“Kibbles-n-Bits,” he muttered. Knowing the importance of a tough, crusty persona, he had been working on his swear word vocabulary and recently signed up for a profanity correspondence course. After only two lessons he was at the top of his class.
He entered the elevator and ran up the stairs to his office. It was a luxurious suite in a converted janitor’s closet. It perched on the twenty-fifth floor basement of Nanner Plaza, the tallest building in Berg, and from its lofty vantage point he could gaze out over the sleepy little town. This made it easier to keep an eye out for crime, which was often wide awake.
Nanner Plaza was almost deserted, most other employees having gone home for the day. But crime never took a holiday. Night—night was when Paul the Crimefighter’s best work was done. But that would have to wait. At present he had crime to fight, because somewhere, at this very moment, a misdeed was being perpetrated. It was time to change into his crimefighting garb and dismantle some evil!
A scream tore through the still night air, startling Paul and causing him to drop the pair of tights he held. He turned to see his lovely secretary standing in the doorway.
“Miss Prim! I thought you’d gone home. Please accept my apologies. This is simply inexcusable.”
“I should say so,” she mewed. “The copy machine is out of toner again. How many times do I have to tell you?”
“So change the cartridge.”
“Silly hero. You know I’m not strong enough to replace it all by my little, helpless, soft, curvaceous, and oh-so-willing self. Could you lend me one of your strong, manly arms? Perhaps the one that ripples to and fro?”
“I’m sorry, love, but I need them both for my civil duties. I have a feeling there are powerful forces at work tonight.”
“But how am I supposed to make those copies you asked for? Jerry wants his magazines back by tomorrow so he can bury them again before his wife…”
Paul the Crimefighter waved her into silence. “Fine! You may use one of the Strong, Manly Arms from the supply closet. Just be sure to fill out a requisition form. Leaving my name out of it, of course.”
He finished dressing, then turned and made for the nearest window. “Later, my love! I shall flog some crime and be back before the sun rises. Save me some grits!” He opened the window and perched on the sill.
“Wait!” Miss Prim ran forward. “Your cape!”
Paul the Crimefighter paled. Yet another close brush with disaster. Had he left his perch without first unfurling his cape, well…it would not have been one of the finer moments in his long record of public service.
He squinted, tensed, and grunted mightily. With a pop and loud rustling, a billowing cloud of fabric erupted from his neck. The legendary cape was now in place.
Standing upright on the window sill, Paul the Crimefighter looked out over Berg as lights blinked out across the town. Citizens were turning in for the night, secure in the knowledge that their hero would protect them from evil.
Lifting his arms to the sky, Paul hooted at the rising moon and slowly bent his knees. Then, with a mighty lunge, he leaped forward and ran down the fire escape, his cape fluttering heroically.
The street was quiet when Paul dropped softly onto it. The dumpster, however, offered a few sarcastic remarks, none worthy of our hero’s time or wit.
Paul crouched on the cool pavement and hooted again. He listened. Was that an answering hoot he heard in the distance?
...to be continued.