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Friday, April 7, 2017

The Bizarre Adventure Of Atom-Boy And Uncle-Man (Part 3)

Tom Lee Jones was a superhero. He was known by his peers as Atom-Boy. Long before he became a superhero, he had an acute fainting fit that enabled him to faint without a warning. He collapsed when he was standing, he fainted when he was sitting, and alas, he even passed out when he was asleep! It happened too often that he seemed like busy spending his life in the state of comatose than being awake. 

He was endowed with an innate talent that he couldn’t be proud of.  For this he didn’t blame anybody, but he did express his feeling by writing in his diary that he was a weakling who tried his best to convince his friends that blackout was the in thing, and it could be learnt by loosening the mind control until it had no control at all. So desperate he was to justify his weakness he felt obliged to give a free demonstration three times a day for those who didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. He even went as far as promising to certify those who passed the art of fainting. In his loneliest hours, he would think that he might be a mutant freak with the lousiest power ever, the power of fainting, which could only be cast upon him with no apparent control. 

That was how sad the man was.

This changed when he fainted for one last time while he was on a retreat. In his dream, he met a wise-old-holy man who told him he had hit his blackout quota, and thanks to his good manner of not damning the higher authority for blessing him with such a useless gift, he had passed the temptation and for that he would be rewarded. From that day onward, he would be Atom-Boy, where “A” in Atom-boy had the same function as “a” in the word asexual, which was a prefix to negate the meaning of the word. So Atom-Boy was a double entendre that could be translated literally as a boy who was everything but Tom and tomboy. The linguistics-derived ability granted him the disability of being Tom, his original self, thus prevented him from blackout and bequeathed him with superhuman power instead. 

Coming from a holy man, that was one holy crap, really, but Tom, always a faithful person, sincerely believed him. According to the term and condition that he must sign, he would become Atom-Boy every time his blackout sense was triggered. So he would had this panic attack where he felt like fainting every time there was a danger and the next thing he knew, he had become a hero who, like every other trendy hero would, wore underwear outside his pants. What make his appearance a bit special was he wore a white one (with a very elementary model designed especially for elementary school boy, complete with the inverted Y-shape formed by the seams at the front of the underpants, which allowed easy access to the penis for urination) as a symbol of youth. 

That was how cool the man turned out to be. 

And things got cooler when he made his debut. Always hope that he would make a grand entrance as payback for the mockery he suffered prior to this very defining moment, his wish was permitted by the old holy man. On the very first day of his short lasting career, one MRT (Mono Rail Train) was speeding out of its railway and crumbling down. Just when it seemed like death had come upon, Atom-Boy appeared from nowhere and here he came to save the day. 

Atom-Boy did make an effort to help, but superheroes or not, nobody would exactly know what to do when the speeding train was falling down from the aboveground level. No manual guideline on how to catch a train was ever written before, so experience was what it counted. 

And the experience was zero. Atom-Boy tried to catch the train from below, so it only made sense that the MRT landed exactly onto him, crushed him to the ground, exploded and everybody died. 

But Atom-Boy didn’t give up. He tried time and again until he achieved the sixth sense called déjà vu, a super sense that reminded him this thing happened before every time he faced a speeding train. This brought back the memory of his failure and he improved by not making the same mistakes anymore. 

After losing his grip and footing on countless occasions, the grave mistakes that caused a series of MRT explosions with all passengers being sent to meet their maker before time, he finally honed his rescuing skill. And there came the time when he made a successful attempt. For that single proud moment, he was billed in the newspaper as A Man Who Redeems Himself, the first positive publication he got after some disappointing headlines such as An Idiot Who Lets People Die or A Superhero Who Kills More Than A Super-Villain. 

Since then, as crazy as it might seem, many people, especially teenage girls, would expect the MRT to crash so they would have a chance to see the superhero that specialized in saving MRT. And Newtown City MRT Corporation took advantage by promoting its service as the safest monorail train in the world, thanks to Atom-Boy. As a result, the leading transportation company honored the hero by giving him an unofficial but more matured and profitable name for the company’s sake, MRT-Man. 

It was at the height of Atom-Boy’s popularity as MRT-Man that the bloody battle between Trademark and Kung Fu occurred. The fight was coincidentally captured by a surveillance camera and when it was proudly presented as “on screen for the first time” by the Seven O’Clock News, all hell broke loose. 

The scene where Trademark molested Uncle-Man alone was powerful enough to drive the TV viewers crazy. Watching how the scene switched from the newsreader’s smiley face to a close up of an ass covering ¾ of TV screen, regardless it was widescreen or not, was a mind blowing experience. It took the TV viewers at least three seconds before they realized the big black dot on their screens was actually an asshole. But the best was yet to come. Suddenly there was a hand touching the buttock. Nobody touched people’s butt like that and Trademark did it perfectly well. The effect was… majestic. Those who watched it were soon in tears. Never in their lives did they ever think they would live to see a sexual harassment scene that was so artfully crafted and beautifully done. When the hand was lifted up, revealing a handprint with wording “molested by Trademark, your trusted partner in molesting,” they smiled and clapped happily. They agreed that it was the grandest closure ever.

And it was as though they were being taken from their dreams when the footage changed to Kung Fu in action. It was so quick. TV viewers only saw a blurry image of Kung Fu. The martial art superhero jumped and kicked. Afterward, the blood was flowing top-down and TV screen turned red. 

