and a rather hideous look on his face.
“Strip,” he said as he threw the duffle bag at her feet.
“What? No music?”
He gave her a withering look before raising his voice, “Strip.”
Throwing her coat to the duffle bag, Katie began removing her guns and everything out of her pockets, and placed them carefully into the bag. Soon she had nothing left on her but her gray slacks, black button up shirt unbuttoned to her bra line, and her black boots. The man zipped up the bag, threw it unceremoniously out the door and began to roughly pat her down.
“Careful, ugly, or I’ll give you a few more bruises to go along with your lovely scratches.”
“Give me more bruises?” he shouted at her angrily. Spit began to fly out his mouth as he raged on, “It’s because of your damned house that I’ve got these cuts! We lost five men to you and your goddamned booby trapped house!”
“What, did you kick in the door?” Her brogue became thicker with every word, “What kind of moron are you? Are you trying to tell me that I don’t have the right to protect myself from the looters and crazed rapists that roam our streets?”
She whistled softly under her breath, “That probably blew off the whole front side, and let me guess. You’re dumba** isn’t going to pay for the damage that you caused to my home, are you?”
He swore before slamming the door shut behind him and locking it.
“Òinseach!” Katie yelled back.
After what seemed like hours she was being led into a rather austere looking office. Katie listened stoically to Mr. Fantasti V’s vague explanation as to why there were there. She didn’t really hear much of it, she too distracted by thinking how much better this office would look if it were on fire. After the short ‘introduction’, they were all taken down through the vast building to the loading dock.
She eyed the closest soldier with his rifle pointed at her. “Is that really necessary?” To show that it was, he lifted it more snuggly against his shoulder and directed barrel toward her face.
Raising and eyebrow, she directed her next remark at the end of rifle,“Let me rephrase that. Point that somewhere else, boyo, before you poke someone’s eye out.” He spat at her comment before walking out with the rest of the men.
Once they were alone with their duffle bags, Katie began rooting through them to find her things. She tossed each one aside until she found her own. As she strapped her shotgun onto her back, the younger man with messy brown hair began to ramble.
"You know... This is actually similar to one of my movies. James Bond and Conan the Barbarian lead an assault team against the clown guy from Twisted Metal and meet Ginger from Gilligan's Island along the way.... It was a B movie. Real low budget stuff. I did get to throw an axe at an Ice cream truck though so it wasn't a total wash. Hey guys, wanna know how I got this street light?" “Yeah, I think I saw that movie once. I think it could have used a fall guy who got shot in the beginning.” She drove her Desert Eagles home before shrugging into her coat, “Virgo, did you say your name was? Let me guess, you’re a grounded salt-of-the-earth type of guy, right?”
The tall well dressed man cut off the conversation, "Well, isn't that nice. I think I'll pass on the street light thing for now. I'm sure you'll understand."
He turned his attention back toward group. "Now if someone wouldn't mind telling me what just happened back there, I'd be more than..." his eyes drifted towards Katie. She could see him taking in her curves as he continued, "Well, it seems at least some of the company is of interest."
He stepped closer to her, “So, are you a true red head?” His voice softly spoke of lust as he openly stared at her crotch, "I must say, I have never seen such a beauty. I can only hope that I get to see more of you in the near future."
Her eyes narrowed. “If you don’t step back, in the near future you’ll get to see a lot more of the back of my hand.”
Posted on 2011-02-16 at 23:29:37.
Edited on 2011-02-17 at 17:08:06 by Celeste
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
A slight smirk crosses his face as he puts the remainder of his things away. "And fiery too. We could make quite a pairing you and I. I hope you're open to new possibilities dear one. I look forward to the chance to show you a good time."
He stands, throwing the now empty duffle bag over his shoulder for later use.
"So. We've got a stunt man, a beautiful red-headed... gun bunny I'm guessing judging by all of the weaponry you just stashed away. How about you guys... what are you good for?"
His cockiness easily leeches into his voice as he speaks those last few words.
Posted on 2011-02-17 at 17:43:09.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
...Cuz the weasel goes POP!!!
It hadn’t been terribly hard to find the last one… just a matter of patience in finding the correct route through the correct neighborhood and paying heed to the chatter of the grown-ups as they lined up their round-faced little tots at the window of his truck. Yes, the sinners were always easy to find when their sins followed them through the minds and mouths of those whom the sinner’s sin most terrified wasn’t it? Maybe if the police thought the same way, they’d have found the butcher sooner… stopped him from killing so recklessly and indiscriminately five or ten victims ago… spared the lives of those who deserved to live and ended the life of the one who didn’t… Justice was blind, though, wasn’t it? And, as far as law enforcement was concerned, Percy guessed, it must also be more than a little deaf because, if the police had heard what he had heard while doling out frozen confections to the children of the City, it wouldn’t have mattered how blind justice was… Justice could have just followed the sounds right through the dark and ended up on the murderer’s doorstep… Percy had… and when he did, he figured that maybe justice wasn’t as blind as it claimed to be…
I doubt it, Popsicle Percy had grinned as he steered his Ice Cream truck through a sprawling slum on the outskirts of City Fantastico. Look at this hole… They probably got less than a block deep before the looks of this place sent them scurrying back downtown with their badges in their butts.
