The Atlas City Labor Day Parade

by Johnny Craft

Atlas City has a population of 220,000 people, with 90% of the citizens’ possessing super powers. The math is simple, but I'm still too lazy to work it out for you, so you're on your own, there... I'll level with you here, most of those "super" powers are lame as hell (like that guy with the color changing skin; Equality Man... give me a break), but there are a few of us with some pretty sweet aces up our sleeves. For example, I have the power to steal anyone else's powers and keep them for myself, leaving them a defenseless, powerless, Norman. Yeah, I know. It's pretty sweet. I've collected somewhere around 20 powers, so far, and pissed off a whole lot of villains who are no longer able to muscle their way out of a jail cell.

Surprisingly, though, with all these super-humans floating around (some of them, literally floating), there is an incredible lack of evil villains. Most of the "bad guys" here in Atlas City are just mischief makers, and to be honest, some of them are pretty funny. Someone tagged all of the Lady Justice billboards last week with all sorts of different mustaches and devil horns and whatnot. Hilarious! Sure she's my partner, but things like that makes me laugh.

The Atlas City Labor Day Parade is the only thing even remotely fun that goes on in September. I remember last year, when Lady Justice and I got to ride on a big castle float, and toss out candy to kids. The joke was on the children, though, because they weren’t so much candies as they were miniature bars of hotel soap. And, no, I don't feel bad about it. I'm The Silly Goose. What can they expect? My sense of humor is the greatest super power that I have!

I wasn't taking place in the parade this year, and not just because the candy fiasco earned me a lifetime ban. Acappella Phil was going to do a solo, barbershop quartet version of Tony Bennett's "I Wanna Be Around" that I couldn't pass up seeing in HD, with multiple camera angles. Phil dresses funny, but he has the four most beautiful voices I've ever heard on a person.

I was all prepared for the ACTV broadcast of the parade, when I noticed it was getting way too dark to be mid-morning. Looking out the windows of The Goose Nest, I noticed some pretty heavy storm clouds moving in. Probably just a sudden thunderstorm, but knowing the shenanigans those Atlas City villains come up with–

My thought was interrupted by the exclamation mark painting on my wall flashing white, and letting off a siren. This is my "Oh Shit! Signal". I use it for the mayor to contact me, when Atlas City is faced with life’s little "Oh Shit!" moments. Yeah, a text would do just fine, but I can't seem to keep a cell phone working, for some reason.

"Now is not the time, damnit! Why does it have to be me?! Why now?!" I may have said, out loud to myself, like a psychopath.

This little mishap seems like a job better suited for Lady Justice, because, I am NOT missing this performance. I don't know who Acappella Phil's biggest fan is, but I will argue that I could claim that title. I have no idea how to work that "record live TV" thing that I pay for, but never use, so Justice becomes a victim of my technological ignorance, once again.

As I made up my mind, to pawn my responsibilities to Lady Justice, the Oh Shit! Signal finally stopped letting out its annoying noises. Silencing just in enough time for Justice to NOT ANSWER MY F*@%&!# CALL!!!

With a little help from my arm, my cell phone decided to crush itself into bits, by repeatedly smashing itself against my wall. The destruction relieved a lot of my sudden frustration, but I couldn't help being haunted by the thought: "What if she tries to call back?"

With a little help from my arm, my cell phone decided to crush itself into bits, by repeatedly smashing itself against my wall. The destruction relieved a lot of my sudden frustration, but I couldn't help being haunted by the thought: 'What if she tries to call back?'

So, that left it up to me to take care of the situation. Using my power of flight, I set off through the heavy rain, straight toward the eye of the storm... The Atlas City Labor Day Parade.

Situations like that always make me wish I never caved to the pressure of those "Go Green!" groups and traded in my sweet superhero vehicles. I would like to think me stopping countless fires and destruction over the years has reduced enough carbon emissions to earn me a jet, or at least a helicopter with some sweet lasers, but apparently not. Funny thing about activists; they're all about peace, yet they never seem to be satisfied with anything. There's always something else to bitch about. Sure, helping the environment is awesome, but you know what's not awesome? The dry cleaning bill for getting storm water out of a cape and cowl!

Flying into the thick of the parade, through the crowd, and the rain, and the atrociously recycled Marde Gras decorations, I finally spotted the dastardly d-bag that decided to interrupt my day off, and rob me of my opportunity to watch my musical hero knock another one out of the park. Captain Weather Bones!

