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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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This Is a Job For...

The South Hill neighborhood was very flat, the hill having been relocated into the bay as foundation material for part of downtown. The streets were lined with squared-off row houses that looked like they'd been dropped into place from Philadelphia or Baltimore. Cyclone fencing defended most of the tiny front gardens and driveways from passerby. No one sat on the stoops, but occasional small dogs defended their yard fortifications. Megan turned the corner of 103rd and Sentinel and found the faded sign that identified Captain Zip's Lightning Delivery Service.

A single truck sat at the open loading dock. Megan was sure that the rockets mounted on the sides had never been fired. The bumpers were scratched and paint-streaked. A stout middle-aged man with a grey-streaked combover emerged from the far side of the truck, carrying a toolkit. "You the kid Flo called about?" he said gruffly around the cigar clamped between his back teeth.

"Yes, sir," Megan said.

"Come on inside." He climbed the stairs into the loading dock heavily, and she followed.

"The boy quit on me last week," he said, collapsing into a lopsided wooden editor's chair in the tiny office. "Threw my back out ten years ago against M.A.Y.H.E.M., and the Hargan Invasion did in both knees. Can't carry a damned thing over twenty pounds." He set his unlit cigar down on the desk. "How much can you lift?"

"Just about two tons, sir,"

He nodded and said, "I pay a dollar over minimum for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. How's that?"

"Just fine, sir," she said. "When does the workday start?"

"Five ayem," he said, rifling his desk drawers. "Too early for you, sunshine?"

"No, sir. I get up early."

"Good for you," he said. "Here, fill this out. Gotta driver's license? Para Reg card?"

Megan handed over the cards, then sat down, resigned to filling out a lot of forms in the near future.

"Hey, you the Amazon's kid?" he said from the copier.

She gritted her teeth. "Yes, sir."

"She kicked my ass I dunno how many times," he said. "Helluva fine woman." The copy machine hummed and flashed. "Eh, I guess you hear that kinda thing all the time," he said, tossing her ID cards onto the table.

She gave him a tight smile as she collected them. "I'm starting to wonder if there are any people my age in this town."

"Oh, plenty," he said. "They're all in spandex, though. You in spandex, by the way?"


"In spandex. You know, code name, signal device, saving the weak, plundering the rich, or whatever horseshit people do now?"

"No, sir," Megan said. "No, not at all."

He grinned. "See you tomorrow, kid."


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Wonder City Stories

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