Chapter 5: What’s in a Name?
The supervillain coined Puppeteer continues to futilely attack the greater Toronto area. Each set of attacks escalating from previous, this week the mayor will present a key to the city to Electric Knight and their friends.
“Electric Knight and their friends? Oh come on, that’s what they’ll call us?” Mel was incensed.
“Can you think of anything better?” I asked as we waited in full costume behind a makeshift curtain.
“Four… fantas… Quartet of Quality? Wow this is hard.” Mel sighed as she pulled out her sketchbook and doodled little fairies that flew around us and the protest going on in the park.
They were the usual sort that could be found all over the world. Protesting something about aliens. No one could get them to answer straight, they either feared, loved, or both our alien visitors. The aliens could go probe themselves for all I cared, but the protestestors were the same as usual… except for a man that I saw out of the corner of my eye. He had a thicker beard and was more tanned but those eyes… they looked just like Frank’s. A fairy flew by my head and the man was gone. I must have imagined it. Frank was dead. I felt his cold lifeless body.
The fairies were joined by tiny angels and it quickly devolved into something that would give the news station editors a really hard time blurring out. An assistant that looked awed and horrified gestured them towards the stage. As the mayor said nice things about them Mel asked, “Why are we the only two here?”
“Because if this isn’t a trap, it’s a perfect target.”
Mel nodded and started to look out over the crowd, squinting in the midday sun.
“And for your service in saving the fine citizens of Toronto. I award you, Electric Knight and friends, the key to the cit—”
The mayor was interrupted by a large quantity of RCMP officers in full riot gear. One of them screamed, “Electric Knight. You and your friends are under arrest for vigilantism, endangering the public, and extensive property damage. Come peacefully or we’ll have to use force.”
“What is the meaning of this? I was not informed. You have no jurisdiction here. Those aren’t federal crimes.” The Mayor was angry. The fury coming off of her scared me more than the hundred or so RCMP in front of me.
“We need evac here…” Mel started but trailed off. Her jaw dropped before she said, “They’re not getting the civilians out of the way.”
“Where are they all coming from?” I asked not catching on to what Mel’s words meant. “They only have batons out. I’ve never seen RCMP with only batons. This is the Puppeteer!” I turned to the mayor. “Teleporter, get the mayor and her people to safety and then start on the crowd. Mel, we need to play along.”
As much as I wanted to just start beating up the puppets that looked like police, I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. Thankfully most people were running away or being taken by Jane.
“We’re coming, officer. Just please don’t hurt anyone.”
I walked slowly with my hands up towards the puppets. I looked warely at the crowd of RCMP. Now that I was closer I could tell they were fake. All their faces looked the same and vaguely like Brendan Fraser. That made me think of Frank, he’d loved old movies from the turn of the millennium, especially comedies with Brendan Fraser. I think we watched Dudley Do-Right ten times in a row once. Although I spent more time watching Frank and wishing I could tell him my feelings.
“How far are you taking this?” whispered Mel.
“I’m tired of waiting for another attack. Let’s find out who’s behind all this,” I whispered back. Loudly towards the puppets, I said, “We can’t get the others.”
In a dull and lifeless imitation of Dudley Do-Right, one of the puppets replied, “That will have to do.”
We were directed towards a black limo and we were gently pushed into the back seat. “Be ready to pull us out if this goes sideways,” I said to Jane, through the coms. She swore at me and told me I was being irresponsible.
“That won’t be necessary, I just wanted to meet my adversaries.” The voice came from an old speaker on a table in the middle of the limo. It looked like something familiar.
“Charlie’s Angels? Now that’s retro,” Mel said.
“Thank you. Enjoy the ride. It’ll be your last.” He burst into a theatrical evil laugh and then added as an afterthought, “Have a snack or a drink. Minibar is fully stocked.” And the speaker exploded in a little fireball that wasn’t big enough for us to feel the heat.
“Does this all feel very familiar?” I whispered to Mel.
“Yeah kinda. Why?”
“Who had a poster of Charlie’s Angels in his room?”
Mel’s eyes grew wide and she shook her head, “We saw him die. He can’t be.”
“I’m not so sure.”
The car slowed down and stopped. We were at a warehouse near the lake. Something that was so stereotypical that if I’d rolled my eyes I was worried of spraining something.
As the Dudleys marched us towards the warehouse I thought about how each of the puppets had made me think of Frank, I thought I’d seen him at the park, the Dudleys, and now Charlie’s Angels. It couldn’t be just a coincidence. Could it?
The warehouse was empty except for a large group of Dudleys and a man standing on a tall balcony, in the shadows where we couldn’t see. “You’ve been a thorn in my side for long enough. It’s time I introduce myself and then we can talk about a ceasefire or you can die. I heard several guns and something that sounded mechanical cock.
“The Thorns,” Mel said loudly. “That’s our name.”
“Not the time Animator.” I tried to keep the manic giggle from my voice. The situation was dire, I didn’t think I could stop that many bullets, and the man I loved might be back from the dead as a bad cartoon villain. It was so absurd it almost hurt.
The man walked out of the shadows and said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me… ”
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story: