[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #39

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Sun Oct 17 13:19:35 PDT 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #39
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 21
Last Time: Martin made plans to try to control his abilities. Then, 
yesterday, Saxon was attacked by the Writers Block Beast and had to beat 
it off with a lead pipe. ("Arrooo!"   "Shut UP you bloody thing! I don't 
CARE if all this text is going you a migraine, I am NOT going to let you 
eat my leg. Now get lost, or I'll give you some more what-for with that 
pipe."   "Pphhbb!")
     Delroy knocked on Martin's door. It was now early on Friday evening, 
and Delroy was wondering where Martin had gotten off to. Not turning up 
for classes was one thing - Martin mightn't quite be as bad as Shane, but 
there were still one or two occasions when he had asked to crib Delroy's 
notes - but not turning up for dinner was another.
     .oO( Probably has the flu or something, ) he thought as he recalled 
his tiredness while playing basketball the previous day.
     When no one answered Delroy knocked again. Then he called out, "Hey 
Martin, you in there?"
     "I'm kinda busy, Del," said Martin. "Can you come back later?"
     Delroy rolled his eyes. "Nope. Ain't gonna do that. It's all well 
and good to be busy studying, but if you're missing meals you're not 
going to be able to concentrate as well as normal. Now open up."
     After a delay the door opened. "You're a pain, you know that?" said 
Martin. He'd been turning away even as he opened the door for Delroy, and 
was now heading back to his computer terminal. Combine that with the way 
he had the hood up on his sweatshirt, and Delroy hadn't even had the 
chance to catch sight of his face.
     Delroy didn't bother to answer Martin's grumbling. Instead he asked, 
"So how you feeling? When you didn't turn up for dinner, I was wondering 
whether you might be laid up sick or something."
     "Oh, so-so," replied Martin, putting out one hand (which he'd been 
able to recreate) and rocking it back and forth in a gesture of 
changeableness. "I kinda had a rough night last night."
     Delroy missed the prevarication in that last sentence because he'd 
caught sight of the metallic glint on Martin's hand. "What are you wearing?"
     " Wearing?' " went Martin. Then he slapped his forehead with one 
hand. "Of course. 'Wearing'. Cosplay. Oh Lord, I'm a dunce, I didn't even 
think of that one!"
     "What are you talking about?"
     Martin paused. Then he slowly rolled up his sleeve, revealing an arm 
that was covered in smooth metal. "I had a bit of trouble last night, and 
I've been spending most of today trying to sort out the mess. I'm kind of 
proud of the fact that I've at least been able to get the skin smooth," 
he added with forced casualness, "although I'm still a bit ticked off 
about the way my pyjamas got shredded."
     "Hold up hold up hold up. What?"
     The student swivelled his seat around and pulled back the hood on 
the sweatshirt. Delroy gaped. Almost half of Martin's was covered in 
metal. Most of it was smooth. "I starting growing metal bits and stuff 
last night. And changing shape, which was really painful, let me tell you. 
It seems to be some type of techno-organic superpower. See, this isn't 
something I'm wearing - although I feel stupid for not having thought of 
that as an excuse. This is me. All the way in to the bone."
     Delroy raised an eyebrow. "So, mutant superpowers, huh?" he said. It 
was a lame statement of the obvious, but it was the first thing that 
jumped into his head - and then out of his mouth before he could stop it.
     "That was my first thought, yeah," said Martin. "But I'm not really 
     "You're not sure? Well, if Shane was here, he'd probably ask you if 
you were bitten by a radioactive toaster, or something, but what else 
could it be?"
     Martin shrugged and tried to play ignorant. "I've got this strange 
feeling that it might be something else, but I don't think I can explain 
it properly." Which was true enough. It just that it was getting people 
to believe that was the problem, not articulating what he knew. "For all 
I know the shapeshifting might have been affecting my mind, and I might 
just be having strange ideas." And this also was a real possibility, 
although Martin didn't believe it or a second.
     "Okay," said Delroy as he tried to absorb this. "I shouldn't let 
myself get sidetracked. You said it was painful. Are you okay now?"
     "Hey, I'm fine now. Well, I'm not changing shape uncontrollably, my 
muscles aren't cramping in pain anymore, and I've been able to smooth out 
most of the metal so that I don't look like a cancerous metal growth with 
spiky bits all over the place. I've even been able to get some of the 
metal to retreat and get some of my skin back in place." Then he touched 
his face and added, "But I've still got a way to go with that, though."
     "Well, that's a good start, I suppose. Was it bad last night?"
     "Oh, man, last night was a nightmare. I was half out of my head, and 
I think I wrecked an ATM."
     "That was you? It was all over the campus this morning that some 
thieves had tried to make of with a teller machine. How the Hell did you 
manage that?"
     Martin snorted in exasperation. "You remember that scene in 'Akira' 
where Tetsuo's at the stadium, in the chair, and when he tries to stand 
up he finds that his arm has started to grow like tree roots and has him 
anchored down? It was like that. I leaned against a wall, and had to pull 
myself free. Took me ages to calm down and get things under control to 
keep that from happening again. I didn't feel safe to come back to my 
room until about dawn in case I wrecked it."
     "Whew. I can see why that would be freaky. You were lucky there was 
nobody around to get hurt."
     "The only person I met was some flasher or mugger or something 
hanging around. He dropped his pants and wiggled his dick at me, and I 
slashed him across the guts as a reflexive defence." Martin frowned in 
distaste at the memory. "If there's been no mention of that around campus 
even after the cops had been to check out the ATM, then I suppose he 
wasn't that badly hurt, and managed to get away and got help. I don't 
think I'll have to worry about him reporting anything; a pervert skulking 
around at night assaulting people isn't going to want to draw attention to 
himself with a complaint." Then Martin paused and wondered,  .oO( Should 
I mention the attack by the sock and how my hand got blown apart? )
Tomorrow: Martin and Delroy make plans.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and 
used with belated 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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