fiction, flash fiction, hard boiled, hero, noir, read, short story, super hero, Superhero, vintage
Last Week’s FFF: Grue
I held the morning’s paper in my hands and read the headline. Plastered in bold type, it announced that twenty had died yesterday in a subway mishap. Well, can’t save them all. Still, I figured that with this sort of thing happening, there might be a drop in the need for my services. I quickly discovered that I was wrong.
When she walked into my office, the first thing I noticed was the red dress. Not to mention the body beneath it. It wasn’t the sort of silhouette you could miss. As she waited for me to collect my eyes, my gaze drifted upwards, and I realized that, somehow, her face out shinned her shape. She had lips to match her dress, and golden tresses that curled and fell past her shoulders. Her eyes were blue as ice, with a stare that made them feel warm.
“What can I do for you, doll?” I asked.
“I see that you’re reading the paper. So, then, you’ve heard about the subway accident?” she asked.
“I heard. And if you’re here to ask about it, I had nothing to do with that.”
“I know you didn’t. That’s not the sloppy sort of shenanigans that you go in for.”
She was right, but it made me wonder how this dame thought she knew anything about me.
“You don’t know what I go in for,” I said.
“Oh, but I do. I’m not the kind of gal who goes anywhere in this city without knowing where I’m heading. And when I came to your office this morning, you’d better believe I knew exactly who I was going to meet. You’d never stand by and let innocent people get hurt,” she said.
“If you ask the cops, they might say different.”
“The fuzz doesn’t know a lick of what’s going down in this city. But I do. And I’m certain you’ve got an idea about it.”
She could have been referring to any number of things. The mayor was as corrupt as they came, with half the force in his pocket, looking the other way. Then again, he looked like a boyscout next to Big Vinnie, leader of the organized crime outfit. They did some shady things. Beyond that, evil things. Too many times I’ve wanted to shut them down, but never quite been able.
“I can help you,” she said.
I pulled foggily from my thoughts and snapped back into reality. My head felt dizzy, and I had a difficult time remembering what I had just been saying.
“What was that?” I asked.
She gave a coy, half smile.
“I just read your mind.”
I stared at her a moment, disbelieving her claim.
“Doubt it all you like, but you know what’s out there. Same as me. My gifts are well within the realm of possible. Practically a parlor trick, compared to some.”
I stood and circled around my desk, ready to throw her out.
“I don’t work with your kind.”
“My kind?” she asked. “Oh, honey.”
I grabbed her by the arm.
Next thing I knew, I was sitting back in my chair with no idea how I got there. She was sitting cross-legged on my desk. Her skirt road up, revealing the top of her thigh highs and toned stems. I was getting distracted.
“How’d I get back in my chair,” I demanded.
I stood to try once more to throw her out, but found that my legs felt glued to my seat.
“I didn’t come here for a fight. Stop trying to get rid of me and hear me out,” she said.
I could tell I had no choice.
“What do you want from me?” I asked.
“A favor. And in return, I’ll do something for you.”
“And just what would that be?”
“I could help you finish your vendetta. You could get justice, kill your demons, and finally move on with your life.”
“I don’t know what you’re gabbing on about,” I lied.
“Come on, I’m psychic, although, I really hate that word. But if you want it spelled out for ya, then fine. Big Vinnie.”
“I stopped caring about that a long time ago,” I lied again. “Ain’t nothin’ you could say that would make me try to tangle with him again.”
“Fine, if evening the score for what he did to you isn’t your thing, then how about getting justice for all the people on that train?”
“Paper says it was an accident.”
“Paper says a lot of things. But are you going to believe the corrupted media, or the broad who reads minds?”
I leaned back in my chair and stewed it over. Of course I wanted to take him down. More than anything. But I had tried so many times before, and always came back empty handed.
“What if I told you that the reason that you’ve never been able to catch Big Vinnie is because he’s like me,” she said, reading my thoughts once more.
“I’d say that I wasn’t all that surprised. But pleased to find out, because that means I don’t have to be nice any more. That means I could kill him.”
“Not on your own you can’t.”
“I can’t put you in harms way like that.”
“I can take care of myself. Trust me.”
“Speaking of trust, just what exactly are you getting out of this?”
“Thankfully, you’re not a mind reader. My motivations are my own and they don’t matter. What does matter is that I need a hero, and you fit the bill.”
Hero. It’d been a long time since anyone had called me that. But if that’s the label she wanted to give me, then maybe I could earn it and redeem myself. I stood, able to move now that I had agreed, scooped her up in my arms, and flew through the skylight, ready to finally take down Big Vinnie.