Lighterfingers

Author’s Note: I’m now getting back into writing stories, and now, here’s a short story that was inspired by “Thought Bubbles,” a short story by Miss Corinne of Corinne’s Writing. Again, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated as well.


“Dude, check this out.”

“Huh?”

It was lunch break, and Ack and I were inside a closed toilet stall, all alone in the boys’ washroom, quietly speaking as I revealed a secret to him.

The secrets came out of my spread-out fingertips, small tongues of yellowish-orange hue shaking gently as a breeze passed through them. I felt a slight increase in heat in my head as I had the little fires out, and that heat increased when I had to keep the flames alive in the midst of stronger wind.

“Where’d you get that, Nick?” my friend asked. He still looked…well…mostly expressionless. Subtly, an eyebrow was raised as he looked at the warmth spouting out of my fingers.

“Dunno, Ack,” I replied as I put them out and placed my hands back into my pants’ pockets. “Woke up with a burning headache, went to school with a burning headache, went to the infirmary ’cause of the burning headache, went to the bathroom ’cause I needed to pee, I pretend to be a mage or something in front of a mirror in this washroom after I let out some unusually hot liquid waste, and then ‘Wow, fire’s coming out of my fingers–‘ and then I had to hold myself back from screaming. In a rare stroke of luck, I managed to not start a fire. And again, in a suspicious lucky streak, seems like no one noticed, and the fires and my headache went out after I washed my hands. And hey, maybe nobody would care about little fires coming out of my fingers.”

I then took my hands out and spread my arms up into the air, letting my fingers emit flames again.

“I mean, really…with a power this lame, my life’s still okay! The flames don’t grow any bigger than this, and they’re easy to put out!”

“Nick,” my friend said, still mostly unemotional…but there was something in his expression again…

“Yeah?”

I raised an eyebrow, and then I saw Nick’s left eye twitch a little…so little, that only the ones who know him a lot will easily notice it.

So, I looked at where his raised eyes were looking at.

At that moment, I also picked up the scent of burning wood.

Well, there we go. My luck’s back to normal. Hello, trouble, my old friend.

I bit my lower lip, making sure not to attract attention via stuff like screams.

“What do we do?” I whispered with widened eyes, worrying a lot about the possibility of us being burned alive in this fire pit of wood and ceramic. There’s a fire, I accidentally started it, and WE’RE GONNA DIE!

“Step aside,” my friend told me as he pushed me to the side and ran out of the stall. Yes, leave it to Mr. Cool, leave it to Cool Friend, the Master Cool Guy, I HOPE HE DOESN’T MESS UP! HE ALWAYS GETS HURT WHEN I GET MYSELF IN TROUBLE!

As much as I wanted to scream my concern and nervousness, I kept on biting my lower lip. Oh, and my head’s heating up again. And why are my pockets warming–?

“YEOW WHY ARE THEY STILL ON!?”

“Chill out, Nick.”

And then fluffy, watery, gassy fire-extinguishing agent sprayed upon panicking me, cooling me down as I became a mockery of a snowman or something. I felt my head cool down as I felt the place cooling down too.

“Thanks, Ack…” I leaned on the wall and slowly slid down to a sitting position. “You’re really cool, you know.”

“For friendship,” he responded, still looking mostly emotionless. I smiled widely when I saw that usual minute smile on his face, though.

And while I smiled, I felt the powder and water on my face.

Then, I looked down at my clothes and the rest of my body.

“Oh yeah, I have to clean up.”

“But first…report to the teachers.”

“Alright, alright…” I complied, waving two raised hands, “But I won’t tell them that my fire-spouting fingers caused this, alright? And yes, I will still tell them that I accidentally set this stall on fire.”

I saw another minute smile again.

“Good,” Ack said, and he walked away, knowing that I’ll be following him to the Faculty Room.

“Oh, and Ack…sorry for your bleeding fist.”

“It’s not your fault. I was panicking too.”

“Well, get that treated, okay?”

