The lady says to her:
“So, let’s get this profile of yours started. What exactly are you looking for in a man?
“A cape and a sword.
“A cape and a sword. And he should look good in tights.”
The lady nods her head politely, but her eyes are saying “this one’s out of her fucking mind.”
“Right. Cape. Sword. Tights.” She puckers her lips tightly. “Seems like you’re looking for a superhero.” She chuckles as she says this.
“Yes. I am.”
“Aren’t we all, sweetie? Except mine would be wearing a silk robe and boxers.”
Anna nods absently.
“Anyhow,” puckered-lip lady continues, “Any specific traits you’re looking for?”
“Some kind of superpower. But not stretching. Been there, done that.”
“Superpower? You mean like breathe underwater or something of the sorts?”
Anna throws back her head and laughs, loud and hearty.
“Has he been by here? You would think after all this time he would just come clean and hit the gay circuit on the internet.”
Lip lady drums her pen on the desk. She puckers again. Anna thinks it could be a nervous habit..
“I’m not sure I’m following you here,” she says. “Are you some kind of reporter for a satire magazine?”
Anna exhales loudly.
“I am,” she says slowly just in case lip lady is not quite the bright light she makes herself out to be. “Looking for a man.”
“Right. Man with cape, sword, tights, and flying ability.”
“Did I say flying? No, I didn’t.”
“So, you’re open to other umm...superpowers?” Her lips get even tighter and they form a small, red-stained “o” and Anna thinks that lip lady looks like a balloon that’s about to pop.
“I’m open to anything that’s not stretching or flying.”
“You’re serious, aren't you.”
“You know what the odds are, lady?”
“I’m quite aware.”
“Tell you what. Let’s skip over this part for now and get to you.” The lips unpucker and Anna can see red lipstick on the lady’s otherwise gleaming teeth. She says nothing. The lady stifles a yawn and continues.
“Do you have any hobbies?”
“I like scaling walls in my spare time.”
“Mmmhmm. So....you’re an athlete?”
“You could say that.”
“I will.” Lip lady taps, taps, taps the pen. She puckers and unpuckers and Anna thinks of fish.
“Would you prefer an athletic man?”
“If you mean leaping tall buildings athletic, yes.”
“Lady, every woman who comes in here is looking for Superman in one way or another.”
“What? You think Superman is the only one who can leap tall buildings? I’ll have you know that he does not own a patent on that superpower.”
Lip lady is getting frustrated. She’s doing the fish thing with her mouth constantly now and tapping her pen on the desk.
“Can you not be so obtuse, miss? I’ve got a bunch of other women out there who will most likely cut the chase and ask for a SM/NS/DF and be done with it.”
“Well then, they will just be settling. There are million SM/NS/DFs in this city. And I bet hardly a one of them has a sword and a cape.”
“Let me guess, you’re looking for that specific one that does.”
Anna smiles. “Obviously.”
Lip lady thumbs through the papers on her desk, looking harried and impatient the whole time.
“I’ve got a D&D player uptown.”
“I’ve got a stage actor on Long Island. He does Shakespeare so there’s sure to be tights and a sword invovled.”
Lip lady is puckering fast and furious now and is just about to give up when a yellowed, wrinkled paper falls out from the pile she is holding.
Anna leans forward and tries to read along with Lip lady.
“If you are looking for a super man with super power, that’s me. Don’t be afraid of a man in a cape, ladies. You never know what’s underneath that cape until you try.”Anna notices a big “C” marked in red ink across the top of the paper.
“We keep the Cs around just for shits and giggles.”
“Well that shit and giggle is mine.”
Lip lady rolls here eyes. “This paper has been around here since 1991. I don’t even know if he’s still at this number or is even still looking for a woman. For all I know, he’s at a science-fiction convention right now dressed as Luke Skywalker.”
“You know so little, ma’am, it’s scary.”
Lip lady looks like she’s about to say something but instead tucks the paper into Anna’s file and makes the fishy face.
“I’ll try to get in touch with him and give him your fact sheet. You can take it from there.”
Anna stands up and walks out. Not a handshake or thank you. Just walks on out the door, and doesn’t see Lip lady taking out a red marker and scrawling a big “C” across Anna’s paper.
Anna’s phone rings two days later.
“Hello, is this Single Girl looking for Superhero?”
“Coffee at 5 today?”
“Meet me in front of the candy shop by Penn. I’ll be the one wearing...”
“A cape,” Anna finishes.
5pm, right on time, Anna sees him standing in front of the candy shop. His cape is black, lined with purple silk. He sword is hidden under the cape, but she knows it’s there. His hair is slicked back in that obnoxious, macho way. She looks for the scar above his eyebrow, just to make sure. It’s there, bright and ugly. She gets a flash of anger when she sees the scar and remembers how he got away the last time. She will not disappoint her crew again.
Cape guy stands there, waiting, expecting a beautiful single women who will fall madly in love with upon first sight, and he doesn’t even give a thought to explaining to a mere mortal why he lives underground and why he can crush a two ton SUV with his bare hands. He just wants a warm body in bed next to him when he comes home from a hard day trying to save the world.
Anna approaches him, her finger steady on the laser gun in the deep pocket of her fur coat. She can tell by the smarmy look on Captain Crusher’s face that he is still the shallow, egocentric man she once worked for, still the guy who thinks he can get by on just his looks and his bone-crushing abilities.
She gets within two feet of Crusher, slips her hand out of her pocket and aims the laser gun at him.
In an instant it’s over. The invisible laser has struck Crusher in his groin, the one place he doesn’t shield with laser-resistant lead. He always had this fear that the lead would make him impotent. Some super beings have an Achille’s heel. Crusher had an Achille’s dick.
As the rush-hour crowd hovers over Crusher, assuming that the crazy guy with the cape had some sort of stroke, Anna makes her way back down the stairs, into the deep of Penn Station.
Her crew will be pleased, indeed. But not as pleased as she.