- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

Though I would rather not discuss or even remember some of Larabee’s experiments in his “holy quest” to find me clothes that would stretch with my various states of being, I cannot gloss over them so easily. For one thing, despite my best efforts, he has photographic evidence. For another, the most disastrous mishap was also the most useful.

It all began when Larabee decided to bring up the forbidden spandex.

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“I’m telling you, our best bet is spandex.”

Clayton shook his head firmly. That was not happening. Ever. He would not do it. “Larabee, I work for the CIA in the mail department or archives, and if I get lucky, someday I’ll have a tiny little cubicle. I cannot wear spandex.”

“That’s just what you do now. When you master your power, you will need an alter ego. And spandex.”

“No spandex, no tights,” Clay insisted grumpily. His arthritis was acting up again. It had been Larabee’s not-so-brilliant idea to test the feel of this particularly allergenic fabric on an older body. Now Clay had hives and arthritis, and he was not happy about it. “What am I supposed to do, drool on the bad guy?”

“Well… you should see your face right now, Clay. You’d scare anyone.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Clay said with a grim smile. He nodded. This could work. “Then I’ll shift into a little kid and claim I’ve never been so scared in my whole life of the big, bad man that killed poor idiotic Larabee.”

“Hey,” Larabee protested, holding up his hands in surrender. “Is this any way to treat your friends?”

“Friends don’t let friends wear spandex.”

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“Come on.”



“Hell, no.”

“You have to at least try the spandex. Think about it. It might not be the most ideal thing, given your insane hatred for the fabric, but you are going to have to do this. Just once. If we can make the spandex work—”

“No. No. No,” Clayton repeated. He shook his head, pointing a finger at Larabee. “I don’t care what your brilliant idea is. I am not wearing spandex. Or a superhero costume. You know what I think might be the only use for my ability? Spying. Yes. Spying. I think I might be able to make that work.”

Larabee studied him. “Like this?”

Clayton resisted the urge to strangle the other man. “Look, I know that you don’t get it. It’s not going to change if I get a handle on my power. I’ll still be stuck with a lame one. Yes. But I can be that overlooked old man who seems to have fallen asleep on the park bench. They’d say anything because I’m asleep and deaf and—what is that? That is the most awful looking spandex that I have ever seen, and you are not getting me to wear that. Never.”

“I was thinking about your costume.”

“And I am thinking I’ll kill myself first.”

“Super old guy? With the checkered golf pants and the suspenders. It’s perfect!”

“This is why you haven’t come up with anything? You’ve been screwing around, making up stupid costumes, haven’t you?”

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