October 17, 1973 – Kidnap me five or less times shame on you, kidnap me six or more times shame on me

Remember when I was going on and on like an idiot about how there are good people in the world and not everyone is an unrelenting asshole and there is a reason to be happy and hopeful about the future?  Forget all that.  Put it out of your mind.  Pretend I never said that.  People are monsters through and through and nothing will ever change.  People are dumb, selfish, dangerous beasts and the only thing keeping them from cracking each other’s skulls open and feasting upon the goo that flows forth like mantids is the military power of authoritarian governments and the threat of worse violence to come.  

Why the change of heart?  Turns out that the guy driving Meylupa and her friends around, Kỳ, is Elvis’s cousin.  Or something, I didn’t quite follow the thread of what he was saying about that even though he speaks English just fine.  It may be that his grandfather and Elvis’s grandfather were “spiritual” brothers in some religious sense and Kỳ and Elvis aren’t blood related.  Or maybe they are.  There’s a lot of culture going on here you know?  Don’t judge me.

This guy maybe being related to Elvis isn’t what reminded me that everyone is horrible.  What did that is when Kỳ and Meylupa sold me down the god damn river.  There we were, bar-hopping and drinking and maybe doing a little coke (it was some kind of powder anyway) having a gay old time and I mentioned that it was getting late (or early technically) and Blue and Martialla were waiting for me so I should probably get back to Kruszarka 495 (that’s the bar in Touristville that is totally not a front for money laundering) before they came looking for me.  So we pile in the Checker Marathon and Meylupa says that there’s one more spot we need to hit before we call it a night (morning).  And I’m game because everyone knows that Ela is no wet blanket.

We drive to a place and then we go down some stairs and there’s a secret knock and a whole thing and it seems like we’re going into an underground casino – in both senses of the term.  There are gambling halls all over the place in Madripoor but that doesn’t stop people from setting up their own operations to avoid paying protection money to the various criminal syndicates that seem to control everything outside of the financial district.  Or maybe because they are part of those syndicates.  I don’t know why they’re there but they’re there.  

Next thing I know, Meylupa and Kỳ are gone and men pointing guns at me.  

Let me diverge from my prepared remarks for a moment.  My goal is revenge on Duke Eaglevane for blowing me up.  But I’m starting to think that I need to get revenge on whoever scienced me up into a super person as well.  Because what the fuck?  Why aren’t I bulletproof?  Is this what they were going for?  Why would they do that?  Super strength without invulnerability?  What’s the point?  I have to assume these were some military assholes because they’re the only ones who make super-people, so what were they doing?  A bullet-resistant soldier?  Wonderful!  Make me a million of those, says the general.  A super-strong soldier?  Who gives a shit?  This isn’t the fifteenth century.  No one is swinging a battle axe now.  Why bother?  

Super speed, now that would be something.  Super vision?  Sure, that could help spot the enemy and so forth.  Any kind of super power that would make you shoot better would be good.  Perhaps some kind of danger sense, you know like spiders have.  Flying would obviously be helpful.  Even Martialla’s breathing underwater bullshit is practical at least, what with your amphibious landings and underwater demolitions and shark-soldiers and all.  Invisibility, internal radar, some kind of electricity control thing, weevil-agility, laser shooting nipples, all fine.  But super-strength?  Why?  For what?  For what?

Divergence over.

Thankfully it was after midnight, so I wasn’t kidnapped twice in the same day.  That happened to me once before and people still give me shit about it.  I was herded through a tunnel and up some different stairs and through what looked like a cheap brothel into an office where a woman was waiting for me.  Aside from the fact that she was wearing a veil, she looked pretty normal.  The woman standing by her side was wearing a cheongsam even though she was just a boring white lady like me.  The woman in the veil was speaking Japanese I think, and her pal was translating with a French accent.  I tell you this about Madripoor, it’s multi-cultural as fuck.  

“You must have many questions.”

