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The question of whether Vance was dead or not became more than academic when he found himself in a bathtub up to his chin in ice water like some forgotten cocktail garnish, a demonic woman standing over him, and no memory of how he got there.
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Read free chapters of Dispensing Justice here (or get it here).
Read free chapters of The Red Rook here (or get it here). -- Fritz Freiheit

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Dispensing Justice - Chapter 2 - Friday Night in the Lab (Watching the Superhero News Network)

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When high school freshman Michael Gurrick's father is killed by supervillains, he takes up his father's supersuit and seeks justice (or will it be vengeance?) against his father's killers. (e)

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Chapter 2 — Friday Night in the Lab (Watching the Superhero News Network)

"You spend too much time watching SNN," Mom said. "It's Friday night, and you're sitting down there alone."

"I like it down here, and it's not as if I can just ask friends over to hang out with me." Or, at least, not many of them.

Apparently stymied, she changed tactics. "Are you going out with Penny tonight?"


"I just wanted to know if I needed to give you two a ride to the sophomore dance."

"I wouldn't be going to the dance with Penny, Mom. Remember? I'm dating Cleo, not Penny."

"Oh? A.J.'s daughter?"

"Yes, Sensei Fox's daughter." I didn't have the nerve to call him 'A.J.'; none of his students did.

"But she doesn't play chess."

"Not really, Mom, no." It was always a disappointment to her when she remembered that someone didn't play chess.

"Well, I don't know what she sees in you."

I heard the teasing humor in her voice, which was heartening, given her condition, and I laughed dutifully. It had been funny the first couple of times she had told that joke, Cleo being blind and all, but it was another painful reminder of Mom's continuing memory problems. Even worse than not remembering who I was dating, she would forget that I knew about the lab and fall back into the habit of acting like she didn't know I knew. And for non-professional actors, both she and Dad had been almost perfect at hiding their secret life from me, much to my irritation.

"But you are going to need a ride, though?"

"No, we won't."

"You seem awfully certain of that. Is Penny—"

"Cleo," I interjected.

"—standing you up?"

"I wouldn't put it that way." On the other hand, I wasn't sure how I would put it. Cleo had been acting strange for the past month or so, distracted and bordering on depressed. She had canceled our date for tonight with an apology and a kiss that told me in no uncertain terms that she was still interested in us. "Besides, we wouldn't need a ride, even if we were going. We have Transit passes."

"Of course you do, dear."

"But thank you for offering to drive us."

"Why not go with Penny, then? Just as friends, of course."

"She's going with someone else."

"Oh? What about Kim? Is he going to the dance? If not, you two could go to the movies. Isn't that new Eddie Murphy movie opening this weekend? Beverly Hills Super-Detective isn't it?"

"Beverly Hills Super-Cop." Not that I was particularly interested in seeing a super-detective or cop movie. I preferred films like this summer's hit Ghostbusters; funny, with the unreality of the supernatural. Not to mention plenty of eyeball-kicking CGI. I continued, "Kinnison—Kim told me that he wasn't feeling well. Honestly, Mom I'd rather just hang out and watch a little SNN."

She was silent for a moment, apparently running out of suggestions on how I should spend the evening. "You will tell me if you go out, though, won't you dear?"

"I'll keep you informed if I go out with anyone."

"Good. Good. Well, goodbye."

"Bye." I closed the cellphone and set it back on the command console next to the tray containing the partially assembled pump.

I reached out to tap the unmute icon, but froze when from across the lab behind me, a familiar, pleasant high alto voice said, "When are you planning on telling Liz?"

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