Mayor Wilkins drove me in his four door sedan to Topeka’s city hall. Once there, he showed me a small office that he had set aside for me.
“Here you go,” he said. “It’s got all your crime fighting needs right here: there’s a police band radio and a computer with Internet access and there’s one of those little refrigerators. I had my secretary fill it with protein bars and juice boxes. This place has everything you could want for a base of operations. That is, unless you want to use a secret cave or satellite or something.”
“No, this will be fine,” I smiled. “So, uh, maybe I should go on patrol or something, huh?”
“Aw no, don’t worry about it until tomorrow,” Wilkins waved his hand. “I’m sure crime can wait. Why don’t you concentrate on getting yourself settled.”
“Well, OK, I guess,” I shrugged.
“So tell me, Jan,” Wilkins smiled in a real friendly manner. “What kind of super hero are you? I mean, what kind of powers do you have?”
“Ah, well I’m really good at flying,” I answered.
“You mean you can fly like Superman?”
“No, I mean I’m a good pilot.”
“You mean you don’t have any powers?”
“Nope,” I shrugged.
“No super strength?”
“Energy beams? Magic talismans? Anything?”
“Afraid not,” I shrugged again.
“That’s too bad,” Mayor Wilkins sounded disappointed.
“Hey, there are all kinds of heroes who don’t have powers,” I said. “Like Batman, Green Arrow, uh, Hawkeye, that other Green guy.”
“Fine, fine I guess when it comes to super heroes, I’m just an excitable boy,” he dismissed the subject with a wave. “Well, it is getting late. I’m going to head home for a nice glass of milk. I’ll see you here first thing tomorrow. That is, unless you’re out fighting crime or something.”
“Well, we’ll see,” I smiled.
“You!” Something from the shadows appeared in front of us. “I want Mohammed’s Radio. You will give it to me!”
“What? No, get away from me!” Wilkins screamed.
I got a look at what was looming over us. Chalky skin, long fangs, demonic grin. I’m guessing that this would be a vampire. I pulled out my blaster and aimed it at him.
“It’s getting kind of late,” I sneered at him. “Maybe you should be running along now, maybe get some beauty rest. Some serious beauty rest.”
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” he growled in reply.
“I can arrange that,” I said nodding towards my weapon. “Now back off.”
“Your gun can’t harm me!” The vampire lunged at me and I fired a beam of pure photons right into his face, burning it clean away.
“Hello,” I said at the headless creature slumped to the ground. “What do you think sunlight’s made out of? Photons, duh.”
I have to admit, it looked pretty cool. I don’t know enough about vampires, so I could only assume that he can regenerate because I didn’t actually hit him with sunlight. Watching him burn was worth it, though.
“Ever see that, mayor?” I grinned smugly. Then I looked around and didn’t see him anywhere.
“Help me!” I looked and saw another creature running away with Wilkins thrown over his shoulder like a proverbial sack of potatoes.
I quickly gave chase. Though I couldn’t catch up, I didn’t lose them either. In due time, the creature hauled the mayor into a deserted warehouse.
“Of course a deserted warehouse,” I mumbled to myself. But I’m there hero -- I’ve got to go in there.
I ran in after and saw the mayor standing on some sort of plank over a giant swirling, flaming hole in the ground. Surrounding the hole were a handful of creatures, cackling and laughing. I pulled my weapon and aimed it at the mayor.
“What the frack are you doing?” I demanded.
“Stay back,” he warned. “You have no idea what’s going on here. Do you know what this is? It’s a Hellmouth.”
“A portal to Hell?” No way. It couldn’t be.
“I’m the only one who can do this!” he yelled.
“Don’t!” I yelled back over the roaring of the portal. “Don’t make me shoot you!”
“Get him!” A voice to my side shouted. “Shoot him!”
I looked and it was Flabber.
“What are you doing here?” I growled.
“I told you,” the children’s show host replied. “He’s trouble! Don’t you see what he’s trying to do! He’s going to open it up!”
“No!” Mayor Wilkins fished into his coat and pulled out a small metal box decorated with runes and attached to a chain. “This is Mohammed’s Radio! Penuriosus, Penuriosus Pitiful Mihi! Vultus pro Tunc Optimus Res!”
I yelled and tried to reach towards the mayor, but my movements seemed to slow down to a crawl. Time ground to nearly a halt. Then the Hellmouth flared up and receded back to nothing. Many of the creatures surrounding the pit disappeared with it while others collapsed in agony.
“No! You fool!” Flabber shouted. “How could you?”
“Close it?” Mayor Wilkins beamed while letting the device swing back and forth on its chain. “It was easy, really.”
“You are willing to sacrifice yourself like this?” the children’s show host growled. “Then you will be destroyed! Accidentally like a martyr!”
“Wait a minute,” I said, starting to piece together what was going on.
“I will destroy you, too,” Flabber pulled out a talisman and began to grow into a demonic form. “You will be the sacrificial lambs!”
“Like Hell I will,” I growled and opened fire on him with my blaster. Flabber stumbled back, dropped the amulet, and fell to the ground while reverting to human form.
“Groovy,” I said.
Using his cell phone, Mayor Wilkins called the police who arrived on scene to escort Flabber away.
“You know, Flabber warned me about you at the airport,” I said, then I chuckled. “He said there was more to you than meets the eye.”
“I suppose that’s true,” the mayor grinned. “I’m like any other mayor of a small city: I’ve got lawyers, guns, and money. Unlike other mayors, though, I’ve got the means to close dimensional portals to hell.”
“Well what about Mr. Bad Example over there,” I indicated towards the white-faced man in the back of the squad car. “He’s the one who opened the Hellmouth, right?”
“Yes,” the mayor nodded. “He’s been working on it for years. Opening it up slowly, bit by bit. I knew I was the only one who could close it, but I had hoped that I’d at least get a super-powered hero who could help me.”
“Sorry to disappoint you,” I grinned.
“I think I’ll get over it,” he grinned back. “You’re the best super hero Topeka’s ever had. Seriously.”
“I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult, but I’ll take it as a compliment,” I replied. “I just hope that the rest of my week here is a little less exciting than my first night.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that,” the mayor smiled. “Topeka’s just like any other quiet, uneventful city. Except for the Hellmouth, which is now closed, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Right,” I smiled back. “Nice and quiet.”
“Say, my son and his band the Envoy is playing tonight at the Factory,” the mayor said while looking at his watch. “You should hear it when Johnny strikes up the band. They can play it all night long.”
“I’d like that,” I smiled. “Let’s go.”
“You know, you’re going to look a little out of place with that outfit on,” Wilkins looked me up and down.
“I know, don’t tell me,” I sniffed in reply.
“Here, this will help,” he pulled a hat out of his pocket and handed it to me.
“A raspberry beret?” I asked. “I don’t think so.”