The Runnin’ Gunner was nearly out of sight. Davy and Olivia had left the bar too see her running down the street. She was already several blocks away.
“Huh,” Davy laughed. “Who would have thought someone named the Runnin’ Gunner could run so fast?” Davy looked at Olivia. “Do you think we can catch up to her?” he asked.
Olivia looked at the empty street around her. Her face lit up as an idea came to her. “I got this, buddy!” she exclaimed. She held up her left hand, which morphed into a tentacle. She whipped it out towards a lamppost on the left side of the street and grabbed it securely. She held up her other hand and did the same thing to a lamppost to her right. Her arms extended, she was now facing the direction the Runnin’ Gunner ran off to.
“Davy,” she said. “Grab my waist.” Davy nodded. He walked behind her and put his hands around her waist. “Okay,” Olivia continued. “Now start walking backwards.”
Davy took a few steps behind him, as Olivia’s tentacle arms extended. As electric as her arms were, Davy began to feel resistance as they were stretched further. “I believe in you!” Olivia shouted melodramatically.
When Davy couldn’t take another step, Olivia turned her head back to him. “So Davy,” she began. “You ever see an elephant fly?”
“No,” Davy answered, confused.
“Oh wait,” Olivia replied. “I think I messed that up. Anyway, you’re about to see a superhero fly! Launch me, Sunglass Butt!”
Davy silently hoped that Sunglass Butt wouldn’t become a thing, but he obliged and let go of Olivia. Immediately, Olivia shot forwards into the air. She had become a small dot in the sky. Davy could hear her faint shout.
Davy followed the dot as it flew up and then down across the night sky. It approached another dot in the distance that was the Runnin’ Gunner. Finally, Davy saw The two dots collide and heard the Runnin’ Gunner grunt in pain and surprise.
Davy threw his arms in the air, amazed that Olivia’s idea worked. “Woo!” he shouted. His excitement almost immediately gave way, however, when he realized that he was several blocks away from the action. He sighed as he began to run alone towards the others.
Olivia was amazed that her idea had worked. She had been trying to get flight right for ages. She had been able to grow wings for a long time, but she had learned that there was much more to being able to fly than a simple pair of wings. The laws of physics–which, alongside injustice, held the status of one of Olivia’s mortal enemies–made sure of that. Olivia understood she still hadn’t managed true flight, but the fact that she had come closer than ever before made her giddy.
She had pinned the Runnin’ Gunner against a wall with a handful of tendrils coming out of her back. The Runnin’ Gunner did not look pleased.
“Look lady,” Olivia began. “I tried to do this the nice way, but then you tried to shoot me. Not cool.” Olivia furrowed her brow. “Now I need you to tell my where the Librarian’s hideout is. He kidnapped a friend of a friend.”
“I’m not telling you anything,” the Runnin’ Gunner grunted, trying to break free from the tendrils.
Olivia frowned. She was going to have to bring out the enhanced intimidation tactics. One of the tendrils loosed its grip on the Runnin’ Gunner. It retracted slightly, as the end of it was pointed a few inches from the Runnin’ Gunner’s face. Slowly, a bulbous eyeball began to form at the end of the tendril, that stared pointedly right at the Runnin’ Gunner’s face.
“Oh my god,” she screamed. “He’s at the old shipping warehouse by the docks. The one next to the abandoned book depository!”
Olivia grinned at her success, but the Runnin’ Gunner continued shouting in panic. “What the hell are you, you freak!?”
Olivia didn’t notice that she had loosened her grip. The words she just heard struck a chord she didn’t want to admit existed.
“You’re some kind of monster!” the Runnin’ Gunner continued. “You weird, weird freak of nature! “You abomination!”
Olivia zoned out as she subconsciously loosened her grip even further. She wasn’t in some city street anymore. She was being taken to a place where she didn’t want to be.
She snapped out of it when she noticed another pistol in her face. The Runnin’ Gunner must have gotten free from her tendrils, and being named the Runnin’ Gunner, she unsurprisingly had another gun on her.
Olivia stared down the barrel of the gun. The Runnin’ Gunner smiled. “Whatever you are,” she said. “The world’s going to be a better place without you in it.”
Olivia briefly considered the possibility that she could evade a bullet, but the past couple minutes had rendered her into a state where she questioned whether she should even try. He Runnin’ Gunner licked her lips as she readied the trigger, and–”
The Runnin’ Gunner’s face went blank as her arms dropped to her side. A second later, she fell over, revealing Davy standing behind her, his golf club held in the air.
“I’M A HERO!” Davy exclaimed, stretching his arms into the air, triumphantly.
He had hoped Olivia would reciprocate his excitement, but she was sort of staring straight ahead, looking crushed as if nothing in her world mattered.
“Olivia?” Day asked.
She turned and silently walked past him. She approached the edge of the street and sat down on the curb, where she just stared blankly down the street in front of her.
Davy grimaced. He had heard the Runnin’ Gunners shouts as he ran towards them, so he felt like he had an idea of what Olivia was currently going through. Davy knew he had to say something, but he was afraid of what to do. He felt he was so bad at comforting people. Still, Olivia had dropped everything to help him find Steve. He was grateful for her help, and he knew he needed to do something.
He nervously walked over to Olivia and sat down next to her on the curb. “So, when I was little, I had this stuffed penguin toy. His name was Gary von Jackolantern. I don’t know exactly why I named him that.”
Davy took a deep breath before he continued. “Anyway, he was my favorite toy. I used to take him everywhere with me. I would pretend he was a detective and we would solve crimes together. When I was in first grade, I took him to my show and tell. I told my class about my adventures and that when I grew up, my dream was to draw cartoons all about him. The rest of my class just laughed at me. They told me I was too old for stuffed animals, and that Gary von Jackolantern was a stupid name for a penguin, and that hand-drawn animation was a dying medium that was doomed to be supplanted by computer animation. But mostly, they called me weird. And after continuing to get called weird over and over for different reasons throughout the next few years, I eventually decided to just stop doing the things I was told were weird. And when I did that, I just stopped being a person that anyone would notice. I just kind of faded into the background. But no one was hurting me, so I kind of accepted that. But I think my life has also been worse off because of it. When you strip all the weird away from your soul, you remove everything that makes life worth living, and all you’re really left with is a mass of gray. But when I sit down and really think about that penguin, I realize that those detective adventures we went on we’re more reflective of me as a person than anything I ever did just to fit in.”
Davy took another deep breath and continued. “So I guess, yeah, you’re weird. But that just means you’re not afraid to be you. And other people may hate you for it, but they’re probably just too concerned about looking normal that they just can’t understand what they’re missing out on. Also, I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, so I guess to summarize, um, just be yourself. And stuff.”
Davy sighed heavily and dropped his head down between his knees. He was exhausted.
Olivia slowly and turned head to Davy. Quietly, she asked, “Is Gary von Jackolantern still with you?”
Davy lifted his head up. “I think so,” he answered. “Maybe at my parents’ house.”
Olivia stood up. “Well, once you’ve saved the world, the three of us should solve some crimes together. He sounds like a valuable ally in the fight against injustice.” She looked down at Davy and extended her hand. “Thanks, buddy,” she said.
Davy took her hand and Olivia helped him up. “No problem,” he replied. “Just don’t expect me to do that again. I don’t think my body has the capacity for any more emotional pep talks.”
“Duly noted,” Olivia replied. She put her hood back over her head and looked off in the distance with reignited determination. “You ready to beat up a librarian,” she growled.
“Sounds fun,” Davy answered.