Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "A Sanctuary for Those in Danger"

This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] mama_kestrel. It belongs to the Broken Angels thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  Some of these characters also appear in "Traveling Disruptions" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.

"A Sanctuary for Those in Danger"

[Friday, November 20, 2015]

When Faster Blaster first met
Dante Intimo, he wondered how
anyone so gentle and graceful had
managed to stand up to Aida Finn
as even a "practice" boyfriend.

Then he saw Dante wipe the mat with
Kato, who had hard-working muscle
even without training, and suddenly
that explained a lot of things.

Dante just smiled, helped Kato
off the mat, and explained how
he'd done that impossible move.

Faster Blaster couldn't have done it
if he had a spine made of spaghetti,
and he was pretty sure Kato couldn't
either, though it was nice of Dante
to explain the move in case he could.

Amando, however, was watching
as if he intended to memorize
every moment of the show.

"Remember that I have been
doing this for years," Dante warned.
"Don't think you can get on the mat
and do advanced moves right away.
This will take time for you to learn."

"Then show me how you started,"
Amando said, and gamely followed
Dante's lead through a series of stretches.

Amando wouldn't see it, but Faster Blaster
could imagine the ghostly shape of
an attacker in the bend of limbs
around a form that wasn't there.

Faster Blaster knew they were
screwing, too, because Amando
was a cockslut if ever there was one
and Dante was happily bisexual.

That was fine. He didn't mind
recreational or educational sex,
as long as nobody demanded it.

Besides, if the Italian comares were
everything that rumor claimed, Amando
was probably learning things about dick
that nobody else in Lincoln knew.

"I may have something for you
after lunch," Dante said as they
were toweling off after the bout.

"That'd be good," Faster Blaster said.
"I really want someone in place before
the holidays. Things get crazy then."

Lunch was pasta e fagioli, because
Dante was even more of a mother hen
than Cas was, and had started teaching
the boy how to make Italian soups.

One of them had also baked
focaccia with herbs, which now
sat out releasing its fragrant steam.

Faster Blaster applied himself to
the delicious food, giving thanks that
he'd managed to find a good cook
so early in the gang's development.

Cas wasn't Cook, of course, but
he was smart and diligent.

After lunch, Faster Blaster
stayed at the table reading
RV ads in the newspaper,
since the hookers wanted
one as a place to work.

He had circled three of
the ads when a soft knock
made him raise his head.

Dante stood in front
with a man and a woman
following behind him.

The man towered over
the other two, with muscles
so thick they made his neck look
short. He had a long face with
an easy grin, but his nose had
been broken so badly that it
curved sideways on his face.

The woman was exotic,
her caramel skin contrasting
with hair in shades of teal and blue.
She wore a patchwork dress over
flowing clothes of blue and white
that made her look like a fairy.

"Boss Blaster, I present Pug
and Vybra," Dante said with a bow.
"Pug has worked as a bodyguard
and a bouncer. Vybra describes
herself as a call girl, preferring
to visit her clients in their homes."

Well, at least she wouldn't be
trying to squeeze herself into
an already-booked-full RV.

"I'm looking for some muscle,"
said Faster Blaster. "I want
someone who can think as well
as hit, and who won't make
trouble from scratch or try
to take advantage of folks
he's meant to protect."

Pug shook his head.
"Vybe and I aren't together,"
he said. "We're just friends."

The mulish look on his face
made Faster Blaster suspect that
most people didn't believe that, but
he could see Vybra hanging on
Pug like he was her big brother.

Now that could be a useful dynamic,
if the other hookers would go for it.

"I can see that," said Faster Blaster.
"I have four other sex workers at present,
so if you can pitch that idea to them, I am
all in favor of it. What can you tell me
about your work experience?"

"I've worked for several gangs,"
said Pug. "I make a good bouncer
at bars too. This one time, I did
a kink club, which was great until
it got run out of business. Right now
I'm between gigs, so I do freelance
for girls who want a bit of backup."

Faster Blaster could appreciate
someone with a flexible work record.
"That sounds promising," he said.
"What about your personal style?"

