Last Friday I mentioned that I was trying to write something for Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster contest, but that I wasn’t sure I had what I wanted. Well, last night I wrote another thing I enjoy and this time I’ve submitted it. As I said before, if you’re associated with Molotov you should probably wait on reading this. If you’re not, enjoy!
I always wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be someone big, important… but I wanted to be that way because of the good things I’d done. You know? It was like, like, all I really had to do was find some monster to slay, some wrong to right, something that would let me say, “you done good, Walter.” Something that would make my family proud.
Sorry. I get emotional about this.
Family really means a lot to me, you know?
So I went out, and I did it. I tried to do it. I tried to be a hero.
You know, at first I was just doing little things, just helping out here and there. I still had my day job, of course, so it wasn’t like I could do it all the time. But part of the problem was that I couldn’t get much done. I told everyone that they could call me if they had a problem, that they could ask if they needed help. I, god, I know this sounds so stereotypical, but I helped one of my neighbors when their cat climbed a tree. That thing scratched me up something fierce, real good. Cat claws are dirty, I don’t know if you know that, but their scratches, man. My face was on fire for a week.
Uhm, I feel like maybe I’m getting off topic. Sorry.
It’s like this. I did this thing. I helped people out. I helped people out all the time. It just wasn’t enough.
People were always like, “Oh Walter, he’s so sweet. What a nice guy he is.” It’s like, here I was trying to be a hero, and all I could get to was ‘nice guy.’
I, I… I’m not proud of this. I needed something more. Something bigger. That recognition, it was there, but diluted you know? I started making a plan. Hell, who am I kidding, I made a bunch of plans. Some of them were downright crazy.
But they all guaranteed one thing; I was going to be known. People were going to know who I was, people were going to know that I was a hero, that I did awesome things.
I hired, oh god…
I hired some actors. I got them sold on some live action theater, performance pieces. Like flash mobs, but just a skit. I’d saved and scrimped, and gotten some extra cash from a few places, and I’d paid them. They were kind of hard up for cash, so they were willing to go along with giving me some kind of power trip. Maybe they didn’t think of it that way at first, but they definitely did later.
The first performance was great. I stopped a robbery in progress. “Robbery.” People loved me for it. It was exactly what I’d wanted.
I just kind of glowed, coasting on that for about a week. But the moment it was done, even while I was feeling so good, I knew I needed to do it again. I needed to do something bigger, something better. Shit, I know what addiction sounds like. I needed another hit, another fix, and I needed it bad. So I started planning again.
I had to find some way to one-up myself. Doing the same thing twice got old. Nobody cared.
Soon I was stopping violent crimes, facing down guys with guns. They always got away, because the actors couldn’t afford to get caught, but they kept going because the money was good.
It was too good.
I was running out of cash, and I needed some way to keep things going. I’d started roaming at night, not sleeping much. I studied crime maps, tried to figure out when and where the most crimes were committed, some way that I could get my fix without having to pay. I started hunting criminals, like actually hunting them. When I did find something going on, I’d really hurt them, you know? I wasn’t paying them. I could get punchy, use whatever I had on hand.
I’d put them in the hospital. Maybe permanently. I didn’t even care. I was getting what I wanted. I was a goddamn hero. I was turning into a …
I had another session with my actors.
I, um. I lost control. I got punchy. Worse than punchy. It was this stickup deal, right? Guns. But they were blanks, and I knew that. All of a sudden, in the middle of things, I just felt like I was out hunting again. Being a hero.
I beat them to death with their own guns.
That’s why I’m here, I guess.
My name is Walter. And I’m not a hero. I’m a monster.