23 January 2009

"Spoiler Warnings"

By Curtis C. Chen

"Rosebud," the Spoiler gasped.

The strange flower closed up again, having discharged nerve gas into the Spoiler's nostrils. He tried to identify the scent as his invulnerable skull thudded against hard dirt. Sort of a pungent mint.

He should have known that the Arch Duke wouldn't leave his lair undefended. It had been nearly impossible to find that secret doorway behind the waterfall, but all villains were unreasonably paranoid.

Footsteps approached. The numbness in the Spoiler's face had dissolved into tingling, and he was able to turn his head to see the Arch Duke stepping over the mutant plant. The villain wore a gaudy purple uniform decorated with gold buttons and epaulets that looked like hairbrushes. He was a stark contrast to the Spoiler's form-fitting green unitard.

"You again?" the Arch Duke said. "I thought you'd given up after our last encounter, Mister--Spoilsport, is it?"

"I'm the Spoiler," the hero said.

"That's rather a silly name," the villain said. "Do you cause fresh produce to rot?"

The Spoiler could feel one arm becoming un-paralyzed. "I'm the Spoiler because I spoil your evil plans."

"Don't you mean 'foil?'" the Arch Duke said. "Of course, that makes me think of aluminium..."

"Keep talking," the Spoiler said. "It'll be easier to subdue you while you're distracted."

"Unlikely." The Duke gestured at the hedge. "The moment you come after me, my Botanical Guard will immobilize you once again. I'm quite safe from your misguided attack."

"You're the one who's misguided," the Spoiler said. He almost had the use of his legs back.

"No, you're literally misguided," the Duke said. "You think I destroyed that satellite, the Spider--"

"Sparrow," the Spoiler corrected.

"Yes, well, it wasn't me." The Duke brushed something off his sleeve. "I do not take hostages, or ask for ransom. It's so undignified."

The Spoiler leapt up, launching himself over the hedge. He landed in a crouch, grabbed one of the flowers, and aimed it at the Arch Duke's face. The rosebud opened and released its toxic payload.

A giant boulder fell from above and drove the Spoiler's uncrushable body into the dirt floor, burying all but his head. When the debris had settled, he saw the Duke still standing and clapping his hands.

"Oh, seriously," the Duke laughed, "did you think I wouldn't be prepared for your athletic tendencies?"

"This is only an inconvenience," the Spoiler growled.

"Yes, quite." The Duke pulled an envelope from his jacket and dropped it on the ground. "You really should look at these satellite telemetry logs. They'll tell you who the real culprit is."

"Fake evidence. How original."

The Duke rolled his eyes. "The space agency has the same data. I've merely highlighted some key bits that should be quite telling."

"Wasting my time will only delay the inevitable," the Spoiler said.

But the Arch Duke had already left.

The Spoiler sighed and started wiggling his fingers. He'd be able to dig out of the trap eventually, but sometimes he really wished he had super-strength. Or super-speed. Or a better plan.


1 comment:

Corby said...

I always like this approach to superheros... it reminds me of The Tick or Mystery Men. Heros with atypical powers and the reality of dealing with them -- fun stuff!

I liked the juxtaposition of the Spoiler's confidence against the reality of the Duke's victory (... *this* time...) in the following passage:

"Wasting my time will only delay the inevitable," the Spoiler said.

But the Arch Duke had already left.