The Tattered Cape, The Fourth Thread
Featuring: Clyde Fox   Date: 12/13/10   Event: WorldWide 141
Flash bulbs crackle, a large herd of people jockey for position.

"OVER HERE!"

"HEY, LOOK OVER HERE MISTER VIGNETTE!"

"MOVE! I WAS HERE FIRST!"

"STOP SHOVING!"

Shout as they may, but the outlandish, overhyped, and irreverent Commander Skip Vignette just walks on by. It is an absolute scene down at Carmichael’s Comic World, in downtown Detroit. It’s a special holiday book-signing op for the incomparable real life comic superstar. He’s the only man to have ever modeled himself in a comic book form, and one of the most successful in general to boot. Adored by many, hated by few. He does indeed seem to have the ideal celebrity life.

SLAM!

Commander Skip slams the door to the backroom behind him, leaving the crowd of people restless. And in that crowd, there is one life long fan. Surrounded by media personnel, other nerdy fans, and the occasional comic book groupie, Clyde Fox resides. But this isn’t the ordinary Clyde Fox. Or rather, this is the NEW ordinary Clyde Fox. Decked out in black drab, Clyde stands there with his shoulders slumped impatiently.

Bastard. Loser. Gayblade.

Fox mentally labels each person he sees in the crowd.

What the fuck am I doing here anyways? I’ve long since given up on being a hero. Why the hell am I at this douche bags book signing?

The struggle within Clyde starts to seep through his pours like an invisible airborne disease. The crowd around him can almost smell the stink as Fox plays an internal game of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

But Clyde... this is YOUR hero, remember!? You own nearly EVERY comic book this guy has ever made! You’ve had this book signing marked down on your calendar for the last six months, and you’re going to bail out now!? Ummmm how about a big fat NO! I won’t let you! I know that there’s still some good in you. Maybe this is all I need. Maybe this will get me through this rut and back on track.

"I heard he’s a heroin addict!"

"No way! This guy is as clean as a whistle! He’s an American icon for crying out loud! He’s been a star for generations!"

"Then why would he come to shithole Detroit?"

"Because! That’s exactly the caring person he is! He’s a real life hero, I tell ya!"

The media near Clyde continue to bicker as Fox just stands there and people watches.

Imbeciles. All of you are fucking dipshit imbeciles! Listen to yourselves talk for one minute! You all sound like a bunch of whiny little bitches! This is exactly why I hate people. Collectively they convey innocence, but individually they show nothing but stupidity! And that’s why we need a real hero like Commander Vignette. He does a lot of good for this world.

BUMP!

"Hey watchit, kid!" A reporter warns Clyde after knocking hips.

Go fuck yourself.

Clyde promptly responds internally.

"Do you have a problem with me or something?" The reporter inquires as Clyde steadily stares him down.

Clyde shakes his head no.

"Good, then look somewhere else ya emo looking clown," The reporter directs.

Fox slowly glances away. He directs his attention to the storefront panes of glass where he can see his reflection. Shiny slip on black dress shoes accent his skinny black acid wash jeans. The waist is low rise and hugs his hips ever so sleekly. Fox has accessorized his pants with a silver studded black leather belt. His black Salad Fingers emo tee is short enough that allows his plain grey boxers to seek some daylight. Other than that, he’s sporting some baby powder, black eye shadow and lip-gloss on his face to dilute its pigment.

What are you looking at? Pay attention before you miss Skip coming back out here!

Little did Clyde know, but Skip could care less about making people wait. In fact, it seemed like the longer he made people wait, the happier he was. And wait they would; no one was about to go anywhere, especially considering the slight chance that their beloved hero would decide to come out and make an appearance even if the book signing was suppose to start over a half hour ago.

"WE WANT SKIP! WE WANT SKIP! WE WANT SKIP!"

It looks as if the crowd has taken care of that for Clyde.

Ugh... oh God, shut up! Screaming impatiently will not bring him out here any quicker! It will probably just annoy him and he’ll end up leaving through the back! Leaving... now there’s something I should strongly consider. Is there even a reason for me to be here anymore?

