Monday, January 24, 2011

Flash Fiction - The Bar

Good evening,

 Decided to put up a part three to my series on superheroics. Do you remember Captain Astonishing from The Hero or at least the organization he "fights" against, as showcased in Interview?

 Let's see how he's doing.

***

            With Anti-Lope, Hind, and the rest of The Stag Party put away, the city could rest easily. Captain Astonishing had dealt a mighty blow against crime, most of the bank’s money had been returned, and the world would sleep a little better that night. Newspapers were alight with the heroics of the Captain. Interviews were lined up. Public mania was bursting at the seams.
            He knew the truth. The rest of the money that went ‘missing’ would be used by the Bleak Consulate to hire a good lawyer to reduce Anti-Lope and Hind’s sentencing and have them sent to Cloudbank Penitentiary, somewhere that served more as a resort than a prison. They would be out in six months, their release arranged to resemble a jailbreak.
            This was not the life he wanted.
            Back in his tower, the secretary that the rest of the Liberty Legion had left for him gave nothing but praise for his first mission. His commander Paradigm had sent a cheque for the day’s work and left it on top of his desk. An invitation to another gala sat next to it.
He needed something stiff.

            He found a greasy spoon on the dark side of town and sat at the bar. Alone and in civilian clothes, he nursed a sour-smelling brew and watched the television. Small groups of men and women congregated by the windows or near the bathrooms, nattering loudly about sports or philosophy. The Captain envied their small-talk.
He took out the cheque again and stared at it. It made him ill to look at, yet he couldn’t turn away from it. This was his world now, and it was smothering him.
            Someone called out to him: “Hey.”
            The Captain put the paper away and looked to his left. A lean man in short sleeves with shocked-up red hair and brilliant green eyes approached; a glass of something brown and frothy was in one hand. He took the empty seat to the Captain’s left.
“Hey, man,” the man said, sliding closer to him, “You’re that new superhero ain’tcha?”
            “No,” he immediately snapped back, nervously. This felt wrong. He felt his heat vision powering up.
            The man put his hands in the air. “Hey, relax, brother. My best pal’s brother helps run the L.L.’s Megabunker up in Seattle.”
            Rolling his eyes, The Captain sulked in his seat. He didn’t need any fans approaching him. “Are you looking for an autograph?”
            “Nah, man,” the stranger explained, setting his drink-hand down and keeping the other up. “Just wanted to say that we got stuff in common, is all.”
            “Like what?”
            “Like this.”
            A flash; the stranger’s raised forearm lit up with swirls of blue flame. Lithely, it snaked around his wrist and along his palm, up to the tips of his fingers. There, it danced and flickered in the air. He cupped his hand. The fire slithered forward and formed a ball in his palm. A straight tail of flame dangled between his fingers. A burning wine glass sat in his hand.
            The bar erupted in applause. One group at a booth near the bathrooms gave a standing ovation. The stranger raised his glasses at them as The Captain smiled at the display. “You have powers,” he said, amazed, “What team are you with?”
            “I’m not,” the stranger replied, flicking his wrist. The fire vanished. Wisps of smoke were all that remained.
            The Captain went pale. “You’re rogue.”
            “I never bothered.”
            “You never bothered?!”
            He shook his head. “No way, man. I ain’t puttin’ on a set of tights and fighting cowboy zombies for money. That ever happens, I’ll do it for free, and I don’t need no damn suit or fancy nickname. People wanna call me something fancy, let ‘em call me ‘that freakin’ mechanic with the fire comin’ out of his hands.’”
            “You’re okay with that?” The Captain wondered, “You wouldn’t want the benefits?”
            “Here’s all I need,” he said, reaching into his pocket. From its inside, he produced a single photograph. “Her name’s Colleen.”
The Captain brought it to his face. A supple woman with young features, coffee-coloured skin and pearl-white teeth smiled up at him in a silver dress. Her curled hair fell down her shoulders in tresses. Bright lights of some discotheque were in the background.
“She’s gorgeous,” The Captain said.
The man grinned, taking the photo back. “We met in high school. She’s a nurse out East. Sharp as a tack, she is. Finally got hitched in the fall.”
“You’re a lucky man,” mused the hero, “Only women in my life are a bunch of sexually frustrated news reporters.”
He laughed. “Nothing wrong with that. Hey, my name's Keith,” the man said, extending his hand.
The Captain reached up “I'm,” he stopped, his hand drifting in the air. Swallowing hard, he clasped the palm of the stranger. “I'm Dashiell.”
“Are you freaking serious?” Keith said, with a laugh. “Like the writer?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, “Dashiell August.”
The stranger laughed. “Gotta be a superhero with a name like that.”
Running his hand through his hair, The Captain smiled weakly. “Yeah. But I should've been a doctor.”
Keith grinned wider than before. “So, Dash, you gonna come here often?”
"I will now," he admitted, half-shamefully. "Next time you see my mug on the news, you better take the bus down here."
The Captain's new friend gave another laugh. “No transit for me; I can fly.”

***

 Alright, now I'm going to not write about superheroes until, oh, March?

 This will, however, not mean an end to giving some of my stories sequels. I'm itching to add more to L, but only because I love Jeff to pieces, the miserable creep.

See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 17, 2012. Edit, edit, edit.



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