Special Delivery – The Corpse

Jason stepped from the dark van with his bag slung over his shoulder and walked to the scene. Doctor Reymark signaled the two officers to let Jason through.

“Excellent! Jason, you know the drill. First blush.” Doctor Reymark stood back, letting Jason view the area immediately around the prone form.

“Hmmm…Discolored skin,” Jason said kneeling on the road. With a snap, he put on a rubber glove and pushed at the corpse’s cheek with a tongue depressor. “Rigor hasn’t set in,” Jason called out. “These look like scars.” He ran the wooden probe over the face. Flicking the device through the hair, Jason added, “He dies his hair this putrid color.”

Doctor Reymark inhaled a whisper when Jason reached for the arm of the corpse. Jason fumbled in his bag for something and pulled out a hemostat. With a scissor motion, Jason gripped the cuff of the sleeve and pulled the fabric back.

“That would have been an experience.” Jason looked at the device strapped on the corpse’s arm. “This seems to be multipurpose.” He ran the wooden probe over different levers and under some straps. “Is that a tube?” Jason tugged on the flexible pipe and saw the lapel flower move. “A squirting flower. Really?”

Doctor Reymark laughed. “It is one of his trademarks. So, any guesses as to cause of death?”

“There’s bruising on the face, neck and arms.” Jason moved the collar back. “This one here,” he traced the mark from the jaw, over the neck. “Broke the collar bone. It also looks like his nose is broken.”

“You’re better than this, Jason.” Doctor Reymark rocked back on his heels.

With a heavy sigh, Jason moved to the waist of the corpse and spread the shirttails out. “This is a puncture wound.” Jason pulled out a penlight and shined it on the pale skin. “It looks like a bite, possibly an insect or something. But this right here is too uniform.” Using the tip of the hemostat, Jason touched the two small holes. A black circle on the outer edges was evident once he pointed it out. “This was caused by a device. The punctures have been cauterized by heat, and thusly it burned the skin. It was done pre-mortem, so he was alive.”

Detective Morris stepped over to Doctor Remark. “You mean to tell me that those two iddy-bitty holes are what killed him? Really? You know who this is?”

“Yes.” Doctor Reymark looked at the detective. “To all three of your questions.”

Detective Morris tilted his head. “So that means that-”

“Nope,” Jason answered, standing from the corpse. “He’s accounted for.”

Detective Morris turned to the younger man. “Then it would be-”

Doctor Reymark interrupted, “That is for you to prove.”

Detective Morris pulled out a notebook and flipped several pages. “He lives in-”

“Another town several hours away.” Jason pulled a body bag from the satchel at his hip.

Morris ran a hand through his thin hair. “What about the girl?”

“She’s in prison.” Doctor Reymark waggled his eyebrows.

“Not her,” Detective Morris said waving a hand at the corpse. “The other one.”

“Oh.” Doctor Reymark put a finger to his chin.

“It’s possible.” Jason signaled for two EMTs to help him lift the corpse into the body bag. “However, who is she?”

“That we don’t know.” Detective Morris closed his notebook. “But we do know that to date, none of them have ever killed.”

Doctor Reymark moved out of the way of the gurney. “Do we know that, Detective?”

Jason moved for the dark van he arrived in and opened the back door. The two EMTs put the gurney into the back and locked the wheels in place.

As the dark van drove off, Detective Morris muttered, “Not sure if I would call killing that guy a crime. Funny, sure. A crime?”

Rogue Telekinetic – Red Sports Car

The small red sports car darted from one lane to the next. With the top down the driver and passenger were visible. Their heads tossed back and laughter on their face. With the heavy traffic, the car did the impossible, it sped up. The small red sports car drove over the line splitting two lanes.

Two kids dove back to the sidewalk, ditching their soda cups. The small red sports car dashed through the intersection and under the red traffic light. It swerved into the oncoming traffic lane, even though no traffic was on the original side.

“This will not end well,” Jack Davis said stepping out of the restaurant. He was in time to see the small red sports car careen through a turn and slow to a stop behind the semi-truck tuning onto the Interstate.

The small red sports car let out several exasperated high-pitched beeps. The driver shouted and waved his fist. Twice the driver looked behind him to see another car coming alongside him, blocking a lane change.

Jack walked passed his car, out of the parking lot, and down the sidewalk towards the small red sports car. In his mind he pictured the car a mere inch off the ground. He felt the power build, then released it.

