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Poem: "Foil and Curses" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Foil and Curses"
This poem is spillover from the October 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from mdlbear, book_worm5, and DW user Chanter_greenie.  It also fills the "Listen to the Nerd If You Want to Live" square in my 10-1-15 card for the Halloween / Samhain fest, and the "Quoted out of context to create drama" square in my 8-29-14 card for Superhero Bingo.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  Due to the half-price sale, the rate is $.25/line, so $5 will reveal 20 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include:  lone_cat, mdlbear

FULLY FUNDED
88 lines, Buy It Now = $22
Amount donated = $5.50
Verses posted = 7 of 32

Amount remaining to fund fully = $16.50
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $.50



Foil and Curses




The first time Riposte had tangled
with Mindflare had been scary,
or so he reported to Ligeia.

"I'd heard all these horrible things
about him, you know?" Riposte said
as he set the lunch tray between them.
"So I conked him over the head, got both
the aluminum foil and the handcuffs on him,
called SPOON, and then ran like hell."

"What did he do?" Ligeia asked.

"He just shouted 'Curses, aluminum foiled again!'
at me," Riposte said, scooping up a stray bit
of barbecue escaping from his sandwich.

"He really said that?" Ligeia mused.
"My mother would have smacked him
with a spoon. It's so cheesy. Supervillains
should have some self-respect."

"This one doesn't seem to -- everything he does
is overblown like that," said Riposte.
"Next time wasn't as scary."

"What happened the next time?" she asked.

"He tried to get even in front of my family,"
Riposte said with a chuckle. "My older sister
blocked his telepathy, my mother beat him up,
and everyone else stood around whining about
not getting their turn because it would have been
excessive force if they hit him after he went down."

Ligeia muffled a laugh into her blackberry smoothie.

"So the third time, I just put my shields up
and stood there and looked bored," Riposte said.
"He went totally apeshit. I think that Mindflare
must really crave attention for some reason.
Ignoring him may have been a mistake."

"Why, what did he do?" Ligeia asked.

"Remember that time I compared
my family life to being a caboose in
a train made of engines?" Riposte said.
Sauce dripped onto his Tesla t-shirt,
making him curse and grab a napkin.

"Yeah, because it's a shelter for the crew
who keep the train safe," Ligeia said.

"Well, Mindflare quoted me all out of context,
and made it sound like I was dissing the way
that SPOON treats supernaries," said Riposte.
"I seriously did not need that much drama."

"He sounds like a real llama farmer," she agreed.

"That about sums it up," Riposte said.

That was when Mindflare himself appeared,
his scarlet-lined black suitcoat fluttering dramatically
in a convenient breeze as he struck a pose.

"You have got to be kidding me," Ligeia drawled.

"I challenge you to a duel of powers!"
Mindflare cried, pointing at Riposte.

"In case you haven't noticed, I don't
have any special powers," Riposte said.

Mindflare replied by casting an illusion
of a Tyrannosaurus rex into the street,
which promptly caused a crash.

"Everyone take cover!" Riposte barked.

"Listen to the nerd if you want to live,"
Ligeia advised the civilians as she
hustled them out of the way.

She preferred to keep out of cape politics, but
surely she could lend a hand to others who felt
likewise without being mistaken for a superhera.

Taking cover behind a sturdy brick building,
Ligeia called emergency services and
described the situation. With a little luck,
Mindflare would spend some time in jail,
even if he bought his way out or escaped
the way supervillains usually did.

Next she peeked around the corner
to see what was going on.

A team of citizen responders had
identified the dinosaur as an illusion
and hurried through it to extract
the dazed drivers from the cars.

Mindflare stood on one of the glass tables
at the café, waving his arms and
shouting at Riposte.

Ligeia pursed her lips and chirped,
shattering the glass and dumping
Mindflare onto the pavement.

Riposte wrestled him into submission
and brought out the restraints.

"Foil! Curses again!" said Mindflare.

"Some people give supervillains
a bad name," Ligeia muttered.

* * *

Notes:

Mindflare -- Phineas Moore is a supervillain with mental powers.  He has short black hair, brown eyes, and light brown skin.
Origin: Near-death experience: While touring in California, an earthquake collapsed a building around him, leaving him with a severe head injury and super-powers.
Uniform: Stage dress with a black suit lined in scarlet satin, white shirt, scarlet bow tie.  Mindflare relies on his powers to conceal his identity.
Qualities: Master (+6) Mentalist, Expert (+4) Will to Survive, Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Connections in Entertainment
Poor (-2) Distractible
Powers: Expert (+4) Mind Powers (Signature Stunt Slice-and-Dice), Average (0) Illusion Powers
Vulnerability: Good (+2) Friable (can lose portions of his powers when attacking someone mentally)
Motivation: Get attention.