“Mm.”

After a calm and quick report plus reprimand (because the teachers–including that short-tempered and old rant blaster, surprisingly–are already used to me being “Bad Luck Lux”), Ack and I were going back to our classroom for our next class. I was wearing one of Ack’s spare uniforms (which he usually brought for my sake, hahaha…how embarrassing…but really heartwarming…), my hands were in my pockets, and I was walking with a little slouch on my back, ’cause cool guys do that, right?

“…”

A quiet sigh from Ack followed that silence, and I decided to imitate my friend’s straightened posture. Why look for those “cool guys” when you have a legit cool guy as a best friend?

“Thank you very much Master Cool Guy,” I praised with a thumbs-up and a quick flicker of fire.

“Don’t be flashy,” my friend reminded with his usual monotone. I nodded at that and put my hand in my pocket again.

“Hey, Nick!”

I instantly turned around when I heard that voice.

Messy, shoulder-length brown hair. Slightly tan, mostly pale skin. Light green eyes. Round face that makes her look younger than her actual age. Height that’s somewhere near 5’5″.

Add that annoying but charming pout, and there’s my crush.

“We reported the problem, already,” I told her before she asked.

“Th–“

“I accidentally set a bathroom stall on fire.”

“Ar–“

“Master Cool Guy here has a spare uniform, and he was kind enough to lend it to me.”

“Will you stop interrupting me? I’m not as overprotective as you think, you know.”

And I immediately shut up, ’cause I feel uncomfortable when I hear people, especially her, sound irritated.

“…sorry,” I meekly added. “You can check me more carefully, if you want to…”

One to two seconds passed, and my eyes widened upon remembering the last sentence that I said.

Why did I say that? Why in the world did I say that? It sounds like something that a pervert would say! ‘Check me more carefully’? I mean, she gets kinda touchy-feely when checking a person’s physical condition, especially when it comes to me, Bad Luck Lux, but no, no, I didn’t have bad intentions when I said that, I guess I’m just really embarrassed about being touched by my crush again, as usual, yeah, hahaha, hahaha…

“Uh, Nick…” said the girl, “Your pants are smoking.”

Oh, the smell of burning of fabric. And is my skin being burnt, too?

“YEOW!”

I took my hands out of my pockets as I started doing some weird march to get rid of the burning sensations in my thighs.

Oh, and in front of me was my crush, looking back at forth at my exposed hands.

I pulled my palms close to my face, and then I bent my fingers towards my palms. I was still doing that weird march, and I was doing it with some slow spinning this time.

I tried to will the fires away, but no, I still feel heat within the core of my head!

“Why is it not going away…?” I muttered as I marched and spun in panic and confusion. “Whoa! What the—mmph!”

I almost threw my hands to my female friend when she picked me up and put my body on one of her shoulders. Oh, and there’s another reason for my crush on her. Plus, I do enjoy the feeling of her hand on my mouth, okay, now’s not the time to fall into the perverted zone, be serious, be serious, make sure that these flaming fingers don’t burn anything important…

Speaking of burning…

“Lighty, your uniform is on fire too.”

Again, I forgot about how clumsy she is. I still like her, though.

“Ack, put the fire out before I scream, because I don’t want to make noise and attract unnecessary attention here. Put it out put it out put it out…”

Yes, I really really like Lighty.

After the fire on our clothes were put out, two students with somewhat burnt uniforms and one student with a mostly clean uniform stood in a corner of the grassy soccer field.

“Wait, don’t we have classes?” I asked, mainly concerned for my two friends’ academics. Me, well, Math class isn’t my favorite, so I don’t mind missing that one. But the next classes, though…Literature…and I don’t wanna get annoying attention when I get back to my classroom…

“There are more urgent matters to deal with, Nick,” said the only female among us three. “Show me your hands.”

I easily surrendered to her and her stern voice. I showed her my hands, which had fingertips that were still emitting flames.

