Oh, The Power

The following piece was presented at Jersey City Writers’ literary event – Superheroes & Supervillains: A Night of Dynamic Dare-do-well and Dastardly Deeds. Please enjoy.


My first time was on a crowded PATH train during a nasty heat wave.

The PATH train is a quiet space, OK?

It’s a commuter train with tired and stressed out people shuffling from home to work and back again. But the kid who got on at Christopher Street wasn’t tired or stressed out. He was well rested and jaunty like a colt in his expensive jeans and and expensive shoes.

He held us hostage.

I don’t mean like he held a gun on us hostage. I mean he held us hostage with his bad behavior and our own fear.

He’s played a game on his phone with the volume turned up so we all can hear it even though he couldn’t because he had his $500 headphones on with craptastic music spilling from them.

Bobbing his head and bumping into people, he sang out all the offensive parts of the song so we all could enjoy the F word and the B word and the S word and C word and the D word and the F word again.

We were hostage.

No one said anything to the kid, of course. Not the shift workers in their scuffed work boots or the IT guys in their short sleeve dress shirts. Not the Pumpkin Spice gals in their yoga pants or the rich kid hipsters in their edgy graphic tees.

No one said anything because “What if he gets violent?” “What if he has a gun?” “What if he yells at me?”

And I was mad about that.

And when I get mad, I clench. My toes. My fist. My butt cheeks. My jaw. My very soul.

I hated that kid.

I hated that he got to do whatever he wanted with no consequences. I hated that he could afford $500 headphones and I couldn’t. I hated that he looked much better in skinny jeans than I ever could.

But most of all I hated that I was afraid of him. I hated that I was impotent in the pock marked face of his vulgarity.

I hated him. I hated him. I hated him.

As I stared at him I clenched tighter, close to cracking my jaw, my teeth, my very soul.

And then it happened.

Just like that.

The kid’s head exploded. I mean like really exploded. Blood and brains were all over the PATH car, well, less on the train and more on the commuters.

The IT guys screamed and the Pumpkin Spice Lovers clenched their starbucks cups to their tits and the Rich Kid Hipsters picked gray matter from their civil war style beards.

I looked at the kid’s headless body slumped on the floor of the car and knew I did it.

The was no gun shot.

There was no bang. There was no loud boom.

There was just a squirting sound like the amplified pop of a huge, ripe zit.

As enjoyed my shower beer that night, I analyzed the day’s events.

How did I do it? Was it my anger? Was it my focus? Was it my focused anger?

I needed to see if I could do it again. And again. And Again.

I made a list of the type of people who’s heads I wanted to explode and went after pimps next.

For this endeavor, I had to make use of a Zipcar cos pimpin’ is a late night game and being still unsure of my powers at that time, I needed a way to escape, if necessary.

After I parked behind the White Manna and killed the lights, I waited in the car. Finally a pimp showed, corralled his stable and gave them a pep talk. His “ask for the sale” approach and other Tony Robbins inspired bon mots would make a casual observer think they were selling Herbal Life and not blow jobs and hand jobs.

Soon after his little speech, he was flat on the pavement surrounded by blood soaked, lucite heeled shrieking women. Glorious.

I really wanted to do more pimps, but they were kinda thin on the ground in JC after the second one, so I had to satisfy myself with litterbugs, sidewalk spitters and cat callers.

That summer saw 17 people have their heads explode in Jersey City. “60 Minutes” did a special report and the “Today Show” did a “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” from Hamilton Park.

JC was infested with journalists, homeland security and folks from the CDC. Some people thought it was the cell phone towers and walked around with tinfoil hats. Some people blamed Clinton, others Trump.

No one, not one single solitary person expected superpowers and certainly nobody expected a middle aged, chubby office manager with IBS to have them.

By fall, I decided to try out Manhattan.


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