He was humming happily along to the tinny strains of The Entertainer as it blared, incessantly, into the s#!t-sprinkled streets from the speaker mounted on the roof, that night. It didn’t surprise him that no one in this neighborhood came running for ice cream, of course… even if people here did let their kids out on the streets, they were at least smart enough to only do so in the daylight, and the people on the streets, now, were just the kind of sinners that let Percy know he’d be running a semi-regular route in this section of the city very soon… but before you establish the route, you’ve got to get that first customer, right?
And to get that first customer, you’ve got to stop the truck, right?
Right again, Percy grinned as he turned the slime-sauced corner onto a dark street flanked by decrepit tenements and storehouses. The grin got bigger when a bare, yellow bulb winked at him from the street-level window of an otherwise unlit building and he eased the truck over to the curb in front of it. “Someone here needs a visit from the Ice Cream Man, I think… Kidnap and cut up people…. Do the same thing to their families… sounds like a sin to me…” He threw the truck into “Park” and disappeared into the back to gather his supplies and emerged a few moments later with an ice cream scoop in each hand and half a dozen popsicles stuffed in his apron pockets… “A sin worthy of a double-dip of justice…”
Percy hadn’t quite finished when the others showed up… he’d scooped out the butcher’s eyeballs and pocketed them for later but hadn’t quite gotten around to poking the popsicles into the empty sockets when a squad of paramilitary types showed up. He was just a little disappointed… probably not as much as the other guys apparently were, though, judging by the expressions that gawked back at him from behind the guns, they weren’t quite expecting to find him there… Trying to run, at that point, probably wouldn’t have been a good idea, Percy decided, and, given the number of guns that were trained on him, didn’t imagine that these fellows were going to allow him to finish making this particular Sinner Sundae… “Hmmm….”
After an overlong moment spent staring back at the paramilitary types and humming along with the music that still churned from truck outside, he held out the popsicles he’d already unwrapped to the closest two… “Bomb pop?” he chuckled before letting the things fall unceremoniously to the floor and then producing the butcher’s eyes from his apron; “Or, maybe you like good old fashioned Eyes Cream?”
They hadn’t shot him.
That was good.
They had cuffed and shackled him, though.
Not so good.
They’d also confiscated his truck and, horror of horrors, turned off the music.
Really not good.
How is the kill kone topped off properly if you don’t get to hear “Pop Goes The Weasel” when it’s over? It’s like the cherry on top for Chrissake! You can’t just hand out a sundae without the friggin’ cherry on top! It’s just not right… “Nuts,” he snickered as they loaded him up and whisked him off.
He spent the next few hours in a room where the only entertainment was singing “Pop Goes the Weasel” to himself and staring back at the eyes he knew were just on the other side of the mirror over there… He had just begun to wonder if they were going to leave him there when a couple of nervous looking gents showed up and escorted him to a rather severe looking office where he was shoved into the presence of a rather motley assortment of other folks who stood, waiting, before none other than Mr Fantasti V, himself. “If all of them want ice cream,” he smiled over his shoulder at his escorts, “I’m going to need my tuck…”
The guys didn’t answer, of course, and didn’t even bother to take of the cuffs and shackles before they left him with these others… Not even the courtesy of introductions… he sighed as his too-large eyes swept from face to face and, with a clattering of his restraints, reached up to adjust his hat before offering an odd smile to no one in particular… he jingled the chains again as his hands fell away from the hat and the smile got broader and stranger… and, as Percy’s eyes meandered back across the assemblage of faces to, finally, come to a rest on Mr Fantasti V’s, couldn’t help but sing along…
Do your chains hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ‘em in a knot?
Can tie ‘em in a bow?
Can you throw ‘em o’er yer shoulder like a Fantastico soldier?
Do your ears hang low?
… “Hmmm,” he snickered when all he got were befuddled stares for his efforts, “No?” He shrugged and jingled the chains once more before taking a seat on the floor… “Okay… how about this one?”
Do your arm pits smell?
Do they make you feel unwell?
Do people think you're mean,
When you join in with the team?
Are they worse than a bad fart, after eating baked beans?
Do your arm pits smell?
Again… nothing… “You people just don’t like ice cream, do you,” he muttered before falling into a smiling silence and letting his all-too-happy gaze wander as Fanatsti went on with the “orientation.” When it was over, he (softly singing variations of Do Your Ears Hang Low) and the others were escorted to the loading docks, where his restraints were finally removed… The others talked among themselves and set about reclaiming their gear as Percy tottered around the place (to the limits he was allowed, at any rate) and tried to find his truck amongst the array of APCs that were already parked here…
He heard the chatter between the others, of course… listened as each gave away little pieces of themselves like free samples in order coax the others into buying what they were selling… He might have visibly cringed when one of them said something about having once thrown an axe at an ice cream truck and he might have snickered a little bit at the exchange between the good-looking guy and the rough-and-tumble redhead, but he didn’t really acknowledge that any of them were there until…
"So. We've got a stunt man, a beautiful red-headed... gun bunny I'm guessing judging by all of the weaponry you just stashed away. How about you guys,” the Face asked smugly, “what are you good for?"
