Real Men Wear Tights

High school can be tough for everyone. This is especially true when you're hiding a secret that can never be told.


13. Intermission: In Which Loose Ends Are Tied


==> Be the really pissed off gangster.

Your name is Spades Slick, and you really, really fucking hate heroes right about now. With a passion. If you never encountered another hero for the rest of your natural life, it’d be too soon. You hate incompetence, too, maybe even more than heroes. Incompetence in your organization pisses you off like nothing else.

The recipient of your current ire is sitting in the backseat of your classic black Jaguar Mk VII, because if you’re going to be a successful international mobster, you better believe you’re going to goddamn drive like one, too. Your car is parked in front of the police station where you’ve just sprung Boxcars out on bail.

He’s seen better days, that’s for sure. The big lug’s nose is twisted and purple from bruising, and somehow his mug looks even uglier than it was before, as if you thought that was possible. He’s sitting stiff with a neckbrace keeping him looking forward at all times, and he seems to have a permanent glare set on his face. He’s not glaring at you, of course, because he’s not that stupid, but his demeanor suits you just fine because you’re glaring right back.

“So, tell me again, Hearts, how you managed to so completely botch a simple hit that it ended up with twenty-two of our members sitting in a pissant little jail?” If Boxcars had any semblance of something even remotely resembling intelligence, now would be a good time to tread carefully in his response. You are prone to being slightly moody when your peons upset you, and then you have to call in the cleaners. It’s not cheap getting brain matter scrubbed out of car upholstery.

When he spoke, Boxcars’s words were nasally and congested, likely as a result of his broken nose. “Everything went as planned, boss, I swears. We had the kid on the ropes runnin’ scared. He was injured an’ we had him surrounded completely. We woulda had him done in if that other one hadn’ta showed up and started taking us out from behind.”

You can feel a vein throbbing in your forehead and you resist the urge to reach into your pocket and grab one of your many knives, if only because you just got this suit dry cleaned and you don’t want to get blood on it. If there’s one thing you hate more than heroes and incompetents, it’s unforeseen obstacles hindering your meticulous plans. “What other one?” you hiss.

Boxcars must recognize the murderous look in your eyes because he sits up a little straighter and his glare slackens. “The other hero. Hemoglobin, or whatever. Guy about Heir’s age, runs around in a black an’ red number. Likes to cut people up an’ kick ‘em.”

You still at that and go silent. Another hero. Fucking perfect. Because your life is just so goddamn peachy that it required another hero in it to liven things up, right? You turn to Droog sitting in the driver’s seat, the troll’s long, thin fingers clutching the steering wheel even though the car has been sitting there motionless for half an hour now.

“Find the incompetent shit who was responsible for putting the briefing of this city together and have him removed. If they were too fucking stupid to note that this place had two heroes and not just one, they don’t deserve to live on this planet. And you,” you growl, turning back to face Boxcars. “Are there any loose ends to this?”

The gargantuan fuckup shifts uncomfortably. “I dunno. Maybe.”

You sit and stare at him for a good thirty seconds as he looks at you expectantly, and you swear to god you can literally see the gears decidedly -not- turning in his head. You are this close to stabbing him. In order to give your hands something to do besides stabbing, you take out a cigarette from your inner coat pocket and Droog removes his hands from the wheel to lean over and light you up. “And, you dumb piece of shit? What is it?” Breathe in. Exhale.

“Ah. Well, you know Soreno, right? My demolitions guy? He came inta the station a few hours after everyone else. Claims he escaped b’fore the cops got there, only thing is, I remember him being knocked out b’fore those two snots took me down. S’kinda fishy.”

You sigh and bring your hand up to rub your temple, cigarette held loosely between your fingers. “Anything else?”

“No, boss.”

You frown, take a long, slow drag from your cigarette, then roll down the window and toss the butt out onto the pavement. “We’ll need to shift operations in case there’s been a breach. It’s a good thing we plan accordingly for such occasions.” As you say this, Droog reaches into his coat pocket and hands you a cellphone, a number already punched into its screen. You give him a nod and he starts the car, turning on his blinker in order to pull out into the mid-morning traffic. As you wait, you give Droog a look.

“How’s production?”

Droog takes a moment to slowly ease the car into traffic before responding, his attention fixed on the car in front of him. “Ahead of schedule. We’ve nearly worked the kinks from the first batch completely out. It’s still affecting the hypothalamus to an unnecessary degree, but we’re working on ways to mitigate the damage.”

“Good work. At least one person in this outfit isn’t a useless prick. I want reports of your team’s progress every hour until it’s perfected.”

“Yes, boss.”

The light changes ahead and the car starts rolling. You wait until you’re a block away before you hit the ‘Send’ button on the phone and turn around to watch the show as the police station violently explodes into a hellish ball of fire, all twenty-something of your crewmates and any evidence of the night’s activities being incinerated instantly.




“No loose ends.”



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