Twelve hours ago, your tie came undone.
Is it steroids? Is this part of the ritual?
This is the time to say something nice:
I wish to mate. I am unsure of
the etiquette. There will be authorities,
a bit of a bum, a little organization. You,
turned off. (A hundred lifetimes ago,
a Man once let the nice newbie Girl go.
It’s not my fault.)
A simple halfing inside a volcano read
a prepared statement: “Dear people,
consider yourself at war! Read a little!
The Word is given—allergic to bullets!”
(And a dirty fighter.)
I’m a shark, like these guys.
Ain’t got any chivalry.
I suppose you think this will make me
too uncomfortable to respond? (You’re
the greatest fixation, black heart—
you have no idea what that does to me!)
You’re not getting this: we’re bringing
the sexy back. We’re putting the “fun”
back in “exploded volcano.”
You suckerpunch me, it’s just force,
all right? The love—something like that—
changes everything. Don’t look at me,
little birdie: The life you save
may be your own. Repel the invaders,
torch the island,
evacuate the area, prioritize
tech, and you’re still a disappointment.
We met, we cheated, we let go. Damn
thing yanked me under. You broke
ranks: an island, a madhouse, a secret
society dedicated to world dominion.
(Well, “my”, anyway.)
The best seats in the house keep us
literally “out of sight”—and a secret.
Then again, there’s a ninety nine
point nine percent probability crisis
prioritization calls for open insides.
“I was twelve when I beat the old man to death before mincing him up to feed the small army of cats I was training to conquer the world with me.”
Bad time to be calling me a liar. (Man, so pissed.) That’s usually the way it works: a bigger problem needs a “line one.” The terms of surrender are, you get the goose egg.
You have five minutes to cobble together something smug.
Daddy is not in a good mood; perhaps were you to swear vengeance, I’d feel a bit better. Rub it in; say “we change our minds”; bite me; let Hell sigh; get on with business as usual. Prevent things like this from happening, in theory the amount of damage done is like two cats in a sack, not a new superhero team in a sack.
Warning: You have the kind of power
a legitimate team of villains needs.
Prepare to be—for a price—enemies.
It’s not about your secret rabbit hole,
it’s how far down you’re willing to go.
Everyone has it wrong:
the victim is a world that makes sense—
and hidden wishes. Once you’re in
the hole, you’re in the hole.
Labels don’t matter. When you go deep,
no one’s going to pay to see
the dark house (a nightmare I’ve been
I can’t wait to see tomorrow; I’m just so tired.
(Some idiot! Trying not to think of the way to fix it.)
Dear shattering love,
why have you abandoned me? Why
have you left me
where agony is knowledge? Mortals
hurry in the dark, nightmares drunk
into being for a single empty delight.
We’re none of us
heroes, but only one of us is a thief.
The human guts seem almost angry
somehow. Death is too good for me
by half. I am adorable, not a threat
to be measured:
a twisted trellis, a substitute always.
Enough. Let us through. I’m taking no more. The policy on spectacle is, “Talk about your life, you worry; don’t worry, your skepticism is worse.” Every human has had a horror—at first I thought it was kind of cool—but it’s haunted me a little bit ever since. If I fail being brave, nothing decent survives, save the bureaucracy. (They’ll remember it, and they’ll be waiting for a pound of flesh.)
Tell them we know they’re going to try to stop us. Tell them we don’t give a damn—it’s going to be war. Be ready to die running. Show them your complexion. Anything else, I’m afraid, makes you property. Don’t like the way this is headed? You don’t need to—whatever foul existence you eke out of the toxic soil here hates you. No one is ready to fight the oldest war (maybe that’s weird) but when I offer, it’s quite an honor.
Only a handful of beings since the beginning of time are born without a soul, and I save them all. I choose to.
You’re welcome to stay in love, but I don’t think you’ll like it.
(I like miracles. That’s the problem—you’re full of them. Learn how to be a demon or get out of my way.)
I have no quarrel with beauty: I got the gist. But you either see through what you seek—an awful mixture of eternity and something real? No, my friends, a match made in Heaven but worth a name—or you realize it’s hopeless.
“Out” is not where the fence is, it’s being in a moment to reconsider.
The offer can’t last forever: Fight! Vote! Say sorry! See the unspeakable! Talk more often! Understand all things holy! Reward blurs! Choose everything! Cover your madness with fear of purpose! Go ahead and send a tweet! Look at people through hurt! Be fair—and awful! Have little amusements! Suffer! Pay for nothing and no one! Spend your hope like bullets! Return to haunt anything complimentary! Leave friends to eternal torture! Be a Prince of Hell! Challenge love at the worst moments! Look into the soul of your kingdom! Stand with friends! Love really exists! Free your freedom!
(Do you not smell the end?)
I’m sorry. I know you’re hurting. You’re probably mad at me. (Admit it, you’re kind of a pain in the ass.) On the plus side, I’m doing…I was trying to help. It’s hard the first time. I know all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Shall I sing you a lullaby?
One evening as I traveled,
the moon fell from the sky.
Her skin was like a salmon’s,
and tears came from her eyes.
I asked her why she wept alone,
and this is what she said:
‘It’s my blood that makes the light
that shines down on your heads.
It’s my arms,’ she said,
‘that hold the stars aloft
in Heaven’s blue. It’s my voice,’
‘that makes your sailor’s voyage
straight and true.’
I asked her what help I could be?—
(she touched my heart so dear)—
‘Just look up each moonlit night
and remember I was here.’
We’ve wronged each other, but we forgave. We are responsible for everything, sometimes. People and stuff.
I’m a shark: Why shouldn’t I be happy? I have memories; I think of a friend; I love pandas.
I will shoot your toy weapon:
“My mother was imprisoned for the crimes and debts of my father, who was beyond the law at that time, in jail. I was born in prison, one of the worst anywhere on the planet. I was whelped among killers and madmen. I played with the rats. I took my first life at nine. My mother died, an innocent, in that filthy pit. They gave her body to the sharks. So I stood behind me—the ‘him’ off me—and reacted.”
A decision it seems all of us live by.
Note: “Amoral” comprises a minimum of three sequential words from every page of The Secret Six: The Darkest House (DC Comics, 2012), ordered chronologically. The Secret Six: The Darkest House is a trade paperback comic about a team of amoral, D-list super-villains.