Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "For the Purpose of Establishing Justice"

This poem came out of the March 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "justice" square in my 2-29-16 card for the Villain Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by EdorFaus. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics. It follows "Things No One Can Imagine."

"For the Purpose of Establishing Justice"

The Analyst sat in the basement of
the Rain City SPOON base, working on
a tricky bit of failure analysis for which
they had called her up from Westbord.

Her desk was covered with books
that she had to keep moving aside
to clear the computer screen that
was built into the desktop.

She had books on building codes
and architecture, superpowers and
the laws of Washington and Rain City.

Periodically she looked up at her partner
for this job, who was playing with blocks.

That was, in fact, how he came by
his cape name of Blocks, because he
used the repetitive motions of sorting
and stacking wooden shapes to help
organize his thought processes.

That was an essential function because
his Super-Intellect worked a lot faster than
his merely ordinary communication speed
and his distinctly neurovariant phrasing.

He may have looked like he was
only fooling around, but the Analyst
knew better. There was a kind of
rhythmic clicking in the back of
her mind as his Telepathy echoed
the bustle inside his skull.

Some people found it irritating.
She found it simultaneously
relaxing and stimulating in a way
that helped her focus on her own work.

Blocks was dressed in a variation of
the Rain City SPOON uniform consisting
of a gray shirt and pants with the SPOON logo
embroidered in silver on the chest pocket. His
were made special-order without seams or tags.

The Analyst understood the need for
a little customization. Her own uniform was
based on the Westbord SPOON standard of
a brown shirt and pants with the SPOON logo
embroidered in gold on the chest pocket.
Hers had added lots of extra pockets in
her pants and vest, plus a toolbelt.

SPOON was still figuring out the balance
between cohesion and individuality, but
the Analyst found it satisfying enough to keep
working for them no matter how much money
the business district tried to wave in her face.

Sometimes, though, business interests
and SPOON interests overlapped, as in
their current case where someone alleged
that a supervillain had -- somehow -- disrupted
the architecture of a new office building, which
caused it to collapse and kill several people.

Superheroes, like police, existed
for the purpose of establishing justice,
and when they failed in that purpose
it could block the flow of social progress.

It was in everyone's best interest
to find the culprit as quickly as possible.

"Not us," Blocks said suddenly.

The Analyst looked up to see him
sweeping the hardwood blocks off of
his table, jumbled shapes of brown
and red and yellow clacking into
the big poplar-wood cube box --
shaped like a "B" block itself --
where he stored his blocks.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Nary work," said Blocks. "Chemistry.
Physics." He paused, then added,
"Sabotage? Embezzlement?"
He shrugged, then began talking
in equations that the Analyst
hastened to transcribe.

Well, that would explain why
she'd had absolutely no luck finding
any kind of superpower whose effects
matched the records of damage done.

Blocks might have an unusual method of
analysis, but his results were always solid.

The Analyst called the fellow who had
notified SPOON of a supervillain incident.
"Mr. Wickliffe, this is the Analyst at SPOON,"
she said. "We've completed the investigation,
and the cause of collapse was ordinary, not super.
Someone tampered with your materials during
the construction phase. I've sent our findings
to the eddress you furnished, and suggest
that you share them with the police."

She listened to him yelling for a minute,
then said, "No, we can't tell whether this was
sabotage or embezzlement. That's not our job.
We're here for justice, not vengeance, and
we don't meddle in ordinary affairs -- that
is strictly police jurisdiction. Goodbye."

Blocks gave her a goofy grin as he
industriously polished his desktop
with all-natural lemon wood cleaner.

The Analyst smiled back at him,
trying to give him encouragement
for a job well done. Blocks was still
limping a bit from a brutal therapist
he'd had several years ago.

Then she sighed and started the task
of clearing her own desk of all the stuff
that she no longer needed to work on.

When she finally straightened up,
her back popped, and she shook herself.

