Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And the Chamber of Secrets

Sarah liked having straight-ish hair. It framed her face. As a normal person it made her look sweet and pretty, if a little devious. As a superhero it looked dramatic and spectacular, long tresses of red hair reflecting in the light over the city. It was good having straight-ish hair.

of course she didn't actually have straight-ish hair. Her natural hair was a bundle of curls and tresses that, if she left it, would look like a poof ball. Perhaps literally. There was an expression that the only honest person a woman was honest to was their hairdresser, but she never told Jan that her genetic structure was screwy. It was one of the things about being a super-being. The fact that she looked even real close 100% human was luck. Given her powers there was every chance she should have a third arm or something like that. But no, she wasn't a character designed by Chris Claremont for one of the weirder X-men stories, or Will Eisner in his supposedly realistic ones. She was Sarah Jennings: Normal person.

And Sarah Jennings, every month or so, trudged over to Universal Salon and had Jan work magic on her hair.

Jan was a nice woman, a large African American woman who was friendly, good with hair, and quick with a smile...if occasionally a bit quiet for a hairdresser. Which was perfect for Sarah.

The salon was busy on a late afternoon. She had an appointment for 4pm, but when she got there Jan was still busy with someone else’s hair. She had a nightshoot tonight. She didn't like it, but well, it was life. A night-shout actually. Working with guns on set (one of her primary jobs) was messy and loud, even if she could wear ear protection she always got powder on herself. It was an irony of kind of both her jobs. She wasn't actually very good with guns - in the shoot a broadside of a barn department (well, she could hit the side of a barn...). Armourers on film set were frequently ex-military, or cops, who really knew guns in the talk to them and join the NRA sense. She went to a class and now had a little card. Of course, unlike her most of them hadn't been shot hundreds of time and walked away from it, or had thugs throw them at them in anger after they were done wasting bullets. Most people thought superman didn't bother with guns because, well, why would Superman bother? They didn't know really, again, broadside: Barn.

But now they were going to a high school in the middle of the night, to shoot blanks in the hallways in an elaborate chase sequence through the stairwells and halls. They’d be doing fights, and stunts...and well, having a rough evening all around. An evening where people would sweat, skin there knees, and inhale too much gunsmoke.

But, well...she should look her best for it.

She had this moment of calm, and before she got dirty and smelly she had the option of reading magazines. Marie Claire, Vouge, Redbook - all the stuff she normally kept away from. This could potentially be fun, but not today. She had serious stuff to do.

She was reading Harry Potter. Book 2. She was doing this.

Whenever she looked at it she felt slightly guilty. Sarah was a girl geek. Harry Potter, as a fan phenomena, seemed designed for girl geeks. Yet she never really got into it. She had watched a couple of the movies over the years but could never crack open the books.

They were big books, and by the time she was consciously aware of them there were, like, three or four of them. Big books usually didn't stop her - she had enjoyed Wheel of Time, Archangel, and Mortal Instruments, even Game of Thrones. All of which were large and multivolume works.

She felt guilty though. Harry Potter, friends told her, was one of the seminal works of recent fiction – fantasy genre or otherwise - and the intricate universe it created was amazing. And, as mentioned, written by a woman. It also wasn't really constructed as a romance, had a non-female protagonist, and did have a complex universe that may or may not have been stolen from Dungeons and Dragons, but was something remarkable. In short, despite jokes about how the the rules of quiditch where *stupid*, that it takes nearly 3000 pages to do anything, and how some characters were incredibly deep while some were stereotypes, it was a good book series worth study. Which she should have read long ago.

Unlike like Twilight, which Sarah *loved*. Mostly because Edward was dreamy.

Sarah opened the book and sighed. She had managed to get through the first book and thought it was fun. It had a good sense of its own reality, creating a world where a 12 year old can function yet it suggested adults lived in, if only at the sides. The central mystery, the fact that the seemingly nice teacher was the villain while the evil teacher, while thoroughly unpleasant, was in fact a good-guy, had been fun. As had all of the magic stuff. 

She was 100 pages into this book...and found it was less so. Not lacking in fun, just less of it. Lots of stuff about house elves and magic car chases. Still, she read on. she owed it to...the publisher who already bought the book? The people who had read it 10 years ago and weren't going to talk to her about it? JK Rowling, who she once saw on the Simpsons and who seemed to have the proper level of weary resignation in dealing with fans?

She continued. There was magic here. She just had find it.

Even in a very bright salon, with mid 90s R&B hits playing in the background. Toni Braxton. She liked Toni Braxton abstractly. Something about waterfalls and chasing them.

Sarah looked over to see one of the other dressers working on a woman with long hair - and by long, I mean like 4 or 5 feet. It was weird. Did she wear it up or something? Sarah thought of Cord, a superheroine who lived in Denver. Her power was she could control her hair - turn it into ropes, whips or vines, or just use it to attack and grab people, like tentacles. It seemed a kind of painful power, as her hair was part of her. But in video Sarah had seen it looked kind of cool. Not always useful, perhaps, as Cord combined it with natural martial arts and a helicopter, but cool. Sarah had never met her. Despite the fact that going east Denver was probably the first really big city. Shame. The superhero world was pretty small, but it wasn't a very social one - no national conferences or stuff like that - that could be fun...

But wait. She was being distracted from Harry Potter. Curse the woman and her digression-causing lengthy hair.

She must be a supervillain...

"Hey, I can see you now, Sarah."

Sarah got up, watching the woman suspiciously.

"How long have we gotten it, Sarah?" asked Jan "Want it half-inch?"

"That sounds about right," said Sarah. "I'm just getting a little frizzy."

Jan nodded and quietly got to work. Working the straighteners would take some time and require ironing which Jane worked on.

And Sarah had a book. Ooh Mr. Potter, take me to Hogwarts...

She got into it. They where playing one of the improbably scored games of Quiditch as Jan worked, feeling herself transported to another world far away from...

Sarah heard something. Of course she heard something.

Outside someone was getting smashed into the window. It wasn't quite hard enough for the window to smash, which somehow worse. Sarah had been through her share of windows. That actually didn't hurt all that much. It’s when the glass held that you noticed it. Glass - harder than you might think.

