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Introduction to The Exceeders

The Exceeders are a secret society whose members possess powers which exceed those of normal humans but do not fall squarely into the category of ‘super’.    Like their better known superhero counterparts, exceeders serve humanity from behind masks and secret identities.  However no one from their ranks has ever saved the day or the world…until now. 
  

I’m sharing this so that you can get a feel for the style and possibly get tempted, uh, I mean ‘inspired’ to add your own spin to the tales of The Exceeders.  New heroes and villains are most welcome!  

 

CHAPTER ONE:  BREAK ROOM


My name is Syntax.  I graduated from college recently and went straight to work here at The Miracle Institute, a non-profit agency that studies social trends and provides humanitarian aid.  It’s also the puppet corporation for the Alliance of Superheroes.  My internship transitioned into an entry level position as a researcher in the Foreign Developments department about six months ago.  Though I sent out lots of resumes and labored through tons of job interviews, there was never really any question about where I would work.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s an extreme honor to be a part of this organization (or at least that’s what they keep telling me) but it was made very clear to me in my first internship interview that I would never work anywhere but here.  Okay.

Am I a super?  No.  I’m an exceeder.  What’s an exceeder?  It’s what’s in the middle between you and a superhero.  Do I have powers?  Sort of.  Well, yes.  They’re just not as dynamic or glamorous as a superhero’s powers.  Let’s just say I can’t win at hand to hand combat with a supervillan, though in truth, most villains are also exceeders.  We tend to have enormous chips on our shoulders.  The ones who can’t handle it turn to crime.  The others, well, if the Alliance finds out about us, we work here.

So what’s my power?  I can read your mind.  Literally.  As you think your thought, I see it, in print as though I am scrolling through the text of a book.  If you think like most people, you are a very bad read, so if I don’t enjoy your style or content, I have to leave, or you do.  This power, however, is not the one I was brought on for, and no one here at the Alliance, or anywhere else knows about it.  But we’ll get back to that in a minute.

My job here at the institute is to monitor news feeds from around the world and scan for societal interference.  Translation:  watch out for bad guys and their dirty tricks then report my findings to upper management.  In my personnel profile I am labeled as a ‘summarizer.’   I can touch a book, newspaper, magazine, really any hard copy media, and return a summary instantaneously.  The longest part of the process is keying my findings, though I type 180 words per minute, and that is also one of my powers.  I do have a weakness, and it’s an absolute pain in the butt.  Typos are like kryptonite to me.  I can see them in my mind without even touching a document.  They hurt my brain and I have to find and edit them with a red pen or I eventually lose consciousness.  I keep an emergency red pen on my person the way that people who are allergic to bees keep an epi-pen of adrenaline.  Yeah, it’s that bad.

I had a huge stack of summaries to get through today.  I was way behind because of an unusually high number of articles and reports with typos that bogged me down.  Month end was always like that because that’s when most government updates are released.  “Can’t spell?  Uncle Sam needs you!” 

I was on my third Excedrin by the time lunch rolled around.  I wasn’t remotely hungry, in fact I’d sort of blown out my stomach in my attempts to dodge a migraine.  As I made my way to the break room I prayed that Upsurge from HR wouldn’t be down there at the same time.   He could make me vomit without even trying.   But I wanted to be near Exchange, and I didn’t have any business to take me to the Finance department today.  A mild mannered Accounts Payable clerk and the love of my life, he always ate lunch at the same time and he never went out so I knew where I could find him at 11:30 a.m. on any given weekday;  just one more thing to love about him.

I’d never met anyone with thoughts so pure and well formed.  Exchange was a wonderful read.  He had his opinions about everybody and everything, and they were fair, sometimes funny, sometimes completely misinformed, but always so enjoyable.  He used surprisingly elegant language in this thought patterns.  Of course I was hooked on him from our very first encounter:

“I shouldn’t let them talk me into making change like that every day.  I’m sure they just think of me as a monkey doing a trick—Say! Now who is this?” 

I had just walked into the break-room and was standing with my back to him while I worked the microwave.

“Oh, what a lovely figure!  I wonder if this is the new intern from R & D who needed all those red pens?”

I turned around to see who was thinking about me.

“Oh my god!  She’s exquisite!  I heard she was exceptionally perceptive, but nobody said anything about her looks.  She’s probably married.  She must be.  Oh blast! She’s looking at me!  What’s wrong?  Do I have food on my shirt?”  And he looked down and brushed the front of his blue oxford.

Game over.  I could already summarize the end of this story.  “And they lived happily ever after.” 

Even the font of his words in my brain was elegant.  I felt good all over every time he thought, but especially if he was thinking about me.  Sort of like the way you feel when you see someone getting a massage or their hair washed.  It was incredibly addictive.

He never thought about my body in the way some of the other guys and Aroma from Facilities Maintenance did.  Even in his mind he was a perfect gentleman to me.  He was a person of short stature like me, but maybe just an inch or two taller.  I was glad for that.  His self-esteem already took such a beating every day, I wouldn’t want to add to it by being taller than him.

Reading minds like I do, I’m very cynical.  There are only a handful of people I can stand to be around, and even they annoy me, but because they are either related to me or have been a close friend from childhood, I do my best to give them privacy by redirecting their thoughts with a question or just leaving if I need to.  Even with people I care about, I know more than I want to.   So yeah, in general, I don’t like people.  They are mean and selfish.  Exceeders are the worst.  No, I take that back.  Supers are the worst.  If you are vain, self-absorbed and generally clueless about the feelings of others—especially those of exceeders—you’re probably a super.  One of the few exceptions to this rule is Bob Miracle, the CEO.  Reading his thoughts restores my faith in our company and our mission.  There’s a reason he’s the leader of the good guys, though even he has a tendency to be slightly clueless at times.  He’s in that handful I mentioned before.

I knew from the first moment I read him that Exchange was the man for me, or at least I wanted him to be.  But with my power, dating just never seemed to work out for me.  So I approached a relationship with him very cautiously.  I’m not a shy person, but I really don’t go out of my way to engage people either.  I can tell if they want to talk, and around here, most people don’t—want to talk to me, that is.  I have a reputation for being a bit of a snot.  Hypocrisy drives me crazy and I’ll call you on it if you catch me at the wrong time.  With me it’s always the wrong time.

 

In a minute an incredibly obnoxious and narcissistic super (as yet to be named) comes into the break room and engages the new intern.  We get to hear all the thought patterns along with the dialogue and the scene climaxes when a shy but enraged Exchange (whose power is to convert currency into lower denominations, such as dollars to quarters, dimes to nickels, etc.) causes the super jerk to lose his pants by converting the paper money in his wallet to its equivalent in pennies.  He’s got about $500 bucks on his person… 

  

My vision with this is to make it into a weekly serial and have guest writers contributing some of the installments.  I want to poke fun at corporate life through the struggles of these hard working exceeders. 
 
 
I have lots of ideas about characters and their powers as it relates to corporate initiative story-lines and back drops, but I would love to engage some new friends with this.  If you or anybody you know would enjoy this sort of thing, please let them know.  My social media vital statistics are listed below.  You’ve been more than kind just to read this far.  Thanks!
  
Ann (Syntax) Mauren
mauren.ann@gmail.com
Tweet me @AnnMauren

 

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