Retired

Paul sat in his La-Z-Boy in front of an old CRT TV.  He was sweating in his boxers and a wife beater t-shirt over his considerable paunch.  He wiped sweat from his wrinkled forehead and bald pate with a dirty hanky.  Damn air conditioner was broken again, and now his show was being interrupted by some emergency newscast.  Scratching his gut, he grunted. “Where the hell’s the pizza boy?”

He was becoming annoyed by the screaming and explosions coming from outside his window.  He had shut it, but of course, he could still hear it.  He wondered if maybe he should get up and see what’s going on, but instead, he took a swig of his lukewarm beer.  He looked at the TV and the wall had been blown up behind the anchors and jellyfish-like creatures with glowing red eyestalks came into view.  One of them held up a strange device and let out a series of gurgles.  The machine spat out.  “Surrender and you will not be killed, you will instead serve our queen in her glorious new empire.”

Aliens.  It was always aliens.  Didn’t they know he was retired?  With a grunt, he pulled himself up and stumbled over to the window.  “Keep it down! And turn back on my shows dammit!”  Looking outside he saw a bus full of children about to be boarded by the jellyfish creatures.  Paul jerked his head and the bus lifted in the air and set down on the roof of a nearby 3 story brownstone.  He then realized one of the creatures had seen him and was aiming some sort of weapon at him.

“I’m retired!” he yelled but the creature didn’t seem to listen as an energy pulse ripped through the side of the building, surrounding him in glowing plasma. He growled, and the plasma gathered in his hand and he threw it back at the creature.  He chuckled as it blew up.  Where were the youngsters at?  “Can’t count on the youth today,  they always fall back on us retired folk,” he grumbled.

Looking down he saw his clothes had been burned away, leaving his smoking, corpulent, wrinkled body hanging out over everything.  Mumbling to himself he shuffled into his bedroom and opened his closet.  He placed a hand on the back wall and a glowing handprint appeared behind his own.  The wall pulled away and a suit of gold spandex with a silver flowing cape was revealed.  He hated the costume, he looked like a damned idiot in it.  He was just so into Elvis when he got it.

He pulled out the suit, wrestling into the material.  It resisted, but the special fibers it was made from wrapped around his overweight form.  He looked in the mirror and grunted.  He looked like the flying ball from that wizard movie.  He shuffled to the hole in his wall and walked out into the open air.  He looked around, squinting.  He didn’t really need to, he could see Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon, but it just felt like something someone his age should do. He lowered himself to the ground and walked calmly up to the nearest alien.  “Where’s your damn queen at?”  the creature didn’t answer and instead turned a weapon on him.  Arm blurring, he grabbed the weapon, spun it around and aimed it at the creature.  It bubbled furiously.

“I don’t give a damn how many of you there are.  Bring me to your queen or I will blow your fat, jelly body all over this street and ask your buddy over there.  I wonder how many of you I’ll have to kill before you stop wasting my time.”

He faded from view as three plasma bolts flew through him from nearby aliens.  The one in front tried to flee and he shot it, gaining some satisfaction in the way it splattered over the sidewalk.  “Why do you always have to do things the hard way?  Aliens are always so damned self-righteous.”

He became a blur of gold and in seconds every alien lay in a pile of gelatinous oozing bodies.  Their weapons were piled behind him. He stood in front of them in a heroic pose, getting caught up in the glory days, then realized how ridiculous he looked pushing his gut out like some young beefcake.  He hunched over and jerked his head.  One of the prone aliens exploded into a greasy splatter.  The others began bubbling loudly.

“Stop whining.  One little setback and you always whine.  Where is your queen?” Paul grumbled.

One of the creatures disentangled itself and got right in his face, blowing up like a balloon and bubbling loudly. “Yeah, you’re some hero.  Let me shake your hand.”  He put his palm on the creature’s bulbous body and his hand began to glow bright red.  The creature squealed as it burst into flame.

