Written by castor :: [Tuesday, 10 September 2013 20:09] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 10 September 2013 20:42]
Special thanks to Dru for Editing and proofing. Give that man cheers.
"So … crime-awareness event," said Sarah.
"’Couple of hours, say a few words, go on local news. The Mayor’s there, lt. Governor, it’ll be good publicity. Plus, you know, lots of kids and you can tell them about stuff," said the voice on the phone.
She was sitting by herself in an unused greenroom of the studio they were shooting in. The voice on the other end, belonged to Gregory Larson, who was her attorney and spokesperson. She had saved him, very early on in her career, from a car fire, since then he offered his services pro bono. He liaised with the Mayors office, and a little bit with the press. She called him every couple of weeks.
He was a nice guy as most lawyers actually are, and he had her interests at heart – though he got good publicity out of this as well. She needed someone like him, and he was smart, tough when had to be, and looked absolutely nothing like her at all. She didn't want to hire Peter Parker to do this and get people confused.
"So … Saturday the 12th … 10am … I guess I know the deal. Want me to make a big entrance?”
"You want to," said Larson.
Sarah nodded. She liked big entrances.
"Since this is how to spot crime, the office has a script they want you to follow. You know, ‘be cautious’, a 10 point plan what to do if your in danger. This is aimed at the kiddies so they probably know what they’re doing. I'll email you what they gave me, you can email me back any changes and I'll give it back. We can massage a speech."
Sarah didn't like giving prepared speeches. This was particularly true with politicians who liked to be seen next to her to get their photo-ops. Politicians love photos. She had been in the Mayor’s office and there was a giant wall in his giant office full of photos of him with presidents, senators … and yes … ’Mazing Girl.
Well what can you do? She was in LA, endorsing a Democrat wasn't going to change anything anywhere, so why bother.
But you know it sounded like a good cause, and kids did look up to her.
"Ill do it," said Sarah.
"Don't hurt me," begged the thug in her hand, her right hand, suspended easily a foot above the ground
She was at the docks. It was one of those classic comicbook locations you don't really see much. Except it wasn't just any dock. It was Marina Del Ray, one of the world’s largest small-berth marinas. Big boats shipped big things. Small boats, like yachts and cruisers shipped small things … like heroin. This place was less giant tramp steamers and more sailboats to drink boat-drinks in.
And she wasn't actually sure he could be classified as a thug. He looked more like a college kid in over his head. But she tended to classify most people she fought as thugs.
"Where do you plan to take this crap?" inquired a voice behind her. Nighthawk. His dead eye mask unleashed a fearsome visage.
Sarah shook her head. She was not, as a general principal, a person who followed a drug trail from source to the street.
Nighthawk was. Still, she didn't want to step in on his turf. She instead turned the thugs body towards him.
"Tell us. You know how strong she is, and I bet you want to keep your limbs."
Sarah sighed. She was also not a ‘threaten deadly violence’ type of hero. Nighthawk, as well she knew, wasn't a killer. But he liked to give the impression that he was.
"No, no!" cried the ‘thug’.
"‘Mazing, can you put a little pressure on his right arm?"
Sarah grabbed it. She pulled lightly on it. She don't want to actually hurt him. She didn't want to …
"Let’s just take him into the police. They got a ton of evidence here … I mean this boat is full of drugs," Sarah suggested.
Nighthawk sighed. He broke character, just a tad, in exasperation.
"She’s a good person. Doesn't want to hurt a thug like you.” Nighthawk turned to Sarah. "Can you leave us, good mask, crazy mask."
Sarah paused. No she didn't want to leave him.
"See you at the harbourmaster."
And then she jumped, still holding her quarry, into the sky.
The cops at the harbormaster station took him in, with only a few questions (she didn't know the exact slip he was hanging about, but gave good directions, and pointed out the color).
She didn't go back as she expected Nighthawk to be there. But as she landed at a small park, she saw him. How he got there – how he got anywhere – she didn't know.
"What kind of shit was that?" he demanded.
"I'm here to help people, not beat-up college kids."
"You have such potential up there – but you can't see it down here. To fight fear you need to be fear," he scoured.
"To create hope you need to be hope."
That was one of her better lines. She added it to give in her speech. Then it clicked.
"I am giving a speech next week on crime-awareness in the city. Maybe you should give it. You know so, so much about crime and all that."
Nighthawk scowled "I don't face the public. I would loose my menace."
"And your not a lot without menace," observed ‘Mazing. She was feeling pretty good about herself.
"You’re a mix of ego and failure," he shot back. When ‘Mazing girl turned to retort he wasn't there.
Well, he got the last word in, not that bad.
Which is why ‘Mazing was glad she hadn't told him that the thug had in fact told her his buyer’s location in mid air.
"I like that line," said Janey "Yo create hope you need to be hope."
