Mark A Davis
The woman carrying the sign was tall and stunningly beautiful, but her face was cruel. She wore a form-fitted suit of scaled armor which resembled snake skin. Over this was a short skirt, a cropped coat, and thigh-high boots in a design suggestive of a Nazi SS uniform. Beside her were a dozen thugs, also dressed like members of the Waffen Schutzstaffel, the paramilitary arm of the Nazi party. One had yellow-green skin, and a face resembling a skull.
Behind them was a nondescript statue of a soldier from the civil war era. It stood on a concrete pedestal before the courthouse in downtown Frosthaven, NJ. It was weathered, with chipped paint and splitting welds.
Before this group stood Grandpa Anarchy, world's oldest hero, dressed in his usual rumpled gray suit with the silver anarchy symbol stitched over the left breast. Beside him was his sidekick -- a boy in brown spandex with a paper bag over his head with eyeholes, who called himself the Unknown Sidekick. A crowd of protesters were also gathered behind the two.
"Frauline Hatra," said Grandpa Anarchy, "Sorceress and leader of the Hatra Organization, a secret cabal of German Nazi operatives. And your friend -- who was it again? The Chartreuse Skull? What brings you to Frosthaven? Don't you realized this is my home turf? Your kind aren't welcome here."
The woman in the snakeskin armor sneered. "How typical of the great American hero Sargent Anarchy, champion of tolerance, to display his intolerance when it suits him!"
"It's Grandpa Anarchy these days," Grandpa replied. "World War II ended a long time ago -- although some people, it seems, didn't get the memo. Nazis are the one thing for which I'm allowed to be intolerant."
"Of course!" Frauline Hatra spread her hands. "You are allowed to think however you want. It is a free country. Und that is all we are doing: expressing ourselves. Just remember, Grandfather Anarchy, we are the same, you and I. I consider people like you dangerous and I want them dead. You consider people like me dangerous and you want us dead. There is no difference between us."
"Sorry," said Grandpa, "but there is a difference. If left unchecked, Nazis like you will kill people. If I'm left unchecked then I'll play pinochle every Thursday with the Archons of Excellence like I always have. In other words, I'm no threat to anyone, save those doing evil."
"Well I am not here on a business trip, Mr. Anarchy," said Frauline Hatra, "so you can put your little threats to the side. I and my associates are merely here to protest the removal of this statue to the fallen heroes of the American civil war."
"What does American history have to do with you?" the Unknown Sidekick demanded.
"Never you mind!" exclaimed the Chartreuse Skull, who appeared quite agitated. "We are here in support of our allies! Do you not see how you are destroying history in the pursuit of political correctness? This is what is wrong with America!"
Grandpa Anarchy sighed. "Look," he said, "I really don't care either way, but a lot of people have complained. Mayor Doomhollow himself signed the orders to remove the statue. I'm just making sure his orders are carried out. If you can't get a former villain to go to bat for your cause then it's truly lost -- so clear out, before I have to get physical."
The woman laughed lightly. "You would not dare to fight me here, Mr. Anarchy!" she said. "I am demonstrating peacefully! If you attack me, that is assault, and these officers of the law will be within their rights to arrest you!" She gestured to the local police standing nearby in the crowd.
"Actually," said Grandpa, "that's not true." He held up his wallet. "See this? This is a license to punch Nazis, signed by FDR himself. This means that I can't be prosecuted for punchin a Nazi. That's federal law!"
Hatra's eyes narrowed. "What of it? Some outmoded relic from World War II...."
"That may be, Ma'am," said police officer Sgt. Shakespeare, "but it still checks out. The law's never been repealed."
"Look," said Grandpa, "there ain't even supposed to be a confederate statue on display in Frosthaven in the first place. It ain't like New Jersey tried to secede from the union. It was all a big mistake.
"See, the same foundries made statues for both the south and the north. They were mass marketed, and almost identical, save for the insignia on the buckles. -- U.S. for a northern statue, C.S. for a confederate statue. And they were relatively cheap -- any town could put one up.
"Frederick Smalls was a businessman in Frosthaven in 1897. He wanted to put up a statue to honor the union soldiers, but he was too cheap to even to fork over the $450.00 for a life-sized statue made of zinc. He decided to steal one instead -- only he grabbed a confederate statue by accident.
"Smalls was too embarrassed to admit his mistake or that it was stolen, and so we wound up with a confederate statue in the heart of our city. They should've torn it down decades ago."
Grandpa stepped forward. He walked in a half-circle around the Chartreuse Skull, who turned to face him. Grandpa stood inches from the villain and screamed, "And no scum-sucking, lilly-livered, rat-faced faux-Nazi is going to stop us from tearing it down now!"
The Chartreuse Skull swung at Grandpa, who didn't move. "No..." Frauline Hatra began, but it was too late. The Skull's fist connected with Grandpa's jaw, and he was flung backwards -- into the monument.
Cheap concrete cracked. The monument topped over. It his the ground and crumpled into a heap.
Frauline Hatra sighed. "Fritz," she said, "I warned you not to fall for his tricks...."
"There, you see?" said Grandpa. He got up and dusted himself off. "Cheap zinc! These statues are all the same!" He turned to the crowd, and the cops, and added, "Now, you all saw what happened, yes? The Chartreuse Skull punched me first, and I just happened to fly into the monument -- accidents happen! Nothing you can do about it! Plus the mayor wanted it destroyed anyway...."
"Don't worry," said Sgt. Shakespeare. "I'm sure Mayor Doomhollow will send you the bill...."
One week later, Grandpa sat in his car with his sidekick and watched as a new statue was dedicated in the space before the courthouse. Mayor Doomhollow was all smiles.
"Well that happened fast," Grandpa muttered. "Old bastard probably had it sitting in a warehouse waiting for this moment." He glared across the grass at the crowd and the newly-revealed statue. "You know, I'm starting to think Frauline Hatra was right."
"What?" asked his sidekick. "About the Aryan race?"
"No, not that," said Grandpa. "I mean the statue. What was so wrong about it?"
"Apart from being a symbol of white supremacy, a tool for disenfranchising black people, and a way to promote the fallacy of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, where slavery is supposedly not the main reason for the southern states seceding, but instead they are simply trying to protect state rights and a southern way of life?"
"Well," said Grandpa, "I kinda doubt Mr. Smalls had all that in mind when he put the statue up, given that he meant to erect a Union statue...."
I think you're just upset with what they replaced it with," said his sidekick.
Grandpa Anarchy glared at the new statue, a large bronze sculpture depicting the villainous Judge Doomhollow in his prime, one spiked boot planted firmly on the head of a defeated Grandpa Anarchy.
"You want to get rid of it?" asked the sidekick.
"Oh, I could never do that," Grandpa replied. "However, the next time Baron Climate Change comes calling, I think we should fight him downtown... right in front of the courthouse...."