The next guy standing before us was completely covered by red and black motorcycle leathers, and not the kind you might see a guy who’s super into motorcycles wear. This was thick stuff that maybe off road bike people would wear. Given the heat and humidity, he must have been roasting like a Thanksgiving turkey in there. He even had the helmet on. He also had a pair of holsters which was the only concession to anything that might be non-motorcycle related. There were a bunch of straps and buckles and pouches on the suit that I’m not sure were supposed to be there, or if they were added to show what a badass he is. For the record, the only thing that I count as badass is a bandoleer of bullets like Pierce’s outriders had in War Wagon. Although even that was kind of a cop-out, because what you really need to be a badass is no shirt and then the bullet-bandolier.
Blue can’t whistle because he doesn’t have lips anymore but I could tell that he wanted to. He also can’t raise his eyebrows because he doesn’t have those either, being turned into a lizard monster really curtails your ability to express yourself nonverbally.
Blue gestured “Are those custom forty-four Automags? Where did you get those?”
Motorcycle man said something but it was muffled because of the helmet. I think maybe he said something about “Mo Pow” is that anything? Is there a gun manufacturer with a name like Mo Pow or something similar?
I cocked my head “What was that? Can you take off that helmet? It’s very hard to hear you with it on.”
He responded with something that sounded like “murffermurrfermurrfer secret identity.”
“You’re worried that if you take off the helmet we’ll know who you are? But we don’t know who you are anyway? Unless we went to the same high school or something, how would we know who you are even if we saw your face? And why would it matter?” I turned over to Martialla after he maybe responded “Did you catch any of that?” She shook her head “Hey, we can’t hear you man, can you at least crack open the visor or something?
Blue leaned forward and peered “Doesn’t look like it opens.”
Leatherboy made some kind of a hand gesture and then LOUDLY mumbled something that no one could understand.
I stood up and gestured angrily “Get the hell out of here!” I sat back down as he clomped off with what I have to assume were combat boots that would be terrible for motorcycle riding. I chuckled “The funny thing is, I know who that is.”
Martialla snorted “How could you know who it was, he was all covered up!”
“I guess I don’t know for sure that it’s the same guy under there, but I can’t believe anyone else would walk around in that exact same stupid outfit. He was a vigilante in Basin City back home. I wonder what he’s doing here.”
“So you don’t know who he really is, just his . . . whatever, public persona.”
I grinned “No, I know that too. It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you about it some time. If you’re nice.”
Our next applicant was halfway dressed normally but he was also wearing a motorcycle jacket and some kind of matching motorcyclish boots. He had his hair long like a lot of the local troublemakers do and I wondered how that worked with a helmet. Do you stuff it all under there or just let it hang out the back? Seems like it would pull your hair. I guess I don’t know how tight those things are. But they’d have to be pretty tight to work right? Or do you want them to be loose to absorb impact?
“Jesus, what the hell is this, motorcycle day?”
He frowned slightly “Pardon me?”
Blue made a conciliatory gesture “Don’t mind her.”
“Yeah, don’t mind me, I’m just the one asking all the questions. You speak English, that’s a good start.”
He nodded slightly “Yeah, I’m from Hong Kong.”
“They speak English in Hong Kong?”
“Sometimes. It was controlled by Britain until the war.”
“Who controls it now?”
He smiled mirthlessly “Depends who you ask.”
Martialla glared at me “Do we have time for a poly-sci discussion?”
I shook my head “Why do you have to suck the joy out of everything? I like getting to know people. Anyway, since we’re apparently in a big hurry, do you have powers or what’s your story?”
“I can duplicate myself.”
“So there’s two of you? How is that useful? Couldn’t we just hire two guys?”
Blue held up a finger “But this way we only have to pay one.”
The applicant did smile a little at that “Yes, but more importantly, I send my dupe to do something dangerous because I can just make another one. I’ve been working as a stunt man but I’m looking to branch out into super capers.”
“Huh, so you like have your duplicate jump off a building for real and they film it? Something like that? Meanwhile you’re sitting in a director’s chair drinking a Pina colada? Why do they call them director’s chairs when other people sit in them too?”
“I don’t know, but yes, that’s basically it. Saves money on special effects too.”
“Okay so you can summon like a suicide copy of yourself? I suppose I can see how that could be helpful. I’ve never heard of anything like this, how did you get this ability?”
“I don’t know how it happened, after my twin brother died, I could just do it.”
“So you summon your dead twin brother into the world of the living to die over and over again? Is that what we’re talking about? I don’t like the sound of that at all.”
Blue shuffled some papers “We’ll put you in the maybe pile.”