Tuesday, April 26, 2011

9/365 Playlist Story -- inspired by Yadnus by !!!

"Halt!" bellowed Cobraman, huffing. He was chasing a man named Jacob Healy, a young ruffian in blue jeans and a black jacket, and Jacob held in is arm the bejeweled City Sceptre, the most valuable object in all of Cityville. Jacob turned a corner and ran down an alley. It opened up and on one side there was vacant lot fenced with chain-link. Jacob splashed lithely through the puddles of muddy rain water, his free hand pressing against the fence with every other step, making a tinny rhythm. As Cobraman turned the corner into the alleyway he slipped in the mud and slid onto his back, covering his green and yellow uniform in a wash of dirt and old cigarette butts; his green plastic helmut cracked as his head hit the uneven asphalt. Jacob paused, looked back, and laughed, before grabbing the top rail of the fence, vaulted over and landed in the overgrown grass with the grace of an underage Olympic gymnast on performance enhancing drugs.

Cobraman groaned and got up unsteadily. He wanted badly to wring out his soaking cape (it was so less photogenic when it clung to his back instead of fluttering out behind him), but he gave chase once more. He rain up to the fence and tried to scale it, but after three failed attempts he stood a few paces back, held up his arms, and turned on his entropic destructor beams. He aimed his arms so that the beams crossed precisely at the fence. In a second the chain-link wire was unraveling itself into the air and peeling back to the sides, forming a hole a few feet wide and tall. He quickly ducked through, but his cape caught on the loose wire. He pulled and it torn, and Cobraman swore under his breath, while looking to see if there were any stray school children about (there were none).

Jacob was already at the other side of the grass lot and headed for a parking lot with a patch of cars. He looked back briefly then started to weave through the cars.

"Stop! Or you will face dire consequences!" yelled Cobraman.

"I don't think so!" taunted Jacob.

"Damnit!" hissed Cobraman, He stopped and aimed his arms at the cars, and turned on the beams. He was running but still a fair distance away from Jacob so he dialed up the power to it's highest setting (eleven). The force of the beams slowed him down, and his arms vibrated with the intense pressure. The beams landed all over the place--cars were unmaking themselves, lug nuts unscrewed themselves and flew towards Cobraman. Tires popped and melted into pools of unrefined rubber. Windows and windshields popped out whole, and paint peeled up in a dust of microscopic droplets before dropping to the ground. Metal doors and panels peeled away and formed flat sheets of steel that clattered to the ground.

"I'm still here!" yelled Jacob from behind a flurry of paint. Cobraman roared in disgust, turned off the beams and ran as fast as he could toward the sound of the voice. He leapt over a partially deconstructed car and slipped again, in a pool of crude oil that had just escaped the confines of a former gas tank. His whole left side was covered in the gunky dark brown sludge. Jacob peered at him from behind the hood of a still-intact SUV.

"Do you need some help there?" he asked.

"Arrrgh!" said Cobraman, inarticulately, through gritted teeth.

"I guess not." Jacob disappeared, his footfalls heading towards another alleyway. Cobraman picked himself up and followed. Jacob was walking slowly, looking back at Cobraman. He waved the City Sceptre, then lurched into the alley. Cobraman ran after him. In the alley, Jacob was bent over tying a shoe. Cobraman grabbed him by neck and slammed him into a brick wall. The sceptre clattered to the ground as Jacob, choking flailed his arms and legs.

"I've got you now!" said Cobraman triumphantly. "You shall not escape justice!" Cobraman pressed in, his mask inches from Jacob's face, and he said, "and I assure you, I will see personally--" Jacob punched him in the jaw, then again in the eye, under the brow the mask. Shocked, Cobraman released his grip and staggered backward. Jacob dropped to the ground and clutched his throat.

"Jeez man," Jacob coughed, "you're laying the act on a little thick!" He scrambled and picked up the sceptre and ran to the other end of the alley and into a crowd gathered for Cityville's Founders Day parade.

"You can't hit me!" screamed Cobraman after him.

Cobraman raised up his arms, roared in rage, and turned the beam against the buildings on his left and right. Bricks unlocked themselves from mortar and rained down in a hail mud. The mortar turned to wet goop and spattered down after. Parts of the buildings' interiors were exposed, and from the second story of one of the buildings a man sitting on a toilet exclaimed "Hey!" and covered himself with a newspaper. The back of the crowd turned to see what was going on and several people screamed in fright.

He turned off the beams and ran assuredly towards the crowd. It parted, exposing a passing parade float. Miss Cityville of that current year rode atop it, waving and dancing in place. Dancing at her side was Jacob. He raised the sceptre into the air and twirled it antagonistically. Cobraman roared again and clenched his fists in the air. Jacob dipped Miss Cityville and kissed her passionately. Cobraman aimed his beams at the float, first cutting across many members of the crowd who unaged to varying degrees. Most of them screamed and clutched their faces since the pain of this process, applied to a living being, was excruciating. Their clothes came unsewn and unraveled into piles of thread at their feet.

