"I'd like two packs of Silvermint gum, a bottle of Sparkle Zero, and, oh, to spend a few minutes laughing at you."

Tommy Sherman looked up at the dusty face of the clock on the wall of the Route 12 Gas 'N Go! filling station. Twelve-oh-one. Just the way to start my thirtieth birthday, with some smart-ass bitch coming out here to-

What the hell is she doing out here-?

Tommy stood up quickly - wincing as he was rewarded with a lance of pain thrusting up into his still-rock-hard torso from his ruined knee - as he saw 'the mouthy little bitch who ruined my life!' standing in front of the bulletproof window outside the station.

Damn. Little bitch must have joined a gym - she's got a tight little bod now, and she's working that catsuit. Hell, I'd slide her some good hard wood just to hear her squeal as she tried to handle what I've got...

The woman who looked like Daria Morgendorffer chuckled as Tommy's eyes eagerly fed upon her appearance. "Go ahead and dream about it. That's as close as you'll ever get," she scoffed. "On the other hand - maybe I should give you a taste... a taste of what you'll never get from another decent woman, ever again."

Tommy felt his erection rise and begin to throb as the woman looked down at the zipper of her catsuit; he felt his lips and mouth go dry as she let her fingers stroke up and down along the zipper, and his eyes followed along to rest upon the sight of her reasonably deep cleavage... and the strange blue piece of jewelry that seemed surgically lodged in her throat.

Bitch gets into the kinky body jewelry. Oh, hell yes - Tommy Sherman would so tap that tight little ass of hers...

The woman's eyes flicked upwards, and her voice flowed out like warm, rich syrup as her index finger traced slowly around the pull-tab on the top of the zipper. "Like what you see?"

Almost mesmerized by the way the woman's nipples were pushing up through the thin fabric of the catsuit, Tommy could barely bring himself to nod in response. "Soooo... I guess the 'Tommy gun' is ready to rock and roll...?"

For a moment, the old Tommy Sherman was back in all of his glory, with a hot babe working it for all she was worth, letting him know that this is what a hero gets from the people...

"You know it! Tommy Sherman is always ready to let the fans show their appreciation!"

Tommy almost fainted from blood loss to his brain as the woman slowly... oh, so slowly... let the zipper slide down to just below her perfect navel. "Then, why don't you... let me come inside... for a moment?"

Ignoring the pain in his knee or the tightness in his groin as he all but teleported to the door, Tommy undid the trio of heavy locks, let the door swing open-

-and his world exploded into plain-vanilla pain, expanding outwards from the juncture between his legs as a force like an elephant's kick punched right into the spot in his groin just above his penis.

Tommy dropped instantly to the floor, a second wave of pain sweeping through him as the woman placed the small, keychain-like device back into a pocket in her cloak. "Head shots," she said, watching him cradle himself as tears pooled on the floor beneath his head. "They always work."

Nearly insensate, Tommy whimpered as the woman stepped over him and opened the cash register. "That's interesting," she said, as she cleaned out the cash register, and noticed the additional drawer for bills. "Here, you guys use two-dollar bills as commonly as the ones and fives. You guys must have started the 'dollar-item menus' decades ago, and stuck with them."

She closed the cash register and walked around Tommy, squatting down to face him. "You know, I had planned the usual for this place, and for your Daria - but after finding out about you, I decided to change it up a bit."

"C-c-crazy bii-i-tch," Tommy coughed out, trying to lift and turn his head, "What are you talking about?"

"You'll find out, eventually," she said, taking a tiny tube from her cloak and opening it. "This is - well, it has two purposes."

Tommy coughed as the woman shook out a portion of the fine grayish powder over his face, which disappeared as soon as it touched his skin. "If all goes as planned - you, my abusing asswipe of a man, will be the very last to go."

The woman sighed. "On the off-chance that things don't work out as planned, well... let's say that you're still going to have fun," she breathed maliciously into his ear. "Say good-bye to common colds, Tommy. Say good-bye to the flu, and all those little things that can make you shod off an honest day's work... oh, no, Tommy. You're going to show up for work every single day you're supposed to - for the rest of your life."

She brushed the pilfered bills from the cash register against his cheek. "You know... I've always made it a point to deal with anyone named Tom that I run across. You're always... pricks."

The woman stood up and exited the Gas 'N Go!, leaving Tommy to struggle to his feet a minute or so later.

I'm so screwed, he thought, steadying himself on the counter before limping back to the door and locking it. That crazy bitch cleaned out the till, and even if anybody believed me - hey, the security cameras! That'll show 'em that I'm not loony, and no dude would get mad for Tommy Sherman trying to get a piece of ass that nice...

Several minutes later, Tommy felt himself sliding int a chasm of fear as he looked over the security camera footage from the time the woman in the catsuit was there - and all sixteen cameras showed nothing but him, reading the sports section from the local paper, and checking out a game on the tiny digital TV the manager allowed him to have there.

I'm so screwed... hey, wait a minute...

The lid to the sliding drawer, where persons put their money in after filling up, wasn't lying flat on the outside drawer - and a slip of green was poking out.

Not realizing that he held his breath as he did do, Tommy pulled the drawer inside, and almost cried with relief as he saw that the drawer was filled with bills.

All the money from the till, it looks like, he thought, sagging with relief as he hobbled about to dump the bills on the counter next to the cash register and began to sort them. It's all here - but why would she take it, and then, just put it back-

Even the most simple of persons can experience an epiphany. At that moment, Tommy Sherman experienced just that, as the woman's words flowed back across his memory:

"Oh, no, Tommy. You're going to show up for work every single day you're supposed to - for the rest of your life."

The weight of what had happened finally sunk in on him.

Had he been unable to explain where the cash went, he would have been fired, arrested, jailed for years - but he would have been free from this cell, where he was seen and humiliated on a daily basis, by persons who would never let him forget why he was imprisoned here, behind that bulletproof glass...

Now... now, there was no escape. None.

Tommy Sherman stood where he was, eyes wide as he grappled with the weight of what the woman had done, unmoving for the next six hours until his replacement (his usual look of disgust perma-etched on his face at the sight of Tommy) tapped several times on the window.

Had he cared, he would have been able to discern the words that Tommy kept repeating for the next few minutes:

"Tommy Sherman's gonna be here forever..."


On The Night Shift

A tale set in the Worldburner shared-world series