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  1. This is an experiment to get my ass writing again. Whether I will ever actually use this in a published work or not remains to be seen, but I need to get myself motivated and I figure trying a bit of writing here might help. This will be the roughest of Rough Drafts. I Hope folks enjoy. I'll try to write at least a paragraph each day. Let me tell you something about superhero costumes; they work best in certain situations. Most of us, superheroes that is, are in good physical shape. Even if your powers aren't physical in nature, you end up dodging, chasing (or fleeing), punching now and then, and generally working up a sweat just to get by. Some of us are blessed with super metabolisms and a natural physique we don't even have to work at, sure, but for most it's a matter of survival to get into shape. If you're wheezing within five minutes of a fight- you may die. And we've all heard stories of well intentioned wanna-bes who tried to pull someone from a burning building or other danger, only to find they didn't have the upper arm strength. We are not, contrary to what you might see in comic books, all runway models, ballet dancers, or power lifters in build, but we are fit. And from the point of vanity? Thank goodness, or we might look even more ridiculous than we already do. Costumes are best in motion, or shadow. In motion, we are blurs of color coming to rescue you. We are brightly lit beacons of hope to stand against dark clad denizens of dastardly deeds yadda yadda. Motion can demonstrate power: it forces the observer's eye to grade by speed and grace rather than registering 'is that a grown man in tights'? Shadows keep you from looking garish, they dim the flaws in the stitching if you have any. There's an element of mystery. There's a reason candles are aids in romance; low lighting is a cheap beauty enhancement for the homeliest guy or gal. Now, my outfit? I think it's pretty good. Essentially it's a glorified sleeveless wetsuit of green so dark it's nearly black with regular green highlights. Yes, I know I just made a comment about bright colors earlier, but dark colors are the refuge of the body conscious and that is not likely to change. Besides, the darker green background makes those lighter highlights really pop. Of course, there are added touches beyond that. Gloves and foot wear that adapt when I'm in water, a mask that is a mix of the same material as the wetsuit melded with some goggles, slightly tinted. I keep my hair short, many swimmers do. And, of course, there's the Eel on my chest. It probably looks like a high school mascot logo to some, but it's definitely an Eel, and as Eel is my superhero handle, that's probably a good thing. Why am I going on about my costume and costumes in general? Because I'm not in motion. I'm standing at a bus station feeling like a weirdo. And that's despite having sat next to some bearded guy in a fedora and a Hawaiian shirt who kept singing Saturday morning jingles the whole trip and then every five minutes muttering "No, you be quiet." But no, it's me the crowds are looking at now that I've gotten off the bus and am waiting for my ride from my soon to be new team. One woman is pulling her little boy away from me slowly and shooing him behind her. Great. Two teen guys are snickering and making comments about what they believe to be my sexual orientation. Well, that's open minded. I thought things in the big city would be a bit more tolerant. Then again, the teenage years are that sweet period of time where, if there is a selfish gene, it's getting amped up to the proverbial eleven. Who wasn't a bit of a jerk at some time in their teen years? "I'm a superhero," I explain to them, "My name's Eel. I'm be joining the New Samaritans. Happy to be here in Costa Sagrado" The two teenagers exchanged looks, then snickered, "What ever, butt muncher," One, wearing a t-shirt with a rude gestured stuck his jaw out as if waiting for me to try something about it. I sighed and tried to ignore him, while the teen and his friend chalked it up to be a win in the 'how jerkass can we be without someone putting us in line' test that is their phase in life. Really, what am I going to do? Chuck them into into the sun? First, no can do. Second, that would be murder. Third, people already think superheroes handle every problem with violence and I'm not about to live down to their expectations. Don't get me wrong, I am super strong. I could certainly grab both, leap to the top of the second story building of the bus station and leave them there to contemplate some manners - all in one smooth motion. Hell, I can punch through steel. But, like the man said, with great power comes ...insert copyright infringement risk. Superheroes need to be better than that. We need to understanding, tolerant, and polite. We should show that humility is not weakness and courtesy is not lost. We need.... "You the Fish Guy?" A voice piped up, "Sure as hell hope you're the Fish Guy. Because I'm late to pick him up," The voice was male, with an impatient tone. I searched the crowd searching for the source. It took me a moment, mostly because I wasn't looking down. About four feet away was a six inch tall man with a proportionally sized bow and quiver filled with tiny arrows. Of course, he had a costume, one of blue peasant shirt and green breaches but