Jacob jumped off the float and headed down another alley on the opposite side. When the beams hit the float a flurry of tissue paper flowers unglued themselves, flew up in the air, unfolded, and formed sheet of paper that lazily descended into the crowd. The plywood underneath unscrewed itself, the laminate layers unglued, and the sheets disintegrated into sawdust. The car underneath peeled itself into metal sheets and the float came to a stop. The beams hit Miss Cityville as well. She ungrew by a foot, her long hair retreated into her head until she was bald and she tried to cover her nakedness with her satin sash, which miraculously, had been spared. Cobraman turned off the beams and clambered over the wreck.

"Damn you Cobraman!" Miss Cityville shook her fist at him as he passed. The rest of the crowd jeered at him, but too afraid of his entropic destructor beams, they gave him plenty of space.

When Cobraman reached the next alley, Jacob was nowhere in sight. He walked cautiously down the alley, and checked a dumpster to see if Jacob was hiding within. At the end of the alley and turned to see Jacob talking to an older man next to one of the back doors to City Hall. Jacob handed the sceptre to the man and the man passed an envelope back to Jacob. Jacob stepped back, and Cobraman saw the face of the older man. It was the mayor. Cobraman could not believe his eyes. His idol, his ally, his friend from kindergarten was somehow involved in this nefarious caper.

"Mayor!" yelled out Cobraman. "What are you doing?" he walked towards the pair, perplexed.

"Ugh," said the mayor, glancing at Jacob, "haha, well, this is embarrassing."

"What in the name of Cityville is going on here?"

"This isn't what it looks like," said the Mayor sheepishly.

"I don't know what this looks like, Mayor. You tell me," said Cobraman, stopping a few feet from the pair, and placing his hands on his hips.

"Oh just tell him, will ya?" said Jacob to the Mayor. "This is getting beyond ridi--"

"Silence!!" bellowed Cobraman.

"Look Danny, take it down a notch, okay!" said the Mayor. Cobraman's mouth went agape, and he looked hurt.

"How dare you!"

"What? No. Calm down--"

"How dare you reveal my identity!" screamed Cobraman.

"Dude!" said Jacob, "Everyone knows who you are!"

"That's not the point," said Cobraman quickly. "We had a covenant." Cobraman's voice deepened. "And you just broke it."

"Ah jeez--" Cobraman pointed his arms at the Mayor. The Mayor lifted up the sceptre to shield his face, and the beams exploded it--the jewels popped out, uncut themselves and burrowed their way into the ground. The platinum cladding unattached itself from the steel core and formed a haze of metal atoms in a cloud of crackling electricity. The mayor screamed in pain from the shocks and dropped the core to the ground where it soon reformed itself into a simple molten rod that glowed orange.

The beams turned off momentarily to recycle, and Jacob took the opportunity to kick Cobraman solidly in the groin. Cobraman fell over and curled up intoa ball, whimpering. The Mayor and Jacob each took hold of one of Cobraman's arms and ripped off the entropic destructor beam cuffs. Jacob punched Cobraman in the face again to make sure he was immobilized.

"Why?!" whined Cobraman.

"I didn't want to end this way," said the Mayor.

"End?" asked Cobraman, tears welling up in his eyes. "What do you mean?"

"Danny, I don't know how to say this," the mayor sighed, "but you're an absolutely abysmal superhero. We staged the theft of the sceptre, which is a fake, so that you would cause just enough mayhem that the public would turn against you."

"But I've fought so much crime and injustice!"

"There's not enough crime in this town for the police to fight! We've been rated one of the most livable cities in the nation for the past decade!"

"But I've helped those who cannot be helped--"

"The most you've ever done is ungrow a tree to a sapling to free a kitten. And it was a cat that went up the tree!"

"I still saved it's life!"

"The little girl who owned it burst into tears. The family made the city pay for her therapy sessions." The Mayor laid his hand on Cobraman's shoulder. He leaned in and put on his most pseudo-empathic, campaign trail face. "Danny, most of the time you just strut around town in your costume. It's time to put it away."

"But we're a team!"

"No, we're not Danny. I-I made a mistake letting you think that for so long. I'm sorry."

Cobraman pulled his knees up to his chest and sobbed raggedly.

"That's just sad," said Jacob.

"I can't believe you're doing this to me," said Cobraman. "What will I do if I can't be Cobraman?"

"Dude," said Jacob, "You invented these cuffs. How, I have no idea, but you could make millions from this technology. Why don't you just be an inventor?"

"But I did it so I could help people!"

"Yeah," said Jacob, "but you could apply this in some more practical way. I mean, you could use it to clear landmines in a war zone or something. Just strafe the ground and they would pop up and unassemble themselves harmlessly."

"Yes! Exactly," affirmed the Mayor. "You would genuinely be saving lives and righting wrongs."

Cobraman furrowed his brows.

"Come on, what do you say?" asked the Mayor, nudging Cobraman's shoulder.

"Well I don't know. Would I still be able to wear the uniform?" he said. The Mayor and Jacob looked at each other in surprise and exasperation.

"Yeah, I guess you could wear the suit," said Jacob. Cobraman slowly nodded his head.

"Yeah, okay. I'll do it!" he awkwardly got up, and the Mayor shook his hand.

"Fantastic!" said the Mayor. "Let's go inside and figure out the details." He opened the door and motioned Cobraman through. "Thank you Jacob."

"My uh, pleasure sir," said Jacob.

"Was Miss Cityville really naked?" asked the Mayor. Jacob nodded. "Huh. I guess I can't count on her vote in the next election."


The official music video for the song

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