by Martin Maenza
“Does anyone have any further new business?” asked the man in green and orange who stood behind a podium in a large, wood-paneled conference room. The windows of the upper floors of the gleaming tower of glass and steel known as the Loman Building overlooked downtown San Francisco, but the special glass kept the rest of the world from knowing that this was the Sinister Citadel, home of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Mirror Master glanced about the room with an eager eye.
The blond Throttle, dressed in purple, was sitting next to his partner of many years. The brown-haired Blindside dressed in blue was looking down, deep in thought. Across from them, the brown-haired, bearded dwarf named Gizmo, dressed in green fatigues with a hood, sat next to the purple-and-yellow-costumed Trident. Both shook their heads silently no at their leader’s look.
Dressed in a scaly golden bodysuit with a huge headpiece, Copperhead, too, said nothing, his tail swishing impatiently behind his chair. A powerfully built blonde woman named Giganta, dressed in leopard skin prints, was focused on Power Fist. The latter, a well-built black man dressed in a blue shirt and yellow pants, was doing his best to avoid the woman’s lovesick gaze.
Near the head of the table sat the beautiful raven-haired Tattooed Lady, the exposed parts of her body covered in ornate pictures drawn with special inks. Across from her was Chronos, dressed in a green tunic and black-and-white-striped pants with a yellow high-collared cape; he glanced at the wristwatch over his glove impatiently.
Standing near the back were two other people. One was a tall woman with blonde hair pinned up and back. Dressed in a tailored gray skirt-suit with a well-pressed crimson blouse and wearing wire-framed glasses, Dr. Harleen Quinzel looked out of place among the costumed criminals.
Equally out of place, dressed in a tailored green suit with a matching silk tie was a man with brown hair and a well-trimmed brown mustache and beard. It was this latter person who spoke up. “Since you inquired so eloquently,” Funky Flashman began to say in his usual charming voice, “would it be acceptable if I addressed the assembled group?”
A few eyes about the table started to roll. Mirror Master ignored them, nodded, and gestured. “The floor is yours, Flashman.”
The man in the suit strolled forward in a confident manner. “Thank you, O leader,” Funky said in his usual tone that was both praising and yet biting at the same time. “I shant take but a moment before you call this caucus to a close.” He reached the podium and turned to face the group sitting before him. “My felonious friends, it is with some sorrow that I must announce my departure from these hallowed halls.”
There was a bit of a murmur among the group. Mirror Master voiced their comments. “You’re leaving, Flashman?” He tried his best to hide the enthusiasm in his voice.
“Alas, I feel I must,” Funky Flashman said. “For, you see, a financial opportunity has arisen that requires my attention and unique promotional skills.” He held up his gold ring-laden right hand. “Do not despair, my dear desperadoes. My time among you all will not soon be forgotten, nor will my allegiance to the sanctity of this society waver.” And with that dramatic flair, Funky turned and headed for the door.
“I bid you all adieu,” he said with a sweeping gesture, then opened the conference room door and left.
The group was silent for a moment as the door closed securely behind him. Then a cheer erupted among those sitting there.
Dr. Harleen Quinzel watched the reaction with a keen eye.
Dr. Quinzel’s personal files — 0021453:09-19-87:
The reaction of the other criminals upon Flashman’s departure is not too surprising. The obvious mistrust of the con man/huckster seems very well founded, indeed. Often one was never sure where they stood with him. Was his sincerity and interest genuine, or did it mask an ulterior motive? As with most of this group, I would conclude that the latter was the case.
Flashman had a long history with this organization in previous incarnations, accused a number of times of using the group to help further his own financial goals. Perhaps that might be the reason behind his abrupt departure today. Unlike the group in the past, Flashman might have found Mirror Master to be someone not so easily manipulated or swayed.
While I would have enjoyed exploring the inner-workings of the mind of this master manipulator, I fear that will have to be put off for another time. Funky Flashman, however, is hardly the type to disappear into obscurity. No doubt he will surface again very soon, associated with something very public and very splashy. His time in seclusion here the last few months most assuredly was difficult for him at best. It was clearly visible in his body language, despite what his charming words would convey.
When the elevator doors opened in the lobby of the building, Funky Flashman stepped out carrying a small leather briefcase. I’ll have Sammy forward my things on after me, he thought to himself with a smile. No sense being burdened with bursting baggage. For now, I must tend to the business at hand. That rather unique couple I encountered the other night has agreed to meet with me to share the specifies of their stupendous story. And then, I will find a way to market it and them in a manner that will further fund my own coffers!
Still smiling, he crossed the lobby and departed the building through the revolving glass doors.
A blond man sitting on a leather couch lowered his paper enough to peer over it and watched Flashman go. His green eyes danced with fire as he stared at the departing man. Good! the handsome man thought to himself. While I would have enjoyed matching negotiating skills with the likes of him, it is best all the way around that Funky Flashman has removed himself from the picture!
When the meeting broke up, some of the group was milling about, while others took off for the lab.
“So, what’ve you guys got planned?” Power Fist asked as he tried his best to ignore Giganta, who was brushing herself up against his back.
“Thought we might go down to Hodo’s on Briley Street,” Throttle said as he grabbed Blindside’s hand. “It’s one of the more swinging bathhouses in the city. Want to join us?”
“Oh…” Power Fist said as the words sunk in. “No, I don’t think so. There’s a game coming on the tube I wanted to catch.”
“They’ve got T.V.s all over the place down there,” Throttle gushed. “You can relax and still watch your little game.”
“I don’t…” Power Fist started to say.
“Hodo’s?” Blindside asked awkwardly. “Maybe we shouldn’t…”
“What?” Throttle asked. “Why not? We love that place, and it loves us! We used to go there all the time.”
“Oh, I know,” Blindside said, grasping for an excuse. “It’s just, well…”
“I thought hanging here might be OK, too,” Blindside said. “You know, keep our friends company.”
Throttle looked at Blindside curiously. “Really?”
“Yeah, sure,” the man in blue replied.
Throttle shrugged his shoulders. “OK, I guess…”
The group of men walked off with Giganta in tow.
Harleen Quinzel stepped from around the corner and watched them go.
Dr. Quinzel’s personal files — 0009807:08-27-87:
Ricky Greene, alias Blindside, approached me the other day and asked if I, as a licensed physician, could prescribe for him some medication to help him sleep. Naturally, this set off bells in my head that something was preying on the young man’s mind. I suggested that he and I talk first. Said it was part of my standard practices before writing a script. He bought it.
It would appear that Ricky has been troubled of late since seeing an old acquaintance in the hospital. This “friend” named Alex Rose was dying, and Ricky was not handling it very well. Convinced him to sit down with me to discuss the situation. He was very cautious, yet obviously distraught. He needed to talk to someone, and I have that special persuasion that can get most folks to open up.
He kept referring to things along the lines of ‘I have a friend…’ Oldest line in the business, and I wasn’t fooled. His uneasiness is no doubt tied to this dying Alex. Given my observations of Blindside with his “partner” Throttle and a little investigation into the local hospitals, I have a theory: Blindside is afraid that he himself may soon start suffering of symptoms from Human Immuno-deficiency Virus as his friend is.
It should be interesting to see how this affects the dynamics of the couple of Blindside and Throttle, as well as the rest of the organization.