Angus vs. Ivy . . . another take

By me, in response to Jeremy's story

(This is kinda interesting because I never write Ivy in third person, yet here it is. My notes are footnoted and explained at the bottom!)

     Ivy was tired and pissed off. What she really wanted to do was go to sleep, but while her body was exhausted, her brain was sick of sleeping. She often thought about what a waste of time sleep was, but lately she hadn’t gotten enough of it. Less than a year ago she’d routinely gotten nine or ten hours of sleep, and now she was lucky if she got six. Someone usually managed to wake her before the sun even got its sorry ass up, and once she was awake her roommates made sure that she stayed that way. Either it was the loud music from Weaver’s room or it was the clinking of dishes from the kitchen where Peyton and Cecily were having their breakfast, and if it wasn’t one of those things, it was the kids wrestling on the living room floor or some weirdo either bouncing on the bed or screwing someone. Ivy could never tell which it was, but she didn’t want to know. In the rare instance that everyone was quiet enough to let her continue her sleep past sunrise, Mother Nature usually decided to be a bitch and start thundering or raining, and Ivy felt like breaking something. Sometimes she did.

     Today Ivy had decided to get away from the house. She was sick of everyone whining about stuff until she kicked their asses, and she was sick of hearing them complain that she was mean after she did that. She looked at the ground hundreds of feet below her and frowned. People were such assholes. She took aim and spat on their buildings. After that she had to admit she felt a little better, but not enough to satisfy her. She climbed higher in the sky, holding her red baseball cap on her head with her hand so it wouldn’t get lost in the wind, and she hid herself in a cloud.

     Ivy bit her lip as she looked at the steamy air around her. Something just wasn’t right. Flying usually made her feel much better, and now it wasn’t working. She didn’t understand. She spun around until she was dizzy and her hair was in knots, but it didn’t help her mood. Ivy felt like either crying or punching something. She vacated the cloud and dove into the city, sinking down behind a mall of some sort. Ivy could recognize a mall in any town. She walked around to the front of it and went in, hoping the bright colors and plentiful things to laugh at would cheer her up.

     She found an ice cream place. A grin caught onto her mouth and held, despite her pissy mood. She could use some ice cream about now.

     “Can I help you?” said the vendor.

     “Probably,” Ivy replied. “I want ice cream. . . . ”

     “What flavor?” the boy chirped.

     “Well, I haven’t decided yet.”

     The boy sighed like Ivy was a retard for talking to him before she’d made her decision. She narrowed her eyes at him, wishing there was something blunt around to chuck at his head. The boy stared calmly back, and Ivy watched him look at her. She sighed. He was one of those people, the kind that didn’t even have the decency to act embarrassed about staring. Ivy rolled her eyes and focused her attention on the ice cream flavors.

     She stifled her impulse to say, “I’ll have the pink shit,” and just told him she wanted strawberry sherbet.

     “Cup or cone?” he asked sensibly.

     “Cup, please.”

     “One scoop or two?”

     “Just one.”

     The boy dutifully got her a scoop of the pink shit, put it in front of her, and told her the price.

     “I’m not done with my order yet,” she replied. “I’d like a drink too.”

     “What kind?” he replied, acting annoyed.

     “Soda,” she dictated.

     “What kind of soda?”

     “Uh, the . . . brown kind.” Ivy didn’t know brand names too well. Belatedly looking at the menu, she added, “Coke.”

     “We’re out.”

     “You’re out?” Ivy was incredulous. She didn’t think places ran out of things like that.

     “Yes, we are out, ma’am.” The boy added the “ma’am” as if it was a chore. Ivy felt like causing a hurricane behind the counter.

     “Well . . . well, where can I get one? I really want soda.”

     “I do believe there are machines outside.” The boy handed Ivy her change and departed from the front of the store, going into a door labeled “Employees Only.” He had forgotten to get her a spoon for her ice cream.

     The plastic spoons were on the back counter out of Ivy’s reach, but she didn’t care. She used her energy to flip one of them right into her little dish of sherbet, then took her first bite. It was pretty good, even if it did have the boy’s germs on it.

