ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] bairnsidhe, [personal profile] readera, [personal profile] alexseanchai, and [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu. It also fills the "bisexual" square in my 5-29-17 card for the Pride Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some fractious content. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features crowds, frustration, floundering over cape identity, rude people, obnoxious language, sex/gender bigotry, bigot-baiting, questioning aspects of personal sexuality, and other challenges. But mostly it's fluff. It's also a humor-based choking hazard. Do not read with your mouth full! If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


The Shield Wall Summer Bake Sale
was mobbed. It was so crowded that
Stan and Lawrence had to hold hands
the whole time they squeezed through
just to avoid getting separated.

Much to Stan's frustration, they
couldn't get anywhere near the table
selling the emergency services t-shirts.

He had been wanting one of
the We Got Your Back shirts that
appeared in the flyers for the event.
Part of the proceeds would go toward
supporting injured or retired workers.

Beside him, Lawrence's stomach growled.
"Sorry," Lawrence muttered. "Breakfast
is burning off pretty quick today."

"Let's pass on the t-shirts for now and
look for something to eat," Stan said.
"Half the vendors are hawking food, so
we should be able to get in somewhere."

Then he spied Hefty in his battlesuit
standing head-and-shoulders above the crowd.

They made a beeline for that table, because
Roger had taken Friday off of work from
Cow Heaven to bake cookies for today.

Fiddlesticks was working the table,
his Super-Speed a definite asset.

"Start loading up," Stan told Lawrence.
"It's time to support the team."

Lawrence may have started out
as a supervillain, but Stan was
determined to coax him onto
the white side of the cape.

Gently, though, because Stan
didn't want to crush the mischief
that made Lawrence so ... captivating.

"You know, when you boys turn 18,
you could join the team," Hefty said.

"But -- but we're not really --"
Lawrence sputtered, clearly at a loss.

"Since when does anyone call a superhero
and it's not an emergency?" Fiddlesticks said.
"You're doing the work, you're on the team."

"We'll think about it," Stan said diplomatically.
"So what's up with all the quilt cookies?"

The whole front of the table was covered
with patchwork hearts and little mittens
made from differently tinted dough.

There were plates of nine cookies in
a pinwheel design with the initial 'R'
piped into the center square.

"Well, you know how it goes,"
Roger said, blushing a little. "I
started out making Thin Blue Lines,
and then things got a bit crazy."

Stan looked around, and yes,
there they were: heart cookies
decorated as black-blue-white flags,
and patchwork quilts of blue plaid
on vanilla or dark chocolate bases.

"We'll take some of each," he said,
pulling out a cash card. Anything that
he and Lawrence didn't finish here,
Stan's family would happily devour
when he took the leftovers home.

Another couple squeezed through
the crowd to the table. "Hi, Megan,
hi, Tito," said Hefty. "Tell me that
you brought fortified food."

"High-protein jello squares,
homemade gummy vitamins, and
superfood gummies made from sport tea,"
Megan replied, pointing over her shoulder.
"They're on an EMT table back there."

"Stan, Lawrence, make sure you two
try those," said Hefty. "And maybe
trade Megan your buttermint recipe."

"Buttermints?" Megan said.

"I, uh, have a high metabolism,"
Stan admitted. "Fat-soluble vitamins
act like water-soluble ones for me, I can't
keep them on. So I made a recipe for
fortified buttermints instead." He took out
the tin out and offered it to her. "Try one,
just don't eat them by the handful
the way you'll see me doing."

Megan ate one, grinned, and said,
"Sample what I brought, and I'll
swap you the recipe for any of it."

Just then someone else shoved up
to the table, not being very careful.

"Hey," Tito said mildly. "I know
this place is packed, but that's
no excuse for being rude."

"Well, we want more cookies,
the church kids ate all ours,"
said the woman. Stan recognized
her as the GenderCops vendor that
he had seen at the Mall one time,
and edged away from her.

The man beside her wearing
a Straight Pride t-shirt was
still stuffing his face with
a chocolate-chip cookie, so
apparently the kids had not
gotten to all of them.

"We made plenty," Hefty said.

"I thought your wives made these!"
the man choked. "Men don't cook."

"Well, Diamond made some,"
Fiddlesticks said, pointing to rows
of sugar-coated almond cookies and
vanilla ones with Nut-Free stickers
six-packed into folded paper boats.

"My husband made most of these,"
Hefty said, "but I helped. I made
the rainbow chocolate chip cookies
and the fudge-filled ones."

"Yes, men made those cookies,"
Roger said, stretching up to kiss him.
"Handsome gay manhands have been
all over your delicious food."

The man coughed and spat bits
of chocolate chip cookie into his palm.

"Aaand he just did the no-homo butt clench,"
Lawrence murmured, just loud enough
for Stan to hear over the crowd.

