Friday, August 31, 2012

Excerpt From: We Can Be Heroes

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Here's the first chapter of a novel about Comic-Conventions that I never finished. I might put up more later if people show an interest. Please let me know what you think.

            “Oh, shit,” Chucky said, pointing across the street as we walked down the cold, congested New York City sidewalk, “The Maxx!”
            “Where?” I asked.
“There, man! What are you blind?”
Chucky was right. A short guy who looked like he was about 300 pounds was dressed as The Maxx, which was a comic book character from the 90s. He wore purple spandex from head to toe and he lumbered across the street with his head down. He had these gigantic, yellow claws, probably made of ceramics, and he also had these enormous teeth jutting from his mask. They looked like they were cut from a lampshade (Way to stay true to character, dude). I’ve never seen anybody dressed as The Maxx before back home for the Cons in Louisiana. It was always Batman or Spiderman or, oh, God, Superman—If, that is, people were even cosplaying at all. There was no originality whatsoever back home and you could tell all the costumes people wore were store-bought. They were plastic and cheap-looking and ugly. Nobody took the time to stitch their outfits together or even pay top-dollar for some quality workmanship. It was all Party City bullshit. None of those assholes deserved to don Batman’s codpiece.
            “Hey, where’s Mr. Gone?” My friend, Stew, joked. He wore green goggles on his forehead, a black trench coat, black gloves, black boots, and a pasted on mustache. He also had a drawn in scar shaped like a half moon around his left eye. He emulated Cylinder #80 from our favorite comic book series, Cylinder 79.
            “Don’t know,” I said as we neared the end of the block. “But we must be heading in the right direction. Look.”
            A stampede of colorfully dressed people ran across the street behind The Maxx as the light turned green. I saw at least one Flash, one Daredevil and three Deadpools in the mix of costumes.
            “Well, that’s fuckin’ gay,” my friend, Phil said. “Looks like Deadpool’s gonna be the big character this year. Fuckin’ clones. There ain’t even a Deadpool movie coming out this year. What the fuck?”
I nudged Phil in the side.
            “Chill with the ‘gay’ shit, dude. We ain’t back home.”
            We got to the end of the block and watched a brigade of taxis whiz by. This was our first trip to New York. We’ve been to the FanCon in Chicago a few times and even the big one in San Fran. We’re always dressed up as Cylinders #78-81. But we’ve never been to the New York Con. We’ve always talked about it though.
            We would have missed this year, too, if we didn’t find out the producers and actors of the new Cylinder 79 TV show were going to be here for a guest panel.  
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Cylinder 79, I ain’t gonna hate on you (Though, don’t tell Phil, cause he just might). Most people never heard of it before it got optioned up for a TV Show on AMC a few months ago. But it actually dates back to the mid-80s. Terrence Steele left Marvel and founded Vision Storm Comics to create it. In a nutshell, it’s about these assassins that are manufactured in Cylinders and sent back in time to change history. It was kind of like The Terminator, but edgier. And smarter, too (Though, its detractors will tell you otherwise—But don’t listen to its detractors. They’re idiots).
            All four of us were ready to either boo uproariously, or cheer until our heads exploded when we got into the Cy’ 79 Panel. It all depends on the sneak preview they show at the Con. We shall see.
            While we stood at the corner, a crowd surrounded us and a cute redheaded Asian girl with pigtails wearing a school girl outfit stood beside my friend, Stew. He nudged me in the side and threw his head in her direction. She looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back.
            “What are you guys supposed to be?” she asked.
            Phil snorted.
            “We’re Cylinders,” I answered, even though Stew could have answered himself. He always was shy around girls. “From the series Cylinder 79.”
            She nodded, shrugged and then smiled.
The yellow post at the other end of the street switched from having a red hand to a white figure with outstretched legs.
            “Well, have fun,” she said as the crowd rushed across the street, pushing us along with it. I watched the curves of her butt move back and forth as she walked.