The person against the wall was obviously a homeless man. She couldn't tell his age, but the age of homeless men was often hard to gauge. He wore a large trenchcoat that would offer some protection against...what exactly she wasn't sure. He was fighting, or being assaulted by, another homeless man. His attacker was wearing a similar trenchcoat. They could be part of the trenchcoat mafia that so terrified the early nineties. Sarah sighed.

She was being pampered. Her hair was being done, she was reading Harry Potter, and Sarah was feeling good. Her first impulse was to let the scene play out, let find its own end.



She saw blood. Not “someone’s going to die” blood, but blood nonetheless, on the window.

And even without that, she knew she would not have been able to let it carry on.

She pushed off the sheet.

"Hey!" Jan protested.

“Be back in a minute.”

Sarah walked out the door to see the two men still fighting. He first was clearly much older and weaker then the man who was beating him. The younger man looked like he would make a good thug, maybe even a minor villain, if life had been kinder. He had big eyes. Not big ears, mouth or teeth, but rather large eyes.

"HEY!" she shouted at them.

You would be surprised how often that worked.

Big-eyes looked at her (using said eyes). Nope. It wasn’t going to work this time.

He punched Sarah square in the face. She sold it. This kind of thing was always tricky for Sarah. ‘Mazing Girl, naturally, didn't feel much of any pain - she could have taken it all day and her worst injury would be boredom. But "Sarah", ‘Mazing’s non-face-punch-taking alter ego could not. At least, she could not be seen to. So Sarah sold big-eyes blow, reacted to it as he might expect. But really, she didn't know if she did a good job there. She could have over sold it or under sold it. The fake taking of punches was a skill Sarah didn't really have.

He came at her in a rage of a scream, unfocused and unworded, using his larger mass to simply attack her for everything he was worth.

Sarah wasn't wearing her costume - she was wearing several hair care extends in her hair, but not her costume. What she was about to try might work, but it was risky...

She grabbed him. Sarah moved her body, picking him up from the ground and slamming him into the street with a considerable amount of force.

It looked like a judo throw, but wasn't a judo throw...well, it did the trick.

He kept screaming. He just kept screaming.

He kicked at her. She sold it for a half a second - before she realized that the wild attack didn't even make any contact. She hoped no one noticed.


It took about 10 minutes for the police to come. During that time a couple of people helped her with Big-eyes, who clearly looked to be on a non-prescription drug of some kind. The noise got to her.

She sighed.

Sarah looked at the man who Big-eyes had beaten. He was certainly older, obviously defeated in life...a sad wreck of man. She got his name: Thomas. He was minding his own business in his place in the alley when...well, when Big-eyes showed up out of nowhere.

Sarah knew what would happen. Big-eyes would spend a couple of days in the psych ward, and then be released...and probably get more of what he’d been on this time for whatever fucking reason, maybe even bother Thomas again. Not much the law was that interested in doing. Californian penal law was fucked. Sarah knew this pretty well. Actual dangerous persons were less of a priority than locking up someone who stole a loaf of bread 15 years ago. Fucked.

Sarah had done what a superhero should do. She had beaten the bad guy, even if he wasn't much of a threat. The police came, got a statement, and suggested they might contact her about pressing charges (but probably not). Sarah went back into the salon.

Jan said nothing about the fight. "I have an appointment in 10 minutes, we can finish up the hair straightening."

Sarah sighed, and got back into the chair, and opened her book.

And strangely, got much more into Harry Potter. Something about it clicked. She didn't want to think of the contrast between its world of black and white, and her existence as a whitish light source in a world of muddled greys. But something. Harry was the chosen one - and the books made what that meant more clear than the movies. She wasn't the chosen, but the fact that she tried, that she reached for the light, made her relate. It was better to light a candle then curse the darkness, and as Jan straightened her hair to its heroic best, Sarah felt good.

Even though Hermione was a little bitch.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An 'Mazing Girl Christmas

It was very rainy that day.

I mean really rainy.

Los Angeles isn’t a city that one associates with rain, but a couple times a year it comes down quite a bit. Gallons upon gallons of water, deluges that the streets of the city aren’t really designed to deal with. It came down in big buckets of water filling the trees, yes...with needed life, but the people with a sense of misery.

And it was Christmas.

Sarah Jennings was sitting in her condo in El Segundo, feeling a little sad and lonely. She had eggnog and whiskey for company, and whole cable channels dedicating themselves to holiday favourites, but still...

Sarah’s parents, and most of her family, were in Tallahassee Florida, which as has been observed is quite a ways from Los Angeles. She had thought about flying there...but for some reason this year she hadn't. She hadn't gone home for thanksgiving either. Did she have problems with something in a trip in summer? She didn't quite remember. In talks on the phone her family had so far been very cordial. Everyone was cordial.

But...well, here she was.

Now, one may think with her incredible super powers it would be easy, like Clark Kent, to fly there. She wasn't quite that super. Once, when she was in college and just starting the ‘Mazing Girl business, she had headed out to see how far she could go. She got to El Paso, Texas, in a day. It wasn't a very fun day though. Sure there was pleasant scenery, but she did get tired a little bit, and it was foggy, and the desert was hot. Overall it wasn't a great day. It was maybe a little further then a car could go. She got a Greyhound bus home. Not a spur of the moment thing.

So here she was. Not exactly miserable, but not having a great day.

Los Angeles (particularly the entertainment industry) has no shortage of people who come from other places and are thus alone on the holidays. She had been to several parties like that in the last couple of days, when her show went on hiatus. Most of them were that: Parties. Parties where people went to hook up and drink, and do things that 20 year olds due at parties. The one last night at least served what looked to be a Christmas dinner...however it wasn't quite the same. Sarah’s mother was a big believer in fat and drippings, and that was hard to get here.

She didn't really want a party. She wanted her mom her dad, her two cousins and her uncle who lived a mile away from them. She missed them, missed them dearly. She wanted a big tree and presents. She didn't want snow precisely, as she didn't get snow in Florida either. She just wanted.

She sighed and shook her head. She put the whiskey bottle down and got up. She pulled off her holiday sweater revealing her bra, and stretched the powerful muscles of her arms.

Time to be 'Mazing. She went to her dresser and changed into ‘Mazing Girl and jumped out the window.


