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Chapter V

04/19/10

Chapter V

 

            The line outside ‘82 extended up the block and around the corner.  It was a typical Friday night for the always packed club.  How could it not be, with the regular appearance of Colonel Courageous. 

            Originally known as Club E, the name of the club was changed to ’82 in the spring of 1990.  1982 was the year Colonel Courageous made his first appearance, with the flair and spectacle that you would expect from a man who would later become the world’s greatest superhero. 

            It was quite a week for the fledgling powerhouse, fighting the latest doomsday weapon by Doctor Abattoir, stopping a meteor from hitting Earth, and saving the president’s life from a well orchestrated attack while attending an overseas summit.  Some criticized the hero’s early adventures as being too coincidental to be random acts of chaos.  Within a year’s time, those same skeptics were singing his praises, and Colonel Courageous was named the savior of the world.  It certainly didn’t hurt nationally that he was also an American citizen. 

            The Colonel became a regular of the club in the late 80’s after an invitation from the owner.  The club was closed shortly afterwards for renovations, and reopened with a new style and new name.  Part of the renovations included adding a private room for Colonel Courageous. 

            The room was made with Ultranite steel created by globally acknowledged genius hero, Doctor 253; named after his IQ.  Doctor 253 once tried to explain the properties of Ultranite and what made it so indestructible to the Colonel.  The metal was amalgamation of various metal ores and “other” things.  What made Ultranite so resistant to destruction was in how it was forged.  The metal was tempered while in its liquid form, using a special technique and equipment that Doctor 253 had created.  The tempering trapped the metal in between a liquid and solid form, giving it flexibility on a molecular level.  Or, as Doctor 253 was forced to simplify it, metal Jello. 

            The entrance was secured with a large titanium door that weighed half a ton.  Though Ultranite was stronger and more lightweight than titanium, it didn’t give the club the look they wanted.  Club goers would gather around to watch the Colonel turn the heavy oversized wheel in the center of the door to open it.  He would, at times, allow a patron to try and unlock and pull the door open.  He would then assist them using only his thumb and index finger. 

            Like all the heroes of that time, the Colonel was born during an era of excess, and fell into the pool of overindulgence.  The people of the world adored him.  They worshipped him.  And, like a self titled God, he took what he believed was his due.  No one complained, they just pledge allegiance. 

            82 became the altar where they made their sacrifices to him.  Namely in the way of young attractive women.  They all wanted a piece of him, and many were willing to do whatever it took to lay down upon the grand altar. 

            Colonel Courageous wasn’t solely to blame.  It came with the fame.  It was harder to fight it than just give in; provided that he even wanted to fight it. 

            It had gotten to the point now, that it was routine.  The Colonel didn’t know if he did it because he enjoyed it, or because it was habit.  The worse part was, he never stopped to ask. 

            The Colonel hovered several hundred feet in the air and looked down at the crowd that had amassed.  He zeroed in on the women with his telescopic vision and targeted the ones that were to his liking.  He didn’t have a type or preference that fit his desire.  Maybe, back in the early days it was all about the impressionable twenty-somethings.  Women still to young to know what they wanted in life, and living by seconds.  Youth, beauty, exuberance, and easily persuadable; he would gorge himself at the banquet of sexual fantasy. 

            Nowadays, it was more about feeding his ego.  The Colonel didn’t age, not in any perceivable way, and looked just a few years older than the day he first appeared.  But mentally, he was older, and needed more than just supple willing flesh.  He needed the emotional rush of power.  The physical rush came on an almost daily basis, putting his muscles to the test and proving his might to anyone who would challenge him.  But that alone wasn’t enough.  It needed to be balance with the cerebral desire to own, conquer, and consume. 

            The Colonel’s fair now were those who could fill the much needed void.  He started to look beyond his normal appetites and seek out those that “needed” him more.  The overlooked single moms that thought they were outside his scope, the everyday plain-Jane’s that were excited to just be near him, and the ones with longing in their eyes that just wanted to be noticed for once in their lives.  They would all come to 82 hoping for a chance to be noticed.  To get a glimpse of their great protector.  To feel what others felt, like they were alive, and not just existing. 

            None of the ones the Colonel chose were too far outside his concept of attractiveness, and he would always pair them with a model-esque beauty, or two, to maintain the balance. 

            As the Colonel slowly lowered himself to ground, still with his arms by his side like a living statue, he watched the expression of those he had targeted.  He glided down, as if on an invisible elevator, and smiled his big hero smile.  Everyone was impressed.  It was the main reason they were there; to see him. 

            The Colonel closely examined his prospects.  He checked their eyes to see how much they had dilated.  He listened to their breathing to see which ones went shallow, and which ones lost their breath entirely.  He scanned their bodies with his spectral vision, looking at the rise in their body temperature. 

            The Colonel had found his primary choice, Karen, a few stories before he touched down.  She appeared to be in her late twenties.  He could tell by the way she wore her make-up that she wasn’t used to wearing it, and had probably bought everything brand new just for tonight.  Her clothing was more risqué than she was used to, yet still more modest than those around her.  He could tell by the way she held her arms crossed in front of herself, and constantly tugged at the lower half of her dress, trying to pull it even further down past her knees.  Her fingers tapped nervously on her upper arm, and she self consciously looked at those around her, expecting someone to question her attire.  She wobbled on the 3 inch heels that made her feel like a giraffe on stilts. 

            When Colonel Courageous’ feet touched the ground he waved and greeted everyone in line.  He briefly acknowledged the club’s host, who stood at the door, just beyond the bouncers and velvet rope.  Jackson Hawkins nodded in response, and continued to man his post. 

            Jackson was the host manager of the club and controlled all aspects of entrance and egress.  He also trained the bouncers and was known to get physical if the situation called for it.  He had come along way from his old days as Mr. Extraordinaire, leader of the Championaires. 

            The Colonel locked eyes with Karen as he walked straight towards her.  Karen wanted to look away and look at the women standing next to her, expecting him to have been approaching one of them, but couldn’t.  She was afraid that if she looked away, when she looked back he would be gone. 

            The Colonel stopped just a few inches from Karen.  Her breathing became even more rapid and shallow.  The edges of her vision started to blur, and she thought to herself “she never should have worn those shoes” as her body went limp.

            The Colonel caught her arm and held her up.  His hand slid down to hold hers.  His eyes softened, and he gave her a gentlemanly grin. 

            “My name’s Colonel Courageous.  Would you care to be my company for the evening?” 

            Karen couldn’t answer.  She couldn’t breathe.  She nodded her head up and down. 

            “Thank you.” The Colonel replied.  He walked with her back to the door.  The other women pouted and gave Karen ugly looks as she walked by.  Disparaging remarks were made about her under hate filled breaths, but she couldn’t hear them.  All Karen could hear was the marching band of blood rushing in her ears. 

            Jackson opened the door as Colonel Courageous and Karen approached.  The Colonel put a hand on Jackson’s shoulder as he passed by.  An enhanced hearing ear picked up on the softly spoken words of Jackson. 

            “Table 23.” Jackson whispered.  He had already picked out the Colonel’s “balance” for the night and gave her one of the reserved VIP tables.  He knew the Colonel’s type, even if he refused to admit that he had one. 

            Jackson felt bad for poor Karen.  She would show up every night for the next three weeks, and the Colonel wouldn’t even remember her face.

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