Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Split-second Future

A short story (or really like the premise of something better):

I can see into the future. Just a little bit. I can't see if you will have three kids or if you are going to get cancer. I can see about a half second into the future. I timed it once. Which was actually quite easy. Just start a stopwatch.

I was really good at sports because of it. I can react to everything before it even happens. It made me a natural athlete. I was so good at soccer that by the time I was 13 pro-teams wanted me. I turned them down. I didn't want to leave the security of the life I knew.

I was really bad at relationships. A half second is no way to pre-empt the words coming out of your mouth. It is no way to stop anything emotionally bad from happening.

I was really bad at being a student too. When I say that I can see into the future; I mean that all of my senses reach into the future. And not on command. They are on all the time. And it's not precise either. The best I can tell, it works on probability, I can sense (with all of my senses) the most likely three or four futures. People look fuzzy unless they stay still for more than a half second, which they rarely do. Same goes for everything in motion. Which means that I have an echo and a delay in response. Especially with sounds. Sounds are the worst. I was a crap student. I had a speech impediment until I was fourteen—still kind of have one—and I couldn't listen for the life of me.

The world sounds like a perpetual echo, and echoes sound like an eternity for me. I'm not sure if this is a gift sometimes. I hate watching movies. Everything about them makes me nauseous. But I love comic-books. It's what movies were supposed to be for normal people. And I got way into superhero stuff. Because it made sense. I had something no one else had. And unlike the mutants in the real world who merely had extra toes, I had something that could actually stop crime. I could be a good guy.

I was 24 when I decided to start it all. Maybe I should have taken karate or something. Maybe I should have thought it through a bit more. Instead, I decided that the best way to go about it all was to just hop in. I should have known. A half second isn't enough time to react to a bullet in the back of the leg. I was lucky they ran away. I dragged myself to the hospital.

By the way, spandex sucks. It's not bulletproof and it makes you stand out like a neon red target in a fight. Super-heroes have the advantage of being impervious. I did not. I changed my get up. I needed to make a suit that worked with my 'super-powers'. The solution I came up with was a set of goggles that gave me 300 degrees of view at any given time. They looked goofy and nearly covered my face completely but they worked. The next thing I did was I added long fibers. These extended my half second of vision. Whenever the fibers were disturbed a half second in the future, I could feel them, it was like the whiskers on a cat. I had created a spidey-sense for myself. Only it made me look kind of fuzzy.

My life was starting to get fuzzy. I didn't really know what I was doing. It takes a lot to catch a crime in action. I spent hours just walking around the city, looking for ways to bust crime. The truth was that crime was at an all time low. The real embezzlements had been legalized—Wall-Street was making off with billions while I dressed up like a beetle with a frizz problem. That's when I had my real crisis.

What good is a superpower when it's not about petty crime or spandex or even taking down mobsters? Unless my superpower was to get people to be rational and altruistic, I had nothing to offer the world. I slipped into the shadows. I was not endowed with any gift. I was given a curse. A power for which there was no outlet and a world not designed for my childish fantasies. And I accepted what everyone else knew, no one can look into the future. Not even a little bit.