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Grey Wool by Pete Warner
Nobody wants to gamble on our life-spans."
"How do you bear the humiliation, oh mighty Arclight?"
"You know, they say that my eyes are mirrors."
Silence. Then Victor sighed. "Touché, Robert. I'm as obsolete as you. A dropped stitch. A tangled spool. Who needs the Knitwit to bring the world to its knees when you've got bankers?" He indicated the television screen. "Did you know QVC signed up Backlash? She makes them a fortune, Bob. You know how she is. Almost impossible to resist, even now. I barely even used to try. A single look from her and I used to knit my own handcuffs. Now look at her. Selling frying pans. They should be kissing her footwear, Bob, not buying her cookware."
A panel on the cell door slid across to reveal the face of even older man than Victor. "Dinner, Mr Knitwit," he rasped cheerfully.
"Victor... why is Stan Lee delivering your dinner?"
"Just leave it," muttered Victor.
"Look, I came to get you out of here, Vic," said Robert, absently scratching. "We can make it like... like... what the hell are these trousers made from?"
"Recycled toilet paper, Bob. They won't give me wool. Make it like what?"
"Like the old days, Victor. The Knitwit, and Backlash and The Origamist and Doctor Chocolate. The Fearsome-Four reunited! You can show them real terror. Never mind exploding towers, what are they going to make of... of a giant cat's-cradle over Chicago. They'd turn to the Union!" (7) Luminescent enthusiasm flared in Arclight's eyes, discharging across the ceiling.
"No," said Victor sadly. "They'd recruit troops. Levy taxes to pay for it. Lend money to those impoverished by taxes. Close airports. Implant chips. Have their media dogs whip everything to a frothing frenzy. Then maybe they'd would they call for you, borne high on a tide of public outcry, only to smash on the rocks of their disappointment. You'd fail. Be blamed. Then they'd use your DNA again. Meddle with it again."
Arclight slumped to the bunk beside The Knitwit. "Super soldiers."
"Again," agreed Victor.
Robert said, "I envy you, Victor. Finally. Here."
"I've had twenty-seven opportunities to escape, Bob. Thought I'd stay. You know what they say. Find a hole. Stay in it. Pass the time."
Arclight nodded slowly, super charged tears burning holes in the mattress. "Can you teach me to knit?"
"Of course Bob," said the Knitwit, patting his arch-enemy and oldest friend on the shoulder. "Of course."
============== Footnotes ===========================
(1) Backlash was born Donna Matrix in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was never active in Brazil before retirement, although she did once enslave an entire tribe of pygmies in Bolivia.
(2) The soles of Arclight's feet remain silver in his human form, as do his palms, fingertips, eyes, armpits and penis.
(3) Merchandisers had made a killing selling millions of Arclight voice modulator toys to children across the globe during the nineties. Victoria Beckham had famously used one on her single "Out of your Mind" in 2000. It sold considerably less than millions.
(4) Victor Bloss aka The Knitwit, born Hungary 1950. Credited with knitting the giant Moon-Scarf of ‘81, causing catastrophic tidal damage in Asia due to increased gravitational pull.
(5) Robert Van-Der-Graaf aka Arclight was ranked no #1 superhero for over 30 years since his origin(5a) by the ISHC, the GOSP, the WASP and the influential Kapow! Magazine.
(5a) Arclight was the first winner of "America's Next Super-Hero", a show disbanded after it created more Super-Villains than heroes, including Doctor Chocolate, The Accountant, and Kid Rock.
(6) Contradictory to popular belief, Arclight does not have a neutron-star for a heart. This is one of the myths perpetrated by his now defunct P.A. company "Supernova". Others include that he has x-ray vision, can give you a perma-tan, cures cancer and shits ball-lightning.
(7) Terrestrial Union of Benevolent Action (TUBA) formed to protect the interests, forcibly if necessary, of the Earth's 177 known superheroes.