HI!! STOP!! Your eyeballs are about to look at Chapter 2 of my angry-superhero-movie-background-extras debut novel, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, out 6/25/2019 through Parliament House. BUT DON'T READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ CHAPTER 1 YET!! IT WON'T MAKE ANY SENSE!! If you need to check out Chapter 1, or need a refresher, here ya go.
Okay! Are we ready? Is everybody caught up? CHAPTER 2 SNEAK PEEK, LET'S DO IT
It wasn’t always like this, you know.
That’s the weird part. I remember the “before.” I was just a kid, but I remember it.
There was definitely crime. I’d never been to another city long enough to know
whether there was significantly more than anywhere else, but the local government seemed to think so. Every news report contained the words “time of crisis” or “state of emergency,” with the images all dark and grainy. People used to call it “Lawless City” instead of “Lunar City” as a joke, which I never thought was all that creative, but it stuck anyway.
I guess there was kind of a lot, though. Bunch of gangs. Bank robberies. Organized crime syndicates. Normal action-movie stuff.
The police were in over their heads—or so they told us. There was just too much for them to handle alone. I feel like maybe it would have been easier for them to do their jobs if half of them weren’t also part of the crime syndicates themselves, but what do I know?
I’m obviously not a professional member of law enforcement, but I still think a more obvious solution would have been to just fire the corrupt ones and hire better police officers. I mean, clearly they did that too, later, but now we’ll never know whether that would have been enough to stop the crime on its own. Oh, no. They just had to pick the sci-fi route.
I don’t know whose idea it was, exactly, to start turning random citizens into genetically enhanced superhumans, but I would like to meet them someday. I’ve got some bills I’d like to send them.
They called it the Genetically Enhanced SuperVariant Program. Which is, you know, just the absolute dumbest mouthful of a pretentious title in existence, so mostly everyone just calls the Genetically Enhanced SuperVariants, “Supers.”
It sounds fun, right? Flashy. Cool. Like a comic book come to life.
And when they first arrived, that’s exactly how it played out. Like a comic book. Building on fire, blah, blah, blah.
Freaky man in a mask flying in from out of nowhere and saving everyone, yada,
Heroic and clichéd things were said, photos were taken, and the original
SuperVariant was introduced to the city. Everyone lost their minds. Twelve years later, they’re still losing them, especially now that there are four heroes instead of just one. That’s three more signed-poster options.
Okay, I’ll give credit where it’s due. The organized crime syndicates did dissipate after the Supers showed up. Most of the petty criminals got scared into hiding. The police are less corrupt (although again, I’m pretty sure that’s just because of the staff changes). Fine. Bring out the confetti cannons. But all it really did was leave a gaping hole of potential disaster that was filled by weirdos with homemade genetic enhancements trying to take over the city, wielding bizarre weapons with physics-defying abilities and building nonsense like the cartoonishly large robot currently ransacking the street behind me. See? The crime isn’t really gone. It’s just weirder, and more theatrical.
Great job, Lunar City.
Do I sound cynical? I don’t mean to be. It can just get a little trying when I have to leave my apartment every day wondering if I’m going to be the kind of background extra who runs away screaming from the wreckage or the kind who dies trapped under it.