"The Sensational Night Shadow in… Self-Checkout"
Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom
In the city of Seattle, Washington, 2035…
"Crap! Son of a bitch!" a black and blue dressed superhero named Night Shadow shouted, as he kicked open the door of his apartment. He stormed into the room and slammed a bag of groceries against the kitchen counter, creating a sound that was so loud, his next-door neighbors jumped out of their sleep.
It was a calm night in Seattle, Washington, everyone inside of the Cabano Hotel was coming back from work, ready to go to sleep. All of them were spending time with their families, except for the superhero that stormed into his humble abode, aggravated.
He kicked the kitchen table, smacked two containers of salt and pepper, and slammed his fist against the tile counter.
The salt and pepper he foolishly knocked over smacked against the wooden ground of the living room, the silver caps fell open and spilled pieces of salt and pepper onto the floor.
The superhero grunted and growled; he slammed his hands against the table again, creating a crack inside the tiles.
Night Shadow, or Mason Moonstone; his alter ego, was at the age of twenty-three years old. His attire consisted of a leather suit of a blue and black color pattern. The top half of his suit was blue; two straps ran diagonally down his shoulders, forming the shape of an X. His belt was a black color that had a silver buckle in the middle. On the sides of his belt, two holes holstered his blue-hilted, and silver bladed twin ninja Sai. From the waist down, he wore black leather pants with blue knee pads; he had black elbow pads on his blue sleeves. His boots, despite being a bit muddy from the brown mud he stepped in a while ago, were a glossy black color; topped with blue laces.
Last but not least, he wore a shiny royal blue motorcycle helmet with black highlights on each side. Black goggles covered his hazel eyes. But to make his goggles stand out, he programmed red virtual eyes into his goggles; they were made to mimic the movement of his eyes.
His facial features were somewhat good. The opened mouth part of his helmet showed off his peach white skin; a small brown mole was on the side of his cheek. He grunted and growled, distressed that he had such a long night.
"Damn it!" Night Shadow growled, marching into the living room to blow off some steam. He took off his helmet and slammed it on the red velvet couch, revealing his hazel eyes and light brown hair. He rubbed his sweaty head and paced back and forth, feeling horrible for what happened to him a few hours ago. "Why!? Why did I do that!? I mean, I had to do that! It wasn't my fault that… Grr!"
He picked up a white pillow and chucked it at the window, the moon's light shined through the glass.
The pillow smacked against the glass, plopping down on the wooden floor.
Just as the ticked off hero grabbed another pillow, he heard a flicker right behind him; somebody turned on the lights.
"Mason?" said a soft female voice, she yawned. "Is that you?"
"Sydney?" Mason turned around, looking at the person he just woke up.
Sydney Connor was Mason's twenty-two-year-old girlfriend. Not much is known about how she met him nor when she started dating him, but if there is one thing her friends knew about their relationship, it was that she loved him for who he was underneath the costume. She was an African-American girl with emerald green eyes and purple colored hair; black streaks ran on the bottom parts of her hair. For attire, she wore a white sleep shirt with pink sleeves. She also had a pair of white pants with brown and black horse icons on them. Her red fuzzy slippers covered her feet, keeping her toes warm.
She reached into her pocket, yawning, taking out her square-shaped dark-rimmed glasses.
Placing them on her face, she yawned again and folded her arms. "Mason, what took you so long? It's like 9:05."
Mason gently facepalmed himself. How could he come home so late at night? Feeling embarrassed that he did such a thing to his girlfriend, he walked up to her and gave her a gentle kiss on her head.
"Sorry, Sydney," he moaned, giving her a warm hug. "I was trying to surprise you with dinner tonight, but I had a little trouble at the supermarket."
Mason walked over to the kitchen counter, reaching into the bag and pulling out the items he bought from the store. A loaf of Italian bread, a container of tomato sauce, a bag of freshly made parmesan cheese, and garlic seasoning. Sydney yawned and followed her boyfriend, standing across the counter.
She leaned her elbows on the tiles. "What happened at the store? Did a supervillain attack?"
"Nope," Mason replied, shaking his head.
"Store robbery?" Sydney cocked an eyebrow upward.
"Negative Ghost Rider," Mason replied again, he too yawned.
"Then what happened?" Sydney shrugged her shoulders.
Mason cracked his fingers and let out a low sigh. "Prepare yourself, Syd, this is going to be a long one."
"Long one?... Shit, I'm gonna need the wine bottle, aren't I?"
Mason nodded, telling the story. "So, I get back from helping the Seattle Police Force arrest Technolocity, right? I figured that since it was getting close to noon, I would run the store and pick us up some dinner. I walk into the store to get my groceries, and this happens,"
After helping the Seattle Police Department put his arch-nemesis, Technolocity, behind bars, Mason Moonstone "The Sensational Night Shadow" swung down to the supermarket because he wanted to have a special dinner with his girlfriend. Due to his long hours of working as a sculptor and a superhero and because of Sydney's gigs as a standup comedian, Night Shadow has felt that they haven't gotten a chance to go on a real date in a long time.
