Friday, August 7, 2020

#76: Who’ll Have You?

A week later, Secret Agent Preston Percy called to summon Avie and I to an urgent meeting of the Y+Thems at their Troy, Michigan headquarters. “Be here this afternoon,” he ordered.
     “Impossible,” I replied. “I’m scheduled at the Union Stripe Café, and I have a buttload of homework…”
     “Call off,” said Preston simply, and hung up.
     I got Nancy, who was back in the employ of the restaurant after quitting abruptly the summer before, to cover for me at the last minute. Avie and I drove up to Troy in her Pacer that evening, our megahero uniforms under our civvies.

Friday, July 31, 2020

#75: He, She, Him, Her

“Shouldn’t it be the Positive Woman?” asked Avie. “If the Negative Man stopped being a man, he might have stopped being made of anti-matter as well…”
     “No, he was still made of anti-matter,” I replied. “I mean she. He’s a she now. She just switched genders. Or sexes. Or whatever you want to call it. I mean, he switched…into a she.”
     We were all sitting around Wilton Ashe’s bookish apartment on Ferry Street at Cass Avenue—Avie, Wilton, Audrey, and I. It had a big bay window open to the south, and was crammed with all kinds of houseplants and bookshelves. It only had one bedroom but it had a nice-sized kitchen and living room. The walls were white and everything was open and bright. The sky was clear and blue and the steam heat cranking from the radiators almost gave the illusion of spring or summer, even though it was still winter.

Friday, July 24, 2020

#74: Double Negative

I agreed to go back up to Troy a few nights later, on a night when I wasn’t scheduled at the Union Stripe Café. But it had been so long since I’d used my megapowers I really had to psyche myself up. The last time I had tried pulling on Avie’s weight machines, I could barely do ten reps at forty pounds, flabby civilian weakling I had become. But when I put on my Ms. Megaton Man uniform, my courage came back and I managed to fly to Detroit’s northern suburbs without any problem. I had no choice, since I don’t drive and I didn’t want Avie hanging around dangerous scientific machinery any more than was necessary. In fact, I was hoping she’d get so busy with school and her theater group that she’d forget about joining the Troy+Thems altogether, so I never even let on to her that I was going.

Friday, July 17, 2020

#73: The Whistleroar of the Wondrous Warhound

Neither I nor Avie had bothered to do any cleaning in our apartment since we’d moved in before New Year’s, except for a quick tidying up before my birthday gathering. She had promised to dust and run the sweeper in the upstairs living room, and I agreed to handle the kitchen and bathroom, which was right next to it. We both managed to find ways to procrastinate—me with my homework and her with her working out in the basement. But by mid-February, the bathroom was starting to get funky, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. So there I was, scrubbing the tiles in our shower. I could hear Avie clacking away at the weight machine down in the basement, and was more than a bit perturbed at her. What if Clyde and Alice2 were to drop by? Of course, this wasn’t likely—I hadn’t heard from them since they’d gone to New York.

Friday, July 10, 2020

#72: Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner

Chuck Roast’s eyes opened instantly. He bolted upright, grabbing the cushions of the sofa. Holding one in front of himself defensively, he cried, “Who? What?”
     “What are you doing here?” I demanded. “What is the Human Meltdown doing back in America?”
     “I was recovering from jet lag, if you must know,” he said. “What are you doing...? Oh, that’s right. You used to live here.”
     Chuck rubbed the sleep from his eyes, set the cushion back in its place, turned, and put his feet on the floor. He relaxed somewhat, satisfied that I wasn’t immediately going to attack him.

Friday, July 3, 2020

#71: The Troy+Thems

It was the first of February, the day before my birthday, and I was walking home from my afternoon class at Old Main when I noticed a white van in the parking lot of the First Holistic-Humanist Congregation of Cass City. This wasn’t just the usual white van belonging to the residents, my friends the Y+Thems, which was always there, but a second van parked alongside it. On the side of this van were the words Inter-faith Church Healing for Hopeless Liabilities, and there was a dumpster unceremoniously plopped down next to it that ICHHL workers were quickly filling with debris.
     “Oh, no,” I said to myself. “What now?”

Friday, June 26, 2020

#70: The Once and Future Crime Busters

After our mysterious encounter with our art history professor, we broke off and scattered about the museum to select a painting or statue to write about. I chose a large canvas by Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) entitled Cotopaxi (1862), a large tableaux that filled up an entire gallery wall, or so it seemed to me, featuring a volcano erupting. Smoke billowed up into the stratosphere, creating a blood red sky around a setting sun, with lush, colorful jungles stretching toward you in the foreground. There was even a little South American man and burro on a path watching the whole thing. Ever since school trips in childhood, it had been my favorite painting in the whole museum; I could stand in front of it and have it fill my whole field of vision for hours at a time. I remembered a teacher in grade school telling us it was an allegory for the Civil War that was waging in the American South when it was painted, so I threw that in my paper, although my guess was Professor Joshua bar-Joseph, whom his teaching fellow Michele Selket referred to by the mystical nickname Doctor Messiah, would consider such pedestrian interpretation overly-determined and literal-minded.