Johnny America


The Rise and Fall of Su­per Town


Well, the free ride was over. Our alien su­per suits had had enough. With­out a word, they tore them­selves from our naked bod­ies and float­ed off in­to the night.

We didn’t know it then, but our su­per suits were dis­ap­point­ed in us. Ap­par­ent­ly, they came here from a dy­ing plan­et to help mankind ad­vance to a New Gold­en Age. Maybe they’d giv­en us this in­for­ma­tion three months ago, when they first land­ed in our town, but we didn’t re­mem­ber that stuff any­more. We didn’t have to re­mem­ber any­thing — we were in su­per suits.

We could fly, shoot lasers, ma­nip­u­late time, and lift up cars and throw them at any de­pres­sion lin­ger­ing from our for­mer lives. And if a bank rob­ber was be­hind our de­pres­sion at that time? All the better.

Word of our new alien su­per suits trav­eled fast. “Su­per Town Suit­ed for Su­per Fu­ture” the pa­pers wrote. Folks came from five coun­ties over to take our pic­tures and touch us. But af­ter watch­ing us fly around ex­hibit­ing our su­per pow­ers for sev­er­al weeks, the pub­lic sud­den­ly ex­pect­ed us to ush­er in a new gold­en age. We kind­ly de­clined. All we want­ed was to be left alone to hap­pi­ly fly around or shoot lasers in our Laser Range (for­mer­ly Town Hall). We learned quick­ly that we weren’t al­lowed to be hap­py. Hap­pi­ness was re­served for those who com­plained about every­thing we were doing.

Short­ly af­ter our fall­out with the lo­cal pub­lic, the en­tire world start­ed to ha­rass us too. Folks ex­pect­ed us to solve every world prob­lem, cure every dis­ease. We even made it to the New York Times “Fash­ion and Style” sec­tion un­der the head­line “No Style.” Which was even more in­sult­ing be­cause we thought we’d had a damned good amount of style.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the su­per suits de­cid­ed they’d had enough and aban­doned us in the night. It was a hor­ri­ble rev­e­la­tion to wake to — es­pe­cial­ly since our legs had at­ro­phied from in­ac­tiv­i­ty. Ap­par­ent­ly, in ad­di­tion to the New Gold­en Age speech, we were in­struct­ed not to stay in our su­per suits for a pro­longed amount of time. But how were we sup­posed to re­mem­ber that when we could ma­nip­u­late time?

Dev­as­tat­ed and alone, we crawled out of our hous­es that morn­ing naked as the day we merged. We watched as our alien su­per suits gath­ered in the sky. We thought this spelled the end and wait­ed to be smote. Then, it got even worse. The su­per suits re­de­ployed to Earth and flew right past us and in­to the woods sur­round­ing our town. There, slow­ly and de­lib­er­ate­ly, they at­tached to near­ly all the avail­able wood­land animals.

Al­most sec­onds af­ter the Great Sac­ri­lege, the su­per an­i­mals sprung in­to ac­tion. And as if im­me­di­ate­ly pro­mot­ing cease­fires, cur­ing glob­al ills and help­ing mankind progress to a new gold­en age wasn’t enough, the su­per an­i­mals de­cid­ed they’d build a new utopi­an so­ci­ety for them­selves, right in our woods, right where we could see. The su­per an­i­mals’ utopia wasn’t great. It most­ly ran on wood and wa­ter and oth­er bor­ing junk. But the pa­pers were all over it, like every­thing else the su­per an­i­mals did. “A So­ci­ety Where Guns On­ly Ex­ist in Mu­se­ums,” they called it.

We let the ver­min know ex­act­ly how we felt about their new so­ci­ety. We dragged our­selves to their utopia and knocked over im­por­tant pieces of it in the night. We crawled around, spit­ting on every­thing we could find and gen­er­al­ly rais­ing hell.

Hard as we tried though, the su­per an­i­mals didn’t care enough to en­gage us. They just qui­et­ly re­built any de­struc­tion we’d caused the night be­fore. And when the an­i­mals would spot us crawl­ing around try­ing to hide from them, they’d use the su­per suits to cre­ate wheel­chairs for us. A deer even ma­nip­u­lat­ed time and of­fered us the future’s cure for mus­cle de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. But we spat on those of­fer­ings. We were men and we didn’t take char­i­ty — es­pe­cial­ly not from filthy, God­less animals.

Af­ter we’d seen enough of the an­i­mal utopia and how its in­hab­i­tants re­act­ed to our ag­gres­sion, we de­cid­ed that was that. We held a town hall meet­ing in one of our more pop­u­lar al­ley­ways (the orig­i­nal Town Hall now rub­ble from past laser­ings) and in­vit­ed the su­per an­i­mals to lis­ten as we read a pre­pared state­ment. We is­sued our tem­po­rary sur­ren­der in the human/animal war of at­tri­tion. We ad­mit­ted par­tial de­feat and told the su­per an­i­mals they had qua­si-won. We asked them to go back to their utopia in peace, but to al­so go to hell while they were at it.

These days we are qui­et­ly re­gain­ing our strength. We live off the bas­kets of fresh fruit that are mys­te­ri­ous left dai­ly in front of our shanties. As our mus­cles grow, we’re us­ing our new­found en­er­gy to build a new town — a place where peo­ple can hap­pi­ly re­main ap­a­thet­ic but al­so turn vi­o­lent when they get strong enough. It will be a town that open­ly re­jects all alien su­per suits, gov­ern­ment and an­i­mals. A town to ri­val any utopia. A town where mu­se­ums on­ly ex­ist in guns.

Filed under Fiction on May 31st, 2010

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