Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The one thing I hate most about this job is the wait-faxes. Wait-faxes are the side-effect of one of the many weird legal situations surrounding superheroes.

See, lots of supervillains have bounties out on them. Naturally, superheroes want to collect those bounties when they nab these supervillains. (Even Greyghost. He's rich, but not crazy-rich.) Law enforcement entities, on the other hand, definitely want superheroes to do the heavy work of bringing these guys in, but don't want to pay out piles of cash to anonymous guys in capes and masks. So they put all kinds of regulations on how the superheroes have to go about turning the villains over to the cops, and if the superheroes don't toe the line, they don't get the coin.

(Plus, if the superhero hangs onto the villain for too long, it screws up some kind of chain-of-custody, cruel-and-unusual-punishment legal nuance. Supervillains in this situation sometimes go free if there's no proof that the cops picked them up as soon as was humanly possible.)

So, whenever Greyghost is chasing down someone he expects to collect some dough for, we have this routine:

1. Greyghost catches the guy.
2. He calls me and tells me about it.
3. I fill in a form and fax it to Janice at the Empire City Police Department.
4. I call Janice's office and let whoever know I've just sent a fax and they should send someone out to pick up the dangerous criminal.
5. I call any other relevant jurisdictions or interested parties to bring them up to date. And if the cops are going to need specialized help keeping this supervillain in jail, I'll call some experts listed in Carl's purple book.
6. The cops go get the guy from wherever Greyghost has him.
7. Janice, or someone at her office, arranges to place the bounty in a certain bank account.
8. Cruickshank transfers that money to one of Greyghost's secret bank accounts.

Sounds fairly straightforward. The only problem is Step 0:

0. I sit around the office for hours, waiting for Greyghost to call me.

I finished my regular duties before three this afternoon. I figured I'd run some errands, cook some dinner, see a movie. Four steps out the door, I got a call on my cell: Greyghost was hot on the trail of million-dollar superfugitive Bloodhanger, and I needed to stay by the phone. I'm still by the phone.

I don't have a book with me. There's still no working TV here. I've surfed the entire internet already. I've been doing nothing for eight hours now. Meanwhile, Ron is at a DriveSHAFT concert, Ingrid is at a play, and Cassie's earning some extra money as special security on a harbor cruise.

Early on, when I wrote how I had started this journal because I was bored all day, it was at the end of a long streak of wait-faxes. This is the first one in months. Maybe I should do some push-ups or something to pass the time, like guys in solitary confinement.
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