Wednesday, July 29, 2015

With Great Romance: Short Fiction

With Great Romance
 Chris Costello

I suppose there are a lot of reasons to unleash a killer robot on the city during rush hour. There’s all the typical stuff, of course. Money, power, prestige. And then the all-important ‘because I felt like it.’ None of those answers fit me, though. Not really. I did it for love.

This particular bot was an old design, from back when I was just starting out. It was clunky and big, and it moved like a turtle with a limp. But it had firepower, and you just can’t beat that, can you? Then there was the sentimental value, which was perhaps more important than I was letting on. I might be a supervillain, but I’m not heartless.

I keyed in a few commands from my position inside the bot’s chest, and it ripped a skyscraper from the ground. A thousand screams hit my ears, and I let out the perfect evil cackle. I’d been in this business longer than most of the others had been alive. You don’t get to where I am today without a really good evil laugh, I’ll tell you that.

 The bot cocked its arm back like a pitcher on the windup and hurled the building into the sky. It had the appearance of an Olympic javlineir, and soon the building was little more than a distant speck in the clear blue sky.

I stepped on a few cars, just for good measure.

Just as I was about to crush city hall, a warning klaxon blared in my ears. Judging by the readout on my sensors, there was a hostile life-form approaching from somewhere nearby. A severe grin creased my face. She was right on time, as always.

Justice Girl rocketed towards the bot at lightning speed. She was moving too fast for most people to see, but then, I’m not most people. Her cape streamed out behind her, and her fist was point right at the bot’s chest-plate.

She was also laughing hysterically.

The bot’s missile defense system was top notch, even if the rest of it was out of date. I could have blasted her out of the sky before she got anywhere near me. Hell, I could’ve snatched her up and crushed her like a bug in one of the bot’s mammoth hands.

But where’s the fun in that?

Justice Girl struck the bot, and I heard the sound of metal crumpling. The alarm in my head got louder. Before I could retaliate, she turned on her heat vision, searing a hole in the robot. Then she stepped through it, entering the control chamber.

She looked at me sideways, but the twinkle in her eyes told me that she was having just as much fun as me. “Did you do all this just for me?” She asked with a chuckle. A hint of her Southern drawl snuck into the phrase, and my heart nearly liquified.

I nodded. “It’s the same model I was in when we first met.”

She glanced around at the gleaming chrome walls of the chamber. “Really? It’s in perfect condition.”

I glanced pointedly at the hole a few feet in front of us. “Are you sure about that?”

“Oh, save it. You knew what you were getting into when you started this whole thing.”

“I suppose that’s true. But then again, I am a genius. I always know what I’m getting into.”

Her face darkened, and a scowl marred her visage. She put her hands on her hips and strode up to the protective dome that enclosed me. It looked like ordinary glass, but it wasn’t found on Earth. Or anywhere in our solar system, for that matter. I’d picked it up after my teleporter malfunctioned and deposited me in Dimension X. I spent the better part of an hour running from a giant slug monster, but it had all been worth it.

The material didn’t have a name, at least not one that was pronounceable to humans, so I’d taken to calling it Ajaxium, after that fellow in Greece. It was stronger than everything else out there, and nobody could break through it. Not even if I gave them a thousand years to try, and they were allowed to use a jackhammer.

Justice Girl cocked back her fist, and the Ajaxium shattered into a million little pieces. The shards clattered to the chamber floor, settling around her feet.

“Oh, come on.” I said, looking down at the mess. “Now I’m gonna have to clean that up.”

Justice Girl said nothing. Instead, she reached into the cockpit and grabbed me by the scruff of my lab coat. She hoisted me into the air effortlessly, and I stifled a scream. I glanced down at the ray gun strapped to my belt and tried not to look like I was looking. Which, naturally, made it all the more obvious.

Justice Girl scoffed and snatched the weapon off my belt. Then she tossed it over her shoulder and out of the hole, whereupon it plummeted to the street a hundred feet below. Before I could voice my opinion on this matter, she yanked me forward so that I was about two inches away from her face. Her breath smelled like spearmint gum and flowers.

“Hey!” I said, forcing the words past the lump in my throat. “What are you doing?”

She began to move, tightening her grip on my neck. I felt like I’d gotten myself caught in a vice. The heroine stopped only when we were teetering on the edge of the hole. She thrusted her arm outward so that I was dangling over the edge, suspended in the air.

From all the way up here, the people looked like ants. Even so, I could still hear them cheering. It made me want to hurl. If I’d had anything more than a burrito for lunch, I probably would have.

“H-hey.” I said, resisting the urge to wipe the sweat from my brow. “We’re both adults here. Let’s talk this out, okay? As Lennon says, ‘give peace a chance.’”

Justice Girl chuckled bitterly. “If you say it, I’ll let you go.”

“Say what?” I asked, feeling my face heat up. I’m reasonably sure that fear had nothing to do with it this time.

She laughed again and relaxed her grip on my coat. I slid down a few inches, but she caught me before I fell. I did my best to choke down the yelp that fought its way up and out of my throat. I was about as unsuccessful as one would expect.

“You know what I want to hear.” She said coyly.

I shook my fist in mock indignation, but my knees remained like jelly. “Never!” I shouted.

She let me slip again. The ground came rushing at me, and I squeezed my eyes shut as tight as I could. My descent halted abruptly as Justice Girl caught me by the hand. “You might want to reconsider your position.” She said.

“Okay, okay.” I said, looking up at her. “Happy anniversary.”

No comments:

Post a Comment