“When did you get that power?” she asked, her voice turning colder and more attractive. “Hm, the flames seem to be growing too…Your mental state probably affects your power, then…”

“Uhh…I don’t really know how I got it,” I said, starting to think more seriously. “Yesterday, there was nothing, and then this morning, I found my fingers acting like lighters while I was in the bathroom. And mental state, huh?”

My fingers lit up by themselves when I was nervous.

“Also, I don’t mind dating you, Nick. Just remember that I’m not a perfect girl, and that I’m not fun to be with when I’m pissed off.”

Oh yes, dating Lighty here, that’s really nice.

“Wait…what?”

“Ack, you have any ideas about how to keep those flames of his out when they go out of control?”

“Soak his hands with water. Colder is better.”

“Uhh…Lighty…what did you say?”

“We were talking about how to keep your power in control, Nick. I’m sure you’re trying to know that now, right?”

“How do you think I’d think about that when I think I heard you say something like ‘I don’t mind dating you, Nick’?”

“Oh.”

And then she blushed. She was trying to look emotionless, but her face was going pink.

She looks so cute that it hurts.

Speaking of pain, my thighs hurt.

Ah, my thighs are actually burning.

“OW WHY!?”

I really should watch my hands more. But first, “HOT HOT HOT FIRE BURNING MY PANTS AND THIGHS!”

“I’ll get some water,” Ack said, leaving the two of us alone. He’s probably enjoying that. He doesn’t look like it, but he actually ships me and Lighty! Without him, I wouldn’t be this close to her!

“THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MASTER COOL GUY!” I shouted as I gave a flaming thumbs-up in his direction.

“Uhh, y-yeah, so…you know how obvious you are when it comes to your emotions, right, Nick?”

“YEAH! LIKE ME RIGHT NOW! I’M SO OBVIOUS! THE FIRE IS OBVIOUS!”

“Oh, and Nick, your hair’s on fire.”

“FREAKING HANDS! WHOEVER GAVE ME THIS POWER, I CURSE Y–EEOW!!! OW OW OW MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP–“

And then a wave of water miraculously put the chicken’s head back on the headless chicken’s body.

Said chicken stumbled, although he appreciated the coolness of the wet ground.

Never have I ever enjoyed the mud this much before.

And never have I ever enjoyed the rumble of thunder this much before too.

“How’s the mud?” Ack asked.

“Great on my face…” I answered, “But not on my tongue. Bleh.”

“You got another spare uniform, Ack?”

“Also, you’re clumsy in terms of expressing yourself too, huh? Don’t worry, I know that–OW WHY THE CROTCH!?”

“Sorry, was embarrassed and stupid.”

Okay, now, about Lighty, to date or not to date? That is the question, hahaha…owwwww…oh well, teenage me still wants to date her, and perfect girls don’t exist, anyway…

“Mom, Dad, siblings, look! I have lighterfingers!”

When I entered my house, I raised my hands and lit my fingers up. Of course, I kept them low, making sure to not burn anything that shouldn’t be burned.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if I accidentally burned something right here and right now. Don’t worry, though, Nicholas Lux, for your awesome family loves you very much…but the bad luck is still freaking annoying, though.

“Ooh,” my dad said as he looked away from the TV. “Do they do anything else?”

“Sorry to disappoint you with my luck again, but that’s what I got from the Superpower Lottery. My fingers are lighters. Call me ‘Lighterfingers,’ Human Cigarette Lighter and Lung Cancer Promoter!”

“Wow, Big Bro, that’s so cool!” my younger brother approached.

“More like hot, Mash.”

“Did you get it by nuclear waste, Big Bro?” my younger sister asked with a grin.

“I know that my luck is bad, Mill, but it’s not that bad.”

‘Lighter’? ‘Cigarette’? Are you smoking, Nicholas?” my mom shouted from upstairs, where she was busy with writing, with the conversations downstairs serving as her background music or something. “You know that smoking’s bad for your health, right?”

“His fingers are emitting flames, honey!” Dad shouted back. “Come down here and take a look!”

