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9.24.2002 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.

I'm currently looking for guest writers to spice things up and fill in for me when I'm bogged down. If you've got a story that you think would fit (it has to be quite short), please email it to me at ro@tangmonkey.com. Thank you thank you thank you.

This is a very old story, from back when I only wrote starts, and when I only sent them to one person. It still makes me snicker, though, so I thought I'd put it up.

The woman touched her skin gingerly as if expecting it to bite her. It was mildly burned and quite painful. There was an insect bite on her left arm, and one on her back. She could feel the thin sheen of sweat on her body.

"I want a shower," she said to a world that didn't care.

Even worse than these annoyances was the cut across her leg. It was oddly shaped, a narrow line that fanned out just slightly at the tip. Two other cuts, smaller than the first, were visible by her ankle. Blood oozed sluggishly from a fourth one at her elbow.

The cuts were practically trademarks of the Zarabesi Waste Demons. Thinking about them made her feel still more disgusted.

"I really, really want a shower," stated the woman again.

The world spun on.

* * *

"How was your day, Sherry?"

The voice was male and reeked of chubby boyish features and nerd glasses.

"Fuck off, Bob," thought the woman. "It was great," she said rather unconvincingly.

Bob was, however, convinced. "I'm glad. Hey, a couple of the guys are going to O'Flannigan's tonight, you want to come? I'll buy your first three."

"Mm, no thanks," said the woman. "Maybe another time."

"Aw, you never have any fun, Sherry. Ah well, suit yourself, later chica..." Bob smiled winningly and entered his apartment.

The woman fumbled with the keys for hers and finally got the door open. For the thousandth time she cursed the name "Sherry". It was all she could think of when Bob had asked her the first time. Now she was stuck with it. "Sherry." Bah. Sounded prostitutional.

Then she was inside the blessed silence of her apartment. She looked through the mail and tossed aside several ads. Only one piece of mail was important. It was a golden scroll tied with jade strings, and it practically laughed at her from the pile. It was delicately addressed to "Princess Exclayboria Spentfire Demonsbane Thsladflorin."

The woman's mouth twisted into a shadow of a proud smile. Now that was a name.

Princess Thsladflorin struggled with the jade strings for two minutes before she got impatient and used her Destruction Ray to slice neatly through them. She scanned the strange writing for ten seconds using her Super Speed Read Power. Then she swore. Then she read the letter again, and swore more colourfully. "They want me to start RIGHT NOW?" she said to the apartment in general. The houseplants had no comment.

"Waste Demons be damned," Thsladflorin muttered irritably, and went to have a shower.

* * *

Laundry was the worst. There was absolutely no way to wash a cape at the local Wash-n-Go. Thsladflorin had to hand-wash the deep purple fabric in her own sink, with soap, and her hands got all dish-panny.

The boots could be stashed in the closet, no problem. The Necklace of Doom was under the lamp. Her Infinite Ring of Power fit nicely in the corner of her underwear drawer; few people had the nerve to go pawing through her bras.

Princess Thsladflorin found the ring easily and slipped it on when she stepped out of the shower. She dried off and began to suit up. There were some advantages to her situation. If she was careful, her Destruction Ray worked better than wax; she never had to shave her legs at all. She slid on the Required Superhero Tights, and swore loudly as she discovered a run. She pulled off the nylon and torched it with a spark of Destruction Ray.

Fresh tights on, and boots tied up, she was ready for the Cape of Destiny. Now that she liked. It was far more satisfying to swoop down on a Waste Demon knowing that there was a great billowing dark purple wave behind her. Not that the Zarabesi Waste Demons gave a damn about aesthetics.

When she was all suited up she read the scroll one last time, quickly Destruction Ray'd it, and moved to the window. She finally got it open with a grunt and stood perched on the ledge. Then it came, the feeling that if she stepped off she'd plummet to her death, and she'd be a huge purple pancake with tights.

There was always that moment of uncertainty.

Thsladflorin drew a quick breath. Then she stepped off the ledge and was up, up and away.

* * *

Thsladflorin descended from the skies like a raven with PMS. "How long has it been since I had a beer," she thought, thinking of Bob and his dorky friends. "I just want one night off, ONE night to be a regular woman. I want a bubble bath. I want a Tylenol®."

She only got grumpier as she spotted the first slime drippings of the Waste Demons. These leavings were deliberate, meant to inspire fear. They oozed from the back-pores of the Demons and were pure sulphuric acid. One touch and the victim was doomed to eleven hours of excruciating pain.

Thsladflorin yawned and scratched her shoulder where the bug bites were. She'd been at this all day. When would Lord High Doommaster Blackwellan realize that New York was a bad place to conquer? (For one thing, the Waste Demons were no match for some of the things she'd seen in the subways.)

She flew between the buildings, following the faintly glowing trail. Suddenly there they were, three Waste Demons in full horrible glory. Princess Thsladflorin swooped down upon the glowing white beasts. They opened their huge mouths and snarled in an ungodly way. Thsladflorin dodged a Waste Demon Pain Ray and began to destroy them with her Pistol of Glorious Light.

"A manicure," she thought wistfully as she parried a sharp-clawed blow. "That's what I want. Man, I would kill for a manicure."

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