JS and the gang pulled into the back entrance of Humane Basic Care, a hospital.
Only JS, Avian Louse, and Captain Descrambler got out, the other guys waited in the parking lot.
They were let in by the coroner.
He was Descrambler's guy.
He let them into the morgue where he was finishing up his shift.
Morgue-guy wore a standard white lab coat, a blood smeared smock, bloody rubber gloves, and had a name tag that said "Vick".
He looked to be in the same mid-60's age group as Descrambler, stood about five foot five, had slicked back grey hair, and bulgy eyes, and was perpetually chewing a toothpick.
He was performing a colonic gut evacuation on a large corpse.
JS held his breath to try to keep out the stink.
Descrambler seemed deadened to it.
Avian noticed the toe tag on the corpse which said "Armstrong Emil Dashel".
Holding his nose, he said "hey, I think I know that guy!!".
JS had his Omneron watch scan the name and do a search.
It turned up the writer/artist of various comic books.
Omneron verbally listed them off "Missile Meerkat, Bobo Adventures, Gnat Hero Komix...".
Avian stopped him there.
"That's it!! That's where I know this dude from!".
"What's the cause of death?", JS inquired.
Vick calmly, almost bored sounding, said "impalement with something roughly the size of a harpoon. Murder weapon was missing though. Also a ton of heroin in his system".
JS had a funny hunch, and did some manual searching with his watch, then held up an image to Vick's eye-line.
It was an old picture of Smackie The Smackman.
"Would something like this make the hole, and deliver the heroin to his system?", JS asked.
Vick started, awoken from his boredom, and said "son of a bitch!! Why didn't I think of that!? That muthafucka has been my rival forever!! Every time I wanted to do my anatomy seminar thing for grade school kids, he was always one step ahead of me with his 'just say no', bullshit!!".
"Anatomy seminar?", Avian asked.
"Oh, right, I was Vick Vivisection. Wore a suit with organs painted all over it, did songs about the skeleton, circulatory system, all that stuff" Vick said, as he hosed liquid shit down a drain in the floor.
Avain reacted "yeah! I remember you! You were on public access TV for awhile when I was a kid!".
"That was me all right", he said.
"What happened?", Avian asked.
"Mostly, Smackie happened. But, I decided I liked this job better anyway. It might not seem like much, but it has its perks".
No one felt like asking what those perks were,
Vick looked over to JS "I remember you too".
JS lightly shrugged, as if to signal "not ringing a bell. I've got nothing".
"No, you wouldn't remember me. I got you those corpses you and your old lady faked your death with awhile back. Tell Dr. H I said 'hi'".
Having finished all the medical unpleasantness, he shoved Armstrong back into a freezer drawer.
"So, how do you and Captain Descrambler know each other?", JS asked.
"We were Elisa Jack kids back in the day. I'm sure he's told you all about that".
"Bits of it", Avian said.
"Well, Steve got into the whole home video thing, and I was always that kid that played with dead animals, so I got into this line of work. I went through a phase where I thought I might be meant for showbiz, so I did the Vick Vivisection thing. But, this job pulled me back in. Hey! I've still got some of the old stuff! Just a sec!".
He took off his bloody gloves, washed up,and went into a back office.
He came back out with a box full of Vick vivisection paraphernalia, and handed it to Avian Louse.
Video tapes of episodes, companion books to the episodes meant for the classroom, coloring books, autographed photos, stickers, buttons, the whole shmeal.
"Wow, I always wanted this stuff as a kid, but you used to charge a fucking fortune!!",
"It's yours", Vick said with a satisfied smile, his toothpick wiggling back and forth.
"Oh, ignore the episode and book called 'soul', I was on a Jesus kick in the 80's", he added.
JS finally broached the subject "so...would you like to be part of our superhero group?", he asked bluntly.
"Hell yeah! Especially if Smackie has gone homicidal maniac. I'd love to be the one to bring the sonovabitch in!".
"Do you still have the suit?", JS asked.
Descrambler chuckled at that, and JS was confused.
"Suit? Ah, hell no, just before I threw it in, I took it to the next step!".
Vick proceeded to take off his lab coat, then the shirt underneath.
His whole torso, and sleeves down the arms were covered in tattoos of muscles, veins, bones, organs, ribs, lungs, just like the suit, but in vastly more intricate detail, and realistic color.
And Vick had kept in incredible shape for a 60 year old.
He showed off his muscles with a couple poses, and said "and all of this from swimming, and balancing the four food groups!!".
He flexed his muscles hard, and made the organs in the tattoos pulsate.
He grunted with effort escalating to triumph with a disturbing "heeaarruugghh!!!".
Avian Louse threw in "well, this has been a post-modern post-mortem".
Everyone looked at him like he'd shit out a spider monkey onto the queen of England's lap.
Avian just sighed and shrugged.
Everyone started packing up to leave, and to redeem himself, Avian said "wait, are we still recruiting? Cuz, I know a guy".
Minutes later, they were back on the road, with Vick Vivisection with them.
He was down to just his tighty whities and sneakers now to show off his tattoo suit.
The gang could tell it went all over, but they weren't having nudity.
Not a prudishness thing so much as a public relations thing.
Vick also had with him his medical bag full of dissection implements.
Smackie was going to pay.
What I am Reading: - I’m almost always reading (at least) two books at once and working on comic books in between. Should you be reading what I am reading? I don’t know, but he...
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