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A Day in the Life
By Tog


David awoke to find himself in the trunk of a car.  Being a long time resident of Independence Port, this was not unusual.  What concerned him was that there was no jack handle resting uncomfortably against his spine.  At first, he didn’t realize how comfortable he was, but as it became more apparent, he began to panic.  Paragon City did not have a wide selection of cars with trunks that could fit a person.  Having been stuffed into all of them at one time or another, David began to see a pattern.  Every car ever made, in any model, style, color, or size, has a jack handle placed to rest directly on the spine of anyone stuffed into them.  He was unsure if this design commonality was a law, or just an agreement among builders.  He suspected it was a law.  The reason comfort was so frightening was that he knew how to escape from every trunk of every model of every car in the city.  A comfortable trunk meant no ready way out.

His mind wandered back to his kidnap survival class in the 6th grade.  This was a mandatory class every child had to take in order to move on to middle school.  Outsiders think it odd, but kids in cold climates have classes on why you don’t lick flag poles, and kids on hot areas learn all about sunstroke and heat exhaustion.  Different survival classes for different hostile conditions.  He recalled that the first thing he was supposed to do was to listen for the music that blared from the loudspeakers in every neighborhood.  This was put in place in order for kidnap victims to better identify their surroundings when locked in trunks or stuffed into sacks.  Unfortunately, the criminals have taken to driving erratically when they have a hostage to hide exactly where they are.  The ones that do drive well have soundproofed the trunks and play bagpipe music to the hostage.  This keeps them from knowing where they are, and helps to make them compliant when they are let out.  After all, how many times can you listen to “Amazing Grace” before you start looking for things to jam in your ears, just to make the hurting stop?

When the car finally stopped, David winced.  They always hit him when they open the trunk.  They could be parked inside a warehouse, in a pitch black room, and they’d still hit him when they opened it.  It was so unnecessary.  True to form, the crack of light appeared in the trunk, and the crack of the flashlight echoed through his skull.  The worst part was this guy didn’t even try to knock him out, he just hit him for fun.  As he was trying to decide whether he should fake unconsciousness or not, he heard the leader speaking.  He was definitely kidnapped by the Family.  This was cool in a way.  They were artists at it.  His cousin had been taken by the Family about a dozen times now and they all worked out fine.  Of the four or five other times he’d been grabbed, there were two that were really bad experiences.  One time the heroes that showed up used invisibility to sneak up to where he was being held, forcing him to sneak past all the other Trolls that were still in the halls.  The second one was even worse.  He saw the Heroes come into the room on the far side.  Watched them attack a group of Freakshow, then heard two of them yell something about getting a new security level and having to leave to sign the papers.  He just stood there with the two freaks for about 15 minutes while the heroes did whatever it was that was so important.  When they finally got back, they dropped the two freaks and it was over.

Dave hoped his rescue would go smoothly.  His normally did; he was lucky that way.  He always seemed to be among the first found, and could usually just run right out.  As he slunk back into his corner, he did his best to cower while still listening for anything that may help the heroes.  After about 20 minutes he thought he could hear the rescue team coming.  There was definitely a battle raging down the hall.  As the sounds drew closer, David noticed something different about them.  They were advancing more slowly than normal.  He could also hear voices.  Angry voices.

“You need to do a better job at keeping their attention!”
“How, you keep blasting them too far away for me to hit!”
“Try yelling at them.  As offensive as you are, they should swarm you.”
“Stop fighting you two.  We need to hurry, there is a costume contest in Atlas in 5 minutes”
“Yeah, and 10, and 15, and one big one that lasts all night”
“You’re just jealous ‘cause I look so good, and you look like a stupid ummm stupid thing”
“Well I got news for you, you’re not the first guy to dress all in black and swing a katana.  Real original.”
The next person to speak had an accent David could barely understand.  He said something like,” Doods, SHUT UP.  U N0 TEH I OLY GOTS 10 MIZNITS B4 I GOTS 2 33T.”
“Okay this next room how about I pull some to us”
“Okay”
“Yeah”
“Pull?”

Dave felt sick.  He’d heard of teams like this before.  His neighbor was once grabbed by the Skulls.  A team of ‘heroes’ tried 5 times to free him and never made it.  In the end the poor guy had to beat two of them unconscious with his shoe and climb out a window.  From where he stood, he could see the path the heroes would be using to get to him.  It always surprised him how in a room with only one way in or out, the kidnapers would never guard it.  They rarely ever even posted a guard.  For all the professionalism they had in actually grabbing a hostage, there was just no clean follow through.  It was like they didn’t really have a plan once they got you.

More battle sounds came from the hallway.  Dave felt a chill in the air and saw what seemed to be a raging ice storm around the corner.

“I thought we told you not to use that.  Jeez!!!”
“No, you said it was a bad idea, you never said ‘don’t use it’.”
“Oh, sorry, I thought you’d be smart enough to see that it nearly got us all killed the first 4 times you used it.”
“Yeah, but it didn’t, so maybe it was the only thing that saved us those 4 times.”
“D00d, ur l@m3”

For the first time in all his life, Dave feared his rescuers more than his captors.  The Family still seemed oddly oblivious, but that, at least, was normal.

As the team of heroes came fully into view, it was obvious that these were not the same type that had saved him before.  Sure, there was the sword guy, the big flaming guy, the two little guys that shot ice or energy or fire, and the woman in the tiny little outfit that tried to keep them all safe, but there was something wrong.  The big flaming guy usually had a bluer tint to his flame.  The one in the tiny outfit didn’t seem to do anything for the other heroes.  The two shooters were arguing about who would fire first, neither wanted to.  The sword guy seemed to want to get in and ‘do some hero stuff’, but he kept checking his watch. 

Suddenly, they launched into action.  The ice guy shot one of Dave’s guards.  The energy guy shot someone on the other side of the room.  The flaming guy ran in and yelled something about the Family leader’s second cousin’s orchid collection (Dave actually couldn’t quite make it out).  The sword guy ran in next to the fire guy and the tiny outfit just stood in one place, spinning around yelling, “Stick together!!!  What are you doing????”

The ice guy managed to take out the two guys guarding Dave and he bolted.  At the corner of the room he turned to see the fire guy, flame off suspended in mid air.  Both shooters were down.  The tiny outfit was running around the room being chased by three members of the Family.  The sword guy passed Dave on the way to the door shouting something about being late for the contest.  Suddenly a forklift appeared out of thin air and smashed the fire guy right in the face.  Dave had to at least admire the toughness of the fire guy for surviving it.

In the chaos that followed, Dave was able to sneak back to the front door of the warehouse.  He exited and looked around, trying to get his bearings.

From the music blaring from the unseen speakers, he was near home.  Just another day in the life of a Citizen of Paragon.






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