“How do I look?” I asked Shay, who was sitting on our sofa.
As the Davenport’s new pool boy, my uniform consisted of a white polo shirt, black shoes, and khakis. It didn’t fit perfectly, though God knows it was less constraining than the dress I’d been wearing. None of my past jobs had required me to wear a uniform like this. Then again, my previous jobs were: babysitter, bag boy, and wombat playmate.
I was only actually good at one of those jobs, and it wasn’t the one where I was beaten up by half a dozen marsupials.
“I think it manages to make you look even more white,” Shay mocked.
“Oh come on,” I said, looking at my brown haired sister with a nice tan. “I’m not that much of a generic looking white guy.”
“Bro, you’re awesome, but you’ve got blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. And now,” she giggled. “Well, you’re wearing that.”
Something then dawned on me.
“You know you’ve been nasty all morning,” I said. “Did something happen last night?”
“Nah man,” she answered, standing up. “I just went out with Malcolm.”
If I’d been drinking water, I would have done a spit take. Instead, I just ended up coughing on air.
“You what?!” I asked in shock.
“Not on a date or anything,” she said, raising her arms in a defensive way. “Panda and Decker just went on patrol together and then got some drinks.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “I kind of have to apologize. All this time I thought Malcolm was just some mad dog killer, but he’s actually really cool.”
My face lit up.
“I’m really happy to hear that.” It always did my heart good to see the people I cared about getting along.
“What about you? Shay asked. “You told me what happened this morning, but what the Hell happened to you and Raina last night?”
“That’s kind of a long story, and we’ve got to get to work. I’ll tell you later.”
Shay’s opinion of Malcolm may have changed, but she still didn’t trust Raina. If I told her just how awful she’d been to Takato, and the consequences of her actions we were now facing, odds are she’d never grow to like her.
“That’s fine,” she said. “But we can’t go just yet.”
“Because,” she sighed. “When I got home last night, Joey was here. It was late, and you weren’t here, so I let him stay the night. Apparently he’s got something big to show us.”
Hmm. Something big? Maybe Joey had heard about the monster attack and used some of his cop skills to find out more about them. Yeah, maybe he’d figured out a way to fight them in case Takato summoned any more, or maybe even a way to fight Smog.
Joey, don’t disappoint me.
“Carter and Shay Myers!” Joey shouted from the other room. “Born in Bluejay City, the nephew of the greatest heroine of all time became a cop!”
“What’s he doing?” I asked.
“I have no idea.”
“But now, Joey McKnight is more than just a cop. Now, he is,” Before finishing what he was saying, he jumped into the living room in a rather odd costume. Going from the bottom up, he wore blue and white boxing boots, blue gym shots, a Kevlar vest, he wasn’t wearing a shirt, that was painted half blue and half white, blue boxing gloves, a blue sparring helmet, and a black domino mask. “Captain K.O.!”
We both just stood there staring at him for a few moments. I don’t know what Shay was looking at, but my attention was on his ungodly hairy chest. You could plant grass there and no one would even notice.
“Well, what do you guys think?” Joey asked, full of eagerness.”
“Joey,” Shay said, face palming. “You can’t be a super hero.”
“Why not?” he asked. “I wanna help people just as much as you guys, and you, Malcolm, and the original Panda are all proof that power’s aren’t a requirement.”
Shay stepped forward.
“Malcolm has 14 years of experience, I’ve been training since I was a kid, and the original Panda was good enough to stand alongside the rest of the Guardianship. I’m sorry Joey, but just being a good boxer isn’t enough. You could get seriously hurt, or even killed out there.”
Joey clenched his fists, looking distraught but still determined. He turned to me.
“Come on Carter bro. When you told me who you were, you said I’d be a part of this team,” Joey pleaded.
“Yeah,” I said scratching the back of my head. “But I think I also said something about Raina, Malcolm, and I actually being the ones who go out in the field. Shay joining that line-up doesn’t change where you stand.” The determination was fading from his face, which made me feel bad, but it was for the best. “I’m sorry Joey, but Shay’s right. You’re not ready to be a super hero.”
Joey closed his eyes and hunched over. Oh no. Was he going to cry?
Thankfully, even after several moments, there were no tears in sight.
Instead, he stood tall, raised his head, opened his eyes, and smiled like an Shonen protagonist.
“Fine!” he exclaimed. “If I can’t be a hero, then I’ll be a sidekick.”