"At least I didn't eat any," the woman said.

"Weren't they at our table earlier?"
Tito asked, looking at the couple.

Megan leaned over and whispered,
"I'm bisexual, so if you ate any of
the fortified goodies, then those
had queer cooties too."

Stan laughed, but he wondered
whether being bisexual with
a person of the opposite sex
felt any different than with
a person of the same sex.

Maybe he'd ask her someday.

The bigots leaned back, but couldn't
escape quickly in the heavy crowd.

"Sorry we just cost you some sales,"
Megan told Hefty. "I probably should
not have teased them like that."

"No great loss, and besides,
I started it," Hefty said.

"Hefty and I have chosen
to share the emotional labor and
not divide things like bake sale donations
based on gender expectations," Roger said.
"Besides, I love that he doesn't feel threatened
just because I'm a professional cook -- he puts
his chocolate chips beside my royal icing."

"I love you too," Hefty said,
and kissed his husband again.

"You didn't have to say anything,"
Lawrence pointed out, "or at least,
not until you had the cash in hand."

Roger shook his head. "It's not good
to let people get away with that shit."

Stan couldn't argue with that.

He saw Fiddlesticks rubbing
the little chip that told him where
Hefty was, and suddenly realized that
it might not be a safety feature only for
police work, but for other things too.

"Sexuality is a spectrum, and
attraction can be complicated,
but you aren't obliged to question
where you are if you're happy and
comfortable -- and no-one's getting hurt,"
Megan said. "But if you're hurting people
because you're insecure, that's not okay."

Now Stan really wanted to talk with her
about bisexual identity and experience.

"Yeah, I do some gender education
on that theme, but sometimes I wonder
if it does any good," Lawrence said.

"Well, maybe it chipped away
at their prejudice a little," Stan said.

"We can hope," Lawrence said.

"Should we tell them what we
contributed?" Stan asked.

"Nah," Lawrence purred.
"Let 'em wonder."

* * *


Tito Martinez -- He has fair skin that tans well, brown eyes, and short brown hair. When he was ten, his house burned down and he barely made it out alive. He didn't develop superpowers, but he did decide to become a fireman. Tito is the husband of Megan, and they live in Omaha, Nebraska.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Courage, Good (+2) Fireman, Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Strength
Poor (-2) Sense of Self-Preservation

Megan Martinez -- She has fair skin, hazel eyes, and shoulder-length hair streaked in shades of lighter and darker blonde. She enjoys finding tasty and creative ways to fortify food. She is the wife of Tito, and they live in Omaha, Nebraska. As an EMT, Megan can keep her balance even in the back of a speeding ambulance.
Qualities: Good (+2) Balance, Good (+2) Bisexual, Good (+2) EMT, Good (+2) Fortified Food, Good (+2) Multitasking
Poor (-2) Overworked

Genesis Smith -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and shoulder-length black hair. She is short and fat. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Genesis is the wife of Tobiah Smith. They are both active in their church, but their prejudice causes problems.
Qualities: Good (+2) Baker, Good (+2) Church Volunteer
Poor (-2) Bigot

Tobiah Smith -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair with a beard. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the husband of Genesis Smith. They are both active in their church, but their prejudice causes problems.
Qualities: Good (+2) Accessibility Driver, Good (+2) Dedicated, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Zealot

Genesis and Tobiah first appeared as the GenderCops in "Scrambling for Crumbs," and this poem references some previous events from that one.

* * *

A bake sale is a fundraiser based on food, often combined with other activities. Learn how to plan one.

Emergency services such as police, firefighters, and EMTs often band together. Under the Shield is one organization offering support to all emergency workers. All kinds of swag capitalizes on this theme. We Got Your Back, One Team One Fight, We Stand United, and In This Family are examples.

At this sale, decorated cookies are packaged on paper plates, typically four hearts or nine squares. Cookies are also sold individually in biodegradable bakery bags. Everything is labeled with a tag naming the donor, dish, and ingredients; plus optional labels for things that meet special dietary needs.

Decorated cookies include these patchwork hearts and patchwork mittens. The patchwork pinwheels may be made with a sugar cookie base and royal icing.

Thin Blue Line Cookies come in various styles and symbolize the protective aspect of police work. These hearts have a black-blue-white flag design. These patchwork squares use a regular sugar cookie base as described above, similar to this version on a dark chocolate cookie base.

Undecorated cookies are packaged in these clever holders, each containing six cookies.

Diamond actually made two batches of these diamond cookies, so named for the large-crystal sugar around the edges. One batch has plain vanilla, labeled "nut-free." The other has almond extract and chopped almonds.

