I know, I know. You must look at this and wonder what on earth that girl who's bad at video games is trying to pull. Well, I wrote a random short story from the perspective an office worker during the Avengers fight after watching Avengers twice in two weeks along with Thor, Thor 2 and Captain America. Let's just say I was on a particularly strong Marvel kick surrounding the release of The Dark World. And since audience crossover between Marvel comics (and subsequently Marvel movies) and video games seems to be quite high, I thought it was worth sharing.
"So there I was, minding my own business, just trying to get a coffee to get through the day and—"
"How long is this story?"
"What?" I asked, surprised at being interrupted.
"How long is this story?" the nasally voice asked again. I looked over in the direction of the interruption and I saw Jon poking his head over his computer.
"I just started.”
"Yes, but I'd like to know how long it's going to be so I can decide whether it's worth it to find my headphones and tune all you people out."
The few people who had removed themselves from their desks to come hear my story awkwardly stared at their feet as I glared at Jon. "You might want to find your headphones," I said simply.
"Good," he nodded. "That's all I wanted to know. Carry on."
I rolled my eyes and animatedly continued where I left off, "—just trying to get my coffee so I could find a way to survive another dull day, you know? And then—"
"One more question," Jon said loudly, talking over the presumably dull music that was pounding into his ears, "do you have to do this right now, right here?"
"Yes!" I said, exasperatedly. "Why?"
"Because some people are trying to work."
I looked around and the only people still sitting at their desks were... well, just him, actually. "No, you are just trying to work and it's not like there's anything pressing. All our summer projects finished last week," I reminded him. "So what exactly are you so busy working on?"
"The next season."
"Next season? Why would you start on next season when we all know this is our lull week?" I rolled my eyes again at the eagerness of this fool. He always worked twenty steps ahead of everyone else and then complained when we couldn't keep up. It wasn't my fault he hadn't learned how to pace himself in this job. "Can't you just turn up your music? This is a good story. And it's getting less good every time you interrupt it."
"Fine," he said gruffly, as he slouched back down to look at his computer screen.
"Okay, so after I got my coffee to bolster me up for another day in the office, I heard a yelp outside. Me and the barista—"
"The barista and I," interrupted Jon.
"—Me and the barista," I continued, "looked outside and saw a woman cowering under one of the patio tables, fearfully looking up at the sky. We both looked at each other and I slowly walked to the door. I opened it and asked her if she was okay, but she wouldn't respond, so I carefully walked outside and looked up and that's when I saw it—"
"Why would you go outside?" Jon asked.
"I thought you weren't listening," I snapped back at him.
"If this woman is clearly terrified for her life, why would you enter into a situation that would make you equally afraid for your life?"
"Because she may have just been overreacting," I offered.
"And was she?"
"You'd know if you shut up and let me continue with my story."
He waved for me to continue as if he was the queen.
"So I go outside and—"
"Why would you think she was overreacting?" he quickly asked.
"What?" I fumed.
"Why would you think this woman was overreacting about something?"
"She might've been afraid of birds or something," I answered. "Plus she looked a little—“
"A little what?"
"A little skittish."
"In what way?"
"In the way that she was a tiny little blonde with doe eyes and a naive face. She looked like the kind of person who would scare easy," I said quickly. Looking at Marie, the little blonde girl with doe eyes from finance, I added, "No offense, Marie." She shrugged a response, confirming my suspicions of her meek temperament. "Now, Jon, can I please continue my story?"
Again, he regally waved for me to go on.
"So I slowly go outside and peek into the sky from under the awning. I can't see anything and I look at her and she points a shaky finger, so I go out a little further and—"
"I thought you went outside, looked up and saw it," Jon said flatly.
"Yeah, I did, but first there was the awning and the shaky finger," I replied.
"But you didn't say that the first time."
"I know, but I'm saying it now."
"So which is true?"
"I swear to God, Jon..."
He waved before I had to ask permission to continue again, and as he waved my fingernails dug a little deeper into my palms.
"So I peek out from under the awning again," I say more quickly, hoping the speed of my words will stop him from interrupting me again, "and that's when I see it – there's this guy flying around that new tower, but he's not in a plane or anything, he's just this dude in a metal suit of some kind and sparks are flying out from his hands and feet and he's flying up."
