My Hero – Superhero Flash Fiction

“Did you see?”  Hannah comes skidding around the corner, her face all aglow with the rush of meeting one of her heroes.  If her eyes got any starrier, she’d have to apply for a galaxy to hold them all.  “Did you see?  The Golden Mask came into my store! The Golden Mask, Erin!”

See him? I want to say. Sweetheart, I’m living with him. But I don’t, of course.  It’s all about the secret identity, David tells me.  If random Joe Q. Everyman on the street knew who he was, everyone in his life would be open to attack. Including me.  And the last thing I want in my life is for the Razor or Captain Beak or Dead Kennedy to come after me, snatch me off the streets and torture me for all three of David’s secrets.

So instead of telling her just who the Mask is, I light my cigarette and blow a lungful of smoke into the air.  “I didn’t know he liked frozen yogurt.”  I don’t know how I manage to keep a straight face.

“Neither did I!” Good Christ, she’s actually bouncing in place and clapping her hands together like a happy toddler.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my boyfriend and I tolerate the superhero gig, but I don’t think he really needs this much enthusiasm when he’s not even here.  “Chocolate raspberry! With sprinkles!” Her eyes go wide and she sucks in  a breath so quick I think for a moment she’s having an asthma attack. “OhmigodIhavetotweetaboutthis!”  Her BlackBerry comes whipping out of her pocket so fast that, if I didn’t know otherwise, I’d suspect she had superspeed.  Within seconds, she’s tweeted about the experience.  The sighting.  The encounter.

If Jesus wore red tights and a glittery papier-mache mask, I guarantee Hannah’d be in church every Sunday.

Hannah tucks her phone back into her pocket and thumps back against the side of the building with a dreamy sigh.  “He’s so cute,” she says, tucking her hands under her chin.  “He must be a playboy millionaire, with a Jaguar and a private jet and…”  She trails off into incoherent babbling about fast cars and mansions in the Hollywood Hills.  She’s probably drooling too.

I roll my eyes and stay silent on the issues of superheroes and money.  As cool as David’s invulnerability and ability to fly are — and trust me, they are — they’re somewhat impractical for cash flow, and McDonald’s was the only one hiring.     It would break her fucking heart to learn that the Golden Mask has a dayjob at the Golden Arches.

I’ll tell David about this later tonight, if he makes it home in time for dinner.  Christ only knows if whatever nemesis-of-the-month he’s currently chasing will be courteous enough to finish the fight by five.  I doubt it; villains are so rude.

I stub out my cigarette and readjust the nametag on my Walgreen’s vest.  My break was over five minutes ago.  There’s still two hours on the clock and I have bills to pay.  Lots of bills.  That are all past due.  David’s too proud to ask his buddy, the rich-as-hell Quakemaster, for a loan, and I don’t know the guy well enough.  We’ll make do; David’s up for promotion to manager in the next few months and I can pick up some extra shifts.  “David’s planning to barbecue tomorrow after the game; y’wanna come?’

And just like that, her nose wrinkles in distaste.  She gets along with David, for my sake, but she doesn’t really like him all that much.  Most days, the irony amuses the bejesus out of me.  Today, I’m too tired.  Being up half the night worried sick that Doc Mayhem or Mantis Face or the Wrangler has finally found a way to kill your boyfriend will do that to you. “As long as he doesn’t start talking about the war in the Middle East or the government or teabaggers,” she sniffs.

“I’ll pass it on.  See you after work?”

“Nah,” she says.  “I’m going to go to the park.  Queen Corona’s supposed to be making an appearance there.” Her eyes brighten at the mere prospect.  “Maybe I’ll see the Golden Mask again! OHMIGOD that would be awesome!”

I sigh, toss her a wave and head back inside.  I know without a doubt, she’ll buy one of our thermal green-earth bags before she goes home, and I know without a doubt there’ll be a chocolate raspberry frozen yogurt in it when she takes it to the park.  With sprinkles, no less.

I’m ringing up an old lady with a million coupons when it occurs to me that David doesn’t like sprinkles.  He hates them.  In fact, the last time he had them was…

Oh Christ.  He got hit with the Reverso-Ray again.

Or the Evil Twin Beam.

Or the Personality Matrix Exchanger.

So help me, if he got himself split into two separate people again, both of him are sleeping on the fucking couch.


Unwarranted Advice: Bloggit

Everyone has a blog these days. Seriously, you can’t go five feet along the virtual highway without tripping over someone’s list of badly-written poetry, a really bitchin’ series of personal essays and articles about gaming or literature (or travel or cooking or eight billion other hobbies and activities), weblits and blogfics, or journalling communities established so people can come together as a group to bitch about shit and share porn.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been hearing that the world has become a global village.  Zimbabwe might as well be next door, with the communicative, informative, connective qualities of the Internet.   Australia is down the street hosting a barbecue (Must have barbecues on the brain.  Jesus, what is my neighbour cooking out there?  I smell herbs and spices and roasting bread… God I’m hungry now…) in the middle of a snowstorm.  Did you see the kangaroo being chased by the lion in the community park? Watch out for those reindeer herders — they owe the Bushmen some money, and they’re getting shirty about it.  Also, France is having all sorts of questionable types over til all hours of the night, we’ll need to keep an eye on them.

Alright, so maybe it isn’t quite as ridiculous as that, and maybe my idea of a village is a little skewed.

Where was I again?

Right. Porn.

No, wait.  That wasn’t it.