"Done working, play time," said Blocks said.

Then he brought out a gorgeous wooden box
of birdseye maple, which he opened to reveal
jigsaw puzzle pieces in a confusing jumble of
mostly green dotted with a few yellow, white,
pink, purple, orange, blue, and red ones.

The paper insert lining the lid read,
Wildflower Tapestry, and the picture
showed a puzzle flat on the bottom
but with sculptured sides as some of
the flowers hung out into empty space.

Insets revealed the fifteen figurals,
six of which -- including the doe and buck --
consisted of several puzzle pieces.
The other nine were singles.

Blocks had been giving her
beautiful puzzles for some time,
evidently bought or bartered from
some gizmologist woodworker friend,
and the Analyst had come to
look forward to them.

"Let me visit the bathroom," she said.
"I don't think even you and I can
finish that in one sitting!"

"Pizza," Blocks agreed,
waving her out of the room
as he made a call of his own.

Although they did not work at
the same SPOON base, Blocks was
fast becoming the Analyst's favorite partner.

* * *


"Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Autism and neurovariant thought are complex topics. Features like dysregulation require coping skills to manage. Some autistic people need to think with their bodies. They can't think when they are still. Wooden toys help Blocks to think and to sort his ideas. Backstopping is a useful skill for allies to help autistic people accomplish more. You can also support them just by asking what would help. Celebrate the advantages of neurodiversity.

Toy blocks offer many benefits and come in different types. They can help people with special needs to release anxiety, maintain focus, or accomplish other goals. Don't be afraid of how your brain works or your friend's brain works. Just look for ways to make it do what you want it to do while letting it do what it wants to do.

Blocks is currently playing with a natural wood set like this.

Failure analysis is the process of figuring out what went wrong. Learn how to do it methodically.

Some people find that music or other sounds can boost their concentration and productivity. Blocks does that with his telepathy, it's like you can hear the little gears in his mind working. It's not actually telepathic contact, just spillover. Some people enjoy it, others don't.

Building failures can happen for many reasons, including because someone purposely distorted them or bought shoddy materials and pocketed the change. That's up to the ordinary authorities to determine now. One evolving trend in Terramagne is a preference for ordinary people to handle ordinary issues, while soups to handle superpowered issues or things so big they outstrip nary resources (such as natural disasters).

Autistic speech patterns include things like limited useful speech. Blocks actually communicates just fine; he simply doesn't sound like a neurotypical person.

Making friends and building trust with autistic people requires accommodating their needs and communicating your own clearly.

This is the description for the storage box that Blocks has:
• Handmade item
• Dimensions: 18x18x18 (cube) inches
• 2.8 ft3 of storage space (you’ll be surprised at how many things you can fit inside!)
• Materials: solid wood, lid stay, European hinges, low VOC finishing materials, water based paint, water based stain, water based clear coat, Poplar wood

This is the natural wood cleaner. After finishing a project, Blocks will clear off his workspace and wipe it down to help reset his mind so he can switch to something else. It's a very effective little ritual.

(These links are appalling.)
Therapy can be abuse. Sometimes it stays disguised as therapy. Other times they just beat the crap out of people. Blocks survived some pretty heinous abuse. He is recovering well, but you can still see the lingering effects.

Here is the wooden puzzle box, which is natural golden maple with a bird's eye maple lid. The large size holds up to 700 puzzle pieces.

Jigsaw puzzles may incorporate features to make them more challenging. Figurals are little shapes like animals that nestle amidst the other pieces. This kind of sophisticated strategy and gizmology makes puzzles challenging even for very smart people.

The "Wildflower Tapestry" puzzle contains 623 pieces which include single-piece and multi-piece figurals.

Courtship for autistic people can pose extra challenges, but there are ways to cope. When you like a nerdy girl, how do you get her attention? Direct your courtship to her brain more than her body. Oh look, she's noticing him! :D
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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