I took a deep breath and put my flames out while my mother went downstairs.

“What’s going on, gang?” she asked, earning some chuckles from the rest of the family, which she took with more chuckles.

I decided to do an imitation of some martial arts pose, and then, with my hands out in front of me and my audience, I released the little tongues of fire from my fingertips.

“Does it do anything else?” my mom asked, eyes wide open and sparkling with curiosity as she looked at my fire-spitting fingers. “And I hope you’ve been using it well,” she added, her pout making her look more like she was younger than forty years old.

And yes, my dad likes short and fiery girls too. Meanwhile, my mom was Dad’s ex-girlfriend once (and, to my surprise when I first found out, Dad was a control freak back then), and they ended up together mostly because Steelwall depended on the independent Rain, while Rain was very happy with humbling the idiot Steelwall. It’s a long story that’s way far from the topic of showing my lighterfingers to my mother.

“I dunno, I just found out about it today,” I answered, talking about how I discovered my power. “Burned myself a lot when I got nervous and stupid, hahaha…”

“Son, even if that seems like a small power, please do remember that quote,” Dad suddenly cut in with a serious expression.

“‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ I know, I know…and make sure not to die too, Dad.”

“Don’t worry, Nick!” Dad declared with his chest puffed out. “If a robber were to try to steal from me, I’d hand over my stuff quick!”

And we all nodded, feeling at ease upon knowing that a family member remembers the standard procedure in dealing with robbers. Sounds weird, but we value our lives more than our material possessions. We’re not materially loaded, but we think that we can get important material things easily without doing bad stuff. Difficult to get, yes, but it’s easier when we family members work together to get them properly.

Still, I hope Dad doesn’t die. He’s a really awesome guy, and I won’t know what to do if he dies. He’s one of the people who helped me become a cooler guy! I’m still hotheaded and a trouble magnet, but I have more coolness now! And don’t get me started on Mom if Dad dies!

“Uhh…Big Bro…” Mash, the younger bro said.

“Your uniform is on fire,” Mill, the younger sis said.

Ah, there’s my luck again.

“Okay, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic…SHOWER ME WITH WATER, QUICK! DON’T PANIC DON’T PANIC DON’T PANIC”

“STOP PANICKING, NICHOLAS!”

“YOU’RE NOT HELPING, MOM! I NEED WATER! COLD WATER! OW IT BURNS!”

After I was cooled down in both figurative and literal senses, we had dinner. Also, there was an embarrassing (Well, to me only) but worthwhile conversation about romance and my love life. I had to put my hands in the prepared bowls of ice when that happened.

“So, if Big Bro’s fingers light up by themselves when he’s nervous or something, he’ll probably have to keep his hands cool a lot, right?”

“Ahahahaha…”

“Hey, Mill, look, Big Bro’s hands are in the ice bowls. Hehehe…”

“Ahahahaha…”

“Nicholas, did you get a girlfriend? If yes, then I’d like to meet her. I’ll need to see if I need to teach her some lessons on humbling idiots.”

“Ahahahaha!”

“Son, remember, don’t get too close physically right now. Get to know her a lot before you decide to go physically intimate with her. And please don’t demand her to be your girlfriend too! Your mother gave me a very painful lesson when I did that to her back then…”

“Ahahahahahaha! Ahaha–OW! DON’T CLOBBER ME, MASH!”

“Watch your hands, Big Bro! Mill! Keep him from burning us!”

“Team up, Mash! Hands to the bowls! Let’s chill his hands out!”

“NICK, YOU IDIOT! HOLD STILL!”

“Ahem! Chill!”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Good. Way of the Chill, please.”

“Liquid is fast,”

“Gas is slow,”

“Solid, stable,”

“Change the flow,”

“FREEZE!”

In that moment, that moment when we were all wearing weird poses that were made up by the late, long-lived, and cheerful paternal grandparents, I declared inside my mind:

“I love my family.”