Tonight, he wanted to show how much he loves Sydney by making her a fresh dinner.
He was going to buy the ingredients he needed to make one of his favorite dishes; a chicken parm panini. He already had some chicken at some so all he needed were the remaining ingredients: A loaf of bread, tomato sauce, garlic seasoning, and a bag of shredded parmesan cheese.
The black and blue hero spent a few minutes to an hour in the supermarket, looking for the supplies he needed for his dinner. He finally found all of them, and he went to the checkout lines.
He stood on line and waited to be served by a cashier, but there was one small problem. The line was too long. He looked over a chubby man's shoulder and saw that the line was over twenty feet long, the cashier's face at the front of the line was barely noticeable because of how many people were blocking Night Shadow's view. His virtual red eyes widened; a drop of nervous sweat dripped down his face.
"Dear God," Night Shadow said. "I can't wait on line like this,"
Just then, Night Shadow's superpowers; the ability to control the darkness, started to activate. A large black tentacle rose from the superhero's back, it loomed over the hero's shoulder and began to wrap itself around the chubby man in front. Night Shadow noticed this and wrapped onto the black tentacle with his soft black gloves. Tugging and pulling on the darkness, he was able to get it to release the man.
"No, superpowers," he whispered to the tentacle. "We don't wrap ourselves around fat strangers… wait, that sounded kind of bad. But still, we're not going to use violence. We're gonna find a loophole to this."
The superhero's red eyes turned to the side, as he glanced around his environment. As he searched for a way to get out of the store a lot faster than usual, he saw a light of hope in the small distance, a shining light from heaven guided him to the solution to his problem.
He was looking at the self-checkout aisle.
He snapped his fingers, smiling. "Perfect!"
Using his super-speed, he ran down the store and made a sharp right turn, entering the self-checkout lane. As he walked down the section, a cold breeze from the air conditioner punched him in the face. It was already cold outside, so Night Shadow hoped putting on his suit would make him feel warmer; that didn't happen.
He rubbed his blue sleeved arms; his body shivered. He wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.
Locating an available cash register, he pushed the green Start button and listened to a creepy robotic female voice that greeted itself in the most emotionless tone he's ever heard. "Welcome. Please scan your first item."
Night Shadow took out his loaf of bread from the bag and scanned the barcode below.
"One loaf of Italian bread-Unexpected item in the bagging area."
"Hmm?" Night Shadow raised an eyebrow underneath his goggles, as he scratched his head in confusion. Night Shadow nodded at the tentacle and scanned the item again.
"Unexpected item in the bagging area."
Night Shadow scanned it again.
"Unexpected item in the bagging area."
He repeated the same process twice, getting the same result that repeated the annoying chant his brain. He grunted and scanned the item one more time.
"Unexpected item in the bagging area."
Growling as loud as a bear, Night Shadow was ready to give this machine a piece of his mind. But his superpowers said otherwise. Rather than just one tentacle; a whole body of darkness came out of Night Shadow's body. It extended both of its arms and gave the machine a petrifying death stare. This body of darkness was called Dunnere: The soul of the demon that gave Mason his powers.
Night Shadow gasped as soon as figured out what Dunnere was about to do. He wrapped his arms around the demon's soul and told him to shush.
"Dunnere, calm down! We're not going to wreck this thing like that jolly green giant from my comic books," Night Shadow said. Dunnere let out a disappointed sigh; he really wanted to break something besides Technolocity's robots. "Let's use our brains for this. How would my heroes, Monsoon Gal, Pyro Lad, and Frosty Beetle do to solve this problem?"
As Night Shadow and Dunnere investigated the machine, a little ladybug flew down from the vents. The bug flew around and around the supermarket, making a loop de loop three times. It then landed on top of the register that both heroes were trying to fix the cash register. It silently trotted onto the black spot of the platform; the machine scanned it as if the ladybug was a barcode.
"Unexpected item in the bagging area."
Startled, Night Shadow and Dunnere jumped. The latter hide behind the former; he was scared something was coming after him and his new master. Night Shadow whipped out his twin Sai and waved them around; he too was scared that someone might be coming after them.
The ladybug looked up at the two heroes as if they were aliens from outer space.
Humiliated that he got so worked up over a ladybug, Night Shadow gave his demon and the ladybug a neutral face. Dunnere formed his hand into a fist, and nonchalantly crushed the ladybug. Night Shadow swiped it away; a little bit of bug goo was left on the counter, and he scanned the tomato sauce.
"Unexpected item in the bagging area." the machine said again.
Dunnere was about to smash the machine, but Night Shadow stopped him. His red eyes closed, and he shook his head, wanting to resolve this silly conflict between him and technology nicely. "Look here, creepy female A.I. I had a bit of a rough day today. Technolocity's Nanotech gave me a bit of a handful today and the Void League are annoying as ever! So now, all I want to do is have a nice Italian dinner with my beautiful girlfriend. Can you help me out please?"
