There was one time where I had to stop a guy that was gonna jump from a building. It was in downtown Los Angeles and 58 floors up. If he jumped when he hit the ground you'd have to use a sponge to clean him up. Me? I'd just giggle and head home to smoke pot or touch myself privately because my lady, Ronica, thinks that watching porn when you're in a relationship is dirty. She's a prude that way.
Oh, right. The jumper.
So the police call me right after lunch and say that someone is gonna jump. I ask if he asked for me. They say no, but that they know he'll be up there for hours if they try and get him down. I shit you not, they said that. This is when it sucks being a superhero like me.
Voted Sexiest Man Alive even before I was legal.
So I fly up to the top of the building and there this guy is. He looks about my age. Okay looking. Not attractive enough for women to throw their draws at but okay. Could dress better. Pants are about two sizes too big. Shirt is ill fitting. Shoes out of style. Maybe that is why he is so sad.
“Are you sad because your clothes suck?” I ask him. His eyes go wide.
“You're Johnny Panic” he says. I nod. I'm internationally known. “Why are you here?”
“Cops wanted me to bring you down” I tell him. “So you ready?”
“No” he says. What the hell does he mean? “If you take me back down there I swear to Christ that I'll just get back up here tomorrow and jump.”
“At least you have goals” I say. I float until I land on the ledge with him. “Why are you even doing this? Is it over a girl? I bet its about a girl. Goddamn it, man! You can't be lettin' no bitches ruin ya life like this!”
“Why are you talking like that?” he asks.
“What's your name?”
“Reginald” he says.
“My friends call me Reggie” he says.
“That's a little bit better” I tell him. “What's your last name?”
“Destro” he says. What?!
“What?!” I shout. “Your last name is the coolest villain from G.I Joe and you got people calling you Reggie? That will not do. From now on you're Destro, okay?”
“Now let's head home, Destro” I say and reach for him. He slaps my hand away and hurts himself. You wouldn't believe how often that happens. “Come on, dude. I really don't want to be here all day. Even if you jump I'll catch you and then the cops will take you to the booty house. You wanna go to the booty house? Big boys will have you grab your ankles.”
“Isn't that from a movie?”
“Technicalities, my son!” I say. “Seriously. Why you wanna jump? You know how many people I saved from jumping last year?”
“I don't either” I say. “But I can say that most of them were happy I stopped them before they hit the ground. Know why?” Destro shrugs. “Because life is a precious gift and worth living, ya moron.”
“You are really bad at this.”
“I don't have to be good” I say. “I'm sexy. You wouldn't believe the amount of shit I can get away with.”
“I got laid off from my job” Destro says. “After five years there they just up and fire me.”
“Where did you work?” I ask him. Must be someplace awesome since he wants to off himself.
“McKing's” he says. I can't help it. I laugh. A good laugh. The kind that is so good it sounds fake but when you don't stop people realize that you're for real. “Glad I could make your day.” I settle down after a minute or so.
“You should be happy that they fired you” I tell him. “That place has the worst burgers in the country and parts of Australia. I know because they found koala pieces in their burgers.” Destro isn't laughing. “Do you need money and stuff?”
“We all need money” he says. “Except for rich and famous people like you.”
“Don't forget sexy” I remind him. “I know that when you see me all you see is a literal sex bomb. A guy that can have any woman he wants. Known all around the world. I can push planets. Got a nice sonic scream. I beat an alien by shoving a fart into his mouth. Remember that?”
“But the truth of the matter, Destro” I say as I sit down on the ledge. He joins me after a few moments. “Being me sucks sometimes.”
“I neither bull nor shit you” I say. “Let's talk about my day for a minute. Its about 1 in the afternoon, right? Already I have stopped two bank robberies, put a train back on its track in Japan, created a lake in Africa using ice I brought from the Antarctic, punch a zebra, took my baby daughter on a trip to the moon without my lady knowing, ate stinky cheese in France, grabbed an Irish chicks ass, kicked over a tank in Russia to remind them who's boss, landed in North Korea to laugh in their face, and had lunch. Now here I am with you.”
“Why did you punch a zebra?”
“When you're in Africa you're not gonna not punch a zebra” I say. “Listen. What I'm saying is that on the outside it always looks better. I barely sleep because I am always protecting this planet from shit. Ask me when was the last time I got a good nights sleep.”
“Yesterday” I say. “Sleep is important.” He laughs. “Everyone has problems, dude. But the way you get over them is by living. What if you'd jumped? You have any family?”
“Yeah” Destro says. “My parents and a girl I've been seeing for a few months.”
“You know what happens when you die?” He shrugs. “They find the worst picture of you and put it in the papers and online. Its a real thing that they do. You have any bad pictures?” He shakes his head no. “That's what you think. Look at this.” I pull out my phone and Google myself. I do this often. The second story to show up after an image of an overturned Russian tank and confused soldiers is a quick breaking news story about me helping Destro on the roof. The picture they are using is from his employee of the month photo.
“Oh, god...” he moans.
“Exactly!” I say. “Don't let this be your legacy. This comedian once said something that is very funny but I never had to do because I'm awesome as hell. 'Be the guy you pretend to be when you're trying to get laid.'”
“What does that mean?” he asks. This guy is slower than a government refund.
“It means pretend you are great until you are” I say. “You think I was always good at this? You know how many bones I broke saving people from falling before I was forced to learn some physics? Did you know that's how Gwen Stacy from Spiderman died? He broke her neck catching her form that fall off the bridge when the Green Goblin dropped her! Peter Parker is a scientist! How did he not know that would happen?!”
“That always bothered me, too” he says. He slowly stands up and backs away from the ledge. “Thank you, Johnny Panic. I'm gonna...I'm gonna get some help.”
“Promise?” I ask. He nods. “I wanna hear it.”
“I promise” Destro says.
“You're lucky I was in the area” I tell him. “Normally the cops come and taser you and just pray that you fall backwards.”
“Is that true?”
“I doubt it” I say. “I haven't had my nap yet. Everything I say is questionable until I do. But you know what isn't?”
“The power of hope?”
“Ew” I say. “No. The fact that every single time I eat Thai food I have to take a mean shit minutes later.”
“Over share much?”
“All. The. Time.”
Click here for previous Johnny Panic.