[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #55

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Thu Nov 4 16:08:35 PST 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #55 
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 37
Last time: TJ gave his Secret Origin. 
     "That's horrible," said Delroy after TJ's recitation.
     TJ made a non-committal, "Mmmm." He was examining his own reaction. 
It had been ages since he'd allowed himself to think about these things, 
and was mildly disturbed at how much hurt he felt.  .oO( I don't remember 
feeling like this before, ) he thought to himself.  .oO( Trauma is supposed 
to heal over with time, not get stronger, isn't it? )  Then he began to 
worry.  .oO( How am I supposed to help Martin get rid of Lisa and Kien 
if I'm turning into an emotional basket case? )  Then he blinked and 
asked, "Sorry, what was that again?"
     "I said, I hadn't gotten up to the bit about your sister committing 
suicide," repeated Martin. He still looked like he was feeling guilty at 
peeking in TJ's memories, although in practical terms TJ suspected it 
was more that he had peeked in TJ's memories and had been proven wrong. 
"I kind of stopped way before that," Martin finished. "It just got too 
personal and painful."
     .oO( And if you can't handle a second-hand look at my problems, how 
are you going to bear up under the sort of thing the diabolicals will 
have in store? ) TJ thought fretfully, wondering how he would be able 
to prop up Martin in the light of TJ's own newly identified emotional 
weakness. But on the up-side, it probably meant that Martin didn't know 
about how the robberies to supplement his income.
     Oblivious to this, Martin squared his jaw and said, "Tim, listen. 
I know this is probably opening old wounds, but I'm impressed of what I 
saw. I saw a man who cared about others and who tried to help regardless 
of the cost to himself, and who went back again to finish his job even 
after they'd imprisoned and tortured him. I'd be proud to call that man 
my friend, if you'd let me."
     TJ just stared at Martin with that totally expressionless look he 
had, and neither of the other two young men had any idea what was going 
on inside his head. Actually, it wasn't particularly flattering, since 
TJ was reviewing what he knew about brainwashing techniques and comparing 
it to Martin's little speech to see how the student had stacked up. The 
basic principle was to take a person who was under stress and then 
relieve (or seem to relieve) them of their burden, so that they would 
be grateful and given up their independent judgement. Variations such 
as drug use, hazing, solitary confinement or Moonie-style love-bombing 
were simply different ways of applying the same underlying principle.
     When TJ did say something, he did not mention any of this analysis. 
To do so would have given up an advantage and probably incited Martin to 
try a different tack; one which next time TJ might not be able to catch 
onto soon enough. Instead he said, "That *boy* died a long time ago. I'm 
not naive enough to make those sort of mistakes anymore."
     "I don't think they were mistakes," said Martin.
     TJ shrugged.
     And that was when the Molotov cocktails came crashing through the 
window and exploded, spreading fire around the room.
Tomorrow: The diabolicals attack, again.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and 
used with belated permission. 
All main characters created by Saxon Brenton are Ask First Before Use 
for the duration of this storyline, then they'll probably go to Usable 
Without Permission. 
Saxon Brenton     University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia 
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero 
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at: 

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