     Ivy spotted the soda machine right outside. She could also clearly see that it would cost her three quarters to get a can of soda, and when she fumbled in her pocket for change, she only had two. Groaning, she realized the “exact change only” sign was also lit up on the stupid thing. Ivy went back inside and looked for a place to get change. There was still nobody at the counter of the ice cream store. She decided to piss off the ice cream boy and ask him to give her change for her dollar.

     There being no bell to ring for service, Ivy knocked over the metal cake cone dispenser. As expected, the boy came rushing out of the back to see what the noise was.

     “Your cone thingy fell over,” Ivy said, pointing.

     “Did you do that?” the boy asked suspiciously.

     “Do I look like I have six foot arms?” she replied smartly, blinking over her innocent smile. He looked her in the eye and then quickly looked away, visibly disturbed.

     “I’m glad you came out,” Ivy said as if nothing had happened and there wasn’t a mess on the floor where cake cones had crumbled. “I need something else.”

     “What do you want now?” he said, obviously meaning to be rude.

     “I want change for a dollar, you gotta problem with that?” she barked, turning up her accent.

     “Well, actually, yes I do,” he replied sweetly. “We’re not allowed to open the register without a sale. I’m so sorry.”

     Ivy wondered if he was lying. She supposed there was nothing she could do about it short of beating the guy up, and she actually didn’t like violence. Much.

     “Fine then,” she mumbled, shuffling away.

     “Have a nice day,” he called, his voice dripping with Nutra-Sweet.

     “Fuck yourself,” she replied under her breath. She wanted to scream it at him, but she’d made enough scenes in her lifetime to know how much good they did. Ivy felt like telling the world to kiss her ass. She flung the door of the mall open without touching it, not caring if anyone was watching, and stomped out.

     Angus had been watching Ivy since she entered the mall. Her long hair in many braids and the strange, light way she walked had caught his attention. He overheard her arguing with the ice cream boy and withheld his strange desire to congratulate her. He liked women with an attitude, as long as it wasn’t against him. Then, when he saw the spoon just leap from behind the counter into her ice cream, and when he saw that she wasn’t the least bit surprised and seemed as if she had been expecting that to happen, he began watching her closely, riveting his eyes on her every move. He found that her actions were the most interesting when she didn’t move. When she breezed by him out the door, he froze, uncharacteristically off-guard for a moment. He wanted to say something to her, ask her her name and how the hell she was doing those things, and a billion other things he was sure he would think of if he got face to face with her.

     Ivy was outside staring longingly at the Coke machine when Angus approached her.

     “Hey,” he said. She looked a little shocked. He hoped she wasn’t about to pull a Lucy.

     “Uhh . . . hey yourself.” She stuffed her hands into her pockets and looked down at him, not meeting his eyes.

     “Need a quarter?” he said, knowing her plight. He had heard their whole conversation over at the ice cream place. Angus had good hearing.

     Her eyes lit up.

     “Thanks Mister,” she replied, quite a bit more civil than she’d been to the ice cream vendor. Angus held out a quarter and Ivy snatched it from him and put it in the machine, then dug out her other two and got herself a soda.

     “The name’s Angus, not Mister,” he told her. “I’m Angus Bogg.” It was a name the world should soon know.

     “Yeah? Well, I’m Ivy. Just Ivy.” She nodded at him and started walking away, down the steps. Angus thought she moved like a dancer somehow, like she was in a lighter gravity than the rest of the world. He wondered why no one had ever taught her any manners; it wasn’t nice to just walk away from someone after an introduction. Even he knew that.

     “Wait a second!” Angus trailed her, and she turned around. Ivy wondered what the hell he still wanted. Once he caught up to her, he realized he was at a loss for words, which was completely unlike him. He felt irrationally angry at her for tying his tongue up like this.

     “What?” she asked, with a lilting laugh in her voice. Angus felt like he was being teased. Nobody was allowed to feel like they were better than he was. He was a very powerful man, and no one, least of all a skinny girl, was allowed to laugh at him. Angus looked her in the eyes to show her that he wasn’t kidding around, even if he couldn’t figure out what he wanted to say.

