Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Mini-Series

Welcome to the first Monday Mini-Series, a new idea I'm introducing to Rainbow Lyrics and Mellow Mushrooms. Each mini-series will be roughly 4-5 parts all coming together to comprise a short story. This first short features a superhero trying to do a very simple task...go grocery shopping. I hope you'll follow along to see how things go for him. Feel free to leave comments and feedback. I hope you enjoy this first installment.

Lactose Intolerant

Groaning in despair, Devlin closed the cupboard door and glared across the room in the direction of the refrigerator. His stomach growled, reminding him that he hadn't eaten yet this morning, which with his enhanced metabolism meant that he'd start feeling the effects sooner rather than later. Hoping against hope that there was actually something edible inside the chrome appliance, Devlin yanked open the door and blinked at the brightness of the light that greeted him. The top shelf was pretty pathetic, empty save for the crusty bottle of mustard shoved to the back and an egg carton that upon closer inspection revealed one lone, solitary egg.
Still, if he had cheese to go with it, he could make a sandwich, thanks to those two end pieces of bread in plastic on the counter. Unfortunately, the cheese was dotted with a spectacular shade of green mold, and his search for bacon or sausage proved fruitless. His efforts did produce three ketchup packets, a bottle of soy sauce with about an inch of dark brown liquid in the bottom, some limp, wilted and slightly slimy lettuce, a tablespoon of butter half smooshed to the wrapper, and an overturned carton from the Chinese place down the street. It was leaking something that smelled like rotten garlic. Wrinkling his nose, he pinched the metal handle between his thumb and forefinger and quickly threw it away, along with the rotting lettuce, washing his hands when he was done.
He returned the refrigerator with a soapy sponge and quickly cleaned up the mess, splattering droplets on the note he'd left himself, he wasn't sure when. It simply read "Buy milk, dammit, cereal with tang is getting disgusting and P.S. We're almost out of tang."
Must have been written a few days before, seeing as how they were now officially out of tang and had the last bowl of cereal with water the day before. By them, of course, he meant himself and his perfectly conjoined twin, two halves that shared one merged body so well that it was only their hair and eyes that were a giveaway of their unique condition. Sometimes he wondered if it might not be easier to just dye the lighter half darker and wear a contact, but it went against his nature, and since Naill wasn’t about to lighten his side or conceal his own eye color, they just left them alone and let people think whatever they wished. Which generally meant that they got mistaken for goth or punk or some other practitioner of an alternate lifestyle.
Sighing, he closed the door and scrubbed a hand down over his face. This is what they got for allowing themselves to get so busy fighting crime and attempting to help people who shied away from them in the light of day. At least at night, hidden beneath a mask and hood, their oddities went unnoticed, folks were generally too busy trying to figure out why some super maneuverable vigilante had appeared to save them.
His stomach rumbled again, and he was forced to listen to Naill curse at the thought of yet another fast food meal.
Not only are they getting quite expensive but they’re rather unhealthy to boot,” Naill pointed out.
“I get it, you’ve only said it about a million times.”
“Perhaps someday you’ll listen.”
Devlin rubbed his temples, trying to ease the tension there. He was pretty sure the only thing stopping them from topping the scales at over three hundred pounds was the fact that their amazing metabolism fed their super sharp reflexes, allowing them to burn a ton of calories with how fast they moved.
He swayed and reached out to grab the refrigerator door, closed his eyes against the spots that danced in front of them and cursed again. Stupid lightheadedness, so stupid, they should have checked the fridge and the cupboards last night, at least then they could dive into a bowl of cereal, rather than a sad, pathetic egg. Still it was sustenance and would get them to the burger joint four blocks away where they could get a proper meal.
Yanking open the door, he grabbed the egg, butter and a ketchup packet. He grabbed the cheese too, only so he could throw it away before it stank up the entire appliance. Making short work of frying up the egg, he shoved it between two pieces of toasted bread, squirted the ketchup on it, and wolfed it down in six big bites, chewing the last one as he slid his wallet in his pocket and headed out the door.
Halfway down the block he encountered one of his neighbors sweeping her front porch in blue fuzzy slippers and a threadbare aqua bathrobe. Her steel gray hair was up in curlers save for one spiraling strand she kept shoving out of her face. He waved as he went buy, and pretended to ignore the way she narrowed her eyes at him and muttered about "crazy god damned freaks mucking up the neighbor, making good folks scared to come out of their houses at night."
If only she knew just how much they did to insure that the good folks on this side of town were safer, even if it seemed like the guys they took down and left tied up for police rarely spent more than a couple months in jail before they were out terrorizing folks again. It was thankless work, hell; even their day job answering insurance claim calls for one of the biggest firms in the city afforded them more praise than catching criminals. Good thing they wasn't in it for the glory or they'd be sorely disappointed.
Ducking into his favorite fast food place he order a couple breakfast sandwiches, two hash browns and an orange juice to go, munching as he walked down the street. It was almost fall, a crisp chilly wind blowing, causing the leaves to swirl in mini tornados down the block. He loved the reds and golds of the trees, and reminded himself to just take a weekend to head up into the hills, camp out and roast hot dogs over the fire.
Disgusting, Naill muttered, “if we are going to roast anything it ought to be steaks pan seared to perfection.”
He chuckled at that and conceded, declaring he could go along with that as long as they could have melting marshmallows between fudge stripped cookies for desert, rather than traditional s’mores, since the marshmallows never seemed to get hot enough to melt the chocolate completely. Of course Naill argued that it was because he always chose to purchase the king sized chocolate bars rather than the regular ones, owing to his addition to all things junk food, another source of contention between them.
Muttering to himself as he walked down the street was likely another reason folks looked at them strangely, but it gave him less of a headache than having the entire debate inside the brain they shared.
As with most of their internal monologues, one of them ended up the winner and the other ended up with their feelings hurt, which made Devlin wonder how they’d managed to live twenty-six years without trying to cause serious bodily harm to one another. The answer to that was simple, really, in those moments he was being honest with himself. He loved his brother and knew that his brother loved him, it was no fault of their own that they'd been born forced to co-exist in a single body, just like they hadn't been responsible for whatever cells had mutated inside them that allowed them to eat whatever they wishes without gaining a pound.
Still, maybe his brother was right and they needed to start eating healthier all the way around. Certainly with the help of the internet and the cooking channel they could manage passable meals.
“Thank you,” Naill replied and Devlin could feel that side of their mouth quirk up in a smile.
"If you wanna do the shopping go ahead," Devlin offered. "It's not as if I'd know what to buy anyway."
And that was how they ended up stepping through the automated doors of the grocery store with Naill in charge of their little shopping expedition.

I hope you enjoyed this first installment and come back next week for part 2. 

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