All posts by Jim Zoetewey

Motor City Intern Part 17

I laughed, “Right.”

Then I pointed at his costume, “How in the world are you still clean?”

He shrugged, “Magic? The costume, sword, and mask all appear out of nowhere when I want them. They might as well be impossible to get dirty too.”

I couldn’t argue with that. Unsure if I could trust the universe to give us a break, I took a 360 degree look around myself. Nothing appeared to be moving around us or even in the air. If flying taught me anything, it taught me to think about the world in three dimensions.\

As a precaution, that turned out to be a good idea, but not one that turned up anything in that moment. There wasn’t anything in the air.

Mateo’s hat disappeared as he walked over to his motorcycle and pulled on his helmet. “We’re going to have to call in the action we’ve had so far. We’ve been in two fights already. With no backup to speak of, I think he’s going to want us out of the field.”

Torn between pointing out that we could have backup any time we wanted it and knowing that Mateo already knew my thoughts on that, I opted to nod.

Taking in my response or lack of one, he smiled, “I’m including you in this call because he might have questions for both of us.”

I didn’t want to argue about this with Working Man either, but I nodded anyway.

Mateo said, “Connect V4 and I to Working Man,” and the helmet did exactly as asked, giving me a brief moment of satisfaction as something I worked on did what it was supposed to do.

“Working Man, here. What do you have?” The helmet’s map placed him in Detroit Unity’s base downtown.

Mateo glanced over at me and started talking, “We’ve been in two fights already, neither of them hard. An employee of the marketing firm in Farmington had been turned. We entered into the building with a member of the local police force who hoped to save her. After our statements were taken and the police left, we were attacked by vampiric watermelons outside the house. We beat them.”

Working Man didn’t usually have his camera on and so we couldn’t see his face as Mateo spoke, but Working Man did pause before answering, “Did you say vampiric watermelon?”

Mateo and I shared a look as Mateo said, “Yes.”

“Damn. Every time I think I’ve seen everything in this job, I get proved wrong. Alright. You’ve been attacked twice and there are two different kinds of vampires. You should probably get back to base because in about an hour, nobody will be able to help you out if you’re in a jam. But before you head back to base see if you can’t pick up another lead. Don’t follow it to the end, but see if there’s any sign that other vampires are out there. I haven’t fought them a lot, but something about this feels wrong. If there are two kinds of vampires out there, there might be more. Something bigger is happening and the two of you are better equipped to figure it out than I am. See what you can do.”

Giving a nod that he had to know Working Man couldn’t see, Mateo said, “Right now our best shot is to circle the area looking for hints of undeath.”

“That’s a good beginning. Try it and report back, but don’t be surprised if I don’t answer. We’re going in in the next thirty minutes.”

“We’ll do that,” Mateo turned his head toward the street, probably thinking about the route we might take.

Working Man said, “Good, but don’t take too long about it. It’s getting dark and soon they’ll have the advantage.”

Then the connection closed.

I looked over at Mateo, “I thought he’d order us back to the base immediately.”

Mateo got on his bike and started it. “He basically did, but he knows that even magic trails get cold. Let’s go around the block and see what we can see.”

I slid onto my bike, started it, and followed Mateo out of the church parking lot when another thought came to mind. “What do you think the chances are that someone saw us driving away from a pile of burned and splattered watermelons, but didn’t see the fight?”

“What you mean,” Mateo said over his Harley’s engine, “is do you think we’re about to be framed for fruit vandalism?”

“More or less,” I turned on my bike’s sensors. They were the same type as I’d used in my helmet’s composite vision, but they had a longer range and better resolution.

“I wouldn’t worry about it. Sure, that would look bad, but we’ve got our own footage, right?”

“Sure,” I said, “but if someone gets the inaccurate version out first—”

Mateo interrupted me, “Can you look up above the houses to our right? There’s something up there.”

I zoomed in on it. It was a human head held up in the air by its flapping ears.  There was no body in sight. It had long canines, but aside from that, the lack of a body, and the ear flapping, it looked like a normal forty-something white guy.

Motor City Intern: Part 16

On my right, Mateo pulled out his sword while I considered my options. When Working Man told me I couldn’t be the Rocket on this team, I’d put most of my work into my motorcycle and only a little into my costume.

On a practical level, that didn’t leave me with much beyond strength to work with. I’d worked up a paralysis gun, but I doubted that vampiric watermelons would have a similar enough nervous system and brain to be affected by it. Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 16

Motor City Intern: Part 15

Mateo looked over at me, “Let’s walk through the neighborhood around here and see if I get any hints of where they went.”

He waved toward the church parking lot. It ran down the side of the church and around the back, taking up the middle of this block. If the vampires had gone anywhere close, we’d be able to see the backyard of every house or business on the block. That might be enough to pick up a sign.

He gave Officer White a smile, “We’re going to take a walk. We’ll be back before you know it, but if you need us, just follow the parking lot and look around the edges.” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 15

Motor City Intern: Part 14

Mateo shook his head, “I don’t know. At the rate that a vampire infestation can grow from what I’ve read, you probably should, but, they choose not to grow at that rate most of the time. They’re not stupid. They know that if they grow too much, they’ll be destroyed. Their best bet is to stay in the shadows.”

Officer White nodded, “I’m looking for a recommendation to pass up the chain. What do you think we should do?” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 14

Motor City Intern: Part 13

The thing that I assumed had been Paula Hart, secretary of Downtown Marketing looked over all of us, stopping at Officer White—who held the cross out in front of it.

“I don’t recall asking for the law for help. I don’t recall calling in the Motor City Heroes either.”

the vampire took a step back from Officer White, staring at the cross, “Now that’s just  unfriendly.” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 13

Motor City Intern: Part 12

He turned back to Officer White, “I think we’re going to have to go in. Are you going to have to stop us?”

Her lips twitched, hinting at a smile, “No, because there’s a person who may be in danger, and because I got permission from the owner.”

A thought struck me. “How are we planning to get in? I don’t think we should wait for him to open the door. And while we could break it down, I can probably unlock the door. Um… Unless that would be illegal.” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 12

Motor City Intern: Part 10

With that, the meeting was over—mostly anyway. It’s not as we jumped up from our seats and ran to our bikes. As Mateo stood up, he asked, “Is our highest priority finding them for now? I’m asking because there’s going to be a wait before Athletica, you, or V8 can get here if we press the panic button.

“You know as well as I do that sometimes the situation will move too quickly for us to locate them and bring in help. We’ll have to save someone immediately or they’re done for. Do you want me to call Unity in if we need backup?” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 10

Motor City Intern: Part 9

Mateo half sat on the table behind him. “Do you have a plan for using a holy igloo?”

I shook my head. “That was more of an illustration. A better use of that much holy water might be trapping a vampire in a house covered with holy ice. In the winter, it might hold them for a while. Mixing holy water into concrete might be an even better idea.”

Mateo opened his mouth without saying anything, half-closed it, and said, “That’s not a bad idea if we had enough holy water. You’ll want to hang on to your creativity, though, because we have a new development in the vampire case. Working Man and Athletica are in the conference room to talk about it.” Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 9

Motor City Intern: Part 8

Following her advice, I followed my schedule—I took the night off. I read for a while, tinkered with a couple my own things, and drew a few devices that based on current events were stuck in my head.

I’m meaning, of course, an automatic rifle that fired stakes, a “water” gun that turned holy water into a fine mist that would stay in the air for a few minutes, and a garlic grenade. Continue reading Motor City Intern: Part 8