Sarah was at dinner with Janey – Knife Girl. They were at an olive garden after work (Janey had gotten an office job recently, for between gigs).
She was good at agreeing to things. This often involved consuming liquor, but since both where driving they didn't today. She was missing dinner with her fiancé. Sarah and Janey’s fiancé, for various reasons (mainly to keep her secret identity), had never met, which was a shame.
Janey was pawing at a salad. The dinner of people with abs. Sarah was eating pasta. The dinner of people who didn't worry.
"I wish you could do it," said Sarah "You’re good at talking.”
"What? Teach them about knife safety," said Janey.
Actually she had done a PSA about knife safety just a year ago. Knife Girl did do a little bit of public stuff, but there was a kind of implied contractbetween her and society. they feared Knife Girl, they accepted Janey, and they loved Sarah. It was unfair, but what could you do.
"I wouldn't want to be the opening act anyway," said Janey.
Sarah felt guilty now. She often felt guilty. She had won the superpower lottery, and the public opinion lottery, yet she didn't really appreciate it as much as she should.
But she knew Janey, who before becoming an actress had been a former mercenary. For someone who played a teenager on TV, she had spent a lot of her actual youth doing things in South America that American teenagers could never handle. She knew that Janey had, as was observed in a really corny line in the Avengers movie, a large amount of blood on her hands and was trying to pay it off. Janey would never use lines like that but there you go. No sane human being would use a line like that. But Janey was living a clean life in Cerritos, had a house and a guy she loved, and a job she liked … and a passion for fighting crime. No, she was okay, and she accepted that.
Still, they occasionally did irresponsible things.
But tonight they just ate pasta. Sarah ate maybe two bowls.
Sarah stood on top of a small apartment building and looked over the location of the warehouse. Actually it was a suburban garage in Palms. It looked well … like most other suburban garages. That was the occasional problem with a lot of crime in LA: it didn't look as you wanted it to.
She was trying to scout this one. She had thought about asking Knife Girl along to salt the wounds of the jerk Nighthawk, but figured she should handle this her way. Do it ‘Mazing style, just to show them … after all, Knife Girl, despite their friendship, did use the knives a lot.
What mazing style ment she was a little vauge on. But certainly less knives.
Sarah shook her head. She was above that. She would attack the operation in broad daylight and see what she could find.
Really, she should get a warrant. Yes actually, she would call Larson setup a sting and catch them in he act, the villains.
That was the ‘Mazing thing to do. ‘Be hope’.
When she felt a presence on her shoulder.
"there isn't anything in there worth bothering about," said the voice.
She turned to see out of mist that came from nowhere walked the figure of The Flame. "i’ve checked this lead for the last five months. the cops have been here twice. whenever there’s a delivery he moves it within 20 minutes. worried about the cops, worried about his suppliers coming back, the man is clever i'll grant him."
"it’s crime. it’s just catching him in the act. in all men’s souls there is a beast, a darkness. Most of the time they wear masks of virtue … but its just a mask. even the foulest creature can tip his hat to you in the street."
"Most people don't wear hats and don't tip them."
The flame shook her head. But maybe, just maybe, there was a laughing smile … no. "the darkness. our failing is we can only really strike in the split second they let it out let out, their monster."
"By becoming one," said Sarah.
Flame put a hand on her shoulder. It wasn't cold. It was surprisingly warm. And surprisingly tender.
"we can't all be monsters. we need hope. I heard you where giving a speech on crime-awareness."
"i’ll bet if you do a fine job, and make kids just a little bit more wary of strangers and candy and drugs, that will do more good then you or I will do a year. yes there is hope, and sometimes we need a person who is hope."
Flame talked to the police on occasion, the press even. But she would never … .
"i would like to come to this speech. It’s on saturday in griffith park?"
"I am not sure they would …"
"just to hear it" said Flame, "to see the children happy, and glad to see their hero, giggling."
Sarah looked up at Flame and smiled. She had misjudged her. She put her hand on Flames, and squeezed gently.
"Then I am glad."
Flame let go and walked away.
"I suspect there’s a shipment on Sunday at 3:00. I can let you have the glory of bringing the gentleman in. As for myself … I care not."
Gee … she was nice today. And she didn't even have a heart.
Sarah gave the speech on Saturday. It was tremendously patronizing and stupid. But she gave it with all her heart, outlining 10 ways people could be more aware, even the youngest. She was glad to do, even glad to pose for pictures with the Mayor who she privately thought was kind of a dick. Also hundreds of kids to.
She looked in the crowd but couldn't find Flame. But that was okay.
She tried to be hope, to make hope. That’s all she could do.
As did she realized each of them in their own way did the same. Her agent, the Mayor, the heroes, all of them.
Even though Nighthawk was a pretty big jerk.
Despite herself though, when she got home she looked up Batman/Superman slash fiction. It was strangely arousing.