Oh my god, I am terribly late for work. It is a quarter to nine! I am supposed to be there at nine! It is my first day! What a terrible way to start the new job. I have no idea what the new job is, or where it is. How am I going to get there? Oh, here I am. My boss is a combination of Josh from around the corner and Eric from eight years ago. He wants me to eat some hallucinogenic mushrooms but I'm not comfortable with that. I'm starting a new job here. Shouldn't there be some paperwork?
Now I'm outside and my family is there. It's not work anymore. Dad, Mom, couple of brothers, a sister, bunch of kids running around. It's a backyard barbecue, and the one thing that does surprise me is my family is all a bunch of hillbillies. They used to be middle-class suburban intellectuals who made sure I knew Communism was a good idea in principle in many ways and that racism was wrong.
It must be my brother's backyard, only now he has a couple of cars up on blocks and he's chewing on a piece of straw. When the hamburgers are ready he is going to say "Yee haw." Sis is pregnant and smoking cigarettes. People don't really do that anymore. I should really say something but I don't. Dad's shooting empty beer cans with a twelve-gauge and Mom's got her hair up in curlers and my brother hands her a hot dog. "Yee haw," she says. I am embarrassed about how stereotypical they are. Dad spits. I have never seen him do that before. Sis has finished her cigarette. Maybe it was just the one. Nope. She lights up another one and pats herself right on the pregnant belly. I should really say something. But I'm afraid. My other brother is standing with his hands on his hips and his dick out, taking a piss on the lawn. His back is to us. Dad says something about how war is good.
I'm soaring now, right over the treetops. I forgot I could fly, damn, it feels so great. Just have to catch the wind just right, lean this way, that way. It's so easy! I'm in the middle of nowhere, except now I'm stuck on the World Trade Center, which I thought was knocked down in a terrorist attack, but here it is, so I guess I must've been wrong. I'm sticking against the wall of one of the towers, way up high, and there's the other one across from me, so they're both OK.
I am way high up. Planes are going by below me, really close. That is a freaky sensation. Terrifying. Exhilarating. I unstick and leap and stick to the other tower, then descend a couple of floors by sticky rolling: unstick two limbs, flip, repeat. I do this effortlessly. I'm like a sticky ballerina up here.
Uh oh. Trouble. They're shooting at me. The bullets glance off harmlessly, but I don't like it. What if one of the bullets were to hit me in the eye? I have no clue whether my eyes are bulletproof and I don't want to find out. So: there are criminals in one of these freaky airplanes. I leap.
I'm on top of the plane. I sticky roll towards the front, where the driver is leaning back taking potshots at me out of some kind of open top cockpit. I'll get that gun and stick it up your ass, punk. But now we're in an old jalopy. Everything is fine now. Nobody is shooting. There's a girl driving the car, and I'm just sitting next to her. We're on good terms. She's only about five. She shouldn't be driving. She's saying something to me but I can't hear it. There's no sound coming out. Just the radio. Just the radio and now I'm just in bed but I'm paralysed. I can't move a muscle.
Stickyman woke up in the same bed he was dreaming that he was in, in the same position he thought he was in, and the radio was really on. He had a choice between buzzer, radio, or CD player on his alarm clock and he chose radio because the radio is live and the people talking on it are always pretty peppy. It makes it easier to get up. Stickyman liked the stations where there were a couple or three radio people on, talking to each other. They'd always be talking about something, keeping up the banter, and at least one of them was always laughing. It created an energetic, positive effect. Somehow it kept you from feeling too down. It made you feel like life was normal.
He initially felt agitated from his dreams but the radio had him soothed out in short order. Soon he forgot the dreams completely and was absorbed in listening to the radio people interview some fellow called Fontoon who kept talking about space. It seems the Sun was going to be a bloated red giant one day and then dissipate into a gaseous nebula. What was the point of anything when that was at the end of the line? This Fontoon said there was poetry in trying our best anyway. The hosts made a few upbeat jokes about dissipating gas and it all seemed pretty funny to Stickyman and he started to feel peppy. Five minutes later he was getting out of bed and making some coffee. It was so great to have coffee in the morning, and Stickyman always made sure to remember to appreciate how great it was to have it. He made a nice piece of toast, and put some butter on it. Soon he was sitting at his breakfast table, looking out his window at the city he had sworn to protect. His toast was nice. His coffee was fantastic.
There were his sticky boots, in the corner; there were his sticky gloves. Stickyman took a hot burbling sip of his coffee — he had once been mocked by a girl for the way he burbled his hot coffee when he sipped it — and felt strangely resentful of his own superhero equipment. He thought of how he wasn't strong enough to unstick himself effortlessly, to move around the way he ought to. Nobody with normal human strength could easily pull those stickypads off a surface once they'd gotten stuck on there. It wasn't Stickyman's fault. Those sticky boots and gloves were just too sticky. Still he couldn't help but feel he was always letting the city down. Some hero. He thought of all the criminals he had let get away, how so many of them had taken potshots at him with impunity. Fucking sticky boots and gloves!
Stickyman chewed up the last of his piece of toast. Should he make another? Hell with it. He slammed down the last of his coffee and got in the shower, where he began to think. He thought of giving himself a pep talk, and when he did that, he called himself buddy and soldier. What's with the negativity, buddy? You see another superhero out there busting his hump for this city? No? That's what I thought. Like radio boy said, you've got to keep on trying. So buck up now, soldier. You're going to put those boots and gloves on and you're going to go out there and you're going to do the best damn job you can, and that's all you can do and nobody can ask any more of you than that. Your time is coming. You're going to catch a criminal and you know what it's going to be? It's going to be sweet, that's what it's going to be. Oh yeah, it's going to be sweet as sugar. You hear me, buddy? Huh? You hear me? Get on out there, soldier, buck up and move!
Stickyman lifted up his arms and made sure he got all the soap to rinse out of his armpits, first one and then the other. He turned around and leaned forward and grabbed his butt cheeks and opened them up to let the water run down to make sure all the soap rinsed out of his butt crack, then he turned back around and lifted up his wibblies to make sure all the soap was rinsed out from there as well. Then he gave himself one last turnaround until he was sure all the soap was off from everywhere on his body, because he didn't like the idea that some soap might remain on him and turn into dried soap. Soon he was out and dry and clean and slipping into his futuristic tight stretch material Stickyman outfit. He stood over his boots and gloves with his hands on his hips, a figure of no small resolve.
He slipped on one boot, then stepped into the other. He pulled on his gloves, first one, then the other. Inhaling deeply, he spoke aloud to the room: "OK, hero. Let's get out there and patrol this crazy old city."
And with that, he struggled mightily to lift one foot off the floor and march right out that door to face the new day.