The reunion: part 18

Back at the Tai Pan Restaurant, the evil characters were regrouping. Grease was  emerging from the void, coalescing and recovering from whatever horrible death he had most recently suffered. Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Moriarty were tending to their bloody wounds and trying to keep Dracula from "helping " them. Frankenstein was tightening his neck bolts. 

A tall, gangly young man entered the restaurant. He had a shock of black hair and  pasty skin from spending almost all in an underground laboratory. Without a word he slipped into the evil characters' booth, slouched down and stared at his hands. On the outside he looked gentle, weak and submissive. On the inside, he was something else entirely.

His name was Chapman. He was Faber's twin, but unlike Faber, he had been raised in the lab.  Like Faber, he had an extraordinary metabolism and the physical prowess of a superman, or, more exactly, like the second-generation chimpanzee-human hybrid that he was.

Athletic ability, however, had not been the goal of the project, and a cocktail of hormones and drugs administered since birth had kept Chapman from developing the almost unbelievable, apelike strength his brother had. This is been done as a safety measure, but it had not entirely succeeded. Still, with merely normal strength, and with the personnel of the laboratory on guard, he had at least not yet killed any of them.

The hybrid Chapman had been created as a super intelligent human, a tactician, a synthesizer of information, the ultimate military and political strategist. In that sense, the project has been a success. 

But, predictably, given his superhuman acuity, Chapman had managed to escape from the laboratory with some regularity. And with some regularity, security personnel from the laboratory had to dispose of the tortured and mutilated bodies that Chapman always left behind when he went on one of his unauthorized furloughs.

Chapman was always careful, of course. He chose women who wouldn't be missed, vagrants, runaways and prostitutes who would fall through the cracks. But despite his much appreciated discretion, he was not without a sense of humor. As years went by, he left more and more elaborate tableaux for his minders to find and make disappear. The minders were not the most beautiful souls humanity had to offer, but the things Chapman had done to those  women had driven more than one to the brink of suicide.

His escape attempts had ended abruptly three years previous. All but one of the laboratories employees were happy and relieved at this. And one laboratory employee was annoyed at having to procure victims and deliver them to Chapman.

Chapman sat at the table staring at his hands. His eyes were soft and his face was slack. 

He was very angry that his author had forgotten about him when she was choosing the first round of bad guys.

***

Heads turned as a woman swept into the restaurant and walked directly to the back where the bad guys were seated. She was dressed all in black, with a black mini skirt, black tights, and high-heeled black boots. Her wavy dark hair hung to her waist and she had straight black bangs. She was a younger and thinner and completely evil Chris Hugh. 

She walked up to the bad guys' table and remained standing as she addressed them. 

"Hi, assholes." She reached over and grabbed the back of Chapman's head. She slammed his head into the table hard. And then she did it again. "Whatever you're thinking, Chapman," she said, "forget it." She slammed his head again. "You didn't get picked the first time. Get over it. Got it?" He nodded.

Evil Chris surveyed her motley crew of bad guys and rolled her eyes. "Jekyll," she said. "I read your story, the original. Boooring! I don't even remember it. Go away." She snapped her fingers and the begging, pleading man disappeared, screaming, into the void.

"Monster," she said. Frankenstein's oeuvre looked up."I read your book too. Boring, boring, BORING! You and Frankenstein basically spent the whole book bitching about how lousy your lives were and arguing about who's life sucked more." 

It was true. Most of the original book showed the student Frankenstein's folly in playing God and trying to create life. The creature he created was an abomination, unendurably hideous, murderous, ashamed, rejected by all of humanity and utterly alone. The rest of the book dealt with Frankenstein's monster's self-esteem problems. The scolding Evil Chris was giving him was not helping.

"Plus," Chris was saying, "you don't even have a name. Like, what? I'm supposed to call you 'Frankenstein's Monster' all the time? Fuck that. Go." She turned to the others. "Seriously, if his author thinks he's o unimportant he doesn't even rate a name, what do I want with him?"

"But my namelessness was a symbol of my isolation! It was result of my rejection by my maker. It underscores that the true Creator of all things loves all his creatures, even the least swallow--"

He was cut off when a gaping abyss opened beneath him. A blast of air like an arctic wind through a slaughterhouse blew back Evil Chris' long hair. "Just call me 'Monster'!" the undead being screamed in a shuddering, trailing voice that died away to an infinite distance as the depths of hell reclaimed the unholy flesh. Then the abyss closed and quiet returned. The restaurant's speakers were playing smooth jazz.

Pope Hian smiled. A masterful man, he knew how to wield power and saw a kindred spirit in Evil Chris. "You are clearly a woman to be reckoned with." He bowed his head in a courtly manner. "An invaluable ally, and a formidable enemy."

"Thanks, Popey," Chris said. Pope Hian's smile froze a little. "I like you too, but here's the deal. Chris Hugh  is trying to write this story using text to voice on her new iPhone, and every time she gets to you, she has to stop and spell out your name. So you're out of here." 

The Pope sat speechless.

"So what are you waiting for?" Evil Chris asked. "Scoot, scoot, scoot!" She made dismissive "hurry up" motions with her hands and watched him as he slid along the bench. Dracula rose magnificently and let the Pope get out. As a megalomaniacal all-powerful infallible dictator, he burned with envy for the monster's grand exit.  As he began to slink away from the table, Evil Chris blocked him and held out her open palm. She didn't tell him why. She just snapped her fingers until he figured it out on his own. He finally dug into the silken folds of his imperial robes and gave her gold to pay for his part of lunch.

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