The Hastings Watchman 2: Rise of the Hipster

This Halloween the only thing scarier than ghosts and goblins are the Hipsters! In this sequel to the original short story, election season is bringing out the worst in Vancouver. A new romance for Jake! Secrets of the Watchman’s origin revealed! And a weapon that makes people’s heads  explode!

Written by Gregory Patrick Travers

Ah, Halloween–it’s the time of year where girls dressing like Homer Street hookers is considered festive, where eggs become artillery for angst ridden adolescence terrorizing the city on skateboards and scooters, and where the “don’t take candy from strangers” practice literally walks out the door for one night of magical hedonistic fun…

What’s up bitches! Jake Dunlop here, it’s been two years since we last spoke but I’m BACK with another butt-clenching tale from the infamous Hastings Hero. That’s right! The man in the bandana, the Watchman himself, returned to save the city of Vancouver from peril once again from an evil dick known to many of the city’s residents as only, The Hipster.

Not too much has changed in the two years since we left off; I’m still a reporter for the Sun (Woop! Woop!), I also finally convinced Diana to go out on a date with me but after a few of those she ended it pretty abruptly. She said I was “detached” from reality, whatever that means. I think it was because I chose cartoons over sex a couple times…What? They were new episodes!

It was October and in addition to being a month of loose morality, it also happened to be election month and while most people can choose to ignore this tedious time in Canadian life, I, as a reporter, was paid to care. Everyday some new piece of candidate gossip flooded the news room, conservative this and liberal that–it drove me fucking nuts. I tried my best to become numb to it. To me, if you’re a politician, no matter what party you’re in, you are a douche. You have to be a douche, really; your whole job depends on manipulation, telling people what they want to hear, looking like the person they want to see and being able to sway the topic at hand, whatever it may be, in your favor and out of your competitions. Meanwhile, the promises made to the people are empty because the time in office is mainly spent focusing on the agenda of the big corporations who funded their campaign. Corporations like that which belonged to Axel Benjamin, the king of the douche.

He was still rich as fuck by the way. By now everyone had forgotten about his involvement in the Hooded Killer scandal and he was shaking hands and kissing babies as if it never even happened. He was a financier for the Conservative campaign in Vancouver and off limits for scrutiny being that the Sun was a widely known right wing publication. If he was high on meth, raping babies in the middle of Robson–You wouldn’t hear about it in the pages of the Sun. Not during election season anyway.

So you can imagine how super stoked I was when Mr.Dennis, Diana’s father and my boss, assigned me to cover the Conservative rally down at Victory Square which was hosted and sponsored by Axel Industries.

“Come on, do I have to?” I whined. “That guy is a dick.”

“I don’t have time to argue with you today,” He said behind a stack of papers. “Please, Jake…Just get it done.”

“Okay, Chief. Just for you, I’ll go.”

“I’m flattered. Now fuck off, I’m busy.”

I left him to his work, closing the office door behind me as I made my exit. I walked over to Diana’s desk and sat on the corner of it as she was finishing up a phone call. She hung up and looked at me, “Fuck off, Jake. I’m busy.”

“Geese. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?”

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to let you know that I will be covering the Conservative rally at Victory Square today, which means my night is looking pretty free if you wanted to get some dinner with this reporter.”

She laughed, running her hands through her dark hair. “I’ll have to gracefully decline, I already have a date tonight. In fact, that was just him I was talking to on the phone.”

“Oh, he can use a phone? He’s a smart cookie this one. Is he the “attached” to reality type you’re so drawn to?”

“Very much so. He’s a politician.”

“Fuck off…”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing…”

“He’ll actually be the speaker at the rally you’re going to. He’s the candidate for our region.”

“What’s his name?”

“You should know his name. What kind of newsman are you?”

“Obviously not a good one. I thought Stephen Harper was the conservative candidate.”

“Do you know how politics even work? We elect the party, not the person. Different regions have different candidates and those people make up the seats in parliament. Whoever has the most seats voted into parliament becomes the elected leaders.”

“That’s fantastic stuff…So what’s his name?”

“Georgio Mochella.”

“Georgio? That’s a stupid name.”

“Armani had it.”

Armani had it,” I said, mimicking her in an animated rendition of how stupid I thought she sounded.

She rolled her eyes, “Okay, you’ve wasted enough of my time. Bye little man.”

I left her to her business and headed out into the city. I liked to complain to Mr.Dennis when he sent me out on the field but I did that mainly just to fuck with him. For some reason seeing him stress out put a smile on my face. Truthfully, I enjoyed any chance I got to be set free in the beautiful landscape of Vancouver. The warmth of summer had recently left us and a cool fall breeze had taken its place. Short shorts and tank tops had been replaced with yoga pants and Uggs, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes seeped through Yaletown as the leaves began to fall and pictures of ghosts and goblins were starting to appear in the shop windows.  When I arrived at Victory Square they were in the midst of setting up sound and lights and the press had begun to arrive. I had some time to kill so, being that I was running dangerously low on my weed supply, I decided to head over to the Cambie and see Johnny at his post.