     Ivy didn’t like Angus’s eyes. They were hypnotic and sinister, and when she locked eyes with him she felt like she could hear demons crying to her from behind his stare. She had never encountered someone whose direct gaze was more unbalancing than her own. She narrowed her eyes at him. Angus, for his part, felt a bit queasy when faced with Ivy’s expression. Her eyes were too damn big for her face, and that creeped him out.

     “Look, man, is there something you want?” asked Ivy. Angus heard a sort of humbleness in her tone. He liked it. “All right, then, fine.” Ivy turned around and walked off. Angus, having lost himself in gloating over his victory in their wordless battle, had let the chance to say something slip by.

     “No! Come back,” he ordered.

     Ivy stopped and turned around, but didn’t make any move to return to Angus. That forced him to come to her. She wondered if he expected some weird sexual favor or something for his quarter. The only contact she would have with his genitalia would be her sneaker and his balls.1 Her expression hardened as Angus hurried up to her.

     Angus was not a beating around the bush type guy.

     “You are telekinetic,” he accused her.

     Ivy was quite surprised, but she covered it well.

     “Does it show?” She blinked at him, ready for him to make something of it.

     “Well, I want to know why,” Angus said, coming out of his shell. “Are you some kind of alien or a mutant, or something?” He looked at her hard.

     Ivy softened into honesty. “How did you know about me?”

     “I saw you at the ice cream place . . . the spoon, the cone rack, the door, all that stuff. I figured it out from there.”

     “You’re quick,” she complimented him. Ivy was used to having to explain for hours and have people still not get it.

     “So how do you do it?” Angus wanted possession of the secret too.

     “How do I do it?” Ivy laughed. “Easily.” She pulled the tab on her soda without touching it and took a sip, not looking away from Angus to monitor his reaction. She liked reactions.

     “I’m serious, dammit,” Angus growled, getting frustrated.

     “So am I,” she said sweetly. Now she was directing her attitude at Angus. He didn’t like it one bit.

     “Bitch,” he breathed, almost silently. How dare she make a game out of him?

     “I heard that,” she replied, “and I am not.”

     “Then why won’t you answer me?” he whined, feeling like someone with a youth ray had just zapped him back to age six.

     “Because I don’t know the answer, okay? Now stop bothering me.” Ivy wondered if Angus was with the government or something. That scared her, but she tried not to show it. She turned around and tried to walk like his presence didn’t concern her.

     Angus read her body language clearer than if it was written on her ass. Ivy was afraid of him. He cackled inwardly and rushed her.

     She heard his rapid footsteps behind her and spun around, almost spilling her soda. She stopped him in his tracks, suspending him in the air so he was helpless.

     “All right, now this has gone far enough,” she said with her voice rising. “You quit following me right now. Whatever you have, I don’t want, and whatever you want, I’m not giving it to you. There’s nothin’ you can do about that.” Ivy let go of him as soon as she was finished with her little speech. Touching him was worse than looking into his eyes. She felt like bugs were crawling on her. Ivy growled at him and dove up into the sky, flying so fast she almost lost her hat.

     Angus watched her. The girl could fly! Her power was so strong it could lift people, not just little things. His eyes followed her across the background of the clouds. He wondered if she could lift up a truck, or destroy buildings, or make tornadoes. He had heard of telekinesis before as maybe a science fiction story or an unproven lab experiment, taken as a made-up thing or a crock. He couldn’t believe it really existed. He wanted to know all the mechanics and the secrets, and most of all, how she had managed to become telekinetic. Maybe that way he could eventually acquire the same talent.

     Wait a second, Angus thought. I just thought of it as a talent. What if that’s really what it is? Could it be like anything else, the skill to play the piano or roller-skate? Angus had absorbed talents from people through his hat many times. And now he could play the piano like it was an inborn instinct, as easily as breathing. Maybe he could steal the talent from Ivy by absorbing her! But first, he had to find her and get close to her without her seeing. The little bitch could just stop him from moving if she wanted to. It made him mad. Nobody should have that kind of power . . . except him. Angus squinted and located Ivy in the sky. He had good eyes. He watched her land on a building, probably thinking she was rid of him. Bingo, he thought. Come to Papa.

