So earlier tonight I was in a bathroom stall in my dorm and a few drunkish guys came in. They were being pretty loud but relatively copacetic so I was gonna let it slide.
Then one of the dudes busts out of a stall and says “yo what the fuck is this bullshit on the doors”
He was referring of course to the anti-sexual harassment posters on all the stall doors that tell everyone how to notice the signs and report and all sorts of quality, much-needed info.
I went to stand up and yell at him but stopped cold when one of the other dudes says, completely seriously:
But he said it in a sort of “shut up bro you don’t know what you’re talking about” way.
First guy; “that’s bullshit”
Second guy: “no it isn’t, man”
Third guy: *dead seriously* “it happens, people need to be informed.”
First guy: “whatever”
Third guy: “what if I just grabbed your dick right now, what would you say, huh?”
First guy: “I’d call you a faggot.”
Now at this point I stood up and looked over the stall and said “you can’t fucking say that word. People die every day because of it.”
Third guy: *pleasantly surprised* “I was just about to say that.”
Second guy: “yeah, man, we had this conversation earlier.”
Third guy: *goes to fist bump me but hesitates* “wait have you wiped already?”
Me: “I’ve been in here like ten seconds, you’re good.”
Third guy: “aight man *bump* have a good night.”
It made me so fucking proud to go to my college knowing that drunk frat boys are here educating their stupid friends about consent and decency. Keep shining, Wooster.
And stay excellent, unnamed hammered guys.
The radio is buzzing about the Superhuman Registration Act again, politician after politician droning on about about safety and security and old-fashioned American values, and instead of turning it off like normal person I instead reach out and stretch time so that the voices slur into an incomprehensible drawl. I pace back and forth across the room while Hank watches me, or tries to–his eyes keep flicking back and forth uncertainly as he catches a glimpse and then loses me again. I must look like nothing more than a blur to him. He’s been picking at the band-aid on his arm, and now I can see his lips starting to move, and I squash time back down again to its normal length so I can hear him properly.
“Lily,” he says, “I have to tell you something,”
“I know,” I say, because I saw the news this morning on my way into work at the bank, a headline on the front page of a newspaper blowing across the street, that I stopped to read while it hung in the air and all the cars inched forward in slow motion. The dockyard isn’t the first place to adopt a policy against superpowered workers, but it’ll probably suffer more than most of the others, as Hank’s ability to toss cargo containers around with his bare hands has been tremendously useful. And yet they’ve gone and done it anyway.
I hear the voice on the radio, assuring everyone that America is and always will be the greatest country on Earth, and I feel afraid.
“You’ll find something else,” I say even though I’m not sure how that will even be possible, once the Act goes through and we have to start carrying ID cards and even more businesses will feel confident enough to put up signs reading ‘No Supers, Please.’ “That woman we met in Quincy, the telepath, she said she had some contacts with people still willing to hire supers. And I can pick up more hours at the gas station in the meantime, and I dunno, maybe we can see about finding an apartment further from the city–”
“It’s not that that,” says Hank. He runs a distracted hand through his hair. “I mean, that’s part of it, obviously, but…” He pauses. The radio informs the kitchen that an innovative new program is being announced to make sure the so-called “super-hero” situation stays firmly under control. The announcer is saying something about genetic engineering and answering directly to the president. I’m not really paying attention.
“I feel different,” Hank says at last. “Like…like my powers are getting stronger. I can move the containers at work without even trying, now. I could probably juggle train cars. I don’t know what I couldn’t lift, if I had to.” He raises his head, looking at me from where he’s sitting on the ratty old couch we were so pleased to find for free on a street corner. I suddenly don’t want to meet his eyes.
