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Friday, July 30, 2021

F³ Playing with Lightning

             “So how do we fix it?” I asked, scuffing my stockinged feet on the restaurant carpet.

            “Do we look like doctors?” Kate said.

            “I know for a fact that you’ve been a nurse, a rather nau—” Nat began.

            “Not the point and not the time,” Kate said. She wasn’t scandalized, just irked at the change in topic.

            I brought fingers near to the window sill. Instead of a tiny arc of static electricity, I got a pop, an actual explosion, about the size of a Pop Rock.

            “Would you stop that?” Kate asked, still irritated.

            “Well, until someone comes up with a plan, there’s nothing else to do.” I said.

            I shuffled my feet again, and popped the window sill.

            I wasn’t just playing. I mean, of course I was playing. I had the power to make explosions. What guy wasn’t going to play with that? But I was also trying to figure it out. The problem was control. Other experiments had the charge exploding once it reached a certain level or from holding onto the charge for a certain time. Now I was watching carefully, stretching my senses along the miniscule charge to understand exactly what was going on.

            “How do you put up with him?” Kate asked.

            “He’s not as childish as Jack Dailey,” Nat said.


            “Would Jack know anything about this?” I asked.

            I squinted at the space between my finger and the sill, still too far apart to discharge. I felt the charge in that gap. In order for lightning to fire, it had to travel a channel of ions, almost always to a positive source, usually the ground.

            “He’s never heard anything like it, but he’s coming out to have a look for himself.” Nat said.

            “Oh, fuck me raw,” Kate swore. “Maybe I should go back to my territory.”

            “Stick around, Kate. Not like any of us know what this is. We need all eyes on it.” Nat said.

            “I’m going to hit him.”

            “If he does what?”

            The channel felt clear. I brought my finger closer, and then the tiny static charge left. An instant before the pop, I felt something wrong, not with the channel, but with the lightning itself.


            “Not if he does anything.” Kate said. “I’m just going to hit him. Like this.”

            I felt a hand smack me upside the head.

            “Ow,” Kate and I said.

Friday, July 9, 2021

F³ A Bug

             “What-what the-the fuck-fuck was-was that-that?” Someone yelled. My hearing was doubled again, unfortunately, and my vision swam with stars at warp speed, but going every direction. My stomach did a barrel roll, a forward somersault, a back flip, then landed on its back and gave up moving. Heat came next, like sitting too close to a bonfire, and my marshmallows definitely felt toasty.

            The doubling subsided more quickly, this time, and the stars receded from my vision. I propped myself onto my elbows to see Kate helping Nat to her feet.

            “So what happened?”

            “You blew up,” Kate said.

            I looked myself over, and, not seeing missing limbs or gory body parts strewn about, disagreed.

            “I’m still here.”

            “Yeah, but as soon as my lightning touched you, it exploded, like ball lightning,” Nat said, dusting her jeans with her hands. “Air came out of you, too, blowing us back. What the hell is wrong with you?”

            “How would I know? I’m still kind of the new guy. Don’t you have wise guys for this? Where the hell is Gandalf or some other wise guy?”

            “We can put something on the forums, but as far as I know, nothing like this has ever happened, before.”

            “What, so I can’t use any lightning, anymore? That’s a giant fricking bug in the system. That’s like three-quarters of what I do. What fun is life if you can’t zap things?”

            “Blow me,” Nat said.

            “What she said,” Kate added.

Friday, July 2, 2021

F³ Totally Sort of My Fault

             “The hell it’s not your fault,” Kate said.

            “I believe him,” Nat said.

            “That’s cuz you two are fucking.”

            “I am able to disagree with people I’m fucking.”

            “Look at the damage. This was a storm rider. Ursula didn’t do this.”

            “Ursula?” I asked.

            Little Mermaid baddy,” Nat said. “You’re right, Kate, but I don’t think it’s his fault it happened. He’s a clueless idiot.”

            This was the part where I was supposed to object, but in the world of storm riders, it was kind of true, even though I had been one for a few years, now. Seemed there was always something new to learn.

            I shrugged and nodded. “Listen to the lady, she knows what she’s talking about.”

            Kate glared at me, but after a few moments, softened. “Okay, so what the fuck happened?”

            “Reilly, you have any lightning left?”

            I shook my head.

            “Take some of mine.” She held out her hand, palm out.

            I threw up the Vulcan salute, holding my hand close.

            “Okay, I can see why you fuck him,” Kate said.

            “Live loooooong,” I said.

            “You can have him, if you want.”

            “Here I am being traded like a piece of meat, to be used for sex. I’m so happy,” I grinned.

            I reached out with other senses, creating a positive charge in my hand to receive the lightning from Nat. Blue white electricity arced from her hand to mine, and then I felt something, a wrenching, of something wrong, and then the world exploded.

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