Xception

| FROM THE MUSE | BY DAVID KLEINMAN | MAY, 2013 |

Xception: Inner Voice of a Wannabe Hero[1]

It’s a busy night on the surface, but high above it’s peaceful and dark. From a standpoint on the edge of a tall rooftop, the Outlaw surveys the bright lights below.

No wait, that’s crap. Sorry. Let me try again.

Xception overlooks the screeching cars and hurrying pedestrians, face illuminated by the headlights, streetlights, and neon signs of the night below, leaning from the top of the high ledge of the rooftop towards the city several stories down. Not great, but it sounds okay. Wish it sounded better than this cliched[2] flight test.

Yes, I’m superhuman.

Yes, I may be able to fly.

Yes, I’m about to jump off a building to try that.

Yes, I’m talking to myself. It’s a quirk. No less weird than, say, being able to turn off the laws of physics at will, which, as it just so happens, I can. Hence the crappy names—I break the laws, I’m the exception, etc. etc. Jeez, this is so cliche,[3] I could die. But I gotta try this.

Had I been someone else, I might’ve been able to ignore it when I wished to myself that I had no inertia so the fist flying at me pushed me instead of slammed me and I found myself painlessly on the floor.

Had I been someone else, I could’ve just stopped there when I asked friction to go away so I could skid to class, and slid 200 feet by accident.

Had I been someone else, I might’ve let it go right through me when a misjuggled circus knife slipped straight off my skin[4] because force was no longer mass times acceleration.[5]

But, of course, I couldn’t.

I had to try more. The more I learned, however, the more clueless I became. And I didn’t even learn that much. How did this happen? Was this power incidental or predestined? Am I really human? Can I affect others? Can I start messing with chemistry? Biology? And, more practically, will it ever catch up to me? Will all the things I’m supposed to be feeling suddenly hit me? Will this stop working without warning? Will I ever stop stalling and jump off this building already?

All right. It’s time to stop asking questions. I’ll deal with them later. As for now, I’m a kid on a rooftop, shivering, and I’m waiting to get down and get to someplace with a heater. And it seems like a lot more fun to fly. I’d be crazy not to be worried, but worrying isn’t going to help right now. I’ve got to have an eye on the ground, but unless I look up, I’m never going to get off this roof. Granted, I could just go back down the stairs, grab a cup of coffee, and pretend nothing ever happened.

But why would I?

I’ve been given a chance. A cliche[6] chance, but a chance all the same. A way out of a boring life. Something to live for.[7] This would be suicide, both physical and societal, for anyone else.

But I’m the Xception.

Good God, that was cheesy.

Well, no use wasting any more time. Time to leap.

Close my eyes. Breathe. Step onto the nonexistent foothold.

Gravity starts to take hold.[8]

I kindly tell it to shut the hell up.[9]

 


[1] Well, aren’t we stereotypical? I hope whomever you’re submitting this to knows what they’re getting into.  Really, Sal? You know you’re just as nerdy as I am. Don’t deny it. Your bunk is drowning in comic books. I think the counselors actually had to drag you out of a pile once.

[2] Accent, please!

[3] Seriously, give this an accent.

[4] I have nothing to say to this. I’m trying to make it so the power has combat applications, but not too brutal, okay?

[5] What a shame. Ms. Gutter’s bowling will certainly be impeded. Oh hush. To start, it only affects the hero. Also, that’s the last time I show you a letter from my ex-girlfriend. I get it—she has trouble bowling and her last name is “Gutter.” Very funny. Now then, when did you last have a smoochy-woochy with Aqua? Hmmm?

[6] FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT AN ACCENT ON THIS THING!

[7] Dude. . .are you okay? I hear writing can express someone’s inner feelings. . . Reread the line, genius. It’s about trying to find what makes you SPECIAL, so the hero has another reason to live, instead of mindless living. I’ll grant that I feel that sometimes.

[8] Okay. That’s pretty awesome. I am using that as a gmail status. Thank you, thank you.

[9] I like it, but I don’t really know where it’s going. What’s the deal? Seems more like an origin story than a full book. Oh, and good luck with your audition! Really, Xception knows about as much as you do. And yea, it is more of an origin story—or better yet, poetry, almost. It evokes an emotion rather than a narrative. And thanks, man, though good luck is a jinx in theater. I’m putting a lot of myself into this, and I hope that I stand out.