The scene is a Manhattan soup kitchen, where dozens of the great city’s homeless have come for a simple, but much welcome, meal of soup and chicken with gravy. Behind the counter stands a tall, proud figure in the colors of the American flag, greeting each hungry individual in the chow line warmly, and without judgment.
These unfortunates have seen many crusaders of both spiritual and secular natures, but there is something in the stranger’s eyes that is new to them. It’s not pity they sense from him, neither is it condemnation. Those with the mental faculties to do so recognize the feeling radiating from the man as hope. “Hello, I’m Captain America. Nice to meet you. Fill your plate. Rest. Be warm. Be well,” he says to them, and because he IS Captain America, they do exactly that.
The Captain throws himself into his work with the same sort of determined zeal he applies to any task–scrubbing great stainless steal pots with the focused force of will he uses flying an Avengers Quinjet. One volunteer in particular can’t help but admire his efforts…
CHERRY: Gee, Mr. America..I mean, Mr. Captain…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Heh. It’s all right, Miss. Just call me Cap. All my friends do.
CHERRY: **giggle!** I wish all my friends were as hard-working as you are, Cap. This old kitchen has never been this clean, I swear.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: It’s the least I can do to help. You volunteers, you’re the ones who come here every night. It does my heart good to see it, truly.
CHERRY: Aw, it’s not anything special. I just like to help people.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Well, I wish more young people felt the way you do, Miss… Hmm. I’ve been working beside you here all night, and I don’t even know your name.
CHERRY: Hee. Well, you’ve been so busy working, it’s understandable. My name’s Cherry, Cap. I’m…
An old, scarecrow-thin man bangs his metal tray loudly on the counter and stands somewhat unsteadily before the Avenger and the volunteer…
OLD MAN: …Hey! HEY! You…you’re the guy! You’re Captain America!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: That’s right, sir. Pleased to meet you.
OLD MAN: I met you once…Jesus, it was 1944, on the South Dakota, right before the Battle of the Phillipine Sea! Christ, how can you even be here?
CAPTAIN AMERICA: I remember the South Dakota well, sailor. She was a fine ship with an outstanding crew. I was aboard for transport the night you were hit by a Japanese ship; the Kirishima, was it?
OLD MAN: That’s exactly it…We was hit by three ships in all, we were goners already , and then the concussion from our own guns knocked out the electrical systems. Aw, Christ, Cap, remember? We was dead in the water, at night, in the dark, outgunned, out-manned, out-maneuvered… We couldn’t see, couldn’t work the instruments–we all thought we was done for. All but you, Cap. You stood there like a rock until the Kentucky came and bailed us out, with all of us yellin’ like kids at the circus. I never forgot that. Never. Bless you.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: I never doubted you for a moment, sailor. It was my honor to be there with you and your shipmates that night. You did your country proud.
OLD MAN: Lady, you hang on to this one. He’s a good man. A good, good man. Ain’t another one like him.
CHERRY: I’m beginning to see that, Mister. I most certainly am.
Later, as the two volunteers are cleaning up…
CHERRY: Um…listen, Cap, did you by chance get anything to eat?
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Heh. Isn’t that funny? All this food, and I forgot to save any for myself.
CHERRY: So…you wouldn’t happen to like home-made lasagna, would you?
CAPTAIN AMERICA: I’m sorry about that, Cherry. I’m afraid the paparazzi seem to think of Avengers as celebrities, instead of social workers. I hope they didn’t scare you.
CHERRY: Oh, no, it’s all right. I’m used to having my picture taken. I’m an actress.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Well, as pretty as you are, that makes sense. I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed our time together tonight. I don’t get many home-cooked meals.
CHERRY: Cap, do you ever…you know, date girls? Would you consider maybe going on a real date? With me, I mean? I’ll understand if you say no, honest.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: …Cherry, it would be my pleasure.
CHERRY: Great! Then you can pick me up tomorrow night, after work!
Whistling and grinning while on his way to the Manhattan address where Cherry works, Cap stops to pick up a paper, and glances at the tabloid headlines…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Oh, Good Lord, no…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Oh, um, Cherry, hello. Yes, hello. Um. I brought you these roses. Yes, yes, I did.
CHERRY: That’s so sweet, thank you, Cap!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Um. Did you, er, did you happen to forget something? Like, for example, your clothes?
CHERRY: You silly. I’m just finishing up a shoot and then I’m ready to go. Come in and meet the crew!
STAGE HAND: Five minutes, Ms. Poptart!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Oh, oh, oh. This is…this is not good.
CHERRY: Captain America, I’d like you to meet Wendy Whitebread. She’s a cop in her other job!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Oh. Uh…oh, THAT’S a strange place to keep your badge. Oh, oh. **urp**
CHERRY: Yeah, funny, huh? And over here is Little Annie Fanny…she still looks great, doesn’t she?
LITTLE ANNIE FANNY: Hi, Mister! Hi, Miss Poptart! Oh, my! My clothes got stuck on thumbtack and then I accidentally did a group scene. Oh, MY! And now I accidentally am bending over to pick up a dollar that’s pasted to the floor! And oh, look! That nasty lady all in black leather is accidentally tying me to a chair!
EVIL DIRECTOR: Heh heh heh!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Gulp…I can’t…Oh…**kaff!**
CHERRY: . ..And over there is Sweet Chastity, and there’s Sally Forth, nice girls, both of them. You’d like ’em, really. And there’s some of the girls from Robert Crumb’s agency…they don’t get much work anymore, frankly. That one in the other corner with the bat is Vampirella…she mainly does softcore, I hear.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: help.
HORNY BIKER SLUTS: Don’t forget us!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Can’t…breathe…**choke!** Who…who are those girls with the tentacles?
CHERRY: Oh, those are hentai girls. Wash your hands after you touch one. Hey, look…here’s Pete Cobra!
CAPTAIN: Oh, God. Um…he’s a BIG guy, isn’t he? Oh, my God.
CHERRY: You said a mouthful!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Listen, Cherry…this place, I can’t…I have to go.
CHERRY: …You’re ashamed of me. That’s it, isn’t it?
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Cherry, I’m not proud. I’ve had one movie where the guy playing me had rubber ears on his mask and another where I was Evel Knievel Jr. I’ve done ads for Hostess Fruit Pies and Whoppers. I had a stint where I was written by Rob Liefeld, for God’s sake. I’ve never turned down a crossover yet, not even with Dazzler. But…Cherry, I’m sorry. I can’t do a crossover with a porno comic.
CHERRY: But…but…we porn stars are just like you superheroes! We have secret identities and code names and outrageous outfits and plotless action sequences…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Well…
CHERRY: And look at the titles of our videos: MARVEL CREAM-UP, TAILS TO ASTONISH, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, THE X-MEN AND WOMEN…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: I get the point…
CHERRY: BLACK AND WHITE WIDOWS, THE FANTASTIC FOURSOME, HEADPOOL, BARE-DEVIL, SEXCALIBUR…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: I should go…
CHERRY: DICK FURY, BLACK GOLIATH, 12 INCH-HUMANS, PORNISHER, THE BARELY LEGAL WARRIORS…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: An open window…yoink!
CHERRY: IRON FISTING, SHE-MALE HULK, SPEEDBALLS, THE SUB(MISSIVE)-MARINER… Cap? Cap? Now, where’d he go? Dammit, what am I going to do with all these unstable molecule condoms?
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