Let it fly

 

We all have superpowers. Some of us can bend metal spoons with our mind. Some can lift mountains without breaking a sweat; some can drink 10 cups of coffee and still go to bed by 10 o’clock. Obviously not all powers are the same. It is the inherent cruelty of genetics that we must be this way. Natural selection – the uber-bitch of evolution – treats us all with the unbiased view of a sports fan in a local derby.

We all have powers but not all powers are equal. Some of us must hide ours. Society has not deemed us fit to display ourselves fully to world. I am sadly one of those individuals

I was 10 when I first started having the dreams. Dreams that I could fly, that I was soaring through the sky, the freezing air and the clouds wrapped around me like fog. I would see the sun shining over me as I flew through a flock of birds and they would turn their heads and stare at me in disbelief and then I would wake up and find myself hovering 6 feet over my bed.

That is when I discovered that through controlled ejections of air, I could propel myself against the gravitational force of the earth. In other words, I could use my farts to fly.

Where other people would adorn gaudily-made capes and wear their underwear atop their tights to flaunt their powers, sadly I had to hide my stinky little secret. But you may ask how I came to learn it was looked down upon.  Being that my parents were fairly new age, I was never really told to be afraid of my bodily functions, so I was not immediately aware of what society thought about me. But I was to find out pretty soon.

Like with all great tragedies it started with a girl. OK, perhaps that’s a bit unfair. I don’t know that much about tragedies, barring my reading of an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet to impress this girl in the 9th grade. To be honest, I found the story to be a bit clichéd, however I liked that they died at the end. Let me rephrase that. I’m not happy they died, I’m just glad the writer was ready to throw in a twist at the end, did not see that one coming.

Anyway to the girl, she was in my class, in fact she had been in my class for the last 3 years but I only noticed her in the 9th grade. She used to wear these floral plastic hair bands. She reminded me of a gift I got on my 11th birthday. Not the gift itself – that was a toy truck – she reminded me of the wrapping. The floral patterns on her hairband reminded me of the wrapping paper, (and because I wanted to unwrap her to see what she had inside, of course not gonna say that). She had black hair and a cute button nose, not your classic beauty, but when I would see drinking from her hello kitty water bottle, it would drive me insane.

She also had her special power, she could move objects with her mind. Being young, I was foolish enough to think that I could impress her with my own power, also I thought it was something we had in common and I was desperately looking for anything in common between us.

So one day after school, she was waiting on the curb for her bus, alone. If I didn’t take this chance, I probably wasn’t going to get another one, so I approached her with all the confidence of a jittery cat stalking a vacuum. She looked back at me and I froze for a second, feet feeling leaden, but I couldn’t stop now.

“Hi,” I said, my throat parched like a desert,  “My name is Brian.”

She didn’t say anything.

“So, I saw you picking up that basketball last week on the court. That was pretty cool.”

“Thanks,” she said, her eyes lingering on the road like she was willing the bus into existence. Sensing this, I used my trump card:

“You know, I can do something like that.”

Her focus shifted away from the imminently arriving bus and on to me. Sadly, it wouldn’t last for long.

“Yes, I can actually fly.”

“Really, I haven’t seen anyone do that yet.”

“Do you wanna see?”

“Of course,” she said.

“Stand back.” and clenching my rectum and with a precise expulsion I was able to lift myself.

I looked down to see a look I have never seen before nor do I wish to see again. It was a look of disgust and mirth blended together like a mango and dung cocktail. She was holding her nose and then, before I could react, she ran away laughing. There I was, red faced, flatulent and floating. I had driven her away with my stench.

Since that day, I only dreamed of flying, I was too embarrassed to do it anymore. The moment I would think about it, I would see her face looking at me like that.

*

“So, Stephanie, I’ve been sitting here all this time talking about myself, some blind date I’m turning out to be. By the way, you never told me your power.”

“I don’t really have one; in fact I have a disorder.”

“Disorder, oh I’m sorry to hear that, what is it?”

“Anosmia.”

“I’ve never heard of that, what is that?”

“It’s a condition meaning that I can’t smell anything.”

“Really… Stephanie, have you ever flown beside a flock of birds?”

“No.”

“Would you like to?”

