Dan

Problematic

Trigger warning: bad metaphorical superhero discussion of unwanted advances, sexual assault, and the friggin’ patriarchy. Also swearing.

May listened to the voice in her ear yammer on, as she strode down the dark slate-lined passage to her secret lair.

It just wouldn’t stop. ‘Probable serial killer’ this and ‘assault’ that. He had endless problems for her tonight.

“Listen, commissioner. I don’t have the energy reserves to deal with all this shit. You’re going to have to just… pick one, for now, okay?”

“Fine.” A long sigh bled out into her ear like the ocean in his lungs giving it all up for one last wave. “Hey, baby… What if I asked you to come over to my office, and watch me jack off?”

May didn’t even feel a sense of revulsion any more. “You know it doesn’t work that way. I think I have to believe you want it, sir.” She rolled her eyes, pinched her temples, and stared up at the ceiling of the cave. “Look. I’m at the launchpoint, I just have to suit up. Pick a thing and send details to the mobile node.”

“Hey Baby, listen, I’m sorry,” he said. She believed him. He was trying, in his way.

Putting on the skintight suit and the fluttery pointless cape that for some reason everyone thought was sexy, May gritted her teeth and thought for the umpteenth time about hanging it all up. But hadn’t she been given these powers for a reason? It was just so stupid, how it all worked out.

She put on the dumb little eye mask that supposedly disguised her identity. “Fuck,” she said into the echoing cavern, which didn’t judge. It just agreed with her tiredness: silent and black and looming with no real intent. She craned her neck, took a disgusted look at her ass in the mirror, shook her head, and climbed into the Heybabymobile for another night on the prowl.

 


 

As May approached the GPS coordinates, she stopped a few blocks early. “Gotta check the levels,” she mumbled as she parked in an alley and flicked the invisibility on.

Holding a fist out, she sent a flare of light at a stop sign across the street. But the flash fizzled halfway. “Shit.” She was going to need to power up.

So she took a stroll through the neighborhood. It was just after bar time, so she got plenty of confused and drunken looks. Soon enough, she was being followed by shouts.

“Hey baby, come back here! I got a crime to show you!”

“Hey baby, lookin’ good to-night!

“Hey baby, why don’t you smile more? Damn, girl, you look pissed. Uhh, sorry.”

As the catcalls rolled in, May could feel the fury in her fists coalescing into a nice recoiling charge. Although it was the dumbest superhero name, the commissioner had been right: Hey Baby was a great and simple way to trigger jackasses to say their stupid lines, and she could power up in no time flat.

While she was checking her watch for the target coordinates, some frat idiot grabbed her by the cape, yelling “Hey baby, slow down there!”

May whirled around and a giant orb of light flew from her chest and knocked him over. His friends looked vaguely horrified. One of them tried to stammer an apology, but she didn’t want to hear it. To them, she was just Hey Baby. And she needed to use this anger elsewhere.

Just then, as she stalked off down the street, the commissioner buzzed in her ear. She picked up, exasperated. “Yeah yeah, keep your panties on, I’m nearly there. Just charging.”

“Hey baby. Listen, we thought it was just a normal domestic violence thing.” Pausing for a moment, he coughed. “But it seems more likely this one is some kind of trick by The Objectifier to pull you in, again.”

“Well, don’t you worry. I’m itching for a good fight.” May balled up a fist and white light glowed out through her fingers, spitting and sparking.

 


 

So she had followed his stupid clues to a dance club. The door was locked, the sign said LADIES NIGHT – CLOSED, but she could clearly hear the throbbing beat. It was still going, this late at night. What awful thing was he doing in there? Lighting a small beam of impossibly bright fire from her finger, she sizzled right through the deadbolt and slammed open the door.

May stormed down the entryway and out into the pulsing dancefloor. It was packed, and she finally spotted The Objectifier. He was mixing drinks at the bar. Probably spiking them, too.

She elbowed her way through the crowd until she was close enough to yell at him. But he saw her first. “What’ll it be, sugar?” He winked.

“You! None of this tonight. You’re going down, creep!” She leveled both fists at his face.

The Objectifier suddenly stuck out his scorpion tail and scuttled up into the metal beams hanging above the bar. He’d put on a wireless mic and could be heard over the music. “Well, my pretties. It looks like the guest of honor has arrived. Let me tell you about how special Hey Baby is to me…” Some folks started looking around, but plenty were still dancing.

“Oh god,” she said. “Not a monologue!” Firing bolts of light up at him, she tried to find a clear path through the dance floor to bring him down.

“I’d almost think you were trying to miss, my dear.” He laughed. “Hey, baby… is it maybe because you actually do want some of this scorpion’s sting?” His lascivious emphasis made her whole body recoil.

“Augh!” She yelled wordlessly and flung more fireballs of light at him.

“Or maybe you just need me around, to fuel your sick and twisted ‘powers.'” He dodged gracefully around the bolts.

A gasp went up from some of the patrons. “Wait, what?”

“You don’t know? She gets off on this, when I have my way with… uncompliant women!” He slithered from rafter to rafter, and May had to pause to catch her breath. She was running low on charge, even with his vileness flowing in.

May looked around at the crowd, most of whom were staring at her as she heaved for breath in her revealing outfit. “Ugh. Look. The truth of the matter is that fucked-up power dynamics wreck all the good things in society. It takes all of us to stand up and support victims, to directly face down the terrible evil acts.”

The Objectifier piped up in his awful, deep voice. “But one superhero is never enough. Not in a world with this many villains.” He laughed evilly, and swung from the lighting rig out towards an exit.

“You could say that again,” she muttered, as she leaped through some confused dancers to give chase. “Get out of the god damned way or HELP STOP HIM!” she screamed at the confused, oblivious drunks.

 

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