Twenty-four year-old Eddie Parker sat on his 46th floor apartment couch. Just by looking at his room, one could tell he was a military history buff. In particular he was enamored with the glory days of the late 20th century. One faded poster pictured a man known as "General Hawk" in front of an American flag. Emblazoned across it were the words "America's Finest." On another wall was a 1991 wanted poster for a man named Destro. Back then it was simple: you knew who the enemy was and you were allowed to shoot the hell out of him. But then Cobra went legit, using its fortunes of dirty money to go above ground and become one of the world's corporate superpowers. From where he sat, its corporate power was painfully evident. The Cobra building was the largest in the city... a monolithic testament that crime does pay. When Eddie opened his blinds it was all he could see from his window, for it lay directly across the street from his apartment in the Philip Morris residence building. Looking upon it disgusted him. He kept his blinds closed most of the time.

What a travesty, he thought, that these corporate snakes can feel safe now in a building of glass. No need for armor. Nobody brave enough to strike out at them, now that they own the law, own the government. They even own the people with their false promises of democracy. Eddie went over to shut the blinds again, when something caught his eye. Written in fine print on the blinds: "Manufactured by Cobra, Inc." Uttering profanities, he tore them down and kicked them into the corner, where they came to rest under his life-size Sergeant Slaughter cardboard cut-out. To calm himself, he decided to pass some time gazing at his scrapbook. Though the newspaper clippings placated him at first ["Joe Victory in Sahara" March 9, 1985], as the dates reached closer to the present the effect was just the opposite ["Members of Underground Terrorist Group G. I. Joe Apprehended" September 25, 2198].

He slammed the binder shut and reached under the couch to remove a long black box. Removing the lock, he opened it to look upon the centerpiece of his collection: a long sniper-style firearm, an artifact from the heyday of G.I. Joe. It had a tag attached that guaranteed it to be the uniquely customized rifle originally carried by Joe member Lowlight, so many years ago. It had been an expensive black market purchase, but once its origins were verified Eddie knew it was the best money he ever spent. The hours spent polishing and keeping it in working condition were the happiest of his life. He didn't want a girlfriend or a family as long as he had his precious rifle. It was all the companionship he would ever need. He thought of how beautiful it was, and what a shame that it would never again be used. Never again would it rain lethal justice down upon the minions of Cobra. Never again would it strike down a high and proud general from across the battlefield. This weapon thirsted for blood, and that thirst would never again be quenched. To his mind, no other weapon ever so deserved human sacrifice.

Eddie sat polishing for some minutes more, but gradually a glare crept into his field of vision. Sunlight bounced off the glass side of the Cobra building and embedded itself in his eye. Cursing, he went over to his window to try to put the blinds back up, but they were broken beyond repair. He stood there, disgusted with the blinds and the building and himself, too. Alone in life, he was unable to satisfy his one love, the rifle. Eddie felt cold. His brow was sweaty. Gradually the glaring sunlight reached his brain and melted the bonds of self-restraint. He pushed his couch over to the window so he would have something to sight over. Slowly, savoring every moment, he broke the window, loaded the weapon, and pointed it across the street at the looming edifice. He zeroed in on the first person he saw... a cobra office worker standing at a water tank, filling his paper cup. Eddie put the crosshairs over him and shot. The water bottle shattered.

***Oops. A little to the right this time.***

Now the little man was curled up on the floor, hands covering his face. Eddie reloaded and tried again, this time putting a hole in the wall above him.

***There's no hiding, you miserable reptilian wretch!***

Pop. The white wall went red. It was every bit as satisfying as he had imagined. A secretary in a flowered dress went to see what the noise was. She took it in the leg, then in the head while crawling away.

***Dum da dum! The real American hero!***

Another bespectacled pencil jockey started frantically dialing his phone, probably for security. This time Eddie made the head shot on the first try.

***Hey, I'm actually pretty good at this!***

He left when security started shooting back. By then the death count was twelve. He spent weeks in the underground before his black market contacts were able to hook him up with the remainder of G.I. Joe. Eddie was happy to know he would have companions other than his rifle, and happy to know that while he was with them it would not go thirsty again. The Joes equipt Crack Shot with his armor vest and Bio-Eye (it makes up for how old the rifle is).

Head: I painted his hair black with red, white, and blue stripes.

Torso: The white part had yellowed, and I painted stripes on his chest.

The Bio-Eye was glued into the hole in his shoulder.

Arms: I painted his hands black.

Legs: I painted the yellow stripes brown and made the boots black.

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