The Spider

Metaphysical Man looks down at the object and does a double take. “What is that?” It is a little smaller than his own hand and curled up into a fist. The superhero isn’t exactly sure what it is he is looking at. He senses that it is some sort of plant or perhaps a stationary animal like a sponge or barnacle. “What’s it doing out here on dry land?” wonders MM. He bends down to get a closer look. All at once the object gives a short sudden jerk and the fingers of the balled up fist begin moving wildly. The fingers are then slowly forced back into a fist and a yellowish liquid is secreted from the center or palm of the object. A shudder surges through Metaphysical Man’s body as he realizes he is staring at the largest spider he has ever seen in his life. He suddenly remembers the incident with the child. He was told the child needed to be rushed to the hospital because of a spider bite. He remembered dismissing the situation as trivial and viewing the response of Chaz as an overreaction at the time. “That’s no spider. It’s a tarantula,” thinks Double M. Metaphysical Man shakes his head in disbelief while observing that the arachnid’s hairy legs are thicker than the child’s fingers.

Are you a fan of Don Quijote? You may enjoy this new book.  When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting


Chapter 1 – With great power comes great responsibility.

– Spiderman

Every day the world is increasingly becoming a more terrifying place to live in. Most city streets are flooded with crime. Injustice is the rule of the day. Millions are afraid to go out of their homes after dark as a result of the violent crime wave sweeping from one city to another. The horizon seems full of possibilities for evildoers. They can be seen everywhere walking with their heads held high confident about the future. Everywhere that is except for in Atro City. In Atro City the scumbags have been put on notice. There, criminals know that crime doesn’t pay. They realize that if they break the law they will have Metaphysical Man to answer to. Now as far as superheroes go Metaphysical Man is no less capable than any other. It’s been said that he can move at lightning speed and that he can lift three thousand times his own weight. He’s been rumored to level mountains by emitting laser beams from his eyes. Metaphysical Man has been around fighting crime for as long as anyone in Atro City can remember. No one knows where he came from or how old he is because he never seems to age. Though historians have traced back his history some six thousand years, Metaphysical Man’s origins remain a mystery. In any case the citizens of Atro City don’t seem to be too worried about these details. They’re just happy he’s there.
​As our story begins we encounter our hero flying high above Atro City as the sun begins to set. His red cape gently flutters as the wind glides between it and the tightly stretched yellow micro fiber suit revealing a muscular chiseled frame. Encountering an obstacle course of alternating clouds MM suddenly springs into tactical maneuvers. Reminiscent of an Olympic gymnast he gracefully twists his frame from left to right dodging between the mazes of nebulous. At this height MM must be aware that he is beyond the view of onlookers yet after every thrust he contracts one side of his body flexing all of the muscles and showing off his washboard abdominals. Our hero is in rare form as he develops this rhythm of movement. All at once the pattern of clouds becomes irregular and MM is engulfed by a large cloud. He desperately lurches his body around, arms and legs flailing. “What the…” groans Metaphysical Man as he is struck in the face by a solid object. The thought, “Am I under attack?” quickly flashes across his perfect mind. Now certain it was a fist that struck him MM bursts out of his foggy prison wildly throwing punches. He jerks his head down fiercely and catches sight of a lifeless goose plummeting towards the earth. Frowning MM bristles his large dark eyebrows. Gradually his face blushes crimson. Again, Metaphysical Man must realize that there were no witnesses to this mistake. Nevertheless he suspiciously looks from side to side to confirm it. At lightning speed he flees the scene with an array of thoughts and emotions clouding his mind. Among these emotions is an unmistakable desire to revenge himself on somebody.
​Metaphysical Man continues meticulously searching his route until finally he spots what he’s been looking for. Three low-lives have a 10-year-old girl cornered against a brick wall in a dead end alley. With his perfect eyes the defender of justice quickly surveys the situation. The girl has bruises all over her arms and legs and her dress is torn. MM smiles. “You scumbags picked the wrong night to disturb my city’s peace.” With one fist extended he plummets toward the crime scene. The little girl is so terrified she can’t even scream. A pale round face with wide eyes just looks up at her attackers as if hoping for a miracle. She reminds Metaphysical Man of a little defenseless lamb cornered by a pack of wolves. As he stealthily lands, his red leather boots make no sound. His mind is now free from confusion. He’s already forgotten about the incident with the goose. “Since no one witnessed it, did it really even happen?” reasoned Metaphysical Man. He finally concludes that the event never actually happened the only remnant of the incident being the desire for vengeance, which is now stronger than ever. The scumbags begin closing in upon their prey. “Hey little girl,” taunts one of the men. “We wont hurt you. We just want to play.” The other two begin to laugh. Suddenly something catches the little girls attention. Her attackers expect their victim to be intently focused on what’s about to happen to her. However her wide eyes dart just over the shoulders of these dregs of society and rest upon a large insignia with large red capital letters that read MM. This insignia is stretched across a yellow background in the shape of massive pectoral muscles. Although they hear nothing the strange actions of the girl cause all three of her attackers to turn simultaneously. Rapid movements of shadows dance across the girl’s pale face. She occasionally flinches as she gazes upon the action unfolding before her very eyes. As swiftly as it started the action is over and the bruised battered bodies of the three attackers lay in a heap off to the side. But the little girls attention is not focused on this heap of bodies. Her wide eyes are locked on the six-foot tall figure standing in front of her with outstretched hand and beaming eyes.
