Sunday, March 27, 2011


This week's challenge in the writing contest I'm in was to write about a super hero with a "power" that isn't particularly useful. This was my entry (the judges didn't like it): 

Years of counseling and studying human greatness had taught Loki that being different could be seen as a good thing. But though he could pay lip service to that idea, in the corners of his soul that he never shared he simply felt odd, even diseased. 

His name alone, which his mother, a mythology professor, had demanded he be given- against his father’s fevered objections- had led to months of counseling.  Loki burned in the womb (was an only child because of it) and his mother would not be moved on this- he would be named after the Norse god of Fire.   That his mother had chosen to make it impossible for him to survive something as simple as roll call without hearing giggles was something Loki hadn’t been able to forgive yet, and doubted he ever could. 

Today, as he sat in the plane and waited for take-off, he allowed himself a moment of joy.  Loki longed to feel optimistic that this was going to be his moment, but he had felt that way before, and that feeling’s high had always been followed by a devastating low.  Still, though, this really felt right; the feeling that his odd “gift” may serve humanity, and soon, was building in him and soon would be impossible to contain.

Loki had only recently learned how to control his “oven”, as he called his condition on good days (“hell” the rest of the time), enough to fly; until a month ago his heat would’ve been too intense to sit so closely to so many people for anything more than a few minutes. Last month, after a rather intense round of taunting, his co-workers had locked him in the walk-in freezer, to “cool him off.”  Loki had known, of course, that he wouldn’t cool off, would instead thaw the freezer.  For the first time in his life he had willed himself to cool his oven; so desperate was he to avoid the scene that a thawed freezer would have caused, he cooled down and allowed his teasers the satisfaction of bullying.  In the days since he spent most waking moments learning to harness what he was now allowing himself to believe may soon be considered a gift.

Staying cool still took a lot of mental effort, though, and Loki was not pleased that the man to his left was a chatter.

“You headed to Chicago or Points East, as they say?” he asked almost as he sat down.

“New York,” Loki responded quietly, in a voice he hoped would discourage further questioning.

“Ah, yes. New York, New York.  The City So Nice They Named it Twice!”


“Business or pleasure?”

This caused him to think a bit. He felt himself warming. “Both, I guess.”  I hope.

“Gotcha.  Hey, I just read that David Blaine is doing something out there! God I love that guy! Yeah, he’s in Central Park, frozen inside a block of ice! Ha ha ha ha. Amazing! You gonna go see him while you’re out in the ol’ Big Apple?”

This answer came without thought, “Actually, yes. Seeing him is the very reason for my trip.”

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