"Peter" or "Why Wally's Metabolism is a Superpower"
Wally stepped outside his building and onto the busy streets of Keystone City. He glanced at the people scurrying around him on the sidewalk before lifting his head to stare into the clear, blue skies. He squinted against the bright sun and took a deep breath, exhaling with a smile.
He spoke out loud to himself and those around him as he walked. "Good morning, Keystone! Wally West at your service on this beautiful Fall day! Hello, ma'am!" He exclaimed to an elderly woman walking past. She scowled at him and sidestepped as they passed each other.
Wally frowned. That was unusual. Keystone was such a friendly city normally. 'Maybe she's already having a bad day,' he conceded, continuing his walk. It wasn't more than five minutes until he arrived at his destination, the Keystone City Central Police Department Crime Lab for Forensics Services. As KCCPDCLFS was not a particularly appealing acronym, the workers generally referred to it as 'the lab.'
He was a technician and analyst, so whenever a crime needed solving he was there! To, you know, look at the evidence under a microscope and write up his findings for a detective. He greeted Roy, the guard at the door to the lab, as he approached.
"Hey, Roy! How's it shaking, man? How're the girls?"
Roy narrowed his eyes. "Why? What have you heard? That Deena is sneaking out at night?" He spat. "That the misses is spending more time with her pottery instructor than me?"
Wally backed up with his hands high. "Woah, man! I was just being nice. What's got your...uh, never mind. I'm going to be late." He walked past Roy carefully and gave him a timid smile. "Hope things get, uh, less weird for you. Bye!"
He quickly turned and fled, wondering over Roy's behavior. Pushing through the double doors greetings of "Wally!" "Hey!" and "My man!" were yelled out to him. He called back hellos as he walked over to the station where his equipment lay.
"What do we have today, boss?" Wally asked the man approaching him.
His boss, George, clapped Wally on his back. "Blood samples from a possible assault. It's not priority, the victim hasn't pressed charges yet and the brass suspects a false report."
Wally pursed his lips and responded, "False report? You think they were self inflicted injuries?"
"Possibly. Just have to run the blood through a DNA reader. If the victim presses charges later we'll have it done for comparison. Get that set up and then help Cindy on her murder case evidence," George finished before walking over to some other workers. Wally glanced over at Cindy's station and grimaced at the pile of bags sitting on the table next to her.
"Riiiight," he muttered. "Maybe I can take an early lunch and help her after. Gonna need the energy for all that work." He started on the blood samples he had before sitting down to get some reports written up. One of his machines made a noise and he walked over to it to check on the samples. When he had everything straightened out with nothing left for the time being except to help Cindy he had used approximately two hours. '11:15,' he thought. 'I bet I can convince some of the guys to grab some pizza.'
He wandered through the halls looking a couple friends. He found Adam Bergum in the break room and Jimmy one room over in tech.
"Hey Berg, break time?" He asked the man at the table. Bergum chuckled and threw his granola bar at Wally.
"I'm waiting on a case. Boss said you've got Cindy so I'm on call if someone else needs help." Bergum replied.
Wally was busy crunching on the granola bar, but managed to spit out, "Whana gef a piffa?" which Bergum appeared to understand as some sort of lunch invitation.
"Yeah, man. Roy told me about this place the other day, Little Joey's. Said it got some new recipe that everyone's raving about."
"Little Joey's, eh? I haven't been there in a while. Sounds good. Yo, Jimmy!" He called over into the next room. Jimmy's head popped up from behind a computer monitor. He raised his eyebrows, questioning, and lifted his hand to straighten his slightly skewed glasses. "How about some pizza?" Wally yelled through the glass partition.
Jimmy looked around at the various screens surrounding him, presumably checking their progress on his work. He hit a few buttons and walked over to the break room to join Bergum and Wally. "Sure. I skipped breakfast, pizza is always a great substitute," he told them.
"Missed breakfast?! Man, I don't understand how you could have lasted this long," Wally conversed as they made their way out of the lab.
"Wooo, you're right, Berg." Wally dropped a piece of crust on his plate and burped. "They definitely changed something with the sauce. I don't know, though, it tasted kind of weird."
"Weird? Wally, you just ate the entire pizza minus the four slices Jim and I took and all the breadsticks with the dipping sauce. It couldn't have been that bad," Bergum laughed.
"Yeah, yeah," he laughed with them. "Not bad at all, just different. So, back to the mounting pile of evidence, boys?" The three of them split the check at the counter before trudging back to another five hours of work, be it theirs or a coworkers.
It wasn't much later that Wally noticed his mood start to sour. It was gradual at first, irritation at someone's humming, annoyance at the messy table in front of him (something he would never normally find himself concerned with). He became more tuned into his attitude when Cindy handed him another evidence bag.
