Betrayed by Eric, Robbie is alone in his desire to become a supervillain. Meanwhile, Eric has agreed to go to an interview at Agatha’s workplace, PaperClips, an office supply store.
You Saved My Muffin!
“Robbie, fine,” The Dealer continued, “No money, no gadgets.” He was in his 50s, squat, thinning hair and 5 o’clock shadow at 10 am. He started closing the back door of his van. The Dealer sold ‘gently used’ super gadgets. Leftovers from various supervillains. At rock bottom prices. “I did this as a favor as I know your father.”
Robbie grabbed the door. “Favor? This is a pretty shitty favor. Do you realize how long it took me to drive here?” Robbie saw several pieces of equipment that would certainly kickstart his career off right. “It’s like you asking me for a favor and I kick in you in the balls.”
“It’s nothing like that–“ The Dealer rolled his eyes.
“Yes, it is. I call you, you said you would meet me because you know my father–“
The Dealer nodded, “Good guy, he is.”
“THEN, when I ask you for the neuro-inhibitor, you want three thousand dollars?”
The Dealer slammed the door shut. “That’s a good deal for a neuro-inhibitor.”
“It’s USED. Can’t you just give it to me?”
The Dealer put a finger up. “Gently used. This is a business. If I give you something, then the next guy or gal is gonna want me to give them something. That’s taking food off my family’s table.”
Robbie flapped his arms. “I don’t have three thousand dollars.” The Dealer shrugged and headed towards the driver’s seat. Robbie followed, “What about a thousand dollars?”
The Dealer stopped and turned, “It’s three. I don’t negotiate. My oldest needs braces. Teeth like a rabbit. You know how to get a hold of me.” He climbed into the van. It rattled to life.
Robbie asked, “Where am I going to come up with that kind of money?”
The Dealer tilted his head. “This is why I only meet with supervillains. Real bad guys. Not wannabes. You get me the money, you can have the neuro-inhibitor.”
Robbie leaned on the van, putting his head close to the Dealer. “And what if I just… steal it from you?” His eyes narrowed.
The Dealer met his gaze. He flipped a switch. Voltage poured through the skin of the van, right through Robbie, throwing him away. The Dealer smiled. “Yeah, you go ahead and try.”
The van roared away, leaving the stunned Robbie on the ground. Still twitching.
Sitting across from Eric was the Manager, 40s, thick glasses, sweat stains in his arm pits. He sat behind a desk, taking notes on a clipboard. Eric continued talking, “The Professor’s plan would’ve worked, but, again, The Damsel showed up, and there was some mistimed explosions, which could’ve been my fault.”
The Manager nodded. Then scribbled something, and then looked back at Eric.
Eric smiled, “I’m more about capture and containment, rather than demolition.”
The manager raised an eyebrow. Eric swallowed. Finally, the manager broke out into a smile and a chuckle. He pointed his pen at Eric, “You, my friend, are hilarious. You are going to fit in great around here.”
The Manager leaned forward, “I pride myself on keeping things fun and fresh here. Because, let’s be honest–” He leaned even closer. “Office supplies can be BORING.” He chuckled again, leaned back. “You did not hear that from me.” More chuckles.
“Sam?” Agatha called out. She was standing in Aisle Six. “I got some questions about paper.”
The Manager and Eric were sitting in the office furniture section. A big sign hung above them: All Furniture 20% Off! “I’ll be with you in one sec, Ag.” The Manager turned back to Eric. “You ready to join the team?” He put out a hand.
Eric took it. Dying inside.
Robbie tapped his foot. The line at the coffee shop had been three people deep. Outrageous. He finally got to the front and was able to give his order to the underpaid and overly cool Dude behind the counter. “Coffee, black. Lemon poppyseed muffin.” Robbie pointed. “That one.” He handed over his credit card.
“Right on,” nodded the Dude from behind the counter, and he turned to pour the coffee. Robbie rolled his eyes. An Indie rock god was crooning over the speakers.
Robbie asked, “Who is this?”
The Dude handed him his coffee. “Luddite Revolver. You like it?”
“No.” The Dude stopped smiling. He reached over grabbed the lemon poppyseed muffin, put it on a plate and handed it to Robbie. As he reached for it, his arm twitched from shoulder to hand. He knocked the plate. It flipped up and over. The muffin soared.