honestly, the detail I noticed was that he was six inches tall. "I..." I blathered for a moment, I admit it, I'm not the most experienced superhero. Not counting a rather humiliating beat down from a villain team, I've fought just one supervillain, and really ruined a drug cartel's day, mostly I helped with rescue and recovery, "Yeah, that's me. You're with the New Samaritans?" "Yep," He noticed my mouth was still open, "Careful, Fish Guy, someone's gonna put a hook in that. What's the matter? Never seen a costumed archer in this business? A third of the super teams in America have one, the other two thirds suck. My handle's Pinprick. Some folks only use half of that," he smirked. "Well, yes I've seen... just never heard..." This was getting out of hand, "Sorry for staring. Oh, it's not Fish Guy, it's Eel." "Whatever you think will fit on a cereal box, sport," The diminutive archer said, "Follow me, the vehicle is waiting to fly us to the base." He noticed the two teenagers. If they had been snickering at me, they were outright laughing at him. Jokes about him being just 'right sized' as a sex toy were crudely made. My brows knit. I guess I'm worried weird. Give me crap, and I guess I'll take it. Give someone else crap? And I get a bit guarded. "Pardon me, please, you're blocking my way," I said politely to them. "Your way to your boyfriend? " One snickered, "Does he fit up your..." before the comment could finish, Pinprick's tiny hands drew an arrow and fired in a motion so fast I almost didn't see it. The needle sized arrow stuck into the obnoxious teenager's shoulder. Right in front of my eyes, the teenager dwindled, collapsing shorter and shorter until he actually a bit smaller than Pinprick himself, and terrified looking. Not that his friend wasn't freaked out too, "Victor!" Pinprick drew another arrow and looked at the still unshrunken one, "Now, are you going to move or do I need to make is so Fish Guy can step over you too?" "Jesus!" The still normal sized teenager retorted, moving to the side as if expecting a cobra bite. Victor, his now five and a half inch tall friend was running in circles in a panic. I was appalled, "You can't do that to people." "Just did, come on, it won't last forever," Pinprick said and began to walk away from the bus station, presumably towards whatever team vehicle awaited, "He'll be fine. I just cut him down to size- literally. If you want to get technical about it, they were making a public disturbance, nuisance, and loitering. Pick One. One the less legal mumbo jumbo side of things, nobody but me gives my team mates hell. C'mon Fish Guy, you're part of the asylum now." I followed, calling back to the diminished Victor and his friend who had recovered enough to lift his friend up like an action figure, "He says it's temporary." but I kept going after, "I can take care of myself." "If that was the case you wouldn't be doing the strength in numbers thing, relax, Fish Guy. Like I said, I got the timer set on ten," Pinprick shook his head, "Frankly, ocean front city or not, I'm not sure we needed a Fish Guy, but you have a great record in rescue , got the super strength bullet proof thing going, and we're short a muscle man. I can't tell you how much your connections with Atlantis are going to help us out if we do get some water guys invading." "Ah," I paused, "I'm not from Atlantis." "Yeah yeah, sure, you're from one of the Carolinas.." He shrugged as if they were interchangeable , "But I mean heritage. Mother or Father's side?" "Neither side," I said, "I've got some Scott-Irish I can trace, my grandmother said her grand mother was Cherokee, but other than that I'm just your standard white guy," I tilted my head, "You're pulling my leg about Atlantis, right? It's not like that 's real?" We had arrived at a hovercar. I knew it was a hover car because -look ma, no wheels. Any other time I'd have been more suitably amazed. But I was still hoping that I was getting a new guy hazing here. "You don't know about Atlantis?" Pinprick winced, "Tell me you can at least talk to fish?" "Yeah," I said nodding, "I can talk to fish... " "Great, at least you can calm their battle beasts down if they... " He started to say "Like you can talk to your hamburger," I finished, "Does your hamburger talk back? Because my fillet never did." Pinprick put his face in his palms, "But your resume said you were an aquatic hero." "Yeah, I can breath underwater, go down to depths that would crush most people, see in lower light easily, a few other tricks.. but I don't talk to fish. That's... weird." The door opened on the passenger side and Pinprick shook his head again, "Just.. just get in the car, Fish Guy." "It's Eel," I said irritated, and also a bit worried that I was about to have my membership revoked pretty darn quick, "I'm not Fish Guy." "Yeah, no kidding!" He said getting into the driver's seat, "Doesn't know about Atlantis or any of the other under sea kingdoms, doesn't talk to Fish... hell, you don't even carry a trident," Disgusted, Pinprick spoke to the car, "Take us home, Mabel." A husky female voice emanated from the car, "Right away, Tiger... " And the sultry voiced vehicle shot up into the sky vertically like an elevator on steroids. About fifty feet up, I finally found the focus to ask, "Wait, other undersea kingdoms?" (To be continued?)
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