by Martin Maenza
In a rundown apartment, a man sat on an old beat-up couch watching the hockey playoffs on a large color television. That appliance was probably the nicest thing in the place; he had stolen the TV a few weeks back. “C’mon, c’mon!” he yelled at the images on the screen. “Let’s see some hustle! Take advantage of the penalty clock!”
The phone on the wall rang with a loud buzz. He glanced at it menacingly, considering the option of letting it just ring. But the sound was disturbing his enjoyment of the game. Besides, the call might be important. Very few people had his number.
He rushed to the phone and caught it on the fifth ring. “Yeah, hello?”
“Len, it’s me,” the voice on the other end said. It was female, and one Len Snart knew awfully well. It was his sister.
“Lisa? Why you calling me? You about ready to give up on that whole reformed villain program?”
There was a pause. “Len, you know I feel like I’ve found a purpose with Captain Comet and his group. I wish you could accept that. Maybe you might want to give it another try.”
“It’ll be a cold day in hell,” Len Snart replied, “before Captain Cold goes straight! Besides, what would I do if I didn’t commit crimes? Open an ice rink with you? No, thanks!”
“Look, Len,” she said, “I didn’t call you to fight, or even talk about this.”
“Well, then, stop spinning your wheels and tell me what you want! I’m missing part of the third period!”
“Fine!” Lisa said with a bit of an irate tone. “Let me get right to it! You been near Metropolis recently, like in the last day or so?”
“No way!” Len said. “Ever since I busted out of jail a few months back, I’ve been laying low while I plot my next big thing! The last thing I’d want to do is hit that city! Everyone knows if you mess around in Metropolis, Superman will have you back in cold storage faster than you can say ‘Mxyzptlk’!”
“Hmmm,” Lisa said.
“What ‘hmmm’? What’s this all about, Lisa?”
“Its just a news story on the wire I read earlier,” she explained. “The reason I called, in fact. Turns out someone dressed like you, sporting a cold weapon like yours, attacked a couple of armed guards in Metropolis yesterday. This other Captain Cold took off with their prisoner, the criminal formerly known as Mirror-Man.”
“You’ve worked with him. (*) He’s the guy that took over Sam Scudder’s Mirror Master name and costume.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Beginning of the End.]
“You mean that faker?” Len Snart asked. “Serves him right!” Suddenly, it started to sink in, and his face grew flushed. “Wait a second! First, a phony passing himself off as Scudder, and now he’s got an ally passing himself off as me!” He slammed his fist hard against the wall, punching a hole in the already crumbling plaster. “If I get my hands on either of those two, I’ll bury them in a glacier of ice so thick it’ll take years to thaw!”
“I didn’t mean to upset you, Len,” Lisa said. “I just thought I’d make sure it wasn’t you.”
“No, it wasn’t me!” Len Snart said. “But I’ll be on the lookout for those two! And I’ll alert the other Rogues, too! Sounds to me like someone thinks they can cash in on all our reputations! Well, they’ve got another think coming!”
Len finished the conversation with his sister and hung up the phone. He tried to get back into the hockey game, but thoughts of the phone conversation kept him from enjoying it. He switched off the screen, allowing the VCR to finish recording the game. He’d get back to it later when he was in a better mood.
Grabbing a beer from the refrigerator and a frosty mug from the freezer, he poured himself a cold one, then sat down on the couch to drink it in peace.
Damn, he thought, why’d things have to go and change?