This is an expansion on the scene in the movie where they're in the library. I just like the idea of him interacting with her as Bernard while they're researching Megamind with her completely clueless. It's taken me awhile to write and frankly it peters out a bit at the end. Still, I hope it's entertaining.
Megamind walks into the Metro City library and pauses in the foyer, looking around. He'd never been in a library before, other than the small, run-down one at the prison, but he knows that the man whose face he is wearing has. He's careful to study his surroundings impassively, as if he'd been here many times before and is only considering which section of the building to enter. Roxanne had said she'd meet him here, but in which section?
He studies the signs. Fiction, Non-fiction, Children's, Juvenile, Biographies, Periodicals. Probably one of the last two. Both are in the right-hand wing of the old building, and he sets off in that direction. His eyes scan over the rows of books lining the shelves he passes. All this information is available for free to anyone with a library card. He wishes he'd had access to such a treasure trove of information growing up. He'd had to make due with dog-eared, torn and damaged copies of what, if they were non-fiction, were usually abysmally out of date. He thinks it's too bad he's so busy. He would enjoy browsing through these shelves and taking the time to read whatever he wants. But between Hal Stewart's training, keeping the populous in line, building his latest giant battle-suit, and his dates with Roxanne, he hardly has time to sleep, let alone take an hour to read a novel. He simply doesn't have the time. Oh well. Once everything is back to normal, maybe he'll take a day off to ransack the library.
His heels tap along the tile floor and the sound echoes in the unnaturally quiet room. He'd noticed a pinched-looking old woman at the front desk when he'd come in, but there doesn't seem to be anyone else around. He wonders if most of the staff has disobeyed his direct order that the normal people of the city keep on with whatever they normally did. He considers whether he should bother enforcing that order before all city services shut down for lack of workers showing up for work.
As he ponders this, he rounds a corner and spots Roxanne sitting at a computer terminal scrolling through what looks like old newspaper articles. She stops briefly at a headline reading Megamind Back Behind Bars. Megamind smiles. The irony of posing as a Megamind expert to help Roxanne investigate him is not lost on the evil super genius. He grins in anticipation and suppresses an evil laugh.
Roxanne turns at the sound of his approaching footsteps and her face lights up. "Bernard!" she exclaims, apparently pleased to see him. His black heart warms a bit to see her smile turned in his direction, even if it is under false pretenses.
"Good afternoon, Roxanne." It feels odd to call her by her first name when he'd always called her Miss Ritchi before. "You started without me, I see."
Roxanne glances at the monitor and then back at Bernard. "Yes, I was looking through some old articles, but I'm not sure if I'll find anything here. Most of it I already know firsthand. I was thinking of going through the biographies to see if any of them can provide any insight into how he thinks."
Megamind wonders vaguely what his unauthorized biographers have to say about him. He doubts anything those hacks have written will be of any value to Roxanne's investigation. So, he encourages her to peruse them, "That sounds like a good idea. Where do they keep the Megamind books?"
After a few minutes they emerge from the stacks with a dozen Megamind biographies and one book of supervillain psychology, which Roxanne thinks might be useful. They choose a table at random and each takes a book to study. Megamind scans his book briefly, watching Roxanne surreptitiously over the top edge.
It isn't long before Roxanne announces, "Well, this one's useless."
"Why?" he asks.
"I doubt this author knows anything about Megamind at all. He says Megamind is actually the product of genetic experimentation and was specifically bred in a laboratory to be used by the military for code cracking and other intellectual tasks, but that he turned on them and had to be locked away."
"That's ridiculous. Megamind wasn't even born on Earth."
"I know. Didn't he do any research? The first time I ever tried researching him, I dug up plenty of articles talking about his arrival at that prison when he was a baby. On Christmas morning, no less! It's hardly a secret. Everyone ought to know he's an extraterrestrial." She shakes her head and closes that book. She's obviously not going to get anything useful out of that one. She leans forward, elbows on the table and tells Megamind, "Do you know he once told me he's the last of his kind? He said that his entire planet got sucked into a black hole and he's the only one that escaped. Do you think that's true?"
