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Thursday, September 3

Up Close and Impersonal

"Up Close and Impersonal"
Short Fiction - Fantasy
by Rod Drake

I guess if you live in LA sooner or later you’re going to run into a celebrity at the grocery store, fast food restaurant or Starbucks. It’s inevitable, given the big number of stars living there, and, well, they have real lives too, things to do, errands to run, places to go.

So it’s no surprise in that Neon City, the superhero capital of the US, one day you’re probably going to encounter one of the numerous superheroes. Not grocery shopping in cape and cowl, or enjoying a latte while restocking the old utility belt, but still, they’re everywhere in the city all the time, so chances are good.

Mine came today. Taking the elevator up in the old Shuster Building to my agent’s tacky office (yes, I’m a film actress, sort of, more on this later), I waited for the door to close when all of a sudden, Doctor Future casually stepped into the car. Yes, the Doctor Future, emerald green spandex and brown leather costume, billowy red cape, aviator helmet and goggles, the whole deal. The door closed, and it was just the two of us.

Which was bizarre to say the least. I mean, I’m standing next to a man with superhuman powers in a gaudy outfit, and we’re both just staring straight ahead like two normal strangers in an elevator car. I had to say something, right? It’s a private audience with a famous superhero, the man who recently saved Neon City from complete destruction at the hands of the insane UltraMax. All I could come up with was, “Why use an elevator when you can fly?”

Doctor Future turned his head slowly towards me, took me all in (I’m used to that) and then asked, “You look familiar. How do I know you?”

Ah, fame is sometimes sweet. “Well,” I drawled out for full effect, “we haven’t met, but maybe you’ve seen one of movies. I’m an actress.” (Told you I would come back to this.)

He studied me for a moment, concentrating. Then he twisted a green glowing dial on his power belt, stopping the elevator between the 13th and 14th floors. He faced me and said, “Tell me the name of one of your films.”

Well, where to start. I’ve made a lot of them in a short period of time. “Um, The 300 Trojans, Sex with the City, HORN-E, and the whole ‘head’ series; Head Cheerleader, Head Candy Striper, Head Camp Counselor, Head Intern, then there was—“

Doctor Future held up one gloved hand for me to stop. “You’re LeeLee Holland.”

I blushed. He knew me or at least my work.

He leaned back against the wall, relaxed and smiled. “Big fan.”

“Back at you,” I replied.

Well, from one thing lead to another and soon Doctor Future was showing me how he did it superhero style. In addition to the elevator being locked between floors, he used his power belt to put an energy protection field around the car so we wouldn’t be disturbed by any errant super-villain.

After we were both completely spent, he said “I hope we ‘bump’ into each other again sometime.”

Here’s hoping it’s soon.

Rod Drake is hiding out in Las Vegas behind sunglasses, a white jumpsuit and an Elvis wig. Thank you, thank you, very much. Check out Rod’s other fiction in Six Sentences, Powder Burn Flash, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.

The Beginnings of LIl' Knuc-Knuc...

"The Beginnings of LIl' Knuc-Knuc..."
Short fiction - Literary
by Shannon Cason

Delvon Lindsey Carter sat on the leather couch in a living room watching "An Eye for an Eye" starring Chuck Norris. It was his first time in this living room and his first time watching a television so large. He looked around the room.

There was a velvet painting on the wall of a nude black woman posing on her side. Her hands were flat on what would be the ground and her afro was perfect; separated from the black velvet by the thinnest of outlines. She was intended to be laying, but she could be floating depending on the way you looked at it. There was a oak bookshelf filled with video cassette tapes; some slotted like books, others stacked five or six laid flat. There was a magazine holder, two clunky end tables, and of course the Zenith big-screen projection television.

On the picture of the woman, her breast were pointed and her areolas were wide, her expression was serious, and she wore only a thick gold herringbone choker and a gold bracelet. Her hair down below was a V-shape, and there was a fight scene on the television.

Delvon looked at the television. The volume increased on the fight scenes. Then Delvon looked at the hallway and got up from the sofa.

A gold metal ashtray was on one of the end tables. It was tarnished with ash. There were little seeds in the base of the tray. They reminded Delvon of the ball bearings on the bike that was broken in his yard; or really tiny smooth walnuts. He picked out the two frayed roaches that were mixed with the seeds and pocketed them. He knew what they were.

He picked up a tape from a stack of six on the bookshelf. The cassette was black with a gold label sticker with black writing. It read: "Blackmania Vol: #11". He thought of putting the tape down into his pants, in his underwear, and hold it pressed against his belly between his belt. But he couldn't think of anyone who owned a VCR, so he took a Players Pictorial Magazine from the magazine rack instead. He put it in his underwear, pressed against his belly with his belt.

When he heard the door opening in the hall, he knew he didn't have enough time to make it back to the couch. The hallway wasn't really a hallway, just a way to get to the two other rooms. If they were coming out, it would only take two or three steps to see he had moved from the couch. He put the cassette tape back on the stack of five and stepped in front of the TV. Chuck Norris was round-house kicking a man and back-fist punching another. His mother walked in first.

"Little Boy! Did I not tell you to stay yo ass on that couch?" his mother said. She was loud and upset, and was pulling at her blouse and skirt, all while pointing at the sofa. His mother was tall and dark and her afro was near perfect.

"Loretta," the man behind her said. "The little nigga just watching the TV, girl." He stepped around Delvon's mother. His voice was deep and rumbled. He was almost the size of the entryway - shirtless - with a green towel around his waist. "He ain't doing nothing." The man squatted down to the size of Delvon and looked at the boy face to face. "You like to fight, little man?"

Delvon didn't move; he just felt the corner of the magazine digging into his belly. The man's eyes were black. A degree darker than him, and the whites were yellow.

"I'm going to teach this nigga something he ain't ever goin' forget." the man said, and grabbed Delvon's hands and curled his fingers into his palms and put Delvon's thumb on top of his pointing and middle finger. He told him the punch launched from his feet, gathered power at his waist - and grabbed Delvon's waist and twisted it - and if landed squarely on a chin or nose, it would knock any nigga out.

Delvon never forgot.