Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Superhero Bar Stories: Road Trip!

What? Yeah, I'm still here. No, no family visit for me. It's not like crime takes a holiday - if anything, it's the other way around. Lots of packages being delivered, lots of people in a spirit of giving, and plenty of criminals ready to take advantage of both. Plus the people who are solid citizens for the other three hundred and fifty-eight days of the year, but just go completely batshit for this one week. So, no: I'll still be here, still be running my patrols. Ready to lend a hand, that's me.

Not that I'd mind visiting the family. It's just... we get together off-season, y'know? There's still some bad blood over our parents' grand ideas for past holidays.

Yeah, all right, I guess I should explain that. And I guess that means trying to explain my family.

...So give me a minute.

Okay, here's how it looks: my parents both had powers, but neither of them were big names. My father could locate anything, as long as he knew it existed. Technically, he worked for the office; but he was almost always out on loan to some police department. A few days here, a few days there; half his career was spent in transit. You'd think that would make him happy to come home, but no: he loved to travel. My mother was a low-level telepath: she could read people's minds, but only if they were fairly close and she knew they were there. She was in law enforcement, too. That was how they met. Only she stayed with one department, working as an investigator. So when she had some free time, she liked to travel.

What that meant for the three of us - I have two sisters - was that every time a vacation rolled around, we had "family time". "Family time" inevitably meant some sort of road trip. And our road trips inevitably turned into disasters.

My older sister had a tendency to burst into flames when she was upset. Or when she needed to use the bathroom. When she was twelve, she burned through the window on a station wagon that was supposed to be fireproof. My younger sister was a Viewer. She'd leave the television on at home, and watch it from... well, wherever we happened to be. Even on the road. So family time with her meant being completely ignored, and knowing that she was probably having a lot more fun than I was.

Then there was me. I tried, but I didn't really didn't have control of my power until I was fourteen or fifteen. Since my power is not being noticed, well... you wouldn't believe the number of picnic areas, gas stations, and restaurants I got left behind at. My parents once reached Grandma's house on a Friday night, Christmas Eve, and didn't notice I was gone until some time after everyone had opened their presents on Christmas morning. My dad could find me, of course, but that didn't help if he didn't realize I was missing. By the time he drove back to get me, I'd missed almost the entire holiday, and he had to pay for the forty-five dollars and sixty-seven cents in snacks I'd eaten.

So... Yeah. Holidays have bad associations. Now that we're all adults, we get together on our own schedule... and we don't take trips together when we do it.


  1. The idea of being/being responsible for a child with a sporadically-incontinent perception filter is pretty terrifying, especially one that is so strong it prevents people from noticing their absence as well as their presence. A younger kid might not be able to implement coping mechanisms that rely on their end of things, but I'm surprised the parents didn't become obsessive checklist-users or somesuch.

  2. In this case, it's not that you can't notice his absence - it's that he's there-but-unnoticeable so frequently that if you panicked every time you couldn't see him, you'd be completely insane. His parents adopted a "he'll show back up, just give him a few minutes" mindset in self-defense.


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