Captain Specific

Last week, I was walking into my local metro station when a guy in front of me came to my attention. He wasn’t physically extraordinary in any way. But he is evidently one of those people who believe that listening to music in public without the aid of earphones was an acceptable approach to personal entertainment. This, of course, made his entertainment far more public than personal, and, as it were, his taste in music was not unlike that of a fourteen year old club enthusiast.

Naturally, I disliked him, or what I knew about it. I glared into his back as we both headed down the steps into the metro. His pop music ricocheted into the metro hall. And while I stared at him and processed unpleasant thoughts, he tripped and fell down the last few steps.

Let me just say for the record that I did not want this man to fall down the steps. I only stared at his back with intense irritation until he did so, in an eerily timely manner. It should also be mentioned that I did not touch this man. What I did do was jog down the steps and ask him if he was all right. He was. His phone was in pieces and I helped him gather them.

I was trying to figure out if I had somehow caused this man to fall down the steps. I would never want someone to get hurt. Well, to be fair, I do have a mental list of people I wish bad things for, but that list is extraordinarily specific, amounting to one person. And anyway, this person doesn’t live anywhere near me. But I had been looking at the guy when he took a tumble. It was creepy.

When the train came I ran a few dozen yards down the platform so I wouldn’t be on the same car as this man. I had no idea what was going on, but I wasn’t taking any chances. If I’d sent the guy down some steps with some bad thoughts, who knew what could happen if I got on a train with him? I was mildly freaked out until I got to school, at which time my job, students, and stresses took over my brain and I forgot about him.

Two days later, a teen cut me off heading into another metro. I grumbled a bit, which intensified when I realized he was on a scooter. When he reached the edge of the steps, he swung it up into his hands, narrowly missing an old man. I stared at the back of this guy, his low-crotched sweatpants, and I thought: “what a dick.” It’s then, of course, that he spilled down the remaining steps and sprawled out on the floor. Again, I was stunned. Again, the old man and I rushed down the steps to ensure his preservation.

It occurred to me that I had a new superpower. This superpower is the ability to make people fall down the last few steps in a metro station. Uncommonly specific, sure, but it was a superpower nonetheless. But I was also new to this superhero game, so I didn’t know how it worked.

Sure, you have all those famous superheroes out there with Hollywood powers like Magneto and Superman. But are there legions of superheroes who have intensely specific superpowers? Is there someone out there who can always apply the perfect amount of mustard to a hotdog or a guy who always finds great deals on sweaters? Who knows? But there were other questions too.

How did I get this superpower? A mythical metro? A radioactive set of steps? I can’t remember any trauma that occurred to me, I haven’t fallen down any metro steps recently, mythical or otherwise. And I just can’t imagine how useful this will be. Am I supposed to lure my enemies into a metro and then trick them into walking on the steps in front of me while I stare at them? It just seems so unlikely.

While traveling home that afternoon, I didn’t dare look at anyone on the steps for fear that I’d subconsciously begin disliking them and then send them to an uncomfortable and embarrassed state for a few minutes. Even on the train I kept my head buried in a book; I wasn’t sure what the scope of my powers were and I didn’t want to take any chances. I needed to be responsible, sort of like how the Hulk tries to avoid arguments and getting ticked off. The next day my boss and I were walking down the steps at the school and I forced myself to look at the flower shop. I didn’t think I would cause anything to happen to her, but I have been sort of irked at some extra work she’s been giving me lately.

In any event, I think I’ll have a costume made. Maybe I’ll do a bastardization of the metro ticket checkers. Also I have to come up with a credo to keep myself reined in. Can’t just willy nilly go thinking people down metro stairs. But I would be careful if you see me in the metro, anyway, because you never know.

  1. No comments yet.
(will not be published)