Chapter 12: ZAPMAN 24 Hours a Day, 7 days a week, 29.53 days a month, 365 days a year or..... MARK NUMERA NO MORE!
*Author's note: I found this cool font called Decotech and I'm trying it out for chapter titles. Bank Gothic will still be around for meanwhile moments though.....
.... It was the last day of winter break and Mark Numera was bored out of his ever-lovin' skull. He had studied for his finals, prepared for competitions and generally felt good about his grades but he felt he needed some excitement, especially on the last day of break, something that would make people go "OH JEEZ!" while at the same contemplating what exactly would happen now that that particular event was over. I wanted something awesome... but I certainly never expected for it to be plastered all over my doorstep! On that last day of break, Mark heads outside determined to make the most of it when he notices a poster of some sort nailed on the side of his apartment. It was for a movie..... STARRING ME! I mean, it was a movie about half of me, the ZAPMAN half.
This did not discourage Mark because he knew that the director would probably need a stunt man. ZAPMAN heads over to the movie lot at superspeed just in time to witness a "dramatic clash" between ZAPMAN and his supervillain Wrecktor. Unfortunately, the actors delivered their lines with as much enthusiasm as nails on a chalkboard. To make matters worse, they spoke in solely monotone voices that were horrible to listen to. The director pointed at Mark, "Hey you, Guy with the Fabulous Hair, are you the Stuntman I asked for? Get your ASS ON SET BUSTER!
After a couple of grueling hours doing various scenes against the stunt double for ZAPMAN's enemy, The Cough it was finally time for Mark to go home. Unfortunately, as he was preparing to go home, the Real The Cough showed up demanding that his scenes have more action and emotional drama leaving Mark backed into a corner with no way to escape.
"Hey guys, I've got something important to tell you...." Mark starts to say, but then gets interrupted by the director. "Hush my child, we already know. You've been shooting lightning out of your hands all day but it'll be our little secret", the Director says.
"Not for long" *Click Suddenly, a Captain of the military and his second-in-command appear behind ZAPMAN and the Director taking a selfie with ZAPMAN in-costume in the process!
"Um... how long were you?"
"And you came from?"
"The bushes. We happen to be your biggest fans ZAPMAN. That, and we thought you could be a danger to society with that mask you wear. Sorry but that's just the way it goes in the military world. We just HAD TO KNOW! You'll understand right?"
ZAPMAN looks at the Captain's phone where he had just taken the selfie. Text was written at the bottom: "Captain Robert "Awesome" Ryan is the best.... never forget that. ZAPMAN UNMASKED! Uploaded to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Views: We're sorry, but you seem to have broken the internet for the time being. Most Comments: THE ZAPMAN FANCLUB: We can't see his face what a bunch of *CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED
"Ok sparky Plan B: Send in the Tanks People!!" Captain Ryan screams into a portable walkie talkie. Within seconds, Boeing AH-64 Apache Helicopters swarm the place, dropping in tanks that they supported on wires.
ZAPMAN sticks his head into one of the tank's muzzles. "Hey, listen I know we haven't known each other a short time but really how important is this rea-"
"Ready... Aim... FIRE AT WILL!" Captain Ryan gives the order for the tanks to commence attacking ZAPMAN.
This gives me an idea I'll swallow the bullet like they do in those old cartoons! KA-GUULP! ZAPMAN swallows the bullet whole, his stomach rumbling with the sound of indigestion. "Uh-oh Maaaybe this was a bad idea" KABOOM! 'Cause I'm TNT, I'm Dynamite, I'm TNT, and I'll win the Fight! I'm TNT, I'm a power looooad, WATCH ME EXPLOOOOOODE!
A bolt of lightning strikes the ground where ZAPMAN stood and he pops out unharmed when the smoke clears.
Captain Ryan snaps another selfie while ZAPMAN's back is turned with his mask off this time. A new comment is shown from the ZAPMAN FAN CLUB. "We have NO IDEA WHO THIS IS!".
