So, yesterday Cedric and I found ourselves in quite a pickle. You see, when I returned home, there was no electricity. The house was dark as a haunted manor. Sensing the mood, Cedric suggested we don’t waste the moment, and instead should make the most of it. He suggested we play out a hostage negotiation. I hate being the victim of stories, but alas, the straws were drawn and I chose the short one. I think the game was rigged, but who’s to know for sure? Anyway, there was two of us and we needed one more role; that of the hostage negotiator. Why? I was the hostage and Cedric fancied himself a capable villain. So, we needed someone to rescue me from his evil clutches. Naturally, it was my duty to cry out for help. I yelled as loud as I could and you’ll never guess who turned up! It was none other than the Spectacular Spider-Man himself!
The following takes place between 11pm and 12am:
Cedric stands across the room from me, gun trained on me. I dare not make any sudden movements that will startle or annoy him. He’s quite the sharpshooter. Naturally, I’m concerned about why he’s holding me hostage, and we have a third party to explain things to. Let’s call him SSM.
SSM: Put the gun down, vile villain. Or else I’ll take you down.
Cedric: Hey ‘Spider-Man’! No need for violence. I’m a peacef…
SSM: You’re holding an innocent man hostage!
Cedric (chuckles sarcastically): This guy? Oh, he’s far from innocent. The things he’s done! If I told you, you’d blush with embarrassment.
Me: Hey, turn it down a notch. You know we’re playing right?
Cedric: Shush! Stay in character.
SSM: Look, I’m not sure of what’s going on here, but the guy with the gun is clearly not the victim. Why don’t you tell me what’s up so we can work something out.
Cedric: All I want is for him to hand me the Chalice of Zerunath.
SMM: What's that?
Cedric: It's an artifact that amplifies the user's latent abilities to exponential levels. It has the power to effect real change, and yet all this buffoon does with it is keep it in his study. I'm telling you, such power doesn't belong to people who can't wield it.
Me: That kind of power is dangerous for anyone to wield. You know about dangerous power, don't you, Spider-Man?
SSM: I know a thing or two. But you know, with great power comes...
Me: Ah, cummon Spider-Man! Get out of my face with such nonsense. Do you not know that power corrupts? How about the mere thought of it? Look at Cedric. He's obsessed with it.
Cedric: Yeah, because it hurts to see you just hold on to something even you are afraid to use. Tell me, what terrifies you about it?
Cedric: Really? Then why don't you use it?
Me: I don't want to hurt anyone in the process.
Cedric: Oh please! Pain is inevitable. It's like trying to stop the flow of time. It is going to happen whether you contribute or not.
SSM: Cedric does have a point, you know.
Me: You're taking HIS side now?
SMM: How about you hand me that chal...
Cedric and I (in unison): NO!
SMM: Sheesh! I'm just trying to help here.
Cedric: Give me the Chalice. You're not using it. What good is it just sitting there?
Me (contemplating): What if I prove you wrong and use it?
Cedric: No matter how you use it, you can never wield its power like I can. You know why? Because I'm better than you.
SSM makes himself comfortable on the wall adjacent to us. It’s disturbing to talk to a guy sitting on a wall. Then again, they do call him ‘spectacular’.
Cedric: I’m just tired of being treated like a second-class citizen. We both know I’M the brains of this operation.
Me: Brains? More like brawn. You barely ever think. All you are capable of is ‘doing’.
Cedric: Just because I think faster than you can comprehend doesn’t mean I don’t think at all.
SSM (midway through munching crisps): Oh snap!
Cedric and I (in unison): Where the heck did you get crisps from?
SSM: That’s irrelevant at the moment. As you recall, I’m here to save a victim. But it’s becoming confusing to understand which one of you it is.So, get on with clearing the air. I have a train to catch.
Me: The Midnight Express?
Cedric groans and rolls his eyes. In that moment, I see the emptiness that's within him. It's pretty sad. I almost feel sorry for him. But he does have me at gunpoint still. I have to resolve this quickly.
SSM: Okay. Each of you is going to tell me what you want with the chalice. Then I'll decide who's the real bad guy. You know, because it's an instinct only heroes have.
Me: Heh... I seem to recall that most of your troubles are brought about by your own flawed point of view, Spider-Man. You're no saint.
Cedric: Strange. I agree.
SSM: Can we please get back to the point?
Cedric: Well, I already told you what I want to do with it.
Me: You want it?! Fine. You have it. Let's see what you can do with it.
Cedric: I thought you'd never ask.
We head to the study where the Chalice is kept. Cedric walks toward it, eyes mesmerized by his delusions of grandeur as he reaches for it. But before he can touch it, a glass cage drops from above, encasing him. He angrily beats the glass but it doesn't budge. He empties his clip at it but it's all vanity. He collapses to his knees in exasperation as he realizes the gravity of his situation.
Me: I told you. Your obsession with power will be the end of you.
Cedric: This isn't over. Not by a long shot.
Me: No, it's not. But you must never forget why I'm the Alpha of this operation.
SSM picks his jaw up from the floor.
SSM: You're the villain?!
Me: No. I'm the guardian. This Cedric fellow is a nut case and needs to be closely monitored. I don't even know where he got the gun. Who knows what he'll do if I let him have the run of things?
SSM was kind enough to vacate the premises without further incident. It's a good thing he showed up and bought me time or else Cedric would surely have overrun me. (*shivers at the thought of it.)