Mark A Davis
Grandpa Anarchy, the world's oldest superhero, stared at the five-foot ninja in his doorway. The boy had the entire stereotype down -- loose black clothing tied at the ankles, knees, wrists and elbows, hood and split-toed tabi boots, and several throwing stars tucked into his obi belt.
"I'm here about the job?" the ninja said, voice cracking.
Grandpa took a sip of his coffee. "Son," he said, "what I'm looking for is a hero sidekick. What you've got there is a bad case of the ninjas, and those are shadowy assassin types, am I right? Not hero material at all."
"No you're wrong that's not true at all!" the kid exclaimed. "I mean yeah I know that ninjas are historically bad guys but these days ninjas are good all the cool ninjas are heros or brooding anti-heros which is even better."
Grandpa Anarchy turned and pointed to a sign on the door which read absolutely no anti-heros. "I don't do anti-heroes, Son," he siad. "This is strictly a hero outfit."
"But I am a hero!" the ninja insisted. "Besides Batman himself is basically a ninja you're not going to tell me that he's not a hero."
"Yes, I am. He's an anti-hero at best, and that's ignoring the fact that Batman don't exist. Heroic ninjas are the stuff of fairytales, Kid."
"Look, I was told you needed a sidekick."
"I always need a sidekick," Grandpa said. He stared at the ninja a moment longer. "Yeah, okay, come in. I need a ninja sidekick about as much as I need tofu flapjacks, but I can at least check out the resume...."
The ninja followed the old man into a side room. Here bookshelves lined the walls, with a large television screen at one end of the room. An old couch and two recliners looked like they'd been there since the fifties, and the stack of newspapers probably went back at least two years.
Grandpa sat in a chair and studied the resume.
"It says here your name is... er... DarkFireDragonNinja?"
"No," said the boy. "It's DarkFireDragonNinja. with a period at the end the period's important otherwise you'd get me confused with DarkFireDragonNinja who is a member of the South Beach Super Goon Squad in Miami Florida."
Grandpa's frown deepened. "Do you mean to tell me that there are two of you with this name?"
"Mine has a period."
"But aside from the period, there are actually two heroes...?"
"No of course not DarkFireDragonNinja isn't a hero everyone knows that!"
"Anyway there's five of us," said the ninja. "There's DarkFireDragonNinja- with a dash at the end DarkFireDragonNinja* with a star and of course xXx DarkFireDragonNinja xXx. Darkness and fire are pretty popular powers and really cool and so are dragons and ninjas."
Grandpa Anarchy sighed. "Look, Kid, I know my standards are low, but..."
"Did you read the back story? I have I have a totally kick-ass dark backstory it's on page two my parents were lesbian Hellions I challenged my evil twin to a duel that I had already won I'm being hunted by Jerk Hackers and I have the power to death kick my enemies it's all there in the application."
"Well, it's certainly one of the more interesting applications I've ever received," said Grandpa Anarchy. He laid the paper down. "Look, Kid, being a hero is a serious business, I can't just...."
He was interrupted by a loud klaxon. A flashing red light descended from the ceiling. He sprang to the window and looked out, where an anarchy symbol could be seen against the cloud cover.
"Hades. Okay, Kid, it looks like we got ourselves a situation. You in?"
DarkFireDragonNinja. lept to his feet. "Yes Sir!"
A cop car was burning in front of city hall. Another looked like part of the front had been sliced off. Throwing stars stuck from the side panel.
A rusting 1958 AMC Ambassador roared up the street and came to a halt just behind the police barricade. An old man in a rumpled grey suit jumped out, followed by a short ninja.
"Grandpa Anarchy! Thanks for coming!" exclaimed the Chief of Police.
"Police Chief Capernicus!" Grandpa exclaimed. "What's the situation?"
"We've got a crazy ninja on the loose," said the chief. "He's got some sort of super powers too -- darkness and fire...."
"It's my nemesis, DarkFireDragonNinja*!" exclaimed DarkFireDragonNinja.
Grandpa stared at his new sidekick for a long moment. He glanced to the steps of city hall, where a seven-foot-tall armored ninja wielded a blade on a chain.
"I knew I should have stayed in bed today," Grandpa muttered. "Which one is it? The one with the dash?"
"No. He's the one with the star he's my evil twin brother that I defeated before and he has the Jerk Hackers with him!"
As he spoke, several shadowy characters appeared beside the seven-foot ninja. They wore black bodysuits with gold boots, gloves, and helmets. On their chests was an emblem -- a pile of gold coins.
"Jerk Hackers?" Grandpa muttered. "And your seven-foot-tall twin brother. Please tell me I'm on candid camera."
"Stay back!" said the sidekick. "I'm perfectly matched to fight his dragon ninja powers of darkness and fire this is just like the time I fought him in Yonkers that was an epic fight it was so cool it lasted seven hours!"
"Tell you what, Kid," Grandpa said, sitting down on the hood of the station wagon. "This one's all yours. But I ain't hanging around for no seven-hour battle. You got thirty minutes, all right? Then I'm wading in with my fists, ninja starts or no ninja stars."