"I've… heard that also. But, of course, he's not the only survivor. There was Minion." There was also Metro Man, whose planet rolled into the same anomaly, but as far as Megamind knows the hero has kept the truth of his origins a closely guarded secret. Bernard, as a staff member at the Metro Man museum, would believe the official story that the alien hero was as human as any other superhero on the planet.
"Oh, yeah. You're right. Him and Minion." She smiles, thinking of the friendly fish. She genuinely likes Minion, despite his role in most of his boss's evil plans. She wonders what Minion is doing now. Probably helping Megamind get ready to take over the state of Michigan with a mind-controlled slave army or something. "It's such a waste. Megamind came all this way just to end up a villain. You'd think with that amazing brain he could do something worthwhile."
Amazing brain? So she does acknowledge his intelligence. "Who says being a villain isn't worthwhile? The hero needs someone to fight and what else is someone like him supposed to be?" he challenges, "He didn't really have a choice. Landing in prison, raised by criminals."
She snorts, "Raised by criminals? Where'd you get that story?"
He pauses for an imperceptible instant. Would Bernard know that he was raised in prison? It wasn't common knowledge, but it wasn't top secret either. Someone like Bernard should know where his object of study spent his childhood. Then again, the man didn't recognize the genuine article when he was standing three feet in front of him. Megamind has serious doubts about the man's credentials. But Roxanne seems to believe in him, so Megamind decides to go with it. He points to himself smugly, "Megamind expert, remember? He was raised in the prison mostly by the inmates."
"That's not possible. It would violate so many child welfare laws," Roxanne objects, unwilling to concede the point, expert or not.
Megamind smirks, "Where do you think he grew up? He landed in the prison and that's where he stayed."
"But… foster care or adoption…?" she suggests.
"Who would want to adopt a blue space alien?" Megamind asks bitterly. He smiles without humor. "He could be dangerous."
She rolls her eyes at the disguised villain, "Anyone can be dangerous. I doubt a baby could pose that much of a threat."
"He managed to cause a breakout only three months after he arrived." Megamind answers with pride.
That surprised her. "How on Earth did he do that?" she demands.
"He blasted a hole in an exterior wall with one of his toys." Megamind can't help grinning at the memory of that innocent mischief. He'd only wanted to ride his tricycle outside. "Those articles you found were viewed as a hoax for years. Remember, until he started getting real media attention in his late teens, no sensible person even believed extraterrestrials existed. The warden wanted it that way. It's not hard to hide something that everyone knows isn't real."
"I suppose so," she answers reluctantly, "But still, that's a horrible way to grow up," she insists, feeling real sympathy for the little boy Megamind once was, "A prison's no place for a child, no matter where he came from."
"Maybe not a normal child, but a future supervillain? I can't think of a better upbringing. It was destiny." This is the one belief that Megamind holds above all others. All the unlikely events of his life had been guided by fate's hand to mold him into the perfect supervillain. It was preordained that he would defeat his rival and become Overlord of Metro City. It was meant to be.
"I don't believe in destiny. It's the choices we make that define who we are," counters Roxanne, "Even if he did grow up in prison, he could have figured out a way to be a good guy if he really wanted to. I've known lots of people who had horrible childhoods and managed to turn their lives around despite it. For goodness sakes, he's an honest-to-God super genius. He's supposed to have the highest IQ on the planet! A man like that can do anything he sets his mind to." Megamind is surprised to hear her defending his intelligence so fiercely and isn't sure how he feels about the confidence she evidentially has in his abilities. "No. He chose to be a villain and to kill Metro Man. There was no fate involved in that. He's evil and I just know he's going to do something even worse if we don't figure out what he's planning. We have to stop him, Bernard. There's no one else to stand up to him," she tells him earnestly.
"Well, then," Megamind answers with a forced smile which Roxanne completely misinterprets. "Let's figure out how to defeat a supervillain, shall we?"