Riposte (Jacob "Coby" Wade) -- Coby has fair skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes.  He is average height with considerable muscle.  He grew up in a family of superheroes but never developed powers himself.  His mother is a strongwoman and his father is a telepath; his oldest brother has super-strength, middle brother has super-speed, and his older sister has telepathy.  Coby's fashion sense is such that he can put together the wildest outfit and still look good in it instead of ridiculous.  He wore a glass-green smoking jacket to his senior prom and had girls hanging all over him.  His specialty is fighting supervillains with telepathic, empathic, or other abilities that allow them to manipulate people.  He is still touchy about lacking real powers, though.
Origin: Coby is the youngest of four children in a super family, and the only one without powers.  So he pushed his ordinary abilities until he could compete on a super scale, finding ways to accomplish the same things.
Uniform: Colorful and expressive, the details change but the flair remains similar.  Riposte likes poet shirts, fancy coats, and hats.  The most common color is yellow-green contrasted with blue-violet and red-violet.  He wears a tricolor half-mask.
Qualities: Master (+6) Armor of Iron Will, Expert (+4) More Than One Way to Skin a Cat, Expert (+4) Soup Culture, Expert (+4) Family Connections, Expert (+4) Strong, Expert (+4) Tough, Good (+2) College Student, Good (+2) Deduction, Good (+2) Speed-reading, Good (+2) Unusual Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Wrestler
Poor (-2) I Can TOO Keep Up With You!
Powers: None.

Ligeia (Lily Acquarone) -- Lily has long straight black hair, black eyes, and olive skin.  She lives across the alley from Riposte (Jacob "Coby" Wade).  Her mother Narcissa used to work for Coby's grandmother as a kid sidekick, until said grandmother fell in love with a hero and quit the supervillain life.  Narcissa wants Lily to be a supervillain.  Lily wants to be a singer or an actress in musicals.  The family has a lot of emotional violence.  In swim class, Lily once lost control of her powers and drowned Coby by accident, but he doesn't blame her.
Powers: Expert (+4) Siren Song (Signature Stunts: Break Glass, Truth Serum), Average (0) Flight, Average (0) Water Powers

* * *

"Curses, foiled again!" is a line so classic that most people consider it cheesy.  However, there are melodramatic supervillains who use it anyway.

Although the tinfoil hat is usually a crackpot trope, in Terramagne aluminum really does interfere with telepathy.  Scientists are not sure exactly why, beyond the fact that it seems to cross that particular "bandwidth" of energy.  Merely wrapping the head in foil provides some protection, but it's kind of like tying someone with telephone cord.  Secure protection requires a specially designed helmet that encloses the head almost completely.

Enjoy a Blackberry Smoothie recipe.
http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Blackberry-Breakfast-Smoothie-34773636

Yes, a caboose has a purpose.

These are the barbecue sandwiches.

See Riposte's Tesla T-shirt.

The Cardboard Prison trope is all about villains who don't stay in jail.  Obviously supervillains are much more difficult to contain, especially long-term.  During the postwar period, Terramagne discovered supervillains and tried making super prisons and realized that it just doesn't work very well.  So instead of beating the dead horse, they switched to other methods of discouraging crime: heavy fines, community service, rehabilitation programs, etc.  This works a lot better.  So prison is mostly reserved for violent  crimes.

If you train them properly, even ordinary people can do pretty well in a crisis.  T-America uses a system of first responders (police, paramedics, superheroes, etc.), citizen responders (scout masters, nurses, etc.), and civilians (everyone else) to distinguish between people whose dayjob is containing emergencies, people who can help if a random emergency happens in front of them, and people who need to be protected.  They're averaging around 10% citizen responders, which is enough to change a crowd scene from a panicked stampede to an orderly retreat in most cases.

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Current Mood: busy busy

23 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
capriuni From: capriuni Date: November 22nd, 2015 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
*chuckle*
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 22nd, 2015 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad you liked it.

Just goes to show that you don't necessarily need superpowers to compete on a super scale.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: November 23rd, 2015 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Fun!

You know about this Siren Song, of course.
From: technoshaman Date: November 23rd, 2015 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
LOL! Yeah, superpowers aren't always ... desirable...

Dummy should know better than to stand on a glass table period, soups and gizmos notwithstanding!

Is this the twerp that created Damask? The things I'd like to do....
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>> LOL! Yeah, superpowers aren't always ... desirable... <<

This is a true fact.

>> Dummy should know better than to stand on a glass table period, soups and gizmos notwithstanding! <<

Yes he should. Mindflare is not the sharpest marble in the stack.

>> Is this the twerp that created Damask? The things I'd like to do.... <<

Yes, that's him. Lots of people would like to smack him; the line wraps around the block.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: November 23rd, 2015 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Tony & Vixy, yeah!!!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I do, and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem too.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: November 23rd, 2015 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Giggling here.. I know Mindflare doesn't mean to be hilarious, but he is... I wonder what his reaction would be if the 'hero' is too busy laughing to fight.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>> Giggling here.. I know Mindflare doesn't mean to be hilarious, but he is... <<

Yep.

>> I wonder what his reaction would be if the 'hero' is too busy laughing to fight. <<

He goes apeshit if he doesn't get attention, or not the kind he wants.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: November 23rd, 2015 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Hmm, his version of apeshit, I'm not sure that would really help a serious fit of the giggles. In fact, he might end up winning by causing the poor hero to pull a muscle or something laughing. Pretty sure that reducing his opponent to a curled up helplessly wheezing ball of laughter, isn't going to feel like a win... even if technically it was.

Huh..wonder if some super-villain ever thought of weaponising humour? [The Joker doesn't count, he's not even funny, which was kind of the point.] I mean, I know I can sometimes reduce people to state of helpless with laughter, if I'm on good form. But, to extend that logically, imagine a soup able to literally cause someone to die laughing, or at least pass out from not being able to breath due to laughing...

Kind of a scary power really..

Edited at 2015-11-23 01:19 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 11:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>> Hmm, his version of apeshit, I'm not sure that would really help a serious fit of the giggles. In fact, he might end up winning by causing the poor hero to pull a muscle or something laughing. Pretty sure that reducing his opponent to a curled up helplessly wheezing ball of laughter, isn't going to feel like a win... even if technically it was.<<

Remember that Mindflare can be wildly dangerous. It's just that sometimes he winds up making himself look really stupid.

>> Huh..wonder if some super-villain ever thought of weaponising humour? [The Joker doesn't count, he's not even funny, which was kind of the point.] <<

I have found some Joker motifs amusing. But I think the Riddler does it better.

>> I mean, I know I can sometimes reduce people to state of helpless with laughter, if I'm on good form. But, to extend that logically, imagine a soup able to literally cause someone to die laughing, or at least pass out from not being able to breath due to laughing...

Kind of a scary power really..<<

0_o Yeah, creepy.

In Terramagne there are several comics with various aspects of "sense of humor" as a superpower. So it's not impossible someone could have that and turn it to the dark side. Actually that's not far from what Shiloh and her cousins did. >_
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: November 23rd, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Talking of the Riddler !

Yeah, not forgotten what Mindflare did to Damask [or rather did to create her]..but still. Guy is an accidental clown. Just one that needs careful handling...at least until someone invents an aluminium foil gun...
"Aha! It is I! Mind.."
*Bang**Thwap!**crinkle*
"No fair!"

Dy'Laughing [the welsh comedian]
Expert [+4] tele/empathic push (emotion)
Expert [+4] sense of humour
Good [+2] killer puns.

Motivation: Make 'em laugh and knock 'em dead..

kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: November 23rd, 2015 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Did I get this right - Mindflare showed up in the SPOON cafeteria to challenge Riposte?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

Not at a SPOON cafeteria, just a local cafe.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

It's after Mindflare created Damask, and after the earlier poems about Riposte. It doesn't have a specific date -- most of the poems don't. I'm not actually very good at sequencing things, and have a hard time even with a framework for reference.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

>> That's what I was most curious about. I had the impression that Mindflare had been causing trouble for a while, so I wasn't sure. <<

Quite a while, yes. And he really does give supervillains a bad name.

>> I know that Riposte and Damask meet, and was thinking that they need to put their heads together about Mindflare, if some way can be found to do that. <<

It has potential. To be honest, though, the next time Mindflare tangles with Damask, he's going to get his ass handed to him. They're growing, he's not.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: November 23rd, 2015 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
MindFLAKE is more like it... Except that he CAN do real, serious dama{ge:sk}. [And if that isn't one of the most oddball typographical stunts I've ever perpetrated, I'm going massively amnesic.]

•enough to chance a crowd scene
-> change
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> MindFLAKE is more like it... <<

LOL ... I dare you to call him that to his face, or even in a prompt. <3 that nickname. Ham would love the hell out of that one.

>> Except that he CAN do real, serious dama{ge:sk}. <<

:( Too true.

>> •enough to chance a crowd scene
-> change <<

Fixed, thanks.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 23rd, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

That would be, technically, hitting below the belt since it is a flaw in his superpower and that's a rude thing to make fun of. But jeeze he's such a dick, it's still tempting.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: November 23rd, 2015 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Afterthoughts

See the graphic novel Foiled! and its sequel with the inevitable title, by the inimitable Jane Yolen.

I don't think I've ever heard the expression "llama farmer"... but Urban Dictionary is more useful than usual this time.
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