It's like Bridget Jones' Diary, but with a super-powered vigilante.

August 31, 2004

Bruise update

Took the bus home again. JC calls it the "shame train."

I'm just going to stay in tonight. Work out, do some laundry, order a pizza, surf for porn. I'm kidding; I'm not going to do any laundry.

My bruise is like a beautiful dying flower, a corona of yellow and green flesh surrounding a deep purple blotch.

Taking the pulse of my adoring public

Meetings never start on time around here, which is funny, because in each meeting room there's a plaque by the door that says: A SUCCESSFUL MEETING... 1. Starts on time, etc.

Anyway, I'm sitting in this meeting room with Surfer Dave and a girl we call Wookie for reasons unknown, waiting for the rest of these jackasses to show up. It's yet another Delphi Project meeting - I'm so sick of this goddamn thing. We're waiting, and I decide to test the water, see what they think of the Velvet Marauder. It goes something like this:

ME: You guys catch the news this weekend? That Velvet Marauder deal in Chinatown with, whatshisname, the winged guy?

WOOKIE: Kestrel.

ME: Right, Kestrel. What's up with that guy, with all the leather and stuff?

DAVE: Both of those dudes.

WOOKIE: I think he's cute.

ME: Which?

WOOKIE: Kestrel. I love guys with accents.

DAVE: I don't know...

ME: He seems a little dainty, you know? With the wings. Sort of delicate.

DAVE: Dainty. That's one word for it.

WOOKIE: Ha ha. Kestrel's not dainty. Look at his arms. He's ripped.

DAVE: Whatever.

ME: Well, what about the Velvet Marauder? He looks pretty fit.

DAVE: That's one word for it.

WOOKIE: Who can tell? With those costumes they wear, the gladiator muscles? I mean, he could be some skinny ugly guy with a bunch of padding and fake muscles.

ME: The dude picked up a Volkswagen once, I saw it on TV. He's gotta be burly.

WOOKIE: I guess. But he wears that mask and the goggles. Who can tell what he looks like?

ME: Kestrel's got a mask, too. And goggles.

WOOKIE: Yeah, but you can tell he's cute. And the accent.

DAVE: Dude's probably from Tulsa or something.

WOOKIE: You're just jealous.

DAVE: What, that I don't have big frickin' claws instead of feet? Yeah.

WOOKIE: He's from England, I read an article about him.

ME: Okay, but what about the Velvet --

DAVE: Maybe he should stay in England.

WOOKIE: See? Jealous.

ME: But the Marauder --

WOOKIE: Yeah, not so much. He's just another Midnight Rambler knock-off.

DAVE: That's kind of true.

ME: What? Why do you say that?

And then the rest of the jackasses show up and we have to talk about the fucking Delphi Project. And I'm just sitting there, fuming. I'm not some goddamn Midnight Rambler knock-off. Now Night Hunter, the guy in Detroit? He's a total knock-off.

I can't catch a fucking break.

August 30, 2004

The Batcave

We've already established that I'm on the low-end of the spectrum as far as superheroes go, in terms of prestige and resources. I'm not a playboy billionaire or an alien masquerading as a human being for shits and giggles - I actually have a day job to pay the bills, not as a front. It should come as no surprise to any of the three people reading this blog that my secret headquarters is pretty fucking low-rent.

I have a two-story house in one of the working class neighborhoods in Evergreen City. It's a split level rambler built in 1961 and it has a retro charm to it - reminds me of the Brady Bunch house. I dig that aesthetic, so the inside is decorated with vintage wallpaper and furniture that I picked up at second-hand stores and garage sales. None of that IKEA shit for me, thanks. My latest find is this kick-ass 50’s starbust motif clock --

I just realized what I was writing. Look, I'm not gay, OK? Plenty of straight bachelors out there are interested in interior design and kitschy retro stuff. Yeah, I listen to Martin Denny and Esquivel and I like bowling shoes. At least I don't have a Vespa. Lay off.

The point of this whole post was to talk about my Batcave. I suddenly don't want to talk about it.

