Chicago – Supervillainy


Of all the assets a death ray offers, probably the greatest one – well, the most effective one, as Chicago learned – is the lack of reloading.

Before becoming Supreme Mayor of Chicago, Dr. Julius P. Destructo had made several attempts at taking over the city. He built nuclear-powered robots with CannonArmsTM whose only weakness, it turned out, was bacon-wrapped hotdogs. He bred an army of wolfcobras, but they were apparently easily hypnotized by amplified Delta blues. He built a repulsor beam with which he managed to spin the moon around to face the other way, but it failed to raise tidal waves in Lake Michigan. He tried graft, but the Daleys were just better at it.

In the end, Dr. Destructo decided to finally use his very first invention. “It had always just seemed too obvious,” he said. And maybe it lacked the art, but it sure had it where it counted.

The death ray fired a red beam that made anything that wasn’t water or air … I don’t know, I’m not a scientist. But if it was solid, it wasn’t there anymore. This had all kinds of benefits that made it hard to defend against. For one thing, you literally couldn’t defend against it. Someone at the National Guard figured out it didn’t disintegrate water, so they hosed down their battalion before sending them against Destructo and his Destructo-tons (as he called the angry White Sox fans that had joined his cause). If the Guard had been smarter, they would have realized that we’re made of water, and that’s why, when the death ray hit a person, it just left a puddle on the ground. A wet battalion just made a larger puddle.

Another side perk: no prosecutions. Sure, when he announced his new position as Supreme Mayor at Grant Park, his wiped out a crowd of thousands on live TV to demonstrate his power. But no one could prove it. Writ of habeus corpus demands bodies. The puddles don’t even have DNA left in them.

So his takeover was a breeze this time. Daniel Burnham’s masterful city plan made it easy for the Destructo-tons to round the people up, push them through the axial street grid, and gave them plenty of civic art to look at as they were marched to Buckingham Fountain every morning to hear whatever new endeavor they were to embark on. First it was the construction of a ladder to the moon to spin it back the other way. (He had broken the repulsor beam.) But he abandoned that to build a giant voice recorder to play insults at New York constantly.

The problem was that people didn’t like working under threat of death ray and there are only so many crowds of thousands you can eliminate before you don’t have crowds anymore.

And this is where the constant-fire mechanism came in. It’s very hard to get the drop on someone who doesn’t have to worry about ammo, but the dissent kept coming. Everywhere he turned, there was a new group or a new building or an old monument that needed to be vaporized. Sometimes he felt like his finger didn’t leave the death ray trigger for hours. During a particularly heated argument over break times with a fairly courageous union boss, he accidentally erased all of Canaryville.

Time came when the Destructo-tons got uppity about when he was going to get on rigging the AL Central Division. As he took them out, he realized there was no one left. Not a whole lot of standing structures either. He pulled the trigger once and just spun around in a circle for 15 minutes. When he was done, he built a studio apartment with a drill attached and bore his way into the planet.

The saddest part of the story to me is that he had originally designed the death ray as an unlimited energy source. Do you know how awesome an unlimited anything is? He really did want to help people. Just, apparently, not Chicago.


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