“I know you’re faster than you used to be,” Hank says. “It used to take you a lot longer to run in to work.” He smiles at me. “And I used to almost be able to track you, when you did your hummingbird thing, but now…Now it’s like you’re just heat-haze in the room. So, I thought maybe that’s just how it is for us–like our powers get better with practice, or something. But then–” He hesitates. “I made some calls. To some of the other supers we’ve met since moving here, and to the clinic up in Concord. And it’s not just us. I think…I think there are side effects, Lil. To being super. They’re different for everyone, depending on what power you have, but the general idea is always the same. I don’t know if you’ve noticed anything like that–”
“Yeah,” I say, “I have.” I go over the to couch and sit down next to him, lean my head on his shoulder, scrunch up close against his chest. His puts his arm around me, runs his fingers though my hair. “I didn’t want to worry you–I thought maybe I was just imagining it–but I’ve felt different for a while. Like whenever I’m not using my powers–whenever I’m just letting time pass normally–it’s like I’m no even there. Like I’m…insubstantial, I guess. I dunno. I thought it would pass if I left it alone.”
Hank nods, hugs me closer. It’s raining outside, and I can hear the drops plinking gently against the apartment windows.
“For me it’s like I’ve gotten slow,” says Hank. “Like my bones, my skin, everything, it’s all gotten heavier. When I move, it’s like…like a giant moving in a cartoon, you know? And…and there’s this.” He gestures to the band-aid on his arm. “I didn’t really cut it at work. I’m not sure I can get cuts and bruises anymore. But here, I’ll show you…”
He takes his other arm from around my shoulders, and peels the band-aid off.
There’s a small patch of skin where the bandage was covering. It’s grey, and oddly textured, maybe half an inch wide. I reach out my hand, look at Hank to see if it’s alright, and touch the discolored flesh. It’s hard, and cold. It doesn’t feel like skin at all.
“I think I’m turning to stone,” says Hank, and although his voice is calm and steady, I can feel him trembling next to me. “I think that’s that price, you know? At the clinic they said maybe I could slow it down if I stopped using my powers, but obviously it’s all theoretical with us. So they don’t know what’s gonna happen.”
“We’ll figure it out,” I say. I turn my body so I can kiss him, press my face against his. “It’ll be okay. We’ll–”
But Hank is staring at me, looking shocked. “Lil,” he says, his voice alarmed, “I can see–I can see right through–”
And as I reach out for his hand, my own hand passes straight through him. Like I’m already a ghost. Like I’m not even there.
Whether or not you like Tyrell, I honestly think he has the potential to be one of the heroes of the story. I think the writers are leading him on that path to be a really influential character of the story. Whether or not he becomes an antihero doesn’t matter to me i just want Tyrell to have a redemption arc.
This will be assessed for adherence to the prompt, clarity, and delight on my part. 15 pts, no curve, due whenever.
Here are some parameters that will help you complete your assignment:
Things I love:
sincerity, #looks, romance, magic, cannibalism, playfulness, zippy dialogue, high stakes, murderers, girls who run the world, villain protagonists, villain/hero stories
ex: Buffy, Angel, Hannibal, Gilmore Girls, Justified, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jane the Virgin, Parks & Rec, Community, B99, Star Trek, Luther, The Hour, Veronica Mars, Dark Angel
Things I loathe:
irony, good-plot-bad-dialogue, drug-dealers, mafia plots, things you watch because they’re “bad” and the sense of ridiculousness makes you happy, reality shows of all stripes, paying cash money for shows not available on amazon prime, netflix, or hulu
ex: 30 Rock, The Great British Bake-Off, Scream Queens, South Park, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman–(ONE DAY), Breaking Bad Things People Have Told Me To Watch That I Probably Will Eventually Watch But The Stars Are Not In Position For This TV Show:
Supergirl, The Get Down, The Musketeers, The X Files, Twin Peaks
Are there any stories of heroes tackling "real issues" that are actually good? The only one I can think of is the JLA ultra marines story which ends by deconstructing the concept itself
While in principle I’d say no subject should be solidly off limit to any genre, in practice a very select few. Superman: Peace on Earth, Batman: War on Crime and Stormwatch: Change or Die are all valid extrapolations of the ‘superheroes can’t change the world’ idea - not because it’s impossible, but because short of just straight up taking over the world, human nature and political and socioeconomic realities don’t allow for just punching the system right.