“Yeah, I do, how do my powers work?  How can I be super strong without being super tough too?  I can lift a ton of weight, ergo I have the force of a ton acting on my body and that’s fine.  But I hurt my shoulder jumping over a fence.  There’s no way I hit the ground with two thousand pounds of force.  That doesn’t make any sense.  If my bones are normal, shouldn’t they snap in half when I lift a compact car over my head?  And if they aren’t, why are my bones not unbreakable all the time?  None of this adds up.  How does the physics support what’s happening here?”

She raised a meticulously curated eyebrow “Do you really want me to translate that?”

“I guess not.  Does she wear that veil to look mysterious or is her face messed up?”

“Her face is messed up.”

“Oh.  Sorry I asked.”

“Me too.”

At this point, the woman in the veil angrily said something that I assume was “You’re supposed to be translating, moron!”  Getting down to brass tacks (what does that mean? Something to do with laying carpet maybe?) she told me (via translator but we already covered that) that her name was Kinuyo Yoshizumi and she’s the leader of yet another organized crime bullshit club.  Her husband was a Yazuka martial arts guy who was massacred by Mr. X.  She went to his Yakuza pals for revenge help and they said “gross you’re a girl get away”.  So she did what any woman would do, she built her own criminal empire (using proxies because of the girl thing) to get revenge herself.  

Problem is, after the first few assassins she hired to take out Mr. X turned up on her step with their arms and legs hacked off at the elbow and knee respectively, people stopped taking her calls.  Somehow within hours of my skirmish with Mr. X and his S&M bondage murder posse, she found out about it and then also communicated her desire to speak to me out to her agents.  Which is some pretty impressive logistical operation.  People (you know the ones I mean) like to paint women as bad leaders, but when it comes to organization and planning, I think they have some real skills that could be valuable in group situations.  Give women a chance will you?

When she asked me how I penetrated Mr. X’s defenses (unintentional rhyme?), I told her I was just walking around and his goons scooped me up much like her own goons just did.  She didn’t find this answer very pleasing.  But I explained to her that she was thinking about it all wrong.  Getting to him is not the issue – I’m sure he’s going to be coming after me.  All she has to do is wait around for him to show up to kill me.  The trick is finding someone who can take him out. 

I suggested that a sniper rifle at two hundred yards is pretty hard for anyone to defend against no matter how cool you are with a katana.  She said that the reason people get into arm and leg hacking range with the guy is because he’s a psychic and he knows beforehand if the sniping is coming.  He knows when people are coming into hacking range too, but he likes that so he doesn’t avoid it.  I said that he didn’t seem very psychic to me when I bifurcated his nose with his own sword but the Frenchwoman didn’t translate that.  

I told her I was up for acting as bait in whatever kind of trap she wanted to set up (within reason) as long as she had someone capable of doing the deed.  In return, she would get me the hell out of Madripoor.  She said that she had just the person in mind.  But the way the translator said it sounded like she wasn’t really sure.  But was that actually her or just the translator? 

October 16, 1973 – Superfight 2! Papatayin natin silang lahat! (nude variant cover)

I’m tall and I like basketball.  This means that people (well, people back home) often ask me if I played basketball.  Technically the answer is yes, but what they mean to ask is was I good at basketball, which I was not.  Put me on Soul Train and I’ll knock you on your knickers with my moves, but for whatever reason, that specific kind of coordination needed for sports escaped me.  One of the reasons I started playing the guitar was because I thought it might help with my clumsy hands on the court.  It did not.  But I am a damn fine guitar player so there’s that.

Maybe if I’d stuck with basketball, I could have been a mediocre player but I wasn’t enamored with all the running.  My god the running.  Not just during the game, which was bad enough, but they wanted you to run all the time in practice too!  For what?  For what?  I hate running.  I never even run for the bus. There will be another bus.  And if there isn’t another bus then I didn’t need to go there anyway.  