Captain Ryan addresses ZAPMAN with a barrage of questions:
"So what are you going to do now that everyone knows your secret identity? Are you going to erase everybody's minds of the event by giving up the most important thing in your life (like marriage) to some demon so that no one remembers? Or are you going to give up being ZAPMAN and throw your costume into the dumpster while refusing to look behind you and dramatically walking off into the sunset? Ooh or how about going on a rampage as a darker version of ZAPMAN because of an attack on your aunt by a bald guy who wears a lot of white suits and is a powerful crime boss? Ok. Wait.... This is perfect. What if... you dress up as four different guys to delete the evidence and keep your identity safe?!"
"I got an idea, I collect the reward for your head." A dark figure clad in bright orange and black steps out of the shadows. Alright now would be a good time to panic because the guy in orange and black might not seem that menacing (and actually not that out of place from a story selling Halloween themed knickknacks and costumes) but he's an assassin trained in the art of just about a little of everything. Torture, espionage, recon, stealth, guerrilla warfare, the correct way to open pickle jars, you name it. Some say he knows a thousand techniques designed to "take people out of action" without even LOOKING AT YOU!
Other than that, he's one of my most dangerous enemies in the history of ever, I don't know a lot about him other than he's really good at twirling around his scorpion headed staff of his. He should seriously consider joining the color guard. I mean, his staff is filled with scorpion venom but I'm pretty sure he can get past that.
"Does NO ONE remember I EXIST? C'mon guys! I'm THE COUGH! FEAR ME AND MY DEADLY GAS-BASED ABILITIES!", The Cough protests.
Scorpion King turns to The Cough and zeroes in on him, giving him a leering glare that would make even Loki proud. "Listen you utter pest, that's an ultimate waste of a power, especially on someone like YOU. You want GAS?! I'll SHOW YOU GAS!" He fires a dart from his scorpion staff, which hits ZAPMAN squarely on the chest.
"Aw Scorpy you DO CARE! You shot me with a DART? I'm TOUCHED that you think a little pinprick is going to stop me. Truth be told, I REEEEALlY HATE NEEDLES. Seriously though. I hate needles. It's a really good thing I have selective invulnerability. So... are you here to kill me?", ZAPMAN asks.
" I wouldn't have used 32 darts to kill you. There's one on the chest, 10 on the back, 5 on your head, and 16 on your BUTT. All filled with the one thing you truly can't stand.... Nylon. Like I said Z-Man, I'm here for the bounty, I don't personally want to know who you are. I'm not here to kill you. I'm here to deliver you to the person who WILL! HAHAHAHAHAHA *Cough cough Sorry I was a horrible chain smoker before I became an assassin. It really helped me to.. see the light....
Succumbing to the dangerous, unchecked power of nylon, ZAPMAN promptly gets knocked out.....
"Hullo ZAPMAN, I'm glad to see you got your beauty rest" says a voice with a foreign accent that Mark can't quite place. A switch clicks on as one by one lights flicker on slowly and the place ZAPMAN is held in becomes illuminated in a ghostly haze. It's a laboratory, like something out of a pulp fiction story with weird little doohickeys like death rays, different models of clunky robots, and torture devices (axes, hacksaws, plyers, a stretching machine, butcher knives, a treadmill, The Best of Marty Ingels, 1 hour of Care Bears on repeat (because 1 hour is enough pain let alone on repeat). The Horror! THE HORRORRRRRRRRRR! His mustache looks even more cheesy and HIDEOUS UP CLOOOOSE! You need a beeeeard to go with that mustache of EEEEEVILLLLLL!
"Yes I know what you must be thinking. Word must travel fast for someone to already put a bounty on your head, I wonder what he wants to do with me? Well, some might want to become your equal. Others might want to eventually replace you or switch bodies with you to become a better superhero then you ever could be. No, No, I do not desire that. I want to see what makes you tick. My wife has an untreatable form of cancer and I'm DESPERATE for a CURE. So desperate in fact, that I, Doctor Ulysses S. Heath (I, Heath DIO! Possible nickname of Heath Bar. Mmmm Heath BAAAAR) , would dissect you."
