Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Monday, May 31, 2004

At breakfast on Saturday morning I was trying to figure out who everybody was. There were a couple of trays of food and coffee out on the porch, and people sitting around eating and talking. I recognized Greyghost, of course, and Bob, and Liz from the driveway last night, and Ms. Moxie after a minute. I had no idea who Mr. Scarab was (never heard of him in my life before Friday) but it was pretty easy to pick out his family.

After that I had to rely on all the research I had done recently on the superhero world. The tall blond guy must be Daylighter (most powerful superhero anywhere), but the girl in the glasses next to him stumped me. The guy in the white cap was probably (wait for it) Whitecap, from Seattle, and the tall blonde in the stars-and-stripes outfit was definitely Glory B, the android. Okay, so there were two men left I hadn't figured out--Mr. Scarab probably wasn't the short black guy in the electric-blue rollerblading gear, so he must be the brown-haired gent in the robe.

That left just a couple of women I couldn't put a name to--the brunette with the freaky wristwatch, and the specimen with the rainbow-colored fright wig and rainbow-striped bodysuit scarfing down bacon. So that's not bad. I identified eight of eleven. Before getting this job I would have been lucky to get two.

The SPIA meeting, when it eventually got started, took place around a few picnic tables out on the lawn. Mr. Scarab's kids were throwing a frisbee nearby. I've worked in a lot of offices and attended a lot of meetings, and this was easily the nicest meeting I'd ever even heard of.

First item. Daylighter, addressing the group, says, "There may be some trouble about our funding. The Justice Department--"

At which point some idiot interrupted, saying, "Jesus! You guys get paid by the government?"

Everybody turned around to stare at the idiot, who was, of course, me, and the singular-looking young lady in the rainbow ensemble snarled, leaped twelve feet to land on the table in front of me, and brandished a couple of three-inch talons in my face. "dO yOu HaVe SoMeThInG tO sAy, LiTtLe BoY?" she growled at me.

It freaked me out, but I was kind of mad at the time. "Yeah!" I snapped. "I want to know how much of my money is going in taxes to pay you for trying to scare me here. Probably have to round it up to make it come to a penny, right? If you had any decency you'd refund me that penny before you said another word. I don't believe I'm getting value for my money."


"Put it back in your pants, Wildthing," Bob cut in. "And, Dennis, why'nt you button your lip for a change?"

Most of them looked kind of embarrassed, but Greyghost was taking it in stride. Daylighter continued. "The Justice Department is pushing to have us reveal our identities to them before they'll renew our annual funding."

"Can't really blame them," the brunette with the wristwatch said. "But it's not gonna happen."

"Yeah," the blue rollerblader said. "We can do without the money if we really have to, but once a secret's out, it's out."

"There's a simple solution," Bob said. "I don't give a crap if they know my real name or not. I give them all my details, they release the money to me, I turn around and allocate it however we decide, everybody's happy."

Greyghost shook his head. "It sets a bad precedent. You may not mind the government knowing your identity, but you won't be part of SPIA forever. We can't assume that there'll always be a SPIA representative who thinks like you do."

"It's not going anywhere," Whitecap said. "If we hold our ground, they'll cave. They need us. I just got word yesterday from one of my Canadian contacts that Nefario's coming back from Russia. The JD wants us happy and effective."

That was the sort of thing they talked about all morning. When we broke for lunch, I drifted towards Greyghost and said, "I imagine you're kind of pissed at me."

"For your funding comment? No, actually, I'm quite pleased. I'm the only member of SPIA who employs an assistant; some of my fellows don't get to hear dissenting opinions often enough."

I cocked my head. "And that's the real reason I'm here with you."

"One of them."

"Great. For my next act I'll tell Daylighter his haircut makes him look like teacher's pet at lifeguard school."

But the really interesting development didn't happen until the afternoon.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?