Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

So Inkling and Greyghost managed to mop up Alabaster and the other guy. The other guy turned out to be Qualm, another one of Underhand's big supervillains. Underhand is definitely hurting for personnel. After that was all over, I went back to the office and finished up a few things.

And I thought about Omicron. Man, back when I had super-powers, I couldn't imagine not using them. Could. Not. Imagine. I had them, and I was damn well going to use them. And he's gone without for how many years now? That's some willpower.

But it also kind of makes sense. I've been beating myself up and having nightmares - not so many now that I have to share head space with Marcy - about pummeling Icecap. Imagine how much worse it would be to have disintegrated a guy.

Anyway, that wasn't the only interesting thing to happen that night. On the way home, I stopped at a convenience store for a bag of chips and a pop. (Not the store I tried to rip off when I was out of my mind with super-powers. I haven't had the nerve to show my face in there since then.)

I'm there at the chip rack, trying to decide between Psycho Nacho Cheese and Sociopathic BBQ, and I get a glimpse of the counter. A guy's there holding the place up.

And I thought, oh hell.

I knew that I wasn't armed and he was.

I knew that stores like this just tell the counter guy to hand over the money, don't get hurt, don't be a hero, these things happen.

I knew that holdup guys were not part of my job description. I knew that if I wanted to take a bite out of crime, the best way of doing it is to go to work every day and help Greyghost do his thing.

But, standing there, I couldn't not do something. I couldn't face the idea of going into work the next day and have to say that I stood there watching a holdup and didn't do something to stop it. Couldn't face it.

In my defense, I knew I was being stupid. First, I called the emergency-summon-Greyghost number on my cellphone.

I took one of those big plastic bottles of Sprite and hucked it at the edge of the counter next to the stickup guy. It hit the edge, side-on, and the thing started fizzing and spraying everywhere like crazy. The clerk ducked out of the way. The guy with the gun swore and started rubbing his eyes.

I figured I'd just run up and yoick the gun out of the guy's hand, problem solved. But as I was running up, he recovered, saw me, and fired.

I thought to myself, I've seen this before. This has happened to me before. Then I realized it was just deja vu again. Which was totally annoying. Imagine: you're about to die. You see your life passing before your eyes. Then you realize that it's not really your life.

It almost seemed like I could see the bullet coming all the way. Like I could feel the life leaving my body early, trying to avoid the rush or something. It took a really long time.

But it was kind of anticlimactic. He missed. And I threw myself to one side, into the chip stand, and cut my hilarious head open. Then I kind of lost track of things for a moment.

After I came to, there were all kinds of things with cops and paramedics and stuff. I wasn't that badly hurt, but it was a while before I could get them to admit it. Nobody seemed impressed by my incredible act of heroism. Probably because the guy got away with the money anyway.

Greyghost certainly wasn't impressed. "You didn't have to do that," he said. "It's not what you're good at. It's not why you're valuable."

"I know," I said. "I had to, though."

"I understand," he said, and melted into the darkness. "But you have to do the things you can do, and not the things you can't do. Go get some sleep."

"Didn't you already say that?" I said, but I don't think he heard me.

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