Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "A Pattern of Devotion"

This poem is spillover from the February 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart. It also fills the "queerplatonic" square in my 1-31-18 card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"A Pattern of Devotion"

Hefty and Fiddlesticks
cruised slowly along
the streets of Omaha.

They chatted about
the current case --
a car theft ring that
might be connected
with Rabid City -- and
about their families.

They had developed
an easy camaraderie
that not all beat partners
were blessed with.

Sometimes people
teased them about
being "work spouses,"
and it was closer to the truth
than most folks realized.

Sure, Hefty had his husband Roger
and Fiddlesticks had his wife Diamond,
all happy in those relationships.

Yet Hefty and Fiddlesticks
had something with each other,
too, that wasn't sex or romance,
a bond the two men shared
over their own vocation.

"Queerplatonic," Hefty called it
on the rare occasions they
talked about it. Most times,
they didn't need words.

They had a pattern of devotion.

Gunfire rang out from an alley,
and Fiddlesticks turned on the siren
as Hefty called in the report.

Nobody should be shooting guns
inside of the Omaha city limits,
but some thugs were dumb.

Hefty and Fiddlesticks managed
to keep the car thieves contained
until backup arrived and put
all of them in handcuffs.

Afterwards, Hefty fingered
a bullet hole in the car and
gave a long, slow sigh.

"You ever think about
how dangerous this job
can be?" he said softly.

"Every day," Fiddlesticks said.

"I worry about the girls," Hefty said.
"I mean, all I have is Roger, but you --"

"Don't be a dumbass," Fiddlesticks said.
"If anything happened to you, Diamond
and the girls would be devastated."

"I think Roger feels the same way
about you," Hefty said, "and not just
because you're a smoking-hot dancer."

"Damn right I am," Fiddlesticks said.
"Diamond and Roger have been
talking about something lately.
You got any idea what that is?"

"Not a clue in the world,"
Hefty said as they got
back into their patrol car.

"Listen, Hefty, I know this family
is pretty weird, but I wouldn't
trade it for the world,"
said Fiddlesticks.

"Me neither, buddy,"
said Hefty. "Me neither."

Diamond and Roger met
for their weekly lunch date at
the 11 Worth Cafe, which was
one of those rare restaurants that
managed to be cheap, fast, and good.

It was also popular with cops --
the staff wore #SupportBlue t-shirts --
which meant it was never going to get
robbed and was a safe place to relax.

Roger got the chili with cheese
and Diamond got the 11-Worth Club.

For a while they talked about
inconsequential things as they
munched their way through lunch.

"There's a new strategy game
coming out soon," Roger said.
"Sun Tzu's Art of Wargaming
looks like the hit of the year."

Diamond laughed. "Let me
guess, there go your weekends."

"For a while at least," Roger said.
"How are the girls doing?"

"Kenya wants to learn how
to tie her shoes," Diamond said.
"Libbia wants drum lessons."

"There go your quiet times,"
Roger said with a chuckle.

The waitress brought Roger
a second bowl of chili without
needing to be asked. It was
nice to go where people knew
what you needed like that.

For dessert, they split an order
of Death by Chocolate.

After they cleared away
the last of the delicious frosting,
Diamond put her hand over Roger's.

"You know, we're not really two families
anymore, we're one," she said to him.

"I know," he said. "Me and Hefty,
we got a good thing going, and
so do you and Fiddlesticks.
At work, they've got each other,
and then ..." He waved a hand
between the two of them.

"And then there's us,"
Diamond said. "Just in case."

They both shivered. The thought
of losing one or both of their husbands
was terrifying, but they couldn't ignore it.

So Roger and Diamond had come together
and consciously worked on creating
a relationship of their own.

Diamond had even asked a few
of her Hindu and Muslim friends
to give her their advice about
how to fall in love on purpose.

"Hefty and I have filed
vested interest paperwork
for the girls," Roger said.
"Fiddlesticks and Hefty
have health proxy papers
for each other, in case
they can't reach us."

"Those are good steps,"
Diamond said. "I'd like
to tighten the connection
between you and me, too."

"What, you mean like exchanging
collateral vows?" Roger asked.

"We could do that," Diamond said,
"or we could all plan a vacation
in Utah and make it official ...
for all four of us."

Roger sat back in
his seat. "Well," he said,
"I'll have to ask Hefty about that."

"I haven't mentioned it to Fiddlesticks
either," said Diamond. "I've only
hinted, but he seems receptive."

"You really don't mind that I'm gay?"
Roger said. "I mean, most women
would consider that a barrier."

Diamond shrugged. "If it comes
down to the two of us, I won't be
wanting a man in my bed for
a long time, if ever. What I
want from you is different --
it's stability, not romance."

"As long as you're not looking
for love, I'm amenable," he said.

"Roger, I'm not looking for love
because I've already found it,"
Diamond said. "I have my husband
for sex and romance. And I have
you for a friend, whom I also love."

"I guess you have a point," Roger said.
"I never thought I'd love a woman, but love,
I’ve come to understand, is more than just
three words mumbled before bedtime.
Love is sustained by action, a pattern
of devotion in the things that we do
for each other every day."

"I think that, whatever else happens,
that's the most important stuff for us
to focus on -- love and devotion,"
Diamond said softly.

"I agree," Roger said,
and put his hand over hers.