“What’s up, what’s up, my ninja?” I said, putting my hand up for a high five.

He nodded his head, his hands remaining firmly buried in his sweater pockets. “What’ll it be?”

“An eighth, please.”

He reached out and handed me a Ziploc bag in return for a pair of twenties.

“Hey, you’re a reporter, right?”

“Fuck yeah,” I said.

“Do you know anything about what happened at PharmCorp last night?”

PharmCorp was the billion dollar pharmaceutical lab that took the place of the old Army Navy on Hastings. It was part of Axel Benjamin’s attempt to “clean up” east Hastings. After the whole Hooded Killer incident, Axel used the construction of PharmCorp to his advantage by adding a methadone clinic for addicts to receive clean needles and treatment for their illnesses. An act of kindness like that put any question of his character out of the public mind.

“No, what happened?”

“Not sure. I saw a couple unmarked cars fishing around for about an hour before they left. I found it a little suspicious. ”

“Haven’t heard much, but I’ll look into it.”

“Do I get a reward for the tip?”

“Not today, Johnny. Not today.”

I went back up to the street where by now the press had set up, the podium was erect and the speaker, Diana’s honey bunny, Georgio Mochella, was already in the midst of his speech. They set up right by the remembrance day monument for the war vets, it looks good for the cameras that way. Behind Georgio was playboy Axel Benjamin in a black and white striped suit, looking like fucking Beetlejuice or something. As per usual he had about ten pounds of lube in his hair and that shit eating grin of entitlement pasted on his face. Beside him, two older men dressed impeccably well and beside them, this absolute sweetheart of a girl who had me locked on target from the second I laid eyes on her. She had this extremely cute, dorky thing about her. I liked that though, I thought simplicity was sexy as fuck. I was surprised though, that I was so taken by a blonde. I’m usually a dead sucker for a brunette, like Diana, but this girl had it. Whatever it was, she was glowing in it. Though I kept telling myself to focus on Georgio, my focus would only last briefly before it drifted over to this cute blonde clumsily brushing the wind blown hair out of her face. But I suppose I caught the usual conservative jargon; “We’re going to balance the budget with low spending!” , “We’ll create jobs with low corporate taxes!”  , “We’re going to keep this country safe and secure from terrorists threats against our freedom!”

And with every exclamation point came a thunderous applause from the crowd of blue-bloods. The fact he was so adored only made me more jealous he’d most likely be sticking it to Diana later in the evening. In the midst of cursing Georgio under my breath, I turned my head to notice a large crowd coming across the street from the Vapor Lounge, looking rowdy as fuck and carrying signs with anti-right slogans like, “Adolf Harper!”, “C-51 is slavery!”, “Weed is not a crime!” and I think I even saw one that said, “Harper eats babies!” In a moment, the whole crowd at the rally had turned their attention to the dozen or so protesting stoners with red eyes and blank stares like something out of Dawn of the Dead. These hipsters were led by an ultra-hipster, like, the Hipster of all hipsters. He had long greasy hair, glasses that I’m betting were not prescription, the trademark hipster beard and fully tattooed arms under a sleeveless Guns n’ Roses shirt–new, but faded purposely to make it look old and worn. His pants were a pumpkin colored pair of corduroy’s and his boots were made of some kind of reptile skin complete with actual spurs. Needless to say, the Hipster had our full attention…

The rally had officially been hijacked. One of the Hipster’s cronies holding a small speaker handed the Hipster a microphone with one hand while he turned on the amp with the other. There was a brief shriek of feedback and then the Hipster spoke, “Good people of Vancouver! Do not believe the lies told to you by this Hoodlum of Harper! He is just another soldier in the regime that has plagued this country for the last decade! I bet he tells you that Bill C-51 is for your “protection”, that we need to spy on Canadians in order to stop the “terrorist threat against our freedom”. But did you know that you’re more likely to be killed by a moose than a terrorist?”

“Yeah, your more likely to die from a moose!” Yelled one of the sign wielding protesters.

“Yeah, you idiots!” Yelled another.

One of the conservative supporters yelled, “Go home, you’re high!” and everyone on the right and even some reporters started to laugh. The Hipsters face went red.

“Typical right wing ignorance! The conservatives want you to believe that cannabis is just a street drug that makes you stupid because they believe in the privatization of the prison system that profits from sending innocent people to jail! The Conservatives want to deny the proof that cannabis oil cure cancer so that their investors like Axel Benjamin and PharmCorp can make record profits selling cancer treatments that don’t work!”

“Fuck PharmCorp!” Yelled a protester.

“Weed cures cancer, you idiots!” yelled another.

Axel Benjamin cut in front of Mochella, who was at a loss for words, and spoke on the microphone, “Sir, to speak of PharmCorp in such a way as you have is a falsehood. The fact is that PharmCorp is on the verge of many astronomical advances in the field of medical science and they do it all with the goal of making life better for the Canadian citizen. No one can testify to this more than our new Head of Research, Dr. Susan Drake…”

Axel extended his hand to the dorky blonde I had been eyeing. She waved and smiled uncomfortably. The conservative supporters whistled and cheered.

