Tomorrow Girl in Bismarck Chapter Four. Where I drop the naming convention and everything goes right for Joss (in a way). aka Raised on Radio
Night. Motel Six.
Maryam Green sincerely desired only one thing in his life. Well, two things. Three things, but he wasn't gonna find one tonight. The first was to sell upper North Dakota the best tractor insurance money could buy. The second was just to sit on the bed in his motel room and take off his wet, damp socks. He failed utterly on the first part of that. But he was quite successful with the second part. The day had been long and he was finally ready to just fall asleep. As he began to drift off to the sounds of Brian Williams, everything started to seem perfect, until he heard the sound of a crash.
Being a kind-hearted and affectionate North Dakotan that he was, he decided that it would be best for him to check. He put on his damp socks, eww, and went out to see what the issue was. Wouldn't you know it, fate has a terrible sense of humor. A truck had crashed into his 1983 Pontiac. "Gosh darn it," he said. The truck driver got out. He was clearly drunk, and apologized vigorously for his mistake. "Oh, man. I'm sorry, man. I'm sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going and I just crashed." He had made hand gestures to emphasize how sorry he was about the crashing. "Ah, wouldn't worry much about it. What's that particular green ooze that's coming out from the truck?" "Ah, man. Ah, man, that's bad." "I wouldn't worry so much about it," he said as the green ooze surrounded him. He slowly but surely started to lose most of the skin on his feet.
The events of this story are true. It occurred in North Dakota in 2010. The names have been changed to protect the victims. Everything else has been told exactly as it happened.
The sky felt empty. There were birds, but there were always birds. Birds honestly weren't that interesting to talk to, for Tomorrow Girl, also known as Joss. She then corrected herself, "That's not right." She knew many birds on her travels through the galaxy that were very fun to talk to. These birds though weren't; they were just stupid Earth birds that couldn't even think. The only thing that really helped them out was that they were beautiful to watch fly. She respected the hell out of them for traversing this nearly frozen landscape.
She didn't really know what to do. Joss was, in a word, confused - almost bamboozled in a lot of ways. Her first day as a superhero might've been the worst first day any superhero ever had. It's not often that you just look away for a second and the entire universe gets destroyed. That was on her. Oh God, the guilt with that. Why did she bring that up? The sheer amount of guilt. "Oh, no. No. No," she thought. She sat down on a building, "All my friends are dead. Oh, God. Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God," she thought. Then she composed herself, calmly and assuredly. "It's not as bad as you think it is, Joss."
When a door gets closed, and then the door never existed and the house around that door never existed, there's always a new window. She realized, when thinking of the new window, that her plan had always been to be a sidekick for a while, and then eventually she would learn the ropes and she would establish herself as her own fantastic new superhero. Not that she didn't love being a sidekick, but she had dreams. She had visions. The only way to stop the soul-crushing guilt that she felt about letting everybody in the universe get killed was to focus solely on this new ideal. This new wondrous ideal that she had. She would be This Universe's first superhero. She would do it right this time. All that required of her was a crime to be committed. This was where some problems erupted. As she flew over, there really wasn't that much crime getting committed. She wondered why. It occurred to her, well, what she really needed was a super villain, someone to use her super powers on.
So she did a general mental rundown of her powers. They involved being able to lift up approximately 1.5 tons, being able to set a match on fire with her eyes, and if at point blank range if someone shot at her, she'd die, but anything past five feet, six feet, you know, anything off, she'd live. She'd live. It would hurt, but she would live. All of that. Powers firmly established, parameters met, moving forward. One of her skills, and this was not a power that had anything to do with being part of a scientific experiment to clone the world's most powerful superheros, was a keen sense of awareness. Also, she was resistant to cold, that was another thing. She didn't realize how cold it was until she checked the thermometer and she figured out that's why nobody's committing crimes because it's just cold. Crime is a summer activity. That's probably true.
Yeah, that'd be great. But she was a superhero. Although she had a passing fancy of a super villain coming down and showing his power, and then she would come down, and she would say, "Stop! Vial villain." She knew she was just being selfish.
She had read once somewhere about this whole idea of power and something to do with responsibility. She didn't read it thoroughly but she was just going to go off the top of her head here, say the first thing that comes to mind. "With great power comes great responsibility." Yeah. That's a good idea. So she scanned, she patrolled, she stayed out of any public lights. She could move so fast, and it was not like she was invisible or anything, but she could easily break the sound barrier and it was like, you know, after that people don't really hear stuff. Also, her hearing was very good. Like super good.
It was one of those quiet, quiet crime days. But as night approached the fun began with criminals. She would be damned if she would let somebody steal a car. There were two big thugs too, with big hammers. They weren't even good. She felt vaguely sorry for them mostly. How do you not know how to hammer this stuff? You know, it's like they kept missing the window. It's so simple. So, she just decided to do her road maneuvers and she landed and said, "Stop evil villains!" Right in front of them. Of course the thugs had never seen a flying person. One of the thugs, Randy was his name, and then there was Alistair; they both just freaked out and started screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! How is that possible? How is that possible? Life is not worth living."
They both ran off, unable to comprehend the fact that they had seen a human being fly. Joss noted that. This was not a normal thing people see. So, attempt number two. She was counting it as a win when she did stop the car from being stolen. Now this one's a classic. But she wouldn't just fly in front of them. That felt rude. Rude, and also she didn't want to make them question the very fabric of the universe. So as the purse snatcher was running off she simply stood in front of him and said, "Stop evil villain!" He ran right into her, and being as she was bulletproof and super strong, running right into her meant he cracked his skull and passed out. That usually didn't happen.
Joss fell asleep on the uncomfortable hospital seating, waiting to see if the purse snatcher was okay. Dr. Wayne came out. The doctor assured her, "No, he's fine. He has a pretty bad concussion and broken nose but he should be okay."
"Thanks," said Joss. She did stop a bunch of crime from happening. True, everybody got really hurt, but in a way, she had everything go right for her. She had to smile (the one a person does when their dreams are dead.)
The door rang in Zoyna's house. They had just had dinner. Her mom instructed her quite plainly to answer the door. She did, and she saw Joss there giving a sad little wave.
"You're the only person I know in the universe," said Joss.