Hefty's Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with Crazy Sugar Crumbs, a breakfast cereal that resembles Razzle Dazzle Rice Krispies. But really, any rainbow-colored breakfast cereal plus some kind of chocolate bits will work. He also made Fudge-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies, which is a bit of very subtle mockery at the term "fudge-packer" for gay men.

Home-fortified foods are more popular in Terramagne-America than local-America, especially among soups and other people who need extra nutrition. But I couldn't find much written on the theme of using individual enhancements at home, as a general premise. I did find yummy recipes for these pretty High-Protein Jello Squares, Superfood Gummies made with SPORTea, and Homemade Chewable Gummy Vitamins.

Before you go nuts asking me about these, Stan donated Caramel Apple Pie Cookies and Lawrence brought Checkerboard Cookies.

(These links are sad.)
Homophobia is an unreasoning fear and hatred of queerfolk. It poses a serious threat to gay teens, raising the risk of depression, suicide, and other problems. It's also a grave concern with regard to superpowers, because this is where homophobia leads. Understand how to handle homophobes and how to fight homophobia. Biphobia is similar, but has its own unique issues and ways to fight it.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-23 03:35 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (carson)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
hee hee hee hee hee hee hee ha ha ha ha THAT'LL learn'em, dern'em! Pushy *and* homophobic in *that* crowd? I would pity them but(t?) they had it coming...

Okay, that's kind of a cool change for me. My esprit d'escalier says, wait. Make love, not war. Once you've punched that bully in the nose (virtually - literally made him lose his cookies ;) ... what now? As Cornwallis told Banastre Tarleton the forgetful, "We have to live with these people..."

I'm seeing a couple of choices. One is Boston Pride. The local rainbow group can go join something like Habitat or another sweat-equity charity, doing something nice for the community, wearing Pride garb and being visible as community helpers. The other is the dust-your-feet approach; if they really are *phobic* (and at least one guy seemed to be) just hoist your freek flag proudly in as many places as possible, and ignore them unless (as they did here) they actively annoy you, and let their social lives wither like a cursed fig...? And is there a way to de-fuse these people? Because if there is, it could be *really* effective...

The checkerboard cookies and the paper plate holders are really cool! You have the best link sections... :)

HEY! I got one! [livejournal.com profile] flowercat makes something like this, a chocolate oatmeal peanut butter high-protein no-bake cookie that works really well as a fast breakfast or after-school snack... I don't think she added the extra protein powder, but there was cottage cheese involved...

Besides. It's cooking. (It's not really baking, not so much chemistry as physics...) You can fiddle with it.

Oh, and as for Man Cooties all over the baked goods... don't these people watch any of the cooking shows? Bobby Flay. Emeril Legasse. Guy Fieri. Alton Brown. Mario Batalli. RATATOUILLE, for Seldon's sake! And on and on and on. Until recently being a top chef was just as much a patriarchy (and probably still is as much as anything can be in 2017, which is to say, the glass ceiling has a lot of cracks but there's still a lot of blood on the floor) as any other big business.. Julia Child in 1962 was a total anomaly...

OH! Here's how you sell it! (Having DONE this a few times...) GUYS: Learn to cook! It's a great way to court the object of your affection! Valentine's Day is *so* much more romantic when you're not having to fight the madding crowd to a restaurant - you can cook a wonderful meal *at home* for FAR less than that restaurant bill, do it just the way they like it, and not have to worry if that wine you picked out turns out to be *really good*... (And yes, I'm being really careful here and not leaving certain kinds of partnerships out... 'cause that's how I roll ;)

Sometimes it helps to think like the Shadows. Delenn's protests aside. ;) If they're thinking with the little head, help it along! And when they learn that cooking is fun, maaaaybe you slip in the idea that the gay guys have the best recipes....

It occurs to me that while tribal behaviour may be hardwired into at least some of us, some of the best stories are when people start working *together*... Star Trek... Lord of the Rings... and some of the most famous tragedies are when they *don't*... Romeo and Juliet being a classic example. (Talk about screwing up by the numbers, ol' Billy! Jeeeeez. Star-cross'd is a totally British understatement...)

Oh, parting... shots? I will admit to bottle-brushing a bit when Thin Blue Lines were mentioned... but I remembered that this *is* T-America, and that means that the whole paterollers and slavery thing we have here is so very Not A Thing there... *Fernweh*

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-07-24 03:45 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (raven)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Trickster tactics have their place too.

Truth! Hmmmmm. This gives me a whole new tack to work on.

Roger looks extremely smug and waggles his eyebrows at you.

I went there too! *fistbumps Roger*


Wait, what? Charles/Magneto?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-26 04:09 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Thin blue line is one of those things - like Christian - that has the ability to be good and brave and helpful; and then gets weaponized and used to be divisive and even hate-inducing instead.