“What good are medical breakthroughs when they are only allotted to the rich?” The Hipster asked. “This election vote NDP and end the decade long rape of our country!”

“NDP! Whoo!” yelled a voice behind him.

“Weed cures cancer, you idiots!” yelled another.

The crowd marched off, probably to get some munchies at the Party Barn or something, and those of us left stood around scratching our heads. Mochella finished his speech but it was clear even he was trying to piece together what just had happened. I didn’t let it bother me too much, people say all kinds of dumb stuff when they’re high. Unfortunately the press doesn’t care if your high or not and judging by the thumbs frantically typing away on their Blackberry’s, it was clear the Hipster would be the next piece of political gossip flying around the newsrooms.

While the other reporters were busy doing that, I thought i would use my time more wisely by taking this opportunity to interview that cute blonde doctor…for, y’know, info and stuff…

I walked to where she stood at the arch of the hill next to the podium they were taking down and introduced myself, “Dr. Susan Drake? I’m Jake Dunlop, I’m a reporter. I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time?”

She brushed her bangs from her eyes, “Oh, uh, sure…”

“That guy was pretty nutty, eh?”

“Yeah, weird…So, um, why do you want to talk to me?”

“Well, I’m doing an article on the rally and I thought if I could find out why PharmCorp chooses to be such a large campaign contributor to this party…If I could find out why someone like you believes in the conservative party, I think it could give a more honest look at politics for young readers who feel out of touch with the system.”

She thought about it for a second and then said, “Well, Axel Industries is partners with PharmCorp, they fund a lot of our research. I’m here in place of my father because, well, he’s dead. I’m not really too political, but Axel asked me to be here and he pays the bills so…” Then she caught herself mid-sentence, “Shit–I mean–don’t write that down, I don’t want to get in any trouble. It would probably be best if you didn’t print any of that.”

“Well I would hate to see you get fired on my account. Although, you can’t deny what a juicy little headline that would be, “Conservative main investor secretly politically apathetic.” That could be a huge blow to the party’s reputation.We’d sell a bunch of papers, I’d get a promotion, maybe move into a bigger condo…I’m really going out on a limb here for you.But, why don’t we go for dinner tonight and we’ll try this again. It’ll give you some time to think of a reason why the Conservatives are just the best.”

She gave me a half smile, “Are you…blackmailing me for a date?”

I laughed, “That depends. Do you find it charming or creepy?”

Now she laughed, “I’m still trying to figure that one out…But okay, Jake. How about Guilt & Co. at nine.”

“Guilt and Co. Nine. You got it.”

“Okay, Jake I’ll see you there,” she said before she walked off, obviously under the spells of my charm.

I stood and watched her pretty little bum walk away. I was impressed with myself, I won’t lie. But since no one was going to be buying papers with articles on my skills with the ladies, my next course of action was to do some hardcore sleuthing and find out just who this Hipster guy was.

From what I knew so far, he was pro-NDP and had a lot of pothead supporters so I spent the rest of the day between the BCMP headquarters and dispensaries in the area trying to find answers. It turned out he was a pretty popular guy. His real name was Simon Baker, people knew him from different cannabis rallies and activists groups. They said he was like a preacher; more often than not you would find him surrounded by peers giving speeches on socialist philosophy like some sort of tattooed Jesus. But of all the people that knew and talked to Simon Baker, no one had any information on his whereabouts before the last two years. It seemed he just appeared out of nowhere.

I thought maybe I could find more answers at the NDP office in Burnaby. The lady who greeted me had been very warm and kind until I asked her about Simon Banks and told her what happened at the rally.

” We’ve been getting calls about him all day. He volunteered with us for a while but he was asked to leave about a month ago. He was crazy, getting into fights all the time…He felt the party wasn’t left enough. A real violent socialist, that one. If he is going around causing problems waving the NDP flag, I assure you, we knew nothing of it.”

I thanked the lady and left. I had enough information to write my article. I got home, showered, changed and headed over to Guilt & Co. to meet Susan. When I arrived she was sitting at a lounge table looking like a sweet little angel over the candle light. I walked passed the jazz band jamming out and their soulful black singer gripping the patrons’ attention as she did so well and sat down at the lounge table with Susan.

“You came!” She said, almost surprised.

“Yeah, sorry I’m late. I was standing outside trying to decide if I should turn around and run or not.”

She stared at me blankly.

“I’m kidding,” I said. “You look amazing by the way. I never had a doctor that looked like you before. All my doctors were old guys with low monotone voices and white stuff at the side of their mouth.”

She laughed.

“Rich and pretty,” I continued. “Life must be tough, huh?”

“Well, there’s more to a book than it’s cover,” she said. “Everyone’s got a story.”

“And that’s why I’m here.” I said. “I want to know everything. So how did it come to be that someone as young as you is so entangled with the likes of political parties and Axel Benjamin?”

“I’m not that young. I’m 35.”

“Get the fuck out of here…Were you cryogenicly frozen or something?”

