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JOHNNY B. GOODE, his new theme song, was blaring hard from
the speakers outside. They were playing it wherever they could.
“Here’s Johnny!” they would announce from a megaphone that
hung from the bus, crowds and spectators showing up wherever the
action was. Mostly reporters and publicity people, everyone
interested in Johnny and his uncanny ability of fighting crime. His
record of more arrests than any other active officer, with not one
single death. Not even innocent bystanders or pets.
It was a school building he had arrived at, a warm day for the trees
to stand up tall, salutes from the birds in the air, people crowding
around on cement, slipping around on the shadows beneath their
feet.
Told only that a boy inside had taken a classroom hostage and that
it was likely that he didn’t have any weapons, here’s Johnny doing
what Johnny does. A false alarm, but no one wanted to take any
chances, here’s Johnny, ready for that job.
Go Johnny, Go! Go! Go Johnny, Go! Go! Johnny be good.
Here’s Johnny, walking casually in the front doors opening to a
creaking clatter, shutting behind him to an eerie silence. And then
those empty hallways catching the echo of his footsteps as he
headed to the classroom at the end of the hall.
Johnny be good, he sang to himself in his high spirits.
When he reached the doorway he peered around slowly to spy his
way inside. To see if any of the hostages were dead, what else might
be in store for him.
He could see the bodies lying on the floor, the child standing at
the front of the room. The gun in his hand was plastic, perhaps
painted to look like it was real. But it wasn’t, that much Johnny
could tell. A few knocks on the door with his knuckles, here’s
Johnny, watching the child turn his head as Johnny popped open the
door, “Can I come in?” he said in a calm, sensitive voice, “I just
want to talk with you for a moment”
“No!” the boy shook his head, “Stay back or I’ll shoot!” he raised
the gun up and pointed it at Johnny.
Here’s Johnny removing his helmet, closing the door behind him,
“Please,” he said to the boy, “I just want to talk to you. I promise, I
won’t try to stop you. Just for a moment?” he said. Johnny walked
closer to him, “You shouldn’t be pointing guns at people, you
know,” Johnny spoke in his slow, calm tone. Some of the people on
the floor had twisted their heads, looking up at him. Here’s Johnny
stepping over their bodies, trying not to step on anyone’s arms,
“Even if they aren’t real guns,” he said to the boy. The boy looked
at him with a nervous glare, “It’s a real gun!” he yelled, “Don’t
come any closer or I’ll shoot!” Johnny looked at him and smiled.
Here’s Johnny with a wide smirk, confident in his approach, “You
know, the statistics that you’ll end up with a real gun in your hand at
some point in your life is about one in four, according to average
polls,” Johnny suddenly took the helmet in his hands, both hands up
in the air, slipping it back on his head, “And that might be the truth,
that at some point you’ll be holding a real gun instead of a plastic
one that’s been painted black,” he spoke in a muffled tone, robotic,
from the other side of his helmet, “But, just not today,” he said.

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Now, Johnny did something he had been debating not doing,
something he didn’t even have to do. First, he made sure that his
helmet was back on his head, secure.
The child was obviously of no real threat, on some suicide
mission or cry for help. He could have taken the boy down in
several steps, but just to make sure, he leaped forward at the boy,
dishing out a quick bonk to the child’s nose. Not a hard hit, just
enough to send a small stream of blood squirting out to spatter the
chalkboard red behind him. The child was stumbling backwards and
then he hit the floor with a thud.
Here’s Johnny, walking out of the school with the hostages
surrounding him. A large mob of crying victims, everyone
congratulating him, reporters seeking the truth. Only something had
happened when he bonked the child, his helmet had knocked into
The Overider on the back of his neck.
The device had malfunctioned, a minor glitch. Nothing anyone
would notice. Certainly not Johnny who was affected by it most.
Walking out into the morning air, here’s Johnny feeling sun rays
penetrate his every thought, lighting his mind up to a new tingle.
Everything around him looked shady and jagged, lonely and lacking
the usual color of the living world, somehow dulled by everything
else. The expressions on people’s faces seemed tired and fake and
ill. Something else, he felt he could sense danger and death
everywhere. In the garbage can and next to the flagpole across the
courtyard, places where there were normally no such threats.
Suddenly, in deep flashes of light, he could sense many possible
deaths everywhere. The chance of it happening, images of others
dying, a strange storm-cloud of horrible images and people yelling.
Then, it was suddenly gone as quick as it came.
Here’s Johnny keeping his mouth shut about his terrible thoughts.
Go Johnny, Go! Go! Johnny be good.