My point is that given my history of poor eye-hand coordination, having something – such as a knife – thrown at my head isn’t the sort of thing I should react to quickly.  Physiologically speaking I mean, not emotionally.  I don’t know what all the geeks in lab coats did to me, but it’s been a while now since they did it and I’ve seen no evidence of increased reflexes or agility or reaction time or anything like that.  I’m as strong as twenty strong men and I can run all day without getting tired.  I wouldn’t, because I hate running, but I could.  

Apparently I have at least one other ability.   When Whitey Ford hurled the knife at me, it was like time slowed down and those little dotted lines from the physics textbook appeared.  I knew where it was going, I knew how fast it was going, I knew the angle, the acceleration, the force, everything.  It was an instinctive thing, like I had some kind of knife-radar in my head.  I’ll need to explore that more because I’ve had no such reaction to anything else.  What kind of stupid power would it be if it only worked on knives specifically?

Also, to forestall the whining of any knife nuts out there, no, it was not a throwing knife.  It was a six and three quarter inch M5 bayonet.  And yes, I know that a bayonet is not designed to be thrown.  But if you’re out there saying “well, given that it was never meant to be thrown, it was easy to avoid, you were never in any real danger,” send me your address and I’ll come and throw a bayonet at your head and we’ll see how that works out.  Jerk.  

The table was a twelve foot long mahogany and glass number, Italian I think, and estimating conservatively I would say that it weighed about 12 million tons.  As the knife seemingly hung in midair thanks to my wonderful and not at all inconsequential or obscure new superpower, I flipped the aforementioned table up into its path like I was an angry child overturning a Candyland board.  I was hoping to crush my hosts as well, but while the table performed admirably as a knife-knocker, it didn’t do nearly as well in the field of host-crushing. 

Whitey and his bimbos Betty and Veronica dodged out of the way like hippies dodging the draft while the Great Humungous just stood there and let the table shatter on him like my hit song shattered the top 40 charts.  It was cool looking, I can’t argue that, nor would I even if I could. But even if you’re a giant strong non-baseline human person, you can still get glass in your eye, right?  I doubt his eyeballs are super tough.  If you’re going to let a glass table smash over your face, you should at least cover your eyes with your arm or something.  Safety first, guys.

Remember that time Big Blue tried to kill me before we became best friends?  He smashed through the wall of the restaurant like the Kool-Aid Man.  That was pretty cool too, and I bet he protected his eyes while he did it.  Figuring it was time to get the hell out of there (before dessert!), I tried to do the same move, smashing through the wall of Whitey’s trophy/dining room.  There would be a few more walls to smash through on the way to freedom, but the shortest distance between two points right?  

Here’s what I learned.  Smashing through a wall like the Kool-Aid Man is a function of both mass and strength.  Such as, I could easily hold a car and keep it from moving even at maximum power, but if that same car hit me going at full speed, I would be crushed like a green snake in a sugar cane field.  I’m MUCH stronger than Blue (and he’s very strong!) but he also weighs as much as a Ford Highboy, so when he hurls himself at a wall, there’s what physicists call “a shitload of energy” that allows him to tear through like a donkey attacking a waffle.  I, on the other hand, who was svelte and feminine to begin with, and am now wasting away to nothing thanks to hypermetabolic induced voracity, just bounced off the wall due to a lack of mass.

I bet I could have easily kicked through the wall or torn open a hole given time, but sadly the Kool-Aid man method is not going to work for me.  With my moment of surprise wasted on wall bouncing, Veronica came at me with a whip she grabbed off the wall.  A fucking whip!  What kind of bullshit is that?  Is she a dominatrix now?  Are we doing a scene?  How are women ever supposed to be taken seriously making choices like this?  Grab a spear, or even the dumb thing that looks like a pear with spikes on it, or something else, anything else!  The walls were covered with weapons and you go for a lion tamer prop?  Betty was attending to Whitey, who seemed annoyed by her fussing, while Giganto extracted himself from the table he was wearing like a bib.

