||[Mar. 16th, 2009|02:56 am]
Hail the Rogues!
Two solo Top stories for Top weeks; they're short so I put them in the same post.
Title: Tops and Robbers
Word Count: 1365
Characters: The Top, his family.
Summary: The development of a young supervillain.
Notes: I took what few details we know of his origins, and expanded on them.
The boy had his own interests, and could never live up to his father’s expectations. He tried for years, but it became obvious he would never be as good as his parents wanted him to be, and it hurt. Eventually he became a petty criminal to rebel against them, but he wasn’t even good at that, either.
Roscoe spent a few hours after school at the Wiggins toy factory, as he did every day. He found the toys fascinating, and the employees there were kind to him. They’d ruffle his hair, let him play-test the products, and sometimes showed him how the toys were made. Most importantly, they didn’t pressure him. There, he was free of the constant demands for improvement that marked his hours at home and school, and thus spent as much time at the factory as possible. He hoped to work there when he grew up; spending all day with tops and other toys seemed like a dream come true.
When the factory closed for the day, Roscoe reluctantly went home, dreading the nagging he was sure to receive.
“Where were you?” his mother asked as he walked into the kitchen.
“The library,” he lied, knowing his parents didn’t approve of him visiting the factory, and would order him to stop, as they’d done before. He began to rock slightly out of nervousness, and then quickly stopped before she noticed and scolded him for it.
“Well, get doing your homework before dinner. You need to bring up your grades.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said obediently, but felt like he’d just been sentenced to prison. He’d been struggling with his schoolwork lately, and it simply didn’t interest him. Half an hour after going upstairs to his room to work, he got frustrated with math problems and gave up, so he pulled out his tops and started playing with them on the floor. He loved watching them spin, and always tried to make each series of rotations last longer than the previous one.
“What are you doing?” his father’s booming voice demanded from the doorway, and Roscoe nearly jumped out of his skin. He hadn’t been listening for any approaching family members.
“Just taking a break, Dad,” he said nervously, running back to his desk. His father strode over to check the progress of his work.
“You’ve hardly done anything,” the man observed disapprovingly.
“It’s tough. It’s taking a while.”
“Well, work harder. You think you’ll get anywhere in life with grades like yours?”
“Don’t be so lazy. I expect you to do better.”
With that, his father left the room.
A few years passed, with the situation remaining much the same. Now Roscoe was in his mid-teens, but his parents continued pressuring him to succeed. He’d been subjected to numerous lectures about how he had to make the family proud, what professions were acceptable for his future, and how he had to get on top of the world. Failure was not an option. But it was not what he wanted, nor did he think he was good enough, and he was strongly beginning to resent their mandated vision for his life. Teenage rebellion was setting in, and one day he told his parents he didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer.
“Ridiculous,” his father snorted. “Would you rather be a janitor instead? Or some other kind of pathetic manual labourer? They’re failures, all of them.”
“That’s what I’ll do,” Roscoe told him defiantly. “At least I’ll be happy.”
“Happiness is overrated. I don’t want to hear any more of this nonsense. Go do your schoolwork.”
“I don’t care about that stuff. Anyway, I cut school today, so I don’t have any homework.”
His father rose to his feet, furious. “What?! How do you expect to get into a good college if you skip school? You’ll never do that again, if you know what’s good for you!”
“I’m not going to college.”
His father struck him in the face, and Roscoe reeled from the blow, rubbing his cheek resentfully.
“You’re useless, boy! You’ll never amount to anything! Stupid, lazy, and useless!”
“At least I’m not an asshole like you!” his son shouted at him, and ran from the house. He didn’t return until the wee hours, forced to climb in through his bedroom window because his parents had locked him out.
