Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chapter 32

Chapter 32

Kaplan put his feet up on the counter of Heroix Comix reading the latest edition of a comic book that felt oddly anti climatic given the events that transpired a little less than a month ago. Saving the world felt great: on the one hand, the world was saved. On the other, everything else felt “turned down.” Video games where they saved the world felt a little pointless. He still played them, because it was that or interact with other humans.

Action movies, books, comic books, and other forms of entertainment tended to cut out right after the bad guys were defeated, and that was kind of the boring part. Following Izzy destroying the amulet, and thus the only reason for various members to be taking over the world, things ended rather quickly. The police didn’t want to burst in, guns blazing, partly because they had no idea what was going on, and party because the building was still on fire. It was easy for everyone to exit the building because of the large gaping hole in the side.

Of course the police were involved. There was a building on fire on Bourbon Street, that sort of thing tended to attract attention. Nicolas Cage, finding temporary sanity or just not wanting to be the guy who destroyed the planet, spoke to the police and managed to convince them that the whole thing was a stunt gone awry. Bennet openly sobbed as countless other news stations showed up and reported on her story, while Marty sat in the truck and smoked a cigarette he wasn’t supposed to be smoking but felt after what he just saw, he deserved.

She never did find out just how close she came to witnessing the end of the world, but was fired two weeks later when Action Action News needed to make some difficult cutbacks. They even had to get rid of the second “Action” which suited most of the residents of New Orleans just fine.

After Nicolas Cage spoke, most of the crowd disappeared, no longer able to watch a movie being made. Besides, there was drinking to be done. The Cult went back to the lair to await further instructions. The Man in the Dark Hood, stripped of any Dark-Hood powers he once held, found himself back in Alabama awaiting trial. Elizabeth, who it turned out was a very wanted woman and not named Elizabeth, found herself in the back of a police car pretty quickly.

Gabe and Raph vanished from the scene, leaving behind only their shackles. Mars would wonder aloud just how much they were able to get out of those shackles, but no one really listened or cared. Later some movie fans would steal them, thinking they were used by Nicolas Cage himself on his latest masterpiece.

As for Evie, Mars and Kaplan... no one really knew their role in saving the world, although they received a nice framed letter from James Franco congratulating them on their recent victories, and letting them know that if they ever needed a place to stay in Tennessee, they were more than welcome to do so. The gold leaflet around the letter was nice, and it at least looked like he signed it himself.

The bell on Heroix Comix’s  door gave a slight ring. Kaplan didn’t look up from his comic, but he was pretty sure who was coming in at this time of the day.

“This one is all you, new guy!” 

Mars appeared from the room in the back, “You can stop calling me new guy, now. I’ve been here two weeks. Besides, you knew me from before.”

“And I’d think you’d be grateful I got you a job after that stupid Smith Times Four place shut down.” 

Indeed, it had been about two weeks since Smith Times Four had pretty much been disbanded as a result of the unsigned document and the bus. That suited Mars just fine, as he was less inclined to take and bull from Mr. Cunningham following his adventures. Plus, they tended to look unfavorably on three employees just not showing up for work for a few days, and he had been fired. The excuse of being kidnapped by James Franco and then Nicolas Cage really didn’t go over that well, and they couldn’t get a note from their Angels to excuse them.

Mars shook his head then turned his attention to the newcomer  - Evie. She smiled and gave him a quick kiss.

“So, how’s our good buddy Cunningham?” he said.

Evie, unlike Mars, was not fired as she knew were too many proverbial bodies were buried. And come to think of it, a few non-proverbial bodies. She was severely demoted to the mail room, which at this point consisted of people sending resumes to each other to double check since it was unlikely even the remnants of Smith Times Four was going to last for very long.

“No PDA from the employees!” Kaplan said, still not looking up.

“Still desperately trying to rebuild from the ashes of Smith Times Four,” she said. 

In a perfect world, Mr. Cunningham would have been found out for his many, many, many transgressions. But this wasn’t a perfect world, and he got what he wanted - complete control over Smith Times Four, or what was left of it. With the employees leaving for other consulting firms, it was likely to be a two man operation very soon consisting of Mr. Cunningham and Not Carl, who in addition to being his new Executive Assistant replacing Evie, now bore a grudge against him and was withholding phone messages. It would be a message from a potential investor that wanted to save the company that Not-Carl would never pass along that would bring down Smith Times Four in six weeks.

“So, what are we doing tonight?” Evie asked.

“Nothing as exciting as saving the world,” Mars said, looking at the cash register receipts. They were oddly right following Mars’ hiring, and Mr. Herkabee couldn’t be happier.

“Perfect!” Evie replied.

There was another jingle of the door chime. This time, Mars looked up and gave Kaplan a slight tap on the knee.

Kaplan looked up to see Gabe and Raph enter, both smiling, looking a lot better than they had when they left them in New Orleans. Both had a new glow about them. Raph was dressed in a fine designer suit with a long topcoat, Gabe had her hair pulled back in a tight bun and had her big white sunglasses on, despite the fact that she didn’t need it. She had helped create the sun, she would tell them later in another story.

“Sorry it’s taken us so long to come visit you guys,” Gabe smiled. 

“Paperwork,” Raph replied.

The truth was that they had simply lost track of time, being otherworldly beings that had been around since the beginning of creation. Time really meant very little to them, and they were lucky they still showed up during Mars and Kaplan’s lifetimes.

“So, why are you here? Medals?” Kaplan asked.

“You got the letters from James Franco, right?” Raph replied. “I’m not sure what other thanks you need than that.”

“We did save the world,” Kaplan said.

“Technically, Izzy saved the world, and that was only after he was allowed to show up because Evie killed someone,” Gabe replied

“Then why are you here?” Mars asked.

“You know, this and that. Just following up.”

Mars smiled. Following up. What was there to follow up to? They saved the world, there wasn’t much needed for a debrief. He was enjoying life working at Heroix Comix, Kaplan talked frequently about their adventure, they attended Tyler’s funeral which was awkward when Tyler showed up having been granted a second chance by Izzy . Evie and Mars had started dating not long after, deciding that life was short since they had just stopped the world from imploding in on itself or whatever it was that Nicolas Cage had intended to do.

“So, now what?” Kaplan asked.

“What do you mean?” Raph replied.

“I mean, is there something else we have to do?”

“You saved the world. You can just relax,” Gabe said.

The two Angels looked at each other.


Mars looked at Kaplan. They both raised their eyebrows.

“Or what?”

“You can stop Ben Affleck from drilling to the center of the Earth to release the Devil,” Raph said, holding out a piece of paper.

Mars looked at Kaplan. Kaplan looked at Evie. Evie looked back at Mars. All three spoke at the same time.

“I’ll go get the car,” Evie said.

“I’ll go get that sword,” Kaplan said.

“I’ll go get a cat,” Mars said.

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