He stares at the pages in front of him, not really seeing them. Instead he's thinking about what she'd just said. The events of his life seemed to clearly point him toward a life of villainy, but was that really his only option? What would he be if he wasn't evil? Is there even a place in this world for a blue-skinned alien super genius? A few nearly forgotten boyhood dreams flit through his head. He'd once wanted to design spaceships for NASA and revolutionize the field of aerospace engineering. He'd hoped to someday get the chance to explain to the scientific community precisely where human physicists had been going wrong all these years. And he'd wanted, maybe just once, to be the hero and hear the crowds cheer for him. It doesn't matter now, of course. After a lifetime of being evil, it's too late turn back. He has 88 life sentences, has stolen millions of dollars, caused millions more in property damage, been indirectly responsible for the deaths of 14 people, directly responsible for the death of Metro Man, and has earned the hatred of the entire city. Even if he'd once had a choice, he doesn't have one anymore. A villain is all he can ever be.
He turns his attention back to his book, hoping to distract himself. Unfortunately, the biography is hardly engaging. It's a cobbled-together collection of well-known facts, vicious rumor, and outright lies. He finds himself staring at Roxanne instead. Even though he knows he can never really have her, he's determined to enjoy every stolen moment in her company that he can. He knows it can't last. He opens the notebook he'd brought with him and begins sketching. He wants to work out some details on his new battle suit, but doesn't know how he'd explain that as Bernard. So, instead he sketches her as she sits reading.
After awhile she glances up at him and catches him watching her. A little smile plays across her lips as she meets his green eyes. "You're not studying your book," she observes, the smile never leaving her lips.
"No," he answers, his pen still scratching across the page, "I think you're a far more interesting subject."
She interrupts his work to turn the notebook towards her and study the sketch. It's a very good likeness. "You're quite an artist," she says.
"Well, it helps to have a beautiful model," he compliments suavely.
She blushes and looks away, "I didn't know you could draw."
"There are lots of things you don't know about me, Roxanne," he tells her truthfully, turning the notebook back and continuing to draw, with his left hand this time.
"Well, then," she says, "I look forward to learning more." Megamind feels his heart flutter at her words and he glances up to meet her eyes. She's looking up at him through her lashes with a flirty little smile on her lips. Suddenly, he wants to tell her everything. He wants her to know who he is, even if he has to tell her through the mask of Bernard.
"Ask me, then," he instructs her, putting down his pen and steepling his fingers in front of him for a second before catching himself and clasping them together instead.
"Okay," Roxanne's reporter mode kicks in, "So, why did you become interested in studying Megamind?"
"Well, he's…" Megamind thinks fast. Why would Bernard want to study him? "He's just so… fantastic, isn't he?"
Roxanne's doubtful expression warns him that perhaps that's not the right approach.
"I mean… he's a supervillain. That's pretty unique right off isn't it?" Roxanne seems more accepting of that angle, so he elaborates, "And he's… an extraterrestrial." Yes, humans always find that aspect of him fascinating, "Proof that we're not alone in the universe. And then… then there are all those inventions of his." He smiles, becoming animated as he extols his own virtues. "You've had front-row seats for years. Surely you must acknowledge his brilliance as an inventor. His technology is way beyond anything human scientists have accomplished. And then there's the whole superhero/supervillain rivalry. And now he's our Overlord! You may not like him, but you must admit he's interesting."
She smiles indulgently and takes his hand across the table, "I suppose he is. I'd never tell him, of course, but most of his inventions boggle my mind. I mean, how does he come up with that stuff?"
"Well, his head is big for a reason," Megamind offers.
She leans in and tells him, with a twinkle in her eye, "Yes, but it's not the size that counts. It's how you use it."
He sputters at that. He recognizes the saying and knows it isn't usually used to refer to a man's head. At least, not the one on his shoulders. He's surprised that Roxanne would use such a suggestive phrase.
Pleased to have gotten a reaction from him, she elaborates, "I sometimes wonder if he even knows how to do anything that doesn't involve evil guns or giant robots."
He leans in conspiratorially and lowers his voice, asking something he knew she'd never answer if she knew who was asking. "Which evil invention was your favorite?"
"It would hardly be appropriate for me to have a favorite evil robot," she objects primly, pulling her hands out of his grip.
"Oh, so you like the robots?" He has her now. "Come on, which one impressed you most?"
She smirks at him just long enough for Megamind to wonder if she's going to answer at all. Then she relents and admits, "The brainbots."
He's surprised. All those bi-weekly mechanisms of mayhem, never repeating the same thing twice, and she likes the little cyborgs? "Why the brainbots?"
