January 29, 2014: Real World

Song: “Real World” by Matchbox 20 from Yourself or Someone Like You

Listen to it here

Real World thewordheardroundtheworlddotcom.jpg

His jaw separated under the force, a sickening slide left that spun him around with the force of it.

RainMaker was more than used to this kind of thing.

The Righteous circled the fallen villain. RainMaker lay in a crumpled heap, surrounded by his cape like a child might hide themselves under a blanket to evade the monster in the closet. He looked very small there, rubbing his jaw, struggling to find his footing once again.

“Why do we have to go through this every other month?” intoned The Righteous in his booming baritone. He sounded like a classic radio announcer met a professional book-on-taper and they had a perfect voiced son together, “You were the least of the Weather Wicked and you’re the only one that still persists. Why do you insist upon this, this…childishness.”

“You don’t,” RainMaker began, his voice high-pitched and a bit clotted with tears. He reset to standard villainous tone and tried again, “You don’t even know who you’re dealing with anymore, The Righteous. I’m not like those quitters. I’ll never stop and I will destroy you!”

RainMaker, real name Derek Godwin, struggled to his feet, very aware of how he should’ve timed his threat a bit better. The Righteous, real name Slade Foreman, suppressed a smile and a laugh at his disheveled opponent.

“You’ve been a costumed criminal for a decade and you’ve still never lifted a weight or learned to throw a bunch. I’m a hero who’s studied 12 forms of hand-to-hand combat and can shrug off tank shells.”

“But you lack my keen wit, you weak-minded boy sc—”

“I have a genius level intellect, am fluent in 25 different languages, hold over 200 patents, and am a chess grandmaster.”

“Perhaps. On the other hand, my will is indomitable!”

“I once made you cry and turn yourself in by threatening to tell your girlfriend you made out with someone else at a super villain mixer.”

“I had three Long Islands and Carol the Deadly was super flirty that night. What was I supposed to do?”

“Not blame someone else for your choices?”

“Nevermind that!” RainMaker roared in frustration, “You should be worried less about my romantic life and more about your very own!”

“Oh, really?” The Righteous laughed, striking a defiant, heroic pose.

“Really! I have weapons! Terrible weapons!”

“Is this the boxes of rain again? You remember that never worked, right?”

“I captured rain in a box! Do you not get how that’s impressive?! And besides, no, that’s not it!”

“Look, Derek, can we—”

RainMaker swelled with wounded pride. The Righteous raised his hands in mock surrender.

“Sorry, sorry,” he apologized, grinning outright, “I mean to say RainMaker. As in ‘RainMaker, can we hurry this up?’”

“You have no sense of the dramatic!”

“And you have no sense, period!”

“That’s it. Remember, you asked for this!”

RainMaker wheeled towards his heroic counterpart and threw a cube into the air. It expanded as it traveled through the room, spraying an increasingly heavy torrent of water at The Righteous. The Righteous, who was laughing, was soon gargling under its relentless spray.

“You see,” RainMaker gloated, loudly to be heard over the thundering water, “it turns out rain is not the only water I can control. And though you might be strong and fast and smart, you still need to breathe. And no one can breathe while they are being force fed a tsunami!”

The Righteous stumbled against the spray, blinded and choking. He experienced a new sensation, panic, as his lungs could find no air. Flailing wildly against the downpour, his knees buckled and he fell. He was vaguely aware of the sound of cackling. It made him mad. Horribly mad. In a rage he threw his hands skyward…and clipped the flying cube, sending it tumbling against the wall, shattering it spectacularly.

Coughing and sputtering, The Righteous rose. He was soaked, his costume three shades darker from saturation. He wiped away the water from his eyes and struggled to focus. He saw RainMaker cowering in a corner of the hall.

“Derek!” he growled, throat aching with effort.

“Call me—” RainMaker began.

“Your name is fucking Derek! And you tried to kill me! What the hell, Derek?! We don’t do that! We’ve never done that! You steal, mostly. Sometimes you, like, kidnap a foreign dignitary. You don’t do attempted murder. That’s not your bag!”

RainMaker stared at the floor and whispered, “Sorry…I just…”

“Sorry?” The Righteous screamed, “Sorry?!?! Are you kidding me? You can’t apologize for near homicide! You—you know what, no. You’re harmless. Less than harmless. You’ve always been a joke that I’ve indulged. But like some…ignored kid, you’ve just chosen to act worse and worse because any attention is good, right? I’m done with you Derek. Don’t..don’t do this stuff anymore. Or do. Whatever. You can deal with the cops from now on.”

The Righteous spun on his heels and began to leave, absentmindedly gathering his cape and ringing it out as he went.

“Wait!” RainMaker, Derek, shouted after him in a strangled, nearly terrified tone.

The Righteous stopped but did not turn around.

“What, Derek?” he breathed with a sigh.

“What am I supposed to do now?” came the question.

“I don’t know. Get a hobby. Find a way to use all your gadgets to make money legitimately. Or help people. I don’t care.”

“But…but this is….this is what I do.”

“Then be an idiot and keep doing it. But I’m done with you. I’ll stop the Puzzlemaker, I’ll drop the Bad Apple, I’ll even go toe-to-toe with Bionic Bruiser the 3rd, LLC, but you and I are through.”

“I think…I think I need this though.”

“No, Derek, you don’t. You need help. You need anything else but this. Or not. I honestly don’t give a damn. Just…lose my hotline number. The answering service will just be erasing your threats from now on.

As The Righteous back down the stairs and our of RainMaker’s secret lair, he thought he heard weeping. Part of him wanted to go back inside and comfort his old nemesis. But it was a small part. Hardly worth noting at all.