“Ordinary Wishes”

In the morning when I wake, I pull on my cloak. The heavy material draws my shoulders down and back. I have no choice but to stand straight, aligning my spine beneath the weight.

Across the bed, I can see your back and ass as you hunch over. You are slipping on those leather boots. The little wings that hang flaccid at the sides perk up as your feet slide in. By the time you stand, the wings tremble in anticipation of the day.

I hate wearing the mask. Anonymity might protect our privacy, but it eliminates endorsement opportunities. We live just above the poverty line, trying not to argue about food and rent.

During the aftermaths and chaos that follow yet another saving of humanity, I usually stand around like a bellhop, coughing into one hand, my other discreetly open, but everyone acts busy.  No one ever says, “Hey, you just saved mankind, here’s a week in Maui, some spending money, and why don’t we get a little something into your 401K?” So, I fly off; my fist first, my chin close behind, my body following in aerodynamic efficiency. Beneath the mask, I am grim and resentful.

Maybe I seem larger than life to them, but I dropped out of high school. This is the only thing I know. Ethics, like my cape, insulates me, keeps me in line.

With your boots on you stand and your body shimmers into a representation of clothing. You’re wearing the dark blue, plaid pleated skirt, and starched white blouse I like so much. You shake your pageboy and give me the sly smile. Yeah, I remember. We did that one a couple of nights ago. I acknowledge your suggestion by pumping my fist for you. You like the fist. But the world needs saving so you shimmer into your work uniform. We look at each other and sigh.

We’ve talked about getting an agent, someone who could help us capitalize. We don’t want any more work, we want money. Lately, I’ve been thinking of robbing a bank or a casino. Fuck ethics—just once. It would be so easy. You could make a public appearance somewhere, morphed as me, while I pull it off. In the aftermath, I’d have news conferences and deny everything. I’d vow to catch the copycat. We could hide the money for a couple of months, and then just drop out of sight.

Jesus, Gandhi and Mother Theresa may have enjoyed selfless acts, but they were never in love. Their ecstasies might have been pure, but ours are raunchy, sticky and sweet. You bring out the superhero in me. I want to scrape your knees across the carpet until they are raw, tie you up, feed you bon-bons, wear out a twelve-pack of D-cell batteries, get kicked out of hotels and leave hundred dollar tips.

When we get old, I want us to remember—not how we defeated arch-rivals with spikes coming out of their shoulders, or a two-headed woman whose breath could bring on the next ice age. When we get old, I want to wake up in the tropics, late, cup your soft breast in my hand, cuddle and go back to sleep.

 

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About Richard Rutherford

Richard C Rutherford is previously published in Conclave: A Journal of Character, upcoming in Hypertext and he reads Julia Whitty, Kevin Barry, DeLillo, Traci Foust. He believes that hand held phones and the need to use them creates a growing market. He intends to work the supply side. He has a collection of shorts, flashes, and micros.