She laughed. I felt good, I got a couple laughs right off the bat, it helped me loosen up a bit. The waitress took my order and Susan told me her story. Her father died three years ago in an explosion at the old PharmCorp building. He left her everything, his research, his shares and majority control of his company–everything.

“So,” I said, “This whole campaign trail is, what, a necessary evil to appease your stockholders?”

“Off the record? Yes.” She replied with a smile, “The only reason I am involved with politics is politics. What about you? Are you political?”

Before I could make up a lie about how totally political I was, there was a loud frightened scream at the front of the restaurant. The band stopped playing, the singer stopped singing and the waitress stopped dead in her tracks, tray full of drinks and all. Three gun men stood at the front entrance holding shotguns and wearing Stephen Harper Halloween masks.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!” The front man said from under his plastic mask. He fired a shot into the ceiling to show he wasn’t fucking around. The other two gunmen kept their weapons pointed at the patrons while the front man zig zagged through the lounge like a snake hunting its prey. His voice had a familiar tone, but when i saw the brown corduroy’s and the lizard skin boots it gave him away. It was the Hipster under that mask. I knew it.

 

“I’m here for Dr. Susan Drake!” shouted the man in the Harper mask. “Everybody co-operate and no one will get hurt. If anyone tries to intervene or call the police, you will be shot!”

Susan gasped, “Oh my god…”

“I won’t let him take you,” I whispered. But it was an empty promise. Before i had anytime to think of some heroic plan, the Hipster was standing over our table with his shotgun pointed directly at my face. I knew it was him, I could see his greasy hipster hair falling out the back of his mask.

“Bingo,” he said. He pulled Susan out of her seat by her arm and dragged her screaming through the dining room while the two other gunmen kept their shotguns in my face. I was helpless. In just a moment they were gone and the silent patrons, feeling safer now, began to chatter among themselves and break out their phones. I wasn’t about to see my date get kidnapped in front of my very eyes and do nothing, so i threw forty bucks on the table and ran out the door after them. As i ran up the front steps and out onto the lantern speckled street I saw a black Cadillac speeding away.

I started to run after it, but something grabbed me from behind and tackled me to the street. “Get the fuck off me!” I screamed as I struggled with my assailant. I managed to flip over onto my back and that’s when I saw him.

“Holy shit! It’s you!” I said.

The toque, the face covered in a black bandanna, the punk rock leather jacket…There’s only one guy i know with that ensemble…The Hastings Watchman!

“Are you working for them? Did you set her up?!” He growled in his low, raspy voice.

“No! I swear! We were just eating dinner and then–”

He cut me off, “Come with me.”

I got to my feet and followed him down the alley. When we turned the corner there was a white cube van parked by the fence. He threw me the keys.

“Get in, you’re driving,” He said.

I kinda laughed, “What is this, like, the Watchman Wagon or something?”

“I stole it,” he said plainly.

“Just fucking great,” I said, opening the door and getting in the front seat. “I’m going to jail tonight, aren’t I?”

I slammed it in reverse and we backed out of the alley onto the main roads, speeding in the same direction as the black Cadillac.

“I don’t see them,” I said. “I think we lost them.”

“Keep driving,” the Watchman replied. “I know where they’re going.”

“Who are these guys? What do they want with her?”

“About a week ago there was a break in at PharmCorp. It was made to look like a morphine grab, but there was another drug, a drug called Rejuvicell, that went missing. Dr. Susan Drake is the only one who knows the protocol for administering it properly. I believe the man who abducted her, a nutcase named Simon Banks, wants to administer the Rejuvicell on himself.”

“I knew it was the fucking Hipster!” I yelled. “He wore a mask, but I knew!…So then what? What happens? What does this Rejuvicell do?”

“Turn left here, get on the highway…It’s based on the salamanders ability to create new cells and replaced damaged ones. The purpose of the drug was to repair damaged or ruptured flesh and organs from the inside, without the need for surgery. If properly consumed, this would give the recipient the ability of extraordinary healing and strength. A man could recover from multiple gunshot wounds in a matter of minutes.”

“So in the hands of someone like the Hipster?”

“Bad fucking news,” he replied.

A chill ran down my spine and my foot pressed heavy on the gas. If we didn’t get to him before he dosed the Rejuvicell, this fight was going to get a lot more difficult.

The Watchman directed me to an industrial warehouse on the edge of Burnaby and Surrey, under the Port Mann Bridge. We pulled up with our headlights off and parked far enough away to keep hidden in the shadows.

“Okay, stay here,” said the Watchman.

“Fuck that!” I said, “That’s my date he’s got in there!”

“Stay!” He barked.

I huffed and sat back in my seat while he opened the passenger side door and vanished into the darkness. After about ten minutes of gritting my teeth I decided I was going in, with or without the blessings of the Watchman. If anything happened to Susan while i was just sitting around in a van doing nothing, I would never be able to forgive myself. I got out of the van and started to creep along the shadows, staying out of the light from the front lot. About twenty yards to the entrance I heard the sound of two gunshots coming from inside the warehouse. Then…silence.

