[Editor’s NOTE – as you avid readers all know, normally I do world-building stuff on Wednesday but nothing really needs to be explained at this point germane to the story, so you get more narrative instead. Sorry. Sad face emoji.]
I’ve never cared for blonde men. I make no bones about that. Something about them just doesn’t seem right to me, it’s a woman’s hair color, why is your hair like that man? For a kid, sure, a little blonde boy running around? Adorable. But an adult man? No thank you. Especially if they have long blonde hair. Parker Stevenson is hiding something. I bring this up because Travis, aka Captain USA Super Patriot USA #1, is blonde as a wheat field. Or some other kind of field that’s more yellow. It’s not long of course, that would be un-American, his hair style is appropriately conservative and butch, and somehow threatening.
When Martialla and Blue didn’t come back to the bar, I got worried. I guess I was worried about LBK too. But if we’re being honest, and I think we are, it’s harder to get worked up about him being missing. He just kind of glommed onto us. Speaking of, that ingrate Russian/Polish/Romanian/Whatever barman told me not to come back there anymore. I asked him how he could do me like that after all I had done for him. He pointed out that what I had done was drink his booze, eat every scrap of food that presented itself in two seconds flat, and bring a bunch of mutants around drawing attention to the place. Which I guess is a fair point.
I spent a couple days wandering the streets looking for Blue (because he stands out more in a crowd, and also because I like him more than Martialla) and sleeping in alleys until I realized that wasn’t going to work. I came to this realization after I had broken into the kitchen of Via Emilia Jardin and was sitting on the floor eating some kind of fancy sauce out of what looked like one of those big white buckets that painters have. I could see my distorted reflection in the shiny metal freezer door dipping whole loaves of bread into the delicious gloop and then devouring them like a duck with breadcrumbs and I thought – something needs to change here.
So I asked myself, if I was a USA super patriot, where would I stay in Madripoor? Not in the best hotel around town, that would be too un-American. The only US company I’ve seen around here is Derecktor, so I went down to their shipyards at the end of the day and then followed men in suits until one of them went to a hotel. The Goodwood (heehee) Park Hotel was built by an English guy for German expatriates and looks like a castle – definitely the kind of place Staties would be hanging out.
I was loitering outside trying to figure out my next move when I saw a woman I thought might be from the CS walking up with an armful of shopping bags. She looked so much like Angela Dorian I thought it might be Angela Dorian for a minute. I approached, apologizing profusely, as is our tradition in the CS, asking if she had a moment to talk. When she smiled and said “Of course sweetie, you look like you’ve been through the wringer” in a pure Saint Louis accent, I knew I was golden. You see, in the Coalition States people help one another, we don’t stab each other in the back like people from the US.
A few minutes later, I was in the bathtub in her suite eating room service Beignets while she was looking through her clothes to see if she had anything that would look nice on me. And I hadn’t even asked her for anything yet. That was just the result of me asking her if she had a minute to talk. I told her that I had come with my boyfriend but then he ran off on me and left me penniless and passportless. She had a thing or two to say about that kind of bounder.
I told her that I thought he might be staying in this hotel and gave her a general description of the Stars and Stripes fellow who got mixed up in that casino dustup. He was wearing a mask of course, as all heroes do that don’t want to get their butts sued for the extensive physical and structural damage they cause, but I described his build and his blonde aggressive haircut. She knew exactly who I was talking about, her lips tightened and she said “Oh, the Statie”. Turns out that he was staying there and was downstairs at the front desk complaining about something or other every few hours. She even knew what room he was staying in.
Over lunch, she said that if I couldn’t get my passport back from my ex, she could smuggle me home in her husband’s company’s private jet. Said husband is a bigshot in some manner of industrial cooling company. Or coolant maybe. Or cooling pipes maybe. Whichever. It was an appealing idea, go home and forget all this, but I politely declined. I told her I still had to find and kill the world’s most notorious terrorist before I headed home. She laughed in delight at my “joke”, almost as much as she did after she remarked on how “healthy” my appetite is.
After lunch, we parted ways with a hug. For a moment I thought her hands drifted south of the line of propriety, but that must have been my imagination – we don’t do that sort of thing in the CS. I went up to Captain Bald Eagle Flag Waver’s suite and the door wasn’t even locked. Which was disappointing because I was looking forward to breaking it.
His suite wasn’t quite as nice as Maggie’s was, but it was still pretty swanky. I guess being a government sponsored superpowered-assassin pays pretty well. I heard what sounded like a weightlifter grunting his way through a set of squats, but was actually Mr. USA plowing away at a bored looking local woman.
Missionary of course, god bless the USA! He had a surprisingly saggy ass for a covert US superman.
“Gees man, calm down, I don’t think the goal is to drive her pelvis through the mattress.”
He yelped and jumped off the bed, covering himself with a sheet in a surprisingly girlish move – and leaving his partner stark naked.
“Here’s another tip, Romeo. Close your mouth, you were spitting all over her face with your weird grunting.”
His face was a competing mask of outrage and confusion and shame “Who are you and why are you my room!?”
“My code name is Lady Liberty and I need your help with a mission critical to the health and prosperity of the nation.”
His eyes darted nervously to his companion “Mission, what do you mean?”
I nodded “Oh right, secret identities, mild mannered Clark Kent and all that, we should speak in private. I can wait in the other room if you want to finish up here first.”