"I aim to be a protector for those
without defense, a guide for those who
have lost their way, a sanctuary for
those in danger, and a servant
to all in need," said Pug.

"That's exactly what I need,"
said Faster Blaster. "I'll pay you
a flat hourly rate, starting out at
minimum wage, to patrol the area.
The sex workers will chip in
a percentage of their take,
which you and I will split."

"Sounds fair," Pug said.
"I do fine on fifteen an hour,
let alone a piece of the action."

"It's a start," Faster Blaster corrected.
"You'll get more as my budget goes up.
You also get benefits, like hazard pay
and the use of the patch room after
a fight. Do you have a place to stay?"

"Yeah, I'm good," said Pug. "This old lady,
her husband's gone and all her kids have
moved out of town, so she lets me stay
in her garage apartment as long as I take
care of her yard and scare off pests. I swear
to fuckin' god, if those Jehovah's Witnesses
come back, I'm gonna start bustin' heads."

"Talk about sex," Vybra said with a smirk.
"They can't get away from me fast enough.
One time I answered the door nekkid."
She made a zipping noise. "Gone."

"Can you drive, Pug?" said Faster Blaster.
"The street workers want an RV for tricks,
so now I'm shopping around for one."

"Does it need a special license?"
Pug said, frowning. "I only got
regular, not anything fancy."

"Driving an RV doesn't require
a commercial license, but if you want
the training, I'll cover it," said Faster Blaster.

"Yeah, I'd like that," said Pug. "It's gotta
be different, driving a rig that big."

Vybra giggled. "Not that different."

Faster Blaster just chuckled. He
must be starting to get used to this,
because he wasn't blushing at all.

"Speaking of differences, do you
have any specialties that I should
know about?" he asked her. "I need
to know if you compete directly against
against the other girls, or if your skills mean
that I should deploy you in another way."

She nodded, bouncing a little on her toes.
"I do fantasies," she said. "Like fairies and
stuff, not just the usual naughty bits. I also
have Super-Speed, only I use it different."

"I'm a speedster too," said Faster Blaster.
"What do you mean by different?"

"I can't run any faster," she said.
"I just vibrate my body, or any part of it."

His eyebrows went up. "I imagine
that's very popular," he said.

"For the johns who can afford it,
yeah," said Vybra. "Not all of them
can, though. I have to charge extra,
because it makes me sooo hungry."

"That's because Super-Speed burns
a lot more calories," said Faster Blaster.
"You have to make it up, or you drop.
Make sure you carry energy gels."

"Sorry, boss, I missed that earlier,"
said Dante. "I'll go get some for her."
He slipped out of the kitchen.

"Vybra, have you got a place of
your own?" Faster blaster asked.

"Yeah, it's great," she said. "I know
a guy, he owns a row house for students
and lives in the bigger end unit. He lets
me stay in one if I blow him whenever he
wants, which is like three times a week."

"Survival sex?" Faster Blaster said with
a frown. "You don't have to do that."

"Dude." She glared at him. "I charge
$25 for a basic blow, that's $75 a week,
and $300 a month. It's less than a third of
the going rate for rent and doesn't cost me
a dime. Do not fuck with a good thing."

"Okay, okay," Faster Blaster said,
spreading his hands. "I just wanted
to make sure you don't feel pressured."

Vybra snorted. "Nah. He's a shitty landlord
so the place never fills up. I get free space,
he gets free blow jobs, everybody wins.
I don't care that it's kind of a dump,
because I'm hardly ever there."

"Are you only interested in
sex work, or are you open to
other ideas too?" said Faster Blaster.
"I can move faster, but I can't do
the vibe trick, and it's useful."

"What other things?" she said.

"Well, I work on cars, so I'd
be most interested in using it to
jiggle loose stuck parts," he said.
"That's not all you can do, though.
Cas, do we have anything left of
that dairy-fresh milk Heron brought?"

"Yeah, there's most of a gallon
in the fridge still," said Cas.

"Perfect," said Faster Blaster.
He fetched the jug and made sure
the cap was on tight. "Here, give
this a quick vibe for us, please."

"Okay?" Vybra said, but she
took the jug and vibrated it.