​What is it about super heroes that grip our imagination? No matter who we are, if we’re being honest with ourselves we have to admit that we’re captivated by super powers. From the time we were children we would pretend that we could fly like Superman, shoot lasers out of the palms of our hands like Iron Man, or become unbelievably strong like the Incredible Hulk. Even when the power doesn’t seem to be the greatest, as long as it makes the bearer stand out from the huddling masses of ordinary human beings we are drawn to him. Take for example Batman. He has no super powers. He does however have a power that enables him to stand out from the other citizens of Gotham. His power consists of a combination of dark personality traits, exceptional martial arts ability, and an ever-increasing number of gadgets that no one else has. What do you think would happen if another of Gotham’s citizens suddenly discovered that they had the ability to fly or effortlessly pulverize boulders with their bare hands? Suddenly Batman doesn’t seem so special. He fades into the background of every day human beings that we ignore. It’s for that reason that there must exist a balance of power with regard to heroes and villains. A super villain must not have abilities so superior that the super hero cannot handle him. At the same time although we expect the hero to win, he must not be so powerful that no villains present a challenge for him. The possibility must always exist that the bad guy could actually win. For that reason if the super hero has an overabundance of power – which sometimes happens – he must also have an accompanying weakness to check his power. That being said, it must be noted that Metaphysical Man has no known weaknesses.
​He can judge a situation simply by looking at the outside appearance of someone. He looks down at the girl and begins a process that has been carried out by him millions of times before. The little girl tugs at his cape and suddenly becomes animated as she excitedly explains her situation and how she arrived in this predicament. MM is forced to use one of his super powers in order not to be distracted while he renders judgment. His mind produces a force field to block out everything the girl is saying. A few words penetrate his defenses here and there. He hears the word ‘abuse’ and ‘captivity’. However he quickly pushes these ideas out of his consciousness. You see Metaphysical Man recognizes that all human beings are liars. Truth doesn’t exist in their world. If he’s to render a proper decision he cannot be influenced by earthly ideas. As he watches the little girl’s mouth moving he hears no sound. He lifts one of his eyebrows and ponders. “This little girl should not be alone in an alley at this time of night. What could have driven her from the security of home to aimlessly wandering the streets? Look at those bruises. This little girl has been through an ordeal.” Metaphysical Man nods to himself as he arrives at his conclusion. Without saying a word he sweeps up the child into his arms and ascends into the sky. The girl buries her face into her protector’s arms. Her sobs gradually lessen as it sinks in that her ordeal is over. Where else could her liberator be taking her but to a place of safety? Distress suddenly appears to register on the little girl’s face as she begins to look around. She seems to recognize her surroundings. She begins to struggle against Metaphysical Man’s powerful muscles. He appears to not even notice the resistance as they descend upon a brick house with the windows boarded up. There are a couple of cars parked in the yard with tall weeds growing around the flat tires. The yard is strewn with empty beer bottles. As his red leather boots touch down on the porch of the house the girl immediately runs behind MM occasionally peeking around his cape to gaze at the weathered front door of the old house. Metaphysical Man knocks loudly on the door. After an interval of a few minutes the sound of squeaking floor boards gradually gets louder as someone approaches the door. All at once the door bursts open and loudly bangs against the front of the house almost coming off the hinges. A balding man with large hairy forearms and tattoos fills the doorway. With large bloodshot eyes he sizes up Metaphysical Man as if to demand to know, “Who are you and why are you banging on my door like that?” If looks could kill everyone on the porch would be dead. “Citizen!” declared Metaphysical Man appearing to not notice the man’s irritation. “Don’t be alarmed. It is I, Metaphysical Man!” MM paused to let this information sink in. The superhero didn’t receive the response he was expecting however. The man lifted his eyebrows sarcastically and slightly jerked his head as if to say, “And?