She regretted it only minutes latter. Flying, or more accurately: jumping really God-damm far, wasn't very fun in the rain. Lots of rain interfered with her ability to judge distances. And land. She was usually pretty good at this, coming down on her feet and not hurting anything...now as she hit houses or buildings and jumped through the sky she was finding it increasingly hard to stick her landings. It would have been slightly embarrassing, but no-one was out and about to notice.

Not much crime either. That was a good thing about rain in LA. Criminals had better sense. And, well, maybe just a little bit of Christmas spirit.

But there were traffic accidents, though. A large one on the 405. She landed and helped a truck driver get out of his rig, relatively unscathed...though he waited for an ambulance on the ground. She was able to stand underneath the side of his truck for a while, which was good.

It wasn't a great day, but she was helping a bit and she didn't regret it. Perhaps.

Here she was. The most powerful ‘Mazing Girl in the city...and, well that really didn't matter did it. She was no better or no worse then anyone else, just someone with a gift to give to the world and she should give it.

She paused on the street. A guy had a flat tire.

‘Mazing walked to the car and tapped on the glass.

The guy turned. "Hey! Wow...you’re...”

"Yeah, yeah," she said.

"Tires flat, and... Well, I don't really know how to change it...”

"Let me help."

She went to the back of the car and lifted it up a bit. "Definitely flat. Go in the back, there should be a tire there.”

"You can just..?"

"It will be quicker."

Sarah reached over and turned the lug nuts with her fingers one by one. She then pulled the bad tire off.

"Looks like a nail. Kind of old though you should think about getting 4 new ones."

And put the spare on.

"Go to a gas station reinflate it if you’re not doing this immediately - getting it repaired."

‘Mazing tightened the lug nuts and was finished.

"Wow! Thank you.”

"Merry Christmas," said Sarah, smiling.

"Hey," the guy said, "I am going to something at my church."

"Not interested in a sermon" said Sarah. She had thought about that actually but decided against it.

"No, we’re doing a food event to help homeless people."

Sarah shook her head; normally. Well...

She had thought it would be depressing but it turned out surprisingly lively. About 200 guys crowded into a basement eating what resembled, on a budget, a traditional Christmas dinner. She worked a potato station most of the night.

A dirty secret of the superhero game, that had been harder to adjust to then anything, was the costume. Namely: she looked silly in it. She had found that when flying or lifting tanks or just doing general super stuff she looked fine in it – even stunning. However walking around talking to people, doing non-hero stuff, this was less true. Standing behind a counter getting a little potato on her ‘Mazing symbol for example. Pretty silly, yet here she was.

One could say the crowd was depressing, but not really. She had spent a lot of time with the homeless in LA and had found a truth. A lot of them were quite happy jolly sorts really. They enjoyed their life. Many did not. However, the ratio probably was the same in any group. Yes, there were families who were quite poor who came, which was perhaps more depressing then the actual homeless...but even they seemed glad to be here.

The kids in particular. She loved being with kids, even if she had none of her own. A small part of her psyche wanted kids. The sadder part of her psyche realized that a child inside her superpowered uterus would probably not work out. Superpowers never really passed down a family tree, despite numerous comicbooks to contrary. Still...

Well, there were kids there. ‘Mazing gave them high-fives, and autographed things. No metal bars to bend, which was a popular one, however she did her best to make them feel special. She picked them up and twirled them in the air even, the big ones.

And, yes okay, a couple of the adults. It’s Christmas.

It was turning out to be a pretty good day.

"Thank you for saving Christmas," said the preacher.

"Well, no...I didn't save Christmas."

snd it was getting media attention.

Around 6:00, a freelance reporter for The Times came over. She didn't dislike reporters, but didn't often know what to say to them.

"I was patrolling the streets today, and decided to help out. More people should, not just with time, but with food. It’s not...um, it’s not that it’s not a merry Christmas. It’s going to be one either way. But we can make it a merrier Christmas either way."

She hoped the reporter could make that sound halfway legible and interesting. Well, it would be a Christmas miracle.

She thought afterward that it might be a good time to jump up into the sky...but well, she just went in and helped some more.

Around 8:00 she actually had dinner...and found it rather delightful. The ham they where serving was very flavoursome for ham, if obviously mass produced. Maybe that was the problem with living in LA, that good local organic food isn't always actually good. Still, she enjoyed it.

And with a full house and everyone singing Christmas carols, she quietly left the room and looked out onto the night sky.

The rain had stoped, the clouds were going away, and she watched the stars. The streets were wet but pretty.

She felt kind of alone, despite what had just happened. In the last couple of months The Flame would show up at moments like this and offer her cheery wisdom in her delightfully gothic way. But not tonight. No villains either...no monsters. Just her and Christmas.

She found she wanted it. She didn't aspire to the villains to fight monsters. Nothing was more wrong then to want to fight. But there was something to the connection of it, that she missed. She even missed the flames non cackling insanity. Perhaps especially

But then she heard the carols. Hark, the herald angel sings, and she looked out on to the city and realized that perhaps she wasn't alone. That everyone was here wishing for a merry Christmas to be had by all. It wasn't a moment that could last forever; it wasn't a moment that could last her completely until she got home. But it was a moment nonetheless.

And she smiled and hoped they where all having a Merry Christmas before bounding off into the night sky toward the North Star.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hear 'Mazing Girl Tweet!

Whether Mazing girl had, technically speaking, saved Los Angeles from utter destruction she didn't quite know. There were knowns; there were unknowns...and there were known unknowns. And there was also a giant cloud of psychic darkness that threatened to sweep up the city.

That last one was pretty bad, but she had managed to stop it. When it went over people it tended to cause them to scream and cry. And it was expanding. Whether it would have truely expanded to cover a really gigantic city - and then the country...the world? Sarah didn't know. At the center of it was 65-year-old former actress who had taken the wrong medication, which - as these things tend to do - either turned her into a being of incredible psychic power, or maybe she always was. That was confusing. In any case, she had the mental juju to suck the life from everyone.

Okay, 'Mazing Girl had saved Los Angeles.

And becuse she was so awesome, she decided to buy herself an IPAD.

I mean, she deserved it. Did I mentioned the screaming people?