The crowd gets progressively more and more restless. Clyde’s thoughts begin to fray alongside the on edge crowd.

But maybe I should just stick it through. I owe it to myself to at least see this guy. He’s my idol after all, right? Right? I don’t sound too convinced saying that. Not after what I’ve been through. Not after all that bullshit life has given me. So why just stand here, hope, and only end up disappointed? It’s totally not worth it.

Clyde finally makes a move towards the exit just when...

RRRRAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

The crowd lights up.

"IT’S HIM! HE’S COMING OUT TO SEE US!"

Random shouting and utter chaos ensues as the golden boy, the Hero of Hearts, Commander Skip Vignette himself steps out from the back. What he’s famous for is ominous. He’s a character built around mystique, fortune, ritual and heroism. A character so rich in values, good looks and doing the right thing make him all the more unattainable to the general public.

CRACKLE!

CRACKLE!

Flash bulbs continue to go off as the strong-jawed one flashes his all American smile. He’s an older gentleman, probably floating around the early forty range. He walks out to the table spread, fully detailed with banners, copies of books and a large supply of bran muffins. Just as Vignette takes his seat, almost all of hell breaks loose as there is a mad scramble made to be first. Security steps up and begins filtering people through.

"YOU BETTER HURRY IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIM! I HEARD HE’S ON A TIGHT SCHEDULE!"

Fox overhears a couple pressmen converse on their way by. Instinctively, like the old Clyde Fox would, he immediately shuffles into line. Then he catches himself...

Pussy. Are you letting the fact that this duster might not be here that long make you rush? That’s pathetic. That’s something the old Clyde Fox would do. Fuck that. You don’t need that shit. You don’t rush for nobody. Because you’re not nobody. You’re somebody. You’re Clyde Fox! If anything, Commander Skip can wait for you... last in line!

Clyde forces himself out of line. He looks on as a mix of media gets their photos taken and nerds get their boners satisfied. Clyde plugs his fist into his chin, trying to look unimpressed. About a fifth of the way through the massive turnout, Commander Skip rises from his chair. Without a word of warning, he grabs his rustic leather jacket and heads to the back. But before exiting through the backroom door, he turns and gives out a simple wave. He then disappears.

"Awwwwww, shit. He’s gone now!"

"Dammit! I was so close!"

Fox listens to the moans of some dejected fans.

That was totally not worth the wait. Barely twenty people were served. What a rip-off. See? Aren’t you glad you listened to me? Because knowing you; you would have somehow comically made your way to the front of the line only to be the first one snubbed. Then you would have cried and ran back to Mommy to suck on her tit. Just like a little bitch. You better stick with my advice, unless you want to become a little chump.

Fans slowly start to filter out of the store. Clyde stands there and looks down at them; reminiscing about the times when he was that pathetic.

These people do need saving. It’s called a bullet and a gun. I can’t believe...

Fox’s thoughts die in their tracks as he notices something that was left behind. Clyde approaches the book signing table and notices a cream colored scarf. It’s that of a pilot’s variety, most notably used in those old black and white movies. Clearly, Commander Vignette left it there by accident. Clyde runs his thumb up and down the scarf, observing it’s smooth texture. He could tell it was a well-crafted scarf. Each thread was definitely hand sewn. You don’t just leave a good scarf like this laying around. Clyde looks around at what was a fierce zoo of people just moments before. Now, it was a baron wasteland of broken souls.

"Hmmmmmmmmm," Fox finally mutters, making noise for the first time all day.

I have two options.

He was literally standing in the proverbial fork in the road. One way, towards the store’s exit, would lead to a life of true evil. A life of deviance and stealing. A life that his outer self has already seemingly embraced. The other, towards the back to return the scarf, has long served as Clyde’s true personality. Which is also how he still somewhat feels on the inside.

But does this decision really matter? Maybe he’s destined for one specific path no matter which way he takes.

Regardless, Clyde takes one step towards the door before stopping himself.

What are you doing!? I’m... I’m... I’m frozen! I can’t move!

Killing the old Clyde Fox... now that is something that is truly hard to do.

