by Starsky Hutch 76 and Doc Quantum
“Is this really a good idea?” Faust said.
“She’s my friend!” Savant said sternly.
“She’s annoying,” Faust said, returning her stern gaze.
“If you’re going to make us go trudging through Slaughter Swamp for one of your picks, then the least you can do is concede to one of mine!”
“We’re facing a team with Superboy on it. We’ll need someone with brute strength. He’ll bring that. What will she bring?”
“I’ll tell you what she’ll bring.”
Savant was interrupted by a high-pitched squeal as a colorful figure began somersaulting into the room. “Wheee!” She landed in a nearly impossible position.
“Hello, Dollface,” Faust sneered.
“Hiya, Fausty!” Dollface explained. “Still wearing dresses, huh?”
“It’s a robe,” he said between gritted teeth.
“My dress is prettier,” she said, hopping to her feet and pirouetting to show it off. “I just got it.”
“Yes, that is a new look for you, isn’t it?” Faust said coldly.
Dollface held onto the hem of her very short babydoll dress and gave a brief curtsey.
“You look adorable,” Savant said. “I love what you’ve done with your hair,” she said, reaching out to touch the tightly wound golden curls. “And the ribbon’s a nice touch.”
“She looks like Goldilocks,” Faust said.
“Hey Fausty, why don’t you use one of yer spells to make two more of you?” Dollface said, somersaulting to land behind him. “That way we could play Goldilocks and the three boors.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and somersaulted away.
“Touché, Dollface, touché,” he said, watching her as she spun around the room, giggling. Savant clapped her hands at her friends antics.
It was close to midnight, and Faust realized they had better hurry up. Easily hopping a fence leading into what was once Cyrus Gold’s property, they landed in a dark corner of Tyler Chemical’s Slaughter Swamp Waste Disposal Grounds.
“Eewww, this place reeks!” shouted Dollface.
“Shhh!” whispered Faust angrily. “Be quiet. There are guards about, and the spell of invisibility I’ve placed on us doesn’t hide our voices.”
“Oh, boy, you’re too serious,” Dollface whispered as she hop-skipped around him a few times. Even Faust’s normally cool exterior couldn’t help but to break out with a smile at her silly antics.
“OK, Dollface, stop it. We don’t have much time,” he said finally.
The three of them walked into what was once the backyard of Cyrus Gold’s small manor. Several gravestones marked the passage of various members of the Gold family into the hereafter. None of them were recent.
“Here we are,” said Savant as she spotted Alex Olsen’s lonely gravestone. “He died when he was our age. I hope he’ll be grateful for us bringing him back,” she said coyly.
Faust said nothing but took out a spray can of fluorescent green paint and began drawing a wide circle around the gravesite. He then filled that in with a pentagram.
“Whatcha’ doin’?” asked Dollface impatiently.
“If you must know, I’m about to resurrect the dead, so please sit down outside of the circle and be quiet.”
Dollface looked down at the muddy ground. There was no way she was going to sit down on this chemical-infested soil. She looked at Savant, who hovered in midair using telekinesis, and decided to just squat there. “Fine.”
Faust knelt before the pentagram, having lit five candles at each tip of the five-pointed star. He began to chant. It was hard to discern at first, but eventually it became louder. Faust’s voice seemed different, somehow, as if he was speaking through a tube.
Fear crept into Dollface’s heart. For a psychotic, she was used to the bizarre, but this was far beyond anything she’d experienced so far.
Savant, who until now had kept her eyes closed, opened them and began to feel stirrings in the ground below them. She decided to help them along.
The soil over the gravesite began to loosen and rise, spiraling into a vortex. The vortex began to whirl faster and faster as more soil began to rise and shoot off into the air. Finally, a cheap, rotted wooden coffin rose from the ground and stopped before them.
Faust began to chant louder and louder as the vortex began to make more and more noise. There seemed to be other voices chanting with him. But who could really tell in all the din?
