See Something You Like?
"Sir, our favorite coffee house is offering a frequent shopper card now! We'll have it full in no time!" Minion waved the small card in the air while balancing a grey cardboard tray of hot cappuccinos in the other hand.
Megamind snapped off the welder and pushed dark goggles up on his forehead in order to see what Minion was holding out to him.
"A frequent… what happens when it's full?"
He took the card and examined both sides. It was just a plain white card with the logo of the coffee house on it and a series of numbered boxes along each side. He noticed the first two boxes out of twenty had been punched out.
"You get to choose an item or a beverage for free from the store. Sort of a reward for being a loyal customer and an incentive to keep coming back."
"That sounds like a smart marketing strategy. Maybe we should implement something like that."
Minion looked dubious. "We're not exactly in the business of marketing our services. What are we going to do, offer the city one day free of mayhem after ten evil plans? And who'd get to hold the card? Maybe the mayor, I guess."
But Megamind was already warming up to the idea."Ms Ritchi might appreciate it! She is one of the most loyal consumers of my e-vil."
"I'm not sure she'd agree with that. She isn't exactly loyal or a consumer. I think 'coerced' and 'victim' describe the situation a little more accurately." Then noticing the dark look on Megamind's face he backtracked a little. "But! If you really wanted to make her a pleasant offer for all the, um, help she's provided in being part of your plans, I'm sure that would be well-received." Maybe.
Megamind made no response. He was already planning how to execute this new idea and wondering what his favorite customer would think of it.
The thing was impressive. There was no denying it. And strangely enough, it didn't have a spike on it. As he walked around and around the chair, engrossed in his usual soliloquy about how great his plan was, how magnificently evil, how he was sure to defeat Metro Man this time, blah, blah, she was focused on the the gun in his thigh holster, disappearing and reappearing from under the cape.
She'd been kidnapped so many times she'd stopped bothering to get upset about it. Except about that potato sack they used to cover her head. That thing reeked like the armpits of the damned. But it had been a very long time since she'd actually been scared.
He never hurt her. He did seem to wish he could frighten and intimidate her, but knowing she wasn't actually in danger kind of quelled that reaction. In fact, the kidnappings were becoming rather mundane. So she had started pointedly taking note of her surroundings during each episode. The weapons, the equipment and inventions, machinery and parts hanging from the ceiling were all largely styled in a common theme: black and spiked. But there were a few exceptions.
Minion's gorilla suit was a fascinating creation, albeit stylistically absurd, and it was surprisingly spike-free. Once when he'd noticed her examining him closely, the poor fish seemed to become embarrassed. Could a fish blush, or was she seeing things? She decided staring at his body, robotic though it might be, was a little tactless.
It was the day she really took notice of Megamind's gun that set her reporter instincts pinging though. It was so completely different from everything else, she was instantly intrigued. Usually only seen in his hand or in the holster at his side, it was not an easy item to get a good look at. Today as he passed around the chair for the hundred billionth time, she tried again to snatch a glance at it, a moving target peeking from the heavy folds of the black and blue cape before ducking under again. In fact, if she hadn't been so determined to not let him know what she was up to, she would have asked him to stop his infuriating pacing since the constant movement was kind of making her dizzy. Then suddenly the thigh holster paused right next to her.
The black butt of the gun was fully visible and was decorated with an antiqued gold lightning bolt. Beyond that she caught the hint of some stylized metalwork closer to the barrel that was surprisingly intricate. But why?
Curiosity piqued, she peered more intently. From the limited observations she'd been able to make so far, rather than being a simply functional object, this weapon he kept close at hand was more like a work of art. With flowing lines and delicate tooling, it was about as far removed from the cartoonish, hyper-machismo style he usually made use of as she could imagine. At first she had assumed he'd forgone spikes for a faster draw, but that didn't explain why had he bothered to spend so much time on those details, the fans and swirls and...
She squinted slightly, lips pursed in concentration, before realizing that everything had become very quiet. Her captor had stopped walking… and stopped talking. Slowly her eyes followed up the sleek profile of his bodysuit until she met his gaze, a knowing smirk trained down on her in amusement.
"See something you like, Ms Ritchi?"
The blood rushed to her face so fast her ears burned and the sides of her neck grew tight. Snapping upright, eyes forward, behind the chair she dug her nails into her palms as hard as she could in an attempt to redirect her brain to something other than her embarrassment, willing the redness in her cheeks to subside faster.
Oh lord, had he thought she was looking at that? And worst of all was the fact that… she had kind of wondered. Who hadn't? He probably wouldn't believe her if she insisted she'd been looking at his weapon. Or worse, he might think she meant it as the euphemism it too obviously seemed to be.
He leaned down, brows rising over his wide brow and hands on his knees, placing himself directly in her line of sight. "You haven't answered my question."
"I have nothing to say." She found that pout and those heavy lidded eyes so irritating at times.
"Pleading the fifth? Well, we all know what that means!" Chuckling, he glanced back at Minion and straightened up, crossing his arms with a wicked grin.
