Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Batman’s Butler Edition


"So would you like to come with me to a trivia night after work?" said Max.

Sarah paused. They where eating lunch in a small park that could be considered romantic except there where about 30 other people there (and one of the actors from Firefly [actually two as Jewelle Staite was guest staring but she was eating lunch in her trailer])

Max was a gaffer on the show. What does a gaffer do? I am not going to tell you. He was a friendly sort in a podgy way. He was the sort of guy if you saw her with Sarah one might say 'yeah, they could be a couple'. However they weren't. Max was in fact married to a former model of the appear in print ads variety. Sarah and Max were friends. They met on the show 2 years ago. When it started and had moved from 'work friends' to just 'friends' at some point.

"You strike me as someone who knows their share of obscure data. And if it’s on comicbooks, watch out."

They were eating craft cervices food under a giant tent. Not bad craft service food, as craft service food was rarely bad, but lowest common denominator craft service food. Today it was a kind of spiceless curry. Well, it was free.

"I’ll think about it," Sarah said. "Sounds like fun."

"Get back to me before four," said Max.

Sarah sighed. Since she had gotten involved in an incident last month where she had, kind of possibly, let a giant supervillain escape. She had been spending a lot of time patrolling, fighting crime as ‘Mazing Girl. This could be kind of boring if you weren't looking for specific stuff.

Despite the reputation, there wasn't a lot of visible crime in Los Angeles. She stopped the occasional mugging or convenience store robbery, helped a bit with traffic accidents, but mostly when she patrolled she would come home not having done much. It was in it’s way fun to run around and soar over LA. It was a beautiful city. But increasingly she was listening to her ipod while doing it. This kind of defeated the point when people cried out for help.

However, it was important...so most of her free time was spent doing patrolling.

However...

*****

She had thought this was like barroom trivia, however this looked a bit more formal.  It was in a rec centre room with about 40 people, some of whom looked like they took it vary seriously. They sat in groups of five, in fold out chairs. There were a couple of snacks available.

"Why do you hold that bag so tightly" asked Max as they went to his group.

She was holding her bag tightly. "No reason. Hey, I may get called out on business, stuff...um, an indie movie that I might work on, want to take a call on."

There was of course another reason. If there was an emergency, Sarah wanted to be out of here in less then a minute.

Max at least bought her excuse. "I understand...creative types and that."

The beauty of being a gaffer, (which she had done a little of in college) was it was one of those positions that was usually filled a couple of days before the shoot. There are good gaffers and bad gaffers, and on set you noticed it, but it was not something that required a lot of planning.  Which meant that every day was a hiring adventure whether there was work or not.

‘Suppose that was a bad thing. However, Max did okay.

The four other people on the team less so.  Or at least they gave that vibe. They all seemed intense guys. And all of them were guys. She never quite got there names. Two of them were retirees - one was a studio musician who used to play violin on film scores; the other just looked very old, but very sharp.

There was an extremely tall and thin guy who gave the intense sensation that his mind was moving on planes that were beyond her, and may not actually exist. He would be a good guy to play an arch villain, or the guy who aided her on the quest. Arch villain, it turned out...

The final guy was short and fat, and smiled a lot. This belied a mind that was very smart and if slightly more tolerant, wasn't.

And the game hadn't even started yet.

The game was broken up into rounds of trivia open to the floor, things with paper they had to work on, and various lightening rounds. There was a TV that looked to be from the eighties set up for video questions, various boards...etc. 

"Okay: open question. Who was Batman’s butler...?"

This was easy.

"In the 1966-68 TV show?"

Well she had to respect that.

One of the other teams got that one. The other teams got most of them. Her team did okay, sometimes good, but she wasn't helping ("what was the largest export of boliva?": Who the fuck knew that?)

The superior guy with the giant head was increasingly looking at her as if she was the enemy...as if she was causing them to loose.

"This Canadian superhero protected Toronto in the 60's and 70's and was later Governor General in the eighties."

She: A) should know this as she was a superhero; and B) that was an option? Wasn't the Governor General like the President? Wow, she should look into that.

Maybe Sarah should go into politics or something...

"Whitestar, Eric Montain"

"How can you be so stupid?! Stupid! Stupid!!" demanded big head.

Max was doing okay. He seemed cool with her being there, but he wasn't doing anything to defend her either. Well he did once say "she was new" but he wasn't doing much more. Even if he wasn't an asshole this was a side of Max she didn't quite know. She wondered if telling him her secret identity would have the same effect. Wow, you think you know a person. However, when they go home at night the change...into a really competitive trivia contestant.

Sarah sighed as she scrontched in.

She hoped there was something tonight that required her to be a superhero. She reached into her bag and pulled out her cellphone to check...

“Hey!!" one of the older guys admonished, "No cheating!"

Sarah put it down.

 "We’re in the middle of the round," he reminded her.

"Okay, the answer is 3."

"Come on. Who was the concept artist on the original Starwars?”

Sarah paused. "Oh! I know this one: its Ralph Macquire."

"She’s been leading us wrong all game," observed big head.

"That sounds right."

"He worked on Tron, I think Dune, lots of fantasy movies from the eighties.”

"You’re thinking of Giger, that’s the answer," said smiley face.