“What?” Shay said dismissively. “Joey, that’s…”
I cut her off.
“Actually I really good idea.” Joey was my friend, and if I could protect his self-esteem , then I would.
“Carter, what are you saying?” Shay asked. “You’re gonna let him go around with you and the others? The whole reason I didn’t join your team was because I didn’t want to mess up how gelled you guys have gotten.”
“That wasn’t exactly what I was thinking actually,” Joey said.
We both turned to face Shay.
“Oh no,” she said. “No way. I don’t need a sidekick.”
“Come on Shay,” I said. “You’re pretty much the best fighter in the world. You could make sure he didn’t get into any trouble while training him in the process.”
“Yeah!,” Joey echoed.
“Damn it,” Shay groaned. “I guess…if it means you not getting yourself killed, you can be my sidekick.”
“Wooh!,” Joey shouted, running up to Shay and hugging her. “I promise you will not regret this! You’ll see. I’m gonna give the bad guys the old one-two.”
Appearing to be slightly suffocated by Joey, Shay said, “I think I’m already regretting this.”
I laughed, and Joey let go of her.
“Now that that’s settled,” I said. “We have to get to work.”
“Carter,” Shay started. “I’m looking forward to working as a maid less than I’d look forward to fighting Syringe. Why do you want to get started so badly?”
I took a deep gulp.
“You haven’t met Raina’s step mom, have you?” I asked her.
“Pool boy!” Stella shrieked. “Get over here now!”
For the fourth time in 25 minutes, I had to cease cleaning the pool and run over to Raina’s, admittedly super hot, step mom, who was lounging by the pool in a miniscule gray bikini.
“Yes Mrs. Davenport,” I said politely with my hands folded in front of me.
She raised her glass and, without bothering to even look at me, said “Get me another glass of Cristal.”
This would be her third one. I know Raina and Stella weren’t even really related, but the way they could both hold their liquor was astounding.
I nodded respectfully, took the glass from her, and turned around, beginning to make my way back towards the pool house. Was it normal for rich people to keep tens of thousands of dollars worth of alcohol in their pool houses? Somehow I had a hard time believing that it was.
“Pool boy!” she unnecessarily screamed, despite the fact that I was only five or six feet away.
I turned around, and Stella took off her sunglasses. Her icy stare was a little scary, but as far as I could tell, not to the extent that electricity was coming off me. Considering where I was, if lightning was summoned, that could be very bad for everyone.
“Yes Mrs Davenport,” I said once again, walking over to her.
“Please,” she said with a glossy smile. “Call me Stella.” It must have been my imagination, but from the tone of her voice, it was almost like she was flirting with me. “Pool boy, has anyone ever told you that you have a very nice ass?” Nah, she wasn’t flirting with me at all.
“Um, no Stella,” I answered.
“Huh,” she said. “Go figure.”
Stella slowly sat up from her lounging position, and before I could react, she reached out her arm and grabbed my balls.
“HAAAAAA!” I exclaimed as she moved her fingers around.
It was taking every ounce of self control I had to keep lightning from flying out of me, and just a bit less of it to keep me from freaking the Hell out and running into the pool.
“Stella, I don’t think this is appropriate,” I said, breathing heavily on every word.
“Shoosh,” she said. “Don’t fight it.”
And with that, she squeezed my balls super hard.
“YAH!” I screamed, falling on my ass and dropping the crystal glass I was holding, the thing proceeding to fall and shatter.
“You see, this is why it’s smarter to just have some fun with me. Now look at you. You’re down on the ground and $135 in debt.”
WAS I EVER GOING TO ACTUALLY MAKE ANY MONEY FROM THIS JOB?!
“Stella,” I said nervously from the ground. “You’re a very attractive woman, but you’re married. It wouldn’t be right.”
Also, there was the whole, “You’re my best friend’s step mom” thing, but that was besides the point. Plus, she was pretty nasty. Even so, she’d hopefully understand where I was coming from, and respect my standpoint.
“Well in that case!” Stella shouted, standing up. “You can clean this mess up, get me my damn cristal, and finish cleaning the pool in the next half hour! And if you so much as mention this off offhandedly to my husband, I will make your life a living Hell!”
And suddenly I understood why Raina hated Stella so much. She was the biggest bitch in the world.
As a cross dressing scholarship student once said, damn rich people.