Chapter One – The Newspaper
The first thing a tired and dressed up Buggy does when she enters her apartment is go to her room. She feels around on the wall across from her bed until she feels a bump. Buggy presses the button, and the wall splits into two as it reveals a secret room. Buggy’s carefully organized secret room.
In front of her is what’s probably the biggest collection of disguises anyone’s ever set eyes on. Then again, considering the fact no one knows about the room, the previous statement is a little biased.
Buggy strips the disguises off of her. The cropped blonde wig is hanging on one of the many plastic heads, the business suit is in the basket for Buggy to launder later. The black professional pumps are in the shoe rack with the other kinds of shoes. The make-up is wiped off.
Stretching, Buggy slowly relaxes her muscles until moving around becomes bearable. She takes a glance at the mirror. Long curly brown hair, in Buggy’s opinion, is difficult to hide under a net. The first couple of times she’s done it took about a half-hour each. Since then, the record time has gone down by roughly twenty minutes.
Speaking of time, Buggy looks at her watch. “Damn it,” she mutters under her breath. She’s forgotten today’s Monday, one of the few days of the week that she has classes at NYU. Sometimes it’s difficult leading a double-life when you’re a college student. At least Buggy doesn’t have to deal with high school anymore; she has a more flexible schedule now that she’s attending three classes a week.
Unfortunately, none of them helps Buggy prevent herself from giving herself brain-damage from face-palming at the many acts of stupidity the bad guys pull.
Rushing out of the bedroom half-dressed (and sealing the secret room shut for another time), Buggy grabs her backpack, puts on her long trench coat, and heads down to the bus station nearest from her apartment. By the time she gets there, the bus has barely opened its doors. Buggy jumps in and is greeted by the heater running in the vehicle. Winter has started early in New York, so she appreciates the warmth.
Buggy sits down in a worn seat, noticing there’s very few people here. An elderly couple are bickering over who’s cooking dinner tonight. A teen (most likely a high school sophomore) is grinning weirdly at something that’s playing on his phone. Buggy deduces it’s something porn-related.
Within ten minutes, the bus has stopped by the NYU campus. Buggy gratefully gets off, because the boy noticed her and aimed his “seductive” smirk in her direction. If she wanted to, Buggy could have hog-tied him and swung him up in the luggage space in seconds without blinking.
Which was why she needed to get off as quickly as she could.
She tightens her coat, more for security than warmth, and heads to the building where she needs to go. Buggy keeps her head down and power walks past the college students either waving, saying “good morning”, or keeping their own heads down like her.
In time she looks up to see her friend James Ivan leaning against the wall. “Where have you been?” he asks. “I’ve been waiting for like thirteen minutes!” He uncrosses his arms to pull his hood over his brown shaggy hair. Buggy notices a bright purple portfolio under his arm.
Buggy can’t help but laugh to herself. James is an odd guy, and being specific about time is one of the things that make him odd. James is probably the only person at the university that Buggy can tolerate. They met when they were partnered up to do a skit in Acting, using only the skills that they’ve learned before they started attending. Since then, they’ve only trusted each other more than either of them trust anyone else.
“I forgot what time it was,” Buggy responds. James gets off of the wall and they both enter the building. Judging from the scarce amount of students in the room, class isn’t going to start for a bit.
Her friend eyes her warily. “That’s the sixth time you’ve used that excuse.” He sits down, with Buggy sliding next to him. James puts down his portfolio, and a newspaper slides out enough for Buggy to read the partial headlines:
VES THE STATE AGAIN
From the countless times she’s seen the same newspaper, Buggy knows what the whole headline says.
MISTRESS OF DISGUISES SAVES THE STATE AGAIN
She doesn’t voice her next thought to James: If you really need to name me something ridiculous, at least go with Girl Master. Instead, she asks, “What’s up with the newspaper?”
James looks at it. “That’s right!” he exclaims. “Did you know there’s a justice person going around? She alters her identity with changing her looks.”
Buggy gives him an odd look. “Then how did you know the person’s a girl?” she responds.
“There’s some witness who took several pictures of the museum, and in one of them there was a girl wearing a dress crouched on the roof.”
I knew that flash wasn’t random, Buggy thinks. “And . . . what makes you think she’s the justice person?”
“The date stamped was the night the criminal was found tied up by the artifact he was going to steal,” Buggy’s friend says. “I checked with the reporter who wrote the article.” When she gives him another look, James adds, “I called him and pretended I was his boss’s boss.”
“That’s risky for something minimal,” Buggy comments.
James stashes the newspaper back into the folder. “Oh! Did you hear she was the one who managed to capture that one guy a few months ago? Seriously, she found him before any cop on the force could figure out where he was!”
He wasn’t really that hard to find, Buggy thinks. “Why are you so
enthused about her?” she asks suddenly.
Shrugging, her friend taps his chin with a pen he got out from his ear. “She’s, just, so interesting! She’s our own Batman! You know, with disguises instead of the awesome gadgets.” James pauses to think. “I wonder if she needs a Robin. Or Alfred.”
“Are you that desperate to get a girlfriend? You don’t even know if she lives here in New York.”
James rolls his eyes. He then sits up straighter to prepare himself for his signature lecture. Since the multiple incidents he’s witnessed Buggy cause, she’s been accustomed to them. “All the crimes that she’s solved have taken place here. I’ve checked with several newspapers from other states, and none of them have ever mentioned anything like the Mistress of Disguises.”
Buggy leans into her chair. “Are you sure you’ve checked with all of the newspapers?” she asks, smirking. The professor has finally entered the room and prepares for the lecture. “She could be screwing with you by going to the states you haven’t checked.”
“Shush, Angel!” James says, using her legal name.
She huffs. “That was rather uncalled for.”