Approaching the passenger side of the car, Jack said in a loud voice, “Nice car.” The passenger and driver turned to look at him. “It seems fast.”

“It is,” said the big shouldered driver. “At least when I can get on the Interstate.”

“Aren’t you worried about tickets?” Jack looked at the driver. “I mean the insurance on this thing has to be high to begin with.”

“Never been caught,” the large man said with a nod and a grin. “Never will.” He knocked the car out of gear and revved the car.

“I see,” Jack said. “What about you, young lady? Someone as beautiful as you must be worried about an accident. The damage it would cause?”

Worry flashed across the pretty young woman’s face. A hand waved it away, but her eyes never changed. She did a double take towards the driver.

The large truck cleared the corner and proceeded up the entrance ramp.

“About damn time.” The driver shifted the lever and stomped on the gas pedal. The car revved as before only at a higher pitch. And it didn’t go anywhere.

“Hmmm,” Jack said looking at the car. “Seems something is wrong.”

“I just got this hunk a junk,” the man shouted over the roar of his engine. “What the-“ The driver looked at his feet. “The gas is stuck.”

Shouting, Jack said, “Fortunate for you. Imagine if it stuck while you nearly killed those kids back there.” Jack tossed a hand in the direction. The woman and man turned to see the kids crossing the street.

“They look fine to me,” the man said.

“Except for the scrapes and cuts,” Jack added. “And they ditched their drinks.”

“So what.” The driver pounded on the steering wheel. “Go, you piece of sh-“

“Do you kiss your Mother with that potty mouth?” Jack turned to the woman. “Does he kiss you with that potty mouth?” The woman turned a deep red and turned to the driver.

“Shut up!” The man swore. “I’ll get it fixed.” He pulled on a lever and pop sounded from the hood and it lifted an inch. Next he pulled on the door, but it didn’t budge. “No! The door’s stuck.”

The engine revved louder, and the hood slammed shut.

“Personally, I would recommend you use manners and class over false bravado and insecurity.” Jack pulled on the passenger side door, holding it open for the woman. “As for you, make better choices.” A shout exited the driver, and he squirmed in his seat. He pulled his hands, but they were stuck to the steering wheel.

The woman stood from the car and walked away from the small red sports car.

“You know how you said you’ve never been caught?” Jack said, closing the door.

“Yeah.” The driver clenched his hands on the steering wheel.

“First time for everything.” The sounds of sirens sounded. Jack let the car drop to the pavement.

The tires on the small sports car squealed as the driver was thrown back into his seat. A loud scream and the car turned onto the entrance ramp. Two police cars blocked his escape.

Jack shook his head and walked back to his car.

Bad Kid

Vic dashed into his living room and scooped up his crying son. “Bart, it’s ok. You’re not hurt. Daddy’s here.” The words flowed soft and easy. Vic cradled his child and showed affection.

Marsha entered the room watching the scene in front of her. “You’re an excellent father, Victor Gaines. And I love you for it.” Marsha joined in the hug-fest of their son.

***

A bright sunshiny Saturday on the playground, Vic sat on a bench watching Bart play with other children.

“Is that your kid there,” another man asks. “The one with the Champion cape?”

“Yup,” Vic smiled. “He likes to pretend he’s the hero. Swoops in and saves the day.”

“That’s cool,” the other man nodded. “Mine likes Badger or Chance. He says they’re awesome.”

“They give me the impression of media hounds and pretty violent.” Vic said as he looked at the man.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to push them too hard,” the man said. “Then they automatically go the opposite direction.”

“Good point,” Vic responded. Checking his watch, Vic said, “Ohh. Lunch time. Nice talking with you.” He stood and called Bart over.

“Dad! I want to be like Champion. A hero!” Bart bounced as he walked next to Vic.

“Son,” Vic said rubbing Bart’s head. “You can be anything you want.”

***

Vic turned into the parking lot and found a spot at the back. Getting out of the car, he dashed to the auditorium of Brownstone Middle School. Vic yanked his work ID off his shirt and shoved it into his pocket.

“Dad! You made it,” Bart ran up to Vic on the sidewalk.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Vic smiled at his son.

“You are a great father, Victor.” Marsha smiled at her husband. “Let’s get in and find a good seat.”