Paul watched as the flaming creature charge around the area as the others began bubbling all at once. “One at a time or I’ll roast another of you slimy bastards.”  They all went silent and he pointed at one.  “You. Where. Now.” the one he pointed at bubbled furiously.

“Why is it always coordinates with you people.  Can’t you ever just say a street name?”  he jerked his head and the pile exploded.

People crawled out from their hiding places and began to cheer.  “Why am I cleaning up your shit? Again.  I’m retired.”  He looked around at the people “Where’s Captain Superior, anyways?  This is his job.”

“He got captured.  I saw it on the news.”  came a voice.

“Of course he did.  Snot nosed little punk couldn’t stop a mugging,” he walked into the air and strolled at about 100 feet.  Of course, they had to be parked 10 miles away.  He grew bored as he walked, grumbling.  To pass the time he would pop an alien or two and see how many he could get to shoot at him so he could toss it back.  It was still boring, but it was something to do.

Finally, he reached a large silver craft with flashing red and green lights.  A door opened into the base of it with 100 aliens herding humans aboard.  He lowered himself to the ground and yelled “Hey jelly boys, leaves those kids alone.  They probably haven’t done anything but have a damned frozen coffee.  Kids and their damned coffee.  They should drink it black like a real man.”  He would have continued but a dozen plasma bolts shot out at him and he faded through them.  “How rude.  Don’t interrupt your elders.”  He raised his hands and a red beam flew from between them, catching one after another on fire.  After 50 or so the others broke rank and squiggled away.  Lowering his hands he reached back and pulled the skin tight suit out of his crack and shuffled into the ship.

After about 15 minutes of exploring he found the queen, jelly like the rest, only 20 feet tall because of course she was.  Captain Superior hung from a wall in a ball of slime.  He saw Paul enter and his eyes widened, either from excitement or fear.  Probably both.  Paul had a few choice words for the world’s ‘greatest protector’.  He looked at the queen and said “Call back your slimeballs and move on.  I’m tired and I have to take a shit.  Just make this easy for once.”

Her mental attack was as useless as it was predictable.  He’d dealt with Master Hypno in his prime and she wasn’t in his league. Again with the head jerk and a tentacle exploded. She squealed and fired a plasma bolt at him which he caught and hurled at Captain Superior.  The gel melted away and the man screamed as he plummeted to the deck.  “You useless bastard.  Why am I fighting your battles?  I’m RETIRED.  And you’re too stupid to stop yourself from landing like an idiot, not to mention handle an intergalactic incident.”  he pointed at the Captain.  “Go stand out of my way and watch how to get things done.”

Turning away from the kid, he blew up the arm holding the weapon, eliciting another squeal.  The creature bubbled.  The translator on the wall said in flat English “I have the power to blow up this entire planet.  Harm me again  and your world is doomed.”

“Yadda Yadda Yadda,” he said, jerking his head.  A huge explosion erupted outside.  “I saw your stupid orbital death ray on my way in.  Why are you creatures so predictable?” he raised his hands and again the red bolt appeared, burning a path slowly to the queen.  “If I kill you I figure it will take Captain idiot over there and I about a  week to round up and dispose of your remaining crew.  Assuming he doesn’t whine about unnecessary casualties.  I’m too old to give a damn, I’ll just blow the little bastards up.”

The flames were inches from the queen when she began bubbling again. “Spare me,” the machine intoned  “we will leave your world.  I wish to know; who defeated me this day?”

“Name’s Paul.  All the idiots of this world call me ‘Golden Comet’.  God, I don’t know what I was thinking when I came up with that name.” muttering he walked over and grabbed Captain Superior by the ear with a red glowing hand and dragged him out of the ship.  It took the aliens about an hour to leave.  Paul spent the whole time ripping his replacement a new asshole.  “And you’re gonna fix my apartment and get me a new air conditioner you little shit.” he ended and walked into the air to look for a gas station.  If he didn’t go soon he was going to stain his ugly golden jammies.

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