“I sell ice cream,” Percy called back… he almost forgot what else he was going to say because he finally picked out the faded pinks, whites, and blues of his trucks paintjob and was making a beeline towards that beloved vehicle… as he threw the door open and climbed up into the driver’s seat, though, it came back to him and he grinned at the cocky bastard who had just asked what he was good for… “and sometimes I kill motherf*****s and make banana splits out of ‘em!”
He giggled with a hysterical delight as he started the truck and Pop Goes the Weasel began to echo through the bay…
All around the city of stench
the monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought it was all in fun...
Pop! Goes the weasel...
Pop-pop-pop goes the weasel, the weasel
Pop-pop-pop goes the weasel.
Pop goes the weasel cus the weasel goes pop!
“...You guys want some ice cream?”
Posted on 2011-02-17 at 20:27:53.
Edited on 2011-02-17 at 20:28:26 by Eol Fefalas
She might have found his humor amusing, but there was something about his eyes. That or it could be the blood soaked Good Humor uniform, which threatened to corrupt some of her favorite childhood memories. At least he had a vehicle, though it was also reminiscent of demonic clown disguised under soft pastels. His off-kilter demeanor reminded her of someone she met once at a casino. Katie made sure she never went back to that one again.
Craps tonight. The table was packed, and she found herself standing next to a brick of a man with his shirt sleeves rolled up. The smell of whiskey rolled off in waves when he spoke. At the moment, he was engaging her in the typical likes verses dislikes conversation with Katie. She didn’t mind, after all, he had bought her a drink.
His spade like hand set a stack of chips on the table before continuing the converstation,“Me, I like tattoos. Got a whole collection of ‘em.”
“Oh yeah?” She made a quick inspection of the thick arm that was distributing the chips. It was free of ink. “Don’t like them on your arms? I thought that was the ideal place for tattoos to be.”
He looked at her incredulously, “Not on my body, girl! Are you crazy?? Naw, needles scare the crap out of me. I got a whole collection back at my house in Westside. Treated the skin real nice so they’ll last longer.”
Katie winced as ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ echoed down the bay. Nice and quiet too. Taking careful aim, she kicked her empty duffle bag towards Mr. Suave and walked over to the ice cream truck.
After climbing through the passenger door, she called out the group still standing in the bay. “Beats walking. I call shotgun.”
Looking back at the man sitting in the drivers seat, her stomach turned over. No time for that, Kate. Suck it up, you’ve met worse I’m sure. “Nice truck you got here,” she said casually as she pulled out her wallet. A five appeared in her hand and she passed them to The Ice Cream Man. “I’m Katie. You don’t have to get out of your seat, I’ll help myself to one. Let me know if that, uh, doesn’t cover it.”
The back was well laid out for such a small space. She never really appreciated how much stuff someone could get into the back of a truck and still work somewhat comfortably. Katie opened the first cooler and looked inside. On the right was a stack of Dreamsicles, Push Pops, and ice cream sandwiches. On the left was a neat stack of meticulously wrapped body parts. Katie suppressed a full body shudder after seeing some frozen blood on the outside of a cling wrapped hand. Gross. Grabbing a Dreamsicle, she sat back down in the front passenger seat. Regret for calling shotgun was starting to creep into her emotions, but she’d rather watch him then have him sneak up on her unawares. Katie unwrapped her frozen treat and began eating it.
“Let’s get a move on,” she called out the window, “we don’t have all day to wait for your tònha.”
Posted on 2011-02-17 at 21:39:35.
Edited on 2011-02-17 at 22:19:25 by Celeste
Downtown City Fantastico wasn’t what it used to be. There was trash everywhere.
Gerald wanted to believe that people still cared, and that this grand scale littering was the doing of a minority of punk youngsters or young punksters who took pleasure in destroying what others had created. And if that creation was something called society or something as simple as a trashcan, he didn’t care. Mostly, he didn’t care because he didn’t understand the difference.
He knew, however, that he liked minorities of punk youngsters. He could beat them, and the problem would stop.
The golf cart he was driving through the concrete streets bumped over a crumpled can of Fantasticola. Gerald grunted as he was pressed into the plastic roof of his make shift police vehicle even more than he already was. Golf carts were designed to be spacious and airy. They were meant to make people comfortable as they leaned back and steered casually over fields of green.
Gerald took up the entire space inside the golf cart. Well, his chest did, mostly. He sat hulked inside the cart like a gorilla inside a shipping crate for a chimpanzee.
From under his brows he was barely able to peer at the road, but he didn’t really need to see where he was going. His path would lead him to crime no matter what.
He pulled over and parked the golf cart on the side of the street, next to a basketball court. With some effort he squeezed out of the vehicle and looked onto grey pavement where a few guys were playing five on five under the loud bass of a rap song.
Gerald put on his sunglasses and reached back to the golf cart. He had long ago traded the regular type police car for this new form of transportation. They simply didn’t fit. At first he had gone for the motorbike as an alternative, but they got stolen a lot as he left them to fight druglords, corrupt cops and pimps.