God damn you Kestrel.

Back at work

Back at work. Typical Monday - check emails, surf Internet, make a few phone calls, get coffee, check email, surf Internet, break, check emails, boring meeting, et cetera, et cetera. No sign of Margo this morning.

Todd, the guy on our floor who's getting a divorce is just sitting in his cube, staring at his computer. He hasn't shaved and it looks like he slept in his clothes. I pass by him several times and he's just sitting there each time, staring at nothing. Poor bastard.

Had lunch and drinks with JC yesterday, then dragged him to the Honda dealer on 7th to look at Elements. JC is getting married in the fall. His fiance is great, really funny. Most of my friends now are either married or about to get married. Mitch and Lisa are going to have a baby this year. I remain eternally, impregnably single. I haven't had a serious relationship since Jen, and that was three years ago, before The Accident. Now I never make it past the third date with anyone, even if I like them.

Now, Margo -- I could go past the third date with Margo.

Anyway, I'm not so sure about the Honda Element. Might be too "soccer mom" for me. I scan craigslist for cars. Oooh, a 78 Fiat Spider...

August 29, 2004

Media Coverage

Last night my team up with Kestrel led the news on all three stations. I love Tivo.

The KORN 4 helicopter had the best footage of Kestrel and I standing on that rooftop in Chinatown, surveying the damage, intercut with shots of the wrecked Judo Boy car. I learn that the driver was taken to the ER at Bayview with fractured ribs and "neck trauma" and is in stable condition. Kestrel was right; they killed a gas station attendant with their bare hands when he triggered the alarm. All for what? A couple hundred bucks, if that. Fucking Judo Boys. I hope they get life at Stone Mountain.

KLUB's coverage was more about Kestrel than me, honestly. They ran some file footage from the Villain's Revolt of Kestrel, Wombat and I fighting the Jet Pack Mafia. Yawn. No Leslie Milton this time; she must have the weekend off.

Meeting JC for lunch. I'm going to try to talk him into looking at cars with me - JC's a car guy, he's a pro at shit like that.

I'm thinking of getting one of those Honda Elements, the boxy looking ones. I need something utilitarian, you know, something that I can haul crimefighting gear in. I can't decide if those are so-ugly-they're-cool. We'll see what JC thinks.

August 28, 2004

My gym

I was trying to work out the kinks and pain in my back, but now I feel worse. Maybe I’ll take a bath.

One of the reasons I bought this house was the huge garage/barn in the back. The previous owners had a boat or a camper or something, because they added a huge annex with a high roof on to the two-car garage in back, forming one big jumbo garage. I soundproofed the whole thing, installed some heavy duty fans, and turned it into my gym.

I’ve got a bunch of free weights, a weight bench, a stationary cycle, and a Soloflex which I never use. I bought it before I acquired mid-range super strength 3 years ago, and now it just isn’t a challenge anymore.

I have a large open area for weapons practice and katas which also doubles as a target range for my shuriken gun and the Marauderangs. In the high-roof annex section of the garage I’ve set up bars and rings high above the floor, and I’ve mounted durable punching bags at various heights. I like to crank the techno and jump around like a monkey punching and kicking shit.

The coolest features of the gym are my LMDs (life model decoys). They’re not really lifelike; I just like calling them that. The LMDs are reinforced steel core human-size punching bags with Kevlar skins. They have sensors deep inside that trigger .wav files, so when you hit one of the LMDs hard enough and in the right spot, it rewards you with a little sound clip. I’ve got three of these things: one of them says “You’re the man now, dog” in Sean Connery’s voice when you punch its throat, another screams “Khaaan” like Captain Kirk when you kick it in the nuts hard enough, and the third just farts. Farts are funny.

My back was too tight for anything strenuous, so I just jumped rope for a while and practiced some katas, then said screw it.

Bruise Update

The bruise on my lower back looks like a big fleshy nebula. It’s a lovely cloud of mottled purple and blue, with rosy wisps of broken blood vessels. When I got thrown from that car into the dumpster it certainly didn’t feel great, but I don’t appear to have any serious damage aside from this huge Exploder-induced bruise.