"wwwwait... WHAT?! You sure I can’t just heal her of her cancer?!
"No that's too complicated " muses Doctor Heath
"Well, what if I went back in time?!" ZAPMAN offers
"Too time-consuming" Doctor Heath shoots back
"Dude, I'm friends with DRACULA! Certainly he can make her a vampire which would make her live forever WITHOUT CANCER?!"
"I am a man of science. I don't particularly believe in fairy tales." Doctor Heath is now notably irritated. "You know what I'll do? I'll dissect you, then burn all my research and PISS ON IT then I'll bury you somewhere and watch as my wife dies a slow and painful death while you go to your grave knowing that YOU. CAUSED. IT!!!!! I hope you're HAPPY. NOW PREPARE TO DIE!" Doctor Heath whips out a MASSIVE multipurpose machine that had giant drills, hacksaws, and other necessary instruments when dealing with dissecting someone... the evil way.
Gotta think gotta think. That drill is buzzing closer and closer to my brain.
In a last-ditch attempt at appealing to the mad doctor's humanity, ZAPMAN.... begins to sing. "Don't gooo changing, to try and please meeeee, you've never let me down before. Don't imagine, you're too fa-miliar.. and I don't see annnymooore. IIIIIIIII- wouldn't leave you, in times of trouble. We never could come this far."
"Sorry to interrupt ZAPMAN but WHAT are you DOING? Where IS that Music COMING FROM? HOW did you get a TUXEDO, TOPHAT AND CANE? And, More importantly... WHERE THE F^&* did you get can-can girls from and HOW DID THEY GET INTO MY LABORATORY?! But please continue...."
ZAPMAN continues singing
"I took the good times, I'll take the bad times, I'll take you just the way you aaaare. Don't go trying some new fashiooon. Don't change the color of your hair. You always have my... unspoken passiooon. Although I might nooot... seem to care. I don't want clever conversation, I never want to work that haaaaaaard. I just want someone... that I can talk to, I want you just the way you aaaare. I need to need to know that you will al-ways be- the same old someone that I knew. What will it take 'till you be-lieve in me... the way that I believe in yooooooou? IIIIIIIII- said I love you and that FOR-EVER, and this I promise from the heart: I couldn't love you any better, I love you just the way you aaaaaaaaaare. *SAXOPHONE INTERLUDE! HECK YEAH! I don't want clever... conversation, I never want to work that haaaaard. I just want someone... that I can talk to, I want you just the way you aaaaaaa--aaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaa-aaare, oooooh, GOOD NIGHT GREENWOOD CITY!" ZAPMAN ends with a heavy metal guitar riff.
By the time he finishes, Doctor Ulysses S. Heath is in tears. "That urk was beautiful. That was my wife's favorite song..... THAT'S FOR MAKING ME REMEMBER HER, YOU W#$%ER!" Heath lunges ferociously at ZAPMAN with a shiv he had secretly hidden up his sleeve, losing himself to feral instincts.
ZAPMAN grabs his arm and pulls him close, "Listen you psycho, You're going behind bars where you can reflect on the reflect on the fact that you're FLIPPIN NUTS and you should be convicted for attempted (ZAP) MANSLAUGHTER! HAVE A NICE DAY!" ZAPMAN flings him like he would a roach and Doctor Heath hits a brick wall at breakneck pace.
"AAAAARGH DEAR BLEEPING GOD YOU BROKE MY ARM YOU PIECE OF SH^T", Doctor Heath wails. He examines his arm, which is now a crumpled up piece of twisted flesh.
"REEEEE-LAAAAX you BIG BABY. ANY injury I inflict on ANYONE heals AUTOMATICALLY within ONE HOUR no matter how SERIOUS. BOLT FORCE FOR THE WIN! BOOYAH!"
"Y-You would do that.. even for me? But WHY?!", Doctor Heath sniffles.
"Um.... DUH! I'm a SUPERHERO! SUPERHEROS aren't supposed to go around KILLING PEOPLE or RIPPING THEM IN HALF! Please I mean unlike BATMAN, If I break an arm or something... I can heal it with my powers. In fact, I don't think SUPERMAN EVEN ATTEMPTS to do this."
