Harvey Draper strolled down the street, eyes glued to the screen of his brand new phone. At last, his teacher salary was paying off. His first raise! Of course, it was the standard cost-of-living increase his contract demanded, but he didn’t care. He took that extra money and bought – for the first time in his adult life – a brand new smartphone. He rationalized the extravagance as a necessary home phone number coupled with the advantage of unlimited information at his fingertips! He was a TEACHER, for God’s sake. What business did he have not owning a cell phone, like some sort of luddite? It was about time he made use of this technology – for the good of his students, of course.
His thoughts pulled him into previously unknown heights. True, his girlfriend had seemed unhappy with him lately, accusing him of being “emotionally inaccessible,” – whatever THAT meant. He felt things strongly, his emotions almost overpowered him at times – but he could never put what he felt into words. At least now, she couldn’t complain about not being able to reach him. Maybe he should call her? As he continued walking to class, he decided to cut through the park. Buoyed by bliss, his feet barely touched the ground… And then he realized they didn’t.
Caught off guard, he gasped. The shock reflexively caused him to extend his arms, why he couldn’t guess. Maybe some evolutionary throwback or reflex, an insane impulse to flap his arms like a bird or kick as though he could swim through the air… Though there wasn’t even a breeze on this cool, clear, sky blue day. He realized he should be panicking, but he merely glided up into the lower branches of a nearby tree, like an errant balloon. Luckily, the park was sparsely peopled this time of day, the only witnesses to his aerial feat were birds and a few puzzled squirrels.
His mind strayed back to the cell phone, still clutched in one hand. Wildly, he realized that he could google “squirrel facial expressions” while stuck in a freakin’ tree. How cool was that?
How was he going to get out of this tree?
No, it wasn’t panic that filled his soul but elation! Pure joy in the power of his flight, no matter how dangerous or uncontrolled. Perhaps he would join the pantheon of the world’s super-powered defenders, be one of those proud individuals marked for greatness! His body moved upward with each blissful thought, imagining his future heroics and how impressed his girlfriend would be. Noticing the correlation between his philosophical heights and his physical one, he took a chance, gave a quick glance around to make sure no other humans spotted him, and pushed off from the tree’s embrace.
He wondered if there was a cell phone tower close by. Would he get better access if he flew closer to one? How would he even get there?
What the hell was he thinking?
Spitting out a few leaves, he was amazed to discover he soared higher and higher. Birds gazed at him quizzically as he floated past. He spread his arms once more, but this time concentrated on the direction he wanted to go. He whizzed past apartment buildings, soared to the heights of the city’s tallest skyscraper, swooped down with his arms angled before him as though aiming for the ground before sailing back up into the blue.
Flying round a cell phone tower, he realized that through all his experiments he had instinctively held on to his new electronic gadget, the impetus for his latest discovery. He soared a bit higher as he realized he could now text his girlfriend, why hadn’t he thought of that before? Yet another new achievement! – though markedly less impressive than his new super-powered flight. Harvey soon found himself outside the window of her ninth-story apartment, floated outside its drawn curtains, texting her to come to the window “because there was something she just had to see.”
Her reply was succinct. “I don’t care. I’m breaking up with you.”
The moment Harvey read those glowing words, the wind refused to support him. He plummeted to the concrete below. Soon, his girlfriend heard the sound of sirens outside her building and drew the curtains to see the tragedy below. Apparently another would-be hero had failed to survive discovering his superpower.
Poor, flat bastard.