     Ivy wondered about Angus. Why had he acted so strangely? She was used to people freaking out but with Angus it was like . . . the opposite of freaking out. He had looked at her hungrily, which was why she thought maybe he wanted sex. But then he kept asking about her energy. She shook her head and stirred her melting sherbet around in the cup.

     Angus had been dressed too weirdly to be an undercover government agent, she decided. Especially that weird turban hat. She had heard of plainclothes cops, but she figured they dressed normally, without aberrations like that. And his hair had been totally wild, as well. He almost didn’t look human, and she was a good judge of that, being non-human herself. The way she felt when she looked at him was going to give her nightmares. She stuffed her mouth with strawberry-flavored slush and told her brain to shut up.

     Angus began to scale the building. The bricks jutting out of the corners formed a makeshift ladder to the roof, and Angus practically flew up it, laughing slightly as he wondered if one of the other people he’d absorbed had been a mountain climber as well as whatever he’d chosen them for. He moved stealthily as he neared the top.

     The noise was minute, but it alerted Ivy. Angus stood on the edge of the roof triumphantly, looking at Ivy where she was sprawled ungracefully on the concrete. Her eyes widened as she wondered if she was hallucinating.

     “Greetings, Ivy,” he boomed.

     “Stay the fuck away from me!” she shouted. She moved like a feline to a crouched attack position.

     “I come in peace.” Angus hopped off of the little wall that surrounded the building’s edge and walked towards her.

     “I could kill you,” she hissed.

     “Oh, but you wouldn’t do that,” he replied, still coming towards her. He could smell her fear, even though he knew if he were in her position he would have been thrown to his death by now. That made him think she didn’t have the balls to commit murder. He didn’t like it either, but he wasn’t afraid to do it. Besides, the hat didn’t murder, it just . . . erased people from existence. How could you kill someone who wasn’t ever there? It was a paradox, and Angus loved it. He got talents out of it, and power.

     Ivy didn’t want him any closer. She was more willing to endure the awful prickly sensation she got when she touched him than she was to let him get in her personal space. She picked him up, gritting her teeth in anger and discomfort. She moved Angus out over the open space.

     “All I have to do is let go,” she whispered.

     Angus licked his lips. Was she really going to drop him? He wondered if the hat would heal him of the major injuries he would sustain from a fall like that. He didn’t want to risk it. He felt awful, his stomach churning and his body just hanging in the air with nothing under it. The feeling confused him because he could still feel gravity pulling on him, even though he was supported.

     “Ivy,” he said with an almost fatherly tone, and she blinked. “I came up here because you intrigued me. I’m just curious about you and your talents, and. . . . ” Angus thought fast. “ . . . I was thinking maybe we could help each other.”

     “I don’t want to help you,” she growled. She felt her self-confidence returning. Through the nasty aura of Angus’ unpleasantness, Ivy could tell how nervous he was. He was actually shaking, though it wasn’t visible to her eyes.

     “Let’s not judge on first impressions or appearances, huh?” Angus implored her. “How about you let me down now? I won’t hurt you.”

     “You have to promise not to walk another step towards me, or I will make you sorry! I can do it!” Ivy shrieked. She only offered because she wanted so desperately to let go of him.

     “It’s a deal.”

     Ivy plopped Angus on the roof with great relief, feeling a shudder work its way around her body.

     Angus decided that Ivy’s power was much too dangerous to be controlled by anyone but him. He had to get the hat on her head as soon as he could, or she was liable to wake up and zap him with her powers. But he had to be careful! She couldn’t be allowed to get away. He decided to pretend to be a stranger in a strange land.

     “I apologize for my behavior earlier,” Angus said civilly. “I don’t know what’s appropriate for this country yet.” He cursed himself for not adopting some kind of accent sooner. “Men in our culture are sometimes . . . more confrontational than you people.”

