Sunday, October 15, 2006

post 317. roc-city heroes, part 2.

Vagrants. Disgusting, dirty, disease-infested tramps.

Photon shooed a few away. Whatever material made his hideout’s main portal bomb-proof and laser-proof and impenetrable, even to the entire nucleolectro-rod wielding robots of Planet Zangroc 5, apparently contained some sort of hobo-magnet. There were three of them, all oily-looking and slouching from malnourishment and sleeping on concrete.

One of them said something, something Photon couldn’t hear nor fathom; hobo-speak, he figured. Some secret code of uncleanliness. Even though he hadn’t touched any of them, he checked his super-suit out for smudges, as if somehow the hobos could secret a few dirt stains to his impeccable, quite heroic yellow-and-red costume. He made a note to clean his hands.

Just his luck, to be duped into a hideout that would be home to…well, homeless people. He closed the portal.

“Don’t I fight crime? Am I not the defender of this fair city?” He asked, his voice echoing through the abandoned subway tunnel under Rochester’s exchange street. He didn’t want a response, and really didn’t even expect one; Harvey, that big RIT nerd, was zapping away with his spagmometer at some intricate-looking computer board under the buzzing light of his workbench, that bright, unsafe-looking light. His cigarette smoke curled upwards towards the dank-looking ceiling, weaving in and out of all that…techno-machinery junk he tinkered endlessly with.

“You would think, that after all I’ve done for this city, someone, maybe…I dunno, perhaps, Mayor Duffy? Mizzz Brooks? George Westwing, someone! Someone could elas…elis…enlist…eliminate! Eliminate the vagrancy and dirtiness of all those homeless people at our front door!”

Harvey continued to work, not listening. The spagmometer zapped away.

Photon looked at himself in the windows of his Photonobile that Harvey constructed, parked and poised for action. It was an old Buick stocked with electronic doodads but, Photon never failed to mention, an inadequate sound system. Painted red and yellow, it reflected the white work light like a mirrorball.

“What would happen if the call of Justice were made,” He continued, setting a few stray hairs aright, “and I had to zoom out of here in the Photonobile and the doors of that portal opened up and fwoosh!!! I would no doubt injure some helpless dweeb looking for a handout. AND I’d ruin the paint job.”

*Zap!* *Zap zap zap!*

Photon looked at the back of Harvey’s lab coat. Nuh-erd, Photon thought. Here he was, the favored son of Rochester, battling evil-doers and crime lords and lake monsters, and he was stuck in a secret lab in a…a cave. Like that comic-book guy. The one with the bats. Whatever. Nerds read comic books.

*Zap!*

Why, Photon thought, staring at Harvey’s back and watching that acrid cigarette smoke linger in the air, couldn’t someone recognize that he deserved a little more? Photon took out The Yellowjacket, no thanks to Mixing Girl, or Mixolo…whatever her name was. Didn’t he deserve something else? Maybe an assistant who was a little easier on the eyes? Like that girl he saved from the mechanical bull at Daisy Dukes? Yeah, he thought, a scientist chick that could do all the work Harvey did, but without the smoking and with some really big…
There was a blast. Muffled through distance, but still big enough to throw Photon against the Photonobile and down to a knee. Dammit, he instantly thought, I got my knee dirty.

“What the hell was that?” He looked to Harvey.

“I don’t know,” Harvey said. He himself had been thrown to the ground but still had the ominous-looking spagmometer in his hand. His cigarette dangled from his lip as if ready to jump from it. He looked to The Beacon of Imminent Danger. Harvey set his jaw firmly and took out his cigarette, grinding it under his foot. “Did you turn off The Beacon of Imminent Danger again?”

“Of course I did,” Photon said. “Have you ever heard the noise it makes?”

Harvey threw his hands in the air. “Get into the Photonobile! Go find Colonel Rochester!”

“Yeah, yeah, keep our pants on.” Photon said, again wishing for a better-looking assistant. He jumped into the car and started it with a great rumble of horsepower, the sound made all the more imposing due to the tunnel they were in. Harvey pushed the large yellow-and-red button that opened the portal. With a screech of tires Photon was off, veering dangerously close to a homeless man. Harvey thought he saw Photon’s fist shaking out the window at the poor soul.