Veronica flicked her whip (if you know what I mean) at my face and I raised my arm to protect my eyes, getting slashed across the forearm.  Whereupon I was heard to remark; 

“Ow, fuck!  What is wrong with you!?” 

In retaliation, I grabbed a flamethrower off the wall.  Now that’s some good feminism, throwing fire on someone.  I wasn’t fooling around.

“How about a little fire, scarecrow!”

Nice.  Unfortunately, when I pulled the trigger nothing happened.  I guess flamethrowers have backpacks where all the flame juice is that they need to work, and not even this white-suited asshole is crazy enough to hang a tank of volatile chemicals on the wall.  Veronica tried to whip the flamethrower out of my hands which is stupid on two counts – one, it didn’t work anyway so why did she bother, and two, she just saw me flip over the table.  How did she think she was going to out-muscle me?  Instead, I ripped the whip away from her.  I was going to tear it apart like a Joray Fruit Roll as a feat of strength, you know to intimidate my foes, but I was interrupted when Betty karate-kicked me in the chest.  It felt like getting hit with a wrecking ball.  As I slumped to the ground I believe a made a noise like; 

“hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”

Betty and Veronica came to pull me up to my feet while Whitey took a sword down off the wall.  This was a poor decision on their part.  While I’m sure it would have been aesthetically pleasing to be holding my arms out in the Jesus pose while their boss decapitated me, these people don’t seem to be catching on to how strong I am.  I whipped my arms forward like I was doing a dramatic interpretive dance about the commercialization of Christmas and they flew towards their boss, limbs akimbo like two Qiana and spandex clad whirligigs.

Whitey casually side-stepped through a door out of their way (and out of the room) and his two gal pals slammed into the wall behind him.  And I mean hard.  Betty actually flew through the wall.  Explain that.  She can’t weigh significantly more than me.  Leverage?  Can you throw something with more force than you can hurl your own body?  Where are the super-scientists when I need them?    

Huge-or charged at me like a runaway semi.  My plan was to duck under him and let him smash a hole in the wall for me, much like I had done with Blue, but he merely stopped short and picked me up off the floor.  Or tried to anyway.  He grabbed the front of the dress I was wearing and the thing ripped off me like the pants off a male stripper.  It was a fucking Halston, not a pair of mechanic’s overalls, why did he think he would be able to pick me up like that?  The fabric is weak, it can’t take that kind of rough treatment!  These people have no idea what they’re doing.    

And look, I’m not normally one of these sorts who run around without any underwear but what was I going to do?  I was in the bath and it was a whole thing.  I wasn’t going to root around in a stranger’s house looking for borrowed underwear.  In response, I tried to punch Goliath in the dick but he blocked it with his forearm.  I heard bones crack.  It was like punching a hot wad of Silly Putty with a toothpick in the middle.  I don’t know how many bones there are in your forearm but I’m confident I broke them all.  He barely even grunted.  I on the other hand said something like;   

“Ow, shit my hand!”

Whitey ducked back into the room at this point.  I tell you this much, it’s very strange to see a man holding a sword while wearing a Pierre Cardin suit.  He looked at me curiously.

“You don’t have any fighting skills at all, do you?” 

I grabbed a rifle off the wall (a Mosin–Nagant 1891 according to the placard) and hurled it at his stupid face.  Turns out whatever “they” did to me has made me really good at throwing things, even things that shouldn’t be thrown – like rifles.  He blocked the rifle with his sword but here’s the thing bubba, the sword is still right in front of your face!  The rifle, which I assume was going somewhere near Mach 73, hit the sword, the force is transferred from the rifle to the sword, and then the sword hits the face, transferring the force to the face.  Not all of it, but a lot.  Don’t these people know anything about physics?  I got a C in physics, I admit, but think about what you’re doing! Whitey went down like he had just taken a Steve Carlton fastball to the mush.

“Bullseye.”