dinsdag 26 maart 2013

GODLING # 9: Alter Ego


GODLING # 9:  Alter Ego
By Jochem Vandersteen

Uzi's rattled, spraying the crackhouse with bullets. Marcus Walker,
a.k.a. Safari had to use all his animal-like agility to avoid getting
shot. The three shooters were dead-set on getting him shot.
    The shooters, clad in either leather or Adidas had been dealing their
filthy drugs in the crackhouse without any interference for the police
for weeks now. The honest people in the neighborhood were of the
opinion that either the police didn't care about them or was too
afraid to visit Lower Troy. Safari cared though. He cared, and had the
courage of a lion.
    While diving for cover Safari produced a blowgun and fired off a dart.
The dart hit one of the shooters in the neck. The poison made him go
down in seconds. Using the confusion that action caused Safari took out
the second shooter more up close and personal. He somersaulted and
landed right on top of the shooter. One punch was all it took to knock
him out.
    The third shooter started to run, but there was no way he was as fast
as Safari, who could run as fast as a panther. The hero grabbed the
runner by the collar and stopped him dead in his tracks. He lifted him
and threw him against the wall, leaving him as unconscious as his
partners.
    Safari stood triumphant. He was taking back the neighborhood one thug
at a time, and it felt great. All he had left to do now was burn the
crack.

*
Professor Quentin Alexander was walking across the campus ground
accompanied by professor Monica Sawyer. They were both heading for the
classes they had to teach, their arms filled with books.
    "So, what do you think about that Godling anyway? You're the
expert on mythology... Is he really a demi-god like some people say?"
Monica asked Quentin.
    "I'm tempted to say no. After all, the common theory is that the
ancient Greeks made up their gods to help them explain phenomena they
were unable to at first. But, then... Seeing him in action makes you
believe he can't be anything less than one." Of course, Quentin
knew exactly what Godling was. He changed into New Troy's own
super-powered protector almost every day, keeping the streets safe from
villains, aliens and disasters.
    "Wade thinks he's a blasphemer and a fraud, calling himself
Godling."
    Quentin shrugged. "I don't know. He never said anything about any
other religion as far as I know, so why call him a blasphemer?"
    "I guess you're a bit right about that. Of course Wade also thinks
he's a menace to society. He thinks Godling causes a lot of the
problems we've been having. Personally, I disagree. I've personally
seen him do some pretty great things."
    Quentin couldn't help sticking up for his alter ego. "Wade should
check the history books. New Troy was being plagued by supervillains
months before Godling first appeared."
    "Wade suspects Godling was just waiting in hiding, waiting until the
need of the people was big enough for him to be greeted as a big
hero."
    Wade was irritating Quentin more every day. What to say about
accusations like that. And how to say something about them and not give
away his secret identity? "But what's in it for Godling then?
It's not like he's charging money for his heroic actions or
anything."
    Monica nodded. "Wade says he's probably just waiting for the City
to be so dependent of him that he'll start sending the bills as soon
the citizens really can't live without him anymore. Like a crack
dealer giving you a free taste to make you an addict and then charging
you for more."
    Quentin dropped his books. "What? He's comparing me to a drug
dealer?"
    Monica's eyes got wide. "Did you just say 'me'?"
    Quentin cursed himself. How could he make a mistake like that. Or was
it that big a problem? What if Monica knew his secret? She was a fan of
Godling, right? Or was she so attached to Wade she was starting to
believe the rumors he was spreading about him? Would she tell his
secret to Wade, who was obviously keen to make his life miserable.
Maybe Wade would try to get him in court or something for the damages
he did in some of his heroic actions. Or what if he would leak his
secret identity to the press? Wouldn't the villains he took out in
the past try to get their revenge for defeating them?
    Monica started to laugh. "Hahaha! I think you're into Godling a
bit too much, Quentin!"
    Quentin followed her cue and started to laugh as well. "When I was
four I used to think I was John Wayne, so that shouldn't come as a
surprise."
    Monica wiped away the tears that had come with her laughter. "Well,
I've got to run off to class. See you, my hero!"
    "Yeah, see you" Quentin muttered as he bent down to pick up his
books. He sighed when he saw her running away, her body like poetry in
motion to him. He cursed himself for being such a love struck puppy.
Hadn't he picked up anything from Aphrodite's advice (last issue
- JvdS)? There were so many women in the world, why was he still
dreaming about the one he couldn't have? Was that what Apollo was
talking about when he told him love would hurt him (also last issue -
JvdS)?
*

"Hello old man," Walker greeted the man sitting on the steps of his
office building.
    The old man looked up. "Hi Walker. Did you hear about that vigilante
guy who took out that crackhouse?" He was wearing glasses with one
lens cracked. On his head was a black beret.
    Walker played dumb. "No, I didn't, Uncle Terry. Is that the start
of a joke?"
    The old man laughed. "No, man! I heard there's this brother with
superpowers taking out the dealers in the neighborhood."
    "Superpowers? You mean like Godling?"
    Uncle Terry nodded. "Just like him. But then this guy is black and
not just fighting the superpowered baddies and aliens and crap like
that. He's really making this neighborhood a safer place."
    "That's good to hear. Kids around here need some kind of role
model."
    "Seems a better role model at least then the damned gangbangers,
drugdealers and guys like that. You know how many kids around here seem
to look up to those thugs? They think life is all about women, alcohol
and gold."
    Walker knew what he meant. "Bitches, booze and bling-bling."
    "You know, Walker when I was a kid the only thing I wanted to do is
get a real decent job like the white people had them. And now, when
we've got black Hollywood stars, novelists, politicians, football
players etcetera some kids still seem to think the only way they can
make a career is by being a thug."
    Walker smiled. "You forgot about black lawyers."
    "I'm not sure being a lawyer differs much from being a thug."
    Walker raised his eyebrows. Uncle Terry started to laugh hysterically,
slapping his thighs.
    "That look on your face! Hahahaha! You gotta learn to loosen up,
kid!" Terry said, wiping the tears from his eyes.