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Playing his theme song, when he stepped back onto the bus, the
music was bothering him. Much more than ever before. It sounded
like some sort of attack on his ears and his thinking, something else
was happening to him that he couldn’t understand. When the door
came down and he was back with the team, he began to try to
explain it, “I have a theory,” he said to Peter and Valerie and the
others, “That when music gets stuck in the mind, this is part of a
trick and what modern music must have been designed to do is to
remove and overpower the human mind, made for survival, tricking
it into a state of compliance and feeling safe and cheery when
nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. His eyes were
wide and his pupils dilated, black as watermelon pits.
Peter looked at Johnny with a tilt to his head, his eyebrows drawn
up, “Yeah?” he said to the boy. Something wasn’t right. Peter
wasn’t sure what it was but before he could think about it again,
Valerie was calling his attention to a reporter from New York,
standing at the door of the bus, a journalist who had flown all the
way there for Johnny. They wanted to do a story on him for some
other news program, time being of the essence as usual.
“C’mon Johnny,” Peter said to the boy, “You’ve got some more
people to impress. You can tell me all about the music later.”
Here’s Johnny nodding his head.

32

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HE KNEW IT to be a mistake to bonk that child in the face. Johnny,
in fact, had been programmed to go so far as to try to not hurt
people’s feelings. But, what about when not hurting people’s
feelings came in direct conflict with saving people’s lives? he
wondered. The more he wondered, the more questions he had. Also,
the more he could get a sense that something was wrong. Terribly,
finitely wrong. Everywhere, all over the city. Probably all over the
entire world. He could understand that mostly nobody actually gave
a shit about anyone else’s feelings if there wasn’t something for
them to gain in the process. A whole lot of people that were great at
pretending but couldn’t back up the truth.
Johnny could vaguely understand it but not enough to even explain
it to himself, coherently. In the end, all he could do was go around
it, places in his mind that seemed disconnected, wrong.
On he tried to make sense of it all.
When they put him on TV, “I save lives,” he knew to say and not
much more, “I save lives and I don’t end them. That’s why I don’t
need a gun.”
Johnny thought a lot about that statement. What he was told to say
was obviously correct. This meant people were becoming more
aware of it. He had a different approach to disarming conflict and it
was working, but why did it take so long? Guns had been around for
centuries, why now such protest?
Peter knew just how to handle his little concerns, “You have to go
between all those ideas to get to your true feelings, Johnny,” he said,
“And not bottle them up. Let them out appropriately and everything
will come. You’ll see pal. Hang in there.” Peter patted Johnny on
the shoulder to a small sigh and Johnny sighed back to pat Peter on
his hand.
Peter was walking away as Johnny watched the team, hard at
work as usual. Figuring out new routines to train him with, ways to

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save more lives. Johnny was still stuck thinking about Peter. He
respected Peter like a real father but he didn’t understand him
entirely. In most ways he didn’t understand him one bit. It was trust
that he was learning and all he could do was adhere to it. There was
no going between it nor around it. That was the thing about trust, it
didn’t exist unless you subscribed to it, and without it the entire
place was something right out of a nightmare. To him, it seemed
like the trust was so important, that because without the trust you
could see the truth, how horrible people actually were, and
unworthy of the trust. This more than likely meant that the idea of
trust, itself, had some more sinister purpose of its own.
Although he said nothing, Peter could sense that Johnny was
becoming more aware.
“Theresa says that there’s all sort of protesting around the local
communities. As far away as The Valley and San Bernadino. They
want less cops and more Johnnies,” Cole said, looking up from his
phone, turning his head to holler across the room, “You hear that
Johnny?!” he called out, “You’re a big success story and they can’t
get enough of you!”
“Whas up wit dis new word, community?” Tamper groaned in his
response, “Community dis. Community dat,” Tamper shook his
head, “Crazy idea,” he looked right at Cole, standing next to him.
Cole was sweeping up the mess that he was making with an orange
peel, carving it to pieces with a small blade, “There ain’t no
community hurrr’,” Tamper said, sucking the rind, “we in Los
Angeles muthafucka,” he said, drooling out juice from the orange,
“That’s just some trick word to get chump ass punks like you to
believe that the world is some small place, ta make yer small minds
even smaller,” he paused to a slow alight frown, “Tryin’ ta pretend
that helpin’ out other people, people that ain’t never so much as

