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So now I was back to my old tricks again. I was in possession of a psychopath who had murdered his wife and would soon enough be the primary suspect. We were riding together in a cab, and my association with him would bring me unwanted attention if he were caught.

I could have just had him walk into a police station and turn himself in. The thought occurred to me. But the thought also occurred to me how convenient it was to have an expendable person at your beck and call. His days of going out and mowing down schools full of children were over, I had effectively jailed him already, and by most people’s standards he was now trapped in a fate worse than death anyway: my lackey.

No one else knew it, but they wouldn’t have to worry about him ever again, so my conscience was clear on that front. But they’d still be looking for him, so I needed to get him out of town as soon as possible, and stash him somewhere.

I needed a base of operations, a safehouse, a place I could go when the world was closing in on me. I needed a place I could call home, when all other sanctuaries had failed.

At the very least, I needed a place to put Emmet Case.

“Spider,” I said in the cab. “I need a safehouse.”

Well you can’t use mine.

“Did I ask to use yours? I need you to find me one. My, uh, supervillain lair, if you like.”

That’s really cool!

“You’ve got a problem,” I said. “But I figured you’d like that. I need a place that’s self-sufficient, well-defended, and the last place anyone would think to look for anything interesting.”

I’ve done this search before. It’s not as easy as you think.

“Then you must have a list of other places that weren’t quite what you were looking for. Get me one of those.”

How about a condemned building?

“Not classy enough. I’m not that kind of supervillain.”

I think you just call yourself a supervillain at this point to irritate me.

“Uh, if this were a comic book, we’d be supervillains. We’re hunted by the government—”

So were the X-Men.

“Well, in any case, no condemned buildings. I have enough problems without shit collapsing on top of me.”

There’s a place that only has helicopter access in the Kirkland mountains.

“Where’s that?”


“Hmm,” I pondered. “It’s not close to major airports or highways, though. I need a little bit more convenience.”

Beachside property with a pool and a view in Fort Lauderdale work for you?

“Now you’re talking.”

It’s hardly the last place anyone would think to look. You’ll also have to convince the owner to sell. It’s overpriced right now. But it has a four-car garage, three levels on top of that, and an expansive private back yard, and a killer balcony.

“No problem. The owner is just going to let me rent it.”

Where are you going to get the rent money?

“I’ll pay in cash.”

You need another identity if you’re going to keep taking out cash. Lance leaves a trail, and we’ve been trying to keep him in Minnesota.

“You can do that?”

Oh yeah. Easy. Any preference on a name?

I took a moment. “Richard Hohl. H-O-H-L.”

Dick hole? You child.

“Awww. You figured out my cunning code name already.”

It’s easy. I just think like Keith did three years ago.

“He still thinks that way now, he’s just gotten more cunning about hiding it.”

Uh huh. I’ll send you the details shortly. In the meantime, I’d head south.

The cabbie was happy to comply. Later on, as we were about to cross the state line, the announcement of a man on the loose came over the radio. Cabbie didn’t even look back at us, because I’d turned off his brain.

Cops were stopping cars headed out of the state at that point, looking for the fugitive, but it’s not even worth relating the Jedi mind trick I pulled to get the guy to wave us along.

The next day we made it to Fort Lauderdale. It was a different kind of warm, and made my cold Minnesotan heart thaw just a bit, realizing that t-shirts and shorts were all I’d ever need to own if I lived here. And the women. Sweet merciful Christ, the women. Beautiful women with amazing figures walked down the streets, burnished skin blazing in the sun, asses like ripe bronze melons. The rest of the scenery was nice, too. Sandy beaches, and bars and restaurants with a youthful vibe, it being a college town and all. And college girls.

After I parked the psychopath, I decided I was going women shopping.

The house was off of one of the little waterways that wended its way to the ocean. There was a For Sale sign in the yard, but I had Emmet yank it out of the ground and he walked with it over his shoulder along with me to the front door. I knocked, and when the older, tanned gentleman answered the door, I didn’t waste a whole lot of time fucking around.

I found out he had two other properties, and I advised him to go live in one of them, because this one was occupied. I got him to agree to a rent payment of one-thousand dollars a month, which was a steal for that property, but whatever. He could afford it.

I got him to unlock the door and let us inside, and as he drove off to get us a rental agreement I enjoyed our new home tremendously. By the time he got back, I was wearing a pair of his gaudy swimming trunks and dripping water all over the floor on the way back from the pool to answer the doorbell. I signed the lease as “Richard Hohl” and added a couple quick scripts to his mind to ensure that all of this seemed perfectly logical and normal to him, and then told him to fuck off out of our lives forever. Rent would be in the mailbox every month by 6 a.m. on the first, he was encouraged to come pick it up.

That’s how easy it was. It took about two hours, and I had a nice little mini-mansion in Florida to stash my psychopathic killer in. Right next door to a family with kids.

After awhile I realized that there were quite a few minds out there like Emmet and Mitch, and as I kept running across them, I kept collecting them. Pulling them out of their old shitty lives as if they never existed, where they all hung out together in Casa del Mindbender out in Florida, and barbecued and drank sodas (I wouldn’t let them have alcohol).

I had to share the irony of it later when I sent Spider a message. I was a supervillain, with a supervillain headquarters, and I’d recruited nothing but the sickest fucks imaginable to be my henchmen.

Now all that remained was for me to do some supervillain shit. Kidnapping someone from a government-controlled boarding school seemed like a decent start, particularly if I could work an explosion into it somehow.

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