"I don't know. I think they're his pets. I like the idea of him having pets. It makes him seem less evil. More human, you know?" She studies him intently, looking for understanding in his eyes. Then she grins maliciously, "Plus, it's funny when they bite him." Ah, so she does have an evil streak in her. "Which was your favorite?" she asks him.
He purses his lips in thought. He'd run through thousands of evil plots over the years. How can he pick just one? Well, the orbital death ray is obviously right at the top, being the only killing Metro Man scheme to actually work. But he decides not to open that wound. Metro Man was her boyfriend. It would be cruel for Bernard to express delight in the man's death. "The dehydration gun," he answers. Indeed, that gun is even now strapped to his thigh, hidden from both sight and touch by the hard light projection and spatial distortion field generated by his disguise watch, which is probably his second favorite. The gun is one of his oldest inventions and he's rarely without it.
"Yeah, that thing's unreal. I've read lots of theories on how it works, but I've looked into them. They're all garbage. I bet no one really understands it but him. I mean, it's crazy. How do you compress anything into a glowing blue cube and then have it pop out the same as it went in just with a few drops of water? It's like physics uses a completely different rulebook for him."
He fights back the urge to explain exactly how his gun works. It's not really that complicated. He figured it out when he was six, after all. She's bright enough to understand it if he explains it right, but he can't. Bernard wouldn't know how it works anymore than anyone else. Instead he observes, "Evil plays by its own rules."
"That sounds like something he'd say."
Damn. He needs to stay in character better than that. "Well, uh. You know, studying him so much… it's bound to rub off a little." There, that's a plausible excuse. And it will cover any other minor flubs he might make in the future.
"I suppose," she agrees, then she leans in towards him again, "A couple of times I've caught myself saying 'Metrocity' like he does. Never on air, of course, but it was mortifying. People looked at me like they thought I'd decided to take him up on his Evil Queen offer. As if I'd ever do that!"
"Did you never feel tempted? I mean, he's—"
"No," she interrupts him firmly, "Good girls don't date supervillains. And I certainly wouldn't want to be involved with a murderer. I—" she breaks off her sentence and swallows thickly, her mood completely changed as she remembers the crime she's been trying not to think about. "I can't believe he actually did it. All those years trying, I thought it was a game. Some stupid chess game played in front of the whole city. Brain versus Brawn but the game was always rigged. It was safe." She looks down at her hands on the table, a tear rolls down her cheek. "I thought it was safe. I taunted him with being predictable so many times, as if there was something wrong with that. God, I wish he'd stayed predictable." She takes a shuddering breath. "I feel like I've lost both of them. My hero is dead and my villain turned out to be the monster everyone always warned me he was. I'm living a nightmare."
Megamind's breath catches in his throat. A monster. Does she really think of him like that? He suddenly wants to reassure her that he isn't. He raises his hand to her cheek and rubs away her tear. "I think you were right in the first place. You were there. Did it look like that thing with the copper was planned?"
"No," she admits, "He seemed as surprised as anyone."
He nods, "I think he wasn't expecting copper to be Metro Man's weakness and, without that one detail, his plan would have failed just like all the others," he grins at her, trying to cheer her up, "Just with a bigger explosion than most, in honor of the occasion." As planned, the citizens of Metro City had been treated to the largest blast of his career that day and he can't help feeling a little proud of it. What other supervillain has a working death ray in orbit? He's going to get his name mentioned in the Newsletter of Evil this month for sure.
"That… does sound like him," she answers reluctantly. "Do you really think that's what happened?"
He reaches out boldly to grasp her hand, "It was an accident, Roxanne. Maybe Megamind is a monster," he watches his human-seeming fingers fiddle with hers, deliberately keeping his eyes down, "but not because of that."
"Okay, maybe he isn't a monster. Quite. But he's still evil."
"Well, he is a villain, Roxanne." A sly smile slides across his face. "They're like that."
"Thanks, Captain Obvious," she teases.
"You're welcome, Major Oblivious," he answers.