     “Hey, I don’t know what’s normal either,” Ivy admitted. She smiled weakly, but her eyes showed Angus that she still didn’t trust him.

     “Well, it’s comforting sometimes to do things in the ways of my countrymen.” His brain raced for a country to explain his behavior. He assumed Ivy was probably ignorant of the ways of life in other cultures if she was ignorant of American practices, but he didn’t want to test his hypothesis. It might get him in trouble. “In our country, it is considered polite to simply strike up conversation with people, it is considered rude to not speak to someone. And we rarely hide our feelings. We like to be honest. That’s why I asked you about your power so quickly.”

     “I—I don’t care much, but. . . . ” Ivy trailed off. She wanted to ask him why he looked that way and why he seemed full of evil, but she didn’t know how to start. She was used to being the one who was quizzed for answers, not the one who was curious. She knew how stupid people sounded when they asked doofis questions, and she didn’t want to sound that dumb. She held her tongue.

     “Another thing that makes me feel a little more at home is our country’s traditional peace gesture,” Angus pressed on. “Everyone wears hats much like mine. As a symbol of peacemaking, men would often exchange hats. As we seem to have gotten off to a bad start, I would like to switch hats with you.” Angus’s eyes gleamed.

     Ivy struggled to read Angus’s expression. Looking at him hurt her eyes. She put her hand on top of her hat, sliding her fingers down to touch the brim. She liked to wear a hat when she went out, partly to cover up the split ends that stuck out of her braids sometimes, and partly to keep people from looking at her quite as much. She looked less like one of Santa’s helpers with her ears covered, and she usually liked it that way. Angus was looking at her still, his face flushed. He looked like he was about to start drooling any second.

     “What do you say?” prodded Angus. “Please, I want to cement our friendship, and I want to learn about you, and teach you about me. I have wonderful things to offer.” Angus could taste her power on his tongue. He anticipated being able to make the tangible world respond to his thoughts. He would pick it up easily, instinctively, like he had piano playing. And then he would really have the edge he needed to start amassing other kinds of power.

     Ivy felt like Angus was ready to pounce on her. His body was poised like a snake about to strike at its prey. That was too much desire for just the want of friendship. He wanted her badly, some other way that she couldn’t fathom. Maybe it was that dumb human sex thing at work. Why the hell did he want her to wear his hat? Was it a symbol of marriage in his mysterious country or something? She wasn’t going to do it if he paid her. She tightened her energy like a rubber band in her head, ready to give him one hell of a bitch slap if he stepped any closer.

     Angus observed that Ivy wasn’t moving. She looked ready to throw him off the roof. It was a stalemate.

     Ivy stood up. “I’m sorry if it bothers you, but I’m not wearing your hat,” she said. “I mean, what if people from your country have lice or something?”

     Angus took his hat off and offered it to her, still more than six feet away from her. “Please,” he replied formally. “It would mean quite a bit to me.”

     Ivy didn’t care what it would mean to him. She wasn’t putting on his smelly-ass hat. His hair was even wilder without the hat on. She stared.

     “In our country it is considered improper to start any kind of friendship not based in peace,” he said firmly. “I beg you to take my hat!” Angus bowed his head and tried to look sincere. He was getting desperate.

     “Look, you crazy freak, I’m not putting on your hat!” Ivy stamped her foot childishly. “You can have mine if you want it,” she shouted, taking it off and throwing it at him, “but I don’t want yours so leave me alone!” Angus observed with interest that her body language became less defensive when she became angry instead of scared.

     “My dear, if I were you, I wouldn’t be talking about freakish.”

     Ivy’s breath caught in her throat. That was an insult.

     “Hey!” she burst.

     “Well, it’s true. What’s up with your eyes, did you just jump out of a Japanese comic or something?” Angus teased her murderously.

     “What . . . ?” Ivy was shocked. This man was insane.

     Angus pointed at Ivy and pretended to be overcome with hilarity. “You look like you ought to be in a tree somewhere baking cookies!” he hooted. Ivy knew he was making some kind of elf joke, though she didn’t quite get it. She felt her eyebrows try to touch each other.

