Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stories of the Cape and Cowl: Origins: Part 1

Major Headache walked into the Cape and Cowl and shook off his wet overcoat, letting the door swing shut behind him. He waved to The Punter and Madame Mystery as he hung up his coat and flipped off Kid Vicious, who returned the gesture with both hands. He walked over to the heavy oak bar, leaving a small trail of wet footprints on the worn tile floor.

“Evenin’, Major” said the bartender, glancing up from the mail.

Major Headache nodded and sat down. “Hey, Lloyd. How’re things?”

“Not bad. You missed the excitement. Red Hot got sick in the corner booth.”

The Major glanced over. The corner booth was taped off with an ‘Out of Order’ sign. The worn red leather on the left-hand bench was scorched and twisted and a burn mark extended almost six-feet up the oak-paneled wall, completely obliterating an old, framed newspaper clipping, one of the many pieces of hero and villain memorabilia that decorated the bar.

“Ice Queen put it out pretty quickly,” Lloyd continued. “But then she wanted me to wipe her tab.”

“Villains,” said the Major, shaking his head. “What’d you do?”

“I gave her a free Cosmopolitan. She was happy with that. The usual, Major?”

“Sure thing.”

As Lloyd turned to draw a Guinness, the door opened again and a young man in a black leather jacket, jeans and combat boots entered. His entire outfit was tattered, as if he’d been rolled on by a spastic porcupine. He hesitated, as most everyone in the bar turned to look at him. The Major looked at Lloyd, who shrugged.

“Hey, kid,” said the Major. “Who’re you?”

“Uh, I’m the Street Urchin.” The Urchin suddenly focused on the Major. “Whoa! You’re Major Headache!”

“Yep.” The Major waved him over. “C’mere, have a seat.”

The Street Urchin practically leapt the 10-feet to take the stool next to the Major. “This so cool!” he said, “I used to have a poster of you in my bedroom!”

“That’s nice,” said the Major, as he took a pull of his Guinness.

“Wow! I can’t believe I’m sitting here talking to you!”

“Kid?”

“Yes?”

“Calm down. We’re all capes here.” The Major gestured at the bottles at the back of the bar. “Let me buy you a beer.”

“Yeah, right. Sure.”

“Another beer, Lloyd.”

The bartender nodded and drew a Guinness, placing it down in front of the Urchin.

“So, kid, how’d you get into the hero game?”

The Street Urchin half-choked on his beer. The Major waited patiently for him to regain his composure. “Well,” began the Urchin. “My parents were marine biologists who were experimenting with the neurotoxins found in sea urchins. When I was just an infant, a rogue government agency broke in one night to steal their research and surprised my folks. My dad happens to be an ex-Navy Seal and my mom was an Olympic kick-boxer and sharpshooter, so in the ensuing fight, there was an explosion which released deadly delta radiation that infected the urchins, making them super-intelligent. My parents were eventually captured by the government agents, but the urchins, realizing the danger, hid me and raised me as their own, teaching me the way of the Urchin so that I could one day find my parents and avenge them.”

“Ah,” said the Major. “I’m gonna need another Guinness after that one. Lloyd?”

Tomorrow: Forks and Toasters

2 comments:

Gillsing said...

I see now why his entire outfit is so tattered. :-)

Jason Janicki said...

But wait! There's more!