“Right up front,” Vic said. “Do your best.” He grinned at Bart.

“I will,” Bart said and waved as he moved with the other students into the auditorium.

Vic and Marsha took seats up front and watched as the Brownstone Middle School Orchestra walked on the stage. Using his phone, Vic took videos and pictures of his son.

After the hour long performance, Vic drove his son and met his wife at the local ice-cream shop to celebrate.

“You were fantastic, Bart,” Vic said. “Musics a great way to relax. Plus you learn timing and re-inforce your math.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Bart beamed up at his father.

***

“Dad,” Bart walked over to his father. “I need this permission slip signed.” Bart held out a piece of paper.

“What’s this for,” Vic read the paper while he sipped his morning coffee. “Football, huh? You want to play?”

“Yeah,” Bart answered. “You know to help with controlling the powers I inherited from you.”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” Vic said. “But be ready and be careful. You have some of my abilities, but you also have some of your mom’s. Her’s will be better for you.”

“I know,” Bart said, rolling his eyes with a big sigh. “Mom’s healing is good. Just don’t use it unless absolutely necessary.”

“Good.” Vic pulled a pen from his jacket pocket. He leaned over the table, pulled his tie out of the way, and signed the permission slip. “Keep up on practice and keep your grades up. No slacking.”

“Got it, dad,” Bart smiled as he bounced on his toes.

“I love you, Vic,” Marsha said as she encircled her arms around her husband. “We did right with Bart.”

“Yup.” Vic moved to grab his wife. “We did.” He kissed her.

***

Bart came into the living room. His mother sat on the couch watching the late news.

“We won!” Bart jumped up and put his palm on the ceiling.

“Excellent honey,” Marsha said as she patted a spot on the couch next to her. “Sit down and keep me company.”

“Where’s Dad,” Bart asked. “I know he said something about working late, but I never saw him at the game.”

“I don’t know,” Marsha said as she slipped an arm over Bart’s shoulders. “But you know your Dad. He can be a work-a-holic sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Bart smiled. “Still, it would have been nice to see him.”

The television flashed a large graphic across the screen. The words Happening Right Now in large fonts with a red background took the entire screen.

“This is Paula Anderson. It seems that Champion has taken down the archvillain Strong Arm.” A clip showed a dark clad man dragged behind the brightly clad Champion.

“Alright! Champion!” Bart shouted. “He’s the bes-”

The camera zoomed in on the man being dragged.

“Isn’t that dad’s super suit,” Bart asked, pointing at the television. “Why is he being dragged?”

“Yes, Bart,” Marsha answered. “That is your father.”

“But dad isn’t evil,” Bart shot to his feet. “Why is Champion doing this? He’s got the wrong man!”

On the screen, Champion hefted Strong Arm to his feet. A microphone appeared in Strong Arms face.

“Strong Arm. Do you have any comment,” the reporter off camera asked.

Strong Arm lifted his head. A spot of blood showed on his lip, and an eye was swollen shut. “Bart. Never forget. I love you.”

Champion jerked on Strong Arm’s arms and moved him to the van with open doors.

The camera panned back to the reporter. “There you have it, people. Strong Arm’s terror campaign is now at an end. We can all sleep peaceful tonight, thanks to Champion.”

The screen went blank.

“Champion!” Bart shouted through gritted teeth. “I’m gonna kill you.” He ran from the room and cleared the stairs to his room. Loud bashing and crashing noises followed seconds later.

“Vic, I love you,” Marsha whispered. “We did it. Bart is ready.”

Part-Time Job

“Anderson,” Jack Abernathy’s rough voice called. “How’s the Stein project coming?”
“I can finish my part by the end of the week,” David Anderson said looking up from his laptop. “The numbers are entered and the scripts are in place. Waiting on the graphics to finish loading.”

“What’s left after that?” Jack moved into David’s cube.

Touching the button on his cellphone to silent the buzzing, David pointed to his screen. “The check-list says link checking, then stress testing on the server. We’re a little behind on the configuration, but it should only be a day or two.”

“We’re gonna meet that deadline.” Jack’s hand clamped down on David’s shoulder, making the youn man flinch. “You have my permission for over-time. Get to here by tomorrow evening.” Jack tapped a sausage finger on the checklist on the screen, leaving a smear over updating all machines remotely. The task’s original planned date was the day after tomorrow.

