Mayor Minor paced around his office, occasionally glancing out of the picture window that overlooked the central business district of Metroburgh. There was no shortage of activity down on the street below but, compared with what he was used to, it seemed muted, for a lack of a better word.
He glanced down at his watch. It was only 4:30 pm and yet the sky had an orangish-red hue to it. He mumbled to himself that he'd expect the sky to look like that closer to the sunset, and that really shouldn't be happening for at least another three or four hours.
He returned his gaze to the city and the haze that hung over it, letting out a deep, restive sigh. His secretary placed her hand on his shoulder.
The Mayor jumped when he felt her hand. "Oh! Vicky! Sorry. I didn't hear you come in."
"No offense, sir, but with how distracted you seem, you wouldn't have heard a stampede of buffalo coming in."
"Don't be silly. I'd have felt the floor rumble."
The two of them let out a curt, tense laugh.
When his secretary didn't speak, he bit his lip and said, "What do you think, Vicky?"
"Should I contact Admiral Anticrime? Do you think that maybe he might be able to help?"
"I know he's good, but what could he do?"
"I don't know but that's the thing. He's always amazed me in the past with what he's been able to figure out. Why wouldn't he be able to do something?"
"And even if he can't do anything, what harm is there in calling him?"
"I don't know. I just feel kind of silly picking up the phone and saying 'Admiral Anticrime, I think that one of our supervillains might be playing with the weather, causing this heat wave. Could you look into it?'"
"So don't say it that way. I don't know if he suspects anything, sir, but surely he's felt this heat too."
"You know what he's going to ask me, Vicky. He's going to ask me if I had any leads, if any specific supervillains might be behind all of this. And what am I going to tell him? Nothing he doesn't already know. Victor Villanova and Maniacal Meriwether are both safely behind bars under constant supervision so there'd be no way they'd be doing this one."
"And no other supervillains around here are capable of it?"
"That's exactly it. I don't think any of our other villains have the intelligence or the technology to do something like this."
"I don't know, sir. I wouldn't underestimate what Levi Evil is capable of."
"I don't. But the thing about Levi is, he doesn't know when to shut up. So if he's responsible for it, why haven't we heard from him yet? What are his demands? This heat wave started more than a week ago! Surely we'd have heard from Levi by now if it were him."
"But what about..."
Mayor Minor cut off his secretary. "Let me think about it a little more. Why don't you go home for the night? If I can't come up with anything by tomorrow, I'll call Admiral Anticrime. You know, just to get his opinion."
"That's a good idea sir. Try to get some rest yourself. That is, if you can cool off."
"You too." The mayor mumbled his response but was sure Vicky didn't hear him as she was already sauntering out the door.
Vicky took a deep breath as she stepped out into the heavy, humid, overheated air. She had barely taken two steps when she found herself absentmindedly wiping her brow with the back of her hand.
She smoothed out her skirt with her palms and walked quickly towards the parking lot. She began fantasizing about the air conditioning that awaited her for her drive home. Near the entrance to the lot where she knew her car awaited her, she caught sight of a man, dressed in white, hunched over some kind of vending cart.
Her curiosity piqued, she turned towards the man and whatever he was selling. She mused, it couldn't be a hot dog vendor, since it was well past the lunch rush. In fact, the very presence of anyone being out of doors doing anything other than getting in or out of their car towards their destination would have been enough to arouse Vicky's attention.
When she finally reached the cart, the man smiled broadly at her. "What can I get for you?"
He let out a jovial laugh. "I'm sorry. I'm selling ice cream. What's your favorite flavor?"
"I'll have a chocolate, I ... I guess." She wasn't absolutely sure she wanted to buy anything but the guy seemed nice enough and, to be outside on a day like today... She looked around and saw a few other people walking around, wondering why there wasn't more of a line for ice cream here. "How's business?"
"Good, I suppose. I'm thinking I need to set up shop earlier. I've done all right but I think I missed out on some good sales. Maybe see about hitting the lunch crowd."
His comments set off a few thoughts in her head. "Listen, I, um... I hate to ask you this, but do you have a permit to be selling your ice cream here?"
The man looked up at her and scowled. Soon, his frown broke and he was once again smiling broadly. It was obvious from the look on his face that he realized he shouldn't really be here.
