“It’s going to be fine.” Maul calmly stated, tightening Steve’s various straps and belts.

“That’s what you said last time.” Steven iterated.

“But it was fine.”

“We almost got arrested!”

“Small technicality. At least you left an impression.”

“She took out a restraining order against me. Half the city is banned from me now!”

“Well I never said it was a good impression…” Maul fixed Steve’s mask over his distinct facial features.

“I’m wanted in five states because of you.” Steve commented dryly.

“And only forty-five to go.” Maul chirped happily. He stepped back, looked over his henchman once more and nodded. “You’re good to go.”

“Do I have to?” Steve asked pathetically.

“We are saving women from terrible situations! Past, present, and future! Do you want to be a knight in shining armor or not?”

“Can I say no?”


“Heroes are overrated.” He worded instead.

“Blasphemy.” Slapping him upside the head, Maul turned Steve around by the shoulders and shoved him to the edge of the roof. “Your target is that lovely creature yonder. A youthful vixen ensnared in an old croon’s promise of a perfect dream consisting of money and love. Little does she know he’s planning on giving her neither.”

“You know stalking is a crime, right?”

“Lying is a crime as well.”

“No, not really.”

“You’ve just lost your youth.”

“I hate you and I hate your fantasies.” Steve managed to get out before Maul recklessly shoved him into the cool night air.

Steve enjoyed the tranquility of flight for a moment before gravity brought with it fear. Quickly he groped for the fire escape. He thought back to the first time he’d joined, or rather been bamboozled, into Maul’s crazed scheme. “Sink or swim!” He’d cried evilly, and not without some glee, as he pushed Steve off the roof. Not onto the fire escape mind you, but just to the side of it. Be quick, reach out and grab hold for dear life and you successfully survived the first five seconds. Fail in even doing that and Maul was out his second partner. Steve hadn’t the heart to ask what had become of the first. 

Catching hold of the railing, he tensed as his torso slammed against the cold metal. Pulling himself up Steve sighed and checked his mask. “Good luck!” Maul called down, waving farewell. “I’ll be rooting for you! Remember: The lady in the red dress!”

Maul liked women, a lot. Sometimes too much. He had a specific weakness for red dresses in particular. Who knew why, and God knew why he wouldn’t put himself in the line of fire, only others. Really, Steve despised him.    

Making his way to street level Steve trained his eyes on the target. A borderline disastrously tall woman, she was little more than skin and bones clothed in a mini firehouse-red dress. With a well-groomed and graying man, mildly handsome, she leaned down to peck him on the check as they pranced across the street towards a fancy diner.   

Steve swallowed hard. According to Maul the woman was unhappy in her relationship, she just didn’t know it yet. Steve was charged with “rescuing” her by “sweeping her off her feet”. Steve had attempted the sweeping before and had failed every time. It seemed Maul’s definition of unhappy and the actual women’s definition differed greatly. Still, Steve complied. Why? Long story…

Clad from head to toe in black Steve approached the couple. Sighing once again, he dove right in front of their way. “Unhand that flower, you fiend!” Steve cringed at the scripted lines.

“I beg your pardon?” The man asked, taken aback by the strangely dressed figure suddenly before his fiancé and he.

Without further ado Steve reached out and decked the man, cleanly busting his nose, and made a grab for the woman planning to sweep her dramatically off her feet bridal-style to the chores of cheers for justice and romance.

He instead was met by her fist, pushed forward with more force than Steve could ever hope to muster. Turns out the woman was not thin for lack of care, but for excessive training. She was a marathon runner but recently had taken up kickboxing as a side hobby. Just for fun. “You asshole!” She cried as Steve was smacked upside the head with enough force to crack a watermelon.

Staggering, he felt the pelting stings of purse buckles shortly after. Hating the thought of running but feeling the current case had miserably crumbled Steve turned tail and ran. He even forgot to use the special smoke bombs Maul entrusted to him. He knew Maul was watching. He wondered what went through that man’s mind during times like these.

Fleeing, holding onto his jarred mask knowing it was the only reason he hadn’t been arrested three cases back, Steve took to the hills. Crouched in a distant alleyway he fought to catch his breath.

“Well,” He heard Maul’s voice next to him. The country boy slid down the wall to sit next to him, puffing out his cheeks. “That wasn’t bad.” Steve choked on his own despair. “That woman is obviously too far gone to be helped. No matter; there are plenty more where she came from!” Slapping Steve on the back Maul stood and brushed off his pants. Looking to the sky he posed magnificently. “The night is still young… come! We have much work to do before the sun shines once more.”

Standing as well Steve wept openly as he followed his partner, no, his commander. Why was he doing this again? 


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