Captain Weather Bones is a constant annoyance for me. He's one of the few people that I can't steal their powers. This sap of the seven seas found a ring that granted him the power to control the weather. I'm sure I could've just stolen the ring before, but let's be real, how harmful is a dude that makes it rain on a parade? That's not evil, that's just being a jerk.

There he was, standing on top of a pirate ship float, like the walking cliché that he insists on being. For some reason, he looked surprised to see me. As if I hadn't whooped his ass half a dozen times before.

"The Silly Goose?" he said, confused. "I thought ye were banned from these parade festivities. Are ye allowed to be here?"

"Cap'n," I saluted. "I'm not allowed to attend the parade, but I'm certainly allowed to save it. Believe me, the irony and hypocrisy isn't lost on me either, I promise you. Regardless, you're being a dick and I wanna watch this Acappella Phil performance, so let's go ahead and knock this off and call it a day. I can go back to being dry and lazy in front of my TV and you can go back to... chasing booty, or whatever it is you pirates do."

I already knew he was going to try to strike me with lightning, before even he decided to, so his predictable attempt was easily dodged. It's his go-to move. I'm not sure why he never decided to mix things up before. Definition of insanity, I guess.

"Come on, Weather Bones, you are almost as lame as–" OOPH!

Right as I was in the middle of saying something crackingly hilarious (I'm sure), he shot a miniature tornado out of that special ring of his, and it tagged me right in the chest! I hit the ground, hard. I don't know if you've ever been hit by a tiny tornado in the chest, but I can assure you, if feels just like... being hit by a tiny tornado... in the chest!

"Oh my, Mr. Goose," he started, in his best affected pirate accent. "It seems ye were all about talkin' that scurvy 'til ye got twistered to yer chest."

'Oh my, Mr. Goose,' he started, in his best affected pirate accent. 'It seems ye were all about talkin' that scurvy 'til ye got twistered to yer chest.'

I had a million smartass remarks I could have comeback with, if I could have only caught my breath. And that's when it started to really dawn on me... I couldn't move! I could hardly breathe! Captain Weather Bones was about to cook my silly goose with a lightning bolt!!!

I closed my eyes, accepting that I was one of the most praised and most powerful heroes in Atlas City, and I was about to be killed by a C-List villain, that should realistically be waiting tables at a seafood restaurant somewhere.

Just as I caught my breath, I heard a cracking sound that I could only compare to an aluminum baseball bat smashing a watermelon apart. I opened my eyes to see an unconscious Captain Weather Bones lying in front of me, with his eyes rolled back in his head, blood trickling from his mouth, and making a noise that would make a zombie jealous.

Standing above him, holding a bloody microphone stand, was my musical hero, and now actual hero– Acappella Phil.

He was wearing his standard, sparkling, sequined... everything. I couldn't see for myself, but I will bet anyone some cash that even his socks had sequins on them.

"No one rains on my parade!" Acappella Phil rang out, with authority.

It was the first time I ever heard his speaking voice. I think he might do movie trailers, as well, but I can't be sure. It's got that heavy bass, I-have-four-testicles, tone to it.

I stood up and dusted myself off. I leaned over the passed out Captain Weather Bones and yanked his prized treasure off of his finger. I had no intention of ever dealing with a close call like that, ever again.

Phil smiled at me and extended his hand, in thanks. I shook it, trying not to act like a star-struck moron.

"Thank you for coming to our rescue," he said. "Our city is special, because of great heroes like you."

"No way, dude," I said. "You were the hero today. You should have this. It matches your sequins, anyway."

I handed him the weather-controlling ring.

"It lets you control the weather. Just in case you need the power to strike down some punk pirates with something other than a mic stand. I'm a huge fan, by the way. I would ask for a picture but my phone had a, uh, technical difficulty."

"You have no idea how much this means to me," he said, while slipping the ring onto his finger, with a smile. "How would you like to stay for the show, as my guest of honor?"

Not only did he perfectly hit every note, in every voice, but he closed his performance with a beautiful lightning show, with his new found powers. It was the best performance I've ever heard from anyone, and that's including the couple I stayed next to in the Sunset Bay Motel last spring... but that's a completely different (and much sexier) story.

Labor Day turned out to be much more memorable than I expected. Somehow, I knew things would be boring until Halloween rolled around, but after a day like that, it would be pretty nice for the well-deserved September of mediocrity, right after an afternoon of shopping for a new phone.

Not only did he perfectly hit every note, in every voice, but he closed his performance with a beautiful lightning show, with his new found powers.

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