nine

Filthy Assistants! TO ME!

“OK, so we got Superman Returns, Superman One and Two, cause three and four didn’t count.”

“Right…”

“We got all the Burton Batmans, the–” he shuddered,”–Schumacher Batmans, and now the good one.”

“Yep.”

“Spiderman one, two, and soon to be three. Ghost Rider, X-Men one through three. FAntastic Four.”

“Sure.”

“ON TV, we’ve had The Hulk, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Smallville, Aquaman, The Flash.”

“Uh huh.”

“I’m not even TALKING about the XFiles, or Eureka, or Lost.”

“No, sir.”

“What does it all have in common, I ask you?” He raised a skinny arm attached to a skinny wrist, connected to a long set of fingers
wrapped around a whiskey and coke.

“Dunno, Shane.” THe speaker scratched his goatee, so called only by virtue of the fact that it didn’t actually reach his ears, it was
that full and curly. One might say, even, wild. “What do they have in common?”

“All happening within the last 10 years.”

“Fuck you say. What about The Hulk? Bill Bixby, right?”

“The movie, you dolt.”

“Ah, shit.”

“All this MEDIA, shoved right under our noses. And why? Why?” Shane stopped for a second to take another swig from the highball
glass.

Sage took this moment to jump in, “”cause the special effects are all getting better?” He received a withering look.

“My poor, deluded, bastard of a dog’s cock spew, no. It is because…” another dramatic pause in which Sage decided to stay silent.
“…they want to create one.”

“Wha?”

“That’s right, my friend. Create. One.”

The two mismatched mutt-n-jeff men stared at each other, one triumphant, the other a bit unfocused. The waitress came by,
looked at their expressions, and faded off, as if she didn’t even WANT to know. The other patrons in the bard continued their long conversations, laughing at stupid jokes and innuendoes as subtle as a two-by-four board being run along corrugated aluminum siding. The smells were of sweat, and despair, coverdd with a strong and heady mix of booze, beer, damp underwear and smoke.

Shane and Sage were on to something. Or were they?

—-
It had become clear to Sarah that she should probably get into better shape. Expand her scope of operations. Maybe hit a bank or two. Learn more about the cameras and security. Maybe she should put on a costume, hide her identity, so the cameras wouldn’t know it was her. Banks could afford it, right?

Running for 5 minutes took her 30 miles away. Running five minutes, though, was exceedingly difficult. For one thing, she was horribly out of shape, though she seemed to be losing weight lately. Which was the other thing. Running for even one minute made her hungry. Three minutes made her ravenous, and the one time she ate two big mac meals and then ran the thirty miles to Willow, she was ready to eat the moose she startled when she stopped running. It was ridiculous. She’d been stealing powerbars from the convenience stores, but even that had gotten in the papers. And she’d be more than glad to order her four “value” meals from Mickey D’s or BK, but that might tip off the cops, too. She guessed. Maybe she was getting more paranoid.

Sarah had sent the money in an Igloo ice cooler wrapped in duct tape, with her dad’s address written in Sharpie on the top of it. She’d frozen the bills inside Ziploc bags and then stuffed those into whole salmon she’d bought from the store. She put those underneat a shitload of dry ice, and wrapped it all up. If TSA opened her cooler, they’d smell the fish, and move on.

Of course, her dad had never responded. Just like him not to. She wondered how long it would take her to run to Reno, from Anchorage. She’d probably end up in Canada with no food and a strong urge to chew her own foot off. She’d try and practice more; build her way up to longer runs. MAybe do some research and figure out how FAR it was, in the first place.

She had sent off the money a week ago, a week after her crime spree had started, a day or two after she’d fought with Peter. The door still propped against the wall at her room. She’d hadn’t thought to replace it. She was pretty ashamed that she’d broken it, but wasn’t about to say anything to that holier than thou bastard.

Now, her days were full of elderly care, and nursing assistant scut work, and her nights were full of running, breaking into places, clearing out cashboxes and registers, and eating. Constantly eating.

She was getting better at seeing thorugh walls, too. She hadn’t gotten the hang of seeing into the cashboxes, yet, but at least she could tell who had them in their shops bEFORE she ripped open a window, or pulled open a back door. Not like that time she had ripped into a shop in the alley behind 5th avenue, only to find a snarling dog and no money anywhere. The dog she could handle, though it really hurt to have it gnaw on her leg while she looked around in vain for a register, money, a safe, whatever.

The dog had started to break the skin after about 5 minutes, so she had to pull it off of her, and put it’s squirming muscly body into another room and shut the door, barely softening it’s howls and barks and snarls. THAT was fun, no doubt, she thought with a heavy degree of sarcasm.

But now she had Peter pissed at her, a day job she was beginning to hate (her paychecks barely were as much as she’d clear in one evening of break ins), and a growing paranoia of being caught out there in the cold by the cops. Or, worse yet, some yahoo libertarian with a shotgun. THAT would suck.

She sighed, and looked back down to what she was doing. Making Mrs. Frinkle’s bed. Again.
“You daydreamin’, girl?” Said Mrs. Frinkle.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, stop it and get my bed made. I’m having my family for tea tonight, and it must look its best!” The indomitable Mrs. Frinkle had no family up here, but liked to entertain them when they didn’t arrive, none the less. The bedmaking was just another way for her to treat Sarah like a maid, like a servant girl. Mrs. Frinkle thought she was still rich off the oil in Alaska.

“Sure thing, Mrs. Frinkle.” The nurses said to humor the old lady, but Sarah wasn’t in the mood today. Usually, she could call up a good british accent and pretend she WAS a serving girl, but not today. The up all night, work all day thing was beginning to pale. She wondered if she should even bother putting up a front. She’d already quit the coffee shop, much to Peter’s jealous chagrin.

Shit, there was Peter again, lurking in her thoughts again. Maybe he was right. Maybe she should do something better with her talents. Or, at least, once in a while. Between gigs, as it were. Save people during the evening, steal money from pawn shops at night. Sleep all goddamn day. It had a certain appeal to it.

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