The Tripper

by Vince Milo

This was the day for Ross Portersberg to shine. It all began a blustery Autumn morning. Ross Portersberg CPA, was walking towards his car after another day of filing other people's taxes. Ever since he and Edith had split up, one day just seemed to blend into the next. Nothing was memorable anymore. He sighed wearily as he accidentally dropped his keys in front of his car and bent down to pick them up again. It was then that he heard the scream.

Before he had a chance to raise back up, someone came barreling into him hard, sending them both sprawling to the ground. Ross turned around just in time to see a large unkempt looking man, a purse wrapped around his wrist, lying unconscious next to him. "Oh my God, thank you, thank you," a woman's voice said coming up behind him. Ross turned and beheld the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

That evening Ross found himself on the local news and with a date lined up with the stunning Brenda Lyons. He couldn't believe his good fortune. One day he was just another single accountant, with nothing to show for himself, and the next he was a hero admired by the people and most importantly, Brenda Lyons.

Everything went well, and a year later Ross and Brenda were married. Things couldn't look any brighter. Until the visitor came.

The knock at the door startled Ross awake from his light Sunday afternoon doze. Brenda had gone out to do the shopping and Ross was alone. He rose from the couch lazily, yawned, and padded over to the door and opened it, giving him the shock of his life. Standing in the doorway was the robber from one year ago.

"Hello Ross," the man said with a crooked grin. Ross tried to slam the door but the man's beefy hand blocked his feeble attempt. "Now now," the robber said pushing his way into the door. "That's no way to treat the man who made you a hero."

"What do you want from me?" Ross cried glancing back towards the phone, now so far away. "I just want a little compensation for my assistance," the robber said, closing the door behind him. "If it hadn't been for me, your life would still be exactly the same as it has been for the last five years."

Ross turned back towards him in alarm. "H-how do you know that?"

"I know many things, Ross Portersberg," the man said walking past him and picking the phone up off of its hook. "Now, for my compensation."

"No," Ross found himself standing up and saying. "I won't be bullied by you."

The robber stared at him for a moment. "Oh no?" The robber said turning towards the counter. "Then what do you have to say about THIS!" he said, swatting some papers off of the counter to the ground.

"Hey stop that," Ross said. "I had those in order."

The robber cackled maniacally. "There's more where that came from my friend."

"That's it," Ross said, his eyes narrowing. "If you don't get out of here this instant, I will make you trip over me again. And this time, I won't pull my punches."

"Bring it on," the robber said.

"Make me," Robert said.

The robber cried out in rage and charged Ross, and just as suddenly found himself vaulted in the air as he tripped over him. He hit the ground hard, knocking himself out once again, and was duly carted away by the police.

Ever since that incident, Ross was no longer Ross Portersberg CPA, he was the Tripper. A vigilante of justice who stopped criminals in their tracks by awkwardly falling in front of them. No criminal, big or small was safe from his falling fury. That is, until the rise of the Leaper.

The Leaper, a.k.a. Bud Germay, a.k.a. Sir Leapsalot, was the most notorious criminal mastermind the municipality of Evanston had ever known. Bud Germay was not a bad man per se, but where people such as Ross Portersberg had learned to work within the system, Bud defied the system and everything it stood for. By day he was simply a working class stiff, an overworked and underpaid maintenance man. At night, however, he became the Leaper, the scourge of self-serving bourgeois American capitalism, leaping over the fumbling clutches of the pigs in blue like a graceful proletariat deer.

It was just another convenience store robbery. The Leaper had been through this routine so many times, he was almost sleepwalking. "Your money, bub," he growled through his trademark George W. Bush mask.

"Y-yes," the pale faced clerk said emptying the cash register into the brown paper bag. "Where's your capitalism now, boy?" The Leaper chuckled as he took the money from the clerk. "Now you see, that hard work only pays your fatcat bosses. And me, of course." But the clerk wasn't paying attention. He was looking at something over the Leaper's shoulder. The Leaper turned.

Standing in the doorway, dressed in ill-fitting and disturbing black tights, stood a dumpy middle-aged man, a towel tied around his neck to resemble a cape of some sort. "Not so fast, Leaper," the man said hesitantly.

"Who the hell are you?"

"I am the Tripper," the man said. "Now come quietly or I will be forced to, ah, to use force."

The Leaper laughed at that. "You are no match for me, friend. Better to return to your cubicle slavery before you hurt yourself."

"Very well, you leave me no choice," the Tripper said and abruptly fell to the ground in what looked to be a rather painful manner.

The Leaper walked over to the fallen man curiously. The man was lying flat, wheezing hard, and rubbing the knee he had fallen on. The Leaper shrugged and in an instant was aloft, soaring over the Tripper with ease. Or so he thought. The Tripper had raised a feeble arm to block him, and the Leaper had to adjust his ascent slightly to compensate. In doing so, his foot had caught on the Tripper's cape and he suddenly found himself crashing down to the hard pavement.

But the Leaper would not be bested so easily. He rolled as he fell, absorbing the blow somewhat and was on his feet again in a manner of seconds. The Tripper had creakily gotten back to his feet as well and the two titans locked eyes.

"Good show," the Leaper said. "I will remember your name, Flipper."

"It's Tripper," the Tripper said. "The Tripper."

"Until we meet again then, Flipper!" the Leaper said throwing down a smoke bomb. Smoke rose feebly from the tiny device and the Leaper skipped away at once and turned the corner, clearly visible.

The Tripper knew the Leaper would be his greatest challenge yet. But if the municipality of Evanston and America were to be safe, the Tripper would not rest until he had been brought to justice. And if anyone could put a stop to the Leaper's evil schemes, it was, well, it was him.

To Be Continued... (c)2004Vince Milo