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even thought of helping you, gonna get you suntin’ better than a
broom handle and a new STD ta’ hold onto.”
As Cole pushed the broom over the floor with one quick sweeping
motion he suddenly shoved it hard between Tamper’s legs who was
sitting up on the table top. Tamper kicked the broom out of his hand
where Cole just stood there staring at him, “C’mon,” Cole said in
his whiny voice, “that wasn’t very nice, Tamper.”
Johnny could hear Peter talking to someone behind him, Theresa
had just walked in the room as well. Everyone was focused on
Tamper and Cole and Johnny wasn’t sure if he was going to have to
break up a fight. Before anyone could do anything, Peter started
yelling. Everyone turned to look at him.
“Damn it Arty!” Peter yelled, his cell phone up to his ear. Peter
was walking away, looking for somewhere more private to speak on
the phone.
Johnny was curios what was going on and everyone else was as
well. He mainly knew Arty as being the go between, between Peter
and Saul, Saul being a go between, between Arty and Herman, and
how Herman didn’t seem to have anyone else he was going to or
through. So high up, it was god, or the president maybe he answered
to. Yes, Herman could go between all of them when need be.
Between all of them and the end of it. Mostly calling Arty and
dealing with Saul, he remembered. And once in a while calling
Peter to say something nice, encourage him, or cautioning him about
failure. The more he thought, the more Johnny wasn’t sure what to
think about the boss of the company or what was in store for them
all.
All of this angry talking between Peter and Arty, though, it sure
meant that something was at work. Also, the more that he paid
attention the more Johnny began to understand these intricate

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relationships and human behaviors were places where people
couldn’t find ways to go around or between things. Like each other.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Peter yelled into the phone from the other
room, his voice was muffled. Everyone was silent like a death in the
family. Trying not to eavesdrop always puts an ear right where it
should be, “Why Arty!? I just don’t get it?”
No going around Arty, for Peter, Johnny could see.
Later that night, through some more eavesdropping, Johnny, while
sticking his head between the crack of a door, found out that Peter
was mad at Arty for feeding secret information to Herman,
betraying his trust. Later still, Tamper was saying something else to
Theresa about it all. More eavesdropping, Johnny was down on his
hands and knees sticking his face between a chair and a desk,
listening in about how Peter was actually angry at Arty for making a
backdoor deal with Porcotech, one of the nation’s leading arms
dealers. Johnny stuck his fingers in both of his ears and sighed.

33

WHEN HIS PANTS came down and he got a good look at his
equipment there were missing pictures in his memory of what was
supposed to be there and the knowledge itself, the reminder that
something was different about him, always followed along with
these intense feelings that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
“Alright Johnny, close your eyes for me and lets get this done?”
Valerie looked at him in his deep black eyes, knowing the

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discomfort he experienced from the enzyme injection. She disliked
giving him the shot, just as much as he disliked taking it, but Jimmy
was out sick for the night and Peter was helping Tamper and Cole
try to get Bruce up off of the floor and back into bed after he
suffered another one of his frequent seizures in the rear lab and
recovery area.
“Ok, mom,” he said, “Lets get it done with,” he smiled, leaning
his head back on folded hands.
He stared up at the light above, a halo of something warm floating
down to put the weight on his eyelids, still squinting his eyes.
Shameful, this is what it felt like having them do that to him. A
jolting rush of something that made him feel even smaller than he
already felt, an involuntary clench to the muscles that ran between
his legs and up in his back.
Johnny of course knew that the majority of humans had genitalia,
constantly using the bathroom wherever they were. At least one in
every building he had had ever been in, you get used to focusing on
these things when you’re different. He knew that boys, and
particularly men, were developed down there, where he was
completely lacking anything but a small hole and a tube.
Valerie was soon finished, patting him on the leg with a flick to
the replaceable tip on the needle. It made a sound like a nutshell
dropping into the waste bag.
“Mom?” Johnny said. Valerie turned, a bit surprised, it had been
weeks now since he had called her that, “Yes, Johnny?”
Johnny looked up at her, his suit still unbuttoned, his legs opened
up to a position of being exposed where he sat.
“How long am I going to live?” he asked her. Valerie nodded to
focus her mind on what and what not to say. Obviously he was
becoming more and more aware, “I don’t know,” she said to him
after a pause, “You’ll have to talk to your father about that.”