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The listeners

“Why have you come to us septus”

Septus solar looked up to see a man with eyes as white as bone staring back at him; his pupils were ten times larger than a volarian’s. Septus should not have been afraid, he was used to speaking before large crowds; he was after all the head instructor of the halls of history. He would address a crowd of 100 students every day but today he was the one who had come to learn

“I wish to learn”

“What do you wish to learn Septus”

Septus thought about the halls of history, bursting with towers upon towers of data, but hardly a septabyte dedicated to the digger civilization, although there was great controversy amongst the academics for the usage of that word and they were supposed to convene a conference in the next month to decide on the issue.

“About your civilization “

“Ours is not a civilization, we have made sure of that “replied the grand meister of the seventh circle

Septus raised his head, he was surrounded by group of seven men with bone white eyes. Their faces were matted with dust and no wonder they were miles below the surface, underneath the second great volarian empire. This place was entirely different from the world above where the grand volarian spire tore through the clouds, and the air was filled with the faintly mechanical buzzing of nanobots, reassembling to form new machines as they sensed the needs of their handlers, but now all he could hear was the faint sizzling of boiling water and hissing of steam escaping from a nearby pipe

“Why have you made sure of that, why use steam when you know we have better options, why live underground”

The grand meister paused and looked at the men of the seventh circle , they nodded their heads

“Come with us”

He was led by the circle of seven across winding tunnels dimly lit with gas lamps. Septus felt like an interloper as he was led deeper and deeper into the bowels of the digger colony and as he turned a corner they opened into a large cavern. On the eastern side of the cave was a large wall made of several layers of varying colours. The whole place was lit by a series of glowing minerals that filled the cavern with a ghostly light. The grand meister pointed to the wall

“That is the reason. These are the layers of civilizations before you, before your so called great volarian empire , he pointed to the upper layer , there was the glorious house of konal, and before that, he pointed below that , the republic of soman and before , and before “

Septus looked closer he could see the remains of the old, the building materials of buried civilizations, one upon the other.

“But how”

“The sons of aether , the great cosmic predators, they come when they see signs of threat , when they sense your signals into the fabric of space , they come and they will come again, and here we are , in our inglorious holes as your glorious civilizations fall one by one “, he said as he moved his finger from the top of the wall to the bottom

Septus solar felt a cold sweat on his brow as he stood at the abyss of civilizations staring at the epitaphs of the past and the apparitions of the future

 

The invasion

The deck of the Virbox gt 99 cruiser ship gleamed like the morning sun of gleon 9, Zicarix thought as he looked at his handy work. Zicarix had recently been recruited to the interstellar cleanliness corps but it was just a fancy name for janitorial services. Not that he minded that all that much; he was better off cleaning the floors of star ships than having to stay behind on gleon 9.

That is the problem with war like planets, everyone is so consumed with going out and conquering new lands that no one has the time to build a half decent road or a bridge for the people who stay back. Plus his parents no longer wanted him in their house, so he decided the best way out of that hell hole was to join the start fleet , of course joining the fighting corps was outside the question as zicarix had the military bearing of a soft tailed bumblebrox*

Often he would go out of breath in the middle of a sentence so military service was out of the question and additionally he was over encumbered with an excess of cowardice.  So by default zibrox chose the aforementioned interstellar cleanliness corps

Once the satisfaction of his work had worn off, quickened by the boot marks left by the scurrying soldiers on deck, Zibrox looked outside the window as they were approaching a new planet. Zibrox had never seen anything like it; it was nothing like gleon 9 with its red skies and pale blue sunsets

“Attention all troops, prepare for the landing “

Zibrox heard the voice on the intercom and that meant the invasion had begun

Zibrox put down his plasma cleaner and looked out a nearby window and he could see all the ships were flying in formation, he could hear a loud roar as their cruiser broke into the atmosphere. Zibrox continued staring out of the window as he saw the fleet obscured in a whitish haze as they drew closer and closer to a ground.

Zibrox could see a yellowish sun with a strange glow, having grown up under the red skies of gleon seeing this lurid yellow sun was a strange sight indeed. Zibrox heard a rumble like a herd of stampeding minaurs. All the soldiers on board the ship were gathering in front guidance console. The admiral must be coming up to deck. Mostly zibrox would have gone to his bunk by now but this was his chance to see the battle first hand

As silence fell on the ship , Zibrox could hear the metallic clang of admiral kirzitz’s boots as he moved to guidance console.  Kirzitz was a short in stature and temper as zibrox had learnt when he had accidently forgotten to clean his room on his first day at the job.

