cold call killer
you are so sick of being super. you could have just been a rich man.
you can’t do a goddamn thing without being interrupted. the hero the city needs or whatever. dude, you can’t even finish a fucking novel in under a year. you’re reading Luster by Raven Leilani and waiting, begging to get to the part where she leaves that man, when the phone rings.
you want to indulge in the syrupy sweet tannins of prose but you never can. it really rains on your parade, bro. not to mention you will even be out saving someone and have to jump to save someone else. you wish the city would stop changing the bulbs in that goddamn light they shine in the sky for you.
so you’re reading a decadent sentence, and that phone rings. it shakes you to your skeleton because it’s that “old phone” ring that sounds like someone is strangling a bell to death. you hate the idea of that, you like bells. but you put down the excellent novel and you jump into your suit.
you’re grateful, truly, for the new grapnel boost. you can put detective mode on, see where this bitch is calling you, and boost the fuck over there. so you do.
why is he using payphones anyway? you’re pretty sure that he’s the only one keeping payphones in business. it’s really fucked up that he always rings one in your earshot; he always knows where you are.
you pick up this old ass phone, and there he is. victor razzmatazz. you tell him, as always, his name sounds like a shitty laffy taffy flavor. he tells you he has an innocent woman tied up above a field of spikes. you sigh and hang up. the map in your head points to where you need to rush to.
you hate time limits on things. when you were a kid and they had you take those stupid timed tests you would say, “this is so unrealistic! this will never happen in real life!” you didn’t know razzmatazz then.
you glide over the city. it’s grey and foggy tonight. you like this because you blend in. you’re frequently observed in both your super and your rich man life, so when you blend in, you revel in it. you find where razzmatazz has this chick and you break open the doors.
“ah there you are. i was just beginning to think you stood us up,” he says.
the woman tied above the spikes is screaming. you don’t really blame her, but you’re stressed enough already, and the screams pile on your nervous system like an overdue rent payment. you’ve never had any of those, but you’ve read about them. they sound so scary!
anyway, you manage to solve the puzzle and shut off the spikes. by the time you cut the woman down, razzmatazz is gone. you glide home.
there is one instance where it is convenient to constantly be called. you have never had to break up with anyone. you are called mid-conversation, mid-date, mid-whatever. eventually people give up trying to get what they need from you and seek therapy or the answers within themselves or something like that.
this is how it’s been with talia. you circle in and out of each other’s lives like tides. you wash into her.
so, you’re in the middle of fucking her when the next phone rings. you’re trying to hurry and finish up, but you just can’t cum to the thought of innocent people dying. you are lawful good after all. you put your suit on and leave after you take one more glance at her fantastic body.
this one is far. you rush through half of the city, your heart beating like a humming-bird's wings. you envision the man he says he has between two walls of lasers inching closer. you wonder who he has more trapped.
when you figure out how to stop the walls and unchain the man, razzmatazz is gone again. you think he triggers your fear of abandonment. you got this from your parents dying. razzmatazz is never there when you finish the puzzle, and you never get validation, or to finish your god forsaken novel.
there is nothing worse than the old phone ringtone. you are halfway through the novel and then he has a woman above a tank of water full of plugged in toasters. then a non-binary baddie on top of a pile of dynamite. a man inside a cage in a tank full of hungry sharks. where does he get all these ideas?
you’ve been talking to your therapist about changing your ways. you think part of the reason you let the bad guy get away is because of the cycle. you need them to need you. you need them for the city to need you. you need everyone to need you. but she always says, “how can you need yourself?” and it really fucking sticks with you, man.
you decide next time will be different.
next time the phone rings you notice how it impacts your body. you feel the stomach acid creeping up. you feel your hairs turning grey. you don’t mind that as much, you know you’ll make a sexy silver fox. but you hate the stomach acid, the jitters. you find this spot as quickly as you can.
razzmatazz has somebody standing on the track of a giant circular saw. jesus, he must have taken this from that stupid series of movies. ugh.
this time you turn on detective mode and find the heat of his body. you know the saw is heading to the person and it makes you sick but you keep swimming through the dark. razzmatazz is behind a control panel in the basement. you tip toe behind him and get your blade on his neck.
this whole time he’s had you focus on the person you need to save. all you needed to do was find him and put a stop to it, after all. you think about how stupid simple this is and feel a little disappointed in yourself. you hear your therapist’s voice again--“how can you need you?”--and you feel a little spark.
“you wouldn’t,” he says.
you think about what he means by that. you know a version of you wouldn’t, but you really want to change this time. you’ve been saying it for so long. you think of the novel you have at home.
you slice his throat. his face goes from a form of shock, to making a gurgling sound, to lifeless. you watch each step intently. you feel his blood run down your tactical gloves. even with a layer between you and his blood, you feel sticky. usually the blood on your suit is on the knuckles from a fight, or rubbed off in scattered spots. this time there is a consistent stream. your gloves are covered. you find strength from somewhere within you to move. he will never call you again.
you stop the circular saw. you let the person go home to whomever.
you know the city will be shocked when they find the body. you don’t care. you get home and you finish Luster. you take your melatonin and go to bed.
Sofia Fey is a Lesbian and Non-Binary writer living in LA. Currently, they are the founder of the Luminaries Poetry workshop, poetry editor at Hooligan Magazine, and a reader for Stone of Madness Press and Kissing Dynamite. Their poems have appeared in CP Quarterly, indigo literary, Rejection Letters, and others. They tweet @sofiafeycreates.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.