*

"And that concludes the story of Midas," Quentin Alexander said to
his class.
    "And this class," one of the more smart-alec students said.
    Quentin checked his watch. "So it does. Class dismissed then."
    A blonde, pretty girl raised her hand. Quentin welcomed her question.
    "Professor, I need some help with my paper on the influence of
mythology on popular fiction in the new millennium. Could I stay for a
few minutes and go over it with you?"
    "Of course, Amanda. The rest of you can go."
    While the other students left the classroom Amanda sauntered over to
Quentin's desk. He couldn't help to notice how short her pleated
skirt was. With her slim figure, blue eyes and dazzling smile Amanda
Reese was quite an attractive young woman.
    She leaned over his desk. She whispered in his ear, "I'm afraid
the paper was just an excuse, professor. I just wanted to ask you to go
out for dinner with me."
    Quentin couldn't have been more surprised if . "What? I can't do
that! I mean... That wouldn't be appropriate. You're one of my
students! I can't just..."
    "Don't you find me attractive then?" She gave a little sexy
pose. It seemed more of a mockery of Playboy model then really erotic
to Quentin.
    "You're a very beautiful girl. A lot of handsome students would
love to go out with you. If you weren't a student of mine I probably
would've loved to as well. But is just can't happen."
    "All right then, but you don't know what you're missing!" With
those words Amanda strode out of the room, slamming the door behind
her.
    Quentin sat there a while, staring at the closed door. Did he just
really say no to a beautiful young co-ed who seemed to be romantically
interested in him. He had to have been hit in the head a few times too
many playing Godling.
    Again the words of Apollo echoed in his head.

*
Big D Abdar sat at his desk, counting money. He wasn't happy. The
returns from his local dealers were down with 20%. It all had to do
with this new superpowered character who'd turned up, taking down his
dealers and crackhouses all over Lower Troy. He wasn't just the
ruling crime lord of Lower Troy. He was also a businessman, which he
emphasized with the Brooks Brothers suits he was wearing. He understood
he could take a hit of 20% once, but not too many times. He had
employees to pay, women to keep in jewelry, rent to pay, guns to keep
loaded. This Safari posed quite the problem.
    His door opened. Two of his thugs rolled in, badly bruised. Abdar got
up, getting the gun from his desk drawer. He pointed it at the man
standing in the door opening.
    The intruder was wearing black boots and pants. His muscular torso was
clad in a red leather jacket. He had the strangest pair of ears Abdar
had ever seen. They seemed to belong to a dog. In fact, the nose on
which an expensive pair of Oakley sunglasses was perched resembled a
snout. But that was nothing compared to what he saw when the intruder
smiled. He had the teeth of a damn Doberman.
    "Put down the gun, Abdar. I'm here to help," the intruder said.
It almost sounded like a growl.
    Abdar hesitated. "Who are you?"
    "I'm called Death Dog. Master Destiny heard about your problems.
He doesn't like it when one of his franchises is doing badly. He sent
me in to track down that Safari-guy and take him out."
    "Tell Master Destiny Big D Abdar takes care of his own business."
    Death Dog snorted. "You've been working for the Master long enough
to know he doesn't run a democracy. Either you let me fix your
problem or he's going to get you replaced."
    "I've got my own men."
    Death Dog kicked one of the thugs on the floor. "These? Did you see
how easily I took them down?"
    Abdar lowered his gun and sighed. Maybe this freak had a point. "All
right, but I get to spit on Safari's dead body."

*
After his encounter with Amanda Quentin felt like blowing off some
steam. It was probably all that testosterone running through his veins
with no place to go. He decided to visit Lower Troy. So much of his
time had been spent making Upper Troy a safer place he'd almost
forgot about that neighborhood. Was it because he was living in Upper
Troy himself? Was it because most of the people he knew lived there?
Wasn't that a bit egoistical and narrow-minded? Crime was higher in
Lower Troy than anywhere. They could use Godling.
    Flying over the streets of Lower Troy he noticed three men leaving a
SUV. Two of them seemed to be guiding the other one. He had a closer
look. The one being guided had his hands cuffed behind him. Were the
other two cops? They were carrying guns.
He decided to see what was going to happen, landing on a nearby
rooftop.
One of the gunmen was carrying a can of gas. The other one put his gun
against the head of the prisoner, forcing him to kneel down. The guy
with the gas held it above the prisoners's head and started to douse
him with it. Godling had seen enough.
    Godling jumped down from the building, totally invulnerable while
channeling Achilles' powers. He landed right between the gunmen, just
in time to snatch the lighter from one of the gunmen's hand.
    "Didn't your mother tell you not to play with fire?" he said and
punched the guy out.
    The other guy pointed his gun at the hero. "You should've stayed
out of this neighborhood, Godling!"
    At that exact moment there was a loud growl and a human shape came
jumping down from the rooftop.


NEXT ISSUE:
Godling and Safari finally meet!

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