It never fails. Every few years, maybe twice a decade, I'll be at a D.C. power party, having a good time, and some jack!@#$ came on up and ask me THE QUESTION.
The last time it happened was maybe three years ago, perpetrated by some new guy I didn't recognize. He didn't look drunk, and he didn't look like a rube, so I supposed he was doing it of his own sound mind and volition. Poor fool probably just didn't know any better.
Having said that, I still had to lobotomize with his own !@#$ champagne flute. I think I got about halfway through the operation before a massive security detail managed to strong-arm some sense into me, or at least get my hands off his perforated noggin. But I think that, following that nasty display of attempted poolside brain surgery, the message was made clear as crystal once again.
That message is !@#$ simple: you do not !@#$ ask SPYGOD about his secret vulnerabilities.
"Are you impervious to bullets?" I'll tolerate, because anyone ought to know by now the answer to that is yes. Usually.
"Is it true you once took on fifty ninjas armed with swords and the only blood on the floor was theirs?" is acceptable, because while it isn't !@#$ true, it makes me sound like an even bigger bad!@#$ than I already am. Plus the blood was actually someone else's.
And "You can jump out of airplanes without parachutes and live?" is also acceptable, because I've got an image to maintain, and, as we learned once again just yesterday, the answer is "!@#$ yes." I don't !@#$ recommend it if you're supposed to be jumping into battle, of course, but every once in a while it feels strangely liberating to take the space junk express down and kiss the sweet, sweet Earth at terminal velocity.
But all these people trying to needle me into giving away my kryptonite at a party? !@#$ that.
!@#$, !@#$ that in the ear with a spoon. A really big !@#$ spoon that's been sharpened into a shiv by a man arrested for !@#$ dead cows outside his ex-girlfriend's kindergarten window. On a dare. For beer.
I mean, I don't mind if people understand that even I have limits. I may be immortal but I'm not invulnerable. I have my stress limits and breaking points, just like everyone else.
The big difference is that, unlike most people, I get to bounce back from that kind of trauma.
Like last night, for example. Remember how I fell out of the sky while avoiding being barbequed in my flying car? Remember that I fell Gods know how many !@#$ stories and slammed face-first into a shiny new Lexus? Anyone else would be a big, wet splatter, or maybe a large helping of bone and meat soup served in a skin wrapper.
Me? I broke everything, but then it all knitted itself back together (painfully) while I lay there and grunted. It was all back to normal in about ten minutes, and I could actually move again after another five. Which was nice because I was getting really !@#$ sick of telling the person whose car I just smashed to shut the !@#$ up or I'd... well, I'd do something. Once I could aim again.
(And yes, he shut the !@#$ up once I sat up and glared at him. And prolapsed into his pants. Sometimes lady fate is kind to me.)
But yes, I hurt like a mother!@#$. I still do. You know that awful feeling you get in your back muscles, right above your hip, when you move it just wrong and it snaps? And then you can't bend down and get back up again, sit down, sit up, or !@#$slam the three katooeys you brought home to make up for a failed Thai food run, without that nasty limiting twinge?
Well, I've had it all night and all day, and it !@#$ sucks. It'll be gone by tomorrow, I'm sure, but still.
So yes, bones come back together as they should be, but muscles still hurt a while thereafter. Bullets bounce off but sting like !@#$. Sharp surfaces dull but sting. Crush and splatter injuries reform. Spilled blood comes back.
Burns... that's a different subject.
Now, keep in mind that I'm immortal. I can't die. But some injuries take a lot longer to heal than others. And fire, for some weird !@#$ reason, takes !@#$ forever.
There was this one time, early on, when I rushed into a towering inferno to get something for The COMPANY. I managed to do it, but by the time I got out of the building I was a literal walking skeleton: black skin hanging from bones, charred organs falling out of ruptured skin. It hurt like living unholy !@#$, even without nerve endings, and when they started to regrow it itched like I was the center performer in an ant orgy.
And it took me six !@#$ months to heal up completely. Six months of itching, burning, and the nasty, wet tickling that comes as your body slowly puts its charred self back together again.
That, son, is why SPYGOD is very leery of fire. I'll take a burn or two for America if I have to, but no more "run into the conflagration wearing only an eyepatch and a smile" bull!@#$ for me.
But I don't advertise that weakness. There's only a few people who know about it, and then know that I know that they know, and they know that if they tell anyone else I'm going to do something really bad to their lower descending colon with a pound of sand and a blowtorch.
So what does it mean if I've had four, count 'em, four assassination attempts in about three months that are all !@#$ fire based? It means either one of them blabbed, which I highly doubt, or one of my foes found out.
Or, worse still, a friend is now a foe, and is trying to have my crispy !@#$ served on a platter.
It doesn't involve clones or giant metal insects, so I doubt it's HONEYCOMB, and this doesn't seem like GORGON's style. So that leaves either SQUASH or someone from the Legion, and I did just tweak their noses twice in the last few weeks.
Which means that, in time honored style, I am now contractually obligated to find out who the !@#$ it was, and respond in kind. For America. Let the games begin!
(As soon as I can get out of bed and stand up straight again, anyway...)
(SPYGOD is listening to Disco Inferno (The Trammps) and having some maximum strength elephant knock-out drugs for pain killer)