     All of a sudden, Angus stopped laughing and rushed at her, his hands clutching his hat. He jumped at her, pushing the thing at her head.

     A short shriek escaped Ivy’s mouth. She blinked in reflex as Angus leaped at her. The speed of her thought was much higher than that of Angus’s muscles, and her energy created a raw explosion, sending Angus reeling all the way across the building’s rooftop.

     The force of Ivy’s blow was tremendous. Angus felt like he’d just been smacked by a giant hand and electrocuted and given a rugburn at the same time. All of the skin on the front side of his body stung. Then all the skin on the back side of his body began to sting as well as he landed hard on the building’s roof.

     Ivy felt her fingertips tingling like eight little sparklers. She was a little bit dizzy, and she closed her eyes and tried to collect herself. She hadn’t even meant to do that, really. Whenever she did something of that magnitude, the aftermath was hellish, but thankfully brief. Ivy blinked her eyes open again and was surprised to see Angus stirring, then getting up.

     “I told you that I had strengths of my own,” Angus said, his voice filling with ego.

     Ivy backed away from him, even though he was still quite far away. Angus advanced.

     “I’m capable of healing almost instantaneously, I can scale tall buildings, I have incredible luck, and I play the piano like a complete badass. Impressed yet?” Angus grinned as he swaggered towards Ivy. “The only thing is, I can’t fly. That would be a mother of a power, wouldn’t you say?”

     Ivy nodded numbly, knowing exactly how true that was.

     “So what do you say? We could exchange gifts . . . my hat could give you everything you could want, if only you’ll trade me your telekinesis. How about it?”

     “What? Trade?

     Angus smiled. He had to get her cooperation, maybe trick the dimwitted little whore into thinking she could get something out of this deal. Otherwise, he was liable to continue to get thrown. And it did hurt, if only for a minute. He was lying to her, of course. Once she put it on, there would be no exchange. He would get all of her and she would get none of him.

     “You could still keep your power, of course. And I would keep all my gifts. What do you say? You can go first.”

     Ivy didn’t want any of his supposed gifts. She wanted to make him disappear and never come back. But if she just dropped him off the roof, he would heal and come after her again. What was she going to do? He couldn’t be being honest. He wouldn’t have made up that stupid story about wanting to exchange hats if he wasn’t a deceiver.

     “Wait . . . Angus, what do I get? What kind of gifts you got in there?” Ivy widened her eyes. Angus thought that made her look like some kind of green-eyed lemur. He avoided her gaze.

     “Anything you can imagine. Name something . . . I’ll bet you it’s in here.”

     “My friend Bill tried to teach me to roller blade and I sucked at it,” Ivy said honestly. “You don’t by any chance have that talent in there?”

     Angus almost laughed. He really did have a roller-skating ability.

     “As a matter of fact, I do. Anything else?”

     “I wish I was more athletic,” she said. “I can hardly do anything with my body, even walking gets me tired if I do it too much. . . . ”

     “The endurance of ten racehorses is packed into this hat.” Angus took it off and thumped its top. “Yours for just one little power, and you don’t even have to give it up.”

     Ivy took the hat between her hands. Her fingers felt like they were being bitten by spiders. She could feel the evil of the thing.

     “As if I’d be that stupid, you prick!” Ivy yelled. She rocketed into the air with Angus’s hat, laughing.

     “Aaaaggghhh!” Angus emitted a howl of pure horror.

     Ivy pranced around in the air, holding the hat distastefully.

     “You must really need this hat,” she taunted him.

     Angus was too proud to say anything. He sat down, dejected and defeated, on the roof. He didn’t even know if he could get down without the strength the hat gave him.2

     Ivy planned to rip the hat to shreds and throw the pieces at Angus, but the material wouldn’t tear. That was impossible. Her energy was stronger than any force she’d ever encountered; it should be able to do anything. Yet this hat acted as if she wasn’t even poking it.