"No way," Marie whispered, entranced.
"Way," I said with a smile, glad to see that someone was intrigued by my story.
"So he's flying up there and I look over and see some storm in the sky – the sky is totally blue, but then there's this great big grey cloud forming to the left, so I head back inside the coffee shop and explain this to the people inside and they all run out to see the guy in the metal suit, paying no attention to the freak storm forming in the clear blue sky—"
"Which tower?" Jon asked.
"The new one," I mutter quickly.
"The Stark Tower?"
"As in Tony Stark's tower?"
"Tony who?" I ask.
"Tony Stark," Jon said to the collection of blank faces. "Please tell me you guys have heard about Tony Stark."
"Is he that guy that's always in the news?" Geoffrey from sales asked.
"'That guy that's always in the news'?" Jon returned, shocked. "You mean the guy who has made himself into some kind of superhero? The one who has built the world's first self-sustaining energy mechanism that keeps him alive? The one who went from weapons manufacturing to the green energy business and has built that 'tower' that’s been on the cover of practically every business, eco-conservationist and news magazine in the last few months?"
Again, blank faces.
"Does no one read the news or watch the news or pay any attention to anything??"
I looked to those gathered around me, so glad not to be the only one out of the loop. Marie then added, "Was he on Celebrity Jeopardy last week?"
Jon hung his head in exasperation.
"Oh! Oh!" Priya piped up, "Is he the one who did that skit with Stephen Colbert? I saw it on Buzzfeed and it was hilarious!"
Jon's head sunk a little lower before I added, "Ohh yeah! My friend sent me that one! Is that the one where he pretends to be a tower and Stephen Colbert does an auto-tune rap about the Tower of Babel?"
"Yeah! That guy!" Geoffrey added.
I paused in thought and then said, "I guess it makes more sense why he was a tower if he's the one who built that tower thing."
I could hear the clash of keys as Jon's head smashed onto his keyboard.
"Well, anyways, as I was saying," I said as Jon was indisposed, "I walked the couple of blocks to work, occasionally looking back up at that tower, but I didn't see him again, so I came in here and told you guys."
"That's crazy. You saw a guy in his own flight suit? I wonder what he was doing," Marie said quietly.
"Maybe he was testing it," Priya added knowingly. "I mean, if he has such great technology for making that super tower, maybe he uses it as some kind of weird testing sight for his random inventions."
"Yeah," Geoffrey added. "But it seems unlikely that the authorities would let him do tests like that. I wonder if anyone called it in."
"Well, I'm sure people saw," I said. "I mean, it's a Tuesday morning and there were people in the office buildings and stuff, so I'm sure one of them saw. Someone probably called it in."
"Still," Priya said. "It would've been cool to see a guy flying around in a metal suit."
"Iron," Jon mumbled through his squished lips. "It's iron."
"Well," Priya scoffed. "I highly doubt that. Do you know how heavy iron is?"
"Yeah," Geoffery added. "Have you ever seen an iron gate or an iron fireplace? That stuff is way too heavy to be flying around the sky."
"It's true," I added quickly. "I have a cast iron skillet at home that I rarely use. It's just so heavy!"
"I think you're mistaken, Jon," Marie said, quiet as a mouse, while we all suppressed laughter at the sound of Jon's head hitting the keys again.
"Anyways," I said, glancing toward the window that gave us a pretty ordinary view of the building across the street, "I wonder if we'll see any more of our flying neighbour."
Geoffrey walked right up to the floor to ceiling glass and squinted at the edge of the Stark Tower that he could see between two other buildings a couple blocks away, a collection of screams in the street, however, had us all running to press our faces against the glass. Jon stayed at his desk.
We couldn't see anything in the streets, except for a woman pointing at the sky and screaming, when we tried to angle our heads, all we could make out was the growing grey cloud in the sky. Suddenly we saw it – there was something coming out of the sky. I felt my heart leap into my throat at the thought of an airplane flying into downtown Manhattan... again. None of us had been in NYC for that event twelve years ago, but that didn't mean we weren't keenly aware of it. Our employee handbook outlined the safest escape plan for such an emergency, with a route that led to the nearest subway station.
