Fascism and Facsimiles

Edited by Julia Rios

June 2018

This was the moment that turned villains into legends, and the two of them were just henchmen. LaShawn braced his elbow on the battlement, training his laser cannon down on Captain Democracy’s red, white, and blue helmet. He scaled their castle’s walls like a cheap gym workout, with no idea that he was in LaShawn’s sights.

“H*ck,” LaShawn said, “I’ve got him. Say goodbye, student loans.”

Terri pressed her earpiece. “We’ve got him, Kommand. Can we have the go-ahead?”

Seconds ticked through the sodden morning air. They heard the crocodiles splashing in the moat below. Eventually, Kommand responded, “Hold on that.”

Holding on here was awkward; LaShawn could only ogle that beautiful star-spangled armor for so long before it felt voyeuristic. He was ace and not really into prolonged ogling. “Can I please have confirmation? I’m getting costume envy.”

Their uniforms were tacky green with ominous yellow eyes on the chest. Or, they’d been ominous yellow five washes ago. The eyes of Kommand didn’t like bleach.

Kommand said, “Hold.”

LaShawn wiggled with excitement. “Did you know Captain Democracy broke my collarbone?”

Terri said, “The same thing happened last month when we could’ve dumped him into that tiger cage. Why can’t we just vaporize him?”

Kommand said, “Uh. Reasons.”

Terri said, “Reasons? What, are you sleeping with him?”

Kommand responded, “…Kind of.”

LaShawn looked up from the laser cannon and gawked with Terri. Their mutual “What?!” echoed through the ancient tower. Ravens startled and flew away as though even the setting didn’t believe this.

Kommand said, “Look, we have a lot of double agents. He’s worked for us for a while.”

LaShawn let go of the cannon. “Double agent? He broke my collarbone!”

Terri asked, “How long has he worked for us?”

“Twice! He broke it two non-consecutive times!”

Kommand answered, “Sort of, kind of, since World War II. It’s complicated.”

LaShawn squinted. “Hang on. Since World War II?”

Terri said, “I’ve been meaning to ask about that. Are we the same organization as back then? Because that Kommand was… not okay.”

“We can’t be that Kommand.” LaShawn gestured to the yellow eyes on his chest. “Our uniforms are totally different.”

“The Kommand in World War II was like special ops for the Nazis.”

“Yeah, but we’re not Nazis, right?”

Fog lapped up the side of the tower, which helped neither of them feel less evil.

The voice of Kommand said, “Over the centuries, our order has shaped many powerful organizations.”

LaShawn said, “H*ck.”

Terri put her goggled eyes in her hands. “My grandma is Jewish. She’s going to lose it.”

LaShawn spun around the battlement, aiming down the tower. Captain Democracy had already scaled halfway up. Through the scope, LaShawn could make out the blue of his eyes and the blonde of his hair, which suddenly felt a bit much.

LaShawn side-eyed Terri. “To be clear, I only took this job to pay off my student loans.”

Kommand squawked over their earpieces. “We’re building a new world order.”

Terri said, “So you’re Fascists?”

Kommand said, “We’re Alt-Democracy.”

Through his scope, LaShawn studied the brilliant flag patterns on Captain Democracy’s chest piece. It was so unfair that a Fascist had such sweet armor. Though technically LaShawn was also a Fascist, and his armor didn’t look that cool. It didn’t even come with a decent health plan.

He said, “I’m vaporizing him.”

Kommand hissed in their earpieces: “Don’t cross us.”

“He’s a Nazi!”

“So are you!”

Terri pointed an accusatory finger at her own earpiece. “You said we weren’t!”

LaShawn was convinced. “I’m doing this. Americans fight Nazis. I saw it on Twitter.”

As LaShawn clicked the safety off, Kommand whispered, “How’re you going to pay your student loans?”

LaShawn paused. Then he sank against the battlement. “H*ck.”

Terri fell onto her butt, leaning against the battlement. She rubbed at the condensation on her goggles. “We’re Fascists?”

LaShawn said, “For real?”

“I knew we were a little evil. We steal a lot of uranium.”

LaShawn sucked air between his teeth. “They did recruit me while I was interviewing at Haliburton.”

“Haliburton? Really?”

“Have you not heard of student loans, or…?”

Terri yanked off her mask, frizzy hair falling over her face. “I’ll tell you how you’re going to pay those off.”

Kommand screeched at them, “By doing your job! Sacrifice a couple of collar bones. Let him through. It’s part of a long con. Soon we’ll have the whole government.”

Terri tossed her mask over the battlement, letting it plunge into the moat below. There was a monstrous nomming sound, like a crocodile snapped it up and ate it. She jerked a thumb in the direction of the Fascist that was alarmingly few yards away from climbing to their position and ‘Saving the Day’ by kicking their heads in.

Terri said, “If you vaporize him, he’s not going to need that armor anymore.”

“And what? We just become Captain Democracy? People will notice.”

“It’s been seventy years and nobody noticed him being a h*cking Nazi.”

She made a good point. LaShawn pulled out a quarter meant for laundry. “Tails becomes the sidekick?”

She took the coin. “You’re on, Kid Liberty.”

Kommand hissed into their ears: “Do. Not. Fire.”

LaShawn took a deep breath and picked up his Kommand-issue laser cannon for the last time. “You know what I do when a Fascist gives me orders?”

Kommand responded, “What?”

“The opposite.”

A moment later, they were in another line of work.

© 2018 John Wiswell

About the author

John Wiswell

John @Wiswell lives where New York keeps all its trees. This is John’s third story in Fireside Magazine, following “Bones at the Door” and “A Silhouette Against Armageddon.” His fiction has also appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Pseudopod, and most recently in Diabolical Plots and Robot Dinosaurs. Superhero comics helped teach him to read and so he’s fiercely loyal to them, especially when they betray themselves.

Support Fireside

Subscribe to Fireside Quarterly, the beautiful new print edition of Fireside.