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FlashFriday (On Wednesday) – Dead Unicorn Bridge Part Two

A few weeks ago, I posted a #FlashFriday fic that started off, “The dragon selling hotdogs on the corner gave me the 411 on the dead unicorn.”  It was a silly little fluff piece I listed under the heading “Suicidal Unicorns”.  I had no intention of ever doing anything with it again (though I said I might someday), but the story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

This second flash installment weighs in a little longer than the first one, at around 950 words.

Back by popular request — here’s lookin’ at you, Julie — I give you the second installment of what I’m now calling Dead Unicorn Bridge.

When we left Mason, he was investigating the possible suicide of a unicorn named George who had either thrown himself or been thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge.  The hotdog vendor, an unnamed dragon with questionable adherence to health code standards, gave Mason a lead to check: the unicorn’s live-in virgin, a girl named Sunshine, who’d left George the previous week for a guy she met online.  With this information in hand, Mason returned to his car, hoping against hope that his elven partner would still be inside it, instead of out chasing butterflies and talking to flowers.

The story continues after the jump.

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Whine and Cheese Platter, Side of Bacon

They told me my body would be undergoing some chemical and hormonal changes as my systems attempt to rebalance themselves after Amber’s birth.

I said, “I’ll be fine. I’ve been through it before. Twice, in fact. I’m what you might call an old hand at this baby-having business thingamabob.”

They said, “Why are we even bothering attempting to hand you medical advice you might need?  You obviously know what you’re doing.  Silly us; we’ll just go along now and hand out free enemas to our next ten patients.  Carry on then.”

I said, “Pip pip and tallyho.”

They said, “Eleven on this floor alone.”

I said, “Huh?”

They said, “It’s something of a subtle joke.  Just let it sink in; you’ll get it eventually.”

… I’m sorry, where was I?

Right.  Digging into my whine and cheese platter.  Join me, won’t you?

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Spring Cleaning the Brain

I woke up this morning and didn’t want to get out of bed. The alarm kicked over and started beeping, so I rolled over and kicked Rick to hit the Snooze button. And proceeded to do this for the next 60 minutes. There’s something just awesome about coming out of the doze every 9 minutes to smack your husband and tell him to do something and not have to get out of bed to do it. Normally, I only get to do this an average of 2-3 times a morning, since the alarm’s usually set for 7:30. But because I had a godawfully early appointment on Monday, the alarm was set back an extra 45 minutes and it’s been that way ever since. That’s 5 more times I can smack Rick before I’m even fully awake.

But eventually, all good things must come to an end and when 8:00 rolls around, we simply have to get out of bed. The kids are awake, they need to be dressed, some semblance of nutrition has to be offered them. Beds have to be made, carpets need to be vacuumed, dishes need to be done. Websites need to be looked at and tea/coffee needs to be drank. Pre-K cartoons have to be turned on, because they’re not going to play themselves. Nosiree. The day has to start, whether I want it to or not.

Lately, the beginning of the morning is something I’ve been dreading. Everyone – including me – is getting sick of hearing me say this, but I’m now 40 weeks pregnant, and doing anything after being supine or immobile for long periods of time (like oh, say, 7-8 hours of sleeping) means a bunch of snaps, crackles and pops that wouldn’t go amiss in a bowl of Rice Krispies. The ligaments in my pelvis have been stretched and twisted to hell and back, so movement is actually painful until they loosen up again. Normally, this distracts me away from doing anything but the bare minimum.

But this morning, with the added bonus of an extra 5 instances of Rick-beating, I couldn’t help but notice how goddamn beautiful it is outside today. Yesterday, a light dust of snow fell. This morning, it looks bright and cheerful and warm and hopeful and sunny out my window. It’s enough to make me want to spring clean. Or maybe that’s just the nesting instinct finally kicking in. Sadly, there are too many chemicals I can’t sniff this late in the having-a-kid game, and there’s a weight limit to how much I can lift now. And it’s been nice, watching Rick run around and be my housebitch for the last few months… but on days like today, when I really want to clean something, I either can’t because of inherent risks or will not be allowed to, because I married an overprotective Southerner chock-full of testosterone and the sort of manly scent Old Spice claims to be able to wash away.

So I have to settle for some internal spring cleaning, and with that notion, today’s been set aside for me to winnow out the cobwebs and reorganize the disused and dusty corners of my brainpan.

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On Writing Tools and Bullshit Excuses

This isn’t going to be a how-to post on writing; I’m not nearly full of myself enough to do one of those. I have no real writing credits under my belt, and I lack the energy to get really in depth on how I feel you should go about scribbling down words and getting them printed. And hopefully be paid for doing so. No, I’m not that girl. What I am is someone who’s struggling along with trying to find my own pace and place in the world o’ writing.

If you want to read a blog about tips and tricks to help you learn how to write, this is not the place for it. Try over at Chuck Wendig’s place; he’s a shameless hussy who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, even though he smells slightly like guacamole and stale beard. Publisher sites like Tor, Harlequin, agency websites, Google searches for “how to write [whatever genre/style]”; finding appropriate podcasts. Individual authors’ websites often contain links to helpful articles, some of them even written by the authors themselves. The #amwriting community at Twitter has a billion and two links on advice and helpful tips run through it per hour. Research is your friend, my friend. Do some.

No, this blog is none of that. This blog is opinion-based, and thus is biased towards me. If this is helpful to you, great! What a serendipitous thing! If not, too bad. It’s not meant to be, and fuck you if you think it is.

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