(first appeared at Synchronized Chaos July 2019)
“With great power must also come great responsibility!”
– Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spiderman)
“Fuck Voltaire. Fuck Winston Churchill. Stan Lee was the one that said that” Brian said to himself.
He had good reason to be thinking of such things. The first incident he could have written off as coincidence but now that there had been a second he was forced to consider the fact that he had a real super power.
Let me elaborate a little before continuing.
Brian had recently gone through a very difficult break-up with a girl named Britney Doolittle. She had broken his heart and he was not moving on with any success. To say he was heartbroken would not be putting too fine a point on it. He would think about her for hours on end.
One of these hours happened to be while he was walking down a busy city street. He was deep in the throes of missing her and wondering why she had left him and how he would ever be able to pull his life back together when he saw a shifty-looking man suddenly bolt from the pack and grab the handbag of a woman walking in front of Brian.
Looking back he wasn’t sure what exactly he was feeling or why his frustration with reality as he saw it chose that moment to flare up but, overcome with angst, he yelled “No!” at the fleeing purse-snatcher and just as the word was leaving his mouth a cleaning woman just happened to be exiting a large building. Innocent-sounding enough but as she exited she tripped and lost control of her bucket and mop, both of which made a beeline for the villain. After the former had intersected with the latter the bad guy laid sprawled out on the sidewalk with a broken leg.
Police were promptly summoned.
Even after he calmed down from the day’s excitement Brian couldn’t shake the feeling he was somehow responsible. Was it because the cleaning woman worked for Doolittle Cleaning Services? Had the bottled-up energy of his unrequited love somehow caused the mop and bucket to bend to his will? Who would hire a company called Doolittle to clean up in the first place? “Do little” is right in the name.
The next day the first two questions would be answered. The third question would remain a mystery. An irrelevant mystery at that. Can we put the third question behind us and move on?
Still pining for whom he believed to be his lost soul mate he just happened to be driving when he saw up ahead of him a bank robbery in progress. The three robbers piled into a waiting get-a-way car and they roared off, guns firing wildly behind them to deter anyone from following them.
Brian wiped a small tear from his eye, remember he was smack dab in the middle of thinking about when he did an Escape Room with ‘her’ and a group of Asians who didn’t speak English but knew every word to the Star Spangled Banner, and thrust his hand towards the vehicle and yelled “Stop!”
Instantly the front tire of a stretch limo in front of the departing evildoers blew and it violently swerved into the side of their car. Being a much heavier automobile the limo sent the car directly into a large statue of somebody on a horse wielding a sword.
The statue won that particular confrontation, the exclamation point being driven home when the arm holding the sword toppled off and fell right into the engine block.
The driver of the limo, the company name BLC along with a logo that appeared to be a cartoon of a happy passenger was emblazoned on both sides of the Lincoln MKS, was not hurt.
“Wow” was all Brian could say to himself.
Then he went home and looked up BLC. He had to know.
Yep. Of course. Britney Limousine Company.
“Fuck. I really have a super power.”
He immediately called his second-best friend, she had been his best, and told him to meet him at a local bar because he had something important to tell him.
A few hours later they were both seated in front one of a dozen large television sets tuned to one of a dozen sporting events and the words “You’re not going to believe but…” had just left Brian’s mouth when all of the TVs were suddenly broadcasting the same scene.
A crazed gunman was holding a gun to the Mayor’s head. He’d somehow slipped through security at some fundraiser downtown and was now screaming that if he didn’t get a million dollars cash he was going to blow the Mayor’s head off in front of a national audience. The scene was chaotic and the various announcers were all giving their viewers warnings that they might want to look away but were hoping they wouldn’t.
Brian tapped the shoulder of his friend, who was at the time transfixed by the news report, and said “Watch this.”
Brian closed his eyes and remembered the afternoon he’d spent with his ex-girlfriend at the park. He’d bought her a bag of peanuts and a couple of brave squirrels had approached her. A few minutes later they were perched on her lap and shoulders taking the nuts directly from her hand. It was something out of a Disney film and at the time Brian was surprised that a bunch of blue jays didn’t burst into songs. So intense was the memory that he briefly forgot all about the hostage situation and felt himself start to slide into a familiar funk.
“Watch what?” inquired his second-best friend, slightly annoyed
Brian snapped back into the moment and then glared at the TV screen.
“I’m sick of waiting” yelled the lunatic with the pistol. “It’s time for action!” The crowd gasped and the snipers lurking unseen tried unsuccessfully to find a way to take a clean shot. Everyone there knew they were about to witness something horrible.
They were half right.
Behind the gunman a giant black disembodied hand appeared, hanging there ever so briefly, as if finishing up the task of being pulled into existence, before plunging into the chest cavity of man with the weapon.
Even above the cacophony of the frantic crowd everyone heard it. The loud crunching noise of the hostage taker’s ribs and heart being crushed by the hand.
Everyone watching in their homes heard it.
Everyone at the bar heard it.
Brian’s second-best friend heard it… and swayed on his feet a little as he realized what Brian had meant by “Watch this.”
“What the fuck?” was all he could get out.
“I should explain” replied Brian. And so he did. To the best of his ability anyway. The whole time seated in front of the big screens as they showed replay after reply of the incorporeal hand. The first documented case of telekinesis in the history of mankind. All there in high definition.
The nation was reeling.
Brian’s second-best friend was reeling. Did what he’d just witnessed make Brian the most dangerous man who’d ever lived?
Brian’s second-best friend (who I really should have named so I didn’t have to keep calling him Brian’s second-best friend) panicked. As soon as Brian went to the bathroom he (Brian’s second-best friend) called his (Brian’s) ex and told her everything.
She (Brian’s ex) (perhaps that one was unnecessary), of course, thought that it was just a lame ploy to get her to call Brian but as she’d been missing him a bit anyway she texted him “Hey. How are you doing?”
And that’s how Brian lost his super powers.
“With not-so-great relationships come almost no responsibility.”