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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.

            “True.”

            “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.

            *Ker-pop*

            “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.

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