Thursday, December 24, 2009

THE LOCAL HEROES: Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Fight

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Fight


Al Bruno III

Some superheroes patrolled the River city by leaping from rooftop to snowy rooftop, others flew and some just sat by a police scanner and waited; Captain Hero kept River City safe from behind the wheel of his specially modified taxicab. The red and white taxi made its way through the snowy streets, its headlights glinting off the Christmas decorations that marked every lamppost and window front.

A taxicab might seem like a strange way for a superhero to get about but it was a fuel-efficient mobile crime lab and the fares helped pay for costume repairs and medical bills. Citizens walking the darkened streets waved as he drove past, sometimes tourists took pictures but tourists were a rare thing in River City now that crime was the only growth industry. Things had been so very different in the 1980's, back when ShadoMask had still been active and the big time heroes from Megalopolis City had made regular flyovers. Now ShadoMask was either retired or dead and the likes of Commander Infinity and Mighty Woman could no longer be bothered to deal with the deformed mobsters and petty villainy of River City.

That was why Captain Hero never rested, not even tonight on Christmas Eve.

His patrol went on as normal, then after dealing with two purse snatchings and a kitten in a tree he spied a convenience store in flames. The owners were out on the street with tears in their eyes. The taxicab skidded to a halt and the Captain bounded out; he was short for a superhero, barely five feet tall and wore a costume of red and white, a cowl covered his face and a cape was draped over his shoulders. Unlike some of the new heroes he still wore spandex instead of molded plastic and Kevlar. His six pack abs were real!

Captain Hero realized he had forgotten something and bounded back to get his fire extinguisher. He cautioned the store owners to keep back and headed inside spraying , spraying chemical foam ahead of him.

The scorching heat pressed in from all sides, the edges of his cape began to singe filling the air with with the scent of burning Lycra. Soon he had the flames under control but the damage was considerable. As a small businessman himself he felt for the owners and wondered if perhaps he could get cyborg adventurer/contractor Rusty Johnson to-

Something crunched underfoot. He looked down to see broken bottles of dip all along the main aisle, there were footprints in the salsa. Footprints that could only belong to one man.

Captain Hero dropped the fire extinguisher and dove behind a holiday display just in time to avoid a burst of machine gun fire. Bullets quickly reduced his cover to festively colored shrapnel and the Captain had to make a run for back of the store.

“Take that hero!!” a mocking voice called.

And Captain Hero knew that voice, it was one of the Shellfish gang- the armored villain known as Overkrill. He strode through the store looking like a nightmarish stainless steel prawn (although Captain Hero didn't think there was a time when the sight of a stainless steel prawn wouldn't be nightmarish.).

“Using hi-tech armor to rob a convenience store?” the Captain tutted as he crawled from one aisle to the next, “I'd say that's overkill Overkrill.”

“You won't be joking when you're dead!”

“True.” Captain Hero pulled a box of wine from a shelf and tossed it towards in his adversary. It was quickly obliterated in a hail of weapons fire.

The fire was starting to re-assert itself, casting the entire scene into flickering shades of yellow and orange. Thick curls of smoke hung low in the air. Overkrill coughed as he walked through a particularly dense patch.

Coughed? Captain Hero realized.

“Keep talking,” Overkrill stomped through a pile of Hostess Twinkies, by the time he had past they were already returning to their original shapes. “I'm going to break your back, unmask you and deliver you to Boss Aragosta.”

The armored figure passed right by Captain Hero without seeing him; the red and white clad avenger knew he only had one chance to take Overkrill down. If he failed he might very well be unmasked, revealing his secret identity and worse yet his terrible case of male pattern baldness.

A burning rafter fell from the ceiling. The sound of sirens began to fill the air, began to drown out the roar of the fire, River City's finest were on their way. the Captain didn't want any of them getting hurt in the crossfire- it was time to put an end to this. He grabbed a handful of sneezing powder from the third pocket from the left on his utility belt and rushed up to his enemy.

It was just as he had suspected, Overkrill had neglected to add any kind of air filtration system to his helmet. He began to sneeze violently, each outburst marked by an eruption of gunfire. the Captain ran one aisle over and with a single well-timed push toppled a shelf onto the armored criminal. Once he was pinned the red and white clad avenger knocked him out with a kick to the head.

A few moments later the white and red clad avenger limped triumphantly out of the burning building dragging the limp form of Overkrill behind him. The police took charge of the villain and Captain Hero returned to his taxi before anyone could pester him with thank yous and requests for autographs because that wasn't why he did what he did.

Justice was it's own reward.

Of course the fares didn't hurt either, and he saw one waving him down just now.


  1. I like the world you've created and how you've provided so much information about it just through this one scene and its main character. Very funny action piece.

  2. Crime never takes a holiday, and neither does he!

  3. Fabu foodfight -- loved the salsa-ed footprints. Merry merry! Peace, Linda

  4. Great work Al! I like how you weaved the captain's vanity in - nicely done.

  5. Interesting story. This sentence -- "He strode through the store looking like a nightmarish stainless steel prawn (although Captain Hero didn't think there was a time when the sight of a stainless steel prawn wouldn't be nightmarish.). -- cracked me up!

  6. Nice Work Al! Love your take on capes.

  7. Footprints in the salsa... it must be Overkrill! very funny piece.

    You've reminded of a joke I loved when I was a kid (and still do to be honest!) :
    Q: How can you tell if an elephant's been in the fridge?
    A: Footprints in the butter

  8. It's true that crime never takes a holiday. I love the image of the Captain just driving around and picking up passengers in his cab. You've really given so much humanity to your heroes and I think that's why people relate to them and like them. The line about him being afraid of everyone seeing his baldness particularly stood out in my mind. You should definitely do more stories with him.

  9. Nice concept, the taxi driving hero, liked Mighty Woman too. Once again a villain is foiled by a lack of air filtration and sneezing powder.