Sticky Buttons (from Bow-Legged Buccaneers from Outer Space)
David Owain Hughes
The year is 2080—the not-so-distant future—and Chinatown is a prison. One hundred years ago, between 1980 and 1990, hardcore arcade gamers, cinemagoers, TV freaks and comic book nerds took over the large oriental area and turned it into a no-go zone. The streets became violent, corrupt and the powers that be lost control. The innocent were evacuated, a bomb to be dropped, but the plan was seen as too rad, and so a large wall and river were constructed around the city; the waters were filled with sharks and patrolled by the government’s secret police, who had more artillery than Rambo.
There is no escape from Chinatown—not that the inhabitants want it, as they are content living out their sadistic, perverse fantasies of being their favourite character from their beloved games, movies and shows from a decade long extinct (but not in Chinatown, for it’s always the ‘80s).
The streets are teeming with the likes of Snake Plisskin, Jack Burton, the Mad Gear Gang, Wing Gong hoods, thugs from Class of 1984, men and women who think they’re Axel Foley, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, Frank Castle, OCP cops, Officer Murphy and cybernetic robots, Rick Deckard, the A-Team, WWF superstars, Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti… The list is inexhaustible.
Not a day goes by that doesn’t see someone get body-slammed through a table or vaporised by a proton gun, and eruptions of all-out gang warfare are commonplace. Two days ago, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wannabes were seen doing the knuckle dance with a roving pack of Romero-style zombies (Shuffles, they’re called here).
However, there are those who dedicate their time to keeping the violent ones off the street, the vampires at bay during near-dark and the drugs from children.
Enter the Sticky Buttons, a trio of friends who fight for truth, justice and the
American Chinatown way…
Chang (Hagger) Sing, AKA Martin Sprocket from 36 Hong Kong Avenue, thought he was Chinese and Mike Hagger, the 1989 digital professional wrestler-turned-mayor from the smash-hit arcade beat-‘em-up Final Fight. Chang, the most delusional of Chinatown’s residents, also had it in his head that his daughter, Jessica, was being held captive within the city, and so he spent his time searching for her.
At current, Chang was on the floor—like the other Sticky Buttons—surrounded by thugs with wild, multi-coloured hair of various styles. The hoods wore neon-coloured shades and nifty pump trainers, knee-length boots and rollerblades. Their ankle-length, graffiti-covered leather jackets matched, and their hole-ridden jeans exposed corresponding tattoos and scars.
They snapped gum as they pummelled Chang and bashed his Buttons with chains, fists, kicks and anything else that came to hand whilst the rest of their mob listened to tunes on tape decks and blasted ace hair metal on boomboxes in the background.
“Get to the chopper!” Chang heard someone scream as they ran past the danger zone. When he looked through his splayed fingers, his large hands covering his head and face to stop the thugs from staving his skull in, he saw an alien whiz by—it was in hot pursuit of a musclebound man with a machine gun.
And then he heard Wang (Cody) Chi, AKA Brit Jennings, his Button brother and Final Fight amigo, cry out as he took a skateboard to the back of his head. Chang saw the multi-coloured wheels that once belonged to the foot vehicle spin off in different directions before crashing down around him.
Some of Wang’s teeth skipped along the floor, mixing with blood and gravel. He went to ground and got swamped.
“Argh!” Chang roared, grabbing a stomping leg. He twisted it. Bone snapped. The knee burst.
“Holy fuck!” the scumbag cried, hitting the deck. He held his hurt. The skin around the joint was split. Bone jutted and glistened red.
This left Chang’s ribs exposed, and a flurry of boots blasted into him. He retreated into a ball with his hands over his head and gritted his teeth. “Fuckers!”
“Ugg! Chang, help!” screamed Eddie (Guy) Lee, AKA Simon Clunkworthy, the third and final member of the Buttons and Final Fight fanatic. He’d been set on by a thug with a baseball bat—his flame-orange Ninjutsu suit was soaked red. He held a bloodied hand out towards Chang before taking a broken bottle to the left pectoral muscle.
Eddie collapsed forward, unmoving.
What the hell was I thinking? We’re not crimefighting heroes! We should have just stuck to dressing up like Mike, Cody and Guy, and not—
A stomp to the head brought him back to his dire situation.
He swallowed his fury.
A fire burned in his belly.
Chang was wrong, and he knew it—he and his Sticky Buttons were totally bitchin’, man. They were hard-arses. And these goons, these Mad Gear thugs mixed with Wing Gong enforcers and Lords of Death hoodlums, were going down once and for all.
It was time to take Chinatown back.
“Rrragh!” Chang roared, pushing himself up to his knees and shoving aside the three thugs surrounding him. One, with a Mohawk, crashed through a load of bins and cracked his chops on the pavement. Teeth and blood poured out of his mouth and into his cupped hand.
Chang did his spinning chariot move, taking out the two thugs who came at him with bats and chains.
A woman with pink hair jumped on his back, and he grabbed her by the ears, ripping her over his huge shoulder and slamming her against the floor. Her braless tits jiggled, her nipples stiff and poking at the thin fabric covering them.
“Roxie,” he uttered. He stamped his size sixteen foot down on her throat, crushing her windpipe. A puddle of piss spread beneath her.
“It’s cool, dude. It’s cool!” The thugs listening to their gnarly tunes cleared out, taking their wounded with them.
“You fucks are dead!” one goon slurred back, holding his mouth together.
Chang wanted to give chase, but his Buttons needed him. He watched as the thugs tore up the street and disappeared. The fog-filled, neon-drenched streets were alive with house and car alarms, screams of murder and rape, howling dogs, gunshots and general danger.
The rage burned out of Chang. His barrel-like chest, which he’d worked on at the gym for years, heaved. His breaths came in ragged rips.
“These nightly dust-ups will be the end of me,” he muttered, turning to help Wang up off the floor. “How’s the head, big man?”
“I see birds dancing around it.”
“We need to get you to the hos—”
“Nah, I’ll be fine, Chang. It’s just a scratch.”
They went to Eddie, grabbed an arm each and hauled him off the floor.
Fragments of glass dropped off him, and Chang yanked the bottleneck out of his friend’s chest.
“Shit!” Eddie winced, sucking in a sharp breath through gritted teeth. “Fuckers. We need to get patched up and back on the streets.”
“I don’t think we’re in any fit state to keep going tonight, guys—we’ve taken a lickin’.”
“Yeah, and we’re still tickin’!” Wang interjected.
“Come on, let’s get back to the clubhouse first. Maybe we can gather up Cobra, Rocky and a couple of other hard-arses to help us fight the good fight tonight,” Chang suggested. Eddie and Wang nodded. “I just know we’ll find Jessica soon…”
Bow-Legged Buccaneers from Outer Space is now available for Kindle, in paperback, and on Audible here.