“Your leader?” I laughed. “You’re joking, right?”
“Dead serious,” Sammy responded.
The sun was setting, but all of the streetlights around the school allowed me to have a good look at Juggler. He wasn’t very big, but he wasn’t skinny either. For reasons I couldn’t imagine, the trash was wearing shorts, probably freezing his ass off, but this did let me see that his legs were very well toned. Overall, he looked to be in excellent physical shape.
His skin was very dark, maybe a shade or two even darker than Malcolm’s. He also had medium length black hair, every lock of which was currently tied into a knot. Hairstyles like this just demanded to be mocked.
“Well, I’d love to join you, but unfortunately, I have a strict policy of not associating with anyone who’s hair looks like a high, college student’s attempt at modern art.”
He bit his lip and nodded.
“So, wanna hear about the oppitunity of a life time?”
“You mean, opportunity, right?”
Typical poor person. Not knowing how to pronounce the most basic of words.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s what I meant,” he said with a smile. “So get this, we, the Troupe Experience, have always been friends.” Their team name was still the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. “But then some mysterious guy called us up, asked if we wanted him to fund us as a super villain team, and we figured, why not.”
This was my chance to find about the most crucial thing about all of this.
“Have you met this mysterious employer?” I asked.
“Nope,” he disappointingly answered. “Haven’t even heard his real voice. He always speaks with a voice modifier over the phone.”
Shit. These dumbasses could be working for Smog and not even realize it. For what purpose would he make a team of villains though? Maybe it was just a way to continue testing Malcolm, Carter, and I. Why he cared about us getting stronger was just another question I had no answer to.
“Alright, that sort of explains how you guys got to be villains,” I said. “But I’m a super hero. Why would you want me to be your leader?”
“It was actually our boss’s idea. We weren’t sure about it at first, but the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. I mean, you are the reason super villains are around today.”
Yeah. I really was.
“Plus hey,” he continued. “You’re a great fighter and from what we were told, you’re pretty damn smart.”
“Still not explaining why I would want to join you.”
“Oh, right. Well, we’re going to take over the Negative District.”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Really? You guys are going to take over the Negative District? Actually, better question. Why would you want to take over the Negative District? It’s ratty, dirty place full of unsavory characters.”
“First of all beautiful, we live in the Negative District.”
“Shocker,” I said sarcastically.
“Second, we’ve been working hard on a plan. You see we may break the law, and have some fun riling people up, but we’re good guys. We’re gonna drive out all the crime and provide necesstities for all the people who live there.”
I didn’t bother to correct his pronunciation this time.
“And your boss is covering all the expenses, including giving shit like food and clothes to the district’s residents.”
If Smog was rich, that probably meant his alter ego was well known. But if he were, I’d know his face. This meant one of two things. Either Smog wasn’t there employer, or he was a shape shifter on top of everything else, and we were even more fucked.
“But even though we’ve got this sweet ass plan, my sister really doesn’t care about all of this,” he said. “She doesn’t care about most things, but whatever,” he mumbled. “So, we think that you’d be a perfect fit to take her place as leader. You’ll get to continue helping people, and in a way that’s more, you.”
That got me to break my smirk.
“What do you mean, more me?”
“Oh come on. You were planning on taking over the world, and killed anyone who got in your way. Sure you’re working with Lightning Bee now, but you can’t tell me that some of the old you isn’t still in there.”
The idea of taking care of the Negative District was actually kind of appealing. After all, if it were improved enough, I could finally go to some of my favorite stores without having to worry about some gross homeless person asking for change.
But the way he was talking…
“Are you guys killers?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah. Some of us more so then others but we’ve all taken out at least a few people.”
I had to try and keep my calm. Even if Smog wasn’t behind this, their boss was someone who clearly needed to be taken down. The idea of infiltrating their team was calling out to me, but my heart was telling me to just kick this guy’s ass.
“You talk about murder like it’s not big deal. It’s evil!” I cried.
“You know, a lot of people say that and I just don’t get it.”
“What the Hell is so confusing to you about killing someone being wrong?”
“Try looking at it this way,” he said, pacing around me. “Do you call soldiers who kill someone in the line of duty, evil?”
Not sure how to respond, I ended up uttering an unsure, “Uh, no.”
“Well there you go!” he shouted, launching his arms vertically. “Doesn’t it sound a lot more sane to kill someone because you want something or because someone wronged you than because some guy in a suit whose never even been in a fight told you you were doing it for your country?”
What he was saying shouldn’t have been making sense to me. Killing was wrong plain and simple. I should know that better than anyone. Why wasn’t I just smacking him?
Was I good? Was I evil? A hero? A villain? To what lengths could I still be a hero if I was one, and could I even be one to begin with after everything I’d done?
Small tears running down my cheeks, I decided to act like the one thing I always had been.
“You know what I think is a good cause for killing?” I asked rhetorically. “Putting an end to your crimes against fashion.”
“What you talkin about?” he asked, sounding offended.
“That shirt,” I said, pointing at his. “It’s hideous. Burn it and I might consider leading you worthless buffoons.”
“This shirt was my Grandpa’s,” he growled.
“Huh. I suppose it does look like something a slave would have worn.”
With nearly as fast a punch as Olivia, Sammy struck me in the face.
“You know, I didn’t want to believe it, but Elphaba was right. You are a total bitch.” He paused. “Albeit a very sexy one.”
I didn’t remember being too mean when I was fighting Lady Greenskin. If anything, I was just hysterical after thinking Carter had died.
“And what pray tell gave her that idea?” I asked.
“Hm,” He mumbled. You know how she can make you trip out and see all kinds of freaky shit?”
“Well, sometimes when she uses her power on people, she picks up bits of information from their brains.”
Reacting to that immediately, I grabbed him by the collar of his ugly shirt.
“What else did she get out of me?” I asked, pissed off that that bitch had read my mind.
“Not too much, at least from she’s told me. Just that Lightning Bee is some dude named Carter, pretty much all the specifics of your powers, you value your appearance over the lives of most animals, and your mom was…”
Before he could finish, I let go of his collar, and with my right arm, directed at hammer fist right at his Adam’s apple.
“Don’t you ever talk about my mom!” I roared. “Garbage like you doesn’t deserve to even know the first thing about her!”
He stood up, massaging his neck, and spoke.
“Okay, you just called me garbage, and you assumed that my grandpa was a slave. Is this a race thing? Cause it really sounds like a race thing. Tell me rich girl, do you have a problem with homosexuals too? Exposure might have a few words to say about that. Do you also think of people without powers as beneath you? I know that plenty of big shots out there would love to see them in chains like they were a few centuries ago. Or Hell, knowing you, you’d probably just like to kill them!”
I slapped him, and started full on crying.
“You know why I killed all those people, don’t you?” I asked. “It’s what’s always at the forefront of my mind. If she got anything out of me, that would have been it.”
Shaking his head, Sammy responded, “If she does know, she didn’t tell me anything about it. I figured they were just collateral in the way of your goal.”
I quickly thought about telling him why I’d done what I did. Because of my damn ego. But right now, this wasn’t about me. So I just said…
“I’m going to assume you apologizing for being a general bitch to me.” Sammy reached into his pocket and pulled out a card. Handing it to me, he said, “I don’t think you and I have anything left to say to each other, but my beef with yo bitch ass ain’t what matters here. Call that number if you’re interested in joining us.”
With that, Sammy began walking off.
“Sammy!” I cried out. “Do you really consider yourself to be a good person?”
He turned his head to me.