“ Prepare for battle gentlemen, if you follow my instructions and listen to every word that I have to say , you will have a chance to go back to your loved ones, if not you can still go home in a neat little box, the choice is yours gentlemen”

Zibrox felt a certain lack of inspiration in the admiral’s words however he was not foolish enough to say these words out loud especially not before a big battle.

The doors opened and the admiral picked up his communication orb to his lips, simultaneously transmitting his words to each of the thousands of soldiers aboard every ship. The admiral was shouting out instructions and formations to each team, he could hear the sound of the soldiers moving off the ships. Zibrox rushed to the windows on the opposite side of the deck to get a better view of all the disembarking troops.

The ground troops had started moving but many of the ships still remained afloat and the sounds of their boots was filling the air as they moved in unison across the surface of this alien planet.  Suddenly a Zibrox heard a new sound unlike the noise of heavy boots moving in formation. It was a distant thunder like the bellow of a ravenous rivor only much louder and far more intimidating. The ground began to rumble as he saw a great dust cloud in the distance and a shadow of a creature larger than he had ever imagined

Zibrox was lost for words but he wasn’t alone, every member of the royal corps seemed to have collectively taken a vow of silence and even the admiral kirzitz had lost his ability to converse but only for a moment because he was the first to recover and start barking order

“Flank the enemy, try to bring it down, launch the neutrino missiles, and attack from above”

Sizzle, sizzle ………..

Even Zibrox could hear that sound and he didn’t need military training to know that was the sound of defeat, if they had lost their aerial ability already in a matter of seconds, the ground force would last long. Zibrox reluctantly looked out the window afraid of what he might glimpse. The giant creature had crushed an entire unit under its large paw. Looking up Zibrox could see the creature was holding one of the ships in their hand as the rest fled, their weapons doing no damage to the creature. Zibrox was stunned by the sudden presence of admiral kirzitz next to him

“Retreat, he said in a defeated tone, return to base

All the forces started swarming back; it was absolute chaos following an absolute carnage. Zibrox picked up his plasma cleaner with shaking hands and looked into the distance at the giant creature that had single-handedly destroyed their entire fleet and started into its eyes that shone with wicked glee and it turned its back carrying one of their ships in its hand

…………………………………………………………………….

“Sarah what is that “

“It’s an alien ship mom , they attacked me with guns and missiles and all these tiny aliens came out and they were running all over the place and I stepped on some of them and then they started running away and I chased them and then they disappeared”  Sarah stopped to take a breath

Her mother looked at her as she shook her head

“Really Sarah, aliens, you kids and your imagination”

 

*a soft tailed bumblebrox is a creature that attaches itself to the underbelly of the planet gleon-9’s apex predator, ravenous rivor.  The creature spends the rest of its life relying on the scraps thrown by the ravenous rivor and in turn the bumblebrox cleans its fur and provides companionship once the female rivor is no longer in heat.

 

Tom and Tom

Love at first sight is oft discussed and little understood phenomenon. It has adorned the pages of great novels and trite garbage, cinematic masterpieces to pieces of shit, whether you are a true artists or a true imbecile, when it comes to this subject all have had their say.

None have so far tried to discuss hate at first sight, perhaps because not many teenage girls or middle aged housewives would part with their hard earned dollars for a story of how two people decide to hate each other with a burning passion for the rest of their lives.

When tom laid eyes on tom, they both felt a deep seated hatred they did not know they were capable of before that moment. It was an instant of instant dislike that was as swift as it was absolute. Tom squinted at the 5 year old tom cat called tom.

“My two toms together at last, he likes you tom”

Tom the cat was no fool, he purred loudly at tom the human. Helen must never know how he felt, luckily tom was a cat and his species had perfected the art of hiding their emotions over millenniums with aloofness and detachment. Tom the man however was not as well versed in the subtle art of war and he could barely disguise his disgust for the tabby monstrosity that purred before him

The first salvo was fired by tom the cat as he peed all over bed in the exact spot that tom the human was supposed to be sleeping on. Tom had to spend the rest of the night on the couch as tom the cat stared at him with devilish glee

Tom struck back by banishing the cat from the bedroom as he felt he couldn’t perform with two extra pairs of eyes staring at him and Helen reluctantly agreed to kick little Tom out of the room Big Tom was there, that is what she called them