Nobody cared about golf carts.
He flicked a switch on the customized dashboard and a fragment of a siren erupted from a speaker on the roof. A magnetic flashing light spat red and blue bursts in every direction. The guys on the basketball court looked in his direction and froze. Their rap-track stopped. Their ball bounced into the distance and its echoing jolts reverberated in the silence.
Then the MP3 player skipped to the next song, and its fast beat set things in motion again.
One of the basketball players stepped forward. He was wearing a brackish white tank top and baggy jeans. His sneakers were too new for him not to be involved in crime, Gerald noted.
“Whadda you want, you white-ass gorilla?”
He had a black bandana on his head and when he spoke, a silver grill was revealed in his mouth. There were letters engraved in it, spelling the words U SUCK and BITCH. Gerald noted that bad taste was something he could not punish the boy for, but luckily the kid pulled a knife. Following their leader’s example, the other players overconfidently turned up the aggression and pulled their knives. Two of them even carried a gun, which they now pointed at Gerald in a defiant sideway grip. There was no discussion, these were some cool gangsters.
The leader paced at Gerald in an arrogant tantrum.
“You disrupt our game, huh? I’m ‘a make you wish you was never born, you white-ass motherf…”
Before he could finish, Gerald had his fist halfway down the guy’s throat, cutting of words, air and probably a few muscles. He then raised his arm, gangster and all, and flung the kid into the other thugs. As the leader slammed into three of his peers, knocking them down, his grill flew through the air in slow motion. It bounced of the basket and went through the hoop, continuing down to land in the wide open mouth of one of the gunmen, who had been following the jewellery in its airborne journey. The guy started choking and dropped his weapon.
Five gang members were still standing, and slowly it dawned on them that even though they were facing a single target, they were the ones outnumbered.
Gerald broke into a run, and reached for Big Gun #1. But instead of shooting it directly, he used it as a baseball bat, and slammed it into the closest dude’s stomach. Pivoting severely he swung again and hit another in the face. More teeth flew but they scattered against his chest as he was already moving towards his third target.
Out of instinct the boy lashed out with his knife, but he missed experience and determination. He had never really used the knife for anything but intimidation, a fact he sorely regretted now.
Gerald´s hand grabbed him by the wrist and before he knew it he was circling the air above the supercop´s head. When he was released he found his landing cushioned by one of his mates. For a moment he felt relief, but then he realized that he was bouncing on towards a concrete wall.
The last standing thug held his pistol in front of him and aimed it at Gerald with trembling hands.
“You’re done now, Bitch!” he yelled.
Gerald slowly rose from his striking pose and lowered his sunglasses with his right hand. With his left, he let Big Gun #1 come up simultaneously and tapped it against his head.
For the first time since he arrived, he spoke, and his tone was more gentle than you would expect.
“Are you sure you want to do that? Crime doesn’t pay. And I know the police force doesn’t pay much either, but hey. At least I’ve got a bigger gun.”
The kid stared at the giant man indecisively. Gerald pressed on:
“You can run along now. Tell your friends to stay off the drugs. Become gardeners or something.”
The boy ran, and Gerald stood up to his full height. He raised Big Gun #1 and aimed. A moment later the bullet flew and the MP3 docking station was blasted to smithereens.
“I hate rap.” Gerald stated.
He broke the basketball board from the iron pole it was sitting on and placed it behind his golf cart. With a pair of hand cuffs he attached the hoop to the cart’s tow bar. Then he gathered the gangsters from the basketball court, some of them unconscious, some of the still moaning and flung them on the board.
He then got in and started pulling the pile of gangbangers through the streets.
Not much later he arrived at the police station. His superior was already waiting for him, metaphorical steam coming from his ears.
“Gerald! How many times do I have to tell you?!! We don’t have any cells left!”
Gerald shrugged, flung the gangsters over his shoulders and marched to the row of holding cells. He pulled open a random door, which revealed a small room packed with unshaven and tattooed criminals. Some of them stared wide eyed and cried for mercy, while others simply braced themselves for even more bodies to fill up the already cramped space.
The door did protest a bit, but eventually it fit, and Gerald returned to his captain. The man hadn’t calmed down one bit.
“Downhouser, I’ve had it! You will do as I say!”
“No, Marcus, I won’t.” He replied, “And you know it. I’ve got to go. There’s someone who needs me.”
And with that he left the police station and returned to his golf cart.
Later that day he was standing outside the loading bay of Fantastico HQ. Not much of what had happened inside the building had bothered him much. He had felt strangely familiar there. It must’ve been the fact that everything in there had been so small. When you’re big, everything you don’t fit into looks the same.
He looked at his companions. They looked like they might be criminals themselves. Well, they couldn’t be, or Mr Fantastico wouldn’t have hired them. One of them started to speak.
"Ok guys, we have a half mile walk. I suggest we walk quickly. That way we can get there faster. Conan should take the lead since he is the biggest target. Anyone else should probably be behind him. In case we get shot at. I plan on not being around if trouble shows up, and I don't know much about the West side so I'm assuming it's a bad part of town.”