I think I’ll work out today, try to get these kinks out of my neck.

You know, I’m looking at my spare costume in the light of day, and my shoulder cape does look awfully purple. My current costume is a really deep masculine blue, but this color… Jesus, what was I thinking? What superhero wears purple?

Superman II

Score! Superman II was on cable.

I love like, half this movie. Terence Stamp just rules as General Zod. The fight between Superman and the Phantom Zone criminals in Metropolis is as cool as it possibly could have been considering that it was made in 1980. It was my favorite superhero movie fight until Spider-Man 2 came out. Don't hate; that train fight scene with Doc Ock ruled.

But what happened to Superman II? I think I read somewhere that Richard Donner got booted off the film by the producers or something. Don't get me wrong, Richard Donner is a real hit or miss director. He's made some dope movies (Lethal Weapon) and some shit movies (Lethal Weapon 4) but the man brought Superman to the big screen and should've been allowed to finish the second movie. I don't know what the full story is, but I do know that the end of Superman II sucks balls.

Lex Talionis

I found an interesting overview of vigilantism here written by a professor at Wesleyan College.

Some highlights:

"Vigilantes ultimately become criminals, and they also must rationalize their criminal behavior in the strongest terms possible -- self-defense, social defense, lex talionis, natural law, patriotism, religion, honor --- all the time claiming that they are engaging in the most law-abiding behavior or duty there is -- the duty to preserve the sacred right to protect one's self. It is a frontier ethic of survival and self-responsibility. …It takes a certain kind of over-zealousness to commit illegal acts in the name of do-it-yourself justice… Vigilantism represents a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law."

I can’t really argue with that. I am a criminal, it’s true. But the way I see it, I’m just one big high-profile case away from Civic Hero status.

Look at the Midnight Rambler. Two years ago Turbine City had a special task force that did nothing but hunt him night and day. One of the mayoral candidates made anti-vigilantism a cornerstone of his campaign. There were anti-Rambler protests, letters to the editor, public outcry at this sadistic vigilante, etc.

Then, the Fist of God thing. Everybody remembers that. Midnight Rambler busts up the Fist of God terrorist cell in a huge battle (I have it all on tape, it’s fucking brilliant) onboard that tanker in Turbine Harbor. He kills the ringleader Marco Koresh, defuses a dirty bomb and saves the city.

And just like that, Rambler goes from pariah to savior. He gets pardoned by the mayor. The police task force disbands. He gets recruited by the Storm Riders. Chicks throw themselves at him. He writes that self-defense book for women. Larry Fucking King interviews him. He’s hanging out with Valkris and Storm Lord in the Weather Center.

Valkris. She is so hot.


"Another typical pattern of vigilante …activity is the quest for recognition of legitimate status. Vigilantes will often try to incorporate themselves as a private security firm or a non-profit organization. They will try to be recognized by the local sheriff so they can march in local parades or have a booth at the county or state fair…"

Now why hadn’t I thought of that? I could get a Velvet Marauder booth at the Old Town Summer Jamboree this year.

Seriously, I’ve been thinking about my role in society and in the superhero sub-culture and how I fit in. I’ve only been doing this for two years – Jesus, It’s been three years since The Accident – and I still feel like I’m a million miles away from the big time. I’m the type of hero who gets a six page story in the back of a Batman comic book, or maybe a short-lived mini-series that ends up in the quarter bin at your local comic book store.

I've had some team-ups, which are usually pretty small scale, like last night's thing with Kestrel. The only really big crossover event I've ever taken part in was Villain's Revolt last year, and part of me thinks I was only included as a professional courtesy because Evergreen City was hit. After the Revolt, I half-expected one of the teams to invite me to join, even as a reserve member. Not the Storm Riders or anything, but maybe The Minutemen. No such luck.

So am I just a psycho vigilante who yearns for some kind of public legitimacy for his violence, his crimes? Or am I an up-and-coming superhero who’s working his way up the ranks, eventually attaining societal acceptance and a spot on a major league team? Is one better than the other?