"No, he did Alien. Um he also worked on Dune, but all his stuff got thrown out."

"Let’s go with Giger," said one of the old guys.

"I agree" said the others.

Sarah shrugged.

"Giger" said big brain.

"No! I am sorry, it was Ralph Macquire!"

Sarah shook her head. She then got out her phone.

There was a fire at a clothing factory in Longbeach.

She shook her head.

"Got that message I told you about earlier. Work to line up.”

No-one said anything to stop her.

"You coming back?" asked Max.

"Um, I'll see."

Sarah walked out the door...and then rushed into the street. She couldn't exactly change on the fly, but she did jump instantly to the top of the building, opening up her bag as she did.

*****

Within a minute she was ‘Mazing girl, and leapt up into the sky headed towards the fire.

Only she noticed something on the ground.

As she was racing along the highway interchange through Torrance, she saw a guy being pushed out of his car onto the street.

Yep...a jacker.

This was tricky. He was racing south down a busy street.

However, this was tricky.

You often see in comicbooks a superhero picking up a car and flying away...however from a logistical standpoint that was actually pretty damm near impossible. Going 40 miles an hour with 100s of people present didn't help. She was keeping up using a mixture of jumping and running, keeping pace with him easily, but actually stoping the criminal required some thought.

They came to a red light.

He ran it.

Well, that wasn't going to help. And now he was driving really dangerously.

She didn't want to damage the car though. It was a blue station wagon. Not a nice car, but you know, something to someone.

She jumped on top of the car as it swerved and grabbed the roof rack.

He noticed that from inside the car.

However, it’s really hard to do anything with a girl on the roof, even look, without stopping a car.

He attempted to dislodge her, swerving left and right. However her powerful grip kept her pretty much in place.

"Stop the car" she ordered, trying to sound authoritive. She was never great at that, but it often did the trick.

Not now.

He kept swerving left and right. She kept holding on. Even if she could literally fly holding a car by it’s roof rack this wouldn't be a very viable strategy.

She waited until the car turned onto a relatively empty street. This would work better as he turned. She jumped off the back of the car, grabbed the bumper with her hands, and put her feet on the ground. She pushed, and the back of the car lifted as she hit the ground. It hurt a little bit, but...

She now had her feet on the ground.

And the bumper in her hand.

And the car racing down the road.

Fuck.

She shook her head and started running. She imagined that in the car widnow she would look like one of those scenes in the Wonder Woman show where they could see Wonder Woman racing towards them and gaining on them. She liked the notion, and kind of hummed the song a bit.

"Wonder Woman...the whole world is waiting for you...and the magic you possess..."

Sometimes it was just a’Mazing to be this strong this powerful. She didn't want to let it get to her ego...but, well...she was at heart, human.

Within seconds she was running with the car...and then as she did kicked the front tire on the driver side, then the back tire, then ’Mazing Girl flipped over the top of the car with a cartwheel and kicked the backside of another tire.

She was going to get the last one, but it was enough. The car stopped.

The guy opened his door and started to run.

But ‘Mazing Girl grabbed him before he got five feet.

"I told you to stop" she said.

******

It was about 20 minutes later when she got to the fire, which was still blazing.

"No-ones inside anymore, we think, actually it looks like everyone took the fire exit before it got too bad," a fireman told her.

"Okay," said ‘Mazing Girl.  "Anything I can do?"

"Yeah," said a guy, coming forward. "I manage the place. There’s a giant case of silk on the top floor. I don't think the fires got there yet, but it’s worth about 100k.”

Sarah could use a 100k. "Understood."

This kind of stuff happened pretty often. Didn't make the newspaper but she tried to help.

Sarah saw the 10 story building. She paused, and then jumped 120 feet easily, and put her hand over her face as she broke through a window.

There was a huge amount of fabrics in large bins. No fire yet, but she could see it wouldn’t be long. She picked up a couple of bolts and jumped through the window.

"Just put them anywhere," said the guy.

Sarah nodded. This beat doing stupid trivia.

She made about 10 trips ("No, that’s rayon, but thanks anyway...") and managed to get the last of the stuff when she saw something in the corner.

'Meow'.

It would be nice to say it was a kitten or something. Really it looked like, kind of middle age-ish and a tad overweight. But it was a cat and she was instantly glad she was her to help. She picked it up, and brought it down.

"I think that’s the last of it," she said, putting down the cat.

"Thank you so much so much," said the guy, "That really saves my bacon."

"Here to help," said ‘Mazing Girl.

"Hey, we got some company records on a computer in the fifth floor...could you...”

There was a giant boom as flame shoots out of the fifth floor.

"Well, you can cancel that." The guy shook his head.

"Cloud storage," advised ‘Mazing girl.

*****

Sarah never made it back to the trivia game, though she did have to get back to her car...which was further from her house then the fire. Oh well, she liked the night, liked running.

She felt good about herself in a way. Maybe she wasn't a screw-up. Maybe she was a powerful heroine to be taken serious. This was the kind of stuff she was good at. The big stuff was the big stuff-she would handle it when she did. But As long as she did rescue kittens or fabrics and stoped car jackers-if she took care of the small stuff maybe she could be Mazing girl and Sarah.

Maybe.

And the answer hit her.

It was Alan Napier who played Alfred in the TV series.