…” MM pondered for a moment. “He must not have heard me,” he thought. “Or maybe he just woke up and hasn’t put on his glasses yet. That must be why he doesn’t recognize me.” Metaphysical Man loudly cleared his throat. “I said have no fear citizen for…” “I heard you the first time!” interrupted the man. “What I need to know is… What the…” Suddenly he stopped in mid- sentence, as something seemed to catch his attention. MM’s cape seemed to have moved by itself. The man frowned and looked suspiciously at the base of the cape where he thought he saw the movement. His suspicions were confirmed when the section of cape suddenly began to tremble uncontrollably. A barely perceptible wicked smile seemed to flash up then quickly disappear on the man’s face. Instantaneously his demeanor changed. “Oh… Metaphysical Man!” Looking back over his shoulder he shouted, “Look dear! Metaphysical Man is at our door!” Extending both of his rough hands he grips double M by the hand. “To what do we owe this great honor sir?” Metaphysical Man smiles widely displaying all of his perfectly shaped pearly whites. “This is more like it,” he thought. In one fluid movement Metaphysical Man reaches behind him and produces the little girl. “You must be this little girl’s father?” “Yes,” replied the man without taking his eyes off the child. “What has she done now? This one is nothing but trouble. And how she lies…” Double M gave a start. “No sir you have it all wrong. This child is a victim. I rescued her from the grasps of some pretty unsavory characters. She must have wandered off while playing and unexpectedly found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t worry she’s safe now.” Double M handed the child over to the man and all at once he stooped down and began to hug the child. “You had your mom and me worried sick! Don’t ever put us through that again. You hear?” The man embraced the girl with one hand while pointing accusingly at the girl with his other hand. The child’s reaction to her father seemed a little out of place to Metaphysical Man. Instead of embracing him and expressing relief for being home safe, she had a blank look in her eyes and stood completely frozen. “She must still be in shock,” thought MM. “Inside,” commanded the man in a stern voice. Obediently the little girl walked into the house and disappeared into the darkness. “Thank you so much Metaphysical Man. How can we ever repay you for bringing our little girl back to us?” Double M anxiously awaiting such a response waived his red-gloved hand and replied, “The best way you can repay me is to make sure your little girl stays safe. There are a lot of sick people out there.” Slightly turning MM extends his hand behind him drawing the man’s attention to the city. The man responded by flashing a wide wicked smile at the super hero. He then turned and slammed the door violently, once again shaking loose the hinges. Double M stood there for a moment staring at the closed door. On a sudden whim he lifts his gloved fist to knock on the door but then he has second thoughts and lowers his arm. He turns around and again begins to look from side to side as if someone was watching him. All of a sudden he goes down on one knee then with lightning quickness propels himself into the air like a rocket.
​As Metaphysical Man glides effortlessly across the sky he allows his perfect mind to relax and reflect on his recent actions. He asked himself why he had raised his fist to knock on the door in the first place. Hadn’t this encounter gone like countless others before? He saved the damsel in distress. His beneficiaries had acknowledged his heroism and stroked his ego yet something seemed to be missing. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it but lately he had been feeling a lack of certainty. Double M shook his head vigorously as if waking from a dream. “What are you doing Metaphysical Man?” he thought. You see, doubting one’s self, in Atro City was frowned upon. Doubting Metaphysical Man was straight blasphemy. “Your being silly,” he continued. “That citizen acted appropriately didn’t he? It’s our citizens that make Atro City the greatest city on earth. Sure there are other cities out there but none as perfect as ours. There are other superheroes defending these cities but they will never achieve what we have because they don’t understand the key.” Double M nodded confidently. Suddenly he caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye causing him to pause in midair. From this height Metaphysical Man could see the entire city. Using his Meta vision he quickly identified what threatened to disturb the harmony of Atro City. Double M grinned slightly then defiantly glared into the distance at a two-story house that was engulfed in flames. “Not on my watch!” declares the superhero as he points his red leather covered index finger at the blazing edifice. With the same hand he forms a fist then descends toward the fire in the same fist-first manner he approached the previous crime scene. As he lands among the rescue workers the gathering crowd begins to applause. Noticing that the police barrier had been violated, Atro City’s finest began closing in on Metaphysical Man. Suddenly a young man with horn-rimmed glasses and short black hair darts across the path of the officials and stands between Double M and the police. The young man was carrying bundles of files in paper sleeves all wrapped together in a worn brown leather carrying case. “Hey! This is a restricted area,” shouted a police captain. “You need clearance to be in here!” “Doug,” replied Metaphysical Man calmly. “Show the captain my clearance.” He then walked through the officials as if they weren’t even there. “Sure thing Double M,” panted Doug exhausted from running. Doug bent down on one knee and began rifling through the files. Badges and certificates of every sort all bearing the name Metaphysical Man were sifted through until finally the proper documents were found. As his credentials were being verified in the background Double M inquired, “Is there anyone still inside?” A smoke blackened firefighter spoke up. “We got most of the family out but the father rushed back in to save one of his children.” The fireman wearily removed his helmet and rubbed a sweat-covered forehead. “Son or daughter?” asked Metaphysical man. The fireman looked over at the visibly shaken family wrapped in blankets. “Daughter,” replied