From that point on things only became worse from defecating on the floor to the disappearance of the scratch post to getting his face badly scratched

Big tom had to do something and he realized from his struggles that tom the cat was not the kind to back down but he realized there was only one way out of this barring their mutual demise

Tom the cat sensed a new presence in the house, a scent that inspired hatred and fear. He crossed the room skulking in the corners for protection. As he emerged from behind the door he saw his beloved Helen sitting on the couch with a corgi that had stolen his lap. Tom hissed unrepentant as Helen tried her best to calm him down. In all the commotion big Tom sat there with a big smile on his face for a job well done

 

True Story

So here it is and this is absolutely true…

This day started like any other. The accursed alarm clock struck 7 and I struck it 8 times to turn it off. I untangled myself from the bed sheets and my lovely girlfriend and groggily stepped out of the bed as I made my way towards the bathroom; there I sat down on the toilet and ……

“What, I don’t need that detail, next thing you’re going to tell me the colour and consistency of your bowel movements.”

Well sticky and clay coloured but that’s beside the point.

“Tell me what happened after.”

Well, I was on my way to work, so you know standing on the bus stop next to the guy who smells like wet dog and after shave, you know the one…”

“I don’t recall.”

Anyway, suddenly I see this guy come running past us and he grabs this woman’s purse and he starts running into the alley next to us. So the woman, she starts screaming and Mr. Wet Dog doesn’t do anything, madam picks her teeth just standing there and obviously Turkey-neck wasn’t gonna do anything so I decided to run after the guy.

So there I am running after this thief, I’m chasing him around these alleys, running past trash-cans and hobos and all that, till we come to a dead end. At this point I’m feeling pretty proud of myself until the guy pulls out a gun and I’m thinking that’s it, because this guy has this crazy look in his eye. I put my hands up and try to calm him down telling him I can step aside and he can leave but he seems pretty pissed off at this point and all of sudden I hear this bang.

I opened my eyes and there was this hobo. He was standing in front of me and the mugger was just lying on the ground.

So this hobo who looks like a rattier version of Gandalf the grey just comes up to me. He takes my head in his hands and stares right into my eyes; he was close enough for me to smell the tobacco smoke on his matted beard and see every wrinkle under his baggy eyes.

“I saw you there”, he said, “I was watching. When others stood by , you put your life in jeopardy. For your bravery I will grant you something, I will grant you the kiss of life.” said the hobo.

I honestly thought I was going to get raped by a hobo at that moment. However, he stepped back and started walking towards a cardboard box.

I asked him about what he meant by that,

“Your lips can now heal any ailment.” he said as he sank back into his cardboard box.

So this hobo tells me that my kisses have the power to heal, like I’m some sort of a lip-locking Jesus. Obviously the guy was crazy. Well I backed out of the alley and rather shaken took the bus to the office.

When I got there I met Mr Bubbles in the hallway, you know Mr Bubbles right.

“Your office cat.”

Yes, the office cat, well he had a slight limp for a few days and I picked him up and kissed him like I always do. Now would you believe it, the moment I put him down he sped off like a bullet. I thought, maybe I was wrong, maybe he had gotten better but I distinctly saw him limp towards me

“Really.”

From that moment on, I felt I had a duty, I was granted a power to help mankind and I decided to seek out people, first of all in my office whom I could help…

“So is that why I found you in our bedroom kissing our next-door neighbour “

Obviously, darling, what else could it be, why would I make up such a story if it wasn’t true?

A Distant Wednesday

It is surprising that so many facts about this moment escape me. I don’t remember the month, all I recall is the early morning chill. I do not remember the year, all I remember is that it was a Wednesday and I had learnt to ride a bicycle

It was more than just a new bicycle. It was a bicycle brought by my brother from a far off land and assembled for his little brother. It had a certain mystique, which a bicycle has failed to capture since that time. Like the mythical Narsil, being forged from its metallic shards for Aragon. I felt a sense of duty when it came to this bicycle. For all the hard work that had gone into it, I had but the small task of learning to ride the damn thing

Our old house had an expansive veranda, which our family very innovatively called the “Big veranda”. It was a wide open space laid with jagged bricks, low hanging metallic clotheslines and a particularly large traditional oven or tandoor in one corner. It was an unforgiving landscape for any child, wishing to ride a bicycle, as every mistake was punished and each misstep left a mark.