"Listen," said Vicky. "I'll ... I'll let you go this time but you really should register for a spot to sell this ice cream."
"Thank you," said the man as he poured a fine sugary-like substance over the bowl that she had requested. "What's your name?"
"Vicky. Vicky Veenyveedy."
"Nice to meet you, Vicky. My name's Hugh. Hugh Jim Bissell."
Vicky licked the spoon off from her cup of ice cream and remarked, "This is really good!"
"My boss worked really hard at making it that way."
"Well, you can tell your boss that you made at least one new fan of his work today."
"My boss. Is a woman."
"Oh. Sorry. You can tell her I'm a fan."
"I will, Vicky. You know I will."
Melanie Felony had taken a break from unpacking some of her boxes from her recent move to Metroburgh. Urban City had been a lot of fun to practice her evil ways, she had to admit, but something about it had ... well, lost its charm. When her cousin, Levi Evil, told her about Metroburgh and the antics of Admiral Anticrime, she decided that she would join him and maybe see what she could do about taking over the city.
She gazed up at the haze-covered moon and recalled her conversation with him from before she moved out here.
"So are all of your evil villains men?"
"Mostly. We've got a villainess or two, but they kind of keep to themselves."
"That's too bad. We need more women getting into the evil sciences."
"Why don't you move out here? I think I saw a lair or two on the market and, well, I've got the beginnings of a plan underway but I don't know how to make the best use of it..."
"Now THAT sounds intriguing, Levi. Tell me more."
"Well, I've invented this machine that'll control the weather of the entire city."
"Awesome! So how're you going to use it?"
"That's exactly it. I'm not sure. Let's say I plunge the city into a heatwave. Do I just demand money from city hall to turn it off, or what do I do?"
"Well, I'd take advantage of the heat and maybe get some people to... That's it! Don't demand anything. I've been working on a little something that ... Let's just say that I need to make a few tweaks to it and we can get everyone to do our bidding. The heat'll just kind of push them towards doing it."
She snickered in memory of that conversation. She was able to purchase the empty evil lair in two weeks and here she was, unpacking boxes, waiting for her henchman to return from his first day of trying to deploy her evil invention. She gazed out of her dungeon window at the yellowish moon that hung low in the sky.
The silence of the night was shattered when Hugh's noisy jalopy pulled into the driveway and he parked near the entrance to her lair.
"Well, Hugh, how'd it go today?"
"I think it went really well. Just before I closed up for the day, I think I got someone important in City Hall."
"She said her name was Vicky. Vicky Veenyveedy."
"Any idea who she is?"
"No clue. But she did tell me to see about getting a permit so I can keep selling my ice cream. And she loved it!"
"I'll have to call my cousin to find out who she is. If she's powerful enough, we may have already found our way in."
Melanie's evil laugh echoed off of the walls as Hugh's sneering snicker underscored her own mania.
Levi Evil kept pacing around in his own lair, staring at the weather machine that had kept the people in Metroburgh sweltering in unnatural heat for nearly two weeks. The news reports of electric outages, deaths, and just general crankiness that stemmed from it gave him a sense of satisfaction that little else could.
Except, of course, taking responsibility for the weather. And, now that he thought of it, the fact that he was thankful for powering his lair with solar energy, so he could stay nice and cool in his air conditioned home while everyone else suffered. Okay, so the chaos throughout Metroburgh, his foresight in being both green and evil ("greevil"), and his eventual claims of responsibility gave him a full sense of satisfaction.
He stopped and stared at one dial on his machine. A slight turn to this dial, he mused, would only make things worse for the citizenry -- and better for him by extension. He could cause a huge thunderstorm to cover the entire city, flooding the streets. And then, just as suddenly, stop it with no real break in the temperature. That would be sweet.
He called his henchman to join him in the lair. "Smedley!"
"Yes, sir?" the drawling henchman called back to him from the top of the stairs.
"Come down here right away!"
"Of course, sir!" Smedley hobbled down the stairs and stood, hunch-backed, by his master's side.
"Should I make it rain?"
"Would that break the heat, sir?"
"Then I say, do it, sir!"
"Do you ever tell me not to do something I'm considering?"
"Not since I warned you against eating an Oreo cookie dipped in Velveeta, sir!"
"And I ate that anyway, didn't I?"