“Yes,” Gerald replied, “West side is a bad part of town. It’s got lots of crime; drugs, prostitution, murder. We will have to be careful there.”
After a pause he added: “I don’t know who Conan is, but he can take the lead if he wants to.”
“By the way, my name is Virago. Some people call me the Boston Crazy but I promise it's not because I'm actually crazy. I don't even like the name but it's kind of stuck. I am a professional fighter and actor and do my own stunts. Used to make money doing it too until the collapse of the entertainment industry.
Let's see, I do a lot of drugs, take a lot of risks, study drunken boxing, fight hobos, drive cars too fast, and jump from tall buildings without a safety net. I'm also very shy and keep to myself."
“Alright, young man.” Gerald stated, as he towered over Virago, “My name is Gerald, and I warn you: Do NOT take drugs. They are bad for you. You should pick up acting again. I’m sure business will get better eventually.”
It had been a statement rather than a warning. As Virago kept talking, Gerald looked at the others in his presence. He discovered the girl, and apparently was not the only one. The handsome man was making some advances, and she was apparently not entertained by he attention.
“You best leave the lady alone, if that’s what she prefers.” He added to her own burst of rejection.
“We’re supposed to be a team, so let’s behave like one, alright?”
“So.” The man continued, “We've got a stunt man, a beautiful red-headed... gun bunny I'm guessing judging by all of the weaponry you just stashed away. How about you guys... what are you good for?"
“I sell ice cream, and sometimes I kill motherf*****s and make banana splits out of ‘em!”
That was a weird way to talk about fruit, but Gerald knew not everybody was as bright as he was himself. He could handle the language as long as the splits were any good.
Now it was his turn. As he followed the others into the ice cream truck he replied to the earlier question.
“What am I good for? I’m good in general. I’m good opposing evil. I’ve put more men in jail than I can count. And I can count to… well, I don’t know, but it’s a lot. So, if our Goal is the West Side, I’m ready to meet its Keeper. We should move, introductions can be done on the way.”
He climbed aboard the truck, which made its springs creak heavily, and looked around the back. The girl was nosing around one of the freezers and he bent over to pick one himself. His eyes fell on the body parts.
“Wow… those look real.” He yelled towards the front, where the truck’s owner had climbed behind the steering wheel. Then he picked out a brand of ice cream he was familiar with and starting eating it as he waited for the others to get in.
Posted on 2011-02-17 at 22:33:17.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
Wait... customers don't usually... oh... never mind...
Pop Goes the Weasel had made it through its first loop and, as it recycled to the beginning of its second, Percy’s grin had stretched halfway across his face… There’s the cherry on top, he thought, losing himself in the tune for a moment and remembering the reason the song had to be played, A shame I didn’t get to finish that one… He’d have made a nice hat… or a smoothie…I wonder if he’s still there? I could go back and…
~…monkey though it was all in fun,
POP goes the weasel!~
“Beats walking. I call shotgun!”
~All around the cobbler’s bench…~
No, Percy imagined, his smile starting to melt like a Nutty Buddy on a summer sidewalk, He’s probably not there anymore… probably bagged him up and took him away and I’ll never get to finish…
~…the monkey chased the weasel…~
Besides, aren’t you supposed to start a new route in Westside?
~…The money thought it was all in fun…~
That’s right! Percy’s eyes flew open as the perfect insanity of his thoughts started to crystallize and congeal into a sweet and creamy sense of direction… “Pop goes the weasel on the Westside,” he chirruped along with the canned music.
His grin had returned and Pop Goes the Weasel had found that empty place in its loop in which the only sound in the truck was the whirring of the refrigeration systems, the chugging of the engine, and the humming of his mind. He had just begun to turn around to check the back of the truck when the song spun up into its third loop… but it had started wrong… there was never a sound like the passenger door opening at the beginning of that song before… and it never smelled like apples, either…
“Nice truck you got here…”
Percy’s head swiveled towards the passenger door and his lips did a crazy dance over his teeth before simmering into a somewhat uncomfortable and yet eerily polite smile It was the pretty red-headed woman with the big… guns.. No customers on the truck, he thought instinctively as, while he blinked at her, the woman produced a five dollar bill from her wallet and handed it to him, that’s a rule, isn’t it? No customers on the truck? There are already some customers on the truck, though, aren’t there? Pieces of them, anyway…
“Thanks,” Percy grinned, tentatively taking the money from the woman who was standing so close… too close without the window between them, maybe… his hand might have trembled a little when it withdrew from hers and slipped the money into an apron pocket…
“I’m Katie,” the woman said as she slipped past him and made her way to the coolers, “You don’t have to get out of your seat, I’ll help myself to one. Let me know if that, uh, doesn’t cover it.”