            Chucky whistled and Stew nodded.
            “Much better than the swill we have back home, huh, fellas?” Chucky said.
            “I’ll say,” I said.
            “She’s fuckin’ retarded,” Phil said.
            “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” We all said.
            I took out our agenda as we crossed another block. A guy with a goatee and yellow earbuds took one look at us and shook his head.
            “Fuckin’ asshole,” Phil grumbled as the guy walked away.
            “Do we have any time to do anything else besides the panel today?” Stew asked, rubbing his hand through his blond wig and scratching his brown hair, “The Panel is at 4:30, right?”
            “Maaaaan, I ain’t sitting in no motherfuckin’ room for six hours,” Phil said. “The other panels before it are terrible anyway, aren’t they? What’s it say, Tom?”
            “Well, they aren’t the best,” I answered.
            “Yeah, but the whole point of this trip in the first place was to see Cylinder 79,” Chucky said. “We gotta prioritize.”
            “I agree,” Stew said. “It might fill up and then we came here for nothing.”
            “Look, we’ll wait in line an hour before the panel,” Phil said, “And no sooner.” He pointed at my agenda, “I want to hit up that speed dating shit they got going on at one. We may even get this asshole laid tonight,” he said, throwing his thumb back at Stew.
            “Shut up,” Stew said, “I got a girl back home.”
            “You call that wildebeest a girl?”
            “Hey! Watch it, asshole.” Stew balled up his gloved fists.
            “Alright, alright,” I said, “Enough of that. And Phil’s right.”
            “What?!” Stew exclaimed.
            “About not sitting in the same room all day,” I said, though, Darlene was quite hideous.
            “I’m always right,” Phil said. “Fuckin’ robots.”
            We crossed another street and neared the Jacob Javits Center. Since we left the hotel, we’ve basically just followed the crowd, as they were all migrating in the same direction. Maybe later, we’d check out some of the famous tourist traps in the city, but we don’t have time right now. It was 9:00AM and the doors were about to be opening. We would have left earlier, but Stew had a hard time getting out of the room. He kept rushing back and always saying that he forgot something like his wallet or his key card. Phil had to drag his ass out by the fifth time he did this.
            “So, we’re gonna check out Sega’s booth first,” Phil said. “Then we can walk the floor, dick around a bit, you know?”
            “I want to stop at the DC booth,” Stew said.
            “Fuck DC,” Phil said.
            “You know what, Phil? You’re being a real asshole today.”
            “All right, all right,” I said, “Jesus, you’re all acting like a bunch of girls. We don’t have to stay attached to the hip all day if we don’t want to. We’re all adults. We can do our own separate things. God. You two are so catty.”
“Yeah, but we’re all doing that speed dating shit at one,” Phil said, and he wrapped his arm around Stew’s shoulder. “Lunch at 2 and then, stand in line for Cylinder at 3. That’s our day.”
            I shrugged.
            “Yeah, I guess,” Stew said.
            Chucky exhaled.
            “As long as we get good seats.”
            “Stop worrying, dick cheese, we will. We will! You worry too much. You’re like an old Jewish lady.”
            “Let’s not bring up your mom,” Stew said.
            Phil imitated laughter, and then, gave him the finger.
            “Well, anyway, we got everything all sorted out,” I said, “The Sega booth first. If y’all want.”
            “Sure,” Phil said. “As long we’re in speed dating by one. I don’t give a fuck.”
            We rounded the corner, our agenda ready, our tickets out when—
            A line, about as big as Jormagander was long, wrapped itself around the giant black building two times over.
            My jaw dropped. Phil slapped Stew in the back of the head and Chucky said “Holy shit.”
            “You dumb fuck,” Phil said. “You made us late.”
            “It’s not MY fault. Holy jeez, this is insane!”
            I sighed.
            “Well, there go those plans.”  I took out a pen and crossed out Sega booth from the agenda.
            Stew rubbed the back of his head and gave Phil a dirty look. We all fell in line. A massive group fell in behind us. This…was going to take awhile.

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