Harvey ran to the computer to call for Colonel Rochester, hoping that Photon had remembered to fill the Photonobile with gas. A certain dropping feeling went through his stomach.

Photon was always too busy yapping to remember anything.

Monday, October 09, 2006

post 314. roc-city heroes, part the first.

improv was asked to try to write a serial for rochester insider, something goofy and laden with super heroes from rochester...will it work? i dunno if they'll even take it. but this is the first draft of the opening part.

“Come on, Sal. Time to go.”


Sal was anything but cooperative, and especially when he was the last one at the bar. He snorted and grabbed for a handful of peanuts. “where’duh nuts go?”


“The same place they were when you asked ten minutes ago. I put them away. Sal. Really. It’s two-thirty. And…” Gloria looked out the front window of the Elmwood Inn and saw the light, distant, flashing, from the heart of the mount hope cemetery. “…I really gotta go.”


“You should never deny an old man his drink. Especially when he helped win the war. You know I was the first one at Odenbach shipyards? Right on Dewey. Come on, sweetie, gimme one more. One more for an old war vet’ran. Lemme tell you about the time this gang of thugs used the shipyards…”


Gloria knew that the beacon in the middle of mount hope meant there was serious danger in the Flower City. She also knew that Colonel Rochester would be angry with her if she didn’t answer the beacon in, like, a nanosecond. She also knew Sal wouldn’t budge until 2:45. She noticed she was tapping her foot, a habit she was trying to break. She opened the cooler. “Sal. I’ll make you a deal.”


“The krauts wanted a deal. No deal. Deals are for chumps.”


“I know, but this is a special deal. How ‘bout I give you a few sarsaparillas to take home? For your granddaughters? Didn’t you say they were visiting tomorrow?”


“Stupid communiss son of mine, with those damnable kids. They’re probably krauts.”
Gloria slumped against the beer cooler, and tossed a bowl of peanuts out within Sal’s reach.



***

“Where have you been?” Colonel Rochester said. “Didn’t you see the Beacon of Imminent Danger?”


Gloria pressed her lips together and sunk her head into her shoulders. While she imagined that Colonel Rochester’s job was a tough one, she wished he wouldn’t be so strict. “There was a guy at the bar,” she said, “and he wouldn’t leave, and Steve, the manager, went home early because he said his kid had some thing the doctor said was a cowlick, and then the morning shift never stocks the beer…”


“The safe and resplendent world of bartending must be put to bed when The Beacon of Imminent Danger beckons, Mixology Girl.”


“…I’m really sorry…”


“…and the forces at work tonight in our fair city won’t wait for your bar guests to languish in their debaucherous acts…”


“…I’m really sorry…”


“…unless you’d like to ask them yourself. Ask them if they’ll wait for you to punch out for your day job. Hmph. Can you picture it? ‘Excuse me, Tiger Man and Electrico, can you not spread death and destruction just yet? I’ve got to put crime-fighting on hold so that my spiritually destitute patrons are filled with spirits of another kind…’”


“…Dude!”


There was an audible silence. Colonel Rochester raised one of his grey eyebrows.


“I’m here, now,” Gloria cleared her throat. She tried to remember: Colonel Rochester was the product of another era, a bio-engineered reincarnation of The Flower City’s founding father. One who certainly didn’t know what “dude” meant. “So…like, what do we need to do?” She found she was again tapping her foot.


“I’m afraid that The Buffalo Boys are back in town,” Rochester said curtly. You have to meet up with Photon and…”


Gloria frowned inward. Photon. Jerk. Colonel Rochester was pointing at a map of the city that hung on the wall of their underground headquarters amongst the old Times-Union printing presses, and thought about the last time she had to work with Photon. Pompous, arrogant…he used pomade in his hair, for chrissakes. And his yellow-and-red costume…


There was a giant, muffled explosion that cut into her thoughts. The walls shook, and one of the computers in the room fell with a sparking crash onto the floor. Gloria and Colonel Rochester both fell, Rochester with a sparking, cursing crash. Dust from the girders above them billowed out, and the lights flickered.


“The Buffalo Boys,” Rochester said. "They’re here."