[Short Story, 10 Minute Read]
The next morning in Justice Tower…
Strong Man cracked his door open and peaked out ‘Ok, looks like the coast is clear.’ He thought as he emerged from his room wrapped snuggly in his fluffy robe.
He made his way down the hall into the kitchen. His eyes were heavy and the only thing that mattered to him at that exact moment was obtaining his morning coffee. After the night he had, he didn’t even care if Ant-Man finished his favorite cereal during one of his legendary midnight binges. He just needed his sip of favorite black coffee.
“Good morning Steven,” greeted a woman with a thick Russian accent
‘Shit’ Thought Strong Man ‘I thought everyone would still be in bed… or whatever the hell she sleeps in.’
“Good morning, Spider Woman” He mumbled scratching his stomach
Strong Man circled the island counter in the kitchen “Excuse me, Spider-Woman. Just need to get a mug for my coffee.”
“Oh! Pardon me.” She scurried her eight large hairy spider legs out of the way managing not to drop a single drop of her cereal “Late night last night?” She asked, mouth full of breakfast
Strong Man opened a cabinet and snatched the last mug “You could say that” he took the coffee pot off the drying rack and slid it into his coffee maker.
“Who was giving you trouble this time?”
“Fucking Dumpster Boy, who else?”
“You still haven’t caught him?” Spider-Woman drained the last of her cereal from the bowl
“Not sure if you noticed, Silvia, there are a lot of dumpsters in New York. For a boy who can teleport to any dumpster he wants, he has a hell of a selection to choose from.” Steven scanned the pantry for his favorite coffee.
“I’m sorry to hear that darling. What did you end up doing?”
“I had a meeting with the police chief, and we decided to have every dumpster in a ten-mile radius of the Boy’s last known location manned with a guard. That way -” Strong Man finds his precious coffee in the deep depths of the pantry wedged between a large tin of stale oats and a dusty can of soup.
“Oh thank you, god,” he popped open the top and saw just enough ground beans to make a single cup of coffee.
Silvia chuckled “My-My, I’ve never seen a man so excited to see a bag of coffee before.”
She laid her hand on her spider abdomen “Wish I could find a man that would look at me that way…”
Steve poured the ground beans into his coffee maker and smashed the start button. “Didn’t you have a date last week with, what was the guy’s name, Tim?”
“The same thing happened with him that does all the others. He gets one look at my ‘other half’ and poof!” She throws her hands in the air “All of a sudden a woman with spider powers is not so sexy!” She groans
“I’m sorry to hear that-” Strong Man pinched the bridge of his nose “Oh god, reminds me of last night.”
“How? Because my dating life is like your Dumpster Boy? Traveling from trash can to trash can?” Spider-Woman huffs
“No, no, not that. It was after I got home. Fucking Quick Lad…” Steve mumbled
“Didn’t he have a date last night?”
“Several,” the coffee maker chimes, indicating Steven’s one hope of survival is ready. He happily poured himself a fresh mug and inhaled its sweet aroma.
“Several? In one night?” Sylvia continues
“Oh yeah,” he forgot there was anyone else in the room “Yeah, he figured since he was the quickest man on the face of the earth he could go on three separate dates at once.”
“How did that go?”
“Apparently well,” Steven grimaced “Because when I got home to try and sneak in at least a couple of hours of sleep, I kept hearing several women moaning in the next room.”
“Wasn’t even the worst part” Strong Man sipped his morning joe, feeling his energy slowly returning “I could handle the creepy sex noises, I had roommates in college. No, the obnoxious part was hearing Quick Lad shouting ‘Gotta cum fast!’
Sylvia snorted “What?”
“Yeah. Be happy you live upstairs. That fucking guy I swear… wait” Steven smelt the distinct aroma of rotten eggs drifting in the air “You smell that?”
“Good morning team” a nasally little voice greeted them
“Morning Greg,” Moaned the pair
A man dressed in a skin-tight red leather suit with a small mountain fixed on his head walked into the room.
“Please, when the suit is on,” Greg gestured to his outfit “It’s code names only.”
“Fine, morning Lava Man then” Steven took another sip. Wishing the coffee’s magic would work on his rising blood pressure too.
“Lava Man, why do you have your suit on so early anyway?” Sylvia asked
“We never know when evil is afoot. We must always be ready to jump into action!” He responded enthusiastically
“What a putz” Steve mumbled into his coffee
“What was that Strong Man?” Asked Greg
“Oh nothing, nothing.”
“Wait,” the short man waddled his way over the Steve and examined his mug of coffee closely “Uh, Strong Man, you know I hate to be ‘that guy,’ but that’s my mug.”
“How is it your mug, Greg?”
“Lava Man,” Greg narrowed his eyes at the large man
Steven met his gaze sleepily
“If you look at the side,” Greg pointed at the mug “It reads ‘Lava Man, Stay cool. Love, the fire department.’”
Steven turned the mug around “So it does” he agreed
“Well?” Greg stood expectedly
“Well what, Greg?”
“Well, clean it and get a new mug!” he demanded
“I’m not going to do that, Greg. It’s the last mug. I’ll clean it when I’m done.”
“You can’t do that. It’s not your property, and as the property owner, I say you can’t do that.”
“Look, Lava Man, just calm down ok? It’s a fucking coffee mug.” Steven spat back
“Gregory, he said he would clean it and return it. You don’t need it right now do you?” Sylvia chimed
“No I don’t, but it’s the principle Spider-Woman! If this is allowed then whose to say I couldn’t just pick up your keys and drive your car without asking?”
“Actually, I would kind of like to see you try to drive my car. Ever used a car that has two accelerators, two breaks, and a manual transmission?” Sylvia mused
Greg waved his hand dismissively and turned his attention back to Steve “Return my mug, or there will be consequences, Steven.”
Steve, having had about enough of this conversation, squared off with the stout man “What are you going to do? You pint-sized little nerd?”
Lava Man summoned a single bright burning ember and flicked it into Steve’s coffee, evaporating its contents immanently.
Strong Man stared at the spot where his precious coffee used to be and stood motionless.
“That’s what, you big oaf!” Shouted Lava Man “That’s what you get when you mess with me!”
Strong Man continued to stare at the mug, unmoving. His heartbeat raising, ears ringing.
“Greg” Sylvia inquired, “Greg, you should go. You should go now.” She suggested having a far better read of a situation than him
Lava Man didn’t hear her advice as he was to busy pointing his finger in Steven’s face and spitting a raspberry.
Steven’s eyes slowly raised and met Greg’s “You evaporated my coffee.”
“Just now realizing that dummy? I knew you were super strong, but I didn’t realize that made you super stupid!” Greg belly laughed
“Greg, seriously-” Sylvia tried again
“YOU TRY HARD SON OF A BITCH” Steven dropped the mug and wrapped one of his massive hands around Greg’s throat.
“THAT COFFEE WAS THE ONE THING I HAD TO LIVE FOR!” Steven shouted as he lifted Greg off the ground and continued to wring his neck
“I-I-” Was all Greg could choke out before his eyes started to bulge. The volcano on his head bursted from the pressure and sent lava flying everywhere.
Sylvia turned ran down the hallway “Quick Lad!” She shouted “Get the tranq darts! It’s happened again!”
Steven roared and ripped out the kitchen island from its foundation with his free hand “AND WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT OF THIS THING?!” he shouted before chucking it across the room.
That’s it for this episode, kids! Be sure to tune in next week for another exciting episode of Justice Friends! In the meantime, be sure to brush your teeth and call your grandma!