So she went into a Best Buy, and looked around. She didn't find the color she wanted. Okay...

Then she went to Frys Electronics, a cool local store that was an electronics store with an Hawaiian them. She liked it, but didn't find the stuff she wanted.

The search was turning into a crisis, as she wanted to spend 400 bucks on a foolish electronics gift for herself, and god dammit, she wanted it now!!! Pherg...

But then, on a whim, she went into a Walmart. And gosh-darn, they had it! Yeah!!! She wanted to jump around the store she was feeling so good. But she didn't, as that would have ruined the whole secret identity thing.

Instead, she took it home.

Well, she actually she opened the box in the car and turned it on to look around the interface for a few minutes.

But she got home.

Her cat was there to great her, as was his want. She smiled and picked him up in his slightly curious manner. Super Skittles was a curious cat when she let him. She lived in a fairly small condo, but Sarah  fantasised   about a world where people had a cat park - where cats could roam around. Like dog parks for cats.

That was kind of a cool idea, actually, but such places didn't actually exist.

She had a small balcony, and went outside to pet super skittles a bit, taking the ipad with her. She could see a little bit of LA out here - the city that asked her time and again to save it, but ignored her ideas for feline parks.

So she went on her actual twitter feed and tweeted about it.

The twitter had about 150 people on it. Most of them work friends, though some nerds. Sarah had a reputation in certain circles as a hot nerd-girl. Yet she never really capitalised on it, or became a real pressence like other people. Partially because she wanted to keep a low profile, and partially because a social media presence like this wasn't something super interesting.

She could follow the offical mazing girl twitter feed, which has 200,000 members.

Of course, there were two reasons she didn't:

1. She didn't actually write that one. Who did? Sarah wasn't quite sure. She knew her agent was involved, and had set it up through verified tweet methodology. She could write it, but didn't. It wasn't actually a good twitter feed either. Mainly kind of bland pleasentries and entreatments to follow your dreams - except the writer was no Shaquille O'Niel. But then, who was?

2. This irksome concern: She couldn't really share her idea about specialized cat parks to the world as'Mazing Girl.

Then a few more things occurred to her.

3. Her cat was very cute. She took a picture of it using her iPad. She couldn't show pictures of how cute the cat was...

and 4.

4. She had a new iPad. She couldn't tell the world how great it was either...not on that feed.

then 5

5. She couldn't express her irritation over how they wheren't stocked properly at Frys or Best buys

and, well, that was all fuckable...

6. She couldn't tweet the world how she wished she could tweet this list.

But no.

She looked at her feed. She, Sarah Jennings, followed 'Mazing Girl.Hah hah! You mysterious stranger...

"Woman at centre of Cerritos cloud in medical custudy. Glad thats over. Phew"

Okay. There was nothing in that tweet that was specifically untrue - but she was, at the same time, feeling actually pretty giddy about the entire thing, not depressed. Which was something 'Mazing Girl couldn't express when peoples lives were in danger, and they were screaming - but they were all better now.

Someone on her regular feed retweeted something from Taylor Swift - a picture of her shoe closet.


She couldn't do that.

Literally couldn't as she didn't have a shoe closet, but the principal was there.

Granted there was perhaps sense of 'wow you have this many shoes girl?" - but well...Taylor Swift was a celebrity, and rich, and not really a terrible song writer (that one song she did about breaking-up wasn't horrible, Sarah admitted. Ms Swift deserved to have nice things.

And Sarah deserved to have nice things.

And she deserved to tell the world what she felt and thought. The world needed to know what it was like - to sit outside in el Segundo, and maybe get a beer wearing just your bra and playing with your  new electronics device...that probabbly she didn't need and wouldn't use very much...and just be with the world.

And then she went and got a Tecate Mexican-style beer from the fridge - and then maybe, just maybe, she turned on the Mazing girl twitter feed.

"Cat Parks: parks where you can take your cats like dogs. And there's play equipment. And they can play with other cats. Thoughts?"

Except that was too long.10 too many characters.

Cat Parks: A park were you can you take your cats like dogs.& theres play stuff.&they play with other cats. Thoughts? @catpark"

Plenty to spare now!

Super Skittles pawed at her stomach

And the official 'Mazing Girl twitter account tweeted it.

For about 10 seconds.

Then Sarah deleted it.

She was a coward.

There was a concept in the world of fear - she didn't know all that much about it, of what really pushed you to the limit. It was something that she rarely, in an absolute, sense felt much of. Giant monsters, tanks - none of it really scared her. But this...

She sighed.


Three days later she was patrolling the city. She was, specifically, looking around Cerritos, a small suburb. It was a mix of decent-ish homes and weirdly pricey business developments. She was looking to make sure there was no evil clouds. The woman with the drug thing? She was 99% sure it was all taken care of, but best always to check. However, Cerritos itself always looked pretty clean.

Except now.

Someone was driving very eratically down the street.

Then stopped in the middle of the road.

Sarah jumped down from the building to investigate.

It was one of the moments that was, well...that was her job. This could turn out to be nothing. Or it could be a drunk driver, which was pretty shitty but was one of those things. She tended to take someone's keys and give them to the police. Which made her feel pretty silly. And from a superhero's perspective, a drunk driver was also pretty close to nothing.

Or it may be something else entirely.

There were many things in the world - exciting and amazing and yes: superheroic. But...well the chances weren't great it would be anything like that.

She pulled up in front of the car and looked inside.

There was a man in the driver's seat.

Beside him, sitting with her hand on his forehead, was The Flame.

"Um," was all Sarah could think to say. She hoped she said it loud enough.

The man's forehead hit the wheel.

And the The Flame prompty walked out of the car with efficent movements.

"sorry 'bout that. he's wanted by the fbi for connections to some very high-level arms dealing. He's the kind of man who supplies rebel armies in africa. charming fellow. in any case I'm going to deposit him with them, but first I was in the process of finding out everything he knew. 'everything he ever cared about, or loved. then I'm going to destroy it."

"Huh" said 'Mazing Girl.

Normally when The Flame said something dark and twisted like that, the 'huh' was internal - just what she thought. But nope...it audible this time. Flame was being particularly creepy...

"Do you need any help?" Mazing Girl asked.

