I put on my Gap name pin and got ready to punch in.
“Uh, yeah, Chad. Hi.”
“Big day today, right, He?” asked Chad the manager, punching my arm.
“That’s right!” I answered, diplomatically omitting the “you Feldman-faced son of a bitch!!!”
I got down to folding XXL clearance shirts.
The repetitive nature of my work allowed me to think on the events of yesterday, of Beast-Man’s and Orko’s appeal for help. And there was that new guy too, but he struck me as a bit of a fancy-pants.
Sometimes I did kind of miss being a superhero. I wasn’t allowed to powerpunch customers, no matter how lame they got or how many pairs of capris they tried on.
The job was boring but it paid, and maybe it was the boring bit that was some of the appeal. No one was relying on me for anything more than a tobacco-colored suede jacket in size XS. Nobody died at the Gap. Well, not often.
But, you know, sometimes it would be nice to have a little action again.
“Yes, Chad?” Chad was nervously twisting the nasty strands of his sophomore-year goatee.
“There is a customer who wishes to speak to you.” In a whisper he added, “He’s real weird, try and sign him up for a Gap card.”
With a sigh, I got up off the floor and sauntered my way towards the cash registers. My customer was there, examining a pair of loose-fit carpenter pants.
“Hi! He-Man here. Can I help you?” I could tell even from this distance that the pants weren’t his size. At first I thought he might be buying them as a gift, but who would give somebody discount carpenter pants besides a mom, and he wasn’t no mom.
“Help me?” questioned the weird pants non-mom guy in an electronic voice. “Help me by dying!”
He threw the pants at me and I dodged their wide leg just in time as he swung a dangerous axe-arm at my head.
‘Whoa, you crazy machine man! What gives?”
The evil wacky robot monster took a second swipe at me and laughed that eerie Cher-vocorder song laugh again.
“Don’t you recognize your old friend Roboto?” He sneered mechanically.
“No,” I answered with feigned nonchalance as I ducked behind a giant Dennis Hopper poster.
“Have you forgotten me, then?” demanded the wild metallic hatchet man. “I, who have not forgotten you! I, whose life you destroyed. Have you forgotten my father...The Ballerina!”
The axe went right through Dennis’s Blue Velvet-sniffing nose. I grabbed it and, using my super strength, tore the damn thing off Roboto’s body.
Before I could so much as sing, “I’ve got your arm!” Roboto had switched weapons and was firing machine gun rounds from his stump.
“My father was a great scientist,” he moaned, blowing all my shirt displays to hell. “A genius!!! And his only weakness was he enjoyed tap-dancing! Is there anything wrong with that?!!!”
I dove across the floor and threw a fleecy-collared trucker jacket into the air. The innocent garment exploded as a hail of bullets streaked the air.
“But you saw him dancing, didn’t you, He-Man! You saw that great man doing a little soft shoe, and you told everyone! You told them he liked ballet! You told everyone at school that my father was a great gay ballerina, and was going to be a fairy princess.”
Roboto collapsed and held his face in his hands.
I took the time to wonder how people like this always seem to find me.
From across the street at a cafe, Beast-Man commented to Orko, “Looks like the guy from Daft Punk found He-Man.”
“Yeah, what a dumb name.”
I worm-crawled across the floor and into the back room. Roboto had started up with his laser arm, and was making his way towards the Baby Gap. A collective cry went up from the mothers, toddlers, and anorexic girls who were shopping there. I had to stop him.
I slipped my bag off the shelf, accidentally spilling Courtney’s double latte on my shirt.
My unique powersword landed with a thud on the floor. I stroked its hilt with my hand.
Take me! Use me! Kill with me!!!
I heard Roboto laughing. I pushed the bloodthirsty sword away, dusted myself self off and walked back out onto the sales floor.
“He-Man! Ready to die?”
“Yes.” Roboto was taken aback. His gears whirred loudly in shock. “First though, I want to tell you why I said those things about your father.”
I slowly walked closer to him. His eyes flashed redly.
“You’re right, I saw him dance. He was amazing! I had never seen anything like it. I never knew anyone could move like that. I was jealous!”
“I hated myself for my clumsiness, for my lack of grace. I hated myself and... I hated him. He was too perfect.”
A wistful smile lit up Roboto’s LED display.
“He was the best dancer I had ever seen. He was...”
I was within 4 feet of Roboto.
“Completely and savagely flaming!!!”
My first powerpunch landed just above his techno-belt. I followed with an uppercut that lifted him into the air, and then, with all the grace of Roboto’s ballerina dad, I spun on the heel of my motorcycle boot and landed a perfect roundhouse kick to the side of his head.
Roboto sailed through the air and exited the Gap shatteringly by way of the front window.
“Take that, son of Twinkletoes.”
I strode to the back room, picked up my stuff and my sword, and tossed my name pin down on the counter.
“What are you doing?” wailed Chad, coming out from under a ribbed sweater display.
“I’m He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe, Chad...and I quit!”
As I left the Gap, I thanked God for direct deposit, kicked Roboto twice in the CPU, and hailed myself a cab.
“Where to, pal?”
“Eternia City, and step on it!”