I’m a lover. Not a fighter.
The sky is mine. I see other people going through her, from time to time – rolled up in aluminum tubing, or sitting in harness suspended from latex parachutes. I go bare-assed, and glorious. The wind slaps and slithers all over me while I’m riding her.
You’re jealous. That’s fine. I’m young and good-looking. Flying itself doesn’t take any effort, but I loop-de-loop and wriggle for fun all the time, and it’s given me chiseled abs and bulging biceps. People say, “Put your clothes on!” So I jump into the air where they can’t catch me but they have to see me. Well, actually they don’t have tot see me. That’s what I say to everyone while I’m flying. “You don’t have to look up at me, you know. You could just go about your business with your eyes at the level of the doors you use.” But they don’t – they crane their necks all the harder to see me and let their mouths fall open and don’t do anything at the time but stand and stare. I don’t get offended by them staring, either. Let them have their little exciting moment in the day to whine about. They have to work to make money to pay to live in houses everyday. Me? I fly. I don’t need that crap. No house, no clothes, no job. There’s no one in the sky to fuck with me. There’s no animals, no burglars, no cops. There’s birds, but I’m bigger than them. There’s planes sometimes, but you can hear them coming for miles and miles. When it’s cold, I fly somewhere warm. When it rains, I flying facing down and get wet. You get used to being wet in the sky when it happens enough – you don’t get sick or nothing. I think all the bacterias that like people live close to the ground anyway.
Sometimes I do get hungry. When that happens I fly close enough to land to get people pointing up at me. Then I land and they take me out to eat. They know they have to pay when we go, because I’m naked. I don’t have pockets.
Everyone wants to take me out anyways, because I can fly. I’m the only one who can. If I wasn’t, it wouldn’t be as cool. I’ve been all over the world bunches of times. I know where I am by the stars, if it’s dark. In the day, I can sort of tell by the smell and feeling of the air, and when I’m on terra firma I can tell by what kind of food I’m eating and by the languages on the menus. I don’t speak anything but English, which is fine. Everyone speaks English to me. They know who I am and that I’m American.
Sometimes I stick around someplace if I like the food and air or the people. As soon as I get sick of peoples’ shit, I’m up and off again. I can’t do drama.
Examples of drama would be: people lecturing me to be a hero.
I’m not a bad guy. I don’t like it that most people who fall out of buildings can’t fly and wind up getting killed. But I’m not a babysitter. I can’t be always flying around cities trying to catch people who fall. In the first place, the air around cities is bad for you. Would you become a superhero if you had to start smoking cigarettes to do it? Second, people on the ground expect you to be like them the longer that you stick around. They start pressuring you to not be naked. And it has to be the right kind of clothes, too, not just any old thing to wear. And to cut your hair, and keep in touch, and get a phone. What good is flying, then, if people can just talk to you whenever?
But I do have a heart. If I’m near a city and I see a building on fire, I’ll fly by windows and save anyone who’s not too prude or homophobe to jump into the arms of a gleaming chiseled naked man. You’d be fucking surprised how many people are too prude and homophobe to jump.
One time, there was a chick trying to kill herself by jumping off a bridge, so I flew down and saved her. When I caught her, she started screaming. I guess it was shock, but I wasn’t expecting it, and I changed position in the air, and dropped her. I’d been about to land – she fell about five feet and twisted her leg. She didn’t notice it at first.
“I almost died!” She started to cry. “I almost died! I almost died!”
I landed next to her. “Better luck next time.” She looked up at me with these big sad Bambi eyes, and I tried to be less sarcastic. “Yeah,” I said. “But you didn’t.”
“I can’t believe I did that.”
She looked so sad, almost ashamed. “Did what?” I asked. “Tried to fly?”
I think she didn’t notice till then that I was naked and had been flying. She blushed. “You saved me.”
You know, I’ve had chicks before, and some dudes, see me flying by and jump off of bridges just for the attention. When they do that, they always say, “You saved me!” And wait for me to make out with them. Half the time I forgive the drama and go along with it, but the other half it pisses me off and I have to fly up high and drop them again until they get the point that it’s not fucking cool to do that. You can’t just assume I’ll see you and save if you if you see me flying by. I fly while I’m sleeping and everything.