The doorbell rang again for the umpteenth time. Again, I’m regretting burning that robber’s ass.

“Who in the freaking crumbling world is ringing the doorbell again for the sake of pedestaled photos and wacky writings of me now, I wonder?” I shouted as I marched to the door.

“It is the old man from homeroom, Nicholas Lux!” responded a hoarse voice that I did not expect.

“Wait…Mr. Bags? Is that you? Is the world ending?” Wait, I think I may have gone too far there. “I mean, uhh…I…uh…Whoa!”

Whoops, almost burned myself again. Oh yeah, I took off my icebags ’cause I wanted to burn the person ringing the doorbell. Better get them back on first.

“I know that I have been a short-tempered old man, Nicholas!” Mr. Bags suddenly said while I was putting my icebags on my palms. “My wife and son talk about it almost everyday! So please, for the love of God, please do not burn me!”

I sighed, and I awkwardly and slowly opened the door with the tips of my fingers.

And with an awkward smile, I looked at the short, wrinkled, and gray-haired old man in a teacher’s suit.

“Uhh…and sorry for being a brat too,” I replied, feeling more calm thanks to seeing Mr. Bags actually being calm. “My younger twin siblings told me about your awesomeness, and thanks to these forced absences of mine, I took some time to think about deeper stuff, like why you’re usually angry at us brats, so yeah…sorry…”

“Forgiven, boy,” the aged teacher assured me with a smile…although this is surreal… “And I am not surprised by that look of yours. Brats usually remember my temper and my ranting. I am getting old, indeed, hahaha…but I am not useless! Old people are not useless! Children are not useless!”

Oh dear, here he goes again. My luck probably fated me to interact with this noisy old man a lot. He’s got good in him, but I can’t deny the fact that he’s a freaking noisy and kinda self-righteous idiot who doesn’t know a lot about when to appropriately shut up.

“Mr. Bags, uhhh…you already proved the existence of your awesomeness.” Come on, better back up that statement too… “You want us to take life seriously, right? Your style is not perfect, but I think a bunch of what you’re trying to say has a point. Like…like the one about romance. Sex isn’t something we should play around with! Yeah, that one! I really agree with that!” Seriously, I do, but I won’t go ranting about it in my head right now, ’cause more urgent matters, you know!

“Really?” Mr. Bags said with a brightened expression that still made me uneasy. “Finally, there exists a kid who listens to me! Unlike those precious but damn annoying brats, who are all–“

“Mr. Bags!” I interrupted, worried about veering off into unnecessary directions. There was a momentary glare from the old man, and then he went silent, nodding at me to continue. “Your talks are interesting, but I’m really sorry to interrupt, ’cause you visited me here for some more important reason, right?”

“Oh yes, I was going to accompany you while you traveled to school, because it is not safe for you to be alone these days,” he told me, expression still serious. “How are your family members doing, Nicholas?”

“Mom, Dad, and the twins are reporting another set of idiots to the police, and I’m here, wanting to go to school while wielding hands of fire for the sake of fending off idiots…who are mostly paparazzi and news reporters.” I sighed and showed a wry smile. “Indeed, Bad Luck Lux has evolved.”

I’m not sure about the evolution of my luck, though, old man.

“Well, come now, Nicholas, for we will be going to school,” he told me with a hand gesture. “I do not wish for a student to lose their chance to be properly educated. Do not worry, for I will protect you.”

He looked so confident…but to be honest, I’m doubtful of his bodyguard abilities…

“I can see it in your look, boy,” Mr. Bags told me with a wider grin. “Remember my short temper? It got me in a lot of trouble when I was young, and in that trouble, I learned how to throw punches and launch kicks. I still exercise today too. If you want proof, I will take off my shirt as well!”

I slowly raised my icebagged hands in front of me, forming an X sign with them.

Fear was creeping into my face.