the fireman with a puzzled expression on his face. Suddenly an explosion burst forth through the second story windows causing everyone to scatter. Everyone that is except Metaphysical Man. He just lifted his red cape and covered his face from any projectiles. There was something unnatural about the flames. They seemed to be reacting to the arrival of Metaphysical Man. The flames seemed to burst forth angrily as if they were revolting against some invisible oppression. Double M bounded into action penetrating the flames that barred entry to the front door. Placing hand to ear he used his Meta-hearing to identify movement in the house. MM ran to the staircase then flew to the top skipping every step. Squinting he noticed movement at the other end of the hallway. As he approached he saw the father with hands wrapped in his jacket struggling to open the door. Metaphysical Man reached toward the man and gripped him by the shoulder. Just as the man was pulled from in front of the entrance the door exploded off its hinges and smashed against the opposing wall. The father glanced at his near death experience then quickly brushed it aside as he turned to enter the doorway. However Metaphysical Man was still gripping his shoulder. The man nearly pulled it out of its socket determinedly wrenching his body towards the entrance. “Annie!” screeched the man hysterically. Seconds later Metaphysical Man burst through the front door gripping the man by the waist. The crowd erupted in applause but it was mixed with faint sounds of sobbing and cursing. All at once it was noticed that the man wasn’t at all grateful for having been rescued. He pounded on Metaphysical Man’s chest and shouted, “Let me go! I need to save my little girl!” As if unaware of the man’s punches Metaphysical Man responded, “Sorry but no one is allowed back inside. The percentage of risk compared to the probability of a successful rescue divided by the remaining quality of life makes this a closed issue.” As Double M’s cold calculations begin to resonate the man’s mouth drops open in disbelief. Metaphysical Man has reached behind his cape and produced a calculator. “Your homeowner’s insurance is up do date?” Metaphysical Man typed rapidly on the calculator. “And you had a life insurance policy covering the girl?” Abruptly the man swung his arm and slapped the calculator from the super hero’s hands. It burst violently on the street. “Her name is Annie! Don’t you dare talk about her. You have no right! I’ll sue you and the city for wrongful death!” shouted the man angrily. Silence fell over the crowd. They looked at Metaphysical Man in disbelief then at the man. Before MM had a chance to react the crowd began to turn on the man. “You can’t talk like that to Metaphysical Man!” shouted someone. “It’s your fault anyways!” Someone else added “Disasters like this don’t occur in Atro City for no reason!” A third voiced accused, “I’ve seen this before. This man…” He pointed at the man. “This man’s sin is a lack of faith in man!” Coming to his senses and being provoked by the crowd, the man begins to defend himself. “Its not true! I always lease with 15% low APR financing. My expressed views are never a reflection of Atro City or its affiliates. All of my ideas are free of cholesterol and unsaturated fats.”
As Metaphysical Man lifts himself into the sky the still burning building begins to noisily collapse in on itself. However the noise steadily drifts away until it becomes barely audible to the super hero. Besides his thoughts are now elsewhere. “Why was that citizen so angry? He was informed he would be monetarily reimbursed for the loss of his belongings. He and his wife are young. They can have another child. With luck maybe this time it will be a boy. The latest statistics show males give a greater contribution to society than do females. I wonder what my Klout score is? I could go for a latte just about now. Was the crowd’s swift response appropriate? They were so angry at the thought that someone was questioning the system. Of course I believe in the system with all of its checks and balances, but is it really a sin to have doubts?” These thoughts flashed through Metaphysical Man’s perfect mind at lightning speed. Lost in thought MM reached his headquarters before he realized it. A large statue of a partially eaten apple was standing alone in the middle of a city block. This statue marked the location of Atro City’s only Apple store. In front of the statue was a large towering glass staircase that led customers underground to the large Apple store showroom and a seemingly endless supply of hip geniuses wearing apple t-shirts. This part of the store was open to the public and every citizen of Atro City had access. However hidden behind the Apple statue was an entrance that was restricted to the public. This was Metaphysical Man’s secret entrance to his underground layer, which resided even deeper underground beneath the Apple store showroom. A glass elevator plummets the superhero into the depths of the earth. Each layer of rock is clearly visible through the transparent walls of the elevator. The change in color of the walls mark the changing formations of earth and signal to Metaphysical Man how far he has to go to reach his destination. Double M feels a slight perspiration about to break out on his forehead but it is quickly extinguished as the flow of air-conditioning rushes into the opening elevator doors. Double M walks down the corridor and enters a large room that has the appearance of a first class airport lounge. There are newspaper and magazine racks of every sort, fine leather sofas, bar stools and Mac book stations. As soon as Metaphysical Man entered the room a young man with sideburns and thin circular framed glasses approaches him. “Its Metaphysical Man everyone,” the young man shouts. “Let me take that for you your excellency.” The man removed Double M’s cape and folded