Suddenly, a hand exploded from the side of the coffin, then the other. And seconds later, the corpse of what was once Alex Olsen smashed out of its coffin, shattering it to bits. It shook mud, soil, and rotted plant-life off of it. The coffin had obviously been a cheaply made box with no protection from the elements whatsoever.
Now the vortex was a mass of soil and mud swirling about the dark figure within. The din seemed to come to a climax and then died away, leaving the soil to come to rest back on the ground.
By now Faust had huge beads of sweat coming down on his forehead. He looked at where Alex Olsen’s corpse would be and saw only a huge pile of soil upon his grave.
“Kid Grundy, arise!”
A large figure emerged from the mass of soil. In the darkness, it was hard to see it clearly, but the reflection of the moonlight showed it to be humanlike, with pale white skin and about the size of a taller-than-average man. Cyrus Gold’s son was reborn.
Gotham city, midnight:
The truck pulled up outside the warehouse and came to a stop with the metal-on-metal sound of screeching brakes. The driver stepped outside, looking around furtively, and walked around to the back, unlocked the door, and slid it open.
Another man walked up and said, “What’chu got for us this time, Flannery?”
“A big high fashion score! Reebok high-tops with the velcro fasteners. White leather and black leather. People are paying big money for ’em at the malls. They’ll really eat ’em up for the price we can give it to ’em for, considerin’ we got no overhead.”
“Word is Nike’s getting pretty popular,” the other man said.
“Nike? Har! Nike’s for losers. It’ll never replace Reebok. That’s like saying IBM’ll get bigger’n Apple.” He reached into the truck and pulled out a large box.
Suddenly, a blur whizzed by, and the box disappeared from his hands. “What the hell was that?” Flannery said, whipping out a gun.
“I’ve been hearing about stuff like this happening. Lets move the rest of this stuff and get outta here.”
“What’d ya get, Mitch?” Stretch said to the blur as it approached him and began slowing down.
“I think it’s shoes,” the blur said, beginning to take the appearance of a teenage boy. As he slowed to a stop, his features revealed hair that was shaved to just a shock of royal blue on the top of his head and multiple piercings in his ears. He was wearing a Misfits T-shirt with the sleeves cut off and a chain as a necklace fastened with a padlock.
“Cool,” Stretch said. “I’ve about worn a hole in these,” he said, lifting up his shoe to reveal a worn spot in the sole. “You got any elevens in there?”
“Let me see,” Mitch said, sitting down the box to dig through it. “Yeah. You want black or white?”
“Black,” Stretch said. “Ain’t you gonna keep a pair for yourself?”
“Nah. I’ll stick with my combat boots. They’re holding up, and I’d rather have the money I’d get for sellin’ the shoes.”
“I don’t see how you can run in them things,” Stretch said, gesturing to Mitch’s boots as he slipped on his new shoes.
“Well, when we get a running shoe truck, I’ll get some. In the meantime, I have to take what I can get. What’d you get today, anyway?”
“A few watches,” Stretch said, pulling them out of his pocket.
“That one’s a Rolex!” Mitch exclaimed, pointing to one of them. “I can’t believe they don’t feel anything when you slip them off their wrists!”
“You just gotta have the right touch,” Stretch said with a smile as he made his fingers suddenly stretch, growing long and thin.
“You think Mookie’ll give us anything good for that Rolex?” Mitch asked.
“That no-good cheat?” Stretch said. “I doubt it. And we’ll be scroungin’ around again after that.”
“Yeah,” Mitch said miserably. “And we’ll probably have to sell these shoes for nothin’, too, since they were already hot to begin with. We never get a break.”
“That buddy of yours is doing pretty good, ain’t he?” Stretch said. “I ain’t seen him around here, lately.”
“Jason Todd? Yeah. He got some rich old dude to take him in. Mr. Moneybags Dick Grayson. You know, the one everyone thinks had all them facelifts.”
“Yeah,” Stretch laughed as he lit a cigarette. “You think there’s somethin’ funny there?”