"he's not going to be conscious anytime soon," said Flame. "i think i can manage."

'Mazing Girl shook her head and turned. "Well..."

"cat park?" Flame inquired.

"What?" 'Mazing girl gasped. Again, uncharacteristically out loud. It took her a second to remember her stupid idea.

"i'm not reading your mind. I saw your tweet about it."

'Mazing Girl shook her head. "I deleted it."

"you can't delete anything on the internet, I'm afraid - once it's out there it's in the ether. but for me it was just computer programs. i hope you don't think it creepy that I follow you. Well, I don't...a bot I created does. and it's not you really, but one of your agent's friends, i suspect."

'Mazing Girl nodded.

"so...a cat park? how would it work?"

"Like a normal dog park where cats could play with each other and stuff. Maybe have ribbon days,  things like that."

Flame paused. "i am not sure that would work well - aren't cats rather territorial?"

"But cats like to play together."

"when they've known each other a real long time."

Sarah paused. Maybe she had a point. If she said it out loud, maybe it would sound dumb.

 "This is exactly the kind of stuff I can't do. I can't tweet. I can't tell people the crazy stupid stuff I want. I'm a person!! I want to tweet about cat parks!"

Flame paused. "i'm not on twitter." She turned her head.  "in any case, it seems foolish."

"But you can just let off what's on your mind. Except I can't.

The Flame shook her head. "i know what your saying."

Suddenly, there was a loud pop, and The Flame's body was suddenly covered in blood, the rich red fluid bursting out of her chest as she was shot, her body jerking violently.

'Mazing Girl turned. The gun runner, surprisingly enough, had a gun. And he was concious.

"Stupid shit" he declared, aiming the gun again.

And 'Mazing Girl raced to put her body between the Flame and her attacker...getting there just quick enough to feel something hit her shoulder.


That hurt.

It didn't break the skin or anything, but it did hurt.

Sarah turned.

She started.

"Stupid shit!" she shot back at him.

"Yeah," said the man,

He then did something that you never see in movies, but was a surprisingly effective tactic. He turned the gun towards his own head.

"Don't get any closer or I'll blow my own brains out."

As a hero who respected human life, it was one of those moments that Sarah had to deal with a fair amount. Not a real good situation. He didn't seem suicidal, but quick movements now could lead to more bloodshed. It was the kind of bluff you couldn't call

Sarah sighed. She had a friend behind her that she had to take care of. And Flame was her friend. And she couldn't even turn her head right now to see if was okay.

and then then she heard Flame's quiet voice.

"pull the trigger."

"This isn't one of your stupid intimidation games," Sarah warned.

"no...his bullets don't work any more. i burned out the ignition trigger. i usually do that with a bigger bang, but made it subtle this time."

'Mazing Girl walked forward slowly. The guy looked on in fear. But as she came to him, he just handed over the gun.

And she hit his head with it, watching as he fell over unconscious. As he did, the gun went off into the air. Huh?

She turned back to Flame, who somehow was still standing - despite the fact that she was clinging to her bleeding arm.

'Mazing Girl ran over, taking off her cape.

"don't put that on it, dear. the bacteria on it is worse the bullet at this point."

'Mazing Girl shook her head and looked. The bullet wound was over Flame's breast.

"I wouldn't classify that as my shoulder, but it hurts...but I'll live. Missed the heart by maybe four inches."

Then she collapsed on the ground.

Blood so much blood.

mazing girl screamed.

"Don't scream," said the Flame, using normal capitalization. "Please don't...it won't help anything."

"But...but..." said 'Mazing Girl, grabbing hold of her and putting her in her arms. "Please be okay."

"give me a second here." She closed her eyes. And the wound started to burn.

"don't touch it."

A small flame went off as there was now a large burn mark on her hsoulder.

And then she shakily stood up.

"okay. I'll live...bullets still in there, but i have a private clinic I go to for things like this. A doctor I saved."

"Things like this?"

"i've been shot before."


"You've been shot. I just saw you. you think it doesn't happen to me? You just deal with these contingencies. i am calling it a night, and probably for a week or so...but i'll be okay."


The flame looked at her. "we're in Cerritos. I parked my car in Artesia. Take this guy to the police...tell them to run his prints. i'll borrow his car to get to my own. i'll recounter with the bureau  tomorrow. tell them what you wish."


"Your emotions aren't helping you. Your silly thoughts about cat parks aren't helping you. Just going with the plan and doing what needs to be done...that's helping you."

Sarah sighed. She had a point. She wasn't just Sarah Jennings: goofball nerd. She was 'Mazing Girl, and had a duty to the world to be serious in times like these.

"and thank you, for saving my life," said The Flame as she went to the car.

"Your welcome," said 'Mazing Girl. Then there was a pause.

"Do you want to cat-sit for my cat?"

"what?' asked the flame.

"While your recuperating. Maybe having a cat to play with will help.

And the Flame shook her head.

Then she paused for a second. Just a second...

And then she shook her head agian, before driving off into the night.

And 'Mazing Girl treasured that second...

It was the kind of second that twitter was meant for. But, well...real life would do.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Three Cheers

‘Mazing Girl had made a mistake.

Well, other then getting the wrong calibre blank bullets the other day - that could be expensive but she could use them in a later episode.

And the fact that she had ordered a really bad sandwich at Pantera Bakery - but that could be educational, and the muffin she had ordered for desert was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good.

No, her big mistake had been stoping.

‘Mazing Girl had just rescued three people from a burning car, and one person on a cellphone from a non-burning car. In a real nasty accident.  No one was dead, but yeah. people were going to be spending time in the hospital. At least one broken leg a lot of burns - yeah.

The irony was abstractly that from a legal standpoint, as ‘Mazing Girl understood, the cellphone guy was not responsible (the non-cellphone car had hit him), despite the fact that driving with a cellphone was illegal. Ahh, she didn’t want to think too much about that.

But afterwards, as ambulances and police arrived at the busy Westwood intersection, well...people came.

They were cheering...screaming.

And she was covered in blood.

Groups of college students and their allies were coming at her.

Well, ‘Mazing wasn’t covered in blood, but she was quite bloody. Humans contain only so much blood, but its more then you think though less then in a Tarantino film. She suspected that if you were to go to a blood bank and gave this amount of blood, you would walk out pale...