The guy with the butterfly wings

His name is Mariposa. I just remembered that. I’ll try to find a picture of him to post. I’ve never met him, he’s based out of South Miami Beach. Now he’s gay.

And really, Kestrel looks like Jude Law in leather with eagle wings. What is he, the arbiter of all things hetero? This guy thinks I’m gay?

You know what? I don’t care. If he thinks I’m gay, he thinks I’m gay. I don’t care.

Patrol Report - Kestrel

Last night I went out on patrol in my spare costume.

I feel clumsy as hell in the old thing; it’s like wearing a lead x-ray vest all over your body. I think I might have gained some weight since I last wore it, it’s really tight in the waist. And there’s the crotch chafing. Not a fan of crotch chafing.

It starts to rain and twice I nearly slip on the wet tile rooftops of Old Town. I knock a couple of shingles off the sloping roof of the Masonic Temple. I can’t believe how much better my new boots are for roof-running. They’ve got little metal cleats and rubber treads – they’re great. These old ones suck ass. I don't know how I used to manage.

I’m about to call it in when I hear gun shots, sirens, and racing cars. High speed pursuit. All right.

Following the sound of the sirens, I plot an intercept course and leap into action. They’re heading into Chinatown, so I take a shortcut across the roof of that condemned hotel, leap over 4th Ave S, and skid to a halt in the puddles on top of a Korean grocery.

I see them. Some punks in a street racer squeal around a corner, drifting on the slick concrete. One of them leans out the passenger window – he’s wearing Judo Boy colors – and fires a couple rounds at the two squad cars screaming after them. The Judo Boys are heading deeper into Chinatown, where they're bound to lose the cops in the warren of alleys and garages.

They race down 4th Ave S towards me. The car is total rice, a tricked-out Integra with a spoiler and after-market rims and decals and shit. It sounds like a fucking lawn mower on steroids. Kids today, I swear. When I was growing up we drove real cars, not these glorified go-karts. I mean whatever, I drive (drove) a Honda Civic now, but I’m not pretending it’s anything other than a Honda Civic, you know?

Anyway, I run to the other side of the roof – if I time it right, and they take a left…

I launch myself into the air high over the street. Sure enough, the gang bangers take a left, and for second it looks like I’m right on target and I’ll land on their car. For a second.

Then I realize I’ve overshot my mark and will probably smash into the Saipan Trading Company’s store window like a velvet meteor. Shit.

The Judo Boy’s import races beneath me, engine howling.

I’m nano-seconds away from impact.

There’s a sudden wind and whoosh, I’m plucked out of mid-air by a giant fucking bird. Or that’s what it feels like.

“Kestrel! Jesus Christ you scared the hell out of me!”

He snatches me up like those seagulls that catch french fries down at the ferry docks. Kestrel is a flyer, a winged leather boy with big ass talons instead of feet. These talons clamp down on my shoulders like vises, and his powerful wings lift us aloft with frightening speed. He looks down at me, grinning. He wears this S&M version of an old WWI pilot’s cap and goggles. Goofy bastard.

“Would you rather I let you hit that shop?” he says. Have I mentioned that he has a British accent?

I tell him to make himself useful and put me on top of that car. With whiplash force we swing around and dive down towards the fleeing rice. I don’t even think they see us.

Kestrel drops me on the roof and peels off with a bird scream. The car bucks as I land on it, sloughing to one side. Man, he’s going fast. I dig into the roof with the titanium fingertips in my gloves. The metal crumples like wax paper, which is a good thing, because when they realize that somebody’s on the roof, they start swerving, trying to throw me off.

The idiot takes a turn too fast and he slides sideways into a curb. The curbs in Chinatown are really high compared to the rest of the city – it’s like running into a small wall. I think I say something like “shit” before we hit, and then the impact throws me off the roof of the car into a dumpster with a horrible crash.

That hurts.