“Uh…” David turned his head to look at Jack.

“No excuses.” Jack pivoted on his heels and left David’s cube. It didn’t take him long to be around the corner and out of David’s sight.

“Crap,” David muttered under his breath. He flipped his phone over and entered his passcode. The number 8 appeared next to his text icon. David touched the icon. Scrolling to the last message he touched reply. A few finger taps and he sent the response stating he would be late. His eyes darted to the time in the top corner of his phone. It blinked to 7:18pm.

11:30 rolled around and David dashed from his car into the building. He touched the secret spot, sliding the door open and walked in. David’s uniform fit perfectly. The bright yellow crescent moon contrasted with the midnight blue of the rest of his outfit.

“You’re late!” Graves voice growled across the small room. “Again!”

“Yeah, I know,” David sighed. “It’s just that-”

“You know.” Graves pounded on the table top. “You realize I had to call for help from Wave Rider. Wave Rider. He’s barely a hero. So what he can talk to fish and breathe underwater.”

“Wow.” David stopped walking and looked at the grey clad superhero in front of him. “Wave Rider. Doesn’t he also have super strength?”

“That’s besides the point.” Graves spun and faced David. “I expect my sidekick to be here on time and not full of excuses.” A stiff finger poked David in the chest on his emblem. “You’re fired.”

“What?” David stepped back. “You can’t fire me. You don’t even pay me. This isn’t a job.” David held his hands, palms up and spread. “What about keeping my secret identity? You always stress that. I was doing that.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Graves said. “I can’t rely on you. You should have worked something out.”

“I have to pay my rent some how.” David’s voice picked up in pitch and speed. “I also need to buy food, repair my uniform, and the gym. Plus, there’s the martial art lessons you insisted I take. You don’t even reimburse me for that, but it’s required.”

“This again?” Graves made a rude noise. “By the time I was your age I had earning a million dollars.”

David clenched his jaws and fist. “Yeah. But you inherited five billion just by being born. What a cheapskate.”

“And this one, too.” Graves put both hands on his hips and cocked his head to the side.
“If you paid me forty-five grand a year,” David said pointing a finger at Graves. “I could quit my day job and be the perfect sidekick.”

“They only pay you forty-five?” Graves’ eyebrows shot up. “That’s a pittance.”
“Yeah,” David answered. “Ironically, I work for a subsidiary of Sampson Industries. In other words, you pay me that pittance.”

Graves looked at David and shook his head. “I have to stand by my word or it means nothing. Clean out your desk and leave your keys.”

“I don’t have a desk,” David said, walking to the door he came in. “I never had keys.” As he passed the hidden door, he banged his fist on the jamb.

“I’ll give you a great reference,” Graves shouted as the door slid shut.

“Fuck this,” David said as he slammed his car door closed. “I’ll at least get some sleep and be ready for tomorrow.” He drove off.

When the weekend hit, David was ready for it. Having spent well over fifty hours a week he wanted to relax. He slept in on Saturday. During the afternoon, he wandered the mall and other places. Normally, he would be training or some other activity that Graves would have him do. Since he was fired, he made the best of it.

When the evening kicked off, David went to a movie. It had been awhile since he had seen a first run, so he treated himself. After a few hours, he left and walked through the dark parking lot to his car. A sound pulled his attention, and he watched as two people descended from the sky. One with a rope, the other flying.

“I’ve beaten you Graves,” the flying man said.

“Not…,” Graves groaned out. “Yet.” The form of Graves clutched his midsection and spit a glob of something from his mouth. “You hit like a girl.”

“Your funeral.” the flying man darted straight for Graves, a clenched fist leading the way.

“Holy shit,” muttered David. “I better do something.” He looked for his car and found it two spots away. “Wait. I don’t have my uniform in there.” Standing there he watched the fist connect with Graves. “Plus I was fired.” Graves trajectory carried him over several cars and crashing into a light pole. “Plus, that guys a dick.”

“That wasn’t so hard.” The flying man hovered over to where Graves lay on the cement. “Let’s see who you really are.” He reached down and pulled the mask off, ripping the cowl off the cape. Staring at the prone figure, the flying man pocket his trophy. “Huh. I don’t recognize you. But someone will.” The flying man jumped into the sky and disappeared.

Standing over Graves, David looked at the unconscious body. “Yeah. He’s a dick.” David got in his car and dove off.