Last Thursday at Supervillain Supply Depot
by Sarah Pinsker
Dora didn't recognize him when he walked into the store. Not at first. She only knew someone important had entered because her supervisor, Madame Furie, said so in her earpiece. "Code Yellow," Madame Furie said, leaving her to try to remember which emergency that was supposed to be. Not the one for police, Code Blue, which went off pretty frequently at month's end, when the cops were trying to fill quotas. Not the one for robot armies, Code Steel.
No, this one was Code Yellow, which she didn't remember, followed a moment later by, "Holy crap. It's Power Star."
Power Star! The Cape of Capes. Dora fought the urge to swing around and stare. Instead, she turned to the monitors under the counter. Her boss kept hidden cameras everywhere, which made it easy to get an unobtrusive view. Sure enough: Power Star. Recognizable even in a tracksuit and baseball cap, once you were looking: the chiseled jaw, the broad shoulders straining the cheap fabric that contained them. She thought she glimpsed the collar of his Spandex costume under the zipped jacket.
Was he the first superhero to walk into Supervillain Supply Depot? Probably not if they had a code to go with it. The first on her watch, but Dora had only worked there six months. She waited to be told what to do: flip the more dangerous displays, slide the secret panels, like for police visits. She tried to remember if he had a secret identity. If she shouted "help," would he tear off the tracksuit, or duck into the bathroom to change? She pictured him saving somebody in the tracksuit, like an off-duty police officer.