She shook her head.

"’Mazing Girl," an awestruck man gawked.

She smiled.


She could have been clear of the scene in, like. 2 seconds. But didn't. That would be rude. Instead, she gave a wave.

"Wow that was....well, not amazing...but fantastic!"

Waving was not her strong suit.

"You’re the greatest."

There was an ambulance there. "Can you get me a towel?" she said to the crowd.

"You’re the best!"


"You save this town!"

Sarah eventually got a towel and started wiping herself off.

A fan came right up to her. "Hey! Can I have your towel?"

Sarah looked at the towel in her hand, there was now a fair amount of blood on it. "It belongs to the fire department," seemed a better more diplomatic response then "No, you ghoulish little fuck". Sarah knew what diplomacy was.

"Can I have your autograph?"

This woman at least had taken the time to get a pen and pad.

Sarah took it, though she slightly regretted it. She liked that people loved her. This was good. The girl was cute, in the way 20 year olds were cute who had reached the specific age when cute - not pretty, not sexy, not gorgeous - but cute was what they were looking for...this girl had found it. And she got ‘Mazing Girl’s autograph.

Then Sarah saw that there were more of them. Lots more.

A fire-fighter came over, hopefully...to...stop...it...but he dashed Sarah’s hopes with seven words: "Let’s form a single file line here."

Sarah sighed. That was very thoughtful and the crowd, to its credit, quickly complied. It was a good scene, abstractly. People in LA could be pushy and mean just like anywhere - but well, they could also be friendly and nice.

Just, well, her costume had blood on it. She moved away from the accident. Someone gave her a pen and let her keep it. Thoughtful...then pieces of paper, college notebooks, all came up as a line of about 50 formed in front of her...and kept growing as she went through.

"Your the greatest, I want to be like you when I grow up," a 12 year old told her. Sarah had been 12 when she first did her first official act, but thanked her for her work.

Sarah sighed. People loved her. She abstractly knew this. She was a paragon, the cities champion, it’s god. Well okay not a god...well maybe. It was, however, easy for her to ignore it. She was a prop designer on an anonymous show, that she knew personally few people watched. She had friends who liked her fine as Sarah, either as a nerd, as a prop master, or both. As ‘Mazing Girl she dealt with the police who treated her okay, sometimes criminals who didn't, but that was real, that was honest and she didn't begrudge the criminals for throwing their guns at her in frustration after shooting her. Yeah, occasionally reporters - but this...just this.

Just the people.

She posed for photographs. Great thing about iphones. Great for taking photos.

Sarah smiled.

"Hey! Can I take a photograph?"

Sarah turned. It was Jamey. Knife Girl. Except instead of a Zorro costume she wore a surprisingly small tank-top and jeans. And a hat. And abs...

Sarah smiled through clenched teeth. Jamey handed her phone to a guy who had taken the role of crowd photographer.

"So, what you doing here?" asked Janey.

"Stuff" said Sarah.

"Want to get dinner?" said Janey.

"Nope," said Sarah. "I hate you."

She smiled.

And then the guy with the iphones ran off. Sarah realized he had about three of them from a other people ib the line.

Sarah shook her head.

"Give me a minute."

Sarah watched his pattern down the Westwood Street...then she leaned down and jumped.

100, 150...175 feet. Time slowed.

She landed in front of him. And a Pinkberries. That was one of those chains she had always wanted to try out but..

"Give ‘em back to me," Sarah offered, "and I'll let you go."

The guy looked at her, foolishly turned and ran down an alley.

She ran after him - if this was a movie this would take a while, but he barely got 10 feet before she grabbed him. I mean, he was running at human speed. She wasn't.

"Same offer; last time."

The guy sighed...and handed the phones over.

She let him go and jumped back.

This created another shock, another wave in the crowd.

"Okay. Who had the iphone 4g?"

And a loud cheer went over the crowd.


Sarah sat in her apartment that evening. she was lucky to have a built in washer dryer-which was good as you want to wash a super suit individually and you didn't want to do in a pile in public laundry.

She sighed. She was feeling sulky. Just sulky.  She lay on bed in the mood of a snit.

However, she had no-one really to snit was the annoying people in Westwood going to see her in her crappy little two bedroom in El Segundo.

she looked out the window. She could see a small garden outside. She looked it over. She had never really been in it as it wasn't hers, but every couple of months she did look at it through the window. It was for some people with a rich house. It had a large pond with water lilies a large vegetable bed, and several gorgeous strands of trees. There was a beautiful stone bench next to the pond that looked as if it was from Europe. When Sarah first moved in she looked at with envy - she wanted that garden - but as she matured she realized things were fine the way they were - she was enjoying the garden as much as she would have if it was hers, and gardens were a bitch to maintain.

So she just watched.

And as she did, she saw the cute girl from earlier sitting there wearing a cute tee, cute jeans, cute ahir, and cute glasses. You may be picking up on a theme here...

She was just sitting there next to the pond, looking lost in thought.

Sarah watched her. Was the girl thinking about ‘Mazing Girl? Thinking of their encounter, their chance meeting where she gave her an autograph. Or was that egotistical? Maybe she was thinking of her boyfriend, or school, or any number of things. LA had a huge number of celebrities, it wasn't hard to find them, get your picture. Was she that special? That...amazing?

(Sarah had considered, but never installed. a swear jar where she would put money every time she used the word amazing)

The girl had told Sarah her name, but Sarah forgot it - which was a shame as she really wanted to know it right now. She didn't know anything about the owners of the garden, despite living right next to them. She looked. Yeah, a UCLA student in college, seemed about right for this place.

Sarah fantasized.

She got in her costume, jumped out her other window and landed in the garden. "Hey!" she would say. "I saw you earlier...and I was wondering...can I have you autograph?"

They would laugh and they would talk, and they would go to a semi-fancy Korean barbeque restaurant and become best friends. Sarah would be maid of honor at her wedding, and have children together playing, and go on long vacations together to the Poconos (Sarah had been to the Poconos - surprisingly nice place). It was a beautiful life together, full of adventure and excitement...and amazing (-25 cents) things.

Sarah smiled and looked out the window, and didn't do any of it.