“Are you kidding?” Mitch said. “Jason was as straight as they come. He didn’t drink or toke or nothin’. He got by on liftin’, just like you an’ me. Besides, Grayson’s got this hot young girlfriend now. I figure Jason’s just the luckiest guy in the world, is all.”
“I wish we could get a break like that,” Stretch said, taking a drag off his cigarette.
“Are these the ones you were talking about?” Faust said, waving his hand over the giant crystal ball, which he used to watch the scene.
“Oh, yes,” Savant said. “Those are the ones I had in mind. With a little work, they’ll make great additions to our team.”
Stretch and Mitch ducked behind the corner as the lost and bewildered tourist strolled by, intently gazing at his map and oblivious to the fact that he was being watched. “Let him get a little further away,” Mitch whispered.
“I know,” Stretch said. “It ain’t like I never done this before.”
Stretch extended his arm, and it began to elongate as it reached toward the back pocket of the tourist, passing the opening to another alley.
Suddenly, Dollface appeared out of the next alley, bent backwards at a ninety-degree angle at the knees. “Limbo! Ha-ha-ha!” she cried jubilantly as she passed under his arm.
“What the hell?” Stretch cursed.
The tourist turned to see the commotion behind him and broke into a sprint.
“Dammit!” Stretch cursed. “Get after him, Mitch!”
The delinquent speedster started to take off after the tourist when Dollface called out, “Hey, Savant! Give me a lift! It’s piggyback time!” She suddenly became airborne and landed on Mitch’s shoulders. “Peek-a-boo!” she laughed, covering his eyes with her hands.
“Hey! Cut it out!” Mitch shouted, missing the tourist and careening toward a row of garbage cans.
“Wha–? The freak can fly?” Stretch gasped. “Hang on Mitch! I’m on my way!” His legs stretched as he attempted to bridge the distance between them. Suddenly, he seemed to hit a barrier that stopped him short and made his body return to normal proportions.
“What’s going on here?” Stretch shouted in dismayed rage as he watched his friend attempting to climb out of the garbage cans, and their intended target continuing to run.
Suddenly, the tourist simply collapsed and began to slide toward them. His wallet slid out of his pocket and seemed to float in the air toward him. A gorgeous blonde in a green minidress with flowing sleeves, blue go-go boots, a golden tiara, and a long ponytail suddenly appeared out of seemingly nowhere, holding the wallet. She began to walk toward him with a stride few supermodels could match. “Lose something?” said Savant, holding the wallet out toward him.
“Hell, yeah!” Stretch said indignantly. “What the hell game you playing at, babe?”
“Well, we’ve seen what you can do,” continued Savant, “so we thought it only fair that we show you what we can do.”
“Yeah!” Dollface said, skipping around. “You know, you show us yours, we show you ours!”
Mitch stood up, shaking the dirt and garbage from his clothing. “You–!”
“Sor-ryyy,” Dollface said, holding her hands behind her back and rocking back and forth coquettishly. Mitch suddenly found himself disarmed. A loon she might have been, but she was still quite pretty.
“What’s this all about?” Stretch said. “And who are you, anyway?”
“I am Savant, and my friend is Dollface. We’re putting together a team to make our strike against the JSA and a name for ourselves,” Savant said. “Knowing what we do about you, we figured you’d have your own reasons for wanting to get back at some heroes, don’t you, Stretch O’Brien and Mitch Mercury?”
Stretch scowled. So they seemed to know where they came from, but so what? “We might have personal reasons for not liking heroes, but we’re not crazy enough to try and take on the JSA.”
“Yeah!” Mitch said. “Forget that! The shirt may say Suicidal Tendencies, but that don’t mean I got any!”
“We don’t, either,” Savant said. “The way we’ll strike at them is through their protégés, the Junior JSA.”
“Just the four of us?!” Mitch exclaimed.
“No,” Savant said. “We also have a magic user named Faust and a strongman named Kid Grundy on our team. And you’ll be well-rewarded for your participation.”
“Sounds good,” Stretch said, taking the wallet from her. “Count us in. Those punks won’t know what hit them.”