Thursday, February 01, 2007


"Thanks for coming in this morning, Thomas," said Alex, showing the young man to a seat. "I know you're probably really busy with your building and all."

"It should hold together for one day without me," Thomas said.

"Listen, I've been helping out Miranda with her, you know, finances. With classes and papers, and then moonlighting as a superhero, she doesn't have a lot of time for a job. So I've been giving her a salary." Alex offered, "I could do the same for you."

"Thanks, but I don't think I'll quit my day job just yet," Thomas said uncomfortably. His eyes wandered around the room, an immaculate and ostentatiously furnished study, complete with shelves lined with old-looking books and pretentious trinkets. It even had a large globe that opened to reveal a mini bar. To Alex his study, as with most of his apartment (this one, at least), was just another lavishly fake room in his penthouse that he only used when entertaining guests and impressing shareholders.

"I understand," said Alex, not really understanding at all. "Hey, I want to show you something!" Alex pulled something out from behind a column near the edge of the room. He held it up, grinning with pride. It was a lumpy jumpsuit, teal and dark green. "I had to guess at your size. Try it on."

"Right here?"

"Sure. It's just me." Thomas began to disrobe feeling a little self-conscious. As he stripped, Alex pointed out the features of the superhero's new clothes. "It has a removable (though I wouldn't recommend it) flak armor torso lining and groin guard. You can take a bullet to the crotch and not feel so much as a breeze," Alex was immensely excited. "It also has polysteel gauntlet and shin guards, titanium mesh joint pads, and leather boots and gloves. The whole thing is temperature regulated; there's a small panel with the temp controls on the left forearm, and the battery pack is in the vest between the shoulder blades." Thomas found the whole get-up to fit quite snugly, the armor and padding filling out what would otherwise be a baggy onesie. Alex was smiling like an excited child on his birthday. He handed to more items to Thomas, "Here are the mask and cape."

Not very enthusiastic about the whole costume, Thomas said, "I'll take the mask, but would you be offended if I didn't wear the cape?"

Alex was offended, tried not to look it, and failed. "Well, Miranda and I wear capes, but I guess you don't have to."

"I just don't think I'm a cape kind of guy." Thomas slipped the mask on and lined up the eye holes. "How do I look?" he asked. Because I feel like an idiot, he thought.

"Like a terror to criminals," Alex replied. Thomas pretended to believe him.

"The last part of the uniform, and maybe the most important, is your name. Have you thought of any names for yourself?" Thomas was a bit confused. He asked what the matter was with his given name. "'Thomas' is alright for the guy that maintains an apartment building. But once you put on that suit, you become someone else. Superheros don't have alter egos just to protect their identity or to fit in with the other superheros. They do it to separate themselves from their everyday selves."

Thomas looked confused. "Thomas may be a shy, witty young man who's handy at fixing things, but once he steps into this uniform, he becomes a crime-fighter with impressive psycho-suggestive powers. He can't let all those foibles and quirks of a mere mortal get in the way. He is a superhero.

Clark Kent was an awkward, bumbling news reporter. But Superman was a confident and powerful monolith of justice." Alex let Thomas absorb what he'd said. But Thomas still looked unsure. "Do you get what I'm saying?"

Thomas stared at Alex blankly. "Uh," he sighed, "how about, uh, Mind Bender?"

Alex thought for a moment. "It's a start," he said with reserve.


  1. Thomas reminds me of you. Not because you wrote it either. Something in the personality.


  2. I see that, too, Maggie.

    For reason, reading Alex today put Christian Slater in my head. Never has before, but he kinda fit. Any thoughts?

  3. maggie, Thomas is definitely the character I identify with most.

    pw, after Luciano sent me an illustration of Alex (to appear in an upcoming installment) I noticed that he was a white man. I looked back through every installment up to that point and realized that I'd never mentioned that Alex was black. It didn't really matter; it wasn't relevant to the story, but it made me realize that if I want people to see what I see -- which is sometimes the point of being a writer -- then I'll have to be much more detailed in my storytelling. So, anyway, now I guess Alex is white. But originally I had thought of him as a thirty-something Ving Rhames.

  4. We can compromise and settle on the love child of Ving Rhames and Christian Slater.

  5. Z, stick with your original vision of Alex. I think it makes him more interesting.

  6. I have to admit, the original version seems more interesting. And heck, man. Like I said, I'll paint the character's face differently. No biggie!


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