Steven Salt has decided to leave his super life behind him.
|Leaning on my hand, I stare vacantly out the windows of the coffee shop. It had been about a month since I quit being a super villain and started to live life like a normal man. It was a cool gig, but I was never good at it. Quitting hasn’t been a walk in the park either. When you’re on the news for being the worst villain or when you have a serious looking burn scar over a part of your face, it’s kind of hard finding a job. Don't get me wrong, I look super cool with my scar. Really toughens me up. It's just hard to explain that I got the scar from my life as a super villain.
Thankfully, Mr. Crown was kind enough to give me a job at his small little coffee shop. It’s a quaint little café with filled bookshelves, nifty little Knick knacks and other simple atmospheric things for his customers. The floor was a warm hard wood and the walls a nice mix of light and dark grey. Despite being an ex-super villain, I had to admit, the vibe was calming and nice. I check my watch and notice that lunch was about to start. I comb back my hair and wait for one of the regulars. I turn to get some coffee running but stop as the sound of the shop keeper’s bell begins to ring.
“Welcome to Crown’s coffee shop!” I greet as I turn to face the customer. Who I see causes a gut retching pain to begin in my stomach. It was the super hero that had kicked my ass countless times, Jared Masterson! I take a deep breath and force a smile. “How can I serve you today?” Jared turns to me and frowns viciously. I knew frown. That was the frown he made before he slammed me. Before I had a chance to react, Jared pulls me out from behind the counter and slams me, right on schedule. The slam made some of the bookshelves wobble and a few of the trinkets to fall off their display. Mr. Crown came out of his office to find me on the floor and Jared on top of me with his goofy looking smile.
“Greetings, citizen! I, Captain Masterson, found this dastardly villain masquerading as a worker in an attempt to steal from your establishment!” He shouts in his annoying “super hero” voice. Mr. Crown rubs his temples lightly before taking a deep breath.
“Captain Masterson, that’s not a villain… that’s my employee. Now, I’m going to ask you kindly to release my employee before I call the authorities.” He says in a cool and calm manner. Jared frowns before releasing me. I lift myself off the floor and take a moment to dust myself off and check for any injuries. It was technically impossible for me to get hurt due to a super serum I tested during my time as a villain, but I wasn’t sure if it would wear off or not. I motion to Mr. Crown that I was fine and he heads back into his office. I look outside and sure enough, there were people watching. I hated this. Now days everyone has a camera and posts pictures of me being a failure on social media. #worstvillainintheworld #whyeventry. It was such a shit feeling, was one of the reasons why I turned in the death ray. I walk back behind the counter and comb my hair back.
“Let’s try this again. Welcome to Crown’s coffee shop. How can I serve you today?” I say clearing my throat. Jared walks over to the counter and scans the menu.
“I’ll take a large coffee, six sugars, some cream, hold the poison.”
I groan, “Will that be for here or to go?”
“To go, I’ve got lives to save. But it’s not like it matters to you.” I sigh and start making his order as other customers begin to enter the building. I walk back with his order and start ringing him up. While I’m pushing the buttons on the register, Jared begins to examine the coffee with his x-ray vision.
“Is there a problem, Captain Masterson?” one of the other customers asks as she taps on his enormous muscles.
“As a matter of fact, there is! It appears our villain is still awful at following directions. I told him to hold the poison.”
“Dude, seriously? I just made it in front of you! The coffee’s fresh too!” I point out. He takes off the lit and takes a large sniff before throwing his drink onto my shirt. A portion of the crowd begins to laugh and cheer while the other half just stare at me and Jared. “Are you kidding me?! What the hell is your problem?!” I shout as coffee begins to stain my shirt. Mr. Crown runs back out his office and assesses the situation. Without a second thought, he pulls out his phone and begins to call someone. Within minutes an entire swat team arrives and walks into the building.
“We got a report of a villain in the area?”
“He’s right there,” Mr. Crown says pointing to Jared. The cops roll their eyes and lock their gaze onto me. I knew the drill. I sigh and place my hands behind my head and get to my knees. “Wait, what are you doing?!” he shouts as they place me in handcuffs. They shove me into a paddy wagon and I begin my trek to St. Johns maximum security prison. Once a villain, always a villain.
It was around six when someone came to post my bail. It was weird to be leaving prison legally vs escaping with my former partners. To my surprise, it was Mr. Crown.
“I want to apologize for- “
“Don’t apologize. I’m used to it by now. Honestly, I should be thanking you for bailing me out. Listen Mr. Crown, now that J- I mean Captain Masterson knows I work at your coffee shop, he’ll be back to take me back to prison, so if you want me to resign or fire me, I completely understand.” Crown shakes his head and smiles.