He blinked after her, nodding slowly a couple of times before he was able to find his voice; “Oh…okay… um… Hi, Katie… you might want to… to stay away from the machine with the red handle… oh… and the green popsicles… definitely don’t want to eat those… and the…uh… the bomb pops… don’t jostle the bomb pops…hehe…hehehe…”
He watched as she selected a Dreamsicle and politely closed the freezer afterward… the fingers of one hand fidgeted in his apron pocket for her change as she made her way back to the passenger’s seat… Her name is Katie, she said… Gonna tell her yours?…The nervously polite smile stayed frozen on his lips but his eyebrows jumped and crawled in what might have been confusion for a moment… he did have a name, didn’t he?... He’d had one once, he knew, a name… couldn’t remember it, though… Well, a name is just something people call you, isn’t it? What do people call you?
Percy’s eyes slipped away from the pretty woman in the passenger’s seat and fell to the clump of blood and gore crusted bills and coin in his hand and his smiling expression crawled its way into one more indicative of deep thought as he considered that question… “ICE CREAM MAN!!!” he mused, All the kids call me ”ICE CREAM MAN!!!”… but that’s probably too loud, huh?... Dreamsicle is a dollar fifty… she gave me a five… One, two… He peeled three dark-stained singles from the wad of money and then poked a couple of quarters out of hiding… Three-fifty in change… So, if “ICE CREAM MAN!!” is too loud, just tell her what everybody else calls you…
“Let’s get a move on,” she called out the window, to those other ones that had gone to the meeting with them he guessed “we don’t have all day to wait for your tònha.”
“I’m God,” Percy smiled happily as he thrust his hand out and offered Katie the change he’d just counted out, “It’s actually short for ‘Oh God Please No’ but sometimes that just takes too long to say, you know? And some people don’t really have that long, anyway, so it’s okay if you shorten it like that…”
He shrugged, blinked at her once or twice, and then looked away, reaching for his seat-belt as he made ready to start his new route. “I’m not really supposed to have customers on the truck,” he said almost absently as he buckled up and turned his eyes to the road beyond the windshield, “but, I guess, we’re all supposed to go to Westside… and you paid for your ice cream… I don’t mind giving you a ride… just, you know, don’t tell anyone…”
Even though he said he didn’t mind giving them a ride, Percy visibly cringed when the big man climbed aboard and the truck’s suspension creaked under his weight. The accommodating smile returned as quickly as it had wavered, though, and he nodded faintly as the giant Gerald squeezed past him and, like Katie, opened a cooler to find himself an ice cream…
“Wow… those look real!”
Percy looked back, took note of the particular freezer the massive man had opened, and looked curiously at the guy… “Well sure they’re real,” he chuckled after a second, taking his eyes off the guy and turning them back to the view beyond the windshield, “who’d keep fake body parts in a freezer? That’s just crazy…”
He smiled at Katie, then; “How’s that ice cream?”
Posted on 2011-02-18 at 15:32:43.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
So, I get to climb into a crowded ice cream truck with some insane ice cream man or walk through west side... talk about choice between hell and purgatory...
He looks in the back, then to Katie.
"It's kinda crowded in there. I don't suppose there's any room for me up front hmm?" After pausing a second for the expected sneer... "Didn't think so. Well, I guess I'll slide in here with the big guys since my bike is back at my apartment. I'm not sure I'd want to ride a motorcycle through the west side anyway, from what little I've heard about it."
He climbs in and squeezes into an open spot.
"You don't mind do you God? If so I'm sure I can pay our way." He pauses fore a second, as if realizing something. "And we aren't really going to be calling you God all the time are we? I'm Danyael by the way, but those that know me call me Romeo. I'm not sure why." As he casts a significant glance at Katie.
"Well, I think we're all here. Take us out of here if you would ice cream man."
Posted on 2011-02-19 at 19:26:31.
Edited on 2011-02-19 at 23:42:48 by Steelight
"Well, isn't that nice. I think I'll pass on the street light thing for now. I'm sure you'll understand."
He didn't. It was an awesome story. It involved a taxi cab and a fire engine.
Virago instead sorted through his pack to make sure everything was there. The others did the same. He kept an eye on Mr. Bond as he got shot down by the redhead. "Cute, but not really my type... all filler" he muttered under his breath.
“Virgo, did you say your name was? Let me guess, you’re a grounded salt-of-the-earth type of guy, right?”
Not the first time I've heard that one..."Actually Dr. Isley, I'm a Gemini. And I'm anything but grounded. I try to stay off it as much as possible. Also I avoid salt since it's bad for your arteries and is the underlying cause of most heart attacks. That and stress, but a lot of us today have evolved significant coping mechanisms and aren't really bothered by it anymore...
"But yea, salt kills."
The ice cream man was absolutely intriguing. He never, ever wanted to be left alone with him in a small room, but he was fun to watch.
The Terminator spoke next. “West side is a bad part of town. It’s got lots of crime; drugs, prostitution, murder. We will have to be careful there. I don’t know who Conan is, but he can take the lead if he wants to. My name is Gerald, and I warn you: Do NOT take drugs. They are bad for you. You should pick up acting again. I’m sure business will get better eventually.”
Virago chuckled. Clearly not a movie guy. "It's a... don't worry I'll pull up the movie on my iPhone and we can watch it later. You look just like him. Hey big guy... Gerald, right? Can I ask you a question?" Without waiting for a response, "What is best in life?" Virago began giggling furiously.