This girl wasn’t one of the ones looking for attention, though. She still looked sad. And she did, a little bit, look like she was waiting for me to make out with her, but also a little bit like she was waiting for me to punch her in the face.
I split the difference and soft-slugged her shoulder. “Don’t do that again.” She looked at the ground. “I don’t like cities, I’m probably never coming back this way.”
“Ok,” she said, and I felt better, because I could tell she meant it.
“Want to get food?” I asked. I was only in town to begin with because I wanted dinner.
“I just tried to kill myself,” she pointed out, eyeing my lack of pockets. “I didn’t think to bring money.”
“Whatever,” I said. “I’m famous.” I let her climb up on my sexy back and jumped into the air. The restaurant’s manager said free food, no problem, as long as we posed for a selfie. Cool.
We introduced ourselves – her name was Danielle, mine was Skybach. She was Irish and Armenian, I was some kind of Hispanic, I think, or some kind of white and just really tanned. She seemed surprised by my not knowing, so I had to explain how I didn’t remember where I came from, and I didn’t remember my family or friends or life before I could fly. I had people google me before – there wasn’t any famous flying man before the last ten years.
I remember a hospital once. Being alone in a hospital bed by a window, and how I didn’t stop to think before I jumped up and flew myself away. I guess I could have looked for a chart or something to know my name. It was better this way. More free.
Danielle was looking down at the table when she spoke again. “I remember a hospital, too.”
She slid her sleeve up her arm and the air kind of froze in my lungs. “Jesus Christ!” Her wrist was all sliced up.
“It’s not what you think,” she said softly. She flexed a little – the muscles in her forearm barely twitched – and out shot a gleaming talon, silver bird claw, metal hook. She slacked her arm and the claw shot back in, leaving a thick bloody trail where the skin had split. “I don’t know what it’s for.” She sighed. “I guess all my bones are like that.”
“If somebody tried to mug you, you’d kill him easily!” I said. “You’re made of knives.”
“People don’t try to mug you often enough for that to be worth it. Most of the time, people try to love you. When you’re made of knives, it’s hard to love them back. You wound them without trying.”
“Seems like you’re good at holding yourself together,” I said. “You didn’t kill me, even when I surprised you in the air.”
“Yeah,” she said. “This was a good day.” She smiled a bit, in an angry way. “I think somebody made me like this. The hospital. I remember. I used to have bones before. Somebody made me full of knives. But I don’t know why.” She looked at me in the eyes and then her smile was big and proud. “I don’t think they meant for this to happen. Watch.” She moved her forearm over the table, slowly. The fork next to her plate started to tremble, then jumped up to cling to her.
She nodded. “I taught myself to be magnetic. You can make plain metal magnetized, you know. Like if you move a magnet over a nail in the right direction, over and over again, you line up all the poles in all the particles, so they’re all working together. That’s how it works.”
“So that’s how you keep all the knives inside?”
“That’s how. I learned to move the knives inside of me, over and over, in one direction. So I can keep myself together. It takes a lot out of me. I have more trouble some days than others, holding them in, but even when they get away from me now, they curve in. I’ve gotten better and better over the years. One day, maybe. No one will get hurt.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Well. Don’t go jumping off any more bridges.”
There were nosy people in this restaurant. One lady who listened to our whole conversation jumped up and said why don’t we be superheros together and find the bastards who did this to us and wreak our revenge? I said, speak for yourself, no bastards did anything to me. She said, well what about the hospital? I said, what about the hospital? Then I said nevermind, I didn’t want to hear any stupid theories. I fly. It’s great. What’s hard to understand? Danielle kept looking down at the table, so I finally said let’s go, and I took her outside and up into the sky.
I liked her enough that I stayed in that city another two weeks. She had a bad day once and nearly put my eye out, but I didn’t leave right away after that. When I did go, I didn’t say goodbye. She was cool people. She understands it about me that I go where the wind blows.