When it comes to superheroes successfully tackling anything in the political arena, there are two options. One is to be both very good and very smart: Gods of Manhattan has its hero confronting a fascistic new vigilante in a story that deals with how society is shaped by fear and hope and politics in a way that doesn’t talk down to the reader. Watchmen doesn’t bullshit around about what it would mean to change the world against its will. The Dark Knight reshapes the whole Batman/Joker relationship around post-9/11 American fears, and it works because it’s done well and it fits the characters involved.
The alternative is going full cartoon with it.
With books like Authority or your Golden Age comics where Superman brought in Hitler and Stalin, you get a pass because it’s not pretending to be anything other than pure wish-fulfillment, no subtleties or commentary beyond “this is bad and it would be nice if super-people could kick its fucking head in” to be seen. The problem is with the likes of Superman: Earth One, where Superman no shit overthrows a dictatorship by passing out AK-47s to the populace, applying cartoon logic and morality to a politically-charged situation while still treating it as a very, very serious matter. Unfortunately that’s where most stories of this sort top out, so most attempts at this kind of thing inevitably end up total misfires.
Have you ever thought about writing a fic in which Voldemort went after the Longbottoms instead of the Potters?
If Voldemort had chosen the pureblood boy, not the halfblood, as his opponent? This Neville would have had graves to visit, instead of a hospital. He’d still have grown up in his grandmother’s clutches, tut-tutted at, dropped out windows absentmindedly, left to bounce on paving stones.
Let’s tell this story: Alice Longbottom, who was the better at hexing, told Frank to take Neville and run.
She died on the braided rug of their sitting room floor. Frank heard her fall from where he stood in front of the cradle. He did not have time to run.
When the Dark Lord climbed the stairs and saw Frank, he laughed at the small man in front of him. Frank had crooked teeth, a mis-sized nose, big fingers and small, watery eyes. Voldemort looked at him the way children would look at Neville, in almost a decade, at stubby fingers around a rememberall, a wrinkled brow and a stammer. “Move aside,” he said, the way a different Voldemort had once offered a way out to Lily Potter. That had been for the sake of another man’s love, and this was for his own contempt. “Just let me have the boy. Did you really think you could–”
When Neville met Voldemort again, in his fourth year, when Luna’s advice, his own gillyweed knowledge, and Ginny’s Bat Bogey Hex lessons had gotten him through the Triwizard Tournament he’d never signed up to enter, there would be a bubbling scar on Voldemort’s sunken left cheek. His father had had time for one curse. Frank’s love had saved his son, marked him, but his hate had been enough, too, to scar Tom Riddle through every rebirth and transformation he would ever have.
Harry Potter would have grown up as James’s oldest son. I think Lily, who missed her sister, and James, who had found three brothers at school and loved them more than life, would have had more children: a little sister who James taught to fly (little Tuney’d be Keeper to Ginny’s Seeker, in a decade, and gossip terribly about Harry), a baby brother Lily fervently talked James out of naming Lupeterius. Harry would have grown up spoiled and loved, magical, with toy broomsticks and playdates with the other Order kids– stumbling Neville, the Bones girl and the rollicking Weasley bunch.
If the Potters were never the main targets, never hiding and frightened, I don’t think Peter would have turned when he did. Not enough gain. Not enough tail-tucking fear. Peter would have limped through to the end of the war, whiskers shivering in his soul even when they were popping champagne on the night Neville Longbottom’s parents died.
They raised delicate glasses that had somehow survived all the first war, laughing, in Godric’s Hollow, to the Boy Who Lived. Augusta Longbottom planned her children’s funeral and wondered if her grandson’s forehead would scar like that. Lily danced in the living room with James, on the garish rug that Sirius had bought them as a joke and that they had kept just to spite him.
But this was a story about Neville now–it would always be a story about Harry, somewhat, because it had never been the scar that made the boy. When Draco Malfoy stole Neville’s rememberall, this Harry would still jump on a broom; when Hermione, weeping in the bathrooms, didn’t know about the troll, Harry would still run to tell her–that instinct was not something even having loving parents (especially these parents) would have kept from him.