Faster Blaster checked inside,
then handed it back to go again.

After a few rounds, he nodded
in satisfaction. Then he poured
the milk through a strainer into
a bowl, catching lumps of butter.

"What the hell?" Vybra squeaked.

"That's fresh butter," said Faster Blaster.
"One of my foster families ran a farm,
so I've had this before. Get you
some crackers, it's great stuff."

Cas grabbed a box of crackers
and let Vybra have the first taste,
since she had done the work.
"It's good!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah," said Faster Blaster.
"If you want to make that part of
your contribution, I can see about
getting a regular supply of dairy milk."

"Whatever you say, boss," she replied.
"I'm willing to earn my keep here."

"Churning butter or vibing car parts,
sure," said Faster Blaster. "If you want
me to try teaching you how to run faster,
I'll do that, and maybe you can teach me
to vibe too. But nobody trades sex."

Vybra promptly looked at Dante.

"No money changes hands,"
Dante said gently. "Yes, I'm
a comare and Amando is
a prostitute, but we're just
swapping knowledge and
having a little fun on the side.
It's not about the gang here."

"That's different," she said.
"I think I like it, though. Last time
someone tried to recruit me for
a gang, they all wanted free fucks.
I told them to go fuck themselves."

"Good answer," Dante said firmly.

Cas tilted the bowl of leftover milk.
"What should I do with this, boss?"

"Pour it back in the jug and save it
for the girls who want skim milk,"
said Faster Blaster. "Most of
the fat came out in the butter."

Dante came back with a box
of salted caramel energy gels,
which he handed to Vybra.

"There's movement outside,"
he murmured to Faster Blaster.
"Two girls, angling toward us."

"Friends of yours?" Faster Blaster said
as he looked at Pug and Vybra.

"Might be," Pug drawled.
"Depends on how they look."

"Report," Faster Blaster said.

"One is taller with lavender hair,
dressed like a prostitute," said Dante.
"The other is shorter with blue hair,
dressed in grunge and not dolled up."

Pug smiled. "Yeah, I know 'em.
They might've followed us here.
We weren't trying to lose a tail."

"The lair's open for business,"
Faster Blaster said, then turned
back to Dante. "Invite them in.
If they balk, let them go, but
make it clear that I don't want
lurkers hanging around here."

"On it, boss," said Dante.

"You won't hassle them,
will you?" Pug asked.

"Not unless they make
trouble," said Faster Blaster.
"If they want in, I'd rather
discuss that openly."

Soon Dante came back
with the girls in tow.

"Boss, these are
Violaceous and Frazil,"
said Dante, motioning
at the purple-haired girl
and then the blue. "Girls,
this is Boss Blaster, so put on
your company manners."

Violaceous wore a top of
black mesh over a black bra
and denim shorts cut so high
the pockets showed at the hems.

Frazil wore black jeans and
a gray sweatshirt with studs
running around the collar.

The girls looked at each other,
then Violaceous said, "We heard
there's a new boss in town, and
wanted to come see for ourselves."

"Well, here I am," Faster Blaster said
as he spread his hands. "Are you
just here to stare, or do you want in?"

Frazil laughed, a harsh bray.
"Is it worth our while to buy in?"

"No buying in, other than
chipping in to pay the muscle,"
Faster Blaster said, and when
they tensed, he added, "No sex
and no beating either. I aim
to run a clean house here."

"I don't get it," Frazil said, and
Violaceous just looked puzzled.

"A good gang is a bit like a family and
a lot like a business," Faster Blaster said.
"That means we treat each other right."

"He told me no sex too," Vybra said.
"I think he actually means it. He talked
about having me make butter and
help fix cars with my superpower."

"He offered me hazard pay and
other perks," Pug added.

"And you call this a gang?"
Frazil rolled her eyes.

"Well, some of them will be
stolen cars," Faster Blaster said.
"I've got to keep my supervillain chops
somehow. What sort of skills would
you ladies like to contribute?"

"What you see is what you get,"
Violaceous said, reaching for
the snap on her shorts.

