ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, and fills the "evening the odds" square in my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by an anonymous donation. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains a few touchy bits; highlight for spoilery warnings. There is bullying, fighting, breath control, threats to prized possessions, and other shenanigans. If these are sensitive topics for you, think carefully before clicking through.


"Fair Game"


Antimatter hadn't even kidnapped Angelica
when Stalwart Stan punched him in the face.

All he'd been doing was teaching the older boys
in the project barn that he was nobody's easy victim.
They had threatened to wreck his display
of hand-tinted crystal photomicrographs
and said it wasn't as good as theirs --
a twelve-foot stalk of corn, really? --
so he had tweaked the laws of physics
just enough to make the air solidify around them.

Stalwart Stan broke Antimatter's concentration,
and the other boys fled the barn in haste.

Antimatter was far from beaten, though;
he fairly danced around Stalwart Stan,
tapping him with dainty fists and watching him
fly backward through the air due to a
greater than equal reaction, evening the odds.

Stalwart Stan just dusted himself off
and barreled back into the fight.
"What made you go after those guys?"
he demanded as he swung.

"They touched my stuff!" Antimatter snapped,
dodging the blow but admiring its power.

"That doesn't make it okay for you
to smother them!" said Stalwart Stan.

Antimatter had never intended to do that,
not really; he would have let them go
as soon as they fainted.

He ducked under Stalwart Stan's fist
and thickened the air again.
Then he snatched away the fetish
that gave Stalwart Stan his superpowers.

Stalwart Stan gave him a pleading look,
his eyes showing white all around the blue.

Antimatter grinned at him, dangling the fetish.
"I'll just go stash this somewhere," he said.
"Have fun trying to find it."

As he left the barn, he flicked a hand
to the release the air back to normal.
He could hear Stalwart Stan
whooping for breath behind him.

Antimatter found a pink ribbon
trailing from a burst balloon,
and tied the ribbon into his hair.
He stuffed two handfuls of paper towels
down the front of his t-shirt.

Then he hid the fetish in the ladies' room.

Antimatter disposed of his disguise,
then bought himself a candy apple,
glossy and red and beautiful.

He strolled around the county fair,
watching Stalwart Stan search the place.
It wasn't quite as satisfying as he had hoped,
and something left a bitter taste in his mouth.

"Stupid artificial ingredients," Antimatter grumbled.
"Next time I'll buy from the organic booth."

* * *

Notes:

Victimization is a complex topic. Bullies tend to choose their targets carefully, and most of them want an easy victim. Although there is some debate, people who fight back are usually punished, which rewards the bullies with a supply of unresisting victims. The victim-blaming contributes to the problem. In a world with superpowers, that is even more dangerous than it is here. While Antimatter is far from blameless, he doesn't start fights nearly as often as people think.

Photomicrographs are pictures taken through a microscope, such as these of minerals. Colors may be obtained by lighting, dyes, or digital editing. Read instructions for taking photomicrographs.

Fairs often have a contest for the tallest corn, and yes, it can get over twelve feet high.

Oxygen deprivation quickly shuts down the human brain. This is the key behind a blood choke in martial arts, and it is dangerous. Antimatter doesn't really know yet how risky this is.

Feeling helpless is a major contributing factor in trauma and PTSD. There are ways to deal with feeling powerless. Antimatter knows perfectly well that he's being mean to Stalwart Stan, but has no idea how much it scares him to be helpless. Stan has a thing about always being prepared, and if he's unable to respond in an emergency, he feels guilty.

Destroying someone's possessions is an established form of abuse; threatening or hiding them is a related version. Playing keep-away with something is yet another variation, popular among bullies; although usually performed by tossing, some bullies prefer hiding.

Dress-up is a children's game with many benefits. Some boys like to dress up as girls, and that's okay. Although Antimatter is definitely a young man, he is comfortably in touch with his feminine side. A background in dress-up and other imaginative play lends itself well to disguise. Antimatter is capitalizing on his assets and available materials to pull off a clever -- if wicked -- deceit. But don't worry, Stalwart Stan's fetish is a clingy MacGuffin. It can be taken, but always finds its way back to him.

Candy apples are traditional fair food. They may be done with toppings or a flavoring such as cinnamon. There are even sugar-free versions, like this recipe for caramel apples. A drawback is that artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners taste bitter to some people.

Revenge is a complicated topic. It can make you feel better, or worse. Even though people believe that revenge will help, it more often leaves them wracked with guilt. There are ways to overcome feelings of guilt. Antimatter and Stalwart Stan, like many villain/hero pairs, have a tendency to go round-and-round like this.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-18 04:00 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Lovely double-sense pen(-)ultimate stanza.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-19 04:25 am (UTC)
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
• to the release the air back to normal.
-> to release

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