Friday, February 21, 2020

#53: I Got the Senior Thesis Blues

I clacked away at my typewriter into the wee hours of the morning. In the background was the Warren Woodward University public radio station, WWWU, humming at a low volume on my cheap clock radio. It was so late, the programming had gone from news to jazz to classical; they were now broadcasting some free-form art rock courtesy of a deejay who was also an editorial contributor to Detroit’s anarcho-primitivist underground newspaper, The Fifth Wheel. The sounds were hypnotically weird, and I was getting bleary-eyed.

Friday, February 14, 2020

#52: Big, Blue, Bulky Guy!

The behemoth robot seemed momentarily confused; its four pairs of red camera lenses whirled around inside its bubble-like glass helmet, taking in the situation.
     “The Hybrid Man seems conflicted,” said the Phantom Jungle Girl, leveling her stone-tipped jungle javelin at the Bot, just in case. “The mad scientist here has given him a direct order contradicting the moral code Wilton and Audrey programmed into him.”
     “Kill the costumed intruders,” Grady barked again, waving the remote in his hand. “And kill these two civilians, while you’re at it.”

Friday, February 7, 2020

#51: B-50, the Hybrid Man

I ran down the hall where I’d seen my cape disappear and burst through some swinging doors into a large laboratory, darkened except for some blinking lights on equipment I couldn’t make out. With the infra-red vision of my visor, I immediately spotted my cape and buttons; they lay lifeless on the floor just a few feet into the lab. For a moment, I feared my cape was dead.
     I picked them up and shook the dust off. I slung my cape around my shoulders and snapped buttons back onto my uniform at the clavicles. The buttons responded by flashing magenta lights, and my cape fluttered.
     “Good; you weren’t killed,” I said. “But something shut you down as soon as you entered this place. What…?”

Friday, January 31, 2020

#50: Telling Tall Tales Along the Ann Arbor Trail

After locking up her office, the Phantom Jungle Girl and I raced downstairs to the waiting Y+Thems van. Rubber Brother was in the passenger seat; with an elongated arm, he opened the sliding side door for us to hop in back. Domina was behind the wheel; she was the only Youthful Permutation. The others—Soren, Kiddo, and Tempy—were never part of our plan, Jasper wanting to keep the operation light and mobile.
     But much to my surprise, my sister Avie and Kozmik Kat were waiting for us in the back seat.

Friday, January 24, 2020

#49: Enter: The Phantom Jungle Girl!

Despite the invitation from Donna Blank herself, not to mention the urging of Rubber Brother, I still procrastinated about visiting Royal Oak. After all, what was I going to tell a licensed social worker? That there was a laboratory deep under the Arbor State where not only Megasoldier Syrup was produced, but also the dead returned to life, and possibly some kind of scientific project was underway that was fusing together incompatible dimensions of reality? And that this may have been connected to my own missing biological father and the return of my long-lost Grandma?

Friday, January 17, 2020

#48: Donna Blank, District Defender

I was in my sweats, shivering at the poor steam heating in my garret apartment, reading over the voluminous notes my advisor had scribbled all over my senior thesis draft, when suddenly there came a knock at the door. “Who is it?”
      “Jasper,” came the reply. “Jasper Johnson.”
     I let him in. Rubber Brother was nattily attired in a sharp business suit with a carefully-folded pocket handkerchief. “You look awful,” he said. “Are you feeling well?”

Friday, January 10, 2020

#47: Dana Dorman, Two Doors Down

Ever since she’d arrived from Megatropolis with a vanload of Youthful Permutations, I’d gotten the vibe that Dana Dorman—the megaheroine known as Domina—had the hots for me. I suppose I’d gotten that vibe from the several times she’d overtly hit on me; her rather crude suggestions in front of the others were frankly embarrassing, and revealed how ill-equipped and lacking in social skills some megaheroes can be. I’d had to make it clear to her over and over that she simply wasn’t my type—she was way too aggressive. But I tried not to be rude to her; after all, she was living in the communal residence of the Holistic-Humanist Congregation of Cass City, just two doors down West Forest from where I lived, with the other Y+Thems exiled in Detroit—along with my younger half-sister, Avie.