"Now you say: 'To crush your enemies, see them driven before you... and to hear the lamentation of their women!' Trust me it will be HILARIOUS." Virago seemed to be able to change gears on a whim. "Oh and drugs aren't bad by definition, beings they are inanimate objects and incapable of moral reasoning. Besides antibiotics are drugs, and so are vitamins. So I challenge that statement. Drugs are neither good nor bad, but simply tools in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing."
Now that they had a vehicle they at least didn't have to walk, but it would be tough to squeeze into the back with all those freezers. Not that he really minded the closed space... it was the music that set him off.
“who’d keep fake body parts in a freezer? That’s just crazy…” Virago was conflicted. The man did have a point... but that didn't the moment any less awkward. This very well could be a golden opportunity for him. He knew a few producers hurting for money right now... Maybe this little adventure would make a good screen play.
"Umm, Mr. Softee... do you have any ice cream without body parts in it? I'm a vegetarian."
Posted on 2011-02-20 at 21:03:21.
Edited on 2011-02-20 at 21:08:41 by Admiral
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
The truck got more and more crowded as, following Katie’s lead, the rest of the folks from the meeting climbed into the thing and started picking through the ice cream. Percy wondered, at one point, if they’d all fit and, perhaps more importantly, if he would have room to work with all of those living people packed into the back…
“You don't mind do you, God,” Prince Charming asked, flicking Katie glance before squeezing between she and Percy to find a spot amongst the others, “If so I'm sure I can pay our way...”
There was a faint shake of Percy’s head as he blinked his too large eyes, set his hat just a bit farther back on his head, and offered a toothy grin. “Everyone pays their own way… one way or another,” he murmured almost absently, still wondering how in the devil he might be able to sell any ice cream with all of those bodies in the way, “it’s the wages of sin, you know… the bigger the sin the higher the cost of the popsicle…”
“…And we aren't really going to be calling you God all the time are we?”
“Probably not,” the ice cream man shrugged, his rubbery grinned face turning, now, to fix an unblinking set of eyes firmly on Prince Charming… “It all depends, though, doesn’t it,” he giggled after a moment. “Only some people call me that, anyway… Other people call me ICE CREAM MAN!!!…”
As he turned and his eyes let go of the suave fellow, the ice cream man happened to catch a glimpse of the patch sewn over the left pocket of his shirt… “ʎɔɹǝd” it said… and the sight of it sparked a fit of rapid blinking…
That’s a name, isn’t it?
... I think so… Let’s play some music…
Is it my name?
…mmmmmm… I’m not sure…
Or was it somebody else’s name and now I’m just wearing his skin?
…That sounds reasonable… and if that’s the case, you might as well keep the name…. How about “Turkey in the Straw?” I love that one….
“Percy,” he said, nodding in affirmation as he tapped a finger to the name patch and then reached across the dashboard to cue up Turkey in the Straw, “You guys can call me Percy if you want to.”
“…I'm Danyael by the way, but those that know me call me Romeo. I'm not sure why.”
Percy had begun to whistle along to the new tune but, at that last from ‘Romeo,’ he stopped and seemed to consider deeply for a while… Romeo? Like “Romeo and Juliet” Romeo? I read that once… or maybe I saw it in a movie… or was it muppet theater? Anyway… “I don’t know, Danyael,” he blinked after a moment and glanced back at the man, “Maybe it’s because a woman will be the death of you?”
“Umm, Mr. Softee...”
It was the silly, lamp-post, movie guy. Percy wasn’t exactly sure who Mr Softee was but, for some reason he figured Virago must have been talking to him… I’m going to have trouble remembering all of my names, I think… no wonder people forget…
“…do you have any ice cream without body parts in it? I'm a vegetarian.”
Percy’s head tilted curiously to one side as he regarded the silly man for a minute… then, blinking, his eyes flitted from freezer to freezer and dispenser to dispenser before completing the circuit and fixing on Virago’s face once more. His smile had gone flat during the pondering of the question but, now, as Percy met Virago’s gaze again, the corners of his mouth stretched almost impossibly high and he began tittering with laughter… “The body parts don’t go in the ice cream, ding-a-ling,” he laughed, turning around in his seat and turning up the volume on the music before taking hold of the steering wheel, “The ice cream goes in the body parts… or maybe the ice cream is how I get the body parts… Never been on an ice cream truck before, have you?”
“Well, I think we're all here,” Romeo said over the pluck and twang of Turkey in the Straw, “Take us out of here if you would ice cream man.”
“Okie dokie,” Percy complied, shifting the truck into drive, “Hats on, boots on, Yeeehaw! Sing a li’l song about a turkey in the Westside….”
((OOC: just more fun fluff… at least we’re moving towards trouble, now… Off to Westside at a jingly, tire scalding 5 MPH... ))
Posted on 2011-02-21 at 15:34:56.
Edited on 2011-02-21 at 15:49:52 by Eol Fefalas
Chapter 1.2: Rated G for Gangsta
Introductions were quickly made within the group, and it would seem that a motley crew of personalities had never been assembled before. The straight-edge, giant Downhouser towering over the amphetamine fueled Virago, the fast and loose Danyael already making advances to the group's lone female, the fiery (in both hair and personality) Kathryn, and the Ice-Cream Man, Percy as he called himself, who was another case altogether.
