Chapter 1:

Act 1: The Bad One

The Menacing Mind of Felix Lombardi

Act 1

“The world isn’t a fun place. Don’t let the crappy movies and comic books about superheroes saving the day fool you. The world we live in isn’t anywhere near as cool or happy as the ones we read about inside the pages of Fantastic Four, or the one we see in the confines of our favorite TV Shows. The world sucks, and we’ve single handedly manufactured so many ways to distract ourselves from that fact that the ones who put more effort into these distractions are the highest praised and most celebrated people on the planet. Artists? What does that even mean anymore? It’s just some pithy catch all for ‘person who doesn’t want a real job, and wants to play around with writing useless fluff all day’ and-”

“Will you shut the fuck up already?” Hi I’m the actual main character of this little short story, pardon my language but you have to admit. That jackass wasted a whole paragraph with that bullshit. Oh, where’s my manners, there’s more story to get to:

“WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP”The hero bellow- just kidding. I said.

Like I said in the last paragraph, this guy is nothing but some sad dropout who’s angry at everything trying to explain to me in his infinite wisdom why art doesn’t mean anything. I apologize again, you’re probably extremely confused. “Why did this story start with a paragraph long intro that turned out to be a pointless diatribe?” “Who’s this guy who keeps stopping the story and speaking directly to me, doesn’t he know he’s a character in a story?” Answers to those questions are A: our wonderful author is stalling for time, and B: I’m not entirely of sound mind, that’s what my therapist, most of my childhood friends and my big brother have told me at least. However before we continue I’m going to use the next paragraph to tell you a bit about who I am.

My name is Felix Lombardi. My parents were Afro-Italian immigrants who ran a bread shop. Two years ago they were murdered in cold blood by the mob. After that my brother Lou mysteriously came into half a million dollars, which he turned into a small fortune with pretty sound investments and now he’s helping pay my way through college. Happy ending, happy story, my life is great, except it would be if this motherfucking social reject wasn’t wasting my time at this gas station telling me how unfair the world is. Speaking of that I still need to respond to him.

“The world isn’t fair, but that doesn’t make it a bad place. You’re just mad because life hasn’t given you everything you wanted. Try working for a change” I said in a subdued cool manner, much like a teacher in a school full of slow children would if one kid in the class began eating paint.

“That’s easy for you to say, you’re probably some spoiled brat coasting through life on daddy’s paycheck.” Said the moron, completely oblivious to the fact that I was tacitly ignoring him and going about my business.

I told him to back off, and I went over to the cashier and paid for the cigarettes and M&Ms I was buying. Took an exit, sat in my car and- You know what? This is getting boring and procedural. So I’m in my car, and I call my brother. He’s a nice guy, used to be a cop for a while, then he got really rich and he’s actually flipped his allegiances and turned into a bit of a crime boss. He’s a smart guy though, so he makes sure not to actively butt heads with any of the other families around, but this isn’t a Mafioso story, no no no, I apologize, this isn’t that exciting of a tale. This is a story about me, my thoughts, and how I relay them to you.

“Sup little bro”

“Hey Lou, did you get my text?”

“I was busy, couldn’t respond, still kinda busy. Something about needing money for that comic convention?” Lou said. He sounded like he was doing something physically taxing.

“You at the Gym?”

“Nope, I’m at work”

“Why do you sound out of breath”

“Information gathering is very tiresome”

Oh he’s beating up a dude for an interrogation.

“Oh you’re beating up a dude for an interrogation”

“What have I told you about talking about the job over the phone”

“Mi Scuso fratello Louis” (I’m sorry brother Louis)

“That’s Don Lombardi to you buster”

“Fat chance wise guy, so when can you send the money for the tickets?”

“I’ll see what I can do. Now if you’ll excuse me I have work to do”

My apartment is in the upper east side of Manhattan New York. It’s one of those places that looks like it was ripped straight out of a trendy sitcom that features a bunch of close knit friends getting into wacky hijinks. Fortunately for me though, I hate people, and Louie gives me enough of an Allowance to be able to survive alone and pay rent while being able to go to school. I go to a private Art School, I study Animation and I minor in sequential art, my hobbies include playing video games, posting my thoughts on the internet, watching anime, and reading Japanese firearm magazines. My favorite movie is Kill Bill Vol 1 (whoever tells you Vol 2 is better doesn’t understand film making and should kill themselves), and the kind of girl I’m looking for is one who’ll bully me and make me feel really crappy about myse- wait, sorry got lost in the sauce for a moment, I thought I was filling out a dating profile.

Living by myself affords me the unparalleled privilege of being able to walk around my apartment in minimal clothing, and since I don’t like people, it’s very uncommon for me to have anybody over. The only people who come over are my 63 year old Landlady Ms Fujinami, and her granddaughter Ami who’s about my age. I know what you’re thinking ‘Oh, here comes the part where Felix talks about how much he likes Ami, since she’s the first female character of appropriate age to be mentioned, of course she’s the love interest’. Sorry to disappoint you fair reader, but it’s not that kind of story. You see, we’re not leaving my head. This is between you and me, I don’t need any bullshit like an “emotional arc” or “narrative depth” in my fucking story, I’m doing good being the person I’ve been all my life.

So I’m lazing about my apartment like the sterling example of a productive citizen that I am when I get a phone call from Don Lombardi.

“Felix you there?”

“I wouldn’t have picked up if I wasn’t. What is it?”

“Funny. I wonder how many jokes you’ll be making when you’re forced to shack up with a bunch of hideous college students in a prison dorm”

“Wake up, eat, listen to Lou threaten me with student housing, go to class, come home, repeat”

“I’m a man of habit what can I say”

“To what do I owe this call, did you send the ticket money?”

“I need you to make some friends Felix”

“I need you to stop caring.”

“You’re always couped up in the apartment, the only time you see sunlight is when you go out to buy Cigarettes, or when you have class, you don’t even talk to Ami anymore, weren’t you two friends?” I hate it when he gets like this. I don’t know why he cares about my social life. He doesn’t listen to me tell him how to do… whatever it is he does.

“if you’re worried about my skin don’t bother, that sicilian melanin is doing me just fine” I said, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, puckering. Who said nerds can’t be sexy.

“Calm down Ricky Martin, this is about more than sunlight. It’s about your life. Mama would cry if she saw what you are on some days” Lou said, in his bro voice.

“Papa would cry if you knew what you did for a living” I retorted

“Would he cry or would he just break off into sicilian” Lou responded, letting out a chortle.

“PUTO RAGGAZINO” we both shouted, memories of pa and ma rushing, and bringing a silence for a good moment.

“How would I even go about making friends?” I asked, half jokingly.

“Glad you asked. That’s why I bought you 3 day tickets to that comic book convention.” Lou boasted triumphantly.

“How do you know I won’t just go there without talking to anybody?” I shot back with a sneer.

“You know, when you’re in my line of business, you learn to have contingency plans. This is the part of the movie where the villain tells the hero ‘I’m glad you asked’”.

Just at that moment, I heard three knocks at my door.

“That should be my contingency plans”

I peek through my door lens just to see who’s there.

Ami, motherfucking Fujinami.

“The convention is this weekend right?” Lou continued. “Have fun lil bro”

I hate my brother. I hate this. I hate you.

**End of Act 1**