But somehow felt better for all of it...as she looked down at her like a god - or from a second storey window of a shitty condo. Sometimes it was nice just to want things, to dream of things.

The girl looked up at the sky.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ice Berg....Over Therish

Last week Sarah had to deal with a very large forest fire north of the city.

This week: A flood in the south of the city.

Well life was never boring in the city.

Sarah was standing on the Santa Ana River in Fullerton. looking on in concern.

The irony was that it wasn't really raining. It was very cloudy, and maybe you could describe it as a light drizzle, but for someone who grew up in an area where in rained about 200 days of the year, in some capacity this was nothing.

However, tell that to the water.

Los Angeles could be construed as a series of valleys built into a couple of smallish mountain ranges.  Like say the grand canyon what created it were rivers – less dramatic but with a similar number of tourists. These rivers varied from a trickle to nothing at all most of the year but now, well...

Sarah would guess it was maybe 3/4 of the way to top of cement creak bed.

The answer how it got there was, you know, upstream - there was a big downfall on the other side of the Santa Ana Mountains, and water has to go somewhere you big dummy. Now she had to deal with it.

And not a lot of ideas how.

Sarah was incredibly strong. Stronger pound per pound then pretty much anything in the world. If all the river was a sold mass she could lift it up, and... well, she couldn't throw it into the sun, that would be a little much, but strength was useful.

Water, as had been observed, had a tendency to be hard to pick up with your hands. It was something to do with a state of matter called "liquid".

She could get a large container (say a tractor-trailer) and start bailing, but well, that would take a lot of time.

She could build a temporary dam to block the water but that wouldn't really deal with the problem.

She could use heat vision to turn all of it into steam, but well...she didn't have heat vision.

She sighed.

It was rather beautiful, actually...the river that is. Disasters often were.

A fireman came up and put his hand on her shoulder. Funny how it was a fireman who did it, but well....

"How can I help?” Sarah asked.

"We’re checking to see how it holds...so far so good. However, it’s still raining behind the dam, and the dam is at 90 percent capacity.”

“Can I increase the capacity somehow?”

"What are you talking about?" asked the fireman.

"Rocks or something." said Sarah.

There was a pause

"On top."

Sarah paused.

"It was a thought balloon. There is no critiquing in a thought balloon."

The fireman shook his head. "It’s not really a good spot for it, I mean you could concrete an extra 1000 feet but just rocks would probably fall down and…”

"No critiquing a thought balloon."

Just then Sarah saw a cow. It was struggling as it was swept down the river, trying to keep its head above water, struggling to swim to...it flew down the river 30 miles an hour

Sarah jumped off the edge of the bridge.

She needed an excuse to end the conversation anyway.

Less then a second later she hit the water.

And she was in.

‘Mazing Girl couldn't actually fly like Superman...except in water.

She could hold her breath for half an hour, stand pressures that would damage a submarine, and swim....well she could swim like a dolphin, pushing through the weightless world with incredible speed and skill.  She felt so powerfully free.

She loved swimming, actually. It was a joke in comics about superheroines wearing bathing suits. Increasingly of the kind of thong thing that you wouldn't actually wear swimming. ‘Mazing Girl suit wasn't quite, being more of a 'jumper', but sometimes she wished she did.  But ahh, super swimming wasn't all that useful considering that most people lived outside for the water.

Take that, Aquaman.

But now something was living in the water: Namely a cow. She swam downstream with it, rushing through the water faster then a boat.

How did a cow get into the river in Southern California? Ahh you find weird things in LA.

But as she approached the cow the solution was tricky. It was struggling a lot and while she couldn't be hurt, a scared cow could hurt itself a lot by attempting to hurt her. She had taken a class in lifesaving where that had come up a bit.

This would be delicate.

She breathed in, went to the bottom of the river and pushed her legs against it trying to time it to pick up the back of the cow and fly out the river. It would take expert timing incredible speed as everything was moving. Everything.

Timing she messed up.

She flew out of the river sans cow and landed on the bank. Fuck. She hoped no one was watching.

Sarah ran down the river, jumped in, grabbed the back of the cow and after a quick swim climbed out on the other bank - all in about five seconds. She ran up the side of the bank to a small street and let it go, running away so it wouldn't spook or something, if that was the word.


Cow fixed.

Still a river to deal with...

"Hark," said a voice.

She turned to see Blizzard, the orc-mask-wearing superhero with...ice shooting guns...attached to his costume. Somehow it made sense. Not to her. To Sarah it was completely nuts, but she was certain that abstractly, to someone at least, it made sense.

"I have an idea," declared Blizzard. "But I am going to need your help, ranger."

Sarah nodded. Well, why not? It should be noted that Sarah and he had never done the Marvel Comics ‘hey we’re superheroes! Let’s have a 10-page fight before helping each other and end it inconclusively’ thing. Sarah thought about it occasionally, especially now for some reason, she was breathing in heavily and dripping wet; he was acting superior and calling her 'ranger'. But well, fuck it. Let’s just do this.

"So what’s your plan?”

He had with him a small phial. His voice changed to slightly more nebbish.

"This chemical is a super Freon...I use it in my wrist blasters...introduce it to water: it freezes. Instant ice-cold.”

There was a rather large puddle on the ground, he emptied the phial into it. With in a second the sizable puddle had turned to ice.

"Are there industrial applications for this technology?" ‘Mazing Girl asked.

"Not a lot really," Blizzard told her. "Why do you ask?"

"Just whenever I see stuff like that..."

Blizzard shook his head, which was tricky as he wore an orc mask that didn't allow a lot of movement "If you have enough money there’s plenty of stuff you can do to be a superhero."

"But ice has a lot of uses."

He shook the phial. "This costs maybe 50 bucks to make. You do use ice but there cheaper methods to make it, but slower. I mean, the idea of this chemical has been around for 40 years but you never see it outside of old Mr. Wizard shows."

"So..." said Sarah

"we’re going to dump it in the river...I have a truck full of it, you pick it up and throw it into the flood.”

Sarah nodded. Then paused.

"Is this stuff safe?"

"You wouldn't want to drink it."

Sarah nodded. Then thought again.

"How big an ice cube are we talking here?”

"20 tons."

