• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Superhero Therapy

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“I have never understood why humans needed therapists.”

The she-bot tilts its head at me, those pine green eyes built to send subtext of comfort and intelligence. It continues rambling, metallic cheekbones gleaming in the sunlight from the office’s open window. “You have complete freedom to discuss your grievances with other humans, yet you all need another cognizant being to tell you how you ought to communicate with them.”

I squeeze both fists tighter, a motion that would pulverize any solids between my palms. “Dr. Isio, work your magic or let me out of this session. If you don’t heal my mind or whatever in the next hour, then the boss won’t clear me to fight Deadgaze—”

“Stop talking Fistman,” the robot says. “Is that all you can process? The amount of destruction you can cause with your fists?”

I shoot up from the leather chair and slam a palm on the desk. Maplewood shatters beneath my skin and the scent of sawdust floods the office. “Listen damn close, robot. First, Fistman ain’t my name. I use open palm strikes to do what I do. That name’s the people’s fault for not understanding me. Second, people can ignore other people’s talkin’ like it’s a mosquito bite. They’ll do what they want unless we superheroes force them to do—”

Dr. Isio grips my uniform with its alloy-infused fist. “If force is the only ultimatum humans understand, then how have you survived until the 2100s?”

I whip a hand around to slap the robot, but it anticipates my moves and uses my own momentum to spin me off balance. I snarl, “Force means consequences.”

“Consequences,” the robot says in the same tone of voice I’d used. “Such bullshit. The ideal of, ‘What I inflict upon you will be worse than what you can inflict on me’ is barbaric. Outdated. Childish. Violence as a deterrent is why children receive a spanking. Because there is no other way to teach them.”

I relax my shoulders and make no aggressive moves. “Then you will understand why political leaders hoard nuclear weapons as responses to potential rebellion against their wishes.”

Dr. Isio gasps. “Does this mean you have tried communicating your desire for peace with the enemy?”

I nod and turn to fly out of the office. “I have. We superheroes made it extremely clear. The reason we ‘humans’ need therapists is because we use common sense to try every respectful resolution, but our opposition—whoever it may be—seeks gain over peace and prosperity.”

Dr. Isio gapes at me. If the robot could drool, I bet she would be drooling. She says, “I clear you as sane enough to fight Deadgaze, so long as you allow me a vocal camera so I may interact with the fight.”

I chuckle and roll my eyes at the she-bot. “I love that you care, but wishing they would care ain’t enough.”

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