it over his arm. He then bent down to remove the superheroes red leather boots. “Thanks Bart,” responds Double M wearily. Metaphysical Man noticed Bart’s bald spot at the top of his dark blonde hair. Because of the sideburns and the fact that Bart kept his hair cut so low it was not usually noticeable that he was balding. From this angle however it was conspicuous. Bart looked up at Double M and smiled. Metaphysical Man quickly looked away. A young woman wearing a Rasta cap with short straight red locks jutting out of the sides seemed to appear from nowhere. She began powdering Metaphysical Mans face with perfumed talc and spritzing him with body spray. “Oh, hi Maggie. I didn’t see you there.” Bart and Maggie followed Metaphysical Man to the bar and sat with him until his normal booth was ready. Behind the bar stood Fred a slightly overweight bartender with salon styled brown hair low cut on the sides and slightly graying. Despite being slightly overweight he was wearing slim cut casual dress clothes. He had European cut jeans, a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows and penny loafers with no socks. Fred adjusted his spectacles and asked, “What’ll it be Double M?” Metaphysical Man distractedly looked up from his I pad mini. “Oh, sorry Fred. I’ll have my usual.” “Cinnamon infused latte coming up,” replied Fred then turned to prepare the order. Double M went back to simultaneously checking his social media stats while chatting up his friends. “Face book notifications: seven hundred and thirty three pokes, three hundred and seventy four friend requests, six hundred and nine new likes for my pages and one thousand three hundred and two comments on a photo that I was tagged in. Twitter notifications: eight hundred and thirty one new followers, twelve tweets, nine thousand six hundred and eighty seven retweets, nine thousand six hundred and eighty seven tweets favorited.” Metaphysical Man looked up. “What’s that Maggie? Yes I tried to calm the crowd down. They said he lacked faith in man. I didn’t even notice the television cameras. They exiled him from the city? No I didn’t hear.” Metaphysical Man shifted his eyes to his tablet screen. Klout Score: one hundred percent, Instagram news: seven hundred and nine new followers, thirteen hundred likes along with thirteen hundred comments. Vine: sixteen hundred vines liked and revined. Word press blog: nine hundred and seven new followers, eight hundred and three likes and comments on my post.” Metaphysical Man nodded. “Yes that’s right Bart. It’s called ‘Songs of Innocence’. I haven’t decided yet.” Double M checked to see how many Swarm friends were following his tips on Foursquare. He checked his You tube channel stats, his Linked In connections, his Tumblr, Google plus and Pinterest stats. When he was finally satisfied he began to sip his latte which was still hot though it had been served a while ago. Metaphysical Man looks over to see his booth is now ready. His friends Shaun Dan and Holly are already seated and waving him over. “Later guys,” says Double M excusing himself. “Cheers dude,” responds Bart.
​Shaun a tall blipster with a full beard and Malcolm X glasses was munching on a vegan Panini on one side of the booth while Dan and Holly played footsy at the other side. Dan who sported a chin beard always wore a cap. He was considered the music historian of the group because although he kept up with all of the emerging indie bands he was a classic rock junkie. He owned such a large catalogue of music it was said that he could start his own radio station and never repeat a song. Holly had long dirty blonde hair and her arms and legs were covered in colorful tattoos. Metaphysical Man sits down next to Shaun. “Did you guys read that article in ‘the Weekly Muse’ about modern man?” asked Shaun. “The article compared man throughout history and concluded that the idea of modern man is a myth.” Metaphysical Man looked up from his latte. “What do you mean a myth? Modern man is to medieval man what medieval man was to the ape. Our ancestors thought the earth was flat. How could the author of the article conclude that we are the same as those primitives?” “Well,” replied Shaun excitedly, “That statement you just made about us coming from apes is one of the examples the author used to prove his point. He contended that Darwin’s theory, which is still taught in modern classrooms, is an old throwback theory, which would have been challenged and replaced with something new by now if modern man actually existed. Modern man is a label he places on himself to define his present flawed understanding of things.” Dan angrily slams his fist on the table. “You sound like you agree with the author! He’s a lunatic. He doesn’t believe in man!” “Relax,” urged Shaun noticing Dan was about to create a scene. “I didn’t say I agreed with the article. I just think it’s an interesting hypothesis. You know… worthy of discussion.” Dan looked over to Metaphysical Man. “Tell him Double M. You’ve been around longer than any of us. If anyone can shed some light on the subject it’s you. Weren’t you formed by the big bang?” This is one of the subjects Metaphysical Man usually avoided. He didn’t see the need to reflect on his origins. “Why are they so obsessed with the past?” thought Metaphysical Man. “We are living in the most important time in history.” A sudden chill swept through Metaphysical Man’s body as he realized that this was a belief he had been harboring over the centuries. For the first time in his life he noticed the inherent contradiction of his ideology. All at once he had a vague premonition that something or someone was controlling things. “Well Double M? Tell him.” Metaphysical Man opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by Doug who had just come running into the room.