“Why would I want my best employee to leave? Don’t worry about Captain Masterson, just come to work like usual and if he wants to cause trouble, I’ll make sure they arrest the right villain.” Mr. Crown says with a smile. I say my goodbyes and begin making my way back to my studio apartment. While walking home, I pick up some take out and a movie. I knew Jared was following me, but I didn’t want to give him a reason to beat me up again. I activate one of my old fake distress signals and Jared quickly rushes off.
Opening the door to my apartment, it became very apparent on how empty it was without all my lab equipment and “weapons”. I had a day off tomorrow and had a few extra dollars left from the villain’s union. I scribble a to-do list and place my take out in front of the television. I feed Lieutenant Whiskers, my bangle cat, and take a seat on the couch. About half way through the movie I get a text from one of my old cell mates.
Lieutenant Cold- check the news! Also, grabbing a beer with the guys this Wednesday, you in??
I sigh. I know it’s going to be slander. I just know it. I pull out my laptop and go to Planet News. But much to my surprise the slander wasn’t directed at me. It was at Jared!
Credible sources say that hero, Captain Masterson, was seen at a local coffee shop assaulting and harassing former villain, Steven Salt. One eye witness reported that Salt was simply doing his duties as a barista when he was assaulted.
This was nuts! I scroll down the comment and much to my dismay, a few of them were in support of me. I mean the rest of them was crap but there a few who were supporting me. I close my laptop and smile as I return to my movie.
Rising to the sound of alarm clock, I click on the TV as I run through my morning. With the news playing in the background, I begin making breakfast when I hear it.
“In other news, world hero, Captain Masterson, is being placed under scrutiny online after his foul display at a local coffee shop.” Michael Rain begins, “Your thoughts Helen?”
“It’s hard to believe honestly, Mr. Steven Salt is trying to turn a new leaf and his past is still haunting him? I’m just disgusted with Captain Masterson’s display, hopefully he’ll learn the errors of his ways and apologizes to poor Mr. Salt.” This was even more insane. Helen Westly, Jared’s “girl”, the girl I’d kidnap to lure Jared out was supporting me!
“How crazy… but it’s not Mister… It’s Doctor!” I shout as I cook my eggs.
I get dressed, pet Lieutenant Whiskers, and begin my trip into the heart of Metro City. Metro City is what you would expect of a super hero/ super villain city. It’s an ordinary city per say, but there’s more super fights than your Iron City or Starlight City. There are a good number of super heroes here in Metro City but the main one that’s always in the news is Jared. Metro was a regular city but with a few extra upgrades. A lot of the newer buildings are made of this crazy concreate that’s damn near impossible to destroy. When the heroes do, the city employs a team I always called the Clean Up Crew to fix it. Which is fine, but as a new law-abiding citizen, that meant that would be coming out of my taxes.
Walking into one of the furniture stores, I begin to scan at some of the furniture sets when it dawns on me that I never even bothered to measure what would fit in the apartment. How could I be so stupid? I pull out my phone and turn on the cameras I have set up. Using the only real super power I have; I begin to do the math and measurements in my head while I measure some of the furniture in the store. By power, I mean I’m really good with numbers and math and stuff. But in actuality, I have a super computer that was downloaded into my brain. I can do complex calculations, remember almost anything, an intense version of augmented reality and HUD. Having a super computer brain has kind of made me lazy, I’m not a moron, I got my medical license when I was eighteen, and that was before I downloaded the super computer. But having this super computer has made my life easier hence why I’ve become lazy.
If you could see what I see, it would look like an augmented reality with numbers and formulas whizzing around.
I find a few things and start getting a better look at them when I feel the all too familiar stare. I turn around to find the store owner holding a bat in his hand, screaming at me in Chinese.
“Get out of store! Do it now!” He shouts poking my chest with the bat.
“Are you kidding?! I’m not even doing anything!” I protest slapping the bat away. He swings the bat and misses, hitting one of the arm chairs I was looking at. “I was going to buy that!”
“Oh no you weren’t, you were going to steal like newspaper say!” He preps for another swing but stops as a woman steps in front of me. I run my eyes from top to bottom. Long luscious black hair, navy blue blazer and skirt and black high heels. I know exactly who this was.
"Oh, what's this? Do I hear the sound of harsh treatment? This is just the scoop I was looking for.” She begins pulling out a tape recorder. “Can you tell me why you don’t want an ex-villain in your store?” She turns to me, “What are you here to do Mr. Salt?” I was taken aback for a minute and take in a deep breath.
“I came in here to get some furniture for my apartment.” She turns to the owner and shakes her head.
“How well is your business doing sir?”
“W-what? Well… I could be doing better” He says lowering the bat.
“So why are you trying to scare away your only customer?” The man puts the bat on the floor and walks over to me.