I glanced back at Jon with a worried look and he asked what was going on. "There's something in the sky," I said. He quickly came over to the window as the something was followed by other somethings and soon we realized these weren't planes. They were...
"No," Jon whispered. "Couldn't be."
"Where are they coming from?" Geoffrey demanded.
"What are they?" Priya added, leaning in closer to the window.
Suddenly one cruised right by our window and the entire floor jumped back in surprise. Suddenly, Jon went into floor warden mode and told everyone to head to the stairs. I started to walk toward the bright red sign, but saw that no one else followed. I looked to Jon who was raising his voice at the collection of employees who leaned back toward the glass, trying to figure out what was flying through the air.
I put one hand on the stair door handle and waited for people to respond to Jon. He went up to them at the window and told them to step back – we all had to get out, but they were too engrossed in what was happening outside and I didn't want to be the one who left all her coworkers behind in a crisis, so I stood ready to open the door when they all would rush over. As more and more things kept coming out of the storm cloud, more and more people came to the windows. Suddenly I heard a crash and the muffled sound of broken glass. I looked up to see the building across the street being scarred when one of the things smashed into it. I ran over to try and get a better look, but all I could see was grey metal and an armored being splayed across their floor. I could see the panicked faces of those employees that I never paid much attention to and found myself screaming at them to get out. The high-pitched urgency in my voice seemed to connect with those in my vicinity and as a herd of dress shirts and pantsuits ran past me to the exit.
Jon's nasally voice took on a tone of authority as he reminded people not to panic, but to head down the stairs to the meeting place. Unfortunately, no one seemed to listen to him as screams echoed through the stairwell while Jon and I took the rear, running out of the abandoned office. With dozens of people clamoring to move their way down the stairs, I felt like a sheep heading to slaughter, hoping against hope that image wouldn't be prophetic.
Finally at street level, they found they were greeted by several police officers, corralling people into groups before being led across the street and to the subway. They worked with speed and efficiency, their very presence calming the crowd that gathered into a hushed state of obedience. From the giant windows, we saw the things fly close to the ground and then, suddenly, there he was – that Stark guy Jon was talking about came flying up behind him, and shot him down into the street. The cops pushed us all back further into the building, until they knew it would be safe to get the next group across the street.
As I waited, I could see the thing clearly through the recently washed floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor. Jon leaned toward me and looked, too.
"It can't be," he said again.
"It can't be what?" I asked, my eyes refusing to move from the creature that was shot dead outside.
"Aliens," he whispered.
Normally, I would have scoffed at the over-active imagination of the annoying guy I shared a desk clump with, but this time I couldn't.
"Last year," he said quietly, not wanting to share this news with those around us, "in New Mexico, there was an incident. I have a cousin down there who sent me some photos. There was a storm cloud, just like there is today, and people came out of it – people and... and things."
"Like these things?" I whispered back.
"No, different things, but still... things."
The bark of a police officer telling our group to run pulled my gaze away from the creature as we cowered and ran for the subway entrance. The foreign whizzing sound of the things flew above us, but we didn't have time to check until we saw one crash-land, right in front of us. We all jumped back, suddenly exposed and uncertain of where to run. There it sat, blocking the entrance to the subway. At first we thought it might be dead, but we didn't know how long to wait and we certainly didn't want to stand in the middle of the street like sitting ducks, the police officer sensed this and kept us running across the street, ready to rethink his plan of the subway entrance. He was on his walkie-talkie checking with his colleagues when suddenly the creature began to move and stand. I felt its cold stare as it reached for the weapon it had dropped. As it bent down, a blur of red, white and blue crashed on top of it, a circular shield taking it out at the back of the neck. We all stood and stared, helpless, as this man jumped beside the creature's flying contraption, and easily picked it up and moved it – clearing a way for us to head down the stairs. Suddenly more creatures landed on the street and he told the cop to make us run as he held them off, fighting back. I was frozen, my knees unable to move for fear they'd give out when I felt the warmth of someone's hand in mine, beckoning me to join the group. It was Jon and he had a look of certainty that I decided to hold onto as we made a run for it.