* * *


Hefty (Gary Braddock) -- He has ruddy skin, light brown eyes, and brown hair in a buzz cut. His body is large and powerful. He is 6'7" tall, about 2' wide at the shoulders, weighing 395 pounds. His maximum deadlift weight is 980 pounds. Hefty is homosexual, active in Bear culture. Therefore he dislikes discriminaton of any kind, often sticking up for other minorities. He also resents police brutality because if another cop mishandles civilians, it makes everyone's job harder. His boyfriend is Roger Morrison.
Origin: His mother comes from a military family and his father from an activist family. Hefty decided to split the difference and become a policeman. He volunteered to take on the rookie Fiddlesticks when nobody else wanted to, and they are steadfast partners now.
Uniform: Omaha police uniform with solid black short-sleeved shirt and pants.
Qualities: Master (+6) Strength, Expert (+4) Cop, Expert (+4) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Battlesuit Pilot, Good (+2) Cornhusker, Good (+2) Nice Guy, Good (+2) Smarter Than He Looks
Poor (-2) Swimmer
Powers: Expert (+4) Battlesuit with Expert (+4) Armor, Good (+2) Zatzer Field, Average (0) Extraction Equipment, Average (0) Search & Rescue Sensors
Motivation: To protect and serve.
Model: Terry Hollands, strong man

Fiddlesticks (Fred Anderson) -- He has short wavy black hair, brown eyes, and milk chocolate skin. He is about six feet tall with good muscle definition. He is ambidextrous. His wife Diamond is petite, around 4'9" tall, with a straight body but nice muscles. She is a talented cook. They have two children: Libbia, a girl of six; and Kenya, a girl of four. Fiddlesticks also has a protégée, Headway (Kendra Gallup).
Omaha does not have a soup team, so Fiddlesticks and Hefty get sent on calls involving superpowers or mad science. They excel at de-escalating problems before anyone can get hurt. Fiddlesticks has managed to disarm a number of gizmotronic bombs or other devices. He wants to take real bombsquad training but his chief doesn't want him off work that long.
Origin: Superpowers run in his family. He thought that he didn't have any, but turned out to be a late bloomer instead. His powers manifested at the police academy. They wanted to kick him out; the Omaha Chief of Police, Andromeda Todd, stuck up for him because she wanted a more diverse force. Consequently he is extremely loyal to the department and the city, despite a lot of local prejudice.
Uniform: Omaha police uniform with solid black short-sleeved shirt and pants.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Cop, Good (+2) Eskrima, Good (+2) Family Man, Good (+2) Gizmology, Good (+2) Sidekick: Hefty, Good (+2) Stepdancing
Poor (-2) Public Speaking
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-Speed, Good (+2) Super-Dexterity
Motivation: To fight prejudice.

Hummerdance -- based on the African-American tradition of stepdancing, this is a faster version using Super-Speed. The name comes from "hummingbird" but also from the use of a traditional African-American instrument, the comb. Some performances use colored costumes, canes, hats, etc. to create purposeful patterns in the air, or even messages, using the brain's tendency to perpetuate afterimages at high speed. Fiddlesticks is one of the originators, having practiced stepdancing in college.

Roger Morrison -- He has fair skin with freckles and copious body hair. His eyes are brown. On his head, the hair is cropped short, an auburn so dark that it looks almost brown; but his beard and body hair are a much brighter chestnut red. He has a soft beer belly and padding over respectable muscles. He is 6'3" and 256 pounds, but looks petite compared to his enormous boyfriend, Hefty.
Roger works as a cook at the Cow Heaven steakhouse. He has a strong sense of civic pride and duty. He cares deeply about friends and family. He enjoys a variety of board and miniature games, but his favorites are those that rely on making and breaking alliances in combat or politics.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Grill Cook, Good (+2) Affectionate, Good (+2) Bear Pride Activist, Good (+2) Citizen Responder, Good (+2) Cornhusker, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Wargamer
Poor (-2) Moody

Diamond Anderson -- She has light brown skin, brown eyes, and long straightened brown hair. She is petite, around 4'9" tall, with a straight body but nice muscles. She is a talented cook. Diamond is married to Fiddlesticks (Fred Anderson) and they have two children: Libbia, a girl of six; and Kenya, a girl of four.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Cook, Expert (+4) Mother, Good (+2) Emotional Intelligence, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Short Girl Problems

* * *

"But love, I’ve come to understand, is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day."
-- Nicholas Sparks

The 11 Worth Cafe is located on Leavenworth Street in Omaha, Nebraska. See the interior and the staff. Read about the 11-Worth Club, Homemade Chili with Cheese, and Death by Chocolate.

Queerplatonic relationships are strong and intimate but not erotic or romantic. Learn how to recognize them.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a famous book about tactics and strategy.

Falling in love is something that most people do by accident and some other prefer to do on purpose. Muslim and Hindu folks have some very useful relationship tools for this. They understand that falling in love can take time and work. Here are some steps if you want to try it yourself. Remember that love doesn't have to mean sex! You can deepen a friendship or bond with a child using most of the same techniques.

Polygamy and polyamory involve different kinds of love. They often involve nonsexual relationships among some partners. Group marriage is common in some cultures, rare in others, and banned in some. But people do it regardless. The only thing that really changes is the social recognition, or lack thereof. Terramagne-America allows plural marriage in Utah, and so far nobody else has been sufficiently interested in modern times to push for it, although Utah marriages enjoy reciprocity elsewhere. Most folks who want something beyond the typical sexual-couple arrangement just use the other tools like power of attorney and vested interest to assemble a customized relationship.
Tags: #supportblue, cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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