Just Another Day
With the recent stories of Nick the Superhero I realized the story that started them all doesn’t exist on Misadventures in its present form. To that end I now bring you the original Nick the Superhero story.
You can find the other stories at these links:
Blade of the Broken Phoenix
The Case of the Hissing Widow
Just Another Day
“You come here often.” She looked me up and down then turned back to the conversation with her friend. Typical, I know my costume isn’t the best, but that shouldn’t matter. I been working the east side for longer than the rest of ’em.
I signaled to the bartender to cut my tab. I needed to get out of there. My old stomping ground was overrun with the new breed. Seems like every two bit has found either a pill or discovered some new tech to push them into the new league. My training and low rent costume just don’t cut it anymore.
The bartender dropped my card and my tab in front of me. Hell, my signature alone doesn’t even carry any weight anymore.
I left the bar without looking back. Lit a smoke underneath the no smoking sign just outside the door. Had three of ’em around me before I could take a couple steps. Damn supers are everywhere now. So many now, they jump on any crime just to break up the monotony.
The city has changed. I’m not sure if it’s for the better. The streets are clean, crime is down, hell, if you fart there is someone there to make sure you didn’t offend anyone. I heard they call him “Smell Intolerance Man.” Damnit I haven’t seen a decent mugging in years.
After the bar I like to get dinner at Annie’s. Annie’s is the last existing greasy spoon. The food isn’t great but it’s edible. The best part is the rule, “No Supers.” The place is the last bastion of hope for people like me. At least I can have a smoke and a beer without anyone dousing me with snow or water jets.
Used to be a good number of transvestites on the street around the place. The costumes haven’t changed but the people in them have. I can’t remember anymore which was scarier.
“Nick, where ya been baby?” The woman was at least seven foot tall, covered from head to foot in purple segmented armor. A tail ending in a dagger like stinger swung up over her head.
“Charlotte,” I said. “Damn it’s been a long time. How are the little ones?” You have to watch the Purple Scorpion’s hugs. That tail has a mind of its own sometimes. “I was heading in to Annie’s. I need to get a fill up.”
She turned somber. “You haven’t heard?” she said. “The Kingfisher broke in this morning.” She was holding my hand, a bit longer than was comfortable for me.
“No one pays attention to the rules anymore,” I said. “What happened?”
“Took her register and sent her to the hospital,” she said. “Busted the place up pretty good.”
“And no one saw anything or did anything to help?” I knew they didn’t. All these supers and not a one gives a crap about the normals. “Is Annie ok?”
“I heard they took her to Community,” She said. “Just a broken arm and leg.”
“Thanks,” I said. I didn’t stick around long. I needed to check on Annie, make sure she was ok. She’s tough but her shotgun wouldn’t do much against the Kingfisher.
Community Hospital, the hospital for the normals. May as well have been on the wrong side of town. The emergency room looked like it was in a constant war zone. Damn new supers beating on the normals. When you can hit like a cement truck, it can be easy to take out someone who hits like a bean bag.
Annie was in a room. They set her broken limbs in the ER and sent her upstairs. Probably be in here for at least a week or two.
She was awake when I came into the room. She didn’t look good. Add a broken nose and a black eye to the broken limbs I already knew about. “Nick, where ya been?” she asked. It was little more than a whisper. I couldn’t bear to see her like this.
“What happened baby?” I asked. My body ached in sympathy just looking at her.
She swallowed and asked for her cup of water off to the side of the bed. After she drank well through the straw I set the water down again. “Kingfisher was chasing a perp,” she said. “Said he saw him run into the restaurant. It’s bs.” She coughed the last bit out. “Everyone knows I don’t play the games.”
“I’ll take care of this for you,” I said. I meant it. The Kingfisher was a badass but that was no reason for him to go around busting up hardworking people like Annie. A quick kiss on her forehead and some words of encouragement and I was out the door.
Kingfisher was one of the new breed. Genetic mutation I think is what did it, living too close to the landfill by the river. I always knew the strange glow coming from that area would lead to no good.
I did the rounds, spent some time with my old stoolies. A couple of em had some good leads. The Kingfisher was hanging out in the Kit Kat room on the west side. The place was a real dive. Low rent supers, mixed with crazies and thugs. I took a cab. The walk would have been good for me, but I wanted to get this taken care of.
The Kit Kat Room was on the corner of Blake and 29th Street. The bouncer at the door was pretty ripped. I think he might have been on the juice. The tracks on his arm were not a good sign. He didn’t even look at me when I opened the door to the club.
With the door opened I was assaulted by the bass beat coming from inside. And then the smell hit me. There is something about the smell of old alcohol and fermenting sweat. It does something inside your belly that is indescribable in good company.
The place was packed. Multi-colored lights flared around the dance floor. The tables on the outskirts were shrouded in darkness, hiding the people sitting at them. I went straight to the bar.
I nodded at the bartender when he caught my eye. A cold beer was set before me without a word. The thugs on either side of me were lost in their own conversations. The one on the left was making progress with the girl on his lap. At least someone was getting somewhere tonight.
I was halfway through my beer when I felt the tap on my shoulder. It was a thug in leather, not worth my time. He tapped my shoulder again. “Don’t do that,” I said.
He leaned in close and said louder than I expected, “Kingfisher says your looking for him.”
“Come on,” he said.
Not the best choice but at least I would get this over and done with now. I followed the thug. He took me through a doorway at the back of the club.
The hall was lit with dim halogen bulbs. The flickering lights gave the place a surreal quality. “Door on the end,” he said.
It was a trap. It’s always a trap. Why do they always play games like this? I didn’t even bother to knock on the door. It wasn’t locked, opened right up.
The room had subdued lighting. Kingfisher was sitting at the far end of the room behind a round table. A couple thugs were beside him and a few girls were dancing on the table. There wasn’t any music playing.
When I came into the room, the Kingfisher motioned for the girls to go. They didn’t linger, rushing out of the room with their clothes scooped up in their arms. The thugs stood in front of the table blocking my view.
“What do you want Nick,” he said. The thugs were big, big enough to be uncomfortable looking up at them.
“You busted up Annie” I said. “Put her in the hospital. That’s uncalled for.”
“Just another normal cluttering up the streets,” he said. “Quit wasting my time.” The thugs came at me.
They were big, but fast. If I was anyone else this would have been an issue. I was faster than them, much faster. I was on top of the table looking down on the Kingfisher. His thugs were on the floor holding their knees where I broke them on the way through.
“You busted up Annie’s place and put her in the hospital,” I said. I wasn’t loud, didn’t raise my voice. The message was getting through. “You need to fix her place.” Some people never learn.
He swept at my legs, hoping to knock me over. The move was slow, lumbering. I stepped over his leg and dropped down on top of him. My fist leading as I smashed into his face. The one hit, it was all it took.
I hogtied him and threw him over my shoulder. If nothing else I can turn him over to Annie and let her people collect the damages from him.
What is it with all these new supers. They don’t have the staying power you would expect.