Blue waved his arm, which even to someone as tall and impressive as me is akin to when a cloud passes by overhead – it darkens the sky for a moment.
“If you go down there you’ll be cut to pieces!”
Martialla chortled in a wet sickeningly fishy way “Good, let her go then.”
I glared art her “Shut up Martialla, everyone knows about your tilted uterus.”
Martialla can’t really wink because her freaky fisheyes don’t work like that, but they flickered sideways or did something like fish-winking “No such thing as bad press, am I right?”
“You are foul.” I turned back (and up) to Blue “You were planning on starting a big crazy fight where everyone was going to die anyway, just let me go down there and try to talk to them, if things go bad you can still try to kill everyone like you were going to anyway.”
Blue looked at me soberly “Except you’ll be dead.”
I waved away his concerns “I’ll be fine. Just get in position and then if things take a turn for the worse, you’ll be ready to spring into action.”
He looked as mournful as a lizard can “I don’t like this plan.”
I winked “Jinx, buy me a Coke.”
As soon as he slipped away (he’s very stealthy for an eight-hundred-pound human tegu) I realized that he was right, it was a terrible plan. But what was I going to do? Admit that I was wrong? I tried to take a deep breath and collect myself, I could see how many people were down there. People with machetes and guns that weren’t my friends. I don’t know if I could have forced myself to take a step if Martialla hadn’t given me a look that said “I knew you wouldn’t do it”. I wasn’t about to let her get the best of me, even if it meant that I got shot sixteen times and my arms and legs hacked off at the elbows and knees respectively.
Before that moment, I had never using singing to calm my nerves. One because I rarely get nervous, being the steely woman of action that I am, but also because I never thought of music that way before. Music is a joyous thing that you enjoy when you’re already happy. Or in a studio to make money no matter how you feel. You’d think having a top 40 hit would pay well but you’d be wrong. I mean, look where I am and what I’m doing right now. You don’t see Joan Baez doing this shit. Do you? If you do, let me know because that would be amazing. Not as amazing as seeing myself doing it in a mirror, but still.
Point being that I licked my lips and started singing softly to myself as I headed down to the, well not village, but cluster of abandoned buildings by the mostly bombed-out airstrip. “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald. Quietly at first, just to calm my nerves, but by the time I got halfway down the hill, I was belting it out. Not just because it felt good to do so, which it did, but also because I figure if you’re not trying to sneak up on a bunch of dudes with machine guns, it’s a wise policy to make sure they know you’re coming.
A couple guys ran up on me and jabbed their rifles in my direction like they always seem to like to do – I guess for emphasis. Bullets come out of guns, I don’t understand the compulsion to jam the barrel right into people.
“Dare ga soko ni iku no ka!”
I held my hands up “Uh . . . not sure what that means? Do you speak French? Hablas español vato? I’m friends with your boss. I know it doesn’t seem like that would be the case because I’m not dressed like a streetwalker but it’s true, I swear.”
What we had there was a failure to communicate. Verbally anyway, they did gun-jab me down where I wanted to go anyway so ultimately I guess we did communicate just fine, we just didn’t share a common language. Miss Thong Boob-Strips was there, and as I was walking up, Lason came out of one of the huts too – I assume she’s the one controlling all these violent lunatics. I was about to say something witty and awesome when the Challenger came limping out behind her. Our eyes locked and then his went wide – not wide like saucers, wide like some other kind of dinnerware that’s full of furious anger. A saucière maybe.
“You!” he shouted.
“You!” I shouted back at the same time. His was angry shouting though, mine was surprised shouting.
Thong had a small, amused smile “You two know each other? You really get around, don’t you Ela?”
The Challenger started to come towards me, in a stiff Frankenstein lurch because of messed up legs, but Lason held up her hand and he stopped dead in his tracks like a trained hound. I could see him straining against her control (however that works) quickly starting to sweat buckets, it seemed like every muscle in his body was tensed to the maximum.
I lifted my hand in a half wave “Hey man. Look, I want to apologize for shattering both your shins like I did. You were attacking that guy in the street in front of everyone and I thought that wasn’t cool, but I have since realized that really it was none of my business right? I should have just kept my nose out of it instead of snapping both your legs like thin twigs. I’m really very sorry, I should not have done that. Uh . . . so uh, how’s your quest to find all the best fighters in the world and kill them going? Not too good I guess since you’ve fallen under the spell of these slut witches.”
Lason said something in a language I didn’t understand and Thong raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow “That’s a good question, what are you doing here?”
“Well I have great news for you . . . .uh, you know I realize now that I never actually caught your name before . . .” I waited for a moment for her to tell me her stupid supervillain name but she didn’t “that’s okay, I don’t need to know your name . . . right, so . . . uh, anyway, uh, girlfriend, the good news is that I’ve . . . reconsidered your offer. I’d like to join your sexy lady super team. Uh, yeah, so if you have like a go-go outfit or something for me to put on . . . like with modesty shorts maybe? I don’t know how you keep your stuff in place, do you glue your tits down or something?”
Lingerie & Cape came striding out of the building as well “Actually we never offered you anything, as I’m sure you recall. We were looking for Lason, and as you can see, we found her.
I plastered on a smile “Hey . . . you. You’re here . . . that’s great, that’s . . . just great. I know our first meeting was a little rocky but I think I can be an asset to your team, you know, I have the super strength. You all have more subtle powers, more ladylike powers if you will, I think it would help to have someone more physical around – you know, for contrast. Kind of round out the team.”
L&C nodded “We do have an opening for the muscle position since you killed Malicia”
I winced “Ooh . . . so she died huh?
Thong snorted “Yeah, that’s what usually happens when you throw someone out a fifth-floor window.”
I winced more “I don’t want to quibble, but I think it was only the fourth floor. You know, I’m sorry about that, really, it was an accident. And I mean, you guys did attack me. It’s funny you know because I was just thinking. . .”
L&C gestured to some of the goon squad “Sweep the area, find her friends.”
I held my hands up “Ah no, no, no need for that, I came here alone . . . you know, to join you.”
Lason looked towards her other members of her villainess trio “That might not be a good idea, I’ve seen that blue lizard guy in action and . . .”
With a sudden shout, The Challenger surged forward like he had broken through some kind of invisible barrier. He was so slick with sweat that he looked like he had just come out of the shower. He grabbed something off his belt, it looked like a chair leg to me but I’m sure it was some kind of martial arts weapon with a crazy name like Seven Winds Folding Stick or Flying Shrimp Boat of the Heavens or Steamed Rice with Pea Pods. He hurled it at me with all his might, and he had a lot of might, but without even really thinking about it I caught it out of the air and flicked it back at him like I was tossing a frisbee. It hit him square between the eyes and knocked him out cold. He tumbled and collapsed into a heap.
I looked at the trio of scantily clad supervillianesses “Whoa, you have to admit, that was pretty cool.”
I have come to love Ela so much, she’s my kind of girl: blunt and snarky 😁
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