by Jim C. Hines
Originally published in Unidentified Funny Objects 2, edited by Alex Shvartsman.
Read by a full cast!
Rish Outfield as the Narrator
Dave Thompson as Stranger
Big Anklevich as the Tumor
M.K. Hobson as Scaramouche
Wilson Fowlie as Jarhead
Marguerite Kenner as Kelly Kane
LaShawn Wanak as Dr. April Alexander
Nathaniel Lee as Officer Conroy
and Tina Connolly as The Halloween Princess
C.S.E. Cooney, Steve Anderson, Rish Outfield, and Peter Wood as various inanimate objects, reporters, fans, etc.
Stranger shifted in the armchair and forced himself to make eye contact with his therapist: a decapitated head floating in an oversized jar of blue-tinged nutrient fluid. Long gray-blond hair drifted like tentacles. The base of the jar was decorated in a red and yellow floral pattern, reminiscent of the Hawaiian shirts Jarhead wore back in his full-bodied superhero days.
“In all my time on this planet, I’ve never killed anyone,” said Stranger.
“I’ve never _wanted_ to before.”
Jarhead’s voice emerged, slightly mechanical, from a speaker below his chin. “Given your history with Scaramouche, it’s no surprise she knows how to press your buttons.”
Jarhead was a former speedster, a superhero from the seventies whose career on the east coast had come to an abrupt end when his nemesis strung a high-tensile wire across the road at neck height. Only the hyperquick actions of Jarhead’s sidekick Robogirl had allowed him to survive . . . if you could call it survival.
“When do I get to talk? I’ve got traumas of my own, you know!”
Stranger did his best to ignore the taunts, which was difficult, considering they came from within his own bowel.
“It’s talking to you again, isn’t it?” asked Jarhead.
Rated R. Contains F-bombs, potty jokes, superheroes, and cancer.
Please consider donating to the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund, Cancer Research Institute, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, or The American Cancer Society.
Thanks for the stories, and for bearing witness, Jay.