** You have reached the Super Friend Hotline, where all the loneliest superheroes are pretty much just sitting around and awaiting your friendship. Listen to our eager heroes introduce themselves, then press a number on your touch-tone phone to connect with your favorite one now! **
Hello. Yes. This is Superman. I'm... not really sure what I'm supposed to say here.
(Indecipherable, yet clearly exasperated voice.)
Be natural, he says. Right. Great.
I'm Superman, as I said before, and this is my message. Introduction? No, message. If you choose to talk to me, it will be great. Fantastic. You might even say SUPER. Heh. Well, maybe not. Pretty much everyone says I'm boring. All these powers at my disposal, all this strength, and no friends. I just don't have any interests. Saving people, naturally, but beyond that? Nothing. How can a guy carry a conversation when he doesn't really care about anything? What can he do to make someone want to talk a second time, much less become his friend?
You can pick the topic. I'll do my best to keep up. Please. I really need this. It's like you're all just ants and every day I wake up to find that you're a little bit smaller. There was once a time when I felt an intense sense of purpose, a desire for justice that drove my heroic acts. Now I'm just going through the motions. If I don't connect with another person soon, I'll probably grow a face full of stubble and let myself float in space with a frown.
** Press 1 to talk to Superman now. **
Wolverine here. Not exactly a warm guy that people want to hang out with. Claws don't help. Cigars don't help. Chronic sweating definitely doesn't do shit for me, aside from matting my body hair and wafting out a bitter stench I can't wash out.
Look, bub, I'm going to get right to the point here. I need a friend. You should pick me. Most of these super weenies don't drink beer, but I do. Beer helps to dull the pain. Not physical pain, I heal up from that better than anyone. I'm talking about the emotional pain that comes with living for 130 years, experiencing all the loss that comes with a normal life several times over, getting kicked out of countless public swimming pools for turning the water grainy and orange.
So choose me. I've got all the time in the world. Too much of it, in fact. I've been writing wacky versions of classic works and historical fiction, like Abraham Lincoln as a robot with a zombie pal, and Charles Dickens' classics filled with vampires and Gremlins.
Oh man, perfect idea... an all-Stormtrooper reimagining of War And Peace! Call me and we can workshop this bad boy into a best-selling novel with a movie option. You can keep the rights. I just want someone to talk to.
** Press 2 to talk to Wolverine now. **
I have already accounted for all possible outcomes of this conversation. There is a plan in place for each permutation. You can't defeat me any more than you can defeat the night. I swallowed the antidote ten minutes ago.
** Press 3 to talk to Batman now. **
Woooo! Hey guys, it's me, Spawn!
You know, Spawn!
Remember me?! Does anyone out there remember me at all!?
We're gonna have fun! Big time! Yeah!
You guys like chains and demons and shit?!? What are your feelings on capes???! These are things I would love to chat about! Just having fun! That's me! My brooding has driven everyone away but I'm trying to be positive here!
** Press 4 to talk to Spawn now. **
What's up, nerds? I'm Wonder Woman.
Here's the deal. Chicks don't want to be around me because, well, look at me. I'm way tougher than any of them. I don't even care about my appearance and I'm obviously better looking than they are. Bunch of superficial broads, I swear.
Most guys only want to get close because they fetishize me. To them I'm an ideal, not a real person. When they realize that I'm not interested in sex they ditch me.
If you want to be my friend, that would be great. It really would. There is absolutely no one in my life right now. But I'm warning you, this isn't going to work unless you share my passion for crafting fake food.
I'm not just talking about plastic food. Obviously, though, that's hella fascinating. The injection molds, the painting, knowing when to use a glossy finish and when to play it cool with a matte. Great stuff, but there is so much more. Using glue in place of milk. Carving a perfect waffle out of a chunk of sponge.
As long as you have fake food tips that I haven't heard before, you can keep talking to me. I might even let you be my friend.
No creeps. I don't even have to use my lasso of truth to figure out that you're the type of person that's turned on by the lasso of truth.
** Press 5 to talk to Wonder Woman now. **
Punisher here. Don't have friends. Don't want them. Humanity is a pool of filth and corruption. It can only be cleansed with a long boil in the searing heat of retribution. Few are innocent. Those few should stay far away from me. The innocent have a way of getting hurt by the ruthless vermin that think the law doesn't apply to them.
Still, I'd love to chat. You can trust me with anything. For instance, if you heard about a weapons shipment coming into the docks, the exact time and pier number would make for a fun topic. Maybe you'd like to get something off your chest. All those atrocities are weighing you down, and you need to tell someone about all the crimes you've committed, all the offenses that call for a bullet to be buried in your perverse mind.
You can trust me. I'm your pal.
** Press 6 to talk to The Punisher now. **
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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