The Judo Boys’ car sputters and dies. It’s just a smoking, hissing, ticking wreck now. The cops are almost here, I can hear the sirens. The driver isn’t going anywhere. His airbag deployed, but I think the sideways impact fucked him up.

The guy in the passenger seat bails out, dropping his gun.

I pull myself to my feet. Pain shoots up my back. I’m not helping the healing process with all this running/jumping/crashing stuff. The Judo Boy is getting away.

I’m about to test fire my new Marauderang on the fleeing Judo Boy when Kestrel drops down and lands on the guy hard with those claw feet of his. Ouch.

The cops show up, screaming around the corner. Now, I like cops. I like helping cops. What I don’t like is talking to cops. My nocturnal activities are what I like to call “extra-legal” whereas the cops call them “illegal.” You have to be deputized or belong to one of the big-time super-teams to get away with the kind of shit I pull.

Kestrel is of a like mind about the cops. “How about a lift?” he says, and in seconds we’re high above Chinatown, leaving the two Judo Boys to the cops and paramedics.

We alight upon a nearby rooftop and watch the other cops, fire trucks, ambulances, and news vans arrive on the scene. In five minutes it’s a circus. The firemen start using the ‘jaws of life’ to get the driver out of the car.

I catch up with Kestrel a little, shop talk and stuff. We don’t know each other very well - he’s a little distant and plays the droll British wit thing up to the hilt. He’s alright I guess.

“They robbed a petrol station in the south end,” Kestrel says. “Might have broken the poor shopkeeper’s neck. I was just passing overhead and heard it on the scanner.”

A scanner. Why don’t I have a scanner wired into my suit? I should ask My Guy about it.

“You hanging around for long?” I ask, casual-like.

“What’s the matter, Marauder? Feeling a little territorial?”

I act like he’s joking around, but I feel a certain sense of ownership over Evergreen City. It’s mine now.

“Relax, mate,” he says. “Just playing through.”

“Hey, stay as long as you want. No skin off my nose. Listen, you mind sticking around until the news choppers show up? It’d be good if they got some footage of us together. People dig team-ups you know.”

Kestrel acts like it’s not important, but he does stay until the KORN and KLUB helicopters show up and spot us. This footage will lead the news tomorrow, guaranteed.

“New costume?” he asks over the noise of the choppers.

“It’s my back-up. The regular one got trashed a few nights ago.”

“Oh, right. Exploder. I read about that. Well, it suits you – the color.”

I look at my velvet shoulder cape, flapping in the rotor wash of the KLUB news chopper overhead. It’s several shades lighter than my current deep blue cape. In this light it looks sort of purple. I shrug. “I guess, I don’t know. It looks a little fruity I think. I like the new color better.”

“Oh,” he says. “I thought that’s what you were aiming for.”

“What? Aiming for what?”

“The fruity look,” Kestrel says.

“What are you talking about?” This guy’s starting to irritate me.

“Hey, to each his own mate. If you fancy the lads, it’s no concern of mine. I think more superheroes should be open about it, really. Good on ya, as they say.”

“Fancy the lads? I’m not gay. You think I’m gay?”

Kestrel looks at me like I’m putting him on. Then his expression changes and he says, “Okay, mate. My mistake.”

“No, really.”

The fucker gives me this little patronizing smile and starts to lift off. “Understood. Listen, Marauder, I’ll see you later.”

“Wait!” But he’s gone, rocketing past one of the helicopters overhead.

“Fuck!” I say.

Christ, do other superheroes think I’m gay? I don’t know, I think I come across as pretty butch. I’m a scourge of the underworld for Christ’s sake, I’m not like Raver or what’s his name, the guy with the butterfly wings or one of those guys. I mean those cats are gay.

Not that I have anything against gay people. I mean, do whatever you want, fly your freak flag, live and let live and all that. But I’m as not-gay as they come.

Seriously. I’m not gay.


August 27, 2004

My Costume is Fucked Up

My costume is all fucked up.

The outer layer is scorched and melted, and one of the ballistic ceramic plates in the back is shattered. I’m going to have to send it to My Guy to get it fixed, which means wearing my spare costume, which means chafing in the groinal region.