I feel like I’m being stupid, but I feel like shirtless Mr. Bags–wrinkled and shirtless Mr. Bags–will cause nightmares more than his fists and feet. Hm, maybe I’m being corrupted by my dumb classmates…but okay, I should go to school, better maintain my sanity there than here, and shirtless Mr. Bags, if that happens, probably won’t be as bad as I think it is…

“…L-Lead the way, please,” I mumbled.

But before we could get out of my house’s gate, a black sedan with heavily tinted windows arrived in front of it, stopping with noisy brakes.

“I am betting that those are from some shady and arrogant secret ‘government service,'” my homeroom teacher growled as he looked at the car. “Believe it or not, I have learned valuable things from the Internet,” he added with a quick smile at me.

Mr. Bags, using the Internet.

How surreal.

But that’s not the main problem right now, because mad scientists and stupid men in black.

“Mr. Lux. And stranger. We apologize for this, but for the sake of–“

“EAT REFORMED FIST, BRAT!”

Wow, Mr. Bags sure packs a punch. I can see that guy sporting a really dark shiner from behind his broken shades!

“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, BOY? THIS OLD MAN CANNOT FEND THESE BRATS OFF ALONE!”

Oh yeah, that, and I can see some of them holding strange guns. Maybe tranq guns? I dunno, but we gotta keep these guys off. Government’s being a dumbass lately, even before I discovered my power.

“But wait…” I thought out loud as I did an imitation of a certain silver-haired sensei’s surprise attack on a shaded gunner’s rear. “…shouldn’t we disarm them and immobilize them first, then let them talk?”

“Hm!” Mr. Bags sounded annoyed as he kicked a gun off its user’s hands. “I hate to admit it–” He then smacked an attacking driver’s face through the opened car window, “–but you may have a point!”

A recovered agent was sneaking up on Mr. Bags, but he suddenly met a dazed agent with a burning butt, leading that shaded man to catch fire as well. “Well, you’re lucky, brats!”

And so, four stupid Research and Development Division agents were knocked out and then tied to concrete posts near my house.

“For government agents, you sure are weak!” Mr. Bags taunted, reminding me of someone who was into first-person shooters very much (and after the stuff I’ve learned about him today, I wouldn’t consider him playing first-person shooters very surprising now). “I mean, behold, an old person and a teenager! And you are merely idiotic brats!”

“Do you two idiots know what you are doing?” Shady Agent No. 1, a.k.a. Shinerface, shouted at us as he fought against the restraints on his stretched hands and feet. “It seems small, but Mr. Lux’s power is still something that can cause mass panic!”

“Yeah!” agreed Shady Agent No. 2, a.k.a. Shinered Driver. “Like, what if his powers go out of control, man?”

“YOU TREAT THE BOY LIKE A HUMAN, THEN, BRATS!” Mr. Bags shouted at their faces, causing them to flinch at the old man who punched their faces. “HE IS NOT A DAMN HEARTLESS MACHINE!”

“Well, we agree with that,” Shady Agent No. 3, a.k.a. Burnt Ass, replied, “But other people are not the same.”

“And do you really know how hard it is to deal with crowds of idiots?” Shady Agent No. 4, a.k.a. Ass-burned, asked us.

“Of course doing things properly is gonna be hard!” I told them while also feeling thankful that my parents grew into really awesome people. “You want the easiest way out? Get out of the comfort zone, then!”

Ass-burned rolled his eyes, causing my eye to twitch, so I mentally recited The Way of the Chill in my head again and again. “Easier said than done,” he said.

“Finally, someone who thinks that way!” Mr. Bags exclaimed, and then he did…a breakdance or something. “My class has hope! The school I work for has hope! YES!”

It also appears that the Shady Agents are as weirded out as I am.

“What?” the old man asked with a glare. “I do not believe in what you call ‘old-fashioned’ beliefs just because they are old! And I do not go with some popular things today just because they are new and/or popular! I am not perfect, yes, but I do not like being as shallow as a brat!”