Sarah considered "I am strong, and could do it...but ice is slippery and kind of hard to aim perfectly. I may hit, like, Long Beach. And I don't want to hit things with this. If we just leave it in the river we create glaciers”

She paused.

"Actually, it’s a pretty stupid plan.”

"Well at least I’m thinking," said Blizzard. "And there’s no critiquing."

Sarah considered.

"Okay. I’ve got an idea. Where’s your truck? I need to take it somewhere."

Sarah smiled. She always loved flying while holding giant trucks overhead. It was just so cool looking.


Sarah rushed, carrying a giant tanker truck, Blizzard, and a driver who was getting paid 30 dollars an hour, over her head. Jumping and running 50 miles an hour over the cityscape, half a mile at a time mainly going on surfaced streets to avoid hitting stuff with the 50 foot long truck.

As she went the river got higher and higher, more and more full, and towards the north of Orange County they encountered actual rain.

Then half an hour later as they reached the edge of the city they found what she was looking for the. The Prado Dam.

It was big.

LA was a city built on rivers, but one didn't see the massive dams that made them. Sarah had seen Hoover Dam once, which was a big tourist attraction. This wasn't quite as big...but standing at the bottom of it looked huge. Massive compared to this shortish woman.

Even with a truck over her head.

Oh yeah, she had super strength. That was cool.

She jumped the 200 feet up holding the truck in her hand.

She landed on top of the dam and put the truck down.

"Okay...can we do 50 dollars an hour?" asked the driver. "I didn't sign up for this.”

Blizzard sighed. "Doing superhero work is supposed to be fun."

"Fun for you” the driver noted.

"This had better be a good plan" said Blizzard.

"What I want you to do is pour the contents into the lake.”

Blizzard looked at the

"You’ll just make an iceberg."

"Well, do you see the Titanic here?" asked Sarah. "The water will rise, push it up. It will relieve pressure on the flood gates and they can slow the river. The berg will float to the top and should melt over a couple of months. Enough time to empty the lake.”

"Hey! You can pick it up and toss it into the mountains!" said Blizzard. "Now that’s rad thinking."

"Actually, I don't think I need to do that," said Sarah. "Ice floats to the top and no matter how big.”

"But it’s massive," said Blizzard.

Sarah sighed. "I don't have to use my super strength to do everything.”

Blizzard sighed.

"We should have enough chemical here to freeze half the lake or so, however it would be easier if was moving.”

"Well, it’s a dam its moving out we don't want to get it in the spigot at the bottom.”

"I mean the truck...maybe you can take the truck and empty it out over the lake.”

"You know you rented it," protested the driver. "It costs like 200,000 bucks."

"It won't be hurt." Sarah nodded. Actually, she didn't know that for sure but she wanted to shut the guy up. He was a bit of an asshole.

Blizzard nodded. The lake was rising in a visible manner. He turned the spigot.

"Just keep the chemical moving across the lake...do a circle or something around the edge- as fast as you can. Try not to get hit.”

And the chemical started pouring in.

And the instant it did ice started forming. A giant ice berg out of some winter wonderland.

Well, it was December.

Sarah grabbed the truck, and keeping the spigot over the lake slowly walked along the edge - the ice started moving outward across the top of it, moving downward as well. It started to rise a bit out of the water as it did...like, well, an ice cube.

It was blue ice, gorgeously blue. An alluring translucence to it that flittered a bit in the light. She suspected this would be a tourist attraction. Well great. this was an industrial application of the chemical. She smiled and paused a second, not walking too fast as she did - to admire the show as it went out across the lake.

And then Sarah noticed, on the other edge of the lake, a guy was swimming.

This wasn't as stupid as you might think. Well, okay it was stupid. But people did a lot of stupid things. This may fall into the catch all extreme sports. He probably bungie jumped in. The lake was rising, but relatively calm. There weren’t any lifeguards or anything, but really how often do you get to swim in a lake in So Cal?

A lake that was rapidly turning entirely to ice - with him in it.

Sarah paused to consider. A dark part of her job was that people sometimes died. He would if the ice hit him. And there were times life and death were her choice, when saving people meant letting others die. She had watched men women and children die...when...theoretically...

But this was not such a time.

She put the truck down, yeah on its side, and jumped onto the rapidly expanding ice. She guessed she had maybe 10 seconds to get to him, running across, as she hit the edge of the ice sheeting, preparing to jump...

...the ice broke under her weight.

Oh. Yeah. Ice did that.

She plunged into the rapidly cooling water.

And she panicked.

Just a little. But panic was getting to her. Ice was starting to form around her body trapping her...entombing her...

Sarah screamed into the water...just screamed, consequently filling her lungs with cold water.

When she realized...

Oh yeah. ‘Mazing Girl had super strength.

With a mighty heave she merely broke the ice around her creating a shock wave that almost destroyed the ice burg, and crating a wave in the lake all around her...ice shattered and flew around everywhere.

And she started to swim towards the man, moving through the water like a porpoise, swimming almost fast enough to turn the water to plasma.

The ice had reached him and he was starting to panic at the surface, half covered in...

when she broke off the chunk and grabbed him, then swimming directly across towards the edge of the lake.

Climbing out, Sarah put him on the ground.

"Are you okay?" she inquired.

She looked at him. He was looking back. He wasn't drowned or unconscious just...very, very startled over the last 25 or so seconds.

"Are you okay?" she asked again.

"Oh yeaH" he said. "Just that...what happened...”

And then she looked down.

He was nude.

Either his had started this way, or events had done something to his trunks.

But that was okay...

Though she turned away.

And looked at the lake.

She saw that the chemical had gone back to draining in one spot.

And there was a very clear wave of ice that extended to the lip of the lake, a frozen wave 20 feet tall.

Now that was cool.

She reached into the back of her costume and pulled out the special iphone she used to contact the police. This was worth a picture.

Then, as she pulled it out, she realized that all the swimming and water...well it was ruined.

That was okay. It had had water damage on the insurance plan.

She wasn't an idiot, if you were going to get insurance for your phone you ask for that. That’s how they get you. 

"That was EPIC" Said blizzard. Sarah could hear him clearly, though he was about a mile away.

E: A voice behind broke her train of thought: “What happened to my pant?”