ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is kind of an elegy, thus posted free. It fills the "coma" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"Friendship Is Important"


By the time Joan Henson finally
talked her husband Tim into the hospital,
he could barely breathe.

The doctors diagnosed
a severe bacterial infection of the lungs,
which they treated with aggressive antibiotics,
but nothing seemed to help.

Tim Henson slipped into a coma.

"I'm so sorry," said Dr. Chakraborty.
"There's just nothing else we can do.
The world will miss him so much.
My children learned to speak English
from watching Semolina Lane."

Joan just held her husband's limp hand and cried.


When Tim Henson woke up,
he felt perfectly fine,
better than he had in years.

Joan was asleep over the foot of his bed,
and someone had tucked a Floppit under his hand.
The hospital sounded oddly quiet at first,
then even noisier than ever.

A policeman stuck his head into the room
and then yelled, "Nurse! Nurse!
Mr. Henson is awake."

Nurses and doctors swarmed around Tim's bed,
urgently checking the state of his health,
but the findings made little sense to them.

"I don't ... I don't think I'm sick anymore,"
he said, as baffled as they were.

"Well, either you just experienced a miracle,
or somebody healed you," said Dr. Chakraborty.

Joan woke up and started crying again,
but this time they were happy tears.
Tim clung to her for comfort.

"Do you remember anything that happened?"
one of the policemen asked Tim.
"Somebody infiltrated the hospital
then stunned a bunch of security guards,
along with some of the staff on this floor.
All the cameras have been wiped clean."

"No, I don't remember anything," Tim said.
"I wish I could be of more help."

"Maybe Taggert the Toad saw something,"
the officer said with a wink, nodding at
the Floppit which lay by Tim's side, distinctive
with its warty green skin and black freckles.

It was an old habit, an old comfort,
for Tim to slip his hand into the soft puppet
and say, "Hello, I'm Taggert the Toad and --"

Then he broke off in surprise,
pulling a slip of paper from the toy.
It unfolded to reveal a looping, girlish script:

Sorry I wasn't able to ask
for your permission first,
but I couldn't just let you die.

Don't worry about the guards;
they're all fine.

:)


"Holy shit, I recognize that handwriting!"
the policeman exclaimed.
"That note is from Dr. Infanta.
She could have killed everyone in sight."

"She could have," Tim said slowly,
"but she didn't."

While everyone else ran around
trying to find evidence and explanations,
the master puppeteer stroked the Floppit
left for him by a notorious supervillain,
and pondered the implications.


A month later, Tim Henson
released a special episode of
"Taggert the Toad Talks to Kids,"
which usually ran as one of
several segments in Semolina Lane.

"Friendship is important," Taggert began.
"Life can get really tough sometimes,
but friends make it easier to get through.
So work on being the best friend you can,
because you never know when
you might need a helping hand --
or have a chance to give one."

The world heaved a collective sigh of relief,
grateful that Tim Henson was still with them,
but really he was talking to one person

and he knew she was listening.

* * *

Notes:

Part of the inspiration for this poem came from exploring divergence points between local-Earth and Terramagne. So we had Jim Henson and Jane Henson. They have Tim Henson and Joan Henson. You can read about the tragic death of Jim Henson online.

In our world, Muppets are a type of puppet used in puppetry theatre. Terramagne has Floppits.

Here, Sesame Street is a famous children's show. Terramagne has Semolina Lane, which is named after a fairy tale character variously called Mr. Semolina or Sir Marzipan. I did my own rendition of that fairy tale in "Husband By Hand."

Kermit the Frog is probably the best known of the Muppets. Taggert the Toad, in Terramagne, is a green toad.

Healing is a common superpower. Click the link and look at the illustrative video. That guy? Is one of the creepiest fucking supervillains in the history of ever, with NO respect for anyone's agency or body autonomy. A responsible healer always gets permission before acting, although there are alternatives for when verbal permission is unfeasible. So here we have a supervillain doing something beneficial for really selfish reasons.

Tim being Tim, he correctly intuits that Dr. Infanta could use a good friend, because she doesn't have many, and puts himself forward, Taggert and all. Friendship is a vital part of life, and friends help each other in many ways. It just doesn't always look like people expect it to. Know how to be a good friend and how to help a friend in need.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-22 10:29 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
This is an interesting look at Dr. Infanta, and Terramagne. Thanks for sharing.

Doctor Infanta-

Date: 2014-07-23 07:10 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I loved this.

But it brings up a question (all the best stories begin and end with at least one good question!) about how the 'rescue' was planned. Did Doctor Infanta have help from her assistants and Guardians in /planning/ as well as /executing/ the raid on the hospital to slip in and heal him?

And it's nice to imagine that she's a fan of Semolina Street, even at her age. Either age.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-22 11:04 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Interesting points of variance...

btw, your cut tag is broken..

Thoughts

Date: 2014-07-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Interesting points of variance... <<

Thanks. I've had fun exploring those, and have notes for more. Some things are the same, others different.

>> btw, your cut tag is broken.. <<

Fixed, thanks. DW and LJ both tend to break those.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-22 02:10 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
You've written a supervillain I sympathize with.

Yes, as you correctly point out, there are ways of getting consent or at least allowing for it... but still. She doesn't know how, and she's sorry she couldn't ask... nor would anyone have let her try.

I don't know if I could bring myself to mess with guards and such, but Tim's reaction ...

Perhaps Antimatter isn't the only one who could switch sides. But then, who would believe? Other than me....

Hmmmmmmm.... :)

Well...

Date: 2014-07-22 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> You've written a supervillain I sympathize with. <<

Yaaaay!