"Yes, sir! Fortunately, you didn't need a trip to the hospital but I was worried about you for a while there, sir!"
"All right. I'll make it storm for ten minutes."
Both the villain and his henchman started laughing hysterically.
The evil villain was about to turn the dial on his machine when his phone rang. "Blast it! Who's on the phone, Smedley?"
"It's Melanie Felony, sir," said Smedley, reporting the information on the caller ID.
Levi sighed and said, "Give me the phone."
His manservant did as requested. The villain raised the phone to his ear and said, "Hello?"
Melanie, on the other end of the conversation, asked, excitedly, "Do you know who Vicky Veenyveedy is?"
Without losing his composure, Levi said, "And how're you doing today, Melanie?"
"Sorry. I'm just kind of ... excited and, well..."
"I guessed that. Now just calm down. What's going on?"
"I think my latest invention might've ensnared someone who works at City Hall. So I'm just wondering if you know who she is."
"What was her name again?"
"Vicky Veenyveedy. I'm not sure how that's spelled."
"I think I've heard that name. I think she works for the mayor. She's like his personal assistant or something."
"Ooooh! That's good. I wonder what's the best way I can use her now...."
"Do you need me to come over?"
Levi hung up the phone and stared at his weather machine. He could fuck with the weather later, he mused. This was far more interesting. "Smedley, I think I want to go over to my cousin's house. Is my bike ready?"
"Yes, sir. I can have it here within five minutes."
Smedley disappeared down a corridor, leaving the evil scientist to walk around his weather machine. Changing the weather right now, however appealing, was just not a good idea. He let out a deep sigh after one successful circumnavigation of the device.
"Are you all right, sir?" Smedley asked.
"I'm fine," said Levi, who smiled broadly as his motorcycle shone in the dim light of his lair. He admired it from the side, smiling at the white letters painted on the side, which read MOTORPSYCHO. "I don't know how long I'm going to be. I'm going to visit my cousin. You just hold down the fort, okay?"
"Yes, sir," said his servant as the villain jumped on his bike and roared out the entrance that was designed specifically for the motorcycle-bound villain.
Within minutes, Melanie Felony was welcoming Levi Evil into her home. She instructed Hugh to hide her cousin's motorcycle, lest it draw attention to the fact that he was here.
He looked around at the boxes neatly stacked along some of the walls. "I see you've still got some unpacking to do."
"Yeah. It's the one thing about moving I hate."
"But other than that?"
"I love it here. You can practically taste the fear in the air. It's invigorating." She began to rub her hands up and down her sides. "Intoxicating. Maybe even a little bit ..." she lowered her voice to a whisper and added, "Erotic."
Both villains began to laugh.
"So how did you capture the mayor's assistant?" Levi asked, breaking up the laughter.
"I sent Hugh out to sell ice cream."
"Well, yeah, ice cream. But it's got a ... special ingredient, if you know what I mean," she said with a snicker.
"What kind of special ingredient?"
She said nothing, but instead turned on her heels and brought him deeper into her lair. Tacked to one wall was a large map of Metroburgh.
Levi immediately began staring at it. "The 'You Are Here' pin is a nice touch," he said after a short while.
"I thought so. Now check this out!" She retrieved her phone from her lab coat and began tapping a few spots on her screen. Immediately, a series of laser lights pointed at different spots on the map.
"Everyone who had at least two bites of my ice cream. That's where they are."
"You put a tracking device in the ice cream?" he asked, noting that some of the red laser dots were moving around the map.
"Not only that. Hang on a sec while I get it started." She tapped a few more points on the screen of her phone. "Oh, and you might want to move away from where you're standing."
Before he could ask her what she meant, the floor started to shake and, less than a foot from where he stood, a large marble phallus-shaped object began to ascend from beneath them, into the lair.
"Is that ... a giant dildo?" Levi quickly moved away from the rising column.
"Hugh thought it looked like that too. It's an obelisk, you pervert! Why do all men automatically assume things are sexual in nature?"
"Um, maybe because all things are? Okay, fine. It's not a dildo. So what's it do?"
"Hang on a sec. I don't really feel like summoning all of the people I caught. How about just the ten closest people? That fair?"
"Um... I guess."
She tapped a few more spots on her phone. The phone beeped three times and a low whirring noise came from the tip of the obelisk. After ten seconds, a spray of light emitted from the top of the structure.
