And another writing prompt about super-heroes
Writing prompt: In a world where most of the population has gained superpowers, you are one of the few who didn’t. You now spend most of your days being kidnapped and held hostage by supervillains and its getting reeaally tedious.
“You know you can’t kill me, right? Because then who would you hold for ransom?”
We were inside the basement of the home of the Fire Master, or at least that’s what he called himself. Mid 40’s, a little bit of a paunch, he looked like an accountant. If it weren’t for the red glow in his eyes, you’d think he was one of the lucky few untouched by powers.
“What do you mean I can’t kill you? I am The Fire Master!”
“Oh, please.” I rolled my eyes. I took a seat in the chair he had positioned in the center of the room, undoubtedly to tie me up so I could be found in the most dramatic spot in the room by one of the endless numbers of so-called “super-heroes.”
This was a nice little city before the meteor fell and changed everything.
“Don’t you dare take that tone with me! I am The Fire Master!”
I sighed. “Look, this is not the first time I’ve been kidnapped for a ransom.”
I held up my right hand and started ticking off fingers.
“Two days ago it was Megathought. Last Saturday it was Beast Woman. Thursday it was Cherry Blossom. Wednesday it was Alpha Man. Counting you, that’s five, five times I’ve been kidnapped, and that’s only in the past week.”
“Erm,” the Fire Master replied.
“At least Cherry Blossom gave me cookies while I waited to be rescued.”
“But I am the Fire Master, the greatest evil superpower in all the city!”
Pity crossed my face. “Dude, not only are you not the greatest evil superpower, hell, you’re not even the only Fire Master. I’ve met two other guys who called themselves the same thing.”
“But can they start fires with their eyes!” To emphasize his point, the Fire Master’s eyes started glowing, and one of the tables along the wall started glowing a reddish color.
“Yeah, one of them can. The other one sets fire to things he touches.”
The Fire Master looked a little surprised. “Wow. Okay.”
“Well, what about the others? I bet you I’m more powerful than they are.”
I laughed. “Megathought can move things with his mind. He actually tied me up in the chair in the center of the room using telekenesis, even though I told him I wasn’t going anywhere. Alpha Man has super strength and was able to throw his house at the guy trying to rescue me. Beast Woman turns into a large bear, and Cherry Blossom can control plants. She had a couple of weeds spring up out of the cracks of her basement and wrap themselves around my ankles.”
“But none of them could start a fire, could they?”
“Come on,” I replied. “Anyone with a lighter can start a fire.”
The Fire Master sat down in a chair on the other side of the room and got a little thoughtful. “Alpha Man throw his house? That’s pretty impressive.”
I shook my head. “Yeah, but do you know where Alpha Man lives now? In the streets. He’s homeless because he literally. Threw. His. House. Away. Strong but really, really stupid.”
“And Beast Woman can turn into a bear?”
“Yep.” I smiled. “But when she turns back she winds up nude, because her clothes get destroyed in the transformation. She’s now sort of limited by the number of outfits she has left in her closet.”
“You really get around, don’t you?” the Fire Master asked.
“Soooooo, hmmmm. So who do you think will rescue you and pay your ransom?”
I thought for a while.
“Well, first off, I don’t think you’re going to get any ransom.”
“Because,” I replied, simply, “the city is out of money. There just isn’t anything left to pay a ransom.”
“Then they can get it from some other city or from the state!”
I shook my head. “Nope, because the same thing is happening all over the world. Everyone is out of money. And besides, even if you got your ransom, have you been in any of the grocery stores? The malls? There isn’t anything to buy.”
“No, it’s true.” I looked the Fire Master in his red eyes. “While all you super heroes and super-villains are out playing super-games, the few of us who are left don’t even get to go to work. I mean, look at me; I’ve missed five days out of seven at work, because I’m always in someone’s basement waiting to be rescued. Have you thought about what this does to the economy?”
“Yeah. I mean, there are precious few of us left who do things like drive trucks or make things for sale, or stock grocery store shelves. And we’re all being kidnapped all the time because you guys are fighting over money.”
The Fire Master looked down at the floor.
“And who is growing the food we need to survive? I mean, where are the farmers? The farm workers? The guys processing the crops? Do you know the world only grows enough food at any one time to last perhaps six months or a year? And it’s been, what, three months since the meteor struck?”
I drove my point home with the Fire Master. “Did it ever dawn on you that we may eventually starve to death because you’re all playing the super-version of cops and robbers?
“You’re all a bunch of children, with your super-powers. A bunch of super idiots.”
At that last comment the Fire Master looked up at me angrily, but then stopped, and looked thoughtful.
“Alpha Man…” the Fire Master started.
“Threw his damned house away. Who is going to fix his house? Who will rebuild it? Not me, I’m stuck here in the basement with you.”
“Either she’s going to have to get a job, steal more clothing, or get used to being a nudist. Which I personally wouldn’t mind if she were a 20-something cute young woman, rather than a pot-bellied grandmother.”
“Ewwww.” The Fire Master made a face.
“Look,” I started, “you all are going to just figure out a way to grow up, and work together, otherwise it could be the end of the world…”
Before I could finish my thought, the roof above us shattered and flew upward. Hyperman, a flying, super-strong self-stylized “super-hero” had torn the top of the house off the basement, and before I could say anything, flew down and grabbed The Fire Master by the throat.
“You shall go to jail for your crimes”, Hyperman said in a well-practiced sing-song voice. I could imagine him standing in front of a mirror practicing his “I’ve rescued you” speech until it was pitch perfect.
“Wait, wait, wait” I tried to stop the commotion, but before I could do anything, Hyperman’s sleeve got red hot, the Fire Master dropped to the grown, and with a well-practiced evil cackle, ran off into the distance.
I sighed again.
“Are you all right, citizen?” Hyperman said, in a voice that seemed more suited for a Saturday morning kid’s show than for a grown-ass adult.
“God, you are all a bunch of idiots,” I said as I picked my way out of the rubble. “I’m late for work, assuming you guys haven’t destroyed my office complex yet.”