by Martin Maenza
“Casino owners beware!” a man in a green body suit with yellow trim and gloves bellowed. “You may have all the odds worked out in your favor, but that won’t stop me!” He adjusted his goggled mask slightly, then made a little twist of his long, thin mustache. “For who better to have worked out all the angles to your games than the one and only Angle Man!”
Watching from the rooftop entrance to the smaller building were three individuals. They observed the costumed man who stood near one of the roof’s edges, allowing those below on the street to hear his banter.
“Is this a smart idea?” Harvey Bullock wondered aloud.
“I question that, too,” Officer Liza Warner said. “This is a bit out of the ordinary, especially for us. The LVPD won’t allow this to go on for too long.”
“We have to give it a shot,” Jonni Thunder said. “We’re pretty certain the killer can’t have gone too far. This just might flush him out.” She reached inside her white suit jacket and pulled out a pistol. “Just cover me.”
Jonni leaped out into the open. “Hold it right there, Angle Man!” she ordered. “You’re under arrest!”
The costumed man spun around. “Oh, really?” he laughed, then reached for the holster on his right hip and pulled out a yellow, triangular-shaped item. “I’d like to see you try!” He dramatically gestured with it, pointing it toward the blond detective.
Jonni dived to the pavement and rolled as if avoiding some kind of attack. Got to make this look convincing, she thought as she aimed her pistol. She let fire two shots, both wide of the figure. She purposely missed hitting the man.
Angle Man laughed. “Ha ha! You might be a cute one, but your thinking is obtuse. You cannot hurt me as long as I possess this.” He again gestured with the triangular-shaped item.
“Oh, please!” another strong female voice called from the shadows. “You ain’t fooling anyone with that, sweet cakes!”
Stepping from the shadows was a woman dressed in a dark blue costume with many white bands around the legs and arms. Her face mask consisted also of white straps; her eyes and mouth were visible between three of the straps, and her long black hair extended out the back in a ponytail.
“That Angler’s a fake!” Lashina announced. “And I know it, because I have yours right here!” From behind her back, the Female Furie produced a similarly shaped triangular item.
“You!” Angle Man said in surprise. The man behind the mask didn’t truly know who the woman was, but he was prepared to play along. After all, Christopher Chance was an excellent actor, and he prided himself on his skill of playing a good target.
Lashina confidently strode across the roof. “Don’t know how you managed to cheat death, sweetie,” she said. “But this time, I plan to make sure you’re good and dead!”
Just then, Jonny Double and Angel O’Day arrived on the scene and joined Bullock and Warner. “That’s her!” Jonny exclaimed.
“Who?” asked Bullock.
“It has to be Duchess Castlebury,” Angel explained, “the woman who Angle Man married yesterday. We saw her picture, and the long hair and build matches that.”
“Looks like we’ve got us a suspect!” Bullock said. He pulled his gun. “Thunder, get her!”
Jonni Thunder rolled to her feet, took a stance, and aimed her weapon at the costumed woman. “Lady, you’re under arrest for the murder of Angle Man!”
Lashina threw back her head and laughed loudly. “Are you kidding me, you gnat?” she asked. “Your laws mean nothing to one born of Apokolips! I only answer to Darkseid!” She flipped her free hand back and then whipped it forward. A white battle lash sprang forth, cutting the air with lightning-fast accuracy. The lash struck Jonni’s pistol squarely, knocking the weapon from her hand and sending it clattering across the rooftop.
“Consider that a warning shot, honey,” Lashina said. “Next time, I go for your throat!” She turned to the man dressed as Angle Man. “First, I have unfinished business with my ‘husband.’ This time, he doesn’t have his precious weapon to save him from my killing assault!”
The white lash sprang forward, but the Angle Man leaped away with incredible athletic skill. “Hey!” Lashina exclaimed. “You couldn’t move like that before!”
“I guess you didn’t know me as well as you thought, my dear,” Angle Man said as he tumbled across the roof.
“Fine!” Lashina spat. “The gloves are off!” She wound back again, this time anticipating his moves. The thick lash wrapped quickly around the man’s torso. “Come to Momma!” With a quick tug, the Angle Man went flying across to roof toward Lashina’s awaiting arms. Angle Man struggled with the binds, his arms pinned to his sides.
“Oh, don’t struggle, my sweet!” Lashina purred. “It won’t do any good! I only came back after I thought I’d killed you the first time so I could retrieve your weapon. However, since you are alive after all, having it is secondary. This time, I’ll make sure you’re dead!” She leaned closer, licking her lips. “How’s about one last kiss before you die?”
Suddenly, a few bullets exploded at her feet. “Consider that a warning shot, honey!” Jonni Thunder said, repeating Lashina’s words from a few moments before. “Back away now and put your hands in the air! I won’t miss next time!”
Lashina spun around, pushing the bound Angle Man to the ground. Standing defiantly with their guns aimed as her were Jonni Thunder, Angel O’Day, Officer Liza Warner, and Harvey Bullock. “Well, well, well,” she said. “Four to one. I like those odds! Heyah!“
With a quick flip of her lash, the Female Furie disarmed Bullock and Warner. Before she could attack again, Thunder and O’Day opened fire. The bullets winged Lashina’s shoulder, tearing her costume. She laughed at the pain. “Fools! You’ll have to do better than that to harm one of Granny’s girls!” With another loud crack, her lash disarmed the other two women.
“And now, you shall pay for your effrontery!” Lashina said.
Suddenly, there was a loud sonic boom.
Everyone turned at the sound. On the edge of the rooftop, a shimmering circle opened up as a pathway appeared in the air. The sound of great winds could be heard as the portal opened.
From the light, the outline of a figure could be seen. It was a thin individual with a cape. The facial features were pointed and sharp, as was the outline of the person’s hair. “Lashina!” a shrill female voice called out. “I’ve come to fetch thee!”
“I’m busy, Bernadeth!” Lashina said. She eyed the bound prey at her feet and those who were opposing her.
“You are required by Lord Darkseid!” Bernadeth called in a nagging tone from just inside the Boom Tube. “Another Crisis is at hand, one that threatens even Apokolips!”
Lashina shook her head. “Then give me a minute,” she said. “It won’t take me long to finish my business here!”
“No!” Bernadeth scolded. “Our service to Darkseid must come before our own personal agendas! You know that! Do you truly wish to incur the great Darkseid’s wrath?”
Lashina gave pause for a moment, knowing that it was not wise to tempt her master’s orders. She knew that one did not face down the might of his omega beams and survive. “Very well,” she said reluctantly. Looking down at the bound Angle Man, she said, “I’ll be back for you, sweetcakes! Don’t miss me too much!”
Lashina started for the Boom Tube. Angel and Jonni dived for their weapons. The two women began to open fire on the villainess once more as she was about to reach the Boom Tube’s edge. A few shots hit Lashina’s hand, the one holding the Angler weapon. The item fell to the rooftop and bounced toward the edge and over.
“By the fire pits of Apokolips!” Lashina exclaimed. Before she was completely enveloped by the Boom Tube, she let fly one of her battle lashes.
“No!” Jonny Double cried as he leaped forward. He dived into the path of the oncoming attack, taking the brunt of the blow before it could reach the unprepared Jonni and Angel. Jonny fell to the rooftop hard as the Boom Tube vanished in another sonic clap.