Though their ideologies greatly differed, the group now shared a common purpose. Fantastico HQ sat beside them, an enormous testament to the company's once total control of the island, and even now a fortified monolith that spoke volumes of their resolve to regain it. Though none of the group had any evidence, they could all “feel” Mr. Fantasti's eyes on them, and the large amount of armed guards within the complex gave even the most confident of the group a twinge of anxiety about failing to carry out his orders. The captain had given them their destination, and while the group struggled initially to find room for all of them in Percy's pastel-coloured “ice-cream” truck, they were soon off on their way.
From his office, Mr. Fantasti watched idly out the window, waiting to catch a glimpse of his new team as they headed out.
Hmm, he thought to himself, ...did I remember to tell to captain they were to be given access to one of the out modelled APCs? He squinted out at the streets below, still unable to see the group.
”I'm sure they'll figure out on their own...” he muttered to himself.
In fact, he had just caught a glimpse of the group now, walking from the base of his headquarters across the street to a...a...what the hell was that? It was smaller than he thought the APCs were...and the paint job was a bit...spotty.
He was staring intently at the vehicle until it was about to pull out of sight into an alley when the first notes of the song hit him.
Turkey in the Straw
For the second time in months Denise's face allowed a small smile as the sound of her bosses curses rang out through the still jammed intercom.
The ride from Fantastico HQ to the outskirts of the company's control gradually mimicked the fall of society within the city itself over the last few years. It seemed that with each block behind them, the general state of repair dropped. Though the buildings around the HQ had been maintained and kept livable, more and more cracks appeared in the illusion until eventually only dilapidated slums lined the streets. The worst was yet to come however, as the group finally entered Westside proper.
The large archway that spanned the street looked certainly like it had been built from scrap stolen from other projects. Its rusted metal body jutted out in many directions, and the word “WESTS!D3” was crudely cobbled together across the apex, seemingly from display lettering stolen from the fronts of restaurants and the like. Slightly more concerning was the wooden sign hanging just slightly below the apex, held to the structure by large chains. Riddled with bullet holes, the words painted on the sign were faded but still visible from street level.
”Ur in da wrong neighbourhood, muthaf***a”
Emboldened by the apparent warm welcome, the group passed through the arch undaunted, and the apparent poverty of Westside surrounded them.
Though none of them remembered anything particularly notable about the area before the collapse of Fantastico, it looked as if their the area had been hit hard by the riots. What would have once been apartment complexes now resembled photos taken of Europe years past during WW2, still missing large sections of walls and caked with graffiti and soot. Though the streets just past the entrance were empty, a handful of overturned cars lined the sides of the road, their rusted out bodies home to a collection of vermin and scavenger animals, some still with fuel dripping from them, leaving long lines criss-crossing the street. As the group rounded the first corner, a scene unfolded before them.
”Wut the f*** you doing in Westside, beotch?”
The group couldn't tell exactly who had said that, as it seemed originate from a group of large black males huddled about something in the middle of the street. One held a large boombox on his shoulder, and the familiar refrain of Darius Garnett's gangsta-rap anthem ”F*** Fantast!co” could be heard throughout the street.
”Ya, we ain't seen yer sorry white ass up in here before, homie.”, a second different voice chimed in.
It took a moment for the team to realize the group they'd stumbled onto was in fact not talking to them, and was looking at a mass of rags curled in the fetal position at their feet. When one of the men gave a solid kick to the pile, it let a faint whine. There was definitely a person in there. The jingling of the ice-cream trucks speakers soon drew the group's attention, and they turned to face the seemingly randomly appearing frozen treat dispenser.
”Looks like someun's brought us some frozen treats, boyz” the seemingly lead one said, already reaching into his pocket, bringing out a switchblade. ”Must not be from 'round these parts.”
A couple in the back snickered, cracking their knuckles, while another two turned from beating the man on the ground with a pair of tire irons. One, confusingly, pulled an already lit molotov cocktail from the folds of his coat, tossing it giddily from hand to hand.
”Why don't we show'em a lil' Westside hospitality, cuz?”, the one holding the molotov called out.
The lead one nodded, and within seconds a molotov was sent hurtling toward the ice-cream truck. The aim was slightly off, and it streaked past seemingly harmlessly, landed a few feet to rear of the vehicle. While at first it had seemed a lucky break (a direct hit surely would have melted some of the ice cream) it appeared the team hadn't got away quite so cleanly. The fire burned a moment more before catching some fuel, tripping idly from one of the overturned cars on the street side. Within seconds, the remaining fuel erupted, sending flames tracing around the ice-cream truck and large gang as they soon became encapsulated in a large ring of fire. It was almost as if some outside force had prepared this ring of fire as some sort of deterrent for attempting to flee the situation...almost as if this scenario had been designed to give the team their first taste of combat in a confined area while giving the potential for third degree burns. Almost...
The leader of the gang advanced on the ice-cream truck, sneering.
”Cum on out, bitches...” the others began to advance with him, ”...cum on out n' play!