"Do you have to be so lazy, Cindy? It's not like the rest of us don't have work to do that we can all scurry over here to do your work too."
Cindy gave him a blank look, shock and embarrassment rolling off her. She quickly snatched back the bag and turned around to face her area of the table, unsuccessfully trying to concentrate on her work.
Wally huffed and turned back to what he had been fiddling with before Cindy had interrupted. 'Stupid. Can't finish her own junk so I have to come and save the day. Again,' he thought to himself. Just then he raised his head and narrowed his eyes, concentrating on something. 'That's odd. I don't think Cindy's lazy, and boss assigned me over here...I wonder why I...pfff, whatever. Too much crap to do.'
And the day went on.
Wally didn't see Jimmy and Bergum until shift ended five hours later. Bergum ended up getting assigned to help Jimmy reviewing video from a new case that had overloaded him. Wally didn't feel like bothering to say goodbye to them on his way out, but couldn't help noticing the commotion inside as he walked past.
"Geeze, Berg! Stop touching everything!" Jimmy was yelling. "Every time you press a button something breaks! What the heck, were you born this stupid?"
Bergum's face was red as he yelled back, "I'm not doing anything wrong, idiot! You keep interrupting me and distracting me! If you'd just leave I might be able to get something done! Your job is so stupidly easy, I don't even know why we bother to keep you around."
"Me?! You're the gofer boy, you can't do jack except cover overflow! You don't even have a real job here."
The fight went on as Wally shrugged and continued out the door. He would have liked to head home and take a nap, but duty called; he was needed on the Watchtower. Seeing an open alley he ducked into it, changed into his costume, and used the communication bud he kept in his ear to call up to the Tower. "Flash here. Let me up."
"Sure thing, Flash. Coming in three," answered whoever was covering the monitor at the time. It sounded like Mr. Terrific, but Wally didn't care terribly. When he arrived in the Tower he immediately went to the cafeteria to grab some dinner before his shift watching the monitors. "I could go for more of that pizza from Joey's," he mumbled as he sped up to the counter.
A few minutes later he sat down with enough food to feed everyone in the room and started working his way through it. Of course, with super speed and no reason to hold back, he was done in just a few more minutes. He gave a big sigh and trudged off to do his unpaid, under-appreciated, and over-stressed side job.
When he finally made it to the monitoring station, Green Lantern was sitting in one of the other chairs; apparently they both had duty. Green Lantern turned at the sound of the slow footsteps and narrowed his eyes when he saw the Flash. "What are you doing? You purposely walked here even though you were late as it was? I know you were in the cafeteria earlier."
"Whatever. Are you going to kick me out of the League because I have five minutes late to sitting in front of a bunch of screens and listening to static? Get over it," Wally bit out.
"Excuse me?" Green Lantern said, shocked.
Wally continued, "It's not like you have a life outside of the League, GL. You're up here all the time. It doesn't take two of us, two founders, to do monitor duty. Why am I even here? You just wanted to screw up my day?"
Green Lantern furrowed his eyebrows. 'Flash must be having a bad day...' he thought. "Just sit down and take channel two."
"No way! Not with this kind of treatment. I'm going home and taking a nap. Do it yourself." With that Wally turned on his heel and zipped over to the beaming station. "Well?" he waited.
Before Green Lantern could protest Wally's behavior, Superman entered the area. "What's going on?" he asked. "Wally, aren't you supposed to be on duty right now?"
"Are you kidding me? Do I look like a child, and you my parent? 'Aren't you supposed to be on duty now?'" Wally mocked him. "I have better things to do than sit around here when there's already somebody else to do it. I don't need the two of you treating me like this. I worked all day, I had to deal with this same crap from Cindy and Roy and Jack and...and...and then had to come here and get it from you! The last thing I'm going to do is sit around and listen to 'you're late' and 'you're not doing your work.' I'm going home!" Childishly, he stamped his foot to accentuate his irritation.
Superman and Green Lantern looked at each other with incredulous expressions. Wally never acted like this. "Flash, you know we need two people on duty for all the controls, especially if trouble picks up. And you volunteered for this shift, remember?" Superman reminded him.
"Well maybe I changed my mind," he yelled back, before stopping himself. A confused expression crossed his face for a moment as, like earlier in the day, he wondered at his own behavior. He shrugged it off as his anger started to rise again, but not before the two other superheroes caught his confusion.
"Okay, Flash. Why don't you just go home and get some rest and I'll take your shift, okay? I'll give you a call later about rescheduling," Superman said to appease him.
Wally huffed, "Finally. Send me back down, now." And soon he found himself back on the streets of Keystone, running off to his apartment. Normally he would have stopped to chat with people as he passed, but he didn't really care right then.
As soon as Wally disappeared, Superman turned to the Green Lantern. "What on Earth was that all about?" he asked.