Dunnere rolled his eyes. How could his master be so nice to something that's being so rude?
Night Shadow scanned the tomato sauce and to his surprise, the machine accepted it.
"Tomato sauce: $2.56."
Dunnere raised an eyebrow, shocked that his master's equanimity solved the problem.
Night Shadow scanned the shredded parmesan.
"Shredded parmesan: $4.27."
The garlic seasoning was scanned. Dunnere nodded his head in satisfaction, happy that Night Shadow was able to keep a positive attitude when things were starting to go downhill.
"Garlic seasoning: $1.13."
Last but not least; the loaf of bread had to be purchased.
Night Shadow happily scanned the barcode of the item, but for some odd reason, the machine took a while to load the price. A green background showed up on the screen; a black spiral was spinning clockwise in the middle of the screen.
The superhero and his demon were shocked to see this. It's just a loaf of bread, why was it taking so long? The duo looked nervously at each other, they both worried that something was going to go wrong again.
The pressure increased inside both of them. Sweat ran down Night Shadow's face and Dunnere rapidly tapped his fingers against one another. If he had nails, he would chew them off in an instant. He tapped his fingers, rubbed his head, and gave off a nervous, ghostly sound.
Night Shadow cupped his hands together, feeling just as nervous as his demon.
Within a few seconds, the machine said, "Italian bread: 5:62."
"Phew!" Night Shadow wiped his helmet. Dunnere mimicked his master's movement.
But then, the machine said, "JK. Unexpected item in the bagging area, LOSER!"
That was it for both Night Shadow and Dunnere. That was the last straw! They hoped to God that they would get this machine to understand their problems, but it looks like all it did was cause even more of a fuss for the two of them. The two of them wanted this interminable checkout to end, so they decided to let their fists to the talking instead of their mouths. The two of them evilly grinned at each other before putting their plan into action.
Dunnere, being the source of Night Shadow's powers, flew inside his master's body, giving him the power boost he needed to exact his revenge. Suddenly, not one, not two, but six large arms made of darkness rose from Night Shadow's back. His blades weapons grew longer because they were being wrapped in black darkness. Last but not least, Night Shadow's teeth grew venomous, large, razor-sharp fangs. They resembled more of a shark than a vampire. Night Shadow raised his hands in the air and jumped on top of the machine.
All of the people jumped in fear because of the noise that was occurring in the self-checkout aisle.
They turned around and gasped when they saw a superhero like Night Shadow destroying store property. He ripped the machine out of the ground with his tentacles; dirt and wires were sticking out from the bottom of the machine. He slammed it into the ground, crushing and ripping pieces of scrap metal apart.
He dug his twin blades into the screen of the computer, getting rid of the infamous quote that pissed him off in the first place. He stabbed and stabbed and stabbed the screen; glass fragments scattered the floor. Night Shadow picked up the machine and slammed against the ground again; this time, he made a small crater in the middle of the floor.
Eventually, his tentacles grabbed the machine and ripped it straight in half. Nothing but pieces of metal and wires fell out from both sides of the broken machine. Night Shadow screamed in a demonic tone, wanting to make the machine feel all the anger he's been put through since he got to the store.
He tossed the machine over his shoulder, hearing it crash against the floor.
A couple of employees had chills down their spines; two girls gasped at Night Shadow's psychopathic nature.
Speaking of him, Night Shadow's powers slowly changed him back to the way he was. His fangs metamorphosed back to normal teeth and his tentacles disappeared. The superhero panted for a bit until he realized… he messed up.
Mostly everyone around him was petrified, however, all of the employees were mad at him for destroying the machine.
The manager, an obese figure with a large brown tuxedo, stormed up to the superhero and folded his arms. He tapped his foot against the ground, eyeballing all the damage Night Shadow's inflicted.
The only thing Night Shadow could say was this, "Ha-ha… oops."
~End of Flashback
"So, wait," Sydney took a sip of her oversized bottle of wine. "The reason you arrived home late was all because you had some trouble at the cash register?"
"Yep!" Mason pointed. "That's pretty much that."
Sydney took another sip, having trouble registering the story she just heard. "Why didn't you use self-checkout?"
"I DID!" Mason grinned, putting a strong emphasis in his voice.
Sydney didn't know how to respond to Mason's reply. Thinking of a way to respond, she took her big glass of wine and poured it into a separate cup. She slid the cup over to her boyfriend.
"Maybe some wine will make it better." She said, as she handed the superhero a glass of wine.
Taking the glass and a sip, Mason said, "It's 2035 and self-checkout machines are still full of shit. How is that even possible?"
"I have no idea, Mason," Sydney replied. "I have no idea."
END OF STORY
Tune In Next Time For…
The Sensational Night Shadow – Issue #2: The Camping Tale