by Shai Nir
Drawing his powers from a secret barrel of nucleoactive radios, he is…
Stevie, Boy Wonder!
Okay, so there’s this guy, Stevie, Boy Wonder, and he’s a superhero. He lives in Philadelphiaburg, has all kinds of ridiculous super-adventures, and sometimes he fights crime or something. Anyway right now he’s in a mall.
Stevie: …and next time you feel like running up a down escalator, I hope you think twice. And then don’t do it.
Good Citizen Lad: I’ll won’t, Stevie. Thanks!
Stevie: Don’t mention it.
Satisfied with a job well done, Stevie looks up, only to see something that takes him by surprise: It is his arch-nemesis, the Humorist. He is hanging around the men’s section of Nordstrom.
Stevie: The Humorist! How’d you break out of prison this time?
Humorist: No breakout, I just walked out. Apparently jailtime for bribing wardens is surprisingly brief.
Stevie: Of course you know I’ll be keeping a close eye on you.
Humorist: Don’t even bother. I’ve gone straight.
Stevie: I don’t believe you.
Humorist: Well, it’s true.
Stevie: I know you, Humorist. You can’t not be a criminal.
Humorist: I can and I will. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m planning a heist.
Stevie: Yeah, saw that coming from a mile away.
Humorist: I saw your mother coming from a mile away.
Humorist: Because she’s a very large woman, you see.
Humorist: Who stars in locally-distributed pornographic films.
Stevie: That’s just gross.
Humorist: Anyway, I’m only doing legal theft now.
Stevie: You’ve become an investment banker?
Humorist: Close. I work as a full-time supervillain for the IRS. I find idiots, take their money, and we split it 60-40. Uncle Sam makes a profit, and stupid people have less money to be stupid with. It’s like the lottery, except there’s no winner. Actually, that’s a decent idea for a con.
The Humorist notes that down for later.
Humorist: See, I’m just a humble public servant.
Stevie: It’s exactly what you were doing before, except now you’re paying taxes.
Humorist: Which saved us quite a bit on training costs.
Stevie: I still don’t believe you.
The Humorist produces a very official badge certifying that he has a License to Crime, as long as it’s against stupid people. Stevie inspects it closely and finds that, against all probabilities, it is genuine.
Stevie: Well, uh… Carry on then, I guess.
Stevie, still somewhat wary, turns to leave.
Humorist: Actually… Stevie, you’re a servant of the people, right?
Stevie: I’m not going to help you steal stuff.
Humorist: Just hear me out. From time to time they send me after specific people usually rich people who use a lot of tax loopholes.
Stevie: Don’t you only go after stupid people?
Humorist: The government automatically classifies tax avoiders as stupid, and also as doo-doo heads. In this case, the target is Philadelphiaburg’s very own media mogul Dora Chère. The only way I could think of getting past her ridiculous security arrray involved laughing gas, fake swords, and two sets of identical twins. But with your powers, it’d be a piece of cake.
Stevie: Still not interested, Humorist.
Humorist: Chère happens to owns the Dailyburg Pennsylvaniaburger.
Stevie: …I’m in.
Humorist: Perfect. I’ll just go hit Starbucks real quick and then we can lay out the plan.
That very night, in the bushes behind Chère’s flabbergastingly opulent manor: Stevie and the Humorist are hiding in a small security blind spot behind a solid gold statue of money. Stevie has changed into a stealthy black version of his costume that looks cool and is absolutely not an alien symbiote.
Stevie: God, I hate the DPburger. That rag keeps telling people I steal candy from babies and shove old ladies into traffic.
Stevie: Those were demon babies and the old lady was an accident. I apologized.
Humorist: I’m in the same boat! You rape one kid and suddenly every mention of you is “The Humorist, notorious child molestor.”
Humorist: …That was a joke.
Stevie: Not a funny one.
Humorist: Okay, so not ha ha funny. I liked it. Anyway, Chère loopholed her way out of about 4 million in taxes this year. If these schematics I got (from a source you aren’t allowed to ask about) are right, Chère has a high-security vault 80 feet underground, right below this solid gold statue of money. You use your, um — whatever power it is you have — to dig down and break into the vault from above while I remotely disable the alarms. Then we go in, take about 10 million dollars’ worth of stuff, climb out, fill the hole, and scram. You go nonchalantly on night patrol, and I cash out and retire to Monaco.
Stevie: Why don’t we just take this solid gold statue of money?
Humorist: …Or we can do that. Wouldn’t be as much fun but I guess it’s quicker.
Using his mighty super strength, Stevie lifts the statue out of its place. To his surprise, there is a tunnel underneath the statue leading straight down.
Humorist: Well, that’s convenient. Can you use your super night vision to see what’s down there?
Stevie shines his flashlight down the chute.
Stevie: There’s something down there. It’s about five or six feet tall, shiny, looks like some kind of robot or…
Suddenly the lights at the bottom of the chute turn on. Clearly illuminated is the distinctive power armor of Philadelphiaburg’s very own metal-themed superheroine, Liberty Lead. The armor’s eyes light up as Liberty Lead flies up and out of the chute.
Stevie: Run. Run!
Steve sprints, with the Humorist close behind. Liberty Lead pursues.
Lead: Stevie, Boy Wonder, I knew you were no good. And hanging around with that commie Humorist! I’m shocked, Stevie. Normally I’d report scum like you to the authorities, but since you’re on my property, I’ll just shoot you.
Stevie and the Humorist desparately duck and dodge as they break for the fence surrounding the estate. They barely make it over intact, but Liberty Lead keeps shooting.
Stevie: I’m never following you again!
Humorist: Oh, come on, it’s not my fault our target turned out to be Liberty Lead. What are the odds the sole female semi-mysterious billionaire in town would also be the sole female semi-mysterious power-armored superhero in town?