by Jeff Goode
VOICE Hello, Spiderman.
VOICE As you know, I'm the new administrator, and I thought today we might just have a little talk, get to know each other. Okay?
SPIDER-MAN Okay. (SPIDER-MAN sits. pause.) You know, when I gave up being Spider-Man, the thing that hurt most --besides the chest pains-- was that most people were glad. Not, like, the criminals --they could care less-- But the ordinary people were glad. That day I made the front page of the New York Times. The headline was "Good Riddance." You know, when I started going around to schools to give talks about cancer, most people assumed it was because I was bitten by a radioactive spider which gave me my super powers. Especially the No Nukes people. They really wanted me to have cancer from being bitten by a radioactive spider. Actually, it was the cigarettes. You know, you'd be hiding out in an alley, scrunched up behind a dumpster, trying to be inconspicuous in your bright red overalls, waiting for Electro to show up and rob the bank across the street. And you get really tense, you know? So it's good to have a smoke, relax. Then Electro shows up and you snuff your cig, toss your butt in the dumpster and you go kick his ass. And next thing you know you're in an alley waiting for Juggernaut AND The Rhino to rob the bank across the street, and Captain America hasn't showed up yet to help you out, and you're gonna have to take on these two huge fuckers at once, so you have another smoke. And the next thing you know, you're chain smoking two or three packs of Lucky Strikes just on one job. I'll never forget this time I caught The Human Flame Thrower in a jewelry store and I came crashing through the front window, and I said "Human Flame Thrower, you're coming with me." And he whipped around and said "Oh no! Spider-Man!" --I love it when they say "Oh no! Spider-Man!" And he was just about to blast me when I just started coughing like you wouldn't believe. I was doubled over on one of those display cases, coughing and hacking up this brown spittle crap, And the Human Flame Thrower had to run over and help me out to his car so his henchman could run me to a hospital while he finished up at the jewelry store. God, that was embarrassing! Do you remember The Flash? --Now, this would be embarrassing-- Now, this guy is fast. I don't know what kind of steroids he's on, but this guy is fast, so it makes sense they call him "The Flash", but that's not really how he got his name. See, he used to be called the Scarlet Dasher. But one time there was this new supervillain, Mothman, who was pretty puss, and we all joked about "Yeah, right, what does he do? Eat cloth?" So one day he robs a bank on The Dasher's turf, takes off runnin', not even a getaway car, and Dash catches up to this guy no problem, taps him on the shoulder, says "Hey, buddy, you're gonna have to do a lot better than this" ...And if you think the Flash is fast, you should have seen Mothman's lips. Next thing you know, the Scarlet Dasher is standing there stark naked watching Mothman running away with a mouthful of red fabric. So we joked about it alot and called him the Blue Streak and the Scarlet Flasher and it sort of stuck. So one time, me and The Flash and Ironman and this guy we called Psycho Kid -- because this guy was fucking wacko. The Psycho Kid was always decked out like Rambo, right? Here's this guy maybe 5'6" and 100 pounds soaking wet, and he's got a pair of Uzis in hip holsters and ammo belts everywhere. He never used them, but he thought they looked cool. So the four of us are taking a smoke break in the alley, waiting for the Inhuman Destructors to come trash this hospital across the street. And the Flash broke out some pot and we were passing it around talking about "Who scares you the most?" And I had to say The Multiple Man because this guy had eight bodies, and he's all over you when you fight him, and also because one time he nearly bit off one of my testicles. And we said "Ironman, who scares you most?" And he said "Death" And we said "oh" And then, across the street we see this asshole parked in a handicapped spot, and we thought, let's give this guy a scare. So we go marching over there, the four of us, and Ironman in his Sherman tank costume. I mean, talk about overkill. And the Psycho Kid is taking out his Uzi and giggling and saying "This is just like the US Marines". And we got over to this guy and we're all standing around him, and the Flash is scraping his paintjob with a car key, and I said "Excuse me, sir, this is a handicapped spot." And the Kid giggled and stuck a gun in his face. And this little guy looks at me and he says, with this really thick hispanic accent "You guys think you're so fucking tough. Well, this is my car, and you don't fuck with me and my car." And I thought, I took on Doctor Octopus and The Vulture single handed, and this asshole is too stupid to be afraid of us. "You guys think you're so fucking tough. Well, this is my car, and you don't fuck with me and my car." And then he hit me with a crowbar. And the next thing I know there's an explosion of gunfire and I guess the Kid freaked out and blew this guy away at 200 rounds per minute. And so there was this little hispanic guy's body splattered against a wall at the other side of the parking lot, and the Flash was dead, and I was okay because I was already lying on the ground, bleeding. And Captain America pulled some strings to have the story kind of hushed up, to spare us the embarrassment, but I guess that's the real reason I retired. I just got tired of playing Policeman To The World. BLACKOUT