#FridayFlash: My Burning Destiny

It's a superpower that serves no purpose, helps no one and goes almost completely unnoticed. Please don't misunderstand me, though; I'm not complaining. Exposure to that much gamma radiation should have killed me outright. Instead, it transformed me into the man I am today.

The doctors couldn't understand it. They eventually concluded that the GRASER machine hadn't been operating properly. That brought a stern memo of protest from the scientists and engineers who built it, but what could they say? I was living proof that their "death ray" was a waste of four hundred and seventy million dollars. The project was shut down and I was let go.

I never thought to check the floors. But then, neither did anyone else. It was only after I was off the base and back in the world that I began to suspect something.

Everywhere I went, I smelled it. Hot plastic, scorched wood, melted wax... at first, I thought I was suffering some kind of nasal hallucination, that the GRASER had caused brain cancer. Finally, though, I figured it out, came to understand how the beam had changed me.

See, it was my footsteps. Everywhere I walked, the ground got hot. It didn't do anything to my shoes, I tested that. Somehow, the heat goes right through them. Back on the base, every floor was either concrete or that 1940's asbestos linoleum. But out here in the real world...

You might think that if it were my whole body, or just my hands, I could get a job as a superhero, like the Human Torch or something, but you'd be wrong. My footsteps don't burn, they just get hot, like almost scalding. Hot enough to mess up the finish after a while, but no hotter than that. What would I call myself? Captain Hotfoot?

Long story short, I couldn't keep a job before I got this one. The smells bothered my coworkers, and my supervisors figured I was smoking on duty. I got fired twice for the damage I did to the carpeting of my workstation. They said I must have been grinding out cigarette butts, even though burning carpet smells nothing like cigarette smoke.

Here at the spa, though, the floors are all tiled. The rooms are all kept hot for the clients in their towels and sandals. It's a good job, and I'm lucky to have it.

But I learned something yesterday. After the GRASER failed on me, the team tried it on somebody else. It was after the second failure that they were shut down. Someone else survived an ultra-lethal dose of gamma rays, and yesterday, I learned his name and history. Like me, he bounced around for a while after the base closed, but he seems to be settled now.

He works across town as a Zamboni driver.


  1. No purpose? Warming a cold tile floor serves no purpose? Ha! I wonder what would happen if he sat on the edge of a frozen pond & put his feet in — how quickly could he melt the ice?

    Interesting that the GRASER had the opposite effect on two different people, though.

    This reminded me of some of JohnW's stuff, and in a good way.

  2. Hahaha! Captain Hotfoot! Wonder if the other dude is Frozone? That would be cool. Nice story, Tony.

  3. Love it! Semi-superpowers... Is this the result of your question back a few days? :)

  4. The range of your stories is brilliant, moving with remarkable fluidity from genre to genre.
    This had great comic value.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  5. Nothing like those pointless powers. Just special enough to not be special at all.

  6. Captain Hotfoot made me laugh. LOL

  7. Hey, any time you can survive that much radiation your power has already served a purpose - as a 1-Up!

  8. Heehee. Semi-super powers could be a blessing in disguise.

  9. @ FAR: OK, it serves a *minor* purpose. ;-)

    @ Maria: I think the other guy calls himself Frost King, but leaving frosty footsteps isn't much better than what Captain Hotfoot can do.

    @ Janet: Remind me - which question? I ask so many when I'm musing aloud...

    @ Adam: I'm flattered - thank you!

    @ Raven: It's like having two double-jointed thumbs. Makes for a decent party trick, but otherwise?

    @ Sonia: Glad you liked it!

    @ John: That's true, the whole not-dying-of-massive-tissue-necrosis was pretty good, come to think of it.

    @ Lara: I'm not sure what to call these "not super" superpowers. OKpowers? Above-averagepowers? Unusualpowers?

  10. Hah! Captain Hotfoot. I wonder how he'd be treated at the airport...

  11. Ha haaa Captain Hotfoot, I use to work as a remedial massage therapist in a spa, sometimes giving hot rock massages, I was thinking he could take that one further and walk on the backs of people - hot foot massage ^__^

    I laughed at the other guy, good funny story!

  12. It's great to see superhero powers that are actually a bit lame. I'm glad he found a job that was useful though!

    One typo - first line of the third paragraph should be "thought".

  13. I actually like the idea of Captain Hotfoot. Maybe he could be a weird type of masseuse or one of those guys that walks on coals... hehe

  14. Wow, a new superhero has arrived. This could easily be expanded upon.


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