Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

There have been some noteworthy conversations with people since I've been back.


"So where have you been? You look like hell."


"Seriously. Are you okay? It's like you've been beaten with sticks and dumped in the swamp."

"Thanks. I was actually afraid that I looked worse than that."

"So are you going to tell me where you were?"

"Oh, hell, Ron, I'd just have to make up some kind of lie for you. Can we skip that part? What have I missed around here? Do I owe you any rent?"

"Nah, that guy Cruickshank covered it. Oh, and I got a car."

"No way!"

"Oh, yeah."

"I said no way!"

"Yeah, though."

"Huh. What kind?"

"It's a reconditioned Brinks truck. I guess it got rolled back when it was a regular Brinks truck, and it was so trashed they stripped it and sold it for scrap. But the guy who bought it put it back together--not with all the vaults and stuff; just like a regular van--and painted it yellow."

"Weird. How's it drive?"

"Lousy. But still. Car!"


"Thank God you're back! I was getting bloody sick of feeding your damn fish."

"Cruickshank got you to feed the fish? I thought he'd get Nick or someone to do it."

"Five bucks a day, baby! That's a pizza and a movie every week, right there!"

"Or tuition."

"That's pretty funny. You guys were in some kind of fantasy world? Did you bring me anything?"

I knew she was going to say that. In fact, I had prepared for it, and handed her a paper bag.

"You didn't have to do that," she said. "I was kidding." She pulled a T-shirt out of the bag and unfolded it to reveal the phrase, "My Friend Underwent The Ordeal Of The Eft And All He Got Me Was This Crappy T-Shirt". (I was hoping to find it off-the-rack, but actually I had to have it printed up special.)

"I don't get it."

"Neither did I."

"An eft is like a salamander, right?"

"Is it? I guess so."

She pulled the T-shirt on over her jacket. It made her look lumpy and kind of stupid. But whatever. "I can't help but notice that my man isn't back yet," she said. (This was before the whole theater thing. I was in the office figuring out blueprints while talking to her.)

"No. He's okay, though. Basically he just has to beat up a giant and they'll send him home." I hoped.

"Oh," she said, relieved. "Okay, then."


The other day Perseid came into the office, helmet and goggles under her arm, after a hard day of crimefighting. "Check it out!" she said. "My first bullet wound." She displayed a nasty-looking graze on her upper arm.

"You sound proud of it," I said. "I didn't think superheroes were ever supposed to get shot."

"No, no; we get shot sometimes," she said. "Stereotypically it's just outpatients stuff like this, though."

I tossed her one of the first-aid kits. (We have lots.)

"Can I ask you a thing?"

"Sure," I said. "What's up?"

"How come you always call me Perseid?"

"Huh? Why wouldn't I? It's your name."

"It's my superhero name. It's not my real name. You call Bob by his real name. And you're always talking about how stupid superhero names are. So I was wondering."

"I don't know... I call Greyghost Greyghost."

"Not when he's not in costume. You call him Victor. I've heard you."

I thought about it. "I guess I do. I don't know why. I never thought about it. You want me to call you by your actual name?"

She sat down on the desk. "Yeah."

"Okay," I said, and then I couldn't do it. It didn't sound natural. I was all self-conscious. "Cassie."

"Pleased to meet you," she said, and we shook hands.

"Now that we've been introduced," I said, wondering what was going to come out of my mouth next, "do you want to do something tonight?"

She looked startled. "Are you asking me out?"

I held up my hands. "I'm as surprised as you are."

"Well. It never occurred to me that you might do that. Wow. I guess I'd better say yes, then; who knows what else I didn't see coming? What did you have in mind?"

"I was thinking we could check out the back-to-school sale at Pencil Depot, and then walk down to Rappaport Street and get some ice cream and watch crazy people play chess."

"That sounds really cool," Cassie said, and smiled.

So that was that.
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