Friday, January 20, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Edgar Seterra


One of the unsung heroes of the day the Uranians came for us. He was at the crater on Third Street when it happened. Well, it wasn’t a crater at the time. It was a Recruitment Station, and he was getting his physical when the ship landed on all of them.

Now Edgar Seterra was not your new-fangled superhero with an I.Q. of one-point-five-billion or radioactive biceps. He had what you’d call a “less desirable power set,” and survived the UFO crash by turning into a pool of slightly tepid water.

By the time he gathered his pool-self up, the Uranians had disembarked from the craft with one of those hydrogen bombs that you really don’t want in a heartland city. All the greater heroes were skyward, preoccupied with the proper invasion force. Stopping these specific cosmic hooligans was up to him, but how was Edgar Seterra to know which way the Uranians had gone with their bomb? A feral sense of smell? A spiderific sense?

No, for you see those powers were taken, and Edgar Seterra did not possess any abilities patented to American icons. Instead he used the less-popular ability to recall what all the elderly women in the vicinity had smelled recently. You might call this a useless ability, and his fiancé had done just that on multiple occasions, yet Uranian B.O. is quite distinctive and led him to a warehouse on John Calvin Klein Drive.

Please mind that Edgar Seterra was not the sort of superhero who breaks the sound barrier on foot or could bean three Nazis with one bouncing shield. The dear boy arrived at the warehouse on John Calvin Klein Drive with little more than a rifle and some plus-sized fatigues, up against three suicidal extraterrestrials. People in the neighborhood called it quite a sight.

He managed to empty his entire rifle magazine into the brick wall to their left while they trained sights on his forehead. The anxiety simultaneously activated three useless superpowers: one that caused all dogwoods in the area to thicken their sap slightly, one causing all cesium to decay by drastically greater half-life, and the last causing him to sprout a second heart. This last would have come in very handy if they had not aimed for his head; each and all of these he would gladly have traded to turn laserproof for just a few seconds, as I reckon just about anyone would.

Well it turns out that a person’s powers do not only have to be of use to him. They can be of disuse to evildoers. For instance, did you know Uranian laser pistols use mildly depleted cesium cartridges? Well they didn’t either, which is why the Uranians were so confused with Edgar Seterra continuing to have a head. For a moment, he thought continuing to have that head was a superpower.

But that head was a good one. By the time the Uranians realized their cesium cartridges were duds, Edgar stormed their position and subdued them through some good old-fashion American pugilism.

Not five minutes later, his left hand turned into a psychic dove and he chased its intuition across town to stop another Uranian incursion – this one tampering with the water supply. He curtailed no less than seven heinous plots that day.

You still don’t hear much about him. U-Day was all about our burly men of steel, and our lightning lasses zapping rockets out of the sky. They deserve press for their heroism, yet Uranians did get by them, and when it came to chasing aliens across our sidewalks, through our warehouses and broadcast towers? That was Ed Seterra.

38 comments:

  1. John, John, John. I could tell you all day what a magnificent writer you are and you'd take it in stride, but I'll say it again. I am never disappointed. xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Carrie! Glad you got a kick out of this.

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  2. Fabulous John.. I laughed till I sprouted another funny bone and laughed some more..Inventive, imaginative and thoroughly entertaining..
    Now, where's my left hand off to?

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    1. Spontaneous bone generation is an unintended side effect of science fiction, but you did have to sign the waiver first, so I'm afraid you're liable.

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  3. This is great. Maybe someday you'll tell the tale of how Ed teamed up with Ellen Lipsuss. I understand she has some... unconventional powers too. ;-)

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  4. Very creative listing of minor powers, leveraged perfectly.

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  5. Ah, one of the great unsung heroes of the day. Captain P would be proud.

    Great way to have him use his powers!

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    1. Maybe they could do a Team-Up some day.

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  6. Go Edgar! Amazing what you can do with a little superpower and a little more luck.

    This would make a hilarious comic book (excuuuuuse me, graphic novel). :-D

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    1. If I did an indy superhero comic, I imagine Edgar would be among the cast. And it would be a comic book, not a graphic novel. "Graphic novels" are for porn.

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  7. Now that's my kind of superhero! I hope his luck keeps up.

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    1. Is that a request for a sequel?

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    2. Yes. Not all of us can be burly men of steel. We slightly less accomplished folk need our superheros too.

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  8. Best random set of super powers EVER!

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  9. LOL An excellent superhero! Excellent superhero powers! Especially the one that lets hims smell everything the old women smell. LOL

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  10. Very imaginative super powers, and maybe not the most flashy, but they certainly got the job done!

    Just one possible typo

    "or could bean three Nazis with one bouncing shield."

    Do you mean beat?

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    1. I intended "bean," though it's likely colloquial. It tends to mean to throw and hit someone, usually in the head. Wouldn't be surprised if our countries don't share that obscure usage - sorry for the confusion.

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    2. Not a worry, I thought you might have meant that :), and you're right not really used here. When I was in high school in the UK the bullies would threaten to 'nut' people and they usually did if they knew they could get away with it.

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    3. Given the colloquial connotations of "nut" here, that sounds mightily unpleasant.

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  11. I love it when you do superheroics. Encore! Encore!

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    1. Really? Well thank you! Do you have any favorite takes on the medium I've done?

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  12. That is pure fun to read and thanks!

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  13. OK, that was brilliant coming up with the idea of old lady smell-o-vision. Of course if you want to track old ladies yourself (why would you? No idea) just follow the scent of Jean Nate and Aqua Net hair spray.

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    1. It was a little challenging keeping the powers so outlandish and otherwise useless. I certainly wouldn't wish these on just anybody.

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  14. Quite interesting powers indeed. But I think he learned that even useless powers can prove to be anything but in the right circumstances. Good one as always!

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  15. Well it just goes to show you don't have to be superman to be a super hero - I kinda liked Ed - he found a way to make useless useful. ^_^ I hope someone gives him a cloak and a pair of bright coloured tights.

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    1. He will need a tailor to let them out a little. Glad he grew on you, Helen.

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  16. Wow John, you really know how to invent superpowers - this is fantastic! I do hope you'll give us more of Ed's adventures because it certainly sounds like he'll have them in spades. Bravo!

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    1. Some people cook up recipes in their spare time. I create useless superpowers. We're all given callings.

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  17. I laughed out loud when you first mentioned "John Calvin Klein Drive." That name injects such a lovely bit of societal satire into the piece. "Uranians" was an excellent choice of name for the invaders as well, details like these and the narrator's comment of "I reckon just about anyone would" with regard to being laserproof are what, for me, separate this piece from most of the other science fiction flashes I read, not to mention, as others have, Edgar's hilarious super powers. Great story!

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    1. I'm so glad somebody cracked up at that road name. I was sincerely worried it would only be funny to me.

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  18. Yaaaay for Edgar, every city should have at least one guy like him.

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  19. Well I think he's genuinely amazing and yet again, you've stunned me with the sheer breadth of your imagination. I envy you, sir.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Icy. Often it seems like the imagination you appreciate hinges simply on getting over fears that people might disapprove. I wondered if people would throw fruit at me for posting this wacky thing.

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  20. Another great flash John - delivered fantastically

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  21. Of course this was hysterical, but for a moment it was even more surreal than you wrote it, because somehow I misread the first line to say Ukranians instead of Uranians.

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    1. That would make for a very different invasion.

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