I cannot recall the exact time and day that I started my lessons, I do remember my father being there. I remember him holding my seat, as I tried time and time again to balance myself. The process was unforgiving, I was left bruised and bloody at the end of every day. My sister was also learning at the same time and there was a sense of competition that drove me to learn before her. Of course that didn’t happen

It had been almost a week, and my sister had just started to ride the bicycle the previous day.  Knowing this I went to bed with a sense of panic. I knew I was getting close but now that my sister had done it I no longer had any excuses.

On the chilly Wednesday morning, I could recall the previous day. I had come so close to riding the bicycle for the first time. I remember getting ready to leave for school, all dressed in my crisp white shirt and khaki pants. I remember the typical sense of mild nausea I associated with school, a sense of nervousness and excitement in the pit of my stomach.

When my father asked me to give one more try on the bike, before I went to school, the feeling of nausea intensified. The early morning was fairly cold but I felt even colder, as there was little time before I had to leave for school so I knew that I was on the clock. At first I told him we could do it later but he insisted. I climbed back on the bicycle, nervously fingering the wound on my elbow that had since scabbed over. I pushed the pedal with my father holding the seat.

I had managed to ride the bike with the help of my father the previous day, but the moment he had let go I had fallen over. Everything felt the same as before except I was in my school uniform, and the early morning wind was cutting my skin. But I kept pushing forward as I was well balanced by my father’s sturdy hand on the seat

I looked back and suddenly I felt both elated and afraid. My father was standing on the other end of the veranda. I had been riding the bicycle by myself for the last 5 seconds. I felt my confidence shake, but my father motioned me to carry on. “Keep going”, he yelled. I pushed the pedal; I felt the metallic serrations push back into the sole of my shoes, as I rode my bicycle on the jagged bricks. As the tires rolled over the uneven floor, I felt the vibrations in my sweaty palms. I drove around the veranda twice, before I realized I still hadn’t learned to stop on my own. I came to a halt with all the grace of a new born calf, learning to walk. Once on solid ground, I could feel the adrenaline rushing in my veins. I stepped over the bike and walked towards my father. It felt like I had walked out of his shadow; I no longer depended on him, at least for now. We both stood as tall as each other, even though he towered over my waifish frame. For a moment we were equals, two men standing shoulder to shoulder, in the crisp morning air of a distant Wednesday

Probing questions

All the machines aboard the UFO hummed along merrily.

“So,” said Zorf, “Is that our mission objective? “

“Yes,” replied Supreme Superior officer Xibox.

Zorf shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He had done this ever since he was a hatchling, every time he felt uncomfortable or had a questions bobbing. He turned his large oval head away from the monitor.

“Sir, I don’t understand, how long have we been doing these missions?”

Xibox’s face became pale at hearing this question. Well, paler than usual. It was already the ashen in color, with large saucer-like eyes and two nostril cavities that flared when he was angry.

“I was doing them when I was a superior officer, so around 5 years now.” said Xibox.

“But, sir…” Zorf paused. It was never a good idea to ask too many questions of a superior officer

Xibox could see Zorf twiddling his long and thin fingers.

“Go on.”

“Well sir, considering our technology, um, I would think, sir, that we would have figured out that particular part of the anatomy.”

Zorf could see the nostrils flaring once again.

“I’m sorry sir, I shouldn’t have asked.”

Instead of saying anything, Xibox suddenly stretched out his hand in front of Zorf’s face.

“Notice anything?”

“Well, I see 4 fingers, sir.”

“Anything else?”

“Well, nothing else.”

“Exactly, do you notice a mating band on my finger?”

“No,sir.”

“Well, did you know I was the first Centaurian to investigate the human anal cavity? I literally wrote the book on it.”

Zorf pointed to a hard-bound cover book titled, The Myriad Secrets of the Human Fecal Tract by Supreme Superior Xibox written in twisty golden letters.

“Well, in my excitement to note down all the findings, I paid little attention to the wedding band and during one of my probes, I misplaced it somewhere inside one of those creatures.”

Xibox stared at his hands and then back to Zorf, who immediately averted his gaze

“Well, my partner didn’t think too highly of it and she refuses to come back until I have retrieved the item. I would have found it sooner if they all didn’t look exactly the same. Any more questions?”

Zorf pursed his lips and shook his head as their ship hurtled towards a blue and green planet.