December 6, 1973 – Old Glory superhero insurance, are you covered?

Finding New Dan and the News Dan News Van was harder than I thought.  I didn’t realize how fast that guy zips all over the city.  It took a few days but eventually I found whatever that beast of a vehicle is parked down by the docks.  I think it might be an old Ford Gorgonzola or maybe a Chevy Jabroni.  It doesn’t really have windows so I stood on one of the huge wheels and peeped in one of the slit-holes and knocked.  A hatch on top opened up and a dude that wasn’t Dan popped out like a gopher.  Or maybe a prairie dog.  Some kind of rodent anyhow.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Hunter, I’m the new intern.”

“What happened to Xu?  I need to talk to her.”

He looked around like someone was going to tell him what to say “I don’t think I’m supposed to say, she and Dan are working on a big story.”

“What are you afraid of?  That I’ll scoop New Dan and print whatever insane story he’s working on my own poorly Xeroxed and misspelled newsletter that no one wants?”

“Uh . . . yes?”

“Jesus Christ kid, since you’re here I assume they have to be nearby as well, are they going to be back soon?” He just shrugged and I sat down on the hood of their armored duck boat and lit up a cigarette “How’d you end up here?  You look like you should be flunking out Nebraska University right now.”

He frowned “Nebraska?  I’m American.”

I snorted “You must be from the US then, no one else thinks their country encompasses the entire continent of North America.  There’s like five other countries in ‘America’ champ.  Hey, did you just get here?  Do you have any cigarettes?  The cigarettes here suck, I would kill for a pack of Reds right now.”

“I don’t smoke.”

“Figures.  So are you going to tell me what you’re doing here or what?  We’ve got some time to kill so we might as well talk.”

“Why do you want to talk to Dan?”

“I don’t, I want to talk to Xu.  Dan is worthless, he won’t give out information about anything.  Xu on the other hand gets pretty loose once she gets a couple vodka stingers in her.” I gestured with my cigarette “You should keep that in mind if you want to get in her pants.  Be careful though because I think she has some kind of super strength, don’t get her too worked up with your lovemaking or she might accidentally squeeze you to death.”

He turned beet red “I have a girlfriend!”

I dropped him a sassy wink “We’re a long way from Tallahassee, Jimmy Olsen, it doesn’t count when you’re sixteen thousand miles away.”

He shook his head insistently “No, she’s here, in Madripoor, that’s why I’m here, I came to find her.”

 I raised an eyebrow “Oh yeah?  That sounds like quite a tale.  Lay it on me.”

He started off by talking about said girlfriend for an inordinate amount of time rather than telling me what had happened.  It didn’t click for me until he said she had been staying at the Goodwood Hotel that he was talking about Maggie.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute, are you saying that you came here to find Margaret Cortland?  And that she’s your girlfriend?  The married super rich lady that looks like Angela Dorian?  Is that what you’re telling me?” He nodded slowly “Why would she cheat on her husband with you?  You look like an upturned mop kid.”

He looked unreasonably hurt “We’re in love.”

“Jesus Christ, you came all the way to this hole following after her like a puppy dog?  You’ve got to get the hell out of here before someone kills you.  I’m not just talking about her husband, I’m talking about everyone here!  I’m surprised you lasted this long.”

“No, no, she’s in trouble, I have to save her.  I saw on the news that the hotel she was staying at was destroyed!”

I snorted “Destroyed?  We barely even wrecked one floor.  The hotel management probably exaggerated the damages as part of an insurance scam.  Although I have to assume there’s an exclusion in most policies for super-brawls.  You’d be a fool not to include that when you’re writing a policy, a fool I say!”

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