On the Proper Treatment of Plucky Girl Sidekicks

Susie Safflower surreptitiously tested the ropes tying her to the chair. They seemed a little looser on the left. She’s have to keep that in mind.

“Mwuaha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I, the Dark Nemesis, have you completely in my power!”

Susie’s bosom heaved with agitation. A comely sweat bespangled her brow. “What… what do you intend to do with me?” she cried.

“Why, I shall use you for my pleasure— as bait in my trap for Captain Awesome!” Dark Nemesis cackled again.

“Oh!” Susie breathed. “You horrible, horrible villain! You would never harm a helpless woman!”
“Well, of course not,” Dark Nemesis said in a more normal tone of voice. “I was raised never to hit girls. Mom always wanted me to be a gentleman, and she was right. Manners are so important, don’t you think?”

Well, yes,” Susie agreed. “You do have lovely manners.”

“Thank you, my dear. One does so hate to make a poor first impression.”

“Why, only last week when I was held captive by the Avenger of Doom…”

“Oh, well, yes, the Avenger of Doom. If that’s the standard of villainy these days, no wonder the superheroes keep winning. Tell me, does he even have a proper lair?”

“He’d kind of fixed up his parents’ basement. It certainly smelled lair like. Kind of dank.” She had to keep him talking, steer the conversation in a more pleasant direction. She tossed her head defiantly. “Whatever it is you’re planning, you’ll never get away with it!”

“Oh, no, I’ve planned things very carefully. I’m certain to succeed. Tell me, my dear, are you comfortable? Because we may be here for quite a while.”

Susie tried for a sultry tone. “These ropes are awfully… tight.”

“Oh, dear.” Dark Nemesis fussed with the ropes, loosening them ever so slightly. “Would you like a cup of tea or something while I’m up? I’ve got Thin Mints.”

Susie was about to scream in frustrated rage. All that work. Weeks and weeks of planning, figuring out precisely which dark alleyways suited her purpose, subtly planting the seeds of an idea for Dark Nemesis to capture and torture her, and for what? The nimrod is loosening the ropes! She can practically wriggle free! And he’s being so nice! And hospitable! The whole thing now seemed like a colossal waste of time. Whatever did she used to see in this guy?

Well, Girl Scout cookies would be some consolation.

The kettle had barely come to a boil when Captain Awesome came crashing through the window. Overdramatic, as usual, when there was a perfectly good unlocked door right there. Susie rolled her eyes at him.

Dark Nemesis still had a tea bag and a plate of small brown cookies in his hand. He blinked in surprise, then recovered himself and sneered, “Not so fast, Captain… Not-So-Great! You’ll never stop me!” He held out the plate, and in a normal voice asked, “Thin Mint?”

Susie could not believe her eyes. Dark Nemesis was actually simpering at Captain Awesome! And Captain Awesome was making googley eyes back! No wonder she had never gotten anywhere with either one of them!

Suddenly certain features of Captain Awesome’s Man Cave of Solitude became crystal clear…
“Thin Mint? Don’t mind if I do,” Captain Awesome reached for a delicious chocolate covered cookie. “Say, you didn’t steal these, did you? Because Girl Scouts are the little green hearts of America.”

“No, no,” Dark Nemesis reassured him. “My neighbor. She’s a troop leader, and never lets me run out.”

Susie sighed, and began rescuing herself. The way these two were going it might be hours before they even remembered she was in the room.

“Well, I’ll just be going, then,” she said brightly as the last of the ropes fell away. “It looks like you two have a lot to catch up on.”

“Don’t forget to pick up my second best cape from the dry cleaners,” Captain Awesome called after her.

Susie had barely reached the door when it was flung open, and a raven-haired beauty wearing a tight leather corset, thigh-high patent leather boots, and carrying a bullwhip in one hand and a death ray in the other burst through. “It is I, Whip Lass, and I have come to… Oh, hell. Let me guess. These two jokers are mortal enemies, and they’ve just realized their hatred is just love in disguise?”

“That’s about the size of it,” Susie agreed. “Doesn’t it just make you sick?” She eyed the other woman’s somewhat provocative costume. “What did you say your name was?”

“I’m Whip Lass. I’m the newest super villain in town. And you are?”

“Susie Safflower, plucky girl sidekick. I hope you have a decent cover identity. We’re just about full up with investigative reporters and mild-mannered malt shop owners around here.”

“Oh, nothing like that. In fact, I work at Mistress Mallet’s House of Pain. It’s great for blackmail, and all my costumes are tax deductible.”

“If you’re just starting out in the biz— are you hiring?”

“It’s true that I have an opening on my minion roster… perhaps we should go to my lair and discuss the matter?”

“Lead on,” Susie said. “I have to ask, how are you at the art of kinbaku?”


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