Robbie and the Dude watched as the muffin sailed towards the door. Robbie’s eyes opened wide, he took a breath in. No, no, no, he thought. Not my muffin!
Boom. The muffin was caught. Saved. A young African American woman, 20s, good shape, a t-shirt that just covered her stomach, jeans, flips flops, and short dreads. Totally casual. “I think I just saved your muffin,” she said. Followed by a warm smile.
Robbie’s heart beat a little faster.
Robbie stared at Mary, the woman who saved his muffin, who sat across from him, and was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever talked to. “Is your nose ok?” She cradled her mug of chai as she sat cross legged in the big comfy chair.
“Hm?” And then Robbie remembered. “Oh. This. I got into a fight.” A look of concern flashed over Mary’s face. “Don’t worry. I beat him. Them. I beat them.” Robbie smiled. Then his shoulder twitched. “One of them had a taser.”
“Day in the life.” Robbie nodded.
Mary suddenly got very serious. She leaned forward, almost a whisper. “You’re… in the life…?”
Robbie smelled flowers and sunshine as he breathed in. His words stumbled out. “Well. I just. You know. Started. I just started. But. It’s what I always dreamed of doing.”
Mary nodded, her eyes sparkled. “That’s great. Wow. Like. You’re super trusting. Right off the bat, you tell me.”
Robbie blushed. Then, “But, it’s hard, because, you know, I don’t have a lot of resources.” He sipped his coffee. “There’s only so much I can do.”
Mary shook her head in agreement. “I’m lucky. I have a… source of income for my… activities.” She touched his leg.
Marry nodded. Put a finger to her lips. Robbie nodded. “Don’t stress the resources thing. The important thing is your commitment. You’ll figure out the rest. You’re a smart guy.”
“You think?” Robbie was sweating now.
She giggled. “I know. What about a fundraiser?” She pointed to the message board. There was a poster for a dance raising funds to build a swimming pool at a home for “The Greatest Generation.”
A light bulb went off in Robbie’s head. “A fundraiser. That’s a great idea. Lots of cash. Wallets. Jewelry. I should totally rob that fundraiser.”
Mary leaned back. Frowned. “Wait. Rob? Did you say… ROB? As in steal?”
“Yeah. What did you think–?”
“I thought you were going to hold a fundraiser.”
Robbie frowned. “Why would I do that? It would be way easier to just rob it.” Mary blinked. “It’s what a supervillain would do.”
Mary set her chai aside. “You’re a supervillain? Seriously?”
“It’s been my biggest dream. Ever since I was a kid.” Robbie looked up and remembered. “When you’re the son of the number one henchman in the city, you get to meet a lot of supervillains. All of them were just so cool. There was SuperDeath and Robo-Master… oh, God, Robo-Master, he was amazing. All the ladies loved Robo-Master. I was ten and for a week after the Fourth of July party, I totally dressed up like him. Who wouldn’t want to be a supervillain?” He looked back at Mary to find her standing. “Where are you going?”
“I have to go.” She slipped her feet into her sandals.
Robbie stood. “Was it something that I said?”
She slid her sunglasses down over her eyes. For some reason, she looked familiar. “Listen, you’re totally cute–“
“What?” Did Robbie hear that right?
“But, you should get out of the life. Get out right now. Because it’s not all that.” She was breathing fast.
Robbie wasn’t sure what was happening. “It seems like it’s all that. Fame. Money. Power.”
Mary closed her mouth and squeaked. She said, “Oh, God, you are such a fixer upper, aren’t you? I have a hard time resisting fixer uppers. I totally want to save you.”
Robbie was getting really confused.
Mary waved hands in the air, trying to erase what was just said. “Just. Pretend this never happened.” And with that, she was gone. Robbie chewed his lip, lost in thought. And then, he tore down the poster from the message board.
A jet black Bugatti Veyron, the most expensive street car in the world, sitting next to the coffeeshop, slid it’s door upwards as Mary approached. She stepped in and the door dropped silently into place. A great big sigh came out of her, as she put her face in her hands. Her head shook back and forth, back and forth. The car spoke with a male voice and a mid-Atlantic accent, “Is everything ok?”
Mary looked at the dash. “I just met a fixer upper.”
The car was sympathetic. “Oh, honey.”
“What am I going to do?”
The engine purred to life. “That’s a conversation for later,” the car said. “The Mayor needs to speak to the Damsel.”