Roxanne rolled her eyes with a huff. "If you must know, I was so bored with your monologue I was afraid I might go comatose and fall off my chair."
"Oh," he lightly replied. "So you decided to stimulate yourself by staring at my..."
"My-" He uncrossed his arms and glanced down at the holster at his side. "Oh yes! Isn't it beautiful? One of a kind." He patted the weapon, obviously waiting for her to compliment it, and added proudly, "I designed it myself."
"Really? I was going to guess you picked it up at Wal-Mart in the toy section." She finally began to relax as the conversation took a turn into more familiar territory.
He scowled. "You would do well to modify your insults today, Ms Ritchi, if you want that card."
She blinked. "What card?"
He stared. "The card. The card."
She squinted. "What are you talking about?"
He threw up his hands. "Haven't you been listening at all? What, am I just talking to myself here?"
Then seeing that she was still perplexed, he began explaining again with exaggerated patience. "I said I have devised a way to reward you for all the help you provide in assisting me to carry out my e-vil plans. Behold! The Frequent Kidnapping Card!"
He produced it out of thin air the way he'd been about to do when he noticed her distractedly staring at his leg. Or something. He wondered if her claim to be looking at his de-gun was just an excuse after remembering how deeply red she'd blushed.
"A frequent kidnapping card? You're serious?" She arched an eyebrow. This was an interesting development. Gratitude? It could be a trick though. "Ok, first of all, there's no way I'm going to call what I do here 'assistance' in any sense. But a rewards card. That's..." She paused. "I don't know, that's actually kind of thoughtful, Megamind."
As usual if she offered words that fell anywhere short of completely scathing, his expression took on a seductive glow, eyes boring into hers.
"You know," she murmured, dropping her chin and leaning back a bit. "You might want to be careful."
"Really?" He stepped closer, one knee resting on the edge of the seat of her chair as his black-gloved hands grasped the back of it either side of her shoulders. "Why is that?" he breathed.
Her gaze bounced from his goatee back up to the emerald depths. "People might think you're going... soft."
"Soft?!" His massive head snapped up as the green eyes opened wide. Heaven forbid. "Now listen here, newsie," he growled, stepping back and raising one long finger. "You should be aware that disclosing the terms of this agreement to your viewing public will result in the immediate termination of the program and the nullification of any prize!" He breathed in deeply, staring at her hard.
She stifled a laugh with a snort. "Ok, fine. So what do I get when it's full?"
"Uh, as to that..." He looked back at Minion, who shrugged. "We'll let you know."
They hadn't been able to come to an agreement on what the reward ought to be. Minion said she should be given a 'Get Out of Today's Plan' free pass, but Megamind wanted to give her doughnuts.
"Oh, so it's a surprise? Or is it that you just haven't thought of anything yet?"
His face fell, brows gathering like thunderclouds. "Of course I've thought of something! But now you'll have to wait to find out what it is," he sniffed and turned away from her slightly. She could be so rude. And she was way too good at guessing. He held out the card without looking, waiting for her to take it.
"Um, a little help here? My hands are, you know, a bit tied at the moment." She peered at the card before he pulled it away again. It also appeared to be decorated. Had he always added artistic touches to his work and she just hadn't noticed before? No, that couldn't be right.
"Ah. Yes." He looked her over a moment, thinking, then went behind the chair and after a moment's hesitation, tucked the card into the back pocket of her jeans. Her back stiffened as she felt the card slip into place. "Keep it handy! You never know when you'll get the chance to use it."
Metro Man crashing through the roof interrupted his lead up to an appropriately threatening chuckle.
"No, no, no! You're way too early," Megamind griped. They hadn't even gotten to the plan yet.
Returned to her apartment by her supposed boyfriend, the first thing Roxanne did was pull the card from her pocket and examine it closely. It was black, of course, and she turned it slightly this way and that, admiring the shimmering blue holographic image of Megamind's personal logo on the front. There were no spikes on it, holographic or otherwise. Along the bottom edge was a series of ten boxes, one of which had a small glittering blue lightning bolt inside it. Running her thumb over the bolt, she realized it was slightly raised as though it had been embossed. She assumed that was the stamp indicating today's visit. Turning the card over, she saw her full name written in flowing silver script surrounded by delicate filigree embellishments.
Why would he add such elegant touches to some of his belongings but only use those contrived manifestations of badness on others? She mentally sorted his things by style, remembering besides the usual accoutrements lots of blinky lights and displays of buttons and odd tube-shaped things, certain they were really only for show. The invisible car sported spikes, as did the hoverbike, his outfit, and the brainbots were outfitted with jagged fins as well. Minion's robotic body belonged with the unique items, as did that amazing pistol, and now the Frequent Kidnapping Card. Where did the inconsistency in style originate?
With a puzzled frown, she tossed the card onto her kitchen countertop and went to wash the dust from Metro Man's entrance out of her hair. After that she planned to do some research on handguns.