But this had always been a story about Neville, too– unscarred Neville, Neville with his pockets full of gum wrappers, this had always been the story of his rise and his steady soul. But this time he was marked from birth, a scar on his forehead and hands that weren’t any better at holding a wand. This time, his grandmother had even more reason to look at him with disappointment when he spent all his childhood looking powerless.
Neville was not the disappeared savior who they whispered about. Halloween was still a celebration of Voldemort’s fall, but Neville was a lucky object, not a small hero, because where there had been a vacuum to fill when it had been Harry Potter, to fill with wonderment and thanks, here Neville toddled down Diagon Alley and held his grandmother’s hand. The whole world knew this boy was probably a squib, with pudgy fingers and a slow stammer, who didn’t learn to read until it was almost time to go to Hogwarts.
When Neville got his Hogwarts letter, the whole wizarding world was very politely surprised. He got told congratulations from strangers in the street, who in different universes would be shaking Harry Potter’s hand and swooning. Neville was far above smart enough to recognize than none of the other children got congratulated for the victory of being asked to attend school.
He asked the Hat for Hufflepuff and it gave him Gryffindor. He hoped they did not expect him to learn how to roar.
This was a Neville scarred. This was a Neville who would still get a rememberall and still forget it in his room two days out of five, who would eat a Weasley treat and turn into a canary, who would take Ginny Weasley to the Yule Ball and not once step on her toes.
This was a Neville who had had long conversations with the garden snakes in his backyard as a child and who had snuck them bits of his breakfast, kept track of which little serpent liked soft boiled eggs and which would dare to try a bit of sausage if he wiggled it properly. When he first got to Hogwarts, lonely, a lion in lamb’s fleece, Neville hid out behind the greenhouses and made friends with the snakes who curled on the warm rocks there.
Bill Murray once took a cab and found out the driver played the saxophone but never got to practice because he worked 14-hour days. So…
BM: “I said, ‘When do you practice?’”
Cabbie: “I drive 14 hours a day.”
BM: “Well, where’s your sax?”
Cabbie: “In the trunk.”
BM: “Pull over and get in the back, I know how to drive a car. ”
“Not only did he play all the way to Sausalito, which is a long way, we stopped and got barbecue. He [wound up] playing in what some would call a sketchy, weird place in Oakland at 2:15 in the morning. I was like, ‘Relax, man, you’ve got the [bleeping] horn! We’re cool!’ And it was great and it made for a beautiful night!”
Kid finds out that when puberty begins for them they get super powers.
Problem is, the super power they have changes from day to day.
Not a 24 hour cycle, more a “when you wake up after sleeping” type deal.
So every time they wake up they have a new power, which they have no idea what it is until they use it and have very little control or mastery over the skill.
Monday, wake up with Hydrokinesis. Accidentally “wet the bed” with water powers. Parent comes in, sees bed is wet, kid is embarrassed.
Next day, Tuesday, wake up with Pheromone Manipulation. Now dorky un-popular kid magically has become the most admired person in school only to lose it on…
Wednesday! Wakes up with giant bird wings (eg - Archangel) and has to wear a large trench-coat to cover them up, making the kid look incredibly suspicious to everyone which makes all the progress of “being cool” they made the day before completely disappear.
There is a potential for repeat powers, which would probably be a blessing or a curse depending on the power.
Once the character reached the end of puberty, they would be allowed to choose one of the powers they had used to be their only ability throughout the rest of their life…or choose to have no powers and go back to living a normal life like they did before it all started.
When their son Mike was 7 years old in 1958, Meyer had him drink from a “Whites Only” water fountain, and from a “Coloreds Only” water fountain at a park in Ponca City. They sat in the air-conditioned “White Waiting Area” at the bus stop, and then the “Colored Waiting Area” that didn’t even have a ceiling fan. Meyer looked at Mike and said: “I want you to always remember what I’ve shown you here today, because that’s the reason you don’t have grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles — because (Nazis) looked at you as being different — looked at (Jews) as being different and inferior human beings.’”