by Monica Marier
“Ready for your first day of work, Ed?”
Ed Waterman nearly dropped his coffee. “What, today?” he asked. “Don’t I get a training video or something?”
Mr. Lanz made a humorous snorting noise. “We do on-the-job training in this line, Eddy.”
“Uh, sir? I It’s just ‘Ed’,” ventured Ed, but he got the feeling Lanz wasn’t listening. The imposing man was instead busy dumping a heap of brightly-colored spandex into his arms.
“Here’s your uniform. You can change in your office. I’ll see you in five,” said Lanz, smiling. Ed could only nod as he struggled with his slippery pile.
“Oh! Eddy?” said Lanz suddenly. Ed tried to turn carefully. Pieces of uniform slithered to the bland office carpet.
“It’s Ed. Yeah?” Ed stooped over the shiny slick clothes.
Lanz made a strange grimace like he was trying to suck a raspberry seed out of his teeth. “You really need to wear different shoes. All employees are responsible for their own footwear.”
Ed surveyed the shiny black shoes that were sticking out from under his work slacks. “What would you suggest?” he asked.
“Something with gripping rubber soles. Something you can really move around in,” said Lanz. “Those will have to do for today.”
Ed wandered towards his office to change, unsure which of the doors was his office. He hadn’t seen a single employee, yet — only Lanz.
Ed’s parents had been sooo impressed when he’d gotten the phone call from THE Trevor Lanz, playboy billionaire CEO of LanzCo. The job placement agency had dug up a real honey of a job for him.
LanzCo seeks civic-minded administrator for community outreach program. Hours: 5pm-2am. No degree necessary, ex-military preferred. Some heavy lifting.Starting salary was $75,000 a year with benefits, something Ed couldn’t afford to miss even if he hadn’t been jobless for the last eight months. He wasn’t ex-military; he had been a personal trainer until the yuppies dropped him during the recession. He assumed that the LanzCo job was some sort of sponsored social work, like a soup kitchen.
Ed finally found the door to a very nice office with a new nameplate on it. It said “Eddy Waterman.” Ed sighed. Inside his new office, he eyed the uniform that Lanz had handed him. Suddenly, Ed wasn’t so sure about this.
“So what do you think, Eddy?” asked Lanz.
Ed gulped and tried to keep his balance. He was dressed from head to toe in a livid pink and purple body-tight. It had a matching purple cape with a white lightning bolt on it and a dark purple mask that had been pasted with eye-lash glue over his eyes. Except for the black office shoes, and his boxers bunching around his crotch, it was a rather daunting ensemble. By this point, Ed had no delusions about what he was supposed to be dressed as.
A more pressing question was why Lanz was dressed in a similar costume, and why they were currently astride the radio antenna of LanzCo Tower. The wind buffeted them back and forth as the airplane beacon above bathed Ed and Lanz in an eerie red light.
“Seriously, what do you think?” Lanz prompted again.
“I think… I should have filled out the health insurance forms before we came up here,” replied Ed. “And brought a spare pair of shorts,” he mumbled.
Lanz laughed long and hard. “I’m not allowed by HR to advise what to wear under the suit,” he said. Lanz was dressed in royal blue with a large white eye on his chest. The iris of the eye was a lightning bolt like the one on Ed’s cape. He looked very imposing in it, and Ed realized for the first time just how tall and built Lanz was.
“So who are you then?” asked Ed cautiously.
“I’m Captain Flashback,” said Lanz without a trace of irony.
Ed looked at him blankly. “Uhh...”
“You wouldn’t have heard of me yet, Eddy. Nobody has. Tonight is the first appearance you and I will be making in public together.”
“Together?” asked Ed, growing more anxious.
“I’ve been toying with the idea of being a superhero for some time — especially after my accident.”
“The one with the truck full of irradiated cadmium and your Porsche?”
“Yep. I’d been thinking about my life, where I’d gone, what I’d seen. ‘Take On Me’ by Ah-hah was playing on the radio. Then the truck in front of me flipped over and my life really DID flash in front of my eyes. After that, I found I had the power to overpower people with images from their past. At first I thought I could put it to good marketing use, but NAH… I wanted to use it for good. I wanted to make the scumbags of this world stop and re-evaluate their lives — to be a superhero. That’s where you come in. I need a sidekick to help me. What do you say, Eddy? Will you join me in the fight against evil?”
Ed was about to tell him where he could stick his “fight against evil,” when Lanz sensed his reticence and cried.
“I’ll make your base salary $100,000 a year.”
Ed considered. “Do I get overtime?”
Lanz grimaced before easing into a defeated grin. “Okay. So do we have a deal?”
“Deal,” said Ed ruefully. He needed the job. That was all there was to it.
“Glad to hear it!” cried Lanz. “Only… I’m not liking the name Eddy for you.”
“Good, because I prefer—”
“Lieutenant 80’s! That’ll be your sidekick name!”
“But I was born in 1990,” Ed started to complain, but it was clear Lanz wasn’t listening.
“Ready to say hello to the world?”
“Sure, Captain,” said Ed biting back hysterical laughter.
“Great!” cried Lanz. With a spectacular leap, Captain Flashback launched himself onto the next rooftop. He turned to Ed. “You comin’?”
Ed fought the urge to scream and hide before running after Lanz. He wished he had worn better shoes.
|!sdrawkcab ... hsalFyadirF s'tI|
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