They both grin as they tease each other. Roxanne extends her legs out under the table and captures his foot between her ankles, rubbing at it gently. He smiles at her playfulness. Then he frowns, his brows drawn in concentration. "You know, I still don't understand how copper could be his weakness. I mean, copper is everywhere! It's in wires, pipes, some electronics. How did he carry coins? All U.S. coins contain copper. The human body contains copper. So do the animals we eat and many of the plants. He was literally surrounded by it everyday of his life since he came to this planet. It must have taken a high concentration to weaken him, but I'm surprised the amount in the copper dome would be enough to do it, especially considering he wasn't even in contact with it. I'd expect you'd have to trap him in a small hollow ball of the stuff. Maybe even encase him in it or get him to ingest it. Humans can suffer from copper toxicity, but that's generally from ingesting too much of it or sometimes from breathing copper dust, but it isn't common. The human body is usually quite efficiently at regulating it. To think that Metro Man would have a weakness to such a common metal is just so hard to believe."
"But he was. I saw him collapsed on the floor in pain just before the death ray hit."
"I know. It just means we obviously don't understand the phenomenon well enough to draw any reliable conclusions." Megamind answers. He hopes everything goes right with Titan. He really doesn't want to have to rely on the copper failsafe he designed. He's not at all certain that it will be enough to control him.
"Now you're an expert on Metro Man too?" she asks.
Of course he is, but Bernard isn't, "No... but I worked at the Metro Man Museum. I am familiar with the subject. I thought he was the next thing to immortal."
"I guess we all took him for granted." She sighs heavily, slumping in her chair dejectedly, "We didn't know how good we had it until it was gone."
"Yeah," he agrees sadly. Even when his plans succeed, they still backfire on him. Who'd have thought he'd actually miss that empty-headed hero? Not that he'd admit it to anyone.
She decides they need a more cheerful subject. "Tell me a story to cheer me up," she requests.
A story? "What kind of story?"
"Well, you're a Megamind expert, what silly Megamind stories do you know? Something I haven't heard before."
Silly stories about himself? As if he'd admit anything like that existed. On the other hand, he imagines Bernard wouldn't hesitate to come up with something to fill the request, likely as full of lies as the biographies stacked on the table. Perhaps this is an opportunity to show her another side to the supervillain. Preferably something that doesn't involve Metro Man. Perhaps something from his youth, back when he was merely a petty criminal with dreams rather than a full-fledged supervillain. He admits to himself, grudgingly, that he'd made the odd mistake back then which might be viewed with humor looking back. He'd also accomplished some brazen heists. He considers his past and comes up with a story that will work. But how would Bernard know it? "Okay. I heard this story from one of Megamind's uncles." That ought to cover it.
"Megamind has uncles?"
Oh, right, she wouldn't know that. "He calls the inmates that raised him his uncles. Some of them have been released and he used to stay with them sometimes after he escaped prison, before he started setting up Evil Lairs in abandoned buildings."
"Okay, go on."
"When Megamind turned 16 he was out of prison and staying with one of his uncles. For his birthday, the man gave him an old Camaro for a present. He figured that Megamind was old enough to have his own getaway car, and he didn't want his own Lincoln to get impounded again when Megamind got caught.
"It wasn't much of a car. Frankly, it was a piece of junk. The odometer didn't work, but it must have had well over 200 thousand miles on it. Megamind immediately customized it to look suitably evil."
"Yes, because presentation is everything for him," Roxanne answers, rolling her eyes.
"Exactly." She knows him so well. "He hammered out a dented fender and Bondoed all the rust holes and dings. He painted it black with blue lightning bolts on the sides and studded it with a line of chrome spikes running right up the middle of the hood, over the roof, and down the trunk lid. Minion reupholstered the interior in black leather. It looked perfect, but under the hood it was still a piece of junk. He tinkered with the thing for a month, trying to fix it without resorting to buying or stealing a new engine and transmission. He even rebuilt the entire motor and had the cylinders rebored, but it apparently wasn't the first time that engine had been apart. In the end he decided to just live with it leaking like a sieve and smoking constantly, so long as it ran."
"Wow, he sounds almost like a normal teenage boy. I knew several guys in high school that spent all their spare time and money restoring some rust bucket that they loved."
"Yes, well, Megamind never attended high sh-school."
"That's too bad. Perhaps if he had he wouldn't be so maladjusted."