“Did Double M fill you guys in on what happened back at the fire? That jerk actually had the nerve to lay his hands on Metaphysical Man. You showed a lot of restraint by the way.” Doug looked with eyes of admiration at Metaphysical Man. “Very classy boss. Lucky for him too, you could have ripped him in half had you wanted to. The crowd wasn’t as understanding as you were. I stuck around myself to tear him a new one but the crowd wouldn’t let me near him. That’s why I’m just now getting in.” “Good!” replied Dan without looking up. “So what ended up happening to the man?” asked Holly. “They finally expelled him from the city,” replied Doug. “Can you imagine? Its like he expected society to come to a halt for the sake of one person. For us to throw away all the progress we’ve made.” Doug drew his attention back to Metaphysical Man. “You guys should have seen him. Double M is always awesome but tonight he was in rare form. First he…” As Doug went on to relate all the details of Metaphysical Man’s exploits Double M allowed his mind to wander. “Listen to this guy. I mean I’m sure I was impressive but he’s going too far.” He shook his head. “What am I thinking? Doug is a good guy. He means well, even if at times he is a little over the top.” Metaphysical Man enjoyed hearing himself praised. But there was something about the way that Doug did it that at times turned his stomach. This was one of those times. “What’s the matter? You’re leaving already?” asked Shaun. Metaphysical Man was already halfway to the door of his inner chambers when he turned back around. “Sorry fellas. I’m not feeling myself tonight.” “You should listen to Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd,” suggested Dan. “When I’m not feeling well that album puts my mind at ease.” Holly added, “You should try those new super omega soft gel capsules with flax seed and fish oil. Also have some green tea with extra antioxidants.” Shaun contributed, “It sounds like you need inversion therapy. We spend ninety five percent of our lives right side up. Gravity exerting a pull on our organs in only one direction is very hard on the nervous system. You need to hang upside down for a few hours. That will make you feel better.” Metaphysical Man thanked his friends for the suggestions then retired into his inner chambers. He walked past a wall covered in framed newspaper articles featuring himself in various fighting poses. Depending on the year of the article his outfit was slightly altered to reflect the style of the time. The style of his current yellow suit with red leather flourishes was called postmodern metro retro. Double M paused by his floor to ceiling aquarium that served as one of the dividing walls in his inner chamber. As he tapped on the glass exotic fish of every sort crowded towards the sound. He continued walking deeper into his chambers passing his personal library, which contained fine leather-bound books and novels dating back to the sixth century. It’s been said that Metaphysical Man need only to read something once and he remembers it forever. He pulls one of the books off the shelf at random and begins reading aloud the title. “Civilization and Its Discontents. By Sigmund Freud” Double M flips through a few pages of the book and begins reading. “Normally there is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our self, our or ego. This ego appears to us as something autonomous and unitary, marked off distinctly from everything else. But such an appearance is deceptive and on the contrary the ego is continued inwards without any sharp delimitation into a sharp unconscious mental imagery which we designate as the id and for which it serves as a kind of façade.” Metaphysical Man stops reading and reflects on what he thinks he already knows. He flips ahead a couple of pages and continues reading. “A further incentive to the disengagement of the ego from the general mass of sensations that is to a recognition of an outside, an external world is provided by the frequent manifold and unavoidable sensations of pain and unpleasure. The removal and avoidance of which is enjoined by the pleasure principle in the exercise of its unrestricted domination. The tendency arises to separate from the ego anything that can become a source of unpleasure, to throw it outside and to create a pure pleasure ego which is confronted by a strange and threatening outside. The boundaries of this primitive pleasure ego cannot escape rectification through experience. Some of the things one is unwilling to give up because they cause pleasure are nevertheless not ego but object. And some sufferings that one seeks out to expel turns out to be inseparable from the ego in virtue of their internal origin. One comes to learn a procedure by which through a deliberate direction of ones sensory activities and through suitable muscular action one can differentiate between what is internal, what belongs to the ego and what is external what emanates from the outside world. In this way one makes the first step toward the introduction of the reality principle, which is to dominate future development. This differentiation of course serves the practical purpose of enabling one to defend oneself against sensations of unpleasure which one actually feels or with which one is threatened. To fend off certain unpleasurable excitations arising from within, the ego can use no other method than that which it uses to fend off certain unpleasure coming from without. And this is the starting point of important pathological disturbances. In this way then the ego detaches itself from the external world, or to put it more correctly originally the ego includes everything later it separates off an external world from itself.”
Metaphysical Man places the book back on the shelf, sits back in his black leather sofa, grabs the remote and begins flipping through an extensive list of channels on his large screen tv.
Landing on Fuse he lifts one of his large bushy eyebrows in interest. Kanye West is prancing across the screen with his chest puffed out.

Suddenly Metaphysical Man becomes aware of a flashing siren on the wall in the shape of an M. Realizing that he is being summoned by the commissioner of Atro City, Double M suits up. Seconds later the superhero is seen determinedly jutting across the sky toward the downtown area in his signature fist first manner.

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting

Inspirational Quotes

The fact that you harbor ill will towards no one doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have enemies who would take great pleasure in seeing you fail.

– William Chasterson 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting

The Drowning Man

Every time he goes under he loses control. He’s becomes a desperate animal gasping for life. He involuntarily surfaces to greedily snatch at whatever remnant of life is left him. Once his mind returns from the depths of the abyss it is flooded with bitterness and anger which frightens the onlookers. They stand at a safe distance pretending to themselves and others that they want the man to survive. Yet every time he goes back under a shared sense of relief passes over the crowd. “A man such as this cannot be allowed to walk amongst us. He’s seen too much. He has nothing left to lose. He threatens to tear down our entire world of lies in order to discover the truth.” Finally the man goes under for an extended length of time. The shared fear dissipates along with the crowd. The man ceases to exist and is immediately forgotten. And the world moves on… Fra. La. La.

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting

18 things I hate about money

1. Money changes people. New job + more money = changed social status. Suddenly the little people become harder to see.

2. Money divides people. Friendships have been ruined over business deals gone bad.

3. Money defines people. From level of customer service received to the right kind of medicine being prescribed, if you don’t have money you’re not a person.

4. Money borrowed transforms a man into a mouse. No matter how tough a person is they can be brought to their knees by the necessity to borrow.

5. Money owed turns a man into a cockroach. People scatter or at least are repulsed when a debtor enters the room.

6. Money can make the difference between life and death.

7. Money never completely satisfies.

8. Money determines how far from home a person can venture.

9. Money determines the temperature at which a person falls asleep.

10. Money can ruin marriages.

11. Money determines whether or not two people who are in love can be together or not.

12. Money causes people to worry about thousands of things that will never actually happen.

13. Money forces people to waste their lives doing activities they care nothing about.

14. Money makes the difference between health and malnutrition.

15. Money converts warm family relations into cold business dealings.

16. Money forces you to eat when you’re not hungry because you don’t know where the next meal is coming from.

17. Money continues to exert a humiliating power over individuals even after their death.

18. Money isn’t something we can eat, drink or breath and yet it seems to control our very existence.

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Chapter 9

“Humanity has won it’s battle. Liberty now has a country – Marquis de Lafayette”

“The next few days were marked with intense celebration. We of course placed troops on the borders of Fostoria and Lumpenproleteria as our enemies were expected to mount a counter offensive at any time. I at once issued a decree freeing all of the animals within the borders of Lupenproleteria and Fostoria. Upon my return to Fostoria I found out that my newly freed citizens had taken the liberty of rounding up Truth, Justice and any other animal they perceived as a threat to their liberty gathering them in the shelter to await judgment. As soon as they saw me, the Siamese twins threw themselves at my feet and begged for a speedy execution. “Please do not exile us from your borders!” pleaded Truth. “You have no idea what the Union is capable of! Please just finish us off and have done with it!”

Excerpt From: Chasterson, William. “Breed   The Secret Design To Maintain Racial Inequality Among The Despised Classes.” 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting

Us and Them

The immigration reform debate and subsequent fear many Americans have about foreigners reminds me of the Pink Floyd song ‘Us and Them’. The song forms part of the concept album ‘The dark side of the moon’ which highlights human behavior. Not only Americans but I believe all human beings have this fear of ‘Them’ engrained into their minds. Allow me to relate a short story to illustrate my point. This is something that actually happened to me while on vacation for the first time in Paris. For our anniversary my wife and I reserved a table on a small cruise boat where we would eat dinner while cruising up the Seine river. We arrived early. In fact we were the first to arrive. We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose our place in line. The problem was however when the other French couples arrived they didn’t form a line. They were restless. Couples would walk past us and form little groups on the edge of the river to smoke and wait for the barge. This type of behavior was what we had come to expect from these people. But one couple in particular drew my attention. I could feel a definite sensation of ‘us and them’ emerging in my gut. For some reason I felt I needed to keep an eye on this couple so I watched them from the corner of my eye. They weren’t exactly doing anything different than any of the other couples but I felt the other couples couldn’t help themselves. Something about this couples behavior struck me as deliberate. I thought I noticed the man watching us from the corner of his eye in the same manner I was watching them. When they smoked their cigarettes I sensed disdain towards us as they flicked their ashes to the ground. It seemed to us that everyone in Paris smoked. It was like 1950’s America. Smoking was the coolest. No one seemed to have ever heard about lung cancer or emphysema. As the barge arrived we were delighted to find that we were worrying ourselves for nothing. The place where the couples began to accumulate was not even the correct place. The crew organized us into a line along the side of the barge according to our reservation number. As we were shown to our table guess who we were assigned to sit next to? My ‘Us and Them’ meter began to go crazy. “This is our anniversary,” I thought. “I don’t want to spend it next to this jerk and his girlfriend.” As the night progressed however I was ashamed to find that all of my prejudices towards the couple were misplaced. His girlfriend spoke a little English and they explained that this was their first time in Paris. They were visiting from a small French town and they were as much tourists as we were. When they found out we were from America all of the tension melted away and they asked us a million questions about New York. I was under the false impression that Europeans were more worldly than Americans. I figured traveling to America was no big deal to them. But for everyone I talked to such a trip was viewed as a fantasy. What they knew about America is what they saw on TV. If you think about the programs we have on American television you can see how they could get a distorted view. For example at a restaurant in Venice an old waiter couldn’t help but ask me, “Is it true that all Americans carry guns? Do you own a gun?” Some could have been offended by the question but I realized that he was asking out of genuine curiosity. Here was an old man who had lived his entire life in Italy and what he knew about America was only what he had seen on TV. It was inevitable for him to come to the conclusion he had. If he watched Law & Order for example, every episode involves people carrying out violent attacks with guns. I explained that most Americans do not have guns. For the most part just the cops and robbers carry and use guns and this is a relatively small percentage of the population. If we had not crossed paths he would no doubt have continued to believe everything about America as seen on TV. For members of western countries to have this sense of ‘Us & Them’ and to have such strong misconceptions about ‘Them’ I couldn’t help but wonder what impression the developing countries must be harboring. Perhaps the source of much of the hatred directed towards America is as a result of a misconception or something someone saw on TV and were convinced was reality. Recently a man from Mali tried to convince me that he knew more about America than I did. He based his knowledge on the hit TV show Prison Break. He said he knew it was fantasy but he felt it was based on reality. Nothing I could say would convince him otherwise.