I took two more steps forward when the front entrance window exploded open, shattering pieces of glass all over the pavement along with a large, dark blob that i quickly recognized to be the Watchman. I jumped back and hid behind a dip in the wall. The Hipster, now showing his face, stepped out of the shattered remains of the window, holding a shotgun at the Watchman and fired off two shots. BAM! BAM!

The Watchman fell to the floor…dead.

The Hipster let out a loud, “Ha!” and called over to his hoodlums, “Leave the girl! She has fulfilled her purpose! Now it is time for Phase 2!”

I watched carefully as they got back into the black Cadillac and drove away. As soon as the coast was clear I ran inside for Susan. She was standing over a dental chair next to what looked to be some sort of make-shift lab, like something you would see in a meth kitchen or a psycho rapist’s basement, and she was shaking and in tears.

I lightly touched her shoulder, “Susan, are you okay?”

“It’s happening again…” She mumbled, wiping away some tears from her cheek.

“What? What’s happening again?” I asked.

“I wish my father never even invented that stupid drug…he’d still be alive.”

“Wait,” I said, “Are you saying that the Rejuvicell had something to do with the explosion that killed your father?”

Her eyes went wide and she took a cautious step back, “H-H-How did you know what the drug is called? He never went public with his findings, no one knows about that but my father and me….And how did you know that I would be here? You aren’t working for those guys who kidnapped me, are you? Is that how they knew I would be at Guilt & Co.? Is it?!”

“No! Susan, I swear!” I went to reach for her but she pulled away.

“Get away from me!” She screamed. “Just leave me alone!”

She ran out of the garage and into the night. I knew she was too upset to be reasoned with so I let her go, I didn’t chase after her. I walked over to the shattered window in the front and looked out…The Watchman’s body was gone. It made me think back to that night I saw him get stabbed by the Hooded Killer. He somehow survived that time too. How could this guy take two shells to the chest?…and live?

I thought about everything that had happened in the last twenty four hours and who knows, maybe I was just tired and not thinking clearly, but i knew there was more to the story than i was seeing. Something deeper, a bigger picture and whatnot…I was determined to find out what that picture was.

But first, I needed to smoke a bowl and get some sleep. It had been one long ass fucking day….

**********************

“Jake! Get in here! You’re thirty minutes late!” Yelled the Chief from inside his office. “Are you trying to get fired?”

Diana sat at her desk with a grin across her face as she typed away on her computer. I gave her my best “Har, har har. I’m glad you find this so funny” face.

“No, sir,” I replied. “In fact when you hear what I have for you, I might just get a promotion. I was at the library all morning looking for information on Dr. Stewart Drake and–”

“Stewart Drake?” He said, “What do I care about a Stewart Drake? I told you to write an article on the Georgio Mochella rally!”

“With all due respect, sir…Fuck Georgio Mochella.”

The grin from Diana’s face dropped, replaced with a cold glare as I stepped passed her into Mr.Dennis’ office, closing the door behind me.

“I went to the rally,” I continued. “This Hipster by the name of Simon Banks came and hijacked it. At first, he seemed like an NDP supporter but I followed up with the local office and it turns out he was kicked out for being too left…and violent too. Then later in the night he showed up at Guilt & Co. and kidnapped my date!”

His head perked up from his desk, “You witnessed the kidnapping? The men in the Harper masks? I already have Donaldson on it. What do you have?”

I told him about the break in at PharmCorp and the stolen Rejuvicell, how the Hipster administered it to himself and shot the Watchman before he escaped. To my surprise, Chief wasn’t loving it as much as I thought he would.

“Are you serious?” He asked. “This is what you have for me? A secret drug that makes you invincible? A murder where the victim gets up and walks away? Do you have any proof of any of this? We’re not some cheap tabloid, you know! People expect us to actually back up what we publish! And the Watchman?! What’s he doing back after all this time? What’s he got to do with this?!”

“The doctor told me no one knew about the drug but her and her father…Dr. Stewart Drake, the PharmCorp Head of Research who died in an explosion a few years back. But maybe he didn’t die…Maybe, before the explosion he took the Rejuvicell and survived. I mean, why would the Watchman chase after this girl if she didn’t mean something to him? How is it possible that the Watchman keeps getting stabbed and shot—and lives?”

“So what are you saying?” Mr.Dennis asked.

“The Watchman is Stewart Drake—Susan’s father!”

“That’s all fine and well, Jake but what the FUCK does it have to do with elections?!”

“Uh…Nothing, I guess?”

“Exactly! Nothing!” He screamed. “Now I want an article on my desk before deadline, you hear me? No Watchman crap, no secret miracle serum—the conservative rally and that’s it, got it?!”

I smiled and agreed, then I left and closed the door behind me.

“Sounded pretty heated in there,” Diana said as I passed.

“Just another day at the office,” I replied.

“Aren’t you going to ask me how my date was?” She asked.

I spun around, “You know, Diana, did it ever occur to you that I might have other things on my mind other than you?”

I could tell she wasn’t expecting such a harsh return but fuck it, I didn’t have time for our usual flirty bullshit. I grabbed my laptop from my desk and left the building.

