A Morose Monday for Mad Mod
"A tad bit early for afternoon tea. Don't you agree old chap?"
Raven recognized the voice immediately. Of course, it was hard to miss the overtly British accent in a dominantly American city. She didn't even bother to look up from her piping hot cup of herbal tea.
"I suppose so. Tell me Mad Mod, what brings you, an old croney, to a hip cafe like this?"
The old coward straightened his posture and peered around the dank restaurant. It was poorly lit, the counter was covered with some grimy substance, and there wasn't even a jukebox anywhere. The waiter (there was only one) was a frightful looking high school dropout who had dyed his hair purple and had god-knows-how-many piercings in nearly every place you could imagine, the place smelled of misery and there were only two diners: Raven and some long haired girl who sat in the corner smoking a cigarette. Even the booth which Raven sat in was painted a gloomy black. This was definitely NOT a place he would qualify as 'hip'.
"I didn't even know you young'uns still used the word 'hip'. Boy have the times changed. So this is the new kind of pub where you wee ones go for a groovy time?"
Raven stopped cold. Did he really just use the word Groovy? In a place like this? She slowly turned to look at the Brit.
"But I just wanted to..."
Mad Mod felt a wave of darkness usher him toward the exit. The old man sighed the sigh of defeat and shuffled out of the cafe.
"Good day Gov'nor, may I spend this forenoon with you?"
Beastboy received these words like a ten-year-old listening to a lecture on the quantum wave theory. He turned away from his arcade game and gave Mad Mod a blank stare.
Bleep bleep blip boo booo...
"Dang it, you made me lose at Pac-Man!"
The old man fiddled his thumbs and tried to understand what was going on in the 'Pac-Man' game.
"Pardon me, I didn't meant to um..."
Mad Mod squinted to make out the tiny scores on the old-fashioned arcade screen, but all of the names were utter nonsense.
"GLC, CYB, BB3... What the blazes do those letters stand for?"
Beastboy's blank stare turned into a quizzical look. How can he not know what these simple abbreviations stand for? Especially on a high scores list? Now that he thought about it... What was an old fart like Mad Mod doing in a Gaming Arcade anyways?
"Uh... No offense dude, but you don't really belong here... What with you being a villain-"
Mad Mod cut in, "I'm on parole actually."
"Still, you're kinda too ... old to be hanging out here."
The old man chuckled to himself and leaned forward; putting some extra weight on his cane.
"Well Gov'nor, perhaps I'd like to become better acquainted with the youth of this generation." Seeing Beastboy's confused face, Mad Mod tried again with simpler words. "I think I can try to fit in."
Beastboy shrugged. Might be fun, he thought. So Beastboy explained a few things to Mad Mod. Things such as: how to get points in Pac-Man, how the controls worked, and how to read the high scores list.
"Ok," Said Mad Mod, trying to drink in all the new information. "I think I get it. So, both Cyborg AND this George fellow have better high scores than you... Am I reading the screen right?"
Searing flames flared from behind the Beastboy's eyes.
"But I was just-"
"GET OUT!" For extra emphasis, Beastboy morphed into a gorilla while saying this.
Mad Mod didn't need any more convincing. He readied his cane and hobbled out of there as fast as he could.
"Greetings there, you little duckie. We are much similar to old acquaintances aren't we? Might I then have tea and crumpets with you?"
Starfire giggled in delight at the prospect of having someone, even an ex-con, who was willing to eat her cooking.
"What a glorious idea! I shall fetch some of my native cooking ingredients."
When Starfire returned, Mad Mod thought he saw some blue moldy substance in her bag of ingredients as well as a, my god, did that thing just move?!
"D-D-Dearie, what exactly are you about to cook up for our little snack?"
"Yin-glorph cookies," Explained Starfire excitably. "No one else ever eats them with me. Robin always mentions something about not wanting to tempt fate."
The truly frightened man cautiously backed away from Starfire. He also kept a close eye on the bag of ingredients in case that thing moved again.
"On second thought, I really must be going. I'm, uh, I'm late for the, uh, conference of elderly Brits and I should be on my way."
Starfire's face fell. "Can't you stay for a quick sampling of the Yin-glorph?"
"They growled," thought Mad Mod. "The bloody ingredients just growled!"
"I'm sorry, but I really must be going"
"Can't you just-"
"I'm sorry, I mustn't be late."
Mad Mod didn't care how weak his knees might be. He ran out of there as fast as his feet would let him.
"Hello Gov'nor, mind if I join you on your fair project?"
Cyborg rolled out from under his car. He was lying on an old skateboard and was covered with grease and oil. The wonder-of-science wiped his forehead with an old rag and scrutinized the ex-con; Thinning grey hair, weary eyes, a wrinkled face, and barely standing even with the help of his wooden cane. This Mad Mod wasn't a threat.