Levi began to chuckle silently. Melanie saw this and rolled her eyes.
"They should be here within five minutes."
"I can't wait..."
Vicky decided that, before she returned to her apartment, she'd go to her favorite local dinette, Jake's Steaks, for dinner. As she parked her car, she thought about the irony behind the fact that, with the ice cream she had bought before she got in her car, she was eating dessert before her dinner.
She sat down at the bar and glanced over at the man sitting two seats away from her. She smiled at him and said, "I probably shouldn't tell my mother what I'm doing."
"What? Eating a steak sandwich?" the man said in response.
"Well, that's all right. But I had some ice cream before I got here. So she wouldn't like it if she knew I ate dessert before dinner."
"Me too! There was a guy selling it from a cart near city hall. I've got to say, it was good."
"Yeah... What flavor did you try?"
"Strawberry. It was to die for."
"I had the chocolate."
"I hope that guy comes back. I'd buy ice cream every day there. Even after this heat wave breaks."
"Yeah. I agree." She decided it wasn't worth it to point out that he needed a vendor's license to be selling it.
He took a bite of his sandwich, wiped his mouth with his napkin and said, "By the way. I'm Wally. Wally Harvbanger."
She shook his hand. "Vicky."
"Nice to meet you, Vicky. Maybe we'll see each other by that ice cream vendor."
"Maybe." She bit into her sandwich just as the signal from Melanie's lair reached her. She dropped her food to the floor.
The barmaid saw this and noted that both Vicky and Wally had since fallen off of their chairs and were curled up in a fetal position on the floor. She screamed. "Help! Someone help! Are they ... are they all right?"
Before anyone could act to either help the two customers or to calm down the barmaid, both Vicky and Wally stood up, their faces expressionless.
"Are you two all right?" asked the barmaid.
Neither one of them said anything or even registered that she was in a state of panic and incredulity. They simply turned and walked stiffly towards the front door of the restaurant.
"Hey! Just because you got sick, that doesn't mean you don't have to pay your bills!"
The two customers under the control of Metroburgh's newest evil scientist just kept moving, oblivious to the commotion they had just created.
The waitress looked around, caught the manager's eye, and nodded her head. She knew just what to do.
She walked over to the phone that hung on the wall, picked up the receiver, and pushed a single button. After a moment, she spoke into the receiver, "Hello, operator? Yes, I need to report a problem. Can you please get a message to Admiral Anticrime?"
Vicky, Wally, and eight other people summoned by Melanie Felony filed their way into the villainess's lair.
Levi, who had been sitting on a sofa, watched in amazement as the ten people lined up in front of the map of Metroburgh and stood motionless, as though awaiting some form of military inspection. "Nice job, Melanie."
"Thank you, Levi. I worked hard to get that." She summoned her servant. "Hugh! Can you please come here?"
Her servant appeared in a matter of moments.
"I was wondering if you recognize any of these ten people from your sales today."
"I recognize all ten of them."
"Do you know any names?"
He stepped closer to them all and looked them all in the blankly-staring eyes. "This one," he said, pointing to the woman in front of him. "That's Vicky Veenyveedy."
"Yes! Thank you, Hugh!" She pulled out her phone, tapped a few spots on it, and said, "Vicky Veenyveedy, take one step forward."
Vicky did as instructed.
"Do you work at City Hall, Vicky?"
"Yes." Vicky's voice lacked any emotion or intonation.
"What do you do there?"
"I'm Mayor Minor's personal secretary."
"So if anyone needed to meet with the mayor, they'd need to go through you?"
Melanie looked at Levi. "What should I have her do next?"
Levi took the phone from his cousin's hand and said, "Take off all of your clothes, Vicky."
Melanie scoffed at Levi but didn't stop her slave from doing as instructed. Scowling at her cousin, she looked at him and asked, "Why is it that so many men, when they find they can literally get someone to do anything, the first thing they think of is sex?"
Levi shrugged, admiring the thin form of the now-naked woman before him.
"I'll give you a real show," Melanie snickered as she pulled the phone out of his hands. Speaking into the phone itself, she said, "You're feeling very aroused, Vicky. I want you to pick one of the men who came here with you, rip off his clothes, push him to the ground, and fuck him senseless. Do you understand?"