"Thank you. I'll go to jail but remember that I get ONE FREE PHONE CALL..... Someday I'll dissect you but not today, I'm get sleeeeeepy" Doctor Heath's head hits the floor, knocked unconscious from the shock of his broken arm.
Not long after ZAPMAN delivers Doctor Heath to the Greenwood City St. Jupiter Super Villain Rehabilitation, Treatment, and Reform Center he receives a phone call....
"Hullo, ZAPMAN I can tell we'll be Best. MATESSSSSSS." Doctor Heath whispers *Menacingly*
"YOOOOOOOOOOU" ZAPMAN draws slowly, don't forget deliberately! , "HOW ON EARTH DID YOU OF ALL PEOPLE GET THIS NUMBER?! For that matter.... I don't even really have a cellphone!"
"Oh, you know, I just tracked your unique electromagnetic signature until I found the right frequency and I could talk to you. So, anyway.... Can I dissect you? C'moooon, just a little wedge of skin or a toenail clipping or a piece of hair?
"No. And the answer is still no. You need to get over that man. Besides there's no way you can get to me, not where you are right now so HA! HA! HA! HA! HA HAHA! HA times infinity!" ZAPMAN beams at himself, standing triumphantly as if he has just won a great victory.
"True. But I'm a supervillain.... and we always carry get out of jail free cards... TEEHEEHEEEHEEEHEHHEHEE!"
"What was that? You sound like the cross of a baby squirrel, chipmunk and hamster giving birth and then subsequently dying", ZAPMAN questioned.
"I'm trying out a new evil laugh, bear with me here. Come visit me ZAPMAN, I'm terribly lonely. Get me a crossword puzzle and stop by and we can discuss my new plot to destroy you over coffee."
"Sounds swell I'll stop by around 5! Goodbye now, Doctor Heath." ZAPMAN enthused. He finishes his conversation and hangs up.
Might as well pay the guy a visit. I figured he'll make a pretty good nemesis and the Superhero Code Book says that you have to visit your nemesis at least once a week and do stuff with them like go shopping or take them out to the movies or go bowling.
In a blink of an eye, ZAPMAN rushes to Greenwood City St. Jupiter Super Villain Rehabilitation, Treatment and Reform Center Or GCSJSVRTRC.... for SHOOOOOORT
"ZAPMAN! You came old boy! Did you bring the crossword puzzle I asked for?" Doctor Heath's face lights up like a kid on Christmas.
"Oh, um whoops I guess I forgot. But why don't you tell me about your latest evil scheme and I'll sit here and wait for you to explain to me about how there's no way I'll be able to stop it while you inadvertadly give away the details that allow me to stop it, like they do on that one episode of Kim Possible?"
Doctor Heath's face falters for a moment and then seconds later resumes its chipper grin. "Oh, I do Looove to tell my evil plots, and Kim Possible was such a Good show I still miss it even to this day. "My latest scheme is that I've engineered enemies for you to fight out of the corpses of those some odd thousand vampires and zombies you killed over you latest adventures and combine them with Killer Robots, Ninjas and Pirates to create the "Dramatic Pause, ULTIMATE KILLER ROBOT VAMPIRE ZOMBIE NINJA PIRATE WARRIOR ARMY!!!! MWAHAHAHAHA! EEEEEVIL LAUGH! Ooh I do be-lieve I found my mojo back. In each little arena you fight them in, there will be an explosive planted and hidden from sight. Hurry ZAPMAN! CLOCK'S TICKING MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! EEEEVIL LAUGH!"
ZAPMAN's SECRET IDENTITY AS MARK NUMERA REVEALED! PERMANENTLY THIS TIME! as our Hero chooses to stay in costume full time even while showering or attending classes at Greenwood City University, one question remains: How will ZAPMAN Defuse Doctor Heath's Diabolical Deed of Death?! Find Out in the next chapter of THE PHENOMENAL ZAPMAN!