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Saturnday No. 11

Death on the Docks by Scott Story - Part III - Copyright 2008 Story Studios LLC.  All rights reserved.


At twenty and nineteen, respectively, Shadowcowl and Decorum had been meta-heroes for almost a year.  Armed with youthful righteousness, endless energy, and tremendous powers, they had the world by the tail.  Get a mask and codename, and suddenly you were like a rock star, hanging around with Spire City’s meta-elite, and all doors suddenly were open to you.  The two of them had met and teamed up with luminaries such as the Utopian, Tilt, and Musclebound, and they had joined in battles against the likes of Alaric the Axe, Skorn, Bombastic, and Topiary.  As far as Shadowcowl was concerned, life above the clouds could not be grander.


It was not all just seeing and being seen.  They had faced real danger, fought people who would happily kill them, and saved scores of hapless civilians from dire threats.  When the morning came and the masks came off, but the adrenaline still pumped wildly through their veins, Shadowcowl and Decorum usually fell to wild sex.  Truthfully, they did not even like each other all that much, but when their blood was up they tore into each other with savage abandon.  They destroyed beds, bedrooms, and whole apartments in their couplings.  The shear joy of being young, alive, and powerful always overcame them.  No, they did not much like each other, but they needed each other, and that was enough.


Shadowcowl, also known as Dennis Fulchres, wore a magic cowled cloak, one that made him ghostlike and untouchable.  If you wanted to get to him, it had to be through the cloak.  With the cloak, he could also fly, and the cold touch of his gloved, spectral hand inflicted mind-numbing terror on its victims.  Hardened killers cringed before his ethereal touch, and brutal thugs were reduced to whimpering helplessness.


Decorum (or Patty Angstrom) had the hip-swinging swagger of a woman who knew how to move: She was hot in that “bad news” way that made men drool and women sneer.  She wore a purple spandex body suit that showed her curves to best advantage, and exposed enough décolletage to distract dead men.  As per the current fashion, she wore her brunette hair in that crazy, chopped up style that reminded viewers of an abandoned bird’s nest.  Her power was over clothing.  With a flick of her hand, Decorum had the meta-human ability to blow the clothes off an enemy, or turn his own clothing against him. High School vengeance had turned into a thriving crime-fighting career for young Patty.


Soaring above the city under Shadowcowl’s power, the two meta-heroes settled into the shadows atop one of the giant cranes that towered over the wharves.  There had been a battle below, and Charlie Blockers were laid out like bowling pens.  From the metas’ vantage on high, the two young heroes watched an imposing mystery man drag a thug up wrought iron stairs and onto a warehouse’s roof.  The thug struggled uselessly as he was pulled across the filthy, tar-papered roof.  A billboard was mounted above the mystery man and his prisoner, one that proclaimed “Spend a special evening with Persephone Helius, Nobel laureate, art collector, and philanthropist, May 11, hosted by Spire City Public Radio.”  Dr. Helius’ well-known visage looked out from its placard, unmoved by the scene below. 


Shadowcowl and Decorum were intrigued–this was so hardcore that they had to watch!


Shadowcowl watched as the giant effortlessly lifted the thug skyward, as if to toss him off the roof.  Shadowcowl was sure he knew the big guy’s name–it was “Johnny” something, something, something… It was a planet…  Saturn! The big guy’s name was Johnny Saturn.  The young vigilante remembered now—Johnny Saturn was a non-powered, old-style, street-level avenger.  Saturn was nothing like the modern meta-hero, with their powers and flight and wild battles above the city.  No, Johnny Saturn was more like the cowboys in old Westerns, fascinating in a Sergio Leon “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” sort of way.


“What are you going to do?” demanded the thug dismissively, “dangle me over the street and try to scare me into talking?  Meta-heroes don’t kill, everyone knows that!  I’ve got nothing to say to you, Saturn!” 


Johnny Saturn did not crack a smile, and Shadowcowl figured that Saturn’s face would break and fall off if he ever attempted a grin.


“We’re about two stories up, Manny,” replied Johnny Saturn. “I’m going to throw you off the roof, and then drag you back up here, again and again, until you talk.  Or,” Saturn added as an afterthought, “until you die.  I’m pretty sure you’ll talk by the second time you hit the street.”


“But, but, meta-heroes don’t kill!?” cried the thug.


“Manny, I’m not a meta-hero,” said Johnny as he carried Manny to the roof’s edge.  “I’m a mystery man.  Mystery men, unfortunately, sometimes have to kill in the pursuit of justice.  I figure if I give you a good toss I can get you past all the stuff that might break your fall.”


Johnny reared back for the toss while Manny squirmed overhead.


“Wait! Wait, you bastard,” shrieked Manny.  “You’re crazy! I’ll talk! I’ll talk!”


“Are you sure?” asked Johnny.  “It would be a lot more fun to send you sailing a few times.”


Manny babbled like a broken bully who had just got his comeuppance.  He was working for Dr. Synn.  No, he did not know what Synn was up to.  Yes, Synn should be here soon, or else his men.  No, Manny did not know what was in the crates below.  Before Johnny let him down, Manny was a snotting, sniveling, weeping mess.  Manny had tossed his fair share of victims off roofs in his time, but he doubted he would ever have the balls to do it again!  Turnabout was not fair play!


Johnny listened to Manny’s monologue, barely having to supply any prompts.  “OK, Manny, enough.  The cops will be here to collect your boys and whatever is in those crates anytime now.  You can go to jail with them, if you want, but, if I were you, I’d get out of town for a while.  Spire City is about to get very hot.”


Manny did not have to be told twice.  He was off that roof, down the stairs, and out of there.  Johnny stayed behind, watching the scene below.  His guess was correct, and police cars began rolling in, surrounding the crates and the ring of unconscious Charlie Blockers that circled them.


Shadowcowl could not stand it any longer.  He and Decorum leaped from their hiding place on the crane above and glided down to join Johnny Saturn.


“Dude! That was so old-school! Wow!” exclaimed Shadowcowl.


“Yeah, gramps, you got all medieval on their butts!” added Decorum.


Johnny Saturn did not turn to look at the newcomers, nor did he flinch in surprise at their arrival.  Shadowcowl was impressed.  The old mystery man had known they were there the whole time.

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