     She flew away with the hat, wanting to throw it in the river so that Angus could never find it. He had to be stopped. He couldn’t just run around putting his hat on people; whatever happened when he did that couldn’t be good for his victims.

     Ivy chucked the hat at the water. She laughed out loud as she watched it fall. But then something happened that made her stomach drop. A hand shot out of the murky water and caught the hat before it got wet. A gasp caught in her throat as she watched a demonic figure rise from the water.

     “It’s up to me whether Angus should be stopped,” said a sinister voice from a face Ivy couldn’t make out. She hollered an incoherent syllable.

     “It is not your problem. Go back to where you came from, foolish girl. Do not mess with us.”

     Ivy, quite used to being invincible in most situations, got the nerve to speak up.

     “But . . . Angus is evil! He tried to put this hat on me.” She realized how ridiculous that sounded.

     “Do not mess with us,” the voice repeated, “unless you’d like us to mess with you. I will decide when Angus needs to be stopped.”

     “You said ‘when.’ Does that mean you will stop him?”

     “That is my business! Stay out of this.” The demonic presence vanished as quickly as it had come, melting into the water. Ivy shivered, realizing she had witnessed a supernatural event of some kind. It scared her, and she suddenly understood why people could sometimes freak out in response to her using her energy. She flew as fast as she could toward home, not being able to get out of this city fast enough.

     Angus had a relatively easy time getting off of the building, only sustaining a scrape on his arm from a rough brick. But he was almost ready to cry like a baby. His beautiful hat was gone! Once he had gotten it, he knew he’d never have to worry about another thing; if he was down on his luck, he could go absorb someone who was more successful than he, and usurp that person’s “throne.” Now it was gone! That stupid telekinetic bitch had taken it from him! What was he going to do now?

     Angus kicked at the thick water of a puddle. He wandered down the street and ended up in a bar.

     “A shot of Jagermeister,” Angus demanded. “Make that a double.” The bartender obeyed him, and he drank the alcohol as quickly as his body would allow him to swallow twice. He couldn’t get a job. He had no real way to get anywhere in life without his hat. Angus ordered a few more drinks.

     On his way to the bathroom, Angus noticed that a peculiar-looking hat was part of the bizarre décor of the bar. Through his now-fuzzy vision, it looked exactly like his hat. Angus laughed. Maybe it was a mirage brought on by too much drinking. Maybe it was hat withdrawal. Maybe it was just another hat that looked like his. A frown creased his face as he realized it did look exactly like his.

     His mouth suddenly dry, Angus jumped and grabbed it from the wall. No one stopped him; no one even looked at him as if he was doing something strange. He had the hat in his fist. It looked a little different than he remembered his hat, and he frowned. Putting it on his head anyway, he continued to the bathroom. He felt more clear-headed now, more willing to deal with the world. Looking at himself as he passed the mirror, he realized the scratch on his elbow was gone. It had healed itself. It was his hat!

     He knew he must be meant to have the hat back. There was no way he would have found it this quickly by coincidence. The hat really was his destiny. Angus returned, beaming, to the bar, and drank what was left of his horse-piss. It tasted better to him now even though it had tasted like liquid ass before.

     Apparently he was not meant to have caught that little girl Ivy and absorbed her powers, or he would have. He was an extremely lucky man, with fate on his side. And even though it disappointed him that those fantastic powers of hers were not for him, he was cheered by the fact that other kinds of power were definitely not out of his reach. Nothing had said that he wasn’t meant to rule the city. Or the world. Angus issued an absolutely evil grin and left the bar.

1 This is the first time Ivy mentions something about wondering if Angus wants sex from her. It happens a few more times, even though that is the furthest thing from Angus's mind. Jeremy thought it was rather odd for Ivy to keep thinking this might be his motivation, considering it was completely off base. [BACK]

2 Jeremy says that I forgot Angus generally would have been carrying a gun, and that despite his situation he probably would have taken it out and taken potshots at Ivy. Obviously she could have countered and made him unable to even aim the gun, but the fact remains that Angus would never have just accepted defeat that way. [BACK]

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