Depressed and angry about his home life, it didn’t take long for Roscoe to drift into crime. He started small, by shoplifting cigarettes, drinking underage, and engaging in petty vandalism. It was exciting to violate his family’s taboos, and he gleefully imagined giving his father the finger every time he broke the law. Having always found it difficult to make friends, the few he did have encouraged him to get further and further into trouble. He was too shy to talk to girls, so his friends conspired to get him to lose his virginity with a prostitute, which absolutely mortified him. To cover up his sheer terror and poor performance in the situation, he decided to make his buddies forget about it by committing a daring theft: stealing a car. But he didn’t know what he was doing, and was swiftly caught. He sat silently in a jail cell for hours before his parents came to see him.
“I understand that you stole a car,” his father said stiffly, and the boy nodded, embarrassed. “You’re a complete disappointment to me.”
“I’m sorry, Dad.”
“Don’t call me that. From now on, you are not my son, and you are not welcome at the house. You are a failure. I hope you remember that for the rest of your life.”
“You may come by to pick up your possessions once you get out of prison. Goodbye.”
“Mom..?” Roscoe pleaded as they started to walk away, but she didn’t look at him. Terrified, realizing he was now alone, he huddled in a corner of the cell and cried.
With nowhere else to go, he moved into a crumbling rooming house with a friend when he got out of jail. School now seemed utterly pointless and impossible, so he dropped out and supported himself through petty crime. He was not particularly good at it, and was soon arrested again. Finding himself in a cell for the second time, with bleak prospects ahead of him, any idea for improving his situation seemed appealing. And he soon had one: using his youthful hobby of tops to make himself a more successful criminal. His friends laughed at his plan when he was released from jail, but he stubbornly stuck with it, spending hours in the library studying everything about tops and the related sciences until he was well-versed in them. As he grew more confident, his scheme became bolder, and began to experiment with spinning his own body at high speeds. Though he didn’t realize it at the time, the spinning increased his intelligence, and he quickly became able to absorb and understand everything he read, from engineering to nuclear physics. Soon he was spending all his time obsessively working, studying, and training for his new vocation --- exactly what his father had wanted from him, and now easy and desirable because of his interest in it. His friends abandoned him, convinced he’d gone insane, but he didn’t care. He was now an inventor, an expert on tops and the science of motion, and had mastered spinning himself. The final step was to get himself a suitable uniform for his new career as a super-criminal, and he found one from a local tailor, Paul Gambi. He was now ready to become The Top.
I am successful now, Father, far more than you’d ever dreamed. I am a genius who has built a nuclear bomb, numerous weapons and technological inventions, and launched my own satellite into space. Everyone recognizes and respects my intelligence, even coming to me for help with their own projects. The police and public fear me, and I’m at the top of my profession. I worked hard to get here, and I deserve it.
Have you seen me now, Father? Are you finally proud of me? I’m your son.
Title: The Trouble With Rogues
Word Count: 1000
Characters: The Top, Dexter Myles.
Summary: The Flash Museum receives an unwanted visitor.
Notes: Set during Flash v.2 #210, between the Rogues kicking him out and Grodd trashing the Flash Museum.
It had been an uneventful afternoon at the Flash Museum, but that all changed when Dexter Myles heard yelling from the lobby. He hurried over as fast as his old legs could carry him, and was startled to see one of the Rogues paying an unwanted visit. The Top was staggering around the foyer, seemingly oblivious to the surprised and frightened crowd staring at him and moving out of his way. Children were the only people who seemed more fascinated than afraid of him, and more than one parent had to keep their child from running over. But Dexter approached him, albeit staying at a wary distance.
“What are you doing here, sirrah?” Dexter asked boldly. “I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to vacate the premises.”
“Just looking for a place to stay,” the Top said distractedly, wandering around aimlessly. He looked like hell; dirty and unshaven, with a wild glint in his eyes.
“Well, you cannot stay here,” Dexter told him firmly. “I’ll have to call the Flash if you do not leave.”
“Oh, the Flash! I like him!” the Top declared with glee. “Except when he hits me…say, do you have anything to eat? I haven’t eaten in two days.”
