Origins #14 Zach

The blonde girl from the other day stood in front of my door and blocked all attempts to gain entry. She refused to budge, even when I said the magic word. I stopped trying to push past her, crossed my arms, and stared at her, returning her frown. She was wearing a ratty white sweatshirt and jeans. Her strawberry blond hair was tied up in a ponytail, which really highlighted how round her face was. Her frown only made it worse. Not that she was ugly, it just kinda stuck out. She had big eyes, which looked kinda wierd on that volleyball of a head. She recrossed her arms, and blew a strand of her hair out of her round face, twisted into an even deeper frown. “Explain everything. Now.”

Fuck fuck fuck. Improvise Zach.
“I can’t. Classified.”
“I’ve never heard of a hero with your powers in Roosevelt City, yet here you are. Also, if you’re a hero, why do you work at Comcast?”
“I’m a um, transfer from the philly team, and secret identity duh.”
“New heroes in town are announced publicly, to avoid the public and police confusing them for a villain. I haven’t heard anything about you.”
Ok, I thought. I got this.
“Can we go inside for a second? What I’m about to say next is pretty incriminating, and I wouldn’t tell you at all, except I’m afraid you’ll tell the authorities and blow my cover.”
She nodded and followed me in. I motioned for her to shut the door behind us, which she did, and sat down.
“I’m deep undercover. I’m working for the government in a sting operation to bag some of the worst villians in the city. If you repeat this to anyone, I will die, you will die, your family will die, and probably a large amount of our neighbors will go down too. Can I trust you, or will I have to get you mind wiped?”
“You can trust me. Uh, sir.” I faked a laugh, and said, “No need for the formalities. Zach will do fine.” I held my hand out, and she shook it. “Jessica.” I looked at her confused for second before she uncomfortably laughed in an annoyingly high pitch and said, “My name. It’s Jessica.” Shit that was awkward. I returned her laugh and eked out an apology for my idiocy, which she accepted with another high pitched laugh. I winced, which she thankfully didn’t notice. “Also I’m sorry. I lied about Eric. I can’t arrest him now since I’m undercover. I did leave an anonymous tip though. I guess we’ll hope for the best, and they’ll find something incriminating.” They wouldn’t, since I didn’t leave that tip, but she couldn’t find out right? She sighed, “I understand. I just have one request.” Uh oh, I thought. No good has EVER come from that sentence. She giggled, and splurted out “Showmeyourpowers.”
“What?” I’m fast, but that was crazy.
“Sorry. Show me your powers. After that I’ll leave you alone.” In panicked, and did what I do best. Lied.
“Sorry I can’t. They’re uh, really draining. I’ll show you sometime next week. Maybe Monday. I’m busy till then.”

She turned and slammed the door behind her. Once I was sure she had left I grabbed a Coke from my mini-fridge and collapsed onto my ratty couch. That was close. A week in, and my supervillian career nearly ended. I don’t know how long I sat on the couch stressing over what could have gone wrong, but I woke up that morning slumped over on the couch, staring at a half empty bottle on the floor. I groaned, and forced myself to my feet. My cheap watch said it was 9:35, Sunday morning. That gave me about two hours to get ready for the psych evaluation.
I collapsed back on the couch and took a swig of the Coke. It was so flat and warm that it tasted like pure syrup. Still better than the only other beverages I had, dirty tap water and booze.
My shower water was cold again, so I settled for a quickie followed by forty minutes of shivering on the toilet seat wrapped up in every towel I own swearing an eternal blood fued on my neighbors and landlord. After that pitiful display, I brushed my teeth with that useless stuff that says it whitens, but really only tastes like shit, and debated shaving. My razor was more weapon than grooming tool, and whenever I tried to use it, I looked like an army of murderous gerbils had attacked my face.

Fuck it I thought. Have to look professional. In preparation I put on enough shaving cream to make me look like a demented Santa Claus, and went to work. I managed to get about a quarter of my five o’clock shadow before what felt like sand paper ripped of a section of my skin. “YOU MOTHERFUCKER!” I shouted as I chucked the razor as hard as I could, embedding the soft plastic in my bathroom wall. I was a fucking super villain. Why did it have to hurt so much?

A Few Hours Later
So there I was. Sitting in one of those therapist chairs I hated, with a face half covered in stubble and a tissue taped to my cheek. Cursing myself I thought, Seriously Zach, how could you have forgotten to buy band aids?
“Ahem.” Jason cleared his throat. “Could you please answer the question?”
“Sorry, I was just a bit confused. You want to know my what?”
“Your ambition. Like, what you want to do. Your endgame.”
“I uh, dunno. Make a lot of money and retire to a mansion in the mountains?”
He looked to a small Asian man who stood to his left, who nodded. Every time he asked a question the man either nodded or shook his head. I assumed he was a mind reader from the way he glared at me when I thought gross thoughts on purpose. After every question he would either shake his head or nod, and it seemed to affect the amount Jason wrote on his papers. I noticed he shook his head whenever a question about my family came up. Apparently “Fine. I don’t know when I’m going to see them next, and I don’t care,” was a lie. Or he was a shitty lie detector. I contemplated for a moment, and decided that he was a shitty lie detector. He glared, and I thought of the most inappropriate thing I could think of. He stifled a gag, then glared at me harder, causing me to laugh.

 Jason whipped his head around to look at me and quickly attempted to cover it up with a cough. He stared at me for a second, shook his head then continued.

“Ok good. You don’t know how many times I’ve had to turn people away for wanting to avenge their father, or take over the world. Honestly, it’s like half the metahumans in the world have some ridiculous scheme, and are just using this organization as a springboard for their own personal lives. I only accept the money type like you, or those God awfully annoying “I’m going to be the best” types. They end up being the hardest workers, and are fairly easy to predict.” He shuffled through a few papers, before smiling in relief. “Final question.”
“Finally!” The ordeal was over! I had been answering his questions for over an hour.
“What would you die for?”
Who the HELL asks that kind of question?
“Taco and Tequila Tuesday at South of the Border. I would never allow myself to stand by and let that beautiful night of cheap booze and great food be taken from the future generations.”
“Seriously please.”
“No dude, the tacos are actually pretty good.”
The Asian man began to nod but Jason whipped his head around and gave him the evil eye, cutting it short.
“Another joke, Mr Browne, and this interview will be over.”
“Don’t tempt me,” I muttered. “That’s a tough question. I guess probably for my friends or people who are really close to me. Or if a ton of people are gonna die. At least I like to think I would. We never really know what we’ll do until it happens, really.” The Asian man shrugged, and Jason made a check mark on his last paper. “Alright. That’s about it.” He hit a button on the left side of his chestnut desk and spoke into it saying “Katie, could you come in here with the mission files?” The desk beeped, and he sat back in his chair expectantly.
After a few moments, an attractive blonde woman wearing a pink polo shirt that was WAY to small for her. 

I know we were gangsters, and a lot of us wore colorful costumes but really. We had to have at least some workplace standards.
I decided to complain to HR, but then laughed at myself. Super villain HR. How would that go?

Führer, can you at least recognize that DOOMman, as a Jewish male, is slightly offended by your remarks. It’s perfectly understandable for him to complain to your overlord about racial comments when all you do is make speeches about racial purity. Now, now, I get that you have a right to cleanse and speak your mind, we are Americans after all, but please keep the political views at home, ok?

I snorted again, which no one noticed, thankfully. Jason thanked the woman, who I saw had Katy on her name tag and handed a Manila folder to me. “In here is your first mission. Read up on it well, because robbing an EZ compound is no easy task.”


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