A little bit about my costume:

My costume is your basic nightstalker body armor with a cowl, with sculpted bulletproof muscles. It’s sort of like the Batman costumes in the movies, except there are no pointy ears or cape or nipples and I can move my neck. I love the first Batman, the one with Michael Keaton, but can I say how fucking funny it was that he couldn’t move his neck? That killed me. He looked like he was in a neck brace or something.

Anyway, the whole suit is sheathed in a matte nylon mesh which I guess I will now describe as somewhat fireproof, as opposed to fireproof. I wear these cool goggles that switch to nightvision, which is pretty key when you haunt the night. Instead of a cape I wear a blue velvet shoulder cape that makes me look big. I know what you’re thinking, but the blue velvet thing is actually very masculine. I think I pull the whole look off pretty good.

Oh, and on my body armor I have a shiny Velvet Marauder badge on my chest. I know an artist, a guy who designs web pages, who made the logo for me. It’s a big stylized blue V.M. I think it looks pretty cool. Helps establish and reinforce the brand.

I’ve been thinking about changing my name, but more on that later.

I’d better pack this burnt costume into a box and send it off to My Guy.

Fucking Exploder.

No More Bus

I cannot take riding the bus anymore.

What’s wrong with me? I’m supposed to be a defender of the common man, righter of wrongs, etc., yet I can’t stand to spend thirty minutes riding public transportation with my fellow Evergreen City citizens? Am I that much of a misanthrope? Am I that uptight?

Well, yes. When you’re fellow citizens smell like ass, or listen to their headphones at insane volumes, or talk really loudly to their unemployed friends or parole officers, or if they wear stupid buttons all over their filthy overcoats that say shit like “Rub my belly for good luck” or some shit – well, if I’m a misanthrope because I’d rather drive to work than put up with that, then so be it.

I bet Silver Striker or The Teutonic Knight don’t bitch about the people they’re sworn to protect. Not on blogs, anyway.

The whole bus experience makes me wonder why I do the hero thing in the first place. Maybe I just like to kick villains in the head. I mean, I’ve always thought of myself as more of a “protect the innocent” hero rather than a “punish the guilty” hero. But now I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m more Batman (punish) than I am Spider-Man (protect). Maybe it’s not healthy comparing myself to comic book characters. The concept of altruistic revenge rears its ugly head.

I think I’ll rent a car so I’m not forced to think about this anymore.

Margo Report

Today Margo is wearing a crisp white button up shirt with flaring cuffs and collars and a slimming black cashmere vest and a knee length skirt with black pumps. It's sort of a retro thing, and with her new haircut she sort of looks like a young hot Mary Tyler Moore.

We crossed paths in the coffee room today. She kind of swatted my shoulder with the folder she was carrying and said, "Hey Mackenzie, nice job on the presentation yesterday." I said something stupid like, "Oh, hey thanks. Yeah..." and Margo floated out of the coffee room with a smile.

I want her to be my Lois Lane.

Pain and Insurance Settlements

I’m getting $5,200 for my car. That’s more than I thought I’d get.

The bruise on my lower back where I struck the warehouse support beam is throbbing. Lightning bolts of pain shoot up my spine. When I move my head to my right, my entire neck goes numb. Healing factor my ass.

I don't want to work today. I rocked my presentation yesterday, surely I can get some slack time without feeling guilty.

Todd down the hall is on the phone with his soon to be ex-wife again. You can hear him fifty feet away. That doesn't sound fun.

"Altruistic Revenge"

Instead of working, I'm screwing around on the internet.

My back hurts. I just raided our first-aid cabinet for PainCrushers. I don't even know what they are, asprin or something, but the fact that they're called PainCrushers compells me to take them. Seriously, that's a good brand image: PainCrushers. Who wouldn't want that.

I've been thinking a lot about brand and corporate image and how they relate to being an urban night hunter. You gotta have a good brand if you're a superhero, or else you never get any play. No media coverage, no high profile busts, no team-ups, and let's face it - no action. I've been thinking about changing my brand. You know, upgrading. Maybe just "Marauder."

