By wildvine 10 Comments
Continuity-wise, this takes place after Spider-Man vanished with Dr Strange. So, sometime between Scourge and Weird Sisters.
The interior office was frugally furnished. A desk, a few chairs, and a couple file cabinets. Decorations were nonexistent, unless you counted the telephone. The desk was clean of clutter, and to the uninitiated would seem like the desk of a meticulous man. In truth, he just swept everything into a drawer once a day. Mercy had seen him do it on more then one occasion.
"Liddle!" J. Jonah Jameson called all his employees by their last names, "What are we doing here? What is our job as news reporters?" Mercy knew from past experience that silence was the proper response. "To report the news!" He tossed her report back on the desk. "What is this you give me? A monster in the sewers? This is tabloid fodder. And the Globe beat us to it!" He turned and glared at the wall. Mercy wasn't sure if he was mad about the content of the report, or the lateness of capitalizing on it.
"Tell me this isn't part of your side project. Wonders, or whatever?"
"Marvels among us, sir. And no, its not." Actually, it kinda was. But if she admitted that she would never get the assignment. The world had been one way once, normal people would say. And then one day it changed. Marvels and gods walked the Earth. Normal people became side characters in the grand syndication of life. What always struck Mercy oddly was how so many meta-people had appeared in such a close time frame. It was like a metaphysical trend had just caught on.
But she had always wondered if there wasn't more to it then that. Some connecting factor. Something unseen, and unsuspected by the public at large. Of course, she kept these thoughts private. She didn't want to come off as some conspiracy nut.
"I want pictures with this. Not just pretty writing. Take Parker.." He jabbed a few buttons on his phone. "Ms Brant, get Parker on the line. I got a job for that slacker."
"He's still out of town chief." Betty Brant replied through the speaker.
"Blast it" He jabbed another button. "Why do I keep her around if she can't keep me updated?"
"Still here chief." Betty replied, bemusement in her voice. Jameson picked up the receiver and slammed it down again.
"If I didn't want Parker he would be here shoving pics of Spider-Man at me. Hrmmm."
"I think I can find a photographer..."
"Good! Great! I don't have to think for everyone. Now get out. Go find me a story." He waved her away.
"Thanks J.J. You wouldn't regret this." She said as she backed out of the office.
"I better not!" The door was shut in her face.
* * *
Later that same day...
"So Mr Duncan--"
"Trash. My friends call me Trash. My father was Mr Duncan. The GED teachers call me Duncan."
"Okay, Trash, can you tell me about what you saw last week?"
"Uh, yeah. Me and my dawg Turtle, that's not his name, but I call him that? We were hanging out down by the river, minding our business like, when this guy came up and started bugging us. Waving a gun and demanding our money?" Mercy doubted he had been this cavalier at the encounter, but kept quiet, and nodded.
"Then this thing came up out of the river. I thought it was a man, but it was a thing. Some kinda of, I dunno, man-thing." Mercy made a mental note to come up with a less suggestive name for the creature in her article. "It was seven or eight feet tall. And this wide." He held his hands as far apart as possible. "He had huge red eyes, like he had been smoking some good stuff, and he had, like, tentacle face. And the smell. I mean, it wasn't just the river smell. That dude was seriously rotten."
That seemed ironic coming from someone named Trash.
"The man thing grabbed the guys arm in one hand, the arm with the gun?" Mercy nodded, forcing patience. "Then it dragged the guy back into the river. I think he shot it a few times." He shrugged. "Didn't do anything though, can't hurt the man thing!"
"I think I have what I need Mr Trash." She thanked him, smiling. But inwardly was annoyed. The interview was useless, unless she got some hard evidence of the man thing. She caught herself thinking of it as Man Thing. Could be a catchy title after all....