"I'm not entirely sure," Green Lantern replied. "I thought he was just in a bad mood at first, he's obviously tired. But did you see that look when he was in the middle of his rant?"
Superman nodded, "He looked very confused at himself." He sat down next to the Green Lantern. "Wally's typically a carefree guy. Everyone has bad days, but he's never flown off the handle like that at something so minor, and he knows he can switch duty if he's not feeling well. It seems like there's something else going on."
"He mentioned the people at his job, 'dealing' with them. Maybe we should swing by and see if he's been like this all day? There should still be a couple people from his shift milling around," Green Lantern suggested.
"Well, now I've got his monitoring duty," Superman laughed. "Why don't we send Atom to check it out? He's on patrol and it's pretty quiet."
Green Lantern pressed a couple buttons on the board in front of him. "Atom, this is Watchtower, come in."
Some static sizzled, then, "Atom here. What's up, guys?"
"We need you to check on some suspicious activity in Keystone. Head to the PD's forensic crime lab and ask around about first shift tech West, see if he's been out of character, when it started, and if anyone else is acting odd," Green Lantern relayed.
"Got it. Keystone? Isn't that Flash territory?" Atom questioned.
Superman cut in, "He's off tonight. We'll beam you over there in three. Let us know what you find."
Atom walked up to the crime lab just as a small group of bickering workers were leaving. He watched as they stopped walking every few steps to continue their increasingly heated argument. One man walked right into Atom before noticed him there, which would otherwise be difficult while wearing a bright blue and red spandex bodysuit.
"Watch it, buddy!" The man growled at him. Atom raised his eyebrows as he took in the angry group. He was beginning to understand why this area might be of interest. "You got a problem?" The man had noticed his staring and soon the rest of the group took notice as well.
"Oh lookie, a super hero," one of the women sang out sarcastically. "You come to stop us of our evil ways? We causing a public disturbance?"
Another man scoffed, "Please, stop evil? All they know how to do is destroy buildings, and take all my money away to fix it!"
"Yeah! We're the real Keystone heroes. We're the ones that solve the crimes. You're just hiding behind a mask so we can't get ID to hold you accountable!" The woman shouted.
"Too bad Wally's gone already. He'd grab your DNA so fast you'd think--"
"West?!" The woman interrupted another man's tirade. "West can't do squat! I swear if I see him tomorrow I'm going to--"
Atom perked up at the name and interrupted again, "Technician West? From the lab?"
The man rolled his eyes, "Uh, yes? We are standing right outside the lab. Moron."
"Has he been acting oddly lately?" Atom inquired.
"Oddly! West is always odd. Spends half his day eating junk food, then today he freaks out on me for not doing my job. His job is to help me! What an idiot! I'm going to get that jerk fired!" The woman's voice began to rise with her anger over her treatment. "That bum calling me lazy? The nerve!"
"Uh, you are super lazy, Cindy. You're always the last one done, and the rest of us have to cover your work because you can't handle it." Another one of the group mentioned. Cindy turned back to the others and a new argument began. Atom observed for a moment before decided he had what he needed. Walking around the corner to get away from the shouting he contacted the Watchtower.
"Atom! What do you have for us?" Superman's voice came over the device.
"Some coworkers say a Wally West is usually lazy and spends all day eating, but today he started a heavy argument with a coworker," he reported.
Superman and Green Lantern looked at each other, that certainly sounded like Wally and how he had been acting earlier. "Did it sound isolated?" they asked.
Atom sigh, "Not a bit. When I arrived there were quite a few workers arguing with each other. They were very touchy, seemed to want to fight about everything. All of them were really mad, but from what I overheard, there really wasn't any particular cause for the fighting."
"Okay, Atom, thanks. I'll send you back over to your other patrol now," Superman told him.
"Oh, uh, okay. But what was that all--" Atom's transmission was abruptly ended as Green Lantern pushed the button to beam him back to his original location.
Green Lantern swiveled the chair he was in around to face Superman's morose expression. "Well then," he stated.
Superman met his eyes and continued, "Let's go get Wally back."
A crash resonated through the one-bedroom hole-in-the-wall Wally called home. "Stupid lamp! All...flickering...and stuff. Geeze, I need some more pizza," his grumbling voice followed the sounds of destruction. Superman and Green Lantern, now donning the outfits of Clark Kent and John Stewart, walked quickly up to Wally's door. Hearing the noises they bypassed knocking and just walked right in, breaking the lock.
Okay, that's it. I apologize for my fail. I wrote this for NaNoWriMo last year, and this was as far as it got. It's been sitting at this point for months. I just don't know where to take it. I know where it was supposed to end, but not how to get there. Please leave me a comment if you really need to read the rest and maybe it will motivate me to finish it. I really just wanted to get it off my drive finally.