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34

EXPECTING BY HIS acceptance of all his expectations,


exceptional in his calculations, but not so sure of himself when it
came to anything new that he was figuring out.
Johnny wanted to simplify it all, the entire world, all of its many
mysteries. But it wasn’t so easy. First, he had to know what was and
what wasn’t, and as the world seemed to be using people to muddle
it all, figuring out what was and what wasn’t seemed to be the trick.
When he broke it down it seemed to him that there were a group of
people like Peter and Valerie and his other friends at The Process,
people who believed that lying to other people is a big mistake. And
then it seemed there was another group of people, people who wore
suits and made lots of deals. Men like Herman and Arty and Saul,
who believed that not lying is a big mistake. Who knows which the
bigger mistake is until the end, Johnny couldn’t calculate that far
ahead. He was told never to lie, and so far it had been working well
enough.
But, that was part of the problem, his thinking didn’t all make
sense. He wanted to break it all down differently, put it together
some way that it worked. A lack of answers can drive one mad. He
did understand that some of his thoughts were dreams and wishes
and others were not. He realized that he had to eliminate all of those
that were to get to the truth, as many of our dreams are false,
fictitious, mere figments of something real. When one popped up he
shook his head, reminded himself of reality. Facing that reality was
much more difficult.

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Like, if you could see all of the images in your dreams and wanted
to trace them with a pen, which ones would you pick and where
would you start drawing your lines and which direction would you
move in and when?
Johnny moved southbound on Cahuenga, his boots sliding across
the cement in long dragging wipes and squeaky clean maneuver. A
boy on a mission for truth, his suit sucked up the sunlight and
dispersed the heat across his sweltering body, ninety degrees and no
desire to stay inside and cool down. Awning to awning, stoop to
stoop, Johnny searched on for the evils of people, hiding in dark
corners, showing from the windows of plaza bodegas and glaring
back from behind the eyes of perps knowing how to pretend. On he
walked, farther and farther into the city streets, burning to a melting
shape of moving scenery scorched and charred by the urban sun.
Stepping back to assess the entire scope of the world, he soon
found himself contained by boxes of streaming entertainment at a
local arcade. So many choices, all it took was a quarter and the
ability to push a button. Move a joystick in different directions, you
could shoot at anyone or anything on that screen. But this had
Johnny wondering again. If they wanted to stop violence so badly,
why were they promoting it, dealing it, showing it, giving it away,
and most of all, selling it at every chance they could get?
A strange smell wafted into the room, bringing Johnny to a sharp
sneeze. It smelled like some sort of horrible flower, something
hacked down from an over-watered lawn. Following the scent took
him into a small corridor off to the side of the arcade where he
stumbled upon three boys all passing around a strange cigarette. He
knew it was some form of a drug that they were smoking, hacking,
coughing, and laughing about not getting caught.
Johnny approached them with a smiling wave, “Hey guys. You’re
not allowed to smoke in here,” he said, “And, by the way, smoking

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is very bad for you. One in five smokers develops some form of
cancer from tobacco. Just thought I’d let you know.”
“Weird,” one of the boys said, “You’re like a little boy but you’re
gray.”
“Did you just call me gay?” Johnny’s look turned to one of
ferocity, his eyebrows turning in to a sharp thrust downward.
“Gray, I said, gray.”
“He said gray,” one of the other boys enthusiastically backed him
up.
“Oh,” Johnny looked around. There was no one else there. No
parental figures or staff members to tell them to stop, “Well, I just
wanted to remind you that crime doesn’t pay,” Johnny said to them
with a hopeful smirk.
“Yes it does,” the third boy finally spoke. He was clutching the
cigarette between two fingers, pinched to a small clasp, “It pays a
lawyer.”
The other two boys looked at him as he smoked and sucked on the
strange cigarette, trying to get smoke from it but it had burnt out,
“Not to forget,” he said with a giggle, “Crime sells also. They sell it
with hip hop, on TV, in magazines, in comic books, and in films.
Not to forget, at arcades. Jam packed in all of these interactive
simulations designed to help you meet life’s challenges in all sorts
of new ways that pay them, selling it to you before they use it
against you. The time you stand there and play the game, a great
way to gear you up for one hell of a fight, once you realize how
much they’re taking,” the child raised his finger to a small gun, the
way Johnny sometimes saw Peter do at The Process, pointing it
right at Johnny’s face. He drew his thumb down and made sounds
like he was shooting a gun. Then, all three of the boys began to
laugh.