"No need for that,"
Faster Blaster said
as he held up his hand.
"Frazil, what about you?"

"I don't fuck for money,"
Frazil said. "I'm a thief.
I'm good at shoplifting and
I do a bit of housebreaking,
but I can pick pockets
with the best of 'em."

"We're sisters, we work
as a team," Violaceous said.
"Sometimes I make a distraction
and then Frazil cleans 'em out.
That works really well for us."

"Not here," said Faster Blaster.
"We give honest value, even if we
have dishonest jobs. That means
you can sell sex or steal things,
but not do both at once."

"We gotta fuckin' eat,"
Frazil protested.

"Are you hungry?"
Cas said right on cue.
"We have plenty of soup
left from lunch if you want it."

They'd filled a whole stock pot
with the stuff, a sensible plan
in a gang full of superpowers.

The sisters shared a look, and
then Frazil's stomach growled.

"Here," Cas said, handing
each of them a bowl of soup.
"There's some bread, too."

Faster Blaster had been
looking forward to having
the leftover focaccia later,
but he kept his mouth shut.

The girls clearly needed it more,
and besides, he could always ask
the guys to bake another batch.

Faster Blaster watched them
dig into the food and wondered
if they were getting enough
to eat. Soups often didn't.

"Do you two have somewhere
to stay?" he asked the girls.

"We like to work the streets,
but yeah, we've got a suite at
this business hotel," said Frazil.
"It's cheap for such a nice place,
and we get the businessmen there."

"Dressed like that?" Faster Blaster said,
raising his eyebrows. "Nobody hassles you?"

"Oh, we have some business clothes too,"
said Violaceous. "Mostly we just wear
our real clothes under a trenchcoat."

"Clever," said Faster Blaster.

He admired their ingenuity,
even though he could see
them hesitating to join in --
they weren't quite a perfect fit.

"Frazil, would you consider
doing other kinds of theft than
whatever you do with Violaceous?"
Faster Blaster asked her.

"Maybe," said Frazil.
"What kind of theft?"

"Well, what can you do?"
Faster Blaster said.

"Like I mentioned before,
housebreaking and shoplifting,
but I'm best at picking pockets,"
Frazil said. "I can make sort of
a cloud with my superpowers
to hide in. It works okay at dawn
or dusk, or a foggy day, but it's best
in winter when it spreads out more."

"Could you make enough cloud cover
to hide a car effectively?" said Faster Blaster.
"That could be very useful for the gang."

"In winter, yeah, especially if it's snowing
a bit already," Frazil said. "But that's
pretty different than what we're doing."

"Yeah, we can get a lot of businessmen
during check-out and check-in because
some like to move early, when it's hazy,
and they're tired so they're easier to fool,"
Violaceous said. "We love our pitch."

"You don't have trouble working so close
to where you live?" Faster Blaster said.
"Both of you look pretty distinctive."

"Nah, we can hide our hair under
a hat, and Frazil has her fog trick,"
said Violaceous. "We don't rob anyone
inside the hotel, and we move around
among the business hotels occasionally."

"We've got good work," Frazil said.
"We're not keen on giving it up."

"I understand that," Faster Blaster said.
"Tell you what, why don't we make a trial run
of this? You do things my way for two weeks
and see how you like that. If it works out,
we'll tune up the deal then. If not, we
part company, no harm no foul."

"What do you think, Pug?"
Frazil said, turning to him.

The bodyguard shrugged.
"I'm working for him now."

"It's better than working
all by myself," Vybra added.
"Besides, I hear the gang has
an amazing source of condoms."

Violaceous giggled, but Frazil
just rolled her eyes and snorted.

The girls carried on a conversation
in looks, nudges, and wordless syllables.

Then Violaceous said, "Okay, boss."

Faster Blaster smiled. Within an hour,
he had doubled his sex workers,
counting Pug even though he was
muscle rather than meat.

That put the Broken Angels
in a much better position to provide
a sanctuary for those in danger,
some fun for those in need of
relieving their boredom, and
an income for all the members.

And that's what supervillainy was all about.

* * *


This poem is long, so the character, location, and content notes will appear separately.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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