"Perhaps," he concedes, "Anyway, one night he was driving around, killing time and enjoying being out of prison, when the engine seized up and threw a rod. So, there he is, a blue-skinned alien boy stranded on the east side of town all alone. Nobody knew where he was and this was twenty years ago, so he didn't have a cell phone with him. But he was already a criminal in his own right, even if it was still a bit premature to call him a supervillain. It took more than a dark empty road in a rough neighborhood to bother him."
"Where was Minion?"
"Off helping their uncles with a job," he answers. "Megamind was on his own for the night. The sensible thing would have been to just hotwire another car—"
"Since when is stealing a car the sensible choice?" she interrupts him.
Since when isn't stealing a car the sensible choice? He reminds himself that he lives by different rules than she does. A law-abiding citizen would probably never even think of stealing a car in that situation. "This is Megamind," he says, hoping that's enough explain it. "Besides, it was sensible compared to what he ended up doing. See, he'd spent a lot of time on that piece of junk and he didn't want to see it die.
"He knew there was a Chevrolet dealership on the next corner, so he left the Camaro where it was and walked down the street. He broke in without tripping any alarms and made himself right at home. He opened up the parts room and started dehydrating anything useful they had then did the same in the garage. When the police came by on their patrol, Megamind was already out of the building with all the cubes tucked out of sight in his backpack, but he hadn't left the lot yet.
"He was a pretty suspicious sight, but he wasn't really a fugitive yet. It was more like running away from home than really escaping from prison at that point. Most people didn't even know he existed and his crimes were all on his juvenile record, so they weren't public knowledge for the most part. It happened that there weren't any warrants out for him that day and the warden was still trying to keep his existence quiet. So, all the police knew was they had a blue boy trespassing on private property at night. Even that wasn't serious since everyone in the neighborhood cut through that lot all the time.
"They looked around for broken windows or other signs of vandalism but didn't find anything. They didn't have probable cause to look in his bag and wouldn't have known what to make of the blue cubes even if they had. They obviously though he was weird-looking, but there's no law against being blue. So, they let him go.
"Off he went down the road carrying thousands of dollars worth of tools and car parts and the police had no idea. He finally had the new engine he needed, and he installed it right there on the side of the road. It only took him a of couple hours."
"Didn't anyone notice him out there?" she asks.
"Not really. It was a side road and it was late enough at night that only a few cars passed him while he worked. His head was buried under the hood most of the time, so the passersby may not have even realized there was anything unusual about him."
He laughs as he remembers another detail, "The same police officers that spotted him before even drove by once and asked if he wanted them to call someone for him. He was almost finished by then so he didn't take them up on his offer. That's two times that night that they had a chance to catch him, but didn't. He was back on his way before anyone knew anything had even been stolen and before Minion had any idea anything had happened to him. I'm not sure if anyone ever figured out how that dealership got cleaned out.
"That wasn't the end of the story, though. You'll be happy to know that karma caught up to him. You see, it was a Mexican-built engine and it blew on him just a month later, this time when he had 3 squad cars chasing him around back roads and alleys in the industrial district. He'd just burglarized a jewelry shop and hadn't quite managed to get the alarm disabled like he thought he had. They caught him red-handed with half the store's stock in his trunk.
"He blamed that poor Camaro for the disaster and never went back for it." He laughs out loud, partially from the story and partially from the memory. "That was such a funny story! Huh! And brilliantly told by the way. Okay, now you tell one."
Roxanne laughs, partially from his story and partially from his enthusiasm which is catching. "Bernard, I never knew you were so funny."
"And I never heard you laugh before," he tells her seriously. He thinks she has a lovely laugh.
"Yeah, it's been a while. Feels pretty good." She lifts her book to resume studying it.
Megamind raises his own book, watching her over the top edge. The book has an image of his true form staring out from the cover. She glances up at him and realizes something. "Wow, I never noticed that before…"
"Your eyes. They're the same color as Megamind's. That's weird."
"Yeah, huh. Weird." He laughs nervously and ducks back behind his book. Evil heavens, don't let her guess. Not yet.