Everybody awoke, then they realized that it was seven o’clock. It was a prime time, the perfect timing when parents and children would watch TV together. What a shame that this kind of show was broadcasted at this very hour! Not only there was no early warning such as parental guidance required, but also an ass, together with an asshole, was shown in its full-fledged glory. Those broadcasting people should have done something to censor it, something like what they did on Japanese porn. 

People were angry with those guys who worked on TV station for their carelessness on censorship, but they were angrier with superheroes. They were horrified, to be precise. And there was one good reason for this: it had been a stereotype since the golden age that superheroes were cute and cuddly, so it was way too much for public to accept that the world of superheroes these days, most of the time, were rough and rowdy. 

Public still remembered very well that not so long ago, Porcupine Djung was running loose on the street as the Fast. He was the younger brother of Dragon Djung, the legendary hero, and yet he became a super-villain instead of following in his brother’s footsteps. With this in mind, came a very good question: They had so much power, if they went berserk, who watched the watchmen?

The answer was nobody. That was the fact, and that was one scary fact.

And Kung Fu, of all the things he might fail to do, he didn’t smile when he kicked Trademark. This only confirmed what they feared the most. People then started to assume that this meant he wasn’t as friendly as what they used to think. When Kung Fu said that was his fighting expression, people started calling him arrogant. When Kung Fu was forced to smile on public, people said he looked like a sadist.

Whatever Kung Fu said and did, he just couldn’t win. They were putting him down. They were all scared and started complaining. There was a big campaign against superheroes going on at that time, but it was the fashion critics, as radical as ever, that raised the biggest issue of all by shouting the loudest, “and most importantly, what the hell exactly it is in their mind when they decide to run here and there in their skin-tight costumes? The costumes are so tight that one can practically see their genital shapes printed clearly on their costumes. It’s a porno action, for goodness’ sake! They better wear underwear down there!” 

And that was the last straw. The footage did prove that Uncle-Man wore no underwear when he was molested by Trademark. To make the matter worse, Uncle-Man, when he was being interviewed in the hospital, bluntly admitted that he also didn’t wear underwear when he was sleeping because he liked the spacious and windy feeling around his groin. He was very proud of that stupid little fact he started telling the media that his message for the upcoming Christmas was, “stop wearing underwear and give peace a chance.”

When the statement –together with the picture of Uncle-Man grinning an innocent-cum-idiotic smile while making peace sign by V-shaping his fingers– was published on the gossip tabloid, it critically damaged the reputation of superheroes. Every element in the society agreed that superheroes had done more harm than good. Thus, once the rule was set and the regulation was approved, it was finally declared that the heyday of superheroes was over. To add insult to injury, a special task force to handle superheroes was formed to support this new act. 

It hurt to see how those people cheered for the fact that government had taken serious actions against superheroes. Never thought that the same people he once swore to protect would oppose his very existence, Kung Fu felt that his trust and confidence had been betrayed. He renounced his superhero career. Spider-Fatman would be the second to go. And Uncle-Man, well, he had been long gone with his secret identity revealed, thanks to nationwide broadcast of his British arse. 

With all of them quitting, Atom-Boy became the last active superhero in town. He climbed up to the top of the wanted list in no time because he was the only one left on the list. With this kind of achievement, his popularity went downhill, from hero to zero. Furthermore, Newtown City MRT Corporation, in order to save the company image, quickly did a business maneuver by distancing themselves from Atom-Boy. They called him Non-MRT-Man to emphasize that the company had nothing to do anymore with the fallen hero. In their effort to gain public’s trust, they accused Atom-Boy of sabotaging the train with the intention of staging his signature entrance. This move was proven to be very popular in the public eye and further alienating the lonesome superhero.

And the pressure was taking its toll. Tom Lee Jones gulped a mouthful of pills since then, not to commit suicide, but only to drug himself so he became dull and dull he did become, so dull he was one couldn’t really tell whether he looked stupid or idiot. The drug influence rendered his blackout sense senseless, therefore he couldn’t kick in to superhero mode. With Atom-Boy nowhere to be seen, superheroes were finally no more…  

Tom Lee Jones’ resignation marked the beginning of the modern period, an era where superheroes were banned. It seemed like the end, with only one or two of them, such as Bodhi, operating underground to carry on the legacy of superheroes.

Bodhi was just a college student when the famous Shit-Man made a pledge of picking up all the shits on the riverside, but thanks to his intensive study, he now called himself Cyber-Man and roamed the cyber world to fight for justice while Shit-Man, now wore no costume and was largely forgotten, was still picking up endless shits on the riverside. 

While newcomers like Bodhi coped with the current situation, those long time players were trying their very best to live as normal people. Some lived peaceful lives, but some simply couldn’t find peace. They used be in action out there, watched by millions of hungry eyes that admired them, so it was plain to see why they felt very much useless now. They clearly missed the excitement and it didn’t take long before they started doing anything to get the excitement back. If sacrificing the reputation were all it took, then a sacrifice it would be. 

Spider-Fatman is a good example of this casualty. Gone were the days when he was an agile fat man in spider costume who got the abilities to attach on the wall and rely on his sticky web as a weapon. He now relied on world wide web instead. With his natural built pocking device, he attached himself onto woman’s body and there he would be for the next fifteen minutes, campaigning the slogan make love, not war via internet. So there he was, out there in action once again, stared by the eyes of the admirers. And while other people needed to pay the price for the excitement, he was actually making money from the pay-per-view online payment system. 

But it was a sad fact, really, to see the one that was once idolized by millions, now was only idolized by perverts. But life went on. Little did the olden superheroes know that they would return for one last time…
The limited edition bookmark during the launch of Pheng iu (Volume 1)
Image credit: Eve Pll

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