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Johnny shook his head, side to side, turning to walk back down
the hallway toward the door he came through.
“You’re that Johnny Non-Lethal superhero kid who’s all over the
news. Right?” the same kid yelled out as he walked away.
“No,” Johnny found himself telling a lie, “I’m just wearing a
costume to look like him. Remember, tomorrow is Halloween,” he
turned and said with a grin.
Lying brought a strange sensation of power. Johnny was realizing
that he could go anywhere and say things that weren’t true about
himself. What he was doing and what he had just done, or just
didn’t do, and most people wouldn’t know whether or not to believe
it. But what had he, himself, been told by others that wasn’t true?
Down the street, Johnny found himself in the parking area of a
used car lot, poking around. A man was standing outside. He wore a
buttoned-up shirt with a bow tie, both hands in his pockets, flaring
his pants out to the sides of his hips.
“You have a funny mustache,” Johnny said to the man, realizing
quickly what he said might be taken wrong, “What’s your name?
My name’s Johnny, by the way. And I’m not here to purchase a
vehicle, I’m just looking around,” he quickly covered for himself.
“Yhezhhh,” the man said, “I know who you are,” he said with a
wide smile, his teeth showing clicked together to a hard bite, “I am
Hector Tepepa and I work here selling these cars. And you, you are
Zjhanny Non-Leeeto. Superheero child and savior to us allll.”
Johnny looked the man up and down, again. The man was still
smiling, ear to ear. He couldn’t tell if the man was being friendly or
sarcastic, like Tamper often was with Cole back at The Process.
“You look at me like I’m up to zometheeng, Zjhanny,” the
salesman finally said, “But here, I have done notheeng wrong.”
“Really?” Johnny played right along.

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“Yhezhhh,” Hector announced in his strange accent, bending a bit
backward at the hips and bobbing about in the wind, “Like all of
thee maneepulative peeople you work zo hard to zstop,” Hector was
pointing a finger at him as he spoke, “Thee ones who want to take
charge of your theenking. Deecide how you process and
compartmentalize thee entire theeng.” Hector flicked all of his
fingers up at the air like a magician. Like he was trying to make the
entire world disappear, but it was still there putting sweat on his
brow.
“So they can sell me a car?” Johnny asked.
“No Zhjanny. So they can sell you your doom.”
Down the street a bit farther, Johnny was stopped to stare into a
store window. The lights were off, the store was closed and the sun
was going down. Inside the window, between the toy trains and the
remote controlled helicopters, the stuffed animal bears and lions,
and dogs, Johnny found a familiar face peering back, just past a dark
reflection of himself shimmered across the glass. The latest
superhero, in a box - Johnny Non-Lethal, the doll. A spitting image
of himself, the doll stared out from a plastic film covering his box
enclosure, plastic ties holding him in to the coffin of cardboard and
plastic trim. Seeing himself in the box, it brought an uneasy feeling
to his stomach, a slight clench of steady glare sprouting out from
around his eyes. He didn’t like the idea of being trapped in a box
and he couldn’t really explain why. He also wasn’t sure he liked all
of the attention he was getting anymore.
Some more walking, Johnny found his shadow to be the only
thing following him as he rearranged himself in a moving construct
of different angles to fit in with the shapes of the city petering out
behind him, moving uphill and into the shade. Orange and purple
and red, the sky fell apart to a dissolving abyss by tall palm trees
that reached for the stars, looking like the heads of extravagant

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birds, wetting their faces in water fountains to explode up into the
air and howl at the approaching night.
Passing the film studios and giant shopping plazas soon he was
back at his favorite spot. A small parking lot next to some vacant
buildings looking out over downtown and the rest of the city. The
same place he had sat with Kent during his training day, learning
about his work.
Sitting back against an empty dumpster, Johnny found a pleasant
view between bricks and old store windows broken by stone.
Looking down over the highway he could see sirens flashing, pink
and blue lights, police pulling over commuters, issuing tickets, now
without their guns, a city wide law that had recently been passed.
Thanks, in part to him, no less.
The silhouettes of police in their uniforms, leaning in car
windows, talking to people behind their vehicles. Too far away to
see anyone’s faces, he could imagine what they were speaking about
down there in the shadows and the shade and the dark.
“I’m not doing the wrong thing, should I be concerned?” most of
them would be asking at some point during the probing and
questioning and blatant intrusion of their privacy, “Well, if you’re
not doing the wrong thing then you have nothing to worry about,”
most of the police would respond. He could even imagine a more
detailed scenario, someone being heckled for something minor.
Perhaps for using a radar detector, a perfect example of how most of
the law was constructed. Sold and charged for the time that it took
to install it, making the commuters even more paranoid and aware
of the police as the police found a new way to turn it all around for a
bigger ticket, using lines like, “Well, you were obviously doing
something wrong by trying to outsmart the law, buying the radar
detector in the first place.” And yet, this was helping Johnny realize
that it was all about profit, that was how it really worked. Not set up

