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Michael Mell should, at some point, get his shit together. In his head, that means making a solid, physical list of the world as he experiences it. If he can see it all in plain text, then he can process it and plan his next steps accordingly.

He’s a little busy chasing down a guy who literally vomits rats that give people incredibly advanced diseases, so he puts a pin in it.

Time around him slows. Literally. It seems, to the standard stranger, that his superpower was incredible speed, but that wasn’t quite right. He could just edit the flow of time around him, stretching or shortening it as he pleases. He could also make little pockets and loops, but those were a lot more unstable and required serious testing before he felt comfortable trying them out in the field.

For now, he was content with slowing everything to a near halt so he could stop this guy from actually genuinely throwing up rats and giving everyone in the vicinity Super Syphilis or whatever.

Slowing everything down also meant he could do this at a light jog, which is pretty great because he really shouldn’t have done those three extra sets of squats earlier. Being a superhero required getting in shape, and Rich recently started tagging along for his trips to the gym, insisting that having a buddy there would keep him from quitting. He wasn’t sure why they stayed buddies post-SQUIPcident, but having something other than himself to focus on was okay, and it meant that he actually pushed himself to get stronger.

His desire for a better butt was really neither here nor there. Doesn’t matter right now, because he’s about to give this poor rat-infested motherfucker the most unexpected sucker punch known to man. He’d learned, after some fucking around alone in his room, that his time-manipulation thing affected the impacts of nearly any hit he gave. If he gave it his full force, he could actually kill someone instantly. Hell, even half-force could ruin someone’s life. It really felt ridiculous to play-fight with real life villains, but he had too much of a heart to permanently injure someone, let alone kill them. He usually settled for knocking their lights out, then leaving the rest to the police.

The media loved it. They constantly drew the obvious comparisons, mostly Spiderman and Batman (and some occasional Deadpool on YouTube news channels), but they never gave him a nickname. He was always “the masked vigilante”, or, sometimes, “the man in green.” That one was kinda cool, but it felt too vague to use as an official superhero name. That was seriously gonna be his top priority when he made that list, because having to compartmentalize his secret identity was incredibly hard when he didn’t have a name for it.

He started pushing time back to its regular flow, trying to press down on the nausea he felt. Yeah, he should’ve ran over here. Staying outside of the regular flow for too long always made him feel sick. Ratguy over here was out cold, and the citizens had their phones out.

He definitely dug this part. He didn’t even have to smile under the mask. He could make any face he wanted to, frankly, and nobody could say shit, because he just saved them thousands in hospital bills. He hauled Vommy McRodent over his shoulder, gave everyone a quick peace sign, and slowed everything back down.

He didn’t have far to go. The police department basically had direct routes to his regular criminal drop-spots by now. Always in plain sight, ready to be cuffed and hauled off. It was a pretty sweet deal for them, even if they didn’t like that he swung in and was immediately a hundred times better at their job than they ever were. Oopsie-daisy, sorry not sorry. He loved that they were the only people that hated him. Well, superhero him. Regular Guy Michael Mell wasn’t really hated by anyone. He only knew of seven people in total that liked him enough to call him a friend, and everyone else was just kind of lukewarm about him. It was cool. He liked that most people just tolerated him outside of his hobby. It made it so much easier to get this hero business out of the way.

Speaking of, his work here was done. He dashed down the alleyway, made a couple of turns, and ended up at the dumpster that he usually hid his shit behind. He kicked on jeans, shoved his hoodie over his head, and changed from his weirdo boots into regular old Converse. Mask and boots were shoved to the bottom of his bag, and he was just another guy. He slipped back into the flow, took a couple deep breaths, and walked back from the gross alleyway to the trusty parking compound where he left his car.

All in all, he’s had a good day. He deserved to reward himself. Slushie time.


One Seven-Eleven trip and three trig assignments (god, he hated playing catch-up) later, Michael sat down in front of his computer and opened up a fresh Word document. List time.


       Super To-Do List:

  1. Figure out superhero name!
  2. Find better suit material.
  3. Nausea relief???
  4. Tell best friend that you’ve got a stupid crush and also that you’re a superhero.


Yeah, that one was too far-fetched. He pressed the backspace until he was left with three items on his weird-ass itinerary. The first one was going to be the most difficult, so he put one of those squiggly things by it for now. That was going to require a whole other list, and he planned on sleeping before midnight tonight.

Jenna Rolan, as far as he was aware, was a seamstress. She mentioned it under her breath a few times, and she wasn’t the only listener in their grade. Maybe he could ask her about fabric?

His first and only costume was a spandex nightmare. He had zero sewing experience and about fourteen more thumbs than he needed, and it showed. The stitches were bunched-up and ugly, and he honestly only wore it because he spent a lot of money on fabric online and didn’t want to throw it out.

Talking to anyone even remotely popular, even if they were sort of his pals, was really not a thing he ever wanted to do, though. Ever. He was better than Jeremy at hiding it, but he still had mad social anxiety. His throat closed, he mixed up his words, and, frankly, he didn’t know how to stop himself from saying dumb shit. Saying anything more than “hi” or a quick quip that he spent at least 20 minutes rehearsing in his head was a dangerous game.

But now his brain was completely off track, because there was never a moment in his life where Jeremy Heere wasn’t a perfectly constructed distraction. Thinking about him was easier than blinking, more consistent than a heartbeat. Even through the weird-ass robopocalypse abandonment fiesta last fall, he loved him like nothing else.

Of course, he’d never tell him, and he was good at being content with staying best friends forever. Jeremy had never really expressed interest in dating guys, and Michael never really had the guts to ask. There was very little hope that Jeremy wasn’t straight. Shotgunning and that one time after seeing Deadpool in theaters notwithstanding.

So, all he had left on his list was nausea stuff. God, Google knew how to deliver the best news ever right when he needed it. Pickled ginger, commonly paired sushi, was a common nausea reliever. Fuck yeah. Was there anything that couldn’t be fixed with a Seven-Eleven run?