"Boo yeah! I was needing someone to lend me a hand. But," He sighed. "You probably don't know much 'bout cars, do you?"
"Poppycock, don't you remember all those robots I programmed? I know a tad bit about automotives. You'll see. I can still contribute to society."
"Okay, but before we get started on the high-tech stuff, let me finish up under here.
"Sounds good, boss."
Cyborg smiled and rolled back under the car. He called out to Mad Mod saying: "Yo, I've got an seven-sixteenths wrench somewhere on that bench over there. Could you get it for me?"
"No problem," Mad Mod hobbled over to the cluttered workbench and perused through the mess. Hammers, screw drivers, wrenches, nuts and bolts; there were all kinda of tools piled up on that bench. He picked up a few a wrenches that looked close to the size of 7/16. The old man held one of the wrenches close to his face, but his aged eyes still couldn't make out the numbers on the wrench. Mad Mod groaned; he knew that he needed reading spectacles. He just hated carrying them around with him. In the end, Mad Mod just eyeballed which one was the right size and hoped he was right.
"You got it yet? I'm ready to trade you" Asked Cyborg, his arm reaching out from under the car. In his hand was a much smaller wrench.
"Yeah, here I come."
Mad Mod walked over and exchanged tools with the mechanic. As he waited for Cyborg, he leaned on his cane and whispered a quick prayer that he picked the right wrench.
"Hey Mad Mod?"
"Can you hold on to this jar of bolts for a sec?"
The old man let out a sigh of relief. A few seconds later, Cyborg's hand poked out from under the car with a glass jar filled to the brim with bolts. Mad Mod smiled. He HAD picked the right wrench. "Of course, no problem."
Suddenly, Mad Mod realized that he didn't have any free hands left, so he shifted around so that his right elbow leaned on his cane and his right hand held the wrench Cyborg gave him. Then, he reached with his left hand and gripped the heavy jar. However, when he was bringing the jar up to himself...
The jar slipped from his hands and shattered. Tiny bolts and shards of glass spread everywhere.
"Bloody arthritis hands!" Thought Mad Mod to himself, "Can't you hold a simple jar?"
Before Mad Mod could even stumble out an apology, Cyborg shot out from under the car and looked at the tragedy. The incredibly minuscule metal bolts had gone everywhere. It was going to be impossible to find them all again. Finally, Cyborg's found the cause of the whole mess.
"You!" Accused the mechanic.
Mad Mod took a few steps back from Cyborg's wrath. "I-I-I didn't mean t-t-to," stammered the ex-con.
"But I was just trying to help."
Cyborg cocked his plasma cannon. "GET OUT!"
Scared for his life, Mad Mod hobbled out of there as fast as he could.
"Hello Gov'nor," said Mad Mod weakly. "Mind if this old crow shares the park bench with you?"
Robin slid over to make some space for the ex-con. The park was mostly empty of people that day, save for a family picnicking on a nearby hill and two girls flying kites. It would be nice to have some company.
"It's good to see you doing something other than criminal activity." Commented Robin while Mad Mod took a seat.
"I wager it is. I suppose I'm just too old for all that tomfoolery anymore. You know? I think I'm just going to try to become a reformed man and all that."
Robin nodded and gazed blankly upon the wilderness scene; reminiscing back to all the times when Batman would sit down with a reformed criminal.
"Well, best of luck to you. I'm guessing that means you're going to settle down, get a nice house, get a nice wife, and all that other stuff in the great American dream?"
Mad Mod cackled at the very idea of him conforming to the American dream. "Hardly, if I wanted that, then I never would have came across the pond in the first place."
Robin and Mad Mod both snapped their gazes over to the sight of the shriek. They both tensed up and were anxious to spring into action. Almost immediately, they let out a disappointed sigh. It was just one of the two girls who were flying kites. Her red kite had drifted away and she was merely fretting over the lost toy.
"So..." Began Robin in an attempt to jump start the conversation. "You said you had a chance of having a nice wife?"
"Heh, that was a LONG time ago. That opportunity had come and gone before I even came over to the continent. Sometimes I wonder if it was a mistake to leave the way I did. With so many feelings unresolved... It's queer. I never used to wonder about that much before, but now I do. I guess these regrets are just a sign of growing older."
This piqued Robin's interest. "Why did you leave? I mean there must be some reason for leaving all of that behind, right?"
"So many reasons. Some of them were good. A lot of them were pretty stupid. None of them really matter anymore though."
Robin thought for a moment. "And after you passed it by the first time, the opportunity flew right by you, snap, just like that?"
"Yep, just like that. Say, where are you going?"
Robin had rushed to his feet and was already running away by the time he finally turned to wave a goodbye.
"Sorry to leave you so soon, but I've got something that I've got to take care of. See ya!"
"Cheerio, and best of luck to you."
Mad Mod leaned back and watched as the young fool ran off. The only thought that passed the old man's mind was:
"Well, now I'm all alone, again."