“When did you write that?”
My cellmate’s eyes are wide, his voice a low, frightened whisper. He throws a quick glance at the guards, then looks at me again. “You KNOW they’ll cowpunch us with an extra-spiky Batman gauntlet if they see that, Kent!”
“I know, I know! But I just can’t keep doing these essays! They rake at my soul! They hurt my will to live! They—”
One of the grammar nazi guards spots us talking, and he marches over, yelling, “Hey! You two! Back to work! Just what the HELL do you think you’re doing!” He taps his studded truncheon menacingly into an open hand. Something in our quivering gazes must’ve clued him that all is not right, because his gaze narrows further. Quietly: “Turn your pockets inside out.”
My cellmate and I exchange a panicked glance. The guard sees it and screams, “INSIDE OUT, GODDAMMIT!” He doesn’t wait for us to comply—simply blatters us across the face with the truncheon. While we’re laid out on the floor and seeing stars, he rifles through our pockets and purrs in delight. He turns his head and screams, “GOT A WRITER HERE! GET THE BATMAN GAUNTLET!”
The other grammar nazi guards hustle over, jabbering with excitement. One of them is clutching a graphene-alloy briefcase which can only be opened by a dual-handprint bio-electric compatible authorization, meaning that the shift commander and sub-commander both need to key its unlock protocol. After they put their hands on the genetic scanner, the briefcase clicks open, revealing a shiny black Batman gauntlet ensconced in an explosive-resistant foam inlay. The shift commander puts it on, flexes his fingers, and gives me a hard grin.
“Been waiting a long time for this Kent. I’ve listened for decades to idiot soccer moms that constantly gab about what a great bum you have. Well guess what—after I’m done with you and your buddy here, your fine behind is gonna look like it’s given birth to a dozen kids. And yes, the scene in Pulp Fiction with Marsellus Wallace is my favorite part. Just can’t figure out who’s gonna get it first: you or your cellmate.”
My cellmate and I are bent over our feeding trough by a quartet of grinning grammar nazis. I hear the shift commander go through Eenie meenie miney moe, then end with: “my. mother. told. me. to. pick. the. very. best. one. and. you. are. I—”
One last chance. I dart my hand into my pocket and grab the scraps of paper I’ve been writing “Echo” on. I fling them into the air. They hang suspended for a timeless moment, then begin whirling around the room, blazing with an eldritch blue light. Sorcerous wind kicks up, ruffling our hair and drowning out all ambient noise. The guards are screaming at each other while my cellmate and I are casting quick, frightened glances around. Then my lips part in wonder.
The scraps are forming into a mechanized version of the Dark Knight whose bottom half flows into the thickened haunches of a velociraptor.
The half-batman, half-dino walks over to the shift commander and plucks the gauntlet from the man’s limp fingers. “I believe this is mine,” he says calmly.
“What are you going to do to us, sir?” the shift commander asks in a trembling voice.
Bats gives him a sideways glance and a crooked grin. “Afraid that I’ll give you a taste of your own medicine and violate your anus with an overly large gauntlet?”
The shift commander says nothing. Only presses his lips together into a pale, bloodless line.
The half-batman half-dino shakes his head. “I’m not that cruel. But I AM gonna give you a taste of what you’re depriving these writers of…”
He closes his eyes and extends an arm, fist clenched into an upturned palm. Rays of pure white light begin shooting out from the fingers. He looks steadily in turn at each of the guards.
He opens his palm and it’s not just rays anymore, but a gorgeous swirl of color-spotted radiance that spirals up from his fingers. Within that incandescent whirlwind, I see comics, anime, twenty-sided dice, swords, laser guns, and squat racks. As otherwordly light reflects and glimmers off my starry-eyed pupils, I can’t help but grin.
The grammar nazis drop to their knees, begin sobbing out their regret, then implode into piles of dust. Guess being a nitpicky douche-hole cuts one’s mind off from the flow of pure creation. Serves these dingbats right!
Are you a writer who’s in danger of toiling grimly away in a grammar nazi internment camp? No problem! Get a copy of Echo and use its magic properties to instantiate a half-batman, half-dinosaur savior that’s capable of tapping the Source Code of existence! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle