Captain Quicksilver
John A. Ward
Yesterday I had creole shrimp for lunch.  It happened because I got in with the wrong crowd.  They left the office at the same time I did.  Usually, I leave alone.  We started talking.  Before I knew it, I was in the cafeteria, and even worse, I had my coffee cup under the spigot and was filling it.  So I was stuck there and had to see what was available.   

 It was shrimp on rice with green beans on the side.  They were flat green beans, not the cylindrical ones.  I don't taste any difference. Maybe that's because all green beans taste the same, or maybe it's because I've lost my sense of taste due to old age.   

After work, I'll go to the supermarket and get two cans of beans, one of flats and one of cylindricals, put them side-by-side in identical bowls.  I'll taste, first one, then the other, until I find a difference.   

Usually, I just stop at the Grab-and-Go and get coffee and a tuna fish sandwich.  Then I eat two granola bars that I have in my pack.  I eat more than one can of tuna every three to nine days, which is beyond the limit for mercury poisoning, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.   

It's supposed to cause nerve damage, but nobody has told me I'm mad as a hatter yet, and Anne has the shakes worse than I do.  In the comic books, if the protagonist is exposed to a noxious chemical and it's not fatal, he or she develops super powers.  So, I am waiting to turn into Mercury Man, or Captain Quicksilver.  Anne will be my sidekick, Shaker Babe.  Maybe the nerves are why I can't taste bean differences.   

As Mercury Man, I will have great speed, like the wings-on-his-feet god, Hermes.  Not likely. I've never been fast, and I'm getting slower.  I figure I'm destined to be Captain Quicksilver.  Mirrors are made of Quicksilver.  People will see themselves in me.  I will reflect their images, a shape-shifter.   

This will be my new career after retirement, my own business, Doppelganger, Inc.  What's your problem?  Can't be in two places at the same time?  Call me.  I'll be in one of them for you.  Need an alibi?  I'll see that you're seen wherever you want while you play your alter ego.  Need to go to your child's soccer game or school play but have an important business meeting?  No problem.   

Did you promise your wife or girlfriend that you would take her out, but have another commitment?  I'll cover for you.  Yes, ladies, I can mimic you, too, but nothing involving sex.  I don't swing that way.    

First published: August, 2012
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