The Everliving Crap
The tape on the hockey stick needed to be changed, but Joey didn’t seem to care. He and Scott kept up their prowling — which, to the outside observer, looked a lot like prancing daintily — through the darkened city streets, on the lookout for danger.
Two blocks past Tim Horton’s, they stopped dead in their tracks. Ahead of them, lumbering like a mutant penguin/walrus half-breed, came something neither of them had expected.
“Riley!” hissed Joey, flipping up his hockey mask to better communicate his frustration. “What the hell are you doing?”
Riley unzipped the part of the snowsuit covering his mouth, reached his chin out for a breath.
“I’m fighting crime,” he said.
“No you’re not!” snapped Joey. “Not like that, anyway! Didn’t I say hockey pads and cloaks? What are you wearing a snowsuit for?”
“Two snowsuits, actually.”
“That’s not intimidating at all!”
Scott, who never said much, just nodded at all this. It was hard to tell whose side he was on.
“I don’t have hockey pads,” said Riley. “And I told Marcia why I needed them and—”
“Wait wait wait, you told Marcia? About what we’re doing? About the pact?”
“No, not about the pact. Just the crime-fighting—”
“Dammit, Riley! What about our secret identities? You’ve gone and blown our cover!”
Riley thought for a moment, then pulled his face back inside the snowsuit.
“Oh,” he said. “Sorry. I get it now.”
“You’re the dumbest person I know.”
“Sorry,” Riley muttered.
Joey sighed and pushed on, prowling without quite as much pep as before. Scott shrugged to Riley and followed. Riley wasn’t really equipped for prowling, so he just lumbered ominously.
Two blocks later, in front of the Tim Horton’s, there was a man in a light fall jacket trying to break open a newspaper box. The three heroes stopped in their tracks, watching him pull and rattle and kick the box.
Joey landed first, hockey stick held aloft like a Japanese sword made by CCM.
“Nice try, criminal!” he shouted, and swung the stick down, hitting the man in the shins. The criminal toppled forward in agony, curling into a ball and weeping. Joey’s shoulders slumped.
“He was supposed to flip off his feet,” he said as Scott arrived, still prowling.
Scott shrugged again.
“What the hell are you doing?” gasped the man, checking his legs with trembling hands. “That hurt!”
“Theft is a crime!” said Joey with his best super-hero voice. “Now you’ll think twice about stealing newspapers!”
“I’m not stealing, you moron! It ate my loonie!”
Joey and Scott glanced at the newspaper box, then back at the man. Joey scratched the side of his neck with the tip of the hockey stick, trying to appear somewhat nonchalant.
“Well. Um. Kicking it won’t help.”
The man was crawling away, crying and cursing with every motion. Riley finally arrived, out of breath.
“What’d I miss?”
“Nothing,” said Joey, and moved on. Down a side street. And with a lot less spring in his step.
They heard it before they saw it: the sound of smashing glass, urgent calls, feet running down wet pavement. Joey and Scott prepared their sticks, and Riley stretched his arms out wide, ready to rumble. Five seconds later, a pair of teenagers in thick baggy coats nearly ran into them, carrying two laptop boxes each.
“Nice try, criminals!” laughed Joey, spinning his stick behind him. He dropped it, scrambled to pick it up again. Scott just stared.
“What the hell, man?” said the shorter of the criminals. “Go back to your rink ‘fore you get hurt!”
Joey laughed derisively (something he’d practised at home for just such an occasion).
“You don’t scare us, criminal! We are justice! We are rightness! We are—”
“Righteousness,” interjected Riley.
“Righteousness. I don’t think ‘rightness’ is a word.”
Joey turned on Riley, flipped up his mask again.
“You know what? This is the kind of thing we discuss at the planning meeting, not on the street.”
“But Marcia had those tickets to—”
“Stop it,” snapped Joey. “I don’t want to hear it. You want to nitpick wording, show up. Otherwise, it’s ‘rightness’, and you can suck my—”
He turned at the sound of boxes hitting the ground, and thugs whimpering in agony. Scott stowed his hockey stick and went back to his statue-like composure. The criminals were lying on their backs, holding their bleeding noses.
“What the hell, man? We weren’t doin’ nothing!”
Joey stepped forward, bearing down on them.
“You stole those laptops.”
“Hey,” whispered Riley in Joey’s ear. “Say ‘did not’. It’ll trip them up and they’ll admit to—”
“And anyway!” snapped the criminal. “It’s a free-for-all, man! It’s the end of the world!”
Joey’s face blanched under his mask. The end of the world! The biggest test of his life, and on his first day! He stood up straighter, puffed out his chest, and nodded to Fate. He was ready.
“The internet’s down, man!” said the criminal. “Like down-down! Panic on the streets! Screw the rules, it’s time to loot!”
Joey put the blade of the stick under the criminal’s chin, lifted his head.
“Not today you don’t,” he said with as much darkness as he could muster.
The sound of breaking glass across the street distracted him for a moment, and when he looked back, the criminals were gone with the laptops. He checked around urgently, saw them running down the street, coats blown up like sails on a ship. Joey looked to Scott, nodded.
Scott twisted his arm back and threw his hockey stick like a boomerang. It sheared through the air, hitting the first, then second criminal in the back of the head, before tumbling back towards Scott. He caught it flawlessly.
“Help!” came a shout from across the street. “Someone help!”
“What’s wrong, ma’am?” asked Joey, arriving at the scene of a smashed shop, fire inside.
“Twitter’s down!” wept the woman, looking at her phone in despair. “Facebook is down! I’m… I’m so alone!”
Joey looked to Scott, who shrugged. Riley came stumbling up, face beet red.
“Guys,” he wheezed. “I think I’m having a heart attack.”
“Wait!” hissed Joey, holding up a finger. “Do you hear that?”
The city was alive with the sound of smashing glass, sirens and shouts of panic. The sky was turning red with fire. Somewhere, a car screeched into another, and gunshots echoed like fireworks, rapid and so terrifyingly loud. The city needed him. It needed justice.
Joey looked to Scott and Riley, gripped his stick tightly, and tapped them both on the chests with his heavy, gloved fist.
“All right lads,” he said seriously. “Good show today. Strong start. Same time tomorrow night?”
The suggestions that went into this were "The internet is DOWN! The HORROR!" by @mjgolli, "snowsuits!" by @tenaciousN and "A bunch of hosers get it in their mind that they can fight crime like Casey Jones from TMNT, eh." by @kdnewton. Thanks again!