“I’m willing to bet ten laps that your skin isn’t impervious to molten Deep Heating Rub, Valkyria!” the Coach said, cackling. “At last! I have you where I want you! Soon, you will be a deflated basketball, destroyed at the hands of the Coach. They laughed at me for demanding double PE for high school students. They shall laugh no more when you’re a puddle, Valkyria! Then, all of Parthenon will do pushups! Bwahahaha.” The Coach blew his whistle for emphasis.
Katie grimaced. The man actually said bwahahaha. She wrote better villain monologues when she was ten. She struggled against the ropes binding her. No good. She just couldn’t gain any room to build leverage to break them. The Coach obviously had been a Boy Scout. He knew how to tie knots.
This was humiliating! Not only was Katie helpless, she was naked. At least, the Coach left her mask. A brief nod to gentlemanly modesty and good sportsmanship. But, dammit! Katie hated PE in high school. Worst of all, she, Katie Ashe, the consummate comic book geek, walked right into a jock’s trap.
“I refuse to be killed by anyone who calls himself the Coach!” Katie snapped.
“Oh, I suppose you can come up with a better name!”
“As a matter of fact, I can!”
The Coach stepped close to the vat. “Like … what?”
Katie saw her opportunity. “Well, let me think.”
“I would like a new name, actually. I just picked my old title. It was convenient. My new name has to be something that fits. I played two seasons as tight end for the Lubbock Longstockings in the Arena Football Semi-Pro Minor League. Maybe you can use that.”
“I can guarantee you’ll like it,” Katie said, angling the Coach like a fish. “You know … Look. I can’t really create a name in this situation. I think best when I pace the room and eat pizza.”
“That can be arranged. What kind of pizza do you like?”
“Tell you what,” the Coach said. “I’ll order you a large triple cheese pizza, and a large salad for myself. Gotta watch the carbs! There’s Gatorade in the refrigerator, and protein bars for dessert. You can do your pacing and give me a new name. I’ll call our order in now. That way, it’ll arrive about the time I untie that last knot.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Katie said. “Oh, hey. Do you mind moving me? If I fall into the vat while you’re on the phone, you’ll never get a new name.”
“Oh, sure. Hold on. I’ll have you down faster than you can do a jumping jack.”
Katie wasn’t sure if she should be grateful that the Coach was as stupid as his name, or furious that whoever dealt her Superheroine hand that morning gave her the Superidiot card.
= = =
Katie’s earliest adventure, when she was still a mostly comedic character.