I went into the coffee spot on Hastings and Cambie to write the article and have a tea. I liked to sit by the window and watch people on the street go by. About an hour in, just as I was finishing up, I saw someone sit down at my table through the corner of my eye. When i looked up from the glow of my laptop, I saw Axel Banjamin sitting across of me. He smiled as he fixed his cuff link on his maroon suit jacket.

“Mr.Dunlop, it’s nice to finally meet you,” He said. “I’m sure you know who I am.”

“Yeah…”

“Good,” He said dryly. “Then we can disperse with the displeasure of pretending we don’t know each other. We have a mutual friend, Dr. Susan Drake. She was abducted last night while she was in your care.”

“I had nothing to do with it,” I said.

“Oh, I’m sure you hadn’t,” he smiled. “But I am sure you would want to see her captors pay for their misdeeds, correct?”

“Yeah. And?”

“Well, it seems with the new found…gifts that our enemy possesses, I think it would be quite hard for a man like me or a man like you to do much damage. But, there is another who lurks in the shadows of this city that has the same gifts, is there not? A certain vigilante with a fetish for leather?”

“What are you getting at?” I asked.

“I want to give him something…To help. To defeat this…this…”

“Hipster,” I added.

He snapped his fingers and smiled, “Yes! This Hipster!”

He picked up his briefcase from his side and opened it up on the table, pulling out and handing me two thick metal bracelet-like objects. They didn’t look very impressive.

“What are they?” I asked.

He looked me hard in the eye, “These are thermal mittens. Really, really expensive thermal mittens.”

“Pretty shitty mittens,” I said. “They don’t even cover your hands.”

Axel chuckled, “Oh, they cover the hands just fine. But to keep you and this pretty young barista from soiling yourselves, I won’t turn them on right here. Just tell the Watchman that there are activation sensors on the left side of each wrist. All he has to do is put his hands like this…” He put his wrists in the shape of an X, “…And the sensors will activate a sonic force field around his fists. The sonic waves emit immensely dangerous pressure which is ideal for blowing steel doors off their hinges…or perhaps Hipster’s head’s from their bodies.”

He slid the cuffs over to me.

“Why are you helping us? What’s in it for you?” I asked.

“I can’t let you see all my cards, now can I? Let’s just say for now that my interest is purely political. To have this discovery in a hands of a left-wing government who platforms on free healthcare…Well, you can see the problem.”

“It’s always about the money, huh?” I said.

“Not always,” he smirked. “Sometimes it’s about the power.”

Then he closed up his briefcase and left. I stared at the metallic bracelets in front of me. “Sonic force fields, eh?” I thought. Every inch of me wanted to take them into the alley and test them out…but with all the talk about blowing heads off bodies and all, I thought the first test would be best done by someone who could rejuvenate any exploded limbs.

I put them in my backpack, packed away my laptop and headed back to the Sun building where I handed in my article to Mr.Dennis. He sat in his chair with his reading glasses on, looking it over.

“That’s more like it,” he said. “Voters need to know about the choices they have in this thing so they can make an informed decision on election day.”

“Whatever, Chief…Mark my words, something big is about to go down in the city. The Hipster said something about a Phase 2. And when he does whatever he’s going to do and every news network and print job in this whole city is covering the story, just remember–you could have had the exclusive before all of them.”

“And you just remember that I got bosses too, kid. And they’re not necessarily as nice to me as I am to you. If you can get something concrete, I’ll run it, otherwise my hands are tied.”

I left his office to see Diana at her desk staring me down. “In a better mood?” She asked.

“Yeah, no, I don’t know. Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap on you earlier, I’ve had a crazy couple days. There’s this socialist extremist who stole a drug that he used on himself to become, basically, fucking invincible, he kidnapped my date who now hates me because she thinks I had something to do with it and now Axel Benjamin just gave me a fucking hand bomb to give to the Watchman, who by the way, was shot twice in the chest and lived…Now the bad guy is planning something big against the city and I don’t know where or when. I probably wont until it’s too late, too.”

“Wow…” she said.

“Yeah…Stressful shit.”

“You…You didn’t tell me you were dating someone.”

I shook my head, “I think you missed the point of the story, D.”

“Well, I’m free tonight if you want to go for a drink and talk about it.”

” No Georgio tonight?” I asked.

“He’s at the Pacific Rim tonight for the closing campaign dinner..he doesn’t like to bring dates to those things.”

“Nah…Thanks though. I’m gonna try to call this girl and convince her I’m not trying to kill her.”

She smiled, “You probably make those calls a lot, don’t you?”

“Shut up, D…”

*************************

I tried Susan a few times but she didn’t pick up. I decided I was going to come clean and tell her everything. Even if she didn’t believe me, I had to tell her about The Watchman, I had to tell her her father might still be alive…

I knew she would be at the Conservative campaign wrap up dinner Diana had told me about, so I figured my best bet if I wanted to catch her was at the Pacific Rim where it was being held. I got ready, grabbed my recorder and my camera, as well as the cuffs Axel had given me, and headed out. I knew the security would be tight for such an exclusive event, so I grabbed an old press pass I had received for another event at the Rim a few months back.