Anyway, I found an interesting article on about 'altruistic revenge' and how humans are neurologically hardwired for vengeance.

From the article:

'A Swiss brain imaging study shows that punishing people when they behave unfairly activates the same reward circuitry of the brain that is fired up when sniffing cocaine or seeing a beautiful face.

The findings, which appear in the Aug. 27 issue of Science, may partly explain the phenomenon of "altruistic punishment," which is exacting revenge on behalf of a stranger.

"A lot of theoretical work in evolutionary biology and our previous experimental work suggest that altruistic punishment has been crucial for the evolution of cooperation in humansocieties," said Ernst Fehr, the senior author of the study who is director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich. "Our previous experiments show that if altruistic punishment is possible, cooperation flourishes. If we rule out altruistic punishment, cooperation breaks down."

August 26, 2004

Bus Ride

My back is killing me.

I checked it in the bathroom before I left work - I had a pancake size bruise on the small of my back that was starting to go purple around the edges. The bus ride home didn't help.

I had to stand on the bus on the way home - it seemed to take twice as long as the morning bus ride, and it smelled twice as bad. Like somebody smeared fish and cabbage all over themselves. I'm standing in the back, holding on to the hand rail, lurching with every stop. The bus driver seems to be playing a mean game with the brakes.

I Tivo'd the local news to see how my fight with Exploder was playing to the masses. I led the news on KLUB, which had the best coverage. They had helicopter footage of my exploded car and the battleground. It looked like I really kicked the shit out of Exploder. The EC SWAT guys hauled his unconscious ass away in one of those containment vans.

And can I just say that Leslie Milton, KLUB's girl reporter, is hot? She's got a whole naughty librarian thing going on with the glasses. I kept rewinding to hear her say, "...police aren't willing to speculate, but it looks like the mysterious Velvet Marauder has struck again."

Mysterious. I'm mysterious.

August 25, 2004

Meeting Update

I slayed them at the meeting. I was as smooth as a weatherman – I had an answer for everything, and my PowerPoint kung fu is tops. You'd never know that I got knocked through a wall twice last night by fucking Exploder.

Plus, remembering that you can crush somebody’s skull with your bare hands is a good confidence booster.

Not that I would, I’m just saying.

"You found my car WHERE?"

Today I’m all about the caffeine. I’ve been drinking coffee like a fiend in an effort to stave off total collapse. And it’s not good coffee. What kind of fucking cheapskates do I work for, that they can’t afford decent coffee? Christ.

I’ve got a big presentation at two for the Delphi project steering committee. I am just dreading it. Gotta practice my PowerPoint stuff so I don’t look like a total ass.

I reported my car stolen first thing in the morning, and two hours later at work I got a call from the police saying that they found my car smoldering under Exploder last night. “Let me get this straight - my car was destroyed by a supervillain?” I hope I sounded appropriately surprised. Then I’m on the phone with my insurance company. They’re sending out a guy to look at the ex-Civic. I wonder how much I can get for it.

Margo is wearing her sleeveless turtleneck top today.


So last night my car gets exploded by Exploder.

My fucking car gets exploded by fucking Exploder.

I have this little unofficial parking spot next to the train yards I use when I’m patrolling the south end or Chinatown. I was heading back to my spot, ready to pack it in after an uneventful patrol when this maniac shows up. He must have been hiding between the train cars, waiting. Exploder.

I fought Exploder once during the Villain Revolt event last year. He explodes and screams a lot. The trick is to wait until he’s recharging, you know, after he blows up.

During the Revolt I dropped him with a brick. I just picked up a brick and fucking brained him from 50 yards. My dad would have been proud, it was a perfect throw. Now Exploder’s pretty tough, but I’ve got what they call “mid-range super strength.” If I throw a brick at your head I don’t care who you are, you’re going down.

But last night I was tired and not ready for a full-on supervillain fight and what can I say, he caught me off-guard. The guy runs towards me, flaming and screaming something about his revenge and death, and then he explodes. He fucking explodes.