And then he went into another one of his infamous ranting fits again. Way of the Chill, Way of the Chill…and wow, I’ve improved with calming myself. I’ll have to thank Mom and Dad for the help when they get back.

“Uhhh…”

“Let him talk,” I told them with a softer voice, feeling more confident in myself. “Now, seriously–Wait, hold on…” I turned my lighterfingers off, “…almost burned myself again…Okay, back to the topic, and just to be sure, you guys were planning to kidnap me and bring me to whatever secret lab your division has, right?”

“We were going to take you into the government’s custody,” Shinerface tried to clarify with his annoyed expression.

“By taking me against my will…and without a warrant?”

“It’s a top secret mission, man!” the pale-skinned Shinered Driver mouthed off, causing his colleagues to groan. “What?”

“Way to make the situation worse,” grumbled Burnt Ass, the tan and only female in the group.

“And why are we even talking about this with our target?” bespectacled Ass-burned asked. “That’s the last thing that we should be doing here.”

“Ohhh…that…uhhh…”

“Don’t worry, dude,” I told Shinerface. “I know that feel. Idiot hero, huh?”

“I’m not an idiot!” the idiot hero retorted.

“Wow, truest statement I heard in my life,” Burnt Ass burned.

“Ugh…”

And the dark-skinned Shinerface hung his head in shame.

Then, there was silence for a few seconds.

When I saw how young they looked, a spark of inspiration flashed, and I decided to try reducing the awkwardness.

“So…who wants some pizza?”

“Are you sure you should be trying to make friends with us right now?” said Ass-burned.

“SHUT YOUR MOUTH, DUMBGLASSES! I’M TIRED OF THE DAMN R&D DIVISION, MAN! BORING TOP SECRET THIS, BORING TOP SECRET THAT, AND THEN WE’RE ACTUALLY DOING VILLAINOUS STUFF LIKE KIDNAPPING INNOCENT PEOPLE! THIS AIN’T FOR THE GOOD OF THE WORLD, ‘CAUSE NOBODY LIKES BEING KIDNAPPED! AND I WANT SOME PIZZA NOW TOO!”

“Mostly innocent, driver man,” I added. “And yeah, kidnapping is damn stupid. Clearly, your superiors are dumb, all while they’re thinking that they’re not dumb.”

“Boss looked so convincing…” Shinerface pondered, “But you’re not as bad as they reported…Damn it, I didn’t sign up for this crap…”

“Well, you’re gonna have to look at the situation more closely, and from other perspectives too. Also, crap’s gonna be in the path of the good too, difference is that it’s mostly in your way. Meanwhile, the other way’s mostly you being the crap in the way.”

“Good point,” Burnt Ass agreed. “So, why are we still working for the dumb R&D Div, then?”

“‘Cause you feel like you have nowhere else to go?”

“Yes,” Ass-burned answered. “So, how can we trust you and your abilities? Your overestimated powers are not apocalypse-causing or at a powerful enough level, and we’re linked to a group of powerful people who won’t hesitate to assassinate us once they become aware of our inefficiency.”

That question got me grinning wide. Maybe the ends of my grins were reaching my ears too.

“I’m not perfect, yeah,” I told them, shooting looks at each of them, “But you’re still underestimating me.”

I looked at Mr. Bags, who was watching me with a smile…and then I looked at my best friend, my girlfriend, and my family.

I felt my spirits skyrocket upon seeing the looks that they gave me. Without them and their awesomeness, I wouldn’t be this awesome.

Still smiling, I looked back at the Shady Agents.

“My lighterfingers aren’t my only superpowers, fellow idiots. Doubt them all you want. We’ll understand, and we’ll definitely prove you wrong.”

“Uh, dude…”

“Yes, Shinerface?”

“Your pants are burning.”

“My bad luck is being a curse again, huh?”

Suddenly, streams of cold water from bottles were poured upon me.

“And it’s now a blessing again too! Eat that, bad luck! Woohoo!”

And I didn’t mind the bewildered expressions that the Shady Agents wore at the strange situation in front of them.

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