Unfortunately for me, when I got there I quickly learned that there were special press passes made up for this event specifically. So again, I was fucked. I sat at the lobby bar and had a drink while I thought about any other possible options I had to sneak in that dinner. I was eyeing the bell boy, thinking maybe I could knock him out and take his clothes. Then I quickly dispersed that idea because it was stupid and would never work.

Then, when all seemed lost, a miracle happened. I saw Jonah, the nerdy intern photographer at the Sun, walking out of the conference room like he had a foot long meatball sub up his ass on the way to the bathroom. I ran across the lobby and grabbed him by the shoulder.

“Hey! Jonah, buddy! Where ya going?” I said. I knew I wasn’t going to have a problem getting that pass from him. He thought I was super cool, especially the way I flirted with Diana. He had a massive crush on her, it was crazy obvious.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” he said. “Are you staying at the hotel? That’s crazy. That’s awesome….Like a rock star, right?”

I shook my head, “No, Jonah, listen…I’m going to need that Press Pass you got around your neck there, bud.”

Without a word or a question he slid it from around his neck and handed it to me. Damn, I thought. I wasn’t expecting much a fight but that was just too easy.

“I’m not fired am I?” He asked, concerned.

“No, not at all. In fact, Mr.Dennis sent me to give you the night off for all your hard work and effort. Enjoy the night, go home and be with the girl.”

“I’m single,” he replied with some disappointment.

“Well there ya go!” I cried, “Go find yourself a nice one and bring her on home!”

He laughed with that donkey sounding laugh of his and said, “Okay, then. Thanks, Jake. You rock. You do good work too by the way. You should get a night off too sometime.”

I smiled. “Got it. Thanks, Jonah. See you at the office!”

When I got to the conference room doors I was stopped by security.

“What happened to the other guy?” He asked.

“Stomach upset,” I replied. I pulled out my wallet and handed them my I.D. Card from the Sun. “Nothing sinister here, boys. Just covering for a friend.”

The security guard opened the door and ushered me in saying, “Poor guy. He was walking like he shit his pants, too.”

I entered the dining hall and took a second to gather my surroundings. The press had gathered along the walls on each side of the room, so I found my way with them so I could blend in. In the middle of the hall were about ten tables all filled with different investors, politicians and judges currently in the middle of dinner and then at the head of the room, a large stage and podium for Georgio Mochella to make his closing speech afterwards. I scanned the tables of high society for Susan and found her sitting just to the left of me at the PharmCorp table. She looked amazing, I was stunned. Her blonde hair was tied tightly in a bun which really opened up her face to reveal the bright blue of her eyes and the soft shimmer of her cheek bones. Her forehead was kind of big, but it was cute in her own little dorky way.  Even in the extravagance of her gown though, she looked distant from the conversation and lost in her thoughts. Beside her sat Axel Benjamin in a perfectly tailored tuxedo, showering his table with the charm he spewed so naturally. At the far end of the room, sitting at the head of the table was Georgio Mochella sitting with his running team and a beautiful girl on his arm that wasn’t Diana. How mad would she be if she saw this? I thought. So I took a couple pictures…just for funzy’s.

As I smiled to myself in some sort of undeserved vindication, I saw a confrontation taking place at the front door with the same security guard who stopped me. The fight became louder and louder, causing everyone to turn and look. Then it got fucking real. There was the sound of gunfire. BAM! BAM! BAM!  Then more screams and more gunfire. BAM! BAM! BAM!

The doors swung open and two dead security guards dropped to the ground. A pair of reptile skin boots, complete with spurs stepped over the corpses into the dining hall. The Hipster had crashed the party. As he walked in he was followed by about ten more of his followers who spread out through the dining hall shoving guns in peoples faces. But it wasn’t even the gun wielding maniacs that were the scariest sight…it was the gun wielding maniacs wearing gas masks that really set off the Holy Shit alarm. Even the Hipster had a gas mask around his face, his hair tied back into a faggy little man-bun. In his hands he held a glowing vile or green gel that I could only assume was not peppermint jelly to add to the lamb.

“My friends!” He shouted. “I hope you have enjoyed your meals tonight! Because it may be the last you ever have! For tonight you will face judgement for your loyalty to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party! The irreparable damage to the environment, the scandals in the senate, the selling of our country’s resources to China, and a foreign policy that saw us exiled from the U.N. Security Council, will all be blood on your hands tonight!

For it is under your watch that you will let the millions who die of cancer every year continue to do so when it is proven that cannabis oil can save them! Tonight you will pay for the lives you took in the name of profit!

In my hands I hold a vile of toxic radiation that, when vapourized, is potent enough to infect each and every one of you will the poison of cancer. Maybe then you will redefine your war on drugs.”

Axel Benjamin rose up from his seat and slammed his fist on his table, lifting his dinner plate from where it sat. “Are you nuts? This is terrorism! I thought you Hipster’s were about political process? About the freedom to vote?”

“We were political,” snarled the Hipster. “Before it got all mainstreamy. Now every idiot with an address can vote and an ignorant vote is worse than no vote at all! No…The only way to really see change is to make it yourself!