You march your ass right back there, find your childhood hero, Commander Vignette and you give him his scarf back! That is an order... BIG TIME!

Clyde’s body immediately follows through with his good willed intentions. He tries to fight back every step of the way, but somewhere deep down inside, the good Clyde, the one not present at Dangerous Games, was shinning through. Clyde stops upon arrival at the backroom door. He swings it open and notices a few store employees chatting it up over a cup of coffee.

"Excuse me," Clyde grabs their attention, "Is Commander Vignette still here? I believe he left his scarf at the table and..."

One of the employees turns to Clyde with an understanding attitude.

"I believe he’s down the hall in the green room just gathering his stuff. If you want, it’s cool if you wana run down there and give him his scarf back, bro. He’d probably really appreciate it," The employee applauds.

And with that, Clyde marches on down the narrow hallway where he arrives at a green door. He hears some odd rumblings from the other side of the door but thinks nothing of it. Clyde twists the door handle and leans into the room.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!? CLOSE THE DOOR!" A scruffy sounding man shouts.

Clyde falls into the room and slams the door behind him. The room is dark and shrouded in cigarette smoke. A sniffling old man appears from within the cloud of smoke. He walks up to Clyde and stares him right in the eyes.

"What do you want and what the fuck are you doing in this room?" He contests.

Clyde looks just beyond the man as some womanly giggling can be heard. He readjusts his focus on the man.

"I found Commander’s scarf on his chair. He forgot it. I was told he was in this room and I just wanted to return it," Clyde explains.

The man snatches the scarf out of Clyde’s raised hand. He breathes heavily through his nose. The man takes a moment before violently throwing the scarf aside.

"Get the fuck out of here, kid. As if I’d fucking believe that. You look like some homeless guy just took a huge shit on you. Now go fuck off!" The man professed.

Although he won’t admit it, Clyde’s eyes glaze over.

You’re no hero. You’re just an old, rude bastard. I would have been better off leaving.

"Did you not fucking hear what I just said!? Get the hell out of here before I make you feel inside how you look on the outside!" The man threatens.

Clyde doesn’t budge. Instead, he turns and flips the light switch on. The light really doesn’t illuminate much. All it does is make the two undressed whores in the back of the room a little easier to see.

"What the hell are you doing, Commander?" Clyde asks, "What the hell is all this? I mean, really!? You’re an icon. You are beloved by everyone. And what the hell are you doing here? Smoking stuff and banging broads? Whatever happened to the good in people and showing your gratitude for their admiration? Or is life all just a big hunk of crap too?"

Commander Vignette slumps down, defeated.

"You a fan of mine?" He asks.

Fox nods his head yes.

"And you’re dressed like that aren’t you?" He asks again.

Fox nods his head yes again.

"My point exactly," Vignette confirms, "You’ll learn that society is corrupt... errrr... or so it seems that you’ve learnt society is corrupt. You can only trust yourself. Even then, the hero inside of you is a joke."

It was as if Clyde’s whole world had come tumbling down. One. Block. At. A. Time. This was just the final blow to the foundation. For the past month, Clyde had endured heartbreak after heartbreak. So much so, that it drove Clyde to his transformation to the dark side. However, there was still that last gleaming hope of recapturing his kindred spirit. But with one fell swoop, Commander Skip Vignette, beloved children’s icon and actual phony, took care of all that.

The old Clyde Fox was dead forever.

"But... but you wore a cape. You saved lives. You were a hero to people," The old Clyde fades.

"Look kid, it’s all just a lie. I like to make money too, you know. And hell, that was all a long time ago. My show has been cancelled for years... all I do is tour around and sign the new comic books now. And even those have had the crap marketed out of them," Vignette points out, "But hey, thanks for the scarf. I should be on my way. Have a good one, dude."

And just as fast as he made an appearance, Commander Vignette vanished into the night.

The cape stands for nothing. The cape... the cape is a sham.

Clyde stands there and looks at the two whores in front of him. They both giggle and continue to caress each other’s breasts.

Fox smiles evilly.

He pulls a sharp object out of his pocket.

He closes the door.

Not another sound is heard.

View Clyde Fox's Biography