So this type of weaponizing not only robs people of the truth, and robs good people of their honor; it also robs those who want to see, honor, and appreciate, but can no longer do so safely.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-26 04:55 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
You've got a point there. My Episcopal friends have a distinctive logo they can use, and, indeed, the more regressive christians (lowercase c there, they're Not Proper) have various symbols they use to distinguish themselves (I have learnt to watch out for an unadorned fishy on a bumper or tailgate, not only do they relate to us weirdoes badly, their driving behaviour is more often than not reprehensible)... but how to celebrate good cops?

(I also don't like the black and white background flag they use there... while it's perfectly OK to use the Union Jack, where the Thin Blue Line originated, as decoration - indeed, mugs, tee shirts, heck, even speedoes are made with the Jack pattern and colours, and it's perfectly normal and legal and fine... but dangit, if you're gonna represent a country, follow its rules: The Star Spangled Banner isn't for decoration. It's flown *as a flag*, undefaced, fly free, one at a time, on her own right. Blacking out the colours - except on a military uniform designed to be worn with subdued insignia - is a no go. (Scouts still have to wear full colours.) (And that would also go for police and fire personnel too.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-23 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat


Date: 2017-07-23 10:41 pm (UTC)
bairnsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bairnsidhe
Squeee! I'm glad this was posted, I was looking for ways to save up to buy a posting of it and now I can take that money and put it toward another poem as well as having this one up!

You know I adore Roger and Hefty, not to mention the adorkableness of Lawrence and Stan, but this is really just... the icing on the cookie, as it were. Also, Megan and Tito are awesomesauce and I really want Megan and Stan to get to have that talk.

Also, thank you for all the recipes, I stress bake and now I have more stuff to add to the list of things to make! Stan's apple pie cookies look nummie as all get out. I will admit, I have this urge to make a real proportion chessboard with Lawrence's cookie recipe and then little chocolate pieces. I am a grown up and I can play with my food if I want.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-24 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Me, if I were in Terramagne: If you had any of the banana bread, you've got cooties too. To borrow a phrase from a friend, cheers, love, the cavalry's queer. *points to self, while wearing one giant, mischief-laden grin*

Can't say I feel too sorry for those bigots, really. As for thinking like the Shadows, going elsethread... brrrr. Maybe knowing *how* they think, then thwarting the heck out of their ideas.

*decorates cookies in ace flag colors, radio spectrum waveforms, and red cross and crescent symbols*

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-07-24 01:58 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a starscape, including a spiral galaxy (on a quest for a jewel)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I will not deny, I badly wanted to see Bester (and the rest of the bloody PsiCorps) get theirs. The Shadows still make me shudder, though. Shudder and want to actively resist them. Then again, considering who my favorites in that series are, it's probably not at all surprising.

Not sure I have much more in the way of B5 spoons tonight. I know, I brought it up in this particular thread, but...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-07-26 05:12 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (sharlin)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman

Ooooooh. That would be good fanfic. Garibaldi made Lyta unblock him, so he *knows* exactly what Bester did to him, and probably why, but what is enough... and given Garibaldi's Firing Method (both the sneaky, magnificent bastardness of it and the fact that he *didn't* have their heads on plates immediately, but made damn sure that they would be if anything ever happened to himself), I should very much like to find out what, exactly, happened to Mr. Bester. Because after cleaning house on Mars, Mr. Garibaldi is on a roll, with butter and extra garlic, warm and tasty.... and I don't think he's gonna stop.

The Shadows are Chaos. Capital C, as in Archetype. The Vorlons are Order. The Vorlons remind me of the Joker. Heath-style. The Vorlons remind me of ... well, sort of Big Brother, sort of Governor Tarkin...

And I am *solidly* with Sheridan. "Now, GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR GALAXY! BOTH OF YOU!"

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-24 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
What would happen if someone with an ordinary metabolism tried to eat Stan's buttermints by the handful?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-24 04:34 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
*heart eyes*

I admit to snickering about the choice of cookie names. Why yes, sometimes I am twelve. Also, those all sound delicious.

The patchwork cookies! Oh my heart!

>> "Well, we want more cookies,
the church kids ate all ours,"
said the woman. <<

That is not how you apologize for being rude.

>>"I thought your wives made these!"
the man choked.<<

>>"My husband made most of these,"
Hefty said, "but I helped." <<

Oh, was that your assumptions? Whoopsie.

I do enjoy watching someone get a needed dose of reality.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-24 06:28 pm (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
First I almost woke up our fiancee by laughing at the bigots and the queer cooties.

Secondly, great poem!

Also omg Damask icon makes us squee!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-14 06:38 pm (UTC)
pantha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pantha
Glad they are all there for each other.

And pish tush - a man who can bake (or cook) is to be cherished (as, indeed, are excellent bakers and cooks of all genders!).


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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