Monday, March 22, 2010

Super-Powers

Since I was a small child I have wanted to have the ability to shoot super laser beams out of my eyes. I pictured them as continuous beams of bright light that cause some sort of dramatic effect on the objects they hit. What the effect of my eye beams would be has changed over time, but the beams have always been amazing.

Other people I have talked to have imagined an invisible field that conforms to their will. They can move things with their thoughts, or they can cause some other response by looking at something. Their magical action-at-a-distance is without beams of light. If you happened to be eating soup at a trendy bistro and noticed that your spoon was bent you would have no clue as to who bent it. Perhaps you would look around the room to find the culprit only to catch several furtive glances and a few smirks.

When I discover a bent spoon I imagine a high-tech dishwashing machine grinding away at plates, and forks, and bowls, and spoons. A spoon slips down into the gearage; the minimum-wage worker reaches to grab it, and stops just short of losing a hand as the machine heartlessly chugs and growls. Sometimes the worker in my imagination is not cautious enough. When the machine is turned off the spoon can be carefully extricated from the machinery. Perhaps someone straightens it enough for it to be used again.

I’m sure this more pedestrian imagery is due to the fact that I want visible laser beams to shoot from my eyes. There would be no question whose magic bent your spoon if it was my magic that bent it.

Not only is my world view imprisoned in a jail of bright light, but I am also constantly reminded of my magical impotence. If I had the invisible force field instead of the laser-beam eyes I could imagine them working intermittently. Like an AM radio that can’t quite get a station in, my powers could be stuttering, fading in and out, ghosting across other signals, or flickering as static just beyond hearing. On lonely stretches of road I often twiddle the radio’s dial until static becomes a song. If I had intermittent invisible powers I would twiddle my life until those powers were real.

I would start small. Bending spoons is good. I would choose a competently outfitted bistro. No need to suffer poor food or a lack of cappuccino for the sake of magic. I would practice diligently. Every spoon on every serving would be prodded into bending.

Any number of factors could alter the power of the spoon-bending magic. Perhaps it is the phase of the moon? Perhaps it is the placement of the table? Perhaps it is the arrangement of the silverware? Perhaps it is the attractiveness of the patron whose lips touch the spoon?

When a bent spoon is found, not only is it proof of magic power, but it is data about how that power works. What turned it on this time? I know sometimes it is random, but this time it could be a clue to control. Can I move up to something more complex than spoons?

What is more complex than the human brain? Perhaps I could stare into someone's eyes and arrange the thoughts within their mind. Maybe if I dimed the lights, arraigned the drippy candle in the old wine bottle on the red-checkered table cloth just so, and stared through her eyes into the back of her soul; I could bend her love. Hypnotists do it; don’t they? The power is there; you can feel it pounding in your chest. It’s just a matter of harnessing that power.

Of course that is all quite impossible for me. The terrible laser beams would flash. There might be an audible “pop” as the molecules in the air jumped aside to let the beams reach their target. Then the empty skull; the brain reduced to ash. The restaurant is polluted with the stench of burning flesh. Two wisps of silvery smoke escape through the empty eye sockets before the lifeless body collapses onto the table. You see, that is one of the problems with laser-beam eyes.

If only I had an invisible intermittent uncontrollable imaginary power; then I could be magical.

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