The point of this article is to encourage you to think about the way you view ‘Them’. If they have such erroneous ideas about ‘Us’ is it possible that we likewise have a distorted view of ‘Them’? Just some food for thought.

– William Chasterson 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting


I think the answer to this question depends upon where we live. Although everyone knows disaster can strike at any moment, if you live in a gated community or a small country town in the middle of nowhere the likelihood drops considerably. If in your small town you are witness to an attempted burglary with a semiautomatic weapon that discharges during a dramatic struggle; than that’s big news. It’s an anomaly that everyone takes notice of. But if you are in a Third World oligarchy where such events occur on a daily basis, the recounting of said event doesn’t quite make the same impression. Anyways, that’s what happened to me a few weeks back. I was the witness to a foiled burglary attempt where a soldier attempted to rob an Internet cafe owned by a Chinese man. This type of thing happens here all the time because foreigners don’t really have rights under the law. In most cases the store owner pays the bribe/plunder realizing the futility of resisting. The Chinese however, refuse to cow to the thieves, especially since they have their papers in order. In this case the soldier refused to take no for an answer and began struggling with the store owner. As I walked past the store I heard a jarring shot fired which motivated me to flee around the corner and take cover. Like everyone else on the street, curiosity caused me to peek around the corner to see what was going on. A crowd began to form outside the store and eventually plain clothes military personnel were seen carrying the soldier’s firearm. My friend, who also witnessed the event translated snippets of conversation from the gathering crowd in their local tribal dialect. It turns out that the soldier didn’t realize that there were plain clothes superior officers in the cafe at the time of his extortion attempt. The struggle started with the store owner but culminated with the superior officers wrestling the rouge soldier to the ground. His firearm discharged in the struggle which is bad news for him because it is strictly prohibited to discharge a weapon in this country without official permission. Minutes later I saw the fully outfitted soldier exiting the store with his hands cuffed behind his back. One off duty officer escorted him to their car while the other carried his firearm. I had to take my hat off to the officers on this occasion because they could have just walked with him to the car without the handcuffs and pretended to the public that nothing happened. In a country rife with corruption that is how things are usually swept under the carpet. However on this occasion justice prevailed. It was a striking image to see a soldier in official black military fatigues being taken away in handcuffs. Seconds after the prisoner was taken away, a truck full of soldiers pulled up to take a statement from the store owner.

Even though I’m getting used to the unexpected, such events still seem shocking to me. A few days later my wife and I were involved in a car collision when a driver ignored a stop sign and slammed into the side of our taxi. No one was seriously injured but it made me think again about the question mentioned at the outset. Most people here are driving without licenses and many of those with licenses are new drivers. Drunk driving is also common. I once observed a taxi driver emptying a jumbo sized can of San Miguel while driving. It being morning, the beverage served as his breakfast. The results of such an environment can be seen in the form of demolished vehicles along the side and sometimes in the middle of the highway. 

In the past two years I have been in one car accident, my wife has been in two, I have witnessed three incidents where guns were fired by military personnel and I have witnessed the Ebola epidemic ravage neighboring countries with higher levels of disease control than ours. All of the preceding circumstances provide me with motive to repeat my initial question. HOW MANY SECONDS FROM DEATH ARE WE AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT? The answer; it depends on where you live.

– William Chasterson 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at #amwriting