“You’re insane!” Susan yelled.

The Hipster turned and met eyes with her. Then smiled. “Ah, the brilliant Dr. Drake–we meet again. Pity that such a mind must suffer the fate of these treasonous democrats…” He turned and glared at Axel Benjamin, “But the company you keep has sealed your tomb.”

Then came a loud crash from above us and the moon roof smashed open. We were so busy watching the Hipster and his poisonous vile that no one had noticed the dark figure watching us from the roof. The intruder rained down with the shattered glass and landed hard on his feet in the middle of the dining hall. It was the Watchman, back from the dead and not looking too happy about seeing the Hipster’s mitts on Susan.

“Get your hands off her,” he growled.

“I thought I killed you…” The Hipster replied.

“You’re not the only one with powers,” said the Watchman.

“Well, let’s see how many bullets you can take,” smiled the Hipster as he signaled his gunman and they began to open fire. In seconds the Watchman had been hit multiple times, being pushed further and further back by the pressure of the bullets, sending him over a table and out of sight. The firing stopped and gun smoke and the smell of gun powder filled the air. Some of the dinner guests screamed and were becoming very on edge. The gunman had to leave the Watchman alone to tell the dinner guests to shut up and sit still and I took that moment to sneak behind some press and slide behind the table where the Watchman was laying. He groaned in the midst of his rejuvenation.

“Hang in there, buddy. We need you. Here take these…” I said, handing him the cuffs that Axel had given me. I demonstrated how to activate them by making an X with my wrists, “Just go like this and it’ll activate a force field around your hands.”

The Watchman did as I told him and when his wrists crossed each other both his hands lit up with a brilliant blue light creating a glowing orb of sonic waves that whistled and hummed with power. I’d never know because he covers his face, but I could swear he started smiling when those things activated.

“Thanks, kid.” He said.

“I know Susan’s you’re daughter,” I said. “I know you’re Stewart Drake.”

The Watchman, who had been getting to his feet, stopped in his tracks and after a moment of thought he turned to me and said very plainly, “Tell her and I’ll blow your dick off.” Then he jumped over the table, back into battle. I laid behind the table stunned. Blow my dick off? I thought. What a homo. But no, all jokes aside he would literally detach my dick from my body if I told her.

The thugs began to open fire again, but this time it was different. The Watchman guarded his face and torso with the orbs whose sonic energy deflected the bullets while he charged at his assaulter one at a time using his new weapon to utterly destroy these motherfuckers. In a case where he would hit a gunman in the chest; their ribs would break and they would be sent flying like a rag doll. In a case where the Watchman hit them in the face, they were not so lucky. Axel wasn’t lying when he said those cuffs were good for blowing off heads. It was fucked up. Their heads exploded like water balloons.

Yeah, I took a couple pictures. The normal guy in me was scared as fuck and scared for my life but the newsman in me kept poking his head up to snap some more pictures. But by this time all of the gunmen were either knocked out, paralyzed or decapitated. The only one left was the Hipster and you could tell he knew it. He grabbed Susan and got behind her, using her as protection.

“Let her go,” the Watchman repeated.

“You of all people should share my ideals!” screamed the Hipster. “You take the law into your own hands because you believe the system is flawed, corrupted. The only difference is I am taking government into my own hands because I believe that system is flawed, corrupted.”

“Please, just let me go,” sobbed Susan.

I crept out from behind the table, spotting a gun one of the dead henchmen had dropped. I grabbed it and crept up behind The Hipster who was too focused on the Watchman to notice.

“Hey, asshole,” I said, pointing the gun to the back of his head. “Vote or die!” Then I pulled the trigger and with a loud BANG! I shot a bullet through the Hipsters head. It was the first time I ever shot someone in the head…or at all, I guess. He dropped to the floor, releasing Susan, who jumped back and saw me standing there with the smoking gun in my hand. The green vile of toxic radiation jingled as it rolled out of the Hipsters limp grip, along the floor and stopping at her feet.

“Jake?”

“It’s okay,” I said. “He can’t hurt you now. It’s over…”

“You shot him…You saved me,” She said in disbelief. By this point the dinner guests were racing out of the room and blue and red police lights flashed through the windows from outside, but Susan and I stood still.

“Yeah, I’m probably going to jail for that…” I said. I looked around for the Watchman but he was no where to be found. I never even had the chance to thank him.

Susan didn’t think I was out to get her after that night at the Pacific Rim. I mean, I shot a guy in the fucking head for her. If that doesn’t say friendship I don’t know what does. I was worried that I might be in a lot of trouble for that; sneaking in to a private event and shooting someone in the head, but when the cops got to the scene…The Hipster’s body was gone…I suppose, in some way, the Hipster was victorious. The Conservatives lost and Stephen Harper was dethroned to make way for a new leader…Justin Trudeau of the Liberals. I hoped this change in government would satisfy the Hipster, wherever he was hiding. But if it doesn’t, and the Hipster decides to attack once again. I’ll be here…ready and willing to fight.

The End.

 

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