A curious child tossed a chocolate bar at him, which struck him in the face. Everyone held their breath, expecting the unstable supervillain to retaliate, but he merely bent down to pick up the candy and devoured it quickly. He was obviously hungry.
“That was good. That was tops, ha ha!” He continued wandering, going deeper into the museum, and helped himself to a half-empty bottle of water someone had left next to a garbage can. Dexter followed him, as did a few inquisitive onlookers.
“If I get you some food, will you leave peacefully?” the curator asked cautiously.
“I might. Hey look, it’s me!”
The Top pointed at a large photo showing several jovial Rogues in their heyday, including him standing next to Captain Cold.
“He threw me out…I’ll have to kill him…” he mused, but didn’t dwell on it. “I hope I have a nice exhibit here!”
Dexter pulled out his cell phone and spoke briefly with someone in the cafeteria, asking them to bring a tray of food. He continued to follow the ambling supervillain, who was mostly behaving himself but occasionally stumbling into the displays. He did not look well.
As the Top walked into the Rogues’ Gallery, peering around curiously, Dexter’s sense of unease increased.
“What’s this? Lisa! I thought you were dead!” the Top exclaimed, and rushed forward to hug a statue of the Golden Glider. “You shouldn’t lie to me, baby, I missed you.”
“Ah…Mr. Dillon…I’m afraid she has gone to the great beyond,” Dexter said gently, and pointed to the sign above the area which read Deceased Rogues. “That is just a statue.”
“Oh…I knew that,” the villain replied with some distress, scratching his head. His tangled hair looked as though it hadn’t been combed in days. He patted the figure of his girlfriend affectionately and walked through the gallery’s exhibit to his own statue.
“Here I am!” he declared proudly, and some patrons who hadn’t heard him enter gasped in shock.
“It’s the Top!” one woman shrieked, and several people ran out of the room in a panic. For some reason the intruder found this terribly funny, and doubled over with helpless laughter.
“Why are they afraid of me? I don’t bite,” he snickered, and spun a few times on his toes. “Though I am so very hungry…”
“Here’s the food, Mr. Myles!” a young cafeteria employee blurted out as he ran into the room. He’d been told the food was for “a special guest” and had assumed the Flash was paying them a visit; when he saw the Top, he dropped the tray in shock.
“Damnation!” Dexter cursed, and turned to the employee to tell him to bring something else. But the Top didn’t care, and immediately pounced on the food scattered across the floor. He sat cross-legged on the ground, quickly eating before someone could steal it from him, and casting an occasional suspicious glance at the staring onlookers. One man took a photograph, and the Rogue stopped eating briefly to glare at him.
“Excuse me, sir, I don’t think you should do that…” Dexter told the man uneasily, but was ignored. The man took two more photos in rapid succession, both accompanied by a bright flash, and this time the Top stood up and scowled at him.
“Don’t take my picture!” he snarled, and the camera flew to his hand via telekinesis, which then crushed it.
“Hey dude, my camera!” the guy shouted angrily, only to have the pieces tossed back at him. He realized he was playing with fire, and hurried away from the room, muttering profanities about the villain he’d just provoked.
The Top picked up the rest of the food from the floor, glowering at the remaining onlookers.
“I’m leaving! You people don’t know how to treat a guest!”
Dexter was incredibly relieved, finally hopeful that the unwanted visit might end without bloodshed or major damage.
“Good luck, Mr. Dillon,” he offered gallantly, bowing with his usual stage presence. He felt sorry for the man, who had clearly fallen on hard times and was not entirely mentally with it. He remembered when the Top had been one of the Flash’s most dangerous foes.
The Rogue paused to caress the arm of the Golden Glider statue. “`Bye, Lisa. Come back to me soon, hon.”
And then before Dexter could say anything else, the Top quickly spun out of the museum, sending the gawking crowds running in panic to get out of his way.
Dexter rubbed his head in relief; this could have been a lot worse. He got on his phone and called for the custodial staff to clean up the various messes which marked where the villain had been, and then resumed giving his daily tours.