As I stare perplexedly at the chess board, Batman—he’s sitting ten yards away from me, to the right of the Batcave’s massive computer—adjusts the dial on his microscope and peers intently into its aperture.
I call out a question: “Why do I have to do this again?”
“Chess sharpens the mind, Kent. As my sidekick, you’ll have to continually train your mental faculties. It’s not all physical.”
I study the board for a long moment, then move my queen. “Queen to H5.”
His reply is instantaneous. “Rook to C3.”
GodDAMMIT! Asshole didn’t even look from his motherfucking microscope.
I prop my head between my fists, hissing out a frustrated sigh. “Pawn to G6.”
Once again, no hesitation: “Bishop to B2.”
My hand hovers over his king; I’m tempted to move it to a square that’ll give me the advantage. He’s got the board mapped out in his mind, but maybe I can convince him he’s made a mistake and he’ll—
“Don’t do it.”
“What?” I snatch my hand back. “Do what? I wasn’t going to—”
“A second ago, you blinked several times. During your lapse in situational awareness, I glimpsed a reflection of your pupils by looking up at my monitor. Their saccadic rhythms clearly indicated you were engaged in deception. You were planning on moving one of my pieces, weren’t you? And claiming I’d forgotten where it was?”
“Um…what?” I stutter. “No way, dude! I would never—”
He swivels in his chair, leaning back and tenting his fingers above his chest. “You’re a terrible liar, Kent. Take ownership of your sub-par chess skills. And while we’re on the subject of taking ownership, you could use a shower; your personal hygiene leaves a lot to be—”
“That is IT!” I flip over the board, scattering chess pieces across the cave, and march over to him, leveling a shaking finger at his face. “I’ve adhered to your ridiculous standards for over a MONTH! You’ve forced me to scrub my nuts and butt TWICE A DAY! Every wrinkle, every pucker, every—”
His nose wrinkles. “I can smell them from here—like a mix of old feet and stale dung. You used to live like an animal, so I suppose I should acknowledge your efforts, if not your results. Fine—you get an F+.”
I launch a cross at him, then find myself curled into the fetal position, staring blankly at the walls. I didn’t even see him move.
“Odin’s ballsack…” I gasp. “My organs…”
“Right,” he says, turning back to his microscope and readjusting the focus knob. “Clean yourself up, get Alfred to fix you something, and meet me in the weapons room. One hour.”
“Fuck you,” I mutter, limping to the staircase while holding my belly.
“Heard that,” he calls. “World of pain, Kent—you’re in for a world of pain.”
Suddenly, I hear a patter of feet thudding down the stairs. I glimpse a brief jumble of popped collars and backwards baseball caps as a gaggle of Douche-Bros bowls me over, sending me tumbling back down. They run over to Batman and rub their scraggly armpits across his face before he can react, slathering his mug with cheap beer-musk. He staggers away, hacking and coughing. He manages to throw some half-hearted punches but he’s clearly fucked; Douche-Bro gross is a special kind of evil.
“Kent…” he gasps. “KENT! HELP—*COUGH COUGH*—HELP M—*COUGH COUGH COUGH* ” He’s drowned out by Douche-Bro jeering. Batman collapses to the floor, seizing and twitching, bubbles of foam spilling from his lips. I’m still hurting from the Dim Mak combo to my liver and spleen; there’s no way I can fight these Ed Hardy-worshipping fucksticks.
So I open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
A cadre of voluptuous soccer moms walks into the cave, each one wearing a wide headband tied tightly around their foreheads. The Douche-Bros stare at them uncomprehendingly…then puzzled recognition grows in their eyes.
One of them ventures, “Mom?”
“Hello Slater. Bryce. Darren.” The soccer mom nods at the rest of them. “And the rest of you jerkoffs. We’re here to dissuade you from attacking Kent Wayne and his new mentor.”
The soccer moms untie the headbands around their foreheads and let them drop to the floor. Above each of their brows is a large, semi-circular shape that points upward, narrowing into a mild curve at its highest point.
“Mushroom stamps.” The lead mom nods at me. “From our prodigiously penised lover. We wear them with pride.”
Slater’s eyes widen in horror. Then his face turns beet-red. His upturned hands form into rigid claws. Veins bulge from his neck as he clutches the air and drops to his knees.
The Douche-Bros voice anguished, soul-sick sobs. One of them jumps into the giant pit in the middle of the Batcave, screaming, “Farewell, cruel world!” Another commits seppuku, while yet another grabs a thick stalagmite and begins banging his head against its surface, until the raw surface of his red-washed skull becomes disgustingly visible.
I crawl over to Batman and prick him with an epinephrine autoinjector, restarting his frozen nervous system. He takes in a huge gasp of air and bolts up, eyes wide under his armored cowl. Then he meets my gaze and grudgingly mumbles:
“Good job, Man Whore.”
And on that day, the mighty Batman acknowledged the Way of the Man Whore was a just and noble path. Man Whore perpetuum! 😀
Is your stick-up-the-ass mentor giving you shit for your freewheeling ways? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here: Combined Edition #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book