Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Friday, July 15, 2005

We had left the heroes and villains behind when the girl said, "You don't know where to go. Let me drive." I was about to say something, when my hands and feet started moving on their own. She was controlling my mind. Thunderhead wasn't paying attention; he was riding backwards, looking out the window and covering us.

Surefire was up in the air again. He launched a jet of fire at us. We swerved and almost ran over a woman with a grocery cart, who screamed. We swerved again, and I could feel the girl split her mind control--one half to keep me driving right, and one half to make the woman dive out of the way. Surefire seared at us again, and the girl said, "Shit!"

My foot slammed down on the brakes, and there was a wash of memories into my mind--my name was Marcy, I was a single mother, I worked checkout in a department store, I read the dictionary for pleasure--and then it was gone, leaving only a sense of deja vu. Thunderhead reached out the window and rumbled the air at Surefire, who tumbled out of the sky and lodged in a tree.

She parked us under a billboard behind an abandoned car wash, and released me. I moved my arms experimentally. "That was weird," I said. "What happened?"

"I lost control," she said. "I accidentally copied a bit of that lady's mind into yours. It shouldn't get in your way much, though. You'll probably only know it's there when you dream."

"What?! You put someone else's mind in my brain?"

"I couldn't help it! And I told you, you won't notice! Anyway, it'll go away in a few years or so."

"A few years! And why do I keep having deja vu?"

"Oh, yeah. That," she said. "Yeah, you'll have deja vu for a few years too."

"Goddamn it! Can't you fix it? Jesus Christ. My mind is broken. I can't believe it," I said. "Oh, my God."

"No, I can't fix it. You'll get used to it. Look, you guys are the ones who are screwing up my life," she said to us. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you right now."

"We're on your side," I said. "If you're really a hot-shit mind reader you know that."

"He's not," she said, indicating Thunderhead.

"No," Thunderhead said, "I'm not. Superpowers are ruining the world. There are more and more all the time, and it's getting worse and worse. There's no point even in fighting crime any more. It's a drop in the bucket. The only thing that will help now is to turn them all off, to get rid of all superpowers at once. I don't give a shit about you. But you're the key to everybody's superpowers, and one way or another, I'm gonna turn you."

She just shook her head. "You've got me wrong," she said, and looked deep into his eyes. They didn't talk; she just stared at him. Eventually, his expression changed.

Thunderhead's face sagged, and he took off his hat. He looked down, rubbed his nose, and scrunched up his eyes. "Then--then what..." After a long pause, he raised his head again. "Sorry for wasting your time," he said to her. "Dennis, let's go. We've got one more thing we can try."

"What's your name?" I said.

"Tina Snavich," she said.

"Hi. Look, we're gonna go, but you're not going to get rid of the rest of them that easily. Do you know what you're going to do?"

She shook her head. Something was familiar about the way she shook her head.

"I'm not much on superheroes," I said, "but it's a hell of a lot better being a superhero than a supervillain. So if you have to choose."

"I just want to be left alone. You know, be normal," Tina said.

Thunderhead spoke up. "You got too much power for that," he said. "It won't go away, and they'll never leave you alone. If you don't use it right, you'll get used."

"Those guys," she said. "The Defense Posse. They're being used, right? That's what you're thinking."

I nodded. "I think Fountain's trying to build some kind of super-powered army or something. Which is actually kind of a weird sort of thing for him to do. But the rest of them are okay. Well, really they're kind of dickheads. But they are superheroes, and you could probably help them with Fountain."

"I don't want to," she said, and got out of the car. But she didn't walk away.

"Honey," Thunderhead said, "The only things worth doing with power are the things you don't want to do."

Is that true?

Anyway, she didn't answer. She just stood there until Fountain showed up. He had a black eye from Thunderhead's shockwave. Tina approached him and said, "Is there any room for me on your Defense Posse?"

Caught off guard, he said, "Uh. Yes, of course. Welcome aboard." And took another swig of his diet cream soda.

"You can call me T," she said, and waved goodbye at us.

I said, "Watch out for yourself," and we pulled out. Everything seemed strangely familiar again.

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