This first appeared in the Marvel Heroes forum that was short-lived but inspired, to say the least. The saga concerns the origins of “The Anyman,” or as known to his friends and family, Gerald “Gerry” Francis Watson. As a Marvel Super Heroes RPG character, he is a mutant with above average stats and abilities that make him prone to espionage activity, stealth, and mental prowess.
Martial Arts D
GENESIS, PART ONE:
“Gerry, come on!” Amanda waited impatiently by the fence around her friend’s leaf-entrenched yard while the young man made his way over the top. “You might not remember, but I helped you over first, Mandy,” replied Gerald. He stopped short, gripped with fear for a moment–the way he always felt when he was about to test the laws of physics. It was an odd, vibrating energy that he usually passed off as an adrenaline rush. He wobbled and slipped a bit at the top, and he clumsily hopped the rest of the distance to theground with a thump. He slowly stretched up as he stood, all 5’11” of him, and he inhaled dramatically holding his breath as he clutched his neck. The momentary pause was interrupted by laughter, as both Mandy and Gerry giggled their way down toward Howard’s Brook.
The day was cold and still by the Brook, the only motion was the running water and the couple’s visible breath as they followed thepath of the stream. Howard’s Brook was their regular hang out since they were seven years old; that was when Gerry moved into his Uncle’s house, the year his parents died in that crash. Gerald flashed a quick memory of the accident, and lost his smile.
“What’s wrong?” asked Mandy.
Gerald smiled again, making eye contact. “Just. . . remembering,” came the reply. Mandy stopped walking; she reached out and gently touched his face.
“Hey,” she said softly.
“I’m fine,” replied Gerry. Then he swept Mandy into the air and spun her around, causing her to burst out more laughter. “I’m more than fine!” he shouted, spinning them around to the point of dizzyness. They collapsed giggling on the leaf-covered grass, breathing heavily over the trickling water.
“Harry, pull that latch shut!” a dirt-covered man wearing a hard hat shouted over the commotion of construction vehicles. “Come on, people! We want to see this site finished before nineteen sixty-five, not twenty sixty-five! For God’s sake, come on!”
“It w-w-won’t close, Mr. W-W- Mr. Watson.”
“Harry, get that latch secured. This is a full day’s work, Harry. . . . Harry!”
Watson dropped his clip board and rushed over next to Harry at the mouth of a fifteen foot tall support beam. The scaffolding around the beam was nearly in place, but the weight-bearing scaffold needed to complete construction of the front section of the roof needed to be latched down quickly, or it was all going to break apart. Watson didn’t want to lose out an a day’s work over some stupid latch.
Harry and his foreman leaned into the freezing metal, squeezing the latch with their hands until their skin began to burn from thecold. Watson began to grunt and clench his teeth. “Grrrr Come onnnnnn!” Harry began to grunt too.
“I-I-I th-think I’m l-l-losing it, b-b-boss…” Harry’s hands began to slip. “God dammit, man,” Watson shouted; “some help over here! Come on!”
None of the other workers on site heard the foreman over their machinery and conversation. Harry and Watson struggled by themselves until finally, Watson could see there was no way possible to secure the latch. There simply wasn’t enough slack in the support beam. Watching his worker’s hands begin to slip, Watson became aware of another problem–the cable hook.
When Harry let’s go of this latch, the hook is going to spring out and catch him in the face. Watson looked around for something to use. He saw Harry’s hammer hanging in the loop of his tool belt.
“Harry, squeeze as hard as you can, now, dammit; I’m gonna grab your hammer. We’ve gotta put something in the way of that cable hook, or it’ll split you in half.”
“On three, then, Harry,” said Watson calmly as sweat dripped down his face in the cool autumn air. “One–Two–THREE!”
Harry squeezed with all his might and Watson quickly grabbed the hammer, lodging its handle between the latch beam and the cable hook. “Now let go, dammit,” cried the foreman.
