WIP Wednesdays | Mechman Excerpt | 4/20/2022

This comes from the opening of a WIP superhero dramedy short story about a gardener working for a supervillain.

You don’t have a habit of working with supervillains, it just sort of happens. In fairness, you don’t actually know that you were being hired by Mechman at first. Why would you? The job posting doesn’t talk about robbing banks or whatever, it’s just fixing up an old greenhouse. A greenhouse on the outermost edge of town where there are a few known and probably a few more unknown lairs. You know it’s shady, but you need the money and the dangerous prospect of a job is better than none.  

If it had been someone like, oh, that plant goddess from Venus who keeps trying to turn the city’s inhabitants into fertilizer, you would’ve at least understood. But no. It’s Mechman. Mechman, who you never would have guessed would take any interest whatsoever in floristry or vegetables or any of the other stuff that he has growing in his greenhouse.

And maybe he doesn’t. The place is a wreck when you get there. One of the walls is shattered, letting in the frigid winter air that’s killed half the stuff in here, especially the desert and tropical plants. Poor little things. Your heart clenches when you see dead gray-brown things even if it’s an inevitability a lot of the time. But these didn’t have to die. If the owner of this place could just maintain the function of a greenhouse as a greenhouse, it wouldn’t be like this.

You start with ripping them out and wonder if you’re expected to repair the broken wall. You put a tarp over the hole to start with. It fwump-fwaps in the wind, but at least it feels a little bit less like frigid hell in here now. A little.

You drag a space heater out of your truck. You don’t want to die on a job that should not present any danger at all to you beyond maybe cutting a finger or something if you’re not careful. Working at the Burger Bar last year wasn’t supposed to be dangerous, either, but that place got attacked by the Milk Maiden (twice) and you got a nasty grease burn that kind of looks like California on your elbow, so who’s to say?

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