Apparently it's only a passing comment and not the beginning of an epiphany that will expose his deception because she doesn't say anything more on the subject. He silently lets out a sigh of relief. After a moment he glances over to find Roxanne absorbed in her book, flipping rapidly through its pages and occasionally writing a note on the notepad she'd brought with her. He reads her upside-down writing easily, but there's nothing new or insightful. Some of it is patently false, but since he's here to lead her astray rather than actually help her with her research, he doesn't correct her. She finishes the book she's on and picks up the next one. Suddenly aware that he's still on his first book, he closes it and chooses another for himself as well. He flips through the pages, confirming that it contain the same apocryphal garbage as the first.
Roxanne flips a page and starts to giggle uncontrollably, her hand over her mouth and her cheeks blushing an adorable shade of pink.
"What?" he asks, wanting to know what could possibly be so amusing to the pretty reporter—nosy reporter, he corrects himself.
Too overcome with laughter to speak, she turns the book towards Megamind, who immediately blushes lavender under his holographic disguise. The image is an artist's conception of what he looks like nude. It's actually fairly accurate until it gets to the genital area, which is depicted as a small nest of tentacles instead of the fairly standard humanoid male anatomy he actually possesses. Where did that idea even come from? Yes, he's an extraterrestrial, but he's still a man. What did he ever do to give someone the idea he has a squid between his legs?
Knowing she expects a response, he does his best to act unaffected by the image and observes, "Well, that's certainly an interesting theory."
That seems to make her giggle even harder for a moment before she has the breath to answer, "God, I'll never look at him the same again. Does he really have tentacles?"
"H—how would I know?" he asks, deciding resolutely that Bernard knows nothing about space alien anatomy.
She points at him and says, "Megamind expert," just like he had earlier.
"Not that much of an expert," he objects. "I—" He frantically searches for a way out of this topic of conversation. "I'm not sure how speculation on Megamind's genitalia is going to help you figure out what diabolical evil he has in store for the city. And—" Should he try this? Oh, why not? "I'm not sure I like seeing you staring at pictures of naked supervillains," he tells her. Because it's embarrassing to the supervillain, he thinks to himself.
"You're jealous?" she asks incredulously, "Of Megamind?"
Sure, that'll work. "Well," he says, with feigned sheepishness, "We have been talking about him pretty much this whole time…"
"Oh, Bernard." She lays the book down and clasps Megamind's hand in both of hers, "You don't need to be that way. Megamind and I have known each other for a long time, but we never dated." She pulls his hand up to the side of her face and nuzzles her cheek against it. Even through the hologram and leather glove, it feels nice. "I definitely like you better than any blue spaceman."
"Oh, that's a relief," he answers. He is relieved; relieved that she's off the topic of his reproductive system. All the same, he wishes she'd expressed just a little more interest in him as Megamind and a bit less in him as Bernard.
"Tell you what," she says, "I seriously doubt I'm going to find anything useful among these so-called biographies. How about we go grab something to eat and spend some time talking about anything except Megamind for awhile? I want to find out more about you."
"Oh." Crap. That means he'll have to make up a backstory for Bernard and hope it sounds plausible, "What fun."
"Great!" Roxanne stacks their books and helps Megamind carry them to the return cart. Then she links her arm into his as they make their way out of the library. Megamind wonders if this whole Bernard deception is going to turn out to be another of his bad ideas. But, on the other hand, he has Roxanne on his arm and a whole afternoon before them. He decides not to worry about it yet and just to enjoy her company.
The story about the car is inspired by my brother's experience with his '58 Plymouth and the stories my dad told me about the hoodlum teenagers he lived with awhile just after getting kicked out of the house by my grandmother after high school. And then I twisted things quite a bit to fit what I thought Megamind would do in the situation.
The Mexican engine thing is not a slur on Mexicans or their products. It's a well-known problem Chevrolet had around that time. Talk to car people and they'll know exactly what I'm talking about. I personally know about it because my dad had that happen to him when he had the dealer replace the engine in his Blazer one time. It had some MAJOR malfunction (which I don't remember the details of, but had to do with shoddy manufacturing) within a ridiculously short period of time (like a month or two) and the dealer had to install another brand new engine completely at their cost (because it was their part AND they installed it). To be fair, I'm not entirely sure of the time period when Chevrolet was having this problem. Megamind's 16th birthday might be a bit early for it, but it's close enough for fiction, I figure.