Harry fell back to the earth as the hook snatched the hammer handle into the support beam. The entire scaffold creaked and moaned, lurching forward away from the support beam and stopping short, held now only by the cable, which in turn was only held by the handle of Harry’s hammer. Watson and Harry sighed a momentary relief, and Watson chuckled.
“Well, I guess I should thank you for not buying the cheap hammer.” They both laughed “All right, Harry,” he said helping the man to his feet. “Go get me three men and a bolt extender as quick as you can–I don’t think your hammer will hold this thing forever.”
Harry rushed off, as the sounds of two giggling teenagers caught the foreman’s attention.
“Hey, Uncle Pete!” The 16 year-old boy and 17 year-old girl crested the hill next to the construction site and approached Watson, who smiled widely.
“Gerry. Amanda. Good to see you two. You’re staying out of trouble, I hope. Does Aunt May know you’re down here, Gerry?” Pete interrupted himself to look up at the scaffold. “Look you two, today’s not the best day to visit your uncle on the job. You kids stay out of the way, all right?”
Gerry looked at Mandy and then up at the scaffold as Watson walked down toward the base of the structure to meet Harry two other workers, who were already busy trying to stabilize the latch with reinforcing tools.
“That’s, um, that’s pretty tall,” gulped Gerry. Mandy chuckled. “You’re scared of any height! I wonder how tall it is.” Turning to ask Uncle Pete, she noticed he was nearly to the scaffold. “I think I’ll go ask Uncle pete,” she announced. With that, Mandy jogged off toward the foreman.
“Please be careful. . .” he replied, still staring at the scaffold. Something wasn’t right here. Gerald could feel it. It was the first time he had that feeling in nearly 10 years. The first time he felt this way was–
“Oh my god–the crash. I felt this feeling right before the crash,” Gerry said to himself. That rush of energy, overwhelming forces that seemed to penetrate his very being, reaching deep within his core and extending outward from the roof of his mind. It was at once an abstract existential awareness and a deeply visceral physical understanding of that energy, almost as if he could reach out and touch it with his thoughts. Perhaps he could. . .
A loud crack sounded as Harry’s hammer broke and the cable hook snapped violently back. Before anyone could react, the cable shot through Harry’s collarbone, cleaving his shoulder wide open with a painful whip. Harry screamed out as the weight of the upper tier of scaffolding pulled toward the earth, winding the cable quickly into the sky. The scaffold was falling down fast, and it was falling down on everyone there.
“Mandy! Mandy look out!” Gerald shouted, but the learned voice inside him told him that shouting wouldn’t do any good. Mandy and Uncle Pete, too, were helpless and could only look up to see their demise crashing down toward them. Gerry sprinted toward them, but likewise he knew he couldn’t make it–everything he had been taught since he was a child about the natural, physical laws of the world told him there was no way he could make it there in time. “No! Noooo!!!” he sobbed in desperation, still running toward thesite as the scaffolding fell faster downward.
He reached out, as if to push them out of the way, when suddenly everything he had been feeling–everything he had felt before–it all made sense. He could feel through his mind and with every cell in his body a connection to his surroundings–to the matter in the world around him. Reaching out with his hand and his mind, his hand made contact. He felt a tangible connection and knew that he could despite his distance, he could still touch Mandy. Waving his arms in a shoving motion, Gerald–still over fifty feet away–pushed Mandy, his Uncle and the three workers back. He shoved them out of the way without touching them. The group flew clear past the drop zone and landed with a thump on the ground. As they crashed together in a heap, the scaffolding smashed loudly to the earth, billowing clouds of dust in the autumn air.
Gerald stopped dead in his tracks, staring at his hands, and then at Mandy. She looked back at him through the settling dust. So did all the workers. So did Uncle Pete. It was obvious what had happened, though, if it hadn’t happened to them no one would have believed it. “Gerry just pulled us out of harm’s way,” they all thought. They were right.
But all Gerry could think was, “How the hell did I do that?”
TO BE CONTINUED. . .