15
for the safety of the commuters, for the general citizen’s well being,
nor for upholding justice or serving the public. It was all about
taking, and mostly taking from the weak and disadvantaged. Justice
means righting something that’s wrong and watching those cops, he
understood, this was about as far from that idea as possible.
He watched on as the sun sank farther and the red of all eternity
bled out into a horizon for a wicked darkness to meet with the
failing light, all those eyes down there finding a new perspective for
seeing it all. His back pressed against the metal of the garbage can,
his hands sitting on his legs tucked squat underneath his knees, he
watched those tiny cars driving forward in their long lines, people
driving too fast, the police picking and choosing who to pull over.
But, where would anybody be going? They were all driving in
circles, he understood. Told to have faith that they were going to get
rich and that things were going to change as the greedy built one
more business to trick the needy during their busy schedules trying
to survive. One more stop to walk down one more endless isle, just
to take more of their time, divide them further in their minds,
pushed into an endless debt, stuck and going nowhere. Who cares
what speed you’re moving toward this at?
Johnny was finally beginning to see it clearly, his first visions of
the inner-workings of this thing they all called ‘capitalism’. How it
all really worked. Tying up loose ends the world seems to be tying
up people to their deaths during the process of shifting their
positions as slave laborers, doing away with them as they got
smarter and figured out more about what was going on. The entire
thing appears as such a trick, profiteers had to be at least somewhat
behind it. He thought a lot about children, some of which he had
approached on the job. All of those good children everywhere, being
trained to figure out all of these problems, straining their minds
while stuck in deep moral dilemmas, learning political correctness

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and tolerance for things no one should have to tolerate while a
whole other group of people used them, profited off of them, stole
their time, their answers, their money, set them up to be servants
and do-gooders, tricked them into being loyal to a group of
criminals pretending to be authorities, people that had no intentions
of being loyal back to them. Apparently, to treat someone good for
doing good was too expensive. And so, the people that had the most,
must be depending on those that did not, to make the wrong choices,
for them to continue to profit. All of it explained by math. And this,
indeed, was a dangerous form of justice. He felt terrible for the
children that would never understand it and terrible for the outcome
of this horrible way that the world had become. This way, at some
point there would only be laws and rules left and nobody to defend
them, uphold them, or eventually, even live by them, which, he was
sure that most people already knew not to do if it could even be
done. Which it can’t, he reminded himself. He was as perfect as
they came and he still knew that there were laws that he was
breaking. What kind of justice was this? The only rules that haven’t
been broken are those backed by science, such as the speed of light,
and even those rules are being tested, he reminded himself. Nothing
was exact or actually just. Tricky loopholes everywhere to protect
something, definitely not him. Then, the mixed messages about
violence, sent to the youngest of children in particular. But, where
were they all coming from? Parents are supposed to love and protect
their young. He couldn’t see Peter or Valerie being so cruel and why
would they do that to him? It didn’t make sense at all.
He sat up straight, his head was hurting and things were getting
cloudy again in his thoughts. The sky itself was a beautiful blazing
mix of wild colors and turning to black where the darkness was
descending behind, kissing up against his neck by a blanket of cool
windy air.

17
Maybe my enzyme formula is running low in my blood he said to
himself. Perhaps also, The Overider had something wrong with it,
he thought.
And perhaps something is wrong in my mind, he said.
He could see these blue flickering dots sometimes at the end of his
vision. A few more popped up as he watched the silhouettes of those
commuters hurrying around down below.
Laying his head against the brick wall, next to the dumpster, he
could feel the warmth of the sun sucked out of the city and soaking
into him the way it had soaked right into the stone. Life is a strange
situation for us all, he said to himself. The whole weight of the
world on your shoulders and no one around to notice it when all of it
comes collapsing down to the ground.
From a ticking reminder on a digital sign flashing in the square
beneath, he suddenly realized that it was much later than he had
thought. Peter and the others would be worried about where he was.

18

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