“I am sorry, please do accept my sincerest apology.” He says sticking out his hand. I shake it with an obvious confused look on my face. The man walks away from me, sits down behind the counter and starts reading one of the Planet News newspaper. I shake my head and turn my attention to Helen.
“Ms. Helen… Oh and its Doctor.” I correct. We take a moment and stare at each other before I return to my browsing.
She scoffs and turns me back around, “aren’t you going to say thank you?”
“Oh sorry. Thanks, I guess. It’s not like it would have mattered, I don’t think I can get hurt. Come to think of it, what are you even doing in here?”
“Well… I saw you walk inside and wanted to get a statement on the whole Masterson ordeal.” She explains point the recorder to me.
“You’re nuts.” I say returning to my browsing. She pouts and puts the recorder back into her purse.
“Can I at least get your reasoning for giving up on being a villain? I mean I get you were mediocre but there has to be more to it, right?” I frown and I could feel the ice in my veins start to pump again. I take a few deep breaths, turn to her, and stare directly into her eyes.
“When you are considered the worst at what you do, after a while, it gets to you.”
“That sounds pathetic.” She was really making it hard for me not to blow up.
“Listen, I think it’s about time you leave.” I stiffly say. She finally took the hint and takes my hand.
“Aw geez, I messed up! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to make you mad.” I yank my hand away and say nothing. “Please! I’m sorry!” Not an inch. She sighs, begins to walk, looks back to me, and finally leaves. I take a seat on the nearly broken arm chair and put my head in my hands. This was so frustrating. I don’t even know why I bothered staying in this city. This place is nothing but bad memories. I take a moment to wipe the tears from my eyes. This was so pathetic, I was a grown man crying in a furniture store. I felt like a child. Eventually, I get up and start picking out some of the furniture I want for my apartment. After a brief transaction, the Chinese owner looks to me.
“Hey, mister. I want to apologize for my behavior. I did not mean to offend you in any way.” I smile and shake my head.
“Its fine. No harm, no foul.” I say as some of the man’s workers starts loading my stuff into the moving truck. I take a deep breath and start making my way back home.
“Finally finished.” I say breathing a sigh of relief. It had taken a while to find the right way to set up my furniture, but it was finally over and I could finally relax.
I flop on the couch and start looking at the basket resting by the coffee table. It was a well-kept secret as to what’s in here, especially to Jared. I had it lined with lead to keep his X-ray vision away. I take of the lid and pull out my knitting material. It had been a while since I last made something but this was the only real thing that made me relax. I grab the softest yarn I had and start knitting a blanket. I click on the TV and start watching the news. Much to my surprise, Helen wasn’t there. That was odd. She usually did the ten o’clock news. I shrug and return to my knitting. Lieutenant Whiskers lays on the newly placed arm chair and starts to purr. This is what I was looking for. A nice peaceful evening. If I could have more nights like these, then maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. About half way through my project, I hear a soft knock at the door. “Coming!” I say tucking my material into the cracks of my couch. I open the door to find Helen smiling at me. I slam the door almost instantly.
“Come on! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I was just thinking out loud.”
“Helen, go away. I have nothing to say to you.” I say sitting back down on the couch. She starts to knock a bit harder before the door eventually swings open. My jaw drops to the floor as she meekly walks in with a set of lock picks in her hand. “Are you kidding me you broke into my house?!” She gets on her hands and knees and takes a deep breath.
“Steven, I am deeply and truthfully sorry for what I said to you. I didn’t mean to offend you. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.” I take a moment to collect myself before walking over to her.
“Get up” I mumble sticking out my hand. She takes it and rises slowly. “Listen, I forgive you but what you said did kind of hurt. I’m tired of being the bad guy. I just want to live life.” She smiles and extends her arms out for a hug.
“Forgiveness hug?” I shake my head and cross my arms.
“You’re twenty-two, act like it.” She frowns and takes a seat on my couch. Crap! “Hey! Would you look at the time! I think its time you beat it!” I say trying my hardest to kick her out.
“Hold on a minute, I wanted to give you something. I was just going to give you my card but that doesn’t sound right. We’re not colleagues, we’re friends…” Fuck. She found them. She pulls out my needles and yarn and begins to giggle. “Well, well… what do we have here” Helen turns to me. I rush over and yank my stuff out her hand, placing it back in the basket. I could feel the redness in my cheeks. This sucks, now someone knows… and it’s a noisy, talkative reporter at that.
“Alright, I think it’s about time you hit the road. I’ve got work tomorrow.” I say ushering her out. She smiles and turn to me, handing a piece of
“If you say so, but here’s my number if you wanna hang or something. Later!” She says walking off towards the elevator. I close the door and collapse on the couch. Jeez, what a pest. I get ready for bed and quickly fall in slumber.