The blast lifts me up and smashes me into a warehouse. I tear through the corner of the building, taking out a big main support beam with the small of my back.

I’m on fire and half-buried in rubble when the corner of the roof collapses on me. The armor protects me from serious damage, but trust me, it still hurts to get exploded into a building.

Under the rubble I can hear Exploder going on about his revenge and me reaping the whirlwind or some shit. I test the debris – I’m pretty sure I can lift it off me but he’ll just blow up again as soon as I make my move.

But what am I gonna do? I have to take the hit. My hand wraps around a metal beam and I tense – I try to judge where he is from his ranting. He starts raving on about how power must be used for betterment of the self. What an asshole. I burst up through the debris and swing the metal beam as hard as I can at his head.

Amazingly, the guy doesn’t explode. I think he was so wrapped up in his soliloquy that he couldn’t react in time. I swat his head with the beam and he goes flying.

The thing is, he lands on my car.

It’s not like I’m in love with my car or anything – it’s a 95 Civic – but it’s my car. It crumples under the impact. The windows blow out in a spray of glass.

“Fuck!” I say. It’s all I can manage frequently.

My car is a burning slag heap. Exploder laughs, engulfed in flames.

There was an episode of Miami Vice where Crockett and Tubbs were undercover buying weapons from this arms dealer. They drive out to this gravel quarry and Crockett parks his Ferrari or whatever and they walk over to the arms dealer’s van. Have you seen this one? Crockett has an attitude and asks the arms dealer how they can be sure his shit is any good, so the pulls out a rocket launcher and shoots Crockett’s Ferrari. The music starts throbbing -- we pull in on Don Johnson’s mirrored shades and the reflection of his burning car. He’s just devastated.

I felt like Don Johnson right then.

Pulling myself together, I run towards him. His eyes start glowing and smoking. I leap into the air into one of my bad-ass 20 yard Bruce Lee flying kicks. He’s glowing hotter. I’m mid-flight, aimed right at his face--

He blows up. Again.

The shockwave hits me and I get tossed like a cat into the same damn warehouse. Once again, the armor saves my ass. I’m quasi-bulletproof, but I don’t want to burn.

The death of my Honda fills me with rage and power. I pop to my feet. I think I actually snarl. I snarl. I’m not about to let this dick explode again. Wow, did I type that? Call Dr Freud.

I would pay good money for a picture of the look on Exploder’s face when I slam into him. I basically run at him full speed and when I’m about twenty feet away, I leap into the air and drive my fist into the side of his head. Boo-wah. I’m thinking about giving that move a name.

Exploder smashes back into the burning wreckage of my car and stops moving. Good.

Sirens wail in the distance. Time for me to vanish into the night -- only I can’t, because my fucking car got exploded.

So there I was, stuck eight miles from my house, no car. I can’t take a cab – Velvet Marauder doesn’t take cabs. Reluctantly I start jogging. I can run pretty fast when I have to, but I’m more of a running-on-rooftops guy than a distance runner.

My body’s starting to stiffen up when I get home around 2 AM. I’m going to have some big-ass bruises.

I warm up the rest of the spaghetti and watch some TV. Force 10 from Navaronne. There’s this funny scene where Harrison Ford is urging his team to hurry by yelling, “Come on you guys, hurry up! Shag it! Shag it!” I don’t know, I think it’s funny.

I resist the temptation to switch to the news and see if they have any coverage of my fight.

I take a shower and lay down in bed, but I can’t sleep.

In the morning I’ve got to report my car stolen.

I’ve got a presentation at work tomorrow.


August 24, 2004

Patrol Report

Patrol was dead last night. I scared off two kids who were tagging a Starbucks and that’s about it.

I practiced my standing roof-to-roof long jump. I think I’m up to 40 feet.

One mildly amusing anecdote: I tripped on some wires running across a rooftop. You’ll never see any urban vigilantes trip except me. Only the Velvet Marauder falls on his face. It’s these goddamn nightvision/binocular goggles, they cut down my peripheral vision.