>> Yes, as you correctly point out, there are ways of getting consent or at least allowing for it... but still. She doesn't know how, and she's sorry she couldn't ask... <<

Dr. Infanta can, to some extent, sense the energy flow. She knows there are certain things she can heal only some of the time, or not at all. I don't think she knows the metaphysical theory behind that.

>> nor would anyone have let her try. <<

Yeah, that's the part that really sucks -- when doing the most-right-thing is not permitted.

>> I don't know if I could bring myself to mess with guards and such, but Tim's reaction ... <<

Fortunately Terramagne has some maximally-safe crowd control methods. I continue to be amused that the person with one of the widest force scales on the planet is also one of the most adept at starting at the bottom end and using least-possible-force to obtain results.

>> Perhaps Antimatter isn't the only one who could switch sides. But then, who would believe? Other than me....

Hmmmmmmm.... :) <<

The interesting thing about Dr. Infanta is that she's bifocal. Her sense of justice is warped by how people treated her at the beginning of her life, so she learned that "might makes right" and "the end justifies the means." That and her scary-ass powers make her a supervillain. But she doesn't apply those principles or powers the way truly power-mad people do. She uses them primarily to protect herself and her people; and for some things, "her people" means everyone with superpowers. She still does assassinations to keep the money coming, because she spends a lot of it, including on some very laudable causes. She meddles in politics, primarily to keep people from sawing off the branch they're standing on but oh gods has some of the fallout been appalling. And anyone who fucks with her can pretty much bend over and kiss their ass goodbye.

But she doesn't tend to start fights, she doesn't use gratuitous violence, she has a dampening effect on how far mayhem is allowed to go, and many of her goals are good ones. Those are more superhero things. She even holds the old code about medics being neutral, and given her own healing powers, will beta that role after the fighting stops even if it means patching up someone who might chase her again a month later.

What this means is that if people would quit picking on her and on soups in general, Dr. Infanta would just be a little girl with scary-ass powers and several centuries of PTSD. She needs a place that is generally safe and hospitable in order to get by without needing a major battle.

She's keeping an eye on the Maldives to see how they treat the first adopters. Won't this be fun?

Re: Well...

Date: 2014-07-22 09:37 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
. Won't this be fun?

Oooooooh. :) :) :) :) :)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-22 03:02 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (heart)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
(see icon)

Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-22 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you liked this.

At the end of the note

Date: 2014-07-22 03:05 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (editor's friend)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
1. Add a blank line or two between Dr. Infanta's closing smiley and the officer's "Holy shit!"

2. Cancel the indentation. Right now, it runs to the end of the post.
Edited Date: 2014-07-22 03:06 pm (UTC)

Re: At the end of the note

Date: 2014-07-22 06:05 pm (UTC)
kelkyag: eye-shaped patterns on birch trunk (birch eyes)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
The LJ end cut tag is also oddly placed at the end of the note.

Also, sniffles!

Re: At the end of the note

Date: 2014-07-22 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> The LJ end cut tag is also oddly placed at the end of the note. <<

The code was incompatible so I had to give up on the indenting. Hopefully the rest of the poem works now.

>> Also, sniffles! <<

I'm glad you found this so moving.

Re: At the end of the note

Date: 2014-07-22 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
*sigh, grumble* It turns out the code is incompatible with itself. So I had to remove the indentation altogether. Doesn't read as well, but at least prevents the code from tangling.

Re: At the end of the note

Date: 2014-07-22 08:13 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (editor's friend)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Let's see...

It was an old habit, an old comfort,
for Tim to slip his hand into the soft puppet
and say, "Hello, I'm Taggert the Toad and --"

Then he broke off in surprise,
pulling a slip of paper from the toy.
It unfolded to reveal a looping, girlish script:
Sorry I wasn't able to ask
for your permission first,
but I couldn't just let you die.

Don't worry about the guards;
they're all fine.

:)
"Holy shit, I recognize that handwriting!"
the policeman exclaimed.


Source:
<blockquote><em>Sorry I wasn't able to ask <br />for your permission first,<br /> but I couldn't just let you die.<br /><br /> Don't worry about the guards;<br />they're all fine.<br /><br />:)</em></blockquote>

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-23 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Aw, Jim Henson double! :D This makes me happy.

--Sneak

Yay!

Date: 2014-07-23 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you liked this.

Jim Henson has long been a favorite of mine. When I went looking for divergence points, first I hit Semolina Lane and then tracked through to him, and was delighted to find his AU self still alive.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-07-23 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Henson's Muppets improve whatever world they exist in. ^_^

--Sneak

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-07-23 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I agree wholeheartedly. Every world needs Muppets.

And now I am picturing a very confused Kzinti warrior and a frustrated, hungry Alien trying to figure out why the monkeymeat has given them hollow cloth dolls.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-12-26 02:20 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Kzinti warrior as a Floppit? How very... interesting. I imagine the scream-and-leap bits get a bit complex to reproduce... but are probably at least as iconic as Miss Piggy's flamboyant behaviour...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-28 05:34 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*snif* Coming back to this eighteen months on... still makes me wistful.

Re: Well...

Date: 2016-02-28 06:19 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*hugs*

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-26 01:37 am (UTC)
thnidu: warm red heart on orange streaked background (heart)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Two and a half years
Still unexpected tears

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-26 02:23 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
I managed to make it through... mostly... but only because I've been grooving on Judd most of the day... "She's got a bum like a burr, that one does..." and that I remembered what to expect.

That and given that we've just lost George Michael *and* the Red Army Band? The idea of Henson still being alive is uplifting.

Dammit, Ysabet, I wanna move to T-America! I'd risk asking Lorry to do it...

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